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Poetry

Fifth snifter and the Amberoid Ashtray

Fifth Snifter

Ali Pinkney

Almost forgot who taught me
How to love how,
The oven and Hume

It was me, it was you,
Most of all it was you and I,
an aeroplane first time to Montréal,
And the words
Everything can change over Night

Apartment 5

Resistance and a denim
cow hide skirt Renée lent me,
Carving at The Spill your telephone
John What a hobo  said
Almost rang

his red beard

Wireless
Propped on a drill stand
middle room That mattress
used to be

Green sarong on the window Brown birds
Assumedly Leanne with the broken blonde plait
good will and good laugh

No lampshade!

Brunette to brunette, asking,
From the drill stand like a microphone

Father’s voice
fills the room
with a cold, tired
nudity—



I thought Will was there
but I was naked.
Brunette to brunette,
Yet
dressed in the lashes
Mascara,
black
down, here—
asking
…Father?

Now, asking

Brunette to brunette,
You asking,
“Do I have you for the night?”


the red beard on the stand

“Asking,”

Dad...

Amberoid Pt. 1

Ali Pinkney

Everything can change over Night—it
succeeds only to Night

This is the gloaming
of my life, and I
shy at puppy dogs, and I’ve
renewed an admiration for red brickwork, and I am
tarrier, now,
for the gravel
scrap in Gatineau, QC—Yet



Dark aviator sunglasses in a red room on a black dais

(different same-red room under
the pipe drip ceiling with no friend

but yes, for the
red room and the black dais)

fragments of the briefcase, another dais,
bar ledge overhead, another dais,

both black

the Plathian first kiss
out of eye sight there

Dave and James know me!
I have a sandwich here THOUGH it is cucumber
swiss peanut butter Pressed
They won’t put it on NOT on the chalkboard
Fruit in my coffee
Dave and James know me
it is really okay…

Ashtray

Ali Pinkney

Keyboard I remember
Saying
I don’t know how to stop him
To her
Remember asking Peter Jacksons are for hobos her
What is Campari
Don’t remember In the office

The room is so dark
but it was red

Black Crows overhung the
Black blanketed bed,
a dais
women Consoling
It was Laura

I had no idea
We were all there

I just kissed
Until we left
We didn’t all leave
with the ospreys until

I left
until I

was
in the black plastic chair
Under the pipe drip
With a snifter
in the same red room

With
no friend

But a telephone.

Amberoid Part 2

Ali Pinkney

Yes,

It was the red room and the black dais
It was the

Venison show. Man that was the singer
with the broken legs, yes,
He wanted to dance
the young brunette, Yes,
he seemed off somehow, Yes,
And
From Brayden and the porno cards
In the back
You,
Becca thought I was too young,
She was ordinary,
Yes,
You swelled
to stop him from dancing on his crutches

the red room



Brock at George was Knock on Wood then, a dais
Welch Bookstore was a ledge then, a dais,

Two men in different at Night
Succeeded night

But only you
who
stopped him from dancing.

Ali Pinkney

is a writer (Tampion 2014) who studies (B.A. Hons English & Creative Writing 2017) at Concordia University in Montréal.

You’ve mixed a colour like blood on your palette

Esmé Pine

I follow your pointing finger to the horizon. You trace the shape of hills in phthalo green. It’s atmospheric, you say, the way colours recede into the distance. I think of flattening, illusions of space. I think of the way a lung can collapse if there’s too much air and a hole in your chest. We learned how to clear the clotted edge of a bandage, to let air escape with every new breath so the blood can drain down. I think of colours, analogous, gauze fading red into burgundy. The cool colours of valleys are softest on your canvas. When these hills erode into flatlands, a picture of time made still, I wonder what you will paint, and if I could save you if ever your breath was escaping through a hole in your chest.

The Water is Warmest in August, but Colder the Deeper You Go

Esmé Pine

Swim with me, to the middle of the lake.
We can watch the white sky and kick our feet
To float. Ignore the pull of weeds, the hiss
Of lake bugs suspended, nicking our skin.
How deep does it go? I’m too scared to touch
The bottom below. Imagine the yawn
Of lake floor, the rocks beneath, a catfish
Moving slow. Feel us shrink at the surface.
If you swim out with me, we can hold hands,
Hold our breath. We can pull ourselves under,
Hear the water press our ears, the silence
Of a pulse in blue. Let’s open our eyes
And wave our free arms, send our small bodies
Deeper, fighting the fear of cold and mud.

Esmé Pine

is slowly completing a bachelor's degree in English & Creative Writing with a minor in Art History. Her writing has recently appeared in Headlight and Soliloquies Anthologies, and is forthcoming in the FOFA's Exhibition Catalogue. She is this year's editor-in-chief at The Void Magazine, which means she spends most of her time trying to write emails that are businesslike but also somehow cute? Still working on it.

NO WONDER

Jay Ritchie

“What we see of things are the things.” - Alberto Caeiro

Between rainy brick buildings
I take a picture of the roof
of Carnicería Mundial reflected in a puddle

and it simply makes me sad
for no good reason
or for a good reason
either way

I can’t explain it
even though I’ve been trying my whole life.
One way or another I get it wrong
and when I see it spelled out
my conviction expires

I’m not sure what I felt
or even if I felt it

which is a third order of feeling
like how a rainbow becomes white light
after it travels through a prism.

There is cause and effect
but life is not continuous
like a novel–
I don’t think so.

Waiting tables at Fresh and Fabulous Pizza
is something that happened
at some point in time.

It’s not why
inclusive of all possible interpretations
from counsellors, psychics, and children

I stand outside the Art Gallery of Ontario knowing

a soft grey ball of fur will hover, unburst
while a recurring mild insomnia
with no answers
and even lesser questions
reminds me

day in
day out
of the one thing

I lost before I even possessed it
the many things

that evanesced inside the thrill of arrival
like a photo that reverts to negative
once exposed to darkness

or a libidinal desire for destruction
that freezes over the ashes imperceptibly.

The cost of going back
is days of rejected influence.

Then walking home
after catching up with an old friend
at a purposefully unfashionable restaurant
I feel suddenly nervous–

she doesn’t believe in linear time, she quit acting
because the director of Dog Sees God
started to give her confusing instructions like

Be yourself.
Act normal.

And in pinioning key life moments
a sediment settles to the bottom of an underground lake
once and for all.
It cannot be retrieved

but for the first time
ugly details have kitsch

and I parade them down peaceful streets
named after violent men
for profit.

Before you know it
what you never dared to do
has become your calling card:
you’re one more Wile E. Coyote throwing Acme Black Holes
on the wall going nowhere as birds
disappear through them.

Overcast days
like this we can reflect
on being close at night
and later in cars.

Better to do better and dream
dream so loud the colours bleed

no suffering
in the morning the miracle
I worship is mundane
and omnipresent
replete with velocity and wonder

but not any that can be translated
true wonder

no wonder.

CHEER UP, JAY RITCHIE

Jay Ritchie

Weeks go by and then
morning is a song by the Cocteau Twins
full of incomprehensible meaning.
The army trailer arrives


young urban creatives laugh
there is concern
regarding loss of grey matter


from the plane of the Ubisoft aprons
the 21st century exhales.


Leafless tree, I’m hallucinating.


The army trailer departs
the coffee is bitter


November was a painting in the gallery
I looked at but didn’t share any thoughts on
after we rendezvoused


though I heard someone thinking
Beauty is proportional to distance.
Walk away to get close to it.


Passing Uniform Company Limited


I will think about inevitability
how it’s beautiful anyway
that such a structure can exist at all
that we go along with it
that it doesn’t have time to talk
that we’re the ones who shape it
that seasons come and go no matter what
that it’s been reopened for discussion
that good and bad are small words
that yesterday is over
that truth is manufactured
that nothing not even death is certain
that giving is easy
that gratitude is free
that heaven came down and kissed me
that it’s funny how it’s funny


how time moves fast and then it stops
how it changes on a daily basis
how the long way can be the short way
how I believe in everything
how there will never be an omen if I don’t want it
how consciousness is a precept
how fragile and heavy


it hums along at an impenetrable register
from such elevated depths.

Jay Ritchie

Jay Ritchie's work has appeared in Powder Keg, carte blanche, The Puritan, Spork, Vallum, Glittermob, Everyday Genius, Matrix, Joyland, and other places. He is Assistant Editor for Metatron in Montreal and tweets at @jaywritchie.

light head

Adam Zachary

you say sorry
when you stand
up from the couch & fall
right back over


sorry, you say,
all this
has made me lightheaded


I smile to know
I have taken
off some of that weight

comrades’ kiss!

Adam Zachary

you lick your lips,


 I lick your lips


    we’re in this together,

[untitled]

Adam Zachary

my love for you mostly is in spite of things

though I suppose that
there is love in spite of things
and then there is delusion

you, you who will see this poem
and feel something for me
(I can’t get more accurate than that)

you, as always, on my floor
reading awful paperbacks

Adam Zachary

is an artist, editor, and writer in Toronto. Their first novel, The End, by Anna, will be published by Metatron this fall.

Roughing It in the Bush: The Revenge

Spencer Gordon

I

I was in the bush, up nah’thern. Hunting cold Ontario waters
as bleak and mirrored as my smartphone. Richochet’d up out
the city feeling pummeled, unhinged, but still emboldened by
the stuff I learned in e-books about how forests might smell.
I passed men in Citroёns too tiny for their jokes. I swished
past women flashing devil-horns, Satanic, little nails painted
fuchsia. I left a lovely lady in her 30s, making a go of making jewelry.
The bush, creaky windblown, like the Blair Witch. On the route I dined
at pricy chain diners, ordering the awful vegan appetizers.
A kid showed me a pic on his iPhone 6: a melting film of ice.
Passed meadow-dwelling day-drunks, soused by Labatts at 3 pm,
burping home to dessert-whipping matrons quietly tooting
in their kitchens, all sunflowered. I thought: this was random, me heading up.

II.

