by Lisa Sookraj

The penthouse apartment across the way is the only obstruction. Julie's view to the end of the city. Peter tells Julie, “You're paranoid.” Nothing has transpired in two years. He licks his finger. After dipping it in a jar of pesto. Julie stares, like always, into the unused room. A stalker in hiding watching their intimate moments? A brief obsession with documentaries about serial killers. The silent business man next door. His briefcase/mini-luggage on wheels. The mystery of vacant vessels. Full suitcases. In January. The body found in one on St. Laurent. The bodies found beneath the rubble in Haiti. 3 garbage bags of donations to Heart of the Nations. Some disasters are more natural than others. What is natural? How the sun shines right through to the other side. Of the vacant penthouse. Except for on grey days. It has large windows on three sides. In the centre, there appears to be nothing. Only the curtains, pulled and tied. Peter fingers strike the keyboard. From the kitchenette, Julie checks and double checks over her shoulder. Are the shadows stationary or have they shifted? How could such a nice room, offering multiple views of the city, be vacant? “Perhaps it's haunted. Perhaps a demon,” Julie says. As she breaks another glass accidentally while doing the dishes. She breaks new glass after glass. Loses job after job. Hair after hair. Cursed. Strands. Shards. Peter picks them all up carefully, rinses her hand under the tap water. Lays the broken pieces in an empty cardboard box.

C and B

by Lisa Sookraj

Violet hums a tune. The sky turns navy blue. Gary Numan: “I die, You die”. The precise instant the 70s turned to the 80s. Damien is on the couch. On the Cusp. Aries meets Pisces. Half-ram, half-fish. Is a crab eating chicken wrong? He wonders as he stains a piece of wood. Violet always hums. Out of tune. Often the same notes, found in different songs.

Morrisey in one of his dark castles, in Ireland. The air damp, intrusive. He licks his dry lips. In Violet's daydream. She finishes stitching the button back on her coat. Bubbles smell like mango-kiwi. While Morrissey in reality, sits in LA, with a blonde bimbo on each arm. Online, Violet sees the picture that proves it. Damien tells her he thinks it's a front for homosexuality. She prefers asexuality. Imagines Morrissey at a bus station where he's remained eternally 20. Pale, sad-faced and slim-limbed. “Is it really so, really so strange?” He sings. Over the computer speakers. He blows at a lash. Violet blows at dust. Damien blows at wood. That will soon be one of three shelves of a bookshelf. Violet brushes his hair back, up, big, with slender fingers. Her modern new-waver. Though he doesn't like new wave, he is one. In the lurid, watery mass that is her life.


Lisa Sookraj is the kind of friend who'll trek out to hear you read a short story in the dentistry faculty at the top of a mountain on a Saturday morning in the middle of winter. She hems her own curtains, à la main, no less. She writes funny things about groundhogs. She lives in Montreal, for now. Join with me in my plea to keep her out of Toronto 's mean suburban streets. Stay, Lisa.

And you say.

by Ian Sullivan Cant and Melissa Bull


Ian makes the pictures. The rest is banter.



by Jeffrey Gandell

Sol was itchier than usual. It could have been the weather or it could have been one of those things. I don’t know why I’m so itchy, he thought. Of course, it didn’t matter why, really. You’re itchy, you scratch. Sol didn’t want to blow the tickle up into one of his medical meltdowns, he just felt the need to scratch. A lot. His nails were too short from biting to get the job done right.

Walking down the street, he swung his leg up on a stair that led up to a doorway and went to work. It was good. It was better than good, it was sublime. Scratching nirvana. Rubbing his leg hair into paste, a sound like cereal being crunched slowly sunk him into a meditative plateau.

The door in front of his scratching self swung open. He froze, mid-stroke, looking at the woman who had opened the door looking at him. Sol’s hand was still glued to his leg, pants halfway up his calf.

‘What are you doing here?’ Diane asked.

‘I’m scratching my leg.’ She looked at Sol’s leg. There was no doubt that’s what he was doing.

‘Have you seen my keys Di—’ Lester came up behind her, saw Sol, saw their icy poses.

‘Who are you?’ He asked. This was his place.


‘Sorry, Lester, this is Sol, Sol, Lester.’

