“You soda cracker!” By Sasha in her living room

Wednesday December 25, 2019
9:01am
5 minutes
Soda Cracker 
Raymond Carver
You clear your throat. We’re in business. You obsessively check your phone to see if whoever it is that you’re dating right now might’ve texted. You told me last time you came over that you’re not going to bench people anymore. Either they are in the game or they are out. I didn’t know the term, but quickly caught on. You eat my leftover roti and drink a can of beer that belongs to my roommate. You tell me that you’ll bring beer next time, some for me and some for him. You find an old box of soda crackers in the cupboard and ask if I have peanut butter. “I didn’t eat breakfast!” You furrow your eyebrows. I can’t believe it’s only nine am.

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

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

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

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

“Ice on the sidewalk” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday December 24, 2019
7:02am
5 minutes
Or Death and December
George Garrett
There’s ice on the sidewalk and Melinda isn’t sure about leaving the house. She fell last winter and it really rattled her. The fall made her reconsider her daily trips to the library and the cafe, at least in the winter months. She peers out her living room window and sees Mr. Benton salting his walk across the street. She wonders if Robbie will come by to ask if she wants a shovel. There isn’t snow, at least not really, but the snow from earlier in the week is frozen solid. Melinda’s daughter Sofie is coming for lunch. She’s bringing egg salad sandwiches. Maybe Sofie can chip away at the ice. Maybe Sofie can resist the temptation to ask Melinda if she’s considered selling the house. It’s become a real topic of discussion over the last few years, especially after Bruno died. Most retirement communities don’t allow dogs and when Bruno was still alive, he was the perfect excuse to stay in the house.

“The judge sighs.” By Julia at the airport

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

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

“The judge sighs.” By Sasha in her living room

Monday December 23, 2019
7:41am
5 minutes
At the Arraignment
Debra Spencer

”I’m not one to judge,” I say, pulling my hat down over my ears.

“The people who say that are always the one judging!” You say, eyes wide and mouth the shape of an open door.

You’re right, and I know it, but I deny it. My boot catches on the ice and I almost fall but you catch me. Strong hands, steady feet.

”I am actually very judgemental,” I look down, kick a small ball of snow. “I wish I wasn’t, but I am…”

”Everyone is,” you are smiling, and I know this because of the sound of your voice. I’m still looking down.

”I don’t want to be, though! It’s such a waste of time!” A car speeds by and slush splashes up onto the sidewalk beside us, narrowly missing your left side. “What an asshole! Pay attention!”

You stop walking and throw your head back in laughter.

“The lunatic is carried” by Julia on her couch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The lunatic is carried” by Sasha in her bedroom

Sunday December 22, 2019
8:03am
5 minutes
Song of Myself
Walt Whitman

Friendship is a mercurial moving liquid thing, mostly
like honey or melting snow or a pool of wax.
Too much time goes by and suddenly I’m not sure who I am
in the gaze of you and what it means that you take so long
to respond. Use a butter knife to chip away. Try not to scratch
the table. I’ve known you for a long time now made even longer
by the particular years of the particular lives. Made even longer
by the months we didn’t speak and communicated only by Internet

morse code signals, the odd email, a fracture of pen-pal ship.

I’m growing tired of guessing if you’re angry, no need to be afraid
of anger but I am now, less than I used to be, but still.
I send a prayer to the pigeons that you’ll reach towards my
outstretched hand, that you’ll grab hold of my longest finger,

pulling yourself towards me, pulling yourself here.

The coven of beloveds, these women who know me
in ways that a man never could.

“Outside the ripe hayfields” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 21, 2019
8:55pm
5 minutes
My Father’s Lunch
Erica Funkhouser

Daddy was smiling as he told me about taking me to work with him. You could see a little glint in his eye like he’d been thinking about it on his own. Planning, smiling. I couldn’t wait to go with him on account of that little smirk. You could tell he was excited to show off his little girl and let them all know who would be taking over the business.

When I think of him that way it brings a tear to my eye. Daddy always knew how to make me feel special. I guess when someone really believes in how special you are, it oozes out of them. I wouldn’t trade that look for anything.

