Tuesday, October 18, 2016

You here again?

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.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

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 me. Just me. Please.)
Sit with you in the after-moments when another dream snatches you away in to the darkness.
I still do.
But now sometimes I don't.
(I still talk to you. Only you.)

Aerosmith (again)
And it's true.
Now I could gain from this. I feel that in my bones as surely as I feel
your fingertips inside of my own
Pages of space
Stacked into lined-paper
A heart for one for all
x3 +1
No. Run.
Purple clouds. Purple Sun.

Ride the snake, ride the snake, ride the snake
Until we get to the lake
Where I can wash my hands and hair,
but leave my heart dirty, messy, pure.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

First Things First


There are no words.

Monday, September 26, 2016

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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Unfamiliar #4

The transition from human to humankindov is not considered a good time in our evolutionary past. Most of the Countries at the time balked, but the Council of Eight ignored the pleas of their people and voted the implantations into International Law. Despite the almost immediately leaked scandal that the Global United Nations had been injecting Africans with early forms of the Ghip along in their vaccinationsas early as the 1970s, the Council was not deterred. They would not acknowledge. They would not atone. “We are living in dangerous times. The Ghip will protect us all.” It was the only word the world heard from them. And the people rose, weak as they were because the governments were right, the times were dangerous because so many were hungry, homeless, dirty, infected. They rioted like they hadn’t in almost 40 years. So the GUNs sent out the robots and the real guns didn’t win. They went into America first. When the order for mandatory ghipping came down, the army killed off all Heads of State and enlisted all of its people and managed resistance against the robots for close to two years. All the world watched when the fight was lost and humanity would evolve. America fired every bomb they had at themselves. We call this the KoolAid Incident. There is video footage of parts of America being flung into space. That was the first thing we cleaned up when we started taking refuse to Mars. The cars and homes and bones orbiting us. We left a few things like the Statue of Liberty and the State of Texas, a beautiful domed arena that one hundred thousand people called home. We still marvel at the large space humans could take up. We can watch video coverage of the night sky and see these marvels sparkling brighter than the stars. A true sight to behold.
After the demise of America, even the rebels stopped protesting and turned themselves in for ghipping. Because above all else, human and humankindov wanted to live. But the GUNS weren’t taking any chances now, they sent the robots into every country to perform the implantations. Soon there were reports of the robots killing submitters. Those who showed up to the clinics. Those who opened their doors. It was a great culling of the Earth’s billions. We watch a lot of old news reports in Emotive from that time, especially so in the month of November, when we also celebrate V-Day. The video that always stands out for me is of a man and a woman, called husband and wife, who lived in Toronto. Most of us left are wondering why we were the ones saved, she said. It makes me sick to my stomach, her husband said. Maybe it stands out because I cannot imagine having a stomach. It sounds like a terrible thing to have and the pictures I have seen of them are not nice, but perhaps it is the reason we also got rid of them because this sentiment grew. The people left felt disgusted and soon they were calling for the overthrowing of the Global United Nations, most notably James Alistair Smith, a handsome man who helped pioneer consumer space flight. The GUNS relented and allowed an election and the ballot held 12 global parties to vote for. James A. Smith called his party the Arctalian Alliance and though it would come out a week before voting day that he had been a former high-up financer of the GUNs, he would still be elected and we still govern ourselves under his banner until this day. We have no need for elections.
His campaign slogan was “Ask me Anything.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

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. Again.

Heeeeey, do you also remember that time when you didn't talk to me for two months? Good friend? On my front porch, first coolie in, not even 11 am and you said to me, with a flippant shrug. "The whole you and Dougie thing, I didn't want to hear it." Wait. What? She said that to my face? After I have listen to her bitch and whine about her mother for...wait? What? Seriously, lady, for up to ten hours a week. For the last year. Wait. What? Did you really say that to my face?

Hey! Wait. Remember all those times you were the greatest friend of all? Like just letting me know so I knew. Like the times you let me know that my other neighbours were drug dealers and all they were good for was that and not much else? Like seriously, don't tell them your shit, you said. The wife used to come around a lot and she's a nice lady, but her husband controls her. Does whatever he tells her to. He's mad at me so I don't see them anymore. And there's weird, crazy sex slave stuff. And I'm pretty sure they burned down their old house to get that one. Remember all that? Gee, thanks, friend. Thank you for warning me. Good, good friend.
Hey. Remember that 'joke'. The one the other neighbours played on me. That was the label we officially gave it, right? Joke. You helped get me there. Maybe a week after Dougie moved out. You know. Me. Alone. With two young kids.
Hey, remember when you went to the neighbours and told them you knew about the joke and said, "I think she is trying to break-up our friendship" to the wife? The wife who had already made it clear to me long ago that she was no more than just hello, friendly neighbour with you? What?

That's not all? There's more?

Monday, October 20, 2014

A custom

He argues with me in the car now. If we haven’t already argued that day about something. It’s been happening more and more over the last year. I don`t like it very much, especially since these days, we have such little time in the car together, and because we used to always be fun in the car. I’m pretty sure we have both suggested car rides to each other many times over the years just so we could get to liking each other again. Tonight he wants to fight about how I blow my nose. “Jesus Christ. Are you serious?” He looks over at me while we are waiting to order our late-night dinner at Wendy’s. “We are out in public.”
“I admit that was loud,” I reply, our car windows are opened halfway. “But nobody cares.”
“You need to get out more. People care.”
“About blowing my nose? At 10:30 at night? Who is even around to hear me besides maybe…really improbably…the car ahead of us?”
“Everyone heard you. It’s disgusting. They all fucking care.”
“Where are these everyones? No one cares about how loud someone is blowing their nose or whatever…No one is dying from colds. And I am doing a service anyway, aren’t I? Warning people that they don’t want this sickness? A good, old foghorn sound is a fine alarm. And if someone did care enough and they wanted to say something…which they wouldn’t anyway because I am 63 years old….what would they even say? Something like, ‘Ewww’? Because then I would say to them, ‘You poor, rude fool. Now you`re gonna wake up with it in the morning`, and then I would laugh all crazy-like as I walk away, wiggling my fingers all voodoo at them. And anyway, who are you to just tell me now? After over 30 years…If you have been having an issue with me this long and haven’t bothered to tell me about it, well…well, I think more people would care that you are supressing anything for that long. That’s not good for you. Should we get some hours for a shrink?”
“Oh, just shut-up,” he mutters, and I sigh happily to myself because I know it is really the other way around, I have shut him up. I turn on the music when we pull out of the drive-thru, burgers bagged in my hand, and start singing along loudly with some way old Blue Rodeo. ‘Where does she get off telling me that LOOOOOOOOOOOVE could save us all (and my favourite line of all Blue Rodeo, even though I like Jim Cuddy’s voice better overall)..Save us aaaalllll…
Soon I am sitting in my living room chair, eating a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger and reading the latest Miriam Toews, surprisingly not about Mennonites or boats and he’s watching The National snuggled up on the couch like he is ready for bed and soon we will go because nothing is more important than the ability to sleep these days.

The car breaks down the day we get the news. The day I get the news first, the day I delivered the news. When Matt calls me I want to tell him, but he is spitting out the f-word faster than some of those crazy vitamin poppers we seem to have more of in this day and age. “It’s not really a big deal,” our mechanic tells us over the phone, when Matt calls him, after he has waited for the tow truck and taken a taxi home. “You can pick it up tomorrow afternoon, say around 2.” I am a little disappointed wishing the car would breakdown for good, so we could find ourselves less reason to go anywhere. Sometimes it takes days to clean up the dead bodies, blue foam quarantining off whole cars in the middle of roadways, parking lots. Driving can be dangerous business these days since the police quit enforcing traffic laws. But our city is better than most, the news tells us and I believe it. Toronto can be a nightmare. I am still strong, but still, the 12 hours we are allowed out monthly, after work hours, wouldn`t be that hard to give-up. Or to at least constrict further. We could donate some of the hours to Eddie and the kids, he would appreciate it and put it to far better use than we are. I mean, trips to Wendy`s. That`s not important.
“I’ll call Kev,” he says, after we hang up and then now, I have to tell him right then and I am still not really certain what I said, but I said it. The there are no words. But I touched him and he held me. Funny how we remember our actions, even more than our words. Or maybe that`s just me, I don`t know.

