Monday June 5, 2017
A business card
The skin is smooth and ready for art. Kat slips off her robe, overrulling the knot in her throat trying to tell her to run.
“I am art”
“I am enough”
She is standing in front of a collection of new eyes. She reminds herself not to see them. Not to look directly at them.
“I am art”
“I am enough”
Kat lays herseld down on the cushions and waits. The instructor hasn’t said anything yet. No one has. Everyone watches. Nobody moves.
Finally a voice cracks in the back of the room, letting the light in. Kat hums her panic away, steady, low.
“I am art”
“I am enough”
The first brush tongues her hip skin upward into a smile
Thursday April 13, 2017
From a Way of the Heart info sheet
we show up to life sometimes jaded
sometimes living in the ordinary world
after living somewhere else with better windows
our windows here are covered in fingerprints
and year old messages birthed from
a New Year’s resolution
that we were too afraid to erase
our windows are as guarded as our hearts
which is to say
we haven’t drawn the blinds in ages
to exist in this place where
the sun rises each morning
no matter how shy
and sets each evening
no matter how bright
we must become fluent in gratitude
thank the stars for breathing us into belief
thank our mothers for smiling love into our bones
thank our fathers for being fathers when they could have been
thank our health for holding us
thank our souls in this life
for reminding us why we chose each other
in the first place
Friday January 27, 2017 at Bump n Grind on Granville
You opened up your belly with a whale bone and you filled yourself with rocks.
You went into the river, and you didn’t sink, you floated down, like Ophelia, you floated all the way to the beginning.
When you arrived there, you planted the rocks like seeds and restitched your belly with a daisy chain.
You watered those seeds until words grew:
You picked the words and tied a blue ribbon around their stems.
You gave them to me.
You told me this story and then I kissed your scar. I cradled ‘goodbye’. ‘rhythm’, and ‘hope’.
I changed their water and fed you peanut butter banana sandwiches.
I watched ‘goodbye’ grow and ‘rhythm’ die.
Saturday November 12, 2016
from a vice magazine
Your head is itchy. You know lice are extinct, so it can’t be that, it can’t be – … You catch a glimpse of yourself in the side of a building, monsters, you catch a glimpse and you’ve never seen yourself like this – head shaved, breasts shrunken, combat boots without laces, eyes that have seen too too much.
You clomp through the snow and can’t believe your eyes when you see a beggar, a man, a man with a beard, matted, without a coat, without teeth. He holds up a sign, made of cardboard, and it says, “FREE”. He’s smiling.
Tuesday November 1, 2016
From a Facebook post
Crusty says he’ll stop buggin’ me when I actually wear a real bra, like, not a training bra, like this one. We’re supposed to go camping on the Labor Day weekend but if Crusty’s gonna be there I do not want to go. I will not go. I told Lou and Lou said that Crusty and I need to learn how to get along but that’s not even an option, like, Crusty is impossible. Lou doesn’t even get it at all, like, Lou doesn’t have a care in the world now that she works at Baskin Robins. “You’re gonna get so fat!” I told Lou, but she ignored me, like always.
Friday October 28, 2016
A LENNY Interview with Amanda Nguyen
I am a good pretender. I still think about doing it professionally, actually, especially when I’m lonely or the season’s change or when it smells like mothballs and tequila. You all try to fool yourselves that it’s not pretending, that it’s truth-telling but everyone else is laughing like crows.
Sitting in the waiting room, filling out the forms, picking egg yolk from my cuticle, rolling my eyes at the magazine selection. I’m pretending, Mistress of Disguise, clever clever. When the mouse behind the counter who tells everyone what to do but gets paid the least, when the mouse calls my name I smile. Liar. I smile and I hand in my form and I walk down the long hall.
Thursday October 27, 2016
A Manitoba concert hall sign
There is nothing about you that I don’t want to consume there is nothing about you. Your mistakes are the most delectable because they convince me that you are in fact human. Flesh, shit, bones, brains, heart, sinew. I learned about human when I started gorging on junk. Sugar, shit, bones, brains, salt, salt, sinew, guts. I learned about human when the world fell apart when my Dad left. I tempted human when I fucked anyone that made good eye contact. I chased human when I moved far far away.
