not so much left

februarie 8, 2012

The Word

 Down near the bottom
 of the crossed-out list
 of things you have to do today,

 between „green thread”
 and „broccoli” you find
 that you have penciled „sunlight.”

 Resting on the page, the word
 is as beautiful, it touches you
 as if you had a friend

 and sunlight were a present
 he had sent you from some place distant
 as this morning – to cheer you up,

 and to remind you that,
 among your duties, pleasure
 is a thing,

 that also needs accomplishing
 Do you remember?
 that time and light are kinds

 of love, and love
 is no less practical
 than a coffee grinder

 or a safe spare tire?
 Tomorrow you may be utterly
 without a clue

 but today you get a telegram,
 from the heart in exile
 proclaiming that the kingdom

 still exists,
 the king and queen alive,
 still speaking to their children,

 – to any one among them
 who can find the time,
 to sit out in the sun and listen.

– Tony Hoagland<a

Reclame

the emotional planner: chasing a good vibe

ianuarie 2, 2012

i need structure to function, even if i understand moods. i think it’s BECAUSE i understand moods. plans are my safety net, and this shows again and again in my daily schedule, on holidays, and in writing. i am convinced that i’d collapse into chaos otherwise and i’d simply give up on doing anything, so i need to know what goes where, because i always anticipate and fear disruption. cue the following things about me that you may have noticed:
– seasonal depression (easier when i know it will be there)
– memory re: birthdays and other days
– getting mad as hell when making plans with someone and then they drop it. i never drop plans. ever. so it just feels unfair and leaves me hopeless.
and i mean at this point it’s not a problem of myself changing in order to become happier. it’s just one of making myself understood quicker/functionally.

anyway:
so it is important to me how i finish/start a year, because i am a firm believer in all that crap: even years SHOULD be good for me AND it’s the-year-of-the-dragon (good!), BUT i also need to: not be alone/feel hopeful and jolly/have a story about it.
i humbly acknowledge that these things can’t exactly be planned, and therein resides their beautiful madness. i can say that i’ll be at X party with persons Y,Z,W…but i have no idea how the night will go and what tiny signs might be sent for me etc. (did i know that a dog would bite me first day of ’05? that i’d cry disgracefully over NOTHING at a friend’s party in ’09, surrounded by friends? ugh rhetorical.)

what happened this year was this:
– i was supposed to go to somebody’s place and i was dropped 2 days before due to change of plans. annoyance. so i got stuck 🙂 with my roomie, i.e. she got stuck with me.
– we had a possible other invitation, but we decided to go out on our own and check out parties.
– dress up as ourselves! epically, cartoonishly ourselves. i had braids, pompom hat and fuchsia pleated skirt. we had wine and a jar in my turquoise bag.
– (getting on the bus with the jar-of-wine in hand, and a guy standing by the driver thanks us for using public transport tonight! 🙂 )
– st-laurent mainline theatre: slowdancing night. we arrived there right around midnight, got our champagne and the last dance card (dance card!!!) and were talking on the sofa when we realized that midnight had come and gone. I LOVED IT! the first year i can remember without countdowns and hysterical cracker bombs, where the passage was harmonious and no fuss, it just made sense.
– then we danced. i danced with my roommate, with two girls in boy suits, with a boy in an evening gown, with a series of other boys, one of which was a dancer. we knew the lyrics to some of the songs, some others i heard for the first time. it felt good and very montreal. i felt my body protest, my joints ache (old lady) and i did pirouettes to show off my skirt.
– then we walked home around 4 a.m, hungry and all. clearly it’s going to be a year for physical exercise…or something. texting. tarot. departures. more kind strangers.


new relevant information

iulie 30, 2011

To : Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities of Québec

Bonjour, Madame/Monsieur

In response to your email following my application for a Certificate of Selection by Québec, I do have a few new pieces of information concerning my current situation here as temporary resident. I hope they will contribute to a favourable view of my case.

1. My previous roommate left Canada and as such left me in full possesion of various pieces of furniture, kitchen implements, clothing items and a number of house plants, some of which might be said to have attained tree status (see attached photos).

