the dishwater by Julia at Cafe Novo

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at Cafe Novo
5:42 PM
5 minutes
The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver

She told me when I was visiting her in Italy that summer that it’s better to wash the dishes one by one and rinse them one by one. I thought I could surprise her with my efficiency and environmental awareness by filling up the sink and washing them the way we do back home…

She told me this was not the place for suggestion because she had been doing it like this for years, and then she pulled the drain stopper. I didn’t fill the sink again. I didn’t want her to get mad. But I was mad. I wanted to help and she wanted to control. I should have known after the four cathedrals we toured without my consent or my approval that this would not be a time to do anything I wanted. I’d have to do what she wanted–‘she’ being my guide, my landlady, my (over) protector, for three months, and twenty days, and counting.

Every morning I went for walks bright and early to say hello to the natural springs, and the snakes, and the stacked wood. When I got back she told me I should have gotten up earlier so I could watch her make the bechamel sauce for the lunch lasagna. I nodded my head slowly and said, “Maybe next time.”

“wait for a minute” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
The Commitment
Dan Savage

“Will you wait for me a second? I just have to put on my shoes.” That’s my mother.
“Will you hurry up for once? I’ve just been ready to go since 4:30.” That’s my father.
“What are you waiting for? You need a written invitation? Dinner’s on the table and this is the last time I’m calling you.” That’s also my father.
“Girls, come on…don’t make your father ask you again. Let’s go now.” My mother.
I don’t do a lot of waiting.
I don’t like to.
I’m more of a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone kind of girl, where if I have to wait, I might as well be actually doing something.
Reading: fine. Filing my nails: okay. Making dinner: great. Getting laid: fantastic.
But that’s not how this stuff really works.
We wait because we have to.
I make people wait and not on purpose, but I just do because I’m probably sub-consciously trying not to be the one waiting.
And, as a karmic result, I have to wait even more.
I wait, wait, wait and I can’t be productive in the off hours, or minutes, or seconds.
I can’t respond to an e-mail, clean my bathroom, or bake a banana loaf.
I wait in the waiting.
That’s what I do.

“wait for a minute” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
5 minutes
The Commitment
Dan Savage

wait a minute you dropped your subway transfer boy and I know I see the recycling bin is a whole three steps out of your way but
wait a minute there are old growth forests on death row marching their roots towards guillotines raising branches towards the lethal injection skyscraper where they’ll
wait a minute for the fire to come down the California hillside
tumbleweeds of smoke blowing pipe dreams of us beautiful and ignorant as we
wait a minute inhale du Marier and exhale Camel humps forming on our crystal lungs
big dollars big splendor big spender big dream big oil
wait a minute the Gulf of Mexico five thousand barrels later
it’s changing color before our eyes
blue to black like the bruise on her wrist
she cuts because she can
seventy one million litres of petroleum
our blood doesn’t wait
a minute
bird beak
wave slice
betrayal tastes stale and we
wait we wait we wait we wait we wait

“we filled our shoes with tongues” by Julia at Lit on Ronces

Monday, November 28, 2011 at Lit
10:51 AM
5 minutes
Things by Liesl Mueller
Good Poems for Hard Times

If there was a moment in time that I’d steal back, it’d be the day I went to work with my dad at the mall and helped him wash shoe display cases, and read my thick novel, and glanced at myself in the mirror because I thought I looked like the cool kid of a cool shoe salesman.
I’d steal it for my photo album so I could flip back to it every so often and show my kids the day I met my father.
I waited till lunch where he’d take me down to the food court and let me pick whatever I wanted. Chinese food? Or was it the burger place with the two for one deal?
That’s why I wish I could steal it. Because it’s old and it’s getting wrinkled just sitting in my head without being used.
This is the thing a girl dreams of. This is the thing a middle child dreams of. Alone time with dad, lunch with the man who is the reason why I am the way that I am because I liked him so much as a kid that I wanted to be just like him.
After we’d eat, we’d walk back to his store and put the leftovers in the back.

“we filled our shoes with tongues” by Sasha at Lit on Ronces

Monday, November 28, 2011 at Lit
10:51 AM
5 minutes
Things by Liesl Mueller
Good Poems for Hard Times

It’s extra cold this afternoon. January has come like a cleaver in a stump and we add layers for survival not for fashion. I step out of our trailer and see nothing but white. It burns my eyes. I pull my hood tighter. I start to walk. Slowly. The snow has stopped falling now. The crunch under my boots is my heartbeat. I’m looking down then up! Suddenly. I hear another heart. A big heart. A wild heart. Polar bears are drowning due to the ice melting. I was reading about this yesterday. He stands before me, mighty, on the Yukon ground. He raises his paw in attack or greeting. It’s really hard to know.

“pushed me around” by Sasha at The Lunch Box

Sunday, November 27, 2011 at The Lunch Box
5 minutes
7 Stories
Morris Panych

Every time she pushes me around I think about Tina Turner. Tina insured her legs for thousands of dollars. Tina and Ike used to fight really bad but Tina never stopped singing. Every time she pushes me around I think about when I have a niece and she’s living with me and how I’ll give her real nice Ikea furniture and grape freezies. I don’t have a sister or a brother so really I wouldn’t ever have the opportunity to even have a niece but this is just me getting hypothetical. Aunt Jessie doesn’t keep butter in the house because it reminds her of her father, Papa Calvin. I never met him but his picture on the landing gets taken down at Christmas and put on the top of the tree. He watches me opening up my stocking.

“pushed me around” by Julia at The Lunch Box

Sunday, November 27, 2011 at The Lunch Box
5 minutes
7 Stories
Morris Panych

Saved by an apple crumble and a felt tip pen, Maddie put on her blue suede jacket and ran into the street, looking for a car to bring her to her peace. She was looking to be hit. By a car. On the street. Was she going to the hospital? Maybe. Was she trying to cheat death? Possibly. Was she trying to make a statement? Perhaps we’ll never know. She was happy, wasn’t she? Maddie in her blue suede jacket and her smile. Maddie and her good morning. Happy? She wanted the impact to come instantaneously. She wanted to feel contact. Because she wasn’t really happy? Because she was? Maybe Maddie was so happy she couldn’t picture living another day in less than happiness so she thought she’d end on a good note. Maybe she was trying to meet someone: The cab driver, the paramedic, the man of her dreams, her grandmother who died in September 2003. Maybe she was looking for an answer. She was happy, wasn’t she? She was saved, wasn’t she? By an apple crumble and a felt tip pen.

