“but took that nasty” by Julia on her patio

Monday June 22, 2020
6:30pm
5 minutes
anti-immigration
Evie Shockley

there were more words to write
There were more candles to light
This would be the last of something but not the least
this would be the hope of something underneath

The words might sing off the page tonight
The words might laugh off my face tonight

I want to say goodbye so you know I mean it
So you see the meat on the bones and know I’ve leaned in

Nothing is forever is a colour I have never met
But this handshake I know well
this nasty turned nail in the wall that I’ve held

It’s a good thing people prefer So-Longs
See You Soons and someday in person

It’s a good thing this happened and kept happening and keeps happening

I want to say Good but not Bye, bliss but not buried,
this something open-hearted whisper and all its remembered harmonies

I will wait for the edge to present itself once more
I will decide which cliff to leap and which to climb

Of course I will carry you.
I will have room in my pack all the way with you.

And with a promise to
spread glue
hurl impossible
and soar.

“but took that nasty” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday June 22, 2020
9:31pm
5 minutes
anti-immigration
Evie Shockley

I’ve put this off all day because I’m not sure
how to wrangle the fullness of this particular wave

Will I cup my hand and move it slowly left to right
watch the shadow throb on the wall

Will I wave like Lola does with the enthusiasm of
having just mastered something pedestrian and wonderful

I will not wave

That is not the summation of eight and a half years
of a daily pause or a daily play that in it’s collection

Forms a revolution
I will feel the heavy heart of a goodbye that has been

A long time coming
Goodbye catches on my teeth and turns to salt water

This gentle place has seen the best and the worst
The burning and boring

The empty and the quiet
The dark night and the wisdom of growing

Thank you for reading all the strange wonderment
Thank you for finding the pearl in the compost

And believing what you heard between the lines
Thank you for the patience and the listening

My brilliant beloved trusted friend Julia
Thank you for how you rise

Thank you for the passion with which you fill every second
Of these five minutes

“And when the revolution frees me” by Julia on her bed

Sunday June 21, 2020
9:16pm
5 minutes
Because We Are Not Taken Seriously
Stephen Dunn

It is the second last night. The penultimate write. It’s the almost goodbye but not quite. It’s the faith of the fingers, or the might. I’ve been showing up alright. All these years and delights, all these tears and all fights, wondering if I’m doing this right, or if strangers share my plight

I was going to say that this revolution has freed me, this decision then, this year around the sun has been a turning one, and all the hurting I’ve done has now been spun into gold plated fun on the page stage all won.

It’s hard to put in words, woe be to the the self-proclaimed writer.

“And when the revolution frees me” by Sasha in the bedroom

Sunday June 21, 2020
2:07pm
5 minutes
Because We Are Not Taken Seriously
Stephen Dunn

Happy Father’s Day
I am beyond words grateful to know you
As a daughter does
As a daughter can
Know your fortitude and your ferocity
Your intelligence and your imagination
Your creativity and your generosity
Your tenderness and your tenacity

I am grateful for every chapter of our story
From being the baby in your arms asleep
To my baby in those same arms dancing
How you hold what you love close
The pull of time a web that weaves
something magic
ancient and new

The revolution won’t wait for you
And I admire how you know this
How you listen with full attention
To what we are saying
Punctuated by deep breath and tears
The prickle of your pride
Fathering daughters is something
you are well suited for

“I almost hear your voice:” by Julia on the couch

Saturday June 20, 2020
10:01pm
5 minutes
Full Consciousness
Juan Ramon Jimenez

from your new life in France
I sometimes hear your voice in my head
I sometimes zone out and there you are
In the summertime, sometimes any boy with ankles is you.

It’s been so many years now I’ve finally lost count
but some moments are pounded into the fabric of my existence like wildflowers or tall grass

You remain a swaying reed, a light footed man in a t-shirt button down
a heart big enough to hold me
It’s more than a former love
It’s a first. And it’s a thing I thank you for.

And in my here and now life, I am most able to say that. Because I am happy. Because I got what I wanted.

“I almost hear your voice:” by Sasha in the bedroom

Saturday June 20, 2020
11:17am
5 minutes
Full Consciousness
Juan Ramon Jimenez

If I am really writing, I am looking the feathered fish
right in the glassy blue eyes, fantasizing
about kissing a new tongue, Killing an old belief
Atonement for the little lies that build a chain
That house a dog
Barking to all eternity

The tannic truth that always leaves
Legs on the glass,
Nectar of maybe swirled.

I almost hear your voice now:
Giving me notes on the syntax and the rhythm,
Alliteration is lazy,
Voice is derivative,
Punctuation doesn’t serve a purpose.
Your baritone reaching in to my vulnerable folds,
pulling out, pushing in, pulling
out, filet after filet, after lemon wedge, after peony.

I’m exhausted by men who are too fucked to ask questions,
Dole Whip a critique masked as a suggestion, wearing the clothes
of a wolf, wrapped in cellophane and oceanic fury.

Salty lick and suddenly I’m believing every word you say,
Trusting your “Nah” and your nod more than my own.

