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volume 2 | issue 4 | winter 2013 | FREE

northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

northern canada collective society for writers


president Suzanne McGladdery



Nathan Berube

treasurer Cathy Yard


about the cover painting

Reinalie Jorolan


community report

Kiran Malik-Khan


i am the bridge

Kimberly Jean Fiske


don`t fraternize!

Hugh Gordon


the shift

Veronica Doleman


apartment 305

Joanne Hlina


dem cold bones...

Cathy Yard


lesser of two evils

Cathy Yard



Tiffany Antinozzi



Cathy Yard


she bought the book

Buffy Close

managing editor Jane Jacques


orion`s eye: a sonnet

Jeff Hoffman

president emiritus Jennifer Hemstock


bon fire

Tara Munn


skeleton streaks

Kimberly Jean Fiske


marginalia: a column

Douglas Abel





secretary Buffy Close public relations director Kiran Malik-Khan e-mail

This Issue: Volume 2, Number 4 Winter 2013 ISSN 1920-6313 cover & art Reinalie Jorolan design & layout Rachel White issue editor Nathan Berube

Proudly published in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada 56°44’N | 111°07’W

Jenny Berube

Thank you to the YMCA of Wood Buffalo for the

generous donation of a room for our monthly meetings. Check NorthWord Facebook and Twitter for meeting dates and times, and please join us!

volume 2 Winter 2013


i am an artist. I fling paint in the general direction of a canvas some days, but, while some people might say I “paint”, I find I have the most success with words --- poetry. Still, the medium of paint is very informative. Light. Dark. I find that truth is not simply one or the other, but a careful balance of both.

Thus, I chose this theme. Chiaroscuro: an elegant, musical, Italian, word... that expresses the beauty of balance.

It is also a concept intimately welded to this city. Fort McMurray is a city of contrasts. But the “negative” space informs the “positive”. Thus, this is a town

of opportunity. Fort McMurray has a thriving Arts community. This isn't just

simply a barren, dark, cold wilderness smelling of bitumen, blood, and meth. This is a joyful place. Families settle here. Children are born here—and, they grow. And not IN SPITE of the challenges: BECAUSE of them.

Editing this issue was very rewarding: seeing artists take up the challenge. And I won’t say I wasn’t a little daunted by your overwhelming response.

Still. You all performed admirably and I hope my choices give honour to your generosity.

A special thanks to Reinalie Jorolan. The cover is an awesome bit of

storytelling. And exactly what I was looking for. It’s a Northern story, through and through.

Nathan Berube |

tenth issue editor

about the cover painting: going to work In my pursuit to capture dark and light, my imagination took me to a more ambitious goal which was to create an image that will capture Fort McMur-

ray and its demographic—gender, time, culture, family values, sacrifices, responsibilities, fragility and strengths. With this in mind, I was filled with

excitement and reflection throughout the whole process as this struck a chord in my heart, being a mother who left my child in Philippines to come

to Canada to find work and hopefully give my child a better future. Going to work is my very own poetry on canvas which mirrors darkness (family sacrifices, financial challenges, and social challenges) and light (unconditional love, family values, stamina, inspiration, and being a child).

Reinalie Jorolan |

cover artist


northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

community report new northword board and welcoming our first philanthropist We begin with a round of congratulations. NorthWord’s

by kiran malik-khan Public Relations Director Dawn Booth, Guest Editor, Issue #9, which had a theme of

Change, and General Manager/Editor snapd Wood Buffalo newspaper was delighted with the event.

annual general meeting on October 20, 2013 saw the

“Guest editing was a true honour and an experience that

President, Buffy Close, Recording Secretary, Cathy Yard,

to the Northern Collective Society for Writers for giving

elections of new board members: Suzanne McGladdery, Treasurer, Jane Jacques, Managing Editor and Kiran MalikKhan, Public Relations Director (new title). The ladies are ready for a new round of exciting happenings.

Speaking of happenings, we have our first Philanthropist. Huge thanks to Mucharata David, of FROST by Mucharata

—a home-based small business specializing in jewellery

and accessories—for becoming our first Philanthropist, the highest level of sponsorship. We are truly grateful for

the support, and look forward to future collaborations. Thank you, Mucharata, for supporting the voice of the literary arts in Wood Buffalo—NorthWord.

Our Issue #9 was launched on Saturday, September 28, 2013 during Alberta Culture Days at Holy Trinity Catholic High School. Thanks to the Regional Municipality of Wood

Buffalo, and the Boreal Artists Institute, the magazine

saw strong support. Guests of all ages—from children

I will never forget. I want to send an extended thank you me the opportunity and to all of our contributors for their outstanding art and wonderful words,” Booth said.

The group is now accepting submissions for Issue #11. The theme is Superstition. It will be guest edited by Buffy

Close, our Recording Secretary. Deadline is March 30, 2014. Short stories or excerpts from current projects, fiction or

non-fiction (3000 words maximum), verse of no more

than 50 lines, along with anything surprising, original, evocative, or inventive can be submitted to the editors at

NorthWord is available free of charge at the Keyano College Bookstore, Keyano Reception (front desk) Sunshine

Café by Mitchell’s in the Syncrude Sport & Wellness

Centre, Frames and More, Campbell’s Music, and the Thickwood YMCA.

to adults—enjoyed the opportunity to write impromptu

Like us on Facebook: and

scuro: Shades of Black and White—also the theme for this

interested in sponsoring, e-mail us: northwordmaga-

poems for a competition with a surprise theme of Chiaroissue. Winners received $25 Coles gift cards, and the adults are published in this issue.

follow us on Twitter: @NorthWordYMM. And, if you are

Suzanne McGladdery, President, Northern Canada Col-

lective Society for Writers that publishes NorthWord, thanked the Municipality, and the Boreal Artists Institute

for the collaboration, as well as all the donors and supporters of the silent auction.

“Wow! We are so happy with the turnout. We raised

enough funds to produce our next issue. It’s always great to see the community come out and support the written

word. We want to thank MLA Don Scott for attending, as well as many councillors, and Mayor Blake for stopping by,” she said. 2

The NorthWord executive team with Lucas Seaward’s original painting at the official launch for NorthWord Issue 9. L to R: Cathy Yard, Suzanne McGladdery, Buffy Close, Kiran Malik-Khan, and Jane Jacques.

volume 2 Winter 2013

i am the bridge

kimberly jean fiske I am the bridge,

Let me lay me down. Over the expanse;

From the ancient feminine,

To the birthplace of this day.

I am the bridge,

Let me lay me down.

A connected receptor

That hears with maternal ear. Embracer of imperfection.

Surrendering expectation. Acceptance.

Spirit to matter.

I am the bridge,


Over the masculine night.

In recognition of heaven,

I am the bridge,

Let me lay me down.

Between the lines of language lost, In the dull ache of one pierced rib.

Let me lay me down.

Under the artist's sky and

Through the dancer's field. Leaps of distant knowing. Beyond us. Within us.

The break in our silent distraction.

I am the bridge,


Your neutral space between

Present still -

I am the Bridge,

Let me lay me down.

