‘Place Hopping’ by Carolyne Van Der Meer

The Organ Player, St. Joseph’s Oratory

Lucinda is in love
Every Sunday she goes to the free afternoon concert
to see his oversized image
on the big screen in the basilica

She sits in the pew
her eyes locked on the alternating images
his hands, the back of his head
his profile, his feet

His hair, like a lion’s mane, black unruly
the Roman profile, the lips that purse at every crescendo
his hands, red and inelegant
that become the wands of inexplicable magic

as they race across the keys
She feels beads of perspiration
imagines those fingers on her
her body electric with desire

And his feet
oh his feet
as they select the pedals with such certainty
the pointed-toed shoes and colourful striped socks

the one sign of vanity
arresting her
Lucinda holds her head in her hands
to Bach’s Toccata, adagio & fugue in D minor

 


 

At Pizza Vesuvio, Champs Élysées  

On this patio we let the wind
undo our hair

around us Cartier Bulgari Lancel
herds of tourist shopping bags

a man in a wheelchair one leg amputated
war veteran perhaps

rolls up to a mother and daughter
waves his hands behind the girl as the mother takes a photo

for just a moment I have admiration
think he is the father

think what a strong family to endure
such hardship but they 

look at him stunned
as he laughs rolls away

we go back to our pizza
wind undoing our hair

 


 

Mutt on the Saguenay River

He barks on the shoreline as they search the beach
during low tide. He’s excited by what’s
beneath the water. His yelps are drawn-out groans—

if only he could see this landscape, these creatures
as he swipes his paws against the cool spray.
Now he sinks in pewter-coloured clay,

wishes for crabs that hide in the half-light.

 


CAROLYNE VAN DER MEER lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. She has two published books, Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2014) and Journeywoman (Inanna, 2017). A third book, a collection of poetry called Sensorial, is forthcoming from Inanna in 2021. Her poetry and prose have been published internationally.

Copyright © 2019 by Carolyne Van Der Meer. All rights reserved.

Poems by Taylor Gray Moore

THE DEBUT OF MONTREAL’S NEW ‘AZUR’ METRO TRAINS, 7 FEBRUARY 2016

The train approaches the platform,
all the people clap. A stooped old
woman in a patchwork shawl tells
le maire how it happened
that hallowed day back in ‘67
when all the grass turned green.
She was young then; she
wore a little red skirt, carried
a little white bag and spoke
fluently out both sides of her mouth.
All of us still remember, or
at least
remember remembering,
the joie de vivre with which
she embarked that hallowed day.

Doors finally open, all the people
clamber inside to take their places.
Chantieres—some young, some old,
others completely ageless—
occupy the front seats playing
guitars, harmoniums, fiddles,
sing of golden days both future and past
while Richler and Groulx make sweet love
in the back.
Oh look! Oh look! Someone’s taken a hand!
Oh look! All the Montrealers & Montréalais
have taken hands and begun to dance!

All the people, at long last hand in hand,
promenade down the aisle, train passing
smoothly under their tortured dreams
and l’Autoroute du Souvenir.
They’re beautiful in the shining light
of every shining station passed,
in the dark between they’re all
remade half and whole.

 


 

THE OLD BIKE IS GONE
for Matt BT

Last night we took the old bike,
that one we never used,
out of the closet
and led it out to the alley
behind our building—
abandoned it there,
placed it outside our lives.

It’s still sitting there,
will always be there.
It’s going to be designated a public art installation
by l’arrondissement du Plateau-Mont Royal
and will remain in place for generations.
It will come to symbolize this place, this time,
somebody will link it to Leonard Cohen
and his final years. They will say that
it was the bicycle he rode home on the last day of his life,
carrying groceries in the basket. They will debate
what produce he bought; how many eggs, how much milk.
Everyone will forget that he died in Los Angeles—
they will instead repeat the story enough to make it true
for legions of young dreamers
making pilgrimages from across the Earth.

Later still, it will be held up
as an example of the life and beliefs
of us inhabitants of 21st century Montreal
by people who will not know what a bicycle is.
It will be declared either a hood ornament, a trellis
or a religious icon. They will see the faces
of holy men and women in the chains of our bicycle,
and there anoint them.

But for now all we have is more room in the closet.
We’ll move furniture and clothes
into this vacated space.
We are freer now, cleaner,
a great weight has been cast off.
Perhaps we can fly now,
emerge out of time,
pull something immortal from this cold, empty here.

