by Christopher Stetson


Christopher Stetson plays a mean guitar.



by Gillian Sze

A finished espresso crusts the afternoon

someone tosses popcorn out the passenger window
and pigeons ignore traffic

the raised pant leg of a cyclist bares
a Herculean calf, just as it presses on the pedal

a puppy leads the way

deserted ice sits outside the grocery store,
bits of broccoli find their way through as it melts

someone buys yesterday’s newspaper

a man grieves for his father

the fossilized tire print in mud becomes brittle

the sun throws a milky gaze over
all that pales.


The author of two chapbooks, A Tender Invention and This is the Colour I Love You Best, Gillian Sze's first machine-bound collection of poetry, Fish Bones, published by DC Press, was nominated for the QWF McAuslan First Book Prize. Say it like C.

Aura1: Tess

by Aaron McConomy


I don't know where Aaron McConomy is. But he sends letters with his news:
my arm just fell off leaving a festering stump. is that bad?

Aura2: Jen


by Aaron McConomy

Aura3: Dessa


by Aaron McConomy


by Cornelia Mars

The misleading appearance

of a solid entity
is the result
of a slight hand.
Micro-expressions emitted quick
don’t betray a porous nature.
In actuality, these bodies
are maimed remnants
of an irresistible attraction
to something bigger and darker –
torn apart by an exponentially
stronger grasp.

To exist, they attached themselves
to a bright core, however elusive
(a ghost, maybe a furious child
bred from perturbation),
stretched their needy arms.
The orbiting embrace
has positioned a kernel
that will eventually (by the velocity of its desire)
rule as a heart, an impenetrable master,
a horrifying raison d’être.

Starved in a constellation
and at the point of no return
you won’t reveal any information
beyond your horizon –
you are a bright compact emission
that leaves nothing. You might kill,
grow, collapse me into this.


Crowned Miss Sweden in 2003,
Cornelia Mars can unknot linguistic tongue twisters and wield knives in a pub kitchen AT THE SAME TIME.

(click to enlarge)

by Ian Sullivan Cant and Melissa Bull


Ian Sullivan Cant is the author of Papercut Hearts, a collection of zines published by Conundrum in 2009. He works on a variety of projects with his printing press. See his work at, or visit him in Toronto.


by (way of) François

Hitching from Quebec to Montreal. Some guy pulls over, opens the door. On the passenger seat's an aquarium. Guy goes, I can drive you if you don't mind holding the aquarium on your lap. François goes okay, sure, pas de problème. Gets in. Puts the box on his lap. Looks in. Inside the aquarium there's a ginormous African snail. Like huge big. So they're careening down the 20 (sur la 20 pis ça va ben) and driver guy starts on about how he used to share a room with his two sisters and one of the sisters' boyfriend at their parents' place. Sketchy. Totally sketchy. There was some sort of hillbilly disaster. A fire or a flood where everyone died but the snail. Now he carts it around because, he says, it's all that's left of the family.

Driver wouldn't let François out in Montreal, he dropped him off somewhere in Laval. It was December or January or February and François walked home from there. Took like 2 hours.

François is friends with Melissa's friend Alex. He makes art. After this, he got some snails. But they dried up.

something EXTREMELY nice

I have a bad taste in my mouth equivalent to your crummy feeling, and I want to erase both like fucking immediately. Even at the indeterminate expense of not mollycoddling a friend. For example going out with you somewhere in the immediate future and possibly laughing enormously and with bigness. I'll tell you about the time I almost got arrested by the Serbian militia, and about how I almost died in the Gulf of Aqaba, and about an 8-year journey to the summit of a mountain overlooking Salzburg and how the sun rose and I blasted Dark Side of the Moon in a fine drizzle looking across the valley at Hitler's Obersalzburg. And then I'll tell you my Auschwitz joke. It's not really a joke, it's a true story about Walter Matthau's eulogy for Billy Wilder, but it's funny as all get out. And then I'll tell you about the time I was the last man standing at a wedding in southern Poland. And about retarded children in Brittany. And trying to watch the Superbowl in a small Italian town on a Sunday. I have enough to regale you for days and days. Weeks. Months. Years. But you have to be not too busy, obviously. Just say yes.


