“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

“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

“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

“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.

“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

“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

“your teeth glint” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday, July 13, 2019
10:51am
5 minutes
Next Time
Lucy Yang

Your teeth glint
refraction of streetlamp
and truth
Your mouth is bigger than ever
fizzing future
foaming present
shhhhh past

It’s July and it’s not as warm
as we’re used to this time of year
The only smoke is coming from
the change
the fizzing foaming shhhh-ing
At least for now
We’re lucky
I suppose

Keep reminding myself of that

I wake sweaty from a dream
baby wiggling for my breast
sighing in her sleep

Someone left their kid
in the hot car and they died

Water is the only thing
that brings me comfort in this
strange and stinking desert

Tears
Showers
Room temperature from the jug
on the counter

“because they don’t realize” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday April 20, 2019
4:53pm
5 minutes
Real Roger
Harold Ober

How will I teach you how to love your body
in a world where a choir of voices sing
BE SMALL
HOLD IT IN
DON’T
STOP
YOU ARE TOO MUCH

deafening crescendo
coming from all sides
every time you leave home

at least that’s how it felt to me
often
sometimes
mostly

How will I teach you how to love your body
when the lineage of women hating themselves
runs as deep as the lineage
of love and water

That is my work
my task from the very first day

Strength and wisdom
in your muscles and bones
blood like fire
burning up towards a sky
that forgives all the hurt
carried in cells
all the shrinking

We will not shrink

You will hear me praise
how my body carried you
and made you who you are
and fed you and carried you

You will hear me celebrate
the stretch marks and dimples
and you will believe me
because I will be telling the truth

You will hear me speak of the beauty
of all bodies
ones like yours and ones like hers
and ones like mine and ones unlike many
and you will hear me
sing louder than the choir

A lone voice
a mother’s voice
swallowing the many
with the power of the matriarchy
that only knew what they knew
and now we know more

“my mother is waiting” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday March 26, 2019
6:04pm
5 minutes
The Greeter
T Kira Madden

My mother calls
grace on her lips
grief crawling out
between her fingers
that thick sludge oh God
how do we bear
this kind of breaking
again she’s losing love
again she’s splitting open
she knows in a different way
this time

My daughter was a seed
in me in my mother’s womb
She carried us so well
grew us strong in heart
soft in hip
grew us brave

My mother sits
by the bed of her beloved
vigil in the stillness
in the nurses coming and going
speaks to him with the care
she spoke to my sister and I
when we were girls

“Falling in love is appropriate for now” by Sasha on her balcony

Monday March 25, 2019
9:02pm
5 minutes
Handy Tips on how to Behave at the Death of the World
Anne Herbert

today we called and told
you that we love you
and when i said it
you said “thanks, sister”

the tears were the
cord connecting my mother
and i across the mountains
the prairie
across the great lakes
a rocky expanse
full fledged
far flung

today we called and told you
that we love you
and you said hello
you heard us
you knew it was me and him
and this little one
nestled
and growing

today was a hard day
a soggy day
a heart on the floor
in the throat
in the guts day
soggy and heavy and
hurting

the only thing
left to say is
i love you
love is the only
word that holds
all the other words
in the bowl of the “o”
in the cup of the “v”

“no matter how uncomfortable staying has become.” By Sasha in her bed

Sunday March 10, 2019
4:07pm
5 minutes
Devil With a Briefcase
Jan Janzen

You finally know what it is that you need to do
Now it’s just a matter of cracking open the outer shell
Scrambling yourself
Daring to be reborn

You sit with what it is that you need to do
for many long weeks
Sunday to Monday feeling like Winter to Fall
Time is a strange charade

A Sunday in March you dream about flying
your wings are the colour of the future
You can’t put your finger on the truth on your lips
but it’s there and it’s ready

You thought that staying with yourself
in all your stunning wretched you-ness
was just the practise of being alive
But it’s not and you’re not and now you’re

Pushing your fingers through the first bit of light

“There is no rule that is true under the circumstances” by Julia at her desk

Sunday January 6, 2019
8:40pm
5 minutes
Synchronicity
C.G. Jung

We have to shift every time
it is not something we’ve done once
and always know now
We are reminding each other often
Today there were tears and maybe
that’s the only thing we can
expect after all these days

