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Anthony Portulese


Anthony Portulese is a queer Italo-Canadian raised in East End Montreal. He studied pharmacology, art history, and law, and strives to be a human rights advocate. He has published stories in the first volume of Here & Now: An Anthology of Queer Italian-Canadian Writing. When not panicking about his future, he's crammed over a tepid coffee in a Villeray café, frantic to finish his first novel. 

Excerpt from Another Timeless Italian Tradition (2021) by Anthony Portulese

“When you bring good Italian girl a casa?” she inquired, lathering my naked noodles in tomato sauce, shrouding their embarrassment. “I no can wait forever.” Garlic and spice punched my nose. My parents chuckled, expecting a response. There was nowhere to hide in the crossfire of meddlesome gazes.   “Soon, once I’m finished university, I promise.” I prayed my cheeks weren’t as red as the fettuccine.  “Yeah ok, wit’ Master’s, you be in school till I die,” Nonna sighed with a flourish of her arthritic wrist. “You wan’ parmigiano?”   

Once the weekly gossip about the relatives resumed, relief slowly escaped my lungs. It was excruciating to swallow my shame with mouthfuls of homemade food.  

While modern families are made for comical, American television, the conveyor belt of tradition rolled onwards through the kitchens of East End Montreal. From the diploma to the mortgage to the marriage, it dragged my generation down the same checklist as our parents. As my cousins and their long-term boyfriends waltzed into adulthood, I danced alone. After all, Italian wedding halls were probably not accustomed to two grooms steering the tarantella circle. 

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