“Twenty years ago” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday November 12, 2019
4:25pm
5 minutes
The Unspeakable Things Between Our Bellies
Lidia Yuknavitch

Twenty years ago I was thirteen

wearing overalls to hide the breasts I never asked for
plaid shirts from Gap Kids
hair down my back
I’d read the whole young adult section at the
Beaches Public Library
Knew that words were my salvation
scribblers overflowing crushes and mood swings
back and forth and scrambled and fried
poems and letters and finding who I was
in the ringed pages through the blue ballpoint
I was hiding more than my body
balled up underwear in the corners under the bed
balled up wrappers in the bedside table drawers
Who teaches the art of hiding to the young one
with traces of purple mascara
Ill matched concealer belonging to some old lady
covering barely there but so so there pimples
Smelling of Clearasil and soy chocolate pudding

I hid to chrysalis myself
shroud myself in all the flimsy layers
in these tender years of temptation and agony
awkwardness and emotion and longing

I hid to be sought by someone who might save me

the only option I’d been given at the time to consider was
a man
the one in the jagged little fantasy ripped from the Rolling Stone
glued to the collage on the wall of my basement bedroom

“winter chess championship” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday November 11, 2019
5:42pm
5 minutes
Mr. Oleander
Brian Doyle

I want to be doing better at this abstract artwork
Splatter splatter the red and the doubt and the blue
Texturize with sand and the contents of popped pores
Popped bubbles
Exploded hope
Pop pop goes the imaginary gun into the temple
into the church
Pop pop

My life is my art after all
You tell me of her fingers and I shudder but pretend
that I am a statue and I cannot change expression

I’m busted though
You know my face too well
Have seen it on the best days under the sun
in the field of dreams
Swollen and drugged and birthing
Grieving and aching and hurting
Coming and wailing and eating
Hating and loving and faking
Being and gazing and crowing

I never learned how to play the real game of chess
I’m teaching myself your game now
A piece moves here and I put one in my pocket
in the moment you go to the bathroom
Save it to smell later
when you’re gone

Doing dishes you laugh to yourself
and I know why but I ask anyway

Her fingernails
My stomach churns a strange bitter butter
Gag on the image of curling and breaking
Squeezes body things
out of body places
out of dreams

“more than anything else, men and women seek happiness.” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday November 10, 2019
8:09am
Happiness Revisited
Mikhail Csikszentmihalyi

A: What do you want?

B: For me and those around me to be happy.

A: What does “happy” mean?

B: You know it when it’s there and you know it when it’s not…

A: Hm.

B: Hm?

A: Yes. “Hm.”

B: What do you want?

A: I care less now about “happiness” than ever before.

B: That’s funny becuase people always tell you how “happy” you are.

A: Yeah… I know. 

B: … Go on…

A: I care more about presence and am I living in a full hearted way, am I trusting myself…

B: Right – 

A: I wasn’t done – 

B: – Oh, I thought – 

A: Don’t you think that happiness is a state that we long for but it’s the longing that actually takes us out of the moments where we might truly be happy? Like, there’s always more we want?

B: Maybe. I don’t know. I think that when real happiness is present for me, I know it’s there. And then it goes, and I know it’s gone. It’s more about recognizing when it’s there, however fleeting.

A: Mmm.

“In this realm of,” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Saturday November 9, 2019
5:11pm
5 minutes
St. Sebastian
Tony Hoagland

I bake an angel food cake with all the sweet misgivings
I serve it with strawberries and softly whipped cream
We eat quietly
Deliberately
Eyes flicking from plate to you and back again 

I want for nothing but the sound of your chewing

I want for nothing but the pillow on my tongue 

I stack the dishes in the sink to do later
Tomorrow maybe
I run water and crumbs are swept down the drain
Goodbye tiny misgiving morsels
Farewell to you and you and you and you

You stoke the fire
Open the damper
Add a big log 

My hands are still sticky
From the sugar and the egg whites
My hands are still sticky
From all the things I am unable to truly
Let go of

My hands are still sticky
From your bodily things that I crave
And despise and crave again

 

“Later I found the fork” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Friday November 8, 2019
7:38am
5 minutes
Because These Failures Are My Job
Alison Luterman

I used to steal rice pudding from Mrs. Crasinski’s house. She paid me five dollars to feed her demented cat when she went to Sarnia to visit her sister and I justified the inconveniece (which, in hindsight, was minuscule) by stealing her delicious homemade rice pudding. She always had a big jar of it in her fridge. I think she served it to the ladies who would come over for Bridge on Tuesday afternoons, and to her granddaughter, Cassandra. I feel really badly often about a whole milieu of things, but at the top of the list is stealing rice pudding from this poor, lonely old lady. She never noticed I don’t think. I never ate enough to really put a dent in the big jar. I’d take a fork from the cutlery drawer and eat it with the fridge door still open, a rush of adrenaline and milky sweetness surfing through my veins. 

