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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we step our feet into mud prints squishing around and walking

a garbage can becomes a thing worth waiting for

a bee hive moves into the apartment complex community garden

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

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

“… let’s just see what happens.” By Julia on the 84

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
6:15pm
5 minutes
For as Many Days as We Have Left
Pam Houston

I am about to barf
Let’s just see what happens

Said nobody ever

The body knows
Deeply
Carries

Things in its pockets that
You have forgotten about

A travelling secret
Across decades
Buried deep in the palm creases
Or behind the ear

The body is particularly intuitive when it comes to barfing

Let’s just see what—

Is what someone trying to ignore the body might say

Trying being the operative word

I don’t tell you this but today I wonder what the point of it all is

Why this journey then and not another

Why this body rejecting something I’ve put in it or worse rejecting what I keep outside it

What is the point
But I don’t tell you this

You’d rather hear about vomit and
Stomach bile and the garbage can next to the bed

“In the moonstruck dusk” by Julia at her desk

Monday February 17, 2020
8:42pm
5 minutes
Wolf OR-7
Natalie Diaz

It has been over said but I will say it again:
I do not recognize that man, I’m tellin’ ya, Jerry,
I don’t know the guy from a can of paint!

These guys are tryna screw my lid so I can’t think
straight and if that’s alright with you, then you’re
no different than those bone heads.

I’m not gonna tell you what you should do, alright,
far be it from me to weigh in on how you should do
your job, Jerry, but I’m tellin’ ya, if it was up to
me, which I can honestly say, no disrespect, that it
is not, you’re gettin’ your berries stirred and it’s
not gonna be a fancy fruit salad, you understand?

In this moonlight, Jerry, it’s romantic, people got their
notions all tied up tight and they let them get yanked
around by a little dusk blindness. That’s all it is.
They pick a guy like me to yank the wool, you understand, Jerry?
A guy like me!

“like being naked with someone you haven’t been naked with” by Sasha on the plane

Sunday February 16, 2020
11:11am
5 minutes
Hot Pulse
J. Jill Robinson

Trust is a slippery fish that wriggles out of hands back into lake water
swims down to where the seaweed opens and closes
Finds a small “o” and swallows it and burps bubbles up
Face pressed against the float
breathe in the small pockets of air
upturn or downturn
Will he or won’t he break my tired heart?

The scales change colour and flake off
The mind says
This is always how it goes
Exhausted tune that the ears don’t even hear anymore
it’s so embedded and cozy in a down duvet
heavy limbs finally resting like they haven’t since
Before

Throw the line in far and fast
loaded the end of the rod with the finest bait
wide eyes
freshly sharpened wit
tears like seeds that sow
connection
some very strong one liners
playing with messy hands messy hair
looking down and then up and then down again
a promise collected on eyelashes
volleying and rolling and diving
with each
blink

The fish comes up to the surface and sucks on toes
Three times the size that she was before
Don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing
Deep throat
Gills ablaze
Tail tracing the shape of the timing
Folding irony over tenderness
kneading a dough of the very becoming

that births a perfect risk

“like being naked with someone you haven’t been naked with” by Julia at her desk

Sunday February 16, 2020
11:53am
5 minutes
Hot Pulse
J. Jill Robinson

Remember yesterday that moment where you slapped
my ass and I was supposed to decide if I wanted that then
It turned into something
we both breathed in
we both waited a beat and then
then we found… it
dropped into… it
landed there at the pit and held it up with soft hands
we were soft hands and quiet
but we couldn’t hear the dripping faucet
couldn’t hear the alleyway rummage and dive
couldn’t hear the seagulls calling
and it was quiet like a theta wave still
singing in the space where words don’t dare venture

That couch looks different today
Almost prettier than before
And more of us now
of us in the way we don’t have to think

That moment before has felt like a century
and that deciding second passes slowly
But there is change in the air, hanging
we are awakening Osiris by surrendering to it
thumbing the pages of skin and ink and
wearing it like a fine cloth, transparent
over sweaty limbs and toothy kisses, pinning