And now today is the first day of three days off for Kev and he wants to start from the second he finally opens his eyes. “Will you fuck off?” he asks me, none too politely either.
“As much as I would like to, this is my family home. It will have to be you. If you go, maybe I will miss you, but that is neither here nor there right now. Right now it’s time to get up and get in the shower. You know we got to get going. It doesn’t matter if you want to or not.”
“I don’t.” His firm, resolute answer, from under the pillow that he wishes would suffocate him. Maybe he is so mad because I do not do it for him.
“You don’t what?”
“Want to go fucking anywhere.”
“Too bad.”
“Just fucking go away already. Shut up.”
“For five minutes,” I agree.
I return seven minutes later and bounce up and down on the unoccupied part of the bed, “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon…get up!”
“This 30 year thing, this is one of them…” he grumbles unhappily.
“Too late now…suck it up, buttercup,” I flutter the eyelashes that used to be there at him. “Today is a sad day, but it is supposed to be a happy day too. Let’s go do it! Practice that handsome smile right now.”
He decides not too, throws the pillow back over his head and mutters, “I hate you a lot sometimes. Like I mean hate. Like right now”
“That’s okay,” I hold my hands up in mock prayer and say, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”
“So blasphemous,” he kicks at me and I jump off the bed and flounce out of the room with a laugh. “Get a move on, Mr. Chuckles,” I call back over my shoulders.
A few minutes later, I hear him turn on the shower and I put my national anthem compilation and sing along until I feel brave enough to take on this day too.

Some days it feels like no one is left. Our parent are gone, most of our sons and some of our daughters, gone on. Met their maker. Between Matt and I, we have buried three of our children, five of our grandchildren over the years. Countless friends. No one even blinks an eye anymore when you tell them of the recent death tolls in your family, in your life. Friends popping off faster than letting loose a three year old into a dandelion field. War and disease. The never-ending war of the Middle East. The flesh-eating diseases, turning us inside or out, into zombie looking things. That’s what kills us all now. Matt and I are lucky to reach old age together. Most generations behind us won’t. We are the last. We waited a week for autopsy results; that’s not too long and we were thankful. Maybe me more-so. It was a hard week. But we finally received the results and Kev had passed from natural causes, just simple heart failure. Our celebration would include him being there, but even now, so soon after, all I remember from the funeral is the flowers and my husband’s face.

There’s Minusha, I see her right away, when we walk back into our house after the burial, and I look around and see she has set out everything perfectly. I notice she has brought houseplants from all over the house to the front room and has brought a few bouquets herself and spread them out in vases and my mason jars. The food—whatever it was, I never ate any; Minusha took home the leftovers—is spread out along a large rectangle table covered in a white table cloth. I drink the coffee and talk to the six people who have showed up to honour my husband’s best friend and I will feel like a stranger in my house for a few weeks after.
Later that evening, when we are alone together again, Matt wants to fight.
“Where’d you put my socks?”
“I don’t think I’ve touched your socks in twenty-five years. Why are you asking me?”
“You fucking put them somewhere. Hid them or something. Where the fuck is my hat too? I haven’t seen it all day. I want my hat back. You did it.”
“Yes, I used the socks for your soup tonight. You know, like a bay leaf. Taken out before served. Your hat was my lid for simmering.”
Well, that made him really mad, and he got to his swearing, so I went for a walk three floors down to Minusha’s place and we made the coffee because no matter how bad the world got, we knew we were going to be okay as long as we could make coffee any time of the day. We sat out on her balcony and I asked Minusha about the socks and the hat and then texted Matt about where he could find his much loved head covering. When I get back home, two hours later, he is sitting up on the sofa and pretending that he is sad, but he delivers the news with the gleam of fuck you in his eye, something else that says we were even for now, “Your boyfriend is dead. Just saw it on The National.”

Sunday, October 12, 2014

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-stomp-stomp. But not the blonde, he reaches down for his backpack, but looks up at me. Google it, I say. Alice Cooper. Alice Cooper, he repeated back and he then he ran off after the other boys.

What are those dandelions called, the ones that grow the spikes that fit perfectly through our skin? Or are they just old dandelions? Been around for a few generations? I should look that up. What? You look at me like being a dandelion expert is weird or something. Someone has to be. You know, maybe they aren’t even dandelions. Maybe they are called Thorny Bastard Finger Lovers. Anyway, I had to buy gardening gloves and a shovel. You should have seen the roots on them! Like fucking trees. Just kept digging and pulling and digging and pulling. And honestly, once I pulled those fuckers out of the ground, I was done for the season. What? It was a lot of work. I don’t think I want flowers ever actually. Maybe the landlord will put up a porch, washed white, over top of the garden. I could have a pretty umbrella and one of those little tables with seating for two.

I thought I wrote a perfect sentence the other night. 3:38 a.m. Yeah, I know what time. How nerdy, right? Anyway, I woke-up and checked on it and it wasn’t perfect, could never be perfect, so why would I continue even trying? I deleted it. So much easier to do on a keyboard, then with pen or pencil. Now I want it back. That sentence…What?
As your friend, I must tell you that you are BOOOORING.
What? I’m boring? I told you so, but I see. You want a good story. Sure. Why not? I've got those to tell. They're mine and I can say them. How about this one?

So, before we moved here a few months ago, we lived in Kingston, remember? Grew up there amidst the brown. Seriously, that’s all Kingston is. Brown. It’s like drudgery amplified. Imagine that colour. That’s Kingston. It's probably actually worse that you can imagine. So anyway, I’m just in the kitchen, starting to think about what to make for supper and my husband texts me and lets me know he has to work late and I think great because I didn’t really want to make supper and I would rather load up the kids and go hang out with Helen, that’s my sister, and maybe her kids and my kids will run around the backyard happily enough and we can go sneak ourselves a little joint in her upstairs basement because we could still keep an eye on the kids from there. Then we would go spark up the barbeque and dole out hot dogs and chips and watermelon and popsicles and bitch about men, mostly our husbands and relive the crazy things we did when we were kids, for a few hours. Danny, that's her husband, would come home just after 8 and sit on the back deck with us and have a beer and I would take me and the kids home by 9 and watch a show, read a book, do the dishes, whatever and if Doug wasn’t home by 11, it didn’t matter to me, I was going to bed anyway. Now I never go to bed at 11. Up all night. Maybe I am an insomniac. Or just really pissed off. Anyway, that’s usually how it goes. I don’t call her or text her, I never do. She never does either. We just show up at each other's house whenever we want. And that evening, well, we walked in through her side door like we usually do and me and the kids...well, we got to see their father with his cock buried in my sister’s cunt, bent over the kitchen sink, washing up from their little supper together. Nice, huh? Oh, what did I do? I asked where my niece and nephew were and Helen told me they were at our brother’s for the night, and then I turned myself and the kids around and we went home. I let the kids eat brownies and pudding pie for supper. I gave them a banana too. You know, for some fruit, some good-for-you…Anyway, my sister got pregnant. I went with her when she had the abortion. Doug and Danny, they never knew, but I blew up six months after, so Doug knows now. Not Danny. No one is telling Danny. That's why we’re here now. Away, you know? Away from all of that.

Tell me a story. Tell me a story.
About who? About who? Wait…the neighbour next door, I will tell you her story. Let me fill you in…


And again.

And again.

Anyone. Everyone.

Wait. Wait. There's more...

Monday, September 08, 2014

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 mothers wanted it to end because something in Kenny's voice reminded them of their mothers.
It doesn't matter, I suppose. We found them there parked in the mall's back lot, just dirt and grass and they didn’t know they were waiting for us, so they were surprised, but pleased. They were listening to Nirvana and I thought that made them cliche already somehow, but nothing mattered but the bright shine in your eyes when your boy ordered Donny out of the front passenger seat of his beat up old blue Cavalier. They called us ladies and we thought we were. Fifteen years old and soon sitting in a wooded area on the outskirts of town, our lips moist on the twenty-sixer of rye when it was our turn of the pass. "Don't gag," you whispered fast into my ear, while you pretended to flip your hair. Were you so worried I would embarrass you? I have always been the better actor.

Tipsy before long, I swayed back and forth, back and forth, and Donny caught me in his arms and pulled me close. "Whoa, take’r easy there, lush," he whispered, his mouth pressed into my hair and I felt like a girl, a real girl, fully and formed, a girl and I giggled, I truly did, I can't do it now, but I could do it then. Then I turned towards his lips and found them waiting, for me, the kiss all the more warmer for the chill in air. I am a girl, I am a girl and summer is almost over. I kissed him again.

"We should go to Nancy's house," your boy will say and I will think boys are so dumb, do they not pay attention to anything? "That's not a great idea. We don't really...we don't get along with her. Actually, Nancy hates us too. But she’s a real cunt about it."
"No, no," your boy will say. "She is gone for the week. The whole family. Florida. We know where the key is. Her place backs onto this woods. No one will know we are there, if we just keep the lights off. Keep quiet, you know...Let’s go."
And I won't even have to look at you. I will feel the want radiating off of you, popping like fireworks, I will think I’m standing to close. I will look at Donny, watch him pull off a Hollywood promise with his eyes. See the idea occur to him before that boy will say it. "We could fuck in her bed."
"I'm calling dibs on the parents bed anyway," your boy will say.

