Thursday, July 30, 2015
From a shop in NYC
I waited at the bus stop for you. I looked up a couple new words on my dictionary app: Ubiquitous, Saurian, Apothegm. You were running late, which was usual, and I was early, which was not. I thought of ways to use my new words on you. I thought maybe you’d think I was smart. But then I realized I didn’t just want you to think I was, but know I was. I wanted you to know that I have two degrees and a killer vocabulary. I work at stuff. I didn’t want there to be any doubt about it. Some guy walked close to me and whistled right in my ear. I pointed up at the “No cat calling” sign right above us and then I formed a gun with my fingers and shot him.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
I’m starting to wonder what world this is. I thought I knew but the colours keep changing and I’m no longer sure of where I am. It’s hard to keep tabs on your existence when Consistency laughs in your face while she sunbathes on her vacation at Coney Island. Nothing really matters. You hear her hum this, chuckle this to the sand, and to the mango flowers ready for purchase on the boardwalk. She sees the truth. It’s not easy and you should know it. So I’m starting to wonder what world this is. Is this the one where blood can be shed for no reason at all? Where my things are your things solely on account of you wanting them to be?
Thursday December 25, 2014
When he moved (and that was rare) it was in an uneasy trance. Once, you pressed your cheek to the floor in the kitchen in order to see if there was indeed space between the bottoms of his feet and the white tiles. Mostly he sat in his chair by the fire, reading and re-reading the Newspapers. The New York Times from before he left that grey hulk of a city. His favourite is July 25th, 1994. Nothing particularly incredible happened that day, but it was hot and he remembered that he went for a long walk in Central Park and fed birds. He reads and re-reads and you watch him and you tell him a joke and he laughs, but his eyes stay on the page.
Saturday December 13, 2014
Top 10 London
When you go to New York, you can see a musical. It’ll be your first one. Make sure you wear a really nice something something. They can tell you’re a tourist but you don’t want to give us Canadians a bad name, right? A good place to start is Phantom of the Opera. Something by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Masquerade! Paper faces on parade! Masquerade!
If I were feeling stronger, I’d go with you, but I don’t think I’m up to that city anymore. The first time I went, Marjorie and I took a bus. It took over fifteen hours. At the border they sent dogs on and we were so scared our fingers were shaking. Someone on that bus had dope in their bag and the dogs went crazy, barking and panting. Marjorie almost fainted. But… We made it. And when we had a drink at the Waldorf Astoria I turned to her and said, “I never want to go home.”
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I sit in the Internet cafe. My heart buzzes. My feet are cold. The man, Boris, who runs this place, tells me to be careful. “Yes,” I say. And I will be. As best I can. I will be. So much of that is out of my hands, though. So much of that is beyond me, beyond my brother or my father, beyond him. I’ve been corresponding with a man named Beau. He lives in New York. He’s forty seven. He’s never been married. He has a twenty year old son who is in the army. He tells me that I’m beautiful and that he’ll love me just as I am. He tells me that he wants a wife to look after, to look after him. He doesn’t speak Russian and my English is not the greatest so… We try our best. I use Google Translate. He probably does, too. Sometimes he says something and it doesn’t make sense. It probably makes sense in English. I laugh and Boris shakes his head. He tells me that he’s going to send me a plane ticket. He tells me that New York is gorgeous in September. I wonder what it’s like to fly.
Monday May 12, 2014 at the CSI Coffee Pub
A short story by Ben Mauk
I’d known better than to suggest a visit to the gallery. I was the one that appreciated art. “It’s your birthday,” Jane said, “It’s your choice!” She never said what she meant. Women were so strange like this. I’ve never met a woman that says what she really means. It’s like everything is a puzzle, needing an expert mind to solve it. “Let’s get take-out Smoked Meat Sandwiches,” I said and Jane grimaced. “Really? That’s what you wanna do for your birthday?!” I paused. I breathed deep. “Let’s go the Coney Island!” She furrowed her brows. “I heard that it’s really creepy there now. Like super duper creepy…” “Let’s go to the MoMa?” She smiled. “Yes. That sounds exactly right. You could live in that place and never tire of it’s pretentious beauty.”
Thursday, October 10, 2013 at Joe Coffee
Overheard at Columbia University
Molly is nineteen. She wears a black leather jacket lined with sheep’s skin, light blue jeans and red Doc Martins. Remains of last night’s red lipstick stain her lips. Her blond, shoulder-length hair is messy and falls just below her shoulders. She wears many rings on her fingers, some sitting above the knuckle. Chipped white nail-polish coats her short nails.
I always think about listening to Led Zeppelin but I just never get around to it, you know?! I feel mad at my Mom for never exposing me to the cool stuff. She only listened to, like, John Denver. She was absolutely in love with him. She tells this story, over and over, to anyone that will listen, like don’t bring it up if you ever meet her because she will for sure try to launch right into it… She went to, like, fifty seven of his concerts or something. But at one, down in the East Village, she actually met him. She waited by the stage door and he finally came out and… his hand was cold when she shook it. That really surprised her, because, he was like, sweaty from playing the show or whatever.
Sunday, June 23, 2013 at The Good Neighbour
Sun Magazine, July 2013
I told my Mum I was going to be a professional ballet dancer and she laughed in my face. I said, “I’m moving to New York, Mum! Get real!” And she just kept laughing. And then she stopped. Her face fell. “Yer not joking, are ya?” She said, looking at me with those brown eyes of hers. “I’m not. I’m doing this.” She laughed again. Pop came in and stuffed his pipe, and sipped his beer. “Get a load a this, Digger,” Mum said. Pop only moved his eyes to look at her, he didn’t even more his neck or his head. “Kit says he’s goin to the city to be a… a… ballerina!” Pop spit beer out of his lips. “Why the eff you doin’ that, Kit?” Pop sat down on the floor, all dramatic, and picked at his baby toenail. “It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time and I’m tired of wasting my life at the bank, being a frikken teller, counting other people’s stupid ass money and not following my dream. If I die tomorrow, if I get hit by lightning, or by a truck, or if a stray police bullet happens to find me, of all people, I need to know that I’m working towards my life’s purpose… you know?” Pop and Mum don’t know, but they nod anyway.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
from a poster at High Park Subway for Ottawa
Never remembered why Bernie moved to Philly. Remembered that he left, though. We were roommates since 1984. We met at the bar down on Princess Street, the one with the really good Jukebox. He’d play Springsteen and I’d play Cockburn and we’d laugh about how they are both named “Bruce”. Bernie had a bit of a drawl, a bit of a bushy moustache, and he only wore red Converse high tops. He had a daughter in Brooklyn who lived with her mother, who’d been a one-night stand, or at least that’s the way that Bernie told it. He called himself a painter but I never saw him do it. Saw him sketch, in this book that he’d carry around all the damn time. I guess painter sounds a bit more fancy than sketcher… Bernie liked to make tuna casserole and it would stink up the whole apartment, how fish does. I’d curse him hard for that. He’d tell me to shut up, that it reminded him of his Gran. He didn’t tell me he was going, that he was moving to the ol’ U S of A. One morning, woke up, put on the kettle, and peeked in his room. He was gone, just the bare mattress there, on the floor and his key on top, like it was a taking a nap.