“But he was never seen practicing” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday August 18, 2019
11:01pm
5 minutes
Cato The Younger
Plutarch

Julie says that you’re all about family
that it’s my job to make sure
you’re close to your people
feel the tether to the roots
to the blood to the source
“Don’t put her in daycare if you can help it
Have Grandma or Grandpa there”

Neptune transits coming around for all three of us
and I’m wondering about right now
What are the planets saying
What are the stars shouting to us
across shine and bright
A beauty has settled in the space
where the day broke

Down to the bone we go
Into the marrow we crawl

Julie says that your Sun needs to be present
needs to be physically close needs to touch you
We both do
Sun and Moon
Your arm touching my arm
Your toe touching his belly

Good grief
these things that we try to lean on
scaffolding
house of cards

“stop valuing receiving over giving” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday August 17, 2019
3:15pm
5 minutes
Lectures
Musonius Rufus

Hahaha that’s funny
I mean
It’s actually the opposite
giving and receiving
receiving and giving
Is it a gender thing
A learned thing
A patriarchy thing
breathing down the front
of my shirt towards my
wisdom towards my knowing

Give give give give give
we are taught before we can walk
apologize before we speak
mind the Q and the P
Oops
I mean
It’s actually the opposite

In the stick of the final
nights of summer
this person tells me that
I am not very good at receiving
or asking or getting
and I am suddenly faced with
myself from nine years ago

the one slipping into and out
of all the sheets that stack
to make the book that I’m
only now starting to write

“in the present moment for” by Sasha at her desk

Friday August 16, 2019
8:13am
5 minutes
Meditations
Marcus Aurelius

You are liquid sliming between the cracks in the tile on the kitchen floor
You are the three stars in a row speckled across the sky like a belly
like a line of freckles or braille spelling out
WE DID A REAL NUMBER ON EACH OTHER
You are a fox running through a birch forest no leaves just peeling bark
and howling hearts
You are a tug at the grounding stitch
You are a tsunami washing out villages washing away dolls and dreams and sunscreen
You are a meditation on impermanence an unacknowledged silence
You are a death
You are the crest of a wing spanning East to West
stretching borders and fault lines with your misconceptions
You are a mushroom in the moss in the woods in the quiet

“we should not trust the masses” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday August 15, 2019
10:02am
5 minutes
Discourses
Epictetus

“Do not trust the masses”, Domenic says, drinking his dry white wine and scratching his chin. His beard is turning grey. I haven’t seen him since I was a teenager, and he looks the same but a bit more pickley.

“I don’t, I’m just trying to – …” Domenic puts his hand on my hand, rested on the tabletop.

“You must follow your own sense, or one day you’ll wake up and you won’t know how you got to where you got to. That is not a good feeling. Take it from me.” He finishes his wine. My mother tops him up. She’s been sitting quietly across the table, watching.

“I believe that we can have our own sense, and be contributing members of society,” I look up at the starry sky.

“foolish joy, greedy desire” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday August 14, 2019
10:03am
5 minutes
On The Brevity Of Life
Seneca

drunk on his own smell it’s gross really i’m not sure about any of it any of the bullshit that goes along with an i do or a yes or a no is there ever actually a question or are we animals running around the farmyard the jungle the scent of another calling us down into the mud calling up to the balloon clouds unsure unsure unsure and then sure sure sure sure is the service of oneself the ultimate gift to the other crow calls that it’s a tuesday that it’s warm that the baby’s diaper needs changing i don’t know where i put my biggest baddest dreams the deeper we got into the earth burying our toes in the sand watching the horizon turn dark

“Self-Portrait Image Dip” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday August 13, 2019
10:02pm
5 minutes
Self-Portrait
Lynne De Spain

Shake the dream sideways and what do you see
Poseidon riding the bull back to the kelp palace
Persephone the vulnerable holding her crown of thorns
You tell me things I know are not true about my world
Zeus on the mountain drunk on the possibilities
unaware of the basic fundamental of cause and effect

I will braid my courage with my wisdom
Don Athena’s breastplate and wield her sword
Gallop towards an unknown justice
Kill the illusion with one screaming plunge
We have misunderstood one another for too many seasons
Now we see if there is a place we want to be
on the other side

“Take a moment to remember” by Sasha at her desk

Monday August 12, 2019
8:32pm
5 minutes
The bus instructions

On the day you were born
the skies whispered to go deeper
into the cave than I had
ever been the clouds kissed
the sweat from my back
my brow the matriarchal line
protecting me from all the danger
and all the unlove
bringing me deeper into my
self

On the day you were born
I met a part of my
self that I
didn’t know before
the threshold of pain
higher the threshold of power
wider the space for opening
a portal to the other realm

where the light glows
where the truth knows
where mother and daughter
are on a continuum
through age
through heaven
through

“Slicing lake Ontario” by Julia at her desk

Sunday August 11, 2019
8:27pm
5 minutes
Catastrophe that Nearly Brought Down a Plane
Sabyasachi Nag

Darling tonight did you hear me ask you
a less than hypothetical question about
our children and about the future that
might show you just how much I’ve thought
about these things?

