"The white fathers told us, "I think, therefore, I am" and the black mother within each of us – the poet – whispers in our dreams, I feel, therefore I can be free."- Audre Lorde

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 15th 2009

Vomit sat stubbornly in my throat---a sit in--refusing to reconcile, I sat, hugging my knees in a tiny phone booth, in the Union Station. Hiding away in the only small public space I could find. We said goodbye. Still the puke refused to leave-- but I did. and it hurt.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When I grow up...

When I was little Shannon, I had a very very detailed vision of what Grown-Up Shannon would be and look like ( In fact, I held onto this vision from pre-school 'till highschool...maybe even later). In this vision I would, undoubtedly, be a highschool teacher. (All part of the plan, until last Fall). Notably, according to my early-aged goal-orientated -life-plan, I would officially be a grown-up upon graduating teacher's college at age 21, where merely weeks after graduating I would score a full-time position teaching Creative Writing to disgruntled and justifiably angsty inner-city (and culturally diverse) kids. I'd make my students call me the French word for "Miss", because i thought "Mrs." was too formal, and I liked that "Mademoiselle" reminded me of motzerella, and as a kid, I was really into my cheese. Twenty-One= real grownup. Everything would come into fruition then. And I'd have come into the peak of my physical maturity- the image I maintained of grown up shannon partly stemmed from a drawing I did of myself in second grade entitled "when i grow up". I'd be tall. No shorter than 5"7. (I decided I'd take after my Dad). I'd have satisfyingly ENORMOUS breasts. No less than a D or E or...F cup. (This buxom prediction was based on the fact that said picture, was the first time i ever drew boobs, and so they turned out massively disproportionate but the image always stuck with me. and i liked the face my 7-year old crush made when he saw it). I would have long silky calves that would be accentuated perfectly by the high-heels i would wear EVERYWHERE to EVERYTHING. and my long straight brown hair would, upon adult-hood, transition to dark-black. Why? Because when i grew-up, I would become a real Italian. (This was during my "im-going-do-deny-i-am-metis-phase"). I'd wear tight pencil skirts everyday with a tucked in cream cloloured blouse (that i'd secretly untuck and peek down when in the washroom, to admire the final state of my lovely lady lumps). I'd drive a bright-red car; a fire-bird. and wear red-lipstick to match. I'd be married, to a man with brown hair- who'd wear sweater vests to all our dates. I never saw his face. Only his hands. All of this would have happened, had i played my cards right, close to three-years ago now.
My vision was to take a sabbatical from teaching, at 23. ('cause after nearly TWO loong years of teaching you'd need it) and sell all my possessions. (As a kid, I invisioned this to be the moment that I parted with all my toys officially). After free-ing myself of all earthly goods, the plan was to leave my husband for a year, or so, and travel to Ethiopia to wet-nurse sad orphan babies while teaching them about the good lord. I would have went all the way to become a nun at this point, but i was a fairly sex-obsessed child, and couldn't quite commit to a life of Chasity. (I would have amaaazzzing enormous D or even E cup boobs, that would be totally wasted under a nun's habit). Anyway, after winning all Ethiopians over to Christ, I'd spend the rest of my life as an old lady (30's) in Calcutta- shoe-ing away flies from children's faces and sharing food. Eventually I'd return home to my husband, maybe have a few kids myself, live in the country, have a purple door, drink red wine with every meal and teach my son to be gay, but that was so so sooooo far in the future, I barely thought about it beyond those minor details.
It's kind of funny that I am at an age now, I am "Future Shannon"- the grown-up. Apart from marrying a brown-headed husband, (who, unfortunately, refuses to wear sweater-vests to all our dates) nothing else has really come true. My dream of teaching fell down the drain when teacher colleges/schools became flooded with students and sustainable jobs were less and less. I fell in love with feminism. social theory. and 1960's-lesbians- switched my three-year English undergrad degree, to five-years of gender-studies. Spent my first year as an 'adult', semi-un/underemployed. My boobs are a B cup. My calves, short and thick and sometimes I don't shave. I'm not Italian. The word "mademoiselle" still makes me happy, but somewhat guilty, as a struggling vegan. I don't know how to walk in heels- and got married barefoot. I'm too poor to fix my free bicycle, let alone own and drive a red-firebird. (My G1 licensee also expired, about 2 years ago...). I wear red-lipstick, from time to time, but only to be ironic, and pretend i have lip-botox. My height took after my mom, not my dad, and I can't pull off pencil skirts. (however, i do still secretly look down my own shirt sometimes just to remember whats down there and giggle). I didn't spend this last year in Africa or India, nor have I mastered wet-nursing. I still think nuns rock and the likelihood of becoming one is still rare. And Sometimes I still dream about having a house one day with a purple door, drinking red wine with every meal, and maybe, just maybe, raising an ultra-feminine son. It's interesting thinking of the woman, your childhood-self created of and for you. It's weird when you realize, to former-shannon, you are future-shannon- a grown-up now.
I'm glad I'm happy; even though my path deterred away from that second-grade drawing- I think childhood self would like Andrew, my community, the fun I have, the places and people I love, the things I've done and the ideas I built myself around. I think in her own little way, She'd approve. bra-size and all.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Places I have Bontched

