“But he was never seen practicing” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday August 18, 2019
5 minutes
Cato The Younger

Julie says that you’re all about family
that it’s my job to make sure
you’re close to your people
feel the tether to the roots
to the blood to the source
“Don’t put her in daycare if you can help it
Have Grandma or Grandpa there”

Neptune transits coming around for all three of us
and I’m wondering about right now
What are the planets saying
What are the stars shouting to us
across shine and bright
A beauty has settled in the space
where the day broke

Down to the bone we go
Into the marrow we crawl

Julie says that your Sun needs to be present
needs to be physically close needs to touch you
We both do
Sun and Moon
Your arm touching my arm
Your toe touching his belly

Good grief
these things that we try to lean on
house of cards

“‘Gimme a whiskey’” by Julia on her patio

Sunday June 30, 2019
Louis L’amour

Summer in my skin like the Mediterranean is whispering my name
Olive oil drenched and happy
Sun kissed and laughing

Whiskey on my lips the way
the good lord intended
Sweet rope and burn down my throat where the heat knows its home
I’m not coughing
I’m not sad

Gimme a shot and I’ll dance you moonlight, open my mouth wide
and I’ll house the whole sky
Use the Big Dipper to swallow the Milky Way and we’ll be living this
easy until the end of it
Whenever it comes
The second hand singing the chorus with the wind

“Stock in the opinions of others” by Julia on her couch

Monday May 27, 2019
5 minutes
Meditations, 12.4
Marcu Aurelius

I can
If you are looking to make soup
After you grind the bones of your own worst nightmares living in your skin you’ll have enough marrow to sustain it.
I can help you strain it, stir in the stock of other people’s opinions telling you your own has such little value.
Add a couple disregarded feelings and a pinch of desperate validation.
I can understand it because it’s where I’ve been hanging out too.
Write everyday, hope someone is reading it, but write everyday even if they do not.
I act like I don’t need them to but I need them to I need someone to.
Star lovers tell me it’s all over my sign, stitched across the map, proof of flaws and tendencies.
When output comes at a cost and what am I willing to spend

“live life well” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday February 12, 2019
5 minutes
From a mural

How many times can you ask me what you’ve done wrong. I can’t answer a specific action or thing you’ve said. I can’t tell you exactly the reason I’ve been testing you, pushing you away way way. I think for the most part we live life well. Live laugh love. We do whatever that cheesy print tells us we should be doing. The frame with a ballet dancer on it or something. Not that it’s bad advice, I mean, shouldn’t we live life well laugh love?

Okay, you have done nothing wrong. You’re the stars on the ceiling. You’re the real deal. The one without secrets. Me, I’m the sailor. I’m the one who took the job on the sea, see you, see you see.

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

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

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

“before we found our planet” by Sasha on the couch at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday October 4, 2017
5 minutes
The Enemy Stars
Poul Anderson

Before we found our planet we chased shooting stars and solar flares before breakfast. We did not know the saltiness of addiction – heartache – betrayal. Before we knew the taste of first kiss, we knew blue, the true meaning, gold, the weight and scope of it. Some might call it alchemy, but we call it morning.

Turning the page, our children (by which I mean all the children here not the ones I’ve borne, in fact, I cannot tell the difference, all their faces are innocence and power, curiousity and wisdom)… Turning the page, our children laugh at the nostalgia for a time before time. They wrinkle their little brows at Milky Way and ask for a glass of water.

“Did you know?” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre

Sunday April 23, 2017
5 minutes
From a bus ad

Did you know that there are about one hundred and seventy billion galaxies in our universe? Yup. It’s true. Did you know that the milky way has four hundred billion stars? I KNOW. It’s pretty impossible to even imagine that quantity – … I know that we’re supposed to be doing our long division, but I’m, I’m bored of that and I just started reading a book about – … Okay. Okay. Fine. FINE.

“the life of his human counterpart” by Sasha at the Tempered Room

Sunday August 7, 2016 at the Tempered Room
5 minutes
Neil Abramson

You are an undiscovered star who moves with
the spring and fall shift shift step move move grow
Take a walk on the wild side says your human counterpart

You smile because we don’t know wild on earth
You get brighter and brighter every day and even your eyes can’t
quite adjust Your human counterpart carries her child
on her back and sweats orange juice
Your human counterpart doesn’t feel bright but her child
lives off her milk and you
the star
believe this to be actual magic.

