“Within two hours” by Julia on the subway going east


Friday June 29, 2012
7:20pm
5 minutes
The Loved One
Evelyn Waugh


Everything will go to shit within two hours. Trust me. You will not believe this until after you’ve experienced it and then you’ll ask yourself why you didn’t listen to me in the first place.
I am not going to say “I told you so” because it won’t do us any good. You will learn. And then you’ll be a bit hurt. But at least for next time you will know that within two hours, everything will go to—yes. See? You already understand more than you did a few minutes ago.

I’m having a mental break down, did I mention that? I haven’t slept in two days, my skin looks like it’s been sitting on top of a volcano and my gums are bleeding. Well, my gums always bleed, but so what. It’s still shitty.
Someone once told me that in order to get up from a break, you have to go down first. Hence: break down. Well let’s hope I’m on my way back up again or this advice, this “within two hours” beautiful and ridiculous, bullshit advice I’m giving you will be absolutely worthless.

I’m just trying to relate, you know. Trying to give you something you can reference when you think I’m on a high horse. I’m not. Please trust that. I have been where you are exactly and I have been where I am now which is just slightly better.

“You could say that to him if you want to…” by Sasha at Loft404


Thursday, June 28, 2012 at Loft404
3:43pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on
the Queen car going east


Jim is on Craigslist. Again. He’s searching the Missed Connections. He’s looking for something to respond to. Maybe it was him? At over six feet four inches, Jim is hard to miss. He’s sure someone’s noticed him. He goes all the way back to February and doesn’t see any post about a striking man with greying black hair and warm brown eyes. He thinks maybe he should put on some clothes and go get a cup of coffee at Second Cup. Or go to the market for a dozen eggs, like a normal person. He decides against it. He calls his niece in Victoria. “Hi Lizzy!” He shouts. He blushes. “Hi Jim,” says Lizz. It sounds like she’s standing in the middle of a highway. “I can’t really hear you!” Jim stands up and goes over to the window. “Can I call you back this weekend, Jim?!” She says. He thinks about the convention he’s meant to go to in Barrie with all the other Lawn Aerators. “I’m going to be away -” “Okay! Talk to you then!” She’s gone. Jim gets his phone book out from under the sink. He opens it to a page in the F’s. He points at a number and calls it. “Hello?” Says a mans voice on the other end. “Hello,” says Jim.

“Thy black is fairest” by Sasha at the Laundromat


Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at the Laundromat
10:14am
5 minutes
Sonnet 131
William Shakespeare


It’s the kind of birdsong you don’t want to hear in the morning. High pitched and whiney. She opens her window to clap her hands together. Are they nesting again? Forgetting about her downstairs neighbours the Chans, a family of five living in a two bedroom, she starts shouting, “Be quiet! BE QUEIT! I’m trying to get some sleep!” Mrs. Chan comes out of their back door and calls, “Sorry, Miss Polly! Baby is teething!” Polly feels guilty. She closes her window and lies back in bed. It’s hot. The east facing window doesn’t have a curtain. She thinks about whether or not she should go back to school in September. She hates libraries. Doing a Masters was her mothers idea. She does what she always does when she feels a flutter of a stress storm. She goes into her closet, closes the door behind her and nestles into her clothes (a bridesmaid dress from her sisters wedding, her blue parka, overalls from when she went to Wales and worked on a farm). She’ll stay here for upwards of two hours, in the dark, in the peace, feeling the black wash her worries away.

“You could say that to him if you want to…” by Julia on the 504 going west


Thursday, June 28, 2012
12:15am
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on
the Queen car going east


Tell him it’s your birthday. That stuff always works. He’ll be dying to buy a gift for you or a drink. You could tell him you just broke up with someone and then he’ll just be super nice to you because he knows that if he’s not sensitive then he’s never going to get laid. That’s how I got Ricky. I told him—well, I mentioned casually that I was just getting out of a surgery and he was incredibly attentive and committed. Mind you, I was only having a tooth removed, but he didn’t have to know any of that, see? It’s just a good test because if you lie to him and he’s still an asshole, then you know you won’t have to feel guilty for lying to him! I don’t know, I mean, the lying is only good to get a read on him. I’m not saying lie about your religious beliefs or about what your true passions are. I’m simply saying that if he is into you, you’ll get out of jail for free for the first couple of dates because he’s going to be trying all the more just to show you that he’s like, a really good guy.

“Copper and Malachite” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday, June 26, 2012
11:12pm
5 minutes
Learning to Bend
Ben Sollee


My father’s name is Ted. I don’t call him “Dad” or “Papa”. I call him Ted. Ted believes in UFO’s. He doesn’t believe in God, or forgiveness, or guardian angels. He believes in extraterrestrials. Not only that, Ted has had an “encounter”. My younger sister and I have come to expect visits from scientists and sceptics. Ted takes them down to his workshop in the basement and proves that he’s radioactive. We used to listen at the top of the stairs to the small, high pitched signal. We’ve stopped now. There are better things to do. Ted went to New Mexico for a whole two months last summer to see if he’d be contacted again. He’s embedded a small chip of copper under the skin of his left forearm so that it’s easier for the aliens to get in touch. I don’t get it. But Ted does. It’s as though he wants me to share his interest, or his belief, or his strangeness. He buys me books on the subject for my birthday even though he knows that I’d much rather receive a new tennis racquet or tickets to a hockey game. He ends up reading them. My mother doesn’t say very much. She whispers, “Ted, give Charlie a break,” every now and again but Ted doesn’t seem to hear her. I realize now that his theories offend me. Are we not enough?

“Thy black is fairest” by Julia at TAN on Baldwin


Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at TAN
4:55pm
5 minutes
Sonnet 131
William Shakespeare


I like her attitude. She’s got this ‘I-don’t-give-a-fuck’ sense of style, sense of humour. Everything about her is dark and a little pissy. I fucking love it.
I met her, Camilla, at the video store on Queen. I told her her name was pretty and she told me to “fuck myself”. I bet she’s the kind of woman who doesn’t think she matches the name she was given at birth, but I think she does, deep down somehow. I think she has soft spots she doesn’t let anyone see. That’s part of her appeal. Who wouldn’t want to be the guy who cracks her shell and gets to catch all that gooey stuff when he’s the one that helps her see she’s not alone?
“Fuck myself.” What a quirky personality. I probably shouldn’t have said anything at all but I also told her it would be nice to see her eyes when they’re not hiding behind so much dark shadow. She spit on my shoe when I said that.
And, hey, I get it: She’s her own woman and I respect that. But I would like to see her soft face under the glow of a nice candle, over dinner and wine sometime. I would have told her that too, but she was already gone.

“Copper and Malachite” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
9:05pm
5 minutes
Learning to Bend
Ben Sollee


I’m just looking for something that won’t irritate my skin, you know? Something natural, I guess, since nothing else seems to go well with me.
Did you know that even perfumes react terribly? Like on one person it can smell amazing, but on me, on me it smells rancid. Like the perfume got old—or the way gin smells after you’ve left it in a mason jar for too long. It’s maddening. Expensive too. I feel like one of those people who always has a cold or is accident prone and every time you see them, they have a new cast on a new body part. Or they’re falling asleep at the supermarket because their bodies are so faulty and on the defense to the entire world! I do no want to be one of those people. And yet, here I am, asking a twelve year old earring vendor at the farmer’s market if she has anything “nickel free”. She doesn’t even know what “nickel free” means.
Maybe she’ll grow up to be allergic to everything too. I just pray that for her sake, her tastes become less high maintenance and less, you know, fashionable.
God knows my taste is both my blessing and my curse.

