“Well, God is perfectly fair.” By Julia on the bus to Can Tho

Tuesday January 23, 2018

12:02pm

5 minutes

Institutional

Tamas Dobozy

Middle child=fairness and unfairness

=justice=judge

When god isn’t fair the middle child feels it. In her toenails. In her tears.

All this adding up does not equal the right sum.

Someone miscalculated.

Someone forgot to check the math. God is supposed to be good at math.

One good for you one good for me one bad for you one bad for me.

And if my turn comes today yours will be tomorrow. Yours will come and mine will come and faith and trust and acceptance and patience.

God doesn’t play favourites with disaster. That’s the rule. But what if it comes and it’s not fair? That’s the rule too. How does the middle child handle all these mismatched moments. How does god give back after all the taking.

Let’s take a bite until it’s gone. The middle child understands fractions. How to ration. How to make sure there is enough for everyone for as long as possible. You want the middle child on the boat when trouble finds you. You want the one who knows how to be fair.

“microwaved a saucer of milk” by Julia in Ho Chi Minh City

Monday January 22, 2018

5 minutes

Parents

Stephanie Yorke

Growing up I had a friend who used to do “experiments” and mix water and milk in a bowl and then microwave it. Then she’d taste what she made and offer it to her guests at sleepovers. I don’t know why you’d call something like that an experiment. It seems pretty obvious to me what will happen when you heat up milk and water in the microwave. Once when I was over at her house working on our science fair project, she had the bright idea to make the experiment a non experiment. That’s not me summarizing the events either, she literally asked me what my thoughts were on choosing something non-experimental for an experimental assignment. So that’s how I ended up

with a booth of Lays original flavoured chips and Lays original flavoured baked chips. She thought we could let people taste test both chips to see if they could identify which was which. Genius.

“You’ll do pants today.” By Sasha at at the Edmonton airport

Sunday January 21, 2018
6:19pm
5 minutes
Summer, Winter, War
Melinda Moustakis

I know the apartment is a bit of a mess. Dust bunnies in corners, the sink needs scrubbing, the toilet needs cleaning, the bathtub needs vinegar down the sides. I know that I like packing more than unpacking and three flights in one week is too many for me.

I know that the fridge has a few wilted pieces of celery in it, a bruised apple, a shrivelled lemon, a jar of tahini with an inch of oil on top and only a few centimetres of tahini.

I know the sheets are semi-clean, and the plants are thirsty.

“You’ll do pants today.” by Julia in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Sunday January 21, 2018

9:19pm

5 minutes

Summer, Winter, War

Melinda Moustakis

As we got off the plane all I could think about was my jean shorts. How long it’s been since I’ve gotten to wear them and how I will wear them

as soon as we get our entrance visas stamped. Entrance visas take a long time to get stamped, it turns out. We can feel the thick weighing down the airport from inside of it. I want my legs to see the sun. I want my jeans to return to my backpack and shut up about not being chosen. Hours and hours go by because the lineups are all over the place. The taxi driver takes us the long way, round and round, before dropping us off at our hotel. The hotel staff needs to get through their spiel. Today I’m doing pants and shorts. And gratitude. And abundance.

“with that thirsty, drink-it-down look” by Sasha at the Canterra Inn and Suites

Saturday January 20, 2018
8:13pm
5 minutes
For you
Tammy Armstrong

I wonder who taught you about forgiveness.
Was it on the school yard?
A pig-tailed know-it-all in-your-face?
Was it your sister?
Did you break her dollhouse door
and try to tape it back to opening and closing?
Did she cry and then say,
“It’s okay. I know it was an accident.”

I wonder who taught you about forgiveness
more now than a month ago. A month
ago I wondered who taught me about
forgiveness. I’m still not sure.

I can’t remember.

I remember

a pivotal moment of
my sister knowing I ate her caramel
and saying
“It’s okay.”

I read about a woman
who goes to visit her husband’s killer
in prison. They are dear friends now.
That is possible.

I remember

This isn’t a dollhouse and it’s not
caramel or murder.

“with that thirsty, drink-it-down look” by Julia on the plane

Saturday January 20, 2018

12:28am

5 minutes

For you

Tammy Armstrong

-So should we join the mile high club?

– -I would do it, yeah.

-Oh please, don’t sound so enthused. It’s too much.

– -Well those bathrooms are so small.

-Yeah.

– – And apparently you can get in a lot of trouble if you get caught.

-Yes, you can only join the club if you risk breaking the rules. You can’t just be in the club. There has to be danger. And earning it.

– -Okay fine let’s join then. I’m in. I’ve heard the best time to do it is when the flight attendants are trollying along with snacks.

-Oh you heard that, did you?

