you twisted into yourself
& it’s only tuesday afternoon
what are you going to do friday

we drowned in our tears last week
& you won’t stand straight
your back like
grandmother’s
cracked into grief

 

Juliane Okot Bitek  is a poet and author of 100 Days (University of Alberta Press 2016) and Sublime: Lost Words (The Elephants 2018). Sublime: Lost Words is available through open access at: https://theelephants.net/ephemera/sublime-lost-words.

She is also the 2018 writer-in-residence at The Capilano Review.

For more on Juliane’s work, visit: https://julianeokotbitek.com

 

 

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Up Next:

“She’d like to tell Ms. Maria that everyone’s scared because of their cracked soles. Plus they were expecting more than just three crayons.”

 

 

 

 

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Hard to tell what this is, but if it`s an abandoned sleeping bag:

A romantic-minded young man curls overnight on the beach, bursting-hearted with grief for a woman who has advised that whatever his views, or his passions, or his desires, he is not, after all, the person for her, and so, good-bye. Sleepless and thunderstruck, he listens to waves and counts stars, now and then flailing in pity for his own anguish.

At dawn, much refreshed, he rises, stretches, pees into a sand dune, and starts back to town, to hell with sad souvenir sleeping bags.

~

Or, if this is a ruined air mattress:

Beware the undertow. Uh-oh.

 

Joan Barfoot`s  eleven novels include long-listings for the Man Booker and Dublin IMPAC prizes, a short-listing for the Scotiabank Giller, a movie adaptation, and the Amazon first novel and Marian Engel awards. A former newspaper journalist, she lives in London, Ontario. She can be found at www.joanbarfoot.ca

 

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Up Next:

“it’s only tuesday afternoon/ what are you going to do friday”

 

 

Must remember: short list of documents
proves the rule of legal union
in this country and the old one.
It’s all over us. The rules apply on the tarmac
and the blotter, the Astroturf and the linoleum.
Magic is in the details. Romance is all a bank
can offer. I need two of everything.
It’s a massive mess, but the country and its coffers
will hold the salve. I put marriage in the garage
and drove tension out. Blank cheque of confirmation
underwritten by an action plan.

 

 

Alice Burdick lives in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. She co-owns Lexicon Books, an independent bookstore in Lunenburg She is the author of many chapbooks and four full-length poetry collections, Simple Master (Pedlar Press, 2002), Flutter (Mansfield Press, 2008), Holler (Mansfield Press, 2012), and most recently Book of Short Sentences (Mansfield Press, 2016). Deportment, a book of selected poems from the early 1990s to now, is forthcoming in autumn 2018 from Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

 

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Up Next:

“Beware the undertow. Uh-oh.”

 

Alex and Jane inspired me to think about my own beautiful love stories.

 

 

Sarah Leavitt  is a writer, cartoonist and teacher. More at sarahleavitt.com.

 

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Up Next:

“The rules apply on the tarmac and the blotter, the Astroturf and the linoleum.”

 

 

 

The train car full of yawns and music.
A boy talks of guns while chewing gum.
Pockets of strangers stuffed with detritus:
receipts, wrappers, flotsam of frantic days.

The teabag’s jacket like a condom wrapper.
Please take your trash with you upon Departing,
the sign says. Like that. With a capital letter.
Some words are loaded. Departing:

more somber than the flit of leaving.
I will depart, but I will always return.
When I first loved you I never wanted
you to go home. You brought me

hot tea with milk and sugar and right then
I asked you to marry me. You didn’t
take me seriously but I meant it, as truly
as a dog means each snouty-soft kiss.

After we first hugged I felt as though
every hour I aged a year.
The next night when I saw you,
your dark eyes like hallways,  I was no longer

a slim-limbed skittering girl —
but a 30-year-old woman. Desire weighed
on me, rounded me out. I whispered
into your ear, dirty hiccupped thoughts.

Now, the years are really disappeared.
An old matchbook, the cardboard days
nubs. The only question is when I arrive
how will you greet me —

gently, or with the force of your whole
tongue? Tell me what is in this suitcase.
Reach into every pocket of me. It’s your job
to locate the best of me, and throw away

the useless stuff.