 


TAYLOR GRAY MOORE was born in Vancouver, BC, in 1992 and has lived there for most of his life. He attended McGill University in Montreal, where he obtained a B.A. in English Literature. His work has previously appeared in The Lark, Pulp Magazine and the Spadina Literary Review.

Copyright © 2019 by Taylor Gray Moore. All rights reserved.

‘Women I Know’ by Danielle Wong

Sustenance in Bread
To my Mom

Flour flies on her face
as she throws more
onto the dough she kneads.
With precision and imperceptible speed she packages the dough
into bread pan after bread pan.
She dances around the kitchen
pulling out fresh bread
from the oven
and replaces them
with new ones
loaf after loaf
kneaded
packaged
thrown in the oven
pulled out of the oven.
Flour flies
and lands
on the ceiling
the floors
in her hair.
The last loaf finally baked
she takes it out
like all the other loaves.
Bare-handed.
Flour-handed.
She smiles.
We sit at the table,
milk and brown sugar ready.
She slices one loaf.
She sits with us.
After school treat.
Maybe this feast will be dinner.

 


 

Calling

I watched her dance
with every step
up and over
rocks, twigs, and roots
and heard her thank
the trees, the rocks, the earth for guiding her. I heard voices
familiar and unheard before:
my mother, her father, and his. They danced alongside her
and sang, and skipped, and smiled as deeper into the woods we went. I watched her dance
while I was pulled up and away, torn between staying with her
and joining them.

 


DANIELLE WONG is a poet and author of short fiction. She has a collection of poetry about life with a child with special needs titled Bubble Fusion. Some of her other work is found on Soft Cartel and in various anthologies, such as Lean InThe Way Through, and Overture. She showcases some of her work on her website, https://daniellewong.ca, as well. She was born and raised in Saskatchewan, but now lives in Montreal.

Copyright © 2019 by Danielle Wong. All rights reserved.

‘Oh, Canada’ and ‘Patera II’ by Christina Strigas

Oh, Canada

Watching the sun rise is one of the most trusted things.
I’m old school. Old soul for shining love.
In Greece, the sunrise overlooked the ocean,
in Canada, the sunrise overlooked Park Ex. 

When I was eight,
I saw Greece in your eyes.
I understood what the word immigrant implied.
All the looks, questions,
Where were you born?
I’m Canadian. I’m Greek.
I’m Greek-Canadian.

I’m nowhere to be found.

I mostly feel like a sea animal—
Life,
hooked me;
it adored my Canadian skin, its delicacy
flapping my fins in the air.
Olive complexion, dark hair and eyes.
Oh, you look Greek or Italian.
You have an accent.                    

Did you know the ocean grave is so silent?
There is no grandiose ocean here.
Canada is civil. Makes no war.
Canada opens up its arms to immigrants like us.
It wets our words with ghosts,
not the ones in movies or reality TV;
the real ones that terrorize immigrant dreams.        

Canada has clawed cold cuts on my skin,
The dry scathed skin of winter.
I’m allergic to the cold now,
Still translating documents for my mother since 1980.

They make me write about how she came to Canada on April 29, 1960.
She had two birthdays
my grandfather changed it to 1943
for food, survival;
and now I’m filling out 10 page applications
to prove she is who she says she is
after living here for fifty-eight years.
It’s always hopeless
When you can’t speak the language
You live in—
But it is hopeful
To have a nomad soul.  

You can be a stranger in two countries.
I see proof of that every day. 

 

PATERA II

I crashed on the floor
Next to your dead body, Patera
You were wrapped in a red flannel blanket of fire.
Your last breath,
Of three deep sighs . . . a matchstick
Flaring-up a crowd of love
We watched the horror.

Around your nailed feet,
Edges of years,
Like a quick flame,
Your light disappeared
Brushed by fingertips
An odyssey of stops,
A heart wrenching eulogy.         

But the saints are calling you—
To dream on a bed of red clouds,
they want your Good Friday bonfire.
Light up the glow Father
Patera, kalinihta.
Goodnight

When you died ten years ago,
the world shifted gears;
Greece and its olives,
Its braced trees
Seem so distant now
Miles of gravel
Now a dead memory

Epic to recall
How you stole cucumbers
in your youth,
How you got tired for days,
Walking miles to reach school—
No swings, amusement parks

Merry-go-rounds.
No lights on the village streets.
No telephones,
Just one
soccer ball to bring your name in arenas. 

Raised on bread and lentils,
Hand-prepared— in a clay sink,
In one room with five siblings,

You left Greece with a five-dollar bill in your pocket
a Greek-English dictionary in your bag.

