oliloquies SAnthology Volume 16.1
soliloquies Editor-in-Chief Lizy Mostowski Executive Editor Paula Haley Wilson Creative Director Candice Maddy
Fiction editors Dave Crosby Rebecca MacPhee Emma Robertson Poetry Editors Ashley Opheim Diandre Prendimano Colleen Romaniuk
Online Editors Robin Graham Dylan Riley Copy Dave Crosby Production & Editorial Assistant Alexandra Oliva Albert
editor’s note We’re not on a diet. We don’t believe in diets. We’ve just ﬁgured out what we like. Sure, we’re getting slimmer and slimmer, and you may be rolling your eyes at us, thinking, Are they going to the gym? Or is it that hot yoga? No, we’ve just come to terms with ourselves. This year, for the ﬁrst time in a long time, we’re publishing biannually. We’ll launch both anthologies ﬁrst in online editions, then compile everything together in a limited print edition this winter to release in May. We’re proud to be showcasing talent from our own department here at Concordia, as well as talent from Montreal and Toronto. We are publishing prose poems from a Kurt Vonnegut fan from Ontario, Matt LeGroulx, who now lives in Montreal, and a lyric and a found poem from eccentric Concordia Creative Writing student Ali Pinkney. We have short imagistic poems from a student at Concordia on exchange from Wales, Matt Prout, and a short story by Torontonian Aga Maksimowska, which is an adaption from the ﬁrst chapter of her novel, forthcoming this spring from Pedlar Press. Our writers have nothing in common but an understanding of form, experimentation, and a peculiar sense of language. We’d once again like to thank ASFA and CASE for funding our project. Thank you to Jon Paul Fiorentino and Simon Dardick for their guidance, knowledge and encouragement. Thanks to Sina Queyras for emphasizing the importance of the push to online publication. Thank you to our ﬁrst-time-ever Creative Director, Candice Maddy, for all of her work and her keen understanding towards aesthetics and meaning both in art and in writing. Thank you to everyone in the community for their continuing support and interest in our small publication. Lizy Mostowski, Editor-in-Chief
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MATTHEW DUNLEAVY began taking photos when he was allowed the use of his Dad’s Praktica SLR that he had eyed since childhood. Due to the camera being broken he was forced to learn the tools of the trade in the most difficult way. Matthew’s interest in drawing and painting influences the way he captures images; his subjects differ as much as his style from balanced, traditional scenes to abstract light paintings.
CHRISTOPHER HONEYWELL is a Montreal based photographer shooting exclusively in film with an emphasis on natural and improvised lighting techniques. Mixing street and landscape photography with portraiture, Christopher works to expose connections between human artifacts and the natural world. Christopher practices both traditional darkroom and digital transfer processes. He recently graduated from Concordia University with a BA in English Literature. MATT LEGROULX(b. 1982) grew up in Glengarry County in eastern Ontario. Books were a rarity in his household and he learned the English and French languages from Bible stories read to him by his parents, the slang perfected by his aunts and uncles, TV sitcom Perfect Strangers and Ken Burns’ Baseball. Chance encounters with the work of Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Ogden Nash and Walt Whitman put him on the path to prose and poetics. He now lives in Montreal with his wife. AGA MAKSIMOWSKA lives in Toronto. She is currently Head of English at an independent day school for boys. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University. Her work has appeared online and in print in Canada and Australia. Her first novel, Giant, is being published in May 2012 by Pedlar Press.
KIMBERLEY MOK is a writer, designer and illustrator based in Montreal. She has a bachelor of architecture from Cornell University, and writes about green design and architecture for environmental blog TreeHugger, named one of TIME’s top blogs in 2009. Her website can be found at http:.//www.collectivepsyche.com. ALI PINKNEY is a writer and performer who currently studies creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal. In the fall, her work emerged in Synapse Reading Series and The Void Magazine. She was born to Northern, then proceeded to Southern Ontario before she moved to Montreal. Both Ontarian towns Ali lived in were popular test market zones. My name is MATT PROUT. I come from Wales. I am here in Montreal for 8 months studying at Concordia University on an exchange program. I admire the music of Charley Mingus and the poetry of Frank O’Hara. I support Liverpool F.C.
