terrestrial helium

terrestrial helium

terrestrial helium has often been

considered to be a non-renewable resource

because once released into the atmosphere

it readily escapes into space.*

regarding voyager I (1977)

voyager I has been found;

it has been turned around

and politely pushed back

in the direction it came from,

assumed to be lost.

armageddon shaped like a key

you know, you say some things like they're the end of the world.

90 million miles today, tomorrow

your cold eyes run

lost into a dead field of stars,

brushing their palms through them and

feeling the course, hard light, fading;

make no mistake: there is

undeniable warmth

in the reliable sun.

such nice things

why did you have to say

such nice things

to me?

your words appear to be made

entirely out of

terrestrial helium.*

palaeozoic daydream

ah, the next time around,

i think i’ll be

a trilobite.

*okay, poetic metaphors aside, let’s be honest

in the end, we were all very wrong about helium;

there is so much buried beneath the Earth’s crust,

released by volcanos, created by radioactive decay;

we simply can’t get enough of the stuff

your words are made of the steam

that rises from fresh tea and

i’m sorry for freaking out earlier


Sam Avery currently lives in Montreal where they are attending Concordia University and hoping that things will be okay. 

They’re Not Giving Me the Information, or Of Reincarnation, Writing, and Taxi Chits

I saw some visions and they were true. But I couldn’t get the real information, the ‘skinny,’ though I don’t think people use that term, on the topics I wanted. Oh well who is to tell? This is how it works, and I didn’t make the rules. I saw this nice person in the vision and she was sitting on the sidewalk or rather the boulevard. Oh, she was a good person, better than good, someone with a truly kind heart, and had broken up with her boyfriend. She was crying. That was all I saw and all I got. Then someone I knew it turns out knew this person, and I said, Hey, I saw that person, though I had never seen that person in real life. And, it turned out that the information was correct, and specifically so, meaning they had broken up and were sitting down there shedding a tear over the situation. So, this kind of thing happens, but it’s practically useless. I never did meet the person I saw, or try to. There is no reason, really.  What I really wanted to know was where I came from, and why, and this type of thing. But the spirits won’t tell. Here is a funny thing. You can be evolved, astute, enlightened even, but it doesn’t mean you are a super-psychic yogi. I once met a spirit medium that talked to the other world and she was almost wholly accurate. Yet, she wasn’t psychic. The two are two different things. Anyhow, however it all works, - there are rules. There are rules here and rules there and rules abounding everywhere. I might have been a guy named Hartley Coleridge, who I had never heard of one way or the other. Poor Hartley was a mediocre poet who had a little success but not much, didn’t marry. Wrote some nature vignettes and some sonnets apparently. Lived in the country in a nice cottage setting. Ran with a female briefly in town earlier on that his tutors disapproved of, they thinking that she was bit below his class in life. That’s what the world scholar said anyhow, though it can’t be proven. They say Hartley might have been a better writer than he was given credit for. They are re-examining that now. He had elbow trouble though. That means trouble with the booze. I don’t have that. Maybe I overcame my drinking addiction in between lives. I am quite serious about that. No joke. I know how serious it is. For example, I used to work at a place, a shelter, and if five guys wanted to go to a meeting, the place would pay for it, with a taxi chit, you know, but if say, only four wanted to go- they couldn’t go! So, being a rebel, I would kind of fudge the book and call the taxi and let them go. In the name of health and healing and positivity. Why should the four not get to go for such a silly rule?  And by the way, nose trouble doesn’t always mean one is nosey, but that means trouble with ‘the cocaine.’ I don’t have either. I just wanted to know who I was in the past life, and why the heck the universe has me learning all these things- books, literature, people, and places. For what? But, they ain’t saying. You get bits of things here or there, but not really enough ingredients to make a meal. You have to settle for a snack. I am keeping an ear out, and a third eye, hoping they invite me to dinner, but I somehow doubt it. I am so hungry. So hungry on this journey I am practically starving. If I were them I would give me a taxi chit and a gift card for a restaurant both. But I am not them. I am just me. I saw some visions and they were true.


Brian Michael Barbeito, a Canadian writer and landscape photographer, is the author of Chalk Lines (Fowl Pox Press, 2013). 

