parkdale inspires-day two (the dog)

last night, our lovely little parkdale-loving writing group met for the second time, up a few members.

i didn’t come out of the session with as many gems, though my comment of “i didn’t get much further than ‘defiant ducks'” garnered the response “that’s going to be my next album title” from the person who also said, “i’ve got some nonsense”. so.

one of the new members introduced herself by stating: “my last poem was about a cat…who looks like he’s wearing a tuxedo!”, which is charming as all fuck.

anyway, here’s the takeaway (after a quick morning edit):

i walk down the steps of death into the day. on my way to the bus stop, my eyes automatically scan the abandoned and overgrown lot to focus on that guy who sometimes slips behind the fence to just sit there. we wave and say hi, never talking about the dog that’s always with him, even though it’s always a different dog.

no momos yet, tito ness-i can’t force it. but six more weeks for the planted seed to come to fruition….

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dear parkdale…

i am so excited that i signed up for the writing workshop at my library that started last wednesday.

i am always up for quick, prompt-based writing with strangers, and i learned some new (to me) rules about haiku. i only knew 5-7-5, i didn’t know that they cannot be a simile or metaphor, and that they must involve nature. huh.

here are the somes that i wrote about the neighbourhood:

my sketchy solace
colour me falling in love
cold sanctuary

teeny bachelor
with high ceilings was perfect
no things after fleas

autumn leaves fall in
perfect light in the front room
worshipping sunday

quick circle of life
senior cat slayed baby mouse
and then her mother

and some non-sestina/sestinas:

seeking sanctuary in the city,
all i found was fleas
ignored red flags and sketchy landlords
cautious of falling again
missing the solace for the trees
that first year, my gratitude
was as frozen as the olive oil, -25degrees

there’s room for everyone
as far as our minds can reach
the streetcar arrives
and people cram into the first two feet
different languages, different destinations, different hygiene
but everyone gets to where they’re going, even the fleas.

i did throw the whole thing by contributing “fleas” as my word to the soup, but people really ran with it. shoutout to lindsay and the love lettering project, this was a lot of fun-see you next week!

top 4(:44)

here are my top 4 quotes from this album:

4) “your body language is remedial”

there are a lot of specific instances of petty shade on this album (“lazy eye, no biggie” “in the future other ni$$as playing football with your son”) but this general one is hilarious.

3) “i apologize, because at your best, you were love”

is he actually, finally acknowledging aaliyah, all these years after her death?

2) “daddy, what’s a will?” or “daddy, what’s a whale?”

i mean, i’ve listened to this numerous times, and i don’t know which babygirl is saying, but either is perfect. considering that it segues into a track about legacy, it could be her plotting for his early death. conversely, she could just be fucking five years old.

but khaled‘s kid is already an executive producer of an album so….

1) “everything is chaka

in light of the current challenge (nobody beats issa and regina-no one even comes close) i think it’s worth noting that this child raps better than a lot of folks with real records out.

also, it means that half of my favourite quotes come from the on the run superchild, and i’m fine with that.

overall-it’s a great album, best and most listenable in a long time (i didn’t think we were coming back from magna carta, tbh).

also, i got it from the library-on cd.

remember those?

a question and answer for kendrick

dear kung fu kenny,

a) why do you want biyombo to sit down? we could really use him on our team still

b) the answer to your question “how many ni**a$ get mistaken for clitoris in a day?” is none, nada, zip, zero, goose egg, just nope.

the clitoris exists merely for our pleasure.
nobody in their right mind would ever mistake a man for that.

thank you and you’re welcome,
flossy.

streetknit-august 2017

me: “that’s magic”
T: “it’s not magic, it’s textiles”
me: “textiles are magic”
T: “textiles are science

and she blew my whole head up with that.

i love streetknit because the women don’t coddle anyone, though they totally coddle me. they ooh and ah over my not-quite-right projects (a square hat and a hat with an accidental ridge) but always make sure that i’m challenging myself to improve-“can you cast on yet?” “oh, another scarf?”

i love that it’s a space where skill-sharing and bragging meet-“you made those in a month?” “i made these in a week“, and a place where another virgo will still refuse to crochet me a bathing suit, even though it’s my birthday coming up and they’re taking more of my cervix.

it was particularly poppin’ last tuesday, very well attended by people of all ages, and i started another hat on the round. i missed a couple regulars, but made some new friends. there was a lady who was taking attendance. i’m so glad for this group and that i found it so early into my tenure in toronto.

new goal: crochet myself my own dang bathing suit
first steps: learn to crochet

the mortality of jim wong-chu

“did you know jim wong-chu?”

