New Poetry by Jeff Blackman: “Client-facing”


Today called myself an idiot a lot.
It’s fine. I’m fine. They and we’re fine.

When wise, I delete my posts
but generally settle for clever. At work

I’m perpetually perfecting an expression
that affirms I had nothing to add. I joke,

“Whaddya mean end-of-fiscal? My
calendar says it’s March thirty-fourth.”

I colour code what’s to be done.
My white noise play list skips.

“Whaddya mean end-of-fiscal? My
calendar says it’s March thirty-sixth.”


these words by Jeff Blackman were inspired by the work of Kelsy Gossett

New Prose: “Broken Eggs,” by Charlotte Joyce Kidd


I used to be very sad. Even just a few weeks ago, I couldn’t get out of bed for days at a time and once I didn’t brush my teeth for a month. Yes, I used to be sad, but now I am goooood. I have been okay for three weeks and that’s the longest it’s been in a while.

I’m running a bit late for a thing I’m supposed to go to and I have $12.23 (Canadian) in my bank account, but I’m trying to go easy on myself and think about the big picture. I was hungry when I woke up so I bought myself eggs (because I’m trying to take care of myself, even though I’m late for a thing).

Now I’m biking home and I keep thinking this phrase over and over. I wonder what it’s from. “Girls with kind eyes who talk too fast, girls with kind eyes who…”

Oh. Whoa. Oh. Yep.

Now I’ve fallen over. That makes sense. I wasn’t looking where I was going. My knee is a bit scraped and my eyes are burning (am I going to cry?) but still (in the big picture) this is fine.

The egg carton looks squished. I open it to check and then the carton rips and eggs start tumbling out, as if in slow motion, every single egg until they’re all on the sidewalk. This isn’t so bad, though. Some of these eggs look like they could be salvaged. I pick one up and the clear mucus, the uncooked egg white, slides out onto my fingers. The yolk plops to the sidewalk. This happens with a second egg and then a third, and I want to say damn it and go home, but I am not a person who gives up on herself, not anymore. Maybe I can pick up some of these yolks and just put them back in the shells.

I slide my fingers under the first yolk, feeling my nails chip against the sidewalk, and I manage to grab it, whole, globular and slippery. Ha! I am like a surgeon. I have million dollar fingers. I put the yolk back in its casing and then put the egg back in the carton.

“Hey, are you okay?” says a stranger whose sneakers are in front of me.

I look up and smile very wide. I can’t see their eyes. “Yes! I am fine.”

“Okay,” they say, and their sneakers leave.

I hope it’s not anyone I know, because I guess I look pretty crazy.

I start to feel frantic for a minute or two, when it looks like the next egg won’t come off the pavement, when it’s sliding around in my hand like a baby who can’t hold its head up yet, but then there you go, got em all.

There will be a few bits of rock in my scrambled eggs (Just the yolks. Is this healthy, like eating just the whites?) but that’s okay. Could be much worse.


these words by Charlotte Joyce Kidd were inspired by the work of Kelsy Gossett

“The Ice Show” by Erin Flegg


The vet only had two appointments for the day, morning or afternoon, so I took the 3:45. It didn’t seem like the sort of thing I could handle until after the ice show was done.

When I arrived at the rink it was full of parents stringing twinkle lights and plastering the boards with black paper and clear hockey tape, setting the scene, and by 2 p.m. when the lights went down the place was packed. The first small group teetered out onto the ice and I was suddenly emotional, my eyes misting over. It happened again as I watched my oldest senior skater perform, in a dress that clearly wasn’t made for her, a routine we finished three days ago. The salty intrusion confused me for a minute. I had been so relieved to be done with the season, my official ties with this town dissolved, that it was unexpected. They’re good kids. I didn’t want them to think I was abandoning them.

When the final number was over the other coach and I were called to center ice. I didn’t listen to what the announcer said and instead spent my last few minutes on the ice looking at each kid. All winter, so many hours spent just keeping track of them all. The announcer had to call Ava’s name several times before she heard it and rushed over to grab two bouquets and skate them over to us. Lisa hugged her so I hugged her too, but I worried it was the wrong thing to do. I had spent more time shouting across the rink at her than saying nice things when she was close by. Pay attention, stay in your position, leave that other kid alone. But maybe she felt just as strange, had shot her hand up in the air when whatever parent bought the flowers asked who wanted to present them, eager as usual for any chance to stand out, forgetting for a moment that she didn’t actually like me very much. We assembled for a group photo and I squatted next to one of the smallest kids, holding one hand while she used the other to snake broken bits of Doritos through the cage on her helmet and into her stained mouth.

I told Lisa I had to go, grabbed my backpack and walked across the street to the vet. It was just a small white house with a sandwich board out front on the weekends when they were in town. I walked in still holding the bouquet of flowers and worried the vet tech would think I’d got them for the cat. I didn’t want her to think I was the kind of person who would buy a bouquet of flowers and bring them with me to put down my cat. I tried to hold on to the flat, easy feeling from the end of the show, skip like a stone over this part, but my partner arrived with eyes swollen and the cat in his plastic crate and I sank back down. I lifted him onto the exam table and he flopped to one side, too weak to be either curious or upset. The vet shaved a small patch on his front paw, slid the needle in and he was gone.

these words by Erin Flegg were inspired by the work of Kelsy Gossett

“Ode to Being 24” by Samantha Lapierre


I used to get angry with myself for getting drunk at bars, in dimly lit clubs, at bad house parties.

I was 21 the first time my drink was spiked. I threw up in front of Tequila Jacks while my friends complained that the bouncers would never let them in as long as I was with them. I went home alone in a cab.

