“Make Me,” new poem by Justin Million


so we took up inspired
fights like the -isms,

the air, the water,
the rolling glaciers,

the fears we feel
in homes, our least conversated

doors staying owned,
most only accepting MEN, to say (like anyone intelligent asked or cared)

they still exist
to pretend they wouldn’t jerk a man off in a secret vacuum.

The glow of a few decades’ mistakes
still spreads red,

despite us being in charge forever and no one else, no handed down way, no alien us,
most mostly

alike, tho some stopped reading this poem
because of my science on men wanting to try cock at least once,

my science being don’t make an individual
a video of that same individual being you. They are not you.

This is where we’re at.

No gigantic man handing us down to us. I can’t stress that
or anything else enough. I am shaking for a world of reasons.

We have a 2000 problem, 0000’s of MEN
are videos displaying how dim men continue

to study spectrum
with the light out.

That last bit was a metaphor
for porn, men’s rights, and the new Nazis

(you lost fucks see me on George Street, stab fast,
or you’ll lose the personal war too this time);

this open bomb of a world.

Amazing we exist in this at all. Amazing we exist.

The young man at the protest about to climb the lamp
can’t be Gene Kelly,

trained to keep his hands off the high light,
take home as much grace as he can scrape off the bottom.

There is a baby who is important to the future lying
by the political blast zone Schrodingering,

and because everyday’s a news day, the knife
or branch in your hand;

keep the future you don’t know down is the red lesson. Stab a gay baby.
You have to have a gun,

your right to not much isn’t God
given, or taken. It’s plain. Your belief is a ladder to another finity.

In charge of nothing
but fixing

the world we went into
debt to see, and have

since brunched back
to our mothers and fathers,

lived inside basements, inheritances,
until we had the wall space to hang

what failed us; photos of hairdos all
ecstatic to be sepia, cross-legged on the wall, denying they’re putting us down;

every memory back then

Oh mother,
come back to bread.

Yes, we are furious,
because we were ushered in, without shushing, when the world was still

blind, and quarrelling over how much YES is left when it’s a ruin, and the whole
time just around the corner

You, absolutely
not your father,

maybe President;
worth a shot-

these words by Justin Million were inspired by the photography of Alison Scarpulla


On Family: “No applause for a hero”

50108d1d5ba0277995e238c6fe5396e2 (1)

“Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,

And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,

So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.”

“Teach Your Children,” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young


‘What a fucking spread!’

‘Who woulda thought?’  Frances agreed.

‘Bagels, lox, whitefish, coffee, salami, bologna, provolone, macaroni—”

‘Chicken salad!’

Several parents crowded the cream cheese station at the back of the auditorium.  Henry admired his wife’s breasts as she crouched to pick up a tomato.  37.5% of the couples there were gay.  Mr. Hall, the middle school coordinator, wore a pesto green suit.  The hunchback look worked for him.  Everyone there paid $2.75 to ride the train to P.S. 463 if they didn’t hop the turnstile.  But by the looks of it, there were a few who might’ve jumped.

‘Hey!’  Caleb, 4’6”, rushed over and hugged his parents.  ‘Thanks for coming!’

‘Our pleasure!’

The chatter inconspicuously petered out when Mr. Hall tapped the microphone.  ‘Family, friends, distinguished guests: thank you for coming to P.S. 463’s annual Role Model Day!  In humanities this year, the students considered adolescence.  In lieu of their studies, they reflected on their role model’s unique qualities that they hope to emulate as rising middle schoolers.  Today, you will hear some of their thoughts.’

A little girl climbed on stage.  Mr. Hall adjusted the microphone stand appropriately. She looked down at her notecard: ‘Hi.’

After a pause, the audience realized it was being invited to exchange greetings.  ‘Hi!’

She continued, ‘My name is June Langley and my role model is Hermione.  Most of all, Hermione is a genius.  One day, I want to be a genius.  Hermione also helps Harry beat Voldemort again and again and again.  I want to defeat evil, too!’  June bowed, and the crowd cheered.  An ‘I love you sweetie!’ and, ‘You are a genius, babe!’ were made out from the clamor.  Surely it was June’s parents.

Another girl stepped on stage.  Her name was Anne Carney.  She had no index card.  Her role model was Serena Williams.  Serena, she informed the crowd, always wins and hates to lose.  Anne does, too, she tells the full house.  When she grows up she wants to be successful, like Serena!  The sound level meter for June’s speech reached a higher altitude.

