“Whoa, I was toasted” by Julia

Friday, April 3, 2020
6:14pm
5 minutes
Ode to American English
Barbara Hamby

I hope my ghost is happy with me
for employing my right hand as a guide
I am too…
I must go slowly so I can make
out the words
So far I’ve found
it’s easier when I sing
I have always known but
now I’m listening
and so…
Memory…
Amazing depths
how far you reach
I know you’re for me
I thank you for it

“Whoa, I was toasted” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Friday April 3, 2020
12:33pm
5 minutes
Ode to American English
Barbara Crooker

Lola kisses my belly in the bath over and over
“Your old house!” I say the first few times
she keeps going and I stop talking or pepper a “thank you”
a “thank you, my love”
her cherubic shape all convex freedom beauty
four top teeth commander
a wrinkled nose smile
Lola kisses the stairs she’s just learned to climb

a few tumbles when she’s wearing her brown bobbly slippers
when she test the limits of her strength
her capability brings her boundless glee

so much so that as she races towards my outstretched arms
stepping stepping step step step
She falls
a look of
“how could I?”
I wait a long wait
feels long
Will the tears come?
If they do
I scoop up under her armpits with my hands
Feel my mother’s hands in my armpits
Tempering and soothing so many falls

“You fell” I say
“Let’s keep walking”

Lick a tear from her cheek
a juicy plum
Smell her hair
orange and soap

Lola kisses the baby doll
sinks her teeth into the plastic foot
“Bee-bee! Bee-bee!”
She calls for her father in the morning
with a voice bigger than I’ve ever heard her have
When did she become this mystery concerto?

“Da-da?! Da-da! Da-da?!”
“Lo-la!” He calls back
“Hi honey!” He says

“Who win” by Julia on her couch

Thursday, April 2, 2020
11:25am
5 minutes
To fight aloud, is very brave
Emily Dickinson

It’s not about winning.
I read that in an old journal from 2017. On the next page I found a love letter to myself saying that I have to “love people enough to share the truth of me with them” and I thought it was a good something to remember. It’s not about winning, it’s about love.
And isn’t always that. Isn’t it always love, even when it’s hiding away or waiting in the wide open spaces we stop seeing? Love never lays dormant and if nothing else, let us commit that to memory.

It is easy to blame the lack of love even when it has always been. How is love supposed to win in a fight that is not fair? But then again, it’s not about winning.

“Who win” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Thursday April 2, 2020
5 minutes
9:59pm
To fight aloud, is very brave
Emily Dickinson

Contradiction contraptions, that’s what we are really. Yeah, okay, sinew and bone, guts and thoughts, science and stories, paradox, paranoia, precipitation, pragmatism. Contradiction though, through lungs, longing, losing, loving, laziness, lamentations, leaping, lachrymose and luminous. How can I be this big and this puny all at once? How is it that I can feel chest splitting expansiveness at the exact same moment as my clavicles cave,, shoulders slump, and the lump in my throat baloons seven sizes?

The double-tonguing tonic of a fast talking lover juxtaposed by the doldrum pace of booted feet walking in mud. A global pandemic now, right now, this very second, while a shooting star falls in through the window and lands on my lips?

“I peel carrots and potatoes” by Julia on her bed

Wednesday April 1, 2020
11:18am
5 minutes
Ordinary Life
Barbara Crooker

Things I’ve Learned Today:

  1. It takes me 17 minutes to peel a butternutsquash
  2. Working out is most effective when hydrated
  3. 3 puffs is my max right now
  4. I don’t need to bother with underpants if I wear a long skirt
  5. Cutting carrots is always an extreme sport for me and I count my lucky stars when my fingers go unscathed
  6. sometimes I zone out completely when I’m slicing and again, count my lucky stars
  7. I have many lucky stars
  8. Birdsong is a salve
  9. Cookies in coffee is my happy place
  10. Cheese is a temptress and I must avoid her advances at all costs

“I peel carrots and potatoes” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday April 1, 2020
11:11am
5 minutes
Ordinary Life
Barbara Crooker

I don’t peel carrots or potatoes. My mother taught me to leave the skin on.
Adds nutrients, or something like that. I scrub them, usually,
especially now. I use my fingers to pick off the nubby bits, to pop off
the spindly bottoms of the carrots, mouse tails, curly innocents.

I spend twenty minutes gazing up at a big red-headed
woodpecker working the side of a tree. Lola is asleep
in the carrier, a gentle wheeze from her snotty nose, her eyelashes
diving boards. I didn’t dress warm enough. I should’ve worn a sweater
over my plaid flannel, should’ve worn my winter jacket instead of this old raincoat from when I was a teenager canoeing the Spanish River.

I know something is very much wrong when I don’t know what to make
for dinner. “What do you feel like?” I ask Nadeem, as Lola tries to put
beams of sun in her mouth, tilting her head back like she does when
I pour water from a bowl in the bath and she tries to catch it, little bird
with a fountain worm. “Whatever you feel like making,” he says,
and I roll my eyes. The lake is completely thawed now.

“He can fix anything” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday March 31, 2020
4:21pm
5 minutes
Easter Morning
Jim Harrison

He’ll be waiting till morning because he can’t do anything until the sun rises.
He’s busy, all day, it seems, but night time shuts him right down. This might be
a survival technique or some kind of boundary he put in place a long time ago that
he hasn’t been able to unlearn. It’s too fucking bad because I need my drip fixed.
I know that sounds sexy, but I’m talking about my faucet and if he can’t do anything
tonight, then I’m shit out of luck and things, as far as I can tell in my world, are
all about me and that simply won’t fly. Before you get on my ass about waiting for
“him” to fix my shit like some knight (day) in shining armour, there is a reason
why I am not doing it. I am the one who washes the dishes, and makes the food, and
rakes the leaves, and initiates intimacy, and folds the fucking laundry. Do you know
how he does it? He wouldn’t fold it, that’s how. I tell him, we want to take care of
our delicates because they go near our genitals and we should be respecting our
genitals. AND I don’t like my folded boxers touching his mushed up balled into the drawer
boxers. Makes me feel like I have to clean everything all over again. Plus, he’s a plumber.
That’s what he does! And he can fix anything! HE JUST FUCKING WON’T.

