Archive for April, 2016


This time would be different. He would leave behind all those jagged, ragged, useless things. Drop them in the road like stones. He would shake them off like dust from his sandals. He would leave behind the curses, the broken promises, the narrow beds and solitary half-empty glasses, the regret and revenge, the acid etch of envy. He would leave behind the taste in his mouth—bitter, salty and sweet as her skin. He would let the craving build as it must, let it swell and throb and spark, until it thundered and roared and burst the bars on the cage of his longing.  He would grind his heel into what remained and it would stay where he’d left it. The air would clear. This time would be different. This time.


Lauren B. Davis  is the author of five novels… Against A Darkening Sky; The Empty Room; Our Daily Bread (long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize); The Radiant City (finalist for the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize); and The Stubborn Season, as well as two collections of short stories, An Unrehearsed Desire and Rat Medicine & Other Unlikely Curatives.

She can be found at:


*Photo credit: [someone sent this to me and I’ve misplaced the name; if yours, please let me know!]



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vermette“this is the sort of prayer I make now/ as I tie my tobacco ties”


The only A she ever got
Second grade
from lead to ink
by mid December

Years of youthful curlicues
Swept across the page
ripe with wants and wishes
and everyday waking needs

at 24
she dropped the heart-shaped dotted i’s
third-stage went to four
lead and ink
by mid-December



Deb Rankine is a national food writer, recipe developer and author of The Fridge Whisperer Cookbook Series. Her off hours are spent in torment over her work-in-progress, The Good Wife.



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davis“He would leave behind the taste in his mouth—bitter, salty and sweet as her skin.”


He has forgotten the sky. He walks across the dusty parking lot of what was once the arena he skated in as a child.  An empty gravel lot now sprawls beside the chain link fence. He keeps red eyes on the dull brown dirt as he kicks pebbles with his worn boots. Last year’s leaves rattle and hum but he covers his ears. He is a ghost in this April town he has returned to, a place where no one walks. He takes the back paths and short cuts through parking lots for cars drive by on the main roads and he knows they say, “That looks like Lysander’s son. He never turned out to be much.” Among the singing leaves there is a flash of blue. He stops and plucks at it in the litter and dry grass. As he stands back up, he looks through the fence and sees where the house was, now just another parking lot on the other side, the spinster aunt’s house where he sat as a boy in the tangled garden in wooden lawn chairs with his mother, chairs painted the pastels of Easter eggs. They would teach him the name of the early flowers: sweet purple violet, ragged red robin, white lily of the valley, periwinkle, and the pale blue forget-me-nots. He clutches the money like some sort of holy paper, and as he looks up, sees the sky broken into pieces, but blue none the less.


Christy Ann Conlin  is the author of three novels, Heave, Dead Time, and The Memento, (Doubleday, April, 2016). She hosted the national summer radio series, Fear Itself, in 2012 and is an online instructor at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies Creative Writing Program. She also works with California painter, Marie Cameron, in photographic and oil painting collaborations. Christy Ann lives in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, with her three children and her husband, Andy Brown, a publisher of graphic novels.


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rankine“at 24 she dropped the heart-shaped dotted i’s”



Run over

Crumpled up

Flattened out




Treasure map of words

Directions to Nirvana

to Oz

to the Holy Grail

to the Lost Ark

to Heaven

to health

to happiness


…Tim Horton’s

Terry Fallis  is the author of five national bestselling novels, including his latest, Poles Apart, all published by McClelland & Stewart. The Best Laid Plans  was the winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour in 2008, and CBC’s Canada Reads in 2011. The High Road  was a Leacock Medal finalist in 2011. Up and Down  was the winner of the 2013 Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award, and was a finalist for the 2013 Leacock Medal. His fourth novel, No Relation,  was released in May 2014, debuted on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, and won the 2015 Leacock Medal. His fifth, Poles Apart, hit bookstores in October 2015. In 2013 The Canadian Booksellers Association named him winner of the Libris Award as Author of the Year.


