“In the moonstruck dusk” by Julia at her desk

Monday February 17, 2020
8:42pm
5 minutes
Wolf OR-7
Natalie Diaz

It has been over said but I will say it again:
I do not recognize that man, I’m tellin’ ya, Jerry,
I don’t know the guy from a can of paint!

These guys are tryna screw my lid so I can’t think
straight and if that’s alright with you, then you’re
no different than those bone heads.

I’m not gonna tell you what you should do, alright,
far be it from me to weigh in on how you should do
your job, Jerry, but I’m tellin’ ya, if it was up to
me, which I can honestly say, no disrespect, that it
is not, you’re gettin’ your berries stirred and it’s
not gonna be a fancy fruit salad, you understand?

In this moonlight, Jerry, it’s romantic, people got their
notions all tied up tight and they let them get yanked
around by a little dusk blindness. That’s all it is.
They pick a guy like me to yank the wool, you understand, Jerry?
A guy like me!

“like being naked with someone you haven’t been naked with” by Sasha on the plane

Sunday February 16, 2020
11:11am
5 minutes
Hot Pulse
J. Jill Robinson

Trust is a slippery fish that wriggles out of hands back into lake water
swims down to where the seaweed opens and closes
Finds a small “o” and swallows it and burps bubbles up
Face pressed against the float
breathe in the small pockets of air
upturn or downturn
Will he or won’t he break my tired heart?

The scales change colour and flake off
The mind says
This is always how it goes
Exhausted tune that the ears don’t even hear anymore
it’s so embedded and cozy in a down duvet
heavy limbs finally resting like they haven’t since
Before

Throw the line in far and fast
loaded the end of the rod with the finest bait
wide eyes
freshly sharpened wit
tears like seeds that sow
connection
some very strong one liners
playing with messy hands messy hair
looking down and then up and then down again
a promise collected on eyelashes
volleying and rolling and diving
with each
blink

The fish comes up to the surface and sucks on toes
Three times the size that she was before
Don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing
Deep throat
Gills ablaze
Tail tracing the shape of the timing
Folding irony over tenderness
kneading a dough of the very becoming

that births a perfect risk

“like being naked with someone you haven’t been naked with” by Julia at her desk

Sunday February 16, 2020
11:53am
5 minutes
Hot Pulse
J. Jill Robinson

Remember yesterday that moment where you slapped
my ass and I was supposed to decide if I wanted that then
It turned into something
we both breathed in
we both waited a beat and then
then we found… it
dropped into… it
landed there at the pit and held it up with soft hands
we were soft hands and quiet
but we couldn’t hear the dripping faucet
couldn’t hear the alleyway rummage and dive
couldn’t hear the seagulls calling
and it was quiet like a theta wave still
singing in the space where words don’t dare venture

That couch looks different today
Almost prettier than before
And more of us now
of us in the way we don’t have to think

That moment before has felt like a century
and that deciding second passes slowly
But there is change in the air, hanging
we are awakening Osiris by surrendering to it
thumbing the pages of skin and ink and
wearing it like a fine cloth, transparent
over sweaty limbs and toothy kisses, pinning

“My new bedroom was an old kitchen.” By Julia on her couch

Saturday February 15, 2020
7:09pm
5 minutes
Waxy
Camilla Grudova

If you count the summers we went strawberry picking and made milkshakes you could say we had a nice childhood. If you count the times we got sent to our rooms without dinner you might say the opposite.
The one who gave birth to me wasn’t very nice. I learned later that nice was all I ever wanted and she wasn’t that. She hated me and I hated her and everyone knew it but nobody stepped in to do anything about it.
I might have loved my stepdad or the one after him if they would have. I might have known that it wasn’t some kind of divine punishment.
They didn’t know how to handle me let alone a new baby on the spectrum who would grow to run wild like a huskey anytime we left the door unwatched.
I wish I had the same tendency.

“My new bedroom was an old kitchen.” By Sasha in the living room

Saturday February 15, 2020
12:41pm
5 minutes
Waxy
Camilla Grudova

Hilary brags that her new bedroom was the old kitchen like that’s something to be proud of. She’s got one of those dumb beautiful noses that turns up a bit. I wonder if she waxes her nostrils, I mean I don’t see any hair, boogers – nothing. Hilary says she’s going to paint the walls white, what a boring choice, she says that she can’t sleep in a room with yellow walls. I don’t mean to make a joke about insomnia. That shit is real. Hilary has insomnia. Once, she didn’t sleep for thirteen days in a row. That’s when she thought about ending it all, writing a note to Fredrick and Liza, and leaving food out for Silly Anne. When she finally slept, she slept for twenty seven hours, the longest sleep she’d ever had. Then, that’s all she could talk about.

“a petite woman in her late twenties” by Julia on her couch

Friday February 14, 2020
6:01pm
5 minutes
Confidence Woman
Stephen Henigha

I was once a petite woman in my late twenties
I was once in denial about that
thought I was as big as a house
as tall as an evergreen tree
as lion as a lion

I used to roar as loud as my hair
and you called me your lion
I believed you when you said you liked me disruptive
not polite
not the word
distracting
sometimes unaware of the volume and the location and the audience

I was once a person who ran out instead of turning in
a woman in her late twenties with a chip on her shoulder
a secret in her tears and a confession
somewhere type-written in the nook of her bedside table
I used to beg the moon to take me with her
let me watch
let me learn from her and all that silky show

I used to hate myself for lying
when I was so hungry for the truth
I used to hate anyone for lying
because I was hiding the truth
I convinced myself I was the world’s best actress
and you were the one who couldn’t tell that this was all a movie
that every word spoken was screen tested
that every song hushed was the result
of so much bloodied shame

I used to blame other people for my dark Tuesdays
or Wednesdays and wished that someone would
find a new hole to haunt

“a petite woman in her late twenties” by Sasha in the kitchen

Friday February 14, 2020
4:24pm
5 minutes
Confidence Woman
Stephen Henigha

I was once this thing
a title leaning a little to the left
tilting chest to the branches
to the clouds shaped like faces
from the past

I was once
a petite woman in her late twenties
thinking she was physically stronger
than she really was maybe that’s what the
strength of her heart was
my heart is
Outside matching inside
I wore brighter colours then
I wear mostly navy and grey now

why so many lines about hearts
and the strength or the lack of it?

