When I was seventeen some dude and his friends came running at me holding a small woven pouch that looked just like mine. “There’s $60 in there. And your pipe. And a bag of weed. And I think some hash or something. And it looks like half a dozen tabs of acid.” He shook his head. The isolated concert hall had been filled with smoke and flashing, strobing lights and terrible music for some time now. Dragged to my first rave, I had found a decent people-watching space with a friend as we waited for our ride to take us away from the brackish air and chill of the salt flats. The dude kept his arm outstretched, the pouch—my pouch—presented in his palm, ready for me to take back. He had a jester hat on and his friends were piled in bright colors and patterns and grinning faces. I took back my pouch and said thanks. Remembered that some minutes or hours earlier the jester had asked if I had a pipe to borrow and I’d handed over the pouch and shrugged. Read more →
Eating a baguette with hummus and chutney on my IKEA futon that is no longer in production, I think of my mom, dad, and sister, who are moving into a smaller house, still in the suburbs of Coquitlam. They’ve made several trips to IKEA and Winners in the past few weeks, sometimes unnecessarily. But I don’t make a fuss, because they’re happy. Things aren’t extremely difficult for what might be the first time in our lives. Read more →
I never would have met Charlie-the-girl if my high school guidance counselor had not lied to me. She, the guidance counselor I mean, not Charlie, was a burly woman with wide shoulders and almost comically oversized glasses. Her office was a windowless, cinder block-walled room in the basement of the school. Around the ceiling of the room were thirty-odd pendants from different colleges and universities, pointing down like a long row of technicolor shark teeth. Read more →
The sky was the color of a healing bruise when we set foot on the shivering New Jersey beach. This sunset is the only time I can remember actually watching the night take hold of the horizon. Sky murmured in indigo and maroon like the tender skin of my knees. I had slipped perching on the shore rocks the day before.
A graduation and therefore a menu. How else to memorialize a monumental event if not a meal? We’ll start with fresh figs and goat cheese canapés and we’ll adjourn over a 1995 Jurançon. That sweet and nutty nectar of my birth year. Marker of milestones. A bottle when you turn eighteen, another for your twenty-first, he said and then delivered.
The first time I opened my mouth and spoke, he was taken aback. He was not expecting it. “So how come you speak English so well?” he asked me.
It was my first week of university and the two of us were crowded by the back doorway of the 95 B-line.
I took a deep breath in and a deep breath out, before replying, “Uh, school? I guess?”
Five-hundred-and-twenty-five years ago, confused Europeans “discovered” the “New World”. Heaps of broken brown bodies marked this great achievement as the Europeans congratulated one another. Brave explorers, selfless men of God, and devout Pilgrims soon began pillaging, raping, and slaughtering their way from sea to sea. They rename our homelands “North America.” Their descendants tell us that those men were seeking their fortunes, trying to save souls, hoping to find simple freedom for themselves.
Colored blocks on the floor. Childrens’ voices rising and falling. Alphabet posters on the walls. The boy is stimulated by all this newness. He marvels at Rebecca’s platinum blonde hair, the blue of David’s eyes, the pigmentation of Abigail’s skin. These are not the children of his neighborhood. Read more →
I began to decipher the fragments of Schizophrene from a state of disjointed volatility, having just been informed, by external forces, if there is such a thing—lab coats, stethoscopes that see inside the mind, surveys involving rankings between 1 and 10, a sphinx disguised as a mental health professional asking: has there ever been a time when you were not your usual self? a question designed to cause existential grief. Read more →
It’s 3:30 p.m. and the fidgety Korean nine-year-old girl across the desk is telling me that when she grows older she wants to wash dishes because she likes the task. The next second, she tells me she doesn’t like school because her teacher is mean. She tells me this every week. Her English is just like any other young Canadian kid’s, marked by the occasional extra third-person s on first person verbs and things like ‘boughten’ and ‘goed’. Read more →