“I am a young, talented writer.” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Thursday November 7, 2019
8:32am
5 minutes
Citizens of the Dream
Cary Tennis

Mike thinks he’s got the best ideas. Everyone thinks theirs ideas are best, but Mike is really out there with how he thinks his are. He fights for his ideas. This goes against everything I’ve been taught about collaboration and about general good manners. And, I want to be more like Mike. His ideas are usually pretty decent, but they aren’t the best. But the fact that he is so committed to them, to getting through to the rest of us, to being clear – leads to a lot of the content we’re creating being Mike’s. I hate the guy. Let’s be clear about that. His ego is B-I-G. Seriously. But maybe I hate him because I actually wish I was a little more like him? Maybe I loathe his tenacity and self-assuredness because these are qualities that I do not, in fact, possess?

“Yet as quickly as the idea came to me,” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday November 6, 2019
3:02pm
5 minutes
Water, Water Everywhere
Ariana Conrad

I write to save my life these days
To give oxygen where there isn’t any
Into the nooks and crannies of the uncomfortables
Into the old shed of the afraids

I am not being hyperbolic

Okay maybe a little

My survival doesn’t depend on these words
Skipping stones across the page
Towards a rising sun
Red and available

A grouse flies up over the brush
The leaves piling on the salty earth
Makes the sound of a heart beating
My ear pressed to your chest

As quickly as the idea comes to me
To continue the story I started two years ago

To write what I know and what I don’t know
To write my future into being
It leaves

Wings of a heron spread wide 

“I am plagued by one question” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday November 5, 2019
12:33pm
Fifty Shades of Grey
E L James

I walk through my neighbourhood, brick house upon brick house, a sprinkling of Halloween decorations still up, dancing dizzy in the wind. I write the story in my head, under my breath, for the hundredth time. The morning I got that message that changed everything, I had said to you over breakfast, “I trust you. I completely trust you.” The irony’s metallic taste doesn’t change no matter how many times I repeat the story, no matter how many times I go over and back, writing and re-writing. Lola sleeps in the carrier, her breath a rising and falling against my chest, our ribs a convex puzzle. A woman rakes leaves into a pile. She wears khaki overalls and bright red gardening gloves. I keep circling back to the places where there are holes, to try to patch them up, to try to see if they’ll hold this time better than the last. 

“For adult use” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday November 4, 2019
9:21am
5 minutes
from the the sticker package

I’m not sure what you’re getting at here, with your well shaped nose and your strange scent… Is it pizza? Is it oil of oregano? Are you sick? I mean I see that you’re tapping into some sort of cosmic importance, or trying to. Maybe the trying is enough? That line between your eyebrows is getting deeper each day that goes by, each time you lie through your teeth. Good teeth. Straight teeth. Your father spent thousands on those teeth. I wonder if Kaitlin will get your teeth, or Nancy’s. You are good looking and that’s irritating to me. It distracts from the evading evading evading. It’s only when we’re lane swimming, side-by-side, going at our own paces, that I truly feel I know you. 

“choose return” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday November 3, 2019
8:19pm
5 minutes
Google flights

Lois has never been on an airplane. She has never been through airport security. She has never purchased overpriced nuts at a kiosk near the departure gate. When she booked her trip to Nashville, Lois went on Google flights, like Dennis had recommended. “They somehow aggregate all the flights,” (Lois does not think Dennis knows the meaning of aggregate), “and then you have all the information about all the flights in the world right in one handy dandy place!” (Oh Dennis, who wears loafers and uses terms like “handy dandy”). When Lois packs her carry on suitcase, she carefully rolls each T-shirt, tank top and pair of underwear. She’ll wear one pair of black pants on the flight and bring her jeans. Who needs more than two pairs of pants over a long weekend? 

“Where is the equal of Love?” By Sasha in her living room

Saturday November 2, 2019
2:19pm
5 minutes
Antigone
Sophocles (Trans. by E.F. Watling)

Love in equal parts
Freedom and possession

Hold close but not tight
Love in two movements

The before

The after

The third in the space between
In the artichoke heart
In the guttural
In the water below the surface

Not frozen yet
But it will be when the first frost comes

I used to think that love was the shape of a circle
I’m not so sure now

Love is a horizon at dawn

Love is the sound of my daughter tasting dried mango

Love is the taste of a new kiss

A kiss that used to be one thing
And is now another

“To the future with hope” by Sasha in her bed

Friday November 1, 2019
9:21pm
5 minutes
St. John’s School Motto

I try to write my letters to the future with hope in my pen

Free flowing blue and green turn to 

Where will we be with the storm comes?

