“It has to do with seeds.” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday, May 31, 2012
11:21pm
5 minutes
In Moonlight
Lorna Crozier


He gets up early, before the sun. He opens a window and breathes in this day. He steps into jeans, a flannel shirt, wool socks. His boots are by the back door, which he closes carefully so as not to wake Nell and the baby. When he gets to the barn the calves are moo-ing, softly. He goes from stall to stall, “Good morning, Lil,” and “How are you, Bessie?” He kisses each cow on the damp nose. Before milking be gives the pigs leftover casserole. They thank him with grunts and snorts and he laughs. In the afternoon, after a lunch of salad with nasturtium flowers and cherry tomatoes from the vegetable garden, he walks over to the far west field. He can’t decide what to plant here. “What do you think about an apple orchard?” he’d said to Nell as she did the washing up from lunch. She scrunched up her nose. “Let’s make a baseball diamond!” She said, sitting on his lap, putting wet hands on his cheeks and kissing him on the mouth.

“I had a revolver,” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, May 30, 2012
1:13am
5 minutes
Fifth Business
Robertson Davies


My father kept a revolver underneath his bed. He never told me this. When he died and my brothers and I were cleaning out the house, I had told them that I would do the bedroom. I wanted to lay out his suit jackets and bury my face in his favorite brown sweater. Underneath his bed, which he had slept in alone for twenty four years since he’d lost his second wife to breast cancer, were significant dust bunnies, a shoe box and a black revolver. My heart quickened when I saw it, my breath rose and my fingers immediately reached out to touch it. Cold. I left it there while I pulled out the shoebox. Inside were receipts, letters, polaroid photos, the odd penny and paperclip. I dumped out the box on the bed and read each one, uncurling corners and squinting my eyes to see faded print. There was a photograph of my mother in a red dress and high heels, sticking out her tongue. There was a letter from my Aunt Geena about her trip to Greece, where she’d ended up staying, marrying and sixty odd years later, dying. There was a note my brother Simon had written explaining in detail how to gut a fish.

“Then, at a given signal,” by Sasha at Newark Airport


Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at the Newark Airport
5:19pm
5 minutes
The Prince
Niccolo Machiavelli

There was a crash. And then a bright burst of light. We fell to the ground. “Oh my god!” Sam shouted. I couldn’t move. We’d seen the storm coming, across the open prairie sky, but couldn’t find a place to set up camp. I saw everything brighter for a while. The green of the leaves glowed fluorescent. The sun was orange. Sam looked at me like something was wrong but all I saw was brightness and beauty. I saw myself getting up and climbing the glowing tree to the sun. I swung off it’s light. Sam was opening his mouth and shouting to me but I couldn’t hear him. He looked like a baby. Or a small chimp. My toes buzzed. I could do anything. I knew that I should go back to school. I should stop eating McDonald’s. I would never again be crabby towards my mother! She gave me life, for heaven’s sake! I would only wear bright colours! Down with grey and white and black! Sam sat in the grass and cried. I wanted to go to him but I couldn’t. I was swinging from the sun, like the best and most comfortable monkey-bars.

“I had a revolver,” by Julia at Manic Coffee


Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at Manic Coffee
3:05pm
5 minutes
Fifth Business
Robertson Davies


I was going to shoot the moon and eat half of it as an appetizer. I wanted to be bright for you. I wanted to glow.
You had the hands of a rock star: calloused and detailed and experienced. I wanted you to play me. I wanted to glow.
Thought I was going to burst the first second you sang to me in your sleep. It was a magic, a gold that poor people only lust for.
I wanted to bottle it up in a mason jar for safe keeping. For the times I felt like crying and your were far away. For the moments when I was close to slapping a stranger or kicking a pigeon.
I didn’t.
I also wanted you to have it in case you needed it. You could play it to yourself and I would just let my ears be the place where the magic gets stored. I wanted to glow.
I had this revolver–it was shiny. It was black. On the trigger there was a note inscribed that read “Pity, isn’t it?” And perhaps that was a bit of irony. Perhaps it was a bit of honesty.
I figured you wouldn’t mind if I used it for vanity. I’m sorry, I was hungry. I wanted to glow.
I was going to shoot the moon…

“Then, at a given signal,” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
4:15pm
5 minutes
The Prince
Niccolo Machiavelli

I’m going to wait until this moment’s over. Is it over yet? I’m going to wait.
I’m going to hop on pop, pop won’t stop. And all that other stuff. You know what I mean?
Is there a wishing that needs to be done right now? A constant wishing that gets results. The way rubbing alcohol burns and you can’t deny that it does when you spill it onto your new cuts.
Wishing and thinking about wanting to die.
Wanting to spread the angels’ wings so far apart they rip one feather at a time.
It’s a tired space. At any given moment there’s an indicator trying to shoot you off your high horse.
It’s a tired world. The world is sleep walking through days and nights of regret.
They don’t even eat chocolate anymore, they think it’s such a good decision.
You can ask me three more questions before I leave you.
I mean leave you spiritually. Not physically. Physically you can bind me to the bed. Physically you can wait until the tears come.
Three questions; pick one now.
ONE
Will you marry me?
Answer: NO.
TWO
Are you happy?
Answer: How could I possibly know this? I’ve only ever remembered one of my lives.
THREE
Make it a good one.
Last chance for romance.
Last chance for world domination, change, peace.
THREE
CAN I HELP YOU?

“Let’s get this straight,” by Sasha at Blue Bottle Coffee


Monday, May 28, 2012
12:13pm
5 minutes
Hockey is a Battle
Punch Imlach


Let’s get this straight
She’s radiating a gratitude attitude
No amount of “thank you” could ever be enough
Enough is a word she’s said a lot
“Am I enough?”
“Enough!”
“This is enough.”
How many times can I say “I love you”?
The permanence of pen and the erasability of pencil and the ease of words that are truth
A small bitter place on my tongue
Betrays me
Accident prone
Elixir of goodness
Discontent is so easily eased by your sideways smile
The soft slope of your nose
I need to dedicate this to you
A tattoo of a child’s name on her mother’s shoulder
In all your humble and patient beauty
In the trenches of grouchy-ouchy-no-good-all-bad
Sitting on a high high stool
Gazing out at futures on sunbeams
Finding “happy birthday” in your palm
A secret with layers like an artichoke
Each one a different brilliant colour

“I’m wearing a real dress of silk” by Sasha at Black Brick Coffee & Espresso


Sunday, May 27, 2012 at Black Brick Coffee & Espresso
2:41pm
5 minutes
The Lover
Marguerite Duras


We keep bumping into each other. Everywhere. He’s usually with his wife and she’s usually wearing high heels. When I saw them at the drugstore late on Thursday night I was buying tampons and dishwasher soap. I hadn’t showered after yoga. My hair was in a knot on top of my head (and not in a cute way). “Jess?” He said, like he wasn’t sure if it was my name. I wanted to howl at the moon. “Hey!” I acted surprised, like I hadn’t been stalking him from the next aisle for the last five minutes. “I meant to email you…” He has a box of four ply designer toilet paper in his hand. Who knew. His wife clicks over. The sound of heels on linoleum reminds me of my great aunt Georgie. “Honey, this is…” he pauses just long enough for me to catch it, like a tumbleweed, in my throat. “This is… one of my students…” I shake her hand. I have the balls to shake her hand! It’s ice cold. She smiles. She has Julia Roberts teeth. She smells like Chanel and cookies. “So nice to meet you,” I say.

“Let’s get this straight,” by Julia on her patio


Monday, May 28, 2012
5:19pm
5 minutes
Hockey is a Battle
Punch Imlach


Let’s talk it out.
Let’s punch each other’s face until we’re black and blue and tired and kissing again.
Let’s wait till morning to tell each other how we really feel.
Let’s take a hot shower on a bed of ice cubes.
Let’s spray misty water at the neighbours as they pass our lawn.
Let’s talk it out.
Let’s punch each other’s face until we’re black and blue and tired and kissing again.
Let’s fry up the old spaghetti and add breadcrumbs so it tastes different.
Let’s dance to a slow song with halloween masks on.
Let’s paint the walls with what ifs and if onlys and why nots and please gods.
Let’s holler at the moon like coyotes just because we’re young and we can.
Let’s talk it out.
Let’s punch each other’s face until we’re black and blue and tired and kissing again.
Let’s lie to each other then remember what it is we’re living for.
Let’s braid the hair on our own arms, then connect them with an elastic.
Let’s hop the fence of incapability and run far away from our bed time, our work time, our moment of truth time.
Let’s wait for the clock to tick us into a new conversation.
Let’s pay homage to the grass with our new lot filled with mulch and tiny purple flowers.