Bread Eater

Arizona has the type of heat that kills bread. Flat loaves tumbled out of our oven and onto the countertop, over-proofed in a matter of minutes. A bread machine, the eternal gift of the 90s, aged on a high shelf until the heat cracked the plastic, too. Yeast dies here by the millions, I expect — yeast is very small, after all. Here, flat bread flourishes. Flat tortillas, pinned under a cast iron press, served with butter for breakfast; I love tortillas and they do not sustain me. My mother flipped them with her hands. She gave me clementines and a tortilla in a bear-shaped lunchbox.

My dad wasn’t from Arizona but he killed bread just the same. He arrived in Tempe after some war, he went to the supermarket for stale bread and was happy. He ate the heels dipped in milk.

Here is an archive of the bread I ate in Arizona: supermarket whole wheat. Tortillas. The sweet bread at the sandwich chain in Fiesta Mall.  

I don’t remember eating good bread until I left Arizona. Originally, we stayed nine long years for my dad’s job. It must have been strange for my family — they travelled in caravans forever before the war. They had a horse named Sieg. They walked for hundreds of years trading salt and spoons and eating bread between Rajasthan and Ostia and back. Then the war came and the Nazis came and they were forced to settle down and wait and finally pack it in for America because no one cared about “the gypsy problem” across the pond. The point is, I think we were never supposed to stay in Arizona. My great uncle called it “horizon fever” - the uneasiness you feel when you’re standing still. We were meant to get to Arizona and then move on. The bread here was not made for us.

My nana knows how to make good bread out of anything: einkorn, spelt, seed, salt, water. You don’t need yeast for good bread, you just need fresh air. The more fresh air, the better: she recommends walking your leaven across the Levant for a good rise. My nana always baked outside, even after she settled down in New York City in 1964. She put her oven on the balcony and cooked outside on the 17th floor in the dead of winter. She cooled her loaves on the handrail and insists she only ever knocked one into traffic. When she drops bread, she apologizes to it. When she drops bread 17 storeys into traffic I imagine she must buy it flowers. She sent my dad away when he was six—“it’s no good to stay so long in one place”— so for years he never ate the thick pieces of rye bread that she handed out, cut too quickly from a hot loaf, rolled around a pickle (this is not a good snack, I do not believe you will like it). My nana never apologized for this, I'm not sure she had to.

I don’t know what my point is here, but it’s something to do with movement and bread and race. Bread is everything to some people. I don’t understand the language but I know my grandmother uses the same word for “person” and “rye bread”. To be is to eat bread. Our bread is supposed to collect wild yeast across whole continents. To eat our bread, you have to move; my mother’s tortillas were a bread for standing still. (Upon flying for Canada, she was relieved of her tortilla press by a strict TSA agent. It seems symbolic in retrospect). We make my grandmother’s bread now, the dough ferments outside in good weather.

There is einkorn bread waiting on my counter today. I feel happy about this. There were once people who were good at killing my people, failing that, they took away our movement, then our bread, our culture. Even when they didn’t kill us, they managed to kill something in us. My dad still eats supermarket bread.


Kitt Peacock is an interdisciplinary artist and breadmaker, currently living the nightmare in Vancouver, BC.

iconoclast

spiked raw on fresh flower cuttings cold hand tile floor, alone

in the shopping aisle your grip’s wearing too thin i think you need something to believe in—

my icon is a bottle shattered on curbside. ball of crystal ice. i


divine with eyes transfixed, mark the future with to-do lists, see

our faces in other lights, gaze through each blind find rays from different suns—


plan—yearn—project, i bring you tomorrow like a gift

an offering a quiet promise but you tread too loud and it’s hard to know


you’re trying to drown my power-symbol


Lina is a Toronto-based artist who is figuring out how to be soft and strong at the same time.

Things I am still frightened of

There is no Albuquerque. And I am beautiful.

Kathy Fish, Wild Life

There is nothing more frightening than what scared us as children.

1.

The Ghost Goes West (1935): The plot centres on a restless spirit, Murdoch Glourie, shown to have died “a coward’s death” in battle, forced to remain in the purgatory of his family castle. Decades pass, and the castle is purchased by a rich American businessman, who dismantles the building and relocates it, brick by ghostly brick, to Florida. How young must I have been when I saw this? Billed as a romantic/fantasy film, but etched into me is the scene of the clansman Glourie frantically searching the battlefield for a weapon, before he is finally killed in an explosion of gunpowder. A scene that still incites a knot in my stomach. The memory of the memory replacing the memory itself.

