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In The Year Of My Descent photo

The following entries have been personally culled from my Instagram @oneloveasshole by Katie Frank. In a way it becomes a view of my life through her eyes, I only nit-picked along the way. Enjoy. 

January 15, 2022  

A train pulls into the station; I sit down. Graffiti carved into the plastic armrest reads amer. Bitter when translated to English. I’m reminded of the lows of youth, the highs of vandalism. All our loves are lost with time. I search my pockets for something sharp. 


January 28, 2022

I’ve spent my life weighted down with things. Couches and chairs and pots and pans and paintings on the wall. When all I ever wanted was to feel the ground beneath my feet, for the scenery to change as I got bored, to live with a breeze always in my hair, chasing a feeling I could never own.  


February 01, 2022  

I hear scuffling in the hall. I sit up. I prepare. But when I walk across the creaking floor whoever is out there hears me and knows what’s coming. They get up quick, they run down the old metal stairs barely making a peep. I’m disappointed. I’m bored. I looked forward to the blood beating in my ears. The rush of not knowing what might happen next.  


February 13, 2022  

We lie in bed chatting. The walls are thin and the sound of the neighbours fucking is hard to ignore. She screams, she moans, she’s having a hell of a time. Did we sound like this last night? Is this revenge, or  genuine lust? I stare at the ceiling eyes half closed and touch myself. I reach for her. 


February 26, 2022

Coming down the escalator the old bum sits on the floor where he always is. Big toothless grin on his face as he pretends to pick us all off with an imaginary rifle. Eyes squint as he takes aim. I smile when I’m shot through the heart, my laughter echoes in the tunnels. Dead on arrival as the train slows at the platform.  


March 16, 2022

Art means we might die in poverty. Always an option when your life is a gamble. A horse with a bum knee is shot on the track for all to see. At  least it’s taken from its misery. Neither of us will be so lucky, but we’re together, and thoroughbreds die surrounded by strangers. I place my arm around her shoulders, I pull her tight.  


March 20, 2022  

We listen to the sound of rain on the tin roof. In the half light of morning it feels like a cabin surrounded by fir trees not a shitty old loft dans le coeur de Montréal. Moments like this are why we’ve lasted so long, and the question with no answer. Where else would we go? 


April 01, 2022  

On rue Saint-Mathieu an Englishman crouches in front of a begging Inuit. Instead of money he gives him a pep talk. You can change your life…it doesn’t have to be like this. His words make my skin crawl. The white man’s opinion is never enough. I place all my change in the hands of the pauper. I don’t care what he spends it on.  


April 18, 2022

The wind blows me to the depanneur. Street like a ghost town. Holidays are passed with family. I remember when I was young, the big dinner, a house full of people and me in the basement alone. The clerk says bonjour. Lost in my past I stumble on my words.  


May 08, 2022  

We sit in the park eating pizza. The sun feels good as it burns through our black clothes. When I finish eating I lie my head on her lap. She runs a hand over my freshly shaved hair, I shiver. Today could be my last and I’d be fine. The drums in the distance sound like an omen. 

May 26, 2022  

I hear shouting from the street and rush to know what’s going on. Maybe there’ll be a couple of oafs pummelling one another in the road; I hope. But all I see is a topless man almost as drunk as he is white trash. He yells at nothing. A sight so common I shrug and return to work. Everyone needs to unwind.


May 28, 2022  

I’m caught by a freight train, I wait, amusing myself by reading the graffiti on the sides of the cars. Boasts of grand proportion from all over North America. I like the colours. Bright and bold. Like screaming without saying a word.  

June 04, 2022  

Sitting under a tree I smoke a joint. Soak up the sun. Read from La Bâtarde and regret not going further than the park. To somewhere I can take off all my clothes, let the breeze tickle skin that never sees the sky. I unbutton my shirt. It falls open. Anxiety grips me. I do it back up, full of shame.  


June 22, 2022  

I ride my bike hoping it won’t rain. More tents along the canal than last week. I wonder what all the people walking their beautiful dogs think? No one wants to see that humans are dying for want of food and shelter when so much of both go to waste. I never used to care about my fellow man, now I feel them in my heart.  


June 30, 2022  

The day kills me slowly. I lower my head as the boss tells me the same thing five times in three minutes. Inside I scream and retaliate with  violence. On the surface I keep the water from rippling. Flat as piss on a plate Dad’s wife would say on those mornings when the lake was calm. 


