“Still later she folded into herself,” By Sasha at Ideal on Sorauren

Monday January 20, 2020
5:44pm
5 minutes
Peaches
Marion Winik

It’s hard to talk about this stuff and I’m a talker but it’s hard for me, even for talky talker talko me. I don’t know how to explain the radical transformation, but I want to try because I want to be understood. Isn’t that what we all really want? Folding into myself, like an envelope, I try and try and fail and maybe have a moment of shooting star success, but only to me, not to the person I’m talking to… They are still confused. They are still chewing their strange sandwich, sipping their flat kombucha,  cocking their head to the left and then to the right. I guess I could put a letter in my folded envelope self, put a letter to the past and future list, the current spreadsheet, the reminders and Notes in my phone. A letter. Written by hand? Ha. Who does that anymore. Me. I do. Fill the envelope with sparkles, or cocoa, or blow. Send it to someone (you?!) send it to someone and hope they might know what it means, even if I don’t.

 

“Sit comfortably” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday January 19, 2020
5:31pm
5 minutes
Sparrow’s Guide to Meditation
Sparrow

I lean towards the left and the right. I reach up and clasp my hands together over my head. I bend forward. There’s a snow storm in the forecast. There’s a boiled egg on the shelf in the fridge that’s been there for way to long. How long does it take for a cooked egg to go off? Is this something to Google? Something to text mother? Oh. Wait. Mother is dead. I only started meditating after the accident. I used to roll my eyes at people who meditated. Like yoga. Ridiculous. I guess the leaning to and fro is basically yoga. Who have I become? Mother is furrowing her brow, if she has one in heaven. That’s for sure. Goodness gracious. Is this meditating? Is this what it is? I squeeze my eyes shut. I remove my tongue from the roof of my mouth, like the teacher said to do, the one at the Zen Centre on East Broadway.

“Once, two women hiked a volcano” by Sasha in her bed

Saturday January 18, 2020
7:21am
5 minutes
Lava
Danusha Lameris

Once, two women hiked a volcano.
It was before dawn. The lava rock was hot.
The air between them was hot.
They hoped no one else would be there.
Someone else was there – an older man,
blue running shoes, grey windbreaker,
bright headlamp. They smiled at him.
Didn’t resent him being there after all.
A witness.

As the sun rose over the horizon,
swollen and unassuming, one woman
turned to the other woman and told her
that she loved her, not as a friend,
as something different,
something brighter, something new.

The other woman thought
this moment would never come.
So when it did, on a volcano,
as the sun rose, as the headlamp
of the man several hundred feet away
glowed skywards, downwards, skywards
again, she fell to her knees, held her face
in her hands. “Sandra,” she said.
”Sandy…”

They drank blue Gatorade and peeled
oranges and offered a small turquoise stone
to the Goddess of the Island, to the power
of the place.

“I find the result” by Sasha in her living room

Thursday January 16, 2020
9:00 am
5 minutes
From a quote by Mark Twain

I find the results under hydro bills and newspaper clippings on your desk. I don’t know why I’m there, going through your stuff, in your office. Something keeps compelling me to go in there. Read the inscriptions of your books. Sniff your strange bottles of tinctures and brews. Today is the first time that I’ve gone through your desk drawers. More disorganized than I’d guessed, especially the third one down. So much random crap… a baseball, a fountain pen, postcards from places you’ve never been… The top of the desk is more organized, but there’s bills and stuff. And then. The results. You must’ve asked for a copy from the doctor. Make it real. Return to it again and again. Turn the paper over in your hands. Taste the trueness of it. Lick a corner. Turn it upside down.

“They are noble who” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 15, 2020
8:08pm
5 minutes
From a quote by the Buddha

breathe deeply
that’s the only requirement here
place your hand on your belly and feel if it’s expanding
and if it’s landing you are one of the noble few

who want to get to the heart of the matter
and won’t run away if things start to shatter

Maybe there’s one more that I missed
anyone who happens to notice that they’re breathing
when they’re breathing and if it’s deeply
then they are the noble who

Pay attention and move on through
as if this was the only moment that counted
here and now there’s nothing found that proves this is how
but someway it proves this somehow

Breathe into the corners of a dusty room
breathe into the midnight and the afternoon
breathe into the creaky floor board or the bones
breathe into the hips and the home alones

breathe first and foremost
and be noble
even if it takes some reminding

“They are noble who” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday January 15, 2020
8:01am
5 minutes
From a quote by the Buddha

They are noble, those long legged wide shouldered birds of prey.
They shake their feathers at the insolence of the cartoon voiceover anthem.

