Friday September 6, 2019
From a text message
I don’t remember the day now because it was 4 years ago. 4 years ago you gave me the idea: we could move to a new city and start new lives. That was it. That was as far as it got. And I thought you were nuts. Out of your tree. Lost your mind. You were tired of living in a place that required a block heater but I was never good in the rain, so why did I let you explain what you were hoping to do? Too early to head back home because you weren’t ready to settle down. Too cold to stay where you were. Too small.
Maybe you told me on a Skype call while I was filming that TV show. Was it Providence? Was it the day I missed you so much I decided I would go where you go and stop putting up walls around all my soft, gooey, fleshy parts?
Tonight we celebrated some of our recent successes, one of them being living here for 4 whole years with new lives. You said you loved us as adults, and it hit me in that moment that when we met we were kids. Children. What could we possibly have known? This city has been good to us because we chose to fully be here. We saw ourselves rising and we did. We really did.
Finally, we go all out at the restaurant we’ve been meaning to make reservations at. Finally we manage it and finally we don’t limit ourselves by only ordering the cheapest items. We try things. We love things. We clink forks with every bite, every embrace of where we are. And then at the end…the beautiful man beside us pays for our entire meal. We don’t find out until he leaves. And we can’t believe it. How much this city has given.
Friday March 29, 2019
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
Sarah J. Buckley
I made a scene at dinner. Call me premenstrual, or incapable of having a nice night out, or insensitive to the needs of the room. Merel has said that about me before. She has said “read the room” and I think she means like a book. So does that mean let the book tell me what I’m experiencing? Am I not supposed to draw conclusions?
Someone asked a specific question and my face turned hot and my eyes filled up and my voice got loud. I don’t know that I was entirely inappropriate, all of us casually at the Cactus Club for happy hour. I am not happy! But the rest of them turned very small. I didn’t want small I wanted bigness. I wanted a fight or a debate or a hug or something.
I am most hurt by silence. By the fear I’ll go off the handle. One person agreed with me. And one person probably now thinks I’m the devil.
Merel says I shouldn’t make assumptions about the intentions of others. But I read the room and I still have to decide if I like it or not, don’t I? Merel would tell me to breathe before thinking anything at all.
Monday January 27, 2019
As the cab works it’s way around the corner, I press my face up to the glass. Mama will make me clean it with vinegar and newspaper. She always knows when it’s me and when it’s Bailey. The dog doesn’t have to clean up after himself, but he gets put in the laundry room until he whines enough that Mama feels bad. Daddy packed a larger suitcase than usual so I asked him how long he’d be gone for this time. “Not sure, honeybunch,” he said, sad like the day Grampa Jones died. How he could not be sure, I don’t understand but I shouldn’t have to given that I’m only just starting Grade Four. Mama knows that Daddy might be gone until the snow comes, so she hugs Bailey in bed for a long time and I have peanut butter and jelly for dinner.
Sunday January 20, 2019
The Other, Invented Man
I’m chopping onions to simmer for my man
Tonight we feast and I feed him and he wants me
Tomorrow I’ll surprise him with a new dish I’ve never made before and I’ll feed him and he’ll want me
If I were alone I would get resourceful
Start with one egg and see far I can stretch it
See how many meals one egg holds
If I have no one to please or impress,
no one a barometer for if I’ve gone to
the grocery store in a while or chosen something I was curious about tasting
When he’s home I put on the alien, the apron, the mask
I find a different reality
If I had a full family I would cook for them
I wouldn’t need to feel anything after that
Wednesday December 26, 2018
We gathered around the table in the common room. Fluorescent lights. Boughs spread. A strange ache. A beauty. Cups and cutlery that Mom collected over the week from lunch and dinner trays. I made stew and we ate it out of compostable bowls. J. kept saying, “It’s quiet in here!” We shared a few homemade gifts. We took photos. We ripped pieces of focaccia from a loaf. I sat at the end on the left. I couldn’t be in the middle. I felt my eyes heavy, my heart in my guts, my jaw clenched. I played with J. “This is my kitchen!” She said, and she put earth from a potted plant into a cup with a spoon.
Wednesday November 21, 2018
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
Sarah J. Buckley
Take me out to dinner
I say this to me
me says this to me
take me out of this house
and into the world
Order something delicious!
I say this to me as
if I might try to save a few
dollars like the last time
I had this conversation
Take the good out and let
the world see it so they can
see themselves the way they need to
It is not easy
It could be easy
Leave the house! Leave the house!
I say this to me when I have tricked
myself into believing that
inside will keep me from breaking
But it isn’t like that
I could lie and say I’d prefer
to stay inside where it is safe
but the truth is that is where
all the breaking happens
It is not safe indoors with all
the mirrors and all the couch
not asking me to leave it
Take yourself on a walk
I say this to myself when my body
feels like it has forgotten
how to move
Smell the fresh mountain air!
