Archive for August, 2016

kuitenbrouwer

 

I took my Allen Key, Henry. I took it and I tried my best. Did you see the mess things were in by the time I got to it? The way the catalogue arrived, tossed like so much detritus on the driveway you’d just paved, the way its crisp petroleum-laced pages were dog-eared to excess, the way your jeep had swept over and over it all those days as you rushed to work and back, to the hardware store for your innovative hinges, your every articulating things, the way I and the children (oh, the children!) trod upon it like it had no value, like it was inconsequential. Like we had no goddam respect. You never really love IKEA until it’s just out of reach, I’ve heard that. In that catalogue, mangled and illegible — are all the things you’ll need for your frugal new life, the Tromsö bunk beds, the Billy shelves, the jolly Kustruta bedding, that almost-hip Fado lamp. You probably don’t know about my toolkit, the one I’ve hidden in the bottom drawer of my heart, the one with a Phillips and a Robertson, a top-of-the-line air compressor, all manner of screws, nails, bolts, and dowelling. I’ve been saving, hoarding. And there under the coil of waxed rope and the chisel set, I found the Allen Key, rusted but with a little 3-in-One (I think my dad taught me this trick) instantly rejuvenated. I found the instructions on the Internet, Henry. Did you think to look there? You can find everything there, honestly. And a Google search was my first angle of attack. No one looks for lock points on a catalogue, but they are there, tucked in the margins, embedded in the glued binding, sometimes so well hidden I had to flip the pages back and forth many times before I spotted one. I worked that thing for weeks but I couldn’t figure out how to repair it. I failed here, I know. I tried so hard, for weeks until the weeks grew to years, until the years turned to decades. It’s important to me that you know I tried by best.

 

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer is the bestselling author of the novels All The Broken Things, Perfecting, and The Nettle Spinner, as well as, the short story collection, Way Up. Her short fiction has appeared in Granta Magazine, the Walrus Magazine, Storyville and others. She is a PhD candidate in the English department at the University of Toronto, where she researches in theories of creativity. Kathryn is Associate Faculty with the University of Guelph MFA in Creative Writing.

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bush“She can’t even read,” someone muttered.

 

 

 

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greenslade

“You’re not supposed to throw them away.”

“I didn’t throw it away. I put it in my purse. It’s got to be here somewhere. Is this it?”

“That’s from November.”

“See that line? I always draw a line across the ones I’ve checked.”

“Is that it?”

“That? That’s from drycleaning.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t think I picked up that drycleaning. It was just old coats I was giving away.”

“I don’t know how you find anything in there.”

“It’s got to be in here. It wasn’t a winner anyway. I always draw a line.”

“And you remember drawing a line?”

“Yes.”

“You drew a line?”

“Yes. I think so.”

“You think so.”

“I kept it. You can double-check it.”

“Has that one been checked?”

“It’s from January.”

“There’s no line through it.”

“Maybe I didn’t have a pen handy.”

“But are you sure it’s been checked?”

“Pretty sure.”

“Pretty sure. You know how many millions of dollars go unclaimed every year? I read that somewhere. Millions. Scratch tickets, they’re notorious.”

“If I re-trace my steps.”

“The government must be raking in money hand over fist from those unclaimed scratch tickets. People like us. Buying the little dream.”

“It wasn’t a scratch. I don’t buy the scratch, you know that.”

“What’s that?”

“That’s from June.”

June? Of what year?”

 

Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Frances Greenslade  has since lived in Winnipeg, Regina, Vancouver, Chilliwack and now Penticton. She has a BA in English from the University of Winnipeg and an MFA in Creative Writing from University of British Columbia. By the Secret Ladder and A Pilgrim in Ireland (Penguin) are her first two books, both memoir. Her novel, Shelter, was published in Canada by Random House in 2011, in the US by Free Press and the UK by Virago in 2012. It has been translated into Dutch, German and Italian. She has taught English and Creative writing at Okanagan College since 2005.

