“Wonder about Mama sometimes.” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Saturday, December 31, 2011 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes

Dear 2011 Me,

This year was a good one and in the following entry I’ll tell you why. Jeeze! You’re so nosy! Ok you were patient enough. I have finally grown into a woman (I know, I know, cue the “fanfare”)! I have developed real breasts and actually wear an A cup! It’s incredibly exciting. I keep looking at myself in the bathroom mirror and I can’t help but smile at the strong and independent grown-up I am turning into. Who would have thought that 2011 would bring me breasts AND a more extensive vocabulary!
I bet you want to know the new words! They are the following: extensive, fanfare, adamant, persistent, eclectic, pedestrian, banal, anthropomorphic (so so good, right?), justify, aptitude, and of course, my favourite, REMISS! Which I am not!
What a year! I also learned to bake chocolate chip muffins without burning the sides! Huzzah!
I can only imagine the good things in store for me in 2012. I presume (also a new word, you like?) I’ll grow my breasts into a B cup by next January and will probably know how to play Happy Birthday on my ukelele.
Also, maybe I’ll go visit my mother more. Not my mom-mother, my birth-mother. She gave me up when I was three. Maybe she wears a B cup too!

“Wonder about Mama sometimes.” by Sasha at Lady Marmalade

Friday, December 30, 2011 at Lady Marmalade
5 minutes

Sometimes Mama licks her palm and smooths down her frizzy hair and sometimes I catch her picking her nose and rolling the booger around with her fingers and then sneaking it in her mouth. Can’t blame her, she’s probably hungry. Mama don’t know why she does the things she does and neither does anybody else. Only me. Yup. I help her with pretty much all she does. Mama had this bad bad accident three years ago at the Hershey factory and she got all different in her head. Like… like, there’s sometimes when she’s doing something, and then all of a sudden she’ll be crying. Screaming-crying, the worst kind. Like babies do. Mama still makes birthday cakes for herself but on the wrong day now. Like, there’s one in the oven right now. I can smell it. Every day, man oh man. And she’s singing the “Happy Birthday” song under her breath. I can hear it! Mama knows that I’ll love her no matter what. Even though the accident made her all… retarded. It’s not a bad word. It’s just the truth. So deal with it. Giving her this great Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt for her pretend birthday. That’s what I’m doing. That’s what. Winnie the Pooh hugging his jar of honey.

“Before he died” by Sasha at Sense Appeal

Friday, December 30, 2011 at Sense Appeal
5 minutes
The Moves (from No one belongs here more than you.)
Miranda July

Before he died he untied the laces of the patent leather shoes that had been knotted in his closet for thirty eight years. He sat at his table, bought at the Salvation Army on Princess St seventeen Christmases ago, and used the light from the window. Luckily it had just snowed so it was bright for him. He spent forty odd minutes undoing the knots and only I can tell you that was the closest thing to meditation he ever experienced in his life. Thank goodness that happened before he bit the dust. He lay down, exhausted after the knot picking, and pulled his quilt over his toes. Cold toes. A sign of what was to come? He drifted into sleep like a sailboat on a calm sea. He didn’t assume that the sailboat wouldn’t be returning to shore. He didn’t think that those knots would be his last. He never would’ve guessed.

“Before he died” by Julia at Sense Appeal

Friday, December 30, 2011 at Sense Appeal
5 minutes
The Moves (from No one belongs here more than you.)
Miranda July

Jack, we called him. After the snowman, actually, if you must know. He was a chihuahua and we thought there was humor in giving a typically Mexican dog a non-Mexican name. There was, as it turns out, so we did.
Jack the chihuahua.
He bit me in the cheek once. The left side of my face looks like it was attacked by a psycho killer from the 70s, but hey, I love my dog. Well, loved. Well, loved his dog. Jack was a custody battle in the making for a year. Jerome and I hated each other and everyone knew it too. We had decided he’d get the CDs and I’d get the cookbooks, as, let’s be real here, Jerome never made a damn thing unless it came from the frozen food aisle and was labelled ‘chicken fingers’ or ‘pizza bites’.
Jack was a battle because we both wanted him.
Jerome felt more like a man when he was around, which made sense, because Jack was a little girly dog with a fear of spiders. He also could bark/ yip the Star Spangled Banner.

…I’m just kidding.

I told Jerome that if he let Jack stay with me, I’d send him a photo from my boudoir shoot when I was 24 and had perky breasts still.

He said no.

“do it from your Angel’s perspective” by Julia on the subway, westbound

Thursday, December 29, 2011 on the subway, westbound
5 minutes
How to Have Kick-Ass Ideas
Chris Barez-Brown

I was chosen for you. Your mother asked me to.
She said, “Take care of my baby,” and I told her I would.
She said, “Watch over him while he sleeps,” and I told her I would.
She said, “Don’t let me loose him,” and I told her…

So, I know you now. Been looking down since you were born. I’ve never met you in person, but I think I know you.
You had blue eyes when you popped out, and you didn’t cry. I was singing to you. I am always singing to you.
Remember when you fell from the high cliff and you broke your wrist? I caught you by the finger that time and I made sure that’s all you broke in your fall…
Your mother cried all day.
She will always be scared of losing you.
She thinks you’ll want to come be with me, but my job is to make sure you don’t have to.
When your blue eyes turned green, I saw your face in a pond’s reflection. I smiled, you smiled, and I think you felt me then. You know me too.
You push my limits.
You like to test my strength.
Sometimes I make sure that if you can handle it, I’ll let you do it; even if you get a sprained ankle, a speeding ticket, or a broken heart.

“do it from your Angel’s perspective” by Sasha at Capital Espresso

Thursday, December 29, 2011 at Capital Espresso
5 minutes
How to Have Kick-Ass Ideas
Chris Barez-Brown

Four angels round your head
Four angels round your bed
One to laugh and one to play and
two to keep all fears away

The fears of here and now and near and far
The fears of reaching and falling and breaking and dawning
The laughing until tears tear from eyes that show yesterday and tomorrow
The play that we will make for the rest of our lives amidst icicles and beaches
and pine and palm
My mother’s voice is soft in my ears
Now and then
My mother’s voice doesn’t carry legacy that’s heavy
My mother’s voice chants the stories that her hands don’t tell
We dance this dance and you watch us
Eyes wide and spine straight
And I wonder if it’s
Too much not enough flash forward flash back
And I wonder if it
really is like seeing me in thirty six years
I’ve got my father’s eyes and my mother’s nose
I’ve got my sister’s voice and my aunty’s toes
Rock a by baby on the tree top
When the bough breaks the baby will drop

I’ve made a fulltime job of writing lullabies
Waiting for the storm
Knitting armour and sword out of plush alpaca

“She goes her own way” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at Knowlton Lake
5 minutes
Tao Te Ching
Stephen Mitchell

She goes her own way because her mother whispered her the whole story of Harriet Tubman when she was carrying her in her womb. She goes her own way because she taught herself what to do with “hot” and “bitter”. She goes her own way thanks to teaching herself Spanish from a book her grandfather tried to sell at a garage sale and couldn’t. She goes her own way with Tarot cards in the back pocket of her cutoffs, one or two falling out when she walks and her hips sway. The Lovers and The Chariot gone for someone else to find. Going their own way! She goes her own way with a pack of cigarettes, her sister’s copy of Tao Te Ching and a fifty rolled up in her sock. She goes her own way via the back of a pickup, curled into the fleece of a husky with blue eyes. She goes her own way swimming in tidepools in Maine, touching starfish with fingertips that don’t believe in forever. She goes her own way chasing the one that she thinks she loves to a farm in Alaska and re-routes eight months later to the one that she really loves back at Knowlton Lake. She goes her own way to him and finds him chopping wood as the sun sets over soft bare birch. She goes her own way, watching him swinging the ax over his head and then picking up the split logs, over and over. She goes her own way calling out, “Hello!” and running down the gully into his arms.

“The opposite of rescuing” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at Knowlton Lake
5 minutes
Kids Are Worth It!
Barbara Coloroso

Dear L.,
One day, when you are a father and you know what it is to hold an infant in your arms who you would do absolutely anything for, you will call me, even though you probably won’t have my number, so you will wish that you could call me, and apologize. If you could call me, you’d be breathing shallow and you’d skirt around the issue for awhile before just coming out with it. I would listen, quietly, my son sleeping on my chest. I would say, “I forgive you. I forgave you seventeen years ago when I left Coquitlam and you stayed and I realized how sad you were and how you would never leave and how you probably think about me way more than I think about you. I forgive you.” I would say it again because the first time you wouldn’t believe me. You would make a joke about the Canucks and then about the weather and how it must be nice in Toronto with the tall buildings. My son would snore a bit and I would laugh and not explain why. I would say goodbye then and you’d almost want something more from me. Probably to hear “I forgive you” one more time. But I wouldn’t do that. Twice is enough.

