Volume 11 Issue 1 Summer 2011
The Home Issue
VOLUME 11 ISSUE 1 SUMMER 2011
Home is Where the Goose Is
Defining Empty Spaces
8 9 18
Rolling Suburbs ALEXA FORTIER
To Go Home
Your House Is Not Our Home
DOROTHY IN THE WIZ (1975)
Pulling Back Oz’s Curtain DEVON BUTLER
Let’s Go Home
A True Crime Story
When I think of home, I think of a place where there’s love overflowing.
This City’s Boring Without You
NUNO TEIXEIRA EMMANUEL XERX JAVIER
Inside Front IAN SPENCE
EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Morgan Alan firstname.lastname@example.org
THE HOME ISSUE
Production Manager Lakyn Barton email@example.com
Contributing Editor Devon Butler firstname.lastname@example.org
Promotions Manager Lydia Ogwang email@example.com
Community Manager Timaj Garad firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio Manager Katie Parkes email@example.com
Brantford Manager Vacant Application at wlusp.com/volunteer
CONTRIBUTORS Cristina Almudevar, Emily Bednarz, Bartholomew Breslau, Luigi DiGennaro, Linda Givetash, Alexa Fortier, Emily Holmes, Emmanuel Xerx Javier, Sarah Macdonald, Jordana McLeod, Matthew Mousseau, Max Sharikov, David Shirley, Maeve Strathy, Ian Spence, Wade Thompson, Nuno Teixeira, Kate Turner
ADMINISTRATION President, Publisher & Chair Erin Epp Executive Director Bryn Ossington Advertising Manager Angela Taylor Vice Chair Judith Brunton Treasurer Thomas Paddock Director Mike Lakusiak Director Jon Pryce Corporate Secretary Morgan Alan Distribution Manager Vacant
It seems oddly fitting that our issue on the theme of “Home” will be mailed to all incoming students attending Laurier in the fall. As these readers leave the place they have known for most of their lives and embark on a new journey, their concept of this topic is certain to change. For these new readers, who have never before picked up an issue of Blueprint, welcome. Blueprint Magazine is an artistic endeavour produced by the students and alumni of Wilfrid Laurier University, and members of the broader Kitchener-Waterloo community. Each month, we present a theme and accept freelance art, photography, poetry, prose, and cultural criticism on the topic. This content is edited, and then compiled into a magazine by a student-run editorial team. More so than past issues I have edited, I found a general unifying theme across most submissions that were contributed to this issue. The works of our writers and artists seem to suggest that home is not strictly a physical place, but a space defined by the presence of loved ones and a sense of belonging. As you settle in this university, the opportunities to build this new space for yourself are boundless. Welcome home.
Morgan Alan Editor-in-Chief
CONTACT Blueprint Magazine 75 University Ave W Waterloo ON N2L 3C5 p 519.884.0710 x3564 f 519.883.0873 blueprintmagazine.ca Advertise firstname.lastname@example.org blueprintmagazine.ca/advertise Contribute email@example.com blueprintmagazine.ca/contribute
COLOPHON Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community.
COVER Art by JON JOHNSON
Founded in 2002, Blueprint is an editorially independent magazine published by Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications, Waterloo, a corporation without share capital. WLUSP is governed by its board of directors. Content appearing in Blueprint bears the copyright expressly of their creator(s) and may not be used without written consent. Blueprint reserves the right to re-publish submissions in print or online. Opinions in Blueprint are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, WLU or CanWeb Printing Inc. Blueprint is created using Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.5 using Adobe Creative Suite 4. The circulation for a normal issue of Blueprint is 3000. Subscription rates are $20.00 per year for addresses in Canada.
NEXT ISSUE On the theme of “Borders” Submissions due September 9 On stands September 21
When designing for my own screen printing projects I enjoy simplifying forms; I often try to create an image that conveys the essence of the original. I started creating these little houses with the idea of only doing a group of four, but when I got to four, I just kept going. I really appreciate different house styles, and enjoyed thinking about the significance that each house has to the people who have called them home. Three of them carry significance for me, I hope one connects with something for you.
Home Is Where the Goose Is MAX SHARIKOV
Here in Waterloo, our two universities are not only home to flocks of students, but flocks of geese as well. As a student, I have learned to live with the student population and the goose population, though both are prone to disgruntled outbursts when they fear their territory is being threatened. About the disgruntled students, little is being done; about the disgruntled geese, I was recently informed by a university insider (anonymous for the sake of their job) that steps were being taken to reduce the goose population. In early spring, university workers sprayed the geese eggs with vegetable oil, the desired effect being that the embryo would suffocate and would not hatch in late spring. This is, apparently, common practice in population control – though I don’t see how it’s any better than trapping and killing beavers, an indiscretion that brought the University of Waterloo some unwanted attention in 2006. I didn’t want to believe what I heard. But come summer as I walked through the campus, I saw that geese were parent-
ing one or two goslings, compared to nine or ten in previous years. Allow me to put this into perspective: While attending the university and living in residence, a woman becomes pregnant by another student. She decides not to take off the following term, and returns with octuplets. One morning, the mother awakes to find that seven of her eight children have been murdered. She proceeds to call the police. The police arrive with campus security to inform her that student services has received too many complaints about the children, and they were lawful in their decision to kill them. Perhaps the geese would receive better treatment if they paid tuition. Speaking from the perspective of someone who has dealt with OSAP, the paper work, and angry calls from the collection agency – during which they uttered threats that far exceeded the threat of smothering and killing my offspring – I sincerely doubt it.
