“… let’s just see what happens.” By Julia on the 84

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
6:15pm
5 minutes
For as Many Days as We Have Left
Pam Houston

I am about to barf
Let’s just see what happens

Said nobody ever

The body knows
Deeply
Carries

Things in its pockets that
You have forgotten about

A travelling secret
Across decades
Buried deep in the palm creases
Or behind the ear

The body is particularly intuitive when it comes to barfing

Let’s just see what—

Is what someone trying to ignore the body might say

Trying being the operative word

I don’t tell you this but today I wonder what the point of it all is

Why this journey then and not another

Why this body rejecting something I’ve put in it or worse rejecting what I keep outside it

What is the point
But I don’t tell you this

You’d rather hear about vomit and
Stomach bile and the garbage can next to the bed

“Caley pushed her sandy brown hair” by Julia in the fishbowl

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
3:37pm
5 minutes
A Private Wild
Laurel Nakanishi

Ever since Magda told her that if she swallowed too much of her hair it would form a big ugly glob in her stomach that would start stealing the nutrients from anything that she fed herself, Caley was trying desperately to stop eating it. She sometimes heard Magda growling, or howling at night when she was supposed to be fast asleep. Caley didn’t want Magda to know she would spy on her and secretly believed her to be some wild wolf woman from another time. Or land.
She can’t remember know why she started putting her blonde braid in her mouth. Surely, Magda told her once, a handsomely paid and dressed person would one day be employed to help her with that. It was nice having someone tell Caley about the future and what to expect. Everyone knows her own mother couldn’t be bothered to give Caley the time of day. Once, Caley almost choked on her ponytail and her mother, reading a magazine, simply glanced up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lisa Bird-Wilson

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

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

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

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

these baritone voices
wants so loud 

they drown out the
upper registers

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

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

I touch faith
on the upswing

“I 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I find myself feeling” by Sasha in the Airbnb

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

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

which you shouldn’t

but do.

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

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

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

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

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

“No one knows what the” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday January 21, 2020
2:02pm
5 minutes
Lost Dog Creek
Brian Doyle

Don’t call me Dottie, only my lover calls me that. It’s Dorothy to you, and I will stand by it. No one knows what the reason is and that’s because it’s just none of your business. I’m supposed to be a lady, is that right? I’m supposed to follow some invisible set of pre-determined rules made for me by whom? Men? I won’t give you the pleasure of thinking you’ve had me beat. I don’t follow rules no matter who sets them, I play my own game. If you knew me, you would know that I stay true to my word, but you don’t so you won’t ever get that great luxury.

I’m a damned good friend, I’m loyal as they come, and I’m a lion when I need to be–and sometimes just because! If I were man would you be waiting for an explanation? If you didn’t have your own set of preconceived and limiting notions would you be expecting anything at all? I don’t care if you don’t think me sweet, or nice. In fact! I’d prefer it. I don’t like those silly labels, some sort of map that I’m supposed to study to know which place to head, left or right or, let’s be honest, back back backwards.

If you knew me, which you don’t, you would know how lucky you really are.

“No one knows what the” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 21, 2020
10:11am
5 minutes
Lost Dog Creek
Brian Doyle

No one knows what the hell’s going on here, Betty, let’s just be clear about that. People pretend, oh do they ever, but no one knows what the hell they are doing! Some have you fooled (Robbie Pendrick!), some really have you fooled… but we’ve all never done what we’re doing before, each time we do something new! Now, do you want to spend your days with someone who pretends that they know (Robbie Pendrick!!) or do you want to spend your days with someone who knows full well he doesn’t know his ass from his head but tries his best regardless? It’s a question of humility maybe, or ego, or something. I know I never went to university (like a certain Mr. Pendrick!!!) but I’ve learned a lot in the school of hard knock life and let me tell you, I would choose a sense of humour and a big heart over a pompadour and a smirk any damn day!

“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.

 

“My neighbourhood in Upstate New York” by Julia in her office

Friday January 17, 2020
11:11am
5 minutes
Waiting for the Coywolf
Devin Murphy

We love living in the great state without being a part of the dense population, don’t we? We love it. We love riding our bikes. We love baking cakes. We love petting our cats, don’t we love petting our cats? We love hollering over to each other. We love dropping by for a visit or some sugar or to talk about the neighbourhood. We love talking about the neighbourhood, don’t we? A stroller was stollen right from Carrie Gingerich’s front porch. $2000 down the drain, and for what, they had a garage! We love talking about the neighbourhood. Liz Merridew’s husband caught wearing black gloves and switching them to grey before he entered the house. We love it! Kip Anderson’s dog digging a hole in Garret Fullerton’s prized begonia patch. It’s all about staying current with the daily news. And telling the others, best keep them in the loop too, never know, you just never ever know. Lots of stuff going on in this big bad world, and lots of stuff going on right here, in the neighbourhood we love talking about!