Now Caleb hurried up the steps.  He took a piece of crumbled paper out of his pocket and unwrinkled it.  This had BOY written all over it.  Not once did he lift his eyes.  ‘My name is Caleb Monroe and my role models are my mom and dad.  Mom wakes up everyday at 5:00 and packs my lunch.  She fills the fridge with my favorite snacks.  Dad fought in court for my autistic brother Fred to go to a good school.  He drops me at basketball practice after school and always wants to play.  They are exhausted from work and then come home and cook.  If there is no food, they go shopping.  And tomorrow they’ll do it all again. They do not get paid for this job, and never ask for anyone to clap for their demanding work.  Being a parent is so heroic.  There’s no applause for a hero.’

The audience has no idea how to respond.


word by Jacob Goldberg

“After I learned that “La Practique Du Calcul” roughly translated to “basic calculus,” I wanted to write about how difficult calculus was for me but easy for others.  With that in mind, I hoped to sketch a story about something that I feel is at once important, simple, and uniquely hard: showing appreciation and love for those that really matter to us.”

colour by Julien Coquentin

On Persecution: “The Strangers”


Noise noise noise noise noise.

A million million voices try to talk one on top of the other. It sounds like music. It sounds like the worst jazz you have ever heard.

The effect of all the voices is to make you feel screamed at, but no one is screaming. They are speaking with only a note of urgency. They are not shouting, but they know they should be heard. That you should hear them and that they must say their piece.

This is just when you first go through the gates. This is nothing yet.

The gates, by the way, are tall and iron and topped with diamond-shaped spikes. They are there for a very specific purpose: because the boys of the town will try to sneak in and put mirrors on the graves. The gates will not stop the boys from trying, but they will stop all but the most resourceful boys from getting into the graveyard. In the time before the gates, that everyone remembers but no one was alive for, there were shards of mirrors all over the graves like magpie confetti. No one remembers why, but the boys know that this is what they are supposed to do. The gates are especially needed at holidays.

After you have recovered from the shock of all the voices – because it will be a shock, even though I’ve told you about it now – you can start walking into the graveyard. If you step too close to someone’s grave, there will be a hush. This will be tempting. But you should be careful, because the longer you linger by any one grave, the harder it will be to go back into the fray. Once, a girl who was not prepared ran into the graveyard at night time. She was overwhelmed by the voices, and she sat down on a grave to rest in the peace. They found her the next morning, lying on the rectangle of grass as if it were a down mattress. They were never able to wake her. This is another of the stories – the ones that everyone will tell you.

If you listen carefully, you’ll start to pick individual voices from the noise. You should listen to them. It will be hard. It won’t be hard to catch the thread, to latch onto a voice and follow it. But it will be hard to stop yourself from shaking it off once you do catch it. They don’t scream, the voices, but they do not flinch from the truth.

These are the graves of the strangers. None of them exist anymore. If they do exist, in an outnumbered molecule of someone’s blood, someone is not telling. I doubt that anyone will ever tell.

You will make your recommendation to the town council by the third of November. We didn’t know these people. Their traditions were not ours, and they are gone now. The land could be put to good use.

word by Charlotte Joyce Kidd

“This story could be about anyone.

My own familial and ancestral background is Jewish, and it’s a group that has been dodging annihilation throughout history.

Religious, racial and ethnic persecution happens and has happened everywhere, and too often results in genocide.

I also wonder about the living’s obligation to the dead in regards to burial wishes and traditions, especially in cases where the desired ritual of the deceased seems obsolete or culturally irrelevant. I was a voracious reader of Egyptian mythology and history growing up, and I questioned the ethics of excavations and exhibitions as much as I revelled in seeing them. Although it was anthropologically exciting and potentially important to dig up a Pharaoh’s grave, what if he had been right to believe that he needed a pyramid of clay figurines to survive in the afterlife? Had we just destroyed his vision of paradise? We can dismiss the desires of the dead as quaint, erroneous, or even morally wrong, but we don’t get the opportunity to argue; we can only choose to refuse or honour them.

In this piece, I tried to create an image of a society that may no longer believe in traditional burial, that has no connection to the buried, that exists on land that has no meaning to them but is historically deeply significant, that perhaps is even responsible for the elimination of a certain group, and finds itself struggling with the presence of a vanished people.”

colour by Julien Coquentin

On the Environment: “Forest for the Trees”



It was a place of possibility.  Where anything could happen.  Secrets hidden behind every tree.  Discovery around every bend.  Adventure was everywhere.

I was always struck by the trees.  So much bigger than anything we had in the city.  And so many.  No matter where you looked, there they were, towering above and continuing on past the horizon.

