Tuesday January 22, 2019
Love Thy Neighbour
Sit still. Don’t fidget. Don’t pick your nose. Sit still. Sit stiller. Pay attention. Sister Judith is falling asleep. Don’t laugh. Don’t giggle. Don’t kick the pew in front. Jesus is watching. Mother is watching. Don’t elbow Russell. Don’t look at Russell. Russell is picking his nose. Ew, Russell! Sit still. Sit still. Hands to yourself. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Stand up. Sing. Don’t sing too loud. Mother is watching.
Monday January 7, 2019
The Brothers Karamazov
There were more miracles then. That probably dates me… I know there are still miracles, but it seems like there used to be more. Maybe it’s because the sky was bigger. There weren’t so many big buildings blocking the blue. There were more miracles, like, when I was a little girl. Big ones and small ones. Acts of grace and God, acts of kindness, surprising twists and all the rest. With the buildings came less birds because the birds fly into the buildings, the buildings are in their flight path. No one thought about the birds when they built those buildings. That’s why I told your grandfather that we had to move North. We had to get away from those buildings.
Thursday January 3, 2019
When Things Fall Apart
This is excellent timing. The beginning of the beginning.
Good. Not to worry. It’s not the end, it’s all new.
Nothing to fear! The world, at this point, is your oyster!
Don’t like oysters? Don’t get caught up in words! They’re
just words! But they are excellent words, aren’t they?
The Beginning of the Beginning! It’s exciting. What will
you do? Set a schedule? Make a plan? Cross of the items on
the list? It’s all up to you, isn’t it. It’s yours to do
with what you like. If you are looking for an example of
what to do now since it’s the beginning and not the ending
then I will offer that to you. I am planning (see!) to
BEGIN the process of the end. Confused? I understand. You.
I understand how you might be. If this is the beginning,
should I be so defeatist? I have all this time to make
a new thing at the beginning of the beginning. I could
do whatever my heart desired, after all. And that is why
I am happy to announce my retirement! I am beginning to
retire from this life that no longer keeps me tuned in!
I want to go back home. I’m as surprised as you. I only
realized today how much I hate it here.
Thursday January 3, 2019
When Things Fall Apart
More compassion, soft ears, green vegetables, dancing, reading, surrender to the mystery of it all, quiet, nature, calling far-away loved ones, patience, filing, writing, movement, sleep, boundaries.
Less judgement, sweet stuff, jaw clenching, catastrophic thinking, Instagram, tension, impatience, screen time, expectations.
Wednesday December 26, 2018
We gathered around the table in the common room. Fluorescent lights. Boughs spread. A strange ache. A beauty. Cups and cutlery that Mom collected over the week from lunch and dinner trays. I made stew and we ate it out of compostable bowls. J. kept saying, “It’s quiet in here!” We shared a few homemade gifts. We took photos. We ripped pieces of focaccia from a loaf. I sat at the end on the left. I couldn’t be in the middle. I felt my eyes heavy, my heart in my guts, my jaw clenched. I played with J. “This is my kitchen!” She said, and she put earth from a potted plant into a cup with a spoon.
Tuesday December 25, 2018
Perhaps he knew everything and perhaps he knew nothing and that’s just how things were now. When he made his bed in the morning (bottom sheet smoothed, top sheet folded in and under, comforter, quilt, pillows) he felt he knew nothing. The whole day stretched before him. A canyon of unknown. He went downstairs and turned on the coffee maker. He got the paper from the front porch. He fed Harriet her wet food, as she mewed and meowed and rubbed against his legs.
Saturday October 13, 2018
From the lab report
This report contains confidential information. Please do not show this report to anyone, share it via the internet, or forward it in an email. This report is for your eyes only. There’s no reason for the confidentiality really, besides that this report wants to be taken very very seriously, and confidentiality means seriousness. Everyone knows that. This report is really only pertinent to you and no one else would care about it if they did happen to see it. This report is snickering about how earnest the expression is on your face.
Tuesday September 18, 2018
Candy Cap Magic
It’s a shot to the knee
not the heart
The heart would stop
The knee would keep screaming
What are you supposed to do without your knee?
Get good at reading
Get good at writing at the bar with another beer
You’re never going to be better than this
keep your tab open
a shot to the liver to
keep the knee from reminding you it’s there
Bring a book and black out all the lines that have you in them
turn the pages into a diary of the wasted major organs
the wasted time and delusions
all those prayers to the wrong god
all that for nothing
When they tell you you’re meant to be more
it’ll be too late
Tilt your head back and chase the bottom of the glass
You would lick it clean if your tongue were long enough
If you were good at something
The knee isn’t dead
the heart is sick
the throat is never dry
Saturday August 25, 2018
A quote from Alex Leslie
Friday July 27, 2018
Don’t talk to me about alpacas.
I’m not interested in giving those assholes any more attention than they deserve.
You come at me and running your mouth about alpacas?
I swear to the holy ghost that knows you that those will be your goddamn last words.
I don’t have anything weird about alpacas. I don’t have anything weird about alpacas.
I think their wool feels gross.
I think their faces are stupid.
I don’t have anything weird about alpacas.
Okay so my first boyfriend used to be obsessed with them.
He’d talk about them.
He’d ask me to go to the fucking farm to see them with him.
Now that is having something weird about alpacas.
Get a dog, you know what I mean?
Like go smile at a goat or whatever.
Why was he obsessed with them?
Don’t ask me why!
If I knew why, I probably wouldn’t have anything weird about alpacas.
Tuesday July 24, 2018
Waiting for the Barbarians
On days like these I rise heavy, rub the sleep heavy
from my eyes heavy, and nod off on the hot bus.