Let’s Go Home MATTHEW MOUSSEAU
We were two thirds of the way home when an argument broke out between my mother and father. The argument was regarding something about directions, I couldn’t follow what exactly. They had argued like this before, but the tipping point was when my mother swore. This was rare among parents, especially my father. He always wanted to maintain some illusion of “moral superiority” by never using profanity: not when they were shouting at each other, not when another driver cut him off. “Gosh darn idiot! Learn how to drive, will ya?” It was my mother’s swearing that compelled my father to pull over. He looked upset, but of course I knew it was a show. In fact, her swearing made him look better. He had not let his anger get the best of him. But his driving had been called into question and he wanted to prove himself. “Do you want to drive? Do you think you’re a better driver than me?” “Yes, I can say without reserve that I’m a better driver.” They made our presence known when they told us to vote. There were five of us in the back, five passengers, expected to decide the outcome of the argument and the drive. None of us had a driver’s licence. Our vote was the closest we came to driving. I was already in support of my mother. She was direct, spoke plainly, and never contradicted herself. My father, on the other hand, was extravagant; he loved to drive and carelessly wasted gas on unnecessary detours. I knew my mother cared more about the passengers: our comfort and safety. With my father I felt like I was along for the ride, never mind what I had to contribute. “No one likes a back seat driver,” he would say. While my mother made her promise to get us home safe and in as short a time as possible, my father interrupted with reminders of my mother’s shortcomings: he told us that she had contributed more scratches to the car than he had; that she was not aggressive enough behind the wheel and the drive would be longer, not shorter. When my mother spoke of my father’s characteristic wastefulness, bringing the car to the wash two times in the past week, my father chided that he had had the car washed the second time because she had driven it through mud and dirtied it. I knew better. I knew my father’s vanity had been the true reason for the second wash. If there had been any mud, he had used it as an excuse. My father promised to stop at any rest stop that offered fast food and sugar laced treats, which he would surely buy for his supporters. This excited my younger brother who, until then, had appeared indifferent toward the debate.
My younger sister supported my father. If I asked her why, she wouldn’t say that it was for the fast food. No. It was because my father was a confident driver, had been driving longer, was more competent and better able to continue driving. I tried to rally the support of my remaining brother and sister. They were older than me, had seen more arguments like this one and already knew the outcome, saw no point in getting involved. I should have known they wouldn’t vote. Too strong was the grip of apathy. What disturbed me more than the indifference of my older brother and sister was the willingness of my younger brother to believe my father’s empty promises: if he stopped
While my mother made her promise to get us home safe and in as short a time as possible, my father interrupted with reminders of my mother’s shortcomings: he told us that she had contributed more scratches to the car than he had; that she was not aggressive enough behind the wheel and the drive would be longer, not shorter.
at any road side attraction it would be to serve his own interests. I wanted to warn him of the impending disappointment, but his excitement had been encouraged by my younger sister. Two votes for my father. One vote for my mother. Two votes abstained. “I have my majority,” my father said. “Alright, Stephen. You win. Let’s go home.” In his pride, my father merged too quickly into the rush of traffic and was forced into the wrong lane, where our car was demolished by a head on collision with a truck.
Exploring Heart CRISTINA ALMUDEVAR
I am homeless. Not in the literal sense, I do live in a house. I feel homeless because I lack a hometown. I have no city to return to and proudly claim as my own. I have lived in a few cities, but I don’t have any roots or deep-seated memories calling me back. You can exist in a place without leaving any part of yourself behind. I don’t look out my window and think about how much this place means to me, or go to the local Tim Horton’s and think of the great memories I’ve had there. My friends have mentioned that I make my city sound like a horrible little hick town, population of 1000, when really that’s just me complaining. I’ve felt “homeless” for quite some time now. I moved to my current city, a loose term for my present location, in grade eight and have always felt out of place. I hated the town with a passion, and the people in it almost as much. Young and
had, but how do you relate to them now? Reminiscing about horrible elementary school teachers can only bring you so far in a conversation. Waterloo is not, nor will it ever be, my hometown. I absolutely love the city, but once I graduate I can never live there again. The thought of co-existing with my university self when I am thirty is strange. I don’t want to go to the same bars and hang-out spots for ten years. The idea of my children going to the same bars as I did as a freshman is terrifying. I don’t want to raise my children on the streets that I grew up in. The closest place I found to fitting the imaginary requirements of my home is Spain, where I visited for a month last summer. I remember feeling enchanted by the old architecture; like I could spend years walking around these old streets and still discover new things. Sitting outside of my family’s home, watching my cousins play, I knew I would one day
The thought of co-existing with my university self when I am thirty is strange. I don’t want to go to the same bars and hang-out spots for ten years. The idea of my children going to the same bars as I did as a freshman is terrifying.
