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

and song of the season/year:

decembrie 20, 2011

i found this song in a ’11 retrospective playlist (of course) less than one week ago, and am still playing it obsessively. i am so excited every time i actually start giggling nervously at the ringtone (see/hear below). i even had a discussion session w my roomie to try and figure out why this particular song has gotten to me so strong and quick – i am ashamed a bit when this happens: with people, with stuff…she just says, well, it’s a good song with a good video…there are lesbians in it…and masks – of course you like it.
then this morning i got it: this song is literally (i still don’t have a lyrics transcription but they’re easy to hear. especially if you are bilingual) about depression/procrastination. it speaks to me clearly every morning as i gather myself up to get out of bed and at the same time collapse under theguilt of finding everything/anything too hard or senseless to do. it takes good rhythm to get through to my apathy, it takes a breezy sound. i liked that the first direct message was that of lust. i liked the french insert, and the rapping. but in the end what i get out of it is me telling myself „gonna bust it out/ gonna work it out”. the voice of a different me trying to get back to me, blah. i could write a 10 page paper about it but i think i’ve made my point.
two days ago, drinking red wine in bed and twirling my dirty hair, i had the same hazy realization I KNOW i’ve had before: that subconsciously i am aware that things are fine, which is why i’m allowing myself to liminally wallow in this light pool of despair. except when i try to grasp it, it slips away, so in my day to day from a point on i sigh, put one foot after the other out of bed and start doing my minimum. here:

las ventanas son grandes

martie 30, 2011

i’m learning spanish – i started 5 days ago. because it’s the one thing i can do to cope with stuff. this is my alternative to dieting: it goes easy, gives me early satisfaction, makes me feel like i’m doing something. keeps me busy on my way to work. mind you, i don’t know how much learning i’m actually doing…since it’s assumed that as romanian i was supposed to be fluent in spanish already anyway…but if the end result is progress-in-language-speaking, i.e. i can add spanish to my CV in good conscience, then cool.

there is a challenge too. of course. i’ve dared myself to learn it in one year. so by april ’12 i should be like a level 7-8. doable, i guess. besides, i go on with the russian and i should get at least to beginner-intermediate this year. gah. things that are generally very muddled can become very simple. limpid. i’m washing dishes, saying to myself : i don’t speak well, but i can speak a little russian/spanish. i like spring. i don’t like to drink too much coffee. the windows are big. the door is white and the walls are yellow. can you help me? maybe you can try to call me. in russian, then in spanish. on a loop, then searching for other sentences i can say in both languages. yay fun.

i am moving out of this place – it was sold, and cynthia is moving in with her boyfriend. i have 2 or 3 months to get out – i’d prefer to be installed somewhere at least beginning of june. of course i don’t want to go, but once it’s over, it’s better to get it over with asap. i don’t want to get out of the plateau…i want to stay in the francophone area, but not really pie IX, y’know? so far all the room posts that look good are for april 1st.

remind me why i didn’t want to live with hipsters. i think it’s time i was reminded of that.

or i could go tomorrow and rent d.’s old room in villeray – last month it was still ‘for rent’ and i bet no one took it in the mean time.

ok, stop it. basta por hoy, like my textbook would tell me.

more tiny things

martie 21, 2011

it’s my roommate’s birthday (this, on a saturday), she’s over at her boyfriend’s but i suspect she’ll be back at some point during the day. but i have to go out fairly quicklyyyy – i run to take a shower; the kitchen is a mess. the sun is crazy and just shows off the dust everywhere. i need to leave in 10 minutes, so i just take a piece of paper and i write her a happy-birthday letter…which, ok, tells her how great she is, but also includes „i know i should have probably cleaned the place instead”.

then i go out in my leather jacket, wearing sunglasses, and it’s glorious.

i go with my friend e. to the bookstore to ‘help’ him buy books, then we pass by the mall and go into M0851 ( where i’d only been once before, but stepped out SO QUICKLY  because i could never afford those things. it’s easier when there’s someone else with me, especially someone who likes clothes. i try on a raincoat made of treated cotton (size 6!:) ) and it looks so gorgeous. 455$.

