we stand in the middle of a city that holds its breath, always on the verge of a happening – the moment before match meets firework on the first of june, sunrise cresting over a memory we’ve yet to miss. your veins follow the same lines as these streets, know them with your eyes closed; where the pavement becomes uneven underfoot, where the traffic light stops for 30 seconds, for 10 as you run past the yellows; this concrete jungle a playground you know. miss.

there’s a piece of my heart left on the subway line that I dropped when I was nineteen and still lonely, waiting for the last train to take me home. by now it must have simply joined a mosaic of cigarette butts and station musician’s unlistened-to melodies, humming softly as the 6AM buses start to pull in. I keep forgetting to bring it back home, but things like these are meant for the city to take and keep.

(what a is home to a liminal space like you anyways?)

rest your head with me on the pavement of this intersection of adventure and disaster; what this city breeds every time we get lost in its night. you wouldn’t trade it for another city of light, of angels, of dreams – no, you’ve made a home out of this breathlessness, made this heartrush a part of your daily routine.

sunset bleeds through the buildings you’ve watched rise from the empty lots into the skyscape that you know like the back of your hand. the day ends but the sprawl of the city is never-ending; hardly just beginning.

Why I Wrote This Piece

I heard about this project and I immediately fell in love – I live a little bit off from core Toronto but I used to go to school in the city and spend so much time downtown meeting friends, studying, etc. – all things that stopped once the pandemic hit. All of those small things about the city are memories now and I haven’t been able to get any of those experiences in over a year and there’s nothing I miss more than the simplicity of wandering around the city I call my home. That’s what inspired this piece – just the night wanderings and all the time I used to spend in the city! I wanted to write something based off of what I remembered about my experiences just exploring and the nostalgia of it now that I look back on it.


  • Clarine Chan

    Hi! I'm Clarine (she/her), 23, an (attempting) avid reader, Netflix-binger, video game watcher, nap enthusiast, plushie collector! The arts have been such a big part of my life, whether it be learning how to paint and draw as a child to branching a bit into digital art as a teenager - but writing has always the medium that resonated with me the most. I spend an awful lot of time attempting to find the words to describe all the wonder around me in between working as a project coordinator at a non-profit and it's been a balancing act I love more than anything!

Want to learn more about INKspire? Check out our organization's website.

Want to learn more about INKspire? Check out our organization's website.
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