Tempting fate by not wearing kneepads
not wearing condoms (not me, some of
the men I fucked)
tempting control
tempting temptation
plunging into cold water and
coming up sputtering
coming up gasping
tempting and reaching
knowing and searching
daring and thinking that daring
was tall
commanding

“I’ve never forgotten her bold suggestion” by Sasha in the living room

Thursday February 13, 2020
3:55pm
5 minutes
Once and Future Prairie

Lisa Bird-Wilson

It’s not a bold request or undeserved
Fair as dreams of ocean and surf
Charcoal on my tongue as I breathe deep
Say of course

The irony
oh the heavy funny sticky stuff
is not lost on me
What I’ve asked for
demanded
tear stained
or shrieking
or puny
quiet
smiling
and now this
asked of
demanded of
how quickly I give agency
over easy to default
find my voice somewhere
in the spokes of the umbrella
say what I hope to be the
truth

This twenty eight days already
all the things I want
all the words I wish to say
lined up
toy soldiers
young cedars

it’s nothing really
time to get clear
trace blue sky in myself
the chance for you to find
the foundation
a strong one
this I wish for you
a new one
rebuilt
independent
wise

these baritone voices
wants so loud 

they drown out the
upper registers

or maybe it’s the buzzing
of the high notes that
really takes the jaw
in the hands

nothing linear about it
hmmm
no story arc I know the shape of here
all circle and scribbles
whirlpools and maybes

I touch faith
on the upswing

I’ve never forgotten her bold suggestion” by Julia in the fishbowl

Thursday February 13, 2020
12:59pm
5 minutes
Once and Future Prairie
Lisa Bird-Wilson

Wisdom draped in scotch tape and fixed to a card-board cut-off of a cereal box
Wisdom is all around us
Inspiration is in every wall and speck and web of dust and racing silver fish

The ideas keep coming in the shower when it is too slippery to hold them
I remind myself of the words in sequence, repeating them to myself
like a choo choo train choo choo choo choo and hopefully my tongue
will find a place for them to live until I can open my mouth next and spill

I remember that these thoughts are not trying to kill me but help me
that to ignore them is worse than to stop the water, dry off the arm
and scribble down what’s left of this call, this conjuring

I remember that when they come knocking I better answer the door
and can’t use the excuse that they never visit anymore
because they do and I’m the one who doesn’t have cookies for them
I’m the one who doesn’t have a place for them to cuddle up under
a cozy blanket or a blank sheet of paper worth holding

Waves waves here and then again not and this will be what forever looks like
I can’t wait for a garden to plant all these biting seeds into
and the days to slow so I can learn to let them grow

“I left behind my unfinished thesis” By Sasha in the bath

Wednesday February 12, 2020
10:40pm
5 minutes
Who Took My Sister?

Shannon Webb-Campbell

mind bend snare chase the tail til she’s back again is that a nose or an ass or a lily of the valley or a cup of earl grey tea cooled on the coffee table no one knows no one can tell and all i’ve got is my petty desire for more held poker faced held clenched and knuckled all white while the people are screaming for their home our sisters arrested and bloody and fighting and all i’ve got is my petty heartache it’s twee almost it’s cute almost it’s revolting almost in the face of arrests and detainment and colonialism and genocide the white tailed rabbit caught again her foot she tries to run she breaks it herself or at least that’s how the story will be written the bunny is never given the benefit of the doubt stupid animal stupid animal stupid petty heartache up against the David and the Goliath up agains the combat boots and the blockage and the millions of years of oppression and grief what i’ve got is a tongue against the roof of my mouth and a pit in my belly box it all up and send it to I don’t know the postal code

“I left behind my unfinished thesis” By Julia in the fishbowl

Wednesday February 12, 2020
10:40pm
5 minutes
Who Took My Sister?
Shannon Webb-Campbell

I’m not going back to school
I’m not going to do it
Sorry, Leash, I’m calling it off
I’m going to work for the rest of
my life and wish I didn’t work
that’s all
I’m not feeling bad about it
I’m not giving it any second thoughts
you want me to feel bad
I won’t
school isn’t for everyone especially
not for people who don’t want to be there

All I have is a gut feeling telling me
that I won’t be better because of it
Leash, you have graduated and have noticed
some benefits, what are you doing now friend
I couldn’t tell you, I couldn’t attribute it
to anything you learned there
aren’t you fixing people’s teeth now
aren’t you living in your mother’s basement?

I don’t want to be wanted by the kind of
people who turn their noses up at someone
who lacks all the training
I know who I am and who I’ll be
and aren’t I already doing the things they
teach you in school? Aren’t I already
running out of paint and finding off cuts
of laminate in the recycling bin to
try out my thoughts?

Aren’t I killing time here anyway?