at the end of my nighshift i want to go in the backroom of the restaurant to pick up my boots and leave my work shoes. the door is closed, although nobody normally closes it, unless someone needs to take a nap in between shifts around 4-5 pm. it’s probably midnight now, so i laugh and push the door open. our cook mohammed is kneeling, in the dark, bowing and barefoot. i close the door back quickly and sit down – someone else in the entry room asks with a gesture what is going on. „he’s praying”, i smile very widely – i feel proud and touched to have stumbled upon that.

somebody calls me from england on sunday at noon. she’s not even a friend, she’s someone i knew briefly 6 years ago for like 10 days, and in a murky context. but no matter. we talked for like 45 mins about what we were doing, and it was ok. i mean the very fact of the phonecall happening was obliterating the content. it feels like somehow she made a rational/i.e. calculated decision to reconnect with people from her past – but i surprisingly don’t look at it cynically, i’m glad she called.

again:i’m having a coffee at the bookstore, flipping through magazines. a guy starts chatting me up, he looks late 30s, i would say arabic. OF COURSE  he tries to guess my nationality. after hockey, guessing natonalities is THE  sport in montreal. i’m not offended, but right there is where one kind of starts losing points with me. then i turn a bit more and i see the book on his table: flirting for dummies. i am not kidding you. i’m a good girl though, and stop myself from giving advice. everyone should figure it out for themselves.

there’s nothing out there, and everything out there. all these useless days will add up to something:)


soundtrack to a breakup

februarie 25, 2011

chic gamine – les echos


manu chao&tonino carotone – me cago en el amor


moriarty – jimmy


noiembrie 28, 2010

me, to new hostess:  these instructions (for making tiramisu) are very specific: „take 20 eggs from the 3rd fridge at the back…” – if you take them from the 2nd fridge, it won’t come out as good”

new hostess: yeah, but they forgot a very important ingredient. it should say at the end: add love. mix carefully.

me: and did you add love, anyway?

new hostess: nah, i just spit in it.


joe, the italian cook: „the chinese, they eat cats, dogs, they eat everything that moves. so if you go to china, don’t move!”


lorraine, our french prof: „savez-vous qu’est-ce qu’on doit faire pour reanimer un ontarien?”

us: „…non…”

lorraine: „c’est pas grave!”


one of my classmates in french missed class for a week. he comes back and everybody’s curious re: why.

y., another classmate: „j’ai essaye’ de t’appeller trois fois, mais tu es comme une fille quebecoise.”


d. has tests coming up and he’s decided to hole up and study, or, as he put it, break away from civilization.

me: „but you’d better keep calling me. i’m not very civilized.”


„work is lame” is not an excuse

august 16, 2010

bussboy (bengali, speaks only english) worried about his trays of glasses: „i need glasses, please.”

carmen: „n. [the manager] said everybody should speak to me in french. so either you speak french or i can’t hear you.”

bussboy: madam, [points at glasses] s’il vous plait…

carmen: desolee, j’ai pas du temps maintenant.


carmen, pushing a heavy soap container for the machine. kitchen help tries to…well, help:

k.h.: let me carry this for you.

carmen: no thanks, what kind of a dishwasher would i be if i couldn’t carry my soap?

erik: dear miss carmen, not everything in life has to be hard.


new cook, italo-canadian, has the radio on loud and sings on top of it all day long. headache.

new cook: i sing good, don’t i?

carmen: don’t worry, i won’t press charges.


new bussboy, slips and breaks a whole tray of glasses.

n.b: … i almost had it up and then they all fell like this!…

carmen: …it was a once-in-a-jobtime experience.

cook: whoa, are you firing him? let the boy break glasses at his own pace!


metro closed due to accident, everybody is late for work and cranky.

carmen: i’m a lady, i took a taxi from papineau to here.

cook: glad you could make it, would you like to sit down in the VIP section and wait for the hostess to take your order?

montreal by night (2): earlier this summer

august 14, 2010

the „farine five roses” red sign, visible from a lot of points at night, if one knows to look for it. but i saw it close, from next to the river, on top of the flour factory it belongs to. i’d had no idea what it was before, just that i’d seen it printed on montreal t-shirts. it looks pretty surreal anywhere.

