“You are going to have to give and give and give”

Wednesday November 20, 2019
9:41pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Anne Lamott

What you want to say is the truth.
And you don’t know who’s reading this now after all the times you’ve talked about it.
Here’s a place where you do what you do and then afterwards another thing. A new thing.
A new.
What do you want them to know?
How ready you are? How sure?
Or the thing that scares you more.
How desperately you want to be a part of the ecosystem and how afraid you are that it might take more than a day.
How you want nothing more than for them to hold you useful, for them to know you good.
Is this where you tell them you’re ready but you give a damn so you feel shaky behind the eyes?
Is this where you say that you asked for them and the universe was good to you and gave you what you needed?
When do you tell them the truth?
That you don’t know everything and that you’re willing to learn?
That this whole thing is messy but you’d rather spoil your shirt than sit around waiting.
You are going to have to give and give and give some more.
But you are going to have to receive some too.
You’re going to have to fill up on what they have to offer.
You’re going to have to let them evolve your heart and your hands and your mind and your soul.
That’s the fear. That you will be different.
But I promise you that you will able to handle that.
You have always done this.
You have always found a way.

“This is a” By Julia at her desk

Monday November 18, 2019
8:10pm
5 minutes
From an email
limit and it’s sign
this is a
notion of history repeating
warned ya
this is a lazy walk to the water
a rainy night far from consequence
truth or dare
would you ever make the more interesting choice
and follow something though for once
never know what will be at the end
or in the middle
there are ways to transport our minds and
our worries in a zigzag pattern
so they don’t reach z via the curse of the straight line
this is a limit
this is a hard stop
this is a pivot instead of a complaint
this is
a risk worth repeating
the notion of history and then some
a rainy night without the mechanism of truth
this is a sign
this is another 10 years zooming by
uncomfortably and thankfully
in a zigzag pattern

“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

“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.

“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

“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

“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

“all the facts” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Saturday October 12, 2019
9:51pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Wendell Berry

When you have all the facts in a row
alphabetized and clarified and put into their proper

order is the name of what you try for
when “c” is before “h” is before “e”
and the numbers are stories that you wish
you weren’t telling

When all the facts are there
side by side by edge by top by tail

you wonder where you found meaning
when there weren’t such things
to count and sort

when it was zigzags and condensation
toothy smiles and big breaths
water on the floor

“all the facts” by Julia on her bed

Saturday October 12, 2019
5:33pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Wendell Berry

It’s a long weekend. Fact.
Or wait do you want to know
if it’s a fact before seeing
the fact?
Or do you wish to decide yourself?
Here
is an example:

FACT: it is a long weekend.

Here is
another example:

I am funnier without the pot?
FACT

See how one is a call and response
and the other
is some kind of proof or statement
not up for debate?

I am not sure why I am asking you.
You are not me and I know the facts
about me and what is true. And
yes some of them are facts about life
but it is I who is experiencing
them and therefore I can say.
I can also say because of poetic
licence which you do not need to
pass a test to get, but that you
must be willing to risk something.

FACT: I RISK
even when I am scared

I risk even when I am the only one? FACT

The strength is in what I am trying to convey
and maybe it’s not always a fact
or never is
a fact but the point is that
in this moment of telling you
it certainly is because I’ve
committed to it on this
document.

This document is proof: FACT.

FACT: this document is proof of me risking

“We did all these things and more,” by Julia at her desk

Friday October 11, 2019
8:29am
5 minutes
We Did
Brian Doyle

There is proof of us in the corn fields behind the house
They have replaced them with houses now, new swing sets
but we were there with our cousins, hunting field mice
on our way to the river and they cannot take that away

They tried to cover up our living with their
white paint after we had put every colour there on purpose
Tiny gold stars stamped from a potato on the walls
of the bathroom where one of us learned to read
and where one of us dropped a GI Joe into the toilet
and then again the following week after it had been
rescued by one of us with smaller wrists

They let the pussy-willow bush overcrowd the deck and
now the light doesn’t get in but they don’t notice
because they are accustomed to living in the shadows
of a family who did all their growing there

