Friday June 8, 2018
Poetic Justice an Interview with Camille T. Dungy
The imagination there is big, he says
Big and bold and brassy and big
Every day a new phone call telling me how much closer he is to being big too
The ceiling is high, the sky is higher, and the people know how to help each other be extraordinary
This is a dream sequence that I am replaying: people helping people
Not so afraid of someone else’s greatness that they need to throw stones at them until they fall off
To think of the inventors and chefs
The writers and the football players
The American imagination plays like the movies that are big enough to be made there
I don’t know what they think of us
Maybe that we’re polite pushovers
Maybe that we know how to apologize for things instead of owning them
They might not think of our country at all
I didn’t really either
Until I thought about leaving it
Wednesday May 30, 2018
Overheard on Oak St.
I know you’re leaving when I see the bowl of left over tuna salad in the fridge.
This is what it looks like when you go away.
No more cooking big meals in case you don’t get a chance to eat them.
Butt ends of broccoli and too few mushrooms to make a difference.
I think our mouths have been meeting in our sleep again.
You are saying goodbye with every dream I think I’m having.
In the morning it is still dark and you are half beside me, half out the door.
Who do I thank for giving you wings when they are breaking my heart?
Do I blame it on the big men in the big buildings in the big city?
In the quiet of our goodbye, you’re the one who says you’re sorry.
I am so happy for you.
It hasn’t even been a full day yet.
Saturday April 28, 2018
She has wings
Her hands know how to flutter at the end of her arms
Watch how she keeps herself up
Watch how she treads the deepest air
She is getting things done
Busy busy flying throughout the house before her wife comes home because her wife is the only one who leave the house little bird stays inside floats in the living room
Above the coffee table hovering along the shelves lined with baby photographs she is cleaning up the disagreements the mirrors collecting dust in all the ghosts of her lipstick affirmations she is keeping things tidy for when her wife comes home because she doesn’t leave so what excuse does she have not to have the house clean for when she arrives
She moves quickly to avoid getting stuck
She keeps her wings flapping
So she will be ready to use them
Tuesday April 10, 2018
I think it was a raven, you said it was a crow. Either way we’re both inside the house, close to the maple candied pecans, and not planning on leaving to prove the other one wrong. I love Sundays. You don’t make me put on pants, and I don’t make you put down your gingerale. We argue about which birds are hanging out on our back porch, but we’re not angry. We’re not anything that is not easy. Easy as Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon! We’ve got scrambled eggs and chocolate eggs! We’ve got rich cheeses and no place to be-ses! When the sun sets we don’t miss the day. We say hello to the stars from the couch and we count commercials instead of hours. We put on something more comfortable than before. We’ve earned the night. We rest like it’s the last day before you leave again. And it is the last day before you leave again. We do not waste a second.
Monday April 9, 2018
Z. Da Costa
I noticed crumbs in the bed yesterday morning
they belong to both of our feet
both of our pajama pants
I don’t know
I don’t hate it
But this lonely has been stinking up the bed sheets
and I know that it only belongs to me
that the nights left unslept are mine
but they’re because of you
I don’t think you will mind sharing this custody
I think your bed has fewer crumbs in it
but it is more empty
I have never been there and left it
I have never rolled my day’s lint at the bottom of your sheets
and then made you sleep alone in it
I noticed your side of the bed doesn’t dip as much
maybe this haunting was all part of your master plan
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at JJ Bean Olympic Village
From a quote by Nancy Cartwright
God may have told you not to cross the desert but you didn’t listen. You went, alone, litres of water on your back. You didn’t take a camel. You didn’t want the company, the sounds, the chewing, the shit. God may have told you to call your landlord but you didn’t listen. You left without notifying your bank, your lover, your brother. You brought enough sunscreen to last you three months. That’s the thing you googled. “How much sunscreen does a red-head need for three months in the desert?” Google knew the answer. You might miss Google. You brought a book that you knew you wouldn’t mind reading and re-reading because you’ve read and re-read it already several times.
Friday January 26, 2018
The Mercy Seat
A: I’m movin’ on, B! So get the fuck outta my way!
B: I will not.
B: I can’t let you go. If you go then I’ll be –
A: That isn’t my problem anymore. I’m movin’ on!
B: But I love you…
A: Too bad.
B: Come on.
B: Come on, A –
A: I’ve heard it all before. I’ve heard every stupid asshole cliche. I’ve heard your excuses, and your lies and your bullshit. I’m movin’ on!
B: Okay. Okay. Okay.
A: Great. Bye. Thanks for the good times and fuck you VERY much for the bad times.
