Sunday February 12, 2017
Overheard on the 4 bus
Tommie was rocking her newborn baby in her arms and humming gently when the telephone rang. She stopped suddenly but decided to keep going so Alex wouldn’t wake up again. She didn’t seem to mind the noise but the motion, or lack there of, she’d definitely notice. Tommie hadn’t been expecting a call or any visitors. Nobody seemed to come around these days. People weren’t too interested in seeing her after she took off without telling anyone. They didn’t understand that she needed to be far away from it all when she delivered. They didn’t want to know why she couldn’t just ask for help. Alex yawned in her arms but stayed asleep. The telephone rang again.
Sunday June 19, 2016
I’m standing at the microphone and I can hear my own breathing inside my head, but everything else in the room is perfectly still. I am ready. I am prepared. I am under water. I feel true calm. I hear the speaker bellow out a long word in slow motion. I hear every single part of his word. I see every single part of his word. I take a deep breath and I pause. The silence is back. My focus is razor. I repeat his word, his multisyllabic and challenging word and I spell it back to him, punching. each. letter. It is good to be good. I am floating. I am waiting. The sound of the auditorium floods back to my ears and there is thunder. There is pulse. I am lifted.
Saturday June 18, 2016
All My Puny Sorrows
Caught me in the middle of ‘researching’ various porn sites and I got mad at you for barging in unannounced. Kendra, you said, I live here. Do I really have to announce anything? I was embarrassed, obviously, that’s why people get defensive and upset in the first place, but I was not about to tell you that.
Listen, Matt, I don’t think a text or a phone call is a very big inconvenience just to tell me you’re on your way or that you’re 5 or 10 minutes out, or that you’ll be disturbing me and just wanted to give me a heads up.
Disturbing you? You asked.
Yes, I told you, or disrupting the flow.
I didn’t know there would be so many arbitrarily chosen rules popping up when you moved in.
I’m just saying we share the space and it’d be nice to be aware of each other.
Fine, Kendra. You said. You were on your way back out the door. I’d like all parties present to be informed that I am, ANNOUNCING, that I am leaving for the night, and all parties present can go back to being a huge dick for no reason, by herself.
Monday June 13, 2016
The Martian Chronicles
I don’t have words right now
not for the pain
for the other stuff
I have alien feelings
something is in me breaking
as we speak
I would ask for
to go home early
from all of this
try my lungs out
call to the wild but
there’s a scientist
waiting to take
my blood out
and I think
she owns me or something
Because my thoughts don’t feel
like mine anymore
like nothings floating
and bobbing up for air
now and again
she tells me
and I assume she means
My arm is her best friend
is her guilty pleasure
she looks at my dancing
with fluorescent sparks shooting out
of her eyes
getting ready to keep me
from jumping out of
and into the world
beside this one
I tell her
They have much more
star-dust because it’s a destination
Not a curse
and I know now
shuffling around while this
thing is in me
because I use
Sunday June 12, 2016
Bye Judy and Good Luck
Madelyn had stepped out onto her porch, dimly lit, a few mosquitoes, joint lit. No sweater, it was good to feel cold every now and again. Not impossible cold. Awareness-making cold. She glanced down at the stain on her yellow cable knit T-shirt, pulling the base of it down and out to examine the damage, to survey the crime scene. They had been screaming like Tasmanian devils; running up and down the house so feverishly and never-endingly causing the whole house to vibrate. Madelyn didn’t know if the love she had for them was enough to keep her from hating them when they were like this. She thought she might have to take notes and keep watch on their behaviour with the cycles of the moon. She picked again at the orange-red blotch of defeat on her top. She picked again. She swatted away a mosquito.
Tuesday June 7, 2016
Ellen told Brody she wouldn’t be joining him on the hike this year but she didn’t give him much notice. She had been holding off on saying anything until she knew for sure if she could or not. Brody didn’t think to ask if there was a reason. He focused on the fact that Ellen bailed on him so last minute and he had already put his money down. Brody sent a lot of passive aggressive messages telling Ellen that he wished he could “find a way to make some much needed cash asap–life is so unexpected, you know?” Ellen didn’t have the heart to tell him what was really going on in case he decided not to go all together. The last thing she needed was her best friend giving up something he had looked forward to every year just to stay at home and offer some unwanted pity. Ellen toggled between telling him the whole truth, and avoiding anything but.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Overheard on Gerrard St.
