Communicator, cooker, drinker, poet. Grew up in a mining town, wore a hard hat.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

things to do in toronto for fifty cents

-buy 3 tim horton's tim bits
-go 0.3 kilometres in a taxi
-make a panhandler do entertaining things
-pay a one day late fee for an old movie at the local store
-buy two poppies on or before remembrance day
-pay gst and pst on an item which is priced at $3.34
-buy four sticks of incense
-buy one very discounted mango in kensington market
-buy one can of juice from concentrate at no frills
-buy a terrible postcard of toronto with the cn tower blurred and obscured
-make the united way a little more successful
-buy a can of discounted tuna and give it to the food bank
-pay for the electricity it costs to blow-dry your hair two or three times
-barter with someone on queen street for a dozen bobby pins
-dry one load of laundry for 14 minutes at the laundromat
-buy three cups of lemonade from the blonde girls down the street
-make two phone calls from bell payphones
-buy a used comic book
-buy a pack of kleenex from a twenty-four hour convenience store
-buy a can of no name pop from the dufferin street mall
-buy a jumbo freezie from any self-respecting convenience store
-get as many free bookmarks as you'd like from the public library
-buy a pack of lettuce seeds from the garden centre of your local grocer
-buy three high quality screws from the local hardware store
-pay for fifteen minutes of internet at a net cafe on yonge
-speaking of yonge street -- buy a dirty girly mag
-watch twelve minutes of porno
-smoke as many cigarettes as there are smokers

my feet are extremely dirty

from spending the evening on the rooftop, going on prentensiously about colours and semi-colons. blue and terracotta. black and white. yale and harvard. the brick chimney sits at the same angle as the beer bottles because the tar surface is uneven. my hands hurt when i wake up to the sound of the cbc. pay cheque, coffee, yogurt, anxiety, lorazepam. a one hour biography about ellen degeneres on the star network. my superintendent has taken our ladder, our means of access. we're trapped on the third floor now, unable to get proper breeze, proper sun, a proper view. my hands are beginning to tremble, my palms red and rough from my adventures. i'm going to do something now - eat maybe, or lie down. i feel restless, unsatisfied. waiting is the worst.

from feza with thanks for your guidance and friendship

one of my turkish psychiatrists sent me a photograph! we are in the basement of Rodney's Oyster Bar on king west with a couple of crabs going about their business in the background. i was very happy to hear from him, what a lovely surprise. i have an open invitation to visit istanbul. now if only i was rich enough to get there and cool enough to go.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

i feel as though i should blog

i've had an eventful night. words, commas, thoughts, a picture. but i've got none of those. or not enough of them. there was a first love, a second, a third. all of them different, all of them perfect. all of them wrong. i am left listening to the same songs i always did, alone in a room with four walls, two windows, two candles and tears. i'm not a bad girl, i promise. my mother had the best of intentions. i had the best of intentions. the keyboard simply doesn't have enough keys for me to reach an understanding with anything. no matter how much i tap at them, they aren't enough, don't provide enough. somebody stop the cat from crying. I CAN'T DO BETTER. can't write better, be thinner, more committed, more loving. i am as i am. i am as i am.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

emre: tour guide to the turkish psychiatrists

he has an unusual smell about him: a confusing mix of spicy cologne and foreign tobacco. he is slightly shorter than me with an insistent posture. he has closely cropped dark hair doing its best to disguise baldness, an unlucky victim at thirty-one. his goatee (i hate that word) is carefully groomed and he is never without his side bag. he often speaks in cliches, stumbling over his clumsy english offering "for instance..." as an unsuccessful distraction. his stomach hangs gently over his leather belt. sharon and i both agree that he is too quick to chime in, to pontificate -- he smacks his lips as he explains that he is a free lance tour guide and that the details (smack), for instance...are of no great concern to him but for the future references, more flexibleness would be good. sharon, with her legs sternly crossed, makes the leather banquette creak as she leans over and whispers to me that his travel agency didn't pay for flexibiLITY and if it had, flexibility would have been on offer. her pony tail is slicked back with hairspray. her tight smile divulges that she is terribly high strung due in no small part, i suspect, to emre and his unsollicited advice. she points out tensely that he doesn't have signing authority on the account and that his company credit card was rejected yesterday. i am not to sign for his portion of the bill.

