“I am a young, talented writer.” By Julia on her couch

Thursday November 7, 2019
8:45pm
5 minutes
Citizens of the Dream
Cary Tennis

Mr. Zeiler hands out
the assignments
thinks it’ll keep
us busy long enough
to let him finish
his chapters

I am alive with the
possibility of writing
my very own story
I cannot wait to explore
this world and these characters. that will emerge from my brain

Mr. Zeiler says 10-15
pages is best, is most,
is more than enough
By the time I get to 15
I am just getting started

This scenario I’ve lifted
from my favourite sit-com
is a perfect container for characters like me and also like the ones from the show and I keep going

I glue in extra pages
when I finish what I was
given and begin to forego
illustrations to fit in more words

“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.

“The bit about the doorbell” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday October 19, 2019
9:13am
5 minutes
Someday Is Today
Alethea Black

The doorbell rings and Ange stops in her tracks. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. Fe wasn’t supposed to arrive until this afternoon. “I’ll be right there!” She calls, running up the stairs and shutting the bedroom door.

Fe is on her phone, talking in Spanish. Ange always says she’s going to learn, but the Duolingo app on her phone goes unopened for the most part.

”What language do you dream in?” Ange asked Fe one of their first morning’s together.

Fe thought about it for awhile. “I’m not sure,” she eventually replied, picking sleep out of the corners of her eyes.

”It’s probably Spanish. I think I read once that we dream in our mother tongues.”

As she opens the door, Ange asks, “Why don’t you have your key?”

Fe cocks her head and glares at her. She’s cut her hair.

“Light like sugar cane.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Oct 17, 2019
11:11am
Daybreak

Gerry Lafemina

Light like sugar cane through the kitchen window and you’re wild with belief, whirling dervish of possible outcomes. You dream of rivers and oceans over and over, research water metaphors, read poetry written by women who came before their time. You meditate on the round stone in the park garden, grown over since summer’s ripe peach, sun is still here though, sun is still here. You were once groped by a man on a crowded train, ass and vulva, rubbed top to bottom, or bottom to top depending on who is telling the tale. You said nothing. This haunts you more than the time you cheated on the first man you actually loved, more than stealing fifty dollars from your grandmother’s handbag, more than lying to your friend about why you couldn’t make his birthday dinner (a new beau who turned out to be a sour stale egg, barf barf barf). You looked the groper in the eye, though, that’s one wee bit of action you took. You made it clear that you saw him, in his unshaven violence, in his hand violating the body of a woman, of a fawn.

“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 meditation” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday October 15, 2019
7:19pm
Reunion
Halina Larman

Alice left Jim on a Wednesday. It was a long time coming. At least that’s what everyone said. It wasn’t dramatic. It was deliberate and soft. She had packed a black suitcase, as she knew that she needed to actually leave, not just figuratively leave. The suitcase had been Alice’s mother’s. It was worn on the bottom corner, but still zipped up. Their other suitcases, stored in the basement next to the box of Christmas ornaments and wrapping paper, belonged to Jim. At least she thought they did. It was the division of things that most overwhelmed her. Not the conversation, the “leaving” conversation. The division of their items, their life, parsed out in “I’ll take the immersion blender and you take the coffee grinder?” The older Alice got the more she didn’t care for things that she could turn on, hold in her hand, or cart around. She cared for the feeling of her blood pressure lowering, the October wind bringing her closer to herself.

“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

“We did all these things and more,” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, Oct 11, 2019
7:28am
5 minutes
We Did
Brian Doyle
There were the seasons of planting the seeds
of good fortune and picking out the rocks from the
supple generous earth
sticky resilience
honey under fingernails
dirt on cheeks
There were phases of freezing toes
and shouting under a starless sky
Crescent moon asking for more more
more more more when she finally came
when she finally helped
New like the baby’s first glance
like the promise of spring
deep freeze full of bones and secrets
thought there was nothing left to say
but there always is
wisdom a crystal buried in the basement
growing every day
There were years of abundance
years of bushels of apples
sweet potato pies
rye bread in the oven
trading this for that
no need to pass bills between
trusted treasures
There were summers of black flies
zucchini’s the size of toddlers
lake swims and fires
snaking smoke to the
Seven Sisters
birch bark friendship bracelets
girls laughing