R. never tells me she’s a surgeon. I find out from a process of elimination. After spending a third night in her bed, no sex, just cuddling and laughing at the strange sounds my stomach makes when I’m falling asleep, she gets a text and says she needs to take off for a few hours. “Sleep,” she insists, “I want you to stay.” I feel strange in her bed without her, smelling her cocoa butter smell.
After two weeks of this, and finding strange, comfortable, clog-like shoes in her gym bag, and seeing how tired she is and how much she knows about my concussed skull, I realize. We’d agreed not to talk about what we do, but this, this was something.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
from the back of matches
There’s a level of discomfort that follows a perfect moment. It’s perfect until it’s not, fading into something hard to sit in. That second after the joint decision to bask in the glory of said perfect moment is made up of tiny doubts, fears, deep-swimming insecurities-or truths that we usually find more grace to disguise. I think it comes from wanting the next moment to be as good as the one before but it can only be anything close if it were the exact same moment and no two moments can be replicated no matter how badly we want them to be. So I guess it comes down to choices. Going left or right directly after the experience of tiny perfection. Does it live in us as a thing we both just know now, or does it change every moment after it by being so tightly clutched that we start to live in debt of that particular instance? Trying to pay it back forever.
I want to know…
Friday, December 18, 2015
Dispatched To The Derwent
Greer reaches down to pull up her knee socks that never seem to stay at the knee. She leans over in her chair disappearing under the table for a moment while Brody shifts in his spot, uneasy about a lot of things, in addition to the fact that Greer is no longer making eye-contact as he explains himself.
Greer’s stupid socks keep bunching in her shoes! That’s why they never stay up, they are being pulled down but her toes or something equally as lame! She lets out a tiny laugh.
“What? What is it?”
Brody doesn’t like unexpected bouts of laughter. He doesn’t like being the butt of anyone’s joke.
“Sorry, I, it’s nothing, really. What were you saying?”
“No, seriously, just tell me!”
“It’s actually not worth repeating, but, I’m fully listening, please continue.”
Brody starts to chew on the inside of his lower lip. He Has created a patch of bite marks, raised to the touch of the tongue, a tiny graveyard of anxious scars.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
from the A&W sign
More often than not do I get to the point where I suddenly remember that I have to eat something before I fall down dead. It’s true. Sometimes I get so engrossed in work and I realize after 7 hours or something ridiculous that all I’ve eaten so far is a probiotic and a couple Oreos. I can’t even think straight when I do this. I start to aimlessly wander around the house from room to room with no real plan or solution. I look in every single cupboard but nothing looks appealing cause all of it looks like it requires work. It’s sad, it happens so much, but I still don’t try to avoid that. I don’t know many adults who have to write “Eat Lunch” on their to-do list just so they actually do it! When I get to the point of fainting or falling apart mentally, the only thing that calms me is envisioning biting down on a huge and messy burger, reeking of onions and dripping a rainbow sauce concoction all over the counter. I suppose I get so delirious that I dream of doing this while standing up? Over the sink? My hunger dreams don’t make sense, really.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
From a Caroline Myss card
I no happy at job
I look for other opportunities
I ask around
I talk to all the bosses
I show skills and personality
I ready for new life
New job offer benefits
I take job
I need help
I need security
Benefits no start right away
Must wait long time for starting
I wait long all day
I wait long all night
I pray fast comes the help
I pray for family
I make sure I no mess up
I make everything perfect
Old job slow
Old job not much help
No go to dentist for 2 years
No go to department store
No buy new underwear
Even when old ones have holes
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Overheard on the bus
That’s what he says to me when I call his cell while he’s at work. He doesn’t want to let anyone know that it’s me. He refuses to use my name. I get it. I don’t want anyone to know either. It’s nice anyway, like he’s happy it’s “me” when he says it like that. Like he’s relieved. He sometimes answers the phone with just a “hello” when he picks it up in the company of others. He leaves quickly enough to go into another room, pretending always that it’s work related or family related, depending who’s nearby. I clear my throat twice, quickly, and that reminds him to adjust his volume. You never know who could be listening for key words or a flirty laugh. I can’t wait to be alone with him and when his volume is lowered I tell him this. He laughs because if he doesn’t he might do something he regrets. I laugh back.
“Were you able to rent the cottage for the weekend? Boys trip?”
“I’m working on it.”
“When will you know? I want to see you…”
“Yup! Let me get back to you, hopefully it all works out, sound good?”
“I miss you..”
“Thanks, I’ll see what I can do.”
