“Still later she folded into herself,” By Sasha at Ideal on Sorauren

Monday January 20, 2020
5:44pm
5 minutes
Peaches
Marion Winik

It’s hard to talk about this stuff and I’m a talker but it’s hard for me, even for talky talker talko me. I don’t know how to explain the radical transformation, but I want to try because I want to be understood. Isn’t that what we all really want? Folding into myself, like an envelope, I try and try and fail and maybe have a moment of shooting star success, but only to me, not to the person I’m talking to… They are still confused. They are still chewing their strange sandwich, sipping their flat kombucha,  cocking their head to the left and then to the right. I guess I could put a letter in my folded envelope self, put a letter to the past and future list, the current spreadsheet, the reminders and Notes in my phone. A letter. Written by hand? Ha. Who does that anymore. Me. I do. Fill the envelope with sparkles, or cocoa, or blow. Send it to someone (you?!) send it to someone and hope they might know what it means, even if I don’t.

 

“Sit comfortably” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday January 19, 2020
5:31pm
5 minutes
Sparrow’s Guide to Meditation
Sparrow

I lean towards the left and the right. I reach up and clasp my hands together over my head. I bend forward. There’s a snow storm in the forecast. There’s a boiled egg on the shelf in the fridge that’s been there for way to long. How long does it take for a cooked egg to go off? Is this something to Google? Something to text mother? Oh. Wait. Mother is dead. I only started meditating after the accident. I used to roll my eyes at people who meditated. Like yoga. Ridiculous. I guess the leaning to and fro is basically yoga. Who have I become? Mother is furrowing her brow, if she has one in heaven. That’s for sure. Goodness gracious. Is this meditating? Is this what it is? I squeeze my eyes shut. I remove my tongue from the roof of my mouth, like the teacher said to do, the one at the Zen Centre on East Broadway.

“Once, two women hiked a volcano” by Sasha in her bed

Saturday January 18, 2020
7:21am
5 minutes
Lava
Danusha Lameris

Once, two women hiked a volcano.
It was before dawn. The lava rock was hot.
The air between them was hot.
They hoped no one else would be there.
Someone else was there – an older man,
blue running shoes, grey windbreaker,
bright headlamp. They smiled at him.
Didn’t resent him being there after all.
A witness.

As the sun rose over the horizon,
swollen and unassuming, one woman
turned to the other woman and told her
that she loved her, not as a friend,
as something different,
something brighter, something new.

The other woman thought
this moment would never come.
So when it did, on a volcano,
as the sun rose, as the headlamp
of the man several hundred feet away
glowed skywards, downwards, skywards
again, she fell to her knees, held her face
in her hands. “Sandra,” she said.
”Sandy…”

They drank blue Gatorade and peeled
oranges and offered a small turquoise stone
to the Goddess of the Island, to the power
of the place.

“My neighbourhood in Upstate New York” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday January 17, 2020
5:21pm
5 minutes
Waiting for the Coywolf
Devin Murphy

When I’m looking at all the faces, mewing and meowing, I’m overwhelmed. I want them all. I have to choose one. Choose one, Teri. I don’t say this out loud, at least I don’t think I do. I say it inside my mind to myself, where most of the Talking happens. Gulliver told me to get a cat several years ago. I ignored him. He told me he thought it might help with the night sweats and the sadness. I told him to go fuck himself. Aw, Gull. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. A fat tabby catches my eye, but then I see that she’s a senior and I worry about her dying weeks after loving her and I don’t think I could take that. I need someone younger. Someone more spry and resilient. No one diabetic. No one who requires medication.

“I find the result” by Sasha in her living room

Thursday January 16, 2020
9:00 am
5 minutes
From a quote by Mark Twain

I find the results under hydro bills and newspaper clippings on your desk. I don’t know why I’m there, going through your stuff, in your office. Something keeps compelling me to go in there. Read the inscriptions of your books. Sniff your strange bottles of tinctures and brews. Today is the first time that I’ve gone through your desk drawers. More disorganized than I’d guessed, especially the third one down. So much random crap… a baseball, a fountain pen, postcards from places you’ve never been… The top of the desk is more organized, but there’s bills and stuff. And then. The results. You must’ve asked for a copy from the doctor. Make it real. Return to it again and again. Turn the paper over in your hands. Taste the trueness of it. Lick a corner. Turn it upside down.

“They are noble who” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday January 15, 2020
8:01am
5 minutes
From a quote by the Buddha

They are noble, those long legged wide shouldered birds of prey.
They shake their feathers at the insolence of the cartoon voiceover anthem.

It’s funny how the bones creak when the door opens and shuts.
A primordial memory. A language before tongues and shuttering.

