Watercolour city

I would cry for the saving

Of that falling old-new city

Watercolours a keen note

And the sky, a walkway singing

You knew me there

And we traced between

Stone bridges, fluted steel

The flowers, the bells still ringing

Rainbowed eyes and sea arising

Where we walked I swim, tiring

So time is passing by

In the watercolour city


Elizabeth Cook, 2016

On March Comes in like a Lion ED



Passion made me its marker

Of swells and sighs divided

Regret the tenderest heresy

And each pulse, a watershed

And yet no arcing, tumbling,

Glittering thing of mine

Could rival hers; I remember

That frisson of the empty sky

That cry from below

Of heart and soul and mind

My summers sleep in amber

And to look at them

Is to remember


Elizabeth Cook, 2016. Image from Hyouka.

High School Boys and the Battle of Brick’s Hill

The road was free of cars at 3:30pm and only a distant, lonely train on its elevated track punctuated the quiet of the suburb. They were marching up an incline past two houses which had been recently dismantled. So there were piles of yellow brick across the street, while on their side the sidewalk was bordered by a stretch of green, the grass threaded by a bike path which looked like it had gotten lost on the way to somewhere.

Lana: overly casual, “It’s crazy that its taken me this many years to realize that the little pockets in push up bras are the perfect spot to keep that tampon that I’m going to need around x o’clock.”

Rob: “The hell, Lana?”

Lana: “What?” innocently, as if she hadn’t planned that little speech.

Yves: “Ahaha-ha,” he laughed uneasily, “you know, guys -”

Kou: “Of course its a push-up,” he muttered acerbically.

Lana: “Hey!” Rounding on Kou. This is not where she thought her tidbit of wisdom was going. “Everyone wears push-ups! How else do you think we’re supposed to approach the ridiculously high standards set in people’s minds by billboards like-”

Rob: “For King Kai’s sake, shut up Lana.”

Lana: “-that one?!?!” she cried, pointing wildly.

Kou: to Rob, “Nice one.”

Lana: “Seriously?”

Yves: already too carried away to remember that he was trying to change the subject a moment ago, “Oh man, remember when Goku and Piccolo had to get their licenses?”

Kou: “Timeless…”

Lana: a loud harrumph.

They were almost at the top of the hill when,

Rob: “So I count ahead another thirty days or whatever so I know when to avoid you next, huh?”


Thus began the battle of Brick’s Hill.

It’s a Trap

It seems that war combined with matchmaking is a winning strategy in turn-based strategy games.

Strange? But the scores of hours that I’ve spent on Fire Emblem in the past month, and the game’s extremely vibrant shipping communities (“shipping” being the practice or pastime of insisting that two particular characters belong together romantically), speak for themselves. Making couples becomes a real obsession!

Now I am wondering why I never imagined a game like this before. Story, strategy, and intricate character design make a veritable cauldron for interpersonal drama! Let’s make some marriages before the next fight!

Plus its great to imagine all the guys who play this game getting swoony or worked up over their favourite couples. Me? I wish that they had the option for same-sex couples, because, man, those Libra x Virion support conversations… Too perfect.

(Virion is a dandy who flirts with every female he meets and Libra is a cleric who looks remarkably female – more than one character comments on his lovely skin. So when Virion first meets Libra and mistakes him for an eminently desirable woman… I could go on at length, but you can probably see where this is headed.)

High School Boys are PC

Da na na, na na na, Neeeeooooo.

Kou lays out his pencil crayons with precision, the laws of the colour wheel observed (beginning with indigo, as is his preference), before laying out the other contents of his pencil case. It is a new semester and the first day of cultural class in 1-01. He brushes nigh-invisible specks of dust from his new sketchbook.

Yves, Hiroki, and Rob look on with eyebrows climbing up their foreheads. And Yves, realizing that for once he has the chance to make a jab, tries to make one that the other two might appreciate.

Yves: “Kou,” faint laugh, “Kou, what the heck? You’re being prissy, like a girl or something.”

Rob sniggers – Yves waits for the rejoinder. But Kou just frowns. He doesn’t even look at Yves, he stares at his sketchbook and frowns mightily. He selects a pencil. Then he doesn’t speak to any of them for the rest of the day. He stays bent over his sketchbook, even through science in last period, and heads out on his own as soon as the bell goes.

The next day Kou comes to school wearing a purple shirt.

Yves feels a wriggle of discomfort. Kou only wears blues and greys and black and white. Yves’ comment of yesterday simmers and bubbles. Then Kou pauses in his work and takes out a tupperware, which has a pink lid, and he begins eating carrot sticks out of it.

They huddle up two desks over from Kou, all whispers.

Yves: “Isn’t Kou acting kinda girly, all of a sudden? And he’s not even talking to us.”

Rob: “Yeah, like since you said that stuff yesterday.”

Yves: under his breath, “What? You thought it was funny!”

Rob: “Well you said it.”

Terrence: “What’d he say?”

Rob tells Terrence and Eshwar.

Eshwar: snort, “And then it came true!”

Terrence: “Well, if you hit a sore spot…” and his mouth broadens into a smirk, “it’s probably your fault, right?”

Yves: “My fault?”