“if the seas of cities” by Sasha in her bedroom

Tuesday June 16, 2020
11:49pm
5 minutes
if something should happen
Lucille Clifton

If I position myself just so
in the right light
She thinks
Maybe then maybe then
maybe then the truth will land
and the nervous giggle won’t crescendo
fall flat in the face of so much strange

A third of life in the rear view mirror
at best
She thinks that she knows about
seasons changing
And how to tend to bruised palm
The best method for soft boiling an egg
What she needs when she’s tired and lonely

If I position myself
In the magic hour patina
Feel for the dew of desire
She wonders
about asking outright or if
it’s most palatable to keep playing
the game a little longer

Goodbye These Five Minutes ❤️

t5m reading

Dear Reader,

Over the past 8 and a half years, we have set the timer for 5 minutes, and shared our daily pieces to this site. It is incredible to see: thousands of posts and thousands of hours practicing in this way. We have also released a compilation of our earlier writes, facilitated writing workshops, writing groups and readings.

We are grateful for the pocket-sized stories that have anchored us both amidst the many changes we’ve experienced. These Five Minutes has connected us throughout our travels and living in different countries, during our tribulations and our triumphs, through our grief and our growth. No matter where life has taken us, we have practiced showing up to the page, and we thank you for sharing in that with us.

Today we’re here to announce that the time has come for us to part ways with These Five Minutes. As of today, we will be writing for one final week and sharing to the site before we sign off from this life-changing project. It has been a pleasure being here, and we have endless thanks for those who have joined us on the journey. We hope you’ll always be able to find five minutes everyday to do whatever it is that you love, just as we have.

With gratitude,
Julia and Sasha

Feel free to keep up with us in our artistic endeavours.

Follow Julia: www.juliapileggi.com (personal site) and @juliapileggipoetry (Instagram)

Follow Sasha: www.sashasingerwilson.com (personal site) and @sasharsw (Instagram) t5m reading

“your face remains close to the ground” by Sasha in the bedroom

Sunday June 14, 2020
7:02am
5 minutes
Inmate of Happiness
Elizabeth Metzger

Annie orders extra plates of things when she goes on dates. Because why not. Because she deserves the smoky eggplant dotted with pomegranate jewels. She must taste the pickled carrots on a bed of yogurt and mint. She wants to see this almost-stranger’s face as they dip a triangle of warm fresh pita into silky hummus. She orders with confidence and curiosity, unafraid to try the dishes on the menu that might be skipped over. Tripe, liver, chicken feet, mousses, raw beets shaved into snow. She is kind to wait staff, asks them their name and how they are and listens deeply to their answer. She knows what she wants. This adds inches to her beauty and shimmer to her glow. If you saw Annie walking down the street you might not notice the fullness of her presence, but if you are lucky enough to dine with her, you will be as enraptured by the depth of her noticing as you are by the spread. She has an impeccable palate, whispering, “is that sumac?” Or, “Saffron! Saffron and raisins!”

“This describes well what I’ve said” by julia on the couch

Tuesday June 2, 2020
7:45pm
5 minutes
Mencius
Mencius

It’s more about verbs, you see, action words.
Did you know that for the Irish, Love is not always a verb? They have a saying instead, “you are my music” and it melts me when I hear it, hits the nail right on the head. The idea of song, invoking movement, yes, you are that, you are why my heart dances.

Some of the verbs I’ve been stuck on these days are ones that can be reframed so they hold up the mirror. Running and hiding become staying and looking. Crying becomes Seething. Hushing becomes Shouting. There are more verbs to learn and then there is my favourite one: To Practice

“And you intend to remain there a few days” by Sasha on the living room floor

Monday June 1, 2020
10:39pm
5 minutes
Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie

You intend to remain in your sad place for a few days
build a little fire in the stove

fry some eggs in the cast iron skillet when you get hungry
You’ll write an angsty poem or three
Try to catch a frog

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when a dragonfly lands on
the tip of your nose

This is not the kind of event that you’ve come to expect

You had intended to swim out to the island a ways away
lie in the tall grass
tempt lightning

The storm blows over and you’re left with a sunset
that turns your stomach
loons calling to each other
or to you

“having petals more or less united” by Sasha in the trundle room

Saturday May 30, 2020
2:09pm
5 minutes
Flower Finder
May Theilgaard

She puts a magnolia in the barrel of the gun
Weeps and weeps and wails
She thinks of her mother
doing crosswords at the kitchen table
stewing chicken thighs on the stove

She wears a blue face mask
doesn’t wear contacts because if she gets tear gassed
they’ll stick to her eyes and blind her
She leaves her glasses at home
doesn’t want them to break

She can see enough to know that something is building
a rising fire tide with the crowds and the four hundred years
of brutality and systemic oppression
She wishes that she’d taken other electives when she was in college
She should’ve studied history
She should’ve read biographies

She makes eye contact with a young boy on the shoulders of his father
Broad shoulders getting him up close to clouds and perspective
a new story being written by his fingers in his father’s hair

“channel your energy” by Julia on the couch

Wednesday May 27, 2020
5:15pm
5 minutes
from a fortune cookie

There’s a slice of moon hanging in the west just for me
I can see it from my balcony
and last night I noticed her there
sending off the divine light
pulsing in the almost June sky

I bleed with the new moon and I dance on the bathroom tile when I am visited by the great knowing

When I see her I call her out by name the way I do when I see a hummingbird or a field of horses along the side of the highway while driving past

This naming is a sacred thanks and there is delight and a childlike essence pointing the finger

This belly of filling and emptying
and filling again is a holy magic trick

I am forever sliding through time with a memory tied to my finger
pulling the history through the sky like a kite on a string