“I’m wearing a dress of real silk,” by Julia on the subway going South


Sunday, May 26, 2012
4:55pm
5 minutes
The Lover
Marguerite Duras


The man beside me is eating a Big Mac and singing along to the delightfully loud ‘Express Yourself’ by Madonna. He is smiling. He is resting his limbs a while on this park bench. He’s sticking his foot out at all the pigeons and cooing at them like they speak the same language.
His long umbrella cane is tapping the sandy earth beneath us along to the peak of Madonna’s career. I’m wearing a silk dress and was careful earlier while sipping my orange juice not to get any pulp on it and spoil it.
This man hasn’t once looked at me and I like him all the more for it.
Tonight I’m meeting Eric, the brother of my co-worker, Amelia. She says we’ll be perfect together and I’m sincerely hoping she’s right because I like his online personality a whole lot. Eric told me to dress comfortably and that he would take care of the itinerary. I’m still wearing this silk dress because I’d like very much if he thought I was the type of girl who is comfortable in silk; who wears high heels to bike.

“I drove everyone crazy.” by Sasha on Larissa’s couch


Saturday, May 26, 2012 on Larissa‘s couch in Williamsburg
12:16am
5 minutes
The Odd Couple
Neil Simon


Dear God,
Hey. How are you? I sometimes think about how you must rarely get that question… I mean, people are more concerned with getting your help than how you’re doing up there, solving all the problems and laying down karma and all that. I hope you’re good, I really do. Maybe everything would be a bit easier down here if you were having a good century and things were just generally happening your way.
Here’s my… beef. I can see that I drive people crazy. I can’t even stand myself most of the time, so I get it… It not like I’m confused about it. I’m hard to take. I’m high-strung, judgemental, cynical and don’t know how to communicate. Last night I was at a party for Luke and I mean, half the people there I’d known since kindergarten. By midnight, no one was talking to me, no was looking at me, no one even asked about my mismatched socks. I had driven each person there, these people that I grew up with, away. The worst feeling in the world. Like there’s a ping-pong ball in your throat that keeps going up and down between your chest, like it’s a tunnel.

“I drove everyone crazy.” by Julia in the tent at Zia’s


Saturday, May 26, 2012
8:40pm
5 minutes
The Odd Couple
Neil Simon


There had been enough talk about dark meat and the light meat and the wing meat and the liver meat. I was getting tired because I had just worked late at the office and my eyes had been busy staring at codes and numbers all day. Rick was having one of those laughing fits of his where everything I say is just hilarious. The only thing I find funny is that he said he would take the Christmas tree down to the road and still hasn’t done it. It’s March.
Cassie was sitting on her hands because she was desperately trying to stop biting her nails. She had succeeded for the first two days of this experiment. She is her mother’s daughter. I both like and hate this fact.
She hadn’t seemed to realize that she was turning into me. She was, though, I could feel it. She wanted to start taking birth control and I just about lost my mind. “The devil’s work” is something my mother would say right now if she had lived to surpass 50. I could never tell Cassie that, even if I slightly believed it were true.
I just wanted to reduce the commotions.

“A Mississippi boy at heart” by Julia at R Squared Cafe


Friday, May 25th 2012 at R Squared Cafe
3:24pm
5 minutes
The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches
Susan Russo


We called him Sandy and no, that wasn’t a short form. We thought he’d take to the beach and want surfing in his life if his name led him to it so effortlessly. He is tall, blonde, it is now perfect. He was a Sandy already; we just helped him a long.
When we adopted him, his birth mother hadn’t given him a name yet. She said that would be too hard. I judged her, I’ll be honest. I thought it a bit callous to let your newborn baby live without an identity for three weeks. She didn’t seem to be bothered by it. She was busy wiping the sweat from her brow and fanning herself with a paper program from her church. I think she said she was from Jackson. That strong southern accent was a Mississippi song I promised would never be played around our boy; around our Sandy.
She said she didn’t want any visitation rights, no open adoption to ease her troubled mind. She wanted to be a dental hygienist and she wanted to be good.
I didn’t mind.
I secretly wanted to go on forever without ever telling Sandy he wasn’t really ours.

“A Mississippi boy at heart” by Sasha at R Squared Cafe


Friday, May 25th 2012 at R Squared Cafe
7:14pm
5 minutes
The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches
Susan Russo


They play gin rummy on the porch and drink lemonade with mint and frozen strawberries. They fan themselves with newspapers found in the bottom of a chest of drawers, purchased at a garage sale. They play into the evening, when the mosquitoes come out, but they’re safe, surrounded by screens. They play until the fireflies dance circles and until they are too sleepy to lay cards down, let alone laugh and talk. A Mississippi boy at heart, he smokes Camel cigarettes and sings Willy Nelson in the shower. A Kentucky Derby queen in her past, she still has a penchant for wide brimmed hats and mint juleps. They’ve lived in this house with the screened in porch at the end of the long dusty driveway since she wore a size two and he was able to carry her through the front door on their wedding night.

“A man gets hit in the nose,” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday, May 24, 2012
11:22pm
5 minutes
Rumours
Neil Simon


I arrive at my sister’s place and seem to have forgotten that her skin is darker than mine. When I see her I almost forget who she is to me. It happens. One baby will be born completely white and then other dark as coffee. My father made jokes growing up about how I must have been dropped off by the newspaper boy. My sister braids her hair into tiny cornrows. She’s pregnant with twins. She lives in a bachelor apartment by herself on the seventeenth floor of a building at Jameson and King. She had to quit her job at Winners as a cashier because her ankles were too swollen. “Come in! The door’s open!” she calls to me when I knock. She’s lying on the floor in a blue tube top and floral underwear. I’ve never seen a belly so big. “You shouldn’t leave that door unlocked,” I say, sounding more like my mother than I ever have before. “Kyle just dropped by with an Ice Cap…” She says. “Who is Kyle?” I ask, seeing an open bottle of rum on the counter in the kitchen. “My friend,” she says. “Remember I told you about that guy in my building who got hit in the nose and I found him and cleaned him up and pretty much saved his life?” She rambles when she’s nervous.

“A man gets hit in the nose,” by Julia at her desk


Thursday, May 24, 2012
11:12pm
5 minutes
Rumours
Neil Simon


I watched a man get hit in his face today. He was a homeless man, so at first I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t even care, if I can speak honestly. Then as I was walking to work, I found myself crying. Just tears streaming, streaming down my cheeks. I was a wreck. I didn’t know guilt could keep me so close. I was just trying to ignore it and pretend like things like that don’t happen in this world, and definitely not around me, in front of me.
I could have done something. I should have run up to that piece of shit and jumped on his back, ripping his eyelids back as far as they go.
I should have done something.
The worst part is that the homeless man was not looking for a fight. He wasn’t begging for money. He wasn’t calling out crude comments. All he said was, “Good afternoon sir.”
I am the only monster in this scenario.
I want to rip my own eyelids back and force myself to stare down the sun as punishment.
How easy it is to keep walking. To keep thinking, “well thank god it wasn’t me”.
And a hypocrite probably said this once too.
It’s better if we help but then when we get the chance, we just don’t do a damned thing.
I wanted to get fired from my job today. I wanted a reason to keep fighting for something other than the things I already have.
I wanted to feel something better.

“Don’t ask me what!” by Julia at King and Spadina


Wednesday, May 23, 2012
1:36 am
5 minutes
Ned and Jack
Sheldon Rosen


we’ve waited a good three minutes now. i think we can go in and see her. she’s not the way she used to be, and i know this, but she’s not the opposite, so we can go in. they told me i’d have better luck coming alone but i don’t think that’s what she would have wanted.
my voice is hoarse from yelling. it’s hoarse from pleading with the enemy.
they say don’t bring flowers or stuffed teddies. they say it’s because the room’s circulation gets all messed up. i think that’s bullshit.
i’m never taking a taxi cab again because they’re bullshit.
i’ve been trying to figure out all the things that are so i don’t have to engage with them anymore.
so far: hospitals, taxi cabs, the yoga studio on on kepner ave., the h&m on queen. i don’t listen to what they’re saying.
i think they may be a little bit accurate but it doesn’t bother me anymore.
i don’t know so don’t ask me why. ask me what. ask me when. the only thing i know is it’s been two more minutes since it’s been three minutes and even if they say we can’t, we can–we’re going in to see her now.

the bus always comes before it says it will. with wet eyes you’ll chase it down and wonder if running was the best choice.

you’re empty handed so it’s okay now.