The postural change of a tucked pelvis re-arranged around books,
twigs arranged into a castle, a waterfall of irony.

I won’t remember the exactness, or the date and time.
I will remember how it feels in my mother guts.

The temperature is dropping dropping dropping
a piano on my toes but they don’t crush they bloom.

“What the heck is going on?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 14, 2020
3:21pm
5 minutes
from a text message

Sometimes in the admitting defeat
or the recognition of letting go of success
we relinquish the thick furs of the binary
of winning and losing

We remove the chains
heavy around a tired neck

We put them down and leave them
curb-side
For someone else to pick up
Sell at a pawn shop
Make a small profit
Good riddance

They’ll go on to have a good life
around someone else’s tired neck

“This is a test broadcast” by Sasha in her living room

Monday January 13, 2020
7:38am
5 minutes
from a text

I watch a grey squirrel scale a pillar that holds the house up
Ponder the swelling heart in my chest but not with my mind

with my fingers massaging the sinew between the ribs that
hold the quaking strange thing

think about the taste of your body peppery on my tongue
and when will it feel familiar when will it no longer feel so new

I used to count my blessings before bed
list ten things I was grateful for

but now I do it throughout the day
close my eyes and send gratefulness up to the clouds

and down to the roots
You are all ten things today

“What about his own sex life?” By Sasha on her couch

Sunday January 12, 2020
7:42am
5 minutes
Elbowing The Seducer
T. Gertler

Beth lost her sex drive when she lost her pubic hair, sometime in 2016. Glenn has resolved himself, and no long asks via a gentle pawing at her back when they get in to bed after Friday nights at the Cineplex. Sometimes they kiss, but even that has dwindled. Beth tries not to feel badly about it – she and Glenn had a lot of sex when they first met, less sex after they got married, less sex when they had the twins, more sex when the twins started school, less sex when they left for college… you get the idea. Like everything in a twenty three year relationship, there are changing tides, ebbs and flows. When she stopped wanting to have sex, four years ago, she felt awful, wondering if there was something clinically wrong with her. She asked Dr. Reid, who said, “Completely normal. Would you like some assistance?” At first Beth thought, yes, she would.

“Go to hell” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday January 11, 2020
10:08pm
5 minutes
Age Of Iron
J.M. Coetzee

You tell me that if you were here you would be giving me what I need, the taste of lemon and ginger, hands holding tired feet. My phone lights up like my heart does and I wonder for a breath how I got here, these walls of this house that held my first heartbreak, and my last, the snow making angel kisses on the window that I keep thinking I will see you outside of. The downy pillow of someone who understands below my head, weightless and wise. Lips buzzing in anticipation. There is a quietness to this loudness that makes me feel like I am home. Heaven is here.

“The insufferable arrogance of humanity” by Sasha on her couch

Friday January 10, 2020
8:01am
5 minutes
Big Picture
A. Whitney Brown

Remember when I looked you in the eye and told you you were everything? Remember when I looked you in the eye and told you you were everything I wanted?Forget about a book deal forget about a play on a big stage with lots of eyes on it forget about a bakery, a restaurant, a food truck, sharing the nourishment of my heart with the world. Forget about activism and radio shows. Forget about a yard full of chickens and kids. Forget about all of that because you, you are the pearl at the top of the mountain buried in the moss and ice found with fingers that know the way home. Remember when I looked you in the eye and told you I was leaving because you being everything isn’t enough. You being everything is only the beginning but it’s not the end and the end is here and that is it’s own pregnant beginning. Funny how things unravel when you think you know.

“The fires were still smouldering” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday January 9, 2020
4:15pm
5 minutes
The Known World
Edward P. Jones

burning koala bears are only the half of it  i’m not sure what you mean when you say that you don’t know what to think about I’m not sure what you mean when you say this has nothing to do with that those wombat those birds chased from their homes chased from the sky they used to call their own smoke now is it there swan song smoke now is there tomb burning koala bears are only the half of that big business big oil fire rage fire fire the house is on fire the mother is on fire the earth is on fire and we we sit with our small cups of something clutched in white knuckles hoping for more open for more hoping for more.

“But where is your life jacket” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday January 8, 2020
4:11pm
5 minutes
September 17
Amanda West Lewis 

We loved each other with passion and fire and fear and truth. We love each other the same now, but differently too. We love each other with fatigue and disappointment and folding laundry and a joint bank account and long hours and tired nipples. We love eachother feet touching under the covers, our baby between us, we love each other through her. My body is new, having grown a life over ten months, having birthed a wide-eyed baby girl over forty long hours, having weathered so much of the weathering trying to explain trying to make him understand but I didn’t understand that he wasn’t understood and so couldn’t understand. There is no life jacket. There is only the wild tenacious sea.