“can have a foul odour and taste” by julia laying down

Tuesday May 26, 2020
9:41am
5 minutes
Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Label

Tabby prides herself on her cooking. She’s been living on her own since she was 17, left home earlier than she meant to, had to find a way, found a way. She loves chopping parsley, and walnuts, and mushrooms. She likes to cook with music playing, she’ll shuffle a playlist and see what ingredients are inspired by the new artists or the old songs. Tonight, a pesto, but with some substitutions. Ever since her last period she’s been forgetting more and more. After measuring out the salt and pepper, she pours in a quarter cup of white vinegar. She remembers that vinegar can be a substitute for lemon juice, and since she forgot to buy lemons, she only has one option. The acid lingers in her mouth for hours. She can’t figure out why.

“can have a foul odour and taste” by Sasha at the kitchen island

Tuesday May 26, 2020
8:23pm
5 minutes
Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Label

Henry sticks a meat thermometer in the chicken. Shawn is arriving any minute from now, and he fears he underestimated the cooking time. Why does this always happen? Henry is not a confident cook. He has his dishes. Roast chicken isn’t one of them. He thought he ought to branch out. He threw some parsnips and carrots under the bird, and put three cloves of garlic and a lemon in the cavity. He followed the recipe carefully. Maybe it’s his old oven. Cooks things unevenly. There’s a knock at the door. Shit. He looks down and realizes that he forgot to change into his outfit. He’s still wearing a ratty grey T-shirt and basketball shorts. Well, there’s nothing else to do but embrace the moment. Fail forward, he mutters.

“positive descriptions of the world” by Sasha in the trundle room

Sunday May 24, 2020
10:31am
5 minutes
Perceiving Ordinary Magic
Jeremy W. Hayward

Let’s go back to the time before the
anarchy and debauchery and the excuses dressed
as Big Cats

Let’s paint in sand and cello music
wrap ourselves in rhubarb leaves and moon juice
take a page out of the book of birds
and fly
and sing

There isn’t anything the matter
but everything hurts

Anyone who says otherwise
is wearing dress up clothes
musty from being in the attack
stinking of detergent
from being worn and washed

“the notion of being thawed back into life” by Sasha in the tent

Saturday May 23, 2020
4:44pm
5 minutes
The Childhood of Jesus
J.M. Coetzee

The thaw comes after a long time of being chilly. Inside the intestines, lungs and gallbladder, the kidneys and the blood. She didn’t realize until the thaw began. The release of small drops of body water. A body of water. Our bodies are water. She didn’t realize what had been frozen for oh so very long. She stretches into the end of May like a cat. Spine twisting. She leaves a trail of moisture in her path. Not suspect at first, but the thaw picks up pace and then she’s dripping at all hours of the day and night. She realized that being naked is the easiest way to weather this strange storm. She only wears a bathing suit (blue one piece from Target from her Bubby) when she goes to water her vegetable garden, just in case Tom and Bob next door are trimming their roses. She doesn’t want to upset them.

“and took another profound drag on it” by julia on the couch

Thursday May 21, 2020
7:59pm
5 minutes
The Bonfire Of The Vanities
Tom Wolfe

Before she answered she exhaled a ring of smoke. It floated away and she watched it. Brandan had a knack for drawing out a monent. Her collar bone, pertruding
out of her pink v-neck, seemed to be angrier than she was.
“he can have the kids, I want the house.” And that was what she said. She took another profound drag on her cigarette and then closed her eyes as if for the last time. She opened them slowly, but that was all she said.

“and took another profound drag on it” by Sasha in the window seat

Thursday May 21, 2020
7:13am
5 minutes
The Bonfire Of The Vanities
Tom Wolfe

When she wakes up in the middle of the night, the crickets shrieking outside the cracked window, she thinks about how long the money in her bank account might last, when she might be able to see her mother again, and how her hips ache. She gets up and pees. She drinks from the bathroom sink. She squints at herself in the mirror, hair looking surprisingly good. “Huh,” she says. She pads back to her bedroom, stopped to peek in on Nassau. Tucked into his bed shaped like a rocket ship, he’s still except for the small wheezing chest – up and down and up and down. His inhaler on the bedside table, next to his comic books and green stainless steel water bottle. She leans over her boy, listening to the quality of the wheeze. Should she wake him? He’s fucking beautiful – Larry’s exquisite eyelashes, her mother’s jawline, her cheekbones, and lips all his own. Nassau furrows his brow. Turns over onto his side. Coughs. She tiptoes out of the room.

“so for a long time the king was defeated” by Julia on the patio

Tuesday May 19, 2020
9:08pm
5 minutes
The Jewish War
Josephus

Listen
I want to tell you something
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
if you are interested in receiving it I would like to give you what I know
You are a grand elastic band and
you play in the chorus of your dreams
you are the bending inbetween
the conversation point of seams
brought together intersecting
into something undeniable
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
I am happy that you’re here

Another story, similar but not
the same, is the one where the
king was defeated, yes the king, even the king, and for a long time
he told himself the story of how
defeated he was and he believed it
so deeply he knew just how to respond as if a court jester were sent to entertain him with a cruel joke of forever this way

and he did not laugh but summoned the jester all the same
every night he told himself what he wanted and the jester came to
tell him what he already knew he’d hear and he did not laugh
(The jester tried many approaches, you see, joyful at the opportunity to do his job…)

“they must not wait for him” by Julia on the couch

Monday May 18, 2020
11:58am
5 minutes
Tacitus
The Histories

They must not wait for him
for he will never be ready
not the level they wish him
to be and so they must forgo
the waiting game and play on-
play something else.