“Some people confuse inspiration with lightning” by Sasha at her desk

Monday, December 26, 2011
5 minutes
Word of Mouth
David Lehman

The mice are chewing through the telephone wires. When you call me from Budapest I get distracted and you think that it’s the stories you’re telling me but really it’s because I can hear other people’s conversations. Last night I heard faint laughter of teenage girls, I think, and even though I was listening as hard as I possibly could I couldn’t make out the secrets they were telling. “Alice?” You said, after awhile. “Yeah?” I responded, trying to fake you out. I never could. “I asked you a question.” You sound irritated. “Sorry, I was just, uh, thinking about if I should buy that plane ticket. There might not be a better seat sale, you know…” Silence. “Al, you know I want you to come but it’s going to be crazy with midterms then and I wouldn’t even get to see you.” Why did I have to choose that lie? Why couldn’t I just have said, “The phone lines are crossing! Those mice! I really have to start trapping.” “Yeah, yeah, of course,” I say. “I don’t want to disappoint you, I mean if you want to come, you can. You would have a blast exploring the city…” “No. I think I’ll wait until the spring.” I start chipping the red nail polish off of my pointer finger. The wires cross and I hear someone in Chinese, yelling. “I should go,” you say. All of a sudden I don’t want you to and I want to scream back at the Chinese yeller in a guttural, ugly way that you never would if someone was actually there in front of you. After you hang up I stay on the line to listen to the faint whisper of what I think is an apology.

“She goes her own way” by Julia at T.A.N on Baldwin

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at TAN on Baldwin
5 minutes
Tao Te Ching
Stephen Mitchell

I messed up. I told you I was going to be here forever, in this house, in this room, in this heart, forever. I lied. I’m a liar. I messed it up. I messed everything up. I told you that because at the time I thought I was being honest. I wasn’t. I was being cliche. I can’t decide if I’m more mad about being cliche, or if I’m more mad about being a liar. I’m a cliche liar, I suppose. But aren’t we all? You made me want to say those things because you refused to look at me with anything but puppy dog eyes. I can’t resist those kind of eyes, and you knew that, and you still made them. If I knew you couldn’t resist something, like chocolate brownies, or regular potato chips, I would always buy them for you and you’d get so fat. See, it isn’t so nice when the tables are turned. You haven’t even said sorry yet. You’re letting me do all the talking. You’re still skinny, I haven’t taken that away from you. But I’m full of guilt for lying and you’re just standing there like some tree with no bark–like I’ve skinned you alive. You feel hurt and exposed, well great. I know you do. I’m trying to tell you that it was a young mind that thought those thoughts and a stupid mouth for saying them. I don’t mean I don’t want to be with you right now, even. You’re blowing this whole thing out of proportion. You’re all sad for nothing. You’re sad and sniffling a little bit, and that doesn’t make me feel good. It makes me feel embarrassed for you because you’re a little bit like a weird good looking crying man. I don’t know how else to put it. I just want to take those things back before you think forever is not just hyperbole.

“The opposite of rescuing” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
Kids Are Worth It!
Barbara Coloroso

My father slammed his fist on the table and yelled at the mother of his children. She was yelling first, trying to tell him to take it easy on the kids. The mother of his children is not the mother of me. My father has had three wives, one mistress, and only one divorce. It sounds unlikely but he travels a lot: Florida twice a month, Mexico every other. All of his kids (including me)–four and counting, look like him. Blonde eyebrows and sea green eyes. He has a lip curl that his youngest has too. We laugh when he tries to recite the alphabet.
The mother of my father’s children is a young and stupid hairstylist named Sonya who wears bright pink lipstick and hasn’t finished high school. My father likes her because he says she has a “joie de vivre” except the only reason she seems to is because ignorance is bliss. He met her at the salon. His guy, Alberto, was out of town at a conference and Sonya was filling in. She told my dad his hair colour was rare in a man with his skin tone. My dad’s as white as a q-tip. But that didn’t stop him from being flattered by Sonya who was actually just trying to be sincere.

“Some people confuse inspiration with lightning” by Julia at her desk

Monday, December 26, 2011
5 minutes
Word of Mouth
David Lehman

Faster faster, a little gasp, she’s light and angry because the night is selfish.
I am wrestling, wrestling you to the floor. You know me by my smell, like horses do.
Why is this thing happening? I dream, I dream, and nothing ever happens…
You’re kind of a cutie and I like you a lot. Let’s be friends. Signed: eternity.
Can I ask you something if I promise to mow the lawn? I hate grass. It makes me feel like the earth is growing hair to hide its baldness. Green grass. Unless in the shape of a baseball diamond, don’t want it, don’t need it, won’t like it, won’t use it.
But beetle juice spoke to me in a vision once. He told me to shave my entire head and call myself Cathy.
I haven’t slept since you tried to cut your wrists in the bathtub. You say you were just trying to shave your arms, tomato-tomahhto.
Let’s call this thing we have slightly odd but most certainly aware. I’m oddly aware of you and I didn’t say I liked it.
I didn’t say I didn’t.
Faster faster, a little gasp, she’s light and angry because the night is selfish.
Cameleons change colour and we learn to stop hunting. They’re decorating the rocks. Let’s just let them do that.
I haven’t bought a piece of art since that garage sale in ’94. It was a frame with a poem in it, inspiring and sad. It made me think of my grandfather who never learned to read.
It’s summer again, isn’t it? Anna-Banna-Bo-Banna, skipping rope to the beat of a pre-teen’s dream.

“Where’s my star?” by Sasha on the subway going west

Sunday, December 25, 2011
5 minutes
A Mercy
Toni Morrison

Orion keeps calling my name like a mother at the bottom of the stairs, “You are readyyyyy! Come downnnnnn!” His belt is shiny silver and gold with a buckle from an antique shop near the end of the horizon. The milky way mocks my overall ungraciousness and tells bad jokes that I pretend I don’t enjoy. The Seven Sisters raise their eyebrows at how I’ve parted my hair. They think it looks like a combover. I sing “Higher Love” in retaliation but it works against me because they like it. They start dancing and the wind picks up, trying to see under their dresses. The Big Dipper is full of bubbles that fall out, one by one, and catch on the branches or birch trees and the pricklies of cacti. From New Mexico to Nunavut, bubbles. Someone in Santa Fe thinks that it must be some sort of Christmas prank, a toy store trying to get more business. It’s been a hard year. A good, hard year. Someone in Winnipeg smiles because he remembers how much his father loved baths, in secret, full of foamy froth. The Moon smiles. She loves the naïvety of human beings, it delights her the way waffles delight you and piano music delights me, but a bit differently because she is, after all, the Moon. The Moon takes a deep breath in and bubbles fill her and she raises up, up, up. The Seven Sisters gasp. I’ve stopped singing and I can’t help but look too. The Moon shrieks like she’s on a ferris wheel.

“Where’s my star?” by Julia at the Minturno Social Club in Woodbridge

Sunday, December 25, 2011
5 minutes
A Mercy
Toni Morrison

On this boy’s shelf there is an unplugged green lamp, a container of cleaner wax (red), a pair of vintage sunglasses, a watch, a half-empty/half-full bottle of Wiser’s, Tinkerbell invitations (unopened), a globe (top shelf), a self-painted ninja turtle mask, a miniature bottle of Kahlua (unopened), no-name cleaning wipes, a black hat, a car tire, a tire rim, white out, printer paper, a stack of blank CDS/DVDS, a plaque for MSP (most sportsmanlike player), a rolled up poster (contents unknown), a bar of soap, a candle holder, a pink basket holding a clear bag and paper clips, a statue of a black woman with a head scarf, a speaker, a can of beer (vintage, unopened), four red toy Ferraris (top shelf, not toys, collectibles), a snow-man figurine in a box (opened, no snow man found), a black Ferrari on the third shelf, another red Ferrari on the second, an american one-dollar bill, a beaded bracelet (brown, hippy), a box of expired candy canes (unopened), a plastic bag wrapped tight around something (contents unknown), two CD/DVD cases stacked on top of each other, a bottle of beer (unopened), a decorative box with Christmas trees on it, a black leather belt, a bible/phone book, a mint chocolate wrapper (gold, no chocolate), and a brown framed baby photo of this boy when he was just one day old and wearing a hospital ID bracelet.

“it’s almost as if everyone’s wearing stocking masks” by Julia at her old desk

Saturday, December 24, 2011
5 minutes
The Human Face
Brian Bates

He slammed the door in my face like I was some bimbo with a candy cane. I’m not, by the way. I’m esteemed, so I have been told by various other dudes. Esteemed. I hardly think I did anything wrong. I like, told him his brother was a better looking suit model and that he could rock a hat like it was going out of style. He was like, they’re supposed to be in style, that’s why I’m rocking it, and I was like, yeah, that’s what I meant. Perv. He tried to tell me there were specific and detailed differences between him and his brother and I was like, yeah, go ahead, you’re identical twins, so like, let’s see. And he was like, I have a birthmark on my left shoulder, and I was like, woop-di-doo, you’re practically unrelated. That’s when he slammed the door. He said he didn’t think sarcasm in a girl was particularly sexy and he stretched out the word particularly as if he Columbussed the word. Like, discovered it. He didn’t. He probably read it somewhere, like on the internet, or like, an Encyclopedia Britannica. Britannnnnica. Ugh. I hate standing outside when it’s snowing. It feels like punishment for being thin, like, oh, there’s some cold, eat a sandwich, your nips are cutting through your shirt almost as much as your ribs are. This is stupid. He is just as good looking as his brother. Duh, obviously, they’re twins.