church street on may 24th

the air is nearly wet, a canopy of pregnant clouds forbids the electric enthusiasm with which these first few days of real heat are customarily met. the patios on church are fit to burst, attended not only by young girls with cigarettes but also by older couples dining on continental fare with pleasant garnishes on plastic tables which seem rock and sway with the rhythm of conversation even as the sky grows darker and the birds scatter...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

blogging in the IT room (to the tune of rocking in the free world)

in a cubicle next to a small chinese programmer named clement. i think he thinks i'm working. i'd bet he thinks i think he's working. actually, i think he is working. everyone else has gone to lunch, pizza up the street. i stayed behind so i could sit in the back room, tapping away at an old and ugly keyboard about nothing in particular and several things in general.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

hungry in my tummy

i am too tired to read tom robbins, plus i haven't many cigarettes left. i am waiting against a wall in a basement bar for the turks to be done their dinner of coq au vin and vanilla creme brulee and my tummy is wanting for food. it is empty and unsatisfied, swishing with beer. i am wearing a striped shirt today. i think my tummy would like a greasy hamburger with cheese and tomatoes and pickles and mayonnaise. i think that my tummy would like that very much. i think my other parts would like the attention of a person's warm mouth, soft flannet sheets, an unexpected phone call, a big storm with hail, power outages, candles, board games, pot and folk music. and vanilla creme brulee for desert.

Strictly Rambling: The Umpteenth Installment

Breakfast was bizarre today. Left over Lebanese, a one 1L bottle of coca-cola, two cigarettes and counting. I spoke to my friend Uday, a newly hired trademark something or other. He moved to Ottawa, says it’s cold there too. Also mentioned that the job couldn’t be better. He had a reading day today, which meant he was still sleeping when I called at 930. I accused him of wasting my tax dollars. He responded that he’s funded by fees, not me. So much the better then, I guess. I love that saying, although I’m never certain of using it properly.

I’m sitting on the fire escape of my downtown apartment, wishing it were New York noise that I’m hearing. It’s raining funny furry leaves and I’m not sure where they’re coming from. Laptops are such fragile creatures, I hope this one isn’t bothered by the precipitation.

My roommate’s been MIA for a few days now. I suspect she’s still recovering from Freedom, of the party persuasion. Or enjoying her last few days in love. He’s leaving soon, first to Detroit and then Australia.

Someone on the television is talking about making us pay to see doctors. Twent-five dollars per visit, because we’re apparently incapable of appreciating the cost of health care without shelling out a few bucks. There is an aphod on my screen. A lunch date is impending. I suppose I should wash myself, clear the Styrofoam containers from the coffee table. I like the song on the new Ivory commercial, it reminds me of something…

heather crowe is dead: second hand smoke killed her

shit. that wasn't supposed to happen. i hope my spirits waitresses are safe. the by-law's coming in to effect soon...just a couple of days. they should be okay. got years to clean up. but it'll never be the same! oh well, for the best, i guess.

i feel like a fourteen karat failure, sparkling after my fifth beer...

pretending to do important things, essential really. using my business voice: hello such and such, this is kate calling on behalf of so and so and how are you today? reminding myself and everyone else all too frequently that i have a leather briefcase (black), a salary (benefits pending), a proper trenchcoat (beige) and a credit card (VISA). i don't mention that it's maxed or that i've never dry-cleaned or that the salary's laughable or that i haven't a work ethic to speak of. i don't tell that showing up's half the battle and the other half's the business voice. those are my secrets. not so secret anymore, i guess.

to be fair, i've nearly got business cards and worked seven days this week. as though that means anything. some boy says i'm beautiful. the cat still seems to like me. so do my parents, apparently. but they'd all think me sparkle anyway, that's what they're there for.