“I’d say that’s OK” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday Oct 10, 2019
11:45am
5 minutes
On A Cliff With You
David Allan Cates
A: Would you like to go to the park?
B: NO.
A: But it’s so nice out! It’ll be fun. I promise.
B: I don’t want to go.
A: I’ll push you on the swing…
B: The big kid swing or the baby swing?
A: Your choice.
B: Big kid swing!
A: Deal!
B: But I don’t want to wear my hat!
A: You need to wear your hat.
B: No way!
A: It’s chilly! Your ears will get cold.
B: NO!
A: Ear muffs?
B: NO.
A: Headband?
B: …
A: …
B: Fiiiiiine.
A: Great. Let’s do it. Put on your boots please.
B: I want to wear my Crocs.
A: It’s too cold for Crocs, my darling.
B: NOOOO!
A: …
B: – OOOOO!
A: I’m going to start putting on my boots, and whenever you’re ready –
B: – OOOOOOOO!
A: Hey. Darling. Please stop shouting.
B: I don’t want to wear my boooooooots!
A: I can see that. What about your runners?
B: My runners make my toes itchy!
A: They do?
B: Yeah.
A: What about if you wear your purple socks inside your runners?
B: The sparkly socks?
A: Yeah!

“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.

“Everybody froze.” By Sasha at her kitchen counter

Wednesday October 9, 2019
11:30am
5 minutes
The Man At Table Five
Alison Clement

Looked to the sky and there it was. Giant ball of orange and gold, burning and spewing. Coming down on us. Falling here to earth. Everybody froze. Looked up. A communal gasp. Nobody said a word. A universal silence. Something spiritual. Something profane. Something shared. Something unbelievable. Stars don’t often fall this fast, this low. But they sometimes do. Here it is. The thing we’ve all wondered about. The thing we’ve all waited for, without knowing we’re waiting. There’s no sense in running, in moving to another place somewhere close. The reverberations will be felt everywhere. The buckles and ripples can’t be escaped. And then it’s here, and the frozen moment is broken. Everyone is moving. The birds are calling. The dogs are howling. Human beings trying to take flight.

“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.

“I can’t help but reflect” by Julia on her couch

Sunday October 6, 2019
6:53pm
5 minutes
from an email

Last night I saw you in my dreams. Time had past, Too late, I kept thinking. Your house was big and beautiful and uncharacteristic of you in its excess. But this was your home, and the taps sprayed intruders with a blast unless you controlled the pressure with a knob. I got soaked. You showed me, “Like this” and it only happened once.

I went to pick up your baby girl and then my eyes wouldn’t open all the way. I couldn’t see her at all. I couldnt manage the pain of coming all that way and not even get to hold her. Too late, I am too late.

When I went to the kitchen to cry, I asked God to give me back my eyes. Instead your husband came in and asked if I was hungry. I felt like if I ate with him it would take too long and I’d keep missing out on you.
But he and I shared our lunches, mine leftover saffron noodles, and his leftover peppers with thick sauced beef.

“verde y amarillo” by Julia on her couch

Saturday October 5, 2019
11:22pm
5 minutes
@quenoteam
Javier Rupérez Instagram

It’s bees I’m talking about, Lydia. Honey’s bees, you know? They’re the ones doing all the work and getting none of the reward. It’s something I’m just learning about now since Kiki came home with that school project and needed an adult to fact check her research. That was the first time I even read anything about these bees, Lydia, and how was I supposed to help her if I never knew nothing about them? I helped her make it colourful, you know the poster board that she needed to decorate? We put some nice yellows and greens and purples too. I thought cause the bees are attracted to bright flowers it would be a nice touch. Subtle. Kiki loved it, she kept saying, but this is so pretty I want to keep it in my room!

“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

“sorely tested—and found wanting.” By Sasha in her bed

Wednesday October 2, 2019
11:03pm
5 minutes
Assignment To Hell
Timothy M. Gay

Mickey thinks a lot about independence, and how people end up like they are. “We’re in a real mess, Mick,” papa says. “I guess so,” she replies.

