Sunday September 3, 2017
Don’t Even Think About It: why our brains are wired to ignore climate change
why does having children have to be the norm anyway
what if I’m not too interested in seeing myself reflected back
oh that’s why you think people have children in the first place
so they get another stab at living
or so they have enough hands to help around the farm
tell me again how me holding someone else’s baby makes you feel
when I come home and tell you that it is so nice to be able to give them back
you know how S says that some people aren’t meant to be drivers
how if you don’t have a real interest in driving then maybe you shouldn’t be on the road and there is nothing wrong with admitting that
it’s preferable to someone who acts like they love driving but then causes several traffic accidents
that’s what it should be like for parents
or whatever you call humans who don’t want to be parents
Monday August 28, 2017
from the passport booklet
my passport is good until 2023 or something like that. I opted into the ten year thing. I have a good photo so I’m lucky. I should probably travel more to get some better use out of it. Lately I’ve been taking my drivers license with me for domestic flights. that makes me nervous but also makes me feel cool. I am lying on the floor right now. I am not flying anywhere. They say if your passport gets damaged then you should inform whoever it is that issues them. I want to know how passports are getting damaged. Are people stabbing them? Are the bad guys painting them with nail polish? This is a very serious question with zero
serious answers. I keep mine in a yellow Koodo bag. Safe enough.
Sunday August 27, 2017
Some days she forgets why she’s trying
why she’s waking and walking and eating and fucking
Some days she only rises to piss and eat a rice cake
over the sink
Some days she lets the phone ring even though she knows
it’s her mother and she misses her mother and she wants
nothing more than to speak to her mother
This is one of those days
This is one of those days
She peels an avocado and bits of green flesh get
on the sheets and shit she didn’t want to make
more of a mess.
Tuesday August 15, 2017
foverheard at JJ Bean
You could tell him that his toenails are too long
you could gag everytime his foot rubs your leg
You could tell her that her breath smells like a jar of sleeping shit
you could wear a hospital mask over your entire face
You could tell him there is lemon meringue gooping out of his eyes
you could smash his face into a pillow, like a game, ha ha, wipe wipe
You could tell her that she’s being defensive
you could put her attitude in the bowl of acceptance and underline TRUST over and over
You could say the truth
Monday August 14, 2017
from a greeting card
It’s hard to hold each other because we tend to be busy figuring out where to put our hands on our own skin. Where does this limb go? Tucked into the corner of self and hope? Where do we put this paper cut? I don’t know how to give you all of me if my wrists cry out in the night to be touched. Some things aren’t meant to be shared. I have stashed cookies all over this place. In containers above the sink, in baggies nestled in the secret pouches of the living room, in plain sight, behind the placemats. Some things aren’t meant for other people. Once I figure out just how much sneaking I need to do to feel like I haven’t given all of myself away, I move my spots. I stop for a while. I become satisfied with the memory of stealing opportunities that no one needs to know about. I get obsessed with wondering where to hide this hand; this ingrown hair.
Sunday July 9, 2017
overheard on 14th Ave
We haven’t talked since Maeve’s funeral. A bit strange, since we live together. We have been weaving in and out of the hallways to avoid our skin brushing. It helps that there are mirrors. You don’t know I’m watching but I know when to move. I don’t miss your voice and that’s also a bit strange. I thought I would but it turns out I’ve never known silence. Neither have you. My quiet is different than yours. Mine is settled. Yours sounds like bees, dying. Maybe if you didn’t kiss my sister while everyone else was burying my step mother. Maybe then yours would have sounded lighter.
Monday May 8, 2017
“Wise beyond her years”
she was also
the master of
the baby voice.
She shrugged her
at painted toes.
Adult body came
too fast comes
“This isn’t what
I wanted,” she
“Wise beyond her years”
a spell cast after
the wall fell.
“Wise beyond her years”
a blessing spoken
over dinner beeswax
“Wise beyond her years”
outgrowing jeans and
shoes seeing all the
Monday January 23, 2017
Dear Sugar: Writers Resist
Isn’t it nice to drink something out of a circular rim? Tiny lips on tiny lips! I just don’t like being left out to drown, do you know what I mean?