B: What has gotten into you?
A: I have finally come to my senses! I’m feeling like a fucking goddess right now!
Thursday January 18, 2018
I don’t know why you’re yelling but it must be because you’re afraid I won’t hear you so I just keep breathing deep and imagining that you’re not yelling and that you know that I can hear you very clearly.
Funnily enough it’s harder to actually get what you’re saying when you’re yelling at least for me and maybe that’s because I have very sensitive ears and I don’t like loud music loud talkers loud chewers anything loud really.
Not sure when you’ll stop yelling but it’s certainly not when I ask you it’s certainly not when I ask you I absolutely ask you several times.
So I just leave not in an angry way not in a way that says that I’m not coming back just in the kind of way that says I asked you and you kept going and I said that I couldn’t take it and then you kept going so.
Monday November 27, 2017
If it weren’t for the husk of corn left in the sink
the distinct sting between us: barbed wire, fenceless,
I wouled have decided to stay.
Instead I left and gave you the buzzing shell
still hot from the guilt of not saying goodbye.
You didn’t know the absence well enough.
You knew the actor, she was brilliant.
On nights like Tuesday and 6pm
the space hung in the kitchen is never
big enough for the both of us.
On nights like these you mmm
too easily at the kiss of me.
You always start speaking right
in the middle
of my hand trying to write you.
Friday, October 13, 2017
It was a wild weekend, let me tell you. Alejandra and I went to that unmarked bar, the one that everyone’s been talking about, I mean who knows what the name actually is, not me. Not Ale. We ordered mojitos! They grind the sugarcane juice right there, right in front of you, it’s like, too cool. Ale was flirting pretty hard with the bartender and I was just kind of like, watching that. We drank a few drinks and then we started dancing and it was the best night, totally the best. Ale wanted to go after the bartender told her he’s married, she wanted to leave. I was not ready to leave, but whenever I’m ready to leave someplace and Ale isn’t she’s super nice about it and doesn’t make it seem like I’m being a granny or anything.
Thursday June 8, 2017
Overheard at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
“It’s okay if you want to cry. I can see that you’re – ”
“I’m not going to cry.” Dan smacks my hand away from his face.
His flight leaves in three hours and we haven’t decided if I’m taking him to the airport or he’s going in a taxi. Public transit is now no longer an option.
“I could still come with you?” I look at my toes.
“No. No… I need to do this alone,” he says, finally making eye contact. Tears brimming.
“Why won’t you let me support you?” I try not to sound like I’m asking something of him. Everyone is asking something of him.
“I’m trying, Gem, but it’s just like – … I don’t even know what I need so how am I supposed to tell you what I – …”
His phone rings. It’s Joanne, his stepmother. Everything in the room gets very still
Saturday April 22, 2017
From the Aeroplan flyer
It’s fine, like, if… if you want to come over before you go? I won’t be mad… like last time? I wasn’t seeing people, anyone, I wasn’t seeing anyone last month. It wasn’t personal. I didn’t go out. Thank fuck for those grocery delivery services. Did you know that Save On does it now? You can shop from your bed in your pyjamas. Come over… okay? Even if it’s for ten minutes. I have something I want to give you. I don’t know when I’m gonna see you next and I really just want to – … I’m not going to tell you what it is, but you’re going to want it. Trust me. Ah… It’s Mom’s bracelet, okay! I have it! I didn’t lose it in New Mexico, I have it, I didn’t want you to… I’m sorry. Fuck. I’m sorry.
Friday February 17, 2017
from a Goodbye card
I didn’t realize you were leaving when you left
You forgot to say Goodbye or Sad To Leave You
forgot to mourn the loss of me
I wish too for lesser consequence
I do not own another recourse
my heart is broken
and it was the only one I had to begin with
You might not notice how long it takes
for a heart to heal when some peices
never get returned
I blame newness
I blame adventure or the lust for it
Tuesday November 8, 2016
But of course he’ll leave before we resolve anything because he wasn’t meant to stay. He didn’t pack anything for overnight. He didn’t bring a toothbrush or his stamina to fight. He didn’t want to get cozy in the curve of me because he was afraid he would want to stay and he couldn’t stay. He had already committed to his other life and I was not welcome in that one. I had to ask him, Why Did You Come Back Then? And he told me, I Felt A Pull On My Heart Like I Was A Puppet and I Couldn’t Lead My Own Way. I asked, What Kind Of Pull? A Cosmic One? The Kind You Have In A Dream? He told me, It Was The Channeling of Heavenly Love And It Made Me Want To Find The Source. But of course he’ll leave before we both understand what that means, and of course he won’t consider that the source is quite obviously me.
