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 PRISM international
Winter 2011
Contemporary Writing from Canada and Around the World  PRISM international  PRISM international
Fiction Editor
Jeff Stautz
Poetry Editor
Executive Editors
Ben towluk
Chris Urquhart
Advisory Editor
Rhea Tregebov
Production Manager
Jennifer Herbison
Editorial Board
Jordan Abel
Emily Davidson
Erin Flegg
Kaitlin Fontana
Jordan Hall
Elizabeth Hand
Anna Maxymiw
Alexis Pooley
Bill Radford
Sigal Samuel
Melissa Sawatsky
Natalie Thompson
Erika Thorkelson
Emily Urness
Cara Woodruff PRISM international, & magazine of contemporary writing, is published four
times a year by the Creative Writing Program at the University of British
Columbia, Buchanan E-462, 1866 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1. Microfilm editions are available from University Microfilms Inc., Ann Arbor,
MI, and reprints from the Kraus Reprint Corporation, New York, NY The
magazine is listed by the Canadian Literary Periodicals Index.
Email:   / Website:
Contents Copyright ® 2011 PRISM international for the authors.
Cover Illustration: "flying books (in formation)" by Linton Murphy.
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Our gratitude to Dean Averill and the Dean of Arts Office at the University
of British Columbia. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the
Canada Council for the Arts and the British Columbia Arts Council.
January 2011. ISSN 0032.8790
BRITISH COLUMBIA      988     Canada Council     Conseil des Arts
ARTS COUNCIL <±>    for the Arts du Canada Contents
Volume 49, Number 2
Winter 2011
Micro-fiction & Prose Poetry Issue
Editors'Notes /  7
Ron Koertge
Hanson and Greta /  14
Eulogy /  16
The Fundraiser /  17
Heather Campbell
Dog /  22
Michael Reid Busk
from The Eighties: A Brief Primer / 29
Phyllis Rudin
Luck / 36
Pasha Malla
Twilight-Night /  41
Bruce Holland Rogers
Unpleasant Features of Our New Address / 44
The Fourth Floor / 45
Roy Kesey
Come Due / 50
Wishes / 53
James Phelan
Ten Sentimental Educations / 55
D.W. Wilson
Let Me Try Science / 59 Poetry
Meghan L. Martin
Dear Ancient Predators / 8
Antony Di Nardo
Isotopia / 9
Julie Cameron Gray
Radish Dreams /  19
Nick Thran
Festival / 20
The Long Gone College of Franconia / 21
Anne-Marie Tnrza
The Collector / 25
On Sleep / 26
Barry Dempster
Distance / 27
Starting Over / 28
Chris Gilpin
Delivering Jam / 34
My Baptism / 35
Almeda Glenn Miller
Nature of Fire / 39
Daniel Kincade Renton
Everyday Adjustments / 40
Bardia Sinaee
7/4 Gridline / 43
Jennica Harper
Realboys / 46
Patrick Pilarski
a sampling of things juxtaposed and cyclic / 49
Susan Steudel
Not An Easy Thing For Ilych /  57
Laura Clarke
Book of Kings / 58
Nikki Reimer
from one or two things to consider / 61
Editors' Notes
Welcome to PRISM's annual theme issue. This year we decided
to focus on form rather than a content-driven theme: we were
drawn to the genre-bending landscape of contemporary micro-fiction and prose poetry, and the ways in which writers employ these
forms to tell their stories.
We received just under a thousand submissions from writers all across
Canada and around the world, and we spent months trimming the shortlist down to what would fit between the magazine's covers. Questions we
had while divvying up our slush pile reading included: what separates a
short narrative poem from a short poetic narrative, anyway? Is it word
count? Metaphor? The intensity of imagery or the size of the figurative
Either way, both micro-fiction and prose poetry are incredibly demanding forms. To be successful, the writer needs to deliver a full emotional arc in a very compact space. The best micro-fiction or prose poem
features a heightened attention to language—what Gary Lutz refers to as
"steep verbal topography"—deft handling of characters and conflict in
very few words, and a compelling voice.
We were incredibly excited to receive submissions of arresting new
work from Barry Dempster, Pasha Malla, Jennica Harper, Ronald Ko-
ertge, and Nikki Reimer.
Though we'd focused on form rather than content while composing
our call for submissions, we nonetheless noticed patterns in storytelling
emerge as we began the editing process for the issue. We found content
influenced by internet communication (the self-referential, hypertextlike linkages in Michael Reid Busk's excerpts from "The Eighties, a Brief
Primer," and the brief lines of Nick Thran's "Festival" that read like the
"short, timely messages" of Twitter); finely-wrought stories with sharp corners like Roy Kesey's "Come Due" and D.W. Wilson's "Let Me Try Science"; and poems, like those of Antony Di Nardo, Jennica Harper, and
Anne-Marie Turza, that delve into rich, fully realized and compact worlds.
Got a short attention span? Perfect. This issue is densely packed with
everything we just mentioned and more—in fact, it's the readerly equivalent of trail mix to get you through the long slog of winter.
—andrea bennett &Jeff Stautz    7 Meghan L. Martin
Dear Ancient Predators
Back when the theatre of no mistakes was still staged in the dark. Back
when being an artist meant showing your teeth and every animal had
an audience of one. You were the gods of perfect timing. The gods
of we don't give a damn. You answered to no one, to nothing, but the
shallow pulse in your eardrum. With each footstep, the whole desert
would cock its head, waiting for the next cue. Every meal was a show-
stopper. Every kill, a succulent renewal of your birthright. Even your
victims were licking their lips.
8     PRISM 49:2 Antony Di Nardo
In 1986, an explosion at one of Chernobyl's nuclear reactors realized the world's
worst fears about harnessing nuclear power and made a mess of Mother Nature.
Within days, over 50,000 people were evacuated from the city of Pripyat in
Ukraine where workers at the plant were housed, their lives forever changed.
Clouds of toxic radiation covered almost the entire European continent and
spread across the Canadian arctic. The poems in Isotopia isolate the fallout, both
real and potential, past and present, associated with our overzealous consumption
of nuclear energy.
It's the country north of Belleville—or its memory—tall, untamed
grasses, birch and poplar trimmed by cold at the edge of taiga, ragged
meadows where winter wants its meadows. Even the rough-paved road
in the photo, patched by summer's respite, and rugged, is not far from
home—rising skyward like the one long wish of a simple destination.
She lived in concrete comfort at the end of that road. A kitchen sink,
rooms for two, the balcony in spring with the night air of newborn
blossoms when that night in April an alien fluorescence came and took
her breath away.
And the next one too. It was Chernobyl '86.
She was first to see the cloud shine, the lantern-light of beast that fed
her city leaking yellow glow from eyes and nose and mouth and ears,
and it burned a memory on her soul that split her life in two, like nuclei
get split.
No one saw the hard rain fall. Nothing touched the radium rain of
cesium and plutonium and other names she'd heard before, until it
touched her deeply.    9 Within a day, Lyubov Sirota, station poet and playwright, was
pronounced alive at 32 and evacuated to a state of depression, far from
home, with only two rooms behind her and the constant burden of
Once, she lived to see her plays materialize—the promise of
Prometheus who claimed and tamed the fire in a line of hers—now she
lives in a zone of alienation, her body doing its best to keep her alive.
Down at the plant they're planning more bang for their buck and one
more buck gets them all another number to play, another spin at the
Meanwhile, the Darlington of all nuclear reactors radiates its own
multibillion-dollar price tag and if you read the tag you'll see why,
taxed at just another buck a head, what's a few million for a hi-ho-
evacuation device that will super-save lives for that messy moment
when panic will be no picnic and the whole thing blows.
Then the law in support says let us legislate everyone an energy power
bar in a radius of outdoors 3 kilometers from where they fly their crows
and all will have a fair and equitable chance at pandemonium.
It was the nightly newsleak showed the power brokers how to manage
an outburst of hysteria—you send them all indoors turning on TVs
down on their ass where they'll be expected to stay calm tuning in to
cable channel Your world's about to make ka-boom
and you just watch them try to keep still sitting on the couch when
their numbers come up and there's that radiant glow of the afterlife
beckoning.     11 FALLOUT
It's '66 in New York City and rats are the size of cats and roaches are
the size of rats.
Cars are bigger than that, bigger than what they need to be, missing
doors and windshields, further crippled by missing wheels.
Here and there, New York City posters ban the bomb.
Here and there, black and yellow panels point to points east or west
where Fallout Shelters lead the way to basement bunkers. Room
enough for multiples of ten or twenty teeming in a city of millions.
Her button bans the bomb. He makes the sign of Peace. The only two
to rendezvous in a Fallout Shelter on a Friday night.
When they go at it head to head, toe to toe, they glow. They radiate.
It's their first time, the first for both. The mushroom cloud above them
like a speech bubble stuffed with oohs! and aahs! fluoresces.
The fallout of first time love spreading from cell to cell.
There is no McClean Lake.
McClean Lake is a big hole, a giant pit that got bigger and bigger
spitting out everything in its mouth. The more it spat out, the bigger it
got. That's how holes get big. They empty out.
Big sounds make them get that big. Sounds like big men make. And the
growl of big machines, dirt movers with muscles this big, rock crushers
with even bigger teeth.
The more a hole is not, the bigger it is. The more gets taken out, the
bigger it gets. The less there is, the greater yet.
A hole is an absence, an emptiness when something's gone missing.
We all know that.
Where there is no McClean Lake there was yellowcake. That's why
the hole got bigger. Once yellowcake is found it can't hide anymore.
Big machines and big budgets scrape money together and then scrape
yellowcake out of the hole.
That's how the hole got bigger.
Then yellowcake does things it never expected—like turn the lights on,
turn turbines, make people bigger and bigger, power up the morning
When yellowcake is gone it leaves a big hole—anywhere you go in the
world and there was yellowcake, you'll find a big hole.
