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pink ink zine 

no one can tell your story but you 

2011 Issue


Edition 2011 Zine Designed by Alex Looky Edited by Karine Silverwoman & Alex Looky Cover Graphics “I Am Me” by Kike Olajumoke

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Introduction Welcome to the 2011 Pink Ink zine. I am honoured to be a part of this collection of stories. This year’s zine is packed with honest, raw and fierce writing on issues of family, resistance, love, heartbreak and much more. Over half of this year’s compilation is made up of writing from across Canada from youth whom I have never met before, who heard about the zine and bravely submitted their work. Every piece in this compilation lends meaning to our title theme ‘no one can tell your story but you’. The stories of queer, trans and two-spirited youth are often told for them and not by them. We are either portrayed in extremes as either totally victimized with a terrible future pending or as a nagging interest group with no reason to complain. The recent wave of conservatism has demonstrated that now more than ever, we need a variety of strategies to resist homophobia, transphobia, racism, and the everyday injustices that push already marginalized communities further to the margins. Art has always been important and a necessary tool of resistance. Ironically, when I took on Pink Ink this year, I told SOY that I was interested but could not help produce a zine or a zine launch event, given that I am finishing my Master’s degree. My friends and family encouraged me to focus on school but ultimately what I realised is that this process fuels me and this year in particular pink ink actually helped ground me from the ‘academia bubble’. Pink Ink and the incredible youth involved, reminded me of the many ways that art is healing and has the possibilities to be transformative. As well, the heavy writing aspect of completing my masters has been difficult for me given the pressures of school and the added challenge of having a learning disability. Every week in Pink Ink when I encouraged the youth to forget everything they learned in school about grammar, spelling and the rigid confines of “proper” writing rules, I had to face my own demons and take in my own words. I am continually, deeply inspired by the Pink Ink youth and I am also moved by the tremendous work of the Supporting Our Youth staff team. In particular I would like to thank Clare Nobbs for her all of her support and all-around


fabulousness as well as Suhail Abualsameed for all his help. I would also like to thank this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brilliant guest artists; Vivek Shraya and Julia Gruson-Wood, for challenging us all creatively and gracing us with their innovative workshops. A special thank-you to Syrus Ware and the Art Gallery of Ontario for hosting the zine launch. Syrus is such an important fixture within the queer and trans community and we are very grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with him and the AGOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Youth Council. Thank you to my friend and talented photographer, Chelsey Lichtawoman for the back cover of the zine and thank you Kike Olajumoke for the front cover of the zine. A big shout out to Natasha, Luka, Nish, Portia, Matt and Brian. Thank you to the Toronto Arts Council for their generosity. Last but not least, I want to thank the Editor/Graphic Designer of this zine, and also an avid Pink Ink member, Alex Looky, who has spent many hours making this project possible and beautiful.





live rhythm static sound concrete images play in my mind you are still here within the silence

Winter My dreams still grow beneath the snow Trees â&#x20AC;&#x201C; warmth, longing for home

Mathew Bowen +.&>0F()*F0-($%(.().5.-CT.-.@$.-(F"$&0"U80":*"V0"7R>0,( ."0(;6"K0-&4,(F*"2$-?(*-(&>0$"(M"%&(84.,(.-@(.(;*440;&$*-(*:( %>*"#(%&*"$0%7


Birds Make your own magic watch your peripheral draw a portrait painted with your longing just flow let it fade, draw it out transition into the world you can feel at your fingertips. This is real real life is fiction cool glass in my palm liquid cold down my chin it dribbles it dribbles in physical reminders of themselves drips of alcohol flow from bottle drips down my chin drip like marble drips unfeeling evaporating sanity. In drips. if I could just


drip In-impenetrable me. If these drips could just infiltrate solid being. Still, I am only glass marble drinking glass marble i am as manufactured as the objects i use to distract i am just as stone cold as the bottle on my lips i am--everything seems more terrible when your looking through the fishbowl with your pretend blank slate state my world is not where you need it but i watch hands slithering like worms through a sewer grate puffed slimy and pink they ooze that slime moving slowly creeping slowly But i’m--I’m vibrating I’m vibrating worlds

im vibrating words if i lie back I’m stranded i will fall sucked though the vortex and her teeth will come slithering on my skin like jelly flapping waves on sand way too human way too real everything i learn i learn from something new which isn’t new at all still your glass and I’m glass but nothing new you’re an escapee artist confident and lacking in tricks dodging my peripheral dodging your peripheral can’t say i missed you but i missed you Velcro your pain too the ceiling I missed your warning i looked up my mistake ; Now I’m stuck W*"#$.($%(.(F"$&0"B(.(8*0&(B(.(X00(Q0"%0(4,K$"$;$%&(F>*($%(@0&0"‐ with your remorse


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MPM Musing on Polyamourous Meandering They all meet at different times Pen & Mug knew each other a while back They had spent many long nights being held, embraced in and out of Alvin’s mouth That was the best actually, for Mug When after a prolonged period of chewing, and sucking on Pen’s end, a big swig would be taken from Mug and Mug could taste Pen along Alvin’s lower lip as Mug was pressed smug against it. Mac came into the relationship a bit later After Alvin had bought Mac, Pen felt a bit neglected by Mug As Mac & Mug seemed to get more time together now but eventually Pen realized that the possibilities of two lovers was very enticing Pen loved the way Mac’s keys being pressed down hard made vibrations run through both Mug & Pen, giving them both increased scintillating sensation Pen also enjoyed being rested along Mac’s upper row pressed tight to these special keys feeling the heat and hum Mac provided This was new and different heat than Mug gave Pen not better, just different Both were quite intoxicating and made Pen’s ink bubble and flow

james page 5./0%(8.?0($@0-&$M0%(.%(.-(.;&$Q$%&B(.;.@0/$;B(."#$%&B( [(.&>40&0(.-@(?0&%(>."@C*-%(:*"(>$%(&\*(4*Q0"%(.44( &>0(&$/0(](Y600"(8$-2*(8*4,(8*F0"^ 8

A Simple Wish

Into the pouring rain, the roaring clouds - they ran, The essences of youth trailing behind them, Through the storm they sprinted, hand in hand. They splashed into muddy puddles, The thrashing thunderclaps penetrated their souls. Restless,the drenched runaways Passed the city lights, the busy streets, And ran into the raging storm. For miles they ran, searching, Looking for a place to call home, After a while they stood there, all together, In a village where they’d belong. Years of doubt, sleepless nights They were the confused, suffocated young souls, The runaways escaped, but The village wasn’t a home yet, the storm was still raging on. So facing the sky, they wished for the dark clouds to go, And hoped that the heavens will allow These runaways, the lonely ‘exceptions' Allow them To gaze upon a hidden rainbow.