“yea, did he die?”

“yes, two days ago”

“of course i knew him from the RP days and he was also my mailman”

“oh yea, he was a mailman”

“and then he called me a bridge-burning lesbian”

“WHAT?!”

i mean, this was less of a big deal to me than the person who informed me of jim’s passing over text, and jim himself. he definitely had a problem with lesbians.

and bridge-burning.

admittedly, i was always on the outskirts of his legacy, even when i lived in vancouver, and moved into the neighborhood that the ricepaper office was in that also happened to be his route (no accidents). i was a freshly minted women’s studies (under)grad and oh so worldly because i spent a year in viet nam immersing myself in “my culture”-i was ready to claim my place amongst the great magazine writers of the world.

so i got a retail job. because no writer can make it just writing, right?

well, jim started an asian-canadian arts and culture magazine so that we could not only see ourselves reflected, but we also had a platform to create our own culture, and document it as it was happening. it wasn’t perfect, but it was/is.

he also started a grant (that i’ve been meaning to apply for) so that we could ensure our place in the canadian literary canon.

he also had a day job, and stayed at it because hey-writers gotta eat, and he chose one that allowed him to be not only publisher and literal distributor (he put my copies right into my mailbox, and probably saved on postage too!) but also to hang around the office and suggest wild article ideas to any young writer trapped in asian filial politesse he could see.

there were people-editors, directors, managers between jim and me, and most of them at one time or another had an estranged relationship with him, and to be honest, i think i forgot he was the founder and publisher until i googled the death announcement this morning, two days late.

as i write this, i’m in a text conversation with a RP affiliate that i’ve been meaning to see for some time now. this is not the reason that i envisioned that would bring us together. but it is the one that brought us together officially.

i lost track of jim when i left vancouver (presumably to become a bridge-burning lesbian) for montreal, but i thought he would always be there. i would hear about him from time to time, and even asked about him.

he was born two years after my father, so he died at 68.

it would seem that i haven’t asked about him in some time. and i haven’t heard.

but here’s to the legacy of jim wong-chu. i will forever respect his hustle and his humility to disappear into the footnotes, never use his own platform to write all the stories about the bands of acrobatic asian janitors that he met, and all the times he offered his own money to one (or all) of us to eat.

i’m great-full to him for never checking me, as i’m old enough now to know that i should’ve been checked many times over. i’m sure that there are many who can testify more intimately to the ways their lives and careers have been touched by jim wong-chu, but i offer this peripheral blink.

thank you, jim, for the reminder of impact, vision, and the importance of taking up space because it’s not a high school dance.

the next time i’m at main and broadway, i’ll pour out a little congee for you. unless they’ve razed my congee joint too. (sigh).

as much as i was lost in a self-absorbed fog of how i had to leave vancouver, it was perfect at that time of my life, and i was exactly where i needed to be. this reminder comes not a minute too soon, here in this city that i’ve finally reached after idealizing it for so long from there.

things are pretty freaking good here and now, too.

storied truths

here are the stories that i heard from podcasts that keep swirling around my mind:

from death, sex and money: in one of the student loan episodes, a woman talks about how she had to default in her loans and her dad eventually committed suicide because he couldn’t handle her debt. now, as horrible as that is, i couldn’t help but wonder what their relationship was like, and maybe daddy was just looking for a way out, or he was super passive-aggressive and finally taught her a money lesson that she would never forget.

from love + radio: i was touched by how disgusting and petty people are-from the guy who clipped his toenails into his roommates’ food because they asked him not to eat it, or the girl who discovered masturbating with her dad’s electric toothbrush-“…and because he knew what a vagina smelled and tasted like….he finally discovered why the battery was always out”.

eeeeeewwwww.

from open run: because the playoffs were so boring, jesse and stefan took to talking about what they’re watching on netflix and other news stories. i can’t get over the dood that sued his date for $17.31 (plus pizza) because she was texting during guardians of the galaxy 2, breaking the rules of the theatre, and, also civil society. but really, his fragile male ego was bruised because she left him stranded at the theatre because he told her to text outside.

37 years old and sounds like an amaaaaazing date. i don’t know why no one has snapped him out yet.

which leads me to the podcast that’s been everything to me the last couple of days-the heart.

i know i’m late, but i can’t stop. it started with aliya‘s interview with caitlin on the imposter, and then i had to see for myself, not just the no series, but every other episode.

consent. confronting abusers. inheritance. losing yourself in a relationship. what’s love got to do with it?

everything, i tell you. every last thing.