In the paradoxical loss That flows below.

With eyes that seek flexibility In the blur above. Clarity.

Let me lay me down. The addiction,

The machine of the mind; Repressor of love, Of soul and Voice.

I am the bridge,

Let me lay me down.

Both sides: dark and light;

In union and opposition.

An ancestor to harmony.

Keeper of the scrolls. Instinct's sister. Alive.


northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

don’t fraternize! hugh gordon

The war was over: at least that was what the newspaper

I was the translator. I didn’t know German, but I had

over to a gigantic headline that simply said “KAPUT.” The

been in Germany for three months, I could get by.

told us. The entire front page of the Maple Leaf was given section was suffering, not from battle fatigue, but from too much rest and relaxation. The CSM (known to people

“Aufmachen!” I shouted. “Kanadische Soldaten!”

outside our unit as the Company Sergeant Major) had

Slowly, but surely, the bolt was removed and the door

hungry guys. We didn’t know where he got the geese,

tacles was revealed looking very bewildered. He was

outdone himself in finding food and booze for a hundred

chickens, eggs and schnapps from, but we assumed

some poor Jerry had gotten the wrong end of the stick on that one. The CSM called it “forced requisitioning”, but the Army called it “looting”, if it called it anything.

The farmhouse in front of us could have been anywhere. I

was opened. A short, balding German with pebble specdressed in what appeared to be his Sunday best, despite

it being a Wednesday. Unlike most of the farmhouses I

had seen, this one had multiple rooms. I could see mul-

tiple walls plastered with bookcases, also unusual. There was no stench of livestock either.

learned later the shape was common to the region. It had a

“Guten Abend, mein Herr, wir sind auf einer Patrouille

and living quarters were in the same building. To most of

guess it was kinda true.

high sloped roof of tiles over brick walls. Typically, the barn

the guys in the section, this was ridiculous. I had grown

up near Fletcher’s Field in Montreal, but the farmers in our platoon insisted that this was just another indication of the backwardness of German society in general.

It had been the Lieutenant’s idea to come on this “patrol”.

in der Region und müssen das Haus inspizieren.” I said. I

“Your German is very good.” The German said in heavily-

accented but perfect English. He offered his hand. As he did, I drew back. Orders were orders, after all… even if they came to us as slogans over the radio.

He wanted to give the Captain another swell victory

Shake hands with a German now, and sooner

bootlicking. V-E Day had been hedonistically exquisite.

has shown that the German is not to be

since Normandy and we didn’t want the parties to end.

it. Steer clear. Don’t fraternize.

I had heard what the Japs did on those islands. I’d done my

slogan. And then I said, “Your English is also good for a

dinner. He was a kiss ass, but at least we gained from his

or later there’ll be war again. The past

And now the guys wanted more. They had been slogging

trusted—let the German know that you know

Some of the guys signed up for the Pacific. No way, not me.

“I don’t speak German.” I glowered at him, recalling the

time. I had all the enemies I needed in the Krauts.


The CSM knocked on the door. I could see someone peer-

ing out at us through the window next to it. I could have

sworn the face was painted with terror. At least we weren’t in our Highland dress. That would have scared

the shit out of anyone. We had actual pipers who sounded as we marched into battle. I was thankful for my helmet… and my combat dress. A kilt and mud don’t mix.


been taught Yiddish on my bubbe’s knee. After having

“I am the local schoolteacher.” “We need to inspect the house,” The CSM said. “If you must,” the German said with an air of resignation. The section entered the farmhouse. A few of the boys

whistled. My first view was nothing compared to what we found. The entire central area of the house was a

volume 2 Winter 2013

library. An old chair and chesterfield faced one another.

and busts of Adolf Hitler in homes similar to this one.

German’s wife making supper. I could see a stairwell

uisite copy of Mein Kampf that was given to newlyweds.

The kitchen was off to one side where I could see the that led up to the bedrooms. There were paintings on the walls and a cozy fire in the hearth.

“Okay, Kraut, you and Mrs. Kraut go sit over there.” The CSM instructed.

The German and his wife did so. “Is there anyone else in the house, Kraut?” “There is only our daughter upstairs, she is asleep.” “Asleep, eh?” The CSM looked at one of the younger members of the section, what the Yanks usually referred

to as a Fuckin’ New Guy (FNG). “Private, go get the girl from upstairs.” “Sure, sarge.” “Steinberg,” the CSM looked at me, “you watch Mr. and Mrs. Kraut.”

“Was tun sie?” the German’s wife asked her husband. “Sie suchen bloß nach Waffen.” “We will only be a few minutes.” I said to the couple. I didn’t smile. I couldn’t smile.

“Hey, Hymie!” The CSM was waving me over. “These

Krauts have a son in the SS. Probably a camp guard. Doesn’t that just warm your Jew heart?”

I looked at the picture. I could feel my hands twitching

on my Sten. I let go of the weapon and took the picture

Here there were no pictures of Hitler, not even the req-

“We are not Nazis. I was the Social Democrat Bürger-

meister of this village before 1933.” The German said with some pride. The Army told us otherwise… Every







single man who stands for the beliefs of Germans… Don’t make friends with Hitler. Don’t fraternize! “Yeah, right! Another lyin’ Nazi, right Hymie?” I bristled at the CSM’s comments. Why couldn’t he ever shut up?

A call came from the stairway. “Hey, sarge, take a look at this!”

The FNG, Private McKenzie, was bringing down the Ger-

man’s daughter. The entire section turned to look at her. McKenzie was hauling her down by the collar of her

nightgown. I saw a flash of long straight blonde hair. She was stumbling over the stairs. She finally tripped and stumbled to the bottom.

The German—only now did I see the leather patches to

go with his tweed suit—stood up to go assist her, but I shook my head. It could have been a trick. She could be preparing to pass him a grenade. He noticed my grip on

my Sten and did not move towards his daughter. McKenzie roughly hauled the girl to her feet. She tripped over a table leg and was going to fall on me.

from the sergeant. It showed a young man, no older than

I swear… I would have done the same thing for any

a camp guard.

always taught me that a lady was a lady. God, she was

myself, in the uniform of an SS panzer commander. Not “Our son was conscripted into the SS.” The German said. “Yeah, right!” The CSM said. “Don’t you want to just line them up against the wall, Hymie?”

“I…” I was at a loss for words. We had been through dozens of houses just like this one. I had seen pictures

girl. I caught her. What else could I do? My bubbe had beautiful. She was one of those classical German beau-

ties: blonde hair and blue eyes. One of those girls they warned you about.

A pretty girl is like a melody. But a pretty German girl’s melody is the death march… for you. She hates you… just like


northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North













like the

world. Don’t fraternize. “I think Hymie’s in love!” McKenzie giggled. “Shut the fuck up, New Guy!” I told him. “Just because you’ve got one extra hook on your shoulder doesn’t mean you can order me around, kike!”

“What did you just call me, zombie ?” I actually pointed 1

my Sten at him.

“You heard me, kike!” “That’s it!” I said, unstrapping my gun and handing it

to another member of the section. “You and me outside, right fucking now!”