Monday October 24, 2016
there’s a bridge atop a tree atop a cliff
it creates a passage from one side to the other
only the brave and broken know where to find it
have hands and feet that know the knots to grip and
branches to swing up from
momentum will be a friend but not a guide
only the brave and broken know the intricacies of a
delicate and powerful tree climb
at the top of the cliff and up the tree
when you make it
you’ll gaze out over the pregnant horizon
you’ll see buildings and highways
gulls and sailboats
before you cross the bridge
atop the tree
atop the cliff
before you cross from one side to the other
you take a breath
all the times you’ve kissed a face you love goodbye
all the groggy mornings
all the moments
like this one
that you’ve dared to resist the urge to jump
Thursday October 20, 2016
From a workshop description
I know you’re scared shitless
crapping oceans every day eating saltine’s like
your life depends on it
(your life does depend on it)
I know that the voices in your head keep
you up at all hours
counting blessings counting sheep counting the second hand
ticking at the speed of waiting
I know you paint red and blue on your face
warrior mask smudging orange and yellow on the darkest days
I know you’ve been pulling out your eyelashes again
your eyelids naked as a newborn
naked as a piglet
Saturday October 15, 2016
I’m not sure what to tell you. Maybe that it’s going to be okay? But, that’s a bit of a white lie because I’m not actually sure if it’s going to be okay… Maybe that I love you? That usually feels good to hear, unless it’s someone professing something that you do not, in fact, reciprocate. Um… You’re going to do great. You’re going to be strong. You’re going to show this whole… situation… who is BOSS. You! You’re boss. I love you? It’s going to be okay? I don’t know. I’m bad when it comes to giving advice, I really am, I just… Here’s what I’ll say. You are probably the strongest human I have ever met. If anyone can face this, it’s you.
Thursday October 12, 2016
From an email
I wasn’t used to the attention
I did fifteen things I regret
starting and ending with
Tears fall onto a notebook page
a and e and s swell and bleed
a womb away my sister
nurses the next generation
It’s late there
My sorry will never be
for the slack jaw
on the couch
in the country
My regrets bite my tongue
Assault my dreams
night after night
season after fall
driving cars off cliffs
walking topless into a family reunion
Tuesday October 11, 2016
From a Tangerine ad
No one tells you that you become invisible. Your nose gets bigger, you sprout hair out of your ears, you lose all your pubes, and you become invisible. That’s the truth. I want you to know it because I wish I had. I would’ve given a heck of a lot less attention to how I looked when I actually looked like a Goddamn goddess. I’m not exactly sure when the invisibility cloak was placed over my shoulders… Fifty five? Sixty? I even tried dressing extra sassy, then extra sophisticated, then radical… Didn’t real change a thing. It really showed me what we were fighting for in the Women’s Lib Movement… If you aren’t deemed valuable, viable (ie. child bearing) to MEN, then suddenly society doesn’t value you. You are no longer sexual currency. Might as well be in the bargain bin.
Monday October 10, 2016
The Rising Strong Manifesto
I’m sorry for my chin hairs – – –
my legs \\ my armpits \/
my belly >
“my” is pejorative
none of these parts are mine
I laugh because the cry is too big for my one bedroom apartment
I’m sorry for the unpalatable opinions
on the table between us
swirling squash and shit and sex and
My dreams of motherhood don’t betray my dreams
of taking over the world
with stories of chin hairs
legs armpits bellies
Shred the TRUMP cards and recycle them
Maybe they will end up
paper that you’ll write me a letter on
Monday September 26, 2016
The old woman lives by the sea in a house on a cliff, painted yellow and purple. When it storms, the walls of the house shake and the old woman bundles herself in sweaters. The black and white photographs fall off the walls and she sweeps up the broken glass and places them back on their hooks. The old woman makes herself a pot of Lady Grey tea and adds a sugar cube and a splash of cream. She sits in her corduroy chair with her dog, Mimi, in her lap. She tells Mimi stories about when she was a girl, and when she travelled to Paris, and when she fell in love, and when she found a sword under a willow tree.
Sunday September 25, 2016 at MELK Bar & Cafe
Overheard on Av de Monkland
I want to buy you beautiful things
I want to give you pearls
I want to give you diamonds and quartz and emeralds
and I want you to wear them so that everyone knows
I want to choose your lipstick
I want to pick your shoes
I want to take you out for dinner and order for you and too bad if
you don’t like it
with a wink
with a wink
I want to buy you macarons
I want to watch you drink champagne
All the wants
All the want
All the want
Saturday September 24, 2016 at MELK Bar & Cafe
Report on Business in the Globe and Mail
Canada’s hands are stained
yellow and red and purple and orange
We think blue
We think green
But those are little firefly lies
Wag wag wag
Those are big mountain lies
We think resource
Cougars and humpbacks
We think lakes and rivers
Pacific and Atlantic
True North strong and free
Monday September 12, 2016
I came into being
thanks to charcoal and stardust
thanks to dinosaur bones and grandmother
fingernails I came into being because of you
I came into being with the seeds of my daughters
buried the womb of my mother’s mother
I came into being with the big bang
with the Holocaust
with a dance alone under a full harvest moon
I came into being once
a thousand times
When I met you
and you and you and you
when I met myself in the eye of the storm
rocking back and forth
Sunday September 11, 2016
From a text message
Yeah… But, really – … How are you?
