“Resource Recovery” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday May 22, 2018
10:44pm
5 minutes
From an apartment garbage bin

It is as good as bringing Jesus back from the dead
comes with a message and a couple lessons
a few good hugs and whistle tucked at the side of the mouth

Heart strings pulled and twirled around the finger

A lightness of being in a room together without all that unknowing

It is a pulse after a flat line
a dream after insomnia
a hope caught in the wind long enough to blow a kiss at it

The body starts up again after rest
after laying down on the track and wishing

The body breaks free from the wire and builds a blanket fort instead
something soft to land on
something easy enough to lay all the weary and weighted

The sun sets in the sky drawing heat to a close
The shadows paint the city in all their perfect silks and blues and pinks

We eat.

“I know that guy, we’ve talked” by Julia on her couch

Monday May 21, 2018
10:19pm
From a text

You’re the guy from my dreams
Wake up in a cold sweat wish I never fell asleep
The one who my mother warned me about

The one who told the truth all those years ago and I still heard what I wanted to hear
Isn’t it funny how you wish for some things and they end up coming true?
The way I said Give me someone who doesn’t let me get away with my bullshit
Give me someone who fights back

I heard myself say that you and I would never work–told myself that and then I pretended like I didn’t know what I was talking about
That I was wrong about those instincts

That I didn’t know what being right felt like anyway

It’s been a long time now and we’ve talked
You’re the guy from my dreams I choose other people over
But how can you trust a dream that wakes itself up?
…surprises me with how little he knows about the things I thought I knew

“I know that guy, we’ve talked” by Sasha on the ferry back to the mainland

Monday May 21, 2018
3:18pm
5 minutes
From a text

I still get texts from you
three years after I knew you
After I took your words
in my mouth
sloshed them around
Spit out teeth and tar

With the gin and tonic
With the water and lemon juice
With the salad dressing

I still hear from you sometimes
When I’m least expecting
When I’m with my shiny prize of a lover
When I’m lonely
When I’m full

There’s nothing that sorry can’t buy
At least with me
But the fact that you don’t say it
That you never will
Is apple cider vinegar
Bath overflowing

What the fuck do you want from
Me on a Monday
So far in the future

I don’t respond
I never do
I imagine blocking your number
But then how will I know that
You need me
How will I know
That hundreds of kilometres away
Someone is reaching for
The past

“with its blood-red brick” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Sunday May 20, 2018

11:09pm

The Virgin Cure

Ami McKay

Both of us are bleeding and craving steak. You told me twelve years ago that eating it would make my period come after a pregnancy scare. You say you still sort of believe that.

I think maybe I don’t have to worry about that for better or worse, complicatedly.

Upstairs it sounds like the devil is playing back your promise to him in reverse. I don’t move because I don’t need him coming for me next. All that stamping on his grave I did. All that burning chocolate.

It wasn’t possible the last time I was late. I had to rack my brain to make sure I wasn’t forgetting something. Someone. When it came I looked in the blood to see if the start of a living thing was in there, pooling at the bottom of the toilet bowl. It made me feel better to see it disappear even with a thick string painting it jelly fish before it sunk.

“With its blood-red brick” by Sasha on Pender Island

Sunday May 20, 2018
10:43
The Virgin Cure
Ami McKay

Some women have broccoli pussies. Just a fact. Some women have grapefruit ones, at least they taste like that, at least that’s what some people say. Some women smell like fish and chips down there, real salt n’ vinegar. Ha ha! Some women have pussies that look like dahlias or roses or venus fly traps. Some women bleed every month with the moon, all witchy and wild-like. Some women don’t bleed at all because they’re too skinny, or they lost something that they have to find again. Sometimes you see one and you’re like – HEY! I’ve been wondering when you’d come into the light!

“present something that is true” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Saturday May 19, 2018
10:40pm
5 minutes
From a quotei by Kelly Hill

Life’s goal:

Find the truth

Full stop

Repeat

Full stop

Repeat again

And then the going gets toughLike it always does

And the choices don’t seem so clear

Foot on the break and watch the deer with her baby?

Swerve and keep going to people please the car behind you?

What if a friend does not ask for advice but you still want to give it? Safe? Smart? Honesty over tact?Truth over tragedy?

