The Broken – A. Gregory Frankson

the beautifully brave are like

brittle birch bark bent by blows

borne with breath bated, barely able

to maintain emotional communion

with the vibrations innate to their souls

and when pressure exerted

on their reed of society

bends it to the breaking point

and no other option remains

they snap

like the click of a camera shutter

locks the scream of a child defiled

by napalm in the jungles of Vietnam

into the trauma centre of memory

they snap

like defeated legacies of arms

extremities buckle under stress

as force of impact

shatters the weak

who lack backbone

they snap

like the tenuous

connections of neural endings

pressed beyond the limits of comfort

as the mind is assaulted

by relentless past torments

they snap

like the crackling pop

of leather strap against

pre-pubescent skin crispy as the

words chewing out raw hide

they snap

because they have no choice

because cohesiveness and wholeness

are sad replacements for

holding it all together when

falling apart is a better way

to cast this compound fracture

the broken

need a break

from breaking

so they snap

just so they can finally



A. Gregory Frankson has produced several chapbooks and spoken word recordings as well as the poetry collections Cerebral Stimulation, Lead on a Page and A Weekly Dose of Ritallin. Greg’s work also appeared in the anthologies Mic Check (Quattro Books, 2008), That Not Forgotten (Hidden Book Press, 2012) and The Great Black North (Frontenac House, 2013). He is a 2012 Canadian poetry slam champion, 2013 inductee to the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour and 2014 nominee for the Black Canadian Award for Best Spoken Word. Greg is the past poet laureate of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership and was an on-air poetic commentator on CBC Radio One’s Here and Now Toronto.