So so tired.
What are you doing for the soft parts of yourself that get confused and think they need to be hard in order to get everything done?
Reading self help books?
Zoning out on my phone too much.
Yeah. I do that, too. What would happen if you took a bath instead?
I’d probably fall asleep and drown.
I should, I should take a bath. I have those fancy bath salts from six Christmases ago.
Saturday September 10, 2016
Fingers sticky with mysterious serum of future fugitives clasped in tight fists
Belly clenched a clam shell with macaroni and cheese inside open it up open
it up Face with a frown like winter like frostbite Breath reeks of coffee and fear Fingers to mouth Eat the serum The fugitives are here now They are here.
Keep looking over my shoulder for who I thought you were. Kindness evades. Mice in the pipes. Periods in place of spaces in place of joy in face of wonder. Keep looking over my shoulder for who I thought you were.
Thursday September 8, 2016
Said at Jackie’s
You scratch the place where I’m hurting and
I feel awkward and weird I feel words can never
do the things I want them too even though
I pretend I know them I pretend that they are my
business. My business is water and fire. My
business isn’t words. I set the timer I set it
again and again five minutes five minutes five
minutes. Ding time’s up. Ding it’s all over.
End of the world. End of the road. End of the
story. You scratch the place where the magic
Monday September 5, 2016
from a schedule
Sometimes I think about you. I wonder strange things. Are you drinking enough water? Do you have any tattoos? I don’t wormhole down a Google search or a Facebook stalk. I languish in the space between questions about how you might have changed, the shape of your lips, the smell of the back of your neck. It is there were I find stillness, in the wondering. It is there I find comfort, and trust, and faith in the goodness of us. Are you drinking enough water?
Thursday August 18, 2016
From a flyer
pop says see the world but i’m not sure what he even knows about that because he’s never left chesterton. probably something he’s heard on tv or something, like, a thing he heard someone say that he thought sounded smart. he never finished high school even, so what does he know. sorry pop. you know a lot about how to raise pigs, and how to nurse a pup back to health after she eats too much grass. you know a lot about corn. seeing the world? don’t know nothing about that. if i actually took your advice and left chesterton, i think you’d cry for a week. not that i’ve ever seen ya… but i can imagine. it’s been you and i since mama and berg drowned, since i was three and you were twenty six. mama has finally learned how to make peach pie, the crust and everything. at least that’s what you tell me. mama had just learned to make peach pie.
Wednesday August 17, 2016
Snap your fingers and we’re back on track
back to black
back to back
Spines align like a star sign
Smoke signals in the magic hour light
snaking from my mouth to yours
from my mouth to yours
the distance of the north star to
the horizon stretching brighter than we’ve
In our home the plants are thirsty
we dance naked on the porch unafraid
of who sees our flawless bodies
Tuesday August 16, 2016
You measure your self worth in productivity but don’t know it’s deadly til it kills you. You collapse in the produce isle of the big box store, tomatoes exploding out of your hands, cart overturning, head smashing on the concrete floor. It takes awhile for anyone to notice, faces down, stuffing heads of broccoli in plastic bags, reading lists off iPhones. You don’t die on impact, it takes a few minutes. You wonder whether or not Pete will be able to find the hidden folder on your desktop that contains your will. You never told him about it. You wonder who will undress and wash your body. You wonder how many people will come to the memorial.
Saturday August 6, 2016
Overheard at the NPS finals in decatur
I like your bow tie. Thank you. I like your mouth, too, can I kiss it. No. No thank you. No thank you. What if the lightning causes a fire? Then we’ll burn just like the whole city and we’ll die so quick we won’t know the difference. Aren’t you scared? No way! Okay. Okay.
Braiding grass for a crown
I’ll be king and you’ll be other king
Black eyed Susan
Black eyed Susan
Braiding grass for a bow tie
Drinking sunshine drinking
Your perfect body in my palm
Friday August 5, 2016
From a parking sign in Decatur
Ma smokes cigarettes the day before she gets her period and no one questions it anymore because Hunk doesn’t and if Hunk doesn’t we shouldn’t. She smokes anywhere between six and thirty nine, but she’ll never smoke forty. At least that’s what Hunk says, out by the dump, when we’re huffing and picking at scabs. Ma says that the town’s changing now that the Mill’s closed and McMahon’s is opening up another dog food factory. “Different kinda person, who grinds animal faces for a living,” Ma says, stirring the pot of chilli and adding some Kraft singles to the cornbread. It’s my night for dishes, but I sneak out to the garden and pick tomatoes and hope no one knows their Mondays from their Tuesdays.