Monday, May 22, 2006

rock star

she twinkled while she sat at my kitchen table, reached, spasmed for a piece of bread with butter still cold and lumpy. tore at it with her stained teeth, letting little bits soak against the inside of her cheek before swallowing hard. her arms were bruised, scarred. her hair was greasy, she had dark circles under her eyes, stains on her shirt, small red sores around her mouth. there are echos of that healthy beauty, i can hear them when she talks about music. says the needle exchange isn't far, she'll stop by more. vancouver was nice, but too easy. she is a rockstar. inevitably, irreparably, a rock star.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

i burned my face

yesterday, sleeping. the tar was soft and hot on my back. the three foot brick lip prevented the wind from interfering. i managed two pages of anaïs nin before giving up and giving in. i had a dream that my apartment was bigger, had several rooms and a chipmunk which followed me around as i worked. it slept on the crown molding in the living room. i also dreamt that i had filed my income tax and was selected as a winner by our newly elected prime minister. the chipmunk attended the ceremony, rick mercer facilitated. they gave me a funny hat with ribbons, a box of after eight chocolate mints and a talking stick. i woke up with a sunburn.

z is for zed (or) the heresy of our western cousins

for those of you who ride the ttc with any kind of regularity, it's unlikely you've missed the newly agressive attempts to increase tourism in british-columbia. "get to know bc from a to z" the clean and well-designed posters read. which of those letters does not belong? my pulse quickens at the prospect of explanation.

i'm more uptight about these kinds of things than most people, i'll readily admit. but i like to think that it's part of my appeal. don't respond. point is, i am the daughter of protestant parents. i learned several lessons in my first few years of life: square pegs do not fit in round holes, boys are gross, abc does not rhyme with z on this side of the border.

i was shocked to see that our cousins to the west would've chosen a catch phrase that capitalized on a classic americanism. wtf? it occured to me that perhaps they were being ironic, or something. that didn't last long. i feel betrayed. we all know what ad campaigns do to children, apart from encouraging purchase. they lay the boundaries of language. inform speech and behaviour. i sincerely hope, for the sake of our ailing nationalism, that teachers know better. or what's left of them, anyway.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Road West