Shane Hanson !(&00-.?0"(F>*($%(4$Q$-?(0.;>(@.,(E,(F"$&$-?(8*0/%B( 4$%&0-$-?(&*("*;2(%*-?%(.-@(@0.4$-?(F$&>(.44(&>0(.-‐ -*,$-?(;>.440-?0%(*:(E0$-?(.(;4*%0&0@(40%E$.-7 9

Navigating this World; One Gender at a time I have a Toronto Blue Jays hat. Until now, no-one would have known it took me 13 years to buy it and another few weeks of trying it on in front of the mirror, inside my house, to wear it. When I would put it on, I would look for him. I always feared whether or not he was going to show up and how he would make me feel when he did. Most days now, I can wear it out in public. It lets him come with me to see the world. Sometimes he comes with me to work which he absolutely loves. They talk a lot about people like us there luckily and it’s mostly in a good way. He must be an egomaniac because he can’t get enough of the stories and the similarities, he searches for what people are saying about him and how they might feel if he ever visited with them. Sometimes he just emerges for a few moments. That usually happens when I am walking towards the bathrooms and he wants me to know how pissed off he is. He hates having to go into the girl’s one with me and he tells me if I have my hat on they are going to feel threatened anyway. He is my best friend and I hate to upset him but it’s just easier that way sometimes, plus I don’t think the hat is THAT big of a deal right? I mean I think of it in some ways as a fashion thing...That’s easier too. We talk a lot these days. He looks forward to meeting my girlfriend but isn’t sure if she will like him as much as he wants her to or needs her to. I tell him not to worry and luckily, because it’s her, we have a lot of time to work that one out. He still hates being in university and doesn’t talk to people all that much. I figure that he’s just like me in that way – afraid of what people will think or say when they meet me. I’m not sure if he will ever get along with my family. It’s not about him; it’s just about our agreement and what that means for them. We made a promise one time, that if he comes out, I finally get to go away on that long trip I am planning. I think my family would miss me and maybe even hate him for it. They aren’t mean people but when they are in pain, they don’t really know how to be understanding or kind. I don’t know if he would be strong enough to handle all that.


W>*&*(E,(1$20(34.56/*20 So for now, my boy, he waits. Sometimes he doesn’t get to come with me into the world and sometimes he does. I just want us to be safe. And I don’t think that’s possible yet. So until then, I’ll just keep wearing my hat. Always yours, Jake’s Friend…

Fiona Jackson

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boy Stay a girl, you say But can't you see, The boy that's hiding Inside of me? Stay a girl, you say But don't you know, I ain't a woman, It just ain't so. I am the man I was born to be; Out and proud, Strong and free.


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bennington grey these lines in the sand they'll be my end i think theyre monumental they're only pretend gender blender black or white brown trans guy lost in your might soul search by starlight wake up to find i was always me beyond your lines and right i want you to see me need you to know iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m more than you gave me more than i show today is that one day soon is right now ill walk with my shadow no uncertainty i know who i am never where ill be on a path of my choosing how i want you to see me

Jacub Fernandes `.;6E(_0"L.-@0%($%(.(G*6&>C!%$.-(&K.-%(?S,B(E.%0@( $-(R*"*-&*B(;6"K0-&4,(&K9$-?(&*(M?S"0(*6&(8"0;$%04,( F>0-(E*,%(E0;*/0(/0-7 13

Memoirs Of A Gay Kid The first memory I hold the most dear to me was when I was a child. I was about two years old; I remember being wrapped in a pink and white blanket. I remember my aunt’s face looking in on me while my mother sang me a lullaby. I remember the Walt Disney wallpaper and an old white changing table I had in the corner of my room. It was the first moment I ever remember having total peace and harmony around me. It was beautiful. Growing up with a drug dependant mother was a hard thing to live through. It was hard watching some one you loved so much poisoning them selves slowly to death in front of you. As time went on things changed and people change. I myself grew as a person. I became something worthy of this world. I yearned to make my mark, when the day comes that some one will quote my book, I would have my dreams come true. Knowing that I had affected some one in any way would bring peace to my mind and worth to my life. When I finally realized that I was gay I was scared that my father would disown me, that he would hate me just like he hated all those other gay guys. It was a mind-boggling thing to go through. No one around me could help me through it so I kept it inside of me. I locked it away in the darkest of places in my heart for the longest of times and I became saddened by it. At the time it was like a world changing revelation to me. It took some time before I could work up the courage to be able to say that I was gay out loud. Coming to terms with it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I didn’t want to be different, I wanted to fit in and blend in with the crowd just like every one else. But then I realized being gay is like being a clown fish in an endless sea of salmon. You stick out, you are beautiful, colorful, and you are Mother Nature’s work in all of her glory! And at that moment I realized that being gay is not something that I should have to hide. Why should I have to lie and hide behind a mask? So that others around me can keep feeling comfortable? No, I am who I am and I was Born This Way. I have been fortunate to have such beautiful people around me, to love me for who I am and not what I am. I am so lucky to have had two amazing families in one lifetime. Hopefully I will have a family of my own some day. And that day I hope to give them unconditional love as the people around me have given me.


