Fall 2022, Volume 43, No. 3
Believing is Seeing highlights work from four BIPOC graphic artists who tell unique stories through image and language. Curated by David A. Robertson. This issue also features the 2020 Anne Szumigalski Lecture which was delivered by Louise Bernice Halfe in the spring of 2022 (thanks, COVID). As well, find new writing by Lucian Childs, Jane Boulden, Dave Williamson, Susan Zimmerman & more!
Cover image by Cole Pauls
John Wall Barger
Gerald Arthur Moore
Louise Bernice Halfe
Reading on an Airplane
(In memory of Andris Taskans)
Even if she hadn’t already settled into reading a book, I would’ve noticed her. Her tousled, burgundy-tinted hair and her face, frowning in concentration behind glasses, would’ve caught my attention.
I was making my way along the aisle of an aircraft, passing through business class, where she sat in seat 3-C, reading. It was the kind of thing that I did on airplanes: whip out a book and glasses (and in my case, a pencil), not only to pass the time but also to ward off conversational overtures from seatmates. What startled me was the book she was reading: The Sunshine Room, a novel by Kenneth Murdoch. Me.
In all the years I’d been flying, I’d longed for this to happen. I’d done, and I continued to do, my part to fight the flood of American bestsellers and self-help books that inundated airplanes. I drew some comfort from the fact that air-travellers still favoured real books over e-books. But far too many of the books were American. I made a point of carrying and conspicuously reading the latest works of Canadian writers. I hoped that my fellow passengers might take the hint and start choosing Canadian titles for themselves. And, if that happened, there was a chance that someday someone would pull out one of my books and, through some lovely coincidence, I’d be on their plane. But this was such a wild fantasy, I’d never given a thought to what I’d do if it happened. …
Immaculate lakelet licking
ankles & wrists with crystal bracelets.
Just big enough to have its own name.
Actually, it looks more like root beer:
faintly reddish-brown in your palms.
Water with a deep affinity for local roots.
Deeply in love with indolent frogs,
truculent trout & proprietorial turtles.
The shoreline boulder’s shoulder shrugs
North in every shuddering breath,
cold in every bone. Summer begins
as soon as you’re entirely in. …
Words That Will Never Fit in My Mouth
“Tagalog is not a beautiful language.”
This is the terrible thing my Grandma Penaloza tells me when I’m twelve and I ask her to teach me a lullaby or a poem so I can taste the sounds of my mother’s language, the same way I have my father’s. But the white half of me has privilege that my brown half does not. The white half of my immigrant family has not been made ashamed of our words by three centuries of Spanish colonization and one century of Americanization, that special brand of exported culture that erodes everything it comes into contact with like poison in the well.
It is ridiculous that I should know more Czech in everyday words, bedtime stories, recipes, and prayers than Tagalog, when I was raised by Filipino grandparents in our multi-generational home and spent only a handful of scattered summers with my father’s family. But only certain types of immigrants are taught to be ashamed of our heritage. …