I don’t like spilling things. And those glasses are only there to make a fool out of me. It’s not fair. It’s not nice. it’s not good. What if you spill some? What if you lose it? I-I-I-I… It’s.. There’s more. I’m not able to carry it all. I’m not able to have one more thing that could go wrong, that I could be bad at. I am not good enough to be bad at some things. I have to be good.
Tuesday January 10, 2016
She looked around the room
wild eyed and buzzing
her tiny eyes still too glassy
to make sense of any faces
little hands and noses mushed
into her field of vision
blurring in and out
in and out
Her head was fully held up
by the neck on which it stood
Advanced, some of the other new mothers
She was anxious to be independent
ready, rather, since she popped out
her new mother said nonchalantly as she gnawed
on a meaty rib bone with her free hand
She gulped at the air
her mouth the same shape as her tiny fists
eager to be in the glory of it all
curious and young
to be so new and so old
all at the same time
a thousand tiny lifetimes lived
in every breath
of her perfect little head
Tuesday January 10, 2016
What curious sense does it make
the mouse nibbling the corner of
the book page, rice collecting at the bottom of
the bird cage
Tiny animals lined up in a row?
The majesty of monarchs
sending smoke signals up to the Gods
The killer whales sonar harmony
that’s just for the coral and
the lichen and the squid and the moss?
Pandora’s Box left open on the counter
tied in a red ribbon
wrapped in a green shawl
dusted with dirt and the smell of home.
You step closer.
You step closer.
You open it.
All of a sudden
it’s clear as the timer
as the coffee
as the inspiration!
All of the animals
aren’t in a row
They are in a circle
Stretching land and sea and sky!
They are in a circle
and they are singing
raising their calls.
Sunday January 8, 2016
From a card
If I bought you a chicken
you’d have fresh eggs for life
If I gave you a machete
you’d never need a knife
If I made you a tea
you’d soothe your sore throat
If I knit you a sweater
you wouldn’t need a coat
If I fried you an egg
you’d have a full belly
If I put on the peanut butter
you’d spread out the jelly
If I gave you my heart
you’d never want for a thing
If I gave you a ukulele
you’d just have to sing
If I found us a mutt
you’d name it Earl or Gus
And we’d walk everywhere
and never have to ride the bus
Saturday January 7, 2016
Summer of My Amazing Luck
We drove past the honey sign and Bogert said, “Let’s stop and get some.” I don’t even like honey much, but Bogert does and so I said, “Okay.” The honey farmer wore a wide brimmed hat and had a little moustache. I thought, “What a pretty man,” and Bogert told me later that he’d seen me blush asking that man about all the different types of honey. Orange blossom and elderflower and all kinds of stuff. Bogert chose the kind he wanted and we were almost on our way when that honey farmer said, “Would you like to join me and Elyse for lunch?”
Tuesday December 20, 2016
Overheard on the 99
Frankie and Mel were sitting on the bus in their vintage coats, fur framing their curls and red lips pursed from the cold. Frankie told Mel that she was going to break all the hearts, maybe more than she usually did with her hair like that. Mel told Frankie that it didn’t matter who else was there as long as Donald saw her. Frankie warned Mel not to get her hopes up that Donald would be there. He hadn’t been in town much on account of work and his brother Laird was busy taking over the shop, which he conveyed to Frankie the other day when she went in to buy better soil. Mel told Frankie that she knew he wouldn’t but couldn’t she just let her have that moment suspended in time?
Thursday December 15, 2016
From a recruitment email
The clock in the entrance way is off by seven minutes and it aggravates you. When it chimes you wonder where on the list it says that one of your duties is to wind it. You wore sensible black shoes today, after Mrs. Smithers commented on your red boots yesterday.
“Well, well, well…” She’d said, looking you up and down. Her roots were showing, clawing their way back in. The kettle had boiled and she’d made herself a Jasmine tea.
“Are those appropriate for the office?” She’d asked, dropping a sugar cube into her “WORLD’S BEST MOM” mug.