Lester already knew the name. Now everyone knew everyone’s names. Sol had supposed that there was someone like Lester. He might have even given him the hypothetical name ‘Lester,’ though it was probably closer to ‘Smokey,’ or ‘Wallace.’ All the alternatives dropped away when genuine Lester materialized. Now Lester could put a face to the name, and Sol could put a face and a name to the preoccupation. Sol imagined that he looked exactly the same as Lester had imagined he would. Diane stood there, shifting her weight from one foot to the next.

‘I’m gonna go look for those keys,’ Lester said.

‘Well it didn’t take you too long,’ Sol reasoned. He had managed to separate his nails from his leg hair and to regain a more upright position. He still leaned forward a little bit, but he always did that. Diane used to tell him to stand up straighter, that he was going to develop back problems in the future. She thought of scolding him on his posture, but instead just stood straighter herself.

‘Listen, Sol, I’m sorry you had to scratch your leg right here.’

Sol’s leg was still itchy, itchier, even, than before. His arm was itchy too. He thought about which one he would scratch first when he managed to dislocate himself from this doorway scene. He couldn’t do both at the same time. He would need a third arm for that.

‘Found them!’ Lester’s voice came from inside the apartment. Lester was often out of context, something Diane was beginning to find annoying. Standing in his doorfront though, she had to push such a thing into the back room of her mind. It’s not like they were lost, anyway.

‘We’re going for a walk,’ Diane said, as if it mattered.

The thought came into Sol’s head that they might be headed in the same direction as he was. He decided to go in the opposite direction of wherever they were going. He’d go straight up, if he had to.

‘It was nice to see you,’ Sol said, to his own disappointment.

‘Definitely. ‘

‘I found my keys,’ Lester appeared in the doorway, beaming. ‘They were in the cutlery drawer. Imagine!’

Something about this statement made Sol feel slightly better about things.

‘Take it easy,’ he said.

‘Bye Sol.’

‘Sol man, good to meet you.’ Lester thrust his hand out. Sol was forced to shake it. Lester had a good grip, which made Sol feel slightly worse about things. He turned and walked away. The itchiness was worse than ever, but he refrained. The street kept moving.

Stepping out onto the sidewalk, Diane slipped her arm into the loop Lester’s arm created when he jammed his hand into his jacket pocket.

‘Weird guy,’ Lester said.

‘Ya, weird guy,’ Diane agreed and looked behind her, wondering when it would be appropriate to extricate her arm from Lester’s vulture-like grip.


Jeff -- that's Mister Gandell to you -- teaches English at Dawson College and runs Clamorous Sundays, the once a month read aloud extravaganza at Green Room. He likes to buy his shirts in NYC. They just fit better. They have those darts or whatever.


(click to enlarge)


by Gabe Foreman


Heralding from Lake Superior's north shore,
the half woodsman, half city slicker, quarter werewolf
Gabe Foreman has published his poetry
in numerous journals, including
Fiddlehead, Prism and Grain.
He also makes these fine illustrations.


by Jeremy Tusz

I had always known that flying dreams were quite common but it was only after a particularly vivid night of dreaming that I realized I wasn't actually flying in mine. I could clearly recall running while holding onto a pole and then suddenly being airborne, high above the clouds and cities below. My air travel couldn't be described as self-sustained flight but rather a controlled launch (and fall) at the end of an extremely long arc. Yes, my "flying dreams" are in reality "pole-vaulting" dreams.


He plays viola. He's a sound engineer. He vaults. Spy on him here


by Brenda Coultas

Directions: This is a very easy film to make as the hogs are predictable in their behavior and limited in range by the pen; however, they are deceased, and I took part in eating them, thus this is a most difficult film to make. Build a three-room shed out of wood with a tin roof and flathead nails. Plant thistles and pigweed. Dig a wallow and fill with water.

Narrative: The pig shed is gone and where it stood are green grasses. A neighbor bought half of the land and put up a stable of goats (says they are the main ingredient in pepperoni). I can remember our pigs without the aid of hypnosis or memory drugs. There's Pearl, the mama. Rusty with his reddish patches (my pig), and Dogfood (Peggy's pig).

Can you capture the sound of my hog call?

We stocked the wallow with tadopoles, who died despite our efforts.

Film us (four girls) in the wallow, deepening the hole.

Can you film us thinking "If we could only float a boat in here then we would truly have everything: water, mud, and navigation."

