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Volume 17, Issue 3, January 2018

The Limitless Issue


CONTENTS

VOLUME 17 ISSUE 3 JANUARY 2018

We are an impossibility in an impossible universe. RAY BRADBURY (1920-2012)

LITERATURE

POETRY

6

The Rug

5

A Taste of Infinity

10

Going Back

8

Conditional Tense

18

Eclipse

9

The Distance

24

Notes

12

Live Your Life

27

A Short History of Human Expansion

13

The End of a Horizon

28

One. (arrival)

14

Create and Crumble

31

Midnight Hour

15

3.14.15

16

celestial orbit

21

The Queen Without a Crown

23

Five Things

28

I Am Faucet

30

The City (Montréal)

34

your illumination

35

Choose Your Path

38

Nerve Endings

CAMILLE DEHGHAN JOHN GARFIELD MCMORRAN STEPHANIE SILVA JOHN GARFIELD MCMORRAN FELICITY SHIPP ELIZA HEENEY

CORA VANESSA HAVEN

NON-FICTION 11

From Trojans to Today MADELINE MCINNIS

32

Podiums, Public Speaking and Calling Yourself A Writer JENNA HAZZARD

37

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An Open Letter to a Worry Worm ERICA PARNIS

Front Cover

FARHAD OMARZAD

STEPHANIE SILVA

CARINA RAMPELT

MANREET LACHHAR CHARIS HESKETH MILES SMITH M.F.

REBECCA ALLISON BRITTANY TENHAGE

ZEENAL MISTRY PREYE T.A.

PREYE T.A.

KODY SMITH

B.K. MÉNARD

KIMBERLY CHUNG ALEX GREER

Inside Back

TANZEEL SAYANI


EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Manreet Lachhar editor@blueprintmagazine.ca

Production Manager Camille Dehghan productionmanager@blueprintmagazine.ca

Literary Editor Stephanie Silva literaryeditor@blueprintmagazine.ca

Art/Photography Manager Madeline McInnis artmanager@blueprintmagazine.ca

Promotions Manager Sophia Grande-Lawlor promotionsmanager@blueprintmagazine.ca

Web Editor Judy Barazi

web.editor@blueprintmagazine.ca

Brantford Manager Alexandria Clément brantfordmanager@blueprintmagazine.ca

Interns Kimberly Chung, Kourtney Reich, Emily Buccioni, Kody Smith

STAFF CONTRIBUTORS

Rebecca Allison, Kimberly Chung, Jonathan Collie, Camille Dehghan, Eliza Heeney, Charis Hesketh, Manreet Lachhar, Madeline McInnis, John Garfield McMorran, Stephanie Silva, Amanda Scheifele, Kody Smith, Miles Smith, Adina Turkonje, Zhi Jun Xu

CONTRIBUTORS

Isabella Andrade, Will Borys, M.F., Alex Greer, Cora Vanessa Haven, Jenna Hazzard, B.K. Ménard, Zeenal Mistry, Erica Parnis, Andreas Patsiaouros, Carina Rampelt, Tanzeel Sayani, Felicity Shipp, Preye T.A., Brittany Tenhage

ADMINISTRATION President, Publisher, & Chair Andreas Patsiaouros Executive Director Lakyn Barton HR Manager Paige Bush Finance Manager Randy Moore Advertising Manager Care Lucas Web Manager Vacant Treasurer John Pehar Vice Chair Lisa Irimescu Corporate Secretary/Director Noa Salamon Director Benjamin Cooke Director Alan Li Community Director Rosalind Horne Community Director Hayley H.G. Watson

CONTACT Blueprint Magazine 75 University Ave W Waterloo ON N2L 3C5 p 519.884.0710 x3564 blueprintmagazine.ca Advertise care.lucas@wlusp.com blueprintmagazine.ca/advertise Contribute submissions@blueprintmagazine.ca blueprintmagazine.ca/contribute

COLOPHON Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community.

