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issue 47: March - April 2005 

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FABLES OF THE DECONSTRUCTION
(the bra story with Jacques Derrida)

Mark Anthony Jarman


Choose the life that is most useful,
and habit will make it the most agreeable.
   
             Francis Bacon (1561-1626)


      On their knees the paramedics bend to their brusque work.
      Pulse in the neck – yes or no!?
      Is she coding?
      Clear!

      A keening muscular ambulance smashes into Barbara, smashes my neighbour’s sedan moments after the live power lines fell on her car roof. The Region 3 ambulance lured out on a false alarm, hood shooting out under the overpass like a train out of a tunnel, fender introduced to fender, metal slicing plastic, then everybody and their dog pinned in a wreck or staggering and holding their head or turning up to date firefighters at the accident scene.
      How much of life is bad theatre? How much is lack thereof? And I know exactly what they mean by "date."      
      
      Clear!
      The paramedics bicker like bakers.
      Still no pulse in the neck?
      I think I would have told you if there was.
      Is she coding?
      Yes.
      Clear!
      Up here. Get up here. Nothing?
      Nothing.
      She’s gone, nothing I can do.
      
      Rebecca’s mother Barbara declared dead on Union Street, a has-been with a good hairdo. Then a woman stirring, alive, Rebeccca’s mother, asks directions back to us, Barbara travels back to her can-do laundry lists and photography classes (yellow maple leaf on wet dark gravel), travels back to her ladylike bottles of Gilbey’s Lemon Gin secreted in the Vauxhall glovebox and musty garden shed.       
      "Where am I," Barbara asks.
      They slam the ambulance doors on the passenger, on her prior world, and she starts anew.

      The neighbour’s body now havering in the hospital bed and I volunteer my services.
      "Anything you need?" I ask.
      "Rebecca," says her father at the massive oak door, "could certainly use a ride to the hospital once a day or so, if that’s not too too inconvenient."
      Her father, an older colleague who looks down his nose at me; and Rebecca, his brooding daughter home from decoding things at an eastern college, Rebecca back in the family world, a red-haired daughter bent like an absent astronaut into honeybees and dripping trees and clutching tendrils of ivy full of green blood and the lovely irritating sound of piano and family servants.

      The mother’s car stopped on Union at the stop sign as you’re supposed to.
      "But why was my mother over there?" asks Rebecca.
      Yes: Why was her mother hovering on the low-rent side of town by the Glimpse Point Redemption Centre, said Redemption Centre recently robbed by someone of no fixed address with a lighter that looked like a pistol. The same side of town where they found a man shot dead in his pickup at 9 a.m. in the bay of the carwash beside the ballet school, water on the carwash floor, his truck window shot out. High winds rumbling up the river valley as if they have a tourist map and the high voltage lines choose that moment to drop on Barbara’s car legally stopped at the legal stop sign.

      Reb leaped and pranced at that same ballet school years ago; now Reb in my car talks about the live wires, sparking snakes playing on her mother’s car, around her ears.
      "I can’t believe it," she says.
      "Wild," I say.
      I’ve known Rebecca for years, but she’s been away a while, there’s still that pilgrim distance. Her mother stuck in the wires, her mother walked by strangers from the shattered butterfly of a windshield, her father a grumpy Professor Emeritus in my field, Television Studies. But only black-and-white television shows will suffice for Rebecca’s father – he is bitter that I have, in my paltry articles and nervous grad courses, acknowledged colour television.

      Rebecca’s mother Barbara does not care for live wires draped on her car; Barbara hits the gas to escape and smashes into another car (my ex-insurance agent Sandy, it turns out – that’s how small our town can be). The genius father fumes in his oak-lined study. My parents had no history of fuming so it throws me. Everything somehow seems my fault whenever I see this man fuming.
      "Thank you so much for driving Rebecca to the hospital," her father says gruffly. "I’m not up to it. As you can see." Waving his arm around at I don’t know what. "My hands are full," he says.
      He fills a glass of something expensive and eye-watering. Feel I’m asking for her hand and not just being a chauffeur with a car. We have a drink or three, a bottle or two.
      "Alfred, old bean," he mutters before kicking me out the giant arts and crafts door, "You’d be a hard dog to keep under the porch." Then he laughs like Rumpelstiltskin freebasing single malts. A dog? I am feeling pointedly less than wolf-like these days, I am hardly roaming the steppes.

