“Resource Recovery” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday May 22, 2018
11:21pm
5 minutes
From an apartment garbage bin

All is okay now that we’ve touched hearts again
Now that the sky has turned from blue to black
Now that the space between is a bridge of goodness
We eat baby carrots and we drink from glasses
That’ve never touched these lips
These new places all new all fresh all free

My breath catches a million times and it’s okay
Because you know this kind of ache
Because you get where we’ve been and where we are
And where we’re going
It’s gonna take time we say
And we’re right
We know
We trust that this is where we’re supposed to be
Where we are

Riding home
Up hills and over potholes
I laugh and sing a song about travel
I make it up as I pedal pedal pedal
Like you would
Make it up on the spot
Gift it to you

“I know that guy, we’ve talked” by Sasha on the ferry back to the mainland

Monday May 21, 2018
3:18pm
5 minutes
From a text

I still get texts from you
three years after I knew you
After I took your words
in my mouth
sloshed them around
Spit out teeth and tar

With the gin and tonic
With the water and lemon juice
With the salad dressing

I still hear from you sometimes
When I’m least expecting
When I’m with my shiny prize of a lover
When I’m lonely
When I’m full

There’s nothing that sorry can’t buy
At least with me
But the fact that you don’t say it
That you never will
Is apple cider vinegar
Bath overflowing

What the fuck do you want from
Me on a Monday
So far in the future

I don’t respond
I never do
I imagine blocking your number
But then how will I know that
You need me
How will I know
That hundreds of kilometres away
Someone is reaching for
The past

“Intelligent, quirky, passionate” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday May 15, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
from Quill and Quire

Welcome to Search-and-Love and thank you for joining our community. Setting up your profile is going to take some time, but you can save as you go and come back to it as many times as you need to. Remember that the love of your life is going to see what you write here, so make it count. We congratulate you on taking your love life, and your future, into your own hands.

“I don’t think this is for me,” you say, and you’re right in some ways.

“Of course it is! Come on! It’s now or never!” I pat your arm.

“It hasen’t even been a year, Kel…” Tears fill your eyes and I –

“We’ve talked about this a million times. You have to get back on the horse. You’ll go on a few dates and you’ll see how you feel! If you hate it, you’ll take your profile down. Okay?”

Now, let’s start easy – describe yourself in three words.

“I call to ask my mother the name of the street” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday May 2, 2018
9:46pm
Flight
Idrissa Simmons

I see a woman holding the hand of a small child. Maybe he’s two and a half. The woman looks rotten. The child isn’t screaming, but I bet that he was a few minutes ago. She wipes his snotty nose with her own sleeve. It’s a nice sweater. That moment is full of surprise and worry. On my part. She looks at him with something I do not know. I am not a mother. Is it love? Is it hate? Is it indifference? Is it fatigue? She catches my eye, watching them, and glares at me. I must look crazy. Watching them. She’s just trying to get her toddler to blow his nose.

“she will not live long.” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
11:21pm
5 minutes
june 20th
Lucille Clifton

Mary-Beth gets a chicken
and she loves her with
all her heart because that’s
what a chicken does
to a person

You wouldn’t think it
but it’s true
They are bringing
chickens into senior citizens’
homes to help fight all
the loneliness

Mary-Beth lets Fiesta
(That’s her chicken’s name)
sit on her shoulder while
she is playing checkers with
Anthony and Robin
Fiesta helps her heart beat
to more music than ever
and she also helps her win
at checkers

“I have been in love with a life—“ by Julia at her desk

Saturday April 7, 2018
12:28am
5 minutes
Grammar School
Megan Fennya Jones

Some audiences don’t snap for poems about joy
if the joy is coming out of certain bodies
You could say you love your body and they will
say that it’s because you never had to struggle
You could say you like yourself and they will
wait for the moment before when you didn’t
I have been grateful in front of the wrong people
Gave my full heart and let the light open the room
and still it was not the right place for it
it did not compare with all of the other sadness
Makes you wonder sometimes if you have enough
pain to even be a poet
if you have enough of anything at all
If you want to sing the love song for your loved song
you will have to wait until there’s a
space in the programming
You can’t try to be joyful after someone else has wept
it will make you look like you’re bragging
like you’re the enemy
and some audiences will call you undeserving
of a ten

“I have been in love with a life—“ by Sasha in the bathtub

Saturday April 7, 2018
11:18pm
5 minutes
Grammar School
Megan Fennya Jones

I have always been in love
with life. That is a truth
as sure as laugh lines,
as sure as chapped lips,
as sure as your voice singing,
as sure as the horse’s grey mane,
and the rising sun,
as sure as magnolia blossoms,
as sure as my mother’s knowing.