That’s why you live here!
I say this to myself when I catch
a bead of sweat pooling in the
This is today’s sweat in yesterday’s
sweater and this does not keep
I say this to myself so I can hear
it in the voice of someone
higher than me
Sunday May 27, 2018
Are You Really An Artist?
I first notice Steve’s expression as he’s carving a chicken. It’s Sunday. Emma and Bobby are home for dinner. Steve picked them up at Emma’s dorm, even though Bobby’s off campus now. Emma was chattering on about intramurals, and I saw it – this vacancy – sweep across Steve’s face. I’ve known Steve for forty two years, right, like, we met when we were five years old. We’ve been married for twenty… You’d think I’d have seen every expression that that man can muster! Nope. It was like a tumbleweed could’ve swept across his cheeks. He was gone.
“Hon?!” I said, scared he might slice off his finger.
Wednesday May 9, 2018
The Identity Repairman
Thomas Sayers Ellis
I told him I made a dinner out of scraps when he asked
said I used the butt of the broccoli and the kale that
had been in there for 6 weeks, wrinkling slowly.
Then I mentioned the bacon and he said Oh The Bacon?
And I said I’m still alive, AND didn’t have to leave
the house. He said he was going to stop off somewhere
and pick something up because he was hungry and I said
please help yourself to my left over left overs and he
said I Trust Your Left Overs. I Trust Them. And I knew
without asking that he did not trust them. He was weary
of them. And so I did ask, because of comedy, and he
said he was going to stop off somewhere and pick
something up because he was hungry. I am never weary of
the bottom of the fridge or the inside of a stranger’s
throat. I will peer in if I have the chance and take
a chipped mug from the shelves of unwanted nick nacks.
I am only weary of people who are weary of me for not
being weary at all. Now I will have left overs of left
overs left over to eat for lunch tomorrow. And I will
still be alive then too. Because it’s not a death
sentence. It just makes my farts smell impossible.
Monday May 7, 2018
From a quote by Suzy Kassem
“I’m so glad you’ve come, Genevieve! I didn’t think you were going to – “ Katherine smells like Clinique.
“You didn’t tell you Mom I was coming?” Genevieve whispers out the side of her mouth.
“ I did,” says Sara. “I absolutely did.”
Katherine’s white collar is popped in a way that Genevieve has never seen, and somehow it looks good on her. She dyes her hair a deep red, almost purple. Somehow it looks good on her.
She’s slicing watermelon for the salad. “Sara says your almost done your thesis, is that true?”
“Why would I lie?” Sara looks at Genevieve like, “I’m sorry.”
Friday, April 13, 2018
Jon comes home and he’s angry and shivering.
“What’s for dinner?” He says, like I know, or I’m keeping it a secret.
“I just got home too, Jon,” I say, and he doesn’t like that. He opens and closes the fridge a few times. Same with the pantry cupboards.
“Can ya make something hot? It was all icy on the rig today.” Jon fills the kettle, which I can’t say I’ve ever seen him do.
“How about spaghetti?” I lean back in my chair.
“Spaghetti?” A small smile curls over his lips, like fog.
“No?” I watch him turn on the wrong burner, and then realize and move the kettle.
“Spaghetti sounds good.”
Monday April 2, 2018
I guess I’m supposed to shape shift into the Phoenix now, huh? Rise from the ashes and flap my glorious wings around, fanning all the too hot, too dangerous. You expect me to be big the way you expect dinner to be on the table when you come home. I guess I’m supposed to use you as my downfall and build a sturdy ladder from my rock bottom so I can climb my ass to the fucking moon. You’d like that wouldn’t you: a real success story to attach your dick to. Watch me decide which edge to use as I slice the vein out of your skin. Show you just how much monster I can be, when you expect me to be anything but mine.
Friday October 20, 2017
Daphne Du Maurer
Mama’s talking about the spaceship’s coming and Papa’s yelling at her to “SHUT UP, CLARISSA!” Petey reaches for Mama and flings his glass of milk off the table and he wails and wails. I take him upstairs and change him into his PJ’s. Mama and Papa yell a bit and Mama cleans up the mess. Kimmy still isn’t speaking and we’re all worried about that.
“The aliens are coming tonight, Phil!” Yells Mama and Papa rubs his temples like he always does.
Petey looks so cute in his one piece red number and I make faces at him so he doesn’t hear the strangeness. He smiles his big toothless moon smile and for a moment everything feels alright.
Thursday September 28, 2017
From an email
When Mona calls she sounds stressed. More so than usual. She always sounds stressed but today she sounds wired. I ask her what’s up and she says that she lost her prescription and she’s been off her meds. I ask her if she wants me to drive down and she says absolutely not, I’ve got the kids this week and… I tell her it’s no trouble, that I promised Aunt Barb that I’d look out for her. There’s a long silence. I ask if she wants to come to dinner. She says, “Yes.”
