“there’s absolutely nothing good about them.” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
8:44pm
5 minutes
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


Carless and beautiful, that’s what you are. You don’t even know what you do to me. Hold my heart, but please don’t drop it: words I’ll never say to you. Other words I’ll also never say to you: do you love me more than x, y, z; do you want to move in together; do you mind keeping an eye on my sister’s newborn baby.
You’re beautiful.
And careless.
And I’m in love with a man who breaks everything he touches.
I know better now than to ask you for anything because you won’t realize that you have what I need even if the light’s on or the in between lines are magnified and read aloud.
Beautiful.
Your carelessness is almost so perfect that I’d say it was beautiful too. You could open your eyes, just a little, take a surprise, just a little, and tell me my imperfections and why you love them…
Words you might say to me: there’s absolutely nothing good about them.
And what you’d be referring to are my flaws.

“It is a sign of disaster” by Julia at T.A.N on Baldwin

Monday, January 30, 2012 at T.A.N on Baldwin
10:07am
5 minutes
Dreams: Hidden Meanings and Secrets
Zodiac Press


Holiday parties make me just sick. I hate them because everyone’s supposed to dress up like the better version of themselves and mingle around with an unnatural laugh/ cocktail. I hate every part of it! Ooh, mistletoe on Christmas, I wonder which coworker wants to shtup which coworker. Oh, just kidding, everyone already knows that Richard loves Andrea and Andrea loves Ryan and everyone’s probably going to get a little drunk and sexually forward with one another. Can’t wait! Or another example, Halloween with everyone wearing costumes. Ooh, Andrea’s wearing a little French maid’s outfit. Maybe I’ll shtup her later because her inhibitions are gone as she is dressed up like a hooker. Ooh, no inhibitions.
YOU’RE STILL AT THE OFFICE, PEOPLE! Lest we forget that you walk to work in your Nike cross trainers and change into suitable business casual shoes when you ARRIVE, but that element of comfort is the real you so everything else you do, Richard, is just a crock of baloney! No one is anyone but a lame hamster loving, book club attending, lover of doing seasonal taxes, ugly vest wearing idiot! AND! Just because music is playing, it does not mean you’re going to go home a hero.

“It is a sign of disaster” by Sasha at T.A.N. on Baldwin

Monday, January 30, 2012 at T.A.N on Baldwin
10:07am
5 minutes
Dreams: Hidden Meanings and Secrets
Zodiac Press


It is a sign of something terrible coming when three ravens fly together above you. Doesn’t matter if they’re cawing or squawking. Just that they’re flying. Over you. We haven’t touched in seventeen months. It’s because of that bird-feeder I bought. Damn ravens. You get your briefcase out of the basement and put some papers in it that definitely are not important and one of my pens. That I bought. You don’t even say, “Goodbye honey!” You don’t even say, “Goodbye Sheila!” You don’t even say anything. You leave your dishes on the table and a small mountain of crumbs from your three pieces of dry toast. I wipe the crumbs onto the floor and step on them with my bare feet. I pretend I’m walking on coals like those monks do. You started going to Tae Kwon Do in February.

“I’ll tell you everything.” by Sasha at The Gladstone


Sunday, January 29, 2012 at The Gladstone
3:03pm
5 minutes
Spring Awakening
Frank Wedekind


I’d like to start by telling you I’ve loved you ever since you were “the new girl” and had a florescent green windbreaker that you wore even when it was July and forty degrees. I know that you probably weren’t aware of it then because you were distracted by having to do tutoring in fractions and French verb conjugations (your previous school must have been a dump) and by Todd Michaels who unfortunately sat behind you and bugged you because he liked you too. There was this one time at the Halloween dance, you were dressed up as Wayne Gretzky in your brothers hockey stuff and I was the colour Orange (much to my mothers chagrin). You were bobbing for apples and you couldn’t get one and it was driving you crazy. I shoved my head in that water beside yours and grabbed an apple in my mouth. You screamed because you didn’t know what was going on but I know that you were happy to have that apple. And that I saved you. In the haunted house I made sure to go in after you in case you got scared or anything. And it was just the two of us. They were only letting one kid in at a time but I pushed in and told Mrs. Hitchings you asked me to accompany you for “safety sake”. I heard you scream when Principle Kutcher jumped out in a gorilla mask. I stuck out my hand and I felt the hockey pads on your shoulder and I said, “it’s okay. I’m here.”

“I’ll tell you everything.” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, January 29, 2012
8:41pm
5 minutes
Spring Awakening
Frank Wedekind


Okay, but you have to promise not to tell mom, or anyone else. Do you swear? Libby, this isn’t a joke. I need you to stop laughing. This isn’t easy for me, okay, so just give me a second, but you have to stop laughing or I’m never going to be able to get it out. Okay. Fine. Dammit. I. God. I don’t know how to say it. I found…these magazines in the office. They were these like, naked pictures of girls in like see-through bras and sometimes no bras and sometimes no undies either. And they were like, with guys…
Oh my God, Libby, I can’t believe I’m telling you this.
I took them back to my room because I didn’t want anyone to see me looking through them, and when I got there I was planning to just like, throw them out or something, but I didn’t. Libby, I stared at those pictures for maybe hours and they were so real. And so…dirty. And now I can’t think about girls without seeing them in that way…in that…dirty kind of…thing they were doing. Not dirty. They looked like they were having fun, but… I don’t know, it felt wrong to want to see them doing these things that are supposed to be private, I think, and they were just like, being so openly…like…I don’t know. Just. Open. And now I feel like, what, is this what girls are supposed to do? And the guys were all like, these big bodies. Just. Built. Really, really built, Libby!

“He started out as just a wayward scrap of light” by Julia on the Subway


Saturday, January 28, 2012 on the subway
5:02pm
5 minutes
The Devil You Don’t
Mark Bibbins
From The Best American Poetry 2010


Beating to the rhythm of his own drum. Yup, that’s my baby brother. Full of life and full of crazy. He didn’t want to stay in high school so my parents told him they would quit smoking if didn’t drop out (wonder where he got his crazy from…). My baby brother finished with a D+ in history, a D in everything else, and a DNR for any future education options. He upheld his end of the bargain–the least my parents could do was try and stop smoking. Fine. They didn’t quit, my brother didn’t quit–there’s a parallel in that somewhere. Instead, my brother went on to have big dreams about gardening on a communal reserve and tree planting for the rest of his life.
I hate to say it, but I thought he’d be good at the earth stuff and the hippy shmippy lifestyle.
Turns out, he “couldn’t find warm enough socks by the time the bus left” so he ended up just staying home and watching Food, Inc. on Netflix for like, 3 months on repeat. Now he works at a doggy day care and just gets high all day.

“He started out as just a wayward scrap of light” by Sasha at Lit on Ronces


Saturday, January 28, 2012 at Lit on Ronces
2:21pm
5 minutes
The Devil You Don’t
Mark Bibbins
From The Best American Poetry 2010


He started out as just a glimmer, caught in the glaze of his mother’s brown eyes, laced with tears. She peed on a stick in the bathroom of Denny’s, tossing the wrapper in an overflowing wastepaper bin. Small brown snowballs of paper towel dotted the floor and almost would have been head-tiltingly and interestingly beautiful, all tumbling over eachother, under different circumstances. She counted to three hundred in Spanish with those same eyes closed. She was good with languages. She was glad that she could count in Spanish, Swahili and Dutch. She left her underwear around her ankles and stood, bound by blue stretchy cotton. She shuffled to the sink to wash her hands after the three hundred count was completed, the stick with two blue lines on the floor amongst dust bunnies of hair from a wide assortment of people, and a one meter long piece of floss. She smelled breakfast sausage and burnt coffee. She picked up a brown paper towel snowball from the floor and stuck it in her mouth. She screamed. She was too young, too broke, too lost, too hungover, too disorganized to have two blue lines on the floor behind her. He started as just a glimmer, a stained-glass teardrop, a wayward sliver of light from the buzzing florescent light of a Denny’s bathroom in Queens.

“rice pilaf and lemon roasted potatoes” by Julia at Ouzeri


Friday, January 27, 2012 at Ouzeri
6:39pm
5 minutes
The Menu

Elvis, he’s my pet goldfish, he only eats sugar water and cranberry flakes. I’ve been feeding him this for days and he seems to really love the unconventional meal options.
I’ve noticed he acts kind of like my cousin Janey’s cat does when he’s happy…and that’s just sitting around and hardly moving, basically.
Elvis was won at a carnival but I’ll never tell him that. He probably already has inferiority issues if he’s anything like me.
I was adopted too. Once I found out, I never felt the same. Kind of like a homeless person or a spy; always on the run, and always searching for something. I’d rather Elvis just feel wanted and be happy instead of trying to drown himself out of sadness.
My mom says I’m equally as loved as if I were conceived by her and Lorne (that’s my “dad”). I tell her she’s a liar because she didn’t know what I was like when I was just developing so how could she assume she loves me just as much, or knows even, what that kind of love feels like.
Lorne just burps and watches Wheel of Fortune. He doesn’t try to tell me anything.

