“Well, we’ve since learned” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, May 30, 2013
11:52pm
5 minutes
rebar: modern food cookbook
Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz


His name was Blake and hers was Cookie. Cookie had a slightly lazy left eye, but she made up for it with a whole ton of sass and altruistic generosity. Blake enjoyed a good laugh, a good bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and a good handshake. When the two of them smoked, they shared the same cigarette so it would go by faster and they could spend the rest of the time on lunch, or on break, making out wildly like horny teenagers at a homecoming football game. Blake seemed to love everything about Cookie and she loved everything about Blake. Even his inability to leave pre-arranged floral table decorations alone without re-setting the entire thing. Even his need to ask every person within a two chair radius if they were “enjoying the weather” when it was minus one billion outside as if it were a funny joke. Cookie taught Blake how to be civil in front of other people, especially her family, and Blake taught Cookie that leaving the empty mustard container in the refrigerator was a bad idea.

“cut your hair” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday, May 29, 2013
12:06am
5 minutes
the ARTS Section of the Globe and Mail
Saturday May 25th edition


She had asked him nicely if he would do it for her. She didn’t anticipate he’d put up much of a fight, what with her long black spider lashes and big doe eyes. She didn’t even care if his hair was shorter. She mainly just wanted to see if he would oblige her. Samson and Delilah, she thought to herself. She could get a grown man to cry, let alone inspire him to cut his hair. That was the easiest thing she had tried to do all day. She had a natural gift for undoing the done up and unwinding the wound. She wasn’t trying to be manipulative. No. Not at all! What she wanted was the instant gratification of succeeding in an otherwise unsuccessful situation; to add notches to her ego belt; to come out as the most influential partner in this…well….loving relationship.

“a home for spiders” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday, May 28, 2013
11:12pm
5 minutes
Learning To Love You More
Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July


He’s fucking DEAD?! What?! I mean, I mean, I mean… I’m so sorry for your loss. Shit. Damn. I, I, I, I’m not good at this, you know? I’m not… I can’t believe, I mean, he was, I just, we were at the Y together, man… We were showering side-by-side, man! I know he’s, er, he was, a, ah, older gentleman, but I figured he had at least ten more years in him! I, I, I… I met Carlos for the first time when I was working the front desk. He didn’t have photo ID. He didn’t even understand what it was. He kept miming taking a photo and winking, you know? Aw man… He was such a good… I just let him in because, what a lil’ guy like that gonna do? I got in trouble for it, with Alana breathing down my neck and… He was a stand-up gentleman, always opening doors for ladies, making sure everyone was safe and comfortable… When I stopped working the desk I thought that maybe we’d lose touch, but, man, we started working out at the same times… Like, Carlos would say, “Alex, when you come to gym?” And I would tell him and then he’d be there and we’d, like, spot eachother and shit… Sorry, man. I just, I just, like, need a second…

“Lily and Gigi” by Sasha at Nova Era Bakery


Monday May 27, 2013
11:15am at Nova Era Bakery
5 minutes
names dipped from a class list

Let’s each bring a vegetable, a few vegetables, and let’s make soup. It can simmer on the stove the whole time we talk, and then, when we pause, when we’re hungry, there will be something delicious waiting. Gigi, you bring something starchy. I’ll bring onions and carrots and celery. The trifecta of the best soups. When you get here we’ll touch noses. We don’t even have to say, “Hi! Long time no see!” or anything. We’ll touch noses and we’ll go into the living room. I might need to draw while we talk because sometimes eye contact overwhelms me. Often eye contact overwhelms me. I’ll draw while you talk and while I talk you can do anything you want, anything that makes you comfortable. Bethany likes to be scratched behind her ears, if you’re at a loss for what exactly to do with your hands when I’m speaking.