To Bontch: The Act of *puking, *barfing *throwing-up *blowing-chunks *vomiting * *upchucking

1) Spaghetti in Dad's Garden
2) Projectile vomit, on the walls, in a fancy historical building in Venezuela
3) Directly outside the doors of A&P (teen-boy standing near by turned to his friend and yelled, "Hells Yea" when he saw the force & quantity of my jerk-sauce bontch)
4) Pineapples, outside of the "Purple Door", at a NewAge Store on Barrie Street. (I wilted their front shrubs)
5) Todd's Espresso, in Todd's toilette
6) On a poster of Usher (i was laughing so hard i puked)
7) Almond milk, through my nose, on the floor of the Men's Washroom at Tim Hortons
8) At Miguels house (5 to 6 times)
9) On someone elses' sleeping-bag
10) Outside of Brendan's bedroom door (twice maybe)
11) Lime Green Matcha Latte, at work.

12) the court-house parking lot (three times)

13) in the corridor of the Sociology Department
14) in a stranger's blue box

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

my dear hafez

I saw you today, for the first time since. Like old lovers,our eyes met; briefly we breathe the same silence,but you look away, faster than i can.

and I stand frozen on a sidewalk in the rain,as you ride bicycle down broken street.

In this moment, you try not to notice, me, or the pain i own,

street-lights guide you past.
In this moment, i try not to memorize, The ink on your arms; the colours, i saw in you.

but the waves on your elbow,once beautiful, now harsh; hide the secrets, you swore to protect...

they remind me, of my loss,of your sea.

i am somewhere, a spec, a memory, a hideous ache you yearn to forget.

pieces of me, float through you; yet i am here

grocery bag in hand, toes on concrete,
wishing you'd nodded, or waved, or at the very least screamed: 'fuck you'

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Day of Curious Interaction

8:30 am: 30-something Taxi-Driver

The discomfort of his own silence, leads him to hum at a consistent and barely audible volume. He makes soft snapping sounds with his tongue, to replace the words he can't be bothered to say. I catch his nervous gaze as he checks his blind spot, and look away, to avoid the accidental intimacy of eye contact.

9am-noon: Pam, the Athletic Girl's Grandma

Her laughter reminds me of someone I once loved, so I keep talking, just to hear it more. She asks questions, I answer, Jasmine Tea in hand, wondering if her granddaughter, the Athlete, knows how lucky she is. We share stories, as I watch the world breeze by through her train window. I tell her it was a pleasure, and I mean it. She says, "it was lovely to meet you", and I feel it.

12:15pm: Norman the Grey-Haired Go-Bus Driver
He likes my suitcase and asks if it's a vintage collectors. I giggle with flattery and tell him I just like ugly things from Value Village. He says, that's fair. I push my luggage into the lower compartment with my foot, trying to avoid my dress from flying up in the wind. He waits, and I hope he doesn't see my underwear. I hand him my ticket, and he nods me in. Goodbye Norman.

12:16- 2pm: Dress-Pant Man with No Beard

He offers to hold my carrot-sprout juice from the Union Station, as I cram my over sized purple carry-on into the tiny compartment above us. He smiles, and I secretly wince. Happy with his kind gesture of juice-holding, I sit beside, rather than behind him. but weary of his naked beardless face and stagnate coffee breath, I keep my left leg closer to the aisle, than to him. We quietly exchange polite, yet awkward smiles, and I pretend to sleep for 20 minutes, trying to avoid the smell of his words. He tells me the weather is looking up, and I agree. He tells me he caught the 6:30 train to Aurora, and I sympathize with his exhaustion, plucking sneakily with my fingers at my roasted red peppers. He looks out his window, though I swear he's watching me through it's reflection in the corner of his eye....so i continue to eat my lunch with extra swift and stealth. He shakes my hand before his stop, and leaves. Dress pants and bad cologne.