“She’ll use timid hand gestures,” by Julia on the 9

Friday January 19, 2018

4:48pm

5 minutes

Black Roses Bloom

Bill Gaston

She’ll calmly talk about her dad as if he were still alive. She’ll say he’s gone but her arms don’t quite believe it yet. Her jaw won’t accept it as the truth. She’ll stay up late in bed because the book is that good. Except it won’t be a book she’s reading. It’ll be hard to sleep with all those dreams of him. The ones of him showing up at her door with a basket of fresh picked cherry tomatoes and a couple dangerous Chili peppers. The ones of her getting a call from his cell phone but all he does is laugh and laugh when she picks up. The ones of him squeezing her shoulders when he hugs her tight. The ones of him calling her sweetie after a long time apart.

“She’ll use timid hand gestures,” by Sasha on the plane

Friday January 19, 2018
9:02am
5 minutes
Black Roses Bloom
Bill Gaston

She says that her mother won’t return her calls. He says that he’s sorry. She says that it feels like her whole family is dead, when really only her dad is. He doesn’t know what to say so he says ahhhhh. She says that she’s not sure if the year went fast or slow. She says that she’s finally eating again. He says he’s glad. He says that she needs to nourish herself in every way. She smiles. She says that she never could have guessed that this is where she’d be. He says it’s funny how life works. She says that’s one way of putting it.

“it’s the ending that keeps me in my chair.” By Sasha in her bed

Thursday January 18, 2018
11:52pm
5 minutes
Memoir
Sue Goyette

I don’t know why you’re yelling but it must be because you’re afraid I won’t hear you so I just keep breathing deep and imagining that you’re not yelling and that you know that I can hear you very clearly.

Funnily enough it’s harder to actually get what you’re saying when you’re yelling at least for me and maybe that’s because I have very sensitive ears and I don’t like loud music loud talkers loud chewers anything loud really.

Not sure when you’ll stop yelling but it’s certainly not when I ask you it’s certainly not when I ask you I absolutely ask you several times.

So I just leave not in an angry way not in a way that says that I’m not coming back just in the kind of way that says I asked you and you kept going and I said that I couldn’t take it and then you kept going so.

“it’s the ending that keeps me in my chair.” By Julia in her bed

Thursday January 18, 2018

10:55pm

5 minutes

Memoir

Sue Goyette

Guess I want to know what you’ll look like when you’re eighty. What you’ll smell like. Where your smile will point. I want to know if your vocal chords will turn grey. If you’ll wear a hat or not. If you’ll still kiss like a goddamn unicorn. If you’ll still whisper nonsense into my ear to see if I’ll laugh. If you’ll still sneak white cheddar popcorn topping into our turkey pasta. If you’ll rub my feet for no reason. If you’ll tell your phone to tell me you love me so I get it in writing and in the third person the way I always secretly liked. It’s the happy, the ending, that keeps me glued to your station. It’s the last days that make we want to stick around and see what happens.

“The woods are filling up with snow.” By Sasha on the plane

Wednesday January 17, 2018
3:43pm
5 minutes
Traveller
James Pollock

the holding on, the letting go,
the woods are filling up with snow.
the table’s set, the baby’s down,
you are wearing a shoestring crown.

the laundry is piled oh so high,
the little boy asks why why why.
soup’s burned the bottom of the pot,
i’ve been crying a lot.

we left the city for more quiet,
our friends smiled and didn’t buy it,
they said you’ll be back when winter comes,
sound the horns and bang the drums.

the holding on, the letting go,
the woods are filling up with snow.
the table’s set, the baby’s down,
you are wearing a shoestring crown.

“The woods are filling up with snow.” By Julia on the 9

Wednesday January 17, 2018

4:16pm

5 minutes

Traveller

James Pollock

Let me paint you a picture. Imagine pulling into the driveway and seeing fresh deer tracks in the snow. It’s magical. Isn’t it magical? It’s really magical. I’ve always thought that. Deers are the most magical creatures in the world. They are gentle and they are graceful and they are majestic and they are soft. Deers are so soft and magical it makes me cry. One magic moment I had with a deer, and this was three years ago, was when I was pulling into the driveway at the cottage and I noticed there were fresh deer tracks in the snow and I thought well isn’t this magical? To what do I owe this magic? Am i-Is this Narnia? Is this a Taylor swift music video? Is this pure, unadulterated magic with a spoonful of luck? Let me ask you something-you ever feel like the snow falling lightly and landing on your eyelashes is a kiss from heaven? That’s magic too! That’s the most magical magic there is.

“the amniotic brine of tears” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Tuesday January 16, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
Memo to a Self
Steven Heighton

“Soak the fish in salty water”, Gramma says, dropping the cut up chunks of cod into the brine. “It should taste like the sea, or tears”. She laughs. She wheezes. She inhales her cigarette. “Add chopped shallots and garlic. Maybe a pinch of cayenne pepper. Put it in the fridge for hours, not a second more or less…” Her eyes twinkle.

