letter from the editors To all you Dizzy Ravines*, As our last print publication of the school year, we’d just like to say . . . thanks. You’re our special friends and we like you a lot for the art that you make and the art that you let us be a part of. The Continuist is a passion project that is run by a handful of students at Ryerson University and we are all so grateful to be doing it. Please enjoy this collection and please continue to make all the art that you can make. There are some particular persons & places that deserve specific recognition for making the 2015-16 year so amazing. The Continuist team would like to give a special thanks to: the ACS program director Stéphanie Walsh Matthews and undergraduate administrator Matthew Haddad for their constant support; SIF and the Faculty of Arts for their generous contributions; Ryerson University, the Arts & Letters Club, Lou Dawgs, Zine Dream, NXNE and all of the amazing places and events that we have partnered with; and TPH and Copyrite for their print services. Want to keep up to date with our future publications? Stay in touch through our social media platforms, and give us a shout if you have any questions. wordpress: www.thecontinuist.wordpress.com facebook: www.facebook.com/TheContinuist twitter: www.twitter.com/thecontinuist instragram: www.instagram.com/thecontinuist issuu: www.issuu.com/thecontinuist email: firstname.lastname@example.org Stay radical, friends. Love always,
The Editors at The Continuist Cover: Fishbowl—Markus ’Star’ Harwood-Jones credited to: www.starkisscreations.com * Can you guess this allusion? Hmm?
lies my mind tells me Melissa Veerasammy
A Dicto Secundum Laura Pallen The sponge of yellowed bones contracts an aching tea, cored marrow settles us as we ever were. Chalked up before certainty was unloaded, and polished in concrete. Ruled bodies, rude bodies, emancipate muscular striations. Triceps unworthy of lines will flex regardless. Swarm to secrecy: The fluid truth of combing your hair in the afternoon. Quid ad dictum Simpliciter.
untitled love poem #10 David Warner I wish I didnâ€™t know what you looked like when you woke up next to me, or how youâ€™d smile and rest your head on my chest. Oh, those sweet mornings of bad breath and tangled feet: chap-lipped sorrowful bodies seeking to receive the comfort of another.
Butterscotch Beginnings Mariam Vakani To every soul that has not yet found a home, Spirited, we wander, smelling of butterscotch new beginnings, overly sweet and bound to get too much after the second cup or twelfth bite. We’ve been wondering how new are our new beginnings? Not very, we think. There is still always murder, misogyny, misdeeds, misgivings. Such pretty words when you say them aloud. We’ve been wondering, braving sandstorms and subway stations and yet, no beginning feels new enough. There is always something of an old city left in the pores of our skin, a story we haven’t told yet, stories we don’t want to tell yet. It’s been camels and then caramel macchiatos, a transition from lisp to lipstick, a never-ending continuum of time and space and we are just tiny specks of stardust in the distance.
Our new beginnings are never new enough, our silences not enough for the stories we don’t want to tell, we can stand covered in a sea of skin and our eyes still talk too much. We are sometimes afraid of not blending in well enough, a sore thumb amongst well-polished forefingers but we lose ourselves in the crowds and forget our fears. We suppose, with a hope like ours, every day is a new start. Deep in our skin is a butterfly new beginning, smelling of reclusive jasmine petals, sandy shores, and coffee beans, testament of all the lives we have lived and we are still searching for the place where we can find closure from ourselves and all the selves we have ever been. We are limbs lost in translations and transitions. Spirited, we will wander, we are still only on our fifth bite, the butterscotch has not worn us out. Yet. From, a subway surfing, dream brandishing, hopeful wanderer of your kin.