My parents drove a Honda Civic station wagon. Silver, rusted, standard recited the plate numbers to drunk-smelling motel clerks 9-0-9 J-K-J they whispered in the vast spaces between Sudbury and Thunder Bay when we didn’t make it in one day, as planned. When the distance spread out before us like life or high school, like Stephen Hawking’s version of things: big, empty, full of rocks and creatures we didn’t understand or care to know. Manitoba always made more sense: stopovers, sugar bribes, better beds, cable television and a swimming pool once when I was nine. The legislature and the wooden cut outs of funny or fat people the flowers the gardens the sun the promise of democracy and the road West. Saskatchewan was puberty: the middle space between departure and destination, flat but nearly foot hilled, up-close uneven and full of growth. We were restless in Saskatchewan. Anxious for beaches, secrets, soft rocks and pocket money. Anxious for sex in the later years. But before we could begin to fantasize about the naked white bodies of summer boys, there were the Prairies. Those fields, golden bales and barbed wired fences made my mother insane. She’d begin to mumble about noise, how she couldn’t stand it and couldn’t someone turn off the goddamn radio. She howled and barked and by the end of it all we were sullen and sweaty nearly ready to jump out of the moving car, the air conditioning having betrayed us before we even managed to make Lloydminster. The heat, my mother never knew was a blessing. My sister and I collapsed in the back seat, in a trench of suitcases like corpses couldn’t bear to move a muscle couldn’t bear to shriek, couldn’t bear to tell her she was a miserable bitch. Weren’t we all that summer. But not my father, of course. My father had principles and a Pentax. Had us standing tall at Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo Jump sun drawing tears from our eyes smiling hysterically waiting for the click. The click that would end it all and send us back to our sauna Civic, our books, our half-melted chocolate bars, our temporary tattoos and our bunk-bed fantasies. When it was his turn to drive, he would listen to jazz and mourn the state of the country. Especially at twilight: the weather, the workers, Ralph Klein’s wife smoking outside a church at Batoche, the workers again. Golf. He is a Communist. Once, when a swarm of softball players took over Regina we drove all night in darkness. My mother slept and my sister watched for deer and dead gofers. It wasn’t her turn: it was mine. My father filled his hand with secret seeds of revolution fed them to me slowly, with the other hand on the wheel. His voice pained by Oxford and the good days cried out against injustice and those lies, those heartless bastards. His words stuck to the pit of my stomach like the gum I wasn’t supposed to swallow and did, more than once. And always before we were properly prepared came Alberta. Alberta meant dry, over-salted roasts, tiny shriveled green peas in water, arthritic grandparents and whispered fights. Fights about meat, oil, money. Hushing noises at the dinner table. Grace with tablecloths and matching napkins. Guilt. Traffic. Leaving Edmonton was confessing that we couldn’t travel forever. That we couldn’t live forever. That we would grow old and tired and poor. That the alternator would give out. Every year, lost in the loneliness of the flatter parts we began to resign ourselves to August and the end of all things. And every year, without fail, we were rescued. Saved from a few more hours. Mountains rose to the occasion. Trees stood tall with encouragement (solidarity my father must’ve thought) and the roads, having tired somewhere after Canmore abandoned convention and began to wind. We were worried that we would never arrive, but inevitably we did. Tripped and scraped our knees running to the lake, gasped and bled with ecstasy, cried out, let go and drowned in the perfection of it all. Loved each other, forgot time and pain and Ontario, walked barefoot in the wind and felt as though it had all been worth it. Felt as though there had always been a destination: paradise at the end of the road West.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

things more substantial

i have been called vacuous, inane, strange,
simple, stupid. i'm certain that much worse
things have been said behind closed doors,
but of the words launched and targeted
in my presence, them are those that stuck.
anger has since given way to sleep, to calendars,
to seasons but i remain pre-occupied by
the distinct and famously real possiblity
that i am a hack. too many adjectectives,
too many cliches, too many predictables. but for
the fear of re-affirming the slave morality
of which i am allegedly victim, i would say:
fuck them all. and what now? read more,
run more. i am tired and far from original.
i have nowhere to run. it is not as though
my current existence hasn't afforded me
the occaisional pleasure: sunlight, poetry, beer,
sweat, clean clothes. translated: seasonal
affective disorder, ego, substance, endorphines,
and an ever-common pedestrian sense
of self-satisfaction. but all of this language
is getting old, as am i. and with another
birthday advancing on the horizon like
a midieval army, i am left wondering if
i should sober up, straighten out and stop writing.
move on to things significantly rather than
slightly more substantial. i can already hear
the ultra-supportive statements shuffling
their way into my inbox. i knew that's how
you would respond. but despite all the good
intentions which pave just about everything
these days i am alone, drunk and have yet
to settle the bill.

penning sounds more like a drug

which is why, next time i'm stuck in an awkward social situation, forced to explain the scribbles, the bits of paper, the constant blogging, i'll say, "i've been penning a lot recently, wasting my's terribly addictive. i wouldn't try it if i were you. i mean, it's good and all but could cost you your job and your relationship if you're like, honest, and develop the habit." no excuses, i'm unreachable, penning tonight.

you are an interesting dancer

but so precious, with your wild limbs swinging
in a happy frenzy, a thin layer of sweat glossing
your skin. the room pulsated like a living thing,
our stomachs full of barbecued beef and chicken
protested the next bottle of fifty all night. but that
didn't stop us from stumbling on to the sidewalk
at quarter to one, laughing and slurring, sharing
a cigarette, even though you don't smoke. today
was a bit rough, i have to admit. but i'd trade a
little nausea and dehydration for a night like that
any day.