When I look back at everything that has gone on in this dystopian life, I realize that I have grown like the Lotus flower out of murky water, and blossomed into a beautiful person. I have been thrown almost every obstacle possible that could have tainted my way of being, and yet I have withstood it all. I have truly been blessed to have been born in this life, and I have nothing to regret. Perhaps these events have been a sort of catalyst for something greater that I must do. I have always yearned for the world to be in peace, but I have realized these past few years that peace is not silence; it is not unconditional love or equality in the world. It is the ability to be in the midst of all the chaos, the noise and hatred and still be calm in your heart. Mankind has been born with a hole in their hearts needing and wanting for it to be filled, and so they lust, they have a constant wanting for something more. It is this that makes the world so crass, and it is this that I must change in myself. Stay true to your beliefs, but you must have an open mind to other ways of thinking for you are a being of growth and change.

Jeanâ&#x20AC;?Phylipe Theriault

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The Day of Silence I never really understood what silence meant. As a queer teen, I always felt I had a duty to fight for queer rights – I joined my local GSA, volunteered at AIDS events and participated in the Day of Silence. I wore (and still wear) a rainbow wrist-band and rainbow jewelry as often as possible. I went to the Pride Parade, I helped my friends hide or flaunt their queer secrets. I was out, and no one seemed to care. It made all lot of difference. Being able to talk to my parents about girls. Being able to openly celebrate Pride at school. Being able to wear the rainbow. I did not understand silence - because I had nothing to say. No, I did have things to say. I had rage for the homophobes, hatred for the religious bigots. Slurs for conservative politicians and administration. But it was never personal – it was never about me, not really. Which, I suppose, could be seen as noble – but it wasn't. It was selfless, but that just meant I had less to lose. I was safe – everyone who knew about me loved me, and my high school environment (especially my social circle) had a blessedly low amount of homophobia. It was never about me – it was about my community, my society, my friends, my fellow-queers. I had never been silenced because I had never had anything I needed to say. You see why I didn't understand, didn't have to hide? Because I had nothing to lose. But now I do. I have a girlfriend – the most beautiful girl, the most precious. I have a connection, I have a love (or so I think, in my teenage naivety). I have someone. Someone who loves me, someone who loves me as a girl loving another girl. Someone who has to hide me from her parents, from her friends. Someone I could lose. And now I can feel the silence. I can feel it, like a physical gag across my mouth. Like the handcuffs, holding our hands apart when we walk together. Like the walls, the ones I have to break down every time I hold her.


Of course, in theory, these things don't exist in our environment – as previously mentioned, we exist in a fairly homophobia-free environment. But the lack of homophobia does not erase the stigma, the eyes always watching. For possibly the first time in my life, school literature has something to offer me: "[Y]ou could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act." Nineteen-Eighty-Four, George Orwell, page 133. I've read somewhere before, I can't remember where, a similar statement. If memory serves me, it was a gay man talking about taking his partner's hand. Not just an action of affection; it was a statement. A political act. Politics. That is the wall I feel, the gag, the handcuffs. I've got a Julia now, but she comes with the whole package – Big Brother and Thought Police included. I've never been a politician before and now, suddenly, I am. I'm a player in the game, I'm a stakeholder, I'm involved. Now I understand the silence.

Olivia Dziwak

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Man seeks sexy apartment Seeking sexy apartment, (apartment that will get me more sex) potentially featuring sexy laundromat or possibility of late-night strolls w/ sexy neighbours. Contact David, at (647) 740-2662 Seeking Sexy Recipe w/ Blueberries I have approx. 2 kilos of berries, given to me by a friend. Another friend coming over Sexiest recipe with blueberries would be ideal, (no eggs, potential of blending with other berries, I have some time for anything overnight, baked etc.) Much appreciated, thx. Sexy Bird Course for Fall Semester? Must not be too hard, generally should have a decent ratio/ careful trade-off between sexiness of course and over-all difficulty. (Sun and its Neighbours is simple but has no sex appeal) (sexiness defined as potential to lead to sex directly or indirectly/ in combination with other things)

David Marshall

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Seeking Sexy Mode of Transportation Looking at vespas, sports cars, motorcycles . . . Worried they might be expensive and or impractical/ less pros than cons



Our lips are sealed This is a story about the perks of girlhood, an adventure that I had in the States that helped define my sexuality. this winter, during reading week, I went to portland oregon to visit my uncle. He's not my blood related uncle, but in Indian customs, we refer to any man or woman that we meet over 30, uncle and aunty. It's considered a formalty, and we are definitely hospitable, and gracious people. He is an older gentleman with close ties with my mom, and her family and when we arrived in Toronto, he was one of the few that tied us to our roots. He also happens to know that I am queer. And boy, was he accepting! He casually brought up the topic of going to a strip club with me, wondering if it was something I was interested in. I must say that I have never been to such a place, and was quite curious, and excited to do so. We proposed there was nothing to be shameful or embarrased about, that we were grown ups, and it would be a good time! We drove to ''The Dolphin', and I thought the name of the place was a sign from the goddes, and somehow I had her tacit approval of our endeavour. I mean, I had always wanted to go swimming with the dolphins, but canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t actually swim, so this would be living vicariously! We got carded, the 20 something white woman at the door remarked on how there was tape holding together my Canadian citizenship card, and proceeded to be skeptic over my age. Apparently, in order to get in, I would need to show my passport. We complained about how itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not our fault that they dont accept such valid id, yet the racist undertones of our dealings with her failed to deter us from our plan. The owner got involved, and guaranteed us no cover charges to get in, if we came back with my passport, which was a total of 10$, for the both of us. We drove 20 miles back to his place, and came back armed with proper documentation. Iinsisted on having a smoke before getting settled inside, and we stood by the portable heater, sharing my bitch stick. In case you are wondering what a bitch stick is, its a long and skinny cigarette, usually Benson and Hedges 100s. There was a woman who was scantilly clad in a blue dress, puffing away, clearly, an erotic dancer. She seemed cocky, like the type of girl who knew what she was worth, and it was a total turn-on. I wanted her attention but it wouldnt be that easy. I feel like unless


miz. nish.