“I prepare to pack up my life” by Sasha on her couch


Monday, June 25, 2012
10:52pm
5 minutes
Women’s Post June/July 2012
Sarah Lambert


I have a secret. It’s heavy when I’m with someone who doesn’t know, on my chest, weighing me like an anchor. It’s light when I’m with you, like a feather or a leaf, because it’s not my secret. It’s ours. I’m preparing to pack up my life, into boxes and backpacks, suitcases and garbage bags. It will go into a Storage Unit in Liberty Village. My life will be happy there. It can go for Balzac’s coffee or have brunch at School. I will be back for it, and it knows, so it’s not scared or sad. It doesn’t feel abandoned. It’s excited for me. While my life relaxes, gathering a little bit of dust, I will be going to the land of sunshine and Old Growth forests. I will take a few things with me (whatever fits into the back of our used blue Honda Civic). But these things aren’t my “life”. They are: four books (An Actor Prepares by Stanislavski, Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg, Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems and Learning To Love You More by Miranda July), a Big Carrot bag of summer clothes, a hat from my best friend and my father’s first guitar. And my laptop. And the Buddha head that my first boyfriend gave me for my nineteenth birthday.

“I prepare to pack up my life” by Julia at her desk


Monday, June 25, 2012
12:40am
5 minutes
Women’s Post June/July 2012
Sarah Lambert


Is my nose crooked? I can’t tell if it’s just the light of the moon or if my nose has always looked like this and I was just playing stupid.
I think it’s normal. I think it’s not crooked, that is, because I was never hit by any kind of sports ball, or anything like that. I just sort of noticed it today and I’m thinking it’s the stress of having to move out of my house that I’ve been living in for 30 years. I made this place the home that it is. No one’s going to come in here wanting the space or thinking what they can do with the bedrooms. They’re only wanting it because it looks like something they could never have. Well, 30 years in one spot will do that to a place. I just think I’ve been letting a few things go, like my anger and my nose. They’re just not as untouched as they once were. I’ve been staring at my face from different angles trying figure out if I’m going crazy or if I’m just so worried that I’ll never have a place like this again. Force me out of my home, tell me that I haven’t been living here legally.
Well you just go on and try to make a house into a sanctuary as I did. I dare you. I don’t think there’s two ways about it. Trying to make me move into a home because the government owns my property and I just had a really good cover up until now. That’s what they’re saying anyway.

“pornography looks likes this:” by Sasha at Loft404


Sunday, June 24, 2012 at Loft404
4:32pm
5 minutes
The Beauty Myth
Naomi Wolf


You probably think this is going to get dirty and explicit and use words like “dripping” and “throbbing”. No. It’s not. You probably think that just because I lost it now I’m all different or something. I’m not. You’re probably jealous because not only did I get a bra first, I got kissed first, and touched first, and now… You probably think it was all sexy with candles and R & B music or Drake or something. You probably expect that it felt… good. Let me set a few things straight. There was no music. There wasn’t candles or flower petals or steam coming in from somewhere. You probably think that I’m a prude. I’m not. There was dripping and throbbing but it wasn’t in a good way. You shouldn’t be excited for it or think it feels good because then you’re just going to be disappointed. Lower expectations means that you won’t feel let down. I guess Cody watches a lot of porno because he expected me to do all these things that I had no idea even existed. I mean it’s not like he’s had lots of girlfriends! Only Alisha. And she’s only had sex with Kyle and Malcolm so she couldn’t have known all that stuff. It’s really sick. I mean, what those girls do in those pornos? You probably think that I’m a slut. I’m not. What was I supposed to do? He didn’t even turn off the lights. I thought that was a given. It’s not. Don’t think that anything is a given. You’ll be disappointed. And I should really warn you that you thought that the poison ivy hurt? You don’t even know.

“pornography looks likes this:” by Julia at her desk


Sunday, June 24, 2012
10:10pm
5 minutes
The Beauty Myth
Naomi Wolf


I guess I have been having those ear pains again. The ones where it’s so heavy inside my head I can’t see straight half the time. My Grams always told me not to stick them cotton swabs too far back into the old ear drum, but I never really listened. No pun intended. I can barely hear anymore as it is. Let alone..well, you know.
I would stick those cotton swabs all the way into my brain if I could. It feels like you’re scratching a really hard to reach itch, all the way back there. Sometimes it feels so good I can feel my whole body shake and I wonder why they don’t try to advertise this to young teens, especially them Christian ones. It would be a good way to feel how adult love is supposed to feel. Without sinning and stuff. It’s natural but it’s sort of off the beaten path, if you know where I’m going with that. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it gives me those pleasures that I sure as hell haven’t felt from a man in over 4 years. I gotta tell you, when you use those swabs, you just have to hit the sweet spot and it’s like having your very first orgasm all over again. I know this may sound a bit strange, but you have got to trust me. It’s even better then hitting that G…that…spot. Come to think of it, I hope they don’t market it to teens. It might be a bad idea after all…

“Lost & Found” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Queen


Saturday, June 23, 2012 at Dark Horse Espresso Bar
6:12pm
5 minutes
The Toronto Star
Summer Guide 2012


Vinny’s Lost & Found Inventory, June 2012
13 black umbrellas
2 Blue Jays baseball caps
1 iPhone (version 3)
1 book of graph with math problems (unsure if any are correct)
2 rolls of toilet paper
1 large men’s blue and white striped dress shirt (sweat stains)
8 quarters
1 case of Heineken
21 nail files (assorted)
1 leather bound notebook (filled with letter addressed to Tom Waits)
1 ladies’ make-up case (contents: mascara, lipstick, eyeliner, a condom and tweezers)
2 socks (one red and one with small monkeys on it)
4 baseball cards
1 glass eye
1 gold chain with a $ sign pendant (fake)
2 $5 Monopoly bills
3 newborn diapers
7 granola bars (assorted)
1 pearl earring (real)
2 People magazines
1 Men’s winter boot (with liner)

“Lost & Found” by Julia at Bloor Keele Coin Laundry


Saturday, June 23, 2012 at Bloor and Keele Coin Laundry
2:04pm
5 minutes
The Toronto Star
Summer Guide 2012


Couldn’t find my favorite scarf on Friday. I was going to meet Andrew’s parents and it was specifically requested by Andrew (or his mother) that I dress, and I quote, “As if my mom picked out your clothes and you enjoyed it.” I was on the hunt to look church appropriate meets English Lit college grad. With honours. I needed slacks and I needed my favorite scarf, which for the record was a gift from Andrew’s mother and was not actually my favorite scarf, but my only scarf, and something I never wore. She had sent it in a care package after Andrew and I graduated and she couldn’t attend convocation because she was in Bali. On vacation. She sent this scarf to me and I had to facilitate a fashion show (Forced. Did I mention it was forced?) so she could see me wearing it in all the “important” pictures.
I told Andrew that faking all this country club hoopla wasn’t worth it and she was going to find out the truth about me eventually.
He just laughed and said, “Trust me, with my mother, you’ll be perfect as long as you play the part.”

“From which direction?” by Julia on the subway heading east


Friday, June 22, 2012
5:51pm
5 minutes
As Ripeness Comes
Rumi tr. by Coleman Barks


Join us for a destination wedding in, wait for it, the Bahamas! No, not really your thing? That’s fine, that’s fine. How about Alaska!? Where the sun sets in the same spot for three hours and then it’s day again!? No night to rob you of your special memories! Oh, okay, not a destination wedding. What do you say to one of those church weddings–you know, the usual!? You could decorate the inside with whatever you want. Traditional! Classic! Not getting married? What about a vacation to, wait for it, The Bahamas! Would rather something a little closer to home? What about… Your actual home! Stay as long as you want with no check out times, or amenities aside from the standard! Feel free to use long distance calling and of course, the regular bathtub that’s probably too small for one adult, let alone two! Cute! Join us on your Stay-cation! The one where you don’t even feel like you’re having a vacation because the same old same old is surrounding you in every direction! For you, and please take advantage of this limited offer, a full two weeks for just $900!