The Limitless Issue Are you ready to go? I bet that feels like a loaded question. What does that mean? Go where? Well, go to the place you thought of when I asked. That’s the place you’ve never been to. Or the place you’re missing. The place you want to be. But “going” is also more than that. It’s going to talk to the person you want to talk to. Going to experience that new sound or smell or taste. It’s going to do the thing you want to do, right now. You should go for it. Now, before you get all up in arms with your excuses, justifications, and reasons, just wait. Yes, money is tight. Yes, that person is far away. Yes, maybe it’s not in the best interest for your mental and/or physical health. Those are all completely valid, and I don’t know your specific situation. But I don’t want to hear “I’m scared.” There is so much out there to do. And take it from someone who was (and still is) scared of everything — you’ll get it right, or you’ll get it wrong and learn from it. Trust me, either way, it is worth it. Go on, dear reader. Take that chance. Take all of them. The sky is the limit, and you are going to set it ablaze.

Manreet Lachhar Editor-in-Chief

COVER

by FARHAD OMARZAD

When Blueprint approached me with the theme of Limitless, I instantly knew what I wanted to photograph. I wanted to take a photo of my friend Justin in harsh weather, doing a backflip. Simple, epic, and displays how far the human body can go. The model and I had to trek through deep snow for about 30 minutes and face the harsh Canadian cold. It took a while for us to get the shot but it was worth it in the end. A small adventure for a worthwhile photo.

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 authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, or WLU. Blueprint is created using Macintosh computers running Adobe Creative Suite.

NEXT ISSUE Between The Lines On stands March 2018

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ADINA TURKONJE

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A Taste of Infinity STEPHANIE SILVA

If the stars could speak they would tell me that their universe is not sealed inside a blue and green wrapper, and that perhaps when we are unravelled from our cellophane skins we too might glimmer like pop rocks and taste of infinity.

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The Rug

CAMILLE DEHGHAN I lied there on the plush, white rug, running my fingers through its smooth furriness. I imagined what it would be like to possess such fine attributes. Perhaps I would be better liked? Instead I dyed my hair blue and that just took away any shine I had left. Donny didn’t even care. I’ve never regretted something more in my life, except maybe the time I clobbered that guy to death on Clark Street. But he deserved it. Maybe if my hair were as silky as this rug, Donny would look at me the same way she looks at that stupid crystal turtle figurine her Aunt Timmy got her for Labour Day. Possibly, if my hair didn’t resemble the guck you pulled out of a drain, the strands of hair so irretrievably separable thanks to the remnants of shampoos, soaps, and body washes, I would be able to afford the nice lemonade Donny is always going on about. Perhaps my life would be completely different if I just felt like this glorious, milky, warm, perfect floor accessory. “Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to get up. You’re scaring the other costumers.” She would be singing a different tune if I had that fucking rug.

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ADINA TURKONJE

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D MA IS INN MC NE ELI

conditional tense CARINA RAMPELT

si j’étais/je serais it’s all clichés in the end anyway we were limitless, once

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The Distance MANREET LACHHAR

Rumpelstiltskin spun straw into gold. Once upon a time, I hoped to turn to dust and fly away like dandelion puffs. I guess the bastards won, I thought, staring up aimlessly, as though the ceiling or the sky (which was I really looking to?) would tell me my answers. I thought the answer was the wicked always win.

Rumpelstiltskin spun straw into gold and the princess tricked the trickster. I am not dust. I am an inferno, raging, blazing through the night sky. Now I get to win, I think, because once I thought to wait for someone was a luxury. It is not, and I don’t want to fall to that curse again because now I am my own answer.

Rumpelstiltskin spun straw into gold and the princess tricked the trickster and I am ready to run.