“Really? It matters down to the second?” I ask.

“Absolutely!” She says.

I add the shallots, garlic and pepper. We cover the bowl and put it in the fridge.

“the amniotic brine of tears” by Julia on the 99

Tuesday January 16, 2018

8:56pm

5 minutes

Memo to a Self

Steven Heighton

I called my mother today and yelled and cried at her while she was helping me. I yelled emotions, not anger. Or maybe frustration and fear and annoyance. And she didn’t get mad. She was kind. She knows when I yell I’m not mad at her but feeling more than my body can handle. She knows that and says it’s okay, or I’m not taking it personally, or you can take out your anger on me. But I’m not angry. And I shouldn’t be yelling. But I am yelling and so I yell that I’m not mad. Or I yell that I love her. Or I yell that I’m afraid of dying before I get to see her again. When I yell my mother rolls a batch of date and walnut cookies. She puts me on speaker phone and forgets to tell me that my dad is in the other room with his leg up cause he can’t straighten his knee. That’s when I feel bad about the yelling. As if my dad, unexpectedly home from work, can hear how ridiculous I’m being and might think I’m an asshole. As if had I known that someone else was in the house I would have put on more of a front. That’s just as ridiculous. I don’t yell at my dad because my dad doesn’t know that I have fears of dying before I see him next.

“It’s the nicest gift anyone’s given me” by Julia on her couch

Monday January 15, 2018

10:39pm

5 minutes

Fetters

Madeline Sonik

I still remember it even though I don’t really like to remember her.

I didn’t get into chamber choir when I was in the eleventh grade. I couldn’t read music but I could sing by ear. I was good. But I wasn’t good enough when it came to clapping out the bars. I had never felt more alone. Mrs. C had a look of pity on her face. I was sure I would never sing again. The next day K brought me a hand-bound booklet of music-reading printouts from the internet. She told me not to quit. I was moved beyond words. My friend believed in me even when I thought it was impossible to prove myself. The day after that I got the courage up to go and talk to Mrs. C and tell her that I would work hard and that even if I couldn’t read music, I belonged in the choir. She relented and let me in. I don’t remember now who gave me the idea to plead my case, but I will not forget that music booklet: the holes gathered by the cutest little sewing thread. When I think of her in my life I try and remember that version of her. I try not to let that part get swept away with the others.

“It’s the nicest gift anyone’s given me” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Monday January 15, 2018
1:48pm
Fetters
Madeline Sonik

Would you give me grace if I asked
nicely and gave you spice mixtures,
ran you a hot bath, took out
the recycling?

What if I promised to love you through
this storm?

What if I called you every day
and told you something funny,
or irreverent, or sad?

The greatest gift I’ll ever receive
is forgiveness.

For days and days
and days
I thought that it was you
who would give me this.

I thought that it was me

who would leave voicemails,
roast sweet potatoes, make
angel cards and golden milk.

And then today
as I walked in the coldest cold
it struck me –

the giver and the receiver
are one and the same.

Forgiveness
like honey and cinnamon,
like the end of a fire,
like dew underfoot.

Here it is.
Right here.

“It never rains but it pours;” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Sunday January 14, 2018
11:35pm
5 minutes
Bluegrass
Rhona McAdam

It’s hot as balls back here and Dylan keeps throwing prawn bits at me. Fuck off, I say, but he doesn’t.

When I first started here I was at the cold station, but now I’m at the fryer.

Chef said we’ve got some VIPs coming in tonight, but none of us ever want to know who.

We did three hundred and nine covers last night which might not sound like a lot but if you saw the size of our dining room, you’d get it.

Turns out the VIPs are a hockey player and his family, some old guy who doesn’t play anymore but is on the Sports Network now. I couldn’t give a fuck about hockey but I know more than to open my mouth in this kitchen. Dylan played AAA before having one too many concussions. He stares at the guy all night, grinding his teeth, flipping steaks on the grill.

“It never rains but it pours;” by Julia in her bed

Sunday January 14, 2018

11:20pm

5 minutes

Bluegrass

Rhona McAdam

Even the sunny days get fogged out. You think you won’t be able to see the water but you can if you get close enough. You can let yourself go even if your first tongue tells you there is no point. It will help if you can remember how you thanked yesterday’s sky for being so pink. How you smiled up at the setting sun and let joy in. How you walked through a purple path of damp earth and felt alive from every tingling limb. How you felt loved. How you thought of your mother coming to Canada for the first time. How she was taught this same beautiful word in the form of a new friend’s dress. How she’ll never forget how perfect purple is and how you won’t now either. Yes, there are moments of blame. And then some following of disappointment. But they are small. And they don’t have to be the day.