Rob and Eshwar see what Terrence is about and chime in on the same note. Hiroki also sees what Terrence is about, but chooses to remain bemused.

Rob: “You can’t just say that stuff to people.”

Eshwar: “Way to be an asshole, Yves.”

Terrence: “Go and apologize.”

They have Yves cowed faster than you can say social-justice-warriors. Hesitant, he goes to hover near Kou’s desk. When he glances back, Rob and Terrence and Eshwar are making chivvying motions, and of course it’s when he turns back to Kou that they revert to shit-eating grins.

Yves: “Kou…” Kou doesn’t look up. “Kou, you know about yesterday… I’m sorry I said that, I mean, just because you had things so, um, particular. It’s not like that makes you a girl – unless you want to be, of course! And that would be fine! Totally cool! Organizing things by rainbow is cool too!”

Closer to the front of the classroom, Lana’s head snaps up as she hears this.

Kou makes an annoyed grunt. He stops drawing, leans back in his chair, and finally looks up at Yves. “Did you say something yesterday? I didn’t notice.”

Yves: “Yeah – wait, what?”

Kou picks up his pencil crayon again. Before Yves can process this, Lana comes in like a freight train, leveling a finger. “Hey! He’s not girly for being organized! You can’t be a decent human being in the first place if you’re not organized!”

The others have been listening in, and at this Rob gives a long snort and throws his eraser (which he has not been using anyway) at Lana.

Lana locks onto the eraser and catches it one-handed, a declaration of war. She and Rob glare at each other like stray cats.

Into the mounting tension Kou finishes a stroke of colour, and there is a click of finality as he puts his last pencil back down on the desk. It and all the other pencil crayons are laid perfectly parallel to the edge of his paper. He declares that he has finished his pachycephalosaurus.

His non sequitur fizzles the lightning bolts flashing. Lana carelessly tosses the eraser in the vicinity of Rob’s desk and goes to look at Kou’s drawing.

The next day Kou is wearing his conventional blue shirt. When Hiroki asks him about the purple shirt, and the pink Tupperware, and the vegetables, Kou sweeps his expectant audience with a sneer.

Kou: “That was indigo, you morons. And I don’t pack my own lunch.”

A flip through Kou’s sketchbook would reveal drawings of considerable taste and technical execution.

Class 1-01

After school they walk to the pizza place on hot pavement, sweating. Since it was the first day of class some kind of enthusiasm hatched the pizza scheme but they soon fall into twos and threes like oil and water. Although May goes back and forth talking to everyone, Camilla walks to Suzu, and Lana is in no-man’s land between the two girls and the Rob-Kou-Hiroki contingent, with whom she trades barbs. Terrence, Eshwar, and Yves kick up noise at the back.

May can’t circulate fast enough to forge the semblance of group cohesion, and they’re sliding around like stray amoebae by the time they get their slices.

The light is thickening to orange when the bell on the shop door jangles shut behind them. It’s with a sense of relief in more than one heart that the girls split off – even though Lana and Suzu’s houses are not in that direction, and they all know it.

The guys looks at one another. Give each other nods.

Eshwar: “Man, I forgot school was so much work.”

Terrence: scoffing, “You’re such a scrub, Eshwar.”

Eshwar: “Oh, riiiiight, I’m that scrub who’s beaten you in Smash all summer.”

Laughter from Eshwar, a quick in-and-out scuffle. They start meandering toward the metro.

Yves: “You guys should get Tale of the Elder Star!”

Kou: “Pfft. Shit’s for kids.”

Rob: “We need something else to play… Man I’m so beat.”

Eshwar: back at Rob, “So long as its got nothing to do with your zombie fetish.”

Hiroki: “What about the new RawMecha? It’s pretty good, isn’t it?”

Feet slow. Inscrutable looks.

Eshwar: quietly, raising one hand and squinting at the red traffic light up ahead, “Pew, pew…”

Nobody is around.

The chckkk of joints and squeak of wheels, springing into countdown sequences, racing against each other. To the takeoff – KRRR-PHOWWWWW. The dogfight is instantaneous, lasers missing eyes by milimeters. Kou draws back in the attempt to launch a missile, Eshwar harrying his position and Yves running interference, as the swords come out in the sky. Terrence isn’t changing sides, he’s a faction of his own. Hiroki winces as he dodges a wide swing.

Then, underneath it all, a green light and the quiet beep, beep, beep of the walk signal. Straight past them, a woman pulls her little girl across the crosswalk. The woman’s hand is covering her mouth. The little girl is staring.

The battle dies out with red ears and necks and cheeks. Rob slides his Mega Doomsday Shitsmacker back into its sheath, and slumps back into being tired like he never left it. They reach the metro stiff-faced with the pretense that they are too old to play robots.

Cut to black.

Le film magique


En juin, les bicyclettes font les terrasses au volant

On boit l’atmosphère de verre et des roses

Puis les étoiles remplirent les rues

En jouant leurs fantaisies

Les vieux hommes ont des chapeaux-palettes

Avec lesquels ils peignent tous les portes

Et les planètes glissent par-dessous les toits

En laissant les tasses en porcelaine

Entre les jardins-nuages, le film a son début:

Tout le monde vive à Paris