Sunday October 30, 2016
from a Freshii sign at the airport
Things are slowing down
We are finding our breath and our hurt and we are letting them kiss
I know how to find centre
I know now I know now I know now
Yesterday’s self portrait is unrecognizable to me today. The shapes are the same but the lines are different. Different good, different wise. I think in the last few hours I have grown new lines or old ones have morphed into something that holds my skin in place better now. I greet the mirror with the kind of warmth reserved for reunion; homecoming to the eyes of my mother.
Monday July 11, 2016
From an e-mail
This heat has got you thinking all crazy this heat
has got your thinking like stalactites and radio
waves bottom of the swimming pool bottom of the
forest floor crunch crunch
crunch tread tread
treading water til you land on something familiar but your
feet don’t know the difference or do
they or do they?
Thirty six degrees and you’re wanting
wanting for something sweet salty sweaty
bitterness turns to calcium turns to
a face you recognize
but can’t name
Friday May 22, 2015
After I wash my face at night, I don’t really want to see other humans until morning. It’s not that I don’t want them to see my face unmasked, without colours and expressions painted on, it’s more than that. It’s about time and space and holding that for me in a sacred way which for some odd reason at any other point in the day doesn’t feel as possible. Maybe I’m greedy. Maybe I want my born like this, woke up like this, go to bed like this face for me and only me. Maybe it makes me feel closer to the earth and to my mother and to my truth. It’s strange because this ritual has turned me into a monster. One knock at my door and I’m hissing like a cat with her claws out ready to pounce. I can’t say “Nobody’s home” or “Nobody that you will recognize is here”. Though I am good at it, I don’t want to lie. So I answer with my secret night time alone time me time face, and there’s a scowl where my lightness just was, a cold stare where my openness used to be.
Thursday March 12, 2015
from a Facebook post
The clock was ticking faster than it ever had before and I’m not sure what month it is or who is Prime Minister. I wonder if I need a mirror, if there’s something on my face, but I’m shit outta luck there and next time anyone asks me if my name is Ashley, I’m going to punch them right in the stomach. No! My name isn’t Ashley!
This woman is able to reach me at the Motel off Major Mac. I know that I’ve seen her before and that she’s fatter now and that it used be winter and now it’s Spring.
“Ash? Are you in there?”
“Are you going to open the door?”
“I don’t know who you are…”
“Ash. It’s me.”
“I’m sorry. I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”
Friday February 27, 2015
– You’re making that face again…
– What face?
– That face.
– It’s just my face. I don’t know what you –
– It’s not just your face! I love your face. You’re making that face you make when you know you should apologize –
– I’m not gonna apologize –
– Then stop making that face.
– You’re making a face too, you know!
– Oh yeah? What does it say?
– It says “I’m smugggg…”
– It isn’t funny. I’m mad.
– I know that –
– And I’m offended that you think something’s off with my face. I always thought it was one of the few things I have going for me –
– You’re spiralling…
– I know… It’s taking me a second to apologize because it’s not that black and white. It’s not just “SORRY! MY BAD!” and then let’s go watch a movie!
– Stop being so –
– I’m sorry.
– Thank you.
– Your face is back now!
Saturday, September 6, 2014
from a tweet
He has a scar on his hand
the kind where you can see the stitches
the kind that looks like someone drew it there
He has lady hands
which undermine the scar
His nails are longer than I’d like
But no one asked me
He has pock marks on his face
I wonder what it says about his teenage years
I wonder if they hurt
I wonder if he stood
Wanting to shed his skin
He scratches under his left eye
I follow his fingers
His eyes are brown
Darker than when he first arrived
Darker than his childhood
Darker now that time is heavy
and the moon is full
Thursday July 24, 2014 at MAKE
Ashtanga Yoga Primer
Baba Hari Das
Oh for coping? I guess I have some experience. I usually don’t talk about them with anyone though. I don’t like sharing that stuff in case anyone finds it disturbing or whatever. TMI, maybe? I usually just avoid people during the coping period all together.
But okay. I could list them out, if that’s what you need? If you think it’ll help?