“That’s enough out of both of you shitkickers!” The CSM

snapped. “We’re supposed to be fighting Nazi prejudice, private! And you should know better, Corporal!”

That admonishment was meant for me. Why were we getting so edgy?

The boys had found the usual treasures that we had

taken from other German homes: bread, chickens, sau-

sages and some stinky cheese. After months of bully beef and Spam, real meat was always a pleasure.

“Take it all, fellas. Loot Williams’ orders.” I picked up my gun. It looked to me as if we were about to leave.

“But, sir!” The German was protesting. “We do not have any more food for the rest of the week! Another unit came by yesterday and took some food.” “Don’t care about that, do we fellas?” “Leave them something, sarge. Don’t want them complaining to the jokers upstairs.” Corporal Chevalier said.

the cellar. “Three bottles of genuine German gin!” “Genuine German schnapps. Gimme a swig of that...” The CSM told him. He look a long pull which made his eyes water. “Give it a try, fellas!”

The bottles were passed around. I took a swig myself and started coughing. It felt as if my mouth was on fire. I did

not usually drink hard liquor. Among all my comradesin-arms in the section, I usually did not drink anything

stronger than beer. I had been drinking kosher wine since

my bris. I could handle my liquor, but chose not to drink. McKenzie drank like a sailor, but either fell down unconscious or punched somebody out. He had already been on

charges for striking the CSM (while drunk). I, on the other hand, had been charged once for leaving my rifle dirty. I

deserved that punishment. My old Ross, only used for sniping in this war, could have jammed on me. Sniping

was much easier than holding the Sten that I had that evening. You did not have to look directly into their faces.

I wanted nothing more than to leave this place behind

and go back to my nice warm bed in the barracks in Oldenburg, but now that the section had found some liquid

gold, they were not going anywhere. The others finished all three bottles in the space of twenty minutes.

“You know what we’re missing, sarge?” Private McKenzie was grinning from ear to ear. “What’s that, McKenzie?” “A bunch of nice girls.” “You got that right. Unless…” “Unless what, sarge?” “Unless we can convince Mr. Kraut here to loan us the use of his daughter.” The CSM gestured at the young fraülein.

“Stuff it, Chevy! What else is there?”

“We don’t even need to ask.” McKenzie said.

“Hey guys, look at this!” Private Benson emerged from

“Nein!” The German stood up. “You must not! Please take

1 Derisive term for soldiers conscripted under the Canadian National Resources Mobilization Act (NRMA). Most only served in Canada, but in 1944-1945, several thousand were sent to the front lines in Europe. Only a few hundred were killed in the line of duty.


volume 2 Winter 2013

everything and go—”

“Good. Do any of these windows open?”

McKenzie bashed his Lee-Enfield on the man’s head and

She looked at me in confusion. I saw her eyes widen. “Yes,

The CSM grabbed the young girl. “You first, Private,” he

“Good. I have about ten minutes until those ten drunken

members of the ‘Master Race’ down to size.”

few blocks away. Get Lieutenant Williams. Tell him what is

the two women began screaming.

gestured at McKenzie. “Hymie, you next. We’ll cut those

“An evil Jude making it with some of their Aryan whores! Whowee!” McKenzie whispered in my ear, grinning at me. “Whadd’ya say?”

“Only if I go first.” I said. “That’s the spirit, Hymie!” The CSM chortled. “And I want them both!” The whole section cheered. “It’ll be hard keeping your gun on both of them!” The CSM said.

“I can tie them up and you guys’ll be downstairs.” I went over to the two women and pointed at the stairway. The expression on their faces was mixed between horror and hatred. Or perhaps it alternated from one

second to the next. The mother opened her mouth to pro-

test, but I raised my gun like McKenzie had. Brandishing

the Sten was enough. The daughter kept her mouth shut, but her glare was quite the argument. I pushed them up the stairs and opened the bedroom door. I gestured them inside. Below, I could hear my fellow soldiers clap-

ping and cheering. I shut the door. They were actually trembling. When you carry a gun, you are used to seeing

people afraid of you. The daughter was red with fury. She would not submit easily. The mother had turned green and looked as if she was going to puke all over my combat boots. I wanted to tell her I felt the same way.

I popped the magazine catch on my Sten, dropped the magazine and ejected the round in the chamber by pull-

yes… naturlich!”

idiots will be knocking down the door. The barracks is just a going on. He may be a lickspittle, but he knows his duty. If you cannot find him, get any Military Policeman. And you

had better go quickly if you want to save your father’s life.” “What do I tell them?” “The truth. Tell them the unit is breaking the fraternization ban.”

“Ja… Mutter, wir müssen gehen aus dem Fenster klettern!” “Ja? Wirklich?” The daughter nodded and so did I. “Please, go quickly.” “Danke, mein Herr! Vielen Dank!” “Bitte Schön.” I told her. “Wie heissen Sie?” “Mein Name ist Hyman Philip Steinberg.” “Ein JUDE?” The mother opened her eyes wide. Before

they had been wide with fear, but the crinkling of the brows now meant surprise. “Warum?”

“Not now.” I said. “Later… Später. Raus! Raus!” The mother and daughter scrambled out the window as

if I were actually shooting them. Fortunately, there was hay piled beneath the window so the drop was not too hard on them. Taking out a Players and my lighter from my pocket, I lit up and waited.

ing back the pin. I then dropped the machine pistol on

They waited at least fifteen minutes before they clam-

tions clear enough, I spoke to them softly.

rocking chair I found, smoking my fag, and then a second

the floor in front of them. If that did not make my inten“Do either of you speak English?” “I speak English.” The daughter said.

oured for me to “Come out!” I kept quiet, sitting in the one, as if I was on the stoop on Clark Street waiting for

my bubbe to come home. Hyman is such a good boy. He waits for his bubbe so she can see how nice and big he is


northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

getting. Usually I was waiting for a smoked meat and a Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda, which was what she brought home for dinner after working at the deli.

Finally, I could hear someone coming up the stairs. I had

already reloaded and cocked the Sten gun. First, there was a knock at the door. Still, I said nothing. Then, the door was opened. My comrades-in-arms were only concerned with my welfare. I could have been stabbed or

I followed him down the stairs. As I passed McKenzie, he

tripped me. In the semi-darkness I had not seen the rage

in his eyes. I fell on top of the CSM and he pushed me off. But he knew who was responsible.

“You think this is fucking funny, McKenzie?” “We’re just going to leave these Krauts, sarge? I’ve been

bludgeoned by the Nazi cows.

in this war five months, and I haven’t killed a single one!”

McKenzie, the prick, entered first. He saw me, cigarette in

The CSM stood up straight. From where I was on the floor,

back in surprise, and called “Sarge!”

been in this war since nineteen thirty fucking nine, pri-

my left hand, Sten in the other. He took one look, stepped The CSM took the stairs two at a time. He pushed open

the oaken door and saw me sitting there. “What the fuck did you do, Steinberg?”

