“winter chess championship” by Julia on her bed

Monday November 11, 2019
5:48pm
5 minutes
Mr. Oleander
Brian Doyle

It has been 24 hours and the bed is sinking

There is proof of the sinking and one day I will show it to you

A warning, that I will have to say I Told You So and you should really prepare for how that’s going to feel

I won’t say the other thing, though

I know how much you hate it

Checkmate

Sorry

I said it

I had to say it, let’s be real

This is another win for me and yes I’m keeping score and yes you’re keeping score

This is the winter championship and it’s a who’s who over here

It’s a do or die

It’s a prove or be proven

I am not actually sorry

Not even for saying the thing that you hate

It is a competition and I am competing with you so there is no room for apology

There is no room for softness and I’ve already told you my stance on that

Remember the framed art sitting on the kitchen shelf

It says We Don’t Do Soft In This House

And yes I made the art

I wrote the poem

But you let it sit there and you have referenced it before

You have been complicit and there is no time for taking anything back

But we could play on the same team for once

I am not offering a forfeit but a surrender

A surrender to this thing we’re going to have to carry

“I am plagued by one question” by Julia on the 351

Tuesday November 5, 2019
6:25pm
5 minutes
Fifty Shades of Grey
E L James

Will you still love me tomorrow?
yea, promise

Why do birds suddenly appear?
cause remember, you’re free

Where’a the love?
everywhere, everywhere

When will I see you again?
In our dreams…

How…

how…

Who’s loving you?
all of us, me, I am, me

Who do you think you are?
a bag of cookie crumbs

What’s love got to do with it?
I don’t know how to answer this without restating the question.

Can you come home?

“choose return” by Julia on the toilet

Sunday November 3, 2019
10:29pm
5 minutes
Google flights

they asked me to answer
“I get lost when I…”
and I said
Look at a map
as if the entire cartography buisness is out to get me
as if the moon isn’t bright enough on its own
as if I’ver ever gotten to where I wanted to go by taking directions
from somebody else
and I know I am the designer of this route, this life, and the instructions, however well meaning, however clear to other eyes, are not useful to me
I have never followed in the footsteps of another and felt whole
I have never relied on a drawing to lead me home when my heart always knows

the navigator of this body is terrible with maps and yet moves forward anyway

“I get lost when I…”

“Where is the equal of Love?” By Julia on her couch

Saturday November 2, 2019
6:02pm
5 minutes
Antigone
Sophocles (Trans. by E.F. Watling)

In the quiet lull of the fridge humming, the crack and button of the inner wall, the very reason for breathing–that is where the equal of love lives.

On the couch in the dark, our third eyes kissing, our fifth lip talking, the neck skin soft from holding all the travelled breath and the still, the still.

I found you again from the inside out and cosmically we both landed in a galaxy far away but made of this one.
We touched the only pulse and it reset the clocks and untied the knots.

The equal of love was in the freedom there, the choice to stay.

“no words can describe it.” By Julia on her couch

Wednesday October 30, 2019
7:03pm
5 minutes
from a Youtube comment

envy for someone else’s sadness. what’s the word for that? not to carry it so they don’t have to…not that kind of want, or the kind of want they write about. no honour. I’m not hunting honour and maybe that’s a helper word. to feel anything deeply and be able without a shadow of a doubt to call it sadnesss. to know. that is the envy. not to guess, not to be the holder of another’s circumstance but to tongue the name of the insurmountable hill. the climb that almost kills you but slowly because you don’t know the word.
when your eye skin is hot and tired from never crying. if there was anything, a name would be the all.

“everything seems to happen to music.” By Julia on her bed

Monday October 21, 2019
3:21pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Tennessee Williams

watching the rain sheet the alleyway like a baptism,
the house kitty-corner to ours more ruthless, more exorcism, and inside tiny
pumpkins line the window sill, now an olive branch since there’s unexpectedly
a need for one

a wrong word at the wrong time and I might as well have stayed home filing my
nails instead of braving the
monday to feed us

“The bit about the doorbell” by Julia on L’s couch

Saturday October 19, 2019
10:20pm
5 minutes
Someday Is Today
Alethea Black

it’s a looming kind, this patchwork. Nobody sees

the origins because it
is built over time, from

grains of one person to
the next. it is closer

to waiting for food poisoning to strike after

consuming under cooked shrimp. they say it could

take 4-48 hours for the
symptoms to start, and

how do you go on living
casually knowing it’s on

the way? the driver who sees
the car approaching from the

rear view mirror is the one
who gets whiplash from

bracing for the crash. why suffer twice, but it’s too

late, the sick is coming.
it is the doorbell ringing

when everyone is tucked in,
far away from expecting.

“The bit about the doorbell” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday October 19, 2019
9:13am
5 minutes
Someday Is Today
Alethea Black

The doorbell rings and Ange stops in her tracks. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. Fe wasn’t supposed to arrive until this afternoon. “I’ll be right there!” She calls, running up the stairs and shutting the bedroom door.

