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Please, don't put me in
the corner. That black space that turns



It wipes me out, the cliché chalkboard. Until I do the last of it for myself.
I'll cover my face, I'll cover my eyes.

And neither of us will exist.

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"Tell her you hate her."
"I won't," says the child.
"You know you want to."
"I don't. I love her."
"She doesn't love anyone."
"Grandma loves everyone. You just want me to cry. I can see it on your face."
The woman sticks out her tongue.

"I love you best when you look like this," he said, his mouth and eyes smiling, perhaps with a bit too much smugness to make love seem real. But she could see the fondness for her, just around the outside of his eyes, the kind reserved for a favourite toy. Like a doll.
Her best is on her knees, her face running and her throat bruised.
She lets the hate and contempt rise into her eyes. She lets him see it. Fuck you.
He laughs at her then and when he stops, he contemplates her. "Yes. Like this. You're beautiful."

"I screamed for 50 hours, didn't I, Mommy?"
"At least 50 minutes. I'm sure our neighbours enjoyed it." Finally unpackaged…
Catch it...!
The sound of distant rocket ships
That pushing out of air,
tastes like the fresh spring dew,
the rainbowed bubbles float across
my line of vision and into the sunshine.
My nose wrinkles up until
I close my eyes, the pure and simple of it all,
I dance on air. It's joy, I shout,
You must come along too.
For you see, it is the light in your eyes,
The lines around your smile,
which enrapture me so.
I like you, my friend
my love,
my lost one.
I flirt with my eyes
so that you may allow me to kiss the hollows
of your cheeks with my fingertips,
like I am blind, unhesitating,
and bewitched by what I have always known.

Too many nights, not enough days

Before she can return home for the day , Ella must return her book to the library and pick out a new one. It is a weekly requirement for this semester's Literature Class, a book a week, reports due no later than 16:00 on Fridays. She is tired and just wants to go home, curl up in her bed and put on some mindless show and forget that today ever was. It has not been a good day. Too many hours spent with classmates she did not like, preparing their final presentation on recent advancements to the Heim theory. A terrible test return of 57% percent in her algorithms class. The people she worked for giving her notice, they would be moving at the end of the month, at the end of her shift. Nevermind waking up from that whole weekend spent with Matt. Again.
The library, for the most part, is still the domain of the university student, though it reamins open for those who like to read real books, newspapers and magazines from past times. As she waits her clearance to enter the building, she…

Call it the blues

All the pens in my house suck. All the ones I like have run out of ink and I tore a page out of my current notebook and it ruined the binding and it can no longer be written well in, so I decided to make a trip to the Dollar Store. The place has a wide selection of pens, but finding ones with blue ink is a chore, even there. I settled for a pack of mostly rainbow coloured ones because it had two with the ink I prefer. I wanted to find a notebook with a hard cover and this is the first notebook I saw. It laid upside down and I smiled when I turned it over and read the words. I stopped smiling when I grabbed the next book and the next book and the next book in the same pile to see what other song quotes I might find. But while they were all the same colour, the rest had blank covers. Nothing at all written on them.
Go ahead.
Explain that one.

cookies, coincidences and confirmation bias

A Few Days Before

The vehicle is going 80 kilometres the road, when the song comes on. She hasn't heard it in awhile. It was downloaded into her old phone, but she had broke that one last summer when she tried that horrible Training for a 5K Run experiment that she found in some health app that came installed on the phone. At least she walks a kilometre faster than 95% of others who used the app, it tells her, but she thinks maybe she should just wait a summer or two before trying the whole running thing again. She also suspects that the fun fact is a lie to make her feel good. Regardless, when the new phone was delivered, she thought "None of him. Not right now. Not today" and she downloaded the other stuff.
Today she is happy to hear the song. Happier to sing along with the man; his voice isn't so good either. Okay. Hers is worse. She probably shouldn't sing. Ever. But it is a nice song to sing. A perfect song to sing. It is exactly the song to sing.
She leans …