Thursday August 4, 2016
The Mariott wifi
toronto is smelly and dirty and
slivered almonds over peaches
over caffeinated over medicated pop
another bottle pop another advil
toronto hurts herself
skinned knees and chapped lips
all of the bruises on wrists and thighs
toronto doesn’t say sorry when toronto
bumps into someone
rolls over toes with a suitcase packed
but nowhere to go
toronto doesn’t drink enough water
drinks too much beer
everyone’s laughing at you and no
one even knows you’re there
in the public library practising other
languages so we can say thank you
and fuck you and please
Friday July 22, 2015
Overheard at the No Frills
In the shade
Under the tree marked
with our initials
we wrote songs about the parents
we’d become a decade from now.
In the heat
Pressed against the cold fridge
door we kissed places we forgot
In the summer
rivers of sweat descending between
breasts and hips and shoulder blades
we wove macrame homes where our
cactus might live.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Overhead at The Rickshaw
When you got to prison, you missed the smell of your home pillow – the one with the blue paisley design, worn from so many years of face and head and hair. You called your brother and cried and cried until your phone card ran out of money. You learned the rules, but it took time, and you goofed up enough that the guards kept their eye on you. This went against the plan to remain invisible. This went against who you always were – a well mannered wallflower whose anger was buried beneath layers and layers of fear, whose visions of knives and train tracks and fingernails only came at night, in the safety of your basement apartment bedroom.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
From a text
Secretary’s pencil is scratching
all over the damn place
Construction worker boot
tap tap tap tap tap
Jiggling the whole row
“Dead man walking” I expect
to hear pencil poised apologetically
“Dead man walking”
Name call roll call
I’m up with the lipstick on her teeth
“Mr. Anderson?” Nod
“Dr. Henry has had an emergency that
needs to be attended to and she must
reschedule my apologies that you came
all the way in I hope you don’t live
too far away I can call you if
something open’s up”
Friday, July 15, 2016
Overheard at Platform 7
A: You know Kenny?
A: When’d you meet him?
B: At the gym…
A: Did you hang out a lot?
B: Why are you givin’ me the third degree here, man? I just came in to get a coffee.
A: Do you know who I am?
B: No idea.
A: Kenny’s little brother.
B: Ok, nice to meet you. Excuse me –
A: Kenny’s been gone since Friday.
A: No one’s seen him.
B: He said that –
A: You were the last person to speak with him.
B: Yeah, we spotted each other Friday morning.
A: What did you do with his body, huh?
B: Excuse me?
A: I know you know our secret.
B: What are you fucking talking about?
B: I’m calling the cops.
A: I am the cops.
A: Happy Monday, Benjamin. Happy fuckin’ Monday.
Tuesday July 12, 2016
From a text
I don’t remember Scott. I can’t find his face anymore, way back in the very back of my brain. It used to be there, before Jonah and Daisy, and before I had to memorize so much for school. I’m the oldest one there. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise… Jonah laughed when I told him I was going back. He thought that I’d finished my degree. I never lied to him, he just jumped to a conclusion. Scott would do the same thing, we all do, but these two are worse than the rest. Scott would convince himself that someone had said something, something really particular, and he was so persuasive, especially within his own mind, that he would truly believe it had happened. Jonah was six when I saw him do this, for the first time. I was excited, because it reminded me of Scott, and sad. I was really, really sad.
Thursday July 7, 2016
Cranes and Egrets
“When you swim far out, way out past the break, past where the waves are tall as houses, the water is still…” Granny eats a piece of honeydew, the juice dripping down her chin. She wipes it with the back of her hand. “You have to be very brave to swim out that far, you have to be bigger than you are… Fifteen or sixteen. It takes strength of mind an’ body, you see, an’ something else, too…” At this time of night her accent gets thick. “You need the determination, the power that comes along with really believing in yourself.” She swats at a mosquito. “I used to spend hours and hours out there, in the still water, thinking up what might happen. I’m more of a future person than a past person. Past people, they’re more apt to get all depressive. Future people? Like me? Anxiety… But on the still water, floating on my back an’ my front an’ treading water – just calm.”
Sunday July 3, 2016
Writing Down the Bones
She feels like she’s got it all figured out. She feels it so it’s real. At least that’s what she thinks. She turned twenty-three last week and the age stretches across hips and collar bones like medals – wrestling style and Olympic gold.
It’s too hot to do anything but breathe. She drinks some cold water from a beer stein. It was her father’s favourite, before she took it with her to university. Someone chipped the handle once and she banished him from her room. “That’s special to me, asshole.”