You didn’t seem to clock it and that
didn’t bother me then but it’s bothering
me now and I wished I had said, Excuse me
did you hear what I said about our kids
without you leading the charge?

These are moments for me to reflect on
by myself I suppose, because did I say
it out of truth gargling against my cheeks
or did I say it out of poetry and the
persistent chase of perfect phrases?

Are you changing your mind now that
I’ve got mine on straight? It would be so
sad after all this time if we had found
ourselves on different pages again. It
might break my heart into weapons.

I think about this future family of
ours and where the hell are they going
to live? In this one bedroom apartment?
In this city that you said yourself might be
too soft for them and for us and everything.

“Slicing lake Ontario” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday August 11, 2019
7:30pm
5 minutes
Catastrophe that Nearly Brought Down a Plane
Sabyasachi Nag

We’ll fly east in nineteen days
over the mountains that grew us
over the peaks that destroyed us
We’ll fly above the colours and
the clouds above the petty
grievances and the monumental hurts

We’re leaving a place we’ve known as home
five years of loving and living
of making art and granola and love
We’re leaving a place we’ve kissed
and bled and thanked and known
where our girl was born
the greatest feat of all

We’ll fly towards family
towards whatever roots are left
towards who knows really now that
everything is upside down
Secure the mask of the person next to you
I wish that was the case

All I know is I need the pressure of
my father’s hand
on my back
when he embraces me
My mother’s salad dressing
My sister’s eyes

We’ll slice over Lake Ontario
towards a speckled sky

“the shedding of lint” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday August 10, 2019
9:38pm
5 minutes
Laundromat
Carmen Pintea

Picking the lint out between your tiny bean toes is sweet satisfaction. Saying your name, a mantra, a call to dig deeper, go further, hold on, give it up, a wish. Burrowing my face in your neck – this love is eternal. This love is wilder than any love I’ve ever known. Words are strange weights, strange reaching, strange how things all line up and then don’t and then do. You see the truth of every moment, every interaction, know who to trust. God I hope you never lose that. You and me, I’d say quietly, those ten months, when things were the hardest. You and me. I can’t wait to see you in my sisters arms, my sister, my lifeline. I can’t wait for you to meet your cousins. I can’t wait to dance you around the first floor of the house in the woods, where I danced as a babe, where we all danced.

“more relaxed than how I think I look to people.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday August 9, 2019
7:23am
5 minutes
Descension
David Ly

coming in hot this morning
not enough sleep tossing and turning
and sweating and breathing
and when will it end
when will it burst
the monsters clawing at my
belly at my chest at my cheeks
my eyes are her eyes now
and i see you swallow that
i see you drink that down

the pictures of what happened
collected like momento collected
in a line and then rearrange
re-ar-rage
rage turns to tight tongue
tight lip tight tight tight
puzzle pieces of the last years
of these last days
of the days you left and laughed
and told me everything was okay

every story has a beginning
a middle an end
some stories are cyclical
some stories end where they began
every story has those three parts
now that the story is in question
the pictures of what happened
different exposures to me
different exposures to you
i guess that’s part of it
we don’t see things in same hue
right i guess that’s part of it

“you have the memory of a goldfish”
you say and i most certainly do not

i am an elephant and elephants never forget
i remember the taste of the first time
streetlamp and bus lurch
the sweetness of those sleeps with toes touching
i remember the dent in the coffee table
the words that broke the sky
pushing against the wall underneath the photograph
of our future pushing and wailing
and riding and now

“A funeral” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday August 8, 2019
9:14pm
5 minutes
Sophocles
Charles Kell

We get caught behind a funeral on the way to the cemetery.

“I guess we should pull over?” You say. Everything a question. Everything in question.

“Obviously,” I say. Sour milk.

You pull over and so do the other cars on the road. Let the procession pass.

