“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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

“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 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 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 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 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 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.

“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

“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.

“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 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

“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 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.

“The king’s daughter” by Sasha on her couch

Monday March 9, 2020
10:05pm
5 minutes
The Frog Prince
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

She is not proud of her hot temper. How quickly the temperature rises in her cheeks, her forehead, her scalp, her hair tips, til she is blazing and burning and the heat is worst for her, scalding tongue. She is not sure if she’s cut out for this kind of constant tilling and teasing and translucency. What about the cold plunge pool to bring her back to equilibrium? Ha-ha-ha-ha-Ha. She avoids ice like the bullshit it is. Ha-ha-ha. Please keep your opinions to yourself unless they are invited to breakfast (which they won’t be), unless they receive an invite with a clear RSVP deadline. When she’s raging she is the big hippopotamus. When she’s standing she feels the lava at the very belly of the earth. No amount of gratitude or breath or orgasm can possibly change the hot hot heat burn temper of this woman.

“And when I thirsted” By Sasha in the comfy chair

Sunday March 8, 2020
10:07pm
5 minutes
Lines
Maria A. Brooks

You have changed my relationship to time
Before you the weeks whizzed by like wild horses
manes a mess of brown and white

Here and then the next thing I know
I’m looking over my shoulder
wondering how the earthquake happened

Some days there is a slow sullen trudging
one foot and then the other towards another day
that is both closer and further away

Thirsting for a bite or a drink or a look
Heart beat a great many hooves running
towards the sunrise sky a pink explosion

Doubt sneaks in only when I let her
When I’m not paying attention
Losing myself in the imaginings of the next time

Faith carries a basket of citrus and daffodils
offers me a juicy section of orange
A yellow bloom

“It is never too late” by Sasha on her living room floor

Saturday March 7, 2020
7:40am
5 minutes
Quote by George Elliot

It is never too late to change your mind
I write this in the bottom margin of my journal page
over and over again
a call to myself from a pay phone on the side of a
strange highway
driving fast
the trees turn into a thick brush painting

day after day I write

It is never too late to change your mind

and sometimes I think that I’m not writing
it for myself or
I’m not only writing it for myself

I’m writing it for you

like drawing a hot bath
dripping in six drops of eucalyptus
three drops of lavender
a quarter cup epsom salts
the perfect gift

My horoscope said to write it all down
if I want it to happen

That’s what I do here

Write and share and
wonder what dear heart
might be reading
these tired words
these lazy wonderings
these pen carvings
fingertip songs

It is never too late to change your mind

“Our faces become our biographies” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday March 6, 2020
10:42am
5 minutes
Quote by Cynthia Ozick

D says I haven’t aged in the ten years since we last saw one another.
I know I have (lines around my eyes, grey hair at my temples), but
I also know what he means. I wonder if we’d reunited eight months earlier
if he would’ve said the same thing. Probably not? I don’t know.
Maybe we aren’t fair assessors of ourselves. Too close to really know what’s happening. Let’s make a pact to no longer hate the things about us that make
us human, dying. Let’s make a promise that we will lift where we slouch
because it helps us to feel the sun on our face, helps us to hold the space
where all the tiny good things live. Is there anything more compelling than
a woman who knows her worth?

“Why won’t my baby eat anything but grapes?” By Sasha in the bath

Thursday March 5, 2020
10:48pm
5 minutes
Room To Write
Bonnie Goldberg

Full arch of a wet back
writhe and wriggle
steam and giggle
Words fail the dialect of freedom
Some people never taste this
body body of the body good good
Oh the tongue of pleasure
flicking the brain switch off
Yes yes yes yes yes 

You make a joke
when I close my eyes
Snarl and release
Let go of the colour
I thought it might be
It’s here

You are indigo hands
sweet like the sun dog
Bodies like celestial
like molasses
like heaven here on this familiar day
this familiar street
Thursday
a very good day
anticipated and counted down to
and then here
finally
here
yes yes yes yes yes yes yes 

This drug
this dress
this deep
this heart
this unknown
this all in
this Milky Way
this toe curl
this bellybutton
this vulnerable
this courage
this hope
this grain of sweat
grain of sand
grain of
yes

