“winter chess championship” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday November 11, 2019
5:42pm
5 minutes
Mr. Oleander
Brian Doyle

I want to be doing better at this abstract artwork
Splatter splatter the red and the doubt and the blue
Texturize with sand and the contents of popped pores
Popped bubbles
Exploded hope
Pop pop goes the imaginary gun into the temple
into the church
Pop pop

My life is my art after all
You tell me of her fingers and I shudder but pretend
that I am a statue and I cannot change expression

I’m busted though
You know my face too well
Have seen it on the best days under the sun
in the field of dreams
Swollen and drugged and birthing
Grieving and aching and hurting
Coming and wailing and eating
Hating and loving and faking
Being and gazing and crowing

I never learned how to play the real game of chess
I’m teaching myself your game now
A piece moves here and I put one in my pocket
in the moment you go to the bathroom
Save it to smell later
when you’re gone

Doing dishes you laugh to yourself
and I know why but I ask anyway

Her fingernails
My stomach churns a strange bitter butter
Gag on the image of curling and breaking
Squeezes body things
out of body places
out of dreams

“I am a young, talented writer.” By Julia on her couch

Thursday November 7, 2019
8:45pm
5 minutes
Citizens of the Dream
Cary Tennis

Mr. Zeiler hands out
the assignments
thinks it’ll keep
us busy long enough
to let him finish
his chapters

I am alive with the
possibility of writing
my very own story
I cannot wait to explore
this world and these characters. that will emerge from my brain

Mr. Zeiler says 10-15
pages is best, is most,
is more than enough
By the time I get to 15
I am just getting started

This scenario I’ve lifted
from my favourite sit-com
is a perfect container for characters like me and also like the ones from the show and I keep going

I glue in extra pages
when I finish what I was
given and begin to forego
illustrations to fit in more words

“For adult use” by Julia on her couch

Monday November 4, 2019
6:18pm
5 minutes
from the the sticker package

For adult use.
for adult use!
I told them to repeat the phrase and now look at me!
I am for adult use, right?
Or for child’s, kid’s, youth’s, what have you?
Oh no one.
Maybe no one’s.
Maybe for no one’s use but my own?
No but, environment. ENVIRONMENT, right.
I am for the universe and not for you.
Okay I am not for you but I am for the universe, environment, right?
For adult use would be more like thing, toy, book, object.
I am not
I am not an
I am not an object but but you could argue.
one could argue…
For who
for whose use then in fact am I?
IN FACT!
I want to tell you something
I want to tell you something
when you don’t know what to say you can repeat the phrase and now look at me!
You can repeat
you can repeat and that’s the use!
For general, in general, generally speaking:
It is clear the use because it is repeated often!
It is repeated and now you remember it
it is of use to your memory
I told them to repeat
And so one of them did:
baseball baseball
baseball baseball baseball baseball
baseball
by the 17th baseball it became hysterical
and he was serious
and I was laughing
and they were rolling their eyes, roll roll little eyes
in the back of their ten year old brains
and I thanked him!
WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY….

“bouncing out of the freaking roar” by Sasha in her living room

Sunday October 27, 2019
3:13pm
5 minutes
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Tom Wolfe

I’m writing standing up
perched on tip top toes
alone on the mountain
where the ice kisses the sky

I’m writing with my toes in sand
the ocean singing soft and sweet
weaving verses to songs
I’ll compose the melody for later

I’m writing in a bunker
ten feet below ground
so deep that I can’t hear the streetcar
or the car horns or the sirens

I’m writing to save my life
on a gurney in a terror zone
in my bedroom under covers
in a walk in amidst shoulders and thighs

I’m writing a love letter
I’m writing an ode
I’m writing a war cry
I’m writing a eulogy
I’m writing a day

“The bit about the doorbell” by Julia on L’s couch

Saturday October 19, 2019
10:20pm
5 minutes
Someday Is Today
Alethea Black

it’s a looming kind, this patchwork. Nobody sees

the origins because it
is built over time, from

grains of one person to
the next. it is closer

to waiting for food poisoning to strike after

consuming under cooked shrimp. they say it could

take 4-48 hours for the
symptoms to start, and

how do you go on living
casually knowing it’s on

the way? the driver who sees
the car approaching from the

rear view mirror is the one
who gets whiplash from

bracing for the crash. why suffer twice, but it’s too

late, the sick is coming.
it is the doorbell ringing

when everyone is tucked in,
far away from expecting.

“The bit about the doorbell” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday October 19, 2019
9:13am
5 minutes
Someday Is Today
Alethea Black

The doorbell rings and Ange stops in her tracks. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. Fe wasn’t supposed to arrive until this afternoon. “I’ll be right there!” She calls, running up the stairs and shutting the bedroom door.

Fe is on her phone, talking in Spanish. Ange always says she’s going to learn, but the Duolingo app on her phone goes unopened for the most part.

”What language do you dream in?” Ange asked Fe one of their first morning’s together.

