August 15, 2015

Living Together – by Evelyn Deshane

(c) Evelyn Deshane, 2015

the back breaking labour

of climbing up and down stairs

of sweating profusely during the dog days of summer

the one bedroom apartment, swelling up and over

a moving truck van. rent it now for $19.95 –

(plus services and fees).

nothing from no one is ever really free.

except for shared laughs about the things that I’ve kept

the moments remembered, smoking on steps

we go out to dinner and then grab a pint

but can’t fuck at night because we’re tired and sore.

we’re living together now. I worry it’s all boring,

so trivial and mundane. I don’t believe in soul mates

& we’ve never kissed in the rain, like a 90 minute romance movie.

what’s a happily ever after ending, when i’m still alive to see

the dark after the credits roll, and we’re stewing in our seats

wondering if our non-belief is enough to create something good?

even if we’ve both read what plato says about love

being nothing but a joke, i still hope that in this one bedroom

apartment (with way more stairs than before), we’ll share

the fights and the problems, the times we can’t keep it up

the flues and epidemics, the coughs and night sweats.

here’s something different, something else that I’ve learned

through duct tape and yearning on bathroom floors

hung over from longing, bore for bore:

I want the ordinary, like the keys in a lock

the name on a lease, a stray blue sock.

I’m doing laundry at midnight because the sweat has soaked us through

and this time, maybe,

a one bedroom apartment

can be made for two.

** ** **

Evelyn Deshane is a queer poet living in Canada. Their chapbook, Mythology, was released in 2015 by The Steel Chisel.


** ** **

August 1, 2015

Friday I’m In Love – By Eve Francis

(c) Eve Francis, 2015.

“This is my favourite song,” she said.

Amanda looked up from the baking aisle.  Lisa held her hands on her waist, swaying her body from side to side, her hoodie open to display her bright red Tegan and Sara t-shirt. Amanda drew her attention back down to the shelf, trying to parse out what the difference between baking soda and baking powder was.

“Come one. You’re not listening.”

“I don’t need to listen,” Amanda snapped. She ran a hand through her brown hair, her bangs sticking up. The walk to the supermarket had been small, but in the hot July heat that could still fry an egg even at three in the morning, she was still drenched in sweat. She had no idea how Lisa was still wearing a hoodie, when Amanda was boiling in her tank top. “Do you have the recipe on your phone?”

Lisa stopped swaying and handed over her phone, somehow still landing in time with the muzak over the speakers. Amanda scrolled thorough the recipe, finding the egg-free option at the top. Normally, Amanda was more on top of things than this. But tomorrow was her sister’s surprise thirtieth birthday party and no one told Amanda that Jennifer’s boyfriend couldn’t eat eggs. So cue making a new cake at two in the morning, when tonight was supposed to be the night … Well, Amanda didn’t even want to think about that so far.

“Aren’t these stores great?” Lisa said, her blue eyes wide as she took in the many different boxes of cakes. Her fingers traced over a rainbow sprinkles one, then curled through her hair.

“Yeah, I guess. They sure make my fuck-ups more palatable.”

“No, no,” Lisa said. “You’re not a fuck up. You just forgot.”

“Odd how that sounds so close.”

“Oh, please.” Lisa rolled her eyes, then reached forward and put her hands on Amanda’s waist. Amanda nearly dropped the phone. This isn’t happening, is it? Is Lisa into me too? Or did I suffer from heat exhaustion on the walk over here and my boxed wine L-Word fantasies are really coming true? Amanda’s thoughts crashed around in her head, all too good to be true. But Lisa’s hands still remained firmly on her waist, her pink lips forming a coy smile.

“You need to relax, Manda. All I mean that the stores always have good music. The kind they can’t play during the daytime. You can actually hear the difference right now. And music can make even the most fuck-ups bearable. Yeah?”

Amanda sighed. Of course this was about music. Not about them, their will-we or won’t-we friendship. The prelude to all lesbian relationships was friendship, she had been told. But she didn’t know if the same rule applied to twenty-something bisexuals who were still invited to heterosexual weddings and surprise thirtieth birthday parties. Probably not.

“You’re not listening. Listen.” Lisa tugged on Amanda’s sides again.

Fine, okay. She could hear the song now. And recognized it too.

“Who is that? I know the voice.”

“You should know the voice. It’s Robert Smith from The Cure. ‘Friday I’m in Love.'”

“Oh.” Amanda’s face went red. Lisa took her hands off her waist and continued to dance in the aisles. When a store worker walked by and eyed them, Amanda picked up a tin of baking powder. She didn’t even care if it was correct anymore. “Now all we need is egg replacer and—”

“I think I’m in love,” Lisa said.

Amanda stopped. “What?”

“Grocery stores like this. They make the whole world feel like a dream. We can get anything we need, and it’s like time doesn’t exist. Everything is empty. It’s like the apocalypse, but better.”

“And that makes you … happy?” God, Amanda, you can’t even say the word love.

“Yeah, because when else are you going to be happy? You may as well at the end of it all. Especially when we’re all well stocked with rainbow cakes and there are no line ups. Plus, the music.” Lisa swayed again as Robert Smith chimed on about the days of the week and how he felt about them. “The music is pretty killer.”

“Yeah …” Amanda turned around, placing the egg replacer in her basket. “I’m ready whenever you are.”

Instead of dancing down to the check out, like Amanda expected her to do, Lisa turned and pressed her lips against Amanda’s. Amanda gasped, but didn’t have very long to be surprised before Lisa ended the kiss. She grinned at Amanda’s shocked expression.

“See? I told you it was my favourite song. And because it’s past midnight, it’s Friday, so … I think Robert Smith is onto something.”

“What … are you … ?”

