The Dandelion


The Dandelion


I broke her heart as a dandelion.
She saw me as a flower
when I wondered if I were a weed.
We grew stubborn roots
that kept us together through two breakups.
Though my petals leaned away,
something deeper kept its grip,
brought me back to the soil of us,
to the school field and the ocean air,

And then it didn’t.

I was a dandelion,
and I could feel the change in the seasons,
my petals turning to seeds,
with the lightness and lift that comes from them,
and I couldn’t remain a bright flower for her;
I couldn’t be her wine.
It was in my nature;
I longed for a steady wind
to cast me about in five hundred directions,
to grow again, apart from that place
and from her.

So I left.
A weed and a flower,
a flower and a weed,
I launched into the breeze,
billowing about through winters
and springs,
summers and falls,
at first without aim,
at the whims of the wind,
hither and thither,
learning my shape and my size,
my weedness and my florality,
the pest and the prize,
until now,
at last, I gaze out of the gust
and hope maybe for a garden
with soil and a soul
in which to root.

Photo by Greg Hume

Katie, sister

Katie, sister was originally published in Walk Myself Home, an anthology by Caitlin Press aimed at ending violence against women.

Katie, sister

English: Sign of Spring You know spring has sp...

Six years young, Katie wore
a bleached cotton sundress
with papier-maché over wire
hanger wings. It took thirty days,
eight newspapers, and one hair dryer
for me to set her feathers to form,
so she could welcome in the baby Jesus.

I need you. The beach spot.”
A text. Katie. Fourteen years old.
I phoned back – no reply – left a party
mid-conversation, and let
my fifth-hand Chevy roar.

She had always been loved a little less, mistreated
a little more, some family cruelty I couldn’t understand.

Katie gazed over the rioting ocean,
a hastily assembled backpack beside her,
filled with her lunches she never ate, clothes,
her skirted legs dangling from the rockface, kicking
pebbles loose with her heels, her toes reaching
for ground. She looked
like a ballerina torn
from her music-box.
I wiped her mascara and put
my arm around her shoulders,
slender wishbones,
and led her away from the wind.

She fell asleep in the seat beside me,
knees tucked, arms askew at angles.
My coat covered her, chin to ankle.

We roomed together for a time,
her nuzzled into my couch or
pacing about my room. I found
all her new habits, good and ill,
the eggshells she’d keep from omelets
and line up along the windowsill,
a shelf of flightless birds.

She left
when they never asked about her,
took a Greyhound to Ontario,
left me a note, no number,
phones me every month or so,
promising to come back sometime,
but not any time soon.

Don’t be a stranger,
Andrew Wade

Poem – Why we’re not together

The speaker in a poem is rarely ever the author themself. Poems are spoken by characters formed by the author, often exaggerations of some element within the author, who often share the same soul as the author, but they are set apart.

And good thing too, for poets are not nearly as articulate as their characters.

Why we’re not together

I envisioned love at first glance:
a daylight dazzle
of truth and beauty and expanse and awe,
so that if our first moment was not perfect,
I could dismiss
the chance of any future flirtation.

I composed courtly love
so I could pursue women like you
as one would pursue the moon, the sun
and the stars,
without any danger
of catching them.

I birthed loving like a brother
to make you my sister,
to surround myself with incestous impossibility.

I chose a career that travels
and breaks us apart with oceans,
that severs us with uncertain years.

I compared you to my failures,
my never-weres, never-to-bes,
shot you with pessimism,
let you down
led you away
turned my head
turned my heart
closed up
closed off

and still,
I miss you.

Courtly Love comes in the basket

by Andrew Wade.

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The letter it took me four years to send.


Confidence is a concept I have grappled with, my whole life long. That ability to believe that yes, gosh darnit, I am good enough for the task, able to slay that dragon, to win that audition, to write that story. To know that, if I don’t currently have the knowledge set, that I can learn it, train it, become it.

The first time I auditioned for UVic’s acting stream, in my interview they asked me what my biggest weakness was. I told them, confidence. That I had been out of the theatre world for a couple of years and I wasn’t certain I would cut the mustard.

I didn’t get in. That time. Fortunately, a trait I did have at the time was the stubborn persistence to try again.

But that failure made me question how I approached life. My former outlook was to look at each possible interaction (auditioning for a show, submitting to a contest, applying for a job), to examine my current abilities, and to see if I matched what was needed for the task. I was confident in my decisions, but shied away from the larger challenges.

Then came the failed audition, and I saw how this mindset made me avoid activities that excited me, but that I wasn’t sure I could do.

“Screw you, confidence.”

So now I take the antagonistic approach and ignore the intellectual conversation of whether or not I think I have the appropriate skillset to do something. Nowadays, I say yes to every opportunity that comes my way that excites me, with two exceptions:

  1. If I am unable to schedule it around all my other awesomeness.
  2. If I have a really, really, REALLY good reason to say no.

As a result? I am a Peer Helping Coordinator, Fine Arts Senator, Impromaniac, finishing up both a BA in Writing and a BFA in Acting, PEAK Study Leader, Astronomy Interpreter, Red Hat Lab Supervisor, ESL Study Centre Volunteer, Children’s Ministry Volunteer, and a number of other titles. I haven’t fit all the requirements for a single job I have landed. And I am learning so much.

The Letter.

Which brings me to The Letter. Ever since my second year in the Writing department, we students have been pushed to submit our works to literary journals. This was seen as something writers did. As a way to get our work known. As a way to motivate us. As a way to get published!

But my own pieces weren’t good enough, surely not.

A couple of years ago when I joined – a site where you list your goals, track your progress, and other people cheer you on – a few of the goals I included were seemingly simple little projects, items to be accomplished in a day. Like submitting already completed works to a literary journal. But my own pieces weren’t good enough, surely not.

Somehow, my just-go-for-it attitude has not carried over to my writing.

Well, today I bundled up three poems, added a contest fee, and sent them off to The Malahat Review. Just like that. And are my poems good enough? Doesn’t matter. The importance is in the doing.

In becoming a confident writer.

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