Life’s goal:

Be the truth so you won’t have to go looking for it

Be the truth so it will always be right there in front of you waiting for you

Repeat

Repeat

“present something that is true” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday May 19, 2018
10:05 pm
5 minutes
From a quotei by Kelly Hill

The cedars remind me that
all that matters is
what’s true

I pick fossils on the beach
Wonder how many million
Years are in my hand

Trying to let go of expectations
You touch my cheek
Here we are

Sunburned nose and stars
Peeking bright
My heart races

The cedars whisper
Be here now
No where else to go

Eat cheesecake on the
Picnic table and
Listen to the waves

“Let me die, dear Lord” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Friday May 18, 2018
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Birth House
Ami McKay

I am giving up my sad boots and asking for something a little less heavy. I want to tip toe toward you and maybe we can all quiet the floor. I want us to be happy. I don’t know how to make that sound better. No metaphors. No regrets. Happy and whole. You can take the old me and kill it. Ask someone if you need to use a particular tool to save the rest. What knife would the good Lord use? Let that one sing her last song at the moon and go gently into the earth. Only death can make room for new life. Only goodbye to sorrow can rebuild.

“Modern medicine clashes” by Julia at her desk

Thursday May 17, 2018
10:16pm
5 minutes
from The Observer (UK)

The lady with the floppy hat tells me that I should not let the doctors give me anything.
Don’t let them try to make you take more than your body needs.
Rely on homeopathic remedies.
I tell her my mother will flip her shit when she hears this.
The lady is concerned about my mother flipping and I have to tell her, out of joy.
My mother has been researching pills.
I think she thinks she has to prove to my sister that she knows what she’s talking about.
My sister will not take one wikepedia page as Gospel.
She used to take gospel as Gospel and would tell you that she is not that person anymore.
I didn’t want to take pills for my headache because the lady with the floppy hat
tells me that my body is too sensitive.
She tells me no alcohol either if I can avoid it.
I am about to tell her my mother will flip her shit again and then I stop.
I didn’t want to mess anything up but my head was already so messed up.
I took one of the white pills and swallowed the water.
I wasn’t going to take the second one because she said always take less than I need.
And then I took the second one.
Because I really didn’t want this headache.
I don’t know who to believe.
A faint throb quickens.

“Modern medicine clashes” by Sasha on her balcony

Thursday May 17, 2018
8:43pm
5 minutes
from The Observer (UK)

“You must be Mrs. Macarthy? It’s nice to meet you, I’m the resident who assisted Dr. Chokrany in Stephen’s surgery. I’m pleased to say that it was a success, and your husband is in post-op and he should be waking up in the next hour or so…”

“Hi Mom, I only have a minute and – … No, Mom. I don’t get long weekends. I’m – … Mom, I only have a minute so please let me finish. I didn’t get the fellowship in Halifax so I won’t be back for Gus’ wedding… Mom. Calm down. I, I – … Shit, I have to go. I’ll call you back when I’m out of surgery. I love you.”

“Babe? I’m going to be late… I’m sorry… I, I – … It’s been a long fucking shift, okay, and – … I’ll be home by ten at the latest.”

“Are you Sue Rothstein’s son? Hi, I’m Dr. Gold, I’ve just come out of the OR and I’m so sorry to say that your mother’s tumour had spread into her brain far more intensely than we could see from the imaging. She didn’t make it through surgery. I’ll give you a minute, and if you have any questions – … We always do our best, that always what we do… I’m sorry for your loss.”

“She actually cooks” By Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 16, 2018
12:16am
5 minutes
Overheard in the dining room

I read your poetry hoping to find a piece of me there
Maybe a big piece that cannot be mistakened for someone else
When I uncover the grave there is a body buried alive
barely breathing, but not dead yet
I weep at the beauty of those words–stiched together like a
quilt to leave hanging on the fraying loveseat
I find a way to see your heart in the hurt
And we are both bodies buried alive, barely breathing
but not dead yet
I have hooked up the tubes and wires and run you through
my veins delivering a kind of test to all my internal organs
It works
I am working
You can be my blood and I will keep pumping
pumping

“She actually cooks” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday May 16, 2018
7:02am
5 minutes
Overheard in the dining room

I take more time now
I try to rush less now
Or maybe that’s a lie now
T-R-Y is the truth I guess

I watch my mother’s body break
And I think about all the women
Breaking
Breaking open
Breaking down
Breaking through
Breaking waves
Breaking story
Breaking bread
Breaking hearts
Breaking wide

I can’t punctuate because
This isn’t over and there’s
No symbol that can accurately
Mark the
Break

Maybe it’s better to stick with
fingers stained
Yellow from curry powder
Or the fine art of slicing tomato
Blending chickpeas into gold

Breaking down the heart
Breaking down the nucleus
Breaking into laughter
Breaking into love

“Intelligent, quirky, passionate” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday May 15, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
from Quill and Quire

Welcome to Search-and-Love and thank you for joining our community. Setting up your profile is going to take some time, but you can save as you go and come back to it as many times as you need to. Remember that the love of your life is going to see what you write here, so make it count. We congratulate you on taking your love life, and your future, into your own hands.