Even when I’ve lost faith
like a bus pass,
like an irreplaceable ring,
like a lover in another city,
like the name of someone
who I’ve met once in passing,
like the sound of the crickets
in the woods at Knowlton Lake,
like the tune to a song I wrote
as a teenager,

Even when I’ve lost faith,
I’ve always known that

love

is the
language
is the
religion
is the practise.

“The process is afterall like music,” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday April 6, 2018
9:14pm
5 minutes
Käthe Kollwitz
Miriam Rukeyser

I wonder where the grace
note will come in amidst
the banging and bruising
If I’ll be sitting
at my desk
on the sidewalk
and you’ll suddenly come
to mind
and you’re finally smiling
not that I can’t hold
the grief or the grey
but you’re smiling
and it lifts me
from where I am

I sail over
the rooftops
towards the water
towards where you
are and you don’t
have poems
or words
you don’t even
know I’m there
but I am
I am

“All my friends are having babies” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday April 4, 2018
2:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

All my friends are having babies and I am more concerned with how good my freaking nails look these days. It’s taken a long time to like my hands. How do you like a hand that squeezes too hard, that breaks the good mugs, that spends most of its time down the front of raggedy sweat pants? These hands have never housed nice nails. These nails have never looked this strong. Some days I couldn’t tell if it was blood underneath them or just ketchup chips. It’s all I can think about because it’s like they belong on someone else’s body. Someone else who, say, might be having a baby. I’m used to seeing chips and tears and skin peeling off where it shouldn’t. They were not the hands that held soft things and kept them soft. They didn’t know how to stay one colour when stepping out into the cold.

“I think you’re really mean” By Julia on her bed

Friday March 30, 2018

1:49pm

5 minutes

Not Fair

Lilly Allen

The little girl says this to me after I tell her that I’m not mad at her for breaking my crayon box. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to feel bad but she feels bad and now she thinks every word out of my mouth is going to shame her head into the sand. This comment is followed by a lot of screaming for me not to talk to her. Nobody is allowed to talk to her. And I have to let it pass because she is not my child and she doesn’t know that I am trying to hold her. Minutes earlier she is flinging her arms around me and telling me she loves me. I wonder about the size of a three year old’s emotions. I ask myself, how do such big feelings fit into such small bodies. Her hands, when she lets me squeeze them, a tiny pillow for all the unknowing in the space between us. Her curls, when she lets me comb them, a bouncy castle of dreams.

“Bill and Madge” by Julia on her couch

Sunday, March 25, 2018
11:24pm
5 minutes
The Wreck Up Ahead
Poe Ballentine

M: Billy, come down here, the darn TV went off again!

B: So turn it back on again dear Liza!

M: Har har very funny. It won’t stay on, I already tried.

B: Did you unplug it, plug it back in, wiggle the cord, and say a little prayer?

M: Billy, for Chrissakes, get down here!

B: Say it, Madge.

M: Say what?

B: The magic words. All of em, in a row: Billy, my one and only, I need your help.

M: Are you out of your goddamn mind? Why do you think I’m asking you to come down here in the first place you egomaniac!

“Bill and Madge” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday, March 25, 2018
8:42pm
5 minutes
The Wreck Up Ahead
Poe Ballentine

Bill and Madge meet in their fifties. Bill is younger by five years. Madge had been married once, fresh out of nursing school, but Lionel was a drinker and so she left after a year and a half. Bill had never been married. He’d lived with a woman once, Genevieve, in Montreal, in the 80’s. Bill was an illustrator, working mostly in children’s books and magazines. He’d been mostly successful, which is really something given that career path. Madge was a gardener, and then a midwife, and then a bread maker, and then a gardener again, and then an early childhood educator. She swears that she used to read her students books that Bill had drawn pictures for.

“It’s always too soon to go home.” by Julia at her desk

Thursday, March 22, 2018
10:26pm
5 minutes
Hope In The Dark
Rebecca Solnit

The last conversation was a bad one:
you on the phone with the love held up
to your ear, me at the good plate trying
not to miss you. And maybe it was dinnertime
for me and bedtime for you and we
couldn’t get our wires uncrossed, or it
was just me, as it always is, when the
volume rises for no reason.
All you said was no more canned tomatoes.
It could have been so funny.
But lately I’ve been trying not to sway so
damn easily at the nudge of you. I made
a deal with the body I get to visit
that I would not wait for you to
come home for me to start deciding.
You managed, like a duck diving,
not to mind the dark and cold at all.

