Posts tagged #April Word Project

median (n).


I know exactly what to do
with a broken heart
and a soaring one

I know exactly how to be
in the depths
and on the mountains

but I don’t know this place
the humdrum normalcy
that we’re supposed to crave (?)

the balance and the boredom
the orderly and the ordinary

I only ever know
how to place myself
when my insides feel
like a hurricane.

revert (v).


I think I thought I made
sense of it at the time,
and then I read it back
and it was in a voice 
that wasn’t my own. 

I think I thought I threw
it far enough away
that it wouldn’t come back
like the dog tracing his old walks
back to the porch on which
he takes his second afternoon nap.

I think I felt I found 
a way to explain it away,
and neatly,
the rehearsed speech
that tumbles like velvet,

burrow (v).


I don’t know any other way to love but
to go all the way into the depths of you,
into the caverns and past the barricades,
to dig for the place you keep
your sadnesses and your fluorescent dreams,
to turn the lights on at all hours
to find the bottom of your longing
and the corners of your disappointments.

I will burrow my love, blunt and abrasive
like I do with my limbs around your torso
at night when we sleep.

[Photo by Gillian Stevens]

absence (n).


I have been filled with
the kind of ringing silence
that makes your head split
and heart ache.

Didn’t songs used to play here?
Wouldn’t I chatter to myself?
Wasn’t there a story about that?

Wasn’t there
at least the rustling
of the wind from the window,
at least the exhale
from my sleeping love
on my warm neck,
at least the quiet hum
that comes with
the world waking?

scour (v).


When you’re having trouble
finding the beauty in the place you are in,
search for it in the corners and cracks
like you would a ring that
slipped off your finger; 

run your hands along the carpet,
close your eyes and picture
where you were when
you last saw it, 

leave nothing unturned, and
lay on the floor if you must;

there are flecks of gold
hiding everywhere
if you settle yourself enough
to find it.

origin (n).


Who made the stars and how
do they swing in the way they do,
soft and singing, spelling out
the mysteries that wrote us
into existing?  

You read aloud the story
and I’ve heard it before,
the one about the maker
and his garden
and the world he made up
to make himself a home.

[Photo by Jeff Spackman]

cite (v).


These are the landmarks
that mark time while I’m waiting
for the words to come:

I read this and that, I worry
I make a cup of tea
I go out
I try to sleep

I go back to the place
I was when I was
able to say
how I felt

I shut it out
and shut it down

I talk about small things
I try
I breathe through the ache
I clear my throat
I walk down to the water

I make a list
(like this list) 

I look about
I look away
I look ahead 

I tell myself
the things you say
when something’s lost.

celebratory word project giveaway.


 So I just wrote thirty poems in thirty days. This is the third time I've challenged myself with this feat (with the original April Word Project last year and again in October), and it's always the same cycle: the first few days it takes a really long time for the poem to "arrive," I spend a lot of time staring at the wall, or out the window, or generally lamenting to myself. Always finding it difficult to find the time to make it all happen. Around day eight, a bit of a shift comes and I might come up with a banger, and then somewhere around day eleven, all of a sudden I'm taking notes on my phone and writing things down in the middle of work.

With each of these month-long projects, this lesson is affirmed: if you make space for art, something will always arrive to you. And, the runner-up lesson: you're not always going to make The Best Art Of Your Life. Which is totally okay. But you have to be ready (limber, research done, mantel prepared, etc etc) for when it does come. So doing the work, and thanking it for coming, no matter how small it may seem, is all you can do. 

So, a giveaway:

as a thank you for following along with The April Word Project, I'm giving away two poems about whatever they want! For the winners last year, I wrote mooring (n). to commemorate a reader's journey with anxiety, and circadian (adj). as an anthem about starting a new chapter for another reader. 

How to enter:

ON INSTAGRAM: Screenshot and share your favourite #aprilwordproject poem in your insta-story or on your profile and tag/ mention @visitjessjanz. Make sure you're following @visitjessjanz on instagram. 

ON FACEBOOK/ TWITTER: go to and pick your favourite April Word Project poem, and share it on your account. Make sure you tag me (Jess Janz on Facebook and @jessjanz on Twitter) so I can see that you've shared! Make sure you're following the Visit Jess Janz page on Facebook. You can see the whole collection here. 

I'll be doing the draw on Friday, May Fourth, so you have a few days to pick your favourite!

xo Jess

(Photo by the brilliant Steph Ironside from Iron & Bragg Photography).

excuse (n).


I don’t have time to create;
there is too much to worry about, like
not looking like the pretty girls, and
if what I learned as a child is true, and
all of the little catastrophes everywhere.

And, I am already late;
late to work, late to understand,
late to catch on, late to gain
skill and strategy.

And, there are the others;
they are talented and accomplished
and so well prepared and
polished with their manner and
also the right equipment.

I could not even dare to
begin now.

implicate (v).


I now understand
the ritual of mourning clothes,
a physical veil to signify that
we are not yet ready to join the world;
they would act as a suggestion of how
strangers should approach us:
with the greatest softness
and a wide berth.

How many times have I been
unraveled by a well-meaning barista
asking how my day is going? 
How isolating when you can't
answer fully: "I am making sense
of myself after
my entire world fell apart." 

I now approach the world
with such delicacy, since
we are not adorned in our
mourning clothes, but
carry with us all the ways
we are surviving.