Friday May 5, 2017 at JJ Bean
my family speaks poetry through me as I walk from my house to a place that isn’t
I am stopped on the sidewalk with the urge to take notes
They are dictating faster than I can write
The stories from our childhood, inspiration enough after the drought
I am greedy with rain and the secrets of our youth
the clues to finding solace in a memory built from our old garage,
the time we picked strawberries at the farm and made milkshakes,
the time we sang to Mariah Carey on the back porch and I made everyone
turn around to listen when it was my turn,
the time we got hats with the olympic rings on them at Mcdonalds,
the time we rode around on horses while they defecated,
the time I asked my older cousin if we could have a “talk” because I was feeling left out, the time they got the shots for whipping baby field mice against the brick
Thursday May 4, 2017 at JJ Bean
Thursda May 4, 2017
My aunt Barb tells me that she wrote herself a note when she “wasn’t straight” about how the “negativity is too loud in her head” and “cutting through all her good thoughts”. We (the family, collectively) got her into medicinal marijuana after her husband passed away last June. We wanted him to try it but he refused to smoke the stuff even after we showed him all the videos of people his age trying it. Barb is in love with it. She calls me at least once a day with her “new thoughts”. Yesterday she told me that “the sky is trying to kill her” and that she “would go but there is laundry to be folded”. In a meeting with the cousins, we secretly discuss Barb’s usage and pat ourselves on the back for helping her out. Then her daughter, Dina, raises her hand timidly. “My mom says she wants to try crack next!”
Saturday, July 23, 2016
On the walk home tonight you grabbed my hand so I wouldn’t tumble down the hill and told me you were seriously considering buying a camper van.
It was a nice moment.
I could tell you more about what I was thinking inside my head when you said it.
I could say that I wanted to know you forever right then and there. I could say I wasn’t sure all this time because I was convinced you would find a reason to leave me but then I was. And it felt different. It felt different than being weary of you. It felt different being so completely certain.
But I didn’t say any of those things. I smiled at you. I gripped your hand tighter. And I looked into your eyes with a deep sadness for all the moments before I doubted you. The moments before I doubted you could love me as much as I loved you and as much as I needed to be loved.
So I think that was enough.
I think that was all I needed to do.
And then we came home and baked some tortilla chips because why the fuck not.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
overhead at The Rickshaw
Because there was an opening
we stood up tall on a mountain and opened our mouths to the wind
We wanted to
We wanted to shout
all of the sadness and all of our lungs
Just in case she was listening
Just in case she was sorry
I dream of her in reds and yellows
In basil and lavender
In honey and lace
She is perfect still in a world where compliments cannot buy her
I dream of her in here yes today please
She is gone like a feather from a wing
And I can only let my agony
into the wild
As a ghost
As a whisper
As a lullaby
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Women Food And God
I called my spiritual teacher, Helia, because I was in a state of emergency. I couldn’t find anything to wear and I couldn’t tell if it was my inner child reacting to my adult life, or if it was sign from the universe telling me I had to listen inward, or take a risk, or write down my dreams in the journal marked “For Dreams”. Helia was on vacation in the Okanagan. She had posted a photo from Peachland so I knew she was alive, but why wasn’t she responding to my very desperate attempts at contacting her? It’s not like this was a run of the mill anxiety attack or some realization that I cannot do this alone. I already know that I can’t, and that’s what I pay a spiritual healer for. Healia said to never hesitate to reach out. She failed to mention that I should just never be in crisis during the last weeks of July and first weeks of August. So I called my sister instead and she invited me over for homemade brownies and lemonade. She said she would try to massage my left shoulder knot out and maybe I just needed some TLC from someone who used to share a room with me.