I used to subscribe to things: social democracy, Art in America. I mistook
the reasons. And all of a sudden, I’m like fauna-obsessed, gawking
at birds that may have been dumpsters. I learned to leave the Hogweed,
Lotus, the Jimson and the Hemlock, imagining their jackknife deaths.
Thought the bush would taste like Minhas ale, heaven. Left an Aphex Twin
alias on my desktop computer, the box I use to mash in telemarketing
gains. Used to envy the Bay Street bros, all Harry Rosen, sweating
oysters at last call. Lined up, I felt obese, like. Felt poly in an old mono
marriage. Felt they could see my bacne, stress-induced, leaking through
my Jockeys from Winners. I didn’t want a Second Life avatar to feel free:
me, posing as a burlesque dancer from Chicago, a queer mama more
trouble than talk, when all I do is talk into tiny holes, tell folks like me
they need to sell videos to sell their shit. Wasn’t about to start a vinyl
collection: another glum dad carving out a den in a depressing Airbnb.

III.

I used to think, dude, you always edit other peoples’ comforts; then you
borrow their wicked sorrows. In the bush, I’d be—am—alone: comfortless.
Filthy hard, though. I drew a square in the spongy mud, then drew a cat
inside it. I squee’d, LOL’d, and thought of the billions wasting time on the digital.
I’m a Pisces crybaby, so I cried, the tears crackling to frost on my cheeks.
I miss baba ganoush, hummus. Bear Grylls makes it look easy, so I don’t know
what to make of him, other than the fact that we’ll both age horribly, pitted by
Canadian winds storming south, saying the “North Remembers” like on
Game of Thrones. Shit—there’s a folk-fair nearby, and yes, they push the artisanal
moutarde, even up here, like they did back home in the gentrified GTA.
Junction-based families with guts bursting with gelato, no sense of humour
for days: the type of folk whom you gotta roast gently; you can’t make ’em
suffer in the Lear-type of sense. You’ve got to go gentle on their laugh
lines. Most are living, breathing memes, anyhow, spoiled by deskwork and liberalism.

IV.

I tried to list all the possible versions of me: CFL-head, stand-up comic,
Marvel obsessed jazz-explainer, health goth, dairy farmer, Cantonese inventor.
Renaissance mom, proud Kiwi, retired Air Force veteran in love with Jesus.
Thought I could have been a black market entrepreneur, a story revealer
for an engineering start-up. Even could have been a communications consultant!
But none of these stood up to the ways pines sway in the devil’s wind. Moaning
cold, as terrible as beauty—make you rethink suckling a creed or two, even those
long outworn. I missed burritos, extra spicy. I missed MTV’s style section
(my only clothes being Gor-Tex, unflattering). I shed pounds from the lack
of fats, got trounced by angry rocks poking up through the tent floor
as I whimpered over granola. When you’re frozen and starving you don’t
have time to get mad at alt-right bros; you don’t mourn the Blue Jays’ losses.
You don’t plan baby steps toward anti-discrimination, who’s following
you or not following back. You don’t draw Mohammed the Prophet in the mud
for no reason. You find a leafy branch you marry, turn into a spouse. Call it Stephanie
or Steve. I don’t know, I’m talking “Modern Society” like a tired grey acid-head,
but it’s good to leave the fancy ceremonies behind: the flappers and painters,
the soft-grunge-loving teens, even the self-styled Jewish Disney Princesses. Eh?

V.

Things I learned up here, where I am never warm: creek water is better
than craft beer. It matters who wins between Hillary and Donald, if only
because one of them might uproot all this menace. All flowers seem on
the verge of extinction, seem precious as your own kids. Your insides do
get less rotten, even if you took PoliSci, binged on meat pies, listened at length
to the Millennial Whoop on every station. Drake doesn’t matter, but good
for him. There’s woke, and then there’s Nature Woke, and it makes you
nostalgic for a time when you didn’t even have a word for the wolf bite,
the snow, the merciful death: it was all breath. Parties in the suburbs
were indeed the shit, but they ain’t nothing compared to all this patternicity.
The Union will never be more perfect because people beside each other
is the problem and the dream and the beautiful memory. If I get cancer, here,
it’s just called Pain, and I live with Pain every single day, in the woods or in my hovel.
Watch the chipmunks and the spiders living with it, too, all of them begging
for an end but terrified of it. The stars in the sky tell me it’s gonna be good
to go away and morph into a root. You jerk off a lot less, which I’m not sure
is a good thing, but I don’t miss it. I don’t miss you, either, whoever you are:
corgi tamer, Mizoguchi film frigger, healer, prophet, or loner by choice.

VI.

Three days, three nights. A lifetime. Anyway, I’m back.

Spencer Gordon

is the author of the short story collection Cosmo (Coach House Books, 2012, called Canada's most underrated book by Quill and Quire) and the poetry chapbooks Anno Zombie Dance (Emergency Response Unit, fall 2016), Conservative Majority (Apt. 9, 2013) and Feel Good! Look Great! Have a Blast! (Ferno House, 2011, shortlisted for the 2012 bpNichol Chapbook Award). His work has appeared in places like the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, the National Post, EVENT, THIS Magazine, Poetry Is Dead, The Winnipeg Review, CNQ, Broken Pencil, Joyland, and many more. He’s also co-founder/editor of the online literary journal The Puritan. He lives in Toronto the Mean.

girth

Tara McGowan-Ross

imagine a girl, then imagine something
not a girl, but girlish, substantial, globular,

sticking pillowlike out of the gaps in
the denim and the summer dresses

attracting insects and the eyes of
farmhands, even now, something eerie

about the almost-lovely, about the jawline
breeching like a ship hull over collar

thick and tallowed. she frequents restaurants
and frequents chatrooms and frequents

little else, hard to move around so big
in such a small town, attracting eyes

and words like blackflies like she does,
words not coming out right, body

unsure how to be touched yet, while around
her the boys all squeeze their pricks out

on each other and some of the other girls,
according to reports by the other other girls

who sit in circles she is not a part of, for
obvious reasons like the smell, and the crying

and the pubis stretching sweatpants tautan an
douillette. eventually she’ll learn

the alchemy of the bathroom, utilizing
every salve and every burning, bubbling

liquid, using everything for its intended
purpose, from the astringents to the powers

to the finger down her throat.

if you die in Halifax do you die in real life?

Tara McGowan-Ross

if you could go outside you’d want to see the harbour.
you could dig another one here, but you are finished
pacing. tired animal. stupid girl; swallowed
sand and sea glass like dirty pills, licked the shoreline
like the counter in the women’s toilet at the local gay bar.
look where it got you.

how much weight you need to fill your pockets up enough
to pull your body down and stay down, walk out
past George’s Island to the open ocean? would the city
Meet on the edge to dredge the harbour after you? think
of the time spent waiting for a war that never came,
Think of a forest of metal balloons and water thick with shit
and living fish. they will remember you only
in coded voicemails—hello. bought
any sea glass lately?

a river rushes east toward the ocean you left
and the volcano here is a forest now, the city freed for burning
by human hands, every spring, just the way you like it.
all the fire between the mountains can’t change the colour
of the sky, okay?

why can’t you be more like sushi?
or, poem for that boy I hung out with in high school

Tara McGowan-Ross

sushi fights bloat
                  you order pizza
                  (even though I have told you nine times now
                  that I am lactose intolerant)
sushi doesn’t get you too full
                  your pizza makes my midsection
                  swell with gas
                  (I shrink away when you reach around
                  and touch my stomach)
sushi looks like pearls on a plate
                  you mostly look at your video game
                  (after I rode my bike for forty minutes
                  to get here)
sushi feels like sex in my mouth
                  you feel me up
                  during the fish-gutting scene
                  in Office Space
sushi smells like copper, and the ocean
                  you smell like a butt with feet
                  (you look both ways before
                  you hold hands with me)
sushi doesn’t mind its homies seeing it with a fat girl
                  you call me your cousin

                  (when your mom’s around)

Tara McGowan-Ross

is an indigenous multidisciplinary artist, and an organizing collective member at Spectra Journal. When she has an address, it is usually in Montréal. Her work has appeared on ÖMËGÄ, Matrix's website, and in Alien She Zine. Her début collection of poetry, GIRTH, is forthcoming from Insomniac Press in the fall of 2016. Say hi at tara.mcgowan.ross@gmail.com.

(wow the moon pt 5)

Brad Casey

the moonlight makes white the ground
and young, longhaired, shirtless men
gather it in sheepskin pouches and they
will tie it to a string and they will
sell it in the street as a necklace,
as a ring, they will bring you to
the river to watch the rats scatter
and to hear the boats singing serene
on the moon lit water and you will
look at them and they will smile and
when they think you won't notice they
will look to the moon with their
faces contorted in horror moaning the soft
hymnal bone songs of their master the moon

(wow the moon pt 6)

Brad Casey

fifty men of blue pulse through the morning half-light
the patriotic horns of latin morning
the morning in aquarius, the moon in a rose,
a thousand candles lighted, melting for orlando,
the church bells, the grave yards, the silent ships of night
it's so hard to take, I say to the suffering,
burning, exploding star of morning

(wow the moon pt 7)

Brad Casey

seven women
seven horses swimming
seven sangres
la luna
azules
a ghost in andalusia
walking sombre
dirt roads
of death
lay down in now naked green grass

madre, madre
quién te he
quitado la vida
the smell of cherubic men
on my skin
campfire full
my bed
memory of you
an entire object composed of
my memories of you

the soldiers of our love
lead me blind
behind
sighing seville
the alboran sea
duende blue and green
as the celebration butt
of a gun
shoots a shadow
of longing
through a midnight of you

(wow the moon pt 11)

Brad Casey

there's something of powder
and salt in the air

the big she is somewhere
and is somewhere in a dream

a man presses the cutting edge
of a knife to my spine

I run down the line
the blue line of eternal

the french river gushes
calling out his name

I'm haunted by the same
ghosts of these ten years

I call out to the wilderness
and get nothing in return

maybe nature will burn
and horses form the cinders

I'm back on tinder
watch out

Brad Casey

is a writer currently living in Toronto. He is the founder and head editor of literary journal The 4 Poets and his first book, The Idiot on Fire, was released by Metatron in 2016.

Denmark Pure God’s Grace
& the Blessed Orb
    for D.J.

Jamie Sharpe


The Bennett Sun commissioned me
to make their album cover
because I’m a friend
and work for wine.

The lead singer wanted woodpiles
beside rowboats
containing suitcases
with nuthatches on their handles.

Or, a wolf and a stove.
         *
I type Dana Jennejohn and the Bennett Sun
into an online Kanji tattoo generator.

Flies circle my design.

