“every zit is proof” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday November 7, 2017
8:16am
5 minutes
The Time I Went Into a Full-Body Spasm for Six Days
Betty Gilpin

Writes herself clean
and when she’s done
she’s dripping
light

There’s this habit
of being against ourselves
Every fuck up
some kind of proof

Can we re-write the code
of our grandmothers?

Do we have the courage to
show up to our lives
Broken
Rising
Wisdom
Heartbreak
Learning grace

“gracefully tragic” by Julia on her couch


Saturday December 17, 2016
4:44pm
5 minutes
from the BOOKS section of NOW magazine

I hadn’t thought about them since New Years…as if I had released them with the magic of a fresh start. I don’t remember whose idea it was to each write a list of all our personal tragedies this year and then accept them somehow before lighting them up and letting them burn. To be fair (and maybe a little post-reflective) we were using the term loosely. Nothing was too small but everything seemed so big to not include it. I remember losing myself this year being on the list. It was traumatic because it kept happening. It kept happening in smaller places than a Walmart super store or a Costco. But when I found the list again and reread what I was calling my tragedies, I realized I had luckily lumped some truly graceful ones in there as well.

“I love failure!” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 18, 2016
9:06pm
5 minutes
from a text message

I love failure. I do. I didn’t before but I love it now. Like a long lost sister, or a cousin you used to fight with. I think before there was this understanding that I could make it pretty far in this life without actually leaping, jumping, risking anything. I think I wore a lovely outer mask that said, I am confident I am going places, but on the inside a traumatized child had the fear of how much longer were we going to play make believe. I think, now, maybe for the first time, I can hear both voices at once. Things are suddenly less hard than they used to be. Because living truthfully and unafraid of being wrong? That’s the most freedom you’ve ever felt. Because it connects you with the spirit of your surroundings, the integrity of your self-love, your deepest soul. It’s such uplifting necessity. I do not understand now how I thought feeling confined in my skin, trapped in all my conjured narratives, was easier than letting anything go; than lightening my load; being kind to myself.

“this music has more religion in it than any church” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 17, 2016
9:54pm
5 minutes
from a YouTube comment by GB3770

I pray at the church of kindness, I can’t settle for anything less than that as my temple. I don’t believe in a God that won’t invite us all to play, that condemns for ignorance, that promotes the weak and bludgeons the strong. I don’t believe in a God that withholds, that accepts money as the only currency, that won’t forgive us for very arbitrary, yet non-negotiable acts. I bow my head at the alter of generosity. It’s the only home I ever feel safe enough to lower my shield in. It’s the only thing that moves me to a state of rejoicing. Don’t give me that hearsay scripture, that haunting, beautifully crafted by poets rule book. I worship at the church of soul music. The kind that lifts your skin off your bones just enough to make room for grace.

“It’s almost magic” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday September 15, 2015
8:08pm
5 minutes
From a vintage ad for American Cyanamid Company

last night
purple flannel twisted around ankles
my bum against your bum
you said grace
full voice
at first i was annoyed
i’m sleeping!
i’m kind of sick!
and then
i listened
i really listened
“thank you for this food on our plates
thank you for the love in our home
thank you for thanksgiving”
it’s magic
how you pray in your sleep
how you love in your dreams
how you bless me with your sweetness

“Die this way” by Sasha on her porch


Tuesday, April 21, 2015
10:01am
5 minutes
from a song on the radio

I’m ready for this age
Wrinkles across
wrapping paper cheeks
My grandmother’s tiny bird-frame lasted ninety seven years
These curves becoming rounder and these feet
taking me deeper into the red valley

The last time I saw my father I noticed the lines around his eyes
My eyes
This blue like the party dress I wore to my sister’s wedding
I noticed the whiteness of his beard
His ears
Hairs like ivy
My sister and I talk
long distance
about our mother’s pains
spreading like a forest fire
Now it’s her knees

“If you catch some salmon in October” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday March 3, 2015
11:07pm
5 minutes
Cascadia
Ramon Esquivel


I haven’t told you this but there’s a black cloud that hangs over your head every time you enter a room. It sits in the upper right corner of your human bubble and it looks pretty heavy. I really thought it would pass: the storm would come down eventually (after threatening to so consistently), the grass would be nourished (after being teased with water), and the sun would pop out and say, “Just kidding! I’ve been here all along!” But you never stopped turning shared spaces grey and you never stopped shifting the feeling of an entire room, or influencing the mood of a whole group of people. I suppose I wanted you to know this so you could potentially fix it for your future interactions. Part of me, however, thinks I’m getting good at making up excuses for you.