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Overheard on the street
It’s the eleventh time (maybe the twelfth) that he’s told me he loves me today and it’s not even noon yet. I think he’s covering up for something. Overcompensating like he does sometimes when he becomes afraid of me. I catch a glimpse of myself being hugged in the mirror, (bent low) by his unavoidable embrace. I say, okay okay okay and he lifts me up, hurt on the inside, and in his eyes. You don’t want me to love you? I catch reflection again and there is hurt on me too. I do, I say, just not parallel to the floor like that, not crumpled up in a ball that makes my back ache. Sorry, he says, I didn’t mean to hurt you. Okay okay okay, I say, I know, no one ever means to. I give myself a time out so I can be far away from him and his love that doesn’t know how to feel rejection. I don’t want to be the thing that twists his insides when he’s happy and makes him drift off to sleep dreaming about my funeral. I tell myself, in exactly five minutes (maybe six), I will go back over there and squeeze him with the honest love I’ve been keeping from him.
Saturday April 9, 2016
from an email
Sylvia stays over for a night puts her feet up on the coffee table cooks with Remi’s fresh herbs and his signature sauces drinks my wine and dusts my curtains sleeps in late forgets to hang the bath mat over the edge of the tub stays up late talks on the phone to her psychic friend hangs my photos irons my shirts tells Remi that she’s menstruating tells Remi how to tell me he loves me in sign language listens to me cry about my mother’s surgery holds my hand when I lie about hating my new dance class sleeps over again stays for a week and then another.
Monday, April 4, 2016
I have been free before I was alone
I have been seen before I succumbed to the fear
A little heart shaped pouch holds my dreams in it
A little heart shaped pouch holds my truth in it
I’ve been running wild in my imagination
Picking pretty flowers that I can carry with me all day long
I paint up the ocean I paint in a song
The mountains they’ve been calling so I can always find my way back
I am missing my tribe
The heart shaped hearts that I live for
And to the wild women I left behind
Who I fit inside my sacred space
My medicine is abundant and flowing
I can take a sip from my blessings’ cup
And take steps to find myself again in the river when the deep in me craves
to be surrounded
Sunday, April 3, 2016
The Wisdom Of Insecurity
Alan W. Watts
Saying goodbye to you was the worst thing I’ve ever had to endure.
I’ve already told you this but you like to ask it again and again. You say “what was going through your head when you had to leave? Were you sad? Were you empty?” You ask this stuff because you felt sad and you felt empty. I know it was harder for you because I was the one going and you had to stay. My neck was sore that day. I strained it from laying on you the way I did. I didn’t want to let you go. I didn’t want to stop smelling the spot behind your ear where your hair line starts. At the airport you were crying and it was making me angry. I didn’t want to cry there in front of everyone. I wanted to wait for my planned privacy sitting beside two strangers watching Gone Girl for me to cry over you. I wasn’t feeling sad, but hopeful. We needed the time apart and I couldn’t match your dissatisfaction. You wanted to relish in the misery and I wanted you to go do that in the car because it was hard enough already with a bad neck and a lot of emotions I hadn’t yet named. I didn’t think about how upsetting it would be to return to the house we used to share, see all my bath bombs and loose leaf tea, my microphone and my hair towel, and know I wouldn’t be coming back.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
from a recipe in Cowichan Bay
I could live off of shrimp only and maybe some garlic. I really could. I could live off of a lot of things that seem simple like that. I could live off of sunsets and matchsticks. I could live off of olive oil and crusty bread. I could live off of my mother’s laugh and my father’s silly singing. I could live off of silent walks to the beach and quiet crying by the ocean. I could live off of his kisses and his squeezes and his eyebrow scar and his banjo playing. I could live off of people watching and star gazing. I could live off of understanding and connecting. I could live off of summer’s heat and throwing a baseball. I could live off of burgundy pens and graph paper. I could live off of peaches and hot peppers. I could live off of magic and synchronicity. I could live off of curiosity and fresh basil. I could live off of truth-speaking and patio writing. I could live off of my belly soft and my lucid dreams. I could live off of the perfect yawn and the perfect hug.
Friday February 26, 2016
Overheard on Yew St.
You and me
Nothing on our backs…
but the idea…
that we couldn’t….