“My new bedroom was an old kitchen.” By Sasha in the living room

Saturday February 15, 2020
12:41pm
5 minutes
Waxy
Camilla Grudova

Hilary brags that her new bedroom was the old kitchen like that’s something to be proud of. She’s got one of those dumb beautiful noses that turns up a bit. I wonder if she waxes her nostrils, I mean I don’t see any hair, boogers – nothing. Hilary says she’s going to paint the walls white, what a boring choice, she says that she can’t sleep in a room with yellow walls. I don’t mean to make a joke about insomnia. That shit is real. Hilary has insomnia. Once, she didn’t sleep for thirteen days in a row. That’s when she thought about ending it all, writing a note to Fredrick and Liza, and leaving food out for Silly Anne. When she finally slept, she slept for twenty seven hours, the longest sleep she’d ever had. Then, that’s all she could talk about.

“a petite woman in her late twenties” by Sasha in the kitchen

Friday February 14, 2020
4:24pm
5 minutes
Confidence Woman
Stephen Henigha

I was once this thing
a title leaning a little to the left
tilting chest to the branches
to the clouds shaped like faces
from the past

I was once
a petite woman in her late twenties
thinking she was physically stronger
than she really was maybe that’s what the
strength of her heart was
my heart is
Outside matching inside
I wore brighter colours then
I wear mostly navy and grey now

why so many lines about hearts
and the strength or the lack of it?

Tempting fate by not wearing kneepads
not wearing condoms (not me, some of
the men I fucked)
tempting control
tempting temptation
plunging into cold water and
coming up sputtering
coming up gasping
tempting and reaching
knowing and searching
daring and thinking that daring
was tall
commanding

“a performance of about two and a half hours” by Sasha on the couch

Tuesday February 11, 2020
10:02pm
5 minutes
Nibelung
Devon Code

Before you know the tension of this radical Wild West town
Grazed in it’s fire pastures and danced the waltz to the jingly piano songs
Raised a glass to your lover and their lover and the lover of the lover who doesn’t know their own loss of sight
(We hold him with stiff arms and narrate the colours and the faces as best we can)

Before you allow yourself to make up your mind about all of this
About me
(Strange speckles on my pants and hair messy and unwashed
A smirk of faith like peanut butter across my lips)
Ride a mare into the forest and see what the trees have to say
They are quiet today?
Listen from the place that you used to listen from before you had your heart broken
Listen from the place where children gasp and clap and cry
What do they have to tell you, dear heart?
Root systems feeling and telling and feeling the generational longitude and latitude
Braiding beliefs and twisting whatever it is your pearl of truth is

It’s noisy in the wrongdoing and rightdoing
It’s noisy where we clash and bang because none of us knows what the fuck we are doing
It’s noisy but we strain we stress we strain to hear the wisdom
in the way breath is when it’s still between us
when it’s night and the snow is starting
and the streetcar tumbles onward

“They should not be ordinary words” by Sasha in the kitchen

Monday February 10, 2020
9:21pm
5 minutes
What’s in a Name
Moez Surani

Try harder try better try more more more
Lift taller stand braver and quiet with the door
Go faster now slow down can you just simply “be”
Relaxxxx everything’s fine this isn’t about me

Self acceptance daring greatly breathe really deep
Laughter therapy let it out weep weep weep
Stay humble stay grounded stay open and free
Release your anger get present get happpppy

It’s okay that you’re scared and lonely and mad
It’s okay that you’re curious confused and sad
It’s okay that you’re unsure tired and tight
Release your jaw but there really isn’t a “right”

“Yep, thinks Frank,” by juli on her couch

Sunday February 9, 2020
9:39pm
5 minutes
Nothing Like It Was
Mark Wagstaff

He’s bounding around the corner without eyes, eyes squeezed shut, not seeing. it’s his favourite trick, seeing without seeing. he is running full force lime a wrecking ball, no remorse, no consideration. Frank thinks this is hilarious. He thinks it’s incredible or people will say it is after they see him do it, after they see him make a perfect turn without being able to see. Yep, thinks Frank, they’ll all wonder at me then. They’ll all come leaps and clicks to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth! Frank would tell them he could see. He could see everything that was in front of him and nothing was in the way. It would inspire millions. It would reach beyond everyone’s wildest dreams.
This is his favourite part: this reveal of perfect imperfection; showing what the inner eye looks like when it is not afraid.