“rice pilaf and lemon roasted potatoes” by Sasha at Ouzeri


Friday, January 27, 2012 at Ouzeri
6:39pm
5 minutes
The Menu

My hands are slick from olive oil and I touch your cheek. You smile because they’re sticky and smell like garlic. In the future this will be know as “the Summer of the Bees”. Next summer will be “the Summer of the Zucchinis”. We’ll have more in the garden than we know what to do with and you’ll pull a zucchini the size of your arm our from under vines, a forgotten giant. I’ll hear you cry out in delight. But back to the olive oil. And the bees. I’m making lemon roasted potatoes, tossing them in a blue ceramic bowl, rosemary tickling under my nails. You take my fingers in your mouth, sucking each one and looking into my eyes. I smile. You kiss me and I can taste the garlic on your tongue. You look up and see the beehive for the first time, hanging from the roof by the kitchen window. “Shit!” you say, mid-kiss.

“Well, for one thing, she’ll have to let go of her irritation,” by Sasha at Lit on College


Thursday, January 26, 2012 at Lit on College
2:38pm
5 minutes
The Frog Prince
Stephen Mitchell


It hangs around her neck like a pendant, but it’s heavy like a brick. She works at the TD Canada Trust on the corner of Queen and Spadina. She smokes two menthol cigarettes on her fifteen minute breaks and then chews a piece of Spearmint Trident, vigorously. They aren’t allowed to chew gum on the job but she doesn’t like hard candies or Tic Tacs. She drums shellac nails on the counter until Todd, who manages the Business banking desk, shoots her a glare. Fuck you, Todd. Who heats up a meatball sub in the microwave? Who eats a meatball sub every damn day? Who cares that you and Katherine got engaged and that you both need time off to go to Boston for the Marathon? A customer comes in and she rolls her eyes. He has long hair. “Michael Bolton,” she whispers. Her shoes are too tight. Are her feet growing? “Please put your card in the machine and type in your pin,” she says when the long haired man stands before her looking lost. He pauses. He removes a wallet from his front pocket. Weirdo, she thinks. “I found this outside the McDonald’s over there,” he says, “do you people take these in?”

“Well, for one thing, she’ll have to let go of her irritation,” by Julia at Pape Station


Thursday, January 26, 2012
3:50pm
5 minutes
The Frog Prince
Stephen Mitchell


Sharon is a huge a-hole. She’s mean to me without me doing ANYTHING to her. I asked her if she wanted help with the math homework that Mr. Ziegler assigned for tomorrow and she said “No!” Just like that! “No, thank you.” I said to her. Maybe in Sharon’s house manners aren’t very important, but in mine they are. She was struggling. That’s why I asked! I just thought I’d help because I’m good at multiplication since my dad always tested me on it before I moved to this new and stupid school. We play this game called “Around The World” even though Mr. Ziegler calls it “Multiple Madness” where we race to say our times tables and whoever wins goes on to the next person all over the classroom (Around The World is so much better) and the last person standing wins and gets a sucker or like, a magnet from Mr. Ziegler’s secret Simpsons stash. It’s my favorite game so I have like 8 suckers so far. I save them all in my desk and people are nicer to me because they know I have suckers. What?! It beats being called a brown-noser! Sharon calls me a brown-noser and I swear, I’m not. I’m just trying to help her.

“I’m sleepy. Turn the light off.” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday, January 25, 2012
12:12 am
5 minutes
Eurydice’s Hill
Paolo Puppa translated by Donato Santeramo


Maybe he’ll hate me in the morning for forcing him to gargle with salt water before he went to bed (just in case he was sick and could avoid getting sicker). Maybe he won’t. I would hate me if I weren’t me. I’m not interested in any conversations unless I’m the one doing the talking. It’s not my fault I think I can improve the silence with my opinion. My sister used to say that. She’d say, “If you can’t improve the silence, don’t say anything.” I’m fairly certain she stole that from some motivational website or a celebrity or something, but either way, she’s so right. Most people shouldn’t express their opinions because they’re lame and irrelevant. I, however, believe that mine is something people actually want to hear. I know this because people frequently ask me, “Helena, what do you think?” And then I tell them because, well, I’m not going to let the opportunity of taking the lime light pass me by. I told him, gargle with salt water because this WILL make you feel better. I told him he had better close the window or else. I told him so many things that to be honest, who knows if they’re sincere or true or valid. They’re just things I say. But, that’s one of the perks of being me. I get to say whatever I want, whenever I want, and people will high five me gold medal me bake me a cake and call me Georgia P. Lasky.

“I’m sleepy. Turn the light off.” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday, January 24, 2012
10:32am
5 minutes
Eurydice’s Hill
Paolo Puppa translated by Donato Santeramo


He dreams of talking sharks and dancing the tango with a tiger and huge pots of chili cooked on a fire in the desert. He dreams of washing his mother’s hair when she’s an old woman and chasing Obama with a bouquet of baby’s breath and burning down his drug dealer’s house with the Olympic torch. He dreams of shaking martinis made of gasoline and dish detergent and singing to his unborn daughter and seashells that tell jokes when you put them to your ear. He dreams of speaking Biblical languages with Tupac and polishing gold for King Tut and running on the Adriatic Sea, breaking through the finish line with a, “HALLELUJAH!”. He dreams of curling his toes into diamond sand and fucking Marilyn Monroe on a rooftop in the rain and screaming for his brother to save him from melting like beeswax. He dreams of whipping poems into meringue hearts and teaching an army of elephants to sing No Woman, No Cry and climbing palm trees to toss young coconuts to my sister and I. He dreams of kissing Rumi’s fingertips, one by one, and building a house in Kosovo out of broken china found after the bomb went off.

“I am your very own,” by Julia at The Abbot


Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at The Abbot
11:49am
5 minutes
The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett
Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett


Jonathan was my cousin but I secretly hoped to marry him all throughout my childhood. He and I even had a mock wedding when I was six and he was eight with my little sister, Catherine, and his little brother, Oliver as our flower girl and boy. Yes, they wouldn’t actually be the “flower children” but we were kids! What the hell did we know about matrimony and all its terminology? Jonathan kissed my cheek (because we were cousins) and then we held hands the way we only assumed newly weds did.
Then the game was over and he went back to judo kicking the walls and pretending to be Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I went back to daydreaming about Jonathan kissing me on my mouth for real.

All my other cousins knew I was in love with him, but I don’t think they could blame me, really. He was beautiful. He had little dimples and he was a leader. That’s what shaped my type: dimples and a god complex. I blame Jonathan
for making me love impossibly and for believing that he was mine and I was his.

I have never told my husband this…
And I don’t think I ever will.

“I am your very own,” by Sasha at The Abbot


Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at The Abbot
11:49am
5 minutes
The Letter of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett
Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett


I am your very own typhoid fever
Burning off the scars of your youth and your sadness and your small slivers of regret.
I am your very own crystal ball
Peering into the future of apple crisps and angel wings and diving into cool cool water.
I am your very own librarian
Indexing mornings and arranging snow walks on shelves with Shakespeare and Frost.
I am your very own watercolour paint set –
Red is the reason why we’re here.
Orange is now and the goodness of simplicity.
Yellow is tomorrow’s sun shining high and blessing us with lightsong.
Green is springtime when you’ll see my bare feet in the grass for the first time.
Blue is the dream of past lovers, smoking hot ashes.

“you now ask me if I can teach you,” by Sasha at Zoe’s Bakery


Monday, January 23, 2012 at Zoe’s Bakery
3:41pm
5 minutes
Meno
Plato


Riding bareback is something that I just can’t do. There’re those things. You know… It’s like my mother with good porridge. She just can’t do it. Simple and straight. I could ride before I could talk. Yup. But with a saddle. Held by my father, leg’s barely reaching over the sides of the horse, my first tastes of the adrenaline of feeling the horse’s muscles ripple as she gallops faster and faster and… My father dabbed musk behind his ears no matter how dirty he was going to get. He did it for my mother. He would sing Willie Nelson under his breath. My mother railed on him. Holy geeze, did she ever. “Why aren’t the chickens laying, huh?” “Don’t track that mud in here, Hal!” “It’s like you’re one of the kids too, the way I have to pick up after you!” He’d wink at me, smile at her and whistle “On the Road Again” on his way out to the barn.