JONATHAN WOODS is currently completing his BFA in photography at Concordia University. He is interested in the subtle scripts and institutionalized rituals that serve to frame our everyday reality as something that is “solid,” “meaningful,” and “worthy of seriousness.” While he mainly works in photography, he also produces a comic, Barton Flats, and dabbles in poetry when inspiration hits.
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Vegetable Taxonomy Matt Prout
A half moon onion and my recumbent toasted sandwich recumbing. Teawash and crumbit, mulching serenely in halfpastfourlight. Teaswill and swigmulch. Grapeskin whiskey pooling ďŹ sh slippers. Night time laptop, dim monument â&#x20AC;&#x201C; obscene maltstain placemat. Ashtray reservoir, radio wordmulch halfpastfourmulch. No time for this gurgitating sink offal. Frying pan mollusc pilfers burnt pages of dustpan chakchouka. Sweet lemslip.
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hot n heavy Ali Pinkney
from the heavy wooden top bunk in the black-walled: nails-out last room of the family cottage, window overhung me showing off the green maple leaves on the property border “ﬂaunting it” at their sun across the border, the neighbours with their retriever puppy who wouldn’t play tug-o-war with me against his religion (for real) probably bathing in the spreading weeds they refused to dig regatta trophy collection overhead log rolled, canoe paddled wins, gathering cobwebs with the walls where the walls give the roof room to breathe the roof with the “carrot or screw” Rorschach water stain, I was ﬁguring “which” past her blurry cheeks, past her blurry brunette mushroom cap, from the layer of yellow shitty-foam on the top bunk headcrown pressed against the headboard, against the scratched out bubblegum packet stickers that forged product names into laughables, collectables, “crackola crayons” or “head and boulders shampoo” mork and mindy stickers on the outside, nano-nano, my sister on top of me, kissing, breath bad, heavy bunk breath, mushroom cut breath, wet, girl on top, i was “the boy”, with long hair and tiny cereal box “fun pack” breath. Soliloquies Anthology
in very mountainous country Ali Pinkney
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i saw a group of people today wandering since ancient times wandering through a legend, i think and they smiled as they wandered by
Yellow Tongue Jonathan Woods
and the suggestion of companionship ďŹ&#x201A;uttering among the supports of the apparent maybe of our situation a yellow tongue growing freckles of wisdom under a litany of ill-conceived expressions of sour intent arrived at through the ambivalence of this, but not unnoticed by the judgment of the winds on their endless search for rest in the fantasy of that that which begs occasional reinterpretation upon the shifting constellation of fading voices scattered among the balconies of thought
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Shrewdness and a Vanishing Sail Matt LeGroulx
The lazy gossips, as simple folk, knew I could not sleep. Evil serpent eggs clustered ‘round a scarcely-believable palm-tree and merrily rang the highest bells. Mighty nuts ﬂoated tackle to the breakers, the lustre lost. I drove a ripple eternal summer deep into my shipwrecked doubts. A golden lizard reared up hollering scarlet shafts of moonlight. A beech tree yawned at the worm-eaten, hollowed-out brawling seamen. A hardly human mumbling rang the harbour, dulled the voyage, split and left. I swam rivulets deep with rain, burst away and mumbling like an idiot, tried to gleam through drizzle cups thick and rosy like a dull September afternoon. It turned, softly reigning a solitary home. I tranced, thought a harsh swoon appropriate, and broke a feather miles past the harbour. A limp seamen knew her, a horseman wanted her as often as needed. Then came a change. I lay recovering over a large barley haven dotted with peacock altars. A helpless, lucky, and bold ﬁsherman thrice swept downstream like a dinged-up knife, turned and faced me. He loved a beggar. Active, I too cut across the bay to my children, the masters of ships land bound. Two masts un-set, three clenched tight in a lion formation. I bartered a death scaffold, named the day, and packed nature as neat and close as the grace of God. Sailor fashion, Mesmer passion, shrewdness and a vanishing sail.
