Monthly Archives: February 2011

Excerpt from I.V. Lounge Nights, “The End of the World”

The End of The World

The persistent cough, the routine procedure,
the congenital defect, the faulty wiring,
the fire in the starboard engine, the force majeure,
the mistress in the city, the last spirited thrust,
the little breeze off the coast of Africa,
the apples torn from the trees,
the unopened mail, the paperboy ringing the bell,
the atmospheric anomaly, the snow on the TV,
the hot wind with its tincture of rotten fish,
the wasps-nest of tumors, the drug-resistant strain,
the feeding tube, the shunt, the morphine drip,
the fatigue and general malaise,
the night inventory of the medicine cabinet,
the sleeping pills, the razor blades,
the reversals suffered as a child,
the bend in the road, the patch of black ice,
the telephone pole advancing in the high beams,
the statistical improbability, the cougar attack,
the stray piece of cosmic debris, the locals celebrating
the wedding of the loveliest girl in the village
by firing their guns into the air.


For more information about I.V. Lounge Nights or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Anthology, Excerpts | Tagged , , , , , , |

Excerpt from Iron-on Constellations, “What I Learned Growing Up in Parkdale”

What I learned growing up in Parkdale

Cars never stop for pedestrians
Kids should buy cigarettes in ones, it’s cheaper
Lake Ontario was once clean enough to swim in
Cadillacs invariably carry pimps
You can’t find parking on Sundays Continue reading

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , , |

Excerpt from Manual for Emigrants, “Faces”

Faces

You have a new face.

Living a life needs familiar faces, the faces of your family, of your friends.

I don’t recognize your face.

Or your family. Or your friends.

Somewhere down the line you chose the wrong mask.

Turn you face to the wall; show us the blank back of the head.

Blankness is something we recognize.


For more information about Manual for Emigrants or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , , |

Excerpt from Open Slowly, “She Seeks Beauty”

She Seeks Beauty

She seeks beauty everywhere
foraging for flowers in fog
as the metallic din of machinery bordering
the park clangs and disturbs—she dislikes
comments we make about the weight of bulbs
all they have to do is sit, look pretty, and breathe
in truth, they’re fibrous, sturdy, necessary for life.

She’s culpable as any, flesh covers bone
like a clenched fist
taut in sections, ample in others
the weight of water and salt,
breath noxious

she tells us flowers deceive like a woman
warns us to watch out for the men hiding behind them

they cast shadows on sun
etch their place
on earth, bodies pyramids
of accomplishment.

While we sit pretty and still, necessary.


For more information about Open Slowly or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , , |

Excerpt from She’s Shameless, “Introduction: This Is Not An After School Special”

Introduction: This is Not an After-School Special
Stacey May Fowles and Megan Griffith-Greene

“There are things in my life I regret, things I hope I can fix, things I still hope to accomplish, but I believe that shame is worthless. Let other people hold those scales. I have my hands full.”
-Amy Saxon Bosworth, I Don’t Wear Cloaks

This is not an after-school special. The pages of this book do not contain cautionary tales about the dangers of peer pressure, how doing drugs will ruin your life, how you should save yourself until marriage, and how you should stay in school.

In fact, it’s always really bothered us the way that people talk about, and to, youth. The world never gives young people all that much credit—teens are too young to make their own decisions; they are apathetic and shallow, reckless and thoughtless. That sort of thinking is a caricature: stupid, offensive, and, more often than not, hypocritical.

So we set out to create an anthology to combat that condescension, where women told the truth about their lives as teenagers—no bullshit.


For more information about She’s Shameless or to purchase, please click here.

Posted in Anthology, Excerpts | Tagged , , , , , , |

Excerpt from Somewhere to Run From, “Objects of My Affection”

Objects of My Affection

Your girlfriend’s rib cage cracks, bone against headboard, when you fuck her in my bed. In every poem she hits her head. Her small body breaks uncontrollably under your hot hand. A broken girl cannot cry. I am left here.

A tree house. Three new vines. Expired birthday balloons. Raw cane sugar. Remnants are just that: reminders. My hand is stamped with a stallion, the paper store, tiny icons remind me of you. Everything else small I Anna.