I will be surprised by Nancy's's house when I see it. The girl of then always looking like a woman of the streets; her mascara and powders too thick, her sneer the perfected Joan Jett. I will remember the day when I watched her consciously pull her eyes apart after blinking, the flick of her fingernails, middle finger and thumb. Her room will be clean and sparse. A single bed, a dresser, a desk. The wallpaper, row after row of little yellowed flowers with gilded leaves. The white curtains will be billowing lightly in the nighttime breeze, the window left open. But Donny will close it. Shhh.

"You haven't done this a lot," he will pause a short time later, burying himself deeper into my body, looking at me straight on, when my wrong movements bend him the wrong way.
"I'm sorry-" I will try to reply, but he will hold up his hand, "No. I like it better this way. I can show you everything. I want to fuck you all night. There are no mistakes, just happy little accidents. "
"Did you just seriously quote Bob Ross?" I will say.
“Yeah, he’s cool shit,” Donny will laugh and I will agree to everything because I liked Bob Ross too.

Two hours later, you and your boy will make yourselves known and the boys will want to raid the kitchen. Soon we will have pulled out a binder from under the bed and in the thin light from a street lamp, we will read the poetry written by a girl we hate and her friends (that we equally hate), one of them your boy’s girlfriend. We will laugh at their sonnets of love and rainbows and eternal flames. No sorrows of tomorrow, just the pains of the day. Surface shit. "You're better," you will whisper urgently, but I will already know. We’re both better, no matter what.

And then you will kiss me, grabbing the side of my face with your hands, your tongue chasing mine, thin and worn, not swollen like mine and I will not ask you for another five years if you liked the taste of him. And at first, you will wrinkle your nose up, sniff even, but then you will laugh and shrug and say, “Easy come, easy go" and then we will laugh and forget everything that came before that moment for a little while again.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

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 with myself. Now that I know, something can be done about it. You'll help poor little, old me, won't you?
And she wishes she were offended with herself for not being offended with herself, even though she hears that whine in his voice. Instead, she feels warmth spreading through her, somehow she feels grateful he's finally called her again. It's been almost three months.

She's used to being first. First born, first found, and first lost, in Robbie's case anyway. She understands. It has to be this way because they are like moth to a flame, the flickering dance of macabre. So mutually exclusive of, almost unwaveringly seeking of each other's every reaction, thought, it repelled others. Especially girlfriends, particularly boyfriends. No, she and Robbie were not in love with each other, but sometimes she isn't certain that she is his friend either.

He is living with his mother again, so she drives over to her place, to the row after row of townhouses at the edge of town and Robbie meets her in the parking lot for guests. Hey, it's a nice day. I got some beers. Let's go sit around back on the deck, he says.
Mmmm, she agrees, it's always the deck; she's never been in his mother's house. Is your mom home?
He shakes his head. Let's go. Before one of the teenaged punks around here makes off with my beer.

They soon find out that it's too nice of day in the noontime August sun. Her head starts to feel muggy after two beers and the sun is getting to Robbie too because now he's crying and she can't take it and she says, Just stop for a second. Let's put up this umbrella.
Okay, he agrees, and I will get us some water too because yeah, this is all too...intense. I'm sorry, Lill.
No-no, Robbie, she waves him off, but when he goes inside his mother's house, she rubs her hands across her eyes and sighs. What a mess this time, she thinks.
Once in the shade for a while, they start to notice the soft, summer breeze again, tickling their bodies, sliding up their noses and they are happy again, his feet up on the cooler and hers up on a large, blue plastic tote. Time keeps slipping with the sun.
Almost dusk, she asks, What's in this one? She nudges the point of her toe at the blue box.
He shrugs. I don't know. You can open if you want.
She shrugs too. Okay. Inside, there is row after row upon row of telephone bills. She reaches down inside to the bottom right-hand corner of the container and pulls out the bill. Oh, my god, Robbie. This is from 1967.
I know. She's fucking crazy. See the lid of that one? That piece of paper on it?
She grabs the lid to look at it. January, 1972. March, 1987. August, 1976. September, 1991. April, 1994. All written in different ink, same hand.
The one's that she can't find. They're like missing children to her and the FBI isn't helping her.
Why would they? We're fucking Canadian, she laughs. I do hope she isn't giving out our National Secrets.
If I don't get out of here in like three days, I'm gonna want to hang myself, he says, leaning his elbows on his knees and pounding himself in the forehead with his fists. Fuck, Lill, I have been so stupid this time.
Do you think she has called the police on you, Robbie? I mean really--?
Her ex is doing time up in Kingston. She said he used to beat her, among other illegal shit--selling some pot, petty theft--says she had to call the police on him 23 times before he went away longer than 90 days. He had a warrant for his arrest three days outstanding and the police were all too happy to add in the domestic violence charge. Bam. Six years. I don't know. It's like...what she does. She's fucking hysterical. They're just words, you know? Angry words. Stupid words. But just words. It's not like I hurt her or anything.
Do you think you will piss your pants when that big motherfucker, the one who has a foot on you, threatens you with the same shit, when you are begging no trying to save your ass?? You can't be running around saying that kind of shit to people, Robbie. You just can't.
Seriously? That's what you've got to say to me? I need some reassurance here? You know that, right?
What, she asks, confused. First, you call me to come here to hear your story under the pretense that I would agree with your stupidity and here I am doing just that and now you want me to what--pump you up instead? She mimics him, They're just words, you know? If you need me to make you feel good about yourself, then maybe you should have said something good about yourself and I would have followed suit. You know your list is long, but they're just words, right? What do they mean coming from me? She sighs loudly. You may soon have someone reading you your rights. How very just, indeed, she laughs at herself suddenly thinking she is funny and she can't help but grin at him wickedly.
He grins back, shaking his head at her; I won't go to jail or anything. Slap on the wrist.
Not even that if you go in court offering a donation to a worth-while cause, maybe there's one that helps women with the cost of their psychiatric drugs for hysteria or something.
—You're an ass—
Among other shows of good faith. It's good you have a regular job. You would want the charge to be lowered, so you don't carry around the stupid bastard file forever.
You're right. Do you think I should call the police now? Turning myself in would be another show of good faith.
Don't be stupid, Robbie. The police know who you are. They'd come looking here first.
He sighs and nods, You're right. He lets a pause hang between them and then he queries, hopeful, Don’t suppose you've got a pity fuck in ya?
That won't be happening and even if it could be, you're way too pathetic right now, she tells him.
I know. I know, he agrees, nodding his head in agreement. I really am. I've got to get my priorities in order. First I've got to get myself out of my mother's place and then I can go get myself laid. It's easy. I can do it. But I've got to do it fast. If I don't, I'll go back to her. Jesus Christ, I will, he puts his head between his knees and rubs at his head vigourously, but he'll be washing that woman out for a while to come yet. He knows it and looks over at Lill and she knows it too, and he's not nearly sorry enough. With his frowning mouth and smiling, begging eyes, he says I've got some takeout sushi in the fridge. You want some?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

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 would keep his mouth shut. "But even still, I really dug that girl. Do you know what happened to her? Does she live back home still?" They had got on good, he says, they had a lot in common, but they had been friends for a year, so of course they did. They didn't have many chances to make out or anything, but "we held hands a lot, man. Actually, all the time she would give my hands these really great massages. Back then it was enough." A laugh. But then he's so serious, "She had the sexiest knees ever. Honestly. They're something I notice all the time because of her. You don’t know where she is?"


Okay, she agreed, after he asked her five times in one hour if she would be his girlfriend. He lived 20 kilometers away in the middle of nowhere, so her parents wouldn't find out if she just didn't talk about him to anyone. Besides, how often could he come back in to town anyway? She figured she wouldn't see him again for a month. Instead, he tried to see her a few times, but as much as five times a week. At first it was fun because he was cute. But after the first two bouquets of flowers, it was hard figuring out what to do with them most of the time. She couldn’t just throw them away, but she couldn't keep bringing them home either. The "Friendship Week" excuse could only be an excuse for one week. She asked him to stop, but he wouldn’t. "A lady deserves flowers every day," he reassured her. After three months, she felt like she was running out of places to put the bodies. She thought for weeks on how to break up with him. Then one day she told him, "Flowers are the scent of death," when he tried handing her the orange flowers, even though they were beautiful and hard not to take from him this time. It was all like a dare when she said it, "I'm breaking up with you."
He was heartbroken right away. He slammed the flowers on the ground and she watched his sneakered foot slam down over and over on them. 1,2,3,4,5, just the stems, not the blooms. Then he walked away because he was going to start crying. He continued crying at home every night for weeks. He bought himself some candles and played his music and dedicated it to her for months. He thought about her always even though he doesn’t see her for years.
Then by chance, late one Saturday night, they find themselves walking the same way. For Ellen, his company is a relief because she always scares herself walking home alone after dark. “I imagined the worst,” she tells him. “Old, forty year old men with wagging tongues and bald spots.” He said to her halfway up the hill, "You're still the same. Do you know what's still the same about me?" "Ah, that you still love me?" she was flippant with her reply, then teasing, poking him with a finger into his side as he grew quiet and then stopped walking. When she turns to look at him, she sees that it was true. So bare-bone in his stance, in his eyes. He watches her too. And it happens. Now she too would always love him. It isn’t in the same way, but even still, it's the lover’s revenge, she will always be the sorry one. He turns himself completely and he walks away.