Acute Meth Inhalation Kylie Coleen Tan
Hungry for happiness Jamie Lupia Walnut smiles and gelatin laughs I really did think you were happy I guess that was my main problem was that I thought mom told me that maybe if I didn’t think as much as you didn’t think that my mind would be spaghetti but at least I’d be happy too
Life Support Jamie Lupia
when i was baby i nearly killed you you bled for weeks i never thanked you for surviving i needed you so thank you
when i was little i nearly robbed you you let juju and i try every dippin dot flavour at the ice-cream stand in the waterpark over and over again i never thanked you for that banana split was the best so thank you when i was a teen i nearly killed you you stayed up crying as i was out with a boy who called your baby girl stupid and worthless and i never thanked you for yelling and dragging me back into the house i needed that so thank you today you nearly killed me i don't ever want to kill you again i love you i thank you
Owl Catherine Hennessey
In Tune I Catherine Hennessey
In Tune III Catherine Hennessey
Boiled Oranges Liam McConnell He can hardly see through the steam in his bathroom. It floats thick in the air like fog over a sleeping city. The shower water is scalding, but still he stands under the burning stream, scrubbing his skin until it is raw. He uses no soap, only a tuft of steel wool. Slowly, he adjusts to the pain. “It’s better,” he tells himself. “Better than the alternative.” That first night, though, was agony. He exhausted the hot water supply of his apartment building and left the shower after several hours so dehydrated he could hardly speak. Hot water will kill it all, will wash it all away, he thought as he bore the pain. The heat is my friend. It became something of a mantra for those first few days, until he adjusted to the temperature. The heat and friction have turned his skin a pinkish red. He is not satisfied until he feels completely clean, which sometimes takes an hour or more. When he finishes, he steps out of the tub and walks through the door, which he left open intentionally. From there he heads to the living room, careful not to touch any object or brush against the walls until he arrives. The carpets have long since been removed and replaced with plain white linoleum. The living room must be completely void of objects and wide open, so there is no furniture. If he touches anything—a doorknob or a wall—with any body part but his feet, the entire painful and lengthy cleansing process must begin again. Once inside the broad, empty room he begins walking in a circle, arms raised like a surgeon, until he is dry. The feeling of the cold, stale water of a used towel is repulsive to him; even the thought can make him cringe.
The air has almost dried his skin. A successful cleansing, one without mishap or mistake, is somewhat of an unusual occurrence. He begins to slow as his body nears complete dryness. He feels optimistic and thinks that perhaps he will have a good day today. He stops circling and turns to the hallway leading to his bedroom to begin dressing. He keeps his eyes on the walls, walking slowly and carefully, feeling something close to happiness. After a few steps, his foot slips on the wet linoleum. He loses his footing and crashes to the floor, making contact with a wall on the way down. His hands have touched the walls and wet floor and are now contaminated. He lets out a yelp like a kicked puppy and scrambles to his feet. Within seconds he is back in the shower, at first fighting tears of frustration but then submitting to them, letting them come. The tears fall from his eyes and are engulfed by the searing torrent. He scrubs violently with a new clump of steel, fighting a losing battle against germs, filth, and his mind.
He walks along the cobbled street towards the grocery store, keeping to the side with fewer people. He does not hesitate to cross the road at any time to avoid a large group, but a person here and there is tolerable. He is a thin man and quite tall, not unattractive, with long arms and a longer face. His hair, if he had any, would be a dark brown, almost black in low light. He shaves his head regularly, not for fashion but for peace of mind. He wears a long, brown coat and dark green scarf, which shield his face from the winter cold. On his head he wears a black bowler hat pulled low over his forehead. Like a bandit, only his eyes can be seen. At the ends of his sleeves are tight-fitting brown leather gloves, which, as long as he is out of the apartment, are not removed. These serve a different function than might be expected. They are not meant to protect his hands from contamination but rather from public scrutiny, as he also wears, beneath the leather, white latex surgical gloves. It is the only way. His eyes do not meet those of the passersby. They are trained downward, scanning the cracked surface of the pavement for imperfections over which a man could trip and fall. He is determined not to repeat the tragedy of this morning. The gloves shield his skin well enough from contamination that a reaction such as this morning’s could be avoided if another incident were to occur, but he could do without paranoid thoughts of street filth invading his protective layers. Life is difficult enough.
After a tense walk, he arrives at the grocery store. The bell rings as he lightly kicks the door open and Mr. Lee, the proprietor, greets him from behind the counter. “Good morning, Mr. Eaves! Quite late today!” “I was held up this morning, Mr. Lee. My apologies.” “No apologies necessary, my friend. The usual today?” Mr. Eaves nods. Mr. Lee gets a paper bag from behind the counter and begins filling it with different tin cans. Mr. Eaves stands still in front of the counter, hands withdrawn, watching the grocer. Mr. Lee motions to add an apple. “With peels only, Mr. Lee.” “Of course. My mistake!” Mr. Lee replies, replacing the apple with a bag of oranges. Mr. Eaves pretends not to notice the elderly man in the corner who watches the scene with a mystified expression. • A judgmental stranger aside, the shopping trip has gone unexpectedly well. Tod Eaves treads down the footpath with his paper bag, electing to walk the long route home and take in some fresh air before retiring. He moves with extra care on the bustling street. A paperboy calls the front-page headline: a story about a missing person. The panhandlers sit shivering on the cobbles, their begging hands extended. As Tod walks past, a man asks if he can spare a coin. Tod does not hesitate to donate a small handful of change; he is happy to be rid of the dirty coins. He is careful not to touch the man as he drops the coins into his waiting hand. A troupe performs a play in the park across the cobbles. He stops to watch. He stands far from the stage to avoid the gathering crowd, but hears some of what an actor recites.
