comparative writing, STUDY No. 1: Dark Horse Espresso Bar, Toronto

wealth obscures the world ending

The city is sad, grey, wet. Toronto sidewalks are poorly plowed. Walking is exhausting. Outside is difficult.

Inside, establishments overflow. Where there is warmth, there is noise. The crowds are uncomfortable. Complaining feels inappropriate since we’re all in the same boat but this year the process of being an urban Canadian in the winter is causing me great anxiety.

The crowds give me visions of the end of the world. Images of overflowing shelters, desperate civilians attacking one another for space and survival. Fear drives me to hatred. I can’t handle other people. I don’t want to handle them. Other people are contemporary ruins.

I have forced myself to sit in a cafe. I hear too many conversations. Anxious for the apocalypse, I sweat, screaming quietly IS NO ONE ELSE AFRAID?

I write to stay calm but it’s impossible. My mother was a dramatic example of my future and here I am: intelligently over-reactive and alone. Nothing is important. There’s nothing to write about.

 

There’s nothing to write about anymore

 

He hangs his coat on the rack

His bag on the back of his chair

He pleases time

With upset typing 

red knuckled hands

spastic fingers

Weekend jeans

He hurried here

 

From behind her marble laptop cover

She keeps saying

Find the source

Find out the source

Do you know the source

The source of your roommate’s legal dilemma

She says find the source to solve the problem

Her hat alludes to 

A creative culture

And her story ends 

With a bothered description 

Of the latest ultrasound

A search for that ball of fluid 

The one perched 

on her most dutiful organ

That just won’t go away

 

Drink your caffeine

Humane comparisons

distance me

from a culture of business

as I wait

 

There’s nothing to write about anymore

 

His newspaper smells like anorexia

A bisected elephant

Wrote something profound

About taking charge

It reads like a demonstration

Of capability

On a Saturday afternoon

He has piles of disordered paper

He has a day today 

I love him

his mother will love me

our children will have beards

 

She gave me

A chance to pay her

For my coffee

Without a greeting

Her septum pierced

I realize 

People hate time

And perhaps I represent

The reason time hates her back

I hope you remember how little 

You gave me

She tells him

 

There’s nothing to write about anymore

I’m searching headlines

The Earth is trash

My parents are quiet today

The likelihood of cancer 

Is higher than 

The likelihood

Of basically anything else

But her new coat

She tells her friend

Was worth it

So warm

Fur lined hood

Can you help me with this

 

Everyone takes busy moments

I take basically nothing 

To a page 

On a table

Shared

By importance 

And bitter heat