Even in the power plants and their aftermath. Even in the lives of people.     13 Ron Koertge
Hanson and Greta
When I was in college, I didn't have the time or the money to
date. In the daytime, I waited tables in a sorority and at night
I worked in a pharmacy. I always seemed to be on my knees
filling shelves with Maxi Pads when the prettiest girls came in.
I had friends who were girls, though. One or two from my French
study group, one or two from the sorority where I worked. They'd
pledged, then dropped out to live in the dorms.
It was one of the latter, Greta Arnold, who asked me to go with her to
the clinic. Her boyfriend, a notorious Sigma Chi, was hopeless, she said,
and she wanted nothing to do with him. "C'mon, Hanson, be a pal."
I enjoyed driving her car, a BMW just a few years old, because I usually walked everywhere or took the bus. Business was brisk at the clinic.
Two girls sat side by side flipping through a tattered magazine. They
showed each other pictures of celebrities and called them names: bitch,
lesbo, faggot. The usual. A pale girl with tri-coloured hair sat by her
mother, who glared at me. The only other male was a Hispanic kid with
a shaved head and clear, terrified eyes. His girlfriend sat with both arms
across her breasts and exuded an air of great sexual regret.
Greta was having the procedure when the mother emerged with her
daughter who was, if possible, more pale. Her blue eyes looked like
chips of tanzanite dropped in snow. As she groped for the door, her
mother stopped long enough to snarl at me, "Use your head next time,
Stupid." I was nervous, and I laughed. Then she slapped me.
At three-thirty I drove Greta home, stopping along the way for a chili
dog which she devoured then promptly threw up. I helped her to her
room and got her some water. "You're sweet," she said, and kissed me
on the cheek. Her breath smelled metallic.
A few weeks later, a girl I didn't know stopped me by the Science
Building, introduced herself as Beth and said, "I'm a friend of a friend.
Want to take a ride with me on Friday? Looks like I got bit by the pants
leg snake."
Our destination turned out to be a medical building downtown. On
the way Beth said, "I was Wendy in high school. In Peter Pan, I mean.
J.M. Barrie is probably pretty disappointed in me."
This waiting room was blue with a huge aquarium along the north
14     PRISM 49:2 wall. The fish were sluggish, and drab as Mormons. A nurse offered me
bottled water. I read a very literate article about how fireflies blink to
attract mates. Eventually Beth came out and used her Visa card.
She was woozy and we walked slowly toward the elevator. Halfway
there, she stopped and leaned against me. I automatically put my arms
around her.
"You bastard," she sobbed, "you creepy, crummy bastard. Keep your
fucking hands to yourself."
The next time a stranger asked me for a date I said that I was very
busy. When someone persisted I said that my name was Hanson, but I
wasn't that Hanson.
I couldn't be alone in my room, so I went to bars, put my quarter on
the pool table or my name on the chalkboard. I played badly but was
courted by the feral stickmen with their personalized cues. I liked the
chivalry of eight ball. I liked the jukebox turned as high as it would go.     15 Eulogy
Thank you for coming. Let's begin—Veronica always thought that
she would be a hit by a car, and she was. I was with her at the end
and she said that she was watching clouds become other things—
not just sheep and cartoon dogs but also furniture and quicksand.
My sister was not a gloomy person. Abbott and Costello convulsed
her. But from the beginning she was amazingly empathetic. Once when
I was nine and she was five, a child dropped his ice cream cone in front
of Rite Aid and, like the three little kittens, began to cry. Immediately
Veronica joined in, but so melodious was her mourning that a crowd
gathered and threw coins into the cap I held out.
When our parents passed away, we stayed in the house. The upkeep
of our home took most of our time. She hurried to meet the importuning
of every blade of grass and cyclamen. I taught myself to use power tools
and worked bare-chested while she sang spirituals.
Many of you know neither Veronica nor I ever married. A man did
caress her breasts once but the way his right hand moved from one to the
other seemed to her indecisive.
I see some of you are squirming uncomfortably now. I know what
you are thinking. It is true that we were preternaturally close. If she fell,
my knee bled. If I had a splitting headache, she took two Advil and lay
down with the dog. I believe it was our family doctor who suggested we
practice mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in case one of us should swoon.
Very well. Leave if you must. Huff and puff like big, bad wolves on
your way out. You are going to miss the elevator story: Veronica hated
going up in one but she loved going down, calling the descent akin to
slow suicide with time to change one's mind. After each of these Otis
excursions she was often forlorn and liked to take a cab to that oxygen
bar on Lexington and then go home and dress me in her winter togs so
we could re-enact the doomed Shackleton expedition.
I see those of you who remain moving quickly but politely toward the
marked exits. Oh, who cares?
I need to get home, too. That dog I mentioned, half coyote half god-
knows-what, is alone in Veronica's room howling. And that's what I
want to do—take off my shirt, lie on her flowered quilt, and howl.
16     PRISM 49:2 The Fundraiser
This gala, there seemed to be one every few months, was for Cleft
Palates in Peru. Tickets to toss a bean bag, throw darts at balloons
or Whack-A-Mole were ten dollars. But after a fifty dollar admission, drinks were free.
Everybody had heard about the fussing Booths, but they were surprised to see Maxwell Blevins—in an Izod polo with his skinny legs
sticking out of faded cargo shorts—working there.
In the next booth stood Amy Wright, Foxborough's resident bombshell. Most of her attractions were surgically enhanced, but everybody
liked Amy. She was colourful and not a real threat to the other wives, all
of them in their 60s and 70s. None of whom would be caught dead in hot
pants and tall, tasseled boots.
Some of the men played along with the Carefree '50s theme and
turned up the collars of their shirts, handed Amy a blue ticket and received a kiss on the cheek or a dry, I'm-your-auntie peck on the lips. The
widowers also got to experience Amy's expensive, unyielding boobs
when she threw in a quick hug.
No one knew what to do with Maxwell. He'd volunteered, and who
could say no without hurting his feelings. The gals who'd organized the
gala felt obligated to patronize his booth but no one wanted to be first.
Maxwell was such an odd duck. Pleasant-looking, but not striking like
Rex or Andrew. Fit enough, but soft compared to Jason or Karl. He had
some hair, but he combed it over. When his wife passed away a year or
so ago, he showed up at AquaRobics. The only man doing Side Stretchers, Waist Trimmers, and Standing Kickbacks and never—like the others—getting his face wet.
Finally, when there was something going on everywhere but at Maxwell's booth, Francine took a deep breath, smiled, handed over one
ticket and closed her eyes. She felt his hand drift to her face and tilt her
head just so. "You're beautiful," he murmured, and then he kissed her.
Something inside, a personal ice age, perhaps, melted just a little. She
turned away, dazed, and got back in line.
Barbara stepped up and Maxwell said, "This should help quell the
dread," and he put his lips—moist and slightly citrus-flavoured—on
hers. She, too, returned to the end of the line.     17 When it was her turn, Judith heard arias, Susan started to weep, Aimee
put her arms around Maxwell and had to be pulled gently away. The
line grew long and restless. Small things were unpeeled. Larger things
rose from a long sleep. A silence fell over the community room.
No one could get enough. Everyone wanted to be kissed, really
kissed, again and again. rCim, who had quit smoking years ago, lit up a
Marlboro. Lucia fell to her knees and thanked Saint Anthony, patron of
lost things. The temperature in the room rose steadily.
Finally the men put a stop to it. They led their disheveled wives away,
then came back for the others and took them, too, even though they
resisted. Rex swore at Maxwell, and the other men glared menacingly.
They threatened to meet Maxwell in the parking lot. Soon he was alone
and he, being last, turned off the lights as he left.
18     PRISM 49:2 Julie Cameron Gray
Radish Dreams
Your tidy rows of frilled green lace threaten to call my mother
and tell her all my dirty thoughts if I don't love you this instant.
French Breakfast, Plum Purple, Red King; you're all in on it. You're
underground, hot and bored in your garden brothel, calling out to
every passerby to pick you. They know your kind—the ready heat, the
neon on the tongue. Your white is devoid of cream, is no thick silk.
You are neon on the tongue, you are hailstones of tango. I will take a
halved baguette, your Easter Egg bodies mandolined into thin coins.
Salt, pepper. Thirst. Taste. Once. Bite. Perfect little tuber ravishing the
palate—You say you weren't waiting for me but there you lay. Your
brothers fill my hands, the colander, my eager mouth. I will have you
pickled, baked, chipped into dip. My darlings. I'll choose you, and you,
and you, and you.     19 Nick Thran
"Ocean Mist." This soap does smell like ocean mist.
So much for my threadbare shirt with its tears in the collar, its missing
button, its just now barely blue.
The festival of ants is in full swing under the dome of the ant trap.
Clack of the heater.
The theme music from Law & Order.
When the sun angles in through the bedroom window, everything
shines like a souvenir.
20     PRISM 49:2 The Long Gone College of
It got to be that a beaded curtain replaced each door in the dormitory.
It was like moving in slow motion through the hair of a man or a
woman—each room an outpost in the wilderness, a place to relax
upon beanbag chairs and listen to Janice. And we desired more than
the tenured nudity of the student body. Some of us kept small animals.
They were like family to us. Their beady eyes jeweled the enduring
smoke. And our hope was enduring, at least for those few early years.
Long Gone was the name ofthe student president. Long Gone was
the name of our humanities professor. Long Gone was the name of
the janitor. He doubled as a cab driver. Had a personalized plate:
GAZHAL. Left his country because his parents and siblings were
murdered. Long gone, we didn't mind that the meter was going up in
spectacular increments. It reminded us of the eyes of the dealer's ferret.
The guy with the blue pills—wasn't Long Gone his name? Our whole
outlook was going to change.     21 Heather Campbell
I once had a roommate whose mom had a dog, and when we went to
her place for dinner we'd take the dog for its evening walk, and her
mom would always say something like be careful, he owes me another
poo. The care needed was a plastic bag. The debt, I supposed, was due to
whatever calculation of dog food intake versus the expected reciprocal
output. We always, whether the dog managed to shit or not, reported
that it indeed had. It was the least we could do, we supposed, although I
haven't a clue what the most we could do would have been.