Shoot a close-up of nose rings and film us scraping out plates into a coffee can can, turning dinner into hog slop. Can you film the ghost of Pearl? Pan out to the humans, on bicycles and foot, rooting in junkyards on the old Moore place, rooting in ravines full of abandoned cars.

I try to ride my pig but fall off. I pet my pig. Lay my head down on his rump. I am a small human, so small that my underpants come up to my armpits. Bust Weatherholt's dog, Old Blue, always sat down when I tried to ride him. I sat on his back, then he sat down on hind legs and I slid off.

We wanted machines or animals for transport: swings, merry-go-rounds, and maypoles for flying. We tried to ride everything our size, living or not. Ponies were too high up. We considered a wooden wagon with wooden wheels; we could take to the prairies in this, but we needed a team. I dreamed of so many treasures buried in the earth or of just bones, all the bones buried by time, nature, or natives. Given eternity, we could find marvelous bones.


This is from page 87 of Brenda Coultas' collection The Marvelous Bones of Time: Excavations and Explanations, published by Coffee House Press in 2007.
Coultas lives in NYC's Bowery. She began to autograph my copy of Marvelous Bones -- Melissa, Happy days -- but the pen started to leak out by the y, and she gave up, and I've never asked anyone to sign anything again. I wonder what she was going to say.

to Émile
show details 26/08/2008

i've got the broke up with a cossak who tried to flee me on his bicycle blues. that's it. no more streetfights. no more enigmatic eccentrics. from now on: carpenters. male nurses. history professors with as little psoriasis as possible. had coffee with a man who started telling me about aliens on sunday. until now i've been fine with mental illnesses and alcoholism, men who take pills to ward off balding, men who don't wash regularly, men who sweat too much, men who don't eat meat. but i have to draw the line somewhere. i draw the line at aliens. i told the guy if he said he'd been probed up the ass i was leaving.


- Show quoted text -

On 8/26/08, Émile > wrote:
Up at daybreak with the fishing boats hauling right under my window. Then the gasoil from the trashtrucks. Then the rising sunlight starts beating the ceiling white. I swear it comes up straight in my window. The East. Maybe going there. Or North. Is it normal that I laughed so much I almost broke my comp, reading this?Call me self-centered, but I recognized myself everywhere in your list (except the balding pill guy). I was at Brassens' tomb yesterday.The day before I fell in the Canal with my fully loaded bike.Adventure everywhere I turn.



Marilou Sevigny puts the machine on delicate, even for towels.

by Dan Svatek


by Suzanne Hancock

Or if we met in Vegas.
In front of the volcano at the Mirage.
Early-evening, your head a little red from a day in the desert sun,
my cheeks the same. You’re wearing your white shirt
and jeans, both wrinkled from the suitcase, a thin wet crescent
beneath both arms, my own black dress damp from the heat.
I feel itchy and homesick, and I move closer, but, still, the full
splendor of you is hidden by Midwesterners in jerseys and cameras.

Maybe later the real beginning is a shared humiliation
in finding the volcano’s drawn-out explosion
beautiful—those 3000 lights simulating lava flow.
We’d toast to that.

Or we run into each other in the elevator
we share with the funny drunk bride in her beaded
dress and bucket of tokens, and you’re going to get a bag of salt and vinegar chips
from the vending machine, and I’m fooling myself into thinking
tonight is the night to learn craps. “Bet with the house,
my dad always says, “even if it makes you unpopular.”

You follow me and peel a fifty from your roll and tell me to go crazy.
“Anything above the fifty, you can keep,” you say with a smile.
We fall in love the moment after you lift my arm, declaring, “You’re the champ!”
while the rest of the players around the table give us the wood eye. We walk
and I whisper, “Let me buy you a drink every day for the rest of our lives.”

Or we’re in line for a show (hopefully Nearly Neil,
the Neil Diamond impersonator) and you say,
“I’m going to fuck the Christ out of you,” and I think,
excitedly, what does that mean? Does he think I’m
Christian? What is it about Neil that makes him so friendly?
The view from your room is Egypt, Hollywood, Pirates—
a synthetic warmth that makes me dizzy and hungry.
Go back downstairs for those potato chips
while I take off my lucky boots, my lucky socks and dress,
come back while I’m saying yes, yes, yes,
draw the curtains and,
for a while at least,
unplug all those landlocked lights.