“I find the result” by Julia in her office

Thursday January 16, 2020
9:30am
5 minutes
From a quote by Mark Twain

The result of staring into the window of other people’s stories is that it’s a window. Not a door. You can look all you want, but there’s a connection that calls you at the bottom of that longing, and looking isn’t enough. We think it’s enough, and sometimes, sure, it is, but when we want to see others and be seen, we don’t mean ‘what they’re doing’ or ‘what they had for brunch’. We want to see the hearts, the human underneath the facade, the spirit underneath the human.
This is because we have gotten good at believing that it’s the quickest way, the easiest way to bridge the gap, cross the ravine, is to log in, put our feet up and watch other people live their lives. We think this because it resembles a bonding, a gathering, but it’s not all the way there. We don’t know what’s real and what isn’t anymore. Or we know, and we ignore it. Or we don’t care, and what is worse, my friends. My ‘friends’, my ‘likes’, my online bubble of bursting potential…
The window is not a door.

“They are noble who” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 15, 2020
8:08pm
5 minutes
From a quote by the Buddha

breathe deeply
that’s the only requirement here
place your hand on your belly and feel if it’s expanding
and if it’s landing you are one of the noble few

who want to get to the heart of the matter
and won’t run away if things start to shatter

Maybe there’s one more that I missed
anyone who happens to notice that they’re breathing
when they’re breathing and if it’s deeply
then they are the noble who

Pay attention and move on through
as if this was the only moment that counted
here and now there’s nothing found that proves this is how
but someway it proves this somehow

Breathe into the corners of a dusty room
breathe into the midnight and the afternoon
breathe into the creaky floor board or the bones
breathe into the hips and the home alones

breathe first and foremost
and be noble
even if it takes some reminding

“What the heck is going on” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday January 14, 2020
9:29pm
5 minutes
from a text message

It’s a lapse of confidence, it’s leaving the body
the confidence comes and leaves, lapses as it pleases
and it is not pleasing to be around someone who cannot keep feet firmly planted on the ground
at the arrival of any increasing winds

When it leaves it startles first the body then the mind then everyone around the body and the mind
and this whole thing begs the question, “what the heck is going on?” When a moment ago
there wasn’t this much snow and the sights far off were clear. When just earlier today
you heard yourself say how much easier problem solving had gotten…

Now what the heck is going on when the body leaks precious esteem? Is there a hole? Is there a hole
in the armour or in the body itself? Or has it always been draining like this, slowly, and for no reason?

“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 Julia on her couch

Saturday January 11, 2020
9:19pm
5 minutes
Age Of Iron
J.M. Coetzee

Jesus and the devil had the same haircut, the same beard, the same laugh. Did you know that?

Did you ever see them shadow on the wall in your bedroom?
I could tell you a thing about that.

Maybe the prayer part doesn’t appeal to you.
It’s not for everyone.

Some people don’t realize that giving gratitude is prayer. That honouring a thing with your attention is prayer.
Praying to the devil?

I could tell you a thing about that.

You might even go to hell and confuse the place for something else since you’ll see so many good people there.

I don’t know if I’ve made that enticing but now you can think about it. All the best intentioned, good as gold people.

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

Friday January 10, 2020
8:08pm
5 minutes
Big Picture
A. Whitney Brown

Babe says that he doesn’t trust people anymore, cause they like, wear their MO a little too loud. Like Babe says that you can smell some people’s try-hard like they bathe in it and that is so relatable. Like, think about it. You can tell when someone’s trying to like, butter you up, or get in your pants, or like, get you to smuggle some low grade shit. And you can tell when someone’s like performing instead of being. There’s a really big difference actually, and Babe says the insufferable people are the ones who name drop and shame shop. Babe says that shame shopping is like, who’s buying, you know? Like who’s trying to be better by taking on all the bullshit of the known world as if they could carry it on their own?

