“but took that nasty” by Julia on her patio

Monday June 22, 2020
6:30pm
5 minutes
anti-immigration
Evie Shockley

there were more words to write
There were more candles to light
This would be the last of something but not the least
this would be the hope of something underneath

The words might sing off the page tonight
The words might laugh off my face tonight

I want to say goodbye so you know I mean it
So you see the meat on the bones and know I’ve leaned in

Nothing is forever is a colour I have never met
But this handshake I know well
this nasty turned nail in the wall that I’ve held

It’s a good thing people prefer So-Longs
See You Soons and someday in person

It’s a good thing this happened and kept happening and keeps happening

I want to say Good but not Bye, bliss but not buried,
this something open-hearted whisper and all its remembered harmonies

I will wait for the edge to present itself once more
I will decide which cliff to leap and which to climb

Of course I will carry you.
I will have room in my pack all the way with you.

And with a promise to
spread glue
hurl impossible
and soar.

“but took that nasty” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday June 22, 2020
9:31pm
5 minutes
anti-immigration
Evie Shockley

I’ve put this off all day because I’m not sure
how to wrangle the fullness of this particular wave

Will I cup my hand and move it slowly left to right
watch the shadow throb on the wall

Will I wave like Lola does with the enthusiasm of
having just mastered something pedestrian and wonderful

I will not wave

That is not the summation of eight and a half years
of a daily pause or a daily play that in it’s collection

Forms a revolution
I will feel the heavy heart of a goodbye that has been

A long time coming
Goodbye catches on my teeth and turns to salt water

This gentle place has seen the best and the worst
The burning and boring

The empty and the quiet
The dark night and the wisdom of growing

Thank you for reading all the strange wonderment
Thank you for finding the pearl in the compost

And believing what you heard between the lines
Thank you for the patience and the listening

My brilliant beloved trusted friend Julia
Thank you for how you rise

Thank you for the passion with which you fill every second
Of these five minutes

“And when the revolution frees me” by Julia on her bed

Sunday June 21, 2020
9:16pm
5 minutes
Because We Are Not Taken Seriously
Stephen Dunn

It is the second last night. The penultimate write. It’s the almost goodbye but not quite. It’s the faith of the fingers, or the might. I’ve been showing up alright. All these years and delights, all these tears and all fights, wondering if I’m doing this right, or if strangers share my plight

I was going to say that this revolution has freed me, this decision then, this year around the sun has been a turning one, and all the hurting I’ve done has now been spun into gold plated fun on the page stage all won.

It’s hard to put in words, woe be to the the self-proclaimed writer.

“And when the revolution frees me” by Sasha in the bedroom

Sunday June 21, 2020
2:07pm
5 minutes
Because We Are Not Taken Seriously
Stephen Dunn

Happy Father’s Day
I am beyond words grateful to know you
As a daughter does
As a daughter can
Know your fortitude and your ferocity
Your intelligence and your imagination
Your creativity and your generosity
Your tenderness and your tenacity

I am grateful for every chapter of our story
From being the baby in your arms asleep
To my baby in those same arms dancing
How you hold what you love close
The pull of time a web that weaves
something magic
ancient and new

The revolution won’t wait for you
And I admire how you know this
How you listen with full attention
To what we are saying
Punctuated by deep breath and tears
The prickle of your pride
Fathering daughters is something
you are well suited for

“I almost hear your voice:” by Julia on the couch

Saturday June 20, 2020
10:01pm
5 minutes
Full Consciousness
Juan Ramon Jimenez

from your new life in France
I sometimes hear your voice in my head
I sometimes zone out and there you are
In the summertime, sometimes any boy with ankles is you.

It’s been so many years now I’ve finally lost count
but some moments are pounded into the fabric of my existence like wildflowers or tall grass

You remain a swaying reed, a light footed man in a t-shirt button down
a heart big enough to hold me
It’s more than a former love
It’s a first. And it’s a thing I thank you for.

And in my here and now life, I am most able to say that. Because I am happy. Because I got what I wanted.

“I almost hear your voice:” by Sasha in the bedroom

Saturday June 20, 2020
11:17am
5 minutes
Full Consciousness
Juan Ramon Jimenez

If I am really writing, I am looking the feathered fish
right in the glassy blue eyes, fantasizing
about kissing a new tongue, Killing an old belief
Atonement for the little lies that build a chain
That house a dog
Barking to all eternity

The tannic truth that always leaves
Legs on the glass,
Nectar of maybe swirled.

I almost hear your voice now:
Giving me notes on the syntax and the rhythm,
Alliteration is lazy,
Voice is derivative,
Punctuation doesn’t serve a purpose.
Your baritone reaching in to my vulnerable folds,
pulling out, pushing in, pulling
out, filet after filet, after lemon wedge, after peony.

I’m exhausted by men who are too fucked to ask questions,
Dole Whip a critique masked as a suggestion, wearing the clothes
of a wolf, wrapped in cellophane and oceanic fury.

Salty lick and suddenly I’m believing every word you say,
Trusting your “Nah” and your nod more than my own.

“gags, oh gags” by Sasha in the bedroom

Friday June 19, 2020
9:02pm
5 minutes
Black Matters
Keith S. Wilson

You hold me like a malachite in a clenched hand
These fingers curled around the hope that this
Could be the time
the place
the person

the knowing
Knowledge is your scaffolding
Emotions are a weird frozen untrustable

Cut off the crusts of the
Promise sandwich and see how the bread dogs
Sogs
Yawns
Brittle and aloof

All the you’s and
all the me’s
Treading water in the same pool
of the same river

You hold me like a jade on your tongue
Eucharist of temptation
Sweaty small of the back begs questions
Words can’t ask

I take off my clothes
A corporeal deliverance
Contemplate the seven sins
The seven circles of whiteness
The seven years that held
a lot of dinosaurs
Spiderwebs
Foggy morning wetness

A lot of bones
Hymn to the light on the quivering horizon

“gags, oh gags” by Julia on her couch

Friday June 19, 2020
6:44pm
5 minutes
Black Matters
Keith S. Wilson

“What’s so funny”
he asks me, between twists of teeth, careful extraction of meat from bone
“You wouldn’t care about it”
I tell him but it doesn’t come out right
He stops grinding his tongue against his lip for a second, staring at me like the line is there and I crossed it
“So now I don’t care about anything-first it’s I wouldn’t understand what with all my ‘aversion’ to literature, and now I have no heart, no soul to care about anything worth caring for?”
I am looking at him now, trying to hide my sympathy for him, proven more pathetic as the minutes tick the clock off the wall.

“Her bigness sweeps my being” by Julia at her desk

Thursday June 18, 2020
7:35pm
5 minutes
America
Claude McKay

Dear Inside Voice,

I hear you. I’m listening. You used to try to get my attention in little ways. You didn’t want to yell. And I don’t blame you for that. I shouldn’t have made you strain to be noticed. That was wrong of me. See this little seed of avoidance I planted deep inside me was right next to you and it grew faster than I could have imagined. I didn’t mean to block you out, make you feel small, or like you weren’t worth welcoming in. I see now how I would have been aided by your wisdom. I would have been able to give you big rooms to sing into. Big echoing stairwells to sweep your endlessness around. I want that today. I want that still. I hope you know that there is a shift and it’s happening now, from before, and all over. It’s not just me. I’m not the only one stripping away the layers, spiraling in to journey all the way to the core; the tiny voice matched to such big energy. I am not the only one.

“Her bigness sweeps my being” by Sasha in the bedroom

Thursday June 18, 2020
1:02pm
5 minutes
America
Claude McKay

Supple in her sweeping she walks in to rooms and people
Notice the broadness of her shoulders or maybe
it’s just her command
Her gaze is chestnut and pride
A few nights sleeping under a bridge when you’re seventeen and
High on meth
And your gaze changes for
Ever

June calls for brightly coloured beads and Slurpees spiked with vodka
Drum and bass sweaty thighs sticking to garden chairs
Ice cubes melting in bellybuttons
Asking for what she actually wants for once in her life for
Once in her fucking
Dream she is the real versioning vision of who she knows herself to be

When she turned forty
She promised to forget about all the assholes who took her for granted
She’s wasted so many hours with a clenched jaw
Focus on the love her cat gives her in the morning
Paws pressing into her forehead
Nails flirting with a scratch
Her cat saves her life and she never thought she’d be someone
To say that

Always hated when people spoke of cats in such a way

She turns up CBC radio
Opens a window
Picks up Rocco
Pats his calico head and picks gunk out of the corner of his eyes
She’ll make waffles for breakfast

Because it’s June 18th
Because it’s Thursday
Because she’s here and she slept decently well last night and she doesn’t feel the growl of an unanswerable question in her elbows

“Pandemic of lilies” by Julia at the “cottage”

Wednesday June 17, 2020
10:03am
5 minutes
My Sister Says White Supremacy Is Turning Her Crazy
Morgan Parker

It’s now a different day but it still feels eerily like yesterday.
Uber Eats guy is on a first name basis with you. Wonderful. A bit
sad, but nobody else is witnessing this exchange, so, wonderful.
This time a spicy chicken sandwich accompanies the egg mc muffin
and double order of hash browns. Last time they forgot the extra
hash brown and you had to pretend like that did not make or break
your day but you could not stop talking about it for a week and
a half. The chicken this time, no mayo (you learned your lesson)
was a welcome addition and even though you felt greasy you felt
fed so you chose fed first and greasy as the bi-product and thing
that will likely get dislodged from memory with ease because that
is what keeps you and the Uber Eats guy on a first name basis.