“you now ask me if I can teach you,” by Julia at The Second City Training Centre


Monday, January 23, 2012 at The Second City Training Centre
5:47pm
5 minutes
Meno
Plato


I began my morning hunched over the toilet in the ladies room just praying it was food poisoning and not another baby. I literally said that between the moments of silence, and, well, the other stuff. I had salmon the night before. My mouth loves salmon but the rest of my body hates it. On the other hand… My body loves getting pregnant! And… If that’s what it was that morning, then it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve confused the two.
Okay Judgy Mcjudgerson. Judge away. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: if I know my body’s dying to have a baby then why am I not properly protecting myself? For your information, not that it belongs to you, I am fully protected by ABSTINENCE 96% of the time, thank you very much. The other 4% I do do the other stuff, and for specifics you may go ahead and judge my waste basket. (Perv.)
You know what? It was definitely probably the salmon. But wouldn’t it be much easier to write a letter to a poorly digested piece of fish if it wasn’t?

Dear _________,
I would much rather not have you in my body at this time. I’m not saying forever, but just not right now/the whole next 4 years because I have big plans/ zero dollars to make your journey worthwhile.

Love,
Nauseous, nauseous, nauseous

“I never saw one, or heard of one,” by Julia at Balzac’s Liberty Village


Sunday, January 22, 2012 at Balzac’s Liberty Village
11:37am
5 minutes
Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll


There was a boat filled with peoples. Little peoples, young peoples, small peoples, big peoples too. Each one had a different face, a different name, much like every day peoples, but much different at the same time. I was young myself, filing into the groups of the small, little, scared peoples. My mother told me to hold onto her but I didn’t so now I was also a part of the alone peoples. I asked her before she drifted out to sea if I was meant to be with her, or with my dad. She said, “Hush, now. Don’t even worry your pretty little head.” The young, little, small, and pretty peoples. She was a pretty one too.
Then, as if awakening from a raw dream, I noticed him there: fat, spongy, a little red faced with white hair like a yeti. “Santa Claus?” I whispered. I had never seen one like him. He opened his mouth and I covered my ears. His peoples must not be heard, only seen; His breath, a source little mice run from.
I walked up to him holding my young, small, little, pretty face with the last two wits I was left with, and I smiled at him. He was alone too. Some peoples sit comfortable without the company of other peoples.

“I never saw one, or heard of one,” by Sasha at Balzac’s Liberty Village


Sunday, January 22, 2012 at Balzac’s Liberty Village
11:37am
5 minutes
Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll


Up until now I thought that it was possible to lie without someone finding out. But now, now I know… the truth. I’d never heard of you, or your book or anything, so your reputation was of no interest, no, I was ignorant to your reputation. Yes. I lied to you. I lied when I said that thing about my ankle being sprained because I didn’t want to go on that hike! I just didn’t. You, you would have seen me huffing and puffing and sweating and… Jesus. It’s just not attractive! I want you to see me at my best. I don’t give a shit about paparazzi, Douglas. I don’t. I shouldn’t have lied to you. But… I’m not sorry. It taught me something about you. Now I know that you have X-ray vision into my soul and goddamnit that is… wonderful. And you know that I never wear socks!

“I should like to thank” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday, January 21, 2012
9:50pm
5 minutes
The Chairs
Eugene Ionesco


Cinderella seeks Prince Charming! SWF seeks SWM: Thank you to the Grimm Brothers for writing every story with a “once upon a time” and a “happily ever after”. They really set completely achievable standards. NOT. I’m going to be honest with you, I’ve been doodling my wedding dress since kindergarden. I had a one litre 7Up bottle full of nickels and dimes in my room for all of the first grade. “The wedding fund”. My mother was horrified. She made me change it to “the college fund”. She brought the Women’s Movement to my life on a daily basis all through my girlhood. Disastrous. It was a great tragedy to her that I cared more about John McLachlan noticing my crimped hair than Germaine Greer and the First Wave. So now, twenty three years later, I’m… waiting. Ho-humming and finger-drumming and god-damn-it if one more person says, “So, are you seeing anybody?” I just might off myself. Monica said today, “Penelope, have you considered Plenty of Fish?” To which I replied, “I despise seafood, thank you very much.” She laughed. Not funny. The last date I went on the man’s nose hairs needed trimming and when I offered to pay for my half of the meal he thought I meant I’d just get the whole thing and said, “Wow, I could get used to this!” Prince Charming! Oh yeah!

“I should like to thank” by Julia at Central Studios


Saturday, January 21, 2012 at Central Studios
12:49pm
5 minutes
The Chairs
Eugene Ionesco


Etta, and Michael, and Tupac. Those are my top three that I will praise till my dying days.
Just a small town girl outside of Kentucky. Holding on to a dream that might be a little too hot…
If I drowned in the ocean, who would save me?
The sounds of my childhood, my preadolescence, and my raging adulthood into a sphere of safety and warmth.
I won’t drown if I have the sounds of love and loss to guide me. I haven’t felt real pain until I…
I never have. I know I will. But I’ve been lucky for some time thinking that paper cuts were as bad as it could get. The answers yet, to be uncovered, I know I’m sure of my sisters and brothers…
Music.
The thing I need.
The song I bleed.
The help I plead.
I won’t cry out in the darkness if I know it’s too late.
Been wandering around on my knees searching for a diamond ring that someone lost by accident.
Hope will take care of me.
Etta, Michael, please sing me to sleep.
And Tupac, for those days when I’m feeling the streets.
Combine them and make a mosaic out of heartache and stretching beads of imagination.
These humans are so human making me feel like an illusion–
Because I know that their truth is watching over me.
I’ll sing a little melody in the painstaking effort to rid my insecurity.
I’ll keep on walking high.
Heads will turn, they will ask me:
Are you the girl, from outside Kentucky?
I’ll say maybe I was but now I’m grown…
Into a woman of my very own.
Haven’t I mentioned my heroes? They’re the guys that keep the zeros from being just zeros. Like me.
I’m a little unwound, a little unsound at times, and when I die, I know they’ll be waiting for me.
If the first thing you think about when you wake up is singing, then maybe you were meant to sing…
I know I’m a listener first and foremost, because the first thing I do is hear the sounds of magic pouring into my ears when the alarm goes off.

“you feel a thrill of pride” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday, January 20, 2012
9:48pm
5 minutes
Window to the Future
Steve Kosareff


My father rode me double on his bike, me on the seat him suspended in peddling.
I arrived at school, via Walmer and St. George, by the park, and around a corner,
exhilarated and proud.
I wrote a poem about a goblin and scared myself, alone in my room.
I knew it was good.
I’m not so good at not being good.
Master the “I don’t know” before the “I can!”,
passed down via cells of integrity and striving striving striving.
Always plan for the future.
My grandmother prayed to St. Anthony for a son in case her eldest had to go to war.
Back-up plans are no plans, simmering on the stove before burning and charring the pot.
The thrill of pride comes with seven hungry friends around my table,
A feast before us,
blessed beyond imagination.
The thrill of pride comes, stretching in the morning up towards the sun.

“you feel a thrill of pride” by Julia at her kitchen table


Friday, January 20, 2012
7:44pm
5 minutes
Window to the Future
Steve Kosareff


I guess I have low standards. I aim low. I’m disappointed seldom. That feels good, you know, because otherwise I’d have my sights set too high on things and my fall, well my fall would really be something dramatic and painful. Trailer Park Brain, some call it. Fear of flying, some others say. But it doesn’t take much for me to smile. Life’s little gifts, little pleasures, little miracles. They’re all things I need and hey, if they’re easier to come by then does that make them any less special? I never went for the A in high school. I went for a C and when I got that B+ you know how good that felt? Like cool rain on a hot day; a baptism of the mind. I told myself, sometimes people just lay a little lower, and take smaller steps in life but that doesn’t mean they’re not going anywhere. I’m proud of my small greatness. It’s incomparable to others because it’s not on the same plain. I like it that way. This is how hand me downs feel so good, and why leftovers never tasted so satisfying. I’m a ball of mush when it comes to these things. When someone holds a door open for me, I just melt. When a man offers to carry an umbrella over my head even when it’s just misting, well hey, that’s about the nicest thing I could ask for. My daddy was this way. Little things. Always little things. Espresso comes in those tiny, little cups, right? You know that saying about good things coming in small packages? Well how many cups of espresso do you need anyway? Just a small one. That’s all.

