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Rosa has recently published a short story with Ukiyoto Publishing and two poems in Bel. Rosa Arlotto graduated from UofT Erindale College in languages. She is the author of a novel The Maestro and Margherita on e-book, publisher: R. L. Hartley. The novel is also available in paperback on Lulu. Rosa has also published two books of poetry, Record of a Modern Heart and Flower of Poison by Publish America. A few of Rosa’s poems can be found in ThePoeTrain Anthology (2015), and she has also published a short story in Voices (2020) published by Toronto Writers’ Co-operative. She has published poems in Literary Heist Magazine, Ottawa Literary Magazine and FormerCactus. Rosa has recently published a short story with Ukiyoto Publishing and two poems in Belladonna Literary Arts Magazine. She is currently one of the organizers of the Artbar Poetry reading Series and a new member of TWC Co-op.

 

There are no more poems to be written. Thank God. No more pain. Is it the pandemic, the boredom of it all, the need to change lifestyle or because daily life seems so poor? Maybe she should just blame herself and admit that she was a poor poet unable to call out experiences, its riches, its niceties. Surely there was no poverty in the Creation of God, and this is a wonderful and beautiful city.

Was it now that she was also experiencing and understanding the enormous weight of growing old? And if something was changing, was it time for her to change? She had been feeling stressed and unsettled. She worried about what was going to happen. Restless and unable to concentrate, feeling zero motivation. How do you motivate yourself? She tried shifting modes. We all have moments of staring blankly at the wall or out the window, but she couldn’t think of anything to write; she tried watching some TV, tried playing some games on the internet when all had failed, she had gone for a walk.

She had been walking and walking. There were buildings, especially on Dupont Street, which no longer exist, buildings like the Galleria and the car manufactures which had been demolished from top to bottom to give ways to more condos except for the new library that was rising on Campbell Street. She worried her neighbourhood wouldn’t end up resembling a second Jane Corridor with so many new condos on the horizon. Life in the street is full of strange experiences, but she walked on truly without curiosity. In a similar stretch of the afternoon, maybe she would have gone to the museum, the art gallery, or drop in a library, all those places for the lonely. She was, she thought now, a confirmed solitary, but all these places were closed; they were in lockdown. At 8:00 PM on a Tuesday, she would have been going to the Art Bar at the Free Times Café to spend some time with the poets whom she hadn’t heard for many months. The Art bar is the longest-running weekly Poetry Reading Series in Canada, and she was happy to be of its administrators and provide a platform for the poets. She did love poets, and they were continually organizing more or less provocative events for more or less demanding audiences. Yes, it was good to be among people who read. True, there were now far too many poets and writers nowadays, so many books but many were also empty; it seemed to her the days when people knew, really knew, how to write simple emotions, experiences, tell a good story were over, at the same time she no longer believed in disappointments, so there was nothing to worry about. This was indeed a surprising irregularity in our world and her life. She didn’t know whether there was anything she liked anymore. She didn’t like anything unless it could be said that she liked existing. Was she like the entire planet, depressed? Hadn’t she been feeling that she had no future? Wasn’t she walking around feeling drained of all meaning without the slightest fear and danger of the pandemic?

And didn’t she have to promise herself time and time again not to die? Perhaps it was the stubbornness to save this most painful memory, this place in her crowded tragic past, this place to return to again and again, that allowed her to continue on living among these majestic and furious skyscrapers. But my god, there was so much there, there was so much to leave behind and forget. Who could describe what had happened to her then? One more time during the last years, she felt his presence, the man she had wanted to die for, and thought she understood him after she had long stopped thinking about him. She had loved absolutely; with him, she had achieved the whole of love.  But people you love surprise you. They were done, and she had lost someone she thought she would have built a family with.  She couldn’t trust  him. Who was this man who belonged utterly to the past but only excess and new grief in the present? What does she care now if a man stays or leaves? It is all the same to her, she could no longer love or be loved for long. At her age, she no longer had an illusion about a romantic ideal, yet there were still questions. Questions that at the same time, she had learned to love. She no longer sought absolute answers, which she could not get and was just a little more comfortable with knowing that she didn’t know and maybe she preferred that way instead. Have patience with everything unresolved in her heart and live with the questions. The point was to live everything, live the questions and perhaps live long enough into the answers. Rather she should indulge in growing old, not be afraid of loneliness and be happy of her growth. Seek out some simple true feeling of what she has in common with her world in her surroundings. She must think back to these moments, the comfort and company of her dog, accompanying her on these walks, these familiar streets, these trees and bushes she sees every day, her neighbours. There remains something, and something stays that we can see each day again; there remains us, yesterday’s streets and the constancy of writing that liked us and stayed with us and was never gone. She did believe that a life of a poet was better saved, a legacy, gathered up like heritage, and she did believe that in this devotion, there was energy and durability so significant that you can travel as far as you wish to.

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