“They’re gone.’” I said. “Gone to get the Lieutenant.” “You’re fucking crazy, Steinberg.” “I won’t do it, sarge. And if you let this punk,” I gestured at McKenzie, “hurt that man downstairs, I’ll shoot him.” “No one’s going to shoot anyone, Steinberg.” “You’re right, sarge. There’s enough hatred in this world.” I said. “We’ve killed enough Germans like their son. The

war is over. We won. They lost. And if we’re the winners, we have to be better than them.”

He thought for a moment. “Are you sure about this, Steinberg? One man can’t hold out against all of us.”

“Sarge… we go way back… all the way back to basic. You

know what I can do with this popgun. If you don’t desist, I will shoot all of you. Think of Virginia, what do you think she would say?”

“You will still have to pay the piper for this.” “I know that, sarge.”

he looked as if he was on a parade ground. “Yeah, well, I’ve vate and I’ve been in the Army a lot longer than that! I’ve

killed more Jerries than I can remember. And each one has made me sick! The war’s over! If you want to kill people, go

kill some Japs! The war ain’t over there! We own this country now! We have to protect these people now! You think

the Commies will? They’ve lost millions in this war. These

people did nothing to us and we came here to loot, pillage and rape. He’s a Jew and even he knows these people did

nothing to him. If Steinberg was not going to get put up on charges for fraternizing with civilians, I would get him a goddamn commendation!”

So that was how I was brought before a Field Gen-

eral Court Martial on the charge of fraternizing with

German civilians. I was in the stockade for three weeks. The technical charge was something out of an Army law

book, but all it meant was that I had broken the standing

orders and had been friendly with the German civilians. The Loot was furious, but the CSM had talked him out of a charge of disobeying a superior officer. After all, I was

supposed to disobey illegal orders. Technically, just being in the household and talking to the German civilians

when not on duty was a crime. But, I was there under orders just the same…

The CSM nodded. That was it. He just nodded. He turned

It was a short trial. There were enough trials of Army

ing out. For Christsakes leave them some food, eh? You

admitted they were in the homes… which meant they

back to the open stairwell. “Okay guys, we’re headcoming with us, Corporal?” 8

“Yes, sir, sarge.”

rapists that spring. Most of them denied the rapes, but were guilty of that magic word “fraternization” and were

volume 2 Winter 2013

given sentences comparable to actual rape charges. As

thing wrong. We’re all young. What would happen

let alone smile at the German family, but I was guilty. I

What if they ever got a hold of your record? I’m just pass-

for me, I did not shake hands, exchange gifts, or schtupp, had spoken to them: that was my crime. Helping them escape was not something I would have apologized for.

The Brigadier in charge just looked at me blankly after I pled guilty and said: “Thirty days’ loss of pay. Next case.”

I left the barracks and headed into the sunshine. The

days were getting warm now. I adjusted my tam and decided I wanted to go for a walk. I went towards the

town. The court martial, as short as it was, had taken place in Bad Zwischenahn where the Division’s HQ was

located. It was a pretty town. They had told us it had been a holiday destination before the war. There was a bar set aside for Canadian soldiers. The barrack guards had given me directions. It was near the lake for which the town was named. I could see the sailboats that a few lucky guys were using to glide over the lake. Freedom.

The bar was not a stereotypical beer hall. It was not large enough for the long tables. There were no scores of Ger-

mans in lederhosen singing drunkenly. It was just a bar. I sat down and I was given a tall glass of wheat beer. The beer was so much better in Germany. I guess the war

had given me a taste for it. Of course, I could have picked up worse habits.

Someone sat down beside me. “Hey, sarge.” “I didn’t expect you to get off that easily, Hy.” “Neither did I, for that matter.” “They were there, you know… The family. They were there in the back. You were pleading guilty; the court did not need their statements.”

He paused. He was not usually a man to hesitate. I had been contemplating my beer

“Why didn’t you turn the rest of us in? They came to the

house expecting to arrest us all. But you said you were the only one fraternizing.”

“Most of the guys are married. You are. I didn’t do any-

when your children ask you what you did in the war? ing time. You’re a regular.”

“Have you ever thought about it?” “Me? I have to go back and help my mother and grandmother run the deli.”

“You and your grandmother!” The CSM chuckled. “You

write her almost every day. But you don’t write her in English.”

“She only reads Yiddish. She came over to Canada from Russia just before the last war.”

“I didn’t know you were from Russia.” “The Ukraine, actually. She left because of the pogroms.” “What’s that?” “Anti-Jewish riots which were encouraged by the tsar.” “The one the Commies got, right?” “Yeah… He whipped up the Cossacks to kill Jews because he thought we were trying to take over the world.” “And Adolf did him one better.” “Right… They did not kill my grandmother, but they did rape her.”

He sat for a moment in silence, blinking twice. He

nodded and stood up, clapping me on the shoulder. “Well, you rest up. The Loot’s told me to ‘send you to Coventry’, whatever the fuck that means.”

“It means the guys are to shun me. I’ll bet he got that from his fancy British boarding school.”

The CSM grinned, pressing something into my hand. I

presumed it was money for the beer. “Guess I already

failed at that. I might get the hang of disobeying orders. Just don’t expect McKenzie to understand what you did for him.”

“Trust me, he was the last one I was thinking of, sarge.” 9

northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

Another night, another patrol. But this was a one man job.

Annie’ tries to give you coffee and cake,

I had been wrong. The piece of paper the CSM had

remember it’s not because she loves you.

letter, though I had no idea how he had gotten it. It was

that coffee. She’s helping Hitler and his

also in English. It was from the girl.


shoved into my hand was not money at all. It was a

Nine chances out of ten, the Fuehrer brewed

addressed to me. The handwriting was delicate. It was

gang steal your victory from you. Don’t

Her name was Elsa. I honestly could not have thought

of a more Germanic name. In the letter, she thanked me, as if I needed that. In the letter, in her perfect schoolgirl

English, she told me that she had never met a Jew before. Their farm was far removed from the now decimated Jewish communities of the former Reich. She wrote that she was glad the truth did not fit the propaganda

films they had watched. She told me that I was invited for coffee, strudel and more schnapps at my earliest con-

venience. She knew that it was against the rules, and understood if I did not wish to get into trouble again.


Soldier, the next time Jerry’s ‘Foxhole

I knocked on the door. She answered the door. It was

already past eight and they were not expecting some-

one. But from her smile she was still happy to see me. “Guten abend, Herr Steinberg.”

“Guten Abend... Elsa.” I smiled back at her. All mine. The smiles and greetings of German civilians are as pleasant as roses on your tomb. That’s where they wish you were. Don’t fraternize.

volume 2 Winter 2013

the shift veronica doleman

It is interesting. That shift from being in the background to the spotlight. The shift from being an

indistinguishable shade of grey to that high definition being, bathed in light.

Suddenly you’re being watched, analyzed from all

angles. To the point that even you begin to doubt your own good intentions. You struggle to keep yourself

amid the drama and excitement. You begin to realize

that you cannot please everyone and it is such a struggle to admit that not everyone may like you.