Shoo the flies away;
we’re almost young.

Procreation

Jamie Sharpe

A claw-crane
arcade game, with glass
blacked out,

is installed
in the Guggenheim Bilbao.
To activate,

place a quarter
in its slot, buy it a drink, or
propose marriage.

By carefully
manipulating the joystick,
grab: plush toys,

twenty-five to life,
a rash, nothing. Beg parents
for change.

When the claw dips,
hold your breath.
         
         *

Betty Rubble’s
blue skirt could hide
anything beneath.

It’s hot here in the town
of Bedrock.

Made a Contribution
Being Yet Another
Cautionary Tale

Jamie Sharpe

(I)

At Knossos

The Turks stored ammunition
inside a black cat

and the cat exploded.

The danger in crossing anyone
is becoming a cat

bomber suspect.

(II)

Mothra at Fort Knox

When student amassed,
flapping and flailing

in their no-money-dance,
they were drawn

to the light. Gold Wouldn’t
hold their reflection.

Jamie Sharpe

is the author of three collections of poetry: Animal Husbandry Today, Cut-up Apologetic, and Dazzle Ships (Forthcoming ECW, 2017). He lives in Comox.

Maybe babies cry because they’re always hungover.

Dan Christie

You told me something that didn’t make sense,
how everything was a window or a door,
but I was too drunk and didn’t want to think about it.

I had a really bad headache and I felt
like I was cross-eyed.

You made me feel like a big weird baby
the way you carried me back to your apartment,
and how, in your bedroom, I nursed on your breasts,
and you were like my mom, kinda?

Ok:
I was this big weird drunk baby,
and you were like my mom kinda,
and it’s strange but for a second I could see sorta through you, the uterine light

Look at that dog!

Dan Christie

Look at that dog!
That is a dead dog.
Hey Tom, you think
somebody might have the kindness
to pull me out of the street
when I die?

Dan Christie

writes poetry and prose.

juvenalia

Madeleine Maillet

i was celibate that black year

i got so lonely i got a puppy i wasn’t brave enough to name

i have been able to have an orgasm with no hands since i was nine so i did it like that

i hid my face under my quilt so my puppy wouldn’t see but he felt me breathing
he’d sniff at my nose and sometimes nibble
it was distracting but i’d still come

then i’d feel my cheek against the seams of my mother’s quilt then i’d feel apprehensive

it was a lot for my face
a puppy an apartment the fat sun in the sky

one day it was noon when i pulled off my mother’s quilt my breath wine dry my puppy angry

he growled at me i growled at him
baby teeth inside my nostril
he cowered in the crook of my knee
blood spattered blond fur round puppy spine
i carried him like a baby into the shower
and my puppy sat unhappy at my feet

i blew my nose
blood on white tile
i lifted my face to the water
my puppy lay down
his rib bones on my foot bones
i heard him lap up the water
i didn’t look down
i didn’t want to see him drink it
to feel gross or feel good

i was celibate because i was hoping to avoid violence not trauma you understand just the everyday violence of conversation and watching tv and spending money

having no intentions is very relaxing after a lot of expectation

what i mean is i had a totally normal abortion

what i mean is at the sight of blood for a year i was always concerned for myself existentially as well as physically

oh my god how am i telling a story

my dog and i are blood brothers

my mom and i are the same person

we thrill at the husky girlish tone of susan sarandon

i have a man now he walks my dogi gave my dog a name but i still call him son

all my friends have the dry wit of seasoned whores which makes me feel so rich

actually i have 5,955.00 in checking

i’m a white girl with jugs and the serious privilege of facial symmetry but i’m missing all of my accessories

antidepressants, cats, an eating disorder

it’s easy to not have an eating disorder live off the saltines that are in the cupboard

if you’re the sort that cries don’t forget to drink water

i spend my energy trying not to cry it’s more cowardly

if i start crying i don’t think i’ll have the reserves of energy required to stop

why do this dog and man want to drink my blood it’s 30 years old and dirty because of cigarettes and HPV and not drinking water

this is only exposition

i’m so open I’ve been proposed to three times

by a banker a scholar and a sailor they were “lost” in the conventional sense

a sense of self being another need we can never meet

it’s a disease to look people in the eye all the time and be nice

i have a sleeve of saltines my son is a dog he only wants things i can give

Madeleine Maillet

is a writer and translator living in Montreal. Her prose has appeared in No Tokens, Joyland, Matrix, Minola Review, Hobart, and anthologized in The Journey Prize Stories 27. Her poetry has appeared in Prelude and Matrix.

Backyard Uncanny

Jeff Parent

Imagine a there’s a bottle green Chevy
ticking in the carport
and Debbie, with a Steinberg’s bag
and a single flip flop on her left foot,
(she lost the other at the gas station)
steps out into
the thickest part of eight pm
shouts popsicles!
and holds aloft
the sweaty plastic sack.
Meanwhile,
against the tall, red fence
holding back the pool,
the house’s long shadow
bends her boys in crooked shapes.


Imagine there’s a brown stubby on the lawn
sideways in the blue-grey grass
and Debbie drops the Steinberg’s bag
when her flip flop naked right foot
(calloused heel painted driveway black)
falls hard upon
the label part.
Fucknhell! she shouts,
that fractured 50
grinding to the bone.
Meanwhile,
against the tall, red fence
a rigid shard of glassy sun
escapes the creeping house
and cuts out crooked boy shapes.

Jeff Parent

Originally from Montreal, Jeff Parent is a stay-home dad with a BA (hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing from Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke. Never much of a poet before, he finally “got it” as a mature student and decided to write some of his own. He was a finalist in The Fiddlehead’s 2016 Tell It Slant poetry contest and has been published by Lemonhound, The Quilliad, Taproot, The Mitre, and Beech Street Review. Jeff lives with his wife, their young son, and two cats who lack any respect for the furniture.

The You

Eli Jack Lynch

I  left my body for months to get away from  you
you as a thought I had in my head instead of you
as  a  real  person  with  faults and middle of  the
night   snoring   and   cute  hair.  I drew   pictures
of  what you looked like when I couldn’t see  you
I gave you nicknames and odd interests and very
colourful  button-ups  I told you it’s time for  you
to   grow   up.   I     told    you   it’s   time   for   you
to make adult decisions.It wasn’t long before you
grew    character   flaws.   Four   weeks   and   you
chewed,  mouth  wide  open.  Eight  weeks  and  I
couldn’t  stand  the you on Wednesdays at 4  a.m.
or      the     you     on    Fridays    at    9 a.m.      You
chewed loudly at nine weeks and by twelve your
sneakers    smelled    so  bad,          you  refused to
wear   fresh  socks.   I   left   you  in Cassagnabère
in   the  garden   buried   with    the    red    onions
I planted on my own.  You escaped a month later
in  Zalka at 3 a.m. when I was sharing a bed  with
my  sister.  She was  fast asleep when  I woke  up
startled  as  the AC   blew   too   cold   air   on   me  
my  sister hogging  the  blanket. I sat in my  teta’s
too   fancy  living   room   on  the   uncomfortable    
couch  with  a  cramp.  I couldn’t tell if it was  you
or   the  water  in  Lebanon.  My teta  asked   how
the you that  she didn’t  know was. I told her you
didn’t  exist  because  the  you  she  wanted   was
taller  than  me  and  has  brown hair and  brown
skin and  was  a   boy.  You were  my height,   you
sometimes    painted    your   lips  red,   had  dyed  
silver hair   and  a   purple   snapback  that      you
never wore inverted.  I came  back  and  the   you
I had  conjured  up  stayed  in  Zalka.  It  took  me
three    weeks    to    talk    to    the   old/new  
you.
It    took    me   six   conversations  
to   remember
your name    and    the    way    you    wanted    
distance  and  the ways I’m allowed to touch you.      
Sorry, I mean, was allowed to touch you.

Eli Jack Lynch

is a queer mixed boi who is sick of school and thankfully almost done (shout out to CW @ Conc U). They have been published on Metatron's OMËGA blog, in Alien She Zine and elsewhere. They make dumb jokes as part of the Spectra Journal Collective and helped organize Off The Page 2016.

we will be proved wrong long before we care enough to notice so forget about it long before it happens (or: refusing to learn
how to die in the anthropocene)

... perhaps an individual must consider [their] death          to be the final phenomenon of nature ...                     (The Open Boat)  

after Jake Platt, Roy Scranton, and Stephen Crane—             with whom we share, if but one thing, The Great Leveller

Charles Gonsalves

everybody lately
is keeping busy
describing everything
as unseasonable
by that do we mean
that we are surprised
that things are becoming
inconvenient
that our situation is actual
ly so
unbecoming
we can no longer tolerate it
do we mean
that our dinners cannot be made any more
palatable by adding any more
of whatever we have in superabundance
are we talking about the weather
are we paying attention to
the weather
when we wonder
why it feels like the earth is final
ly getting over us?
anyways it is noon
and i am in trinidad
being eaten slowly
by mosquitos that may or may not be carrying
the zika virus
they like my blood because i live
so high above sea level
and i am less likely to kill
thanks in part to the tranquilizing effects of
digital art
right now i am looking at 3816 x 4334 pixels titled
Sleeping Until This All Ends

Charles Gonsalves

Born in Port of Spain and landing in Montreal one year ago, after an 18 year sojourn in Edmonton that was more virtual than actual, Charles Gonsalves has just begun their first full-time year of what will be a double major in Western Society & Culture and English Literature at Concordia. They spend their spare time regretting that they have spare time and their occupied time planning permanent vacations to wherever there isn't such a thing. In their mean time they write poetry, and have appeared in Word and Colour and MICRO//MACRO. This submission is the first time they have sent a nude, and they hope it is bad enough to be liked ironically but nice enough to be appreciated thoughtfully.

Lincoln Logs

Greg Zorko

your parents are both architects
i got drunk with your dad
at the bar after you left
he told me about Western Canada
and “growing up in the 70s”
i showed him a picture of Michael Jordan crying
he bought me three shots
now i want to be an architect too.

brown envelope

Greg Zorko

you tell me
“this is my novel”
while
turning your computer screen around.
you show me
pictures of different cats
you must have found
on cutecutecats.tumblr.com,
or some other cat related website.
you arranged them in a non-narrative
but emotionally powerful sequence
which you say
was heavily influenced by Andrei Tarkovsky
and Terrence Malik.
when you asked,
i answered.
“honestly,
it’s a great great novel,
my all-time favorite.”

