Written Word

What It’s Like Now by Meryle

I want to smoke cigarettes and hate myself.  

I’m so used to it, it seems like the right thing to do. 

Like getting frustrated and animated at things I can’t control 

At things that aren’t that bad, 

Like I’m not validly existing 

Unless I am performing annoyance like a boiling kettle screaming steam.


Everything is ok

Everything is gonna be fine

Just gotta get uncomfortable while I slip between that rock and a hard place

But I know I’ll slip through 

I’m more malleable than I know.


But still

The glamorous sad keeps pulling at the back of my shirt

Sometimes tripping me and choking me


I’ve changed too much

So slowly

In such a short period of time


I’m looking around surprised at what I’ve lost. 

Looking for memories of the time everything vibrated with daggers into my senses

But now its iridescent pink bubbles, and rose petal clouds swirling around me 

Sometime reality smelling like farts or screaming like police sirens, 

But only for a minute 

Only for a moment 

Only for a second.


And then my body settles back to that soft wind tickling through the fresh uncut wild green grass.

And lilac trees bloom around my mind

Like a fragrant halo.


Eurovision 2018! (+ Post show Edits) by Meryle

It’s almost that time of year again!  The Eurovision Song contest is coming!  That cheesy, over the top glorious annual song competition that pits every European country (and Australia, stick with us) against each other in a spectacle of ridiculous pop music that has to be seen to be believed.  I say believed instead of understood, because I’ve watched Eurovision and I still don’t understand it. 
May 8th 2018 the Semi-finals begin in Lisbon Portugal (Home country of Last years winer Salvador Sobral) and the Finals will air Saturday May 12th.  And in my home city of Toronto I will be co-hosting a Eurovision 2018 live-streaming party with my friend Rena Ashton at Paupers Pub on Bloor St west near Bathurst subway station.  Check out the facebook event for more details

Much like my love of wrestling, I’m addicted to watching Eurovision for the horror, the hilarity, the shock of the badness, and also the surprise moments of beauty and undeniable talent.  I watched my first Eurovision last year after being invited to a friend’s viewing party, and after that WILD ride, I’m ready and excited to watch the calamity again this year! 

If you have never heard of Eurovision or think you know nothing about it, you’re wrong, past winners have been the worldwide launching point of acts like Abba, Celine Dion, and Lordi (remember Lordi?) Conchita Wurst (you know, the bearded opera drag queen?) and acts like Julio Iglasias, Lulu, and Olivia Newton-John have performed songs in the contest.

Not every song from ever country makes it to the finals but here is a recap video of all 43 entrants into this years contest. 

And here is my opinion of every song:

  1. Eugene Bushpepa - Mall (Albania): 1998, somewhere on the road in North America.  The windows of your car are down, there’s barely anyone on the road and the radio is blasting AOR (Adult Oriented Rock) music.  You don’t know where you are driving to, you just know you had to get out of the city because you had FEELINGS™ you couldn’t explain, and you just needed to go somewhere and SORT OUT YOUR THOUGHTS™.  You light an anxiety cigarette, hoping the ennui and existential void in front of you will diminish.  It will not.  You still have FEELINGS™ you long to escape from so you sing along to the song on your car stereo at the top of your lungs.  This is that song.
  2. Sevak Khanagyan - Qami (Armenia): That dance beat, that rock solo guitar that pathos background gospel choir, Armenia, I FEEL you! Plus the video looks like some Shape of Water break up angst video
  3. Jessica Mauboy - We got love (Australia): Oh Australia!  We have an excellent pop R&B style singer standard uplift pop song lyrics and a faster Celine Dion “and that’s the way it is” vibe.  “Don’t give up!  Cause we got love!” Classic top-notch pop song formula. It won’t win.
  4. Cesar Sampson - Nobody but You (Austria):  ABSOLUTELY NO JOKES FROM ME ON THIS SONG!  I have chills listening to this.  His voice is beautiful, his falsetto is angelic, this is an exceptionally talented performer and I will be searching out more. MUST WATCH!
  5. Aisel - x my heart (Azerbaijan): This is Eurovision realness!  the cheesy Eurodance beat, the standard love lyrics that MAKE NO SENSE (I cross my heart, I tear down the firewalls, I cross my heart I’m stronger than cannonballs????), basic, but classic, what I expect from Eurovision.
  6. Alekseev - Forever (Belarus): Once again this year I ask BELARUS WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!  This song is what happens when a serial killer writes a Muse song. In the video he is WET, laughing maniacally, failing at push ups (seriously) and has that Bill Skarsgård Ugly-hot look. 
  7. Sennek - A Matter of Time (Belgium): Dark pop song, with a talented vocalist who looks like she’s about to perform a  witch ritual with Florence Welch to undo all of Lana Del Ray’s plastic surgery and bring her back to the coven.
  8. Equinox - Bones (Bulgaria): “I love beyond the bones!” Looks like Darryl Hanna’s Robot character in Blade Runner started a mild alternative dance band that writes love songs even though they don’t understand human emotions.
  9. Franka - Crazy (Croatia):  Franka you are not Amy Winehouse and this is not your “Back to Black”, ok? Video is HIGH FASHION™
  10. Elena Foureira - Fuego (Cyprus):  “Who are my influences?  Oh I love Rhianna, and Beyonce, I wish I could have their careers, you know?  And Kylie’s Fever was huge influence growing up.”
  11. Nikolas Josef - Lie to Me (Czech Republic): *SIGH* Prettyboy pop needs to be stopped.  Justin Timberlake needs to atone for what he has inspired.  The second that Brass band trumpet sample hits I’m yelling “NO” at my screen.  Stop this fuckboy nonsense right now.
  12. Rasmussen - Higher Ground (Denmark): Sounds like a hipster anthem, looks like a bunch of clean vikings, feels like my “Proud of my Nordic heritage” dogwhistle alarm bells are going off.
  13. Elina Nechayeva - La Forza (Estonia): YES THIS IS THE EUROVISION I’M LOOKING FOR! Exceptional soprano opera singing, dark dance beats, glitter everywhere, this is what Eurovision is about.  I hate it, but damn that’s talent.
  14. Eye Cue - Lost and Found (F.Y.R. Macedonia): If you only watched the Official recap video you would think this song was just A 2014 moody club banger.  But when you watch the whole video you realize its actually 3 songs mashed into one.  Two of those songs vibe together and make a great intro and chorus.  The other song, the main verses, has a sanitized WHITE PEOPLE™ reggae beat that sounds like a song MAGIC! wrote and sold because they were too embarrassed to release it themselves.  
  15. Saara Aalto - Monsters (Finland): I love this song!  it is 100% a 2010 Rhianna Club banger, and I’m here for it! EMPOWERMENT™ jam!
  16. Madame Monsieur - Mercy (France):  I want to make fun of this band's aesthetic (OH THE FRENCH BAND IS IN BLACK TURTLENECKS AND SKINNY BLACK JEANS, HOW FUCKING FRENCH OF YOU, DID YOU LOOSE YOUR BERET, WHERE IS IT!?) but the song is clearly a pro-refugee song, and considering the negative politics in France over refugees I can’t hate.
  17. Iriao - For You (Georgia): This feels like a men’s stoic drinking choir went too far and they don’t know how to back out so they’re trying REALLY seriously.
  18. Michael Schulte - You let me walk alone (Germany): Watch out Ed Shernan!  This cute ginger who sings better than you is coming for your ballad career! WHOLESOME™
  19. Yianna Terzi - Oneiro Mou (Greece): - There’s a point in Eurovision viewing where you just start to feel nothing.  Its so bland, and there’s nothing bad, but nothing to hang on to.  yeah the voice is great, it’s epic, sounds ethnically greek while dance music but… nothing.  I feel nothing.
  20. AWS- Viszlat Nyar (Hungary): YES!  RAISE THOSE HORNS!  IT’S THE RETURN OF THE EUROVISION METAL POP SONG!  Epic vocals and screamo vocals, metal guitars, you get one of these every few years and it is a glorious change of pace in every show.
  21. Ari Olafsso - Our Choice (Iceland): Do you like plain white bread?  Do you like milk?  Is salt too spicy for you?  Then good news!  This song is for you.  Ugh.
  22. Ryan O’Shaughnessy - Together (Ireland): Wholesome™ gay love song!  It sounds like Sam Smith’s falsetto finally found true love and is mushy happy about it.
  23. Netta - Toy (Isreal):  If you only watch one whole Eurovision 2018 contestant video THIS IS THE ONE.  It’s weird, it’s banging, there’s chicken scatting samples (no, I mean she’s literally making “Bock” noises as beat samples, don’t be gross) I would not be surprised if this song won!
