Posts Tagged ‘CanLit’

 

whatever happened to?

whatever happened happened.
whatever happened happened
in no time

no time to dab
blot
press
twist
& re

cover

mouth whatever
hands whatever
fingers busy
doing other
things

 

 

Chantal Gibson (www.chantalgibson.com) is an artist-educator living in Vancouver. Her debut book of poetry How She Read (Caitlin 2019) is a decolonizing effort that confronts historic representations of Black womanhood and Otherness in the Canadian cultural imagination. An award-winning instructor, she teaches writing and visual communication in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University.

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Up Next:

“Do not erase yourself”

 

 

 

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Kindling for the brush fire,
plastic packaging browns
in the embers and curls.

The smell of burnt hair,

the branches blanched,
a release of furans into
the atmosphere. Smoke
clings to our clothing

like dioxins to the lungs.
In this hottest summer
on record in a succession
of broken records, forest
fires rise around us as
we reach into corners
of multi-layered laminate
to satisfy a craving

that can’t be contained.

 

 

Cassidy McFadzean was born in Regina, graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and currently lives in Toronto. She is the author of two poetry collections: Hacker Packer (McClelland & Stewart 2015), which won two Saskatchewan Book Awards, and Drolleries (M&S 2019). She can be found at cassidymcfadzean.com

 

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“whatever happened happened”

 

Cotton swab, queue tip, dirty lilac. Lilacs grow in spikes called panicles. In Vancouver this morning, I kissed a panicle, not on purpose. The scent powered me over, pulled me off the sidewalk, twisted my nose down deep into its parts. When it was over, I clocked the evidence left behind: lip prints, purple smut against pure white petals.

In springtime in Nova Scotia, my mother twisted cotton swabs into my ears until I felt the buzzing all the way down in my toes. A nonsexual and acceptable physical affection between a parent and their child. I do it now for myself, cotton swabs in my ears, and yes, it works, of course it works, that buzzing. A bit of my mother’s hands still inside my hands, too.

As though my hands were hollowed like lilac stems and my mother’s hands, the pith. This tree, another tree named for another petrified nymph. In ancient times, I have also turned myself to wood. The first batch brought by the Jesuits, the second planted by slaves. So who cares about these flowers, anyway? There certainly has been the devil to pay.

I care. I care, I care, I care, I care. All day I replay the kiss. Night falls and I slip clippers into a vase and drive to the tree. Seize my lip-printed panicle and snip it free, then another, and another and another and another. Beside me, a bicycle with a boy on top rides by and I don’t stop cutting. I will admit in the light what I do in the dark, or else.

Now, everywhere in my apartment is the scent of lilacs. And it’s the same scent that comes in Nova Scotia but closer to summer, prom. In my dress, I stood by the blossoms while my mother snapped photographs. Then, she pushed white panicles of cotton into my ears, cleaning the canals of wax, strumming my body into a hum in time for the dance.

 

 

Chelsea Rooney is a writer living in Vancouver. Her first novel Pedal, published in 2014 by Caitlin Press, was nominated for the Amazon First Novel Award and the ReLit Award for Fiction. Her words have appeared in Quill and Quire, The Capilano Review, Room Magazine, SubTerrain, and elsewhere. She is currently working on her second novel. She can be found at www.chelsearooney.com and on instagram at @cperooney

Up Next:

“In this hottest summer
on record in a succession
of broken records…”

 

What is the nature of the wound?   

Mags took a first aid class at the end of second year. It was kind of a goof at the time, she and Kathy Krommit signing up because the instructor was cute. Neither of them ended up dating him or anything cool like that, but some of the instruction had stuck to her like the tiny balls under the arms of a favourite knit sweater, virtually invisibly.

What is the nature of the wound? For a puncture, apply pressure to stop bleeding. For a stab wound, apply pressure to stop bleeding. For a gash, apply pressure to stop bleeding.

She and Krom joked that they learned everything they needed to know: apply pressure to stop bleeding. For months afterward they approached every problem with that simple equation:

What is the nature of the wound?

Apply pressure.

Stop the bleeding.

If the wound was an exam, applying pressure was studying, the bleeding stopped. If the wound was a hangover, they applied ibuprophen (and orange juice), until the bleeding stopped.  Following each solution they would shout we are doctors! We have successfully cured the patient!

There was a magical period when the two of them had bonded into something that went beyond friends, even family, one of those deep bonds that can only come of serious and painful shared experience. In this case it was that year of university and shared quarters, no money, constant expectation from the outside. During that time, it became a shorthand: red eyes, strained expression, furrowed brow one or the other would say: Wound. Once the wound was discovered, the appropriate pressure could be applied, and the bleeding stopped.

Mags and Krom lost touch after school. Krom would pop up in Mags’ newsfeeds from time to time and if she was feeling nostalgic post-3rd glass of wine, she might write on Krom’s wall we should get together! Krom would occasionally do the same on her wall. They never did, of course.

Then in July a year ago, Mags got a private message from Krom. It was brief and elegant in its dread. It was one word.

Wound.

Mags looked at it daily for a week or so. Then forgot it was there. Then when it did come to mind, she convinced herself that she’d replied. By that time, dozens of messages pushed Krom out of the view window and it was, with effort, just entirely forgotten.

Except for when it wasn’t. Late at night when all personal failings are discussed openly inside the head; in the shower after dark nights, trying to wash away the hangover and regrets; rare moments when some dumb thing reminded Mags of the simplicity of her uni years, like the smell of someone eating Ramen in the lunch room.

Then it was too late to respond, wasn’t it? Lame to suddenly respond a year later omg never saw this could not be followed with what is the nature of the wound? Not a year later. Not between drinks 5 and 6, when Mags’ own bleeding was internal.