You never ate takeout of any kind before the pandemic. You’d like
to think when this whole thing is over you never will again. But
you also know what lying to yourself sounds like and it sounds like
this. You wish you had a better habit, like buying fresh cut lilies
for the living room but you bought this habit. This deliver to your
door habit.

“Pandemic of lilies” by Sasha in the trundle room

Wednesday June 17, 2020
12:49pm
5 minutes
My Sister Says White Supremacy Is Turning Her Crazy
Morgan Parker

You exit your third floor bachelor apartment for the first time in seven weeks. The pandemic has made your OCD spike, and you can’t bring yourself to even go on walks, let alone line up for more cereal. You’ve been getting your groceries delivered. Today, you brave the potential exposure because the walls of your place feel like they are shutting in, leaning down, squeezing your ribs. You need a walk. You need fresh air. You need a smooch. You need someone, anyone really, to lie on top of you, the weight of another body on yours. You’ll settle for a walk. Fresh air. Pittance. You wash your hands before you go, put on gloves and a mask. You wear sunglasses and a blue baseball hat. You are paranoid that you’ll run in to someone you know, even though you don’t know anyone who lives in your neighbourhood. You’re glad it’s early. There will only be dog walkers and mothers with small kids out. You know this because you usually sit by your window at this time and see what’s happening on the pavement below. You watch dog’s shit, mother’s wipe snot from noses, and the empty bus careen around the corner.

“if the seas of cities” by Sasha in her bedroom

Tuesday June 16, 2020
11:49pm
5 minutes
if something should happen
Lucille Clifton

If I position myself just so
in the right light
She thinks
Maybe then maybe then
maybe then the truth will land
and the nervous giggle won’t crescendo
fall flat in the face of so much strange

A third of life in the rear view mirror
at best
She thinks that she knows about
seasons changing
And how to tend to bruised palm
The best method for soft boiling an egg
What she needs when she’s tired and lonely

If I position myself
In the magic hour patina
Feel for the dew of desire
She wonders
about asking outright or if
it’s most palatable to keep playing
the game a little longer

“if the seas of cities” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday June 16, 2020
9:21am
5 minutes
if something should happen
Lucille Clifton

If you and I are swimming around each other in a sea of whistling and wondering than how long can we circle the untrues. Maya wrote that nice people didn’t say the word “lies”. And that is what we are being, nice, if not a bit cagey.

This comes after a morning of boundaries laid out in the sun. This is where I need to rise to meet myself. Here is where you cannot cross for whatever reason. I gave the line and everyone knows it is not a “whatever” reason but one that need not be justified.

You’d think that giving up the silent struggle would mean that now I can move forward in my day, but no, this is not what happens. I say what I want/need and you accept it (after reminding me once of a fiasco we had because I attempted this at an earlier point but did not have the courage to maintain my position)and I end up doing for you what I wanted you to do for me.

“10. going, going, gone” by Sasha in the trundle room

Monday June 15, 2020
12:52pm
5 minutes
alternate names for black boys
Danez Smith

  1. Take a seat and observe how the room twirls and smokes, scoffs and languishes. You are the eye of the storm in your silence and watching.

  2. It’s been so long since you’ve been in a group, since you’ve been at a party, that you don’t remember where to find words or place laughter. You bite your tongue a hundred times before you slice with a something small and the man in the rimmed glasses cocks his head and looks at your breasts.

  3. You wonder how many people here are pretending, how many people are holding in a fart or a pee, how many people really wish they were someplace else, swimming in a cool lake, touching the papery skin of their mother’s forearm.

  4. It used to take you hours to get ready for something like this, standing in front of the mirror, a bottle of tequila on the bathroom counter, swigging and painting your face for battle. Today it took you exactly six minutes to brush your hair and put Vaseline on your unruly eyebrows and chapped lips.

  5. You arrive late, as usual. Toss your jean jacket on the back of a chair, on top of other jean jackets and cardigans. You smile without showing your teeth. You forgot to brush them. You wonder about your breath, and if you’ll even get close enough to anyone to smell their toothpaste, their IPA, their roast chicken dinner.

“10. going, going, gone” by Julia at the desk

Monday June 15, 2020
9:17am
5 minutes
alternate names for black boys
Danez Smith

When mornings summer there is a wild eyed hope for the day.
A warm breeze beckoning, the rickety wooden chair seeming easy.
There are plans and lists and joys and items. All languishing
on the vine. A cool green grape rounds the mouth of hunger and
we wait for the severed head from its body to make its way down
the tube.

By the middle of the day there is a leaf blower competition from
both the front and the alleyway and through the on and off the
crows protecting their wired haunt snap and hurl their elastic
throats. It will be harder to pretend that this isn’t the day.

How quickly can motivation mumble into something softer. It comes
with hesitation. Acceptance of stillness sometimes begs the test.

I have never not grown after a deep surrendering.

Goodbye These Five Minutes ❤️

t5m reading

Dear Reader,

Over the past 8 and a half years, we have set the timer for 5 minutes, and shared our daily pieces to this site. It is incredible to see: thousands of posts and thousands of hours practicing in this way. We have also released a compilation of our earlier writes, facilitated writing workshops, writing groups and readings.

We are grateful for the pocket-sized stories that have anchored us both amidst the many changes we’ve experienced. These Five Minutes has connected us throughout our travels and living in different countries, during our tribulations and our triumphs, through our grief and our growth. No matter where life has taken us, we have practiced showing up to the page, and we thank you for sharing in that with us.

Today we’re here to announce that the time has come for us to part ways with These Five Minutes. As of today, we will be writing for one final week and sharing to the site before we sign off from this life-changing project. It has been a pleasure being here, and we have endless thanks for those who have joined us on the journey. We hope you’ll always be able to find five minutes everyday to do whatever it is that you love, just as we have.

With gratitude,
Julia and Sasha

Feel free to keep up with us in our artistic endeavours.

Follow Julia: www.juliapileggi.com (personal site) and @juliapileggipoetry (Instagram)

Follow Sasha: www.sashasingerwilson.com (personal site) and @sasharsw (Instagram) t5m reading

“your face remains close to the ground” by Julia on her bed

Sunday June 14, 2020
9:18pm
5 minutes
Inmate of Happiness
Elizabeth Metzger

Are you sniffing something funny, Mama, I hear her say in her small voice. When I emerge from under the the toilet I hold up my camera.

No, baby, I was taking pictures.
I flip open the screen and show her the last things I had shot. A silverfish in a spider’s web, a knot of hair.

Why do you want these pictures, Mama?
And I don’t have an explanation quite yet but I tell her it’s something I want to look at again. A moment I thought was important.

Why I am crawling around in shaved beard hair and lint, I do not wish to risk articulating

“your face remains close to the ground” by Sasha in the bedroom

Sunday June 14, 2020
7:02am
5 minutes
Inmate of Happiness
Elizabeth Metzger

Annie orders extra plates of things when she goes on dates. Because why not. Because she deserves the smoky eggplant dotted with pomegranate jewels. She must taste the pickled carrots on a bed of yogurt and mint. She wants to see this almost-stranger’s face as they dip a triangle of warm fresh pita into silky hummus. She orders with confidence and curiosity, unafraid to try the dishes on the menu that might be skipped over. Tripe, liver, chicken feet, mousses, raw beets shaved into snow. She is kind to wait staff, asks them their name and how they are and listens deeply to their answer. She knows what she wants. This adds inches to her beauty and shimmer to her glow. If you saw Annie walking down the street you might not notice the fullness of her presence, but if you are lucky enough to dine with her, you will be as enraptured by the depth of her noticing as you are by the spread. She has an impeccable palate, whispering, “is that sumac?” Or, “Saffron! Saffron and raisins!”