I carry the heavy thing I’ve borrowed in the heavy sun.
I carry all of it pressed in the furrow of my brow-
the one that confuses people, Is she okay? Is she mad?
This morning’s sun burnt a hole in my head and reminded
me of it every second after it. I could have moved my
face but I was smitten there, sitting there, luxuriating
in the imminent ache. I might say I know better but on days
like these I don’t know what I know, if anything. The heavy
is only heavy until you put it down. I could put it down
and catch my breath for a minute, write a song, say hello
to the man with no teeth, nodding at me from the passenger
seat of the helping van. Later, I will watch the sun set
inch by inch to prove that even this shall pass. When the
sun stops, I take off my pack and rest.
Monday July 23, 2018
The Gulag Archipelago
Send me out to the no where place and let me weep there
Water the dry earth with my ache and pouring
I need to be alone, in a place where spider webs take over the sky
Will I continue to decompose when nobody is around
I exile myself before it is too late
Before I am stuck forever in the shape of how things used to be
I banish my lost and force my bones to build something
from the inside out
I am already dreading it
and that is how I know I must
I do not have time to sit and wonder how the world knows me
Give me fields to lay in
to pronounce my epiphany in the echo
Let me know me
Let me know that this is my enough
A care package tied with a strand of my hair
Saturday July 14, 2018
overheard at Genavie’s house
I need this before I can do this I need the house to be cleaned the old milk to be taken out the practice of preaching
I need many things
before I can be enough
I need the light on
the story told
the writes written
I need the glory of the coming of the Lord
I need my medicine
drip drop in the throat before I can sleep
I need my mom to come
back to come back for me to not leave me here without saying goodbye
I need to watch Annie and pretend that my chance will come too
sing a little while I scrub the bathroom
tell you all the counters I’ve wiped and counting
counting to remind myself I am here and they are comig back
that they haven’t forgotten me
that I am enough
I need my medicine
Monday July 9, 2018
from a business card
She dreams of parliament. She dreams of platforms. She dreams of knowing how to articulate all the change that she wants to make and that everyone listens. She dreams she’s speaking to a cabinet of women. Some are stretching. Some are breastfeeding. Some are rolling their eyes. Some are interrupting. She dreams that they find their way. She dreams of a world where she might prioritize childcare, elder care, health care. CARE. She dreams of being allowed to fail and that failure won’t haunt her. She dreams of risk. She dreams of loss. She dreams of calling another leader and deciding she will unleash the tidal wave of wrong-doings.
Thursday July 5, 2018
In Praise Of Incompetence
We started watching the new Ghostbusters movie last night. There have been some funny moments. My mother told me to watch it. She thought I should have been cast in it. She always says that when funny women are on-screen. It’s nice she thinks so highly of me. She saysI remind her of Julia Louis Dreyfus. This just goes to show that my mother doesn’t know much about Julia Louis Dreyfus. Or show business. Or what I have been busying myself with.
Ten years ago I decide to be an actor. I also decided to be famous and be interviewed by all the Jimmies. At the time there may have only been one, but whatever, it’s all the same.
I thought it was the only thing I could be doing. I hadn’t really lived yet. I know now that I wasn’t willing to put in the work. I know it, Jam knows it, and maybe my mother knows it, but she still thinks I’m destined for greatness. At Aunt Tina’s wedding on Sunday, there was a distant relative there who said she saw me on a commercial. Said it was really funny. My mother said, don’t you think she reminds you of Julia Louis Dreyfus? This woman had no idea who Julia Louis Dreyfus was. My mother beamed anyway.
Wednesday July 4, 2018
Angel texted, told me to look where I was going and to read while sitting down. It made sense. The text was very much related to a thing I was about to do carelessly. It came right on time.
Angel is always watching over me. I think she thinks she has to. She thinks she has to cause her name tells her she should. I tend to listen to what Angel has to say. If she tells me to wait until the next morning to make a hard decision, I listen. Angel knows how to get me right in the soft. She sent me an e-mail yesterday after waking up at the crack of dawn. She said the sky was “milk-blue” and it melted me. I love when milk is used to describe things, like the sky. I picture Angel knowing more about the sky than anywhere else. Maybe I think she’s from there and her name was given because her mother was a clairvoyant and there’s magic and stardust in her smile. I might name my kid Sunshine so she brightens up people wherever she goes and everyone thinks she’s ‘of the sun’ because her name makes them believe. I could name her Honesty so people are reminded to look inward. But that might be too heavy a burden to carry. What if there is shame? What if she reminds people they have lived in this life with secrets? Maybe she’d remind everyone that we have all lives our lives with secrets.
Wednesday June 20, 2018
All Of Me
I used to fantasize about making out with you. And kind of fucking you in the bathroom but never telling anyone about it. I have a feeling you would have preferred to be doing it than people thinking you were and I wouldn’t want anyone to know. Our bodies are too similar in size and maybe that’s part of why I like the idea of us and why there never was an us. I think you’d be good for the record, but you come off in groups like you don’t think you’d deserve it and be so afraid to just slap my ass or kiss me like you mean it. Maybe that’s what I told myself so I wouldn’t be tempted to flirt with you. You were an easy target in that way. Innocuous. Bug spray. I have thought about you seldom since because I’m not sure that I’m wrong. I want you to be bad. I guess that’s the fun of fantasies. You get to make a good one into a midnight mystery tour and be as bad as you think you are with someone who you believe would bend over backwards to sleep with you. Maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you’d say no if I cornered you in the bathroom. I don’t think I’m wrong. But. I guess we’ll never know for sure.