Walking along the beach today
you say that no matter what
you think it’s going to be in
your head, the only certainty
you can rely on, is that it won’t

I believe people can change and
retract their previous opinions
That’s what learning is all about
Knowing a thing you didn’t know
before and seeing through a different
perspective

We have to shift every time
We know nothing will be as
we think it will even if we want
it to be it with all of our heart’s
deep and steady longing

I suppose we have to get good at
believing in the great presence
of love unconditional
When it is there it is always there
and there is no need to question it

Walking along the beach today I do
not even think to question it
I have it in my skin
and I know it

“He was young and handsome” by Julia at the table

Saturday January 5, 2019
5:36pm
5 minutes
The Elephant Vanishes
Haruki Murakami

This year we didn’t look at old photos of you
and Mom wearing your brilliant sweaters at Niagara Falls.
I think there was too much going on, but I missed it anyway.
Tracing the outline of your fro,
curls I know intimately since they landed on my head too.
Thank you for those, by the way.
When I was little and everyone said I looked more like you
it used to break my heart.
I don’t know why I thought it was anything but a compliment.
You were young and handsome.
You are still young and handsome.
I am in awe of how big your heart has grown in these sixty-two years of living.
Sixty-two years today.
You have gotten so soft and there is all this room for me now.
Thank you for that too, by the way.
I am looking at the photo of you holding me for the first time
a month and a couple weeks after your thirty-second birthday,
and the look in your eyes as you look down at me
is turning me into something sweet.
Thank you for that.
That is how I see you too.

“none of which are taken very seriously.” By Sasha on the plane

Tuesday December 18, 2018
8:14pm
5 minutes
From an email

In the dark of the season
Longest day approaching
Train in the distance
Barrelling with purpose
Barrelling with direction
There is no place else to go
But inwards

You say that you want to take long baths
Play the piano
Listen to CBC radio
Eat clementines

Of course you do
Of course

Let go of the past
The winter says
Biting my earlobes
And reaching below the ice
Let go of what is no longer
All we have is now

“Our mission is” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday, November 24, 2018
10:14pm
5 minutes
Braving the Wilderness
Brene Brown

The stanza of your body is an edit
these weeks and I make food and listen
to music and hope for the best even
though you are the verse I want
to sing along to

I tell you that I have had to learn
about soothing myself and saving myself
and being myself in the quiet of evening
in the quiet of morning I tell you
that this is the silver lining

Swelling with pride over who
we have become to ourselves to one another
the stanza of your body is here
in the absence because you are here
in my body in my heart in my spirit
twirling smoke into future

“These are the demons you wanted” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday September 3, 2018
5 minutes
7:41am
FtM
Kierst Wade

You asked for this when you were in your mother’s womb
You asked to be wrapped in colts foot and birch bark
You asked to be burned and wrung out and lifted high
You asked for the stars to be in Aries
the moon to full
You asked for twelve trusted women to flank you
when you emerged
naked and screaming and howling at the Gods

You asked to be tested
to be tried
to be true

You asked for all of this by choosing them
and then you asked again when you chose him
and here you are asking this newness
this dawn
and you asked again for the grace to
rise

“Of course we should postpone.” By Sasha on her balcony

Tuesday July 31, 2018
9:31pm
5 minutes
From an e-mail

Typing into Google (the all mighty 8 ball of this century)
“Why am I so tired?”
“How do you know you’re pregnant?”
“How far away is space?”

All these kittens in their bedrooms
Nirvana posters and twinkle lights
condom wrappers and Fruit by the Foot
belly button lint and a card from a grandmother

Searching for God in a screen
little or big same difference
searching for connection alone
little or big same difference

You’re tired because you don’t sleep enough, peanut
You’re pregnant when magic happens and blood doesn’t
Space is here
God is here

Let’s spoon until it’s winter
and make soup
and sing anthems

“I want to walk with you on cloudy day” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday July 25, 2018
11:03pm
5 minutes
Come Away With Me
Norah Jones

I’m not sure about this peanut butter sandwich
or the pink kissing the clouds french and open mouth
this taste of clumsy fat of oil fake of ok ok I’ll surrender