Your mouth on her makes you forget lyrics, the song you chose your name from. Makes you think about girls marked with black ink tattoos, thousands of miles down the coast. The song the radio played (the day you thought your life might be important) led to a crush on a deadly-wrong girl.

Your heart faltered over a dead dog.

When the song I loop tells me every little thing she does is magic, I think about older men and awards shows. We have an amicable conversation about pop songs and the girls who cover this one. It is stark, naked and maimed. It is also Anna. The girlfriend who still wears your bruises after three and a half years. You stole her youth, though you are the same age.

I want Anna’s health insurance, to get me through the night. Her warm whisky offerings. A prescription to cure me of her cold.


For more information about Somewhere to Run From or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , , |

Excerpt from The Stone Skippers, “The Stone Skippers”

The Stone Skippers

Beyond anywhere you might be now-beyond
the debris of all those elsewheres and whereabouts you
promised yourself you would inhabit if you had the time and
money (as if you could will it … as if you knew the direction),
children open their wide morning eyes and wade chest high into
stone skipping days, into neck deep light, into constant
conversations that bleed the mornings amber. Continue reading

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , |

Excerpt from Tell Your Sister

Tell Your Sister

His dark hair still wet from the shower, Aaron Fenn ran through the buoyant have of a deep blue autumn morning. In a town of inclines and subtly divisions, Millward Secondary stood in the north end amidst curving streets of split level-homes. The bell for first period sounded as Aaron turned the last corner before the school, books and binders swinging at his side. He hasn’t even had time to come up with a fresh excuse for why he was late again.

Outside the main entrance students took last drags in their cigarettes. The school served both the town and all the Castlereagh country, and the lobby into which he stepped smelled in equal parts of Polo and pig shit. Aaron nodded to a girlfriend of his sister, then slipped into the boisterous stream of kids flowing along the main hallway.

The door to his first class, English with Miss Hirst, was already closed, Once inside, Aaron looked for Susan Higham’s hazel eyes and help them with his own. Too busy to call from the Bowladrome the night before, he now counted himself lucky to receive a quick smile from her.


For more information about Tell Your Sister or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , |

Excerpt from A Thousand Profane Pieces, “One-Word Answers”

One-Word Answers

Kevin. Percussionist. Paris.
And one-word questions:
You? Drink? Later?
When responses come he’s

smoke rings trailing pianissimo,
eyeing his options as women
hover. He drinks too fast,
his eyes are agate blue

She’s a ripe pomegranate,
straining against the pith.
Her irises open to let him in.


For more information about A Thousand Profane Pieces or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , |

Excerpt from Your Love is Murder, “Shark”

Shark

A boy was playing hide-and-seek in the backyard with his sister and her friend. The boy, in an attempt to be impossible to find, went round to the driveway and hod under his father’s spirt utility vehicle. After a few minutes the boy ran back to the backyard, running right into his sister. She fell and bit her lower lip. Bleeding and crying she went inside.

A few minutes later, their mom came out and asked him to be more careful and the game was over. The two girls played inside because it was getting too hot, while the boy wandered around the backyard looking for interesting insects. Eventually he made his way back to the front of the house and opened the door to the truck. He climbed in behind the wheel and closed the door. He passed his hands over the steering wheel in dramatic fashion. He pressed a few buttons on the side arm console and was rewarded with a thunk. The boy took his hand off the console and stared at it, unable to tell what button he had pressed or what he had done.


For more information about Your Love is Murder or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , , |

Excerpt from Little Venus, “House”

House

Ranch style homes squat
along Rural Route 4,
their view of the horizon broken
by a ten-year-old girl, not wanting to go home.
Every seven steps white line repeats
then breaks off to grey.
Plush waves of rye wheat
undulate beneath an orange sky,
pressing her down.

This is her house
once a muddy hole in the ground
holding the family’s amazement
as it sprang, Beam upon Beam
into a place to sleep and eat.
Scent of sawdust and new carpet
when they moved in.

In a few moments, she’ll
discover her mother’s body
rolling from couch to floor
as Bob Dylan sings on the stereo.
The girl’s pulse pumps her through
screen door to bring back help.
Her mother will be carried away,
hands waving, in a haze
of valium and vodka, lying
on an ambulance bed. Life saved.