“I don’t think this is for me,” you say, and you’re right in some ways.

“Of course it is! Come on! It’s now or never!” I pat your arm.

“It hasen’t even been a year, Kel…” Tears fill your eyes and I –

“We’ve talked about this a million times. You have to get back on the horse. You’ll go on a few dates and you’ll see how you feel! If you hate it, you’ll take your profile down. Okay?”

Now, let’s start easy – describe yourself in three words.

“My mom calls him that” by Julia at her desk

Monday May 14, 2018
11:53pm
5 minutes
from a text

My mom used to call my brother Terminator 3. That was before Terminator 3 came out. Is it out? He used to do some pretty Terminator-like stuff. Once he wiped his bloody nose on the neighbours clean white sheets drying on the line in the backyard. That one was pretty bad.
He’s probably the most devoted kid she has though. He lived at home for a while and mowed the lawn for a while and picked up groceries for a while and payed their credit cards for a while. Now he’s the designated driver when I come home to visit. He picks me up at the airport even during a blizzard and he never seems put out by having do something for family. He had to get hip surgery recently and ended up staying at my mom’s house while he was healing. He got to ring a little bell too when he needed something. He loved that. But my mom thought it was really funny so she loved it too. I don’t think she calls him Terminator 3 anymore. Now he gets his real name. I guess ever since he grew into himself he’s been pretty okay to be around. When I go home he tells me some of the same stories over and over again but that might have more to do with genetics than anything.

“My mom calls him that” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday May 14, 2018
1:13pm
5 minutes
from a text

“Scrub-a-dub”. That’s what Mom used to call Dustin. He hated bath time, he hated water. He didn’t even want to drink it. Mom would have to add a splash of cranberry juice to his water bottles that she’d send to school. If it was straight water he simply wouldn’t drink it. Kira and I used to joke that he’d have a heart attack if he ever fell into a bath, or the lake.

“Come on, scrub-a-dub,” Mom would say, trying to distract him or something, trying her best to get him to bathe. He would scream and cry. He would tantrum. She’d usually resort to a sponge bath. We didn’t know that Dustin had a lot of other fears, too. We didn’t know what was going to happen.

“Manifest plainness” By Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Sunday, May 13, 2018
1:53pm
5 minutes
From a quote on by Lao Tzu

Manifest plainness
the starling that eats
from the feeder on the porch
the hummingbird cooing
into sugar water

Manifest brilliance
the purple blooms
on the balcony
you’ve never bought
a hanging plant before

Manifest the unknown
talking about things that
there’s no way to predict
talking about the big things
that we can’t ever
know for sure

Manifest beauty
the sweetness of beloved
morning breath
footsteps
tree leaves

“Manifest plainness” by Julia in her bed

Sunday, May 13, 2018
6:19am
5 minutes
From a quote on by Lao Tzu

The colour is right
Light pink, baby blue, hazy orange

The wake up is long
pushing the eyelashes open slowly
almost drifting off and farther away

The label on the alarm is a message from past me, wisdom and honesty
Please Write. I Love You.
And it works by the time I travel there

Eyelids weigh a wet feather or a hundred pounds and we take it easy
The body machine is working hard at staying up to see the seagulls swooping close to the window but not quite
The body machine is looking for excuses to stay asleep

One eye open, seeing the room through a dream

“The danger of tying your self-worth” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday, May 12, 2018
11:47 pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Brene Brown

The danger of tying your self-worth to the way

that you look is that the way you look is
always changing and so if you think you
matter because you’re face looks good
or you gained ten pounds or you lost
five or your butt looks decent in those
jeans you thrifted

Well

It’s all impermenant
it’s all here today and gone
tomorrow just like the T-shirt
you got at the garage sale
on Arbutus two summers ago

I’ve come to know that it’s
the deep inside that truly
knows the words

“The danger of tying your self-worth” by Julia on her couch

Saturday, May 12, 2018
10:18pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Brene Brown

Watch out for potholes
Dips in the concrete that make your toes do the work

Keep you upright

Can’t walk with your eyes down got to feel them quicker, know what your foot needs to recalibrate sooner

If you tie your self-worth to a perfect line you will be disappointed when someone else sees it crooked

If success is the only marker of success then you will always be walking in circles.