She reads a lot. Goes to the library and takes out a few books on capitalism, and then reads and reads until she might understand. She’s not sure if we ever truly understand anything, as there’s always more to learn, or  another way of looking at something.

Mickey walks her German Shepherd rescue Troy by the river most days, except when the snow rises so high that she can’t step. Troy never struggles, no matter how high the drifts get, leaping and bounding towards the water’s edge.

“A score of tiny eyes stared” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday October 1, 2019
11:20pm
5 minutes
Stardust
Neil Gaiman

do we ever get used to the leaky faucet, the drips in the sink, the host of sponges soaking up every word

do we ever stop lounging in the face of something pressing, like launching, or standing back up, or sleeping

it seems unnecessary to get used to any one thing, all the changing that might move in, all the new stimuli that arrives

why do we beat ourselves over the head with what ifs that sound a lot like an evil twin plottingg against what we know to be good

will it ever go away?

i’m talking about the push for peace and that is all

“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

“and I will do you no harm.” by Julia at her desk

Saturday September 28, 2019
4:10pm
5 minutes
Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe

I refuse to slice when you ask me for the blade
I will not cut you
I will not draw blood
Do you want my approval for a thing that you know I hate?
How can I do anything but weep when you tell me?

The truth is a funny edged sword
I thought I’d prefer honesty but maybe I’ve never had it pointed at me like this before
Is it better that you said it or could I live not knowing?
We all do a little coned living from time to time
You could have kept my opinion of you in the shape you left it

And you chose to say it, you chose to come clean
You say this is The Age of Truth and in The Age of Truth we confess things
I will not cut you
I will not draw blood
But I cannot shame you either because isn’t that the sharpest part?

I will hold silence before I hold a knife to your skin
I will wait until you beg me to speak
I will let my quiet tell you where I am

“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

“How could God?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday September 26, 2019
8:02am
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

Snaking through the aisles of the Seven Eleven, Rory catches a familiar shape out of the corner of his eye. Steve. Shit. Steve. STEVE. He grabs a pack of gum, a bottle of orange Gatorade, a bag of Salt and Vinegar Miss Vicky’s. The man behind the cash has the eyes of someone who has seen a lot. Takes one to know one, Rory doesn’t let himself think. Steve won’t see him. Steve will get a can of Diet Pepsi, maybe a Mars bar. He’ll be lost in the forest of his thoughts, of his hangover, of his wish for love. Rory pulls his debit card from his wallet. Taps. Tap. Tap on his shoulder. Steve. Eyes of someone who shares a secret.

“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 Julia on the 351

Tuesday September 24, 2019
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Purpose Driven Life
Rick Warren 

Jeremy is green-eyed, like the sea, and sea-eyed like the man. He has beautiful white teeth that look white thanks to all the dirt he’s wearing. Caked on his neck like a sunburn, Jeremy is trying to make it here. Left
his ex and his kids and has lived all over this place: lasted longer in Winnipeg than Fort McMurray, and tried to make it to “Van City” but ended up here.
No luck with the criminal record check this time.

Jeremy lifts rebar all day. He’s wiped but he has all this pent up energy and doesn’t know what to do
with it, who to screw with it, or who to call.
Jeremy’s eyes are green.

“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 Sasha in the backyard

Sunday September 22, 2019
9:46am
5 minutes
The Art of Purposeful Being”
Philip Winkelmans MA

It’s okay that things end up different
than we imagined and that the

way is feels is liquid and leaning forwards and back
Fingerprints of sticky hearts and winding maybes
lead a path towards the little house by the maple and fir
I knock on the door

thinking that you’re in there
writing in a pen you’ve whittled since before we met

I knock on the door

and it opens a little
a mound of sand my toes could get used to
an acorn drops
time stops with the thud of thunder and sleep

Someone is sitting on the floor in the corner
eyes closed
Three geese fly overhead in the perfect “V”
that represents all holy trinities

Is it prayer?
Is it contemplation?
Is it remembering?