He has tried but he has also
decided on a subconcious level
where his priorities lie and
he will hang on because it doesn’t
feel good to let go because what
would that even look like?

He is ready with a response and a can-do attitude but underneath he
has already jumped ship! He cannot do what they are waiting for him to do. He will eject himself from the capsule before the signal because he thinks he’s drowning!

Then they are there waiting for him trying to get out of the water, flailing around, because he didn’t trust them to save him! But they were there the whole time.

They knew at the outset based on his blood pressure, censors all tubed up in him, that he was scared and going to act from that place!

“they must not wait for him” by Sasha in the kitchen

Monday May 18, 2020
2:22pm
5 minutes
Tacitus
The Histories

You slice off the end of your finger. You don’t scream. You don’t curse. You don’t fall to the floor. You look at the fingertip on your cutting board. You sigh. You see your father’s face, flushed. He’s just come in from the garden. He’s just come home from a long night shift. He’s just grilled three pieces of salmon on the propane barbecue. The blood starts to drip onto the floor, pooling on the linoleum. You used to faint whenever you saw blood. Daddy helped to train your mind to bear it. “Like a marathon runner, or a samurai fighter, Danielle!” He’d get down and look you right in the eye. Your eyes are the same colour as his. People used to stop you on the street and comment on it. Act like you didn’t know.

“serious minds settling down to discuss” by julia on the bed

Sunday May 17, 2020
7:37pm
5 minutes
Dreams
CG Jung

Let’s put on our boots in case we want to walk into a forest
in case we want to smell what’s before us with open lungs
in case we want to move toward the earth instead of toward the city

Let’s give gratitude for the people cutting in front of us for the third time, edging us off the path and onto the grass toward the swallows and the dragon flies

Let’s not set the alarm for how long we’ll give to each collaboration, staying still with every moment until a new one bursts forth, until the call of the red-winged black bird gasps us immediate because of the expansion in our chests now

“I bend double under its gaze,” by Julia on the couch

Monday, May 11, 2020
12:48pm
5 minutes
All the Room You Need
Lorna Crozier

Watching this house finch live its best life on the wire outside my apartment is a reminder that I too may perch and sing and drink a cup of sunlight and warm my bones

It is all this body needs and when that rings true sometimes there is a period of great avoiding

the insides can be enjoyed when they are scrubbed clean of all the sand and hair collecting under furniture and in the hard to reach crevices

then the sitting can be proven good even if the body is now stuck to a couch or other inside thing

with a hope in the broom
chaos is swept to the side, and then reimagined with the new placement of certain objects

the pepper grinder now here on the placemat and the big popcorn pot finally washed and upside down to dry

Restoration
chirp chirping

“We think you’ll like it here” by Julia, standing

Sunday, May 10, 2020
10:42am
5 minutes
From an email

Carmello films himself sanding wood for a new armoir that he plans to put in the bedroom
“First you have to have a plan”
he says to nobody, believing himself a guest on a late night talk show that cares about woodworking or Carmello in all his deadpan humour

“I know some of you like to finish the wood so it looks uniform, but for me the best part is highlighting the pieces that don’t customarily belong. It’s more assymetry for me these days that really excites me about being in the shop”

Carmello’s bedroom was in need of a revamp ever since Lydia cursed him out for not having enough space for all her things

“Maybe it’s time for you to downgrade some of your shit”
was the wrong thing to say to Lydia and he hadn’t heard from her since

Carmello began like this, slowly transforming himself and his life into something that a woman like Lydia would be proud to share, maybe even brag to her tit mouse friends about

“He always thinks of the little things, the fine details, the sweet intricacies”
He heard himself say in Lydia’s voice

“And it speaks to certain devils“ by Julia in the couch

Tuesday, May 5, 2020
8:27pm
5 minutes
Another Vision
Patricia Nelson

This devil on my shoulder
has been trying to take over

if I let him speak he sings
or hisses but either way I listen

This devil thinks we’re friends
I guess cause he looks like me
and I look like him

Been tap dancing on my spine
every night right at nine

it comes after the dinner is done
the belly full and I am laying
like I have already won

it’s a deep sigh almost comical
hear the saturation of breath
trauma full

but while I’m laying I’m easy target for this devil’s grip to tighen

and the old air goes in and out

“As if on the ego of a king.” by Julia swaying in the bedroom

Monday, May 4, 2020
8:43am
5 minutes
The Gee Whiz Element of Tropical Storms and Symphonies
Jen Karetnick

the sun wakes me from my sleep
at the right time or is it you
who wraps my body in love at
the right time
I am dreaming these days in drop shadows and Air Jordans
I keep forgetting to set the alarm

I can believe that the sun is making its way through my window to remind me that my aliveness is contribution enough
and I do, heart filling up
an ego of a king

and Michael Jordan always gave his best and led with his best and that was what made him legend
but I am just to lift my head and
be a part of this beautiful system of things moving in and out?

when the birds sing they do not ask if their choir can be heard because it is not for us alone
and my leaving the bed then is not for them alone but for the desire to be a part of the great wheel spinning