“And for some reason these men fit the bill.” by Julia at Barb’s house in Vernon

Monday, August 31, 2015
5 minutes
Cowboy Poetry
(ed)Hal Cannon

Mama had a ranch and she lived a good life
With her dogs and her horses and her cows and her ribbons
Mama had a good life and she wrote herself letters for 45 years
Today we branded 20, yesterday Henrietta rode on Lyla for the first time
Mama made her own history and she changed into someone she liked more
With her spirit and her intentions and her sanctuary and her home
Mama made us meat loaf and made us take seconds
Cause we are family, eating like family, reminding each other of what’s important
Mama knitted life lessons in afghans and couch cushions
With her advice and her kindness and her generosity and her magic
Mama stayed up late walking outside under the stars
With her open heart and her open hands and her rain boots

“Let me just check the mail” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday, June 25, 2015
5 minutes
Said by Nadeem

she lost her voice on the train tracks
she fell and when she stood
there it was
sizzling on the metal
when the train came
she watched from behind a juniper
the urge to scream replaced with a breath
an open mouth

she lost her voice on the train tracks
she waited and
and waited to see if maybe
in the moonlight
it would resurrect
she fell asleep with pinecones as her pillow
and when she woke
she looked in the direction of her voice
she looked in the direction of the stars
the aurora borealis
there it was
chasing colours
and having more fun that it’d ever had before

“I feel like a skid” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Vancouver

Saturday May 9, 2015
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits beach

I’ll follow you, North Star.
I’ll follow you all the way down South and up to the icy Arctic and back across to the mountains and the deserts.
I’ll be there to guide you, North Star, when you’re tired of lighting everyone else’s way.
I’ll make you blackberry smoothies with coconut and hemp seeds – you’ll need that plant based protein, North Star.
If you feel like drifting, don’t feel like you must be chained to the North – sail south, ancient one! Sail sideways and in zigzags! I’ll keep your spot warm.
I’ll dry your thunderstorm tears, North Star, when you’re ravaged by grief, when you lose another member of the Milky Way. I’ll cradle you in my arms until you fall asleep, salty-cheeked and eyes swollen.
I’ll run alongside you when you learn to ride a bike, speed demon. I’ll cheer you on and I’ll put bandaids on your knees when you skin them.

“What can I do for you?” by Sasha on her couch

Monday March 2, 2015
5 minutes
From a Pattison subway ad

He sits too much.
He knows this is true.
He eats too many chocolate chip cookies.
Hard to resist.
Hard to resist.
Betty forwarded an email article about “Standing Desks”.
Maybe he should get one of those.
His doctor says he has high blood pressure.
No more egg yolks?
No more custard before bed?
He goes for a walk or two and then thinks:
I’d rather be sleeping.
He reads a few passages of the Bible…
(Betty highlighted them and tagged the pages with post it notes)
He decides he’s going to take Betty on a date to the Planetarium.
“Why would we look at fake stars when we can look at real ones?” She says.
He hadn’t thought of that.
He takes Betty on a date to the park and he brings a blanket.
“Why did you bring this blanket? It’s going to get dirty!”
Betty drinks all of the hot chocolate.
“It’s cold,” she says.
It’s cloudy so they don’t see any real stars.
He kisses her, though.
That hadn’t happened in awhile.
A kiss that makes them both remember a time before the toilet seat being left up.
A kiss that keeps them warm, inside out.

“Confronted issues of racism, identity and social tension” by Julia on the 47 going South

Sunday February 8, 2015
5 minutes

We were at this line, standing on a cliff looking out into the entire world. We could see all the sadness, because of all the possibility. We could feel the stars shedding their light for us to soak up if we had enough space left inside after all the room we made for darkness. Deep down we had a fixed price for what we’d pay for happiness. We were told that we needed to buy it. We were told we needed to hide it. And at the same time we could hear all the first laughs of every perfect infant. We could paint courage and intimacy with a brush so soft we could swear it didn’t even leave a mark… And that’s why we stood there. On the edge of everything– and not knowing one single thing to do.

“friends to build your community” by Julia on Laura’s ottoman

Monday December 22, 2014
5 minutes
from grooveshark.com

Like a kiss to build a dream on…
Said it best, didn’t he? Armstrong on the radio. Watch the sun burst–Burst? Yes, burst through the trees, sort of sweet force and…And? Excitement! Like a Sunday orange! Ahh the citric explosion. Burst, yes. Burst. And the dream? Which? To be built on a kiss? Armstrong? Yes, Armstrong. The dream was about the sun and the kiss was about the future. Oh. Yes, it really works, doesn’t it? I see it now, of course I do. It was enough in that moment to entice the whole movement. Dancing on clouds and pick pocketing tiny stars from the pretty night sky.