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Going Back

JOHN GARFIELD MCMORRAN

“Oh my God! Oh my God Michael we made it!” Michael cranes his neck upward, then scans the horizon from left to right. Conversely, Dr. Branch squats on his heels, puts a hand on a jagged protuberance of rock, and uses a magnifying glass to examine a half-dried puddle. “We’re in the Archean period! This is the beginning of life on earth!” “I thought there’d be dinosaurs,” Michael says. “Dinosaurs? Dinosaurs? Can’t you see? This is the genesis of life as we know it!” “I know… But, uh, when are we going back?” “Going back? There is no going back; this was a one-way trip. Didn’t you read the waiver?” “The waiver?” “Michael—” Michael pinches the bridge of his nose with one hand and closes his eyes. “Gimme a minute.” “Michael—” Michael holds up his index finger, signaling for ‘one second’. Dr. Branch nods his head and Michael walks away. Once he is about twenty meters away Michael puts a hand to his mouth to stifle his cursing, then begins to kick and stomp on every stone and clump of mud in his vicinity. Michael rages for a full five minutes, but once his fit is over he calmly walks back to Dr. Branch, squats down beside the doctor, and focuses his view on the puddle. “So... I guess you should tell me about our little friends here.”

TANZEEL SAYANI

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MADELINE MCINNIS

From Trojans to Today

The painstaking work of an artist may be lost to the years. My friend Laocoon has never been accepted. From his emergence into the narrative of life, warning against a wooden world of pain for his people, he was rejected. The gods punished him and his sons for their warning. Their warning, of course, was true. Their people paid the ultimate price alongside them, reaping the blood and paying for a reward that they foolishly took.  Years pass. Their story becomes legend.  Laocoon’s pain, etched into cold stone, hidden away from the world and unable to show his beauty, did not fade. The earth grew around him. It was not ready. The people would not understand, so it swallowed him and his sons until it was ready to understand again. He was revealed in his full glory once again only a thousand years later. Time had been etched in his face, growing and moulding at his impeccable form. And he was worth saving.  The master took to his cause. A doctor with a chisel, he is not remembered for his treatment of Laocoon, but for the towering beauty of the meekest man, an irony that we cannot forget.  Nevertheless, he restored him to his former glory, saving his beauty and his pain, getting it ready for a rebirth.  Five hundred years pass. Laocoon’s pain is still legend. People weep before him. He is no longer hidden away.  Thousands of years. Always in pain. Just as beautiful. What’s important is the perseverance. The history makes it that much more amazing. His legend, like each of ours, cannot end as long as we continue to push on.  The pain, though unyielding, will help us to survive.

11 MADELINE MCINNIS


Live Your Life CHARIS HESKETH Go. Do it. Drive to Mexico at 3:00 a.m Bang a steel pan Tell your crush you love them Break off flowers by the stem Travel to places far and wide And have the nerve to let every city see you cry Get an A And have your dreams come true today Hope that tomorrow won’t be perfect but you’ll be good Do it. Not because you have to, but because you should.

ADINA TURKONJE

ISABELLA ANDRADE

12


The End of a Horizon

MILES SMITH

A new and inspiring horizon, Against the bleak art-deco frame, Challenges never faced until, You called me by your name. For I am limitless, No envelope to push, For I am more than mortal, One in the hand is two in the bush. I am eternal, the student’s nerve to go, I am the boundaries, which I am eager to know. I feel my hair greying, and yet I do not cease, Solitarily I see infinity, solitarily I see peace. The horizon’s end.

ANDREAS PATSIAOUROS

13


Create and Crumble

M. F.

Toppling empires with your whiskey stained words. The rusted ruins of past lovers stains the floors of your mind Stumbling among them, you fear falling  Falling in reverse To once again take those steps that lead you to wonders, but also to your now ruinous mind.  Create and Crumble. Create more Rubble.  Until you are buried or create something that withstands the pressures of reality. 

