Photo: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Punk Poem”

By Madison McSweeney

Gasoline smell filters in: is the
microwave on the fritz again, or
should we be alarmed?
The weekday 1-2-3-4s along with the regularity of a power chord
and drumbeat in a punk song;
Is the monitor glow melting my eyeballs out
And should I be alarmed?

Joey Ramone’s demented choir sings from within my burst eardrum
As I strain for the news of the newest gaffe
from the morning’s first press scrum.

The doctor says my health is fine but
the government’s not,
and I should be alarmed;
But it’s okay, just a viral thing, with no real long-term harm.
Just shared keyboard bacteria and recycled airplane air;
Take care; eat soup drink water and cough into your arm.

And will the paper shredder ever suck me up and pull me into its abyss?
into a black hole dragging through dimensions and ending in a waste-
Just some red with the shreds in the bottom of a waste-

And Johnny Ramone rolls his eyes at the nineties sub-par soundtrack
and smashes his guitar and

declares unilateral war and
the offending iPhone screen cracks.

About the author:

Madison McSweeney is a fourth-year political science and communications student at the University of Ottawa. She is a staff writer for the Fulcrum and her original fiction has been published in Dark Horizons: An Anthology of Dark Science Fiction.


“Best advice ever”

By Sandy El-Bitar

When I am not doing well, I seek therapy in Chinese food … Yes yes, I know … I should be in control of my emotions … Perversion of food is not healthy … I can’t serve two masters “food” and “God”… To eat or not to eat is not always the question … “Which came first: the french fries or the poutine?” is not supposed to be my main dilemma in life … I know, but I don’t care.
So yea, a Chinese food restaurant represents all the therapies combined. It is a better psychologist, psychotherapist and psychiatrist… Mighty spring rolls, rice wraps, fried shrimps with cashew and holly sesame balls … Adding to all the comfort that it provides, it never lets you leave without counselling; Fortune Cookies.
I admit that counselling was the part I was seeking the most this time.
I am not feeling well. I am tormented with contradictions. I am obsessed with “what ifs” and “whys”. I am tired. I am exhausted.
I needed counselling the most.
And here comes the one advice I am looking for. I believe that the universal energy united to guide me. Karma, faith, God, and serendipity gathered to direct my next step in this fortune cookie.
“Next time, order the shrimp”.
Like seriously, wow!
I thank God for the enlightenment.
Yes man, next time order the shrimp.
You don’t know if he is good for you? Order the shrimp.
Not sure about the chemotherapy? Order the shrimp.
Lost between two careers? Order the shrimp.
Confused about your sexual orientation? Order the shrimp.
Considering plastic surgery? Order the shrimp.
You want to overcome a broken heart? Order the shrimp.
Your father died? Order the shrimp.
Lost between shooting yourself and using a rope? Order the shrimp.
Searching for the truth? Order the shrimp man!
Next time, order the shrink, I mean, order the shrimp…and that’s it!

About the author

Sandy El-Bitar was born and raised in Lebanon. She graduated from the theatre program at Lebanese University, acted in numerous plays, worked as a clown doctor in four different hospitals, and travelled to perform in several countries. In Canada, she studied recreation and leisure services. Currently, she works as a life enrichment aid in palliative and end of life care, where she integrates art, play, and humour into therapy. She is also completing her BA in psychology at the University of Ottawa. You can reach her at

Email to submit your work to the Fulcrum.


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