“Does it not sound like shouting to them?” By Julia on her couch

Saturday January 13, 2018

11:24pm

5 minutes

The Sisters Brothers

Patrick DeWitt

There’s a couple down the hall-or there was a couple down the hall-who screams and screams and yells and yells and fights and fights and etcetera and etcetera. I say was because we haven’t heard fighting in a while and the more logical assumption is that they’ve moved out. I mean it’s sad that a couple has moved out of our building and we didn’t realize it until we noticed the quiet. Other people are living there now and we didn’t know that either. I say it was more logical that they moved out than that they stopped fighting because they used to fight so bad it didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would ever end. Even alone they fought, which is weird, but maybe it was on the phone so maybe not so weird. Anyway I’m certain that the whole building heard it because we heard it through the walls and over the Brahms. Over our own fights, which we were glad to realize weren’t as bad as theirs. I only know them by their loud. I wouldn’t be able to pick them out of a line up.

“Does it not sound like shouting to them?” By Sasha at the Intercontinental Yorkville

Saturday January 13, 2018
5:46pm
5 minutes
The Sisters Brothers
Patrick DeWitt

Ginny goes to dance class. She takes the streetcar across town, and walks twelve minutes to the studio. She’s glad that she doesn’t have to wear a leotard, but that she does have to wear ballet slippers. She used to dance when she was young, but then her teacher, Natasha, said that she doesn’t contain an “iota of grace” and so she stopped. But it haunted her. Natasha’s British accent and her delivery, not exactly cruel in tone, but direct, icy. Ginny changes into shorts and a baggy tank top. She smiles at Leanne, a sixty-nine year old former pastry chef, who is wiggling into tights.

“I knew that sitting like that would bring me happiness.” By Sasha at the Intercontinental Yorkville

Friday January 12, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
How To Sit
Thich Nhat Hanh

I know that sitting would bring me something new, but I never let myself do it. Maybe it’s because I was taught to move, that moving equals productivity or something? Maybe it’s because when I sit, I feel. When I’m still, I have the space to know what I know, to trust my gut. So, I go from bed to the gym to the office to choir to drinks to bed. Bed to gym to office to yoga to bed. Bed to office to drinks to dinner to dancing to bed. You get the picture. And then, on a Sunday afternoon when my best friends cancels a hike, I sit. I sit. I sit. I close my eyes, just like the book says, and I pay attention to my breath going in and out. In and out.

“I knew that sitting like that would bring me happiness.”by Julia on her couch

Friday January 12, 2018

9:07pm

5 minutes

How To Sit

Thich Nhat Hanh

I sat there, sitting, and a bird came and perched itself on my shoulder. Isn’t that incredible? I invited the bird with my stillness. I sat there, sitting, and a bird sat there, sitting on me. How fascinating. I am the inviter. The invitation. The inventor. I invent still moments for my body to sit sweetly. I give choice to my bones, I say “loud or quiet?” I say “moving or moved?” I like this new sitting style. I like knowing how much I used to avoid it. How much it used to fill the room with loud even when I did not say. I do not say loud if I can help it. I like hearing every part of my legs and every part of my stomach and they will speak if they don’t have to yell. And it is helping more than just the room. It is helping every house inside my skin.

“I am numb to you.” By Sasha at the Intercontinental Yorkville

Thursday, January 11, 2018
11:11pm
5 minutes
Midwinter
Natalie Crick

I am numb to you and your peevish ignorance. I want to frame every page of the book that I’m reading and hang these portraits of your ineptitude on your wall so you can’t escape facing them. You, in your entitled arrogance, thinking the world owes you something, thinking you can be so insolent, so rude, so belittling. HA! I am stone and you are water. It would take six million years for you to change me. I wanted to stand up and scream. I wanted to kick down the door and throw you out. I wanted to do better. I did. I remained calm. I did not speak to your superior. I did not file a complaint. Maybe you’re new. Maybe it’s your first day. Maybe your cat died.

“I am numb to you.” By Julia on her bed

January 11, 2018

10:41pm

5 minutes

Midwinter

Natalie Crick

It’s a cab ride after a long ride of not speaking. And you are still not speaking to me. I have done all the heavy lifting. At the table, with strangers, painted you in the pinkest of lights. I was talking shop like you’re the bike like you’re the ride. And this whole ride you’ve been avoiding me. Trying your best to bite your tongue and let them hear you noble. And you forget me in the middle of it all. Arm outstretched, fork untapped, drink unclinked, and you do not smile. You make a face at them that looks like good and looks like great and then with me you are alone again. Unriddled by my questions, unannounced as if the couch owned your legs. I am mad for being mad. And for being right. And for being nothing but good. So why does it feel so damn exhausting-to nap during the day and wake up still unloved by you. So tiring to keep this back pocket free in case you slip your hand in, and when you do not ask me how my day was, I know to check for stolen change. Hand in my pocket to protect you against the yell machine, the perfect plane, soaring right back down after take off.