Moving away from that place had nothing to do with the dog, or the
mom, I don't think. It was eight years ago now and not so clear in my
mind. I bring it up only because my boyfriend just admitted to having a
crush on a girl who he sees at the dog park up the block, off Lakewood.
That's an interesting fact in and of itself, and more so because we don't
actually have a dog. I've always wanted a dog, and I don't interject that
to seem like a neglected six-year-old, but to point out that he and I could
have, in some parallel-universe way, been together at the dog park for a
logical reason. Then I would have a better idea just who this girl is. She's
not really a girl, I'm sure, but you know how it goes. Call her a woman
and she's got thigh-highs and a mission.
I've decided I can't be—or more accurately, don't feel like being—in
a relationship in which my boyfriend tells me about crushes he has on
strangers. This is even considering he did it in the self-deprecating way
he has of starting the actual dinner conversation right at the moment
when most people would be silently analyzing their chances at either
sex or dishwashing. In any case, I made the decision. Perhaps that's not
fair of me, but I believe in setting the bar and walking away. We live together, so walking away actually means sorting my John LeCarres from
his, packing my breakables in his neatly collapsed Puma boxes, and getting my name off the lease so that I can rent elsewhere and preserve my
credit rating. It's his place, in fairness, and we put my name on the lease
when I moved in as a gesture of moving forward in open togetherness or
something along those lines. I suppose talking about crushes on strangers is a gesture of open togetherness too, but as I said, the bar has been set.
The thing I did after sorting and packing and calling the super—it
was my day off, my boyfriend was at the office—was buy my boyfriend
22     PRISM 49:2 a dog. On the way to the SPCA I jotted some bullet points on what I—or
rather, he—was looking for in a dog, and of course what he could offer
it. The SPCA volunteer would be, no doubt, screening me to make sure I
was not one ofthe villains of society who abandon dogs, or expect them
to be perfect from day one, or bring them back when they growl at the
neighbour's cousin from out of town who was just trying to get a little
peace over the weekend.
But in fact, it didn't really matter what I thought I was looking for. I
could give a good overall description of my boyfriend's daily schedule
and living habits, but I imagined a glowing horizon of new schedules
and habits brought to life simply by setting the dog down in the newly-
vacated space in my boyfriend's apartment. I felt this was, in a way, the
least I could do.
The volunteer in question did indeed take me through a slightly bottled sermon on schedules and the square footage required, in a lobby
that smelled of Pine Sol and pee. She told me about the time needed
for walks every—and that's every—day, and the location of the nearest
dog park. This last bit brought everything into one of those sharp-focus
moments when you feel like this second has in fact been going on since
about seven in the morning and has no hope of ever passing. And then
it does pass, and time rolls on as normally as it can when you're talking
about responsibility with a sixteen-year-old who has hash burns on her
fingers and a small misunderstanding of the word forever.
I chose some kind of hound cross, one of those dogs that sees no need
or has no ability to take its nose off the ground, ever. I thought a tracking
dog, in my absence, had poignancy, but regretted it halfway home as I
realized this might make it look like I wanted my boyfriend to find me. I
didn't. But I couldn't exactly go back, as I believe I've covered. Villains
of society, et cetera.
I also bought a small blanket, a chew toy, and a sampler of dry dog
food. The volunteer almost choked on her Trident at the unprepared-
ness implied by the sampler, but I pulled off some story about not wanting to shake up his digestion, and that I'd slowly change him onto the
brand of food I had stocked up, and that seemed to fly. So I didn't just
dump the dog in the apartment. I left him on the blanket, with the food
and some water in a couple of bowls that I thought my boyfriend didn't
have any significant attachment to, and then I went on my way. I stayed
at a friend's for a week before I found a new place that really seemed to
click. I had to go back to the old apartment with the movers when the
time came, but neither the dog nor my boyfriend were there. He had
stacked all my boxes and furniture near the entrance, and I didn't immediately see any signs of dog-habitation.
I've thought about subtly going by the dog park to check on things,    23 but thought better of it. The dog may remember me, in that dog-brain
way, and then things could be less than subtle. Or perhaps the dog would
in no way remember me, which would actually be harder to handle. Not
that he had some debt of recognition he owed me or anything. In the
end, I decided staying away was the better option, for all of us.
24     PRISM 49:2 Anne-Marie Turza
The Collector
A year passed, and another year, and I was old. I had a visitor, a
woman who knelt on my porch in the circle of electric light, sewing
clothes for a collection of dolls she believed I kept concealed beneath
the sofa or the wardrobe, somewhere close to us, in my unlit rooms.
I told her I had no dolls. But her percussive fingers and the needle
flashing in the rich fabrics never slowed. For the doll with the dancing
shoes, she said, shaking out a miniature overskirt printed with velvet
bulls. And a bourbon cloak of ripped silk: For the doll with one gold tooth.
To be polite, I admired her intricate knots, a hand-dyed shirtwaist
with a row of ebony buttons, glowing like a line of dark glass eyes.
Now every night for months, I've heard her thimble on my door, its
wintry toe toe toe. I've filled my trunks with impossible garments. My
neighbours have begun to say they live near the house of dolls. It might
be true. Last night at my suggestion, a doll widowed by a Russian
prince in a previous century acquired a long veil of black lace sewn by
a woman kneeling on my porch in the floss-poured light.
Who can say yes or no, in these months of little sleep. I'm told that
moths aren't drawn to the bulb, but to the darkness just beyond it, the
darkness light intensifies. This explains their circling.     25 On Sleep
Have you never met, in passing, a stranger who addressed you
knowingly? "You can't sleep well, in your language," a man once
told me, sweet pipe smoke rising from the bowl of his vowels. I was
reading a book with a soft cloth cover, a monograph on medieval
painters, waiting for a train in the glass-domed station, the book's
pages stippled with dust. The man pointed to a table where a woman
sat eating almonds from a green bowl: "In my language I can put that
table anywhere." "Pardon me?" I said. Already, the table, drifting
upwards; tendrils of the woman's hair, on end; the rope soles of her
shoes, fraying overhead; a rain of almonds from the high dome where
bird-shapes shattered in the noise of trains. To sleep well, not in this
language. "It is a matter of the sentence." Did he tell me this, those
years ago, painting his consonants indigo and gold? "In my language,
there are not so many rules for where things go. The end, the middle,
the beginning. They could go anywhere."
26     PRISM 49:2 Barry Dempster
There's his cat at the living room window, watching him
fold his body into the car, already too lonely to lift a paw.
There's the bare square on the January driveway
where only seconds ago he was parked. Soon enough, the street
will up and end, trading him off to disparate routes, directions
coded like a secret agent's map. He always felt he was losing her
each time she'd spin away, reducing him to an unblinking cat.
And now it's true, every mile doubles its distance, northeast,
southwest, no matter, no her. Highways were devised
for the sole reason of keeping them apart. He scrutinizes
the rearview mirror as if it were a bush about to spring
into flames, the past appearing closer than it really is.
Miles of missing her, those erratic white lines.
He keeps forgetting where he's going—city,
corner store, centre of the universe. No wonder
arrival feels so temporary, like a borrowed bathroom key.    27 Starting Over
Was it her youth he loved, a reminder of his own petty scrapes,
the way days used to toss together in a blue glass bowl?
Her skin was his skin back when fingers wore soft cotton tips
so that even rock felt like sky. The thick of her hair, sinewy
wrists, belly like a bongo drum. More like nostalgia, not desire,
time tightened in a flourish of knots, a re-gifting. No wonder
he could stay with her for days despite her mumbles
and the shallow play of sunlight on her lips, as if being alive
was just a dabble. He wanted her tiny shrugs, her rosy entitlement
for himself, like the queen of hearts beaming in a card sharp's
hands. If only he could start over, oh, the coliseum's
kicks, the yoga pose that even God can't do, the shine of
elbows making lots more room. How he'd caress himself,
veins sewn long and loose like prairie highways, eyes wide
with circuses of ivory clouds. He'd make the world
his this time, lay it on the crisp flowered sheets, all oceans
and frills, smoothing every wave, every glower,
a flatness defying expectation, a faultless fit.
28     PRISM 49:2 Michael Reid Busk
from The Eighties: A Brief
The USSR spanned eleven time zones, which was a great source
of pride for its citizens and premiers alike. Sometimes a member
of the Politburo, watching the red sun fall past the onion domes
of Red Square, would dial a Kamchatka number at random and ask
whatever bleary-eyed oilman or bureaucrat answered whether the sun
was indeed rising over the Bering Sea. When, after a few moments, the
sleepy easterner said, "Yes, yes," the Politburo member back in Moscow
would smile, spinning the antique globe by his desk, and say, "Good.
Very good." Russians only spoke Russian when Americans were present, to intimidate them—to each other they spoke English in growling
Naturally Americans were concerned, their states stretched thin over
only six time zones. A sense of superiority was a longstanding national
attribute, and a nearly two-to-one Soviet-American advantage was unacceptable. Everyone demanded the "time zone gap" be closed. To remedy the problem, Americans tried numerous tactics. Highly trained operatives parachuted into Siberia with outstanding vodka and thick gold
coins in an effort to incite rebellion. Locals agreed on the condition that
the Americans best them in chess, and although the Russians guzzled all
the vodka before the first castling, the Americans, ignorant of the Sicilian Defence, captured nary a pawn (see Olympics Eighties). Another idea
was to subdivide America's time zones into twelve, but for the week it
was implemented, chaos reigned as citizens set fire to clock towers and
pounded their watches with the soles of their shoes, culminating in the
Half Past Denver riots of 1985.