Shake the dreams of rose gardens and squash blossoms 

Loosen the grip of even trying to imagine

Let alone plan

It’s in the quiet that possibilities creep in

Ink across a strange page

My daughter’s squeals in the next room

Getting her diaper changed

Climate collapse isn’t the story I was promised

Isn’t the dream I was told would come true

“Anything is possible”

Three words bigger than a 

Maybe

A grief catches in my throat most days

And it’s not for my puny hurts

It’s hard to wrap our hearts around the severity

Of it all

“Unromantic daily love” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday October 31, 2019
12:19 pm
5 minutes
quote from Marie Howe in bombmagazine.com

There’s a bowl with a chicken on it in sitting in the middle of the round table in the kitchen. My mother keeps oranges and lemons on the counter. “Never refrigerate your tomatoes,” she says. “Only buy tomatoes in season,” she says.

It’s strange coming home after so long away, after inventing and re-inventing myself. Montreal is good for that – choosing who you want to be, and then if that changes again, it’s okay. It’s all good. My brother Liam never left. Lives three doors down from Mom. He has had a string of girlfriends, but no one’s “stuck”. That’s his word. “Stuck.”

Mom’s hanging up her coat in the closet. 

“Stephen?! Is that you?!” I still know where the hidden key is. 

“no words can describe.” By Sasha in her living room

Wednesday October 30, 2019
12:30pm
5 minutes
from a Youtube comment

The colour of emotions change with the oak and maple
rust coloured apology
golden longing

It’s beginning to feel normal
the way that the heart leaps and falls
teeter totter and swing set
wind through the jungle gym whistles under breath

Light a candle for those who have come before
those who have loved with the pale azure sky
those who have said goodbye to all that they new
red as the blood on the tip of the finger
pricked by small pains
big pains
all the pains

“Get yourself a back brace” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday October 29, 2019
12:23pm
5 minutes
Me Talk Pretty One Day
David Sedaris

You let things get messy. Dishes pile up on the counters. Recycling balloons. Newspapers and flyers on the porch. Leaves collect, and then begin to decompose. You’ve always had a bad back. Started as a football injury in the tenth grade. Some elephant of a guy took you down and you felt something snap. You didn’t cry on the field, but you wanted to. You cried later, alone in your room, in your twin bed with the red flannel sheets. Your feet hung over the end. Your mother knocked on the door and brought you your favourite minestrone soup from the diner on the other side of town. Margie used to say that men have back issues because of unprocessed anger. You wonder about that now, lying on the floor, dust bunnies under everything, mess all over the place. Your eyes sting.

“the speed at which galaxies are retiring” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday October 28, 2019
10:06am
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson

We took the shortcut to the lake. Stopped for fries and then to pee in the bushes. The lake wasn’t frozen yet, but it had turned, and was icy when I put my finger in. You made a fire and we sat in silence for a long time. Reverie. Grief. Wonder. A shooting star.

The shortcut didn’t used to be a shortcut. It used to be the scenic route – winding country roads with fruit stands that sold the best peaches. Then the subdivisions were built, the Walmart moved in, and the Starbucks, the Best Buy. Looking out the window, we could be anywhere.

“bouncing out of the freaking roar” by Sasha in her living room

Sunday October 27, 2019
3:13pm
5 minutes
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Tom Wolfe

I’m writing standing up
perched on tip top toes
alone on the mountain
where the ice kisses the sky

I’m writing with my toes in sand
the ocean singing soft and sweet
weaving verses to songs
I’ll compose the melody for later

I’m writing in a bunker
ten feet below ground
so deep that I can’t hear the streetcar
or the car horns or the sirens

I’m writing to save my life
on a gurney in a terror zone
in my bedroom under covers
in a walk in amidst shoulders and thighs

I’m writing a love letter
I’m writing an ode
I’m writing a war cry
I’m writing a eulogy
I’m writing a day

“the human body, as all of nature,” by Sasha at Bowmore

Saturday October 26, 2019
3:26pm
5 minutes
Prescription For Nutritional Healing
Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

I’m glad for the season changing, the cool weather bringing space that heat won’t, that light can’t. I’m glad for sweaters, scarves, boots, layers, soup, tea, the slow cooker. I’m glad for my Mom’s salad dressing with maple syrup, lemon, garlic, olive oil. I’m glad for you, that you’ve had this time away. I’m glad for naps with Lola at my breast, her breath rising and falling in her perfect, tiny belly. I’m glad for this attic bedroom, where I’ve spent nights with different lifetimes, different lovers, different “you’s“. I’m glad for the leaves changing colour in quicker momentum than the last five years, everything happening faster, but also slower, but also slow.