“So sweet and so intense” by Sasha on the walk home

Sunday November 16, 2014
5 minutes
from a text from Bec

You write a decent pop song
But that’s not a mystery
You make a good cup of coffee
But that’s not rocket science
You sound a bit like Bruce Springsteen
But so do a handful of other guys
You have a moustache
It’s November
Big whoop
You burn good incense
I’ll give you that
Innocence and spicy fingers tracing trajectories on the window
You know how to make a fire
Helpful at the end of the world
You know how to make a fire
But I’ve got the matches
So sweet
I’ve got the matches tucked in my bra
Leaving small red stars on my breasts
Leaving imprints like veins
Like leaves have

“we can remember everything” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday September 28, 2014
5 minutes
Writing Down The Bones
Natalie Goldberg

we can remember everything
not only what happened to us
what happened to the ones that came before
what burned their hands
and their wonder
you tell me about smelling the train
the sounds outside
bombs and lightning
not knowing if the bursts of light
were from one
or the other
you tell me and i know you know it’s
nothing is
i’m sorry
nothing is
she wears a nun’s habit because she thinks it will save her
she’s a religious woman
it’s not bad
no one is judging her
i was there the night the car crashed
dead on impact
dead on the spot
stopped in the tracks
i remember the naked sky
no stars
i remember
but i wasn’t there
and neither were you
but we remember

“I don’t remember if he told me to look at the stars, but I did.” By Julia at Urban Post

Friday, September 5, 2014 at http://urbanpost.ca/
5 minutes
How To Make Love In America
Sarah Nicole Prickett

I don’t remember if he told me to look at the stars because I was too busy looking at him. He might have. That would have been nice in that moment if I wasn’t already overwhelmed by a beauty that I could name. That I could touch. That I could hold. I don’t remember if he told me to look up at the sky because I was too busy looking into the moment we created. He might have. That would have been nice if I didn’t already have plans to congratulate us on getting this far in the cold. Or in the rain. Or in the both. I do remember saying that I wanted my forever person to look just like him. I remember that part because it came from a place that I didn’t force. Or create. Or fix. I wanted my forever person to have his eyes. His smile. His eyebrow scar. I wanted my forever person to have the same mix of beard colours: brown, orange, white.

“I don’t remember if he told me to look at the stars, but I did.” By Sasha at Higher Grounds

Friday, September 5, 2014 at Higher Grounds
5 minutes
How To Make Love In America
Sarah Nicole Prickett

I don’t remember if he told me to look at the stars, but I did. They were singing a Ray Lamontagne song, but only for me. For him, they were quiet. We were both still lost, still younger than we wanted to believe, still looking elsewhere for what we really wanted. It’s hard to find stars in the city. I do, though. It’s more important to me than a good book on my bedside table, but I won’t easily admit that. My mother is good at naming constellations. She can spot Orion and Cassiopeia and gives directions as to where to look. The stars sing Joni Mitchell to her. Even though she doesn’t say so, I know it. When I’m with her, and the stars, I hear Big Yellow Taxi.

“Have a beautiful night, beautiful.” By Julia at Nicole’s desk

Tuesday August 26, 2014
5 minutes
Overheard on the streetcar

On our night in the woods we drank the blue stuff and turned the yellow stuff into powder. We clinked our glasses, and our thumbs, and we tilted our heads back to send the gift down-offering up an opportunity to our souls (we were looking for some peace of truth, whichever came first). The stars twinkled in sequence, telling a story, singing a song, drowning in ecstasy and not waving or struggling to stay above the tide. The moments lasted as long as they should have-the romance elongated, the touch softened. Our tongues traced tiny hearts on each other’s belly and we prayed with the night’s temple lit on fire from our commitment. We spoke only with our eyes and I said, Forever, and he said, Yes please.