Wednesday September 13, 2017
Overheard at Bump n’ Grind
Last night I thought I’d woo you with a sage butter walnut sauce
in my dreams the slick pasta would make you hard instantly
then you’d fuck me on the counter top
taking breaks to slurp back another slippery noodle
Last night I made a sage butter walnut sauce
I should have grinded the nuts more
I should have put fewer in
You ate three bowls and we didn’t fuck once
You asked why I wasn’t talking
I said these walnuts are killing me
it really wasn’t funny
I told you sometimes I’m not sure how deep this
You interrupted me then, the first real thing I’d said
to tell me how much you liked the sage
I guess dreams really do come true
Friday June 16, 2017
La Dolce Vegan
When your mother brings home Steve, the third potential stepfather, you are immediately sceptical of his black goatee and reddish, greying hair. You know that that is not how nature works. Steve is the “assistant manager” (oh-kay) at the mechanic on the corner of First and MacDonald. His brother is the owner. His brother, according to Michelle St. Bernard, is almost a millionaire. Something about good investments, or the stock market, or Atlantic City. You and Tina kick each other under the table as your mother giggles at Steve’s jokes. You get a few of them, and want to laugh because they are not half bad, but you don’t. Out of solidarity with Tina. Out of mourning for your father. Steve says something about the spinach and rice pilaf and your mother says something about Popeye. Tina’s eyes light up.
Saturday May 27, 2017
“It will be a tight squeeze, but we can fit you in over there by the window?” Mark yawns. He wishes he didn’t have to do this shit. He knows Gary would kill for a seventy dollar steak. He wishes that Gary could come and put on this charade. He wishes that he could rock the twins to sleep and then watch the Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.
“By the window is fine,” says Ken. It’s their third business dinner out this week. “Mr. Sanders will be here any minute.” The hostess – tall, black boots, white cocktail dress, pink lipstick – walks them to the table.
Monday May 1, 2017
from a grocery list
in the event of me being put
in charge to host a dinner
I would air on the side of
The music would be chosen with
more stress than should
a fun night
no one can hate the Golden fucking Oldies
and if they arrive early
(and they always do)
there will be a cheese based
plate or chips, or dips, or good
the food I mistimed
is ready to be served
All Oldies All The Time
Wednesday March 29, 2017
My sister had dance class on Thursday nights. My Mom would take her there. I’m not sure what she would do while my sister danced – did she read a book? Eat a chocolate chip cookie? See a friend?
My Dad and I would be home alone together. This was rare. It was treasured. The King and Queen would come for dinner. We would eat something my Mom had left on the stove for us.
Afterwards, when the food had settled and the King and Queen had left, we would go into the dining room and dance to Dire Straits. Sometimes I would dance on my own feet and sometimes my Dad would pick me up.
Saturday February 18, 2017
Friday Night Lights
“What would you like for dinner?” He said.
“Pasta?” She said.
“I thought we were getting off wheat?” He said.
“Pizza?” She said.
She kept her eyes on her books, sure that if she moved them that she’d lose what she’d learned.
“Salad?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
She was unenthused though.
“Soup?” He said.
“Yes! Soup!” She said.
It was still cold out and she needed the nourishing warmth of something hot and filling.
“Lentil?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
He watched her, so focused, and he thought about the first time he met her. He thought about her clear eyes.
“So rare,” he’d told his mother. “So rare to see such clear eyes.”
Thursday, September 1, 2016
From an external hard drive warranty
Margie adds a scoop of cumin to the chilli and watches a cardinal land on the big old maple that has seen it all. Craig putters in the basement. Jazz plays on the radio. She hasn’t been cooking much this winter, what with the tragedy at the school, and so many long hours. It feels good to have soaked the beans, stewed the tomatoes, chopped the garlic, onions, peppers and sweet potato, and toasted the spices, just the way her mother taught her. There won’t be cornbread, but there will be a thick nest of old cheddar on top. “Almost ready?” Craig calls up. He’s hungry, having met with a struggling student through his lunch break, causing him to forget to eat. Margie often finds sandwiches in Craig’s briefcase from days before. She shakes her head. He cares so much, she thinks, putting turkey and swiss, ham and cucumber, rye with almond butter and banana, right into the compost pail on the counter.
Monday July 4, 2016
Visiting my Sisters
Vince likes his creamed corn with beer. He eats this on Sundays, because Sundays are lazy. Mondays Vince has a tuna melt with three dill pickles. Counts as his vegetables. That and the celery. “Good amount of veg,” thinks Vince. Tuesdays Vince goes for wings with Andy. Might even have a beer if he’s feeling deserving. Always gets Honey Garlic. He can’t handle heat. Andy makes fun of him, every week, because he gets Suicide. Vince used to laugh but doesn’t anymore. He doesn’t get how a joke can be funny the four hundredth time.