It’s funny how the bones creak when the door opens and shuts.
A primordial memory. A language before tongues and shuttering.

The postural change of a tucked pelvis re-arranged around books,
twigs arranged into a castle, a waterfall of irony.

I won’t remember the exactness, or the date and time.
I will remember how it feels in my mother guts.

The temperature is dropping dropping dropping
a piano on my toes but they don’t crush they bloom.

“This is a test broadcast” By Julia on her couch

Monday January 13, 2020
8:04pm
5 minutes
from a text

You are receiving this message because you are subscribed to the Know Better Do Better Newsletter.
As a result of you signing up on our site, you will now be berated with notifications that will notify you when you can be a better person.
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You will be receiving messages tailored toward your resistance, your privilege, and your failures.
Did you click the “I agree” button when reading the terms of service?
Did you click the “I agree” button when we told you we would be using all kinds of archaic and twisted shame tactics to make you feel uncomfortable?
We, at the Know Better Do Better site, are not only compelled, but obligated, as well as entitled to tell you about you.

“This is a test broadcast” by Sasha in her living room

Monday January 13, 2020
7:38am
5 minutes
from a text

I watch a grey squirrel scale a pillar that holds the house up
Ponder the swelling heart in my chest but not with my mind

with my fingers massaging the sinew between the ribs that
hold the quaking strange thing

think about the taste of your body peppery on my tongue
and when will it feel familiar when will it no longer feel so new

I used to count my blessings before bed
list ten things I was grateful for

but now I do it throughout the day
close my eyes and send gratefulness up to the clouds

and down to the roots
You are all ten things today

“what about his own sex life?” by Julia on her couch

Sunday January 12, 2020
5:43pm
5 minutes
Elbowing The Seducer
T. Gertler

He spends his days watching porn
Not nights, not worse
His knees find a bend the way his ass finds a chair
the way he’s seen it done in badly-lit office sets
he can jack off to anything at this point
but doesn’t he stay looking, stay open, scroll, scroll
and isn’t that now part of it?
The decision to do it is inside and not buried, the content
a hot net filled with endless possibilities, every day the internet doubles in size
and anything you can think of is online, but what if he can’t think anymore on his own?
Scrolls and scrolls and until the webpage tells him the scene he wants to watch,
the scene he didn’t know he was fantasizing about, and now it’s not just for him
It’s not just him and the screen, but the scene thought out by other people,
given to him as a replacement for his own imagination

When he closes his eyes, he does not picture people
or women
or people
he sees the roll of the die, the happenstance so easily come by
he can’t come by himself
and isn’t that the hard part, the hardest part giving up the control of the fantasy generator
to someone who lives on the internet
giving ideas to anyone interested

“Go to hell” by Julia on her couch

Saturday January 11, 2020
9:19pm
5 minutes
Age Of Iron
J.M. Coetzee

Jesus and the devil had the same haircut, the same beard, the same laugh. Did you know that?

Did you ever see them shadow on the wall in your bedroom?
I could tell you a thing about that.

Maybe the prayer part doesn’t appeal to you.
It’s not for everyone.

Some people don’t realize that giving gratitude is prayer. That honouring a thing with your attention is prayer.
Praying to the devil?

I could tell you a thing about that.

You might even go to hell and confuse the place for something else since you’ll see so many good people there.

I don’t know if I’ve made that enticing but now you can think about it. All the best intentioned, good as gold people.

“Go to hell” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday January 11, 2020
10:08pm
5 minutes
Age Of Iron
J.M. Coetzee

You tell me that if you were here you would be giving me what I need, the taste of lemon and ginger, hands holding tired feet. My phone lights up like my heart does and I wonder for a breath how I got here, these walls of this house that held my first heartbreak, and my last, the snow making angel kisses on the window that I keep thinking I will see you outside of. The downy pillow of someone who understands below my head, weightless and wise. Lips buzzing in anticipation. There is a quietness to this loudness that makes me feel like I am home. Heaven is here.