“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 Julia on her couch

Thursday January 9, 2020
11:33am
5 minutes
The Known World
Edward P. Jones

The haze we’re breathing is a filter on the known world.
The daily dos and don’ts.
The run and hide or stay lows.

Babies are inhaling against their will.
Animals are being wiped out.

Some people don’t think the issue is connected.
Some people would rather focus on the strength
of the inhabitants being weakened.

Will the dying lungs be as resilient?
Will the buried come back to stand on their country’s podium?

While we’re gathered on the beach with our
hearts in our mouths
covered in ash and soot
inching closer to the waves
a long siren blares.

We wish we could say it was in the distance.
We wish we could say it was only one
and not one after another after another.

We are accepting prayers
and money
and help
and
and
and

“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 Julia on the 84

Tuesday January 7, 2020
1:15pm
5 minutes
OMG! How Children See God
Monica Parker

Okay hi God, I know you must be really hard pressed for time these days since you became such a famous spirit and all. I get it, people want things, need things, expect things from you. I also know it’s not always as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Sure, you answer prayers and smite people, sure when we see your crib it’s decked out in pure gold and you have angels everywhere. But that daily stuff can be brutal. People are blaming you for things and it’s not your fault, your ideas are misinterpreted, and you’re like held to some unrealistic standard to be on all the time and to be perfect. I’m not here to ask for much, but if you’re not hiding out today from all the stress, would you mind gracing my sister? She has been struggling lately to find meaning and I think a tiny reminder from you would go a long way. Even a bit of sunshine or something like that.

“The dark thought, the shame” by Julia on Irvin

Friday January 3, 2020
11:40
5 minutes
The Illuminated Rumi
Tr. by Coleman Barks 

In the oversweat, the pace and panic, the perfect string holding this theory together, you are wishing I was someone else or no one here.

You have said it more than once and maybe I shouldn’t let it get to three…
3 giorni e il pesce puzza…mi dispiace

I believe you when you tell me that this is not rest.
Maybe I gave myself more credit than I deserved to be so wanted.

And I know you do not want my apology. Or the smell of me. Or the restless sleeping. Or the wait and wish of my quiet.

You push me away and one half wants to come closer even still.

“women simply take better care of themselves” by Julia in Baden

Thursday January 2, 2020
12:01am
5 minutes
The Compass In Your Nose
Marc McCutcheon

my mother knows the cure for whatever ails me

she sends photos of pages from the best books on how to heal without lies

I am indebted to her for every phone call lesson or reminder that I am worth taking expensive suppliments

funny after all this time of telling her about loving herself enough to allow healing

she is me and I am her and this is not a contest

the mirror is held up in turns, sometimes her holding it and sometimes me

when my father falls ill she nurses him from the flat of his bed onto his feet in 3 days or your money back

she says it’s easier to get better when you have someone reminding you when to take your vitamins

“brought their wives and children” by Julia in Baden

Wednesday January 1, 2020
12:07am
5 minutes
The Trial of Louis Riel
George R.D. Goulet

lingering behind the red door
Dottie clutches a tattered handkerchief to her mouth to keep from crying out

the demons were in there, shaking

Dottie isn’t finding the deeper cause but knows she needs them gone

like that time she was drugged at the bar, an unmarked capsule fizzing in her drink, and a tiny girl suffering, needing her

She looked herself in the mirror and said it over and over again, rebuking, encouraging-
“You must” she said, “you must. You Must.”

“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

“I would like to say, in closing,” by Julia at The Common on Bloor

Monday December 30, 2019
2:43pm
5 minutes
Malcolm X Speaks
Selected speeches and statements

In conclusion, my soul is happiest with you.
That’s it. That’s the reason. Call me on my bullshit later.
This is the real deal deep down wub wub wubbbbbb wub of
what is happening here.

You and I can be a unit. Make a baby! Throw that baby into
the air and send collaboration up, way up into the sky until
that baby bursts into a billion baby flecks of light and makes
another baby! ANOTHER BABY! You and me, is what I’m saying.

As big as the biggest basin filled with baby making love. That
love, I didn’t want to say it, is the biggest thing about us
and you and me, me and you, our souls, joyful together, what a
good idea this is. I don’t think I need to convince you because of the feeling!

That feeling of Purple Thursday, that pump pump pouring of
feathers floating, you know that pouring of light feathers floating?
That ffff ffffff fffffffeeling of not needing anything else?
That White January and all new promises from the very bottom of
the baby basin.