“One of my friends used to work at” by Sasha in the kitchen

Saturday February 8, 2020
5:09pm
5 minutes
Candy Cap Magic
Jocelyn Kuang

Selina used to work at the Shoppers on Woodbine. She would tell us when Mr. Finklel bought laxatives, or George Haliburton’s stepmom bought Slimfast, or when Joaquin and David bought extra large condoms. Once, she even caught a shoplifter. Ironic, but that’s another story for another time. She sprayed bug spray in the thief’s eyes and screamed at the top of her lungs. The police came and everything. She said that one of the officers, the hot one, was checking out her boobs. Selina was the eyes on the ground, siphoning information to the rest of us and getting us high on the tantalizing mundanity of maxi pads and extra strength Tylenol. When Angelica thought she might be pregnant, Selina hid a pregnancy test in her winter coat and brought it her at school. She peed on the stick in the teacher’s bathroom, with all of us in there too, watching.

“One of my friends used to work at” by Julia on the 15

Saturday February 8, 2020
4:12pm
5 minutes
Candy Cap Magic
Jocelyn Kuang

one of my friends used to work at the skydome before it was the roger’s centre

at gusto 101 before anyone knew about it

on a film she did costumes for and can’t really remember

at a nursing home cleaning up folks after they used the bathroom

at a ski hill

at a recording studio

an event planning company

a stand selling Hickory Farms crackers and mustard at the mall

one of my friends used to sneak into the walk in freezer and steal mouthfuls of smoked salmon

at No Frills checking people’s items out

at a theatre company that is now defunct

at an airport loading and unloading luggage

at a bowling alley

“The letter should be read out loud” by Sasha in front of the fire

Friday February 7, 2020
10:15pm
5 minutes
Anger, Boundaries & Safety
Joann S. Peterson

I buy two cards
the same cards
at the bougie shop
that I hate to love

It’s these firsts
that make me smile
gasp
yawn
I’m tired of myself

I’ve run back and forth
to Lola several times tonight

her rosebud mouth finding
my rosebud nipple
matching puzzle
the gurgles and gasps
tiny snores and reaches
I stroke her soft hair
and wonder what I could’ve
possibly done in this life
or the last one
to deserve such  grace

I walk in the rain
trudging the same daily path
a ritual of cold fingers
chapped lips
lilting toes
breath a drum
cedars touching heaven
roots touching mine

“If the leaf stem is long” by Julia in her couch

Thursday February 6, 2020
8:47pm
5 minutes
Tree Finder
May Theilgaard Watts

if the leaf stem is long then you’ve picked the right man
chosen the future that will grow old with you and keep you young
you will be a gardener, a keeper of soil, a planter of seeds
if the leaf stem is long it’s a good sign
that you’ve been paying attention
and this is the thing you’ll need most
This 3rd eye noticing 3rd eye seeing deeply, knowing truly
the leaf stem can be cut or shortened but you, you have received the longest one
the longest line that starts off so long cutting it a little won’t make much difference.

“Trust the face of expansion” by Sasha on the living room floor

Wednesday February 5, 2020
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Power Of Intention
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Trust the face of expansion
Trust the open mouth of a new way portal taking you
back to yourself
back to the archangel who brought your spirit into
physical form
who told you riddle and
stuck a finger in your ear
and made you laugh until
you’re teeth ached like
ice cream
and chalkboards

Trust the signs
on the carpet in the strange hotel
that smells like bubble gum and has a rooftop
pool open all hours where no one has ever drowned
where you drink the mini bar pre mixed cocktails
and eat the small packet of nuts
and consider masturbation
but braid your hair instead

Trust the gas station attendant
who tells you to never chase a tornado
who gives you the best beef jerky you’ve ever had
who runs your credit card three times
and each time it’s declined
winks as though someone
might have your back