“ordinance” by Julia at Green Beanery

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 at Green Beanery
5 minutes
Oxford Dictionary of Current English (1992)

I’ll jump on your back when I need a ride and I’ll let you do the walking because my legs are tired from carrying my weight lately. My weight from me, and from you, and from the earth.
I’ll jump on your back and let you carry me.
Carry me across the ocean, whale watching, deep sea diving.
Carry me across the mountains, frosted tips, angel meeting place.
Carry me across the sun, aloevera, wide brimmed hat.
I’ll see the world from your shoulders, view the view from from your point of and master the techniques of your approach to living wildly like you do.
I’ll feel the rain hit me here the way you feel it. It’s hot and it’s pure before it gets to me.
Now I have that.
Now I can see that the silence is what I’ve been missing and your shoulders are what I’ve been needing.
You’ll carry me.
You’ll have to because I can’t carry myself the way I once did.
My pride’s gotten too heavy, my shame has expanded over night, my guilt just keeps on multiplying. But you.
Your back is empty.
You’ve given your dreams to the wind and never once asked for them back.
You’re an eagle. A crane.
You’re free and I want that.
I’ll jump on your back and you’ll carry me.

“ordinance” by Sasha at Forest Hill Library

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 at the Forest Hill Library
5 minutes
Oxford Dictionary of Current English (1992)

I’m glad that you’re here and we’re clear that it’s near
This falling of great walls and great hearts round and sheer
I’m glad that you’re here and we’re clear that’s it’s near
A rumbling and a tumbling
under the under of the understanding
under footsteps and dupsteps and newsteps and oldsteps
under fingers braided eyelashes shaded t’s crossed and day’s dated
No doubt about it shout it shake it and know it
I love you big wide open sky
I love you redwood old and new blue butterfly
I love you ordinance and governance
I love you singing tongue and rain dance
I’m glad that you’re here and we’re clear that it’s near
This growing and this knowing and this everything is showing
Morning dreams and laughter screams and
It’s right when the ground shakes earth quakes noise makes
a sighhhhh
A tie around my finger reminding me to breathe
Your eyes dance a song from ten thousand years ago
A corner of my lip moves and that’s all you need to know
Your poetry moves syllables like candy swirls
You speak a language that I know and that I’ve never heard before
You’re here and then you’re gone and I always want more
A clarity as ice as water as divinity
Moon and you and I we are the holy trinity
You read my goosebumps with your finger stroke
The white comes before the yolk
The laughter comes before the joke
The sage burns and we sculpt the smoke

“this seems simple enough” by Julia at The Big Guy’s Coffee Shop

Friday, November 25, 2011 at The Big Guy’s Coffee Shop
5 minutes
The Sun November 2011, Issue 431

Archie, he’s my baby brother, he’s dying of cancer, and my mommy says that soon he’ll be an angel, and when he gets to heaven, he’ll be watching over me, and he’ll sing me lullabies, and tell me bed time stories, and whisper ‘I love you’ when I’m sad, and blow on my knee when I scrape it, and whistle my favourite song when I’m worried, and visit me in my dreams and things. I think I’ll like Archie this way, always with me and taking are of me because he loves me…

Archie, he’s my sister’s youngest. He’s dying of leukemia and he’s only four years old. It’s unbelievable. I feel so bad for her. To lose a kid might be the worst thing that could ever happen to a parent. I heard once that when it does, it’s so unbearable that there’s not even a word for it. You know when a husband dies, the wife is now a widow, and when the wife dies, the husband’s now a widower. When both parents die, even then the child is a what? An orphan? But when a child dies, what are you? Broken? There’s just no word…

Archie, he’s my baby. He’s dying of cancer and when he goes I’m going with him.

“this seems simple enough” by Sasha at The Big Guy’s Coffee Shop

Friday, November 25, 2011 at The Big Guy’s Coffee Shop
5 minutes
The Sun November 2011, Issue 431

“We are kings wearing aprons” he says
And he is right
They are
We are
But we will be kings
Regal and wise and changing this world
Popping corn and gum
Shaking fists at injustice
And box stores
And alarm clocks
Singing peace songs
I think about the cab driver
taking me across the river and the Broadview Bridge
A psychologist in Pakistan
Stacking dimes now and listening to 93.5
I think about the dental assistant
Cleaning my whiteness
Sixty-five year old grandmother to twelve
School in Canada at fifty so she can feed her nest
I think about the haystacks of opportunity we have
The full bellies we have
The roofs above us we have
We are wearing aprons
No doubt
Waiting tables
Spinning pickup lines into novels
Braiding cash-outs and spilled vodka

“almost all the time” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Downtown

Thursday, November 24, 2011 at Mokska Yoga Downtown
5 minutes
Crime and Punishment
Fyodor Dostoevsky

almost all the time he waits, for his father, to come back, through the door. almost all the time he knows that he won’t, that he can’t, that he’s gone. it was 1977 when he left, through the door, in the morning. jazz played on the radio, ella crooning a broken heart he didn’t know was possible. his father had a briefcase, like always, like every morning, and a bag from his days in the navy. this alarmed him, but he thought it was for squash at the rec centre with bill militzer. his mother burned the bacon and his father smiled, which was different. his mother put their lunches in cloth bags from the bulk store and not paper bags, which was different. he knew that this morning was different all around. on the way to school he fell, and skinned his knees and greta sat with him and picked the gravel out, one by one by one. she poured water from her thermos to clean his wounds and it burned, but he loved her, so it was okay. the burning was different.

he sits, at his small round table, his newspaper before him, his fingers around a mug that his brother gave him. almost all the time he waits, and he does now and he knows that his father’s not coming. his wife might, or the fed-ex man or a jehovah’s witness with pretend letters from god.

“almost all the time” by Julia at her desk

Thursday, November 24, 2011
5 minutes
Crime and Punishment
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Lady bugs should be banished from summer time activities. And baby carrots. I say, “who needs ’em!” Never made me a better person. Never made me want to be a better person. All they’ve ever done is gotten me angry. Because they pee on you when you’re trying to love them and it smells so much like battery acid that the loving just flies right out the window. And baby carrots? They’re assholes. They’re not even grown that way! They’re really just large carrots shaved down into small shapes and that really bothers me. They think they’re elite, and post-modern? They can suck it. If I want to dip something orange into a creamy delicious spread, I’ll use a whole carrot, and I’ll bite it to make it small. Lady bugs and baby carrots can go fuck themselves. They’re party ruiners, they’re uninvited mostly, and they just show up and try to control everything and then when they don’t get their way they become so petty and start trying to bring everyone down because they’re too insecure to just own that they’ve fucked up and didn’t know themselves well enough to make the party more enjoyable without trying so fucking hard.

Anna and Joanie? What does this have to do with them?