Wednesday June 15, 2016 at Starbucks
from the Uhaul website
I think T-Lite said she’d meet us at the train station but she didn’t say what time. If she doesn’t show up, we’re screwed, but I don’t want to tell that to Roy yet. He still thinks we’re escaping this place on some magic carpet, flying far far away. I look up at the departure board and Santa Monica has one coming up, the next one not for a few hours. If we’re late, I don’t know what happens to the ones we’re expected to pick up at the station. Roy yawns and takes his heart shaped sunglasses off to rub his eyes. We goin’ or what? He says. Let’s make moves! Yeah, I say, we are, hold tight. Maybe, he tells me, I’ll catch a few z’s before T-Lite gets here, ah? Yeah, find a little spot on the ground, I say. Check for wet. He brings his hands to prayer and bows his head in my direction. I look at my watch again. I sink a little: we are definitely not making this next train.
Saturday May 21, 2016
Big Yellow Taxi
You were leaving trying not to let me hear you trying not to let me hear your heart stop wanting me
I waited there trying not to stop you trying not to tell you that I would try to be better you packed up your items you packed up your clothes you packed up all your reasons and you did your best not to wake me
You were leaving trying to avoid another argument of he said she said I said you said of all those times we laughed at how foolish we had been
I was sobbing there in my pillow on my side of the bed afraid to move an inch and realize it was real after all crying tears of apology into the mattress trying not to let you hear me trying not to let you hear my hollow chest echo as the tiny pieces of my heart fell to the bottom
You were leaving there was nothing I could do and you were leaving me so there was nothing I could do.
Sunday March 13, 2016
From a sample CV
In the moments of stillness
In between where you left and you loved me
I can count the number of breaths I have taken
On one hand
Maybe one and a half
The song I made you write for me plays
It never stops
It doesn’t know how
I don’t know how
I’m embarrassed that you didn’t want to do it
On your own
I could have asked
But I demanded
I could have invited
But I fought
I guess I was under the impression that
We do things for people
When we know it makes them feel good
I am sorry I put you in that category
Of people who care about people
Of people who give because they can
Not because they are tallying points
I am wrong too
I am happy to be so wrong
I am learning in the space between wrong and never right
You taught me that
Sunday November 22, 2015
From a poem by bell hooks
I can’t read what you wrote because it hurts me every time
like a knife in my side
like a drill in my spine
I can’t see your doctor-prescription-careless-anarchy penmanship because it reminds me that you don’t have any respect for what I do
Your o’s look like d’s, your d’s look like meteors
your ripped napkin with the tomato sauce stain letterhead of our kitchen makes me cry
The part scratched out that I wish to God I could read haunts me
You told me you were leaving me on a garbage scrap and then left it on the fridge next to the photo of us rubbing noses
Friday November 20,2015 at Shaktea
I scooped up her tiny face into my hands and I brought her close to mine so I could feel her nose and inhale her intoxicating smell. She smelled of cinnamon and felt comforting to be around. I liked that she didn’t have a sweet smell because when I thought of her defending herself against the world, it put me at ease to think that she’d be a little bit tougher, connected to her roots, fiery, quick.
She was sleeping still and I thought about leaving in that moment so I could remember her like that: peaceful, calm, perfect. I couldn’t bare the idea of her crying at the realization of my absence. I didn’t want to cause her any more pain than I already had.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
i see the guilt around your lips
smudges of purple and gold
your eyes say something else
your eyes say
i kiss your cheek with my teeth
god is there when i leave you
god traces my courage with monarch wings
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
from a tweet by Shambhala Sun
Set out on that journey with the wind whispering a farewell to your back
Let it make its way into your hair and dance there for a minute
She doesn’t want to hold you back or make you think you’re not ready
Only you know that
She just thinks goodbyes are important
You have your pencil sharpened and your pages born fresh and clean
Your long trek’s sword; your protector; your companion
Set out on that journey with the wind catching up to your skin
Let it make its way onto your face and caress you there for a minute
She doesn’t want to interfere or keep you from moving forward
You will do it anyway
She just thinks hello-agains are worth it
Monday, July 27, 2015
You say I miss you
I say I miss you back
But we’re throwing daggers baby
avoiding all of our feelings
I can’t stand the silence
So I lie to you instead
You can’t keep score
So neither of us will win
You say I miss you baby
You say I miss you baby
I wait for you to come home
And you rush to me from work
You sit in your car a little longer
So we’re stealing each other’s time baby
Avoiding what is true
You can’t stand the sound of my voice
So you make love to me instead
I can’t play pretend
So it hurts us both the same
I say I miss you back baby
I say I miss you back
Sunday, July 26, 2015
From an email
Leaving myself behind
Thought it would be easy
Thought it would be a walk in the park
Now I’m laughing
Cause I know it’s a joke
But before I didn’t
Wouldn’t have wanted to take it wrong
I’m stuck with this lot
I’m not going anywhere
Not anywhere but where I am
Didn’t work out so well
Had other plans without knowing it
Stuck with this face and this body too
Can’t forget a truth once you learn it
Can’t un-hear a bell once you’ve rung it
Can’t keep all the lies close
Tuesday May 19, 2015
A Ripley’s bus ad
believe it or not we’re here now together
you say you don’t want to believe that cause then it’s harder to let it go
but i’m telling you now that we’re here now together
and the harder you push me the farther i’ll get let go
why wouldn’t you just trust me?