“Don’t ask me what!” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday, May 23, 2012
4:03pm
5 minutes
Ned and Jack
Sheldon Rosen


She’s a ticking clock, loud loud loud, like the bus driving by in the warm and pristine night. The ticking gets louder and louder as each birthday passes, as high school friends get married and cut towering cakes, as baby carriages ready for mud and snow push by her window. She’s ticking. A grandfather clock sits on the mantel of her father’s house, his grandfather’s uncle’s clock. Made with knowing hands. It dings on the hour and reminds the neighbours to pray. She’s a ticking ticking ticking clock. She ticks towards success, towards a house with a garden, towards a baby in her belly, towards independent interdependence. She ticks towards knowing that really it will all be beautiful and intense and spicy until the end. She’s ticking. Everyone can hear it, and they look because they wonder, for a second, if it’s their clock and not hers. She smiles, again and again, listening and loving and relishing in each perfect ticktockticktock.

“They rest for a moment by our ribcages” by Sasha at Loft404


Tuesday, May 22, 2012
4:09pm at Loft404
5 minutes
Let The Great World Spin
Colum McCann


A thousand tiny lightbulbs illuminate your face
But from the inside
Dancing minuets of fire and future
I am humbled
I am redeemed
A thousand tiny lightbulbs shine through each pore
Each blood vessel carrying genes that will marry mine
Wearing two legs
Resting for a moment on the ribcage of present
Too many lists and not enough reminders that
Slow and steady win this race
Running circles til we’re parched
And tired
We sleep deep
Lightbulbs dimmed
City whispering sage advice
We dream deep
Technicolor aurora borealis
Mapping distance and time
Mapping “I never want to be away from you”
A thousand tiny lightbulbs met me this morning
I can still see their glow
A city away
Seven hours in my pocket

“They rest for a moment by our ribcages” by Julia at Bloor and Keele Coin Laundry


Tuesday, May 22, 2012
11:03am
5 minutes
Let The Great World Spin
Colum McCann


They rest a moment by our ribcages. That’s the beauty of anger. It keeps the close ones close and sorry and hungry for mother’s milk long after they’ve been weaned off the breast.
They hang their heads in guilt. Never meant to make mama feel this bad. Never meant to say “I hate you” because even though everyone knows it’s not true, it still hurts to hear it.
Anger in the calming.
A friendly neighbor calls children’s services because she’s heard a lot of yelling this afternoon. They show up at the door and they suspect they don’t actually need to be there.
Everyone is happy now.
Everyone is sorry.
They leave the house with a dutiful nod and an apology that doesn’t count for stones.
The door closes and the tears come. They’ll do what she says now. They promise with every pinky on their bodies. But it’s too late. She’s sorry she didn’t prevent this whole thing. She’s sorry they’re sorry because it’s not their fault but hers.
Just little kids.
In one moment they’re laughing, in the next nothing is good enough.
It’s not to be taken to heart.
But the heart receives what it’s given with two open arms and too empty the promises.

“make two separate journeys” by Julia on her couch


Monday, May 21, 2012
11:44pm
5 minutes
An Actor Adrift
Yoshi Oida


This is where you were first laying. On the couch, covered in your own sick.
You said it felt better here.
You said leave me a lone.
I didn’t.
I rubbed your back until we both fell asleep. Then I came back to your spot. I cleaned up the sick, I tossed out the sheet you had draped over the couch to protect me from the thing I told you I didn’t want.
Who needs barriers these days?
Can’t we just be brothers?
You laugh and say, if I were your brother, I’d kill myself.
You’re sleeping so I don’t respond. I can’t help but wonder if you know what’s going on. If you can read my mind from the dream you’re having and if it’s accurate.
I think it’s accurate.
You stopped talking to me in your sleep three months ago. Today’s the first time you did it again and I almost cried and I almost laughed.
You told me that brothers were for brothers.
That makes sense to me.
I was kidding. In my mind. When I said that.
You took the literal translation like a Catholic with the New Testament.
You told me the truth.
I listened with my breath held so deep in my chest I thought I was exhaling. I wasn’t. I had forgotten I was holding it.
I ached for your bones the way your bones ached for some peace.
I threw my leg over top of your hip and I waited there for you to reach me again, eyes closed, mouth open, words mumbling, thoughts shaking.
You did.
You said, I knew you’d come.
Then it started raining as if on cue.
You called the rain and it came.
I watched the sky turn from pink and blue to black and perfect.

“make two separate journeys” by Sasha on Nadeem’s bed


Monday, May 21, 2012
7:38pm
5 minutes
An Actor Adrift
Yoshi Oida


Two small girls, hand in hand, walk to school in a small village in Cambodia
I don’t remember the name of the village
But the girls are Pho and Phat
They are twins
They are seven
Pho is slightly taller
Phat is missing her two front teeth
Two teenage girls, Pho and Phat, arm in arm, walk to the market in a city in Cambodia
Selling baskets that they’ve woven with their mother and cousins and aunties
Pho is in love with a boy named Rahoul
He has black hair and big hands
Phat has pink eye and cannot stop scratching
They make beautiful baskets
Pho wants to travel to Canada with Rahoul and open up a small store
Where they will sell goods
from HOME
Phat wants to stay where they are
Safe
Familiar
The fish market and the sounds in the morning
Arm in arm
But making two separate journeys inside of themselves
Stride in stride
Knowing that it won’t be forever

“With her ___________ (adjective) behaviour patterns,” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday, May 20, 2012
2:21am
5 minutes
Dysfunctional Family Therapy Adult Madlibs
Roger Price and Leonard Stern


She goes about her day. Sitting. Smiling. Sewing cross-stich pillowcases with phrases like, “God is Good” and “The path is the goal”. She takes her time in the morning, preparing for her day. She buys soy milk. With her predictable behaviour patterns, she’s content and warm. She’s calm. But – – – – – –
she’s not ready.
The day the wave comes she’s stirring honey into a cup of chamomile tea. There are red tulips on the dining room table. Her “month at a glace” calendar is on the floor before her and she’s only excited. Not at all overwhelmed. The wave comes fast and strong. The wave carries shards of glass from before she was born that have dulled edges and fainted colours. She doesn’t know how to swim. She gasps. She doesn’t see the end. She sees the beginning.

“With her ___________ (adjective) behaviour patterns,” by Julia at her desk


Sunday, May 20, 2012
11:56pm
5 minutes
Dysfunctional Family Therapy Adult Madlibs
Roger Price and Leonard Stern


Let’s go with salty. Yup like on my hands. Yup like on my lips.
The way you were when you were four, licking tears from around your nose. Hoping they don’t drip drip onto your white shirt. Mom just washed it. Mom’s going to whip your behind. The shots. The shots. Don’t make her chase you, two for the road and that’s only if you’re lucky.
Want to eat ice cream and let the chocolate stick to my chin. Want to dream in what it would be like to taste a sip of espresso, a touch of Kahlua. Like Grandma. Just a sip in her coffee. Then she sleeps. Right there on the patio table.
Goodnight Grandma. Thanks for the coffee…
Touching tree bark and sand paper. Thinking they’re the same thing.
Sketching what we’ll look like in 50 years. 50 000 years. And we’re all the exact same. Same eyes. Same hands.
There’s a loose chair on the porch. No one’s sitting in it. No one wants to. Everyone’s out back watching the good times, listening to the fireworks because they don’t really care that they’re there. Laughing about a prank call. Yup like a little kid. Yup like the best times slowed down so we can taste them. Yup like an inside joke between me, and you, and your mom, and my mom, and your dad, and my dad, and her brother, and her sister, and her sister, and her mother. That’s that kind of thing you wait for, hope for, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back-don’t-step-on-a-crack live for.
With her salty behaviour, we don’t need a drink but we want one.

“1. I have suffered more than you have.” by Sasha at her desk


Monday, May 10, 2012
3:31am
5 minutes
Audition
Michael Shurtleff


1. I have suffered more than you have.
2. Nothing will ever feel as good as the first time.
3. I’m not a pessimist.
4. Remember the time you had nothing when you have everything.
5. My pain is bigger than your pain.
6. I am more afraid than I let on. All the time.
7. 1.-6. are a not mine. They are for you. Now they sleep.
8. We are born canvases ready to be painted. My canvas happens to be round.
9. Summer smells like coconuts and looks like bare legs.
10. Working hard means sleeping hard.
11. There is nothing as delicious as dancing with a man who knows what he’s doing.
12. People moving people towards goodness is sweet sweet satisfaction.