WILL BORYS

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3.14.15 REBECCA ALLISON

Endless digits on Point. Constant, Irrational, amaranthine yet integral. Key. Statistics, physics, cosmology, quantum mechanics, A symbol fraught with mystery and intrigue, never forgotten. Ancient Babylon, Its birthplace. Area of a circle, The radius insufficient to calculate. The approximation flawed. A string of mesmerizing digits. Repetition or expectation far beyond its supernatural abilities. A mystifying chain, slipping through our tenuous grasp into A blinding abyss, inching deeper towards infinity. It constantly wavers about the known and the mystic. A prized creature, Rarely understood, Never securely bound. A jubilant pixie prancing about visions of formulae, The forest, well hidden. To describe this vengeful, omniscient god, Meagre words, Insufficient, their tail continuing past horizons, Across mountains and deserts, Past empty skies, The world’s end, Long forgotten behind its trail to ashen dust. A ruined god, Powers cut, So quickly forgotten his range of power. Summed to three digits, He shall reign till end. Alpha to omega, Ad infinitum.

MADELINE MCINNIS

ERICA PARNIS

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16

ZHI JUN XU


celestial orbit BRITTANY TENHAGE

Perihelion | the point of a celestial body’s orbit at which it is nearest to the sun She is as bright as the sun on a wet street, As warm as the sun on a summer’s day, As beautiful as the sun after it rains. She is solid, like a rock. Always there, whenever I need. Giving me eternity. She wants to stay. I want to go.

Aphelion | the point of a celestial body’s orbit at which it is furthest from the sun It is dark, being gone. Cold as a dark winter’s day. But still beautiful. I am gone, she is gone. I am limitless. Without her, there is possibility. Infinity. I will return home to her, With the courage of a journey alone, And I will be with her once more, But this time, I will be Limitless.

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Eclipse STEPHANIE SILVA I know I mustn’t look up as the moon passes before the sun. I stand alone on my front yard and stare fixedly down at my scuffed loafers. They’re covered in dust; the whole damn yard is. I am still staring at my loafers and my dust as the sky blinks closed around the world. The darkness explodes with gold and red and blue. Shallow, panicked breaths. The electric carnival air tastes like burnt sugar and too many people. Their featureless, familiar faces glow beautifully in the light of a carousel. Deep breaths. Why was I afraid? A small yellow ball bumps into my foot and I pick it up. Topple the cans to win, sir. I have no bills to pass over, but We don’t care for your money here. I rear back my arm, release the ball, and step onto the merry-go-round. The children laugh as they mount their steeds. I am too large and have to stay standing as the ride begins to move. But I am rocked back and forth, so, so soothingly, and I no longer care. I laugh and laugh and laugh. There is a woman more beautiful than the sun suspended above the crowd. A white ribbon coils around her ivory ankle and wraps her torso in an ivory leotard. I follow her as she disappears into the mirror maze. She is ahead of me and behind me and— right there to my left. No, behind me again. I catch the eye of the one who is ahead of me and I can see on the rippled glass that she wears a long white dress of tulle and lace. She smiles like she can see it too. I run toward her. I know that I will find her and that I will be so, so happy. After no more than an instant, the sky blinks open and I stand alone on my front lawn. All is quiet. All I see is dust.

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ADINA TURKONJE

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The Queen Without a Crown ZEENAL MISTRY I am not of royal decent, nor do I hold a high status. I am, however, a bold, confident woman. I am, however, a queen, a queen without a crown. Riches I do not possess, but a heart I do hold. One that is made of kindness, compassion, and bravery. The scars I wear, I do not fear, for they decorate my skin and the blood slowly disappears. The tears I shed are not to please sadness, but are the jewels that cleanse my sorrows away. My body is not plastic-perfect, nor would I want it to be. I hold my imperfections high, for they are a treasure to me. I do not have silver to offer, but little does anyone know, my heart rids its guilt and sheds pure gold. For I am a woman a queen no crown can buy my symbol it simply radiates from within me.