“not with legends and poems” By Julia at her desk

Saturday June 13, 2020
9:56pm
5 minutes
Frederick Douglass
Robert Hayden

The evening is spent licking fingers and staring
off into the setting sun

Vitamin D is absorbed through the eyes, she says,
daughter of a doctor, and mine stay open while I drink

The car alarm is inspiring a new song and if we
collaborate with it instead of resist it we might

make music instead of promises
Although there’s nothing left to comment on

I still drag myself on walks to catch ladybugs
kissing small leaves

Something new will come if the route is changed
and I veer right without worry

Let it be and then something is inevitably introduced
to the old way and signals go off

The poems always come when the muscle stops fixating
when the arm throws a ball for the first time in the season

“not with legends and poems” By Sasha in the bedroom

Saturday June 13, 2020
5 minutes
12:26pm
Frederick Douglass
Robert Hayden

I feel the end approaching
Horizon hazy and grey
Uncharacteristically cold for June thirteenth
I sit with the heavy cherry in the bottom of my throat
Breathe past it
Down to a belly that has grown my life and her life
Housed my shame and pleasure

We are going to say goodbye
All the endings lined up in a row
To point and shoot at
Light a match to
Or caress and care for
Kiss and hold close
Hold in the space between chin and neck
An orange passed around a circle
The small frog in the grass that’s here and then
Disappears

I feel the end before I meet it
Anticipate the taste of this year and how
One day
I’ll think back to these months and shake my head

All the endings lined up on death row
As the days turn to weeks turn to months
And suddenly it’s here
We’re there
I’m here
It’s now
It’s done

Okay
Thank you
Okay

“There are words like Freedom” by Julia in her bed

Friday June 12, 2020
10:59pm
5 minutes
Words Like Freedom
Langston Hughes

It’s a negotiation always willing to walk away what am I going to ask for what am I going to need what am I going to blow up at least my cool from what small act will lay me down and leave me there
where I have not hung around myself long enough to know how to help me if I am left there
I can hear the word no and not become a collapsed bridge
I can hear the word no and not become a swollen nerve
It’s a negotiation brain drain some kind shame game and what am I going to ask for and how loud and how often and how will I budge what will I sacrifice next
I make all my exceptions on Saturday

There are words like Freedom” by Sasha in her room

Friday June 12, 2020
5 minutes
9:18pm
Words Like Freedom
Langston Hughes

We are sat on the couch
The same couch where that famous picture is taken
The first winter we loved each other silly
We are sat on that black couch
And it’s night
And the stars are singing a hymnal spring
And you say
I notice your collarbone is protruding
And I imagine you like that
I howl with laughter because I don’t know what else to do
You have rarely commented on my body
Rarely said anything approving or disproving
And even though I know that’s probably the right thing
I have thirsted for your affirmation and approval
Like a parched dog
Wagging tail the whole way to the bowl
But will lap and lap and lap until she pukes
When she gets there
Unknowing of her own thirst
Of her own insatiable need for being seen
As something to be desired

“Each finger weak with memory” by Julia on the couch

Thursday June 11, 2020
8:15pm
5 minutes
History
Camille Rankine

one finger dancing in the honey jar
one finger feeling the inner cheek and tongue
tongue is the root word the root word I’ve been trying to swallow
follow it all the way down and splash hit that puddle
watch out for sailboats drifting

These summer days don’t sit right.
A sunburn is a something to marvel
at and heal slowly. A project of removing the red, keeping the skin moisturized, applying the aloe thick from the plant overtaking the living room.

The memory of ache is upon us
The kinks linger in the muscles and the bones start to creak

one finger dancing in the honey jar
one finger poking the pool of smoke

“in the plumed summers of Los Angeles” by Sasha on the couch

Wednesday June 10, 2020
11:09pm
5 minutes
_______ my loved blacknesses & some blackness I knew
Khadijah Queen

You sit across the table from the person you promised forever too
You remember that when you said it you felt your stomach turn
How could someone twenty five or otherwise know anything about
The hours of a whole long life?

You sit across the table and you look at the hands of the man who
Keeps saying “My client”
They are hands that have trim nails and hair on the knuckles
Hands that tie garbage bags and turn steering wheels and eat burgers

You love this man across from you the divide of oak table and sadness
Reaching across is what you want to do but you sit on your hands
Palms pressing into the tan leather of the chair
You don’t see the lips you spent days kissing in the beginning

You see lips that need water and redemption and a break
Cheeks concave under freshly shaven skin
You wish that you’d worn something beloved instead of this
New striped sweater

“as darkness under your eyelids” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Tuesday June 9, 2020
8:59pm
5 minutes
how to get over (be born: black…”)
T’ai Freedom Ford

You are the plum tree spitting fruit
and leaves to the ground
when you’re tired and inconsolable
Raging at the tiers of injustice
Unsure how to move in your foliage
How deep the roots reach towards water

Darkness under your eyelids with the depth of night
Rather peel back the bark than say something
Wrong
Only now do you smell the rot of last summer
You didn’t even know you were plugging your nose
Relish the quiet of dawn
Aren’t sure if you’re ready to dare towards sunlight

The veins scorch and it’s a lucky turn of fate
That the network below sustains you
Lifts you
Keeps you from sinking
You don’t wish for lightning to strike
But you wonder when it will and welcome a bolt
A jolt
A shaking from the cling of soil

“as darkness under your eyelids” by Julia on the couch

Tuesday June 9, 2020
8:55pm
5 minutes
how to get over (be born: black…”)
T’ai Freedom Ford

Sleepless again for the third
night in a row or is it morning
she was meant to sleep through?
She feels like a walking yawn.
Maybe she’ll call her sister
today and see how her exams
are going going turning into
all she has the capacity to see.
She thinks if she did sleep would
that mean she were happy again or
merely being visited by happiness.
The way she was visited by shin splints. She cannot decipher betwen the two and that is sleepless sleepless.
Of course sleeping easy doesn’t
automatically denote happiness
but she wonders how so many
others manage to manage through
the night. If it isn’t happiness
that they have and she has forgotten, then what could the magic spread be?

“for us to breathe.” By Sasha in the living room

Monday June 8, 2020
10:07pm
5 minutes
A Small Needful Fact
Ross Gay

“She’s having a panic attack,” the doctor says. He has eyes like a cocker spaniel. Like a fish. Like your grandmother. He has big hands. Hairy hands. Knuckles that have been grated and bruised. “I don’t want to prescribe anything but therapy,” he is talking to her mother and her mother is the kind of woman who still wears a girdle and drinks sugar free iced tea from a can. Her mother picks at scabs when no one is looking, and buys herself a secret doughnut on the first day of her period, but she doesn’t menstruate anymore, so she actually buts herself a doughnut once a month on the day that she used to start her period. She is a very anxious woman, always pushing back her cuticles, reaching for gum. Anxiety is a thread woven between the women in this family, woman to woman, down the line, a strange kind of relay race.

“for us to breathe.” by Julia on her patio

Monday June 8, 2020
9:31pm
5 minutes
A Small Needful Fact
Ross Gay

If I am picturing it correctly, the stomach is filling like a balloon
yes a balloon, slowly growing, expanding, reaching. This is a comforting
thought, the balloon, dipping into the edges of the body and retreating
again to fold, this balloon on its way to floating.
As far as I know there is nothing else living there. It is a hollowed
star, a lampless light, the silhouette of breathing and nothing else.
There doesn’t need to be much more, really. There is the in and out the
big the little the wide the narrow and it is constant and it is bigger
than anything in there. It can pilot the ship on its own. Nothing to
contradict if there is nothing else in there. Nothing to distract from
the process of breathing, tell everyone you know there’s nothing else
in there so don’t bother poking around. You won’t find what you’re looking
for, no mechanism to blame or stoke, no wire to trip over, I am telling you.
If I am picturing it correctly, this is all there ever was.

“All above us is the touching” by Sasha in the basement

Sunday June 7, 2020
4:02pm
5 minutes
Elegy
Aracelis Girmay

All of the lonely people wishing for a touch
on the forearm from the new fingertips
the sizzle of the egg
the tongue on the earlobe
wishing for a spark
the fire starts low in the belly
spreads quick
suddenly there is no pandemic
is no risk
is nothing
but the want
for a touch
the longing for a taste

Above us is the promise of change not made
by someone at a podium or with a microphone
the sun watches as we disobey orders
as they burn cities
topple oppressive monuments into murky water

I’ve been clenching my jaw again
scratching my throat
losing sleep over the dead ones
the living

“All above us is the touching” by Julia on the bed

Sunday June 7, 2020
5:23pm
5 minutes
Elegy
Aracelis Girmay

I wonder what forces are at work when the misunderstandings begin firing, pinging across the kitchen and the newly washed tile.

Does someone look down and notice that we have had too many instances of ease today, that a maturity fills out our shoes, that we want to get along?

It can shape shift so quickly and all of the subconcious resentments make their voices heard in small gestures, big reactions, and words we wished we didn’t utter so losely.

All above us in the space just over our heads is the glittering possibility and we squander every particle.

“I didn’t blink when the water” by Julia on the couch

Saturday June 6, 2020
8:43pm
5 minutes
The Truth
Ross Gay

When the water rushed I did not blink, I did not dare
Summoned the courage to open wider
let her teach me something
let her toss my body around
let her leave her mark on my easy skin

I did not look away
I will not look away

How many dreams in a row will
show me the same thing
A baptism by river
An escape route from the dogs itching for a scent
A marriage to the ocean herself

A purifying cleansing hope
A soaking soul giving testimony
after the eyes get washed and the mouth

“I didn’t blink when the water” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday June 6, 2020
1:15pm
5 minutes
The Truth
Ross Gay

She says she can’t stop crying
and I can’t either but for
the same reasons
and different flooded shoes

Don’t take the bait of the snarl
a curly tongue wearing pepper and fear
the same reasons
and another restless morning

The distractions are numb toes
and scrolling clown faces
try to temper the burn
peel the puffed grave

“Andrzej squinted at it” by Julia on the couch

Friday June 5, 2020
10:50pm
5 minutes
The Button
Makana Eyre

In the blink of an eye
Andrzej could see his
whole world expand

it was like walking
through the gentle haze
of an orange dream

and everything cloaked
in it sways to the faint
twinkle of a wind chime

and everything bathed
walks a slow glow and
there is tall grass

Roya shows him the
sonogram and he doesn’t
speak for 3 whole minutes

seeing his daughter’s
entire future through
the dream world canopy

there is more love in
this moment than any
other moment

“Andrzej squinted at it” by Sasha on her couch

Friday June 5, 2020
10:16pm
5 minutes
The Button
Makana Eyre

Andrzej squints into the sun. He looks to the grass, bold in it’s shade of green, and sees spots. He tightens his backpack straps. He wishes he was older than eleven, and bigger than Elijah. Born at thirty-two weeks, Andrzej didn’t grow the way the doctor’s told Mia and Kendrick that he would. The boys in his class are starting to shoot up, corn stalks, but Andrzej only grew a quarter of an inch last year. He’s glad that Mr. M decided to take them to the protest instead of doing a Geography Quiz. Elijah hasn’t been feeling well, so has been staying home from school since Tuesday. Mia and Kendrick both go to work when Elijah’s sick and Andrzej knows that he must watch a lot of television.