We swim at the same Y in Chinatown. When she found out I didn't have goggles, she left me a spare pair at the front desk. "Yes," she says, "swimming is good. Do it, do it, do it!!"

Suzanne Hancock has been published in a variety of journals, including Prairie Fire, Arc and Geist. Her collection, Another Name for Bridge, was published by Mansfield Press in 2005. Her most recent work, Cast from Bells, out of McGill Queen's University Press, is slated for release in April 2010.

by Christopher Stetson



by Joe Fiorito

The Inuit greet face to face, but they don't rub noses, exactly, and you shouldn't call it kissing. It is a form of greeting every bit as intimate as a kiss, but it goes deeper than that; it's a way for friends to take in each other's smell. It's how friends fill the empty places caused by absence.

Smell is fundamental to happiness. I know a man who travels with a piece of his wife's clothing sealed in a plastic bag. When the separation is too much to bear, he opens the bag and breathes.

Traces of this signature mark our sheets and pillows; this is what makes crawling into bed on a cold night such a comfort.

Smell is one of the many nameless things you miss when love goes wrong. That smell will linger, it will haunt you and exhaust you long after your lover has gone.

Think I'm exaggerating? Wake up early one Sunday and smell the person sleeping next to you. Do it. Lean over. The side of the neck will do, just below the ear. Take a deep breath. The knowledge of this scent is lodged in the deepest part of your brain.

Breathe deeply, if only to remind yourself of why you are where you are, doing what you're doing.

Now go into the kitchen. Throw two eggs into a bowl with a cup of milk and a cup of flour. Add a quarter teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of melted butter. Mix until smooth, but don't overdo it.

Pour the batter into buttered muffin tins, filling the cups no more than half-full. Put the tins in a cold oven. Turn the heat to 450 F. After fifteen minutes, turn the oven down to 350 F. Wait for fifteen minutes more.

This recipe comes from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham. It's an important book, with clear recipes and much new thinking. For example, prior to Marion, popovers were always started in a hot oven. This is a small thing, but one which changed my life.

While you're changing yours, make some coffee and squeeze a couple of oranges. Do what you want with a pear or a pineapple. Get a tray ready to take back to bed.

Now open the oven. It will make you smile. They don't call these things popovers for nothing. They look like little domes, golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside. The texture inside is as soft as your partner's neck. The smell is just as warm and every bit as earthy.

Take them out of the muffin tins and put them in a basket. They'll steam as you break them open. Eat them with a little butter and the best jam or honey in the cupboard. A soft camembert isn't out of place if you have it.

Breakfast together is the second or third most intimate thing you can share. If someone new is sleeping over and you want to make an impression, make these. If you're worried about what to talk about while you're eating, remember what Oscar Wilde said. Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.

If you haven't got a partner, make popovers anyway. It's easy enough to cut this recipe in half. It's good practise. It's its own reward. The butter melts into the jam and the sun pours onto your breakfast bed. And you have another way to fill the emptiness caused by absence.


From Comfort Me With Apples: Considering the Pleasures of the Table (Nuage Editions, 1994), a delectable collection of Joe Fiorito's vintage Hour food columns. Amazon that to your doorstep.

I WAS A 50-ft WOMAN!

struck by a radioactive cloud!
grown from 5'9'' to 50' tall in 2 hours
a miracle of modern science or an accident of nature?

temerious photographer! tim lagacé!
giant caught on camera! chantel ness on location getting a taste of expo 67 (once the USA pavilion)! propping on le palais des congrès! peering into montréal's casino (formerly the French pavilion)!

by Aaron Kreuter

Editors’ Note:
Local hikers found the following typewritten pages in an enormous crater next to what appears to be an ostrich cemetery. We have never heard of the author, nor do any of the events he refers to correlate to reality. Nonetheless, we have put together three excerpts from the vast amount of text extant, to showcase the workings of what must have been a very unique mind.

-eds, North American Anthropology Quarterly

strange times

September 2nd, 2008

Fellow Americans,

The news out of Washington this week is bleak. I just got off the phone with my good friend Bill Hackensack who has been working thirty-six hours straight, balls to nuts, trying to get to the bottom of this vice-presidential shitbomb. Bill says he has a credible source in Flatback, Montana who has old B grade porno featuring the Alaskan governor herself. According to Hackensack it was an all out fuckfest complete with eighties soundtrack – the governess and four, five men, poolside, stilettos and (this will at least keep her evangelical friends happy) no contraceptives.