It isn’t you
I know that most certainly
They don’t have your fireworks or your
steady breath

“As a consequence” by Sasha on the couch

Saturday September 21, 2019
9:31pm
5 minutes
quote: Ferrucci

You beg her to think about consequences and she says that she doesn’t believe in morality, or ethics, or anything like that. Okay, you say, unsure where there is to go once someone says something like that. Maybe that’s judgement. Maybe that’s difference. Who knows. You wonder what her mother would say, wrapped in pearls, her curly haired beauty a wild, hedonistic animal. Something crashes outside. Raccoons, she says. She goes to window to see. It’s dark outside. Could be cats, you say. No way, she says.

“Please, just think about cause and effect, think about consequences,” you say again. Sometimes in the saying of something a second time, it lands. Not this time.

“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

“Today, they target” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday September 18, 2019
4:25pm
5 minutes
Snapshot of a Lump
Kelli Russell Agodon

do those jade roley things work?
I need something to smoothe out the forehead lines I’ve given myself for always looking so pissed off.
today the billboard asked me if I was willing to do what it takes and I am. I’m willing.
I’ve seen the writings on the wall and they are usually saying the same thing:
you are not good enough to reach the end of the tunnel with the face you have on.
Did you want to trade it in for one of these models? They’re sleek and uniform so all you have to do is slice and dice and then you’ll look like everybody else!

On a different Wednesday I heard that it might be better if I used the 16-dollar scrub. It’s the only one that works, they said.

“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.

“Is it starting to rain?” By Sasha at the dining room table on Oak Dr.

Monday September 16, 2019
5:27pm
5 minutes
Afraid So
Jeanne Marie Beaumont

”Is it raining?” Bronwen asks Doug.

Doug has no idea but he wants to tell her something true so he quickly checks the weather app on his phone. “Nope!”

Bronwen wonders about whether or not Doug has ever had a platonic relationship with a woman. He doesn’t strike her as one of those guys. He strikes her as someone who has probably fucked or at the very least kissed most of his female friends.

”I’m going to go for a run after work. Wanna join?” Bronwen can only see the top of Doug’s head over the divider that separate their cubicles. Tufts of grey and black.

“I’m not much of a runner…” Doug wishes he was, but he’s not, and it’s better she finds out while he still has his dignity.

”I’m not either, DOUG, but I’m trying to offset the fifty hours that we sit in this prison and sitting is the new smoking so come the fuck on!”

Doug chuckles.

“I want.” By Julia in Mt. Washington, LA

Sunday September 15, 2019
8:42pm
5 minutes
Prayer
Galway Kinnell

I want to shit
I want to shower
I want to swim in the ocean again
I want to wash the salt out of my ears
I want to go to Joshua Tree
I want to live in a place where it doesn’t get cold
I want to sit quietly
I want to inhale mulch all day long
I want to finish my song
I want to practice patience
I want to be brave enough to rent a car by myself and drive it in a new city
I want to find another taco
I want to buy those gold shoes
I want to get people excited about making things
I want to wave to an airplane and believe it’s waving back at me
I want to write the book
I want to be published
I want to go to Italy
I want to practice patience

“I want.” By Sasha in Niagara-on-the -Lake

Sunday September 15, 2019
8:08pm
5 minutes
Prayer
Galway Kinnell

I want us to want the same thing ha that’s the universal joke isn’t it the separate and the together the hope for the life that we’ve built that we are building the house with the vegetable garden and peonies and apply trees the children and the family and the together the togetherness I want the sweet surrender of dreams I didn’t know I had fumbling towards me with the same speed as the monarchs swinging on the September curl I want the morning to be long and nights to be longer I want the devotion of a swami and the loyalty of a soldier I want the love like the Milky Way changing with the seasons with the ages it’s been a long time coming baby but we’re here now and we are choosing now and oh my good gracious I’ve never wanted anything like I want I want conversation that breathes and I want the space to know what my heart longs for what my soul bakes in the middle of the night when the rain stops and the crickets call YES I want you to want the colour of our spirits dancing I want my dreams to keep leading me back leading me towards truth leading me home

