“As the cab works its way” by Sasha at her desk

Monday January 27, 2019
4:01pm
5 minutes
Hello, Goodbye
Brady Emerson

As the cab works it’s way around the corner, I press my face up to the glass. Mama will make me clean it with vinegar and newspaper. She always knows when it’s me and when it’s Bailey. The dog doesn’t have to clean up after himself, but he gets put in the laundry room until he whines enough that Mama feels bad. Daddy packed a larger suitcase than usual so I asked him how long he’d be gone for this time. “Not sure, honeybunch,” he said, sad like the day Grampa Jones died. How he could not be sure, I don’t understand but I shouldn’t have to given that I’m only just starting Grade Four. Mama knows that Daddy might be gone until the snow comes, so she hugs Bailey in bed for a long time and I have peanut butter and jelly for dinner.

“The road ends at a washout” by Julia on her couch

Sunday January 27, 2019
11:13pm
5 minutes
Nomads
Poe Ballentine

I think all good things must come to an end sooner than we’re ever ready for them.
Why would we want the good things to end?
It’s hard enough getting the good things to start.

We were never really friends although I believed us to be.
I thought you liked me and I liked you in the same way and we were…good for each other.
It only took a thousand messages left without reply for me to figure it out.
You’re the kind of person who thinks offering yourself is all you need to do.
You’re the kind of person who thinks I would be lucky to receive your invitation to the land of zero follow through.
There can only be room for certain friendships now,
not whatever it is we’re doing.
We don’t need anything from each other and we never did.
I thought I did but then I got to know you and realized the
only thing I need from you is for you to stop pretending like
any of your empty promises mean something.
I won’t be around for that kind of shit anymore.
The next time I might not be as kind about the whole thing.
Maybe if you were as honest with me as I am with you we could save a whole lot of energy.

“The road ends at a washout” by Sasha in the bathtub

Sunday January 27, 2019
9:18pm
5 minutes
Nomads
Poe Ballentine

Dear P.,

I move to Alaska because I want to live at the end of it all, where the road meets the horizon, where the sun feels like a star and it doesn’t rain as much as it does here. I’m twenty seven and I don’t know my ass from my mouth, but at least I’m not afraid like everyone else is, afraid to leave home. “Home” is a word that feels strange in my mouth, foreign, like “Barcelona” or “beloved”.

I’m sorry that I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye. I know that was a long time ago, but I never stopped thinking about you. Riding bikes around the track at St. Mike’s, shooting the shit, pretending we were big shots. Alaska takes a part of your heart when you’re there for long enough. A part of my heart that’s shaped like you. P. I’m better now than I was then, in almost every way.

“I was acting like a” by Julia on her couch

Saturday January 26, 2019
9:42pm
5 minutes
The Only One She Told
J.E. McCafferty

Liar liar pants on fire
Said last time I thrived on dire
Fought my battles walked the wire
Fakery began to tire
All those people believing deep
held me up as the grim reaper
Wished I could have climbed much steeper
But I was a dream-catch eater
Held the wish to drown the mole
We couldn’t take any souls
I swear we tried, we did not know
Then god opened mouth and ripped me whole

“They say looks aren’t everything,” by Julia on the 84

Friday January 25, 2019
9:40pm
5 minutes
What to Look for in a Horse
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

I want to see a person and not make any thoughts up about who they are and what they do and why they’re wearing what they’re wearing. I do make up some thoughts about some
people but mostly I thank myself quietly for being me instead of them. They are busy being them, wearing the shoes they wear, the big bright buttons on their slacks, the cool hat, the stupid shoes. I am not judging. Stupid shoes is not an opinion, it’s a broken ankle waiting to happen. What makes a shoe more stupid than its shape is where that shoe is worn. Managing a restaurant? Stupid. Walking the dog in a rainstorm? Stupid. The person I have no problem with. Or maybe I do. Maybe I’m one judgemental piece of shit projecting my unexamined insecurities on people just passing me on the street on their way to the grocery store. Looks aren’t everything. But it’s what you see. It’s what you notice. I don’t think the flower kingdom is going around saying, here I am, but I’m not just a pretty face, I matter, I’m important. Everyone knows flowers matter but if they self-claimed it they wouldn’t have time to simply live it.

I may have lost the plot a little bit here.

“law of human psychology” by Sasha at her coffee table

Thursday January 24, 2019
10:01pm
5 minutes
A quote by William Pickens

“Shit, it’s uh, it’s um… It’s – …”

Mika forgets her new phone number. She’d started to rattle off her old one and then stopped part way through. “I had to change my number because… You don’t need to know that, um – …”

After twelve years of the same ten digits it takes a while to update. Mika thinks about the brain and plasticity and how memory works.

She sees a flash of Kyle sledding. She blinks. She sees Izzy there, too, eating snow off to the side.

“Miss?”

Mika digs out her notebook. She knows she wrote her new number down in there.

“law of human psychology” by Julia at the bus stop

Thursday January 24, 2019
4:08pm
5 minutes
A quote by William Pickens

Lynn was excited to drop her psych classes and start taking theatre. She knew she belonged on stage, or with actors, or in a daydream maybe. She had never done anything for herself in her short life. Both her parents were doctors, one therapist, one orthopaedic surgeon. She was supposed to be a doctor too, and they said the field of medicine is up to her. That was all that was up to her. She started seeing the theatre kids around the halls, wearing black, singing in unison. Lynn didn’t remember the last time she let herself sing outside of the shower. It looked incredibly freeing! Maybe even spiritual. All this time she wished she could tell stories to audiences willing to hear them. She pictured herself being blinded by he stage lights and glowing from the inside out. If she left psych she would have to pay for everything else on her own. Lynn couldn’t wait to start working as a relief receptionist at the ESL centre to finally be in control of her own destiny.

“my Swahili instructor” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 23, 2019
8:16pm
5 minutes
Archipelagoes
Rochelle Smith

You can learn a new language at any age. You can learn one in your 20s, in your 30s, up till the day you speak no more. It’s not one of those things on the list that become impossible after celebrating a certain birthday. It won’t be easy, but it won’t be impossible. Some things on the list that become impossible after a certain age are the following: doing the splits if you are not a gymnast, birthing a baby, moving a couch, and pulling all-nighters. I purposefully did not include exact ages because every body is different and there are exceptions to even vaguely set rules.
I know for a fact it is never too late to quit smoking, or cut out certain issue-causing foods, or take up growing pot in your backyard. There is no limit to how much you can surprise yourself in this life— no matter how many stories you make up and believe.