“He can fix anything” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday March 31, 2020
9:37pm
5 minutes
Easter Morning
Jim Harrison

You strike me as the kind of person who can fix anything
Who knows how to wire a telephone jack and level a table
Someone who could look at a hanging shelf in the box
On the floor
And know how to
Get it up on the wall
Without too much sweat or stress or swear words

If the toilet were to become leaky
I imagine that you would jingle thingle this
And wiggle spaggle that and
The leak would be gone
The flush would be full throttle
All would be well again
In the world of whisking away waste
What we do not want to see
What we’d rather be gone

I’d call Lou when I couldn’t get my
Backup hard drive to listen to my computer
He walked me through that whole
Ring-a-round-the-Rosie
Several times
Always patient
Always steady
I’d feel a bit badly to be troubling him
But also a bit good to have a reason
To need him
To need his expertise
To need his help

When he was in Palliative Care
He called me once
Very late at night
Late for me
And that was with the three hour time difference
Ahead in Vancouver
He told me about a piece of music
He’d been listening to
I wish I remembered what it was
I’d listen to it now
How he was waiting on tracks to be mixed
For his album
He told me that he was tired
And laughed when I told him
“I love you”

“Catfish Lane” by Julia on her couch

Monday, March 30, 2030
5:53pm
5 minutes
The Cure
Ginger Andrews

So Kitty and Kat are on the internet and they’re pretending to be older, sexier, more experienced versions of themselves. They are 11 and 12. The world is getting younger, did you know?
They ask, ASL? and they respond, 18 and a half, F, Florida. Kitty and Kat think Florida is the coolest place on earth. That’s where their neighbour, Leon, always goes when he gets to stay with his grandmother during summer vacation.

Kitty is laughing so hard at what she’s reading, she can barely get the words out. Kat makes her move so she can write back to “Chad” who works at Mcdonalds and has a motorcycle. Also in Florida. They knew it was cool.

Kat wants to tell Chad that she likes kissing with tongue but Kitty can’t handle it and pees her pants a little bit.

“Catfish Lane” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday March 30, 2020
11:10am
5 minutes
The Cure
Ginger Andrews

The house at the end of Catfish Lane is painted blue and has shingles that need replacing. It was built in 1937 by a man named Gerald, who cried into the floorboards, putting his broken heart into every nail and beam. By the time the house was done, Gerald’s heart was almost completely mended. Almost, because broken hearts don’t ever completely heal. A little crack remains, where good, warm things might grow if we let them. Many of the other houses on the street have been replaced, renovated, remodelled, but this one, number 9, is exactly as Gerald built it. Only the kitchen cabinets have been replaced. The owner before last replaced the one’s that Gerald built. The knobs are round and the tracks smooth. The drawers open and close with ease. Mandy and Simone bought the house this past week, and as excited first home owners, go into the library and research the history of the place. The photographs in the library show Gerald, standing beside the newly built house. He isn’t smiling, but he isn’t not smiling.

“That’s what I like about disappointment:” by Julia at her desk

Sunday, March 29, 2020
6:57pm
5 minutes
Disappointment
Tony Hoagland

to fear a thing that hasn’t yet happened is the most normal thing we do. we humans. we us.

I want to put it out there. There universe. Universe us:
we don’t have to do it like that.

okay hear me out. Here me. Here you.

what if we left anticipation for the good stuff?

don’t give up on me yet. Me yet. Us.

what if I anticipate the good, I experience fear in the moment, but I do not anticipate the disappointment because I can not know any moment other than this one?

I you. You me. Me we. We us.
See what I’m trying to cultivate here on this grey clouded open night?

I never learned to tell the future. I have dreams that lead the way sometimes but it’s never exactly as it appears to be. Be this.
Be us.

“That’s what I like about disappointment:” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday March 29, 2020
7:21pm
5 minutes
Disappointment
Tony Hoagland

I thumb the disappointments
One after another
Colourful beads on a piece of long fishing line
Sturdy but transluscent
Ends held together by a knot

Thumb catches on the recent additions
A red glass sphere
I should’ve added more salt to the bread
A small blue bead for yesterday’s neglectful lateness
A small wooden bead for today’s dismissive shrug
Puny injustice sails between cell towers
I lift my hand high up and wave
Trying to find a signal

A big oblong dark bead is heavy
The anchor
All the times I’ve betrayed myself by
accommodating
By not speaking what is true
By making myself small
Contained within the small purple flowers
Hand painted by someone a long time ago

Who also has a circle of disappointments

You do
And you do
And you do too

How you carry yours might differ
Or when you put it down
Put it in a nightstand drawer
For a better sleep
Or rushed sex

Put it under an oak tree
To rest in the sun

“You wish you were in the woods” by julia on her couch

Saturday, March 28, 2020
11:19pm
5 minutes
To A Frustrated Poet
R.J. Ellmann

it is lucky we live in a rainforest

tonight we went out for a walk thinking it would be pouring rain
(you could hear it)
but it wasn’t and that was luckier still

we put one foot in front of the other until we found the water
saw the empty bridges
crossed the street between traffic lights
until we met a different hour
inhaled dripping trees

we didn’t see a soul on the sidewalks but we still walked
on the road framed by cherry blossoms

on the day that time wasn’t
we could see the city lit up
across itself

saturday night and every window glowing orange light

“You wish you were in the woods” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Saturday March 28, 2020
9:02am
5 minutes
To A Frustrated Poet
R.J. Ellmann