2. My current roommate is designing me as `owner` of our live house pets (fish) – (photo attached)

3. As a new signer of a lease, I opened an account with Hydro Quebec, for which I had to pay 50$ (see copy of receipt).

4. I have entered a form of verbal agreement with the salesman in the shoe shop at Rachel corner St. Denis, that signifies my desire and intention to purchase a pair of black leather winter boots (value 200$, reduced from 350$) upon receiving my next paycheck (I wish I could attach a photo, or transcript of conversation, but, alas.).

As result of above mentioned events, I am becoming increasingly aware of the weight of responsibility I am taking on, as a caretaker for Québec-based live beings and as an investing participant in Québec economy.  I consider that my actions speak clearly of my awareness and acceptance of the high taxes and tough winters so specific to Québec – and, moreover, of a willingness to surround myself with the elements required by a steady, `settled` lifestyle here.  I hope your final decision goes in agreement with my current spendings.

As a sidenote, based on previous personal experiences and lessons learned thereby, I can also promise in all clear conscience to not date anglophones, or at least non-French speakers, ever again for as long as I live here  – consequently, my future children will be at least trilingual, with French their solid daily used second language.

Vive le Quebec!

Yours truly ___


i went to the russian store

iulie 16, 2011

there is one, THE  russian store in montreal. not that i’m an expert, but that’s the place everybody seems to have heard of, or send you to when you ask. i only went there once with d. last summer, then in winter once and now, this week. i mean it’s fun.

it’s at plamondon, so from my work i need to go west and change metro lines. but it’s right by the station. surrounded by asian shops and swarmed by such a colorful population that i could never guess as to the actual componence of the neighbourhood – which is alright. inside, first thing i heard was a romanian mother scolding her child. then various forms of slavic languages (not yet trained to tell whether it’s all russian). a black lady with a violet turban was looking at the pickles – no idea whether she was just a tourist like me, i hope not.

i finally had time to spend reading the labels. in writing it’s easier for me, because i can tell polish at a glance (of course! all those zbwzyczky) and also the difference between ukrainian and russian. beside food, they have a small section of books (indifferent paperbacks, maybe romance and crime) and of cosmetics. i’m seriously much better at discovering what is what just from labels, than i was back in february. i just got „fun food” though: armenian bread (for melanie! she was happy, she said they eat it in the old country, but not here), a bunch of selected candy, 2 huge bags of sweet corn sticks, letonian sprot (i learnt that from d! they’re from riga, where he was born), polish processed cheese and the only romanian product in the store : a bag of Eugenias.( for the non-romanians : it’s sort of a cocoa cream cookie, but for us it’s legend.) oh, and a box of chicory, which i have no idea how to use.(maybe i’ll enlist melanie later to go for herrings and pickled stuff or jams…things are not expensive, and then, there’s the illusion of being on an Eastern Planet complete in itself. priceless.)

„daite, pajalusta,” the cashier said, gesturing to my bags.

дайте пoжалуйста – she said. 🙂 i smiled and held the bags to her as if i’d won the raffle.

двадцать три восемьдесят…something, she said, and because i was scrunching my eyes calculating in my head, she repeated the price in french.

then i took three russian newspapers – „our gazette”, „east/west” and something else. i read the anecdote page on the metro, feeling a bit of an impostor and eating the candy with the squirrel on the wrapper. this visit – a short and smiling and violent encounter. from the moment the light hit through on the plamondon stairs, two different layers of nostalgia netted me and clogged me down. that, plus daydreaming plus the frisson the contact with a foreign language always gives me. i’m restarting russian classes next week anyway, so.


the blue room poem

iulie 14, 2011

(for hélène and shiva)

 

i found the walls blue, stickered with long-stemmed

tulips; scrubbed the smell out with wet wipes, but the window

dust streaks stayed – ancient, unreachable. i brought

good faith, the bed with a broken board, the big chair. what i left

is gone in a van, under varnish, to pieces.

 

last spring, out of the taxi with two suitcases

and three boxes, i dreamt of permanence. now i know better.

or worse. it`s just seasonal heartbreak, perfumed

with sweat, lindens and earth after rain. tout va être correct.

along every street cabinets, chairs, soft worn sofas wait

to be rechosen. all these chance meetings.