He found her bottle along what he thought was his secret patch of Lake Erie shore, two months after its launch, tangled with some old garbage and muck. Her first grade class had made a bus trip to send them off to a nearby beach town. They were allowed to play along the autumn shoreline, as long as they took off their shoes and rolled up their pants. He begins his letter, "Dear Ellen, Unfortunately, we live in the same town, though I did find your bottle a distance from it. I work for the local paper. I hope we will be good friends…" He writes to her once a month, in care of the school and the teachers all give her time to answer him back and they all mark her favourably in English. When she starts at the high school, he starts writing to her at her home address. What's this about? Whose Duncan? her mother waving the open letter in front of her. “Duncan," she answered her mother, “You mean Duncan? My pen pal Duncan? From grade ONE?" Oh, her mother had said, handing her back the letter. I forgot about that. Sorry. But Ellen didn't trust her mother. She wrote back to him. 'Dear Duncan, My mother is going to read all of your letters. As I write this, it dawns on me that the teachers probably read your letters too. Probably mine too. But that doesn't matter. We’re talking about my mother and I think she would freak out if she knew how old you were. Let's just meet somewhere instead. How about at-' So, Ellen and Duncan started meeting monthly for lunch.
When Ellen is 19, Duncan will get her a job in his department. One night, working late together, he will pat her on the ass and say, "Good job." When he lets his hand linger there, he will see the immediate distaste on her face, before she cries, changing tactics, "You can't do that. What are you thinking?" And he will say, "Screw you, Ellen. You go out with all those boys and let them do God knows what to you and I can't even slap you on the ass after all these years? After giving you this job so you could get out of your mother's house?" But what he will be really thinking is: 14 years. I've wasted 14 years. Then Ellen will yell at him, “Duncan, you're old. You should know better. I quit.” And he will think, She’s right. I’m 46 years old and a fucking fool, but he will still say to her, “Fuck you, Ellen, fuck you. You’re fired." And she will laugh and toss him the finger, over her shoulder, as she walks out the door.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

#3 Unfamiliar

When I arrived at my Emotive class earlier today, I first noticed Derbi off by a corner booth painting. He doesn’t like to paint inside one of the stalls; instead he brings out what he needs and sits facing the closed door. Turning your back on a large group of people is also not considered polite, but it is okay in Emotive classes. I also notice that Derbi is getting better at his craft. It is still just the same scene, blue skies and the pesticleous trees—that is all anyone really paints—but it looks more true. When I walked over and joined him, he smiled his G-reeting at me and handed me his brush. I dipped it into the shade of white and then painted a little one of us, dressed in the harvesting suit, standing below one of the trees. When I was done, Derbi looked up at me and said, "Well, sign your name then too.” So I did, but apologised, “It does not look so good now.” Derbi pardoned me with his shrug and a smile, so I went looking for a large group of engaging conversationalists, before The Elites arrived to take over the last half hour of class.
They immediately brought up a screen that highlighted some of the text from one of the readings for class.

***ASH"S BLOG***

April 13th, 2009
Everything. Is. Horrible.

First Cameron broke up with me by text. TEXT! And later when I was obviously upset and crying my heart out to Rachel, Mackenzie and stupid Mel, he walked by with his friends and pointed and laughed at me and Mel says, "Maybe it's your clothes." Yeah well we all don’t have stupid parents who can buy us anything we want. Sometimes I hate her so much. I’m telling ya, I wanted to spit by grape funky juice all over her new little pink dress, but I’m tooo nice or something because I didn’t. That girl gets so frustrating. But the day gets worse, right? Hell ya it does.Cuz there goes Cameron after school walking Becky-fucking-LaCrosse down the street. Hand in hand and I just wanted to like run up to them and hit her in the head so hard with my backpack because Cameron should be my man. Like WTF is going on???

Posted by ASH at 11:34 pm No comments

The Elite shuts down his screen and says, "Shallow thinking often led to depression. Emotions linked with Shallow Thinking are some of the ones expressed by Ash in her blog entry such as anger and jealousy, linked with traits of coveting and pettiness. People, like Ashley, would eventually become aggressive enough in their depression to take the life of someone else. There has not been any sort of killing on Earth since the second Kool-Aid and that is a good thing. But no one has experienced a negative emotion for over 1000 years now. Yes, we could take pride in this. We could say we have obtained what we want! Peace and happiness! But you must be honest with yourselves. You are nothing but Surface Thinkers. Let us ask you this: If we have an inability to experience bad feelings, how then do we know we are truly happy? We ask you to consider that question and this one: What aspects of happy do we no longer possess? Passion is one. What are some of the others? Think on these two questions for a few moments and then we will have Fast Discourse, before we move on to a Crying Session. Bow your heads.”

There are no longer any rational explanations for wanting to kill someone, and certainly not for things like pairbonding-we don't do that anymore- or clothing. Although clothing is not above our thought process; we do choose which colour we will wear when we go out in public. But beyond that, clothing has limited style. The clothing of 2009 would not be safe for us to wear now, was not safe for them to wear then. Our Sun is very warm, despite the trees, so we must keep ourselves protected.
I do not know anyone who is unhappy about our inability to experience negative feelings. I'm certain we all feel passion when we play out games. Before 2067, it is said people performed individually and that no one was ever truly happy. Today, thousands of years in the future, we still perform individually, but now everyone has been happy for a real long time and this is because of the Ghip implantation. Becoming fashionable in the 2030s, the first Ghips held limited information and were popularized by the banking industry. They held clinics where people could come and be injected anywhere on their body for a fee of 300 dollars taken monthly from their bank account for as little as 1 dollar a month. The Banks played heavily on people’s fears, there were a lot of hungry people cutting off victim’s hands for their fingerprints so they could feed themselves. So a lot of early users of the chip also had their next-of-kin information put on it as an extra precaution. Soon music and personal files could be stored on the Ghip, sent back and forth from other devices. Music or other audio files were transmitted to a small earpiece you could wear like a small earring. Then came simple access to the InterGet for $256 a month. This was a great time for quackery, as people started downloading cures for all kinds of diseases, including depression. Those injected nicknamed themselves ‘humankindovs by voting on a Google poll. We still call ourselves this to this day.In 2063, required by International Law under the Global United Nations, everyone on earth was to be injected with the Ghip.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

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 instead and those were the last words Ellen heard spoken that long, long night, except for the ones in her head. Mostly just herself and her friends. But a police officer too. Just in case.

That morning had started off in the way of the new normal. The overwhelming smell of the bacon and its thick grease, the eggs frying in the pan all hitting her before her mother's voice calling out to her from in front of the kitchen stove. C'mon, Ellen. But today, her mother had added, If you don't get up now, you won't have time to get yourself all dolled up in that new outfit of yours. I packed your school bag and it is waiting by the door. Ellen had snapped her eyes open in sudden irritation and the first thing she seen through the bedroom doorway, like every morning lately, was her ugly mother cooking up some more fat to add to her already hulking body.Ellen was so sick of looking at her mother, so sick of hearing her voice, so sick of her new stupid glasses that took up her full face and her new man haircut. Combined with the long muumuus of the brightest yellows and greens and oranges that her mother has taken to wearing the last year or so, Ellen hasn’t brought any of her friends home after school now for ages, not that she could bring anyone home if she wanted to.
Ellen is five weeks into a six month grounding and the first part of her punishment had been to switch rooms with her older brother, 23, definitely too old to be living at home and flunking out of the community college, but thankful colleges didn't call home to your parents and that sneaky, conniving little sisters could be bought off easily with a few six-packs of beer and twenty dollars a month. Ellen used to have the bedroom at the back of the hallway. Her brother had always coveted the space, but was told no by his parents time after time. There once had been three girls in there and girls needed their privacy being the reasons. But Ellen had no privacy now that she was stuck in the tiny bedroom right off the kitchen. Her father had even taken the door off of the hinges and stored it under lock and key in his garage. Ellen hadn't been able to fit all of her stuff in room, but her parents helped her by taking things away. As another part of her punishment they threw out all of her records and nail polishes, and her mother had sifted through her clothing, taking away anything that was the Devil's colours, black and red, so there went her new KISS t-shirt, with her mother muttering, So cheap, as she tossed it into a garbage bag. Ellen doesn’t remember her parents ever taking her to church, so she hadn’t really understand the Devil talk, and cheap is something she certainly isn’t. Sure, she has kissed two boys and maybe loved a few more, but she wasn't like a lot of the girls at the high school. She was pretty sure she didn’t want any boy to touch her boobs, let alone anywhere else yet, which was probably the biggest reason her few boyfriends had broken up with her. The final part of her punishment was to find new friends and no boyfriends. Five weeks ago, Ellen had been caught sitting in a circle with three of her friends in the backyard, Kenny's transistor radio and one of her brother's gifts of beer in the middle, when her parents should have been at a dance in Brantford, not suddenly home.
"Get your little asses out of here," her father had yelled at her friends. "Get the hell out of here now before I kill you. You disgusting little shits. Sheila, you stay here. I will drive you home." Clearly he thought the boys to be the providers of the alcohol and that they had unclean intentions for two innocent girls.
You’re so dead, her mother had told her, while her father drove her friend home, standing over the laundry room sink and scrubbing the blood off the back seat of her dress.