I lay in the sliver of sunlight left on my balcony and wonder why I didn’t seize the day sooner while it was covering the part with the chair

I used to stare into it every morning but that
was in another year

“between the kitchen and living room” by Julia

Saturday, May 2, 2020
1:06pm
5 minutes
From a text

I have been floating
today between the kitchen
and the living room
doing most of my living
in the kitchen where the food
is being turned into action
into love

At 8am I chop the red pepper
the green bean the red onion the purple cabbage the garlic the mushroom

I like the way they sit cut side by side like different age groups in a church leadership club

I turn off my need to wonder at myself through the outside lens
I listen about David Wojnarowicz
to Thomas Beckman and his Violance
to the sound of the egg crisping up on the bottom

The living room, where I am now
is a place to record all the living I have been doing while alive in the kitchen

the packet of pens and coloured pencils lay outstretched

“Knock! Knock!” By Sasha in the bedroom

Thursday, April 30, 2020
11:30am
5 minutes
Villa Incognito
Tom Robbins

Minnie Gowan’s “Knock! Knock!” is out of a horror movie. At least that’s what Veronica thinks.

“Why don’t you just, like, actually knock on the door? Why do you yell that when you can just… knock?!” Veronica smiles at the end, to offset the tone.

“Turn the magnifying glass back on yourself, Vee,” Minnie stands with the fridge door open. “Where’s your orange juice?”

“Finished it this morning,” Veronica raps her knuckles on the table. Knocking on a door is way simpler than yelling. Maybe I do have control issues, she thinks.

“What other beverages do you even have?”

“Um… soda water? Actual water? Tea?” Veronica reminds herself why Minnie is here. To go through Penny’s things, to organize the paperwork for tax season, to help get things together.

“The summer wore on,” by Julia on the couch

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
10:35pm
5 minutes
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Jacqueline Kelly

Grier was masturbating again
upon waking up from long stretches of her day lived in the awayness
of naps and leaving a moment
to sleep over it

Her eyes would flutter open
and closed and she would reach
for the calendula salve on the
side of her bed because it was
already there for the palm hand skin

In moments of stress, Grier would force herself to climax so she could find the great open mouthed haaa that followed: the peace, the whatever that unhinged her personality from her bones and let her lay naked of the stories she told herself

She would stay like that sometimes for half an hour, unencumbered by all the external demands she invented

“Higher!” By Sasha at the kitchen table

Monday April 27, 2020
9:22pm
5 minutes
Higher Higher
Leslie Patticelli

When the sound of the rain is louder than the sound of your breath
In your own ear leaving you closer to where you thought the pepper might be
Sneeze up and sneeze down and dream of the world that might bloom from this strange chrysalis of change and quiet

Maybe the busiest of the busy with the lists that run out like toilet paper from the bottom of the fancyfancy shoes
Maybe these people will learn to breathe in one nostril and out the other
Sprout cucumbers and raspberries in small pots

Maybe the scared ones the ones who keep their doors double locked and would rather see their strange Auntie on Skype than at the tea shop
Will feel like they finally belong on the planet that never really told them that they were wanted and that they were precision and that they were free

“After I hung up on him” by Sasha in the bedroom

Sunday April 26, 2020
10:03pm
5 minutes
Facts About Dead Trees
Lisa Baird

I hung up the phone
Didn’t hang up on
But did hang up
Pressed the red button
Was something strange
in the static
in the quiet
in the pandemic
“what even is this anymore”?

I kicked a piece of gravel
called “Why?!”
to a turkey vulture
who glides where
perspective is silky
where I am the rightful size

The sun stoops
to touch my chest

Right in the rise
where love’s hand goes
Feeling breath
Feeling life
Feeling “yes”
and “no”

Hours turn to days
and the cedar forest turns
bark to promise

A promise of black flies
zucchini hot from the sun
The river rising and rushing

Guiding me back

“A man parted his beard” by Julia at the desk

Friday April 24, 2020
10:12am
5 minutes
Animal
Kim Goldberg

A man parted his beard and I saw the great
white space between yesterday and today
It was wide and wide and great and there
we found some clarity because we dared, I
think, to ask of ourselves that courtesy.

A man twisted the red out of his face and
then one day overnight or in a blink there
were so many silver strays and things looked
like they made more sense more wise sense
All this time the man was living living

The facial hair goes through some stages
of grief just like the rest of us
at first there is a rough stubbornness and
soft things are always getting poked
instead, denying the possible softness
being hurt like that, unaware

There is an anger at one point, so the
man parts his beard to see what’s underneath
skin still young and learning

then it grows some more but changing
shape and colour and being too long
suddenly it is just right and it’s
all a cycle of time that no one is
marking up on the calendar

“find the right question” by Julia on the office chair

Tuesday April 21, 2020
7:29pm
5 minutes
quoting Ann Hamilton

I ask myself What Do You Want
and when I answer I hear a lot of leaves rustling
I hear surf meeting shore
I hear a baby laughing like a goddamn dream machine perfect thing
I sit in the pit there and I hear what it’s like to be loved.
That sounds good to me.
That sounds like something sonically created for me to hear for me to listen to.
Meant to sound good so I keep my ear out for it, to the ground for it, palms open for it.
When it’s lullaby it rocks me out of my trouble and when it’s The Prodigy I give it my moving. It wants dancing.