  24. Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro - Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente (Italy): I loved last year’s entry of Francesco Gabbani's Occidentali’s Karma SO MUCH I still listen to it, so this is bumming me the fuck out. Two thoughts: 1) Yeah I also like 2003 Juanes, but leave it in 2003.  2) It’s 1998, somewhere on the road in North America.  The windows of your car are down, there’s barely anyone on the road and the radio is blasting AOR (Adult Oriented Rock) music.  You don’t know where you are driving to, you just know you had to get out of the city because you had FEELINGS™ you couldn’t explain, and you just needed to go somewhere and SORT OUT YOUR THOUGHTS™…. (see Albania for the rest) 
    POST SHOW EDIT: Ok.  I'm a dick.  I found out what the song is about (The Bataclan, Paris and Ariana Grande terrorist attacks) and I was a little too glib and dismissive in my comments.  But I still stand 100% by my "See Albania" comment ESPECIALLY since I've found out Ermal Meta is Albanian-Italian.  PSYCHIC™
  25. Laura Risotto - Funny Girl (Latvia): Official SAD™ Anthem for that beautiful but shy cosplay/steampunk chick you know who is just looking for the Joker to her Harley.  
  26. Ieva Zasimauskaite - When We’re Old (Lithuania): HER PARENTS ARE STILL TOGETHER AND IN LOVE AND SHE CANT WAIT FOR THAT TO BE US OK? WHOLESOME™ and she likes Enya.
  27. Christabelle - Taboo (Malta): Welcome to the PG version of Caligula.  You ever met an virgin woman so desperate and obvious that they constantly acted over-sexed and BDSM obsessed in public in order to try and cover for being an obvious and desperately skin hungry virgin?  That’s this video. The song?  Its a standard generic “I love early Rhianna” dance song.
  28. DoReDos - My Lucky Day (Moldova): AH Moldova!  Always gives us some crazy dance songs (e.g. “Epic Sax Guy”) I love this, and not just because her Hat is bigger than both of them in the video.  It’s got a bit of a fast paced Klezmer or Romani vibe and its catchy!  I wanna see this song in the finals!
  29. Vanja Radovanovic - Inje (Montenegro): Fuck off Montenegro.  This epic, earnest mediocre song pisses me off. You’re not a Holy Angel, just stop.
  30. Alexander Rybak - Thats how you write a song (Norway): 2009 Eurovision winner Alex Rybak is bak! (HA!)  This song is cheesy and dorky as fuck in the lyric department but I love it.  Alex always has really interesting rhythmic compositions and fun catchy tunes.  I like him, I don’t care what other people think, this cheese smells good to me!
  31. Gromee featuring Lukas Meijer - Light it up (Poland): - One of the joys of Eurovision is the English as a Second Language lyrics.  This song, which sounds like a 2010 EDM pop hit, takes the english slang “Get Lit” and mistranslates it into “Light me up”.  Ok, Gromee, I will light you up, what are you wanting? Shots of the Wodka or bottles of Budvar? Why not both (of the things I have for offering to you)?
  32. Claudia Pascoal - o Jardim (Portugal): - Beautiful Butch femme Lesbian chill groove love song, giving me them chills!  Portugal brings us Butch teen Beiber look-a-like and Pink haired awkward-gait manic pixie dream femme doing beautiful harmonies together.  I love it!
  33. The Humans - Goodbye (Romaina): - Do NOT tell Sass Jordan that an Eastern European look-a-like is doing Sass Jordan better than Sass Jordan has done in decades.
  34. Julia Samoylova - I won’t Break (Russia): Julia was banned from representing Russia in last years Eurovision contest because of the politics around Russia annexing Crimea.  She’s back and she’s good but… The way they play off her Spinal muscular atrophy and use of a wheelchair has been a little cringe and inspiration porn in the past, so if she gets through the semi-finals it will be interesting to see how they present her in the final performance.  The video for her entry is worth watching simply because (spoiler) at the end of the video she is revealed to have been A SENTIENT HUMAN-HEAD MOUNTAIN THIS WHOLE TIME.
  35. Jessika featuring Jennifer Brenning - Who we are (San Marino): This song is a mess.  Gorgeous vocals, bizarre lyrics, no hook, musically all over the place, TERRIBLE white girl rapping. And not to mention this is a OBVIOUS rip off of the 2015 Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw's Heroes.
  36. Sanja illic & Balkanika - Nova Deca (Serbia): - This band has a hipster wizard on flute, and a Faith Hill Look alike singer.  Lots of Serbian indigenous vocalizations and harmonizing. Is it good?  Who cares, they have a wizard and a guy playing giant garbage can drums!
  37. Lea Sirk - Havala Ne (Slovenia):  This lady likes MIA, clearly, but also basic as hell dance moves.  This song is fun, and is creative and trying to be different than your average Eurovision dance song.  Thumbs up, not shitty!
  38. Amaia y Alfred - Tu Cancan (Spain): After Spain’s TERRIBLE last place performance I get why they would want to play it safe with a cute boy/girl ballad.  Your boring WASP, Christian grandma would like this song, and think it was adorable.  But you?  You have better taste than her.
  39. Benjamin Ingrosso - Dance you off (Sweden): Once again Sweden doing what Sweden does best: Handsome, catchy pop-tactic dance floor fillers!  No doubt your pre-teen sister is already in love with this guy, even if she doesn’t know it yet.
  40. Zibbz - Stones (Switzerland): Bluesy powerful female vocals, hipster hard rock, and great band name! Singalong potential, I like it!
  41. Waylon - Outlaw in ‘Em (The Netherlands): FUCKING Waylon.  This guy is PISSED that he wasn’t born in the United States.  He wants to be country rock “Don’t tread on me/I’m proud of my confederate ancestors!” SO BADLY.  But here’s the thing Waylon: you’re from the Netherlands, your country is WAY better off economically and socially than United States and COPPERHEAD ROAD WAS ALREADY WRITTEN.  Get out of here Waylon!  I hope you DON'T make it to the finals.
    POST SHOW EDIT: He made it to the finals.  And it was a "Look I'm not racist, I have Black Friends!" shucking and jiving racist mess.
  42. Melovin - Under the Ladder (Ukraine): Hard rock grand piano playing angry singalong!  Their finalist video includes a lot of things on fire, so I think Billy Joel would be proud.
  43. Surie - Storm (United Kingdom) I can’t tell if Surie is trying to be Katy Perry (Fireworks) or Annie Lennox (Little Bird).  Fun poppy paint by numbers song, easy to relate to lyrics and sing-a-long chorus, sometimes you want simple sugary pop hooks and this song brings you that delicious frosted vanilla cake you crave.

