Joining the world of missing persons and she was.

The Darker Sooner
by Catherine Wing

Then came the darker sooner,
came the later lower.
We were no longer a sweeter-here
happily-ever-after. We were after ever.
We were farther and further.
More was the word we used for harder.
Lost was our standard-bearer.
Our gods were fallen faster,
and fallen larger.
The day was duller, duller
was disaster. Our charge was error.
Instead of leader we had louder,
instead of lover, never. And over this river
broke the winter’s black weather.


Work pulls me onto trains, lately. Seat upon seat, row upon row, the windows looking out onto the same dark green trees and slate gray ocean that I’ve grown to associate with my own failure to find colour and light. These trips, short and small as they are, would have been special, would have been seen as stepping stones, but there has been little, since Michael died, that inspires, that cradles me or helps me feel alive. I am thankful that the places I’ve been going have community; cleverness and kindness meshed together, a basket to land within that protects me from hitting the ground.

I made a new friend through work, one of my on-going contracts as a copy-editor for a group of Information Security professionals. He lives far away and we don’t talk often, but when we do, we have the sort of personal, political, and philosophical discussions that I always imagined friends must converse about deep into the night, sitting on hypothetical porches with bottles of wine or in imaginary living rooms flickering with candlelight, post dinner-party or house-party. Maybe there’s a cat, the furniture is well loved, and discoveries are being made, bridges are being raised, and beliefs and opinions are being forged, tested, and reforged.

I use “hypothetical” and “imaginary” because I don’t know how to find myself in such cozy situations, (though I crave them more than most things). Like many things, I only know they’re real because I’ve been told about them and seen them at a distance or through the lens of media. That said, I still like it when I find its echo on-line and it’s been good to have again, as it’s something I’ve been missing for a number of years, since defeat took me and my capacity to reach out diminished (as is easily mapped by the decline of this journal).

He has me reading books I would have skimmed over, summaries of Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell. They haven’t pulled at me yet, there’s been no internal tug of recognition, but I appreciate the gentle push into new directions. I haven’t had the focus for entire books lately, so I spend my reading time on-line now, following the news instead, like the Panama Paper leaks or the horror show that’s passing for the Republican primaries. Topics: Science, privacy, human rights, politics.

I miss art and design, but I’ve misplaced those impulses too. They’re somewhere in my history, but not my present, along with my languishing photography backlog, my lost animation reels, finding new music and singing along, dancing, movement, creation. Agency, desire, grace. The spark.

Posted from an intercity train in Britain

A Life Of Break-Ups
by Ioana Cristina Casapu

I have gotten used to saying goodbye
But to travel light
Can be heavier than it seems
You always sell your stuff
Free your stuff
Give away that pair of shoes
Pass over this set of plates
And voila,
Your life fits again in only three boxes.
I have gotten used to saying farewell
I will see you again
Kiss all the bridges and gates for me
Forget me not;
Gotten used to keeping my mind alert
My baggage easy
And my memories inside my iPhone
To telling myself
The eye has to travel
So that my stories can unravel
But sometimes distance kills the best of intentions
Sometimes the home you find
Is different than the home you dreamt of
I like airports when it’s sunny
They remind me of summer
A life looked from afar
The promise that the Earth is round
And the hope that distance
Is only jet lag
Before coming back.

a collection theory of unlinear operators

Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell

leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses,
you make him call before
he visits, you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

– Marty McConnell

  • Leatherdo – a stainless steel multitool hair clip designed by Yaacov Goldberg.
  • Beautiful Beast – a golden spider broach worn as a temporary piercing.

    I’m flying out again on Saturday. This time to Vegas for a week of security conferences: BlackHat, B-Sides, and DefCon. I’m only official for one, but another is free and the third I shall attempt to sneak into, because I probably can and it’ll be fun. Also, what else is there for the poor to do in Vegas?

    My time “home” in Vancouver has been busy, but mostly without anchor. I domesticate well and gladly, but my attachments are to people, not places. My days, instead, have been spent on phone calls with New York and messages on-line with Michigan, Washington, Ontario, and Oklahoma. Nothing that digs me in where I am. I have spent the majority of this summer away, living basic out of a suitcase, and confirmed that not only do I enjoy/prefer it, the only things I miss are my ferrets and (sometimes) Seattle. So the crusade to pare my apartment down continues. The desire for rococo minimalism continues. Soon my life will be nothing more than a pair of ferrets, some media and data devices, a spot of taxidermy, some art, a few weapons, and an elegant wardrobe of motorcycle and combat gear, Victorian lace, and kevlar flounces.

    A more telling list may not actually exist.

    Which reminds me, as soon as I get an influx of cash, I have projects to work on again. I’ve been window shopping for a used motorcycle, drive shaft, no spokes, a machine with muscle unlikely to break down, but first is safety. Sewing with leather, something light-up with spinal protective armor, and a jacket to resurface. LED’s, el-wire, arduino VS raspberry pi. Ideas nipping at my heels like starved little purse chihuahuas shaking in the harsh reality of my financial winter. Ideas that had long been erased. My resources are shifting, bruised heart on my sleeve, capabilities ratcheting back into gear, the coastal combinations of care like cards on a table. There are no aces hidden next to my wrist, but perhaps I’ll embroider one in. I have a deep love for those tiny, clever touches.