After only a week into her grounding, her mother offered Ellen one of her ‘secrets’. No later than 4:30, she told her daughter. And Ellen took it, even though she knew it would be lorded over her. It especially had been over the last few days because last Thursday Ellen, losing track of time, had come walking in the door at five minutes to five and there was her father sitting at the kitchen table, jumping his face overtop of his evening newspaper. "What the hell is going on? Why aren't you already here? Mother?"
And her mother had frowned large at her and said, You don't have an A&P bag. They didn't have those olives? I figured as much. I haven't seen any the last two trips. You can keep the money. Have a cafeteria lunch tomorrow. After all, it's Friday. And there was her father already lost back to the paper, when Ellen glanced over at him.
Her mother never ended up giving her lunch money for the next day. And yesterday, when they were towards the end of their supper, her mother had suddenly snapped her fingers. “Oh, Ellen. I almost forgot. I picked up that outfit you wanted when I was downtown today. I put it through the wash. When you are done eating, you can put it in the dryer so it is ready for you to wear in the morning.” Ellen had cried true tears of horror when she saw what was in the washing machine. Her mother was just like that. Mean. Ellen just knew she would never be this unkind in her entire life, but even still, she had glared at her mother's back and shot her the finger before dragging herself out of bed and gathering up the things she needed to take with her to the bathroom. Including the offending outfit.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


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. Sissy has given up running laps around the fence line; the sun blazes too bright, and she flops on the ground beside him. He watches her, now flat out on her back, as she rocks her legs across the sharp grass. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and… The grass is starting to scratch red at her tender legs. “Stop it, Sissy,” he says, but she isn’t listening to him right now. So he says even louder, “Stop it, Sissy. You will get blood on your legs.”
“Okay, Tommy,” she agrees and stops. “Blood hurt.”
They both need a drink, but they won’t go into the house again until Tommy wants to and he isn’t ready to. Not yet. If he goes in, then Momma might see what’s in his pocket. He is filled with nervous excitement and worry.
Sissy begins to whimper, low and pleading, like a disgraced dog, “Firsty.”
Large dandelions poke through the fence from the empty lot behind their home. “Do you want to pick more flowers, Sissy?” he asks.
“Flowers. Flowers. Oh! Water. Yes. Flowers.” She scrambles and sits herself upright.
"No, no water, Sissy,” he tells her.
She throws herself back on the ground and screams: Waaaaaaah, Waaaaaaah, while she slams her pink legs hard against the ground. “We can make ninja belts,” Tommy suggests, but Sissy is back to not listening to him, she just keeps screaming the word for crying and she is getting louder. “That’s so annoying, Sissy,” he says, when she takes a deep breath to let out her next wail. “You’re not even for real crying.”
He watches then as her eyes go out-of-focus and begin to turn red like Momma’s and Tommy knows she is going to start screaming for real. He feels like his heart will wrench right out of his chest, it pounds so loudly; he has to shut her up. He digs the heels of his dusty sneakers into the dry earth and raises his bum off the ground to pull the pack of yellow patches out of his back pocket. He’s watch Momma do this a hundred times.
“Look, Sissy. Wanna see the lights? Lights, lights, lights. Sissy. Lights. Lights…” He rips out a stick and wipes it quickly across the black stripe on the back and it takes, he holds the pale flame cautiously in his fingers and exclaims, “Sissy! Lights! I did it! Lights!”
Sissy's head bobbles up slightly to look at him, and then she brings herself up to her knees fast. She sighs, “Oh, Tommy. Happy Birdday."
“Yes, Sissy, yes! Happy Birthday!” Tommy encourages her, “Blow out the candle, Sissy. Do it.” He watches her and the match carefully as she leans forward, he won’t burn her. Her small fingers stretching through the dirt. Her lips curling up to blow. A thick drop of spit as it drools out from between her baby lips, landing wet and thick and then sliding down her leg. “Again! Again!” she laughs, clapping her hands and laughing. So Tommy lights match after match, until the last one. “Hey, Sissy, let’s light this grass on fire,” he says to her. “O.K. Tommy! Fire!” she agrees. And Tommy grins at his baby sister, his heart jam-packed with all the love he feels for her.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

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 grocery store, write lies, or others say, Kids. Once you have kids, it's all over.
But when she looks at her son, all of his four years, she thinks, You've been here forever.
She thinks about the act that had created her son, an act of the past at this stage her marriage. It had lasted 14 minutes, from start to finish. She had looked over at his alarm clock, the fluorescent green numbers casting an unforgiving glow across her pale, unshaven knees. She wasn't surprised, even if it had felt like an hour.

It is maddening to her how bright they make the rooms for the dying. Clean shades of yellow and blue. A forced bliss. Like the framed paintings of flowers on the wall is going to remind you of the time you actually stopped to smell that flower only because that stupid adage came into your head and suddenly you would feel some overwhelming happiness just remembering and be okay with dying. The failing are placed in rooms that face the back of the hospital, so they can look at the forest. A group of doctors keep the deer fed and they show up often, along with the squirrels and the birds and the rabbits. It leaves her bewildered. So few have the vision to see that far. These rooms should be for those who need to keep on living.

Time spent with Jimmy Larson is the worst. Sometimes, she wants to phone in and say she is sick. Maybe call in her vacation days. There are just enough people in the town, so that someone is always dying, but there’s not enough to have a back-up for her. The others are glad she is there; no one else wants to do her job. They call her in the middle of the night to avoid it and she always answers. She's missed less than a handful since she started nine years ago. She is good at it. She knows her silence is their greatest comfort. But with Jimmy Larson she feels compelled to make sound. Read stories. Clap her hands. Sing songs. Seven days now since they took him off life-support, after three months in a coma. She has slept here beside him for the last four, in a little cot, with the quilt they keep here for her up at the front desk. Seconds stopped ticking in this room a long time ago.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

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 houses all along the way. I remember jumping one way: 1 house, 2 house is my house, and from the other way: 1 house, 2 house, 3 house is my house. And across the road the park of all parks. Slides and swings and things to climb, the splash pad, the trees that reached to the sky. The sunlight streaming through them too. I remember that.

I wondered if I could find either house and simply started with Google and it wondered if maybe I wanted to look at this park? On this Ave? And suddenly I could see the huge purple, laminated circle that was always pinned to my coat. My name, my address and phone number. I remember the yellow school buses, each with a different coloured, circle sticker on the front of them, so we would know which to board. It's 20. I lived at 20. I found the second house on Maps. At 20. Across the road the park Google wanted me to click. And now I know at least the scenery is pretty accurate in my memories from that time. There it all was. Almost nothing changed in the 2009 view. Not even the long curb of the driveway; I would try to balance on it like a tightrope all the way around. Looking at the park I lived across from, I thought about all the walks through it to get to the variety store. The outline of the store through the trees, and I zoom in and yes, there is that outline! Yes! I'm so happy, no really,I am over-joyed, to remember all of it so clearly.

I even remembered a few new old things, while looking around the old neighbourhood.

Sometime between 2009 and 2012, someone cut down the two trees that were on the front lawn of the second white house. They were the tallest trees I had ever seen. Or so I have always believed. And maybe I am right about that too. They climbed and climbed and were still growing when Google wouldn't show me anymore. I can drive there, but now I can never confirm. Maybe they're my fairy tale.

I remember the large book I would look at in my new room at the first white house. His name in big gold lettering across the top of the book. The top! I think about that now and can't help but whisper: lucky bastard.