She read somewhere that most people dream in black and white, but no one she knows has ever agreed with this. She dreams in colour too, just like they all say they do, but now, after that night, she wonders if she really does. Maybe she is the one who applies colour to the screen in her head without her mind really having anything to do with it. Maybe something everyone now does simply because of television. Sometimes she wishes she could slip into the body of someone from a hundred years ago just for the night to find out.
When she was seven years old, she read some silly book; long since disintegrated in some garbage dump she assumes, about dreams. She remembers the cover was blue, but not much else beyond the vague lessons, so she cannot really help anyone else out when they ask her how to do some of the things that she can do, but that they cannot. "I guess mostly you have to believe you can," she shrugs.
Most everyone she speaks with says they see themselves though, j…


When I was in Ottawa, abandoned and enthralled,
breathing in the
heat waves shimmering off the people
and the cats
and that lazy raccoon that I later named Mondrian in my mind
after I saw my first one,
I did not look for you.
Nor in the malls, the halls,
the magazines, in the new towns,
or down the old roads,
on silver screens, between the book shelves, down on my knees
hands in the clover.
I took you for granted.
Oh hey.
There you are.

I know myself
Far, far, far more than I let on
I know what I am doing.

Love is such an easy word.
Besides, it's a given,
We can keep it there, easy, big, broad like the straight black painted lines, it's nice.
Effortless. Quiet. Assured.
So then, I guess that it is not the word.

Quiet Company

I've been sold, I've been sold, I've been sold, I'm being sold-out
It is torture but
I don't even care
Except to love you more, to love myself more
Those hot-burned tears for you as I rally to save my skin
wind down me and leave behind gold and green
and I don't stop looking
until I look upon you
What on earth...
I've been sold, I've been sold, I've been sold.
I'm being sold-out.

Sunlight filtering through cracks
in the sky
in the walls
fall across your skin
I fingerpaint across your chest
Every word
known to man
and found in you

Fresh snow
Our footprints mark us
You are here!
I am here!
We are here!
Turn your face upwards
Let falling snow rest on your eyelashes
(dream of me)
Let the white melt on your outstretched tongue

It's spring.
Just one word.

I'd sit across the hall
looking upwards until I saw the flicker; light on
Sit with you while your busy hands rolled over these plains, these fields
The stretches of nothing
(Look at…
Remember him now.
Those burgundy pants that seemed to clash so hard against his hair.
The easy smiles. The effortlessness of air.
Remember the one and only time his lips touched you.
A brush on your neck and you both knew
in that broken pocket, that open crack
that you would be forever one
and you never laughed.
And your hands, they found each other.
When the glass shatters
you do not go.
You do not say good-bye.
You know he has left you for you to find another.
More broken glass to step through.
But you will.

Slow Burning, Part Two

We're such good friends. We're kind of lucky, you and I. You say it all the time. Like remember that time when I finally decided there had to be changes in my home and I said nothing to Dougie for about four days after I kicked him out because I was serious? The shit had to stop. Remember? Well, he ended being gone for forty days. Remember that time when he stopped in to see the kids and half the neighbourhood, a few of your friends and family were hanging out on my front lawn? Yeah, you remember, don't you? I do. You said, "Hey, hey, Dougie. I just want you to know I am not going to treat you any different now that you two are getting a divorce." Wait. What? No one cares about your opinion. On my front lawn. Least of all Dougie. But what? You're still going. You won't shut-up. You actually hold your finger up to me, you know with your free hand and tell me, "No, Dougie needs to hear this." Your superman husband stepping in and shutting you up.…

Slow Burning, part one

Tell me a story?
Of who? Of who? It’s all we really do. Tell stories…
About you. About you.
Oh, there’s nothing to me. I’m boring really.