Monday June 27, 2016 at Starbucks
Apartment Hunting in the East End
How she wants to move herself is her business! My father exclaims from behind the island in the kitchen as he emphatically chops up the rabbit he’s getting ready for dinner. Why are we all spending so much time worrying about her? His cleaver comes down hard and clean, splitting leg from torso. I don’t know, Honey, I think this is a call for help. Tanya needs us right now and we’re just watching her spiral! My mother remains at her makeshift office in the corner of the dining room that connects to the kitchen. Her glasses are balancing on the tip of her nose. She wants to pay a bunch of strangers to crack her mind open so they can fill it back up with useless garbage!
Rita, my father shakes his head. We don’t need to get involved. She’s a grown woman. We did our job already. I don’t know, I just don’t know, my mother grumbles to herself.
Thursday May 19, 2016
overheard at Kafka’s
he was cooking dinner on the island
he liked to call it his ‘cutting station’
where he did most of his cutting
i liked to use the counters by the fridge
i don’t really like the feeling
of floating in the middle of something
just dangling out there
he asked me what my favourite thing to eat was
when i told him i said but it has to be the way
my dad used to make it
he said not to worry
he said he would take care of me
when i looked at his ‘cutting station’
i couldn’t see one ingredient that matched
the items i told him
all the things necessary to make
my favourite thing to eat
i tried not to be bothered by it
or to worry
he said he would take care of me and
i had to
but i could smell the veggies cooking
and i could tell that he wasn’t
and so i was bothered by it
and i did worry
and i missed my dad
in that moment more than ever
nothing is the same after your favourite loves die
Tuesday March 15, 2016
You go to sleep early because you’ve been up since 6:27am and you say that the mountains have made you tired again. I can hear you breathing from behind the living room wall. You sound like you’re trying to send me tiny signals as I stay up to paint my nails. I don’t like to go to sleep after you but it’s been happening more and more these days. I am racing against daylight and I can’t afford to take short cuts right now. I know your body’s heat by this time. I know that there’s a softness there in the curve of your back that fits most of my organs perfectly. I picture that spot while I think simultaneously about chicken thighs with preserved lemon or that surprise weekend getaway golden ticket you gave me for my birthday last June. You told me to pick wherever I wanted to go. I told you we could close our eyes, point on the map and go where our fingers land.
Tuesday March 8, 2016
The Artist’s Way
In my house we never had enough moments of pure ease–we had some tensions around the dinner table–us correcting dad’s grammar, one little one getting in trouble for skipping school again, the big on getting in trouble for wanting to leave the dinner table to go work on her homework, the middle one getting in trouble for slamming the door earlier.
“Eat what’s on your plate”
“Eat this or don’t eat”
If you don’t eat what’s on your plate, you can’t leave the table”
We couldn’t say we weren’t hungry–we couldn’t say we didn’t want the risotto or the second day fried spaghetti or the chicken scallopini or the veal fettine with lemon and parsley. How could we say we don’t want to eat these good things with you when you get mad at us for BREATHING.
“You should feel so lucky you get to eat like this”
“You should see what the other kids have to eat every night: pasta from a can, tuna salad sandwiches”
“But we like tuna”
“Not for dinner we don’t”
Some moments reeked of attempted ease.
A joke here–him trying to steal a fork full of meat off our plates when weren’t looking–a question about the neighbour’s dog.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
From an email
No need to hurry, Si. You’ll trip! Your shoelaces are undone… Silas! Shit. Come here. Come here. You’re alright, you’ll be alright. Shhh… Sh… Mikey and Lizz are coming for supper. What shall we make. Burritos? How bout burritos? And you and Mikey can have fizzies and me and Lizz will have grown-up fizzes with wine. Oh. I guess we should stop at the liquor store, then. Or… No, can’t ask Lizz to bring, she’s always so low on cash. Not sure why she doesn’t ask Greg for more spending money. It’s not like he doesn’t have more than enough! And then he takes the kids to Marine Land and gets all the glory while Lizz is left – … Silas? Nevermind. Honey, don’t pick that up. That’s garbage! SILAS! Don’t you dare put that in your mouth. There’ll be no fizzy for you!
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
from a pamphlet
Last night I fried zucchini with garlic and I fed it to you with my fingers. You leaned in and bit my lip and my eyes filled with tears. “Oh no!” You said, “oh no!” You didn’t draw blood. I fed you more zucchini and you put a tiny piece of garlic in my mouth, too.
The night before you’d shaved off your beard and I was so sad but I smiled because I didn’t want you to feel bad. You touched your face like it didn’t belong to you. “Look at my chin,” you said, jutting it out.