“Outside the ripe hayfields” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday December 21, 2019
10:56am
5 minutes
My Father’s Lunch
Erica Funkhouser

My father calls his brother Ted on Sundays and they talk about their ailing mother, hockey, stocks. Ted lives in Tokyo with his wife Mariko and their twin five-year-old sons. Ted is older than my father, he’s almost sixty. Mariko is thirty five. Ted had never had a long term relationship before he met Mariko. He’d dated a bit, at least that’s what Dad said, but no one ever “stuck around.” A painfully shy introvert, Ted flourished only once he got to Japan. In Edmonton he couldn’t find a place for himself, couldn’t find a crowd, or a job that he liked. He was one of the smartest people anyone had ever met, but his social skills were lacking. My father, James, is the complete opposite. Gregarious, charismatic and outgoing, he was student council president and valedictorian. Ted and James were always close though, despite all odds, and when Ted moved so far away, and decided to stay, I saw my father cry for the first time.

“The plastic statue of the virgin” by Sasha in her bedroom

Friday December 20, 2019
10:46am
5 minutes
The Alter
Charles Simic 

Magda clutches the small plastic statue of the Virgin Mary. Some of the paint is worn off, there’s been that much sweat and squeezing over these years. She keeps it in her purse for moments such as this, for when she thinks she hears someone walking with a familiar rhythm, or feels the high beams on the back of her neck. The restraining order was filed in September, but it was months of adrenaline and clamminess before that, wondering when Pete was going to show up, what he was going to scream, who he was going to bring with him. Sometimes, when she’s got Mary in her left hand and her right is over her heart, she whispers, “Divorcée,” just to try it on, see how it feels against her thighs.

“The plastic statue of the virgin” by Julia in her office

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

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

“Timing’s everything.” by Julia in her office

Thursday December 19, 2019
3:50pm
5 minutes
Snowflake
William Baer

If you sit there long enough the right people will come by
I don’t know if that’s the way it always works
but that was my today…

So I’m sitting there, minding my own business, writing out some things with the hope of manifestation, and along comes Pauly.

He’s on his way home or so it looks like, but he stops directly in front of my door. Okay I need to scratch something and reverse it. The manifesting part kind of needs to be revisited. So I’m not going to tell you what I was writing, but I will tell you that because I was writing it, that’s why Pauly came along.
It wasn’t about him necessarily, but he was the one who gave me the idea to write it. So this manifestation thing appears to be working for any of you cynics outs there, reading “You There, Behind Your Screens!”

So Pauly came by and I learned a couple more things about him. It was subtly. Nuanced. For instance. I now know he is a film buff. And a bit of a nerd.

“Timing’s everything.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday December 19, 2019
7:30am
5 minutes
Snowflake
William Baer

Love is the the way that your best friend hugs you when they know you are coming off a hot streak of bravery, palm pressed between your shoulder blades, familiar sweet breath in your ear. Love is the dishes getting done, not by you. Love is the sound of a new voice, a new old voice, a voice that you’ve never heard before but is instantly familiar. Love is the birds at the feeder in the winter garden, small hands pressed against the window, sunlight reviving the spots that are dark. Love is the smell of cheese melting, picking the crunchy bits off the edges of the pan. Love is raspberries in the morning, before the sun rises, before the day has fully arrived, a spray of spit and joy frosting your arm and calling you home.

“There below” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday December 18, 2019
7:47pm
5 minutes
Somewhere I’ll Find You
Phebe Hanson

There below the golden face

The shoulders broad and carrying

a tiny intersection of disbelief is straddled

Right there

Right below the knowing look

And maybe it wouldn’t be there

if instead of fuzz a master’s cap

sat collecting

Or another 5 years at least of hands on, on the field, trial and error

Maybe this is the error

Maybe this is the error

The time for mistakes and making

I told them that’s what I’m interested in doing

I told them that’s why I get so moved

The mantra is for everyone now

Make a mess

Make

Make

Make a mess

Nothing is not something I can allow myself to make

Not these days when young hearts find themselves on my cozy chair

Calling my room the Creative one

“There below” by Sasha on her living room floor

Wednesday December 18, 2019
10:18am
5 minutes
Somewhere I’ll Find You
Phebe Hanson