spiteful, I would cry for hours, plotting escape and swearing to never look back when I left. In my self-absorbed, thirteenyear-old head, this was my personal apocalypse. I had to survive the zombies that infiltrated my new school. By grade twelve, one could say I was settled. I was familiar with my surroundings and made some great friends, but I knew that once I left, I was gone forever. Living there showed me I don’t like small cities, and the suburbs bore me. This was a pit stop on a greater journey. I still have good friends in my old city. I feel nostalgic when I visit my former neighbourhood. But I cannot claim the place as my hometown; we both have changed too much to relate to each other. The park behind my house was great for exploring when I was in grade school, but at the age of nineteen, I would like my Friday nights to be a bit more interesting. The older I got, the more disconnected I felt. It was like meeting a childhood friend one day after completely losing contact with them – you remember the great times you have
be back, I was not done with Spain. The month ended too quickly, there was still so much hidden away that I had not discovered. I think and co-exist in the past, present and future. My past forbids me from living in a place that has seen a younger me. I don’t want to walk around and see my past mistakes written on park benches and walls like graffiti. I want a fresh canvas, a place for new beginnings and experiences. We have all heard the cliché quotes about home being where your heart is and the myriad of variations upon that, but I can’t relate. My heart is out exploring; it’s wandering around trying to find that one place. It will be that one place that will make me look out my window and feel like I have reached my destination. My city will not inspire me nor will I feel enraptured by its nooks and hidden spots. I will walk along the streets and my heart will match the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement. I will know that this is mine, this is me, this is home.
Recycled at 1am IAN SPENCE
Defining Empty Spaces LINDA GIVETASH
Home is not a place with walls, windows or doors. It’s not an apartment or a house, nor does it have two rooms or six. None of those things matter – they define empty spaces. When I moved to Waterloo over four years ago, I was embarrassingly excited to get away from Toronto and live in a new city. It quickly became all that I hoped it would be, as I developed friendships (some rather brief), found jobs (some were also rather brief), and inevitably began calling it home. Yet despite Waterloo being my newfound home, I still said ‘home’ when referring to my mom’s couch in her new apartment that I never lived in and only infrequently visited. I’ve found myself calling my office home after long days (and nights), and the odd power nap thanks to my lifestyle of sleep deprivation. I’ve even called my favourite Waterloo bar Ethel’s
Lounge home, particularly during their to-die-for taco week. After four years, the west coast will be the next place I will pronounce as home. It’s not because I have found reasons to hate Waterloo, or have grown tired of my friends. I’ve come to realize is that my fluid concept of home stems from the fact that home isn’t so much about geography as it is about people. My mom’s couch - regardless of where it is in Toronto - will always be home, and so will my friends in Waterloo, whether they stay or move across the globe. My Waterloo adventure has been a worthy one, but there is only about a year or two left before the adventure reaches its expiry date. Where ever I next end up housing my shoes, books and pillow, it’s the new friends, like the current and old, that I look forward to finding a home in.
Ideals DEVON BUTLER
I remember hanging out at my parents’ house in Toronto one weekend while in university. Sunday came around and I mentioned to my Mom that I was heading home. Heading “home” meant back to my student house in Waterloo, but wasn’t I at home already? Thankfully my Mom didn’t go all maudlin, nostalgic for the days of yore when her house was my home. Instead, in her eyes, this was a wonderful development; it meant that I was so comfortable in Waterloo that it felt like home, and it really did. It wasn’t something unique about Waterloo, per se (though I love the city) it was more about having forged a new life for myself somewhere else. I’d made new friends, gotten a job that I really enjoyed, and knew my way around the
I wonder to myself when I’ll only feel at home in one place. place. When you spend the first 18 or so years of your life in the same place, even when you have a good level of independence, moving to a new city separate from your parents is an amazing experience. When you’re in the right place – and Waterloo was the right place for me – then it’s even better, and it can truly feel like home. But my parents’ house was still home, too. I’d go home to Toronto for the weekend and then back to Waterloo on Sunday. I don’t know if some universal law dictates that any
person can only have one home, but I definitely defied that law while living in Waterloo. When I graduated last year, I moved to Port Hope for a job, and that’s where I continue to live now. I love my job, and I don’t mind this quiet little town, but I still like to escape to my parents’ house in Toronto on the weekends. I feel at home here in Port Hope. My apartment is cozy and has everything I need, and I’m starting to get to know the town a lot better. I don’t have my girlfriend, close friends, or family here, but I still feel at home. At the same time, my parents’ house still feels like home. I wonder to myself when I’ll only feel at home in one place, like I did for the first 18 years of my life. I suppose when I have a family of my own, our house will be my home, but maybe not exclusively. The corny-but-true saying ‘home is where the heart is’ seems to be fitting, so I guess my heart is in a lot of different places. My heart was once in Waterloo where all my closest friends were and where some of my most formative experiences took place. My heart is now in Port Hope where I’m working at an amazing institution and being challenged with great work on a daily basis. And my heart will always be in Toronto – with my family, where I grew up, at my old stomping grounds, and where many of my closest friends remain. I don’t know exactly how I’d define “home” in words; it’s just something I feel in different places. I’m starting to realize that it has less to do with the place itself, and much more to do with the people in it.