The scrabble board spells
M-O-P-E
W-A-D-E
R-I-F-T-S
I scan through the years of scoresheets
Kept in the bottom of the scrabble box

And find the ones of yours and Mom’s
The intimacy of your handwriting
Penmanship says so much about who we are
Your nicknames
How you won

In four days it will have been a year
Of missing you
Of thinking that you’ll be there when
We visit Bowmore
In your cardigan and your socks
Patting down the stairs to say
Hello

In four days it will have been a whole year
Of you being gone

Death is a strange seed planted
Growing
Waiting sometimes
But growing
Inevitability reaching towards unknown

I miss the sound of your voice
The sharpness of your edge
The wisdom that would crawl between the cracks
A surprise that I learned to appreciate
Inwardly

I knew when I was saying goodbye
That I wouldn’t see you alive again
But you held on to the hope
That
I imagine
Buoyed you in those last weeks
Hope like a balloon
Hope carrying you by an orange string
Across the Don Valley

“The golden brooch” by Julia at her desk

Friday March 27, 2020
12:18pm
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

What’s strange is the passing hour
a molding from my hands and into this
I sat down with one thought in mind
and it floated on into the next the way
I think it was all meant to do in
the early place

It’s been a combination of moments and
avoidance and fear that keep an idea
stranded there on the tip of the tongue
waiting for someone to say the damn thing
already

Say the damn thing already

I want you to know that there is love
here for you even if you don’t recognize it

I want you to know that we can’t give up
on our joy even if we lay it down every
now and again

I want you to know that there will be
something different at the end of this
sentence and if you follow it till the
end or to the almost end or to the last
word you might notice something lingering
there that you never tuned into before

I want you to know

that the damn thing is this:

One day we will brush past each other
on a crowded street and it will be more
like a pinning to the chest or arm or
thigh and we will be stuck together as
if we never left this hallelujah
in the first place

“The golden brooch” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Friday March 27, 2020
10:31am
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Felicia doesn’t want anything that belongs to her Abuela becuase she refuses to believe that she’s actually going anywhere. She rolls her eyes at Mama and Tita Hulia making charts on graph paper about who gets what and bickering over what things are worth and what is “fair”. Nothing is fucking fair, Felicia thinks, lying face down on Abuela’s bright, woven living room rug. Abuela is the woman who gets her hair done every week, who has her long fingernails painted coral or light pink, depending on the season. She has always been perfectly curvaceous, with dark eyebrows like awnings protecting her grey and glistening eyes. Felicia yawns and feels the anchor of grief in her belly, pulling her down, pulling her into the rug, then the floorboards, then the basement, the foundation, the cool earth. “Fefe!” Mama calls from the next room. “What?” Felicia doesn’t want to consult about sweaters or wall hangings or rosaries. “Do you want this?” Mama is right there, standing over her, holding Abuela’s gold brooch, the one that she got from her Abuela on her eighteenth birthday.

“August is coming” by Julia at her desk

Thursday March 26, 2020
9:43am
5 minutes
Any prince to any princess
Adrian Henri

August is coming and we will welcome her with arms butter flake and cloud kiss
we will hold her in our blanket fort and pin the fairy lights all around her
we will wind up her train on the backs of our hands and twirl her about
we will weep at her feet and bathe her toes in a rose water blessing
we will sing at how far she has traveled
flown around the world in hope but flesh set in stone and sand and grit
we will honour her presence with a basket of fresh basil and rosemary braids
we will give her a cluster of moments to rest at the base of our skulls
or next to the balcony gardens or by the hummingbird feeder
we will listen to her tales of triumph after a journey fraught
and how she never dropped faith even for a second
we will seed her new life with a promise to be children again
delighting in the moonlight of her smile and how her open chest beats a dance
for us all to dream

“August is coming” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Thursday March 26, 2020
5:09pm
5 minutes
Any prince to any princess
Adrian Henri

Thank you for telling me that summer will come again, the nasturtium will bloom vibrant and sassy, and the buds on the trees just ripening now, will flower into the green newness of hope. Thank you for sending me links to what you’re making, alone in dug out earth foundation, where you cook and dance, film and cry. Thank you for remembering that there is nothing more sacred than friendship and “I love you”. Thank you for the million hours of trudgery, practise, remembering, fucking up. Thank you for seeing the truth of me all those years ago, and knowing a kinded heart and following it towards the midnight and the dawn.

“We want the suns and moons” by Julia on the couch

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
8:00pm
5 minutes
A Physics
Heather McHugh

inside these days we hear more of the neighbours jumping

there’s a lot of working out from home, which we hear and now understand what it must sound like to the people below us when we dance it out

There’s a lot of working from home, but that one’s not so loud
Most people are still, home, but not as loud as us

We’re the ones screeching to each other from across the apartment

we’re the ones banging pots and pans and spoons around

we’re the ones playing the guitar and the ukulele and the harmonica and sometimes the little egg shaker

we’re the ones singing
we’re the ones practicing our lines

we’re the ones sliding the coffee table back and forth

At 7:00 everyone cheers and we are not the only loud ones then

we are doing our inside things and if we hear anyone doing theirs we do not get angry but remember humanity above us and down the hall

we dream of warm nights playing music together on our patio, saying goodbye to the sun and welcoming the moon

“We want the suns and moons” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday March 25, 2020
6:48pm
5 minutes
A Physics
Heather McHugh

The woods are still. No grouse raising leaves. No wind through the branches. The quiet of magic hour sends a quake of loneliness through my core. The house is warm and there’s no reason to have chattering teeth. There is not distraction here in the way that there is with a wifi signal and a bus revving past and people a straightforward phone call away. I breathe. I uncross my legs to feel my feet on the wood floor. I’m sorry if this is boring. I’m sorry if you came here for escape and what you’ve found is more of the same. What you’ve found is yourself. I’m sorry if you were hoping for something more interesting, less mundane, more exhilarating, less quiet and sad. The fridge hums. The sunset paints an orange stripe at the horizon, growing more and more vibrant by the second.