Fe thought about it for awhile. “I’m not sure,” she eventually replied, picking sleep out of the corners of her eyes.

”It’s probably Spanish. I think I read once that we dream in our mother tongues.”

As she opens the door, Ange asks, “Why don’t you have your key?”

Fe cocks her head and glares at her. She’s cut her hair.

“The phone doesn’t ring” by Julia at her desk

Friday October 18, 2019
9:12am
5 minutes
Low Noon
Jim Ralston

When we took the phone of the hook we realized we liked it better just us three.
Bobbi cried less. I think it’s because she didn’t feel like we were going to
leave her to answer somebody else’s call. It should have always been this way
but when the phone rings, it’s another agonizing reminder that there isn’t
enough time in the day to keep up with everything being thrown at us. And
answering is sometimes the only thing we can control in a sea of chaos that
goes around buzzing whether we want it to or not.

And then it was quiet. Alistair finished his will and Bobbi napped in his
arms. We were afraid of this infinite reminder that one day we
would no longer hear his sound. How terrifying it is to think of your family
losing one member of its voice. Again, to things we can’t control no matter
how hard we tried.

The phone doesn’t ring now. We can connect it later if we want, but for today
while both Bobbi and Alistair are breathing, we don’t even think about what
we might have missed.

“Light like sugar cane.” by Julia at her desk

Thursday October 17, 2019
8:30am
5 minutes
Daybreak
Gerry Lafemina

It was all you could do to stop the thud in your brain
thhud thhud from the last bit of morning sleep
the first heavy fall you’ve had and thanks to him

Thanks to him for refusing to let you cross rooms in
the dream and for holding you unapologetically so the
whisper of waking hours wouldn’t touch you until it was time

And you almost stayed in the bed, but you rose, and planted
a kiss on the back of his neck instead, sending him back
to the last place he was without shivering

If he had asked you to reprise your role as Warm Body In The Cold
you would have forgone morning light for sugar cane
and he would not have had to ask twice

The head is soft again but the stomach is loud and nothing
seems to line the shelves long enough to act as promise
amidst the already fleeting

Your lack of math or belief in numbers ruins your oatmeal
you pour too much hot water in and think you might just eat
it like that as a reminder that you skipped some crucial steps

“You plan, you design, you labor,” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday October 16, 2019
10:04pm
5 minutes
An Absorbing Errand
Janna Malamud Smith

You are the Carolina Parakeet
hunted for feathers in hats worn by women like

You are the Passenger Pigeon
flocking with billions of kin
darkening the bright sky
trying to make it home to

You are the Stephens Island Wren
flightless and tiny
hunted by pet cats to complete extinction
New Zealand lost her

You are the Great Auk
not knowing the threat of their human predator
they waddled up to the Settler
hoping to make a new friend in

You are the Elephant Bird
Ten feet tall and five hundred pounds
Prehistoric and wise
Bobbing your head towards the familiar

You
Sweet Dodo Bird of Mauritius
hunted for meat by the hungry and tired

“You plan, you design, you labor,” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday October 16, 2019
7:55am
5 minutes
An Absorbing Errand
Janna Malamud Smith

It’s the morning but still dark
too dark, not dark enough
you are awake but not fully here
the city looks quiet, still asleep
too asleep, not asleep enough
there is a small light from the
couch lighting up words written
and bound together with money
you are planning the next one
and this one but you are not fully here
the yellow glow pulls at the aching bone
and you must either ignore it or join it

how does one become as yellow as this light?
how does one join something that hurts?
It’s the morning but still night
too night, not night enough
you are writing and you are wondering
but you are not fully here
you are in a day one week from now
two weeks from now and you are planning
and designing and wondering about what
they will all be like when they meet
themselves on the page that you laboured on

It’s the morning but not a warm spring
it’s the morning but not a conscious howl
it’s the morning but you are still dreaming
now writing out your dreams so they shake
free from your writing bone and keep
the light from pulling

“I cried during the silent walking meditation” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday October 15, 2019
7:19pm
Reunion
Halina Larman

Alice left Jim on a Wednesday. It was a long time coming. At least that’s what everyone said. It wasn’t dramatic. It was deliberate and soft. She had packed a black suitcase, as she knew that she needed to actually leave, not just figuratively leave. The suitcase had been Alice’s mother’s. It was worn on the bottom corner, but still zipped up. Their other suitcases, stored in the basement next to the box of Christmas ornaments and wrapping paper, belonged to Jim. At least she thought they did. It was the division of things that most overwhelmed her. Not the conversation, the “leaving” conversation. The division of their items, their life, parsed out in “I’ll take the immersion blender and you take the coffee grinder?” The older Alice got the more she didn’t care for things that she could turn on, hold in her hand, or cart around. She cared for the feeling of her blood pressure lowering, the October wind bringing her closer to herself.