“it’s almost as if everyone’s wearing stocking masks” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday, December 24, 2011
5 minutes
The Human Face
Brian Bates

I’m not ever gonna shush you. I’m just not gonna do that. If you met me seven years ago I wudda but now… well, I’ve changed. I told you the story right? No? About the time that I was with that guy Sherbie who owns… Sherbie’s? And I was tryin’ to hear what the announcer was saying on the news ‘cuz he’s got all those TV’s everywhere and Sherbie was just yellin’! You know how he does. He’s lazy so he doesn’t wanna leave from behind the bar so he just shouts to people when things are ready and they come and get ’em. Or he’s like, “Hey Mick! Whattaya havin’?” And then Mick has no damn choice but to shout back… Anyways, so I was tryin’ ta hear what the guy on the news was sayin’. Something about a big storm comin’ in and Sherbie’s yellin’ and so finally I said, “Sherb! Shhhhh!” And it was like everything in that place went so quite. Like before it snows or somethin’. And he said, “Kyle don’t you ever shush me in my bar again. It’s the rudest thing ya can do.” And I never seen Sherb angry but holy cow he was. And I felt all hot, ya know, but I was like, “He’s right. That is a rude thing…” So, if you ever think even for a minute that I would be the type to shush you, I’m not. I’m better than that. I’m more polite than that. My gran taught me manners, Shonda. She really did. She raised me, you know? I told you that right?

“Fires and floods” by Sasha on the walk home

Friday, December 23, 2011 on the walk home (recorded into her phone)
5 minutes
The Waterloo Region Record
Dec. 23rd edition

This is not fiction.
Sometimes it is here, these five minutes, stolen and scratched and held so tight and released.
This is not fiction.
Is this an author’s note? How pretentious!

I should start by saying I spent the morning with three children of God:
Angel (2)
Jesus (5)
Elijah (7).

These children of God,
they come from the land we all come from,
but it’s like we forget,
and we are repeatedly spitting on the graves of our ancestors,
until we are armpit deep in saliva and regret.
“Forgive them Father for they know not what they do”.

This is not fiction.
This is as real as my longing for the man I love,
as real as Christmas in two days,
as real as chosen ignorance over knighted grief,
as real are fires and floods.
I held another woman’s babies as she fought for what I was taught we all deserve,
as she tried not to get tangled in translation and red tape,
as she tried to tell her story to tired ears that have heard it all before,
that would rather be flirting with a latte or buying presents for grandchildren that already have more than they need.

This is not fiction.
I rocked Angel while Elijah read Dr. Seuss aloud.
Jesus was gone, in a flash, escaped,
there’s a scar on his forehead that makes me see nightmares.
I wander the courthouse peeking into dark rooms,
Angel on my hip,
And there’s not even a moment where I find it ironic or humorous
(what with Christmas in two days).
I am holding another woman’s babies.
This job is the most sacred thing I will ever do,
is the most sacred thing I’ve ever done.
She fights and I peel a clementine, giving each small open palm a piece.

Fires and floods by Julia at Angie’s Kitchen

Friday, December 23, 2011 at Angie’s Kitchen in Waterloo
5 minutes
The Waterloo Region Record
Friday December 23 Issue

She said make sure you wash your hands if you smell like yourself. we didn’t want to hear it because it is disgusting. but it is also true. these things our mother tells us even when she’s high on life and rolling low on cocaine, they’re so true. so true. so true.
from experience, maybe, not necessarily good experience, maybe. she gets it from the streets of her existence. hoping to find the answers in a paper cup and please thank you fuck you you’re welcome. flying high, bundled up tight. she’s waiting for the magic. we learned that from her too. and to wash the glasses first so they don’t get oily. and to fold down the bed sheets so they’re hiding the cum stains you just didn’t think to wash. honest. she’s nothing but. she said make sure you’ve paid a visit to the security guard downstairs–said to give him a fiver and tell him to do his thing. we don’t live in a hotel, or an apartment that needs a security guard. she was talking about our genitals and personal grooming. don’t tell your father. alright, okay, you can tell your father. it’s all in the way she flicked the cigarette in our faces and shushed us without making a sound. let’s not do the shushing thing where i shush you and you’re embarrassed and i’m upset for making you upset. let’s just do that thing where we each write our favourite thing about one another on a piece of paper and bring it in then light them on fire.

“Why do you wish you had the nerve?” by Julia at Starbucks

Thursday, December 22, 2011 at Starbucks
5 minutes
Sanford Meisner on Acting
Sanford Meisner and Dennis Longwell

I’m sitting at a cafe and I brought a rose because those people all say to carry something he might recognize me by. I’m glad I brought it. I’d rather he see this as a signal than my obvious sweat stains, or my matted eyelashes. It’s raining right now. I look like a drowned rat. Oh, god, it’s a sign. I had this dream last night that I shared a bed with my entire immediate family as well as my aunt and her kids on my mom’s side. It was a big bed. I dreamed that when we woke up, we were covered in rat feces. All of us. And it was yellow like strands of fine yarn; in our hair, all over our pillows. I’ve never been more appalled in my life. My whole family was appalled. And then, as I’m covered in rat feces, I remember, in my dream’s dream, that I saw the rats in our bed but it was dark so I assumed they were just projections or nightmarish thoughts. And then I started crying because it was my fault. I could have shooed them away. I could have stopped them from destroying my family and our communal sleeping place. I didn’t tell anyone I saw them.  

Oh, wow. He’s going to be a psychiatrist, just watch. He’ll get a real kick out of me: the haggard woman with a wilted rose and a dream.

“Why do you wish you had the nerve?” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Spadina

Thursday, December 22, 2011 at Dark Horse on Spadina
5 minutes
Sanford Meisner on Acting
Sanford Meisner and Dennis Longwell

Alex and Angela are lying in bed. Alex lights a cigarette while Angela picks up a black bra from the floor and puts it on.
Baby, what’s wrong?
No, seriously.
Seriously. Nothing!
Obviously something’s up so why are you just, like, avoiding it?
I’m not!
The doorbell rings.
Are you going to get that?
Are you expecting someone?
No. Are you?
The doorbell rings again.
Why don’t you get the door?
Who would be coming by at ten o’clock at night…
It’s probably your mother.
I said, it’s –
I heard what you said. It wasn’t funny.
I wasn’t saying it to be funny! I’m serious. It’s most likely your mother.
She would have called first.
She would have!
The doorbell rings again.
Seriously… What’s the matter with you. Are you PMSing or something?
Screw you.
You’ve had a chip on your shoulder for the last two days…
Glad to know you’ve been counting –
Stop. Stop being all.. snarky.
The doorbell rings again.
Are you going to get that, Alex, or should I go to the door like this?
Fine. Fine, I’m going.
Alex exits. Angela opens the drawer of her bedside table. She takes out a Bible.

“Nah, I don’t trust any of the food around here except Burger King and Popeyes” by Sasha at North Beach Therpeutics

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at North Beach Therapeutics
5 minutes
An overheard conversation by Julia on the Spadina streetcar

Nah, like, I don’t trust any food around here except Burger King and Popeyes, mannnnn. I mean there’s all the wack Chinese food, mannnnnn, it sketches me right out. I mean you don’t even know where that food comes from. It could be, like, the reject meat of the other places, the other places like Burger King and Popeyes or even someplace fancy like the Keg or something! You can only trust the brandname places, mannnnn. Like the Guess jeans of meat places. You gotta be careful mannnn, you can’t just trust all the shit that’s out there. There’s wack shit out there, mannnnnnn. Like crazy milk that’s not even treated and then it can like, give you cancer? It’s fuckin’ sick. Like, heat my milk! It’s supposed to be good for me! Come ON. And my ma is on this health kick? Like, she’s all “SOY milk”. What the fuck is that? How do you milk a soy? Creeps me the eff out. And she’s trying to force this stuff on me, mannnnn. Tofu and shit? And, like, all these green vegetables that I don’t even know the name of. All of a sudden, that shit’s all up in the fridge! Gross! Where’s the fuckin’ KFC, mannnnn?

“Nah, I don’t trust any of the food around here except Burger King and Popeyes.” by Julia at St Andrew Station

Wednesday, December 22, 2011 at St. Andrew Station
5 minutes
Overheard on the Spadina Streetcar
2 dudes

Been jonsin’ for a steak sandwich: extra pickle, extra onion. Been thinkin’ about that juicy, awesome slab of meat ALL DAY. ALL DAY! I can’t focus on this shit. This, meaningless envelope stuffin’. What. Who needs it. People gettin’ letters? Yeah. Great. I love those people. The kinds that believe in luck n’ shit because they’re holdin’out for the good news in their mailboxes or somethin’. I love those people.
Extra mustard. Yup. I’m gettin’ one on my break. If the clock strikes noon then BOOM, ima duck out of this one so fast you coulda swore I never even entered the building. Yup. Cook it rare, bitches. Leave some of that blood in there for flava, if you know what I’m sayin’. Fries on da side. Fries on da side. Gonna hit up little girl Wendy and pop those piggy tails off her head.
Extra pickle, extra onions. Coke! Annnd a coke. Yup. Gonna bring it so I can win it, flip my cap so I can spin it.
Boyz don’t even known I got these moves down on lock. Show em’ up with my panini and fries. Bringin’ it in for the kill, yup, yup, yup.

