Erin Dingle


Erin Dingle is a Performance Poet and a Hula Hoop Flow Artist. She was Canada’s 2nd ranked Poet at the 2014 Independent Poetry Slam, and was also a National Team Finalist with Calgary at CFSW in 2012. She has been part of 4 Calgary Slam Teams, twice as Calgary’s Grand Champion. Erin was part of this year’s Victoria Spoken Word Festival All-Star Ensemble, just completed a music track with French Producer Inabeathead, and serves as a board member for Calgary’s Ink Spot Collective and for The Single Onion Reading Series.

Erin writes irreverent social philosophy from the pages of her own experience. She explores big issues like cancer, parenthood, mental health and grief with raw honesty, wry humour and big stage energy.  She has a very smart daughter, a very stupid dog, and a weakness for green tea and geekery.

Freeze Tag

it is time for freeze tag
she is frozen
but she is not playing the game

she stays skirted to sideline
child too much of mine
sliding over the bell curve
swerving between too smart and
social unknowing

her growing pains grieve me
she is Alice scorned by the flowers

her hummingbird eyes
shake chrysalid sticky
i worry that
she rusts from all the salt

she gets lost in “bad” and good”
in “win” and “lose”

she is already too afraid of losing to begin

i know she saw too old too young
in the broken home of my skin

schoolyard sensitive is a sin
i passed it on in umbilical minor chords
i’m too quick
too easily bored
i’ve seen this before

my own leg still dragging elementary aftermaths
nagging phantom shames
the names of my bullies
the lunglock of not good enough
sandwich solitude
perfect spelling tests and
no best friends
slinky struggling to uncoil my
double helix
pin it under sticks and stones
until my bones were broken better
and my spoken words were more than
token resistance

now she is not me
she is not me
but she is doing saying being
so many of the same things
my ears are ringing dive bell memories
i want to seize her up
carry her back under my waters
and keep her safe like a baby

but safety is strictly a theory

so i relax my knotted mommy grip
with a neck noose feeling
i get sick in the sink after she calls me for the fourth day wanting to come home
not sick but sick of
and i tell her she must stay
that she will be OK

i have waited friendless days
faced demons with sparkle backpacks
but now I play and I duck under
with friends who understand
being chased
being tagged
being frozen

even if hell freezes over
a centigrade grade at a time
the ice will thaw
the raw places will
granite boulder scar
and scars make us more beautiful
and more useful

i repeat this refrain
to her naked bulb face on the 8 PM pillow
kissing away worry powerless lines
and the avante garde artless of her fickle fear
i tell her

“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, you begin again. Even if you feel stuck, you never awake in quite the same place. Some day you will wake with your hands pressed full of your dreams. You will toss them further than gymnasiums, long locker rows and jerk kids. You will gather up gorgeous mistakes and you will craft the art of your exceptional from everything you take.
And tomorrow is Saturday.
I will make pancakes.”

  • Erin Dingle from Yummy Mummy, self-published 2015


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