Home by the Sea DEVON BUTLER
Rolling Suburbs ALEX FORTIER
There are nights when I think I won’t wake to see the morning. The days leading up to these nights are not awful, not terrible in any particularity. They are the days where my ribs begin to separate and let the air in until I cannot breathe; not when the sky takes residence in the center of my chest and there is no room for me to stay. It passes, usually, no more than five or ten seconds after it occurs, and it becomes hard to remember why it completely devastates me. There is an entire existence living behind me that I cannot get back to. I think it is this idea of our family and where we used to live that perverts everything, and makes me forget I was ever sixteen. We lived in unchartable spaces back then, when the streets would sing us to sleep. We would awake and forget that the sadness of a solitary street light made us dream in hazy yellow. I cannot remember how many of us there were; they fight for space in my head. On the days when the grass smells freshly cut from the window in my apartment, they win. I cannot count them, but I count the ribs that splinter and open up. When you are fifteen, you don’t realize you can never go back. It is not a matter of time travel, but of feeling that there is an indefatigable, endless amount of days that do not wear numbers and months or indicate that soon, everything will change. There is a hole in my chest that was once filled by the completeness of a family who had an inexhaustible amount of time ahead of them. When we are fifteen and seventeen, and a father is in the backyard cutting the grass, and a sister is out with her boyfriend but promises to be back later, and
a mother watches television and smokes cigarettes; they are inextricably bound. They will never be as much as a family as they are in that exact moment. Each of them living, embodying time and not knowing it, not realizing it is ticking, waiting to detonate into smaller moments that cannot bring them back to this time in whole pieces, while the rest can only be fragments. I find myself waiting for them. I wonder where they are, if they’re okay, if they ever realize the way I do; that I can’t ever get back to them. They can live only in an endless cacophony of memories. They all make noise, distract me. It is an existence wholly unremarkable, one filled with an infinite amount of pine trees and rolling suburbs. There is a hill covered with cement that I used to know, and a line of dead, toppled trees we used to climb. I haven’t figured out how to reconcile it with the fact that I can no longer remember the names of streets or the surrounding towns. It belonged to me at some point. It was unextraordinary but it was mine, and I have no idea if it ever really happened. I have no real way of proving it, except a moment inside my chest that promises we are all but for one instance utterly unremarkable, fragile and precious to no one but our own dying photographic decadence. It makes it hard to prepare for class, and be proactive when there are endless moments of time living inside of you. All of them competing, trying to take precedence over my ability to add to the pile. It makes it hard to sleep at night and put on makeup. It makes me forget.
Your House is Not Our Home TIMAJ GARAD
Airways like barricades; your notes are dead to me. A deaf ear to the nonsense bred to restrict the conscious ...just to dilute our progress. This is a twisted war, with censored signs of conflict In the land of the free made by slaves, no reparation paid No education to disclose the tactics Censorship is your tool, where ignorance is your practice And you build dream houses, with glass ceilings Look up and the skyâ€™s the limit so you can only imagine, Look around and your held captive in your oppressorâ€™s mansion In a space that dictates your freedom of motion Until you realize dreams cannot be confined And freedom cannot be measured in liberties denied Because it (freedom) exists as a state of mind So until we frame ourselves with love crimes of the revolutionary kind How can we feel at home?
