translate (v).

I interpreted your frustration to mean
I am someone who is difficult to love.
I interpreted your rage
as something I needed to wear.
I interpreted your silence to mean
there is no response to the oceans I feel.

In the end, it was as simple as this:
your language is not my language
your home is not my home. 

opus (n).

I invented the space you take
I invented a world for us
I invented where we went and
how we felt and
how we knew
what it was
that we had found.
What is it then,
what I still feel
this film left over
what is stuck
like on the breakfast pan
when you are there
and I am tired
and I forgot
the girl that you knew
far behind, far behind me

And you know what?
It was as simple as
forgetting my keys
on the table
by the door.  

posture (n).

it seems
it's all
in following
the softness

in these days filled with longing
and nights without sleep

it seems
it's all
in finding
the strain

that makes the forced lot
look appealing, the heavy hand

it seems
it's all
in learning
the relief

when you go to where the ease is
when you join in the chorus of yes. 

furlough (n).

I fell asleep
in the long. heavy winter
under sweaters and robes
under shaded lines and riddles
under bevelled roof and brick -

like the leaves did, on top of soil
and then the snow after that
I tucked myself in
and tired myself out
I told myself I needed rest. 

I fell asleep
in the long, heavy winter
under the guise it was noble
under accord that there was enough to go around
under assumption that watch would be kept

I find myself some great bear
a bellowing belly that hasn't fed
a soupy mind weak to rouse
a beast without her brawn
waking from muddy slumber

I fell asleep
in the long, heavy winter
I told myself I needed rest. 
 

hallow (v).

I passed the park we went to
when I didn't know the city and
you didn't know the fate
of that job you came here for.

we sat there as kids
feeling old and independent
leaving our homes and
telling our mothers
we knew what we were doing. 

we sat there as loved ones
telling each other our faults
telling each other our secrets
telling each other the things we thought
that kept us from sleep. 

we sat there as strangers
testing each other
to see if we would look away
and instead kept nodding
"I know you, I know."

hold (v/n).

There is a place that I come from
- you were born there too -
deep in the earth and from roots
we were made
in the same place. 

More than the dust and sand
more than the bright sun
on this wide desert (where we call home)
we are made
of the same things. 

In the moments when
I lose my sight
in the moments when
I forget cities and roads
in the moments when
I misplace stories of my childhood
in the moments when
the world seems hurried and loud
I will return to the place
of our beginning - 

I will remember
how to love you
I will remember
the vows we whisper
in half-light, in half-sleep
I will remember
that I am yours too keep
(because
what is ours
to keep
except
what is fused
in our cells?)

I will remember you
because you are in me
we were made
in the same place
we are made
of the same things. 

[This post was commissioned by Erin for Ryan, with her donation going to support my friend Daphne's recovery from cancer. For more information go to welovedaphne.blogspot.ca

give a word project poem for christmas.

It's six days from Christmas and it feels like October in Toronto. This is a glorious thing, but you may have your holiday clock out of whack as a result and have postponed Christmas shopping until the last minute. Sound familiar? Have no fear! I am here for you. 

I am accepting commissions for Word Project poems for someone you love with all funds raised going to someone oh so very treasured in my heart.

My friend (mentor, cheerleader, first-draft-of-a-song-tolerator, guitar teacher, movie partner, advice giver, encourager, etc, etc) Daphne, has found cancer in her body this year, and I as part of her tribe am bidding to raise $40,000 to go towards her post-surgery treatment, as well as cost of living. Daphne is a single mother of four college aged children, and shouldn't have to think about paying for paper towel or electricity bills when she's working on healing her body. I've committed to raising $1300 to the campaign, so I think with your help we can get there pretty quick. 

Here's how it works: you go to welovedaphne.blogspot.ca, donate what you can ($10? toilet paper! $50? A phone bill! $20? Organic veggies for the week!) to Daphne, and then message me here, letting me know who you the poem is for, and maybe a little about that person, what you like about them, what they like, or a story to give me a tidbit to go on. I will post within 24 hours. Easy peasy. 

Thanks for supporting Visit Jess Janz and thanks for supporting our Daph. 

discord (n).

we are trying to make sense
but there is no sense to be made
mad, its all madness
I catch myself grasping
desperate, in the night, to my love
and often, to the voice of my mother
to the kindness of friends
and the goodness of strangers
and what I know to be true:
there is more, surely
to this world we live in
than madness and fury
there too is goodness
somewhere, surely, somewhere. 

eavesdrop (v).

I didn't hang up after we made our plans and said goodbye just to see what you do in your quiet. It was four seconds before the call cut out, you sang-whispered under your breath, I bet while tapping the steering wheel with your pointer finger. It was four seconds and nothing much but made me see that even when you're alone I like being with you. 

we released an album today.

My band Fitness Club Fiasco released our album MODERN THOUGHT today. This project has taken a few years to make, interrupted and influenced by falling in love and then a wedding, two babies, a heart surgery, a brain tumour, a successful mayoral campaign, a few break ups (oops), the evolution of Hendo's beard, a spoiled Led Zeppelin t-shirt frozen on a driveway, a lot of pizza, one kick of the can at a radio competition, perfect and fitting artwork from our pal and expert woodsman Scott Hunt, and tireless and magical work from our secret weapon Mark Underdown that have made this album what it is. 

We all feel so proud of this album, what it represents, and what it's become. We are so grateful to everyone who has cheered us on, supported us through our indiegogo campaign, voted for us during Searchlight, paid cover at one of our shows (and attended overandoverandover again), paid for one of those robot t-shirts, shared our music with their friends - MODERN THOUGHT wouldn't be what it is without you.

You can stream (and purchase, WINK) our album here.  

[Album art for MODERN THOUGHT by Scott Hunt. Photo of FCF by Jan Douma].

lately.

FullSizeRender (2).jpg

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about Space. What takes up my space, meaning apartment, meaning thoughts, feelings, time (schedule, work, time off, people). I've been thinking about what I want all of those spaces to feel like. I've been a madwoman spring cleaning all figurative and literal corners and closets. Obsessively fixing the couch cushions, adjusting the lighting, examining my schedule and what I give my energy and focus to (I'll give you a hint, it's pretty lopsided right now).

I've been thinking about the space I take up, my posture and shadow, my fingerprint and echo. What is it I want to do with this plot of land? What is it I want to do with the light I have?

Maybe it's that it's September. Or just that it's time. 

The summer has been spent at beaches watching the dog swim and playing entourage at rock shows, festivals and horse racetracks, following around a certain band. It's been spent in rehearsal for FCF and starting an unusual side business and at weddings and around dinner tables, everywhere and nowhere in particular, that regular summertime blur that takes over. I don't know if it's the heat or longer days or what but I don't get a lot of creative work done in summer. I've done a tiny bit of writing, but it eeks out of me so slowly it barely feels like I have a pulse. I've realized that's just how summer feels and I like it that way, simple and bright and quiet. 

I've decided to take a year off of school (enter huge sigh of relief). I've started to play around with my word project collection and try to turn some of them into songs as a writing exercise, and to trick myself into getting back to songwriting (does anyone else have to do that? Why does it feel so scary? Maybe we can continue to talk about that). 

Lots of exciting stuff is on the way (like, tomorrow, my band's album is released. Not bad for starters). Thanks for joining along. 

xo