Poetry Corner – Like a Rock

Like a Rock

stacked-boulders-sandra-selle-rodriguez

Like a Rock


I want to be strong like a rock


My life has fallen accidentally into place
Like the rocks that make up this mountain
Satisfied with the cards they were dealt
Each working together to hold up an entire mountain
No one imposing on the others
Rather keeping each other in check


I want to be sturdy like a rock


Each completing the other; no grandstanding
Sturdy yet fallible
Ancient yet new each day
Always set with their faces toward the sun
Together balancing out the whole


I want to be intelligent like a rock


We can learn a lot from these rocks
We who compete for space
For a chance to leave our mark on this earth
To find meaning for ourselves
Rather than the whole


I want to be humble like a rock


We who step over each other to succeed
Rather than link together to form an alliance
Rocks do not feel jealousy, envy, or pain
They accept their place
And fend together, as one

Poetry Corner – Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

People waiting in anticipation

For something so natural, so primitive

Mother Nature must laugh at our pettiness

A game of hide and seek

Trying to inconspicuously dip away

Not trying to draw attention to itself

Doing a poor job of it

Trying to run away from sky

Trying to escape from civilization

Away from world

Away from people

Unaware that it will return again tomorrow

Repeating the same process

Again and again

For eternity

The definition of craziness

Reflecting off the surfaces of the water

Reflecting the human experience

Sunset

-Bali, Jan 11/2017

N-A-N-A Birthday Song

N-A-N-A Birthday Song

Story: For my Nana’s 75th birthday, I composed, wrote the lyrics, and recorded this song with my brother and sister as a surprise gift… Of course she cried when she heard it! Now hit play, turn up your speakers and SING ALONG!!!
Now click the link, turn up your speakers and SING ALONG!!! NANA Birthday Song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXoVFnSJ_Eo
 
Release date: July 12, 2008
Written by Cameron Brtnik
Lyrics and melody by Problem-Addict
Produced by Noam Lavi
 
NANA Birthday Song
CHORUS:
N-A-N-A  N-A-N-A
It’s your birthday so let’s celebrate!
What things do I think about when I hear your name?
There’s plenty but for this song there’s too many to say
 
I think about…
Thanksgiving dinner sitting around the table
thinking how you were able to do
all this cooking, sprouts and baby peas, green beans,
meat all drowned in gravy
I think of her beautiful hair, everything done with the usual care
Her keen eyes and open smile, I think about the wooden pile
And the fairy tree, you can see’em if you look hard, it ain’t just make-belief – nope!
I think about raking leaves and making a jumping pile and how we used to pump the well
Pumpkin-carving contests, your favourite saying? “God Bless”
Planting in the garden, she’s not just a gardener; she’s a flower Goddess!
Yes the earth needs her, where else would birds eat without a bird feeder?
A nurse healer, church believer, ever since birth she’s been a leader
I think about the barn exploring the depths, tractor rides and the Northern Express
I think about camping trips, remember that storm in the tent?
I think about decorating the Christmas tree – re-using the tinsel
Eggshell ornaments, elves and angels and you would tell us tales
of how we were being watched by them, and I believed it…
In fact I still do, and later on our kids will too
This is our homage to you, to you!
 
CHORUS:
N-A-N-A N-A-N-A
It’s your birthday so let’s celebrate!
What things do I think about when I hear your name?
There’s plenty but for this song there’s too many to say!
N-A-N-A N-A-N-A
It’s your birthday so let’s celebrate!
At night before I go to sleep I pray that your guardian
Angel’s watching over you every day
 
I just want to say thanks for…
tucking me in at night and saying a prayer for me “Dear God”
You made sure that the blanket was pulled tight, warm and cozy
I’d look forward to porridge in the morning
Bedtime stories curled up on the couch, the smell of popa’s tobacco pouch
Such a sweet smell even though it
makes my allergies swell!
Thanks for teaching us to love ourselves and others,
and just for being a grandmother
Thanks for always showing compassion, and for
being so fantastic!
Thanks for loving your grandkids and raising a daughter –
since the moment you brought her
to the world and taught her to talk, wisdom
timeless like the grandfather clock
Now let’s sit at the table for some roasted
ham, and hold hands so we can be close to fam
Now stand for a toast to Nana –
Cheers! To many more years
that we can cherish and be together like Meet the Parents
What’s left to say about N-A-N-A?
It’s tough cause this song’s just not long enough –
Now everybody say…
 
CHORUS:
N-A-N-A N-A-N-A
It’s your birthday so let’s celebrate
What things do I think about when I hear your name?
There’s plenty but for this song there’s too many to say
N-A-N-A N-A-N-A
It’s your birthday so let’s celebrate
At night before I go to sleep I pray that your guardian
angel’s watching over you every day
OUTRO:
N-A-N-A N-A-N-A
It’s your birthday so let’s celebrate
What things do I think about when I hear your name?
There’s plenty but for this song
there’s too many to say

Hi my name’s Cameron aka Emcee Problem-Addict and I am a writer, lyricist and composer. Please message me here for usage, and contact me if you would like personal musical pieces composed and tailored for you: cbrtnik@gmail.com

Travelogue: Penghu – Taiwan’s Beautiful and Boring Island

Penghu

Penghu

Taiwan’s Beautiful and Boring Island

by Cameron Brtnik

Penghu, September 8, 2014 – My thirty-third birthday. I’m currently sitting seaside at a port in a small city on a tiny island off the coast of Taiwan, enjoying a glass of “The distinctive flavor lager beer,” also known as Taiwan Beer, and gorging on delicious freshly caught oysters and imported salmon. I feel at peace.