Toledo Moustaches (Celestial Rewards) Matt LeGroulx
Mother enumerated the many years of my father’s conﬁdence in a frightful, querulous accent. “We are the cars, I should think. He’s going to college for celestial rewards.” Schenectady’s got intimate alpenstock, artless and historic. He ornamented his sedan with distinctly sociable intentions. Nothing but hotels, charming and tranquil. She had known him like ever so many New York winters, bundled in hay and smoking her clear uniform to the stitching. As the sun rose more gentlemen friends poured in, seventeen diners and all the pretty ones to boot. My father frantically placed his clutching arm carefully next to some wine by feeling the assassin’s hand by supreme agitation. He tied his shoe with no sensation and placed himself near the dark entrance with other world-stained legends but he stopped before he saw the long, intricate tin spoons, carved of pyramids with brown bowls soaked in a hot mixture. Moss-like encrustations delivered attacks of long forgotten teeth, their Toledo moustaches swaying in unison. Parched and huddled, my mother gazed at the assassin. She ﬂoundered at his feet, conscious, mouth open. He never understood the traditions of her class.
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Illustration ! photography
Farine Five Roses = Farine Five Roses Kimberley Mok
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Moebius Carpet = Moebius Carpet
(intersection of Parc Avenue and Villeneuve)
Tree has eyes = Transmission Kimberley Mok
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Paper Specter Christopher Honeywell
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Gale Ferris, Jr. Matthew Dunleavy
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Why Yesterday I Keyed My Fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Car is a revised standalone excerpt from the novel Giant (May 2012, Pedlar Press) published with with permission of Pedlar Press.
. Why Yesterday I Keyed My Father’s Car Aga Maksimowska
I was born eleven years ago, on the Assumption—August 15—a Catholic feast devoted to the Mother of God. When she was still here, Mama explained to me that unlike Jesus, who during his ascension into heaven had used his own powers to get up there, his mother had to be hoisted up, or assumed, by the muscle of God. “I,” Mama said then with her hand on her chest, “don’t need anyone to give me a boost.” My grandmother, Babcia, peered from under her wild eyebrow and landed her ﬁst in the middle of a ball of dough. It deﬂated. She was making my favourite plum-butter doughnuts, pączki, the same ones she always makes for Fat Tuesday. Because I was born on the Assumption, my name should be Maria, but my mama doesn’t pay attention to rules she considers petty and dogmatic. “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” she said. Babcia said, “Where did you learn that?” Mama just stared her down while Babcia said to me, “We’re lucky to be able to celebrate the Assumption.”
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I was confused. Dziadek, my grandfather, is a Communist, and he goes to church. Yes, he has to wear a wide-brimmed hat and stand outside in the churchyard during most services. But he participates, waving assorted tree branches on Palm Sunday and blessing hard-boiled eggs on Easter Saturday, allowing black dust to be deposited on his bald spot on Ash Wednesday, and seeing Jesus born at Midnight Mass. But he doesn’t do Catholic parades—no Corpus Christi marches in June or Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. “Will the Communists forbid birthday parties too?” I asked no one in particular. “They can forbid things all they want,” Babcia said. “They can murder priests and terrorize people, but Poles will still be faithful to their Father.” She tossed the dough into a ceramic bowl and covered it with a tea towel. “It needs more time,” she said. “Everyone out of the kitchen. It’s too bloody hot in here.” It was bloody hot the summer Tata still lived here, too. My grandparents avoided our place when Tata was home, and I didn’t go to their apartment for sleepovers then because Tata could look after me while Mama taught private English lessons for extra cash. He spent the summer days watching European track and ﬁeld competitions on the new television he brought home from Taiwan. Mama worked in the spare room. My best friend, Dorota Kowalska, said it was a ridiculous TV and that her black and white Zenith made movies look much more romantic than our nouveau riche behemoth. But she’s just jealous because our tata is a machinist, whereas hers is only a cook who can’t hide things in the belly of the ship. Smuggling things onto the boat from ports abroad can get people in trouble. One time, two guys with guns forced their way into our apartment. I wasn’t home. Mama had a gun stuck to her head by goons who Dziadek says were looking for the drugs that Tata smuggles home. He only says that because he hates Tata for divorcing Mama, but it takes two to tango. Maybe that’s why Mama can be so brave and go to Canada all by herself. I liked seeing the differently coloured uniforms and competing country ﬂags on the new TV. Plus the behemoth made Tata happy. He talked in funny voices and let me have sips of his cold beer. When a beer bottle was empty, Tata would blow into it and make loud foghorn noises. “That’s what our ship sounds like when it approaches Taiwan,” he’d say. When I’d try, I’d only spit on myself and Tata would laugh. Mama would march into the living room. “I have a student in there,” she’d say, frowning, her belly growing fatter and fatter each day. Tata would get up and turn the TV down and I’d hide the beer bottle behind my back.