“I thought my love would never recover.” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday March 21, 2018
10:57am
5 minutes
A quote by Madeleine L’Engle

It is a gift given often without being returned
a tiny bird’s egg rescued from concrete
the padded footsteps around the house
while he sleeps through the day again
Expectations far away from here

But then it is still true
When the silence is so loud it weeps
the hurt so present it raises the skin
you might think this love bone might never mend
this aching might never go away

He sleeps, through the day again,
her mother forgets to ask about her doctor’s appointment
the padded footsteps, soft from walking with empty
And the next day, a window cracks
the light streaming in just a little

“something wonderful happens:” by Julia on the 84

Sunday, March 18, 2018
2:26pm
5 minutes
A Marriage
Michael Blumenthal

When the days go by without poetry
I am lost inside the labyrinth my own making has built for me to conquer
Busy relearning how to walk
with two new feet that have not yet carried this heavy
The hero’s journey has always been someone else’s movie
And I have not watched myself transform into grace from the sidelines
Inside out she is begging to be fed
That I may find my appetite for words the way I once did in the weeds and speckled laneways
She is the hero waiting
Outside is not safe and she knows that
She wants out anyway but there are more protectors at the gate
More worried hearts preoccupied with the consequence of light
First I must put her ease in plain view
Ask her if she’s sure and if she is how sure
Something wonderful happens when I let her speak
When she sees a door and calls it a wishing well.

“something wonderful happens:” by Sasha on the highway

Sunday, March 18, 2018
2:21pm
5 minutes
A Marriage
Michael Blumenthal

I lost myself in the swirling water
imagining blood
imagining placenta
imagining screaming
ripping loving crying

I found myself in the sky
hanging onto a crow’s foot
high high up and not at all afraid
you on the ground below
cheering me on
you can do it
you say
you can do it

I lost myself in my own body
sick and bloated
racing heart even though I
haven’t moved all day

I found myself in my own body
the same
but different
I know you so well
I say
I just met you
I say
Talking to myself
romancing myself
alone
together

“The next time he comes over” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, March 17, 2018
10:57pm
5 minutes
The Possible Universe
Claire Halliday

The next time he comes by, in dream or almost, I’m going to make sure I taste his lips.
Last time the whole sleep paralysis thing got me. He came home, but I was stuck on the couch. I could feel him next to me. I asked him for a kiss. He bent down, his mouth hot near mine, and all I could do was lay there. Now I’ve had a good talking to with my brain and we both agreed we were not going to do that again. If he was showing up in my subconcious, he should get to make actual contact. None of this Nearly But Not Quite stuff. He asked me if we could rendezvous at a train station this time. I got worried, knowing me, always waking myself up before the good parts. So we decided to meet on the train itself to maximize our dream time together. He said he wanted to make love to me in the dining car. I would very much like to show up for this one. I’ve always wanted to make love in a dining car.

“If you want to go out with her or give her a bath” by Julia in the office chair

Thursday March 8, 2018
10:17pm
5 minutess
From a text

Lottie ain’t gonna fightcha, if ya’ll wanna take her out or give her a nice scrubbin’, be my guest, understand? She used to put up a stink, but I think the old gal has gotten tired and to be honest I think she likes the company different these days. When we first got her, boy could she kick a hole in all your hard work! The fences that Horace put up? Took him the whole damn summer. When he left for two minutes to fetch himself a congratulatory beer Lottie had already marked her exit route. You shoulda seen his face, my god. If he didn’t already feel bad for the poor thing, he mightta sold her that very day. Thing is, Lottie came from a bad group. The owners liked to use their animals for experiments in show business-Kind of impossible circus types.

“If you have any questions” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 6, 2018
7:32am
5 minutes
Vancouver Yellow Cab

Allow me to jump ahead for a second. We don’t fall in love, and we don’t get married, and we don’t have three red-haired and freckled children. That doesn’t happen. What does is that I cheat on you thirteen times (eleven with men, twice with women). You forgive me ten times. The last three break you. Especially the women. I ask forgiveness every day with actions and words and neither matter and both make things hurt more. You pack a bag and take your grandmother’s lamp and walk out one morning and I lie on the floor and despite knowing I deserve it all I wail and slobber for forty eight hours.