Monday, December 14, 2015
From a Google search
Nobody is here to take your coat. Nobody is here at all. They all went home. Sanders said they could go early for Christmas. Sanders told them all they had to come to a unanimous decision. At first Donna didn’t want to go early because she was worried she wouldn’t have enough money to buy her son the snowboard he wanted. She cried for about 30 minutes straight until Lise and Desmond told her they’d chip in to help. They just wanted to get out of there. They were worried that Sanders would make them stay the whole night just cause he didn’t have anyone to go home to. Donna finally agreed and wouldn’t stop saying “thank you so very much. Thank you to the moon and back!”
I’m only here because I was waiting for you…
Sunday, December 13, 2015
In the middle of the night I am shocked awake by your fist bruising my left cheekbone. You have been attacking me in your sleep since September but this is the first time it leaves a mark instantaneously.
I am livid in the moment because I am stunned and confused but I know you don’t know what you’re doing so I don’t wake you up to tell you what just happened like you want me to. In the morning you are concerned about my face and beg me to tell you what you’ve done. I say, it was an accident this time, I know it was. But you don’t believe me. I am not a good liar. You ask me to tell you what you’ve said but I don’t want to upset you so I stick to my guns and say I don’t think you said anything at all. The truth is, you’ve been calling out my name each time but I can’t bring myself to confess that you’re not just remembering your days on the battlefield. Once you yelled that I was keeping you a prisoner. Another time you told me that I didn’t deserve to live.
Tuesday November 3, 2015
Monique chews her gum like she talks. Loud. She’s one of those people that doesn’t have a sense of appropriate noise levels. On the bus, with sleeping babies and little old ladies in plastic hair covers, she’s the one on her cell phone, all shrieks and exclamations. What am I supposed to do? Sit her down and give her some constructive feedback? Is that my role now?
When she asked if she could move in after Kenny decided to move to Alaska, I said, “Sure.” I followed up with an email. “Given that it’s a bachelor, maybe think about finding a place for the New Year?” She ignored it. I re-read it, over and over, resenting her stinky shampoo and her dirty coffee cups in the sink. “I never should’ve said, “maybe”… That’s where I went wrong!”
Friday October 17, 2015 at 49th Parallel
from a text
Carl grabbed the giant daddy long legs with a rubber band and squished it between his fingers. I looked at him with my mouth hanging all the way to the floor.
“What did you do that for?”
“What, it was a daddy long legs!”
“I know what he was, but why did you do it!?”
“It was crawling everywhere. It was going to get into our salad.”
“Screw the salad!”
“Words I never thought you’d ever say…”
“You killed an innocent little thing for absolutely no reason.”
“You would have let him live in our dinner?”
“Yeah. Maybe I would have. It’s not like he was trying to ruin our meal, Carl.”
“Well, what’s done is done. It’s too late for your bleeding heart to do anything about it.”
“Ugh. You’re such a…never mind.”
“A what, say it.”
“Oh my god, Trace, it was a stupid daddy long legs!”
“Tell that to your penis later.”
Wednesday October 7, 2015
It is such a relief that Joe and Kelly are out for the night and I have the place to myself. I’m too old to live with roommates. I’m too old, and too quiet, and too grouchy. I eat a slice of Kelly’s havarti and don’t even feel bad about it. I’m feeling ballsy. I’m feeling free. “I’m gonna take off all my clothes and be naked on the couch!” I say out loud. I wait for someone to object, but no one’s there so no one does. I take off my jeans, and my flannel shirt. I take off my underwear from Zellers, when Zellers was still in business. I take off my bra. I leave on my socks, because our floors are cold. I jump up and down a few times and then go into the living room and sprawl out. I smile. God, I feel so good.
Tuesday October 6, 2015
From a text
The bread is rising in the corner and Penelope is singing the song that she always sings. Burt, her Dad, my Mother’s second husband, rolls a cigarette. Mother washes dishes until her hands start to hurt. “Della? Come help?” I pretend I don’t hear her and it works but only until Burt realizes what I’m doing. He throws his slipper at me and lights his smoke. “Go outside, Burt!” My Mother shouts. Since Wren was born, she doesn’t like him smoking inside. Didn’t seem to matter with the rest of us. Burt grumbles a bit, grabs his slipper and says, “Go help yer Mom.”