MADELINE MCINNIS

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MADELINE MCINNIS

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Five Things PREYE T.A.

Just a couple of things: First, I love you sweetheart More than I love warm fufu and soup on a cold day And you know that I love fufu more than words can say Second, I’m so unimaginably grateful for you God used you to glue our family back together You’ve done such remarkable good with your life so far Even you know that nothing you touch is ever subpar Third, I know you might be tempted to run out of patience But baby I promise, you are almost there Above and beyond remember? You will achieve above and beyond, All that you could ever ask or think This right here, is just the process of getting there So, I need you to hold on a little longer And every day, try to hope a little stronger Fourth, now you know that I’m not petty, But I’m still upset about that time That you waited for the thing to touch me before you told me Precisely 12 years ago from last Thursday. Just so you know Not sure I’ll ever let that one go Be that as it may, You are still one of the people I will love until the end of time. And I can’t wait till we get too fancy to turn our own garri Because we’re two extra people that intend to live like kings That cectpa, is the fifth thing.

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Notes

JOHN GARFIELD MCMORRAN

The people moved facelessly by, and he sunk lower into the collar of his shirt. The sun’s light was bright but false, as though tainted by something just beneath the surface. He navigated the crowd with purpose, angling his shoulders to shoot through gaps, and walking at a stiff pace. His eyes never strayed from straight ahead, where the ledge of the touristy bridge fell off into nothing. He did not look around, and that is why he was surprised when a hand tapped his shoulder. “Excuse me.” “What?” “Nothing. You just look down is all. Is everything alright?” He didn’t respond, but his face said plenty. “Listen, I know this is weird but… Why don’t you take my number?” The stranger opened up her purse, then fished around for a pen and scrap of paper. For the first time he looked around and saw all the people, flowing around him and this stranger like water around a rock. She tore off a piece of an old receipt, scribbled her digits in a neat but hasty hand, then passed the scrap of paper to him. “Here.” “Thank you,” he said. “My pleasure. Make sure to call me though, okay? Maybe tonight you can tell me why such a handsome face looks so down.” “I... I will.” The woman offered him a smile, patted his shoulder, then turned and joined the crowd, quickly melting away. He turned around and headed back the way he had come. When he got home he took out the note from the woman, took a note down from his refrigerator, and laid them side by side on the table. He read them both, then picked up the note from the refrigerator, balled it up, and threw it in the garbage. It was crumpled in such a way that most of the writing was hidden, all but one line that had curled in the wrong direction:

… one smile on my way and I won’t…

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MADELINE MCINNIS

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AMANDA SCHEIFELE

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A Short History of Human Expansion FELICITY SHIPP By 400 BC, some of the greatest civilizations known to man were established. Before 400 BC, the human race had already migrated across the globe. After 400 BC, man continued to expand, but this time, they took land that others had found. After that, man continued to develop, but with the land being mostly taken now, they focused on the mind. (It wasn’t until way after 400 BC that women were allowed to join them.) When no more land could be explored (or conquered), and the mind had reached its limits, man looked to the stars that had been there since long, long before 400 BC. And so, to space man went—women came along this time too. But humanity could only travel so far. To the moon and back. Humanity refused to be limited by such a close and familiar place—the familiar had never stood right with them. So they used their minds once again to build machines. Powerful machines. Powerful machines that could see galaxies and new planets and uncharted stars, all while humanity stood firmly on familiar terra firma. (These were called telescopes.) Powerful machines that could travel far beyond the familiar solar system. (These were called spacecraft.) The farthest traveler that humanity has ever touched is Voyager 1—so many miles (19.2 billion kilometers) and so many years from 400 BC. And humanity is still traveling, still reaching, still conquering, still exploring. They plan to dive into the oceans, shoot to the stars, climb up mountains and drill into the earth. It’s a good thing the universe is ever expanding. Because humanity is truly limitless.