“And stop giving her beer,” Mama said, her back to us. “Beer is better for her than cigarettes are for the baby,” Tata said after her. She responded with a slam of the door. To me, Tata said, “Make her quit smoking, Gosia. She smokes like a shipyard worker, like your grandmother.” Babcia doesn’t work at the Lenin Shipyard. She’s the provisions manager for all the grocery stores in Gdańsk; that’s why we have more food than food stamps allow. As my ﬁfth birthday approached, the empty beer bottles were a tower in the kitchen, and the cigarette butts piled up in Mama’s maple leaf ashtray in the spare room where she slept. Tata stayed in the living room where my parents used to sleep together. On August 14, 1982, the day before my ﬁfth birthday, Mama stood in the middle of the square hall at the centre of our apartment, her feet pale and sickly against the wooden ﬂoor. Tata stood in the door to the living room and wore leather slippers. Their voices had turned my attention away from the new mural I was drawing in my room. Mama had ripped the sports-themed wallpaper Tata had mounted months before off one wall of my room and then painted it white. The wall was for me to draw on, which meant I was forbidden from walking around the apartment with my crayoned hand trailing behind me like a leaky hose, marking my territory in red or green. (Yesterday I used the same motion to key the side of Tata’s brand new Audi.) I now stood on the threshold of my room, digging my ﬁngernails into a warm red crayon. Mama looked as if she was possessed. I could have sworn she swayed from side to side, a weeping willow. Her pregnant belly jutted out like a protective shield. “But you bought the TV for this apartment,” she said, her eyes darting from Tata to the television behind him. “For us.” She drew her hand to her lips and chewed on a ﬁngernail. She hardly had any nails to begin with. Tata disappeared into the living room and said from within, “I’ll have everything out by tomorrow.” Sports trophies and photo albums were landing in suitcases like bricks.
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“But tomorrow is my birthday party,” I said, placing the shrunken crayon in my other hand and wiping the toxic colour onto my shorts. Mama was the only one who heard me. “There’ll still be a party,” she said, looking at the spot where Tata had stood. “There’ll still be a party.” There was no party. Mama never ﬁnished baking my cake. The batter stood on the kitchen table, abandoned in half whisk, the red gelatin for the top layer setting in the fridge. When I woke in the middle of the night it was raining, the ﬁrst reprieve from a record-breaking heat wave. The rain came down so hard that the clamour of it on the corrugated windowsills made it diﬃcult to sleep. Mama was calling my name. Tata was gone. She was sitting on top of the toilet lid with her legs spread, blood the colour of my wax crayon spilled haphazardly on the tiny black and white tiles. “Gosia,” Mama said. “Call the ambulance. The baby is coming early.” I knew to call 999. I’d witnessed the ambulance being called many times when neighbours knocked on our door in the middle of the night. Mama resented “the Communist clowns” but liked helping people. Dziadek’s Party favours came in handy. The ambulance took Mama away. Babcia stayed the rest of the night with me. She cleaned up the WC while I slept, and Dziadek came over the next morning with milk and the newspaper. He wished me Sto Lat and kissed me on the eye instead of the forehead. We went for a walk but didn’t visit Mama in the hospital because only the husband is allowed to visit. Mama brought home my premature sister the next day. The baby’s skin was as translucent as communion wafers and her head was as ﬂat on one side. She hardly moved or made any noise. She was hardly a baby at all. Tata picked up the last load of his belongings a few days after Mama’s return from the hospital. He brought me a small, red plastic umbrella with white polka dots on it. It looked like the Smurfs’ mushroom house. It was packaged in cellophane that smelled like all the Made-in-Taiwan things he brought home from his trips, except for the TV, which came in styrofoam and cardboard. “Happy birthday, big girl,” he said, and rubbed my hair. He showed me how to open and close the umbrella. It broke on his third try. “I’ll bring you a new one next time,” he said, and chucked the broken mushroom umbrella. I didn’t want a new one because it was ridiculously small for a ﬁve-year-old of my size, but I nodded anyway.
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sA sA s sA A s s 16.1