top of mont-royal at midnight: full of people on the lit terrace. taking in the centre ville, spotting the important buildings by their lights. yes there’s the farine five roses. and then, further on from the terrace, there’s the forest. dark and real, like only the forests in bucovina had been when i was on holiday in a cabin in another lifetime. but then how often does one get to wander in the woods at night? close to the big cross, and sitting on the grass, and it’s absolutely full of mosquitoes. it’s also the hottest day/night of the year, so they’re going crazy. oh-kay, chalk this down to experience. and catch the last bus back, cause otherwise. the bus, 11 montagne, really has one of the greatest routes ever. moving side by side with the shining lights. and it’s empty. i put my head out through the open window,in the breeze, but i didn’t sing – just smiled.

animals – apart from the raton laveur on top of mont-royal, who showed his pretty bandit face for a full 10 seconds there – curious? unconcerned?. here’s a truth that i feel the people on my street (who sleep at night) are happier not knowing: we have a skunk living somewhere around. he moves under different porches every night, edging closer to my house i’m afraid. a flash of black, or white, and look – this cute beast just scrounging for a living like the rest of us. the aura of his reputation making us rush to cross.

the night before july 1st, moving day, people are up hunting for abandoned furniture. my roommate hired a car and got two friends and they were driving around the plateau with stops in key points. from outside this bustle, it still seems frantic, exciting, young. she came back about midnight with two chairs and left again. on our walk back along marie-anne, then messier, me and d. just ogled clutters of desks, mirrors, shelves, lamps – not very many , but enough to mark the day as out of the usual. the city playing musical chairs.

one night i read some poems under a streetlamp, for my audience of 1. it had been raining, there was fresh smell of flowers. the spot was pretty secluded, by a wall, a passage between two not even big streets. three kids passed by with a ball, stopped a little and kicked it then went on. i heard my reading voice, with the quiver of anger in it, wondered whether it would translate, and went on. one of my poems i still liked.

dark by the river close to metro stop henri bourassa, i.e. ‘as far away as possible’. it looks like a different city, with different-styled houses, lawns, privacy. i’m told it looks like west montreal. but the park is still good, water swirling below the branches. that’s what i love about parks: the trees are trees, the alleys are alleys, the grass is neither anglo nor franco.

more festivals: the „juste pour rire” show downtown, with its giant puppets and its cinderella story: the love between a huge pink balloon (princess rose – the size of a house, floating majestically through the crowd) and a smaller green ballon (prince victor, who arrives on stage in a carriage the shape of a very pretty and colorful high-heeled shoe). all assorted with indian dancing, skeletons, michael jackson and an impressive acrobatic number – angels unfurling our of UFO-looking pods, and raining confetti and feathers on people’s heads. plus there was a full moon that night.

soccer games in parks. ok, so i watched only 2, but this is 2 more than i’ve ever watched in my entire adult life before, so there. also: during the first game, in park mont-royal a ways before midnight, i might have been smoking up – under a tree, in the rain, close to the soccer field. everything seemed hilarious, of course: the ants climbing my hand,my new umbrella, the focus of the players and the fact that there were people watching them on the sidelines. the second game, two weeks later, felt like another lifetime: sober, late, a bit hardened – i was cheering for the hometeam. they won.

watching the stars in parc jarry. i know no constellations. to me they all shine very distant, cold but kindly. in the middle of an open field, the grass is wet with dew and i shiver lying back on a coat and not wanting to leave ever. it’s like a mix between my childhood and a cult indie movie, i think, in this tumble of dirt and brightness and invisible grass stains. some things stay with me like a remembered shiver – some things were always there, and come out now,twinkling.

more dayshift lore

iunie 21, 2010


„what is the difference between admiration and inspiration?”

„it’s a sin to be able to do more, and be satisfied with doing less.”

[i am actually not quoting, but paraphrasing, of course]: „a lot of immigrants come to canada for an escape, and then, instead of starting to live in reality they go on living inside their heads.why did you come here for, then, if not to be a real person in this country?”

we are eastern europeans

iunie 21, 2010

we carry pictures of orthodox icons in the photo slot of our wallets. we cheer when serbia beats germany in soccer. we are fonder of our grandparents than our parents. in montreal we strive for good french, with a vengeance. we see the contradiction in making a case against kosovo but pro quebec (and the other way round). we tell jokes, we tell stories. our childhoods feel like a different planet. we want to ‘go back’ and know there’s no going back. we miss rhymes in poetry. when something really happens that affects us directly, we talk around it first, for a long long while (like me now).