ditch,

the poetry that matters

Laura Notarianni

Laura Notarianni graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Special Honors degree in Film Production & Screenwriting. Originally from the Rose City Welland, Ontario, Laura enjoys dabbling in many of the arts, and has been passionately writing and storytelling since she was a small child. 


Laura is presently concentrating on building her portfolio to pursue a career as a screenwriter and children’s picture-book author. Her artistic influences stem from a fascination with the coming-of-age and nostalgia, however her creative interests and inspirations are limitless, and extend from poetry and painting to religion, mysticism and North American pop culture. Laura received York University’s 2008 N.A Taylor Prize for Film for her efforts in screenwriting.


She now lives and works in downtown Toronto as a script-coordinator for a CBC television series. Next up, Laura plans on doing some post-grad globe trotting.

 

Wolfgang Webb


Wolfgang’s little. 

He’s coasting the highway of adulthood but still a child in his heart and in his head.

Look at his hands. They’re young but the growth of his callus reveals age like the spiraling rings of a coniferous wood.

Cut and alone. Snow melting from a trunk in some clearing in the forest.


He’s made from claymation but he tastes like gingerbread with a hint of thyme.

And a twist of lime. “Handle with care,” says the tag on his wrist… like those brown paper parcels tied up with string.


His hair is like yarn -

A patch quilt of memories practically woven into his old knit toque. 

His grandfather wore it last, and it embodies his copper essence, like material lyrical straw strung upon his head. 

Wolfgang wears it with pride, as if it was the battle wound of a war veteran, or the Victoria Cross of a self-sacrificing hero. There’s valour in its past. 

Courage.


It’s frayed at the edges, much like the tatters of his shirtsleeve, 

the drawings in his bedroom, and the burdens of his soul. 

The sensitive burdens he keeps hidden from the sun, but whispers only to the parchment of his Moleskin or the strings of his acoustic…when the stars come out to play.

But they don’t play, really. They simply listen to his whispers. Sometimes they even cry. “You can tell a star is crying,” he says. “When they sparkle it’s a tear.”


He calls these burdens blues. Blues. Just like the 50 shades of sorrow in his skin. One shade always lighter than the last. The scars always deeper in the past.

Cobalt, indigo, azure, cerulean and sapphire…


Sapphire. Like her eyes.

Sapphire. Like the veins on her wrist.


Is his pain numb from the cold?

What happens when the ice, it goes away? He’ll miss it almost.

As if the dark days and the whistle of night’s chill validate his fears. His mourning.

Providing comfort when he wakes up but doesn’t wanna get up.


He sits hunched over a coffee shop table of some downtown dive, with his back against the door. And it’s well past midnight. Maybe even 2 am.

The table’s sticky, and although the buzzing of the incandescent bulb irritates his cornea, he can’t help but tap to its rhythm with his feet and shaking knee.


He rips at the wrapper of a plastic straw. Just thinking. Always thinking. And he’s nervous. He’s waiting for something… or someone.

A prophecy lost in the street like a call-girl on the roadside lifting her skirt and singing for some safety.

But he doesn’t know for sure. He’s never really sure.


He holds a gift. A gift to welcome this something… or someone 

Good or bad. 'Cause he’s like that.

He holds it in his head, written cursive across his mind. Rotating like the paper roll of a player piano. And it never really ends.

He never really ends. 

His whispers.

Caught in the web of a dream catcher. 


He practices and practices, whispering to the table.

Tapping with his spoon. Deathly afraid he might forget.


He touches the frays of his hat and chews on the chap of his lip.

Just as the nerves take over…sharpening their fangs, ready to eat him alive…


The bell above the door jingles to his tune.

The one from his head. But played by the spoon.

His heart like a hand grenade sweating in his chest.

He turns very slowly… and looks up at the door.

He feels a draft, but smells the ocean

And... finally…he sees what he’s been waiting for.


 


Dashboard Saints in America


What does it mean to be a dashboard saint in America?

A little piece of plastic Jesus bobbing it’s head back and forth

wafting in car fog.... coughing on the stench of 66 cigarettes snuffed out in an ashtray. A clay little mold with the finger-print of a first-grader. Happy Birthday to the best father in the world. That you old man? Your boots at the bedside. Dirt on the floor. Spit in the sink. Cum on the couch cushions.


The ones I sit on. Rest on.

Eyes closed and dreaming.


Skip, skip, BANG. We hit a speed bump, and whiplash I’m up again.

Ain’t one thing’s changed except for the blood on the tires.

Particles of carcass clump in rubber crevices, warm rice pudding - grandma style.


It’s still hot. Hot, hot.

Hot leather interior. Hot like beans flaming in the pan, and onto my tongue. Kill my taste buds for the stretch of the I-35.

I wish I was high.


But I’m not.

And there’s sweat on my lip. Sweat on my chest. Sweat in all them private places, I don't like to sweat, but I do.

Feedback screeching from the radio, the AM. The dashboard doctrines of Sunday morning. I wonder what the preacher and his wife did last night. Or what he and the deacon did before comin’ on home to his wife’s casserole.

A little peach cobbler “a la mode.”


Here’s your wine spritzer Dear. Spike it with alkaline and make him choke. Oh.. OH OHHHHH!


And Oh how the angels sing on high. Sweet pocket praises to the one and the holy, our heavenly father.

And so we pray.

Pray for the able and the Aryan. The moral and the monied.

For the status quo. And the dosey doe....


And for smiles.

The ones we make even when we don’t mean it.


Sun in my eyes and I squint.

Through the slits, I see the big plastic head bobbing back and forth. I see his painted on smile, his bleach-white teeth and a hellish yellow halo.

Probably made from that penny an hour, Taiwanese table paint.

The toxic kind.

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