Wednesday December 10, 2014
Sel walks in and she’s so happy. I see her face from behind the desk and I know she’s gonna give me some good news. After the day I’ve been having, it wouldn’t take much. I keep working so the surprise feels more real. I know she’s gonna come up to me and tell me right away so I make her work for it a tiny bit.
She has to stop herself from skipping all the way to the desk, but I’m there stapling, labelling, checking off boxes until she sees she has to request me. You busy, Middy? And I stop what I’m doing for a brief second. Mhm, same same. Would you be able to take a quick break then, Middy? And I stop fully, look her in the eyes. What can I help you with, Sel? There’s that big smile again. Oh, nothing! I’ve got it all sorted! Got what all sorted, Sel? And she holds up a bag of Roasted Chicken and Thyme potato crisps. You got yourself the munchies there, Sel? And she laughs. Don’t worry about the Christmas budget this year, Middy! THESE TASTE EXACTLY LIKE A TURKEY DINNER.
Thursday September 11, 2014
from an interview with Emma Healey in papirmasse
She peels the avocado, bit by bit. She thinks she’s alone. Henry is home from his job in the stock room of the grocery store. He’s brought a bottle of sparkling water. The cap is dented. “Can’t sell it,” he says. “There’s an easier way of doing that, Mom,” says Henry. She jumps. “Jesus! I thought you were downstairs!” He smiles. He walks into the kitchen. “Why are you doing it like that?” “Because it’s slower.” “That doesn’t make any sense..” “Why not?” “Because… we’re hungry!” She smiles, now, such a similar smile. Both Henry and Amelia got her smile. Sylv’s nose and her smile. It’s nice. “Dinner will be ready by six thirty. I’m taking my time. I like doing it like this. It’s satisfying. Now leave me alone or… help.” Henry takes another avocado and cuts it carefully in half. He scoops on the flesh with a spoon.
Tuesday April 15, 2014
A post on Instagram
Sam made salmon and roasted fennel last night. “I’m gonna make you dinner,” he said, a carry bag over his shoulder and the car keys swinging around his index finger. He returned from the market with a grin and a wink. I rolled my eyes. “Don’t be an Oscar,” he whispered into my ear. “Don’t be a grouch,” he means. What a dweeb. I was working on a deadline for an editor I am desperately hoping to impress. “I’m going to keep the house exceptionally clean,” said Sam, mopping the kitchen floor. “You’re an angel,” I repeat daily. He is. He is an angel. “Dinner’s ready!” Sam calls and when I enter the kitchen, a few minutes later, he’s using his grandmother’s dish-ware and has lit three candles. He’s turned the lights down and he’s poured me a glass of wine. “You’re so dedicated. You inspire me,” he says, kissing me. He tastes like he’s been testing things, making sure they’re flavoured just right. A dash of paprika, a stroke of miso on the fish, roasted garlic, fennel brushed with olive oil and rosemary.
Saturday March 22, 2014
It’s a really good night for a meatloaf, honey, and don’t try to tell me different. I got some ground beef and pork from the Cattleman’s Market and I’ll mix that up for ya’ with onions and breadcrumbs. I’ll spread bacon and ketchup on top, just how you like it. Honey, what do ya’ like with your meatloaf? A salad? Some potato salad? Steam some potatoes, throw in some mayo and call it a “salad”? Ha ha ha!
I wasn’t meaning to insult you when I said that those ear hairs are getting long. I wasn’t meaning to insult you, honey. It’s just… at the Shop. People were snickering! And I know you don’t like when I sneak up on you when you’re sleeping with the little scissors and try to get in there! You don’t like that! How else am I supposed to…
Okay. I’ll drop it. Honey. I’m sorry. I’ll drop it. Yes. Go read the paper and dinner will be ready in an hour.
Want a scotch? Honey?
Wednesday March 19, 2014
Kinfolk Issue Eleven
She tells me every time, “Linds, don’t worry so much, we’ll just by a whole wad of those styrofoam thingies–” and I say, “You mean plates, Mom?” And she says, “Yeah well whatever they are, you know what I mean.”
I say to her, “You know those ‘whatevers’ are not good for the environment, right?” And she just laughs and tells me, “We’ve gotten this far by using them, haven’t we!? Nobody’s quite died yet!” I am at the point in my life where all I want to do is host a proper dinner party without using paper anything. “Cloth napkins!” I remember, “Those are way better. Sophisticated.” She shrugs it off like I’m making the biggest mistake of my life, and I want to wring her neck a little bit and tell her that this is a dinner for some close family and not the end of the godforsaken world. “Linds, you’re just so hell-bent on proving how much better you are than everyone and I worry about that showing through. You don’t want to allante your dinner guests!” “Alienate, Mom. It’s alienate.”