“What Jesus was doing” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday January 22, 2019
10:20pm
5 minutes
Love Thy Neighbour
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Oh this again. He was trying to welcome me home, I believe. And sell me to church. All the right people, my people would meet me there. All the grace I will know is from Him. Gospel of John. I’m supposed to have read it by now. Maybe everyone knows I’m the kind of person to go running to scripture. Proving in words somewhere that the divine in me is seeing me. I have always been persuaded. I exist there because I liked being the vessel. I liked being the experiment, the data, the pioneer. Tell me what is best and I’m still the one who has to execute. I like being the one who walks into fire.

“What Jesus was doing” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday January 22, 2019
6:52am
5 minutes
Love Thy Neighbour
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Sit still. Don’t fidget. Don’t pick your nose. Sit still. Sit stiller. Pay attention. Sister Judith is falling asleep. Don’t laugh. Don’t giggle. Don’t kick the pew in front. Jesus is watching. Mother is watching. Don’t elbow Russell. Don’t look at Russell. Russell is picking his nose. Ew, Russell! Sit still. Sit still. Hands to yourself. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Stand up. Sing. Don’t sing too loud. Mother is watching.

“I imagine him alive.” By Julia in her bed

Monday January 21, 2019
9:28pm
5 minutes
Stories We Keep To Ourselves
Bill Glose

I imagine him alive with dark hair covering his tiny little head
He has a perfect face
Maybe a few years from now he’ll need glasses just like you
His dark hair transforms into light hair later like mine does in the sun
You are holding him and cooing in his face and everything is sweet now
I keep him alive by not leaving him
That is my only job
I picture him loving me before he leaves home
Some of them only realize how much has been done for them after they build their bed behind walls that no one can wonder against
He is kind to insects and birds
He is funny because of you and only you
From me he learns how to hum
From me he learns how to weep
From me he learns how to stare into the nothingness past the room and bright noise
You smile extra hard these days

“I imagine him alive.” By Sasha at her desk

Monday January 21, 2019
1:55pm
5 minutes
Stories We Keep To Ourselves
Bill Glose

He’s running along the beach
He doesn’t leave footprints in the sand
He floats above like the sand flies
Leaving no trace
Making no impression

I’m watching him from a nearby
piece of driftwood
Back and forth he goes
One end becoming the other
Horizon becoming sky

He doesn’t see me there
Lost in the movement of his muscles
Found in the meditation of waves
Lost in the between-world wonder
Found in the bits of seaweed and shell

I call out to him
He doesn’t hear me
The ocean thundering before us
Dusk wraps around our shoulders
Takes us back to the center
Takes us back in time

“making dinner for my family” by Julia at Rivendell

Sunday January 20, 2019
11:08pm
5 minutes
The Other, Invented Man
Matthew Vollmer

I’m chopping onions to simmer for my man
Tonight we feast and I feed him and he wants me
Tomorrow I’ll surprise him with a new dish I’ve never made before and I’ll feed him and he’ll want me
If I were alone I would get resourceful
Start with one egg and see far I can stretch it
See how many meals one egg holds
If I have no one to please or impress,
no one a barometer for if I’ve gone to
the grocery store in a while or chosen something I was curious about tasting
When he’s home I put on the alien, the apron, the mask
I find a different reality
If I had a full family I would cook for them
I wouldn’t need to feel anything after that

“poorly aimed prayers” by Julia at Rivendell

Saturday January 19, 2019
10:18pm
5 minutes
On Why I Must Decline To Receive The Prayers You Say You Are Constantly Sending
Tony Hoagland

Jesus apparently lives in my heart and has never left even though I left him. He’s also quite feminine, the woman tells me, “Read the gospel of John and you’ll see how feminine he is.” I am now the prodigal daughter coming home. I had to leave in order to grow myself and wonder out loud with enough spaciousness to find something. Now I am returning and this is good because I am looking for the truth and that’s where I’ll find God too. She wanted to leave the room while I confessed how I’ve rejected him, or how I’ve felt disconnected, or why. Then I told her I wouldn’t do it if she left and so I made her stay. Maybe she had something to do for ten minutes that really couldn’t have waited and she was hoping I was into counselling myself. But maybe she thought I was strong and wanted or needed the stillness.

“he fell like the rain,” by Julia at the Rivendell Cottage

Friday January 18, 2019
11:22pm
5 minutes
In The Beautiful Rain
Tony Hoagland

Her eyelids sank, heavy with dust
collected in the creases
So
many
damn
intricate
feelings
Sleep stretched out like a cat before her and she put her hand out to scratch under its chin
The night and all its bigger shadows
loomed in and around, sort of stalking
Her mouth a steady waterfall pointing ground-ward
He, on the other hand warmed up another cup of tea in the microwave
Flipped the pages of his book like punishment
Pushed the bed so far away
it
turned
into
the
couch

“he fell like the rain,” by Sasha in the bath

Friday January 18, 2019
9:04pm
5 minutes
In The Beautiful Rain
Tony Hoagland

She lifted her hand to her face
her hand the mirror that she trusted more
her face the face that she’d always known
She traced her nostrils and opened her mouth

He fell like the rain in the morning
and at night he gathered the fire to
close his eyes and trust the dark
Her sleep breath lifting him away

The laundry is on the couch and
needs to be folded
socks and T-shirts mixing cake
mixing bodies and story and dust

Someone will do it tomorrow
One of them whoever has time
and is feeling generous to the other
or to themselves

The recycling needs to be sorted
and taken out to the bins in the alleyway
where men with grocery carts pick through
all the after-thoughts all the forgetting

Hoping for a treasure

“I met Luke after my marriage ended.” By Sasha on her couch

Thursday January 17, 2019
10:17pm
5 minutes
The Ghost of a Boy
Piper Vignette

I didn’t mean to meet Luke. I was minding my own business. I was keeping my head down. Ever since I left Allison, to distract myself from the crippling guilt and regret, I’d become obsessed with Ayurveda. I read every book I could get my hands on. I mentored with an Ayurvedic doctor. I cooked lentils, rice, cauliflower. I cut out onions and garlic. I was in the co-op weighing red lentils for dahl and there he was – wearing wire-rimed glasses and a red sweater with worn elbows. He looked like he’d just woken up. He was staring at me.

“What are you gonna do with those?” He asked, a sparkle in his eyes.

“Dahl.” I said. I wasn’t interested in a flirty bulk food section exchange. I hadn’t flirted with a man since graduate school.