    Meanwhile I find myself unable to spend more than three nights in a row in my own bed. Crashing over at Nathan’s, crashing over at Nicholas and Esme’s; laundry, dinner, a long run of Orphan Black. Different reasons, but the same underlying dis-attachment to my where I keep my things. To further push this, I am attempting to sublet my room for the month of August. I should have done it sooner, for June and July, given how little I was there, but starting now will have to do. I don’t know the map past August 12th, but even if I do not find my way to the desert, I will make do. I am inhabiting my language, embracing my internal architecture all the way to the edges of my vision and I have the keys to five other houses on my key-chain. I will be okay.

    It is an awful place, but I am beginning to look forward to Vegas. The teal sky stretched like silk over the blind roads and senseless cacophony, the inevitable black t-shirts with witty taglines and open bars buzzing with abuse. It is not going to be at all like my last time there or the time before that or the time before that. Each visit before has been fraught with conflict, stress a thin note running through every decision. This time I will not be alone, isolated or rejected. I will not have been sent for to stand as a peace-maker to sordid drama, I will not have been brought along as a sop, I will not be going as a dismantled half. No matter how this week unfurls, (and it does have some very interesting possibilities), none of the previous scenarios will have a chance to duplicate. There will be a tribe this time, there will be people I care for who care for me. (My best medicine). New people, new skills. This trip will be unique and for that I am grateful. The city will not poison me. Though the Vegas strip is a manipulative construct, a gigantic shrine dedicated to the worst of the states, the people I will be walking with share my inherent refusal to genuflect.

  • reduce your carbon footprint

    by Margaret Atwood

    We ate the birds.
    We ate them.
    We wanted their songs to flow up
    through our throats and burst out of our mouths,
    and so,
    we ate them.

    We wanted their feathers
    to bud from our flesh.
    We wanted their wings,
    we wanted to fly as they did,
    soar freely
    among the treetops and the clouds,
    and so we ate them.

    We speared them,
    we clubbed them,
    we tangled their feet in glue,
    we netted them,
    we spitted them,
    we threw them onto hot coals,
    and all for love,
    because we loved them.

    We wanted to be one with them.
    We wanted to hatch out of clean,
    smooth, beautiful eggs,
    as they did, back when we
    were young and agile and innocent
    of cause and effect,
    we did not want the mess of being born,
    and so we crammed the birds
    into our gullets,
    feathers and all,
    but it was no use,
    we couldn’t sing,
    not effortlessly as they do,
    we can’t fly,
    not without smoke and metal,
    and as for the eggs we don’t stand a chance.

    We’re mired in gravity,
    we’re earthbound.
    We’re ankle-deep in blood,
    and all because we ate the birds,
    we ate them a long time ago,
    when we still had the power to say no.

    what love sculpts from us

    If They Come In The Night
    by Marge Piercy

    Long ago on a night of danger and vigil
    a friend said, why are you happy?
    He explained (we lay together
    on a cold hard floor) what prison
    meant because he had done
    time, and I talked of the death
    of friends. Why are you happy
    then, he asked, close to

    I said, I like my life. If I
    have to give it back, if they
    take it from me, let me
    not feel I wasted any, let me
    not feel I forgot to love anyone
    I meant to love, that I forgot
    to give what I held in my hands,
    that I forgot to do some little
    piece of the work that wanted
    to come through.

    Sun and moonshine, starshine,
    the muted light off the waters
    of the bay at night, the white
    light of the fog stealing in,
    the first spears of morning
    touching a face
    I love. We all lose
    everything. We lose
    ourselves. We are lost.

    Only what we manage to do
    lasts, what love sculpts from us;
    but what I count, my rubies, my
    children, are those moments
    wide open when I know clearly
    who I am, who you are, what we
    do, a marigold, an oakleaf, a meteor,
    with all my senses hungry and filled
    at once like a pitcher with light.

    we travel well together

    The Sciences Sing a Lullabye
    by Albert Goldbarth

    Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
    you’re tired. Every atom in you
    has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
    nonstop from mitosis to now.
    Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
    inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

    Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
    by inch America is giving itself
    to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
    lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
    You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
    one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.

    Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
    Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
    Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
    Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
    History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.


    I’ve spent almost an entire week out in White Rock, testing the waters at a new part-time job and trying to tidy a sense of order into the chaos we’ve created in the beige wasteland that is his townhouse. Colour, (both literal and metaphorical), arrived with me, (a red, cuddly throw blanket, an orange pair of denim pants, a smart red wool field blazer, striped sweaters for the trembling little dog), but also some mess, as my life and Robin’s are too different to effortlessly integrate. Left to me, I would transform this place into a sheik’s palace, all emerald green velvet pillows and hanging glass lanterns like teal gemstones, but instead I have been working to assimilate. I’ve been wearing bland clothing and brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush and learning to use an iPad casually, as if it’s perfectly natural to be holding such a tangible chunk of future in my hands.