“I cried during the silent walking meditations” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday October 15, 2019
6:30pm
Reunion
Halina Larman

There is no such thing as silence in this house
this house is a home and no silence exists in it

I give myself five minutes so I don’t have to hear
myself or anyone else (you) say anything

and even sometimes the timer is on and the silence
is close, but it is not mine to hold

Someone (you) comes in with your questions and
your funny jokes that instead of me laughing

and letting them roll off the back, I condemn to
the floorboards so the downstairs neighbours

have to forfeit whatever silence they were
cultivating as well. I could laugh…

but instead there is 2 minutes and 30 seconds
left and instead of masterfully practicing

I am languishing in the almost but not quite.
I should display a sign that says “In the middle

of it” or “RIGHT IN THE FUCKING MIDDLE OF IT”
because even when it’s clear this is what I’m

doing, you are doing whatever is clear to you
and what is clear to you is that you speak

during cooking meditations and walking
meditations and laying meditations

“the feelings that have been aroused” by Julia on her bed

Monday October 14, 2019
9:35pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Susan Sontag

calm, a tingling, a lying buzz that I know well
You see me and then pretend not to
I see you and pretend not to
We are the same and yet I think yours
is not about hate the way mine is but
about something that is beyond me to name
yours maybe something to do with resistance
to what I might have represented for you

a calm, still, I do not care the way
I used to in the pit of me but the
tingling comes because your face has always
been a panda that should be cuter
and that is shallow but deep
as it teeters in the stagnant pool of me
that no one gets to see

A lying buzz because I am striving for
honesty but I told myself some
untruths to justify my ignoring you
I have not been the bigger person
but the more sensitive one
as I am contemplating you here and you
are likely not offering my name a second
thought

I know it well and I hate it the same
it comes for me to knock me off my
high horse and since I’m not high anymore
I can see if for what it is
and lesson is what it is
and letting go is what I must be practicing

You might not care and this is more for
me than it is for you and yes I see it
clearly now
I see it like the horse

“It begins from the heart.” By Julia on her couch

Sunday October 13, 2019
6:26pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Shahla Khan

say your sorry
go on say the piece that is yours, that belongs to you
that you are holding back
as punishment
as deep sigh
as victim complex
say it out so it stops haunting you
so it stops sucking out the room

once upon a time this room had horns and it wasn’t a bad room but it did what it pleased
today you have gripped them tightly, and the horns feel a bit trapped
so if you are honest with
the room, with me, with yourself, you will abandon the punch left dangling
at the bottom of your hurt

I can tell you egos never want to be wrong but we both know yours is and if you say it, if you apologize
if you bring out the word that keeps you sick by hiding…

“It begins from the heart.” By Sasha at Black River Farm

Sunday October 13, 2019
10:00am
5 minutes
From a quote by Shahla Khan

Here is the place where we held hands and hearts
where we wove futures and past and incanted the unborn
and the dead

Here is the place where we passed rings around a circle of song
taught in front of the wood stove
harmonies bending air between mouths of all the beloved ones
asked for witnesses in keeping us on the spiral path
mystery and possibility
leading us

Here

is the place where the sky was the blue of my father’s eyes
the earth the colour of home
a tent like a shady dream
we didn’t know we needed
the smell of goodness and grief
hope and healing
all the hours of dreaming
fighting scrawling spreadsheet poetry

Here is the place
where you climbed onto a horse’s back
the way you knew you needed to
her ribs leading you towards
the rhythm of your palms
on my chest
feeling the rise
the fall

Here is the place
that I’ve summoned
these long weeks
called up in my storm
like a lighthouse
held close when there
was nothing

this place
an eternal reminder
of the blessing
of a union marked in the stars
marked on the map of

This place

“all the facts” by Julia on her bed

Saturday October 12, 2019
5:33pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Wendell Berry

It’s a long weekend. Fact.
Or wait do you want to know
if it’s a fact before seeing
the fact?
Or do you wish to decide yourself?
Here
is an example:

FACT: it is a long weekend.

Here is
another example:

I am funnier without the pot?
FACT

See how one is a call and response
and the other
is some kind of proof or statement
not up for debate?

I am not sure why I am asking you.
You are not me and I know the facts
about me and what is true. And
yes some of them are facts about life
but it is I who is experiencing
them and therefore I can say.
I can also say because of poetic
licence which you do not need to
pass a test to get, but that you
must be willing to risk something.

FACT: I RISK
even when I am scared

I risk even when I am the only one? FACT

The strength is in what I am trying to convey
and maybe it’s not always a fact
or never is
a fact but the point is that
in this moment of telling you
it certainly is because I’ve
committed to it on this
document.

This document is proof: FACT.