“1. I have suffered more than you have.” by Julia at her desk


Monday, May 10, 2012
1:02am
5 minutes
Audition
Michael Shurtleff


I was sleeping on the couch again. I had insisted for him to let me stay there until I was ready to come to bed. I planned it out before I got home from work that day. I just wanted to drift off to sleep without constraints. Without the idea that I was supposed to because I was in a bed, on a pillow. I wanted something better. That feeling between right before sleep and pure bliss. That’s where I was hiding. I wanted to be in peace. Let the cover take me or not. Let the infomercials play loud, or quiet. It didn’t matter. I just needed to tune it all out. I needed to nap right before bed so I would know how close to real sleep I was coming. So I would know that he knew how important it was.
He made sure I was warm enough, entertained enough by the proper background noise. Never once asked me to go to the bedroom first and get ready just in case we needed a quick transfer. A quick switching of where I was to where I should be. Always should be. That’s what made it all the sweeter. The notion that it’s puzzling to most, bizarre to others, unheard of to many. I would have stayed there till morning. I would have woken with such back pains. I would have thought to myself: it was worth it.

“Rita’s face is wide and almost square,” by Julia on the subway going south


Friday, May 18, 2012 at Moonbean
4:40pm
5 minutes
Mountain Coming Slowly
Dave Eggers


She’s my mom’s father’s sister’s husband’s sister. I’m not supposed to be mean to her but her face is so boxy I can’t help but hate her by default. Her name is something stupid like Elena or Elenora. She has a pointy noise and looks like the kind of woman who would be a good witch with aggressive tendencies; witch being the operative word. The first time I met her she was carrying a bucket of ceramics and was trying to tell me that they were worth millions. I don’t care much for ceramics but my mom was smiling so I smiled too. The second time she told us about her cat that had just passed away and how it’s so expensive to get a cat cremated. OH! But first, her cat had urine crystals and it cost seven hundred dollars for the surgery, then the cat sill died. I’m not saying that’s not a sad situation. I’m saying maybe it’s a little bit not really that appropriate at my grandfather’s funeral. No one cares about your cat, Elenora, but thank you for distracting me for four hours with details about it.
She introduced herself to me and my sister as a “dear, dear, dear friend” of our mother’s. I didn’t much like this either but my mom was still smiling so I smiled too.

“Rita’s face is wide and almost square,” by Sasha at Moonbean


Friday, May 18, 2012 at Moonbean
4:12pm
5 minutes
Mountain Coming Slowly
Dave Eggers


Don’t take this the wrong way but I’ve noticed that Rita’s face is almost… square. Once you notice something like this it’s impossible to forget it. Now every damn time I look at her it’s like “BOXFACE BOXFACE BOXFACE!” in my head. That sounds terrible. Shit. I love her. Of course I do. After seeing her… you know, give birth, things have been, er… lacking in the… er, bedroom. You see that square face grunting around and it really fucks you up, man. And it’s different now that Henry’s here. I mean, she’s a… Mom. That’s all she does. She’s a BOXFACE Mom. How am I supposed to be attracted to that? I can’t even get it up half the time… And the worst part is? She’s wants it now more than ever. I’m in a real pickle here, man. A real fucking pickle. A boxface of a pickle… Hahaha…

“Reality tv makes everyone think they can be a star.” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday, May 17, 2012
12:20am
5 minutes
Q & A with Martin Short in Toronto Life
March 2012 edition


I have three confessions. Number one: I dumb myself down so that people know what I’m talking about and we can have that universal “feel good” feeling of community and connection. I don’t use words like “CIRCUMLOCUTION”. That would defeat the whole “connecting” thing. Number two: I stole a KitKat from Mr. Chan’s Convenience store when my family was visiting Saskatoon for the summer when I was eight and dear God, I have regretted it ever since. It was a cry for help. I was fat and too smart for my own good and Saskatoon has a way of getting people down. Even people that are eight. Number three: realty TV make everyone think they can be a star. Including me. I have this niggling feeling that I haven’t achieved true success until people know who I am, until people know that I like orange juice with pulp, until I have a cathartic release of emotion on primetime. I’m not proud of it. But it’s just a fact.

“reality tv makes everyone think they can be a star.” by Julia on the subway heading east


Thursday, May 17, 2012
6:20pam
5 minutes
Q & A with Martin Short in Toronto Life
March 2012 edition


The problem is, my boyfriend is sitting behind me watching prison documentaries and then telling me that this is so effed up, and how could people be this way? And then he has night terrors because he believes that it’s making a way into his subconscious. I like listening to it because I like those dark kind of shows where you have to either feel really sorry for the people or really glad that you’re better than them. He doesn’t know, he thinks I think it’s a waste of time. But I have to be prepared. See, I have this anger inside me. I don’t fear that just because my boyfriend likes watching them so much that he will end up in prison, but that I will because one day, if I’m not careful, I might push an old lady down the stairs, or crash my car into an annoying cyclist. I’m just worried, I guess, that I won’t know how to contain it. So when he watches, I listen, and this way I’ll be ready. And he might feel like it’s his fault because he always had them playing in the background, leaking into our way of life without us ever really knowing it.
But then, hey, at least he’d still get to see me because I’d definitely be the type of inmate that signs up to be on a documentary or a reality TV show, even. I’d sign up for sure and then send him secret messages through code to let him know that I’m okay and that no, I haven’t killed anyone in jail yet. But who knows, maybe that will never happen. Maybe they’ll take one look at me and think I have too much innocence in my eyes to ever be guilty of committing that kind of crime.

“You’ve got your priorities all wrong, mister.” By Julia at Seor Ak San


Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at Dark Horse on Spadina
4:30pm
5 minutes
7 Stories
Morris Panych


“Something missing,” you say as you break the eggs you tell me you’re ‘perfectly’ frying for me. I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up. Your specialty is “Eggs by Accident” which just means the yolk is all messy and gross and we just accept it because we’re trying to be positive about the breakfast you’ve just ruined.
You know I love you. It’s not about that. It’s about the eggs. What’s missing, I’ll tell you, is a shake of cayenne pepper. You don’t understand how important cayenne is in our diets!! It helps us with so many things. And every time I suggest it, you say, “honey, I think I know how to make eggs, I’ve done it enough times in my life before.” Then you smirk and go in for a kiss. I’m trying to be tough and not give in to a kiss because you shouldn’t get a kiss after messing up! Put the cayenne: I kiss you on your mouth. Don’t put the cayenne: I get to pout around and wish you cared more about my needs. The next thing I know you’ll be telling me we don’t need cable and we should go back to dial up internet! I can’t live this way! I need certain things. I don’t want to go mountain biking to get exercise. If I want exercise I’ll just watch a work out video and try to mentally put my body into those positions.
But I don’t say anything to you. Instead I let you ruin my eggs and I kiss you even after you do the things that I hate.

“You’ve got your priorities all wrong, mister.” By Sasha at Dark Horse on Spadina


Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at Dark Horse on Spadina
6:25pm
5 minutes
7 Stories
Morris Panych


“Mister mister mister! Excuse me, Mister! Our father who art in Heaven Halloween is thy NAME! Our father our father HOURS are different in heaven. Not sixty minutes. Who says sixty is the right ratio of heartbeats to seconds the second hand ticks too fast! Love you girlfriend. You gotta love her. You’re going to be looking at that face for the rest of your life. If you’re lucky. You are lucky. I can tell. I see a whole bunch of four leaf clovers around you, swimming around the air like minnow fish, making you so lucky. Mister! You’ve got your priorities wrong, mister! You’re thinking instant gratification. You’re thinking let’s go for the crunchy chips now! I’m saying think like a marathon runner think like a marathon runner running up the stairway to heaven. Would you know my name? If you saw me and put two and two together? Four years later and you’re still looking at that face. I hope you love her. I hope you love her really good, mister.