 

“God is a really famous spirit” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 7, 2020
7:09am
5 minutes
OMG! How Children See God
Monica Parker

D:         Do you have to eat like that?

M:        Like what?

D:        You are chewing very loud.

M:         I’m chewing how I chew.

D:         PLEASE stop.

M:        Why are you – 

D:         Can I have a beer?

M:         No.

D:        Please please please please please?

M:         No.

D:         If Dad were here, he’d let me – 

M:         A bottle. Not a pint.

D:         My camera’s better than yours! 

M:         When did you become a photography expert?

D:        We don’t need duplicates of everything we do!

M:        Alright, we’ll use yours. 

D:         Did you know that you snore?

“In the diary she kept” By Sasha in her living room

Sunday January 5, 2020
9:52am
5 minutes
Sabbath
Wayne Muller

My first diary was dark purple with shiny gold and silver stars. It had a lock and a key.  I wrote about the boys I liked, or some injustice that my parents or sister had committed against me. Not much as changed there in regards to my journaling. Kidding! Kidding! Now I write in scribblers from the dollar store. As long as it’s a lined page I’m good. Don’t need anything fancy. Who spends thirty damn dollars on a notebook that’s probably going to end up with coffee rings and boogers all over it? Not this guy. Pens, whole other story. Spend money on a pen and you’re going to feel that great flow for years to come. Ballpoint. Black ink. No other way to do it. No other way. Sometimes, people are like, “Jeremy! You’re not funny! Don’t do stand up!” But it’s not just about being funny. It’s about crafting something, carving away at what you don’t need.

“Those were the rules.” By Sasha at Black River Farm

Saturday January 4, 2020
11:03am
5 minutes
The Murderee
Martin Amis

Our breath freezes before it hits the air.
Icicles circling the morning mist rising
off the corn field,
touching the rays of sun, reaching
finger and toe beams
towards the frozen ground.

Breath holds the promise of the space between,
where we mix and merge, where the us lives.

We are writing a new book.

It holds others than us, lives that we
weave in with our pages, a purple thread
and a red one. We spill and splay,

the breath of these colours,
unsure of the chapter organization,
the editorial style, the font.

A flock of geese flies high in a V above us,
leaders and followers trading off with
effortless grace. I stop walking.

I look back.
Our footprints in the snow, leading us here,
the generosity of the clouds parting. I turn
my face towards the sun,
let her fill me up, let her breath
sketch the outline of my body.

“How far your eyes may pierce” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday January 6, 2020
1:39pm

5 minutes
King Lear
Shakespeare

Stephen comes over because Pete is in Haiti getting the kids there to brush their teeth. Pete isn’t a dentist, he’s an interior designer, but he cares about oral hygiene and humanitarian work. I wonder if that was on his dating prof. Stephen brings fancy sandwiches (one roast beef and one salmon salad and we split both). 

“How are you, my darling?” Stephen takes off the top piece of bun. 

“I’m doing very well, thank you, Stephen, and mostly that’s because it’s so nice to see you.” He knows I’m a dirty little liar but he plays the game. 

“Oh goodie. I hoped this might bring you a bit of cheer.” He gobbles some sandwich.

“The dark thought, the shame” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Friday January 3, 2020
11:54am
5 minutes
The Illuminated Rumi
Tr. by Coleman Barks 

This is a bidding farewell at the top of my lungs
overlooking the snow covered fall towards the river
This is the release of the fear
putting her down in the brush beside the fox tracks
marking her grave with a stone
I won’t be back to visit but I will sing a hymn
to all the little places that are still afraid
all the little places that won’t be buried for
awhile yet

The grouse rises from the cedar forest
creates a sound in the snow like the breaking open
I jump
towards the open arms of safety
the open arms of the edge

This new year
hugs my hips
puts hands on my feet
pressing into the frozen ground
A sunbeam between my teeth
This body has shed and bloomed
splayed and healed
This body has birthed and wailed
released and reformed
This body knows the story of my mother
in veins that swim a full hearted yes
grandmother hands
daughter belly round with breath
round with trust and pleasure

This is the place where we laid ourselves
in the field encircled
We will keep coming back
coming back
coming back
coming back to the wide sky
the red barn
the practise of choosing
full hearted yes
the practise of love
a verb
bell hooks knows
a doing word

 

“Women simply take better care of themselves” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Thursday January 2, 2020
4:01pm
5 minutes
The Compass In Your Nose
Marc McCutcheon

In hushed voices (I hush you a million and twelve times and every time you hate it and every time you forget to lower your voice! Oh this age of whispering and hushing!) Lying beside sleeping Lola, arms splayed, fingers touching my breast, your beard. You say that this is a matriarchy here, and it is, you’re right. I wonder when this started, this women rising full belly full heart full mind. The generation before ours, I think. The one ring in the tree before this one, the one we built, the one we made the next ring from. You come from a patriarchy, a place where the men speak louder, a place that I don’t know the terrain of completely, even after these stretching years, taut and long, but still so much unknown, so much yet to be understood. Children here, in the matriarchy, are at the top, because we know that if we raise them to be attuned, to be wise, to be powerful, we might save something that the ring before forgot about, might bring back something lost a long time ago.