All the hours wasted honey it’s ok it’s ok

Lie down so the breath can go low so the stomach can relax
all tight in pants all day all sat all day all held all day
cradle the baby that is you in these loving arms in these
knowing arms stroke the baby that is you and tell her

it’s ok
it’s alright
it’s ok

There’s a lot of rules that are implied about womanhood
and I like how we’re poking them in the belly button

like is this

“I’m from hard-boiled eggs” by Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Saturday, April 14, 2018
2:14pm
5 minutes
E 9th Street
Ricky Cantor

Bubby wraps rice and meat in cabbage
sucks on a Werther’s
keeps them in the fridge
away from the Florida heat
away from reaching fingers

Bubby sends boxes of oranges
to us in Toronto
sweet and juicy
legs draped over the edge
of the tub I gorge
on citrus must be
the vitamin c

Bubby didn’t want
another child
at least that’s what
Mom says barely
gained any weight
when she was pregnant
barely even noticed
Mom was there

Bubby makes food
for the freezer
at Knowlton Lake and
when the house is broken
into one winter
the thieves steal
the tupperwares
wrapped in tinfoil
wrapped in a plastic bag

“increasing numbers of cars” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday, March 24, 2018
9:14am
5 minutes
Three Dollars A Day
The note accompanying a photo series by Amlan Sanyal

We talk about getting a car sometimes and I
imagine all the gas all the money all the crumbs
in the creases of the back seat
all the stickers on the windows
all the parts

I imagine finally getting a license
and feeling all the adult
driving from there to home
here to there
here to everywhere

I plant wildflowers on the balcony
of my city apartment
that attract bees

I eat mostly plants
but when I do open a can of salmon
I see all the fishing nets in the gyre
I ride a bike but even then

Never quite enough

I’m not on Burnaby Mountain
this weekend
I’m here at my kitchen table
Writing
and later
I’ll sing in a room full of people
with a room full of people

We talk about getting a car
and the songs we’ll sing on roadtrips

I imagine all the open roads
all the open windows

“moths drift from the trees” by Julia on her couch

Friday February 9, 2018
11:09pm
5 minutes
Al’s House
Lorna Crozier

I slide my nose along your nose while you lay your head in my lap
I’m convinced this is the map
of your breath travelling in and out of your body
I sniff your nose skin like it gives information and I have to track
the proof of you here
I could almost weep at the sweet of your nose and the smooth and the still
while you let me trace the personality poised in the middle of your face
Maybe that is the road the sprit knows
Up and down and back and forth
Maybe my spirit knows your spirit so plainly by now by the route of this place
The way the answers light themselves up bright enough to see
even when the eyes are closed and the room is dark.

“barely do I sense that faint tug” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday February 7, 2018
9:37pm
5 minutes
Hiking With My Shadow
Don McKay

once there was a faint tug of determined grace
it came on the night after
it started to grow like a headache
and it was loud then, too, unavoidable
grace is supposed to feel light
like a tongue
forgiving a whisper
but the whisper changes shape
and the tongue gets confused

the faint tug was built like
a milkshake, everything getting
caught in the straw on the way up
the pull
a force that shouldn’t
be this hard;
the pull
a lie that
keeps getting stuck in the cheeks
it was there once
but it hasn’t come knocking
since

“unconscious anger at my mother” by Julia at LoPan

Wednesday December 20, 2017 at LoPan
12:27am
5 minutes
This wounded healer says warp up the loom
Sharon K. Farber

We didn’t speak much after her mother died. I didn’t ask her how she was each day and maybe that’s good.
I always knew how to keep living.
I remember that she never had as much as I gave before. As little. And I resented for a period that she didn’t beg herself better. That she did not shoot a little higher. I see this woman on the moon, and in the moon, and of the moon and of the moon, and she does not want to admit that.
I don’t know which truth tasted sweeter. I would likely have done the same thing in her position. Even I would hope for love in another way.
I am happy in my life thanks to all the sauces she’s talked me through over the phone.
I sometimes wish it could have been her.
I sometimes wish it wasn’t me, or us,or him,just her.
Just her floating through life unattached to the promise of pleasing

“Water music” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday, October 2
6:59pm
5 minutes
Major Orchestral Works
Felix Mendelssohn

