TOK: Writing the New Toronto - Book 7
The seventh edition of
TOK contains the recurring theme of hope, although hope is not always met with relief when reality sets in. Dive into a world of complex and compelling characters who offer greater insights into the dynamics that men face in our current society. TOK 7 features Margaret Christakos, Ibi Kaslik, Andrew Pyper, Moez Surani plus 12 emerging writers.
Published by Zephyr Press
Release date: May 2012
Number of pages: 167 (trade paperback)
TOK: Writing the New Toronto - Book 7
By late afternoon I conclude that I’m not stoned. I haven’t been robbed in the
night, whether the theft be of organs or money or identity. Dr. Ahman delivered me
the impossible without asking for payment or thank you. He just helped me. And I
gave him . . .what?
Back at Mount Sinai Dad’s still asleep, exhausted by the chemo. The doctors won’t
admit it but I can tell they don’t give him much of a chance. They’re wrong of course.
He may be silent. He may be lying there with his belly pointing at the ceiling, tubes
going in and out of everywhere, but behind the grey eyelids, behind the trembling
lashes, his brain is working. Thinking of ways to make their job as difficult as possible.
you have taken:
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Cut the neck. At least once a week, Pa performed this gesture—a thumb sliced clean
across his throat. When drivers cut him off, he would switch lanes, speed up and
stare into their car until he got someone’s attention and that person would get a cut-the-
neck. In the grocery store, when my older sister and I were lobbing bags of dried
lentils at each other, one dose of Pa’s cut-the-neck stopped any further incidents
of adolescent insanity. Then there was that stray cat who’d shit all over the dead
It had been a productive day. Not only had they stroked out a glaring, but
previously undetected, redundancy from their lives, but they had also, in the early
morning, spray-painted over the second l on the shop sign “Youthfull Flower
Designs,” thereby ridding Toronto streets of one more error.
I followed her off the train and out of the station to Eglinton West Avenue—
“Little Caribbean” to those of us who knew it well. I loved everything about that
neighbourhood, from the haphazard assortment of clothing shops to the soca or
reggae that played in every other restaurant.
It was a quiet hot afternoon as Aisha Mama told her story and people, both
ghosts and the living, were gathered in their houses after lunch lying down in
the cool shade.
Standing under the confused solution of this sky
I take in the rain. A woman whirls on a hoop.
The smokers under a canopy, coughing. Umbrellas
Spine twists into pomegranate streets
no words for deformed faces, desecrated
bodies not yet covered in white.
I can’t help but feel guilty when I see Tito Sisi’s fond smile. I don’t know what’s
happened to Tito Sisi’s wife, children or other grandchildren—no one bothers
to ask—but Tito Sisi’s living arrangements stand in stark contrast to Papa Lamig’s
“No,” said Taseen. “They’re all lovely people but I’m not letting you and Ami
arrange a marriage for me. I am perfectly capable of choosing whom I will spend
my life with. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, if you’d let me finish. I’ve met
Dear Professor L,
Right now it is 1:41 in the morning, and I was just about to go to bed. When I lay down,
a thought came to me about you and your warm words this afternoon. I am worried
I could not say the answer to your question. It was not because what you asked was
too personal. It was because I was too astonished by your generosity and did not know
the proper way to answer and express my thankfulness.
A moment such as that one clings like a snowflake to your sleeve. You admire
its intricate beauty as it quietly melts away into a memory. It’s these thoughts that
sit on my shoulders, as I pace the city tonight.
For several moments, we turned to the windows.
There were shades drawn.
Road hockey. Peter saw it transpire and was admittedly not that surprised by his
father’s reaction. The neighbourhood kid—one of these red-headed Anglos whose
parents resented the Greeks and Italians who lived in most of the homes now—had
taken a wrist shot that sailed well past the net and struck Theodoros in the back
of the head.
There is an honesty to this impulse, which is what made me fall in love with
Cass at the start, makes him one of the best writers I know. But at the same time
other people have to clean up Cass’s messes and sentences and, for a long time, that
person was me.