I knew from the moment she was brought onstage something was amiss. The tight teacher bun, the glasses, the pouty lips. It all makes sense now. And McCain weasel smiling away, bloated from the condensed fat of young school children.

In saner times this would spell the end for the Republican push for the white house, and the framed picture of Obama I keep on my mantelpiece next to my hunting rifles would have paid off, but the country appears to be one gas pump away from a pure clusterfuck, these apes in suits itching to send us back into the early mediaeval period, where any sign of straying from the status quo was met with a terminal visit to the rack and insubordination was treated with boiling oil.

I am ready to flee at any moment. I have a suitcase packed with passport, pistol, and my bust of Richard Nixon by the door. I put a down payment on forty acres of tundra a hundred miles north of Yellowknife. And if I don’t get out in time, when the militia come knocking at the door me and Jack Nicholson have enough dynamite to blow those bible-fuckers back to Jupiter.

We won’t know how serious the situation is until November, which leaves us at least two months of the NFL, though with Favre playing for the Jets and the Gillette stadium buried under a mile-high mountain of ice, it is strange times indeed to be a betting man.


dispatch from four thousand feet

September 25th, 2008

Fellow Americans,

I am writing this from a small wooden shelter high atop the Canadian Rockies. On clear mornings the smoke from America’s eastern seaboard is as visible as grey weasely laughter. Me and my new neighbour Calvin spent all weekend installing triple-fortified barbed wire around my compound with air-raid sirens every five feet. If anyone comes for me they’ll have thirteen feet of 300 watt fury to get through.

Not even the most apocalyptic fundamentalist nut-jar could have foretold that the downfall of the American empire would come so swiftly, so severely, so historically beautifully. But if we’ve learned anything in this epoch of fear and ignorance and animal stupidity it is that history is one toothy-grinned motherfucker. And now while the world picks apart the corpse of a three-hundred year experiment that somewhere back during the early eighteen-hundreds veered off course and never had the balls to do anything about it I eat roasted venison for every meal, play a hick version of checkers Calvin has taught me, go on long walks with my pitbull Bernanke, and experiment with the local flora.

Is it too soon to elegize? America, you fucker, you really had us going. Oh well. So it goes. Besides, nothing will really change: whomever rises to global dominance now, whether China or Russia or Europe, the inherent production of goods and spending of capital will still reign supreme. The unprecedented clustershitfuck that is high capitalism won’t be happy until human kind is dead and bloody in the bathtub, covered in the piss of fanatics and the reeking shit of powermongering strongmen.

Canada probably won’t be safe for long. Who in their right mind would leave such a wide land of trees and snow and mushrooms to fend for itself? But I can see the mountain road that would take me deep into the arctic and I know a thing or two about survival. One thing’s for sure – Calvin, Bernanke and I will persevere.

Saying Goodnight To The American Dream That Turned Into A Nightmare And Bit Our Collective Cock Off While Giving Us A Blow Job,


dispatch from the other side

November 5th, 2008

Fellow Americans,

Since the polls on the west coast closed last night I have been busy. I powered down the electric fence, uncoiled the barbed wire, took down the buckets of boiling cooking oil that were prepped to fall on intruders with a tug of any number of ropes. The remote-detonated mines I will leave, for now: I’ve heard rumour that there’s bands of disenfranchised voters roaming the mountains looking for revenge. Like the jazz great Bloody Wallace used to say, the best way to stop a lynching is dynamite.

But those are exceptions of the time, fringes of the zeitgeist. Most of America will fall into line – it’s what they do, at least until the fang-toothed monarchists are able to regroup, be seen together in daylight once more. Being a humanist I can’t help feeling sorry for them: they were so close to reinstating the feudal system in the new world, they were four to eight years away from complete and utter dominance, and now, in one sweeping day, they’ve been shown for what they are: power drunk mutants with too many hands on the steering wheel. A few still remain unscathed, clinging to their positions, waiting for the return of their lost wet dream.