Tie your self worth to the spiral. Going in and out on itself, out and back again, outer world, inner world, beyond, down deep. Let the rise and fall be what they are.
Who are these lessons for? Me? You?
Is anyone listening anymore?

Was anyone ever?

“I’ll back my car up” by Julia at her desk

Friday, May 11, 2018
9:31pm
5 minutes
Catching the Westbound
Corvin Thomas

It was a nice time to drive then
you behind the wheel and me out the window tracking waterfalls
(There, another, did you see that one? On your left. I said on your left!)
I suppose I wasn’t doing any of the driving
too much fear built up over the years, too many MVA and physio
You never wanted to ride shot-gun, and I don’t think it’s because
you liked the sound of me narrating the outdoors to you, the roadside, the clouds
You liked the finger feeding, the tiny snack bites of cheese and olive
You liked choosing the music
You liked letting me sleep
And it was a good time with a car that was ours for the first trip of our lives
It was good after that with the duct tape holding up the under side of the car
(I call it that to this day because neither of us know much about automobiles, or whatever they’re calling them these days. Human carriers? Life holders? Vessels of transformation and transport?)
But soon after you were screaming your frustration into the pillow
Geeva had died again on the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
And we mourned her then: her and her licence plate namesake

“we were exhausted” by Julia at J, W, and A’s house

Thursday, May 10, 2018
11:08pm
5 minutes
To The Beach
Brian Doyle

It was as if time travelled back into the clock and left us there, happy
The only thing we were waiting for was the still frame photograph of our lives once lived

At the end of the day there was a host of us bent over at the hip
hard and fast kiss at the moon, and a thank you brushing the cloud
We have lived here once, echoing like the faint buzz of a ghost pepper bleeding out from the lips
a lasting like this one and we were a donation
a giving of our bodies from one open wound to another
and we did not waver
we did not ask for cotton swabs or for distilled gin
We drank at the quiet like a dream coming home for the first time
We knew aching the way a mother of seven might.

“I am weary” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday May 9, 2018
11:11pm
5 minutes
The Identity Repairman
Thomas Sayers Ellis

“May is my Everest,” I hear myself saying too many times a day.

“And then the summit is your birthday!” You said yesterday.

Today you say, Kiss on the mouth.

Tomorrow you say, “I know, sweetheart.”

“May is my Everest,” I tell a student, who laughs.

“May is my Everest,” I text a friend on the other side of the country.

“You can do it! You can do it all! I love you!” She texts back with the muscle emoji.

“May is kinda my… Everest,” I tell my Mom when I call her on Sunday.

“One day at a time,” she says.

“I am weary” by Julia at The Cottage

Wednesday May 9, 2018
10:23pm
5 minutes
The Identity Repairman
Thomas Sayers Ellis

I told him I made a dinner out of scraps when he asked
said I used the butt of the broccoli and the kale that
had been in there for 6 weeks, wrinkling slowly.
Then I mentioned the bacon and he said Oh The Bacon?
And I said I’m still alive, AND didn’t have to leave
the house. He said he was going to stop off somewhere
and pick something up because he was hungry and I said
please help yourself to my left over left overs and he
said I Trust Your Left Overs. I Trust Them. And I knew
without asking that he did not trust them. He was weary
of them. And so I did ask, because of comedy, and he
said he was going to stop off somewhere and pick
something up because he was hungry. I am never weary of
the bottom of the fridge or the inside of a stranger’s
throat. I will peer in if I have the chance and take
a chipped mug from the shelves of unwanted nick nacks.
I am only weary of people who are weary of me for not
being weary at all. Now I will have left overs of left
overs left over to eat for lunch tomorrow. And I will
still be alive then too. Because it’s not a death
sentence. It just makes my farts smell impossible.

“The job wasn’t that bad.” By Julia in her bed

Tuesday May 8, 2018
11:15pm
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

I stand by the water and admit out loud that I want the busier streets, the prettier graffiti, the taller buildings. If one day I have to throw myself off of one, at least it’d be a longer fall. And I could go home. He hears lump in the throat, Justify Janice. He thinks about childish gambino and how iphone is gonna start autocorrecting his name with capital letters. He waits for me to stop talking so he can kiss me. I do not stop talking. I let him kiss me on the walk to the other place we live in.

“The job wasn’t that bad.” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday May 8, 2018
8:15pm
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

The job wasn’t that bad. It was the people. It wasn’t even the people. It was the person. She’d never met anyone like Mel, so angry, so vile, so bitter, so angry, so two-faced, so angry. She’d never met anyone like her.