Finally, like your eyes adjusting in the blinding sun, you get used to the bright glare of the spotlight. Suddenly

you realize that you are who you are, no matter the part you play.

apartment 305 joanne hlina

An agony of darkness roars

down the hall Booming

Thundering Blundering

Anger thrums vocal cords coarsened by despair “I just want to see my daughter.” Blink:

Blonde curls, pale lemon leggings. Booming


The building holds its breath. Blubbering.

I decide not to call the police.


northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

dem cold bones… cathy yard

A swollen moon ascends through a mulberry-stained sky. Barren trees, upward branches scrape, trap her arc for a brief while. Leaf litter, dried grasses

stir, ripple outward as bones rise like pond mist from the chill of winter’s sleeping soil.

Those that met with fire re-shape in

alluring curves; ash and fragments held solid

by desire. Angular bones clack and click against one another, naked and leached, courtesy of earth’s cleaners:

fat maggots, blue-black beetles and pallid worms. Silvered light on curve of clavicles, shadowed

eyeless sockets observe as The Full Moon Meeting of Knitter’s Anonymous is called to order.

Gleaming whiteness sways in counting rhythm while perched along the granite slab carved with gracious words:

Here lies beloved Annie McKnot

wife and mother

‘she ran out of yarn’ Clickety-click of distended jaws compete with

hasty fingers—stitch after stitch traded, fleshless finger to finger. Whispered confidences, suspended belief through throats no longer dressed in flesh.

“Now Annie, me dear, just because you was hit by a bus don’ na mean you can’t turn a decent heel…” “Ya mind ya business, I couldn’a turned one before neither.”

Clickety-click, the knitting goes on…and on…

Night breaths exchanged in puffs of pure moon dust, rusted laughter and rattled bones. As the moon thins a blanket of frost, knit from the

eternal coldness of bones—glitters. Over shoulders bared, the moon reclaims her light.


volume 2 Winter 2013

lesser of two evils cathy yard

With a mouth drier than the wind-swept prairies, every possible lick of moisture banished, I attempt to swallow. It’s like cramming the compressed

hospital-issue pillow lodged behind my head, the one that smells like sodium

hypochlorite and something else that I can’t quite identify, down my throat. The coarse weave fights a forced descent and rakes the flesh in protest.

My nostrils and far back into the recesses of my sinus cavity are cracked

like a creek bed in a ten year drought. The dustbowl depression years I only

remember vaguely, unsure if it’s Mother’s stories, or actual memory. My tongue explores the inside of my mouth inching towards teeth, tests the

grainy surface and minute grooves like tree rings displaying age and climate conditions throughout a lifetime, the endurance, but not yet the wisdom promised. The tip tentatively snakes through lips in full moult. Rasping

against parchment, crackling, scraping, tearing of delicate epidermis. Wanting to lick, but lacking the necessary moisture my tongue retreats and I close my eyes against the pinhole flashes of the overhead fluorescents.

I feel the bodies that have lain in my bed, rested on my pillow, their cells sloughing, working their way into the weave of the cotton threads. No amount of washing, bleaching or dryer heat tumbling will ever dislodge them—they have become part of the fabric. I am encased in sheets of fine-grit sandpaper.

Voices in the hall, muted, then nervous laughter. The air displacement as the door opens followed by a quick intake of breath. Turning my head, each hair folds then stretches, pinches painfully against my scalp.

“Mr. Sussex, are we feeling better today?” chirps a set of raspberry lips as

the ‘sss’ of my name slide effortlessly over glaring white teeth. She unconsciously licks at her lower lip. I want her saliva.

I crisply command, “Water, lots of water. I need water and ice. Stat.” What actually croaks out is a cotton-wrapped, “mmmmupphh…”

“Great to hear you’re feeling better, Mr. Sussex. Dr. Hildy said you can have a sponge bath today. I’ll be right back, just going to get some fresh towels and a basin from the cart, okay?” Okay? No it’s not okay. Where are you going? Dr. Hildy lied to me. I emphatically

stated, not once but twice, she was to trade my sight for my hearing—hell, it’s going anyway. Down to partial hearing in my left ear and none in my

right. I hold close memories of birdsong at dusk, trilling goodnight as the street lights wink on, one by one. The restless wind that teases and unset-

tles, flutters through the birch leaves, a muted clicking signifying the salmon

are running and it’s time to set the rods in the river. I still hear that, maybe


northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

not with my ears, but the sound is lodged firmly in my

“Well, all right. We’ll include that one just for argument’s

ringing; forty years of attempting to ignore a tent full of

ens, “you have to give up one sense in order to enhance

mind. What I’m not supposed to hear is the incessant mosquito zing trapped in my ear drums. It’s still there. That crazy bitch lied to me. We had a deal. I can’t believe it’s been only three days; feels like years

have spiralled past. I search my memory banks for last Thursday, steak night at the Legion. Yeah, that’s the

last thing I remember, sort of. The boys were all there. It wasn’t often that we managed to meet, the remaining members of the Eight Ball Club. Used to be eight, but

colon cancer took James and one of the Roberts—makes my scrotum tighten just thinking about it. Except for late at night, when I stare at the shadows that snake across the ceiling, I try not to think about it.

I look around the table and make a mental tick for each of us, a roll call of the living so to speak: Jim, Rob, Robert

the first and Robert the second known as Big Bald Bob or

the other.”

What would I be willing to give up in order to get? My hearing in order to see clearly again? My sight in order

to hear? What seems to be a given becomes complicated. I have to think about my other senses. Touch, taste and smell. Now that bears some possibilities.

“Yeah, but what if you could have an extra …” “You’re always trying to weasel. You have to give up one to get one. That’s the rule.”

BB and rules, now that’s an odd pairing. Our voices build and the bartender shoots us the eye. We’re familiar with the eye and settle down immediately. “Hello gentlemen. Mind if I join you?”

BB for short, and the empty chair abandoned by Anuk

Five pairs of eyes flick, then focus. Why would a hot

should rename ourselves the Six Above Ground Club.

zers? She can’t be a day over fifty and easy on the eyes.

who has wandered out back for another smoke. We The downside of reaching your 80’s is you start burying friends. Not ready to go yet, but neither do I want to be

the last relic standing with no one knowing my story—a form of living death.

Plates cleared, the third round of golden nectar magically appears and we sit mightily pleased with ourselves. BB

throws down a challenge, because that’s what he does, never content with satisfied silence.

“What if you could have a super hero-sized sense. Imagine that. You could see for miles, the smallest detail, tie

flies without spending an hour looking for your blasted glasses.”

“Yeah, or you could jump buildings in a single bound, lift cars, lift boxes of books.”

“That’s not a sense, you ass. Do you even know your five senses?”

“What about the sixth sense? ESP?” chimes Jim.


sake. But,” BB holds up his hand and his voice strength-

young goddess like her want to sit with a bunch of geeI bob my head to see the full picture. Tall with long auburn hair held loosely at the nape of her neck. Backlit by the light from the bar, the wayward wisps flicker like candle flame in a jasmine breeze. I want to capture one and wind it around my finger.

“I’m Dr. Aite Hildy and I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.”