Monday May 14, 2018
from a text
“Scrub-a-dub”. That’s what Mom used to call Dustin. He hated bath time, he hated water. He didn’t even want to drink it. Mom would have to add a splash of cranberry juice to his water bottles that she’d send to school. If it was straight water he simply wouldn’t drink it. Kira and I used to joke that he’d have a heart attack if he ever fell into a bath, or the lake.
“Come on, scrub-a-dub,” Mom would say, trying to distract him or something, trying her best to get him to bathe. He would scream and cry. He would tantrum. She’d usually resort to a sponge bath. We didn’t know that Dustin had a lot of other fears, too. We didn’t know what was going to happen.
Wednesday April 25, 2018
From a quote by George Bernard Shaw
Five minutes isn’t long enough
to tell you
about the consequences of running away
Each movie sounds like your fear through the
megaphone of your worried heart beat
Each character flaw revealed stirs up your
blood and what if you start bleeding
You will think it is your job from this moment
on to live with the secret heavy that has been
pulling you down slowly, slowly
The sweet stillness will be sickened with dread
and what if dread lives in the elbow skin
collecting at the crease
turning soft into sweat
Monday April 23, 2018
Opossum, opossum, where for art thou possom?
Are ye brothers? Are ye sisters?
Are ye an April Fools joke played by the World Wide Webbeth?
I don’t care much for either or, IF I’M BEING COMPLETELY HONEST.
When I was a kid Haley Halpert had a weird-ass obsession with
opposums and would correct everyone if they dropped the O because
HOW THE HELL WERE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW?
It’s right up there on the old crazy train with people who are
obsessed with alpacas. They are not cute. They are not sweet.
They are just creepy things that look like llamas. Which is what
makes alpaca lovers even crazier.
One of my first boyfriends was obsessed with alpacas along with
saying “It’s an alpaca not a llama, the two are NOT the same.”
DID YOU KNOW THEY CAN SUCESSFULLY CROSS-BREED, GARRETH?
I had to break his heart into a bazillion pieces over e-mail.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
I catch myself being more ready for the things I used to avoid
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
Tuesday February 6, 2018
I’ve Fishing Crawford Lake
The coffee had been sweetened
with hazelnut syrup
There was no extra charge
and no side comments made
It was served in a tiny cup; handmade, delicate
The man ordered a cup in the morning and again in the afternoon
He joked and said he had already
forgotten the taste
It was not the coffee itself
he needed more of
-his head a jolt of unsafe caffeine
navigating foreign streets-
but the condensed milk
layered at the bottom or when lucky
whipped through, and hot
The woman took only little sips
but ached for more, quietly
Thursday December 21, 2017
a flyer from The Cultch
Her room, she says, is too cold to sleep in. Except when he’s here and he’s furnace and he’s dripping sweat in her sheets. I ask if I can turn the oven on tomorrow. She says it might blow up the whole place and better to put on a better sweater. I have a better sweater now. It was the only thing I told myself I’d bring and then I packed too many what ifs and accidentally forgot to leave some things behind. I forgot that I told myself I wouldn’t smoke so much.
She says we’ll have to make sure to look out the window. When I ask if there’s a meteor shower she doesn’t laugh. She says 10 somethings of snow will be falling tonight. I don’t remember the measure of snow she used. It wasn’t what you would have expected. He’s not coming by to warm the bed. She says I won’t be meeting him until tomorrow.
Monday October 30, 2017
We take a drive down a quiet road and when we stop to see the horses he takes a small box out of his pocket. It’s not an engagement ring. He knows I am not marrying anybody thank you very much. It’s a key. A little one. I mean, a normal sized one. Just not like a big key. And I take it in my hand and I tell him it’s the dumbest and smartest thing we’ll ever decide to do. And he laughs, because I am fucking funny and then suddenly we have place together. I have my things beside his things in a drawer we share in the home we live in. Together.
We are in a the car driving down a quiet road when I tell him I have a living gingerbread baby growing inside me. And he laughs because who ruins pregnancy news like this but gets away with it? Me. Prince Chamring. I do. And he puts his hand on my belly and he thanks me. He thanks all of our lucky fucking stars.
Tuesday August 1, 2017
from a GOLDEN artist colours box
I can’t talk to Hollace anymore. Ever since he started forgetting to line both of his eyes I knew something was wrong. Now it’s like he’s buzzing just beyond me but in a glass bubble that keeps him out of reach. He doesn’t seem to want my help and I don’t know if I could help him anyhow. He thinks he’s doing a good job of faking it. He is to most people. Most people can’t tell his personality from his warning signs. He’s tricking almost everybody into loving him. He sometimes gets close to getting me but then I catch him. He’s lying through his sweat, and I see him up close no matter what frame he’s in. In the locker room I put earbuds in but no music. I want to hear what kind of breath he uses around me.
Monday July 31, 2017
Mona in the bath tub on her knees, scrubbing.
Finds a collection of black mildew. Furrows
her already furrowed brow. She curses his
name under her breath, Fucking Dennis and your fucking
lack of purpose in this life except to make me
fucking miserable. She hasn’t washed herself in
a week. She’s protesting. Maybe one of these
nights Dennis won’t try to stick his dick in
when she’s asleep on the couch. He tells her his
mother is going to inspect the bathroom and Mona
laughs as if she cares. But here she is, in the tub,
on her knees, bleeding for a man who does not bleed
for anyone but himself. And his mother.
Later, the kitchen tile is spotless and the food
is on the table. Dennis lies and says he’s
been working hard all day.
