Trying to plan a birthday party at twenty-nine is simply
masochistic! I mean, you get forty fat grad kids together
& Dip’s gonna whip out his SSHRC app. But what
pastorals, hyacinths, orchids; what a shitty thing to call a “work

gig.” Brah, my friends & enemies keep me grounded in the realness.
When Samantha faux-pauses with her ukulele cover, we split
for vinyl-coated poutine, snort coke off the cummy-bearded homeless.
Zombie, pass the cheese plate & make a face. Woops, don’t; dude’s

extinct. Pass the vegan cupcakes. Did you apply for financial aid?
The good news is: the juries always rotate, wider &
wider in the abortionist welfare state. The good news is:
Mat can get his pants fixed! Countdown to midnight & Skye’s

all nostalgic: how we got hobbled, so bad, in 400 .gifs, all early
20s love-sick. Review how misogyny became a meme
over tapas and engagement. How rape got raped in the English
language. What’s this? Another Tumblr start-up by another sad

dad? “This is what my son looks like while he weeps for my g-
draft.” But who’s gonna spot me while I raft across Lethe? Ya feel
dat? Charon’s at a “work gig.” Charon slaves an internship, trolls
the grads for eternity. So it’s not a lack of friends that pains me—

dressed like a knife-edge slut at twenty-nine, remembering all regrets—
just no blade to make the cut with. Lynn said, “a pig-shaped coffin
would fit the pale king—feudal & sagely—beneath the basement at
Disgraceland where the witches pose for roller derby.” Ossington—

you’re so fucking boring. Tell me how my birthday looks. Write this one off
with Artbooks: time’s wingèd chariot ravages all acne from your
foreheads, yet PhD Bub rips my guts for potato chips. So raise a glass. Toast
my passing into realness. I mean my grievance. I mean undeath.



Dear Gold, Dear Silver, Dear Brass Beads & Copper, Dear Platinum
Dreams of Dying Big,

Dear Big Blonde Wig, Dear Consumer
Report/Minister of Undying
Greatness, Dear Maybach & Grey
Goose Minister of the Ruined Lakefront, Dear House of
Anansi, House of Disorder, House of the Dead, Hamish Ham-,

Dear Doctors of Skin, Dear Sweet Leather Bags, Dear Condos Shining
Carbon in the Moonbeam from the Forbidden Loch, Dear
Contemporary Foes, Dear Lipstick Thrall, Dear Elderly
Male Anger with a Key to the

Dear Birthright, Dear
Red Wedding:

Why can’t I read at the IFOA: International Festival of Authors, held

On the sodden shores of Lake Ontario at the Hasbro Centre for Performing
Skulls? What’s the difference in quality in terms of density
pound-for-pound merit/ am I alive or dead or dreaming in the ground/
is this nightmare/ your book-tour/ your fin de siècle tambourine shrilling
the names I have come to shudder beneath who sold their souls to RONA

All I’m saying is I am bludgeoned nightly
daily. Forty-eight well-dressed ugly shapes beat the shit out of me
on CBC’s “All in a Day,” hosted by JOHN GO MASCHI who
once actually applied the figure four leg-lock on a woman in bondage
who screamed for me to help her, save her, & I said I can’t I had to watch
her knees rip apart.

Dear Affluence, Dear Spectacle, Dear Actual First-Time Anger, Dear
Fear, Dear Terror, Dear I Have Never Been More, Dear Death
Who Is Actual, Dear Actual Girl, Dear Reality Girl, The Continuity Girl

by Leah McLaren:

red masque of makeup on the King’s White Face.