I wear a sign that says I am queer, I am not perceived as such. This limiting outlook of my sexuality certainly gets in the way of finding girl dates. I tend to be shy, and submissive, and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get a lot of action unless I am aggresive and more upfront about my needs and wants. its a regular battle within me trying to put myself out there, and being scared as fuck about it at the same time. I want love and sex to come to me, and to happen naturally, but apparently thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing natural about being a girl, and being into a girl, despite my whimsical utopian wish for queer desire to be ordinary, and commonplace. My uncle tells me that this is one of the few clubs that are women friendly, so Ifeel more at ease about being there. Inside, we sit at a table far from the stage, and order drinks. The woman I saw outside is on stage, and I notice the jewellry around her waist, a silver chain that dangles above her vulva, and she fixes it, rotates it, and pulls on it seductively. My uncle pulls out a wad of mostly $1 bills, and some $5s. Apparently, in order to enjoy the show, you gotta pay the girls. Every one of them dances to a song, and Iadorn them with dollar bills for their sexy feats. As I make my way over to the stage, a girl in red lingerie beckons me to come closer, and points at the chair right in front of her. I obey her command, and she asks me my name. I tell her and she tells me hers. Siren. Oh how fitting. Suddenly the song changes, and a throbbing beat comes on. This is one of my fave songs of Madonna, Justify My love, so sexy and forbidden, reminding me of my younger days. Yep, Iused to jerk off to this song and Ithink if I was an erotic dancer, it would be my song too. She lowers herself seductively over me, licking my earlobe, and burning a blazing trail of kisses down my neck, until she found herself nuzzling my cleavage. Imoaned, and the three guys sitting close by whooped and hollered and as a final act, She bit my shirt with her teeth, pulling it away from me. It was really sexy, and I knew the guys were jealous. And for good reason, I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t touch them with a ten foot pole, I am really picky when it comes to men. The moment reminded me of how sexual I am, and can be, and how attracted I am to women. Ever since coming out as queer, I often stumble upon defining character moments proving I was born naturally homosexual. The song was still playing as I made my way back over to my uncle, and needing to share my sordid story, I excitedly blurted out that I made love to myself during this song. that was a tad awkward, and I blame the booze. I was feeling happy, since none of the girls had touched anyone else. Another woman was dancing on the stage,


and when I dropped the dollar bill in her lair, she commented that I was gorgeous. Actually, a few of them told me that. One girl commented on my boobs, saying that she was glad there was another big breasted woman in the club. It was a really amazing night, and If elt like these girls were my kin, that we shared the self-knowledge that our bodies were our instruments to pleasure, and self-worth. That we loved each other despite our imperfections, and we were in it together. We enjoyed the effect we had on unsuspecting men, pulling the wool over their eyes, with our legs splayed in the air. This was also a bottoms off club, and Isaw a lot of naked cunts, and I was really able to enjoy how splendid they are. Most women are instilled with fear and shame about their nether regions, and being one of them, I loved how brazenly they were displayed, and treasured. Honestly, I suggest every girl to get a mirror and stare at her pubes, to really get to know her intimate self. Its certainly what Idid after my night of diving with the dolphins. hehe.

miz. nish.

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i write only sex poetry because i donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what love is i have touched the hurricane but never the eye of the storm


i am a firm believer in the dangers of alcoholics anonymous and the execution of poets by daylight

after a night of sex on the beach and japanese cigarettes with crushable menthol beads i like to move words around in the dark

night owl

Yiwei Hu


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it is another canadian winter and my flat is boiling by the open window i shiver cantankerously

scrawling poetry in the dark because iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m too nice to startle my lifelong piece of meat in the morning i wake to find i had written nothing but drunk pick-up lines even a whore would find repulsive

insomnia in the warm snow

A Mixed View of Admiration Write, scrap and release. She said, “No! Keep your memories and hold them dear and near.” She moved, jolted, popped and locked. Seeing her in her element made me grin. I loved a woman with passion once. Once she cared about expression and art. However, she was overwhelmed by the elders’ “you can’t do this and you can’t do that. People will think that you are one of “those”, you will catch your tail with such ideas.” Pieces of her youthful soul were destroyed over time and she was drifting and lost. Three years later and three years older, signs of hope appeared. I was mesmerized by the lady living my dreams, putting her art on display, demanding and commanding attention. I resolved it might be too late for me but I would love a woman who pursued her dream, unapologetically. It came to her so naturally, pirouettes, leaping, reaching, since the age of six. I remember running after my brother, doing everything he did and better. Eventually, it was not cute anymore. At the age of sixteen, I was at war with the clothes that my mother insisted I wear. The lady looked so beautiful over there. I loved it all. I was in awe of her pink full lips, slight touch of bronze make up on her cheeks, the sparkle of her large golden hooped earrings and her grace as she kicked her muscular legs into the air. I was happy here. It was liberating, loneliness, living in a place unknown to me, no one knew me and what I did was entirely my business. A phone call from back there brought back the panic, guilt and the heavy heart sometimes. Love for me will be upsetting to some and to their visions of status quo but I will fix that in due course. Timing was the key, even for life’s missteps. Spontaneity surprised the performer but we believed her every gesture. She angled her head towards the ceiling. Suddenly, the music ended.