Drinking. Complaining. Leaves out the only
parts that are true.
His mother pulls a sprig of rosemary out of her mouth
and spits into the tomatoes. Mona’s lips turn upward.
Dennis throws a chicken leg at Mona’s face.
I told you my mother hates rosemary.
Sunday July 30, 2017
1)Don’t go to bed with makeup on
2)Don’t go to bed with strangers
3)Don’t go to bed
4)Tell him how you feel
5)Tell her what you want
6)Listen to your body
7)Listen to her body
8)Be gentle with his body
9)find the joy
11)Visit your parents when you can
12)Write the date on your journals
13)Leave if you want to leave
14)If you want to stay, then really stay
15)Spend the money on quality items
16)Speak to children with respect
17)Watch a sunrise
18)Kiss in public
19)Refuse to let other people decide for you
21)Don’t save the red ones for last
22)Kiss your own body parts
24)Practice your cursive writing
Tuesday June 6, 2017
From a tweet
Lisa is serious, a squiggle in her brow most of the time, eyes focused, down on her page. She is also fun, knowing how to roll down a big grassy hill, knowing how to draw animals in 3D. On the night she was born, her father was hit by lightning. He missed her birth. She never knew the difference, but her mother did. Her mother resented that bearded, stout man until he took to the bottle and never looked back. Lisa sometimes wonders where her father might be, mid shade of an eyebrow or sketch of a lion’s mane. And just as soon as the thought arrives, it’s gone.
Tuesday March 21, 2017
From a Facebook post
It’s Wednesday and the whole notion of “hump day” makes her stomach turn. “Why do we live in a world where two thirds of the population are okay with the idea that Wednesday is a hump we have to get over?” Leila says.
“What?” Su peeks over the dividing wall between their cubicles.
“I’m talking to myself!”
“Lower your voice then, princess. You’re getting in the way of my f-l-o-w!”
Leila loves Sugreet, she really does, but their desks are practically on top of each other and he often sings Beyonce under his breath which gets in the way of her work f-l-o-w, so, she doesn’t apologize. Not today.
Tuesday February 21, 2017
From the rules of cricket
You tell yourself that it’s okay, but it’s not. It’s not okay. You rev yourself up, turning the music so loud that the crucifix on the wall shakes. You grandmother won’t be home for another forty five minutes at least. She’s at the doctor. She has cataracts. You tell yourself that the police always try to scare people like you, but they won’t actually press charges. You grandmother calls and you turn the music off. If you don’t, she’ll nag you about how the “neighbours complain” and “the neighbours have a baby” and “have a little respect”.
Monday February 20, 2017
Sometimes my eyes get so tired, looking at the bright light of the screen, that I wish I had a reader. I don’t even think that I’m an auditory learner, but I do love being read to. I really do. I often ask N to read to me before bed and he usually says no because his voice is tired. He talks all day. I get it. But there’s something about that soothing sound of someone reading aloud that is ultimate comfort, hey? Maybe, if it was work related, it wouldn’t be so productive. Maybe I should stick to reading for myself.
Saturday February 18, 2017
Friday Night Lights
When I pray I ask god to give me clarity so I may trust
what I see and be able to know it
I ask to be bypassed by nightmares like I did when
I was a child
twenty years of wishing I wouldn’t see the bad things because
I had glue for brains
terror haunting me like flies twitching on a sticky rope
I ask god to give me clear eyes so I can’t blame inaction
on blurry vision
I ask god to save me so we don’t get caught up in logistics
Tell her I’m tired now of specificty
mainly because it hurts
When I pray I ask for something I can hold on to
something that won’t burn me in the night and leave a scar
Friday February 17, 2017
from a Goodbye card
I didn’t realize you were leaving when you left
You forgot to say Goodbye or Sad To Leave You
forgot to mourn the loss of me
I wish too for lesser consequence
I do not own another recourse
my heart is broken
and it was the only one I had to begin with
You might not notice how long it takes
for a heart to heal when some peices
never get returned
I blame newness
I blame adventure or the lust for it
Wednesday February 8, 2017
From a postcard
He accidentally buys chocolate covered raisins instead of chocolate covered almonds. He gets home and he’s jazzed. It’s Wednesday. It’s cheat day. He goes to tear into them and sees the expiry date. December 2015. Now he has a choice to make. A choice that feels like it just might be the most important of his day. He opens the package. Shit. They look – … Good. They look good. He eats one. He remembers an article he read online about candy shellac, and how it’s made of bug juice. He eats another and then his phone rings. He lets it go to voicemail. He puts the bag of chocolate covered raisins in the trash, and puts on the kettle.
Sunday February 5, 2017
Overheard at Quebec and west Broadway
I’ve been drawing daily self portraits
the mirror’s been lying again and
besides I want
to document my waxing and waning.
Yesterday I had a sun face
and my teeth were wide as open arms.
I don’t know anything about poetry
except that it feels like the only
I was never good at my time’s tables
always needed to count on my fingers
under my desk.
Today I’m a small black dot.