“For a wedding present” by Sasha at Full of Beans

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at Full of Beans
5 minutes
Hand Held (from A Run At The Moon)
Jean Sheppard

Said to a photograph of a man wearing a robe.
“I bought them something really special. It was on sale at Pier One! I wasn’t even looking in the sale area because I figured “He’s our son! I should go full price!” I told the salesgirl I wanted something royal blue and she brought me over there and… well, the rest is history! Isn’t it just gorgeous, honey? I mean they could use it for salad or punch or Monica could use it for baking… although she doesn’t strike me as the type to bake… Toby says they go out a lot. “No time”. I worry, you know. A family needs home cooked meals! What are they going to do, bring a baby to a fancypants sushi futo maki restaurant?! Remember when they brought us there? You got terrible indigestion. Just terrible. Toby said, “Too much wasabi, Dad!” Wasabi… I always thought that would be a fantastic name for a cat.”

“For a wedding present” by Julia at Full of Beans

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at Full of Beans
5 minutes
Hand Held (from A Run At The Moon)
Jean Sheppard

I told him I wanted to get married in July.
He said June.
I told him I wanted hydrangeas.
He said lilies.
I told him I wanted to fly my family in from Italy.
He said send pictures.
I told him I wanted a large antipasto with tiger shrimp and grilled brie.
He said mini sliders and cheese puffs.
I told him I wanted an outdoor ceremony.
He said tent or canopy just in case.
I told him I wanted our song to be the first one we danced to when we started dating.
He said the song that was playing when we first kissed.
I told him instead of something fancy we could have a beautiful kitchen.
He said instead of something fancy we could have a beautiful honeymoon.
I told him that if he didn’t ask me to marry him by the new year I was leaving him.
He said goodbye.
I told him I wasn’t being serious.
He said goodbye.
I told him we could have the lilies.
He said goodbye.
I told him we could have it in June.
He said goodbye.

“as the universe shows wisdom and goodness” by Julia at the Eaton Centre

Monday, December 19, 2011 at the Eaton Centre
5 minutes
An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding
David Hume

Tracie eats her vegetables, even the stems of the broccoli, which she calls “trees”. She skips outside and plays hopscotch. She enjoys story time, bath time, and hot dogs without the bun. She is six today. Her mommy bought her light up shoes and her daddy whispered ‘I love you’ from heaven just as she was waking up. She smiles a lot. She drinks juice from a mason jar and uses two hands. Tracie loves everything. Just like any other six year old. Except…
Every six year old loves everything but one thing. Tracie doesn’t love rug burns. Plain and simple. She isn’t going to be a gymnast, or a ball hockey player so it’s fine. She hates rug burns more than most six year olds hate the dark…or are afraid of the dark. Right. She is six. Tracie doesn’t hate rug burns, she’s scared of them. She thinks if she gets one on both knees at the same time, she’ll die automatically. She doesn’t know where she’ll go yet because Mrs. Ambers from Sunday School says it’s too early to tell. She’d get a rug burn it it meant getting to kiss her daddy’s nose. She wont’, though, just in case she doesn’t.

“as the universe shows wisdom and goodness” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Spadina

Monday, December 19, 2011 at Dark Horse on Spadina
5 minutes
An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding
David Hume

My goodness. I’ve realized now, finally, that deep breaths are what lead her to the red X on her tapestry treasure map. It’s part dreamcatcher, part quilt, part painting. Picture it. Pirates don’t pillage her seas. No no. Sailboats with pastel silk catching the wind in it’s mitt propels her forward. She’s always moving. Towards the horizon or away from it, it doesn’t matter to her. In the grey space she’s the most beautiful. In the grey space she is shadow and light. We are safe. Together. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know her name. It doesn’t even matter. God, the sun is rising. The bottle of scotch is finished. Rise rise rise. Mistakes don’t exist in the rise. Only in the fall. We are on this path, me and her, and it is steep. We are climbing! Jacob’s ladder where the rungs aren’t hot, where her palms velcro each step up. We are going to put the sun in her backpack. We are going to catch it like an orange escaped from the box. We are going to drink it’s light. The scotch is done but the sun is… eternal. She is basic instinct, clasped between here and there, forever and never, tick tick boom. It’s almost seven. She’s waking up.

“the most obvious advantage” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday, December 18, 2011
5 minutes
Jean Jacques Rousseau

It’s a Great Expectations heroine song
Stomach twisting knots of parent meet and greet
Trying to UNDO
You don’t know the weight I’ve got
So heavy my feet feel the centre of the earth
So hot my souls burn
The Salem Witches
I am hunting for the reason behind these tears!
Such a simple question
Such a hard answer
My rubik’s cube I’d rather you not see.
What are these moments that I’m trying to make cents of?
I think I’ve got one moment and then my pockets are holy the next.
Daughter songs are lover songs
Whether I like it or not.
You’ve done nothing wrong but touch the inconsolable.
It’s a swan song I hum rarely
But the tune was whispered tonight and now I can’t get it out of my head.
Cycle cycle
hung on the line that connects us
The most sacred true line true love true story.
What if the sweaters I’ve got are too heavy?
Selfish selfish poison princess Miss Piggy aria.
Turn down the bed and we’ll dance in our REM.
Cycle cycle
DIRTY LAUNDRY turns clean when we speak it.
The thorns of honesty on the rose of truth draw honey from our skin.

“the most obvious advantage” by Julia on the Greyhound bus at the Kitchener terminal

Sunday, December 18, 2011 on the Greyhound
5 minutes
Jean Jacques Rousseau

Carl, Aubrey, Listowel, Jameson. Dog names. Carl the dog. Carl the Boxer. Carl the Cocker Spaniel. Yes. Check and check.
Alibi, Whitney, Kooper (yes, with a ‘k’), Darnell…
Ooh! Umm, bikes. Yes, bikes. Like the wind. Darnell the pink trike! Oh boy, this is good. You’ve got one option and it’s to name your hot pink tricycle Darnell. Take it or leave it, my friend. But GOLD. G.O.L.D.
I can spell magic for you but it’s still a four letter word. Gold. Or D. A. R. N. E. L. L. Seven. Because of the double L.
Jinx, Isabel, Lonnie, Copenhagen. I am feeling it. Feeling it slow and steady…
They. Yes, they, we, we want…
More dogs?
Not. Even. Close.
Come on, think tank. Ooh, think tanks?
J. I. L. C.
No. Focus.
You are a…
Yes. A birthmark.
Isabel the birthmark that looks like the map of Spain taken from a bird’s-eye view.
Or satellite.
Probably satellite.

“It’s the call of the wild.” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, December 17, 2011
5 minutes
In Search of the Farside
Gary Larson

If I run out of ideas, just pull the plug, let me go, I’m done. I told the doctors the same thing so there is to be no excuse for prolonged “life” if I’m not making something. Beauty VS. Nothing. Well, here we are with the age-old debate. Is something nothing if it’s not beautiful? Am I nothing if I’m not something? The two, I’m afraid, are not synonymous.

It’s quiet here. It feels like almost death, or almost crying, or almost tomorrow. It’s the light in this room. It shields my eyes from loving you the way I know I’m supposed to. I’ll call for more lamps! We will fight seasonal depression! For a moment we’ll smile a real smile and we’ll cling to it the way a child with separation anxiety clings to his mother’s pant leg while she’s trying to pee.

I don’t want the almost. In fact, I fear it. I want all or nothing. Not all or nothing at all, but at least nothing is not almost. It’s nothing. It’s not almost anything. I have already written my goodbye letter to my future children, my parents, my current lover and future one (if I may be so bold).

I won’t die the way night does; gradually falling into day.

I’ll die the way truth dies; first here, now gone.

“It’s the call of the wild.” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday, December 17, 2011
5 minutes
In Search of the Farside
Gary Larson

Mama, how is an egg born? Like where does it come from? Like how does it crack and open and the tiny bird comes out? Does the mama help it? Does she peck it? Or does it just open after she sits on it for a really long time? And when we eat eggs and bacon for breakfast what happened to the baby birds there? Where did it go? Did it die? And what about the bacon? Where does the bacon come from? Where does it come from, Mama?

The baby bird is born from the egg after the hen sits and sits and sits and is very patient. Like when I ask you to sit in your seat and wait patiently for breakfast?

How long does the mama hen have to wait for her babies?

I’m not sure…

As long as you had to wait for me?

I don’t think quite that long…

And the bacon? Who lays the bacon?

“The hotel has been blasted by a mortar bomb” by Sasha at Factory Girl

Friday, December 16, 2011 at Factory Girl
7:05 pm
5 minutes
Sarah Kane

When you die the only thing that changes is time.

The bomb went off slowly, like a sunflower blooming in stop motion, yellow petals uncurling brown speckled seeds and mystery. We knew it was coming sooner or later. Sometimes it’s better to be consciously ignorant, to know without knowing, to remember to forget. It was only a matter of… time.

Planes had been flying low, giant birds shrieking the news of WAR WAR WAR. We slept in the basement on blow up air mattresses, cocooned in sleeping bags, caterpillars in mothballs and mildew. We ate cans of soup, then cans of beans and now cans of tomato paste and sardines.

When the bomb went off I didn’t hear mortar blast or window shatter. I heard Mozart on my grandfather’s piano. I saw my mother and father undressing on their wedding night. I watched myself, from high up, and I looked smaller than I’d imagined.

