by Sarah Steinberg

Wow! I’m floored! Wow! (Pat pockets of jeans as if you do not have a prepared speech. Act surprised when you find speech.)

I’d like to take you back to 2008, when I found out that there were actually prizes for doing stuff I’ve been doing naturally for years. I could hardly believe it. I never thought I’d have the good fortune to stand here, a chocolate bronze medal in one hand and an imaginary cheque for $100 in the other. I feel so proud and just a little bit smug! Is my track suit swishing? Can you hear it swish as I rub my upper arm against my torso? Swish-swish-swish! That’s the sound of defeat! (Ask everyone to calm down here as they go wild with applause).

All I want to say to the fans is Go Team Me! I couldn’t have done it without me! Am I right? (Hold for applause). But I really can’t thank you all enough. The judges, my mother and father for their unrelenting judgement, and my team of therapists. Especially you Ellen, because thank you so much for changing your number and getting the court order like that. You taught me a great lesson about friendship. And boundaries. And the legal system.

I’ll admit, when you moved, I was hurt. But if it wasn’t for your flat-out refusal to see or hear from me I don’t think I would have been able to elevate my martyrdom syndrome to pro levels, or, for that matter, truly complete my training in the Hold-A-Grudge or the 500 Hope Dash. It was this training that ultimately led me to victory in the Obsessing Over Things That Happened A Long Time Ago category and the reason why I’m here today! Oh, I will never forget this moment! (Ask someone to get a shot of self holding medal up above my head before hand sweat melts it).

It was a lot of hard work, guys, I’m not going to lie. It takes years and years of practice, of diligence, of late nights going over what you should have said instead of what you did say. And if you’re serious about training, I want you to first ask yourself this: Can you simultaneously imagine yourself as Sisyphus rolling that dumb boulder up the mountain, and as Sisyphus’s mom yelling at the idiot for never learning, plus his disappointed Dad and long-suffering girlfriend? And can you empathize with the boulder too? Imagine yourself in the boulder’s shoes. You must. But if you can not, use that inability as inspiration. Do you see how this works?

They say it’s something you’re born with, but I firmly believe that with enough time, effort, and a dedicated team of friends and strangers alike, you can brutally flagellate yourself to the top and all the way back down again. As for the future, I plan to use my failure to win first prize as my impetus to stay alive for the next 4 years so I can win in 2013. I’ll be signing my own personal range of OCD soaps in the foyer for the next half hour. Please, feel free to stop by. (Bow?)


Author of We Could Be Like That Couple... (Insomniac, 2008), former Vice editor, freestyle blogger and pan-city wit Sarah Steinberg hates winter. So she got a poodle to fuzz up against.



by Melissa Bull, Caela Moffet, Dan Svatek


All above work in Old Montreal. This means something.
par Robin Le Massart

Un curé de Saint-Léonard
Visitait la caverne un soir…
Dans le parc Pie-XII
Il avait les blues —
Et se masturbait dans le noir.


C’était un peintre en bâtiment
Qui avait perdu son amant.
Peignant les plafonds,
Il criait son nom :
Normand ! Normand ! Normand ! Normand !


Un chef d’État mélancolique
S’était enfui de sa clinique.
Penché sur un gouffre,
Il cria je souffre,
Et s’y jeta d’un bond comique.


A contributor to Plafond : hors de la grotte (2009), an anthology of mostly new Quebec writing with a contrapuntal dash of absurd French classics that kicks ass, Robin Le Massart anime des ateliers de poésie dans des CPE et des maisons de retraite. Because skanky limericks are for all of life's seasons.


by Jessica Howarth

I decide that we will break up at The Rodeo—it’s a western-themed restaurant on Shop Street. The specials board outside is advertising Cajun burgers and chips for 4.50.

He sits across from me, staring at his food. There is a giant painting of John Wayne on the wall behind our table and his gun is pointed right at our heads. I look up at John Wayne and tell him that I cringe when he touches me. I say, I’m sorry, it’s all my fault. I eat and speak at the same time, dipping my fries into a dish of mayonnaise.

We barely spoke in the two days between Dublin and Galway. He thinks that I’m angry about what happened at the party—he got drunk and embarrassed me in front of my friends, then made me sleep downstairs on the couch. And I am angry, not entirely about that. Just most of the time. On the late-night bus ride to Galway I could not abide the sensation of his shoulder against mine. I moved to a seat across the aisle, and we travelled through the pitch-black Irish midlands in that silence.

Let’s go for dinner, I said today. We barely have any money left. OK, he said. There is a restaurant back home in Montreal where we used to go to communicate bad news. We have broken up twice before; I find that it’s best to do this kind of thing in a public place. We would go to this restaurant—the one back home—and sit in a booth by the window that overlooks the parking lot, and order fried chicken. I would tell him that I was going away somewhere, that I didn’t love him as much as he loved me. He would never really understand, would never finish his food. I’d have to remind him to eat, tell him that the food wouldn’t taste as good later if he brought it home in a doggy bag. I hear myself telling him this now, or telling John Wayne at least. I cannot tolerate wasted food or emotional states that deny the appetite.

I say, I should never have asked you to come to Ireland, and then I reach over to take a sip of his Coke.


Jessica Howarth is gainfully employed at McGill Queen's University Press and recently edited Commotions: New Writing from the Oscar Wilde Centre. She is braveshe skis down hills, scrapes out mold from the fridge and turns her heels on the bony exoskeletons of centipedes while others squeal mold! and centipedes!

by Kenny Proute

A train is moving at great speed
the wind is bashing among trees
but all and all we are in
somewhey along the line.
With wheels screeching along
then it come to a sudden stop
somewhey along the line.


Born in 1961 in Trinidad, Kenny Proute is one of the original members of Montreal's St. James Drop-In Centre. He also paints.