“I know nothing about magic” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday March 4, 2020
8:31pm
5 minutes
The Books Of Magic
Neil Gaiman

I don’t know what all of these ding dang hippies are talking about with the Mercury gone to retrograde and the full moon whizzy wazzy! It’s like everyone drank the same cocktail and it’s not good! It’s not looking good! Look. What I’ve learned in my forty-nine years on this God forsaken planet is that what you see is what you get and there’s no jumbo rumbo going on, no master plan, no big guy in the sky counting his money. There’s worms in the earth, or there ain’t. There’s apples on the tree, or there aren’t. There are good people, and there are bad people, and one way or another you’ll figure out which one you are, and which one your neighbour is, and that’s just how it goes! When did everything start to “happen for a reason”?! Je-sus!

“He’s a teenie, tiny picture” by Sasha at her kitchen counter

Tuesday March 3, 2020
9:39pm
5 minutes
Who’s Zoo
Conrad Aiken

I remember the smell of the hot earth, cracked and raw against  the sole. I remember the dry mouth, airplane and fake air, bad eggs and cheap wine. I remember trying to switch from black and white to colour and then the colour being too bright, trying to switch to black and white again, but not being able. It’s a rite of passage. I remember the teenie tiny picture in Hillary’s locket of her great grandmother who had come here on a ship, and on the journey she’d seen mermaids and seals and death. I remember the sound of a voice that has lost everything, or think’s she has, and how that voice is actually the strongest root to the hottest fire. I remember not questioning the authority of the old bitch who told me I should wear something different. I remember rising early from a strange bed and leaving without brushing my teeth and getting on the train and ending up in front of my father’s house.

“I can’t tell you” by Sasha on her couch

Monday March 2, 2020
11:09am
5 minutes
For my friend who told me don’t celebrate the dead
Andrea Potos

I can’t tell you of the gulf between the dream and the dream
where the tide mixes with the blood and the maybes and the almosts
A new language born of how we build our own pipe cleaner world
How is the imperative
That’s what no one tells you

I saw him roll the possibility between his fingers
the hair of a forgotten song
turn it over and over
until it didn’t baffle with the same enthusiasm
That is how the dove sings to the reflection of herself
in the birdbath
in the garden

I saw him leave the body of light on the side of the road
tumbleweeds and stray cats circle
Pisces season

“I overheard” by Sasha on her living room floor

Sunday March 1, 2020
7:32am
5 minutes
My Book Life
Sparrow

I overheard the kind of sorrow that waves speak in
that salt won’t buoy and the tides won’t rinse

I had leaned in and looked into his tired eyes
they were not the eyes of the man I met a decade ago

Before losing one and gaining two
Before breaking and the gulf becoming an envelope

of unknown and hurt and unknown.

I lost my appetite for coleslaw and roasted
yams

Ran my finger through the soft
pull of spicy mayonnaise.

Maybe it was the closeness of the possible
yesterday or the possible tomorrow.

“the political danger” by Sasha at her kitchen counter

Saturday February 29, 2020
8:04am
5 minutes
Against the Current
Barry Lopez

Fill the kettle. Flip the switch. Open the cupboard. Pull the teabag. Go to the shelf. Get the white and green mug with the “S”. Put the teabag in the mug. Wait. Look out the window. See the bike with the snow. See a half bald squirrel scale the side of the neighbours house. Think about snakes. Think about coronavirus. Think about animal markets in China. Think about meat. Think about cow eyelashes. Think about babies. The whistle. Pour the water. Tongue pressed to the roof of the mouth. Wait for the tea to turn the perfect toasty brown. Think about snakes. Think about swimming in Knowlton Lake and seeing a water snake a few meters away. Feet like anchors. Belly like sick.