“I lay on a moment” by Julia on the couch

Thursday June 4, 2020
10:06pm
5 minutes
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou

it is loud and buzzing
like swatting a stubborn idea away so it doesn’t land on the face

label this distraction a thinking thought, the next a planning, the next, a dreaming

outside the jackhammer street ripper crows cawing seaguls calling

in the room over a snoozed alarm and again and again

it is not meant to be easy and
so it isn’t
a little thinking thinking planning

the recurrent fly invokes four nights in a row of winged creatures in dreams attacking
the unexpected curl

today when the injured crow unmoving behind the wheel of a parked truck opens its eyes
it is clear how young it always was

“I lay on a moment” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday June 4, 2020
10:10pm
5 minutes
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou

I can’t reconcile the
lightning striking now the
strange smell
lilacs and revolution the
temptation to stay quiet
stay small

I made a small vow the
kind of promise whispered
to the water against the window
I will notice how it feels
in my body when I feel shame
my privilege taking up
too much space too much
oxygen all the sorries in
the world collected in
hands that can barely
hold a rocking city

I will read more listen
more reflect more dismantle more
talk to my parents more
the uncomfortable the un
comfort
able

There is no place to get
line in the desert
or trail in the sky
nothing is the same
everything is the
same
know
ledge is power

“Go home. Get some sleep” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Wednesday June 3, 2020
8:18pm
5 minutes
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Michael Chabon

Aggi: Go home, Clem. Get some sleep.

Clem: Why would I do that?

A: You look like shit. I’ve never seen you like this before. I’ve seen you –

C: I don’t care what you think! How many times do I need to –

A: GO HOME.

C: Can’t I just sleep on the couch? I won’t be any trouble.

A: All you’ve given me is trouble!

C: I’m sorry.

A: Fuck.

C: I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have had that third glass of wine.

A: I told you when you opened the bottle that it wasn’t a good idea. We agreed that we wouldn’t –

C: Not all of us have the privilege of a fucking therapist, okay?

A: Stop. Just stop.

“Go home. Get some sleep” by Julia on the bed

Wednesday June 3, 2020
2:29pm
5 minutes
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Michael Chabon

In the last few days we have seen the focus become singular, and good, and finally, and I know I could have pulled up sooner. I know what it means to not have to think about it daily, and not think of my own skin as more than skin. Skin in the game, singular, sorries.

When a friend posts about responding verses reacting to racisim, when a friend posts about needing all lanes and not to worry if you don’t occupy all of them.
These are resonating bells that some rest is needed to show up better and stronger and with attention.

“This describes well what I’ve said” by julia on the couch

Tuesday June 2, 2020
7:45pm
5 minutes
Mencius
Mencius

It’s more about verbs, you see, action words.
Did you know that for the Irish, Love is not always a verb? They have a saying instead, “you are my music” and it melts me when I hear it, hits the nail right on the head. The idea of song, invoking movement, yes, you are that, you are why my heart dances.

Some of the verbs I’ve been stuck on these days are ones that can be reframed so they hold up the mirror. Running and hiding become staying and looking. Crying becomes Seething. Hushing becomes Shouting. There are more verbs to learn and then there is my favourite one: To Practice

“This describes well what I’ve said” by Sasha on the couch

Tuesday June 2, 2020
1:03am
5 minutes
Mencius
Mencius

You say “I’m sorry that that happened to you”
I say “Thank you”

It’s the kind of exchange that builds muscle
slowly over time

You tell me about midwifing a cow
and smoking hash on the beach

I tell you a few strange details
starting and stopping

not sure what’s too much
I am most often too much

Peering out the window into darkness
lightning strikes

the sky illuminated in wonder
and loneliness

I didn’t set out to write something so sad
but it’s a strange time to want to touch

toes while lying on the floor
trading songs like passport stamps

here’s where I’ve been
and here and here

“And you intend to remain there a few days” by Sasha on the living room floor

Monday June 1, 2020
10:39pm
5 minutes
Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie

You intend to remain in your sad place for a few days
build a little fire in the stove

fry some eggs in the cast iron skillet when you get hungry
You’ll write an angsty poem or three
Try to catch a frog

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when a dragonfly lands on
the tip of your nose

This is not the kind of event that you’ve come to expect

You had intended to swim out to the island a ways away
lie in the tall grass
tempt lightning

The storm blows over and you’re left with a sunset
that turns your stomach
loons calling to each other
or to you

“And you intend to remain there a few days” by Julia leaning

Monday June 1, 2020
10:30pm
5 minutes
Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie

some days are dark days and you intend to leave them but you end up staying for a few days

deep sighing
laying
shivering at the bone

nothing will bring you out of it
not cookies
not a foot massage
not a rainbow

so you think you might as well get comfy
pull the covers over your eyes
block out the light and try to sleep

but sleeping is filled with sighing
and turning
and turning

nothing will bring you rest so you don’t bother opening your eyes

the calendar crosses its own days off two by two

you intend to leave them but somehow along the way the x crosses you out too

you wonder why you exist
if this is existing

you wonder why the sun still comes out
why the boats still honk

you vow to learn how to swim beyond the sheets

“describe what it might be like to be her child” by Julia on the couch

Sunday May 31, 2020
10:46pm
5 minutes
Room To Write
Bonni Goldberg

She’s soft and open
her thighs spill out of her shorts
like a river running over the cup
she asks permission before she lifts me or puts me down
it’s very important for her to talk to me while she’s chopping the broccoli or the cauliflower
she tells me everything she does

She dances with me when a beam of light hits the floor in the afternoon
she sings me to sleep
She is sometimes crying but mostly smiling
She makes eating fun, making silly faces and noises to distract me
I feel like she would swallow me if she could
if she could put me back in her belly and start the whole thing over
she’s softer today and more open than yesterday

“describe what it might be like to be her child” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Sunday May 31, 2020
2:39pm
5 minutes
Room To Write
Bonni Goldberg

You walk around the corner with an apple piece in your hand
extended in a reach that says “yes” and “look!”

You just learned how to tip toe and
smell the purple lilacs

I read a headline this morning that there might be rolling
pandemics every five or ten years now

and I almost threw up
a wave of sadness that you were born into this world

How will I explain it all when your questions grow
wider than “Hot?”

I was always so sure that I was to be a mother
I never imagined such grief as your bones and blood grew in my body
At eleven weeks of holding you here
my small world exploding
and now the big world breaking and burning
little and big
nested like dolls inside one another
your hand in mine now
as you step up a stair

“having petals more or less united” by Sasha in the trundle room

Saturday May 30, 2020
2:09pm
5 minutes
Flower Finder
May Theilgaard

She puts a magnolia in the barrel of the gun
Weeps and weeps and wails
She thinks of her mother
doing crosswords at the kitchen table
stewing chicken thighs on the stove

She wears a blue face mask
doesn’t wear contacts because if she gets tear gassed
they’ll stick to her eyes and blind her
She leaves her glasses at home
doesn’t want them to break

She can see enough to know that something is building
a rising fire tide with the crowds and the four hundred years
of brutality and systemic oppression
She wishes that she’d taken other electives when she was in college
She should’ve studied history
She should’ve read biographies

She makes eye contact with a young boy on the shoulders of his father
Broad shoulders getting him up close to clouds and perspective
a new story being written by his fingers in his father’s hair

“having petals more or less united” by Julia at the desk

Saturday May 30, 2020
8:23pm
5 minutes
Flower Finder
May Theilgaard

My mother and father never disagreed in front of us
They never would have gone over the other’s head
and we tried to be sneaky
as if they never spoke
as if they didn’t close the door after we had gone to bed to discuss us all at length
This was how they created a unit
Energetically, though, I wonder if they ever considered
Sometimes one of them would be angrier than the other
Maybe that was planned to so we’d still feel safe

When my parents picked me up from my first party in the 9th grade
they had to carry me to the car because I had passed out

When I woke up in my own bedroom wearing a friend’s clothes
I found cuts and bruises all over my face, with a chipped tooth to boot

When I finally summoned the courage to leave my room and talk to them
my head was spinning and I could barely move

Out in the kitchen my mother did all the seething and vocalizing of disappointment
while my father sat calmly trying to teach me about orange juice chasers and limitations

“La vita con te é fantastica” by Julia at the desk

Friday May 29, 2020
10:51am
5 minutes
from a birthday card

Amore, quando ho ricevuto questo cartolina per mio compleanno (auguri, auguri)
ho pianto tanto-per il tuo cuore, per la tua mente, per tuo ala tua capacità di esprimerti
in questa nuova lingua che hai lavorato così duramente per imperare e praticare.
Che regalo. Per questa donna con un piede in Italia, e un qua. E anche tu, Amore,
con il cuore pieno di pasta ed espresso, ed la voglia di scoprire una vita bella,
diversa, lontano via di tutto che conosciamo qui.
Voglio dirti la stessa cosa…La vita con te è fantastica, e so che riusciremo a
a trovare la luce insieme.