“he’s got selective hearing,” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday, May 15, 2012
11:46pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on the
504 going west


All I can hear is your Elvis impersonation. It’s lovely, by the way, but I can only hear it every now and again because if I’m not careful it will make me cry. I want you to be more than just a memory so I’m going to stop remembering you that way for now, until I can get stronger and just take you with me throughout my day.
These and every other things, I hope you are okay with.
There’s a message in a bottle that I know you found a hundred years ago from off the coast of Nice. I bet there’s something really helpful in there if you would just open it up and read it. Like a fortune cookie, it’ll tell you exactly what you need to hear in that moment.
You’re not opening it because you think the magic stays fresh that way without getting spoiled. I think you’re probably right but my cat-curiosity is eating away at me. I’m dying to know what it says the way you’re dying to stay alive in the body you fought so long and hard for all these years.
Maybe it says, “S.O.S.” Maybe something like, “The secret treasure is hidden at this X”, or perhaps even just something small like “I love you, you’re everything, I love you.”
Wouldn’t that be nice to read? That whoever wrote it loves whoever the recipient was supposed to be?
I think so. I think singing Elvis when it’s raining is a great idea and we should all just do that instead of carrying umbrellas around trying to pretend the wet isn’t hitting us and that the water doesn’t exist.

‘He has selective hearing’ by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday, May 15, 2012
11:54pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on the
504 going west


Stop making assumptions based on baggage you’re bringing into this! Stop making mountains out of molehills! I’m drowning in your fucking sandy mountains that shouldn’t even be here. Jesus, Rick. Jesus. I went out to have a cigarette with Ty. That’s it. That is IT. Nothing happened. I swear to God. He didn’t even try to kiss me. Things get lost in… It’s a case of broken telephone, I swear to GOD. You heard Ty say that we… That we what? That we ‘got intimate’? Who the fuck even speaks that way. If his version of intimate is lighting my cigarette than yes, we were. Nothing happened. That’s it. I don’t even know what we talked about… The weather?!

Menchies passport by Sasha at Loft404


Monday, May 14, 2012 at Loft 404
8:40pm
5 minutes
Menchie’s Passport
Dianne’s Wallet


Passport stamped with places you haven’t been but wish to get to
Sooner rather than later
Airing on cautions side
Do not pass GO
No no no
Pass GO and collect $200!
Pass me that red ribbon from a market in Corfu a toothless man tied around my wrist
Pass me that night you wrote me a poem with your fingertips on my back
Hieroglyphic love language
On a train
Crossing borders like freedom
Thrill seeking
But we’ve got thrill
Pass me that tiny piece of paper with an address in Marrakech
Where your brother lives with his beautiful wife
Where they want to serve us sweet mint tea
Where he’ll call me Princess
And you King
Pass me the reason why seasons change relentlessly and why it can’t always be now
The blank page begging for words

“Menchie’s Passport.” by Julia at Loft 404


Monday, May 14, 2012 at Loft 404
8:40pm
5 minutes
Menchie’s Passport
Dianne’s Wallet


I’m travelling some place good when I get big. I want to swim and stuff and eat so much ice cream my tongue blisters. So. Gross. And. So. Awesome. Braden says his family goes to Wasaga Beach every summer and then they go mini putting and tubing. My family never takes vacations. They also never buy Doritos but Braden’s family does so I’m not really missing out. I already told my mom that if she keeps this up I’m going to run away from home and probably go live with Braden’s family. My mom said, “Fine, go be with them if you like them better. I won’t miss you.” And then I said, “Mom, you’re just trying to make me feel bad,” then she said, “Eat your banana.”
I want to fly in a plane and zoom so low the birds can ride on the wings. It’ll be so awesome. Everyone will get ice cream for breakfast and lunch and dinner and everyone will say, “Fun times is the best times!”
I’m going to go surfing like Braden’s dad and snowboarding in the winter like his mom. And me and Braden will always get to skip rocks in a big river or ocean instead of the pond that my dad built in the back yard.
I told him, “Can I skip rocks in here?” And he said “Clean your room.”
So that’s why I’m waiting till I’m big so I can be the way I wish I was and no one can stop me.

these five minutes: writer’s workout TONIGHT!


these five minutes is hosting Loft404’s Motley Monday Evening Showcase the second Monday of every month!

Please join us TONIGHT (Monday, May 14th) 7-9pm to explore your own pocket-sized stories in the first installment of these five minutes: writer’s workout. Lead by these five minutes’ Julia Pileggi and Sasha Singer-Wilson, expand the tools of your writing practice through a series of timed writing exercises.
All storytellers welcome!

Where:
Loft404 ~ The Ambrosia Hub (263 Adelaide St. West)

When:
Monday, May 14th, 7-9pm

Cost:
$10
(sliding scale available)

“Wheels & Tires” by Sasha on the 501 eastbound


Sunday, May 13, 2012
6:14pm
5 minutes
The Ultimate Specialty Automotive Resource Guide
2012


I started eating chocolate again. It was a terrible turn of events. I was on a really good streak, only leafy green and lemon water and the like. I was on a really good roll, I promise you that. Then Charles told me that he and Penelope really do have something going on and that I need to prioritize my life better. Double whammy. Just like that. And I hadn’t even clocked in at work yet. Wasn’t even getting paid yet! Then, I’m on restocking. I told Jan that that’s the job I actually hate and yet she refuses to write anything down and therefore never remembers and then lo and behold! It’s Sunday and I’m on RESTOCKING. I know that Charles is keeping an eye on me, or rather, keeping an eye on my direct whereabouts in relation to Penelope, because every time I turn an aisle, there he is. Looking sexy. And like Fabio. As usual. And then, the day just gets better when I am the one to round a corner only to find the two of them… KISSING. I promptly marched to the candy bar isle. Do not judge me.

“Seagull nest, Woodwards Vancouver 2005” by Sasha at Saving Gigi

From Views by Lincoln Clarkes

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Saving Gigi
3:09 PM
5 minutes

Views
Lincoln Clarkes

Let’s start by holding hands, closing our eyes and counting to two thousand. Then, let’s flap out arms very, very fast and, eyes still closed, let’s think about the clouds and blue sky. Trust me, before you know it, you’re flying. The first time I flew I was scared. Of course I was. I couldn’t believe how high I could get and how bright the sun was.
Not only was I flying but I knew more about the true nature of hearts in general. “Birdseye view”. Hearts are muscles and muscles have memory. Hearts have memory and likes and dislikes and desires and life longings. My heart is the strongest muscle in my body. It powers my wings when I fly. It’s my battery, my power cord, my ultimate guide.
When I’m flying my heart beats the fastest it can without ever breaking down. Now that’s magic.

“Wheels & Tires” by Julia at her desk


Sunday, May 13, 2012
11:49pm
5 minutes
The Ultimate Specialty Automotive Resource Guide
2012


Ever sat in a moment too long and burned your lips from whispering too close to it?
That might be a weird thing to say, but you’re listening now. Now I can say anything I want.
I want to fly. I want to leap. I want to crawl around the city in a wedding dress built for two…
I want to eat real cinnamon sticks from Sri Lanka and then piss on the window of the coffee shop that over charges for iced americanos.
Please take me with you when you go.
To sanity, if you’re stopping off there first to get gas and buy chips…
To Never Never Land so I can stay this age and make deals with baby fairies who don’t yet know what manipulation is.
I am sitting in this moment. This very moment in time and it hurts so much I want to curl up into a ball and just pull every hair out of my head one by one so I can distract myself from living.
I’m spinning the wheels of tomorrow’s I’m sorry. Of Yesterday’s Forgive me. Of Today’s I told you so.
You told me so. You told me so so many things.
I am driving a car with no breaks. With no wheels. With no Tires.
I am an animal of discovery, you claw my back, I claw yours.

“Seagull nest, Woodwards Vancouver 2005” by Julia at Saving Gigi

From Views by Lincoln Clarkes

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Saving Gigi
3:09 PM
5 minutes

Views
Lincoln Clarkes

Adam had an idea and it was born out of the desire to control something. He wanted to pick up a seagull’s egg and smash it on the ground, stomp on it, spit on it. He thought about dropping it from the roof top to watch it splatter, baby bird legs curled up, baby bird feathers all wet and shriveled.
Adam knew that this would mean more than just a nasty habit for destruction.
He didn’t know what else to do. His urge, controlling him, he wanted that no longer.
He set out one sunny Saturday afternoon and he carried with him a net, a couple of nails, and his bow and arrow. He had been taking archery lessons on Saturday afternoons for the past three months. This, he thought, could still be considered practice. It was after all in the exact same time slot as his lessons.
Adam hadn’t pre-planned to kill anything that day. He only wanted to bring his tools for ‘just in case purposes’. Self defense, mostly. A little bit of exaggerated danger, probably.
In his rubber boots he trudged across the open farm land, ready to be seeded, and and set up camp by a large tree covered in ants.

