“he lay down and went right to sleep” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday, April 29, 2012
11:24pm
5 minutes
The Paper Bag Princess
Robert Munsch


1. the veins in my hands remind me of my mother, my grandmothers
the river of connectivity between generations I lose count of.
2. he lay down and went right to sleep, not looking up
or over
or out.
he just went down.
3. “your laugh makes me feel like water is boiling inside my heart.”
4. promises made in rooms with more pillows than light
more smoke than air
might not be kept
but feel so so so good.
5. tinkerbell had no clue what she wanted.
6. the way that the shadows dance
when the flame flickers
nightdreams and daymares.
7. never say never?
8. i am building us a boat
out of broken shells
from the all the world’s beaches.
it will take us wherever we want to go.

“You never do that -” by Sasha at Lit on Ronces


Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Lit on Ronces
4:12pm
5 minutes
little tongues
Sasha Singer-Wilson


He tickles my back and tells me he’s sorry. “Sorry for what?” I ask. “For telling you I’d be there and not showing up. That’s terrible.” He digs his nails into my shoulder blade. “Ow!” I say. “You never do that – ” I say. “You like it…” He sounds surprised. I can hear his smile. I’m happy that there are still mysteries in our relationship.

Johnny hates Classic Rock and coffee flavored anything. He was adopted by a big Filipino family after being in foster care for the first three years of his life. Johnny took me to prom. Johnny bought me my first real pearl earrings. Johnny makes oatmeal with chocolate chips for me on Monday mornings. He knows how much I ate them. I hate my job as a clerk at a legal firm where everyone’s heads are so far up their own asses they don’t ever see the light of day. It’s darkness all the time for them.

The morning he left small half-moon nail marks on my back was the morning we made a mistake.

“he lay down and went right to sleep” by Julia at Toronto General Hospital


Sunday, April 29, 2012
3:39pm
5 minutes
The Paper Bag Princess
Robert Munsch


For my Zio…

He wanted to stretch his back out, feel his breath move through his entire body.
Good. In, out. Let it cover your ribs, let it cool your nose.
He was making jokes in the reclining chair, demanding me to bring him those grapes he’d been craving.
Not allowed to have any more grapes. Other food, other supplements.
He leaned forward in the chair as if he were about to spill the world’s most well-kept secret.
We leaned in to him, traditional protocol at best in situations like these.
He beckoned me closer. I complied.
I want the grapes.
Not allowed any more grapes. Oh yeah, there aren’t any left.
In true dad fashion, wouldn’t take no for an answer. He leaned in again, this time:
I’m going to hit you.
Still making us laugh.
He opened his mouth and spit out the grape seed he’d been storing behind his lower teeth at my shoe.
He was aiming for me.
I smiled.
Stubborn man. Knows what he wants.
I reached below his bed and retrieved the hidden Tupperware container of those damn red grapes.
He smirked. He closed his eyes.

“You never do that–” by Julia at Lit on Ronces


Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Lit on Ronces
4:12pm
5 minutes
little tongues
Sasha Singer-Wilson


Aside from always interrupting me and my brilliant epiphanies, you always leave the last tail bit of a shrimp in its shell. I really hate that. I don’t know if you know this, but there are people in this world who don’t get to even eat once a day and you are wasting shrimp bits because you’re too lazy to eat them properly. You also leave the hall light on before bed because you think I don’t notice it from the crack under our bedroom door. But guess what. I notice. And I hate it. I hate a lot of things. So I’m sorry if you have to hear it all now, but you’re the one doing the things I hate. You always cough twice the moment you walk in the door after being at work. My problem is not so much the coughing but the fact that our home brings so much dust to your body that you can’t handle the new environment. This is our home. We live here together. Start acting like it.
What you never do–and I’m telling you, you never do it–is pull my hair when we’re having…you know.
And maybe I should be saying thank you because it’s considerate, but consider this: I want you to! Just pull my fucking hair! That’s the only thing I actually even want!

“I wanted to be like these men.” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday, April 27, 2012 at Starbucks
5:05pm
5 minutes
Real Work
Joseph Bathanti


I caught my brother staring at his biceps in the mirror. Correction: staring at the biceps he doesn’t have in the mirror. He’s 14, big whoop, and he has recently just discovered the joys of internet porn. I’m sure he actually found out about it much earlier and I only know about it now because it’s none of my damn business. He wants to look like one of those douchey muscle-bound porn stars. I told him he shouldn’t hold his breath because no one actually looks like that AND has a personality. The women, I told him once, are not even real, so don’t hold your breath for that either.
He told me to shut up and stop trying to “brainwash him with feminism”. Oh yeah, my brother just discovered that feminism is a thing, and to him, it’s a problem, because he’s 14 and thinks that everything is a problem.
The next time I saw my brother that day he was doing arm curls with two cans of tomato paste. He seriously thought that was enough to make him look like those dudes he’s been watching (for years). I think it’s nice to have dreams. I mean, when I was 14, I’m pretty sure the only thing I wanted was to be Taylor Hanson’s girlfriend because I thought about how cool it would be for us to share clothes and hair products. I also used to dream that Jonathan Taylor Thomas would become a thing again…

“I wanted to be like these men.” by Sasha at Bulldog


Friday, April 27, 2012 at Bulldog
2:20pm
5 minutes
Real Work
Joseph Bathanti


Gem was the kinda guy who wore the same brown corduroy pants six out of seven days a week. He changed his shirt but didn’t see the need to change his pants. Pants didn’t get dirty unless you spilled and Gem was not the kinda guy to spill. He wore pinstripe dress pants on special occasions. Maybe on a Saturday night when he was going to the Feather for a pint and a try at karaoke. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Gem’s got a painting on his wall that he found at a garage sale the summer of ’95. That was the summer of Donna. But he doesn’t want to get into that. The painting is of a beach, most likely in Hawaii, Gem thinks, and there’s a big shell in the foreground. Sometimes Gem thinks about what it would feel like to crawl into that shell and dream for a while.

“If you are rich and full-fed” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, April 26, 2012
1:19am
5 minutes
A Song About A Donkey
Rumi


Forgot about the smell of the burning toast or “And I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll burn your house down!” I am not talking about that kind of burning. I’m talking about the slow burn of coals at the end of a night around the fire, glowing embers and sparks flying off sporadically and landing at the feet of an unsuspecting child. Those little things look like firefly fairies.

I’m less concerned about “where” and “when” than I am with “how”. “How” is more of a philosophical question and less about the insignificant details. I try not to focus on minutia.

If you are rich (figuratively speaking) and fed full of the right things, the things that make bones strong and hearts beat in rhythm with others and not in opposition, the burning starts young. The “how” question swims around from the age of nine or ten and continues until there is a compulsion to act. That is what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the “I have no other choice but to do the right thing”.

“If you are rich and full-fed” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, April 26, 2012
11:50-pm
5 minutes
A Song About A Donkey
Rumi


I’m sitting on the subway, minding my own business, eating my first meal of the day. I’ll just quickly state that it is 11:06pm and I am effing starving. I hate that term: starving. I hate that I am no where close to starving as there is at any given moment a McDonald’s or a 7 eleven within thirty paces of me. I hate that it describes a true hunger that none of the well-fed, financially secure, and abundantly under-satisfied people actually even know about.
Anyway, this woman, who is just as fortunate as I am, sitting beside me with her perfect ringlet curls pulled back with 4 yellow flower hair ties, sideways glances at me. She looks me up and down, and back to her friends with equally excessive clips and ribbons in their hair, and then back over at me. THEN, she looks down at my pulled pork sandwich and says, “I don’t agree with your food consumption choices.” And right back at her I say, “Well I don’t agree with your Mennonite hair style choices.” Ok, it’s true, I judge people’s personalities by the kind of accessories they put in their hair and the types of shoes they have on.
What? Not everybody is made to be friends with everybody else. This is the “sieve process”. It separates the useful from the useless because there’s just not enough energy in the world to be nice to everyone. Fact. And besides, when new people you meet don’t like you, it’s just the universe’s way of saying that you have too many friends already.