2:20-4pm: Gabriel, the Nigerian Pharmacist from Newfoundland

Giggling, he enters the Go-bus, relieved by the fluke of having caught it, despite his watch being 1 hour behind. He shows me his wrist when he sits next to me. Our legs sort of touch, but I don't mind. After exchanging pleasantries, he gives me 2 and a half hours of career advice, as I nod and smile when appropriate. His accent is endearing, so I don't bother interrupting him, to explain why I don't want to work for the government or join the Navy. I like the mystery of my own silence. He tells me he met his wife on a bus, when he was in college. I notice his stubby fingers remind me of my eight grade math teacher's. I tell him I'm married too, mostly for the secret delight I get from referring to Andrew as "my husband", when speaking to strangers. He waves at me from outside, after we drop him off. I can tell he's giggling again, even as we pull away. Gabriel, the pharmacist who wishes he still lived in BC, will now visit his cousins for the weekend. In Barrie.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I cry everytime she calls me "Baby Girl", because I'm terrified it will be the last...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I use to keep my Barbie clothes in my Dad's old Folgers can. Whenever I breathe in the smell of coffee, I still envision miniature plastic pink high-heels, matching floral print dresses and teeny-tiny little fluorescent coloured bathing suits.

Millie, my elderly next door neighbour, once had a tiny yellow porcelain toilette figurine resting on the back of her own human sized toilette.
When I was 5, I fell in love with this mini toilette and for months after would visit just to sit in her bathroom and admire it.
Sometimes I'd bring my Barbies over, just so they could pee too.
Millie took pity and sympathy on my Barbie's poor bladders-- as they'd sometimes have to hold their pee in for days at a time- between our visits. Deep down, she didn't want my Barbie house to be filled with the daunting stench of Barbie and Ken urine, so she graciously awarded me her miniature yellow porcelain toilette, for being her favorite neighbour.
I was so thrilled that sometimes most of my play time consisted of Barbies taking turns going poop.

And that's what the smell of Coffee reminds me off...

Barbie turds.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


When she fell for the first time,
Gravel mixed with blood.

With tweezers,
your hands, were the only
patient and gentle enough to pluck every pebble
from torn flesh.
She healed, for the first time
because of you.

But she falls. Again. And again. because of you.
and each time body hits earth,
skin opens, to reveal.
Her falls, turn flesh
into ground, to stumble.
and you become,
the gravel, wedged deep beneath
broken skin.
Tiny flecks of grey,
enter through crimson,
and hide below the layers of translucent white.
Sometimes she swears she can see you,
long after wounds have grown over,
she still feels you, she still knows
you are there.
Foreign material, in the pores of a beating, hurting soul.
Gravel in elbow. in knee cap. in chin. in heart.
Gravel too tiny, too numerous, too hidden
for any human hand to remove.
P i e c e s of you, crawl through her.
they creep into the sacred parts,
into the painful spaces,
no band-aid can guard.
Pieces of gravel,
find one another, deep, deep, deep, in
and claw at her aching chest, to get out.
But it is her skin, that has grown over you,
enfolded you, imprisoned you.
Yet she is the one,
who feels trapped,
by the healing
of her secret hurts.
And every night she wonders,
how much longer you'll live,
wedged under the skin
you once tried to mend.

Monday, March 14, 2011

.breznichar of bohemia.

"I feel her in unexpected moments, her Assumption into heaven happening in places inside me. She will suddenly rise, and when she does, she does not go up, up into the sky, but further and further inside me. August says she goes into the holes life has gouged out of us"
- Sue-Monk-Kidd

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

without and before him

She tells her story, and he listens
though he's heard it a million times over,
his eyes & his smile tells you it's his first.
She tells her story, the one of the life she had before him,
yet he becomes her memories,
her memories become his.
There is no story, without or before him.
Sixty-five years later, they sit
tea cup in hand, talking about their lives
in first-person narrative
and in these quiet moments,
during an after-dinner tea,
I watch them,
the love thick in the space,
they share as their own,
I hear them,
the words one feels,
and the other speaks...
and I realize that this, this
is what marriage is-
A shared story; two narratives folded into one
so intimately bound,
it is impossible for even the authors to determine where one ends
and the other begins
And I lay here, now in the crest of night,
your arms fold around me, your hand tucked in mine
and the rise and fall of my own thoughts,
begin to match the rhythms of your sleeping breath
In this silence I listen to our own story,
Six, not Sixty years long,
but already it tells of the messiness of heart-break and tragedy,
the strange beauties of redemption and struggle,
the grief and celebration of a love, not always whole,
but always beating towards life.
And in this silence, in our short story
I understand for the first time, the overwhelming beauty and awe of
And this hand, this sleeping hand in mine,
is no longer just my best friend's,
but my husband's.
And I realize, at this moment, more strongly than ever before,
that I will hold this hand, until it is old, until it is wrinkly
until it too, someday holds a cup of tea,
in a warm soft room, after dinner
and tells our story to those who came after.
You'll tell this story,
and I will listen, though I've heard it a million times before,
my smile and my eyes, will tell you it's my first.
..... I look forward to the day,
that you become my memories,
and I become yours.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