“From which direction?” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday, June 22, 2012
2:41am
5 minutes
As Ripeness Comes
Rumi tr. by Coleman Barks


I wish that I was better with direction
I wish that I was one of those people who always knew which way was NORTH
I with that I could read a map
I wish that I didn’t rely so much on a small black rectangle to tell me where to go
that charges at night while I’m sleeping
Preparing to get me from here to there

I wish that I was better with direction
If I were
I would travel to the East Coast
Alone
With a map
My small black backpack
A toothbrush
Perhaps a small bag of toasted almonds
And I would be able to find my way
I would have faith in that
It’s funny
She gets a compass tattoo
The irony
It’s funny
I keep picking up globes
And pointing
To where I am already

“believe in the salvation of society through the proliferation of parasites” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday, June 21, 2012 at Starbucks
4:57pm
5 minutes
Les Miserables
Victor Hugo


Got some sticks, gonna make a fire. Gotta stay warm- gotta make it through the night.
Trying to waft the smell of Jonah away from my face. He left his body here with us while he went off to find God. Reeks. Smells like a bad mistake. Wish he was still here.
Deb and I, we’re the ones in charge now. Sylvie’s too small, she thinks up is down and down is just a funny word.
Told Deb to be careful when looking for berries. Told her to tape down her chest so they wouldn’t get in the way. So those others wouldn’t notice her as easily. She didn’t hesitate this time. Nodded her head as if she knew it was the best idea.
Sylvie wanted to stay here. Told her to stay with me anyway. The fire is almost ready. Gotta stay warm-gotta make it through the night.
I’m sorry, Jonah.
But I don’t say it out loud. I say it inside my mouth, feeling the words tickle my teeth.
I’m sorry.
What does it mean now? Sylvie is going to think it was my fault.
I told her to stay with me.
Now I look, and she’s gone and Deb’s gone.
For the berries, I remember. Maybe Sylvie went for berries too.

“believe in the salvation of society through the proliferation of parasites” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Downtown


Thursday, June 21, 2012 at Moksha Yoga Downtown
6:04pm
5 minutes
Les Miserables
Victor Hugo


Spoken by a seven-year-old Cecelia, holding a loudspeaker, wearing red Converse sneakers, denim overalls and a striped black and white tank top, at lunchtime, whilst standing on a NOW magazine newspaper box.
Believe in the salvation of society! Do it! If you don’t it means most don’t and that gives us no hope at all! Order truth with your breakfast! Come on! It’s easy enough to order bacon and eggs! Order TRUTH, I SAY! What happens when we lose belief that there’s still a chance it’s all going to work out? Well, let me tell you. My dad has lost hope! My dad thinks that pretty soon the world is going to spontaneously combust. IT WON’T! Not if I have any say in the MATTER! Which I do. You do TOO! It’s actually quite simple. I have it broken down step by step. Number one: Plant a garden. It can be on your windowsill, or in an old pot that’s been burnt too many times, or in your backyard that’s full of icky gravel. It doesn’t matter! PLANT! Number two: Recycle. It’s not hard. It labelled everywhere. There are bins everywhere. RECYCLE! Number three: Tell the people that you love that you do, in fact, LOVE THEM. This will inspire them to do some pretty cool things. TRUST ME. I know this from experience. It’s not hard. It’s just three simple words!

“Because it is my name!” by Sasha at La Merceria


Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at La Merceria
3:37pm
5 minutes
The Crucible
Arthur Miller


I will be the one to break your heart
I know this
Like I know my birthday in the Winter
And rain today
Breaking the heat
I will be the one to break your heart
I know now what I didn’t know before
My name is the letters you blow
Smoke rings through the open door
I feel the moonclouds
the tideflows
the Here and the Never
I will be the one to break your heart
It’s definitive
It’s a crystal ball cloudy with mistakes
My hands glide over letters and symbols
And the words my fingers make are
Nevermind
I will be the one to break your heart
You beautiful, tragic, fragile woman
You just began speaking in forevers
And children
And Lovers in a Dangerous Time
The bombshell you’ve build us is fragrant
with the Empty

“Because it is my name!” by Julia at Butterfield Park


Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at Butterfield Park
5:31pm
5 minutes
The Crucible
Arthur Miller


Call me Crazy, I like that. As in, that’s my name. Like, “Oh, hey, Crazy, nice sundress.” Or, “Crazy, can I borrow your mechanical pencil for this crossword?
I like crazy used daily so that I don’t seem crazy, I just am because that’s my name. No one will have to wonder. They might be surprised when I’m acting sane, but that’s just one of those two-for-one deals you can’t help but buy even though you’ll have more stuff than you actually have room for. Assuming you have a bachelor apartment.
“Hey, Crazy, can I lick your skull?”
And that would be fine too, because I’m meant to enjoy the absurd the way Brittneys are meant to dye their hair blonde and wear neon colours in the winter. I will sign my letters with a heart and then ‘Crazy’, but in cursive so that even the word looks a little unpredictable.
I think I used to want this nickname from a boyfriend, or better, a lover, in the past, but now everyone’s free to use it. Hello free world! Nicknames that represent a girl better than the name her mother gave her after she relapsed on methadone.
Call me Crazy. I like that…
Yeah. I like that a lot.

“This is excellent news” by Julia at Saving Gigi


Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at Saving Gigi
11:49am
5 minutes
Sports Section
Toronto Star, June 19th


I’ve been waiting to hear from my lawyer about the rights to his farm. Technically, it’s my farm too, but the way he says “my”, “my kids”, “my house”, “my farm” just gets into my head a little bit and plants a tiny seed of doubt.
Apparently, this will progress like a custody battle as we’re both perfectly entitled to it. I’m not going to pretend to understand any other legal jargon I’m hearing. I just know it’s half mine and I’m going to fight for it.
He told me, on the night that I found him in bed with his secretary, that I could have everything. “The house”, “the car”, whatever I wanted. That’s because I told him without thinking twice that we were over and made sure he understood it. He was backtracking, trying to look better so I’d remember him as generous and not as the dirt bag with his dick in someone else when he thought I was away in Vermont for my book signing.
And he said it then, “the house”, “the car”, not “my”. That’s how I knew I had a case. That’s why I’m fighting in the first place. He can say “my” all he wants in court. It won’t mean shit.

“This is excellent news” by Sasha at Saving Gigi


Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at Saving Gigi
11:49am
5 minutes
Sports Section
Toronto Star, June 19th


She keeps repeating that it isn’t a mistake, but every time she says it I think more and more that she thinks that it is, in fact, a mistake. She repeats that they’re happy, that when she found out (seven home tests and three vials of blood at the doctor’s office later) she screamed, “YAY!” She looks at me and asks what SPF I use on my face. She’s insinuating that I have wrinkles. She rubs her belly, despite the fact that she’s barely showing.

She and Jon (sans ‘H’, how cute,) have been together since Christmas. They met over a buffet table with shortbread and fruitcake. I guess that mistletoe worked it’s magic. Jon works in “Landscaping”. When she talks about his job it’s as though he’s “scaping” her the Queen’s garden, only breaking to skip over to the Dalai Lama’s Zen retreat. He’s one of those guys with big huge hands and wide linebacker shoulders. She’s loved guys like this before. They tell the occasional racist joke but redeem themselves by coming home with flowers. They moved in together when they found out she was pregnant. Genius plan. It would have been better if they didn’t know the doom that was to come.

“a sleep without dreams” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday, June 18, 2012
11:13pm
5 minutes
Ardella
Langston Hughes


Ever since you arrived I’ve slept without dreaming.
Ever since you arrived I haven’t been able to eat my normal breakfast of a boiled egg and an orange. The spherical nature of both things disturbs me.
Ever since you arrived I’ve felt like listening to talk radio. Something about those masculine, obnoxious voices.
Ever since you arrived I’ve let my apartment go to crap. I really must take out the recycling.
Ever since you arrived everything morning overexposed and taken with a Polaroid camera.
Ever since you arrived I’ve forgotten to floss.
Ever since you arrived I’ve abandoned my bicycle and begun taking taxis. The occasional bus. But mostly taxis.
Ever since you arrived I’ve been thinking more about my childhood wrong-doings – stealing Halls from the Convenience store near my aunt’s house because I liked how it felt when I had one in my mouth and breathed in; removing my underwear before going onstage to play a piano recital (in a Church, no less).

