“The aggressive use of secrecy,” by Sasha on the Ossington bus


Friday September 28, 2012
7:48pm
5 minutes
The Fluoride Deception
Christopher Bryson


I’ve got that itch again. The one that starts in behind my heart, almost hide-and-go-seek-ing, almost aching, but mostly itching. It might be because I’ve been a wreck of late and you’re inhumanly patienta and wonderful and kind. Tonight you tell me about your brother’s wedding, how you smear turmeric as well wishes and blessings and the itchy ache almost lets go but then when we hang up the phone and I see the city speeding by, the steetcar rattling westward, I realize it’s still there. It’s still strong. I think about calling you back to… apologize. Or to tell you how excited I am and how much I love you. All of these things are true. The itch carries me all the way to the big park at the end of the line. I’m carrying my stinky work shoes in hand because I don’t want them stinking up the new bag I bought for far too much money. People are staring. It’s the stink and the itch and my overwhelming need to run. I leave the shoes at the bus stop with a note on the back of a drugstore receipt that says, “Free. Smelly but comfortable.” I draw a ❤ so that it doesn't look so observational and it has some… heart.

“The aggressive use of secrecy,” by Julia on her parents’ deck in Baden


Friday September 28, 2012
3:55pm
5 minutes
The Fluoride Deception Christopher Bryson

I’m a magic bean, hear me scream,
I’m not nice and I’m not mean.
I’m getting angry, watch me steam,
I’m alone and in between.
What’s the horrifying theme?
Three little girls drowned in a stream.
Mother is crazy and father serene,
didn’t think twice before disturbing her dream.
Wanted a place for her to rule as Queen,
thought children would distract from her being seen.
This is more heartbreaking than it might seem,
but ladies in red can walk with stilts on a beam.
She smiled at her King, in her eye flashed a gleam,
Acted as if nothing happened over coffee and cream.
Made lunch as per usual, asked him about the team,
He knew not yet the issue, joked about getting beat by Marlene.
She wanted a kiss, and in she did lean,
thinking to herself:
I’m a secret-making machine…

“spit out your words” by Julia at her parents’ kitchen table in Baden


Thursday September 27, 2012
8:48pm
5 minutes
POOF!
Lynn Nottage


Holly is supposed to call me to book an appointment for me but I think she fell in love or something and forgot about me. Nice girl. Sweet girl. What I like most about her is her red hair. So bright and mischievous. She has been wearing it up lately but it still has character. According to me at least. She is the cutest thing I’ve probably ever seen and she is always so nice to me. Booked me in with Dr. Barry when I was hearing through the grape vine that the wait list was from here to here! So I don’t know why she was being so nice but it doesn’t matter. She was making me feel important which I’m sure was what the doctor had told her to do. He is a nice guy too. Sweet guy.
But Holly hasn’t called and she’s always so punctual. I only assume it’s the love thing because she’s so beautiful it wouldn’t be a hard thing for her to find.

“spit out your words” by Sasha at Cherry Bomb


Wednesday September 26, 2012 at Cherry Bomb
12:05pm
5 minutes
POOF!
Lynn Nottage


“You made your bed and now you’ll lie in it,” she says, and she spits the words. They shoot into my face and bounce off, falling onto the concrete floor. “Thank you for that,” I say, not entirely looking at her. A woman is meeting a man at the table next to us. He is crying raindrop tears. This is far more interesting. I start writing the story in my head of why she’s here. We haven’t met yet. I don’t know the truth. She probably “accidentally” drowned their little boy when he wouldn’t stop screaming. She looks like hell. Big circles under her eyes and scratches on her cheeks. Some women develop weird habits here. I’ve been warned. “Sammi?” My mother is rubbing Rose hand-cream into her cuticles. She whispers, “Can I give you this?” She’s talking about the hand-cream. “I don’t think so,” I say. The guard at the door looks at me and shakes his head. He has a neck thicker than my thigh. I’ll listen to everything he ever tells me more than I’ve ever listened to her. I’ll listen to them all, in their blue ironed shirts, smileless. If you behave really well, if you take some classes, if you find God, you can get parole after twenty years or so. I’ve got my eye on the gold.

“boldly laying down their lives” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday September 26, 2012
3:12pm
5 minutes
from the Strongbow ad on the back of NOW magazine
September 20-26 2012 issue


We keep getting caught up in the dreamcatcher future
Sing me songs about you jealousy and your demons and your vodka induced volitions
I’m not over this
Okay
ooookay
Your patience buoys me so gently
The water is moving
But slowly now
I’m floating on my back and a thunderstorm’s coming
I’m going
Away
aaaaway
Make up your mind about finishing
If you don’t I will
I steal ideas and make them something better
Upcycling
This laundromat of inspiration is tired
The door is about to lock
It’s late
Go home
Remember when you taught me how to make origami paper cranes and we hung them
From my ceiling?

“boldly laying down their lives” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday September 26, 2012
12:28am
5 minutes
from the Strongbow ad on the back of NOW magazine
September 20-26 2012 issue


what am i doing here?
i have fantasized about you since i saw you, now i have you, now i don’t want you.
you’re sleeping soundly, dreaming probably, of me probably more.
i’m awake, and there are suitcases all around me.
i’m leaving you.
i’m taking a very early bus, i won’t be leaving a note, and i’m going.
there is roast beef in the fridge and maybe one egg left if you need something. i won’t take any of that with me, it’s all yours, you can have it.
i don’t want you to wonder why or if it was your fault.
it’s not. it’s no one’s fault. it’s my fault, if anything, but still, it’s no one’s fault.
i am sad by this, i’ll say that. it’s not a freeing feeling or a relief in anyway to conclude that i’m going.
it’s hard for me too, so there’s that.
i have regrets and i haven’t even snuck out yet.
i am currently thinking about what that last kiss will feel like and if i’m going to give it to you.
you won’t know either way. you could sleep through a hurricane. maybe that’s what this is, sort of a natural disaster where even if you plan enough ahead, or prepare enough just in case items, you never really understand what you will do or what you will need when it happens.
as is stands, i think i need your brown hoodie and the birthday card you wrote me last july. that one was a good one and so i will keep it close by. just in case.

“Sonny’s witness” by Sasha on her kitchen floor


Tuesday September 25, 2012
1:02am
5 minutes
Sonny’s blues
James Baldwin


Sonny keeps talking about the witnesses but I’m more concerned about the murder itself. The act of. The killing. Sonny killed Bo. One minute Bo was talking about Pierre Trudeau and the next he was shot in the head by a Model 92. It wasn’t that Sonny hated Bo or even that he didn’t have compassion for Bo’s predicament.

Sonny and Bo shared an aunt but weren’t cousins. They would spend summers on the canola farm and get into a load of mischief as little boys. Sonny was taller. Bo was stronger. Sonny was smarter. Bo was a charmer with the ladies. Sonny swore like a trucker. Bo swore like a trucker.

In their twenties Sonny and Bo shared an apartment on Main St. with an aquamarine shag carpet and a record player that was always playing something. Sonny was working at the guitar store and Bo managed an Italian restaurant right downtown. It wasn’t long before he brought coke home. Sonny dove deeper than Bo.

The summer Ursula had the twins Bo was up the interior of BC logging. Sonny helped her with the babies, rocking them late at night and feeling them bottles of Nestle formula. Bo would call and there would be a bad connection and Sonny would hold Ursula when she cried.

“Sonny’s witness” by Julia at Dufferin station


Tuesday September 25, 2012
10:26pm
5 minutes
Sonny’s blues
James Baldwin


Taryn could sing. Boy could she. Hand on her heart, mouth open, eyes closed, national anthem shit.
She had the guts but the glory is what she wanted. Not because it would validate her the way fame helps do sometimes, but because she was in need of what a crowd cheering gives.
What a gift. My sister. My sister, Taryn. Did I mention she sings? At the top of her lungs on the subway too. In front of churches, drowning out a small girl’s choir solo.
She belts it out so you can trace her heart’s shape in the air with your finger, that’s how raw it is.
That’s how much of herself she puts in. She’s not scared of her talent either. No. It’s strange. She loves it more than life itself; more than Cameron, her high school sweetheart; more than God, her first love. She loves to sing and it’s in her blood. I get it. I love to watch her. My little baby sister who I used to help form bubbles out of gum, or who I taught to read when she was three.
I didn’t teach her singing. That’s what she taught me.
Bringing her utmost truth and putting it to a melody. I wouldn’t have known that without her.
Song bird-sing at your wedding, funeral, birthday, anniversary party good. The part of your life you’ve always wanted showcased in song.