 

Emily Schultz  is the co-founder of Joyland Magazine. Her new novel, Men Walking on Water, released with Knopf Canada in 2017. Her previous novel, The Blondes, released in the U.S. with St. Martin’s Press and Picador, in France with Editions Asphalte, and in Canada with Doubleday. It was named a Best Book of the Year by NPR and Kirkus. The Blondes is in development with AMC’s Shudder network for series. Her poetry book, Songs for the Dancing Chicken, was a finalist for the Ontario Trillium Award for Poetry. She now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.
She can be found at http://www.emilyschultz.com/

 

 

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Up Next:

 

So.  The very best thing about being a fictional character is that everything you do has significance.  I see all of you non-fictional beings, busying yourselves with walking here and there and nursing your ailments and swiping your screens but none of it means anything. It doesn’t further the plot, it doesn’t make the setting crisper, it doesn’t add to the tension, it doesn’t help to build a metaphor cluster.  It’s just . . .  making a random sandwich.

For us, by contrast, all actions, all details, are intentional and important.

Let me give you an example.  See that sandwich on the bench?  It’s a ketchup sandwich.  And that ketchup sandwich is more than pulling its weight.

Let me introduce myself.   I’m the Neglected But Resilient Child.  You’ve met me before, in many guises. I may have brought you to tears.  In this particular story my hapless, overwhelmed single father has nothing to put in my school lunch sandwich but ketchup.  The ketchup sandwich is a potential source of bullying at school and, more importantly, if some adult sees it they might find out about my family situation and alert the authorities and that would be a disaster.  So, being a Resilient Child I take my lunch out to the park rather than brave the school cafeteria.

But where am I in this picture?  How come I haven’t eaten my sandwich?

So.  The worst thing about being a fictional character is the existence of editors.  Writers are fine.  We love writers.  We worship writers.  But editors?  In this case the editor thought that the Neglected But Resilient Child was a redundant character.  So out I went, doomed to hang around for another story that needs a NBRC.   However, the editor forgot to excise the sandwich!  So there it sits, an untethered detail, a sandwich that could have risen to the level of an endowed object or even the giddy heights of an objective correlative.  But no, it’s just a sandwich.  It’s not literature.  It’s just litter.

 

 

Sarah Ellis  is the award-winning author of over twenty books for children and young adults. In 2013 she was awarded the B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Award For Literary Excellence. Last year she was one of Canada’s nominees for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Having retired as a children’s librarian and then retired from college teaching she is now writing and reading fulltime in the rain in Vancouver. Her latest book is Waiting for Sophie illustrated by Carmen Mok, published by Pajama Press. All her stories feature a resilient child because, really, what else is there to write about?

(For titles and biographical tidbits see www.sarahellis.ca)

 

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Up Next:

 

“The only question is when I arrive
how will you greet me —”

what to do

Posted: September 28, 2017 in joy kogawa
Tags: , , , ,

 

what to do
make list
notice what is not noticed
especially the creamy horsey
brown sugary people the cheesy
floury trees the walnut sky
the beanstalk growing
fast as thought
through the fontanel of
the baby as she scans
her mother for her eyes
which are fixed on her phone
notice the voracious hunger
in the baby and her giving up
and becoming a zombie here’s
what to do talk
to the mom tell her
this whole generation is
growing up in the first world
starving for connection
tell her the baby is
dying

 

 

Joy Kogawa  was born in Vancouver in 1935 to Japanese-Canadian parents. During WWII, Kogawa and her family were forced to move to Slocan, British Columbia, an injustice she addresses in her 1981 novel, Obasan, one of the handful of Canadian novels that have become essential reading for a nation. Interned with her Japanese-Canadian family during WW2, Kogawa has worked tirelessly to educate and help redress a dark moment in our history. Her most recent book is the memoir, Gently to Nagasaki (Caitlin Press, 2016).​

In 1986, Kogawa was made a Member of the Order of Canada; in 2006, she was made a Member of the Order of British Columbia. In 2010, the Japanese government honored Kogawa with the Order of the Rising Sun “for her contribution to the understanding and preservation of Japanese Canadian history.

 

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Up Next:

“The worst thing about being a fictional character is the existence of editors.”