Direct conflict with the Soviets was impossible, since this was a cold
war, and a hot war would require 1) a draft and 2) hardship. Hardship
was unpopular in the Eighties, and no one much liked the idea of a draft,
since it would decrease sexual opportunities (see Sex Drink Eighties) and
weaken households against the sociopaths always waiting to dismember
and eviscerate the well-adjusted (see Horror Eighties). The United States    29 might have settled for a less militaristic advantage, such as athletics, but
throughout the decade, the Russians, with their manly female swimmers,
hard-jawed gymnasts, and elven figure skaters, took back to Moscow
many kilos of gold, silver, and bronze (see Olympic Eighties, Brian Boi-
tano Eighties). Senators and shot-putters alike had visions ofthe Russians
crowded into their hangar-sized gymnasia, heat shushing through vents,
floury clouds of chalk blooming from the claps of their meaty hands,
every man, woman, and child sporting a blood-red leotard, performing
the Iron Cross and handstand push-ups, cleaning and pressing barbells
bowed with shiny plates.
Ultimately, government officials decided that the only way to close
the time zone gap was to eradicate the Soviet Union altogether. Many
words were spat about a wall in Germany, but everyone in the First
World knew it was merely a symbol—the real barrier, the true wall, was
the Iron Curtain itself, that three-thousand-kilometre shroud fashioned
from the ore ofthe Krivoi Rog and the Kerch peninsula, and hung from
God knows what as it Geigered its way from the Black Sea to the Baltic.
Nothing—neither person nor manufactured good nor idea—could pass
from one side to the other without the imprimatur ofthe Politburo. Only
one solution presented itself: melt the Iron Curtain. Accordingly, the
CIA purchased a hundred thousand acetylene torches, which they gave
to democratically-minded citizens of the nations whose eastern borders
rubbed against the Curtain, and at a perfectly coordinated moment of
Slavic twilight, the citizens pressed the sharp flames into the metal. In
satellite images it appeared that the Earth's molten core was exploding
to the surface along an immense fault line in central Europe. The Americans had also given out a certain number of cinderblock-sized mobile
phones, and sometime after sunset, when holes were growing in the wall
as though it were a shabby coat left too long unmothballed, one of the
operatives rang an Austrian stationed outside Bratislava. The Austrian
pulled the mobile phone from his satchel, yanked out its antenna with
his teeth, and held it with both hands to his ear. Peering through a gap
the size of a bicycle wheel, the Austrian said hello, and that he was there.
The CIA operative asked if he could see anything. In the foreground was
nothing but a dull tableau of skiffs floating atop the lazy Morava. But the
Austrian was also an amateur astronomer, and after setting the phone at
his feet, he pulled a telescope from his satchel and peered through the
hole. "I see a man," he shouted down at the mobile phone, "at a window.
Holding a telephone. A globe is spinning. He's playing chess against
himself. He's winning."
What did people know about Africa? Very little. There were drums. Ancient melodies. Rains, which they blessed. It was waiting there for them.
But no one was exactly sure they wanted to go. There were reports of
glottal stops, ten-year-olds with Kalashnikovs, strange diseases old and
new, a distinct lack of air conditioning. On late night TV flashed photos
of ribby, potbellied children who could eat for a month for less than the
price of a pair of fuzzy dice. So thousands sent monthly checks, blessing
the children down in Africa.
It was at just such a moment that the African Benefit Concert was
born. In this case, the cheque-writer was Bono, serving the second of
two nonconsecutive terms as President of the Eighties (see Brian Boitano
Eighties), sitting at an Edwardian rolltop in Cleveland, sending his $3.67
to eight-year-old Gabriela Ngangi, c/o the St. Claire Children's Relief
Fund. As always, Bono sent with the cheque a complimentary U2 concert shirt, smiling at the photo taped above the desk of Gabriela wearing an oversized tee silkscreened with the image of an angry Caucasian
child. As much as Gabriela seemed to be enjoying her memorabilia,
as well as her millet and potable water, Bono knew she would be happier still if she had a chance to see him perform live. Being a man with
a wide and disparate network of friends, Bono began calling them all:
men in double-breasted suits who had "constituencies" and "interns";
matrons with blown-out hair who spent most of their days in Lycra leotards, women who had "time" and "money" and husbands they could
cajole or guilt or blackmail into assisting them; other mulleted rockers
who might have had similarly charitable thoughts as they glanced up
from their own rolltop desks to admire photos of little smiling Mateo or
Dominic or Gloria wearing shirts emblazoned with giant lips or drooling
demons or the phrase I Touch Myself; and of course, the Archbishop
Desmond Tutu. On the advice of the South African cleric and others
who had actually been to Africa, Bono soon decided to move the venue
from Johannesburg to New York and London, cities where it was less
likely that black musicians and/or concertgoers would be arrested and/
or shot.
The transatlantic concert was a televisual extravaganza. The telecast
was simultaneous, the venues in New York and London connected via
satellite, and at certain moments, the enormous screens would show a
live video ofthe other venue's act. The necessary technology was byzan-
tine, but NASA engineers had stepped in to oversee the project. Besides
the technical challenges, Bono feared a Soviet death ray might destroy
the satellite mid-concert. The NASA engineers told him the Soviets probably had bigger fish to fry, and moreover that shooting down a satellite     31 was an extraordinarily difficult task. But Bono's dreams were plagued
with TVs falling silent, lasers as red as the Soviet flag, stellar explosions
the fiery gold of the hammer and sickle. He grew so desperate that he
called his nemesis and fellow balladeer Sting to ask him to intervene
with the Russians, since he had written a song about them. Sting told him
he didn't actually have any Russian friends. Bono mentioned that the
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was his friend. Sting said he would see what
he could do, then visited the Russian embassy in London, imploring the
ambassador not to use the death ray. The ambassador excused himself,
called Red Square, and discovered that there was neither a death ray
nor a plan to shoot down the satellite. He returned to Sting, telling him
the Russians would indeed refrain from using the death ray on the satellite, but only if Sting agreed to sing "Money for Nothing" at the concert,
which he did.
U2 was scheduled to play three songs in the late afternoon in London,
and as was his custom, Bono began their set with a plaintive stillness
that slowly elided into a grandstanding strut—half soldier, half strumpet
—that took him to the edge of the crowd. As the rest of the band continued cycling through an instrumental riff, Bono—shirtless in suspenders
—spotted a young woman being crushed by other fans into the barrier
beneath the stage. He waved for the ushers to pass her over, then leapt
from the stage into the makeshift orchestra pit and directed them in pulling her from the crowd. As soon as she was body-surfed backward over
the barrier, she collapsed into Bono's arms, and as the rest of the band
continued the hopeful four-bar riff, Bono slow-danced with her in a way
that seemed as much avuncular as romantic, before kissing her hand
and rushing back to the stage to finish the song, ending with a medley of
"Sympathy for the Devil" and "Amazing Grace."
Offstage left was Gabriela Ngangi, who loved "Amazing Grace" and
admired Bono's dancing. Bono had been devastated to think that his
Gabriela would not have had the chance to see him perform, and so he'd
had her driven from her orphanage near the shore of Lake Victoria up
to Kampala, and from there, she flew to London. Despite the protests of
the nuns who ran her orphanage, she stayed with Bono and the rest of
the band at a Chelsea flat in the days prior to the show, where she grew
adept at Centipede (see Computer Eighties) and won a large sum of money
playing Uno with the bandmates. Gabriela enjoyed the show despite
the overwhelming crowd and the coffin-sized speakers that made her
cover her ears against the noise. Of the other performers, she liked very
much the moustached man in the sleeveless T-shirt and gold armband,
as well as the thin man in the pale blue suit who dedicated his song to
the children of the world and then sang about being a hero. Gabriela was
exhausted by concert's end, a cloud of white noise crackling in her head,
32     PRISM 49:2 but wanting to experience whatever she could, she went with Bono and
the band to the after-party, where she drank orange juice and ate peanut
M&Ms for the first time. At the end ofthe night, she fell asleep on Bono's
shoulder while he carried her to the taxi, just as she was about to ask if
the energetic man with the moustache and armband had indeed ever
found someone to love.    33 Chris Gilpin
My mom and I are two tiny heat signatures encased in a speeding
bubble of glass and steel. We are Chevrolet cosmonauts, somewhere in
Saskatchewan, sometime after Christmas, hunched toward the console,
scanning the white upon white for signs of life, or at least the road.
Fortunately, just like outer space, there is no need to turn. A mile of
skygauze and snow above our heads dampens and diffuses the light,
from a medium-sized star so that it bends around and under, hosanna-
ing shadows away. Mom puts labels on the mason jars containing our
precious cargo.
Saskatoon Jam. Raspberry Jam. Strawberry Jam. Jesusberry Jam.
A column of iron towers holding high-tension power lines materializes
out of the white, like Recognizer droids from Tron. Each with its rigid
arms outstretched, they march back from here, into barely there, into
nothing at all, like yesteryear memories.
Pyjamajam. Morning Glory Jam. Popeye's IJam What I Jam.' We're Jammin'
Surrounded by snow, even the pumpjacks look angelic—or like Jewish
robots, their heads nodding up and down in rabbinical devotion, a
corporal prayer looped in slo-mo.
Rushdie's Hussies Jam. Ambush Jam. Mary's Many-Splendour ed Placenta Jam.
Wham! Bam! Thank You, Jam!
The snowstatic clears, revealing a patchy black line known as Highway
33 and the fresh sparkling endlessness of our home planet. A blip of
a town called Lajord flashes by, dominated by a red wooden castle.
"Lajord means 'flat place' in Norwegian," Mom says, putting down her
mason jars. "A lajord is pretty much the exact opposite of a fjord."
34     PRISM 49:2 My Baptism
I was baptized under a basketball hoop. This explains everything.
Our church, when I was growing up, was buildingless. We made
and unmade our place of worship in a rented high school gym. It
was a shoestring set: no stained glass saints to bless us, no pipe organ
pumping our prayers heavenward, no pomp, no circumstance, just
people, sitting on metal chairs arranged in a circle, the curve of which
seemed like heresy against the crisscrossing court lines drawn on the
gym floor.