“Even with enough food,” by Julia at The Abbott


Monday September 24, 2012 at The Abbot
12:36pm
5 minutes
The Harrap Book of Modern Short Stories
Edited by J.G. Bullocke


Surely I’ve been here before. Craving ultimatums and maybe something stupid like candy corn.
It’s not déjà vu because it’s not a feeling. It’s a repeat performance or my life.
It’s called a habit.
And obsessive habit.
I knew I was this girl since I was little and I used to tell my friends at school that they couldn’t play with me unless they traded their Doritos for my banana. I feel bad about it now. The trading nutritious, thoughtful snacks packed by my loving mother for cool and bad for you chips—not the ultimatum thing.
They didn’t have to be so agreeable. They could have said no to me and I wouldn’t have even known what to do. But instead they all said yes. They feared whatever consequences they thought I had the power to give out. Not so: I only thought about one thing at a time and I didn’t have a plan to make girls cry or anything like that.
I knew, however, from an early age that getting what I wanted was easy. All I had to do was believe that I deserved it.
I’m grateful now that I no longer make my friends that way–through bribery and boldfaced statements.

“Even with enough food,” by Sasha at the Abbot


Monday September 24, 2012
12:36pm
5 minutes
The Harrap Book of Modern Short Stories
Edited by J.G. Bullocke


I packed a picnic of crusty french bread, soft brie cheese, a ripe avocado and yellow plums from the Farmer’s Market. You were bringing pesto that you made in July and had frozen in an ice tray. It had kale and roasted walnuts in it, and soft pecorino cheese, you’d told me. You met me under that tree by Grenadier Pond, on the far side, where the ducks swim by and look opinionated. You were late but only by ten minutes so I wasn’t mad. “Beth is napping,” was the first thing you said. “Oh,” I responded. I’d laid out the picnic, which we’d planning over email. A few lazy bees buzzed around the plums and cheese. “She’s really tired now,” you said, settling onto the blanket. “After that last round of chemo.” You look at me, taking the bread in your hands.

“the answer will be key” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday September 23, 2012
11:31pm
5 minutes
Azure Magazine October 2012

You looked at me like the dog looks at the turkey at thanksgiving and man, I didn’t know whether I should take the piggy bank and run away or stay and help you wash the dishes. I stayed, of course, so fucking predictable. And then you kept looking at me, licking your lips, until I was like, “Hey! What the fuck?! Why are you… staring?!” I guess you weren’t used to being called on your issues because you tweaked and started throwing shit, like an animal, like a bull with a red sweater. I got out before you broke me, though. Not going down that road again, no way. And you know what? When you called and said that you were sorry and that Liz had come by to help you clean everything up I didn’t even care. I’m not jealous of her anymore. I’m over that. I might send you a postcard from the Grand Canyon but not to be nice. To make you jealous. You’ve always wanted to go there. We’d never have gone together though because you probably would’ve done something stupid like jumped in. I wonder what’s at the bottom of that deep deep pit… And then there are these times, sleeping in the car, when I close my eyes and see you looking at me like a dog, panting with saliva on the sides of his droopy lips, you know? And then I have to go get a beer or something cuz I’m all wigged out.

“Harvest Fair” by Sasha on the Queen car going west


Saturday September 22, 2012
2:01am
5 minutes
A subway ad at Spadina station

She wasn’t planning on going but when Curtis called and said that the only contenders in the pickle contest were Irma and Bernadette she had a change of heart. You see, she didn’t like losing, that Barb nope she didn’t. And if Catherine had made pickles this year, amidst losing Earl and selling the house, she couldn’t have been bothered because anyone between here and the end of the third corn field knows that Catherine Hicks makes the best damn dill pickles you ever did try. But Barb could give her a run for her money… Especially this year, with her own garden baby cucumbers. So she hopped into the Chevy and gunned it to the Harvest Fair. “Oh, I thought you said that you were under the weather!” said Felicia. “I’m feeling much better,” smiled Barb, holding two jars of her pickles proudly. “I’ve gotta scoot, Felicia,” Barb called over her shoulder as she ran far end of the fair. She scooted past apple pies and pumpkin muffins and every other kind of Fall baked good you can think of. Curtis was waiting. “What took you so long!” He said, looking from side to side. She didn’t even answer. She just put the jars down and wrote her name in the contest registry before anyone could stop her.

“the answer will be key” by Julia at her desk


Sunday September 23, 2012
11:27pm
5 minutes
from Azure Magazine
October 2012


WELL HELLO THERE, BEAUTIFUL! I saw your new shoes from a mile away and can I be honest with you? THEY SUIT YOU!
What a darling girl I have. WHOOPS! Should I say WOMAN? Young woman, okay? A little compromise. I think that’s fair, don’t you short stuff? Oh, okay, okay, too much. It’s okay, it’s taken some getting used to it. But I think you should know you’ll always be my sweet pea. Okay, Okay, I get it. But I tell you, in this dress, you remind me a little of your mother! She had legs, HAS legs, excuse me! And yours are very similar. Lucky you, I guess, that you got her legs instead of my old gams! But seriously, you are knock out in that dress. I think you’re going to have to be pretty stern with some of the boys at this dance tonight. I tell you, you’re just such a looker! It’s a nice dress, sweetie, it really is. A bit short, but very nice and you look very.. mature in it. Which is wonderful because you are. And I’m not worried at all about you running off to college in no time and then only coming home to visit on Thanksgiving and Christmas! Of course not, you’re bright and sweet, and I’m not worried. I’m not quite good at this part. I LOVE YOU. I know you know, but I do. You make my heart dance with joy and delight.

“Harvest Fair” by Julia on the subway going west


Saturday September 22, 2012
12:48am
5 minutes
from a subway ad at Spadina station

I never asked you to stay
And you stayed
Like a grandmother tree looking after her forest
You stayed strong and unmoved
Mostly I commend you
Your ability to stay inside this hell-hole with the enemy for as long as you have and for how long I’m certain you will
You have passed the test
I can let you go now if you want
Okay?
I release you!
Feel free to go make some other asshole girl happy because you’re very good at it
And if I’m holding you back from a better asshole girl than me, then please, just go
Although I will miss you a lot
I’ll probably do some daily crying and drastic hair cutting
I’ll probably call you when I’ve taken the truth serum that accompanies such sadness and tell you that I need to touch the scar on your lip and smell your dirty hockey socks
But I didn’t ask you to stay
You said it was the only thing you could do
You said you couldn’t bear to let me go to the Fall Fair in town by myself
I only went to that stupid thing in the first place because you were going to be there
And now it’s turned into our thing
I know this
I can’t go to it alone

“I want you” by Sasha at her desk


Friday September 21, 2012
7:52pm
5 minutes
from the sign outside Ezra’s Coffee on Dupont

I want you to remember my birthday, and my little brother’s birthday and my mother’s birthday… without a calendar.
I want you to know my phone number off by heart. What if you lose your cell phone? What would happen then?
I want you to run me a bath, with epsom salts, and for it to be steaming hot when I get home from work and am cranky and cold.
I want you to take my too-tight clothes to Goodwill and, when there, find a china teapot with purple African violets.
I want you to never judge my popcorn eating rituals.
I want you to go to the beach and bring me back sea-glass for my collection. I haven’t added to it since I was nine and this bothers me.
I want you to never tell me that my breath stinks. I get very self conscious.
I want you to stop calling your sister every time you see a reference to anything involving cows. We get it. She likes cows. She’s also eighteen now, at university, and probably doesn’t want her older brother calling her every time he drinks a glass of milk.
I want you to to renew my subscription to National Geographic because I can’t afford it and you can.
I want you to propose to me when I’m least expecting it. If I know it’s imminent I might self-sabotage and do something stupid. But do it before I’m thirty three okay?
I want you never again to ask me if I’m in a bad mood. If you have to ask I probably am and would just like to be left alone.
I want you to know that I’ve never loved anyone as fearlessly as I love you. And that it’s messy when I’m fearless.