Tuesday March 18, 2014
from an essay by Deborah Stein about collaboration on howlround.com
Round the table we sit, Liddy pissed off because she still has to sit at the kiddy table made worse by the fact that her name rhymes with it. Adrianna can’t move her face because of the recent Botox and so Ed keeps making jokes just to see her not laugh. Darla is still in the shitter after eating a wad of mashed potatoes because Tyson dared her to defy her lactose intolerance. Mom is singing her happy song because she’s trying not to go insane and Dad is trying to get the kids to stop trying to undred Liddy’s hair. The food is mediocre and I’m trying to give Liddy looks of encouragement but she hates me most of all right now. Maybe because I left. Maybe because I came back. I never know with her. I sneak pour her a glass of wine and try to pass it over without anyone noticing.
Saturday March 15, 2014
from a web series break down
I come home early from work and don’t tell him, don’t call him, don’t surprise him that I am. I see he’s sleeping on the couch, the News blaring without him even flinching to notice. I never want to see him like this because it makes me feel old, and it makes him seem young. Today’s his day to have the house. We agreed on it before. I told him I wouldn’t be home till 8 or 9, and he said, come when you come! I think coming at 6 is too early for the plans we agreed on and I’m not mad at him for sleeping. I’m glad he is. I just wish I didn’t have to see it. It’s not something I can explain much better than that. But it doesn’t work for me, so I think tomorrow I will come home when I’m supposed to, after he’s had a chance to rest from his long day of lifting. He starts much earlier than I do. 5 AM. I would think if he didn’t nap during the afternoon he would be a zombie by dinner, so I know he does it for me. Especially when he waits for me to come home every night so we can eat together. He doesn’t have to do that, but I think it’s nice that he does.
I don’t want to take away from his day and his time, so I quietly make some crackers and cheese in the kitchen and sit down to the computer. I see the tabs that are all open: Global Tv, Life Hacks, How to get American Netflix, Best Banana Bread Recipes, and Hard..Harder..Hardest.
Wednesday November 20, 2013
from the Jared Leto Wikipedia page
All that was in the room was three nearly-empty bookshelves and a broken-down piano. When I walked in I called for you. You weren’t there yet, you’d gotten caught in a traffic jam up near the park. There was no place to sit so I stood, near one of the huge windows. I looked out. I coughed. It was dusty. I thought I heard a voice, one that sounded like a molasses and brandy. “Hello?!” I called. I went to the piano and played a chord my mother had taught me. “You play?” I don’t know how you’d opened the door without making a sound. “No,” I blushed, “I mean, I try, but I don’t exactly…” You smiled. “You hungry?” I wasn’t. “Are you?” “Always.” We haven’t even hugged yet! I don’t understand how this happens, how two people can see eachother and not… “Let me show you something.” You take my hand and lead me up the winding staircase. On the way you stop and tell me that you have an appointment at eight so we probably won’t have time to get anything fancy for dinner.
Sunday November 10, 2013
alive magazine October 2013
“Would you trust a mouse?” Jack asks Alice. His glasses have spaghetti sauce on them. “No way!” Alice says. “Would you trust a camel?” Jack slurps a noodle. “Nope!” Alice says. She’s picking off clumps of parmesan cheese and putting them on her extended tongue. “Would you trust… a… tiger?” Jack looks very pleased with himself. Annie thinks for a second. She takes a noodles and stretches it between two fingers. “Yes.” “Why?!” Jack looks shocked. “Because of their stripes,” Annie says, matter-of-fact. That’s enough logic for Jack.
Sunday October 27, 2013
“Goddamnit, Shirley!” Hank forgets about the cans she’s collecting for the Food Drive. He wants to be able to walk into his house and not have to, for once, step over a bunch of nonsensical stuff. It is usually costumes for the plays at Church. It is sometimes boxes of books she’s found on the side of the road that she brings to the Shelter and gives to the women there. “What?” Shirley calls from the basement. She’s glue-gunning tassels to white skirts for the Winter Concert. The girls are going to icicles. “I said, Goddamnit!” Shirley comes up the stairs, pins in her mouth. She furrows her brow at Hank. It says enough. “What’s for dinner?” She motions to the oven with her head, turns, and goes back down the stairs. Hank opens the oven door and sees the pot-roast. His mouth waters. Goddamn Shirley, but God bless her cooking.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Hey there Anna, ho there Anna! Hi there–
Okay, Ol, I get it. We all get it.
Just being polite, Anna!
I know you are, Ol, but no right now, please, it’s been a rough day.
Wanna talk about it, Anna?
No, Ol, not at all.
I’m here if you need me, wanna chat my ear off or if you’re looking for a small, yet effective back rub then I’m your guy.
Thanks, Ol. Maybe later.
Is it work, Anna?
Yes and no, Ol.
Something or someone?
I’m said I don’t really want to talk about it. What are you hungry for tonight?
Chicken fingers and French fries!