“The insufferable arrogance of humanity” by Julia on her couch

Friday January 10, 2020
8:08pm
5 minutes
Big Picture
A. Whitney Brown

Babe says that he doesn’t trust people anymore, cause they like, wear their MO a little too loud. Like Babe says that you can smell some people’s try-hard like they bathe in it and that is so relatable. Like, think about it. You can tell when someone’s trying to like, butter you up, or get in your pants, or like, get you to smuggle some low grade shit. And you can tell when someone’s like performing instead of being. There’s a really big difference actually, and Babe says the insufferable people are the ones who name drop and shame shop. Babe says that shame shopping is like, who’s buying, you know? Like who’s trying to be better by taking on all the bullshit of the known world as if they could carry it on their own?

“But where is your life jacket” by Julia on the 9

Wednesday January 8, 2020
9:00pm
5 minutes
September 17
Amanda West Lewis 

Bev and I stopped watching the flight attendants do the safety demonstration on airplanes. I guess they lost our interest! Bev joked to me the last time we flew that she wished they wouldn’t have to interrupt our show to show us something we’ve seen before! Look at our frequent flier miles! You’ve seen the way some airlines really put a lot of thought into it, right? That’s the kind we’d be interested in. But what are the chances that something bad will even happen? You know how many times I’ve flown, and the worst thing that I encountered was a screaming baby? That’s the worst! Nothing to even worry about. Why put that negativity into our heads?

“God is a really famous spirit” by Julia on the 84

Tuesday January 7, 2020
1:15pm
5 minutes
OMG! How Children See God
Monica Parker

Okay hi God, I know you must be really hard pressed for time these days since you became such a famous spirit and all. I get it, people want things, need things, expect things from you. I also know it’s not always as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Sure, you answer prayers and smite people, sure when we see your crib it’s decked out in pure gold and you have angels everywhere. But that daily stuff can be brutal. People are blaming you for things and it’s not your fault, your ideas are misinterpreted, and you’re like held to some unrealistic standard to be on all the time and to be perfect. I’m not here to ask for much, but if you’re not hiding out today from all the stress, would you mind gracing my sister? She has been struggling lately to find meaning and I think a tiny reminder from you would go a long way. Even a bit of sunshine or something like that.

“How far your eyes may pierce” by Julia on the plane

Monday January 6, 2020
12:55pm EST
5 minutes
King Lear
Shakespeare

And still a river bleeds out the secret, close enough to the house babble babble

Who hushes the mouth spilling and if we can is it now?

Now that we have decided to leave tired skin on the ground for its new job

A spread on the earth and nurture the rest of the ecosystem
Like a fallen tree might
Like a called soul can

The water waits reflecting and there is not a chance for seeing the wrong thing
It does not lie
The deer does not get spooked

We unravel at the sorry bone and spin out out, babble babble
into a good home being built
into foundation strengthening

The river sings it out if we leave it up to her

And we do
We leave it up to her

“In the diary she kept” by Julia on Howland

Sunday January 5, 2020
9:55pm
5 minutes
Sabbath 
Wayne Muller

Mindy Lou kept her diary blue, locked with a prayer and a warning

“Open this and the devil will kiss you all the way to hell and back again”

She wrote from her truest heart, and nobody could part the seas she stirred and roared on

“This book is protected by none other than Jesus Christ and if you want to know deep suffering, turn the page, I double dog dare you”

For inside she stored her secrets, her bashful cheeks, and quiet rumblings

“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

“Those were the rules.” By Sasha at Black River Farm

Saturday January 4, 2020
11:03am
5 minutes
The Murderee
Martin Amis

Our breath freezes before it hits the air.
Icicles circling the morning mist rising
off the corn field,
touching the rays of sun, reaching
finger and toe beams
towards the frozen ground.

Breath holds the promise of the space between,
where we mix and merge, where the us lives.

We are writing a new book.

It holds others than us, lives that we
weave in with our pages, a purple thread
and a red one. We spill and splay,

the breath of these colours,
unsure of the chapter organization,
the editorial style, the font.

A flock of geese flies high in a V above us,
leaders and followers trading off with
effortless grace. I stop walking.

I look back.
Our footprints in the snow, leading us here,
the generosity of the clouds parting. I turn
my face towards the sun,
let her fill me up, let her breath
sketch the outline of my body.