“I want you” by Julia at her desk


Friday September 21, 2012
5:34pm
5 minutes
from the sign outside Ezra’s Coffee on Dupont

to start listening with your eyes AND your ears.
to pick me up a vase from the housewares section on your way home from work because you know we don’t need one but you also know that I want one.
to sleep on me instead of me always sleeping on you.
to fall asleep on me instead of me always falling asleep on you. *two different things*
to paint my toenails with clear nail polish so it’s romantic but not messy.
to let me sing to you even if you’ve heard that song before a million times or never times and it interests you not.
to engage in debate.
to engage in aggressive debate.
to engage in aggressive, violent, yet passionate debate.
to fix the light bulb in the kitchen. *throwing out and replacing will do.*
to join a choir with me so we can be more like your parents. *just kidding* *not kidding*
to slap my face when you think I deserve it.
to wake me up from a nap with the smell of toasted cheese sandwiches and tomato.
to tell me that I’m wrong.
to tell me that I’m right.
to let me eat the entire bag of Oreos and not get weird when all I want after that is another one.
to enter the house without talking.
to spend five minutes without saying anything to me even if I have said something to you.
to ignore me.
to implore me.
to sit on me.
to be what you are.

“getting to meet everyone” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday September 20, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
3:38pm
5 minutes
The back page of The Sun
September 2001-issue 441


Bobby had his blonde hair tied neatly in a bun (which looked better than mine) and I instantly hated him for his artistry and attention to detail. I just thought that he might be too pretty for me. And not in a way that would intimidate me, but in a way that would straight up annoy me. As if he were aware of how well put together he seemed. See, I don’t trust people like that. My kind of people are genuinely shocked when they receive a compliment and Bobby looked like the kind of guy who had been feigning surprise his whole life.
And if he wasn’t surprised, he’d be smug about it.
Mind you, this was before he and I even exchanged two words…but I’m not usually wrong about this stuff.

I was wrong about Bobby.
I judged his perfect ponytail before I had introduced myself and it showed because when he smiled sweetly, I was genuinely shocked and it made my insides ache for a bit.
My mother never raised me to judge like that. I got that from years of feeling like second place wasn’t good enough; that if I didn’t announce my own flaws or others’ flaws, then someone else would.
As it turns out, Bobby was also volunteering at the special needs school down the street and never told a soul about it. Until me.

“getting to meet everyone” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday September 20, 2012
5:51pm
5 minutes
The back page of The Sun
September 2001-issue 441


It’s hard to say what I’m most excited about about Grade Three but if I had to narrow it down it would probably be getting to have Miss Lisbeth as a teacher for home room and finally being in the same class as Vanessa and Kay. I mean, we’re best friends and it was so unfair that they were in a class together last year and my dad forced me into French Immersion so I had to be not only in different class, but in a completely separate building. I was so mad. It didn’t take long for my dad to realize that I am completely useless at French and that I am actually basically gifted at English. We put a request in to the Registrar that the three of us be together, finally, and they granted our wish. It’s just the best. Okay and Miss Lisbeth is pretty much a princess. I mean, check out that name – LISBETHHHH. She even has long blonde-red hair and wears skirts. She has a tiny jewel in her nose and I heard some of the Moms talking about how it wasn’t appropriate but she sticks to her guns and wears it anyway. I say, “Go for it, Miss Lisbeth!” In Grade Three we learn about fractions which I feel pretty nervous about because it took me a long time to get long division. I had to get Kumon. It was terrible.

“you’re young until you’re not” by Sasha outside of Proudest Pony


Wednesday September 19, 2012 outside of Proudest Pony
1:34pm
5 minutes
On The Radio by Regina Spektor



You’re young until you’re not
You’re cold until you’re hot
You’ve got spring across your face until it’s fall
You’re safe until it rains
You’re healthy before it pains
You’re looking for a leader strong and tall
You’ve got it until you don’t
You will until you won’t
You think you know what’s coming until it’s night
You make the same mistakes
You learn from when you fake
You don’t know what was wrong until it’s right
You’re bold until you’re shy
You sometimes don’t ask why
You take what you’re given and you smile
You swear to make the best
You ace the daily tests
You wear another’s shoes for a mile

“you’re young until you’re not” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday September 19, 2012
12:22am
5 minutes
On The Radio by Regina Spektor



Sadly I am a 90 year old woman living in a 20 something year old’s body. However, I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel. I think there could be some magic in this little set up I have going here.
Number 1) Less responsibility for lost control of bodily functions. ie: TODAY: I had to pee so bad it felt like my bladder was being stung by a thousand bees. Not ideal. I should have just released.
Number 2) Everyone thinks you’re cute. Everyone. ie: TODAY:I sneezed without covering my mouth and it made a little baby noise. It was adorable and nobody cared about the mucus stuck to my new white cardigan.
Number 3) I don’t have to exert my body anymore than getting out of bed and sometimes walking places. ie: TODAY: I didn’t feel like working out because I would have rather slept, and it was fine, because my back was hurting anyway.
Number 4) People let me be angry and bitch about things because when I do it it’s so honest that it seems reasonable to be saying such things. ie: TODAY: I told a cyclist to get off the fucking sidewalk or I was going to follow him home, crawl into his house at night, and shake his babies. AND HE MOVED.

“Tupperware bins” by Julia at The Holy Oak


Tuesday September 18, 2012 at The Holy Oak
1:05pm
5 minutes
Curtains
Tom Jokinen


Since you’re leaving me, I think it’s only fair that we discuss what you’ll be leaving behind. I think I deserve a couple of things we bought together as a parting package. As a thing you get from work when they need to let you go…SEVERANCE. That’s what I want. Because you were very clear and I know it’s what you want.
You have to let me go.
I was thinking, and this is just off the top of my head, but I’d like all of the snow-globes from our years together. It was my idea to collect them and I want them so I can smash them one by one. Is that okay with you? I know you’d just throw the whole Tupperware bin of them out at once and I also want to keep the bin.
I don’t like this negotiating but I think we can both agree that it’s 100% necessary and that I’m being quite reasonable.

You decided…when again (On our 4-year anniversary, which was what? July 28th?) that you were done?
You decided then.
And let’s see, it’s now September, so you might have to give me two months worth of lying or something but I haven’t yet figured out how that will translate into material items.

“connected by universal love” by Julia at Loft404


Monday September 17, 2012 at Loft404
8:42pm
5 minutes
Journey to the Heart
Melody Beattie


I was thinking about Ever-lasting Gobstoppers and got excited that if there were ever such a thing that ever-lasted—and if it could be edible, then surely there were other things too.
Maybe love.
Probably not.
Maybe friendship.
Probably not.
I’m no idiot.
I do like dreaming and wishing and dancing. Mostly dancing.
I can hear music in my head a bazillion times a day and when I’m sleeping my dreams always have a soundtrack.
I think it’s because I’m actually not even close to being a dancer—but I’ve found the freedom in it and I just can’t get that with anything else.
I’m not interested in Gobstoppers but I am interested in ever-lasting.
I remember my father telling me that the only thing we can ever count on in life is our family because the rest?
The boyfriends and the best friends?
They break your heart.
I said, yeah, well what if your family sucks?
And he said, then you can count on them sucking.
He spews this holier-than-thou family values horseshit, and yet, he’s never called me on my birthday or told me that I’d be safe if he held me.
Some family!
The kind that feeds you EVER-LASTING BULLSHIT.