“he’s worth your favor” by Sasha at Bathurst Station

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at Bathurst Station Westbound DWA
5 minutes

There are always redeeming moments that make it all okay, where I can’t help but think that I actually care about her… I know you don’t, baby. I know… It’s hard. But she’s my mother, Jen. She won’t have her glasses on or something and she’ll be a bit cock-eyed and she’ll say, “Jeremy, remember the sound of Talula practising the violin?!” Then she laughs, I mean she roars. My mother… God. Talula would practise for forty minutes when we got home from school and my mother and I would stick candle wax in our ears. What am I going to –

When my mother dropped me off for my first day of school she spit on her palm and smoothed my cowlick, she pinched my cheeks so I didn’t look pale and sickly, she tied three knots in my shoelaces so I wouldn’t trip, she left and came back with another tuna fish sandwich in case I got hungry… She cares about me, Jennifer. She does. I don’t know what you want me to do here. I can’t move to Florida, I know that. I mean, the shop, for one. And you! Of course… you. She needs me. She has no one else! Talula wouldn’t know a crisis if it stabbed her in the back. Oh… I think I’ve confused my sayings… I just mean, Talula… We can’t rely on her. Would you stop that and listen to me please? Jennifer! Oh for Christ sake.

“he’s worth your favor” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
5 minutes

He’s your apple pie, your do or die.
He’s why I say I love you.
He’s this rock, this hard place, this I Can Be Myself space.
He’s why I say I love you.

I’ve been born again like a Christian with a testimony, and a baby with a mission. I can taste salt and it’s not because he puts too much, but because my eyes tell stories and for some reason it’s always raining.

He’s your yes, he’s your no, he’s your b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l.
No this isn’t about you.
Yes this is about you.
You’re why I say I love you.

Count my blessings on both my hands then yours, then my toes then yours, then my lashes, then yours.
You can see me like this: Sausage fat under-eyes. Apricots smashed on the kitchen window. Black lint from my slippers on the sofa we never ever got…

I’m this way: a little messy, a lot insane, a little testy, a lot in love with you. You can break the rules only when you first know them. Well you know me, and goddammit have I been broken.

This is not about you.
Okay this is about you.
You’re why I say I love you.

“it was time to go” by Julia at Vegetarian Haven

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at Vegetarian Haven
5 minutes
Stiff Upper Lip (from Minding The Body)
Patricia Stevens

She had on her brave face and she smiled into the wind.
Fear at her back.
Fear at her back.
She decided the moon would be her guide, the sun her clock, the sky her conscience, and the ground her heart. Listen to the footsteps of the people who have tread here before. Listen. Light touch…
She walked into the dark with her peace mind in and she raced against the madness that was faster than she had remembered. She asked the trees if they had room for her there. She slept with her mouth closed, and her eyes open.
Just in case…
Just in case something happened and she’d miss it.
She clutched her hand to her chest and pressed on; a journey lit by the people’s faces that had held her, the people’s faces that had cried with her, the people’s faces who had bathed her in those moments where
was all she needed.
She danced in her toes, in her hands.
She held her palms up to face the world, unafraid of the air that kept on reaching her.
She listened in her joy.

“it was time to go” by Sasha at Vegetarian Haven

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at Vegetarian Haven
5 minutes
Stiff Upper Lip
Patricia Stevens

It came like a wave washing over my head, knocking me down. The rocks were sharp against my legs and the water filled my ears, my mouth, my eyes. It came like a wave and the wave took me all the way around the world.

When I arrived, I was bruised and scraped. People saw me and did not know who I was. My clothes were torn and I had lost my shoes. I was drunk on salt water.

This wave had taken me to elation, to despair, to Marrakech and Dubrovnik. This wave had known my fear of snakes and my dream of falling.

When I arrived on the shore I knew I was where I needed to be. I am where I need to be. I knew that the rocks and the whales and the lightning and the wreckage and the shooting star were gifts.

“but in this dream it is different” by Sasha at Lit on Ronces

Monday, November 21, 2011 at Lit
10:05 AM
5 minutes
Saved By a Poem
Kim Rosen

I don’t remember my dreams now, since the seasons changed, since I stopped drinking, since I met you. I fucking love to dream. There’s a hand-bound book on my bedside table that I used to write inspirational quotes in but my dreams go in there now. But not anymore. I fucking miss it. I miss the flying with purple feathered wings and the sex in dripping Amazonian caves and the champagne whirlpools with raspberry bubbles.

Yesterday morning I felt so damn angry at you because you stole my dreams. Then, suddenly, I realized this dream is just different. It’s true. It’s real. It’s now. We’re running on the beach, this very moment, side by side but in our own worlds. You’re listening to Bruce Springsteen and I’m listening to Jay-Z and our strides are in unison.

“but in this dream it is different.” by Julia at Lit on Ronces

Monday, November 21, 2011 at Lit
10:05 AM
5 minutes
Saved By a Poem
Kim Rosen

Sadly I walk in my sleep. I stare at you from beside the bed. I watch your deer eyes sleep, your lashes hit your under-eye, your red, red mouth pursed in a dream. I stare at you, wondering what your dream is about and if I’m in it, and if you love me in this place. I see you. I watch you. My body waits for you to wake, and my mind hopes you never do so I can keep you like this. You utter a few words, ask me about my day in a language you don’t even recognize. I say, “Mmhm” and “yes” and “sorry?”. You repeat it. You hug the comforter and you kick your one leg out to get some air. I am unmoved in this moment, and completely moved by you. Your dream is my dream. I won’t remember any of this in the morning, but my soul has the pattern of your sleep face knitted into a pretty tree with one single bird and I feel you even though I won’t understand why I do. I only walk from my side of the bed to yours; a short distance to travel so I can come with you wherever you go, where you take your mind and leave it. I don’t want to be alone. I’d touch you but I’d ruin you. I’d kiss you but my lips don’t know how.

“he ambushes the demon” by Julia at Saving Gigi

Sunday, November 20, 2011 at Saving Gigi
1:17 PM
5 minutes
Why Did I Ever
Mary Robinson

Can we sit, oven mitts, on our hands, making plans, baking cookies, looking silly, flour powder, Sunday shower.
You’ve been craving, sugar candy, I like being, happy ending, can we sit, oven mitts, hot and heavy, smoked and ready.

You’re an angel, but I’m missing hell’s song. You can sing it, I can will it, but I still love apples and you still love oranges. Calm and cool, let it fool you, we are magnets, positively negative.

Crazy waffles, fresh, crazy waffles. You can save me, little baby, parade on fire, kids on a wire.
I’m in a daze, I hate these days, big man on a float and I’m keeping his gaze.