“La vita con te é fantastica” by Sasha in her bedroom

Friday May 29, 2020
10:30am
5 minutes
From a birthday card

I’m sorry that I haven’t written something meaningful about what really matters here. I don’t know what to say. This isn’t about my apology, always with the “sorry sorry sorry sorry”. This isn’t about me. I don’t have anything interesting to add. I don’t have anything interesting to order, collect, sort or share. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for my ignorance and my laziness and my bullshit trying. I’m sorry for being distracted by my little life and how it explodes and settles and then explodes again. I’m sorry for all the failures to stand up. I’m sorry for the times I said nothing because I was scared. I’m sick with this. But it isn’t about me. I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry. That’s not productive. N

“give me advice!” by Sasha in her bedroom

Thursday May 28, 2020
11:47pm
5 minutes
From an email

I turn to the quiet for advice now
or the voice and face I love on the phone
crouched in the mosquito tent
dandelions painting my legs yellow

I try not to offer unsolicited popcorn
Ask before I offer
I’m mostly terrible at it
But at least I try

The sage says that I ought not distract
from the restlessness and the dis-ease
I can’t help it
Or can I
I don’t know
I reach
I fall
Maybe I’m the one who rushes everything
Maybe I always thought it was him and then him
but it’s actually me
Tripping over my own feet
fumbling towards a hit of something smooth

“give me advice!” by Julia at the desk

Thursday May 28, 2020
8:51pm
5 minutes
from an email

I’ve been forbidden from giving advice and there’s nothing I can do.
I was told I can’t give it unless it’s asked of me, so who am I to
argue the great horoscope writer of these days? Maybe she has a point
these unsolicited comments that might not be helpful even though I
think I might see the light.

Lord rest this urge to give words when the silence is sweeter than me.

I have been listening with a scrunched up face like I’m about to say
something but I don’t, like I hear an opening to give a small piece
but then I won’t, cause the listening tells me I didn’t hear the words
that set the stage for giving more words.

I’m getting better at it. I’m realizing how little I’ve done in the
flesh and Ghandi said it best-when a woman asked him how to get her
son to stop eating sugar for a week he told her “Give me one week
and I’ll get back to you.” What did he need the week for? To practice
not having any sugar himself before he could tell her anything.

“channel your energy” by Julia on the couch

Wednesday May 27, 2020
5:15pm
5 minutes
from a fortune cookie

There’s a slice of moon hanging in the west just for me
I can see it from my balcony
and last night I noticed her there
sending off the divine light
pulsing in the almost June sky

I bleed with the new moon and I dance on the bathroom tile when I am visited by the great knowing

When I see her I call her out by name the way I do when I see a hummingbird or a field of horses along the side of the highway while driving past

This naming is a sacred thanks and there is delight and a childlike essence pointing the finger

This belly of filling and emptying
and filling again is a holy magic trick

I am forever sliding through time with a memory tied to my finger
pulling the history through the sky like a kite on a string

“channel your energy” by Sasha in her bedroom

Wednesday May 27, 2020
2:41pm
5 minutes
From a fortune cookie

I lie belly to the floor
and listen to what the voice says
beyond the tension and the toil
where the ground splits and splays

Like a seashell to the ear
the floor tells stories that
might just be blood rushing
but might be the sky underfoot

“Think about the life you want to have”
my sister says and she’s right
It’s not about a decision
It’s about the life I want to have

All the threads are spooled in the moment
of this gathering together
sure to be frayed again by morning
but for now
ear to the whitewashed wood
I’m slipping towards the eddy

“can have a foul odour and taste” by julia laying down

Tuesday May 26, 2020
9:41am
5 minutes
Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Label

Tabby prides herself on her cooking. She’s been living on her own since she was 17, left home earlier than she meant to, had to find a way, found a way. She loves chopping parsley, and walnuts, and mushrooms. She likes to cook with music playing, she’ll shuffle a playlist and see what ingredients are inspired by the new artists or the old songs. Tonight, a pesto, but with some substitutions. Ever since her last period she’s been forgetting more and more. After measuring out the salt and pepper, she pours in a quarter cup of white vinegar. She remembers that vinegar can be a substitute for lemon juice, and since she forgot to buy lemons, she only has one option. The acid lingers in her mouth for hours. She can’t figure out why.

“can have a foul odour and taste” by Sasha at the kitchen island

Tuesday May 26, 2020
8:23pm
5 minutes
Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Label

Henry sticks a meat thermometer in the chicken. Shawn is arriving any minute from now, and he fears he underestimated the cooking time. Why does this always happen? Henry is not a confident cook. He has his dishes. Roast chicken isn’t one of them. He thought he ought to branch out. He threw some parsnips and carrots under the bird, and put three cloves of garlic and a lemon in the cavity. He followed the recipe carefully. Maybe it’s his old oven. Cooks things unevenly. There’s a knock at the door. Shit. He looks down and realizes that he forgot to change into his outfit. He’s still wearing a ratty grey T-shirt and basketball shorts. Well, there’s nothing else to do but embrace the moment. Fail forward, he mutters.

“Wild Gourmet Fish” by Sasha in her bed

Monday May 25, 2020
11:02pm
5 minutes
West Coast Select Flyer

Flaking off the pieces and popping them in his mouth
he is an animal too and knows it when he eats this good trout
from his uncle Rod’s farm way up way up the coast

He spent a summer there when he was seventeen
wishing he was back home smooching Bethany and touching
the blonde hairs on the back of her thighs

He didn’t know then that that summer would be one
of his best even though he wished he was somewhere else
He didn’t know then that being out on the boat with Rod

and his crew was the most connected he’d ever feel
to other men and to the sea and to the world and to
the life cycle that spins a Wheel of Fortune

He didn’t have a cellphone and barely had a clue
or a bank account or understood how to apologize
but he had the salt wind in his face and an ache

in his belly and tears in his eyes

“Wild Gourmet Fish” by Julia on the bed

Monday May 25, 2020
1:08pm
5 minutes
West Coast Select Flyer

Haley and Hartley miss making shrimp skewers.
Shrimp has been expensive lately, and the old grill is kaput.
Haley and Hartley can eat other things so it’s okay.
Hartley says the grill never really worked that well.
Haley thinks he’s full of shit because she used to grill
all kinds of vegetables and never had a problem with it.
Hartley got rid of the grill one day and said it was done.
Haley wondered if Hartley was exaggerating and
didn’t want to do some necessary things with it first,
like check to see if it needed a deep clean (like most
things in the apartment) before tossing it to the alley-way
mafia coming by in 10 minute intervals to go through the
bins. Hartley told her that it was for sure done and it
never worked that well to begin with and Haley didn’t go
down and check so she decided to accept the fate of the
old grill even though she couldn’t bring herself to believe
what Hartley was telling her about it. Maybe because once
Hartley threw away some of the mason jars she had stored
under the sink next to the grill. She went looking for them
one day because she was storing them for a reason and they
weren’t there. It took a week for Hartley to admit that he
had thrown them out. He said he didn’t think she needed them.

“positive descriptions of the world” by Julia at the desk

Sunday May 24, 2020
8:46pm
5 minutes
Perceiving Ordinary Magic
Jeremy W. Hayward

This day is a glorious foreshadowing of what is to come
The morning is fresh and free and the afternoon a dark tear
the rest, as it happens, opens up like a wild orchid and
the grass never looked so green so vibrant so nourished

The rain follows to wipe clean any bad mouth tastes and the
sky is hazy again in a way that reminds us we can’t always
bask in the heat of the sun for we would never remember what
it feels like to retreat back into the hole and find comfort
wrapped in a fuzzy blanket that keeps migrating from chair to
the couch to the bed

When all is said and done the rain forest drips on a feathered
song and continues continues continues and the cycle of rebirth
is as beautiful in the thick as it is in the wide

This is what it means to open the chest at the seams and watch
as the exchange of oxygen enters while the beast gently floats
out out out into the place where it can become cloud again and
fuels its purpose of filling until it overflows

“positive descriptions of the world” by Sasha in the trundle room

Sunday May 24, 2020
10:31am
5 minutes
Perceiving Ordinary Magic
Jeremy W. Hayward

Let’s go back to the time before the
anarchy and debauchery and the excuses dressed
as Big Cats

Let’s paint in sand and cello music
wrap ourselves in rhubarb leaves and moon juice
take a page out of the book of birds
and fly
and sing

There isn’t anything the matter
but everything hurts

Anyone who says otherwise
is wearing dress up clothes
musty from being in the attack
stinking of detergent
from being worn and washed

“the notion of being thawed back into life”by Julia on the bed

Saturday May 23, 2020
7:28pm
5 minutes
The Childhood of Jesus
J.M. Coetzee

It’s about asking the inner self to reveal its well intentioned heart
Asking asking
and the receiving, ooh, yes that’s the good part
being ready
staying ready
what does it mean to be ready
what does it mean to give out

This notion of returning
and I can get behind it
home the place that you might
have left but has never left you
home the place that turns the dial toward the sunlight so you can see
home the place that allows the laugh from within to ripple out
give out
yes I know what I want it to sound like

If there is a memory of what living feels like it might be a simple saturday shopping for vintage t-shirts across town
not having any where else to be and knowing that
knowing it so deeply it vibrates within giving out
thawing the stone
smoothing out the brick

Maybe there is another way
for another day
another day

“excluding any personal opinion” by Julia on the couch

Friday May 22, 2020
7:48pm
5 minutes
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Leo Tolstoy

You can all put your opinions aside cause no one can deny what that man just did. Okay as soon as they said it was going to be a physical elimination, we knew Jordan was going in because everyone knows how good he is. It’s hard to watch a trainwreck about to happen and you can’t do anything about it. This man had one hand and he was still in it to win it, bringing his A Game to to the whole damn thing and when the other guy landed on his shoulder you knew it was over. Then he played anyway. Never quitting. Never letting anyone take away his love for the challenge. Then he still goes back to cheer on the next guy up, about to lose as well, but damn what a man. Then he was all tears and so were we and you had to know those fuckers felt bad too. Good luck sleeping at night now, throwing him in to purgatory without a chance in hell. He’s the Michael Jordan. He’s the one who won’t give up.