“I didn’t ask.” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, April 25, 2012
12:13am
5 minutes
An Infinite Ache
David Schulner


Make the stars dance
Make flowers fall from eyes that see unborn generations
Looking down at the ground
Counting ants like butterflies
Counting memories on a palindrome of God
Tracing roadmaps on stretch-marks
Scaling birth and death
North is here
South is future
Daisy chains and bottles of wine
Make the stars dance
I didn’t ask why
I don’t care why
I want Spring
Dark
Dance
Black
Shake

“I didn’t ask.” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday, April 25, 2012
6:13pm
5 minutes
Infinite Ache
David Schulner


I wasn’t asking, I was telling you. You’re not sleeping in here tonight. I didn’t make the couch bed for you, I didn’t even check to make sure there were clean sheets in the pink bin underneath our TV. All I did was decide, and now I’m telling you my decision. You+the couch= True Love Forever.
I don’t care that your back hurts when you sleep on it. I don’t care that you’re too tall to sleep comfortably on it.
That’s why you’re going there. So you can feel uncomfortable all night and not sleep and just think about me, because that’s what I did yesterday when you made it your mission to be a complete dick to me.
Mission accomplished.
Couches are punishment. They are reminders that you fucked up, so find a somewhat comfortable blanket from the living room because I am not giving you either of the two duvets, be a man, and just fucking deal with it.
You do not bro-over-hoe me and expect to have your back rubbed when you get home.
You do not get to tell your friends what I say because you think it’s funny when it’s out of context because THEY FUCKING KNOW ME.
You do not get to hit on another girl when I’m right beside you because you think your friends will think you’re cooler.
What you get to do, is make me a fucking sandwich with extra mayo, find my favourite song, and learn it on your acoustic guitar so you can serenade me with it when I forgive you.

“Real-life heroes” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday, April 24, 2012
5:41pm
5 minutes
Front Page of Toronto Metro, April 24 edition
Peter Tangen


I was eating squash soup that my Mom had made and put in the freezer. I was sitting at the kitchen table and had an old Walrus magazine open in front of me. I wasn’t reading, really, I just liked having it there, keeping me company. It was late. Maybe nine thirty. I had just gotten home from the hospital after a sixteen hour shift. My feet ached in that way that only other nurses know. I had them up on the chair beside me. I was wearing one of Jeff’s old University sweatshirts and a pair of short shorts that I’ve slept in since high school. The doorbell rang. My heart dropped. No one stops by at this time, not in St. Catherine’s anyway. I went to the door and before opening it took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I prayed for the fist time since Jeff was deployed. Please God. Don’t let it be… I opened the door. Two men in uniform were on my front steps. “Deb?” The taller one said, “I am Staff Sargent Robbie Dempsey and this is Sargent Paul Walters. Can we please come in?”

“Real-life heroes” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
3:00pm
5 minutes
Front Page of Toronto Metro, April 24 edition
Peter Tangen


Wanna know a secret about me? I can predict the future. I’ve done it a couple of times by accident, but every time it was perfectly accurate. Isn’t that wild?
I know you probably don’t believe me the way you don’t believe in magic, but I’m telling you, I’m good at this.
I see things in my dreams and the stuff that’s in colour always comes true. Once I dreamed that my sister’s boyfriend was going to be sent to fight in Iraq. I swear to you, two weeks later: drafted.
I told her about this not to worry her but so she could spend time with him and say her goodbyes properly. I got it from my mother. She once dreamed her father was an angel and he died a month later. I think that’s pretty indisputable.
I can’t tell my own future, though! It’s the only downside. But I don’t think I want to know anything about tomorrow anyway. For others it’s liberating. For me it would make me lazy. I’ve never been a huge advocate for change. This way, if I don’t see it coming, it might just feel gradual enough to ignore because it doesn’t mean anything.
Pisces are clairvoyant, you know. I have a good feeling about this entire year even! But I still know which bad things are going to happen.

“She’s like a fish” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Monday, April 23, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
3:06pm
5 minutes
Alzheimer’s
Bob Hicok


So what If I did fail Orange in swimming because I couldn’t keep my head above the water? I was freaking curious, maybe. I wanted to see what was underneath me or what my feet looked like.
In yellow, the year before, my swim instructor said I was like a fish and she made a postcard with a cartoon drawing of a fish on the top of it. I could have been something great.
But the truth is, it’s freaking scary to let a stranger guide you through water. I didn’t trust Janine but no one listened to me. The other kids were all just a bunch of idiots as far as I’m concerned.

I just enrolled in adult lessons. I had to buy a one-piece, which I resent because I look like a moron. I was hoping no one I knew would be in my class because they’d be so smug and try to lie about how they’re just “brushing up on the basics.” I could say that too except it would look a lot like I have amnesia and just don’t even remember what the basics are.

Marco Polo gives me anxiety attacks. I swear to god I always feign injury or hypoglycemia to avoid playing. It’s so far the best one—to pretend as if you need to eat every half hour so you don’t faint, and then, whoops! Now you have to wait half an hour before you can go back in. Because of cramps!

“She’s like a fish” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Queen West


Monday, April 23, 2012 at Dark Horse on Queen West
4:53pm
5 minutes
Alzheimer’s
Bob Hicok


Kelly makes faces at Bernadette through the rear window of the taxi. It’s only in this moment, pulling out of the long gravel driveway that Kelly realizes she might not see Bernadette ever again. After all that. It’s almost like a joke that the Universe is quietly chuckling at. Whenever Kelly pictures the Universe, she sees a Milky Way galaxy sitting in a birch bark rocking chair, rocking back and forth very slowly. She wonders why it hadn’t struck her before, why up until this moment she thought leaving would be as easy as a spelling bee. Few people know that Kelly is an incredible speller. She competed regionally and then provincially up until High School when her brother Kevin took it upon himself to repeatedly remind her that being a champion speller is unbelievably uncool. From then on it was a secret. Do you have a secret like that? Not an achingly corrosive kind of secret but the kind of secret that you mostly forget about but when you remember that it lives somewhere inside of you your heart feels a bit like it’s falling inwards towards your belly button? Bernadette looks smaller and smaller but Kelly keeps her eyes on her until they turn left onto Provision St. All of a sudden Kelly is boiling hot. She strips off her jacket and sweater. She’s still sweating. She takes off her T-shirt. She’s glad she wore a nice lacy bra today.

“Suppose an intrepid astronaut is on the surface” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday, April 22, 2012
8:51pm
5 minutes
A Briefer History Of Time
Stephen Hawking


Reaching towards the universe with outstretched arms and two quarters in my pocket
Fifty cents of hope
Sliding down the glaciers of unwanted
Burns of name-calls and scabs of betrayal and razor sharp edges of a glimpse caught too soon
I am reaching towards the universe and the light might be blinding but when I squint
When I squint just right
I see tip-toeing astronaut explorers
Intent on making a new claim to fame
Shaping future like silly-putty
Throwing it at Mars to see if it bounces back
A boomerang smile
Light refracts goodness
Refracts truces and victories and sabotages
A timid toe dips into water that won’t ever freeze
Still
Like a photograph of a great great great grandmother
Familiar and foreign both together
Still
Like now
I still sit at a table that’s borrowed shaping stories snatched from a universe
Bursting at the seams

“Suppose an intrepid astronaut is on the surface” by Julia at her desk


Sunday, April 22, 2012
8:27pm
5 minutes
A Briefer History Of Time
Stephen Hawking


A kindness is a kindness isn’t
a dreaming is a dreaming isn’t
a flower rises, falls, rises again
there is an answer but it doesn’t live here
it lives on the moon
it lives in the book you burned
it lives in the back pocket of the jeans you threw away
a kindness is a kindness isn’t
a dreaming is a dreaming isn’t
a peace rises, falls, rises again
there is a question but it doesn’t know how to be asked
it lives in a heart ache
it lives in the space ship on a mission to mars
it lives in the cherry blossoms warning us about summer
a kindness is a kindness isn’t
a dreaming is a dreaming isn’t
a hope rises, falls, rises again
there is a purpose but it doesn’t exist in real life
it lives in a fantasy sung by God
it lives in a basket of fairy dust and green cordial
it lives in the corner drawer of a hero’s desk
a kindness is a kindness isn’t
a kindness is a kindness isn’t
a kindness is
a kindness