Could you stop, talking loudly, everyone I know knows each other.

Kiss my hand, you’re the man, travel plans, forming bands. You’ll sing the lead, and I’ll play guitar, I’ll kill the blues, you’ll be the star.

Can we sit, oven mitts, naked bodies, just an apron. I’m in love with you, making bread with you, feel a thousand miles inside of you.

Oven mitts, from your mother, red and white, like each other, that’s my blood and that’s your peace, it’s a travesty, it’s unleashed.

Can we sit?

Fight the sadness, eating rosemary as an appetizer.

“he ambushes the demon” by Sasha at Cherry Bomb

Sunday, November 20, 2011 at Cherry Bomb
5 minutes
Why Did I Ever
Mary Robinson

You do a little cough quite frequently (seven or eight times every hour, which means roughly eighty four times per day. You appreciate that my brain thinks numerically and not emotionally or rationally like the rest of the population. It helps with taxes, lists and our 2014 budget that is in the works). I am the only one that knows that you’re not sick, it’s a nervous habit. Everyone else probably thinks you smoke or something. Gross. I am walking up Roncesvalles and I see these amazingly delicious looking breadsticks (one for $1.59) and I go in and buy you one ($1.59) and bring it back for you and you eat it very fast without saying anything. When I’m peeling eight carrots for the salad for dinner you come into the kitchen and say, “I think that was a dog treat you gave me. Not a breadstick.” I can feel the red rising up my face like a volcano. There were a lot of leashes in that bakery. And brushes on the wall. I feel like I am being ambushed by Osama bin Laden or a lacrosse team of demons. I might throw up. I close my eyes and remember that you asked me to marry you the first time we ever went out. I do this when I worry that you’re angry with me. I remember that it was love at first sight. Sometimes you just know. A lot of people were surprised that I said “yes” (and not just because of our height difference). When you know you know. I said “yes” without even thinking because when you ordered your burger you said, “Only mustard and nothing else” and I’ve known since I was a little girl that my husband would only want mustard on his burgers so when you said this my hip bones tingled (which is a good thing). I open my eyes. I feel calm like the pigeons coo-ing in the eavestrough of our house. We’ve got to do something about those pigeons. Doesn’t matter that they’re calm. “It was a dog treat”, I whisper. Your facial expression doesn’t change but you say, “It’s okay. I liked it.”

“the family of things” by Julia at the Bloor Keele Coin Laundry

Saturday, November 19, 2011
Wild Geese
Mary Oliver

A Family of things is a family of TV dinners and microwavable chicken nuggets. A family of pork rinds and The Price is Right. A family of sensible shoes and curfews and vanilla ice cream. A family of macaroni lunch meats, shrimp cocktail, beers from a can, and no-brand yogurt. A family of matching t-shirts and mugs with dog pictures decoupaged on them and turned into pen holders. A family of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but the modest type. A family of “not till your 18”, and Lucky the cocker spaniel with a bum hind leg. A family of Dr. Seuss and Lego Land. A family of fish cakes on special holidays and vanilla ice cream with those chocolate chips for a real treat. A family of TSN on in the background of Christmas morning. A family of sadness and smoking addictions. A family of GEDs and fishing trips on the lake. A family of family. A family of things.

the family of things by Sasha at the Toronto Coffee Co.

Saturday, November 19, 2011 at the Toronto Coffee Co.
5 minutes
Wild Geese
Mary Oliver

it hits us
like a snowball in the cheek
aimed with the precision of chemical warfare
burning it is so cold
we catch a glimpse of the arm that threw it
we know it was someone familiar
someone whose face we recognize
man on the bathurst bus every saturday
sparkly wizard eyes
stallion at the coffee shop
making foam with such precision
he sticks the tip of his tongue out
marking his place in the book of goodness
it hits us
we cry out
“I understand!”
these times are rare
a pearl
a four leaf clover
we spend more time

it hits us
a sound
a poem
a look
a snowball
for a second
(split but not separate)
our place in the family of things
new bud
old rose
open sky

“don’t use commas like a stupid person” by Sasha at Lit on College

Friday, November 18th, 2011 at Lit on College
Eats, Shoots and Leaves
Lynne Truss

My mother places her mug of Earl Grey tea on the table and looks out the window. She moved to the country nine months ago, to the house she built a lifetime ago, a time in her life she doesn’t remember anymore. She needs the quiet, the loon calls, the rabbits, the trees. They remind her of who she was. In 1973 my mother built this house, hammering nails hanging from her lips like a cigarette, Rickie Lee Jones on her walkman, clipped to the belt of her cutoffs. It took her almost two years but the house still stands (albeit leaky and creaky). This house my mother built. My mother’s mother made strawberry rhubarb pies by the dozen and took them to the market before the sun rose on Saturday mornings. They’d be gone by noon. My mother’s mother lost her memory fast, like an avalanche. She was here and then she was gone. My mother’s descent has been slower. She lowers deeper and deeper into the pool of nothingness, of “Where are we going?”, of “Where’s Chester?”, of “Can you smell Mommy’s pies?” She lifts the mug to her lips and breaths in. I smile. She looks at me and raises an eyebrow.

“don’t use commas like a stupid person” by Julia on the TTC

Friday, November 18,2011
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Lynne Truss

Addie eats shit for breakfast. Well if she doesn’t, she should. I hear Addie steals her mother’s thongs and prances around in them so she can look “mature”. I tried on my mother’s thong once. It was grey and a size ‘Large’ and the back all bunched up so it wasn’t sitting properly. I wore it for an hour, maybe two, just to see what it felt like but not because I wanted to look “mature”. Underwear is worn UNDER–you shouldn’t be able to see it at all. Addie once told me that if her mother is gone out for the evening, that she’ll go searching in her closet because that’s where Addie’s mom hides all those neat secrets & “treasures” as Addie calls them. One time, Addie told me she found a rubber duckie and she thought it was weird. But when she twisted the head it popped right off and then this little bullet shaped thing started moving around back and forth, like a humming bird. I wish I had seen it because frankly, I don’t believe anything that comes out of Addie’s mouth. The thong thing is enough. Because the only thing I’ve ever found in my mom’s closet is dust and an old pair of birkenstocks.

reading his book by Julia at her desk

Thursday, November 17,2011
The Alchemist
Paul Coelho

Cobwebs are our minds’ way of protecting precious memories. We get them. They’re strung from one corner of our brain to the other, encasing the secrets we can’t bear to reveal, or can’t bear to remember. Every summer, I tell myself I’ll clean them, and every winter, I’m glad that they’re still there. I don’t know who I need to tell yet. I don’t know who needs convincing: my past, or my present.