I’m back the day Steve died. Finding him. Vomiting and screaming and cupping his face in my hands. I’m back at his memorial. Nothingness into more nothingness and egg salad sandwiches.

“You okay?” You say. Everything a fucking question.

“No I’m not okay!” I say. Forgotten leftovers at the back of the fridge.

“I mean…”

“I know what you mean…” I give a one-third smile two third grimace.

“the only identifier” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday August 7, 2019
10:24
5 minutes
Orange Socks
Kate LeDew

  1. Make a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich. Cut it in half, diagonally. Leave it on the plate for a few hours. You aren’t hungry. Haven’t been for almost two weeks. Funny how appetite becomes the barometer for feelings, at least in your family.

  2. Find the sandwich, only a bite taken. The contents have seeped into the bread. The bread it turning hard. Take another bite.

  3. Phone rings and you ignore it. You can’t bear to put something on your voice, the connective tissue to the truth. You would have to if you answered, no matter who it was, let alone Miranda.

  4. You open up the sandwich and run your finger through the jam. You lick your finger. You say a small prayer to the strawberry seeds.

“an overdose, the fire hall repainted red.” By Sasha at her desk

Monday August 5, 2019
10:42am
5 minutes
Orography
Alison Braid

I read you my writing
two poems
at the kitchen table
that’s grown seven feet
since this day last week

a kitchen table that sees
the pancakes and the salt
the chilli and the fights
the Scrabble and the worst

You meet me in the words
beyond the wrong and right
only by being present
but that’s enough for now

two poems
speaking the unspeakable
shrieking in their small stanzas
shaking ghosts from their pockets
sand from their ears

“Aida drank her father’s unsugared coffee” by Sasha in her bed

Sunday August 4, 2019
10:21pm
5 minutes
A Dull Yellow Presence
Mona’a Malik

Aida reaches across the table and takes a sip of her father’s unsugared coffee. It tastes like tar.

“What are you doing?” He’s back from the washroom, hands in his pockets, crease between his eyebrows deeper than when he left.

“I just wanted to – …”

“That’s for grown-ups.” He sits down and stacks his cutlery on his plate, putting the paper napkin, folded, on top.

“I’m sorry, Papa.” Aida gets that sinking feeling in her stomach and wonders when her mother will pick her up. Saturday morning breakfasts with her father were court ordered. No one checked with her.

“retirement and investment savings” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday August 3, 2019
11:28am
5 minutes
From a piece of mail

I worried about money until other things came on deck
things that take more breath and bones than bills do

and that is privilege in action right

Fuck
I’m sorry

I used to think by thirty-three there’d be retirement
and investment savings but
well

that’s just not the case
like so many cases are not the case
and so many cases are
case closed
case re-opened
“In this case I…”

what is the case is broken hearts

and packing tape
and all our stuff piling up in a corner of a room
where I both do and don’t want to be
where I do and don’t need to be

healing hearts
hearts in throats
little kid hearts hurting so bad
wanting to heal
wanting release

wanting to teach our girl that
love looks like being true
and being true looks like vulnerability
and vulnerability is power

hearts in the hands of all the earthly angels that love us

I circle my mind
a low flying gull
ride her tail feathers towards destruction
ride her wings towards hope

“she’s in a shoe store with her friends,” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday August 2, 2019
10:24pm
5 minutes
Some Notes Against the Burden of Representation
Rahat Kurd

she’s in a shoe store with her friends and she’s smiling and pointing at the shiny gold platforms and they roll their eyes because she won’t buy them and she won’t wear them but she tries them on to push it a bit to push her possibility at wildness at the person she maybe used to be and her friends tell her she should get them and two of them mean it and one of them doesn’t because that one is holding that she’s changed that they’re all changing and they took her out today because they didn’t want her to be alone with the beast in her belly moving through the motions of coffee and a boiled egg and replying to emails and cancelling subscriptions because they didn’t want her to be alone

“Redeemable exclusively at” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday August 1, 2019
6:47pm
5 minutes
From a Salvation Army flyer

These redeemable features
the striving for authenticity
the hope for freedom
What more do we want?