Fe is on her phone, talking in Spanish. Ange always says she’s going to learn, but the Duolingo app on her phone goes unopened for the most part.

”What language do you dream in?” Ange asked Fe one of their first morning’s together.

Fe thought about it for awhile. “I’m not sure,” she eventually replied, picking sleep out of the corners of her eyes.

”It’s probably Spanish. I think I read once that we dream in our mother tongues.”

As she opens the door, Ange asks, “Why don’t you have your key?”

Fe cocks her head and glares at her. She’s cut her hair.

“The phone doesn’t ring” by Julia at her desk

Friday October 18, 2019
9:12am
5 minutes
Low Noon
Jim Ralston

When we took the phone of the hook we realized we liked it better just us three.
Bobbi cried less. I think it’s because she didn’t feel like we were going to
leave her to answer somebody else’s call. It should have always been this way
but when the phone rings, it’s another agonizing reminder that there isn’t
enough time in the day to keep up with everything being thrown at us. And
answering is sometimes the only thing we can control in a sea of chaos that
goes around buzzing whether we want it to or not.

And then it was quiet. Alistair finished his will and Bobbi napped in his
arms. We were afraid of this infinite reminder that one day we
would no longer hear his sound. How terrifying it is to think of your family
losing one member of its voice. Again, to things we can’t control no matter
how hard we tried.

The phone doesn’t ring now. We can connect it later if we want, but for today
while both Bobbi and Alistair are breathing, we don’t even think about what
we might have missed.

“Light like sugar cane.” by Julia at her desk

Thursday October 17, 2019
8:30am
5 minutes
Daybreak
Gerry Lafemina

It was all you could do to stop the thud in your brain
thhud thhud from the last bit of morning sleep
the first heavy fall you’ve had and thanks to him

Thanks to him for refusing to let you cross rooms in
the dream and for holding you unapologetically so the
whisper of waking hours wouldn’t touch you until it was time

And you almost stayed in the bed, but you rose, and planted
a kiss on the back of his neck instead, sending him back
to the last place he was without shivering

If he had asked you to reprise your role as Warm Body In The Cold
you would have forgone morning light for sugar cane
and he would not have had to ask twice

The head is soft again but the stomach is loud and nothing
seems to line the shelves long enough to act as promise
amidst the already fleeting

Your lack of math or belief in numbers ruins your oatmeal
you pour too much hot water in and think you might just eat
it like that as a reminder that you skipped some crucial steps

“Light like sugar cane.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Oct 17, 2019
11:11am
Daybreak

Gerry Lafemina

Light like sugar cane through the kitchen window and you’re wild with belief, whirling dervish of possible outcomes. You dream of rivers and oceans over and over, research water metaphors, read poetry written by women who came before their time. You meditate on the round stone in the park garden, grown over since summer’s ripe peach, sun is still here though, sun is still here. You were once groped by a man on a crowded train, ass and vulva, rubbed top to bottom, or bottom to top depending on who is telling the tale. You said nothing. This haunts you more than the time you cheated on the first man you actually loved, more than stealing fifty dollars from your grandmother’s handbag, more than lying to your friend about why you couldn’t make his birthday dinner (a new beau who turned out to be a sour stale egg, barf barf barf). You looked the groper in the eye, though, that’s one wee bit of action you took. You made it clear that you saw him, in his unshaven violence, in his hand violating the body of a woman, of a fawn.

“You plan, you design, you labor,” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday October 16, 2019
10:04pm
5 minutes
An Absorbing Errand
Janna Malamud Smith

You are the Carolina Parakeet
hunted for feathers in hats worn by women like

You are the Passenger Pigeon
flocking with billions of kin
darkening the bright sky
trying to make it home to

You are the Stephens Island Wren
flightless and tiny
hunted by pet cats to complete extinction
New Zealand lost her

You are the Great Auk
not knowing the threat of their human predator
they waddled up to the Settler
hoping to make a new friend in

You are the Elephant Bird
Ten feet tall and five hundred pounds
Prehistoric and wise
Bobbing your head towards the familiar

You
Sweet Dodo Bird of Mauritius
hunted for meat by the hungry and tired

“You plan, you design, you labor,” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday October 16, 2019
7:55am
5 minutes
An Absorbing Errand
Janna Malamud Smith

It’s the morning but still dark
too dark, not dark enough
you are awake but not fully here
the city looks quiet, still asleep
too asleep, not asleep enough
there is a small light from the
couch lighting up words written
and bound together with money
you are planning the next one
and this one but you are not fully here
the yellow glow pulls at the aching bone
and you must either ignore it or join it

how does one become as yellow as this light?
how does one join something that hurts?
It’s the morning but still night
too night, not night enough
you are writing and you are wondering
but you are not fully here
you are in a day one week from now
two weeks from now and you are planning
and designing and wondering about what
they will all be like when they meet
themselves on the page that you laboured on