“You’re a real asset here, Beth,” Mel said back in October.

“Aw, that’s kind of you to say. Thank you.”

“Any chance you’ve got the time to proof my pitch for the Silverstein’s?”

“Uh, I mean, I have an appointment at five thirty, but – …”

“Reschedule?”

“I… I can’t.”

“But I need your help.”

“When is the meeting?”

“Tomorrow morning!” Her voice started to get louder.

“Why are you just asking me – “

“Never mind. I’ll stay up all night. Whatever.”

“I, I’ll… I’ll help you. I just have to leave by five…”

“Whatever.”

“the hypocrites will teach.” By Julia in her bed

Monday May 7, 2018
11:01pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Suzy Kassem

All the voices I’ve been avoiding living inside me are more alive than I’ve been letting them be, more living than I’ve been thinking they are

I was right about you
it’s written in the stars and I’ve been right so many times but I’ve been scared and so I don’t say anything with words but with worlds of voices dancing around in my head

And they are so loud that my skin crawls and maybe you can see it so you ask me what is wrong and the truth is inside nothing is wrong everything is right but it is dangerous to say out loud

It is hard to believe that I know more than I think I do
That I am bigger than I think I am

“Oh you exercise?” By Julia on her couch

Sunday May 6, 2018
10:41pm
5 minutes
From a text

Comes out to meet me with
his shirt off and I’m like dude those wont work on me, save your six-pack for someone who cares. And he’s like this is for you and I’m like this is what I just said and you are not listening. Then he does up his shirt and starts to pout and I say, hey that wont work on me either cause I’m not into crying for no reason. And he’s like, this is not for you, it’s for me and don’t you get it? And I’m like get what? No? Get what? And he’s like never mind you don’t care. And I’m like, about what though?

“Oh you exercise?” By Sasha on Oak St.

Sunday May 6, 2018
7:55am
5 minutes
From a text

One two one two one two one two shin splint shit shin splint one two one two…

Marla runs for her life. She imagines that she is being chased by a King Kong sized giant, but it’s not a gorilla, it’s a moose. Is King Kong even a gorilla? Who knows. It’s not King Kong.

One two one two no pain in the lower back no pain in the toes hitting against the three hundred dollar running shoes no no no nope one two one two one two one…

The first time Marla ran she hated it. She was a year away from her wedding and she read in a magazine in her gyno’s office that running was the best way to tighten your whole body all at once.

One two one two meathead on the treadmill beside her side-eyeing her tits.

“a giant note to self” by Julia on the 99

Saturday May 5, 2018
5:16pm
5 minutes
@a_belovedgreen Instagram

Get a screen protector on my phone so the nosy Nancy sitting beside me on the bus stops staring into my life.
Stop judging me Nancy!

Find a banana box to keep my banana from mushing against the inside of my bag.

Find less sexual ways to describe the messes I make.

Thank her with coffee and flowers and an invitation. Don’t forget. She’s a good one.

Keep saying yes until I have to say no. Then say no.

Hound the right people. Be a presence. Bark up the tree and stay there.

Walk before everyone else wakes up. Smell the pine. Breathe the solitude in like a reward.

Stop waiting for the wrong hearts to do right by me.

Ascend gradually. Adjust to new heights. Don’t look down.

“earth, sky, water, fire and wood” by Julia at R’s house

Friday May 4, 2018
2:00pm
5 minutes
From a Caitlin Press newsletter

They told me I was air and I never forgot that.
Not the feeling in the room when they all thought they had figured me out.
Not the pang against my guts when my insides begged to differ.
I wanted to be earth, steady, unmoving.
I wanted to be tethered to feet and stone.
I wanted to be fire, holy, hot and badass.
And though I fight it, when I spill over I know again and again that I am not air.
Not light like this. Not a carrier of plastic bags and other floating, diacarded.

“earth, sky, water, fire and wood” by Sasha at her desk

Friday May 4, 2018
1:34pm
5 minutes
From a Caitlin Press newsletter

You walk by the water when you need the noise of the waves
Volleyball further down the beach
That’s okay
Those people are having fun and that’s okay

You walk the same stretch of beach and it knows
The cadence of your footsteps
That’s okay
It’s come to know when you’re alone and when you’re firing

Today was the same as most other days
People pissed you off and it had nothing to do with you
Why are there so many assholes?
You whisper it under your breath and wonder if it’s possible

That the sand smiled knowingly back
She understands assholes
Cigarette butts and glass bottles
She understands

“It works excellent!” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday May 3, 2018
11:11pm
5 minutes
From BUNZ trading zone

I want a really nice blender. One of those high-powered bad boys that will make nut butter, salad dressing, and grind fresh flour. So sue me! I want a really nice six hundred dollar blender. Please don’t lecture me about my privilege. I know all about it. My privilege chokes me half the time so that I’m voiceless and like, I might be white but my Mom was a single mother and she raised my two brothers and I in a trailer park on three hundred dollars a month in child support payments so please don’t lecture me on privilege. I just want a goddamn blender that really works.

