September 04, 2019

every day i go to my desk and write the same poem over
and over:

please love me
please love me
please love me
please love me
please love me
please love me

i’m sad
i’m sad
i’m sad
i’m sad
i’m sad
i’m sad


i do this to try and get over it and myself and maybe
then i can write other poems
it doesn’t work

every night i give myself the same dream:


i wake up tired

M.L. GAMBOA lives in Tkaronto.

September 09, 2019

Domesticity is a Nightmare


There’s one street that’s down-ish downtown, and the lamps float there burning yellow and low. I’m hysterical when I find myself alone here on this street: the old houses in the gross romantic light of it and—not a noise. And I’m worried that I’m lost here in time.

It’s early evening or early morning. The cars are parked in their places, in front of their houses, and the houses have devoured their people and the noise. Their plate is clean, save me, and I feel like the cauliflower with a brown spot, and I feel like the used napkin after a quick meal and I feel left over.

I’ve been in one of these houses, to try and rent a quarter of it, and they’ve been split up into small apartments and I found the quarter smaller than I imagined and less valuable. I’ve been split up into apartments! I’ve got an ivied exterior in streetlight with a topaz glow. I’ve got people in me. I’ve got a few families in me. They’re cut up, too. There are arguments in me. There is sex happening in me. My families brush their teeth before bed. My families read, my fathers drink, my boyfriends lie, my brothers fall off their bikes and come in muddy-shoed missing their teeth and crying, and my mothers are all at work, and my toothless children, crying, knock at my bachelor’s door and he is tired. The other nosey bachelor is intrigued and only slightly empathetic listening through her wall and they are all in me, cut off and cut up and isolated from one another in the house in me.

O, and ain’t it the love of the bachelors that makes the families? O, and ain’t it the sweetness of the families that captures and enraptures the bachelors? O, and ain’t it the whole house, loud and tyrannous, driving the time of me to the future?



Late Neighbour


I felt close like you feel to the other near you unknown when the streetlight goes out. Want to talk. Went out into the rain half-prepared Got warm wet on my ankles but was wearing floods and flops so. Didn’t wash my feet and put them into my bed. Forgot about it until morning. Lamp light was wet on the iron fence and I held it cautiously. It was white in the sun, I knew that, and cream in the rain under the lamplight, I found. Earlier I spent time with my best friend and it was congenial. I couldn’t crack into him but was using my words like an icepick. Just one friend. He said life was like a broken carousel and I said memory was like a laundry bin and we kissed. I thought I’d get splashed by a car on the way home, like the movies. I was dry then wet but changed and was dry again. I went outside in the floods and splashed alone in circles. Everything is dirty in bed but I had forgotten until now.

Zak Jones is a loving friend, brother, son and comrade.


September 23, 2019

[transmigrations of longing]

grapefruit growing pains offer me up to
the jaws of psychostasia & say
remember me, say my name with honey eyes so

i am not lonely like adam’s ribcage
go to the sore navel of the world
to grow uterine daisies

out of my wily womanhood
before i grow conscious of these organs and
bleed onto the typewriter that

taught me a prophet’s hamartia
is the sadness of geography
leather crosswords & cotton-tip fists

gauzed by god or gaged by guilt
boots on the terra nullius
of reshmi regressions

to choose is to lose
not diving into the
warmest wave of you

i know it well
the sweet fish
have their routes too

before i exit
i am intentional
with the minerals

i elect to grow
in my mouth
to be unique is to survive

the monsoon of flora
and fauna in that
caustic-cold canal

i am not afraid anymore
to be a rudderless rêveuse
in retrograde motion

breaking and braking before
the lady of heaven
casts her spell

in the night and
blinds me with all-that

perhaps memory is mutiny
un-death at a master’s door
when i arrive in wholes

i am the shahmaran
she who drowns oceans
a self-actualizing angel

peerless intellect first love
snake-girl embroidered into
the margins of the deepreal

if this flight is forever
my minds daily sabbaticals spell
biology + she-her-hers ≠ sacrificial love

Irteqa Khan is a Muslim-Canadian poet from the prairies working on poems that smell laundered, taste warm, and sound ferocious.