“I met Luke after my marriage ended.” By Julia on M’s couch

Thursday January 17, 2019
1:33pm
5 minutes
The Ghost of a Boy
Piper Vignette

You could say I manifested it; the end of my first marriage the way it is written. By that I mean death, and not
some fault of our own. We might have stopped trying. Stopped listening. Stopped seeing Love in the reflection of each other. I think we were lucky enough to preserve our relationship before it got so sad we committed any of those aforementioned acts of betrayal. I think those are worse than cheating anyway. Sex is something I can justify as “not personal”. But I suppose you’re right, if I claim to have manifested my late husband’s death. I guess that is a fault of my own I should be less light-hearted about. My intentions were that he would die and leave me while we were still in love. I didn’t know it would happen so soon or that it would work so well. If I believed in manifesting at all (before this) I would have made sure I had pots of money and enough hair product to last my entire lifetime. I would have manifested some inner peace.

“like food processors” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 16, 2019
8:21pm
5 minutes
On Becoming A Cat
Emily Mitchell

In the middle of the night I hear you whispering sweet words into the pillow
They’re for me
I kiss you back to sleep
I stay awake wondering about the light dancing across the ceiling
I was tired before this and
now maybe it’s denial
The past few days have felt impossible
Each of our hollow seems to be bouncing off every surface in sight and you might not be rubber but I’m definitely glue
I wonder at the dancing light, the collective sadness seaping into my skin, the way waking up never arrives without a headache anymore

“the host raised his glass” by Julia on the 4

Tuesday January 15, 2019
6:54pm
5 minutes
Notes on Surrender
Krista Bremer

Petra was a beer lover. She was the kind of person who knew better than to cheers another with an empty glass. Even if she wasn’t thirsty, she would pour herself a sip of something to seal the deal. On the night of Kat’s engagement she had already drank her share before the thing even started. Still reeling from finding her boss dead in the foyer that morning, she knew she would need a little help getting through her best friend’s party.
Dylan wasn’t the nicest guy in the world, but to leave the world lonely, just steps away from the Naloxone?

“the host raised his glass” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 15, 2019
8:41am
5 minutes
Notes on Surrender
Krista Bremer

Adam raised his glass and I thought, ‘I don’t know this man.’

I do know this man. He’s my husband of thirteen years, but in these moments, in some moments, he’s a stranger.

That’s the weird part. No matter how well you think you know someone, there are still moments when –

“Thank you all for being here. I used to try to imagine what forty would feel like, what it would look like – ”

Bert chortles.

” – … I am so fortunate to be blessed by a beautiful family,” Adam looked at me, I smiled. “Mimi, you have done it again, this meal is stunning. Thank you.” People clap. Henrietta rubs my back. I felt like I was floating above these sixteen people, gathered in our dining room, at the table I set, finishing the meal that I chose, sipping wine that I bought.

“We cross dirt roads” by Julia on the 4

Monday January 14, 2019
4:29pm
5 minutes
A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration
Elizabeth Alexander

Woman beside me: red nails that match her red boots. Noticed a red scarf and sweater too. All red. All showing.
Man beside her: grey coat, grey slacks, grey beard. He’s looking at her.
She’s provbaly reading this.
It was so foggy today the sun turned into a ball of white, outlined as if with crayon. You can drift into road on days like this. You can find yourself dissappearing without trying.
I can’t say I’m doing my best to be seen.
I think everyone in my life is sad right now and only some of them know to include me in that.

“endure burning” by Julia on the 84

Sunday January 13, 2019
5:55pm
5 minutes
A quote by Viktor Frankl

Yesterday my hair caught on fire in front of all the people I didn’t know. I am grateful. Everytime I let a part of me burn I watch myself rise from the ashes and grow longer in the backbone. That, and it’s nice to be reminded that I’m always saved in the 11th hour. My intuition pounds on the door of me and it sometimes takes going up in flames to answer the call.
How can I do more work around hearing the rap rap rap before I turn into smoke? After all, I was right about you, wasn’t I? I knew there was something off about you the first time I saw you blink like that. I hope you never try your hand at poker. Or motherhood.

“endure burning” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday January 13, 2019
5:42pm
5 minutes
A quote by Viktor Frankl

I wonder what you’ve told them about me
about how I walk on my tip toes in the morning
not to wake you
about how I braid the tassels on my red scarf
I wonder what you’ve told them about my burning
my breaking my owning my betrayal
I wonder if they know what my face looks like
when I’m sleeping
The wild wild west they say
The Wild West
A story that we all know the ending to
My devotion will break me
I’m still alive
I’m still here
I’m still

I wonder what you’ve told them about me
and the sound of my whistle my voice when I’m singing
Torn up inside the will to survive the will to
Will I ever be able to forge through winter
Will I ever be able to stop laughing

“How are you feeling?” By Julia on her couch

Saturday January 12, 2019
12:27am
5 minutes
From a text

It’s been a year and some things are still buried in the yard alongside all the other bodies too cold to touch

I wonder sometimes if you’re waiting for me to wear an apology that doesn’t belong to me on my back—
Maybe thinking it’s owed to you or something. I have to try not to take that on at all because you can’t always get what you want.

It’s been a year and some days I think you don’t notice how much we’ve both changed. Some days feel like I’m right back where I started, eating lies around you to keep you up.

I don’t want to tell you how I really am. What I really think. I’m not sure if you deserve it.

“how are you feeling?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday January 12, 2019
10:42pm
5 minutes
From a text

A: How are you feeling?
B: Today. Shitty.
A: How shitty? What kind of shitty?
B: I saw someone who is too afraid to face me, who can’t meet me how I need to be met, and I was tired and sad and I saw someone, and it was –
A: Take a deep breath?
B: I’m fine. I’m breathing fine.
A: Okay…

B: How are you?
A: I’m good. I’m great!
B: That’s nice.
A: When you’re shitty, I can still be great. It’s not a competition.
B: I know. I’m glad you’re great.
A: Why can’t you just be happy for me?
B: I am!

A: Dad said that Ming is off dairy so we can’t do rice pudding on Sunday.
B: Good for Ming.
A: Ha!
B: She always feels sick. It’s good she’s doing some investigating. I’ll bring something else. I’m sick of rice pudding anyway.
A: But we always have rice pudding for dessert –
B: Yeah, and sometimes things have to change. Sometimes change is healthy.

