This walk and talk was recorded in multiple parts, over nearly eight hours, on September 15, 2015. It began on Danielle’s patio in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood and soon marched towards False Creek, by the old Expo site, following the waterfront until Danielle and Dorothy reached the Sylvia Hotel in English Bay.
Danielle LaFrance : So, you’ve got an extra vertebra?
Dorothy Trujillo Lusk: Yeah. There was this nuclear reactor that melted down before I was born, nine months to the day. I don’t know. I was born with a horn in the middle of my forehead.
DL: You’re a liar!
DTL: I’m not! And there was a boy born the same day who only had one ear. I later started to have back problems while running. The doctor had me x-rayed and said, “You’re two inches taller than you’re supposed to be. You’ve got an extra vertebra.” At school I’d been learning about nuclear reactors and stuff like that, which is, as I say, where I come from.
DL: You came from a nuclear reactor?
DTL: Well, my dad worked on one, yeah. I thought, “Oh God, I’m such a mutant! I have a horn on my head! And I’m two inches taller than I’m supposed to be!” It gave me a focus for my misery. So I go see Michael, my shrink, and I’m telling him all this. Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. I was really scared, shaking, a basket case. He starts nodding his hippie head and says, “You had a horn on your forehead when you were born?” And I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, some cartilage or a blood clot or something. They were going to operate but it went away on its own.” “It went away on its own?” And I say, “Yes, Michael, it went away on its own.” And he goes, “That’s too bad.” I just looked at him, like, “Michael, what do you mean that’s too bad?” “It’s too bad it went away, because otherwise you would have had a great future as a dildo.”
DL: How old were you?
DTL: I was 22 or something like that. It was kinda radical, it sort of broke things for me.
DL: Did you laugh?
DTL: Yeah, I kinda did. Not kinda—I did laugh. I was grateful.
Read the whole of what LaFrance and Lusk have to say to each other about poetic practice, anguish, collectives, and the song “Walk Like an Egyptian”–plus three new poems from Lusk!–in The Capilano Review 3.27 (Fall 2015).