It is just summertime, mid-day, when I watched them gallop by, the climbing sun starting to glow on a blonde mop and two brown-haired little boys. The brothers are wearing matching rubber boots that are loud on the sidewalk, stomp-stomp-stomp, and their whoops and hollers match the beat of the sound. They make me laugh, hand covering my mouth, when I hear them, “School’s out for summer, School’s been blown to pieces…” The blonde throws her black backpack as high as he can in the air.
They notice me there, on my front lawn, and slow to a respectful walk. Hi, say the brothers and I smile and say, Alice Cooper sang the song you were singing. Whoever that is, says the oldest brother. That’gay, Cody, says the youngest brother. You taught me a girl’s song? No, Cody says, scowling angrily, don’t be stupid. Let’s go. And they started galloping away, stomp-…

Sitting at the Table

What was it we were listening to? Do you remember now? As we made our eyes and lips up in your bathroom mirror, kissing our reflections, then throwing ourselves down on your sister's bed, flattening our stomachs until it felt like they were touching the mattress, to get our bubble jeans zipped up? I always envied your purple ones, even though I knew I looked better in the blue. Sometimes I wonder if we caused damage, that some of our internal organs have never sat in the right spot again. Sometimes I think I get more stomach aches and that are more painful than the average person. But I am still the kind of person who wonders what she might be dying from. Not that I really want to know. I really hope when it is my time to go that I go in my sleep; no clue beforehand, just good night and good bye. But let’s get back to this: what were we listening to? The usual? Guns 'n' Roses? Dr. Hook? April Wine? Or maybe we were on our Kenny Rogers kick? Our friends teased us and our m…

Chasing Wind Two Hours Too Long

She picks up the phone and she hears his voice again and it says, Hey, Lill. Let's have a drink and a laugh. She answers back, Yes, Sir Stranger, let's do, choking back that small, laugh that she has when she is laughing at herself, trying to force itself out between her words. Where and when? He hears it. Hey, now. C'mon, I'm sorry. You know how it is. But we both miss each other right? I was dumb. I mean, I'm always dumb, but this time I was off the charts dumb.
No, no, Robbie, you're not dumb, she reassures him with a sigh directed more at herself than him. Defeat. She isn't even mad at herself that she has agreed to see him so quickly. They are over-played arguments in her head (You fucking bastard), enough-so, she doesn't want to make them real. And yes. Very much so, yes. She misses him.
No, I am. I really am dumb. You have no idea, Lill, he tells her. Can we get together like right now? I can tell you why I have finally reached this conclusion …

Ellen-Funeral Pyres

At one point or another, and maybe even still. It was something they all could say. Some did. Some didn't.


He moved to town in the third grade. He was short and had glasses and brown hair that never stayed slicked down. Ellen had to be his 'special friend' for the first week and had to show and tell him everything about the school. Ellen was very nice to him, so Dean thought to sneak her a kiss behind one of the bookshelves during library time. But instead of being in love with him now, Ellen got mad. "You shouldn't have done that! Now I might have a baby! Do you want a baby with me?" Yes, ma’am, he would, if that's what she wanted. "I don't want a fucking baby,Stupid" she said, slamming her foot down onto his. "Don't ever talk to me again!"
So he didn't. But he looked at her an awful lot. Like even still.


He had her as a girlfriend for about three months. He’s pretty sure she only agreed to date him so he woul…

Ellen- Wallowing in the mire

"Jesus Christ, we can never tell your mother," he seethed into her ear. Or anyone else ever, he thought. No one can ever know this. He had just been promoted to supervisor in his town job. No. He sure wasn't going to let his newly delinquent daughter with her poofed-up hair and frosted lipstick—his obvious tart of a daughter—ruin him. "And your bastard friends better keep their mouths shut too. And this time, you better find new ones because those people are no longer your friends. I will kill all of you little shits. Kill you all and they won't find the goddamn bodies. Do. You. Understand. Me?"
Ellen nodded, cowering herself away from him, putting her forearms over her ears. She didn’t want to hear anymore. She didn't believe her father would kill anyone, but she wasn't entirely sure she was right about that either. What her father really wanted to do was slap her upside the head, three good whacks for some common sense, but he left the room instea…