It’s the morning but not a warm spring
it’s the morning but not a conscious howl
it’s the morning but you are still dreaming
now writing out your dreams so they shake
free from your writing bone and keep
the light from pulling

“I cried during the silent walking meditation” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday October 15, 2019
7:19pm
Reunion
Halina Larman

Alice left Jim on a Wednesday. It was a long time coming. At least that’s what everyone said. It wasn’t dramatic. It was deliberate and soft. She had packed a black suitcase, as she knew that she needed to actually leave, not just figuratively leave. The suitcase had been Alice’s mother’s. It was worn on the bottom corner, but still zipped up. Their other suitcases, stored in the basement next to the box of Christmas ornaments and wrapping paper, belonged to Jim. At least she thought they did. It was the division of things that most overwhelmed her. Not the conversation, the “leaving” conversation. The division of their items, their life, parsed out in “I’ll take the immersion blender and you take the coffee grinder?” The older Alice got the more she didn’t care for things that she could turn on, hold in her hand, or cart around. She cared for the feeling of her blood pressure lowering, the October wind bringing her closer to herself.

“I cried during the silent walking meditations” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday October 15, 2019
6:30pm
Reunion
Halina Larman

There is no such thing as silence in this house
this house is a home and no silence exists in it

I give myself five minutes so I don’t have to hear
myself or anyone else (you) say anything

and even sometimes the timer is on and the silence
is close, but it is not mine to hold

Someone (you) comes in with your questions and
your funny jokes that instead of me laughing

and letting them roll off the back, I condemn to
the floorboards so the downstairs neighbours

have to forfeit whatever silence they were
cultivating as well. I could laugh…

but instead there is 2 minutes and 30 seconds
left and instead of masterfully practicing

I am languishing in the almost but not quite.
I should display a sign that says “In the middle

of it” or “RIGHT IN THE FUCKING MIDDLE OF IT”
because even when it’s clear this is what I’m

doing, you are doing whatever is clear to you
and what is clear to you is that you speak

during cooking meditations and walking
meditations and laying meditations

“the feelings that have been aroused” by Julia on her bed

Monday October 14, 2019
9:35pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Susan Sontag

calm, a tingling, a lying buzz that I know well
You see me and then pretend not to
I see you and pretend not to
We are the same and yet I think yours
is not about hate the way mine is but
about something that is beyond me to name
yours maybe something to do with resistance
to what I might have represented for you

a calm, still, I do not care the way
I used to in the pit of me but the
tingling comes because your face has always
been a panda that should be cuter
and that is shallow but deep
as it teeters in the stagnant pool of me
that no one gets to see

A lying buzz because I am striving for
honesty but I told myself some
untruths to justify my ignoring you
I have not been the bigger person
but the more sensitive one
as I am contemplating you here and you
are likely not offering my name a second
thought

I know it well and I hate it the same
it comes for me to knock me off my
high horse and since I’m not high anymore
I can see if for what it is
and lesson is what it is
and letting go is what I must be practicing

You might not care and this is more for
me than it is for you and yes I see it
clearly now
I see it like the horse

“It begins from the heart.” By Julia on her couch

Sunday October 13, 2019
6:26pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Shahla Khan

say your sorry
go on say the piece that is yours, that belongs to you
that you are holding back
as punishment
as deep sigh
as victim complex
say it out so it stops haunting you
so it stops sucking out the room

once upon a time this room had horns and it wasn’t a bad room but it did what it pleased
today you have gripped them tightly, and the horns feel a bit trapped
so if you are honest with
the room, with me, with yourself, you will abandon the punch left dangling
at the bottom of your hurt

I can tell you egos never want to be wrong but we both know yours is and if you say it, if you apologize
if you bring out the word that keeps you sick by hiding…

“It begins from the heart.” By Sasha at Black River Farm

Sunday October 13, 2019
10:00am
5 minutes
From a quote by Shahla Khan

Here is the place where we held hands and hearts
where we wove futures and past and incanted the unborn
and the dead

Here is the place where we passed rings around a circle of song
taught in front of the wood stove
harmonies bending air between mouths of all the beloved ones
asked for witnesses in keeping us on the spiral path
mystery and possibility
leading us

Here

is the place where the sky was the blue of my father’s eyes
the earth the colour of home
a tent like a shady dream
we didn’t know we needed
the smell of goodness and grief
hope and healing
all the hours of dreaming
fighting scrawling spreadsheet poetry

Here is the place
where you climbed onto a horse’s back
the way you knew you needed to
her ribs leading you towards
the rhythm of your palms
on my chest
feeling the rise
the fall

Here is the place
that I’ve summoned
these long weeks
called up in my storm
like a lighthouse
held close when there
was nothing

this place
an eternal reminder
of the blessing
of a union marked in the stars
marked on the map of