BB gets that hound dog look, all sad eyed and hopeful, as

he hooks Anuk’s empty chair and pushes it towards her. I know that look, BB on the prowl.

“I can possibly help you with your dilemma.” Several hours and countless beers later I finally decided the trade. With everybody goading me it wasn’t like I had

a choice, more the lesser of two evils. Lose face or lose my

hold on Dr. Aite Hildy’s toffee eyes. Somehow the coolness of a metal pen, slick and weighted, the pen of an impor-

tant person, finds its way into my hand and I watch as my signature rolls above a thick dark line. Vaguely, I remem-

volume 2 Winter 2013

ber resting my head on the table, looking through a sunlit

forest of amber glasses, as the bubbles release from the glowing glass sides on their journey to join the cloud of

foam at the top. Sort of like those lava lights that were so

popular in the 60’s. It’s that sense of release I have achieved,

to feel just a little bit human. My stomach growls and the

thought of food appeals. It more than appeals, I’m starving. “Now I’m going to start with your hand and work up, okay?”

a free floating weightlessness. We agreed, Dr. Hildy and

When she dips my hand into the soapy water in the

eyesight. Macular degeneration has left me with pinholes

ness overwhelms me and I am forced to suck in a shallow

I, that if I surrendered my hearing she would restore my

of vision. Curtailing my life: no fishing, whipping the line to settle the fly on the water’s eddy, sunlight playing tag

with the ripples; no long drives traversing back-roads

looking for bear signs in early Spring when from the mud

the Lysichiton americana thrusts its bright yellow stalk, surrounded by lance-shaped leaves scenting the air with its malodorous, skunky odour. A bear’s spring treat.

No, life became a series of negotiations where no one won. Trapped in the house, only allowed the occasional outing to sit with my buddies and only when it was convenient

for her. You’d think after 50 years of marriage you’d know a person wouldn’t you? That there would be a bit more

give and take. After all, I’ve suffered her cooking: desiccated roasts, a house full of the revolting scent of burnt carrots and a chilli that could melt the snow off the roof

at -20. Her cold shoulder and even colder looks. So what in hell happened? I can still see, sort of; I can still hear, sort

of. I can definitely smell the chemical scent of excessive

cleanliness or maybe it’s the residue of fear absorbed in the walls. So what’s left?

Missy Raspberry Lips is back. Yes, I’ll sit up. No, I don’t need your damn help. Oh, maybe I do. “There we go Mr. Sussex, lean back against your pillow

for a minute. Catch your breath. How about a sip of water? Take it easy, slowly. Okay, you hold the cup.”

The water soaks my tongue and coats my throat—cells

basin a series of explosions occur. The warmth and slickbreath. Unable to process the intenseness of the sensation, I close my eyes and sit very still. What is happening?

I wish Raspberry Lips would stop chattering. I need to focus.

Moving my hand through the water, tentatively at first, bubbles pop against my skin, small bursts of passionate kisses held timeless. Soft lips, hard teeth and meeting of tongues. The water eddies and flows through outstretched fingers, caresses the skin which accepts and

welcomes the slickness. The heat of summer afternoons tangled in sheets; sweat-beaded brow from spent pas-

sions. Her hands stroking, small whorls of chest hair

soaked and cooling, murmured endearments. What was it she used to call me?

A forgotten twinge in my groin startles me. Oh god, not now, leave me with some dignity. But there is no pity extended. Moving my free arm, the one with the tubes and needles

fastened tight I attempt to pull the sheet loose, crumpling it over my legs, hiding my growing erection. My god, I haven’t experienced one for 20 years at least. The heat

rises, staining my face and I am caught like a lynx in a trap. There is no escaping the inevitable. Embarrassment wars with astonishment. In desperation I close my eyes.

“Mr. Sussex are you okay? Oh. Never mind, it’s okay, happens all the time. I’ll give you a moment. Here.”

expand, drink greedily. It’s lukewarm. And while it holds

A weight is placed over my lap and after I feel the displace-

on contaminating it with, it’s the best thing I’ve tasted in

to discover a towel discretely tented over the offending

no flavour, not even the chemicals that the city insists days. And after two refills I set the cup on the tray and start

ment of air as the door opens, then closes, I open my eyes

member. The guilt of a fourteen-year-old unable to con-


northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

trol himself floods unwelcome memories; yet, part of me

growls and my bellybutton adheres to my spine. I think

naked with my flag at full mast. Yes, I would shout, I am a

of what Dr. Hildy has taken from me but the surrounding

wants to shout with pride, stand tall and strut the halls

man – I still can. The primal urge leaves as quick as it came and I struggle to find my footing. What is going on? Must

be the drugs they gave me, Hildy should have warned me. Somebody should have warned me.

When the towel flattens, I take my hand from the basin

and wipe against the corner of the terry-looped towel. It’s almost unbearable, the roughness, the coarseness

sensations distract me and I cannot hold a thought for

more than a brief second. I know what she has given me.

The gloves mute the sensations of everything I touch, and what touches me, not enough to ignore, but they do take the edge off. I no longer care why or what, but real-

ize it had something to do with my tucking her wayward flame behind a perfect shell-shaped ear.

rasps at my fingers like a Bengal tiger’s tongue removing

There’s a tersely worded note taped on the fridge door.

retreat to the basin again I nudge the towel aside and

sister I should have married. What I wouldn’t give to settle

my skin cells. My stomach lurches. Resisting the urge to place my hand on the sheet’s sandy surface. This is more bearable. I need to think.

How long before the drugs wear off? I can’t live with this

super sensitivity much longer. Exhaustion takes hold and I drift into a merciful numbness.

Opening my eyes I discover Dr. Hildy standing at the foot

of the bed. Before I have a chance to express my opinion of her, her ancestors and her medical skills, she swings a metal clad chart open and scribbles on the page.

“Mr. Sussex, I’m releasing you today. Vacate the bed by

noon or they will charge you for another day.” Her voice, hollow and flavourless, echoes. She is all business and her toffee eyes have turned burnt black and glacial. “And you might need these.”

I look at the gloves crumpled on the bed. They are thin

and beige against the whiteness of the sheet. This whisper of silk is all that stands between me and the world

of pain. How something so insubstantial will stop the super-sensitive invasion, I reserve my doubts. The man I

used to be leaps from the bed and pummels her, screams

and rants; however, the man I am nods numbly and

slowly reaches for the gloves. I can only hope Raspberry Lips will help me dress and pack my few things. Summon a cab and escort me downstairs.