I am happiest with you because of all we’ve built. That was hard work!
Hard team work and you know how much I hate being stuck with the wrong
group, doing all the heavy lifting on my own with these sad little wrists,
and I have done it and I have wanted to not. But not! Not with YOU.

“They did almost everything wrong” by Julia on Howland

Sunday December 29, 2019
12:04am
5 minutes
The Body
Bill Bryson

aunt judy waited at the foot of the driveway for the consistent mist, the blanket of wet to stop. She didn’t have an umbrella. aunt jude hated carrying around umbrellas. She didn’t get out of her car at first and then it was too long and she got self conscious. So she stood outside. And her hair plastered to her cheeks and forehead. And the tip of her nose held one single drop, hanging there, swaying in the breeze.

“They all would be knocking back a few” by Julia on Howland

Saturday December 28, 2019
11:06pm
5 minutes
The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe

They would be on their third or fourth beer by now,
knocking them back on the hour to keep up with the clock.

I know they would be waiting for the “girls” to arrive before they started playing the game. Better to have an audience. Helps with the ego. A little friendly competition. Someone to see you win gracefully. Someone to watch you hand another guy’s ass to him without it becoming a thing.

By the 6th beer they’d be showing everyone their choreography from Ker’s wedding.

“Ice on the sidewalk” by Julia in Joe’s childhood room

Tuesday December 24, 2019
12:02pm
5 minutes
Or Death and December
George Garrett

This city is colder than the one we left. I haven’t missed the rain once. Not in my life, even during the draught. When we left the first time coming back was like a time stamp on where we had been and how much we’ve learned. Seeing the CN Tower used to make me cry. Every street is a buzz. There are people out and about, wearing layers, walking slowly on the icy sidewalk. Back home, I guess we’re calling it that now, the cold was welcome when it came. It wasn’t too much or too hard. Not for someone born to a cold far harsher.

I don’t have the right gear for this city. Been known to keep a parka around just in case but the reality of this no longer being my home has finally sunk in. Why keep a coat around when you live in a place that doesn’t need it.

“The judge sighs.” By Julia at the airport

Monday December 23, 2019
2:57pm
5 minutes
At the Arraignment
Debra Spencer

Being vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. I’ve seen vegans live off of oreos and french fries. I’m not judging that, I’m fine with it. What do I care if someone wants to do sugar for beeakfast lunch and dinner. Some people are more than their label, is what I’m saying. There are also feminists who want to kill all the men. They say they’re for equality but they have some unresolved anger too. The name isn’t cut and dry just like it’s not fair to say that every indigenous person opposes the pipeline. That’s simply untrue. And racist, isn’t it? To group people together without asking individuals how they feel?

“The lunatic is carried” by Julia on her couch

Sunday December 22, 2019
9:28pm
5 minutes
Song of Myself
Walt Whitman

From the last word to the first idea, she is there

she waits for me to slip up so she has a reason to come out and say I Told You So

Of course she sings sweetly too, never yelling or threatening or causing a scene out of turn

It’s as if she were playing some game, some twisted little diddy that she knew she was doing

I carry the lunatic out of the box and into the day

I carry her on my back and let her see everything that I’m seeing

You could say I let her stay because I am a bit afaid of her and what she might do if I don’t give her what she wants

I suppose I am the one to blame afterall for giving her the front row seat to my weakness

“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 Julia in her office

Friday December 20, 2019
9:57am
5 minutes
The Alter
Charles Simic

Nonna carried the Vigrin Mother in her purse, and had one on her shelf, and one in a drawer under her nightstand. Nonna believed. Prayed. Maybe mostly felt guilty, but man was she a determined attendee of the smallest church you ever saw. Every Wednesday night and Saturday night and Sunday morning. Any chance to wear those pearls, get your hair pinned into fresh curls and to walk around getting told how beautiful you are. I am her nipote from the root. I got her church singing voice, her need for validation, her sweet affinity with entertaining babies. It’s been a few years, have we already lost count? She is missed beyond her faith or what we can make little jokes about today. She was always folding my underwear into perfect squares. Always sneaking us a twonie while telling us not to tell our parents cause they’d make us give them back. She believed in more than I ever have.