This place

“We did all these things and more,” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, Oct 11, 2019
7:28am
5 minutes
We Did
Brian Doyle
There were the seasons of planting the seeds
of good fortune and picking out the rocks from the
supple generous earth
sticky resilience
honey under fingernails
dirt on cheeks
There were phases of freezing toes
and shouting under a starless sky
Crescent moon asking for more more
more more more when she finally came
when she finally helped
New like the baby’s first glance
like the promise of spring
deep freeze full of bones and secrets
thought there was nothing left to say
but there always is
wisdom a crystal buried in the basement
growing every day
There were years of abundance
years of bushels of apples
sweet potato pies
rye bread in the oven
trading this for that
no need to pass bills between
trusted treasures
There were summers of black flies
zucchini’s the size of toddlers
lake swims and fires
snaking smoke to the
Seven Sisters
birch bark friendship bracelets
girls laughing

“I’d say that’s OK” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday Oct 10, 2019
11:45am
5 minutes
On A Cliff With You
David Allan Cates
A: Would you like to go to the park?
B: NO.
A: But it’s so nice out! It’ll be fun. I promise.
B: I don’t want to go.
A: I’ll push you on the swing…
B: The big kid swing or the baby swing?
A: Your choice.
B: Big kid swing!
A: Deal!
B: But I don’t want to wear my hat!
A: You need to wear your hat.
B: No way!
A: It’s chilly! Your ears will get cold.
B: NO!
A: Ear muffs?
B: NO.
A: Headband?
B: …
A: …
B: Fiiiiiine.
A: Great. Let’s do it. Put on your boots please.
B: I want to wear my Crocs.
A: It’s too cold for Crocs, my darling.
B: NOOOO!
A: …
B: – OOOOO!
A: I’m going to start putting on my boots, and whenever you’re ready –
B: – OOOOOOOO!
A: Hey. Darling. Please stop shouting.
B: I don’t want to wear my boooooooots!
A: I can see that. What about your runners?
B: My runners make my toes itchy!
A: They do?
B: Yeah.
A: What about if you wear your purple socks inside your runners?
B: The sparkly socks?
A: Yeah!

“Everybody froze.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 9, 2019
6:11pm
5 minutes
The Man At Table Five
Alison Clement

it is common, the ice off his tongue. this is what happens when one is bad at keeping oneself warm. everybody else freezes. and here we are thinking that our cold doesn’t hurt anyone but that is not true. there is proof in the quiet, and in the glaring lights.

earlier when we encountered it, we took it on as our own and had to remind ourselves not to do that but what about the ones who do not walk in pairs? who do not count breaths, who do not know how to seperate?
we can say it’s not our responsibility but that is another great convenience we like to cling to.

when a driver flashes their headlights at another behind the wheel it is usually a warning of something to be mindful of up ahead. a signal to slow down, or that the surfboard has come loose from the roof mount. it is not legally required, but there is an unwritten code.

“Everybody froze.” By Sasha at her kitchen counter

Wednesday October 9, 2019
11:30am
5 minutes
The Man At Table Five
Alison Clement

Looked to the sky and there it was. Giant ball of orange and gold, burning and spewing. Coming down on us. Falling here to earth. Everybody froze. Looked up. A communal gasp. Nobody said a word. A universal silence. Something spiritual. Something profane. Something shared. Something unbelievable. Stars don’t often fall this fast, this low. But they sometimes do. Here it is. The thing we’ve all wondered about. The thing we’ve all waited for, without knowing we’re waiting. There’s no sense in running, in moving to another place somewhere close. The reverberations will be felt everywhere. The buckles and ripples can’t be escaped. And then it’s here, and the frozen moment is broken. Everyone is moving. The birds are calling. The dogs are howling. Human beings trying to take flight.

“How loyal the heart is” by Sasha in her bed

Tuesday October 8, 2019
9:37pm
5 minutes
Red Tights
Danusha Lameris

I never knew how loyal my heart was
until it broke open

I was younger the first time
and the second
I didn’t have the knowledge yet
of the expansion that comes
after the tightest knot undoes
when you least expect it
washing last night’s dishes
the light on the wet morning grass

This time
this time
a shell of white sand
falling into the crevices
where the dandelions grow
showing me what is
inside

I used to speak of love
like a language I spoke fluently
over confident
cocky
thinking I knew

That was before the stanza where rhyming begins
where the rhythm changes
where suddenly the goodness of being in gratitude
in the crux of the unknown

the goodness
of this
becomes the mother tongue
that I didn’t know I knew

“How loyal the heart is” by Julia on L’s couch

Tuesday October 8, 2019
8:35pm
5 minutes
Red Tights
Danusha Lameris

with every passing hour
there is an ink stain
seeping deeper into the
contract of this. Of Us.

Who put their name down
in what order is something we might joke about but I know I was the one who signed first.

I decided.