They can’t erase the vibration that pulses in their
hallway, where one of us greeted all the neighbour
kids with hugs and smiles and unlimited time

“I’d say that’s OK” by Julia on her couch

Thursday October 10, 2019
9:30pm
5 minutes
On A Cliff With You
David Allan Cates

turn the lights off
flash the head lamp
talk about what might
happen during a camping
fiasco
say these bulbs are only
bright enough in a power
outage to wear until
the candles are located
that’s what you get for
spending 10 dollars less
and for never going camping

the other one in this room,
the light decider
prefers fairy lights for their
name and for their hue
it must be slightly hard to
see at all times
in the morning
at night
Is this OK? is asked
without really caring if it
is okay because if more light
is needed then the failed
headlamp can be re-visited
since that is already deemed
successful when used in
the confines of our
1 bedroom apartment

The fairy lights sometimes
stay on all day because
ambiance is an inside out
kind of thing

“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.

“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.

“Gladys was a hefty Puerto Rican” by Julia at her desk

Monday October 7, 2019
7:20pm
5 minutes
Anything For Love
Ruth L. Schwartz

In this dress she wore, she swore she
would not conform to the pressure of
being beautiful like this or that as
if some magazine might be the deciding
vote.

Gladys in her big swooshy dress, covering
the curves and equalizing the line that
leads her all the way down to the floor
and back up again. She stood tall.
She wore the bright pink like a medallion
to ward off the evil eye.
The evil kind of eye that keeps a person
small.

My baby, Indie used to hide underneath it
and count the love on her kneecaps with
slobbery kisses and giggles.
Gladys let her and only her go under,
see what was beneath the fabric.
She liked the love adding up on the
tongue of two year old on a mission.

This is the way she felt beautiful.

When Gladys came by the house she would
bring us cookies baked from scratch,
her own personal recipe and tell us
if we didn’t eat them she would eat
them and what kind of friends let friends
lose track of fallen crumbs.

“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

“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

“in search of a taxi.” By Julia at her desk

Monday September 30, 2019
9:33pm
5 minutes
The Rage
Gene Kerrigan

It seems like this city is punishing me for
being too afraid to drive myself around

Thanks to the rare sighting of a taxi cab
when I’m running late, and finally do I

understand the saying

I surprise myself with how quickly I arrive
to a bus stop when I’ve left my house later

than I meant to

even when it’s uphill, or across the intersection,
my own two legs have never failed me

I am faster than I meant to be

They called me wheels on the baseball diamond
and I liked it but I never thought I was as

fast as they thought I was

But you should see me round those bases
or snag a ball all the way in right from centre

But when I decide to take a car I am always
later than I would be if I had walked, run

I drove myself around at the beginning and
got intimidated by the parking, the parallel

the quiet knock knock to my ego, and the punchline
of needing to do a thing like that in private

the luxury of not driving is privacy

“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

“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

“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

“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 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 Julia at her desk

Sunday September 22, 2019
9:53pm
5 minutes
The Art of Purposeful Being”
Philip Winkelmans MA

It’s not a scar she wears on the back of
her knee, you cannot see perfectly this
little thing, unless the right light is
shining on it, call it cosmic, or call
it the soul…not so little after all,
this thing roars like a banshee and
tonight when she found black mould on
the counter top she lost her own as if
it had caught on fire and needed to be
launched immediately from
the premises. But this was no ordinary
nemesis, it was after all the soul
quietly deciding it will not sit quietly
inside of her any more and the real flame
came from denying the tiny voice begging
and then blaming the lack of control
on the other human in the room whose soul
was not looking for a war tonight.

She thought she was good.
Instead she was this.

“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.

“But in a poem we can do anything we want.” By Sasha at the dining room table

Friday, September 20, 2019
3:41pm
5 minutes
Since You Asked
Lawrence Raab
She thinks before she speaks
a practise she tries on before bed
washing her face and the day away
brushing her teeth
“I think before I speak” she spits
the bubbles down the drain
a small “c” of blood
turns to “j”
turns to “L”
She tries to listen with open ears
but often she finds herself
thinking thinking thinking thinking
”Sorry what did you say?”
What happens when she really hears
what he or he or she or they are saying?

