'Who am I' she asks : A creative explosion of paradoxical remarks the student replied.



The Occupation


I’ll tell you how it was the world
changed, she said — the darkness
wrapped us around.

I heard her clearly, though I barely
heard the words. It was nearly — yes —
as if she was singing.

Our job, she was saying, was not
to change the world — nor even
to keep it from changing.

No, she was saying (the story
was over already): our only
job is being changed.


Selected Poems : Robert Bringhurst

The Return


I spoke too soon when I
Called it a backslide,
In case you were worried
I realized what this has been.
“I’ve always been here.” You simply
Didn’t see it
So don’t be surprised by the
Of who we are.

A Gift

I want to ask but quite sure nobody knows,
What the silver lining is between beguiled oblivion and the odd sentiment
of love.
Is it between kindness?
Between the sheets of our conscience or even
The braided steel of our pride that makes it so
Compelling to reject ourselves from what we know
Is best; the question is, why
Do we all agree on a universal sage of unabridged pacifism
Yet the simple gift to be hurt
In honest truth, is felt
With no less integrity of our most sincere reflections
To show our jarring insecurities, is a bravery
Shunned for bravado,
Better coined for low key insanity, you named it
Only better known for what most placates me
And that was to give you the best
As a gift


Waking Up to the Coffee

Happy Halloween Everybody.

Or something less than the casual understatement of the year. Or potentially a better usage of that line because I’m pretty sure I did it unjust.

It’s all too much. – sips soup – sigh.

Where do I begin.

So I spent the majority of my day at work today watching reruns of old Disney classics. I found out promptly – was enraged, to be sure – that Pocahontas II was absolutely absurd. I don’t need a history lesson, Disney. I want pure, fat, slickly laid on romance. I went back to Sleeping Beauty and all the equally absurd, but gently so, storylines of impossible true love. Sometimes we just need a little pick me up. At least I’m not doing drugs.

Well I tell myself that. I’d imagine anybody who is going to sanely spend their afternoon reading up on all the history – here’s my lesson – of each Disney production and then thereafter the macabre grotesque origin of each formally known fairy tale has some sort of an addiction issue. Least to say I was quite absorbed.

Before we go further I’d just like to defend my position at the work place – I do not in fact work with children. Or animation. Or television of any sort. This is just a legitimate anecdote from a 21st century hard hitting 8-5 worker. That, plus the fact that my boss did not bother coming to visit us all day, so, the case has been closed.

In regards to all these irrelevant confessions it all kind of starts unravels when you get rejected. You know, by that impossible true love. Scratch the true though, that’s really not true. And replace the love with mostly just lust, not to take away from the deed of it, I think…Though I figured as I go down the memory lane of my childhood favorites that I’ve been repeating this eerie pattern since I had my first legitimate boyfriend in high school. As if we didn’t all already know that Disney has been a large part to blame for this. Rally up ladies !

Nevertheless, it still comes quite as a shock, especially when you see a repeating pattern where each time you feel afterwards like you have been shaken from your rose colored glasses and everything goes back into proper perspectives. Sometimes, a lot of the things that you have overlooked or permitted in those obscure moments you simply can’t take back. It’s almost as if I like feeling inferior and readily available. There’s not much of a regret, if nothing more than a slight tang of reminisce and a sort of genuine bewilderment of self. How did I get here again?

Or something of that nature. It’s all entirely too philosophical for this babbling Duck.

I was recently told that a truly grateful heart does not hold remorse nor sinful thoughts. It does not simultaneously give thanks in honor of grace to the people it holds dear and admires while permitting ideas of self-hatred and promiscuous self-exploitation. If so, you do not feel grateful, but are simply recognizing and noting the idea of gratefulness. More than that, it is a simply selfish and cowardly thing to ponder over. That got me thinking of a number of things. Over the last 6, no, 7 years now, I have been so self-indulgent to the point of craving my arms at one point, sleeping with people though I morally did not want to, but lustfully argued that it should not matter nowadays. I have been almost adulterous in the sense of tempting older gentlemen on multiple occasions – I have begun to put together the dots that these voids now replace my previous cravings –  but always to be put aside as ‘sweet’, and ‘kind’, and ‘mature’, maybe even ‘sexy’, but it’s just a treat. I wonder if that had ever affected my self-image, because I never really paid attention to it consciously. Emotional stoicism is almost a thing now.

I thought to myself, what do I really want. Who do I really want to be up to the point of meeting that fanciful prince charming – because I sort of buy into that stuff. I mean, I might slam the door to your hired team of quartets, but I might also secretly accept an invitation by letter. Those silver linings you know? So I ask myself in reflection at which point had I gone too far this time – each time? When did admiration, affection, attractiveness, turn into this freakish nature of infatuation? When did the spiral speed up into a vortex and I would far too quickly disintegrate into this needy, desperate and low-self imaged nobody until the guy finally cuts it short and says ‘it’s been a nice ride’. In historical terms, it’s like accompanying a gentleman to the doorsteps of his home and falling rapidly in love from one end at the front entrance of your hotel room to the steps of his home. The wife is waiting patiently.

Of course, I’ve never actually engaged in anything actually adulterous as that, but I would say 14 years apart this time was definitely something. I felt flattered and pampered and childish all at once. No, it wouldn’t have lasted, but it was nice riding with you too. Now, to remake myself upon the people I truly wish to ride with for a life time – namingly that person in the mirror – she’s a tough one.

