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no. 2

fall 2018
The Anti-Languorous Project

Good. Short. Writing. Three words: our mandate at
The Anti-Languorous Project. The ALP is an online
open-access literary hub with a focus on concision
and precision. Show, don’t tell; imply and implicate.
Antithesize languorous language.

antilang., no. 2
Published by The Anti-Languorous Project
Treaty 6 (Saskatoon, SK, Canada), fall 2018

Edited by Allie McFarland & Jordan Bolay
Layout & Design by Jordan Bolay

Cover by Manit Chaotragoongit
Logo by Lissa McFarland

ISSN 2561-5610 (online)

All rights revert to the authors and artists upon publication.
No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without
permission from the artists.

The ALP is a federally registered and unfunded non-profit
organisation. We invite you to follow us on social media
and to consider supporting us on Patreon or by donation.

@antilangmag //
antilang. no. 2

Jessica Mehta

Michaela Stephen
Ripped from the Same Book———————————————————3

David Martin
Grassi Lakes———————————————————————————9

Lonnie Monka
over Awarta ——————————————————————————10

Taylor Skaalrud
Louder than Words———————————————————————11

Kevin Stebner
GAME GENIE: Oilspill—————————————————————15

Fall 2018
Shannon McConnell
A West Coast Wimp in a Prairie Winter —————————————18

Steve Passey

Erin Emily Ann Vance

Anthony Etherin

Melinda Jane—The Poet Mj

K.S.A Brazier-Tompkins
On Thomas McIlwraith’s Birds of Ontario (1903)————————32
Object i—————————————————————————————33

nathan dueck
Oh! Portmanteaus!———————————————————————34

Kat Heger
Bitter Marzipan—————————————————————————35

Lucas Peel

Zelda Baiano

Andy Betz
Eighteen-Word Stories—————————————————————43

The Anti-Languorous Project
Grant Guy

Amilcar John Nogueira
Crafting the Black Box—————————————————————46

Pavle Radonic

Anastasia Jill
Kick it——————————————————————————————53

Chris Kelly
Notes from the Execution of Ned Kelly————————————54

Jesse Holth
Extra Credit———————————————————————————56

Catherine Jones
The Couch———————————————————————————60

Lip Manegio
ode to a queer boyhood, imagined———————————————63

Lissa McFarland

Allison Iriye
Bright Through Bare Windows—————————————————68

Heather Myers
Bones of the Sea————————————————————————70

Fall 2018
Ryan Coleman

Amy LeBlanc
Lady Grey———————————————————————————76

Owen Schaefer
The Last Town—————————————————————————79

David Eso
Family Business—————————————————————————82
Occasional Dirge for the Grassy Knoll at Swan Mall——————83
Three Davids and no Goliath——————————————————84


The Anti-Languorous Project
Jessica Mehta

What are you? I can see
the Indian in your cheekbones.
My skin, white as the albumin
on salmon, the only whisper of Cherokee
etched into bones begging to be birthed.
Show me your tribal card,
your ancestry lineage, proof
of Dawes Rolls in your blood.
Am I not Native enough for you?

You look like something. Something
savage and uncontained.

The Anti-Languorous Project | 1
When I find myself missing
Wild, I walk for hours through the wet-
lands til my hips grind to dust
and the mud suckles my feet.
This is what I’ll miss
when another city swallows me whole.
The deer hooves in the deep,
throaty frogs with lustful lines,
marionberries sprawling fat
and frenzied. So let yourself
be Wild. Suck the cold air deep,
rattle it around your lungs
and fog up your insides.
How blessed are we born
into the Oregon green,
how lucky we are to carry
her ferality in our bones.

2 | Jessica Mehta
Michaela Stephen

Ripped from the Same Book
With her head between her knees, Faye watched the
blood drip from her face onto the gravel. The sun beat
down on the exposed three inches of flesh between her
shirt collar and her recently buzzed neck. Faye pictured
her skin as a newborn mole, peeking out at the world
for the first time. If she stayed crouched like this much
longer, her skin would burn, then peel. Once again, she
thanked her mother’s genes for giving her oh-so-sensitive
skin. Sweat prickled in the short strands of her pixie cut.
She showered this morning, but her head still itched.
Faye kept her head down until the drips of blood
from her nose began to slow and space out, before final-
ly coming to a stop. The puddle seeped into the ground,
leaving a stain on the earth. Maybe someone would come
by later and think a person had been assaulted here. Did
people call the cops if they saw a puddle of blood but
no body? Faye wished she could take back the decision
to drive the seven hours from Kamloops to Vancouver

The Anti-Languorous Project | 3
Island with Charlotte. Taking the greyhound would’ve
been more fun. She could handle the men with duffel
bags who made too much eye contact or sweaty toddlers
crying after being carsick. It was better than listening to
Charlotte’s audio book on dealing with grief and prepar-
ing for loss. They hadn’t even been on the road two hours,
and her sister had already left her on the shoulder of the
highway in the middle of nowhere. Faye figured it would
serve Charlotte right if some bearded hillbilly came out
and murdered Faye. That would show her.
The dry, summer air wrapped around her skin like an
oppressive cocoon. How long had she been sitting there?
She slowly shifted her limbs and raised her head. Faye
pressed her palms into the concrete meridian on either
side of where she sat hunched. Even under the sunshine,
the concrete still felt cold. Faye thought about her moth-
er the last time she saw her, complaining about the cold
while sweating profusely at the same time.
Faye stared off down the highway towards Chilli-
wack where the forest bore down on either side of the
concrete strip like a smothering hug. If Charlotte didn’t
come back, she’d go hide in the woods.
“Fucking bitch.” Faye felt no relief from the words. In
fact, she was a bit embarrassed. They sounded cheap and
moronic, too loud to her own ears. Her throat croaked
as if it had been rubbed raw by sand paper and cheap
vodka. She reached up and touched her face, groping the
area between her mouth and nose, then down across her
chin. It was crusted with dried blood. Scratching at the
dip below her nose, she watched flakes of dark maroon
flit away in the wind, like ash from a burning tree. Faye
refused to clean off any more blood. She wanted Char-
lotte to see the damage.

4 | Michaela Stephen
Unseen cicadas sang in the trees. Nearby, a branch
snapped. A faint breeze occasionally tickled Faye’s face,
but never for long enough. Two cars drove past without
giving her pause. The dusty air made a nest in her lungs.
Although it felt like an hour, only twenty minutes passed
before she saw her sister’s silver Kia coming down the
road. The car pulled off the otherwise deserted Highway
1 and stopped in front of Faye, the gravel under the tires
moaning in protest.
Faye didn’t move.
Charlotte unrolled the passenger window and waved
a pile of napkins at Faye. “I had to drive all the way back
to the Husky in Hope for these,” she said. “Get in the car.”
Faye glared at her sister, not saying a word.
Charlotte rolled her eyes. “Quit your pouting and get
in the car.”
“I’m not pouting!”
Charlotte honked a laugh. “Yeah right, a helicopter
could land on that lower lip.”
“Quit trying to sound like mom,” Faye said.
“Well someone has to be the sensible one here.”
“Oh, and that’s supposed to be you? Get over your-
self, Chucky Cheese. You’re such a hypocrite.”
The smile disappeared from Charlotte’s freckled face.
“Jesus Faye, you’re such a little pube. It isn’t my fault you
got a nose bleed. You should’ve known better than to
stick your head out the window like a dog in this weath-
er. I wasn’t about to let you get it all over my new car.”
Faye turned her head away and pretended to watch
a squirrel dart up a tree. Charlotte hated being ignored
more than being sworn at.
“You want to walk to Victoria? Fine with me. Mom will
be long gone by the time you get there,” Charlotte said.