There’s one that’s only half covered. A secret. It’s hiding from the light of day and it’s cowering from the hypothetical broom with which I keep threatening. It thinks it’s safe because even though I say I’ll get to it the way the alpha male says he’ll take down the Christmas lights this weekend, the next thing we all know is it’s April and people have plastic eggs hanging on their trees and the alpha male still has red and green flood lamps in his yard.

This secret is hidden only half so it can play dead, like a human under attack by a bear. It thinks if it looks inconspicuous I’ll forget I have it and I’ll forget that it’s ruining my life. It doesn’t mean to be such a nuisance. But when you tongue kiss your first cousin at the age of sixteen, it’s unlikely that it will be anything but.

reading his book by Sasha at the Green Beanery

Thursday, November 17, 2011 at the Green Beanery
5 minutes

he sits on my bed. he’s reading his book. his toes are tapping in time to the music in his head. he thinks he’s got things somewhat figured out but i know he doesn’t. he’s young. he needs to love and lose many more times. it rained in kansas city today. here we go, i think, when he leans in. here we go, i think. and then i think about the rain in kansas city. i wonder if ray had an umbrella. i wonder if his shoes got wet through to his socks and if he dried them on the radiators that purr. i’m kissing him and i’m thinking about ray. fuck. i am an awful shit asshole person. i bet ray took off his jean jacket and made a tarp over his head. he doesn’t like when his face gets wet. i know this. i wonder if it rains a lot in kansas city. i wonder if ray ever wonders about if it’s raining in toronto. and if i have an umbrella. and if i am still wearing the necklace with the fleur de lis.

“a beautiful dark-haired woman” by Julia at Cafe La Gaffe

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at Cafe La Gaffe
5 minutes
The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath

Constance, that whore, she’s been spreading lies about me. Fifth period English, everyone’s snickering like filthy little badgers, snickering about something that whore, Constance, has said about me before I get there. Probably something snide like, “Emma eats pussy”, or “Emma bribed Mr. Aniston with her prepubescent tit bumps so she could get an extension on the Vietnam War paper.” I fucking hate Constance. She wears white socks everyday and she thinks it looks good but it doesn’t. It looks retarded. Constance also eats baby carrots without chewing, and some how I’m the one who has a reputation for cock sucking Mr. Aniston. Oh yeah, and carpet munching. I don’t even like girls. Constance does. She watches late night pornos of two girls in pink underwear kissing with their tongues all out and licking each other. Constance is a whore. Everyday I see her, she puts her tongue between her two fingers and makes it look like she’s going down on a girl, and she does it so everyone sees and gets the signal that I’m the one who does it, not Constance. I punched her in her ear last Friday and told her I would cut all her hair off if she ever tried that again…

“a beautiful dark-haired woman” by Sasha at Lit on College

Wednesday, November 16th at Lit on College
5 minutes
The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath

Every night before bed Molly dropped the coins from her pockets into the china piggy bank her mother gave her for her fifth birthday. It’s snout is chipped. There’s a hologram sticker of a butterfly on the pig’s left side. Molly knows that one day she’ll have enough for Spain. “Every penny counts!” She can hear her mother’s voice saying, madly tearing coupons from newspapers and rushing to diners for the earlybird special. “Tuna?! Again?!” Molly would say, after the fifth sandwich or casserole or salad. Her mother would kneel in front of her and say, “There was a sale on at the IGA!” as if it were the best thing in the world and they should really be celebrating with sparklers and streamers and music from Brazil.

Molly went to the bank the Monday after her mother died with all of the papers in a red folder. She sat down with the branch manager Rupinder, who had the thickest beard she’d ever seen. Molly wished it would be appropriate for her to touch it. Rupinder looked exceedingly happy to see her. He said, “Miss MacPherson, I’m so sorry for your loss…” and he was, she could tell. But he had a sparkle in his eye. “Rupinder?” Molly said, “are you alright?” “Oh yes…” Rupinder said, stroking his beard. “Your mother was a very fascinating woman.” “Yes,” Molly said, looking at the cat calendar on the wall behind him, “she was…” “Miss MacPherson,” Rupinder stood up, “I am going to guess that you are not aware…. Your mother is a… Millionaire!”

“I know you want them to look at you” by Sasha at Camros Organic Eatery

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at Camros Ogranic Eatery
6:42 PM
5 minutes
Something That Needs Nothing (in No One Belongs Here More Than You)
Miranda July

move your hips like snake bites
watch the drool form thought bubbles
“take me now”
toe taps to tinkerbell hiphop
fairy wing ecstasy
move her hips like snake bites
slither down stop signs
red light green light her body
let the tickle in your throat teach you
words are cheap
love is cheaper
trust is cheapest
the cigarettes they share
(he lights hers before his)
the signifier of their commitment
their marriage ceremony
on the steps of the bar
here we go again
cat and mouse
she’ll find him in the basement
in twelve years
searching through the box of wrapping paper
for a ribbon with which to hang himself
from the spice rack in the kitchen
turmeric and nutmeg
tinkerbell dust on his shoulders
frosting his nostrils
she finds him
a midnight snack
and peter can hear her scream
all the way in never never land

“I know you want them to look at you” by Julia at Camros Organic Eatery

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at Camros Ogranic Eatery
6:42 PM
5 minutes
Something That Needs Nothing (from No one belongs here more than you)
Miranda July

Hard, isn’t it? When the mirror has spit stains on it, or mascara scars, or an optical illusion staring back at you, or the immediate release you thought you’d never expel?
Or is it funny?
Or is it funny that it’s not funny because it’s just so fucking true?
You want peace don’t you? That magical floating bubble only accessible through REM sleep or after a bottle of brandy. I don’t know if you’re hungry or thirsty. All I see when I look at you is that you need something, and your eyes are craving, and your mouth is breaking into breaths too small to calculate.
I see you.
They see you.
Your eyes see you from behind the shatterable full length slab of “this is me” instead of “this is who I want to be”. Do you want to see you?
Do you want them to look at you?
I’ve decided to stop asking myself and only ask you because I have the option of separating and dealing and I choose the former. You, on the other hand, there’s still hope for you.
Isn’t that funny?
Or is it funny that it’s not funny because it’s just so fucking true?
You’re a beast. A good beast. A beast with two hands and one giant mind that cultivates a smile from beneath the fur and activates the feelings you try to hide from others.