“grateful to be where we are now.” By Julia on her couch

Friday January 11, 2019
12:06am
From a Christmas card

A garden preened to the high heavens mocks my morning walk to the compost heap left bubbling
I hate these neighbours and their tireless knees
How some people sit like that I will never understand
My mother didn’t meet her green thumb until her 60s so maybe there’s still time for me. Not sure why my father didn’t force me into the earth when I was young and curious. Some life skills I fear I may never own
My garden wouldn’t make sense anyway-a clump of rosemary, a hill of daisies
I have never been willing to look so far ahead into a year
It’s the same pill I swallow when packing my things even if only for the night

“grateful to be where we are now.” By Sasha at her desk

Friday January 11, 2019
5:03pm
5 minutes
From a Christmas card

You’re grateful I’m here. I can see it in the release of the line on your forehead, an inch above your eyebrows. It’s been disappearing slowly, and now it’s gone. Three days in to my visit. We haven’t even had sex. I have my period. We’ve kissed a lot. Made tuna sandwiches. Watched Seinfeld.

“Why don’t you move here,” you say, casually folding laundry on your bed. I’m knitting a sweater for Cassidy. James Taylor plays on Spotify.

“You know I can’t.” I look up.

You are grateful I’m here. You usually come to me because it’s hard to get away. My kids. The cat. It’s easy for you to travel. You have less baggage.

“You are my real mother, aren’t you?” by Julia on her couch

Thursday January 10, 2019
8:54pm
5 minutes
Life After Life
Kate Atkinson

I used to want Zia Vilma to be my mother cause she knew how to french braid, and make her own halloween costumes, and turn an old pair of leggings into a choker with a broken heart earring as the pendant.

She was the only one spent time with us, who played cards with us when we were little and begging to sit at table with all the adults.
She lit up when she saw us.

My own mother was a little different than she is now. She used to scream at us more then. She used to whip her eyes shut when she was yelling out all her demons.
I hated that face she made. I was afraid of it. she couldn’t look us in the eye.

“You are my real mother, aren’t you?” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday January 10, 2019
7:04am
5 minutes
Life After Life
Kate Atkinson

I knew it was coming. It was like when my grandmother used to know that it was going to rain. Her bones would ache. I woke feeling agitated, restless, cold. Nelly had been out late with Rebecca, and she slept later than she usually does. Even for Sunday. I made waffles and turkey bacon. I made a second pot of tea. She came downstairs rubbing her eyes, bun askew on top of her head.

“Morning,” she yawned, but there was a coolness.

“Honey… – ” I looked at her and she held my gaze.

“Rebecca said that Barb said that you have something to tell me?”

Fuck Barb. I can’t believe I used to trust that woman. Fuck.

I knew it was coming but then when it does it still feels like a sledgehammer, like a slicing, like open-heart surgery.

“A master-beggar art thou.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 8, 2019
10:04pm
5 minutes
Kim
Rudyard Kipling

I make you cinnamon buns. I let the dough double rise and listen to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. I make the filling (butter, cinnamon, sugar, salt). I make the cream cheese frosting. I whisper that you’re my little darling, and these buns are my little darlings, and in the quiet of this Saturday night, the world is my little darling. I’ll bring you the buns tomorrow morning, after I bake them, while they are still warm. You’ll be surprised to see me, but I’ll be holding a tray of the best damn thing you’ve ever smelled so you won’t be able to send me away, to refuse me, to ask me to go. You’ll invite me in. Coffee will already be brewing on the counter, in your red french press.

“there were also many miracles then.” By Sasha at her desk

Monday January 7, 2019
7:02pm
5 minutes
The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor Dostoevsky

There were more miracles then. That probably dates me… I know there are still miracles, but it seems like there used to be more. Maybe it’s because the sky was bigger. There weren’t so many big buildings blocking the blue. There were more miracles, like, when I was a little girl. Big ones and small ones. Acts of grace and God, acts of kindness, surprising twists and all the rest. With the buildings came less birds because the birds fly into the buildings, the buildings are in their flight path. No one thought about the birds when they built those buildings. That’s why I told your grandfather that we had to move North. We had to get away from those buildings.

“There is no rule that is true under the circumstances” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday January 6, 2019
8:42am
5 minutes
Synchronicity
C.G. Jung

We ask ourselves why and how and when and then hold hands and call Red Rover. We swim in the same ocean we pollute and forget the connection between the food we eat and the rising temperatures. We plug our ears when it doesn’t concern us and when it does we scream to the sky and beg for more. Under the circumstances, we are perched on the edge of the precipice, stratus clouds no longer reaching a hand down to help. It rains and rains. The rich get richer. Somebody says that it’s too late and in the heartbeat of my unborn daughter I feel the drum of hope. Hope no longer blind faith or unsubstantiated optimism, but hope like a conversation, like the space between then and now and then.

“The horse flung his head up” by Sasha at her desk

Friday January 4, 2019
8:12am
5 minutes
The Pearl
John Steinbeck

The whippoorwill flies at night, sings in the morning, nests in the afternoon. Like you did, when days were shorter and nights were longer. Like you did when 10 pm was early. The whippoorwill’s song is a memory of August days in the hammock on the porch, reading books, sending shivers into the corner of your imagination, chasing worlds that might be possible one day. The whippoorwill was believed to be a bird of witchcraft. Yes please, you say, yes please.

“This is the beginning of the beginning” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday January 3, 2019
4:38pm
5 minutes
When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chödrön

More compassion, soft ears, green vegetables, dancing, reading, surrender to the mystery of it all, quiet, nature, calling far-away loved ones, patience, filing, writing, movement, sleep, boundaries.

Less judgement, sweet stuff, jaw clenching, catastrophic thinking, Instagram, tension, impatience, screen time, expectations.

“heaven is great, earth is great, people are great” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 2, 2019
10:21pm
5 minutes
Living the Wisdom of the Tao
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

There’s a man I walk by everyday on my way to the grocery store. He has a different sign all the time but I know he’s asking for help. I’m waiting for the day he transforms from his sidewalk seat to a radiant standing man with a flowing robe. He will smile at all of us with his kind warm heart and say, “Sorry fuckers, don’t have room on this trolley for the inconsiderate.” Then all the people going in and out of Whole Foods will think about things for a minute. And I will be just like them. Because I have ignored him. I don’t even know what he looks like. I feel bad that I don’t want to give him anything so I walk with my head high in avoidance. I am aware enough to know that I am avoiding the aspect of myself that needs help, the one that doesn’t want pity, the aspect that is not making enough money. I am him and he is me and this lesson is a little too late learned for flowy asshole Jesus.

