Italics Will Never Love You By J.D. Mersault Part One: Interior Monologue Grammar is a subject about which it is easy to be pedantic, especially for those of us who study or produce literature. These days it comes with the territory—it’s difficult to get through one of the brick-like, doorstop novels of the post-modern canon without being able to navigate the minefield of grammatical style within, not to mention the similar feat required if you want to write one yourself for some reason. Yet when the craft of writing seems to count for less and less each day in the face of declining publisher revenues, disturbing global political trends, and the omnipresent twitter bot, a nitpicky focus on grammar could be seen as at best gauche and at worst distracting. Nowadays, even mentioning the proper position of a comma, semicolon, or apostrophe outside of the lecture hall or editorial meeting is the fastest way to roll an eye. And do you think Tao Lin cares, between taking hits of acid at his New York …
The pain unleashes itself in hues of yellow, black, and crimson. The breaks between contractions are ephemeral.
Feelings are tyrannical – they can’t be mapped. Ironic, since you were holding a map for the journey ahead, too proud for GPS.
Born in Montreal in 1946, Max Layton now lives in Cheltenham, Ontario. A published novelist and short story writer, Max went legally blind a decade ago. During that diﬃcult period, he recorded his ﬁrst CD of original songs and began the series of linked poems which would become When The Rapture Comes (Guernica, 2012). When his eyesight restored thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, Max bounced back with the release of two more albums of songs and now, still going strong, his second book of poems In the Garden of I Am (Guernica, 2015).
A poem by Max Layton
I told her I’d cross the river to meet with her. I knew she lived on that side because she said something once about all the cars and noise when you live near the stadium.
First Place Prose Winner The Dong By Sarah Butson Published in issue 26.2 I was back at the Powderhorn, sitting against the wall, paranoid on account of I don’t know what. I hadn’t been in there for at least a year, maybe more, trying hard to avoid those guys from the Double X, assholes that they were, who’d probably suck me back into their stupid schemes to move stuﬀ for them. Stuﬀ…I guess that’s what I was scared of. I was desperate to score some and I didn’t need them knowing about it. They’d probably use it to blackmail me later, or worse, report me to probation. The thought of more time at Fort Saskatchewan, surrounded by mean bitches and even meaner prison matrons, made me want to pass out. It was a scorcher outside, but the cool air inside the Horn ﬁlled my veins with electric tension, like the ﬁrst zap of speed hitting your solar plexus. Tourists, dopey happy with their beers, oohed and aahed over the scenery and the healthy fucking mountain …
Published in issue 26.2 – The heat is always the ﬁrst thing he notices waking up in Pakistan.