For more information about Little Venus or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , |

Excerpt from GULCH, “Poemagogy”

Poemagogy ::::: Adebe D.A.

Traffic sweat drips
flashing whiz children with red lips
neon age, yellow hallways
no decor
just wind: the age of reason.

I tried to reason with a lamppost
whatcha burning for? so many dead stars
like you dizzying up the streets, hardly any room
unlike a galaxy

but it wasn’t really a lamppost
and I wasn’t reasoning;

it was the simple act of pressing
palm to palm to
grape white saintliness,
the point at which a light
is formed and carries you forever

when it does not take off
with the wind
but remains like a question

the psychodynamic arc
of city life, trapping and liberation
Parlafilms:

where we speak as though
destroyed, where we only desire
to become something new.

Constant toil in the life of art!
the assemblage
slaveships deathtrains clubs
Eeenough
our reality (swallow)
too much, these bells
summon what enabled us to clash

first into the night
like palms
when we are strong
with the
not yet,
with the beauty of now

when we lift high
the banner of reason
to run across lines of flight,
of light, singing
how every life shall be a song
or certainly some sense of mattering

of being indivisible – that is the only desire
there is, to be enabled with passing
words that foam
like seas deep with dark

to reducible neither to the One
nor the multiple,
to become not you
or two, three four five
nor to add you to myself

for we have all
always been in motion:
our dimension is the same,
lovers are
just interlocutors in general,
radical disturbances

like subway trains, a kiss, a missed stop:
the shock of the encounter
when beauty exceeds
the limits of the rational

the unscripted sublimity
of the earth, this place
we inhabit on loan.

The dead poets keep telling me
anonymity is a lie, this city just another point
of departure

that desire is just sympathy, not filiation; that we are angels,
alloys, the wind

that our roots are rhizomes,
our lives creatio ex amore,
multiplicity is what has borne the city
is what has borne us, we are still being
birthed again, and up, and away.


For more information about GULCH or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , , , |

Excerpt from Boredom Fighters, “Introduction”

Boredom Fighters, “Introduction”

Hello. There are a few things that seem to pop for us:

1/ pushing comic graphics to excess (lots of bubbles, lots of booms and lots of non-words)
2/ overwhelmingly gendered perspectives and narratives
3/ politically engagement (we are thinking of the environment-all the time)

We were reading an articles today written by psychologist Pierce J. Howard (Director of Research at the Centre for Applied Cognitive Studies), when two things struck us:

1/ “Moods are temporary. When an emotional state is permanent, as in continual sadness [or boredom – we’re interchanging the mood], that is a trait, not a mood. Typically, such traits cannot be changed without pharmaceuticals, surgery or therapy.”

He goes on to say that moods can be managed … with a simple five minute outdoor walk, among other things (we need light, air, exercise, change of pace)…

2/ Howard suggests that the probable cause of boredom is that a task is too easy.

If boredom becomes a trait, we surmised, then mothers smash sons with vacuum cleaners, schools soporificize students in greasy cafeterias, governments crush the rebellious with plasma screens. Strangely, it’s the ‘easy talk’ that causes boredom and yet there is nothing more difficult to manage than having nothing to do. Of course, we believe it is obscene and unethical to be without ‘doings.’ Just yesterday we received a letter from neo-Situationalist who said, “I remind you both that ‘Boredom in Counter-Revolutionary’.”


For more information about Boredom Fighters or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Four Seasons in Music, Poetry and Art

Contents of a Mermaid's Purse, by Phoebe TsangWhen: Sat 05 March 2011, 8pm
Where: Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front St W, Toronto
Tickets: Call the box office at 416-872-4255

Please feel very welcome to attend an interdisciplinary concert by the Canadian Sinfonietta orchestra, called: Four Seasons in Music, Poetry and Art. The fabulous and dramatic Lara St John will be the violin soloist in both Vivaldi and Piazzolla’s “Seasons” Violin Concerti. The Piazzolla version is a passionate, tango counterpoint to the Vivaldi. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Excerpt from Art or War, “Focus and Vision: Viktor Mitic’s Precise Bullets”

Focus and Vision: Viktor Mitic’s Precise Bullets

Viktor Mitic’s paintings shimmer and move. They look back at you. They hunt you down. Maybe it’s the oil or acrylic, the gold leaf or exotic pigments used. Perhaps, even, the light that emanates from the perfect holes created by his point-blank bullets.