parts of toronto you should've seen and didn't

the beer store at queen and river on sunday afternoon seven minutes before close hosting a handful of hardened alcholics ordering bottles of max ice with exact change for the second, or third, or fourth time today. allen gardens at night, every night, bundled bodies collapsed on benches under the weight of the world and its temptations, its necessary oblivions, its unnecessary cruelties. boys with sweet faces and enemy memories hiding in the alleys around church and wellesley, like stray cats at war, waiting. the hungry screams from whispered beings at the methadone clinic south of king, east of parliament. the low-income landscape of woolner, the sunset painted by pollution and the smell of crack. men fondling eachother in queen's park, under the cover of darkness, like warewolves howling at their so-called lives. all the parts of toronto you should've seen and didn't. because they remind you too much of everything. because you'd rather not and no one's going to make you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

brilliant and beautiful

her skin is an ivory delicate, like her mother's. she wears rings
with blue jewels on hands that remind of my own, prefers smaller
portions and quiet rooms. sleeps only on expensive sheets, loves
her dog. and what a shock that she would ever have been young,
would have ever made mistakes, drank too much, fallen out of
love. but i've seen the pictures, and i know it's true. and on those
nights that i arrived too late, twisted and pubescent, she offered
me the warmer half of her bed, a glass of water, a glass of wine.
she read to me stories, of art and promise, cleaned and steamed
vegetables and served them on a proper plate with an anecdote.

she is often tired. spends her days fighting demons i've yet to meet.
but despite the battles that leave her wounded and thirsty, she never
fails to answer the phone, to undertsand. she would run through a
burning forest to comb my hair, rub my back, tell me that we're okay.
and i would like her to know that i haven't forgotten the times
she was collapsed and oblivious, raging. the times she was gone,
lost amidst the battling rats of a terrible childhood dream. and god,
how i'd like to kill them all. slit their throats and watch them bleed
litres for every tear she wept in the next room. but i haven't
the constitution and she has taught me that it isn't a solution,
after all. she is good like that.

and as she reads this grand thank you card of a mother's day poem,
i would like very much for her to know that i have never loved
anyone with as much honesty as i love her. her teeth, her smile.
the things she's told me a hundred times before and tells me
again. she called me a goddess once. gave me money she didn't
have. listened to my hateful highschool rants and proceeded to buy
me a prom dress. knew my lies. knew me. i love her a thousand
times and forever.

she is brilliant, beautiful, my mother.

strictly rambling

a clean aids test with a three month delay
is useless as though my reckless intimacies
would've paused for those ninety days,
beer glasses would've remained empty,
insecurities unattended. as though the sheer
possibility of a chronic manageable burden
would've straightened me out. as though i
hadn't been living with one already.

toronto is teeming with hearts beating
sidewalks feeling the weight of a hundred
and forty languages spoken only in the
brokedown bungalows of the hard to
reach parts with pigs dancing on fiery
skewers complaining about the weather
and the state of the motherland.

speaking of which, mother's day -- t-minus 30 hours.

eyes wide shut

it was not until the advent of photography that people were able to see themselves with their eyes closed. weird.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

direction: sud

i wanted to hold you tighter and for longer
as though that would change everything
you're much less delicate than i suspected
that tentative sweetness remains a staple
and i am so proud of your posture, your smile

evie christie's genius and the successes of graeme truelove

so much the better says mister truelove of my newly acquired love for hacker-pschorr. one of my favourite sayings, though i'd forgotten about it. climbing the stairs leading from finch station to the surface, a keyboard rendition of Für Elise nearly strangles me. as though i wasn't short of breath to begin with. beethoven is a very unhappy dead man at this moment. digress from ludwig. dwell on mister truelove for a moment, his condominium bid, his new appointment. imagine ottawa, security, stability, grass. focus. evie christie's genius hits me over the head like a blunt object in the midst of a conversation i was having, despite myself, with myself. i am trying very hard not to mouth words in public. definitely something to avoid. back to elaborate self-torture using lives of other people as whips. jelena madunic. wonder if she's been accepted to law school. speaks four languages, has long hair. extra-curriculars. sarah tessier. arch enemy and intern at quebec national assembly. painful. laurie roberts. organized, rarely hungover, committed, thin. it hurts. matt johnston. flown to new york for an interview. at least i get a ride from finch. i love this game.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

this one time, when i was really depressed, i...