Ripped from the Same Book | 5
Faye opened her mouth to respond, but stopped at
the look on Charlotte’s face. In the silence between them,
Faye almost missed the sound of someone telling them
not to argue.
Faye harrumphed before standing up. She pulled
open the door and slouched into her seat, slamming the
door behind her.
Charlotte’s serious face dissolved when she looked at
Faye up close. Charlotte’s mouth pursed to the size of a
dried apricot as she stared at her little sister.
“What? Why are you looking at me like that? You
look like a weirdo,” Faye said.
Charlotte gave in and laughed out loud. “I look like
a weirdo? Look who’s talking! You look like a hungov-
er clown.” She licked her index finger on her right hand
and reached over towards Faye’s face. “Here I’ll help you
clean it off.”
Faye smacked her hand away. “Ew, I can do it my-
self. Don’t be disgusting.” Faye snatched away the nap-
kins from Charlotte and turned towards the window. She
wouldn’t give Charlotte the satisfaction. Despite how
much of a neat freak Charlotte pretended to be, Faye
knew the truth. Her sister loved to spit on people. Faye
and Charlotte never hugged, but they used to wrestle and
tickle each other. Whoever pinned the other done won
the prize of spitting on the other’s face. As the bigger sis-
ter, Charlotte usually won, even after they reached uni-
Faye stared through the glass for the next hour in
silence, watching the passing pine trees transform into
highway exits for Chilliwack then Abbotsford. How
many times had she driven through these cities, nev-
er stopping for longer than to use a bathroom or fill up

6 | Michaela Stephen
on gas? Her mother used to joke about the people who
lived in the Fraser Valley, claiming they liked the smell
of car exhaust. When she was thirteen, while stopping
for gas in Abbotsford, Faye saw a bear galloping around
the strip mall. He was terrified, his movements erratic,
as if he didn’t know where to go. The bear was barely
bigger than a cub. People were laughing and pointing, or
screaming as if they thought he would attack them. Faye
felt bad for the bear, even started to cry, but her mother
said there was nothing they could do. Charlotte had to
drag her back to the car. Later on, Faye heard on the news
that they put the bear down.
The three of them used to make the trip to the island
every year to go surfing. Their mother loved being near
the ocean and hearing the ferry horn. She even enjoyed
the smell of kelp and dead fish baking on the beach. Faye
shouldn’t have been surprised when her mother insisted
on going into hospice care in Victoria.
Faye left the blood on her face until they stopped for
lunch. Only then did she splash her face in the bathroom
after the Tim Hortons employee asked if she was all right.
Back in the car, Charlotte turned off the audio book.
She plugged in her iPod and offered it to Faye to pick a
song, the closest either of them would ever get to apolo-

Ripped from the Same Book | 7
David Martin

Wind nitpicks a drained bed until it strips,
strips self-help from sheets to suspend relief,
smooth-talks braids into a prairie of feathers,
and magpies loose-lips for a current shadow-cache,
the hoard plump as a brittle-bladed midden.
Tricked up middens head for the Hunter’s Gate,
uncooping clays to shave off plastic milliseconds,
which pluck at the clock to kerplunk in the ocean,
slugging in grave sea-floors to polish their moves.
Cajole the unmoved plates to lurch in a thermal,
celebrate hot ascension with weight-loss petting,
and collect a pet’s hair for a wigged hump-home.

8 | The Anti-Languorous Project
Grassi Lakes
Feckless dolomites are pocked by vugs,
guillotined by a shale blade.

Rock flour grifts a bed, curdles
refracted views, and snookers into place.

At the brink of the water’s homely bed,
blossoms are tethered to their dead selves.

Petals propitiate the sun by racking
skins on outcrops.

Map-lichen leaches its host, bleeding
islands, tyrannizing limestone thighs.

A half-trunk, crowed open, betrays
a throat pleated with phylum furrows.

Bark beetles etch a map for sap clots,
while sphagnum shadows its quarry.

David Martin | 9
Lonnie Monka

over Awarta
above the well-lit village silent
specks of stars
look down but can not hear the
upward-reaching explosions
of fireworks—those quick-to-burn-out
bursts of light
celebrating the end of the
school year

10 | The Anti-Languorous Project
Taylor Skaalrud

Louder than Words
Diesel burned steady in the idle of ‘The Dodge.’ He lit
a Player’s Light, cracked his window, and then glanced at
the map’s live-fire zones for the day before grabbing the
radio and hailing in.
“Alberta 0, this is Big County 39.”
“Go ahead Big County 39.” It was Michelle today.
Though they’d never actually met, she and Dad would
occasionally chat and joke like old friends. Today wasn’t
one of those days.
“I’m coming on gate 13 from 7 of 13 and 12 of 17. I’ll be
using Pronghorn and Coyote.” There was still some of the
coast in him. Who in their right mind would pronounce it
with only two syllables—surely not the people who came
up with it?
A short pause held before Michelle called back.
“Your route is clear Big County 39.
With the day’s bureaucracy taken care of and satellite
radio now blasting Black Label Society’s “Stronger than

The Anti-Languorous Project | 11
Death,” we roared out of the camp toward home. Like
most of his ilk, Dad wasn’t a particularly emotional
man, but over the years I came to realize much of his
communication came through the music he chose to
listen to. He let others speak for him—and it was up to
you to both notice and figure it out. Dad blasting metal on
the way home was a sure sign of one of two things: either
he’s riding the high of a good day at ‘the grind’ and wants
something to match his energy—unlikely; or he’s pissed
and needs something to match his emotions—bingo. As
the song finished he turned it down from blaring to you-
“I talked to Peter and you aren’t gonna be working
with Jim anymore.” His tone was commanding. I knew
not to argue. He ran a calloused hand back through his
growing widow’s peak and scratched the back of his
“Uhm… okay.”
He continued, “You’ll be goin’ out with the spread’s
boys from now on. Pipefitting. They’re good kids, they’ll
show you the ropes out there… but make sure to use your
head this time—what in the hell were you thinking back
“I don’t know, I—”
“You took your safety courses; did that seem like the
sort of thing you should be doing?” I knew a rhetorical
question from Dad when I heard one. He answered
without pause. “No. So why did I find you standing in a
pit getting buried by Jim in the hoe? You gotta have some
common sense when you’re out in the field. Fuck man!”
He paused in contemplation. I patiently awaited the next
barrage, not like I had anywhere to go for the next half
hour—and to be fair, he wasn’t wrong—this was shit

12 | Taylor Skaalrud
well-deserved to be gotten. I earned it today. He picked
back up. “Well I can tell you for a fuckin’ fact I didn’t
teach you to pull shit like that—well!?”
“…W-well, what?”
He let out a single hefty smoker’s cough. “Why were
you in the pit?” He said curtly; he didn’t like having to
repeat himself.
“Well,” my throat stuck between stress and lack of
words, “Jim told me to go down and protect the pipe
while he filled it in. I guess, I figured he knew better—I
don’t know”.
“Jim? He’s fuckin lucky I didn’t kill him for that shit.
He was already on Pete’s shit-list and the Brits back on
the base don’t fuck around when it comes to safety. He’s
not gonna be comin’ back onto the block and he’ll be
lucky to get a job anywhere in the patch once word gets
out he almost killed Scott’s kid.” Pivoting his hair-trigger
rage from Jim back to me, he pressed on. “And what part
of you thought it was a good idea to listen to Jim? You’re
a smart kid, Taylor, you’re smarter than any of these old
guys out here. You don’t gotta take shit from anybody.” I
didn’t feel that way, and I seemed to be taking a whole lot
of shit from Dad, but I knew arguing would only make it
worse. “You got your mother’s brains, man, so just man
up and put your foot down. Safety’s got your back, I got
your back—so you got nothin’ to worry about. Some
of these guys are all coke’d out half the time and I only
brought you out here for the summer so you could get a
glimpse of what it’s like in the real world and go off to
school and not get stuck out here like your old man. So
next time, maybe keep your wits about you, eh?”
At 4pm, after a ‘short’ eleven-hour day, followed by
a near-death experience and subsequent shit-giving. All

Louder than Words | 13
I could muster was a muttered “Yeah, okay…” barely
audible in contrast to the radio.
There was a moment of quiet as the radio host came
on and began talking about Zakk Wylde’s transitions
between Ozzy and his solo work before Dad capped the
conversation off. Considering an elephant could probably
perch on my pout, Dad smothered the remains of his
smoke and tried to lighten the mood with an impression.
“‘Aww man, Dad’s givin’ me shit, this sucks…’—Look
man, I’m only giving you shit ‘cuz you scared me is
all—besides, your mother’d kill me if she found out I
let anything happen to her first-born.” With one hand at
twelve o’clock, he reached across the cab of the truck and
mussed my hair up. I cracked half a smile to acknowledge
his attempt to connect, but we both knew it was a write-
off day and that by the time we got home, we’d have to
pretend that it was just another day on ‘the block.’
Clicking over the last kilometer of one hundred and
one square, we rolled on through the gate and off ‘the
block’ onto asphalt and towards home.
“Do we have anything to drink at home? I could do
with a shot of Vodka after today.”
“Not unless your mother picked some up—should
have some beer in the fridge, though.”
“It’ll work.” As much as I just wanted to be alone, he
was making an effort to connect, and I couldn’t just leave
him hanging for that. As hard as he was to be around,
sometimes, it wasn’t ever his words that I heard.