when i say i have a heart built for two
when i say it’s like a bicycle and it carries the both of us?
why can’t you allow me to be exactly how i am
without getting scared of endings and losings and assumings
i’ve never been this happy before either
but i’m not running away
and i’m no trying to convince you that this is too good to be true
you have to listen to what your gut is trying to tell you
all those warm fuzzy tinglings?
they don’t exist there for nothing
and those happy pretty songs that you’re humming
aren’t just an accident either
they’re your feelings and they’re your truth
just the way i paint more when i think of your face
and i can’t help but smile when you cross my mind
i know it’s not normal that doesn’t mean it’s bad
you have to believe me when i tell you the truth before it all goes away
before you see exactly how much better us being here now together is
than what you’ll have when it’s gone
Tuesday May 12, 2015
Almost Unendurable Beauty
I don’t believe you, Brendan, how the hell am I supposed to believe anything you say? Not just what you say but how you say it. You never mean anything.
What are you even talking about, Maggie? I mean things. I mean what I say to you, of course I do.
…Slowly threatening to pop
Because I feel like you’re pulling one over on me all the time. The way you say shit, like “That’s amazing, honey” when things aren’t amazing, or when I’m clearly upset about something and you tell me “well, there’s always tomorrow”. Like what the hell am I supposed to do with fucking tomorrow when today I feel like dying and you can’t even see that?
Thursday November 27, 2014
The city’s all lit up at night now
There are lights hung from the tree tips
There’s that feeling in the air
It was her favourite and everyone knows that still
It’s probably the hardest part of everything
Seeing her face in the snow
In the ice rinks
In the candy canes
So what do we do now?
She’s not coming back so we have to make a choice
When it’s hard that’s when she’s closest
So with that we can make a fresh attempt
When it’s hard
When it’s hard and beautiful out
When people look happy
Wednesday October 1, 2014
from a collage in a classroom
You asked if you could cheat off of me
And I said yes
Because it’s what I’m trained for
You asked for my answers and I gave them
And when our fingers touched
Three ring lined paper
I felt that thunder
That electric sound
That deep growl
I wanted you to stay
I wanted to say
I’ll give you everything
I’ll shape your hopes into cookies
and I will bake them
I’ll paddle to your cabin
Wait for you to come back
It’s on me
Quicker than laugher
Watching your hair move
Saturday, September 6, 2014
from a tweet
She smiles at me because she’s trying to figure me out. She says, you’re leaving but aren’t you just starting your career? Don’t you want to be on TV or something? I smile back because FUCK YOU, I’m leaving cause I’m leaving. End of Story. Everybody back off. You know? And she’s still so sweet because she’s not trying to offend anyone, she’s just remembering the two conversations we’ve had in our entire lives and making attempts at small talk. Well it’s not SMALL. It’s my life we’re talking about. My life CHOICES we’re talking about. Which I’m not opposed to doing but I guess when one doesn’t have the answers one expects to have, it’s all just a little bit overwhelming. I’M GREAT AT BULLSHITTING. I blurt that out as a sort of “reason” even though it was meant to convince me more than her. She wasn’t supposed to hear that at all. I’LL BE JUST FINE. I blurt out again. But this time she’s not smiling. She’s sort of looking at me with concern and probably pity. Guess that TV thing is over then?