Greg Zorko

was born in 1990 in upstate New York. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he writes things and goes to school.

WALMART DAD, ZEUS

Sophie Mansfield

your daughters in the grocery cart
eat in the shadow of your belly
sleep by the glow moon
tuck their dirty legs under themselves
share a bar of white dove soap

you will never smell as clean
you sit in the setting sun
you own all you ever could

Sophie Mansfield

Sophie Mansfield likes flirting with girls by sending them poetry to put in their magazines.

You Never Even Sent Them

Claire Skahan

When I saw your Blundstones and baseball cap and the bad stick 'n' poke poking out of your cutoffs I was like Hey I've totally dated someone like this before, Oh yeah, Everyone.

It was raining and you said yes to a beer because your welfare cheque only came in on the first of the month. It made sense.

We were making out on my bed on the scratchy blanket and you warned me if like in a few days you send me cheesy love songs it doesn’t mean anything don’t take it the wrong way.

I was laughing and then we kept making out.

In the morning you asked, Do you have any drugs. I made bad coffee.

In the morning on the porch with the bad coffee, you played me Roy Orbison: Love Hurts. You told me love hurts. I tried to argue that love doesn’t hurt. I told you I hate Roy Orbison.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to continue being attracted to someone who continues to text me back. You never even sent me any songs.

Claire Skahan

is a queer-punk writer of words and also collective member and editor at Spectra Journal. Claire's work can be found in The Void, Subversions, Matrix magazine, Headlight Anthology, and on Twitter.

Apocrypha III

Alex Manley

That is what marks us: We are givers­up. We are surrenderers.
Honey and milk are under your tongue, and girls and attraction
and Paris and we've been broken up and we officially get solemn.
We know it’s a major loss but we’re continuing on. You are all
the candles pulled up by a hand, by strings; I am a nice clean
cut instead. Make it through the bone. You’ll still flip the
switch. You’ll still take down everything nice, smash every
precious thing. You’ll still ruin. Or maybe you're like me, a
rock garden locked, a spring sealed up. But let me set the
scene: Train love to fear you and you won't be a dead person.
Meat from a plate. Some of them used to live in your apartment;
Dante, Super Mario and chatter on the handhelds. You know, let
me at least be a warm body you could snug your words to. Arthur
Rimbaud's post­metal band Lettres, How High and, you know, we
would see each other. Objects have minds of their own. My phone
and all the porn that's on it. Alternately, paper bug is a term
first used in the late 19th century. It’s a riches­to­rags story.

Apocrypha IV

Alex Manley

About this flower: Gauzy deadtired mornings or storms,
when the over­hot sky and empty trees make their way through
keyboard fingers like they're homeless, like they'll go away
nicely if you pay them no mind, like your gender or your
housekeys or your yacht in the South Seas. I came to terms
with the fact that I am a sexual being of unimaginable power,
and the physics of attraction and the girls of Paris and the
winter break. Here is how I imagine it: On an airplane, mid-
flight, while my IMDb rating hovers in the mid­fives, on the
Internet. On YouTube. Zagat hated me. Love is not an exact
science. Make up new rules just to break them. Loop back and
thread through. But when this son of yours came with no cares,
who has devoured your wealth with teen suicide porn prostitutes,
and fraying ropes which won't support, and my writhing abilities
on whether I felt, too. New Twitter is ever in love with them.
It's hard for me to know what is good and what is bad in my
writhing. It seems to me that there are more and more people we
know in common now, you're his only daughter. But does that
mean you repair. Does that mean he would thank Nancy in a
specific tone that no real cop has ever had, does that mean he
would call us actors from rapper MF DOOM's song "Ballskin,"
does that mean that the inconsequential apparitions haunt off
her wavelength, which can be deadly. Cut its teeth and try to find
a why. That climbing goes five times: When you left, when you
came back, when you left, and in '68 for MLK and in '63 when
JFK bought it. I am so sick of literature. I still go back and
put on the take­away show; you killed the fattened calf for him.
I don't know if that's nice of you or misguided. Like missiles.

Apocrypha V

Alex Manley

There in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns, around midnight
at the Second Cup. Hold it up to the light to decipher the code. Get
a feel for the sacred rhythms and the television show Girls and the
laws of physics and the laws of gambling and the Tempeh. Something
cruelty­free. If the fact that you wouldn't have sex with me meant
you didn't love me anymore, we could rename Tall Mannahatta with her
yellow soles. Then watch the cells fragment, terrorists. Split in the
heat like weathered chocolate. On Sherbrooke street pass the little
rich people; your mother dies when you're five, no hesitance. You
never believed in mating, in aggressive and anti­social behavior, in
the idea that every coincidence can be imbued with meaning, in the
context of the link, so it felt worse than usual by a significant
margin. Listening to the dead people, the constant week­by­week
snake through the hourglass, hoping with every passing second that
the next thought evokes the 2004 Bright Eyes song "Lua.” To enjoy
the reference may also be to YouTube. That is why society hates us,
that is why the spit and the pitchforks. Because that'll mean at
least one of us escaped intact. They're just filled with bodies, and
it would have been worse for both of us. Now I know that you fear
God, because you have not withheld from me, and I don’t have anyone
to promise anything to around here. More than our being in love or
our cuteness or whatever was how much of a dick I was to you. For
the ageless Golem, he himself carried the fire and the knife. But
the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, like a man at
war with reality, incapable of accepting the obvious. He ripped open
the body bag and couldn't devote himself to his passion. And he just
loves me from a writhing standpoint, it’s not a question of sacrifice.

Apocrypha VI

Alex Manley

Imagine there are catacombs under things that are not Paris.
A land flowing with milk and honey, just letting things wash
over you. Break free for a week or two and then again. I’m a
sea­wolf, it's what we do. I'm in love with her, then, the
way the Chénier Cell would come to strangle Pierre Laporte,
and they're just keeping my heart in a Ziploc bag until the
trial's over. It would be easier to just text her, at this
point. But you're too cowardly. God was burning, yet was
not consumed. The local paper sent its theatre critic to a
high school play instead. Exalt the act. Extinct selves are
the ones waiting, waiting for the tiled floor to be strewn,
before the hockey game holds sway. You're still 19; I can't
believe I met you when you were 16. There’s no way I could
have planned this. I am a mammal, a memory. You are sexually
compassionate conservative. I promise you it’s a coincidence,
for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.

Alex Manley

is a Montreal-based writer and editor. A graduate of Concordia University's creative writing program, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in places like Shabby Doll House, Everyday Genius, Banango Street, Peach Magazine, and Maisonneuve. He was the recipient of the 2012 Irving Layton Award for Fiction and a finalist for the 2016 Metatron Prize. His debut poetry collection, We Are All Just Animals & Plants, is coming out any day now, so stay tuned.

Untitled

Rhiannon Collett

1.
Jean
crushed by a golf cart in her 88th year
How sharp a speed on such a small body
How white a luxury
How sticky a pain

My mother hid behind freshly baked bread instead of going to the hospital
My father denied she was hiding
but he didn’t go either

They called me
I had moved to Quebec
gone gay
& adopted feral cats


2.
Sarah
called my mother ( the preacher’s wife )
the Fucking Spawn of Satan

The custodian, Dick, raised a bottle-dyed eyebrow
as my mother sharpened her teeth

Telemarketers would call for Mrs. Collett & she would say
Mrs. Collett’s been dead ten years
but you can talk to me, if you like

Rhiannon Collett

is a queer-identified playwright & performer. She is the first artist to be commissioned out of Nightswimming Theatre's 5x25 initiative. Her first play, Miranda & Dave Begin Again, was shortlisted for the Playwright's Guild of Canada RBC Emerging Playwright Award. She lives in Montreal.

Fiction

Heir to the Throne

Sarah Brunning

In the Mojave Desert, an old woman's corpse was lying beneath the cool shadow of a large rock face. She was dressed only in an oversized and worse for wear Elvis suit, stained with her post mortem excrement and old and new blood (the new coming from the wound on her chest). Beside her was a cracked skull and the body of a coyote with a thick gold chain hanging about its neck. The heat had tanned her skin to leather, and the grin on her face bared her yellowed teeth and swollen tongue. Around her, in the shadow of the mesa, was an assortment of household goods. There was a lawn chair and a small table covered in bird bones and cassettes. A pile of different coloured rags and a bucket of rusted kitchenware rested under the small table, and on top of it was a portable tape player with a microphone and a small generator.  
       It was me and my (at the time) fiancée who found her like this. The stench of her made him vomit, and watching him vomit made me realize that I couldn't marry him after all, but I didn't think to say it out loud. What I did say was, "Martin, what time is it?"
He wiped the vomit off his lips and said, "It's five past three Nancy … Jesus Christ, should we call the police?"
I looked out at the sun, shielding my eyes with my hand.
       "No, Martin."
I turned back toward him; he was squatting and his face was moist and pale.
       "If we're not going to call the police, let's leave. I think you've proven your point." Martin looked over at the dead woman. “And Nancy, I'm not a good man."
       "Get the car," I said.
       My point had been that the Nevada desert was the closest to the moon we could get, and that in my opinion a good man was one who envied Neil Armstrong. Martin had wanted to prove his worth to me before we married at the Vegas drive-thru chapel, which is why we had gone out into the desert that day. As he walked over to where we had parked, I wondered what he would do with himself back in North Bend without me. I stood waiting for him, observing my surroundings. I looked at the burnt earth by the old woman that must have been a fire pit, and I looked at the can of kerosene that rested up against the wall of the rock. The coyote's eyes were open.
       There was an overwhelming amount of silence then, and alone in the shadow I could hear hissing from the tape player. I walked over to the glowing red light and realized that the old woman must not have died too long ago. She was the only one who could’ve pressed record and the reel was still turning. I had never heard someone die. In fact, I had never even thought of what it might sound like. The old woman’s grin was grinning right at me and I laughed out loud, wanting to add a sound to her artifact. It all reminded me of why I had found Martin attractive in the first place, not that I got sentimental or anything, though. He drove up in our rental car and I pocketed the cassette.
       Martin and I met in an online chatroom. He was H4RDM45TR, an internet dominant, and while we typed to each other he laid out his rules. Martin told me that Sir, You and Master would always be capitalized, but never i. I sat upright in my Peachland apartment with a bottle of icewine and for the first two hours he was like an eroticized typing test. He insulted the font i picked, and insisted i pick a nicer colour. i chose a pale rose and italics. He never said anything about his body. Martin started asking me what i would do for him.