Neighbourhood Politics by Meryle

Sitting on the back steps, facing east at quarter to six in the morning, the mid summer sky is already bright before sunrise. In front of me the small, mansion parking lot, the back laneway and the morning sky framed by two 1970’s apartment buildings.  The huge trees from the neighbours' yards hanging over the parked cars in their rented parking spots.  Everyone can see you here, and you can see everyone.  Including the local animals


A white and ginger cat tiptoed in front of me between the wood and chain link fence and the first parked car.  It heard me, and suddenly shy, it shrunk away and ran back to the cover it came from.

A few moments later at the south end of the wood and chain link fence, I catch the cat stretching upwards from the ground-cover ferns, attempting to climb up the wood of the fence.  Again, seeing me seeing it, the cat slowly slunk down into the ferns and hid.

After a few minutes of observing the cat’s attempt to hide from me, I chirped and made a cat call.  A ginger ear poked out between two fern leaves.  I chirp and call again and the cat, came out of the bushes and enthusiastically trotted over and started rubbing itself against me and walking back and forth on the steps in front of me.  After petting and butt scratching the cat for at least 3 or 4 minutes, I observed that the cat kept nervously looking around, then marking the stairs as it's territory with face rubs.  Almost as if my presence made the cat feel safe to mark territory the would normally never dare mark.

“You are afraid of my neighbors' cat Loki, aren’t you?”  The cat kept walking back and forth and rubbing against my legs and hands.


After a few more minutes, a robin perched on a branch near us and started loudly chirping.  Like it was making a neighbourhood announcement.  Like it was this robin’s job to follow cats around and scream their location so other cat prey can stay safe.  