I would rip my tights from falling down on concrete, throw up in hotel bathrooms with pristine white floors, cry in groups of friends I’ve since unfriended, and have a smoke outside for good measure.

I’m so much more careful now with the company I keep, the liquor I avoid, the bars I go to.

DJ Emmett plays the Spice Girls for me on request. Winston buys us tequila shots at Babylon. We down Jägerbombs at Zaphod’s and regret it, but not too much.


these words by Samantha Lapierre were inspired by the work of Kelsy Gossett

“Balanced,” New Poetry by Ivana Velickovic

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You asked me if I thought
you were pretty.
Pretty is relative only to
everything besides oneself.
When I stare deeply into the mirror
I become confused.
There are two versions,
one always melting into
the other.

The first: a goddess,
black magic turned blue.
A garland of roses
atop my head,
pure and perfumed.

The second: relative.
A wise aunt who shares dark eyes.
A brave father who shares resilient,
smooth skin.

You liked the idea that beauty
is ancestral and proud.
You asked how you could come to wear
a garland made of roses.
Together we looked in the mirror
and I removed my garland,
delicate as a newborn.

I let it settle on your head.
I let it bring you balance.


these words by Ivana Velickovic were inspired by the work of Angela Pilgrim

“Mango” by Tristen Sutherland

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I didn’t taste a mango until early adulthood. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a problem of mango availability; I just didn’t like the idea of them. They were messy and sticky and watching someone eat that orange flesh was grotesque enough to put me off it entirely. Juice would dribble down their chin and then the sucking and slurping would commence. As a child, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. My mother, long and sinewy, with skin as dark as polished wood, would offer me half of her mango. Usually, this would happen when she was barefoot in our garden, patterned fabric draped over her shoulders, a look that was very unusual in our Canadian suburb. Each time she offered I would shake my head no. I would feel a pang of embarrassment in my gut, even if no one was there to see. Over the years, she persisted despite my resistance. By my teenage years, all she had to do was reach for a mango for me to dismissively utter No thanks. I now recognize the sadness that would cross her eyes each time I would refuse a piece of her fruit, requesting an apple instead. My mother loved when mangos became available in stores, they were the only product she would splurge on because they reminded her of home.

I first visited my mother’s home, Martinique, when I was in my early twenties. It was strange seeing her in her element like that. She seemed to glide across the sand, her luminous hair flecked with silvery strands, fastened with a flower. I tried to mimic her, but my feet weren’t used to the uneven terrain of sand and my hair seemed to reject every flower that tried to nestle between its curls. When I tripped for the fifth time, my mother smiled and sat down next to me. I was clearly frustrated with my lack of grace and I think my mother sensed that. We sat in silence for a moment watching the waves. My mother reached into her tote bag and extracted a mango. Carefully, she sliced it into halves. Tentatively, she offered me a half. For the first time I accepted, happy to share something with my mother.

these words by Tristen Sutherland were inspired by the work of Angela Pilgrim

On Consumption as Religion: “Print Nation”


Print Nation


Oona was woken with a shove of the alarm. Thrust out from blissful nothingness through ever-lighter hoops, consciousness clicking its groove to bring a bleary world into focus. She passed the morning broadcaster in room 117B, tuning in to the daily download.

         … another day of fantastic performance with the corporation hitting total sales of 68 million yesterday – over target but as always, room for improvement…

Her crisp striped dress, fresh from the delivery draw, she filled her mind with the days work – excited as always.

          … and with 17 new opens yesterday and another 1300 upcoming until the end of this quarter we have plenty to get on with, it’s booming business as usual!’

Oona picked up the final piece of uniform, moved towards the sink; once again it captured her attention.


She observed the tiny dark red patch amongst otherwise perfect chrome tubing. The tiny rust that had evolved into a tiny leak with a tiny drip. The tiny puddle in the nook of the room.

“Did you find it?” said her sister.

Greta’s mousey brown eyes, squared and neat, glimmered like fish scales under the mirror light.

“Oona, you have to promise me this will be just ours. A bond between two chamber sisters.”

Oona knew that when she had to pray at day recap to MOD that evening, the Almighty One would know this memory.

“Block this out at prayer, it’s possible, I’ve done it.”

Greta’s fingers dove into the crack in the concrete where the puddle had been building, tearing out a piece. She scraped the dust away gently so they could see it.


 Small green straw with two small green spoons.

“Oona Forty-Three of Chamber 117B, do you know what this is? This is what the Customers call, a plant.”


The buzzer sounded for check-in. Greta covered up the corner with the dust then concrete and they grabbed their headphones before walking out the chamber.

The morning download finished.

        …And remember folks, one day we will get to the Golden Gates and that day we will all be rewarded by MOD.

Briskly they headed out before parting ways –Greta assigned to Food Print and Oona to Physical Server.

The shutters pulled up and in walked the first of the days Customers.

“Welcome to McDonalds, how can I help?”

word by Sam Fresco

From the author: “Once I received this image, I looked up some facts on McDonalds and was stunned to find the following:

  • McDonald’s feeds 68 million people per day – about 1 percent of the world’s population (and more than the population of the UK; twice the amount of Canada)
  • 1 in every 8 Americans has worked in a McDonald’s
  • McDonald’s’ $27 billion in revenue makes it the 90th-largest economy in the world.
  • On average, McDonald’s opens a new branch every 14.5 hours
  • A recent study by Scholosser (2002) found that the Golden Arch’s were more recognizable than the cross

So it got me thinking: what if it printed food took it one step further and printed its staff? In that case, where’s the line between a corporation and a religion- a CEO and a God?

colour by Kojiro Ankan Takakuwa