friends notice that hair
has been cut, not recognizing length
that has grown. there’s a difference.

i asked you once about the side of
the matchbox, how safe they
were, really. my apartment
burned to the ground & i
carried all that was left
in boxes eventually
broken & sent to
the curb.

the apartment took with it a story
that only you knew. we pretend we
are friends but, really. the difference
is not hard to see.


i’ve spent so many decembers not making resolutions. when it was just me it was so easy to not think of the future, or to just think of my own, and to know i didn’t need anything more than i had. even now, two years later, it’s still strange to think i might have something to work towards, plan.

there are the basics: stop smoking, cook healthier meals, get better at baking, read more books, write more often, go for walks along the canal even when it’s cold or out of the way. then there are loftier, more abstract goals that don’t feel attainable: don’t go crazy planning a wedding, keep up with correspondence, actively maintain relationships with my friends, take on more craft projects for the blog, improve my wardrobe, buy a house with a yard and sloped roof and a porch.

then there are wedding day & marriage goals: be a good wife? not fuck up my vows. not trip on my dress. be less sarcastic and more gracious. try not to offend anyone. don’t buy shoes that will hurt my feet even if they’re pretty. save my money. try not to look awkward when opening gifts. mind my manners. don’t yell at anyone. try not to get offended too easily. remember to thank everyone when making a speech.

don’t think about any of this too much. remember to thank my friends for not forgetting to be my friends.





it’s been a month. a long, empty month. on the personal side of things it’s been busy: i got engaged, i’m finding myself at times overwhelmed (in a good way) at work, i’ve been planning the wedding and taking trips out of town, i tried to quit smoking (i didn’t succeed, so don’t ask).

& i’m writing, only i’m not writing poetry.

it’s been empty because of what happens between all the busy, the evenings ahead of me dotted with nothing. no painting my nails, no doing my laundry, no cleaning my house. getting the christmas decorations up was impressive, i guess, but everything else feels so stagnant.

i keep waiting for the chance to make it better. un-erase it, fill the colour back in. in the meantime i’m lonely, and feeling detached from the people i love. i want a room with everyone in it, where no one can hear a word except for exactly what’s meant for them but can’t seem to be said.

Photo 2014-11-30, 1 05 26 PM

in the spirit of lists, reserved so often for february, i have written a list for december.

1 melting snow
2 my breath on the glass, too early in fall
3 crumpled cigarette packs in the backseats of cars; a bottle of juice
4 making (difficult) decisions
5 the tour, still the tour, but what do i say
6 apologizing
7 asking for favours
8 hands inside sleeves, of sweaters, sweaters like blankets, blankets like old conversations with friends, friends like a memory, a memory of hands inside sleeves of sweaters
9 vintage books, lace, ribbon, high heeled shoes
10 ohhh chainsmoking, a habit, old habits
11 not forgetting, despite lack of words

the open mic this month was particularly good. the people i know are particularly good. they aren’t all here and i find i notice that fragmentation more and more as winter edges closer, but they are particularly good. i will never not notice.

details-not-feelings word cloud

i made a little word cloud the day after the tour ended, the thursday, after waking up late and so slowly making my way through a few cups of coffee. last night i transferred it to cardstock & added some colour. there are things i forgot to include, and things i didn’t include because they were maybe just a little too personal, but overall i feel like it’s a pretty decent summary of those five days in the accord.


Jeff Blackman has been maintaining the tour website since day one, and he continues to add to it although the tour itself is technically over. it’s still strange to think, we did it.

i’ve already written about the tour (more than once), i know, but it’s going to keep happening. if i’m boring you to death with it then please, before you’re completely sick of it, visit Justin Million’s & Cameron Anstee’s websites to read what they had to say after #ithappened.

the more i think about it the better i think of it, the fonder i look back on it, and i wonder how much stronger (or not) those feelings will get. reading & being published in Five alongside these people is enormous for me. i can’t stop re-reading their work, going over their words and remembering their voices. i never expected, before this tour, to have such a powerful shared experience with other readers. you read with other readers, and you read with your friends, and it’s a good time, it’s fun and exciting, maybe you’re nervous, or they are, maybe not, maybe it means something or maybe it doesn’t.

now it’s something else. it’s like i could read anywhere at any time and still have these feelings (/people) with me, the things we had each night before the readings started, sitting at tables drinking beers together, sorting it all out.

as Cameron so eloquently put it, “the best part of it all was getting to listen to you night after night.” damn you, Cameron, putting thoughts into words.

it happened.