“To bed, to bed. There’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come. Give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed!” A motorcar roars past, leaving a trail of black exhaust fumes. The smell of gasoline hangs in the air and makes Tod feel lightheaded. The sudden vertiginous feeling silences the noise of the city, and leaves him in a momentary bubble of mental isolation. He spends a moment standing unwittingly still, exploring his thoughts and memories. In this moment he is without affliction. Just then a jolt from behind knocks him off balance and he stumbles forward, almost falling to the ground. He drops his bag and his food spills over the cobblestones.
“My goodness, excuse me!” a voice says. “Terribly sorry!” As his alertness returns he realizes that the force that has almost knocked him over is one of the human variety. He closes his eyes and waits for the panic to set in. “Sir, are you alright?” the voice asks. It is soft, soothing, and feminine. “Please, allow me to help you with those.” To his surprise, the panic does not arrive. His muscles are tense enough to burst and he cannot open his eyes, but he does not feel dirty or contaminated. “Quite alright,” he tells the voice, his hands trembling. “I’ll manage.” He stoops to gather his food and fills his lungs for the first time in what feels to him like hours. The aroma of citrus overtakes the mechanical stink of the city, and he breathes a long, greedy draw. He gathers his food back into his bag and takes off. “Sir, I—” is all he can hear before the dulcet voice is overtaken by the tumult of downtown. When he arrives home he is gasping for breath. The chemically sterile smell of his empty flat is no substitute for the ambrosial fragrance that still lingers in his mind but chemicals mean safety,
cleanliness, and predictability, and he is comfortable. His stomach begins to rumble, so he fills a large pot with water and places it on the stovetop. He adds his oranges to the pot, and feels relief when the water begins to boil. In an hour they will be cool, clean, and ready to be eaten. • The next morning he lies in his bed, debating the merits of going out again. His courage has been shaken by the previous day’s events, and he wonders if it is worth the risk to venture out-of-doors today. A glance at his calendar—the only thing hanging on any of the four white walls of his bedroom—tells him it is Sunday. The town will not be as busy today as it was yesterday, and another incident is unlikely. He ponders why the panic passed him by after yesterday’s collision.
If that happens again, he thinks, perhaps I will not be so lucky. After all, when he is about town, the
safety of his shower and steel scrubber is far away and inaccessible. The pocket watch on his bedside table stares him down, ticking expectantly. It seems to grow ever louder. “Blasted thing,” he says to the watch. “Have it your way.” He gets out of bed and heads to the shower to begin the daily process. An hour passes and he finds himself in the city again. He ambles around the streets, keeping mental notes of every turn in case a speedy retreat is necessary. A cold winter wind comes alive in an instant and blows the hat from his head. He does not catch it in time, and it blows onto the street and into a puddle. It is an item very dear to him, given as a gift from a lover he once had. A street boy rushes up to the hat, fishes it from the water, and holds it towards Tod. “Yours, sir?” asks the boy. Tod stares at the wide-eyed little creature, dressed in clothing dirty and tattered. The hat he holds in his hand is no longer the same that flew from Tod’s head. It looks soiled and alien. “I do believe it’s yours,” he tells the boy. The boy smiles and places it on his head. It sinks below his eyes and bounces about as he scampers off. It is an amusing sight to behold, and Tod would laugh if he did not so lament the loss of his old lover’s gift. Soon, a familiar newsstand comes into view and Tod stops for a rest. Only one other individual browses the selection of papers—a tall, elegant woman—so Tod can shop with relative comfort. “Morning,” the shopkeeper says. “Good morning,” Tod replies, not meeting his interlocutor’s gaze. Instead, he scans the headlines of the papers. Leeds Rent-Strike Over. Britannic Launched at Belfast. Distraught family still searching
“You’ll have to buy one, one of these days,” the shopkeeper says, crossing his arms. “Indeed. One of these days.” Tod senses that he has overstayed his welcome and turns to leave. “Pardon me,” he hears, spoken by a musical voice that he has heard before. He turns around, breathing her citrus aroma, and comes face-to-face with a woman bearing an apologetic expression. She wears a long dress of black and white, with white gloves pulled up to her elbows. With her high-heeled shoes she is almost as tall as Tod Eaves and meets his gaze unswervingly. Her pale complexion is dotted with brown freckles, like pebbles on a white sand beach, and she looks at him through Chinese gooseberries. Her shining hair, tied atop her head in a bun, is the brilliant orange of an English red fox. “I’m sorry to disturb you, but are you the man I so rudely bumped into yesterday?” It takes Tod a moment to respond. “Yes, ma’am, I believe so. No harm done.” “Nonsense. I insist you allow me to atone.” “Really, it is not necess—” “I was on my way to one of those coffeehouses. Do you partake?”
