“the thin woods and across the highway” by Julia on Amanda’s couch 

Sunday August 19, 2018
10:00pm
5 minutes
November 1968
Brian Doyle

My best friend is a deer whisperer. She is pen pals with at least three of them and one doe with her faun. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was a deer in a past life. She knows exactly how to breathe around them. She knows exactly what to hum. This month she asked one of them for protection and she granted it. She said her grace when she realized how  steadfast it all was. Nothing else in life is this sure. I hope when she writes them she tells them about me. Maybe they will love me by proxy. Maybe they will send their Forest Friends to keep me safe too.

“the thin woods and across the highway” by Sasha at the Airbnb in Mount Pleasant

Sunday August 19, 2018
10:56am
5 minutes
November 1968
Brian Doyle

She climbs and climbs
like she never knew she could
the thin woods reaching
towards sun
towards starlight
towards eagle feather

She reaches a highway
and wishes it was a
river she was crossing

Eagle swoops down
lifts her up
carries her across

She shares water and
bread as a thank you
and the bird leaves
a feather in exchange
for her smile
for her goodness
for her trust that
inter-species friendships
are not reserved for the
domesticated
it’s only that too often
human beings
are afraid

“full of tenderness” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday August 8, 2018
6:52am
5 minutes
Chant
Wang An-Shih

Gimme a minute sweet one I’ve got water boiling on the stove
Gimme a minute honeypots I’m on the phone
Hold on darling there’s something I need to finish here
Can you wait?
Why not?
Okay…
Hold on…
HOLD ON…
Okay.
What is it?
A caterpillar?
My goodness!
You’re right!
Can you could those legs?
How many do you think she has?
Gentle.
Gentle!
See that little yellow stripe?
How do you think she feels about it?
It’s not quite time for lunch yet but I have some apricots if you’d like.

“Kensington Prairie Farm” by Sasha at work

Friday July 27, 2018
5:40pm
5 minutes
www.kpfarm.com

She types on a tickity tickity keyboard
in a square office
in a tall building
on a busy street

The sun shines in through her window
lucky she has one
she tells herself

She wonders about dirt under her fingernails
what that might feel like
she chews a hangnail
and thinks about planting seeds

Literally
she remembers how peas grow
clinging to anything they can
holding eachother up
growing tall

Her garden on the balcony
of her apartment
gets so thirsty she can’t keep up

At the farmer’s market
she touches peaches and plums
radishes and chantrelles
like her children
like her beauties
like her friends

“Getting lost in the dark is my favorite part” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday June 28, 2018
9:56pm
5 minutes
PYNK
Janelle Monáe

I know how the story ends, or at least I pretend that I do. Cello music plays. The lake is like glass. It’s dusk.

Getting lost in the dark is my favourite part. What’s yours?

Solo piano on the record player.

I know how the story ends.

Closing my eyes and seeing the night sky, seeing Jupiter, the full moon, Orion’s Belt.

A loon calls.

Where do we put our grief down when we’ve taken it far enough?

Hurl it into the water and watch as it floats on the surface and then sinks?

Bury it amongst the pines?

Hope that someone, a stranger, might tap me on the shoulder and say, “Would you like me to carry that for you for awhile?”

“present something that is true” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday May 19, 2018
10:05 pm
5 minutes
From a quotei by Kelly Hill

The cedars remind me that
all that matters is
what’s true

I pick fossils on the beach
Wonder how many million
Years are in my hand

Trying to let go of expectations
You touch my cheek
Here we are

Sunburned nose and stars
Peeking bright
My heart races

The cedars whisper
Be here now
No where else to go

Eat cheesecake on the
Picnic table and
Listen to the waves

“Remember that time” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday June 14, 2017
7:27pm
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

Remember the time we got caught in a lightning storm in the woods? It was just Dad and the two of us. Mum never came camping. It was the kind of storm where there isn’t rain, just thunder and lighting. But you know it’s coming. We stood under the tarp, strung up with bungee chords (it was before all the literature came out about how dangerous they are), and watched the storm move across the pines. Before the rain started, we brushed our teeth (peppermint Tom’s) and peed, squatting down and feeling the grasses tickle our bums.