“find the right question” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday April 21, 2020
7:36am
5 minutes
quoting Ann Hamilton

If there was any doubt
Things aren’t going back to normal
What was normal anyway?
Bits of hair in the hairbrush
A half rolled cigarette on the table
Wine in the cupboard above the sink
Wind in the veins

I am not going where I thought I was
Neither is he
Neither are you
The robin’s are here though
With their red bellies and worms in their beaks

I hear the same song in the stillness
The one where the start is small and the rise is like the rapids

Normal for me was the tea steeping in the morning and the little sticky fingers
Walking to the fruit market to get scallions cilantro and lime

Normal for me was the quiet ending to the day
Hands open lying face up
Counting blessings
Like stars

“and to spread right living” by Julia on the couch

Sunday April 19, 2020
11:46am
5 minutes
quoting Cal DeWitt

Etta James on the radio
wailing her heartsearch
into my sunday ears, open
for the human feeling
or rain to echo with familiarity

We woke up against all odds of indifference, still loving
each other in this house built
on good bones and countless fears looked straight in the face

With B, yesterday, the discussion
of naming the fear outside the
body became ripe and we both drank at the juice like eager fruit flies

When it was flung from my experience into her heart she
swallowed enough for me too and I could step back from my puzzling
to hear all the good words

A Sunday kind of love

“in the dirt in the corner,” by Julia on the couch

Thursday April 16, 2020
9:01am
5 minutes
Ara Poetica #100
Elizabeth Alexander

Jam says it’s funny how clean the apartment feels, and sort of thrown away, like a whispy dream to nobody.
I say, that’s because someone’s been cleaning it, and less whispy more caged, more Please Look Around.

I don’t expect Jam to see things the way I see them but I do get mad when he doesn’t. As if it’s his lack of wanting to instead of his eyeline a foot above mine.

I am angry not because I am the one doing it but because that means when it needs to be done I have to pick myself off the couch and put my ideas on the shelf while I hit all the corners and all the close to the ground things I can see.

I have to remain responsible, scheduled. I am the one who has to keep my eyes open.

This morning Jam told me he loved me with his whole heart and his whole mind and his whole body and while I looked like I was asleep I was very much awakened by that. I thought he had forgotten his old habit of whispering affirmations alongside the call of the birds as the sun rises.

“I pretty much forgot my birthday even happened.” by Julia on her bed

Thursday April 9, 2020
1:08pm
5 minutes
from a text

It was a long time ago now
since March trudged along
mud in the eyes where the
clear lines were supposed
to meet

Our last great gathering
in our first great home
was on a leap year and
we huddled mostly in two
rotating circles leaping
from one normal to another

there is no real rule about
the leap year except that it
is a bonus day and one we
like to remember, no matter
how much leaping takes place

The wine flowed, the beer
chilled, the conversations
hovered over the baked brie
stuffed high with mushrooms
and dates and red onions

The friends toasted to my
new age, this year of me
that would always be mine
especially if celebrated
and cemented in time on
the boundless month that
every four years spills
over into the next

“Until we accept the fact” by Julia leaning into her couch

Saturday April 4, 2020
8:46pm
5 minutes
quoted by Henry Miller

He’s your friend and I think he’s funny. I think until we accept the fact that I will be drawn to funny people and you will have friends that are funny because you are funny that this will be the way.
It only make sense.
I like you better but I want to be on his team. I think you’re funnier but I welcome his persective.
I am glad you have funny friends because that is better for me in the long run.
Thank you for the wine.
Thank you for laughing at my jokes.
Thank you for calling the shots.

Today you ordered wrong and then flung a chopstick and I watched and waited until all was centred again. Some days are not the best representations of us but they are memorable and that always goes farther then when it’s regular and hum drum. It is never hum drum with you. Thank you for showing me your hurt and for trusting me with that. I will tell everyone how much you mean to me by detailing your every move. I will tell them about the way you kissed me earlier too. A truth in it that I wished words could explain.

“You wish you were in the woods” by julia on her couch

Saturday, March 28, 2020
11:19pm
5 minutes
To A Frustrated Poet
R.J. Ellmann

it is lucky we live in a rainforest

tonight we went out for a walk thinking it would be pouring rain
(you could hear it)
but it wasn’t and that was luckier still

we put one foot in front of the other until we found the water
saw the empty bridges
crossed the street between traffic lights
until we met a different hour
inhaled dripping trees

we didn’t see a soul on the sidewalks but we still walked
on the road framed by cherry blossoms

on the day that time wasn’t
we could see the city lit up
across itself

saturday night and every window glowing orange light

“FEEL YOUR FACE” By Julia on the living room floor

Thursday March 19, 2020
9:32pm
5 minutes
Burma-Shave
Traditional poem

there are apps that I have chosen to go to sleep at a certain hour now. Today, yesterday, now. How long does someone wait to call it Now in the habitual sense, the sense of saying I Do This Now when it has become something to do

I hate using the word “apps”. I barely like saying cell phone but here we are unavoidable. now. on the moving picture show of their life that is also my life too, now.

Now’s floor is more fun to sit on
more time to experiment with something new, a hat, an eye pencil, a semi supine. Now’s fridge clangs both empty and full. Now’s pantry has possibilities. Open ended.