“a performance of about two and a half hours” by Sasha on the couch

Tuesday February 11, 2020
10:02pm
5 minutes
Nibelung
Devon Code

Before you know the tension of this radical Wild West town
Grazed in it’s fire pastures and danced the waltz to the jingly piano songs
Raised a glass to your lover and their lover and the lover of the lover who doesn’t know their own loss of sight
(We hold him with stiff arms and narrate the colours and the faces as best we can)

Before you allow yourself to make up your mind about all of this
About me
(Strange speckles on my pants and hair messy and unwashed
A smirk of faith like peanut butter across my lips)
Ride a mare into the forest and see what the trees have to say
They are quiet today?
Listen from the place that you used to listen from before you had your heart broken
Listen from the place where children gasp and clap and cry
What do they have to tell you, dear heart?
Root systems feeling and telling and feeling the generational longitude and latitude
Braiding beliefs and twisting whatever it is your pearl of truth is

It’s noisy in the wrongdoing and rightdoing
It’s noisy where we clash and bang because none of us knows what the fuck we are doing
It’s noisy but we strain we stress we strain to hear the wisdom
in the way breath is when it’s still between us
when it’s night and the snow is starting
and the streetcar tumbles onward

“a performance of about two and a half hours” by Julia in the fishbowl

Tuesday February 11, 2020
3:06pm
5 minutes
Nibelung
Devon Code

Welcome to the show.
Tonight you will be seeing the masks come off.
You won’t realize there were masks to begin with because they are excellently made.
Crafted by the very best internal monologue the theatre has ever known.
These masks are not the kind tied with string or easily removed.
They’re made of skin. It’s pretty freaky actually. They’re built to look just like us!
But tonight, we will be taking them off. Not right away, of course, because what
conflict are we even talking about then. Not right away or abruptly.
After you see us with the masks on a bit, after you see us reflecting your mask back to you a bit…
Oh you didn’t know? Our masks are visible if they’re similar to yours. That’s so funny, isn’t it? Curious, even, let’s make a show about it, ooh look we are!
Tonight we’ve gotten tired of wearing them. We’d rather let our true faces breathe because after all this time sporting them to every function, every event, every scary moment, it gets exhausting.
You’re tired too, I bet, from carrying it around on your cheeks.
It’s not uncommon, actually, for us to want to take off a thing that separates us from everyone else, but here we are keeping them close as if we can’t live without them.
Tonight, though..
We dance.

“They should not be ordinary words” by Sasha in the kitchen

Monday February 10, 2020
9:21pm
5 minutes
What’s in a Name
Moez Surani

Try harder try better try more more more
Lift taller stand braver and quiet with the door
Go faster now slow down can you just simply “be”
Relaxxxx everything’s fine this isn’t about me

Self acceptance daring greatly breathe really deep
Laughter therapy let it out weep weep weep
Stay humble stay grounded stay open and free
Release your anger get present get happpppy

It’s okay that you’re scared and lonely and mad
It’s okay that you’re curious confused and sad
It’s okay that you’re unsure tired and tight
Release your jaw but there really isn’t a “right”

“They should not be ordinary words” by Julia in the fishbowl

Monday February 10, 2020
11:35am
5 minutes
What’s in a Name
Moez Surani

When you give someone your tongue you should not offer easy words
of comfort or the kinds that get the point across the quickest
Do not look for lightening to communicate
There is a more interesting journey voice could take

When you give someone your mouthful make sure you are steady
Hold on to the railing first but let go right before you send it
Words, not ordinary words, but the ones overflowing
Pour a river over the edge

Offerings from the guts cannot be tied up neatly with a string
Not left in the steel drum too long banging around the echo
They’re whole and good and singing so let them know that each
one of them belongs before it trickles off the sides

When you give someone your heart you should not expect a swiftness
a straightforward-to-it-ness, a target hit and reached with a spike
Do not turn it arrow from the start to the finish
Let it soak in the air between two possibilities, a drip of honey down the jar

“Yep, thinks Frank” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Sunday February 9, 2020
10:13pm
5 minutes
Nothing Like It Was
Mark Wagstaff

Yara takes the cake out of the fridge and examines the crumb layer. She’s only partially satisfied. Could’ve gotten it even smoother. Freshly shaved legs. Velvet curtains. She closes her eyes. She takes the butter cream and dollops it on the top. She’s listening to Chopin, loud. She spreads and spins, spreads and spins, just like she always does. She wonders who is going to eat this chocolate explosion, who will savour and chew the goodness she’s made. She thinks about this person, this family, and how they won’t have ever tasted something better. She knows she should charge more, but she wants to keep decadence affordable, at least until her first year of business.

“Yep, thinks Frank,” by juli on her couch

Sunday February 9, 2020
9:39pm
5 minutes
Nothing Like It Was
Mark Wagstaff

He’s bounding around the corner without eyes, eyes squeezed shut, not seeing. it’s his favourite trick, seeing without seeing. he is running full force lime a wrecking ball, no remorse, no consideration. Frank thinks this is hilarious. He thinks it’s incredible or people will say it is after they see him do it, after they see him make a perfect turn without being able to see. Yep, thinks Frank, they’ll all wonder at me then. They’ll all come leaps and clicks to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth! Frank would tell them he could see. He could see everything that was in front of him and nothing was in the way. It would inspire millions. It would reach beyond everyone’s wildest dreams.
This is his favourite part: this reveal of perfect imperfection; showing what the inner eye looks like when it is not afraid.

“One of my friends used to work at” by Sasha in the kitchen

Saturday February 8, 2020
5:09pm
5 minutes
Candy Cap Magic
Jocelyn Kuang

Selina used to work at the Shoppers on Woodbine. She would tell us when Mr. Finklel bought laxatives, or George Haliburton’s stepmom bought Slimfast, or when Joaquin and David bought extra large condoms. Once, she even caught a shoplifter. Ironic, but that’s another story for another time. She sprayed bug spray in the thief’s eyes and screamed at the top of her lungs. The police came and everything. She said that one of the officers, the hot one, was checking out her boobs. Selina was the eyes on the ground, siphoning information to the rest of us and getting us high on the tantalizing mundanity of maxi pads and extra strength Tylenol. When Angelica thought she might be pregnant, Selina hid a pregnancy test in her winter coat and brought it her at school. She peed on the stick in the teacher’s bathroom, with all of us in there too, watching.