“heaven is great, earth is great, people are great” by Sasha on the 99

Wednesday January 2, 2019
2:13pm
5 minutes
Living the Wisdom of the Tao
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

It’s okay, I mean, I’m okay. Things are okay, Brad, I don’t know what you want me to say… Everyone is happy sometimes and sad sometimes, right?! It’s not even about the balance of being happy and sad I don’t think… It’s about the quality of the feelings. Like, when you’re happy, are you really free? Is there still a little balloon in your chest slowly deflating? Don’t lie to yourself about it. No point in lying about that little balloon, she probably just needs acknowledgement! When you’re sad are you really letting yourself, like, go there? Are you crying and stuff? I don’t know how to take how you’re looking at me… We haven’t seen each other in, like, three years, and now you’re acting all concerned? Sometimes I’m really happy. Sometimes I’m really sad. That’s it.

“I can be courageous enough to feel” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday January 1, 2019
8:14pm
5 minutes
Comfortable With Uncertainty
Pema Chödrön

The sorrow I’ve been pushing into the deep hole of me has started to itch
It rubs up against the sides of its cage and begs for fresh water
Don’t you know you cannot burry sadness alive?
The clock on the wall clicks more than ticks and I think everything around me is breaking
At dinner the light is soft and golden and everyone is in a perfect mood but me
The air in my lungs escapes before I know what I am saying and the room tunnels into the shape of my hurt
All those years of doing my best and being told to go back to the old me-the one who is better understood by shopkeepers and mothers and fathers and groups of afraid
I feel this pit beginning to take root and I am not sure what I’ll be if I pluck it from the dark mud where it’s been lost
How easy to say Fine instead of Not Fine
How easy to say sorry after the garden has been torn up
I am courageous enough to feel all this and all this that cannot be named

“I can be courageous enough to feel” by Sasha on the 9

Tuesday January 1, 2019
1:23pm
5 minutes
Comfortable With Uncertainty
Pema Chödrön

She didn’t want to go. It was freezing old outside and the thought of putting on all those layers only to take them off when she got there was almost too much to handle. She thinks about her therapist saying that sometimes self care looks like staying in, having a bath, reading a book, and sometimes self care looks like getting out, being with people, having a slice of cake. Liam had said that it would mean a lot to him if she came, this being his first gig back with the band after surgery. She didn’t want to go. Sometimes being a good friend means showing up. She knows this. She knows.

“So the Search was begun” by Julia at Pearson Airport

Monday December 31, 2018
8:08am
5 minutes
The Tao Of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff

In the middle of the night I heard a whisper in the sound of my own voice coming from inside my head. It was me, or I believed it to be. I was telling me to breathe and focus and stop focusing and see the white wall and Dear Lord Please, Please. I was telling me to find peace in the stillness. A little voice asked if it was okay if I watched a movie instead. I said yes to myself and began to play a moving picture show of all my choices and all the bread I got to eat. The lobster. The Italian sausage. The night my father and I took a deep look. The movie played and I rewatched it again and again. I told me I could watch it in the morning once I had woken up but the me laying didn’t feel like the me saying was being true. The search had begun for what was. For what was true. Why would inside voice me try to trick outside laying me? What is inside voice me trying to get me to notice or understand or remember forever and ever amen.

“tempted to encourage others with insincere praise.” by Julia at Amanda’s

Sunday December 30, 2018
11:31pm
5 minutes
Lying
Sam Harris

When I was nine we went on an overnight camping trip with our church friends. They were church people, not quite friends, to be honest. Jesus thought it would be good for us to be around all the right-hearted youth so we could learn something. I learned something. I learned I could pee in the middle of the night very quickly. I learned that I was a quick night pee-er when my tent mates told me so. I learned that I could walk in the woods and sing at the same time. I learned that some people are better than me because of their relationship with god.
On the last day our leaders gave out awards to the ____est camper. They gave me the award for “happiest camper”. I was thrilled until Julie Perna got “friendliest” camper and I realized that my award was total bullshit.

“I never tire of saying that” by Julia on the Greyhound

Saturday December 29, 2018
5:20pm
5 minutes
Man’s Search For Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl

I tire of saying certain words
Yes
Sorry
Unfortunately
I love you
It’s not on purpose but I know what I hate and I say it now to be clear and not cutting
But I never tire of saying what is bigger than me and truer than you
I say it with the inside of my cheek and the silk of my skin
I say it with the moon bearing witness
with the oven mitts on
with the bathroom door open
I want this
I don’t want this
I tire because the struggle of wanting and not wanting is one of deep diving
There is no around it
Above it
Under it
To travel down you have to go through it
And deeper still
The pain is exhaustible and yet there is no shortcut
No other way

“I kissed the person next to me” by Julia at G and C’s

Friday December 28, 2018
11:49pm
5 minutes
Contemplation
Franz Kafka


I kissed the person next to me and he fell asleep with the tip of my nose in his mouth
The first time it was funny
The second time we wondered how we ever managed to fall asleep any other way
I dreamt about stealing feathers and magnets from his rich friend
I ached to be as close as possible
He asked if we could sit in our comfortable silence and I agreed
Lately I have been running around the stock in my head and can’t seem to find anything to say anyway
The long laying and breathing is kind of new to us
We usually put on a show to give our bodies permission to entangle
I don’t know what to do in some moments and that is when I shall find his lips instead of searching for answers
From now on I will fill all the unknowing with kisses

“The only time this does not happen” by Julia at Amanda’s

Thursday December 27, 2018
1:26am
5 minutes
The Undiscovered Self
C.G. Jung

It is dark out
still morning
still raining
You’ll have to leave soon
I could remain here
I hate leaving the bed before you
Last night you tossed in your sleep
Back and forth, flip the pillow
I know it was probably too hot
The window is broken
I told you that before we turned off the light
You didn’t believe me
I can understand your perspective
It hasn’t been dry out for a while
I don’t remember how long, maybe you do
You always remember the things I don’t
That’s very convenient, by the way
You could be re-writing our
history and I wouldn’t even know it

“The only time this does not happen” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Thursday December 27, 2018
10:12am
5 minutes
The Undiscovered Self
C.G. Jung

I saw that the sky was flames and wept
as I do as we do as we can
The hill across from the window
slips into a dream slips into tomorrow
You go to the fourth floor at seven in the morning
While we sleep
Your children
Your love
Dreaming in the Year of the Pig
when all the babes arrive
Dreaming in black and blue and pink and grey
Tears make way for clementines
make way for baths and stories
All paths lead back to Lou
I saw birds on the wire at Coxwell and Gerrard
There must’ve been seventy of them
Lou said that he wants to live to seventy-two
I saw your eyes cloud
Your doubt surface
Your faith swoop down and lift your chin

“experiences unbearable psychological turmoil” by Julia in Kitchener

Wednesday December 26, 2018
11:36pm
5 minutes
Eros
Stella Kalogeraki

Mom tells me about the shingles that people my age are getting. Chicken pox she says, we used to have chicken pox parties, can you believe that?
They seem to know things then that we don’t anymore. I say stress can cause it, it happened to my friend.
My mother nods and her eyes light up, yes yes stress can cause it and other things, can you believe that?
Some assumptions keep us rotting in our skin when the torture becomes self-inflicted. The brain knows how to protect its team by sending warriors to build walls that block out the worst case scenario. The blood still pumps through the highway of the body, alive in the channels sending it this way and that.