I breathed a thousand breaths in that moment, a thousand sunflower seeds ticking time, discarded on the floor making the shape of a dream.

“The hotel has been blasted by a mortar bomb” by Julia at Factory Girl

Friday, December 16, 2011 at Factory Girl
7:05 pm
5 minutes
Sarah Kane

he whispers, as he flicks his belly button lint into my face.
Fucking warn me when you’re going to be disgusting
I whine, as he laughs hearty like Habitant Split Pea Soup with the ham chunks.
Don’t you ever clean that shit?
I wince as I roll the lint in between my fingers, prepared to throw it back at him.
Why would I clean it? It’s a mini sweater for my stomach hole.
Eww, please don’t call it your ‘stomach hole’
and I put the term in quotes because it’s so gross I don’t want to admit that it’s true or appropriate.
Baby I’ve got more where that came from
He says, as he saunters, naked, to the bathroom so he can drink from the tap like a water fountain in the third grade.
Get a cup, Alex
I tell him.
How will you ever know how much you’re drinking like that?
He wipes his wet chin with the back of his hand.
I drink till I feel like I’m going to throw up
Oh God
I say, pulling the pillow over my face.
You do this to me on purpose, don’t you?
He comes over and holds the pillow tight on my mouth.
Tell me you love me
he says.

“when you practice” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Queen West

Thursday, December 15, 2011 at Dark Horse on Queen West
5 minutes
The World We Have
Thich Nhat Hanh

“When” is a question for an anteater.
“When” is a question for a surgeon or a yogi.
“When” is a question for a soldier or a mother.
Point your toe curl your finger stand straight breathe from your diaphragm from your diaphragm from your diaphragm!
And streeeeeeeeetch!
And point!
Don’t sickle! Don’t sickle your foot.
Play harder slower stronger better!
Slap the knuckles with a wood ruler.
Slap the thighs with a yellow measuring tape.
Slap the jersey with a sweaty towel.
And breeeeeeathe!

The monk sits in perfect shaved head stillness in the garden of the mountain monastery. The plum trees are blooming. His eyes are closed. His thoughts are like waves, rolling in and rolling out without trigger or jumpstart or rage. “Dharma!” A wave. “Tonight I must cook dinner with that bastard Tao!” A wave. “There’s a bug on my leg! Or a spider! A tarantula!” A wave. “My leg is falling asleep.” A wave. (Plié…) Sweep the cobwebs out and see what’s there in the highest rafters and beams.

“when you practice” by Julia at Dark Horse on Spadina

Thursday, December 15, 2011 at Dark Horse on Spadina
5 minutes
The World We Have
Thich Nhat Hanh

For Richard…
Apparently you’re supposed to learn a language by the time you’re three because if you don’t, you’ll never actually know the language. Well, you’ll “know” it, but only from memory. You’ll memorize the language–you’ll be faking it. I learned this today and now I’m pissed because I’ve been taking these stupid Spanish classes for the last five years and only now am I realizing why I’ve never been able to actually dream in Spanish. Dream with a lisp. That would be nice. I’m mad at my parents today for wanting to assimilate me in an English-speaking society. They could have spoken Spanish to me because they are Spanish, and I would have a whole lot more money to spend on satchels, or goat curry rice, or espadrilles. But they can just take my anger instead. They’ve been taking for a long time anyway. What they’ll do about it or with it: not really mi problema. Thanks universe. Thanks for showing me that practice makes frauds, not perfect. I understand why I always want to sleep after trying to aprender español. It’s because my brain can’t do it’s thing until my eyes are closed and my mind can take a swim or something. People say, “why not listen to Spanish conversation tapes?” And I tell them, “There is stuff I have to do in my head. Like dream and otras cosas.”

“It’s din-din, everyone.” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
Neil Simon

Cast your vote, Eliza! We’re all waiting on you! I’m not coming to the voting. I’ve decided I’d rather stay with Charles because he’s sick and needs a mommy. How will we decide without you? I don’t know. Maybe you shouldn’t decide anything until Charles feels better and isn’t crying when he sleeps. Eliza! No, thank you. You can go without me, I don’t mind. But you’re going to join us for appetizers? Probably not. I think that would be unfair to Charles because he doesn’t feel much like eating. Even shrimp cocktail and pickled eggplant!? Yes. Especially. Charles loves shrimp cocktail. That’s how I know he’s really sick. Where’s his mommy, Eliza? She left to go get ice cream four years ago and couldn’t find any so she didn’t ever come back. Where’s his daddy, Eliza? His daddy carries around a little mason jar of brown juice and he drinks from it until he has to sleep on the toilet. That’s where. You sure you don’t want to come with us, Eliza? It’ll be real fun!

“It’s din-din, everyone.” by Sasha at Tan Coffee on Baldwin

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at Tan Coffee on Baldwin
5 minutes
Neil Simon

“It’s din-din, everyone!” My mother calls. Well, she’s not really my mother, but for clarity sake I’ll tell you that she is. “Din-din” means last night’s lasagna, re-heated in the microwave (or deathwave, if we’re being finicky,) and caesar salad swimming in dressing. Let’s just call it caesar soup. That would be more accurate. The table is set with disposable plates, disposable cutlery and four opened cans of Bud Lite. Oh and then there’s the squeeze tube of caesar dressing just in case it’s not soupy enough for you already. Or, hell! Squeeze some on your lasagna! Let’s live on the creamy side! No matter how many times I tell her that I don’t like beer (allow me to remind everyone that it is an illegal act for me to consume alcoholic beverages) my “mother” always opens a can at my spot. She then pretends like she’s forgotten (either that I’m twelve or that by me drinking said beer I am BREAKING THE LAW, I’m not really one hundred percent clear). She says to my father (who really is my father, ie. sperm donor, ie. I most definitely have his tendency towards hairiness and gnarly toes, UNFORTUNATELY!) “OH GUS! I GUESS THAT MEANS YOU’LL HAVE TO DRINK TWO!” This delights my father and he rubs his belly like a pot of gold. Too bad it doesn’t grant wishes. Or house thousands of dollars. Or whatever pots of gold do. I close my eyes for a second (and I know that my “mother” thinks that I’m praying or something radical like that) but what I’m actually doing is imagining I’m lying on a tundra. The smell of garlic (my father is squirting the caesar everywhere) snaps me out of my fantasy. Unfortunately.

“into another intensity” by Julia at the Green Grind

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at the Green Grind
5 minutes
East Cocker
T.S. Eliot

“Big regrets,” she said, “big regrets.”
I waited a whole year to eat those apples.
I waited 364 days too long.
I waited with an undying hope.
I waited 364 days too long.
Had an avocado in the fridge.
“Take it out,” she said, “take it out.”
I wondered if I should spread it onto a sandwich, or scoop it out with an espresso spoon and a pinch of salt.
I waited too long.
Left it in there, turned brown.
I waited too long.
Ever said, “yeah, yeah, I’ll do it when I’m ready?”
Don’t say things that are lies.
The readiness.
I’d be impressed by my ability to stick to my word if I just stopped saying “when”.
I’ve wished on zero stars because I was waiting for the brightest one.
I’m a corpse in a casket, thinking only NOW that I should have used that wish to keep me alive.
“Favourite first,” she said, “favourite first.”
I ended up dialling the number of a married man.
Two children, a dog, and of course, no memory of me.
“I waited too long,” she said, “I waited too long.”

“into another intensity” by Sasha at the Green Grind

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at the Green Grind
5 minutes
East Cocker
T.S. Eliot

I discovered this morning that the mixed CD you made me on Saturday is embedded with hidden messages. Whether you know it or not. It is. My favorite are the one’s, the hidden messages, in the rap muse-ic. The big bootied, thick woman bodies and the bravado of half and half rhythm and rhyme.
The mixed CD you made me on Saturday has carvings, like a totem pole, of our story. It’s short but damn, it is sa-weeeeeet. Soundtrack. One of my favorite gifts in the world. SoundTRACK! Track the sound of heartbeats and dreamscapes, midnight snacks and morning showers. TRACK! Track seven is us, lying on the cold floor side by side, touching pinkies and listening to this soaring open sky voice telling us, telling everyone to “WAKE UP“! We’ve awoken and the day smells like joy. Track nine plucks my heart like a a harp, no! A cello – rich and warm and round. Track three takes me to the highest rafter of the stadium and a man some people think is God (he’s not, but that’s okay) singing with the devotion of a child “If you love somebody tonight, hold on real tight!” A call to the masses! To his disciples!
All the Wild Horses take us to Rolling in the Deep Lift Off. Santa Maria Da Feira I’m falling falling falling!

“You can take out the hatpin” by Julia on the subway

Monday, December 12, 2011 on the subway
5 minutes
The Chairs
Eugene Ionesco

A little whistle in my ear reminds me that you’re here; taking notes on a tragedy, that is me losing face. I have fallen. Here it is, world. Are you ready to know me? I’ve been cut up like cheese and I’m ready to be served. It’s a good thing. Little whistle. It’s a great thing. I have to hear it to believe it. My ears are on the chopping block. On ice. Immobile. Uncompromising. I’m afraid I’ve shared too much. I’m worried I’ve given a slice of my life I’ll never be able to get back. You can take away my pen, but I’ll still write. You can challenge my imagination but I’ll still create. Calm; Don’t let your heart out. YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW ME. You won’t understand it anyway. The secrets of my soul are scrawled on napkins, and old receipts. Chicken scratch. You’ll see it and think it garbage. Only once did a science teacher say that my penmanship looked artistic. ART. ARTIST. TIST. TISTAR. RATTIS. SARTSI. See how I can spin it? Baby blue on the midnight hour.