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conlin“He is a ghost in this April town…”



So here’s Donna in hot pink scifi
from an eighties retro-future just trying
to make sense of midnight scrawl the dictates
of dreams or smaller insanities, any attempt
to decode is only a looking for patterns, for story,
our first real inheritance, we place them
everywhere connecting disparate dots. Resistance
is futile Mr. Anderson, repeats and repeats
like a number station, an earworm on the hotline


Tanis Rideout is a novelist and poet. Her first novel Above All Things was a Globe and Mail Best Book and a NYT Editor’s Choice. Her most recent collection of poetry is Arguments with the Lake. She lives and works in Toronto.



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fallis“Directions to Nirvana”



within the quiet a hum barely audible… is it me?
the earth rotating? the moon pulling or the sun calling?
or is it me? my insides awhir with windmill thoughts
—of the dead or the near dead
David Bowie once said “We are arriving and departing at the same time.”
and I think what of those discarded        dirty
so easy to walk past

I once dated a homeless man
we met at the Friendship Centre
that evening he wore a bone choker
deerskin vest   fringed
long black hair    wavy
bare chest    brown
leather pants
I thought I could smell the ancestors on him
or was it his borrowed clothing     the Hollywood makeup?
he had been in a film that day      so clean
I could feel his spirit    strong    musky
within him a sinewy quiet
and when I closed my eyes I saw him on a horse
on a hill with others
arm raised with a feathered coup stick in hand
he had touched many enemies

I prayed to know him

our first date he took me to English Bay
showed me the beech tree he slept under
sprawling limbs provided cover
green shelter    over grass bed
he tells of rain and how when the downpour comes
he walks    prays all night
a holy man in the city

next time I see him he is in a long black leather coat
an extra in The Crow that day
not always clean        often hungry but he never complained
did not want a home        preferred to sleep outdoors
his place under that beech tree

he had no phone but did call late one night
his arm broken     attacked by the youth on Granville Street
I can still hear him crying on the phone    my young son asleep in the other room
no I cannot pick you up…  no, sorry     you cannot stay here
dating a homeless man is complicated
after dinner you leave him on the corner        rain or shine
he walks away and you hope he stays away from Granville Street


Jónína Kirton A prairie born Métis/Icelandic poet and facilitator currently lives in the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people. Her first collection of poetry, page as bone ~ ink as blood, released in April 2015 by Talonbooks, has been described as “restorative, intimate poetry, drawing down ancestral ideas into the current moment’s breath.”



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rideout“any attempt to decode is only a looking for patterns, for story,”


This is how
she spends

her Saturday,

through pages
of sale

until her fingers

are ink-stained,

with grey silt,
as if she’d been

shucking oyster
shells, turning

the bone-
handled blade

to split
that hard

lip, expose
a rare pearl.


Lauren Carter  is the author of Swarm, described as “a somberly melodic, literary foray” by Booklist and named one of CBC’s Top 40 books that could change Canada, as well as Lichen Bright, a poetry collection. Her prose and poetry have won and been short-listed for several awards, including the CBC Literary Prizes, and anthologized in 15: Best Canadian Stories (edited by John Metcalf). She has recently completed a second manuscript of poetry and is finishing a short-story collection and two novels with the assistance of a major arts grant from the Manitoba Arts Council, at her home in The Pas, Manitoba. Visit her online at where she blogs weekly about writing and life in the north.



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kirton“I once dated a homeless man that I met at the Friendship Centre”


If only you knew the heart ache of it –
one day immaculate and new
perfectly balanced, filling up

for that bright day
when a young hand would pick me,
thrill of first touch, mouth to wet mouth…

but what happened?
An emptying as kisses cooled

as I caved in slowly, used up, no juice,
then thrown away.

These days I dream of returning to a sea of wellness
and meaning, any abundant source, beauty
to save me, someone to care.


Kate Braid  has written, co-written and edited eleven books of creative non-fiction and prize-winning poetry.  Her next book, an expanded edition of In Fine Form (now sub-titled ‘A Contemporary Book of Form Poetry’) co-edited with Sandy Shreve, will be published in fall, 2016.

She can be found at




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carter“This is how she spends her Saturday,”