“the notion of being thawed back into life” by Sasha in the tent

Saturday May 23, 2020
4:44pm
5 minutes
The Childhood of Jesus
J.M. Coetzee

The thaw comes after a long time of being chilly. Inside the intestines, lungs and gallbladder, the kidneys and the blood. She didn’t realize until the thaw began. The release of small drops of body water. A body of water. Our bodies are water. She didn’t realize what had been frozen for oh so very long. She stretches into the end of May like a cat. Spine twisting. She leaves a trail of moisture in her path. Not suspect at first, but the thaw picks up pace and then she’s dripping at all hours of the day and night. She realized that being naked is the easiest way to weather this strange storm. She only wears a bathing suit (blue one piece from Target from her Bubby) when she goes to water her vegetable garden, just in case Tom and Bob next door are trimming their roses. She doesn’t want to upset them.

“Excluding any personal opinion” by Sasha at the dresser

Friday May 22, 2020
7:21am
5 minutes
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Leo Tolstoy

Excellent extraterrestrial beings are congratulating their fellow friends
For the solid score of flesh eating disease on the high seas of planet earth
They’ve planted and sowed and watered and spit and shit and spat and moved
Their long fingers across the faces of the frozen zombies and they are

Goddamn delighted

That the flesh is finally falling off the bones and the frozen zombies are now
Sitting in their bathtubs filled with lentils and hairbrushes and they are
Scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing
The pure unadulterated extraterrestrial joy of a mission that’s been accomplished that has been in motion for millennia

“and took another profound drag on it” by julia on the couch

Thursday May 21, 2020
7:59pm
5 minutes
The Bonfire Of The Vanities
Tom Wolfe

Before she answered she exhaled a ring of smoke. It floated away and she watched it. Brandan had a knack for drawing out a monent. Her collar bone, pertruding
out of her pink v-neck, seemed to be angrier than she was.
“he can have the kids, I want the house.” And that was what she said. She took another profound drag on her cigarette and then closed her eyes as if for the last time. She opened them slowly, but that was all she said.

“and took another profound drag on it” by Sasha in the window seat

Thursday May 21, 2020
7:13am
5 minutes
The Bonfire Of The Vanities
Tom Wolfe

When she wakes up in the middle of the night, the crickets shrieking outside the cracked window, she thinks about how long the money in her bank account might last, when she might be able to see her mother again, and how her hips ache. She gets up and pees. She drinks from the bathroom sink. She squints at herself in the mirror, hair looking surprisingly good. “Huh,” she says. She pads back to her bedroom, stopped to peek in on Nassau. Tucked into his bed shaped like a rocket ship, he’s still except for the small wheezing chest – up and down and up and down. His inhaler on the bedside table, next to his comic books and green stainless steel water bottle. She leans over her boy, listening to the quality of the wheeze. Should she wake him? He’s fucking beautiful – Larry’s exquisite eyelashes, her mother’s jawline, her cheekbones, and lips all his own. Nassau furrows his brow. Turns over onto his side. Coughs. She tiptoes out of the room.

“nobody should let them in that night” by Sasha at the table

Wednesday May 20, 2020
2:44pm
5 minutes
Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte

The night of the accident was the first one that really felt like summer. Becca and Sam were in shorts. Maybe pushing it a little, but whatever. Dylan and Stuart had joints tucked behind their ears, a lighter in Stu’s back pocket. The Zippo that his big brother James gave him for his seventeenth birthday. That’s where they got their weed too, and their beer when they drank. James liked the power he held over Stu when he did shit for him. He liked when Stu owed him something. You never know when you’re going to need a favour, or a cover. Stu didn’t think that James would be in the barn when they got there, and he didn’t know that James had dropped acid three hours earlier, on his way home from his job at the Garden Centre. “Who’s there?” Stu called when he heard something. The barn creaked. James whistled the whistle that their Grandmother had taught them in case they got lost in Walmart or the woods. “Shit,” Stu mumbled.

“nobody should let them in that night” by Julia on the bedroom floor

Wednesday May 20, 2020
9:24am
5 minutes
Wuthering Heights
Emile Brontë

She whispered in her sleep state
something along the lines of
I do not need to wait for him…
And when the morning came and his
skin wrapped around hers, she could
only flutter her eyelids and sink
deeper into him.

The night before she had reached
a grand conclusion, sitting on the
veranda, sipping lemon water, sifting
through uncomfortable feelings.
She realized that she could leave without
him in tow, and without his permission,
surely, in a world safe enough for all
of her to wander through.

The sun setting pink in the sky was
reflecting off the clouds, a smoke
signal for her to pay attention to
and she noticed the way it rivaled
her desires to be free at last
from the confines of miscalculated
duties.

In the morning light she could have
left him right then and there and
worked very hard not to feel any
particular way about it but then
in that moment things burst open
and all she could want was everywhere
she already was.

The permission to leave, was enough,
and she gave it to herself without
discussing it with anyone outside
herself. It came from within and she
honoured it with a solitary bow
from the top of her head all the way
down to the centre of her longing.

“so for a long time the king was defeated” by Julia on the patio

Tuesday May 19, 2020
9:08pm
5 minutes
The Jewish War
Josephus

Listen
I want to tell you something
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
if you are interested in receiving it I would like to give you what I know
You are a grand elastic band and
you play in the chorus of your dreams
you are the bending inbetween
the conversation point of seams
brought together intersecting
into something undeniable
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
I am happy that you’re here

Another story, similar but not
the same, is the one where the
king was defeated, yes the king, even the king, and for a long time
he told himself the story of how
defeated he was and he believed it
so deeply he knew just how to respond as if a court jester were sent to entertain him with a cruel joke of forever this way

and he did not laugh but summoned the jester all the same
every night he told himself what he wanted and the jester came to
tell him what he already knew he’d hear and he did not laugh
(The jester tried many approaches, you see, joyful at the opportunity to do his job…)

“so for a long time the king was defeated” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Tuesday May 19, 2020
11:44am
5 minutes
The Jewish War
Josephus

Look Lauren, I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m saying it’s unlikely. Recovery won’t be straightforward, okay. You’re going to need intense rehabilitation – physiotherapy will only be the start of it. You’ll need occupational therapy and you’ll have to get your home outfitted to accommodate – … It’s going to be a long and hard path. I believe in you. I believe you can do it, but I don’t want you to have some idea of how it’s going to look or how it’s going to go. Any progress is good progress, is against the odds. You have your age on your side, and the fact that you’re in decent shape. Do you have insurance? I don’t see anything noted on your chart here…

“they must not wait for him” by Julia on the couch

Monday May 18, 2020
11:58am
5 minutes
Tacitus
The Histories

They must not wait for him
for he will never be ready
not the level they wish him
to be and so they must forgo
the waiting game and play on-
play something else.

He has tried but he has also
decided on a subconcious level
where his priorities lie and
he will hang on because it doesn’t
feel good to let go because what
would that even look like?

He is ready with a response and a can-do attitude but underneath he
has already jumped ship! He cannot do what they are waiting for him to do. He will eject himself from the capsule before the signal because he thinks he’s drowning!

Then they are there waiting for him trying to get out of the water, flailing around, because he didn’t trust them to save him! But they were there the whole time.

They knew at the outset based on his blood pressure, censors all tubed up in him, that he was scared and going to act from that place!

“they must not wait for him” by Sasha in the kitchen

Monday May 18, 2020
2:22pm
5 minutes
Tacitus
The Histories

You slice off the end of your finger. You don’t scream. You don’t curse. You don’t fall to the floor. You look at the fingertip on your cutting board. You sigh. You see your father’s face, flushed. He’s just come in from the garden. He’s just come home from a long night shift. He’s just grilled three pieces of salmon on the propane barbecue. The blood starts to drip onto the floor, pooling on the linoleum. You used to faint whenever you saw blood. Daddy helped to train your mind to bear it. “Like a marathon runner, or a samurai fighter, Danielle!” He’d get down and look you right in the eye. Your eyes are the same colour as his. People used to stop you on the street and comment on it. Act like you didn’t know.