I take a bath in the tub where I learned to swim
My sister across from me
Peppermint soap in our ear’s
The hum of our parents voices rising through the floorboards
Fluffy comfort that we don’t know can be broken

I think about writing this
How my appetite’s returned
Words haven’t satiated or helped or healed
But now they can
And they will

I lather my head with shampoo
And fill an old yogurt container with warm water from the tap
I rinse and rinse and rinse
A blue jay sits on the branch right there outside the window
Sings for awhile

There are stains where the drain is
And my love makes dinner downstairs
My parents live in different houses with different loves
My sister rocks her baby to sleep and sings the
Lullaby we heard
Here

“Also, there’s more to life than power, you know.” By Sasha in her teenage bedroom

Friday, September 15, 2017
12:18am
5 minutes
Vader’s Little Princess
Jeffrey Brown

Sometimes I worry
I worry a lot
Sometimes I worry that
I don’t think more about
Power and who has it and
That it’s a sign of my
Privilege that I don’t
Have to think about
Power

My mother tells me that
She’s worried
That she worries a lot
I come by it honestly
This unrelenting
This unshakable
This courage
This power

It’s hot here and it
Doesn’t smell like salt water
My name is carved in big wood letters
Sat atop stacks of CDs that used to be
My prized possession

I worried less then I think
Or maybe it’s just rose colored glasses nostalgia
Maybe I worried just as much
Just as wide and deep and blue and red

“When do we become adults?” By Sasha at JJ Bean


Monday May 8, 2017
5:22pm
5 minutes
http://www.intrepidtheatre.com

“Wise beyond her years”
she was also
the master of
the baby voice.
She shrugged her
shoulders and
giggled down
at painted toes.
Adult body came
too fast comes
too round.
“This isn’t what
I wanted,” she
whispers to
her pillow.
“Wise beyond her years”
a spell cast after
the wall fell.
“Wise beyond her years”
a blessing spoken
over dinner beeswax
candles lighting
changing faces.
“Wise beyond her years”
outgrowing jeans and
shoes seeing all the
noticing
growing
breaking

“silent as the folds of the yellow” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday April 18, 2017
5:40pm
5 minutes
Up
Magaret Atwood


He held me last night while I wept
nimbus and grey “Transitions are hard for you
honey” He said and I denied it and I swept it
under the wool couch pillow that used to belong
to a stranger’s grandmother A stranger mother
haunting the beige and the brown

I looked myself in the eye like I would a
daughter this morning Right there into the
middle into the black
“You can do this, my love,” I said and I
felt the hot water rise again boil again
It had been quite some time since I spoke
to myself with such tenderness

“the wild nature teaches us” by Sasha at her desk


Friday March 31, 2017
11:36am
5 minutes
Women Who Run With the Wolves
Clarissa Pinkola Estes


In the forest
you finally find
the rhythm of your breath
Old growth and
new life
It’s where you go when
you’re empty
or full
It’s where your truest
gaze finds
stillness
hope
relief

Your breath isn’t what you
imagined it would be
It’s deeper
wet with
stream water
dew
footprints

It’s early and you’ve
been here since
darkness
since before the
first glow of morning

Your wild nature
greets this day
You’re where
you’re
meant to be

“I grasped his.” By Julia at a cabin in Tofino


Wednesday February 22, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
Learning to Love You More
Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July


It was sudden in the way that sometimes my own pulse strikes me. I saw his tiny face and I loved it instinctively. I loved everything about him without meaning to; I had not prepared my heart for such surrender. He was something like a perfect feeling. A land without time. The best hug. I threw myself at his helpless feet. I grasped his burden like a swatter catching a fly. I have never thought once about anything.

“gracefully tragic” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore


Saturday December 17, 2016
3:14pm
5 minutes
The Books section of NOW Magazine

She thinks of her life,
when she’s reflecting
on it, over the long
twelve days before
she goes, she thinks
of her life as graceful-
ly tragic.

She wishes that she’d
called her daughter more
especially in the years
when they were estranged.

She wishes that she hadn’t
dyed her hair, that she had
let it go grey, like wise women
everywhere.

She’s glad that she ate a lot
of pizza, and had sex outside
three different times with three
different lovers.

The tragedy comes out of the
fear, all the fear, circling her
throat like a snake.