      Rebecca’s unruly brothers stand on the wide breezy porches with white teeth and wide cotton chinos and hands in pockets; they play pocket pool and smile knowingly, posing in some Kennedy photo album in their head.
      "My brothers got the looks," Rebecca complains in the huge kitchen with the wood-panel fridge. Her lazy feline eyes, almost lemon-yellow in sunlight, her formless Corn Sisters Gillian Welch dress, her hints towards the continuation of drinking by other means.

      So I am recruited as a driver for the troubled family. The next day in boiling weather we hie to 7-11’s asphalt paradise, an errand before the hospital visit. Rebecca seeks a money machine that will honour her bank card, and she wants to mail a letter to her dear aunt in a prison that trembles in the windy marshes above the Bay of Fundy.
      "Want me to get you something?" she asks.
      I am happy to drive Rebecca past our spastic Potemkin villages, past Hive Lake, The Gap, Chateau Chunder, Albertsons, Ebola Acres, Len’s Liquor Land in the chain-sawed white pines once valued by the British navy because they did not rot.
      Inhabit a HOT parking lot, to touch the car’s metal sears your bare skin, my car a malicious powder-blue Karmann Ghia, a car with less power than your shopvac, a car that nickel-dimes me to death, but still – bucket seats and a cool chassis that speaks of gimlets or gamma rays or Buffalo Springfield 45s. R.E.M. loud inside my small car. No air conditioning, no air, everyone boiling and irritable in the heat. The equator has lifted its skirts this way and laid its moist black line down the middle of this melting parking lot.
      "Back in a flash," Rebecca says. She is both inside and outside the glass 7-11.
      What does her father mean a hard dog to keep under the porch? What does he mean I’m a right moody fucker? Kill one bottle and he produces another lickety-split and then judging me.

      Back inside my car, Rebecca is saying something eye-glazing about Hitchcock and Derrida, something about semiotics and decentring, and then she decentres the hell out of me (still in our brimstone parking lot) when she reaches inside her mint-green T-shirt and undoes her skin-tone bra and, with some comely contortions, pulls her bra out one tiny sleeve and scrunches it into her purse like a magician hiding a scarf.
      Ooh That’s Much Better, she doesn’t actually say, but I hear it for I am all ions.

      You (me) can think, THOUGHT BALLOON #1: Does taking off her bra mean anything? (So much depends upon which side of the bullhorn you’re standing on, which side of the willing wilful winsome ballerina you choose to address first.)
      You can think, THOUGHT BALLOON #2: I’m so glad she’s comfortable with me and knows I don’t view her as a sexual object even when she draws attention to her parts which surely are scholarly, intelligent and presumably just slightly cooler now a degree or two, a fact I’d like to verify scientifically. I believe I wandered into THOUGHT BALLOON #3 there somewhere.
      I admit not looking. Here is my public sin. Her tiny open sleeves, her open purse, public (the parking lot) versus private (inside my tiny car, or is that still public?) – sure versus unsure, dork versus undork, lawsuit versus unlawsuit, the bride stripped bare in your powder-blue retro Nazi rowboat.
      "I guess you’re pretty busy about now," Rebecca says.
      Yes. Busy as a beaver. I take in the lurking world like a scratched Leica, a security camera with duct tape on it, thoughts dark as porter.
      "I’m just getting nothing accomplished," she says.
      "What do you have to accomplish?"
      "Well, something. I’m such a fuckup lately," she says. Rebecca waves her arm at the strip mall, asks me, "Do you think there’s a chance they’ll look back at our time and admire cinder-block 7-11s the way we gaze at the Kremlin or Bloomsbury or the Valley of the Kings or even the old brick post office?"
      Middle of telling me something about Derrida and Rebecca slips off her bra. Even money she has skin all over her body.
      "Yes, what will history make of us all," I say.
      I’m phoning it in, trying to keep my mind off her tiny sleeve, what is up (or down?) her sleeve, one less layer, and THOUGHT BALLOON #3 (rearing its bad ugly head again): you are not allowed to dare imagine Rebecca’s rosy-tipped breasts with no elastic chaperones, no fabric cups and panels and straps, flesh breathing freely as it should in my car, white orbs and rosy tips swaying ever so slightly in the breeze of your bad male gaze oh please mr inner voice for once please just shut the fuck up.