Number one…I’m suddenly acutely aware of myself. And my sadness. Because I’m still struggling with these and I’m the one who originated them. Sorry. Number one: Scream. It sounds easy, but it’s different than just letting sound out at a high volume. It’s a deep one. It’s guttural, it’s blood curdling, it’s hopeless and hopeful at the same time. And it lasts for at least 90 seconds. I do this one first to let it all out. Or try to.
Number two: find a sore spot on your body – a knot, a bruise, a tight muscle, and dig into it. With anything you want, but usually I use my elbows. You want something very pointy. Number three: Finish an entire container of peanut butter. Don’t move from your spot until it’s completely gone, lid licked. I don’t know why this one helps but it does. Maybe because you need something to stick to your bones once you’ve released all the unwanted parts. Number four: put on a blindfold and walk around your house until you know it by touch. Number five: Paint your mirror around your face. Turn it into something like a face cut out character you’d see at a carnival. Number six: floss.
Wednesday June 11, 2014
A quote from Ian
I hate everything about everything and the only thing I like in my life right now is my purple hair. That’s it. That’s all I like. And I don’t feel even a little bit weird that I only got this hair colour in my late 20s when everyone else my age started dying their hair crazy colours in high school. I needed to do it because I felt like I was losing touch with myself, so I did it, and I don’t regret it, but I hate everything about everything because I lost my job because I wouldn’t dye it back to normal. How stupid is that? Do I look any different with purple hair streaks than I do with brown straight hair that just gets tied up everyday like some cookie-cutter version of myself? I mean, yeah, it looks really different, and my boss was just confused with my life choice because I couldn’t explain to him my life phase, but I mean, I still have the same face. Or I mean, sort of. I did pierce my lip, and my nose, and my eye-brow. But whatever it’s the same face with just accessories! Nobody got mad at Janice for losing 73 pounds and now looking like a coat rack holding chicken skin.
Wednesday June 11, 2014
A quote from Ian
We wore fake eyelashes. I can’t even believe it. We put them on, standing on the sofa, looking in the mirror that stretched across the wall. We wore fake eyelashes and then we rode our bikes to a club and then I kissed the bouncer and bypassed the line.
The morning after (the night before), the mascara is under the eyes, no longer on the lashes, the lashes are free. The pores are open and alive and taking in every ounce of what’s unfamiliar. “Want some tea?” Run, run to the bathroom to wash the face to look, to see the newness and the day and what might be there. Wrapped in a towel, covered body but naked face.
I know lots of people that are a lot worse. I know lots of people that haven’t left the house without foundation since they were thirteen. I look at women’s faces at the restaurant and see a different color from chin to neck. You aren’t fooling anyone. I can see through that. I can see through the double D’s, double heels, tanning bed, wax wax wax away the animal. We are animals. I am an animal.
Tuesday May 20, 2014
The Weather Network
You guys, like you don’ even know! You guys, I was waiting for the bus and this guy says to me, “You got an ugly face!” an’ I’m like, “Is this even happening?” An’ then he says it again, “YOU GOT AN UGLY FACE!” An’ I’m like… Whattaya even say to that, right? “That’s harsh, man,” I says to him and he comes up real close to me, like I smell the hot dog he musta just eaten or whatever and he says, “No disrespect,” an’ I’m like, “Uh, yeah “disrespect!” You jus’ told me I got an ugly face!” You guys, I almost laughed. Like, you don’ believe that someone’s jus’ gonna get in your grill an’ tell you what they think like that! “What’s the poin’ a sayin’ somethin’ like that?” I says to this guy, this dumb guy. He’s like, “Havin’ a bad day, you know. Jus’ havin’ a bad day…” An’ then I think about how I’m havin’ a great day! It’s hot! It’s basically summer! Guys, this guy wasn’t gonna bring me down!
Thursday May 1, 2014
The Q Podcast
I forgot what your face looked like for a brief moment yesterday. I was having one of those fake conversations with you in my head and I was trying to picture your exact reaction- that head tilt to the side and that one squinty eye thing. I kept saying my part over and over and I couldn’t see your face in the response. So I changed what I said and I waited for your face to just magically appear. It didn’t. It was so strange. Up until now all I had to do was think of you and it would be as if I was sitting right next to you, almost touching your skin with mine and hearing you breathe.