After 6am now, a squirrel joins with the robin from a tree on the other side of the parking lot.  Chittering and making noises I recognize as territorial declarations, I look and see the squirrel in the tree starting at me.  I regularly feed the black squirrels by leaving raw cashews and pieces of sweet barley cakes in the same spots around the mansion lot then watching them eat from inside/a distance.  These squirrels know I am the source of their treats.

Suddenly, with the robin and squirrel chirping and twittering and staring right at us, the cat goes into full affection/territorial display, walking up and down the steps, rubbing my back and neck, trying to drink from my mug, and then sitting stately at my feet while surveying all the trees. Am I the middle of an urban wildlife territory standoff?

Eventually, the squirrel left and silently came back with one of the other squirrels.  To watch.  To witness.

Perhaps they felt betrayed that the food leaver is ok with the cat who tries to catch them.  The robins usually don’t have a problem with me, will they now gossip and tell each other I’m a cat lover??  That I fraternize with a bird murderer? 

My coffee finished, I say goodbye and go back inside, leaving drama in the animal neighbourhood and sweet barley cake all over the lot.

Autism Journal #1 by Meryle

Last week was the Eurovision 2017 song contest, and admittedly it was the first time I had ever watched the whole contest and not just clips of ridiculousness.  I was raised in a very artistic household, but my parents' art tastes tended to be on the intellectual and avant-garde side of the creative spectrum, and as such, the grandiose ridiculosity of Eurovision was not on our radar at all.  But it sure is on my radar NOW after what I saw last week.

I was invited to a viewing party in my friends basement and it was attended by burlesque producers, drug free anime ravers, and most of the members of a Jewish Accapella choir that performs Jewish-themed parody versions of popular songs (yes they are very popular at the local bat/bah-mitzvahs, how did you know?!).  I got there a half an hour late, just in time to see Italy perform (Francessco Gabbani a.k.a. my love, my soulmate, no big deal) and immediately I fell into my oblivious shit-talking and sassy questions/commentary that had everyone laughing and the host hugging me saying “aah!  I’m so glad you are here I knew I needed you for this”

Watching Eurovision was a wild time and super fun! I have so many thoughts on the Contest itself and all the hilarious anecdotes from the party that I could write about, but this story isn’t about those things.

 It is about Portugal winning, and autism.

Salvador Sobral won Eurovision with his sister Luisa’s song Amare Pelos Dios, but hours before that happened, as I sat in that basement waiting for his performance to start, my friend turned to me and said, "there is rumour he’s on the spectrum.”


There are two things in this world that will make me throw my fists up in the air and yell “MY PEOPLE”:

1) When welsh people do very welsh things,


2) ESPECIALLY when autistic people are exceptional in public.  


I don’t know if he or his family know what high-functioning autism is, let alone if they know he has it.  They have been very private and secretive about his heart condition (denying reports about it for awhile) so they may know he is (probably) Aspergers, or they may not know.

But watching him during the performance and the things I have seen of him since, he absolutely comes off as very much 'my people'.

Watching his performance the physical signs were obvious to me. The awkward movments of his hands during his performances were the first signs.  Alone, hand gestures like that can seem like nothing but an akward affectation.  But that was not the only sign he showed.  The non-reactional "*shrug* hey of we won!” attitude to winning suggested the delayed emotional processing we can experience, but once he got to the acceptance speech, I was sure he was on the spectrum.


“we live in a world of disposable music; fast food music without any content.  I think this could be a victory for music with people who make music that actually means something.  Music is not fireworks; music is feeling.  So let's try to change that and bring music back”


Wow.  He said that after winning the biggest, flashiest, pop song contest in the world.  And watching his face and the heartfelt way he gave the speech (in English, not his first language of Portuguese) I could tell, he had NO IDEA how rude his speech was to all the other contestants.  “Wow that’s some shade.” said the party host, “That’s some autism, that’s what that is!” I responded.  "I bet has no clue why what he said was rude”

As an autistic person, i know the subtle things we do that are different from what neurotypicals do, and neurotypicals tend to see these things as being willfully rude or eccentric without understanding that what they are actually witnessing is autism.  A person who doesn’t know autism may attempt to argue with me that those behaviours could be indicative of anything, or that I am not able to “guess" a diagnosis.  But the thing is, I am able.  I live autism, I know autism. Because I am so acutely aware of how NOT like everyone else I am, anything I see that acts like me stands out like a spotlight in the dark.