“I’m afraid that I’ll go back” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Monday, November 14, 2011 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
Post Secret (confessions on life, death and god)
Frank Warren

I’m sitting here, in the almost rain, scarfing down pastries filled with almost pork from the Chinese bakery and I realize that I am now one of ‘those people’. Perched on a rock in some 90 year old woman’s front yard, I sit. Alone and messy, finding scraps of flaked pastry that have lost themselves in the paisley scarf my grandmother had given me when I ‘became a woman’. They don’t even taste good. The only thing they satisfy is my longing for a well-written scene in an unfortunate girl’s mind. Drama queen? Maybe. A little masochistic? Probably.
Self-sabotage runs in my family.
My mother lost the hundred meter dash when she was seven to a little shit who lied about a sprained ankle. My father forgot his MasterCard on purpose when we went shopping at Loblaws because he was trying to prove the point that money does not grow on tress. My Grandmother used to look directly into the sun every day as a kid because she thought she might look prettier with glasses.

And I eat. And eat. And eat.

“I’m afraid that I’ll go back” by Sasha at the Toronto Coffee Co.

Monday, November 14, 2011 at the Toronto Coffee Co.
5 minutes
Post Secret (confessions on life, death and god)
Frank Warren

I’m afraid that I’ll go back without meaning to. I’m afraid that after work one night I’ll walk there instead of here and everything will be a tornado again, whistling in my ears so that I can’t even hear myself thinking, “Stop it! Go to your own damn apartment!” God. Ever since I’ve been here I’ve been thinking about losing my mind. Obviously I’m not… If I were I wouldn’t be thinking about it, it would just be happening. I can’t get out of my head, Miles. I can’t get you out of my head. I keep trying. I even deleted that time in the shower from my memory files… Shit. If you came over I’d make you tacos with the green salsa from that Mexican place in the Market and I would turn off all the lights and we would eat in complete darkness so that it would be even spicier, with nothing distracting us. Then we’d light one candle and look into one another’s eyes. You’d say, “Shit, Brenda. You really do have the prettiest eyes I’ve ever seen. If I could I’d suck on them like grapes. They are that pretty.” I’d probably blush and laugh and then tell you about all the dreams I’ve been having in regards to our overwhelming future.

“You can’t leave! You’re mine!!” by Sasha at the Butler’s Pantry

Sunday, November 13, 2011 at the Butler’s Pantry
5 minutes
Marjane Satrapi

Things I should tell you but won’t. Numbered arbitrarily.
1. I often find myself counting on my fingers – where ‘i’ falls in the alphabet (9), how many times I’ve fallen in love (3), how many letters there are in the word “elephant” (8). Sometimes you catch me and I pretend I’m playing Fur Elise on an imaginary piano.
2. I rarely change my toothbrush. I know it’s gross. I don’t care. I like when the bristles become soft and parted and that when I put it in my mouth it tastes like me and not Colgate factory.
3. Every time you ask if I’ve eaten peanut butter I probably have. I just don’t want to give it up. You have cigarettes and I have peanut butter, okay? Both have the potential of ending you. Deal with it.
4. Sleepless in Seattle was not the first movie that we watched together. It was Moonstruck. I swear. To. God. (Even though you don’t believe in God. I do.)
5. One day, if you look at me and don’t know what to say anymore, leave. Pack up and go. It’s over.
6. I like Niki Minaj.
7. My first kiss was with my cousin. We were ten. It was fabulous.
8. One time after we had a really bad fight I blew my nose into the sleeve of your favorite green sweater. I’m sorry.
9. I like the way you squint your eyes when you read but I won’t stop telling you that it’s time to get glasses.

“You can’t leave! You’re mine!!” by Julia on the TTC

Sunday, November 13, 2011 from Lansdowne to Christie station
5 minutes
Marjane Satrapi

I hated him when I first met him.
He was arrogant and beautiful, and he made that brown leather jacket look so damn good I could’ve cried.
I watched how he interacted with people, with bus drivers, with babies.
Somehow they all loved him and his charm just made them happy.
I watched and I couldn’t stand how bad-ass-sweet he was.
Like that crunchy salty-caramel popcorn; a combination I had always craved.
He carved pumpkins with his nieces.
He wrote songs and performed them at his grandmother’s retirement home.
He danced with the ladies who could get out of their chairs.
He spun the ones around who couldn’t.
He shot heroin on Sundays and cooked naked on Sunday nights.
He could eat two whole bags of Doritos Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger chips in one sitting.
I hated him for what he was and I hated him for what he wasn’t.
So terribly gentle and yet so horribly tainted.
Never ever did he mean to hurt me, his glowing hazel eyes always smiling, always laughing.
But Sundays brought out the demon in him, while his little family, dressed in their best, was away at church.

I can wait. by Sasha at Anapurna

Saturday, November 12, 2011 at Anapurna
5 minutes
413-415, Leaves of Grass
Walt Whitman

A: All I’m doing is waiting… waiting for you to slow down, dust off, buck up, be here…
B: (Laughs). “Buck up”. You’re funny.
A: I’m being serious!
B: I never said I wanted us to be “serious”.
A: Stop it!
B: I’m falling in love with you.
A: What did you say?
B: You heard me…
A: Say it again –
B: I’m falling in love with you.
A: Don’t. Please.

You wife calls twice during this conversation. You set the ringer to vibrate. (Your wife vibrates twice more).

It hits me the moment I take my hands off the handlebars down Dovercourt: I will never have you. I cry and pedal and cry and pedal all the way to High Park. I need to sit near the pond. While locking up my bicycle a little girl in a yellow jacket points to me and whispers something to her father who is crouched beside her.

I can wait. by Julia at Hula Girl

Saturday, November 12, 2011 at Hula Girl
4:56 PM
5 minutes
413-415, Leaves of Grass
Walt Whitman

I can hold you in my hand, that’s how small you’ve turned. From a monument of a man, to a small crumb of stale bread.
I thought I knew you.
I thought I knew you.
I was prepared to get good at pushing boulders, lifting roads, and moving mountains. Now all I have to do is breathe out and you’ll disappear. This fleck on my pointer finger, I make a wish and blow you off into oblivion. Because now, you are no use to me.
I thought I knew you.
I thought I knew you.
You told me once when you’ve stuck, you’re staying, but now I know that what you really meant is when you say, you’re lying. Blow, blow, little piece, little feather. I don’t need your lack of opinion as much as you need your back bone back.
At all.
A lot.
It’s a lot–it was. Now it’s nothing. You’re nothing. I don’t see anything when I look at you. You’re dust, you’re a seam, you’re a yawn, you’re a tiny prick from a cactus plant, too scared to puncture my flesh with a thistle that might break me.