“it was just sort of whispered around my family” by Sasha at Bowmore

Friday October 25, 2019
3:10pm
5 minutes
Choosing Happiness
Veronica Ray

Stories woven like rugs by fingers nimble and tired
You weave from your side of the loom
I weave from mine
and we meet in the middle
sometimes
Where the colours come together

I did a bad drawing of a rug a few months ago
A bad job actualizing a metaphor with coloured pencils
I offered it to you as an olive branch
Trying to make sense of the chaos
Parse the fury
Re
collect the pieces

The rug was ripped out
But here’s our rug
I believe in our rug 
We made our rug 
We get to choose where it goes

I said something like one of these lines
You were as generous as you could be
holding the piece of recycled paper
unsure of everything especially this

“it doesn’t experience rejection” by Sasha in her living room

Thursday October 24, 2019
9:05pm
5 minutes
The Tao Of Warren Buffett
Mary Buffett & David Clark

I’ve got nothing tonight
all runny nose and empty
chapped lips and thirsty
fingers don’t know the tune
let alone the rhythm
let alone the plot

I’ll tell myself it’s fine
there’s nothing left to do
sink full of dishes doesn’t matter
and it doesn’t that’s true

I made a pot of lentil soup today
soothe my sick
went to freeze two containers
once it’d cooled
only to discover there were already
two containers
of the same soup
in the freezer

Twelve times a day at least
I think about how I would freeze time
if I could
memorize the arch of her eyebrow
the curl of her smile
the way her half moon eyes
cast a shadow of eyelashes
when she’s sleeping in my arms

This is the hardest work I’ll ever do
and no one sees it
The immensity of the loneliness
grips my guts
holds my throat

I find my own face in the reflection
in the window
the late fall garden
on the other side
of the glass 

“That time I was in London” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday October 23, 2019
5:40pm
5 minutes
Tumble Home
Amy Hempel

I fell for you in your
tiny apartment in London
the strange pipes creaking
and seven roommates making
food in the early hours

I got sick that trip
shivering and shaking
seeing auras of light
around bodies and doorways
you brought me
bone broth and daisies
you told me
“everything is going to be ok”

you told me
stories about when you were young
and how your father never
raised his voice
his hand was another story
your mother smoked
Salem’s by the carton
braided your sister’s hair
so tight that her head itched

When I was finally well enough
to emerge from your small bedroom
my healing cave
we went for curry on the corner
”burn the last of it out of you”

you said

“to make easy” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday October 22, 2019
10:02pm
5 minutes
Zanichelli Italian-English dictionary

I wish that you knew how to show up
that you knew the power of making a plan
and sticking to it
the loneliness of waking twenty times in the night
made softer by the prospect of a heart that understands
a presence that can be relied upon

I want you to do what you need to do
and I get that things happen that aches arrive
and the bus breaks down and you have a lot
on your plate

But those times need to be the exception
those times need to be the few and far between
those times are every time and I need you
at this time when so much is up in the air
falling slowly settling in

drifting down

 

“everything seems to happen to music.” By Sasha in her bed

Monday October 21, 2019
1:49pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Tennessee Williams

The good stuff always happens to music, right? The first kisses. The quiet goodbyes. The waking up on your birthday. The Christmas dinners. Music is the thread that holds the beads of what life is. I truly believe that. I bought us a record player at a garage sale a few years ago and we’ve been slowly adding records to our collection. We aren’t doing it to be analogue or ironic or anything. We’re doing it because the act of placing the needle, of blowing dust off the surface, of flipping a record over… it’s sacred. It really is. Lying on the floor at the end of a shit day is made okay as soon as the volume gets turned up. I feel my body sink into the carpet and the music fills me, it fills me up.

“what power does it have?” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday October 20, 2019
5:16pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Eckhart Tolle

Police swarm the square where your grandmother used to take you to throw pennies in the fountain with the angels dancing. You’d make a wish, and she’s buy you a sweet from the bakery around the corner. You remember her smell – vanilla, amber, old photographs. Now you wear a gas mask, a black t-shirt and denim overalls. You aren’t sure what your grandmother would say about your haircut. You wish that pennies were still a thing. You long for the innocence and clarity of childhood.

“The bit about the doorbell” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday October 19, 2019
9:13am
5 minutes
Someday Is Today
Alethea Black

The doorbell rings and Ange stops in her tracks. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. Fe wasn’t supposed to arrive until this afternoon. “I’ll be right there!” She calls, running up the stairs and shutting the bedroom door.

Fe is on her phone, talking in Spanish. Ange always says she’s going to learn, but the Duolingo app on her phone goes unopened for the most part.

”What language do you dream in?” Ange asked Fe one of their first morning’s together.

Fe thought about it for awhile. “I’m not sure,” she eventually replied, picking sleep out of the corners of her eyes.

”It’s probably Spanish. I think I read once that we dream in our mother tongues.”

As she opens the door, Ange asks, “Why don’t you have your key?”