I hold Tova’s hand for the months of February and March. There’s still snow on the ground. She’s home from the hospice, set up in the living room of the house that used to belong to her father, Mort. I take time off work (unpaid, because she’s not a dependant, but my boss is kind). I leave my apartment early, and get to the small brick bungalow with the blue door and the white window shutters. The night nurse (there are a few that cycle through) tells me that she’s sleeping, or that she’s listening to Ram Das on tape. Brian, from Trinidad is my favourite. He exudes kindness and his smile is like a light bulb. Tova is covered in blankets, mostly ones that belonged to Mort. Who buys blankets anymore? Before she got sick she was a beautiful round pear, but now she’s a spaghetti noodle, her hand like a branch in mine.

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

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

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

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

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

“I am so amazed to find myself kissing you” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday December 17, 2019
8:09pm
5 minutes
Feasting
Elizabeth W. Garber

I don’t know how to write on this today
the jumping off the highest diving board
touching the fingers of the clouds
too close to the place where
my heart beats red and blue
veins towards mystery

where my heart breaks
where my heart lifts
I don’t know what to say on this
this kissing
this amazement
this surprise

“because it was the only job” by Sasha in her living room

Monday December 16, 2019
4:39pm
5 minutes
The con job
Charles Bukowski

The stars told Julie that I am independent
square to the ascendant Aries
I am going to do what I am going to do
I am the hawk on the high branch

waiting and watching
homecoming when the air turns ice

It’s never the perfect time for anything
and yet
my bones say yes
in spite of everything

My mother tells me I look good
I feel good
and that is enough
information for her

I trust this woman
who grew me up
a compass of how
and who I am

Hawk picks apart
her kill
blood drops on the snow
a mark of progress
a mark of now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The first was of Saint Gabriel” by Sasha at Bowmore

Saturday December 14, 2019
10:06pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I write out the names of my guests in cursive
the penmanship I earned
fingers tattooed with black ink
a fountain pen spilling forth
the dreams of the daughters of Juniper

I write Hildegard
sing to the stars that don’t show their faces
in summer and glow only when it’s cold
I write Gabriel
messenger and mover
guiding and lifting up that which is weighted
that which is torn
I write Rumi
A true love I’ve never met
my favourite kind
mystic and healer
I write Maya
caged bird released
landing on the branches of the olive tree

I light the candles one by one
with the purple lighter I found in a puddle
ran my thumb over the rough edge
and gasped at the flame

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

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

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

“The meaning doesn’t matter” by Sasha at Bowmore

Friday December 13, 2019
7:54pm
5 minutes
Bunthorne’s Song
W.S. Gilbert

The meaning doesn’t matter
what this means or that means
what the hidden meaning is
buried in the coral and the mistletoe
What matters is the feeling in the centre
the feeling in the place between belly
and chest
encased by ribs that hold it all together
even when there is no together

A city is falling
this city of mine
in my skyscraping
tumble down
fall from where I thought I’d be
how I thought I’d be
who I thought you to be
who you really are

Mirror image the earth
mirror image reflected in the need
for unimaginable bravery
saying “Yes”
choosing “Yes”

I wonder
dear reader
if you’re sick of me
If you’re tired of the same thing
over and over and over and over

But that’s how this works
return

Return
return

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

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

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

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

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

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

“And the show won’t stop.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday December 12, 2019
1:01pm
5 minutes
Theater
William Greenway

Gemini baby
Aries rising strong
Come at me starlight
nothing is wrong
Make a bed in snowflakes
Turn down the shine
Brew a tonic of newness
thistles and wine
We play our parts so well
Moving here and there
We say our lines clearly
We lift and we care
Oracle says I need the stable
the steady and the true
I chose the fire and movement
I choose it with you
Weave a new chorus
Chase a new line
Dive into the chaos
Everything is fine
I’m glad for the darkness
this time of year
Crawl towards the warmth
See what is clear

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

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

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

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

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

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

it has to go on
it must

“Something continues and” by Julia in her office

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

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

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

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

This is how it is
how it hurts
how it goes

“Something continues and” by Sasha in her living room

Wednesday December 11, 2019
9:14am
A Birthday
W.S. Merwin

My mother washes leeks in a filled kitchen sink
Roasts rainbow carrots in coconut oil with cumin seeds
She wipes the counter with diligence and attention
wringing out the cloth
fresh water

