Answering Machine


We shoulder everyone to the bar,

seagulls swish past floor to ceiling

windows, the air’s familiar and the lighting

just orange enough to flatter.


I can’t speak

to the bartender. He’s a deaf

and blind orang-utan

he thinks I’m asking for medical aid.


Besides, that’s when you put your

hand on my wrist. It is the balm

of a Portuguese night, the Algarve Sun

the apocalypse by flaming meteor.


I cannot keep my eyes off the nape

of your neck, imagining a miniature

surfer gliding down your brown back

where everything becomes warm and touchable.


You pronounce my name like it’s chocolate,

like it’s the name of your hometown,

like you have practiced.


When I stop rambling about the dialectics

of being a shitfaced mess, you buy me

another drink (is it water?) and a choice

presents itself: to leave forever or stay

till one of us dies, till one of us breaks a vow.

You know my answer because I’ve cried

it out in grocery stores, I’ve poured

it onto strangers’ heads


I’ve given it to pregnant women, I’ve painted

it on the walls of suburbia, I’ve drank

enough tonight anyways — You know


I will sit cross legged, both arms raised

like a wagon, ready to be hauled

filled with dirt or water or something

more sinister, down to the place where you dispose


of my contents. I am ready to be emptied,

embraced, embarrassed, lubricated

fabricated, dreamt, sent home,

sent to heaven, pulled, dragged, drowned.


You cannot read my mind but I can read yours


You’re in for a treat.

You’re in for a have-I-wedded-a-psycho treat.

The answer, with me, is always yes.

Montreal native CAMILLE BROWN stumbled upon the city of Vancouver, BC at the crisp age of 19. This is where she formed a band and released her first EP, After Earth. She has since been attending UBC’s Undergraduate Creative Writing program, writing songs, poems and occasional short screenplays. She now goes under the name Malade and is working on her first solo record.