“experiences unbearable psychological turmoil” by Sasha in her old room

Wednesday December 26, 2018
11:32pm
5 minutes
Eros
Stella Kalogeraki

We gathered around the table in the common room. Fluorescent lights. Boughs spread. A strange ache. A beauty. Cups and cutlery that Mom collected over the week from lunch and dinner trays. I made stew and we ate it out of compostable bowls. J. kept saying, “It’s quiet in here!” We shared a few homemade gifts. We took photos. We ripped pieces of focaccia from a loaf. I sat at the end on the left. I couldn’t be in the middle. I felt my eyes heavy, my heart in my guts, my jaw clenched. I played with J. “This is my kitchen!” She said, and she put earth from a potted plant into a cup with a spoon.

“perhaps he really knew nothing” by Julia at Amanda’s

Tuesday December 25, 2018
9:30pm
5 minutes
The Trial
Franz Kafka

The night before is a blur now,
book-ended by so many sweet sounds
He tells me he admires me
Complex, he says, And damn good at it
I want to thank him for saying that
For putting words to that level of seeing me
I felt sorry the whole damn day
My eyelashes stung like Angel wings clipped at the tip
I can be so difficult to love when I am this repetitive
This growth of heart choosing the only way it knows how
I could say every year gets better
I could make sure I write that down
and read it back one night after tea

“perhaps he really knew nothing” by Sasha in the Kiva

Tuesday December 25, 2018
12:20am
5 minutes
The Trial
Franz Kafka

Perhaps he knew everything and perhaps he knew nothing and that’s just how things were now. When he made his bed in the morning (bottom sheet smoothed, top sheet folded in and under, comforter, quilt, pillows) he felt he knew nothing. The whole day stretched before him. A canyon of unknown. He went downstairs and turned on the coffee maker. He got the paper from the front porch. He fed Harriet her wet food, as she mewed and meowed and rubbed against his legs.

“day after day we worked” by Julia in Baden

Monday December 24, 2018
7:19pm
5 minutes
The Swiss Family Robinson
J.D. Wyss

We bathed in the sun of the afternoon
calling licorice to our tongues
And on the heels of I’ll-see-you-soon,
we dreamt of tomorrow’s hunt
The sky opened up and licked us both-quiet and wet serene with it
We raced through time loops with a quake in our jump, a hop in our stretch
The only thing stopping us from hitting high was the high we felt from feeling it
Those golden shades that painted the night, that painted your skin, we swore by them
as cures to the ails inside of us that we did not stop long enough to notice
I was being reversed by timelessness
And you were alongside the great ravine crossing
My bravest day’s obsession
would lift the platform up a level
We threw our heads back
and laughed

“Day after day we worked” by Sasha in Mississauga

Monday December 24, 2018
12:12pm
5 minutes
The Swiss Family Robinson
J.D. Wyss

Jeremy puts on his father’s coat and his mother’s fake fur hat and goes to smoke a joint in the garage. It’s the first Christmas without Sara and everyone is on their best/worst behaviour. Since moving away from Kingston, Jeremy has learned how what we think is our best is sometimes our worst because it’s not necessarily honest. Jeremy tries to be honest.

“Are you high?” His mother asked last night, as she washed and he dried. Joan Baez’s Christmas album on the stereo.

“Yup,” he said, carefully wiping the platter that used to be his grandmother’s, the one with little raised cranberries on it.

“Jeremy… Is it necessary that you – “

“You do you, Mom. Drink a little too much Pinot Grigio, eat a little too much baked brie. I’m gonna do me, and smoke a bit of weed.”

She raised her eyebrows, unsure about this man in front of her who resembled the little boy gripping her hand til her knuckles turned white on the first day of school.

“Till the only word your mouth remembers” by Julia at her parents’ table

Sunday December 23, 2018
11:52am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

my mouth knows how to repeat the same thing over and over until it loses meaning
until it turns into dust

my mouth knows how to curse the ones I love the most because their mouths say what my mouth could

my mouth eats itself more than it doesn’t
twisting the almost rebellion into quiet
cheek sores, taking up space

my mouth hums the tune of the earth that keeps me grounded when the noise is trying to lift me out of my skin

my mouth coos the sweet-lipped words of admiration and gratitude with ease and with abundance

my mouth remembers being shut violently and told that this is not violence but love and history and justified

my mouth knows a lie like a pang in the gums, a bell dinging endlessly under the tongue

“Till the only word your mouth remembers” by Sasha in Mississauga

Sunday December 23, 2018
11:51am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

Kiss me until the only word your mouth knows is
mine beloved make true. Love me until we are divine
light swirling towards eternity
time no longer a barrier time now
a surrender a hope. Remember when we used to know
each other less fully. That’s funny to think about.

Morning fades to afternoon and I
clench my jaw sprawled on the floor
of your childhood bedroom the kid wallpaper
still there the art you made
before I knew you from anyone.

My nostalgia makes me drunk
in a way vodka never did in a way
chocolate never does in a way that only
these darkest days turning lighter do
here and here hand and heart
and belly swelling snow.

“it makes us feel insecure” by Julia in her childhood room

Saturday December 22, 2018
1:11am
5 minutes
The Book
Alan Watts

The nothing howls
like a deep seeded pit
writhing in the grass,
burying itself free
from the light touching
The pain lives not in the
not knowing but in
the inventing of what the
unknown might be-
could be,
never ever will be
I can hear it too if
I listen
I can see the blues and pinks jumping off its bones and into the night
streaking the silence with
premature dread
What if we never learn to
see the unseen as a gift?
What if the ache builds a
house on its broken back and
boards all the whispered wondering there?