Sadly (on that note), even a half-drunk student of history knows that the good times rarely last. And because of that I’ve got a lot to do. For starters, the largest organism in the world is apparently a miles-long fungus growing under Montana, and I am, lest we forget, a doctor. Ah, the hallucinogenic thrill of the open road. I’ll miss this place though. Tonight with the help of my cyclopsed neighbour Calvin we’re going to dig an enormous pit in my backyard, have a bonfire of all my correspondence, clothing, books and various drug-related paraphernalia. To my editors, please take this as my formal resignation from my weekly column. To all the gun store owners of this great nation, don’t be surprised to see me in the near future, a crazed look in my eyes and self-defence my only concern.

Enjoying The Good Times Because There’s Much More Shit Than Candy And The Kids Keep Getting Fatter,



One of the headlining authors of Hot Dog, the recently kibbutzed Aaron Kreuter has settled into grad studies at U Vic and is writing poems not necessarily about animals that are finding their way around the quarterlies. "What's up? Just started my second semester at U Vic. Putting together a poetry manuscript. Nothing much else."

See. That's what I just said.



To prevail or have dominance over;
have final authority or say over;
To disregard, set aside, or nullify; countermand
to take precedence over; preempt or supersede
to extend beyond or spread over; overlap
to modify or suspend the ordinary functioning of;
alter the normal operation of
to ride over or across
to ride past or beyond
to trample or crush;
to ride (a horse) too much
to ride too closely behind (the hounds).


Jessica Howarth stumbled across this poem on She uses her paper dictionary to keep the living room door shut. It's a drafty house.


by Melissa Bull, Caela Moffet, Dan Svatek


by Michael Chadwick

Things are born. That is to say that when something is necessary, something will be created. It occurs, everywhere. In nature. In thought. Everywhere. For example, yesterday, at the Firebird Motel, my friend Emmezeka cut his thumb off. It was a pretty reasonable circumstance.

I was standing in the aisle. The aisle between two beds. There’s a certain symmetry to a hotel room with two beds. I was standing in that aisle, with my back facing the wall and I was watching the television…well, actually, even though the television was on…it was Charlie’s Angels, the TV show…even though it was on, I was staring at my reflection in the mirror on the wall opposite me. I was looking at every detail, at every unique imperfection. Looking to understand exactly where everything is located, when in the corner of my eye, I saw Emmezeka’s arm jerking.

I turned my attention to him. He was using the tenon saw. He was putting a lot of force behind his motions. I said, to no one in particular, more thinking out loud than anything else. I said, “You sacrifice precision with speed.” I turned my body away from the mirror, and towards Emmezeka. Just as I turned, I saw the blade positioned right above his thumb.

Have you ever been in a moment that was occurring and you were aware of everything in the moment at that precise moment? I could see that Emmezeka was going to cut his thumb. And I was aware, in complete understanding, that if I didn’t express that concern immediately it’d be too late.

A man once told me…well, he didn’t tell me. I overheard him saying it to someone else. I heard a man once say to someone else that, “you could only notice the play of the world, for a moment, before it rolls on.” I didn’t want that moment to pass me by. So I waited until I couldn’t hold that moment any longer. By that point, the blade was cutting into Emmezeka’s thumb.

“Mez,” I said. I call him Mez. I’m the only person who calls him that. I said, “Mez,” and he looked up. I said, “Mez, you’re cutting your thumb off,’ because as he looked up, he continued to cut. I said, “Mez, you’re cutting your thumb.” And when I said this, I pointed my finger down at his hand.

And at the moment I started to point, a beautiful red ribbon of blood shot out of his thumb. As it moved toward me, I saw this unbroken chain, this crimson rope, connected to Mez. It was beautiful. It shot straight up with a burst of momentum. It went as far and as high as it could before physics intervened. It leveled, for an instant, and then began its downward arch.

The blood hit my left collar, on the top part where my neck starts to show. I always have my collars starched. I get them cleaned at this Korean place. Very good price.

Then, in an instant, he recognized what was occurring and looked down.

But the thing was he didn’t lift the knife first. He lifted his hand. The hand with the cut thumb. He was already pretty close to removing it. Jerking his hand did the trick, so to speak.

I said, “Stick it in the cooler.” We had two coolers in the room. Big Igloo coolers. You know those coolers that construction people carry their lunches in? The Igloo cooler? We had two of them, but they were big, big versions of those. Like the size of small televisions. We had a red one and a blue one. So I told him, “Put it in the cooler.” And he turned around, and right behind him was the dresser. And on the dresser was one of the coolers. The blue one.