“Some people don’t remember that” by Julia at Lit on Ronces


Saturday, April 21, 2012 at Lit on Ronces
2:09pm
5 minutes
Love Is
Nikki Giovanni


Oranges remind me of my cousin, Linda. Not because she eats them in excess, or bakes orange-based snacks. She doesn’t even smell like an orange. She just feels like the type that would be an orange if we were playing that game.
For example, I’m definitely a kiwi. It takes work to get past the brown shit but it’s so delightful when you arrive at my fruit. Plus you can eat me with a spoon…
I’m just kidding.
My boyfriend Ollie? He’s without a doubt a pear. Not shaped like one, thank God, or even remotely coloured like one, thank God, but he’s got this granular sweetness that not everyone appreciates. Oh, and he has to be perfectly ripe because one wrong bruise and it’s over, he’s not good anymore.
My aunt Natalie is probably a papaya. Mainly because she likes to wear really floppy hats and has her nails permanently painted bubble gum pink like a teenager or a crazy person.
My dad is easy. He’s a fig. You can eat the whole thing without peeling it and if you wait long enough, he’s still good with age–just a little tougher and a little less messy. He’s the only one that actually is the fruit that he is because he loves the fruit that he is.

“Some people don’t remember that” by Sasha at Lit on Ronces


Saturday, April 21, 2012 at Lit on Ronces
2:09pm
5 minutes
Love Is
Nikki Giovanni


Come back, Elvis, please come back! Some people don’t remember that before you were famous you were honest and when you were honest you really knew how to sing. True voice. Real songs. Come backKKKKK! ELVIS! I want to see those brother hip thrusts and I’m trying to send you a message and I don’t want to hear that bullshit about you being gone. You aren’t gone baby Elvis. I answer the rotary phone on my bedside table and every time I think that you’ll be on the other end singing me some song about your grocery list and how you takes his coffee. Stone Wheat Thin crackers and green seedless grapes. Cream and sugar. Never a love song or anything. This isn’t about that. I’m not a fag. Come back ELVIS! Went down to Graceland and saw the shape of the clouds there and knew you were telling me a story like you always do. Little boys playing tag in the forest and it’s getting dark. It’s the dreams that have gotta stop, though, Elvis. The dreams about the hair and the touching and the ingrown toenails. Leave my sleep to Betty and Veronica! I prefer those dreams, okay? I prefer those dreams, Elvis.

“I used to be a bartender.” by Julia at her desk


Friday, April 20, 2012
12:28am
5 minutes
One Night Stand
Carol Bolt


I waited for you to wake up as if it were just one bad dream we were all collectively having.
You didn’t.
It was scary.
I spoke to you without moving my lips. I made a joke about how you looked good like this, all attached to cords, sprouting tubes like a tree root.
I said something like, Hi, I’m here, I’m sorry, and I’m here. I didn’t say I love you. I didn’t think that would be fair.
Although I do.
I think about you when you’re not around.
I don’t know if that directly correlates with feelings of love, but I used to be a bartender so I think my perspective is a little skewed.
I thought you would smile and say something like, Hi, It’s nice to see you, I’ve been expecting you, I’m sorry, and I’m doing just fine. You wouldn’t say I love you. You wouldn’t think that would be fair either.
I watched as you breathed as if it were the most magnetic and beautiful thing that has ever happened on this earth.
Your song filtered in through my legs and up to my ears so I was dancing with you.
I thought about touching your skin, then I stopped thinking about anything at all.
I just watched you.
And I waited for you to wake up.
You were asleep.
You were far away.
You wouldn’t even know I was there.
You wouldn’t even know what my name was.

“I used to be a bartender.” by Sasha at Lit on College


Friday, April 20, 2012 at Lit on College
12:43pm
5 minutes
One Night Stand
Carol Bolt


Charlie and I met because he was trying to sell his bike on Craigslist. I refused the bike but accepted his dinner invitation. We went out for Ethiopian food because he had the audacity to call himself “well-cultured” without ever having participated in the coffee and the incense and the injera bread. He rode me double on the back of his bike, my legs stretched out and my arms gripped around his middle. During the ride, I tucked my left pointer finger inside his belly button. I couldn’t hear him laugh but I could feel it, a rumbling through my hands. Charlie smelled like clean laundry, somewhat of a miracle given that he was male and under thirty. Don’t lecture me on reverse sexism. I used to be a bartender. I understand the sexes better than anyone. When we got to the restaurant Charlie took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Until now I hadn’t even noticed that he wore thick, horn-rimmed antique-type spectacles. I also hadn’t noticed that he had a small goatee, small because he was blond not because he was a pin-head. I had an insatiable urge in nuzzle into his armpit and tell him about how I used to wet the bed.

“I joined the peoples army” by Sasha at Hibiscus Cafe


Thursday, April 19, 2012 at Hibiscus Cafe
11:52am
5 minutes
At Ease
Paul Beatty


You came in like a sandstorm and you left like a dream.

Let’s compare notes for a quick second and see if the stories add up. Sixteen months minus three awful weeks is still sixteen months. We don’t need to talk about the three awful weeks because relationships are like children and there’s a point in every childhood that turns awkward and gangly and oily faced.

When you got here I was still sucking pieces of my hair and wearing Nirvana T-shirts. I didn’t know about the Pill or rolling your own cigarettes. When you got here I walked with my head down, counting the scuff marks on my boots and feeling sorry for myself.

Your favorite word was “I”.

Sixteen months of me are you. That’s a long time, if you think about every minutes feeling like an hour and every hour feeling like a day. I wasn’t on Prozac yet, okay. That’s a long time.

The dream of you leaving ends with me sweaty and drunk and whispering your name over and over to anyone that might listen. Few did. Few do.

“I joined this peoples army” by Julia at Baldwin Coin Laundromat


Thursday, April 19, 2012
2:24pm
5 minutes
At Ease
Paul Beatty


I didn’t know what it stood for but picking at the initials carved in the weeping willow outside my house seemed like a good idea. Maybe I could find out what J.R. 2024 meant just by fingering the carefully marked J and the R. Slowly I ran my fingers across it, digging deep in my brain for a rescue method of some sort. Problem solving 101, like those days where employers used to make us all hold a rope without letting go and form a perfect star…

I desperately wanted to be in on the joke between J and R and 2024, or between the weeping willow that I named Nina when I was six.

My parents left me this house for god knows what reason. I’m hardly responsible or established enough to take care of it. My sister would have been the obvious choice. She already has investments. She already knows how to have other duties.
Sometimes I like to think my parents knew how fondly I thought of this place. How many memories I had accumulated over the years: running around with a princess crown in the yard, tying to seduce rabbits with a little fairy dust and a smile.

“and then they both understood they were similar” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday, April 18, 2012
12:38am
5 minutes
Martin Scorsese: A Journey
Mary Pat Kelly


They were standing on the dock.
It was mid August, July, or June.
Nobody knows, nobody cares.
They tucked their letters in their pockets and they waited for the day to cry.
The setting sun was something they feared, hated, or longed for.
Nobody knows, nobody cares.
They held hands.
Boy.
Girl.
Waiting.
They drew pictures in the sky with their breath.
Not cold enough to see, but they were breathing.
It’s almost impossible that they weren’t.
They asked imaginary questions to the ocean.
The ocean laughed, sighed, or yelled.
Nobody knows, nobody cares.
They connected the dots of impermanence on the backs of each others’ neck.
Here is where tomorrow ends.
Here is where tomorrow stops.
They wanted to read their thoughts out loud.
The moon was getting anxious and the sun was taking his time.
The clock of perfection was in full tick.
The able bodied master of yesterday’s mistake was on the horizon.
Not the sun.
The sun was busy dancing with a passion-hungry ghost.
Some call her the devil.
We call her Lydia.