Some Self-Taught Reflections

One of the two things that I came to realize about myself as of late is that I no longer write poetry when I’m mad. Particularly when I’m upset with my mother, something that’s just going to have to be another joint struggle in the universal discourse with mothers and daughters out there. Upon realizing this, I thought it was pretty cool that I could write for myself now. Then I pondered in my duck pond some more and thought that maybe, perhaps was I ever trying to talk to my mother through my written words? – God knows that’s impossible, if I write in English that is. If I have to write in Chinese, then just forget it. We’ll shame each other to stuttering deaths before anything significant takes place.

This train of thought actually takes me back to grade 5 and 6. My father passed away and I began to revere and adulate him to no end when writing. Embellish his many life accomplishments though I only know the basis of it. And nowadays I know that he in fact partook in a 3-4 year long affair and paid for the woman’s lodgings to bring her with him. Geez, dad, could you get any worse of a drama plot line than this? But without knowing this, I wrote about him every year for at least one of those ‘touchy feeling’ papers for school so that all my teachers would come to know him as ‘the greatest man that lived’. Matter fact, I did it this year too. Now, don’t think I didn’t realize this as reality, because I did attempt to write about my mother before – it was in French, does that speak for how much I did not want her to understand this? – everything just came out…wiry. That sounds better than sarcastic. At that time also, everything I said to her was punched out by a secret jab too. I couldn’t stop it. The secret to feminism.

The second thing that I found interesting about myself was that, I did not want to be alone.

Does that sound too simple? Maybe it’s common sense to a lot of people out there, but the Duck and her niche of quirky folks (out there somewhere, hidden in their dungeon) rather adores it. She always has, ever since she learned to grow into herself and acknowledge that hey, she’s not going to be princess swan and featured on DvD for the rest of her life. She’s like the turtle in the movie that can’t quite get things right. That is fine with the Duck.

So where did this thinking come from? And when I say alone, I don’t mean like, oh my dear fairies, I need a partner, pop out a couple of children, have them proliferate a little before I die old and happy. Flutter, flutter. No. More like I want a million cat babies. But that’s not the point because alone does not even include my cat (shock). Alone doesn’t even have to be ‘real’. Cause let’s face it, in this world you’re a phone call, a computer button away from being alone. Alone just defines the feeling of having been there. Being alone at home is one thing, it’s okay, it’s your domain, nobody’s going to judge you, not even yourself. But being alone in the outside world…school, work, social functions…All of which except from school will be the off chance that I somehow end up plopped into one.

Then there was the aspect of being ‘alone’ that got me to do so many stupid things the last year. To having wondered and frightened yourself for why you feel compelled to be harmed – but I guess being so deathly scared of ‘doing things for attention’ is humility of a sort. And not just the standard, not saying no, but having compelled yourself to argue so convincingly that you are right, you don’t even question the idea that you did not partake in the decision making of it when the end of things come. I’m quite sure now that I did not. Ugly little reflection, but getting stripped while sleeping and waking up to someone just on the cuff of having sex with you does not make you an accomplice. Not even the fact that the Duck froze and did nothing, and actually even began a sexual relationship with the same fellow and rolled over when he told her to, and complied when he wanted. No, Duck, you were not at fault as so many people tried to tell you and failed to really reach you. And yet again, just writing it aloud makes me want to reconsider the final verdict, but just, no.

This discovery was made while I was having a spell of being publicly upset, and I guess saying it aloud really takes it away from just thinking about it. I remember distinctly though I was well aware that I was making such a face in public, that my words sounded so…naive, small…and improbable when I said them aloud. But then of course, one of the things about talking aloud is that you can never take it back. So there it went off. My tender hearted thought that said – I don’t want to be alone, disappearing into a wisp among the cacophony of the lives of everyone else present.

Both of those are rather heavy subjects for the Duck’s mind alone to having revealed. So not too shabby there mate.

To make things more light hearted, the Duck also discover something else that is presumably common sense also when one is put into the work force.
– Help and Smile.

I don’t mean it for clients or costumers or just the boss man. I mean for each other, the co workers that you’re spending half or more of your month with. Such simple things that we neglect to do or ignore when we’re on the job. I experienced having done both, being awkward and racking up thoughts of your coworkers all planning together to bury your body is really just, oh dear Duck Lord. On top of being overly sensitive about their comments – People have their quirks. I don’t even know what the Duck was thinking – how did she think she got made?

Any who, yes, motivated, smiles, and help. I can safely assume that my manager at the least does not hate me now from his first impression of the Duck waddling in a minute late. And having guided a fellow quacker to a decent sized sale actually helped the coworker herself to a little dose of self-acknowledgement for quote-on-quote “being such a bitch to you this morning – sorry.” Apology accepted and thanked for. But even then, something as little as helping someone pick up their belongings when it’s dropped, I got thanked. I don’t know if that was even called for because being a good kindred soul wasn’t what I was going for at that moment. It was more of a, “look at that mess, look at all that junk!” and thinking, “my god that wrapper looks like a condom, please not, please not.” So hoolios to my crazy assistant manager with his awkward unexpected thanks. I’ll continue on calling you out for drinking a liter of pop and eating a large bag of chips during break time.

That’s that. That was a hefty claim to bright and early Sunday morning. People in renowned Raincouver, enjoy the sunshine that betrays it’s actually still just a few degrees above 0 Celsius outside. And if you have snow, then stop wishing it away to nonexistent and send them here. This is your overly excited neighbor.

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celeste lee cloud

writer & artist

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