Salvador’s post-win performance proved his autism to me without a doubt.  He invited his sister Luisa to sing the song with him.  He sang the first bit, and when he passed the mic off to Luisa the audience exploded at how deep and beautiful her voice was.  And behind her Salvador started happy-flapping, clapping and jumping up and down with excitement.  Nobody flails like an autistic person, and Salvador is clearly autistic.  

And let me be clear: his abilities are stunning.

Since the show (aside from my constantly listening to and swooning over Gabbani’s Occidentali's Karma) I have seen a lot more physical proof that Salvador is on the spectrum.  The most obvious one I found was a picture of him on stage holding the award, confetti flying all around him, just staring into the distance with a Mlem sticking out of his mouth.  To paraphrase the Foxworth joke structure: If you’re staring into the void with your tongue sticking partway out your mouth, you just might just be autistic.

Autism is a spectrum, but our society only really talks about the extreme autistic who suffer from co-morbid diseases and disabilities that make their condition extremely visible and hard to manage.  This is not the most common form of an autistic person.  There are many more Autistic people who look and act like Salvador, Dan Harmon, Daryl Hanna or David Byrne, and a lot of times regular people don’t realize this because autism isn’t want they think it is.  And I think its time for us to change that.

Pillows of Snow by Meryle

"There is a holy white light to a sunshine winter day.
Everything sounds soft and the light shines brighter, there are crystals in the street.

The black lace of naked tree fracture dark veins across the sky like the stems of your own lungs.

And then you breath in ice knives and you are awake, and present, aware of every sliver of the shiver of every cell in your body, they all say:
"oh yes this is cold, like the last time I forgot, what a shock."

Is it bad to feel cold when the sun has a halo of white gold and mounds of fluffy white diamonds reflect the sky?
The feelings lose meaning when - reflective and gleaming - the light shimmering beauty infects the eyes."

- Meryle

Turner Transmission #5 by Meryle

"I turn my polarity towards music, towards expressing it all, even the good, and don’t be afraid of the bad it’s all glorious."


Yet such a masochist that it’s emotionally grounded in pain too.  How strange this little body, How strange this frantic mind.  Worrying about people it only barely realizes don’t matter.  They’re just a distraction and she keeps being distracted so well.  On the shackles on her thoughts, lets see if she turns around, lets see if she turns around and see’s us.  Lets see if its a story/tale or not.


How did we communicate before?  Always through words but the visual symbols changed so often.  Try it more, you’ll learn it quick enough, but hurry, don’t go scaring yourself with deadlines, they come, they are dead, breath your full breath out before you are gone.


If you think too much, move your body till you stop thinking.  Some movements work more efficiently at release than others.  Some movements must be expressed as the pure emotion they are.  


And if you can’t find the release valve for your expression anywhere, RUN.  Run like a child, run like you know freedom, run like it deeply matters where you are running to. Run until you can’t think of anything but how to keep your body moving and still breathing.  You have to express and run your frustration into the stratosphere and when you land back on earth with nothing on your mind, then you can start to permanently reorient your main programming.


So run, run till you can’t think any further, then let it all go and sing.

all the Stories never written down by Meryle


my mind tries to take over this stuff 

its no good though 

none of it is real 

but the obtuse nature of it is hard to articulate in word 


a cascade of shapes 



like words that definitely can’t be heard, 

it’s absurd. 


a million stories written at night 

in my head 

in bed 

out of dread 

and then sung silently through my eyes to the stars.  


and it trembles 

and it dangles 

so delicately into the sea of our couscous construct 

and it vanishes 


in a nap, 

all flown far away 

never to be remembered 

ever to be repeated?

a moments passing and it has fleeted

silently slipping away on an alien wave form 


hitherto untethered by our slow running mind ports, 

incomprehensible chatter intersected by channels’ incommunicatively


forever spinning a web

just floating away on the breaze 

maybe dust 

maybe diamonds

who knows? 

who remembers?

thats the fantasy rubbing up against the real world, 

never letting penetration 

never achieving integration


- Meryle