Mitic says that “channelling the proper energy” and “choosing the right ammo” for his bullet paintings is very important, and I believe him. He is classically trained, with the skill of a marksman. Mitic has painted portraits of Jean Chretien, Lucien Bouchard, and Preston Manning. He knows how to please the nervous Conservative, and he can certainly do Traditional with flair. A trickster, and not one to cower from controversy, Mitic has taken a creative stance and begun shooting bullets into his paintings. To date he has shot paintings of Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Benazir Bhutto, John F. Kennedy, and other iconic figures from politics and popular culture. And, as Ewan Whyte writes in his Preface, there is “no scattershot, no wild swing of the gun without thought.”

On a recent trip to Montreal, I stopped in at Drawn and Quarterly Books. I hadn’t been to the store before, but sought it out because I had been thinking about Mitic’s work and Tightrope’s vision of having writers respond to his bullet paintings. I was thinking about how the writers would offer new perspectives and insights, tap into the energy of the paintings, discuss what was triggered (sorry, couldn’t resist) by Mitic’s bullets. I was looking for academic insights for pulling these concepts together. Drawn and Quarterly has a wonderful collection of graphic novels and art books. When graphic novels first came out I remember thinking there was no way they would last—people want “real” literature, not comic books. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The energy of the bookstore was phenomenal. Literature had morphed with art, and apparently I had missed the transformation. The younger generation has whole-heartedly embraced a new way of telling stories and reading text through images. Imagine!


For more information about Art or War or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Art, Excerpts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Excerpt from Confessions of a Reluctant Cougar, “Man #1020”

Man #1020

Screen name: Renaissance Man

Favourite Quote: “If music be the food of love, play on, / Give me excess of it; that surfeiting, / The appetite may sicken, and so die.”

Self-description: Confident, hopeless romantic who will read you poetry and take walks along the moonlit beach with you.

Likes: Smart, sexy, petite women. Exotic types.

Dislikes: Smokers, drinkers, sex addicts,

Religion: Christian

Favourite movie moment: Charlton Heston parting the Dead Sea in The Ten Commandments.

Motto: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

Sex is all about the love with him “neo-Platonic” love to be exact. Connected to God and to all living things. He confounds her with elevated talk, spiritual idealism, and antiquated romantic notions.

“You are like a rose,” William says enigmatically.

“Does that mean I have thorns?” she teases, sweeping back her thick brown hair.

“No, you haven’t any. You’re a red rose with a hint of black. And eyes like Countess Bathory.”

Olivia smiles serenely, as though men have been treating her this way for centuries. She wonders to herself, Is he for real?

Later she looks up Countess Bathory on the Internet and discovers she murdered her housemaids to bathe in their fresh, young blood. Countess Bathory thought she had discovered the secret to the fountain of youth. There were fifty-odd dead in the castle basement by the time they caught up with her. Most accounts describe her as a vampire—terrified of aging, remarkably seductive. Olivia wonders if William really knows the whole story or whether he just likes the name Bathory, having heard it in passing.

Olivia has been a member of half a dozen online dating sites without much luck, until now. No one ever turned out to be who they said they were. It wasn’t that they were liars, though some of them were. People were just short-sighted. They saw themselves as they wanted to be seen. Even after she had closed her accounts on most of the sites, she still saved a copy of each profile from the men she’d dated. She even created a profile for men she hadn’t met online. It turned out to be a good way to keep track of them, especially if she was dating more than one at a time. It was her own private Dewey Decimal System for relationships that she stored in a folder marked ‘Personal.”

Olivia and William are walking across the grassy quad at York where he is a TA in art history and religion classes. Several young girls with knapsacks and tight jeans—girls Olivia has long since learned not to envy—eye her boyfriend, trying to catch his attention with a smile or by tossing back their long hair.