      Think of starving Biafrans, Afghans, Anne Murray, Preston Manning, Yoko Ono, Orestes, The Corrs. Repeat over and over: There’s no I in Team, There’s no I in Team. There is a Me in Team though. Well then, there is no I in beer. That’s a relief.
      She says, "Derrida is so five minutes ago. You ever read this stuff? If woman is truth she at least knows there is no truth. She bestows the idea and the idea withdraws. The dream of death begins. But let us leave this elytron to float between the masculine and the feminine. If Derrida didn’t exist we’d have to invent him. And then beat him up at recess."
"Yes," I agree. Ha ha. She bestows the idea all right.
      The blue 97-pound Nazi car awaits your command, your foot. No power but power. It’s completely stupid, but I actually think that in a saner world (had I but world enough and time) Rebecca and I could just slip away and run an organic paper clip factory by a lonesome river, the two of us poor in a starlit peeled log cabin and fir-fed campfire offering up ebb tides of sparks over sharply darkly romantic mountains. A good Adam and Eve in love and sleeping like spoons, but without the back story, the serpent, regrets, legal questions, teeth marks in fruit, missing ribs, finger-pointing Old Testament gods, etc. etc.

      I dream that Garden of Eden scenery, but can’t help but think at the exact same time, How many harassment and paternity lawsuits does it take to change a light bulb?

      Your (her) mother waltzing out in the dead of night and The Car of the First Party smashes melodically into The Car of the Second Part-ay, bursts into flames, into Dead Car Song. I don’t know if the downed wires, the live wires, influence this bonfire or not. Rebecca’s mother marches into a windshield, into a bloody nose and forehead and blood pooling in her chest cavity, firefighters clomping about in big boots and big green gloves and glow-worm stripes on their yellow slickers and women appear out of the woodwork wanting to "date" them. The free market at work – as if firemen don’t pull enough action as it is.
      At the seemingly irresistibly romantic accident scene, Reb’s mother Barbara dies, but deviates from her death and sends out a new pulse after they gave up on her, and she wakes from her clotted bloody sleep to recover in the Dave Clark Five Memorial Hospital, good as new, though she’s shed a little weight and about 25 years of memory.
      "Why do you look so old?" she asks her husband.
      "My fish all drowned," her father said in his study, his brown study.
      "Can fish drown?" I asked.
An aquarium with cobwebs, the black-and-white TV on behind the aquarium, distorted slightly, not unlike looking out the warped glass windows of my colonial house.
      "Mine do," he said. "My fish drown."
      My mother was a fish, I sing to myself, high terse voice ala Green On Red but no one knows the song.
      "I love my daughter," Barbara says over and over to strangers transporting her in the singing ambulance, "I love my daughter."
      Region 3 paramedics yelled, Is she coding?! but we’re all coding and decoding, we’re all coddled, minor codicils in the will that has so many patches you can’t see the tyre.

      And nothing I can enact regarding Reb can match the effect Reb has had on me. This hardly seems just, violates some Monroe Doctrine of the heart. I cannot take off a bra and wow her the way she levelled me in a nanosecond as if with a 2x4. What can I do? Take off my sock in a car? Wave my torn but comfy Everlast boxers? Not the same effect. Is there an official government body where I can lodge an official complaint? Is there a body.

      From deep inside her mystery body Reb says, "Holy jumping, I’m so hungover I feel all Victorian. Like coming off a lengthy illness," she says.
      Reb stayed up drinking with her father and fashion-ad brothers. Their family owns not one but two Hummers. Basic Hummer goes for what, 100 thou? As we speak in our innocent city, doubtless resentful drunken locals are kicking down the rare door-planks of their country cottage.
      "Slightly wrecked," she says, "I just threw on any old mismatch clothes, I look like some blind trailer trash Barbie." (You get dressed in the dark? my mother used to ask.)

      I look at Reb, can’t look at Reb. What I need to know: Is it a militant rejection of make-up or a relaxed disdain for make-up? Last night I spied her in her Cat Woman boots at the arts and craft house. Reb’s tiny red sneakers now in the tiny blue canoe of my car, her blood full of chocolate, oxygen, salt, and that amazing Cheddar that comes in the tiny red tub and is addictive as heroin, addictive as those painkillers she is rumoured to have devoured like coloured Smarties one sad afternoon listening to All Tomorrow’s Parties.
      I must make a move toward her or I’ll kick myself later. My big talent: kicking myself later. Who invented panties? I have moral turf-toe.
      "Are you always this quiet?" Reb asks.