After an agonizing cab ride home, clothing pinning my

weakened body to an elephant-skin seat pitted with prickly sparse hairs. Every few moments my stomach 16

about steak night. I try to concentrate on the possibilities

Meals in freezer, gone to Francine’s. Ahhh, Francine, the

my teeth into one of her lemon pies, tart yet sweet, topped

with a mountain of meringue. Redefines the meaning of Utopia. A growl works its way up my digestive track and echoes hollowly in my stomach. I carefully open the freezer

only to be greeted with row upon row of stacked containers labelled Chilli. Slamming the door, trying to hold back

tears, I open the fridge only to be greeted with more rows of the same. My teeth and jaw ache. I’m starving, but the

fear of the chilli’s heat searing my mouth, setting aflame

my tender throat stops me. I try to reason; survived eating

the fiery stuff for 50 years surely I can manage one small bowlful. My hunger feels like I haven’t eaten in a month

even though it’s been only 3 days. Exhaustion takes hold, it’s Chilli or nothing. I could water down the heat with a

can of beans, but lack the energy to find the can opener. It’s fridge-temperature chilli and that’s that. Standing over the sink with spoon in hand, legs astride as if the stance

will give me strength, I take my first spoonful. In anticipa-

tion my stomach tenses, leg muscles ridged and hold hard, ready for the searing heat.

The bean skins pop, the rubbery bits of meat rub against

my tongue and the sauce passes smoothly with no complaint. No flames, no sweat under my eyes or beaded

on my upper lip, no roar of taste buds beating a hasty retreat—might as well be eating that damn tofu crap. Ahhhhhh. Thank you – Dr. Hildy.

volume 2 Winter 2013


tiffany antinozzi 17

northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

yessss… cathy yard

Choices begin and end with these brief letters,

two vowels and a single consonant. The bossy fork-tongue always pushes onward, herds the

little ones forward, nipping at their heels. Insignificant e squeezed in between, barely daring to breathe, a squeak escapes and clings to its narrowed space. Ssssssss, powerful

sound, slides across the surface

of tongue, soft descent through stilled air,

seeking a place to hide, disguised in shadows where it finds safe haven—sits and waits. Yes. I will do better. The sharpness of

better intentions, overridden by the deceptive slyness of the drawn yesssss…echoes of promised passions

that slip between lips as I step from the pavement to follow the path into

the coolness of the ferns.

she bought the book buffy close

She bought the book Intending to read And instead

The pages so sharp

With wit and wonder Read her life Aloud to her

And as the words

Wrapped round her arms She sank into the cover.

Now I take that book to read

And her eyes stare back at me.


volume 2 Winter 2013

orion's eye: a sonnet jeff hoffman

Orion's Eye has died to swirl in an ancient grave, Yet her hundred tales travel ever more to save.

Nightly toiling cross the rivers without rest they fly,

And as a beam of fire they pass into my restless eye.

There, in tongues I'll never speak they laugh and sigh and moan And there, Orion's Eye will find new life inside my own. There darkly, most ignored, her song is quietly sung

Of a nation since forgotten, that died when ours was young.

When my mind's no longer thinking, and my lungs no longer heave Orion's tales, with all my own, shall rise, respect and leave. Every prize of mine shall wither as newer filling wombs

Shall never comprehend the trees that rise from out our tombs

But my birth will find new witness in that glorious beam of fire that travels in the night and, as immortal, will not tire.

bon fire tara munn Standing alone

Standing around the bonfire,

boreal night, darkness is thick

the centre so bright it burns

in a new-moon clearing and heavy

and wraps around you but is friendly.

This darkness is large

and does not apologize overwhelms

but does not obliviate. You lift your chin

smile at the inbreaking starlight and surrender.

you are drawn in your eyes.

You look away, rub them,

feel your cheeks flush

can’t help another darting glance then fix your gaze

the sabre of orange and yellow

slicing the black beyond. You shiver.


northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

skeleton streaks kimberly jean fiske Last night in the car

I set my eyes on deep twilight streaks.

Flashes of newly budded, leaf-frilled trees; Skeletons against an eerie sky.

Full moon tucked light between, Rows quiet and surreal.

My heart fell drunk on beauty. The moon, still light, rushing, Streaks against the glow. It went on for miles,

A show for me, stolen.

I breathed it in and out again As if we were alone.

The moon and I were alone.

No husband driving, teenagers;

Arguments floating in the back.

No air-bruising radio blurbs, only

The moon and me and the moon. I sat duty-soaked, but patient. The lesson book not cracked. The pointer never pointing;

‘See, how dark gives life to light?’ I kept it all for me.

For them to find, or not. Moments alone.

The moon and budding trees, in Skeleton streaks passing by.


volume 2 Winter 2013


The Work of Art?

A column by douglas abel

one of the most satisfying things (and there are so many!) about living

in a “neighbourhood” in a city like Vancouver is that you can walk so often, so easily, to so many places. And because you walk, you have a chance to

look around and notice things that you would—and probably should— miss as a driver, or even a cyclist.

On one of my walks along West Broadway, about a year ago, I noticed an art store/gallery with the intriguing name, oh! brothers, describing itself as a

retailer of “Art that works.” Each subsequent time that I passed the shop, I found myself asking the same questions. What exactly do they mean by

“Art that works”? If art “works,” what job does it do, and how does it do it? And if art does work, how do you know if it has successfully “done its job”?

Does art in fact “work” at some kind of “job”? If we use a broad definition, involving the visual, the literary and the performing arts, we find that the very language we use to describe artistic endeavours is ambiguously complex. We do talk about the “works” of Van Gogh, of Bernini, of Keats, of

Hemingway, of Beethoven and Shakespeare. But in the last two instances, music and drama, we insist that the “work” is only fully realized if it is

“played”! Is there an intrinsic difference between artistic work that creates

tangible objects—paintings, sculptures, novels—and other artistic endeavours that result in “mere” experiences—theatre and music? If so, is a movie

more real, more “workmanlike,” than a theatrical performance because there is a “thing” on celluloid, or, at least, on a DVD?

We could use this kind of “manufacturing” model—no object created, no real work—to define the “job status” of art, except that we would then have to acknowledge that the majority of jobs in the world today are in “ser-

vice industries,” where there is no concrete object resulting from the “work effort.” Is playing the piano any less “substantial” than marketing deriva-

tives? Or is making real estate deals more like “play,” and, therefore, like art, than making Toyotas?

A further complication to the work/play picture is the fact that most of our

deliberately conscientious experience of art forms occurs as “leisure” activ-

ity—as experience that happens instead of work, or after our work is over.

Leisure is our work-free reward for a “job well done.” Our experience of art, whether of art objects or art experiences, involves “recreation,” not labour. If art fills the hours when we are deliberately “not working,” how, then, can

it be work? If play time is not work time, can what we play at, or what we enjoy seeing or hearing played, still be work?

