done; you
built a stage not truly for me

and told me: it’s just
the beginning.

i learned to paint, create
a backdrop to your
new story,

memorized how
to forget what we’d written, or

whole hands intertwined. easier
to touch your skin than tell
you, not the truth,
but any words
at all

it’s not over
until we decide
there is nothing to say

war memorial.

clockas much as i try not to react to things like this, personally, especially in writing, i have to say that it isn’t easy for me, personally, (i mean very personally & little else right now) to see the war memorial blocked off with caution/crime scene tape.

i had places in hamilton, before i left, unique & special places that even after they stopped being unique and special i would still return to when i wanted to write, or be alone. city hall, the rooftop of jackson square, gore park, TH&B, victoria park, and beneath the bridges of the QEW. and i had them in dundas too: the carnegie gallery rooftop, of course, the driving park, grove cemetery, the rope swing (sounds so adorable now, and small-townish), the creek.

i feel this connection right now to hamilton that i don’t want to feel but it’s glaringly there: the wreaths & flowers piling at the armoury on james street, the tributes from friends who knew him personally, the hamilton websites & news i follow now talking about my city, my war memorial, my streets. i love feeling connected to my hometown for its places and its people, but i don’t right now.

in ottawa i’ve been lucky enough to pick new places just for myself, that are unique & special, where i can write or be alone. the canal, obviously, the bank street bridge, the underpass, confederation park, never parliament (boring!), the war memorial. these places are more than just places to be alone to think or write: they’re mixed up for me in my memories, the days, nights, walks, conversations, coffees, kisses, confessions, lies, truths, friendships, drunken stumbles home that make up my actually personal life.

also, and this is even more personal, but my birthday being on remembrance day has allowed me (since being in ottawa) to take the day off & visit the war museum, the memorial, and spend some time, reflect on it personally, reflect on it not-personally. so seeing it blocked off is strange. i wish this didn’t sound so selfish, it’s just hard for me to not connect personally to things; it doesn’t mean i’m ignoring the rest of it.

“the nice thing about the war
memorial is that
there are no voices, you
can’t hear a word”

(august 2011)



if there were a choice i’d be scarred
and unpretty, you could
not hold it against me that i
wear mascara

we broke it off on the porch in
mid-august, over raccoon eyes, my
pigtails, that i’d been drinking beer
with my friends,
my oversized sweatshirt,
my lack of a bra

you smudge eyeliner off with the
back of your hand, play
finders keepers with
me even

i guess i am smaller than
you are in more ways than one