“I would have missed so many smells” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 18, 2020
8:31pm
5 minutes
Ode to My 1977 Toyota
Barbara Hamby

once there was a girl in my bunk at jesus camp who didn’t have any sense of smell. this worked out

for me because I was dealing with an unnamed dairy allergy at the time and I could fart around her with ease and dare

I say delight?
Me and my friends would make it into a joke. Farting was part of the joke, the girl, for the most part didn’t get any flack.

one night at worship or cattle call or you name it, everyone was chanting Happy Song Happy Song and stomping on the bleachers.

the song, to my dismay got sung, but the girl with no sense of smell passed out because there were a lot of people all screaming and yelping and invoking the light of christ.

so when the first aid team descended upon us and the circle we had made to congreate around the girl, they gave her smelling salts to bring her to

and this, as you can imagine, did not work out. For her.

“On the dank and dirty ground.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 10, 2020
3:51pm
5 minutes
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare

On the dank and dirty ground, you see a shiny penny. You pick it up. You turn it over and over in your hand. You’ve heard stories about these copper discs, how they were once used to buy things like candy and newspapers. Your father was once standing on a crowded subway platform and he looked up, smiling, thinking of a funny video he’d seen earlier that day, shared with him by you, of all people, and someone else on that crowded subway platform had decided to throw a penny in the air, and it hit your father right on his left front tooth and that tooth chipped, the small bony piece flying up and then down, never to be seen again. You love your father’s strange tooth, now mended, but the shadow of the crack visible in bright light.

“And when I thirsted” by Julia at ‘the cottage’

Sunday March 8, 2020
10:03pm
5 minutes
Lines
Maria A. Brooks

I craved a real raw hunk of you and my mouth watered

my tongue bucked

my instinct kicked the earth
scuffed up the garden
winnied and then kicked again

i wanted to see you in the glow of surrender and love and letting the heart speak

I wanted to hear the truth drip from the corner of your mouth

i saw you then and your eyes were open too and we stood there panting and sending all our breath to our knees

and when I thirsted
I thirsted for that
and we could look at each other life long
like that in the gkow

“I know nothing about magic” by Julia on the toilet

Wednesday March 4, 2020
8:34pm
5 minutes
The Books Of Magic
Neil Gaiman

I know nothing about magic
and this is something you’d have to ask me to repeat
because if you know me you know
that I am lying through my teeth

“what was that you said? because I thought I heard –no, okay then, phew because–I thought you said ‘nothing’–okay phew”

I could write a long list about the sparkly stuff that seems to line the streets: where I saw it, how I got it, who I believe to be behind the gold

It’s things like gifts when you need them most or grace of god or getting to sleep in after weeks of burning the candle and no there is no physical proof

but physical proof is meant for other things like car parts and batteries and making sure there’s a banana in every lunch pail

I’m talking about the stuff that you feel or carry or reference but can’t name, the stuff trees in an old growth rainforest give off to warm you in February when you didn’t bring the proper jacket

“I can’t tell you” by Sasha on her couch

Monday March 2, 2020
11:09am
5 minutes
For my friend who told me don’t celebrate the dead
Andrea Potos

I can’t tell you of the gulf between the dream and the dream
where the tide mixes with the blood and the maybes and the almosts
A new language born of how we build our own pipe cleaner world
How is the imperative
That’s what no one tells you

I saw him roll the possibility between his fingers
the hair of a forgotten song
turn it over and over
until it didn’t baffle with the same enthusiasm
That is how the dove sings to the reflection of herself
in the birdbath
in the garden

I saw him leave the body of light on the side of the road
tumbleweeds and stray cats circle
Pisces season

“the political danger” by Sasha at her kitchen counter

Saturday February 29, 2020
8:04am
5 minutes
Against the Current
Barry Lopez

Fill the kettle. Flip the switch. Open the cupboard. Pull the teabag. Go to the shelf. Get the white and green mug with the “S”. Put the teabag in the mug. Wait. Look out the window. See the bike with the snow. See a half bald squirrel scale the side of the neighbours house. Think about snakes. Think about coronavirus. Think about animal markets in China. Think about meat. Think about cow eyelashes. Think about babies. The whistle. Pour the water. Tongue pressed to the roof of the mouth. Wait for the tea to turn the perfect toasty brown. Think about snakes. Think about swimming in Knowlton Lake and seeing a water snake a few meters away. Feet like anchors. Belly like sick.

“I don’t make jokes.” By Julia on her couch

Friday February 28, 2020
10:03pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Will Rogers

I don’t make jokes
I’m always serious
a lot is said but
better not laugh
it must be nice to
have nothing to worry
about that you can
laugh with such ease
it must be nice
I didn’t come here to
make a scene or make
you laugh or say your
name not your name I’m
not afraid to know you
to let my guard down
and let loose you know
I’m most definitely not
aftaid of that we just have
stuff to do and stuff
to get done