“serious minds settling down to discuss” by Sasha in her bed

Sunday May 17, 2020
10:09pm
5 minutes
Dreams
CG Jung

It is not morose to think of death
all the little pebbles collected in the pockets of my jeans
I wonder why I feel weighted at the end of the day
Laugh as I line up twelve stones on the dresser top
swiped from a little mouth
stolen from a little hand

Death is as life is
Innate in our vitality is our undoing
The paradox of living is the constant dying
It is not odd to consider how we distract and fear this
It is odd to not consider
To stick our heads into the dry earth
Fill our mouths with cheese and grapes
Turn our eyes to the bright blue light

I walked barefoot on the driveway today
Didn’t mean to do it
But did it

“serious minds settling down to discuss” by julia on the bed

Sunday May 17, 2020
7:37pm
5 minutes
Dreams
CG Jung

Let’s put on our boots in case we want to walk into a forest
in case we want to smell what’s before us with open lungs
in case we want to move toward the earth instead of toward the city

Let’s give gratitude for the people cutting in front of us for the third time, edging us off the path and onto the grass toward the swallows and the dragon flies

Let’s not set the alarm for how long we’ll give to each collaboration, staying still with every moment until a new one bursts forth, until the call of the red-winged black bird gasps us immediate because of the expansion in our chests now

“The words merely drifted” by Julia on the storage chair

Saturday May 16, 2020
2:17pm
5 minutes
The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe

jessica fron across the street
sits in the upstairs neighbour’s
parking spot
Upstairs neighbour returns in her vehicle, jessica doesn’t move, waves her back inching along, apologizes right away for taking her spot and upstairs neighbour
steps out of her car with a bag of beers for the weekend

jessica asks how her social distancing is going, noting thr bag of beers, too many for one person or two but maybe it’s not when it’s a long weekend like this one (although one might argue that for two months every weekend has felt “long” to say the very least)

the words drift up from the hot pavement and I hide behind the tree swaying a bit when the wind
moves through

I think I would be friends with jessica but not the upstairs neighbour
sometimes you can tell depending on which words are used and the tone and the general judgment that all of us are prone to employ with strangers or people who live across the alley

“The words merely drifted” by Sasha at the table

Saturday, May 16, 2020
3:34pm
5 minutes
The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe

Words like javilins like tennis balls
like popcorn like ice water
Drifting from my mouth to your mouth
Catch them
Venus fly traps
Catch them and swallow them
make them into new words
Words I didn’t say
Sharp
Bouncy
Catching a kernel in the throat

Words these sweet friends
turned scorned lovers turned awkward strangers

Betrayal has a jet stream that lingers
long after the word purges from tight lips

Catch this one and volley volley volley
You’ve been practising your spikes
The ball comes when I’m least expecting
Tired and stretching
BANG
First thing in the grey morning
BANG

“Ooh! A fun challenge!” by Julia on the couch

Friday May 15, 2020
10:59pm
5 minutes
from brittab.com

So Nany is always misunderstood. She freakin talks to Anessa every day and Aneesa knows it and she didn’t have to call her trashy. She knows how Nany feels about that. She knows she’s getting personal over Nany putting her hands on her when Anessa is obviously blowing it out of proportion. Like Kaycee has a girlfriend but why is Aneesa getting involved? To protect Nany or Kaycee, neither of which seem to require any protecting. Then Aneesa forgives Nany, which she obviously should because she knew Nany was drunk even for Nany and actually needed a glass of water instead of Anessa inserting herself in a story line that has nothing to do with her. Look, I’m just saying I see Nany, and I get her and she’s a good friend every time even when her friends are hurting her.

“Ooh! A fun challenge!” By Sasha at the table

Friday May 15, 2020
3:25pm
5 minutes
From brittab.com

Monica shrugs her shoulders. She feels Dan’s eyes on her body, taking in the rise and fall of her chest as she breathes. She remembers when she used to lie with her head on the soft place between his shoulder and his clavical. The easy silence between them. Now, a layer of plexiglass between their hands as they reach, palm to palm. “I don’t know what happened, Danny, he doesn’t have a father figure, he dpesn’t have a role model,” Monica repeats herself. Dan knows that she does this when she’s anxious. He remembers how she bailed him out at least a half a dozen times when he was working with Len and Gary. The way she’d peel out of the parking lot in her old red Honda Civic, tires screeching and then rail into him, repeating and repeating as he bit his tongue and said, “I’m sorry, baby.”

“if you are not comfortable I totally understand” by Julia in the couch

Thursday May 14, 2020
11:06am
5 minutes
from a text

If you are not comfortable asking me I totally understand
but if you are comfortable making it my problem because you’re not comfortable asking me then I will not.
I will not be a backwards bending stick.
I will not stop slamming doors.
I will not stop yelling if I think it’s funny.
I will not stop taking things too far but I will recognize that sometimes I need to flip the switch on to realize that I too preferred it off.
I want a vacation from this expectation.
One person expects me to be laughing when it’s not funny.
One person won’t understand where I am coming from even after explaining it 65 times.
One person will sigh out deeply and hope for ammends.

“if you are not comfortable I totally understand” by Sasha on the couch

Thursday May 14, 2020
8:45am
5 minutes
From a text

I dream of walking to Ideal, Lola toddling along beside me. Ordering an Americano, handing over my travel mug, eyeing a chocolate beet muffin. I dream of grocery shopping at Ko on Roncesvalles, navigating the tight aisles, selecting almond butter, mirin, dried mango. I dream of going to see a play at the Theatre Centre, and running in to someone I know. Someone I went to school with. Someone who gives me a full body hug, a really good squeeze. I dream of kissing. I dream of Wednesday morning breakfast at Lou’s, maneuvering the stroller by the recycling bins. I dream of Friday afternoons at Chloe and Fern’s, drinking tea and watching the girls chase each other around the kitchen island. I dream of a bath in my tub, even though I actually like the tub here better. My tub is my tub.

“We invite you to read” by Julia at the desk

Wednesday May 13, 2020
8:34pm
5 minutes
Canada Council For The Arts Newsletter

There’s a man over there singing on the bench

when someone passes him he stops singing and says “Hello!”

And when that someone keeps going instead of stopping what they’re doing

the man says “Hello! Goodbye! Good Hell!”

By the time the person has realized what he’s said, he’s started singing again

Should I have stopped?

They wonder

Should I have taken ten seconds out of my day?

What if he was going to want to talk to me for longer than 10 seconds?

What if I would have been the only conversation he had all day?

The worry doubles and the man keeps singing there on the bench

He doesn’t wonder if the passersby are having enough conversations

He doesn’t ask of them anything actually

He is inviting them to smile

He is inviting them to read the room and see a thing and it’s a giving, actually

He is giving what he can and at some point it’s the singing

And at some point it’s the song

It’s the smile, the stopping to notice

The noticing

The engagement

The opportunity

He gives to whoever might pass not picking based on any other statistics

Gifts can be like that sometimes

“We invite you to read” by Sasha at the table

Wednesday May 13, 2020
4:03pm
5 minutes
Canada Council for the Arts Newsletter

Gemma secretly wanted to name her daughter after her dead mother, “Frances”. Liam thought that was morbid, so they called her, “Molly”. Gemma closed her eyes, three-day-old Molly at her breast. Not quite drinking and not quite sleeping, Molly made Gemma both dopey and highly alert. She knew that she and Liam weren’t going to last. They were doing her best. Oops. They were doing their best. Liam hadn’t been sure about wanting to be a father, but when she’d gotten pregnant, he’d put on a brave face. His refusal to attend the birthing class that Gemma signed them up for wasn’t the first red flag.

“we are on the verge of something.” by Julia on the bed

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
5:55pm
5 minutes
When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chödrön

Choice
a choosing thing
I choose you
I choose this
I choose the something that I am on the verge of
I see it in the window
I gaze at it from the street
I envision myself wearing the purple cloak
the golden cloak
the light bathes me
if I choose to be cleansed
a choice then,
a choosing thing
I choose this
I choose us
I choose the future me
who will carry this history of recorded words
I choose these words for her
so she will see when she looks
back on all that was and wasn’t stamped in ink
that was and wasn’t chosen to be eternal
that this love for her is
boundless now and always so
purple
gold
clear as day and pure as night
this choice to choose herself
and to do it daily
twice daily
all the live long daily
so she will know
that she is what love knows
because she is holding up
the mirror and taking a deep look
she will choose love too
knowing that this love
this thing
this me
has chosen her

“we are on the verge of something.” By Sasha at the table

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
1:48pm
5 minutes
When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chödrön

Four olive pits on a plate painted with roses, a crack on one corner. Fifty three days since I’ve been home. Six green peas on the high chair tray, leftover from lunch. One tea bag in the bottom of the blue and white mug. Hundreds of ants chewing through the wood that keeps us warm and dry. Three drops of poison spread across the beam in the living room, the kitchen counter corner. One pandemic. One water bottle emptied and filled, emptied and filled. One nub of red candle. One small chipmunk on the deck railing, watching me write. Eleven seconds left on the timer. Two eyes, blinking.