“Tupperware bins” by Sasha at The Holy Oak


Tuesday September 18, 2012 at The Holy Oak
1:05pm
5 minutes
Curtains
Tom Jokinen


He decided it was time to clean out the garage. It had nothing to do with the purchase of a car or moving. It had been fifteen years of baseball gloves and broken lamps, lawn bowling and textbooks. When Martha died, he’d put her clothes and her things, her special cupcake decorating set and her tarot cards, in big tupperware bins. He’d stacked them carefully, with the help of his son-in-law, in the far left corner of the garage, amidst boxes and a deconstructed child’s bed, waiting for a grandchild to be re-assembled. Every time he went into the garage he glanced at the tupperware bins and he felt an exceptional wave of sadness. September inspired him to make Martha’s tomato soup (and extra for the freezer). He put on an orange V-neck sweater over his plaid button-up. He thought of Martha’s clothes, in tupperware bins, in the garage. He hadn’t even seen them in awhile but he was overcome with that exceptional wave of sadness. Those beautiful cardigans, those soft blouses, those ironed pants – they weren’t being worn by anyone at all. It was Saturday morning when he started cleaning the garage. He made piles of what stayed and went went. Then he got to the tupperware bins.

“connected by universal love” by Sasha at Loft404


Monday September 17, 2012 at Loft404
5 minutes
Journey to the Heart
Melody Beattie


They made a spiderweb out of dental floss in the tiny room beside the big room with the leather couches and the crystal chandelier. No one knew they were doing it. Thank goodness Alexander’s father was a dentist and that he knew where his dad the Dentist kept the expired floss samples. Who knew that floss expires? Does it turn less minty? Does it break more easily between close together teeth? Their web smelled very fresh and was exceptionally strong. They knew because they hung Alexanders mothers earrings off of it. She liked heavily jewelled and bedazzled earrings. Alexanders mother did not know that her eight year old son knew exactly where her secret jewellery hiding spot was located. It was where she kept her favorites, the earrings she saved for Valentine’s Day and New Years Eve.

“She held the warm cup between her hands” by Julia on the dock Dunn Cottage in Keswick


Sunday September 17, 2012
11:01am
5 minutes
The Distant Hours
Kate Morton


When I asked you if you were feeling better, you said something under your breath and then showed me your scars as if to say that I had crossed a line. So what, I want to know how you are but I don’t want to wait around to read the obituary.
Just tell me what you need.
If a hug is not enough, fine, and if it is then let me give it to you.
I’ve chewed my pen lids so much they hurt if they accidentally scratch up against my skin.
I am in pain too.
This effects me.
It makes me think of you even when I’m sleeping and I can’t breathe because it’s usually a drowning dream and you’re the water.
Let me in.
I’m knocking on the proverbial door because it’s cold out here in the in between.
It’s cold out here in the not knowing but wanting too.
You can’t handle something of this size, I assume, as you’ve been alluding to its overwhelming nature.
I’ll minimize it. I can do that.
I’ll curl up into a ball so my love doesn’t feel like it’s attacking you.
It’s long here too, the wait, the anticipation.
I sometimes feel as though I’m almost breathing again and that’s when I see your smile—which is rare now and it needs you to do it—but remember how there are two of us?
Remember how if you go, I go, if you fall, I fall?
Your view from there is a tough one. Clouded with tears.

“She held the warm cup between her hands” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday September 17, 2012
12:02am
5 minutes
The Distant Hours
Kate Morton


She made her bed by pulling the covers over her head and then rolling out, slowly. She let herself lie on the floor for a few minutes, looking under her bed. It was very dusty. There was a box with wrapping paper and ribbons and a stack of old Vanity Fair magazines. She’d spent so much money on them when she fifteen she’d packed them up and brought them to two cities and three different apartments. She never looked at them but she couldn’t bring herself to get rid of them. It was cold on the floor. She stretched like a cat and stood up. She went over to her computer, an old desktop she’d inherited from her father when he switched companies. She Youtubed Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”, a fantastic gem she saved for mornings such as this. She turned it up very loud and said a silent “I’m sorry” to her downstairs neighbours. She began to jump. She jumped to the bathroom, in fact, and continued to bop while she was on the toilet taking a pee.
You just met somebody new
And now it’s going to be me and you

She forgot that it was Friday and was suddenly delighted. She went to the kitchen and filled the kettle with water. It was a Lady Grey day. She waited, looking out the window, until the kettle whistled. She held the warm up between her hands and went back into her bedroom to play the song again.

“Parents often talk” by Sasha in Trinity Bellwoods Park


Saturday September 15, 2012
5:59pm
5 minutes
A quote by Haim Ginott
Sunbeams in the Sun Magazine


Parents often talk about the gaze of their newborn
Reaching up with tiny hands
Grasping for answers and promises and roots
Parents often talk about their kid being the tallest
The fastest
The strongest
The smartest
The best soccer goalie
The kindest to the outcast
Parents often talk about what they make for Friday night dinner
Tacos
Chicken and roasted potatoes
Chili
Ham and cheese sandwiches in the Panini press from Christmas that Mama swears she’ll use more
Parents often talk about the moment they knew they’d be parents
The rush from toe to crown
The ancient knowing the moment they held their newborn to their hearts
Parents often talk like they know what’s going on
Like someone handed them a whisperbook of the “how to’s” and the “know how’s”
Parents often have a handful of moments they’d like to forget
Screaming in the Home Depot and fantasizing about duct taping the babies mouth
Not wanting to go to school and dragging the little guy out to the car by his arm
She’s more stubborn than you are and she fights you and you yell and spit and hate it
Parents often read books that they hear about from other parents
about how to be the best parent
A Quiet Child
The Boy’s Journey
Fathers and Daughters
Raising children in the Media Age

“Parents often talk” by Julia on the dock at Dunn Cottage in Keswick


Saturday September 15, 2012
10:54am
5 minutes
quote by Haim Ginott
Sunbeams


They want to know things. First things first. The things you only dream about anyway. The things you wish you didn’t have to mention out loud. Why so coveted? A brass bed in a deserted room, cornflake trails leading to the shed where wild dreams take flight. A piece of lake, left swimming around in the brains of the innocent. Cleaning them out, washing their ideas so they sparkle and sing.
Any late night talks with God? Did you ask Him if He found my heart yet? I told Him I lost it, He said He’d get back to me.
If you talk to Him again, tell Him I’m done playing this game and I’ll give my mind to the highest bidder or to the one with the best looking back muscles.
Things. All things. Things you wish you thought of first. A love saying.
Things you wondered about over scrambled eggs and picture perfect midnight naps. Those could be dreams. Those could be realities. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if I know the difference. It feels floaty and strong at the same time, which calms me and and shoots inspiration into my thighs like an EpiPen of new and amazing.

“I can heal that” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday September 14, 2012
11:35pm
5 minutes
Lamb
Christopher Moore


Hushed.
Come back, Jenny. So I said some stuff you wish I hadn’t… I mean, that I shouldn’t have said. I recognize that. Sometimes I don’t even know the words that are coming out of my mouth, Jenny… I can’t help it… but I take responsibility for what… Dom is napping. He wouldn’t go down at 3pm. I didn’t know what to do… Look, just come home and we can talk about it face to face, okay? I am putting a lasagna in the oven and it’s going to be done in 45 minutes so… you have 45 minutes to get back here.

You’re all the way at your sisters? You didn’t mention that. Shit, Jenny. What do you want from me? I’m trying me best here.

I never said that!

I’m sorry. I’m sorry sorry sorry. Please just come home tonight. Dom keeps saying, “Mama” and I don’t know what to tell him. You’re not a princess, that’s not what I meant. I swear to you. I’m not going to make promises I can’t keep, Jenny. I just… I don’t want to do it like this. I’m going to get some help, I know that I’ve said that before, but I really mean it this time… I really really mean it. I was looking on Google this morning, actually. I’ll get Dom and we’ll come pick you up, okay?