Four Years Old

The backyard is caked with large patches of dirt between the shabby yellow grass and rocks. Tommy loves the backyard best when all of the rivers of water and mud appear after a good rain. He is thinking of one very late night, after a long thunderstorm that had kept him awake, Tommy slunk outside; flashlight and bath boat in hand and how he played until sudden stomping thunder almost made him pee his pants. Even though he banged the backdoor too loudly getting back in the house, his mother hadn’t heard him. He was pretty sure it would have been okay anyway. Momma never said no to the backyard.
Today though the backyard is hot and the bees are testy. The air is heavy with arid moisture, the kind that doesn’t reach the back of the throat when you breathe in. The only shade comes from an overgrown lilac bush, but at this time of day the shadow has fallen in on itself. Tommy sits close to the bush anyway and hopes for a breeze to make the leaves flutter their wind at him. S…

for another day.

Perhaps it is because she sits with the dying that she hears it more than most. "Life's too short," they all say to her eventually, "Live, laugh, love", or some variation of the theme. She just sits, holding their hands and nodding her head, pseudo-understanding; her days are long, so long. Every one of them is like she is trudging up to her hips through a wasteland of sand that never ends. "You're still so young," they whisper, they croak, they accuse her with their eyes. But no, she is 36 now. Not so young, if she ever was. She rubs her own hands together more often for the warmth these days and she can feel them papering, like wax paper now and she wonders if they will ever feel as thin as pages from the Bible.

She nods with her friends, with her co-workers, with anyone actually. "Where does the time go?" they ask and then answer themselves. In college, one day I started and the next I had my papers and now I sell cars, manage the gr…

vade mecum

My first memories reside in a beach town in Ontario. We lived in two different little white houses and we moved back to the new town when I was 5 years old. I believe I remember each house in detail.

I thought about the first white house. It sat on a corner lot, a chainlink fence around the backyard. I know the rooms, the circle-tiled kitchen, the mirror on the back of the bathroom door. I remember spilled cereal. Nicky crying. Grandma using milk from a can in her tea. The small park with swings. And a girl my age, I would run down the street to her house. She was the kind of girl who was always peeing herself. Her mother kept her fresh underwear underneath the coffee table. I thought that was weird. The underwear. And the peeing. But she always had gum and we would break off little, chewed-up pieces and roll them into tiny balls. Miniature Easter eggs.
I remember sunlight streaming through trees.

I thought about the second white house. The curve of the long driveway. Identical house…

#2 Unfamiliar

We like games of randomness the most. I frequent the card tables, poker and euchre usually. Kevlar and I like to play Scrabble together; a word board game where you pick up certain amounts of upside down, lettered tiles and try to make words out of what you have grabbed. Because you can build new words off what others have played, the game often ends up looking like a crossword. Sometimes Kevlar and I will put four or more boards together and add in extra sets of tiles so we can try to make bigger words. Others may play more physical games such as hockey, long distance speed skating, running or swimming and other forms of endurance competition. One week of every year is the Games of Olympus. The biggest event is always the pesticleous climb. 400 participants are given three days to see how far up one of the trees they can climb.
Some things I do by myself are to practice my lettering of ancient languages on my GSlab and read the Global Daily with its news of Elousa and the lists of …

Spread out the oil, the gasoline

Tommy knows the day because he can remember something of it. Not the whole day or anything, but what he does remember, he see just like he is at the movies. Third row and centre, staring at the back of his family's heads, even his own. Sometimes he wonders if that makes it a false memory. Momma has never described the blood splatters on the wall, the spit coming out of his father's mouth, though this is what Tommy remembers the most. He doesn't know why he standing beside them in the middle of the living room, when his father ordered him to his bedroom to nap, because the memory begins with him sitting beside his father on the couch. Tommy also remembers on the way to his bed, touching his mother’s blood while his own raced straight to his heart, so scared he'd be caught, pressing his whole palm in the mess on the wall quickly as he walked by, but he wasn’t.
Momma tells him that it happened a few weeks before his Dad was set to move out, when the little one-bedroom apa…