“I—” “Of course you do, everyone does. I know a lovely place. Please accompany me there. That is, if you are not busy.” Tod swallows the dry lump rising in his throat and says, “Not very.” He puts his hands in his pockets to conceal their shaking, but the sweat gathering on his brow cannot be disguised. “Brilliant,” she says with a smile. “Follow me.”
• They sit at the small table of the bohemian coffeehouse, engaged in rapturous conversation. The smell of roasting coffee beans fills the air and Tod finds the aroma agreeable, but the steel chair is cold beneath him and makes him feel restless. Between bouts of monologue afforded by the fire-haired woman, he looks behind the counter to a pot of water on a low flame, continuously boiling for tea. The steam rising from the pot reminds Tod of his shower, and it is a comforting sight. He thinks of his skin beneath his gloves. The pink-red flesh cries out to him to be washed, but he ignores the call. The coffee before him grows ever colder. “You’ve not touched your coffee,” she says, “Is it not to your liking?” “Just not thirsty, I suppose.” “I see. So, are you located nearby?” “Very near. I can often hear the noon bells sound from my living room.” Over the course of the visit Tod divulged a much larger wealth of information about himself than he has to anyone in a long time. He cannot deny the comfort he feels in her presence. It is a foreign but welcome feeling. He rises from the chair. “On that note, I must be going. Thank you very, very much for the coffee.” “Of course. I don’t suppose you’re frightfully busy tomorrow evening? I would very much like to see you again.” Tod freezes. As talkative as he was throughout the encounter, he never lost the feeling that she was scrutinizing his behaviour. He knows himself to be an unusual man, for he has not always suffered this condition. “I would adore it.” His response comes as a surprise to both of them. She beams at him. “Seven o’clock, then? I’ll meet you here.” “Until tomorrow.” He raises a hand to tip his hat, and she giggles when he realizes it is not there. He turns to leave but she stops him. “I never asked your name, or you mine!” she says, still laughing. “How silly of us. Tod Eaves.” “Aideen Reid, but most call me Tangerine,” she says, pointing to her hair. “Speaking of which…” She reaches into her purse and produces an orange from within. “From yesterday.” He looks at it for a moment, thoughts racing. He glances quickly between the orange in her outstretched hand and her gloves on the table. She is holding his food with her bare hands. This ignites an automatic response within him that is akin to panic, but, once again, panic he does not. Rather, against all natural inclinations, he takes it. On his walk home he wonders what is happening to him, and how.
He passes by the newsstand where he encountered Aideen that morning. The shopkeeper is packing his unsold papers into a wooden box. “Sir?” Tod says, raising a finger meekly. “Are you done for the evening?” “I am,” the shopkeeper replies, not turning around. “Is it too late to purchase a paper?” The shopkeeper turns to face Tod, wearing a baffled expression.