“They were still joking and laughing.” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, January 19, 2012
10:07pm
5 minutes
A Lesson Before Dying
Ernest J. Gaines


Becky I need you to stop speaking to me for one whole minute. Can you do that? If you do it, I’ll give you six thousand points! You know you’re only five thousand points away from watching your cartoons if you do this! I know you can’t pass it up. I’ll time you. AND GO!
Sorry Rach, I’m just babysitting again. I gave them this idea that if they did things I wanted them to do, I’d reward them with an insane number of points that doesn’t even mean anything. They totally fell for it! Rach, I’ve been laughing to myself every time they run off to go like, sweep, or pick up the twigs from the backyard. I guess I’ll have to think up some decent prizes or like, make sure they never reach the max amount of points because I have no idea what would be worth all this. Everyday they come asking me if like, do I get points for reading my favourite book? and I’m like, YES, but you have to read it silently. And then they go and do it! It started out because I just needed an hour without them begging me to play with them so I could watch Passions and be alone you know? Becky started crying when I told her it was quiet time for no reason. I’m like, you’re eight years old, go play with your barbies or something. I’m not going to let her watch Passions with me, her mom thinks they don’t watch TV as it is. Oh, Rach, hold on just one sec.
What, Becky?
If you take a nap? I will give you fifty-three million points if you take a nap. Great idea!

“They were still joking and laughing.” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Spadina


Thursday, January 19, 2012 at Dark Horse on Spadina
11:17am
5 minutes
A Lesson Before Dying
Ernest J. Gaines


85 bus. 5:57am. Every day. Except Sunday. Day off. “God’s day”. Ha! Driver has red beard. Leprechaun! Teach this word at English class. Miss Annie say, “Pot of Gold!” What this? “Pot of Gold”? Leprechaun has photo in book of small man with big shoes and green cap. Leprechaun driver smile big smile. Today. He wink! He wink me! He wink and say, “Nice hat!” Present from Mister Williamson. I smile rest of journey to work. Work. Clean the stairs, Boss says. Boss say my kids be spoiled if I send them too much Christmas present. Boss say, “Never miss early bus or FIRED!” “Never forget change mop water or FIRED!” “Never forget punch out time card or FIRED!” Leprechaun like my warm Canada hat. Warm Canada gloves. Wear three pairs of pants. Wear six pairs of shirts. Boss say, “You fat when come to work then skinny when working! Where your fatness go?” Lunch. Sit on the box by the stair now clean in the bottom with sandwich. Only Canada sandwich. Sandwich what Canada people make Lunch. Bottom dark and stink like garbage. Only place eat say Boss. Eat sandwich. Think my son open his “too much” Christmas present.

“related interest” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, January 18, 2012
12:57am
5 minutes
Farms of Tomorrow Revisited
Trauger Groh and Steven McFadden

Let’s start with the whirr of an engine and see where that takes us? Up around the bend of the North Saskatchewan River and down to the bus station in Edmonton where my grandmother, at forty, waited for the women from the reservations up North. Blankets and booties, crocheted while listening to the transistor radio, a pot of hamburger soup simmering on the stove, pipe smoke circling hockey bags and the Virgin Mary. The engine takes us to the very end of the line. We count our blessing – one, two, three, seventeen sisters to make it all a bit easier. Always moving forward, the engine only makes a sound so that we know it’s working. It doesn’t break down.

I see the sun making it’s getaway on the horizon, nowhere else to go but up.

“related interest” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday, January 18, 2012
12:53am
5 minutes
Farms of Tomorrow Revisited
Trauger Groh and Steven McFadden

a group of like minded people walk into a bar…
no that wasn’t it.
a group of like minded people walk onto a yacht… yes. yacht. they walk on it. they walk on the water, onto the yacht and have like minded conversations while soaking wet from just attempting to jesus. TO JESUS. that is a verb, and it is one that a group of like minded people use. it means: to walk on water. It might also mean: *but is not limited to* changing water into wine, transforming small portions of food into larger ones, and rising from the dead. wonderful.
now that this group of like minded people agree on the phrasing and activities to be used/held/justified by each other, the other things are able to happen.
these things include: skydiving without a parachute, eating raw fish from anywhere that is not a sushi restaurant, and never changing the smoke detector because they all believe *we all believe* that god will save us in case of a fire and we needn’t stress/worry/care that we may be the cause of our own demise.
SMILE. a group of like minded people always smile in the same way.
they tilt their heads…good, very good.
they smile with their eyes…nice, very nice.
they high five each other and anyone else walking by…wonderful, just wonderful.
they also attract your soul with shiny objectives so they can mount your face on a sash and parade around the world as if they just won a marathon.
a marathon won by a group of like minded people…

“I began to be afraid you would never come back again.” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at Starbucks
11:15am
5 minutes
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen


I guess because I told you how my belly button was an erogenous zone for me, or that I liked to be tied up with your sweaty gym socks…
That’s why I thought you’d be gone and on the road to Never-Coming-Back-Ville. I didn’t know if you’d appreciate my bedroom manner or just think I was joking–either or would be nice. It would mean I didn’t scare the shit out of you enough for you to take off and never call me again. Granted, it’s only been three hours since you told me you were heading home, and granted, the only thing I’ve been doing is sitting in front of the clock wishing it could tick just a little bit backwards so you’d still be here. That and I’d still be secretive and mysterious because I hadn’t given in yet to telling you the truth about me. Hey, lesson learned. Now I know first dates are for bubble gum banter and wine spritzers. Now I know you save the talks about orgies and peanut butter massage cream for date four or five… With the lights off and without my foot in my mouth…
Unless you like that kind of thing? Goddammit. I don’t know. I’m a bit pissed at myself for thinking that shit would fly with a guy like you who wears dress shoes to a pub and irons his shirt sleeves.

“I began to be afraid you would never come back again.” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday, January 17, 2012
11:48pm
5 minutes
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen


Today I remembered I hadn’t thought of you in awhile. This was a good feeling. I think. It was a bit like s’mores. Good in theory. Not so good in reality. There was something so romantic and Jane Austen about thinking about you all the time, about wondering where you were and what you were doing, who you were with and if you were still humming that ridiculous song. But then, as I went through my day, and went to the post office to buy stamps for oversized mail, and ate a whole package of frozen edemame and questioned the ever present desire to over-pluck my eyebrows, I felt a bit sad. I began to realize that you would never come back again, to those cupboards of my brain (or my heart) where I put things that I want out of reach. I miss you, now. When the temperature drops I always do. I think about the time we snow-shoed near your brother’s cabin and it was so quiet except for the crunching of the snow. And you, humming that ridiculous song. And then we stopped and fell back and made snow angels and howled at the moon.

“One guy said,” by Sasha at Lit on College


Monday, January 16, 2012 at Lit on College
3:57pm
5 minutes
Thrillingly good TV? You betcha!
(from The Globe and Mail on January 16, Arts, Section R)
John Doyle


It was pushing 35 degrees. The restaurant didn’t have air conditioning. One guy said to her, “Your tits look great in that top… Are you, uh, wearing a bra?” She walked into the kitchen, her face expressionless. She opened the fridge door and stood in front of it. Bruno, the owner and cook, threw a curly fry at her. “Damn it, Kelly! Don’t do that!” Bruno yelled, flipping a burger on the grill. She closed the fridge and looked at him, expressionless. Bruno spread mayo on the toasted bun and then licked the knife, holding her gaze. She picked up a curly fry from the bowl where Bruno salts them, placed it on the counter, and pummelled it with a soup spoon. “Burger’s ready!” Bruno yelled. She stopped the pummelling, wiped the counter, and picked up the burger. “What the fuck is wrong with you today, Kelly?” Bruno grunted, smacking her ass with the dirty rag he uses to wipe his sweat. That one guy licked his lips when he saw his lunch coming over in her hand. His friend burped. She grabbed a bottle of Heinz and banged it down in front of that one guy. He laughed.

“One guy said,” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Monday, January 16, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
3:00pm
5 minutes
Thrillingly good TV? You betcha!
(From The Globe and Mail on January 16, Arts, Section r)
John Doyle


Stop looking at me. I’m dying every second your eyes stay on my face.
I could have been a model.
I swear it’s true.
Had the figure of a swimmer.
But…
Sweet dreams always have a soreness behind them. And then the accident… The fire in our attic from all of Mom’s old wicker chairs…
I don’t need you to feel sorry for me. I have enough of that already.
It comes from myself mostly, my baby brother second, and the rest of the world right after that.
You can’t even tell me what colour my eyes are. You’re staring at my patchy face, scars where cute little birthmarks should be; loose folds where smile lines used to live.
You think I’m a monster.
So just stop.
Just stop looking at me then!
Wouldn’t it be better for all of us If you just turned away?
I remember right after it happened.
It was my 17th birthday.
One guy saw me coming home from the hospital and he said,”Did you see that thing?”
I cried for the whole day.
Thing?
Clearly I’m an person. With a… With a…
Thing.
I wouldn’t wish my ‘thing’ on anyone, but that guy? On him I wished it all plus any other suffering I could think up.