The kitchen is filled with winter light
the brightness of these generations gathered
My father is upstairs at his desk
crunching almonds
unsure about these two women who are so close
unsure of where he belongs in the puzzle
are there two pieces or three

I come on Sundays to be with them
their only child
they wanted me so desperately they paid thousands
to make sure I was born with their
ears and eye colour and sense of humour

My Mom was almost forty when she finally conceived
eight miscarriages over six years
“Don’t wait” she says now when I say
I think I might actually want kids after all
”Don’t wait”

My father comes down and we are laughing
I’m picking the good bits of crunchy skin off the chicken

“Why don’t you just” by Sasha at her kitchen table

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

Why don’t you just apologize, Donny? What are you waiting for? Don’t you know that people die everyday in freak accidents? What is she gets hit by a car? Or a roof caves in? You have to think about these things. What, is it pride? Is it that you think that it looks weak to say you’re sorry? Who fucking taught you that?! Owning your mistakes is the best possible thing you can do. You fucked up. Own it. Move on. If you don’t apologize than this just hangs over your head for the rest of your stupid life. You know that right? That’s how these things work?

“my friend the monkey” by Julia on her couch

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

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

“my friend the monkey” by Sasha in her living room

Monday December 9, 2019
9:11pm
5 minutes
My Friends
Taro Gomi

She’s shy about the way her ears stick out. Henry Kitteridge made fun of them once in second grade and to this day, forty three years later, she tries not to tuck her hair behind her ears. She doesn’t question this, just like she doesn’t question how she shaves her legs, plucks her few stray chin hairs, waxes her eyebrows, gets pedicures if she’s wearing sandals, uses mouthwash, gets a bikini wax, sucks in her stomach, and purses her lips. Her grandmother once said, “shame that you got the Collins lips.” Rings in her ears every time she puts on lipstick. Even the expensive stuff. She sees how some young women have stopped shaving their armpit hair (some even dye it!) She sees the overgrown brows, the fluidity of gender, the way that things aren’t what they used to be. They are changing.

“what God told me in a dream once” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday December 8, 2019
9:42pm
5 minutes
A Poem In Which God Is Both A Metaphor And Not
Chloe N. Clark

 

Careening towards the impossible we are doing it
we are flying and the wings are spread and it feels so right
for the first time in a long time
it feels so right
I open the little windows on the advent calendar
the one we had when I was a girl and you were nowhere to be found yet
Eight little windows
catching up

A doll
A duck
A candle
A book
A violin
I put it on the window sill
the light shines through
illuminating the face
the bill
the flame
the cover
the strings

catching up
to myself amidst the flurries falling
catching my new heartbeat
my new reflection in the glass

God told me in a dream
that it wouldn’t be what I thought
It would be better

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

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

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

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

“occupational hazard” by Sasha in Jolie’s bedroom

Saturday December 7, 2019
5 minutes
8:29pm
from a quote by Tracee Ellis Ross

 

I guess it’s an occupational hazard she says
when I tell her the truth about you
unravelling ball of red yarn in my hands
I don’t have the thesaurus for hearts
or for your heart at least
but I do know that the strands between us
the quilt we have been so diligently needling
tells us secrets like
almost
persimmon
legacy

She wants all the details of the time and place
the horizon’s hue the fingerprints
I don’t know

Crack my knuckles which I do not do
it doesn’t work
crack my head against the wall
I think I can
I think I can

“Flowers called despair” by Sasha at Lewis Street

Friday December 6, 2019
3:02pm
5 minutes
I planted my garden
Joan McNerney

If we lined up all of ourselves would we see the part that knows the rules?
would we laugh at the lines crossed out and the delicacy of the skin under the eyes?
I am grateful for the snow today
How it weighs down the thoughts that long to helium up to the heavens

I never could’ve guessed that this is where I’d be on Friday December the sixth
curled against a body born of mine her toes a beauty closer to God than I’ve ever pinched between thumb and forefinger
words tossed to a stranger on the other side of the line with the deftness and assured ness of a woman who knows exactly what she wants