“The dark thought, the shame” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Friday January 3, 2020
11:54am
5 minutes
The Illuminated Rumi
Tr. by Coleman Barks 

This is a bidding farewell at the top of my lungs
overlooking the snow covered fall towards the river
This is the release of the fear
putting her down in the brush beside the fox tracks
marking her grave with a stone
I won’t be back to visit but I will sing a hymn
to all the little places that are still afraid
all the little places that won’t be buried for
awhile yet

The grouse rises from the cedar forest
creates a sound in the snow like the breaking open
I jump
towards the open arms of safety
the open arms of the edge

This new year
hugs my hips
puts hands on my feet
pressing into the frozen ground
A sunbeam between my teeth
This body has shed and bloomed
splayed and healed
This body has birthed and wailed
released and reformed
This body knows the story of my mother
in veins that swim a full hearted yes
grandmother hands
daughter belly round with breath
round with trust and pleasure

This is the place where we laid ourselves
in the field encircled
We will keep coming back
coming back
coming back
coming back to the wide sky
the red barn
the practise of choosing
full hearted yes
the practise of love
a verb
bell hooks knows
a doing word

 

“brought their wives and children” by Julia in Baden

Wednesday January 1, 2020
12:07am
5 minutes
The Trial of Louis Riel
George R.D. Goulet

lingering behind the red door
Dottie clutches a tattered handkerchief to her mouth to keep from crying out

the demons were in there, shaking

Dottie isn’t finding the deeper cause but knows she needs them gone

like that time she was drugged at the bar, an unmarked capsule fizzing in her drink, and a tiny girl suffering, needing her

She looked herself in the mirror and said it over and over again, rebuking, encouraging-
“You must” she said, “you must. You Must.”

“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

“I would like to say, in closing,” by Julia at The Common on Bloor

Monday December 30, 2019
2:43pm
5 minutes
Malcolm X Speaks
Selected speeches and statements

In conclusion, my soul is happiest with you.
That’s it. That’s the reason. Call me on my bullshit later.
This is the real deal deep down wub wub wubbbbbb wub of
what is happening here.

You and I can be a unit. Make a baby! Throw that baby into
the air and send collaboration up, way up into the sky until
that baby bursts into a billion baby flecks of light and makes
another baby! ANOTHER BABY! You and me, is what I’m saying.

As big as the biggest basin filled with baby making love. That
love, I didn’t want to say it, is the biggest thing about us
and you and me, me and you, our souls, joyful together, what a
good idea this is. I don’t think I need to convince you because of the feeling!

That feeling of Purple Thursday, that pump pump pouring of
feathers floating, you know that pouring of light feathers floating?
That ffff ffffff fffffffeeling of not needing anything else?
That White January and all new promises from the very bottom of
the baby basin.

I am happiest with you because of all we’ve built. That was hard work!
Hard team work and you know how much I hate being stuck with the wrong
group, doing all the heavy lifting on my own with these sad little wrists,
and I have done it and I have wanted to not. But not! Not with YOU.

“They did almost everything wrong” by Julia on Howland

Sunday December 29, 2019
12:04am
5 minutes
The Body
Bill Bryson

aunt judy waited at the foot of the driveway for the consistent mist, the blanket of wet to stop. She didn’t have an umbrella. aunt jude hated carrying around umbrellas. She didn’t get out of her car at first and then it was too long and she got self conscious. So she stood outside. And her hair plastered to her cheeks and forehead. And the tip of her nose held one single drop, hanging there, swaying in the breeze.

“They did almost everything wrong” by Sasha at her kitchen counter

Sunday December 29, 2019
12:13pm
5 minutes
The Body
Bill Bryson

trapped beneath the floorboards
amidst mouse droppings and dust
mildew and

the secrets of socked feet

bare feet
treading heavy
treading light

morning feet in slippers
shuffling in slippers
with worn soles

dancing to Bruce Springsteen
Massive Attack
Kanye West
feet that know the tune
know the rhythm
know the rhyme

feet that rage and kick
toddler feet and father feet
the language of the toes
the vocabulary of a flex
a pop
a crunch

the bones of this house
have seen love sprout like dandelions
yellow and awake
the femur of this foundation
words in the ground below
stories in the veins
coursing towards
coursing away

A breath in the sigh
of winter
the lights turned off
the night kisses
pursed sleeping lips

“They all would be knocking back a few” by Julia on Howland

Saturday December 28, 2019
11:06pm
5 minutes
The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe

They would be on their third or fourth beer by now,
knocking them back on the hour to keep up with the clock.