Again, Ol? You had that yesterday and the day before. Why don’t you try something new tonight. It’ll be fun.
I will if you tell me what’s bothering you, Anna. I will make you a deal and seal it with a handshake.
I’ll think about it.
Friday, July 26, 2013
The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin
Hit me with your best shot, motherfucker. You got that look on you face, that look on your face like you already know what’s gonna happen. Like you know that I’m gonna leave her and go downstairs and get a nice mickey and forget that I’m supposed to pick them up at seven. You’re not a psychic, okay, you don’t know. I actually came here to tell you somethin’ nice, somethin’ kind, I was going to be the good guy here, I was gonna give you a present. But, you just start railing into me about child support and how the apartment’s got rats and how Molly needs a new fucking backpack! Like, give me a fucking chance, you dumb bitch! Sorry. I don’t mean that. Barb, I just, I’m tired. I’ve been working overtime, like, this was my eighteenth day in a row or something and, I’m, I’m exhausted. I think it’s better if they stay with you tonight? Maybe I can come and get ‘em for dinner tomorrow or somethin’, then you don’t have to worry about cooking? Go get your nails done… on me. Go get some nice French tips!
Sunday, May 19, 2013
A hundred things were floating in her head, I guess you could say, about the crash, or the garden. She was lost in her own list-making at the time when she heard. Avery told her he was coming home for dinner and Alice made a point about being late because things never start on time there anyway. Lydia was in shambles and making lists about which pieces she was going to glue back together inside her brain first. When Avery didn’t show up at all, and Alice came an hour late to prove something or other, Lydia started to do the shaking thing that happened to her left hand when she felt God talking to her. She was listening, setting the vibrations, getting ready for the bad news to come. She knew about it before it even happened, it’s safe to say. Alice arrived and didn’t even know something was the matter. She was wrapped up in making everyone around her notice her and her new blonde hair do. Avery never misses dinner, Alice finally noticed. But Lydia had already started with the list making. She went outside to pick a few sprigs of rosemary, Alice trailing behind talking about some new scissors she wanted, when she saw it. There in the garden, with boulders holding down his hands and feet.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
It’s funny how the questions just keep coming and all I do is smile. “Where did you leave the keys?” “What time is the neurologist appointment?” “What’s for dinner?” “What are we getting Jenny for her birthday?” Smile, smile, smile. It’s the easiest answer. You can take whatever meaning you’d like – yes, or, no.
One time, you asked me what I thought about grapefruits. This was a long time ago. I had a contrived, long-winded, intellectual answer. I indeed gave you what I “thought”. Now, now that I’ve packed away the file-folders and recipe cards, the address book and the alarm clock, now? I would say, “wait here!” I would walk to the fruit stand. I would find the most beautiful, ripe, succulent grapefruit. I would buy it, and only it. I would arrive home and you wouldn’t have moved, you’d have waited, patiently. I’d peel the whole thing, while you watched. I’d break every section apart, making a sun on the table. I’d feed you each piece, you, licking the juice from my fingers.
Wednesday May 1, 2013
from a sign on the subway for Bladder Cancer Canada
Don’t ignore the signs, he tells me, braiding bread before brushing it with egg whites. I don’t believe in signs, I say, peeling a sweet potato. You’re ridiculous, he says, closing the oven door without looking over. His parents will be here in two hours. I’d hoped we’d have sex, to ease the tension. Hey, I say. Wanna…? He furrows his brow. Later, he says. Okay… I spin lettuce dry. I whisk together olive oil, lemon, honey, dijon, salt. He comes up behind he and puts his hands on my stomach. I suck in. Babe, I’ve got to put the chicken in. He walks away, slowly. Where are you going, I call. I need to run to the wine store. He’s out the door quickly. He must be wearing sandals. I hate it when he does that. There’s still snow on the ground for God sake. I get a call ten minutes later, as I’m shoving cloves of garlic up the chicken’s butt, and dousing her in butter and rosemary. Italian? He asks, the connection bad. Spanish, I shout. Why are you yelling, he asks. I thought…
Monday, April 8, 2013 at King’s Cafe
The Three Muskateers
Henry wished that he’d remembered to wash the lettuce. When he saw how pretty Deb looked he felt bad that he’d rushed, that he hadn’t changed his shirt, that he’d bought a pre-made Chicken Pot Pie and claimed it as his own. “Wow,” said Deb, after her first bite, “you really know how to cook!” She looked so excited, so filled with genuine admiration for the trouble that he’d gone to. He almost confessed, but then thought about how he’d have to explain why he’d lied in the first place. “Thanks,” he muttered, “it’s just simple.” He hadn’t washed the lettuce because he hated having to put it through the spinner. He remembered her saying how she loved caesar dressing, but not the creamy kind, the vinaigrette. It was one of their first conversations on the phone, and they were talking about some of their favorite things. Deb: sleeping in; the smell of basements; caesar vinaigrette; rhubarb pie; sharp pencils. Henry: motorcycles; a new toothbrush; well groomed feet; sweet potato pie; the sound of traffic. She’d laughed, her Tinker-bell laugh, that’s what Henry called it. She looked less like a fairy and more like a queen. But she laughed like Tinker-bell. It made Henry miss Alice, his first wife, with her hearty, full, laugh. He had a pang, but sent it away with a bit of the pie.