Somewhere between the first
time I saw you and first time I kissed you I had my pen ready.

That is saying something: no pencil, no eraser.

And you were there in my
room playing the guitar for me and telling your
jokes to me and sharing
your smoke with me.

But I was the one who thought we should live together. I’m the one who found us our first house
to dwell in.

I can’t say for certain
how but I can say I did.

“I can’t help but reflect” by Julia on her couch

Sunday October 6, 2019
6:53pm
5 minutes
from an email

Last night I saw you in my dreams. Time had past, Too late, I kept thinking. Your house was big and beautiful and uncharacteristic of you in its excess. But this was your home, and the taps sprayed intruders with a blast unless you controlled the pressure with a knob. I got soaked. You showed me, “Like this” and it only happened once.

I went to pick up your baby girl and then my eyes wouldn’t open all the way. I couldn’t see her at all. I couldnt manage the pain of coming all that way and not even get to hold her. Too late, I am too late.

When I went to the kitchen to cry, I asked God to give me back my eyes. Instead your husband came in and asked if I was hungry. I felt like if I ate with him it would take too long and I’d keep missing out on you.
But he and I shared our lunches, mine leftover saffron noodles, and his leftover peppers with thick sauced beef.

“I can’t help but reflect” by Sasha in her comfy chair

Sunday October 6, 2019
7:12am
5 minutes
from an email

You are looking everywhere for signs
Under the sink between the garbage bin and the compost pail
In the sky amongst the light pollution and almost there Milky Way
In the numbers on the houses where we live

The numbers of the clock when you think to look
The things we say
or don’t say
Numbers numbers numbers so many numbers
But it doesn’t add up
or if there’s a division
it’s hollow and stale

It’s become an obsession
this sign hunting
Your inner compass a rudder that you no longer trust
It’s lead you astray before but this time
things matter in a different kind of way

I humour your hunting
I nod when you tell me of something or other
I like signs too
But I don’t hold to them as the gospel
Clinging to the spindly tree in the middle of a hurricane
I don’t believe that they are the only marker
of progress
of love
of resonance

“verde y amarillo” by Julia on her couch

Saturday October 5, 2019
11:22pm
5 minutes
@quenoteam
Javier Rupérez Instagram

It’s bees I’m talking about, Lydia. Honey’s bees, you know? They’re the ones doing all the work and getting none of the reward. It’s something I’m just learning about now since Kiki came home with that school project and needed an adult to fact check her research. That was the first time I even read anything about these bees, Lydia, and how was I supposed to help her if I never knew nothing about them? I helped her make it colourful, you know the poster board that she needed to decorate? We put some nice yellows and greens and purples too. I thought cause the bees are attracted to bright flowers it would be a nice touch. Subtle. Kiki loved it, she kept saying, but this is so pretty I want to keep it in my room!

“verde y amarillo” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday October 5, 2019
11:02am
5 minutes
@quenoteam
Javier Rupérez Instagram

The thing about writing is it’s liquid
inefficient and strange
We all hope we are good at it
wonder what that even means

Inspiration comes via the light
through the stained glass window
or something you’ve finally understood
that your love has been saying for years

You go to your notebook and there are
two pages left
You ponder this

The end or the beginning

Life is better when you are writing
every day no matter what chaos is there
You remember the anthology of this practice
stored in the garage
along with books you aren’t ready to let go of

“This week just got ducking crazy” by Sasha in her kitchen

Friday October 4, 2019
8:21am
5 minutes
From a text message

Hello Friday
Tired eyes and hangnails ablaze
Hello end of the week
but does that really matter
now that each day has a similar

different shape
kaleidoscopic Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
and here we are

Hello Friday
Coffee breath and dirty diapers
Laundry forgotten in the machine
stinks of what could have been
freshness
Oh well
Crumbs from last night’s toast
on the counter
A mouse turd under the fridge
Oh well

Hello Friday
labors into the weekend
a good time an inch away
a good time here now
Oh
kay
The prospect of a good beat
a piece of nice cheese
baby laughter
It’s here
All of it
It’s here

Hello Friday
You’ve got your nice party pants on
Mmm hmm
you’re looking fiiiine

“sorely tested—and found wanting.” By Julia in bed

Wednesday October 2, 2019
11:18pm
5 minutes
Assignment To Hell
Timothy M. Gay

a matter of stimuli, and it would be with that attitude

but where is the reward?
in the resistance of temptation, then? in the discovery of so many quick-legged spiders?

we release the tiny scurrying living being while we clean

if the start of a home becomes uprooted by the sudden decision to weild an unruly hand with a broom at the end of it…the home goes but the little friend stays

(the secret is to find another corner)

(the secret is no bites exchanged if asylum granted)

(asylum is granted for friend one and two and three and four)

but if this were not a moment of sobriety who knows what other homes would have been ressurected

“sorely tested—and found wanting.” By Sasha in her bed

Wednesday October 2, 2019
11:03pm
5 minutes
Assignment To Hell
Timothy M. Gay

Mickey thinks a lot about independence, and how people end up like they are. “We’re in a real mess, Mick,” papa says. “I guess so,” she replies.

