“On How to Say No” – Annie Rubin


The views expressed in the texts do not necessarily represent the views of the artist.


It was unsettling to be back there alone. An impulsive decision spurred by the phone call—or lack thereof—and now she was sitting in the square by her old apartment on a bench in the dark. She checked her phone—it was ten. Still no messages.

She’d taken a seat between the trees that shook gently in the wind, and a rain repeatedly sprinkled and let up as if on a loop. She figured it would be better to be out of the house if he did decide to ring. Public spaces always felt more manageable, controlled: don’t make a scene, Ma used to say; Dad followed her words like they were law.

He slammed the door when he left, causing the dishes to rattle on their shelves. She feared for the porcelain set of four plates and bowls—hand-painted from Sorrento—they’d bought together on holiday. One of them had chipped once and she’d read somewhere you were supposed to throw it away after that but she never did.

She was walking now, in circles up and down the block that smelled like home. Tomorrow she would change the locks. There was no guidebook on how to say no. Only repeated frustration, feigning forgiveness until she overflowed, erupting with all that was never said.

It came out as glitter, bursting into his crevices, filling him with remorse, and an anger as uncontrollable as the thundering laugh she was once able to evoke from him by singing his name. He used to call her his.

Now she wanted to be her own. Didn’t quite know how to do that either. She stared at the ground, hovering before the doorstep of their building. She ached to know what it takes to rebuild.


these words by Annie Rubin were inspired by the work of Kevin Calixte

New Prose: “January 20” by Ajay Mehra


The knurled cloth handles of Nicos’ hamper cut into his right hand.  The straps are connected all the way to the base of the bag and the weight of the laundry keeps pushing them apart.  They’re too short, now that the laundry is folded and holding the bag to its shape.  You switch hands but there isn’t enough time to rub the indentations out of the left hand before the pain in the right hand is impossible.

Nicos puts the hamper down on a bench facing the front window of a coffee shop.  People sit looking out onto the street—at the sidewalk and the bench and the parked cars and the road and the storefronts across the road that you can’t make out what they are from here.   You have to rub your hands with each other and look out as well.  How does anyone sit on this bench with the coffee shop staring them in the face.  You’d have to seem surprised all the time that you’d caught someone sipping or biting or reading.

You can’t sit next to your laundry on a bench.  It looks like you’re waiting for someone to come help you, because people can’t tell it’s done.  Is it still laundry when it’s done, and folded.  It’s laundry when it’s dirty, and while it’s getting clean, and while you fold it.  It’s clothes when you put it away.  You can sit next to clothes.  Clothes are like shopping.

Nicos had sat next to half his laundry at the laundromat.  Only because all the machines were full.  You can sit next to your laundry in the laundromat, if the machines are full and you have enough for a good-size load.  And if it’s a clean laundromat.  How do laundromats get dirty.  Car washes get dirty and the dirty ones have the strongest sprayers so you go to the dirtiest ones.  Luckily the closest car wash is filthy.

You don’t care about how a hamper carries when the machines are in the building.  Or when the laundromat at the corner is clean.  Who sends you to a dirty laundromat.  There isn’t another laundromat between here and home, so you have to buy another new hamper.  The store that sells hampers isn’t on the way either.

these words by Ajay Mehra were inspired by
the art of Pasha Bumazhniy

On Breakups: “Rome 2.0”

Adriana 1

Fucking Rome. We got to the hotel and she cried.

It was meant to be a four-poster bed, not a four-poled bed. It was meant to be a terrace not the top step an iron staircase. It was meant to my swansong, the trip to show her what she going to fucking miss out on: the thing to remember me by. I wanted her to feel soaked in guilt when the final blow was delivered.

“Hey, come on, it’s not so bad. Let’s go out and grab some food, start looking at the city”

The sobs went from a 6 to a 9. Wails grew and smashed into me, wave after wave.


“Come on. Let’s go. Now please”


My tone had lost it’s grace and just robotically pressed.


The scrunched face emerged, drained with deep black holes for eyes, and we traipsed into silence into the city. My mind flicked through the situation, questioning all reason.


Her birthday, I wanted to impress so I took her away – how could I possibly be in the wrong?


I knew I felt warped and knotted. I flicked off topic and watched the people passing in the street. They all seemed so beautifully ignorant to unhappiness. I tried to add context: where was he off to? What did she do for a living? What does he think when he wakes up in the morning?


“tell me what you’re thinking”


She looked up at me with watery pupils. For a split second I felt for her, then firmly shut that inkling out.


‘well we can’t go on like this’


We walked over a bridge – it was brimming with life. Food, flowers, painters, water. Beautiful when I removed myself from the presence.

There was a warming delicateness to the city’s atmosphere, an over-whelming sensation that right here and now was an immersion in history.

More silence filled space between us.


“do you want to go to the Colosseum?”




It’s an odd sensation that the connection between two people who shared a decent chunk of their life together could be actively worse than that of strangers meeting in the street.


Upon entering the Colosseum we both administered the look to walk separate routes in opposite directions around. I felt like the abiding balls of a Newton’s cradle. We passed at the mid-way point.


Rome was the city where I knew for sure I had fallen out of love.


word by Sam Fresco

“Ok, hands up. This was actually not-so-loosely based on personal experiences. The art reminded me of a lot of *that* bridge mentioned in the story so it felt natural for a piece to reflect a snapshot of how I felt in that moment. I wanted to make the experience as visceral as possible, really convey the coldness entangled with the helpless dependency you feel in that moment.”

colour by Adriana Coluccio

Adriana Coluccio is a visual artist based in Montreal. She earned her BFA in 2008 from Concordia University where she studied Studio Art and Film Animation.  In her early years as a multidisciplinary artist, Adriana was initially compelled by video art and experimental film.  After dabbling with these for a few years, she discovered a true affinity for painting.

Adriana’s painting practice is invested in her passion for traditional forms of oil painting, while drawing influence from her explorations in experimental film, video and digital media.  Her paintings are informed by her fascination with the instability of an image and the manner in which images are reproduced or transferred across media. She builds up her canvas with scenes that are potentially on the crux of formation or disintegration.

Adriana exhibits her work extensively in North America , notably in Montreal and New York. Her work can be found in private and public collections, notably in the office of the Deputy of Montreal-North.”