“shorten the contract” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 10, 2018
8:59pm
5 minutes
for your consideration
Laura Yan

Owlie is coming to visit and I got her an air matress from Winners. This is what adults do. Adults go to the store on a Wednesday or a Monday and buy produce. Adults invite their friend to sleep over but only if there is proper bedding. I haven’t seen Owlie since 2012 and I’m afraid she’ll ask me all the same questions. Where am I working? Did I ever find a family doctor? Do I still sleep with a bible underneath my pillow? A lot can change in six years. People can grow or stop gowing or get a promotion or lose their job. You won’t find any air mattresses in an unemployed adult’s home. Nobody would see one and expect their host to not be able to afford a nice one like this from Winners. Owlie has always been successful at anything she tries. She got a serving job once just by walking into a place and telling the owner she could see herself working there.

“shorten the contract” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday January 10, 2018
7:01am
5 minutes
for your consideration
Laura Yan

Dear Ms. Dunkirk,

I regret to inform you that we will be shortening your contract, originally extended until January 2019. There is a conflict of interest that has arisen and unfortunately we have no choice but to excuse you immediately. We do, however, expect you to train your incoming replacement as well as leave all of the materials that you developed while here.

If you need further clarification as to our policies regarding employee fraternization, please speak to Glenn in HR.

Thank you for your understanding and all the best.

“if she was obligated to say” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 9, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
Pamplemousse
Dominique Bernier-Cormier

Monique makes the bed with hospital corners just the way Nana taught her. She tiptoes down the stairs. Ever since Graham became a teenager he’s been sleeping until the afternoon and he gets very very angry if anyone wakes him up. Dad says that it’s fair game after ten on the weekends, but it’s before seven so she’s got to stay quiet as a mouse. Dad must be out in the barn. She wonders how he slept last night. Sometimes she hears him pacing in his room hours and hours after she’s gone to bed.

“if she was obligated to say” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday January 9, 2018
10:03pm
5 minutes
Pamplemousse
Dominique Bernier-Cormier

When I asked her if I could pitch her an idea
her eyes rolled back in her skull like a whip and I waited there
patiently for her to nod her head or give some sign that
I wasn’t just wasting all the god given air in her lungs
Finally she motioned for me to keep speaking and I did speak
but she did not laugh and I waited again for it to click
and for her to realize suddenly how funny it really was
She didn’t do anything or she clucked her tongue
and let me know she had heard but
she didn’t say anything or offer up even a small smile
Of course she was not obligated to tell me how smart my
idea was but it would have been nice
It would have been nice if she didn’t need so many proofs
before suspending her disbelief
Of course if I were to tell her that she’d get angry at me
for suggesting that she didn’t have an imagination
but my real question would be regarding her funny bone

“feel free to play around” by Julia on her couch

Monday January 8, 2018
9:26pm
5 minutes
http://ohsheglows.com/

I told them today about my favourite word. I told them
everything I knew about play. I invited it in like a teacher did once for me. And again when I forgot. And again when I was faking it. Don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Seriously. Don’t. And we played. We danced out of our chairs into a game. We all said yes and how glorious it was. That feeling alone won me right over. I asked them to risk being seen. I invited again and again and led by example. Some of my heartstrings were tugged so hard they broke. My own panic wove a tapestry and I wore it and then when I invited guidance I got some Serenity I didn’t know how to ask for. I think there is magic in moments like these. In giving yourself over to the open chair. The possibility of freedom. The strong and wrong balls to the wall go big or go home. I played like I wasn’t afraid of a grade or an opinion. And they played back when I called.

“feel free to play around” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday January 8, 2018
7:12am
5 minutes
http://ohsheglows.com/

My daughter and her daughter sit on their
front porch and sing to the shrubs

My daughter and her daughter walk to the river
and throw stones in
see how the current weaves

My daughter and her daughter
peel clementines and eat the sections slow
fussing turns to laughter turns to fussing
turns to laughter turns to nap

My daughter and her daughter sleep in a bed
with lavender tucked in the pillowcases
dream of a time when the world might be better
dream of a future where there’s curiosity and hope

“Resist the millionth purchase” by Julia on her couch

Sunday January 7, 2018
10:28pm
5 minutes
Advice to Myself #2: Resistance
Louise Erdrich

Went by the Salvation Army on my way home from work today. I thought I was going to pick up a perfect sweater. I didn’t know what kind of sweater, exactly, but I had a good feeling. Too bad it was closed. The Salvation Army is not open on Sundays. This is good according to my hormone tracking app. Best not to overindulge on impulse purchases cause when my hormones get back in check my bank account will not be. Then I went to the used book store and spent some time browsing and checking prices and being appalled at how expensive books in a used bookstore for some reason still can be. I don’t know why as soon as I step foot in one I have to dust the crops like it’s my job. I think my prayer sister, Geri, told me about that. When you lay a series of farts up and down the aisles? She also taught me about “shooting a bunny” which is what she called it when someone tooted a good hard fast one.

