Sunday January 29, 2017
Mary Ellen Flora
There are days that pass that feel lighter than they are because the heaviness is elsewhere. But when the heaviness is back it’s all that there is. Nothing relative. Nothing to compare it to, it is everything and nothing and nothing that is everything. One day last week KT laughed at her self for returning to her desk with toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her shoe. She didn’t mind the tiny thing and wasn’t embarrassed. That was a heaviness is elsewhere kind of day. Today KT can’t stand without crying and can’t smile without lying and so she does neither. Pete doesn’t ask her what is wrong because he knows she will say nothing or everything and both will be either. He knows that it is nothing and everything but he can’t do a single thing to help.
Thursday December 8, 2016
overheard at JJ Bean on Cambie
I had to act like I hadn’t just spent a year covering her ass every time she drank too much to come into work. Where’s Wendy? She’s sick, she’s stuck at the airport, she’s adopting a puppy, she’s at a doctor’s appointment, she’s at home waiting for Rogers, she’s at home because there’s a bat in her living room, she’s taking a personal day, she’s helping someone do something, she’s figuring out something for someone, she’s not coming in today, she sends her regards, she’s sorry she has to reschedule, she’s not coming in today. And part of me still felt bad that I couldn’t come up with a more convincing lie. Or that people probably knew because I had gotten lazy with my excuses. But what was worse was she was still so sad and there was nothing any of us could do. Or maybe there was. Maybe I could have said something. Or offered to take her out for coffee just so she’d remember people cared about her.
Monday, July 25, 2016
From a text
Annie calls me from the other room to see if I’m awake. I am. But I ignore the ring. Letting it finish its tune before I toss in bed some more to make it seem like I’m still asleep. Annie hasn’t been sleeping well on the couch, even though she says she has been. She makes sad squealing noises throughout the night but doesn’t remember doing it. I know she isn’t well but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. I told Jeremiah about it and he told me he needed at least eight hours sleep to get through his day and if he could sleep on the couch, he would. I told Jeremiah I would sleep on the couch if he would let my sister sleep on my side with him in the bed. He looked at me like I had just swallowed too many blue pills. He shook his head slowly from side to side and said, I don’t know, Lisa, I don’t know.
For the first time I wonder if Jeremiah is attracted to Annie. Or if he is trying to assert his power.
Wednesday June 29, 2016 at Starbucks
Says Hurry Up
Says Whatchu Waiting For?
Says Hurry Up
Hands me a shovel and tells me I have to and if I won’t do then I won’t do anything else today, no eating, no running, no laying down, no reading. So I do because I want to do other things but I don’t want to dig. My arms are weak from all the lifting he made me do yesterday. He sits back and watches me work while he chews on a piece of straw and rocks back and forth saying, That’s Nice, and Good, and, Very Good. The last time I tried to run away he sent his dogs. So I don’t threaten to head to the fence anymore. He wants to keep me right where he can see me. I don’t want to dig but his face is sweaty and mean today. I have to. I have to.
Says Hurry Up
Says I Like Watching You Drip
Says Thank You
Says I’ll Show You How Thankful I Am
Tuesday June 28, 2016 at Starbucks
I keep having the same dream–that I’m lying in my bed with my eyes closed, asleep, and in my mind’s eye I see fuchsia orbs coming toward me, flickering in the sky then disintegrating into nothing. I am in that paralyzed, meta state where I recognize that I’m dreaming but I can’t wake up or move or change anything. In this dream I always look past the flickering pink and can make out more colours in the distance. Flames. Outside my window the tall tree, the one that the crows perch in and caw in every morning at exactly 4:43, is on fire. The leaves are burning up and they’re going slow enough to wonder if this too shall pass…
In this dream, I scream to you to call 911 and you tell me it’s not necessary. I tell you it is because I can see it from my position and this fire will consume us if we don’t treat it with respect. You rush into the room and the sky outside is orange and red.
You stare out blankly and whisper to me, you were right…
Saturday March 12, 2016
There’s a man staring at me from under a balaclava. I am scared but more than that- I am furious. I think if I show fear he wins. I am mad that he is winning. I am so mad that he is anything on this planet, but because I have to deal with this, I am angry that these stupid tactics are working on me. He is on my mind. At the front of it. I tell myself not to look up at him. I don’t want to meet the gaze of this ridiculous human being who’s growing harder in his pants at the thought of displacing me in my rightful position on this earth. I tell myself that if I don’t look at him, I will be the one in control. I am desperate for another human to get on this god forsaken bus so I can avoid eye contact with him or her as well so it doesn’t look like he’s getting to me, just seeming that I don’t look at anyone, that I don’t give a flying fuck about connection.
I am afraid.
And I hate him for that.
Saturday March 5, 2016
I don’t know where the ground is where the ground is where the ground is
Mama says I should know because my feet are there but I don’t know where it is I don’t know
She says breathe deep and feel the earth
She says close your eyes and visualize
and I am confused because I can’t see anything either
How do I know where I’m going if I don’t know where I am?