“a sleep without dreams” by Julia on her patio


Monday, June 18, 2012
5:17pm
5 minutes
Ardella
Langston Hughes


A sleeping baby, a sleeping dog. That is what I picture when I look back into my mind, reaching for peace.
That baby is mine, that dog is yours. That picture, that picture is ours.
You and I have made a family.
We watered it and we watched it grow.
We no longer say, “the grass is always greener”.
We know that the grass is green where the rain is welcome. Where the water is. Where the love is.
I miss you now, more than ever.
I miss your hands, your feet, your heartbeat.
I miss the way when I brush my teeth I still expect your arms to come up and hold me.
I hated it then.
I miss it now.
I want the family in the picture. The part I haven’t yet mentioned is the part where you’re writing me a letter.
A love letter, I like to imagine. The letter you give me with tears in your eyes, and then I carry the same words around with me in my old peeling wallet.
But this letter isn’t telling me beautiful things that I have or have done.
It’s the one where you say something terrible.
I think goodbye is in there.
I think sorry is also there.
I feel like jumping back into that picture in my mind right now. That’s where happiness is. That’s where I was at my best and you were at my side. Loving that my best to me was not my best to you and with age, I would actually get better.
And now, with your watered plants and watered trees, the grass is green but I no longer see any colour at all.

“Lobbing F-bombs and other curses” by Sasha at Loft404


Sunday, June 17, 2012 at Loft404
12:31pm
5 minutes
Reuter’s Oddly Enough
Jason McLure


I feel dignified when I say ‘FUCK’. I feel filled with satisfaction and righteous articulate bravado. I feel refined when I say ‘COCKSUCKER MOTHERFUCKER BASTARDASS’. Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not trailer trash. I’m educated. I have wonderful manners. If you brought me home to your mother she’d compliment my eye colour, my straight teeth and the graciousness with which I hold myself. ‘COCKSUCKER MOTHERFUCKER BASTARDASS’. People look at me and they think, “Gosh, she was raised well. She’s a good person. Who has hair that colour without visiting a salon?” I say “FUCK YOU FUCK THIS SHITHEAD BULLSHIT”.

Jeremy Breton, a red-headed and freckled boy in my grade three class, taught me the word ‘PUSSY’. I tried it on in my mouth. I felt the snap of the ‘P’ and the delight of those two ‘S’s’. Thank you Jeremy. I’ve never known a more beautiful word.

“Lobbing F-bombs and other curses” by Julia at her parent’s kitchen table


Sunday, June 17, 2012
1:53pm
5 minutes
Reuter’s Oddly Enough
Jason McLure


Couldn’t catch me if you tried
I’m the lived, the sieved, the thrived
Got words that burn every time
Thinking bells and whistles won’t hold the line
Wishing for the collide, following each and every side, pick a wig to help you hide, let the masterminds spread it wide
Latching onto an Internet scheme.
Are You Happy?
Now you see what I mean?
There’s a distance in this distance that keeps pushing us apart, lots of panic, lots of addicts, lots of bottomless hearts.
I’m now on the run, listening to the hum of one who is more nun than mum
who is better than yours because she’s mine and she’s sure
She doesn’t deserve it but that’s wrong, sing all night, I love this song
Run the water, throw in the towel, lay it on me, hour by hour
Quick and painless, call me shameless
Got a basket or two, of ideas to brew, want my vocabulary to speak for itself: I can’t stand you.
Flopping F-bombs, tossing out swears
Innapropriate? Who fucking cares?
Take a look at me. I’m a fucking barn-yard frenzy.

“I never thought that I’d be famous,” by Sasha on her front steps


Saturday, June 16, 2012
5:38pm
5 minutes
Citizens of the Dream
Cary Tennis


I never thought that the smell of rain in the morning meant anything at all, the clouds could still change their course. I never thought that betrayal meant a few cycles of the moon and then BAM! forgiveness. I never thought that women in extremely high heels was the least bit attractive. I never thought that cruelty accomplished anything whatsoever. I never thought that I’d be famous. I never thought that my face would one day look old. I never thought that a babies cry would pull me to my child like the strongest magnet. I never thought that I would be happy with simplicity, in fact, the most happy I had ever been. I never thought that I would own a cabin, on a river, in the woods and that it would become my favorite place on earth. I never thought I would finally understand meditation through weeding my vegetable garden. I never thought I would write a book, or a play or a eulogy for the man I loved. I never thought that one day I would wake up and think that it would all be better if I were thinner. I never thought that there would be a fire. I never thought that I would regret not taking more photos when they were young.

“I never thought that I’d be famous” by Julia at The Village By The Grange food court


Saturday, June 16, 2012 at The Village by the Grange food court
5:45pm
5 minutes
Citizens of the Dream
Cary Tennis

I never thought I’d be an astronaut. Nope. Don’t know, don’t care ’bout space, ’bout the sky, really, or ’bout the other galaxies that I can’t see. I thought I was going to be a professional joke teller. Ha. Ha. Just kidding. See?
I thought I was going to be one of those people who never really owns anything, runs anything, never has people working under me. I’m good at taking direction; thought I’d be damn good at being famous, just get one of those people to tell me what to wear, what to say, and how high pitched to laugh. Ha. Ha. That joke thing might still work out, huh?
What I am is an honest working woman with four mouths to feed. Bird mouths, that is. All four of them need to eat! Not like one of them Not-Eating birds! Ha! Ha! There I go again. Now cast your stones if you may be so inclined, but 1) only God can judge me and 2) those four Parakeets are my whole entire life. They sing when they know I need it, not just because they have to.
You’re probably wondering why not Lovebirds or Canaries.
The answer is, these were the ones that chose me. If I had the choice earlier, I wouldn’t have birds. I already told you: I’d be famous.

“Reading without thinking is worse than no reading at all” by Sasha at Sadie’s Diner


Friday, June 15, 2012 at Sadie’s Diner
4:22pm
5 minutes
2₵ Plain
Harry Golden


She used to walk home from school, down a sidewalk caked in snow, or covered in leaves or dotted with remnants of a game of hopscotch, with a book in her hands. It was held far enough away so that she could still glance down every now and again, so as to avoid tripping, but close enough so that she could see the words. She used to to sit in the shade of a tree at recess and if someone came to invite her to play she would kindly refuse, “I’m getting to a good part,” she’d say. Sometimes she used to stay awake hours part her bedtime in the flashlight illuminated “tent” of her bedcovers, turning pages until her eyes were to heavy to stay open. She used to make excuses as to why she couldn’t join her mother on trips to the supermarket, she just wanted peace and quiet and her book. She got reading glasses in the third grade and thought it the highest medal of good reader-dom. She had arrived. She had the accessory that proved her to be the greatest of all bookworms. It was questionable as to whether or not she truly needed glasses, her vision was just a few hairs away from twenty twenty, but she wore her glasses with such pride that her mother did not even care.

“(AGONIZED MOAN)” by Sasha sitting outside the AGO


Thursday, June 14, 2012
6:04pm
5 minutes
David Boring
Daniel Clowes


Stop! (THE MANIC JUMPING CONCLUDES). Okay. Now I want you to lie on your back on the floor and I want you to imagine that you’re a wave on the ocean. (THE PEOPLE SLOWLY LIE DOWN ON THE FLOOR ON THEIR BACKS. ONE WOMAN LIES FACING THE WRONG WAY.) You are a wave on the ocean. The ocean is one with it’s waves. Waves don’t “go” anywhere. Waves move freely, waves roll. Can you roll your wave? (THE PEOPLE OPEN THEIR EYES A BIT AND WONDER WHAT THIS MEANS.) This is an inside movement. This movement has nothing to do with flailing a limb or squashing your neighbour. This roll is called “going with the flowing”. Go with the flowing of the waves on the ocean. Would a wave going with the flowing feel anger when they are cut off by a Range Rover in six o’clock traffic? Would a wave going with the flowing become aggravated when their husband leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor? Would a wave going with the flowing feel resentment when their younger sister makes a hundred thousand a year and still doesn’t have a single wrinkle?! (ONE MAN, IN THE FAR RIGHT CORNER, MAKES A SMALL AGONIZED MOAN.)