July 17, 2022

The hippie belts out the parts of the song that demand it. Everyone on the train looks annoyed, nobody says a thing. Her and I sit at the back smiling and laughing, self-righteous indignation all around. The AC is broken, we’re all sweating like pigs, how long until the slaughter? 


July 22, 2022

I kiss her before she leaves. I eat my breakfast wearing work clothes. The air around me is thick, oppressive, I shudder to think about standing beside the dryer all day, pushing ink through a screen, sweat running down my back, collecting in my underwear. Still, I’m glad I never went to college. 


August 01, 2022

It’s early, the restaurants and cafés aren’t open. The borough is still asleep. Sun hits the stairs of Église Saint-Zotique. A bum at the top lies with his back to the street. Another lights a cigarette with a match, flicks the smoking sulphur into the gutter. It’s so quiet I hear the sizzle, and my day won’t get better than this.


August 04, 2022

At least it’s allergy season and I can blame my watery eyes on that if anyone asks. No no…I’m not crying…it’s only pollen. But they don’t. That’s the jib I’ve cut. Don’t tell me about your life and I won’t bore you with mine. Besides, the language barrier is high, and no one bothers to climb it.


August 09, 2022

At my desk I smoke a joint. Gulp my coffee. I dive into the writing. I feel like my head has been cleared, blue sky after a storm. I can focus. It pours out of me with ease. I imagine my probable future. Total failure. Die alone. Here we go. 


August 15, 2022

Two young women on a fire escape share a cigarette with their gossip. A man with grey hair reads from the Qur’an on his terrace; I look away when he feels my eyes. In the park I eavesdrop on strangers. A deep voice speaks French like poetry. The sun warms my flesh. I flick my roach in the fountain. It’s gone like everything else.


August 18, 2022

I lie on a mattress. White sheets. White walls and floor. A few books piled up. A rechargeable reading lamp given to me by a friend. Blacked out windows. Two of them open a crack. The sound of a freight train rumbling east or west, I can’t tell. The sun is nothing more than a glow coming up over the factory across the street. Another day assaults me. 


August 21, 2022

Une canicule and people are out on rue Nôtre-Dame. They wait in line at the bistro covered in sweat. They sit on terraces in wide hats, their chatter can be heard for blocks. I look at a group of young women from the corner of my eye. Short shorts and short shirts. Flesh on display. My heart beats like a floor tom. I’ll never make it to autumn. 


September 01, 2022

I lie in bed reading until I’m too tired to keep focus. I shut the book. I shut the light. I listen to the sounds of the street. Cars and people and the hum of electricity. It’s nice to have the windows open. It reminds me there’s a city out there teeming with life, and I’m not all alone since she packed up and left. No matter what it feels like in this empty bed. 


September 08, 2022

I miss the nights we spent together, but those are over now. So I find my solace in impermanence; there’s nothing to be done but accept. We smoke a cigarette on a crumbling loading dock across from her apartment, before I leave she hugs me tight. I walk home slow. The night is nice. I smile as I think of my future. 


September 11, 2022

Couldn’t stand the quiet so I locked the door behind me. At a picnic table as twilight hits I watch a man I often see. Sitting on a bench his back is arched and he rubs his palms into his face, he writhes instead of relaxes, and his suffering is a salve for mine. I light a cigarette in place of giving thanks.


September 18, 2022

She looks like she’s going to cry same as me. I remove my sunglasses from my pocket, curse myself for not putting them on earlier. I could’ve saved myself the embarrassment. Bar staff cut limes as I weave through the tables and out the front door. In the gravel parking lot I bum a cig from a stranger. I smoke it across the street from my apartment. There, that’s better.


September 23, 2022

The machine goes around and around. I feel it in my arms, my back, my legs. I know I’m too old for this. That I should’ve moseyed on to something else long ago. But all I ever cared about was writing. So as long as the rent was paid and my stomach was full I never thought for the future. I thought I’d be dead. What happened? 


September 25, 2022

I order a slice of pepperoni. She takes a step back, looks me up and down. I like what you’re wearing…you look good…classic. I smile as she moves my lunch from display case to oven, but all I can find to say is I try in the voice of a loser. She winks when she tells me nah, it comes natural. I have a hard time with kind words. So I stare at the floor. Too scared to respond. 