    I needed a vacation – Not from work overload, but because in the three years I’ve been living in Taiwan, I’ve never left the island (except for my trip back home to Canada). So I decided to take a trip, alone, to a pretty neighboring island to the west of Taiwan called Penghu (actually a cluster of islets). Warning: This is a couples’ trip, so only go alone if you want to experience cabin fever…without the cabin. Albeit a beautiful island, there’s not much to do besides visit the gorgeous local beaches – I suppose everything’s “local” in Penghu – to surf, dive, or (like me) finally get through that worn paperback you’ve been schlepping around everywhere. And that’s about it. “No matter, I’ll meet people!” I thought. Unfortunately, I came to this isle toward the end of the Moon Festival holiday when people were already returning home. Oh, not to mention the plane crash that killed 48 people (including two foreign exchange students from France) just two weeks prior to my arrival. That never helps an already flailing tourism industry.

    Undeterred (I had caught wind of this news the night before, but I was drunk enough at the time that I accepted my destined, likely watery fate), I took the first flight out of Taipei – which, by the way, I caught the same night of my birthday celebrations, or should I say following morning after leaving Halo, the club we were partying at, bottle service in tow – still inebriated, but somehow functional. I had smartly packed that evening and took my luggage straight to the nightclub. The plane ride was short, just an hour, and I felt safe (which I can’t say for those unfortunate souls who got caught in the typhoon), perhaps because I was passed out the whole way.

    I arrived at the small airport, where I passed out for another three hours on the uncomfortable, yet somehow comfortable seats. When I awoke it was only 10:30am, and I asked about cheap hostels. Soon a van arrived to escort me, and a lovely girl named Julia, whose family owned a local hostel called “Big Fish House,” drove me straight there. It was a very cute inn, more of a Bed and Breakfast, and wasn’t very cheap – $1500nt for the night. But it was well worth the stay, with a bright, spacious room to myself, breakfast, and a scooter (for an extra $300nt) included. I spent the next two hours sleeping (still working off that hangover, or tequila, or both) then hopped on my scooter and hit Shanshui aka “Mountain Water Beach.”

    The first thing I noticed along the way was that sea smell; the salty air hitting your nostrils like it was the first fresh breath of air you’ve taken in years. I was told there’d be “lots of foreigners there.” I was optimistic, as I wanted to meet some new friends to share my adventure with. There was one – he and his Taiwanese girlfriend – and he didn’t look the sort I was interested in meeting (or vice versa). So I kept to myself and got into my book – Freakonomics, a former yet still-popular bestseller I always intended to read, but never got around to till I found myself on a lonely island.

    At dusk, I jumped on my scooter and headed into town; if I were to find any action, it would be in the heart and centre of Penghu! I was wrong. I found one bar that I recognized from the Taiwan Lonely Planet called Freud. It was modelled after a fishing boat, with the same charm and décor as any Canadian seafood tavern, but it was missing that one asset I was looking for: people. I ate the mediocre “Thai-style shrimp” and enjoyed the choice Heineken beer. The mood was dark and depressing, so I left soon before it “got busy.” I went back to my commodious, Japanese-style room, and passed out for the fourth time that day..

    I woke up too late for breakfast, but it was still available: dried up bread loaf and two choices of spread: Nutella and peanut butter. If you know me, you know I enjoyed the shit out of it, more so because it was included (although not served in a bed). Julia, the friendly hotel manager – she and her mother manage two locations of Big Fish House, and she plans to leave in three weeks to study English in Australia for six months – drove me in her Big Fish van to the north end of the island to catch a ferry to a smaller islet fifteen minutes away. Exotically called Chikan (or “chicken island” as I preferred to call it), it’s a little paradise get-away, punctuated by stone weirs – oddly-shaped stone walls in the water originally built as fish traps – and small beaches. I visited Aimen Beach, famous for its jet skiing and banana boating. I did neither, and instead collected coral fragments that had washed ashore, and that’s what the sand was mostly composed of. A nice way to spend the day, but I was sunburnt and happy to catch the last boat back to “civilization.”

    Walking along the beach I noticed one thing: I love long walks on the beach (not a cheesy dating site description). This goes back to my cottage days of walking the shore of Georgian Bay all the way to Balm Beach, over an hour’s walk, and feeling happy as a sand boy (an expression my mother often used, but I never understood. I had to look up the etymology and discovered sand boys were actually “men who drove donkeys selling sand,” and were reportedly always happy). I also noticed something else: I felt utterly alone. It wasn’t a good feeling. I realized right there and then that life is better with friends, or family, or a significant other. That feeling faded though as I thought about how lucky I was, and started plotting world domination.

    I took the ferry back across the straight, caught a cab back into town, and checked into a shitty cheap hotel. I put a generous helping of aloe on that inexorable “Brtnik Burn,” grabbed my laptop, and headed down to the port where I’m currently sitting, two tall beers in, writing this diary entry. It’s my birthday, and I’m surrounded by drunken fishermen and the feeling of loneliness. I think I’ll try and bump my return ticket to tomorrow, as another day on this beautiful and boring island may make Jack a dull boy. As of right now, I feel content, but I wish my friends were here… My friends from Taiwan. My friends from China. My friends from Toronto. My brother and sister. A stranger. But all is well, and let’s all feel lucky we’re alive and not on a plane destined for doom (God bless their souls). I’ll see everyone soon. Oh, and happy Moon Festival!

-Written by Cameron Brtnik, September 8, 2014 on his 33rd birthday

taiwan-penghu

Cameron is a freelance writer living in Taiwan and part-time explorer cbrtnik.com