Fe cocks her head and glares at her. She’s cut her hair.

“The phone doesn’t ring” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Oct 18, 2019
7:02am
Low Noon
Jim Ralston

He waits and waits and waits and waits and waits and waits and waits and waits and. Waits waits waits waits waits. The phone doesn’t ring. He’s been looking for a job since before he got laid off from the Amazon Warehouse. Had a feeling that cutbacks were coming. “Those fucking liberals,” Luis said, spitting next to the pile of sunglasses in cellophane wrappers sold for $13.99. Luis was his first work friend, but over time, he realized that Luis was a bigot and an asshole. A deadly combination.

“Light like sugar cane.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Oct 17, 2019
11:11am
Daybreak

Gerry Lafemina

Light like sugar cane through the kitchen window and you’re wild with belief, whirling dervish of possible outcomes. You dream of rivers and oceans over and over, research water metaphors, read poetry written by women who came before their time. You meditate on the round stone in the park garden, grown over since summer’s ripe peach, sun is still here though, sun is still here. You were once groped by a man on a crowded train, ass and vulva, rubbed top to bottom, or bottom to top depending on who is telling the tale. You said nothing. This haunts you more than the time you cheated on the first man you actually loved, more than stealing fifty dollars from your grandmother’s handbag, more than lying to your friend about why you couldn’t make his birthday dinner (a new beau who turned out to be a sour stale egg, barf barf barf). You looked the groper in the eye, though, that’s one wee bit of action you took. You made it clear that you saw him, in his unshaven violence, in his hand violating the body of a woman, of a fawn.

“You plan, you design, you labor,” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday October 16, 2019
10:04pm
5 minutes
An Absorbing Errand
Janna Malamud Smith

You are the Carolina Parakeet
hunted for feathers in hats worn by women like

You are the Passenger Pigeon
flocking with billions of kin
darkening the bright sky
trying to make it home to

You are the Stephens Island Wren
flightless and tiny
hunted by pet cats to complete extinction
New Zealand lost her

You are the Great Auk
not knowing the threat of their human predator
they waddled up to the Settler
hoping to make a new friend in

You are the Elephant Bird
Ten feet tall and five hundred pounds
Prehistoric and wise
Bobbing your head towards the familiar

You
Sweet Dodo Bird of Mauritius
hunted for meat by the hungry and tired

“I cried during the silent walking meditation” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday October 15, 2019
7:19pm
Reunion
Halina Larman

Alice left Jim on a Wednesday. It was a long time coming. At least that’s what everyone said. It wasn’t dramatic. It was deliberate and soft. She had packed a black suitcase, as she knew that she needed to actually leave, not just figuratively leave. The suitcase had been Alice’s mother’s. It was worn on the bottom corner, but still zipped up. Their other suitcases, stored in the basement next to the box of Christmas ornaments and wrapping paper, belonged to Jim. At least she thought they did. It was the division of things that most overwhelmed her. Not the conversation, the “leaving” conversation. The division of their items, their life, parsed out in “I’ll take the immersion blender and you take the coffee grinder?” The older Alice got the more she didn’t care for things that she could turn on, hold in her hand, or cart around. She cared for the feeling of her blood pressure lowering, the October wind bringing her closer to herself.

“the feelings that have been aroused” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Monday October 14, 2019
10:03pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Susan Sontag

Maggie wonders if it’s the full moon, or if she’s PMS-ing. She hasn’t felt like herself today. She grates carrots for salad. She unloads the dishwasher. She turns on CBC radio, and then turns it off again. Maggie wonders what day it is… Monday. It’s Monday. Maybe she should go to yoga. Maybe that would snap her out of this fog. Maybe she should masturbate. Maybe she should tell Jim that dinner’s ready, but she’s going out for a burger. By herself. She opens the fridge and cracks a beer.

“It begins from the heart.” By Sasha at Black River Farm

Sunday October 13, 2019
10:00am
5 minutes
From a quote by Shahla Khan

Here is the place where we held hands and hearts
where we wove futures and past and incanted the unborn
and the dead

Here is the place where we passed rings around a circle of song
taught in front of the wood stove
harmonies bending air between mouths of all the beloved ones
asked for witnesses in keeping us on the spiral path
mystery and possibility
leading us

Here

is the place where the sky was the blue of my father’s eyes
the earth the colour of home
a tent like a shady dream
we didn’t know we needed
the smell of goodness and grief
hope and healing
all the hours of dreaming
fighting scrawling spreadsheet poetry

Here is the place
where you climbed onto a horse’s back
the way you knew you needed to
her ribs leading you towards
the rhythm of your palms
on my chest
feeling the rise
the fall

Here is the place
that I’ve summoned
these long weeks
called up in my storm
like a lighthouse
held close when there
was nothing

this place
an eternal reminder
of the blessing
of a union marked in the stars
marked on the map of