When I was introduced to God, he was wearing sweatpants. His son
was ajewish Michael Jordan without a shoe deal.
Sunday school happened in the same classroom as weekday school, so
it's no surprise I became a secular poet. I leave the cryptic mysticism to
others: I believe in details.
It was in a fluorescent-lit, standard-issue gymnasium when our minister
dabbed fountain water on my forehead and called it a blessing. Phyllis Rudin
There was only so much luck out there, a finite supply. She
couldn't afford to squander her family's fair share. The luck came
pre-packaged in cardboard containers like those boxes of plonk
on the shelves at the SAQ that were meant for picnics and frat parties,
the ones that came rigged with a plastic spigot. Each member of the
family had his own box, though it was the mothers who had the say-so
over their children's boxes, managing the taps on their behalf until they
reached the age of majority. Some mothers opened the spigot for a mere
sniffle or scratch, so that soon the box ran dry and kaboom, next thing
you know the kid had a blastoma and no luck left. She wouldn't play fast
and loose with her family's welfare. She controlled her kids' boxes with
the iron fist of a kapo.
"C'mon, Ma. I've been throwing up all day. Let some luck out for
"Shut up and live with it. When you're fifteen and come down with
zits or leukemia, you'll thank me."
"Ma. I have a test today on the subjonctif. I really need some luck.
Please. Everyone else's mom opens the tap for tests except you."
"What other moms do is no concern of mine."
She was on the radar of those other moms, though, make no mistake.
They'd cottoned on to her tight-fisted ways. Soon her children were no
longer welcome in their friends' homes. Her kids were forever coughing
and dribbling, infecting the others, forcing their playmates to draw on
their own luck more lavishly than their mothers had bargained for. The
moms circled the wagons against her kids and against her to boot. All
the kaffeeklatsches and car pools they'd shared over the years counted
for zipola.
Like she cared! She had no intention of joining those profligates over
on the dark side. She continued to let her family's luck trickle out in
mere IV droplets, proud that when her kids left home their boxes were
still four-fifths full. And leave home they did, at the tender age of sixteen, bingo, out the door before the candles had a chance to burn down
on their cakes. They didn't really have to move out just to take legal
control of their boxes. The Quebec Regie was very forward-looking in
that regard. In the rest of Canada, liberation only came at eighteen. In
36     PRISM 49:2 the States, not till twenty-one. But the kids knew that as long as they
remained under her roof, Ma would refuse to relax her death grip on
their boxes, whatever the law decreed, deeming herself responsible to a
higher authority. So they split, one by one.
The familial exodus had actually kicked off years earlier with her husband. Of course, as an adult he had titular responsibility over his own
box. But when they married, like so many couples of that generation,
the wife was expected to take charge of hubby's box and launder his
socks, while he was ordained to mow the lawn and drive the family to
the Orange Julep once a week. It was a satisfactory division of labour for
many years. Then came the day when he was up for a promotion and
she balked at opening the tap.
"What if something better comes along down the line?" she said.
"Something with dental?"
"There'll be plenty left over, hon."
"Not if you come down with Alzheimer's. Talk about a luck-sucker.
Better to hold off."
So they held off. And in the end it was his moronic cubicle mate with
the more obliging wife who won the promotion. That's when the gloves
came off. She lit into the wuss pre-emptively for always siding with the
kids when they begged her to be more loosey-goosey with their boxes.
Any dummy knew they were supposed to present a united front. But he
whomped her a good one right in the gut when he called her chokehold
on the boxes psychotic. That was it. Finito. She had always viewed herself as a judicious overseer of her family's good fortune, and suddenly
she was cast as Mommie Dearest. Frankly, by the time he left, she was
glad to see the back of him.
She was alone in the house now, with no company but her own box.
What the hell! Why not give the spigot a big reckless quarter-turn and
then go out and spring for a lottery ticket. The payout was six million
this week. The timing couldn't have been more propitious. There were
no pending claims on her luck. No planes to keep up in the air, no pap
smear results on the horizon. The coast was clear. Her box was temptingly close, right there on the end table next to the Valium. She reached
over to open the spout, but it was stuck fast. She fetched the WD-40 and
gave a quick shpritz, but still no movement. The rubber husband, same
story. A flop true to its name. She yanked off her clog and battered the
damn nozzle, but nary a drip. When she picked up the box and shook it,
her ears couldn't pick up the normal slosh.
Finally she decided to slit a peephole. This was an emergency measure
amateurs were strongly discouraged from attempting, on the order of a
roadside tracheotomy with a butter knife, but she ploughed ahead and
poked an exploratory opening. Her flashlight beam revealed a sludge     37 the texture of risotto and the colour of pus. She pulled a parfait spoon out
of the buffet drawer. Maybe she could just scoop some up and swallow
it. She fished out a glob and brought it up to her lips. But it smelled like
sewer gas, and she couldn't force it down. She carried the box out back
and spread the slop on the lawn where the skunks had been digging up
the turf in great chunks every night—let it work its magic on the little
38     PRISM 49:2 Almeda Glenn Miller
Nature of Fire
Our baby sister draws a fire for us on a scrap of paper and the adults
scuttle to its centre while we kids hover on the periphery, warming
ideas like marshmallows that burn and stick for a generation. We poke
the embers with wiener sticks as simple as we are, sparking secrets into
the swerve of darkness—here, no here, no over here—stupid. The story
isn't about us and we're not as curious as they'd like us to be with their
Kumbaya and House of the Rising Suns 2/4, 4/4, bladiblahs—our
baby sister itsy-bitsy-spidering her fingers like glow worms in Mom's
lap—she's close enough to the fire to catch a lick. And as the adults
nod their heads in a drunken grammar, we kids move into the fire to
fry wasps and beetles, things that whistle when they're hot. Our sister
is delighted, crawls from Mom's lap, flaps her arms like dragonfly
wings, looks ancient in the light. When we toss more wood into the fire
she spreads those tiny arms with the bones so close to the surface—
we get caught in the stretch of skin—and she tells us that the wood's
relationship to itself will reveal the nature of fire. She won't survive
any of this knowledge, not any of it. You can't be that wise and live
that deeply without having something go terrible wrong—wispy lungs,
crooked kidneys, bad heart—the kind of blistering that happens when
you get too close to the heat. So when she opens her mouth and fire
poppies blossom like secrets through fluted vowels, we braid our hands
like ropy verbs and from the burning notes we sing in fizzle and pop.
The melted words the adults speak about—the peace, the love, the
possibilities—are all just mouthfuls of ash.    39 Daniel Kincade Renton
Everyday Adjustments
If a sparrow smacks the window, she retorts good omen,
and my old melon flaunts its soft spot; reluctant
to correct this, I buy more organics and we eat another
rich, raw meal—five-year-old gouda, tapenade, blueberry
nectar. In this house, we don't sacrifice the Teflon with steel.
Fine cuts are verbal, juicy. No one circumnavigates the eerie,
oily sink. Effervescence echoes up a plastic bottle; it's a wonder
we fear the world's best water. The fridge drones like a sandstone
beach. What's in the microwave but caramel sinew, glass wire
and wax paper? We'll eat more—we will always eat more.
Forget this serving. Electric heat is borrowed like a fantasy
novel or a schedule; it doesn't matter, we argue. Money
is imposing as a teddy bear, as a photograph of a dead uncle,
an unanswered call from a memorized number. So what
if no one polishes the fractured pane? I iterate, good omen.
40     PRISM 49:2 Pasha Ma lia
If a batter has 150 hits, what does that mean?
—David Grabiner, "The Sabermetric Manifesto"
The first pitch is wide and outside; the seat beside me, empty. Every
other seat in the stadium it seems has a body sitting in it beside a
body sitting next to them. Ball one. It's a late-August late-afternoon, golden cottony air and the light just starting to slow and thicken;
it's a beautiful day for baseball. On my other side concrete steps slope
down to the tunnel that leads to the concessions, outside to the parking
lot and this strange new city, and, beyond that, the rest of the planet. For
now though, I am here. After these nine innings will be a break and then
another nine with the same two teams—a doubleheader. Hot dogs are
being eaten in the last few hours of P.M. sunshine. Beer is being drunk
from plastic cups which crinkle when crushed or clop when dropped.
The organist plays a song that requires clapping and cheers; everyone
claps along, everyone cheers. The batter taps dirt from his cleats. He taps
the plate with his bat. He points his bat at the pitcher—you, he seems to
be saying—and then swings it up over his shoulder, bends his knees, and
me, I'm thinking about how that one cloud, there, looks just like the sort
of car a person might leave everyone he knows in. The bleachers smell
of deep-fry and human sweat. The pitcher checks the signal. The catcher
is a scrunched-up squatting person and the umpire hovers behind him
like the catcher's supportive dad, both in masks. There's a blimp on the
other side of the sky from the car-cloud, a Goodyear Blimp, but how
can a; whole year be good—be only good, a year? The pitcher cranks
into his wind-up and here's the pitch; the ball thumps into the catcher's
glove and the umpire clenches a fist and pumps it briskly: strike. Five
pitches later—a ball, a strike, two foul balls, a swing and a miss—the
batter strikes out, is elided. The next batter flies out to centre. The batter after that grounds out to short. That's the top of the first, and as the
teams switch places—the fielders to their dugout, the batting team to the
field—it makes you think, I think, how sometimes all we can ever do is
keep each day one night away. The car-cloud drifts out of view, disappearing as a car might twist around a bend as you stand there on your     41 porch, trying to understand what a life is. To grand ovation the home
team's lead-off batter tattoos a single over the third baseman's head, then
leads off, then steals second in a puff of dust. But he's abandoned there,
on second base, when down through the batting order his teammates fly
out, strike out, and dribble a tepid grounder straight to the first baseman,
who scoops and pivots and steps on the bag. The guy on second slinks
to the dugout and the inning's over, scoreless. The sun's going down;
the sky deepens like a hole burrowed underwater to some place beyond
light. There's another switch and another out and another and the tink of
a hit, and another out, and a switch, and a ground-rule double and a walk
and some BJBIs, more outs, more switches, bullpen activity and a change
of pitchers, a bobbled and dropped pop-fly, a homerun—the crowd
roars—and midway through the seventh inning with dusk descending
the floodlights clack on, one after the next, until the whole place glows.