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One. (arrival) ELIZA HEENEY

ADINA TURKONJE

I have not spoken a word in eight hours. I have sat in this blue chair and stared out that window and eaten overly salted almonds for the last eight hours and not said a thing. I am neither here nor there, quite literally, and I’m ready to be there. “Cabin crew, please take your seats.” That backward slant feeling in the middle of your gut, like your intestines are sliding up into your stomach. The nose of the great metal bird is pointed down, now, along with all the people within it, for the first time since the turbulence over Switzerland. The aircraft is JONATHAN COLLIE maybe half-full, the smattering of empty seats between drowsy passengers making the whole flight deck look like a sheet of used bubble wrap, with a few bubbles still left to be popped. The rattling of the engine, which has melted into more of a dull hum over the last eight hours, sits on my eardrums like water pressure. Schhhhgr schhhhhgr schhhhhgr. The nose of the plane dips deeper, closer to the earth. New earth. Earth my feet have never touched before. Africa. As of right now, in my mind, it’s an endless sandy flatness. That’s all I’ve seen with my own eyes. Three hours ago: the Sahara, peeping through holes in the foggy floor below my metal bird. Endless, endless sand that has, of course, by now, reached its end. This — what my fellow passengers and I are collectively nose diving toward — is Rwanda: the greenest, cleanest country in the continent. Or so I’ve read. I keep having to remember that I know nothing about this thing I’m about to drop myself down into. My nose is pressing oil stains against the triple paned window like a bingo dabber. I’m trying to see what it all looks like, to crack open the egg of the country under my feet, to peer in past the shell to the sunny centre, but it’s useless at this hour. The sky is dark; the city lights look like celestial overflow, like stars that spilled over the rim of the sky, and nothing is distinct. I feel like a child again, playing hide and seek at a friend’s house. The lights are out and I don’t know where all the walls are, so I’m bumping along, trying to find somewhere I can wedge myself in before time runs out. The sort of game where your heart is in your throat and you can’t feel your fingers because all the nerves past your torso seem to have melted into an electric, sparking mess. And this great, metal bird diving toward a great, unknown continent with little old me trapped inside is the biggest, darkest game yet. Twelve hours to go, too, because light only comes with the dawn. There are a million metaphors sizzling on the skillet of my tired mind, but I’m here on a plane, about to land in Africa for the first time. Even without a metaphor, that’s something.

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CAROLINE ALPERT

I Am Faucet PREYE T.A.

Is this what it is going to be like? Every time I start to like somebody I write Elizabethan blazons about them? If you are reading this, let me just say please pray for me at the start of each day anyway, still, I cannot help but think: look at me! Look at me! I’m feeling some things! For years I thought that I was broken or bent as if my giant heart, just like, had a dent and it was annoying but now that I do feel, I am also annoyed for I’ve become a faucet that cannot be destroyed I wrote an actual Lyric about him the other day, if you asked me what a Lyre is, I couldn’t say but it was like 10 pages long and dripping with the sweat of vivid innuendos that no reader will forget JK, that is a lie it was really sweet. Very mushy. Very meek. I just keep pouring out poetry, when I see his perfect hair. He smiled at me once and I thought that meant he loved me so, I think we can all agree that I really have no boundaries now, since it looks like I can only explore the vast bounds of my emotions galore on paper when there is no one watching I write them all out, purposely scotching making them real on paper is my only way of marking those feelings till the end of our day so, it begs the question of how much I will write when I actually talk to a guy that I like? I have it all planned out folks, please listen well he will never read this, so I’m happy to tell: I will buy myself a correct, correct head-tie and call myself Ngozi Adichié because my keyboard will see eternal action that day.