“Brought their wives and children” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Wednesday January 1, 2020
8:00am
5 minutes
The Trial of Louis Riel
George R.D. Goulet

It’s a place beyond the edge of the concrete
the layers that will remain when
we’re all dead and gone
when something new is here
something no one knows is coming

It’s a place made of wires and rope
boulders and blocks
pipes and fallen electrical lines
Siding and bits of boats and planes

Children play on old car seats
telling each other stories from the time
before the Place was a place
blowing kisses to the ghost birds
that fly overhead in the black sky

Adults skip rocks over gasoline pools
pry water from pockets between the concrete
speak quietly of where they might find more food
Look to their young for hope when it fades
from their tired hearts
scrape muck from the bottoms of their boots
only to collect more and then scrape
and then more and then scrape

“Look to the notes, if you need to” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Tuesday December 31, 2019
7:41am
5 minutes
How To Read Music
Roger Evans

I don’t want to tear a strip off of anyone in particular. I don’t even want to know the details of what exactly has transpired. I know what I need to know. Some folks here are not being respectful towards others, are not giving credit where credit is due, are being dishonest… this is not the place for that kind of behaviour. If I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher I would have done just that! Look. You are all decent people, or I wouldn’t have hired you. But sometimes decent people forget their decency when they are trying to get ahead and those are not the kind of people I want to be working with… I’m guessing they are not the kind of people you want to be working with either.

“I would like to say, in closing,” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Monday December 30, 2019
9:03pm
5 minutes
Malcolm X Speaks
Selected speeches and statements

I would like to say thank you to all the love spent and found,
returned and exchanged, felt and grieved, tossed and held.
I would like to say “yes” to all feeling feeling feeling feeling,
the tidal waves crashing over what I thought might happen,
how I thought I wanted things to go. God laughs the warm
sun laugh of a knowing wisdom, a brightness beyond bright.

It’s been a decade of learning through doing, of leaving and
finding, of searching and twisting, of laughing laughing laughing.
Thousands of miles lived in the palm of my hand, in the ache
of my heart broken (open), steps stepped across the desert
of longing, no matter how much abundance reigns (rains).

The mountains taught me about gravity, about letting go,
about touching the clouds, but not imaging that we ever
truly know their texture and their pull. The ocean taught
me about ebb and flow, about vulnerability and strength,
about the goodness and truth of salt water, of being washed,
return return return return.

“They did almost everything wrong” by Sasha at her kitchen counter

Sunday December 29, 2019
12:13pm
5 minutes
The Body
Bill Bryson

trapped beneath the floorboards
amidst mouse droppings and dust
mildew and

the secrets of socked feet

bare feet
treading heavy
treading light

morning feet in slippers
shuffling in slippers
with worn soles

dancing to Bruce Springsteen
Massive Attack
Kanye West
feet that know the tune
know the rhythm
know the rhyme

feet that rage and kick
toddler feet and father feet
the language of the toes
the vocabulary of a flex
a pop
a crunch

the bones of this house
have seen love sprout like dandelions
yellow and awake
the femur of this foundation
words in the ground below
stories in the veins
coursing towards
coursing away

A breath in the sigh
of winter
the lights turned off
the night kisses
pursed sleeping lips

“They all would be knocking back a few” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday December 28, 2019
3:43pm
5 minutes
The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe

These months I find the soft liquid
goes down easy doesn’t require anything
but an open throat

Takes the edge off you say and I agree
all curves through no edge but in the
catch in the
throat

I had to hold tight to the rules that I’d written
we all do right
It wasn’t just me?

But now that the gooey centre is on the outside
spread between fingers and in the bellybutton
I find my hands
heart
open instead of closed

These months I savour the sweet burn
sat on the grey couch under the window
where the birds roost and leave
roost and leave

their red necks
craning back as we watch

“Walk in counselling clinic” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday December 27, 2019
10:09am
5 minutes
from a sign

Xavier’s been told a million times that he should see someone. His ex-girlfriend Rebecca was the first person to tell him, when she saw that he had scars on his thighs. She kissed each one of them, before putting her underwear back on and heading to work. His aunt Carol, the Buddhist, who had a brain tumour and started to meditate, told him that she thought he should see a “skilled therapist”. “They aren’t all created equal,” she said, stroking her buzzed head. Xavier’s longtime friend Bud even told him that he thought everyone needed someone to talk to, someone who was only there to listen, not to judge or pry, or who had a relationship to any of the people you were talking about.