Thursday January 26, 2017
In Recognition Of A Quarter Century Of Contribution To UMA
Spaghetti is his favourite dish
Doesn’t matter how many new things he’s tried, he’ll tell you, if you ask him, that it’s spaghetti
Me too, I would chime in, loving very much the idea of having the same favourite food as my father’s
Me too, I would say, when he’d crack open a chile pepper with his teeth
He cooks the way I do
My mother says I cook like him
Not sure these days if it’s Can’t Follow A Recipe or Won’t
We both like inventing
Never making the exact same thing twice
We didn’t grow up with Daddy’s Girl in my house
Maybe because there were two girls
Maybe because my older sister was Daddy’s Girl until I was born
and then there were two of us so they had to give their thing up before I could figure it out
Maybe because it took 25 years
for me to realize that
he was mine
and I was his but
in my own way and
so was she and
so was my brother after me and
so was everything everything
Tuesday January 17, 2017
From an email
I leave my dig-
nity on your
I put my
in my coat
pray that I
have a five
to keep them
I buy a coffee
at the shop
that I forgot
my phone on
Monday January 9, 2016
from a show postcard
There you were
all smoke and chapped lips
all donuts in the parking lot
all smelling of the past
There you were
on the bus going downtown
the bridge on stilts
people in their advent calendar windows
There you were
a toy box of our songs
a jack in the box of maybe
that flipped over and broke it’s springs
There you were
almost not seeing me
but then seeing me
Nice to see you
Where are you going
I should go
This is my stop
I should go
Thursday January 5, 2017
From an email
I’ve started this story five hundred times. I’ve ripped up three trees worth of paper, and burning seventeen pencils. I’ve started this story six thousand times. I would be horrified if you knew how I struggle, how I sweat. I would be horrified if you knew how I knit myself into a sleeping bag and didn’t set an alarm for three days. I would be horrified if you knew how many times I ordered pizza and Chinese food. No wonder I’ve gained thirty pounds. “It’s all about the numbers,” you always used to say. And it’s a real shame that I believed you.
Sunday January 1, 2017
A Google Drive notification
Viville smells like pine needles, bourbon, and the kisses that toddlers give to relatives they’ve just met. I arrive in the afternoon, via the back of a station wagon with wood panelling, driven by a man named Jacques. He picked me up three towns West. I hadn’t planned to hitchhike, especially on this leg of the journey, but the more I learn the more I don’t. Jacques asked if I wanted some coffee from his thermos, but I couldn’t sit up properly in the trunk and wasn’t sure how drinking something hot would go. Besides, maybe it wasn’t a good idea just in case there was dairy or drugs in there. When we arrived in Viville, Jacques asked where exactly I was staying and I said, “I’m not exactly sure yet,” so he dropped me off at the Seven Eleven.
Saturday December 31, 2016
From a record
Jack’s packed this car like a master puzzler, every box and bag filling any open space. “Will you be able to see?” I ask, putting our turkey sandwiches into old yogurt containers.
I kiss the doorframe and Jack says, “Goodbye, sweet spot.” We hug for awhile, before I lock the door and slide the key through the mailbox, like we told George, our super, we’d do.
Halfway to the highway, I start to cry.
Sunday December 25, 2016
Overheard in the kitchen
I don’t know what to write today. I’m tired. I’m sick. I’ve overwhelmed. I’m sad. I’m full of buttery, meat-y, spicy, sweet. I don’t know what to write today. The sound of my pen moving across the page feels like shit. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got nothing.
Layah asked Oli to bring her water because she is nursing the baby. I never realized that nursing is pretty much a full time gig. I romanticized nursing, like most things. I romanticize everything. What a strange quality. Ugh. Ugh. I’m pretty sure I have a fever. I hope I don’t make everyone here sick.
Sunday December 18, 2016
From Grand Slam Mad Libs
“Go left at the fork in the road,” you’d said. I’d made a note in the margins of the dictionary that I take everywhere I go. It’s full of scribbled recipes (mostly soup and muffins), directions (mostly how to find you), quotes (mostly my mother, John O’Donohue, you, and Rilke), predictions (tea leaves, tarot, strip mall palm readers), weather reports (“Don’t forget long johns and mittens”). I go left, like you’d said and I wonder where you’ve ended up this time, through a fir forest, through knee high snow. I make an angel for old time’s sake.
Saturday December 10, 2016
from an Instagram post
Marti came to my family in a time of great reducing.
She saw an opening in our fragile hearts, starting lives over in unexpected places, and she burrowed deeply enough that hers leached into ours. She was kind and she was good so it made it more tolerable but she was still implanting her life on ours. She comes to mind when otherwise she would be lost in prayer, when the others were lost to us. After long days and nights she surfaces again. Her kids covered in macaroni, her good intentions folded up in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Tuesday December 6, 2016
Kevin keeps joking about the icy streets and people wiping out but no one is laughing. All I can hear is his stupid voice cawing like a crow. Sometimes I dream about Kevin and I wake up and I’m pissed. I try to stay focused –
“Hello, Milner and Associates, this is Deborah, how may I help you?”
but it’s so hard. If he wasn’t the boss I would report him. We all would. My favourite thing is when he comes and stands behind me and times how long it takes for me to type up some bullshit that he’s asked me to email to Jed.
“Nice work, Deb! You came in under thirty six seconds!”
Sunday December 4, 2016
Overheard on Burrard street
Take my good word, you could’ve walked all the way home by now.
Take my advice and don’t ever turn your underwear inside out and wear it for a second day.
Take my hand and follow me down to toes in sand and tears in eyes and it’s okay, I promise, everything’s going to be okay.
Take thirty dollars out of the bank and walk through a neighbourhood that’s unfamiliar and buy yourself the first thing that you truly love. It doesn’t matter that you’re broke and should buy lettuce and a few cans of tuna instead.
Take me back to the place where we met and remind me where love grows.
Saturday November 26, 2016
Overheard at BC Children’s Hospital
“What are you hoping to get out of this position in regards to personal growth?”
Genevieve squints at me and re-crosses her legs.
“Um, well, I’ve always wanted to work in the charity sector, you know, like, give back?”
