FEEL YOUR FACE
(AFTER WASHING YOUR HANDS)
FEEL YOUR FACE
Friday March 6, 2020
Quote by Cynthia Ozick
D says I haven’t aged in the ten years since we last saw one another.
I know I have (lines around my eyes, grey hair at my temples), but
I also know what he means. I wonder if we’d reunited eight months earlier
if he would’ve said the same thing. Probably not? I don’t know.
Maybe we aren’t fair assessors of ourselves. Too close to really know what’s happening. Let’s make a pact to no longer hate the things about us that make
us human, dying. Let’s make a promise that we will lift where we slouch
because it helps us to feel the sun on our face, helps us to hold the space
where all the tiny good things live. Is there anything more compelling than
a woman who knows her worth?
Friday February 28, 2020
From a quote by Will Rogers
Disappointment leaves wax on my favourite cashmere sweater
add it to the pile of things I need to Google to figure out
I sat with myself last night on the red couch in the basement apartment
closed my eyes and leaned back and said
”Why?!” It was very soap opera dramatic and alto whiney
so then I laughed at myself and what strange creatures we all really are
I unpack the bag of the things that I had packed carefully
Napkins and a yellow lighter and a small jar of butter to which
I’d added flaky salt
It’s a foreign city I’ve found myself in
Familiar house but foreign city
Missing a feeling missing a face missing a feeling of a face
On Wednesday the storm comes creeping in finger by finger
and the cars drive by and splash wetter water on wobbly legs
Instead of cursing I laugh because of course
Snow hanging like ghostfruit from the naked trees
On Wednesday I go to Lou’s for breakfast and they cook for me
slice avocado and pear for Lola
We eat and laugh and talk about therapy and love and money and family
like we always have and we always will
but it’s also new somehow
Wednesday isn’t a comma or a period
it’s a semicolon
Even when the days of the week don’t really matter
or they don’t matter in the way that they once did
They matter in such a different way now
Monday December 9, 2019
She’s shy about the way her ears stick out. Henry Kitteridge made fun of them once in second grade and to this day, forty three years later, she tries not to tuck her hair behind her ears. She doesn’t question this, just like she doesn’t question how she shaves her legs, plucks her few stray chin hairs, waxes her eyebrows, gets pedicures if she’s wearing sandals, uses mouthwash, gets a bikini wax, sucks in her stomach, and purses her lips. Her grandmother once said, “shame that you got the Collins lips.” Rings in her ears every time she puts on lipstick. Even the expensive stuff. She sees how some young women have stopped shaving their armpit hair (some even dye it!) She sees the overgrown brows, the fluidity of gender, the way that things aren’t what they used to be. They are changing.
Wednesday September 18, 2019
Snapshot of a Lump
Kelli Russell Agodon
do those jade roley things work?
I need something to smoothe out the forehead lines I’ve given myself for always looking so pissed off.
today the billboard asked me if I was willing to do what it takes and I am. I’m willing.
I’ve seen the writings on the wall and they are usually saying the same thing:
you are not good enough to reach the end of the tunnel with the face you have on.
Did you want to trade it in for one of these models? They’re sleek and uniform so all you have to do is slice and dice and then you’ll look like everybody else!
On a different Wednesday I heard that it might be better if I used the 16-dollar scrub. It’s the only one that works, they said.
Friday August 9, 2019
There is a teacher with his dick in his pants waiting
to eat whoever dares to look directly at it. Him.
I meant to say him. I meant to say his eyes but. Fuck.
Fuck it all. He wears those tight jeans and he’s begging
anyone with breasts to prove to him that he belongs in
front of us all, laying down some hard lust disguised
as hard truth. Another hard-on reference. I get the
innuendo, I’m fully fucking aware of it. He knows too.
He yells at me when I’m listening because my face looks
like it’s pissed off and that’s not me that’s just my
face. He’s not the first to think I look angry when I’m
not but he is the first to call me out on it in front of
the entire room and try to make me feel like shit for
something I didn’t even do. He wants to prove a point.
Once when I’m up there not all the way in it acting but
trying to, he gets in the way with his big dick voice;
he gets in my head. I yell at him from the wall I’m
standing on and he gets off at how mad I finally am.
Sunday July 21, 2018
Live-clean soap label
You could go in there, Lamby, and ask them to test their luxury soaps and they’ll let you! You don’t even have to tell them you have sensitive skin! I think they hope you buy something, but mostly they don’t care at ALL.
I went in there last weekend and saw a soap that had raspberry seeds inside it. For a scrub. It was so pretty. I also saw a corn on the cob face toner. No seriously, Lamby, the toner was yellow. They told me how it worked but I was in such shock I didn’t retain any of it! It was expensive too. So I asked to try it and they let me and I don’t know how they do it but having it on my face just felt right.
Everybody who works there walks around wearing lip liner and cold heart. It’s very thrilling.