    So it continues. Today, for Valentine’s, we’re leaving for five days in Vegas. He booked it as a surprise trip, all I know for sure is that all of our evenings are booked, at least one night with Cirque and another with Penn & Teller.

    in memory of something I remember

    by Kim Addonizio

    How images enter you, the shutter of the body
    clicking when you’re not even looking:
    smooth chill of satin sheets, piano keys, a pastry’s glazy crust
    floating up, suddenly, so the hairs along your arm
    lift in that current of memory, and your tongue tastes
    the sweet salt of a lover as he surges
    against you, plunges towards the place you can’t
    dive into but which is deepening each moment
    you are alive, the black pupil widening,
    the man going down and in, the food and
    champagne and music and light, there is no bottom to this,
    silt and murk of losses that won’t ever settle,
    and the huge unsleeping fish, voracious for pleasure,
    and the soundless fathoms where nothing
    yet exists, this minute, the next, the last
    breath let out and not returning, oh hold
    on to me as the waters rise, don’t be afraid,
    we are going to join the others, we are going
    to remember and tell them everything.

    on whom the pale moon gleams

    by Arthur O’Shaughnessy

    We are the music-makers,
    And we are the dreamers of dreams,
    Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
    And sitting by desolate streams;
    World-losers and world-forsakers,
    On whom the pale moon gleams:
    Yet we are the movers and shakers
    Of the world for ever, it seems.

    With wonderful deathless ditties
    We build up the world’s great cities,
    And out of a fabulous story
    We fashion an empire’s glory:
    One man with a dream, at pleasure,
    Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
    And three with a new song’s measure
    Can trample an empire down.

    We, in the ages lying
    In the buried past of the earth,
    Built Nineveh with our sighing,
    And Babel itself with our mirth;
    And o’erthrew them with prophesying
    To the old of the new world’s worth;
    For each age is a dream that is dying,
    Or one that is coming to birth.

    My mouth is full of night and water.


    My dream started from where I had left off, lying awake in the tent, listening to Burning Man, Robin asleep next to me while I stared past the ceiling to the sky, wondering at myself, at what I might have to do to let anything in. Seamlessly, though in the shadow of sleep, I left the bed, carefully found my night clothes and put them on again. Then I crept outside, paused, took a breath as I stood at the mouth of the tent, then zipped it up like a child miming a promise kept. Then the dream skipped like an analog video on fast forward, its reality taking a moment to blur just long enough to get me to the Esplanade.

    From there it was a long walk, all of it wrapped in pale dust and cold and the lights of fantastic things passing me by in the dark as if I were actually there, the thump of all the art cars blurring as I dreamed of crossing the Playa, the music hard and glittering, my body a shadow but as real as my mind could synthesize. My walk through the desert seemed to symbolize nothing, except as a means to an end, as I had a destination before I had even fallen asleep: The Magic Phonebooth, a public satellite phone some rich person provides every year as an art project that anyone can use to call anywhere in the world for as long as they want. I had spoken of it earlier to Robin, as one of my favourite things there that I had never used, offered maybe as a solution to some of my disassociation, some of what was keeping me from the world.

    As I approached it, though, exhausted and cold, I could felt the emptiness inside my heart as if it were made of a tangible material, my apathy so extensive it could almost be measured by clever engineers. Yet my journey continued, my feet kept moving, until I was finally there, hand on the metal door, still uncertain of what I was going to say. My life seemed so hollow, so irrelevant, a pointlessness amplified to deafening levels. What was I looking for? Redemption? Validation? It was a mystery to me, but I opened the door anyway and stepped inside.

    My dream self didn’t pause, though I would have fumbled there, but picked up the receiver and cradled it against my ear like an old friend, and dialled a number I’ve never actually known by rote. East coast. Across the river. The gantries. The transom over the door. The metal bed-frame. Lying on the couch, listening to a story about a man being bitten on the foot by a fish and losing one of his toes. “You would have been proud of me.” How I never would have gone back to that place if he hadn’t put his hand on the small of my back. How completely damaged he was. How much he liked the feathers in my hair. My photo in a terrible frame, tacky, grandmotherly. His picture pinned to a string at the foot of my room. The first time he told me, in a drug store that I have visited since to buy my first set of false eye-lashes, but hated in his absence, when he told me and I looked up and he shook his head as if I should have already known. It was a torrent. A rush. Endless, though it only lasted seconds.

    The phone rang once, then clicked as he picked up. The background of traffic was barely there, even in the lee of the bridge. Late, I know, I thought, almost surprised that he had woken up in my dream, even knowing it was all pretend. “Hello?” An art car passed the booth, the wind picked up, the crawling sounds of Burning Man leaked past my lips through the wires, loud and flashy, obvious through my silence. He waited. I waited. When at least I finally spoke, it was only five words. “Everything is broken without you.”