“Resist the millionth purchase” by Sasha at JJ Bean in Olympic Village

Sunday January 7, 2018
5:15pm at JJ Bean
5 minutes
Advice to Myself #2: Resistance
Louise Erdrich

She tries to resist the sale on tank tops at The Gap (who makes their clothes? How are the workers treated in the factories? Where did the cotton come from?)

Emma finds resistance ridiculously challenging.

She tries to resist avocados (the carbon footprint), coffee (labour exploitations), cleaning products (what happens when all that shit goes down the drain?).

She tries. She fails. She tries. She fails. Is this what life is? She thinks.

She tries to resist the space heater in the office. Just bring another sweater. Buy warmer socks. Turn off the light. Turn down the thermostat at home. Recycle. Compost. Ride a bike. Take transit. Resist. Rise up. Resist. She tries. She fails. She tries.

“stories superimposed” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday January 6, 2018
10:05am
Winter Watch
Jennifer Elise Foerster

stories superimposed over photographs
superimposed over memory
superimposed over nostalgia

photographs superimposed over
winter superimposed over
filled notebook pages

memory superimposed over
truth superimposed over
right here and right now

nostalgia superimposed over
eye contact superimposed over
wine stained lips

oh god

real superimposed over true
superimposed over
shopping lists

“stories superimposed” by Julia on D and A’s couch

Saturday January 6, 2018
9:53pm
5 minutes
Winter Watch
Jennifer Elise Foerster

A lot of weird conversations lately. A lot of jet lag and weird conversations. I heard the story I was telling myself and told it to myself anyway. I didn’t want to but I did. I had a weird conversation with somebody who wasn’t in the room. I had a weird conversation when I was the only somebody in the room.

I think from now on I’ll do my best to remember those good cards guiding me into my autonomy. All of them said I’d be able to choose everything on my own and that I’m already capable. I don’t know whose opinion I’m waiting for. I’ve never told a good friend not to trust their feelings. I don’t know why I’d ever tell myself that. And those cards had good images on them. So many trees that I’d be remiss in ignoring. Trees don’t wait for the other forest creatures to tell them they are mighty. They just are. They grow tall and strong whether someone tells them to or not. And that’s just one example. I even got a message saying I would

know how to reroute my own journey. Me. I don’t need to wait.

“feel free to mix it up!” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday January 5, 2018
11:02pm
One Part Plant
Jessica Murnane

Make no mistake
the break the break

The toe sticks
the tongue that licks
Mix it up
Measure a cup
Turn on the heat
Give it a beat
Flour and milk
Velvet and silk
Music on loud
Light as a cloud
Catch the lift
Flour to sift
It’s cold at night
But you feel alright
Rhymes are cheap
Avoid the leap

Make no mistake
the break the break

Follow the words
Lemon and curds
Clean out the sky
Me oh my

“feel free to mix it up!” By Julia on her couch

Friday January 5, 2018
2:06pm
5 minutes
One Part Plant
Jessica Murnane

There is a new tenant who is keeping her own bees. She is a bee keeper and she lives in the corner apartment facing the gardens. I’ve seen her up there, watching, waiting for the bees. She’s not odd looking. I thought she would be odd looking but she’s not. I don’t know why I thought that. She’s normal. She’s cool even, she wears ripped jeans and converse sneakers. She has a braid that I’m not sure of its origins. I know it’s none of my business where her braid is born or whatever but she has one and it’s doing it’s own thing. Just like she is. Keeping her bees, watching her bees in the parking lot garden. Seducing lovers in front of the window cause her bees are busy building sexy hives and she can’t help it.

Okay maybe she’s not licking any clits because of her bees. I don’t know maybe that was going one step too far.

“I analyzed four rape jokes” by Julia at Pearson airport

Thursday January 4, 2018

7:38pm

5 minutes

Shrill

Lindy West

One of them was funny. I’ll give you that. I can say this because I’m a woman. Because I have certain rights. Because #metoo. Because I don’t want to cry at every mention of the word rape. Out of four, one was funny and the rest were painful. I am

a woman and I laughed so sue me, I’m not even sorry. I’m a little sorry. I wondered if I was bad immediately after I let myself smile. The smile turned into a laugh so what was I supposed to do? Be a brittle bag of inconsolable? Who does this help? I am genuinely asking. I am a woman and I don’t know. I am a survivor and I don’t know. Who am I supposed to ask?