Monday September 1, 2014
I wrote you a note
And I left it there
In the pillow case on my side
So you’d feel my dreams when you held it tight
And you could say goodnight to me
I wrote you a note
And I left it there
On the back of a bottle of wine
So when you were toasting to us
You could take an extra sip for me
I wrote you a note
And I left it there
In the drawer with your passport and socks
So when you got dressed in the morning
You could put on a piece of me
I wrote you a note
And I left it there
On the bedside table where you’d see it
Right before you fell asleep
I left it there so you could read me
I wrote you a note
And I left it there
In the case of your favourite film
And when you’d open it up to watch it alone
You’d feel like you were watching with me
I wrote you a note
And I left it there
In the basket of all your pens
With a box of envelopes, to remind you, dear
That you could write for me
Monday August 18, 2014
My motha, she calls me in the middle of the night. She tells me, Keltie, don’t be that girl. I am not that girl, whatever girl she thinks I am, so I say, motha, please, don’t lump me into that group, for the love of christ. She says, Keltie, I don’t want you to be one of those loser girls who sits on her computer all day checking e-mails and how to blogs about growing vegetables indoors but doesn’t actually buy the seeds to do it. I have to take a moment to think about that one, but she doesn’t stop talking. You know, Keltie, you’ve got to be ahead of the crowd and ahead of yourself. Don’t try and hide behind your looks because you’re not fooling anyone and one day someone other than me is going to expect you to actually do something. I’m sitting up in my bed chugging a glass of day old water, trying to watch the tiny fuzz particles as they hid my teeth. I’m staring at the mirror. I’m plucking out stray hairs on inner thigh, fucking Carla forgot to get those white ones we talked about. Yes, uh-huh, I’m still here, I tell her, but she’s hardly even listening. You want to be one of those sad girls who doesn’t make any friends? Keltie? Promise me you’re going to get drunk at least once so you have the confidence to talk to someone other than your vagina. Ma! My vagina? What fresh hell is this conversation right now? She doesn’t answer for the first time. Promise me, Keltie.
Sunday August 17, 2014
from a receipt
I haven’t known what day it is since last week. That’s not usually like me. I usually know dates and times and names and faces. Lately I’ve been forgetting. I can’t tell if it’s later in the week or earlier? I can’t tell if I have something I need to get done, or not? Maybe because I’ve been doing nothing for so long it suddenly feels like there’s no way I could still be doing only nothing. Haven’t I scheduled some amazing plans yet? Haven’t I figured out something great to do with my time? Surely I’ve missed something! But that would be even worse, knowing that the one and only time I did have plans, I forgot to write them down, or just got the dates confused and ended up doing something mundane instead! Maybe it’s a defence mechanism so I don’t have to go ahead and deal with the dates I know are approaching. August 21: our last night. August 22: our last day. August 23: The first day without you in months. August 24: the first Sunday without cuddling you in the morning because we made sure to observe No Alarm Sundays every other weekend.
I don’t know what day I’m on because I’m in preparation for a longing that can’t be cured simply just by making other plans..
Thursday August 14, 2014
from a girl’s purple t-shirt
Oh they say that when they have it, when they feel it, when they see it
Oh they say that when they know it, when they own it, when they free it
Oh they say those things, light on and good intentions
Oh they say those things, dreams out loud and good vibrations
Oh they, the ones who don’t have to do the missing
Oh they, the ones who don’t have to do the air kissing
Oh they, the ones who don’t need to pretend
Oh they, the ones who don’t need to wait
Talking about Love
Talking about what everyone knows what I’m talking about
Paul Simon on the open road
Something about the loss of it and a window and the winds blowing
Talking about Love
Talking about the same old thing that poetry was built on
Hand-written letters in the mail, sent with two stamps and a kiss for good luck
Oh they say that when they have it, when they feel it, when they see it
Oh they say that when they know it, when they own it, when they free it
Talking about Love
Wednesday August 13, 2014
from a conversation
that’s not what I’m doing
We can talk every Wednesday
I want to write you love letters by hand
Please don’t make this harder
If you don’t consider geography
If you believe me when I tell you I’m still here
I could stay inside this moment with you
Could we resume our puzzle pieced body formation?
Take a second to promise me something
Distance is a word not a knife wound
Monday Aug 11, 2014
from an e-mail
It’s my going away party, okay? It wasn’t supposed to be a big deal, and nobody was supposed to get upset or say goodbye at all. I didn’t want to have to tell you. I know it sounds stupid, how was I supposed to pull that one off, right? How was I supposed to take off in the middle of the night without a trace and never hug my best friend again. Well in my defence I would have probably told you right after the party. I just wanted to have one last good night where it’s not clouded by anything. I mean, I would have it hanging over my head, of course, and I just thought, yeah but I’m a good actress; I can fake that nothing is wrong better than anyone. But I didn’t want anything to be different. I’m sorry that I did that. I don’t know how I’m supposed to say goodbye to you. I can’t picture starting a chapter without you in it.