“Come here. Sit down.” by Sasha at Capital Espresso


Sunday, January 15, 2012 at at Capital Espresso
4:06pm
5 minutes
The Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde


I see the one bedroom apartment we’re gonna have with a creaky hallway and a neighbour who’s a painter and windows that have ledges for small potted plants and sentimental nick-knacks and a kitchen with a real kettle and not just a pot that happens to contain water at all times. Then, it’s like a slide changing, like, when my Mom used to take the big painting off the wall in the dining room and bring up the slide projector from the basement and show us her younger, more red-headed self, swimming in Laurentian lakes, like a slide changing with the black button on the clicker, I see our house. Our home-type house. I see it. If I were a half-decent visual artist I would draw it for you. But I’m not. I’ll paint it with words. I’m better with words. Our house will be kind of small but not in a cramped way. It will have lots of windows and the only things coming in these windows will be sunlight and the only thing going out will be good smells and even better music. And the kettle whistling. Can’t forget the kettle (packed with great care when we move out of the apartment). We won’t have a doorbell. When people come to visit we’ll know that they’ve arrived because we’ll hear their voices, singing.

“Come here. Sit down.” by Julia at her desk


Sunday, January 15, 2012
9:20pm
5 minutes
The Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde


This was the moment I was going to admit that I was wrong. For two full hours I was operating under the guise that everything was his fault and not mine. I was yelling with the attitude and confidence of someone who was right, I was crying like a victim who had been taken advantage of, and I was countering his arguments with ones that made him feel just shitty. And yet…the entire time, I knew I was wrong. He was fighting with me because he knew it too, but I did such a good job of convincing him that he was to blame that he started to believe it too.
This was the moment I was going to admit that I was the bad one.
This was the moment.
I threw a wooden spoon covered in tomato sauce right at his head. That’s how right I wanted to be.
I think he said something about a bad mood and an energy spill. That was it, my energy had spilled and he was just getting caught in it. I told him he was waxing poetic because he knew he’d need something a little stronger to win the argument over… what again?
That thing we were fighting over?
I know I knew it somewhere…
But everything was hazy now, and he was hurt, and I was hurting. Not in hurt, but causing it.
And tears were visible because they come when I’m guilty or embarrassed and in that instance I was both so I knew I had to say something.
I even apologized before for things I was so certain I had no reason to be sorry for.
But after the sorry what am I supposed to do? Now we both know I’m the bad one.
In this moment where I admit that I am wrong.

“Akela is four years old” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Downtown


Saturday, January 14, 2012 at Moksha Yoga Downtown
5:25pm
5 minutes
Traveling Mercies
Anne Lamott


My grandbaby Akela was born breech. You know what that means? That means she’s a special girl. That means she was born feet first, like coming down a slide at the park. Her mama is my baby and that doesn’t stop making me smile. Aleka. My baby Aleka? She tried to turn Akela but before we knew it the rain was here and Akela was coming. Aleka was hootin’ and hollerin’, squirming this way and that. “Aleka! BREATHE!” I said to her! Akela’s birth wasn’t my first. No no no. I’d caught upwards of twenty five babies by then, all by some accident or another. Happens when the town’s so small, without a hospital or even a doctor to call it’s own. I knew that Akela was breech months before I told Aleka. What would’ve been the use? When Akela came, lightning and thunder were crashing. Aleka was squatting, holding onto the side of the kitchen table where she ate her first mashed yams, then learned to read, then wrote out math assignments so well, then rolled dough for biscuits.

“Akela is four years old” by Julia at Mucho Burrito on Queen


Saturday, January 14, 2012 at Mucho Burrito on Queen
1:50pm
5 minutes
Traveling Mercies
Anne Lamott


She had her favourite colour on.
Turquoise.
Said it made her feel like a sea princess.
She meant mermaid.
We all smiled anyway.
Dancing around the living room with her pink socks pulled high past her knees.
She was singing happy birthday but she was singing it in Spanish.
We watched from the kitchen as Larry set up the video camera.
Our birthday messages would be filmed later on, after she went to sleep.
Today was her day.
Today she was four.
Ada came running with her tiara toppling off her head.
It was too big but she loved it anyway.
She was ready for her debut.
The camera was rolling.
The magic was getting bigger.
I’m Akela and I’m the queen of the ants! She said.
Then she twirled and we could all swear that sparkles fell from her hair.
I am going to build houses in every city! I’m going to hold meetings for the workers! We are going to be a family!
She twirled again, this time getting her pink socks caught on the rug.
She fell to the ground, skinning her knee on the carpet.
We waited in anticipation.
The camera zoomed in, expectant to catch her expression of birthdays ruined.
Are you okay Ada?
Ada has a sore knee! But not me! I’m Akela and I’m the queen of the ants! I can’t get hurt! I’m the protector!
Once more, smiles behind the lens.

“supposed scientific breakthroughs” by Julia on the Subway


Friday, January 13, 2012
4:25pm
5 minutes
The Ethical Chemist
Jeffrey Kovac


Chemicals in my brain are telling me, tingling to me to tell you nothing of how I truly feel and everything that I think you’d like to hear. It’s not my fault: it’s chemistry. The same way you would say to me that it’s not your fault, it’s just circumstance when I’m visibly mad at you for not inviting me to your first cousin’s wedding.
I would have looked really nice by the way. But that’s neither here nor there. In fact, neither are you. I don’t know where you are. I’ve been rehearsing that damn speech about chemicals for almost an hour because quite frankly I know nothing about it and to make it seem convincing that I do, well, it just needs practice. If you were here by now I’d probably not be wearing red lipstick (a consequence of my vain productivity during times you make me wait) or be saying anything about all these supposed scientific breaks or whatever. Breakthroughs. I’d be sitting here probably crying and squeezing out the ingrown hairs on my arms to keep myself from ripping your fucking head off. So, just consider yourself lucky on this one. Maybe then I’ll stop trying to use words I don’t understand.

“supposed scientific breakthroughs” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Spadina


Friday, January 13, 2012 at Dark Horse on Spadina
3:28pm
5 minutes
The Ethical Chemist
Jeffrey Kovac


supposed scientific breakthroughs hopped up on caffeine nicotine zoloft valium ativan
suspended above the earth that knows the truth
suspended up up and away
flying high
swinging down low on the nine to five
THE WEEKEND! THE WEEKEND!
living for friday like it’s 2012
the mayans know that we care more about the label on our waistbands
than the legacy we leave our great-great-greatest of grandchildren
rome fell fast and furious
how long can we stay suspended?
the amazon weeps tarantula tears and no handkerchief in my pocket is big enough
dose up
dose up on sweet n’ low smiles
why do my teeth hurt?
dose up on drive through prophesies
hear the taco bell ring and BAM it’s time for church
the golden arches will bring us to
salvation
SALEvation
it’s discount baby and there’s no limit per family
stock up because it’s the end of the world

“expression of love” by Sasha at R Squared Cafe


Thursday, January 12, 2012 at R Squared Cafe
1:03pm
5 minutes
The Five Love Languages
Gary Chapman


You’ve been calling her name out again. In your sleep. I don’t tell you in the morning, when we sit on the kitchen floor on pillows from the couch and eat english muffins. We don’t have a table or chairs yet. When I found this apartment on Craigslist and forwarded it to you, you emailed back, “THIS ONE IS IT. XO” And it was. It. When I was packing up my books and bringing bags of too-small T-shirts and too-tight pants to Value Village I had a flash of everything going to shit. What if you realized that I really am a very, very strange kind of woman? What if you left the toothpaste globby? What if you never wiped the stove down after making your Nonna’s tomato sauce?

You’ve been calling her name out again. In your sleep. It isn’t the first time. I pretend like I don’t hear you. I pretend like I don’t imagine you and her and the future that you had planned. I pretend that your Mom isn’t disappointed that I’m not her. When you go to work and I don’t have to leave for school for another half hour, I open up the album you keep on the bottom shelf of your bedside table and I take out the three pictures of her. They are all on one page at the back.

“expression of love” by Julia at Tarragon Theatre


Thursday, January 12, 2012 at Tarragon Theatre
7:49pm
5 minutes
The Five Love Languages
Gary Chapman


Called me up in the middle of the night and was all, “Ronnie, I wanna be witch you.” And I’m all, “No, Ricky, I can’t do this anymore. I know you know this, it’s like the umpteenth time I’ve mentioned it!” And he’s all, “Aww, Ronnie, you’re my sugar bear,” and I’m all, “Ricky, please. You need to stop with these harassing phone calls in the middle of the night for chrissakes. I mean, I gotta get some rest.” Then I hear him doin’ this weird thing. I’m there, “You still there Ricky? Alls I hear is some weird breathing thing you’re doin’.” And he’s all, “Yeah, sniffle sniffle, I’m still here. I’m just in my emotional place right now.” And I’m all, “Emotional? This is just a conversation, I’m not telling you your dog’s dead, you know what I mean?” And he’s all, “Right, of course, I hear you Ronnie.” And I’m all, “Good, good, because I just need you to stop harassing me.” And he’s all, “Ronnnnnie!” Just like that, letting his Ns all bleed together and stuff. And I’m all, “What is it Ricky? You know what? You gotta get it together in the next thirty seconds or we’re over. O.v.e.r, over. I’m not messing around.” And he’s all, “But I love youuuuuu.”

