Month: January 2021

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 …

Love Haight 69 by Tanya Coad

Note to reader The following is an excerpt from my historical fiction novel, Love Haight ‘69. It is a coming-of-age story, set in 1969, about a runaway teen from Canada, living in Haight-Ashbury and struggling to immerse herself in the counterculture scene. A square with hip aspirations, she finds love, community, and a sense of purpose across the Bay when she joins a diverse group of volunteers who transform an abandoned lot on the UC Berkeley campus into a “People’s Park.” Verity is 18, shortish, blondish, and bright yet naive. Her activist boyfriend, Richard, is a handsome 26-year old Political Science major. In the following scene, they and Richard’s roommate, Gerber, an affable African American hulk, are returning from a camping trip. Chapter 30  Thurs., May 15, 1969; noon Under a hazy mid-May sky, the white Chevy cruised northward up Telegraph Avenue. Having dropped Gerber’s girlfriend off already, the carload of grungy campers was tired and eagerly anticipating assimilation back into a world of creature comforts. “Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen…” One tanned leg pressed against the …

Three poems by Art Harrison

Candles (A memory) Stumble into a dark apartment And fumble for the light. Empty and cool with the breeze Blowing through the open window. Flick the switch and gaze around At the mess of dishes, scattered papers, And children’s toys. The kids are back with their mother for the week And the place is quiet and dead without their light. The light on the answering machine blinks three times; Someone has actually called, Three someones possibly. Savour the chance to break this awful silence. Two from the children. So often the ones who keep me in contact with the world… And one from her. After months of nothing her voice comes to me like the whispers of a ghost Calling from the other side. She sounds tired. She’s been working so hard and before I can catch myself I wish I could hold her. But I remember where I am And what has happened Replay the message to catch the content, which says very little, Give my head a shake and go to erase just …

1963 – A short Reflection on Life Guidelines by Ilkay Cakirogullari

In times, where “time” doesn’t seem to play a role, it almost seems as though everybody just keeps on running. “A new challenge”, “Something New”, “Recreate yourself”. Voices blend. Many talk, few do. Yeah! That’s how it is nowadays. Who’s done plenty in the past, may rest now. Who’s done little thus far, has to work even more. And who’s to say, if you’ve done much or little? Maybe traditional media, or even social media as they seem to be the ones dictating how and with what we are supposed to effectively fill our “leisure time”.  In the article “PositiveLivingInPositiveEnvironentsTodayfor70+” an exact time table is being suggested, which ought to give ‘my’ life – and even claims to give everyone’s life – a new and deeper meaning. In short: PLIPET70+. My daily routine should somehow look like this: 6:30: Get up 6.31: Drink a glass of water. ROOM TEMPERATURE (Neither cold nor warm) 6.33: Prepare your yoga mat for meditation 6.48: Bathroom 7.02: Breakfast (Every bite has to be chewed 20 times) 7.37: Brush your …

D.R.E.A.M. (Delusion Rules Everything Around Me) by Matty Kakes

Sung to the tune of C.R.E.A.M. by Wu-Tang Clan I grew up on the sci side, the Bill Nye don’t lie side Empirical research was my jive Had second hand textbooks and a laptop, man So then I went away to collegeland A young youth, reading strictly peer reviewed to get loose Debate your ideas and then give them the boot! But then something happened and people started behaving dumb Denying science, facts and logic, son I wish it was just a dream cause of how bizarre it all seems Crazy ass theories about cannibal lizards going mainstream And people be claiming the earth’s flat, how’s that? You know physics don’t be working like that No question, cognitive dissonance is at a peak I mean just last week, right wing media be saying we’re all sheep Empathy is vacant and critical thinking is at a lull Anti-maskers claiming freedom over lives of the vulnerable. CHORUS Delusion Rules Everything Around MED.R.E.A.M.Don’t fall for it Knowledge reigns supreme y’all Delusion Rules Everything Around MED.R.E.A.M.Don’t fall for it …