I know they would be waiting for the “girls” to arrive before they started playing the game. Better to have an audience. Helps with the ego. A little friendly competition. Someone to see you win gracefully. Someone to watch you hand another guy’s ass to him without it becoming a thing.

By the 6th beer they’d be showing everyone their choreography from Ker’s wedding.

“They all would be knocking back a few” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday December 28, 2019
3:43pm
5 minutes
The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe

These months I find the soft liquid
goes down easy doesn’t require anything
but an open throat

Takes the edge off you say and I agree
all curves through no edge but in the
catch in the
throat

I had to hold tight to the rules that I’d written
we all do right
It wasn’t just me?

But now that the gooey centre is on the outside
spread between fingers and in the bellybutton
I find my hands
heart
open instead of closed

These months I savour the sweet burn
sat on the grey couch under the window
where the birds roost and leave
roost and leave

their red necks
craning back as we watch

“walk-in counselling clinic” by Julia on the Megabus

Friday December 27, 2019
9:35am
5 minutes
from a sign

Devra puts on her new lace cardigan. New to her, hand me down from Aunt Mary’s kids. Yesterday she went through the big garbage bag of the no-longer wanted/fitting and managed to find one item. The coral cardigan was the only thing that didn’t instantly turn her into a baby doll. Aunt Mary’s kids were young. Devra could fit into the tights but she didn’t feel proud to be wearing a 12 year old’s stuff.

She pats her face dry after washing with the new rose-water cleanser she got for Christmas and looks herself in the mirror. “Today’s a good day for it.” She says to herself.

“Ice on the sidewalk” by Julia in Joe’s childhood room

Tuesday December 24, 2019
12:02pm
5 minutes
Or Death and December
George Garrett

This city is colder than the one we left. I haven’t missed the rain once. Not in my life, even during the draught. When we left the first time coming back was like a time stamp on where we had been and how much we’ve learned. Seeing the CN Tower used to make me cry. Every street is a buzz. There are people out and about, wearing layers, walking slowly on the icy sidewalk. Back home, I guess we’re calling it that now, the cold was welcome when it came. It wasn’t too much or too hard. Not for someone born to a cold far harsher.

I don’t have the right gear for this city. Been known to keep a parka around just in case but the reality of this no longer being my home has finally sunk in. Why keep a coat around when you live in a place that doesn’t need it.

“Outside the ripe hayfields” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 21, 2019
8:55pm
5 minutes
My Father’s Lunch
Erica Funkhouser

Daddy was smiling as he told me about taking me to work with him. You could see a little glint in his eye like he’d been thinking about it on his own. Planning, smiling. I couldn’t wait to go with him on account of that little smirk. You could tell he was excited to show off his little girl and let them all know who would be taking over the business.

When I think of him that way it brings a tear to my eye. Daddy always knew how to make me feel special. I guess when someone really believes in how special you are, it oozes out of them. I wouldn’t trade that look for anything.

“Timing’s everything.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday December 19, 2019
7:30am
5 minutes
Snowflake
William Baer

Love is the the way that your best friend hugs you when they know you are coming off a hot streak of bravery, palm pressed between your shoulder blades, familiar sweet breath in your ear. Love is the dishes getting done, not by you. Love is the sound of a new voice, a new old voice, a voice that you’ve never heard before but is instantly familiar. Love is the birds at the feeder in the winter garden, small hands pressed against the window, sunlight reviving the spots that are dark. Love is the smell of cheese melting, picking the crunchy bits off the edges of the pan. Love is raspberries in the morning, before the sun rises, before the day has fully arrived, a spray of spit and joy frosting your arm and calling you home.