“They’ll be able to describe it” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday March 24, 2020
10:49pm
5 minutes
Teaching a Child the Art of Confession
David Shumate

We will be able to describe these strange limbo weeks
one day
In the future
When things are (aren’t) back to normal

My father says that the data shows that after a big event
People want things to return to how they were
They don’t want change
They want their coffee back
Their subway to the office back
Their Tuesday game night back

On the radio today
The broadcaster says that the funeral homes in Italy
Can’t keep up with the bodies
They are sending them to an ice rink
I gasp
No one can gather to mourn
so priests are holding rites online
But many seniors don’t have the Internet

From the corner of the back deck where I get reception
I speak to my sister
A world away
Three hours away
In the city

She says that they’ve run out of some fruit
some greens
And won’t be able to get stuff delivered until Friday

I make a mental note to update our inventory spreadsheet
Today we ate four eggs
Kale stalks
Green onions
Cilantro
Three pieces of bread
Avocado
Millet
Corn
One can of black beans
Dried mango
I must be forgetting something

The call keeps cutting out so I find myself
shouting into the melting birch forest
“I can’t stop thinking about that the babies and kids are safe!”
Something barks or howls in the distance
I turn around to look

“They’ll be able to describe it” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
12:17pm
5 minutes
Teaching a Child the Art of Confession
David Shumate

They’ll be able to describe it by the finches singing in the yard
the construction workers outside still constructing work and homes and noise
the old photographs now strewn across the coffee table and some on top of the bedside drawers
They’ll be able to paint a grey spring and remember what March felt like during this
The space held between people with great care, like a balloon blown up past its comfort
or an egg, last and lonely keeping the refrigerator feeling
They’ll be able to search their daily journals that all start with today, and end with now
that focus on the heathers brightening up every corner or the magnolia passing us a much needed bloom
They’ll describe it in belly moans and leg cramps
in chapped hand skin and swollen eyelids
in red cowboy shirts and purple lipstick warn at home on a day that feels like any other day and no day and this day
They’ll be able to describe it with a time capsule, a few items here and there from the house that they won’t miss too much
A reminder that right here and right now there are things to collect
and give us

“The deal is struck” by Julia on her couch

Monday, March 23, 2020
9:25pm
5 minutes
Seven Deadly Sins
Virginia Hamilton Adair

According to Angel it was nice getting to see her teacher at comic con. Mr. Rose wore his out of school clothes which looked a lot like his in school clothes and he had his wife with him.

According to Angel Mr. Rose was acting strange because he had seen his student outside of school but this was not the case.

Every time Angel saw Mr. Rose after that she would remind him of the day they saw each other at comic con. he would tell her he did remember and she would bring up the same part about his wife and her orange t-shirt.

“The deal is struck” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday March 23, 2020
5:09pm
5 minutes
Seven Deadly Sins
Virginia Hamilton Adair

We strike a deal on Monday morning but then the world explodes with pandemic bullshit and everything halts. I hadn’t signed the papers. Pete hadn’t even received his contract. Kim is waiting for the lawyers to call, but they don’t becuase one of the mailroom guys is quarantined after visiting their family in Iran and has symptoms so now everyone has to go home, the whole office has to shut down. I can’t fucking believe that last week we were having wings and beer, and now Penelope won’t even come over for a quickie becuase of “social distancing”. How the fuck am I going to survive this madness? I haven’t spent twenty four hours alone in I can’t remember how long. The gym is closed. The gym! People need to buck up and stop being so afraid. Pete said that if we got it, the virus, that we would probably be totally fine. It’s the old folks who are the most fucked right now… Shit, I mean, what about Mom and Bruce? Shit! I should call Mom back. Shit… she has asthma, and Bruce has to go to the hospital for chemo… Fuck! I gotta…

“A marriage is risky business these days” by Julia at The Cottage

Sunday, March 22, 2020
9:23pm
5 minutes
Wedding Poem for Schele and Phil
Bill Holm

When the invite came in the mail I didn’t take it out of its envelope.
Marnie would have fainted if she knew. I just threw it straight into the trash.
It was hard not being able to tell her. I mean, if you were me you wouldn’t tell her.
No one needs their best friend telling you that they can’t trust themselves to make a better decision.
I couldn’t support it and I don’t think I should have lied to her about it.
If I had gone, she would have had me there but I’d be lying the whole time.
It’s not better to lie about stuff like that.
Guess you could say I avoided it, I lied, same same double same, but the truth is, Marnie didn’t get subtle wake up calls.
She didn’t take anything seriously and in a way I kind of hoped she would have this one time.
It was the end of our friendship, to be honest with you. Marnie wasn’t going to listen to me tell her after the fact.
It’s my fault though. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror after I let her walk down the aisle.
Some people think it was my job to say something, but I don’t know, if it were that easy…
Well. Anyway, all I can say is marriage is already a risky business these days. It doesn’t need
more doubt thrown onto the fire.