Elora IAN SPENCE
There’s No Place Like It/Kansas WADE THOMPSON
Pulling Back Oz’s Curtain DEVON BUTLER
It was nothing short of magic when Dorothy, with just the click of her ruby slippers, returned home from Oz. Over half a century later, we may not have the technology for teleportation, but with one click of a button we can send emails, pictures and even talk to our loved ones at home faceto-face via Skype. Maybe, if Dorothy were able to Blackberry Message Auntie Em a picture of the Emerald City or tweet about the Wicked Witch, her desire for home would have been slightly diminished. After all, wasn’t that the moral of her story, that home isn’t a physical place, but an emotional one? I can’t say for certain how modern technology would have impacted the past, but one thing is for certain – The Wizard of Oz would have been much less inspiring if Dorothy had whipped out a GPS to locate the nearest airport and caught the first plane out. On my first vacation to Europe, I suffered extreme homesickness and longed, every night, to be sleeping in my own bed. Within a few days, I realized how easy it was to feel com-
fortable in a new location. Surrounded by the comforts of my family, I could turn each hotel room into my own space with familiar belongings. I realized that a home is nothing more than a building; it takes the memories and personal experiences to transform four cold walls into a space of nostalgia and comfort. One of the great things about travelling is that eventually, you return to your own bed and are reunited with your real home. My home is where I felt most the most comfortable in the world, cuddled on my couch on a Saturday afternoon. So naturally, I found it quite challenging when at 14 years old I was forced to move away from my childhood home and relocate to another city. I was stuck in an unfamiliar space everyday without the promise of one day sleeping in my old room again. I coped by browsing through photographs of my old home, and tried to keep in touch with my friends using MSN Messenger. It didn’t take long to realize that the photographs were one dimension-
al; even with a picture of my backyard in hand, I still couldn’t run around it with my neighbourhood friends or pick berries from the garden. I couldn’t smell the musty scent of the attic or accidently step on the creaky stair when I snuck downstairs at night. The photographs were just fragments of a memory; if anything, they served as a cruel reminder of a time we can never go back to. Like how I created a quaint nest in the many hotel rooms I’d visited, I was eventually able to turn those strange new walls into recognizable ones. I started to learn the smells and sounds that came with the house, and tried my best to visualize how my room would look and feel down the road. While I adjusted to the space, I could never quite become accustomed to the loss of my childhood friends. It never seemed to matter how many hours were spent hashing out gossip on MSN, the conversation always had to end with an abrupt ‘g2g.’ Over the next few months, the conversations became less profound and much shorter. As these were pre-social networking days, keeping in touch with somebody took a far greater effort than a wall post every six months. Even with the steady technological advances that were occurring, people seemed to blindly accept that emails and occasional chatting could suffice as replacement for face-to-face interaction. The promise of having my friends come to visit me in my new home was forgotten. I suppose they thought, ‘why visit when I could email.’ Even later, with the opportunity of Facebook, catching up consisted of a ‘we should do something sometime’ half-sincere message. The ironies of modern day technology are inescapable. I choose to believe that internet companies began their endeavours with the best of intentions, to bring people closer together. Facebook was a way to stay in touch and connect. Skype created a way to see our friends and family face-to-face when we are half way around the world. These are very extraordinary inventions and accomplishments, and if you isolate them from society, they seem like the absolute ideal. Sadly, these technologies, invented to bring people closer together, end up driving them further apart. If I can write emails, Skype and text every day, there is never really a need to see someone in person. Similarly, it becomes easier to replace a physical person with their online persona. Eventually, after communicating using only these media for a significant amount of time, it becomes much more manageable to rarely see somebody, and the desire to see them gradually fades. Even after the despair I felt in moving away from my childhood home, over time, the blue walls of my bedroom melted into the purple walls of my new one, creating a hazy nostalgia for a place I struggle to remember. This is the unfortunate divide between technological intention and implications. If I communicate with my sister through text and Facebook chat when she is in the very next room, how will we connect when we live in separate houses, cities or countries? Vast changes in basic technology made travelling to Europe for the second time a more convenient experience. I could take a computer with me, which meant I could keep in touch with everybody at home. It meant I could upload pictures as I went about my adventures, sharing them with
friends and family. It even meant I could listen to the music I wanted with an iPod. Despite the possibilities these devices provided, I longed to experience travel the way I did on my first endeavour. Strolling along the Seine is less romantic with a Blackberry in hand. I felt like I was living my days according to my email, thinking of all the people I needed to respond to and promised to communicate with. I was living for my camera, for all the pictures I said I’d take and all the while being consciously aware these could be seen by anybody on my networking sites. Even an ocean away, technology was guiding me with its invisible hand, influencing my decisions and behaviour. Even though I was thousands of miles away from home; I was only an eight hour plane ride away. Even though I’d like to believe I was finally somewhere untouchable, I was still reachable; I was still subject to the culture and technology of my own continent. The Simpsons was on television, a Starbucks was around every corner and there is nothing quite so depressing as purchasing a souvenir from the streets of Paris
If I communicate with my sister through text and Facebook chat when she is in the very next room, how will we connect when we live in separate houses, cities or countries? and seeing it months later in a Home Sense. I’d pulled back the curtain and seen that behind the great and powerful Oz; there was nothing more than a man and a machine, controlling my thoughts, actions and ideas. The world seems like a smaller place, controlled by a handful of people, websites and technologies. I can buy a Kit Kat in every country and share my stories on Facebook no matter where I reside or where I travel to. It’s opened up possibilities to keep in touch with the people I love, but these devices aren’t restricted to travel and distance. They impact the ways I interact with the people in my very own city, and home. I wonder if I would live life differently had these technologies been unavailable to me as they were to Dorothy. Would I see friends more often, and would travel be a much grander experience? Globalization wouldn’t control half the world and relationships and cultures could flourish. I would be less insecure about how I’m being perceived and feel more inclined to keep friendships intact. And somehow, regardless of what I long for, these are only the dreams I have; dreams for a world without technology consuming my every moment. I have the brains to learn and communicate without these devices; I have a heart, and love for my family. It would seem all I’m missing is a little courage to power down my laptop, leave my cell phone at home and learn to live life on my terms; knowing that though memories of vacations, family and even my childhood may fade, they can never be disconnected.