Tuesday April 16, 2019
It’s no secret I like poppingsquishing pulling the guts out of my woundsand forcing myself to take a lookI always take a look and that’s problemonumero uno. Here’s me, I am me here in the bathroomand all I have to do is brush my teethand wash my face to get out of here aliveBut the first thing…It’s no secret.The first thing is I take a look.And as I’m looking, a thing I could have savedby not looking finds a moment to show itself.Little forest of peaking heads, white,sore, clustering together to ensure the increaseof attention on them.They, if I’m being honest, are usually molehillsuntil I take a pincer claw and blast theminto mountains. I have done this before,cast this unnecessary spell as if the biggerthe better. I do believe in being big as beinggood but this is not the softest of transitions.Look! Quick! She’s defenseless! And for her next trick, she will destroy a perfectlyinnocent face…
Thursday April 4, 2019
Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Practice in College Mental Health
Stewart E. Cooper
I mean they say practice makes perfect right? Hi! I’m here to tell you that the only thing practice makes is you better at making messes. What’s the perfect thing? What’s the perfect thing I’m supposed to need anyway?
I practice not hating myself
I practice not destroying my face
I practice not jumping to conclusions
I practice deciding
I practice the ukulele
I practice patience
I practice anger
I practice not giving a fuck
I practice not stealing.
I am still a pile of shit most days.
I am still regretting my pop and pinch and pick and pull.
I am a full blown mess and some days I know how to clean it up and some days I wish I could evaporate into thin air and live somewhere that doesn’t require a face.
I practice these five and this five and those five.
I practice telling the truth and still find myself lying.
I practice words lit by a nightlight in my bathroom.
Sunday March 24, 2019
Ways To Take Your Coffee
They’re tired because they are always worrying about their beards. Always trimming, and rubbing, and massaging them. They’re up early cause they need to style it so it looks naturally luscious. They need to style it so people will be attracted to them and understand on a deeper level that they care about details. That they care about expression. That is a good beard. One who has been sculpted by the hands of caregivers, thoughtful displays of affection and respect for their face.
Okay I started this off with more of a punchy vibe and now I’m all enamoured by men and their facial hair. Women have makeup as acceptable face alterations. Men have hair to coif and style and exude charisma out of. It’s art, when you think about it: all those tight lines and varying levels of rigidity.
Sunday February 3, 2019
The Lovely Bones
You look at my face like you’re learning
every freckle every pore every hair by heart
and today I bury in the nape of your neck
unsure about the scrutiny
about the fullness of the love
I mash sweet potatoes and you hold
my belly through T-shirt and apron
growing bigger everyday
You wash dishes and we sing to
our daughter with us and also not
here and also there
It’s cold today and flurries chase
each other’s tails by the chickadees
on the balcony
It’s warm in here with the oven on
with the one-bedroom closeness of
this new season
Friday January 18, 2019
In The Beautiful Rain
She lifted her hand to her face
her hand the mirror that she trusted more
her face the face that she’d always known
She traced her nostrils and opened her mouth
He fell like the rain in the morning
and at night he gathered the fire to
close his eyes and trust the dark
Her sleep breath lifting him away
The laundry is on the couch and
needs to be folded
socks and T-shirts mixing cake
mixing bodies and story and dust
Someone will do it tomorrow
One of them whoever has time
and is feeling generous to the other
or to themselves
The recycling needs to be sorted
and taken out to the bins in the alleyway
where men with grocery carts pick through
all the after-thoughts all the forgetting
Hoping for a treasure
Tuesday December 4, 2018
Fall Is the Last Season of the Year
I don’t want to say she had a pouty mouth but I guess that’s what she had.
Made it look like she was always trying to seduce her Cheetos.
Somebody in London once said that she was so beautiful some man
harassed her at the grocery store and she had to stop shopping alone.
All because of her face. I know a woman that beautiful and she once told
me that she never wanted that kind of attention. She never asked for it.
So the woman in London–even her friends talk about her perfect
face when she’s not around. They forget what else she’s good at, or which
jokes she’s told. They all wish they could be her. And she’s there wishing
she didn’t have to be. But no one would understand if she threw back a drink
one night and told everyone that she was tired of being beautiful. They would
all pause dramatically and stare at her, drinks in mid lift, until she broke out into
hysterical laughter. She’d see that she wasn’t getting through and remember
that beauty is not the right kind of sadness to have.
Thursday September 27, 2018
When A Guy Helps You Out
it takes ten years for either of us to notice.
ten years of never realizing
when I see what takes ten years to see, I am changed.
ten years to notice that these eyes belong on two different faces. how do you go back from that? you noticed it too, ten years later, only you thought it was something about the pupils. Something scary.
or did you think it before and now you have the guts to say it? Now you’re what’s making me clock it?
I know you might see what I see: two forceless halves tricking you into believing me seamless like
this whole body is a map to one destination
catch me in my good eye and see my young heart
catch me in the other and see a lion or a truth
Did you always love a hybrid?
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.