“I can heal that” by Julia at Dunn Cottage in Keswick


Friday September 14, 2012
3:03pm
5 minutes
Lamb
Christopher Moore


I can heal that.
I can make it go away
All the ouch
All the pain
I can listen, I can help, I can try, I can be yours if you need
Been thinking about you.
Your smile.
This laugh is for your laugh. You’re the one I used to know. I’m not through keeping you yet. I’m a fan.
I’m making it better.
Sock puppets and open ears. I’ll hide my face if you can show yours.
This is your life. And I’m in it.
Let me help you. Let me be a better person if you need it and if you don’t, I could wait and you’d still be here. We could do so many things differently.
I can heal your heart.
I can get what you need and bring it to you.
I’ve a million offers, just pick one and that’s it. I’ve got so many of those.
All the ouch.
All the pain.
I’m ready. Let me help you.
Let me be your A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
What’s this sadness anyway?
We can fix it. We can turn it around.
Your heart craves love and a little kindness.
Your face needs touch, your arms can’t grow cold.
It’s the way it is and the way it should be.
If you don’t want me, I’ll find someone else to be this for you.
Barefoot in the park, good book, I can heal that.

“because I’m the one” by Julia at The Toronto Coffee Company


Thursday, September 13, 2012 at the Toronto Coffee Company
6:55pm
5 minutes
Essay
Hannah Moscovitch


Surely you’ve been thinking about me. I dyed my hair on Friday and am pretty certain that the dramatic shift in my appearance is enough to keep the mind-a-lingering. I only assume this as my natural colour-ugh-dirty blonde, is of the utmost lame and boring shade, and this chocolate brown shade makes you think of exotic or eccentric ladies that you usually just look at in photographs.
This is the time in my life where you say, “look at her, she’s a magnet for sex, passion, desire, and free thinking.” You’ll say, “I hope she likes chia seeds because I’m going to make her a delicious pudding out of them based on the fact that she has that quality about her.” You’ll say, “are you free tonight for a warm bath and a long lasting massage that makes you question your Christianity?”
I’m the one now…
I’m the one you dream of saying things like that to. I’m the one you think about now because my new hair just reeks of happy memories and sheer unforgettable-ness. I have the hair of a new woman.
I’m proud, I walk taller, and I generally change my socks everyday if not every other day.
When we see each other next you’ll say, “It’s you. You’re the one.”

“because I’m the one” by Sasha at The Toronto Coffee Company


Thursday, September 13, 2012 at the Toronto Coffee Company
6:55pm
5 minutes
Essay
Hannah Moscovitch


There was never a straight answer from Jonesey. He would nod, or stutter, or shake his head “no” but he wouldn’t be clear or definite in his responses. Always leaving ambiguity. A lack of commitment. Marla liked it, I guess.

Marla met Jonesey at the gas station where she works. She filled up his tank “unleaded”. He nodded at her and handed her a ten. She felt her heart beat like at the Bon Jovi concert.

Jonesey hadn’t said more then thirty words since he was eighteen and found his dad hanging in the closet. Rumor has it that he was a football star. Might’ve even ended up in the States at some fancy school. Might’ve married Valerie Saunders and had a whack load of blondie kids. Nope.

Marla didn’t know that Jonesey had gone to Vietnam and killed some people and had wet feet for weeks and weeks. She didn’t know that ever since he’s smoked cigarettes that he rolls by hand with his eyes closed.

“The house my sister lives in” by Sasha outside Jimmy’s Coffee


Wednesday September 12, 2012 outside Jimmy’s Coffee
4:02pm
5 minutes
Someday is Today
Alethea Black


I keep making these grandiose statements like, “I’m never going to get to Bethlehem before I’m forty,” and “I’m always the last one left in the Supermarket!” My sister tells me to stop “talking in absolutes”. She went to university so has full permission to use big words and make commands. Even though she’s younger I’m not afraid to say that she far more intelligent, as that has nothing to do with age. Maybe you have to be old to realize that. I don’t know. She’s really good at being inspirational. Even when it hurts a bit.

I just say, “Hyacinth, you’re thirty nine years old, have eight hundred and four dollars in your bank account and a closet full of black. Get it together.”

I went down to the library and took out a book on opening your mind. I wonder if it’s working.

I stopped by a garage sale on Saturday morning and guess what I bought. A pink tank top with small green birds on it. I’m not sure what breed of bird they are, or species, or whatever… I bought a Bruce Springsteen tape and a coffee table with a few shiny farm equipment stickers on it. When I was carrying my finds home a blue convertible Fiat car honked at me. “Hyacinth!” It was my sister. I told her I’d rather walk. “It’s opening my mind,” I said. “It looks like you’re struggling with that table!” She said.

“The house my sister lives in” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday September 12, 2012
12:02am
5 minutes
Someday is Today
Alethea Black


It’s a good place for two. There are only two of them so it’s a good place for that.
She has candles and things. Probably for ambiance and house-warming, hosting prodigy, way to go.
She has a huge hole in the bathroom wall behind the door that she’s managed to cover with a cute scarf of sorts. No one knows it’s there but she makes guests use the other bathroom just in case they get curious and don’t taker her decorative tactics at face value. She won’t say how the hole got there but she did it. She was trying a DIY project that she saw on Pinterest and it really wasn’t a DIY but a DIYWH. That’s Do It Yourself With Help.
All of those crafts were things she vowed to herself she’d be good at one night with a bottle of a Yellowtail Shiraz and an open window into the possibilities of her future. She was confident then, not so confident now, but no one knows but her. And I know. But I know everything about her so it’s not such a big deal.
I also know that her candles are season-oriented and even if they’re not fully burned down, she puts them away and takes out Pumpkin Spice or Apple Cinnamon depending on the day and who’s coming over.
That’s nice, I think, but we don’t need any help figuring out what season it is. We wear coats and we know. And in the summer if I smell the beach and I’m not on the beach I don’t feel good, I feel angry. She doesn’t need to know that part though.

“What d’you mean, a step up?” by Julia at AMC Yonge and Dundas


Tuesday September 11, 2012 at AMC Yonge and Dundas
3:21pm
5 minutes
Rule Of The Bone
Russell Banks


Thought I told you to stay put and not make me worry, Didi. You thought I was just making stuff up? I wasn’t! I was being serious. I thought someone had took ya home and brought ya to their underground hideout to make a clothes doll out of your skin!
Next time I tell ya, stay put, ya better do as I say because I’m the boss of ya until mom and dad get back.
Yesterday ya made me worry so much, Didi, and that really pisses me off because I have to save those things for when you’re really in trouble.
I know it’s not fun to do what I tell ya but it’s not fun to think your little sister is dead and that it’s all your fault. Of course it’s my fault, Didi! I’m big and you’re small so how are ya supposed to know not to do stupid things? I’m the one that left ya there in the first place because I needed to get that stupid berry smoothie.

“What d’you mean, a step up?” by Sasha at Lit on College


Tuesday September 11, 2012 at Lit on College
2:49pm
5 minutes
Rule Of The Bone
Russell Banks


She walks with a shimmy in her shoulders and a sway in her hips. She’s casting her net, her spell, she’s lassoing the eyes of those around her with understated moisture and direct desire. You’ve met that woman before. She makes eye contact that feels like a kiss on your chest. She laughs with both ease and force. She drinks a bit too much but never loses control. She’s free but isn’t a loose canon. You’ve met her. I know you have. You liked her. You felt warm and right and trendy around her. It made you wish that all of your bras and panties matched because you have an inkling that hers do. It made you wish that you had a big fruit bowl on your kitchen counter filled with perfectly ripe, mostly tropical fruit with fresh flesh under the skin.