“to find other countries to write about” by Julia at La Merceria


Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at La Merceria
5:35pm
5 minutes
The Poet
Italian Women and other Tragedies
Gianna Patriarca


Jesus came to me in a vision and besought me to follow him.
“In my slippers and night dress?” I asked.
And he nodded slowly with a… smile?
I got out of bed and began to grab my shawl.
He shook his head no.
Jesus was on my wall now in the guise of nightmare: a talking shadow with a distinct voice.
He told me to take my time and I said, “of course,” and he closed his eyes so I closed my eyes.
Suddenly there was laughter and so I opened my eyes to see that Jesus wasn’t making fun of me for following even his gestures and facial expressions. Jesus spoke quietly.
He said, “I’m with you.”
So I calmed down and felt my arms loosen up, my chest open, and my breath came out in the shapes of pretty clouds.
I walked closer to the wall, thinking I’d follow him there, through the barrier of worlds, but he stopped me with that fatherly look.
“Where do I go?” I asked him, shivering now from my overflowing humanness; a flaw he would not soon carry.
“Follow me,” he said again.
This time I was angry.
I thought I was doing just that…

“to find other countries to write about” by Sasha at La Merceria


Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at La Merceria
5:35pm
5 minutes
The Poet
Italian Women and other Tragedies
Gianna Patriarca


She went as far as she could fling herself
a dancer into the arms of red.
She went as far as she could stretch
a cat reaching for unslept dreams.
She went far to find countries to write about.
Home isn’t enough when it’s four walls, a ceiling and a floor.
Home isn’t enough when the tap drips and the doorbell rings during dinner.
She went on the wings of her bookshelves – –
The cliffs of Ireland where the sea tells us our grandmother’s secrets.
The mosques in Dubai, the old ones in the walled city, where only men are allowed.
She goes too now. She can.
Via the pages tattooed with fingerprints of the past.
She tells stories of these places she’s never been,
but she has been,
on the caboose of a book her father bought at a Church rummage sale and left in his basement to be chewed by mildew.

“Even my sweat stiffened” by Sasha at Gusto 101


Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at Gusto 101
1:48pm
5 minutes
House Rules
Heather Lewis


It’s a tick tick boom kinda thing. You know when you know. You’re running along the beach. You run barefoot now because you don’t run on pavement. You refuse to run on pavement. The sky is getting darker. You don’t have a flashlight but you’ve been in this town long enough to find your way back to your tent without it. Something most people don’t know about all towns like this one is there’s a trailer park somewhere, usually on the outskirts, sometimes, when you’re lucky, close to the beach. You can pitch a tent anywhere you can park an RV. You couldn’t stay in the bungalow after Alejandro was deployed. You boxed up your things and put them in your stepfather’s garage. “Where are you going?” Your stepsister asked, her fist full of Cheerios. “I’m running from here to Alaska,” you said. She believed you. You believed yourself. The sand is turning cold under your feet. You don’t see fear. You feel it. The sweat on your upper lip stiffens. You don’t want to stop running to look over your shoulder. Just that action, looking over your shoulder, is somehow admitting defeat. Fear tastes like saltwater taffy left cooking too long. Too sweet. Too sticky. Too salty. It’s dark now. You are coming to the end of the beach. The horizon is meeting the sky. You swerve quickly, looping back around. There are footprints in the sand beside yours.

“Even my sweat stiffened” by Julia at Fresh on Queen


Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at fresh on Queen
11:36am
5 minutes
House Rules
Heather Lewis


I’ve been scared of leaving my house for six years now. When I was a kid, I was never like this. I used to dream big and run fast, wind-like, bird-like.
But then Julie died and I knew I didn’t want to face the world anymore. No windows.

My sister was never supposed to go first. She had the ambition, the sweet smile, the know-how, the intuition, the work ethic, the initiative, the creativity.
Me, I just dreamed up stories about leaving this town to go be a movie star even though I hate being in front of people. I thought it was just a way to get me out. I wasn’t actually going to be in movies when I got there because that just seems so cliche now a days. When I got out I was going to maybe become a Mary Kay cosmetics consultant and I was going to go door to door with an idea and a cure and maybe change lives as well as faces.

Julie was going to change the whole world.

And I have survivor’s guilt, I guess, even though we weren’t in the same accident.

I wasn’t in an accident at all.

“smaller and smaller bits” by Julia at Second Cup


Monday, January 9, 2012 at Second Cup
5:28pm
5 minutes
Sophie’s World
Jostein Gaarder


ANNA
I know you’re still in love with her, Christopher. I can feel it in my bones like a wet cold.

CHRISTOPHER
I already told you, I’m always going to love her, but no, I’m not “in love” with her. I’m in love with you.

ANNA
Me? ME? I saw you get all flushed when we ran into her last Friday. You were pulling on your finger the way you do when you’re nervous. I know you. I know that finger thing.

CHRISTOPHER
I was nervous, yes, because how often do I see her? That was a normal reaction. You get that way when you see Jordan. Do I say anything to you?

ANNA
No, but it’s different. I’m the one who broke up with him. I didn’t want him anymore, I didn’t get my heart broken by him.

CHRISTOPHER
Anna.

ANNA
What?

CHRISTOPHER
You can be a real bitch when you wanna be.

ANNA
Yes, I know that; Everybody knows that. Does it mean I’m not right?

CHRISTOPHER
No it means you’re being a bitch. I hate fighting you on this. It’s like, nothing I can say is right or acceptable to you.

ANNA
That’s not true.

CHRISTOPHER
See?

“smaller and smaller bits” by Sasha on the Queen streetcar going east


Monday, January 9, 2012 on the Queen streetcar going east
9:43am
5 minutes
Sophie’s World
Jostein Gaarder


Mr. Lake Louise. You know why I call him that? ‘Cuz the only real way to describe the colour of his eyes is that aquamarine, that shining blue… When I see those eyes I get so many butterflies in my guts. The most butterflies ever. I close my eyes and try to picture their wings with maroon and fuchsia and gold and that sometimes makes them fly away. I recognize that most people hate going to the dentist. Mr. Lake Louise makes me love it. Geeze! Just thinking about that tiny spout shooting out that mysteriously mint-flavoured water! And it knows when that little paper cup is full! It knows! And the lootbag with a new toothbrush and floss and assorted dental pamphlets about things like teeth whitening and “10 Ways to Avoid Plaque”? Oh geeze! The only downside to the lootbag is that that whore Angie hands it to me. I see how she looks at Mr. Lake Louise when he’s fussing around in my mouth. Those sunglasses I have to wear don’t hide anything! It’s not at all professional. It makes me feel like I shouldn’t even be there and HELLO?! I’m paying a hundred and thirty seven dollars for this experience! And then she tries to make me look dumb by saying things like, “You don’t need to open your mouth that wide, Zoe…” I keep doing it as a protest against their adulterous relationship. Too bad I’m the one that ends up with overextended jaw muscles.

“replace the tequila” by Julia on the Greyhound, westbound


Sunday, January 8, 2012 on the Greyhound
9:38am
5 minutes
100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes
Carol Fenster


Said he wasn’t a drinker, but ah, ah, ah, I noticed my liquor cabinet slowly depleting. Said he wasn’t a drinker so I buy all these expensive wines for entertaining, and vodka for just plain shit-facing, and I’m thinking: he won’t touch my stash. Why? Because he said he wasn’t a drinker.

Then I started to wonder.

Am I the drinker? Am I just drinking so much I don’t even notice I’m the one doing it? Is he watching from the sidelines saying, Yup, this is why I don’t even let the stuff touch my lips. Yup, I’m not a drinker and this is why.
Maybe he’s been dumping it out on me so I don’t fall down the slippery slope? I think he likes me, loves me, likes me. Hopefully enough to try to rid me of my bad habits.

How many glasses of alcohol do you consume per week? 5-8? No. That’s ridiculous.

Unless you count the weekend and the binge drinking because it’s funny to double dare your friends to take shots every time Patrick Swayze shimmies his hips in Dirty Dancing.
Unless you count the after work brandy, the late night cognac, and the pre-drinking dirty gins.

I am not saying it’s a good thing. He doesn’t say anything. Maybe because he’s waiting for me to hit rock bottom, take all my money, and then donate it to AA. Fuccck. I need a drink. Of water, idiots, of water!
I need to just lay down, pop some ibuprofen, lick the rim of my salty martini glass and sleep. Fucking sleep.