She doesn’t move a muscle. Didn’t they teach you about mirroring body language in your HR trainings? Are you capable of nodding or saying “Mm-hm” or something?
There are five seconds of agonizing silence. Are you waiting for me to say more? What more is there to say? I thought that this job was mine? What is happening?
“You aren’t really a people person, are you Becky?” Genevieve pulls her Blackberry out of the pocket of her blazer and starts typing furiously.
“Am I supposed to answer that?”
Friday November 25, 2016
The back of a Buddha greeting card
I couldn’t sleep again last night. I don’t usually have this problem, toes touching the warmth of your calf, stretching into a dream. I woke you from almost-sleep, “I have the scares,” I said. We stole the line from our eight year old friend because kids are the most articulate in my books. Before I woke you from almost-sleep, before we brushed teeth and put socks and underwear into the laundry hamper, I had been edgy and grating and needy with you, asking “Why?” over and over, even when it wasn’t called for. Mostly when it wasn’t called for. Before the sixty three “Why’s” we had seen a play about a brothel in which a woman is sold into sexual slavery. Our friends were in it. On the way there, I sang along to the radio in the car as the rain slapped the windshield. We held hands. The play was really good, really painful, really vital – which is more than I can say most of the time. Maybe all the “Why’s” I threw at you were easier than the “Why’s” I really have, the thundercloud ones and the screaming ones and the throat closing sob ones. I’m sorry. You don’t have answers because there are no answers, you can’t give me the answers I need, you shouldn’t ever have to. Hands upraised, reaching for something, reaching for meaning, reaching for why, reaching for God.
Tuesday November 22, 2016
Overheard at GO studios
I know that this place is haunted but if I talk about I’ll freak myself right out. Prolly freak you out, too…
But I should really tell you that there were footsteps upstairs last night. And there is no “upstairs”… It’s an attic. I asked Mel about raccoons or squirrels and she said, “No way.”
It’s funny, seeing ghosts, spirits, whatever you want to call them. It’s awkward when I talk to one and everyone else, all the alive people are like, “Who are you speaking to?” And I have to pretend like, “Oh, no one! I’m just talkin’ full volume to myself!”
Monday November 21, 2016
From an Eastside Culture Crawl postcard
I am going to build you a factory, Johnathan. It’s going to be big and beautiful and on every floor there’s going to be artists making the wildest stuff you’ve ever dreamed of. Pottery pigs and blown glass pinatas and burlesque dance routines by the old folks! All the things you fought so hard for… If we don’t have hope now, when are we gonna? I promise you, by next birthday, you’ll have your factory. And you studio? With the biggest windows and the highest ceilings and walls all white-washed alabaster… You’ll paint when you see in your dreams. You’ll paint the red oceans and the bubbles holding whole worlds inside. You’ll paint it all and we won’t worry about selling anything. We’ll give them away! If you want, of course. You’ll give them away to folks that really that kind of light in their lives.
Saturday November 19, 2016
Overheard on Oak St.
“I’m just so sad,” Phoebe has eyes like macaroni and cheese, deep pools of swamp. “I know you are, babe,” I say, and I wish that there was more comfort in those five words. They are just five words and words aren’t enough today. “I’m scared to live here,” she pulls the hood of her sweatshirt around her neck, cocooning. “I want to disappear.”
Inside the quietness of my ribcage, I talk to her about going to the desert and getting married, a klezmer band of lesbians singing to our love in ancient howls under a crescent moon. Inside the quietness, I whisper sounds that aren’t words that might hold her in a way English never can.
Wednesday November 16, 2016
Dear Sugar Radio
I found the sweet spot in a twin bed in my father’s house
second floor of the Victorian brick house on the tree-lined street
Lying on my back thinking thinking seeing thinking wishing panting
parting spreading leaking oh oh say it yes sweet sweet sweet
There was not shame on the futon on the floor of the basement
of my mother’s house
first love like liquid gold between my legs
first love passion and clumsy hands and is it supposed to feel like
I see these young ones
I see these crying mothers
for their daughters in crop tops with eyes the basins of longing
Fill me up
Fill me up
Monday November 7, 2016
From a tweet
This is the war cry that you’ve been waiting for
It isn’t packaged in hand blown glass or bubble wrap
It isn’t dusted in icing sugar
This is a roar seven generations in the making
It’s messy and delicate and has a bad haircut
It spits and sputters and sighs low like a dog
It sings full voice when it’s favourite song
comes on the radio OH
This is the war cry that has haunted dreams and
subway cars haunted holidays and shopping centres
Wake up, it calls
Friday November 4, 2016
from a contest information sheet
Obsessively check Facebook? Check. Ponder witty tweets? Check. Look and re-look at Instagram story feed. Check. Scroll into the bizarre backlog of texts from three years ago when you were still single? Check! Fold the laundry? Nope. Scrub the bathtub? Nope. Read an e-newsletter you aren’t sure you signed up for? Check.
Thursday October 27, 2016
A Manitoba concert hall sign
There is nothing about you that I don’t want to consume there is nothing about you. Your mistakes are the most delectable because they convince me that you are in fact human. Flesh, shit, bones, brains, heart, sinew. I learned about human when I started gorging on junk. Sugar, shit, bones, brains, salt, salt, sinew, guts. I learned about human when the world fell apart when my Dad left. I tempted human when I fucked anyone that made good eye contact. I chased human when I moved far far away.