”I listen with open ears” a mantra
on her breath
maybe if she says it enough
it will be true
it will be born
it will be as real as the
hangnail on her left ring finger
The path of the virtuous
Oh the weight of striving
She thinks before she speaks
She listens with open ears
She knows the joy and the suffering
of loving and being loved and
losing and being lost
and leaving and having left
and breathing into the heart
of the sound of what it is
to not know very much at all

“There are points of high silence” by Julia at her desk

Thursday September 19, 2019
8:38pm
5 minutes
The Lawyer
Carl Sandburg

In the severance of us, the split ship
one half now sinking and I play the part

Did you ever know me the way you said
you would, or were you filling pockets

of space with words, spiked, a quiet
fizz into the drink and I’m none the wiser

Who said it first? Don’t speak if you…
Don’t speak if you can’t…

The pebble in my throat throbs on and
in the morning, waking to find that

I did in fact swallow this painful pit,
that this is no dream, that you did go

On the wall, the grease of your fingertips,
tracks of your talking forevers but no body attached,

no hands

no arms

Were you changing the air with all the
great ideas, and who said it first?

Don’t speak if you can’t improve
the silence

“Today, they target” by Sasha at the dining room table on Oak Dr.

Wednesday September 18, 2019
7:12am
5 minutes
Snapshot of a Lump
Kelli Russell Agodon

I didn’t think I’d be sat in the suburban dream
with manicured front lawns and dishwashers humming
with crickets and plush pillows
with beige carpets
beige table
beige couch

I wonder about learning a martial art
another language
(how would I choose which one?)
how to make croissants

how to learn to drive

Is that the only thing stopping me
from going to the woods for a few weeks
and howling the stains out
crying the confusion down to the
whittled tip?

Here I am
last night’s dreams on the coffee table
with the rattle and the book
the sun rising
towards all that is possible
etching light onto unknown

carving maybe on my toes

 

“You will find it” by Julia at the Hyatt Regency, LA

Tuesday September 17, 2019
10:02pm
5 minutes
The Yak
Hilaire Belloc

in the mirror that enhances all your beautiful white beard hairs

in the dripping bathing suit, sand and salt stained, hanging in the tub

in the crash and burn of an arrival, a hard pill to swallow

in the feeling of say something and then stomaching the consequences when something said would have flapped the wings of that butterfly so rapidly you’d swear we woke up in another dimension

in the dry heat frying our brains into unthinkable messes

in the traffic jam, the nowhere but here, the time spent, given, given

in the hotel pool watching the sky change from summer to purple to night

in the burgers we ate on the bed, the good we pressed into each other’s feet

in the deep sigh when you are waiting for me to hurry up and finish this so I can fill the space between your skin and the sheets

that’s where you will find it, and every last drop

“You will find it” by Sasha on the couch on Oak Dr.

Tuesday September 17, 2019
6:01am
5 minutes
The Yak
Hilaire Belloc

You will find it somehow easier
than you imagined it would be
not that it’s easy but it’s easier

You don’t give advice in the offhand way
that you used to
You ask if it’s welcomed
You take off your shoes at the front door

You are tired of reading about
the end of the world
You are tired of questioning
your right to take up space

You walk by the water
with the sailboats skating across the horizon
You touch the fingertips of a tree
Make a joke with a hydrangea

You make dinner
make breakfast
make love
make amends

“Is it starting to rain?” By Julia on a bed in Mt. Washington, LA

Monday September 16, 2019
9:37pm
5 minutes
Afraid So
Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Don’t tell me–it’s dark there, riht? Don’t tell me. How do I leave a forever summer and come back to a place where my hands turn white with cold in August?
Don’t tell me it’s raining. It’s not, right? Don’t tell me. I am not prepared. My jacket was a dud but I ignored it. I’m not ready for what is waiting for me. Reality, to put it mildly. Here it is so dreamy. Here I am so dreaming. Planning. Thinking of how we can make it work. We can make it work, right, but don’t tell me if you think we can’t. We can do whatever we want to do if we say we’re going to do it and if we say we’re going to rise.
It was 29 degrees today. 34 in some places. I don’t want to think about the rain.