I am a woman and I don’t know.

I analyzed all four of the rape jokes. That is my job. I am paid to do this. And I don’t know who decides that this is work or not. That this falls under my job description or not. Am

I supposed to give it to someone who doesn’t know even more than I don’t know?

“I analyzed four rape jokes” by Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Thursday January 4, 2017
6:09pm
Shrill
Lindy West

It smells like old bacon fat and pinecones here. I hate your apartment, but you don’t like going outside so you never come to mine. The TV plays the news news news news news. Turns to music if you let it. Turns to grime if you let it. It’s all a frame of mind. You reach over and touch my nipple with your beer can. OUCH. I go to the kitchen and open the fridge even though I’m not hungry. I’m not hungry. I think resolutions are bullshit but you like them so I humour you and we talk about them forever. And ever.

Yours:
More exercise (what else is new)
Less TV
Call your mother

Mine:
Less beer
More vegetables
Clean your front hall closet (just threw that one in so that you would think I really cared)

“where she curled, suspended, gathering” by Julia at her parents’ house

Wednesday January 3, 2018
11:55pm
5 minutes
the woman who married a bear
Anne Haven McDonnell

Nonna used to ask me if she could style my hair after I had already finished doing it. When she was young she used to curl my mom’s into sections by wrapping it around a pencil. I told her no sometimes. But on other days I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she was hurting me; yanking and twisting all the pieces wrong. I know it meant a lot to her to play with my hair. She’d sing quietly as she did, and I choked back some

painful yelps so I wouldn’t interrupt her. She used to get her hair done for everything. Had one of her five daughters put her dyed blonde hair in curlers for the baptisms, communions, confirmations, weddings, funerals, barbecues, walks around the block.

“where she curled, suspended, gathering” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday January 3, 2018
7:02am
5 minutes
the woman who married a bear
Anne Haven McDonnell

“It’s better to have”
shaken and stirred
quelled and broken
ripped and sewn
laughed and wailed

“loved and lost”
curled and stretched
ran and sat
screamed and raged
smoked and burned

“than to have never loved”
really?
really?
okay…
mhmm…
I know you’re reading
have you woken yet?

“at all”
empty and overflowing
courage and grace
risk and risk and risk and risk and

“eligible costs” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 2, 2018
10:09pm
5 minutes
A letter from Health Insurance BC

How does the internet work? How does yeast work? How do cell phones work? How does electricity work? Who invented peanut butter? How does a virus spread? How does love spread? What is the word for … ? How do mortgage rates get determined? If I have to choose, is it better for the environment to eat local or organic? Why is social media addictive? Once a species of animal is extinct is there any way to bring them back? Where does forgiveness come from? What’s the name of a smell-memory?

“eligible costs” by Julia at Democracy

Tuesday January 2, 2018
4:07pm
5 minutes
A letter from Health Insurance BC

We’ve been adding up since Sunday counting blessings and good attitudes, bending each finger down until they’re nimble. I followed suit when you started: Thanked the room for witnessing us at our finest, clapped out loud at the light on my lips. I do what you do. I love the way you show me. A laughter on fire. A please. A thank you, thank you, Amen. I use the good paper to prove it. I write your influence onto lists of things to remember. Things to know. I know how much it costs for me to want you. I keep my big bills like I’m saving up for the perfect leather jacket.

“Hitchhiking” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday January 1, 2018
7:49pm
5 minutes
Trek: A Publication of Alumni UBC

I want you to go first with your ties of love riding the crest of the wave
most wildly at night with your newfound drunken freedom
from the wickedness
the blame
or something

I want you to stick your thumb out and see who pulls over and climb in before
I even decide
freedom on the side of the highway
crouched in the tall grass
peeing

There is always a final chapter
A conclusion
The timing is up to us
An agreement
Usually silent
Usually eye contact and deep breaths
Freedom from

It’s the first day of the rest of my life or at least 2018
I am here with books piled high beside me
Happy place
Joy place
Finally
My love sleeps in our darkened bedroom
A candle with Sacred Mother Mary burns low on the sill
He’ll leave not tomorrow but the next day
and then it will just be

me

“Hitchhiking” by Julia on Jessica’s couch

Monday January 1, 2018

10:38pm

5 minutes

Trek: A Publication of Alumni UBC

Have you ever hitchhiked? Have you ever held out your best thumb and thought, I might die trying to get myself from this roadside to, I don’t know, say, Philadelphia? I’ve never done it. I would be the kind of person who makes the other person nervous because I’d be so awkward. I also think I’m afraid of being kidnaped by the wrong person. The kind of person who’s been driving back and forth on dirt roads looking for the most naive person to steal. I used to think I could ask anyone for a ride. But then again you don’t hear too many stories about the bad-lucked girl who invited herself into a murderer’s pick up truck. I mean, you hear those stories, but by then it’s too late.