 

i cross st joseph holding traffic, holding a writing desk

above my head. my new roomie finds an armoir coin Gilford

et Chabot, and guards it til enough passer-bys have stopped to help

push it home. for me. more plants, rug, plastic hangers, the cat

and the laptop`s unison purr. and suddenly here`s everything

again, even absences carried over, vivid-shimmery, dancing

like lights above treasures.


eastern nest

iulie 11, 2011

1. ‘eastern nest’

(eating sunflower seeds on the back balcony):

c: this is very eastern. why don’t canadians eat sunflower seeds?

m: we are very eastern, look in our fridge: balkan yogurt, russian jam, homemade armenian chicken…

[…rose water…]

c: i know! look at our house: crap all over the place, dripping pipes, bathroom ceiling falling in…

 

2.centipedes (because of the bathroom flooding, my no.1 fear was that we’d attract centipedes, since they love humidity. m. argues that one has to face their fears and get information on them)

m (on the phone with her friend): can you please call back in 5 minutes? my roommate and i are googling pictures of centipedes!

 

3. construction workers

3.1. m (wearing white bloomer-like shorts with a rose pattern): so i went to ask the workers for a hammer. i hope i didn`t look like those ditzy girls you know, ‘sorry guys, can i have a hammer pleeeease?’

c: were you wearing pants?

m: oops. oh my god.

 

3. 2. construction worker, looking at the dripping pipe in our kitchen – all of a sudden: t’as tu déjà fait l`amour à un voyou?

c: (bursts out laughing)

c: is this for real?

m (sitting at kitchen table): oh, you understood what he said? i was like, oh god, i hope carmen doesn`t understand that.

construction worker: (grinning)

 

3.3. c: you know we`re gonna miss the workers when they`re gone.

m: yes, they keep us company with their noises, and make us feel safe. they`re like our eight big brothers…

m: …badass brothers!

 

4. fish (veiltail/fantail goldfish – melanie had one, freddie, and we just got a baby, sasha)

aquarium is covered with a blanket

c: why did you cover the aquarium?

m: to isolate them – they must be so stressed, with all the changes and the mess around here.

c: and you think they`re not freaking out when you lift the blanket all of a sudden and stare at them?

m: i was trying to just take a quick discreet look.

m: oooh, they`re socializing! they`re touching!

c: very nice – you put the light off and they immediately start touching.

m: maybe…yes, if they get together, they`ll lay eggs! so we`ll have caviar!!

m: but that wouldn`t be right, sasha is still a child!

 

5. chinese astrology (you do not even want to know!!)

c: wow, you know what i just thought? the fish`s chinese sign is the cat!

m: ow, cutie!

 

i really don’t know what to say. days are adventurous, full of paint (hopefully it`s over now) and of sunshine and what else? russian, and entertaining books and eating random stuff and talking a lot. it`s like holiday camp a bit, but we should get down to achieving stuff. i`m really relieved that i painted my room, 2 white walls and it completely changes the vibe to the place. i`m too excited to sleep early – or maybe this is what summer is supposed to be like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


stages of leaving

iulie 6, 2011

i moved in abruptly: 10 days after i’d found my room, i was all installed from across the street, with all my stuff (amazed at how much crap i’d accumulated in one year – still not ready to throw anything away). it took a few hours, after two well-meaning people folded and carried and re-unfolded my bed, the main part of every move. next most important part: books on shelves (for the first time in canada) and clothes in closet (hallelujah). then day by day the tinier bits: writing desk; mirror; small rug; plant. within less than 2 months, things happened homogenously, but even on the first night i slept here i did feel i was moved in.

helene moved out very abruptly. from the day she decided she was going back to france, she had 10 days til her plane. she started gathering her stuff in piles almost immediately, and calculating what she could sell, what she’d give away. packing, weighing the luggage. apart from any other things. i don’t know what she was doing on her own while i was at work, but it struck me that she probably didn’t take long <goodbye to montreal> walks. or that these things were not in her nature to do. we took a goodbye shopping walk to eaton mall. we took goodbye times with wine on the balcony. then she was gone in the quickest, most efficient way, leaving me with a huge-ass amount of clothes and face creams and woollen bedcovers which i’m struggling to use.

enter melanie. well: sort-of-enter. step by step.

melanie said moving in somewhere was in the first place moving out of somewhere else. last night was her first night sleeping in her room here, after one night in the kitchen over the weekend. she painted the room. she still has to get her bed built. she has to bring her desk, then cut some of it! with a jigsaw! for it to fit! she has a fish to bring, and a bicycle. literally. and her music stuff, and foodstuff, and then she’ll have a warmup party maybe, and then things will pick up from there. maybe.

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