Yeah totally STOLE this.

by Julia Langbein

Does it really take 1,000 mg of glucuronolactone
to get through the challenges of an ordinary Tuesday on campus?

“Would you like to try some Black Mamba Venom?” a chipper young woman asked me as I crossed a major college campus one recent morning.

Yes, yes I would. It was a Tuesday, after all.

I was hoping she would hand over a dusty vial with a petrified snake hooked on the lip like a cocktail umbrella. Disappointingly, this bottle came less from Indiana Jones’ cabinet than from Ironman’s jockstrap, an aluminum half-liter bullet with a giant, angry snake eye glittering above the gothic lettering: VENOM.

Closer inspection revealed it to be the relaunch of an energy drink by Dr.Pepper/Seven Up, cannily targeting a college campus during finals. Like a good Alice, I read the label first: “When you want to stay razor sharp with the energy to strike first and leave your mark, you need the vicious venom of a Black Mamba.”

I did want to stay razor sharp. I pictured a Russian tactical master scowling at me across a chess board as I glanced up from my Celebrity Life & Style, whipped my rook somewhere devastating and mumbled, “Check, Oleg.” But I was on my way to teaching, not a chess tournament, and I was not so sure about “striking first and leaving my mark.” That specifically gets teachers fired.

There is a reason that energy brands seek to associate their ethos of aggression with extreme sports stars, like the Red Bull-sponsored “Air Force” whose athletes will, for example, get in a fluorescent batsuit and jump off the roof of a Hyatt—feats for which, one can understand, a good night’s sleep and some ratatouille might not cut it. But the folks behind these caffeine-pumped and supplement-rife brews obviously want to get them into the hands of everyday people, not just those brave few that razor-scooter out of a whale’s blowhole for a living. So here I was at 9 a.m. dressed, per usual, like an aging midcentury coal miner, and I had somehow seemed like a worthy candidate for Black Mamba Venom.

In the following weeks, as I launched into a brief, syrupy, ill-advised taurine- and glucuronolactone-fueled investigation of energy drinks, I repeatedly had to ask two things: 1) Will you please come over and babysit me until my heart stops beating visibly through my sternum? And 2) Who needs this violent quality of energy? “When you want the energy to succeed where only the leanest and meanest survive, you need the penetrating Venom of a Mojave Rattler”—do only the leanest and meanest survive, say, a Tuesday? Measuring up the prose of energy drinks against daily life will lead to all sorts of absurdities:

“Julia, can I get you a coffee?”
“No, I have a ton of editing to do, I need the venom of a Death Adder which has the power to strike back.”
“How about an espresso then?”
“I will bite you in your neck if you do not leave me immediately to the challenges of my intense life.”
“Look, we all have a lot of work to do.”
“You may have a lot of work to do. I have a lot of work to penetrate with my face, inject with poison, and kill.”
“Is that your heart visibly beating through your sternum?”
“Yes, it is. Jealous?”

I can’t gage the nuances of their chemical effects but a stroll down the energy drink aisle—and remarkably, at my supermarket there is a dedicated one—offers an index of suggestions on how to live life intensely. With the launch of the camouflage-covered Monster Assault Energy, even war has been marshalled as the spirit of liquid uppers. And, in what must be deliberate counterdistinction to the prevailing avatars of bulls, warriors, monsters, and homocidal reptiles, a host of new elixirs aim to soften the image of extreme “performance,” from all-natural, zen-labeled Guru to 1 in 3 Trinity, a Christian lifestyle energy drink fused with both “fruit of the spirit” and 1000 mg of taurine. Then there is Live, which donates half its proceeds to youth and environmental charities. After all, it’s one thing to donate money to a youth program, but it’s another to buzz on some killer pantothenic acid and kick a youth program straight in the tender bits with the steel-toed boot of your generous donation.

