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

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

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

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

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

“You fell” I say
“Let’s keep walking”

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

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

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

“Who win” by 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?

“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

“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

“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.

“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

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

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

Remember me this way:

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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 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.

“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

“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 

 

“… 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.

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

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

Shannon Webb-Campbell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aren’t I killing time here anyway?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

”ah”!

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

Love is the deep breath

the leap
(ahhh!)

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The truth is” by Sasha in the living room

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Naturalists are generalists.” By Sasha on the plane

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

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

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

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

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

“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.

 

“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.