“replace the tequila” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday, January 8, 2012
5:51pm
5 minutes
100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes
Carol Fenster


He can’t help it that he loves a woman who could be his mother,
He can’t get her out of his head head head.
He can’t shake the feeling that he always will love her,
He can’t sleep in his own downy bed bed bed.

She teaches him Italian, fallatio and tequila,
She feeds him strawberries with cream cream cream.
She reads him Rumi, Hafiz and Chaucer,
And haunts every one of his dreams dreams dreams.

They don’t tell his parents but they do make crepes in the morning,
They laugh until they cry cry cry.
They whisper mantras and divinities quite and true,
And hate to say goodbye goodbye goodbye.

“Paint my body with your kisses,” she says and he does,
Sweet and biting, red red red.
“Tell me we’ll be together forever?” He asks,
And she says, “‘Til I’m dead dead dead.”

“is it easier for lovers?” by Sasha at her mother’s desk


Saturday, January 7, 2012
6:56pm
5 minutes
The First Elegy (from The Essential Rilke)
Selected and Translated by Galway Kinnell


Every nanosecond at least thirty nine people in the world fall in love. Don’t quote me on it, but I’ll bet you any money that statistic is pretty much true. I’m Shiela. I’m fifteen and I’m from Medicine Hat, Alberta. I’ve been travelling the world… Okay, the country… Okay… the PROVINCE, talking to people about love, about falling in love. That’s why I’m here. In Red Deer. Beth asked me to come and talk to your book club because, well… I think she thinks that you might actually find what I have to say remotely interesting!

The amazing thing is that no matter where you go people want to tell you about love. Who they love, what they love, how much they love… It’s the most popular topic around! Even when you’re fifteen! You might be thinking to yourself, “What does this bespectacled red-headed teenager know about L-O-V-E?” And to that I would retort, “A WHOLE LOT!”

I fell in love for the first time when I was ten. I mean whole-hearted, no-holding-back, let’s-get-married-as-soon-as-it’s-legal LOVE. My mother wondered why my cheeks were always flushed and my father thought I was sniffing glue. Nope! His name was Duncan Alliston and he was dreamy, intelligent and knew everything there was to know about coniferous forests.

“is it easier for lovers?” by Julia at her desk


Saturday, January 7, 2012
7:00pm
5 minutes
The First Elegy (from the essential Rilke)
Selected and Translated by Galway Kinnell


Talking about sex is making my head hurt. If it were something I could do easily, then obviously I’d be fine to mention it now and again. But everyone knows I can’t. Not that I don’t want to. It’s a body thing. A fucked up body thing, if you ask me, and an unfair one at that. Maybe I should stop taking the pill and see if a sex drive just magically appears. That would be nice. I’m also planning on hibernating until a tingle makes its way down to my lady parts below the belt because the harder I try to avoid it in the real world, the more billboards I see, and the more thongs I’m somehow compelled to burn.
It didn’t start out that way. I didn’t have this…problem. What I had was a man who was okay with just talking sometimes and baking blueberry scones for Saturday brunches with me and my girlfriends. Yes he was gay. Of course he was gay. It’s just typical of me.
So I never had the ‘sex’ per-say with him, but we were happy. Until we weren’t. Because we were both lying to ourselves and each other in order to have some semblance of happiness.
So that fucked me up right then and there. It was a two year thing in the making and I’m obviously not proud of it because it’s two years that pretty much disoriented my fun-bits to the point of no return.
I do not blame my gay ex boyfriend. What was he supposed to do? Instead, I got fat on blueberry scones *FYI: we’re still best friends* and thought I was just one of those people who don’t have the sex.
Turns out ‘those people’ are actually all just dead.

“Cold, impersonal, sterile: This is what people want.” by Sasha at Aroma Espresso


Friday, January 6, 2012 at Aroma Espresso Bar
12:01pm
5 minutes
the ONION
January 5-11,2012


Two robots walk into a bar. One robot say to the other robot… No. Wait. Let me start that again. Two cowboys walk into a bar. One cowboy says to the other… Shit. Wait. That’s not right… A MUSHROOM walks into a bar. He sees this super hot redhead and goes up to her and says, “Hey, firebush, can I buy you a drink?” She rolls her eyes and walks away. He calls after her, “WHY?! I’m a FUN GUY!” Get it? Like FUN-GUY? Like FUNGI? Man, that one gets me all the time. Love that joke. Ha. Ha ha. Fungi. I mean, imagine this mushroom saying that? Oh man. You didn’t think that was funny? You aren’t laughing… Did I… Did I offend you? You said you liked a sense of humour. You stated so clearly that… Was it the “firebush” thing? That’s just the way the guy at the garage told it. I didn’t wanna take artistic license and… Here. I’ve got another.

“Cold, impersonal, sterile: This is what people want.” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday, January 6, 2012 at Starbucks
9:55am
5 minutes
the ONION
January 5-11,2012


I just asked the Barista if she could unheat my heated brownie. How nice of her to think that maybe I gave a shit about delicate sweets and how they might taste better with a little love and a little thing she likes to call “the microwave”. I effing know what a microwave is; I have two of them. I probably eat faster than any human out there, so just mind your own effing business. Like, thanks but no thanks, you know what I’m saying? If I were to ask you, then fine, maybe. But I just said “brownie” not “pleasantly warmed with love, affection, and without harming any children” brownie. Eff off! You’re getting paid to serve me not change my mood. Or like, try and engage me. Thank you for the heated brownie, it has scalded my tongue and you have succeeded in changing my mood FROM BAD TO WORSE. I don’t expect you to hug me after I swear at you, so you should expect me to give you five across the eye when you get too close to my face with your smile and vanilla scented hair. UGH. My whole life’s experience could not prepare me for this ungodly woman with an ironic tattoo on her wrist and a pen holding up her blonde messy bun!

“I was often a guest” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Spadina


Thursday, January 5, 2012 at Dark Horse on Spadina
10:57am
5 minutes
Autobiography of a Yogi
Paramahansa Yogananda


My father bought a house with terra-cotta walls and crosses made of thorns. At least that’s how I remember it. There was a tray of muffins in the basement oven and a bride’s bouquet in the fridge, forgotten by the previous tenant. They had also written messages on the walls in black and no matter how many coats of paint were rolled on, the loopy letters and cartoon faces still bled through. The ice cube tray in the freezer was filled with chocolate chips and shaved coconut. I should never admit that I ate some, chewing for a second before spitting it all out in the garbage bag on the tile floor that was already filled with paint stir sticks and Tim Hortons Roll up the Rim to Win cups from the construction guys. The hot water took days to come.

“I was often a guest” by Julia at Dark Horse on Spadina


Thursday, January 5, 2012 at Dark Horse on Spadina
10:57am
5 minutes
Autobiography of a Yogi
Paramahansa Yogananda


Brought me in from the cold with a whistle.
Yoo-hoo! It’s freezing! Come inside!
That whistle held my brain in a warm cocoon until I was able to hold it on my own. I trudged in a little lopsided and a little frost bitten.
–She was wearing an angel’s face, glowing in the mid-morning light. I tried to touch her cheek and she giggled like a baby, delighted by bubbles or chocolate cake. She dodged my cold hand and I kept it dangling there on the edge of the air she was breathing.
She whistled again, this time a melody I wanted to forget.
It said ‘I’m not for you.’
It said ‘I’ll draw you a bath.’
I blinked by frosted lashes, secretly hoping they’d break off so I could have a better view of her: angel girl in a housecoat made out of fur.
She was eleven, maybe twelve.
I wanted her with every thawing part of me. I knew with her I’d be safe…
She scurried around the quiet kitchen, her eyes smiling at me so I would feel okay enough to follow her.
Anastasia.
That wasn’t her name but it felt right to call her that.
I stood over the counter, my nose hairs coming back to life, dripping on the english muffin she had toasted for me.

“I learned about wet.” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday, January 4, 2012
12:45am
5 minutes
The Good Body
Eve Ensler


I had you in a choke hold and I told you to never let go.
It was weird, I guess, because I was the one holding on to you. But you said it anyway. Yes. You said yes, and I let go, even though it was ironic and we were both out of breath because we had been wrestling for 26 minutes and counting.
I had a feeling that I was going to find you under the sun with an olive pit dancing on your tongue as you told the grass the secrets of your childhood.
Turns out you hate olives, and I’m just too damn poetic for my own good.
Instead I met you with a smile and a half-assed handshake and you countered mine with a stack of french toast and a promise that I was the one for you.
I ate that french toast with a slight cock to my head and a wince in my eye because what the fuck, can anyone really be that amazing?
You had on this little satin bow and you were constantly pulling on it as if it were going to win you the lottery.
Cha Ching.
Is it ironic? I’m what you won, not some midnight escape to fairy land where they serve green cordial and a couple lies to chew on.
I think in that moment I knew I was going to know you. Not only like this, but after we die and after we forget how to use the earth as a highway for misfortune, we’d see one another and smile just like we did on that very first day.
I don’t know why I’m telling you this now.
Maybe in case you forget me, or this, and one day when you need a reason to live you’ll find these words and remember that you almost had it all.