 

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kuitenbrouwer“You never really love IKEA until it’s just out of reach”

choi

 

My new teacher got annoyed with me the first few times she called me by my Canadian name because I didn’t respond. I wasn’t being rude or acting contrary; I simply had not yet processed the foreign sounds of my new name. It was 1975 and I had just arrived in Canada without knowing a single word of English. While I don’t have many specific memories of my early years here, my insides still tighten recalling how I felt:  lost, confused, sad.

My mother, who is an avid reader, insisted her children get public library cards. What was the point, I wondered, of getting books when I couldn’t read them? To my wonderful surprise, our local library had a great collection of vinyl records. I would listen to music, I reasoned; I could even do that with my eyes closed, thus cleverly avoiding having to read English.

I fell in love with the soundtrack from Mary Poppins. Songs like “Spoonful of Sugar” and “Chim-Chim Cheree” made me get up and dance. Without realizing it, I started singing along. When I finally learned how to say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, I was overjoyed. I loved too how the music and its changes in tempo and mood helped me relax and feel good.

Billy Joel remains my all time favourite singer ever since I borrowed his “Piano Man” LP. Joel’s songs like “The Ballad of Billy the Kid”, told stories, so I found myself beginning to pay attention to the lyrics. Singing along helped me with pronunciation practice. I would look up words and without even knowing it, I started using the slang I had picked up from one of his songs: “Well, it’s no big sin to stick your two cents in.” More than language lessons, music played on vinyl records during my early years in Canada taught me about my new culture and the way of life here. I also ended up falling in love with reading, writing, and even singing!

 

 

Ann Y.K. Choi was born in Chung-Ju, South Korea, and immigrated with her family to Canada in 1975. She holds an Honours BA and a Bachelor of Education. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies’ Creative Writing Program, winning their award for top final manuscript. Her debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, was published by Simon & Schuster Canada in May 2016. A high school teacher, she lives in Toronto, Canada. Visit her online at http://www.annykchoi.com or follow her on Twitter @annykchoi.

 

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greenslade“You’re not supposed to throw them away.”

popeye

Posted: August 8, 2016 in monty reid
Tags: , , , ,

IMG_0885

 

There is a falling.  It is not the same thing
as a narrative of falling. Popeye falls.

The cigarettes are gone. The smoke is exhaled.
The candy sticks that replaced the cigarettes
are gone. 

The inks and glues delaminate. The whole world
no longer fills a little box.

But the sugars, the sugars are not
exactly gone.  They leach into the earth
which is sweeter now than it was before

and even that won’t save it.  All of the objects
are altered. Your hands are altered.

Not better, but different.
Not worse.

But raw with the weather and nicotine
from before, and all the lotion you rub
into your fingers won’t get rid of it.

That’s the narrative.  The box
on the other hand, just fell.

 

Monty Reid  is an Ottawa writer.  His most recent book is Meditatio Placentae (Brick Books).  He is Managing Editor of Arc Poetry Magazine and Festival Director at VerseFest, Ottawa’s international poetry festival.

 

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choi“When I finally learned how to say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious….”

graham

 

And now there’s this aftermath. Finished with
reservation. Intentions crystalline and finite.
Flattened in the feelings department.
Wet like the ground of the beer tent.
Jumped on like balloons with quarters in them.
Wet like it’s much, much too late for that angle
to dry it. Dyed the fresh ventricle red.
Proximal as if proximity’s meaningless.
Shoulders brushing, descending stairs
actually, actually done, inhabiting done,
buzzing the hope strings of done. Crumbled
once the sun rises on it. In the rhythm of heels
coming down on it. In the crunch of what’s left
in the corners of it. Staining the tongue
to the nodes of it. Waiting to light the next
smoke of it. Wet like the bus shelter floor
of it. In the grit and the groan of the wake
of it. Shoulders now riding the pine of it.
The breath, sugar, smoke, and the no of it.
Two buses pull up to dispose of it.

 

 

Laurie D. Graham  is the publisher of Brick magazine and the author of two books of poetry, Settler Education (McClelland & Stewart, 2016) and Rove (Hagios Press, 2013). She comes from outside Edmonton and now lives in Kitchener.

 

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IMG_0885“The whole world no longer fills a little box.”