“You can do the job when you’re in town” By Sasha on her couch

Thursday December 26, 2019
10:29am
5 minutes
Walking In A Winter Wonderland
You’ve got your heart on your sleeve again
I want it in your chest
nestled where it belongs
beside walls and blood
contained and safe

away from the traffic and mouths

I don’t know why the naked truth of it
scares me
Maybe it’s because I’m still not sure about
all of this this this
this tender
this spicy
this open wonder
open wound
here’s a feeling that hasn’t been felt
in a very long time

Maybe it always has
the Humpty Dumpty possibility
seeing it right there in arm’s reach
in another
Easier to keep distance than
the inward turn

Brene says that vulnerability
is courage and I know this
to be true but still the very
rawness the very smell of
bone is enough to
send me running

“You soda cracker!” By Sasha in her living room

Wednesday December 25, 2019
9:01am
5 minutes
Soda Cracker 
Raymond Carver
You clear your throat. We’re in business. You obsessively check your phone to see if whoever it is that you’re dating right now might’ve texted. You told me last time you came over that you’re not going to bench people anymore. Either they are in the game or they are out. I didn’t know the term, but quickly caught on. You eat my leftover roti and drink a can of beer that belongs to my roommate. You tell me that you’ll bring beer next time, some for me and some for him. You find an old box of soda crackers in the cupboard and ask if I have peanut butter. “I didn’t eat breakfast!” You furrow your eyebrows. I can’t believe it’s only nine am.

“Ice on the sidewalk” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday December 24, 2019
7:02am
5 minutes
Or Death and December
George Garrett
There’s ice on the sidewalk and Melinda isn’t sure about leaving the house. She fell last winter and it really rattled her. The fall made her reconsider her daily trips to the library and the cafe, at least in the winter months. She peers out her living room window and sees Mr. Benton salting his walk across the street. She wonders if Robbie will come by to ask if she wants a shovel. There isn’t snow, at least not really, but the snow from earlier in the week is frozen solid. Melinda’s daughter Sofie is coming for lunch. She’s bringing egg salad sandwiches. Maybe Sofie can chip away at the ice. Maybe Sofie can resist the temptation to ask Melinda if she’s considered selling the house. It’s become a real topic of discussion over the last few years, especially after Bruno died. Most retirement communities don’t allow dogs and when Bruno was still alive, he was the perfect excuse to stay in the house.

“The judge sighs.” By Sasha in her living room

Monday December 23, 2019
7:41am
5 minutes
At the Arraignment
Debra Spencer

”I’m not one to judge,” I say, pulling my hat down over my ears.

“The people who say that are always the one judging!” You say, eyes wide and mouth the shape of an open door.

You’re right, and I know it, but I deny it. My boot catches on the ice and I almost fall but you catch me. Strong hands, steady feet.

”I am actually very judgemental,” I look down, kick a small ball of snow. “I wish I wasn’t, but I am…”

”Everyone is,” you are smiling, and I know this because of the sound of your voice. I’m still looking down.

”I don’t want to be, though! It’s such a waste of time!” A car speeds by and slush splashes up onto the sidewalk beside us, narrowly missing your left side. “What an asshole! Pay attention!”

You stop walking and throw your head back in laughter.

“The lunatic is carried” by Sasha in her bedroom

Sunday December 22, 2019
8:03am
5 minutes
Song of Myself
Walt Whitman

Friendship is a mercurial moving liquid thing, mostly
like honey or melting snow or a pool of wax.
Too much time goes by and suddenly I’m not sure who I am
in the gaze of you and what it means that you take so long
to respond. Use a butter knife to chip away. Try not to scratch
the table. I’ve known you for a long time now made even longer
by the particular years of the particular lives. Made even longer
by the months we didn’t speak and communicated only by Internet

morse code signals, the odd email, a fracture of pen-pal ship.

I’m growing tired of guessing if you’re angry, no need to be afraid
of anger but I am now, less than I used to be, but still.
I send a prayer to the pigeons that you’ll reach towards my
outstretched hand, that you’ll grab hold of my longest finger,

pulling yourself towards me, pulling yourself here.

The coven of beloveds, these women who know me
in ways that a man never could.