“a home for spiders” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday, May 28, 2013
1:51am
5 minutes
Learning To Love You More
Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July


a home for spiders, a place to rest my weary head, a long journey home into the moon and all its pleasantries, a space where two minds can think the same thoughts, a dream that doesn’t end when the sun rises, a hope that’s far away from reality because it survives better that way, a collection of short anecdotes on life, love, and lying, a heart shaped mirror left in the bathroom to remind them both they want each other, a razor blade lodged in the drain of the bathtub, the pounding rain outside her window, the answer to the only thing she knows she didn’t ask, the peach pit rotting on the counter for three days collecting fruit flies and ants, a soft pillow used for decoration only, a tambourine with no drum, the cracked tiles in the kitchen that will never get fixed, a breath shared by yesterday and tomorrow, a memory of his first love when he’s trying to forget her

“Lily and Gigi” by Julia at Nova Era Bakery


Monday May 27, 2013
11:15am at Nova Era Bakery
5 minutes
names dipped from a class list

Lily is the one who hates people, right? The one who wears her hair in braids and gets nervous when she sees someone smiling? Oh shit, is that Gigi? Yeah, now I think it is. I’m pretty sure the last time I saw Gigi she was sitting at a table by herself and I walked up to her and asked if I could sit down. That little bitch said no and then tried to stab me with a fork. Gigi. It’s for sure her. It’s hard, though, they look identical…yes, I know they’re identical twins–obviously. But like–there’s no differentiating–there’s no weird mole or twitch–and now that I think of it, they both wear braids and they both hate people. I want to blame their mother but she’s actually such a delight–long wavy hair, she likes to wear teal jumpsuits that show all of her lovely cleavage. She tells Lily that no one likes her sourpuss face because people don’t like ugly children–or was she saying it to Gigi…Goddammit! Why do I care? Anyway. Happy 5th birthday to both of you little shit storms. I hope you live long and happy lives and that one day someone will take pity on you and be able to fall in love with you.

“unless otherwise indicated” by Julia on the subway going south


Sunday, May 26, 2013
9:06pm
5 minutes
from the back of a TTC day pass

I can’t breathe. Half of me is shaking the other half is on fire. I’m in a locked cage and I can see out but I’m not allowed to touch anything at all. Where did my body go? I think, unless otherwise indicated, you have it. I think I gave it to you. My arms. My legs. My heart is there too. It was safe with you so I left it there and went wandering. Being around people without my arms, my legs, is harder than I thought it would be. They don’t know my heart is gone, a big smile and some witty asides cover it up nicely. I can’t breathe. I can’t. If I do it means I’m admitting that I am living without you. If I move it means I’m capable without everything I used to have. Not happily, just basic motor skills. I’d rather they pull the plug. Didn’t I sign something earlier stating that if I were a vegetable, I didn’t want to be here? Somebody has to find that form.

“Just the dentist and his assistant” by Julia at Rustic Owl Cafe


Saturday,May 25, 2013 at Rustic Owl Cafe
1:15pm
5 minutes
Room
Emma Donoghue


Arnold sat in the waiting room with his tiny puppy stored discretely in his messenger bag. He didn’t want to leave the poor thing at home after rescuing her from under his car that morning. she was tiny tiny, and was good at keeping quiet. Arnold couldn’t help but think what this dog’s story was, and how his life would change now that he is a father. A dog owner with no kids, finally someone to take care of. Arnold’s white hair stuck out on the sides of his head like a clown’s would. He was rather tall with tanned legs and arms. He waited quietly, patting his bag every few minutes to let his new baby know that he was still there, that the puppy wasn’t alone. He assumed the dog was sleeping because she wasn’t even making a peep. He hadn’t thought far enough ahead to plan how he would bring his bag with him into the dentist chair….
He also didn’t know what he was supposed to do with her when they put him under so they could remove his wisdom teeth.

“Use in Cranberry sauce” by Julia on the subway going east


Friday, May 24, 2013
10:11pm
5 minutes
from the back of the cloves spice jar

I never thought the sounds of babies and small children laughing would ruin me so much. Today, on this particular morning, every single one of them is a twisted blade into my skull and I don’t want them to be happy. I don’t want them to point out the fire trucks on the side of the road, their little minds telling them when to shriek in excitement when they realize they know what it is they’re looking at. I don’t want them to hold each others’ hands and skip across the street singing in unison. This is not my everyday. This is my today. Nothing sounds beautiful. The only thing that would save me is a note from you telling me the same thing I told you yesterday. But instead all I see when I come back is the napkin phone conversation with my mother when we talked about making the cranberry sauce for thanksgiving. It’s scratched out, and that gives me hope, but you didn’t write anything in its place.