This place

“all the facts” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Saturday October 12, 2019
9:51pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Wendell Berry

When you have all the facts in a row
alphabetized and clarified and put into their proper

order is the name of what you try for
when “c” is before “h” is before “e”
and the numbers are stories that you wish
you weren’t telling

When all the facts are there
side by side by edge by top by tail

you wonder where you found meaning
when there weren’t such things
to count and sort

when it was zigzags and condensation
toothy smiles and big breaths
water on the floor

“We did all these things and more,” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, Oct 11, 2019
7:28am
5 minutes
We Did
Brian Doyle
There were the seasons of planting the seeds
of good fortune and picking out the rocks from the
supple generous earth
sticky resilience
honey under fingernails
dirt on cheeks
There were phases of freezing toes
and shouting under a starless sky
Crescent moon asking for more more
more more more when she finally came
when she finally helped
New like the baby’s first glance
like the promise of spring
deep freeze full of bones and secrets
thought there was nothing left to say
but there always is
wisdom a crystal buried in the basement
growing every day
There were years of abundance
years of bushels of apples
sweet potato pies
rye bread in the oven
trading this for that
no need to pass bills between
trusted treasures
There were summers of black flies
zucchini’s the size of toddlers
lake swims and fires
snaking smoke to the
Seven Sisters
birch bark friendship bracelets
girls laughing

“I’d say that’s OK” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday Oct 10, 2019
11:45am
5 minutes
On A Cliff With You
David Allan Cates
A: Would you like to go to the park?
B: NO.
A: But it’s so nice out! It’ll be fun. I promise.
B: I don’t want to go.
A: I’ll push you on the swing…
B: The big kid swing or the baby swing?
A: Your choice.
B: Big kid swing!
A: Deal!
B: But I don’t want to wear my hat!
A: You need to wear your hat.
B: No way!
A: It’s chilly! Your ears will get cold.
B: NO!
A: Ear muffs?
B: NO.
A: Headband?
B: …
A: …
B: Fiiiiiine.
A: Great. Let’s do it. Put on your boots please.
B: I want to wear my Crocs.
A: It’s too cold for Crocs, my darling.
B: NOOOO!
A: …
B: – OOOOO!
A: I’m going to start putting on my boots, and whenever you’re ready –
B: – OOOOOOOO!
A: Hey. Darling. Please stop shouting.
B: I don’t want to wear my boooooooots!
A: I can see that. What about your runners?
B: My runners make my toes itchy!
A: They do?
B: Yeah.
A: What about if you wear your purple socks inside your runners?
B: The sparkly socks?
A: Yeah!

“Everybody froze.” By Sasha at her kitchen counter

Wednesday October 9, 2019
11:30am
5 minutes
The Man At Table Five
Alison Clement

Looked to the sky and there it was. Giant ball of orange and gold, burning and spewing. Coming down on us. Falling here to earth. Everybody froze. Looked up. A communal gasp. Nobody said a word. A universal silence. Something spiritual. Something profane. Something shared. Something unbelievable. Stars don’t often fall this fast, this low. But they sometimes do. Here it is. The thing we’ve all wondered about. The thing we’ve all waited for, without knowing we’re waiting. There’s no sense in running, in moving to another place somewhere close. The reverberations will be felt everywhere. The buckles and ripples can’t be escaped. And then it’s here, and the frozen moment is broken. Everyone is moving. The birds are calling. The dogs are howling. Human beings trying to take flight.

“How loyal the heart is” by Sasha in her bed

Tuesday October 8, 2019
9:37pm
5 minutes
Red Tights
Danusha Lameris

I never knew how loyal my heart was
until it broke open

I was younger the first time
and the second
I didn’t have the knowledge yet
of the expansion that comes
after the tightest knot undoes
when you least expect it
washing last night’s dishes
the light on the wet morning grass

This time
this time
a shell of white sand
falling into the crevices
where the dandelions grow
showing me what is
inside

I used to speak of love
like a language I spoke fluently
over confident
cocky
thinking I knew

That was before the stanza where rhyming begins
where the rhythm changes
where suddenly the goodness of being in gratitude
in the crux of the unknown

the goodness
of this
becomes the mother tongue
that I didn’t know I knew

“Gladys was a hefty Puerto Rican” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday October 7, 2019
10:13am
5 minutes
Anything For Love
Ruth L. Schwartz

Gladys makes soup with whatever is left in the crispers of her fridge. A shrivelled rutabaga, three wrinkled carrots, half a browning cauliflower, onion, turmeric, garlic. She’ll add kale, chard and cilantro at the end. It’s Monday. Finally the house is quiet. Finally there is no one asking her questions, asking her for help, asking her for something to drink. Gladys savours Mondays like others savour Fridays. Martinez leaves by six, the boys are on the curb waiting for the school bus at seven forty five, and even Eartha, the old ginger cat, is out on the front lawn lying in the sun.