“don’t trip on the stairs” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday June 13, 2017
12:03am
5 minutes
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
Neil Gaiman


Call me shaker Call me howler
Call me maker Call me feast
Call me famine Call me reverent
Call me simple Call me beast
Call me sing Call me frenzy
Call me chaos Call me great
Call me famine Call me bringer
Call me omen Call me fate
Call me shuffle Call me changer
Call me teacher Call me sin
Call me runner Call me muscle
Call me gold Call me win
Call me birch bark Call me tinder
Call me flint Call me steel
Call me engine Call me bullet
Call me handmade Call me wheel
Call me mother Call me lover
Call me woman Call me moon
Call me bear Call me elephant
Call me wolf Call me loon

“the wild nature teaches us” by Julia on her living room floor


Friday March 31, 2017
10:25pm
5 minutes
Women Who Run With the Wolves
Clarissa Pinkola Estes


when my insides echo
when the only thing that can fill me is silence
when the forest begs for a closer look
I may know no home like the moss-covered stumps
like the nurse logs championing life
or the quiet stream carrying the whisper of souls reconciled without debt
we are taught so little about where we come from
some stories are passed down but are not built for us
we are reminded that one size does not fit all
even if the tongue doing the telling is loud

“the wild nature teaches us” by Sasha at her desk


Friday March 31, 2017
11:36am
5 minutes
Women Who Run With the Wolves
Clarissa Pinkola Estes


In the forest
you finally find
the rhythm of your breath
Old growth and
new life
It’s where you go when
you’re empty
or full
It’s where your truest
gaze finds
stillness
hope
relief

Your breath isn’t what you
imagined it would be
It’s deeper
wet with
stream water
dew
footprints

It’s early and you’ve
been here since
darkness
since before the
first glow of morning

Your wild nature
greets this day
You’re where
you’re
meant to be

“Improve your English” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday March 23, 2017
11:36pm
5 minutes
From an ad on the bus

Shaking your fist at the red sky
you are the underwater colours that I
don’t have the language to describe
You are swollen and indignant beyond
the horizon
Roots reaching and curling into other
roots and fingers of butterfly wings
You are more tired than you’ve ever been
and yet you keep wailing
waiting for for someone to respond
When I was fourteen and riding
the bus home
a man pulled a knife on another man
because he was standing too close
I knew the world would break my heart
but I didn’t know the cruelty
the oil
the destruction
Sixteen years and three broken hearts
later and I lean in to you and
put my hand on your quaking back

“She sees light and shapes” by Sasha on her couch


Monday January 30, 2017
9:21pm
5 minutes
From a text

When I was a child, living in a big house on a tree lined street with a yellow door, I would build tiny worlds out of branches, moss, a shell from a visit to Florida. I saw things differently then, in different colours, with different textures. I didn’t know fatigue. I knew heartbreak.

When I had friends over – Sarah, Katie, Charlotte, – I invited them into the worlds. Sometimes someone brought a pinecone or a piece of string. Before bed, after brushing my teeth, washing my face and saying goodnight to my mother, I would take the tiny world apart, bit by bit.

“Important passages” by Sasha at her desk


Monday October 24, 2016
8:40am
5 minutes
Judaism
Jacob Neusner


there’s a bridge atop a tree atop a cliff
it creates a passage from one side to the other
only the brave and broken know where to find it
have hands and feet that know the knots to grip and
branches to swing up from
momentum will be a friend but not a guide
only the brave and broken know the intricacies of a
delicate and powerful tree climb
at the top of the cliff and up the tree
when you make it
you’ll gaze out over the pregnant horizon
you’ll see buildings and highways
gulls and sailboats
ant-sized people
before you cross the bridge
atop the tree
atop the cliff
before you cross from one side to the other
you take a breath
inhale
all the times you’ve kissed a face you love goodbye
all the groggy mornings
before water
all the moments
like this one
that you’ve dared to resist the urge to jump

“spread the word” by Sasha at the table


Monday July 11, 2016
8:25pm
5 minutes
From an e-mail

This heat has got you thinking all crazy this heat
has got your thinking like stalactites and radio
waves bottom of the swimming pool bottom of the
forest floor crunch crunch
tread
crunch tread tread
treading water til you land on something familiar but your
feet don’t know the difference or do
they or do they?

Thirty six degrees and you’re wanting
wanting for something sweet salty sweaty
bitterness turns to calcium turns to
a face you recognize
but can’t name

“where the water is still” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday July 7, 2016 at Starbucks
6:59am
5 minutes
Cranes and Egrets
Marlene Cookshaw


I will meet you there at our favourite spot
the one where we feel like we’re in our own little world
early in the morning before the rest of the ones who need the sun
even see it
where the water is still
where the sail boats line up so perfectly
camping on the ocean
When you need to remember why we chose each other
when you need to feel big in your smallness
I will
I will always.
I will meet you there
at our favourite spot
where the moments feel full
and little ducks rest on rocks
the one where we’re one
with each other
and with the sky