If we look to the world of education, the picture, alas, seems to become

clearer. By their deeds, if not their words, educational organizations tell us definitively that art is not work, and has nothing to do with jobs. Col-

leges and universities have increasingly had themselves defined, or have 21

northword: A Literary Journal Of Canada’s North

defined themselves, as “job-training” centres rather

children develop “memory, attention, language fluency

absorb the knowledge and master the skills required

nourisher of essential human cognitive “competen-

than as “educational” institutions. Students go there to

to enter a specific profession or line of work. And as centres of higher education have become increasingly

job-centered, they have marked the change by downsizing or closing arts program after arts program. And

the same trend is taking over primary and secondary education. Recently the Royal Conservatory of Music launched “a major initiative to spread online learning

in music to young children across Canada,” in part to counter the trend where “public schools across Canada have cut back on music education, despite growing

evidence of its benefits”i. Kids, we convince ourselves,

need to spend all their time grinding through the fun-

damentals; if they do not, how will they earn a place in the adult “world of work”? In the rush to peddle the

mastery of basic or advanced professional “competen-

cies,” the merely “recreational,” the merely “playful,”

and emotional intelligence.”iii Music, then, is a strong

cies.” In the same way, recent research shows that those who read literary fiction “enhance their ability to detect and understand other people's emotions, a crucial skill

in navigating complex social relationships.” The work of this kind of literary art is, in part, to make the reader

“better able to connect with . . . fellow human beings.”iv Drama gives us the gift of experiencing, and coming to

terms with, emotionally and psychologically extreme situations—grief, loss, fear, rage, despair—before we

have to face them in real life. Its job is to give us practice in being “humans on the edge,” so that we do not

totter and fall from the precipices of real life. And all the performing arts give us practice in seeing, hearing, feeling and responding together, in experiencing mutual humanity. Audiences share, human to human.

the merely “creative,” is “made redundant.” It has no

The visual arts train us to notice both the familiar and

Art has no job. It becomes superfluous.

guish complex patterns of light, shade and colour—the

place in the workplace, or in the school-for-work place. And yet, as Bertold Brecht said, and proved, “it is the superfluous for which we live.”ii

More than that, it is the superfluous—art—through which we really live, and by means of which we learn to live as complete human beings. Art helps make us

better, stronger, more sensitive—more thoroughgoingly human, in ways that no mere occupational

activity can do. It “re-creates” us in the truest sense. Teaching humanness at the highest level—that is art’s master “work.”

the strange, to see with clarity and subtlety, to distinchiaroscuro of both the work and the life that sustains

it—to identify patterns and appreciate nuances, to per-

ceive the familiar in fresh ways. The “job” of drawing, painting and sculpture is to nourish the “art” of fully human perception.

Art does have a job to do. It helps make us sensitive, inquisitive and intelligent human beings, and helps

keep us so. There is, in fact, no job that is more important. Tough job. But somebody’s gotta do it.

Through music, for example—the very music that school systems are eliminating from the curriculum—

i The Globe and Mail (Toronto), Oct. 5, 2013, p. A10. ii Brecht, Bertold, “A Short Organum for the Theatre, “ in Willett, John, ed., Brecht On Theatre (New York: Hill and Wang, 1964), p. 181. iii The Globe and Mail (Toronto), Oct. 5, 2013, p. A10 iv


volume 2 Winter 2013


douglas abel is a writer, actor, director, and novice digital

joanne hlina is an instructor in the Office Administration

ber, 2009, he has been working at his art, and playing at

plans to devote more time to writing fiction in the year

movie maker. Since his “retirement” to Vancouver in Octohis work.

department at Keyano College. A former journalist, she ahead.

tiffany antinozzi was born in Montreal and has been

jeff hoffman is a Fort McMurray-based playwright, poet,

artist, she loves painting, drawing, photography and so

a number of his plays produced and various pieces pub-

living in Fort McMurray for the last six years. As a visual

many more forms of art. She considers herself to be compulsively creative.

jenny berube was born someplace else and, hence, lives

author, and filmmaker. Despite his young age, Jeff has had

lished and has won a number of awards. A human rights activist, Jeff is a big believer in the power of literature and the part it plays in the shaping of the human conscience.

in Fort McMurray by choice. She has two dogs, two chil-

reinalie jorolan is an immigrant local self-taught emerg-

life (shortly after writing was invented), and she loves

landscapes, women and cultural trends. Reinalie immi-

dren and one husband. She has been writing her whole helping society flourish and grow. She is looking forward to all the great opportunities here, and she is grateful for all the kindness, support and hard work of the artist community here.

buffy close resides in Fort McMurray with her husband and three children. She has dabbled in everything from

ing artist who enjoys subjects that capture family values, grated to Canada in 2004. As a community member, she enjoys contributing to the many causes in our community

particularly those that advocate diversity, culture and the

arts. Reinalie is one of the founding members of Boreal Artist Institute—a nonprofit organization that promotes the capacity building of local artists in the region.

operating carnival rides to public speaking in Ireland. Her

tara munn is a happy transplant to Fort McMurray, joy-


cats. In addition to reading and writing, she loves garden-

interests include learning to knit via YouTube, theater and

veronica doleman is a preschool teacher at Father Tur-

fully married with four daughters, three dogs and two ing, horseback riding, and volunteering.

cotte School. She decided to take part in the NorthWord

Raised in a squatter’s shack perched on pilings above the

reading and writing was an old passion that has erupted

to forage in the forests and can be spotted chewing ques-

poetry contest as part of Alberta Culture Days. She loves again thanks to NorthWord!

kimberly jean fiske grew up a child of forest and fog, near

The Bay of Fundy, in Nova Scotia. She has been “working

it out” with ink and paper from the time she could hold a pen. She credits four, very funny, twenty-something children for keeping her on her toes and husband Sans for keeping her grounded.

hugh gordon is the History Instructor at Keyano College in Fort McMurray. He enjoys writing sci-fi, fantasy and

spy novels, as well as historical fiction. He has a doctor-

chilled waters of Burrard Inlet, cathy yard learned early tionable leaves and bark even today. She fled Vancouver

at age of 17, swallowed by the remoteness of the Cariboo

where she continued to live rough on the land. Migrating

northward to Fort St. John and various points in between forty years later she settled in the temperate Cowichan

Valley on Southern Vancouver Island, only to be uprooted and once again on an adventure to northern Alberta

where she currently resides. Cathy’s stories can be found

in several literary magazines and anthologies including

Canadian Stories, Island Writer, Verse and Vision and Portal.

ate in Canadian Military History and "Don't Fraternize!" is based on research he did for his dissertation.





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northern canada

collective society for

chiaroscuro jenny berube

Dappled shadows on the road

Light strobing through the leaves

Sounds of crickets or maybe frogs

I ‘m not sure what creatures are chirping I’m not sure of anything, really I thought I was

I thought I knew You

Walking faster,

As though speed can leave Jangled thoughts behind

Out of the trees, I squint into full light Light is supposed to be warmth I still feel the shiver

Light is supposed to show truths But whose?

Another line of trees Gives me shadow

Frees me from glare Where?

Where am I going?

Not place but purpose

What situation do I want to be in? Who do I want to be? Now, fork in the road With no signpost

Like my life, really

Choices made with no certain destination Doesn’t have to stay that way

writers statement of purpose:

To publish and support the work of writers in northern Canada.

call for submissions NorthWord Volume 2, Issue 5 will be published in Spring 2014. deadline March 30, 2014 theme Superstition We’re always looking for prose (2000 words or fewer, fiction or nonfiction), poetry (50 lines maximum), excerpts

from current projects, and visual art. please submit as a microsoft word or image attachment to: The Editors, for advertising and business inquiries, contact

NorthWord Literary Magazine vol 02 no 04  
NorthWord Literary Magazine vol 02 no 04  

Guest Editor: Nathan Berube Cover Art: Reinalie Jorolan