Walking beneath them today, I’m reminded of the games of hide and seek we’d play in their shade.  The time I came upon the perfect spot.  When no one could find me, I cried my eyes out, waking hours later to Mom’s touch as she picked me up and carried me back to camp.  To the bonfire.

I craved the smoke’s heady scent in my nostrils while simultaneously doing everything in my power to avoid its brutal sting to my eyes.  Every night Liz and I would get one step closer to the perfect s’more recipe.  It’s a miracle our teeth didn’t fall out with all the scorched marshmallow and melted chocolate we ate amongst these trees.

In later years, we discovered the lake.  The forest stayed to its shore, watching on as we swam and played.  It became near impossible to get us to leave the water.  We’d spend full days splashing about, emerging only when our bodies became too tired to keep us afloat.

It’s still hard to believe this will be my last visit.  I wanted to protect this place.  To protect the memories it’s given me.  Now all I want is one last dip in the lake.

I never knew there were so many different machines for destroying trees.  I can only hope the water will drown out some of the noise.


word by Grant McLaughlin

colour by Julien Coquentin


On Death and Instagram: “The Right Filter For My Memory”

nadoune 3
My eyes raced to skim over the part of the text that was relevant to our current conversation in hopes of catching on to the gist of what was being discussed. Of course I was finding it impossible to formulate anything barely intelligent to contribute. As per the usual, and despite his general lack of insight, Micah’s hand bolted sky high. In a seminar of 11 graduate students he had somehow consistently missed all of the social and visual cues and extended his unusually long arm, fingers arrow straight towards the ceiling, as though he would combust if he could not speak.
 Death and Instagram
Dr. Meyer glanced at her watch and subtly but expertly waved Micah’s hand down, squinting her eyes and pursing her lips as if to say in that one brief facial expression.
Death and Instagram
“I know, we’ve run of out of time, I’m so sorry we’ll miss your gems of wisdom.”
Death and Instagram
Micah’s hand returned to the table and he nodded his head as if to respond, “You’re too right, I need more time to explain my genius to these folks.”
Before letting us go, she concluded: “In the corners of my mind are memories, deep in the archives, rarely if ever recalled. The truth is you have to train yourself in the art of that kind of excavation and it is work. You can easily rest your laurels on those moments prompted by a photo that has been sat in a dusty frame for eons, you can access it so readily that you begin to conflate the image for the history of the thing. Do you remember being there? What did you wear? How did you feel? You’re all so busy capturing the moment that you miss it. Do you remembering being there? Or texting, staring into your phone, applying filters? Do you remember being there?”
Death and Instagram
I chuckled thinking to myself. What does this old lady know about Instagram? Dr. Meyer was 68. Her probing questions anchored deep and roused me. I had covered over the covering over, forgotten what I had forgot, and there was a persistent gnawing, a dull reminiscent ache: the photos only captured so much, there were too few of them to ever imply an iota of the significance of your time and place here with me.
Death and Instagram
I don’t know when I lost you, really. Maybe it was when you moved, or maybe when you lost your leg; you had already begun to slip away. I couldn’t grasp your death until I saw you go into the ground.
Death and Instagram
Every now and then your face surfaces above the mossy mist. Your milk carton full of buttons had a very particular acrid smell, and the touch of your soft wrinkly skin felt like pure love; sewing needles kept in plastic film canisters and the fans you took to church. You are not far – I see you.

colour by Nadine Doune 

“Nadine est née à Montréal, d’une famille venant de s’installer d’Algérie. Elle grandit dans l’école buissonnière, une école dédiée à l’apprentissage par l’art. La musique et le visuel sont toujours présents dans sa vie, dès qu’elle le peut elle voyage avec son violon et ses poèmes/dessins au Mexique, dans l’ouest Canadien, et aux États-Unis où elle s’y installe un an. C’est une autodidacte qui apprend par les expériences, la rue est son terrain de jeu et où elle est le plus inspirée. Elle essaye de rendre la connaissance accessible en donnant plusieurs ateliers (notamment dans une coopérative d’art communautaire nommé le Milieu qu’elle essaye d’aider à bâtir). Elle est intervenante sociale, vend des popsicles artisanaux, et travaille présentement sur un projet de prise de parole chez les femmes immigrantes.”

“Nadine was born in Montréal to a family who arrived from Algeria. She grew up in the Buissonière School, where learning is achieved through art. Music and aesthetics are always present in her life, as she travels with her violin, her poems, and her drawings to Mexico, to Western Canada, and to the United States, punctually for years. The street and her experiences are her main sources of inspiration. She works to make education and art accessible by giving workshops – notably in Le Milieu, a community art cooperative that she’s involve in. She is currently working on a project that centers on the voices of immigrant women.”