“It works excellent!” By Julia on her bed

Thursday May 3, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
From BUNZ trading zone

Keanu Reeves said it best: Let’s just be excellent to everyone. And if he said it a different way then he said it best that way. I want for the world. I do. I want a hello to mean hello and I want thank you to mean I see you. I mean, I see you. And why wouldn’t I want to be excellent to you? What on earth would have to happen for me to want to be anything less? How nice not to blame any one else for that decision. We are only less when we feel less. These lessons are the easily fixed. They’re the accessible ones.They live in our hallways, our lockers, on our bathroom walls.

“I call to ask my mother the name of the street” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday May 2, 2018
9:46pm
Flight
Idrissa Simmons

I see a woman holding the hand of a small child. Maybe he’s two and a half. The woman looks rotten. The child isn’t screaming, but I bet that he was a few minutes ago. She wipes his snotty nose with her own sleeve. It’s a nice sweater. That moment is full of surprise and worry. On my part. She looks at him with something I do not know. I am not a mother. Is it love? Is it hate? Is it indifference? Is it fatigue? She catches my eye, watching them, and glares at me. I must look crazy. Watching them. She’s just trying to get her toddler to blow his nose.

“I can’t get rid of useful things” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday May 1, 2018
9:19pm
Carpet Bomb
Kenyatta Rogers

“Never get rid of useful things,” Homer says, leafing through a Chinese food take-out menu from 1993. The restaurant’s closed. He’s comparing prices of spring rolls and proving his point about inflation. I wouldn’t call Homer a pack rat, or a hoarder, but I would call him a bonafeid collector. They say that our greatest gift, is also our greatest challenge, and that definitely applies to Homer.

“I can’t get rid of useful things” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday May 1, 2018
10:10am
Carpet Bomb
Kenyatta Rogers

Mama is a packrat and I’m her packrat baby
she likes to keep all the old papers and
documents just in case just in case
calls me on the phone and asks if I can let
it go to voicemail cause mama wants to leave
me a message that’s gonna make my day
When I listen back I hear her reading me the
old birthday card I made for my baby brother
and she can’t get through it without lauging
so I save the voicemail cause one day I’m
gonna play it on hers so she can listen
Mama liked to keep all kinds of containers
and now I keep all kinds of containers even
if the lids are missing or the bottoms are
warped and melted from accidentally being
put in the dishwasher or on the element
she has taught me so well and our houses
hold memories and everyting else inside

“Someone has opened a giant map” by Julia at her desk

Monday April 30, 2018
9:09pm
The Wall
Bruce Guernsey

said he didn’t want the globe i had my eye on
said it would take up too much room on the table
and i said what else are dreams for and he didn’t
seem to get it and the discussion was case closed
then he left and i got a tiny globe that used to
be a tiny piggy bank of the world but the bottom
fell out and i got it for free so i brought it
home and put it on the table and i waited for him
to tell me to get rid of the damn thing taking
up too much space on the freaking living room table
but when he got home he saw the tiny globe and said
oh nice globe i’ve always wanted a globe and i
didn’t say anything because i’ve always wanted a
globe and now i had one and it wasn’t being thrown
away or talked about badly or hurled against me
i said that one used to be a piggy bank but the
bottom fell out so now it’s just a tiny globe
but it’s always been a place to put your change

“Someone has opened a giant map” by Sasha at her desk

Monday April 30, 2018
11:16am
The Wall
Bruce Guernsey

Tap tap tap tap. Leg goes up and down
bobbing for apples. Good grief it shakes
the whole bench. Good God it drive me crazy
when people have no sense of how much space
they take up, how loud their breath is, how
much they are shaking everyone around them.
What kind of person is so unaware? Who was his
mother? Who taught him manners? I bet he’s a real
piece of work, probably drives a Benz.

Side-eye. He doesn’t notice. I bet he thinks
he’s a very big deal. What is that he’s holding?
Is it a map? Is he reading a map in the waiting
room? Who does that?! Where could he possibly
be going that he has to do this here?
Why is he anxious, is it because of the dentist
or the trip he’s about to take?