WILL BORYS

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The City (Montreal)

KODY SMITH

You let me love you You have taken a piece of my heart. I know that you did not want to But you did without asking. You led me into you, Without mercy you let me rest there Until you let me go In boulevards and beggar bars Your one way streets in dead end nights That ran on forever You lost me in you and did not show me how far I had already gone Until I became someone else Someone who had changed his name internally. In Burlesque beauty and vaudeville I stole glimpses of you for a night or two But we both know I’ve never had perfect virtue. In walks in the sweet early air I fumbled with your novelty: Though days be short And words linger long After silence made them wrong Or your mouth reached out to me. You got me thinking That you cannot steal more from me than that You got me thinking That you’ll never let me go back To the old life I never knew To the young world before your residue

MADELINE MCINNIS

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MADELINE MCINNIS

Midnight Hour CORA VANESSA HAVEN 4:00 AM You don’t look out the window because all you would see is an inky sky like a black hole. It’s come to life and is closer than it should ever be, ready to swallow you whole. It’s too cold and dark and maybe the universe won’t let you have this. Not again. This is not an awakening. This is a reckoning. 3:00 AM All you can think of is wasting away and you remind yourself, breathe breathe breathe but it’s no use. All you have is this one moment of contemplation and soon enough you will be gone gone gone. And all that will become of you is nothing nothing nothing. What a waste. 2:00 AM Your thoughts don’t calm. It is quiet here, dark here, lonely here. You will yourself to remember that this is temporary but it’s no use. Not when it is so cold and the thoughts freeze before they are processed, stuck in a limbo of ice and dread. But the clock still ticks and ticks and ticks. 1:00 AM You have so much to do. It is scary to think of the next day and the next and the next. (It’s scarier still to think that there may not be any.) But it’s alright. You will wake. You will calm. There will not always be time, but it is here now and you have it. 12:00 AM And with the striking clock, everything old is new again. You’ve done it. You can do it again. This is not a reckoning. This is an awakening.

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Podiums, Public Readings and Calling Yourself a Writer JENNA HAZZARD

My hands shook behind the protective angle of the podium. I had never once known my hands to do that. Growing up, I had watched my dad’s, my uncles’, and my grandfather’s hands shake as they received heavy dinner plates or tried to thread lures onto fishing rods. Their long, skinny fingers could handle the most delicate nylon line and tie beautiful knots, but when it came time to feed the string through the tiny hole on the plastic fish, they would work for hours before their shaky hands allowed them to cast the line. I had always thought that I had won the genetic lottery and escaped the shaking. In that moment, as I stood behind the podium, I was keenly aware of the family trait and my incorrect assumption. That is what I was thinking about as I read aloud the short story I had written. I didn’t pause; I didn’t look up. I just read my double-spaced page and thought about my Dad’s fishing tackle. A smattering of politely interested people sat in the audience and quietly listened. I’m sure they applauded when I got through the piece and finally looked up to signal that I was finished. This was the first time that I had stood up in public and shared my creative writing. I had never had a problem speaking in front of a crowd, but my shaking hands revealed my unexpected nerves that day. This type of presentation was new and terrifying to me. I was proclaiming a certain part of my creative identity that had always been private. For years, writing was something that I did behind closed doors and hidden computer screens. “What are you working on?” my mother would ask. She’d peek into my bedroom and see me typing away. “Homework,” I’d lie, even in the middle of the summer, “something for school.”