“Reading without thinking is worse than no reading at all” by Julia on the subway going north


Friday, June 15, 2012
6:03pm
5 minutes
2₵ Plain
Harry Golden


That’s why he doesn’t read. He’d rather be making up all sorts of stories– good ones, bad ones, but mostly long ones. He was the type who just liked listening to the sound of his own voice. Not that that’s a bad thing. I respect a man who enjoys himself. I find it to be rare, you know. At least I know he’s content with himself instead of always wishing he had a different trait to live by. Some people can do math equations in their heads, some people know how to grill up a fine steak, and some people just know how to talk and to sound comfortable doing it. His stories didn’t always make sense, but you had to be patient while he tried to work out the kinks on the spot and turn it into something worth remembering. He didn’t like to read much, so his stories have a limited vocabulary, an honest relatedness to them. He tells what he knows and he doesn’t seem to find any shame in that. I didn’t marry a man who could do my taxes. Hell, I can do that kind of stuff myself. I married a man, and this is the god honest truth, who knows how to weave reality into something pleasurable to endure. An entertainer. A story teller. Someone who can mask the pain every once in a while with a good word and an even better line.

” (AGONIZED MOAN)” by Julia on the 511 going south


Thursday, June 14, 2012
6:00pm
5 minutes
David Boring
Daniel Clowes


Cameron, he had on these latex gloves. Walking around the apartment with his beard braided into a dragon point, commenting on the housewares that we should have bought at the Abbot Street garage sale last Saturday. The gloves were a new thing he was trying. Seeing if he could be spared germs this month during the transitional period between seasons. He promised he wouldn’t touch me with them on but it got to the point where I actually didn’t mind the feel of them.
The first time he brushed up against my arm by accident because he was reaching for the tea pot to water the daisies by the window. I thought it was weird, but then I found myself requesting him to touch me with them. Medicinal. Clinical, really. He wanted to wash me while wearing them.
We sat in the tub, too small for the both of us to fit comfortably, and he squeezed suds and water onto my neck, onto my back. It wasn’t particularly detailed touching. He just had on the gloves making contact with my skin as if he hadn’t.
I don’t know if he was actually trying to prevent illness—I had a feeling he was trying to avoid making an imprint of any kind, anywhere.

“By the time you read this,” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, June 13, 2012
2:12am
5 minutes
CityBites
Spring 2012


Ursula,
By the time you read this I will be someplace new. I don’t see this as a bad thing. I see it as a change, of course, but change is something I’ve attempted to master and failed. Maybe next time around. Please remember to water the garden, especially the herbs. They need lots of attention. It would be a shame to see them all shrivel up and… And eat your greens. You’ll develop scurvy or something terrible and then all this would be for nothing! Tell Vinny that you love him. Come on. It’s been twelve years and he’s still walking around completely clueless. I know love when I see it. We spend our lives holding out for the “right” moment… It’s now. If you hate your secretarial job, as I know you do, quit. There are better ways to spend your time. Ursula, when you’re an old lady, with exceptionally long hair and wonderfully colourful painted toenails, you want to reflect on what you’ve done and, regardless of accomplishment or accolade, you want to think, “I had a very good time.” I don’t foresee Scout living much past ten so that gives him another two years. Do both of you a favor and put him down. Watching a cat die naturally is as painful as repeated paper-cuts. There’s a tin on the top shelf of the pantry that has nine hundred dollars in it. Go and do something wonderful. Buy a few wedding cakes and eat them all yourself. Go to a spa for a whole week. Repaint the outside of the house tangerine orange… Those are just a few suggestions, mere ideas…

“By the time you read this,” by Julia on the 504 going east


Wednesday, June 13, 2012
6:40pm
5 minutes
CityBites
Spring 2012


Shit! I need everyone to stop talking to me on the ASAP! I can’t find my ring! Jesse gave it to me for our 2nd anniversary. It’s hideous, actually, but apparently it’s worth shitloads. Fuck! Nobody move. I’m on my way to dying if I don’t find it! If he comes back and sees me without it, I’ll be—cooked—is that a saying!? It was his mother’s for christ’s sake, who, rest in peace, told him to give it to someone who mattered. Ugly little thing, going to pay for our future children’s future. Christ. I’m an idiot. Sometimes I amaze myself with how small all of my limbs and appendages are. I mean, who’s the real culprit here? Obviously my fingers! They’re so dainty I can’t help but lose ugly and expensive heirlooms. Could you imagine these little guys in the winter! Ha! What a joke. Things would be falling off of my digits left, right, and centre! Watch out folks! My fingers can’t be trusted! But seriously. Seriously, guys, in all seriousness, if I don’t find that god awful ring, I’m going to just flop on a bed and stay there until one of you finds it. This will be the end of me! Oh, goddammit!!

“Mr. Oleander was a thin, slight man,” by Julia on the subway heading east


Tuesday, June 12, 2012
1:51pm
5 minutes
Mr. Oleander
Brian Doyle


Always gazing at those damn rose bushes. He had a peaceful way about him but assertive at the same time. His skinny throat looked like it was about to cave in and he stood there, every morning, staring and breathing at Amelia’s roses.
They were a town attraction, it’s true. People would come tour her front garden the way they would Niagara Falls, or a textile museum. Amelia was a very stubborn woman, up until the day she died. She was up at the crack of dawn, fiddling around in the yard and singing songs of the 60s to herself.
For my money, I’d bet that the townspeople were coming as much to hear that beautiful voice humming as they were the roses.
But Hamilton, he was there for the roses because Amelia left him all alone with a town attraction to maintain, or not, when she passed in 2001. Hamilton could have let them die, but he had a green thumb just like Amelia, wanting to see her memory flourish because he loved her that damn much.
I watch him from my kitchen window, trying to gauge his expression but it’s hard. His eyes are closed and he’s just breathing there.

“Mr. Oleander was a thin, slight man,” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday, June 12, 2012
6:13pm
5 minutes
Mr. Oleander
Brian Doyle


Mr. Oleander came in the New Year, at the beginning of second semester. He was replacing Miss Ballentine, our History teacher, who had taken too many sleeping pills and been found dead in the bathtub of her apartment. Mr. Oleander was a thin, slight man, with impeccable style. He often wore a hat, which he removed before the start of class. It seemed to me that he wore different shoes every day. I don’t remember ever seeing him wear the same pair twice. He must’ve had a very assorted collection. Aside from Mr. Duval, the elderly headmaster, and Juan, the one-armed head of maintenance, Mr. Oleander was the only man on campus. You can imagine the flurry the day we discovered that not only was Miss Ballentine being replaced by a man, she was being replaced by a handsome, young, dashing, and fashionable man. Mr. Oleander wrote his name on the board and Crissy McGuigan tapped me on the shoulder, whispering, “I’ll bet you six dollars that I kiss him before the end of the year.” I didn’t laugh. I didn’t even turn around to acknowledge that she’d spoken.