“Outside the ripe hayfields” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday December 21, 2019
10:56am
5 minutes
My Father’s Lunch
Erica Funkhouser

My father calls his brother Ted on Sundays and they talk about their ailing mother, hockey, stocks. Ted lives in Tokyo with his wife Mariko and their twin five-year-old sons. Ted is older than my father, he’s almost sixty. Mariko is thirty five. Ted had never had a long term relationship before he met Mariko. He’d dated a bit, at least that’s what Dad said, but no one ever “stuck around.” A painfully shy introvert, Ted flourished only once he got to Japan. In Edmonton he couldn’t find a place for himself, couldn’t find a crowd, or a job that he liked. He was one of the smartest people anyone had ever met, but his social skills were lacking. My father, James, is the complete opposite. Gregarious, charismatic and outgoing, he was student council president and valedictorian. Ted and James were always close though, despite all odds, and when Ted moved so far away, and decided to stay, I saw my father cry for the first time.

“The plastic statue of the virgin” by Sasha in her bedroom

Friday December 20, 2019
10:46am
5 minutes
The Alter
Charles Simic 

Magda clutches the small plastic statue of the Virgin Mary. Some of the paint is worn off, there’s been that much sweat and squeezing over these years. She keeps it in her purse for moments such as this, for when she thinks she hears someone walking with a familiar rhythm, or feels the high beams on the back of her neck. The restraining order was filed in September, but it was months of adrenaline and clamminess before that, wondering when Pete was going to show up, what he was going to scream, who he was going to bring with him. Sometimes, when she’s got Mary in her left hand and her right is over her heart, she whispers, “Divorcée,” just to try it on, see how it feels against her thighs.

“Timing’s everything.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday December 19, 2019
7:30am
5 minutes
Snowflake
William Baer

Love is the the way that your best friend hugs you when they know you are coming off a hot streak of bravery, palm pressed between your shoulder blades, familiar sweet breath in your ear. Love is the dishes getting done, not by you. Love is the sound of a new voice, a new old voice, a voice that you’ve never heard before but is instantly familiar. Love is the birds at the feeder in the winter garden, small hands pressed against the window, sunlight reviving the spots that are dark. Love is the smell of cheese melting, picking the crunchy bits off the edges of the pan. Love is raspberries in the morning, before the sun rises, before the day has fully arrived, a spray of spit and joy frosting your arm and calling you home.

“There below” by Sasha on her living room floor

Wednesday December 18, 2019
10:18am
5 minutes
Somewhere I’ll Find You
Phebe Hanson

I hold Tova’s hand for the months of February and March. There’s still snow on the ground. She’s home from the hospice, set up in the living room of the house that used to belong to her father, Mort. I take time off work (unpaid, because she’s not a dependant, but my boss is kind). I leave my apartment early, and get to the small brick bungalow with the blue door and the white window shutters. The night nurse (there are a few that cycle through) tells me that she’s sleeping, or that she’s listening to Ram Das on tape. Brian, from Trinidad is my favourite. He exudes kindness and his smile is like a light bulb. Tova is covered in blankets, mostly ones that belonged to Mort. Who buys blankets anymore? Before she got sick she was a beautiful round pear, but now she’s a spaghetti noodle, her hand like a branch in mine.

“I am so amazed to find myself kissing you” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday December 17, 2019
8:09pm
5 minutes
Feasting
Elizabeth W. Garber

I don’t know how to write on this today
the jumping off the highest diving board
touching the fingers of the clouds
too close to the place where
my heart beats red and blue
veins towards mystery

where my heart breaks
where my heart lifts
I don’t know what to say on this
this kissing
this amazement
this surprise

“because it was the only job” by Sasha in her living room

Monday December 16, 2019
4:39pm
5 minutes
The con job
Charles Bukowski

The stars told Julie that I am independent
square to the ascendant Aries
I am going to do what I am going to do
I am the hawk on the high branch

waiting and watching
homecoming when the air turns ice

It’s never the perfect time for anything
and yet
my bones say yes
in spite of everything

My mother tells me I look good
I feel good
and that is enough
information for her

I trust this woman
who grew me up
a compass of how
and who I am

Hawk picks apart
her kill
blood drops on the snow
a mark of progress
a mark of now

“The first was of Saint Gabriel” by Sasha at Bowmore

Saturday December 14, 2019
10:06pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I write out the names of my guests in cursive
the penmanship I earned
fingers tattooed with black ink
a fountain pen spilling forth
the dreams of the daughters of Juniper

I write Hildegard
sing to the stars that don’t show their faces
in summer and glow only when it’s cold
I write Gabriel
messenger and mover
guiding and lifting up that which is weighted
that which is torn
I write Rumi
A true love I’ve never met
my favourite kind
mystic and healer
I write Maya
caged bird released
landing on the branches of the olive tree