“and then they both understood they were similar” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, April 18, 2012
10:50pm
5 minutes
Martin Scorsese: A Journey
Mary Pat Kelly


We stood side by side waiting for the subway at Dufferin. He was wearing an oversized grey hoodie and combat boots. He had three tear drops tattooed on his cheek and a KFC bag in his hand. “Do you have the time?” He asked. I took out my earphone and grumpily raised my eyebrows. “What time is it?” He asked. I dug my cellphone out of my pocket. “Ten to three,” I said, putting my earphone back in where it belonged. He must want a listener or a phone number or a loonie. Gosh, when did I become a judgemental bitch. He… He was still talking. I looked over. He smiled, quickly, like a shooting star. I took the earphone out. “I’m going to write my last exam,” he said. “I don’t want to be late.” “Oh,” I responded, wondering if anyone was noticing this and if they would keep noticing and save me if I needed it. When did I become so afraid? “I’m studying…” He said. “I gathered,” I said, more warmth in my voice. “Went back and got my high school stuff finished up last year…” “Congrats…” I paused. “That’s an accomplishment…” Did it sound like I was patronizing him? “Good for you…” the train was pulling into the station. “What?!” He shouted. “GOOD FOR YOU!” I yelled.

“imperfectly misunderstood” by Sasha at Future Bakery


Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at Future Bakery
2:41pm
5 minutes
Marriage Song
Tony Hoagland


Sitting in the future
Twiddling my thumbs with coffee steaming secrets
Counting my blessings on fingers, toes and eyelashes
Laughing exhaustion out of this house
Watching her run with her sleep-tail between her legs
Towards the daytime crescent moon.
Sitting in the now
Feet in winter boots
Spring on my lips like a first kiss
I see a man across the cafe
Reminds me of a man who I knew in another life
This place is full of them
Perfect in their imperfection
Misunderstood only because we all are at one point or another
Young and grabbing belt loops like jungle vines
Defiance out and in
Spinning ignorance into opinion
The alchemy of youth.

“imperfectly misunderstood” by Julia at Valen’s


Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at Valen’s
3:46pm
5 minutes
Marriage Song
Tony Hoagland


James kept his coat on because he was cold, or so he said. I think it’s because he was trying to distance himself from me; avoid intimacy or truth telling of any kind. I said this to him with half a hot dog in my mouth so I don’t think I really got through to him. Hot dogs take the seriousness out of everything. BECAUSE THEY’RE JOKE FOOD. Nobody loves hot dogs. They’re a food of convenience, of economy, of stupidity, of joking, of anti-seriousness. I only had one because James wanted one and I thought that would somehow help us bond (the way cigarettes do, or a lit joint passed in a circle). He shifted in his swing and I knew he felt like a pedophile in a park like this at midnight with a girl my age.
“I’m eighteen!” I blurted out, shooting bits of hot dog bun at him. He looked very confused, and rightly so. I hadn’t exactly shared all of my lead-up thoughts before concluding that he felt creepy. Nope, that was imposed upon him by my paranoia and eagerness to self-identify.
He grabbed my hand and began to pick beneath my fingernails. I didn’t want to tell him I hated it out of fear he would stop touching me.

“In the middle of the lake, I stopped again.” by Julia at Balzac’s


Monday, April 16, 2012 at Balzac’s
5:58pm
5 minutes
Wild Mind
Natalie Goldberg


I was counting my steps on the way to the middle. The water was cool and warm at the same time and I had to fight myself to stay above it.
Inviting, calm, and oh so elusive. It made me feel like I was more patient than I am; more interesting; more beautiful…
And yet, I could only go so far.

I was at 136 when I saw a dead baby bird floating around me. It was so small I thought it was a tiny branch. Instinctually I bent over to scoop him up in my pruning fingers, but the wind blew so ferociously that it must have washed the poor little guy away before I could see where he went.

I was dying from the calm. Who would have thought that there, in that lake, I would be both as peaceful as I was the day after Orin was born, and burdened by this feeling of too good to be true.

“In the middle of the lake, I stopped again.” by Sasha at Loft 404


Monday, April 16, 2012 at Loft 404
3:07pm
5 minutes
Wild Mind
Natalie Goldberg


I’m swimming across Lake Superior and all I can think about is you, and how you’re on land, and how you spoke to me that morning before I jumped in. Ontario to Minnesota via lake water with only my arms and my legs as propellers. It was not something you’d thought about before and you laughed in my face when I told you I was going to do it. When I bought a black Speedo one piece and seventy dollar swimming goggles you finally believed that it really was going to happen. On the drive to Wawa from my apartment on Jones Ave. you couldn’t stop talking. I listened as you ran your mouth about your aunt’s angina and the best place to get a falafel in New Jersey. I turned up the radio at one point but you didn’t get the hint and just talked louder. When we got to Wawa you finally stopped, only when you had a straw in your mouth stuck in a blue Slushie from 7 Eleven. You said they reminded you of your childhood. I didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I changed into my bathing suit in a port-a-potty and heard your talking on your cell phone outside. “She’s really doing it,” you said, and laughed, but not happily.

“Of course, all work involves thinking” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday, April 15, 2012
2:06 am
5 minutes
The Empty Space
Peter Brook


I’m looking for a short shift scratch-n-score hazy shady lazy hit
I’m jonesing for an easy way out quick fix cash grab perfect fit
I’m smelling out a tabloid snap debit or credit take me to the sky
I’m craving fast I’m craving big I’m craving platinum I’m craving high
I don’t wanna think I just wanna soar
I don’t wanna blink I just want more
I don’t wanna think I just wanna soar
I don’t wanna blink I just want more
I’m hoping for a dime-a-dozen race car giveaway Oprah Winfrey million dollars
I’m wearing sky high heels skin tight dress my man’s got a purple tie and a popped collar
I’m ready for the top of the charts billboard light Times Square knows the feel
I’ve got my lipstick tucked in my cleavage and baby YES these are real
I don’t wanna think I just wanna soar
I don’t wanna blink I just want more
I don’t wanna think I just wanna soar
I don’t wanna blink I just want more

“Of course, all work involves thinking” by Julia on the 511 north


Sunday, April 15, 2012
11:46pm
5 minutes
The Empty Space
Peter Brook


Sheila, for all intents and purposes, is a workaholic. She’s addicted to long hours, pantyhose, and not having a social life. She packs a lunch for herself every day and three out of five meals involve tuna. She works so she can buy tuna without regrets. She works so she can forget that there are things in her real life that matter.
On Sheila’s first day at this job, she was promoted. Sheila works hard and she plays hardly. Sheila hates puns but can’t help but realize that she’s an easy target.
This addiction started as a little girl when her grandmother spanked her for not making her bed perfectly enough. Yes: Sheila is afraid of spankings; of punishments; of being yelled at.
She makes mistakes seldom, and she drinks alone when she’s at home for that whole one hour before bed. Sheila thinks about TPing her boss’s house and what fun that would be. She thinks about eating candies during meetings and acting like she doesn’t realize how loud the sound of her wrappers are. She does these two things: she works, and she thinks.

“their own soda pop by Sasha at Lit on Ronces


Saturday, April 14, 2012 at Lit on Ronces
11:44am
5 minutes
Food and Drink Section in Now Magazine
Steven Davey


Summer was coming in like a mudslide, suddenly we were all sweaty and wearing too few clothes. He made smoothies with ice and pushed the glass up against his cheek repeatedly while drinking. He counted the money in his wallet. $38. He took out the picture of he and James, sitting on the dock, holding up fishing rods. The edges of the photograph are tattered now. He folded his socks, one by one, and thought about when James got a fiddle for his birthday. James practised every evening before bed, while he and Dad put tissues in their ears. Whenever he scowled or whined, Dad said, “Just give him time.” They made their own soda pop at the Lake the summer that they all took up fishing, and in put in real strawberry jam, apricot puree and bits of ginger.