“Waves of hostility and suspicion” by Sasha at her desk


Monday September 10, 2012
11:19pm
5 minutes
Junky
William S. Burroughs


He keep looking at me and not say anything. I do not much like when people do this. Anyone. But especially him. He ask me why I decide to come to USA. I tell him for opportunities that are not possible in Yugoslavia. But really I tell you now that truth. It is that my stepfather send me away because he think I slut. He give me one thousand USA dollars in my bank account and say, “Goodbye Anya.” My mother must did not know because she would have fought him on this and had me to stay at home. “Goodbye Anya”… When I arrive in Chicago I find a… how you say? A youth hotel… No… Hossstel, where I stay for a few nights while my new friend Igor help me to find a room in a house near train tracks. I tell him too. I like this… reminds me of Yugoslavia. I am not a stupid, I know that it is cheaper by the train tracks. No matter where on the earth you be, it is cheaper near the tracks. Igor is from Russia and comes to USA to find a nice wife. Funny because Igor doesn’t even like the women he like the men. He bring me to meet his friend Joseph. Joseph ask me if I need job. I say, “Yes I need job!” I tell him I not get naked but I could deal with his money. I’m good with number.

“Waves of hostility and suspicion” by Julia at her desk


Monday September 10, 2012
12:16am
5 minutes
Junky
William S. Burroughs


You tell me tonight while we’re roasting marshmallows over a candle flame, sitting cross-legged on the bathroom floor, that you’re excited for us to have a new routine. I forget what you’re referring to, but then I realize it’s irrelevant and yes, I’m excited too. I have a million guesses about what you’re thinking but I just smile small like I don’t have anything better to do. You think I’m mad, I’m not, just thinking. Just wondering if you’d be happier if we went on that camping trip with your high school friends and if I didn’t convince you that it would be a good idea to just smoke some weed and then set up a fort in our bathroom. We’re using old towels so it doesn’t bother me. You seem happy enough because you went out and bought graham crackers and told me to “arrive hungry”. I did. I arrived at our bathroom very hungry. And when I noticed you got baker’s chocolate instead of the semi-sweet I wanted, I pretended like it wasn’t a gross alternative. You smiled when you opened the door and said, “welcome to the jungle” even though if we were to really go camping it most definitely would not be in the jungle. So this routine you’re talking about, I think will be a good thing for us. Maybe a new route to the grocery store and a little more guilt when we walk by the gym with ice cream cones instead of being inside of it with sweat-bands on our foreheads.

“From 10-25 people” by Sasha on the subway heading South


Sunday September 9, 2012
4:26pm
5 minutes
Starting A Business
Harvard Business School Press


It smells like Vick’s vapor rub in here. Come on! Let’s leave! We don’t have to stay just because they told us to. Unless you’re a goody two shoes or something. Release your mind, Timmy. Seriously… do it. Detention is for people who are willing to accept the fact that they are rejects. We are not rejects. What did we do wrong? We fought for our rights. I bet if we looked it up in the charter of rights and freedoms we’d see something about free speech. That applies to kids too! It doesn’t matter how old you are, you have rights. Hey, Mr. Gallagher! I won’t speak until my lawyer’s present! Shhhh… Timmy, stop crying. If you make a scene they will see that they’ve gotten to you and then you’re really vulnerable. Stop crying! Everything will be fine. They don’t expel you unless you’re in grade six anyway. You have nothing to worry about.

Oh hi, Mr. Gallagher. We refuse to speak until our lawyer is present. We… will have a lawyer, right? I would like my one phone call, at least. I demand my one phone call. I would like to use it to call my sister Rebecca. She’s good in times of trial and tribulation. Shall I dial or will you? Mr. Gallagher!

“From 10-25 people” by Julia at her desk


Sunday September 9, 2012
11:53pm
5 minutes
Starting A Business
Harvard Business School Press


We’re fitting the whole world on a boat, shipping them off to other parts of no where.
There is no flood. We are just doing a thing and the people are going along with it.
Our instructions are to save or to export or something like this.
There is no written consent, or verbal for that matter.
The people are tired of being here and are desperately trying to go there. Which is anywhere but here.
We can catch the side glances of the elderly when they’re trying to be brave for their little ones.
We catch it and then we throw it on back for the fish to feed on and for the gulls to swoop in and make a mess out of.
We’re all going, not just everyone else. All of us. We’re both excited and terrified because the boat reaches a very high velocity and not all of us can swim.
Some of us tell the others not to worry because we’ll help them cross if we get pulled under.
This is a lie.
None of us are safe. Not on this journey to the better place or places which aren’t here, but aren’t just there either.
We’ll purify them with water first and the rebirth will include anyone who is willing to sing instead of eat on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

“Be remarkable” by Julia on the 511 south


Saturday September 8, 2012
8:55pm
5 minutes
Branksome Hall bus stop ad

My father, before he left us, said that the life he gave us was shit and he couldn’t live with himself for that.
My brother and I were young but we weren’t stupid. He was leaving because he was a selfish prick and didn’t want to try to fix all the broken promises and mend the sleepless nights he inspired so well.
My mother had long gone before him but at least she stayed in the house with us. Her mind was mush; cat food at best. She sat in front of the TV every night, just inches away from it with a hat on made out of tin foil because “the reception was just better that way”. We know now that she wasn’t always a fucking lunatic. She experimented with a lot of acid for a lot of years, and when I say experimented, I mean she tried to see if her heart would stop for a minute longer this time than the last and if someone cared enough to call 911 before she found out.
I don’t begrudge her anything.
She didn’t even know she was pregnant with my older sister, Liz, who’s also long gone, until it was too late to do anything to reverse it.

“Be remarkable” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday September 8, 2012
12:27
5 minutes
Branksome Hall busstop ad

She started making a quilt for her daughter when she was a speck of aquamarine paint on a red sky
She sewed each sweaty night
Sipping lemonade
She’d reach in and grab ice cubes from the glass and rub them
Behind her ears
Over her collarbones
Across her upper-lip
The quilt grew with her belly
Telling the story of her ancestors
Crossing the fields
Hiding in basements and pharmacies
Singing to the full moon
When her eyes got tired she closed them
Sometimes she fell asleep
Her man would wake her
Kissing her fingertips still holding a needle and thread
“Come to bed now, my sweet”
And she went
And she dreamt of remarkable everyday occurrences
The things that delighted her
Perfectly fluffy strawberry pancakes
Last night’s dishes done when she got to the kitchen in the morning
The first time her daughter kicked
She was sewing a silver shooting star

“held hot for a period of time” by Sasha at Main Street Station


Friday September 7, 2012
4:02pm
5 minutes
Vegetarian Cookbook

When I make the bed in the morning I make sure that each corner of sheet is tucked under the mattress. Tight. Clean lines. The linens get washed on Wednesday. Lights get washed on Thursday. Darks get washed on Friday. That’s just the way that it is.

This morning, though… this morning I overslept and couldn’t tuck the corners. I called Tuck to see if he was going to be home but he didn’t answer. I got to the doctor’s office and not only was my heart racing but I realized it was Friday and I wouldn’t be able to do the darks. I called Betty to see if she wouldn’t mind… Betty and Rich are in Fort Lauderdale until April.

After my appointment at the bank I decided to try falafel. I see these little shops all over selling falafel and I was ravenous so… Standing in line behind a punk-type and his girlfriend I smelled something more delicious than bread pudding. The aromas coming out of all those little tubs of things – sauces and spreads and vegetables and… I wasn’t even sure how to take it! I felt giddy. I ate my falafel on the bench near a laundromat where all these women with more kids than I could count were doing their washing. I wouldn’t even know how to work those coin machines.

“held hot for a period of time” by Julia at Simon’s Sushi


Friday September 7, 2012 at Simon’s Sushi
2:31pm
5 minutes
Vegetarian Cookbook

My eyes are glassy and through them yours look glassy too. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you’re sending me a sign and it’s just too subtle for me to get in this fragile state.
I feel like I’m holding all my organs in my hands but they’re hot and I’m not allowed to put them down. I keep thinking this amount of pain will have to subside eventually but it doesn’t. You’re still looking at me and I’m still wishing I could shift my empty body with the hope that somehow tomorrow will be better.
I can’t articulate it clearly.
Glassy eyes, subtle signs.
I don’t have words where I should.
I don’t have strength where I need.
You sit waiting, eyes glassy from here even though from there it’s clear you’re not sending me love or anything remotely close to it. I could say I’m sorry but those words sound so foreign to me.
They sound like jet planes too close to my ears, making me cover them because I’m afraid I’ll go deaf if I try to decipher what the subtext means.
Your chair is warm by now. You could get up at any time and just leave the imprint of your weighted presence in the arms and seat.
You stay, though.
You’re looking at me, gluing me to my chair too, and I get that burning organ feeling again.