He was calm. He didn’t yell, or scream, or look panicked.

He said, “It’s a new day, Lou.” He calls me Lou. I don’t know why. There are no L’s, or O’s, or U’s in my name. My name doesn’t even have the sound ’lu.” I asked him once, “Why do you call me Lou?” And he said, “Because you look like a Lou to me.” What an interesting man.

So he said to me, “It’s a new day, Lou.” I said, “What are you talking about? It’s a new day? We have to hurry to the hospital, to get your thumb back on.” And he said, “There is no need to hurry, my friend. It’s a new day.”

He said, “Today, is day one… of Emmezeka minus one thumb.” And the moment he said this, he had this grin. The kind of grin that makes you think the right side of his face didn’t tell the left side it was supposed to be smiling. The timing couldn’t have been more…perfect. I started laughing with an energy and a vigor that I hadn’t experienced in ages.

I told him, “You have…no idea.” But I don’t think he heard me because I was laughing so hard. I am sure that it came out like a jumble of sounds. But those sounds must have been pleasing, or the site of my laughter made him happy, because he started laughing with me.


A lifelong wrestling fan, Con-U certified Michael Chadwick has interned with Vice and En Route and now makes a killing with the mad men -- he's the one in the bow-tie.



by David Bradford

When I bob my head to the music it is to keep on titanically avoiding defeat. I bob my head with a shrink's wit—not one who wishes to make the other, the kook, feel they are understood and compassionately in good hands, but to communicate an apparent flawless, albeit dishonest, unflappability. No one is indifferent to Michael Jackson, for better or worst, and coming back home to the vibrating sonic skunk of 1987’s Bad pounding through the foot thick walls and into the garden is an example of what it takes to make me pray the gay student (fashion administration), the 20 year old econ major will accept me into their home and its grey, seriously custodial aesthetic. But still, for now, I am here, I am smiling, and I am limply, though aptly, bobbing my head to Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” in an apartment with acoustics similar to a 1986 club, specifically when said club failing and overly loud and empty and everyone inside—say me and the roomie wreck wretch bitch—are pretending not to mind the dismal time. She says she shall go out very soon. I type on, and affect unaffectedness. In 20 maybe. I am a rock, reliably inanimate, mostly. I drink water out of a Flensburger bottle and crack my knuckles. I visualize grinding my teeth like a yogi cage fighter. I want to die, though that is merely an expression, I guess. I want to kick the chair from under her and MJ, which is a euphemism, I guess.

Here is an example of the lack of self-awareness and lack of selflessness roomie-darling demonstrates: she is a self-proclaimed light-smoker who smokes, feet away from my bed (daybed), at least one 17 cigarette pack worth of hand-rolled Kingsgaard death-sticks everyday. I am a non-smoker. She rolls, smokes, waits maybe ten minutes and rolls again. She then smokes again. And waits ten till her next roll. Maybe. Maybe less. And so forth. Till 3 am. Maybe. If she is tired. Or later. She claims her recent intake of the carcinogens is related to the stresses of being out of school and, intentionally, out of work—two things she, irony of ironies, quit because of feelings of overwhelming stress. Self-awareness. She’s also quite loud when she cooks, and eats for two, though she is quite plainly only one. She is lovesick for a child to love her. To love her she says. Not to love. She’d be horrible for a child.

Here is an example of her capacity for ‘love’ of loved ones: we are at the one bar worth drinking at down the street. I have, previously, insisted I really want to stay in and work on stuff, but she insists, over the phone, that we meet, in 20, at most, for a quick drink or two. An hour later she shows up and we drink a drink—mine already almost gone—and finally my second. A friend phones her in tears. A close friend she describes as, lovely, beautiful, close, sweet, selfless. The line cuts out. Bad reception in the bar. And she just keeps on drinking with a sigh, rolling a cigarette, lighting up in the non-smoking section. I ask her what’s up. Her friend, the lovely one, is in tears she says. I ask if she’ll, like, call her back. Bah, she says, don’t feel like it, later. I tell her I’m going after I get this last Flens down. The phone rings again. Again, the close friend. Again, in tears. The connection cuts out again. Again she sighs, rolls, lights up. Shall we have another she says. No I says. Call your friend back I says. Oh No she says, when we’re done she says, I buy you another you shall buy me breakfast. No. Come on. No, we’re done. Call your friend. She doesn’t.