Monday October 17, 2016
From a Facebook post
I’m not bitter. I wouldn’t say that. But Jeanie coming in here and saying, “Shit happens,” like she has no clue – … I just, it bugs me. It bugs me. I’m not gonna tell the story again and I’m not gonna whine but, like, you’re goin’ along, having a normal day, a regular Thursday, and then – BANG. Everything changes. Nothing will ever be the same. I don’t want pity! I really don’t. But I just don’t need some punk with attitude comin’ into my hospital room, actin’ like they know what’s up! Jeanie has no fucking clue!
Saturday October 15, 2016
I’m not sure what to tell you. Maybe that it’s going to be okay? But, that’s a bit of a white lie because I’m not actually sure if it’s going to be okay… Maybe that I love you? That usually feels good to hear, unless it’s someone professing something that you do not, in fact, reciprocate. Um… You’re going to do great. You’re going to be strong. You’re going to show this whole… situation… who is BOSS. You! You’re boss. I love you? It’s going to be okay? I don’t know. I’m bad when it comes to giving advice, I really am, I just… Here’s what I’ll say. You are probably the strongest human I have ever met. If anyone can face this, it’s you.
Thursday October 13, 2016
from an email
Russell was really pleased with himself for finding a teddy bear with his own name etched in the ear tag. He believed this kind of thing was rare and meant to be and that he had some newfound super powers. Suddenly he believed he was where he was supposed to be. He had never believed that before. He attributed it to the bear finding and the sign receiving he was now very open to. He said thank you in a low whisper to his lucky stars and his Nanna Toni who was among his lucky stars but also acted in part as a guardian angel. She was a star angel. Russell liked to think of her twinkling in the sky and twirling in the wind. She never danced while she was alive but somehow afterward Russell felt like that was all she did. Aside from looking out for him. When the bear appeared to him, his face fell open in wonder and amazement for the possibilities he might get to find.
Tuesday October 11, 2016
From a Tangerine ad
No one tells you that you become invisible. Your nose gets bigger, you sprout hair out of your ears, you lose all your pubes, and you become invisible. That’s the truth. I want you to know it because I wish I had. I would’ve given a heck of a lot less attention to how I looked when I actually looked like a Goddamn goddess. I’m not exactly sure when the invisibility cloak was placed over my shoulders… Fifty five? Sixty? I even tried dressing extra sassy, then extra sophisticated, then radical… Didn’t real change a thing. It really showed me what we were fighting for in the Women’s Lib Movement… If you aren’t deemed valuable, viable (ie. child bearing) to MEN, then suddenly society doesn’t value you. You are no longer sexual currency. Might as well be in the bargain bin.
Monday October 10, 2016
The Rising Strong Manifesto
I’m sorry for my chin hairs – – –
my legs \\ my armpits \/
my belly >
“my” is pejorative
none of these parts are mine
I laugh because the cry is too big for my one bedroom apartment
I’m sorry for the unpalatable opinions
on the table between us
swirling squash and shit and sex and
My dreams of motherhood don’t betray my dreams
of taking over the world
with stories of chin hairs
legs armpits bellies
Shred the TRUMP cards and recycle them
Maybe they will end up
paper that you’ll write me a letter on
Sunday October 9, 2016
All My Days
Margot isn’t sure when it occurred to her that maybe it would be a good idea to stop going to spin class. She cancelled her gym membership. She de-activated her monthly yoga pass. It was a slippery slope, but in a good way. Margot started going outside. Radical. Revolutionary. Margot bought a seventy dollar bike on Craigslist and put a water bottle holder on it, and a basket on the back. She started biking to work. She walked the grocery store. She realized that she had been spending a kazillion dollars on things she could really do for free! She just needed a good rain coat and some bravery! She just needed to learn the arm signs that indicate if one is turning left or right!
Thursday September 22, 2016
I’m riding my bike quickly down the hill, the wind blowing a symphony of “yes” in my ears, hands firmly on the handlebars and
My front tire hits a bump, a piece of metal? A big nail? A shoe? I fly over my handlebars and in that moment
I see my life
my bathroom with the new coat of eggshell white paint
I wonder if it’s already happened
Am I dead?
Thank goodness it’s already turned cool and I’m wearing my denim jacket or my elbows and arms would be torn to shred
A car pulls over and a woman gets out
She looks like my Mom but with black black hair
She gives me her hand and helps me up
Wednesday September 21, 2016
Overheard on Av. Girouard
the NICU beeps and wails and whispers
the nurses scrubs have cats and flowers on them
the babies are so small
how were they ready to be born?
the babies are so strong
they were ready to be born
at least that’s what i
washing a pear for my sister
filling her water bottle
rubbing her neck
at least that’s what i
walking by the darkened rooms
code indigo taped on the door
mothers and fathers and families
like angel zombies
tired eyes and microwave dinners
sanitize the hands
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
it starts with a whisper with a promise to be better
when you don’t really mean it and you don’t really want to
commit to process
it’s opened then
when you say anything that doesn’t sound like truth and when you think
everybody only hears sincerity when you are wrong but don’t
want to believe that yet
a little crack further
and you keep far away from it because it’s calling you
it knows you by face and you pretend it’s a different you a different you with
the same name
that each day a little bit less is tried
a little bit less is wagered
and the pit beyond grace is surrounded by old flames that
you ran from because you didn’t have the courage
to snuff them out
it starts with a whisper with the song of wandering souls
you fall each day
further off the track you triumph over
Monday, August 29, 2016
I put it there along with other things. I wanted a collection of all the lies I had been telling. In the secret parts of my understanding I like to believe they live in a garden on their own. But they are not thriving in their soil. I don’t water them. I have deep hopes that they don’t need it. The walls of this decision are dried and crumbling. They don’t fall or crack revealing light. They pile on top of the old ones and bury the new ones that were just put there for a second. Now everything is locked up. The idea that this is all I’ll ever be. I am the one languishing in the vault. I am the one wasted. And I only choose to visit the scraps of myself there when no one else is around. Stuck internal, asleep on a mattress that divides all of my bones into unusable groups, and keeps me from attending the day like they all expect me to.
