Calling from Beirut

The 2011 Lina Chartrand Award recipient

after John Mikhail Asfour

There is no order and there is nothing we can hold onto that is called order.

Wires swoon from rooftop to pole, each house is captained by a pirate, and

chaos instructs the solution to every problem. We are a nation of handymen

and alchemists; creativity swarms these barricaded streets.


There is no order and there is nothing you can hold onto that is called order.

Radio stations fall silent, there is no produce at the corner stand. A neighbour

passes you fresh eggs and you repay her with access to the garden hose

running across the balcony or a lift to the centre in the taxi your

brother-in-law drives.


Daily life is rigged with ingenuity and the tally of debts. Expectation is

yesterday’s luxury. Today is black and white, a repetition; that is all. If colour

distracts you, reach for the orange stain of a tea bag. The underbelly of a

violet cloud may be all you manage.


Water travels downward, unless. The sun will rise tomorrow, unless. The laws

of nature may be the next to abandon us. Instinct guides us to close fingers on

whatever comes to tighten the fist, unless.

Published online September 01 2012.

Elee Kraljii Gardiner directs the Thursdays Writing Collective in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. She is the editor of five chapbooks and the coeditor, with John Asfour, of Vancouver V6A (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2012). A frequent collaborator, she leads workshops on creativity and social writing. Her work appears in Canadian and U.S. publications. Visit the Thursdays Writing Collective online at

The Open Issue cover image

This piece was published in ‘The Open Issue,’ the Fall 2012 issue of CV2.

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