And the wouldn’t
Gone long and far because
We chose to set it free
But now is
because we chose to give ourselves
over to the truth
So no more lies
If we say so
We can could do-
We can anything:
Until we decide–
Thursday February 25, 2016
Treasures & Travels Blog
You yelled in the car ride over to Tessa’s gallery opening and I had to beg you to pull over so I could get out before you killed us both with your rage. When I got out of the car I wiped my eyes, reapplied the lipstick I had chewed off and walked so fast ahead of you it may have seemed like I was trying to lose you. For the record: I was. I forced a smile to peel onto my lips and I strut through the trendy studio space like I invented the idea of putting so many pillars everywhere. Tessa was happy to see me and she hugged me tight and said How are you though?! I lied through my teeth and said Your art makes me want to be a better person. She was thrilled and then she left me alone. You finally entered the gallery and by that moment I thought you had decided not to come at all. I was planning my way home in my head and how when I finally got back, if you were still awake, I’d just walk straight to the bedroom and close the door. You saw that I saw you and even when I turned my back to you, you came right over to me and kissed me so sorry I forgot for a second how scared I was just minutes ago. I didn’t mean it, you cooed in my ear. I didn’t mean any of it.
Wednesday February 17, 2016
from a YouTube comment by GB3770
I pray at the church of kindness, I can’t settle for anything less than that as my temple. I don’t believe in a God that won’t invite us all to play, that condemns for ignorance, that promotes the weak and bludgeons the strong. I don’t believe in a God that withholds, that accepts money as the only currency, that won’t forgive us for very arbitrary, yet non-negotiable acts. I bow my head at the alter of generosity. It’s the only home I ever feel safe enough to lower my shield in. It’s the only thing that moves me to a state of rejoicing. Don’t give me that hearsay scripture, that haunting, beautifully crafted by poets rule book. I worship at the church of soul music. The kind that lifts your skin off your bones just enough to make room for grace.
Tuesday February 16, 2016
from a picture of Joe’s t-shirt
I liked him because he thought my name was Vanessa.
I liked him because he’d make excuses to talk to me.
Because he’d serenade me in the funniest ways and always show up in my doorway without a reason.
Because his smile hasn’t changed one bit since he was little.
Because he knows how to communicate me to me.
Because he can educate without agendas or judgments.
I liked him because he was charming.
Because he was funny.
Because he was the best looking thing I’d ever seen.
I liked him because he wore truth-manifesting, subliminal foreshadowing on his funny old t-shirts.
I liked that his favorite shirt used to be the one that read “WORLD’S GREATEST DAD”.
I liked him because I believed he believed he would be.
Thursday November 19, 2015
From the back of a theatre theory book
With a moustache of icing sugar, when Caleb talks puffs of white billow onto the front of his shirt. Doughnuts are his religion, his one true desire. When Caleb wants something, he’s incredibly skilled at berating you until you cave, like an avalanche, even though you think of yourself as stubborn. You never knew stubborn until you knew Caleb. You answered an ad in the newspaper. “Looking for a care worker for a strong-willed teenager with developmental disabilities. Experience required.” You didn’t have experience, really, but you knew that you could do it, what with Dev, your younger brother. Your mother wrote your reference, but Cynthia didn’t need to know. On your first day, Caleb told you that he loved you. Cynthia thought that was a good sign. You weren’t sure, at first, but now, seven months later, you agree. Hindsight.
Saturday October 31, 2015
From the pack of gum
My mama told me from an early age that I was to stop drinking my diet colas and she told me it was because one day they would kill me. I would tell her from an early age that I did not like being talked to like an idiot and if she was going to tell me not to do something, she better bet her big behind that she isn’t doing it herself already. And I remember clear as day each time, my mama would say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” And I would say back, “Stupid is as stupid does.” From an early age my mama didn’t like me watching any movies with Mr. Tom Hanks in it if it was just going to “come back to bite her in her ass” each and every blasted time. I drank my diet colas whenever I felt like it, watching my mama guzzle back 6 pack before lunch. She didn’t want me to end up like her, and I knew that I wouldn’t because though I loved her, I didn’t respect her. She couldn’t get me to do what she said with a gun in her hand and a million dollars in her pocket.
