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.


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”.


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.

“new ideas need old buildings”-tile at dufferin station

i’ve already been reprimanded this week for spoiling the nba playoffs, so let me not do this to a woman’s show.

but belladonna the blest or dm st. bernard‘s sound of the beast is everything, and then eleven more everythings. do yourself a favour and go see it. please. if one of the city’s finest (the finest imo) poets can roll through (and i think he even bought a ticket because he’s not a personal friend of the inspiration’s), you can too.

ok-psa over, do what you want.

i’ve been feeling the feels since i was in montreal for a week and a half, doing everything and nothing, and with the birth of babies all around and work never ending (and still not beginning), i know it’s not an accident that i ended up in the same room as these two that i run into so randomly it’s become specific. the fact that there was a stage and words and so many ideas layered and folded into ideas that if a mille-feuille crepe cake could be a thing that could be witnessed and absorbed and spoken and felt, this would be that thing.

i’m largely not a fan of the tiles at dufferin station, especially of the two that are close together near the main entrance, one reading “blah blah blah new immigrants” and the other “occasion to turn around”, like wtf?! but i never noticed this one before, or perhaps due to its proximity to the aforementioned as well as the “lemonade living” (and i paraphrase all these tiles, except for the one that i board the train at every day on my way to work which reads “something happens here”, because, well, who has time to footnote tiles, or remember them properly and such?) i’m too busy getting to the punchline of 3/5s when it’s so meta and brilliant, when accountability happens and its calling for is further justified when the perpetrator responds by throwing her kids under the bus. when a discussion about whose lives matter is brought about without the use of those slogans so familiar that have lost their lustre, but is named nonetheless, and stories are woven so beautifully that you forget for a moment that they’re tragic but flower petals are still gentle, whether or not they’re unbreakable, and you decide, we decide-but things are complicated, and we do what we can….

(i’m writing a new piece called “poets talk in circles”….but then again, that’s been the ongoing story of life itself)

place is a thing. theatre passe-muraille is a place. it’s been one of the most reliable places that i have crossed paths with dmsb over the years, and toronto is a place-also one of the most reliable locales. it’s an old building that’s housed almost 50 seasons of new ideas, and even though it’s been fixed, i still just can’t push that door…and i’m glad that i didn’t stay away when the latest ad joined-even when she was the first person to fire me from a job at a little theatre that we both worked at in mtl-what are the chances, right?

but there are no accidents, and (the) space (between our ears) is the real place.

we gotta work on that time-bending piece, but then again-we’ve been working on that project our whole lives.

this is why i scheduled a volunteer shift on my first day back to work after a long vacation of doing everything and nothing, horny as hell but great-full for the life choices i’ve made not to have kids and a dog (though i really, really love dogs and kids). it’s nice to be able to walk in and out of that for a week, because if it was real life, i woulda had to work all day and then go home to single-mother kids and a dog.

this is why.

i live for this and i am ever great-full to this woman for reminding me to do it by doing it.

shoutout to maddie bautista-we may have only met tonight (in this life) but it’s far from over.

birdie-tracey lindberg

“And when you are attractive and chasing in Vancouver, eventually you get caught yourself. She was caught by Stanley Manklow. A completely beautiful specimen of man. She hadn’t learned to read tarot cards or mean eyes yet.” (113-4)

“She had thought it was love and had given in to that part of herself that wanted to be hurt. And that piece of the hope of something bigger, something loving, turned into a kernel of something indescribably hard. She wonders now how desperate she must have ben to accept that ugly gift and return it. To have felt aroused at the near-beating. At that moment, she began to reject and loathe that thing in her that needed to be hit, hard. And she knew within that fury that she hated him, too. For introducing it so glibly. For making her a one-time offer.” (194-5)

this little beaut was part of canada reads, but i didn’t get to it then. i got to it because of the librarians (ola), but i love the double-charters. that reminds me, i kind of fell off this year, with my worst showing ever, at 30%, but i still have a couple of weeks (i’m probably not going to get to any more of them, and that might be ok this year). i am reading through my holds…and that will definitely be done this year.

i love that this book is about love(s), skin, and literal and figurative homes. all the good themes.

“As the blisters spread she feels, instead of alienated from her skin, more at home in it. Like it is starting to look like she feels inside of it.” (6)

as someone who has had many run-ins with eczema over the years, some of the times with it being completely out of control, this is a completely different way of approaching the situation. i mean-i am always great-full (when it’s gone) for it’s existence as a reminder that things have to change-NOW, but i don’t think i’ve ever embraced it as such.

“Then, she could not afford the luxury of disdain.” (69)

i often wish this for people at work-i mean, i don’t, but i do. i don’t wish hardship on anyone, but i do wish the experience that comes from hardship-namely the one that results in gratitude and personal responsibility and ownership of how we contribute to our own situations.

today-pastor walrus made me cry because he told me that my positive energy lights up the house and that i should keep it up because it makes people happy-leave it to pastor walrus to be the only one to tell me-rather than the pile of complaints that are usually thrown my way by people who can’t and don’t want to fix their faces.

then, maria bought me my lasagna and i was invited over for an impromptu carb fest, baby sangria, and a dance performance that got me home searching for glitter glue and garbage pail kids.