I light the candles one by one
with the purple lighter I found in a puddle
ran my thumb over the rough edge
and gasped at the flame

“The meaning doesn’t matter” by Sasha at Bowmore

Friday December 13, 2019
7:54pm
5 minutes
Bunthorne’s Song
W.S. Gilbert

The meaning doesn’t matter
what this means or that means
what the hidden meaning is
buried in the coral and the mistletoe
What matters is the feeling in the centre
the feeling in the place between belly
and chest
encased by ribs that hold it all together
even when there is no together

A city is falling
this city of mine
in my skyscraping
tumble down
fall from where I thought I’d be
how I thought I’d be
who I thought you to be
who you really are

Mirror image the earth
mirror image reflected in the need
for unimaginable bravery
saying “Yes”
choosing “Yes”

I wonder
dear reader
if you’re sick of me
If you’re tired of the same thing
over and over and over and over

But that’s how this works
return

Return
return

“And the show won’t stop.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday December 12, 2019
1:01pm
5 minutes
Theater
William Greenway

Gemini baby
Aries rising strong
Come at me starlight
nothing is wrong
Make a bed in snowflakes
Turn down the shine
Brew a tonic of newness
thistles and wine
We play our parts so well
Moving here and there
We say our lines clearly
We lift and we care
Oracle says I need the stable
the steady and the true
I chose the fire and movement
I choose it with you
Weave a new chorus
Chase a new line
Dive into the chaos
Everything is fine
I’m glad for the darkness
this time of year
Crawl towards the warmth
See what is clear

“Something continues and” by Sasha in her living room

Wednesday December 11, 2019
9:14am
A Birthday
W.S. Merwin

My mother washes leeks in a filled kitchen sink
Roasts rainbow carrots in coconut oil with cumin seeds
She wipes the counter with diligence and attention
wringing out the cloth
fresh water

The kitchen is filled with winter light
the brightness of these generations gathered
My father is upstairs at his desk
crunching almonds
unsure about these two women who are so close
unsure of where he belongs in the puzzle
are there two pieces or three

I come on Sundays to be with them
their only child
they wanted me so desperately they paid thousands
to make sure I was born with their
ears and eye colour and sense of humour

My Mom was almost forty when she finally conceived
eight miscarriages over six years
“Don’t wait” she says now when I say
I think I might actually want kids after all
”Don’t wait”

My father comes down and we are laughing
I’m picking the good bits of crunchy skin off the chicken

“Why don’t you just” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday December 10, 2019
9:11am
5 minutes
a text message

Why don’t you just apologize, Donny? What are you waiting for? Don’t you know that people die everyday in freak accidents? What is she gets hit by a car? Or a roof caves in? You have to think about these things. What, is it pride? Is it that you think that it looks weak to say you’re sorry? Who fucking taught you that?! Owning your mistakes is the best possible thing you can do. You fucked up. Own it. Move on. If you don’t apologize than this just hangs over your head for the rest of your stupid life. You know that right? That’s how these things work?

“my friend the monkey” by Sasha in her living room

Monday December 9, 2019
9:11pm
5 minutes
My Friends
Taro Gomi

She’s shy about the way her ears stick out. Henry Kitteridge made fun of them once in second grade and to this day, forty three years later, she tries not to tuck her hair behind her ears. She doesn’t question this, just like she doesn’t question how she shaves her legs, plucks her few stray chin hairs, waxes her eyebrows, gets pedicures if she’s wearing sandals, uses mouthwash, gets a bikini wax, sucks in her stomach, and purses her lips. Her grandmother once said, “shame that you got the Collins lips.” Rings in her ears every time she puts on lipstick. Even the expensive stuff. She sees how some young women have stopped shaving their armpit hair (some even dye it!) She sees the overgrown brows, the fluidity of gender, the way that things aren’t what they used to be. They are changing.

“what God told me in a dream once” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday December 8, 2019
9:42pm
5 minutes
A Poem In Which God Is Both A Metaphor And Not
Chloe N. Clark

 

Careening towards the impossible we are doing it
we are flying and the wings are spread and it feels so right
for the first time in a long time
it feels so right
I open the little windows on the advent calendar
the one we had when I was a girl and you were nowhere to be found yet
Eight little windows
catching up

A doll
A duck
A candle
A book
A violin
I put it on the window sill
the light shines through
illuminating the face
the bill
the flame
the cover
the strings

catching up
to myself amidst the flurries falling
catching my new heartbeat
my new reflection in the glass

God told me in a dream
that it wouldn’t be what I thought
It would be better

“occupational hazard” by Sasha in Jolie’s bedroom

Saturday December 7, 2019
5 minutes
8:29pm
from a quote by Tracee Ellis Ross

 