“One of my friends used to work at” by Julia on the 15

Saturday February 8, 2020
4:12pm
5 minutes
Candy Cap Magic
Jocelyn Kuang

one of my friends used to work at the skydome before it was the roger’s centre

at gusto 101 before anyone knew about it

on a film she did costumes for and can’t really remember

at a nursing home cleaning up folks after they used the bathroom

at a ski hill

at a recording studio

an event planning company

a stand selling Hickory Farms crackers and mustard at the mall

one of my friends used to sneak into the walk in freezer and steal mouthfuls of smoked salmon

at No Frills checking people’s items out

at a theatre company that is now defunct

at an airport loading and unloading luggage

at a bowling alley

“The letter should be read out loud” by Sasha in front of the fire

Friday February 7, 2020
10:15pm
5 minutes
Anger, Boundaries & Safety
Joann S. Peterson

I buy two cards
the same cards
at the bougie shop
that I hate to love

It’s these firsts
that make me smile
gasp
yawn
I’m tired of myself

I’ve run back and forth
to Lola several times tonight

her rosebud mouth finding
my rosebud nipple
matching puzzle
the gurgles and gasps
tiny snores and reaches
I stroke her soft hair
and wonder what I could’ve
possibly done in this life
or the last one
to deserve such  grace

I walk in the rain
trudging the same daily path
a ritual of cold fingers
chapped lips
lilting toes
breath a drum
cedars touching heaven
roots touching mine

“The letter should be read out loud” by Julia in the fishbowl

Friday February 7, 2020
2:00pm
5 minutes
Anger, Boundaries & Safety
Joann S. Peterson

Dear Anyone,

Are you listening? I’m wondering because there have been a few people asking and you haven’t responded yet. I want to give you the benefit of the doubt. I want to give you the opportunity to take your time and to give your best answer. I’m not asking you to have the answer, please, anyone, don’t get it twisted. I’m looking for voice, for acknowledgement, I’m looking for something along those lines if you have it. Do you have it? Is this letter being read out on the Loud Speaker? Is it being broadcast all the way to you, wherever you are, wherever you are? I think it should be stated that there’s a lot of different ways to do this, a variety of options for you, anyone, to show me, someone, that you give a shit. If I swear harder will you blast it on the radio? FUCKING PLEASE, anyone, PLEASE. Is begging the same as swearing? Is it getting your attention yet, don’t you see I need this connection the way all of us do? I’m not sure why I have to convince you, I was told anyone could love me, anyone would be honoured to know me, and what are you doing then? What is more important than replying to this?
Is it about something else?

“If the leaf stem is long” by Sasha on the couch

Thursday February 6, 2020
9:43pm
5 minutes
Tree Finder
May Theilgaard Watts

I will pick you flowers and weave the stems together
and make something beautiful something like you’ve never seen
so many colours come with spring
so many colours come with friendship
between two people
who have lived a lot of life
in colour
in friendship
in the backpack of April and May
so many things happen
when we’re planning other things

I’ll always see you as I met you
a different version of who you are
but the crass and the soft and the savage
all there still
and now
all there because you’ve needed them each
desperately
survival of the beautiful
survival of the innocent

“If the leaf stem is long” by Julia in her couch

Thursday February 6, 2020
8:47pm
5 minutes
Tree Finder
May Theilgaard Watts

if the leaf stem is long then you’ve picked the right man
chosen the future that will grow old with you and keep you young
you will be a gardener, a keeper of soil, a planter of seeds
if the leaf stem is long it’s a good sign
that you’ve been paying attention
and this is the thing you’ll need most
This 3rd eye noticing 3rd eye seeing deeply, knowing truly
the leaf stem can be cut or shortened but you, you have received the longest one
the longest line that starts off so long cutting it a little won’t make much difference.

“Trust the face of expansion” by Sasha on the living room floor

Wednesday February 5, 2020
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Power Of Intention
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Trust the face of expansion
Trust the open mouth of a new way portal taking you
back to yourself
back to the archangel who brought your spirit into
physical form
who told you riddle and
stuck a finger in your ear
and made you laugh until
you’re teeth ached like
ice cream
and chalkboards

Trust the signs
on the carpet in the strange hotel
that smells like bubble gum and has a rooftop
pool open all hours where no one has ever drowned
where you drink the mini bar pre mixed cocktails
and eat the small packet of nuts
and consider masturbation
but braid your hair instead

Trust the gas station attendant
who tells you to never chase a tornado
who gives you the best beef jerky you’ve ever had
who runs your credit card three times
and each time it’s declined
winks as though someone
might have your back

“trust the face of expansion” by Julia on the 84

Wednesday February 5, 2020
6:11pm
5 minutes
The Power Of Intention
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

in search of things to touch, Poppy floats around my office with tiny wings
she hovers over everything
her fingertips grazing any item with texture, like the lamp, or smooth, like the ribbon on the lamp
I haven’t brought up her last sadness because she seems to be in good spirits
but I want her to know I was thinking about her

Poppy finds the velvet material on the lounge chair and rubs it between her palms almost rhythmically, as if the answer is there and she is doing her best to hear it in full

I risk it and immediately
regret it, asking her about
the last time and her face drops because she had forgotten about it and there was a reason

I watch her drop subjects like burnt bacon bits
letting them crumble to the floor
without looking for a broom