“Uh, no. I suppose not,” he says. “Grand. The Daily Herald, if you have it.” The shopkeeper hands him a newspaper and takes the money in silence. “Good evening,” Tod says, tucking it under his arm and walking away. When he arrives at home he boils the orange and eats it voraciously before it has a chance to cool. • Tod sleeps soundly in his bed. The sun is just beginning to rise over the crest of the city skyline, and it bathes his room in a warm, soft light. He awakes peacefully as a beam of sunlight caresses his face. He sits on the edge of his bed, squints through his open window, and watches as the sun rises into full view. A radiant, glowing orange floats in the sky, gazing warmly back at him. “Good morning, my lovely Tangerine,” he tells the sun. “Good morning, my darling,” a voice responds. He did not realize Aideen was awake. Over the past several weeks, the pair has spent almost all of their time together. Aideen, after much persistence, finally managed to convince Tod to allow her into his flat. This was the first time she had stayed the night. Her initial impression of the empty white rooms of his flat was one of surprise, but not of horror. Over the course of several visits, she gradually filled his various rooms with paintings, small pieces of furniture, and decor. His living room now sports two red felt armchairs in one corner, with a coffee table between. The fireplace— previously shut, locked, and forgotten—is occasionally allowed to breathe a roar of heat and light into the colourless room. Steadily, the bare apartment has become something of a home. She has never asked him to explain why the living room floor is always wet. Aideen sits up in bed and reaches to hold Tod’s hand. Surprised by the dry coarseness she feels, she looks down and notices the scrubbed-pink flesh. She has never before seen him without his gloves. In the weeks past, she had taken clandestine notice of Tod’s unusual behaviour. Six times they had met for coffee since their first encounter, and six times his cup had gone cold, untouched. The sight of his eroded flesh has destroyed her will to remain politely ignorant of his condition, whatever it is. “Tod, your skin!” she cries. “What’s happened to you?” Tod scrambles for a response, his ears suddenly ringing with someone else’s voice. “It’s nothing, Aideen. It’s… it’s a hot water burn,” he tells her, retrieving his gloves from his coat and pulling them on. It is only half a lie. “You are not telling me the truth! I don’t think you’re well.”
“Always keep the gloves on, always keep them on,” he tells himself under his breath. “I’ve grown to care for you, and I will not see you like this any longer!” “I must shower. Please show yourself out. Good day.” “Tell me what it is, Tod. Perhaps I can be of some help.” Not listening, Tod rushes to the bathroom and starts the water. He rips the pajamas from his body and steps into the tub. The gloves are last to be removed. He begins to scrub with a tuft of steel wool. “Out, out you damned filth!” He is scrubbing with more vigour now than he ever has in the past. The tears respond promptly and flow from his eyes as the water does from the showerhead. It scalds his skin. To him, the colour of the water is not clear but deep, sickly red. Blood that only he can see sprays from the showerhead and onto his body. He gazes at his hands. They are coated in scarlet and drip with thick blood that is not his own. Aideen enters and watches Tod as he stares at his hands, sparkling clear water pooling in and dripping from them. She reaches in to turn off the tap, but the water burns her hand. She gasps and withdraws it.
“Tod, you’re burning yourself! Please, stop!” she shouts, but he does not hear her pleas. Her voice, to him, is only muffled gargling. Tod looks up at her as blood drips from his body. Her face is not her own but another woman’s. The expression is one of hatred and contempt and it is unlike any expression Aideen has ever made to him. Her hair is no longer Aideen’s brilliant orange; it is blonde and disheveled. She stands wideeyed, screaming at Tod, and from a gash on her throat she bleeds. Through gargling growing ever louder, Tod discerns one word, repeated again and again from the bleeding mouth of the blonde victim. “Suffer.” He loses consciousness and falls into the tub.
• He awakens in his living room in Aideen’s arms. He is wrapped in a towel and his gloves have been reapplied. They do not speak for several minutes. Tod stares up at her, the sun shining through her orange, silken hair. She is a vision of mercy and compassion. Finally, she speaks. “You must tell me what is happening to you.” Tod knows now that it is too late to continue acting like nothing is wrong with him. She has seen him in the raw. “I… I have not always been this way,” he says, hiding his face. “It began quite recently.” “Why?” she asks. “What happened?” “Only after. After it was done. I had to get it all off. But I couldn’t. There’s a spot. There’s a spot that cannot be scrubbed away. A filthy spot.” “Tod, what are you saying?” “Filthy, filthy. Always filthy.” “You are not.” “I know how Lady Macbeth felt.” “W... what?” “Out, damned spot.” He removes his gloves and drops them. “I can never get it out. It crawls on my skin.”
