Year: 2021

Dragons and Castles by Ben Demoskoff

When Ben draws, he doesn’t have a conscious intent, just like when he is enjoying the great outdoors. “But the feeling that Fantasy Perspective [His one panel comic series] gives, is a simple way to come to a conclusion or an answer about anything” he says.  “It’s like saying to heck with it all.  It’s a way to see any kind of life as an adventure, good and bad.”  Says Ben:” it gives me hope when I’m down as I wake up to dragons and castles (work and rent). All artists/creatives have their unique way of moving through the world. Moment to moment some generate their own symbols for things. “No Brains” [how he signs his one panel comic series] can be a nice thing to say to someone in Russian, says Ben.  Depending on your [the reader’s] perspective, it may or may not help the comic make more sense, but absurdity is part of Life isn’t it? Ben thinks of the movie [Roger Rabbit] when he imagines fantasy.  Ben is not afraid of making …

Line Those Street With Gold By Gracjan Kraszewski

The man does not say anything. He appears to want more. I’m happy to oblige. ‘It’s not hard to find people online, upline, or in plain old real life who will tell you at the drop of a hat that nothing is real. I’ve found the reason for the many reasons they give, the various theories and postulations they put forth, usually comes down to sexual license. These people are not as sophisticated as Descartes was—that if there is a res cogitans which I can be sure ofand the res extensa outside the mind, my own mind, which I do not know, then if follows that the unknowable cannot make rules which must be followed. If all in the res extensa, and this certainly includes community-societal standards of sexual morality, is not to be understood than I can do whatever I want because who knows what the right way is anyways, right?—and they do not have to be. It doesn’t take a lot to arrive at: go ahead and have unlimited promiscuous sex. It’s easy …

Small Courage: A Queer Memoir of Finding Love and Conceiving Family by Jane Byers – Reviewed by Stephanie Henriksen

Published by Caitin Press, 2020 Small Courage: A Queer Memoir of Finding Love and Conceiving Family is a story that explores the author’s multi-faceted identity: a writer, poet, athlete, mother and lesbian, partner to a loving wife, and a member of an unconditionally loving non – traditional family. Her memoir challenges the popular notion that an ideal family consists of a mom and a dad, inspiring readers to live a life that is honest to who they are and not what society expects them to be. Organized as a series of personal essays with a sprinkle of poetry, the memoir reveals her journey towards finding her true identity, including finding the woman of her dreams and adopting magnetic twins, a boy and a girl, children of colour. Small Courage offers a refreshing feminist perspective by sharing intimate details of Byers’ experience as a young woman growing up in Ontario in the 60’s and 70’s, discovering she was queer, and keeping aspects about herself hidden because society had yet to catch up. Same–sex marriage was legalized …

I’m Done by Nichoel Sutton

Combining creativity, freedom from violence, activism, and committed parenting takes courage. Nichoel Sutton’s spoken-word series “I’m done” can be seen as part of a poetic tradition called Incantations. Braid and Shreve in their book “In Fine Form” share the Canadian Oxford Dictionary’s definition: “a magical formula chanted or spoken” which comes from the Latin “cantare”, to sing. Although many forms of poetry use repetition, the incantation relies particularly heavily on rhythmic insistence to create an intensely emotional, mesmerizing effect, for magic, ritual, or performance purposes. Like spoken-word, incantation overtly appeals to the senses – especially the ear.” (Braid and Shreve, p.110). Part 1. I’m done. I’m done with the words that don’t match the actions…Part 2. I’m done with the meetings where they say nice words…Part 3. I’m done. I’m done with not being able to protect myself…Part 4. I’m done with knowing that if I call the police…

Breathing Underwater by Judi Anani

Rabaul, Papua New Guinea (PNG), August 2016   I am on board a 5-meter-long aluminum dinghy, Miss Ginny, as it unapologetically carves a path through otherwise serene blue waters. Squinting against the sun, three of us propel across the tropical expanse. We allow the shore to shrink behind us until the ever-intimidating volcanic mount Tavurvur becomes a mere wisp in the horizon (1).    Jonathan, our local guide, sits with a hand casually placed on the tiller steer and stares ahead thoughtfully. Our eyes meet and he smiles genuinely bearing red buai stained teeth (2).    Everyone I have met on this island nation smiles like they mean it. As if they do not mind at all an arduous trek up the mountain in the tropical heat to access freshwater. As if they do not care that the lime powder they mix with betel nut has eroded their teeth. As if they are not perturbed by foreign-owned mines growing rich from local commodities, while the local economy struggles.    Nathan, my employer, and scuba companion sits across from me …