Photo 2014-10-16, 12 29 14 PM

i’m at a complete loss for words. i know that sounds ridiculous on a writing blog, but i’m okay with it. “okay with it” doesn’t even begin to sum up what i’m going through right now. i’m drained, inspired, exhausted, overwhelmed with thoughts, and feeeelings, and i need, need, need to write. i’m going to try to force my loss of words into actual words, which means that i don’t really know how much sense this will make. the last thing i want is to get all gushy here, but just so you’re warned: i’m gonna get a bit gushy.

we wrapped up the An Accord of Poets tour on wednesday night in peterborough. it was the best imaginable ending to the four days leading up to it, the year+ of planning behind it, and all the words that were written and said in advance of it. i’ve been asked for my #1 favourite moment from the tour, and really all i can say is that day/night. we went for dinner before the reading and it just felt so final, but still so exciting; it felt that there was so much left even though it was mostly over. we talked about some of the things we’d experienced during our time on the road, our readings, our nights out, our moments at the al purdy A frame & grave site. just being there, toasting to our tour, sharing a last meal, and then taking the evening to go over our words, sign books for one another, drink together, and prepare for the drive home, was enough to sum it up for me (sadly rachael was not there for this portion of the tour, but she was of course there in spirit).

i went into this tour knowing that i would come away from it closer somehow to these people. for me that’s a really big deal, & a lot of people might not get that but i know that they get that. of course we’ve been friends for years, and we still are, but it really is sort of breakfast club. or i feel like it’s sort of breakfast club. but BETTER, because poetry.

ottawa was overwhelming. it was particularly meaningful for me that our home base friends were in the room, some family, and most importantly our partners. they have been impressively patient & supportive, and it was truly something special to have them there before & during our opening night. montreal gave me a few moments i don’t yet know how to begin processing. the reading was a good one, but it was also lovely to meet new people, wander the streets for booze, stand smoking in another city, come & go from the hotel, and just simply be with these people.

i can’t talk about the A frame in this blog post.

toronto was a night of change for me. the room was packed, and filled with some of the best people i’ve ever known. seeing some my oldest friends in the world did a lot for me, and i appreciate it. the readings that night were incredible. these people inspire me consistently. and just the four of us going back to the house at the end of the night was one of the highlights of the whole tour for me, although i wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly why.

peterborough itself, the reading i mean, was a wonderful way to end the tour. having justin as our host, welcoming dave emery to read with us, jeff entertaining the hell out of the room, and cameron taking on the task of briefly summing up the tour before he read. and my voice shaking at the end, only because it needed to, not because of nerves (imagine nerves on the last night), but because of what was happening, and because it was ending, and because i had to pee, and because i’m not allowed to cry during my readings (perhaps the strictest tour rule), so i had to settle for letting my voice shake. & none of this even begins to touch on the full day: book browsing, zoo browsing, forced photos, highway driving, jeff, cameron, justin, patio drinking.

this doesn’t seem like enough, and it seems like too much, but whatever. i will be dealing with post-tour thoughts for a long, long time.

i’ve already said it, but thank you again to my tourmates Cameron, Rachael, Jeff, and Justin. i love you all. (i told you it would get gushy.)


after it
(all), faucet that
cascades instead of
pours, and more,

i try to savour, also tried,
every moment

in the end the
cigarettes died
out right in my hand,
and then the rain came

in haste i wrote three pages, notes
for going nowhere

i bet you say that, or you
don’t (to everyone)

in the end i wrote three pages
but not enough, enough
to fill a basement or
the back seat
of a car

and also not

in haste i tried to savour
every moment

#anaccordofpoets tour launches this weekend!

TOUR TIIIIIME!!!!!! it’s getting so effing close.

as you probably already know, either if you read this blog or you know me in real life (or both), i’m going on a poetry tour (so soon!) with some extremely talented Ottawa-area poets and friends. we’ll be reading in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Peterborough over five days.

photo by Cameron Anstee.

the readings will be October 11 (ott), October 12 (mtl), October 14 (t.o.) and October 15 (ptbo). visit our tour website for full details about where and when you’ll be able to come see us read! there will be some free or cheap chapbooks and broadsides available at each reading, and we’ll also have a book available for saleFive, which features new writing from the five of us on tour (Cameron Anstee, Jeff Blackman, Rachael Simpson, Justin Million, and myself). the book is published by Apt. 9 Press and was printed at Coach House Books in Toronto. i can’t even begin to express how excited i am for this book to be a real thing.

i want to ramble on and on about what it will be like to go on tour, but i’m trying to contain all that until it’s actually happening. i want to be in the car, in the hotels, in the bars, in the streets, on the highway, in the basements or attics or kitchens or living rooms, smoking, drinking, writing, all of it. i want to live tweet it, document every second, take a million photos, have conversations i’ll never remember. i’m even looking forward to the ottawa-toronto drive. actually excited about it. i might even be looking most forward to it. that’s pretty much unheard of for anyone used to making that drive. i want this one semi-casual conversation justin and i had two years ago to become a reality. i want to spend the time with these people, learn something from them, and find out what it’s like to be stuck in a car with them for days. i wish i could more eloquently put into words how it feels to be touring with exactly these four people, but then i think maybe it doesn’t need to be said.

if you don’t come out to see me read, then at least come out to see Justin, Rachael, Cameron, and Jeff. you won’t be disappointed. friend of the tour David Emery took these photos to help support our tour. check out their words below, and visit their profiles on the tour website.

JesslynCameron Jeff  Justin Rachael

hope to see you in ottawa/montreal/toronto/peterborough!