 


CHRISTINA STRIGAS is a full-time teacher. She teaches ESL to adults at McGill University, and French at a public elementary school for The Montreal English School Board. She is also a Course Lecturer at McGill University. Her work has appeared in Feminine Collective, SpillWords, Neon Mariposa Magazine, as well as some that will be publishing some work in the upcoming months, such as: Pink Plastic House, Thimble Lit Magazine, Rhythm & Bones, Twist in Time, and The Temz Review. Her poetry book, Love & Vodka was recommended by CBC News and made the Ultimate Canadian Poetry List. She has written two novels for MuseItUp Publishing. She lives in Montreal with her husband and two children.

Copyright © 2019 by Christina Strigas. All rights reserved.

‘Two Arias’ by James Dunnigan

On the Hill by Rome Boulevard 

You, leaning by me in the bowing grass
at noon, late summer, on a yellow hill
telling me love has become like the face of the night
             and you do not remember where the bikepath is
             and have forgotten to put on your shoes
             and circling your arms
around the nape-knot of a birch’s neck
             say that you loved me once. 

I have brought you as close to my heart as a seed is to soil
that raises it into a tangle of leaves,
cool and odorous the soil, sweeter the yielded grain,
and the wind moving under the branches of us
             will carry our dust and reflections
over the lakeshore rocks
             and over the road-veined hills
             and I don’t care anymore where they carry us. 

You lean beside me in the yellow grass
on noon’s late hill august and shadowless,
holding between you and your bending arms
the white face of the distant sun.
I know then all my nights and mornings will be yours
             and the days thereafter will warm to your countenance,
dawn, lend its brightness to your movements
             and the murmuring evenings borrow from your voice. 

I have shrouded my heart like a seed in the earth
that sun may never shine upon its sorrow
but the roots have grown deep at your urging
             with branches as soft as your arms;
                           their leaves, bright as your waking eyes;
                           their shade, at day, inviting as the night.


Saisonnière

aaaaaaBrighthaired, in black,
you drift over long rows of fruit
and bags of earth and boxes—
Summer’s summer,
             whose shadow
             freshens the cherries,
wets the pavement weeds.

Like you I’m a worker in water and fire.
I nearly burnt down my apartment
leaving the propane on.
And when I shovel ice in at the fish store,
             I throw it exactly
             outside the counter.

Your hands command the things they touch.
I’ve never seen a person work so finely
             with buckets of garbage water
or carry a barbecue lighter more gently
             into the breathing gas.

aaaaaaaI don’t know which:
             to see or to be seen by you,
delights the evening crowds the most.
Even in your contempt you’re golden
letting us go with a smile I know is a smirk
although a smirk would be enough;
             a smile being enough for hope
and hope itself being a kind of smirk.

And when you give me back my change,
             drop two warm coins into my palm,
your hand, though it retreats from mine,
             drags its cool shadow down my arm.

 


JAMES DUNNIGAN is a graduate of McGill University. Author of The Stained Glass Sequence, he was the winner of the 4th annual Frog Hollow Chapbook Competition in 2018. His work has appeared previously in Maisonneuve Magazine and is forthcoming in CV2.

Copyright © 2019 by James Dunnigan. All rights reserved.

‘It’s a Match’ by Lea-Maraike Sambale

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LEA-MARAIKE SAMBALE is the winner of the nation wide literature competition of the Eckenroth Foundation, Germany (2006), and the young Literature-Forum Hesse/Thuringia, Germany (2008 and 2013). Her work has been featured in the anthology “Nagelprobe 25,” and “Nagelprobe 30.” After moving to Montreal in June 2018, she started to write her poems and texts in English and experimented in combining them with selected sounds.

Copyright © 2018 by Lea-Maraike Sambale. All rights reserved.

‘Kanto Series’ Gideon Salutin

 

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GIDEON SALUTIN is a McGill development and history student, and has published photography in McGill-based journals.  He started photography when someone gave him a Fuji polaroid-style camera when he was 15, and later was given two definition film cameras.  The featured pieces were taken on an Olympus OM2000, using 35 mm film on ISO varying between 400 and 800, in Japanese cities throughout August 2018.

Copyright © 2018 by Gideon Salutin. All rights reserved.