“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 below” by Sasha on her living room floor

Wednesday December 18, 2019
10:18am
5 minutes
Somewhere I’ll Find You
Phebe Hanson

I hold Tova’s hand for the months of February and March. There’s still snow on the ground. She’s home from the hospice, set up in the living room of the house that used to belong to her father, Mort. I take time off work (unpaid, because she’s not a dependant, but my boss is kind). I leave my apartment early, and get to the small brick bungalow with the blue door and the white window shutters. The night nurse (there are a few that cycle through) tells me that she’s sleeping, or that she’s listening to Ram Das on tape. Brian, from Trinidad is my favourite. He exudes kindness and his smile is like a light bulb. Tova is covered in blankets, mostly ones that belonged to Mort. Who buys blankets anymore? Before she got sick she was a beautiful round pear, but now she’s a spaghetti noodle, her hand like a branch in mine.

“because it was the only job” by Julia in her office

Monday December 16, 2019
2:53pm
5 minutes
The con job
Charles Bukowski

keep your coat on
no don’t tell them it’s because you’re shivering past the bone
or because your skin has thinned over the last few days
or that it’s the only thing that keeps the ache from surfacing
Don’t tell them the weight feels like a miracle since all the pain
kept you from sleeping

Nobody will ask you what you’re doing
don’t tell them the truth
be a mystery
a team player
a warm thing

Be a good story
Make them wonder at you
don’t give it all away
If they ask you can mention it so they don’t linger in the doorway
so you might be honest without having to be rude
Don’t be rude
shake that option from your skull
it wants to stay but you have to let it leave

count down the minutes
33, to be exact
keep your coat on so the exit is as quick as can be
smile at them on your way
don’t let them see you too long or the red under your nose
32, ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at

When it gets good and quiet take your shoes off
move to the big chair and pull down the shade
be a good story
even on days you don’t feel like doing the telling

“The first was of Saint Gabriel” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 14, 2019
7:53pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I fell in love with the messenger. There are no addages about not kissing them, only shooting. He arrived with flowing hair and a scroll tucked under his arm. Romantic. I wanted to watch him slowly unroll it, revealing only one line at a time.
He arrived at my door like a whisper.
He was a figure from a painting, his smile a twig snapped from Paradise itself.
I thought about his mouth unfolding the news. It did not take much for me to want him, truth be told. A man bearing a letter in my name. That was all I could ever ask for.

“The meaning doesn’t matter” by Julia in her office

Friday December 13, 2019
12:26pm
5 minutes
Bunthorne’s Song
W.S. Gilbert

We can all let go now
there is no discovery of meaning because the meaning doesn’t matter anymore
So anything you were holding
release
anything you were imagining would change into something else
say goodbye
it is was something nothing
it doesn’t need to be investigated
the meaning
has left the building

I personally would like to take that personally but that’s my personality trying to make it about me
trying to blame something internal or past tense for the pain I feel in the right now
and it’s not about me
even the no shows or the blank stares
or the awkward bumbling about
I want that to be mine so I can transform it into something good
but I don’t need to make it mine to transform it

I can think it into meaninglessness by remembering that meaning no longer matters
I can will it into atoms and particles, the way it was intended
by not even clutching my fist around it to begin with

It’s not mine!
It never belonged to me
And here I was thinking that I had some divine right to it
that I earned it or deserved it
but it was never mine or anyone’s and it was wrong of
me to remove it from its den and blow it up

“And the show won’t stop.” by Julia in her office

Thursday December 12, 2019
11:45am
5 minutes
Theater
William Greenway

not if you’re sick, not if you’re wondering
not if you’re late to the party or fumbling
not if you don’t want to or you think you can’t
not if the door opens or it slams
not if the weather punishes you and only you
not if the sadness turns too blue
not if the schedule says that it won’t
not if the gravel road bumps or it don’t

The show won’t stop
the show won’t wait
the show won’t pop
the show won’t wait

not if you’re tired, not if you’re confused
not if you didn’t like what’s in the news
not if you got lost or took a different route
not if you succumbed to the shadows of doubt
not if you were hungry or if you needed to sit
not if you wanted to but couldn’t make it
not if you bent down to smell the flowers
not if you stayed up until the wee hours

The show won’t pop
the show won’t wait
the show won’t stop
the show won’t wait

it has to go on
it must

“Something continues and” by Julia in her office

Wednesday December 11, 2019
3:35pm
A Birthday
W.S. Merwin

This is how it goes
I wait until I know
the answer in my bones
and then I unload
the only thing I throw
are feelings at the wall
and if a yell unfolds
I’ll hurl it in the cold

