"Coupling," "Domestic Theatre," & "Radical Sobriety"

Sasha Manoli

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Sasha Manoli’s poems abruptly confront topics such as identity, sex, relationships, and society. The play on form and language creates a poetic landscape that is dynamic and full of momentum.

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Yolk began as an electric conversation around a picnic table in Saint Henri Square.

Our scruffy pioneer and present prose editor had previously approached each of us with an idea, a vision: We would establish our own literary magazine in Montreal. And so it was, or so it would be. After that original encounter, eight individuals devoted to the word resolved that they would gather bi-weekly, on Sundays, and bring something new into this busy, manic world—something that might slow its spin down somewhat and cause its patronage to say: “You know what, it ain’t so bad, is it, Susan?”

We are undergraduate, graduate, and graduated students of writing. Some of us learn our craft formally from accomplished authors in seminar courses, and some of us learn by looking out the window of the world and onto the streets that sing below. Some of us learn from screaming squirrels, old curtains, departed grandfathers, and bowel movements. We learn from old lovers, long winters, imperfect mothers, and from the deep internet where a musical genius remains entombed.

Yolk is cold floors on Sabbath mornings, home-brewed ginger beer in the endless afternoon, and downpours of French-pressed coffee in assorted artisanal mugs. Our first official gathering was scheduled for a duration of two hours; most of us remained for six, departing only to attend to the summons of our own beckoning realities. Together, with time suspended, we talked endlessly of contributing something to disrupt Montreal’s literary ecosystem. Something unparalleled, something true.

But what? There was nothing to discuss. There was everything to discuss.

We volunteer our time, hounding some elusive beast composed of combustible words and works. We are hopeful, truly hopeful, that we can give something new, a new way, a new light, and that if we cannot, we might at least uphold the traditions of our predecessors, cast star-wide nets to capture their echoes. We are a thousand decisions. We are a sanctuary for the orphaned word, the solitary writer, the cereal-eating artist who yearns for company, for the comfort of a like mind; we sit together with them at foggy dawn, it rains a baptism, with our arms and hands intertwined, we form an umbrella—underneath, they scribble madly, the perfect picture.

Yolk in no way presumes to be superior to its contemporaries, but its contemporaries should not presume yolk to be anything other than loud—quite, quite loud. We are yippidy jazzed to address the oh-so-technicolorful magnificence of the human experience, but we are prepared also to address the ugliness, to stare at its wet, hairy snout and into its square depth and to roar in return at the things that yearn to devour our skin, beset our ethos, and dig graves in our own backyards.

There’s so much to say, there’s so much we don’t know, but together, with you, we can placate that ignorance, render it peaceful, tolerable, and perhaps even, fucking beautiful.

And Susan says, “Amen.”

Coupling

knock, knock

an Egyptian-Lebby
416 Jew ish prince[ss]
meets New Brunswick
screaming opera

my north was never
touched so good

a praying mantis
blessed us:

          dear lordy,

          you are                   
                    bless youed

          to be more than sexy parts wetly mashing together
          to extend beyond the diction of a causal encounters listing
          a FOSTA extinction
          a Cobain exorcism
          as spilt Aperol

empirically nuclear
lay wast————ed
‘it’s better to burn out than to fade away’
punchline


Domestic Theatre

our stains
our bruised magic
our sharp kisses
two music boxes
the same delirious turns
one set to jazz fire
one a Daniel Romano shrine
urine funked from
all the pissing
[contest] justify us
bring those compliments 
into the bones 
of our ears
mastered fat regimes
binging drag queens
on Xi’an noodles
placid secret
locks violated


Radical Sobriety

I’m a capital
oops I’m capitalism
I’m a bright nightmare
please kill me


my survival is a hot blue brain fire 
a demented dream
something psychedelic 
and radically sober
 
shaker baby
vibrate those fatty tit pockets
shake your empty stomach
 
I have no religion and a heat rash
please let the holy spirit vaccinate me
from other people’s goodwill

Sasha Manoli is a creator from Tkaronto/Toronto based in Tiohti:áke/Montréal. She has 14 (mostly) live houseplants and loves the entire RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise (mostly) equally.

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