“Alberta’s oil sands” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Thursday May 5, 2016
1:50pm at Platform Seven
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

the world is burning where all the oil lives
the grass is scorched and the trees with the treehouses are ashes
the houses with the photo albums and the calico kitten and
the painting from france from a great-grandmother
the jeopardy of prized possessions
an apocalypse of biblical proportions

true colours show when we’re in danger
fingers around a neck with “mine” over “yours”
cars driving on sidewalks to get ahead of other cars
the irony of politics
the irony of “how did we get here?”
dollar bill pilgrims drilling for gold

another headline another photograph another heart up in flames

“Don’t turn off your computer” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Wednesday April 13, 2016 at Platform 7
4:43pm
5 minutes
from the update installation screen

I showed you love like moss thick under bare feet
tangled just like we are
all roots and flowers all held tight
all reaching

I showed you patience like a watched pot like
the new moon and the tide in and out in and
out all smiles and sighs and gulps
all dirty fingernails and guitar solos

I showed you lavender bouquets blinded by the
streetlights the kitchen is the only alter I’ll
pray at the great divide somehow smaller
amongst tarragon and cinnamon

“She said my mistakes made her feel confused” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 14, 2016
6:24pm
5 minutes
Dear Mr. You
Mary-Louise Parker


I braid my hair long down my back and I glance down to see which flower I want to put in. I let the blooms speak without forcing them to make themselves available to me. I feel the sun peaking out of the clouds just to watch what I do, see what I choose, why. Little purple one, I think. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. Marissa doesn’t like it when I choose wrong. She yells, stomps her feet, says I didn’t teach her anything and her whole life is a joke. I hate to think of angering Marissa or showing her that I haven’t been paying attention. I’m trying. I really am. I feel like she has her minions looking out on all corners of this place to see that I’m doing what I am supposed to. She’s blackmailed the trees, she’s sleeping with the whole sky it seems. Nobody crosses her. Everybody fears her. I listen to my belly, rumbling on luck near empty. Little purple one, woven into the base of my braid. I do not question myself in this moment. I hear wind chimes in the distance congratulating my bravery. Last time Marissa saw me right after a big decision, she scanned my whole body up and down looking for where exactly she might have failed me.

“Help us fight the flu!” by Julia at her dining table


Friday February 12, 2016
12:51pm
5 minutes
from the elevator at VGH

I am sitting motionless but moving on this perfect log facing the perfect sun peaking out behind the perfect mountain. Everything is wonderful. Everything around me is alive and I am still alive to experience it. There’s a difference between living and not dying. I come out here to remind myself exactly that when things feel uneasy. I ask myself, am I still alive, or am I living until I die? I am hoping to find clarity around that; peace, even. Asking myself as often as I can if this life is holding space for me or if I am holding space for it. It should be the former, shouldn’t it? Should. Huh. I know, I’m working on that too. Working on coming to perfect stillness and looking at perfect views and thinking so many imperfect thoughts. I am alone but not lonely. I feel supported from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I decide to keep them closed for the night. And I am not dying. Not yet. Not today. Although if the timing were right, this wouldn’t be such a bad last spot to be in; not a bad last feeling to have–one where I am myself inside myself inside a moment of deep desire to understand.

“Action plan” by Julia on the 99 bus


Thursday February 11, 2016
11:08pm
5 minutes
from a sign at Commercial-Broadway station

Okay let’s stay on this path let’s pick all the berries and watch the sunset from here cause it’s safe here under the canopy of jungle under the protection of soft light let’s pack our tiny bags full of notebooks and truth juice to sustain us but not delay us to suspend us but not limit us we can sip sparingly and save some of that for tomorrow and when we get to tomorrow let’s write a new song about the afternoon or turn dusk into the chorus we can sing it out cause we know the words and bang on the drum of our chest cavities to keep the rhythm going to keep the music alive let’s stay on this path and pray to the star gods to keep us happy and in love in case tomorrow’s tomorrow surprises us.