having wiped tears from my swollen face with his t-shirt, we decided on a proper pissing contest to lighten the mood. this one time, when i was really depressed, i...

g -- masturbated a lot and left guilty kleenexes strewn about the room
k -- didn't change my clothes for days on end, including socks and underwear
g -- spent the gdp of a small country on marijuana cigarettes and pizza
k -- smoked until my fingers were yellow, teeth were yellow and lungs were black
g -- stopped going to class, stopped going anywhere
k -- stopped going to class, stopped going anywhere except the beer store
g -- broke into several cars, using an ax, stole a computer, fucked up a catholic school fence
k -- stole a menu from the chick 'n deli, a couple dollars from you, bounced a cheque
g -- made my mother cry
k -- made my father cry, my mother was crying to begin with
g -- played a lot of video games
k -- slept with a lot of men

Sunday, May 07, 2006

there is no succedaneum for caring: starbucks, this rant's for you

i have not seen akeelah and the bee. i do not intend to. i'm sure it is on par with similarly funded hollywood adventures in profit, but i am livid beyond words (bad pun, i know) about their ad campaign and am putting my foot down. starbucks, for the past umpteen years, has spent every drop of its corporate blood and sweat making the purchase of a caffeinated drink an excruciatingly efficient experience. i once left the place without my coffee because the store cast me out before it was ready. without even the slightest pretence of regard for the literacy of its customers, starbucks is unapologetically printing big words on sleeves without providing their corresponding definitions. i stared at my succedaneum grande dark roast today for twenty minutes before getting over myself and looking the damn word up. i returned to starbucks later this afternoon in order to purchase the cheapest thing on the board and complain about the absence of a corresponding definition to my sleeve word. the feeble drudge who was unfortunately faced with my question responded, embarassed, that there were a series of cards somewhere in the neighbourhood of the cream and sugar that i was welcome to sort through. i don't fucking get it. sorting through the cards isn't inclining me to upsize, add-on or engage any other such profit-affecting activity. it's just pissing me off and making me to crowd the store. causing me and hundreds of other starbucks customers to miss a perfectly good opportunity for self-improvement. who's got time to sort through a disorganized heap of identically sized and coloured word cards, especially with an overpriced coffee getting colder by the minute? prentend you care, starbucks. that's all i'm asking. pretend you care about literacy. just print the damn definition, assholes. until then, i'm boycotting. and so are all of my eager-to-spend friends. right, guys?

coffee and cake:

the poets of a day's meals, european with a dark sense
of humour. nothing as compared with the protestant
snobbery of the mint jelly served with pork roast and new
potatoes or the creamthick self-assuredness of pasta carbonara
boasting italian prosciutto. the tightly tinfoil wrapped
honesty of lebanese food deeply appeals to me with its
unlikely pickled vegetables and spicy chickpea spread.
and there is definitely something to be said for cranberries
those bright and christian christmas bundles of acidity
baked into a sensible bran muffin. or, better yet, the soft
french prentension of triple-creme brie on a crusty baguette
which makes me long, in turn, for dry sauteed garlic greenbeans
and all the saltiness that soysauce is eager to provide and what
about a proper tuna steak? barely seared with some inauthentic
wasabi-kicked sauce and toasted sesame seeds on spinach
leaves have no mercy for the clementines which decorate
them. and rightfully so. vegetables are the nobler creatures,
especially when steamed with garlic butter and served with
a rosemary rubbed rack of lamb. and perhaps some beer.

