(parenthetical): issue seven


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issue seven of (parenthetical), the bi-monthly literary magazine from words(on)pages

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( parenthetical seven may two thousand and fifteen ) with work from joyce chong | elizabeth debunce | michelle duquette chelsea forbes | rachel jackson | arina kharlamova | r. kolewe | c. isa lausas | sarah stringer | erin emily anne vance | matthew vanstone plus poetry and fiction reviews and a comic-poem by mark laliberte cover image by gemma goletski | ISSN 2368-0199 | fifteen dollars cdn


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(parenthetical) issue seven may two thousand and fifteen


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(parenthetical) issue #7 © 2015 all copyrights remain with respective contributors ISSN 2368-0199 (Print) ISSN 2368-0202 (Online) fonts used include Kingthings Trypewriter 2 © Kevin King 2010 FFF TUSJ © Magnus Cedarholm 2009 www.wordsonpagespress.com words(on)pages is: william kemp, co-founder and poetry editor nicole brewer, co-founder and fiction editor michael brewer, director of business operations


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contents - issue seven Note from the Editors A bad woman is hard to find, too poetry by Arina Kharlamova durand poetry by Michelle Duquette texts I sent my Mum poetry by Rachel Jackson Snowbanks fiction by Matthew Vanstone a poem by C. Isa Lausas panic poetry by Erin Emily Anne Vance fragments from The Peace of Westphalia poetry by R. Kolewe Pigeon in a Box poetry by Chelsea Forbes Landlocked poetry by Elizabeth DeBunce For the Kids Who Never Learned poetry by Sarah Stringer insomnolence poetry by Joyce Chong reviews— A More Perfect [ by Jimmy McInnes review by William Kemp One Hundred Days of Rain by Carellin Brooks review by Nicole Brewer THANK YOU FOR BELIEVING IN ME


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year two: killin’ it. We’re still another goddamn literary magazine, but it’s been one full year and we’re still kickin’. It’s been a learning year: from figuring out the best production schedule to uncovering exactly what makes (parenthetical) awesome, every single issue so far has taught us something new. We’re not just a tag team specialist anymore. We’re solidly into our (figurative) twenties, full of hotheaded ambition and plans for the future. We’re full-on, ’90s-era, drug-addled Shawn Michaels. We may not draw numbers like other literary magazines do, but we’re the showstopper of Canadian Literature. And unlike hbk, we won’t lose our smile. We’ll keep going for another year, and another, and another. Maybe we’re more than just another goddamn literary magazine. We’d like to challenge complacency, to be more than just another publication in a bio. We’re a place where a fifteen-year-old writer can be published alongside the editor-in-chief of a longstanding literary magazine; where a seventeen-year-old from the Philippines can be published alongside an award-winning publisher. We’re a place where good writing is good writing is good writing, and we don’t care who it’s coming from. We want your voices. Yes, yours! So thanks for stopping by, or sticking with us, or standing in our corner. We wouldn’t be anything without readers. And readers wouldn’t be anything without writers, so thanks to every single person who took a chance on a little handmade journal and wound up in our pages. Without you—yes, you—we wouldn’t have a literary magazine. We wouldn’t have anything. Here’s to year one. And here’s to year two. And many years to come. Cheers, Nicole & William #smallpressrevolution


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A bad woman is hard to find, too A ri na Kh arlam ova Alice Munro, Make me a normal deviant. Pretty please. Screw the dalliance, ally with the enemy, bite the skin that tightens on my bones when I think of you. And I think of you. Ms. Munro, to play the palate of the Pilate; I let the mud percolate through your scuffed fingers, then offer you to wipe them on the back of my skirt. Palate plate appetite(-tight) As bad as Bulgakov’s Master. As eager as Margarita to see her marriage on your heel. Alice, we all want to be bad sometimes.


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durand 1. he drives you home pressed in to the passenger seat your tired body settles ruminates with thickening thoughts take a left on / preston you say: me here drop ill walk home — with a cigarette passed / primrose / flora paddle upstream the flowerbeds lining four-storey living quarters / first / fifth all the while M ichelle Duquette the guy who rides his bike to / bronson bridge begs for quarters begets cig change money to dry clean the carpets 2. he drives with the window your fingers smell of smoke / pollen cracked


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stolen fauna from public places picked the flowers a bedside table bouquet you meant to press between two bible pages somewhere between here and / preston 3. suppress your desire for: drunk driving gallantry de / la / galène / pull-out couches anchovy paste kennel door kept open the cross on the back of his neck 4. you come to the cab bare foot five a.m. first sun breaking over the rooftops of blissful hull / gatineau driver with the wooden mala beads ‘round the rearview rides the steel trusses metal moulded under intense