2.

“The Day New York Turned Blue,” McCloud, Season 6, Episode 6 (February 22, 1976): As the IMDB entry for the episode reads: “The third ‘Alamo’ episode has a blizzard and a police walkout endangering the life of a protected Mob witness in the lockup, while outside a prostitute paints her customers blue!” Too young to recall but for a singular thread: a sequence of men who wake, naked and alone, on their living room floors, their skin head to toe painted a deep, azure blue. Why does this episode, long misfiled in my memory as a television movie, stick even at all? As each man awoke, the pretty young culprit was gone. A city of naked, blue men. I can’t for the life of me remember why she was doing this. Sometimes my recollection suggests she was killing them; other times, not.

3.

“There Will Come Soft Rains,” from Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles (1950): The story of a computer-controlled house in the not-too-distant future (originally April 28, 1985, but updated to August 4, 2026 in later printings) that performs daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning, even as the shadows of the family, vaporized by nuclear blast, remain burnt on an outside wall. The family dog returns, terminally-injured, and is recognized, only to die on the floor. The house handles his corpse with remarkable efficiency; almost a tenderness. The thought of those shadows still cause me to shiver.


Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair.

the cherry tree

it slipped from me for a while, but even so I could hear it sing through every passing rustling branch I could feel it through the slow victory of the roots taking stance in the ground breaking free between cracks of cement, on top of the soil I sit and feel the swing beneath me carrying me up upupward, supported by the cherry tree branches that have been cut, what that means is I’m struggling to conceptualize a world without branches once I got used to their support how do I grow my own roots so they spill out of me to try and fill the gap because I had the privilege of security for a while picking raspberries in the garden, mulberries, pears, sweet and now decaying, soil dusted particles retained in my memory struggling to recall your voice from afar, yet within as I recall, so close, I lost my branches in the fall, there were plastic jugs cut in half filled with love and cherries, now dreams signifying home, I yearn for the raspberries again againagainagain growing beside the sunflowers growing highhigher piercing the sky with bright yellow points greeting the atmosphere, I never got to say goodbye somehow you never really do you never really want to and I don’t know how I’m losing my conception of linear time searching the cellar for spirits in the hanging dried chilies among the jars of sauce, preserves, pickled green tomatoes, the unfinished doll house with its bare walls next to the full freezer filled with food and the ice cream I’d be offered: three colours: pink, brown, and white; I only wanted the pink and the brown like petals bursting through the earth the happiness swirled and melted me down into the greenhouse again where life and death intermingle, wilting leaves leave me breathless with a feeling of heaviness I’d only experienced in nightmares and I can’t wake up I’m already awake and I’m already awake and I see the cherry tree from the rooftop of the shed after climbing the rickety ladder with watchful eyes and sturdy arms at the ready behind me helping me grab the ripe red jewels before the pesky birds he still loved reached them first, and now I stand only with the wind and the leaves and I’m letting the breeze consume me as I’m learning how to catch myself so please, for now, just stay with me through the wind and trees and cherry leaves


Samantha Greco is from Toronto, Ontario, and spends her free time walking a rose laden heath to find her words by listening to the singing honey bees. 

How You Lay

I wanna inhale your chimney sigh.
It’s hard to come by a lullaby in elevated prairies.
An allergy to dairy makes me want to love you harder
Faster
Stronger
Longer.

I wanna suck out your concentrate
Filet your roast bouquet
Squeeze out your love from buried pores.
Hurried, heavy, heaving lore written of us on untouched websites makes my skin crawl
To Nirvana.
Let’s say and do shit so fucking depraved that the Nuns and Rabbis of our youth disembowel each other and whisper apologies as their final breaths.
Let’s soil.

But what a feeling to bask in the calm and blue of dawn following it all.
To regain consciousness.
To realign sprawled.
To be certain of a certain type of certainty that certainly will never fall.
That will never fall.

Let this live on in such mundanity that dirty cups of coffee and subway ads make us smile
And remember how small we are
How stupid we are
How hard it is
How tired I feel
And how it couldn’t possibly get any better.


Ben R is trying really hard to be good at important things and stuff and is from Gormley Ontario.