i wonder if you'll read this and...

resent me my words, breathe hatred into the lonely parts of sunday and fill the night like a balloon with all of my shortcomings until the week bursts and splatters among the years leaving us to contemplate the hours we spent with him, each in our own way. i assure you that i am no great damsel. on the contrary, my person is riddled with cracks and pounds begging to be filled and lost, respectively. he loved you first and for longer. and though we could spend ages of energy sorting out the complicated scheme of memory the fact remains, i am no enemy.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

vesuvio's (or) in the name of the father, of the son and of the missing brother

the father, smiling and generous, admits to having trouble hearing over dinner. he goes on at length, prompted by my occaisional comment, about the state of student-book vendor relations and the unfortunately high cost of copyright. reaches for the bill the moment it hits the table, i like him very much.

i am very fond also of the mother, a gardener, much like a flower herself, glowing and brimming with giggles. she sips slowly on her glass of wine. seems to be stuck in spring, which is particularly becoming.

the son, another matter entirely. tall, thin, sharp. he squeezes my knee under the table reassuringly. stares at me without blinking. kisses my forehead. places my cold hands between his warm thighs and tells me he loves me. he's of a good breed.

the missing brother, in all his height and sarcasm, will return home to find, in the refridgerator, a package of pizza wrapped and left with much love. wish he'd come. had some comment to make, some chuckle.

what good boys, they are. and from such good parents.

Friday, May 05, 2006

i have a special message for you...

Whiskey Echo Sierra Tango sayyid

In my travels on the Bloor subway line, I have come to be especially familiar with a particular tribe of natives from Toronto's West side. I have found their way of speaking to be strikingly unique and have decided to keep a record of their vernacular on this blog. The usages I've been exposed to are deeply unfamiliar to me, I have found examples to be the most effective way for me to communicate meaning, which is why there is a notable absence of formal definitions.

(n., a., v.) used almost as punctuation, still is nearly always used at the end of sentences. ex. it's too cold to be smoking outside, still. i should be studying instead of sleeping, still. that's not really fair of you, still.
next (adj. ) used in a way similar to the english phrase "this next." ex. i am going to fuck next girl. i am going to smoke next joint.
spliff (n.) this plant in order to produce the substance popular at native social gatherings. synonyms: splay, spleef. for those who do not have the ressources to produce spliff themselves, it is purchased from another member of the community, commonly referred to as a "hook-up."
what are you saying (phrase) intended to mean, for example ex. how are you? how have you been? although the tone of the saying implies an interragotive inclination, the natives use this phrase as imperative.
what are you dealing with (phrase) use instead of what things are pre-occupyinng you at the moment? what kind of anxieties do you have? this phrase will often be used when initially meeting a friend or acquaintance.
yam (v.) an adaptation of the word jam, when asked, natives explained the word is "easier to say this way."
fuds (n.) adaptation of the word food in its plural form. ex. i am going to go yam some fuds.
quads (n.) quantity of measurement with respect, in particular, to spliff -- a quads is the imperial equivalent of a quarter ounce, or the metric equivalent to 7 grams.
lates (ajd.) from the english later, lates (similarly to jam) is a reworking of a popular parting phrase to reduce it to a single syllable. natives will often repeat the word more than once at the conclusion of a conversation. ex. okay, i'm leaving now. lates, lates, lates.
brethren (n.) similar to the english word "brother," brethren does not refer to a literal sibling relationship but rather to a close friend. used most often with a possessive pronoun. ex. alright, my brethren, blaze up that spliff.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

and then we were three

standing at the roadside hysterical, too much space between us. it was a child mind you, and not mine either. a small child, fingers like sticks of sugar-free gum, a wrinkled nose, a bald head. the year was 1986 and my mother never recovered. he would've been my younger brother. i remember taking trips to the cemetary, seeing her weep and wail, wearing a proper black dress with tan stockings and plain, low-heeled pumps. there were always photographs, dutifully taken by my father. i think they both secretly wished the plaque would age, like the boy buried beneath it should've. trips to thomas-evan were followed up with a lunch of bagels and cream cheese. he was born, and died, in hull.