“It’s a cozy little place” by Julia at Kay’s Delicatessen in Winnipeg

Monday June 16, 2014 at
5 minutes

A little bit of me goes a long way
A thing I still remember my mother used to say
Tight braids in the backyard
Baskets filled with tomato red
I would hold onto her promises
And every single thing she said
Because the stars were her favourite
And the rhubarb bush her friend
The nights felt like perfect movies
The days a pretty song without a threat to end
And mama had an angel’s voice
And mama liked to sing
A little bit of me goes a long way
For the mountains and for the King
I didn’t know it then
But I’m sure I see it now
The words she held close to her chest
The softness she’d allow
Were the ones I would keep with me
Tattooed upon my heart
So that I’d never forget the ways
She’d lull me in the dark…
Peace and poems she would strum
Dreams and old ones she would hum

“Maximize your chances” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston

Wednesday April 23, 2014
5 minutes

Wendy had a thing for counting. She counted the stars visible from her bedroom window, she counted the number of steps it was her room to Park’s room, from her room to any room, really, and from the basement to the attic. Even numbers were her favourite. Sometimes she’d count again just to make sure she didn’t count wrong because those odd numbers always seemed so odd. Wendy was also very interested in grouping objects in front of her in categories. She grouped gum wrappers according to life story, bread crumbs, according to size, and pennies according to amount of dirt. She was interested in organizing these things and everything, and Park made it very difficult for her because he had a personality that refused to be contained. Park couldn’t even remember his own birthday. He was a disaster of a 3 year old. Wendy tried to teach him the basics but Park was a bit of an idiot and would just wander off into walls and burst out in hysterical laughter. Wendy never understood why he didn’t just count the steps from the coffee table to the kitchen– That way he wouldn’t have that stupid problem every time of banging into something so clearly avoidable.

“Free evening newspaper” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday March 11, 2014
5 minutes
the to.night street box

We are more beautiful when we’re writing
When our ink is flowing
When we aren’t thinking about what we need from the grocery store
Or spilling chilli oil on the leg of our favourite black pants
(How can black get blacker with a stain?)
We are more alive when we’re moving
Fluid and fast
Slow and steady
Our bodies know what’s right and what’s off
Off centre
Off balance
“Is the apple cider in the fridge off?”
We try to tell our futures in the free evening newspaper
We try to read the stars
Like palms we know and love
Like hands we hold when the cold comes back

“I remember” by Sasha at the TUA Artists’ Retreat at the Fringe Creation Lab

Sunday, August 25, 2013
5 minutes
From the writer’s workout warm-up

I remember the moment the first star came onto the sky, like a genius idea, like the “Ding!” of that lightbulb moment. From where I stood, looking up, the trees were like giant pillars in the cathedral of the forest. I remember thinking I heard footsteps and realizing that it was my heart, my blood, the wish of joy holding fast. I watched each star appear – Ding! Ding! Ding! – until there were hundreds, thousands, millions and trillions, until I could’ve paddled the Milky Way like the Spanish River. Only then, when they were all there, when we’d all gathered, did I lie back and let the earth hold me. It was cool and firm, it was strong and wide. I didn’t want to blink. I didn’t want to miss a minute of the show.

“the Devil who touched my body” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday May 3, 2013
5 minutes
Paulo Coelho

I saw the polar bear swim the most beautiful breast-stroke
Eyelashes with gold sparkles
Purple high heels on his front paws
Flippers on his back
I decided to jump on his back
He laughed
I had to hold on
I gripped
I wasn’t afraid
I saw the red oak tree stretching
Trying to be taller
By Summer she’ll smile
I saw the dolphins doing Stand-up
They all bombed
But no one cared
The polar bear asked my name
I lied
I said it was ZOE
I wish it was ZOE
He believed me though
Why shouldn’t he
He called me by that simple angel name
He called me over and over until I remembered to answer
He asked where I’m from
“The ravine” I said
He looked unimpressed
He looked tired
“Let’s rest” I said
He swam us to shore
We dried ourselves in the sun
The sun like the moon but more outrageous
I hadn’t seen the polar bears guitar
It must’ve been borrowed
Or stolen
We sang Dylan, Springsteen and Joan Baez
Until the stars joined the sun
The sun said goodnight
The stars clapped along

“Every time we drop our bombs” by Sasha at her desk

Friday, April 19, 2013
5 minutes
A quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

There was a shooting star
Somewhere in another atmosphere
The moment the explosion happend
And someone wished
Somewhere in another galaxy
That we’d quit our worrying
That we’d stop our whining

“Silly, human beings,”
That someone thought
“Always so concerned.”
I am

A radio-voice
Calls the bluff of the 9-1-1
A radio-voice
Says that
They are at war
Better yet
WE are at WAR

They were running
Through the finish line
A sudden snap
Was the man in the baseball hat smiling?
A bag too heavy for the little one to lift