14 | Taylor Skaalrud
Kevin Stebner

GAME GENIE: Oilspill
Part of a series of Game Genie Poems—poetry written
using limited word-length lipograms—written entirely
within the 1990 Nintendo peripheral: the Game Genie.
Every code for the Game Genie used 6 or 8 of a limited
number of letters (16, thus eliminating much used letters
like r, h, d, etc.) to create a number of effects in the games.
These poems are all written in what could concievably
be GameGenie codes. Equal appeal for fans of old-school
videogames and Oulipian constraints.

The Anti-Languorous Project | 15
16 | Kevin Stebner
GAME GENIE: Oilspill | 17
Shannon McConnell

A West Coast Wimp in a Prairie
Winter (in five haikus)
Remember Summer?
When you could feel all your limbs?
Well, so much for that.

I plug my car in.
No, it isn’t a Tesla.
Slightly less Musk-y.

Do not shave your legs.
You need that extra warmth now.
Even in Summer?

Cheeks, eyelashes, nose.
Things of mine that are frozen.
Toes, soul, will to live.

18 | The Anti-Languorous Project
So cold I could cry,
but then my eyes would freeze shut.
So, see you never.

A West Coast Wimp in a Prairie Winter | 19
Steve Passey

The news says the borealis will be visible here tonight.
I have never seen it. I was raised in a faith that believed
in miracles, expected miracles. All prophecies were those
born of witness to miracles. But right now, the men who
hold high office argue over how little we should have,
over how little we should be left with. That we should
lose our medicine, and then our sustenance, and that we
should cease even to hope and how, should we have but
an open fire, they will kick dirt all over it. They will leave
us without warmth, leave us with nothing to but our will
to sustain us, and they’ll mock us for that. “Nothing” one
will say, “nothing,” and the others will stand silent and
by their silence consent.

But, I will have seen the borealis, if only on the news.

20 | The Anti-Languorous Project
Erin Emily Ann Vance

A wicker basket is not a womb
and I am not a girl.

lie my sisters;
in fragments, and
like tinker toys
I reassemble them.

The Anti-Languorous Project | 21
a soldier dug up my corpse.

bloated it floated
in her arms in the wet in the dark.

She carried me to the forest
to dig a fresh grave
to sew me back up with winter creeper
pulled from the trunk of a wytch elm.

She lay down next to me held onto me
breathed over me
like I was a relic
adorned with precious metals
and she a crypt keeper

until the morning light sent her
not home back into battle

I sleep safe in my new tomb my new womb

22 | Erin Emily Ann Vance
Anthony Etherin

I. Anagrammed Lines

When playful seagulls circle up above the golden shores,
the ocean pulls low beaches over gulfs, here pulling days
across the shells. A plunging curve of blue, heaped yellow,
roars. We feed, but pinch, a cove. One gull laughs helplessly…

The Anti-Languorous Project | 23
II. Palindrome

Go, feel freed….
All abyss, algae saw
a sloop, one vocal lugsail.
As you based it on wash,
surf, or a wade, I died.
A war of rush saw no tides…
A buoy’s alias: Gull.
A cove, no pool, saw a sea.
Glassy balladeer, flee fog…

III. Monometer Petrarchan Sonnet

By light,
we mull
their lull
of flight
and white
of skull,
but gulls,
will flock
to shore
and swarm
the dock,
the storm…

24 | Anthony Etherin
Melinda Jane - The Poet Mj

Chapter 1

Kit fumbled with the latch
her tiny lace fingers
groaned under the weight
as the lid of the wooden chest
heaved open.

White butterfly paper
blew away
crumple, crinkle, crunch
colour array.

The Anti-Languorous Project | 25
The inches uttered
lemon, wattle, then
canary yellow
motif hissing, spread
curled out, on this
wondrous object.

Kit held her breathe, seeing
crochet like silk
ample length of tangerine tail
which creased her jeans
and woollen knits.

Stepping up, on tip-toes
the tail grew in bows and twirls
a box like shape and sharpen
tail took her full body shape
the colours blossomed
canary sun yellow
tangerine, mango orange
and this strange motif
which frightened her limbs to
stiffen with an intake and gasp.

Before her, a Dragon
in brutal anger, eyes amber
fire from its nostrils
fangs hungered
curls of lizard like bodice
this pearl symbol
clasped in its nails
stung her imagination.

26 | Melinda Jane - The Poet Mj
Chapter 2

Grandpa packed
the wooden chest
with great care
placing the gift
centre stage
cloud like paper
fluttered and crumpled.

The gypsy glint in
Grandpa's eyes
as he shut the lid
with a thud.

The rich tapestry
of carvings on the chest
Empirical Shogun
reposing composure
under silken wrap, temples
pleated shingles, bell like
rooves, grooves held
symbolic travels
to Maori’s hands.

The lock was whale bone
motif, chiseled leafy vines
bear tooth wedged the latch
intramural, hidden a cherry
warm amber flower etched.

Kit | 27
Chapter 3

The note written in
illegible calligraphy
on rice paper
was deciphered by his son.

“Dear Kit
this trunk
was your grandmas
which was haggled for
in a market place
in Hakone
I found myself there
at the end of the war
it was a surprise for Eva
back in Cornwall.”

Kit squirming, asked
if the magic chest
could be placed
in private and Dad
gently hoisted the
box into Kit’s room
and a gathering
of teddy bears, viewed
the opening surprise.

28 | Melinda Jane - The Poet Mj
Chapter 4

Her Dad garnered
the wondrous object
from the boot
of their Volvo.

Kit held the tangerine tail
of bows and twirls
down the steep cliff
to the bottom
where margarine sand
tempered their tread.

The sand
between her toes
the excitement spread
rising inside Kit.

Dad planted his feet
instructed Kit to run
north into the wind
for her lace fingers
to fling this wondrous
object to heaven.

Gush, rip from her grip
whoosh the luscious Box Kite
mastered it’s majestic place
within the horizon
of peppered clouds
and sea-gulls.

Kit | 29
This Dragon-Kite
loved its freedom
as its tail
flagged, rejoicing
all over Kits
creased face.

Dad leaned
holding the entwined string
and boisterously laughed
at the glow of Kit
and flew back
to his own childhood
on those craggy cliffs
of Cornwall
flying his kite.

30 | Melinda Jane - The Poet Mj
K.S.A Brazier-Tompkins

Song burst – a sparrow –
my windowpane resistance.

Prints against the glass.

The Anti-Languorous Project | 31
On Thomas McIlwraith’s Birds
of Ontario (1903)
McIlwraith waxed adjectival when he wrote
of birds, his eyes as wide as the white
expanse of snow on prairie pasture.
Nothing with feathers is ordinary.

Data is lost. Frenetic, euphoric, overwhelmed by
turns, McIlwraith waxed
letters to associates in taxidermy and,
ebullient, amassed his own collection of waterfowl.
Enclosed, his records, and if the etchings of bird in air,
through air, cannot be mounted on
words or rods, can
a semblance of its iridescence?