“I can’t help but reflect” by Sasha in her comfy chair

Sunday October 6, 2019
7:12am
5 minutes
from an email

You are looking everywhere for signs
Under the sink between the garbage bin and the compost pail
In the sky amongst the light pollution and almost there Milky Way
In the numbers on the houses where we live

The numbers of the clock when you think to look
The things we say
or don’t say
Numbers numbers numbers so many numbers
But it doesn’t add up
or if there’s a division
it’s hollow and stale

It’s become an obsession
this sign hunting
Your inner compass a rudder that you no longer trust
It’s lead you astray before but this time
things matter in a different kind of way

I humour your hunting
I nod when you tell me of something or other
I like signs too
But I don’t hold to them as the gospel
Clinging to the spindly tree in the middle of a hurricane
I don’t believe that they are the only marker
of progress
of love
of resonance

“verde y amarillo” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday October 5, 2019
11:02am
5 minutes
@quenoteam
Javier Rupérez Instagram

The thing about writing is it’s liquid
inefficient and strange
We all hope we are good at it
wonder what that even means

Inspiration comes via the light
through the stained glass window
or something you’ve finally understood
that your love has been saying for years

You go to your notebook and there are
two pages left
You ponder this

The end or the beginning

Life is better when you are writing
every day no matter what chaos is there
You remember the anthology of this practice
stored in the garage
along with books you aren’t ready to let go of

“This week just got ducking crazy” by Sasha in her kitchen

Friday October 4, 2019
8:21am
5 minutes
From a text message

Hello Friday
Tired eyes and hangnails ablaze
Hello end of the week
but does that really matter
now that each day has a similar

different shape
kaleidoscopic Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
and here we are

Hello Friday
Coffee breath and dirty diapers
Laundry forgotten in the machine
stinks of what could have been
freshness
Oh well
Crumbs from last night’s toast
on the counter
A mouse turd under the fridge
Oh well

Hello Friday
labors into the weekend
a good time an inch away
a good time here now
Oh
kay
The prospect of a good beat
a piece of nice cheese
baby laughter
It’s here
All of it
It’s here

Hello Friday
You’ve got your nice party pants on
Mmm hmm
you’re looking fiiiine

“The ship had sailed” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday October 3, 2019
7:05am
5 minutes
Just Enough
A.J. Liberling

We sailed Lake Ontario
for three days
in the springtime

Reached Coburgh
just when my sea legs had
finally arrived after
lots of throwing up
and wishing for something
different

Sixteen twelve and thirteen year olds
Five teenage sailers
Two parents
A teacher
The captain and the cook

I remember the sun high
in the sky lying on the starboard
side and knowing that
despite the nausea and sleeplessness
”down below” I was exactly

where I needed to be

“sorely tested—and found wanting.” By Sasha in her bed

Wednesday October 2, 2019
11:03pm
5 minutes
Assignment To Hell
Timothy M. Gay

Mickey thinks a lot about independence, and how people end up like they are. “We’re in a real mess, Mick,” papa says. “I guess so,” she replies.

She reads a lot. Goes to the library and takes out a few books on capitalism, and then reads and reads until she might understand. She’s not sure if we ever truly understand anything, as there’s always more to learn, or  another way of looking at something.

Mickey walks her German Shepherd rescue Troy by the river most days, except when the snow rises so high that she can’t step. Troy never struggles, no matter how high the drifts get, leaping and bounding towards the water’s edge.

“A score of tiny eyes stared” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday October 1, 2019
4:43pm
5 minutes
Stardust
Neil Gaiman

Under the porch floorboards, under the house built on the side of the world, under the sky turning mauve in her changing, a mouse sings to her children a song that her mother taught her a long time ago.

Above, in the house, a woman brushes her hair after a hot bath, long strokes, like her mother taught her a long time ago. She knows of the mice in the house, the ones that live in the porch a wilder breed. She has come to see them as her tiny roommates. She no longer resents them, as she did her ex-husband, the only other roommate she’s had.

The mice children curl up into their mother and they mew and peep towards sleep.