We can see one another, behind and in front and all around. Maybe
we'd forgotten there was anyone else here, that it was just each one of
us, alone, and baseball. And now from out ofthe gloom here are human
faces. A high school baton twirling team scampers onto the field; their
shadows stretch across the grass like souls or ghosts. In the stands are
kids asleep, leaning on parents' shoulders, and men standing shirtless in
a row with Ks painted on their chests. A woman in a home team jersey
is waving on thejumbotron—at herself, at everyone. Some people are
actually stretching. Down on the field the twirlers twirl. From where
they are we must all seem to have the same face, ten thousand faces in
the floodlights. Above everything the sky is a sky-shaped bruise and at
the horizon the sun has become a half-forgotten memory ofthe sun. The
score's all tied up. There are two and one-half innings to go, but then
another game of baseball. What is now will become an echo, later, when
it all happens again. For now though, together we wait. Clouds of bugs
sizzle and swirl. The sun is going, going, gone. The twirlers conclude
their routine, and bow, and to mild applause withdraw. With no one on
the field there's a clear, empty stillness. It is almost like nothing. It is like
standing inside the lightless core of light. And we are out here, all of us,
thinking of our friends tonight.
42     PRISM 49:2 Bardia Sinaee
7/4 Gridline
What better way to celebrate new city limits
than a transformer station? We've seen this one before:
the podium, the mayor spurting like a burst pipeline.
Behind him, billboards plug peerless pediatrics
and a dated exhibition on bees: Try to find the queen
among all the workers and drones!
Behind that the ground, stapled with hydros, won't even shrug;
the hills roll like doormats, like a torn lover down the stairs.
A honey of an idea: speed up the city, there's room in bars
and truth in numbers. The mayor even lets out a few:
three quarter-centuries, faces in the millions
and the birth-size almost doubled. We've seen this one before:
a bloodshot octogenarian, our oldest citizen,
tears the ribbon like a last catheter.    43 Bruce Holland Rogers
Unpleasant Features of Our
New Address
One: the overgrown tangle of weeds that is the back garden.
None of us owns the land. Not us, not Andy and Tomi in the
flat above ours, not Enrico in the flat below. Enrico says "They
should send a gardener 'round," and we agree that yes, they should.
Whoever they are.
Two: the black-and-white cat begging at the front door. "She lived in
your flat before you bought it," Tomi says. "I guess they left her behind."
Three: the speed of cars flying through the roundabout. They ought to
do something to calm the traffic.
Four: the black-and-white cat's kittens. Why wasn't the cat spayed? They
should have had her spayed.
Five: the kittens ofthe kittens. So many, so soon. They hunt in the jungle
of the back garden by night. By day they crowd the front door, begging.
We buy cat food at the convenience store and bribe them so they don't
rush inside when we unlock our door.
Six: more kittens.
Seven: wrecks in the roundabout. Again and again, bleeding drivers
make their way through the cats and kittens to ring the bell. These people leave spots of blood on the walkway. None of us owns the walkway.
We don't answer the door. Why don't they bother someone else? Can't
they see we've got troubles of our own?
44     PRISM 49:2 The Fourth Floor
All the professors and lecturers notice him, the man who is building a scaffold on the outside of their building. He is old enough
to be a professor himself, but he wears the wrong sort of clothes,
and he spends the first part of the day assembling the structure that rises
to the top of the building, and higher. The academics on the ground
floor are the first to see him working with sponge, pail, and squeegee. He
is a window washer. One of those ground-floor scholars, Doctor Foldi,
having categorized the fellow, thinks nothing more about him. Doctor
Foldi's back is turned when the window washer nods a greeting through
the glass.
On the first floor up, the window washer sponges sudsy water onto
the pane, swipes his squeegee along the glass, and catches the eye of
Doctor Kjs. The professor does not return the window washer's smile or
greeting. He gets up from his desk and closes the blinds.
Outside a window of the second floor, Doctor Nagy notices when the
window washer greets him. He smiles back. He waves. He even calls out a
polite greeting, but then he returns his attention to the paper he is writing.
It is Doctor Hegyi on the third floor, the top floor, who actually gets
up from his desk when he sees the window washer. He opens the window to ask the man how it is to wash windows in the fresh air all day
long. He complains a little about the paper he is writing, how much
trouble he is having with one passage which the editors say he must
make shorter. He tries to explain the nature of the problem and at last
opens the window wide and says, "Well, come see for yourself." The
window washer sits in Doctor Hegyi's chair to read, and so as not to
break the man's concentration, Doctor Hegyi steps out onto the scaffold.
He tries his hand at window washing. He decides that he is pretty good
at it. The window washer comes out to join him and agrees that it is hard
to shorten that passage without making it seem to say something else
altogether. Together, they admire the view.
Doctor Hegyi returns to his desk, frowns, and tries to concentrate
on his work. He has not failed to notice, however, that rather than going down, the window washer has climbed even higher on the scaffold.
What could he be doing up there? Perhaps on an invisible fourth floor
there are also professors whose windows need to be kept clean.     45 Jennica Harper
Poems for, and from, Pinocchio.
Father hopes I will become a realboy because realboys become men.
Good men take over the family business or learn a new trade, bringing
in goldpieces for their families. Money's traded for food, money keeps
the rain out. I have tried to carve wood, Father showed me the shwick!
of the knife. But I'm scared of the knife, and to me the wood looked
fine as it was.
Cindy A. sits in front of me. I'm learning to sit still, say nothing. By
saying nothing, nothing good nor bad can happen. Good odds for bad
boys like me. But Cindy A. Cindy A., when she puts up her hand,
her back spoons like an oar. I think of Ms. Blue, her blue dress     her
shoulderbones blue dust     her collarbone. I think of two oars, sculling.
Then I think of nothing.
There is a knock on wood. Glances to the door, standing open—no
one's there. Eyes turn my way. I shut mine tight, avoiding Cindy A's.
In my lap, wood meets wood. The friction feels good, and all through
spelling, I buff I whet until I worry my worrying will spark a blaze.
Fear of fire makes me good again at last. It hurts to stop, but I do. After
school I hold my spelling book in front of me, as though very proud to
be a pupil.     47 EVERY GOOD BOY
Every good boy deserves fun. Every good boy deserves food. Every
good boy deserves a father. Every good boy deserves forgiveness. Boy,
everybody's good. How did they get so good? Father says I'm good
wood—when he's in a good mood. Good wood deserves food, fun,
fudge, favours, fairy dust. Every good boy deserves dessert. Everyboy
wants. Even good ones would. God wood. Even good boys desert
fathers. Fairyblood, realbody, borrowed air, floatboy. Whoa. Am I
being rood? Every good block of wood... I know I know it, give me a
48     PRISM 49:2 Patrick Pilarski
a sampling of things
juxtaposed and cyclic
on a slow day empty hour the rainfall hammerfall of cups on tables
sticks like builder's clay or moss on rocks waiting for winter, this is
broken, frost hurled parts colliding with water in the stream, this is
cigarettes and short knives, holstered and curling skirts on pavement;
an extension built piece by piece from pig flesh or borrowed hearts,
pumping, as a neon fire escape to a place where hooks and hand-
grenades rest softly in a mirrored foyer under three tonne chandeliers,
this is royalty made easy—air conditioners that drip cash night after
night pooling on the floor with slits of streetlight carrion, the remains
of absent pigeons pecking crumbs of builder's clay, moss on rocks,
hammers and cups, an empty wall.     49 Roy Kesey
Come Due
This evening's verbena does not start for another ten minutes and
so I sit in my office, the lights off, the telephone unplugged. I
asked Karina to join me but she said that she was busy. When I
asked what she had planned, she could not remember, but promised to
be waiting for me at home when I arrived.
My last verbena was two years ago in the Communications department—a month before Pilar's graduation, two months before our marriage, a year before her death. Her classmates had at me. The first skit
was a fake television news report about a fat foreign archaeologist who
had been sentenced to life in prison for attempting to steal a priceless artifact. A photograph flashed onto the big screen: Pilar and I very nearly
holding hands. We in the crowd, we laughed, some of us less than others,
as the anchor went into deeper and deeper detail regarding precisely
how fat and foreign the archaeologist was. For the second skit, the fattest
male student in the department dressed as a conquistador—fake beard,
cardboard armor, plastic sword—and the second fattest wore mock-aclla
vestments, balloon breasts and a wig of smooth black hair that hung
almost to his waist. The virgin priestess spoke Spanish with a Chiclayan
accent, the conquistador with an American one. He ran fish-eyed and
foamed at the mouth, chased and cornered her, gathered her onto his
shoulder and staggered off stage. Pilar looked at me to see how I would
take this and other jokes. It was her gaze that kept me from taking the
stage, from grabbing the microphone, from shouting, There is no equivalence and it is only this, their hooks in me, their fanged hooks, their
motherfuckingfangs. Which no one would have understood.
Now it is time. Out through the dark trees and I do not know why
but this week my classes have been fluid and deft, my students working
cleanly through prepositions of time and adverbs of manner, through the
schwa and defining relative clauses, through reporting verbs and false
friends. During my office hours they come to me in pairs and small
groups, sometimes with problems and sometimes only to chat. When
there are problems I try to help. When I cannot help I invent geometric
proofs to show the students that their problems are slightly smaller than
they thought.
There is the faint shriek of fighter jets, three or perhaps four. The
50     PRISM 49:2 stage is set up at the far end of the parking lot. There are far more chairs
than spectators. The verbena has already begun and I search for Armando, find him, take the empty seat beside him and he smiles.