She reads a lot. Goes to the library and takes out a few books on capitalism, and then reads and reads until she might understand. She’s not sure if we ever truly understand anything, as there’s always more to learn, or  another way of looking at something.

Mickey walks her German Shepherd rescue Troy by the river most days, except when the snow rises so high that she can’t step. Troy never struggles, no matter how high the drifts get, leaping and bounding towards the water’s edge.

“A score of tiny eyes stared” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday October 1, 2019
11:20pm
5 minutes
Stardust
Neil Gaiman

do we ever get used to the leaky faucet, the drips in the sink, the host of sponges soaking up every word

do we ever stop lounging in the face of something pressing, like launching, or standing back up, or sleeping

it seems unnecessary to get used to any one thing, all the changing that might move in, all the new stimuli that arrives

why do we beat ourselves over the head with what ifs that sound a lot like an evil twin plottingg against what we know to be good

will it ever go away?

i’m talking about the push for peace and that is all

“A score of tiny eyes stared” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday October 1, 2019
4:43pm
5 minutes
Stardust
Neil Gaiman

Under the porch floorboards, under the house built on the side of the world, under the sky turning mauve in her changing, a mouse sings to her children a song that her mother taught her a long time ago.

Above, in the house, a woman brushes her hair after a hot bath, long strokes, like her mother taught her a long time ago. She knows of the mice in the house, the ones that live in the porch a wilder breed. She has come to see them as her tiny roommates. She no longer resents them, as she did her ex-husband, the only other roommate she’s had.

The mice children curl up into their mother and they mew and peep towards sleep.

“in search of a taxi” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday September 30, 2019
9:38am
5 minutes
The Rage
Gene Kerrigan

I am calling up into the sky
magenta and teal
for a sign
a lightning bolt
a monarch across the freckles of the morning

this is the right thing
the bullseye arrow right to the
rose quartz
oh good grief

I’m doing the good good work
trimming the brush back
finding the path towards

Pele told me a long time ago
in the early morning
walking on lava
and seeing where the earth
opens pulses gasps

that I would be one of the ones
who has to find the diamond
carved by pressure
etched by time
strengthened by temperature
and pushing

“I’ll never hunt big ones again” by Julia in her bed

Sunday September 29, 2019
10:38pm
5 minutes
An American Dream
Norman Mailer

I’ll stop looking under the bed for monsters bigger than me
I’ll stop expecting to find something there

(Those days are over)

Today I will accept you
and everything you haven’t done as proof

Tomorrow I will stop talking about proof as if it could save my life
Proof of what, of being human? I have much to practice

You have never waivered, not even from one side to the other, no casual leaning

You have never hunted me the same way I have hunted you: looking high and low to spot grounds for dismissal

(I accept)

“and I will do you no harm.” By Sasha on her couch

Saturday September 28, 2019
5:01pm
5 minutes
Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe

I fell in love with the woman opening her son’s lunchbox on the subway at rush hour taking out the half eaten apple browning at the edges and eating it

I fell in love with the couple walking down Roncesvalles hand in hand
the blue of his sweater matching the blue of her hat
do they know?!

I fell in love with the waiter at the restaurant all those years ago and I still dream about him often and wonder if I will ever see him again and if I do if I’ll tell him that I’ve loved him since I met him and I’ve dreamed about him for years

I fell in love with the spotted dog on the coffee shop patio waiting so patiently for her pal that I swore that is patience that is patience the kind that I always ask for
for Christmas

I fell in love with the skater doing tricks on the bench in the schoolyard
a smile bigger than the building beside them such joy there in that place
nestling in right where I was needing

I fell in love with

“and I will do you no harm.” by Julia at her desk

Saturday September 28, 2019
4:10pm
5 minutes
Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe

I refuse to slice when you ask me for the blade
I will not cut you
I will not draw blood
Do you want my approval for a thing that you know I hate?
How can I do anything but weep when you tell me?

The truth is a funny edged sword
I thought I’d prefer honesty but maybe I’ve never had it pointed at me like this before
Is it better that you said it or could I live not knowing?
We all do a little coned living from time to time
You could have kept my opinion of you in the shape you left it

And you chose to say it, you chose to come clean
You say this is The Age of Truth and in The Age of Truth we confess things
I will not cut you
I will not draw blood
But I cannot shame you either because isn’t that the sharpest part?

