The Rusty Toque, now in its third issue, is churning some solid butter. And instead of having just the traditional poetry, fiction, and nonfiction categories, The Rusty Toque publishes comics, monologues, art, and even videos. There is room in this home for a lot of different work.
“Going to a Party in Your Mid-Twenties” by Suzanne Sutherland is a second person narrative in which you—you guessed it—go to a party: “Later, in the kitchen—you still haven’t found So And So, So And So’s roommate says they may have gone to a bar somewhere in the neighbourhood, but they’re not sure—you notice your date’s ears for the first time. It’s only your second date, and the bar where you went on your first date—another bar somewhere in the neighbourhood—was very, very dark.”
David Groulx’s “The Truth About Love” is a small poem with a somewhat dim view of love. His “The Business of Marriage” is also gloomy, ending with the lines “We carve this wicked kind of love / soon it will be over my love / . . . this wretched necessity // This sad business of ours.”
“Jelly Baby” by Robyn Read is about a mule that lives with a family:
Of course we had to get rid of the mule eventually.
You loved that doll so much
its pink docile body smelled like cherries.
You put her down for a nap
the mule lowered his mighty head
closed his jaws around her soft belly, like a cat carries its young.
When I told our mother at first she didn’t know
whether I meant the doll or you.
Gabrielle Bell contributes several pieces of graphic fiction from a larger piece titled Lucky. I enjoy the subtle humor in the narration. “Monday, July twenty-third” starts, “Wandering through a deserted city, with only a bear for company”—come on, who doesn’t love a good story about a bear? “Even a bear cannot protect you from zombies,” she writes, “but it is a comfort to have one anyway.”
In the rest of the issue, there is more poetry, fiction, monologues, reviews, portfolios, and interviews.