Friday October 30, 2015
The Political Economy Of The U.S. Militarism
Carl and Carla sit on their breaking futon in front of their breaking television. Carl wears his only pair of jeans left, with the giant hole in the crotch, and Carla likes to wear her apron while she is at home “just in case.” Carl and Carla’s cat, Carter sits between them as they watch a re-run of Law and Order, SVU. Carl doesn’t speak to Carla when their show is on. Carla doesn’t touch Carl when their show is on. The two of them sit in very distinct bubbles when their show is on, and when their show is not on. Carl feels a pain in his lower back from the breaking futon. Carla feels a sting in her eyes from the breaking television.
Thursday October 29, 2015
The Real Terror Network
Edward S. Herman
She was taking secret sips from her mickey of Beefeater and had herself convinced that nobody could tell. They don’t care about me. They’re not even looking at me. And though she was actively believing herself, she couldn’t help but wish it wasn’t true at the same time. She knew that gin was her body’s vice so she chose it on purpose. She couldn’t handle it in even small doses, so this, she concluded, was an experiment. A waiting game stretched out, or turned into Chicken. She wasn’t going to be the first to give up, to quit, to get scared off. As her sister got up to the podium to make her big speech, she had her fingers gripped tight around the neck of the bottle inside her purse, ready to go.
Wednesday October 28, 2015 at JJ Bean
A Thin Green Mist
He stands at the window. She ducks beside him.
Do you think they can see us?
No. Don’t even say that.
Well they could!
No they could not. Stop.
You know they could, come on, that’s part of the fun…
He slips his hand down the front of her blouse.
What, I’m just participating. It’s what they want…
He nibbles on her ear.
I don’t know if I can…
Shit! They just looked over here!
Good. Let them watch. That’s what we’re doing.
I don’t want them to know I’m watching!
I kind of like it…
She runs to turn the light off.
They’re really going at it, huh.
He unbuttons her blouse slowly.
Thursday October 8, 2015 at JJ Bean
Thursday, October 8, 2015
I am revisiting the spot in my brain where I first made the decision to love you. I’m trying to be objective here, so don’t go trying to insert your memories. I know when I told you. I said it first, cause I always do, and I knew you felt it but you were scared of me and didn’t want to be the one to risk it. That’s a pattern for you. I am always the one to risk it. That’s a pattern for me.
In this tiny shoe box in my mind, I can see very little around the moment. There’s no colour. There’s no music. It’s a rainy day and we’re sitting at a bar. I don’t know what we’re drinking. But I know I like you and I know you like me. I’m glad there wasn’t some showy fireworks display going off in my body. It was a simple and true moment and it felt like it had made a home for itself in all the soft parts of me. You said something easy like, Have you ever mixed BBQ chips with chocolate chips? And I said something easy back like, I don’t know how I haven’t done that already. It was somewhere between that and the way you kissed me on the street before you walked away.
Thursday October 1, 2015 at Elysian
from the Rabbit River Farms egg carton
Ryan makes eggs every morning.
“Don’t you think that’s too much cholesterol?”
“They actually studied that and it’s totally fine to eat eggs every day.”
“What about the cholesterol?”
“Look at me!”
He’s a beanpole, he’s got that runner’s body.
When we first met, Ryan had long hair.
“What are you going to do today, sweetheart?” He asks, cracking an egg into a bowl and whipping it vigorously.
“I don’t know…”
“Why don’t you go for a massage or something?”
“I don’t like strangers touching me.”
“You could get out of the house with me, just go have a coffee someplace?”
“We have coffee here, Ryan – ”
“I think that it would be good for you to – ”
“You’re right. I’ll get out. We need yogurt.”
