annex writes-too

and so, we were down to two on wednesday, but it was lovely to talk, continue getting to know each other, be served tea and a “yuppy snack”, as well as be sent home with lunch for the next day along with plenty of accomplishment and inspiration.

here were the poems that we made, first the collaborative word faux sestinas:

toothless smiles
holding tight
a reign of nurturing
the dependence gradient
proceed with tenderness
in this bookend of care

gradients of burden
technicolour cares
shades of reign
grasping at shadows
toothless yet full
tenderness for miles

and the haikus:

going round and round
circular motion always
one day we will stop

if a woman lives
without making another
does anyone know?

dogs come home with fleas
kids with lice and chicken pox
i don’t live with bugs

we all get older
though we don’t always get smart
men get passes though

volume and volume
tomes and issues and chapters
same book or a/new?

we were speaking on themes, perhaps that’s evident?

if you’re reading this we meet next on valentine’s day. it would be lovely to see you again, parkdale writers.


parkdale writes-the annex session one

one week ago, a trio of us met in an apartment crammed to the gills with kitschy props. we’re talking hundreds of lamps, clocks, salt and pepper shakers, ceramics, and not one but two framed photos of the same elderly pomeranian.

we had some lovely homemade quiche, mint tea, and snuggled into our own couches to free write and each threw in two words to make faux sestinas.

(lindsay, if you’re reading i did not contribute a single strange word this time!)

they’re not amazing, but here they are:

icy moors
floating bergs
ships poised
latent cracks
ferocious waves
steely submission

ferocious minds
poised to attack
latent misogyny
floating in thick air
icy tones
steely glares

all clouds don’t float
steely air freezes frames
latent moisture lurkes
poised to become
ferocious wind
forcing icy tears

steely dan
latent alcoholism
generations ferocious
icy mugs
floating dreams
unsteadily poised

steely submission
latent hate
poised resistance
floating future
icy intent
ferocious revenge

when i read that last one, our house raised both fists and yelled “WHOO HOO! WOMEN FIGHT BACK!” and it’s always great when people get your fumbling poetry.

our next date is set and i’m looking forward to all the group writings that 2018 will offer.

gratitude-the jar (2017)

it’s that time once again! here’s the jar:


another great year of big screen love, laughs, and a bechdel-approved possible future. shoutout to ms. ava duvernay for her hundred million dollar budget, i’m blessed to have seen her $200,000 masterpiece. although i only have four stubs for girls trip, i saw it 7 times in total, which is another first. on a related note, i also saw set it off, which i thought i had seen, but turns out i only had the soundtrack-it was the golden era of soundtracks! i also experienced my first drunk feminist films with obsessed, a film that is just as terrible now as when it first came out. the rainbow cinemas were also bought by imagine, so my bingo card, full but not honoured (whomp whomp) is also in the jar. i miss the mural.

in no particular order:

girls trip, girls trip, girls trip, girls trip, girls trip* (found it), snatched, baby driver, get out, table 19, rough night, hidden figures, 3D lego batman, fist fight, migrant dreams, dying laughing, the big sick, a bad mom’s christmas, three billboards outside ebbing, missouri, love, sex and eating the bones, middle of nowhere, set it off, rude, annie (2014), neruda, 9th floor, the hitman’s bodyguard


i continue to be floored by local talent, and be inspired by my s/heros:

blocko (EVELYN CHAMPAGNE KING), foundations (ellen bryant, desiire, abscvnd), allie, lal presents the forest, selah genesis/lady parul/adria kain, kung fu kendrick lamar, bruno mars, nas and miz lauryn hill, kd lang (ingenue 25), sean paul/brandy/ginuwine, manifesTO (the internet, jidenna, isaiah rashad, majid jordan-all the local acts i came to see went on very very early), secret drake/dvsn/majid/that kid that’s not quite on beat, nomadic massive, vox sambu, ali wong, chris rock, sound of the beast, flowers while we’re living, the youth/elders project, rhubarb festival (38), shades of our sisters, walking with our sisters, colors presents r&b only (before-free lipstick with zahra and steak and lobster, after-P&L, nice leans and arms, 2 TERRIBLE HICKEYS “sigh. giving up on men. but their arms tho”), salomon and kurt (november), dark & stormy (impromptu decision to perform), jen kirkman, nasty fantasy: a janet jackson vs. mariah carey burlesque tribute, chance the rapper, fredy v. album release, fredy v. at the night owl, anh phung’s tullstars, kid fury’s furious thoughts, baduizm-a tribute, soaring in liquid skies, funk frequency, DATU

reading and writing:

-my wonder-full bday cards-38 was a trying one, and i’m glad that i commissioned my flossy posse to be by my side
-a real estate note from lindsay when i woke up after apple picking and a lamb coma-she was taking rusty for a walk and had taken laxatives
-two future letters to my father and two to myself (put back into the jar, i’m not ready to open them yet)
-a polaroid of sj‘s book club books from at least 2010 (young-ha kim’s black flower, marie n’diaye’s three strong women, and rahul bhattacharya’s the sly company of people who care) i read all of these this year
-latre chicken’s birth announcement card
the love lettering project’s parkdale writing workshop (8 weeks of magic at the parkdale public library)-i’m so great-full to have participated in this
-three love letters from the puppy (all the best to you on your journey)
-5/8 of brah brah’s reading challenge from last year: a book that may require a dictionary for some of the words-jonathan franzen’s purity (feb 20, 2017), a published work written by a person you know-kenji tokawa’s “why you don’t have to choose a white boy name to be a man in this world” from gender outlaws, the next generation (jan 14, 2017), a book that endeavours to teach you a new skill-designing your life by bill burnett & dave evans (october 16, 2017), a book that bears your name-sticks angelica…folk hero by michael deforge (may 16, 2017), bonus: mention in duana taha’s the name therapist, your host’s book when you are a guest from out of town-rupi kaur’s milk and honey from julay‘s shelf when fam went to costa rica and i took vacation to watch the babies
pam picked up my mary j. blige cd and slipped a sticker in it
pam hid my christmas card in my kareem abdul jabbar books
-i booked a massage as a pick me up, and when i got there, jane told me that she pre-ordered shine like a diamond for me, “for all the times you’ve come in here and lifted me up”-my note on the print out is: “i was moved to tears. the irregular cells are back, but we will get them.”
-diasporic intimacies launch (yea to the babes and other friends that are in this anthology)
-71 books read

the basketballs:

-the 2016-17 printed schedule with notes: saturday, december 3rd’s win against the hawks (savage), my beginning of the season’s plan to fly to chicago for the valentine’s day game, but then the election happened and my amendment of “nope. travel ban my loved ones and i travel ban you”, playoff summary: beat bucks in 6, swept by the cavs-whomp whomp
-notes on my UP express tickets (one waxing very verbose about magnetic calendar night) and all the 50/50s that i did not win (and hence do not yet have the $130 crew neck that i want)
-my first playoff game (that first loss to the bucks)-i decided to go last minute and sat in the sprite zone, i still celebrated post-game with an alleyway makeout session and priscilla’s 38th bday at the parkdale drink (tunes by sweet touch)
-contraband food, an official season ticket holder thrupple, and more upgrades from dave (section 112, where the playas dwell!)
-march 29 vs. the hornets with zahra, jan 10 vs. the celtics (with evan), jan 24 vs. the spurs, jan 29 vs the magic (biyombo’s return), feb 6 vs. the clippers, dec 17 vs. the kings (with maya), oct 21 vs. the 76ers (with maya), dec 29 vs. the hawks (with maya), mar 13 vs. the mavericks (with cj), nov 5 vs. the wizards (with mikey), pre-season vs. detroit (with mikey), april 7 vs. the heat (last game of the season with maya), dec 5 vs. the suns (with kevin) and oct 19 vs the bulls (home opener with maya), jan 13 vs. the nets (with bryan)

the artifacts:

-memorable scattergories: with maya on thanksgiving when we were under the influence of ganja milk, with cj and evan with pizza, christmas morning with lindsay and justin
-tags from my first outfit by lustre design
-unicorn building instructions
-the first baby bootie that i ever knit (one of my resolutions last year was to knit something other than a scarf, i did booties, hats, a cowl, and am working on a blanket now)
-turquoise mardi gras beads from a little girl i met on crazy mouse on that one great date i went on with mary so many glasses (who never called me again)
-a 33 pieces of cheese log completed (at chfa 2016) that made it in when i cleaned out my filing cabinet in the mold hole
-my keys to 2995 dundas (aka the mold hole) farewell to my junction home of the last 7 years
-bejewled ceramic red bottom charm that i found two years ago but kept hanging on the edge of the jar for this year as well-i am retiring it this year because of the closed circle with the red bootie
-the raptors lanyard given to me by michelle years ago, it broke this year
coy kuya‘s setlist (my dream dj spinning erykah, ivana santilli, evelyn champagne king, bilal, grove theory, quincy jones, new edition, bobby brown and janet-swoon)
-a $46.81 stamp receipt with the note “i work for postage” across the top. another year of writing and posting at toronto’s first post office, including the knowledge of (to date 56 sent, 55 received) i also bested this amount with an $86.15 receipt for stamps last month that should last me some time
-a stunna shades patch “to kanye from HOV” found june 7th
-my JFL master level badge (what an amazing festival that keeps getting better and better)
-a pack of yo! mtv raps trading cards (from annick) featuring the illustrious digital underground, heavy d. and the boyz, young mc and krs-one
-wendy and peter’s wedding matches from may 28th, 1983
-my UofT badge for boundless-TO queer history film series (thanks, FZV!)
-my new business card
-a pink sparkly birthday candle
-last christmas’ candy canes from the lovebirds downstairs-they hung on the door for most of this year
-my brendan shanahan trading card from the night we saw KD win a championship at dock ellis
-the jacek chocolate couture catalogue that maya and mama maya got for me on their trip west-we ate them at the baked potato block party on the first day of autumn that brought the first summer weather (40 degrees!)-we ate them before they melted and headed to kensington for pedestrian sunday
revamped business card-i’m so glad i got to know katherine better this year, from the coffee shop to the parkdale flea
-a planetarium ticket that i found in julay’s jean shorts
-one of my stm tickets from this year’s time in the ‘trill
-the sloane heavenly cream tea packet from vegan supper club
-my torn coffee bingo card from the abbott-my local shop that has cinnamon and cloves on the bar-yum
-a “breathalyze me” napkin from wendi‘s collection
-my chequebook log-it took until june 11, 2017 (11 years) to use 200 cheques. i couldn’t write my september 2018 rent cheque, so maybe that’s when i will move? or switch to the bank account that includes e-transfers?
-love, mom ❤ the brown bag that was my rosehound surprise sack
-“i get to choose what family means to me” my first affirmation coloured from this year’s $5 gift exchange with cj after last night’s bruha ceremonies
-“let’s avocuddle” card to commemorate walking the OOAK show with lindsay this year
fredy v.‘s digital download code for #ItTakesAVillage
-one teeny postcard of godzilla and the empire state building (xmas 2016 gift from the el-hadi russells), the rest went into cj’s bday gift that i pre-read
-a sweet stocking stuffers gift tag for this year’s $5 gift exchange
-a tag from the dream catcher that i bought from latre
-THE LEGS (these aren’t not the legs you’re looking for)-evan makes jokes and signs, and jokes on signs
-the note card on my 7-year gift from the store (a money tree), this arrived on neron‘s 30th bday (his last in parkdale before he moved to brampton this year with the birth of his son)-it’s the end of an era of not seeing him or his mom any more on the street, he got picked up by an old asian lady at the shwarma shop, it was amazing. later-i saw kendrick lamar
rokcork business card-one of my favourite local businesses, this year i got a backpack and a baseball cap to go along with the two pairs of shoes that i got last year
-my xmas 2017 present from the gazelles, an ali wong “lie down” pillowcase
-a pack of juicy fruit gum (the official gum of the toronto raptors)
-a single broken clappy hand from michelle
-a puto canton business card from pride and retail therapy with wayne-they advertised kisses that they did not deliver on
-my cassette receipt from masimba’s estate sale-what a lovely day of virgo bonding and being claimed by little nia immediately
wendi sasso‘s celebration of life card (pride sunday)
-my ticket for the ex (tsp vs. was on hold this year), solo with lindsay this year
-the film stars “unconventional” launch flyer where i finally met erin kang
-my love letter project postcard commemorating my return to on-camera work and finally meeting lindsay zier-vogel
-spoon from eva’s original chimney cone-i thought it would be hot and this was the first time that my cash was refused at an establishment