“plush and pregnant into my palm” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, March 3, 2018
12:16am
5 minutes
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
James Cagney

I catch myself being more ready for the things I used to avoid
Motherhood
True Love
White Cheddar popcorn topping
In the span of a few months my chest has expanded:
my heart has grown three full sizes
I know you are to blame
as you always are for changing my mind
as you always are when you are the next thing in the room
I have never wanted you closer
Even after all the undecided books
or old tables put in new places
It is medicine when our worlds spin in the same direction
It is better this way
On the street you ask me if things are okay when they don’t feel okay
I tell you now before they turn into unswept corners, spiders crawling out

“object of concentration” by Julia on the 99

Friday, March 2, 2018
4:02pm
5 minutes
Ashtanga Yoga Primer
Baba Hari Dass

On my mind like a wind chime

blowing in the night

Playing a song so sweet

You are who I think of when I can’t get to sleep

You are who I know I need

Raindrops carry the ease of you

On my rooftop I have felt the drum

You are who my heart knows is the one

You are who my heart knows is the one

In the faces in shower tiles I see yours

In the gravel roads I’m travelling on

You’re the smile in my bowl of soup

the wisdom in the moon

You are who I was supposed to meet

You are who my dreams told me to write

You are who my eyes were built to see

You are who my heart knows

“The only thing I can come up with” by Sasha sitting on her floor

Thursday, March 1, 2018
10:07pm
5 minutes
No Idea
Dana ID Matthews

The only thing I can come up with is

us dancing in the kitchen in the country
getting drunk and making a fire

The only thing I can come up with is

taking a bath in the clawfoot tub
and you sneaking photographs

I wonder what happened to those photographs
I wonder if they are under your bed
or if they are dead in a hard drive somewhere
or are they just negatives in a memory
somewhere between then and now
you and I

The only thing I can come up with is

you running into a friend
of a friend at Lee’s Palace
friend of a friend says my name
and you tap her on the shoulder and say

“She’s one of the loves of my life”

“may all the bones” by Sasha at her desk

Friday, February 23, 2018
4:02pm
5 minutes
And if there is a day of resurrection
Todd Davis

I want to be the best for you. I wake up sweaty. I wake up hungry. I wake up wanting blood. I make steak and eggs and go for a run. I run farther than ever. I run to the desert. I taste you. I feel you in my liver. I hear you in my ears. I take a sick day and buy a canvas from an art store and paint you from memory. You’ve never looked better. I listen to Britney Spears, Chopin, Coldplay, Marvin Gaye. I drink gallons of water. I take vitamins. I eat chia seeds by the spoonful. I go to the doctor. I will live forever, for you, because of you.

“we were in the same grade together” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday February 15, 2018
9:51pm
5 minutes
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
Amber Dawn

I run for miles just to get close to you and then when you’re there when you’re in front of my there aren’t words there is only my incessant heart that insists on beating seventeen times too fast whenever I’m in your presence.

It doesn’t help that I’m so hungry for love for touch for attention for kissing for you that I hide when your close and that’s not a metaphor I actually hide as in I crawl under the sink and wait until you’re gone.

It doesn’t matter that I ran for miles to get here and that then seeing you real and alive and breathing and looking worse than I thought you’d look it doesn’t matter it doesn’t matter I will die here in the cupboard of shame and fear and love and sweat and

oh my god

you’re searching for dish soap.

I’ve been found.

“bellies full of unborn air” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday February 12, 2018
8:31am
5 minutes
Mannequins
Emily Davidson

Bellies full of unborn air
we reach for stars
we have no concept of.
How far away is venus?
How close is the new moon?
Where exactly is the north star?

Hearts full of
bubbles and pebbles
we crouch in the fire
hope we
don’t get burned.

Yes

you know more than me.

In my unknowning
though

I am wiser than
the octopus
with her smirk
and her paws.

Contort this body
into origami cranes.
Shake your head
at the grey
at the red.

Make failures
and love
in equal measure.

Yes

you are the tallest

mountain.

Playing piano
with our noses
we shake our fat
until the crows
laugh.