Lauren Sylvester +,(-./0($%(b.6"0-(G,4Q0%&0"7(A(./(kw(,0."%(*4@(.-@(;6"K0-&4,(.-(6-@0"?K.@6.&0(%&S@0-&(.&( a*"2(q-$Q0"%$&97(A(F.%(E*"L($-(T.-.@.(.-@(?K0F(68($-(R"$-$@.@(.-@(R*E.?*B(I0%&(A-@$0%7( 24

talking about the lousy ex on the Bloor-Danforth line You know it’s over and so do they but then they say all this shit to try and make you feel guilty for leaving. As if they were old dandelions, and you’ve scattered them, they’re nothing. These days they’re generous with their genitals but their heart, oh, it’s gone, it’s ruined. How could you? So they told you. Alice kicks a bottle that has rolled onto her foot, angrily. Two people sitting across from her on the subway give her a questioning look. The dame is clearly unstable, thank God she’s not sitting next to them. She doesn’t say this to her friend sitting on her left. Sabine’s heard enough of her whining. It has been over a year since the end. Why can’t she get over it already? For the past year April has been ruminating over the following four ideas: 1. she’s the bitch that ruined his life, 2. she has never loved him, 3. she was a liar and a cheater, perhaps he was too, and 4. she ruined him for other girls. All of these are false, of course, but don’t they feel good! She would have said anything to make the other party feel better about not being with her anymore. She’s that considerate! She lives in a world of black and white, the easy answers, to find the victim and the perpetrator, to sentence someone, anyone. As if you could easily divide the two offenders into two columns: good and bad. Sabine is blathering on about Alex (the latest boxer-brief soaker), a married woman, of course. She sighs, “Why did I ever date her for all those years? I let her into all my holes and I thought each one might feel better than the last time. As if she’d realize how good, how perfect I was for her and leave her and . . . god! What was I thinking? They never leave. If they do, you’re always going to think about how they promised to love that person forever and now they’re with you. They could easily do it again. Hopeless.” April is silent, Sabine pauses, peers into the morose girl’s face. “Um, where are you? I’m talking about the love of my life, my heartbreak, how I almost died over this girl and you’re not even listening.” “I’m thinking about him. I’m sorry, I was triggered.” “You’re always triggered.” True. She is always crumbling, peeling away into the street like the rooftops of Havana. Sabine sighs, always having to take care of the more delicate of the two. “Okay, so what’s up?”


April keeps thinking about what it means to be good. How she just wanted to be a good girl. Was she ever good enough? “I’m just raising the bar higher and higher to make you the best you can be”. Clever. What he meant: I need you to be more obedient. He was a gym teacher, an inspiration to us all. “I was so passive. How did I let myself be so passive? I kept letting him force myself onto me. Pretending I was there. That the BDSM was consensual. Instead of seeing how we were taking out our anger on each other. You know, I learned the ropes for his sake, not mine. I thought it would make him love him more.” It spills out. No boundaries, this one. The subway shifts, jerks forward, burps out people. The girls shift their legs to let people walk by. No matter how small their hips are, they are always pressured to keep their legs closer, closer together. “Didn’t you even say you weren’t even into it?” Sabine waves her ahead, encourages her self-flagellation. “Yeah, and he said ‘don’t say no too quickly. Don’t cut yourself off too fast.’ Now, if that was to happen to me, I’d say, ‘don’t negate my experience, dick,’ and walk away.” “He was older, hon, and clearly you were less experienced. He totally took advantage of that.” “I’m so scared I’m going to be as needy and vacant with someone else.” An older man, about 50, standing in the doorway, gives April an interested an amused eyebrow-raise. She ignores him, and leans closer to the other cute girl in fishnet stockings. “I never told anyone how he hit me. Well, I told a cabbie, and he refused to take me to his house that night.” Recalling how drunk she was, Alice remembers how the taxi driver’s refusal felt like a new alliance. New validation, new insight. “I didn’t tell anyone because everyone thought highly of Kris. He had a salary and savings. I was broke, which apparently made me a criminal, scum.” “When was the moment when you thought, I really should leave? Because you should have left way before the end. I mean, you left, that’s all that matters, but you knew way before then.” “Probably when he tickled me until I peed on my skirt. When he held me down. When he laughed at how I like, lost control of my body. I tried to leave before. So he took out his arsenal of charming jokes, dinners, dancing, romantic getaways to Montreal.”


“Why do they always bring out the moves when they know it’s going badly?” “Then you feel obligated to spread ‘em.” “You don’t have to get fucked because someone bought you a hamburger.” Sabine nods sagely to herself, although she has fucked for food plenty of times, mostly after she was kicked out of her mom’s house for being the baby dyke she was. “He was such a great guy and everything, who took me under his wing to teach me about tipping in restaurants and investments.” She snorts. Her anger feels good, energizing. Sabine stops suddenly and gives her an intense look: “He gave you more than that. He taught you that you need to grow up. Stop looking at yourself as a victim. You’re stronger than that.” April looks at her, surprised. “Well, yeah... it’s weird hearing that, coming from you. I mean, I know it, but to hear someone else say it..” She shakes her head. “It doesn’t matter anymore, does it?” “No, it really doesn’t. The more you obsess about him, the less you can hear about my personal drama. Seriously, April. Do what you need to do to get rid of him. Pick up a hobby. Do what he never let you do. Write and write, travel and talk to people you don’t know, drink lots of water. Get your sleep. Repeat.” “Thanks, darling.” “No problem. Now go get laid or something. And call me later, if you want, so I can fill you in on the Alex situation. You’ve been absent for so long.” She smiles and waves as the train blurs her concerned expression away.