“Whose language would he speak?” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Friday December 21, 2018
6:35pm
5 minutes
Siddhartha
Herman Hesse

when he tries to tell you he doesn’t want you,
maybe that’s his soul speaking about another
place that feels empty
You look like the empty because you are the closest thing to him
You and him standing in the kitchen, throwing words at available skin
But maybe he’s right
Maybe you’re the empty vase
the empty promise
the seat up on a high horse
that you don’t know how to
ride, much less get down from
He might be missing pieces but you are missing parts too:
backbone
truth tongue
tact
a pulse

“Whose language would he speak?” By Sasha at Ideal Coffee

Friday December 21, 2018
1:35pm
5 minutes
Siddhartha
Herman Hesse

You’re learning Spanish
You fell in love with the
language on our honeymoon
and now you’re teaching

yourself by an app
usually at the end of the day
in our bed you repeat

Lo siento
Pequeño
Gato

You’re good with languages
in a way I’m not and I think
about how you’ll help our
daughter with her French homework

I’ll look over and remember
counting to twenty
conjugations
shame
quizzes

I was good at a lot of things
but this wasn’t one of them

“She shook her head helplessly.” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Thursday December 20, 2018
10:42pm
5 minutes
Solaris
Stanislaw Lem

I don’t know why I can’t just leave him. I love him. Maybe I don’t. I have to love him don’t I? 30 years I’ve lived in that house, am I supposed to suddenly pick up and move? I don’t know why he doesn’t help me. All of our financial problems are because he won’t. I’ve asked him. I’ve tried to ask him but it’s not that easy, Sweetie. Nothing is ever easy for me. You know, I had this dream where I was climbing this huge staircase. These massive spiraled stairs and I was climbing them, climbing them, but I couldn’t go anywhere. And I could see at the top there was this beautiful castle. It was all the way at the top and I was climbing, sweatting, aching, and no matter what I did I couldn’t make it. All I wanted was to reach it and I was stuck right there.

“She shook her head helplessly.” By Sasha in the Kiva

Thursday December 20, 2018
12:31pm
5 minutes
Solaris
Stanislaw Lem

She shook her head helplessly becuase she couldn’t figure out how to get her words in order, how to get a word in, what to do with words. Her mother knew words better than anyone, or so she thought, better than her own face. Her mother knew how to shape words into cinnamon buns, into machetes, into room sized pillows. Sat around the table with the family, her family, that’s a word she knows. Bev sticks her tongue out at Larry and he gets up and grabs her cheeks.

“all past, present or future actions” by Julia at Amanda’s island

Wednesday December 19, 2018
11:11pm
5 minutes
From an application form

It’s about anger now. I’m about to let the lid off this house and cry to the high heavens.
Nobody wants me mad. Wants me dripping instead. Wants me nothing. I was nothing before this. I was very close to needing too much. You made me angry and now it’s about anger. Maybe that was your plan all along. I’m about to give over to it. It’s close to taking refuge in the soft spot of my nice. Nice no longer exists and hasn’t for a long time now. Have you been paying attention? It’s gone. I don’t think it ever was. Naive maybe. Spineless used to be here. You remember, don’t you? Nothing you said ever got a No from me? That was all the fear of being real showing through. Every other time I was real I got the boot. People disappeared like sugar being poured into a hot cup. The taste of desperation gets an addict hunting for her next fix. It’s not about feeding those demons anymore. It’s about the anger, like I said. I couldn’t be clearer. Things are going to change. You will be the first one to see it.

“none of which are taken very seriously.” By Sasha on the plane

Tuesday December 18, 2018
8:14pm
5 minutes
From an email

In the dark of the season
Longest day approaching
Train in the distance
Barrelling with purpose
Barrelling with direction
There is no place else to go
But inwards

You say that you want to take long baths
Play the piano
Listen to CBC radio
Eat clementines

Of course you do
Of course

Let go of the past
The winter says
Biting my earlobes
And reaching below the ice
Let go of what is no longer
All we have is now

“all past, present or future actions” By Sasha in the Kiva

Wednesday December 19, 2018
11:33pm
5 minutes
From an application form

It’s hard to speak when the overcoming comes
When it’s all heart beat and throat tight and
Here we go again
Past and present and future whirlpooling
Whipperwhiling scumbagging scumbugging

You tell me that you see how I’m growing
How I’m showing the centre that you know
That you watch when I’m dreaming
Projections of horses stampedeing across
The prairie of my forehead

It’s good to let go and move the old
Ice from the freezer chest
It’s good to release the pigeons from
The rusty roof

“none of which are taken very seriously.” By Julia on Amanda’s red chair

Tuesday December 18, 2018
9:40pm
5 minutes
From an email

The girl downstairs blasts her stereo. It’s new. She never used to blast anything before. She has played Drake and no one else I recognize. It’s past my bedtime but aside from today she’s been pretty good about turning it off by 9pm. 9pm is my bedtime. I’m waiting to see if she figures that out or if a guy leaves her place. That would explain the volume. She’s entertaining. I don’t hear voices. Maybe they’re dancing. I could go down there and throw a stone at her door but this is something my therapist advises against. She says I can take certain things too seriously. I’m being really patient for the reccord. I haven’t thrown anything at all yet. I haven’t banged on the floor like some people would at exactly 9:46pm on a Tuesday. Maybe Tuesdays are her new Fridays because Wednesdays are her new Saturdays.

“We may not be able to accommodate” by Julia at the airport

Monday December 17, 2018
9:29pm
5 minutes
overheard at YVR

I’m worried that soon I will be alone. All these years of keeping up with every friend and staying in touch. It’s dwindling now. I either hate the people I used to love or they’ve forgotten about me. Usually I hate them because they’ve forgotten about me. Let the relationship fizzle out. I stopped contacting everyone and that’s all it took I suppose.
Soon I will be all alone. I will talk to myself. I will call my family on the weekend. I will not need the people who think they’re better than me or more woke than me. I already find myself angry. Quietly seething at some. I don’t trust the ones who lie to themselves. And I won’t miss them when they’re gone. I don’t have that bone. It wouldn’t do any good anyway.

“We may not be able to accommodate” by Sasha at her desk

Monday December 17, 2018
11:48am
5 minutes
overheard at YVR

When you embrace your beloved
You breathe in their scent
lily of the valley
cinnamon
Douglas fir
You feel a tingle in your guts
Just the same as the day you
Met them
Catching fireflies
Waiting for the streetcar
Stroking the pennies in their pocket
Unafraid

Time is a strange beast
The kind that lives in dreams
And now that you are struck by
the possible ending you are
Overcome
with the knowing that there is
nothing more precious than this

“face/integrate/deal with.” By Julia in her bed

Sunday December 16, 2018
11:00pm
5 minutes
from a text

1) face the fear of getting it wrong
2)integrate bodily functions as warning signs: why am I crying? What is my stomach trying to tell me? Write, woman. Run.
3) deal with the loud emotions instead of
ignore or
turn down or
stave off or
fight back or
feel weak because of
4) give an open field for playtime and general exuberance, for loud, lift, freedom
5) treat the wound with tough love enough to disinfect it first; smothering it with a bandaid will stop the blood but not the bad attitude

“face/integrate/deal with.” By Sasha at her coffee table

Sunday December 16, 2018
10:50pm
5 minutes
From a text

Face the reality that despite all the books read and classes attended and the very best of intentions (the very very very very very best), you will make so many mistakes and not know what you’re doing and be the person you want to be mostly and the person you don’t want to be sometimes and that’s all okay. Get really good at saying, “Whoops!” and letting shit go. Start practising that now. “Whoops!”

