A Note from Guillaume Morissette, Guest Fiction Editor

Morisette_Guillaume

As “guest editor” of the fiction section of this issue of carte-blanche, I had to read 122 fiction submissions, then select maybe four or five pieces that I liked. One story I read was about a dystopian office space. Another was about a mother who starts making breakfast in the middle of the night as a kind of cry for help. Later, I felt bad a little for having to “reject” a story by a man whose author bio said that he lived in a house with his lovely wife and gorgeous daughters. I thought, “The gorgeous daughters are going to be so disappointed.” Read more →

Lessons

By Oscar Keys

I look at people. I see them looking back. I had always felt invisible but on the beach that morning I see that I am always seen. I don’t know what to do with it but I know it. I divide things into two categories. Things I like about myself, things that I am glad to have strangers’ eyes fall upon. And things that I hate, things that make me turn up inside out and want to hide. But these two things are all mixed up. The seen and the concealed. The beautiful and the shameful are all part of the one body so for the first time I feel the desire to rib myself up. To tear pieces out, or contort, fold over them. I want to collapse in some parts an expand in others, like and explosion, like gases destroying the air, breaking in and out, finding the weak points of the world, feeding on combustion, bright and violent and unavoidable. Read more →

Glory Days

By Kai Oberhäuser

One night I have what I can only describe as a dream, though it feels like an altered state somewhere between sleeping and waking. I’m in my room with the blue walls and someone is standing at the foot of my bed. I try to sit up, but my body is as heavy as a dead thing. When I finally struggle free and come to consciousness, the room is empty. I get up and check my door. It’s still locked. This becomes the first of many dreams like this. Read more →

Red Dog

By Justin Veenema

I tape posters of Red all over, at the grocery store, where I skillfully avoid eye contact from the rainbow dreaded girl and her brown dog begging outside, at the dog park, where Red had dog friends and I pretend to not speak English or French well, at the pet store, where the owner, who doesn’t speak any English, once gave Red a rawhide bone, repeating “cadeau, cadeau, cadeau” until I just accepted because it was easier than explaining that rawhide would give Red diarrhoea. On every lamppost in Parc LaFontaine and Parc Baldwin is Red’s shit-eating grin. As I flatten tape onto posts, I keep hearing the suggestion of roller blades. I dive into alleyways to hide. I post on Kijiji and call the SPCA daily. There is no response. Google tells me to leave a piece of clothing on the porch, so I do. An old sweater I like to wear. I remember to fill her water bowl. July has been hot and she’s probably thirsty. Read more →

Swans

By Moshood Adekunle

The second day, and the first morning in our new apartment, I was awake first and I relayed the news to my husband: 130 people were dead in Paris. He charged his phone and began reading the updates. “I have been to that restaurant,” he said. “My friend from high school was at the show,” he said. “He survived, though.” This was the second time this year that I had not known how to help him in a situation like this one. This was the second time this year that his home city had come under attack. We were quiet for most of the morning, and then later, hungover, took a long, pointless bike ride through the autumn of Berlin. It was easy to feel far away, easy to be distant. Read more →

the kind of song

I want time to tell you about my childhood,
about the first time I touched myself,
touched another person,
got drunk

it’s not very original but it’s the
kind of song we’ve been singing lately,
getting to know each other,
stumbling through the melody—
not operatic but it’s something,
this music we’ve found

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Long Lost, Long Gone

hanson jack

Loss, too, of other fears, albeit
never night and what scuttles through it.
And yes, there is loss, too, of one’s friends,
even the ones who don’t die. But you
make good ones, who still call when they’ve seen
some story of bad luck, or even
just to say a long-unheard hello,
nothing much, you, and even ignore
your panic aroused by the upward
inflection, the question, the question
of loss, even a loss imagined.

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Thirty-Three Weeks

The Rhodesian flag on the boy’s coat
pivots me back to our day in Zimbabwe,
lowballing cabbies and purchasing
comical bank notes. And the falls, of course,
“Victoria Falls.” Sisyphus returning towards
his rock. A blind man eager to see who knows
the night has no end.
A generational trend.

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