“I am so amazed to find myself kissing you” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday December 17, 2019
9:29pm
5 minutes
Feasting
Elizabeth W. Garber

I find your mouth there in the open like a winter song
the snow flakes landing on the tip of your lips and the cold
mixes with the hot
and the slippery touches the soft
Maybe people before have told you how superior your kiss is
because you kiss like you already know and that you like knowing

I am prancing around like some February fairy and you think
maybe, it’s cute
This is my hope, that you will be forced to kiss me with all
that sparkly dusty floating around

Before this I have kissed you plenty
And each time I think the same thing
I can’t believe I am the lucky recipient of this
hot mouth opening and closing so artfully

“because it was the only job” by Julia in her office

Monday December 16, 2019
2:53pm
5 minutes
The con job
Charles Bukowski

keep your coat on
no don’t tell them it’s because you’re shivering past the bone
or because your skin has thinned over the last few days
or that it’s the only thing that keeps the ache from surfacing
Don’t tell them the weight feels like a miracle since all the pain
kept you from sleeping

Nobody will ask you what you’re doing
don’t tell them the truth
be a mystery
a team player
a warm thing

Be a good story
Make them wonder at you
don’t give it all away
If they ask you can mention it so they don’t linger in the doorway
so you might be honest without having to be rude
Don’t be rude
shake that option from your skull
it wants to stay but you have to let it leave

count down the minutes
33, to be exact
keep your coat on so the exit is as quick as can be
smile at them on your way
don’t let them see you too long or the red under your nose
32, ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at

When it gets good and quiet take your shoes off
move to the big chair and pull down the shade
be a good story
even on days you don’t feel like doing the telling

“The first was of Saint Gabriel” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 14, 2019
7:53pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I fell in love with the messenger. There are no addages about not kissing them, only shooting. He arrived with flowing hair and a scroll tucked under his arm. Romantic. I wanted to watch him slowly unroll it, revealing only one line at a time.
He arrived at my door like a whisper.
He was a figure from a painting, his smile a twig snapped from Paradise itself.
I thought about his mouth unfolding the news. It did not take much for me to want him, truth be told. A man bearing a letter in my name. That was all I could ever ask for.

“The meaning doesn’t matter” by Julia in her office

Friday December 13, 2019
12:26pm
5 minutes
Bunthorne’s Song
W.S. Gilbert

We can all let go now
there is no discovery of meaning because the meaning doesn’t matter anymore
So anything you were holding
release
anything you were imagining would change into something else
say goodbye
it is was something nothing
it doesn’t need to be investigated
the meaning
has left the building

I personally would like to take that personally but that’s my personality trying to make it about me
trying to blame something internal or past tense for the pain I feel in the right now
and it’s not about me
even the no shows or the blank stares
or the awkward bumbling about
I want that to be mine so I can transform it into something good
but I don’t need to make it mine to transform it

I can think it into meaninglessness by remembering that meaning no longer matters
I can will it into atoms and particles, the way it was intended
by not even clutching my fist around it to begin with

It’s not mine!
It never belonged to me
And here I was thinking that I had some divine right to it
that I earned it or deserved it
but it was never mine or anyone’s and it was wrong of
me to remove it from its den and blow it up

“And the show won’t stop.” by Julia in her office

Thursday December 12, 2019
11:45am
5 minutes
Theater
William Greenway

not if you’re sick, not if you’re wondering
not if you’re late to the party or fumbling
not if you don’t want to or you think you can’t
not if the door opens or it slams
not if the weather punishes you and only you
not if the sadness turns too blue
not if the schedule says that it won’t
not if the gravel road bumps or it don’t

The show won’t stop
the show won’t wait
the show won’t pop
the show won’t wait

not if you’re tired, not if you’re confused
not if you didn’t like what’s in the news
not if you got lost or took a different route
not if you succumbed to the shadows of doubt
not if you were hungry or if you needed to sit
not if you wanted to but couldn’t make it
not if you bent down to smell the flowers
not if you stayed up until the wee hours

The show won’t pop
the show won’t wait
the show won’t stop
the show won’t wait

it has to go on
it must

“Something continues and” by Julia in her office

Wednesday December 11, 2019
3:35pm
A Birthday
W.S. Merwin

This is how it goes
I wait until I know
the answer in my bones
and then I unload
the only thing I throw
are feelings at the wall
and if a yell unfolds
I’ll hurl it in the cold

This is how it is
I hold on to my skin
and shiver underneath
the seeming arbitrary
with passions dimmed
I fight the light within
until I am destined
to do it all again

This is how it hurts
it always comes in spurts
With hope interspersed
it really could be worse
but nothing cures the curse
like a living breath first
and if I am not sure
then I will become more terse