A few of the jokes this evening are at my expense—my immense
bulk, my gait, the size and colours of my underwear—but my likeness is
jovial, is often allowed a last laugh. Less kindness is shown to the head
librarian and her single eyebrow, to the dean and his limp, to Armando
himself. There are puns on his alcoholism and effeminacy. All the same
we laugh, the dean and the librarian and Armando and me, we laugh as
is required.
From time to time I glance at the rector, and it seems that his laughter
wanes sooner than that of those around him. There are many reasons
why this might be, and when the skits end, students come running to talk
to Armando and me, to assure us that no harm was meant, that in fact
we are well loved, that laughter had been the only objective. Some ofthe
students are sincere when they say this. Some only believe that they are.
I tell them the truth, that I always attempt not to care. Armando says that
he found each and every joke extremely amusing, claps the students on
the shoulders and laughs, pretending to remember.
His posture is as always slightly off centre, not as if he were about to
fall but as if at any moment he might bend to pick up something he has
dropped. I shake his hand, shake the hands ofthe dean and rector. Then
I walk for home.
A hundred yards from the gate, a group of students is gathered on
the sidewalk beneath an algarrobo. They are staring, and I go to stand
and stare with them. There is a fox stretched out dead at the base of the
trunk. It is cat-sized and twilight-coloured. Its skull has been crushed.
A car or truck, surely, and someone tossed the body to the side. I
leave the students there staring. Some things cannot be helped.
I walk out of the gate and along the sidewalk to the Panamericana.
Now that the rains have ended, a few of the old smells are returning,
plumeria and jasmine, and of course the smell of sweat never left. There
is standing water only in the deepest of holes. And there are fewer stars
visible than one might perhaps guess, the desert haze building again.
I turn, walk through the park and its trees to the Virgin under glass.
She is no longer crying, has not cried in days, and my neighbours discuss
the meaning of this more loudly than is necessary. Karina finds their
theories preposterous. I wonder what Pilar would have thought of them.
She was often open to the possibility of this sort of miracle, but did not
speak of it with me, was unwilling in this and other respects to provoke
my derision. It is not that Pilar feared it, but that she hoped to save me
from it. Also it angered her, and she enjoyed the sudden flush of her
own anger less than most people I have known. In other moments what    51 seemed to be anger came unprovoked and was in fact something ,else,
a wildness, and Pilar laughed, pinned me down, magnificent. Karina is
more knowing, more agile but less strong, and she fits me differently: her
edges are sharper, hip and wrist and jawline. Her arms are thinner, her
smile slower, her eyes less easily read, and I am suddenly and violently
sure that comparing one's dead wife to one's girlfriend is unjust, is a certain evil, is something for which a bill will at some point come due.
52     PRISM 49:2 Wishes
I sit down at a table in the centre of the chicken restaurant, and am
the only client. The chair is hard plastic. The table is linoleum and
the lights are very bright and the chicha music is unpleasantly loud.
There is a television mounted in the corner, a soap opera, and all the
waiters are watching it.
There are dozens of restaurants like this in every Peruvian city: precisely like this. Now a commercial comes on, and one of the men walks
over. He has a pea-sized mole growing from his eyebrow. We both shout
to be heard, and I order a roast chicken, whole.
—To go?
The waiter looks at the ground, at the television, at me.
—Would you like a bigger table?
I look around the restaurant. All the other tables are of the same dimensions as mine. I shake my head. There is nothing else to say but he
does not go away so I tell him that I am from the United States, and
that today happens to be my birthday. He nods, asks me which state.
California! I say, and I say this with what I hope will sound like great
confidence and joviality, as if eating alone in a chicken restaurant were a
Californian birthday custom.
The waiter is too smart to believe me, smiles sadly and takes his leave,
returns abruptly with a beer I have not ordered. He says that it is courtesy ofthe owner, and points to a small, closed door on the far side ofthe
restaurant. I thank him. Ten minutes later the chicha is extinguished; the
soap opera actors shout briefly and are turned down as well.
All four of the waiters come walking in a line, and behind them is
an aproned cook. The cook's face is bright with grease and pleasure.
He holds a platter bearing a large amount of French fries, and a roast
chicken from which protrudes a single candle, lit.
The waiters take up positions around me, the four cardinal points.
The cook begs my pardon, says that the nearby bakeries have all just
closed, that otherwise he would have treated me to a muffin, that the following year I will have to arrive earlier in the evening. I assure him that
the chicken and candle and sentiment are more than enough.
The five men sing to me now, and they sing surprisingly well. The    53 cook sets the platter on the table. I blow out the candle, wishing for happiness.
The cook applauds. The waiters look at one another. I nod. The waiters and the cook nod back. The cook returns to his spits, and the waiters
to their soap opera. Wishes are not normal things though we make them
all the time.
54     PRISM 49:2 James Phelan
Ten Sentimental Educations
1. Puck and Trin married fast so they could go to bed together and in
three years had three daughters, called Faith, Hope, and Madison.
2. Olivia told The Professor, who corrects her when she calls him that
but obviously likes it, that it's not so much immaturity—she'd known
this question was coming—but more like, the guys her age that want
her, the way they talk when they soften up makes you feel like a really nice edition of something you've been looking for, that you put
back because there's pink highlighter all over the first twenty pages
and in the margins, you know, Irony and Important passage in pen.
3. Watching his train disappear, Ashley thought how like a movie their
goodbye had been; then, how she would remember that morning
when she was old; then, that her first love had not had the effect of
making her imagine a future self who was not alone.
4. The novel Ben started to write in Paris began, "Aurelie felt du frisson as
his puissance grazed her avoirdupois," and ended after the girl at the
hostel asked could she read it.
5. In the basement ofthe old Library Annex, the most private place he
could think to take her with a party on at his apartment and her parents sure to be home, your mother looks up at the moment you're
conceived and sees graduating classes from before the War, framed
galleries of coiffed and whiskered faces staring over them with an
indifference that says, Not new, just next.
6. Lori and Heather realize, a moment too late, that their prom dresses
are in rival gang colours.
7. Paula is convinced it's love when she remembers the last time a look
from a stranger made her feel free to become someone new: Frank,
the first of several Franks, watching her with a smile that could make
a motel bed start to vibrate—and on her husband's face, a look so
dumb you felt he might die for king and country right there, in the
freezer section.     55 8. At fifteen I had a vision of the difficulties ahead, like in that arcade
game where a map ofthe maze flashes onscreen for a second before
the level starts, when Myron said to me, "Man, girls just don't understand Dylan."
9. Ernest figured his heart was broken for good, till he met a nice girl
whose idea of fun was defibrillating middle-aged men to see if smoke
would come out their ears and nostrils—so to speak—but not only
so to speak.
10. Talking with his mouth full again, your little brother says the safety
word by accident; bad things stop happening to good people and a
bearded face erupts from a big cloud asking, Is everyone okay?
56     PRISM 49:2 Susan Steudel
Not An Easy Thing For Ilych
Be the extraordinary number of pens and pencils; be the noon
traveller by autosleigh; be mucilage and rubber stoppers; be the
ornamental inkstand and potted palm; be the ape sitting on a stack of
books; be the orderly transmission of commands; be Petrograd; be
everpresent; be pseudonym; be top-heavy with descriptive adjectives;
be ice-cold; be the conference table and green baize cloth; be global,
cautious; be remote pastoral villages; be the conspirator in the midst
of flux; be Lenin and Luxemburg poles apart; be the electrification
of Vladivostok; be midnight and moon tucked in the jaws; be belief;
be the half-Scottish daughter; be half French; be the picture of a
medieval master; be distressed by comparisons, be clad in capes and
gunfire; be hardline; be back in the harness at the Kremlin; be duende;
be strangeness; be the recording authority; be difficult to separate
the peasant from Lenin; be gorki; be bitter; be flower, be pine; be the
Found and original text: Payne, The Life and Death of Lenin, New York, 1964     57 Laura Clarke
Book of Kings
1992. Sitting at a picnic table on the porch working on clay art projects.
Half-dogs with exaggerated snouts, too-skinny tails that break off when
touched. Earth-toned unicorns, rainbows and stars etched into their
haunches with crooked safety pins. My sister, four years older, working
for several hours on a masterpiece giraffe. It will be better than my
animals. A textured mane. Good proportions. Eyes that look real.
She is hunched over in a plastic green lawn chair, knitting Barbie
clothes—a dark purple shapeless skirt. The overall effect: Eastern
European Immigrant Barbie.
Oma says: Look what I have, emphasis on the last word. She produces
a wrinkled five dollar bill from a black crocheted bag, smoothes it out
on her knee. A steel-coloured knitting needle pokes through a hole, its
dull point aimed at me.
She fumbles at her chest until she touches the red frame of her glasses.
Puts them on, holds the bill up to the shock of sunlight falling across
the porch.
You have to share it, she says. Rips the bill in half and hands us each a
58     PRISM 49:2 D.W. Wilson
Let Me Try Science    59 Content removed
at author's request
60     PRISM 49:2 Nikki Reimer
from one or two things to
"are you looking for oil?"
she is the system, she is "entirely affectation." all she wants is
transcendental experience, but she only wants transcendental
experience, she is chasing the white dragon, she's 29 and bleeds
business acumen.    61 "are you managing your weight?"
washers and o-rings. a stimulus package to end all stimulus packages,
the kind of brain drain you can wrap your thumb & index finger
around and then squeeze, applying ever-increasing pressure with your
fingernails, hovering inside the oilfield, somewhere between 2nd and
3rd. gelatinous, water soluble, leaching to the athabasca water basin.
62      PRISM 49:2 "are you finding a job?"
we want mythmaking for our grandchildren and our grandchildren's
grandchildren, to blast dynamite in caverns below the earth; we want
to farm in. we want yellow fields from horizon's edge to horizon's edge,
we want 21st century cowboys with gold and platinum plating, we want
to hitch a ride on the back of the water buffalo.    63 Contributors
Michael Reid Busk is a PhD student in the University of Southern
California's Literature and Creative Writing Program. His work has
been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in both fiction and poetry, and
his stories, essays, and poems have appeared in Gettysburg Review, Fiction
International, Florida Review, and other journals.