Integrate the knowledge that life will never be the same, that this is the biggest change possible, and that change is sometimes hard for you. It’s miraculous and mundane It’s good. This is good. It will be good.

Deal with the finger-waving ghosts in your heart, in your closet, in your suitcase, in your vegetable crisper. You won’t have the same kind of space to meet them and greet them and face them come Spring.

“Super-trendy” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 15, 2019
5:05 pm
5 minutes
From the Gift Guide in Toronto Life

all the good purses are in the closet, top shelf.
haven’t wanted to wreck them or my shoulder. Alignment guy says I’m out of alignment: one arm weighed down far more than the other, hanging there like a bag of grapes.
I do not want to shrivel up before my time.
I have so much reaching still to do. The best part about it is out of sight out of mind. I am not who I was when I can’t see anything to remind me. I am me now, staring desperately into the reflections of convenience: The kettle, the tea cup filled, the tv turned off watching me instead.

“we are hanging out” by Julia on the 15

Friday December 14, 2018
3:48pm
5 minutes
From a text

It’s nice that you’re here.
All of us, we, think it’s nice. Nice that you say nice all the time. Nice that your hands are always wet for some reason. All of us, we, are curious about you. We’re all together and then there’s you. We’re all hanging out now. We, all of us, are making a memory. You’ll say it so we’ll just stop you right there-it’s nice. Soon you will be a part of what we do. Soon you will fix the leak in the boiler room. Soon you’ll be prepared to leave the stratosphere that you have come to call nice and never look back.

“Better than a landfill.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 13, 2018
12:35pm
5 minutes
Dust
Brianne Battye

“You’re a mess, Robbie,” Val shivers and zips her coat up past her chin.

“Jesus, it must be minus twenty-five – ” Rob looks up at the sky.

“Don’t ignore me!”

“I’m not, I’m just sayin’…” They stand there for a full minute, Val stamping her feet to get feeling back in her toes.

“I am a mess, but it’s okay… Like, I don’t usually let my life get messy, right? When have you ever seen me like this?” He makes a good point.

Val’s cheeks are turning bright red. “I just think that you should talk to someone, a counselor or something. You might even be able to find something subsidized?”

“Thanks. Yeah. I’ll look into it.” Rob pushes his hands further into his coat pockets. He feels something round.

“somehow you are sacred,” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday December 12, 2018
4:30pm
5 minutes
The Third Treatise
Yara Farran

Mia has started praying to the saints that she get better at baking, some of which are real and some of which are made up. Saint Chelsea looks after newly attempted recipes gone wrong. Cakes the overflow and fold molten rocks on the bottom of the oven, breads that don’t rise, cookies with bases burned to a crisp. Saint Tyrese is the saint of dishes. Caked on crumbs be gone! Solidified caramel – banish! Mia prays and beats egg whites into pearly peaks and wonders if buying this whole in the wall bakery was really a good idea.

“somehow you are sacred,” by Julia on the 84

Wednesday December 12, 2018
3:54pm
5 minutes
The Third Treatise
Yara Farran

As I stand here mighty, bigger than you,
I feel the earth holding you up. When the sight of me existing without force
the way you sometimes don’t
makes you stop in your tracks, I see you then, and know you are good. This rain has marked its territory on my skin. I have married and left it now too many times to count. This is how I know about growing. About staying. About you.
Somehow, it is true, you are sacred even if you do not know the meaning of the word. And I know what it’s like to wait for my time to shoot upward; to shed my old season; to take the place of my mother.

“fingers slimy from fries” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday December 11, 2018
11:03pm
5 minutes
Nicer
Amanda Proctor

I watch the kid with cat eyes lick his fingers clean
then he shoves his whole hand in his mouth and it’s no longer about grooming
the girl is said to be an angel, piece of cake, perfect
except she’s not as brave as they’d like her to be
reads too many books
is already proving smarter than one of them
I watch the kid roll his eyes at me when I apologize
to him for raising my voice
apologies come in buckets here and he knows they’re not worth their weight
I want to explain that I was scared he’d hurt himself with that knife, that I’m not mad anymore
The girl uses a dictionary to play Hangman
she draws a bunny rabbit instead of someone swinging by a noose

“fingers slimy from fries” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday December 11, 2018
8:03am
5 minutes
Nicer
Amanda Proctor

We fall in love over fish and chips, fingers slimy from fries, mayo and ketchup and coleslaw understanding the language of our kisses better than we do. We make love in the kitchen, the oven door a handle of acrobatic inspiration, opening and closing, opening and closing. We walk the long way to the store for avocados, eggs, kimchi, orange juice. We sing in the shower together, soaping each others’ bodies with a tenderness that transcends time. We dream together, for one another, about each other, bodies cocooned in flannel sheets and pillows tossed on the floor.

“buttered side up” by Julia in her room

Monday December 10, 2018
10:28pm
5 minutes
For Murphy
Jade Riordan

there’s a biscuit in our bed
I brought it in here
I’m the culprit sue me sorry
you’re the one who
buttered it
toasted it first then buttered it
you knew exactly what you were doing
And now I’m to blame for bed-crumbs and for low times
and for weakness
I’m the one we always hang the bad ideas on
but I never used to eat in bed until I met you and
I don’t remember now if it was to forget you or bring you closer to me
you’re the first guy who got me higher than this
I wanted more from you and you were smoking then
I didn’t think you
anything but cool
the first guy who got me high

“buttered side up” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday December 10, 2018
8:35am
5 minutes
For Murphy
Jade Riordan

Toast always falls butter side down
the good stuff with the flaky salt
that you really shouldn’t have bought
but did because you only live once
and it’s been a hard few months

Now you’re licking butter off the linoleum
and feeling sorry for yourself

You’re very good at feeling sorry for yourself
So good in fact that you wonder about listing it
as a special skill on your resume
alongside

Spanish speaker
Ballroom dancing
Susceptible to cold feet

You deserved that butter just as you deserve
to be squatting in the kitchen
robe coming undone
a smile spreading across your face