‘Hong Kong Series’ by Finn Harvor

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FINN HARVOR is an artist, writer, musician, and filmmaker living in South Korea. His written work has appeared in many journals, both academic and popular. He’s won grants and awards, and been broadcast on national radio (Canada). He’s written and staged two plays, and my visual work has been shown/screened in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Ireland, Kazakhstan, South Korea, and Cuba (upcoming in Hong Kong). He has done work in videopoetry, and had work featured as a finalist at the Athens Videopoetry Festival (2017, 2018), the O’Bheal Videopoetry Festival (two videos: 2018), the MIX Conference (2017), Rabbitheart Curator’s Choice (2016, 2017, 2018), the Association of Comparative Literature, Korea (keynote plus screening).

Copyright © 2018 by Finn Harvor. All rights reserved.

‘drowning man sonnets’ by Aidan Chafe

drowning man in his liquid kingdom

he drops a match on his wound to set fire
to his blood. at a certain temperature even
the devil cools. any horror can drown in the fens
of a depressant. a ghost hums its dark dictionary,
its sharp symphony of terrible. monsters wake
to feast on the horses in his heart. his body
an inane language—glossolalia, gibberish.
he tramples hardwood, bruises wall paint.
thoughts clamber the stone well of neurons
sucking on fumes of chemical birds. knows his
mind unmoored, feet divine, dancing on a dead
sea in a porcelain tub. surrounded by sludge
in a chamber of billowing murk, he lights another
flame to channel the voices chanting his name.

 

drowning man during daily routine

mad max along suburban roadway
veering over medians, sharp-angling
commercial lots. tires breach every line.
to the liquor store as the crow flies.
employees brace for impact but he brakes
like burt reynolds, in time to jump out,
the car idling as if for a man from the law,
through the doors, past the beer display,
straight to the addiction. hastens towards
the cashier. mutters thanks. leaves drunk.
returns drunk. fills up every hour on the
hour. each time more staggered, less
coherent. mumbling and wobbling until
the floor sucker punches him to sleep.

 

drowning man discovers another dimension

he wades in the polluted basin of his own
making, summoning words from black matter.
his apartment is a landfill of tangents.
some nights he’s a sacrifice for the savages
in his head. on well-medicated ones an iridescence
of snowflakes. a field of luminous lanterns. opens
the night sky with electric intentions, swigs from
seductive liquors, pulling vermillion scarves
from his mouth. a city explodes into possibilities.
a glance becomes an invitation, becomes a touch,
becomes a dreamscape. his body enters another
and yearns to release. a rapturous blur. moments
unburdened by the cloak of self-consciousness.
a portal of escape from his own misadventures.

 

drowning man on the broken bicycle of recovery

instead of sipping the blood of jesus on sunday
he flocks the church of alcohol. holy grail =
old milwaukee = drowning man has a problem.
step one: therapy. stop drinking, see you in two
weeks. how did it go? stop drinking, see you
in two weeks. how did it go? stop drinking, see
you in two weeks. how did…the mind become
a wheel of unreason, a loathsome ministry of self-
medication. drowning man is a wounded sparrow
seeing a wolf therapist. step two: attends AA.
surrender to the will of god (capitulation to hope-
lessness). another lamb at the altar. step three: with his
trembling hands drowning man pours himself a drink.
mixes his mind and stirs. considers his next option.

 

drowning man is hiding something else

maybe more bottles under the sink.
maybe the chewing tobacco in the top
kitchen cabinet. maybe lies stuffed
into his pockets. maybe truth banging
on the locked door, his mouth clamped
by pride, too chicken shit to release.
maybe a ship of sadness. the fear
of the monster asleep. maybe an army
of locusts in his skin the strength
of a thousand itches. maybe a violence
of thought restless in the attic, collection
of madness in the dark. maybe the mind
unable to repair. maybe a body.
maybe his own. maybe. maybe not.

 

drowning man dreams of his own funeral

hovers over his body like a stubborn
rain cloud. studies the sorcery of
rigor mortis. skin—barren fields
of thaw and banishment. a corpse
appears beyond recognition, as if
inhabited by a stranger. recounts
grandma’s funeral, her body displayed
like a flower stripped of all its petals.
weeks before, a stroke made her face
fall, every tendon that kept muscle and
bone sinewed, let go in quiet relief.
he returns to his own physical history.
if the body is the last window into life,
his is an expression of self-loathing.

 


AIDAN CHAFE is the author of the poetry collection, Short Histories of Light (McGill-Queen’s University Press), as well as two chapbooks, Right Hand Hymns (Frog Hollow Press) and Sharpest Tooth (Anstruther Press). His work has appeared in journals including CV2The Capilano Review, EVENT, The Maynard, and PRISM international. He lives on the unceded territory of the Qayqayt First Nation (Burnaby).

Copyright © 2018 by Aidan Chafe. All rights reserved.