“He couldn’t get enough of sky” by Julia on her couch

Thursday February 8, 2018
10:08pm
5 minutes
North America’s Favourite Zoo Animal
Stephanie Bolster

This boy flies in a plane
never seen the sky from
this high up
never seen his church
from this far away
Counting stars, Mamma,
I see them all the same as
down there
Makes a wish in case
one of them unexpectedly falls
And this one can be yours too,
Mamma, we can share it
This boy wears light blue hat
with bear ears sticking out
He sleeps in the soft of his
mother after watching the pink
and orange stripes fade
The gentle lady walks by and
catches herself off guard
by his tiny perfect face

“it was poetry, fireworks, ticker tape” by Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Monday January 29, 2018
7:12am
5 minutes
Bad Hand
Mallory Tarses

It was fireworks when Alma was born
It was poetry when she looked up at Judy

“Poetry” Pete says when he’s telling the story
He loves to tell the story
even now
seven years later

“It was the coldest night of the year,” says Judy
stroking Alma’s soft downy fawn hair

“How cold?” Alma asks

“Thirty six below,” says Pete
as he puts another log on the fire
and it sparks
Alma giggles
The old dog Mutt opens one eye

“Where were the fireworks?” Alma asks
She knows the answer
but that’s the quiet comfort of
childhood
asking anyway

“Right here,” says Pete
tapping on his chest
knocking on the door of his heart

“It’s bedtime now,” says Judy
and she’s right but they all hope
that maybe tonight she can stay up
just a little bit longer

Mutt farts in his sleep and
they all laugh and laugh
and laugh
plugging their noses

“it was poetry, fireworks, ticker tape” by Julia in Hue

Monday January 29, 2018
9:16pm
5 minutes
Bad Hand
Mallory Tarses

It was hard beds, good sleeps, wild dreams.
It was soft hands, stark words, sweet kisses.

It held us in our tiny pod, two feet from the ground and floating. Brought us to the flashing lights and the back alleys and the families of perfect chickens. It was poetry and history and a birthday song over the PA in the lobby.

It was poetry and river walks.
It was poetry as patience.

As kindness.
As covered knees in the solemn place.
As the sunrise on a boat in the Mekong Delta.

“Said she’s comin’ back to stay” by Julia in Da Nang

Sunday January 28, 2018
7:08am
5 minutes
Gonna Have Love
Buck Owens

You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. They might be your boxers. Your at home clothes. Your lounge wear. I don’t know that much about you yet. I don’t know that you love Buck yet. I know you’re funny. I know I’ve accidentally said your name while lying next to someone else. I know I don’t want to live with anyone but you. You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. You knock on my door every night and when I say come in from my desk you come in with your guitar. You play a song. You charm the pants off of me. You make me laugh. You make me better. You are a one man show and I am your only audience. You and your black shorts, boxers, lounge wear. You and your perfect timing and your perfect face. You and your way of changing the room so the right light hits the right spot. I don’t know much about you but I am watching every part. I am studying your hands. Your knee caps. The way you don’t take anything personally. The way you sing to me.

“If we changed the rules of our games” by Julia in Hội An

Friday January 26, 2018
9:16pm
5 minutes
The Mercy Seat
Norman Ravvin

Now that we’ve changed
the rules I don’t cry as much.
As if my face can tell
you how I feel without
losing any water without
causing a drought somewhere
else deep down near the well of me
Now the well of me is full
and happy looks like patience
or a bucket
or forgiveness on the conveyor belt
switched on at high speed
You are coaching and playing
at the same time sometimes
and this is a rule you
have always known to follow
I can learn from this
I can play better too

“chimneys dress right with smoke” by Julia at Nguyen Shack homestay

Wednesday January 24, 2018
9:48pm
5 minutes
A Touch of Cynicism
Yannis Goumas

There’s a new chimney in my parents’ house. I’m glad because they use their fireplace a lot. They make decisions like this and then you never hear the end of it. I’m glad because they use their fireplace a lot. But then you have to hear them tell you about the guy who installed it. And then again. And then about the new handle on the new fireplace door. Because oh yeah, there’s a new fireplace at my parents’ house too. And people are allowed to be excited. That the first time in 20 years they are changing something in the downstairs area. Not the carpets or the windows. But the fireplace that they light every night. My dad even starts the fire for my mom before he leaves for work each morning. She can do it by herself but he still likes to make the house warm for her before he goes. If they tell me again about the fireplace, I will let them. I’ll ask about the guy who installed it. I’ll ask about the working chimney.

“it’s the ending that keeps me in my chair.” By Julia in her bed

Thursday January 18, 2018
10:55pm
5 minutes
Memoir
Sue Goyette

Guess I want to know what you’ll look like when you’re eighty. What you’ll smell like. Where your smile will point. I want to know if your vocal chords will turn grey. If you’ll wear a hat or not. If you’ll still kiss like a goddamn unicorn. If you’ll still whisper nonsense into my ear to see if I’ll laugh. If you’ll still sneak white cheddar popcorn topping into our turkey pasta. If you’ll rub my feet for no reason. If you’ll tell your phone to tell me you love me so I get it in writing and in the third person the way I always secretly liked. It’s the happy, the ending, that keeps me glued to your station. It’s the last days that make we want to stick around and see what happens.