Every time we drop our bombs
That somebody
Shakes her head
Furrows her brows
Wishes on whatever she can find
That one day
One day not too far from this day
We’ll finally
Get it

“What made us drift away?” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday January 23, 2013
5 minutes
The 100-Mile Diet
Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon

She thought that she could do it
Set sail from a port she knew by heart
Make it all the way to Thailand
She sailed alone
Counting milky way gestures
Finding meaning in the waning moon
She ate tuna and peanut butter
When she ran out of potatoes and frozen peas
She sometimes spent days on end
That was a bonus
She docked only when she needed to see
Another human face
A high forehead to remind her of her sister
A white beard for her father
The smell of amber and rose to recollect
Her mother’s hands and voice
She’d use the calling card
Handed to her with pepper spray and a jack-knife
And call
“Are you lonely?” they asked
“Yes…” she said
“No…” she said
“Is the ocean rough?” they asked
“No…” she said
“Sometimes…” she said

“Why is she following this river” by Julia on her couch

Saturday, December 29, 2012
5 minutes
Fool’s Bells

Because she can’t help it. Woke up this morning, couldn’t feel her feet, went to find them. There. Now she’s in the river.
She said the water felt hot, like lava. Said she could stand it as long as she breathed…
Waiting for the sun to set, she says to herself in a calming tone:
This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end.
The stars from last night echo in her mind’s eye. Blink once for yes. Twinkle twice for no.
Yes. No.
Remember when it was so simple?
The hard rocks are not rough, but they keep their place without moving.
She is deep now. She’s letting the rush swallow her legs and memory all at once.
Where is the wind now, she wonders. Is it here?
She does not feel the breeze. It’s a trapping sensation that keeps her limbs tight.
She couldn’t feel her feet, went to find them.
Now she’s here.
Now she’s in the river.
The silent crushing of her everday’s dream. It is weighing on her every internal organ.
Crying out: PICK ME. SAVE ME. NEED ME.
It goes on and on and the mood is changed from wishful longing to regret.
Just plain regret.
And then she’ll dry off her toes, rest easy on her back, and count the flying snowflakes, trying to find a place to perch.
Will this hold me forever?
Will this keep me safe?

“nous allons trouver une solution” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, November 24, 2012
5 minutes
PostSecret(Confessions on life, death, and god)
Frank Warren

If you’re thinking this is it, you’re not wrong, but I also don’t think you’re right.
See. The rainy days are here to make us love the sun, so what’s the sum? Add it up one by one.
You+Me+This+pick the thing. Pick it. Anything. Don’t think, just do. Don’t wait, just pick up the brain that was taking a nap, wake it up, and do it.
How could it be the end? You know what amateur means? I learned that today. I learned it and now I can’t unlearn it. Find out where it comes from. What’s the root word. You don’t speak the language? AMA. Yeah. It’s not that hard. It’s actually easy. Love the thing you do. Love it and do it for that reason. The money? Ha! Wouldn’t it be nice? Or would it? Thousands of dollars in the debt bank. Are they all friends? Those dollars keeping us from being free, from being fine and happy and in love with ourselves? Hope they’re happy. The banks. Keeping a secret from us, trying to keep us where the sun doesn’t shine through the black out blinds.
I’ll spend more money, get the ones that go up and down. Thousands he said earlier. Worth it? Yeah, I said later, it definitely is. Can’t forget the days when it’s bright. Can’t get locked tight in the cave of worry and doubt and panic cause it won’t let you out, it’s manic, and it won’t let you shout, it’s frantic, and it won’t let you. Let’s grab those faces we used to know. Paint them back on the backs of our heads so we can see behind and know it wasn’t nothing then. It won’t be nothing now.

“Every week.” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Queen East

Thursday, November 22, 2012
4:32pm at Dark Horse Queen East
5 minutes
NOW magazine box

I’m painting each star the colours I found in Spain
Reds and blues that forget their mistakes
It takes diligence and patience
It takes my whole arm
So outstretched I can only last for few minute intervals
Before I must rest
And wait
I’m painting each star in the galaxy
I mention it to my coffee barista
He smiles and thinks I’m being
It’s funny
People don’t believe
It’s funny
People don’t trust
When I say
“I’m painting the Milky Way
Tomorrow it will be orange
Look up
Look up
And you’ll see what I mean”
I paint in at dusk and dawn
The magic times
When these stars of mine
Reveal themselves
Open star hearts
Reveal themselves
Unabashed and laughing