“If I don’t go right now I’ll miss my chance.” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday, June 9, 2012
11:47pm
5 minutes
Irma Voth
Miriam Toews


There was a fear growing
Like ivy
Like rainclouds
Up her legs
Around her ribs
Reaching into armpits and elbows
“If I don’t go now I’ll miss my chance”
There was a sound humming
Low and whispering
There from sunrise to moonset
In the park
And the kitchen
“If I don’t go now I’ll miss my chance”
It was irrational maybe
Maybe it was planted in her
By her mother
Or her father
Or her kindergarten teacher
But she lies awake now
Thinking over and over
Not of sheep jumping over fences
Or the loves she’s lost
She thinks
“If I don’t go now I’ll miss my chance”
Until tomorrow
When she scratches
And screams
And knows that she has no choice
It must be done
She packs her suitcase
Brown leather
And her handbag
Brown leather
And she locks her front door
And she goes

“If I don’t go right now I’ll miss my chance.” by Julia at her desk


Saturday, June 9, 2012
12:32am
5 minutes
Irma Voth
Miriam Toews


I was walking in the rain, splashing muddy water onto the backs of my new jeans. I was wearing new jeans because I was trying to impress someone, but I can’t mention who it is. I promised myself I wouldn’t say it out loud. I also promised myself I wouldn’t admit it even internally, so looks like everyone is just shit out of luck.
I had an umbrella and I was trying not to scowl even though I hate the rain. If I ever feel like singing while I’m getting rained on, they’re never happy songs. They’re songs about abrupt relationship endings, or people doing the unthinkable. Like cheating. Or like, whatever is worse than cheating that our society has maybe just not figured out yet.
And there they were. Standing in the hedges like they were trying to hide from the road. A woman and a young boy. The woman was holding a big bowl and popping something white into her mouth over and over again. The boy was trying to find Narnia by unlocking every branch and attempting to swirl through them. I tried not to keep my gaze on them. I think they were both barefoot. Did they live around here? Is this their idea of fun? Eating popcorn in the rain with no shoes on?
I wished for a second that I was that woman holding the large bowl. It felt like she knew what was what. Like in that bowl, she held every answer that I’ve been asking myself since birth.
She wasn’t smiling though. Maybe that meant she did have the answers, but she was just as disappointed with the world as I would be.

“ate the meager ration with great joy.” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday, June 10, 2012
6:54pm
5 minutes
Episodes of the Revolutionary War
Ernesto Che Guevara


1. Driving to your father’s cabin, listening to California Dreamin’, popping pistachios and trying to hear their shells hit the highway
2. Chasing fireflies with mason jars, trying to catch their light, as moth wings tickle the hairs on my arm
3. Coconut ice cream after barbecued ribs and yams
4. Your questionable nautical shorts, stolen from the cabin attic, bare chest, bare feet, drawings of the map to the secret beach on the back of your hand
5. Saving that baby mouse from the seagulls, feeling it’s heart beat faster than a hummingbird’s wings and hearing you whisper to it, “you’ll be okay, you’ll be okay”
6. Spending a night on the mountain, eating trail mix for breakfast and picking wildflowers on the way down
7. On the way home deciding we must become Buddhist monks, together, for the diet of brown rice and steamed vegetables
8. Forgetting to set an alarm, sleeping until two and not feeling the least bit guilty

“I just wanted you to tell me that you like me.” by Sasha at Jimmy’s Coffee


Saturday, June 9, 2012 at Jimmy’s Coffee
3:14pm
5 minutes
Travelling Mercies
Annie Lamott


I just wanted you to tell me… I shouldn’t have to ask! I shouldn’t have to spell it out for you all the time. How is that cool? I never understood birthday lists. If I tell you what I want how is that in the least bit fun for anyone! For me or for you! When I said that I wanted you to choose where we were going for dinner I meant it! I don’t want to always be the one coming up with every single idea… I hear you talking to Jordan, “Hey man, let’s go to the Jay’s game on Friday,” and I think to myself, “Okay, so he has the capacity to make a plan! To have a plan-based idea! Okay there IS hope!” But they always involve Jordan. So it makes me wonder… Do you intend to spend your life with Jordan or do you intend to – Don’t interrupt me! Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give you a day, a whole day, morning to night, and you are going to figure out what we’re going to do and then we are going to do it. I don’t care if it’s going to the dog park and watching Irish Setters pee, you plan it and we’re DOING IT.

“ate the meager ration with great joy.” by Julia on Nicole’s couch


Sunday, June 10, 2012
6:09pm
5 minutes
Episodes of the Revolutionary War
Ernesto Che Guevara


I was sticking my nose where it shouldn’t be again. Asking you questions I knew even while asking that you’d be uncomfortable answering.
I’m sorry about that. I couldn’t help myself. I was just aching to get to know you so bad that I lost all tact and probably all patience.
See, you’re just the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and I didn’t want to ruin that by not knowing what makes you so… So perfect.
I see now that what I was doing was the opposite.
I was struggling to find out about you before you had the chance to find out about me. Now that sounds darker than it is, and I can assure you of that. But there’s a little bit of truth in it. If I could find just one of your flaws and still want you? Hell, I might as well have just struck gold. Because, even when I say it now it sounds strange, but I thought if I could love you anyway, then finally you’d be able to see the real me and maybe love me anyway too.
I don’t know. The whole thing just sounds so silly now. But I swear to you when I first had these thoughts it felt like the best damned idea anyone’s ever thought up. I ate up that idea like a chocolate cake.

“I just wanted you to tell me that you like me.” by Julia on her patio


Saturday, June 9, 2012
2:12pm
5 minutes
Travelling Mercies
Annie Lamott


I put my hair in a braid and a I slept like that for two whole nights so my frizzies would be smooth and shiny and flat for you. The braid was uncomfortable but I once heard you say you only liked ladies with straight hair. I can’t blame you. I have the same preference in men. I wouldn’t want a curly top at all, so that’s why I was trying to even the playing field for me so that when I saw you next, I’d have a fighting chance at being your wife. Girlfriend. That’s fine too.
I also thought about maybe buying those false eyelashes that don’t look real. My best friend, Nancy, she’s Italian so she has those big brown eyes and her face might as well be made up of eyelashes. They’re practically everywhere. I don’t have that luxury. My eyelashes look like they’ve been singed off in an uncomfortable candle lighting incident.
I assume all men like long eyelashes?
I wished that night I had called Nancy and asked her to cut some of hers off and glue them to a thin thread. She has so much, she wouldn’t miss them. And besides, she’s really crafty. I’m not crafty. I once made an eye-patch out of an old paper bag and I didn’t realize it had mold in it so I got an infection. It was pretty bad. Just reminds me not to buy nice and dainty things that I think I can decoupage or upholster or other craft terms.

“There was a strange temper in the air.” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday, June 8, 2012
2:31am
5 minutes
Understanding International Conflicts
Joseph S. Nye, JR.


Walked out of my front door. Looked like Brigadoon. Smelled like bacon and eggs. Wondered what the fuck was going on. Went to the streetcar stop. Waited. Waited. Was that kind of morning when you feel like it might be your last day on earth. Started picking my tooth with the back of my Visa card. It’s new. Held off til now. I need it. Was waiting til I needed it. See, booked that ticket to Nashville. Mam laughed. Said that I was crazy. I said I don’t give a flying turd if it’s crazy, I’m going to get a record deal. Been listening to a lot of Hank Williams. Knows how to do it. Learn from the best. Listen and learn. Simple. It’s all simple. Drew a map of my life. Realized that I’m only at the beginning of the road. Got a long way to go. Got my boots and my hat and Air Canada will be my horse. Mam said I’m dreamin’. Wrote a tune to the letter that Cassie sent. Can’t get through it without getting choked up. Know it’s gonna be a single. Visa feels good in my back pocket. Stability.

“There was a strange temper in the air.” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday, June 8, 2012 at Starbucks
3:17pm
5 minutes
Understanding International Conflicts
Joseph S. Nye, JR.