My smell has changed again
the one that comes from deep inside and draws some near and pushes others away
My smell is the clementine skin, the vanilla bean, the earth
reaching towards a new kind of living
reaching towards a new kind of love

 

“flowers called despair” by Julia in her office

Friday December 6, 2019
2:20pm
5 minutes
I planted my garden
Joan McNerney

The lady walks by after having her side pricked with 1000 volts
The man tells her he’s sorry for hurting her
She screams only once when she notices the pain even though it is deep and has been hurting her steady

The lady carries a vase of yellow tulips, all standing at attention except one
One droops to kiss the bottom of the vase
to smile a love letter at the new parquet floor

The lady smiles and gives a tear to the tulip
feels bad for her fallen sister
Say she needs to find a chopstick to hold her up

But when I see her bending tulip I do not see despair
Beauty is in the unique
In the one of a kind, the kind that looks down but is no less bright

I tell the lady this and she laughs
Maybe she will see it too

“a single bird within a constellation” by Julia in her office

Thursday December 5, 2019
3:29pm
5 minutes
irrelevant
Sophia Cannazzaro

I’ve told you the story about Nonna and the bird
the one that sat in a nest near the archway of our front door

I have never known her like that again
the day she scooped this tiny bird from its home and placed

him gently in my pocket
I was five and I found it to be magical

I don’t know if she was trying to make me laugh or delight
in life’s tiny fuzzy adorable things but she did both

And she confused me for years later

Why didn’t I know her that way in Italy?
Why didn’t I know her that way when we were inside the house?

When I got old enough, I grieved the tiny bird that
would have died shortly after my Nonna let him live

inside of my jean skirt
What mother would return to him then knowing that

he had been touched by human hands, greedy at the
fluff of him

“a single bird within a constellation” By Sasha in her living room

Thursday December 5, 2019
11:09am
5 minutes
irrelevant
Sophia Cannazzaro

 

I type the story out again and again
in the little box of light I hold in my hands
a cage
a tomb
a bible
a brilliance
fingers cramping around corner
middle finger on my right hand buzzing these days
not sure why
not sure

The rush of a ping back he’s back there it is
where did I go
how did I get so far away from this
avenue of myself
dumpling skin
feathers around my eyes
rose water in my bones
calling towards
a nakedness
a truth
a remembering

I roll the thought of who I used to be

between fingers
a lotus flower of intent
a bull of maybe
testing the raging waters
where the gyre meets the sky

“I step into the cold silence.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday December 4, 2019
9:15pm
5 minutes
New Planet
Misha Penton

 

I wish my back didn’t hurt so damn much. I don’t say these words out loud, but they echo as though my head is an elementary school gymnasium and it’s indoor play for the younger grades. Goddamnit, I’m not going to be able to go near a school for awhile. Dad taught Grade Seven for forty three years. Can you imagine? I step into the cold silence of the basement, down the stairs, around the wall, hear the hum of the furnace and see the boxes, piled as neatly as they could be. Dad was organized. That’s one thing he was. Was. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to that.

“I step into the cold silence.” by Julia in her office

Wednesday December 4, 2019
2:19pm
5 minutes
New Planet
Misha Penton

It feels more like an autumn day than spring, something like October keeps ringing in my ears and against them.

A resistance here, a noticing. These two have never come together before.
And now in my bigger boots I can sense the weighted thought and it is attached to me.

The breeze whisks the hair around my face into a halo of buzzing. I cannot pretend I do not ache for sunny days, but this, this aliveness is more than
I thought I would know.

The air around me is still and I can hear a quiet humming.
I listen and find grace in the willingness to acknowledge.

It’s not hunger, it’s not sleep, but grief collected.
And here I count the withered leaves, one and two and three upon the ground.