Sunday, July 12, 2015
from a text message
Of course you haven’t responded yet! I’ve only sent you the most life-changing e-mail of all time. I shouldn’t have to resend my thoughts, but your lack of response is truly IRRITATING to say the least. How do I know where I stand. It is more important to know where I stand then how you feel as I’m the one who has put my heart out on a limb here and now it’s just DANGLING, don’t you see? I don’t know if you’ve drafted a response or not even because I refuse to log into your account like last time and check for myself. We all know it ended badly last time, and let’s just say once you know, you can’t unknow. But I am going a bit mental waiting for you to either confirm or deny your feelings for me. I know it sounds trite, but do you think of me the same way I think of you? Don’t answer this question. This one is riddled with self-doubt and neediness. Just answer the one I thoughtfully crafted for 3 and a half hours. YEAH! THREE AND A HALF HOURS! It took a long time to articulate. I wanted to be clear without being over-explicit. You are ALIVE, right???
Saturday July 11, 2015
Overheard at Higher Grounds
After she named her first two boys Matthew and Mark, everyone thought she’d name her third one Luke. She didn’t name the first two with any religious references in mind, she simply wanted the names and that was that. She might have named the third one Luke but she never liked the name. It felt too small for a man once he grew up. That and it reminded her of the first boy she ever agreed to marry. Luke Walker had asked her to marry him in the first grade and she said yes because that’s what six year olds do. He was small and feminine and had a horrendously small nose. She only said yes because she thought Andrew Griffith was going to ask Sylvia Van Kasterin to marry him. Turns out Andrew liked her all along. She found out when he left school to join the army.
Thursday, July 9, 2015
A letter from Health Insurance BC
“Or maybe we could rent a van and pack it up tight with all our stupid stuff that we don’t care about and just drive it across the country like we did last time?” She says this, rubbing an ice cube side to side across her collar bone, making him sweat, making him want her even more.
“Yeah, we could, or we could purge all our stupid stuff that we don’t need and just be free and minimal.” He says this with a knowing smirk that she’d never go for something like that.
“You mean minimalistic?” She pops the ice cube into her mouth and lets it melt there for a second.
“I don’t think we need to purge. Maybe get rid of a few things. The waffle iron. We could get rid of the waffle iron, and maybe the second set of measuring cups.”
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
A Complicated Kindness
My mother hates to see me cry. She doesn’t hate to offer me money, or sneak a 50 in my coat pocket when she thinks I’m not looking, even though she knows those exact things will make me cry, but when I start with the tears, it breaks her abundant heart. She doesn’t want to make me feel bad. She just wants to love me. But I feel bad because I’m self-hating and dramatic, and I cause trouble where there doesn’t need to be. She wishes I could see me how she sees me and that only means so much since I’m her baby and she’d look at me and see Mother Theresa even if I burned an entire nursery school with the children still in it to the ground. I know this because when I told her I had deep, steadfast, secret thoughts about poisoning Auntie Ellis because she scolded me in public one time, she put her arms around me and she squeezed me with so much love that I started to cry. Then she wiped my face with her kisses and said, “I would want to do the same thing if I were you.”
Wednesday, July 8, 2015 at Moksha Yoga Vancouver
from Between Gods
I wake in the middle of the night and he’s got me by the throat. He’s playing around of course, don’t get the wrong idea.
“You’re a koala when you sleep. You look like a baby koala,” he says, whisper-breathed.
Groggy, I rub sleep from my eyes and roll on top of him. “What time is it?” I say, kissing his stubbled cheek.
“Who cares!” He grabs my ass.
We’ve only known each other twenty weeks. We moved in together after three.
“Oh Cassie,” my mother said. “You’ll get yourself in a real pickle!”
The first time we had sex I was hit with a bout of hysterical laughing part way through. Maybe it the sounds he made, maybe it was delirious fatigue, maybe it was that I loved him but I didn’t know what to call it, so it came out like laughter.
He started laughing, too. We had to stop, we were laughing so hard. He said my “vagina muscles were strangling his wang,” so I climbed off of him and just kept laughing.