I walked into the restaurant, looking for a man that said he’d meet me here. I was Stupid. I didn’t ask him what I should expect him to be wearing—I didn’t have his phone number. I was relying solely on faith that he said he’d be here, and that yes, in fact, he would show up. This wasn’t a blind date, or a date at all for that matter. I needed help. I was told this man would be my best bet. A bit overpriced but allegedly because of a 100% success rate. Now I must tell you that I’m not normally the type to even need this…help…but when you’ve reached a little thing called Rock Bottom, you tend to start thinking of things, or doing things that you normally wouldn’t.
I imagined him wearing a hat. A straw hat, dress pants, and a white linen top.
I don’t know why but I expected him to have a full goatee, one earring, and a belt buckle that was perhaps a bit too ornate for his otherwise casual attire.
Suddenly the door opened…

“-all free, all year long.” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday, June 7, 2012
10:43pm
5 minutes
Sweat Equity
Special Edition 2012


It’s going once! It’s going twice! FREE FREE FREE! Good home! Bad home! Who really cares, it’s FREE! Not for once, not for twice, for the WHOLE YEAR LONG! You think you’ve got yourself figured out? You don’t! You think you’re happy? You’re not! You need… ME! It’s going once! It’s going twice! FREE FREE FREE! I’m cute and smart and ready to work! I’m good at cleaning and sawing and making things fun! FREE FREE FREE! You think you know what you want? You don’t! You want me. You want ME. I’m FREE! Take take take! Go for a trial spin around the block! Make sure I’m home by ten though, you don’t want my Dad sucker-punching you in the face! It’s going once! It’s going twice! FREE FREE FREE! Me! Free! Take me! Choose me! I’m tasty and chewy and sweet and salty and everything you’ve ever ever ever wanted. It’s going once! It’s going twice! FREE FREE FREE!

“-all free, all year long.” by Julia at her desk


Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Green Grind
10:25pm
5 minutes
Sweat Equity
Special Edition 2012


She was selling lies by the barrel. Hoping she could hold a tiny bird in her hand at least once before she died.
Said Please Mister Can You Spare A Dollar?
Said Hold My Hand I’m Afraid Of Heights.
It was going at a good price, too. Lots of juicy ones down deep at the bottom.
Remember That Time We Borrowed The Civic And Crashed It Into The Pond?
Remember That Time We Ate Gold Chicken Wings Off Of A Three Hundred Dollar Plate in Vegas?
She didn’t think anyone would notice. Hoping she’d get a good head start before anyone even recognized it was her.
Giving quarters to the homeless as a karma defense.
Eating only salmon and carrots because one was cheap and one was not.
Said Please Sister Can You Watch My Baby Just For An Hour?
Said Take Anything That You Want I Don’t Care About Material Things.
It was a good price. All those lies and no problems to come with it? It was the best deal in town, and she knew it.
Not your problems, anyway. Her lies came with her own problems, but she didn’t expect you to have to worry about those.

“she had a hard time sleeping” by Sasha at La Merceria


Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at La Merceria
4:23pm
5 minutes
Vitality Magazine
June 2012 issue


The smell of coffee in a pot and the sound of your voice calling me out of dreams
The smell of your breath on my cheek
Angel kiss
And the sound of your footsteps going down the hall
Down the stairs
Out the door
And then you’re back
Around seven
With wildflowers and ingredients for dinner
You make it
Standing at the stove and reaching into eternity
Stirring pots of here and now
But I smell there and when
I can’t sleep at night
I toss and turn
Hungry for you
Hungry for what’s happening tomorrow
And the next day and the next
I am not living the dream
I am living my dream

“she had a hard time sleeping” by Julia at T.A.N on Baldwin


Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at T.A.N on Baldwin
4:53pm
5 minutes
Vitality Magazine
June 2012 issue


She had nightmares all her life. All her life as a child. She’d sneak down into her parents’ bed and give her mother a kink in her neck because she didn’t have the heart to kick her little girl out.
She slept on her mother’s side, not her dad’s because A) it was closer to the door, B) her father smelled of coffee, even in his sleep, and C) sometimes, though she’d deny it, her mother would hum quietly to her and help soothe her nerves.
She dreamed about witches, about Jesus looking like the devil, about her mom turning into her dad.
She came down every night for at least a week–expecting constantly a comfy water bed resolution.
(It was the nineties. Everyone had a waterbed.)
But then one night after a treacherous journey into her pre-adolescent subconscious, she ran downstairs to lay in the crook of her mother’s back…and the door was locked.
She knocked hard and fast, then started banging. They weren’t coming to let her in. They were teaching her a lesson.
She cried.
She cried there, her knocking losing some of its power, but still making a small noise. And she wanted them to hear her.
Trough shallow inhales, over and over again again, she was pleading “why?”

“But it wasn’t greed that put me there;” by Sasha at the Green Grind


Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at the Green Grind
12:22pm
5 minutes
The Sweet Hereafter
Russel Banks


I knew that I wanted something but I wasn’t sure what… It’s like when you go to the grocery store even though you have a perfectly stocked fridge but nothing in there seems good enough to eat. So I went. It hadn’t changed. Of course. Those kinds of places don’t change. And it was still as terrible as when we left… Of course. I wanted it to be good again, I wanted the good music and the good people and the good… I wanted a good time! That’s not too much to ask. I know that. Gideon was behind the bar. He kept asking me if I wanted shots of tequila. “NO!” I finally had to yell at him, half because the music was loud and half because he wasn’t getting that I don’t drink anymore. I guess it was greedy of me to think that anything would be… the same. I hadn’t been there in… eleven months. He said I looked good… better than the last time he saw me. I don’t know what that means, really, but I blushed, I think. Of course. I just want, I want that feeling of free… That flying feeling where your heart is beating fast and you’re scared because you’re losing control? I wanted that. Yeah… That’s what I wanted. And then in the taxi on the way home I… started to cry. I didn’t get what I wanted. What a child. I fucking cried, really hard. Ugly crying, you know? And the driver asked if I needed him to pull over.

“But it wasn’t greed that put me there;” by Julia at the Green Grind


Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at the Green Grind
12:22pm
5 minutes
The Sweet Hereafter
Russel Banks


I think it was her silence that put me there; in that position of not knowing who to blame or what to even spread on my toast. Immobile. Tangible inactivity. It was as if my fingernails were growing backward into my skin. I could exhale only and still stay alive.
But she craned her neck to look at me. She didn’t say a goddammed thing. Her eyes didn’t even have words in them, and that’s how I know I had ruined everything.
I wanted her body. I coveted the strangers who even just bumped into her at a busy intersection.
I longed for an answer, wanting it all to myself, whatever that answer was.
I remember the room was lit by one single candle, wax dripping onto the scratched wood. She said it was an antique. It should look worn. She didn’t know I knew she had been chipping at the table while she thought I wasn’t looking.
No music playing, she was wearing my black t-shirt as a nightdress. I grabbed her hair and smelled it.
At first she seemed pleased…
And then the room turned dark. My head began to spin.
I know now it’s me she blames.
Because I blame me too.

“You do not mess with the ocean.” by Sasha at Anapurna


Monday June 4, 2012 at Anapurna Vegetarian Restaurant
5:32pm
5 minutes
Water, Water Everywhere:
Ran Ortner’s Love Affair With The Sea


I kayaked across the Atlantic
Alone
Today
Before a lunch of avocado spread across toast
And a hard boiled egg
I wrestled with a wave in the Adriatic before bed
He fought hard
Like my first boyfriend
He had teeth that wouldn’t let go
I held Lake Ontario in my arms like an enfant
Last night
Before bed
Before dreaming of a forgotten lover
Before waking up thirsty
Of all things
I cradled the Lake
She cried
Colic?
She cried
Soiled?
I couldn’t change her diaper
She wasn’t wearing one
Now I swim the breaststroke
Through the ice flow
Coming down from Alaska
A polar bear drowns

“You do not mess with the ocean.” by Julia at The Beet Organic Cafe


Monday June 4, 2012 at The Beet Organic Cafe
3:22pm
5 minutes
Water, Water Everywhere:
Ran Ortner’s Love Affair With The Sea


You do not mess with the water, with the sea, with the moss growing on rocks.
You do not mess with the air at it’s coldest, the wind at it’s mightiest, the clouds at their darkest.
You do not mess with a child’s first Christmas, first birthday, first two-wheeled bike, first tooth lost.
You do not mess with sand in your shoes after winning a beach volley-ball tournament at your boss’ cottage.
You do not mess with the goat milk pudding that your grandmother made just for you so it wouldn’t hurt your stomach.
You do not mess with the last page of the best book you’ve ever read.
You do not mess with carrying a baby rabbit in your arms for the first and last time.
You do not mess with her desire to paint you naked and crying.
You do not mess with his urge to smoke cigarettes in the back corner of his shop while he’s on break.
You do not mess with the magic, the endless, the timeless.
You do not mess with the classics, the fairy tales, the gingerbread houses all crumbled and eaten.
You do not mess with the water, the sea, the ocean.
You do not mess with a heart’s true song when singing to the night sky.
You do not.