you were that child
beneath and between
flickering screen.
You cried, while they watched
the pain, the colours
penetrate between the spaces
you knew were yours.
Colours. You hated.
Colours. You see. In him. In me.
Tainted and throbbing, like the space left in between.
You were that child,
plucking shards from your knee
from the glass we once shared
from the glass he broke
we bled, we bleed.
but it's him I hold,
him, with fists full.
Him, who watched, who delighted
in the unspeakable colours
as they escaped you, like a death spirit
you breathed in black and white
to escape without the hurt
In you my own heart breaks,
in you my own colours
press too deep.
Without you, I am myself,
that child,
beneath and beyond
that flickering screen.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

lies my mom told me

  1. that Charles (Michael Landon), the Dad off of "Little House on the Prairie", died from a drug overdose.
  2. that hamsters have no teeth

  3. that six year olds who let their mommys curl their bangs are COOL

  4. that Markie Mark from the New Kids on the Block, leaped from roof-top to roof-top, lighting them on fire

  5. that intense fist pumping is expected at ALL concerts

  6. that button-fly jeans never go out of style

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When a Feeler, forgets to take the Pill

I'm a natural feeler and I forgot to take "the pill" for 3 days. (which terribly and exponentially intensifies my crazy feelings) This is what happened: I cried a lot over weird things.
I cried Sad tears:
-when i was trying to explain to andrew that if he ate after 10pm, his organs wouldn't be able to rest and rejuvenate themselves properly (i felt sad for them) -when i listened to "Puff the Magic Dragon". (the lyrics "one grey night it happened, jackie paper, came no more, and Puff that magic dragon, ceased his fearless roar", gets me every time)

- in the line-up at the bank

- when i couldn't get the smell of buckwheat out of my kitchen
- while reading a book about pigs
- when the application process for college only took me 10 minutes (instead of a week like Grad school did)
- when andrew questioned my vegan soy butter
- when someone i love told me they were thinking about moving to the Suburbs
- because i couldn't pay rent with the Harvey's gift-cards i got for Christmas
- when i saw the words "shannon cardiff" printed on a schedule
- because my armpit hair was less impressive then man-husbands
- when andrew threatened to eat a can of chick-peas, I'd been saving to make hummus (there was a few f-bombs on my part...)
Happy Tears:
- on the side-walk, after receiving my first pay cheque
- while reading a book about the Digestive System (it's just so, so magical)
- while watching Joe Cocker perform at Woodstock, on a library-rented documentary
- while looking at babycats on kijiji
- during Oprah (i cry whenever she does...its CRAZY)
- when the dog on Martha Speaks, lost her ability to speak, but then gained it back again
- while trying to describe my favorite tea

Saturday, January 15, 2011

forbidden love

My Barbies fornicated with ninja turtle action figures... all the time.
(poor,poor Ken)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

happy cervix

I drank a Pabst Beer, after my first Pap Smear, to commemorate.

The English minor in me, thought the phonetics of it was funny.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Being "grown-up", sometimes feels a lot like being a dancing bear.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


tiny white tea cups. in a kitchen that is not my own. matching saucers and a clock. ten minutes left. in this room, space, company i can not let myself forget. you are there. with every second dying, there is a silence left for mourning. he will come. i will go. and again you will be further than time. but here, now, we sit. staring at white. eight minutes. nine years surface. flow in and through the time on the wall. the story of us is six minutes long. sip. tea, not words. our mouths fill, and we swallow. pain. words unspoken spiral down throats, and into tummys where they lived before dawn. four minutes. i consider hiding under your table. but dont. i rarely do what i consider. instead i quietly caress the warmth of my cup. you look through the blinded window. we pretend. we pretend we're more powerful than the three minutes that threaten to steal us. i sip. you sip. the rest of the world doesn't exist. not now. only you. only this kitchen. this tiny white cup. this panic. this time i crave to stop. Two minutes and I stare at my naked wrist, thankful i have no watch. time torments and your eyes look sad. i memorize them anyway. i wonder if my own give it away. so i look deep into my teacup. nothing tricks you. and even in the silence you hear me perfectly. because we share air. that no one else can breathe. One minute left- there is only breath. but even that, feels painful. Every second taunts. I drink, even though my cup is empty. At ten seconds the world unthaws--begins to feel real again. it's time. 1 second left, we hug goodbye. Every single organ in my body feels like its been broken into a zillion little pieces but i smile anyway, to tell you it'll be ok.

snail coitus makes me smile