“I bend double under its gaze,” by Sasha in her room

Monday, May 11, 2020
10:03pm
5 minutes
All the Room You Need
Lorna Crozier

Under this gaze
the weight of my face feels heavier than water
Air rising to the surface
Mist on the lake

I wish that I could tell you something good
Something effervescent
Hear your laugh buoyant as fireflies
But all I can muster is a bullet point report on the state

of my heartbreak
Sent in a little blue bubble
from the end of the road

Sometimes I think about looking back
on this time

What might still sting
What might create a shiver
laughter
What might be frozen
beneath

the new layer of the new thing
that’s right or wrong

“I bend double under its gaze,” by Julia on the couch

Monday, May 11, 2020
12:48pm
5 minutes
All the Room You Need
Lorna Crozier

Watching this house finch live its best life on the wire outside my apartment is a reminder that I too may perch and sing and drink a cup of sunlight and warm my bones

It is all this body needs and when that rings true sometimes there is a period of great avoiding

the insides can be enjoyed when they are scrubbed clean of all the sand and hair collecting under furniture and in the hard to reach crevices

then the sitting can be proven good even if the body is now stuck to a couch or other inside thing

with a hope in the broom
chaos is swept to the side, and then reimagined with the new placement of certain objects

the pepper grinder now here on the placemat and the big popcorn pot finally washed and upside down to dry

Restoration
chirp chirping

“We think you’ll like it here” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday, May 10, 2020
1:17pm
5 minutes
From an email

Shadows of birds move
across the white birch
I eclipse myself
as they do
spreading wings wide
and riding the cold wind west
I gather rocks in my pockets
carefully swiped from Lola’s mouth
Find them at the end of the day
when I undress for a bath
wondering why I am weighted
Lay them out on the windowsill
Little grey gravel pieces
I’ll return them to the road tomorrow

It’s a rollercoaster
I say over and over
Until I believe that the nausea
might be attributed to something
other than the inevitable letting go
It’s inevitable for all of us
Not just me
Letting go
Meeting our mortality
in every ending
I don’t speak in forever anymore
Scoff at those that do

There is not certainty
Anywhere but sitting with the stream
She’ll swell again next year
I can count on that
The trilliums are coming
Despite early May snow
I can count on that

“We think you’ll like it here” by Julia, standing

Sunday, May 10, 2020
10:42am
5 minutes
From an email

Carmello films himself sanding wood for a new armoir that he plans to put in the bedroom
“First you have to have a plan”
he says to nobody, believing himself a guest on a late night talk show that cares about woodworking or Carmello in all his deadpan humour

“I know some of you like to finish the wood so it looks uniform, but for me the best part is highlighting the pieces that don’t customarily belong. It’s more assymetry for me these days that really excites me about being in the shop”

Carmello’s bedroom was in need of a revamp ever since Lydia cursed him out for not having enough space for all her things

“Maybe it’s time for you to downgrade some of your shit”
was the wrong thing to say to Lydia and he hadn’t heard from her since

Carmello began like this, slowly transforming himself and his life into something that a woman like Lydia would be proud to share, maybe even brag to her tit mouse friends about

“He always thinks of the little things, the fine details, the sweet intricacies”
He heard himself say in Lydia’s voice

“what tiny synapses” by Sasha at the table

Saturday, May 9, 2020
1:30pm
5 minutes
Supermarket Lobsters
Robbie Gamble

Jinny can’t stop jerking off. She sneaks into the bathroom on her break and touches herself. She wakes up and masturbates. She goes to sleep with her hand in her pyjama bottoms. She washes her hands more than she used to. Isn’t yet at the part in the story where she questions her shame, her queasy feeling when she thinks about anyone knowing that she’s orgasmed six times today, thanks to herself. She used to despise the term “horny” but she’s reclaiming it, whispering it under her breath when she feels howshe really is just that – “horny horny horny hornyyyy…” There isn’t a suitable synonym. She’s tried to think of one, synapses firing red and ready. There must be another word for it! She’d just started online dating again, after deleting the apps at Christmas after three dozen strange, awkward, boring dates. She’d connected with a few people before the pandemic started, but things got strange and tense once everyone was in isolation. Robi, who wore a beaded necklace and overused the moon emoji, wanted to do a FaceTime date but Jinny said no.

“what tiny synapses” by Julia on the couch

Saturday, May 9, 2020
12:23pm
5 minutes
Supermarket Lobsters
Robbie Gamble

I ask her
what is the first thing you think to do when you get high
She says
I want to water my plants, tend to my garden, sometimes dance
I ask if she asks her body what it wants to do and she says
Of course
And then the conversation is firing from mouth to mouth
the room turned on lit up by
our collaboration of this follow thought all the way in on itself and back around and out again
always out again and the gift is a giving kind and we give thanks
the story we are weaving voices wrapping around each other in a seamless slow build a catchy tune satisfying chorus and we are yes and follow the impulse follow the thought follow the impulse follow the thought until we are both floating from the roaring buzz beneath our tongues a trill a la la la la la on the tip of tomorrow today tonight tonight we revel in this divine coming together of things in this realm

“when you went to Vermont” by Julia at the desk

Friday, May 8, 2020
10:00am
5 minutes
she is in the kitchen now
Nora Pace

I didn’t wait up every night I stayed up
I rubbed one out like it would be my last time
fell asleep in a crooked pocket of the couch
and remained despite the spinal chord damage
the knots now forming

If you were in a different time zone working
sleeping finding yourself in a bigger city
then this house would become a time zone all
on its own a spinning thing of waking sleeping
sliding across sheets and floors and into
breakfast without thinking about another
person’s hunger

It could have been a disaster but I don’t
linger on moments in between when you step
yourself out of town out of my life for six
weeks or something like that loosing track
and not counting and we stop calling each
other on the phone this distance making the
heart grow fonder for a thing that this isn’t

And it was worth noting how many boxes I
ticked off the list and all the living I
did without the help of another person’s
hunger telling me when it was time to eat
time to cook up the browning green beans
time to get out of bed

“when you went to Vermont” by Sasha on the couch

Friday, May 8, 2020
7:41am
5 minutes
she is in the kitchen now
Nora Pace

When you went to Vermont you never expected to see your first dead body. Hard to believe that you made it to forty-five without ever encountering a corpse, open-casket funeral or something. You wear gators for rain over your hiking boots and quick dry pants as further protection against tics. You’ve never been scared of something the way that your scared of tics. Maybe it was seeing Claire get Lyme’s and how her doctor acted like it was all in her head, just like the endometriosis and the depression. Maybe it was that something so small could have such a huge impact, a life changing crippling, debilitating impact. You aren’t one for attention-to-detail but when you come in from a walk you strip down and scour every millimeter of your body. It’s hard because you’re hairy. You suit up, and head out from the cabin you’ve rented. You’ve hiked since you were a boy, trailing mountains and bush with your beloved father who could do no wrong in your eyes, even though all he could do was wrong in the mother’s. You take the path you’ve scouted, but turn south instead of north, descending down into a deep valley. Three miles in, you see something different that the milieu of greens, golds, and browns. You walk closer.

“When the rains come,“ by Sasha at the dining room table

Thursday, May 7, 2020
2:12pm
5 minutes
Monologue of a Fly’s Shadow
Danielle Hanson

I wonder if I’ve ever felt like home to you
and if that even matters now
that we are where we are
beyond the blue horizon staring the sun in the face
Retinas recycling remembered debris
I am positing what might come next
staking ground and digging in heavy heels
What is mine now
What is yours
What is the new “ours”
Hour after hour of
Am I in denial or
Am I this okay
Am I this not okay

I wonder if you’ve ever been home to me
I certainly thought you were
But I thought a lot of things
that now feel second cousin and estranged
Living in Paris or Dubai
Wearing hand me down traumas
bright jangly jewellery dripped from neck and wrist

You say that you notice how you’re
less quick to judge
Quote something from the bible about stones
We’ve been fighting the whole car trip
the tannin of sadness thick in my mouth
staining my teeth I run my tongue along
count the smooth edges
I open the window and let the gush blast me
A bomb of maybe spring
Maybe delicacy
Hope the fresh air might change the station

“When the rains come,” by julia on the couch

Thursday, May 7, 2020
8:13pm
5 minutes
Monologue of a Fly’s Shadow
Danielle Hanson

If I’m laying in the earth when the rains come
leave me there
let me drink at the mighty fall
let me drench in the midnight sink
lather my bones so they are ocean ready
force out the salt of my skin
till I am as clean as the first day of spring
leave me there to swallow what I’ve thirsted for

Do not bring a bucket
do not dry my hands
do not move the muck from my eyelids
I will be purified by the ends of this and I will have waited

After a new wind has blown me
if I’m laying when the rains come
leave me
oh leave me there

“the creek below babbling” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday May 6, 2020
10:07pm
5 minutes
The Fawn
Jenny Burkell

Everyone seems to want to say that things are going to get worse. Do things always get worse? Especially when you feel they can’t, expect they will? The funny thing is, the creek babbles and the leaves burst on the trees that were bare. The funny thing is, despite how bad things are already, I’m doing pretty well. In some ways, I’m doing better than ever. Freckles have sprouted on my nose again and this feels like hope in the shape of a pigmented constellation that looks a little bit different every year. I make up song after song on walks up the road, singing more now than I ever have, or at least more than I have since childhood. I just can’t stop singing.