“Closed now” by Sasha at JJ Bean


Monday, December 14, 2015
7:26pm at JJ Bean Main St.
5 minutes
From a Google search

mountains catching clouds like venus fly traps
mouths open robin red breast feeding worms from
the end of the line
crows fly to richmond to roost every night
the whole murder making the sky black
people take photos on their phones and look at them
later bringing the wild in
under the covers
we hold hands
fingers intwined like lives
like rope
like claws

“guiding his life direction.” By Sasha in the TA office at Mary Bollert Hall


Tuesday November 10, 2015
1:17pm
5 minutes
From a student’s short story

When You teach me to remember
my heart’s on fire the colour of sunset
the colour of ash

When You guide my hand towards the future
my eyes are a wash of birch
and sweetgrass

I don’t want to daydream my way to glory
I want to get there step by step
with You at my side
and the wind breaking trail

Over Cypress mountain the new day dawns
You braid bread and whistle
I grind coffee beans and light the stove

“I wanna see it up close” by Sasha at Moii Cafe


Friday October 17, 2015 at Moii Cafe
12:35pm
5 minutes
from a text

A birch tree sheds her bark
The supermoon is forgotten as soon as it fades
It’s still super somewhere

I refuse to commend your drug trips or your laundry lists
I refuse to celebrate your exploitations of bodies and sisters and dollars and oil
I refuse to vote for a man wearing a mask who has a cheese-ball for a brain
mostly cheddar a little bit cream cheese nothing sharp
no asiago

A snake slithers over the bare feet of a boy whose eyes are glued to his father’s iPhone
Shame he missed that
Shame that tomorrow that species will be extinct
A monarch lands on my arm and I cry for my unborns
Who might not have that magic

The Conservatives (Cheese-ball) cut one billion dollars in childcare funding within three hours of being elected
That’s shorter than Titanic
There are over one thousand murdered and missing Indigenous women across Canada
and no matter how deep Cheese-ball digs his fingers into his ears
He can’t pretend he doesn’t hear the singing
I wanna see the madness up close
I wanna microscope that Cheese-ball
See the ventricles of the greed
Hear the beat of the bacon heart

A grizzly bear waves to a crow
Long lost lovers

“the Moon moves into harmony” by Julia on Joe’s couch


Friday, August 28, 2015
11:37pm
5 minutes
from the Gemini horoscope in Cafe Astrology

I can feel her calling
Tugging on my heart
Pulling me close to her
Dancing with me till the night’s song is over
And she flows through me like a light
Like a flame
And she gives me freedom like a flight
Like a dream
She brushes the hair away from my ear and whispers the truth so no one can hear
Cause it’s meant for me
And it has to be
This little thing called faith
Calm shore rocky sea
She spins me around before the morning wakes up
Twirls me unfurls me
Spreads me wide for the wind

“Let me just say he did some pretty terrible things” by Sasha on Granville Island


Friday, June 12, 2015
6:13pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Valens

The gulls know things we don’t
Eternal foragers
Making friends to get what they want
The end of an ice cream cone
A piece of hot dog bun
A peanut
The gulls are the wise ones here
Calling for their friends with the abandon of the wild
Riding air
Kissing the water with feet like hands
The gulls see what we don’t see
A lotus between the cracks of concrete
A receipt from the deli with a prayer written on the back in pencil
A look between a mother and her babe when he goes too close
too far

“always more for less!” By Sasha on her couch


Thursday, April 15, 2015
11:14pm
5 minutes
A Food Basics store sign

tug of war over the land again
birch bark and salmon skin ripped from
their bodies
their roots
my feet in rainboots
cracks in the plastic
the water always finds a way in
how can we make peace with injustice?
should we?
can i?
pinecones marking the sacrificial trail
a tuft of rabbit fur
a shark’s tooth

“Man vs. Wolves” by Sasha on the 99 going West


Monday January 26, 2015
12:42pm
5 minutes
from Outside Magazine

You start the storm with your face
Curving open
Teeth like wolves
The glaciers are melting and all we can do is
pop pills and peel back the bark
When the rain comes it comes hard
You brace your
self
You reach deeper down than you’ve ever reached
You scream for the erosion and the oil and the money
You’ve got none of it
You plant your heels and you
pray
The drought was predicted by the preacher
She said
It’s gonna be dry
dry like a miracle
She said
The rain was summoned by
You
Good Lord
Good sweet wolves and monarchs and salmon
Sweep the demons under the roots
Tangle
Get away while you still can

“She hasn’t been back since” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday November 27, 2014
9:12pm
5 minutes
Summer Dress
July Talk


When the crows call I think about the sun
Going down early now
Hardly been up for eight hours
Kind of like me
Listening to piano music
Drinking black tea
Hoping that the muse will return
Fingers crossed for sunshine
Fingers crossed for tender footed steps
Fingers crossed for a cougar sighting

“check into luxury” by Sasha at Higher Grounds


Thursday November 13, 2014 at Higher Grounds
1:32pm
5 minutes
from a Palazzo Di Varignana ad