Friday, March 21, 2013
The 100 Mile Diet
Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon
My daddy used to say it, used to say, Oh what a happy home! Taking in the smells of me mum’s cooking, coming back from a long day at work, he was, trying to make ends meet for me and me brother and me mum. What a good dad! Always bringing us home some nice treats. Sometimes a biscuit from the market or if we were good, a nice old basket of perfect plums. I liked the plums the best because it meant he was in a good mood, had all the time in the world to fix us up a proper treat. My daddy would come home with such a happy tone, yell up to me and me brother, waiting at the front door for us to run down and crawl into his skin with our laughter. Such a good dad. And me mum would wait there in the kitchen, looking on at us all, saying, well is it him or is it the lord Jesus saviour man? Sounds like it could even be Santa Clause! We’d laugh then, and come running back to show her how nice the plums were, or the jam, or the crisps from his secretary Marsha. She’d say, Not before dinner, it’ll spoil your appetites! And we’d look up at our dad with those big old eyes and wee-one hope, and he’d shake his head at us with his eye on me mum, and say, now you know we can’t be too hasty! Your mum made us a proper meal tonight. Tonight we’re going to celebrate being absolutely alive!
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at Dark Horse on Spadina
The woman on the phone in the bus shelter at King and Yonge
You’re an abstract painting, in reds and yellows, mustardy yellows, hanging on the wall in a persons home, a large wall. You’re not in a gallery, or a museum. You’re not in a restaurant. You’re in a home. A home whose inhabitants are tall, and lean, and surprisingly strong-willed, with tight smiles and pressed pants. They have tuna salad sandwiches with the crusts cut off, a cucumber salad on the side for lunch, in the dining room, near you, near the painting. They bought you at a silent auction for three thousand and five hundred dollars. “A steal,” he said, at the time. You’re rarely looked at anymore. You’re rarely noticed. Except when their daughter brings home a friend from graduate school, who “Ohh’s” and “Ahh’s” over you, over the beige leather couch, over the Persian rugs. Don’t feel special. She also does it about the meal, most of which was purchased at the specialty foods store nearby. You, abstract painting, feigning pretention, gobbling any compliment you can get your frame on.
Thursday February 14, 2013
The Vampire Cat
Raining love and stuff, which is nice. It’s unusual, I’ll say that. Don’t usually feel much love on a regular basis. Not his fault. Doesn’t know how to love me. Maybe it’s mine. The fault. I’m sometimes only pretty after eating breakfast and using the mascara wand. He comes home, brings some nice love in. Some donuts, one flower. Also brings in those nine dollar steaks so I know we’re in for a treat. Put on my best dress, the red. The red one with the single bow in the middle there. It is nice. Festive. He thinks so too. Tells me I went and looked nice for him, which I did. Then just pouring out more and more love. Nice comments, which I’ll never forget. Says he is lucky, not sure if he means it. Sounds good anyway. Then sit down beside him at the table. This time beside, usually across. Not really sure why not always beside. Special occasion or something. We are eating the nine dollar steaks, and it’s so very easy. I’m blushing behind my cheeks, don’t want him to see he’s making me feel this nice. Don’t want him to get any self-conscious and stop the nice sayings.
Then he sneezes all big. He doesn’t cover his mouth, just sneezes real big. It’s all over me too now. The sneeze that’s less like love rain and more just like snotty rain.
Wednesday January 23, 2013
I sit down and hear the waiter walking towards me. He’s a man in his thirties. He has a goatee, green eyes and is taller than I’d have imagined, from the sound of his steps. “Would you like something to drink while you’re waiting?” He asks. I shake my head and murmur a “Thank you.” I don’t think he hears because he looks perturbed when he returns with a glass of water. “I’m, uh, waiting for my son…” I say, in case he was wondering. “That’s nice,” Goatee says, looking over me, towards the door. Christopher had chosen this place. He’d said that they had “the best ever French Onion Soup.” I cannot stand the stuff but how was he to know. I look at my watch. Three minutes past seven. He was late. Maybe he wasn’t coming. Maybe I’d been stood up by a twenty-two year old kid. “Walter?” I feel a hand on my shoulder. I stand and turn, at about the same time, and feel like I’m looking into my own eyes. “Christopher.” His mother had chosen his name. I’d thought it sounded a bit pretentious. “Then we’ll call him Chris for short,” she’d said. No one ever had.