William takes her hand as they’re walking. She looks over at his earnest profile, a face that betrays no trace of the hardship he says he has endured. It is unlined and unspoiled. At thirty-five, William is eighteen years younger than Olivia. The creases around her eyes soften in his company.

William brings her red roses. He kisses her voluptuously. He makes her believe in love again, instead of just sex.


For more information about Confessions of a Reluctant Cougar or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , |

Excerpt from The Grammar of Distance, “Music of a Walk Through Leaves”

Music of a Walk Through Leaves

We’d walk home from school through fallen leaves,
hand in hand, the girl whose family owned the dairy.
She took piano lessons and sang in the choir.
She could raise a spring day with her song.
Sing the losses in me. Re-tune the world.

Since stepping ashore from the ship that
sometimes fuelled my dwindling dreams,
carrying my diminished life in a backpack,
providing my own running commentary to fill the silence,
I’ve revisited our walk over the years since she left,
trying to find the music of those leaves.
No trace, a random arrangement of notes.

Picture a grown man on leave from his senses,
testing his iron will, the thrust of his hands
through dead duff. Off in the harbour distance,
beyond arm’s length, the ship’s blasting horn,
if you see what I mean.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , , |

Excerpt from “The Nights Also”

The nights also

Not only the lake like this, not only the low sun cutting the mist, and those three smooth ripples each side of the silent bow
but the nights also

Not only the microphone, the acceptance letter, the applause, the wide place past the treeline where we finally understand why we’ve come all this way

Not only the life we claim on our tax returns, not only the breakroom gossip, the lost umbrellas, the small triumphs of public transit

Not only the dreams we fortress with sandbags of will

Not only the ways we touch each other in public

Not only what we hang on the wall, what we polish for the in-laws, what we sort, schedule, tabulate, catalogue, and account for

Not only what we understand


For more information about The Nights Also or to purchase it, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , |

An excerpt from The Best Canadian Poetry 2010, “Introduction: Holding Feathers in Your Teeth”

INTRODUCTION: HOLDING FEATHERS IN YOUR TEETH

Naming takes place almost immediately after creation in the Book of Genesis. God, who perhaps understood the difficulty of the task, washed his hands of it and gave the responsibility to the man he’d just moulded from clay and spittle. There are two different kinds of Adams, according to Don McKay in one of his talks about poetry. The one who is the scientist, Don says, observes the animals, names them, and goes home happy to a warm supper and a good sleep, his job complete. The Adam who is the poet observes them, names them, goes home, and can’t eat or sleep. He knows he didn’t get it right and has to try again. And again.


For more information about The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2010 or to purchase it, please click here.

Posted in Anthology, Excerpts | Tagged , , , , |

An excerpt from “Paradox”, in Danila Botha’s Got No Secrets

Paradox

“Mother, mother, can you hear me? Sure I’m sober, sure I’m sane.

Life is perfect, never better, still your daughter, still the same.

My mother calls me immediately after dinner. My cellphone’s ring beats at my brain like a jackhammer; even though I have call display, I pick it up, just to make it shut up. She doesn’t know about anything that goes on in my life. She doesn’t know what subjects I’m taking, what I like studying, what I do any night of the week. She just wants to know that her investment is working out well—that her daughter will one day become a respected professional that is actually worth something. I hope I don’t live that long. I tell her that I’m fine, that the test went well, that I’m going to have to spend another night at the library. Another project for my abnormal psychology class. A lot of research. Periodicals, you know. I’ll probably see her in the morning, maybe.

I can’t believe she buys it.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , , |

An excerpt from Best Canadian Essays 2010, edited by Alex Boyd and Kamal Al-Solaylee

INTRODUCTION

When 2009 was only a few weeks old, the world was still reeling from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The word “recovery”—the theme of the latter half of 2009—seemed more like wishful thinking than a reality. Still, some economists and business journalists seem to think that Canada was spared the banking meltdowns and real-estate collapse that brought the American economy—and the British, the Irish, Icelandic, you name it—to its knees. Our banking habits and national trait saved us from the worst consumerist excesses.