“Their own soda pop,” by Julia at Lit on Ronces


Saturday, April 14, 2012 at Lit on Ronces
11:44am
5 minutes
Food and Drink Section in Now Magazine
Steven Davey


Saved a whole dollar today for a soda pop. No this isn’t a throwback to the 50s, 60s, or whenever soda pop still cost a dollar or whenever people still drank soda pop.
It’s modern day, I’m wearing jeans and combat boots, and I’m actually not a black and white TV show. I found a place. It’s hidden in this quaint little pocket of the city and I’m not going to tell you where exactly it is because right now it’s mine and right now I enjoy my privacy.
It’s a dollar for a soda pop and they’re delicious. Like a sweet snack that costs me more calorically than a happy hour martini would. But, damn, I’m telling you, you get at least 5 years added back on to your life when you taste one. I went there the first time by accident because I was following a duck tha—never mind; its not important…
It led me there and then I thought it was fate so I was obligated to go in. I sat at the red counter with the red stools and I ordered one. I sipped it with a straw and liked very much this version of me with an internal side-ponytail and pastel socks.
Soda pop.
It sounded so romantic.

“My love is as a fever, longing still” by Sasha in a taxi on the way home


Friday, April 13, 2012
1:26am
5 minutes
Sonnet 147
William Shakespeare


My love is as a fever, longing still
Longing morning and midnight
Longing hazy afternoon and right now
My love is as a fever, burning slow.
My love is as an ocean, rolling in
Rolling towards futures and moonclouds
Rolling the width of your body
And back again and again and agian.
My love is as a maple, reaching high
Measuring years in rings
On fingers and branches
My love is as a maple giving sap
You simmer and boil til syrup drips.
My love is as a heartbeat, constant and steady
Beating secrets and whispers and closed eyes dreamfire.

“My love is as a fever, longing still” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday, April 13, 2012 at Starbucks
11:57am
5 minutes
Sonnet 147
William Shakespeare


Get this fucking dog out of here, JJ! I’m going to flip my shit if this fluff ball licks my blistered ankles one more time! I swear to God it was your idea to get a pet and since I thought that sounded a lot like “I want to be co-responsible of something with you” AKA “I want to marry you” AKA “I want to go halfsies on an offspring with you” I was hesitant to agree. But then you did that thing where you washed all the dishes in the sink and scrubbed the toilet bowl so I wouldn’t have to, and basically entrapped me into saying yes, so I did. I’m all covered in slobber, JJ! You said he would be cute and not smell bad. Wrong. Wrong, wrong! All I ever wanted was to share an apartment with you and maybe get a potted plant for the kitchen! Why do I get bulldozed because you’re good at manipulating me?! I don’t want to be your wife yet. I’m not READY! God! At work the guys keep saying there’s no difference between “just living together” and “being a married couple” because we have a fucking joint bank account! And I’m SORRY! I know that was my idea. I must have been having delusions of grandeur or if not that then just a fucking fever when I suggested it. All I wanted was a potted plant and fucking points on our Mastercard to get free groceries with you!

“Remember, Leo” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday, April 12, 2012
10:01am
5 minutes
The Sack of Rome
Mercy Otis Warren


I discovered that I was HIV positive the summer of 1978. My friend Charles took me home, up the seven flights of stairs to my Brooklyn apartment, put the kettle on and made me a hot toddy. “Remember, Leo,” he said, “you can get through this.”

I immediately dumped my pretend girlfriend, telling her to get tested and that I was sorry. Her soft whimpers echoed over the phone. We hadn’t had sex in months, not since I’d been with Carlos, but still.

I quit my job at the coffee shop. I sold most of my belongings, keeping a small stack of books, a duffle bag of clothes and assorted items that my mother would have cursed me for discarding. I bought a two door, white, used Toyota and drove to California. Before I left New York Charles gave me a mixed tape for the drive. “Remember, Leo,” his blue eyes filled with tears, “it’s going to be okay.”

“Remember, Leo” by Julia at T.A.N on Baldwin


Thursday, April 12, 2012 at T.A.N on Baldwin
2:25pm
5 minutes
The Sack of Rome
Mercy Otis Warren


I was over-baking in the sun when he found me there. I used mom’s olive oil and her spatula and I slathered it on myself like a willing piece of veal. I wanted crisp and dark skin and I wanted roof top rays without a bathing suit line.
Leo, he found me there (sizzling no doubt) and poured his whole bottle of water on my head.
I gasped like I was drowning and I frantically flicked the water at him as if it were hydrochloric acid.
“Leo! What are you doing up here!” I shouted but he was laughing like he always did. He just shook his head, and plopped himself in the lawn chair beside my towel. He pulled a Chatelaine magazine from under his bulging thigh and flipped through it aimlessly.
“Look at you, you’re like a strip of bacon.”
“Look at YOU,” I snarled, “You’ve gained more weight this month than you have since birth!”

“It’s the meds,” he said quietly.
“I know, Leo,” I told him, softening…

Except I didn’t actually know.

“Spontaneous strikes occurred in cities” by Sasha at Fresh on Spadina


Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at Fresh on Spadina
11:56am
5 minutes
Discovering the American Past
William Wheeler and Susan Becker


My grandmother talks about when they used to have currency. Paper in different colours that they used as a marker of their wealth. My sisters laugh. “What colours?” They ask. My grandmother doesn’t wear glasses or have long white hair. She tells us that meat used to cost less than five dollars and that there were shops where you could buy everything you need. She doesn’t completely remember these “Superstores”. She was a little girl then. She gestures with her hands a lot and laughs, remembering the cars that her father had. Machines on the ground, speeeding here and there. Imagine! Running on gasoline. I can’t believe that my grandmother was alive when there was still gasoline. My sisters get tired and go to bed but I stay up and listen. She can’t have much time left, my father keeps saying. I’ve never heard her speak of… I know that she’s getting closer to talking about the Famine and the Flood. Spontaneous strikes around the city. Wars between neighbourhoods. People burning stores and smashing windows. Ransacking the government buildings.

“Spontaneous strikes occurred in cities” by Julia at The Village by the Grange Food Court


Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at The Village by the Grange Food Court
5:00pm
5 minutes
Discovering the American Past
William Wheeler and Susan Becker


Start by telling me your name and what you were doing on Sunday morning. I don’t want details about your waffles or your bowel movements. Just tell me why I should ever trust you again after what you did. This whole thing feels like a joke to me. And I will not be the one to say anything until you do because you and I both know that you and I are not good right now because of what you did and because of what you think I don’t but do, in fact, know.
I’m not going to give you any hints or tell you how I came to this bright little nugget of knowledge so you can just save your deflections for your next girlfriend. I’m sure she’ll really appreciate them.
God. I am talking to myself and you’re pretending you didn’t do anything wrong, which YOU DID DO, and this is incredibly frustrating. Incredibly.
Fine, you know what? If you don’t speak, I won’t speak. Consider this your warning. As soon as I’m done explaining myself, I will be going on strike. STRIKE! On this relationship! Which means if you cross the picket line, you WILL be heckled and I WILL throw stones at you.

“I also know bees” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday, April 10, 2012
4:27pm
5 minutes
Venus’s Flytrap
Yusef Komunyakaa


You waited at the foot of the stairs for me. I told you I’d just be one minute longer, and I called down to you and the daisies you were holding. I think they were meant to be a surprise but I caught a glimpse of them when I peaked down at you after you arrived. You looked very handsome. Your hair was cut the perfect length and your shoes were very smart looking. I wanted to run down immediately and kiss you all over but I was scared. Scared that my dress wasn’t right, my hair was off, or the blood dripping from my arm would confuse you. There weren’t enough bandages in the bathroom cupboard so I wrapped toilet paper around the vein over and over again because it kept soaking through. I fell to the ground at one point, not quite sure how I found my way there, but the mirror was blurry and I couldn’t see straight. The razor bounced off the tile and was speckled with red. Where were those band-aids with the little bees on them? I could have sworn I had them in there somewhere. I used to use them all the time as a girl. They were my favourite.
I didn’t know they would mean anything now.
I pictured you sitting there, fixing your tie and fussing with your hair. I told you, it was perfect. I’m sorry I didn’t get to tell you myself that I thought you looked beautiful.