This is how it is
how it hurts
how it goes

“Why don’t you just” by Julia on her couch

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

C: brush your teeth as soon as you wake up and then you’ll be ready for the day. Then you don’t have do it again.
M: But I eat, so, what am I supposed to do, have food breath?
C: Ever heard of mints?
M: Yeah. I have.
C: Fine do what you want, that’s what you always do anyway.
M: Yeah because I’m a grown man. That’s what grown men do.
C: Yeah. Right.
M: What?
C: Nothing. I said right. I was agreeing with you.
M: I don’t buy it.
C: I’m serious. That’s what grown men do.
M: But?
C: What?
M: You don’t think I’m a man.
C: That’s not what I said–
M: You didn’t have to. I heard it in your tone. So why don’t you just say it?
C: Well, this is a trap. I’m not saying anything, listen, you’re the one–
M: Cause you don’t have to say it. You don’t think I don’t notice? When we go out and you’re always trying to tell me which shirt I should wear, or if you think my hair’s too long for my beard?
C: You ask me my opinion! That would lead one to believe that you needed the second set of eyes.
M: But you hear how you do do that right?
C: It’s not like I’m trying to put you down!

“my friend the monkey” by Julia on her couch

Monday December 9, 2019
9:37pm
5 minutes
My Friends
Taro Gomi

J: It’s already tomorrow, can you believe it?
A: DON’T say that, we haven’t gone to sleep yet.
J: But that’s how late it is.
A: You have just ruined this moment for me.
J: Why because you can’t be in two at the same time?
A: Yeah, exactly. Can you?
J: I guess not…
A: Okay then, now we know.
J: Know what?
A: That we can’t be in more than one moment at once.
J: Is this for sure?
A: Well think about it.
J: Okay I can do it.
A: How?
J: Easy. My body can be in one moment and my mind can be in another.
A: But that’s cheating, you can’t split yourself. I’m saying you can’t fully be in more than one moment at a time. You can’t. Not all the way.
J: Ugh can’t you let anything be cool for even just one minute?
A: That depends, am I fully in that minute or..
J: PLEASE STOP.
A: What?
J: Ruining it.
A: Hey, you started it.
J: You’re the kind of person who looks at a shooting star and then has the nerve to make sure everyone knows it’s a burning rock!
A: That’s what you call being REALISTIC.

“what God told me in a dream once” by Julia at her desk

Sunday December 8, 2019
6:57pm
5 minutes
A Poem In Which God Is Both A Metaphor And Not
Chloe N. Clark

It was the day I discovered the Ouija Board. Brett and Lauren convinced me and Jenna to play. I didn’t want to. I didn’t think it was a very good idea.
When Brett asked the question, “What is written on the back of my ring”, the one his mother used to wear that he now never takes off, I waited with my breath trapped in my chest. The pointer piece started to move on the board and I felt like I was watching my worst nightmare come to life. It hovered over the initials, T…..S…..Brett was shocked. He took off his ring to show us the same two letters.

Later that night I woke from a dream to find the silhouette of Jesus on my wall. I stared at it, him beaming at me from the shadow. His beard and eyes, soft. I opened my mouth and almost spoke. Then the figure began to laugh. It was high pitched and getting bigger and bigger. Jesus was laughing at me. And I knew right then and there that I had invited the devil into my room, just like I always feared.

“occupational hazard” by Julia at her desk

Saturday December 7, 2019
9:03pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Tracee Ellis Ross

It’s going to be hard to forget your birthday tomorrow. When
for the last eighteen years I’ve wished you a happy one.
I’ve thought of you. I’ve hoped you were well. And now this.
It’s maybe easier for you, I don’t know. I say maybe because
anything is possible. Not being in each other’s lives is
possible, as we’ve already established. Maybe you don’t think
of me at all. That would also be possible, as anything is.
I dream about you still. You’re angry in my dreams, at me, and
you’re trying to make sure the whole world knows how shitty I am.
I am avoiding you in my dreams for the most part but sometimes
I yell. Sometimes I tell you just where to shove your misguided
notions about me or in general. I don’t usually feel good when I
wake up, but I do feel alive. And like I’m processing this massive
shift that you and I both know will take as long as it takes.
Or maybe you don’t consider it at all. I’m not underestimating you.
I know how awful that can feel. If you’re reading this, which is
possible, know that you didn’t get erased from my memory. I still
consider you.