by Melissa Bull, Caela Moffet, Dan Svatek


par Pascale Rafie

Je veux exister ! Je veux être une femme polie, jolie, qui crie, qui rit quand il faut et qui jamais se trompe de fourchette ou de petite culotte ! Je veux être la plus belle, la meilleure, la plus regardée de toutes les filles du quartier parce que je suis la plus belle, la meilleure, la plus intelligente de toutes les poupées de la garde-robe de Gabriela, la mariée ! Je veux pas que tu me regardes parce que j’ai un gros nez, parce que ma peau est un champ de bataille et j’ai si honte que je veux tout trancher, les oreilles, les cheveux, le nombril ! Retranchez-moi, le lard à l’air !

Je veux marcher, moi aussi, sur une pelouse verte pleine de vers de terre vers l’autel d’asphalte du drive way et tu me diras oui encore pour la dernière fois et pour toujours enfin, et moi je te répondrai non, jamais. Nus pieds sur l’asphalte noire du drive way, je crierai mes larmes de joie jusqu’au ciel ! Je lancerai des roches sur les pare-brise des voitures, je pisserai sur les journaux bien roulés lancés contre les portes aveugles. Je veux rester toute seule dans mon sommeil de démariée.

Je ne veux pas exister parce que ça fait trop mal, c’est trop plate, c’est trop chien ! Je veux disparaître avec la pluie et la pisse dans les bouches d’égout. Arrête de me regarder. Arrête de rire. Je n’existe pas. Tu regardes le vide. Tu regardes le néant. Et tu sais ce qu’il te dit le néant : va voir ailleurs si j’y suis. Va jouer à Zorro avec ta serviette de table, va enfourcher tes dragons et va tuer tes monstres à coups de fourchettes à poisson, moi je m’enfuis entre les lattes du plancher, juste après la cérémonie des anneaux et la danse des canards, je disparais.

Je serai la ca-canne qui court après votre voiture pour vous rendre à l’aéroport. Just married… and me, le trognon qui n’existe pas et qui n’arrête pas de le hurler partout !! A-hou !! A-hou !!



Après un baccalauréat en art dramatique à l'Université du Québec à Montréal, Pascale Rafie obtient, en 1987, un diplôme en écriture dramatique de l'École nationale de théâtre du Canada. Depuis, elle se consacre essentiellement à l'écriture théâtrale. Elle est également cofondatrice et directrice artistique du théâtre La Caravane, qui produit autant pour le public enfance-jeunesse que pour un public d'adultes. De plus, elle anime des ateliers de théâtre et d'écriture auprès d'enfants d'âge scolaire. Pascale Rafie est vice-pésidente de l'Association québécoise des auteurs dramatiques.


by Eugene Ostashevsky

Akhmatova: AAA! AAA! AAA! AAA! AAA!


Akhmatova: AAA! AA! AAA! AA! AAA!




Akhmatova: AA! AA! AA! AA! AA! AA!

Artaud: ?!?!


Artaud: A! A! A! A! A! A! A!


(Artaud absconds, abdicating.)


Eugene Ostashevsky is a Russian-born American poet from New York City. His books include the poetry collection Iterature and a volume of Russian 1930s writings in translation called OBERIU: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism. He currently lives and teaches in Florence.

"When her father learned that his daughter was about to publish a selection of her poems in a St. Petersburg magazine, he called her in and told her that although he had nothing against her writing poetry, he'd urge her 'not to befoul a good respected name' and to use a pseudonym. The daughter agreed, and this is how 'Anna Akhmatova' entered Russian literature instead of Anna Gorenko. (...) The five open a's of Anna Akhmatova had a hypnotic effect and put this name's carrier firmly at the top of the top of the alphabet of Russian poetry. In a sense, it was her first successful line; memorable in its acoustic inevitability, with its Ahs sponsored less by sentiment than by history."