       Would you kill yourself for me?
         Sir, yes, Sir.
       How would you kill yourself for me?
         Sir, i would walk into the atrium of a shopping mall nude and let anyone do anything to me, Sir.
         Sir, then i would slit my throat, Sir.
       Would you cut off your breasts for me?
    Sir, i don’t think so, Sir.
    But you would kill yourself for me. Are you an idiot or something?
    Sir, death doesn’t hurt, Sir.
    Lol


       At this point I was bored and more than halfway done my bottle of icewine. It was six in the morning and almost completely light out. H4RDM45TR had stopped typing so I let it alone, laughing out loud in my bedroom, feeling like I’d won a game. I’m an eager winner and wanted it again. The next night I found him online in the same chat room and he asked me what I looked like. The next night he asked me where I lived. The night after that, he invited me to move in with him in North Bend. I told him my name was Nancy and caught a bus from Westbank down to Washington. Nancy, you’re a champion, I told myself.
       Living with Martin wound up being a boring experience, which I guess is why I agreed to marry him. Three months in, he stopped washing the dishes. He would stay in his office, either doing telemarketing from the landline or on the chat rooms as H4RDM45TR. My mother and I would spend hours on the phone complaining about our health concerns. She had a heart condition and I was sinking into hypochondria. Mom had moved the family to Peachland when she decided to devote her life to photographing Ogopogo. She was afraid she would never achieve her dreams; I was afraid I had Lyme disease. Sometimes I would promise to come back home and help get her down to the marina everyday for as long as it took to catch a snap of that big snake. Obviously, though, instead of moving home and helping my lonely mother take a picture of the Canadian lake monster I accepted Martin’s wedding proposal.
       It was Saturday night and we were drinking lemon schnapps in the living room. Martin was more nervous than usual, even though there had been an increase in overall nervousness since the dishes had stopped being washed. I lay on the couch in my leather pants rubbing my thighs together singing Blackbird.
       “Nancy, listen–“
       “Yeah. What?”
       “Nancy, will you be my wife?”
The ceiling fan was turning slowly.
       “Martin, you drunk?”
       “Well, yes, but come on baby, I’m being serious here.”
Baby, he knew whenever he called me baby I hated him.
       “Baby,” I said, “yeah I’ll marry you. What’s the plan?”
       Sunday the rental place was closed, so on Monday we got the car and hit the road. On the way down to Las Vegas I sat in the back seat looking out the window. Martin and I barely talked. We parked the car in a Wal-mart lot in Jackpot, Nevada after driving fourteen hours. That night I looked up at the sky and remembered watching the footage of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing. Every time I pictured Neil putting his foot down on lunar soil, my whole body would feel turned on: tits to toes. I wanted to be the moon and I could only be the moon if H4RDM45TR was an astronaut. He needed to be a good man, a man who would put his foot down in ways no man had ever done before. I couldn’t get Martin into outer space but the desert was where those basement-dwelling, foil-headed weirdos claimed Hollywood faked it all and we were headed straight there so my test came into being. I told Martin when he woke up in the driver’s seat.
       Now he was sitting at the wheel, driving away from the moon, single and nervous.
       “Nancy, you know, that was probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. I mean I’d be a wandering Jew for you if it made you happy but –”
       “Martin, I’m staying in Vegas. You don’t mind taking the bus back to North Bend, do you?”
       “No Nancy, no I guess if you’ve made up your mind.”
       Outside the window, pink verbena grew crawling on the sand, creosote bushes with yellow flowers mimicked the shape of corals, and I remembered the deserts had once been ocean. Who was the first man to find himself in a diving bell? At this point I didn’t care about which men had done what where. I dropped Martin off at the bus station, shook his hand, and went back to the motel to fall asleep. I guess I did fall asleep, or maybe I blacked out. I never paid the place, so the mini-bar could have been sucked dry.
       The strange thing, though, is that when I woke up, I was in the rental car driving out back toward where the old woman lay. The first thing I noticed was the emptiness of the highway and the second thing I noticed was the sound of a voice coming out from the speakers. The voice was having trouble pronouncing words. The voice was pronouncing the same words again and again and again. They got louder and I rolled the windows down so that the words would fill the empty land, which they did: an unreal timbre just chanting like you wouldn’t believe:


THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING
THE KING IS DEAD LONG LIVE THE KING



I got to the campsite and left the car running. I took off her Elvis suit and washed it in a basin of water that lay by the table. She sat naked in the lawn chair, still smiling. Her whole body felt like leather from living in the sun. I washed her shit out onto the desert earth, stripped down, and put the wet piece of clothing on my body. It was freezing. I laid the staring coyote in between her breasts and grabbed the can of kerosene. Then I was warm and she was still smiling while being licked at and the tape played on in the car with the sound of her voice and I heard my own laughter from when we had first met and knew it was over so I walked away from her, the dead king, and I was king with the kerosene and so obviously I torched the car too.

Sarah Brunning

is a poet and short story writer living in Montreal, Quebec.

California Underwater

Cason Sharpe

I work at a big movie theatre downtown where everyone is a teenager except for me. At first it was fun but now I just feel pathetic and creepy. It was supposed to be a temporary thing—I had just finished school and had no money and needed a job immediately etc.—but then somehow it became a not temporary thing. Somehow it has been over a year. I work six days a week and sometimes doubles: from the first screening straight through to the last. I am not even the manager. Kevin is the manager and also a freshman at U of T.

*
Teresa and some of the other girls who work at the theatre ask me to pick up alcohol for them one evening. They want to let loose because it’s summer vacation but they keep getting carded and the guy at the LCBO won’t accept Teresa’s ID even though she borrowed it from her older sister. I agree and they hand me a wad of bills and a list of their requests written on the back of a discarded ticket stub: a couple coolers and few mickeys of Smirnoff. In the liquor store, the cashier looks disapprovingly at my purchases which makes me feel silly but when I bring the alcohol back to the girls they are so excited and grateful that I feel pretty pleased with myself. I’m ashamed by how earnestly I want to impress a group of seventeen year olds, just like the closet case I was back in high school.
       
The next day Kevin asks to speak with me privately. Earlier that morning someone found one of the storage rooms littered with empty liquor bottles, cigarettes butts, and a slick pile of puke. Kevin gives me a lecture about buying alcohol for minors.

“Do whatever you want on your own time,” he says. “But keep it out of the theatre.”

Kevin is a twerp but also what the fuck Teresa? I direct my embarrassment and anger nowhere in particular so it spills out everywhere untamed and clumsy. I hand back the wrong change a number of times and I snap at a customer when they ask me for directions to the bathroom.

*
After work I meet up with Kelly at a bar on Dundas. Kelly just got back from LA where he recently had a show. I am happy for him but he’s already selling out. He’s cuffed his Levi’s. He wears a worn baseball cap and white t-shirt like he’s a tradesman and not a painter whose parents happen to be two of the most celebrated architects in the city. I ask him how he liked LA.
       
“It was trippy,” he says. There’s a water shortage throughout California but rich people and celebrities still power wash their sidewalks. He met a Belgian curator who said he couldn’t wait for the tsunami to come and submerge the entire state. Only the worthy will survive. True artists will be granted gills to attend aquatic openings. Kelly asks me how my practice is going.


“What practice?” I say, laughing. I haven’t so much as touched a paintbrush in over six months. We chat about people from art school—this person has a residency and that person got a write-up in Canadian Art and so-and-so insulted whoever-the-fuck on Instagram. When everything is underwater none of this will matter. Buoyed by this thought, plus a few more beers, I am peaceful enough that when I get home I fall easily into bed and sleep like a baby.

*
The next day at work, Teresa and Eric get into this massive fight in front of everyone in the theatre including all of the customers. It starts off small and gets louder and louder until everyone is frozen watching them go at it behind the concession stand. Eric calls Teresa a stupid bitch.

Teresa says, “So what, you’re just some dumb faggot.” She dumps a cup full of Coke on his head. Someone has called Kevin in at this point. He breaks the two apart and apologizes to the customers. Everyone is buzzing from the drama. Who started it? She's so angry all the time. Eric is such a kiss-ass. I know that this is going to lead to some big team meeting about appropriate work behaviour and giving the customer the experience they paid for and blah blah blah.

I sneak outside for a cigarette break. Teresa is sitting on the front steps leading up to the theatre having a smoke. She waves.

“Hey,” I say.

“Hey,” she says. “Kevin sent me home for the day.” I sit down next to her and we smoke in silence for a little while, staring at the street in front of us.

“Look,” she says. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—like, I’m not homophobic or whatever.”

I laugh. “Don’t worry about it. No big deal.”

“Sometimes I just get so angry,” she says. “And I don’t know what to do so I end up saying all this stupid shit.”

“I totally get it,” I say. I do.

“He sucks. You know he’s the one that ratted us out the other night in the storage room? Kevin put me on probation. I’m probably going to get fired now.”

“Yeah, fuck Eric. I always thought he was a little prick.”

“I don’t want to get fired,” she says. “I like it here. And I need the money.”

“If Kevin fires you I’ll quit in protest.”

Teresa smiles. We talk about life for a bit. Teresa wants to go to school in Montreal after she graduates next year, maybe study psychology at McGill. Or maybe she’ll stay here and get a job at Aritzia. Her sister Carmen works there and they might be hiring soon. I tell her about Kelly and the Belgian curator and California underwater.

“You really think that’ll happen?” she asks.

“I don’t know,” I say. “Maybe.”

*
The following evening I meet Teresa and Carmen in Christie Pits to drink a few beers in the crater of the park. Carmen is the same age as me. I can tell that at first she’s like what the fuck why are you hanging out with my younger sister? I act really swishy until she figures out that I’m not trying to hit on Teresa and then she softens. Turns out she knows Kelly and a bunch of other people I know but that’s not surprising. Everyone who grew up downtown in my age bracket kind of knows each other.

“So Kelly’s like some big artist now?” Carmen asks.

“I guess so,” I say. “He just had a show in LA.”

