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 →
A couple: a man, a woman
Age: Elderly. Both have white hair
Clothing: Him – we can see a white collar under his jacket.
Her – dark slacks and blazer. Glasses. Comfortable, brown walking shoes. A purse on her lap.
If you hold this sentence in your mind, does it spark joy? Or irritation? Or fatigue? How about a particular simile or prepositional phrase? Can Marie Kondo’s method of tidying up help de-clutter our prose as well?
I DON’T REMEMBER WHEN I first heard of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, though I do remember the first time I lied to seem more impressive. I was six-years-old at the Jewish Public Library in Montréal, as was my childhood ritual. The library was a short walk away from the duplex I lived in facing a park. My older cousin was there—he was, very impressively, seven years old and a boy.
The bathroom was covered with graffiti.
The only things worth fighting for in this world are LOVE & FRIENDSHIP was written above the toilet. Immediately underneath: Wrong. You should never need to fight for love. And below, a third comment – this one in red: YOU are the fucking wrong one here, buddy. Love is a battlefield.
I washed my hands and checked my beard for signs of grey.
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Time was measured counting dog carcasses along the roadside, like a prisoner scratching days from a stone wall, calculating how many chalky white mounds of flesh I’d find concealed in lime between house and city to mark the passing weeks.
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