It feels more…

“he became a living legend” by Sasha in her bed

Tuesday December 3, 2019
4:29pm
5 minutes
from Elvis Presley’s gravestone

 

Billy never thought he’d learn to ride bareback. He never thought he’d be able to bake a chocolate cake. He never thought that he’d write poetry, or learn to play slide guitar, or have an old mutt named Sam Cooke. Billy was born on a farm and when you’re born on a farm you think you’ll die on a farm. At least that’s how it was for Billy. He was one of six siblings, two of them twins. He was second youngest. He faded into the background in photos, at meals, in school cafeterias. Billy never thought he’d get a motorcycle and ride through Chile. He never thought he’d learn Spanish. He never thought he’d fall in to love with Carmel.

“he became a living legend” by Julia in her office

Tuesday December 3, 2019
2:08pm
5 minutes
from Elvis Presley’s gravestone

He gave a call to his grandmother every Friday at 3
She liked to sit and knit a scarf or a blanket as he he’d speak
The wind was sometimes louder than the other days he’d ring
but she would stay on the line not to miss a thing
He’d tell her about his week at school and how he won the game
He’d ask her what news she learned even though it was always the same
He’d tell her she was his favourite and no one could come close
She’d smile and wipe a drop from her eye and say she loved him most

One day the phone rang and rang without her familiar greeting
she did not answer when he dialled and left him afraid of feeling
What would he do without this woman who had held his tears
Now that she was resting peacefully no longer here
He left a one final voicemail to tell her of his day
and knew that he could tell her that he loved her one last way

“as an introvert” by Sasha on her couch

Monday December 2, 2019
9:17pm
5 minutes
from an article in open-book.ca
Natasha Ramoutar

At some schmoozy party I realized I didn’t have the words
or the gumption or the booze in my veins
the class or the courage or the push push move
to say something to anyone
that was the moment that I knew I had changed

I thought that I was an extrovert to the very core
wore the badge and was proud to display it on my red coat
with the toggles and the fake fur trim on the hood
but then something happened and I woke up and I’d changed

“as an introvert” by Julia in her office

Monday December 2, 2019
11:33am
5 minutes
from an article in open-book.ca
Natasha Ramoutar

It’s been hard lately to smile out loud.
I am smiling on the inside but if I’m not making it loud
then everyone thinks I’m not happy.
This is a problem. My insides are not matching my outsides.
But I don’t want to twist my mouth into a shape that
hurts me, then I really won’t be happy.
But not everyone gets it.
Out loud makes me tired. It feels like I’m wearing
a mask because I have to have it on.
I think happiness looks all kinds of ways and can be
quiet and can be still and can be about the feeling
and not about the performance of the feeling.
Maybe it’s because I feel happiest when I’m by myself.
I feel like I can recharge and regroup and reset.
When I have to go out into the world I have to be
more of what people expect and that gives me a headache.
When I’m by myself I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.
Annie, my best friend, is the opposite of me.
Everyone wonders how we got to be such good friends.
Annie is different. She can smile on the outside with other people no problem and with me she can be still.
We smile together too but it’s not because we think we have to.
I wish I could be more like Annie when I’m with people.
I think having that skill would make things easier.
But I wouldn’t want to trade everything.
That’s the thing with comparing.
You have to trade your whole self for someone else’s
and you might not want to give up some of what you have.

“since I let myself think about” by Sasha in the bath

Sunday December 1, 2019
10:31pm
5 minutes
I Never Liked Your Friends
Alexandria Maillot
Sharks swim in the water in the place where I live
circling and hoping for fearless playmates
oh the sweet innocent oh the venom toed hope
of any variety of any shape of any texture of any taste

I can’t believe that I’ve jumped in again
swirling towards chaos or the rush of being desired
I don’t even know what it all looks like anymore

I hate how heartbreak has made me better
in every sense of the word
the b touches the e with softness and smoke
the two t’s are lovers that no one knows about
the e and the r parents to a new thing that has

never been born before
I hate how heartbreak looks good on me most days
and the jeans fit just so now
just so I can remember the time before the time
the time before the second hand caught up
the time before time

I ride the shark into the black and blue
the coral reef glows fluorescent
tension expels herself from my form
I am oh
I am oh
I am oh