She uses her attitude to her advantage – a free drink here, extra cheese there, free entrance to the bus. She doesn’t smoke anymore, at least not cigarettes, and she swears off white bread.
Thursday June 30, 2016
They carve out my heart and gasp and shudder and
someone faints with a small sigh that only
my heart can hear
“It’s shaped like a like a like a like a
it’s shaped like a hexagon…”
They don’t let me hold it or see it or
kiss it they take it away to a room on
the other side of the place
I wonder when I’ll get it back
I wonder when I’ll see it again
Will I see it again?
“It’s shaped like a like a like a like a
it’s shaped like a hexagon…”
The doctor wore white but my blood was all
over him and it was purple and blue
magenta and violet
Tuesday June 28, 2016
He keeps coming back.
Everywhere I look he’s there. Okay, not everywhere. But too many places. The emails. I forget about him, I forget about our months together, our sticky skin, the rum and the tears, and then an email arrives. We have no choice in this, it’s not a knock at a door that can be ignored.
Or, I could block him but that feels extreme. That feels violent.
And here he is, six people ahead of me in the line. Tousled and tanned. Here he is.
I steer clear, a swift moving undercover agent. I steer clear.
Monday June 26, 2016
Apartment Hunting in the East End
she wants to move herself like mercury like cactus arms like
she steps on pavement covering blood vessels of ocean
she she she
she shields her eyes from the sun thirsty for
woods and pine and sweetgrass
thirsty for full moon laughter and bonfire harmony tincture
she doesn’t wait anymore
for someone else to move her
eyes up and down her resting on her lifting her
she doesn’t wait
Sunday June 26, 2016
From a tweet
What if it’s all downhill from here
Jake asks caterpillar eyebrows up and down
and up the sun is setting and traffic has
calmed for once He’s not drinking beer
this month in preparation for the marathon
at the end of the month I don’t have anything to say
to that because I’m not sure about it either
I don’t have anything to say to him because
I’m not sure about even tomorrow or five minutes
from now I just turn up the music and start to dance
and the bass is as thick as the pink clouds
Jake doesn’t get up but he watches me and his
eyes are dancing so it’s almost just as good
Saturday June 25, 2016
Weddings from the Heart
Make no mistake, we aren’t going to have one of those Cinderella bullshit weddings. Kenny isn’t going to “lose twenty pounds” or anything heinous like that. Someone said that now that gay people getting married is legal, the whole wedding game has changed. We know how to do it up. We know how to do it better. There are more layers on the cakes, more tears, more techno, more flowers, more, more, more. But, not me and Kenny. We’re gonna go down to City Hall, with Henrietta and Jo, Kenny’s Mom and Dad and my Granny, and then have a reception at our favourite Italian pizzeria. No one has ever had a wedding reception there, and Domenico, the owner, is so excited he keeps texting me bride emoji followed by pizza emoji followed by flower bouquet emoji.
Friday June 24, 2016
The Govenlock Hotel
Isaac gives Josie a kiss on her nose, like he does every morning and watches as she gets on the school bus. He does the breakfast dishes and part way through Googles what it would take to install a dishwasher. Barb liked doing the dishes, but to him it’s torture. He’d rather run his nails on a chalkboard. It’d cost more than he has, or more than he wants to spend right now. He wipes toast crumbs off the table. Barb used to bitch at him endlessly about not wiping up, about leaving the dishcloth bunched up beside the tap instead of spread out over it. “No wonder they always stink!” She would swat at him with the stinky cloth and then usually they’d laugh and have a kiss.
Tuesday June 21, 2016 at Bump n Grind Cafe
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
M. hated his body in a way that I understood. I’d been there, for about ten years, but I wasn’t there anymore. I was flirty and free and feeling sexy approximately five and a half days a week. He hid his body in a way that repulsed me. Coming out of the shower, M. would wrap a towel around his whole self. At six five, it was strange seeing such a big man, wrapped up like that, a big burrito. Sometimes his penis would dangle out the bottom, peeking, flacid. The towel couldn’t contain all of him. The sex was good. His body issues didn’t get in the way like mine had for so long. He wasn’t a big talker but once told me that I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen naked in real life. He sometimes worked editing porn films, so he’d seen a lot of naked women on screen.
Monday June 20, 2016
Overheard at Starbucks
It’s Christmas, which means that Aunt Cathy is hammered and Pa is smoking pipe after pipe and Jason, my twin brother, is likely going to try to hang himself again. He does it every Christmas. The attempts are feeble, but are attempts nonetheless. Our mother, Joan, recently got a tattoo of a turtle on her right bicep. Jason thinks she’s having a midlife crisis but from what I’ve read, those only happen to men. Jason lives in the weird loft space above the garage. There’s a box spring and a mattress, a hotplate and a mini fridge. It’s where we used to hang out with friends and drink forties when we were in high school. I only see him a couple of times a year and every time I do he has more grey hair. We aren’t identical, but we look a lot a like. My hair is still entirely brown. I haven’t even spotted one grey strand. Aunt Cathy whispers that Joan went grey in her early thirties, too.