“And now here I am” by Sasha in a taxi on the way home


Friday, May 12, 2012
2:13am
5 minutes
The Help
Kathryn Stockett


It’s three in the morning.
I left Amsterdam on Wednesday.
This is what I know.
“Now what?” You ask, over and over.
I want to give you something. Something meaningful. But I don’t know if you like flowers or chocolate or a card or wine or salty peanuts. I don’t know what you like.
I don’t remember.
It’s three in the morning and I left Amsterdam on Wednesday and I have a cut on my thigh that should have gotten stitches.
This is what I know.
You keep letting this small grey cat come into the room where I sleep.
It curls around the top of my head.
I can feel it’s purring in the tip of my nose.
“Whose cat is this?” I ask.
“Yours.” You say.
Shit.
I don’t remember what you looked like before but I know that you look older.
It’s like you do and don’t want me back here.
With the unopened mail and the weeds in the garden and this cat.
I should have gotten stitches.

“And now here I am” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Friday, May 12, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
3:33pm
5 minutes
The Help
Kathryn Stockett


What does it say about me in the morning, when I refuse to get up because I’m more engaged in a dream I’m having than I am in any real life activities? I honestly can’t stand talking to other people anymore, but to be the girl who doesn’t even get out of bed, then that’s the worst I could possibly be. That’s the supposed part in my life or this phase where I look at myself and I notice that I am now away from here. Mentally. That I have not maintained my personality. I’m a weird and sad person without the perks of thinking I’m asleep. I am fully aware of everything and I hate everything but I don’t actually. Because I just don’t care about everything. I am not going to be able to do this everyday anymore, because if I keep going this way, I will kill myself with it. I’m just one lost day dream to losing myself completely. And by then I won’t want to come back. So right now, I’m extending the olive branch. I don’t have much time before I forget. So right now, please, accept my olive branch. Because it’s all I have and it’s not much, but it’s all that’s going to maybe keep me from slipping. You never think you’ll get to the point where you actually hav a choice in changing how you feel.

“Me a racist?” by Julia at her desk


Monday, May 10, 2012
12:09am
5 minutes
Londonstani
Gautam Malkani


On the inside I’m a butterfly. I know this because I flutter when I see the water and I rise up up up to the sky when the wind sails past me.
I am not a colour. I’m a butterfly.
I remember wondering when I was little, and only then, if I had pink or blue or yellow inside me. I know now I don’t. Those colours only exist on the inside of bubble gums and flowers and songs sung in perfect harmony.
Inside I am a butterfly. I don’t think or speak or wish. I just am. All I do is fly.
I want to forget that colours exist. I want to put on glasses that mute every colour in the world and only highlight action. I can see behaviour, I can see intention, I can see purity or impurity, but colour isn’t there. It doesn’t matter to butterflies. They just flutter around all day anyway. They just do what they do and even if it’s bad everyone loves them anyway. They get out of jail for free. They get to fly to the moon and back all before mating season.
On the inside I am a butterfly. I decided this because it’s better than saying I’m olive toned, or brown, or pale white, or white white, or black black. These colours mean a lot of things. But only in the world where butterflies don’t fly. Only in the world where essence is disintegrated. Only in the world where trees grow to get cut down and never get planted again.

“Me a racist?” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Queen West


Monday, May 10, 2012 at Dark Horse on Queen West
4:53pm
5 minutes
Londonstani
Gautam Malkani


There’s a thump thump rap rap starts off slow.
There’s a boom boom grind grind where I go.

Turning right on a street where my mama was a kid. People don’t recognize me. I’ve changed my game. I’m back in it now. I don’t get a “hello” or even the dignity of a whisper.
There’s a thump thump rap rap starts off slow.
There’s a boom boom grind grind where I go.

There’s no glory in being behind bars, man. No glory. It’s shit night and day, day and night, day in and day out. Waking up. Shit. Going to sleep? Shit.
There’s a thump thump rap rap starts off slow.
There’s a boom boom grind grind where I go.

Monika called and said that Lil’ Jay learned how to say his own name. He learned how to say my name. My son. Monika got all these ideas about education and rights. Smart fucking woman.
There’s a thump thump rap rap starts off slow.
There’s a boom boom grind grind where I go.

You come back and it’s like you’re eyes can’t adjust to the light. You’re always squinting. It’s too bright.

“The perfect end” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday, May 9, 2012
5:13pm
5 minutes
From the Dessert Menu
At Sambuca Grill


We arrived at her apartment very full of sushi and slightly tipsy thanks to thimblefuls of saki. She wore a blue silk top that had grazed my arm when she reached for the soy sauce. Rebecca had been my TA in a Philosophy seminar in my third year. At that time she had very short hair and used terms like “insofar as”. I thought she was sexy and ridiculous. We’d seen one another three years later at the video store. I was carrying a melting pint of raspberry frozen yogurt. Rebecca said, “So what are we seeing?” and I laughed and snorted and then we laughed together. It was the first time we went out on a date. Finally. It was September. I had broken up with Danny in July.

“The perfect end” by Julia on the subway heading west


Wednesday, May 9, 2012
1:44am
5 minutes
From the Dessert Menu
At Sambuca Grill


Here’s to the night that won’t let us sleep. Here’s to tomorrow that will be damned if it comes too soon and shakes us into reality.
I hold a glass to the sun that is too afraid to rise. I raise a glass to the mix tape I play on repeat today, tonight, forever.
It was a magical boat floating on a magical river. The river had gold flecks floating along it, reflecting the eye of someone who’s lived better; of someone who knows better. It holds a secret of angels and chorus singing, of radio madness and crystal clear agendas, of toddlers wearing truth masks and babies singing their own lullabies.
I hold a glass to it all.
I hold a glass to this song.
I wait and I will the death of me to come. Come find me and force me out into the streets! Come find me and tell me I’ve been wrong since I can remember!
It holds the perfect secret to the perfect end. The perfect middle was finished. The perfect beginning doesn’t exist.
But the end…
The perfect end…
I wave my white flag. I surrender to its greatness, its power, its influence.

these five minutes: writer’s workout! MAY 14TH, 7-9pm


these five minutes is hosting Loft404’s Motley Monday Evening Showcase the second Monday of every month!

Please join us on Monday, May 14th, 7-9pm to explore your own pocket-sized stories in the first installment of these five minutes: writer’s workout. Lead by these five minutes’ Julia Pileggi and Sasha Singer-Wilson, expand the tools of your writing practice through a series of timed writing exercises.
All storytellers welcome!

Where:
Loft404 ~ The Ambrosia Hub (263 Adelaide St. West)

When:
Monday, May 14th, 7-9pm

Cost:
$10
(sliding scale available)

Pre-register by Friday, May 11th at:
thesefiveminutes@gmail.com

“My father was a fox farmer.” by Sasha at R Squared Cafe


Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at R Squared Cafe
7:14pm
5 minutes
Boys and Girls
Alice Munro


Sometimes I forget that everyone was a baby once. Even serial killers and homeless people and football players and Bill Gates. Everyone wore diapers and had nightmares and did weird little things like suck on a piece of their hair or rub their toes together or lick their lips a lot. Babies are helpless little creatures and they can grow up and become… Anything. Scary. Scary if you’re a baby. Scary if you’re a mom. Scary if you’re a father who might happen to be a fox farmer or have an emu farm.

There’s a woman in two different running shoes rifling through my recycling. She’s making such a racket. I am ashamed to say that I am annoyed at the break in concentration that forces me to look outside and see her. She’s digging for gold in the form of discarded beer bottles. She’s bending and picking and touching God know’s what filthy, stinky thing. She was a baby once. She probably didn’t wake up one day thinking, “Today I’d really like to be elbow-deep in another woman’s waste”.

The foxes are running in circles again. It’s like they are trying to make me believe in conspiracy theories. I don’t. No matter how many Youtube videos my brother-in-law sends me about the end of the world and Osama bin Laden and the Mayan calendar I have unwavering faith that it’s all going to be okay. Babies will be born. People will die. We’ll crap and eat and crap and eat.