“picking mushrooms at the edge” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Tuesday February 4, 2020
9:03pm
5 minutes
What Kind Of Times Are These
Adrienne Rich

I don’t know how I got here. I mean, I do. I hitchhiked. I rode in the back of a red Honda Civic squished between my backpack and a mutt named Silas. When I got out, at side of the highway, I was covered in dog hair. I mean, really covered. Ed, behind the wheel, and I shared a joint. Ed was older than my Dad but gave me a look like he might fuck me if the circumstances were right. Sorry, Ed. We sang along to Paul Simon and Silas licked the side of my neck. Ed asked if I’d ever done the season before, that’s how he said it – “the season” – and I told him the truth. I told him, “no.” “You’re in for a treat,” said Ed. He used to pick, but doesn’t anymore. “You’ll smell truffle for months,” he warned, gagging a little.  Now he does something with restaurants and biodynamic wine. I’m not sure. I wasn’t really listening. I was wondering about the effectiveness of my patch job on the fly of my tent. I was wondering if I’d packed enough peanut butter.

“Still the house built itself a corridor” by Sasha in the kitchen

Sunday February 2, 2020
12:00am
5 minutes
Yesterday
Marie Howe

I am terrible at putting myself to sleep
scrub the stovetop and wonder how to get the stains off
scrub the bits of sweet potato and squash from the floor
where very small hands fling broccoli and lentils
banana and oatmeal

The quiet is a welcome guest
comes to the door wearing linen and straw
I beg her to stay
beg her to have another cup of peppermint tea
eat another wedge of orange

There was snow on the buds this morning
coating the green like a premonition

Walking the familiar streets
and remembering
reaching backwards
the crippling nostalgia
the heat of a time that’s gone

I would like to tell you all the stories
of my youth and my future
my future youth
I would like to hear your heartbreaks
and your hope as I trace the Milky Way
on your belly
lean my head on your chest

“Would you mind if I tell you you’re the cutest thing?” By Julia in her bed

Saturday February 1, 2020
11:48pm
5 minutes
Would You Mind
Hank Snow

I saw you first
I looked around and I took you in and I wanted you for me
I wanted you in general
I didn’t know I would fall in love with you years later or that you would fall in love with me
or maybe this is how I planned it
you looking at me like you were some big secret
something tack-like but hard to pin down
you saw me a week later and I wasn’t expecting that
but I wanted it
and I wanted you
and I let myself wonder at every eyebrow raise you let me see
every time you stayed looking at me two seconds too long
I would have wanted to see who’d look away first
who would be the brave one

“Would you mind if I tell you you’re the cutest thing?” By Sasha in the kitchen

Saturday February 1, 2020
9:37pm
5 minutes
Would You Mind
Hank Snow

It’s the way that your voice
lilts like a distant relative
(I still can’t put my finger on it)
I don’t mean that to sound perverse
(or do I?)
A familiarity in the cadence of your
arriving (unexpected)
departing (tragic)
I am reduced to wobbly knees
dolphin tummy
when you say the
syllables of my name
only two (!)
syllables all “s”
and “ah”
and “sh”

”ah”!

Today the sunshine
landed on my face
just as I told you the truth
and you listened
(attentive)
explained
(well)
I felt a weight lift
and rise
helium red
tilted my chest to the sky
blue
felt the balloon come back again
nestle in
a different colour

Love is the deep breath

the leap
(ahhh!)

Love is this place
a whole country between us
this place that isn’t a place
but a buzzing
a humming
a knowing
a pearl of big faith

the oyster
is several sets of hands
holding hearts
holding reluctance
holding the daring
and the danger

I’m glad for this:
the salty tongue
the razor’s edge
the giddy laughter

 

“pillar of fire” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Friday January 31, 2020
10:05pm
5 minutes
Night and Moonlight
Henry David Thoreau

The first time I knew I was a different kind of normal, strange kind of weird, an odd kind of person, was when the whole class was invited to Lisbeth’s tenth birthday party. I already understood that the kids that were cool would grow up to be assholes and the kids who were weird would grow up to have quite a few dollars in their bank accounts. I already understood that cheese shouldn’t come wrapped in very thin plastic sheets, and that if you wet the bed past three you probably need therapy. Lisbeth’s mom was the registrar so she made Lisbeth invite the whole class. No one had ever done this. You invite your friends to your birthday, what kind of animal invites everyone, including Simon who smells like bums and eats his hangnails? But we were all there, all twenty one of us, imagine twenty one ten year olds gathered into the basement altogether like caged beasts?