Sunday June 19, 2016
Ned has sweaty palms and can’t seem to find Mol in the crowd. He’s up next. He scans and scans but no Mol. He takes three deep breaths, like Coach Perkins taught him, and plants his feet hip width apart. He learned that from Mol. “Up next, Ned Kirkpatrick!” The announcers voices always sound the same, no matter where he goes. He scans once more. Maybe Mol got lost like last time, he thinks. A lump in his throat, he walks up to the mic. “Hello boys and girls, parents and teachers. Today I am going to blow your mind with a magic trick of epic proportions!” Just then, as he pulls on his cape, Mol comes running in through the doors at the back of the gymnasium. As if in slow motion, everyone turns around to look. Ned smiles. Mol always comes through.
Saturday June 18, 2016
All My Puny Sorrows
They found the squirrel on the side of the road, barely hanging on to life. Eyes open and feet pawing at the air, her stomach was split open and guts and blood were coming out. He tried to make a joke but it fell as flat as the soda in the back seat, rolling around on the floor. She held back tears, searching for veterinary clinics and animal rescue shelters on her cellphone. The reception was bad so she kept holding her arm up into the air like she had a question for a teacher in the sky.
Wednesday June 15, 2016
from the Uhaul website
“Do you ever feel like there’s a sinking?” Kari has her feet tucked under her, all upper body, and hands wrapped around a glass of white wine. “What do you mean?” I’m making us a stir fry with cubes of soft tofu, beansprouts, shredded carrots, green onion. “Like, a sinking feeling right in your chest that goes all the way down to, well, I guess basically to your vagina?” She is earnest, looking out the window with the spider plant hanging above. I smile. “Yeah, I guess so… I wouldn’t put it exactly like that, but I think I know what you’re saying.” She comes into the kitchen and stands beside me as I stir the brown rice. “Should I go back on those meds?” Kari has been off her anti-depressants since just after her birthday. I can hear her voice then, “I can’t paint, Beth. I can’t paint, I can’t eat, I can barely shit… This isn’t life.”
Tuesday June 14, 2016
The front page of the Westender
His breath is sharp parmesan cheese, shaved with a pocket knife.
His back is the topography of vineyards, muscles of grapes and sweat of dew.
His words are wise cirrus clouds almost touching heaven.
When we walk together our strides fall into one stride, two strides, three strides, a harmony of flavour and footsteps.
When we swim, he’s stronger so he’s faster. I watch the ripple of the water where his arms break the surface, break the break, broken in more than two.
When we sleep, I fall asleep first and I feel his eyes, Jupiter on the pillow here, scavenging for secrets that haven’t been grated yet, waiting for the moment to eclipse.
Saturday June 11, 2016
From an assignment
There’ve been times when she’s looked at you like you’re a stranger
just arrived here by way of an invisible 747
landed ass first in the house that you own three quarters of
There’ve been times when she kisses you and you aren’t sure if her lips
are your lips or if your lips belong to someone much older
and much fatter
There’ve been times
When the dog cowers under the oak table growling and shaking
Peeing on the floor and she curses and you clean it up and then
you sneak a puff of a joint on the other side of the street
Friday June 10, 2016
From Facebook post
She wants to keep the baby, Bibbi does, and no one wants her to and everyone knows it’s the worst possible idea, but what are we supposed to do, right, what are we supposed to do to her.
No one knows if it’s Chuck’s or if it’s Kenny’s. Most of us don’t care but some of us do, I do, I know that I really do.
Ran into Chuck at the gas station buying some cigarettes and Diet Sprite and he looked really run down, like, he’s had a really bad day.
“Hey Alex,” Chuck says, all quiet. “Bye Alex.”
Sunday May 29, 2016
Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Suddenly everyone knows everyone and is better and better winning all the games and awards and goodie bags. We’ve found evidence that you’re an imposter, the small voice in the bottom of your throat growls. We’ve found the evidence.
Doubt is the most powerful pull towards darkness you’ve known.
You wake up, a decade older, and you think once again about being kindly evicted and what if there was a baby and what if neither you nor he had jobs lined up, and the savings won’t last forever no nope no way jose it won’t. Maybe you should’ve been smart and invested in real estate like everyone else. Instead, you invested in stories. HA! There must be a cosmic joke in there somewhere?! Where is it, you ask? Buried beneath the layers of the liars that said, “You can do anything you want!”