“A marriage is risky business these days” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday March 22, 2020
10:03am
5 minutes
Wedding Poem for Schele and Phil
Bill Holm

Language is alive and that’s one of the many reasons language is one of the loves of my life. The definition of a great many words has changed, personally and politically, over the course of the last year, the last month, the last few days. Language becomes the beaded rosary tossed from one house to the next with a, “Hello!” Or Matt Galloway on the radio. I am smitten with the way words look and taste and feel. I especially love the word “yes”, the word “birch”, the word “you”. If you (mmm), dear reader, come here often, you know the most beloved words because you see how I overuse them, how I lean on them, walking stick beauties, how I should think wider to catch different words in my net, but I’m not in a place to use bigger and different, I’m in a place to use familiar and cozy and known.

“No tits to pull” by Julia at her desk

Saturday March 21, 2020
6:03pm
5 minutes
Carnation Milk
Anonymous

In the shower I held my own tits while I cried.
I didn’t realize I was doing it but when I realized
I was doing it I didn’t stop and didn’t wonder at it.
I knew why. I understood why. I get why.
Why cry when there is love.
Why weep when there is life.
Why stand frozen under a stream of steaming water when there is chance.
Why this.
Why now.
Why us.
I know why us and now and this too.
I know why deeply but I can’t put words to it because that would undo the great knowing.

Earlier you said we should have sex on our patio to give the people indoors a show, “if it comes to that.”
If it comes to that will we be able to model free love and free loving when it costs
skin and bones and a heart full of hope to give it?

Earlier I said “You have to help me.”

Earlier I said “I dreamed that I was about to perform my spoken word on The Tonight Show. But I ended the dream babysitting two rich brats who only wanted to eat BROOKSIDE Dark Chocolate Acai & Blueberries.”

Earlier I said “Please don’t make me do this alone.”

Earlier I said “I’m still upset I didn’t get to perform on Leno.”

“No tit to pull” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Saturday March 21, 2020
8:38am
5 minutes
Carnation Milk
Anonymous

My tits are tired and grouchy

A blister beginning on the right nipple

I take a sharp inhale when Lola latches

And think about how pain is relative

Pain is universal

Pain is the slice on my pinky by the black knife 

I didn’t realize was so sharp

Pain is the ache of longing felt in my marrow

Dull and then swollen

Dull again and then deafening

 

My hands are dry and gaunt 

Nails longer than I like

CBC radio tells us about almost eight hundred deaths

In Italy where they can’t keep up

A new lexicon has begun

Contamination

Exposure

Did you wash your hands when you…?

Did you sanitize the bottom of the little shoes?

Did you wipe the outside of the bag of oats?

 

Social distancing makes the need for social media real

All the single people in basement apartments

All the seniors with their doors closed and blinds drawn

Wishing a bird might sit on the tree outside and sing Frank Sinatra 

All the families driving one another crazy

But at least they’ve got company in these days that are both so long

And so short blurring and cross fading one to the next

Cook eat play nap cook eat play nap cook eat play goodnight song

 

When this is all over

Let’s have a parade for the postal workers

The researchers

The grocery store stockers and cashiers

And hospital janitors

The nurses coming out of retirement

The neighbours buying extra cartons of eggs for the old man in number seventy

Whose wife died six weeks ago and whose family is in Portugal 

“The spring is compressed” by Julia on the floor

Friday March 20, 2020
10:11pm
5 minutes
A Brief Lecture on Door Closers
Clemens Starck

I wake today to a text but I’m not allowed to look at it until 7am. I am not in a rush. I lay back in the bed. I lay there laying. I make a coffee, read the text and a friend has asked how I spent the equinox, and I don’t want to tell her that I ate a Big Mac. I didn’t remember about the equinox until she mentioned it. She is not trying to make me feel bad because she didn’t do anything for it after all and also she would have respected my choice to have a Big Mac.

I wake again now after falling asleep on the couch and my book is open and I am exposed once more with all my swirly ls and inconsistent shadow-work.

I say I’m tired and then I write this. This makes me less tired. My hips need some help. My skin has endured so many broken promises. Someone else has waited for me.

“The spring is compressed” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Friday March 20, 2020
10:08pm
5 minutes
A Brief Lecture on Door Closers
Clemens Starck

The spring is coming
This is optimism in the shape of buds on the pinky’s of trees
temptation of the thaw in my chest as I flirt with a step on yawning ice

The pussywillows sway as the phoebes sing
Sun speaking a brave prayer as she opens her mouth wide
This is the light that encircles us all

I unpack weeks worth of groceries into the droning fridge
Spinach and oranges
Apples and cheddar cheese
Bread and half a mango
Tofu and a jar of red lentil soup from the freezer back home

Nadeem starts a fire in the wood stove
The roar catching in my heart as it lets down
As it feels the quiet in ventricles and chasms

Mom sent an email about ticks
And how we shouldn’t go walking in the woods or let
Lola crawl in the tall grass 

Especially as it gets warmer
Trading vigilances
Swapping one worry for another

This is the light that encircles us all

“FEEL YOUR FACE” By Julia on the living room floor

Thursday March 19, 2020
9:32pm
5 minutes
Burma-Shave
Traditional poem

there are apps that I have chosen to go to sleep at a certain hour now. Today, yesterday, now. How long does someone wait to call it Now in the habitual sense, the sense of saying I Do This Now when it has become something to do

I hate using the word “apps”. I barely like saying cell phone but here we are unavoidable. now. on the moving picture show of their life that is also my life too, now.

Now’s floor is more fun to sit on
more time to experiment with something new, a hat, an eye pencil, a semi supine. Now’s fridge clangs both empty and full. Now’s pantry has possibilities. Open ended.

