The Notched Wing

Helen Tara Hughes – Poetry, Fiction, Film, Phantasms

February 28, 2006
by smallboy

Subway Encounters

Tonight I met a lovely man from Vancouver on the Subway – helped him find his way because it was on my way and because I remember my first time on the Subway here. Those years ago, I had the most detailed instructions from my friend, Kent Staines, gripped in my hand, and I followed the stream of people flowing through stairwells at rush hour like a Salmon spawning in a stream.

Back on my westbound journey again I slipped into daydreams in my seat, then woke to find a young college student staring at me. I winked at him. He smiled.
“Hey! You’re cute!” he said.
“So are you, pal,” I said.
And we grinned.
Continue Reading →

February 17, 2006
by smallboy

Silent Night

Tonite I went for a walk in the rain. It was 11 pm and the sidewalks were empty.

I counted the time between the lightening flashes and the thunder claps – 8 seconds, 5 seconds, 4 seconds – as the storm got closer and the rain got thicker.

But i felt safe under my umbrella.

I love this city when it is deserted – rare moments, these. Walking in late rainy evenings, or cycling downtown on early Sunday mornings, the furious pace of Toronto disappears.

I find it magical.

Check this out!

This kept my mom and I fascinated on Christmas Eve – we wouldn’t rest until we got it. Must be that latent homemaker gene. ..But then, we’ve both worked retail so perhaps that would account for our behaviour…accosting my brother’s closet for his t-shirts…

What a thrill.

December 19, 2005
by smallboy

If you bring forth what is within you, what you will bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
Gospels of St. Thomas.


December 17, 2005
by smallboy

From “The Way Of Transformation” by Karlfried Gras von Durkheim.

The woman or man who, being really on the Way, falls upon hard times in the world will not, as a consequence, turn to that friend who offers her refuge and comfort and encourages her old self to survive. Rather, she will seek out someone who will faithfully and inexorably help her to risk herself, Continue Reading →

December 15, 2005
by smallboy

More Snow = More Xmas baking

We are in the middle of our first major snowstorm of winter – 30 cm expected in the next 36 hours.

Tomorrow after work I’m gonna get on my snowpants and take a garbage bag over to a nearby park …and burn down the hill. Man, I love snow.

Here are my new favorites – one is a gluten-free, sugar-free cookie I made for my friend, Sam, who is anti-wheat.

Chocolate Cookies with Gin-Soaked Raisins

Continue Reading →

December 13, 2005
by smallboy

Christmas Baking

We are having our first bit of real winter in Toronto. Minus 1o degrees here in Ontario feels like an Alberta minus 20. Raw. But on Sunday it was warmer – it was snowing, with big, romantic flakes drifting down. The air was balmy and quiet with that insulated hush which snowfall always brings.

This weekend past, I decided to do some Christmas Baking. By Sunday, I was surrounded by plates and plates of cookies. The CBC was on the radio, Stuart McLean was making me laugh, and my kitchen was warm and redolent with savoury and sweet aromas.

Now I just have to give them all away…(thankfully, that is the easy part!)

These are my two favorite recipe’s of the bunch:

Mom’s Whipped Shortbread Continue Reading →

October 10, 2005
by smallboy

CN Tower

My good friends, who are bicycling (on a tandem bike) all over North America for the next year, stopped off in Toronto briefly and took me to the CN Tower for dinner and chats…standing at the base of the tower, I could feel the sheer weight of all that concrete lifting into the air, defying the pull of gravity and time…

It is massive.

I’d become so used to thinking of it as a faraway thing, a monument always on the horizon, something small…or a fairytale building you can drive past on the Gardiner on a rainy day, looking like an old Welsh castle with mist and sky lowering around it to hide the top half from view. The Tower is magical on those days, I think.

I always call it “the Calgary Tower” without thinking, and find it sweet that Torontonians correct me so quickly and so firmly.


September 5, 2005
by smallboy

on Goodness and Evil…

Israeli writer, Amos Oz, was recently awarded the Goethe prize in Germany. He has been a strong advocate for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. I found his acceptance speech quite powerful, and have excerpted it for you below.

I wonder if art and music does make a difference, if it somehow armours the individual, empowers them in their own future choices between two less-than-ideal options, Continue Reading →

September 5, 2005
by smallboy

This morning on my run in High Park

a Monarch butterfly as big as my hand

flitted across my face and up into the sky

and then i started to see them everywhere…


they are exquisite

August 4, 2005
by smallboy

God I love the Prairies

When I was little, I used to just sit in the swath
and listen to the sounds of a prairie summer
It was really peaceful for me
a noisy, impatient, active little girl
who was always getting in heck

Last week I rode with dad
did some recording for my CBC Outfront piece
while he put in a day of Silaging
-we bounced the day away in the cab of a Forage Harvester

my dad dropped me off and i just sat for a while
until he came back around the field again,
and i walked alongside the forage harvester
until the truck rumbled off to the Silage pit
to empty its full load

and dad shut down the giant noisemachine
and climbed down the steps
and stood in the swath with me

watching the grasshoppers jump in the heat
listening to a cow bawling, far across the fields

so good for the soul

thanks dad!


July 19, 2005
by smallboy

It Pays to Keep Fit and Sexy…

Today, riding my bike downtown, a bicycle courier just ahead of me, checked me out

he just stared – like he was surprised – so intensely at me that i looked down to see if i fallen out of my top

i looked up again in time to see him crash slowly into a parked car

I laughed right out loud.

July 15, 2005
by smallboy



Soak your feet in cold water – 5 minutes

Soak your nightie in cold water – 5 seconds

wring it out

put it on ( ayeee! cold!!)

and position super-duper fan

to blow directly on you all night long…

= deep deep sleep, without the heat heat heat

= sleep like babies do

July 3, 2005
by smallboy

Bugge Wesseltoft

Richard Anderson took me to this concert for my birthday!! (which is not yet, but soon…)
and it blew my mind. A small crowd at the Phoenix (a beautiful venue)… we stood at the front and moved to the beatz and man, I drank this stuff in. loved it. absolutely thrilling.

This man is creating cutting edge Jazz – Continue Reading →

July 3, 2005
by smallboy


For all who were watchin’ today, and signed up on the website already, but don’t actually know how the G8 could do things differently to help effect change in the Third World…

Read this editorial from the Globe and Mail:

Live 8: Thumbs down on hypocritical ‘aid’ by UN advisor Gerald Caplan
Toronto Globe and Mail, Wed June 22nd

Let’s stop despoiling Africa and then blaming Africans for their continent’s underdevelopment, Continue Reading →