“While Allen was locked away,” by Julia on the subway going east


Sunday June 3, 2012
5:59pm
5 minutes
Zodiac Unmasked
Robert Graysmith


I believe Allen wanted to ask me to marry him. I was probably going to say yes until I found out that he’d been smuggling bath salts or something ridiculous like that. Perfectly normal guy, too, except for his tendency to chew on toothpicks so long they’d get soggy.
Allen and I met on the first of February in 2008. He was wearing socks and Birkenstocks and I was so embarrassed for him. I had on my red blazer and he laughed at me just as much as I laughed at him. I think we hit it off because we were being honest with each other. Or that’s what he believes. I was just trying to score a ride home and maybe some midnight couch sex…
I could have gotten behind the smuggling thing. It really doesn’t even bother me. What I don’t like is that he tried to act like one person when the whole time he was leading a double life. I hate being lied to. I hope Allen is lying to those other inmates and getting his ass kicked for being too full of bullshit.
I have a cavity. Fucking Allen left me his stash of Mike and Ikes when he went away. I didn’t even think twice and devoured the whole drawer in less than a week.
It’s a good thing I never told him the entire truth about me, now that I think about it.
Now he can feel guilty about hurting me and I don’t feel bad because he deserves to be.
It wasn’t that I was just keeping some things from Allen…But from everyone…

“While Allen was locked away,” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday June 3, 2012
11:36pm
5 minutes
Zodiac Unmasked
Robert Graysmith


I started thinking about Allen when the tulips started sprouting up. He used to bring my mother pink ones, tied with a piece of twine, in an old spaghetti sauce jar. I hadn’t thought about him in years, foolishly. I liked thinking about Allen, it made me feel full and imaginative. Those were two words I rarely used to describe myself. Allen took over our garage and made it into his Studio. Capitol “S”. I wasn’t allowed to go in there without knocking or stamping my feet on the Welcome Mat loudly. He’d throw open the door and shout, “I have a VISITOR! A PRINCESS VISITOR!” I would shriek and he would pull me inside like there was a rush or a secret meeting taking place. It was musty and still smelled like petrol. Allen had used every tiny bit of space, creating shelves and hanging paintings on the wall. He carved animals out of wood and made rocking horses for children, only available through special order. It’s still strange to me that I never had one. I used to think that one was on the way, but he’d been interrupted. My horse would have had a black mane and wise eyes. It could have rocked me anywhere.

“Instead of writing music” by Sasha at Lit on Ronces


Saturday June 2, 2012 at Lit on Ronces
3:29pm
5 minutes
the music section in Now Magazine
May 31-June 6 2012 issue


Instead of writing music my mother makes olive tapenade. She takes each pit out, one by one. Her fingers are black and she licks them occasionally. She’s never been the type to be particularly concerned with germs. She adds oil and chili flakes. She’s only developed a taste for spicy food in her later years. She grinds pepper from the mill that she and my father received as a wedding gift. Whenever we tried to play with it as kids she’d say. “If you break that you’ll have to fly to Italy and buy us a new one because that is where Uncle Bernie got it!” She’s toasting baguette in the oven. The smell reminds her of the first cello she bought with her own hard earned money. There was a small dent near the base. The old Austrian man that sold it to her gave her one hundred dollars off as a token of respect for the precision with which she inspected the instrument that would become her own. The baguette is perfectly browned. She spreads spicy tapenade on each slice and waits for a knock at the door.

“She has not paid much attention.” By Sasha at her desk


Friday, June 1, 2012
3:44pm
5 minutes
Death Has a Small Voice
Frances and Richard Lockridge


She whispers quietly at first. ‘Go to sleep my little one, go to sleep now.’ It is late and the crescent moon is dotting the grass out front, tickling each blade with its gentle light. Christopher is sweaty and restless, he does not want to dream. His two year old hand grasps her pointer finger. Val will be home in four hours, his shift at the plant finishing around one in the morning. She’ll be asleep by then, hopefully, in her own bed, without a little red headed boy by her side. Christopher has had nightmares every time he’s gone to sleep for the last eight weeks. She and Val are sleep deprived and cranky, Christopher rubs his eyes like there’s sand in them. ‘Sleep, baby…’ she coos into his small ear, breathing in his pristine smell.

“Instead of writing music” by Julia at Lit on Ronces


Saturday June 2, 2012 at Lit on Ronces
3:29pm
5 minutes
the music section in Now Magazine
May 31-June 6 2012 issue


“You betcha, I’ll be there!” I yelled at him with my mouth full of chocolate croissant. I can’t believe I said ‘you betcha’ because it’s the lamest thing I could have said to a guy who looks that cool, but I said it. He smiled anyway. Maybe because he was glad I would be going to his first acoustic gig at the Hard House… Or that I had croissant all over my face. The truth is, I don’t even like croissants but somehow having one when he’s around feels like a good idea.
I was already trying to plan my outfit in my head—should I wear my white vintage Mary Janes or flip flops? What’s appropriate for a ‘non-date’ at a ‘non-concert’?
He was probably telling everyone to come anyway. What makes me so special?
I have a tattoo that says ‘Fighter’ on my left inner thigh…
Maybe he wouldn’t care about something like that anyway. I don’t know if I should bring my friends—or just one friend. I would like him to think I’m a supporter of his music. But not just a supporter. A lover. And not just of his music. But a lover of his body…

“She has not paid much attention” by Julia on her couch

Friday, June 1, 2012
10:19pm
5 minutes
Death Has a Small Voice
Frances and Richard Lockridge


Little girl, might have been two years old. Might have had blonde piggy tails and a lisp so cute you could swear it was July somewhere. Had on her mommy’s apron. Dancing around to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles because her daddy liked to play the AM radio while driving. Might have been three years old, now that it’s a point of remembering. Might have been four even, but she’s not counting yet so why should we?
Had her her favourite supper tonight. Hot dogs without the bun. Squirting ketchup all up and down her hands so she could grab that dog and not worry that some of it needed sauce.
Such a cutie, they say. And she smiles big when they do. She wants everyone to see her baby tooth coming lose. Might have been six years old, now? Might have been six and a half? She still dances around. She still makes sock puppet brothers and sisters so she can finally play with someone her own age.
It’s almost September now. She’s trying to keep the summer here by shrieking at night before bed and again in the morning when she chomps down on left over grilled eggplant.
Might have had an inkling to be a dancer. Might have had a penchant for following little boys around on her bike and wishing they would turn around so she could plant a big wet kiss on their little boy faces.

“It has to do with seeds.” by Julia at on the 505 heading west


Thursday, May 31, 2012
11:17pm
5 minutes
In Moonlight
Lorna Crozier


It has to do with planting. With green thumbs. With a mulch party and some knocked over corn on the cob from dinner last night. With a doorbell that only plays Moonlight Sonata, the whole way through, even if you just need to hear the first part.

It has to do with buying Greek and Italian Oregano from a man named Lee who likes to garden and also dress up like a Teletubby for sexual fetish nights at the Boom Boom Room.
It has to do with rocks and sand and both of them supposedly de-stressing or bringing zen. It has to do with Buddha, I think, although I’ve never met him and I fear he may smell like olives.

It has to do with small ideas, planted deep and watered with an imagination and a broken-footed left brain. It has to do with calling your mom at three in the morning because you’re wondering how the landscaping is coming and you just need to know right this second.

It has to do with flowers and trees. It has to do with a little apology, grown up into a Douglas-fir. It has to do with a lie detector test that shouldn’t scare you if you’re good. And I know it’s true. It just does. It has to do with seeds.