Keys IAN SPENCE
A True Crime Story BARTHOLOMEW BRESLAU
Welcome home, they said when he returned to the hometown where he had attended elementary and high school. He returned for the occasion of his high school commencement. A graduation and diploma ceremony, no longer a hat and gown affair one envisions with ‘pomp and circumstance’ in movies and television. He returned expecting to be reunited with former friends not yet forgotten. Instead, he was greeted by a bill: $50 outstanding for commencement service fees. Welcome home, they said when he returned to his high school. The secretaries greeted him with the warmth of a tax collector, hands extended. They tell him: You can come to the commencement ceremony, but you won’t be leaving with a diploma. You can attend the university classes you have enrolled in, but they won’t recognize you as a student unless you show them a diploma. You can leave with a diploma, but it’s going to cost you fifty dollars. He protested: I spent everything on university and accommodations. My savings, my parents’ savings. I may need to take a loan if I can’t keep my scholarship. I have to eat at the soup kitchen on weekends because I can’t afford groceries; and you’re telling me that I’m not a student, that I don’t have a diploma, that I lose everything unless I pay fifty dollars? They tell him: Welcome home!
EMILY BEDNARZ Soon this won’t be your home You’ll come back to appreciate the way the light falls on the leaves the quiet scent of this place wood floors and soft hum Family is somewhere, unheard Standing alone in the house you grew up in Leaving in September
Claustrophilia JORDANA MCLEOD
Here there is sand and waves, imagined ecosystems ecosystems of life. A hundred thousand life forms packed into a square foot of water, her life, their life, washing back and forth across his calves, knees, thighs, hips, deeper – but there was really only bricks, not bark, and noise – the tap of glasses together, tossing back alcohol like promises. One day. The water is bitterly cold, but more feeling in this numbness than anywhere else. He can feel his heartbeat pulse down and out and imagine it moving into the water with tiny ripples to prove his reality. But they both really knew, both cradled a lie between their palms like a stone and felt the heavy weight of it. The sea doesn’t want him. It heaves against him, trying to spit him up, and spits him out, back onto the shore where he belongs. Waking up from an endless dream within a dream, pushing her, brick scraping her back, lips scraping her skin – waking, waking and yearning to be the spinner of his own fantasy, to resist the fallacy into which she pulls him. To create an absence of choice where he would have no control over his betrayal. No guilt, no feeling, just the pure moments that he can’t reach in his reality. To be free of regret that is parasitic to each good feeling, the paradox of the dualistic balance of fairness. Fairness that doesn’t exist, he knows this, but in the dream… trees, then rocks, sand, then water, crashing, rising, cooling, and feeding his dream. He can create and destroy it all. The ocean is her breath all around him, her thoughts that move like osmosis through his skin. He pulls in her mind with an endless desire of feeling and knowing. Not wanting – wanting is for reality. In the dream there are only moments, and being. The brick rough, the ocean, rough, pushing deeper and deeper under his skin. Her arms crash into him, grazing his skin, fingers pushing like a wave through his ribs. The sea rushing up past his neck and closing in, a welcomed claustrophilia, pushing past his nose and eyes, choking down his throat, pounding in his ears a kind of commitment he’s not ready for, but yet... As he tries to flee the sea, each collapse of a wave and explosion of boiling froth claim him. His collapse on the shore like a second birth, all fours, sand pressed into his cheek bones and mouth, rough on his tongue. With each foot fall and each tear fall, he crawls then walks from the ocean; taking drops of her with him on his skin. His tears, her body, seeping into the ground where they fall. Shards of green stab through the sand, and push up, into little mountains. The ground shakes to mimic his thoughts like his own personal earthquake, and
when they stop, his mind will be still. Young at first, then aging faster and faster, a forest grows up around him, under him, thick tree roots ripping the sand with the sounds of a terrific symphony and tripping his feet. Grasses, flowers, shrubs, trees- oak, ash, pine, spruce, fir, sequoia, redwood, all together and writhing and straining higher, proof of how much life she has. He cries out, the sound entirely swallowed by the dense, dark wetness of the forest as his feet split and without consideration to his agony, small roots, still like veins, burrow
The sea rushing up past his neck and closing in, a welcomed claustrophilia, pushing past his nose and eyes, choking down his throat, pounding in his ears a kind of commitment he’s not ready for. into the earth. Each step tears them free with small snapping sounds and a shower of earth, but they grow back, faster each time. The moonlight that is shining through the limbs of trees, weaker and weaker as the forest overtakes the shore, trees towering two hundred feet above the water as living monuments to her experiences. Never more sharp a reality than in the pain, than in this dream with the soil beneath his feet, teeming with life. These feet like lead too exhausted to lift, she takes them for her own, veins threaded with roots and bark crawling up his legs like a shiver, like breath. Slivers of wood split his shoulders. Like Shiva, branches crack ribs, and up, up, up, his new center of gravity, straining for the sky- and he wonders, briefly, how to photosynthesize. His breath, shallow, her name, sounding more like the sea churning, like wind. And suddenly there is no sound, no pulse but the forest, no feeling but hers. His mouth, tongue, twisted into a knot, leaves dripping from arms- no, branches. But even as he’s given up his soul, his eyelids scrape his eyes as bark, the brick scrapes through her back and the back of her hands, and his knuckles in tiny tears, he wonders if this is close enough.