October 08, 2022

On the street I open my smokes. A young bum looks at me with big round eyes full of desire. I toss him a cig. His hands go to prayer position as he thanks me for this kindness. And to me it’s nothing, a trifle. But from the look on his face I made his day. They say the richest man is the one with simple pleasures. I take a drag. I agree. 


October 18, 2022

At the foot of the mattress I sit simian style. A lost ape lucky enough to be hairless and blend in with those higher on the ladder. I rub the heels of my hands against my eyes. It’s hard to explain but it makes me feel better about what’s coming. Nothing but another day. I stand to greet it. 


October 24, 2022

First it took my family. Then him. Then her. Everyone I write about I lose. The life I knew is a skin shed and left on the ground. Does the snake feel loss for what it leaves behind? Its dead self in the underbrush. I still wake up thinking nothing changed, that this a dream. Or was my life before? 


October 31, 2022

An older woman looks at me so I smile. Her face doesn’t change from nothingness. It throws suspicions on my facial expressions. In place of a grin did I grimace? Possible. No one at home to tell me I’m slipping. I laugh at myself. I toss my cigarette on the ground. I crush it with my toe. 


November 02, 2022

The only person in the store is a bald man with pig pink skin unloading bags of chips. His eyes say I don’t work here which I already knew. I wait at the counter. The clerk will appear at his leisure. Not man nor god can force his hand. This is his universe. I’m at his mercy. I find comfort here. 


November 07, 2022

It’s dark when I go outside to smoke. The only noise I hear is the hum of electricity, subtle as the sound of the universe whispering. Up the block is a van with the taillights on and downtown can be seen in the distance. I’ll quit I say with my first drag, knowing I won’t for want of precious moments like this. A city to myself. 


November 08, 2022

The crows are going wild. They fly low. One passes so close I see the purple of its feathers in the morning sun. If reincarnation is true I hope I get a shot at their existence. A cackle draws my gaze. In a tree bare of leaves sits one larger than the rest. A voice in my head whispers you will. I ride my bike against the wind. 


November 18, 2022

In the parking lot are a fire truck, ambulance and police car. I stand a few meters off, take video of the flashing lights in the early morning dark. A weary-looking paramedic shuffles through the shadows like it’s already over. In my head I hear the word overdose as if I’m mentioning the weather. I walk away smoking. It’s cold.


December 06, 2022

Left to my monastic existence I wonder was I always headed here? A path I couldn’t veer from even if I wanted? A lifelong collision with the void, emptiness. With nothing but books and memories to keep me company I hear it sing my song. I shudder. I take a hot shower knowing it can’t help. 


December 10, 2022

I sort my clothes into the machines. I listen to a woman who works there tell a story. I smile and laugh along. It’s nice to be here instead of at home, where there aren’t any voices, only phantoms. Here I feel like a part of something, a part of humanity. I fill the slots with coins. 


December 11, 2022

I stand on the bus. A mad man rambles. Medication ruined my life, they say I’m dangerous, but tell me what’ve I ever done he pleads. In my head I see puddles of blood and hear screams while admiring the sound of his voice, his accent. I could listen to him mutter all day, but I get off at the metro like everyone else. 


December 12, 2022

While eavesdropping on strangers in a café I almost speak up, force myself on them like a lummox. Winter isn’t here but I feel the effects. How long until I’m wandering the streets, talking to anyone who’ll stop? I don’t need a crystal ball to see the future. It’s always been there waiting. 


December 13, 2022

This is all I have. The constant. The line through loss and joy and heartbreak. They pass with time, but what ties life together is the writing, my work, it’s always there. A comfort when things are low, a way to celebrate when they’re not. I make a pot of coffee. I sit at my desk. This is as good as it gets. 


December 22, 2022

The day is passed in agony. Still I run for the bus. Patches of ice all over so I have to be nimble. I dodge them using the gleam of the streetlights, my wits. The exercise erases the pain in my tooth. Burning lungs full of air I feel fantastic. At the corner the bus is already there. Merci monsieur I say like the driver saved my life. Headphones on I drift. 


December 25, 2022

Stooped in this chair makes me think of him. Tattooer’s back he called the hunch he was developing. He’s gone now and I’m carrying on the tradition. I laugh, wishing I could call him, recount my life, the curve it took. He’d know what to say. We’re even closer now than we were back then. Life is a travesty but the memories are worth more than gold. My spine cracks as I stand.


image: Steve Anwyll