she’s a good girl by Julia at her kitchen table

Friday, November 11, 2011
11:54 pm
5 minutes
Water for Elephants
Sarah Gruen

I’ve known from a very early age that you do not eat salami without ‘the bread’. It’s ingrained in me. Haha. (No) Pun intended. I learned this from my father who cuts salami too thick and doesn’t like to peel the skin off first. He says, “It’s part of the whole experience”. He says, “What! Don’t! What are you doing? That’s a waste like that!” I know this fact and yet I do the opposite. Not because I don’t care about the ‘Cardinal Italian Rule’, or my father, but because it’s a game. I want to believe that he’ll be scoffing at me in a loving way from beyond the grave (when he gets there) every time I bite a hunk of spicy Calabrese sausage and forget to, or choose not to eat it with ‘the bread’. He says, “the best invention is the sangwich and the second best invention is the open-faced sangwich.” Yeah, yeah, dad, we get it. You just like your meat and ‘the bread’ to dance a little before you marry them. Before you enjoy the “whole experience” of it. I’m my daddy’s girl: good, wholesome, sarcastic, and spicy–just the way he likes it. Me and his salami cut off too thick.

she’s a good girl by Sasha at her desk

Friday, November 11, 2011
5 minutes
Water for Elephants
Sarah Gruen

“Take me to the water,” I say, but I mumble and you think I’ve said, “Take me to the altar”.

“What altar?” You respond. Irritated? Intrigued? “The one I grew up playing in,” I say, combing my fingers through your hair and finding a knot to play with. You smile. You stretch. It’s too early for God, for knots, for such bright light through the slats of the bamboo blind that I forgot to close. I had other things on my mind then.

I know now why I’ve met you. This is a magical moment. Like the first time you played me Keith Jarrett or when Franklin learned the word “blue”.

I jump out of bed and say, running down the hall, “We can get there in less than an hour!” I haven’t been this excited since last Christmas when I gave my father the painting of the sunflower that we bought at the antique shop that’s since closed.

I turn on the shower and hear you laughing.

Do you subscribe. By Julia at T.A.N

Thursday, November 10, 2011 at T.A.N
5:27 PM
5 minutes
Love and Anger
George F. Walker

a newspaper stand. in the middle of nowhere. a man stands. in the middle of nowhere. he doesn’t read. he stands. the newspaper is open. it’s on the floor. the sky is dark. and ominous. he clicks the inside of his mouth. with his tongue. he stands. next to the newspaper stand. standing in time. a story worth submitting. an idea worth subscribing to. a bird. in the middle of his thought train. pulls the lever. choo choo. and off he goes. a newspaper boy. left out in the cold. freezes his extra extra off. he can’t find a dollar to warm him. he makes his own headline. wanders off. wanders into adulthood. with a stitch on his forehead. a stitch on his manhood. in the place he always stood. showing the world’s highlights. waiting to be paid. a man stands. in the middle of nowhere. he doesn’t read. he stands. he dreams. he remembers that no one reads anymore. he stands.

Do you subscribe. by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Downtown

Thursday, November 10, 2011 at Moksha Yoga Downtown
5 minutes
Love and Anger
George F. Walker

Ha. She thinks she’s tough.
She wears pride like a medal around her neck
and it swings,
a pendulum
deciding her fate.
She chooses only Splenda packets of ‘yes’,
never ‘no’.
‘No’ is the place where Santa lives.
She smacks her lips at chance,
She eggs on the future,
the hot sauce,
the extra servings of ‘never’.
She has sad eyes.
A small pond where her quietness swims,
round and round,
A minnow born from one rare ‘I don’t know’.
Mornings with dreams thick on her pillow,
melodies tiptoeing on her tongue.
‘I never remember’.
‘I can’t sing’.
A clumsy birch pointer finger selects
‘Large vanilla milkshake’,
Deity in a styrofoam cup.
She always finds the answer.
(It’s never inside of her).
Ha. ha. ha.
There it is,
buried beside her quietness and uncontrollable laughter.

if we do not survive by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at Sambuca Grill
3:35 PM
5 minutes
Dreaming A Very Short Introduction
J. Alan Hobson

A panic hits my chest like an avalanche.
Fight or Flight.
Flight or Fight.
In an instant I am reborn into a flash of light and I can see my life from the inside out.
Fight or Fuck.
Is this the place I was meant to find? A gaseous cloud and I’m undone like a wire, like a man on a pipe, on a beam, on a rope. If this is the sanity I’ve been searching for, then goddammit, this joke is a cruel one.
Flight or Fight.
Fight or Fix.
I’m not the antidote, the cure, I’m just the guy who knows the chemical compounds, the atomic clash, the I never passed 11th grade chemistry. I still don’t know that one part you + one part me + water = nothing. That one part this + three parts unknown = H 2 Who Gives a Shit. I have 30 seconds to live. To decide. To wait for this panic and then: BAM.
Fight or Flight.
Neither sound grand enough. Neither sound good. Neither sound like anything but a popping.
Like a bubble wrap fuck you fuck you.

if we do not survive by Sasha at Capital Espresso

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at Capital Espresso
5 minutes
Dreaming A Very Short Introduction
J. Alan Hobson

He’s not even twenty and he knows what he wants written on his gravestone. “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” His mother read Nietzsche when she was pregnant, while drinking Israeli coffee and listening to Klezmer records. He knows that it has had a great effect on both the “why” and the “how” of his life. He has three friends, two of which are new and one of which is old. Her mother drank Israeli coffee with his mother and read Nietzsche, too. They would do it together. He doesn’t know that he and her, these Nietzsche children, will have a daughter together when they are both twenty seven and that their daughter will grow up to be a modern dancer with exceptional penmanship and a gap between her front teeth. He doesn’t know that his mother has cancer on her ovaries at this very moment. She doesn’t know yet either. She’ll find out at the beginning of December but she won’t tell him until February, as they walk by the lake one morning. He’ll say nothing, pick up a small flat stone and throw it into the water.

New Group by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
11:43 PM
5 minutes
The Grid TO, November 3-9

so, like there’s this song? on, like, the radio? and it’s like “na-na-na-na-naaaa!” and it, like, plays? all the time, you know? and i’m, like, folding these sweaters and it’s playing “na-na-na-na-naaaa!” and i look up at the clock? on the wall above the cash register? and i swear to fucking god the time is going backwards. like, it was five thirty when i looked at the clock ten minutes ago and now it’s five seventeen. and the song, like, i swear to god, the song is just playing over and over? and, you know, it just like, wears you down, right? and, like, my break isn’t until nine. NINE. so i like, go to the fitting room where this little prissy bitch is like, trying on a tube top or something? some slutty little slutshit with like “TEEN QUEEN” across the front in like, little jewels? and i see this little bitch take a huge piece of gum out of her mouth and shove it on the wall. the wall! the wall? i’m like “nuh-uh…” so i go up to her, real close and she smells like that shit, that bubblegum shit, and i’m like, “do you need a garbage? ‘cuz there’s a garbage right behind the cash.” and she’s all, “i don’t need a garbage,” all slow and bossy and shit? so i stabbed her. so what? so?