FACT: this document is proof of me risking

“We did all these things and more,” by Julia at her desk

Friday October 11, 2019
8:29am
5 minutes
We Did
Brian Doyle

There is proof of us in the corn fields behind the house
They have replaced them with houses now, new swing sets
but we were there with our cousins, hunting field mice
on our way to the river and they cannot take that away

They tried to cover up our living with their
white paint after we had put every colour there on purpose
Tiny gold stars stamped from a potato on the walls
of the bathroom where one of us learned to read
and where one of us dropped a GI Joe into the toilet
and then again the following week after it had been
rescued by one of us with smaller wrists

They let the pussy-willow bush overcrowd the deck and
now the light doesn’t get in but they don’t notice
because they are accustomed to living in the shadows
of a family who did all their growing there

They can’t erase the vibration that pulses in their
hallway, where one of us greeted all the neighbour
kids with hugs and smiles and unlimited time

“Everybody froze.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 9, 2019
6:11pm
5 minutes
The Man At Table Five
Alison Clement

it is common, the ice off his tongue. this is what happens when one is bad at keeping oneself warm. everybody else freezes. and here we are thinking that our cold doesn’t hurt anyone but that is not true. there is proof in the quiet, and in the glaring lights.

earlier when we encountered it, we took it on as our own and had to remind ourselves not to do that but what about the ones who do not walk in pairs? who do not count breaths, who do not know how to seperate?
we can say it’s not our responsibility but that is another great convenience we like to cling to.

when a driver flashes their headlights at another behind the wheel it is usually a warning of something to be mindful of up ahead. a signal to slow down, or that the surfboard has come loose from the roof mount. it is not legally required, but there is an unwritten code.

“Everybody froze.” By Sasha at her kitchen counter

Wednesday October 9, 2019
11:30am
5 minutes
The Man At Table Five
Alison Clement

Looked to the sky and there it was. Giant ball of orange and gold, burning and spewing. Coming down on us. Falling here to earth. Everybody froze. Looked up. A communal gasp. Nobody said a word. A universal silence. Something spiritual. Something profane. Something shared. Something unbelievable. Stars don’t often fall this fast, this low. But they sometimes do. Here it is. The thing we’ve all wondered about. The thing we’ve all waited for, without knowing we’re waiting. There’s no sense in running, in moving to another place somewhere close. The reverberations will be felt everywhere. The buckles and ripples can’t be escaped. And then it’s here, and the frozen moment is broken. Everyone is moving. The birds are calling. The dogs are howling. Human beings trying to take flight.

“How loyal the heart is” by Julia on L’s couch

Tuesday October 8, 2019
8:35pm
5 minutes
Red Tights
Danusha Lameris

with every passing hour
there is an ink stain
seeping deeper into the
contract of this. Of Us.

Who put their name down
in what order is something we might joke about but I know I was the one who signed first.

I decided.

Somewhere between the first
time I saw you and first time I kissed you I had my pen ready.

That is saying something: no pencil, no eraser.

And you were there in my
room playing the guitar for me and telling your
jokes to me and sharing
your smoke with me.

But I was the one who thought we should live together. I’m the one who found us our first house
to dwell in.

I can’t say for certain
how but I can say I did.

“Gladys was a hefty Puerto Rican” by Julia at her desk

Monday October 7, 2019
7:20pm
5 minutes
Anything For Love
Ruth L. Schwartz

In this dress she wore, she swore she
would not conform to the pressure of
being beautiful like this or that as
if some magazine might be the deciding
vote.

Gladys in her big swooshy dress, covering
the curves and equalizing the line that
leads her all the way down to the floor
and back up again. She stood tall.
She wore the bright pink like a medallion
to ward off the evil eye.
The evil kind of eye that keeps a person
small.

My baby, Indie used to hide underneath it
and count the love on her kneecaps with
slobbery kisses and giggles.
Gladys let her and only her go under,
see what was beneath the fabric.
She liked the love adding up on the
tongue of two year old on a mission.

This is the way she felt beautiful.

When Gladys came by the house she would
bring us cookies baked from scratch,
her own personal recipe and tell us
if we didn’t eat them she would eat
them and what kind of friends let friends
lose track of fallen crumbs.

“I can’t help but reflect” by Julia on her couch

Sunday October 6, 2019
6:53pm
5 minutes
from an email

Last night I saw you in my dreams. Time had past, Too late, I kept thinking. Your house was big and beautiful and uncharacteristic of you in its excess. But this was your home, and the taps sprayed intruders with a blast unless you controlled the pressure with a knob. I got soaked. You showed me, “Like this” and it only happened once.

I went to pick up your baby girl and then my eyes wouldn’t open all the way. I couldn’t see her at all. I couldnt manage the pain of coming all that way and not even get to hold her. Too late, I am too late.

When I went to the kitchen to cry, I asked God to give me back my eyes. Instead your husband came in and asked if I was hungry. I felt like if I ate with him it would take too long and I’d keep missing out on you.
But he and I shared our lunches, mine leftover saffron noodles, and his leftover peppers with thick sauced beef.

“verde y amarillo” by Julia on her couch

Saturday October 5, 2019
11:22pm
5 minutes
@quenoteam
Javier Rupérez Instagram

It’s bees I’m talking about, Lydia. Honey’s bees, you know? They’re the ones doing all the work and getting none of the reward. It’s something I’m just learning about now since Kiki came home with that school project and needed an adult to fact check her research. That was the first time I even read anything about these bees, Lydia, and how was I supposed to help her if I never knew nothing about them? I helped her make it colourful, you know the poster board that she needed to decorate? We put some nice yellows and greens and purples too. I thought cause the bees are attracted to bright flowers it would be a nice touch. Subtle. Kiki loved it, she kept saying, but this is so pretty I want to keep it in my room!