“picking mushrooms at the edge” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Tuesday February 4, 2020
9:03pm
5 minutes
What Kind Of Times Are These
Adrienne Rich

I don’t know how I got here. I mean, I do. I hitchhiked. I rode in the back of a red Honda Civic squished between my backpack and a mutt named Silas. When I got out, at side of the highway, I was covered in dog hair. I mean, really covered. Ed, behind the wheel, and I shared a joint. Ed was older than my Dad but gave me a look like he might fuck me if the circumstances were right. Sorry, Ed. We sang along to Paul Simon and Silas licked the side of my neck. Ed asked if I’d ever done the season before, that’s how he said it – “the season” – and I told him the truth. I told him, “no.” “You’re in for a treat,” said Ed. He used to pick, but doesn’t anymore. “You’ll smell truffle for months,” he warned, gagging a little.  Now he does something with restaurants and biodynamic wine. I’m not sure. I wasn’t really listening. I was wondering about the effectiveness of my patch job on the fly of my tent. I was wondering if I’d packed enough peanut butter.

“picking mushrooms at the edge” by Julia in the fishbowl

Tuesday February 4, 2020
11:04am
5 minutes
What Kind Of Times Are These
Adrienne Rich

Manny and I go foraging and Rutabaga lunges ahead of us
we take hemp bags and sticky tape to seal them off

When Rutabaga parks herself along the roots of the chestnut trees
we take a small sip of our camomile tea and bend down

The earth is cool and damp and Rutabaga coats herself in it
Manny is humming under his breath and I whisper the words left out

Quando Quando Quando Quando…

We are forest people now and we sip espresso standing up
while Rutabaga makes friends with the Macellaio’s dog

Together they sing out and passersby laugh at their duet

Manny in the woods and I with our backpacks carry every
mushroom friend we make

“He could have been a rich man” by Sasha on the couch

Monday February 3, 2020
10:05pm
5 minutes
Memorial
Alice Oswald

I take myself out on a date. The kind of date I’ve always dreamed of someone else taking me out on. You can spend your whole life wishing for something… or you can give it to yourself. Look, I know that might sound pathetic to you. But it’s not. It’s not at all pathetic. It’s self actualizing. Okay… So I start by picking my favourite outfit out of the back of the closet. One that only used to get action when Ted was in town. It’s a blue dress. Nothing fancy, but it fits right. That’s what matters. I even put on lipstick. A deep red. The only person I’ll be kissing is myself so, no worries there. When you’re on a date with yourself, you don’t need a reservation. Even at the best little Italian place that has a line. There’s always a spot at the bar. I once asked Ted what his ideal day was and he said, “my mother’s chicken pot pie for dinner and you for dessert.”

“He could have been a rich man” by Julia in the fishbowl

Monday February 3, 2020
9:59am
5 minutes
Memorial
Alice Oswald

Dear Zio,

I was thinking about you earlier. I wanted to wish you a happy birthday.
I like that word. Happy. Because you changed the meaning of it for me.
I wonder what you’re doing today. If you and Nonna and Nonno are still hugging Zio in reunion’s rich embrace. I thought I saw you lighting up the sky just beyond the mountain peaks. As I noticed you there, I was talking to your sister on the phone and she mentioned you. We both said “Ciao!” to you and it morphed the way I was walking. I often think of you. When an Elvis song comes on, or when I see a man dancing. You were a man dancing all the life I knew you and that changed the meaning of that for me too. You asked if we were happy. And I wish I had the words I do now to talk with you about it. To shoot some questions your way instead and jot it all down in a notebook dedicated solely to you.
Today you are abundant and generous still. You paint the clouds the colour of opening and you do not give up on shedding light even when it’s heavy.

“Still the house built itself a corridor” by Sasha in the kitchen

Sunday February 2, 2020
12:00am
5 minutes
Yesterday
Marie Howe

I am terrible at putting myself to sleep
scrub the stovetop and wonder how to get the stains off
scrub the bits of sweet potato and squash from the floor
where very small hands fling broccoli and lentils
banana and oatmeal

The quiet is a welcome guest
comes to the door wearing linen and straw
I beg her to stay
beg her to have another cup of peppermint tea
eat another wedge of orange

There was snow on the buds this morning
coating the green like a premonition

Walking the familiar streets
and remembering
reaching backwards
the crippling nostalgia
the heat of a time that’s gone

I would like to tell you all the stories
of my youth and my future
my future youth
I would like to hear your heartbreaks
and your hope as I trace the Milky Way
on your belly
lean my head on your chest

“Still the house built itself a corridor” by Julia on her couch

Sunday February 2, 2020
8:20pm
5 minutes
Yesterday
Marie Howe

with all that soul sucking
all that senseless dripping
clanging against the stainless steel
with all that tulip dust coating
all that wind slamming the door slamming us out of bed
this is the house that we transferred ourselves to
this is the house that built us
the other day after the 28th consecutive rainfall
after the 28th dark morning
it pulled us out of our cotton curtains, exposing, interviewing, keeping a growing talley

we tried to qualify it but couldn’t come up with anything better than “look at how running it is; how strict”

with all that drip drip needless dripping, losing water in the basin
going bonkers with the sound of a hammer

“Would you mind if I tell you you’re the cutest thing?” By Julia in her bed

Saturday February 1, 2020
11:48pm
5 minutes
Would You Mind
Hank Snow

I saw you first
I looked around and I took you in and I wanted you for me
I wanted you in general
I didn’t know I would fall in love with you years later or that you would fall in love with me
or maybe this is how I planned it
you looking at me like you were some big secret
something tack-like but hard to pin down
you saw me a week later and I wasn’t expecting that
but I wanted it
and I wanted you
and I let myself wonder at every eyebrow raise you let me see
every time you stayed looking at me two seconds too long
I would have wanted to see who’d look away first
who would be the brave one

“Would you mind if I tell you you’re the cutest thing?” By Sasha in the kitchen

Saturday February 1, 2020
9:37pm
5 minutes
Would You Mind
Hank Snow

It’s the way that your voice
lilts like a distant relative
(I still can’t put my finger on it)
I don’t mean that to sound perverse
(or do I?)
A familiarity in the cadence of your
arriving (unexpected)
departing (tragic)
I am reduced to wobbly knees
dolphin tummy
when you say the
syllables of my name
only two (!)
syllables all “s”
and “ah”
and “sh”

”ah”!