“I learned about wet.” by Sasha at R Squared


Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at R Squared Cafe
4:48pm
5 minutes
The Good Body
Eve Ensler


You what?! You… Let’s remember that there was no point where we ever, EVER, discussed… this. You weren’t supposed to… You just went and… We said, “We’re friends! That’s it!” We both said that… And now you’re… talking all crazy like, like, you sound like… lonely Aunt Leslie! “Ten year plan”? A “safety net”? A “fallback”? That’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard… And there’s no such thing as “meant to be”. It’s a crock of shit they brainwash you with as a kid with Cinderella Snow White Wild Witch of the West fairy tale mishmash and then you spend the rest of your life feeling let down because… it never adds up. It’s insane to think that we could ever… it’s just not gonna happen, James. It’s just… You can’t just say… You can’t just be so… Shit. Now that you’ve said that there’s no going back, you know that right? We laid it down, James! We laid it out. Friends with benefits. Capital ‘F’. Lower case ‘B’. I don’t mean that I haven’t been… enjoying myself… I just… Shit. Love? There’s no “love” in that equation! It was simple. Simple simple simple. Now? Now we’re… Now what?

“the supermarket didn’t sell beer.” by Julia at the Toronto Coffee Co.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at The Toronto Coffee Co.
11:38am
5 minutes
Sex and Death to the Age of 14
Spalding Gray


Found my old ball glove in the garage when I was looking for my dad’s weed stash. He told me never to go in there without shoes, and now I know why: glass and marijuana stems everywhere. I picked up the worn out leather glove and I pounded it, put it on, and laughed. It barely covered my whole hand. I was a kid then, skipped t-ball all together and went straight to windmill pitching. My coach told me to get those steel toe sides so I could drag my foot better for accuracy. I never did. I wore out every pair of cleats I owned.
My dad came to one game in my whole life and he was so high he stood behind the plate ump the entire time, just whistling. Could’ve gone pro…
But probably not.
He once asked me to double ride him on my bike to the corner store to buy cans of beer. I knew there wouldn’t be any beer at the store but I rode him there anyway.
He was standing up, letting the wind flap around in his white undershirt, and calling to the sky like it was his favourite ride.

“the supermarket didn’t sell beer.” by Sasha at the Toronto Coffee Co.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at The Toronto Coffee Co.
11:38am
5 minutes
Sex and Death to the Age of 14
Spalding Gray


We pull over somewhere along Interstate 40. The snow is falling like it’s the end of the world. Tina is hunched over the steering wheel like a grandma. Most cars have pulled over to the shoulder, white cocoons we can barely make out. When we find a turn-off and park in front of a gas station/motel/mini-mart, Tina starts to cry. “I didn’t sign up for this, Kels,” she says. When we were planning our runaway we didn’t foresee arctic weather systems. We saw the open road and Venice Beach. I open the trunk and get out the quilt we packed for sleeping in the car. I wrap Tina in it. I pull my hood tight around my ears and go into the mini-mart. The door chimes. The man behind the counter looks up from his crossword.

“these habits of this entirely senseless life” by Sasha at Capital Espresso


Monday, January 2, 2012 at Capital Espresso
10:17am
5 minutes
Siddhartha
Hermann Hesse


Your bad habits are tattooed on your forearm and it’s almost cool to some people but I can see through it. Your cigarette burns are covered up by dirty Ikea rugs. Your joint butts are tossed into an ashtray beside a framed picture of your mother and guess what she’s doing? Smoking. At least she’s beautiful. Sometimes you remember to put garbage where it belongs (in the trash can I bought you at Honest Ed’s last November). I would applaud you those days. If I could. You’ve got to stop eating Salt and Vinegar Miss Vicky’s until your lips buzz. You’ve got to stop thinking tea involves mushrooms. You’ve got to stop thinking you’re a good singer. You’ve got to stop thinking Liza Minnelli is still alive. You drink the tea and you think you’re dancing with the Buddah, at least that’s what you say, feeling his love handles. You’re dancing with yourself. You say you’re going to make me a nice dinner so I put on a fancy dress. I get there and you’re passed out in front of the TV. It’s gone all fizzy. Your legs are twitching like a dreaming dog. I try to wake you up by blaring the TV fuzz but it’s no use. I’m hungry because you told me to skip lunch, the dinner would be that nice. I make some Kraft Dinner with water, because I don’t trust your milk any more than I trust your butter.

“these habits of this entirely senseless life” by Julia at Capital Espresso


Monday, January 2, 2012 at Capital Espresso
10:17am
5 minutes
Siddhartha
Hermann Hesse


My one regret in life is that I’ll be too sad to recognize how much I’ve lived.
Sad because we all die sometime. Why do we fight death in the first place?
Pump our loved ones full of pills and prescriptions; outfit them in seasonal hospital wear that doesn’t look good on anyone.
And for what?
We keep them in pain because we can’t bear to part with them?
That’s maddening to me.
It’s nature’s way of natural ending.
Nature.
Natural.
How odd. How fitting.
We fight until the suffering goes unnoticed and the trance of chance is amplified.
I’m sorry to you, you know who you are, for my selfishness in trying to keep you in my life.
In my life of soon to be deaths because it’s everywhere and undisputed:
EVERYBODY DIES.
Fight it all you want.
It’s a battle in futility.
I regret how sad I am now because I’ve spent half my life worrying about death.
And not my own; but yours, and yours, and yours.
I’m a lion. I’m not afraid of dying.
I’m afraid of loneliness and heartbreak so I tightrope on a truth that has proven to make us fall.

“The devotion of the mothers to their children” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday, January 1, 2012
10:41pm
5 minutes
Twenty Years at Hull-House
Jane Addams


Devotion is shown in peanut butter sandwiches with the crusts cut off and grape jelly spread right to the sides. It has nothing to do with God. I only know this now. Hindsight is 20/20, Mr. Marshall, my Grade Nine history teacher used to say. When you grow up thinking that God is a man living on a cloud with a Rapunzel beard it’s easy to get confused. When Hail Mary’s are considered forgiveness and Confession is a physical place to go and not just a thing to do with a new boyfriend or at a sleepover party, things can get a bit mixed up. My father’s a priest. Devotion, to him, is only something for this… Rapunzel God. It is inconsequential in regards to family. My mother went to Church every Sunday for the forty-six years that she and my father were married. She dutifully sang the hymns and baked coconut lemon squares for every wedding, funeral and bake sale in town. She closed her eyes at grace and she had a Bible on her bedside table. But last Thursday, when I sat on the end of her hospital bed and rubbed lotion into her calloused feet, she looked at me and said, “I want you to know something. I’ve never believed in God… And that makes all of this a little more complicated.” “All this” meant dying, of course. “But I know devotion,” she said, stroking her white braid, “I was more devoted to you and your sister than any damn man in the sky.”

“The devotion of the mothers to their children” by Julia at her desk


Sunday, January 1, 2012
10:49pm
5 minutes
Twenty Years At Hull-House
Jane Addams


She didn’t want us to see the blood.
I know this now, I didn’t know it then.
She was a mess, curled up in a blanket in my father’s arms, and being slapped awake by her brother’s hands.
Stay up.
Stay up, please.
She had found out the news that morning, cried in the doctor’s office, cried in my father’s chest, then got into the car with wet cheeks and said, “It’s okay. It’s okay”.
When she got home she started a load of laundry and she felt it.
Rush.
Pour.
Fountain.
Faucet.
Rain.
What have you.
She found her way down the carpeted steps and onto the cool tile floor on the landing.
She needed her face on that tile.
To feel the cold on her skin.
To feel like heaven was not just a cloud to float upon.
She slid down the next set of stairs, thump, thump.
Stay up.
Stay up, please.
She dragged herself to the toilet, her face kissing the floor on the way.
Thank you, I love you, You’re good to me.
Her mind was in a faraway place.
Maybe Muskoka.
Maybe Lozzola, the little town she grew up in.
Maybe the hospital where I was born, or my sister before me.
She sat up, holding her head in her hands, and with the colour draining from her face, she left us for a moment.
My father found her there on the floor and he screamed.
Stay up.
Stay up, please.
She was laying in blood.
Her blood.
The baby’s blood.
She didn’t want us to see.