      Two of us leap the stairs (Reb’s nervous about elevators and contracts to the lowest bidder), two of us walk the wide modern halls, the cheerful depressing colour schemes of hospital hours, hospital food, scrubs and gowns, and that hard-wired itch in me to just get the hell out, to save myself from disease and wither and weakness and gris-gris design flaws.
      Mostly good news re your mother, they say. Lacerations, contusions – the comforting terminology and technology, our monied intersection with the graphs and print-outs. But she hit her head and lost 25 years, lost the ability to spell re.
      "Who are you?" Barbara the puzzled mother looks at her husband the puzzled genius. "Why does everyone look so old?" she exclaims. The dorks are in the Winter Palace, she’s gone back in time. Her husband should be young, her daughter a child, or maybe she’s gone back before she had a daughter.
      From back there can she say When and Why her porcelain daughter will turn to Percodan and Derrida? Will she drink too much when she’s older? Will I? Rebecca, do I want just you for you or simply because it’s possible? You destabilise me.

      Say something, I think in the blue car. Say something stupid. That should be easy.
      POSSIBLE GAMBIT #1: Hot enough for you?
      Or, POSSIBLE GAMBIT #2: I have some ice cubes I can tenderly apply all over you to alleviate this ghastly heat. Oh oh, I’m being phallocentric, phallocentric and phallogocentric. I imagine her eyes close to my eyes, me putting ice cubes in her shorts, my hand staying there briefly, ice down the front and held in my hand and inside her very warm underwear, ice cubes losing shape swiftly under her nippled shirt. Forgetting my errand, errant, not appropriate thoughts.
      Shift gears, study the straight yellow line, try to straighten up and fly, stay between the lines, your safe intersections (Accident Zone Ahead).
      POSSIBLE GAMBIT #3: My, look at the time! And the temperature!
      You look at conventional sign systems: stop, yield, merge. You are pleased to offer an irony-free workplace. You want to say strip mall out loud.
      POSSIBLE GAMBIT #4: Did I tell you I met Jerry Garcia in Oakland? (Why did I say that? Is that like Old Person Talk trying to sound hip? How much older am I? She has degrees, years at school, worked in Danbury. Ten years’ difference? Less? I have no clue.) Jerry Garcia, hefty, bearded, in shades, resembled a teamster.
      POSSIBLE GAMBIT #5: Rehearse your new (theoretical) laughing life together.
      Oh, dear?
      Yes, honey?
      Are you by any chance familiar with that whipped cream Tijuana Brass album cover? Any interest ever so slight in recreating the scenario that haunted my hamster-like thoughts in Grade Seven?
      
      Daughter, mother, mother night, haunting night music: The Region 3 ambulance T-bones Barbara’s red car after she drives hard into the insurance agent’s bespectacled gaze, night’s music spinning her, ambulance lights wheeling like flung tulips, a wall of new sparks shed on the movie screen windshield, electric snow falling and coloured flashes of underwater life gasp before her like flashes of forbidden underwear and thus pristine cars become wrenched and wretched floating kingdoms. Simply by putting a foot on the gas. All this rich world can be ours! But you must act now.
      Turns out the paramedics were lured out on a false alarm – oh those troublesome spoiled teens with their own phone! Where are the parents today! The white steel body with red crosses didn’t need to be roaring across the northside road throwing its voice at that exact minute. A face at a car window becomes faces at ambulance windows, our white bodies in blue beds jacking back those little red pills.
      Rebecca is enjoying her power over me. Or not. Or she resents my fabled power as a privileged male (power I don’t seem to notice or be able to use), positioning herself vis--vis something profound. Or, worse, she is unaware of her effect, or, absolute worse, she sees me as a wizened nobody, an ageing eunuch (kind of a cool car though), so her magic trick, a skin-tone bra coming off, to her means nothing.
      You wonder if Reb has a white dress she could lie down in like a sail dipping into the cool ocean. If you could just see her, even for a minute. You’d be good, you can’t wait, though it’ll never happen. But why not? The question you have the sense not to utter: Will I ever gaze upon your form draped only in diaphanous undergarments? If I can’t see Reb half-naked then the terrorists have won!!
      There is pressure to have instant gratification. Or instant grief? What if she says, How could you! Pressure to seize the day, yet at the same time equal pressure to defer, to not offend, to not be total geekboy – caution, be as careful as a historian.
      Maybe Reb doesn’t actually see me here, I don’t register on her radar screen, the way I fail to register on her great father’s radar even though I unearthed those lost episodes of Rat Patrol. I’ve been on national radio, but not TV, so I don’t really exist yet.