Saturday May 28, 2016
All I Have To Do Is Dream
The Everly Brothers
You never imagined that someone would say, “anytime, night or day, you can call me,” breaking their rule of keeping a cellphone on their bedside table, you never imagined that someone might love you like buttered bagels and a slender moon.
You never imagined that someone might press on your hip bones and remind you that you’re as ancient as stardust as new as the dawn as changing as the late may sky all aglow with a tempest like a thirtieth birthday.
You never imagined that someone would write you love poems and lick the tears from your face as you read them.
Friday May 27, 2016
Holding Grandma’s paper skin hand
A priest talks about forgiveness
Her fingers are long
Knuckles like burls
I lean in close to smell her
Baby powder and drugstore perfume
Make up that is long expired
She doesn’t stand to sing anymore
On her perch
Thursday May 26, 2016
Overheard on the 99
the unknowing of a memory
open mouth song
tornado in ecstasy
fear in the cobwebs
varicose veins coming in like grey
an ache for the
the heavy clouds
Monday May 23, 2016
you smiled at me and I was an eagle in a birch on the tip top branch looking out over the whole earth thinking it was mine and then we were swimming together dolphins in the greenest water dolphins shaking seaweed from our hair the guitar music reminds me of the mobile in the nursery where the baby sleeps where the baby sleeps the cubs and the birdies and the fawns
the moon is a sliver like mustard and your red t-shirt is ripped in all the right places and i can’t get that song out of my head that song out of my head
Saturday May 21, 2016
Big Yellow Taxi
Your lips taste like ketchup chips.
“I have to go,” I say, searching for my jeans. Your room is messier than anything I’ve ever seen but it kind of makes you hotter.
“Wanna sleep over tonight?” You pick at a scab on your right index finger.
“I can’t. I have plans.” I lie. You furrow your eyebrows.
The screen door slams and I walk in the rain til I’m soaked and I’m worried about my nipples attracting unwanted attention.
Wednesday May 18, 2016
Sometimes when I’m lying awake I think about the other girls that look just like me who might also be lying awake and I wonder about courage and what really matters.
Sometimes when I make him feel guilty for the bad things he does I wonder about all the bad men in all the bad places and whether or not someone is making them feel bad. And then I water my plants and forget about it.
Sometimes in the winter I think about the summer and long for it and then when the summer comes I wonder about all that rain and if it makes me a better writer.
Tuesday May 17, 2016
In the desert I find my trust
Buried beneath a mirage
Buried beneath all the dreams I thought I had
(Fifteen children, fame, hair down to my tailbone)
It winks at me and I scoff like I do when
something is real
I drink it quick
Dribbling sparkles onto my breasts
I get drunk on the punch
on the fury and the beads of sand
I am high on the possibility that this might lead to
In the desert I find my trust
Nestled beside a crab
Friday May 13, 2016
The Curl Keeper Bottle
You ask for a pic but I’m not versed in this language of yellow smiley faces and acronyms if that’s even what you call them
I send you a photograph of my plate licked clean after pasta with tomato sauce and zucchini fried in olive oil with garlic
It confuses you and I wonder about how this could ever happen beyond this month this year this apartment
You ask for a pic again and I send you one of my mother as a baby sitting on a blanket with a woman who isn’t a relative
You send back a question mark just that a squiggle of black and a dot and I say
“It’s a baby! What do you want?”
I don’t tell you it’s my mother as a baby as that’s too intimate that’s too close that lineage too sticky
Thursday May 12, 2016
He blinked thirty times in a row and seemed not to breathe for a worrisome length of time.
“What’s the matter?”
He gripped his coffee cup so hard that the handle popped off, or at least it did in my imagination.
“I can’t speak to you right now, Sandy,” Paul said, standing up, re-tucking in his golf shirt, clearing his throat. He threw a twenty down on the table. He walked out.
The twenty slowly drifted to the floor like an October leaf.
Wednesday May 11, 2016
From a text
I’m not sure about much these days
(the price of cauliflower and cucumber
the way people sit on the bus)
but I am sure that you’re getting better with age
(the finest peach plucked from the golden tree
the best gouda sat to rest in a satin-lined bowl)
I’m not sure about much these days
(the call to capitalism
a white wedding dress)
but I am sure that we are where we need to be
kissing raindrops and rose petals
combing beaches for stories older than the moon
Tuesday May 10, 2016
There you are pride in
your hands like a dead sparrow
crashed into too many windows
“Rejection tastes like pennies” you say
And I know you to be right about tastes
and books and the best bike
I coo you words of encouragement
“The only place to go is up!” but you
don’t believe me
Thursday May 5, 2016
1:50pm at Platform Seven
From the back of a pamphlet
the world is burning where all the oil lives
the grass is scorched and the trees with the treehouses are ashes
the houses with the photo albums and the calico kitten and
the painting from france from a great-grandmother
the jeopardy of prized possessions
an apocalypse of biblical proportions
true colours show when we’re in danger
fingers around a neck with “mine” over “yours”
cars driving on sidewalks to get ahead of other cars
the irony of politics
the irony of “how did we get here?”