“Mikey says that California’s gonna be underwater any day now,” says Teresa. Carmen glances at me sidelong.

“There’s supposed to be this big tsunami coming on the west coast,” I say, by way of explanation. “Like the one that happened in Japan in 2011 or whatever but on the other side of the Pacific. They say it’ll hit the Alaskan coast and then go all the way down BC to California. It’s been predicted for years now but it still hasn’t come.”

“Shit,” says Carmen. “Florida’s supposed to be fucked too ‘cause of rising sea levels and shit.”

We drink more beer and Carmen rolls a joint. We talk about normal, boring stuff: movies we like, what TV shows we’re watching, how irritating our coworkers and managers can be. Carmen is the manager at Aritzia so she tells us about it from the other side. The more we talk the more I realize I haven’t been around people my own age who aren’t pretentious art school kids or people from my high school in a really long time. I make a mental note to ask Carmen for her number at the end of the evening. When I stand up to go pee in the bushes, a head rush tells me that I am very very fucked up.

When I get back from peeing Teresa’s like, “Hey, do you want to go swimming?”

*
Carmen and Teresa Tasmanian Devil it right the fuck over the chain-link fence, toss their clothes on the deck, and cannonball into the water. Too headstrong and embarrassed to ask for a boost, I watch the two of them splash around while I shimmy and grunt my way up the fence. When I finally get to the other side, I trip on a pant leg while trying to slip it off. I fall into the water as though into a hug, laughing.

“This is so chill!” I say once my head bobs to the surface. “Isn’t this so chill?”

Carmen and Teresa laugh. It really is so chill though! Teresa goes down the waterslide. She lands with a tremendous splash. I go under again and swim around with my eyes open. Everything is wiggly greens and whites.

Maybe I should go to LA. Maybe the tsunami won’t be so bad. Maybe I would be granted gills. They’ll need movie theatres underwater, right? And what good will painting be after we are all submerged? Every canvas will be wiped clean anyway. The only skill that will matter is how you can stay afloat.

I pull myself out of the water. Carmen’s like, “Hey, is everything cool?”

I’m like, “Yeah, yeah. I’m gonna call Kelly. Kelly should come! I’m gonna call Kelly.” Then I grab my phone out of my jeans and call Kelly.

*
I wake up the next morning two and a half hours late for work. My head is throbbing and everything feels like shit. I have five missed calls: one from the National Student Loan Centre, one from Teresa, two from Kevin, one from Kelly. They can wait ’til later. They can wait ’til never. Until after we’re all submerged. I walk to the Loblaws down the street from my apartment to get Advil and orange juice. I wander through the aisles for what feels like forever like a fish paddling laps in its bowl.

Cason Sharpe

is a writer based in Montreal. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Matrix Magazine, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Queer Codes: A Journal of Arts History, among others. He is one half of the podcast Two Hungry Children. Follow him on twitter @casonsharpe.

This Was Your Life.

Maxwell Addington

I. If I were an artist, I’d put together a solo show with the premise of showing a person, after they died, what their life was composed of.

II. The show would have to be housed in a very large museum or gallery, like the Tate Modern, because it’s London and it’s grand and expensive and I would want to feel important. Visitors would walk through doorways, rooms, and tunnels filled with all the things an average middle-class human of the Western world would consume and possess and discard in the course of their lifespan—let’s say ninety years—1930–2020.

III. It would have to be an average middle-class human of the Western world because I can’t lie and say I have an accurate idea of what it’s like to be anything else. I assume my visitors would be the same.

IV. So there would be all the things ever consumed, possessed and discarded in one life, represented in their physical totality, housed in a massive gallery.

V. It would be expensive.

VI. It would be a lot of stuff, stuff only made meaningful by the stuff’s proximity to other stuff within the collection in the gallery, like excavated bones brought together in a museum, or letters on a page. My awareness of art is limited, but when I think of art I think of cigarettes: a thousand cigarettes bundled together, suspended from the ceiling like a whale, face to face with a thousand matches. And on the day we took it down, we could light the matches.

VII. Bodies are important. And if I were an artist I’d have to decide what kind of body I was dealing with. All the food this body consumed in its life would have to be represented. It would be easier to make them a vegetarian, or better yet, a vegan. If they ate animals, which more than 95% of average middle-class Westerners do, I’d have to decide, as an artist, whether it’s more impactful to show the animal bodies as living or dead.

VIII.  Cow-wise, there would have to be about eleven bodies: Do I have them hanging butchered in cold storage, and let people smell the blue cheese-like funk of aging beef? Or do I have a paddock full of cows, hooked up to milking machines in side-by-side slots, a full-scale model of conventional dairy farming/cattle-rearing techniques? And what if this average person got educated about farming practices later in life and switched to high-welfare animal products, as so many of us have, or kind of have, at times? I’d have to have, as an artist, the unhappy cattle in one room, and the free-range grass-fed cows in a pasture outside the gallery. As far as I know, there is no pasture next to the Tate. The land there, on the Thames, is too valuable to raise beef on. But I could fill in some of the Thames with earth to create new land, some of which could have a handful of the happy cows, and a small percentage of the remaining animals—i.e. 27 pigs, 2,400 chickens, 80 turkeys, 30 sheep and 4,500 fish (and a few random ones, like rabbits, ducks, deer, a bear)—could also be outside, though most of them would have to stay inside in their cages.

IX. This is getting expensive. I would need to hire staff to look after the animals. And I realize it would be controversial to keep live animals in a gallery. I remember how Damien Hirst got in trouble for having live butterflies in a room during his show at the Tate (In and Out of Love). Or rather, he got in trouble because 9000 of them died.

X. I think most people would be opposed to my milking factory. I might have to have just the milk, eggs, meat, and a few slag heaps of skin, eyes, and the horrible bits no one wants.

XI. Odd how that would be considered less inhumane, to have them killed rather than suffering.

XII.  An alternative title could be: Death, Then Something Else.

XIII.  Or: Death, and Everything Else.

XIV.  Or even: Death in Life.

XV. But who is this person, and what does it mean to be average? And what about gender? Can gender be made average? Perhaps it already is, but I’ve been led to believe it isn’t.

XVI.  If anyone asked me difficult questions like that, or what the meaning of the show was, I wouldn’t give a single clear answer. I’m sure it would have something to do with guilt and privilege and consumption and waste, but luckily, I wouldn’t have to say what it meant.

XVII.  What about menstruation? I could display all the tampons a menstruating person would use, complete with their blood and excretions, and the eventual DivaCup they might switch to. But how to quantify the sales tax revenue extorted unfairly for these products? I suppose there are receipts. The gallery would be littered with receipt paper, and that would be enough of a write-up to accompany each piece, just what it is and what it cost when it was bought.

XVIII.  Though receipt paper inks are designed to fade, and this too could be meaningful.

XIX.  I forgot about money.

XX. Money is represented in all the stuff, symbolically, but there would have to be a room full of all the money possessed, spent and discarded in this life, and it would have to more or less equal the cost of buying everything for the show. Though presumably this person dies with something in the bank, and it is not like we buy everything we have. Sometimes people give us stuff.

XXI.  I can hire people to work out the mathematics that are beyond me, just as I do in life. The trouble is that there are so many decisions to make. Real artists work with curators, but I am trying to be both because I am neither.

XXII.  The project would consume me. I’d try to live normally at first, and life would be uneventful as usual, then something—some object, something someone says—would trigger thoughts of the project, and I’d become lost again, sitting less with thoughts than with images. At any moment there would be ideas encircling my head like mosquitos hoping to drain my blood. I’d try to swat them away, but there would always be more.

XXIII.  A stick of incense—did my average human burn incense? Of course they did. Even I, who considered myself only marginally interested in burning incense, have, by 26, burned at least 150 sticks of incense, and have owned at least three incense holders that I can recall.

XXXIV. Branching out from that, what about the Bic lighter sitting next to the incense holder? How many of those have come into my possession, and have been pocketed again by a friend, on purpose or not, myself or someone else stealing, it all evening out anyway. But so then my show would need to show these, all of these lighters, presented not in a pile, but in a row.

XXV. Certain materials lend themselves to rows, others to piles, I’d quote myself as saying in the pamphlet accompanying the exhibition. So many colours, and size variations, large and small, and those off-brand more square translucent coloured ones, which are less satisfying to ignite with your thumb. But how many? Is my human a smoker? Yes, but then they quit. Plus they had those matches anyway. The narrative would be universal. More people would get it that way, when I can have both, everything and nothing.

XXVI. What is lost and what is gained if this person were a writer? The thought came to me while writing this. The fountain pen a friend had just given me was leaking blue ink onto my fingertips, and from out of this incident trickled more thoughts of ink, and how it might amount to very little in my lifetime—maybe a fish tank’s worth—but I could change this if I wrote more by hand.

XXVII. But it wouldn’t be about me, in the way that everything I think of is and isn’t about me. I am only a reference point because I am bound to my own skin, and as much as I’d like to let my mind flow out of my eyes and flood these lines, I can’t capture all the inkless fictions here. No, this is about material. The wine staining my teeth and urging me to pee, the lightbulbs straining my eyes, the pen in my hand and the rough brown paper beneath it—it is about all these things and all the many things they represent, like an endless accordion stretched out on either side of me.

XXVIII. How would I harness fire?

XXXIX.  I could the fill the Tate’s Turbine Hall with flames. But that wouldn’t get approved by the gallery. “Too much fire!” they would shout. “But if it isn’t too much, then it is nothing,” I’d reply, enigmatically. I would threaten to give up, reminding them of what they agreed to, and who they were dealing with.

XXX.  I have personally quit coffee because it gives me anxiety and makes me urinate too often, but my average person will drink the North American average for an adult, which is about two cups a day. This creates its own complications, curation-wise. The coffee will be kept in its own tank, with a urine tank situated nearby.

XXXI.  (The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to relocate my project to an abandoned aquarium, because so much of being a human is about being and needing water.)

XXXII.  But if however much of that urine was once coffee, is the exhibit misleading? I would be doubling up on liquid, just as I would be doubling up the money in terms of it being represented in the stuff but also in the cash itself.

XXXIII. I would frolic in the money room alone at night.

XXXIV. I can answer my own question: No, it isn’t misleading.  This was never meant to be a deconstruction. Or it is and it isn’t, and it isn’t more than it is, at least not in the sense of accurately representing exactly how much liquid circulates through your life. Because it enters as one thing and leaves as another sort of waste.