      Or she simply likes me, she’s making a pass by slipping her bra off beside me, a signal. I’m 39 outside a 7-11 on Route 69. No one ever makes a pass at me. I’ll never get this chance again in my life. That feeling that you’re still very much alive, but most of what we term life is completely over. Wonder how long before I buy in.

      The younger generation is more relaxed about stuff like this. Bra on. Bra off. Nothing. Lie down in a meadow of poppies – nothing. To allow me in, get us both in a lather. Means nothing and nothing shall come of nothing – but any chance of driving one of the family Hummers sometime soon?
      Am I welcome in her walled garden, deep inside her horti conclusi? Why is nothing obvious and simple? A new planet, but the old world still tucked inside with thumbtacks and needles. There must be microphones and cameras shadowing us. She’s been hired by the medieval specialist who wants to destroy me.

      Roll around in a meadow of poppies – have I gone nuts? This is forbidden. Relaxed? The younger generations are far from relaxed, they’re judgmental, they’re into witch hunts, they’re ultra serious about stuff like this (like with Dungeons & Dragons, Duke and Doom), they think anyone older is guilty of something (of course we are). Are they more relaxed about casual sex? I think so, but only with each other, with everyone but me.
      I can’t decide, veer between theorems, pylons, possibilities, drive between legs, breasts, I mean, building, kerbs.
      
      "Have you seen the last Bertolucci?" she asks
      "Stunning," though I say I was unsure of the ending with the husband out in the street while they’re in bed.
      No one uses a word like stunning. Only the old. Or maybe only the young. I’m confused. In the Bertolucci film they hardly even talk (pass the butter). No one fingers a bra from a sleeve.
      How’s my driving? Drive Alameda Avenue, The Taproom, fitness clubs and flaring charcoal grills, Victory Meat Market, Doggy Style Pet Care, Early Bird Specials! (into your hands I commit myself), drive neon and pink stucco ghettos with the understanding this cowboy can’t ask her anything, would rather be depressed than embarrassed.
      
      Shift gears, get the wind in our throats, beg the breeze to seek our skin. What route, say I, the scenic route by the dark blue water, the golf course with the female ghost crossing the links at night, a native woman who drowned here a century ago and now haunts the golf course, a ghost floating past sunflowers and skin-pink roses and rented golf carts and granite erratics and the creosote wharf where one fish boat burns in the heat.
      "Pull over!" Rebecca calls.
      One fish boat already started up. In my car watching the fire spread, the attraction, the sudden beauty of destruction, a perverse need to study it. Three salmon boats lashed together, tied wharfside.
"Why don’t the other two boats take off?"
"They can’t," says Rebecca. "Tide’s out. They’re trapped, can’t move."
Reb and I watch all three boats shake into orange and black flame, dabbed tar in the boards melting and diesel tanks catching with some percussion, glass popping and wooden ribs blackening to the waterline.
      Some memory for Rebecca, some primal trigger. I can tell. She doesn’t know I’m there watching her watch, studying her face, we’re parked at the kerb, above the wharf’s oily water. Rebecca and I stare at the flames sharing the oval wooden boats despite the yellow hoses turned on them and all this water to the horizon, a body of water, a cauldron of light with a bare midriff at its centre.