dollar bill pilgrims drilling for gold
another headline another photograph another heart up in flames
Wednesday May 4, 2016
From the back of a pamphlet
“I want to write about female friendship, but no one publishes it,” Rhonda picks at the scab on her forearm. She just got a tattoo covered up. A rose covering a butterfly. “Fuck butterflies,” she says. I remember when she got that tattoo. We were eighteen. She wouldn’t shut up about the fact that it was her spirit animal and a “governing force in the journey of her life”.
“I’m getting more iced tea,” Rhonda stretches, standing up from the picnic table. The bench has made a line on her thighs. Her cutoffs are riding up. “Want some?” She’s in through the screen door.
“Yeah, sure,” I say, putting on more sunscreen.
Tuesday May 3, 2016
From the Twitter account of the woman sitting in front of Julia
Grief looks good on her. At least that’s what people keep saying. Not directly, but that’s what they’re saying, under the tight lipped smiles. Mostly other women. Sometimes men, but it’s quiet, it’s less direct. She’s running every day, because she can’t sit still. Her feet shuffle when she’s at the table, opening the mail. She tries to write in the journal that her sister sent her from the New Age gift shop, but the pen won’t move. Meanwhile, her knees jump. She runs in the ravine, where the trees haven’t really changed since she was a child. She starts drinking all of her meals, unable to chew, almost unable to swallow.
Tuesday February 23, 2016
He offers me MDMA. I say a reluctant “yes” but make him split up a tablet so I can have less. I vomit for two hours. This is the reason I don’t do drugs. I always end up hugging the toilet bowl, wondering why I put this poison inside me. He holds my hair and brings me water in a glass jar. Exhausted and shaking, I fall asleep on his lap on the couch. When I wake up I feel good, the nausea is gone, and my body is humming, electric.
We are sitting on the same cloud together, for once, and it feels magnificent. We kiss for the rest of the night and he tells me secrets and I laugh and it finally feels okay.
Monday February 22, 2016
I arrive at his apartment above the bike shop, with the deck that looks like a pier and the tiny plastic, dancing monkeys on the old reel-to-reel, with the roommate that is only a voice on the other side of the door, who I’ve never actually met. Ben meets me at the front door, shirtless in old grey sweat shorts and a brown hat. He whispers in my ear when I hug him,
“I’m really high right now”.
Ben has recently broken up with his girlfriend of five and a half years, Sonja. She’s in Paris doing an internship at a gallery. I imagine her to be really beautifully, thin, knowing an a whole lot about Marina Abromovic and fancy cheese. Ben speaks of her often. He clearly still loves her. I know what he’s doing, replacing the woman’s body beside him in his bed. I wonder if I’m the only one.
Wednesday February 10, 2016
I imagine our future as orchids
as shooting stars
as bits of sand when
under a microscope
the whole universe
I imagine our future
can’t help myself
I’m a dream junkie
arm bruised with pockmarks of
maybe and when
I imagine our future ceilings
catching wishes in open laughter mouths
I imagine our future claw foot tub
warm water swirling down the memory drain
I imagine our future babies
All cheeks and nerve
Monday February 8, 2016
from the song playing on the radio
Here’s a picture for you. Shitty chow mein is on it’s way from this little hole in the wall place on 14th. I am not wearing pants. The window is open and I’m smoking inside because I am a badass and I HAVE MY OWN APARTMENT! I can’t believe it’s actually happening – this moment that I’ve dreamed about for the last century. I don’t miss the smell of my Mom’s stupid perfume and I don’t miss my brother’s asshole face in the morning and I DO NOT MISS sharing a house with idiots! It is pure peace and serenity and independence having one’s own space – a whole bachelor! A whole five hundred square foot refuge! PLEASE tell me that you’re coming for Thanksgiving?
Sunday February 7, 2016
from a thank you card
you came in like a slow motion fireball
wheeling and turning like a tumbleweed
bumping into a crow and a willow
diverting directions until here
blowing kisses into my breast pocket
putting jokes inside cookies and taking them
out of the oven when they are still gooey
you cam in like a slow motion fireball
i thought it was whole as it was
turns out it was missing the deliberate steps
the sparks like aurora borealis across the sky of this place