“My father was a fox farmer.” by Julia on the 505 heading west


Tuesday, May 8, 2012
10:42pm
5 minutes
Boys and Girls
Alice Munro


It sounds like a great country song, but it’s the truth. Jenna knows no one will believe that her father actually sells vacuums door to door. That and the fact that she had to wait tables at a roller derby themed diner on the weekends and escort smarmy businessmen to their brothels at night just to pay her way through her undergrad.
Jenna doesn’t want to burden her father. Ever since her mother skipped town in a blue Buick, she hadn’t wanted to trouble him. Trouble is, it was his fault in the first place. But Jenna felt like he was at least punishing himself enough with the daily Kentucky Fried Guilt that it wasn’t worth her energy to get cruel.
Somedays she thinks he’s actually happy as a solicitor for old appliances that this century’s human isn’t interested in even thinking about, let alone buying.
Sometimes she thinks he’s trying to do acts of contrition: praying to doorbells instead of a statue because at least they make a sound when you press their buttons.

“how could dissonance motivate” by Julia on her couch


Monday May 7, 2012
11:51pm
5 minutes
The Lucifer Effect
Philip Zimbardo


There’s a river that I visit sometimes. It’s called the Sad River. Not because it’s ugly, or ill-maintained, but because that’s where my Nana taught me all the sad things go to be reborn into happy ones.
She used to say that there was a man who turned the sadness into happiness and the poor into wealthy. I used to say, that sounds a lot like Jesus, and she’d say, shut your goddamned mouth, Jesus wasn’t real, and those leather sandals were such a crock of shit.
But somehow, the man spinning sad into happy was believable. She said once that our tears would make their way to this river to be cleansed. She also said that if there were hot dogs on sale at the local market then we should pick up at least four.
I used to visit the Sad River and try to give it all my pain. It wouldn’t want what I have. It wouldn’t want anything like this. Instead, my Nana brought jars and jars of clear water that she said held all of our regrets and tears, and she said she was mad that she didn’t think of it first.
If I were to go to it now I’d probably bring a rain coat. I don’t have the patience to be splashed by someone else’s unhappiness. I don’t have the patience for almost anything now. I’m not young anymore.

“how could dissonance motivate” by Sasha at Lit on College


Monday May 7, 2012 at Lit on College
2:09pm
5 minutes
The Lucifer Effect
Philip Zimbardo


Mr. Duncan made a cup of four minute steeped Tetley tea and pondered taking out the trash. He didn’t do it. His wife would, when she got home from the optometrist. She’d asked him to accompany her so that she wouldn’t have to ride the bus alone, but Mr. Duncan said a rare, “No.” He had work to do. He was building a coo-coo clock. His uncle had been a clockmaker in Vienna, and, growing up, Mr. Duncan had sat perched on the table of his uncles workshop and watched as he painted tiny pieces and fixed tiny bolts to tiny pieces. This was Mr. Duncan’s first clock. He’d been meaning to make one for the past fifty odd years. He’d gotten distracted again and again. He has all the pieces laid out on the old sliding door that he used for a table in the garage. He’d done that last night, in preparation. A good clock takes lots of preparation, his uncle had said. Now Mr. Duncan was ready to go. He put on his glasses and buttoned up his sweater. On his way out the back door, the cup of tea warm in his hand, Mr. Duncan saw a bluejay sitting on a high branch of the fir tree that got weighed down and snowy in the wintertime. He knew it was a sign.

“though it did call for rescue” by Sasha at Gusto 101


Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Gusto 101
5:12pm
5 minutes
The Abandonment of The Jews
David Wyman


though she did call for rescue no one came to her
no one heard her shout
it wasn’t very loud
but it was the lack of response that made her throat horse
not the shout itself
she was drowning
you see
but on the inside not the outside
there was no great ocean
or rough lake
there was no pond with snapping turtles
she was drowning because she’d lost
she wasn’t used to losing
winning was much more her style
winning was much more in style
winning was much more the style of her father and mother
and their forefathers and foremothers before them
this was
in fact
the first time she’d lost in her
whole entire life
and
it
was
terrible
she called for rescue from this losing
hoping that someone might save her
preferably someone good-looking
preferably someone with strong strong hands

“though it did call for rescue” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, May 6, 2012
11:27pm
5 minutes
The Abandonment of The Jews
David Wyman


Courage, my love, and all other things. I was hoping you’d remember me from the engagement we attended last autumn. The trees were brilliant combination shades of red and green and yellow. So delightful, I could have just layed there all season. You were wearing a sweet white dress. I thought it a bit past the summer style but also imagined you frolicking in the dandelion fields and forgot that I am a stickler for appropriate attire. My love, your dress could outshine the sun, and I tell you, I do not throw that phrase around lightly.
I wish you courage, my love. I was trying to be poetic, but I fear I must just come straight out with it. You’ve been falling a little as of late, contrary to what you’ll generally have me to believe. You are a master of the acting art, my dear. How truly versatile your character plays. But I know the truth, and your sadness was quite evident even through a painted smile of mischief and courteousness. I do admit I was trying to avoid it, though it did call for rescue, your longing and your plight. I knew right away, simply understood it from the outset that I must wish you the things I think you most need. If courage be what you find, and in turn what you use, then I will feel proud in knowing that I have aided some.

“inner feminine power” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, May 5, 2012
1:33am
5 minutes
Living In The Light
Shakti Gawain


I knew, as I walked out of that hole-in-the-wall bakery in Greenwich Village, that I’d just met my mother. It wasn’t some cosmic recognition, some heart wrenching return to the woman whose womb housed my fetus. There weren’t tears and there weren’t fireworks. Jann Arden didn’t miraculously come on the radio. Nope. Liza gave me a cup of Earl Grey tea and a chocolate chip cookie. I was sketching pictures of my wedding dress in a small, leather-bound journal I’d bought in Louisville. I was the only customer in the bakery. When I first saw Liza I thought maybe I knew her from somewhere. I laughed out loud at myself when I remembered I’d never been to New York so there was no way… Then I thought about why I came here in the first place, why I left Vermont, James and Elsie, why I was doing this. Oh my god. I went to the bathroom and splashed water on my face. “Busy day?” BUSY DAY? That’s all I could think to say to her? Words often escape me in a way that makes me find myself utterly unbearable. Words are for philosophers, James likes to say, as though that might offer me some comfort.

“inner feminine power” by Julia at Belly Acres


Saturday, May 5, 2012
11:06pm
5 minutes
Living In The Light
Shakti Gawain


I’d start by telling you I’m sorry for unknowingly hurting you. I’ll second it by telling you I’m sorry for knowingly doing so.
You’re a beautiful man.
You have the charisma of a thousand Elvis figurines.
You have the zest of a new lemon.
You’re strong and you’re brave. I don’t know if you know that I think these things about you, but I do.
I really do.
I’m jealous of you if anything. Maybe that’s why I haven’t opened my mouth to say any of this. Maybe because it’s hard to say. It’s hard to form words like these.
Maybe because if I did, it would mean you were really going; really saying goodbye; really needing to hear it.
I don’t want to admit your end yet.
Is that okay with you?
But for the record, I would say those things first, I’d hug you second, kiss you third, and dance with you to your favourite song last.
That would be it.
We’d leave it at the good parts.
We’d remember each other the same way.
We’d remember each other at our best.
We’d never even meet the other stuff.

“the shirt was problematic” by Sasha at Fresh on Spadina


Friday, May 4, 2012 at Fresh on Spadina
3:43pm
5 minutes
News Section
Weekend Metro, May 4-6


Turning inside out
Upside down
In the washer dryer rinse cycle
Repeat repeat repeat
Colours fade and spread and fade again
Like they could ever forget what they were in the very beginning
Tumble dry tumble weed
Shaking blueberries out of shirttails
Making a heart out of tomato sauce stains on collars that should be pressed
The tag shows us that there is one main beginning
There is one place where we all come from
Cotton picked too many times ago to remember
But we’re thankful for it
And that’s enough
Hang to dry
Hang to see
Hang to know that brightness dims
Out of the sunlight
In the shade
Amongst reasons why to count blessings like stray socks
Holding the bright ones close
And allowing them to stain the ones that are muted
And waiting

“It had one blue door and one yellow one” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Downtown


Thursday, May 3, 2012
6:23pm at Moksha Yoga Downtown
5 minutes
The Blown Kiss Collection
Rob O’Flanagan


He thinks he’d prefer to be in Budapest. He’s never been before, he has no clue about it. Miles hasn’t even borrowed a book on Budapest from the Library. He just has this feeling that it would feel like home there. “It’d be easier in Budapest,” Miles finds himself thinking seven or eight times a day, especially when he’s waiting an exceptionally long time for the bus. Tonight, for dinner, he boils himself a few hotdogs, cut up the way he likes, and opens up a half finished bag of baby carrots. “This will do,” he thinks, “but it would be better in Budapest.” Miles thinks about the day of his arrival. He thinks about the plane landing and how he will feel a rush of energy. Perhaps he’ll finally feel as though he’s home. Miles imagines taking a Hungarian taxi (which must somehow be different than taxi’s in New Jersey) to his new home. It has a blue front door and big windows. It is the perfect size for Miles and the beautiful wife he’ll meet in a short time. He takes a bite of hotdog and longs for sauerkraut, even though he’s never had it and can’t even imagine how it would taste alongside his meal. “How can I want something I’ve never even had?” Miles thinks.