      Can you be blamed for what rests in your head? For remembering a girlfriend driving, the back of your head down in her warm lap as she drove and you relaxed, she drove murmuring to you resting in her lap, she was happy that your head was pillowed there and happy that soon there were other possibilities, seminal moments ahead, you both liked Joni Mitchell, you loved each other (I knew a woman lovely in her bones), and drove around corners in California and it was weird not to be able see ahead or around, to only look up through glass at treetops and blue skies and crow-bitten wires roofing a now unfamiliar city while my girlfriend manned the wheel, the world all odd angles wheeling my private tilt-a-whirl.
      Once upon a time their eyes stayed on my eyes, once the straps dropped for me. No more.
      With her I could say anything, do anything, and it wasn’t wrong, anything I said was right, anything I wanted to try was fine, including a bit of violence. I phoned her in the mountain passes and she was excited describing the snow and the wooden avalanche tunnels. Our voices crossed elongated lines of static, I was far across the continent in New York (the city so nice they attacked it twice).
      I just love you so much, we said to each other.
      That won’t come back. I didn’t know that was of such value and could evaporate. Nothing forbidden, to be able to whisper anything. Thought our private vernacular would always exist like an aunt’s recipe or the hair on your knuckle.
      Then every e-mail starts with Sorry, then nights your eyes wide open, no sleep until Hammersmith, someone doing a detailed arc-welding job on the architecture of your tin-hat head. Some people grasp things right away. Not me. First she leaves out a few details, then there are no details at all. Forgets your birthday two years in a row. I’m scum, she says of herself the first time.
      No, not scum. Just gone, gone into the thrilling mountain passes, the border avalanche zones. You drive by the army cannons alone, you come into the world alone and you leave it alone. Reb’s mother forgets Reb’s father. Why can’t I just forget my woman in the mountains? If only you could bribe your own head, influence it a little.

      In the blue Karmann Ghia, Reb and I are as close as birds in a bed, leg by leg, we are moral neighbours. This seems perfect, but may not be – I cannot tell. Trying to be relaxed is the worst.
      Why can’t this situation smoothly transform into that situation I lived a lifetime back, a life where everything is not exactly tidy, but is closer to right: no one under live wires, no hospitals, no Region 3 ambulance smashing into you and yours, no false alarms, the red cross, big doors to the avenue opening. Nothing compares to you, love letters in the sand, blah blah blah.
      I want someone’s sheer blouse open under red hair, want a body, a body of knowledge, wish the walls down, the border open to death and truth (no I don’t), to see official light thrown flashing on our skin.
      At the accident scene the tow-truck driver has to climb on top of Barbara’s car – the side of the car now the top hatch, as if they clamber over a submarine. The human ribs also rearranged, the human brain held in its buzzing concussion, Barbara’s broken fingernails already repairing themselves. She came back to life. Maybe my past can come back too, repair itself.
      Just ask Reb the question! Suddenly I’m older than everyone but her father. My decoder ring is acting up.
Let us open old wounds. Let us remember the bozos she fled to after, my former girlfriend gone to her handsome brown-eyed men and they haunt me – Macbeth has murdered sleep, mind racing and why can’t I forget? It’s my mind – why can’t it take a simple order from me? The death of irony alleged; well, I’m waiting on the death of stupidity.

      "She was on her way to a motel," Rebecca says. "A motel!"
      "Sorry?" I. "Who was?" I say, even though you know she is talking of her mother.
The Rebel Motel across from our houses, over where the logging road sways down iron cliffs with their red arteries and watery headlights spilling their images into the swift rivers of autumn.

      I’m driving, not daring to look at her, keeping my eyes at face level, I say only, "You okay, Reb? Anything you want to do?"
      My refusal to ask a simple question, Rebecca’s rumoured OD, her episode, as she calls it, her tiny painkillers, mother’s little helpers, lights and big signs blurring like stars, my engine trembling, my slight excuse for a car. The road opens up.
      "Let’s see what this baby can do." Rebecca steers these words into my intimate open ear.
      I put the gas down, I’m a fossil glomming onto my fair share of fossil fuel, my share of power. Car gears gnash like the small sturdy teeth they are and the two of us zip like birds flung once more through tricky branches. Zip like lovebirds.
      "This is fun," Rebecca shouts over the noise in a rich river of cars, our two bodies in a body among so many other bodies and my rich dance moves that never come to fruition.

Mark Anthony Jarman

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author bio

Mark Anthony Jarman is the author of 19 Knives, New Orleans is Sinking, Salvage King Ya!, and the travel book Ireland's Eye. He attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop, teaches at the University of New Brunswick, and is fiction editor of The Fiddlehead magazine.
contact the author

See also Cougar, issue 23 TBR ; and The Stewardess Swims Over the Sea, a postcard story in Geist magazine

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