“He shone with Heavenly Courtesy” by Julia on the 144

Friday September 13, 2019
3:30pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I’m not asking for any kindness.
I never wanted kindness and I’m not asking for it.
Do you think I’m sitting up late at night crossing off names or putting tiny robotic checks next to the ones who opened the door for me?
I don’t need to keep track because nobody is ever doing anything out of kindness but out of fear that one day they’ll be punished somehow for not being kind. It is self-serving and I want none of it.
They talk about it like it’s some new age book, as if we’ve never considered things like this before.
How do you measure the absence of expectations? Is there a way to determine who did something without thinking that someway someday they would get their precious heavenly courtesy back?
Nobody gives away anything for free and I don’t want that kindness shining in my face like a flash-light illuminating.
There are too many awards and rewards and systems based on punitive response for there to be a thing called kindness.

“He shone with Heavenly Courtesy” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday September 13, 2019
3:34pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

Courtesy doesn’t mean what she thinks it means
what she learns it means to be treated well
See she was raised to believe that love looked
cock-eyed and dimpled
that trust was something that could be given
and then snatched back for keepsies

She doesn’t know what it is to be treated well
until she’s forty three and hiking along the trails
of the Pacific Northwest and eating pecans and
protein bars
and she’s tired and she’s lonely and she’s one
with the arbutus and the pines

She realizes that blisters and bloody toenails
and coyote calls and listening to the sounds
of the night are all her
treating herself well
treating herself with courtesy

“If ignorance is bliss” by Julia at her desk

Thursday September 12, 2019
7:30pm
5 minutes
The Benefits of Ignorance
Hal Sirowitz

Pretend you don’t notice the ascorbic
acid plastered on all of my worst ideas.
I like it best when you don’t wear your
glasses during the day and can’t see
what I’m running from, or why I’m angry
or why I snap your neck between the
bite of my shame. Chomp chomp until
there is nothing less than apology.
Swallow till there is nothing left at
all.

Who teaches the class on letting things
slide? Are there any openings?
I don’t let anything fly under the radar
and I won’t give any free passes.
Only in dreams do I stop caring about
every last drop of you and what you’re
made of in relation to me. Only in dreams
do I chase the tail of other men who
don’t care about me one way or the other.

Last night you were waiting in the wings
to hear one more stupid decision I made,
a snap judgment with a whole lot of
consequence. You never showed your face,
but you were there, holding it over me
like you already knew.

“He can fix anything” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 11, 2019
8:23pm
5 minutes
Easter Morning
Jim Harrison

Summer speaks in rhymes and rhythms
says she can’t help it
says she was named after the season
of love

Autumn falls for guys who the rest
of the world can see through
falls in love and on her knees
and can’t help but get crunched
and kind of likes the sound

Aliens and astral planes can fix
anything, he says they can heal
you if you let them, if you
believe in the medicine they
bring from the outside in

Helmets and hardware, he says,
is all you need when you’re
afraid to bike down the street
Says preparation is how to
avoid disaster

Sunday talks about the tsunami
course that readies anyone for
a natural and life-threatening
act of god
She says she’ll take notes if
she doesn’t die from fear

Summer speaks in rhymes and rhythms
says she can’t help it

“The courage that my mother had” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday September 10, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

They all bet on her, did you know that?
She was the quietest one and they all
put down their twenty-dollar bills with
confidence. “She’s going to be last.”

When my mother was in labour with my
brother, nobody saw it coming. She is
not the kind of person to screech or
claw, but she will sit softly on the
edge of her heart being thrust into
outer space, into another dimension.