When once, trapped in ice, he found a loon
similarly snared, McIlwraith waxed
eloquent, empathetic, invigorated
by the net that had enclosed them.
He searched, but they did not meet again.

32 | K.S.A Brazier-Tompkins
Object i
a curious coincidence
a collusion of incidents
incidental to Object i
i look in a looking glass
look pool loop loophole
a curious collusion of is

K.S.A Brazier-Tompkins | 33
nathan dueck

Oh! Portmanteaus!
Oh, portmanteaus! lonely Once-ler,
Whose factories knitted the Thneeds,
Felled those forests where Bar-ba-loots were,
While euphemisms damped down his deeds.

While machines discharge Shloppity Shlop,
One moustached Lorax opposed Once-ler,
Dampening each sound of axe chop,
As though Truffula Trees cannot hear.

34 | The Anti-Languorous Project
Kat Heger

Bitter Marzipan

- 4 cups ground bitter almonds
- Three sheep horns
(can be substituted for well dried blood or other
animal matter)
- Any alkaline powder
(pearl-ash is traditionally used)
- Iron shavings
(can be taken from your husband’s farm)
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
(or a sugar free substitute)

Start with whole almonds.
(What is the colour of an almond?)

The Anti-Languorous Project | 35
Boil the epidermis,
(it’s an epidemic).
Raise the water temperature
When softened, scrub it off.
Rough, tasteless exteriors,
reveal the flesh underneath.
And form into a proper shape.
No point covering it in chocolate,
use gold leaf porcelain.

Does this taste like almonds to you?

Some used apricot pits,
some survive off
bitter almonds.
Around 6.2 mg in each almond,
you’ll need about 50 mg,
for the desired effect.
Pour alcohol over the ground seeds,
leave to sit,
Add to cherry jam,
spread over toast
when convenient.

36 | Kat Heger
Who is deserving?
Traditional brew:
better for select groups.
Meld the iron and ash,
gradually add the blood
or ground horns.
Scrape down the sides,
I love my red spatula for this.
Store the mass by the boiling water,
(you can make the marzipan at the same time).
Add three tablespoons solid sodium,
careful, it’s volatile.

Side effects include:
(Another type of epidemic.)
Bitter cassava in high intake,
It pulls the calve muscles,
tiptoeing through hot sand,
unable to come down.

Bitter Marzipan | 37
Lucas Peel

{ < sunrise.jpg />
post_response = /get.up /get.up(
‘autoLogin’ :1,
run: prgm[“sad”] body: {avail.
=file ://origin.exe {
*error: not found*
*error: not found*
namespace :boy
headspace :none
desc “Run diagnostic. Update existing.”
task fix_prgm :startup
buffering }

38 | The Anti-Languorous Project
{ < input: silence.mp3 />
post_response = /noise(
run: prgm[“static”] head:
{ >create_new
{ ‘accept’ = stimulus : hi_vol
=file ://normal.exe {
‘/ return_it .
f(search: in.btwn ; parsed_legs
; container(s): empty
; status: symbol /
fit :in
*error: overload*
desc “Initiate reboot. Delete existing.”
task commit :sleep

Lucas Peel | 39
Zelda Baiano

“What are you up to right now?”

A water droplet
makes way down the faucet.

“Not much, playing games and talking to you.” His voice deep,

I sink into the water.
I speak into the mic just above a whisper.
My voice soft, alluring - “Did you work out?”

“I did like one pushup.”

I scoff - “How are you gonna get into the forces?”
My feet swirl in the lukewarm water,

40 | The Anti-Languorous Project
“I’m already jacked, remember? Plus, I know I will.”

“I want to dedicate my life to the military.”

I smile,
and realize he can’t see me.
Turn on my camera,
making sure my hair parts at the side & my face is on screen.
I lull - “I know. That’s a long ways away.”

“Yeah, It's all I want.”

I look at his lips through the screen.
The sides of my cheeks heavy as I smile.
My favourite part. - “What about me?”

He steals quick looks at the screen.

4 hour drive,
6 hour bus,
32 hour bike.

The drop of water pauses
towards the end
of the faucet, for a

“You? You should come visit me.”

It's been 504 hours.

“It's been 504 Hours.”

Intimacy | 41
I see myself in the droplet. - “I should.”

The droplet falls,
collides with the water.

“What are you up to right now?” He asks.

42 | Zelda Baiano
Andy Betz

Eighteen-Word Stories
Adverse versus Averse
The first describes why you so eagerly departed
The second describes why I don’t care

Stasis Field
My life is perfect
I have everything
Except a stasis field generator
To keep what I have forever

Eroded and Corroded
My mother doesn’t understand
I love my daughter
No acid exists on this bond
No corrosion ever will

The Anti-Languorous Project | 43
Talents Revealed
I can juggle
I can sing
I can dance
Yet, I can’t keep you happy
But, I’ll try

44 | Andy Betz
Grant Guy

he once thought of himself as a big shot - a tough guy
- he rode with pretty boy floyd but where is floyd now
- smoldering in his squalor grave - & he - he lives in
squalor room forgotten - in a small town in Oklahoma - a
town so small it does not appear on any map & too small
for a name - maybe - maybe he thought - in his squalor
room in a squalor town - it would be better to give up
the ghost - like bonnie & clyde & perish onto the other
side - but where was the other side- he just knew it wasn't
"up there" - he was 77 years old yesterday - in his squalor
room in the squalor town with no name - it was a long
365 days until his 78th birthday - his squalor stomach
ached - he was a squalor man with squalor memories - he
remembered where he put his gun when he swore it off -
it would have one squalor bullet in it for a squalor man in
a squalor town with no name

The Anti-Languorous Project | 45
Amilcar John Nogueira

Crafting the Black Box
Step One:

Step Two: invoke data
this means
a stirring of
this means

46 | The Anti-Languorous Project
Step Three:

Step Four: output begins. gather pens
and scribes for the pens
and cats to disturb the
scribing of the scribes with
the pens. output,
regardless, outputs.

Step Five:

Crafting the Black Box | 47
Step Six:

48 | Amilcar John Nogueira
Pavle Radonic



Unarguable. And a touch over-stated in this repub-
lic. No danger of getting that wrong here. The guess, like
much else on the Little Red Dot, is an import from Lon-
don or L.A.
Young Indian-Malay couple days prior at the Sims
Avenue bus-stop was startled when the forefinger ap-
proached his chest bearing:


Not a good idea, parading that in Geylang Serai there
lah, no joke…. Duly warned. Zainuddin for one would
take up the matter with some vigor, red rag to the old
Sufi poet.

The Anti-Languorous Project | 49
Another that appears on the streets here and there of
late, usually nearer the city and the cafe district, usual-
ly borne across small, pert breasts of pretty young pixie


Soft, slight girls. (Other body types are not favored.)
Well, again, hard to argue, even on a small, experientially
narrow island. Perfect for the callow youth market.
Unrelated (strictly): Hulwana stopped by the Mr. Teh
Tarik breakfast table this morning for a chat on the way to
work. This-and-that. Long, tiring work hours; incapaci-
tated dad at home. Weighing the options; Allah’s will etc.
Like many others here, in closing Hul requested she
be included in prayers. Not unfamiliar now after almost
forty-four months in an Islamic community. Christians
here will make the very same plea. Tricky.
Hulwana would never wear a tee of any description.
Good Arab girl; Hadrami (Yemen). Full-length kebaya and
scarf for that gal, albeit high-style cut and plenty spunky.
Michele Obama’s problem in Saudi Arabia was
brought to mind, as well as the ISIS injunction on their
territories against tees bearing pictures.
After the unrelenting diet of the brands here one was
forced to think sometimes our enemies might be able to
teach useful lessons.