we stayed in a hotel after the death of my maternal grandmother. i think it was a holiday inn. my mother took me to the fairweather store in the big thunder day shopping mall and bought me a navy blue dress and matching blazer, explained to me that it was inappropriate for a child to be dressed entirely in black. she paid with a credit card. the day of the funeral, i remember blow-drying my hair, being excited for my new clothes and anxious about the ceremony. i had never been to a funeral. i made a comment to my mother, inappropriate as it was, about the order of events. she glared at me with a face twisted with anger and began to cry. she spilled a cup of coffee and collapsed in the corner chair. she screamed at me from that chair about things i can't recall, raged and raged and i thought it would never end. i spent my grandmother's funeral and subsequent enterrement brooding about that morning. i wanted to tear off my navy blue dress and run yelling from the church. i swore i would never forgive her. i have never forgiven myself.

and now you, friend. i have you in my mind's eye, ivory skin tear-stained, heart fit to burst, faced with a church full of mourners. and rather than be by your side i am in some stupid meeting in some boardroom far away, having sent flowers and condolences. i am so sorry you have to live this, friend. so sorry. the world is unnecessarily cruel.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

a shuddering creature in your shower reaching for the small of your back with a still-nervous hand recalled amidst the steam and scalding water the needled wind from one of those first dizzying nights recalled your fleece-lined toque and its braided strings dangling recalled how warm you were and concerned when she slipped her hand beneath your shirt and against your skin for the first time in the dim-lit corner of a corner bar with the best of intentions and a smile...

(pay me no mind)

cpac isn't real company, can't rub my back, kiss my forehead, keep me calm. i am willing peter mansbridge to whisper plesantries and make promises through the television, but he's playing hard to get. they asked me about it once in an office without windows, put a checkmark on a page and wrote me a script. dialogue. i can hear the sound of cars and footsteps on the street below my window but no one is stopping. the apartment seems to be getting warmer, the ceiling seems to be sinking. seems, seems, seems. there are fruit flies interfering with my oranges. do they have teeth? my mother is too busy marking to speak to me about the budget. i can't figure out the cost of a gun, forget things. colander. i've had to start chewing on an olive pit, to spare what's left of my yellowed fingers. i am sculpting sentences like carboard cubes. subject-verb-object original. as the applause fade, i turn to my mirrored wall only to discover that there is blood running from my ears, picasso. i can feel it flirting with my skin. the living room is beginning to flood, liquid crawling up the doorframes like the pencilmark prints of a growing child to the sound of bach's sixth suite for unaccompanied cello. the blood is thickening like an exotic pan sauce, heated by the building which has begun burn. every hurtful word i've ever heard is swimming toward me at breakneck speed with hungry teeth. i am pale and quickly becoming paler. my hair is falling into the soup. the dark circles under my eyes are eating away at my skin and ambition. in the corner of the room, my dead hamster is singing me a twisted birthday tune. i miss him and his woodchip smell. i miss the sleep, the tired beat of a proper life drum. shhhhhhhhhhh, child. drown me in a river that remembers the taste of winter, please. leave me peaceful against the watersmoothed rocks.

Monday, May 01, 2006

pearson international airport smells like...

anxiety and business. it is monday at 6 am. terminal one is newly gigantic. the air is cold, thin, metallic and populated by superindustrial jet engine fuel, european perfume, starbucks coffee, laundered uniforms. a flock of japanese school girls with brightly coloured suitcases, pigtails and plaid skirts break formation. they are thrilled and scurrying. a few men in printed shorts and thong sandals finger their boarding passes nervously waiting to check their sensible black and navy blue suitcases, respectively. next to me a blonde in stilettos, bare legs, taps her foot. i liked her especially. she was flying to montreal.