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When my writing was private, it didn’t have any weight or implications. I didn’t have to worry about judgement from the outside world, and I didn’t have any pressure to produce content. If I felt like giving up, I could. Nobody could challenge my commitment to the craft. Nobody would ask over the dinner table—or perhaps more applicable to my life, over the shaky process of preparing a fishing lure—when I was going to publish a book. Nobody could say I wasn’t a “real” writer—whatever that means. This private writing life was safe; it was comfortable. Honestly, it was bliss, but it was a stagnant, limited sort of bliss. When I stepped down from the podium, I listened to the congratulations of my classmates around me and experienced a bit of a literary high. I had revealed my creative identity. Nobody laughed or said I’d been wasting my time. Regardless of my still-growing skill, the people in the audience took me seriously. This was the moment I began to think of myself as a writer—not as someone who’s interested in writing or dabbles with the art, but a writer. As other students got up to read, I realized they were writing and had the same insecurities as me. It was encouraging to know that I wasn’t the only one learning what it meant to be a writer. After experiencing that moment of togetherness and honesty in a writing community, I was hungry for more. I kept stepping up to the podiums, the stages and the slouching mic stands at every opportunity. Over and over I proclaimed the legitimacy of my writing by sharing it with others, even when I didn’t have anything “good” to read and didn’t feel like a writer. It was the practice—not the perfection—of writing that I was honouring by participating in these events. Every time I got up to read it got easier, and I began to see value in my writing, even if I was still figuring it out. I began to tell people “I am a writer,” and my hands stopped shaking.

ADINA TURKONJE

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ANDREAS PATSIAOUROS

your illumination B.K. MÉNARD

Love is blind but it lets hope live, sometimes it’s like a pressure cooker for twenty-four karat heartbreak it is nothing more than here and now, calcified I live in these moments; the ones where I can’t see you I can only feel you and hold you tight and hope that the time might grind to a halt as a result living in these moments alone makes it feel like an answer is constantly evading me but with your guidance, your illumination...

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ADINA TURKONJE


Choose Your Path KIMBERLY CHUNG why must I smile to strangers when I am sad? when I am lost in my thoughts: thinking, worrying, hating, repeating and I can’t remember the last time I felt like dancing, listening, caring. why must I smile to those that do not care if I run away? so I begin to run to destinations where no one can find me. I run late at night past busy streets with broken street-lights hearing sirens and breathing in heavy smoke. I run to the dark alleyways and to the abandoned farms seeing broken windows and smelling strong whiskey. I run all alone where no one can catch me. but I could not run forever and so I crouch under a wilted tree panting, sobbing, calling for someone to soothe me. then the dying tree begins to glow and stretches its branches to embrace me. I hear numerous voices murmuring the sweetest things and the tree’s leaves gently fall on my face like tears. I caress the tree, holding onto its love feeling a desire to connect with strangers, feeling liberated to reveal myself, feeling limitless.

ERICA PARNIS

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ANDREAS PATSIAOUROS

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An Open Letter to the Worry Worm ERICA PARNIS

Hey, you. You squirmy little worry worm that lives in my brain. Your name is “Anxiety,” but I usually call you “another sleepless night” or “missed call from Mom” or “I’ll just take the late penalty, because this’ll never be good enough anyways.” Plus, you probably wouldn’t even like that name — not up to your hefty standards. You’re not a fan of much at all — your favorite food is sad, cold ramen, and your favorite colour is Everyone-You-Love-Will-LeaveYou Purple. I’ve got to tell you, worry worm, you’re quite a shitty roommate. You talk over me, you never pay rent, and you leave a mess wherever you go. Given your awful taste and general destructiveness, it’s astounding that I listened to you for so long. I obliged when you told me to cancel my plans and lay in bed, and I said yes when you suggested I put my words in a tiny little bottle instead of letting them be free. Yeah, I listened. Until I didn’t. And that’s when I realized just how weak you really are. You’d shrivel up every time I got out of bed and took my meds, and when I told my friends and family that I loved them, you’d disappear for days at a time. Every spark of hope burnt you up like a thousand forest fires. Sometimes I thought you might be dead. But you are a worm, after all, and every time I chopped you up, you’d slither your way back together, and I’d find you peering over my bed in the morning. That’s alright, though. I will burn you down every day and every night until that little spark of hope finally sticks and you leave my life forever. So bring it on – I’ve no shortage of matches. Sincerely, Your Roommate Erica

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Nerve Endings ALEX GREER This is it You start here Your body ends Muscle Tissue Nerves And bones Things keep spinning Vibrating Moving Existing And so do you

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