“in search of a taxi” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday September 30, 2019
9:38am
5 minutes
The Rage
Gene Kerrigan

I am calling up into the sky
magenta and teal
for a sign
a lightning bolt
a monarch across the freckles of the morning

this is the right thing
the bullseye arrow right to the
rose quartz
oh good grief

I’m doing the good good work
trimming the brush back
finding the path towards

Pele told me a long time ago
in the early morning
walking on lava
and seeing where the earth
opens pulses gasps

that I would be one of the ones
who has to find the diamond
carved by pressure
etched by time
strengthened by temperature
and pushing

“I’ll never hunt big ones again” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday September 29, 2019
1:48pm
5 minutes
An American Dream
Norman Mailer

I’m tired of turning over every small speckled rock, looking under the books on the bookshelf one by one. I find ants, and dust. I find an inscribed copy of a book a lover gave me a long time ago. I find my worry amongst the anthologies and Shakespeare plays. Hunting for something out there, further away than the fingers can reach. The step stool only gets me so high. The will only pushes me so far. I take a small speckled rock and I put it in my pocket. I’ll cradle it when I lose faith, lose compass, lose. The books, some of them mine and some of them yours, are making a library of where we’ve come from, where we are.

“and I will do you no harm.” By Sasha on her couch

Saturday September 28, 2019
5:01pm
5 minutes
Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe

I fell in love with the woman opening her son’s lunchbox on the subway at rush hour taking out the half eaten apple browning at the edges and eating it

I fell in love with the couple walking down Roncesvalles hand in hand
the blue of his sweater matching the blue of her hat
do they know?!

I fell in love with the waiter at the restaurant all those years ago and I still dream about him often and wonder if I will ever see him again and if I do if I’ll tell him that I’ve loved him since I met him and I’ve dreamed about him for years

I fell in love with the spotted dog on the coffee shop patio waiting so patiently for her pal that I swore that is patience that is patience the kind that I always ask for
for Christmas

I fell in love with the skater doing tricks on the bench in the schoolyard
a smile bigger than the building beside them such joy there in that place
nestling in right where I was needing

I fell in love with

“He straightened up, roaring” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday September 27, 2019
9:41pm
5 minutes
Surface Detail
Iain M. Banks

His strange hurting is not mine to hold alone now
one way of building the house brick by brick
choosing the funny and misshapen ones
the burnt ones choosing the faceless and the wild
When I first met him I felt his way and I didn’t like it
Too much too close to leery to curious too much too much
I am a softer kind of animal
When I met him for the second time I did like it
I was ready for the rumble then around that long table
ready for the way these waves would crash against
the side of reality and wish and trust and begin again

Now meeting him for the millionth time
my mind still isn’t made up and maybe it isn’t about the mind
maybe it isn’t even about the heart
a five letter word overused to the point of letting the blood out
maybe it is about the guts that circle around the centre of the body
the body knows the body doesn’t forget the body keeps a tally
of all the doings and undoings

Earthquake comes when we are least expecting
we are not the choosers of the timing of the bricks turning
to sand turning to ash turning to memory

“How could God?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday September 26, 2019
8:02am
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

Snaking through the aisles of the Seven Eleven, Rory catches a familiar shape out of the corner of his eye. Steve. Shit. Steve. STEVE. He grabs a pack of gum, a bottle of orange Gatorade, a bag of Salt and Vinegar Miss Vicky’s. The man behind the cash has the eyes of someone who has seen a lot. Takes one to know one, Rory doesn’t let himself think. Steve won’t see him. Steve will get a can of Diet Pepsi, maybe a Mars bar. He’ll be lost in the forest of his thoughts, of his hangover, of his wish for love. Rory pulls his debit card from his wallet. Taps. Tap. Tap on his shoulder. Steve. Eyes of someone who shares a secret.

“The pulsating life force energy in such children” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday September 25, 2019
9:10pm
5 minutes
The Relationship Garden
Jock McKeen & Bennet Wong

Oh you
finding the timbre of your voice
the waterfall from
high to low
cascade down and
oh we are in raspberries
fields and fields of
pursed lips
emphatic cough
bumblebee giggle

the strength of your miracle

body
I am in awe of
how you kick legs
curl toes
grab with the power
of a herd of buffalo
propel forward
and back
forward

right to the edge

Oh you
five months old today
thigh rolls and curiosity
squeals of blessing
holding the gaze of
your grandparents
and strangers
holding the fingers
of love

clutching and growing
learning about the many
faces

of beauty

“Your arms would eventually tire” by Sasha at the dining room table

Tuesday September 24, 2019
8:10am
5 minutes
The Purpose Driven Life
Rick Warren 

You’re done with the holding of the sun
and the moon

The Milky Way galaxy
dotting the path towards
forgiveness and understanding

You’re done
Your arms are tired and the light
of these celestial orbs is blinding
so up close so luminous

There’s been lots of talk
of choice
of feelings
of love
There’s been so much talk

Here’s what I’ve come to

maybe

We don’t choose our feelings
but we choose what we do with them

Do we flock to the ember
that whispers our name
in a voice that’s unknowns
and possibilities
Over there across the road
the horses buck and cry

Do we fan the flame
of knowing ourselves
in the way we wish to know

the other

in the way we wish
to be held in the glow
of the night sky