“verde y amarillo” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday October 5, 2019
11:02am
5 minutes
@quenoteam
Javier Rupérez Instagram

The thing about writing is it’s liquid
inefficient and strange
We all hope we are good at it
wonder what that even means

Inspiration comes via the light
through the stained glass window
or something you’ve finally understood
that your love has been saying for years

You go to your notebook and there are
two pages left
You ponder this

The end or the beginning

Life is better when you are writing
every day no matter what chaos is there
You remember the anthology of this practice
stored in the garage
along with books you aren’t ready to let go of

“This week just got ducking crazy” by Julia on her couch

Friday October 4, 2019
12:27am
5 minutes
From a text message

Two places at once:
the benefit of seeing each thing less…
but we can do it, you can do it.
split focus, split time, details, details.

Tonight we saw an owl get stuck on a fence
it swiveled its head around and stared at
us from its 360 position of momentary panic.
I said we should help it and you said, How
exactly might we do that? And I said, We
could pray a bit. Praying transcends time
and space and frees trapped owls. I know
about things like this, I used to split
my soul in two all the time before I met
you. I used to send half of me to the sky
and half of me to the other sixteen year
olds playing strip pool and drinking in
Alex’s basement. I used to apologize after
for going against God’s will, and then I’d
get forgiven, zip my soul right back into
place. And the other place, the guilt place
would make me feel like I deserved whatever
punishment I got. And the place I kept
putting my body made me feel so alive…

So I know about praying, and how it mends
you whole again after you’ve tried to
please too many people at a time.

“This week just got ducking crazy” by Sasha in her kitchen

Friday October 4, 2019
8:21am
5 minutes
From a text message

Hello Friday
Tired eyes and hangnails ablaze
Hello end of the week
but does that really matter
now that each day has a similar

different shape
kaleidoscopic Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
and here we are

Hello Friday
Coffee breath and dirty diapers
Laundry forgotten in the machine
stinks of what could have been
freshness
Oh well
Crumbs from last night’s toast
on the counter
A mouse turd under the fridge
Oh well

Hello Friday
labors into the weekend
a good time an inch away
a good time here now
Oh
kay
The prospect of a good beat
a piece of nice cheese
baby laughter
It’s here
All of it
It’s here

Hello Friday
You’ve got your nice party pants on
Mmm hmm
you’re looking fiiiine

“The ship had sailed” by Julia on her couch

Thursday October 3, 2019
8:08pm
5 minutes
Just Enough
A.J. Liberling

What would you do if I sailed away
stole the boat straight from you
and I took on the waves
would you come after me
I’m just wondering if I
should stop the boat in the middle
and wait up for you
cause we could sail around the world
and back, I’d wait for you
are you coming along
there’s no right or wrong
I’m just wondering what you’d do
come sail around me with me
oh just me and you

picture it now, the world gives
you one choice and you
have to decide between falling
and falling behind
do you do the new thing
do you take the big leap
sacrifice everything you have
if the feeling is real
the future’s not sure
but you could not ever go back

trust me I’m not
trying to make you just pick
up and go
I just want to know

what would you do if I sailed away
stole the boat straight from you
and I took on the waves
would you put on your life vest
and invest in everything
we can’t yet prove

“sorely tested—and found wanting.” By Julia in bed

Wednesday October 2, 2019
11:18pm
5 minutes
Assignment To Hell
Timothy M. Gay

a matter of stimuli, and it would be with that attitude

but where is the reward?
in the resistance of temptation, then? in the discovery of so many quick-legged spiders?

we release the tiny scurrying living being while we clean

if the start of a home becomes uprooted by the sudden decision to weild an unruly hand with a broom at the end of it…the home goes but the little friend stays

(the secret is to find another corner)

(the secret is no bites exchanged if asylum granted)

(asylum is granted for friend one and two and three and four)

but if this were not a moment of sobriety who knows what other homes would have been ressurected

“A score of tiny eyes stared” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday October 1, 2019
11:20pm
5 minutes
Stardust
Neil Gaiman

do we ever get used to the leaky faucet, the drips in the sink, the host of sponges soaking up every word

do we ever stop lounging in the face of something pressing, like launching, or standing back up, or sleeping

it seems unnecessary to get used to any one thing, all the changing that might move in, all the new stimuli that arrives

why do we beat ourselves over the head with what ifs that sound a lot like an evil twin plottingg against what we know to be good

will it ever go away?

i’m talking about the push for peace and that is all

“in search of a taxi.” By Julia at her desk

Monday September 30, 2019
9:33pm
5 minutes
The Rage
Gene Kerrigan

It seems like this city is punishing me for
being too afraid to drive myself around