”My God, what is happening to you?” Tears form in her eyes. “Hell is murky. And it awaits me.” “Tod…” “Get the newspaper from my room.” At once, she drops Tod’s head from her lap. He lies on the floor in the centre of his living room, examining his bare hands. She returns, paper in hand. “What, Tod, what?!” “Read the headline,” he says, still watching his hands. He turns them around in the sunlight, clenching and unclenching. “Distraught family still searching for daughter, age twenty-five. She was last seen… in…” A dry lump rises in her throat as she realizes the truth. Tod remains on the floor. He picks up a glove and looks at it like some foreign object. Aideen raises a hand to cover her open mouth. Tod stands and walks toward her, holds her too tightly by the arms, and stares into her eyes. “I felt like I could never wash her blood from my hands. But you’ve changed all of that, my lovely
Tangerine.” His eyes are black and unblinking. “I’m tired, Tangerine. Come to bed.” She shivers as he takes her by the hand and leads her to his bed. Within moments, he is asleep. • When he awakes, he is alone. He feels for Aideen, but she is not there. “Aideen? Where are you, my lovely Tangerine?” He gets out of bed, hands brushing the walls as he walks. “Tangerine?” He checks the bathroom, living room, and kitchen. She has left his apartment. He opens his pantry and retrieves the largest pot he owns. Filling it with water and lifting it to the stovetop is a chore. He watches as it begins to boil. Aideen can hardly see through the steam in her bathroom. It floats thick in the air like fog over a sleeping city. The shower water is scalding, but still she stands under the burning stream, scrubbing her skin until it is raw. She uses no soap, only a tuft of steel wool.
Eleutheromania Chelsea Nguyen
Bunker Chris Brown
Step Chris Brown
3 Haikus Zaina Ally
Flowers are blooming And so is my Love for you Like fields upon fields
Most simply put, Iâ€™m Stuck on you like Velcro straps: Always together
Your hand sticks to mine Like warm honey to a comb It is all I need
A Cartoon about Trans Collective Markus ’Star’ Harwood-Jones
Souvenir Flower Colin Beckett you ship you have no hold for this no shoe box under bed for this no tea glass, no ear holes, no eye drops to water with have you must oar holes then and a shore to row to in a boat so full must have you a cliff there to niche to and a square of fence to tend you have must heard from far bells felt the warm slick of earthworm on your stem and speckled terrace your cabin weed, your salt fare, your sailing jar, your air holes
you must have taken a garden aboard if you will not take my lavender in your terracotta shoulder bowl my lilac on your summer raft alfalfa to the loamy shore
A Man on a Bus Samantha Lacy A man on a bus. Hands of veins and blotched marks. Trembling, clenching a clear sandwich bag full of money in his lap. Scrunched bills; a twenty, a five, a ten. Asking a stranger quietly where we are now and how many stops until his. Unfamiliar. Clad in an oversized brown suit. Shoulders too broad for his small frame. Eyes circled by tracks of wrinkles, collecting all his worries. Stroking flat his white wisps of hair. They object, standing awkwardly. A small yellowish stain on the rim of his white shirt collar.
His eyes stare down. Stare down at his gold ring, as he spins it around his finger. Eyes wet with tears. A man on a bus.
That was Then Daisy Barker
This is How Daisy Barker
Words for Everything Kristina Pantalone You think there are words for everything, every feeling, every touch, every small sadness. Because there is loveliness in finding the right one -there is satisfaction. The water isn't warm so you call it frigid. Your family explains the world away so they are cold. I lie as we lay together, almost warm, but not quite enough when I tell you I don't believe in love. Limerence, you say, frisson, it is an idea of love, something nice, however misleading, a cocktail of nothing too important. You use the dictionary to fight, defining such bullshit verbatim through chapped lips the sound stuck in envelopes so small for big words, they bleed like frozen cherries. The frigidity is stagnant. We lay together there, here now, in another time and place because my window is broken and conjectured, unresponsive and my curtains -damn thingsentertain and general malaise for life while I entertain the possibility that some words can't approach the big things. I forget the good words, the big ones, words to stop wars, the words to melt the frozen stuff. They escape me, they extrapolate themselves on their very own axes, as if never having existed at all.