I show my littlest daughter and her eyes open wide in wonder and excitement and she shouts, "Are. We. Going. THERE?" and when she calms down, "That's the best park I ever see."
I show my son the old neighbourhood and he looks at me with eyes wide too, his in disbelief. "You lived there? Pretty lucky."
When Fuckface gets here, I show him too and he thinks, "Pretty lucky" too.

I can't find the first house. I looked for a few hours and I will probably look for a few more. But 'little girl who pees herself' is not exactly returning the results I need from Google. Who knows, maybe it's just more wood cut down. But maybe it's not. And you know, I just want to know if I remember it as well as I think I do too. I think it would be much faster to just drive the whole town. It's not so big. It wouldn't take more than a few hours. So we've started making plans for a weekend in August.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

#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 winners from the different games. Everyone likes to see their name in the paper. The Global Daily also has 12 pages of word and number games and mazes. I always do extra reading on the next day’s class topics too, so I can remind us of additional things.

Earlier today, the lesson for Emotive was on early forms of depression. I usually take my Emotive later in the evening around 10 pm, but today I was leaving town and headed to St. Petersburg, so I decided to take it in the morning. For the first half hour Of Emotive, if you are not discussing the readings, then you must try to express the topic in a different way. Some of us go into the booths to dance, paint, write or to listen to and create music.
When I arrived at class , I saw Derbi off in the corner painting. He doesn't like to paint in one of the booths; he brings out what he needs and sits facing the closed door. Turning your back on a large group of people in not considered polite, but it is okay in Emotive. I noticed that Derbi is getting better. It is still just the same scene, blue skies and the pesticleous trees, but more true. When I walked over to him, he handed me the brush and I painted a crude little person dressed in the white harvesting suit, standing below the trees. When I was done, Derbi looked up at me and said, "Well, sign your name too then.” So I did, but apologised, “It doesn't look so good now.” Then Derbi pardoned me, so I headed over to join the largest group of polite listeners there to discuss our topic, until the Elites arrive to take over class for the last half an hour.
Today Lecha kept laughing after much of what I said; normally this wouldn't be considered polite either because depression isn't a laughing matter. We are glad to have cured that disease a long time ago. But each of us has our quirks, hers just happens to be persistent laughter. My quirk is that I blink and squint too much. It creates wrinkles, but replacement skin for eye areas only take 3 seconds to make. These days I am usually changing them monthly.

Thursday, May 08, 2014


Entry dated August 11, in the year 10,854, but I have believed it is 3366 until today.

Eight million of us live in the seven Arctalians on Earth; St. Petersburg, Toronto, Manchester, Reykjavík, Odense, Ankara and Beijing. We can travel all over our planet to any one of the seven cities in under 30 minutes, but we still cannot get beyond Mars with our space crafts. Which is not good because we need to get to Enolousa. But this is hard to do since we have all but suspended space programs, except for yearly migrations or emergencies. While we still call it the 24 hour day, we started to lose an extra two minutes per year because of all the launches.

This is what our days consist of:

10 hours of Essentials. It is good for us to rest. Most of us choose an 8 hour and then a 2 hour break somewhere within the 24 hour day. We do this in the privacy of our homes. We carry our homes with us and set them up in the factories. For Essentials, I like to surround myself with the sound of helicopter propellers. We do not use helicopters on Earth anymore, but I have heard the sound from old videos and I like to say the word over and over again as I shut down.

2 hours outdoor work. Duties include repairing and cleaning and harvesting of pesticleous trees. They are imperative for our survival. They provide for us shade, energy, foodsource, and the air we breathe. We harvest leaves for ourselves according to what will be used the next day.

2 hours of classes. Mathematics and Emotive.

4-15 minute breaks watching one of the 300 Enolousa channels. Enolousa is our sister planet and it looks like how Earth used to. We cannot see to the end of the universe with our telescopes, but we can transmit images from the planet for us to view. We can see trees,ocean and lakes and grass and when it rains. It no longer rains on Earth. On Enolousa, there are small animals that resemble and live like squirrels, birds, equine, canine. We also do not have animals on earth. We did not have need for them once pesticleous was created, providing everything. We know now this was a bad thing to do. We watch Enolousa to be inspired. We will all go there someday.

2 hours socializing with friends. 1 hour visiting someone else and 1 hour entertaining in your home. Kevlar and I often bounce between homes, sometimes staying much longer than the hour because the other six and a half hours of the day are left to us.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

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 apartment across town would be ready for him. "He still expected me to make his meals, have his lunch and supper ready when he walked through the door,” Momma told him once, then squared her shoulders and beaded her eyes to imitate his father, "You will treat me like a man in front of my children." Momma didn't think her husband was much of a man. "So, that day I made him soup for lunch and stuck half a bottle of mustard into it while it was heating up and when stirred and tasted it I thought, yep, that's about right and I served it up to him at the living room table. That's how this happened."
Momma looked so sad when she was talking about, so Tommy never mentioned the blood, the look on his father's face.
"Maybe she looked so sad because she was remembering these things too."
"Yes,” Tommy agrees, "I think she was. And I also think she probably doesn't want to know that I remember them. Who wants their kid to remember that?"
And Ms. Kelly sits back in her chair, crossing her arms over her stomach. She feels she has heard some truth. A truth she should have known a long time ago. Certainly before this kid. She feels a wash of shame slowly sliding down her face, like a thick cream soup, and wonders to herself again: What am I doing here?
Tommy's been coming to see her for three months now and he trusts her. He mistakes her interest as loyalty, as someone on his side. She does enjoy the time she spends with Tommy because most of the other boys ignore her or grunt at her, and Tommy likes to tell his stories. But most of the boys are not held here long, a few weeks tops. Tommy has been in here for months and she has no idea how to help him. Keeping them docile in the short-term are her only goals. Typically, she hands out a lot of pills.
"What do you remember next?"
"My sister and I jumping up and down in front of the living room window. We could see our father walking up the street to our house and he had a big cage. We were really excited."
"That sounds like a good memory."
"I don't remember what ever happened to that bird. Or even if it had a name."
"Time's almost up. Having any trouble sleeping these days, Tommy?"
"I don't want your pills. Can't you get me a joint? Like one a day is all I need. I have this pain that won't go away..."
"Tommy. No. I can't do that."
"I bet you they would let me in the Netherlands."
"I'm pretty sure the troubled youth are not prescribed pot there either, Tommy. See you next week."
"But would you? If you could?" he asks her.

This is an interim jail. Between the sentence or freedom. Lots come in already knowing of him and then there's the reruns; like this fucking Ralph guy who’s been here four times now and likes to thinks he's tough and is always yelling out or cocking his fist at Tommy. Maybe Ralph is tough in a way. He’s always in and out. Three days tops. Good lawyer. So really, Ralph is the least of his problems. Because there is always others tough enough to yell out and make threats. But nothing else. That's the good thing about being known in jail. The criminal streets whisper your name. They know coming in not to touch him.

Two days later, Tommy is made to move to a new cell. More specifically, to the Fag's cell. Since the Fag came in, about two weeks ago, a lot of heat has been taken off of Tommy. But now...what the fuck is going on? He is being taken out of his single cell, his refuge. And has to share a cell with THE FAG? Tommy’s mind is raging, his guts sickening, as the guards walk him over. They've been gang attacking the Fag. He's heard murmurs that the other night some of them got him with their toothbrushes, but who knows how. Guards would have to let shit like that happen.

Tommy learns something that night about what guards can let happen. It is deep night when the piercing white light enters the room and Tommy’s sleeping body crunches up, blocking it with his hands. Then sudden awareness, fear almost flooding his pants, he has been waiting for this. He sits up and backs himself against the cold wall.
"Shut-up," the Fag hisses from his bed, but Tommy doesn't need to be told. The light goes out and he waits to hear the keys opening the door, but instead he hears the Fag rustling around and this starts to scare him too, until the Fag says, "I got some hash. You want tokes?"
They huddle on the Fag's bunk, and Tommy tries not to think about where the Fag's lips may have been when he passes him the small pipe and lighter.
"What's it like killing a 12 year old little girls? “the Fag enquires.
"I didn't kill her. What's it like being a faggot fucking little 12 year old boys?"
The Fag just chuckles softly. "I believe you, man. And I'm not a homosexual."

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Crazy People in Super Markets

Prowl, just prowl and dig it up and eat it all. Before the meal is me. Someday the meal will be me. Dead or alive though, them fuckers gonna have to work real hard to get me. I wear my shadow like it's the real me. Merge and blur, baby. I can do that. So come at me, yo. Bring all your Brittanys, Bitches. Let’s do this thing.