“What can I do for you?” by Julia on the subway going West


Monday March 2, 2015
10:20pm
5 minutes
From a Pattison subway ad

She listened with a humility and a grace that couldn’t be articulated. You saw it in her face, the way she smiled with her eyes, the way she held the room with her silence. I didn’t know if I was watching the speaker or the listener, the dreamer or the doer. She was everything at once, and everyone without noticing. There was a love in the room, a moving buzz through the place, almost singing the same song, almost humming a non existent tune. It was bigger than us. It emanated through our eyes as we connected our souls to a soul with infinite outlets. “Plug into me,” she whispered, “I have enough light for all of us…”

“this is the best place” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday February 4, 2015
10:29pm
5 minutes
castingworkbook.com

Shying away from the old heartache song
I don’t take too well to that kind of thing anymore
It hurts a bit in places that I didn’t know I had
So I let that tune play on elsewhere
I don’t tell it to stop cause I know it has to keep going
But I send it some peace so it knows It’s not personal
When I meet grace again, I’ll hum it softly
Maybe I’ll mouth the words
That’s when I’ll be able to have it quietly on repeat in the background
Underscoring my day to day
My dishes in the sink
My clothes on the line
My what ifs, if onlys
My midnight snack of whiskey and war

“in a graceful way” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday January 14, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
12:35am
5 minutes
Stone Poetry
Satya Pattnaik


In a graceful way, I see your unravelling. It started with forgetting that you left the car on, bad, terrible things coming out the wind-pipe. I got home and thought that you were doing what you sometimes do, listening to the radio, too engrossed to leave the freezing cold, red, Honda. I get excited because I’m going to surprise you and scare you half to death. I rarely get that. It’s usually the other way around. But, you’re not there. I go round to the drivers side and take the key out. I imagine someone having found the car here, your prized possession of true adult independence, and driving it away, no sign of anything out of the ordinary. But you are out of the ordinary. Nothing about the dishes in the sink, or the dying spider plants are ordinary. This is the time before the phoenix rises. This is the time when you sprinkle the one hundred and sixty puzzle pieces all over the living room carpet.

“in a graceful way” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday January 14, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
5:43pm
5 minutes
Stone Poetry
Satya Pattnaik


Say sorry that way
Tell lies that way
Wait for a better time to bring it up that way
Enjoy the night’s fear that way
Be kind to yourself in that way
Be patient in that way
Forgive in that way
Forgive often in that way
Win in that way
Lose in that way
Work in that way
Play in that way
Hold loved ones in that way
Help others in that way
Receive compliments in that way
Give compliments in that way
Care for an animal in that way
Refuse to be taken advantage of in that way
Stick up for yourself in that way
Remember fondly in that way
Move forward in that way
Let go of negativity in that way
Overcome temptations in that way
Pick yourself up after falling down in that way
Wish for a better tomorrow in that way
Own up to the truth in that way
Believe in magic in that way
Eavesdrop in that way
Wait for your turn in that way
Refrain from running your mouth in that way
Hold on to the perfect moments in that way
And just try if you can’t all the time
Remember it when you feel like nothing is close and everything is hard
There are two choices
To do it in that way
Or not to

Sensory dip: Little red potato by Julia at R Squared


Monday, January 7, 2013 at R Squared
10:05am
5 minutes
a little red potato (sensory dip)

What a truth, that I’m holding the world in my hands.
Capability and hilarity.
What other tools do I need?
Patience?
I’ll just borrow that from my best friends. They have a lot of it.
Maybe grace?
I’ll get that from my mother. She has so much I bet she grows it on to her rosemary bush and cooks with it sometimes.
Do I need anything else?
Honesty.
Yes.
From the girl who lives down the street from me. She recognizes how crazy she is, but in a good way. She wouldn’t mind showing me how to carry it with me. I asked her once…she thinks I already have it.
The world, my world that I’m holding, feels like I could squish it.
I could puncture it but I would not be using my tools. I’d be using my emotions.
The ones involving fear.
I don’t remember from whom I received it.
Who gave me that?
Surely not my father.
Surely not my teachers.
I can’t remember if I saw it in a store window once, tried it on, and thought it looked good on me so I took it home? Or….?

“We’re not selling cheese.” by Julia on the 506 west


Saturday, December 8, 2012
6:45pm
5 minutes
Irma Voth
Miriam Toews


We’re not just selling our drawings, mom, we’re selling imagination! It’s different!
Grace was scribbling all over a piece of printer paper with a red crayon. It looked like a picture of a blood clot. I told her it looked like Santa’s Workshop. Grace didn’t know yet what abstract art was, but it’s as if she did. She and her best friend, Lizzy, had been going door to door with their artwork for 3 days now. The first drawings were actually decipherable; cute even. Now Grace had it in her head that she just needed to keep producing work no matter what, and the quality had certainly taken a back seat. I told her, it’s nicer when you sell the ones that mean the most to you–those are the ones people will pay more for. She giggled in her high-pitched 4 year old way.
I made 100 dollars yesterday!
Grace had made 100 pennies yesterday. The neighbours were paying in pennies. Sometimes dimes.
Grace wanted to go buy something exciting with her earnings. I told her, maybe a couple more days first to make it really special.