“I also know bees” by Sasha at R Squared Cafe


Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at R Squared Cafe
3:34
5 minutes
Venus’s Flytrap
Yusef Komunyakaa


I’ll tell you why I wear black. It starts with that fact that I know the names of all the different kinds of creepy crawlies and praying mantis and I know that there are over seven hundred kinds of butterflies. I have to memorize them because in ten, maybe even five years, they will no longer exist. Did you know that before a caterpillar becomes a butterfly and they are completely engulfed in their chrysalis they basically turn to water? Before they can become whole and beautiful and have colourful wings, they go to mush. Like cake batter. I also know about bees. My cousin Felix is deathly allergic to bee stings so he has to carry this giant needle around at all times. He wears it velcro-ed around his leg sometimes. Very lame but if a bee stings him he will one hundred percent die. Can you even imagine? Not so lame anymore. Such a tiny little fuzzy thing. DEAD. I know that bees are going extinct because we all drive cars and there are Africa sized holes in the ozone. This is also effecting polar bears. Over two hundred species go extinct EVERY DAY. Sometimes I think about how we’re supposed to go to birthday parties and be excited about the baseball season starting. SPECIES are disappearing at such an unimaginably fast rate. It’s actually impossible for most people to even comprehend. But I can. And I do. And that is why I choose to wear black. I am in mourning for the world. I am in mourning for the children that I shouldn’t have but probably will because my inherent need to procreate will overwhelm my sense of logic.

“One thing you should never do” by Sasha at Gayley’s Cafe


Monday, April 9, 2012 at Gayley’s Cafe
5 minutes
11:43am
Ask Allison Section
Exclaim! April 2012


My Neighbourhood on Easter Monday
1. The bus woke me up this morning, revving it’s engine. Every day this bus becomes increasingly enamoured by it’s own speed and size, much like the track-suited Hungarian men who walk past me in packs on my way to the grocery store.
2. The tall, young, dark-haired and tattooed Portuguese man at the laundromat listens to something loud and scream-like on his iPod. When I come back to transfer my clothes from the washer to the dryer, he is sitting on the bench by the door eating a Jamaican patty that has the whole place smelling of meat and spices. We sit side by side waiting for our clothes to dry. His are dry before mine. I watch, mesmerized, as he diligently folds what I can only assume are his wife and child’s underwear and sweatshirts and socks. There are a few of his own boxer shorts and T-shirts. But most of the items are not his own. It is in the careful tucking in of inside out pockets and the tender creasing of his son’s small blue jeans that I see unfathomable unconditional love.
3. A Pakistani man in a leather cap and MC Hammer pants tries to sell me sunglasses from a box labelled “Red Wine”. I am on my way to get breakfast. Eggs, I’m thinking. Perhaps poached. “No thank you,” I say, wondering why he didn’t notice that I am, in fact, wearing sunglasses already. “Yours are out of fashion,” he tells me. “You’re giving me “fashion” advice?” I say over my shoulder with a laugh. He chases me for a block and a half. “You have a beautiful smile!” He calls, again and again.

“One thing you should never do” by Julia at TAN on Baldwin


Monday, April 9, 2012 at TAN
10:34am
5 minutes
Ask Allison Section
Exclaim! April 2012


Obviously there is more than one thing. But the thing I’m talking about is weakness. Don’t show your weakness to anybody. They don’t deserve it, and they won’t know what to do with it anyway. Trust me. No one knows how to handle any weakness other than their own. I guess that’s why people turn to God or start believing that a higher power will take care of them.
I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you’re in my belly so I get to be the first. God doesn’t want your weakness either. It’s not some special machine where you feed your insecurities or flaws into a tube and on God’s side it comes out all shiny and new. He can’t recycle up there. I don’t even think God has a blue bin…
Instead he just puts it on shuffle, along with everyone else’s sadness or strife or debilitating features, and He lets them play on random above His head so He never has to commit to fixing any of them.
I just think if you know this one thing, you’ll be a little stronger because of it. Because of you keeping it close, learning how to protect it on your own—just in case I’m right about it getting lost in space without so much as a pocket of bubble wrap to make sure it stays whole.

“Our bodies grew numb with each breath.” by Julia at her desk


Sunday, April 8, 2012
9:47pm
5 minutes
The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex
Kristen Schaal and Rich Blomquist


I’ve got a secret and if you keep it then…shhh…someone’s coming.
Down the hall, a million degrees outside, and like, woah, I’m pretty into this moment.
Come closer to my mouth, yeah, just scooch up to it like you’re about to take a drink of water.
Yeah, I’ll tell it to you now. Real soft and slow, then you’ll dance your way back to your own body.
No I can’t do it yet. I’m not ready yet. You’re all malleable, silk and pliable, and I want to, but, God. It’s not going to happen.
Don’t get up to go! There’s a million sunsets outside, and like, woah, I’m pretty into you.
There’s a reason why I asked you here. Tell you a story, lick your cheeks, pull your hair out.
No! I’m kidding. I’m SORT OF kidding.
I’ll cry.
I can cry all day, don’t go, don’t go, just sit, just stay.
I’m not going to say I’m sorry, because I’m not, but God. Goddamn. I’m going to say what I should have said. I’m going to say….my secret.
If you keep it then…shhh….someone’s coming.
I’m just kidding.
I want you all to myself, like a stolen chocolate bar, like an x-rated radio station that I’m not supposed to have access to, and like, woah, is it illuminating…

“Our bodies grew numb with each breath.” by Sasha at Poor John’s Cafe


Sunday, April 8, 2012 at Poor John’s Cafe
2:55pm
5 minutes
The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex
Kristen Schaal and Rich Blomquist


Oh my god, sitting beside you feels like D’Angelo is playing on a loudspeaker inside the lower regions of my body. It makes me do ludicrous things like tap my foot really, really fast or scratch the small patch of eczema on my inner arm. Both of these will most likely irritate you so I try to override the desire to do so and end up humming along to the non-existent D’Angelo. Crap.

Crushes are for teenagers. This isn’t a crush. This is a smash. Or a squish. I close my eyes and I can feel your tongue tracing pictures of our active-yet-not-sweaty first date and our non-traditional wedding and the natural birth of our first baby all over my body. Let’s name him Eric. No, with a “k”. Erik’s are always smart and artsy and sport-inclined. You know just how to do it. Oh my god.

The first time I met you I asked you for a piece of your tangerine. I saw that you had three more in your pocket. I instantly fell in love with your citrus pockets. I imagined sniffing them and learning so much about you by doing so. You gave me half of the tangerine and we sat side by side on the stoop of the library where I work and where you borrow all the books on Ancient Civilization and Spanish. You knew what my name was because it’s on my nerdy name tag. You also knew that my favorite book is Everything is Illuminated because it’s under my name on my nerdy name tag. You already knew so much about me! I asked you why you love the Egyptians and Greeks so much. You laughed and a small piece of tangerine shot out of your mouth onto my thigh. I wanted it to stay there forever.

“Louis Armstrong returned” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday, April 7, 2012
2:14 am
5 minutes
I Say Mr. A
Samuel Allen


The night the levee broke I heard the Louis Armstrong trumpets tears,
I heard the trees snapping,
I heard the grandmothers Lazy River lullaby,
Katrina was an angry, angry hurricane.
Old man Jay lived on his porch come winter or summer,
He watched as the clouds came in,
He smelled rain,
He stroked his chin and muttered,
“Apocalypse is comin’ now,
It’s that time of the afternoon.”
Jay hitched a ride with his neighbours,
A family with nine kids,
A bunch of them still little,
He rode in the back seat beside Jamaal,
Who sucked his thumb and asked for his Mama.
They drove and drove for hours,
The kids got hungry and they stopped by the side of the road to pee.
When they got to Mississippi,
It was nighttime again,
Jay asked if they could switch the radio to a jazz station,
He needed the ear honey of his youth now.
La Vie En Rose.
Jay leaned closer to Jamaal,
“This is what really matters.”