“FEEL YOUR FACE” By Sasha on her living room floor

Thursday, March 19, 2020
7:02am
5 minutes
Burma-Shave
Traditional poem

FEEL YOUR FACE

(AFTER WASHING YOUR HANDS)
THE FACE THAT YOU’VE ALWAYS HAD
AND WILL ALWAYS HAVE
LOVE THIS FACE THAT TELLS THE WORLD
WHO YOU ARE
USE YOUR FINGERTIPS TO FALL IN LOVE
WITH YOURSELF
THE WAY THAT YOU CARESS

A LOVER
OR A CHILD

THE TENDERNESS

THE PASSION
THE ADORATION
THE UNCONDITIONAL
I LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT
SAY THIS OUT LOUD
I LOVE YOU NO MATTER
STRAY HAIR
WRINKLE LINE
FRECKLE
PIMPLE
I LOVE YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE
NOT WHAT YOU ARE
CAPITALISM TELLS US NOT TO LOVE OURSELVES
JOKE IS ON THE MARKET
CRASHING LIKE A WAVE
JOKE IS ON US ALL
WHEN LEFT ALONE WITH OURSELVES
DO WE LOVE
DO WE LOATHE
DO WE LASH OUT
DO WE LAUGH
DO WE REMEMBER THAT THE ONLY
THING WE CAN REALLY COUNT ON
IS THIS MOMENT
AND THEN
THIS ONE
TOUCH YOUR FACE
(AFTER WASHING YOUR HANDS)
AND THANK YOUR FACE FOR HOW SHE’S
KNOWN WHAT YOU NEED AND TOLD OTHER’S
SOMETIMES WHEN THE WORDS WEREN’T THERE
THANK YOUR FACE FOR HER CROOKED NOSE
HER BRAVENESS
HER FULLNESS
HER HERNESS

“I would have missed so many smells” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 18, 2020
8:31pm
5 minutes
Ode to My 1977 Toyota
Barbara Hamby

once there was a girl in my bunk at jesus camp who didn’t have any sense of smell. this worked out

for me because I was dealing with an unnamed dairy allergy at the time and I could fart around her with ease and dare

I say delight?
Me and my friends would make it into a joke. Farting was part of the joke, the girl, for the most part didn’t get any flack.

one night at worship or cattle call or you name it, everyone was chanting Happy Song Happy Song and stomping on the bleachers.

the song, to my dismay got sung, but the girl with no sense of smell passed out because there were a lot of people all screaming and yelping and invoking the light of christ.

so when the first aid team descended upon us and the circle we had made to congreate around the girl, they gave her smelling salts to bring her to

and this, as you can imagine, did not work out. For her.

“I would have missed so many smells” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
6:10pm
5 minutes
Ode to My 1977 Toyota
Barbara Hamby

I imagine that more poetry is being read aloud
and more people are saying “I love you”
More baths are being run
and shared
More parents are playing with their kids
actually playing
getting down on the floor and being alligators and fairies and brave

They say that the canals in Venice are crystal clear
and deer are walking the streets of Tokyo

In the breaking down of everything we know
something new
a shoot of green from frozen ground
a smile with a neighbour who I’ve walked past many times
my baby sleeping tucked in my coat
her baby sleeping tucked in hers

I listen to the sound of my heartbeat
the sound of my husband talking on the phone

the sound of my father’s footsteps walking up the stairs
the sound of my neighbour on her porch smoking a cigarette
the sound of the bus accelerating up the street
heartbeat these sounds
their own rhythm of here
now

I imagine that more bread is being baked
more songs are being sung along to
more phone calls are being made to grandparents
and long lost siblings and friends who felt a bit forgotten

“Permit me to add my first” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 17, 2020
11:32pm
5 minutes
Old French Fairy Tales
Sophie, Comtesse de Ségur

Today while walking, and trying to keep a six foot distance between myself and all others, what a strange game to play at nine thirty in the morning, speeding up and slowing down to match the jogger in red sweatpants, the stroller mom, the UPS guy… today while walking, I was thinking about what this all means to animals, like, are any wolves getting sick? Are seals barking warnings across waterways? Are the robins who suddenly seem to have descended upon the front yards of the neighbourhood here to whisper to the worms, “Watch out!” And the pangolins, oh the pangolins… are they riddled with guilt, whispering bedtime stories to their tiny children while wiping tears? Maybe these creatures couldn’t care less and are sighing relief that we finally have something to slow us down and make us quiet.

“Permit me to add my first” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday March 17, 2020
5:20pm
5 minutes
Old French Fairy Tales
Sophie, Comtesse de Ségur

you will find a journal of unsent letters addressed to you
in each one will be our ending but you will never suspect that they are about you

you will find the truth of what was hurting and why

you will learn the code words based on the shape of my Gs and in the loop of my Zs

you will wonder why you never saw it first and if there might be proof of this reckoning coming somewhere down an earlier pipe

you will not think any of those Gs or Zs are about you until one day that is all you can think of and then you will see yourself all over everything

you will question why you couldn’t ask me better questions or why you assumed me one way

must have been the wild west in me, the untameable horse, the rulebreaker you always wished you could be

you will be shocked on the outside but on the inside you will know the truth and how you are responsible for more than you name

“Souvenir, n. Memento.” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday March 16, 2020
10:40pm
5 minutes
A New Primary Dictionary if The English Language
Joseph E. Worcester

I hope I’m sketched in your mind with my head thrown back in laughter
Mouth wide and slightly crooked bottom teeth peeking out as they do
As we do
My fingers circle the ring circle the circle
My commitment to myself to
Always be true
Always be kind
Always be free

A different marriage
Always
What a big word for someone who hasn’t been here that long