To Go Home SARAH MACDONALD
I have homes. I have had homes; houses, in fact, that have been detached or semi-detached. I will soon have an apartment. I have places to go to and from; something to call my own at the end of the day as I crawl into my bed and pull the sheets up to my chin. I know where the cutlery sits in the draw and which cabinet door I should go to in search of my favourite coffee mug. I have physical places. But I have homes elsewhere. Sometimes the most familiar places do not neatly sit upon cement foundation and have archways or a threshold to cross. My other home is in memories and in the hearts of seven other people. The feeling one gets from being around a familiar person can be just as comforting as placing a key in a lock, turning it open, and walking out of the past day and into your home. I suppose this emotional home of mine does have a foundation. It was based upon cement, but also has shoddy workmanship and corporate responsibility. It smelled of books, coffee and a faint odor of obligation. But then, once upon a summer, the house grew bigger. We made many additions. What started out as two sisters soon became a handful of colourful characters: quiet, loud, crass, sweet, thoughtful and entertaining. Our playground was the city streets at night, running from one end of the city to the other, in search of adventures and places to call our own. The back corner of the theatre became our TV room; the creaky, marked up table at the working manâ€™s restaurant was our dinner table; the hotels we jumped to and from were our beds; and, in the bright early morningâ€™s light, the parking lot was our front yard. So this is where my home started. The neat thing about
these kinds of homes is that they are nomadic. One by one we all left the physical place that we had grown accustomed to. Some left by choice, others by force, and yet our home still continued to shift and grow. Soon after that the distances started to develop. Like those other places of our house, renovations happened. Our TV room became sleeker and our dining room/kitchen became more family oriented. These changes were odd, unfamiliar and sometimes unnecessary. But then we were changing too. We aged, we became couples, we went to school, we got jobs and we grew-up. Our home started to creak and feel like it needed a change; a redecoration of sorts. Through the fights, the distances, the silent treatments, the things left unsaid, the exploration of other people and places, this home still stands. We come back to this place. Our home sometimes needs a new paint job or something to jolt us back into the kind of excited place we were before, but those changes are minimal. The big changes make the home better. Perhaps I am just nostalgic and homesick already, before my own personal change makes a transformation to this home. But this place is just as important as any other physical space you go to. If you see a nick in the wall, your memory will trigger the event that caused it. When I look upon your faces, I see a myriad of moments, people and places that lull me back into a familiar spot. A hug feels like I am being wrapped in the same warm blanket lying so languidly upon my bed. My apartment will be an extension of our home. It is but one additional place for M, A, M, S, L, C and N to be in. The foundation isnâ€™t always the end point or conversely the beginning. It just exists for something to rest upon. Our foundation is no longer cold cement blocks.
Direction DEVON BUTLER
Service Dystopia EMILY HOLMES
It’s hard to believe that a restaurant could be considered home to anyone, especially this restaurant. The beige coloured brick and oak trimmed walls create a seemingly warm atmosphere. Pictures and newspaper clippings of certain accomplishments and a family’s legacy found in glass display cases evoke an element of compassion. But what many people who walk through these doors don’t realize is that a monster lurks within the walls. This monster is a product of age, loss, and grief. It is a product of many years of hard work, turned ugly by the incoming prospect of death. I believe that once, this creature was good. Like Frankenstein’s monster, it had benevolent potential; the newspaper clippings filled with stories of contributions to various charitable organizations prove so. As the years push on, the divide between the monster’s sense of rationality and its innate cruelty becomes increasingly obvious. Rumors have flown through the building of the potential reasons, none of which have proved to be true. The monster’s motivations remain a mystery. On one of its destructive rants, aimed at tearing down in-
dividuals and demeaning anyone it could, I heard it call this place “home”. I was confused at first, but after further speculation I understood why. I realized that its entire life is scattered throughout the building; not just in the pictures and newspaper clippings, but in the scuffed hardwood and the crumbling brick. It is found in the scribbled notes posted in the service areas and kitchen. It is found in the carefully chosen paintings that were originally hung in the café by the monster itself many years ago. At this mention of “home” I saw an almost human element in the monster; the way her eyes lit up and glazed over when she spoke of the building. It pulled my heartstrings as she looked somewhat hurt and defeated. However, this moment did not last, as the monster quickly snapped back into the action of attack. I still harbor a certain amount of contempt for this creature; I still cringe in fear when I hear it scream my name, and I continue to sneak by its lair to avoid confrontation. But that element of humanity I saw in its eyes will forever haunt me, as I know somewhere in its depths there lies the ability to love something enough to call it home.