50 | Pavle Radonic

Too late to catch dad as he turned onto the steps cut-
ting in front. Tall lumpy pink polo with the laurel leaf
emblem it might have been, colour here just beginning to
fade. (The tropical sun.)
A selection from the Ralph Lauren range on the
shelves at home presumably. Fred Perry, Tommy Hil-
figer and Lacoste offer variety in that leisure wear niche
among the corporate chaps here.
The five-to-six-year-old advertising-perfect daugh-
ter held by the hand on the escalator, her soap perfume
unable to be taken from a couple of steps below. New-
ly laundered white shorts and blouse, the former tagged
low, slyly low behind in large pink lettering—


High-end you can’t get higher Takashimaya on Or-
chard Road, on a par with the Champs Élysées, Fifth
Avenue and Shinjuku: Cartiers, Mont Blanc, Rolex, Raoul.

Billboard | 51

Young woman in front of the Converts. On the ap-
proach brief eye contact that slid to the chest in the usual
way. Gives the wrong idea of course, though when one
was on the job surveying the erotic element fell off almost
Black with matte white lettering perfectly legible,
some crumpling across the fabric was all.
Late teens/early twenties maid, almost certainly In-
don. Almost certainly stumbling with her English acqui-
On the pass she had begun an ungainly, lumbering
run. Perhaps uncomfortable at the tracking eyes and hur-
rying on her chores in any case. Unlikely it was embar-
rassment at what was being deciphered on her chest, but
not out of the question.

Better Than
No Job

Employer some divorced gangster running karaoke
and massage joints, washed his money thinks it’s funny.
Saved her from a rat-infested trash-heap with open sewer
and picking food from bins. Perhaps she had had laughs
and ridicule before.

Singapore 2012–16

52 | Pavle Radonic
Anastasia Jill

Kick it
Happy berries like me are distant
and we scream nonsense like baskets
I haunch over the stoop I sleep on,
wait for urban fables to tell me to others:

there goes that girl,
mind as wide as the western coast
all she ever do is grow,
she grows and she grows
until she ripe like a plastic
Dollar Tree rose;

she’s got game through
she plays, she bounce, she rhyme.

Fuck, man.
I wish I didn’t know her.

The Anti-Languorous Project | 53
Chris Kelly

Notes from the Execution of
Ned Kelly
11 Nov 1880

Kelly was submissive on his way to the gallows. When pass-
ing the upright dahlias and daisies of the gaol’s flowerbeds,
he remarked:

“What a nice little garden.”

He remained quiet when brought into the Press room.
Quiet after receiving last rites from his baptizer.

Quiet in the presence of the eyes
that had seen his ceremonial lives.

54 | The Anti-Languorous Project
Reporters reported his last words:

“Such is life.”
as his neck was
ringed with rope.

According to another, Kelly intended to make a speech,
“…made no audible sound.”

The last words his mother gave were:

“Mind you die like a Kelly.”

Notes from the Execution of Ned Kelly | 55
Jesse Holth

Extra Credit

I don’t believe you.

When a body is breached, belief is the first to go. Running,
it scatters to the hills, buried—head-in-sand, ears stopped


Confusion. Used to like saying, I’m a confusion of stars.
Not anymore. Sometimes, when cells themselves rebel,
they trick the body into forgiving.

Count to three.

56 | The Anti-Languorous Project



When a trust is breached, it doesn’t break or bleed, like a
body. It disappears, sneaks off quietly, convinces you it
was never really there.

Extra Credit | 57
Catherine Jones

“I hit you because I love you,” he said, his hands
gentle now, petting, caressing, stroking my face and hair,
gathering me into his lap. I sat stiffly behind his plead-
ing hands, revulsion making my stomach ache. Even my
child brain knew that this didn’t make sense, that this was
sick, that this wasn’t how you treated the ones you loved.


Now you burst forth, legs racing, arms pumping,
laughing, seeing everything but seeing nothing at the
same time because you run directly into the street. And
even in that moment I perceive my world shattered from
the loss of you. I scream but you ignore me, so I chase you
and run in front of the car, my eyes only on you, the rest
of the world like streaking, bleeding watercolor. Squeal-
ing tires, the acrid burn of rubber on asphalt, you wide
eyed and yet still not really understanding.

58 | The Anti-Languorous Project
And I grab you roughly by the arm to make sure we
are both still alive. And I hit you right there on the street
as you cry. Because I can’t express in words how scared
I am. Because I want to punish you for making my heart
stop and ripping my soul wide open for the world to see.
I hit you because I love you, and I don’t know how
to stop.

Hit | 59
The Couch
I get home late from work, exhausted, covered in a layer
of city grime that I can feel but cannot see. He’s lying on
the couch, where he’s probably been all day. I call his name
but he doesn’t respond. I can smell him from the kitchen,
a sickly, sweet scent like rotting fruit. I’m afraid to go any
closer because it feels like this might finally be the moment,
that not-ever-going-back moment, and I’m not sure I can
face that right away.
But the twisting fear underneath my skin has wrapped
itself around my sinews and reached my bones. I kick
the empty bottle of Jack Daniels and it skitters across the
hardwood floor. His eyes lay open but he stares at nothing. I
wave my hand in front of his face and he doesn’t even blink.
I do not cry. I do not feel.
He mumbles things under his breath I can’t understand.
There is a gash on his hand that probably needs stitches but
is now crusted over with purple blood. I sit next to him on
the couch and warm liquid seeps into my pants. I realize
he’s pissed himself and I leap up in disgust, wriggling out
of my khakis as I run to the bathroom to shower.
When I return he’s somehow turned himself over so he’s
lying on his stomach on the couch. He throws up and I pull his
head back before he can suffocate in his own vomit. I roll him
off the couch and onto the floor, stripping off his clothes even
though each of his limbs feel like a hundred-pound weight.
He shivers, and I throw a blanket over his naked body.
I stay up all night, the lights in our apartment blazing,
every hour feeling for a pulse or putting my hand up to his
mouth to make sure he’s still breathing. The couch is ruined.
In the morning I will go to work.

60 | Catherine Jones
Lip Manegio

after miller oberman

& they call it reclamation / meaning / they will not be
saved / from a burning / today / by the flame hands of
someone else / will become the hearth / the scorch marks
under someone else’s feet / or they won’t
/ & who ever said anything / about a match / about a
strike / about how their fingers will flick / & maybe this
is a metaphor / for transition / the way one can keep
puncturing / & puncturing / themself / without ever
leaking out / listen / do not think they were dreaming
/ of the lick / just of their / soft palms / grasped around
the can’s handle / something they can hold / over their
own self / finally a choice / no one else can name for

The Anti-Languorous Project | 61
them / no / this poem doesn’t end / with another trans
death / just a body / choosing how it wants to drip /
little rainbows in the puddles gathering / at their feet

62 | Lip Manegio
ode to a queer boyhood, imagined
i probably watch too much glee. i probably am team ed-
ward. i probably plaster all my walls with posters of some
disney heart throb. at fifteen i begin my sufjan stevens
phase and never stop. i tell my mother i like boys and
it means something. i never doubt where the fear comes
from. i never doubt what the flutter is. i never look up
the etymology of a name i dreamt about. i don’t turn the
mirror over. or i do, but for all the other reasons. i fly bike
down a hill holding my love’s hand and everyone knows
exactly what we are. the sun twinkles and lights the world
in joy. i am queer and wearing a button down shirt and
high waisted shorts and no one thinks twice. no one asks
where my mouth has been. no one asks me to prove it.
the street lights are all ours. the street lights stay exactly
where they’re supposed to. the night chases us only as far
as we ask it to. the river banks are full of all of our wish
bottles. i mean, i get to love from the moment i bloom and
never stop. i mean, i do not have to turn myself inside out
for someone else to see me.

Lip Manegio | 63
Lissa McFarland

I remember the first time I heard the word lesbian. I was
7. how another young girl whispered it like a dirty word
and everyone giggled, but my laugh caught in my mouth,
slid down my throat, and sunk into the bottom of my
stomach. it was a filthy word that tasted like stagnant wa-
ter whenever I tried to work my tongue around it. it was
spat out by my peers and parents and even myself; the
word acrid on our tongues. to be one was to be ugly and
undesirable and completely unlovable.