XXXV. There is no way to capture the images we see and sensations they give us, but that’s still a sort of consumption.

XXXVI. I thought of this while writing this. I put my leaky pen down and saw snow falling outside the window. I’d moved from the floor to my friend’s desk, littered with pens, small vases, cakes of watercolour paint, Euro coins, peach gum, nail clippers, and an unlit pink candle—there was more but I didn’t have the patience to include it all.

XXXVII. But the snow. The snow wasn’t just snow, it was snow blowing at a 45-degree angle, then abruptly changing once the wind became blocked by the buildings. From that point each flake began free falling at its own individual velocity, under the pale orange light of a streetlamp whose light was shining on the shivering branches of a tree rooted to the cracked boulevard. It was instant nostalgia, and made me want to simplify my project. Wouldn’t it be impressive enough just to recreate this scene in a gallery? If I could fill a gallery with atmosphere, I would be happy.

XXXVIII. My nose was running, and while pinching my nose between my thumb and index finger, and blowing, I thought of all the mucous a human expels in ninety years. That would be a gross tank. I would put a walkway over top of it, without guardrails, so visitors would be afraid of falling in.

XXXIX. Where does all that mucous go in life? The water system. Like snow melting on top of a mountain, or into dirty storm drains, everything finds its way to the sea, to mingle with jellyfish and strange, colourful, slippery creatures, undulating in the dark depths we never see.

XL. If I were an artist, I would put on this show, and I would wonder what the reaction would be. Some people would hate it, some people would love it, while many others would never see it and it would be of no consequence to them. For those who did see it, they might direct their love and hate toward me. This would be inevitable, because I, as a person, would be inseparable from my work as an artist. And the process of putting my show together would be all-consuming. I would work tirelessly, and at the end, I would have to look through my tanks of greed and waste and decide whether I succeeded or failed, and if it was worth the effort. Would I be depressed or content, or, maybe, some mixture of the above.

Maxwell Addington

is an experimental writer from Vancouver, BC. In 2016, he graduated from Concordia University's English & Creative Writing Honours program.

Isabella on the Couch, Talking to the Mirror

Catherine Averback

The city is a fan tick. Corralled obsessions, sorted. Made up of every story I retell over and body I unbend, to measure the bits lived, repeated drip. Self catalogued in continuation. Ways of being, sprawl. Remember the details and leave out days. Growing but embodying a smaller self, working through senses of the big you and your tactile memories, little rituals.

There are days when you are gone entirely, when I find ways to itch every end of myself, intermittent disturbance. Incoherent fingers that rest on leg stubble. Every cardinal direction can act as an escape route. The apartment is dimming out. The windows are moving, alternating greys, enough that my hands hover in changing shapes. They rise out of my hold to move around the room.

There’s always some light in here, no matter how far north I feel in Montreal, the streetlights creep in. The hanging bulbs from the balcony across the tarpaulin courtyard. The millions of little embers; the ends of cigarettes carried up from Parc Avenue for one last pull before extinguishing like fireflies swirling on pavement. The city is skipping. It creeps up through windows and I think loneliness is total, though I am surrounded, I am buzzing, no matter how far north in Montreal I go, I can never hope to be alone. The echoes of your hands and not mine crawl from the floor and into my lap.

Catherine Averback

is a writer and editor born and based in Montreal. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Concordia University. Recently, her work has appeared in Headlight, Matrix, and Integrated.

Green Mountains

Kit McKeown

You’re watching the pink Vermont sunset.

“I hate this.”

You’re on the phone with your girlfriend, on the front porch of the library. This is the only spot with internet for miles. When you hang up, you bike back up the hill to the farm and walk the last mile.

“I know,” she says.

You realize you’ve been staring at the same clump of trees for two and a half months. You’ve been sitting on the same front porch and smoking the same American Spirit light blues. You haven’t gotten any better at rolling your own. You’ve had pneumonia for half the time you’ve been here but you haven’t looked into it because everyone else on the farm is sick anyway. You continue to smoke your loose cigarettes despite your coughing.

You drop your phone in Claire’s Pond while night-swimming with Nat. You admire the Big Dipper and the full moon on the water and say “Wow, wow.” You pick up your shirt and your phone slides out of the breast pocket onto a rock and into the pond. Your texts to your girlfriend glow underwater. The screen flashes red and then slowly turns solid green.

You partake in a chicken slaughter but you do not slaughter any chickens. You carry one upside-down by its ankles towards a stump with a cleaver resting on it. You swing your bird upright and bounce it gently like a baby and tell it “Look at the green mountains. Look at the sky. You are a good chicken. Thank you for being such a good chicken,” and then Tyson looks at you and takes the bird from you and kills it. Its feet twitch and the eyes on its dead head blink.

When Tyson takes the bird, it tries to hook onto you with its beak but instead it leaves a long red scratch on your forearm. You gape at it all day. It’s the Fourth of July. You walk down the gravel road toward the field and Rafer comes the opposite way wearing a hat with beer cans and long straws attached to it asking if yer comin’ to the fireworks. You say maybe and you retire to your tent at seven thirty.

The heavy rumble of thunder and the wind in the trees wakes you up in the middle of the night. You hear a branch fall somewhere in the woods and worry one might fall on you.

Someone at breakfast on the porch that morning is talking about how spiritual this place is and how they want to stay forever. You finish your oatmeal and dab calamine on the bug bites on your ankles and try to meditate for eleven minutes in the woods behind the outhouse but you’re just thinking about your phone and squeezing your eyes closed while breathing heavily through your nose.

Amelia says, “The best thing you can do here is be present with everything you’re feeling.”

You finally talk to your girlfriend on Nat’s phone. She’s in Munich. She sings you a song.

Deep in the woods, you shit in a hole you have dug. You cover the hole with loose dirt and dead leaves.

As you walk back to your tent, you notice the ground is warm under your bare feet.

Kit McKeown

is a theatre performance major at Concordia. Their work has previously been published in The Void.

A Guide To Auto Violation

Frances Lash

To know if you should undergo auto violation:

Do you resent how others perceive you?
Do you feel this to be unjust?
Do you hate everything about this?

This may just be for you.


● Use Self degradation to rob Higher Status Individuals of their consuming power over you by confirming their judgement today!

● Seize personal responsibility over your definition!

● Gain a fulfilled sensation towards your personal value, accomplishments, or actions!

Introduction
 
This is the guide to enacting self degradation to combat assimilation. 
Through what has been coined as auto violation, you will find peace of mind. You will be able to control all aspects of your Self from creation to consumption, while usurping assimilation to external sources of definition. We have found that those subjects most willing to undergo this arduous, but fruitful, process are those well versed in the experience of resentment and, therefore, retributive hatred. 
While we understand that such a standard can inspire distrust in the process, we assure those willing to auto violate that the results are those of love and harmony within the Self (self control). 
Auto violation aims to ensure that you are the only one controlling the construction and perception of your Self. 
We welcome you to follow us through this guide to auto violation.

Part One Resent
(ressentir - to thoroughly feel)
HATE OF THE HIGHER STATUS INDIVIDUAL
To successfully utilize the mechanism auto violation, we find that subjects primed with thorough feelings of resentment are the ones most amenable to self degradation and most likely complete this guide. 
Resentment is most often comprised of the following three emotions:

● Disgust
● Sadness
● Surprise 

These feelings are expressed by the Resentful externally towards an individual thathas a perceived higher status, which the Resentful deems to be unjust. 
To be resentful is to be vulnerable. 
Auto violation in its first stages aims to turn these three emotions back unto the Resentful and away from the source of perceived injustice. It is for this reason that the Resentful Subjects are the most successful; these three core emotions already exist within the Resentful and simply need to be redirected. 
In order to do so, it is necessary to make clear that resentment is a very good foundation to hatred. In fact, hatred derived from resentment takes on a retributive form. The Resentful feels legitimized in hating the Higher Status Individual (HSI) due to what they feel as an unjust typification of themselves in comparison. Hating those of higher status is thus a form of promoting justice. Similar to the three emotions (disgust, sadness, and surprise), hatred derived from resentment is presented outwardly to a HSI. This must also be redirected. 
The most typical response to feelings of injustice and lower status - to a HSI who seems to have control over the LSI’s (Lower Status Individual’s) position - is rebellion. We fully reject such a course against the HSI. We find rebellion to be an ineffective course to upheaving and rejecting the terms that define the Higher Status Individual as such in the long run. 
Rebellion is impossible as it intrinsically empowers what is being rebelled against. Those Resentful Subjects we present this to, go through their lives battling against perceived injustice. But this is not a battle that can be won, as it implicitly accepts an apparatus of “high” and “low”. 
You will not find internal self harmony as long as you accept this.  
Ultimately, the Resentful Subject (through self degradation and ensuing empowerment) must completely reject the concept of higher and lower status and live in full control of the perception of their Self. Without this, the resentment is co-opted by the ego, ensuring that, despite any rebellious efforts, the identity is now malformed and becomes the same lower status it rebels against. 

Part Two
Self Degradation (accepting lower status)
SURPRISE AT THE SELF’S DISGUSTING ACTS

For hatred, disgust, sadness, and surprise to be internalized by the Resentful Subject they must reach a point where they fully accept their perceived lower status and no longer see injustice in this typification.

DISCLAIMER: This is by far the most troublesome part of the auto violative process and, therefore, we must ask our subjects to not give up after this point - or else the struggle endured will be for naught and can lead to the deepening of existing resentment or perpetual self loathing. This is not the goal of auto violation. If you do not intend to complete your auto violation do not go forth with this step. 
This step requires the Resentful Subject to complete an act that fits perfectly into their ascribed lower status. The act must be so extreme that there is no way the subject can reject (resent) their status. They must accept it and internalize the hatred they had for those of higher status - because the HSI had been correct in placing the subject beneath them and is thus not deserving of hatred.  
This is self degradation. Degradation in itself can be defined as: the act or process of declining to a lower condition, quality, or level. Ultimately, it is the act of taking on lower status. Degradation also takes on a tone of humiliation and lack of respect. 
How can you achieve this degradation towards your Self? 
Remember those attributes that the Higher Status Individual had labelled as your reason for being less than, that you felt were inaccurate? 
Make them accurate.