Saturday October 3, 2015 at 49th Parallel
A financial website
It’s about weighing the pros and cons, making a full spreadsheet of all the good and the bad and deciding if, after all that, it’s worth it or not. In the past I have made some critical errors when deciding major things. I didn’t use all of my resources the way I should have and I refused to consult a professional. BECAUSE I WAS BEING CHEAP. Cheap with my time and with my money and with my investments because I wasn’t treating my investments as investments but as burdens, WHICH THEY WERE NOT. So that’s the short of it, whether you do it or not is up to you. I can give you a couple examples. Of course I can. This information is not mine to have, it’s ours to share, it’s what makes the world go round, ETC. ETC. Okay so in a column you could put PROS: QUITTING MY JOB and in the one next to it you could put CONS: QUITTING MY JOB. You don’t have to write both titles twice, but for the sake of clarity, now you can understand that you’re COMPARING and CONTRASTING here. That’s very important. So. Quitting. Tell me one reason why that would be a negative thing. Always start with the negatives. It’s better, because if you notice yourself struggling to come up with them, then you’ve probably already made your decision. Then, less work!
Saturday October 3, 2015 at 49th Parallel
A financial website
When I get to your bachelor apartment on the fourth floor it will smell like cat pee and Axe Body Spray. The windows will be fogged. You’ll have just gotten out of the shower and your grey towel will be around your waist. I’ll ask if you’d like a coffee, I’ll offer to get you one from the shop a few blocks away. You’ll refuse twice. You’ll accept. I’ll suggest that we walk there together, that it might do you some good to get out. You will sniffle and pretend that you have a cold. I will know that you’re using again, but I won’t let on. I’ll remind you about Leila’s birthday party on Saturday before I tell you that Dad’s back in the hospital. You’ll be eating handfuls of Shredded Wheat from the box. You’ll act as though you didn’t hear me. You’ll tell me your rent is due and your account is in overdraft.
Wednesday September 30, 2015
A Guinness billboard
When we make promises in bleach
When we dream in silver and gold
When we pinky swear forever and kiss to
seal the deal
The radio buzzes out of range
Your face shadows
An owl calls
I keep dreaming about what I think you want
A blonde with big teeth
A year-round tan
I keep dreaming about what probably won’t happen
instead of what will
The cat is dead in the morning
And you’re out for a run
The first one of the season where
you can see your breath
Sunday September 27, 2015
George F. Walker
James spots me, sitting under a maple tree, eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I watch him in my peripheral vision as he walks towards me.
“What’re you eating?” He asks, plopping down beside me. No one invited him, but there’s not much I can say.
“PB and J.”
“You aren’t allowed to have peanut butter at school! Simon Jenkins is allergic! Didn’t your Mom get the reminder letter?”
“I guess not.”
I quickly scarf down the rest of my sandwich and am very grateful to Miranda for including hand sanitizers on keychains in her birthday loot bag. I use my sanitizer with great diligence.
“Wouldn’t you feel so bad if you killed Simon?” James whispers.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
The Soul’s Code
Silver never explains how he got his nickname. I learn his real name after crashing on his couch for three months. He’s finally left the apartment to go and look for a job and I rifle around looking for evidence of who he really is. When I ask him where he’s from he just says, “Here”. When I ask him about his family, he says, “I don’t have one.” “Everyone has a family,” I say, “whether they like it or not.” “Nope,” he says, scratching Kitty’s belly. “You named your cat “Kitty”?” I ask, scrubbing inside his stove. No one’s done it in ages and there appears to have been a whole lot of explosions. “I didn’t name her.” Silver leaves all the windows open even though the temperature’s been dropping steadily since I got here. When I close one he shoots me a dirty look and mumbles, “Gotta let the air in, Sam.”
Monday, August 24, 2015
When I look at your face, I remember my best friend from the 10th grade. I thought I had found my soulmate. Someone who I could talk easily with, be always welcome at her house, be always welcome in her life. I would have done anything for her and I thought she would have done anything for me. We’re not friends anymore, but you and her are so much alike that I can’t tell if it’s on purpose or if I just miss the good things about her and I’m forgetting all the bad. I know you’re different people. I know that. But your laugh is the same and the way you move like a dancer is the same. And the way you hug me is the same. So sometimes I feel like I’ve found my soulmate again: someone who understands me and encourages me and sees me. But then I worry if one can turn sour, maybe another one can do. You might not be cut from the exact same cloth, but in my fear pit lives the defenses that you in fact might be.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Hey Andrews One and Two, quit your yammering. I mean it this time. Whatever you think you’re getting away with, you won’t. I’ve seen kids like you in my day, don’t think you can fool me. It’s not that I don’t respect your attempts, because believe me, I do. But they just won’t work on me. Now you two boys may appear to be just whispering, and probably about who is going to stick that rock up his nose first, but I can see right through you and I know your little game. This is not my first rodeo, so to speak, and you’re not my first broncos! I’ll tell you something, the things kids will do to get out of nap time! There was once an Andrew in my very own kindergarten class. He stuck a pebble so far up his nose he had to go to the hospital and have it surgically removed. Now he missed nap time, alright, but that image is ingrained in my memory for all time!