Sunday Aug 3, 2014
from a Pembina Hwy sign
Of course he left me. I was impossible. I smoked too much. I drank too often. I woke up late. I forgot to dust the underside of chairs, or books, or picture frames. I refused to water our one and only basil plant. I watched it die a slow death everyday by ashing into its pot. I left the TV on throughout the day. I only took long hot showers. I got Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup stains on the couch, the bed, and the wall in the front foyer. I coughed up phlegm and spat it into drinking glasses that were next to me. I dog eared every page in every book he loved. I scratched his DVD player so it no longer worked. I took the car out to the border just so I’d have something to do. I never filled up the tank for when he needed it. I chewed my nails and left the ripped bits on the kitchen table. I swore in my sleep. I never ever thanked him.
Of course he left me. I was impossible. I wanted him to go. Sometimes better people are out there beyond the comforts of “love”.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
from a Winnipeg Fringe Festival Program
I didn’t say no. I didn’t say yes. But the whole time I knew. The answer was clear.
Where did you go? Why did you leave? You’re here now. I see you. I’m happy you’re back.
I didn’t say hello. I didn’t say goodbye. But the whole time I knew. The answer was clear.
What can I do? What can I say? I’m here now. I see you. I’m with you once again.
I didn’t say I’m sorry. I didn’t say I wasn’t. But the whole time I knew. The answer was clear.
Which way is up? Which way is down? You’re here now. You see me. We’re together for a while.
I didn’t say baby. I didn’t say friend. But the whole time I knew. The answer was clear.
When can you take me? Where can we hide? We’re here now. We see it. We’re a we like we were.
I didn’t say stay. I didn’t say go. But the whole time I knew. The answer was clear.
Where did you go? Why did you leave? You’re here now. I see you. I’m happy. You’re back.
I didn’t say please. I didn’t say thank you. But the whole time I knew. The answer was clear.
We’re not through, yet, are we? We’re not just July? I’m here now. You see me. With you once again.
Sunday March 30, 2014
Westjet In-flight magazine
I’m happy to report that I’m leaving. I’m leaving this town. I’m leaving my job. I’m leaving my life. I’m leaving my rotten running shoes. I’m leaving my favourite tree in the city. I’m going. I’m going to a new place. I’m going to be happy. I’m going to start over. I’m going to find a human I can love more than myself. I’m going to dye my hair the colour of autumn.
I’m learning. I’m changing. I’m growing. I’m committing. I’m living.
It took a long time for me to decide.
Mostly because I hate flying. I hate waiting. I hate the pressure building in my sinuses. I hate the people who bring their uncomfortable babies. I hate the idea of having to sit in an aisle seat and get my elbows bashed in by someone named Darla or Emmanuel.
Thursday March 27, 2014 at The Arts And Culture Centre in NL
from The Pillowman program in St St. John’s NL
I had a moment of desperation when the zipper on my jacket busted. And I was standing in a wind storm. And you were far away from me. And I couldn’t even call you if I wanted to. That’s when I knew that if I didn’t have you, I would have, cheesy as it sounds, nothing. You were around whenever I needed you to be. And I didn’t hold on tightly enough because I didn’t think I had to. You did everything right. And I didn’t understand what that might have meant until I was left searching for some semblance of your spirit. I went through every old purse, hoping I had a photo of you somewhere. Why didn’t I print any photos of you? Why didn’t I do that? I should have known better. When your phone crashes or your computer explodes, you realize how many things you should have backed up. I should have backed you up. And I think I mean that figuratively and literally cause if I had just reminded myself of how great you were, and stood on your team every chance I got, I wouldn’t be left wishing for anything. Because I would still have you. You would be right here. And I would have someone to hold me.
Wednesday March 26, 2014
Atlantic Business Magazine
of course there are spilled secrets all over this place. you think i don’t know that? I know that. I know everything about this place. when i was little i used to run this place. you’re laughing but you don’t understand. i was in and out of room corners and closets and hiding everywhere. nobody knew where to find me and i was damn good at staying hidden until i knew no one was watching for me to come out. that’s how i learned about everyone and everything because i got real good at keeping my mouth shut and my ears wide wide open. i got good at breathing with my mind and not with my lungs. i know about each wall plastered with its tiny mosaics of truth and shame. i know about mom trying to hide the pistol and about dad shouting out for annabell, my sister before he went and not me. i know more than you can possibly imagine. and everyone knows one thing or two, but not me. i know each fold in each sheet like it was my nanny, i know each speckle on each mirror like my own shadow. i could fill rooms of books with what i know here. and that’s why i’m so hell bent on leaving now. not that anyone would stop me..not anyone but the secrets. they whisper to me when i sleep. they haunt my dreams like nightmares that are made up by crazy men in their libraries. only they’re real. they’re so real they could kill me just by being in my head. i have a song i sing right before bed so i don’t hear them. i had to invent something when i was young to make sure they didn’t.