Friday August 19, 2016
Overheard on the 84
I think he’s in the hospital or at least that’s what Addie thinks. She heard it from his sister’s boyfriend’s sister. I want to visit him because he might be lonely. And maybe hungry. So I want to buy him a burrito cause I doubt he’s allowed to have those in the hospital. I think he’ll be happy. But I’m still waiting on Addie’s intel to confirm because I can’t afford to take the morning off for no reason. Not just cause I want to cause there aren’t enough chances to go around. Got to save it for something good. This would be good though. This would be a really good reason to skip work.
Did you hear what happened to him not this time but the one before that?
Somebody took a baseball bat and..
Anyway you can put two and two together. Just hope someone is there with him until we can get there. I worry that the longer he goes the worse it’ll be.
Thursday August 18, 2016
From a flyer
Ginny hasn’t left the country. Hasn’t left the city, really. Hasn’t left the space in her head that tells her it’s not safe to go outside. Ginny does’t know which pen pals have forgotten her. She doesn’t know which ones are hoping she’s alright. It’s not safe to go outside. Ginny spins the globe that uncle Andy brings her. Says the world is so big but if you hold it in your hand you feel small. Ginny lets him leave it in her room because every so often he comes by to spin it for himself. Pick a place, any place, he tells her. What kind of place should I pick? Ginny doesn’t go outside. It’s not safe to go outside. It doesn’t matter, he says. This is dreaming and dreaming doesn’t need reasons. But a place that I want to go? She asks. Sure, he says, any place that isn’t right here.
Thursday August 18, 2016
From a flyer
pop says see the world but i’m not sure what he even knows about that because he’s never left chesterton. probably something he’s heard on tv or something, like, a thing he heard someone say that he thought sounded smart. he never finished high school even, so what does he know. sorry pop. you know a lot about how to raise pigs, and how to nurse a pup back to health after she eats too much grass. you know a lot about corn. seeing the world? don’t know nothing about that. if i actually took your advice and left chesterton, i think you’d cry for a week. not that i’ve ever seen ya… but i can imagine. it’s been you and i since mama and berg drowned, since i was three and you were twenty six. mama has finally learned how to make peach pie, the crust and everything. at least that’s what you tell me. mama had just learned to make peach pie.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Marika says that we’ll discuss the best scores and feedback over beers at the tent. I have no idea what she’s talking about but I nod and say, “Sure! Sounds good!” When I meet her there, she’s ordered a pitcher of something blonde and she’s eating pretzels and curly fries. “Hey!” She waves at me and I try not to cringe. “Hi.” I say.
I’ve known Marika since we were campers, since we competed just like these kids are. I never thought that she’d last. I never thought we’d be coaching together. I never thought I’d be stuck with her for four months of every year.
“I can’t believe that Amy actually got the highest score,” Marika says, picking a bit of pretzel out of her molar.
Thursday July 7, 2016
Cranes and Egrets
“When you swim far out, way out past the break, past where the waves are tall as houses, the water is still…” Granny eats a piece of honeydew, the juice dripping down her chin. She wipes it with the back of her hand. “You have to be very brave to swim out that far, you have to be bigger than you are… Fifteen or sixteen. It takes strength of mind an’ body, you see, an’ something else, too…” At this time of night her accent gets thick. “You need the determination, the power that comes along with really believing in yourself.” She swats at a mosquito. “I used to spend hours and hours out there, in the still water, thinking up what might happen. I’m more of a future person than a past person. Past people, they’re more apt to get all depressive. Future people? Like me? Anxiety… But on the still water, floating on my back an’ my front an’ treading water – just calm.”
Tuesday July 5, 2016
In Search of Agamemnon
Bruce F. Fairley
It’s the hottest day of the year and the air conditioning is broken. We’ve rehearsed the scene what feels like a million times and Mario says, “Ah! Yes! The deaths… The deaths are… they aren’t working, mes amis. Let’s try them both in, in…” We wait, bracing ourselves, willing him to call the day, “in slow motion!” As he says it he does a demo, as if we don’t know what slow motion means. Eric and I look at eachother and try not to scream/cry/laugh. Mario wonders aloud why we’re stalling. “It’s forty degrees. I’m sweating my balls off,” I say. Eric blushes. Mario gets up. He has his water bottle in his hand. He looks pissed. He pours a bit of water into his palm and then throws it at me, right in the face. Pour, throw. Pour, throw. Nicola, the stage manager, almost says something but Eric silences her with a glare.
Monday June 20, 2016
Overheard at Starbucks
It’s Christmas, which means that Aunt Cathy is hammered and Pa is smoking pipe after pipe and Jason, my twin brother, is likely going to try to hang himself again. He does it every Christmas. The attempts are feeble, but are attempts nonetheless. Our mother, Joan, recently got a tattoo of a turtle on her right bicep. Jason thinks she’s having a midlife crisis but from what I’ve read, those only happen to men. Jason lives in the weird loft space above the garage. There’s a box spring and a mattress, a hotplate and a mini fridge. It’s where we used to hang out with friends and drink forties when we were in high school. I only see him a couple of times a year and every time I do he has more grey hair. We aren’t identical, but we look a lot a like. My hair is still entirely brown. I haven’t even spotted one grey strand. Aunt Cathy whispers that Joan went grey in her early thirties, too.