Here is an example of her pathologically lying neediness: she offers her place to me for a month, has me move in and crash on her daybed. She sets me up nicely, tells me she’s leaving in three days. She has me pretend I’m her cousin for most of her friends, for reasons she refuses to cite. She tells me she’s leaving in five days. She has me come home to visit her home neighbourhood, tells me come home at 2, my appointment is at 13, we’ll leave at 14 she says. When I get there she changes it to 16, then 18, the 20. I waste a day. She tells me she’s leaving in six days. Tells me she’s booked the ticket. Tells me she asked her sister to book the ticket. Tells me she does not believe a person can be happy living alone. Tells me she hates living alone. Tells me she’s leaving in four days. Told me this two weeks ago. I ask her when she’s leaving. She doesn’t answer.

Here is an example of her stupidity: she tells this same close lovely friend that I am very much comfortable around her, very much myself. She believes my agreement when she asks whether I shall miss when she’s away in Denmark.

Here’s an example of her troubling depression: she sleeps 14 hours a day. She denies unhappiness.

Here’s a second example of her stupidity: she buys spinach in the frozen box format.

Here’s a lasting example of her stupidity: she read, if she reads anything, stuff like Rumi poems.

Here’s an example of her peculiar and paradoxical form of boring: she goes out every night and tries to drag me along every time. She stays out late. She drinks. But it takes her half an hour to drink a glass of wine and she feels that 9h30, which is the time her friends normally want to meet, is unnecessarily and problematically late.

Here’s an example of her single-mindedness’ many dimensions: she uses “shall” instead of “could”, she uses “shall” instead of “would”, she uses “shall” instead of “may”, she uses “shall” instead of “will”. She never uses “please”. She never uses “thank you”.

Here’s a conflicting example of her troubling depression: she thinks happy people shall inspire her to be happy. They shall be quite inspiring she says.

Here’s an example of how unreliable she is: the clock on the stove, her alarm clock, the kitchen’s wall-mounted tea kettle clock, her watch and her cell phone all indicate different times, none of which are right.

Here’s an example of how she has changed over the years: pictures of her former 24 year old self are undeniably of a beautiful girl and now she is undeniably chubby and more or less ignorable in the looks department. This is a conceit.

Here’s an example of how she makes me uncomfortable: she makes this sound I’ve never heard elsewhere like a live animal’s jaw is breaking and blowing a cavitation bubble at the same time. All this occurs within her mouth. She makes it all the time. I ask her to stop. She winces depressively, as in a reverie, looking away. She does not answer.

Here is an example of her confused simple-mindedness: another Michael Jackson album comes on.

Here’s an example of something she does which seems so puzzling and insulting one cannot even get mad due to the confusingly shocking consistency of the said something: four out of five questions you ask her are simply ignored.

Here’s an example of her stubborn incapacity to change: the music is skipping because it is a CD-ROM.

Another example of her stupidity, though perhaps more specifically her stubbornness, or even more specifically her simple-mindedness through the limited spectrum of her lack of selflessness: she just turns down the sound instead of skipping to the next song.

I skip forward. Her jaw cracks. She rolls another.

After about three hours I says when is she going.

As “Heal the World” crescendos and shrivels my ears and kicks me in the face I nod my head again. When, I says. Shall you make it louder, she says. I cough a bit on some second-hand Kingsgaard. I make it louder.

When I shall she says.

Shall you make it louder she says.

I bob my head.

You’re strange she says.

Yes I says.


David is back from Berlin now. Visit his blogspot: When god closes a door he opens a window -- for a view of David's puppy love, try

by Sasha Manoli

Sharing toothbrushes is unhygienic

cats are non-refundable
possessions are liquid
forever in just three syllables
x-large condoms only count if you use
them and private parts are marked with invisible expiry dates
people curse.

Music is sad as
apple pie and casserole
for serial monogamy hobbiests
monogamous like masturbation
alcoholic socialization
no one’s drunk enough strumpets
are instruments
strumpets are instruments
people curse.

Look at this city it’s populated
with warning labels for dyslexics
people curse.


Sasha Manoli's one half of the WithWords whole ( and the third of two cats. She spreads hand-me-down cheer on the backs of grainy quasi-porny photos: Happy Holiday! May it be filled with hairy men and floral bed sheets. xoxoxo