Thanks to the rare sighting of a taxi cab
when I’m running late, and finally do I

understand the saying

I surprise myself with how quickly I arrive
to a bus stop when I’ve left my house later

than I meant to

even when it’s uphill, or across the intersection,
my own two legs have never failed me

I am faster than I meant to be

They called me wheels on the baseball diamond
and I liked it but I never thought I was as

fast as they thought I was

But you should see me round those bases
or snag a ball all the way in right from centre

But when I decide to take a car I am always
later than I would be if I had walked, run

I drove myself around at the beginning and
got intimidated by the parking, the parallel

the quiet knock knock to my ego, and the punchline
of needing to do a thing like that in private

the luxury of not driving is privacy

“in search of a taxi” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday September 30, 2019
9:38am
5 minutes
The Rage
Gene Kerrigan

I am calling up into the sky
magenta and teal
for a sign
a lightning bolt
a monarch across the freckles of the morning

this is the right thing
the bullseye arrow right to the
rose quartz
oh good grief

I’m doing the good good work
trimming the brush back
finding the path towards

Pele told me a long time ago
in the early morning
walking on lava
and seeing where the earth
opens pulses gasps

that I would be one of the ones
who has to find the diamond
carved by pressure
etched by time
strengthened by temperature
and pushing

“I’ll never hunt big ones again” by Julia in her bed

Sunday September 29, 2019
10:38pm
5 minutes
An American Dream
Norman Mailer

I’ll stop looking under the bed for monsters bigger than me
I’ll stop expecting to find something there

(Those days are over)

Today I will accept you
and everything you haven’t done as proof

Tomorrow I will stop talking about proof as if it could save my life
Proof of what, of being human? I have much to practice

You have never waivered, not even from one side to the other, no casual leaning

You have never hunted me the same way I have hunted you: looking high and low to spot grounds for dismissal

(I accept)

“He straightened up, roaring” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday September 27, 2019
9:41pm
5 minutes
Surface Detail
Iain M. Banks

His strange hurting is not mine to hold alone now
one way of building the house brick by brick
choosing the funny and misshapen ones
the burnt ones choosing the faceless and the wild
When I first met him I felt his way and I didn’t like it
Too much too close to leery to curious too much too much
I am a softer kind of animal
When I met him for the second time I did like it
I was ready for the rumble then around that long table
ready for the way these waves would crash against
the side of reality and wish and trust and begin again

Now meeting him for the millionth time
my mind still isn’t made up and maybe it isn’t about the mind
maybe it isn’t even about the heart
a five letter word overused to the point of letting the blood out
maybe it is about the guts that circle around the centre of the body
the body knows the body doesn’t forget the body keeps a tally
of all the doings and undoings

Earthquake comes when we are least expecting
we are not the choosers of the timing of the bricks turning
to sand turning to ash turning to memory

“He straightened up, roaring” by Julia at her desk

Friday September 27, 2019
6:21pm
5 minutes
Surface Detail
Iain M. Banks

There is a common thread that pulls his anger along
through the throw pillows and into my stockings I
have seen him bead the string

In lines at the grocery store he cannot hold his tongue
from thrashing around in his mouth and he lets out great
big howls from the guts

Hunger oh hungry man look at him he’s dying to get out
of this place and is the promise of food coming or is it
out of the question

His breath is wasabi now, only mad for a minute, no more, his
words laced in green paste and still I wait for this
to return to the middle

This is a Thursday, likely story, and if we’re not careful
the whole shop gets a blast, but it’s never pointed at me
even if I absorb some it first

I could know better by now but I am shocked as I was the
first time, a witness to a tiny explosion and poof, no
proof of it ever touching down

When he straightens his back to roar one out I know
to get ready

“How could God?” By Julia on the faculty lounge patio

Thursday September 26, 2019
1:55pm
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

How could you forget me
in the aisle at the grocery store
in the hallway with my coat on while you were saying goodbye to everyone at the get together

how could you say I’d be saved and then leave me there
to fend for myself
when they all asked me why you took away the people they loved: their grandfathers, their mothers
where were you when they chose me to blame?
As if at 14 I could carry the weight on my own

I followed you with a bag over my head, with my eyes scooped out

I followed you to the edge of the cliff, chased by angry hyenas, and I waited there, as if the pit was not filled with more of them

“How could God?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday September 26, 2019
8:02am
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

Snaking through the aisles of the Seven Eleven, Rory catches a familiar shape out of the corner of his eye. Steve. Shit. Steve. STEVE. He grabs a pack of gum, a bottle of orange Gatorade, a bag of Salt and Vinegar Miss Vicky’s. The man behind the cash has the eyes of someone who has seen a lot. Takes one to know one, Rory doesn’t let himself think. Steve won’t see him. Steve will get a can of Diet Pepsi, maybe a Mars bar. He’ll be lost in the forest of his thoughts, of his hangover, of his wish for love. Rory pulls his debit card from his wallet. Taps. Tap. Tap on his shoulder. Steve. Eyes of someone who shares a secret.