The crest of the lip
holds sweat and tears
The heart holds
more space
and then no space
and then more space

My smell has changed in these days
turned raunchy and rough
I can’t stop sniffing myself
smelling my fear
animal that I am
animals that we are
How we build from a series
of fumblings
stumbling towards
something true

“we always found a way” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday July 31, 2019
11:10pm
5 minutes
From a thank you card

This is you, body coiled and then crumpled
naked in pillows, the baby thrashing
an arm’s length away

We have always found a way back to how we tether,
how we teethe the truth, a bone
like the dinosaurs on display

You want so much

This is the heart within the heart,
a love that I didn’t know was possible,
the ache that grabs my throat

licks my cheek,
tells me to grovel and snarl,
thumbs protected by fingers,

protected by the willingness to pretend.
I stick sorry across your torso,
your back, your jaw

I want so much

I see myself through your eyes
and she’s a famished feral one,
governed by hunger

frozen by fear.
I stick sorry on the tip of my tongue,
lick my arms, legs, belly

Hold up one finger to you
A white flag.

“Come visit me in Halifax soon!” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday July 30, 2019
1:32pm
5 minutes
From a thank you card

Dear Becky,

Does anyone write letters anymore? It feels so old fashioned. I’m trying to use up this stationary my grandma gave me (RIP, aw Midge) before the move so thought I’d spend the afternoon catching up on correspondence. This is the first letter I’m writing. Things are okay here… I’m thinking a lot about white supremacy and performative allyship without actually putting in the real work. Social media posts and stuff but how most people don’t actually show up. I’m not talking about a rigidity in being PC or anything, just doing our part to dismantle the shit that’s gotta go! I remember when we used to talk about the micro-aggression racism we’d both experienced growing up in small towns. Those were fundamental steps in my work as a baby activist and I’m grateful to you for that! Running out of space so… How are you?! I miss you. Come visit me in Halifax soon! I think you’d really dig it here.

“no one would know me.” By Sasha at her desk

Monday July 29, 2019
10:42pm
5 minutes
The Landing
Marie Howe

I build a home for you
and you live in it
day after night after afternoon
adding your skin to the dust bunnies
adding your hair to the nests under the sink
adding your voice to the whispers
stored in the paint of the walls

I build a good home for you
for us
for two and then three
for the three of us
I keep the pantry stocked
and the floors swept
I keep the truth on the table
until we snuff out the candle
and say goodnight
I dream of a time before this
a time after this
I dream of a great undoing

A lighthouse fills my heart
dim tonight than ever before
I leave the light on
for you though
for myself
for the three of us
even in the crest of the tsunami

“the name of being an outlaw” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday July 28, 2019
6:39pm
Mustang Man
Louis L’amour

I don’t take the Bible literally, do you? I haven’t been to Church in a long time, but I pick up the Book every now and then, when I’m on the road, in a hotel room or whatever. I don’t own a version myself, but I pick one up every now and then. And every time I do I think about how it’s a great thing, the Bible, but it’s been used in the name of so much bullshit through the ages that that takes away all the good stuff, all the real stuff, all the stuff we should really be heeding. It hits me, like, whether or not you even believe in God, it’s a good idea to treat your neighbour well, right? I believe in God, I think. I mean, that’s cracking into a big ol’ box of worms, but I do. I do.

“your ability to project charismatic body language” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday July 27, 2019
5:38pm
5 minutes
The Charisma Myth
Olivia Fox Cabane

You do not know self consciousness
Your face the pure expression of feeling
You see the floral blanket and the joy
ripples from top to bottom explodes
out your tiny fingertips

It was hot last night and our naked bodies
touched through each dream and breath
Crescent moon eyelashes the very thing
I didn’t know I’d always dreamed of
Sweetness here now curled against my belly
the same one I felt a year ago in those
first appleseed days

Three months of knowing you
separate from my body
although that’s hardly true
Three months of you being here with us
giving back so much more than I thought possible
Why did I think it was going to be so hard?

Walking home from tying up frayed loose ends
it was easier than I thought
barely an effort really
effortless in it’s grace
I said to myself
“Why was I so afraid?”
and the sun on the sweetgrass growing
flooded me with the truth of
letting go

“I’ll try to sneak across the border somewhere, somehow” by Sasha at her desk

Friday July 26, 2019
12:08pm
5 minutes
Summer Of My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews

You’ve been sneaking across my borders since we first
touched eyelashes tangled hair and toes
the Landsdowne bus brake staccato stop and start

I don’t know as much about yours as you do about mine
Maybe you don’t have them or if you do you treat them
differently than I do

Three lines feels enough sandwich to understand
enough space to feel safe
enough enough to be thorough but also vague

Maybe that will be my epitaph

This border crossing is a mountain range
the craggy edges catch in my throat
a sob or a laugh or a pretend

I’m taken with the smell of vulnerability
can’t stop burrowing my nose in the armpit there
tracing the dust with my tongue