64 | The Anti-Languorous Project
the first time I was called a dyke I was 14. the words
were crudely etched into the wall by the back doors of
the school with a key. a small group gathered around
them, debating their truthfulness. they scattered when I
approached, which meant it must be serious. I traced the
words with my finger, letting the cruelty of the act seep
into my body. it burned my eyes as tears threatened to
escape and my palms where my nails cut little crescents
into the soft skin and later my hip when I pulled the blade
across it the first time.

04.26.17 | 65
my first kiss was when I was 16. we said goodbye as we
stood on my front porch, neither of us wanting her to go.
illuminated by orange light and surrounded by still air,
she was beautiful, and I was nervous. my heart cracked
my ribs and my hands shook. I was confetti. I don’t re-
member going back inside,but I laid in bed that night and
thought of her rose petal lips and how her laugh comes
out in bursts and bubbles and I knew.

66 | Lissa McFarland
finally, at 21, I’m learning how to say lesbian and have
it taste like how she takes her coffee—sugary sweet and
creamy. my mouth slowly understands the way it needs
to move to hold the syllables with care. it will take time,
but I will figure out how to exhale love love love and only
love. I’m teaching myself to pack my wounds with flower
petals so that when I heal I can maybe be unyieldingly
soft and gentle.

04.26.17 | 67
Allison Iriye

Bright Through Bare Windows
Bright through bare windows,

a breeze of breath
warms my skin
beneath tousled sheets.

Intertwined like ivy,
we spend dog days
in sanctuary.

68 | The Anti-Languorous Project
A quilted sky stuffed
with clouds of endless memories
blankets our evening.
We are entwined limbs dreaming
with bright eyes open and mouths
stretched in grins,
plotted like coupled constellations.
Never do we have to say good night.

Allison Iriye | 69
Heather Myers

Bones of the Sea
I could tell you the ways a mind can feel like a prison cell.
I could tell you about the ragged, incessant beating of my
thoughts against dwindling self-control. The way shad-
ows slither up my spine and caress my brain with sweet
tongues. Whisper poison through my skull.

Jane Eyre boldly declared: “I am no bird; and no net
ensnares me.”

How I wish I were Jane.

I could tell you all these things. But I won’t. Instead they
are bubble wrapped and duct taped into a secret that will
one day burst apart but for now stays firmly put. No. I
won’t let the wave carry it away, risk it bursting open.
Can’t face the thought of the mess and the empty feeling
that follows as I numbly scrub the floors to a polish. A
perfect mirror to reflect a painted smile.

70 | The Anti-Languorous Project
Leave no trace.

What I will tell you? How I miss the way my bones felt
as I ran my fingers over the sharp peaks of my hips. How
I would count the valleys between my ribs in front of a
mirror. And when your head dips between my legs, I
remember when the space between them was a canyon.

I miss being so small it felt like I could disappear.

No matter how many mornings I wake up to your voice
softly singing of my beauty, I’m always trapped.

Life sentence.

No parole.

Conjugal visits allowed in the evenings.

But we both know all this. Nights spent over room
temperature sauv blanc making confession through salt-
rimmed lips. Eyes like dull sandpaper scraping tired lids.
Your arms encircle me – hold all the pieces threatening
to pull apart. The bubble wrap in my chest thrums with
every beat of my slow heart.

I don’t tell you about the prison cell. But I think you know.

And though the world hashtags, likes, and shares, I can-
not help but notice they all avoid my eye as I crack the
blister pack of the pills that keep me sane. I swallow them
daily, like the lies I tell myself, parroted from therapy.

Bones of the Sea | 71
“I am enough.”

And maybe one day I’ll believe them. But I don’t hold my
breath for maybe.

No, the lies are like the poisonous shadows whispering
in my head. Each one thrown back with a hastily writ-
ten post-it note; “What if?” in a jagged cursive. The ques-
tion mark a gash in the blank meditation they teach me
to strive for, opening my carefully wrapped heart one
scratch at a time.

Your arms are still there, holding. Arms that showed
me love and strength when I didn’t know it existed. So I
could tell you all these things and more. But I won’t.

I keep to my cell, the walls cracking and paint peeling
from years of scrabbling hands, searching for an exit. I
wait for your tidal wave to crumble them and carry me
away. But the wave was never yours.

It’s mine. And it grows.

72 | Heather Myers
Ryan Coleman

Walking south, Fair Oaks Avenue. Pasadena, just after
7. It’s fall and the sun is already setting in the west, but
it’s still warm. The summer bakes Southern California so
relentlessly that the effects are felt for months afterward.
Even now, in November, I imagine that if I got down on
my hands and knees and pressed my ear to the ground
I could hear the anticipatory drops of early winter rain
sizzling into steam and rising out of the cracks, feel them
like breath at my cheek, the heat dying, but still glowing
deep underground.

But I don’t kneel down. I don’t press my face into the
asphalt in the street, or the stones that make up the
sidewalk. I don’t plunge my fingers into the soil sunk
into plots around the pharmacy, pull out clods wriggling
with worms, rocks, and rot, throw them into traffic or
smash them against my chest, cursing anyone I can see
and laughing garishly through tears. Today I am all ease.

The Anti-Languorous Project | 73
I don’t fight today—against other people, against my
body, against the sun, and I don’t ask why. It is as useless
to question the days I’m allowed the mercy of ease as it
is to question the days I’m not. Because I don’t buy into
the God I was raised with anymore, and because I haven’t
taken the time to look into any others, for now I am who is
left to answer these questions. Of course I’m inadequate,
but I’m not mysterious, which is at least a consolation.

Ease walking past a hookah lounge, ease walking past
Bank of the West. I am wearing comfortable pants and a
comfortable shirt. I look like a boy, which disappoints me
but does permit less visibility. There are so few people
out. I feel so light I might disperse. I finger a button at
my waist, not above the fly but set off from the center
for suspenders to loop around. The button is so firmly
stitched into the pants that I feel the shape of my flesh
beneath it and grimace, imagining the body I hate as
obstinate as the button.

I dart my eyes in response, screw up my face in a grim
imitation of the peace I felt only moments before. Across
the street is an old theater. It was called “The Rialto”
before it shut down. The name still coronates its three
marquees, which are adjoined, facing east, southeast, and
northeast. I approach the Rialto and look up. The sky past
the marquee is a vivid color—blue, violet, and gray. The
colors have combined into a shade so tender, set against
the thick white lines of the marquee with their red letters,
which spell:

74 | Ryan Coleman
730P 11P”

ringed by a rope of translucent bulbs lining the marquee’s
inside edge, each with a filament at their centers, setting
off the red with a brilliant gold. The sight fills me with a
powerful sentimental emotion, like missing the company
of a character from a favorite childhood book. The emotion
drains the color from me and my surroundings. It is the
same autumn night, but set against a contrast of the past.
Where reality and hallucination meet there is friction, and
the static sound cannonading from the collision of two
irreconcilable ways of being in the world frees me from

I laugh because I know it’s stupid to dream about the
past but I don’t care, because I’m happy. My gray
body is warm, cloaked in a long wool Chesterfield of
my invention, single-breasted with no pockets and no
buttons. The glossy red, wicked, pointy nails at the end
of my elegant fingers, thick-boned, flesh as sweet and
simple as poundcake take hold of the collar, pulling
the coat closer around me and against the wind now
whipping at my ankles, an invention also. I continue to
face the marquee. The city is quieter than ever. “Ease,”
my body thinks out loud. White light pours out of the
marquee. I mouth: “baby face,” my face still upturned, as
my eyes relinquish focus. This is romance, and no one has
to touch me. I enter the theater.