Heather Campbell grew up in the Maritimes and has since lived and
worked in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, in various non-profit
communications and marketing positions. Her short fiction has been included in the Wascana Review, and her poetry has been included in Prairie
Fire and The Capilano Review. Heather currently lives in Ottawa.
Laura Clarke is a poet living in Toronto and a recent graduate of the
Creative Writing & English MA program at U of T She has previously
been published in Bywords Quarterly Journal and For Crying Out Loud: An
Anthology of Poetry & Fiction.
Barry Dempster, twice nominated for the Governor General's Award,
is the author of sixteen books. In 2010, he was a finalist for the Ontario
Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts. He is also Acquisitions Editor for Brick Books. His most recent books include Love Outlandish, Ivan's
Birches and Blue Wherever.
Antony Di Nardo is the author of Alien, Correspondent (Brick, 2002) and
Soul on Standby (Exile, 2010). His work appears in journals across Canada
and internationally. He divides his time between Oshawa, Ontario and
Sutton, Quebec.
Chris Gilpin is a two-time member ofthe Vancouver Poetry Slam Team
(2008 & 2009), the champion of Vancouver's 2008 Haiku Death Match,
and winner of the Vancouver's 2009 CBC Poetry Face-off. In the summer of 2006, he toured the Canadian Fringe circuit with his play "87%
True: The Lies That Bind," co-created with Rosemary Rowe. His work
has been published in Geist, Poetry is Dead, Vancouver Review, 42opus, and
others. He also performs as part of the clown-rock supergroup Awesome
64     PRISM 49:2 Julie Cameron Gray is originally from Sudbury, Ontario. She has previously published a chapbook with Cactus Press, entitled The Distance
Between Two Bodies, and is a contributing editor for Misunderstandings
Jennica Harper is a Vancouver poet and screenwriter whose books include What It Feels Like for a Girl (Anvil Press, 2008) and The Octopus
and Other Poems (Signature Editions, 2006). Previous Pi?/£Mpublications
include the long poems "The Octopus" (41:1) and "Liner Notes" (47:1),
winner of the Silver National Magazine Award.
Roy Kesey's debut novel Pacazo, from which these excerpts are taken,
will be published by Dzanc Books in February 2011. His work has been
widely published and anthologized, with stories appearing in Best American Short Stories, The Robert Olen Butler Prize Anthology, and New Sudden
Fiction, among other places. He currently lives in Peru with his wife and
children (
Ron Koertge writes fiction for Young Adults and poetry for everybody.
His awards include grants from the NEA and the California Arts Council and poems in Best American Poetry. Recent books of poems are Fever
(Red Hen Press, 2007) and Indigo (Red Hen Press, 2009). Recognition
for fiction include two PEN awards. Recent books for young readers
are Shakespeare Makes the Play-Offs (Candlewick Press, 2010), and Strays
(Candlewick Press, 2007).
Pasha Malla is the author of The Withdrawal Method (stories) and All Our
Grandfathers are Ghosts (poems, sort of). His first novel, People Park, will
be published in 2012.
Meghan L. Martin was born and raised in Hyde Park, New York and
currently resides in Vancouver, BC. She holds an MFA in Poetry from
Arizona State University and is the recipient of a Theresa A. Wilhoit
Fellowship. Her poems are currently available or forthcoming in The Adirondack Review, The DMQJteview, EVENT, The Fiddlehead, Hunger Mountain, Ryga, and an anthology called Paradigm.
Almeda Glenn Miller is the author of the novel Tiger Dreams (Rain-
coast, 2002). Her short stories and essays have appeared in Grain, Dandelion, EVENT, and Ploughshares. Almeda lives and writes in Rossland,
British Columbia.
Linton Murphy: Born in Toronto, lives in Vancouver.     65 James Phelan is from Montreal. His story "Something Fierce" appeared
in PRISM {47:4) last year.
Patrick M. Pilarski's first full-length collection, Huge Blue, was released
in 2009 by Leaf Press, and he is co-editor ofthe international short-form
journal DailyHaiku. Patrick's poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies across North America, Australia, Europe, and Japan, recently
including The Fiddlehead, Carousel, and The New Quarterly. He lives in
Nikki Reimer is the author of [sic] (Frontenac House, 2010) and fist
things first (Wrinkle Press Chapbook, 2009), and chronicler of the East
Van Cats. She divides her time between East Vancouver, New Westminster, and These poems from "one or two things to
consider" are for Tim Reimer.
Daniel Kincade Renton has been published in CV2, Portal, and The
Telegraph Journal, and is a former poetry editor of Qwerty Magazine, a literary journal. Last August, he canoed 108 km with three other Montreal
poets on a seven-day poetry tour along the Grand River in Lower Ontario.
Bruce Holland Rogers recently spent five months teaching creative
writing on a Fulbright grant in Budapest, where he performed "Unpleasant Features of Our New Address" in Hungarian. He is on the permanent
MFA faculty at the Northwest Institute for Literary Arts. More stories at
Phyllis Rudin lives in Montreal. Her short stories have appeared in
This Magazine, and The Massachusetts Review. She won This Magazine's 2010
Great Canadian Literary Hunt for fiction with her story "Candlepower."
Her novel manuscript The CEO of Oz, which follows a group of immigrant women working the line in a ramshackle Montreal lingerie factory,
placed second in the 2010 Yeovil Literary Competition.
Bardia Sinaee's poetry and reviews have been published or are forthcoming in Arc,, This Magazine, and The Moose & Pussy. At Carleton University, he's a third-year linguistics student and poetry editor
for In/Words.
Susan Steudel lives in Vancouver. She is currently writing poems on
the topic of Lenin.
66     PRISM 49:2 Nick Thran's second collection of poetry, Earworm, will appear this
spring with Nightwood Editions. Poems from the collection have recently appeared in Arc, The Best Canadian Poetry 2010, and The Fiddlehead,
and are forthcoming in Canadian Notes and Queries and The Walrus. He
currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Anne-Marie Turza lives in Victoria. Her poems have appeared in
Grain, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, and
most recently in Arc. She has a poem forthcoming in The Best Canadian
Poetry in English, 2010.
D.W. Wilson's fiction has appeared in literary journals across Canada,
Ireland, and the UK. His short story collection Once You Break a Knuckle
will be published by Penguin Canada in 2011, to be followed by a novel,
Ballistics. He's a Canadian citizen by birth and temperament, but currently living in London to pursue his PhD.     67 :::.:'..
The Creative Writing Program at U.B.G.
The University of British Columbia offers both
a Bachelor of Pine Arts degree and a Master
of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. The
M.F.A. degree may also be taken by distance
education. See our website for more details.
Students work in multiple genres, including:
Poetry, Novel/Novella, Short Fiction, Stage
Play, Screen & TV Play, Radio Play, Writing for
Children, Non-fiction, Translation, and Song
Lyrics &■ Libretto.
Meryn Cadell
Steven Galloway
Keith Maillard
Maureen Medved
Andreas Schroeder
Linda Svendsen
Peggy Thompson
Rhea Tregebov
Online Faculty (M.F.A.):
Luanne Armstrong, Gail Anderson-
Dargatz, Brian Brett, Sioux Browning,
Maggie deVries, Zsuzsi Gartner,
Terry Glavin, Wayne Grady, Sara Graefe,'
Stephen Hunt, Peter Levitt,
Susan Musgrave & Karen Solie I \
jn-Fiction Contest*
Three winners will receive $500 each
plus publication!
$29.95 entry fee includes 1 year of EVENT
5,000 word limit
Deadline April 15
The Rules
• Previously published material, or material accepted elsewhere for publication, cannot be considered.
• The writer should not be identified on the entry. Include separate cover sheet with name, address, phone
number / email, and title(s). Send to EVENT, PO Box 2503, New Westminster, BC, V3L 5B2, Canada.
• Include a SASE (Canadian postage / IRCs / US $1).
• Multiple entries are allowed; however, each entry must be accompanied by its own entry fee.
• Make cheque or international money order payable to EVENT.
• Contest back issues are available from EVENT.
• Entries must be postmarked by April 15.
Visit for more information
Canada Council     Conseil des Arts f V      -,        ,      _  „
for the Arts       du Canada '^->  Douglas College 2011 Short Grain
(with Variations) Contest
2 Top Prizes of $1000! 2 Great Categories!
Fictioti judge: Zsuzsi Gartner
Author of All the Anxious Girls on Earth and editor of acclaimed
anthology Darwin's Bastards.
Poetry judge: Jeramy Dodds
Author of Trillium Award-winning and 2009 Griffin Prize-nominee
Crabwise to the Hounds.
$35 entry fee for up to two entries in one category; every entrant
receives a free 1-year subscription to Grain. Fiction 2500-word
maximum. Poetry 100-line maximum. Deadline April 1, 2011.
For full contest details at
*%•'■ ^
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fife' '^IKliiM
□ Two-year subscription (8 issues): $46.00 (HST included).
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Creative Writing Program, UBC
Buch. E462 - 1866 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1
PRISM international
Creative Writing Program, UBC
Buch. E462-1866 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1
Canada  PR
SM is Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Translation & Creative Nonfiction
Michael Reid Busk
Heather Campbell
Laura Clarke
Barry Dempster
Antony Di Nardo
Chris Gilpin
Julie Cameron Gray
Jennica Harper
Roy Kesey
Ron Koertge
Pasha Malla
Meghan L. Martin
Almeda Glenn Miller
James Phelan
Patrick M. Pilarski
Nikki Reimer
Daniel Kincade Renton
Bruce Holland Rogers
Phyllis Rudin
Bardia Sinaee
Susan Steudel
Nick Thran
Anne-Marie Turza
D.W. Wilson
Cover Illustration: flying books (in formation)
by Linton Murphy
7 ' 25274 " 86361   7


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