“All tickets sales are final” by Sasha on a bench near the water

Sunday December 31, 2017
1:32pm
5 minutes
From a ticket

You get tired thinking about who you can’t be. You buy a ticket for a cross-country train ride. You’ll write. You’ll sing. You’ll buy bad small town coffee. Really, you’ll spend a lot of time looking out the window. Really, you’ll finally stop dreaming about giving birth. You start reading the books you’ve always wanted to read. You start learning survival skills, karate, rock climbing. You have more space now. You call your brother on Sunday mornings and ask about his daughter. It hurts less and less. You aren’t sure about resolutions. You aren’t sure about numbers. You aren’t sure how long it takes for turkey to go bad in the fridge. You think about how you’ll wait however long it takes. You’ve got time.

“All tickets sales are final” by Julia on Amanda’s futon

Sunday December 31, 2017

11:16am

5 minutes

From a ticket

I know you and I don’t know each other very well. Aside from the fantasies. Okay, my fantasies. My fantasies of you and me: knowing each other. I almost said ‘nod nod wink wink’ just there. My grade four teacher used to say that. I don’t know why I just told you that. I don’t know what I’m doing right now, I’m sorry. I wish I hadn’t made it weird. You know what, let’s please just scratch what I said. Re re re re-wind! Back to the beginning of time before I ruined everything!

I know you and I don’t know each other very well. I thought I knew you cause my dreams have always been vivid and what I’d even risk calling ‘clairvoyant’. Pisces! Guilty!

“hesitating to” by Julia on Amanda’s tub

Saturday December 30, 2017
2:08am
5 minutes
From a tweet

Tell you the truth

Telling myself first

Listening

Believing you’re right

Believing I’m wrong

Go to the bathroom

Leaving the moment

Leaving the bar

Say something I’ll regret

To let you get away with it all

To let you have the last word

To agree with you

Disagree

Cry in front of you

Tell you about the hurt

Relive the hurt

Let you see me hurt

Be hurt

Ask for clarification

To cry when you cry

To hug you

To tell you I love you

To relive the past

To share what I’m feeling

To apologize

Fight

Forgive

Order another drink

Let you leave in anger

Keep you there in anger

Fight

Forgive

Fight

Forgive

Ask you to write me something

Ask you to read something

Admit I don’t know

“hesitating to” by Sasha on her floor

Saturday December 30, 2017
10:01am
5 minutes
From a tweet

Is there a hesitation?

Only a cherry pit at the bottom of a glass.

Some people never change.

I’ve said sorry a thousand time and now I’m not even sure what the word means.

“Sore” “eee”.
“So” “Re”.
“Sorry”.

What’s in the middle of the sandwich?

Sorry sorry sorry I’m so sorry.

I think I’ll stop.

Wash the dishes listening to loud music letting the soap splash all over.

Heed my love’s advice to stop apologizing and start moving.

Buy some good olives.

“Out beyond the rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field”
it’s full of wildflowers
bumblebeees
I’ll meet you there.

“proud of your generation” by Julia at her parents’ house

Friday December 28, 2017

12:01am

5 minutes

Hidden Fruit

Madhur Anand

Could afford more if I worked

Harder

Lessons lived, life, rice?

Savings sellings ceiling sailing

One pot, pasta for one week, tiny containers and small

Achievements

Scavenger heart

Muscular calves

Walk to the grocery

And to the dentist

And to the Long Distance

Meditation

Saving

Save on bus fare

Could buy a burger

For lunch today and tomorrow

If I had more

If I worked

Harder

If I wanted to

If I worked

If it all worked

“proud of your generation” by Sasha at JJ Bean

Friday December 29, 2018
4:12pm at JJ Bean on Cambie
5 minutes
Hidden Fruit
Madhur Anand

when you wish upon a star
wish you could be proud of your generation
zombies marching towards the end of the world
radical in their distraction tendencies
worshipping dollar bills and black amex and celebrity dieties
seagulls calling some hymn of the moment
or is that a jingle
no one knows the difference anymore
no one knows the difference

when you run through the forest
wish you weren’t so afraid to be alone
maybe it’s cuz we all are
maybe it’s cuz you learned trust and then mistrust
house of cards
huff and you’ll puff and you’ll blow the house down
diseased and itchy and tired and broken
put the deck back together but the joker’s missing
and the queen of hearts
what a love affair
what a love

when you rise out the brainwashing
honey from your ears and dried flowers from your nostrils