This feeling, it was like going blind. It was being able to see my entire life for my entire life, the sunsets, the stars, the reeds sticking out alongside the river, and then suddenly being forced to make out a picture in complete darkness.
I didn’t want to tell you that. I didn’t want you to think it was the beginning of the end or something. It wasn’t. It was just a trick of the mind, a game my head was playing on me. Maybe even just a test to see what I held dear…
Wednesday December 18, 2013
from the Charles Bradley record
When I get to your house, I stop, my feet drowning in slush. I don’t feel worthy of the curb, of the elevation. I see you through the window. You’re holding your son. He must be three now. He has your hair, your curls. I imagine he has your eyes, too, and your nose. He has her mouth, though, at least that’s what I see, when I close my eyes. You raise your boy up, high in the air and he laughs, you laugh. My heart drops and hits the slush. I catch it and put it back where it belongs, or where it used to be. I’m not sure where it will go next. Your Christmas tree looks right out of The Nutcracker, all lights and ribbons and silver and gold. It’s bigger than my apartment. I walk closer and closer and closer, sinking into the snow. When I get to the window I push my face up against the glass. I cross my eyes. You see me and your face pales. You put down your son and whisper something in his ear.
Friday, August 9, 2013
MoMo has green eyes that remind of plates one might find in an antique store. When he looks at me, I question things I haven’t ever questioned before, like philosophical stuff, big universe stuff. MoMo has long legs that seem to dangle no matter what he’s doing. He’s got good teeth. The kind of teeth my Bubby would have whispered about. “Look at those teeth…” She would’ve said. He popped too many pimples when he got acne when he was eighteen. There are little potholes in his face. But it adds to his mystery. It dots him with experience. It makes me trust him. He used to roll his own cigarettes but he stopped smoking when his daughter started. They cycle of life. The circle of nicotine and sunsets and diapers.
Sunday, May 20, 2013
From the cover of a book on the table
It was cold in the hospital, artificial air-conditioning air, and bright, too bright, the kind of bright light that illuminates every too-open pore and every yet-to-be tweezed hair. She imagines what it would be like if all the fixtures were on their own dimming switches. Perhaps not practical, but she never claimed to be. “Polly?” She rolled over. She opened her eyes. She hadn’t expected Tom to come. They’d only e-mail to arrange drop-off and pick-up of their shared custody Yorkie, West. They each had keys to the others apartment and they’d make a point of not being home for that, there was no need for them to cross paths. He hadn’t sent a note when he’d heard, he hadn’t even added a “P.S.” He hadn’t dialed her number, which she was sure he still knew by heart, and said… even, nothing. He hadn’t called her and said nothing at all but her name. Tom had shaved his head and she thought it made him look intimidating and severe. She’d liked him better with more hair. “I’m sorry I didn’t… I just couldn’t… I didn’t know what to…” He was crying, or, rather, tears were falling out of his eyes. His face didn’t contort the way hers did when she wept. She used the strength from the Codine and raised her fingers up. He walked closer and touched them, with his own fingertips. It was the intimacy of a brother and sister. Funny that they’d been married once, that they’d lain naked together so many nights, that they had thought they’d be buried side-by-side in Mount Pleasant Cemetery one day.
Wednesday May 8, 2013 at Jimmy’s in Kensington Market
from a quote by Noam Chomsky
Clint has a wide forehead, stretching like Manitoba. He has a high hairline, isn’t balding, but has a high hairline, high like the corn stalks, high like the gulls calling for sunset. Clint has a broad nose, got it from his great-grandfather, a Cherokee chief. Somewhere along the line it got broken, like his wish for a red pick-up. Somewhere along that same line, rum and coke left their marks, too. He has brown eyes, the whites a bit less white than they used to be, before the storm at the Bay, before the lady in the black tank top too her heart back. Clint goes by “Clint” but he was named, sixteen days after being borned, he was named “Roberto”. No one quite knows when it got changed, when it did it stuck and that’s really all that matters now. His wrinkles are deep trenches, World War Three trenches, clay earth trenches, from nostrils to near the corners of his mouth. The bird digs for a worm.