I will hold silence before I hold a knife to your skin
I will wait until you beg me to speak
I will let my quiet tell you where I am

“He straightened up, roaring” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday September 27, 2019
9:41pm
5 minutes
Surface Detail
Iain M. Banks

His strange hurting is not mine to hold alone now
one way of building the house brick by brick
choosing the funny and misshapen ones
the burnt ones choosing the faceless and the wild
When I first met him I felt his way and I didn’t like it
Too much too close to leery to curious too much too much
I am a softer kind of animal
When I met him for the second time I did like it
I was ready for the rumble then around that long table
ready for the way these waves would crash against
the side of reality and wish and trust and begin again

Now meeting him for the millionth time
my mind still isn’t made up and maybe it isn’t about the mind
maybe it isn’t even about the heart
a five letter word overused to the point of letting the blood out
maybe it is about the guts that circle around the centre of the body
the body knows the body doesn’t forget the body keeps a tally
of all the doings and undoings

Earthquake comes when we are least expecting
we are not the choosers of the timing of the bricks turning
to sand turning to ash turning to memory

“He straightened up, roaring” by Julia at her desk

Friday September 27, 2019
6:21pm
5 minutes
Surface Detail
Iain M. Banks

There is a common thread that pulls his anger along
through the throw pillows and into my stockings I
have seen him bead the string

In lines at the grocery store he cannot hold his tongue
from thrashing around in his mouth and he lets out great
big howls from the guts

Hunger oh hungry man look at him he’s dying to get out
of this place and is the promise of food coming or is it
out of the question

His breath is wasabi now, only mad for a minute, no more, his
words laced in green paste and still I wait for this
to return to the middle

This is a Thursday, likely story, and if we’re not careful
the whole shop gets a blast, but it’s never pointed at me
even if I absorb some it first

I could know better by now but I am shocked as I was the
first time, a witness to a tiny explosion and poof, no
proof of it ever touching down

When he straightens his back to roar one out I know
to get ready

“How could God?” By Julia on the faculty lounge patio

Thursday September 26, 2019
1:55pm
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

How could you forget me
in the aisle at the grocery store
in the hallway with my coat on while you were saying goodbye to everyone at the get together

how could you say I’d be saved and then leave me there
to fend for myself
when they all asked me why you took away the people they loved: their grandfathers, their mothers
where were you when they chose me to blame?
As if at 14 I could carry the weight on my own

I followed you with a bag over my head, with my eyes scooped out

I followed you to the edge of the cliff, chased by angry hyenas, and I waited there, as if the pit was not filled with more of them

“How could God?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday September 26, 2019
8:02am
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

Snaking through the aisles of the Seven Eleven, Rory catches a familiar shape out of the corner of his eye. Steve. Shit. Steve. STEVE. He grabs a pack of gum, a bottle of orange Gatorade, a bag of Salt and Vinegar Miss Vicky’s. The man behind the cash has the eyes of someone who has seen a lot. Takes one to know one, Rory doesn’t let himself think. Steve won’t see him. Steve will get a can of Diet Pepsi, maybe a Mars bar. He’ll be lost in the forest of his thoughts, of his hangover, of his wish for love. Rory pulls his debit card from his wallet. Taps. Tap. Tap on his shoulder. Steve. Eyes of someone who shares a secret.

“The pulsating life force energy in such children” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday September 25, 2019
9:10pm
5 minutes
The Relationship Garden
Jock McKeen & Bennet Wong

Oh you
finding the timbre of your voice
the waterfall from
high to low
cascade down and
oh we are in raspberries
fields and fields of
pursed lips
emphatic cough
bumblebee giggle

the strength of your miracle

body
I am in awe of
how you kick legs
curl toes
grab with the power
of a herd of buffalo
propel forward
and back
forward

right to the edge

Oh you
five months old today
thigh rolls and curiosity
squeals of blessing
holding the gaze of
your grandparents
and strangers
holding the fingers
of love

clutching and growing
learning about the many
faces

of beauty

“The pulsating life force energy in such children” by Julia at the bus stop/on the 84

Wednesday September 25, 2019
7:34pm
5 minutes
The Relationship Garden
Jock McKeen & Bennet Wong

I have learned these days to give the A before I meet them, no they will not scare me into giving them anything less. I can provide the passion, the please, the panel of supoort, but not the passing grade. No, the above and beyond. Thank you for showing up exactly as you are, right here right now. You will not prove me wrong. You want to be here right here right now even if you don’t know how to express it.
I give the A before I walk into the room. These young hearts beat themselves to sleep at night, solid sleeps at night, but during the day they stay up and up and up and up. They cannot come down when their heart beat flies them to the ceiling, fluttering so fast like fairy wings and then. Then they show me what is at the top of the room. I can see from their eyes, all the ground they leave, all the lift they prefer. I give the A.

“Your arms would eventually tire” by Julia on the 351

Tuesday September 24, 2019
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Purpose Driven Life
Rick Warren 

Jeremy is green-eyed, like the sea, and sea-eyed like the man. He has beautiful white teeth that look white thanks to all the dirt he’s wearing. Caked on his neck like a sunburn, Jeremy is trying to make it here. Left
his ex and his kids and has lived all over this place: lasted longer in Winnipeg than Fort McMurray, and tried to make it to “Van City” but ended up here.
No luck with the criminal record check this time.