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Untitled You asked if you could show me everything someday soon. I said yes, but I could feel my stomach do a little flip at the thought. I’m not good with gore. Never was. I was always that kid in the back of history class, head down during the battle-reenactment videos, trying not to puke when people’s arms got chopped off or suddenly an arrow went through someones eye. But anyway. I said yes. There was blood on your sleeve today, I noticed while we were watching TV. I wasn’t going to say anything, but you noticed me noticing, so I did. You said “Its all over everything, but it comes out” and showed me how clean your new jeans were, saying “See?” It takes a lot of blood to show up through new blue jeans. I’m scared to see your legs. What if they’re just raw? Just red? What will I say? I don’t think I want you to see my face right away. I felt bad enough about your hands. I thought maybe you’d taken a lighter and burned it on them a couple times to make marks. You know, like a lot of potheads do? But you said you’d been scratching and then picking at them. In grade 7 we had a presentation on the consequences of drugs, and they showed us pictures of people who did meth, what they looked like afterwards. There were scabs and sores all over them. Theirs hands, faces, arms. Its because when you’re coming down from meth, some people hallucinate that there are bugs crawling all over them, under their skin. They scratch and scratch, try to dig the bugs out. Thats what I thought of when I saw your hands. You said you want me to see everything because its the real you and I know you better than anyone, so I should be the one to see. When I see your scars, I imagine that the black, dried blood is the real you, and that you are pushing at your body to be free. I imagine this thing inside you is clawing its way out, like a wild animal, and the cuts are not made from the outside of your body in, but the other way around. Is the real you made of black, dried blood, walking around under your skin, waiting to burst? I had it all wrong. Now that I’ve seen everything, I realize that they are not made from the inside, but from everything outside attacking you. Wounds from your whole life eating away at you, trying to get at your insides.





We stood at the end of your bed, looking in the mirror. You took off your shirt and I saw the marks on your hands, up your arms, on your left shoulder, your stomach. Then you started to undo your belt. I didn’t expect my heart to start hammering like it did, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my life. I guess it kind of felt like when someone says they have bad news then pauses for a second and all you want them to do is spit it out. But I honestly don’t think I can remember feeling my heart that way ever before. And suddenly, I couldn’t feel it. You were standing in your underwear, and I saw everything. For a brief moment I didn’t believe you had done this to yourself. For a second I fully believed that you had been through a war or something. That was my first thought. That you looked like a warrior and that there was no way you had done this. My second thought, or maybe feeling, was nothingness. A sense of calm...peace isn’t the right word, and neither is numb, but I felt...blank, I guess. I touched the lines, I turned you around again and again, I didn’t think too much. Then I got quiet, I didn’t want to talk, didn’t want to move, didn’t want to think. Just wanted to sit there. It took too much effort and will power to tell you it wasn’t a mistake to show me. My only question was “How much do they bleed?” Later, you told me you thought they were beautiful.

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Daily Transit The daily subway ride is a test of my personality and strength. The vibrating continuous sound of the train is relaxing to my mind and it is with ease that I often doze off, a minute after taking a seat, until I reach my destination. I’ve wondered how I look when I sleep: the lateral movements of the vehicle probably exaggerate my protruding lips, tightly sealed, my neck inclined, arching my upper back, creating a tension that will be felt once I wake up. My absence to the surroundings is desired: at least when I sleep, I do not worry. Whenever I can resist to Morpheus' arms, I read. I always like to bring a book with me. Besides the obvious effects of enriching my mind with other writers’ eloquent words and expressions, I read to avoid stares. My choice of books is crucial. I aim for those fascinating novels that take me away from the seemingly monotonous route. Those stories hold the power of propelling me into the future, pausing time and erasing any present action and reaction. I dread those brief instants of distractions when I lift my head to catch a stranger starring, captivated in such a ill-conceived way, even my eyes now in fury do not force him or her to look the other way. Every day, once I live my house, I abandon myself to looks and stares out of my control. The myriad of strangers make the experience unpredictable. Self-preservation is the only way to avoid insanity. Stories in books take me away from disconcerting looks that challenge the core of my own self, and prompts me to reconsider, and eventually filter external stimuli. It seems almost inevitable in those conditions not to seek approval from every single stranger’s stare, from the stranger facing me and from the stranger that has yet to enter the train. Yet, I melt among the crowd of daily Torontonian commuters and somehow come back home at the end of the day – still whole.

Alex Looky 32

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Synthetic Reality The shudders of your mind screech to a close-minded blackness and its growing, forever revealing all of the madness slamming yet another slab of stone of the stack, showing that every single person can be a hack. whats left for the rest of us living our lives? watching as all those minds are absorbed into neat little hives, are we just to watch the world fall? and watch as the rest of us weep and die for them all? death seeps in and rots all our minds, revieling what was hidden, humanity's true kinds of people, the colours hidden in the holes, the things that show only when against hot coals. so fuck off, every single one of you, you don't want to deal with what you have been put here to do, and i don't mean by god, or any other made up entity this world doesn't need um, we got enough amenities. we have responsabilities placed before every one of us, and too many have shrugged it off, saying its too much fuss, well tough! suck it up and do your part, because making this place livable isn't an art, its a practice, here for each to learn comfort isn't a hand out, it's something you earn!

Tealâ&#x20AC;?Rose Jacques

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967 My mom is the kind of women who is always right. Even when wrong she can raise her head look at you in the eye , flip and switch words without stumbling and show you exactly how right her wrong is. She's always on the highest plateau looking down casting law to us peasants. But finally, my mother slid, and scraped her knee in a flurry of dust mud and grit. I watched her fall to the grass and dirt I had been walking on my entire life in her presence. On this day, my father was home because he'd just had an ass exam. I had become not only used to but insanely happy with his absence. And seeing him laying on the couch, in a spot I usually frequented blinking at the TV ad flicking the remote usually rested in my palm I was reminded of how much I fucking hate this man. But I was hungry and beside his couch was the kitchen. So I descended the sanctuary of upstairs and away that me and my sister had quickly escaped to to make a pizza. When it was done I took a slice, cut up the rest and kindly if not fictitiously said “Anyone want some?” My mom said “ yes, your father, bring him some” My eye twitched are you fucking kidding me? I'm no ones servant don't owe him anything I’m not some slave to this fucking patriarch And for fucks sake , hes like 5 feet away 10 steps to the counter. I've seen him walk much more for a cigaret, not 1 minutes ago. And I will 10 minutes from now. He can get off his recently intruded ass and get his own fucking pizza What ? Hes some kind of invalid now Someone you still worship? Have to take care of like some 50's housewife And for the stupidest, flimsiest, disrespectful reason.


