Archive for July, 2016

judy fong bates

 

Dear Heather,

I went People’s Jewellers and bought those expensive earrings just you.  I thought you liked me. Then I found the gift tag lying on the sidewalk outside your house.  It mustve  fell out of the garbage when the garbage man emptied your can.  You couldnt even wait another day before trashing it.  I don’t know why I fell for you.  Your a selfish bitch and I never want to see you again. Love, Pete

 

Dear Pete,

Don’t be so quick to take umbrage.  I adore the earrings and it was very thoughtful of you.  And by the way, sweetie, it’s “you’re a bitch, not your a bitch.  Your is possessive and you’re is the contraction for you are.  There are a few other minor corrections needed, but we’ll work on them another time.

Thank you again,

Yours,

Heather

 

Dear Heather,

You really are a bitch.  What the fuck does umbrage mean?

Love,

Pete

 

Judy Fong Bates  is thrilled to be adding to The Litter I See Project. Her latest work, The Year of Finding Memory, a family memoir, was a Globe and Mail  Best 100 Book for 2010.

She  lives with her husband on a farm outside of Campbellford. They are both devoted gardeners and enthusiastic hikers.

 

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graham“Jumped on like balloons with quarters in them.”

 

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tsabari

 

He built a tent from two sarongs and three sticks. It covered about half of their bodies when they lay down straight. Their calves were showing.

“This is great!” she lied, looking up at the tie-dye sarong stretched between the wooden sticks. When she stretched her head back she saw a row of straw huts between palm trees, and flickering candles lighting up the only restaurant on the beach. Their arms were touching. She was afraid to move.

“Wanna sleep here tonight?” he asked, and she said, and really tried to mean it: “Yeah, totally!”

He was twenty-one and she was thirty. She was on vacation. Her parents thought it would be good for her to clear her head after everything she’d gone through. They even helped paid for it. He’s been travelling for a while, a small backpack, a drum and a didgeridoo. He smoked local cigarettes and smelled like smoked salted fish. He rarely showered, his skin felt like sand paper when she caressed him. Once, in the forest, he pulled out his knife, cracked open a coconut and put it to her mouth; thin white juice dripped on her chin when she drank it. Then he carved her a smiley face on the shell.

Truth was she didn’t like sleeping outdoors. She had rented an air conditioned hotel room most backpackers couldn’t afford. She didn’t take him to her hotel room, embarrassed by her private bathroom, the beauty products she had arranged in a neat row on the sink. She had even brought her blow drier.

In the middle of the night, it started to rain, and then she wasn’t on the beach, but in water, drowning.  The water was dark and she didn’t see a shore. When she opened her mouth to call for help she found herself calling his name. She was swallowing water whenever she opened her mouth, gulps of thick black oil. She started to choke.

“Relax,” she said aloud. She read somewhere that people drown because they panic, and so they start kicking and flailing like a spider in a sink and they waste all their energy and die. She floated on her back and breathed deep through her nose. Her body became lighter until she was a leaf surfing in a stream of rainwater. When she finds him, she decided, she will tell him. “I’m in love with you,” she’ll say. “I don’t want anything from you; I just want to be honest about it.”

When she woke up she saw the tide had risen and water covered their feet. He was curled into a ball, like a kid, snoring lightly. She touched his shoulder, it was sandy and warm, like a seashell on the beach in midday. She stood up and went back to her room.

 

Ayelet Tsabari’s  first book, The Best Place on Earth, won the 2015 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and has been published internationally.  Her non-fiction has won a National Magazine Award, a Western Magazine Award, and The New Quarterly‘s in-house Edna Staebler award, and in 2014 she was awarded a Chalmers Arts Fellowship. She is a graduate of the Creative Writing MFA Program at Guelph.

 

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judy fong bates“And by the way, sweetie, it’s *you’re a bitch, not your a bitch*…”

dachsel

Chloe repels others. Hostile,
she peels trees, pelts hotels.
She tries polite. Retches.

She pilots lithe trees to cloister.
Spies the eclipse. Recoils.
(Pls, help her.)

She etches helicopters, her spirit orphic.
So her hope triples: it clips,
it clops, coils, echoes.

Chloe, choose the sprite, the heretic.
Splice politics/poetics. Pitch heroics.
Toil. Steep. Cope.

 

Marita Dachsel  is the author of the poetry collections Glossolalia and All Things Said & Done, and the play Initiation Trilogy. She lives in Victoria where she is at work on a novel and her third collection of poetry.

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tsabari“Once, in the forest, he pulled out his knife, cracked open a coconut and put it to her mouth”

beach

10 AM on a Tuesday the summer of 1980. Outside of the Bank of America, Garnet Avenue, San Diego, California. Stymied, I rattle the double glass doors and peer into the dim interior. Empty. Banks are supposed to be open at 10 AM on weekdays. It’s a rule.

A sign about 18” x 12” is taped neatly to the glass from the inside. Maybe I hadn’t noticed it because the eyeholes in my mask were smaller than I preferred. Maybe I wasn’t in the habit of reading signs on doors that I was about to burst through. Maybe I had other things on my mind. Whatever. I pull off the mask, former President Jimmy Carter, and take a closer hinge at the message. It reads, “ Bank Closed. Signature Day.” I later learn that today is an Official State Holiday marking the date California signed on to the Union. Being a Canadian bank robber, one of the Stopwatch Gang, known for our meticulous planning – this – the bank being closed, seems an important oversight.

I tuck the pistol in my waistband and slouch back towards the getaway car with the bad news. My partners, now that I noticed, were sitting pretty obvious in a dented Ford Plymouth in an almost empty parking lot. I break it to them gently, still there’s a few curses and Three Stooges head slaps.

The Ghost is driving today so we head home, slower than usual. He pulls in next to the drop car, the one we switch to after we throw a bank up in the air, but I wave him on.

“Leave it” I say, “Tomorrow has a 10AM too.”

 

Stephen Reid’s most recent book is A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden (Thistledown, 2012). The former bank robber turned writer lives on Haida Gwaii.

 

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dachsel“She etches helicopters, her spirit orphic.”