“I went to this conference in Toronto last fall” by Julia at the EXIT sign in a building

Sunday, December 11, 2011
5 minutes
David Auburn

I’m in the clear (smiling,beaming) oh Bonnie, dear, as his wife jumps up (bewildered, confused). I stopped stealing the cameras, and now just the tapes, because before I was doin’ it all wrong. Bonnie eats her jello (cherry, strawberry) picks up the newspaper (yesterday’s, today’s) and let’s the burnt cigarette dance from her lips (upper, lower). Waited for you last night, as his wife drains the bottle of Beer (Budweiser, Blue), wanted you to see me chop the wood (figuratively, literally), wanted to tell you I was sorry. Bonnie looks up from her washcloth she’s been (wringing, rinsing) with those eyebrows, those eyebrows. Can’tcha see I’m tryin’ to tell you I’m done with it (the life, the lying)? Bonnie stretches her hands over her head with a smirk pointing at him so hard he has to see it (the smirk, the epiphany) and she leaps forward. What’s that for, what did I do? Go ahead, Bonnie, dear, let’s hear this (shit, thing). She tells him plain and simple, “You’re a fucker!” Now,Bonnie, use your words, little girl. Bonnie plants her feet (on, in) the (ground, EARTH) and breathes like a champion horse before a race. She says, “You’re a scumbag. You couldn’t keep your word if it were attached to your dick.”

“You can take out the hatpin” by Sasha at R Squared Cafe

Monday, December 12, 2011 at R Squared Cafe
5 minutes
The Chairs
Eugene Ionesco

you caught my eye
like a drift
or a firebug
held in a mason jar
your palm over the mouth
(of the jar)
caught til it’s shine is gone.
your gaze wrapped around my finger
like a reminder
of what i don’t want
the timer goes DING
the traffic roars
(not a lion
a different kind of jungle).
you look like a back catcher
hardball of lust in his mitt.
like a goalie tending ghost pucks
of “not a chance”
and “in your dreams”.
you caught my eye
and i said
“you can’t have it!
give it back!
that wasn’t meant for you!”
you pushed
like the scalper selling tickets
(the stadium is empty
look who’s laughing now!)
similes are a dime a dozen
but truth
truth is rare
like a wish
like a starfish
spreading salty stardust.
take out the rusty hatpin
and let the fedora
of tongue twisting desire
blow all the way to the lake.
past the spadina streetcar
past the dvp
past signs saying
“buy me now! or else…”
“you’re too old! you’re too lonely!
you’re too much nutmeg and not enough cinnamon!”
“you are incomplete without me!”
pas the exhibition arch guardian angel
past an old gull
spouting prophesies
“people get ready
there’s a change a comin’!”
the gospel according to the west wind
full moon: 12/12
“a change is gonna come”

“I went to this conference in Toronto last fall” by Sasha at The One Cafe

Sunday, December 11, 2011 at The One Cafe
5 minutes
David Auburn

Benny moved into my two bedroom apartment on February first. I’d put up an ad in the weekly. When I met him at the library to talk out the details I thought he might be part Sasquatch. Yellowknife is like prison that time of year. Trust me. My dad’s cousin Hal was in prison for “armed entry” and we used to visit him on Thanksgiving and Boxing Day. In Yellowknife, Tim Horton’s are these mirages amidst deserts of snow. In prison, the Tupperwear of leftovers were the mirages. At least for Hal. I’m not partial to leftovers myself. Benny put a shot of whiskey in his coffee in the morning before work and then dabbed a little on his wrists and behind his ears, like cologne. I didn’t ask questions. At least at first. Benny worked for a mechanic downtown and came home smelling like gasoline and turpentine. Sometimes he would join me on the couch for an Oilers game. “You like hockey?” I asked once. “Nope,” said Benny, sniffing the inside of his wrist. Once I offered him some chili that I’d made. “Don’t care for chili,” said Benny. August is damn rainy, you know. It was the middle of the month when Benny knocked on the bathroom door while I was shaving. Must have been before seven. “Yes?” I called. “Isaac?” Benny sounded small. More elf than Sasquatch. I opened the door. “I’m having that dream again…” His eyes darted back and forth. “What dream?” He’d never said more than three words to me. “The one where you come into my room with a python”.

“Tonight, no consolations” by Sasha on the Bathurst bus

Saturday, December 10, 2011 on the Bathurst bus
5 minutes
A Community of the Spirit
Rumi, Translated by Coleman Banks

12:00 THE MOON
She sees her reflection in the Atlantic and laughs. Embarrassed? Tickled?
12:01 AGNES
The lines around her eyes are deeper now. She’s a great-grandmother. That makes it okay. She just turned one hundred and one. She’s waiting for her first husband Hal, dead thirty three years, to bring her a hot water bottle for the foot of her bed. December wind blows icicle breath all the way to the inside organs, playing Beethoven and church psalms from when she was a child in Dublin.
12:02 RENEEE
The ticking clock ticks five minutes but she swears that it is longer, that it is lifetimes, that tectonic plates are shifting and new species are being born. She has an egg timer in one hand and a stolen pocketwatch in the other. She’s got to be sure that time won’t fail her. Time always fails her. She looks. Two blue lines. We always know the truth.
She can’t believe she’s doing it. Again. Last time she said that was it. So definitive. Then he texted, “Where r u?” and she knew she was a goner. No willpower. Seven letters on a screen and she’s done. She blames it on being plump as a child. Needs to fill the void. Ew. She loves how he takes off all her clothes and turns down the bed like everything’s okay. She loves how he whispers “you’re mine”.

“Tonight, no consolations” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, December 10, 2011
5 minutes
A Community of the Spirit
Rumi, Translated by Coleman Banks

Okay. Here’s the deal: you look good in tight pants and if things were a little bit different, I’d definitely want to bone you. But the truth is, you’re a little bit too short for me. Not because you’re short. I’m sure 5″11 is a respectable height for most girls. But I’m 5″9. So. That automatically makes you too short to love me. Or too short for me to love you. I dreamed you up, I think. Handsome, dark, witty, loves his mother. I thought I actually crossed my fingers for ‘tall’, but I guess you just can’t have everything, am I right? Maybe Karma checked in on me that day! Or maybe we could conduct our entire future relationship sitting down. That’s how people in wheelchairs do it. Eye to eye. It’s the ultimate fair assessment of a person. Don’t get me wrong–it’s not fair they’re in wheelchairs–but it’s fair that they’ve never had to tower over a cute guy at a high school dance because they decided to wear a kitten heel that day.
I just want to be honest.
I mean, what do we have if we’re not? I’m sure you’ll tell me exactly what you think of me…here…under the perfect glow of the moon and the shadow of innocence…
Or! You could tell me I’m a bean pole. I am. I haven’t eaten a whole meal since I was seven.

“But I know that I like it.” by Sasha at Redline Coffee & Espresso Bar

Friday, December 9, 2011 at Redline Coffee & Espresso Bar
5 minutes
Happy Birthday to You!
Dr. Seuss

My stepmother Angelah (pronounced “Angel” with an “AH!”) gives me collectors edition royal cutlery for my birthday every year with a card that says, “Dear Jean, Happiest of birthday times. Best, A.” Always. And she plays this whole game, like, “Oh! I wonder what it could be?! Hm!?” all the while moving her eyebrows up and down like a circus girl. And, fuck, I find myself playing along! Every damn year! All, “Oh gosh! I don’t know?” And then I unwrap the tissue paper tied with a pink velour ribbon and oh! A tiny fork with Prince Henry’s head on the end! What I always wanted! And then I say, “Wow Angelah! What a thoughtful gift!” And then she looks so damn pleased with herself that I almost feel bad that I’m going to sell it at a pawn shop like all the rest.

“But I know that I like it.” by Julia at Redline Coffee & Espresso Bar

Friday, December 9, 2011 at Redline Coffee & Espresso Bar
5 minutes
Happy Birthday to You!
Dr. Seuss

Greedy. You are greedy like a sandpiper trying to take over the underground with the sweep of his tail…I really fucking hope that sandpipers have tails. What I’m trying to say is you are sometimes a special human being with what I think is just a shit load of potential, but then you scramble the eggs of morning opportunity and you just look like an asshole with a hard on and a badge that reads, ‘Hello, my name is Insecure’.
I thought I liked you. Like, liked you, liked you. Like a sheppard likes herding sheep and counting them before he sleeps. You wanted to be in a band with me before you even heard me sing, so yes, that made me think you were a great. You’re not, by the way, if I’m not making myself clear. You have a self-love the size of a woodpecker’s propensity to peck. I’m going to look up the word propensity so you can just fucking relax about that. I know I said you had cute arm hairs. I would like to go on record saying that I did, in fact, like them, but I also do, in fact, think your ego just exploded at the mention of it like it was something your mother used to say to calm you before bed.