The Cathedral Rebekah Veerasammy One day we will have built churches with our bare hands, red rubble on our palms, staining our fingers the colour of blood. I had a dream that we held our baby on the front step of our new house and that we called it The Cathedral. I saw our bedroom – a wall of stained glass windows. And the songs we sang were lullabies and hymns in the dark. The stars would make glowing murals of gold on the floors of our kitchen. We didn’t have need for the sun. We built our ceilings high and the sound of our lives echoed there forever. Reverberating above us. Resounding chords that reminded us of every good thing we had experienced together. The sweet melodies always floating up near the rafters and then further, towards the sky. The night I first met you I thought I had never met someone so good. The stars seemed to human exuberant refrain that rivaled Mozart to my ears. You said you couldn’t hear them so I stayed up trying to record it on my phone, but the patterned evening sky can’t be captured on a cellphone camera. So I learned to wait. And I was sure that I could make you hear them. You reminded me of how immeasurable the Universe is; how much of it we have not seen and have not heard. When I was a little girl I used to think that I could see into the future. My mom would humor me, but my father never thought it was amusing. For him, the future was far too unknown for a child. When I told you, you thought it was a quirky birthmark and it made you love me more. I think. The morning after our wedding day we woke up in a hotel room right off the highway. We spoke in hushed tones to each other ’s skin in bed, about our dreams for the future. And I swear I had a premonition that we would one day build ourselves a house as glorious as Westminster Abbey on a spring day, framed in green and pastel wonder – ornate with joy. It was my own Divine Calling. I could see The Cathedral standing tall and strong in my mind. Our lives rich with dreams planted in dark earth that grew by the sounds of Mass in the morning. You are still just as good to me as you were that first night. I have never met anyone so pure. I wish we could live with the lights out because the shadowy sky feels like a kind of day to me. I wish it was the morning after the night of our wedding and we could wrap ourselves under quilts and lull ourselves in and out of sleep with murmurs about our unborn baby. And how we will call her The Queen. And we will have a galaxy.
One day we will see the dirty rubble of a church unbuilt; our citadel. I can see it in my mind like when I was a girl. Sometimes I still think I can see the future. Most days I dismiss my visions as nothing more than a few freckly constellations on my right arm, but tonight I believe in their reality. We will build a castle in the dark and we will live our life slow dancing to the song that the galaxies sing over us at Dusk. We will teach our daughter how to listen to the notes and dig her little toes in the dirt. We will tell her that the darkness is a blanket for our dreams – a place where things grow. The Cathedral will ring its bells behind her and always beckon her home. And the chorus of that apparition rains down like a meteor shower throughout the night. Like a choir of cherub children are rejoicing right this minute and we can hear them all down here on Earth. Side-by-side and standing silently, we hold hands outside our little house after dinner. Our palms scrubbed clean, the air still and soundless. The breeze lifts my hair and loosens it from the braid I’ve folded it into. The ground underneath our feet is red, rich with the blood of the future; I think we need to dig. The night we wed under the stars, we danced long after all the guests left for home. You said for the first time that you could hear what they were singing. We were clothed in the evanescent and iridescent light of the Universe’s thrill, its breath on our cheeks and its symphony playing around us. You can hear it and one day The Queen will hear it too.
Blue, but not for you anymore Emily Battaglini
Undone Brendan Stringer Night of birth, flower pressed and boxed unfolded–– hotair whoosh! Carmine, warm and dark, burning, pillowing, growing city lights, hot lines of wire twisting and pulsing and kissing our breathing blanket of night. hungover sink –––looking into mirror–––
You do know? me sober is different, am cowardly weak, knees shake small. Little man trying to get big, always with the morning leaving.
Lost and Inadequate Brendan Stringer Gentle blue magenta oils fish scale water. Cold boneprickles naked arms, skull, lake rippled mind. Night crawling in over Arnprior.
Hush Paul Harper Wet street echo in the alley Outside my window Eating sweet raspberries On the other side of the funnel You make me feel tender Distilled in calm evergreen Draped in a sunset cloth Used to clean your face
Plateau Paul Harper Stared for hours at screen Went for walk around block To try to feel Concrete Eyed some lush scenery Don’t turn to me I know absolutely Nothing
Sheet Music Sabrina Sgandurra You take away all sound, I am left with nothing but my pen. I can only speak on the page, Because no language has the words To express my thoughts. Responding to your silken words, That linger like windy whispers Echoing in my ear, Seems near impossible
As my brain overthinks – Rushing to conclusions, You keep me calm reminding me of our content, Our soft, sweetened, passionate embrace. Our music which we create – The rare staccato of our fights, The constant wholeness of our kiss. So I write this sheet music, Hoping that it can convey My appreciation, my asphyxiation When you speak, releasing the odour Of a carmine rose, Suffocating me; a masochist. I have become addicted To the sound of the notes That leave your lips
Garden’s Shed Bri Hoy
Another Tuesday Bri Hoy It’s happened again That feeling where I go to bed at 3pm It’s happened again Stay there for days My mind at a stand still But thoughts racing Covering myself in blankets when I’m not cold And taking them off when I’m not warm I look out the window Sun smiling so bright Birds chirping so light Clouds full of dreams float by And that’s all I want, Some hopes and dreams.