“Anything routine or predictable” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, May 2, 2012
11:58pm
5 minutes
Virgo’s Horoscope
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 Metro


She’s singing those hymns again. The ones she learned at camp in the 70’s. The ones she hummed under her breath when she washed dishes at the diner on the side of the highway. Everyone has something that always circles in their head. She had hymns. God always said with a capital “g”. She knew God well. She knew his breath in her ear whispering reasons why. She knew his eyes and his hands and the sound of his feet above her. She’s singing those hymns again because she’s losing everything else. She can’t remember her son. Or me. She can’t remember the man she was married to for fifty six years. She can’t remember to feed the true love of her life, Bernie. The cat. She can’t remember whether she likes turkey or ham so she buys one and then curses when it’s not the one she wanted. She’s singing those hymns again. I give her a bath and she sings them like a child.

“It had one blue door and one yellow one” by Julia on her patio


Thursday, May 3, 2012
5:26pm
5 minutes
The Blown Kiss Collection
Rob O’Flanagan


If you open your eyes and let your heart out, you’ll see it. You’ll see them. There are a million mirrors there so please don’t get confused. It’s all you. And it’s all not you at the same time. I can hear myself saying this to you now and also later, Be Okay With Who You See. It doesn’t mean that you will see greatness. Or ungreatness. It doesn’t mean this is it, or the end, or that either of those things are nigh. They’re not, or they are, it doesn’t matter.
You will see one blue door. You will want to walk through it. I urge you to avoid doing so until you come across the yellow door and have a chance to compare internal instincts. Do not give your canteen of water away to strangers. Do not drink too much water that it distracts you. You are going to need some restraint. You are going to need to let your heart out. Out. Out! It sounds easy! It’s not, I’m afraid. It’s been tangled up in uncertainty, behind wires of what ifs and sharp corners of what nows. It needs to be handled with care. It needs to be adjusted to the light very slowly so it can take in what it needs and fight of what it doesn’t.
When you get to the blue door you will weep uncontrollably. I’m sorry I forgot to mention that. But when the counting inside your brain ceases to occur, you will pick up your bruises and you will kiss them goodbye. You will blow bubbles off of your tongue and into the wind and you will be afraid that the answer was in that moment the whole time because it will feel so perfect and new. When you see the yellow door you will also see me. I will give you the last thing that you need.

“Anything routine or predictable” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
3:30pm
5 minutes
Virgo’s Horoscope
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 Metro


Get up.
Lay back down.
He made you.
It’s not your fault.
Get up.
Again.
Stretch.
Check messages.
Lie about senders.
Lay back down.
He made you…
Again.
Make a break for it.
The bathroom is free.
Run.
Trip over golf bag.
Curse under your breath.
Curse out loud.
You already told him.
Move it or lose it.
He smiles.
He’s sorry.
Leave it alone.
Leave it alone.
The toilet’s clogged.
You curse.
It’s not his fault.
It’s yours.
You remember.
You blame him anyway.
He’s sorry.
He thinks it’s his fault.
It’s not his fault.
Throw out the old toothbrushes.
Open new expensive ones.
You smile.
You made a good choice.
These are better than the old ones.
Nicer bristles.
You stick the new ones in the brush holder.
They don’t fit.
You curse out loud.
You’re pissed.
You can’t have nice things.
You try.
But you can’t.
You cry.
You stop.
Reprimand yourself for crying over amazing oral hygiene.
You stick them hard in the holder.
They look ridiculous.
They look like alien brushes.
Too tall.
Too stupid.
Burst out the door.
He reaches for you.
You high-five him.
Not in the mood.
He pulls you back.
His plan all along.
Fall into him.
It’s not your fault.

“Microtonal Array” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Spadina


Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at Dark Horse on Spadina
12:04pm
5 minutes
Images Festival Program
April 12-21, 2012


I can see you braiding our histories together
My pink threads overlapping and underlapping yours
Picking up and leaving off and frayed ends dipped in beeswax
And sucked by the lips I love
The microtonalities of the callouses on our feet
The scars of paper-cuts and slivers on our fingertips
Working hands prove useful time and again
Despite hangnails and dirt under here and there
History becomes present so quickly
Time the greatest Illusionist of all
Tricking us to think a watch can measure something even
the Ocean and Sun and Moon are perplexed by
We’re here now
Braiding and sipping tea
Shipped miles across dewdrops and continents and dream cycles
Braiding and learning the languages we spoke when we were young

“Microtonal Array” by Julia at Dark Horse on Spadina


Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at Dark Horse on Spadina
12:04pm
5 minutes
Images Festival Program
April 12-21, 2012


There’s a piece of metal stuck in my hand from when I fell in my dad’s store. He says I’ve already gotten my tetanus shot, but I don’t think I have. I think he’s confusing me with Amy, my older sister. Or Jenny, my younger. He tries, my dad, but four women in the house and only one him? That’s got to be the most challenging thing I can imagine.
It hurts, this metal bit. But only when I press on it, which, I’ll be honest, is a lot.

I often think about what kind of mental illness I might have. Not that I have one, but if I were prone to one thing in particular, like alcoholism, or drug use, or kleptomania, I would be most prone to cutting myself. I know that sounds morbid, but it’s just honest. It’s because I like to scratch bug bites on my skin until they’re raw. I like to push on bruises until I wince. It feels kind of nice to even let the oil from the frying pan splash me while I’m making eggs.

I’ve never tried cutting. I don’t even want to, but for some reason, I like the idea of being able to if I need to because I’m already good at tolerating pain. At liking it, even.

“She is with a man” by Sasha at her desk


Monday, April 30, 2012
1:16am
5 minutes
Esquire: Women
May 2010 issue


Damn it. She is with a man and he’s taller than me and has straighter hair, bigger hands and a stronger jawline. I haven’t gotten my teeth fixed yet. It’s been seven years. She knows how expensive dental work is so hopefully she won’t… I won’t smile. Maggie is wearing a dress I’ve never seen and red high heels. Hussy. She looks hot. She looks better than she ever has. I think she’s lost some weight. Charlie warned me that she’d be here. And with “Josh”. I’ve never liked that asshole name. I should’ve brought Marcie. She wanted to come so bad. She loves Allison and Charlie. She loves weddings. She’s only been to one in her life and that was when she was a kid and she doesn’t even remember it. I am an asshole. “Hi buddy,” Maggie says. I turn around. “Mags, don’t fucking call me “buddy.”

“She is with a man” by Julia at her desk


Monday, April 30, 2012
11:59pm
5 minutes
Esquire: Women
May 2010 issue


Hi, thanks for returning my call. I am a little shaken up. I didn’t know who else to talk to about this.
I’ve never lost anything before. Especially not the best thing I ever had. I’m not really sure what to say now, or how to act, or what to wear even. I just thought hearing your voice would help.
It does, by the way. It helps a lot. If you’re wondering why your voice helps, it’s because it’s like a vanilla milkshake. I don’t really want to explain what I mean by that.

I’m mourning April. It was a really good month for me. I woke up this morning and felt like I all of a sudden had to pay my respects to something, and I know no one I know has passed away, so when I looked out the window, I knew. It was April. I had to say goodbye to April. I think I learned all life’s hard lessons this month alone, and I mean that. It’s been pretty challenging and exciting and sometimes both at the same time.
May isn’t warm or inviting. It’s just a sad thing to have to follow such a successful month, and I don’t blame May for being a bit of a try-hard. I don’t doubt that there will be more sunny days to try to impress the cold people, or even prettier flowers. But will May be a bear? Will May make me crazy and better in 31 days?
I just don’t know, you know.
All I know is that I’m spending my last moments with April, reminiscing all the good and bad times, by eating Double Stuf Oreos on repeat like a great 90s tune.