“Quick,” Lisa said, interrupting Amanda to peck her on the cheek. “I’ll race you to the front.”

Amanda’s mouth fell agape, silent. She didn’t snap out of it until she heard Lisa’s flip flops down the aisle, and then she grinned. Now she could see the appeal of the all night grocery store; at 3am, there were no lines keeping them from one another, and they still had another couple hours before the sun came up.

“How long do you think it will take to bake the cake?” Lisa asked as they stepped outside.

“A few hours. Tops.”

“Good. Because I think we should go to an all night diner next.”

Amanda laughed, then felt Lisa’s hand twine with her own. “For the music, I’m assuming?”

“And the company,” Lisa added, giving Amanda another kiss. This one lasted much, much longer, for which Amanda was relieved. She still heard the tune of “Friday I’m In Love” in her head, and felt the heat of the summer night on her skin. There was still so much time before the birthday party, and so many songs she realized she had never really listened to. Not completely, not like Lisa did.

“Sure,” Amanda said. “You have a deal.”

~~ ~~ ~~

Eve Francis is an f/f author who lives in Canada, sleeps really late, and watches a lot of bad horror movies.


~~ ~~ ~~

July 19, 2015

Late One Night in September – by Drew Payne

(c) Drew Payne 2014

The house was quiet. Three of his housemates were at their local gay pub, The Frog and Trumpet, though it was Sunday evening and the place would be lifeless and quiet. His fourth housemate, Charlie, had retired early to his bedroom, saying he was on an early shift the next day.

Will had taken himself off to his own bedroom, at the top of the house. The house was quiet but he still didn’t want anyone else to overhear this phone call. All his housemates were so open and upfront about their sexuality, even Kyle who maintained he was bisexual, and Will had been swept along with it. This was why he’d moved down to London six weeks ago, at twenty-three, to finally do something about his sexuality. His job wasn’t great but at last he was able to be himself. He’d even come out to the people he worked with and none of them had even seemed surprised.

That Sunday evening he had decided that it was time to make that telephone call to his mother.

He sat cross legged on his own bed, his mobile phone only a few centimetres away from his left foot. He had to make this call and he only had a small window in which to do it. His mother would return home just after ten o’clock, from her Sunday Night Fellowship meeting, and she went to bed at eleven o’clock, after that all calls would be taken by her answerphone.

At just before ten-thirty, Will picked up his phone, pushing all his courage up into his throat, but his finger hovered over the menu icon. It was that moment, that junction to take. He could abandon the call, leave his phone by his bed, or could call his mother and finally tell her what he had been meaning to for years. But if he didn’t call, again put off that conversation, he would be closing down a large part of his life to his mother. He had quietly been pushing his mother out of so much of his life. He had to be honest over this at least.

His finger pressed down on the icon and then quickly scowled down to his mother’s number. Before he could pause again, he called her number.

The phone rang for three, four rings in his ear, and he felt the disappointment rising in his throat. She has already gone to bed and he was about to get her answerphone. On the fourth ring his mother’s voice answered in his ear.


“Hello mum, it’s me Will,” he replied.

“William? What are you doing calling me so late at night? Are you in trouble?”

“No mum, I just wanted to talk to you,” Will replied. Suddenly he didn’t know what to say, how to start the conversation.

“We talked this afternoon. What’s the matter with you?”

“There’s something I want to talk about. It’s really important,” he said.

“It’s late at night, can’t it wait until tomorrow?”

“No, it’s important,” he replied. His courage was beginning to tremble, but he couldn’t delay telling her.

“Well, if it is that important.”

“I’m …” He could feel the inside of his mouth running dry. “I’m gay!” He finally blurted out.

“No, you’re not,” his mother bluntly replied.

“What?” Will’s mind stuttered. He hadn’t expected this reply; he didn’t know what to say to her.

“You are not homosexual. I know you and I know you are not homosexual,” her voice spoke in his ear.

“I am, I know I am,” he mumbled his reply.

“William, I’m your mother and I know you’re not homosexual.”

“But …” He began to try to explain but her voice cut him short.

“You’re just one of those soft and sensitive boys. I don’t know who has put these nonsense ideas into your head but I know you are not homosexual. We have discussed this at my fellowship group and we prayed on it. Pastor Edward, at church, had a word from God about you. He told me that you were just confused about your masculinity. You need to stop all this nonsense about being homosexual and come home.”

“But, mum …” Again he tried to explain but her voice again cut him short.

“William, we are not talking about this anymore. I have said what needs to be said. I can wait as long as needed for you to get this London nonsense out of your system and return home.”

“But, mum, please listen,” he protested.

“No, William,” his mother’s voice sharply rang in his ear. “I have said all that needs to be said. Now there’s no need to talk about this again and I don’t want you to bring this up again.”

“But, mum,” again he protested.

“No, William, there is nothing more that needs to be said on this. Now I’m going to go to bed, it is late, and I suggest that you do the same. You have work in the morning.”

“Yes, mum,” he found himself meekly replying, it was like he was a child again and he’d just lost another argument with her even though he’d barely said anything.

“Goodnight, William.”

“Goodnight, mum,” he replied, a moment later his phone went dead in his ear.

He dropped the phone back onto his bed. What was the point, he asked himself, what was the bloody point? He closed his eyes against it all.

He only realised he was crying when he felt the wet tears seeping out from under his eyelids. With the realisation his body went limp and he collapsed down onto his bed, his body automatically folding up into the foetal position, as the tears ran to sobs that pulled all the dark emotions up into his mind.

He only stopped crying when he physically ran dry of tears and thick snot poured out of his nose. He felt like a stupid little child, and it hurt.

** ** **

More stories by Drew Payne



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