Writing with the Universe: Marguerite Porete: By Chantal Lunardi

– I – Marguerite Porete (13th century – 1 June 1310) was a French-speaking mystic and the author of The Mirror of Simple Souls, a work of Christian mysticism dealing with the workings of agape (divine love). She was burnt at the stake for heresy in Paris in 1310 after a lengthy trial, refusing to remove her book from circulation or recant her views (Wikipedia $25). A rare flower, considered a weed at the time, Marguerite Porete came to me while I was digressing at the library of Simon Fraser University. Digression was my favourite state of mind. Is. I would wander amongst rows of books outside of my assigned multiple fields of study and, with the coming of the online age, gallivant from rare and restricted virtual academic publications to historical novels, folktales, plays, poetry and handwritten journal entries giving me infinite possibilities to roam deeper into remote obscure quadrants. I would cross entire universes of abstractions and sometimes come back on time for dinner, hundreds of pages further away from the end of …

On Condition by Emily Rose Whitehead

Your love was on condition You showed me the fine print Handed me a nearly empty pen Directed my eyes down to a page A page filled with terms and agreements A page titled ‘My love contract’ I held that pen full of empty promises and extended conversation I had so many questions, The first one being: If my love was free, If my love was an ever growing garden dedicated to your house, If my love was a tender caress from my ancestors to yours Given to you without any conditions Then why was your love a form? A contract protecting your heart A contract breaking mine–On condition My second question was this If my love was written in bubbles,  Coloured in rainbows, Kissed by toothless faeries Why was yours put into Times New Roman fineprint? Your line dotted, mine blurred My final inquiry comes in shallow breaths If my love was crying on your shoulder, If my love was dancing to your heartbeat, If my love has sailed across the pacific to find …

Une Pandemie Démasquée by Chantal Lunardi

Ben lày’en a marredistance isolationne t’approche pasles enfants vont tuer leurs grands-parentsla petite Lennon reste dans sa chambreelle ne sort qu’avec un masquepour ne pas infecter sa mère son pèrel’arrière grand-mère a déménagépeur de Lennonelle ne peut l’approcherson bijou sa raison de vivremaintenant le spectre de sa mort Lennon est maladefièvre touxle nez qui coulecomme tous les enfantsà la rentrée scolairecomme tous les éducateursen septembreon donne et s’échangedes cocktails d’immunisationpas nécessairementde bonne volontéon régénèrenos cellules embourbéespas toujoursavec grande joieou sans risquesc’était il y a un tempsla meilleure façonde garder notre équilibrehoméostatique sainquelle responsabilitéLennonde porter sur ses frêles épaulesnos destinées Y’en a marreben là voyonsla police qui s’en mêleles amendesvous allez tous nous tuervous promener comme çaamicalementen nombre plus grandque celui décrétésans masquessans gantssans une épaisseurde gel stérilisantet aux Philippinesle président approuveun policier d’avoir tiréà la tête un homme ébriéqui n’en portait pas unede ces mascarades est-ce vraiment où se dirigenotre humanité?couvre-feux regards éclipséslaissant échapper notre hainede ceux qui ne se camouflent pasalors qu’il n’y a pas longtempsau nom de la libertéon dédaignait la dissimuléeexigeant qu’elle …

Three Poems by Tori Thurmond

Learning the difference One day I killed a carpenter bee that was crawling on the driveway. It was crawling and I squished it with my shoe. Mom told me carpenters weren’t dangerous, not like the bee who stung my hand last summer. I tried to save the bee, blew on it, gave it water drops in case he was thirsty. I hadn’t known the carpenter bee wasn’t going to hurt me. I put him on the only branch of our crabapple tree that I could reach. A nice place in the shade. After a few minutes two other carpenter bees came looking for the one. They hovered in the air looking at it. I didn’t know bees could be so still like that. I put my hand out. Cupped the two carpenter bees in my palm so they wouldn’t have to work so hard to look. I hoped they’d sting me. I think it would have helped with the feeling in my stomach. I stood there with the bees in my hand until it was …