: for Debbie

 

Susie Moloney was born and raised on the wrong side of the tracks in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her first novel, Bastion Falls was published in 1995, and re-released in 1997 following the massive success of her second novel, A Dry Spell. A Dry Spell sold in 18 countries, translated into 12 languages. Subsequent novels The Dwelling and The Thirteen, were all published in multiple countries and languages. She has published one collection, Things Withered, stories. A lifelong film and television freak, she made the reckless decision to change lanes in 2013 and now writes television and film. Married to playwright Vern Thiessen, they are happily raising a cranky, smelly, sickly, blind dog named Scrappy.

 

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Up Next:

“I care. I care, I care, I care, I care.”

Kleenex
Q-Tips
Coffee (the good kind if it’s on sale)
Razors
Bleach wipes
Paper towels
Conditioner
Windex
Toilet bowl cleaner
Sponges
Hot sauce

Bag of rice
Laundry detergent
Baking soda
Shout
Scouring pad
Black beans (for soaking)
Vodka (on the way home)

Tomorrow

Pick up the boys at daycare after work.
Don’t forget lunch at Mom’s the next day.
Boys go back to Stacey’s on Friday this time, not Thursday (don’t ask them about Stacey but be alert).
Blake might need new boots.
It’s supposed to get cold tomorrow, Mom might have stuff to use.
Make plans for the summer and tell the boys, maybe tell them about the lake,
it’s possible you could go this year maybe, tell them about you and Stacey maybe,
they know so little about you and Stacey, what do they know even, do they even remember?
Tell them something.
Will’s been liking the library, maybe go to the library.

 

 

Casey Plett is the author of the novel Little Fish, the story collection A Safe Girl to Love, and co-editor of Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. She lives in Windsor, Ontario.

 

 

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“Late at night when all personal failings are discussed openly inside the head; in the shower after dark nights, trying to wash away the hangover and regrets; rare moments when some dumb thing reminded Mags of the simplicity of her uni years, like the smell of someone eating Ramen in the lunch room.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s  not your fault. You  couldn’t control what they did with your tree of origin, the log it became, what they finally turned you into. You are neither spoon nor stick — there is no name for you, except for the phony one they branded you with, umlaut and all, when the language they were trying to imitate doesn’t even have an umlaut in it. You will never be part of a roll-top desk, to be cherished for years, loved all the more for the character scratches.  Instead they chose to make you tiny and disposable and relegate you to a five-minute, strictly utilitarian life. Not that I’m an expert, but I think your own acquired imperfections, chocolate splotches on your surface, will only work to your disadvantage by making you non-recyclable. Clearly, they don’t care. They have tossed you carelessly onto blue flagstone with no regard for your immediate future or afterlife. All that lies ahead for you is delivery to the landfill, where you will be seen as part of the problem. You don’t deserve that fate. May I pick you up, rinse you off, take you to my home? You can become the wee weeder for my house plants — peace lilies, amaryllis and more. If you’re okay with that, stay where you are. I will find you.

 

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Rona Altrows writes fiction, essays, and plays. Her most recent book, At This Juncture, is made up of fictional letters, and she has two earlier books of short fiction, A Run on Hose and Key in Lock. The chapbook The River Throws a Tantrum gives voice to a child’s experience of a natural disaster. Rona has co-edited two theme-based anthologies, Waiting (with Julie Sedivy), released in Fall, 2018, and Shy (with Naomi K. Lewis). She can be found at http://www.ronaaltrows.com

 

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Up Next:

“Vodka (on the way home)”

 

It’s true, it happened on my birthday. June 6th, known to most as D-Day, but known to me as my B-Day.  Hmmm. Well, actually, it’s obvious that it happened on my birthday – ‘It’s my Birthday!’ is written right on the pink plastic bone. Duh!

And that’s why this whole fiasco happened, ok?

I’m a male dog. MALE. Jack Russell Terrier blessed with some very healthy JRT testicles. And I am sorry if I am being very politically incorrect, what with all the gender stereotype busting going on and all, but give me a break – there is NO WAY I would ever show that silly pink bone to any of my K9 pals.

So yeah, there I was, all pumped up for my B-Day celebration, and what does my human pull out of her pocket? Yup – that damn pink doggie bone. So I lost it. I am a Jack Russell Terrier, after all. So I grabbed that pink monstrosity and bit it with all my strength, with the hopes that I’d shred it to bits. Turns out I need to eat more vitamins or something, because all I was able to do was nip off the one end. Burning with rage and plenty of doggie disgust, I flung the birthday blunder into the neighbour’s backyard.

I thought ‘I’ had a crazy temper, but hoo-boy! You shoulda seen my human after that! I don’t have a full grasp of the English language, but I am pretty sure some of the words coming out of her mouth were not pretty.

So no doggie treats for me, no doggie park, and no trip to the pet groomer. Sigh.

Next year, I’m hoping for a bungee ball.

With my luck, I’ll get a pet kitten.

 

Patricia Storms  is an illustrator/author of humour and children’s books. She loves to draw, paint, write, sing, dance, play the ukulele, and dream. Among her illustrated work are 13 Ghosts of Halloween, The Ghosts Go Spooking, If You’re Thankful And You Know It and By The Time You Read This. She also enjoys writing stories… and has written and illustrated The Pirate and the Penguin and the much-loved Never Let You Go. Her newest, Moon Wishes, co-written with her husband Guy Storms, comes out March 2019. She lives in Toronto with her husband and a very needy cat.

 

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“You will never be part of a rolltop desk, to be cherished for years.”