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heat the way you arch your back when he peaks sharp edges and beams marked like fishnets they named her / alexandra she carries you back home so you can masturbate in the thin moment that exists between high / come down miss — the meter is 52.60 THANK YOU


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texts I sent my Mum drown insecurities in hours of YouTube why would I be sleeping? I ate an orange are you proud of me? of course there aren’t any bears in England. is that a question or a statement? is this Skype thing going to happen or not? what’s the weather like in Whitehorse? I love you too good. Rachel Jackson


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Matthew Vanstone There is a snowbank with a cleft driven through it by footprints, a canyon for insects who survive the empty desert road. It was 1:24 on a Wednesday in February. People are coming and going as they always do. Some people are even walking outside. But there are no insects crossing roads. It’s winter. These are the kinds of lies that show up in stories. Sometimes a young mathematics student comes down to the café and waits for someone to talk to him. However, if such a thing should happen, he talks to them. It’s the other way around. He mentions the highly reputable professor from an ivy league that he is corresponding with, and did you know he taught himself Spanish strictly to read Borges in the original? Do you care about this kid? I am wondering what it is you want to know about and why. If I were to tell you that the sun is at an all-time high and angled so that it profiles everything, even the insignificant bike lock areas sprayed with hideous graffiti tags, are you going to ask yourself about the “all time high”? Are you laughing? Or is this nothing? I have no idea. The other day I imagined a computer system that could write the most potent content. It would write absolutely lethal words that gave one the sense of movement while sitting still. It would be sought by every major marketing department, its every lucrative update leading to a cutthroat arms race among the rightful owners of this world. Finally, unquestionably defeated, the writers would be forced to give up their jobs trying to be relevant and be swallowed back into productive society. This would cause a surge in cognitive behavioral therapy, leading governments to subsidize psych programs of all kinds, and the world would slowly become more neurotic and particular. I once knew a writer who claimed that everything was context, that he would go on writing what everyone else described as despicable trash until, sometime far ahead in the future, the cultural and aesthetic context shifted and some budding academic revealed his importance to the world. Snowbanks I told him that no one would ever find him in the future, that something was slowly eclipsing us, and he said he’d rather write for his friends anyway. I told him my idea about the computer system and he said “nonsense” with a real insecure kind of confidence, or so I imagined. All of this is lies. Raccoons are really the greatest of all animals. I will return to this subject momentarily.


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Here’s a quick question: if you never do anything unexpected of you, how can you be sure you are not the sole product of circumstance? My friend Paul and I were talking about this and he said why couldn’t he be a body-builder if he wanted to, what was stopping him? We quickly arrived at the conclusion that nothing was stopping him, but I told him that I’ve gone on such personal experiments and that the problem is, what happens when you arrive there and hate it? How far is a person willing to go to feel difference, and is it ultimately worth it? What happens if in the process you forget the difference between what you were and what you’re seeking? Thus, you’re stuck in the paradoxical situation of questioning your stuck’ness in circumstance and yet prevented from testing its limits by the terrifying thought of abandoning everything. How can anyone be any other than what they is? Now for a real short story: Buffy looked through the content on her iPad screen and caught the reflection of her broad, statuesque cheekbone and a portion of her eye, the portion that got slapped. The dark swab that began at her tear duct and ran down her face looked like a continent and felt like liquid beneath the skin. “I guess that’s what you get for yelling faggot,” Buffy thought in her head. She had just turned sixteen and was tired of having everyone tell her she was a bigot. She was listening to the latest Taylor Swift song and eating Doritos on her bedroom carpet that had been just laid new over the weekend. Her parents had the money to do anything and she knew it. Someone somewhere is writing exactly this, exactly, and is even somewhat aware of it. Do you expect them to stop it? The real question is, have they got friends. Before you go calling this provocative vacuousness, I have one last quick thing to say: You ever heard about the infinite monkey theorem? It states that “a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.” Well, let me tell you, it has its critics. I’m just too tired. One irrefutable thing that can be said is that it is one of the best titled theorems in history. I end with a joke because cheap humour can be clever is shit.


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panic a 25 year old cancer survivor’s asymmetrical tits knock over a vase of daffodils at 9pm “mommy there’s red liquorice on your belly” stretch marks like satin ribbons on display in august musk “the plumbing in your building is godawful” chimes a friend who leaves an hour later “in this body i feel a funeral pyre crackle” the husband leaves her contact lenses to crystallize on the bathroom sink she thinks she has venereal disease “the mood looks like an avocado pit” warts erect and full of sand liquid nitrogen, dry ice inching towards labia she has a ripe bunion crushed on a scale “a balloon is squatting in my chest cavity” Erin Emily Anne Vance BELIEVING FOR



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