New Group By Julia at her desk

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
11:12 PM
5 minutes
The Grid TO, November 3-9

Candied lenses is what I’d call them. Rose coloured glasses? Just seems too…I don’t know. Something. Something bad. Candied lenses. I don’t know, that’s just how I feel. Like, if you were to say, cats vs. dogs, or pipes vs. needles, I’d probably have a preference and a million reasons why or why not, but with this…I don’t know, I told you, I just don’t know. This ‘idea’, this, I don’t know, this ‘New Group’ that everyone’s been talking about…Are they here forever because I don’t know that I can handle this ‘thing’, or this ‘motion’, or whatever they are for forever. It’s like they believe in cotton candy and are making it into some aggressive argument like, it’s the worst event in the history of the world. The Holocaust? They’ve got some mighty stacked balls if they’re comparing cotton candy to genocide, I’ll tell you that. It’s like, I don’t know, they see the world through a rainbow filter and they’re trying to tell us what’s black and white. How can you even know what’s black and what’s white?

Not a happy one. by Sasha at Saving Gigi

Monday, November 7, 2011 at Saving Gigi
4:45 PM
5 minutes
Wit in Love
Sky Gilbert

She must have a secret, a tonic, a smoothie, a pill habit, a good mother.
She must drink lots of water, be in love, do yoga, sleep in, eat spinach, read Rumi.
She must have been breast-fed, never been bullied, learned a second language, known her grandparents, had a kind older sibling.
She must be younger than thirty and wiser than twenty-five, be a Cancer (or a Gemini), make really good french toast, never forget people’s birthdays.
She must laugh a lot, never curse, make only appropriate jokes, remember her dreams, have lots of opposite gender friends.
She must believe in God, take black and white photographs, listen to Bob Dylan, poach the perfect egg, know what ‘egalitarian’ means.

Not a happy one By Julia at Saving Gigi

Monday, November 7, 2011 at Saving Gigi
4:45 PM
5 minutes
Wit in Love
Sky Gilbert

Andy asked Margaret to marry him on a Wednesday and by the following Sunday she finally told him no. Andy cried, possibly for the first time, and then he asked her why. Maggie said it was a hard decision and that she wished it could be different. Andy asked her if she knew it was a no on Wednesday and Margaret’s eyes filled up with tears and she shook her head feebly. Andy told her he didn’t believe her and Margaret told him he had to because she couldn’t change it now. Andy lifted his hands to his eyes to hide his true feelings from whom he thought was his true love, and he kept them there, in two little rolled fists, without moving. Maggie didn’t do anything. She didn’t walk away, she didn’t try to explain. She just stood there shaking her head slowly from side to side, side to side. Andy asked if she ever felt unsure in the last six years and Maggie kept shaking her head. She wanted to marry him but just couldn’t because it wouldn’t be fair, but Andy started to go red in the face and that was it.

swift and intelligent By Julia at The Second City Training Center

Sunday, November 6, 2011 at The Second City Training Center
9:08 PM
5 minutes
King Lear
William Shakespeare

“Haha! Like a bird. She flies, she zooms!” My mother liked to laugh, liked to fly, liked to zoom. She referred to herself in the third person and I thought that was charming. I’ve always wanted to be talked about in the third person–obviously by others, not by myself. Like when I enter a room, people all lower their voices and say, “she’s so swift and intelligent,” “Look at her, she’s like a witty mere-cat.” And I, of course, would just sort of hear them and just pretend that I don’t because that’s much more dignified. “So honest, so open, and oh, she’s just so…humble.”

My mother, before she died, she talked about herself, “Oh she’s so awake this morning!” As she’d whip us up some pancakes or chocolate waffles. Or, “Oh, she just loves a good joke!” She did it for herself, but even if she didn’t, we would have. “She’s so graceful, that Lina, she’s so full of life, so tender, so infectious.” “That Lina, she’s just so understated. She doesn’t even know how beautiful she is because she’s just so…humble.”

That’s why I want it. Because if I could be anything like her, in the third person only because she is no longer here…I’d be good.

swift and intelligent by Sasha at Manic

Sunday, November 6th, 2011 at Manic Coffee
5 minutes
King Lear
William Shakespeare

Jesus makes my salami sandwich on rye bread, a leaf of iceberg lettuce on either side of the meat, and a dime sized squirt of dijon. When he eats his (minus the mustard, which he calls “foul”), a bit gets stuck in his beard and I pick it out for him and wipe the crumb on the edge of my plate.

“Jesus!” I call from the bathroom, where I’m perched on the edge of the tub, clipping my toenails, “What’s the name of that book you’ve been telling me about?!” He’s started the washing up from lunch. “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!” He calls back. I smile and put my socks back on. I stand up and look at myself in the medicine cabinet mirror. Jesus wrote, “You are the most beautiful woman in the world” on a sticky note last Tuesday morning before he left for squash with Alan. I look at it at least eight times a day. I can’t decide if I’ve gotten prettier or uglier since he put it there.

“Allison!” He calls, and I can hear his footsteps coming towards me. “Yeah?” I pull my cheeks back with my palms and raise my eyebrows. Perhaps I should start a plastic surgery section of my bank account after all, like Marla. He’s in the bathroom now, looking over my shoulder. I let go of my cheeks. Faces look different in the mirror, like the more intelligent brother of the face we know so well.

He smiles. “Don’t forget to call your mother. It’s her birthday.”

with nothing by Sasha at the Holy Oak

Saturday, November 5th, 2011 at the Holy Oak Cafe
5 minutes
The Ethical Imagination
Margaret Somerville

“I wanna learn your face by heart,” I say,
lying on my floor, naked.
“I wanna smoke your words and breathe out something sweet,
I wanna start with nothing and everything and better and worse
And end with nothing and everything and better and worse.”
You look at me,
All eyelashes and wisdom,
All overflowing good intention,
All for one and one for all,
We are one and all,
We are all and one.
“Let’s collage,” you say,
And you’re already ripping pages out of magazines:
my mother’s discarded National Geographic collection from the seventies,
two Vanity Fairs, a Walrus.
You start gluing pictures of forests to the walls of my bedroom,
the glue stick a quill pen you use to write secret messages
behind the willow trees and old growth.
You smooth down the jagged corners with the side of your hand.
“You’ll dream like a bird now.”