(highlights from) the daily notes:

-ten year friendaversary with zahra (celebrated at nordstrom, obvi)
-i returned to the pool (thank you, kary)
-more growth at studio po, another year in my long-term non-committal relationship with iyengar yoga
-i finally got to taiko class
-lots of vietnamese lunches courtesy of brian and nina at latre
-meeting brigitte mystique (for lunch at norstrom)
-colouring books, pencil crayons, colour/paint by numbers
-i have an office amethyst because i got to choose it out of the trunk of someone whose groceries i carried out to the car
lee daniels’ star, the best show on television
-getting verklempt for fay and fluffy story time for santa in the junction
-i decided that my power hair will be “growing this side to my ankles and keeping this side at a 1”, men hate it, it’s working
-“blessings are as blessings do”
-almost a full month in MTL
-i hugged the raptor (though there is no photo evidence because michelle didn’t have her glasses on)
-lots of good healing from susanda (acupuncture) and sharon (yoga)
-chinese new year with jess and james
-robbie burns day vegan supper club with valentine date
-clove cigarettes banned by law (but smoked one on NYE and found out that they’re still sold on baldwin)
-“hokkaido squash + roxanne gay”
-“love yourself, and you will come”
-850 day streak to get 10,000 lingots on duolingo (25 languages)
-30 day jumping jack challenge
-30 day squat challenge
-evan took me to nations in mississauga
-i cured fanen’s vertigo
-i rang in $1440 in marshmallows
fredy dedicated “pretty brown eyes” to me at his toronto show
-“my mom says that when it’s sunny and then raining, rats are getting married”
-double taurus colpo support team
-double aquarian leep support team
-meeting and holding chicken at 5 days old
-lots of good times with cat at our work places
-“sonia has hot hair”
-“we (cj and i) laughed about boundaries and mr. roy made him carry a lawnmower”
-north york eating tours
-i fell in love a little bit with a panda (i’ll always have those kisses)
-i was in a pile of (yorkie) puppies! (it was a dream came true!)
-finally made it to stories of ours
liz trout‘s estate sale
master of none season two and cracking the bake code
rafe esquith replied to an email i sent him
the heart podcast
lux‘s coming out party solo exhibit-so proud with her!
-i met cat’s baby olivia
-more streetknit
-asian brunch!
-dad has my “biblical cord”
-“i found new settings on my vibrator-woot! also, i didn’t go to yoga and feel great about it”
-i got on stage at practice, (very badly) sang “pony” at live band karaoke, and got recognized for working at the store
-desus and mero slam dunk baby baptism video (i love these two and am so glad i got to see them live at JFL this year)
-in the studio audience for canada reads
-two clothing swaps at temple 23 (RIP)
jj bean is in toronto now (but so corporate)
-i moved into an iphone and got instagram
-lindsay and i wanted to go to take back the night but got as far as taking back the eaton centre. we designed the best garage sale posters and got up at the asscrack of dawn to sell wendi’s things in markham-polkaroo gets no wine glasses
-i wrote and sold my first script
-ontario ginger gold apples
-sleeveless in september
-“wendi’s ipod taught me that it’s a semi-charmed kind of life and not a semitone kind of life (my way is still better)”
-swapped summer clothes out for raptors gear for the first time, it feels so clean!
sza’s ctrl