“Excuse me,” I close my eyes because if I open
them I’ll most certainly lose my courage.
“Could you please stop shaking your leg?” Benny
looks up at me, up from his book, he’s never
heard his mother speak to a stranger like this.
“Mama?” He says. I don’t look at him. I don’t
look at anyone. My eyes are closed.

The man folds his map.

“How could I predict” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday April 29, 2018
6:15pm
5 minutes
The Address Book
Louis Phillips

How could I predict the
shade of grey your hair
would turn
and mine too
every day a new
one near my temples
I don’t pull them out
like I used to
I say a prayer
for them
little warriors
little fuckers
little beauties
they are the milage
and the turning season

Every time I see you
I see the shimmer of
myself in you
around the eyes
the mouth the shape
of the face
the shade of grey
vessels to the time
before leading us
back there leading us
to now

We laugh like lions
staring down the barrel
of the gun
we nod and recognize
and know and surrender

“How could I predict” by Julia in her bed

Sunday April 29, 2018
8:45am
5 minutes
The Address Book
Louis Phillips

I wonder how I was supposed to know
how I was supposed to recognize you after all this time away
Your face changes every time you come back to me and my eyes are different too
Was I supposed to look for the switch of your skin
wait for the weight of your arm in my lap as you slept
and I wrote
Was I supposed to open the door and feel it
Maybe it’s in the hours collecting one by one in the bottomless hope of our pockets
Maybe after breakfast together one day or after lunch or after dinner

“Flying Housewife” by Julia on the 4

Saturday April 28, 2018
10:58pm
5 minutes
www.independent.co.uk

She has wings

Her hands know how to flutter at the end of her arms
Watch how she keeps herself up
Watch how she treads the deepest air

She is getting things done

Busy busy flying throughout the house before her wife comes home because her wife is the only one who leave the house little bird stays inside floats in the living room
Above the coffee table hovering along the shelves lined with baby photographs she is cleaning up the disagreements the mirrors collecting dust in all the ghosts of her lipstick affirmations she is keeping things tidy for when her wife comes home because she doesn’t leave so what excuse does she have not to have the house clean for when she arrives

She moves quickly to avoid getting stuck

She keeps her wings flapping
So she will be ready to use them

“Flying Housewife” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday April 28, 2018
12:58pm
5 minutes
http://www.independent.co.uk

crouching behind the counter tears staining wood
neko case on the stereo my favourite thing about
this place is that i can play my own music
pretty things on the patio ha ha ha caw ha ha
woman nursing in the third booth at the back
a party coming in thirteen minutes and i’m
all mascara stream all chest breath and salty lips
we grow to know the taste of being fucked over
because of our woman-ness only 24 and we know it
the lilt of our voices the tonic of our smiles
the cup size maybe or the calf muscle from walking
back and forth from kitchen to patio to kitchen
twelve minutes and twenty people who don’t get it
who think that maybe i’ve just had a bad day
pretty thing they think maybe her boyfriend dumped her
more like this place this man upstairs says his wife
doesn’t like me doesn’t like me doesn’t like pretty thing
more like the loyalty turned bad orange juice
oops fuck oops i’m sorry i never meant to
oops i’m sorry i didn’t mean to be
too alive for this hierarchy of buttered toast
he always did like the pretty things but i didn’t
think i was one of those i thought i was something
else a good conversation a killer joke a knack
for smoothing over the discontent of cold eggs

“Come prepared with questions” by Julia on the 99

Friday April 27, 2018
10:56pm
5 minutes
the Verses Festival of Words 2018 program

Are you home yet are you waiting in the bed are you staying this time are you home for a while are you sticking around are you there already are you as hungry and tired as I am did your journey tonight teach you something like mine did were you able to listen to your body like I wasn’t did you problem solve on the spot in a room full of strangers and lights hiding their faces are you home yet are you waiting for me are you going to be there to hold me will you hold me until I’m sleeping will you please let me sleep in will you stroke my cheek will you untie my knots are you on your way yet can you be home now can you stay home now can you stay home now

“Come prepared with questions” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday April 27, 2018
7:33pm
5 minutes
From the Verses Festival of Words 2018 program

He got there first. I’m early. He’s got a beard. He didn’t have a beard when I googled him, none of the photos did. His beard has grey in it. His hair is dark, almost-black but not quite. He has dark eyes, too. Very white, very straight teeth.

“You must be Lucy?” He reaches out a hand, he stands up, he reaches out a hand and it’s warm.

“Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. Thank you for agreeing to do this…” I’m shaking. We sit. I order a sparkling water. He says something about needing to eat. I can’t imagine eating, so I say I already did, even though I didn’t. “I have some questions prepared,” I pull my notebook out of my backpack.

“Response rate: 100%” by Sasha on the 17

Thursday April 26, 2018
9:52pm
5 minutes
poparide.com

Our third Thanksgiving all together, Babs teaches Simon and me how to make a mirepoix – two parts onion, to one part celery, and one part carrot. Babs peels her carrots, but when Simon and I make it later, and she isn’t around, we don’t, almost like we’re honouring Mom.

Mom was a lover of peasant food, or at least that’s what she’d call it. Nothing fancy. As few pots as possible. She made a great Dahl. She used to pack it in our lunches and the other kids would wrinkle their noses when we opened our thermoses, steaming lentils and curry. We weren’t embarrassed. Maybe it’s because we always had eachother, Simon and I. Being a twin is weird. But you do always have someone, and that’s nice.

Babs never asks us to call her anything but “Babs”, not like Dad’s second wife who insisted we call her “Maman”.

“Response rate: 100%” by Julia at her desk

Thursday April 26, 2018
6:54am
5 minutes
poparide.com

If you call me and I can’t pick up but I CALL YOU RIGHT BACK
as in I do not let you finish your voicemail
as in your phone should still be open on my number
can I just ask one little question?
WHERE THE EFF ARE YOU?
Seconds have past
Has the urgency left?
Are you passed out, dead, on the phone with someone else?
Is your ringer on?
Would you like to join the conversation?
Here’s my two cents
People who call you and then have their phone on silent
shouldn’t be allowed to own a phone
They have classes for driving a car
And if you don’t pass, you don’t drive
You should have to take a test for the use of your dinky cell phone
“Oh I don’t know how that happened, that’s weird, it was in my pocket”
I don’t want to have to wait to talk to you
if I call you I am CALLING YOU
but if you don’t pick up I will be on the phone with someone else
because you forfeit the right to speak with me and I have shit to discuss
I hope you’re not dead

“The liar’s punishment” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday April 25, 2018
6:47am
5 minutes
From a quote by George Bernard Shaw

Five minutes isn’t long enough
to tell you
about the consequences of running away
Each movie sounds like your fear through the
megaphone of your worried heart beat
Each character flaw revealed stirs up your
blood and what if you start bleeding
right here
right now
You will think it is your job from this moment
on to live with the secret heavy that has been
pulling you down slowly, slowly
The sweet stillness will be sickened with dread
and what if dread lives in the elbow skin
collecting at the crease
turning soft into sweat

“Mother stomps up” by Julia on the 20

Tuesday April 24, 2018
8:42pm
5 minutes
Says Mother
Laura Willwerth

Uninvited and flipping through the notebook left collecting mud on the patio.
Some things are not meant for mothers to read.
Did you mean what you said?
Did you say what you mean?
I would nod and tell her don’t you remember? You taught me well.
When we’d get mad about you smoking didn’t you know it was because it turned your lungs into yelling? Didn’t you know our anger was speaking for our fear that hadn’t yet collected its thoughts?
She would give me the bed off her back and sleep in a mold-heavy
yesterday so my boyfriend’s tall wouldn’t hang off the end
Nobody asked you to sacrifice yourself.
If she read that she would cry.

“Anne would lie for hours” by Julia at her desk

Sunday April 22, 2018
9:55pm
Anne
Joe Hutto

somehow the moment you walked out the door
the clock on the wall sped up twice its usual tick
I am almost sick at how little has happened
in how many hours have magically passed and
the drum of the crows outside my window have
faded into a night that does not need to
interrupt me

I would lie for hours in the bathroom at the
mirror with a false smile and an empty stomach
tell myself a story to keep me busy and away
from that buzzing fridge
I would lie for hours on the bed staring at
the lonely space on the wall where the choices
should go and wonder how I managed to leave
them all tucked in between the books I care
less to read

“not like you” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday April 21, 2018
12:02pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Carlos Fuentos

I’m not like you, Mimi. I’m not noble. I’m not one of those people who goes home and lies awake thinking about what I did wrong that day. I do my business, I do my best, and I move on. I don’t do integrity like you do, heck, no one does. You can’t hold everyone to the standards that you hold yourself to! It doesn’t work like that! We all need something different! We are all something different!

Do you want to say something?

No?

Okay. I’ll… continue. Mimi, I value you as a friend, and as a colleague, and you’re good for this place, you’re GOOD. But this perfectionism is taking over everything you do, and everything we all do, and it’s got to stop.