“The truth is” by Sasha in the living room

Tuesday January 28, 2020
5:30pm
5 minutes
Pea Madness
Amy Leach

There is no map to the place that we are going
there never is but we fool ourselves or follow in the footprints of our parents
follow the path whacked and weeded by hands that resemble our own
follow those rain boot steps
trying to match them despite their fading
where does the memory go of the waking to the voices
where does the cell carry the hum and the sob
match toe to heel
sole to soul
despite their different size
despite their different breaking

It’s good to be back where the rain makes sense
(and release and sense again)
where I can find the rhythm of my walking
the salt in my pores
the beat of my new heart
free from ice and noise
It’s good to be back where the crows circle and call
”You are exactly where you need to be”

I wish I could protect her from the breaking
the rattling knees
I wish I could protect her from the ground splitting open
but it will
and it does
and it will again
So it goes
So we call in the sky of chaos
So we make bread with the sand of the path those before us took
Spread it with butter and humility

“The day care lies at the base of an oak tree” by Julia in the fishbowl

Monday January 27, 2020
2:39pm
5 minutes
Gods at Play
Susanne Antonetta

Darling dear is playing at the base of the oak tree, the sweet light is blooming. I wait for her to tell me something is wrong. I see it in her
walk, the way she deflates every step, hunching. I watch her from the
kitchen window, taking note of her little sighs, her clenched fists, her
opinion growing stronger. Sweet light.

I don’t want to ask her because I want her to know what the sensation
feels like. I don’t want to say the words explicitly. Because maybe I’m
jumping to conclusions. Maybe this is how she inhales this life and it’s
different than what I would expect.

All I can do is hold her in the space I give and open my heart to her so
she knows that if she needs to say something she can. I can ask her how
she is without a qualifier. Without a word with connotation or implication.

She is running her fingertips around the trunk of the tree. She is slowly
circling it, her eyes closed and drawn into the bark.

“Curious, maybe, you’ll turn to books.” by Julia at her desk

Sunday January 26, 2020
8:39pm
5 minutes
When You See A Skimmer
David Gessner

One night she stayed up till 3 in the morning reading the 3rd book in the series. V.C Andrews had written some other harrowing tales of brothers and sisters falling in love, and being locked away in an attic while the real world happened all around them and outside them. She was 10 going on 11 and the book was a page turner. A group of young girls, older than her, but still young, were in group therapy and each book a different girl got to be the narrator. She was told to go to sleep hours ago but she couldn’t help it. She laid in her bed soaking up fiction that might have been a bit too advanced for her. Might have been, if anyone cared to ask about the content of her desired reading materials. These girls were teaching her things no one thought to tell her. How they had received unwanted touching from the jocks at their schools, or how their mother’s new boyfriends found a way into their bedrooms at night.
They were an education all on their own, seeping into the glow cast from her bedside lamp, lulling her into a steady hum of alive.

“Instead, the deer step carefully” By Julia at her table desk

Saturday January 25, 2020
6:04pm
5 minutes
The Return
Rick Bass

So if it’s a game about strategy I don’t really want to play.
I know the word is ‘game’, and not ‘real life’ but there is nothing fun sounding about revealing myself while other people around me skillfully craft their turn.
I don’t think it’s because I have no strategy. You could check my track record and I’m sure there would be occasions where I’ve enlisted my tactical thinking, but this feels different. Like parallel parking in front of a bunch of race-car drivers when you haven’t practiced since getting your G licence back in 2003.
I get nervous that people will find me out and consider my IQ lower than they expected since I usually conduct myself with clever quips and strong insights.
I don’t need people seeing that I crack under pressure and would therefore be the first one voted off the island.
It all comes down to purpose.
I don’t want to be useless in a time of need. When people are all out there trying to survive and keep the team alive, I want to be a valuable member of the team, not the one they use as sustenance after they decide to roast my flesh and eat my senseless brains.