“The valley like a deep breath.” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday September 6, 2012
11:43pm
5 minutes
Wedding Poem
Alayna Munce


Sometimes do you ask yourself if there’s anywhere else you’d rather be than right where you are? Would you rather be at sea, let’s say off the coast of Maine, on a schooner with a captain named Donny and lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Would you rather be on a prairie sheep farm with a silo filled with unspun wool and a barn cat who wakes you up with her tail tickling your nose? Maybe you’d rather be in a teeny tiny apartment in downtown Manhattan, where you pay way too much and then eat way to little but you’re working on something so wonderful and secret that it makes every hunger pain and squashed cockroach worth it. Or, perhaps, you long to be hiking high Andes mountains with a small backpack on your back with one change of clothes, Dr. Bronners soap and a toothbrush and a sherpa, Carlos, carrying the your tent and your food. Maybe you want to fall in love with Carlos. Maybe you and Carlos decide never to leave the mountains and you drink yerba mate and raise dark eyed children in mud hut. Sometimes do you ask yourself if there’s anywhere else you’d rather be than right where you are? Sometimes your answer is “yes”. Sometimes your answer is “no”. Even though you rush far too much, even though you drink too much coffee and too much red wine, even though you hate the sounds of buses revving their engines outside your window every morning, even though your feet hurt from long hours and not enough toe curling pleasures, you are in love with this moment of this life in all it’s imperfection and wonder.

“The valley like a deep breath.” by Julia at her desk


Thursday September 6, 2012
11:41pm
5 minutes
Wedding Poem
Alayna Munce


You’re mad at me because I’ve spent more time with the Doritos Sweet Chilli Heat chips than I have with you and you claim it’s been “forever” since we’ve cuddled. You’re dramatic, I’m hungry, I still love you, but right now I’m hungry. That’s all. I think that’s a simple sort of way that humans function and it just so happens that these chips are the only thing keeping me from swatting you right across the face, so please don’t come any closer because I don’t know how strong they actually are. I’m sorry if you feel neglected or inferior to my chips. I’m sorry mostly, though, that we’re even having this conversation and that you honestly think you come second place to my salty/spicy cravings.
I’m breathing or “sighing” as you call it, again, just like normal people do, and you’re getting very paranoid that I am “sighing” because I’m thinking about another girl. I’m not. I’m thinking about another bag of chips. But I can’t tell you that because you’ll just think I’m using it as a scapegoat so I don’t have to truly admit that I’m not thinking about you. Which is TRUE. I can’t eat your flesh and then lick my fingers after. What I can do, is wait till I’ve eaten the whole bag, then put the spices that have all congealed on my fingertips on my tongue and just let them freaking dissolve there.

“inhale and exhale” by Julia on the subway going east


Wednesday, September 5, 2012
5:29pm
5 minutes
The Oprah Magazine
November 2011


Remember the story about Jonah and the whale? The one where a whale allegedly swallows a human and then that same human manages to survive inside him and then meet a woman who’s also been swallowed by the same human-swallowing whale, and then they make love on the mushy floors of the whale’s lower intestine and raise a beautiful whale-housed family that have incredible talents–such as rock climbing, breath holding, and the ability to…well…survive and flourish in the belly of a whale?
Okay so maybe that’s not exactly what happened, but let’s say it did. Or better yet, let’s say that some people actually believe something like this (because that’s just what the literalism of the bible has done to this world). Now imagine that the story, which if I’m not mistaken, is about relying on the power of God to save you even when shit gets really outrageous and unbelievable, was a way to craft the religious people’s minds in order to test them. If they believe it, then maybe they’re not worth saving…
But if they don’t, then mayb—
I’m sorry? Oh. Inhale. I thought you said in whale.

“inhale and exhale” by Sasha at La Merceria


Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at La Merceria
2:46pm
5 minutes
The Oprah Magazine
November 2011


There are two women sitting beside me. Spanish music plays on the stereo at the coffee shop. One has short, blond highlighted hair (think Jamie Lee Curtis) and is wearing a pink, quilted, professional looking dress. She wears flashy jewellery and has a very soothing voice. She tap tap taps on her iPad. “Let’s find that cleanse…” “Let’s look up that company…” “When are you going to LA?” Across from her sits an equally blond, slightly younger woman, but with longer hair, equally flashy jewellery but more subdued clothes. Understated. She wears a white T-shit and black dress pants. I sneak a glance at their shoes. Both wear tan heels. “I’m doing this. I’m doing this,” she keeps repeating. “My ideas are important. My ideas are valid. No one else has my ideas…” Pink Dress nods very supportively. “Your life is pretty good,” says Pink Dress. “Good husband, good kids, good boss… You just need to get your health back on track.” She’s summing up. White T-Shirt nods, excited for the affirmation. “I need to clean out my insides,” she says. I see something very graphic and intestine-y in my mind’s eye. Pink Dress is so inspiring I can’t stop stealing looks at them. But I don’t want “in”. I feel a bit strange hearing all this personal stuff about White T-Shirt. If I was someone that she knew they would move. Because I’m a stranger, she’s safe. Pink Dress is at it again, “If you’re feeling stressed out just innnnhale and exhale…” she demonstrates as if White T-Shirt might not get it.

“people will say stupid shit at my funeral.” by Sasha at Lit on College


Tuesday, september 4, 2012 at Lit
2:53pm
5 minutes
Sunday Secrets
postsecret.com


what you should say is
she wished
every night
that she could open her bedroom window all the way
that the glass had somewhere better to go than up
that she could stand in the window frame
hands pressed hard into the old white wood
and look out
and then
when she was ready
she could crawl back into bed
and dream good dreams
what you should say is
she hated every time anyone was late
because she knew that time was precious like a cactus
to her cacti were the most precious
because you couldn’t grip them
like you could an african violet
or a spider plant
or even a ginger cat
what you should say is
she may have worn a lot of oversized shirts
but her waist was actually surprisingly small
she was just saving it’s reveal
for a very special occasion

“Approved–Thank You” by Sasha at her desk


Monday September 3, 2012
6:57pm
5 minutes
from a Shoppers Drug Mart receipt

He left and I burnt the evidence. I almost set the whole bed on fire but realized that wasn’t very cost effective. The sheets were old anyway. It’s a shame I don’t have a fireplace because I had to go down to the park and do it in one of those old trash cans like a hobo. August rain coming down and everything. And the druggie kids took it as a call to arms or something because before I knew it I was surrounded by kids with names like “Raven” and “Ursula” offering me tablets of things that would make me forget him altogether. I was tempted, I have to say… I really was. But I settled on a swig of something strong and sour from a flask with “Bad Girl” written in pink jewels on both sides. I didn’t need a lot of lighter fluid or anything, just a bit, a sprinkle, a dash. Boy, do sheets burn. It was almost beautiful, you know… And then, when I got home I realized the only other sheets I have are flannel. And it was thirty frikken degrees out tonight, I mean I had no choice but to abandon that plan and sleep in the bathtub like a real degenerate.

“true believer” by Sasha outside of Jimmy’s Coffee


Sunday September 2, 2012
4:42pm
5 minutes
Insight and Books section of the Toronto Star, Sunday Sept 2, 2012

Annie believed in a white and lavender wedding with candle chandeliers and teeny tiny asparagus quiches on round silver platters carried by semi-attractive waitstaff in charcoal vests. Annie believed in “something old” and “something new”. She would “borrow” from her Aunt Katherine, who had exceptional and expensive taste. Her “blue” would be something subtle and sweet, perhaps lapis studs. Annie believed in writing her own vows but keeping certain elements of the more traditional wedding. Traditions existed for a reason, she thought. There would be a band, not a disc jockey. There would be pearls, not sequins. There would be an open bar, not cash. There would be twinkle lights and taffeta, and there would be a cellist playing something festive and thoughtful when she walked down the aisle.

