“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.

“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

“but what disturbed that idea” by Julia at her desk

Saturday March 14, 2020
5:29pm
5 minutes
The War of the Worlds
H. G. Wells

We were going to leave. Leave for a while, you know, nothing permanent, nothing too far out there, but things have changed since we said we’d do it. We told only a few people but that’s because we were trying to go off the grid in a casual, ghost-like way. If we left our current lives quietly, nobody would have any suspicions raised because there’d be no one sounding the alarm, and by the time they noticed, by the time they came looking for us we’d be far enough gone that they wouldn’t be able to interfere. Although we were worried about that slight possibility, we knew that most people cared about themselves more than what we were doing so the reality of us being persons of interest was not one we’d have to face. That being said, we were slightly concerned that Canada Post would be the first to realize that we had left. They tend to be the most aggressive about people especially when they’re trying to deliver your mail but can’t seem to do that if your mailbox is too full. That’s when they start keeping tabs on you to make sure this is, after all, your true address, and you, after all, are a true citizen.

We had rented a small cabin in a place I will no longer share, in case we can still access it. I shouldn’t have said cabin, but maybe that won’t matter either after any of this. What disturbed the idea of us going was the whistle from the morning bird; calling us, calling us, calling us.

“but what disturbed that idea” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday March 14, 2020
3:02pm
5 minutes
The War of the Worlds
H. G. Wells

It’s my first time ringing the bell and Marla makes a silly face and Goddamnit I hope I don’t laugh. Don’t laugh! Don’t laugh! DON’T LAUGH! But you say this enough, and you say it with an Irish accent, and then of course… you laugh. Shit. I want to ring the bell all serious and true and committed and professional, like I really am the grown up that has a job that pays seventeen dollars an hour (WHEEEE!) and where there are incentives and bells get rung and goals get achieved. Don’t laugh! Shit. Marla will be the death of me. I wonder what the spot behind her right ear smells like. I wonder what she wears to bed. I wonder what she eats when no one is looking and how she does it, like, does she use her finger, or a sharp knife?

“sap moves in the veins” by Julia on her couch

Friday March 13, 2020
8:17pm
5 minutes
The Day Dream
Nora Acheson

I move slowly like sap dripping out

I want to be a thing that absorbs

light
sound
love
skin
human
faith
time
growth
abundance
appreciation
patience
foundation

I am slow to goodbye these wonder souls now buried in my spine

I will write a song for them
and one for their love

if I run I miss the magic
the pen pal letter written in the dark
the candle light pushed down into the coffee table for a bit of wax to right the empty

I will breathe deeply, move mountains, and these things take time, did you know?

these things take a hammer and nail, hand building, hand writing, hand holding and why rush

why race when the sun is setting pink over the hill and there are people gathered to witness

why look all the way in only to speed up past the heart throbbing for the heat of another

there is a slow we can drink

“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 Julia on her couch

Thursday March 12, 2020
6:42pm
5 minutes
War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy

ask me where you want to meet me in our dreams and I give you an answer that throws you off my scent. I don’t want to share my dreams with you. I want to go alone and go all the way and go to the point of no return. But if you come too what will happen? You won’t remember it the way I can. Let’s say we meet at the train station. I always say that, have you noticed? I don’t say “on the train” because I want you to get lost while looking for the bathrooms or the cinnamon buns and not make it on before departure! I want to go where my quiet train goes on my own and nobody should take that personally. I can say “let’s meet on the path” because what path? Chances aren’t high that we’d find the same path. And if we do, even after all that, we will deal with it then!

“Supposing the force of gravity in any similar medium” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 11, 2020
9:20pm
5 minutes
Newton’s Principia: The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
Sir Isaac Newton

We all head south as the years pour out
Tonight, same as last, I made a choice
Not to take advantage
Not to rumble with someone else’s expectations
And I travelled down
because it hurt
the person who expected
And it begged the question
Was this decision made out of fear or out of truth
And trust it’s truth
I can always access it there in the fleshy undertones of my face and wonder if it was there all along

I ask the question
Measure twice
Cut once
Be a big decided sinking thing
And travel to the south of me
Gravity dragging me to my knees
And that is where humility can find you
Breathing in something like air only different
Transformative
Release maybe in the form of swollen ankles
Look at how long you have been holding yourself up
It says
And I listen
I don’t quake in my boots at the big decision but at the hurting hearts
The weight bearing hopeful hearts

“On the dank and dirty ground.” By Julia on her couch

Tuesday March 10, 2020
9:20pm
5 minutes
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
William Shakespeare

It didn’t use to be this way
There was more bowing down, bending,
licking the dank dirty ground if they asked me to
And they asked me to

A softer bone where the back should have been
I could have folded all the way if the tile was
underneath me
and if you’d ask me if I regret it
I would tell you that I don’t know who that floor kissing person was
who that brownie off the ground eating person was
who she was who couldn’t say no
who didn’t understand the word

It didn’t use to be this way

A quiet scream would find itself lodged
in the back of the lung and nothing would
surface for fear of disturbing the peace

Now peace is not considered
only sounding the alarm if the inside says so
It was so much easier then to let them all think
I had a hair to curl or a smile to lend

But it was so much harder to ignore what I needed
So much harder to draw the line and
choose a side

“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.

