the usual kind of drink


producing sounds like Stephen King’s nervous system caught in a mousetrap.

The line broke, the monkey got choked, they all went to heaven in a little row boat, clap back.

I recieved a letter of “immediate termination” today. Not unexpected. They had been vague about my schedules and their phonecalls were increasingly paranoid and contradictory. I have a job interview with Telus tomorrow. I did a test for them today, scantron style, all tiny little ovals that you fill in with pencil. I’d forgotten the sound a pencil makes on paper, the little swish sound as it softly grinds itself into the paper like a subtle dancehall pick-up, how the scrape of it travels up your hand and tunnels into the fingertips. There was the same personality test that I had to fill out every year of high-school. More True/Less True. Chopstick marks, one after another. Question one, old houses, familiar territory, question two. IQ measured in how well I process a pattern in a row of shapes. Personality measured in yes/no questions.

 The First Rocket Launch from Cape Canaveral

I did well. I always do well with those. It’s in the taste of them, how fast I read. Print chewed up faster than waking up in the morning. Twenty minutes and mine is done. The expected smiles of surprise on the other side of the door. “You’re finished?” “Yes.” Blue carpet, blue walls. The walk to the skytrain is nice, under trees. I wonder if I’ll ever be homesick for these clouds and think no. I walk through the Central Park playground that was one of my only memories of Vancouver as a kid. The signs are dirty now and the little train doesn’t run. Half of it is torn up, under reconstruction. The water fight fountains are gone. It all feels appropriate and meaningless, all at once, like a pop song resonating to a false mirror flare of nostalgia frequency or a boring music video.

breeding like Starbucks.

finished playing, I opened my eyes and wanted to cry

Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

Not having wool hair is irritating. I got so used to having a permanent cascade of comfortable warmth attached to my head that now my movements are weightless, the mannerisms of someone who has two feet of hair to brush out of the way, my shoulders feel naked, and my face feels unframed, as if I were a dissolved painting. Someone’s stolen me, is trying to clean the canvas to put something more interesting there. Phaugh.

This was another day of strangers talking. This time I collected an invitation to a St. Patrick’s Party at the Gabriola Mansion, hurriedly written on the back of an 8 X 10 vintage photograph of the now mostly abandoned lunatic asylum. It’s rather awesome, actually. I’m quite impressed. The picture is of the building where, back in the day, when they needed stones for a BBQ patio, they dug up the gravestones and used them to pave a yard, not caring which way up they faced.

In the upper right hand corner of the back, in between the scrawled invitation information, it says ASYLUMS with a blue stamp underneath:

PHOTOGRAPH No. ..1261….

In the middle, in very precise hand written printing, it says in pencil:

Date: c. 1906
Source. VPL
Photograph: P. Timms

Info: B.C. Provincial Asylum.

and at the bottom there’s another stamp:

NEGATIVE No. ___6419___

I think I’d better try to go to his party.

the wall I’m waiting for


Four Years

The smell of him went soon
from all his shirts.
I sent them for jumble,
and the sweaters and suits.
The shoes
held more of him; he was printed
into his shoes. I did not burn
or throw or give them away.
Time has denatured them now.

Nothing left.
There will never be
a hair of his in a comb.
But I want to believe
that in the shifting housedust
minute presences still drift:
an eyelash,
a hard crescent cut from a fingernail,
that sometimes
between the folds of a curtain
or the covers of a book
I touch
a flake of his skin.

-Pamela Gillilan.