“I thought so,” you’d said, peeling a clementine.
Friday December 9, 2016
from an e-mail
used to make signs that we’d stick on the yellow door with masking tape
“don’t use the kind that takes the paint off, girls!”
when did we stop being “girls”?
when did we stop making signs with bearded men and red-haired women?
when did we start counting days of the weeks in underwear rolled in the bottom of a backpack?
used to make signs for everyday stuff not just special occasions
used to make signs with crayons and magazine pieces and words i didn’t
really know the meaning of
Monday November 28, 2016
From a feedback form
“Can you think of anything that you want to add?” She says, looking at me with sorrow eyes.
“I don’t think so?” I start to put on my jacket and she stands up. “You’re brave, for doing this…” Sorrow eyes get wider. “Many people never report anything, for a variety of reasons, that are all valid but – … then how are we supposed to – ”
“I have to get to class.” I say, and rush out of her office.
“Oh. Okay. Thanks again for coming, Alice.” She extends her hand and I shake it. It’s warm.
I lock myself in a bathroom stall for awhile and as other people come and go I think about those sorrow eyes and how I’m tired of them and really, I’m actually just tired. So, so tired.
Sunday November 27, 2016
Overheard at BC Children’s Hospital
A: If you could be any colour what colour would you be?
B: Um, red? You?
A: Blue. Obviously.
B: Why is that obvious?
A: Because of my eyes and the colour of my sweater and jeans?
B: Oh. Right.
A: If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?
B: Hm… That’s a hard one –
A: Why, because you hate animals?
B: No. Because I’m a veterinary assistant. And I love animals.
A: Oh, right. I forgot that… So?
B: I guess a dolphin? Or a grizzly bear?
A: Those are very different animals. You have to choose one.
B: A grizzly.
A: Really? I was going to say a warthog.
B: That’s just mean.
Thursday November 24, 2016
Weddings from the Heart
Daphne Rose Kingma
We’re talking forevers now which really we have
no right to do which really is all a big joke anyway
We’re talking hay bales and baby names
and barbecued chicken and first dance songs and
Will I even wear a white dress anyway
This institution getting a reboot on the terms
of interracial feminism progression but
what about the minivan and the braces and
the mortgage and the mutt
We’re talking forevers now and it getting
us high and making us squirm
Wednesday November 23, 2016
from a Facebook comment
I see a man’s face through the ice looking up
his mouth contorted in salt water scream
I am standing on the thick part but still
wonder about safety and falling through
Many women are gathered here
some men too We all wear blue ribbons
I look forward to the day when this is not
the headline and the currency and the
reason I can’t sleep.
Tuesday November 22, 2016
Overheard at GO studios
I know that this place is haunted but if I talk about I’ll freak myself right out. Prolly freak you out, too…
But I should really tell you that there were footsteps upstairs last night. And there is no “upstairs”… It’s an attic. I asked Mel about raccoons or squirrels and she said, “No way.”
It’s funny, seeing ghosts, spirits, whatever you want to call them. It’s awkward when I talk to one and everyone else, all the alive people are like, “Who are you speaking to?” And I have to pretend like, “Oh, no one! I’m just talkin’ full volume to myself!”
Saturday November 19, 2016
Overheard on Oak St.
“I’m just so sad,” Phoebe has eyes like macaroni and cheese, deep pools of swamp. “I know you are, babe,” I say, and I wish that there was more comfort in those five words. They are just five words and words aren’t enough today. “I’m scared to live here,” she pulls the hood of her sweatshirt around her neck, cocooning. “I want to disappear.”
Inside the quietness of my ribcage, I talk to her about going to the desert and getting married, a klezmer band of lesbians singing to our love in ancient howls under a crescent moon. Inside the quietness, I whisper sounds that aren’t words that might hold her in a way English never can.