the notes not written by me:

may 20, 2017

“when we go to sleep, we hear raccoons. simple and plain.” -kenza

“how many kisses do you need?”-me
“all of them”-tiju

“don’t talk to me-i’m not happy”-kenza

“goodnight. (i love you – in whisper).” -tiju

monday, august 28th: grateful for: the fabulous jackalope (that mythical being), corgi shirts 4 mins to closing, eternal bubble tea decisions (I can’t remember what i just ordered), ALPACAE-there they are!-making a paw, the Superdogs’ theme song NOT GRATEFUL FOR: the nonexistent entrance to Ricoh Coliseum (sorry, Stojko) -lindsay

sweet potato soup and honey tincture for a perfect mixture of soul nourishment meant to mention the array of beauty within your soul so colour-full I am most grateful for your being + allowing me to bee love you thank you for your hospitality authentically creating your best life I am inspired + admire your desire to live true. Cheers this rooibos tea to infinity more life no Drake Maya the Bee

pictures on the gram.


i think we were all a bit tired last night.

we did exercises on character, switching gears from place, and i found it challenging for this reason:

“I think it’s easier for me to write about place than character in this neighbourhood because the hood is a character, and so full of real ones, that it’s hard to imagine one in.

Perhaps I should personify the tamarind balls that I forgot are for sale in that OG general store.”

and, so.

perhaps i was just too full of baked onion rings.

we’ll try again next week.

parkdale love letters-week three

for the first time last week, i left the workshop with a piece that needed work and re/work. i knew from the free write that it would be the night that i pay tribute to dov, and i had just come from jim wong-chu’s memorial the night before, so i was feeling a bit bittersweet and tender. but that’s the thing about writing-it’s always got me through.

i lit some incense for these friends and mentors yesterday, imperfect as they were, and went out into my community to celebrate strong women and also to cry in the ceremonial space that was walking with our sisters-it’s kind of hard to fully celebrate when the misogyny and art that comes from healing is so real. the top part of a moccasin is called a vamp (i learned this), and a gymnasium full of decorated yet not sewn into a full shoe (to represent the unfinished lives of the missing and murdered indigenous women) was so power-full and so shame-full (hey, canada). i crumbled at the first baby one, and cried angry tears at the ones that had dates-1971 stands out-some people have been waiting for justice for their loved ones for 8 years before i was born, and many more have been waiting so much longer. one set were covered in garbage bags and stated “we are precious. we are not your disposable garbage”. the beadwork, the needlework, the mourning, and the artistry that came out of the creativity necessary for survival was flooring and another reminder of the inequality between women and men, because even when we are navigating the most violent of circumstances, we are the ones shouldering the responsibility of educating and coping, all while our bodies are the battleground.

and they call us crazy.


there were a lot of feels that came out of life last week, so here’s to starting this one with some process:

i chose two pictures tonight
because of their warmth
no one was in the frames
but lights were the sign of life

i took a picture of you once
at the Cadillac Lounge
whisky was in the frame
but no physical copy exists
you’re as tangible as you ever were

drawn to your smoky drawl
country in the city
art on your arms and music in your heart
i suppose i chose warmth thrice

i once saw you cry because
your wall was covered
immediately after you painted it
and i am still moved
when i hear that old soul singer
you introduced me to
now especially

frozen water
still water

reflecting the light
evidence that we were here
but also that we’re not

you went back to the ocean
home forever
except the part of your essence
that remains in Parkdale

i hold space.

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!

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