I don't even know you fuckers, but all you fuckers think you've known me for so long. Oh, my God. Like seriously. It's strange. Like forever..... so, here, let me tell you my tales of this and that and tit for tat and why would I tell anyone that?

Weasels, all those small tasty, stolen morsels between your chattering teeth. Yum, yum, like bubble gum until the taste is gone, spit them out and don't look to see where it lands. Tonight let me Show and Tell about... who? Hey all you loose-lip fuckers out there, I don't care about truths not your own.

So you get no limbs from me, but go ahead, air your laundry, and their laundry and their laundry, on me and blow your hot wind until it comes out a hiss, dry and brittle.

That’s where the game gets good, right?

I don't want to use this stuff against you. It's not even worth doing it. I can't fathom why I would ever have reason to, but from watching you fuckers, I see it works. Well, go ahead. Blitzkrieg all over each other. Light up, light up. Right on, right on. And I will dance here in your shadows like nothing you've ever seen before and I will wait for you. A game of Hide and Seek. I will let you find me just so I can show you. What? Two left feet? Better send better, you fuckers. I've got lots of free lives left yet. Enough left to ruin yours first. If I have to I will. Your stories aren't even worth telling. They have no bearing on my life. But I could get you snuffed for them. Better believe it. If I had to do it with my own hands.

Pay attention now, do you like the little crumbs I have left out for you? Because you fuckers actually believe in shit like forever, man? Let them be your only warning. Take off your rose-coloured glasses until you realize that you should only play tricks with yourself and not with others, then put them back on if you want to. But realize, I’m not wearing the same colour.

I will fuck you all up.

If I have to, I will play your game.

Start your day in a healthy way. Eight. Eight. Eight.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Wood Chipper

Weekly Journal Entry
Mr. Bates
Your name here

Q-What do you think is the best thing and the worst thing about living in a small town?

The very worst part, I have found, of living in a small town is the older you get, the more people you get to know. Like at first my world must have been pretty small, just Mom and Dad and my older sister. Same for all of us. Then maybe a few people your parents know are suddenly there. If you're lucky, a kid or two lives next door. And if you're a super lucky kid like me, you get to meet people like Baby and Princess Poo-Poo too. But then it is like BAM when you start school. All of a sudden you know 30 people your own age. Then 30 more and 30 more of all ages. By third grade you know everyone in the school. And some of their parents and some of their friends and the teachers, the people on your streets. It just keeps going on and on. There's 600 kids at this high school, there were only 200 in my elementary. So many new county kids. And you got to be so nice and happy and friendly to everyone of everyone all the time. That's tough, I think, even for the average person to accomplish. I don't know exactly everyone in town yet, but I'm pretty sure I will achieve that by the time I'm 20. That's like 8000 people, at least. I know people from lots of places. But here, I will know who is from where is from what. Some inside and all of out. The worst part about living in a small town for someone like me is everyone has always known who I am. And if any of their brains were starting to get forgetful, the news reminded them a lot this summer. I was everywhere.

The best part about living in a small town is clean air, I think. My one grandmother lives in Hamilton and the other lives in Toronto. I get home from those places and I'm always coughing for days afterwards. Blue skies here don't mean blue skies there. In fact, most of the times I have been to those cities, the skies are paler, greyer, even when they’re blue. But it's worth going always anyway. Everywhere you look in those cities, there are people you don't know. So many meaningless faces everywhere. My grandma in Toronto doesn't even know her next door neighbour! But who cares about that? Grandma knows everyone at MuchMusic and I get to go there ALL the time. They’re getting to know me too, remembering my name and a lot of them say, Wear that red lipstick all the time, so I'm gonna because who knows...future and all, right? I think I would like to live there. Live where I get to choose what people I know. I wouldn't have to know 8,000 people and they wouldn't have to know me. I could probably get away with knowing 800 in a big city like Toronto. And I could choose what they would know about me. But probably not now. Because it has all been brought up again. After twelve years. My face everywhere. National newscasts and papers for over a week. So who knows when they will do it again.
I feel like I can’t do nothing.
I don’t want this backstory.

Sometimes, Baby and Princess Poo-Poo are more real to me than my own parents. But this is not the time or place to contemplate them or that. I suppose that if you ask the right questions, sometime in the future, I will have to answer them.

Ugh. Tap it out. Erase. Delete. Conform. I can't. We have to write it in pen. In this irreplaceable notebook that you have given us. But I can rip this page out. Start over. Here we go.

The best part about living in a small town is the clean air. I love clean air. It's the best, don’t you agree? I go to big cities a lot and trust me, small towns have way better air. And water. And we have trees that are, you know, big and alive and giving us that air and they are beautiful to look at, don’t you agree? Me too!. I don't see too many trees in Toronto, when I go there, but the ones I do see are little. True fact. And trees are pretty important, so Toronto needs to get more. Like yesterday! Don’t they know we’d all be dead if not for the trees?! I’m getting pretty deep here, right?

OK, now the worst part about a small town is there’s nothing to do, don’t you agree? It’s so boring. I like listening to music loud sometimes, but because I have neighbours and I have to be nice and friendly, I can't do it as much as would like to...Actually, the worst part about living in a small town is the concerts. Who have we had here in the last year? Kim Mitchell. He might rock, but he's not cool,. Don’t you agree?

Ugh. I'm too tired for this. I can't possibly come up with anymore this late at night and meet that crappy full page, front and back requirement of yours. So, I've decided to keep the first page in. And this one too. It's probably close to the limit, but I'm not going to count lines and make sure of it or anything. Besides, I write too hard with pen anyway. You're a teacher and so probably smart enough to notice the imprints my writing makes on future pages. Smart enough to lightly scratch the pencil on a thinner sheet of paper and then decipher what I wrote anyway, I’m sure.
Uh-oh. This one. She's flagged. Might be trouble. What’s with the lipstick? Could be the suicide note.

High school's gonna really suck.

Maybe I will just lose this notebook on my way to class tomorrow morning. Or I could get my sister to do one of her cool hairspray tricks that she likes doing so much.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Punks-Starting to Remember

Minnie is 14. She likes wearing bright red lipstick and getting high.
Right now, Tommy is arguing with her. "Vitto will be waiting for me then."
"He can wait longer," she tells him. "Tell him there was too many cops following you around or something."
"Yeah," Tommy says. "That might work. Vitto would believe that. Three different cops stopped me on the street this week."
"What?" Minnie almost shouted. "Oh, Tommy. They are on to you."
“No, they aren't."
But she knew. "For sure they are. Listen. Meet me outside the pool hall at 9:30. I'll havethe dope then, Tommy."
“No. I really should go see Vitto first.” He kisses her quickly on the forehead and then runs home to make himself some Kraft Dinner for supper.

When he walks in the front door, there is Momma with a bottle of whiskey tucked between her legs, her head rolled to the back of the couch, her mouth open.
"What the fuck, Momma?” Tommy slams the front door to wake her.
Momma starts her laughing, something she still knows how to do like a normal person. "Just a little nap, Tommy, c'mon..."
"No, you come on," he yells. "You come on and be a mother. What the fuck are you?"
"You are going to come in here and tell me what the fuck anything? In my goddamn house?” Tommy watches his mother's head snap up. Her long legs twisting unnaturally, as she staggers to her feet and points at him. "Fuck you, Tommy. You're just a no-good criminal like your father."
"Momma, shut-up, you're drunk."
"No shit," she laughs, walking towards him, finger loose and wagging, like her legs. She gets up close to him, into his face. "You'd be drunk too, if you had a bastard of a child like mine. Causing nothing but fucking problems all the time. People's parents, the police. Now your fucking principal calls me today. Whatcha gotta say about that, Tommy?"
"Don't you blame my dad for how I am. Maybe I'm a bastard because you're a worthless drunk," Tommy spits the words in her face.
Momma grabs him by his shirt and shakes him and Tommy watches her face and words that have no form fly from her lips.

It's two o'clock in the morning and she is still up, even though it is a Wednesday night and there will be school in the morning. She has already decided she would not go. She's been doing that a lot lately. It's getting too hard to go.
She could not stand the hateful stares and the constant whispers. She knows the teachers are offended by the sight of her. And keeping her head down had only gotten her tripped. And spit on by fucking Melissa Walker.
Laying on her back in her bed, Minnie pounds the thin mattress with her fists. She is angry.
She is angry most of all with Tommy because he had not shown-up that night. He had not met her at the arcade and so she has smoked the whole gram of hash to herself. Even though he had paid for it.
She smoked it in her room, not even bothering to open a window. It's not like her mother notices a damn thing anymore. Locked in the spare bedroom, with her over-the-counter sleeping pills. The ones she sends Minnie to get every few days."Get me three boxes. The purple boxes." A rattling of bones from the darkened room. Sometimes the alarm clock would go off for hours, playing rock songs on a background of static, before her mother would snap out of whatever those fucking yellow pills are doing for her. Forgetting, they are helping her forget, Minnie knows that now, wishing her mother would at least remember to buy groceries or pay the hydro bill on time, wishing everyone would forget about her.