“the Congress of Berlin” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday, December 8, 2011
5 minutes
The Wayfinders
Wade Davis

take the paper! take the paper in your hand! read to me what it says on the paper! i don’t want any inflections of swaying in directions left or right! i just want what’s on the paper! now. you might think that there’s some sort of… agenda at play. THERE ISN’T. what you see is what you get. now refer to the paper. page one. there only is one page. it’s right there! in your hand! refer to the third line from the bottom. do you see? DO YOU SEE? there’s something funny about all those words starting with “K”. ha! Ha ha ha! what a letter. what words! but the paper! the paper is where we’ll begin. speak clearly. speak precisely. there’s nothing more revolting than unformed words falling clumsily from unformed lips. DICTION! that’s the only way that they will hear you at the back. it’s a very large auditorium, you know. obscenely large, really. the key, though, the key?! do NOT in any circumstance, allow the people to see the paper. it must remain below the podium at all costs. even if you get excited and decide you need to flail your arms about, for GOD’S SAKE, leave the paper where it is!

“the Congress of Berlin” by Julia at her desk

Thursday, December 8, 2011
5 minutes
The Wayfinders
Wade Davis


“it was endless” by Julia at Faema

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at Faema
5 minutes
It Chooses You
Miranda July

Kind of like a Moroccan meal. No, I’m sorry: I don’t even know what that is.
You’re a little bit like Drew Carey, and a little bit like David Hasselhoff and I can’t figure out if I like that or hate that or need that just because it is that.
I can’t describe you!
Well, I could. I could say you’re a balloon filled with pixie dust and a wish, maybe. But you wouldn’t get it because you can only hear this stuff, you can’t actually feel it.
I feel it.
I feel the words. They’re cotton candy.
God. There is nothing worse than an inarticulate metaphor.
I am an inarticulate metaphor.
You are…
You are joy.
You are hating that I said you are joy.
You are a little pea, stuck in his pod, because he just likes spending Friday nights with his mom.
You are an empty parking lot with an ice cream shop in the middle of it.
You are imagining cutting my tongue out of my head because when I speak these weird dancing elves come out and poke you in your nose like an annoying little sister.
Blah, blah, blah. You hear blah, blah, blah.
And yet!
I could swear to you I’m speaking in tongues with my spirit on my sleeve and my heart on a shelf watching us.

“it was endless” by Sasha at Faema

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at Faema
5 min.
It Chooses You
Miranda July

it was endless
like summer
or the Amazon River
or Yo Yo Ma on the stereo at my brother’s house in Brooklyn.
it was endless
like summer
like raging hormones
like a forest fire
like the neighbour’s baby crying at midnight
at 1:20
at 3:17
the rooster of Chelsea.
Let’s write our future in Alphabet City
and ride the A Train to the end and then start over
it was endless
like the real Neverending Story
like the Manhattan Bible
found in a grate on Broadway
telling only us
of every first kiss in Central Park
lipstick marks and birth certificates and a spritz of perfume
says more than letters on this page.
it was endless
like a birthday party.

“I’m going to give you” by Julia at Camros Organic Eatery

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at Camros Organic Eatery
5 minutes
Sleepover Party Mad Libs
Roger Price and Leonard Stern

Sadly, Andrew, I’m going to give you only one piece of my mind as opposed to the whole thing. I don’t know what that means. This music has snuck into my skull and is rotting my brain from the inside out. It’s not even Christmas. Fucking eager beavers. I’m going to give you an ultimatum while I’m giving you half of my opinion. COME HOME. I’m sorry. I know that wasn’t an ultimatum. I don’t care. You have just the one thing to do, not contingent on any useless fact, but just a thing. One thing that will keep me from going insane. COME HOME. You decided to leave, I get that, I respect that. But this whole, you-being-on-the-other-side-of-the-world-thing is getting a little old, don’t you think? I might even bet it’s safe to say the novelty’s worn off… After all, I no longer stare up at the moon and wonder if you’re looking at it too, or hear our song and hope you’re crumping to it. I don’t give a shit about the moon and if we’re seeing the same one. COME HOME. COME HOME. Let’s stop the madness! You miss me too right? I don’t have to tell you that right? RIGHT? COME THE FUCK HOME, YOU SHIT! MY world feels in between without you.

“I’m going to give you” by Sasha at Camros Organic Eatery

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at Camros Organic Eatery
5 minutes
Sleepover Party Mad Libs
Roger Price and Leonard Stern

Let’s go to Niagara Falls for Christmas. Just me and you. It’ll be dead, I mean, no one will be there… ‘Cuz everyone’s deepfrying turkeys and mashing potatoes. No one’s at the Falls. I know it for a fact. Bring a really warm jacket… More like a parka. Bring a parka! With a hood. The Falls has wicked spray, like it’s actually raining up. Have you ever been? No!? Crap! This is going to get MENTAL! Bring sunglasses too, ‘cuz if we’re lucky it’ll be a really nice and sunny day and then the reflection from the water might get blinding. And bring a hat for under the hood of the parka… In case there’s wind. And also, I was thinking, just now, you should bring Joan’s ashes. She’d want you to. I mean, she’d want to be there for Christmas with us for sure and… You can’t just keep her in that paper bag in the take-out menu drawer forever! She loved the water, right? Joanie’d just ride the Falls for the rest of eternity. She’d love it! Oh! And bring your engagement ring from… Dickface. Throw it down there! Right in the whitewater! Throw it in the Falls! You don’t need it! Why wouldn’t you throw it in there, really?! Oh! And bring that letter you never sent your father. Bring that too.

“I always ran wild” by Julia at z-teca

Monday, December 5, 2011 at z-teca
5 minutes
Baby Lollipops
Jaquira Diaz

I had an inkling
before you left
to open up your pants’ pockets
and fill
them with
to keep you here.
You were
with your hands
buried deep in them
so I couldn’t help but stare
at you and wonder
this moment
would be like if
you still loved me.
I ran into my mind
like a hiding place,
found all my best features,
and draped them over myself,
a string of pearled excuses
You always said you liked my laugh.
But here we are,
a moment frozen
in time
and me feeling a little
less alive than just
you took your car
keys and shoved
them into your bag
filled with
CDS and cook books.
I told you
I’d just drop these
but I
was hoping you wouldn’t need
them as bad as I would.
How will I forget you?
My walls smell like your name,
my bathroom
has your no-name
shower gel sitting in it.
I can spend a forever with you
if you want
to change
your mind.
Not forever.
A forever.
Not always.
An always.
They’re different.
They’re smaller.
Smaller so you don’t
feel like I’m keeping you
from living.
Big enough
to keep
me from fading.
The sand.
The sand.
The mother fucking sand.

“I always ran wild” by Sasha at R Squared Cafe

Monday, December 5, 2011 at R Squared Cafe
5 minutes
Baby Lollipops
Jaquira Diaz

Yeah. It’s been a good week. A solid week. I guess I should tell you, though. I found a dead body in the ravine this morning. Actually Royal found her. Royal is my brother Will’s German Shepherd. He ran ahead, the cling-clang of his collar telling me he was safe. I don’t like letting him off the leash. What if he runs away? Will would fucking strangle me. He loves that dog more than he’s ever loved a human being. Will moved back to Fort McMurray, remember I told you that last week? Mom and Dad threw him that awful going away party at the Olive Garden? Royal is staying with me for now. I think he’s a mute. He never barks or gurgles or makes any dog-type sounds at all. It’s handy mostly because I’m not supposed to have dogs in my apartment. Something to do with “allergins and canine stench”. Those are my landlord Yolanda’s words and not mine. Trust me. I love most dogs… So Royal ran ahead and I heard the cling-clang and then it stopped. So I called, “Royal?!” Being a mute aside, I mean, he can’t answer. But I called, “Royal?!” and then I jogged over to him and he was down by the river. It’s high right now. Always gets like that in the spring, when everything’s thawing and flowing. Even people, right? He’s sniffing this thing that I think is a branch… but it’s not. It’s an arm. I have a history of fainting in moments of distress so I had to consciously go, “Don’t effin’ faint, Jenny” to myself. Then I was okay. So I poked around a little, with the stick Royal and I had been playing fetch with. Royal lost interest and started taking a shit. She was all waterlogged, all bloated up, like a jellyfish. I realized I should probably call the police or something. But, like, you know I don’t have a cell phone so we ran home… In hindsight, it’s not like there was a rush. She’d clearly been there for awhile.

‘It’s not hard to sympathize” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday, December 4, 2011
5 minutes
God’s Last Offer
Ed Ayres

it’s not hard to sympathize or harmonize or homogenize or humanize
it’s not hard to shake and stake and quake and fake
it’s not hard to woo and woe and wake
it’s not hard to love
but she thinks it is
and she isn’t afraid to tell me
over and over
under and under
she thinks it is because she doesn’t know the loving from hair follicle to toenail
she thinks it is because she doesn’t remember that the commonality of children is LOVE
it’s not hard to remember
but it’s easy to forget
the rain rains harder when you’re sad
and she’s damn sad
she fakes it
over and over
under and under
not it
internal tangibility
integrity tornado
important truth
she fakes
intensity dancing circles around “I don’t care”
grace shaking hands with inhibition
up happens effortlessly
like helium

“it’s not hard to sympathize” by Julia at Timothy’s

Sunday, December 4, 2011 at Timothy’s
5 minutes
God’s Last Offer
Ed Ayres

She was ugly. I mean, that must have been hard. I’m not saying she was the ugliest thing in the universe. What I am saying, is she’s no Sharon Stone.