- from "The Keening Muse" in Less Than One: Selected Essays by Joseph Brodsky


by Christopher Stetson


Christopher Stetson lives in Boston. Peruse his work at art&


par Alexandre Simard

Je sors des Co-pains d’abord. Je m’y suis arrêté pour acheter mon lunch, en route vers chez Luc. Je suis toujours un peu sur mes gardes quand je suis dans ce coin-là. Mon ex demeure pas loin. On n’est pas en chicane, mais on ne se parle plus. Mais aujourd’hui j’oublie de penser à elle.

Je débarre un Bixi et je m’installe au guidon. Les bonnes instances ne m’aimeraient pas: non seulement je ne porte pas le casque, mais une de mes deux mains est occupée à tenir un café au lait. Ne pas en renverser, ne pas me brûler, ne pas en renverser, ne pas me brûler. Je suis un véritable poster child de la sécurité à vélo.

Ça ne m’empêche pas de regarder un peu autour de moi. Je suis sur Mont-Royal, il y a des filles. Justement il y en a une grande mince là-bas qui s’approche sur une rue transversale. Elle porte un petit top jaune, léger, joli. Elle respire l’été.

Mon regard revient sur elle. Je la distingue mieux maintenant. Ah oui, elle est quand même cute. Oh fuck, c’est mon ex. Elle voit que je la regarde, elle m’a reconnu. Panique.

Je lui souris, je lui fais un signe de la tête. Elle fait de même. Je suis déjà rendu pas mal loin. J’ai la tête qui regarde plus derrière que devant. Ne pas en renverser, ne pas me brûler, ne pas en renverser, ne pas me brûler.

Je me retourne en avant et je continue à rouler.

(tiré de :


by Melissa Bull

A suited-up drunk careened off his steed, shouting at the sparsely moving traffic on the street. A young woman led the horse by its bridle in high-hipped jeans, sneakers and blond hair to her ass. Stray bitches lurched from fleets of street-cleaning Humvees, their half-dozen tits as rubbery as baby bottle areolae. I walked past the McDonald’s, past the Coca-Cola sign, past the restaurant with the black guy decked out like a pirate all hours of the day. I didn’t know my address, but I recognized my place by the green Lada stranded in front of the building where in the courtyard, litters of kittens glommed on to garbage containers, mewing and flic
king their tails in the dusty beams of dawn’s mid-morning light. I unlocked the twelve bolts on my door, showered under a dribble of rusty-urine-stinking water in a fuchsia showerstall with a radio option and lay down between sheets printed with astrological signs on a plush pull-out sofa. A dream-catcher hung from the ceiling fixture. When I took off my glasses it fuzzed out of focus and its plastic beads swung shapelessly in the breeze of the open window.


Bull works in Montreal as a writer, editor and translator. "Nevsky Prospekt" was first published in the Université de Montréal's Festival du homard: A fresh catch of Montréal writing (2009).

by David Bradford

Man think about that,
poor old
soupy-eyed James Dean.
Founding father
of the Breakfast Club.

I bet if that puppy killing kid
in the police department
waiting room
had just taken his goddamn coat,
Jimmy would still be alive.

Imagine James Dean
like Peter Faulk.
That fucks me up, man.
James Dean like
Colombo. All grime
and sterling earnest
when introduced,
cock-eyed TV star
of yesteryear
when featured.

Don’t get me wrong, I mean
I like Colombo. Pete Faulk too.
But James Dean
getting a lifetime
at the Emmys—

That’s too fucking much.

James Dean. Now there’s a young fucker
that mattered,
young or not.

Fuck Kurt Kobain.
Just another chump
in a Salvation Army sweater
from the J Peterman catalogue.

David Bradford
is a graduate of Concordia's creative writing program. He is the author of Little Death, published by WithWords in 2008. Bradford lives in a Berlin hipster commune. They don't even have to say irony.

(click to enlarge)


by Ian Sullivan Cant and Melissa Bull


Ian Sullivan Cant
is the author of Papercut Hearts, a collection of zines published by Conundrum in 2009. He works on a variety of projects with his printing press. See his work at, or visit him in Toronto.