Babyface | 75
Amy LeBlanc

Lady Grey
She used her tongue to her moisten her lips that flaked
like the wing of a moth. I emptied tealeaves into the pot
while she spoke and nodded my head at all appropriate
times in her story.
“I couldn’t smell anything at all. Then I died. It hap-
pened,” she snapped her fingers, “just like that.”
She said this while running her tongue along the rim
of her teacup. I’d refilled it with earl grey tea and leaves
clung to her upper lip. She shook from the strain of
lifting the cup towards herself and a few strands of hair
loosened from the turtle clip beneath her hat. Her skin
draped across her bones, loosening when she spoke, and
tightening when she was quiet.
“It was the sea birds that finally killed me—damn
greedy things. I just lay there with my sun hat blown off
and my dress lifting up in the wind. They pecked and
pecked and pecked until there was nothing left of me.
When I woke back in my body, the birds had gone and

76 | The Anti-Languorous Project
my sunhat had been torn into a pile of shredded straw
beside me. I’d swear to it on a stack of bibles if you asked
me to. That’s exactly how it happened.”
“More tea?”
She handed me her cup as she said, “We must do
something about these moths.”
The moths she spoke of had buried into our walls
during the hottest weeks of summer. She called them an
infestation, but I called them a gathering. Their silken
wings were drawn to the light of the oil lamp on her
bedside table, which she kept above a stack of books. I
think they came for the light, but found the house too
comfortable to consider leaving.
I poured more tea as she tucked the loose strands of
hair back under the brim of her hat. She never took the
hat off; I think she was insecure about the state the birds
had left her in. I believe her, but sea birds are more likely
to scoop mackerel from the surface than they are to peck
at her head below her hat. I wanted to tell her that the
bergamot in earl grey tea was added to offset the taste of
lime-laden water in 1800s England (the cornflower and
vanilla came later). I wanted to tell her that the moths she
speaks of are formidable mimics. They pretend to look
like less palatable insects to avoid being eaten. They’re
really no bother. I wanted to tell her that ravens can live
for forty-five years, which is longer than she lived before
the birds finished her off.
Two moths fluttered towards us. One moth landed
on the edge of her hat and one descended to the table
in front of her. She hit the table, this time releasing
numerous strands from the turtle clip, while the force
jolted the china cups from their saucers and knocked the

Lady Grey | 77
ladyfingers to the floor.
“I’ve got you.”
When she lifted her hand—the flattened body of a
moth clung to the tablecloth, wrinkled and speckled like
poplar leaves, its wings turned to dust beside the body.

78 | Amy LeBlanc
Owen Schaefer

The Last Town
The place was empty, like most other towns we’d
passed through. We scavenged the already looted super-
markets and restaurants for cans. Broke the door down
at some fancy apartment building where we scored a few
dried soup packages and a bottle of rum. Cal busted in a
vending machine, so we had all kinds of drinks at least.
We were no longer cautious, no longer travelling
from shadow to shadow. We hadn’t seen anyone to run
from for weeks. The last ones were too weak to chase us
anyway. That night, for kicks, we set tires on fire outside
a car repair shop and rolled them down the hill along
the main drag—clouds of flame and billowing blackness
that bounced and careened off the abandoned cars. We
were halfway drunk and laughing when we saw the first
building catch fire. We sat giggling. Got all corny and
nostalgic about bonfires and marshmallows. A couple
minutes later, the next building started to flicker. Then
the whole block went up.

The Anti-Languorous Project | 79
We ran. And in my head, I heard my father yelling
at us about having respect and not shitting where we
lived and all that. That’s the kind of thing he used to
shout about. He’d be chewing us out right now if he
were here. He’d say it was idiots like us that had wrecked
everything. Maybe he’s right, but I always figured it
didn’t matter, since everything was pretty well wrecked
already. But running from that fire—its heat on our
backs, us wondering if it was going to follow us right out
of town, burn straight across the fields and roast us there
like a couple of rabbits—that was the first time I kind of
figured out what he meant. The first time I realized how
things could turn on you, all quick like that. Never listen,
do you? my Pops would’ve said. Then he’d have clucked
his tongue at the town blazing behind us.

80 | Owen Schaefer
On Saturday, you sat alone in the too-bright eye clinic
as the optometrist placed a metal torture device on the
bridge of your nose. You’d asked Nate to go with you;
actually joked about not being able to recognize him
anymore. But he’d refused. Cited exhaustion. And you
said you understood. He worked late, worked weekends.
And you hunted for reasonable explanations while the
optometrist led you through the chart. They work him too
hard, you thought. He’s tired. You hoped for the same
thing about your eyes. Eyestrain, perhaps. A regimen of
vitamins to sort it out.
Two days later, the prescription for glasses is still
folded like a secret in your purse, and you’ve put the
empty condom wrapper found in Nate’s shirt-pocket on
the kitchen table where he will see it. Where you can both
see it. For once, you’re glad the time on the microwave
is a blue smear, the room vague and edgeless. Any time
now, you’ll hear the car pull in, the sound of his key in
the lock. And you’ll think about that moment when the
optometrist clicked a lens down into the metal frame, and
everything jumped into terrible focus.

Owen Schaefer | 81
David Eso

Family Business
My mother erred
by crafting minor secrets
just for me. My father blunders
when excusing himself
for living well.

My sister is perfect
and far away.
My brother is perfect
and never-born.

Don’t you find, cousin,
the whole family
fits us to a tea plantation?

82 | The Anti-Languorous Project
Occasional Dirge for the Grassy
Knoll at Swan Mall
Lying on the grass
or just under it,

willing passing clouds
to imagine their own shapes,
not mine.

David Eso | 83
Three Davids and no Goliath
…walk into a barren land.

First David erects a fortress.
Second David besieges the fortress.
Third David arranges a rooftop Bacchanal
with many consorts and lyres.

No sign yet of Goliath…
nor a source for fresh water.

84 | David Eso

I close the book I’m reading and rest it on top of my
couch. At my feet, something is trying to get between my
legs. Vermin. I pat his head. He lets out a gentle woof.
I roll my eyes. I’m a reluctant dog owner. I live above
this old bookstore, a regular client, been flirting with
the bookseller for a while although he doesn’t pay me
particular attention. He’s kind of cute (the bookseller)
and a bit odd. The only thing that I’ve to show for my
efforts is this hairless dog. My efforts, I should clarify,
were aimed at inviting the cute-but-odd bookseller,
out for coffee. That’s how I got Vermin. And a bunch
of books that I might never read. The bookseller told
me he breeds them (the dogs, not the books). They are
called xoloitzcuintli (again, the dogs, not the books).
It took me precisely 108 tries to pronounce that right.
Xoloitzcuintli. I had to Google it. Xoloitzcuintli. Now it’s
in my computer’s cache and I’ve no idea how to get rid
of it. It has contaminated everything. Whatever I do, I get

The Anti-Languorous Project | 85
the images of these ugly dogs, identical to the one that
is currently angle parking between my legs. Ugly thing.
Still, I think I like him. He’s kind of cute (the dog) and
a bit odd. And although he might not be a looker, he’s
clever. I considered calling him Leprosy, but that would
have been unfair. He has the smoothest, most evenly
coloured skin that I’ve ever seen. It’s weird for a dog, I
bet. You know, ‘cause it’s hairless, but it would have been
normal in a person. Perhaps, Vermin is more like a person
and less like a dog. Anyway, he can be really cute in a
different way from the bookseller, who also is cute and
sells dog food. He makes a special blend of camel and
ostrich meat. Occasionally spiked with bison. Wild Thing,
he calls it. High in protein. It’s weird but I buy it anyway
(like I buy books I won't read or the dog I didn’t want).
Because they are both darling and I’m already too deep
into this matter of the dog and the bookseller.
One day, I found his (the dog’s, not the bookseller’s)
stash of pins and thimbles. Odd. I don’t know where they
came from. But I had to tell the bookseller. It was then
that he first mentioned that he had been sequencing these
dogs, not just breeding them. Apparently, he has some
other interests that aren’t evident when you see him at
the bookstore (like advanced biology and knowledge of
gene splicing). He said he was sequencing them to find
computer chips. You know, ‘cause of the metal (I nodded
along, not sure why that would be a good thing). It went
wrong, of course, and the dogs keep finding sewing
instruments. Insanity, I thought. Not that the dogs tracked
down needles (that’s good), but to be sequencing them to
find computer chips (that’s odd). Still, he’s kind of cute.
And so, but differently, is Vermin.

