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Poetry can help you process, empathize, and make space for yourself.

A journal with writing appears in the foreground. The background is a blurred town.
A journal with writing appears in the foreground. The background is a blurred town.

Poetry was there for me when I needed a safe way to process my feelings. You see, growing up, I couldn’t rely on my privacy. My journal was read more than I can know and I was sometimes confronted with the misconstrued meanings of what was written within. This, I was told, was out of concern for me. Unfortunately, the result was broken trust and the loss of my one space for unpacking the challenges of my young life.

Renée Zellweger said it best as the title character in Bridget Jones’s Diary, “Everyone knows diaries are just full of crap.”…


Meet the family of dashes and learn how to use them correctly

A woman wearing all black types at a table on the beach with a body of water in the background.
A woman wearing all black types at a table on the beach with a body of water in the background.

You’re a spectacular writer with a knack for storytelling but are you putting your best foot forward with your punctuation? Some people may not notice a misplaced comma or a questionable semicolon. For those who do, however, a dazzlingly written piece can lose some of its merits.

As an editor, one of the most common errors I see is misused or mixed and matched dashes. I’ve had clients in my copywriting practice who prefer the wrong dash usage. I’m okay with that, as long as it’s consistent across their brand materials. After all, rules were made to be broken, right…


Portuguese custard tarts — rich pastries with a fascinating history

Imagine a bowl brimming
with bright yellow yolks.
They shine and wobble at
the faintest of movements,
begging to be used like
their slick, translucent
counterparts.

It’s the nineteenth century
and the understanding is:
cleanliness is, indeed,
next to godliness. Hence,
nuns and monks are draped
in crisp, neat cassocks, starched
with egg whites and water.

But under God’s watchful gaze
over Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
his servants also remember:
gather up the leftover fragments,
that nothing may be lost.
Waste not, want not,
resourcefulness calls.

So, water, cinnamon, and sugar from the refinery next door are tossed with flour and…


The story of the magical cat that adopted me

A grey and white cat named isis sits on a grey ottoman with a lamp behind her and a vase of tulip just at the edge of the frame on the right.
A grey and white cat named isis sits on a grey ottoman with a lamp behind her and a vase of tulip just at the edge of the frame on the right.

It was an afternoon in early August. The kind of day that held summer’s heat yet hinted at the cool autumn air to come. My partner Brie and I sat in the back seat of our friend’s car with our sweet cat Isis between us in her soft carrier bag. I pet her silky fur through the opening at the top as we rolled from the northwest end of Toronto all the way southeast. We were headed to the animal hospital in the neighbourhood we had left behind just three weeks earlier. …


A poem about being on the precipice of change

The Toronto CN Tower appears through cherry blossom branches against a blue sky.
The Toronto CN Tower appears through cherry blossom branches against a blue sky.

Backdropped Ivy
creeps up pink bricks.
Cherry blossoms shade
daffodils and tulips —
vibrating to the rhythm of
rubber on pavement, wind
against barreling metal,
the rushing waves of
waste in sewer lines
below.

Commanding graffiti rules
just metres beyond,
at the tattered tracks
along which tires and
trees mingle on
landscapes of rubble
dimpled with rust-red
bolts and nails.
Loosely, they dare to
fit in, jagged like the
rocks around them.

Glimpses of this
Anthropocene city’s
dwindling hold over
my heart’s enthrallment
shine through with a tinge
of formerly infatuated
feelings, happily reignited,
if only for a moment.

I…


A post-pandemic wish for myself

A woman in a grey dress sits on a picnic blanket on the sandy beach, just at the water’s edge. She had a straw hat and sunglasses next to her and is writing in a notebook.
A woman in a grey dress sits on a picnic blanket on the sandy beach, just at the water’s edge. She had a straw hat and sunglasses next to her and is writing in a notebook.

When I think of the end of social distancing,
the obvious longings come to mind —
boisterously bouncing at a concert with a crowd
or sharing gourmet spreads with family and friends,
perhaps even tasting from each other’s plates.

I’d like for my partner and me to fly away
to a breathtaking place for an overdue adventure.
We could dance and feast, enjoying carefree
exploration, meeting strangers who become
acquaintances along the way.

But there’s another experience I’d like to unpin
that’s been hanging in wait for more than a year. …


A poem for Earth Day

A person tosses a handful of colourful takeout garbage from a front car window.
A person tosses a handful of colourful takeout garbage from a front car window.

I just watched someone toss an
entire bag of takeout trash
from their car window while
speeding down my small street.

Single-use cardboard and plastic
containers scuttle on the
pavement, swirling with the
unseasonably cold wind and snow.

I look out to see April’s vibrancy —
cherry-red tulips and forsythia’s
solar flare — instead I’m met with
a Happy Meal’s golden arches.

It pains me that this “out of sight,
out of mind” attitude is still so
prevalent. Can others not hear
our planet’s cries of suffering?

What possesses people to pollute, make their waste a problem for their neighbours…


Like mother, like daughter in the kitchen

A wok with stir-fry and a wooden spoon.
A wok with stir-fry and a wooden spoon.

Mom spun pure gold
out of limp carrots
and puckered peppers
that shielded us from the reality
of tight budgets, hard days
and the sacrifices she made
to help us thrive

In her improvisational way,
she served up adventures
with flavours that took us
on the worldly trips
she wished she could offer
She never had to though
Her delicacies were plenty

Everyone knew her for
the art she stirred up
and her ability to create
a feast on the spot
She served myriad cuisines
with her own special touches
and how it brought everyone joy

Now I channel her…


No justice as the officer who killed Ejaz Ahmed Choudry escapes charges

Ejaz Choudry looks into the camera.
Ejaz Choudry looks into the camera.

Another Canadian police officer has avoided consequences for murdering an innocent person.

The Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) ruled out charges against the yet-to-be-named Peel Regional Police officer who shot and killed Ejaz Ahmed Choudry in his own home in Mississauga, Ontario last June. The 62-year-old Muslim man with schizophrenia was experiencing a mental health crisis when his family called the non-emergency number for help. That call resulted in Choudry’s violent death. The tragedy is yet another case of deadly force against a person of colour in psychological distress. …


What becomes of lovers’ plans?

A wooden bench sits beneath a lush maple tree, with flowering gardens surrounding it.
A wooden bench sits beneath a lush maple tree, with flowering gardens surrounding it.

She spent her lonely days
intoxicated by the smell
of damp earth
She enjoyed only the brief
company of passers-by
and the wafting fragrance
of bouquets and candle wax,
delivered by the wind

He carried on
each day further from heartbreak
forever changed by
the stamp of love
left on his longing heart —
the stain of promises
he could never fulfill
Moving forward,
he had no blueprint
without the keeper of
so many of his memories

She held his secrets like she held his space next to her just as they had planned together, many years before, when the…

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