“I don’t make jokes.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday February 28, 2020
7:19am
5 minutes
From a quote by Will Rogers

Disappointment leaves wax on my favourite cashmere sweater
add it to the pile of things I need to Google to figure out

I sat with myself last night on the red couch in the basement apartment
closed my eyes and leaned back and said

”Why?!” It was very soap opera dramatic and alto whiney
so then I laughed at myself and what strange creatures we all really are

I unpack the bag of the things that I had packed carefully
Napkins and a yellow lighter and a small jar of butter to which

I’d added flaky salt
It’s a foreign city I’ve found myself in

Familiar house but foreign city
Missing a feeling missing a face missing a feeling of a face

“This and no other” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday February 27, 2020
11:13am
5 minutes
From a quote by Plato

Furrow on that brow
that says a thousand things at once
Hieroglyph decipher mastery
electing myself to the top of the chain
Lasso the bull who says that I can’t
or I won’t

you are riding the west wind towards a comet of
maybe greatness
maybe embracing the you
that you always knew you were

Hesitate when things don’t go as planned
when things don’t go your way
fickle fear makes you
a barely broken mare
Swinging back and forth on the rope
in the swimming hole between
I know you
I don’t know you

“Because Wednesday” By Sasha on her couch

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
10:32pm
5 minutes
Dirt
Camille Dungy

On Wednesdays we wash our hands of the sins of Mondays and Tuesday
mid week clean slate giggle at the flirt on the bright screen

and wipe tired from eye corners
”Why are you making that frowny face?”
”Because Wednesday.”

On Wednesday the storm comes creeping in finger by finger
and the cars drive by and splash wetter water on wobbly legs
Instead of cursing I laugh because of course
It’s Wednesday
Snow hanging like ghostfruit from the naked trees

On Wednesday I go to Lou’s for breakfast and they cook for me
slice avocado and pear for Lola
We eat and laugh and talk about therapy and love and money and family
like we always have and we always will
but it’s also new somehow

Wednesday isn’t a comma or a period
it’s a semicolon
Even when the days of the week don’t really matter
or they don’t matter in the way that they once did
They matter in such a different way now

“You are something like” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
7:16
5 minutes
Earthly Love
Nathaniel Perry

Robbie and I would talk while our mother’s ran the fundraising garage sale at the school. He looked like a cherub – round cheeks, blonde ringlets, big loonie eyes. Sweatpants with elastics around the ankles. Who cares about fashion when you’ve got that smile, that charm. Who cares about anything. Always a goner for the art of conversation. He made me laugh. Rolling change, trading stories, touching sneaker toes. Robbie. I never thought about him in any real special way until I ran into Tara out of the blue, who I hadn’t seen in years. She was babysitting my neighbour, Freddie. Tara somehow got to talking about boys (of course) and said that she had a huge love-on for this guy Robbie and then I jokingly said “Robbie Jenkins?” And she said, “Correct!”

“We try in a polite and partly exhausted way” by Sasha on her couch

Monday February 24, 2020
9:52pm
5 mintues
Gooseberry Marsh
Gretchen Legler

Your stomach hurts? Well, have you had a snack? Here, I’ll make you a snack. Hummus and cucumber? Cheese and crackers? What would you like? What do you feel like? What about a cup of tea? Would you like a cup of tea? Is it an allergic reaction? Do you think you ate something that didn’t agree? Could be food poisoning? Do you know the symptoms of food poisoning? How are your stools? Have you called Dr. Gordon? I mean we don’t want to make a fuss… but, maybe it would be a good idea to call Dr. Gordon? The rash is spreading quite quickly. I don’t want you to worry, but you’re turning a strange shade of… But, Dr. Gordon has been our doctor since you were a kid, since you were – … Oh. Okay. Well, I mean – … What did you say? What did you tell her? Why don’t you just have a snack. You probably haven’t eaten since breakfast. Maybe you ought to lay off sushi for awhile. Who knows what kinds of bacteria live on that raw fish.

“I nodded” by Sasha in her living room

Sunday February 23, 2020
10:03pm
5 minutes
Bring You Apples
Cate Lycurgus

Picking fights, picking scabs, picking teams, picking mates – it’s what we do. Wired to survive, hoping to thrive, we are animals. When it’s all said and done, we are animals. We want to fight, we want to win, we want to do better than our parents did. It’s complicated and simple. It’s paradox. We build cities of identity, of hope, of “I belong”, and then tremble as they crumble, bite our hangnails as they disintegrate, don’t even notice as they evaporate into the floating darkness, up towards the sky. New moon a sliver of possible. New moon says her own name proud.