Do just that what is expected and more. So much so that you violate all that would be needed for you to be considered a HSI by their judgement, and violate all that you feel makes you deserving of such a title. 
You must do so decadently. 
In doing this you will show your Self no respect, due to a neglect of those qualities you deemed to make you deserving of higher status. You will likely be the subject of humiliation from those of higher status. Expect to be called by the appropriate slurs associated with your lower status and to accept them in silence. They are compliments to your auto violation. 
The ensuing hate will be internalized without issue, and you will at once be surprised and disgusted by the ease with which you were able to act in such a way. We require that our subjects reflect deeply on what act they have chosen, and then realize that the persistent suspicion that they might have deserved their low status to begin with, was in fact true. The loss of righteous assurance in your Self’s unjust typification will lead to a blanket of sadness. 
The most painful part of this step will be the realization that no one, but you and you alone, is responsible for you new accepted state as a Lower Status Individual. Full personal responsibility is necessary for your auto violation to be successful. 
While this is not the traditional way in which therapeutic processes to self love and harmony are described, utter degradation brought on by one’s own action is essential for complete control over the Self. 
We again remind our subjects that this is not the end of the journey and that they must follow closely the next two parts, or assimilation to higher and lower status will persist and auto violation will not have taken place. 

Part Three
Reconciliation (constructing the Self as a fortress)
PRIDE IN YOUR LOWER STATUS

At the end of your self degradation, you lost the separation between the external (the HSI’s) and internal (your) interpretations of the Self. In accepting your lower status, you have synchronized the external and the internal typifications of your Self as “low”. Although we have stated that this particular unification of the Self (that of lower status) is not the ultimate goal of auto violation - this harmony, in a different tone, is what we seek. 
Reconciling low status and pride can only occur once you have reconstructed what lower status itself means. “Low”, as laid out in Part One and Two, implies having less value than those of higher status. However, “low” must be defined without the value proposition of being less than. If you are “lower” than something, you have been put under that thing’s influence and defined by it. 
You must be independent from any external force. 
While at times it may feel that you are being consumed by your lower status, you will begin to notice that you are only surrounded by an onslaught of sources trying to define you. Beware, the initial consuming perspective creates a focus on the external rather than the internal. 
What do we mean by a focus on the external rather than the internal?  
In the first phase of auto violation, you were titled as the Resentful Subject. Resentment had caused the split within your Self: that what you thought and knew of your Self and that what the HSI saw. The lack of boundary between these two perceptions, as one fed into the other, made you vulnerable.  
This lack of boundary between the split Selves led to an acceptance of “low” as defined by the HSI. By being resentful, you were vulnerable to the consuming nature of the HSI’s view and interpretation of your Self.
Allowing for another’s incomplete idea of your Self to overpower your own lead to resentment. And the force of their incomplete idea of your Self permitted their abuse and exploitation. 
This is a focus on the external. 
Self degradation takes away the defining power from the Higher Status Individual and gives it to you, albeit to confirm their judgement. Now, your definition as “low” is yours and yours alone. We redirected emotions that had been output to the HSI inside of you, through personal responsibility over your definition. 
This is a focus on the internal. 
Take this singular responsibility a step further. If you have been able to define your Self as “low” through your “low” actions, shouldn’t you be able to define what “low” itself means? 
Perhaps rather than being less than the Higher Status Individual, you are simply under assault by their perception. And perhaps, in being under assault, rather than being consumed by HSI’s definition of your Self, you are insulated from it. 
Remember, in taking power away from the Higher Status Individual to define you as “low”, you have proved to be separate from them. 
Insulated and a fortress of the Self.  
While at this point the fortress is filled with negative emotions (hatred, disgust, sadness, and surprise) directed inwardly - the reconciliation of low status, with much pride, will overcome this. 
We define pride as a fulfilled sensation towards one’s personal value, accomplishments, or actions.  
There is much that has been accomplished at this point of auto violation. You have been determined enough to degrade your Self thoroughly, to undergo the humiliation that follows degradation, and you have taken defining power of your Self away from the HSI. You continue on in search of self control. 
There is evidence of perseverance, determination, and resilience in post-degradation. Finding these traits will take time, and requires acknowledgment of your insulation from external forces.  
With the constant reel of your degradation playing in your head, knowledge of your insulation will develop pride in you. Over and over you will come to the conclusion: it was only me, and me alone that made it so. 
From the loss of your indignation at being defined as “low”, you will find that you have gained a defense from external sources of definition. Your insulation is a strength, and by holding that strength you have something to be proud of. 
 The sense of pride you have gained as an insulated fortress will allow for the negative emotions within your Self to fade. That strength in being able to control your Self, and the discipline to do so, will overwhelm the devastation of what you have endured.  
It will not matter that you have been treated unjustly, or that you have been degraded, because you have found contentment in the construction of your Self as a fortress.  
You have found pride in your low status. 

DISCLAIMER: Overcompensatory pride is deeply intertwined with self hate; as the “low” Self (your low status definition) and “high” Self (your feeling of injustice as being defined as such) continually push against the other. This would lead us back to the split Self that existed in the resentment phase. If you are experiencing hubris or arrogance repeat Part One and Two immediately.

Part Four
Self Control (internal self harmony)
MEMORIES OF LOW STATUS & DEGRADATION 

Auto violation is a process to combat the ills of assimilating to some external structure of judgement and definition. Those Resentful Subjects we present this material to, go through their lives battling against perceived injustice. But this is not a battle that can be won, as it implicitly accepts an apparatus of “high” and “low”.  
You will not find internal self harmony as long as you accept this.  
You must be the only one to control the construction and perception of your Self. Self degradation began this process and reconciliation helped you to once again find value in your Self following your degradation.  
But there remains a conflict. Before starting auto violation you had been fighting against low status. However, you were able redefine “lowness” and remove the presumption of being less than - by taking responsibility over your “lowness”. In your new found pride you can begin to see that continuing to be defined as “low”, only allows for external definition to continue.  The “low” label was never your own creation.  
True self control can not allow for this: your Self is not “low” it is only yours. 
Awareness and pride in your accomplishments, is the last step is to eschew low status entirely. You are nothing other than the Self that you now control. Low and high status are things of the past that must be recognized as separate from your self definition.  
Any external dichotomy will erode internal self harmony, so you must remain vigilant of this. 
Awareness that external forces will always try to invade your Self and take away your control is necessary. Without the proper maintenance your fortress is susceptible to deterioration. Revisiting this guide at any point that you feel your self control loosening is a helpful way to combat this deterioration. However, the most helpful form of maintenance of self control is revisiting your self degradation.

Self degradation will be a memory that you will hold dear and that you will be grateful of because it has led to self control and internal self harmony. 
Looking back to self degradation  will serve to remind you of the ease with which you were able to exhibit “low” behaviour. The arbitrariness of external dichotomies will become clear, and strengthen your resolve to combat them.  
We ask that you enjoy your new found self control, and the internal self harmony that comes with such a power. From this painstaking process you will have found self acceptance and, in turn, self love.
























We congratulate you on finishing this guide.
Your auto violation is now complete.

Frances Lash

is the Founder and Program Director of Autoviol Co., a Virtual Wellness Centre focused on auto violative therapy. Brazilian born, Mexican bred, and based in Montreal via-NY, Lash produces an array of media, all pertaining to the central thesis of the auto violation program.

A series of dark events in 2014-15 lead to the formation of the auto violation program and its most basic principles. “Auto violation”, a term originally coined from a direct (if not clumsy) translation of the Spanish “auto violación”, is an immersive self-help program that aids its participants reclaim their own cultural vulnerability, dissolve resentment, and emerge fully self possessed.

After graduating from McGill in 2015, Lash began working professionally in Montreal. Lash is currently in the process of publishing an Autoviol Co. sponsored Guide to Life and Not-Life. She also loves dogs; if you have a nice one for her to experience, please contact her directly.

Visual Art

Alexa Hawksworth studies drawing and painting at Concordia University. She likes making drawings that make people feel good and weird.
Elizabeth Smith is in her final year at Concordia University, where she studies English and Creative Writing. She likes to paint in her free time because it makes her feel like she isn't scared of anything. This is her first time being published.
Josianne Barrette is a Canadian writer. She is a collaborator at A l'essai, Cygne Noir, and she was a finalist for the CBC fiction prizes in the short story category. Her poetry has been published in English inMatrix Magazine. She lives and teaches in the Montreal area.
Cheyenne Jenkins is a Montreal-based artist working in photography and digital media. She is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the Photography program at Concordia University.  Jenkins' artistic practice balances a traditional view of photography with contemporary digital elements.“Redface” addresses several preconceived notions about Indigenous peoples that are supported by popular culture and rooted within the public’s social conscious. [http://cheyennejenkins.com/redface/]
Michelle Pawlowsky is a Montreal-based photographer and fine artist. She is currently pursuing a Major in Studio Arts and a Minor in Women’s Studies at Concordia University.

"Kids"

Jordan Beaulieu is a 21-year-old artist and zine maker from the east coast. She is completing a BFA in Studio Arts and Art History at Concordia University. She is working on a comic book about islands. You can contact her at jxbeaulieu@gmail.com.
Residue 1
Nakita McInnis, 2016
Marker on Bristol

Nakita McInnis is an artist from South Western Ontario working primarily in painting, drawing, and performance art. Through their creative work, Nakita seeks to tell stories that illuminate the nuanced relationships between identity, trauma, recovery, and embodied experience. Nakita is the Artistic Director of Fine Arts at Gender Rubble; a Montreal-based arts organisation dedicated to creating queer and feminist work that rejects binaries and interrogates hierarchies. They are currently pursuing a BFA at Concordia University in Art History and Studio Art.
Emma Barrett is pseudo artist and real-life student of English living in Toronto, Ontario. She is 23. Her apartment has 4 rooms and plants and her mom's futon. She loves cats and dogs and everything else. She makes an average tortilla soup but compensates in cheese. She has brown hair and large breasts that are slightly uneven. Oh, yes, sure! She'd love to get tea sometime, thank you for asking! Oh, how sweet! Um, yes, her number is 416-725-9871 and her e-mail is efbarrett.art@gmail.com if you'd like her to draw you anything, and she uses tumblr too, how convenient! emma-rabbit.tumblr.com. She tells you to please tell your friends because she is so, desperately alone.