Toes for Dance Morgan Bocknek
A Silent Epilogue Brittany Noel Summer has no reason to comfort Its single cherry sunset, grass that stings bare legs Something happened last night You must have forgotten, misplaced the warmth I still left the door unlatched, creaking The lightening biting at the windows The Carbon Monoxide detector screaming louder than I ever could Your voice pulls the spun wool over my already closed eyes Can’t stand the sight of my bloodshot gaze, my veins are too much for you Pulsing and telling the truth with an unsteady rhythm Created a new language by the sun-drenched orange morning Yellow candy floss strands of hair lingering between your mother’s old pillow cases I, caged in your gentle negligence, cotton mouthed, grinding teeth Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, cocktail of stability Eight months removed but never really left “Just don’t ask me what happened”
In Mind Cameron MacDonald It is that puddle my eyes try to sink into as if the fin of a page would leap from the unconscious through jaws of a silver screen. Bite into the wrong red meat and the eclipse will pickle you in ancient knowledge. After all, Mimnermus coughing the clockwork spelled out the still which of now. For example, say the poet’s words were the bones. Would you play fetch with the dalmatian? bury them with the peaches? All you’re left with is Ginsberg and a fruit as orange as a read picture book. No air—just a black howl into Frost’s snow patch. Our paper’s thinner than the ocean plates or the steak of continents that bleed out boneless: you must have seen this coming! Your flashlight has burnt out with the moon and the batteries are between the ragged claws of “real” writers, so I’ll try to swim to the surface with stones in our pockets.
I Am Not My Brain / Chemical Balance Trisha Rolfe
Body of Water Terese Mason Pierre Blue-green eyes wander the shores of other islands Shallow sociability entices the inexperienced Pulls out Deep groans Repeat with cycles of the moon A sky-sun mirror is best throw something in and watch it sink to the bottom Confidence is key I crossed only once and my horizon vanished If you find that sunken treasure keep it
Death of the First World Terese Mason Pierre A sun fans out and straps in soft red bath sustained by the cycle of an unseen Deity, felt even seen through magical equipment: A universe occupied by all and none. Limit is reached upon a timely collapse, a Draining of familiar waters when pulled into the most diverse of afterlives, your Gift: a name, and gender.
Smokey Lips Will Butcher
Fresh Air Will Butcher
love 2 crooz Brayden van Meurs
arrested Brayden van Meurs
Sparrow Ned McFarlane The greatest ten things on a plate. Impasse of the hand, order and entropy: between they call humane. I last caved on West One, eavesdropping on my own pulse, until they abbreviated heart and brain overdone and discharged. But later made the descent to be more crooked. They are here and call it home, burrowing anxiously below the sudden, dexterous light â€“ to attack and drag off the defeated and run in fear from those who donâ€™t fall into the wet shadows where dementia purrs. This IS war, and once it has begun (if it ever did) it cannot end. The greatest ten things herded by peons and fates.
The greatest ten things hidden amongst dying animals in dimly-lit crates. I only look after my own house now when a sparrow falls the land is full.
post-war hangover Hannah Polinski there were pearls on the floor and boots facing each other and we danced [of course] because thats the only line of poetry i can remember. there are at least eight variations of saying farewell to a lover and only one of them is goodnight. be creative i know you can. there are at least six fish in the fishbowl but only three if you forgot to feed your dog. moleskine journals were not created for calculations only recreations of the old testament and bebop on a friday night. if this is what it feels good to be i dont want to be anything. i want to be the sky an hour after sunset when darkness lunges at the fading light. everything we know is because of the sun. the cracks in the fishbowl are delicate because kids tap at the glass [they dont know any better]. we didnt teach them better because we never felt better ourselves. tap three times a lover is standing too close. six months later the lover still hasnt said goodbye. blurry but fading backwards into the gold light. be creative he knows you can. the lord and our savior [the dead goldfish buried in the backyard]. we said grace before our meals but we still hadnt washed our hands. dirty with a crush that makes you feel. if this were an autobiography id record the seconds between flashes of kaleidoscopic flamingos kicking their legs in a spectacular flamenco. there was grey script and green script but we preferred the black font [lowercase] to tell the neighbours about the death of my goldfish. everything we know is because of the sun. you look best on a sunday morning.
Jack Luke Thomas Edwards
George Luke Thomas Edwards
Luke Luke Thomas Edwards
Ed Luke Thomas Edwards
The magnum opus of the 2016 academic year. Thank you to all our submitters.