“At times they cast themselves” By Julia in the taxi

Friday, February 21, 2020
6:48pm
5 minutes
My Love Feeds the Crows
Mark Sullivan

we haven’t promised anyone anything
see how it goes
wander into a dark room with a hope and a sigh
the kicker is the phantom voice
clinging to the lung of a newborn
we hear it
we doubt it
we hear it again
why does she want us so badly
why can’t we let her go

if we tell them we’re fine
that’s one more thing we won’t
be able to live up to
a sachel of condolence cards
sitting in the backyard
a tray of CorningWare and styrofoam plates
the bowls encrusted in
yesterday’s deliverance

praying becomes a hazzard here
praying becomes a buzzard here
a hassle
a hut

at times the memories cast themselves as ghosts and float
an inch away from our noses

we feel a little tickle
but we can never scratch it away

“When we love the earth,” by Julia on her couch

Thursday February 20, 2020
9:49pm
5 minutes
From a quote by bell hooks

we sit by the crow of sunrise and blow bubbles into the sky

we step our feet into mud prints squishing around and walking

a garbage can becomes a thing worth waiting for

a bee hive moves into the apartment complex community garden

we rescue two giant pussy willow branches from the corner of arbutus and 4th and walk them through the doors slowly

the water is dripping but we catch it in the kettle and find glasses to fill

“Caley pushed her sandy brown hair” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
10:22am
5 minutes
A Private Wild
Laurel Nakanishi

Caley pushed her sandy brown hair off her forehead. She wished that she could take back getting bangs, and all the sorry’s she’s said, and how she’s always focused on the pleasure of others and not herself. Might’ve saved my marriage, she thought. Wearing the royal blue hand knit sweater that she’d ordered for herself on Etsy for Christmas, Caley glanced at the clock. Two twenty five. She’d have to leave to get Emmy at preschool in half an hour. She’d barely written three thousand words.  When did you turn into such a little procrastinator? Caley got up from her desk and stretched her arms above her head. She let out a loud sigh.

“My new bedroom was an old kitchen.” By Julia on her couch

Saturday February 15, 2020
7:09pm
5 minutes
Waxy
Camilla Grudova

If you count the summers we went strawberry picking and made milkshakes you could say we had a nice childhood. If you count the times we got sent to our rooms without dinner you might say the opposite.
The one who gave birth to me wasn’t very nice. I learned later that nice was all I ever wanted and she wasn’t that. She hated me and I hated her and everyone knew it but nobody stepped in to do anything about it.
I might have loved my stepdad or the one after him if they would have. I might have known that it wasn’t some kind of divine punishment.
They didn’t know how to handle me let alone a new baby on the spectrum who would grow to run wild like a huskey anytime we left the door unwatched.
I wish I had the same tendency.

“Those were the rules.” By Julia in Baden

Saturday January 4, 2020
12:47am
5 minutes
The Murderee
Martin Amis

we waited until the white kissed the road and we went out walking

threw on the blanket scarf and made sure our foot prints told the story first

it felt like angels were laying down their wings for us to tread on

those were the rules: open chest, open song, a simple hush and a deep blink

you told me you were going to marry me and I laughed because you have been saying that for years

you know we are already promised, already mapping out the next decade after this beautiful throw

we held our breath under the lamp light as if we might catch the glow on our tongues and become fire

those were the rules: we live and move with new snow

“Look to the notes, if you need to” by Julia at Amanda’s

Tuesday December 31, 2019
2:40am
5 minutes
How To Read Music
Roger Evans

In the same place as I have been
There is a good chance I could have been smaller

If not for the noticing I would be spending my time intellectualizing
But not this year, no, no

I will be looking to the notes if I need to and when that’s not making sense I will let the interruption be the new

The prompt
The passage

And then maybe I will do something that you could be a strong bear about

That you could write home to your parents for and tell them of the giant steps taken from such tiny feet

“There below” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday December 18, 2019
7:47pm
5 minutes
Somewhere I’ll Find You
Phebe Hanson

There below the golden face

The shoulders broad and carrying

a tiny intersection of disbelief is straddled

Right there

Right below the knowing look

And maybe it wouldn’t be there

if instead of fuzz a master’s cap

sat collecting

Or another 5 years at least of hands on, on the field, trial and error

Maybe this is the error

Maybe this is the error

The time for mistakes and making

I told them that’s what I’m interested in doing

I told them that’s why I get so moved

The mantra is for everyone now

Make a mess

Make

Make

Make a mess

Nothing is not something I can allow myself to make

Not these days when young hearts find themselves on my cozy chair

Calling my room the Creative one

“There are a lot of good reasons” by Julia on her couch

Saturday November 23, 2019
5:15pm
5 minutes
smittenkitchen.com

one: you’re the one I love
two: you’ve got two options when I can’t decide between more
three: the third time I saw you I saw you all the way inside you
four: the four walls we share are made better by your light
five: you always talk to me when I’m writing these
six: the sixth year we tried to face it
seven: the seventh year we tore it all down
eight:the eighth year we rebuilt everything
nine: we found that we have nine lives too and all better after jumping
ten: after ten years I would give you a ten out of ten but it still doesn’t do you justice

“You are going to have to give and give and give” By Sasha in the house on Nassau Street

Wednesday November 20, 2019
8:23am
5 minutes
From a quote by Anne Lamott

What they don’t tell you is how
you are going to have to give and give and give
and just when you think you’re empty
that there’s nothing left
something arrives with the morning mail
that asks for more
more more more more more more more

What then?

You feel like you’ve written this before
a deja vu of fingers on keyboard
of the kettle boiling
a banana over ripening on the counter
a house that has become home
in four days
record time
Give more
more more more more

The mailman makes his rounds
dropping letters and grace

receiving a poem in your email
written by someone you know
is the very thing
you didn’t know
you were waiting for
this morning

“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