“He was only part Phil, because he was Metis. She wasn’t sure about that, though, because he pronounced it ‘Met-iss’.” (134)

“So Jesus did not weep and Jesus did not save.” (209)

i’m going to burn some more of my new gratitude mix incense and call it a night. goodnight.

cds donated: reflect-for those who wait, manu-voix de fait
cds kept: sekoya-dalawa, eternia-where i’m at (the setup), eternia-where i’ve been (the collection)

the first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic-jessica hopper

“He hasn’t betrayed his crowd the way Dylan did when he went electric-this is something very different. The kids filling the 1,500-capacity tent know their Jesus from their Judas. There was a time when Bazan’s fans believed he was speaking, or rather singing, the Word. Not so much anymore.” (115)

“It’s easy to speculate about  what Cobain and Nirvana would have become had he lived. The band’s next album could’ve been a Chinese Democracy-like fiasco, especially embarassing in light of Cobain’s original genius-flash. He could’ve gone Corgan and released music with steadily diminishing returns for a decade plus. He could’ve joined the Foo Fighters. He could’ve taken the Reznor path, ‘retiring’ after a steady, respectable career. (Who knew then that Eddie Vedder would turn out to be the real punk among Cobain’s grunge-era ‘peers’?) Revisiting Nevermind is like flexing a phantom limb made up of Nirvana records that never were. That’s all it means now, all that’s left-fantasy. The tomb is empty; let the dead buy the dead.” (145)

“What’s being sold is an entree to punk, and most of the fans are too new to the music’s ideals to understand that they’re buying a version of fuck-all rebellion that’s been repackaged by businesspeople. Or maybe they do understand, and they come because they think it’s the only verson left. Warped is a mammoth shopping and marketing experience, a towering conglomerated product of the Clear Channel Age, and though the music is the initial draw, purchases are they way the kids express themselves to themselves, to the bands, and to each other.” (147)

“None of this, of course, was any less honest for being so obviously calculated-even when you’re a teenager faking it, approximating a borrowed notion of cool, you’re still bound to be more real, more transparent and more vulnerable than any adult.” (148)

“The look like scumbags who sleep in the desert.” (151, about the Mean Reds*)

i don’t know that hindsight is 20/20, but i do know that music is 395% nostalgia. i love learning things, and i especially love learning about music. i had a note to check out rollin hunt here, and though i didn’t find enough to be interested, i’m sure i made that note for a reason, and if it comes up again, i’ll have an automatic link to jessica hopper in my brain, and i’m not mad about that. i mean, at the very least, it’s another marker of chicago, and i’ll forever have “chance the rapper recorded his album at the library-i’m happy that i know exactly what room because i’ve seen it” in my brain because of the interview she did with him.

i love the inadvertent (or was it?!) retrospective on the industry and how it’s changed over the years. i went on a date with someone who met her current partner (yup, one of those) on myspace, thinking that she was going to have to extoll its virtues to me-but hey-myspace was amazing at the height of my music writing, it was a great way to connect directly to artists without having to go through handlers, and i’m happy to say that i’ve known, cherished, and was at least at one time held in high esteem by the winner of myspace-gabriel teodros. i don’t know what the current equivalent is-instagram? but i do know that something else will always be coming, and that the pendulum will always swing back. we just don’t have that many moves as humans. the good news about that is that we’re just as good as we always were, as well as being just as bad as we always were. giddy up.

the first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic-jessica hopper

“Us girls deserve more than just one song. We deserve more than one pledge of solidarity. We deserve better songs than any boy will ever write about us.” (20)

“Riot-grrrl wasn’t the end result, it was the catalyst. That’s what it was supposed to be, that’s what it was meant as-not a static thing. It didn’t have to stick around forever to count as successful-movements come in waves-it did its job perfectly. So much is different post-RG, so much permission and power and inspiration was funneled down steadily-whether it’s to the league of young girl shredders, or rock camps, or queer show collectives whose tether to RG was simply catching the tail end of Sleater-Kinney.

