worth (n).

The desire that you would
realize your goodness
flows out of me in almost a panic. 

I want you to see what we see
(I wish we could be your mirror)
I want you to turn your heart inward
and swim in the oceans of grace
that you pour out of your heartspring
onto all of us. 

I want you to know what we know
(I wish our thoughts could be your personal mantra)
we know that you are the brightest bright
we know that you are full of passion and ambition
we know that you are worthy of the purest, kindest Love. 

quandary (n).

What am I supposed to do
with this clanging heart of mine
like pans thrown down the stairs
clumsy and loud on the way down
and probably waking the neighbours

What is it like, tell me
to carry on like you do
private in your thoughts and preferences
a softness in the weight of your resolve
you quiet your feelings like you're quiet when you leave for work.

What are we going to do
when my care drowns you like a hurricane
and your distance feels like winter
and we can't sit next to each other
and we can't look away

shared (adj).

The world is a ragged, bloody mess
with horrific sights and sounds
but the worst thing we could do now
is turn our eyes
and look away. 

Any mourning is our mourning
any mess is our mess
any sorrow is our sorrow
any fight is our fight
don't think for a minute
this has nothing to do with you. 
 

flip (v).

You're sort of taking
the easiest thing in the world
and twisting all the cables
with your worried mind. 

You're sort of taking
the magic out
of our bikes along Queen Street
and bad iced tea in the car. 

You're sort of taking
a long time to realize
there's actually nothing to fear here
and we could hurry up and maybe be

kind of great. 

unscathed (adj).

I didn't know
that this was next:
you are fine
and I feel restless
and
I don't know
this girl, who stayed
this girl, who's left. 

You are fine
and I am this body
filled with rage
rolling in grief
soaked in regret
waking in sleep
quiet in comment. 

Did you not feel it
the weight of your words
hitting my face
quivering my lips
bruising my deepest
tallest bones?

And you're just fine. 

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.