Saturday March 15, 2014
from a web series break down
I’m not fuckin’ judging him. I mean, who am I. Who am I to judge, I shake my fuckin’ tits and bring assholes beer and who am I to judge him. But I get home and I been lookin’ at that fuckin’ shit all day and, like, I jus… I don’ wanna see that. I threw… I threw his laptop and it smashed and then he freaked, like, he really did and he said to me I better take Clara to my Mom’s place or he was really gonna lose it on both of us… I don’t know what he had on that laptop, why it mattered so much to him. I said I’d buy him a new one if that’s what the problem was… Fuck… He said, no that wasn’t the fuckin’ problem. He said there was things on there that he can’t salvage. Whatever the fuck that means. I had to get Clara from her bed, right, cuz it was late and she was sleepin’, I mean, I’d just gotten home from work and all. Sometimes when I wake her up and she’s dreamin’ she doesn’t know who I am. That really freaks me out. I really hate that…
Thursday January 30, 2014
I was born in a big city
A big big city
Lots of doctors
Lots of people saying they’re gonna do great things
Lots of immigrants trying to prove they made the right decision in coming here
I was born where I now am
I left for a while, barely knew it was my first home until two decades later
Lots of people
Lots of people like my family but even more unlike them
The ones I didn’t realize also lived here
When you’re young you don’t know
You just don’t know what the composition of your city is
You think it’s smaller than it is
You think it’s bigger than it is
You grow up and you leave where you had no choice in living in the first place
You come back to your big big city
And you try to fit in like you never left
You try wearing the clothes of your city
Try smoking the grass of your city
And when you’re away from where you knew, that’s all of a sudden when you need to write about it
The mean kids
The narrow minded views
The cheese factories
The empty highways
Cause you write about what you know
Thursday November 21, 2013 at Annapurna
Jo calls me from somewhere on the highway between Lethbridge and Calgary. The Cowboy Trail. She’s pulled over, I make sure of it. “I gone this time,” she says, “I’m gone for good.”
At their wedding, Jo’s “something borrowed” was my polka-dotted pink socks.
“I’m staying at a motel tonight. I don’t think I should keep driving… I keep thinking Jeremy is going to run out in front of me like a moose and I’m going to swerve off the road.” I wonder if I should go and meet her so that she can put her cold toes between my calves and we can watch Breaking Bad until she falls asleep.
“I wish you could just, like, support me!” Jo screamed, running down the stairs. I’d just told her that I couldn’t get behind her and Jeremy moving in together. I’d heard too many details of too many stories of too many nights. It took her three weeks to speak to me again, and even then, she was distant and cold. “I need your rent cheque,” she’d said, barely looking up from her eggs and toast.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
From an article in the VIA Rail Destinations magazine September/October 2013/em>
Back when the roads were calm, the streets were empty and the whole world went elsewhere to feel alive.
Back when the city centre was a couple of hay bails and markets. Back when people didn’t come up to you to accuse you for not being from there. Now there are divides. We see neighborhoods with different personalities and humans adopting those personalities as if they forgot to develop their own and those were the next best options.
We see big buildings that keep the wind out, the love out, the money in.
It’s beautiful and enviable to those on the outside and for those who chose to pay higher rent than everyone else learn to resent it. We hate ourselves for staying and we blame ourselves for leaving.
Back when the growing was grass, not concrete, the life to have was the one we were building, not the building we were renting.
That’s when things were easier.
We can remember those days when the daily commute tries to tame us.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Toronto public health poster
You heard them calling your name from across the yard but you were already too far gone out of their lives to turn back and wave.
You made that decision a long time ago but it was hard so you hadn’t come to terms with it until now.
You wrestled with the idea of it all, the pain, the regret. You couldn’t count your finger paintings fast enough.
You kept walking as if on a conveyor belt, every step taking you one more year, one more lifetime away.
You asked me if I would send you their pictures, they’re letters in the mail, signed by each of them in their own hand.
I couldn’t promise you what I couldn’t bear to offer. It would be my pain too, every time I sealed the envelope with their kisses for you. Send the sweetness away to nowhere because that’s where it felt like you were existing.