In the darkness, Tommy's mind works out what his eyes could not. He is on his bed unsure if he had made it here on his own.
He has to piss.
Zipping up his jeans up and turning, Tommy sees a soft glow coming from the living room. Momma and her candles were going to burn down the house someday. Before he puts it out, he looks over at his mother, laying on the couch, her legs sprawled wide open and blood coming from her nose.
Tommy kneels beside her and puts his hand on her stomach.
Please, breathe... he thinks because he can't.

Tommy shows up, knocking at her window, now after three in the morning, and instead of running to open the side door to let him in, she just opens the window. Tommy's right eye is swollen shut and his white shirt is blotched with blood. "Did Vitto do that?" she asks him.
"Oh, fuck, oh, fuck, I forgot about Vitto. Quick. Let me in." She takes the shirt off of him, as soon as they are in the basement and standing next to her bed. "Tommy," she says, as he drops to her feet and sobs,"Why is it so hard? Why is it all so fucking hard?" His ragged fingernails scrape up her naked legs and she drops the ruined shirt, so she can run her hands through his hair.
And she cries because he is. Only quieter, so he won't know.
He pulls her down to the floor beside him and grabs her face and fills his mouth with hers. She runs her fingers over his bare chest and feels his heart racing beneath her fingertips. She does not resist, when he turns her around and undoes the zipper of his jeans and lifting the long shirt she is wearing, so he take her from behind. He reaches forward, grabbing her tits, squeezing hard, as he uses them to help push and pull his dick into and out of her.
It is over fast and collapses on her back, his mouth close to her ear. “Someday, Minnie, I am going to arrest that fucking bitch for everything I can.”
"You ain't gonna be no cop, Tommy," she says, as she untangles herself from him. "There's something you keep forgetting. Vitto."
She rolls him a roach joint, all that's left, mixed with the tobacco from one of his cigarettes; he does not ask her where the rest of it is. She lets him smoke the joint to himself.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


When it's springtime, that's when it all flows back into her. When she can pick up the guitar again. Every song she has ever sold has been written in the spring. It's not really surprising that when you coop up, every chance you get, from the weather 5 months of the year that you get to know the ugliness of people, of yourself. That first winter living together, the first time she sold a song, she told him over dinner, her smile so wide, her hands a-flutter, until she realised he wasn't listening, just muttering, "Uh-huh. Mmmhmm." She snapped, What, Daniel? This is the best day of my life... And he told her, Listen, I don't give a shit what happened today. Every day is always the best day of your life. All you do is chirp, chirp, chirp and I wasn't even listening. You really screwed up my day.
He was mad at her for not ironing his work clothes right again. Didn't she realise he got ready in the dark, so she could continue sleeping and he needed her to do her fucking job right.
She said to him, angry that he was swearing at her, "Maybe you wrinkle yourself up getting ready in the dark. Maybe you should turn the light on because I didn't care if you do. Maybe you should get dressed in another room. I don't really care what you decide to do, but I wash my hands of it."
"Your fucking play on words all the time fucking annoys me," he said.
"Except for when it makes you laugh," she replied.
So, she didn't do his wash anymore. Thank god.
And she didn't tell him when she sold a song. Having that secret kept her happy and he eventually got happy too and they smiled at the world again. Probably because it was springtime. And if his wintertime tirades sometimes got to be a bit much, she could comfort herself with her secret and the thoughts of long grass, leaves on trees and gentle winds that would soon be coming. Her secret always kept her feeling good. Especially now that two of her songs have been on the radio. Especially more, the day she saw Daniel knew the chorus to one on a drive up to visit her parents.

When the twins were born, in June of last year, Daniel started working from home most days of the week. The communications company he works for installed another phone line and fax machine and gave him a computer to use in his home office. They even let him buy a new chair on their money. It helped out so much, having him home. Megan was only 18 months old and still not potty-trained, when Alexander and Andrew were born. Daniel cooked a lot of suppers, kept a playpen in his office and would throw a load of laundry in whenever he needed to get up and stretch his legs. They were a lucky family. Of all the children, Alex took the longest to start sleeping through the night. 6 Weeks old.
But still, by late October, everyone was losing impatience, including winter. Odd snowflakes fell. You were lucky for the day if one touched your nose.
By mid-November, he only spoke to snap.
By the end of December only to complain: Why is it always so loud in here? All the fucking time? I need to work.
Stop playing your music.
Shut the kids up.
Shut off the fucking vacuum. Do it when I'm not here.
But he was always there, so instead, she just didn't bother to do it at all for three weeks.
In January, after a few nights of sleeping in his office, on the blow-up mattress us, he told her he was moving out. Two weeks, he says. He gives her the countdown every night and then he leaves on time.
And no one's fucking happy now.

When Lolz places her cordless phone on the coffee table, it vibrates loudly against the glass before she lets go. Her hands are shaking badly. She glowers at them, how stereo-typical. She has the sudden urge to sink her fingernails into her eyeballs, get grip in them good enough to steady her hands and pull them out from their sockets, dragging them down her face, until what she sees in her head makes her throat constrict and gag. She realises, no, she should want to just cut off her ears. She doesn't want to hear anymore bullshit. Instead, what she does is bites her fist and when she gets to the kitchen, lets out the knuckle-clenched scream, Fuuuuuuck You. And she thinks, Fuck you. Fuck you, God, or karma, or whatever this all is....FUCK YOU. Why is this happening? Why would someone else join in now? And why her??? I've been doing so good. We've been doing so good. Daniel had been home again for almost seven months. We're getting happy again. Aren't we?
Now she wants to run upstairs and shake Daniel awake and scream in his face, "You liar! Only her, my ass!" And then shake him some more. And some more. And some more.
She should go for a walk to the nearest corn field, so she can sob freely, wail, let this boiling volcano in her gut spew out its hot hate and get it done with. Come home and cry herself to sleep on the couch with the lights on.
But they would wonder where she was, so she grabs the beer she told them she was going to get and heads back to the phone.

Friday, April 11, 2014


She hasn't told anyone. Not her friends, co-workers, not what's left of her family: a brother, an Aunt Mo, a father in a nursing home. Her father would be the easiest because he wouldn't understand anyway. He rarely remembers his own name these days, three months since he has remembered hers. But then there's the nurses, the cleaning staff, the other visitors visiting. What if they heard her? What if that reverend heard her? No thanks, that's too many people and any audience that includes God is far too big for her.
But it screams up from her belly at the worst times. When her mouth is full of muffin, or when she's in the grocery store's meat department, or at a red light during rush hour, too many times to count at work. Swallowing a scream burns the whole body. She's popping into bathrooms a lot more these days because if a scream can't roar out the mouth, its gonna leak out of somewhere. Come to think of it, her ears have been hurting lately too, like those mad cartoon men with smoke steaming out the sides of their heads The longer the guy doesn't call his kid, the more she smoulders. It's been a month of this now. Soon, if she doesn't snap, she's gonna snap.

Thank god it is just her and Kevin. It's hard enough to deal with the 11 year old emotions, giving him the words for betrayal, shame and blame and explaining why he should feel none of it. It's fucking hard. Maybe her son should feel some of these things. It's not good to always reason away everything bad. If there were more kids, she is certain she couldn't cope. It's getting harder to walk by unoccupied rooms and not lock herself in to cry, fry, crucify, nullify, hang it out to dry.
Wasn't she too old to be failing at this too?

He offered her nothing. Certainly no answers to her questions. The worst part is not knowing for how long. He just gathered up his clothes and left. Disappeared. She figures that must be easy to do when you don't have a job. She is envious. Only once she called his mother, but the woman offered no answers either. She just kept repeating that she loved her son, until finally Karen blew up. "Well, you shouldn't. How can you love someone who treats people this way?" Karen knew that Janice knew exactly where her son was. And that nothing much would be said to him about this phone call either. Her husband's ears had long fallen deaf to his parents and they knew it too.

The church at the end of the block starts hosting Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. It's on their lit-up sign, chained close to the front doors. Tuesdays 7:00, Saturdays 3:30. She wonders if she could get away with going to one. She figures if she calls her husband Whiskey that she would be believable enough. Too bad there isn't an Adulterated Anonymous,she thought to herself. Or...

The next day, during her lunch hour, she makes a few calls. "Free Trail Period, eh? Set it up." The next day Karen places an ad for Saturday's Expositor.

Adulterated Anonymous
Did some jerk do it to you? Need to talk?
Call: 519-885-2062 Wednesday 9:00 pm
Women Only!