“The pulsating life force energy in such children” by Julia at the bus stop/on the 84

Wednesday September 25, 2019
7:34pm
5 minutes
The Relationship Garden
Jock McKeen & Bennet Wong

I have learned these days to give the A before I meet them, no they will not scare me into giving them anything less. I can provide the passion, the please, the panel of supoort, but not the passing grade. No, the above and beyond. Thank you for showing up exactly as you are, right here right now. You will not prove me wrong. You want to be here right here right now even if you don’t know how to express it.
I give the A before I walk into the room. These young hearts beat themselves to sleep at night, solid sleeps at night, but during the day they stay up and up and up and up. They cannot come down when their heart beat flies them to the ceiling, fluttering so fast like fairy wings and then. Then they show me what is at the top of the room. I can see from their eyes, all the ground they leave, all the lift they prefer. I give the A.

“Your arms would eventually tire” by Julia on the 351

Tuesday September 24, 2019
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Purpose Driven Life
Rick Warren 

Jeremy is green-eyed, like the sea, and sea-eyed like the man. He has beautiful white teeth that look white thanks to all the dirt he’s wearing. Caked on his neck like a sunburn, Jeremy is trying to make it here. Left
his ex and his kids and has lived all over this place: lasted longer in Winnipeg than Fort McMurray, and tried to make it to “Van City” but ended up here.
No luck with the criminal record check this time.

Jeremy lifts rebar all day. He’s wiped but he has all this pent up energy and doesn’t know what to do
with it, who to screw with it, or who to call.
Jeremy’s eyes are green.

“Your arms would eventually tire” by Sasha at the dining room table

Tuesday September 24, 2019
8:10am
5 minutes
The Purpose Driven Life
Rick Warren 

You’re done with the holding of the sun
and the moon

The Milky Way galaxy
dotting the path towards
forgiveness and understanding

You’re done
Your arms are tired and the light
of these celestial orbs is blinding
so up close so luminous

There’s been lots of talk
of choice
of feelings
of love
There’s been so much talk

Here’s what I’ve come to

maybe

We don’t choose our feelings
but we choose what we do with them

Do we flock to the ember
that whispers our name
in a voice that’s unknowns
and possibilities
Over there across the road
the horses buck and cry

Do we fan the flame
of knowing ourselves
in the way we wish to know

the other

in the way we wish
to be held in the glow
of the night sky

 

“I am weak willed when I want to be” by Sasha at the dining room table

Monday September 23, 2019
11:36am
5 minutes
The Doctor and the Soul
Dr. Victor E. Frankl

I am a weak willed wildebeest when I want to be
I will cave under the smallest pressure
under the legs of an unassuming ant
pressing downwards downwards
downwards towards the middle

I am the tallest turning trombone when I want to be
I will reach for the treetops
touch the cloud bellies
make a sound that the small bird flying
up above the rest hears and
she laughs laughs laughs

I am a contagious celebrator cuttlefish when I want to be
I will blow every horn and fill the balloons to the brim
dance a jig on the hour every hour
repeating the names of all the good cuttlefish
all the holy schools
repeating gratitude from the ground to the tip

 

“The person we think we are” by Julia at her desk

Sunday September 22, 2019
9:53pm
5 minutes
The Art of Purposeful Being”
Philip Winkelmans MA

It’s not a scar she wears on the back of
her knee, you cannot see perfectly this
little thing, unless the right light is
shining on it, call it cosmic, or call
it the soul…not so little after all,
this thing roars like a banshee and
tonight when she found black mould on
the counter top she lost her own as if
it had caught on fire and needed to be
launched immediately from
the premises. But this was no ordinary
nemesis, it was after all the soul
quietly deciding it will not sit quietly
inside of her any more and the real flame
came from denying the tiny voice begging
and then blaming the lack of control
on the other human in the room whose soul
was not looking for a war tonight.

She thought she was good.
Instead she was this.

“As a consequence” by Julia at her desk

Saturday September 21, 2019
5:45pm
5 minutes
quote: Ferrucci

You’ve got to be kidding me! You’re the one in charge of a whole slew of people and you can’t even write your name without a spelling error? How do I work under you? No please, tell me, how is it that someone with your level of competence can be managing other humans and expecting those us of with actual talent to report to you? I have been nothing but nice! I even took the time to sign your get well card when you got a concussion last year and I haven’t even met you face to face yet! Because I’m fucking sweet! All you have done all year is cock-block me from getting paid, getting opportunities, promoting myself just the way everyone else is, and you want to know why I think that is? Because you’re jealous of me. Because those who can’t do, SIT BEHIND THEIR COMPUTERS ALL DAY AND REPRIMAND THOSE WHO CAN.

“But in a poem we can do anything we want.” By Julia on her couch

Friday September 20, 2019
9:18pm
5 minutes
Since You Asked
Lawrence Raab

But we can’t stop anything in a poem. If The Tears are

there, then that’s where they’ll stay. If the lines

he softens on my forehead run as deep as they look

then in this poem I will cry for all the soft I’ve ever

tried to conceal, every rough idea, every gouged edge.