Sharon Stone? What year are you living in? The standard to which you compare women is…well, fuck, Alex, you’re a bit of an ass hole.

I’m just being honest! It’s harder to go through life when you’re ugly! It’s a proven fact. Look at Macey Allen. She couldn’t get a serving job to save her life because of her giant face-mole.

Seriously? She’s not even remotely ugly. She couldn’t get a serving job because she didn’t have any experience. I’ve seen plenty of ugly servers, trust me.

Yeah, but do they make the same kind of money as you?

Me? I’m a good server. I’m a fucking great server, actually. It has nothing to do with my face. I’m really thoughtful!

Yeah, I’m sure dudes think that you’re thoughtful when you’ve chosen to wear a deep v-neck and a mini skirt.

What are you saying, that I dress like a hooker to make money? That I’m a sell-out slag who needs to show cleave to make a few extra dollars on a steak dinner?

Oh my god, Danya. You’re the most dramatic human being in the world. I’m saying that looks play a part in your tips. Haven’t you noticed you make a little less when you don’t have time to find your push-up bra?

“We have begun our analysis layer by layer” by Sasha at The Toronto Coffee Co.

Saturday December 3, 2011 at The Toronto Coffee Co.
5 minutes
Creating a Role
Constantin Stanislavski

1. Beside me on the bus a woman in a black coat eats a pomegranate, kernel by kernel. She sucks the juice and crunches the seeds.
2. My breakfast was goji granola with almond milk, cashews and a cut up Honey Crisp apple in a blue pottery bowl with a chip on one side. I used a soup spoon. I read my horoscope three times and your horoscope once. My cup of ginger tea tasted faintly of the dream I had of chasing rattlesnakes in the Grand Canyon. Good omens all round.
3. In Hanalei I threw a coconut onto the pavement, trying to crack it open. I really needed a machete. I slammed it down as hard as I could, arms strong from cutting cane grass, weeding comfrey and two hours of yoga a day for six weeks. Such strong arms! Not even a dent. It rolled under a truck. I tried to get it, crawling on my belly. I couldn’t reach the coconut.
4. The massage mango: take the mango between your palms and rub it until it’s flesh is soft. Cut a slit in the top of the mango and suck/drink the hand-pureed sweetness. Maybe you’ll think about swimming naked.
5. When I buy avocados I feel about twelve and buy about three. Two medium ripe and one ripe. Budget the avocado for the week. It’s a delicate game. I can see my mothers focused hands feeling avocados for ripeness at the green grocer, smelling the end of cantaloupes, rubbing the coy fuzz of peaches, finding her girls the best fruit.
6. I love remembering that there are three quarts of frozen blackberries in my freezer.

“We have begun our analysis layer by layer” by Julia at Green Beanery

Saturday December 3, 2011 at Green Beanery
5 minutes
Creating a Role
Constantin Stanislavski

Saving grace is something sweet.
She asks me daily for an open-faced sandwich with butter and sugar.
I sing her a lullaby with a hum as the storyteller.
She falls asleep curled up like a puppy dog.

Animal awareness is something particular.
She asks me to tell her where babies come from.
I read her a line from the bible with cynicism as the main character.
She answers with passion and calmness, unapologetic.

Calamine lotion is too pink to be beautiful.
She asks me for a gold fish that she will name Frieda.
I play her a prayer on my ukelele.
She dances with her arms outstretched over her head.

Parsley makes the garlic pasta taste less offensive.
She asks me for seconds because she thinks that’s the right thing.
I soak her with suds from the sink filled with dirty habits.
She giggles like the moon, being tickled by the morning.

Fear is a man’s best friend and worst nightmare.
She asks me for my cameo so she can wear it on her turtleneck.

It Is Birth and Death by Sasha at Lansdowne Station

Friday, December 3, 2011 at Lansdowne Station
5 minutes
Be Everywhere from Here (from The Road to California)
The Wunderkat

“Death is certain” is Mona’s mantra, every morning, clutching prayer beads in her fingers, sitting in her sunroom, cross-legged, with the spider plants and the green laughing Buddha and the African violet that blooms in November. She repeats her mantra one hundred and eight times. Thoughts float in: “E-mail Fredrick about the recipe for gingerbread”, “Floss today (for goodness sake)”, “Bring that garbage bag of Emma’s to the Goodwill”, “Only one coffee”, “Remember to buy a Star just to spite Rob Ford” and “re-write the will”. At least the latter is somewhat related to death, she pats herself on the back, a tiny curl to the corners of her lips. Mona runs her hand over her bald head and sees the first snow fall from heavy, curious clouds. She lays her prayer beads around the neck of the laughing Buddha, steps into Al’s boots in the foyer, opens the front door, and walks outside, her tongue leading the way, ready to taste the newest born snowflake.

“It Is Birth and Death” by Julia at Hey Lucy

Friday, December 3, 2011 at Hey Lucy on Bloor
5 minutes
Be Everywhere from Here (From The Road to California)
The Wunderkat

a little hiccup and the whole world goes up in flames–or down. or nowhere because ash doesn’t do anything but swirl and swirl in circles. and the whole world really is in his hands and hers and yours and mine.
ashes to ashes.
we are waiting on the button that kills us all dead. alive wouldn’t be all that much fun with a mortgage and other various government debts to pay off. the button is red or maybe green. no one knows the difference between stop and go anymore so why do we even try?
babies are stillborn in the night. and the day. and in the middle of a poor mother’s worst nightmare. stillborn.
when the laughing stops, yes that’s when i will pronounce it dead. its death, a long, sad journey, will come at midnight on the fourth of december, in the year of our no one, two thousand and zero. zero point zero. zero minus zero.
january never comes, you see, because ‘its’ death is really the world and graveyards don’t believe in the new year the way we do.
shells and pasta noodle necklaces will be worn to celebrate.

“He was always the first” by Sasha at Manic Coffee

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at Manic Coffee
5 minutes
Three Day Road
Joseph Boyden

When he runs he runs for the ancestors, chasing fireflies in their graves, weaving tabacco smoke into dreamcatchers and laughing at the indignant seasons bent on changing changing changing. He crosses every finish line with a prayer of sweat on his lips, a kiss of gratitude to the earth, the ancestors, his heart a hand drum with a bear claw marking the centre, the sweet spot, the resonant leather taut and pulled like his muscles now, when he runs. He drinks water from the lake where his grandparents live, near Magnetawan. He takes home a barrel of this purity every time he visits and only drinks it when he runs, a treasure down his throat. He undoes his laces and peels off his socks. He feels the grass with his toes, dancing with each blade like a lover or a child.

“He was always the first” by Julia at Starbucks

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at Starbucks
5 minutes
Three Day Road
Joseph Boyden

He was born with a grudge.
His birthing story left a permanent bad taste in his mouth, believing he was never really wanted or needed.
Au contraire, my friend!
I would tell him that but he wouldn’t want to hear me.
I’d tell him so many things if he knew how to listen.
This grudge…he’s carried it with him.
Some call it a chip on his shoulder.
Others might call it an eternal cynicism from a plastic mind.
But what it is, is a misplaced sugar high with all the repercussions of a migraine but without actually ingesting the candy.
It’s a real life, physical thing, this grudge he has!
So big he has to order two seats when he flies on an airplane! Ba doom chh!
So big people ask him if he’d like some ‘nice guy’ with that grudge! Slow clap!
He doesn’t want your ill-fitting humour!
I should know.
His grudge has slapped me in my face before.
He’s just a bite-sized argument.
If you’d ever met him, you’d understand what I mean.
He hates every single person who’s taller than 5’6.
It’s not arbitrary either.
He once asked me to lend him some perspective, or olive oil, and we both just started laughing.

the dishwater by Sasha at Lit on College

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at Lit on College
2:37 PM
5 minutes
The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver

He came from Bangladesh, via Los Angeles, a suitcase wrapped in duct tape and a backpack with the initials “S.P.R.” He arrived in Toronto and walked in sandals, in February, a smile pined on his face like a carnation in a lapel. He handed out resumes and sang the lullaby that his grandmother hummed, in his head. Fifty-six pieces of paper and one phone call, thirty six counted hours later. He couldn’t believe his luck – a shooting star all the way to his wife and daughter in their house with the goat and the cat. “DISHWASHER!” the woman on the other side of the line shouts. “DISHWASHER!” he shouts back. Funny Canadian woman, he thought. He arrived the next day, in his sandals, his feet cracked and dry. A man in a white jacket shouted, “CLOSED TOE SHOES!” He starts to wonder if people think that volume makes up for the language barrier. He is sent home. He returns the next day with shiny black rubber boots that he bought from the dollar store for $4.99. This does not make sense, he thought. A dollar store. Dollar. He is very proud that he thought about this purchase with such care and focus – he won’t have wet, cold feet any longer. At work, at his work, he has CLOSED TOE SHOES. His first day he washes until his hands burn and sweat drips off his forehead, raindrops on the white ceramic plates.