“The stunning couple” by Sasha in the living room chair

Saturday February 22, 2020
11:53am
5 minutes
The Tree Sparrows
Joseph O. Legaspi

Comes in swearing and shaking
hollering and quaking and they are off
Stunning before they bust through the walls
Laughing and then what’s the other side of the coin
Fighting and then tales
You’re it
Fucking and then
Heads

it’s better in their imaginations
it’s better in real life
it’s better when they’ve drunk half a bottle
swallowed half a bottle
Don’t turn the light on
Don’t see the scars

Peacock feather dreams
A path they used to walk at the beginning
Before it all got blender spun
Favourite sweater out of the dryer
Shrunk to a shape that squeezes
asks too much

Stunning the other with their cuss words
and love moves the sound of a voice
pitter patter
waterfall
raging fury of fire
Mmhmm

They are off 

 

“At times they cast themselves” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, February 21, 2020
2:34pm
5 minutes
My Love Feeds the Crows
Mark Sullivan

Gus used to laugh when we sang off tune on purpose. See, everyone in the family has perfect pitch. Singing off tune took great effort. Kelly’s brows would furrow, she was trying so hard to stay off tune. Even when he was exhausted, coming off a night shift, to recovering from a flu, if my sisters and I sang off tune, it was only a matter of minutes before Gus had tears rolling down his cheeks. We could see his big old tonsils, he laughed with such a wide open mouth. Something Latin always really did him in, must’ve been the contrast to how we normally sang the songs of his childhood.

“When we love the earth,” by Sasha on her bed

Thursday February 20, 2020
9:49pm
5 minutes
From a quote by bell hooks

Thank you for bringing me to the ravine
to taste the stretch of Eastern Hemlock
Squeal at a pickerel weed
nestled into the wet
Tell secret to the red pine
and feel her nod
of understanding
in my belly

Thank you for teaching me how to lie
on my back in the rib cage of a canoe
barely rock the boat
on my way down
starry sky splaying past present

and future
above us

Thank you for knowing how to play
getting down low

“… let’s just see what happens.” By Sasha on her couch

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
7:03am
5 minutes
For as Many Days as We Have Left
Pam Houston

Let’s just see what happens

I hear my
self say

Where did all the good ones go?

the sober one
the wolf one
the whole one
the wise one
the broken glass dodging
never flick the skin
always on time
one

two seconds and
it’s over and I’m
back in my body
wondering why
I lit the match
before arriving
bomb about to blow
here I am
thud
in these brown sheets
who chooses
that
colour?

shame wears
a furry hat
licks her lips
a fuck me
don’t fuck with me
smirk across
the red

Let’s just see what happens

I swing from the fan
around and around
it goes whirring
the spin right back
to where it started
and off again

looking up at it
the fan
watching you leave
the bed
hearing you pee
flush
turn on the tap

feeling
the cool air
on my nipples

“Caley pushed her sandy brown hair” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
10:22am
5 minutes
A Private Wild
Laurel Nakanishi

Caley pushed her sandy brown hair off her forehead. She wished that she could take back getting bangs, and all the sorry’s she’s said, and how she’s always focused on the pleasure of others and not herself. Might’ve saved my marriage, she thought. Wearing the royal blue hand knit sweater that she’d ordered for herself on Etsy for Christmas, Caley glanced at the clock. Two twenty five. She’d have to leave to get Emmy at preschool in half an hour. She’d barely written three thousand words.  When did you turn into such a little procrastinator? Caley got up from her desk and stretched her arms above her head. She let out a loud sigh.

“In the moonstruck dusk” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday February 17, 2020
7:02am
5 minutes
Wolf OR-7
Natalie Diaz

We are the only souls up for miles, or at least that’s what it feels like. You are riding a very large horse named Bailey and I’m laughing because I didn’t know that you knew how to ride horses. You’d taken her from her stall with such tender conviction. I thought we were going for a walk. I know that your father had been a rancher before his accident, but I thought that happened (he fell from the roof of the barn and lost his right leg) and I thought you had left when you were little, like, before you could walk. Three crows circle high overhead in the moonstruck dusk. Who was I to think we were the only souls up for miles.

“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

“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 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