We can cross the rope of a decade and counting, here in

this poem; travel in dreams you want to hear about.

We can lay in the after lull of a couch cradling all the

body parts that caught a child’s scream today.

But we can’t erase what is there. We cannot change the brick.

“There are points of high silence” by Julia at her desk

Thursday September 19, 2019
8:38pm
5 minutes
The Lawyer
Carl Sandburg

In the severance of us, the split ship
one half now sinking and I play the part

Did you ever know me the way you said
you would, or were you filling pockets

of space with words, spiked, a quiet
fizz into the drink and I’m none the wiser

Who said it first? Don’t speak if you…
Don’t speak if you can’t…

The pebble in my throat throbs on and
in the morning, waking to find that

I did in fact swallow this painful pit,
that this is no dream, that you did go

On the wall, the grease of your fingertips,
tracks of your talking forevers but no body attached,

no hands

no arms

Were you changing the air with all the
great ideas, and who said it first?

Don’t speak if you can’t improve
the silence

“Today, they target” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday September 18, 2019
4:25pm
5 minutes
Snapshot of a Lump
Kelli Russell Agodon

do those jade roley things work?
I need something to smoothe out the forehead lines I’ve given myself for always looking so pissed off.
today the billboard asked me if I was willing to do what it takes and I am. I’m willing.
I’ve seen the writings on the wall and they are usually saying the same thing:
you are not good enough to reach the end of the tunnel with the face you have on.
Did you want to trade it in for one of these models? They’re sleek and uniform so all you have to do is slice and dice and then you’ll look like everybody else!

On a different Wednesday I heard that it might be better if I used the 16-dollar scrub. It’s the only one that works, they said.

“You will find it” by Julia at the Hyatt Regency, LA

Tuesday September 17, 2019
10:02pm
5 minutes
The Yak
Hilaire Belloc

in the mirror that enhances all your beautiful white beard hairs

in the dripping bathing suit, sand and salt stained, hanging in the tub

in the crash and burn of an arrival, a hard pill to swallow

in the feeling of say something and then stomaching the consequences when something said would have flapped the wings of that butterfly so rapidly you’d swear we woke up in another dimension

in the dry heat frying our brains into unthinkable messes

in the traffic jam, the nowhere but here, the time spent, given, given

in the hotel pool watching the sky change from summer to purple to night

in the burgers we ate on the bed, the good we pressed into each other’s feet

in the deep sigh when you are waiting for me to hurry up and finish this so I can fill the space between your skin and the sheets

that’s where you will find it, and every last drop

“You will find it” by Sasha on the couch on Oak Dr.

Tuesday September 17, 2019
6:01am
5 minutes
The Yak
Hilaire Belloc

You will find it somehow easier
than you imagined it would be
not that it’s easy but it’s easier

You don’t give advice in the offhand way
that you used to
You ask if it’s welcomed
You take off your shoes at the front door

You are tired of reading about
the end of the world
You are tired of questioning
your right to take up space

You walk by the water
with the sailboats skating across the horizon
You touch the fingertips of a tree
Make a joke with a hydrangea

You make dinner
make breakfast
make love
make amends

“Is it starting to rain?” By Julia on a bed in Mt. Washington, LA

Monday September 16, 2019
9:37pm
5 minutes
Afraid So
Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Don’t tell me–it’s dark there, riht? Don’t tell me. How do I leave a forever summer and come back to a place where my hands turn white with cold in August?
Don’t tell me it’s raining. It’s not, right? Don’t tell me. I am not prepared. My jacket was a dud but I ignored it. I’m not ready for what is waiting for me. Reality, to put it mildly. Here it is so dreamy. Here I am so dreaming. Planning. Thinking of how we can make it work. We can make it work, right, but don’t tell me if you think we can’t. We can do whatever we want to do if we say we’re going to do it and if we say we’re going to rise.
It was 29 degrees today. 34 in some places. I don’t want to think about the rain.

“Is it starting to rain?” By Sasha at the dining room table on Oak Dr.

Monday September 16, 2019
5:27pm
5 minutes
Afraid So
Jeanne Marie Beaumont

”Is it raining?” Bronwen asks Doug.

Doug has no idea but he wants to tell her something true so he quickly checks the weather app on his phone. “Nope!”

Bronwen wonders about whether or not Doug has ever had a platonic relationship with a woman. He doesn’t strike her as one of those guys. He strikes her as someone who has probably fucked or at the very least kissed most of his female friends.

”I’m going to go for a run after work. Wanna join?” Bronwen can only see the top of Doug’s head over the divider that separate their cubicles. Tufts of grey and black.

“I’m not much of a runner…” Doug wishes he was, but he’s not, and it’s better she finds out while he still has his dignity.

”I’m not either, DOUG, but I’m trying to offset the fifty hours that we sit in this prison and sitting is the new smoking so come the fuck on!”

Doug chuckles.