He fucking dumped you, and he moved out all his shit while you were at work like a fucking coward And now hes here, in your house on your couch and you want me to bring him pizza? Fuck you! So, I stared at her an all these thoughts, and anger filled my entire body I felt like if I blinked I would explode. And I said, â&#x20AC;&#x153; no, i'm no hes right there he can get it himselfâ&#x20AC;? He sat there silently My mom looked at me like I slapped her like I was refusing her dieing child water while swimming in it. We stared She rose, in a pose of 'are you fucking serious?' Right in my face she starts screaming and spitting Saying how shes was trying so hard not to hit me I put down the glass of water in my hand I throw out the fucking pizza I stared I stared Right at her I stared right in her fucking face I looked at her like she was a piece of shit I looked at her like I was the rival gang ready to go My look said come the fuck on, , you lay one hand on me and I will fucking deck you because you know I hate that man You hate that man You damn well know he hates us too And your just too week letting him sit there on your couch And still you want me to bring him pizza?






First Sugar and Coffee- that is how we survived, and how I came to be. Grinding, melting and purging- that is how sugar is made sweet, and white. It seemed to work with people too. Coffee is roasted. European immigrants were “brought” to the coffee plantations after slavery was abolished. Her family comes from the sugar plantations up north; his, from the boat to the coffee Fazendas. That’s how I came to be. Second My father would visit my Grandma’s house; she would offer him a “little” coffee. Every Sunday- he would finish a very small cup of strong coffee, and she would insist he had more. Ad eternum, a bottomless thermos- it seemed. Those were the only times I ever saw my grandmother being truly subservient to anyone. Third The scalding café-com-leite we kids had to drink, no matter how hot it was outside. And, I would pour as much milk as I could get away with. Just like I tried to do with my cafécom-leite skin. Forth I never learned how to properly make coffee. “When a girl knows how to make a good cup of coffee, she is ready to get married”. I decided that coffee was really not worth the risk. Fifth “Coffee” was one of the biggest culture shocks when I moved to Canada. Huge styrofoam cups of expensive muddy water- with fancy names too: Moccha, Macchiato, Cappucino, Lattes. Are they so bad that people have to grab their cup and run out of the store? Sixth Almost ten years have passsed: even Baristas understand my order now.Some of them even try small talk- “Where are you from?”, “How long have you been here?”. From the shelves, brandnames remind me of home. Seventh Almost ten years have passsed: even Baristas understand my order now.Some of them even try small talk- “Where are you from?”, “How long have you been here?”. From the shelves, brandnames remind me of home. PS: Can coffee ever really be fair-trade?


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A Letter Hey Love: The rain here in Toronto is unrelenting. I don’t mind it for the most part but I miss being able to ride my bike in warm, dry weather. I’ve been thinking about our conversation and about you. I miss you all the time and I know you can’t pick up and move here but it would be so much easier on me if I could see you on a whim. You’ve known me the longest and I could really use your presence right now. Toronto, as of late, has become a sore spot for me. I’ve lived here my whole life and have such a long and rich history in this city. Yet, I wake up in the morning and without even wanting to, I sometimes walk into my past. Writing has been a saving grace. Even though I lack focus and I wouldn’t even call myself a writer if someone asked me, writing brings me some kind of clarity and comfort. It allows me to say all the things I couldn’t possibly say to most people: friend or otherwise. An update on the woman I was telling you about: well, forget I even mentioned her. I’m so tired of thinking about, talking about and reflecting on romance. In fact, I think romance will become some sort of hobby in my life! But seriously, I don’t want to give it so much weight anymore. I’m not even saying this ‘cause I think ‘it’ll happen to me when I’m not looking’ (does that even occur anyway?) And plus when it comes to good love: I want to intentionally throw myself into it. I’ve nothing to hide. Being good at love has had its rewards: I have you, my lezzie moms and all of my chosen family. Yet being good at love where romance is concerned does not necessarily get me far does it? People are so used to love being selfish, I don’t think they know what to do with themselves when this isn’t so. Do you ever think about the difference between knowing love as a child and now as an adult? Growing up I thought love was glamorous and forever and if you cared about someone than why wouldn’t you simply say and do so? But love as an adult has felt really serious and complex in a way where there are no guarantees. It also has a really thick irony attached to it. We chase after true love time and again but it is often the thing we destroy or run from or both. We’re not sure we deserve it or have the capacity to embrace it.


Cristina Murano

And love can become very tied up in aggressiveness, the nastiness that can become of fights and the violence that ego and defensiveness creates, all of which cover up our deepest vulnerabilities...I’m sure you remember what that was like for me. I don’t really know how I survived some of it but resilience is a strong suit of mine. And now that we’ve both grown up to be our dykey selves love has been hard on us hasn’t it? What with all the homophobia and the burden of defending it. And loving women is, without a doubt, fucking tough, not because women are difficult (well, some of them are) but because the world would really see to it that love between women is destroyed; although we sometimes do that to ourselves, in our own communities don’t we? When you were talking to me about your ex and all the stuff that happened between the two of you: I was hoping you wouldn’t have to go through that kind of pain. I’ve seen it happen to so many of my friends, including myself, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But it does teach you something important about yourself, doesn’t it? That you can survive that kind of grief and be a better person for it: be stronger and more compassionate as opposed to hardening your heart and fearing inevitable loss. Do you remember me telling you about ___________? She was one of two people I knew who died last year and both were quite young: 35 and 27. I often think about them because while I know much about loss in relation to those who are still alive; death creates a different kind of loss because it really is the final silence. Death like love, are two things that I am constantly preoccupied by. Maybe you haven’t known me to be afraid of much but I really have been afraid that love, like pain would kill me. And I have thought my silences, or by contrast my exposures would also kill me. And I continue to be haunted by my parents, who taught me throughout all those years that love was only given to those who are perfect. Trying to live up to perfection is the most suffocating and impossible expectation and perhaps this is why it’s not working for me anymore. I don’t know why I thought it would have worked to begin with.