Out-of-work Canadians and cultural workers who’ve seen their already-meagre funding disappear before their eyes may disagree with this rosy picture, but as editors of The Best Canadian Essays 2010, we have ample evidence to suggest that as the world turned, ushering in a cycle of penny- pinching and overspending (a.k.a. stimulus), Canadian magazine writers managed to invest their capital in a range of timely and timeless stories. The economy may have dictated newspaper headlines, but introspection, and social and environmental concerns gave writers a chance to examine a bigger picture—one that transcends the ups and downs of trading indexes and banking scandals.

The anthology you’re about to read captures a year in the life of Canada through the eyes of several of its best essayists. For some, the word “essay” conjures up images of returning to school and being forced to write about your summer vacation, but we’re out to prove it isn’t a dirty word. These essays (sometimes even referred to as “stories” in correspondence with authors) cover everything from dog-sled racing up north to urban attempts to beat the aging process. Our writers contemplate subjects as personal as faith and as large as disturbing social trends. This is writing loaded with incisive observations and ideas.


For more information about Best Canadian Essays 2010 or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Anthology, Excerpts | Tagged , , , , , , |

“Faces”, excerpted from Manuel for Emigrants, by Fraser Sutherland

Faces

You have a new face.

Living a life needs familiar faces, the faces of your family, of your friends.

I don’t recognize your face.

Or your family. Or your friends.

Somewhere down the line you chose the wrong mask.

Turn you face to the wall; show us the blank back of the head.

Blankness is something we recognize.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , , |

Excerpt from The Mourner’s Book of Albums, by Daniel Scott Tysdal

WHAT IS MISSING

The night after the boy was kidnapped a group of teens got high and formed the Ministry of Pre-Emptive Memorials. The Minister of Stuffed Animals, The Minister of Flowers, and the Minister of Signed Letters and Anonymous Poems embarked with the others in pairs to locate the goods they’d been assigned to gather. Their work was finished by dawn, and they photographed it, though the memorial lacked the contribution of the Minister of Wreaths (who had been arrested lurking naked in the meat section of an all-night supermarket). The memorial did not bear witness to the boy. What the friends had prepared was meant to brace the world against a calamity yet to come. To keep it ready. Continue reading

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , |

Best Canadian Poetry 2010 at Verse Visits: World Poets in New York

Best Canadian Poetry 2010Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 at 1 pm and 7 pm
St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Wall Street, Broadway at Fulton Street
Cathedral of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street)

St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Wall Street and The American Poets’ Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine will collaborate in a new poetry series, Verse Visits: World Poets in New York, on Thursday, March 3 with the inaugural reading, “Best Canadian Poetry, The Soul in the Leaf,” at St. Paul’s Chapel at 1 p.m. and again at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at 7 p.m. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Excerpt from Wrong Bar, by Nathaniel G Moore

PART ONE: kiss the headlights and put it in neutral

I.

This dingy morning is half eaten.

The store feels empty.

I have been fidgeting by the colourful fish tanks with their hyper-turquoise glamour burbling in the reflection, while outside a prehistoric wind terrifies me with its malignant hissing; it wreathes harsh against the glass with the finesse of a poltergeist. Well, not finesse. It’s smearing the glass in a certain inhumane way: entirely relentless. Maybe finesse, maybe calculating.

A customer prods me with sea queries, reminding me I am not alone. The store is not empty.

“So they last a long time?” The woman is rushed; her eyes go across the tanks, over to a hamster wheel, and back to me. To me, she seems erratic and disenfranchised, not fully comprehending her role as caregiver.

“You’d be surprised,” I go. “How many would you like?” Then, giving a half-crescent smile, “As you may know, it’s half-price fish day here at Sloppy Salmon’s Wet Pet Centre.”

I add the word “wet” for syllabic resonance. Ten in the morning, four customers, and my face is already a clock of sweat, my skin iridescent and convivial. That’s probably not the right word. My skin tingles in chatter, if tingles could speak. Not tingles so much as itches.

Maybe it’s glue or something.

The mother asks her son what he thinks. The kid shrugs. I begin to unravel, not literally, of course—“Look, I’m under cover,” I tell them. I feel light-headed. “This is a sting operation.”


For more information about Wrong Bar or to purchase the book, please click here.

Posted in Excerpts | Tagged , , , |