Friday, August 21, 2015
Overheard at a bus stop
Gimme a smile, Goldie! No, not that fake smile! Give us a truthful, good, honest one! I don’t know why this child doesn’t want to smile – all I do is give her what she wants. She isn’t mine, oh no way. You think I look old enough to be a mother? HA! How a three year old learns how to fake smile is beyond me. It’s her mother. Truthfully, I’ve never met such a wicked woman. I play along, I play along with her strange games but when I go up to my room at night and close the door sometimes I just can’t stop thinking about how she looks at her children. Like they are the carriers of some disease! Goldie vomited on the coffee table while there was company over and she dragged her out by her pigtail.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Art & Fear
David Bayles & Ted Orland
When you come inside from dancing with the moon and making promises to her that you see the light she’s shedding and the path she’s illuminating just for you, your skin tingles with joy and recognition for the you she knows.
Your skin: The protector of your bones.
She is held together tight with a thousand promises just like the ones you made with your Moon Mother. And you can feel each one alive inside you, making their way down your veins to keep you warm.
You can’t live another way. You even feel tempted to shed the skin you’re in but she hugs your limbs in close and whispers, I’m Not Going Anywhere….I Still Know Your Insides.
If you don’t keep the dancing hot and perfect in your hair, and the pure boundless generosity you feel with every concentrated breath, then you might just live on in a different moment and you don’t blame yourself for that either.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Overheard at a bus stop
Biddy and me make a pact to bleed each other’s blood and wear each other’s smile. I want to marry Biddy so I can be around her all the time and let her light wash over me and catch me in all the right moments. Biddy plays the violin and when she does the whole world stops. I do all the humming and Biddy plays so I can feel. She tells me that I’m most me when I open my mouth and let my heart sing out. She tells me she can see me growing into the person who’s taking better care of me. She tells me I’m the kind of woman who becomes more beautiful with age and experience and confidence and time. It’s my idea to combine our life force and Biddy smiles with her whole face because she loves all of my grand ideas. She snips a lock of her strawberry blonde curls and wraps it around my finger to remind me that we’ve got each other’s soul close by.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
from a tweet by the Globe and Mail
I have been wondering if I will ever leave this place. It does not feel like home (never did), and it is starting to weigh heavy on my heart. It sounds like an easy decision but it is not. Nothing is an easy decision for me. I am used to making bad decisions. Maybe staying here this long is one of them. Maybe I am trying to justify something. I think it is hard because I do not know what I want instead. I do not know where is better than here. So I must stay here until I know where there is. Must I not? It does not sound very adventurous of me (well aware of that), but does it not make sense?
I cannot decide this with the help of anyone else. I am torn in two but I am the only one who can mend the halves and make them whole. I am learning here. It sounds as if I am not but I am.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at Dark Horse
Okay I’m a bit confused. Is it wrong to want to meet her?
No, I don’t think so. It’d be interesting to hear her side at any rate.
I feel like my mind is on a different page than me right now. I’m not convinced.
Then don’t reach out. It’s not like she’s the only one.
But she’s the most infamous!
So ask her.
I don’t know.
I don’t know either.
You think she would even meet with me?
Okay, so then, I’m going to draft a letter.
You’re going to do that now?
Just, I don’t know. Maybe wait till tomorrow?
Why because you think I’m too high?
You’re right. I’m too high.
But tomorrow you’ll be able.
Yeah tomorrow I can edit, though.
Yeah. But draft it in your notebook or on Word or something then.
God bless you.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
sammy’s got the glimma glimma gimme something that tastes like
alphabet alphabet past possessive french class math class biology
coffee spill wipe it up
sammy’s got a hangover smell rum on his breath
his mummy’s got a new lover gasoline under his nails
wipe a tear off sammy’s cheek
lick it to make it go away
down down way down down
sammy’s in the office with a tummy ache
too many timbits
too much ache all the way to texas