I’ll give you the key to the luxury
Guard it with your life
Take it to bed
Hide it at night
Under your pillow where your hands stay warm
I’ll give you the kisses and the questions
The moon doesn’t judge
I’m not the one you’re after
It makes me think about mud
There’s a trap under the slick
There’s a leak under the sink
I’m not sure what to tell you
Except the sky is blue and the snow isn’t here yet so
I’m trying to find the right words but it’s hard
It’s hard
You compare success to success but it’s not like that
It’s rounder
It’s more cyclical
The things I can count on are a handful of beans
A handful of promises and wishes and the ocean
It’s still colourful
It’s still water
It’s still morning
Afternoon
Evening
It’s still changing and concrete and sand
Take it to bed
Hide it at night
Under your pillow where your dreams stay warm

“experience learn hear” by Sasha on the dock at Knowlton Lake


Friday Aug 1, 2014
2:12pm
5 minutes
from an expired TPL card

The water is still (my heart is racing). The dragonflies dart (I sit still). Nature is funny (I’m less so). The trees are always changing (I am too).

We’re packing all of our things in boxes and duffle bags and backpacks (the loon calls her love). We’re going West to be near the mountains and the ocean (the lake will turn and turn and the sun will rise and set here, and there). We’re letting go of cards from Grade Seven and cookbooks from friends who are no longer friends (there’s a frog singing).

“any kind of company” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday July 29, 2014
11:47pm
5 minutes
wikipedia.org

When we fall we fall fully
Full of air that our grandmothers breathed
When we land we land arms spread wide
Cupping the moment
Cupping the sound of our not-yet-born children laughing

We swim with great big breast-strokes
Diving deep below the blue
Counting sunshine glimmers
Counting fish
We blow bubbles out our noses

When we fall we fall fully
We fall like a disaster
Like a cake
When we fall we fall fully
We fall like a father
Like a leaf

“All the animals are laughing at us” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence RI


Sunday May 4, 2014
9:22pm
5 minutes
Aeolus
Freelance Whales


It made me laugh that you told me, Sh shh, baby, don’t be so loud, the animals will hear you, and then you put your finger to your lips as if I must recognize the universal signal for Please Shut The Fuck Up.
I couldn’t help it. In fact I hoped they did hear us. In the meeting place for animals being animals to hear or even witness two other animals being animals. I can’t remember whose idea it was to do it right there in the forrest, but either way neither of us had ever done it and we were both pretty into it. I mean, you were very much consumed with the idea that we were intruding or that we’d be disrupting the squirrels or whatever. Who cares! I yelled out at the top of my lungs, just to bug you. You threw your hands up in the air and shook your head, looking around frantically for signs of life, nature, or punishment. Baby, get over it, we’re doing the nasty in a forrest! That’s awesome! Stop wrecking it! And then you laughed for the first time and held my face in your hands and said, We are the most adventurous couple that ever lived! I was like, Yeah, that’s the spirit, now push me up against this tree. You tried doing it but you then couldn’t get over the part where the tree might be a bit pissed off that we were using her as a sex post.

“the railway that connects our country” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday November 30, 2013
9:07pm
5 minutes
the Local Heroes calendar

The railway that connects our country starts at the sea and ends at the mountains. If you were to walk alongside it, my guess is that it would take seven months to get from water to tip icy top.If you were to follow the railway, you might be able to jump on a train, speeding towards the tallest trees. Or, if you had great luck, you might meet a moose who would guide you to the mouth of the Big Dipper where you could both drink, side by side. In between the sea and the mountains are stretches of prairie with the widest skies you’ve known. You’ll see for miles and miles. There are waterfalls where you can find stones worn smooth over time. Perhaps you’ll put one in your pocket to handle when the nights are long. The railway snakes when it climbs, further west.

“adjacent to the wildly popular” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday, October 11, 2013
12:35pm
5 minutes
The Grid TO, Oct. 10-16, 2013 edition

I would very much like you to remember the time before you cradled a tiny screen like an infant. I would very much like you to remember spending hours in the lazy sun, tucked into your mother’s garden, pushing your fingertips into the soft, moist earth. She welcomed you. That tiny screen? He pushes you away. He pushes you away because in keeping it there, in your hand, like a premature baby, all the time, always scrolling or trolling or knoll-ing… you’re looking down. Your focus is too focused. I would very much like you to look up, or out, even just out, not necessarily up. Soften your gaze and behold how the maple forest has changed since yesterday. It’s a bit more golden, a bit more orange, a bit more musical. Widen your gaze and see that man in the red jacket who has taken a break from selling the Street News newspaper and is biting into an apple. Someone gave it to him, as a present, as an exchange of sweetness. They didn’t want a newspaper in return, just a moment’s eye contact, just a smile.