That’s what I say to strangers when they comment on
my little girl’s staring
”She’s new here! She’s just figuring stuff out!”
Try to keep it light
but when they ask her to smile
I snarl
smile

I say
”She’s feeling how she’s feeling and I guess she doesn’t
feel like smiling”

Why
are we telling baby girls to smile
Smile
Who cares what you’re actually feeling
Just
Smile
It feels better for me if you’re smiling

“Souvenir, n. Memento.” by Julia at her desk

Monday March 16, 2020
12:38pm
5 minutes
A New Primary Dictionary if The English Language
Joseph E. Worcester

Remember me this way:

laughing
filled with holes and holy
dreaming in colour
writing songs on cocktail-napkins
writing notes in the margins of newly discovered books
smelling like garlic
chopping garlic
eating garlic
with a good idea unraveling
with a lose curl hanging down my back
with an eye for fresh haircuts and new shirts
with a penchant for over dramatization in the name of comedy
laughing
open arms and long hugs
humming along to Mozart
dripping water across the bathroom floor
showering by candle light
in candle light, flickering, relentless
reading the funny labels of things not meant to be funny
with a leather-bound notebook from Firenze
wearing the blue Adidas runners from 2003 even though they’ve lost their tread

Remember me in your pocket, folded, going with you wherever you land.

“You will be very welcome” by Sasha on the comfy chair

Sunday March 15, 2020
1:43pm
5 minutes
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum

You will take yourself to the quiet of the centre of the forest.
You will tell yourself that you’re sorry for all the times you betrayed the quiet knowing in the space below your heart, the space around your heart, the pearl in the cavern of your heart.
You will drink from the well where your mother drank when she was ripping stickers from the life she thought she’d sewed. We never know. We really never know.

You will wait for dusk and greet him with a kiss.
You will paint your face with the colours of the sunset, relish in the dusty pink and cool grey.
Wink the happy birthday song, even though it isn’t your birthday, but it will be, and why not.

“You will be very welcome” by Julia at her desk

Sunday March 15, 2020
12:26pm
5 minutes
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum

Here in our home we have a pull-out couch for visitors who need to rest their bones.
We are sorry that it’s old, but it does the trick, and should you need it, you won’t notice minor details like that.
Our cooking skills will make you forget you were tired, and if your muscles ache, Bunny has been going to school for massage therapy ever since her friend Mrs. Wang told her she had “healing hands”. Bunny always takes notes of advice like this seriously, and as her primary recipient for practice and development I can attest to the truth of Mrs. Wang’s insights. Bunny has always been able to find the places in my back that need rearranging or light touch and energy. Our guests will find themselves with the luxury of this extensive care. If one chooses not to partake in the massage therapy portion of our offerings, Bunny and her magic fingers, of course, will not be offended because she is also practicing the art of not taking anything personally.
If any one should require more information on our balcony garden, they can direct their questions to me as I’m the one with the green thumb. Guests can expect to enjoy fresh parsley, rosemary, tomatoes, basil, and chives. Guests can also opt out of any additional meals prepared if they are not in the mood for what we have. No questions asked.

“but what disturbed that idea” by Julia at her desk

Saturday March 14, 2020
5:29pm
5 minutes
The War of the Worlds
H. G. Wells

We were going to leave. Leave for a while, you know, nothing permanent, nothing too far out there, but things have changed since we said we’d do it. We told only a few people but that’s because we were trying to go off the grid in a casual, ghost-like way. If we left our current lives quietly, nobody would have any suspicions raised because there’d be no one sounding the alarm, and by the time they noticed, by the time they came looking for us we’d be far enough gone that they wouldn’t be able to interfere. Although we were worried about that slight possibility, we knew that most people cared about themselves more than what we were doing so the reality of us being persons of interest was not one we’d have to face. That being said, we were slightly concerned that Canada Post would be the first to realize that we had left. They tend to be the most aggressive about people especially when they’re trying to deliver your mail but can’t seem to do that if your mailbox is too full. That’s when they start keeping tabs on you to make sure this is, after all, your true address, and you, after all, are a true citizen.

We had rented a small cabin in a place I will no longer share, in case we can still access it. I shouldn’t have said cabin, but maybe that won’t matter either after any of this. What disturbed the idea of us going was the whistle from the morning bird; calling us, calling us, calling us.

“but what disturbed that idea” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday March 14, 2020
3:02pm
5 minutes
The War of the Worlds
H. G. Wells

It’s my first time ringing the bell and Marla makes a silly face and Goddamnit I hope I don’t laugh. Don’t laugh! Don’t laugh! DON’T LAUGH! But you say this enough, and you say it with an Irish accent, and then of course… you laugh. Shit. I want to ring the bell all serious and true and committed and professional, like I really am the grown up that has a job that pays seventeen dollars an hour (WHEEEE!) and where there are incentives and bells get rung and goals get achieved. Don’t laugh! Shit. Marla will be the death of me. I wonder what the spot behind her right ear smells like. I wonder what she wears to bed. I wonder what she eats when no one is looking and how she does it, like, does she use her finger, or a sharp knife?