Today the sunshine
landed on my face
just as I told you the truth
and you listened
(attentive)
explained
(well)
I felt a weight lift
and rise
helium red
tilted my chest to the sky
blue
felt the balloon come back again
nestle in
a different colour

Love is the deep breath

the leap
(ahhh!)

Love is this place
a whole country between us
this place that isn’t a place
but a buzzing
a humming
a knowing
a pearl of big faith

the oyster
is several sets of hands
holding hearts
holding reluctance
holding the daring
and the danger

I’m glad for this:
the salty tongue
the razor’s edge
the giddy laughter

 

“pillar of fire” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Friday January 31, 2020
10:05pm
5 minutes
Night and Moonlight
Henry David Thoreau

The first time I knew I was a different kind of normal, strange kind of weird, an odd kind of person, was when the whole class was invited to Lisbeth’s tenth birthday party. I already understood that the kids that were cool would grow up to be assholes and the kids who were weird would grow up to have quite a few dollars in their bank accounts. I already understood that cheese shouldn’t come wrapped in very thin plastic sheets, and that if you wet the bed past three you probably need therapy. Lisbeth’s mom was the registrar so she made Lisbeth invite the whole class. No one had ever done this. You invite your friends to your birthday, what kind of animal invites everyone, including Simon who smells like bums and eats his hangnails? But we were all there, all twenty one of us, imagine twenty one ten year olds gathered into the basement altogether like caged beasts?

“pillar of fire” by Julia in the fishbowl

Friday January 31, 2020
3:30pm
5 minutes
Night and Moonlight
Henry David Thoreau

I built a structure with five fine pillars
and I was open about which they were
one day I left and I thought I’d tell them
that I was happy knowing they were there

I reached into the purse that held all my
vulnerability and I gave it to them first
before they could steer a different way
and I was speaking from the heart and it
would have been nice to hear but some of
the pillars proved themselves made of fire
when they laughed at my open pumping thing

My first lessons of being brave were met
with angry flames and I was burned first
even though inside I was bursting into
someone I could rely on for a million years
I still fell down into the ashes and held
my own when the whole world crashed

The structure wasn’t built to last with the
strongest ones and I found out the hard way
that buildings take a long time and when
you think you know someone you better ask
again just in case, just in case you use
your hopes to do the hammering

I don’t throw out words like that anymore
these days I keep some things in

“I’m five years old” by Sasha in the kitchen

Thursday January 30, 2020
9:51pm
5 minutes
Sailing Through the Night
John Calderazzo

I’m five years old and the I’m telling my grandfather that I’m hungry. He shoos me out of his office. I’m not sure when I last ate, but I think it was yesterday lunch. I think it was a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich that Grandma left on the counter. I go to Mrs. Henderson and she tells me that all she’s got is Slimfast. “I’ll take it,” I say. I chug it down. Strawberry flavoured. Almost makes me puke. Chalky and sweet. I go to the bathroom and wash my hands. I forgot to do it before I ate, so I do it after, scrubbing and scrubbing until my fingers turn red. “What are you doing in here?” It’s Clive, my grandfather’s business partner. He locks the door behind him.

“I’m five years old,” by Julia in the fishbowl

Thursday January 30, 2020
1:08pm
5 minutes
Sailing Through the Night
John Calderazzo

I’m five years old and I love singing in front of my classmates and showing everyone the dances that I’ve choreographed. I’m boy crazy and I already have plans to marry Andrew Goodall since Luke Walker is taken by my best friend, heather, and it makes sense cause they are the same height. Andrew will join the army, but I don’t know that yet. In the third grade I will teach him how to dance along with some of my other crushes, but for now, he is the loveliest husband. I tell him that since we’re married we should build a structure together on a tray with tiny plastic bears. Andrew says yes and we build it quietly. He is kind, and I like him even more now. I tell him we should show our structure to the older grades and he agrees again. I don’t know who showed Andrew how to be so cooperative but I am not thinking about that now. I am thinking that this is the only way it could go. And so we carry the tray around, Andrew leading the way and me following, bringing it into the grade 8 class. They think we’re cute because we’re in love. I am taking it very seriously. I think I am one of them. I back into the skeleton in the room and it shakes and everyone snickers. Andrew isn’t laughing at me. He looks concerned. As soon as we escape the class, he puts his hand gently on my back and asks me if I am okay.