Speaking of which, on Monday I had a complete melt down. I drank a bottle of wine in a matter of two hours for god's sake! And then I felt so sick and disoriented but this has been a long time coming: this unravelling and becoming unhinged by my past. Well the next day I went to the park near my apartment where there is this tree stump. The tree was almost one hundred years old and had to be cut down because it was dying and could have fallen over at any point. Well, I sat on that tree stump, which still felt alive to me in many ways, and just started sobbing from deep inside myself. I was thinking about my parents. How they married so young and what’s it like to be unhappy for so many years and not know what to do about it, so you start attacking each other and those around you. I felt sad for them and my siblings and myself. At a certain point during my sobs this dog walked up to me and had the kindest, most loving disposition. And as I was patting her, her owner approached us and I managed to pull myself together to chat. The owner was lovely and we started talking about the neighbourhood. I knew, in that moment, that all was not lost. Life, in its own way, was going to continue to take care of me. I was trying to explain to you the other night that all my traumas and fucked up-ness from my family and from lovers and shit are right there, consciously, in front of me and I’m trying to deal with it for real this time: no more denial! Well, the good thing is I only have to go through this process once; the bad thing is it hurts like hell to go through. These last __ months have been really hard on me and I've been keeping it to myself and keeping it together but now it's too much. All the things that helped me cope don’t work anymore and I’m trying to figure out how to embrace my situation and heal. Being surrounded by such good and loving people, Pema Chodron, and a first-class music playlist is helping to preserve my sanity and kindness. I’m trying to rebuild myself, but it’s a slow process. I love you and can’t wait until I can visit: it’s been too long since I saw your face. In the meantime though write me when you can: I want updates! Our pen-palling gives me some good out-of-town perspective. Cristina

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Cimmerian Junction

Maria Mete

Gray cobble. The mortar is thinly placed. Weathered like my form. I’m still looking for your perforated silhouette. Apparition, ivory face illuminated by early dawns crimson enthrallment. Cold hands gripped around me while the clouds are in cumulous bedlam. Your eyes, illicit, like facetted copper shards of discarded pennies, the kind found in a mossy resting place. Am I transparent? I ask this as if I’m going to get a straight away reply. You once said love can’t be found here. Was it a bluff of cards dealt out by the Mad Hatter standing tall in a chair chastising me? I need to tell you. I went to visit her today, only through courage granted by you. Monumental marbled fortress lined with fragrant gifts. Scent a reminder of sadder times. Engravings set to stone, like satirical “hello my name is” badges. I got through it. Walked through The Junction, with its chain link fences of an urban playground, graffiti strewed along train bridge walls. As my hands slowly brushed past, I was sharply bitten by its unrelenting barbs. A paralleled protrusion inflicting pain, as I recalled lecherous imagery of two people I passed earlier. They were perusing each other like a portrait of Doisneau’s Paris kiss. We were once that portrait. Inscribed on a tarnished brass pendant I found in a shop were words that resonated within; “Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage, Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain” For, you see, each day I love you more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. Our vignette remains frameless.

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table of contents




Some Resources General Supporting Our Youth | 416-324-5077 | The 519 Community Centre | 416-392-6874 | Counselling Pride & Prejudice - Central Toronto Youth Services (CTYS) | 416-924-2100 | David Kelley Lesbian and Gay Community Counselling Program |416-595-9618 Health Sherbourne Health Centre | 416-324-4180 | Access Alliance Multicultural Community Health Centre | 416-324-8677 | Sexual Health Planned Parenthood |416-961-0113 | Hassle Free Clinic |416 - 922-0566 | Housing Fred Victor Centre â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Housing access and support | 416-364-8228 | Housing Connections | 416-981-6111 | Legal Justice for Children & Youth | 416-920-1633 |www.jfcy.or g Mental Health Accross Boundaries â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Community Mental Health Centre | 416 - 787- 3007 | Griffin Centre | 416.222.1153 | Gerstein Centre | (416) 929-5200 |


Some Resources

Shelter - Youth Turning Point Youth Services | 416-925-9250 | Youth Without Shelter | 416 748-0110 | Shelter for Abused Women Stop 86 – For girls between 16-25 | 416-922-3271 Other Queer Groups Kulanu Toronto – A Jewish LGBTQ social group | Salaam Canada (Queer Muslim Community | Phone Lines Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line | 1-800-268-9688 or 416-962-9688 | Kids Help Phone | 1-800-668-6868 | Trans, Two-Spirit, Intersex Trans Youth Toronto (The 519 Community Centre) | 416.355.6796 | Two Spirit People of the First Nations | 416-944-9300 | Intersex Society of North America |

Trans Health

Arts Sketch | 416 - 516-1559 | Buddies in Bad Times Youth Arts Programme | 416-975-9130 ext 21 | Queer Positive Health Practioners Database Rainbow Health Ontario | 416.324.4100 |


my mother tongue The last time I visited my mother, in the eccentric but white Parisian winter in a home, not quite home, away from home the frailty of her joints the rigidity of her expressions – the sign that suffering mostly robbed her of almost every smoothness on the contour of her face I may not have many years left with her she will die taking away my history, my roots and my language. her detailed stories her adventures, the world perceived through her eyes where no man or woman is ever portrayed perfect, where for a reason or another, he or she is always related to someone we know How the grandmother of the lady she saw today at the hair salon is simply the tutor of her grand aunt on her father’s side; and how through some odd logic of hers, they actually are cousins So yes, I wish to capture every story she tells Every family secret she reveals Every dream and fear she has She articulates them to life I fear being here worlds away from home on a stranger's land with another‘s language that hers will cease to exist


Alex Looky


P ink   Ink

writing and ranting by queer, trans &  2­spirit youth


Pink Ink 2011