“the amniotic brine of tears” by Julia on the 99

Tuesday January 16, 2018

8:56pm

5 minutes

Memo to a Self

Steven Heighton

I called my mother today and yelled and cried at her while she was helping me. I yelled emotions, not anger. Or maybe frustration and fear and annoyance. And she didn’t get mad. She was kind. She knows when I yell I’m not mad at her but feeling more than my body can handle. She knows that and says it’s okay, or I’m not taking it personally, or you can take out your anger on me. But I’m not angry. And I shouldn’t be yelling. But I am yelling and so I yell that I’m not mad. Or I yell that I love her. Or I yell that I’m afraid of dying before I get to see her again. When I yell my mother rolls a batch of date and walnut cookies. She puts me on speaker phone and forgets to tell me that my dad is in the other room with his leg up cause he can’t straighten his knee. That’s when I feel bad about the yelling. As if my dad, unexpectedly home from work, can hear how ridiculous I’m being and might think I’m an asshole. As if had I known that someone else was in the house I would have put on more of a front. That’s just as ridiculous. I don’t yell at my dad because my dad doesn’t know that I have fears of dying before I see him next.

“It’s the nicest gift anyone’s given me” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Monday January 15, 2018
1:48pm
Fetters
Madeline Sonik

Would you give me grace if I asked
nicely and gave you spice mixtures,
ran you a hot bath, took out
the recycling?

What if I promised to love you through
this storm?

What if I called you every day
and told you something funny,
or irreverent, or sad?

The greatest gift I’ll ever receive
is forgiveness.

For days and days
and days
I thought that it was you
who would give me this.

I thought that it was me

who would leave voicemails,
roast sweet potatoes, make
angel cards and golden milk.

And then today
as I walked in the coldest cold
it struck me –

the giver and the receiver
are one and the same.

Forgiveness
like honey and cinnamon,
like the end of a fire,
like dew underfoot.

Here it is.
Right here.

“I am numb to you.” By Julia on her bed

January 11, 2018
10:41pm
5 minutes
Midwinter
Natalie Crick

It’s a cab ride after a long ride of not speaking. And you are still not speaking to me. I have done all the heavy lifting. At the table, with strangers, painted you in the pinkest of lights. I was talking shop like you’re the bike, like you’re the ride. And this whole ride you’ve been avoiding me. Trying your best to bite your tongue and let them hear you noble. And you forget me in the middle of it all. Arm outstretched, fork untapped, drink unclinked, and you do not smile. You make a face at them that looks like good and looks like great and then with me you are alone again. Unriddled by my questions, unannounced as if the couch owned your legs. I am mad for being mad. And for being right. And for being nothing but good. So why does it feel so damn exhausting-to nap during the day and wake up still unloved by you. So tiring to keep this back pocket free in case you slip your hand in, and when you do not ask me how my day was, I know to check for stolen change. Hand in my pocket to protect you against the yell machine, the perfect plane, soaring right back down after take off.

“eligible costs” by Julia at Democracy*

Tuesday January 2, 2018 at Democracy*
4:07pm
5 minutes
A letter from Health Insurance BC

We’ve been adding up since Sunday
counting blessings and good attitudes, bending each finger down until they’re nimble. I followed suit when you started: Thanked the room for witnessing us at our finest, clapped out loud at the light on my lips. I do what you do. I love the way you show me. A laughter on fire. A please. A thank you, thank you, Amen. I use the good paper to prove it. I write your influence onto lists of things to remember. Things to know. I know how much it costs for me to want you. I keep my big bills like I’m saving up for the perfect leather jacket.