“You can see my baby’s heartbeat” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie

Wednesday January 29, 2020
11:33am
5 minutes
The Kingdom of God
Teddy Macker

I meet your heartbeat when I meet my own
hands on swollen belly
twenty weeks
twenty weeks of you

I shriek the whole way to the lab
I have to pee so bad
And your dad goes over speedbumps slowly
takes turns slowly
I scream
He tries to curb his laughter

My heart was racing in a way
I’d never known
Knowing you were there
but also doubting
I don’t do that anymore
When I know I know
You teach me that

”It’s your first” the technician says
and I nod and she says she always knows
Let’s me pee half way
Smiles
Having seen it all before

Tears on my cheeks as I meet your black and white image
on the screen
I know you in the ancient way that feet know ground
I know your sweetness
your grace
your eyebrow raise
knowing smile

Lola Moon
Nine months old
My life’s greatest joy
is being your mother
My life’s greatest work
is doing well by you
and failing you
and doing well by you again

“You can see my baby’s heartbeat” by Julia in the fishbowl

Wednesday January 29, 2020
11:29am
5 minutes
The Kingdom of God
Teddy Macker

We go walking, lighter in the step I guess we know where the weight should be
I see every baby and they see me as if we were part of the same club
He notices and laughs because the baby whisperer is here, out, walking around
I respond as if I don’t believe him but I do because of all the seeing that is going on
Tiny humans jerked from their previous commitment to put their attention on the heart pumping, passing by
We lock eyes like two long lost friends, aware of how well we still know each other
He laughs and laughs and loves me with the squeeze around my shoulder, the stop to kiss and smile into my mouth
I think he sees our baby’s heartbeat in the space we’re holding for it, in the eyes of every heart synching with mine
We go walking, lightly, barely touching the ground and for the first time in days the sun is showing what she can do, casting a glow on the whole park and
splashing back up at us so we almost forget
that days and days have gone by with rain, without her

“The truth is” by Sasha in the living room

Tuesday January 28, 2020
5:30pm
5 minutes
Pea Madness
Amy Leach

There is no map to the place that we are going
there never is but we fool ourselves or follow in the footprints of our parents
follow the path whacked and weeded by hands that resemble our own
follow those rain boot steps
trying to match them despite their fading
where does the memory go of the waking to the voices
where does the cell carry the hum and the sob
match toe to heel
sole to soul
despite their different size
despite their different breaking

It’s good to be back where the rain makes sense
(and release and sense again)
where I can find the rhythm of my walking
the salt in my pores
the beat of my new heart
free from ice and noise
It’s good to be back where the crows circle and call
”You are exactly where you need to be”

I wish I could protect her from the breaking
the rattling knees
I wish I could protect her from the ground splitting open
but it will
and it does
and it will again
So it goes
So we call in the sky of chaos
So we make bread with the sand of the path those before us took
Spread it with butter and humility

“The truth is” by Julia in the fishbowl

Tuesday January 28, 2020
9:33am
5 minutes
Pea Madness
Amy Leach

The truth is you’re the one for me
the good love the right kind of open
I could talk to you all day
I could listen to you all night
I want you and you and you and you

The truth is when I wasn’t sure it
wasn’t because of you it was me
When I wondered at the possibility
of something else or different or new
it was because I couldn’t see what
was already waiting at the window sill

The truth is I choose you now but I
have always found a way to your door
I have always had you in the cup of
my hand, the spine of every notebook
and you are so good it’s like I wrote
you this way

But I could not invent this home of
being and the truth is, you have always
been this way
You have always been this kind of love

“The day care lies at the base of an oak tree” by Julia in the fishbowl

Monday January 27, 2020
2:39pm
5 minutes
Gods at Play
Susanne Antonetta

Darling dear is playing at the base of the oak tree, the sweet light is blooming. I wait for her to tell me something is wrong. I see it in her
walk, the way she deflates every step, hunching. I watch her from the
kitchen window, taking note of her little sighs, her clenched fists, her
opinion growing stronger. Sweet light.

I don’t want to ask her because I want her to know what the sensation
feels like. I don’t want to say the words explicitly. Because maybe I’m
jumping to conclusions. Maybe this is how she inhales this life and it’s
different than what I would expect.

All I can do is hold her in the space I give and open my heart to her so
she knows that if she needs to say something she can. I can ask her how
she is without a qualifier. Without a word with connotation or implication.

She is running her fingertips around the trunk of the tree. She is slowly
circling it, her eyes closed and drawn into the bark.

“The day care lies at the base of an oak tree” By Sasha on the couch

Monday January 27, 2020
11:09am
5 minutes
Gods at Play
Susanne Antonetta
I wish I believed in God or grace or the unbearable lightness of being.
I wish I knew the twelve times table and how to build an IKEA bookshelf and how to care for an orchid.
I wish I was a Sagittarius and had a thicker head of hair and trusted more people.
I wish I wasn’t so stubborn and cranky and had less dry skin.
I wish I called my mother more when she was still alive and told her what I’d made for dinner and thanked her for teaching me how to cook for myself.
I wish I’d told Winona that I’d loved her and that I always would and that thirty five years later I’d still jerk off to the thought of her in her school uniform chewing gum.
I wish I read the newspaper and would have the guts to cancel my subscription it just becomes fire starter and who needs to pay so much for that.
I wish that I understood politics and plumbing and women.
I wish I was a homeowner and had been to the Grand Canyon and that I actually liked Kanye West’s music.
I wish that I didn’t want to keep everything sentimental and that I didn’t cry when the Leafs won and that my mother was still here to bring me her pecan granola.

“Curious, maybe, you’ll turn to books.” by Julia at her desk

Sunday January 26, 2020
8:39pm
5 minutes
When You See A Skimmer
David Gessner

One night she stayed up till 3 in the morning reading the 3rd book in the series. V.C Andrews had written some other harrowing tales of brothers and sisters falling in love, and being locked away in an attic while the real world happened all around them and outside them. She was 10 going on 11 and the book was a page turner. A group of young girls, older than her, but still young, were in group therapy and each book a different girl got to be the narrator. She was told to go to sleep hours ago but she couldn’t help it. She laid in her bed soaking up fiction that might have been a bit too advanced for her. Might have been, if anyone cared to ask about the content of her desired reading materials. These girls were teaching her things no one thought to tell her. How they had received unwanted touching from the jocks at their schools, or how their mother’s new boyfriends found a way into their bedrooms at night.
They were an education all on their own, seeping into the glow cast from her bedside lamp, lulling her into a steady hum of alive.