Sunday November 13, 2016
From an interview question
I keep seeing pictures of our future and your
brows are furrowed “So here we are”
I can’t see everything in focus
I see windchimes and mushrooms and candle wax
Maybe you’re calling the new me the one with
more patience and breath that smells like artichokes
Maybe you’re thinking about
the past Now
Soon all this will be forgotten from our minds
but remembered by the elephant hearts
that I cradle like unborn daughters
dreaming in their soft sleep
dreaming this future into Now
Wednesday November 9, 2016 at JJ Bean on Cambie
From a tweet
I have cried all the cries
and all the fears
endless rivers of grief
a chasm in my chest the size of an orange man
I have raged on my bed
and my body
and my love
I have lost hope
A violent collision of
faith and doubt
I’ll go listen to music tonight
eat a muffin
write my daily write
A sadness has descended
that I haven’t known
The privilege of self reflection
of able body
The privilege of a bed to rage
a body to move
a love to hold and weep and hold
six dollars for an americano and
a peach oatmeal muffin
On my walk here
I searched the eyes of people I passed
in a way that I don’t usually
with a tenderness I have been conditioned
I searched the eyes of a pregnant woman
Sunday October 23, 2016
Shaving off his moustache was an identity thing. James didn’t want to make a big deal about it, but it was a big deal and everyone knew it. Facial hair quickly becomes a meaningful manifestation of identity and no, he didn’t first grow it during Mo-vember and yes, he does use wax. Fiona had suggested it when she witnessed James’ profound attachment to his moustache. She introduced the idea with subtlety at first and then got a little bit more bold.
Monday October 17, 2016
From a Facebook post
I’m not bitter. I wouldn’t say that. But Jeanie coming in here and saying, “Shit happens,” like she has no clue – … I just, it bugs me. It bugs me. I’m not gonna tell the story again and I’m not gonna whine but, like, you’re goin’ along, having a normal day, a regular Thursday, and then – BANG. Everything changes. Nothing will ever be the same. I don’t want pity! I really don’t. But I just don’t need some punk with attitude comin’ into my hospital room, actin’ like they know what’s up! Jeanie has no fucking clue!
Tuesday July 12, 2016 at Starbucks
from a text
I sit on the edge of my nothingness like it’s a cloud and I’m in love with it. I am cotton candy insides and I’m melting away leaving a trail of rainbow guts and tie-dyed blood. There is nothing wrong with my nothingness and for the first time in all the time there ever has been, it is peaceful instead of not. Acceptance of nothingness is a road with bumps and potholes and with poor lighting sometimes but usually free of other travelers because it’s a long one and there is enough room for everybody. There is a space now between yesterday’s pain and tomorrow’s worry and it’s all here all now- all everything I’ve been avoiding- because feelings are attached to beliefs and those things get stuck pretty hard as a system that limits me if I let it. I dangle my feet off the edge of nothingness now like it’s a dream and I’m no longer trying to catch it. No flash photography here to capture it, just smiling into the places that can be so easily filled with words words words.
Monday July 11, 2016 at Starbucks
from an e-mail
There are crazy people everywhere. Waiting to get on a bus, complaining about a dirty table, screaming about the bugs in their hair. Some days I am this way. I can see myself reacting, overreacting to things and I don’t recognize my face. It’s like some crazy person has hijacked my body to do all their crazy things. I know it’s me, but it feels like a movie or video game. My therapist says I can’t be held responsible for things I do or how I behave outside my “window of tolerance”. She says that trauma can lead to the window being broken wide open and that’s how things become blurry; hard to control; hard to keep rational. I told her, I don’t know how I could do it, I never wanted to do it, and she said, well it’s that “window of tolerance” thing we talked about and would you like to go back in time and speak to your six year old self right now?
Friday July 8, 2016 at Starbucks
When I Am King, Dilly Dilly
I wake up everyday already loving you, you’re at, let’s say 20%. You know, like a server at a restaurant: I go in and I give you the benefit of the doubt, I start you at a 20% tip and if you mess up by being rude, I knock a couple percent off. I have no ill intentions, I don’t go to a restaurant expecting to be disappointed. I expect kindness. I expect good food. I expect thoughtfulness. And I expect, sometimes more than I should, a freebie of some sort. And then because I’ve eaten out at other restaurants before, I compare this service to that service to this service to that service, and I know when I’m not being treated right. I also know because I was a server once too, and it’s not hard to remember what was involved in a customer experience job. I wake up everyday at the top of my love for you. And then you forget to buy the garbage can again, or print off the movie tickets, or you bring home the light mayonnaise even though I specifically asked you NOT to get the light mayonnaise, for reasons that don’t need to be stated here. I’d say you’re lucky if you’re getting a base tip of 15% by lunch time.