“Louis Armstrong returned” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Saturday, April 7, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
7:49 pm
5 minutes
I Say Mr. A
Samuel Allen


Some people believe in compassion or kindness, some people believe in ethics or morals, and some people believe in butterflies and veggie burgers.
Some people believe we sent a man to the moon, some people believe that music can save somebody’s soul, and some people believe that the top 40 soft hits/easy listening will eventually kill them.
It’s about sticking to your guns.
It’s about breaking rules and breaking sadness.
It’s about six degrees of separation.
It’s about circumstance, goddammit. We can’t prove anything except the past.
And if you’re anything like me, a hyperbole waiting to happen, you might not remember it right, but you’ll tell it like you do.
Some people believe in ghosts or mystery, some people believe in history or horoscopes, some people believe in siblings or cousins, and some people….some people believe in wearing the same socks until they smell unbearable.
Some people believe in things and some people believe in people.
I think I already know which one I want to be.
I can justify people. I can feel people. I can write people.
I cannot write things.

“He’s lost! He’s lost again!” by Sasha on the streetcar going East


Friday, April 6, 2012
2:13pm
5 minutes
The Days Are Just Packed
Bill Watterson


Gus makes Martha waffles on Sunday morning with cut up strawberries, maple syrup, and sausages on the side. He brews coffee and has cream on the table in a tiny pitcher. He’ll pour out the rest of the carton or give it to Alfafa, their tabby cat. Martha has to take her special lactose pills before Sunday brunch but it’s worth it for the cream. Gus sets the table with embroidered napkins from Martha’s aunt. He waits for her to descend the stairs, shuffling in her red slippers. She does, slowly, a few minutes later than usual. Martha’s brow is furrowed. “Where is Alfafa, Gus? He didn’t jump onto the bed this morning?” She goes to to the front door and opens it, calling for the cat. “He doesn’t go outside, sweetheart,” Gus says, quietly. He rearranges the strawberries on Martha’s waffles. “Where is my little prince?” Asks Martha. She’s started to cry. “He’s lost! He’s lost again! Why must this always happen?” Martha shuffles into the kitchen. Her face lights up. “It must be Sunday! It smells like Sunday but I could have sworn it was the beginning of the week!” Gus hands her a cup of coffee. “It’s still up for debate whether or not Sunday is the start or the finish, my peach.”

“He’s lost! He’s lost again!” by Julia at her desk


Friday, April 6, 2012
1:03am
5 minutes
The Horse
Julius Hay

I want to lick the moon like a lollipop
I want to prick my finger on the cactus of LIFE, DEATH, WHAT HAVE YOU
I want to taste tomorrow on a bubble on my tongue
I want to dance a fight into a new year to make a resolution

Wait. Are we recording? Is this thing on? Are my thoughts getting to your head and making you MOVE, SWEAT, LAUGH?
Are we wasting precious time or is this a necessary drill bit. A bit of drill. A drill. Is it the only option?
Yes AND no AND no AND yes AND
This is a test. We are just checking for feedback. Nothing will be saved. Nothing will be remembered.

He feels lost, maybe, or angry, maybe, or a little like he was pissed on by a flock of angry birds, maybe.
I feel lost in him. It’s not the same thing, maybe he won’t relate to me, but I am lost in his skin and I don’t need to get out.

I want to sing the stars in a line so they look choreographed
I want to sleep the spring so it takes longer to wipe away the snow
I want to dream the answer that paints itself in neon colours
I want to reach the correction that will turn my existence into a succulent peach

Wait! Is this how you really feel? Disjointed memories and a secret drawer full of regrets?
Are we wasting precious time or is this necessary?
Are we necessary?

“Weep in the public roads” by Julia at The Tarragon


Thursday, April 5, 2012 at The Tarragon
9:20pm
5 minutes
The Last of the Flock
William Wordsworth


A common misconception about me is that I’m a very big cry baby. That I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m worked up, when I’m angry, when I’m dreaming, when I’m disappointed, when I’m heartbroken, when I’m lost…
The truth is, I do cry; but not for any of these things.
For when I’m feeling guilty, embarrassed, and nostalgic—I tear. But the only thing I cry about is my father.
He never hit me, or yelled at me, or told me I was his favourite. He taught me my times tables, and about healthy competition, and that yes, I can wear brown and black together. His heart is matched up to mine in a way I can only describe as ‘perfectly’. I think on a level no one talks about or understands, we connect. We are connected.
I don’t even believe it’s a genetic thing. I believe it’s cosmic.
Like the pussy willow branch that you think you’re just planting in the backyard to appease your daughters, but ends up growing into a giant tree protecting your entire house.
It’s meant to be because it’s all it can be. I weep at the thought of my father feeling pain, feeling as if I don’t love him enough, or that I could ever be ashamed of him.
I weep in the streets.

“Weep in the public roads” by Sasha at The Tarragon


Thurssday, April 5, 2012 at The Tarragon
9:20pm
5 minutes
The Last of the Flock
William Wordsworth


My mother and her sister sit at the kitchen table, a jug of unsweetened iced tea between them. There are photographs spread out all over the surfaces of the kitchen. They are deciding who gets what, once and for all. When their mother, Mona, died, a seven year feud ensued. We’re beyond that now. We live in a place where letting go is as easy as buying a lottery ticket. Dementia. At it’s best. Betty wistfully looks out the window. “Winter’s coming…” she says, dramatically. In fact, it’s March and crocuses are starting to peek out of the earth with their resilient purple whispers. “I want this one of us in those hideous pinafores!” shouts my mother, as if in response to something. Betty snaps out of her “seasons changing” daze and looks at my mother with a furrowed brow. It’s a look only an eldest can give a youngest. “You loved those matching pinafores. You’re not fooling anyone.” My mother pours herself more iced tea and the ice cubes trip over one another on their way into her glass. “Marion! Be careful!” Betty squawks. The photograph in question is quickly saved from a rogue ice cube, on it’s way towards the previous incarnation of these miraculous women, hair in braids, with their arms around one another’s shouldars.

“Humans are probably not the only species” by Sasha at Loft 404


Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at Loft 404
4:23pm
5 minutes
Meditation Bliss
David Fontana


Humans are probably not the only species who laugh in the morning lying beside a lover,
and make sounds that only another wing-flapping heart can hear.
We come together like a snowdrift and the rocky edge,
Melting earth and ice
Water and dust.
It’s funny when we talk about not knowing one another,
When we realize that we could have never met,
Had things been different,
Had I taken the alluring snare and kick drum,
Had I not sat in that particular spot on that particular day in that particular shop.
We laugh because the only other option would be too much to dream,
Too much to consider,
Too heavy to hold in the air between us,
It would drop on the floor and splinter like a china tea cup.
It’s still the beginning of our story.
We’re beyond the Prologue,
We’re past the Introduction and the “Author’s Note”,
We’re somewhere in the second chapter.
Our book is on the desk in front of me
Willing me to flip to the end,
To look at the notes scribbled in pencil
in the margins somewhere around page ninety three.
I resist.
I trace the S’s and D’s,
the question marks and the commas,
with my pinky finger,
of where we are right now.

“humans are probably not the only species” by Julia on a bench outside of Baldwin Convenience


Wednesday, April 4, 2012
4:55pm
5 minutes
Meditation Bliss
David Fontana


Sherman Ingles is a man that I’m madly in love with. He is the wildest human being I’ve ever met and probably in the world. He’s got birthmarks that form a perfect triangle on not just one of his face cheeks, but both! How erotic! Everyday I look into his triangular body prints and believe whole heartedly that they are a warning sign to never love anyone else but Sherman Ingles. The first day we met he was dressed up as a gothic cat with beading across his forehead. He told me he was preparing for battle with a sea monkey. I laughed really hard because, well, good luck on your death, sea monkey. He asked me if I knew of any great and/or abandoned lots in the area for the game to relocate. I told him I did, which I didn’t, but I like researching just as much as the next barista. His coffee, brown sugar, honey, milk and cream, and just two sprinkles of cocoa powder, is something I’ve come to know well. My sweetheart has a sweet tooth! Ugh!
And when he starts talking about the planetary disruption model? Can I just tell you that I get so excited in my no-no place that it turns into a yes-yes place?