“Hitchhiking” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday January 1, 2018
7:49pm
5 minutes
Trek: A Publication of Alumni UBC

I want you to go first with your ties of love riding the crest of the wave
most wildly at night with your newfound drunken freedom
from the wickedness
the blame
or something

I want you to stick your thumb out and see who pulls over and climb in before
I even decide
freedom on the side of the highway
crouched in the tall grass
peeing

There is always a final chapter
A conclusion
The timing is up to us
An agreement
Usually silent
Usually eye contact and deep breaths
Freedom from

It’s the first day of the rest of my life or at least 2018
I am here with books piled high beside me
Happy place
Joy place
Finally
My love sleeps in our darkened bedroom
A candle with Sacred Mother Mary burns low on the sill
He’ll leave not tomorrow but the next day
and then it will just be

me

“the grey of old age” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday December 27, 2017
4:20pm
5 minutes
Oath
Hussain Ahmed

The grey of old age is creeping up your sideburns
and it’s sexier than I imagined it would be

You’ve got wrinkles in your forehead
Laugh lines across your cheeks
Dimples in the small space between joke and laugh

When we promised forever
I didn’t know it would be
like this
When we promised forever
I didn’t know so much would change
I didn’t know so much would stay the same

We’re making more tacos
more love
more dirt under the fingernails
We’re making less fuss
less waste
less fire

“little package” by Julia on the greyhound bus

Tuesday December 26, 2017

2:07pm

5 minutes

From an email

In recent years I believed a gift had to have many moving parts:

First, a card, a language of otherwise indescribable gratitude. A love, living. A promise, dancing in the living room.

Second, a thought profound and seeing. A proof, light, opening the airways.

Third, a joke, folded into the side bed of the card and woven through the thought. A humble choice to make such vulnerable words a party of intention.

Fourth, a practical container, one that said The Inside Counts Best Here. I Have Used My Time Solely For The Contents. I Have Neglected The Wrapper On Purpose.

“I’ve never been more absorbed in anyone.” By Julia at her parents’ house

Monday December 25, 2017

2:54pm

5 minutes

Elliot, Adam, Elly and Me

Charlotte Joyce Kidd

When I see you differently and you see me the room is shaded pretty like a lilac or a leaf of sage. I haven’t asked for this the way I have been so bold to ask for other things. I have asked for so many now that I’ve lost count. My bones have always wept for this. My dreams have always known. You are crying at the dinner table and I have never felt your pulse as thick. I am crying at the dinner table and you do not turn away. In kiss we are rooted deeply like a fire place, locked. Nothing gets in. Nothing gets out. There is no wondering anymore. About the silence or the motivation. There is no hungry imagination turning dust into villains, holding sweet hostages for ransom. We are a seeing and a knowing now. We rest firmly in this house.

“It’s not fair, after all, to lick tigers so small.” By Julia at D and A’s house

Saturday December 16, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!
Dr. Seuss

When I’m lucky enough
to feel lucky about my tongue
I think of her.
I think of how
all gums no teeth
she could hurl a yell
at any one of us;
have us quaking
in our boots.
Her tongue was a whip.
A weapon.
She used it and the
chorus did sing.
I got mine from her.
I borrowed it once
tried it on
liked it a hell of a lot
and then kept it
in my mouth
like a hard candy
turning it over
against my cheeks.
She could lick a tiger quiet.
She could hum a baby
back into the belly
of her mother.
She could break my
heart and crack it open
in the same breath.
When I’m lucky enough
to think about the origins
of my loud,
when I’m lucky enough
to think about my tongue,
the light in the room lifts.
I am soothed, tender lion cat
nuzzling in the neck
of her sister.
Calmed, the way
an anchovy might.

“Can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.” By Julia on her couch

Friday December 15, 2017
11:39pm
5 minutes
Calvin and Hobbes
Bill Watterson

In the night when I’m dreaming of saving you or someone else I love

I can see all the feelings I’m experiencing. I can hold them. Touch them. I can’t tell if some things are very funny or very scary. There are images in dreams and I can see both versions clearly, as if they’re showing off. Screaming, laughing, tell your neighbour how much more unstable she is than you. I am busy holding my feelings in my elbow crease. Deep down In the cuticles creeping up onto my toenails.

“Can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday December 15, 2017
7:46pm
5 minutes
Calvin and Hobbes
Bill Watterson

I must’ve done something right when I was a blue whale
I must’ve shared my fish and breastfed other whale’s babies
(I don’t know very much about whales so am not sure if that is a thing
they do but)

When I was a blue whale I wrote a column in the seaweed newspaper
about love and injustice and gave away the secret chords to songs
no one could ever find

I cleaned the seafloor with my tail
and not for the glory or the high fives
but because it was crowded and messy

I comforted strangers when they were sad
sleeping into the day
crusty-eyed and moaning
a cousin caught in a fishing net
oh sweet Cecilia
day by day by day

“Calls of guilty thrown at me” by Julia at her desk

Monday November 27, 2017
9:24pm
5 minutes
Cherry Wine
Hozier

If it weren’t for the husk of corn left in the sink
the distinct sting between us: barbed wire, fenceless,
I wouled have decided to stay.
Instead I left and gave you the buzzing shell
still hot from the guilt of not saying goodbye.
You didn’t know the absence well enough.
You knew the actor, she was brilliant.
On nights like Tuesday and 6pm
the space hung in the kitchen is never
big enough for the both of us.
On nights like these you mmm
too easily at the kiss of me.
You always start speaking right
in the middle
of my hand trying to write you.