Friday November 27, 2015 at Our Town
The Vancouver Sun
Friday, November 27, 2015
They play the kind of oldies music that I love here. I can’t help but tap my foot and sing along. It’s a crowded place. Not the best spot for open expression of who I am. If my father could see me he’d be so embarrassed at how little tact I have. He always hated when I’d check to see if I had food in my teeth in a knife while sitting at a restaurant. He thought it was classy. I thought it would be less classy if I spoke to someone with spinach hanging from my gums, but no, what I was doing was inappropriate. I couldn’t tell you how many times my dad has embarrassed me just by being narrow minded. I never told him that I didn’t want to be seen with him, even if he told a bad joke, or said that people with dreadlocks shouldn’t work at a housewares store. I even remember one time he came skating with my grade 4 class and fell on the ice in front of everyone. I was 9 and sure, it was a big deal then, but I did not act like I was even a little bit bothered because I bet he was way more embarrassed than I was. In fact now that I think about it I was really just worried that he might have hurt himself and there wouldn’t have been room for anything else…
Sunday November 22, 2015 at Our Town
from a text
I love kittens!! Mom said if I finished reading my new book that she got me (it’s called: KITTENS) and ask Auntie Genie about the responsibilities around raising an animal friend as a pet, she MIGHT, maybe, will POSSIBLY consider letting me go to the shelter (where they keep the kittens from dying before they’re old enough to take care of themselves) and learn about some of my favourite ones. When I told her that I promised I would and would make sure I was very well informed about kittens and EVERYTHING they need before I asked her to get one, she said, Now, Izzie, this is not a YES or a NO it is a MAYBE, and it is ON CONDITION. I Know I know I know already. She is “non-committal”. Just like my father was. Or at least that’s what Auntie Genie tells me. She told me that FACT when I asked her once if he left because he was allergic to me. She said, Of course not, but that would have been a better reason.
Saturday November 21, 2015
overheard at the Eastside Culture Crawl
Maybe we shouldn’t talk about the future, about how many kids you want, or how many pieces of artwork we don’t agree on. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Maybe we shouldn’t tell each other everything just in case we wake up one time in the middle of the night and realize there’s nothing left to learn. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Maybe we shouldn’t co-own anything unless that thing is a fruit and custard pull-away tart from the coffee shop on the corner where the barista is mean to you. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Maybe we shouldn’t wait for the other one to be honest about the things we’re afraid of first. Maybe there’s pain in the waiting. Maybe there’s disaster in the lie before it becomes the truth.
Maybe we shouldn’t tell our parents, when they ask what we did last night, that we didn’t leave our beds because we were too high to stand up. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Friday November 20,2015 at Shaktea
I scooped up her tiny face into my hands and I brought her close to mine so I could feel her nose and inhale her intoxicating smell. She smelled of cinnamon and felt comforting to be around. I liked that she didn’t have a sweet smell because when I thought of her defending herself against the world, it put me at ease to think that she’d be a little bit tougher, connected to her roots, fiery, quick.
She was sleeping still and I thought about leaving in that moment so I could remember her like that: peaceful, calm, perfect. I couldn’t bare the idea of her crying at the realization of my absence. I didn’t want to cause her any more pain than I already had.
Thursday November 19,2015
from the back of a theatre theory book
Belief isn’t strong enough on its own, she tells me, as the crumbs of her double baked almond croissant stick to the corners of her mouth.
You need to put beliefs into practice, Marnie. It’s all about practicality here.
I can’t stop staring at her lips. Encrusted in almond flakes, spewing some wisdom or advice that I can barely pay attention to.
Do you think you put your beliefs into practice, Marnie?