“Nothing felt right.” by Sasha on the streetcar going East


Tuesday, April 3, 2012
2:50pm
5 minutes
The First Time I got Paid For It
Edited by Peter Lefcourt and Laura J. Shapiro


You got the moves
You got the heart
You got the voice
You look the part
You treat me good
You love so hard
You dial my number
You stamp my card
You are the winter
You are the spring
You are the phone
You are the ring
You make the beat
You keep the time
You are the words
You are the rhyme
You bring the heat
You keep me cool
You are the teacher
You break the rule
You raise your weapon
You fight the fight
You know what’s wrong
You are what’s right

“Nothing felt right.” by Julia at Lit on Ronces


Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at Lit on Ronces
2:13pm
5 minutes
The First Time I got Paid For It
Edited by Peter Lefcourt and Laura J. Shapiro


Ariel is a name for a fish woman, not a business woman. That’s why people don’t give me any credit at the office. They think at any moment I’m going to break out into a whimsical fairy song and bring all the land creatures to the sea shore for a seance. My mother was a bit nuts, so I don’t blame her fully for doing this to me. I also could have changed my name when Disney got bumped down on the list from my ‘favourite things in the world’ at age fifteen, but that would have crushed her soul and any optimism she ever had. My mother thought she could channel something calm or creative in giving me a mermaid’s signature. I don’t sing, for the record, and if you’re wondering, I have never accomplished a DIY project involving sea shells, decoupage, or coloured twine. I work as a fucking auditing clerk. My mother also hates swearing. Probably because she thinks it’s too real, seeing as though she gave me the most unrealistic name in the history of the (sea) world. You’d think it would become one of those things that just gets easier, like having one green eye and one brown, or having one boob two cup sizes bigger than the other (both of which I do have), but unfortunately, Ariel never gets old. At dinner parties people think I just have a Peter Pan Complex and refuse to grow up. On Plenty of Fish men think I’m just a Disney obsessed lunatic and seriously never send me a message even though my hair is BROWN, GODDAMMIT!

“it’s the only way to make serious money” by Julia at Orange Alert


Monday, April 2, 2012 at Orange Alert
5:38pm
5 minutes
The Days Are Just Packed
Bill Watterson


They told me not to bring my purse because it would just get in the way or get stolen. I didn’t have anything in there anyway, so big whoop, I left it at home.

I told myself I’d never ever do this, but you don’t know. You just have no fucking clue what will happen in your life so it’s better if you just try not to judge yourself too harshly. I told myself a lot of things and either I accept myself as a hypocrite or I just realize out loud that things change, people change, risks change, and I, yes, I, the unchanging constant, change.

I’m standing on a corner pulling on the latex panties that are riding up too high. I’m standing here half hoping no one wants me and half hoping that I get the chance to pick between a couple of them.
The anchor I wear around my wrist (aka hope) keeps snagging on my crochet (aka fishnet) top and I’m pissed because if it fucking rips then there goes another twenty bucks and then there goes a little bit more confidence.
Since I got it in that little market in London I’ve been wearing it religiously and I’ve been snagging it religiously too.
Some people can’t have nice things, I guess.

“it’s the only way to make serious money” by Sasha at Ezra’s Pound


Monday, April 2, 2012 at Ezra’s Pound
3:01pm
5 minutes
The Days Are Just Packed
Bill Watterson


I keep telling Jerry he just needs to buckle down and get his real estate license. It’s all about REAL ESTATE. Condos, fixer-uppers, heck even semi-detached apartment houses have charm. People are always going to need a place to live. Either get the license or let it go. End of story. This willy-nilly bullshit has got to stop! Or. Get into the funeral business. Come on, don’t look at me like that! It’s not morbid. It’s realistic. All those baby boomers are going to start dropping like flies and they are going to need funerals. They are going to need fancy-eco-chic funerals. People are always going to die. It’s an industry, man! It is! FUNERALS. Put the “fun” back in funeral. Fuck, I should have been in advertising. My brain is just that quick. Must be all the bananas I eat. Mosquitos love me but that’s a bullet I’m willing to take because let’s just be honest here, I’m probably the sharpest tool in this shed. It’s just a fact. So anyway, I’m going to say, “Jer, it’s either houses or hearses”. See what I mean! Advertising is all about alliteration and sexy crap like that! Got it down. Nailed down! Then it’s up to him, man. I’ve narrowed down the choices. The rest is up to him.

“We still had a lot of issues to resolve” by Sasha at Cool Hand Luc


Sunday, April 1, 2012 at Cool Hand Luc
5:32pm
5 minutes
Metallica (This Monster Lives)
Joe Berlinger with Greg Milner


I told him that I want to open a bakery… A bakery that sells out of croissants by ten in the morning and has hot crossed buns and baguette and scones and… I told him that I want there to be an unpretentious chandelier and a black and white tiled floor. Maybe I’ll have a fridge with some fancy cheese. Maybe I’ll sell a few flavors of ice cream in the summertime. He looked at me like I had completely lost my marbles! He started talking about capital and profit margins and trending. I was embarrassed… I don’t know, I mean, I felt like I’d just showed him my breasts and instead of him looking deeply in my eyes and cupping one of them tenderly he squinted and began spewing breast cancer statistics! “Can you just let me dream?” I said. “Oh, so this isn’t actually going to happen? This is like, a little girl Sleeping Beauty fantasy thing?” He looked so smug. “No,” I knew I was blushing but I didn’t care, “it’s going to happen… I’ve already bought wholesale kitchen equipment! It’s in my uncle’s garage! I’ve already started my recipe binder. It’s… happening.”

“We still had a lot of issues to resolve” by Julia on her bed


Sunday, April 1, 2012
10:42pm
5 minutes
Metallica (This Monster Lives)
Joe Berlinger with Greg Milner


Must fight with knives.
That was my first thought when I woke up this morning.
I don’t think it’s weird.
Second point of action? I waxed one of my legs and tweezed half of my other one. So far, a good quality day with promise and devotion. I am devoted to promise. And guess what? I also promise to devote. Win-win.
Shall we crack a bottle of Shiraz and make love next to the urn? Don’t pretend like you never had that idea.
I don’t mind taking the fall for being crazy if it means we get to do it.
Must fight with knives.
That was my first thought when I looked in the mirror this morning.
I don’t think it’s weird.
I’ve been dying to have a fight of any kind. But I’m pretty good at peeling potatoes, let me tell you a story, so I figured it would be a no-brainer. Literally. I’d be that good your lobotomy would be asking me where I went to school.
That does make sense, you just have to think a little harder about it than you’re used to.
Then what did I do? I created my own mascara and then poked myself in the eye on purpose so my face would be stained charcoal and look very romantic/dramatic.
How many problems do you have? If you’re counting the fact that you don’t have enough problems to count, then no, sorry, that does not count.
I count on my hands when I’m subtracting simple math equations.
I don’t think it’s weird.

“He pushed a baby carrot through the hummus” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday, March 31, 2012
2:16am
5 minutes
The Uncoupling
Meg Wolitzer


Simon doesn’t believe in second chances, democracy or in standing for the national anthem. It made elementary school terribly uncomfortable. All of his classmates, standing at their desks and Simon, seated, his eyes closed and his feet tapping to a completely different rhythm. Principle Knightley called a meeting with Simon’s mother, Beth, over this subject and she said that she believed in free thought. Principle Knightley felt bad for Beth because she was in a wheelchair and had Alopecia and was therefore balding. From this point on no one forced Simon to stand and participate in the anthem singing.

Simon’s disbelief in second chances began when his father, Wayne, left with only the clothes on his back and his prized bust of Elvis tucked under his arm. He returned seventeen months later and Beth, admirably to some, disdainfully to Simon, thought they should give it another go. Wayne left again, this time clearing out the whole bungalow while Simon and Beth were at the optometrist.