“I can’t handle this” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday July 25, 2019
10:10am
What Every Body Is Saying
Joe Navarro

Sometimes
when the sweat is trickling down
the nape of the neck
the back is tight from slouching
the heart is weary from all the love
all the stretching

These times
one might think
“I can’t handle this”
Too full
Too sticky
Too messy
Too unknown
Too much

This, too
I say in a moment of
surrender
in a light prism of
yes
This, too

“found the conversation a burden to listen to” by Sasha in the car

Wednesday July 24, 2019
5:11pm
5 minutes
Lonesome Dove
Larry McMurtry

On the bus home from therapy. Why did I choose a therapist across the city? I’m sure there are good people close to where I live, but nope, I had to find the dude with the little round glasses and the greying beard two bus rides away. And now I love him and I trust him, and I know about his three sons and his dying mother, and that’s the most personal information I’ve ever gotten out of a therapist before so I’ll see him until one of us croaks.

These two people are talking like you talk in your kitchen after a few glasses of wine. They are riling each other up. One keeps saying, “YOLO, Cheryl! YO-LO!” and Cheryl keeps saying, “I know, but I’m scared!” and in a very quiet voice I whisper, “We all are, but we go about our business anyway.”

“It Helps To Ask” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday July 23, 2019
5:32pm
ECK Wisdom on Inner Guidance
Harold Klemp

It helps to ask those
who have come before
how they did it
Not that we are all the same
or that what worked for her
will work for you
but

in asking something
moves in the gut
in the heart
in the glow
above the crown
something moves that’s
been longing

to move
to extend finger
and toe tips
creak of the back
tightness of the hip
move move
move
move
move dear body

in ways you didn’t think
to be possible or
possible for you

move towards the grace
of the opening

“a time lacking in truth and certainty” by Sasha at her desk

Monday July 22, 2019
11:04am
5 minutes
From a quote by Louise Bogan

Drive up the mountain in an SUV and throw a cigarette butt
out the window and laugh at the irony of how things
tend to go Drink an iced coffee and throw the cup
out the window and then take a selfie
in front of the forest fire

hashtag world ending hashtag hot hot heat
hashtag fire hashtag smoke
hashtag do I look beautiful here
Is the light good

Instagram does not measure the rate
of destruction caused when tourists pose
at the site of Chernobyl
exposing butt cheeks and pink lipstick
How far will we fall
How deep will we go

I am not condemning my generation
I am saying that I am afraid
of the passion for followers
gurus of make up tutorials and false eyelashes
the disconnect from the
heartbeat

“Bishop Family Bees” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday July 20, 2019
12:02pm
5 minutes
Honey Child Apothecary

You and me
we raise bees in our backyard
only have a bit of space
a few concrete slabs
a tiny patch of grass
but it’s something I’ve always
wanted to do
and always feels closer
since we met grief at the dump

You build the hive out
of old shipping crates
scored on Craigslist
for free
I find second hand bee suits
for us
turns out more people
want to raise bees
than you think
but a lot of things can go wrong
and it’s hard work

I dream about being
covered in honey
arms-length of sticky gold
breaking into the comb
a bear in summer

“She heard a deeper vibration” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday July 18, 2019
10:50am
5 minutes
From a quote by Willa Cather

She sits on the edge of my bed
her body different than ever
but this isn’t about her body
for once
this is about her transformation
not that body and transformation are mutually exclusive
just that too much attention has been paid to form
and now it’s about something formless
more important

She’s wearing a burnt caramel
three quarter sleeved shirt
it’s her colour
when I see this colour in the wild it reminds me of her
She’s talking about gratitude
like it’s her new guru
like it’s saving her life
and it is

Shrouded in white
glowing aura of wisdom and wreckage
gratitude leads her back
to the place that broke her
heart
the first time round

“The vast majority of people don’t want to do anything physical” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday July 17, 2019
10:36pm
5 minutes
Overhead on the 4

The vast majority of people don’t want to do anything physical. They just want to talk, or bitch, or cry, or… you get the picture. It’s nothing like I thought it would be, when I first got into it. I mean, I’ve given my fair share of hand jobs, don’t get me wrong, but, it really isn’t about that. It’s about connection, being heard, knowing that someone is there for you and only for you, and isn’t going to ask for anything in return. It’s cheaper than therapy! Ha ha ha… Am I doing this right? Is this the kind of thing you’re after? I’m trying to be myself but with the camera and everything… I don’t know. It’s hard to relax. I’ve only fallen in love once on the job and that was with Rufus, who died last November.