Feminism has to move on, salute new icons, be excited by the variety of archetypes of women in music that are self-directed, self-produced, not operating under the shadow of a Svengali band. To not appreciate the difference in agency, or appreciate the different struggles of women now, turns it to a game of radical one-upsmanship. Our battles are not to be hung on the necks of the new waves of girls like an albatross.” (89)

“I began to pine for the attention of punk boys, of which I knew three. One of which was Andrew and we could barely stand one another but were bonded by conversations about Sonic Youth.” (57)

“I want it. I need it. Because all these records, they give me a language to decipher just how fucked I am. Because there is a void in my guts which can only be filled by songs.” (13)

once again we’re dealing with the relationships of women writing about music-relationships with the music itself, relationships with the music makers and finding community (and love and validation) within a shared audience, relationships with other women in the context of music, and relationships with the writing about the music. i mean-the title of this book is a very deliberate statement, and though we have paper trails in different genres, i can relate to a lot of the same sentiments.

it’s no accident that this was a bust magazine pick/feature. it seems like the more we learn, the more we’re inundated by the same struggles. in all of our communities. aarrrgh. but the truth remains that packing an inheritance of struggles is not the way to go to validate what we’ve been through-celebrating that some ones don’t have to go through it in the same way is what we need to do, because trust that they have found and made their very own that don’t even register on our radar, so we need to celebrate that. we can always hold space for each other-always.

i realize that the one constant in my life (ok, two with the NBA) has been music. it’s been the one thing that i’ve been sure about, and it seems to be the hindrance-i may know too much-and thus i’m a bro, but at the end of the day-that’s cool, the music will be there for me-it’s a good thing i didn’t get hiphop_spinster actually tattooed on my body-but shit do i feel like cassandra picking that moniker. whomp whomp.

hunger makes me a modern girl-carrie brownstein (more)

“Portland became a respite and a true hometown. Personally, as well as in Sleater-Kinney, I have always relied heavily on resetting. I venture out and take risks, but then I need to return to steadiness and calm.” (181)

“And even though I had never imagined myself on the corporate ladder, I had also never pictured myself peddling tuna fish on sourdough to those who were. So I quit.” (64)

“I was always so relieved to be in a band whose music could obliterate the before, tear through the moment and rip it to shreds.” (144)

“To me, it’s the perfect distillation of the disparity between being onstage and being off. For all the power you command in a live context, all the myth and mythmaking that goes into that moment, elevated by the agreement between performer and audience, when you’re offstage, you’re shrunk down to human size, to the humility it takes to endure the quotidian.” (190)

there is so much in this book. i feel like every time i come back to this book, there’s something more to love. she’s just so able to talk about the beautiful struggle that it’s hard not to love her concise bumbling. even though i never connected to her music, i always felt her feminism, and i believe that our comedy comes from a very similar place. we definitely share that dog love that only true dog lovers do. i admire carrie brownstein, i am inspired by carrie brownstein, and generally, i am glad to be living in a world where carrie brownstein is kicking ass and taking names.

“The dance I choreographed-and I use the term “choreography” loosely, the way you’d call adding milk to cereal “cooking”-was a combination of marching and punching, and probably resembled aerobics being done by a penguin.” (18)

“Despite our best intentions, we had the momentum and direction of a silk scarf being juggled by a mime.” (179)

“We formed a constellation of surrogates who likely should have been paying the dogs for therapy; it could have funded the entire shelter operation. We cried when the dogs were euthanized but also when they were adopted; we had been seeking comfort in the constant and could barely deal with change. The term ‘shelter’ seemed to apply as much to humans as it did to animals.” (227)

it should come as no surprise that images these power-full come from the mind of a self-made musician and comedy show innovator, but i just want to call attention to it again.

“We always wanted to bring openers that raised our level of playing and performance; we were honored and excited to do it.” (189)

“Being in a band with an ex, and both being songwriters and lyricists, takes a lot of compassion and understanding. Sometimes I think Corin and I fell back into a kind of platonic love by learning about each other through the songs we were writing.” (138)

“There is very little about being a working musician that is glamourous, which is why I have never understood people who get onstage and hardly even try. What else is there besides that moment? Why would you want to waste it?” (191)

“Tour is a precarious nexus between monotony and monomania-a day of nothingness followed by a moment that feels like everything……But most of the day feels shapeless, a blurriness that comes into focus only once you soundcheck and begin the progression toward the show itself.” (207)

“We ended the band at the best time we could, when people really wanted us to stay.” (218)

this all hits a bit close to home, fresh off my weekend with nomadic. it all just seems a bit unfair-that women still have to navigate the world(s) so differently, that simple logistics can bring a whole house down, and just how the stage is a magical buffer that bubblewraps the band and reminds us to be present and appreciate a moment because once the set is over, all of that life stuff just comes rushing back to punch you in the face.

i’m happy that i was able to sit with my sista while hoards of strangers came up to her to thank her for her beauty-full presence. it would be a tragedy if she wasn’t able to perform anymore. and i do not subscribe to the “well, at least she has a son that she loves”. no-it’s actually a crime against humanity to deprive the world of that talent and that influence. but hey-i’ve always wanted more.

and i always know what i want.

duolingo status: 536 day streak, 6001 lingots
holds/checkouts: 38/8
book that i’ve heard about twice in two days: a little life
this morning’s culinary game: breaded pepper trout with pineapple kale quinoa
social event of the night: comedy at the emerson