86 | BB
antilang. no. 2

Zelda Baiano is currently studying English Literature and Lan-
guage at Brock University in Southern Ontario. She has been previously
published in two anthologies, The Nights Voice, and Fresh Ink 2016.

BB has been an academic for more than 20 years. Currently, she is an
MFA student at the University of Saskatchewan. She grew up in South
America and has lived in the US, the UK, Belgium, and Canada.

With degrees in Physics and Chemistry, Andy Betz has tutored and
taught in excess of 30 years. His novel, short stories, and poems are works
still defining his style. He lives in 1974, has been married for 26 years, and
collects occupations (the current tally is 95).

K.S.A. Brazier-Tompkins hails from north-western Ontario,
but spent much of her youth in New Brunswick. She received a Ph.D. in
English from the University of Saskatchewan. Her published work includes
articles, novels, short stories, and poetry. Brevity is not her strength, but
she approaches it most closely through poetry.

Manit Chaotragoongit was born in 1983 in Bangkok, Thailand.
He has received photography awards from the Globalhunt Foundation,

Fall 2018 | 87
India and the Burggrun Institute, USA. Streets and alleys are the places he
explores and photographs.

Ryan Christopher Coleman is a queer and gender
non-identifying person from Los Angeles, living in Los Angeles, and
writing about gender, violence, and film. In Los Angeles.

nathan dueck’s initials spell “nrd.” His parents tell him nobody
used that word when he was born, but dictionaries say otherwise. His
poetry collection, A Very Special Episode, is forthcoming.

David Eso studies literature at UVic and creates it largely
elsewhere. He helps select poetry for The Malahat Review and co-edited
Where the Nights are Twice as Long (Goose Lane).

Anthony Etherin writes experimental formal poetry. His
books include Cellar (Penteract Press, 2018). Find him on Twitter,
@Anthony_Etherin, and via his website

Grant Guy is a Canadian poet, writer, playwright, stage director
and designer. He has over one hundred poems and short stories
published internationally. He has five books published.

Kat Heger is in her second year at the University of Calgary study-
ing Creative Writing and Biochemistry. Her writing reflects a merging
of the two incongruous worlds with a flare for ethical debate.

Jesse Holth writes and edits in beautiful Victoria, BC. Her work
has appeared or is forthcoming in Barzakh Magazine, Mantra Review,
Canada Quarterly, Eastern Iowa Review, and others.

Allison Iriye is a recent University of Calgary graduate who
writes about the people in (and out) of her life. She spends her time
chasing various creative projects, baking for loved ones, and winding
up in trouble.

Melinda Jane – The Poet Mj: writer, spoken word artist
with explorations in soundscapes, improv music in the performing arts.
Poems in Thirty West Publishing, The Mozzie, Rambutan, and more.

88 | The Anti-Languorous Project
Anastasia Jill (Anna Keeler) is a queer poet and
fiction writer living in the southern United States. She is a current editor
for the Smaeralit Anthology. Her work has been published or is upcoming
with, Lunch Ticket, FIVE:2:ONE, Ambit Magazine, apt, Into the
Void Magazine, 2River, and more.

Language lover, art enthusiast, and tea aficionado, Catherine
Jones is a college professor and writer of novels, poetry, and non-
fiction. You can follow her writing adventures on Twitter @catjanejones.

Chris Kelly’s biographical statement is paltry, known to the
editors, and currently beyond the reach of a copy and paste.

Amy LeBlanc edits Non-Fiction editor for filling Station. Her work
has appeared in Room, the Puritan, Prairie Fire and other journals. Her
latest chapbook is “Ladybird, Ladybird” (Anstruther Press, fall 2018).

Lip Manegio is a queer, trans nonbinary poet from Boston working
towards a BFA in creative writing at Emerson College. Their work has
appeared in or is forthcoming from Flypaper Magazine, Crab Fat Magazine,
Freezeray Poetry, the minnesota review, and elsewhere.

David Martin works as a literacy instructor in Calgary. His
poetry has been awarded the CBC Poetry Prize and has appeared in
journals such as The Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Event, CV2,
and Alberta Views. His first collection of poems is Tar Swan (NeWest
Press, 2018).

Shannon McConnell is a writer, teacher and musician originally
from Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2017, she completed her MFA in
Writing at the University of Saskatchewan. Her work has appeared in
various literary magazines across Canada.

Lissa McFarland is usually a visual artist (she did the wonder-
full cover and logo for antilang. no. 1!). According to her Instagram pro-
file (@lil.trashlord), she's a big gay from YYC, a sandwich connoiseur,
sunshine personified, and a ramen enthusiast.

Fall 2018 | 89
Jessica Mehta is a multi-award-winning poet, storyteller, and
author of 13 books. She’s a member of the Cherokee Nation and has
been awarded numerous poet-in-residency positions around the world.
Currently, she is a Halcyon Art Labs fellow and working on her PhD in
Creative Writing at the University of Exeter.

Besides being a freelance writer and poetry enthusiast, Lonnie
Monka runs Jerusalism, an initiative to foster local literary community
through events such as reading series, author meet-ups, workshops,
and more. When not busy reading or writing, Lonnie enjoys posting
pictures of restrooms on Instagram - @toiletsofjerusalem.

Heather Myers is a U of C alumnus with a BA in English. She
spends her days marketing and editing for engineers, but side hustles as
an editor at Dote Magazine.

Amilcar John Nogueira received his Masters in English
from the University of Windsor. His short story “Felix and the Light”
recently won the Ten Stories High Short Story Contest.

Steve Passey is originally from Southern Alberta. He is the
author of the collection Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock, chapbook
“The Coachella Madrigals,” and many other things.

Lucas Peel likes the idea of strangers, vegetables, and defacing
things in the name of art. He does not like vinegar, rules, or high places,
though he is willing himself to at least understand the purpose of all
three. One time Neil Hilborn told him that his poems were pretty. He
currently lives in Aiea, Hawaii.

An Australian-Montenegrin, Pavle Radonic’s six years living
and writing in S.E. Asia has provided unexpected stimulus. In the cur-
rent political climate Canada is acceptable as another spiritual home.

Owen Schaefer is a Canadian writer and poet currently living
in Hong Kong. His work has been published in various journals and
anthologies, including Barzakh, Dimsum, and Hong Kong Future Perfect.

90 | The Anti-Languorous Project
Taylor Skaalrud has no official creative credentials; he is
virtually incapable of formality and regularly substitutes snark in its
place. He would have you know that passively submitting one’s bio is
likely to have it eaten by zombies.

Michaela Stephen recently completed her MA in English
Literature at the University of Calgary. She works as an events
coordinator planning book launches. Her writing has previously been
featured in The Impressment Gang.

Kevin Stebner is an artist, poet, and musician from Calgary,
Alberta. He produces visual art using old videogame gear, and produces
music with his chiptune project GreyScreen as well as alt-country in
Cold Water. His first book of poems, Sunshine Policy, is out from Straw

Erin Emily Ann Vance writes about history, folklore, and
the body. Her debut novel will be released in 2019 from Stonehouse

Fall 2018 | 91
Contribute to antilang.

What we’re looking for:
Good. Short. Writing. Any form, any genre, as long as it is
brief and of exceptional quality.

Poetry, short/flash fiction, creative essays, ficto-criticism,
flash memoir, photo essays, comics, postcard fiction, and
collaborations across media.

We support diversity in both the form and content of
writing, and we prioritise voices that have been sys-
temically silenced or have otherwise gone unheard.

We welcome and encourage simultaneous submissions
(because you should have the opportunity to submit your
work widely).

12 point Times New Roman, one inch margins, maximum
SIX (6) pages, regardless of form, genre, or number of
pieces. Please double-space all prose. MS Word files (.doc
or .docx) only for textual pieces, please. Please send all
submissions via Submittable and include a 30 word bio
(we are all about concision, after all).

@antilangmag //

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