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

Monday March 9, 2020
9:09pm
5 minutes
The Frog Prince
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

pissed now I am pissed now because
I just wrote the thing and then poof it was gone
ask Daddy and his friends to get it back
princess asks Daddy and his friends for anything and everything

Pissed since Saturday morning anyway
swollen undereye because of the drink because
last time I thirsted
thirsted
Daddy fetch the hair of the dog
the cure
get me what I need

I won’t go to where I said I’d go
Daddy and his friends have talked to the people and they are no longer expecting me
so here I am writing this

writing this thing so you know that I do other things
than ask other people to do things for me
I do them
i always do them

But when something gets in my way I make excuses and I never take the blame
There is too much ringing in my brain
notify
notification
your storage is insufficient
Your security adviser is speaking to you
You’re still ignoring that friend
and that contract
It has been 6 days did you want to send a mother fucking follow up?

Maybe if I had a mother fucking mother I wouldn’t need to ask
daddy for all of it
or his friends
or tell you about it
or tell anyone anything about anything

But I am writing this still
And for right now
today
that is enough.

“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

“Why won’t my baby eat anything but grapes?” By Julia on the couch

Thursday March 5, 2020
9:15pm
5 minutes
Room To Write
Bonnie Goldberg

My baby is a weird one

She eats grapes and only grapes

And nothing but grapes you see just grapes

My baby can speak in tongues you see

And never mind she’s not yet three or two or even one years yet and soon she’ll be but not quite yet and she can do it anyway and I never ask her how but speak she does more than speakest thou

My baby is a strange one see

She fell straight from the sycamore tree

She didn’t cry or laugh for real

That slippery little banana peel.

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

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

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

“He’s a teenie, tiny picture” by Julia in Shuang’s office

Tuesday March 3, 2020
2:11pm
5 minutes
Who’s Zoo
Conrad Aiken

this tiny picture of a boy I PUT HIM IN A FRAME and then I put him on the shelf!

what a dream this TEENIE thing, to be so picture perfect and pristine

the rhymes are not here but in between
the dream the dream the dream!!

I need to keep him forever and a sculpture will not do
no a sculpture will not do
nor a painting or a story
I must frame him oh the poor thing
he’ll me mine forever and a day

the picture better be clear and
big but not too big because he’s TEENIE TINY like a stone on a beach, a pebble in the shoe, a freckle on the lip HOW CUTE and tiny he is and must forever be (and a day)

So pristine this dream of mine to love a boy for all of time and watch him grow but not an inch lest he upset the stitch!

“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 Julia on her couch

Sunday March 1, 2020
9:03pm
5 minutes
My Book Life
Sparrow

I overheard a young woman last night discussing her desire to go off the grid and learn how to survive off of corn-bread and tree sap.
I think she is onto something. She’s not the only person who mentions running for the hills. Although someone else I overheard said that everyone is going to rush to the mountains in a crisis. Tsunamis, earthquakes, he says we should be on solid ground, but that’s not what everyone will think about first.
I, myself, will not be rushing toward any one group of people, I don’t care which direction they’re headed. Sure, things are going to get hard in a state of emergency, you know, when disaster strikes, and you’re not necessarily going to want to be alone–but there are a lot of stupid people in groups and I don’t think that’s the time to follow the crowd. I don’t want someone panicked and stressed, and making bad choices out of fear take away from what my instincts are telling me to do.
I think it might be time to get an escape bag packed and near the door just in case. My friend Annah says she’s got a granola bar and a pair of socks in hers. A bit lame, she says, but she’s doing something at least. I’m with her. I don’t want to be cold or hungry either.

“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 Julia at her desk

Saturday February 29, 2020
6:01pm
5 minutes
Against the Current
Barry Lopez

Friend number one brings up the Coronavirus and friends two and three go silent.
Nobody wants to be talking about this right now but it comes up, here at the party to celebrate life and living and being born.
The political danger of bringing up the Coronavirus at a birthday party is, right now, the same degree as not bringing it up at a birthday party.
Here we are cheersing, toasting, clinking glasses, kissing each other’s cheeks.
In places where the people touch bodies to greet one another, or get in close to the skin of someone else are at higher risk. Being punished, it seems for being sweet and welcoming.
Friend number three is trying to change the subject now. He is too stoned to enjoy himself as it is, let alone try and push past the inevitable paranoia that is spreading almost as fast as the virus. Friend number one shows the photo of the type of mask her father is wearing in China. Just a regular surgical one, she says.

“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 Julia in the fishbowl

Thursday February 27, 2020
4:32pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Plato

you don’t know this but I’m counting bubbles from inside the fishbowl
wondering
how long I can sit here without moving
the overhead light turns on
blasts a reminder in my eyes that I am being watched
if I don’t move the moving in me is the moving kept down

This and no other day is like a dream I wish it were
but that’s not the way it is

You don’t know this but I’m finishing your sentences from here
you walk with tongues of fire and blaze an easy trail
I follow with the thumb of my left hand tracing where you stand
and no other day
no other day
is like this

In the corner of my longing there’s a hungry bird picking out the trash
and hoping that it lasts there’s half a pizza in there anyway
some buddies don’t eat the crust
and oh they must hear my last poem about waste
and if they knew it at all they wouldn’t do it at all
but this is not for me
nothing is for me
this and no other

You don’t know this but I’m fixing my lips to the buzzing
and I’m with you as you think you’re alone and humming
I can keep time
I know the Britney song you’re singing at the top of your lungs
and I join in when it’s the right moment and you are shocked that
anyone was behind the glass

this is how it ends
this is a note from the fishbowl from the wet and watered down
from the staying late at night
from the crossed legs and holding tight
to the finite sounds of clicking keys.

“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 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

“… 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 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.

“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’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.