It is a shame that Annie’s father is in jail and therefore can’t walk her down the aisle.

No one points out that Annie might need a boyfriend, then a fiancee and then she can have her much desired “husband”. People don’t whisper and giggle under their breaths, they now look at Annie with furrowed brows and slightly pouted lips. “Poor thing,” they say.

“people will say stupid shit at my funeral.” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday, september 4, 2012 at Starbucks
12:31pm
5 minutes
Sunday Secrets
postsecret.com


If I die before I wake…
If I don’t get to heaven…
If “God” has a bigger plan for me…

What if you don’t come. What if you think you don’t owe me anything anymore because we haven’t talked in three years and we haven’t sent each other a birthday card?
What if you think it will not be your place? What if you think it will be too hard to see my family?
Please reconsider.
I would go to yours.
I would make sure no one said anything stupid at your funeral because if they really knew you they’d know those things would make you unhappy. No Jesus talk.
I remember this from lying on the floor of your parents’ cottage, staring up at those tacky glow in the dark constellations above our heads.
You said it then and it’s ingrained in me now. “If there’s something bigger, its name is definitely not God.”
Maybe a joke or two but truly, I know you’d want tears. Tears about you and your greatness. That’s why I would go; to give you that; to remember you even if it’s too hard, or too difficult around your family, or too uncomfortable around your new man. If he says anything about Jesus I will cut his throat right then and there. You’d probably really like it if the two of us fought, wouldn’t you?

“piece of cake” by Sasha on her front steps


Saturday September 1, 2012
1:32am
5 minutes
from an ad at St. Patrick station

I know that I’m not good at keeping friends… or goldfish alive… or ice cream in the freezer, okay. I know that. But I am good at keeping promises. I promised you that I’d be here for this, Jack, and I don’t care that things have changed or whatever. I don’t! I promised you. I remember when you said to me that I had no idea how hard it was for you to go back to school after all that time and to be with all these seventeen year old know-it-alls. I get it. You had the… bravery. And now look! You’re done! You’re gonna go out there and be the best damn city planner! You’re gonna plan so many cities! God… You look so much more… established. Maybe it’s the gown. Commanding. You look good, Jack, you really do. I know that it’s probably weird to you that I came but… I had to. I promised. I have not broken a promise since I was a kid… And that was so traumatizing I swore to myself that it would never happen again. Here I am. Are you… going out for dinner with your folks or something? I mean… we could… I don’t know… It’s such a nice night. Warm for May, isn’t it? Shit. I…

“orphan’s life” by Sasha at her desk


Friday August 31, 2012
12:51am
5 minutes
24H Friday August 31, 2012 issue

It is a birthday party. There are braided green and blue streamers. There are pointed party hats with elastics that secure under each child’s precious chin. There are bags of plain potato chips, crackers and cheese and cut up celery and carrot sticks with ranch dressing for dip. The chocolate cake is iced in the fridge and already has eight candles stuck in – seven for his birthday and one for good luck. There are loot bags lined up on a small table with each guests initials written in cursive using a gold pen. Each loot bag contains a pack of Trident gum, three Hershey’s kisses, a small notepad in various fluorescent colours and a gel pen. The ones for the girls have lip gloss that tastes like cotton candy. The ones for the boys have small nerf footballs. The mother throwing the party, we can call her “Nell”, stands in the kitchen watching the clock. Twelve minutes until the guests start to arrive. She calls upstairs. “Danny! It’s almost time! Make sure that you’re wearing that shirt that Gran gave you!” She hears movement upstairs but Danny doesn’t call back. “Nell” opens the fridge door and stares inside. She desires to clean out all the unnecessary condiments.

“Approved–Thank You” by Julia at High Park


Monday September 3, 2012 at High Park
1:56pm
5 minutes
from a Shoppers Drug Mart receipt

Colin was a guy who liked to dress up in his mom’s skirts and high heels when he was younger and also currently on the weekends. He couldn’t stand sweet potatoes unless they were drizzled with sugar and he would have rather peed outdoors than use a public toilet.
He was turning 31 that weekend. He didn’t plan a party, or tell any of his friends. He wanted to go out with a bang. A bang that people would feel a little haunted by every time they dreamed of August 31st.
Colin was happy and active and loved. He was good at playing the drums but he particularly enjoyed creating origami cranes and hanging them on mobiles from his ceiling…
Colin ate corn flakes for breakfast and enjoyed a good game of Euchre.
He was slender everywhere except for his middle and that didn’t even bother him so much.
What bothered him was that Taylor, the human with a million broken promises, was coming into town that weekend and didn’t even think to call.

“true believer” by Julia in Zia’s backyard


Sunday September 2, 2012
5:12pm
5 minutes
Insight and Books section of the Toronto Star, Sunday Sept 2, 2012

We tried to get him to let us dance to Daydream Believer-or was it So Happy Together by The Turtles…
I think the second one because we were going to parody it and dance like idiots while holding hands.
He said no, it didn’t fit his “vision”.
I guess if you’re responsible for an entire three-act play, you’re not going to mess it up with just a funny dance at the end because your two leads are jokers and happen to be in love with each other.
We said we understood and yet we still played it quietly while he was around in hopes of subliminally convincing him. It didn’t work.
When we decided we were going to do this play we didn’t even know each other’s name. He was wearing glasses that were too small for his face and I was shedding like crazy because my dye job was a piece of shit.
I don’t know how it happened but eventually just by making fun of “the vision” every chance we got, we figured out a system: he made a joke, I laughed, vice versa, then repeat.

“piece of cake” by Julia at St. Patrick station


Saturday September 1, 2012
11:44pm
5 minutes
from an ad at St. Patrick station

Try holding you breath for thirty seconds. Sounds easy, right? But it’s not. It’s a fight for everything and nothing at the same time.
Now add water.
Treading, feeling the waves bounce off your legs. You are holding your breath and staying alive. Piece of cake.
Piece of chocolate fudge with cherry brandy somewhere in there cake.
A lot of things are like that. Horoscopes, for example, give you a false sense of what you should truly be responsible for. There are other examples but they’re relative to your experience anyway so you can think them up on your own.
What’s the answer to the question of the universe?
Piece of cake?
Everything becomes incrementally harder. You don’t notice it until you’re already 3/4 of the way beaten by the thing and by then it’s too late.
You dream of attacking someone who is trying to attack you with a really good quality umbrella. You think how easy it’ll be to reason with a murderer if you point this really good quality umbrella right at his neck.

“orphan’s life” by Julia on her couch


Friday August 31, 2012
12:46am
5 minutes
24H Friday August 31, 2012 issue

Not a day goes by that Dana doesn’t think about her mother. She knows she’s not living in this province, and that she’s not really her mother, but she thinks about her; what she likes, doesn’t like, what she eats, refuses to.
She wants to find the similarities somewhere. There’s no one to ask in an orphanage.
Dana’s friend Charlie, short for Charlotte, is also an orphan but doesn’t care about what her biological parents are doing the way Dana does. Charlie lives her life, full of tattoos and proclamations about wild art, and she doesn’t call anyone mommy or daddy. Charlie is a good liar. Dana hugs her sometimes while she’s crying in her sleep. In the morning she pretends that it didn’t happen and Charlie goes on acting as if she’s just thrilled about having nobody.
Dana writes a letter to her mother every day, sometimes shorter ones depending on how much time she has.
In the letters she asks a lot of questions, based on what she assumes is true about her. She talks about her white birthmark on the back of her left leg in hopes it will ignite a feeling of sadness in her mother so that she’ll maybe want to look for Dana and begin a belated relationship with her. Preferably on Dana’s 18th birthday so she can start fresh, and with a new mother.