This is how it is
I hold on to my skin
and shiver underneath
the seeming arbitrary
with passions dimmed
I fight the light within
until I am destined
to do it all again

This is how it hurts
it always comes in spurts
With hope interspersed
it really could be worse
but nothing cures the curse
like a living breath first
and if I am not sure
then I will become more terse

This is how it is
how it hurts
how it goes

“what God told me in a dream once” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday December 8, 2019
9:42pm
5 minutes
A Poem In Which God Is Both A Metaphor And Not
Chloe N. Clark

 

Careening towards the impossible we are doing it
we are flying and the wings are spread and it feels so right
for the first time in a long time
it feels so right
I open the little windows on the advent calendar
the one we had when I was a girl and you were nowhere to be found yet
Eight little windows
catching up

A doll
A duck
A candle
A book
A violin
I put it on the window sill
the light shines through
illuminating the face
the bill
the flame
the cover
the strings

catching up
to myself amidst the flurries falling
catching my new heartbeat
my new reflection in the glass

God told me in a dream
that it wouldn’t be what I thought
It would be better

“since I let myself think about” by Julia on her couch

Sunday December 1, 2019
8:06pm
5 minutes
I Never Liked Your Friends
Alexandria Maillot

mushrooms and pizza crust
mountains of cheese
decadent pudding
vanilla milkshakes
black cherry yogurt
mint chocolate
driveby burger dorritos
roti
roti
roti
hazelnut cream sea-shells
nutella filled donuts
double-baked almond croissant
lemon meringue pie
zia’s easy cheesecake
zia’s tiramisu
zia’s porcini mushroom gnocci
zia’s sweet-milk tarts

“I have eaten his emptiness” by Julia in her kitchen

Saturday November 30, 2019
8:36pm
5 minutes
Visit from an incubus 
Laura Murphy

it was 3AM
came to me in a dream
fed the beast
broke the cycle

didn’t tell anyone
didn’t believe it at first
wrote it down
walked around

by dawn there was none of me left
I had eaten so much of what was weighing him down
my skin held his emptiness

my arms lifted a different hope from their bones and one I did not recognize
one that did not belong to me

the dream kept speaking as if it knew better
and so I listened
one body freer of their limits and counting

“The life. The death. The rebirth.” By Sasha at the kitchen table on Nassau Street

Thursday November 28, 2019
10:56am
5 minutes
From a Facebook post
The waves today remind you
of how you crash and roll towards
the life the death the rebirth
over and over you cycle and recycle
turn the leaf and gold is there

Last night you dreamed of
strangling and braiding hair
pressed between your past and your future
sweaty back and angel toes
Okay you say when the dawn
stirs you towards morning
Okay
When you think you know
is when you are actually on the doorstep
a small blue bowl in your cupped hands
you raise your fist
you knock

The wind took you home
from the waves and the uneasiness
brought you back to the small row house
where you’ve unpacked your things
where you boil eggs
where you call you mother

and ask her what time she plans to arrive

“Don’t let the exclamation point fool you.” By Sasha at the table on Nassau St.

Sunday November 24, 2019
1:40pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

Punctuation matters. Line breaks matter. Doing what you say you’re going to do matters. Remembering birthdays, first days, death days, and anniversaries matters. Doing the laundry matters. Chickpeas in the pantry matters. Telling the truth matters. Telling someone they are having a very good hair day matters. Listening to your inner voice of quiet wisdom matters. Brushing your teeth matters. Getting outside into the fresh air matters. Relaxing your jaw matters. Phoning a friend when you want to curl up in the fetal position (from the fetal position?) matters. Breathing deeply matters. Compost matters. Doing your best matters.

“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

“Still coughing” by Sasha in the office on Nassau Street

Friday November 22, 2019
10:31am
5 minutes
From a text

Vera’s still coughing seven weeks after she first gets sick. She goes to the walk-in clinic on the corner by the bank and waits for a long long time in a waiting room with lots of sniffly children and elderly people wearing masks. Finally she sees a doctor who looks like her granddaughter (who looks like she could be her granddaughter) and says that she’s still coughing. The doctor smiles, and asks why she isn’t wearing a mask. The doctor prescribes a puffer and cough drops. Vera scoffs at the cough drops but says she’ll get the puffer from her pharmacy, not the one in the building.