“Sorrows bring forth.” By Julia in Mount Washington

Saturday September 14, 2019
9:50pm
5 minutes
Proverbs of Hell
William Blake

crashing waves smash the bad out of me
smash the everything out of me
returns salt to my inner ear instead
returns salt to my hair line

washed clean are you listening
nothing left to send to the jury
nothing left to mourn

loud pacific ocean knocks me around like a song in a tumble dry
pulls me under
pushes me across the sand
and reminds us all who is in charge
who ragdoll
who rubber band
who goes under and won’t stand back up

washed clean are you listening
rebirthed from the sorrows flipped and flung

“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 Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday, September 12, 2019
5:07pm
5 minutes
The Benefits of Ignorance
Hal Sirowitz
If ignorance is bliss why then
I don’t want bliss
not in the form of head in the sand
fingers in the ears
not in the form of illusion dancing
in her opaque scarves
It’s been six weeks and all I crave
is protein and truth
seeing with the eyes of a woman
who has seen and been seen
as she knows is possible
as she knows is her birthright
Crunchy leaves underfoot
today on a walk in the neighbourhood
I found myself humming a song
that I taught myself in my dream last night
learned by heart on the strong back
of a premonition
that he only told me half the story
last night
Won’t admit fear where the spills are
where the stains are
won’t admit defeat
twirling his ring round and round
a quiet threat
I hum the song all the way back to the
garden and then I sit amongst the
butterflies and squirrels
the cone flowers and nasturtium
spicy open mouth
catching a taste
of what might be possible
I write him a letter in the major key
not to be predictable
not to be oppositional
but because the chord feels right
the timbre in my chest
my fingers playing imaginary keys
a new story
He loves me
that is why
don’t forget
It’s easier to know words
when they are put to music

“He can fix anything” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
2:04pm
5 minutes
Easter Morning
Jim Harrison

Jer is one of those guys who can fix anything. Sink dripping underneath? Jer’s got it. Car door won’t lock. Call Jer. He even knows how to fix a broken heart. When Kelly left, Jer brought Jemima a scribbler, a new pen, a pepperoni stick and a Toblerone bar. All she needed to write out all her ache, have some protein and a bit of a treat.

When I first met Jer, he wasn’t in the place he is now. He was still drinking, I guess that was a big part of it. He was a fixer for others, I guess, but not really, and certainly not for himself. It wasn’t until he was able to show up and sort out the stuff inside of him that needed fixing, no… healing, that he was really able to start helping other people… the people around him that he loved and saw him through.

“The courage that my mother had” by Sasha at the table upstairs

Tuesday September 10, 2019
12:25pm
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

My mother tells me that she
couldn’t have done what I’m doing

Not that anything is the same
Twenty-seven years between

what happened then
and what’s happening now

We speak of re-writing
of re-visioning

in a new tongue
built from rubble

and hope
I imagine a world in which

I do not need you
I do need you

Both are true
as this and that is

As faith and doubt are
love and rage

My mother’s courage
the bones that I build on

Flesh and sinew
teeth and tears

My mother’s courage
the rainbow prayer flags

strung up in the window
catching the wind

“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.

“Any sense if Sunday can work?” by Julia at her desk

Friday September 6, 2019
8:24pm
5 minutes
From a text message

I don’t remember the day now because it was 4 years ago. 4 years ago you gave me the idea: we could move to a new city and start new lives. That was it. That was as far as it got. And I thought you were nuts. Out of your tree. Lost your mind. You were tired of living in a place that required a block heater but I was never good in the rain, so why did I let you explain what you were hoping to do? Too early to head back home because you weren’t ready to settle down. Too cold to stay where you were. Too small.

Maybe you told me on a Skype call while I was filming that TV show. Was it Providence? Was it the day I missed you so much I decided I would go where you go and stop putting up walls around all my soft, gooey, fleshy parts?

Tonight we celebrated some of our recent successes, one of them being living here for 4 whole years with new lives. You said you loved us as adults, and it hit me in that moment that when we met we were kids. Children. What could we possibly have known? This city has been good to us because we chose to fully be here. We saw ourselves rising and we did. We really did.

Finally, we go all out at the restaurant we’ve been meaning to make reservations at. Finally we manage it and finally we don’t limit ourselves by only ordering the cheapest items. We try things. We love things. We clink forks with every bite, every embrace of where we are. And then at the end…the beautiful man beside us pays for our entire meal. We don’t find out until he leaves. And we can’t believe it. How much this city has given.