She has always been this way,
underestimated, as though physical
size were an indication of anything.
She did not complain. Not when her
head was throbbing, or her knee
threatened to make her sorry she
ever tried to walk. Not when her
knuckles furled in on themselves,
not when she was giving birth to
all three of us.

She simply did it. Quietly.
And I did not inherit that
from her.

When the nurses found out that my
mother was the first of all the
labouring mothers to deliver,
they yelled at her.
“You just lost me twenty bucks,
lady.”

“Four beating wings” by Julia on the 84, then the walk home

Monday September 9, 2019
9:31pm
5 minutes
The Dalliance of Eagles
Walt Whitman

Running into you the other day
At the bowling alley…
That was shitty for me but it
Looked excellent for you seeing
As though you were being chatted
Up by a few different humans, mostly
women, mostly young women, mostly
young women who I wish I could tell
to run very far away from you

You once told me that you were
desperate to get off this ship
that was only heading in one
direction and that they don’t
want you on it anyway

You are the sinking ship

Everything about you is foreshadow
and everything you touch turns to
mud the way you think it’s being
done to you
You are the mud
The thick sludge that traps people’s
boots and keeps them low, you swallow
them with your whiskey tongue
You take everything down with you

Maybe those girls don’t know that
about you yet because upon
first glance you are the maiden
voyage, a divine craft of this weighted
possibility

“Spoons our fingers” by Julia on The Lost Chair

Sunday September 8, 2019
8:32pm
5 minutes
After Love
Maxine Kumin

Fine is the last thing I say in anger
and Bye is the last thing you say in jest
but you think I’m joking and I have no real
reason to be mad at you other than I have
stopped picking my face (okay yesterday was
the last time) and need to pick at something
so the control can lie to me a little bit.

I’m mad because I thought I made a good point
and you said you know what I mean and then
that was that. Spoons as fingers, we were
crossed wires and I caught you in the act.
You thought I wouldn’t notice that you didn’t
have any words to come back to me with, that
you shrank into a small hole and thought I
couldn’t see you there running away from me.

I am mad because I want to love you but
sometimes you say you’re here but you’re not
here and I don’t know where you go. I don’t
know where in your mind you are and I know it’s
none of my business and none of mt business
but I want to know where is better than here;
where is the place you’d rather be than in
this moment with me, with my good points,
with my nice legs.

I’m sitting here not waiting for you to come
back but angry at you for leaving and you better
know I know the difference. That I can feel you
drifting off from a mile away.

“I was so amazed” by Julia at her desk

Saturday September 7, 2019
3:19pm
5 minutes
Feasting
Elizabeth W. Garber

The plants on the window sill drooped as the door shut behind you.
We didn’t ask for such living things to care for and there we were
with thumbs turning green, scooping soil out of bags and into pots.

The wilting started when you had your second shoe on.
I didn’t see it happen but I knew, the way a soft gaze lets you see
the entire room without blinking, or braiding a second without letting go.

You held my cheeks in your hands as if you hadn’t handled the roots
of what we were sowing with such promise of tomorrow.
I believed you by the cup of your palm and I believe you now.

You are not beholden to me the way this plant is not obliged to live forever.
I wouldn’t expect anything to stay for eternity, but the pain comes from
wanting so badly for you to.

I was amazed at the breeze left inside the room after the smell of you
had dissipated gently into the ceiling. I thought you would cling to the
window screens but you were small enough to pass through even those.

“Any sense if Sunday can work?” By Sasha on her couch

Friday September 6, 2019
8:21pm
5 minutes
From a text message

Who is the “you” in your scrawlings
lined pages can’t contain the bigness
of the feeling
the choice
the feeling
the choice

Sandcastle crumbles and I
see myself as I’ve never seen myself
before

The dear hearts say
that I’ve never been more beautiful
and it’s not the skin
the eyes washed clean

it’s the fullness of meeting
the truth with an open mouth
ready to stay soft
ready to bend
ready to break

No snap like the birch
in lightning

The bend like the cello
bow in the hand of a master

or novice