“Wild Birds Unlimited” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday April 3, 2018
9:42pm
5 minutes
From a storefront on West Broadway

On the T-shirts that Zia Nancy brought back
from Atlantic City were birds wearing sunglasses
Nothing is cooler than a bird wearing sunglasses
We were grateful for the oversized and bright
we did not know then how to ask for something better
How to wish we could be lucky enough for more
We were lucky enough then with two kisses and
a chili pepper
thrust into our hands like the lesson was in the
small bravery of turning our tongues on fire
The picture says a thousand things
Not including all of the comments made by
all the cool birds wearing sunglasses
on our T-shirts brought back from Atlantic City
We were built by each other’s dedication to being there
A wall of neon cousins smiling while
Michael cries into his birthday cake

“the holy monkeys and the colourful birds” by Julia on the bus to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng

Tuesday January 30, 2018
8:39am
5 minutes
You
Anna Margolin

In the morning before we said goodbye to Ann, the tiny blue bird with the long beak that I had seen in my half sleep from the bus reappeared. It cradled a thin branch near the water with its feet and stopped the world from stepping. I tried to tell you that it was a sign. You couldn’t see the blue and told me it was probably some other bird. It was the same one and I knew by the way it sat. Its stillness was a perfect one. I would know it anywhere. I managed to quiet my heart beat long enough to hear. To sense the strength or the message or the absence of expectation. I heard it like the humming of my Nonna, her voice soothing while she used to mend my favourite sleep shorts. I would know that sound anywhere. I would.

“Protect the blood from attack” by Sasha on the deck at Knowlton Lake

Thursday October 5, 2017
7:12am
5 minutes
Chinese Tonic Herbs
Ron Teeguarden

In this quiet stillness of languid morning
Sun on the birches and maples
Dew catching the joke quick
I listen to the silence
She whispers in a language I’m only now just learning
Only will learn fifty years from now
Sixty years from now
A million deaths between now and then

My mother only just spoke
Leaves turning at a snail’s pace
Green to yellow to
How she’s prone to anxiety
Red and brown
Spoke bulemia
When the wind swoops
The echoes cling to the windows
I hush
Spoke silence in a language I’m only now just learning
Thirty six years between us
Somehow less distance
Somehow more

I want to know about the birds that build nests up high
Who are they hiding from
Where do their babies first learn that we are born
Alone and will die alone
Each day an expression of this intrinsicness
Each quiet and still morning
An opportunity to fly deeper
A wingspan promise to try again

“what you can expect” by Sasha at Harvest Community Foods


Monday, January 18, 2016 at Harvest
5:32pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I wouldn’t say no to you becoming a seagull and riding a wind pattern West. Because that’s what you need. Because your wings are achy from underuse.

I would kiss your feathery cheek and whisper, “be safe.”

I would watch as a feather fell into the water and I would strip off my clothes and run in even though it’s cold out now and I would catch the feather in my teeth and carry it to shore.

I would wonder when I saw other seagulls in the weeks to follow if perhaps it was you or a new friend.

“Let me just say he did some pretty terrible things” by Sasha on Granville Island


Friday, June 12, 2015
6:13pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Valens

The gulls know things we don’t
Eternal foragers
Making friends to get what they want
The end of an ice cream cone
A piece of hot dog bun
A peanut
The gulls are the wise ones here
Calling for their friends with the abandon of the wild
Riding air
Kissing the water with feet like hands
The gulls see what we don’t see
A lotus between the cracks of concrete
A receipt from the deli with a prayer written on the back in pencil
A look between a mother and her babe when he goes too close
too far

“used to make them” by Julia at her desk


Saturday April 5, 2014
1:42am
5 minutes
from the box of envelopes

Sitting down with my origami paper and my origami instructions and I’m staring at my origami pictures and my origami table. I’m going to make a bunch of birds. What else do you make with origami? I want to make them small and large and smaller and larger. I want everyone to ask me to make one for them for Christmas or Easter because flight is really symbolic in both holidays. I will write a little message on each origami bird’s wing about “flight” or “magic” or “guidance” or “freedom”. I used to make things like this all the time when I had time and when I had to exorcise a lot of my personal demons on my own. I put them all into birds. I didn’t give those ones away because they would be too powerful in a negative way. Instead I’d make them and write words on the wings like “out” and “vanish” and “please” and “evil” and then I would take them up to the roof and burn every single one of them with a different match and a different glass jar. I found it therapeutic to give each bird its own holder so it could live out its issues without contaminating or influencing the other ones.
Now I’m much better so I’m giving happy thoughts out to the people I really like having around.

“while the real work is done outside” by Sasha on the Queen car going East


Monday February 3, 2014
4:08pm
5 minutes
The Essential Rumi
Rumi tr. Coleman Barks


Oh the nuances of what might happen in an alternate universe
Of what would happen if we spoke and broke and shook and took
This snow-globe keeps spinning and we’re disoriented but happy
He’s been strumming his guitar in memory of Pete Seeger
Even though he’s terrible
Even though he doesn’t know A from C from G
I’ll croon a lullaby so loud that no one sleeps
But the chords he’s trying are drowned out
The real work is done outside
In the drifts
In the squalls
In the acceleration of the afternoon
Sun high
Frost biting like a puppy
Birds feeding at the side of the house on seeds and jokes

“Maybe find a bluebird’s nest” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, June 2, 2013
1:28am
5 minutes
Knee-Deep in June
James Whitcomb Riley


In the yard, that’s where we were hiding. We didn’t want Anthony to hear us so we cupped each others’ mouths and just hoped nobody had to sneeze or pee for a little while. It would have ruined everything; the sounds of children playing carelessly travels. That’s when I saw it. I didn’t want to tell anyone just in case one of them couldn’t keep their little yipps to a minimum and blow our cover. It was beautiful. Just a tiny egg all by itself in the nest. Couldn’t tell what kind of nest it was either but that’s because it was dark. I couldn’t believe how low it was to the ground. Started wondering if the mother bird was nearby, stalking us the way I felt I was stalking her baby. I never would have touched the thing if it were up to me. My mother used to yell bloody murder at us when we were young if we ever went near a nest in our backyard, or at grandma’s cottage. I knew better. But then Corey had to stick his snot-nosed face right into it because he didn’t even see it. I told him to keep his glasses on from the start, but no, Anthony convinced him that if he took them off he’d be more of a man, and he’d also be less scared if he couldn’t see what was coming for him.

“33. Make mistakes faster” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday, December 11, 2012
12:27am
5 minutes
The Incomplete Manifesto for Growth
Bruce Mau


Just because the answers look like pretty little humming birds doesn’t mean you need to hold them in your hands and doesn’t mean you need to want them like you do. You can’t hold a humming bird at all, they don’t like that. But they do like to do what they do so it’s probably best if you just let them do it.
A kind of loneliness occurs when you’re told not to touch the birds. Any bird. We think it’s within our rights just to touch them and watch them, and keep them in cages. We find ourselves justified because they represent freedom with wings and we want some of that for us. Caged Freedom is what they become, singing songs of desperation for release, singing songs of melancholy dreams.
They don’t like to be behind bars. How could anything with wings like that? They need the sky at its grandest, its most expansive, its infinite, to catch them and let them fall, and guide them through the night without beacons or signs. They just need to go where they were meant to go. Here, there, tomorrow, today.
Little birdies with their beaks twisted into knots.
The smart ones keep them closed; only this way will we get bored of them and let them go.