She notices where my eyes land on her face and instantly reaches up to swat the crumbs away. She looks embarrassed now. She keeps her gaze on me.
Have you been listening, Marnie?
Yes, I tell her quickly, before she tries to ask me if I’m sure.
Good. That’s good. Is there anything you’d like to add? I don’t want to be the only one offering ideas here. That’s not why I asked to meet with you, is it?
Wednesday November 18,2015
from a tweet by the Globe and Mail
When we’re alone after a full day of kissing my family and eating tortelli you tell me there’s this new game you can’t wait to play when we get home. I don’t know why, but this bothers me. I can’t tell why I’m upset by this. You’re not hurting me by playing. Or are you? I haven’t figured out why my insides are twisting and my veins are pulsing. Am I looking for a reason to be mad at you? I try to delay my response because I’m worried it’ll come out naggy, or pissed off. I would much rather come to the conclusion of my feelings before involving you in an outburst. Is it because I wish I had something to look forward to when we go home? Is it because we have plans when we get home and you’re blowing me off? Do we have plans at all? I’m mad at how mad I am without quite knowing why. I rack my brain for instances to refresh my memory about why it is I can’t handle this decision. It seems like one you’ve made before. I remember that. Or something like it…
Tuesday November 17,2015
from an e-mail
Went to church when I was younger I guess, so I have this really big soft spot for budding Christians. Not the full blown ones, I have no room for those. But the ones who are starting to feel community and straight-edged living are the ones I see myself in. So many of my beliefs were centered around permission and guilt and acceptance and guilt and lying and begging and praying and guilt. Like I was sand being shaken back and forth in an hourglass. Always trying not to be wrong. Always trying to right the wrong. Always being wrong. Always feeling bad for being wrong. But there in the community where we’d raise our hands to the Lord and sway them back and forth while our eyes were closed and our hearts exploded, we felt like pieces cut out of the same felt, glued onto bristol board to form a perfect circle; the poster kids for The Lost.
Sunday November 8, 2015
Okay so I started taking this improv class-that’s what they say, it’s so cool, they don’t even finish the word. It’s every week on Tuesdays and the class is 3 hours long and it is the best thing in my entire life. It’s so funny. People really are hilarious in this class so I never feel like it’s a waste cause I’m always laughing and sometimes till I’m crying and that is the best feeling. Our instructor, Vijestica is a hobbit sized woman and she has a big laugh that starts, I am convinced, in her groin. She’s always snorting and shooting snot out of her nose because she loves to laugh and gets us really excited about our choices! In improv you learn how to YES AND which means nothing is wrong and everything is a good idea and you say yes to the first choice that comes and just keep building on that until you’re really rolling with it all and the jokes just flow and the laughs just follow. Vijestica says this is a safe place to leave the everyday at the door. I am so glad to leave my everyday at the door because working in a cubicle the size of an outhouse in my everyday is actually the thing that might kill me. It’s awful, there’s no silliness or fun, only deadlines and people telling me “nice maroon sweater, Alma,” or “Did you eat my peanut butter tuna sandwich, Alma?” Here, in improv class, we all just smile and tell each other how great and brave we all are.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Art & Fear
David Bayles & Ted Orland
When Moses comes home, you will reach for him like you once did. He will turn towards you but shake his head slow, like rain moving across the water. You will ask him what he saw, what he did, what he didn’t do. He will turn away, like summer does in September, and turn on the TV. You will be patient for days, for nights, for months, until one day you will reach for his hand. He will extend his open palm. You will put your cheek in it, a puzzle piece, and he will finally cry. A tsunami is often caused by an earthquake. You know this, and you will feel the ground shake. The tears don’t stop until the moon hangs drunk on the horizon. The wave comes in.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Conversations with Anne
When Isaac gets on stage he glimmers
He doesn’t wear glitter
His music his harmonies his skin radiates light
When Isaac moves his feet back and forth
it’s just right
A mass of moving pink and purple and denim
can’t help moving too
Moving just like he is
A kaleidoscope mirror
“ISAAC!” They shout
“I love you guys!” He responds
It’s that simple
It’s that present
It’s that easy