“Orange County wild fire” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday November 26, 2017
9:41pm
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

Vivian isn’t sure if anyone will remember her name. This is a big fear, taking up the space between temples, up neck, across shoulders. Fredrick suggested that she take some sort of weekly class, and at first she said that they didn’t have enough money and then she came around. Fredrick is virtuously patient. That’s the main reason she married him. She also very much likes his hands and feet. She parks near the entrance and checks her face in the rear view mirror. She isn’t sure what she’s looking for – salad in her teeth? She hasn’t eaten salad since last Tuesday. Fredrick was surprised when she chose a pottery class because she doesn’t like getting dirty. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.

“All I’ve ever learned from love” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday November 24, 2017
10:47pm
5 minutes
Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen

Love knocks you around
Especially when you’re young
You throw yourself at every blue eyed Casanova

Love scoops you up
Carries you for awhile
And then drops you
Sound of a cracking egg
Sound of a sizzle
Sound of morning

Love requests nothing
That’s not what you’re used to

Love ruptures
Love rips
Love heals
Love leaks
Love laughs loud
Open mouthed

Love grabs you hard
Hand on the small of your back
You’ve never been touched like this before
You’re breathless putty

“For real people” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday November 22, 2017
11:22pm
5 minutes
From a storefront

This is for those real real people who pop blackheads and shout at their lover who eat too much salt and chocolate and butter who fuck up and lean in and reach out. This is for those real real people who live amongst dust bunnies and dirty corners and a patch behind the toilet that never gets cleaned. This is for those real real people who watch too much Netflix and drink too much coffee who are always feeling a little bit ill. This is for those real real people who don’t know what they want but try every day to find it maybe it’s love maybe it’s safety maybe it’s a chicken roasting in the oven maybe it’s music maybe it’s fame maybe it’s that all the people around them stop complaining all the fucking time.

“I didn’t hear that part” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday November 13, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 84

A lavender couch underneath a window. Spider plants, succulents and African Voilets line the sill. She sits in a caramel leather chair, perhaps Moroccan. Paintings on the walls, all in blues, greens, purples. An Indigenous etching of two women paddling a canoe, a Georgia O’Keefe flower, lily pads on a lake. I take it all in as quickly as I can. I can’t get enough. I’m dizzy.

“It’s so good to meet you,” she says.

“Yes. You too.”

“A first session is a time for us to get to know one another, to see if this is going to be a good fit.”

WRECKING BALL. OH MY GOD. If this is a good fit? It fits! I’m well fitted! My core is getting stronger by the minute! You mean this might not be –

“You seem distracted. Is there something on your mind?”

“Um – …”

“You’re flushed.”

“Yes. Well…” A silence longer than the GO Train ride to Union Station.

“I didn’t hear that part” by Julia on the 84

Monday November 13, 2017
4:08pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 84

Oh he says he loves me needs me wants to squeeze me
Holds me shows me deep down knows me
Dreams me means me in betweens me
Wants me likes me day and nights me
He says a lot of things
Forever and always
Lots of love love love
He says he can’t live his life without me can’t stop won’t stop hugging up on me
He says something after that and before
But I do not hear them
Over the noise

“Powerful, self-actualized women should feel no shame” by Julia on F’s couch

Sunday November 12, 2017
9:38pm
5 minutes
Communion
Bell Hooks

When speaking
When listening
When choosing not to have a baby
When changing her mind about having a baby
When saying no
When saying yes
When crying
When asking the bus driver for help
When helping
When wanting to be alone
When wanting to be with him
When wanting to be with him even though he still forgets
When speaking
When listening
When making dinner
When waking up
When brushing her teeth
When taking a long shower
When touching herself
When asking to be touched
When deciding not to give an answer
When deciding not to justify her feelings
When not justifying her feelings
When saying no
When saying yes
When speaking
When listening
When wanting someone to hold
When wanting to be fucked and never called again
When fucking and not calling
When talking about her dreams
When breaking down in the supermarket
When buying a box of cookies