You chose your path. You picked the soft mattress to lay on, and the perfect duvet to lay under. You made it up so well it felt like a good thing.
“See us soon”
They’d call, in their sleep, in their restless daydreams of you.
Monday, August 20, 2013 at The Good Neighbour
The program for 7 Important Things at SummerWorks
When Isabel left Peterborough, she almost broke down under the pressure. But she didn’t. SuperWoman in a white owl sweatshirt and tear-away pants. Her father, bless his heart, reminded her day in and day out that she was abandoning him, reminding her with his narrowed gaze and unsatisfied grunts. Thirty two and never having left the small city, Isabel felt the walls of her heart caving in. Every day she woke up at seven fifteen. She went downstairs and fixed breakfast for her and her father, usually Raisin Bran, sometimes bacon and eggs, always coffee with cream. She woke her father, she changed his diaper, she bathed him, she massaged and lotioned his feet and hands. She left for work at the bank after Ceelu arrived, his part-time caregiver. She worked until six, picked up the ingredients for dinner, drove home, perhaps stopped at the gas station for a top-up on her way. One of her greatest fears, is running on empty. She would make dinner, whilst listening to CBC radio, her father in his chair watching her peel the carrots, baste the chicken, pepper the potatoes.
Friday, June 14, 2013
There’s a winding road just outside Mac’s convenience. If you take it all the way to the end, you’ll get out of this town. No I’ve never been there..I don’t want to get to the end of it. I don’t know what people do when they get there. They have to make a choice if they want the great emerald city or if they want..well…whatever the opposite, less appealing option is. You can take it though. It seems like one of those roads less travelled, and no sir, that is not a metaphor. It’s a bit too windy for most of us here.. Hell, even my old sister gets car sick on it and she never gets ill. Probably because of all the bumps and winds. All the potholes cause nobody tried hard enough to fix it since it didn’t really get travelled. Some sayings, right?
Saturday, June 1, 2013
From the ARTS Section of the Globe and Mail
Saturday May 25th edition
I waited for him
On the edge of my bed
It used to be ours
Before that it used to be his
He said he was coming right back
So I waited there like a sack of potatoes
Growing mould from
not being let out of the drawer
He never called
Or if he did I missed it
He never cried out
This will be the end of me too
He didn’t tell me he forgave me
And if he did I was dreaming
He didn’t give me his key
But I left the back window open anyway
I sat there all night
It used to be day
Before that it used to be ours
My back began to fade into the strain
My eyes began to close from the waterfalls at 3am trying to
man handle my face
My hope began to deflate
Like a balloon left
too long on the wall
after a birthday party
for someone who hates surprises
Monday, January 7, 2013 at R Squared
a little red potato (sensory dip)
My pockets are full of small red potatoes. I’ve been trying to forget my name. The shoes I was wearing yesterday and the day before are gone now. Now, I’m wearing an old man’s type of shoe, a loafer, with small pink ribbons as laces. They’re too big or, maybe, I’m too small. I’ve been trying to remember what Nigel looks like – the small freckle on the right side of his nose, the way one eye is a bit bigger than the other, how he needed a haircut, badly, when I left, his dark hair betraying his age and our secret and my tick tocks. I’ve got my hands in my potato pockets and I wonder if the hotel will have a pot I can use to boil them.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Toronto Star Insight and Books section
Sunday Dec. 2, 2012
I didn’t tell you I was leaving. Frankly, you didn’t need to know. I’m not sure why it’s all of a sudden my responsibility to inform you of how shitty you are. You’ve lived long enough. Can’t you decipher simple social cues, or when someone dislikes you, can’t you tell? I’m not doing that anymore for you. If you can’t live your life and do what you need to do based on the findings you’ve come across in your every day experiences, then sorry, but you might have a problem, or you might be very lazy.
I’m leaving. I’m saying it now because it needs to be said. I don’t want you to contact me anymore, or try to convince me that I’ve made the wrong decision. I don’t want any part of someone who thinks it’s their right to be a part of the discussion on me leaving or not. There’s a reason why I didn’t talk it through with you. Why would I? It’s not your decision to make, therefore, you aren’t included. But assuming you want to talk about this at a later date, I’m simply informing you that we will no longer be speaking or communicating daily and if you’d like to get in contact with me, you must find me on your own accord. I will be changing my phone number and you will not hear of my whereabouts from me. If you would like to know, I reiterate, you must take it upon yourself to be informed of these details. You must want to know them, not just think you are entitled to knowing. I don’t know if I’m being clear. I know I’ve said that I don’t want contact, but if you can prove that you deserve it…I don’t know. I might be willing to think about it.