Hunger Destroyed, Cooking at Home IAN SPENCE
This City’s Boring Without You LUIGI DIGENNARO
These streets aren’t meant for me. Though once I thought they were a few blocks and signs and traffic confines simply meant to be But just a few. Because every turf and hood, every tiny venue lately, seems to have been planned for us two. And I could imagine that all the night drives are worth the bet That your flowered body against your apartment’s lighted double doors makes the most gorgeous silhouette. And darling, let me tell you, these nights I’m mucking through those kitchen sinks, The possibilities keep on sinking when I’m trying to guess what one woman thinks. And all the others ask me-
And I’m asking myself, “Why?” I’m only one man, after all But, you’re so many reasons to try. If anything, I guess, I’m just waiting to see during those late nights (on your stiff couch), If there’s anyone out there just waiting to stay up for me? And after each goodbye, when you engage the elevator door, I’m thinking there (without you) like every night before: Anata ga inai to !"#$%$&' kono tokai wa tsumaranai. '''''()*会+,-.%$/'
Belle Reve DAVID SHIRLEY
From thin cracks under the door she crawls, she keeps me awake at night. I’m shaken by something arbitrary the breeze’s breath on thin window panes or a low voice muffled turned a wail from way, way down the corridor. And now I’m stuck awake, entrenched in early Sunday dawn, braced by late Saturday night. The room is only partially lit, just enough so that odd shapes can be seen and faintly made out through inference, but little enough that no real details are ever known. I think I hear a television playing, electric beeps and whistling tunes bordering formal, news reporter tones. I haven’t a television of my own; it must be the neighbour’s. And the air conditioning runs, the fans whir and something’s abuzz, waiting for me on standby. As I try my best to fall back through the sheets, and catch myself in the life at Belle Reve, I’m kept awake by the light; from the cracks under my door she crawls. Draped in the sheets, I try to catch the current of comatose, to be tossed
back into the waves of an uncertain, unknown confidant to whom death itself loans much resemblance. I picture sheep and focus my breathing to the sharpness of a pin, adjust the air and burrow myself deeper into the furrows of linen sheets, then, so suddenly, change my mind and kick the quilts off again. I think about opening the window or getting up to take a quick piss but I know it isn’t wise. I rule such thoughts quickly out, realizing what they might imply. So I go back to fidgeting between the sheets, trying to find the right spot, or a comfy groove in the limp mattress topper. But still, despite the palpable night, I’m kept away by that thin thread of light. Ten months it’s been since I’ve moved in, and yet the frigidness of dusty uninhabitance still hangs from every corner; like sore memento cobwebs. I hear two shrill voices thrown down the hall and find my ear plugs have fallen out, one strewn across my meager pillow, the other wedged into the muscles of an aching back. Just as
Ten months it’s been since I’ve moved in, and yet the frigidness of dusty uninhabitance still hangs from every corner; like sore memento cobwebs.
Boo KATE TURNER
I refit them in my ears with a gentle shove to seal them tight, the two outside are caught chuckling in each other’s ears. Bent close to one another, their legs leave thin shadows along my bedroom floor. I’ve tossed and turned all night, thrown myself from left to right and side to side, front to back, but my bed’s still cold. I pull the sheets back over myself and grip them tightly at my chest, legs firing like relay runners under the eyelids of my bed. Just trying to keep warm I work up a little sweat, my back’s sticking to the bed sheet forces the quilt off once again. In the sparse light I see my body strung out in front of me; covered only by thin cotton briefs and patches of curly brown hair like a forest groomed selectively. Sweat’s beaded in the nooks and cracks and corners of my body’s every room. My limbs are thick tree trunks in the winter time, whose bark grows brittle, whose acorns and leaves all dead and carried away by an unforgiving Autumn wind. Though she grants some solemn sight, there’s really not
enough to make out any muscle tone, any definition or real shape. I try to admire the base for a minute, but give up in the absence of true scrutiny. Looking around the room I see that she, too, has not yet graced us with the real ability to admire – in dreary awe - the contents of my room. I look to my desk, forgetting the need to sleep a moment, and see no camaraderie but shrouded shapes, poltergeists and faceless silhouettes. I reach for my pen and pad, but the blackness scribbled down every page makes me hesitate, fearful that I might be littering some page of poems; I write a line, try to remember what it was I had dreamed as the thought slips away, the ink hardly visible on the unlit page. So I try once more to fall back asleep. Pierce the lids shut, hold the tongue and breath effortlessly. Still though, in the corner of my eye, stinging through the blinds, that long orange line floats in an otherwise deep and endless blackened sea.
Volume 11 Issue 1 Summer 2011