“Instead, the deer step carefully” By Sasha at the Airbnb

Saturday January 25, 2020
10:48am
5 minutes
The Return

Rick Bass

The deer gather in a circle. I see them from where I’m camped under an old arbutus. This is the fifteenth morning in a row I’ve seen them like this. The fly of my tent is covered in banana slugs, and what they leave behind as they move. Blessed beings, these strange soft creatures. I unzip quietly, so as to not disturb the deer – a mix of young and old, female and male. I haven’t peed yet, and have to go. I know that if I move quickly, they’ll scatter. I don’t want to interrupt. I’m on their land, after all. I’m the guest. I bow my head, move very slowly. A buck spots me, narrows his eyes, smirks. I smile, careful not to reveal my teeth. I don’t want to appear a threat, I’m not a threat, I’m a student of their grace. I find a fern three times the size of my body, and pull down my fleecy long underwear. I relieve myself.

“I find myself feeling” by Julia in her skirt

Friday January 24, 2020
6:40pm
5 minutes
Gathering Indigo
Algeria Jensen

full is the word
full comes to mind

busy is a thing I no longer say
saying busy is an incantation for whatever the opposite of gratitude is

full is what I feel and great
great
full

my days start early and roll late
my nights have questions and low lights and some anxiety about what’s coming down the pipe tomorrow but they end with kisses and affirmations and tight squeezes

so I sleep well
I have dreams but I sleep well

I sleep all the way and then some and then some not

I start when I convince myself I best
I still need to convince myself I best

I lay on the mat with the low light
I stretch the night away and say today I am expanding

I write a lot of words down and then I go into the outside world feeling full

feeling full and full and full
feeling full and happy

“Naturalists are generalists.” By Sasha on the plane

Thursday January 23, 2020
3:01pm
5 minutes
The Art of Wandering
Ann Zwinger

It’s so cold that my breath freezes on the tiny hairs of my upper lip
A boy in my fifth grade class once teased me for my little moustachio
I’ve come to love it though – the downy tenderness of very small strands
now cradling my breath like their newborns
holding on to what I could never

I’ve come for the Northern Lights and for escape from a failing career
a failing second marriage
a failing attempt at reconciliation with my addict brother
I’ve come to see the colours dance the way my heart hasn’t since
before Angela died
before Angela was born
Dead in my womb before she even had a chance to be born

God must be a fickle, discerning and PMS-ing woman 
I remember saying this to Toby
He smiled and went into the laundry room to cry
”Why aren’t you crying?” He asked me for the hundredth time
”I’m not sure,” I said, peeling another banana

I see a splash of azure across the black sky and gasp
I feel a flutter in my belly
my temple
my pinkie
I feel Angela there in the blue
stretching wide across the ice
Death and life held in the bitter
in the cold
Death and life in the colour of losing
in the hue of letting go

“No one knows what the” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 21, 2020
10:11am
5 minutes
Lost Dog Creek
Brian Doyle

No one knows what the hell’s going on here, Betty, let’s just be clear about that. People pretend, oh do they ever, but no one knows what the hell they are doing! Some have you fooled (Robbie Pendrick!), some really have you fooled… but we’ve all never done what we’re doing before, each time we do something new! Now, do you want to spend your days with someone who pretends that they know (Robbie Pendrick!!) or do you want to spend your days with someone who knows full well he doesn’t know his ass from his head but tries his best regardless? It’s a question of humility maybe, or ego, or something. I know I never went to university (like a certain Mr. Pendrick!!!) but I’ve learned a lot in the school of hard knock life and let me tell you, I would choose a sense of humour and a big heart over a pompadour and a smirk any damn day!

“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.
This is a text broadcast to ensure that you are still voluntarily providing your contact details so we may inform you of how shitty you have been.
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