Jeremy lifts rebar all day. He’s wiped but he has all this pent up energy and doesn’t know what to do
with it, who to screw with it, or who to call.
Jeremy’s eyes are green.

“Your arms would eventually tire” by Sasha at the dining room table

Tuesday September 24, 2019
8:10am
5 minutes
The Purpose Driven Life
Rick Warren 

You’re done with the holding of the sun
and the moon

The Milky Way galaxy
dotting the path towards
forgiveness and understanding

You’re done
Your arms are tired and the light
of these celestial orbs is blinding
so up close so luminous

There’s been lots of talk
of choice
of feelings
of love
There’s been so much talk

Here’s what I’ve come to

maybe

We don’t choose our feelings
but we choose what we do with them

Do we flock to the ember
that whispers our name
in a voice that’s unknowns
and possibilities
Over there across the road
the horses buck and cry

Do we fan the flame
of knowing ourselves
in the way we wish to know

the other

in the way we wish
to be held in the glow
of the night sky

 

“I am weak willed when I want to be” by Sasha at the dining room table

Monday September 23, 2019
11:36am
5 minutes
The Doctor and the Soul
Dr. Victor E. Frankl

I am a weak willed wildebeest when I want to be
I will cave under the smallest pressure
under the legs of an unassuming ant
pressing downwards downwards
downwards towards the middle

I am the tallest turning trombone when I want to be
I will reach for the treetops
touch the cloud bellies
make a sound that the small bird flying
up above the rest hears and
she laughs laughs laughs

I am a contagious celebrator cuttlefish when I want to be
I will blow every horn and fill the balloons to the brim
dance a jig on the hour every hour
repeating the names of all the good cuttlefish
all the holy schools
repeating gratitude from the ground to the tip

 

“The person we think we are” By Sasha in the backyard

Sunday September 22, 2019
9:46am
5 minutes
The Art of Purposeful Being”
Philip Winkelmans MA

It’s okay that things end up different
than we imagined and that the

way is feels is liquid and leaning forwards and back
Fingerprints of sticky hearts and winding maybes
lead a path towards the little house by the maple and fir
I knock on the door

thinking that you’re in there
writing in a pen you’ve whittled since before we met

I knock on the door

and it opens a little
a mound of sand my toes could get used to
an acorn drops
time stops with the thud of thunder and sleep

Someone is sitting on the floor in the corner
eyes closed
Three geese fly overhead in the perfect “V”
that represents all holy trinities

Is it prayer?
Is it contemplation?
Is it remembering?

It isn’t you
I know that most certainly
They don’t have your fireworks or your
steady breath

“As a consequence” by Sasha on the couch

Saturday September 21, 2019
9:31pm
5 minutes
quote: Ferrucci

You beg her to think about consequences and she says that she doesn’t believe in morality, or ethics, or anything like that. Okay, you say, unsure where there is to go once someone says something like that. Maybe that’s judgement. Maybe that’s difference. Who knows. You wonder what her mother would say, wrapped in pearls, her curly haired beauty a wild, hedonistic animal. Something crashes outside. Raccoons, she says. She goes to window to see. It’s dark outside. Could be cats, you say. No way, she says.

“Please, just think about cause and effect, think about consequences,” you say again. Sometimes in the saying of something a second time, it lands. Not this time.

“As a consequence” by Julia at her desk

Saturday September 21, 2019
5:45pm
5 minutes
quote: Ferrucci

You’ve got to be kidding me! You’re the one in charge of a whole slew of people and you can’t even write your name without a spelling error? How do I work under you? No please, tell me, how is it that someone with your level of competence can be managing other humans and expecting those us of with actual talent to report to you? I have been nothing but nice! I even took the time to sign your get well card when you got a concussion last year and I haven’t even met you face to face yet! Because I’m fucking sweet! All you have done all year is cock-block me from getting paid, getting opportunities, promoting myself just the way everyone else is, and you want to know why I think that is? Because you’re jealous of me. Because those who can’t do, SIT BEHIND THEIR COMPUTERS ALL DAY AND REPRIMAND THOSE WHO CAN.

“But in a poem we can do anything we want.” By Julia on her couch

Friday September 20, 2019
9:18pm
5 minutes
Since You Asked
Lawrence Raab

But we can’t stop anything in a poem. If The Tears are

there, then that’s where they’ll stay. If the lines

he softens on my forehead run as deep as they look

then in this poem I will cry for all the soft I’ve ever

tried to conceal, every rough idea, every gouged edge.

We can cross the rope of a decade and counting, here in

this poem; travel in dreams you want to hear about.

We can lay in the after lull of a couch cradling all the

body parts that caught a child’s scream today.

But we can’t erase what is there. We cannot change the brick.