“You receipt” by Julia on her couch

Thursday November 21, 2019
8:29pm
5 minutes
From an email

the bill comes and when I flip it over I see that I spent too much on punishing myself again
afraid of being big
but why tell them all that I am, lion, lion, lyin’

It’s the loneliest place, you know the one that used to be, the one that was
was was was and nobody cares about you past tense
nobody
nobody
nobody remembers
nobody cares

when I revisit every item on the receipt it’s clear i’ve wasted my money
put the bets on unknown needs of the masses
now I know what they’re after
now I know
it’s not me at my best
it’s not me at my worst
it’s not me at all

and there’s no flow left
nothing left
no more room in the brain
no more space in the drain

“You are going to have to give and give and give”

Wednesday November 20, 2019
9:41pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Anne Lamott

What you want to say is the truth.
And you don’t know who’s reading this now after all the times you’ve talked about it.
Here’s a place where you do what you do and then afterwards another thing. A new thing.
A new.
What do you want them to know?
How ready you are? How sure?
Or the thing that scares you more.
How desperately you want to be a part of the ecosystem and how afraid you are that it might take more than a day.
How you want nothing more than for them to hold you useful, for them to know you good.
Is this where you tell them you’re ready but you give a damn so you feel shaky behind the eyes?
Is this where you say that you asked for them and the universe was good to you and gave you what you needed?
When do you tell them the truth?
That you don’t know everything and that you’re willing to learn?
That this whole thing is messy but you’d rather spoil your shirt than sit around waiting.
You are going to have to give and give and give some more.
But you are going to have to receive some too.
You’re going to have to fill up on what they have to offer.
You’re going to have to let them evolve your heart and your hands and your mind and your soul.
That’s the fear. That you will be different.
But I promise you that you will able to handle that.
You have always done this.
You have always found a way.

“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 have continued to struggle” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday November 19, 2019
9:26pm
5 minutes
From a letter 

you were born in toronto
you thank your lucky stars
when people ask you where
you’re from you don’t have to lie or embellish

now after all these years your area code is worth something and when people discover you never changed your number they seem offended and you are proud

didn’t think you’d be here this long, but here you are, still here, still here

you remember the day you looked out at the skyline and said two years max as if the timeline were drawn in the sand without factoring the storm

it takes longer than you thought it would to find home in a new place and three seems like the magic number; the beginning of the not so terrible, maybe even good

you’re still here now
still here

“This is a” By Julia at her desk

Monday November 18, 2019
8:10pm
5 minutes
From an email
limit and it’s sign
this is a
notion of history repeating
warned ya
this is a lazy walk to the water
a rainy night far from consequence
truth or dare
would you ever make the more interesting choice
and follow something though for once
never know what will be at the end
or in the middle
there are ways to transport our minds and
our worries in a zigzag pattern
so they don’t reach z via the curse of the straight line
this is a limit
this is a hard stop
this is a pivot instead of a complaint
this is
a risk worth repeating
the notion of history and then some
a rainy night without the mechanism of truth
this is a sign
this is another 10 years zooming by
uncomfortably and thankfully
in a zigzag pattern

“Coming today” by Julia at her desk

Sunday November 17, 2019
9:31pm
5 minutes
From a note on the table

B’s coming today from Thunder Bay. She texted earlier saying she doesn’t know exactly when she’s set to arrive now on account of the highway moose.
When I asked her for details I didn’t get a response for over 2 hours and that worried me. Finally she wrote back saying, “Dead already, RIP, still coming” which from B is a miracle. I think it was blocking the road but I’ll have to wait till she gets here for the information. If she had hit the moose she would likely cancel her trip without even telling me. B is prone to last minute cancellations depending on the severity of the unexpected circumstance.
When I was last in Thunder Bay I also saw a dead highway moose and to tell you the truth I wasn’t as shocked when B told me about hers because of it. I somehow planted that in my memory as a Thunder Bay thing, which is unfair since I was only there for a few hours. I guess I could remember it for having the “Best Chinese Restaurant” as well but I ate at that restaurant and it was clear that Thunder Bay had a penchant for hyperbole. Well I don’t know about all of Thunder Bay, again, it was the only place I ate.