“sap moves in the veins” by Julia on her couch

Friday March 13, 2020
8:17pm
5 minutes
The Day Dream
Nora Acheson

I move slowly like sap dripping out

I want to be a thing that absorbs

light
sound
love
skin
human
faith
time
growth
abundance
appreciation
patience
foundation

I am slow to goodbye these wonder souls now buried in my spine

I will write a song for them
and one for their love

if I run I miss the magic
the pen pal letter written in the dark
the candle light pushed down into the coffee table for a bit of wax to right the empty

I will breathe deeply, move mountains, and these things take time, did you know?

these things take a hammer and nail, hand building, hand writing, hand holding and why rush

why race when the sun is setting pink over the hill and there are people gathered to witness

why look all the way in only to speed up past the heart throbbing for the heat of another

there is a slow we can drink

“Sap moves in the veins” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday March 13, 2020
1:40pm
5 minutes
The Day Dream
Nora Acheson

Sap moves in the veins of the maple tree
weaving liquid to gold
Sit it on the stove for long hours
Sing songs in the sugar shack to make the brew thick
I want to know her in ways that she only knows a sister
I want to taste the sweet of the secrets she keeps between her lips
I’m sorry that I never told you so very many things
Dragging cheeks across the stream
Making a party in the forest because
Who knows how long any of us

Has left

“I knew I should meet you here” by Sasha in her bathroom

Thursday March 12, 2020
11:09pm
5 minutes
War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy

I knew that something was wrong when there was silence
like after an explosion or in the very middle of the night

I had bought dark chocolate and organic wine
rolled a beeswax candle and brushed my hair

The lightness of excitement eclipsing the pandemic
A tall order really but it did and that’s just fucking true

We sit in your car and cradle faces
crescent moons

We walk through earth that was muddy yesterday
but is cold today

We speak in lurches and tethered torment
teeth tipping and topping

towards a way through
crash laughter I can’t help it

I often can’t find words in your physical presence
where do they run to?!

Eloquence is something I think I have in my palm at all times
but all I had then was the piece of jade

I’d tucked in my pocket
Tiny protector

Bringer of soothing and harmony
I hope it’s in your pocket now

“I knew I should meet you here” by Julia on her couch

Thursday March 12, 2020
6:42pm
5 minutes
War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy

ask me where you want to meet me in our dreams and I give you an answer that throws you off my scent. I don’t want to share my dreams with you. I want to go alone and go all the way and go to the point of no return. But if you come too what will happen? You won’t remember it the way I can. Let’s say we meet at the train station. I always say that, have you noticed? I don’t say “on the train” because I want you to get lost while looking for the bathrooms or the cinnamon buns and not make it on before departure! I want to go where my quiet train goes on my own and nobody should take that personally. I can say “let’s meet on the path” because what path? Chances aren’t high that we’d find the same path. And if we do, even after all that, we will deal with it then!

“Supposing the force of gravity in any similar medium” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 11, 2020
9:20pm
5 minutes
Newton’s Principia: The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
Sir Isaac Newton

We all head south as the years pour out
Tonight, same as last, I made a choice
Not to take advantage
Not to rumble with someone else’s expectations
And I travelled down
because it hurt
the person who expected
And it begged the question
Was this decision made out of fear or out of truth
And trust it’s truth
I can always access it there in the fleshy undertones of my face and wonder if it was there all along

I ask the question
Measure twice
Cut once
Be a big decided sinking thing
And travel to the south of me
Gravity dragging me to my knees
And that is where humility can find you
Breathing in something like air only different
Transformative
Release maybe in the form of swollen ankles
Look at how long you have been holding yourself up
It says
And I listen
I don’t quake in my boots at the big decision but at the hurting hearts
The weight bearing hopeful hearts

“Supposing the force of gravity in any similar medium” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday March 11, 2020
10:35am
5 minutes
Newton’s Principia: The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
Sir Isaac Newton

The force of two hands pushing against each other
the friction of opposing desires colliding in the space between voices
shouting
The quiet of lust
The staccato of fear as it snakes and shimmies through the waterways
of the city
the country
the continent
the world

A daffodil sits on my kitchen table having opened overnight
How did she do it?
The light through the stained glass window
Lola eating a circle of banana
and then scrunching her nose as she smiles
Salve on my scared heart

What does your scared heart
tell you as you wash your hands?
Those twenty seconds of suds and warmth
a chasm between the possible panic
or possible breath
or possible love sent out to
the lonely
the vulnerable
the sick
the grieving
the ones who plug their ears and
pop their bottles

My scared heart tells me that
this is a time for slowing down
For phone calls and hot baths
and warm water in blue mugs

My scared heart tells me
it was only a matter of time
It is only a matter of time

 

“On the dank and dirty ground.” By Julia on her couch

Tuesday March 10, 2020
9:20pm
5 minutes
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
William Shakespeare

It didn’t use to be this way
There was more bowing down, bending,
licking the dank dirty ground if they asked me to
And they asked me to

A softer bone where the back should have been
I could have folded all the way if the tile was
underneath me
and if you’d ask me if I regret it
I would tell you that I don’t know who that floor kissing person was
who that brownie off the ground eating person was
who she was who couldn’t say no
who didn’t understand the word

It didn’t use to be this way

A quiet scream would find itself lodged
in the back of the lung and nothing would
surface for fear of disturbing the peace

Now peace is not considered
only sounding the alarm if the inside says so
It was so much easier then to let them all think
I had a hair to curl or a smile to lend

But it was so much harder to ignore what I needed
So much harder to draw the line and
choose a side

“On the dank and dirty ground.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 10, 2020
3:51pm
5 minutes
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare

On the dank and dirty ground, you see a shiny penny. You pick it up. You turn it over and over in your hand. You’ve heard stories about these copper discs, how they were once used to buy things like candy and newspapers. Your father was once standing on a crowded subway platform and he looked up, smiling, thinking of a funny video he’d seen earlier that day, shared with him by you, of all people, and someone else on that crowded subway platform had decided to throw a penny in the air, and it hit your father right on his left front tooth and that tooth chipped, the small bony piece flying up and then down, never to be seen again. You love your father’s strange tooth, now mended, but the shadow of the crack visible in bright light.