I don’t know where I am I don’t know where I am
I haven’t known for a long time I haven’t felt secure
The ground isn’t under me, nothing is supporting me
Mama says it is I just need to find my feet again
I look down and see feet but I can’t see what’s below.
Mama says trust that you know and trust that you do
I’m sorry I am not better, I’m sorry I don’t know where the ground is
Thursday March 3, 2016
James Vance Marshall
Poor thing had just come in from an unexpected encounter. He was sore all over, one eye glued right shut-save for the little drop of blood that squeezed out and marked up his left cheek. I didn’t know what to do, seeing him like that. I imagined Teri wouldn’t want to know that her little boy had been horse whipped by her own brother, but she was bound to find out sooner or later. I took him over to the sink and I tried to dab a cool cloth on his face, on that nasty eye. He pulled away at first but when I started humming to him he calmed down a bit. I told him over and over again I was so sorry. I didn’t know Elliot would be home so early. I didn’t even have two seconds to hide the sweet little thing before he got his monster hands on him. When I bent down close to meet his eyes with mine, little thing whispered to me, please don’t tell my mom.
Thursday, July 9, 2015
A letter from Health Insurance BC
“Or maybe we could rent a van and pack it up tight with all our stupid stuff that we don’t care about and just drive it across the country like we did last time?” She says this, rubbing an ice cube side to side across her collar bone, making him sweat, making him want her even more.
“Yeah, we could, or we could purge all our stupid stuff that we don’t need and just be free and minimal.” He says this with a knowing smirk that she’d never go for something like that.
“You mean minimalistic?” She pops the ice cube into her mouth and lets it melt there for a second.
“I don’t think we need to purge. Maybe get rid of a few things. The waffle iron. We could get rid of the waffle iron, and maybe the second set of measuring cups.”
Thursday February 12, 2015
a storefront window on Dupont St.
Titus hopes for the days that Louise stops screaming in her sleep.
He wakes up every time and tries to hold her without touching her because usually touching her just makes it worse.
He breathes calmly, affecting her breath.
She breathes calmly, taking on his patterns.
Shhh, he kisses the air around her scrunched face.
Shhh, she exhales after holding it in for too long.
Louise sees the visions right before she falls asleep.
The close up shots of a butcher’s bloody hand chopping hunks of raw lamb flesh.
The bees that sting the inside of her eyes until she’s panicked again.
Titus caresses her face softly to soothe her.
He does this sometimes for hours.
His touch is gentle and cool on her hot cheeks.
Friday January 23, 2015
from a song by The Be Good Tanyas
Stings like pine needles pricked into my brain-
Where have you been?
Don’t bother me with little words.
I begged you not to leak here.
I asked you nicely not to unload real feelings near this.
And you cry cry cry.
Faucet leaky and abandoned.
Then I hear the high pitched song of the radiators. About to explode. About to change tunes forever-Where you’ve been don’t bother me. But where you are I can’t seem to wrap my head around.
Are you happy now? Are you here? I never noticed this sadness. I always saw it from a distance, bleeding into the landscape before. Now it’s mine and it’s heavy and it’s not just a blurred line off beyond the horizon. Now it’s mine and it’s loud. This crippling tender quiet.
Monday September 8, 2014
from an interview with Passenger on http://www.billboard.com
I didn’t know what to say so I went from being very loud to very quiet in a matter of split seconds. The timing was precious, and in it I vanished. It engulfed me, the silence. The utmost pretense. The inability to speak, to help, to heal, to advise. Nothing. Nada. Not even one single sigh did I utter. Couldn’t sputter a helpful Hmmm, or a pointed Ohhhh. I was speechless, bottomless, hollow and wordless. I thought I’d be great but I was instead worthless. So the only thing I thought in that very moment to do, was go from being very quiet to being very loud in a matter of split seconds.
Saturday April 19, 2014
i knelt down close to her unmoving body. i wasn’t about to touch her just in case. i didn’t know why, but just in case seemed like the most appropriate reason. she had on the scarf i gave her. she thought she was borrowing it, but i was planning the whole time to just say, keep it, annie, it looks better on you. i never really got the chance to tell her. now she’s probably on her way to dying thinking that she was dying in my favourite scarf. i would have liked for her to go in peace; still haunts me that i didn’t let her know sooner. all the memories of us stealing earrings and toothpaste filled my head. i can’t remember now whose idea it was to take all that stuff but i do know that i haven’t felt a rush like that since. neither of us really wanted those shitty earrings. we just liked the idea of taking something with some kind of value. the toothpaste, i’m pretty sure we just needed. i reached out to let my energy sort of drip off my fingers and into her scalp just in case. i didn’t know why, really, maybe just in case that was the one thing keeping her from being already dead.