I guess it’s an occupational hazard she says
when I tell her the truth about you
unravelling ball of red yarn in my hands
I don’t have the thesaurus for hearts
or for your heart at least
but I do know that the strands between us
the quilt we have been so diligently needling
tells us secrets like
almost
persimmon
legacy

She wants all the details of the time and place
the horizon’s hue the fingerprints
I don’t know

Crack my knuckles which I do not do
it doesn’t work
crack my head against the wall
I think I can
I think I can

“Flowers called despair” by Sasha at Lewis Street

Friday December 6, 2019
3:02pm
5 minutes
I planted my garden
Joan McNerney

If we lined up all of ourselves would we see the part that knows the rules?
would we laugh at the lines crossed out and the delicacy of the skin under the eyes?
I am grateful for the snow today
How it weighs down the thoughts that long to helium up to the heavens

I never could’ve guessed that this is where I’d be on Friday December the sixth
curled against a body born of mine her toes a beauty closer to God than I’ve ever pinched between thumb and forefinger
words tossed to a stranger on the other side of the line with the deftness and assured ness of a woman who knows exactly what she wants

My smell has changed again
the one that comes from deep inside and draws some near and pushes others away
My smell is the clementine skin, the vanilla bean, the earth
reaching towards a new kind of living
reaching towards a new kind of love

 

“a single bird within a constellation” By Sasha in her living room

Thursday December 5, 2019
11:09am
5 minutes
irrelevant
Sophia Cannazzaro

 

I type the story out again and again
in the little box of light I hold in my hands
a cage
a tomb
a bible
a brilliance
fingers cramping around corner
middle finger on my right hand buzzing these days
not sure why
not sure

The rush of a ping back he’s back there it is
where did I go
how did I get so far away from this
avenue of myself
dumpling skin
feathers around my eyes
rose water in my bones
calling towards
a nakedness
a truth
a remembering

I roll the thought of who I used to be

between fingers
a lotus flower of intent
a bull of maybe
testing the raging waters
where the gyre meets the sky

“I step into the cold silence.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday December 4, 2019
9:15pm
5 minutes
New Planet
Misha Penton

 

I wish my back didn’t hurt so damn much. I don’t say these words out loud, but they echo as though my head is an elementary school gymnasium and it’s indoor play for the younger grades. Goddamnit, I’m not going to be able to go near a school for awhile. Dad taught Grade Seven for forty three years. Can you imagine? I step into the cold silence of the basement, down the stairs, around the wall, hear the hum of the furnace and see the boxes, piled as neatly as they could be. Dad was organized. That’s one thing he was. Was. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to that.

“he became a living legend” by Sasha in her bed

Tuesday December 3, 2019
4:29pm
5 minutes
from Elvis Presley’s gravestone

 

Billy never thought he’d learn to ride bareback. He never thought he’d be able to bake a chocolate cake. He never thought that he’d write poetry, or learn to play slide guitar, or have an old mutt named Sam Cooke. Billy was born on a farm and when you’re born on a farm you think you’ll die on a farm. At least that’s how it was for Billy. He was one of six siblings, two of them twins. He was second youngest. He faded into the background in photos, at meals, in school cafeterias. Billy never thought he’d get a motorcycle and ride through Chile. He never thought he’d learn Spanish. He never thought he’d fall in to love with Carmel.

“as an introvert” by Sasha on her couch

Monday December 2, 2019
9:17pm
5 minutes
from an article in open-book.ca
Natasha Ramoutar

At some schmoozy party I realized I didn’t have the words
or the gumption or the booze in my veins
the class or the courage or the push push move
to say something to anyone
that was the moment that I knew I had changed

I thought that I was an extrovert to the very core
wore the badge and was proud to display it on my red coat
with the toggles and the fake fur trim on the hood
but then something happened and I woke up and I’d changed

“since I let myself think about” by Sasha in the bath

Sunday December 1, 2019
10:31pm
5 minutes
I Never Liked Your Friends
Alexandria Maillot
Sharks swim in the water in the place where I live
circling and hoping for fearless playmates
oh the sweet innocent oh the venom toed hope
of any variety of any shape of any texture of any taste

I can’t believe that I’ve jumped in again
swirling towards chaos or the rush of being desired
I don’t even know what it all looks like anymore

I hate how heartbreak has made me better
in every sense of the word
the b touches the e with softness and smoke
the two t’s are lovers that no one knows about
the e and the r parents to a new thing that has

never been born before
I hate how heartbreak looks good on me most days
and the jeans fit just so now
just so I can remember the time before the time
the time before the second hand caught up
the time before time

I ride the shark into the black and blue
the coral reef glows fluorescent
tension expels herself from my form
I am oh
I am oh
I am oh