“since I let myself think about” by Julia on her couch

Sunday December 1, 2019
8:06pm
5 minutes
I Never Liked Your Friends
Alexandria Maillot

mushrooms and pizza crust
mountains of cheese
decadent pudding
vanilla milkshakes
black cherry yogurt
mint chocolate
driveby burger dorritos
roti
roti
roti
hazelnut cream sea-shells
nutella filled donuts
double-baked almond croissant
lemon meringue pie
zia’s easy cheesecake
zia’s tiramisu
zia’s porcini mushroom gnocci
zia’s sweet-milk tarts

“I have eaten his emptiness” by Julia in her kitchen

Saturday November 30, 2019
8:36pm
5 minutes
Visit from an incubus 
Laura Murphy

it was 3AM
came to me in a dream
fed the beast
broke the cycle

didn’t tell anyone
didn’t believe it at first
wrote it down
walked around

by dawn there was none of me left
I had eaten so much of what was weighing him down
my skin held his emptiness

my arms lifted a different hope from their bones and one I did not recognize
one that did not belong to me

the dream kept speaking as if it knew better
and so I listened
one body freer of their limits and counting

“I have eaten his emptiness” by Sasha at the kitchen table on Nassau Street

Saturday November 30, 2019
9:11am
Visit from an incubus 
Laura Murphy
Look, I’m glad that you reached out to Barry. I’m glad that he responded. I’m glad that you met him at the Starbucks on Queen Street. I’m sorry that he didn’t mention how different you looked, how different you feel, how much you’ve changed, how much you’ve become yourself. Some people aren’t looking, not really. Some people like Barry. But, you’ve done it, right? You’ve done it now. It’s done. It can stop taking up so much brain space, right? You can give that space to something else, something more meaningful, something more of the present… Barry left our lives a long time ago, buttercup. Sometimes people go when they are meant to, and things don’t get wrapped up… just how life goes, right? I’m sorry that I yelled when you said that you wanted to get in touch with him. You had your own relationship with the guy. My relationship with him doesn’t have to dictate yours. I guess it just caught me off guard.

“Night Sight” by Sasha on the daybed on Nassau Street

Friday November 29, 2019
2:41pm
5 minutes
She’s got that night sight baby
those purple shades carving starlight across her brow
She’s got that x-ray vision baby
can see through the bullshit and the ego and the weather
She’s got that rhythm baby
fingers snapping toes dancing hips moving towards Sunday
She’s got that green thumb baby
Planting seeds in pavement wastelands
returning a season later and
it’s an old growth baby
we’re all growing old
She’s got those laser beam ears baby
hearing the elder folk prophets spitting hope
She’s got that funk in her heart baby
smiling and crying and not that much bubblegum
between them

“Night Sight” by Julia in her office

Friday November 29, 2019
11:37am
5 minutes
from store.google.com

Night sight brings me good lights and everything in between
where the sheets give off steam and the silent sky screams

Night sight holds my throat with grace and opens up the window
to the voice that’s bouncing around

I’ve been waiting for something as good and calm
the days go by like rocket ships and everything blares on

The morning is a humming bird and quickly does she pass
so afternoons can move and groove and then they’re gone at last

But evening breathes a sigh of sweet and stillness echoes underneath
a nectar worth preserving and oh it fills the cup
a weight in every drop

Night sight closes my eyes tight and folds my gaze inside
and the hope can reside safely

Night sight wishes with her hands light giving off the insight
that can’t be seen in the day

“The life. The death. The rebirth.” by Julia in her office

Thursday November 28, 2019
1:15pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

We spiral in and out and in and out
the only thing that’s sure is this
will repeat itself
and how long the out and how far
the in the deeper gone the harder still
and how will all our moving parts
meet up in timeless space

We dance our hearts out when the music
pulls the strange doubt from our skin folds
the lull the hum the distant one keeps us
in time when place is free from confines
and if there is a boundary painted
we will dance harder than anticipated

We wait until the timing’s right but
we are not the ones to decide so waiting
stays and waiting sits but waiting never really is
and who decides but time herself hardly fixed
upon the shelf

We log our journeys by the sun each day
we live another one and when we hold our smiles
to the light, the night the night falls soft again
Where does Time go if not stuck inside our silly show
does Time remind the seasons to roll on no matter
where we are

We spiral in and out it’s true
the end the middle
beginning to relive the life that
first must die and start it all over
and start it all over