“Curious, maybe, you’ll turn to books.” By Sasha at the kitchen table

Sunday January 26, 2020
5:02pm
5 minutes
When You See A Skimmer
David Gessner

When you’re in the eye of the storm, you turn to books, to education, to the belief that your grandfather instilled in you that “knowledge is power”, and, “the more you know, the less you’ll hurt”. (Okay, maybe not that last one, but, almost.) You get out every book from the library on faith. You search for poems on doubt, on loss. You set up an alter on your oak bookshelf and carefully place stones and piece of birch bark, tarot cards and affirmation stones. You read every moment you’re not working, cooking, shitting, making love. The stack of books beside your bed grows, and you grow too. Armed with knowing, you feel you can handle the crisis, weather the flames burning shingles and Cheerios, ratting windows and toenails.

“Instead, the deer step carefully” By Julia at her table desk

Saturday January 25, 2020
6:04pm
5 minutes
The Return
Rick Bass

So if it’s a game about strategy I don’t really want to play.
I know the word is ‘game’, and not ‘real life’ but there is nothing fun sounding about revealing myself while other people around me skillfully craft their turn.
I don’t think it’s because I have no strategy. You could check my track record and I’m sure there would be occasions where I’ve enlisted my tactical thinking, but this feels different. Like parallel parking in front of a bunch of race-car drivers when you haven’t practiced since getting your G licence back in 2003.
I get nervous that people will find me out and consider my IQ lower than they expected since I usually conduct myself with clever quips and strong insights.
I don’t need people seeing that I crack under pressure and would therefore be the first one voted off the island.
It all comes down to purpose.
I don’t want to be useless in a time of need. When people are all out there trying to survive and keep the team alive, I want to be a valuable member of the team, not the one they use as sustenance after they decide to roast my flesh and eat my senseless brains.

“Instead, the deer step carefully” By Sasha at the Airbnb

Saturday January 25, 2020
10:48am
5 minutes
The Return

Rick Bass

The deer gather in a circle. I see them from where I’m camped under an old arbutus. This is the fifteenth morning in a row I’ve seen them like this. The fly of my tent is covered in banana slugs, and what they leave behind as they move. Blessed beings, these strange soft creatures. I unzip quietly, so as to not disturb the deer – a mix of young and old, female and male. I haven’t peed yet, and have to go. I know that if I move quickly, they’ll scatter. I don’t want to interrupt. I’m on their land, after all. I’m the guest. I bow my head, move very slowly. A buck spots me, narrows his eyes, smirks. I smile, careful not to reveal my teeth. I don’t want to appear a threat, I’m not a threat, I’m a student of their grace. I find a fern three times the size of my body, and pull down my fleecy long underwear. I relieve myself.

“I find myself feeling” by Julia in her skirt

Friday January 24, 2020
6:40pm
5 minutes
Gathering Indigo
Algeria Jensen

full is the word
full comes to mind

busy is a thing I no longer say
saying busy is an incantation for whatever the opposite of gratitude is

full is what I feel and great
great
full

my days start early and roll late
my nights have questions and low lights and some anxiety about what’s coming down the pipe tomorrow but they end with kisses and affirmations and tight squeezes

so I sleep well
I have dreams but I sleep well

I sleep all the way and then some and then some not

I start when I convince myself I best
I still need to convince myself I best

I lay on the mat with the low light
I stretch the night away and say today I am expanding

I write a lot of words down and then I go into the outside world feeling full

feeling full and full and full
feeling full and happy

“I find myself feeling” by Sasha in the Airbnb

Friday January 24, 2020
12:03pm
5 minutes
Gathering Indigo
Algeria Jensen

We land and it’s raining
as it will be for the next twenty three days
or at least
that’s what the forecast says
if you trust the long term forecast

which you shouldn’t

but do.

The salty mountain air hits me
a memory of leaving this place
ravaged and split open
a memory of how small her body was then
pressed against mine
pressed against the space where the split was.

I find myself feeling
there and here
then and now
holding my phone up to take a selfie
her body doubled in size

We make the same face
little wonder
I laugh
she laughs
a bit of seaweed on her chin.

It’s good to return to where things came undone
where she was born
where salt met salt
where water met water
where bone melted to butter
alchemized that which might’ve never been released,
where some of what we grew is buried in an old growth forest.

It’s good to return to this place
in the place we are now
kiss where the burns are
where the burns were,
kiss the earth and feel
the quake of whatever
is yet to come.

“Naturalists are generalists.” By Sasha on the plane

Thursday January 23, 2020
3:01pm
5 minutes
The Art of Wandering
Ann Zwinger

It’s so cold that my breath freezes on the tiny hairs of my upper lip
A boy in my fifth grade class once teased me for my little moustachio
I’ve come to love it though – the downy tenderness of very small strands
now cradling my breath like their newborns
holding on to what I could never

I’ve come for the Northern Lights and for escape from a failing career
a failing second marriage
a failing attempt at reconciliation with my addict brother
I’ve come to see the colours dance the way my heart hasn’t since
before Angela died
before Angela was born
Dead in my womb before she even had a chance to be born

God must be a fickle, discerning and PMS-ing woman 
I remember saying this to Toby
He smiled and went into the laundry room to cry
”Why aren’t you crying?” He asked me for the hundredth time
”I’m not sure,” I said, peeling another banana

I see a splash of azure across the black sky and gasp
I feel a flutter in my belly
my temple
my pinkie
I feel Angela there in the blue
stretching wide across the ice
Death and life held in the bitter
in the cold
Death and life in the colour of losing
in the hue of letting go