“Saving the” by Julia on the 506 going west


Thursday, May 23, 2013
2:12am
5 minutes
An overheard conversation at Gabby’s

Saving the cat from the high tree in the front yard proved to be a real difficult feat. Ajax, the cat, was not afraid of heights or how to get down, but he was, I’m afraid to report, 100% dead when the rescuers made their way up to him. How did he lodge himself so high? How did he stay up there even while deceased? Amber was the most upset by it all…not so much that Ajax was dead, but because he didn’t even say goodbye. Why did he want to be so far away from her before he left for good? Amber stood beneath the tree before the rescuers brought him down, crying her big fat 5 year old tears and demanding an explanation. Ajax was never difficult when he kept himself on the ground; right where he belonged. Amber’s mother tried to explain that cats don’t like to have their loved ones around when they die. That was a nice thing Ajax did, she tried to say.

“LIFT” by Sasha on the subway going west


Wednesday, May 22, 2013
11:43pm
5 minutes
A United Rentals Truck

Last time you called I was in the bath. I knew it was you. I considered getting out, leaving a trail of drips that I would later curse. I considered answering, wet ear pressed to the receiver. I have a rotary phone that I found at a garage sale my first year of university. It is black. It rings like a dream. It’s fun to watch people’s mouthes fall when I tell them that’s all I’ve got. No Smartphone-iPad-hybrid-music-player-stream-all-the-garbage-you-want. The phone is mounted on the wall. I usually sit, squatted or with my knees up to my chest, the chord reaching just far enough. You would never guess that I was in the bath. I didn’t used to like them. Ever since I took up tennis with Uncle Al, a good bath has saved the day. We meet at the courts at Ashbridge’s Bay at seven thirty. Al brings us both shakes with protein powder and blue green algae. He doesn’t look a day over seventy. We drink our shakes at, what he calls, “halftime”. It is that time when we’ve both worked up a substantial sweat but I’m not quite panting yet.

“LIFT” by Julia on the subway going east


Wednesday, May 22, 2013
5:18pm
5 minutes
A United Rentals Truck

Take me higher, Creed song blaring on the car radio, mom found a station she could stomach listening to for a good five minutes. Me? No, always hated that song. Too many religious undertones. Too many weird guttural noises. Don’t know, ha. Which one I hate more. We were on our way to Grand Bend, think I mentioned at some point that I was hungry by accident and next thing I know I’m eating a McDonald’s happy meal and wishing I had gotten a different toy. No I wasn’t young. It feels like yesterday but it was definitely years before that. The smell of never discoloured French fries filled the car and the sounds of easy breezy contemporary listening or whatever. Mom? Oh she was wearing a big beach hat and a sundress with the straps hanging down so she could “catch some rays” as she liked to put it. I knew she was going to get a burn on her driving arm only but I kept my mouth shut around the mushy patty instead.

“Impetus to write the play” by Julia in Baden


Monday, May 21, 2013
2:12pm
5 minutes
the Toronto Arts Council Playwright Grant guidelines

Something’s gotta give something’s gotta go everybody’s telling me what I already know it’s the answer to the question that I never even asked I don’t want to I don’t need to but I feel my heart is masked I can’t live it I can’t leave it things are getting jumbled fast if the future doesn’t help me ill just keep living in the past what’s the verdict what’s the help line should I call it will i be fine magic eight ball do your damage make me hate me take advantage I can prove it if I truth it tell the honest 1 and 2 it got to get myself all the way through it if It hurts me I’ll remove it dream in technicolor images and when I’m done I’m swimming in the same old place I was caged in and now I’m good no longer jaded I could tell you I could show you trust you farther than I could throw you

“scarcity into prosperity” by Julia in Baden


Tuesday, May 21, 2013
1:49pm
5 minutes
From the cover of a book on the table

Turning your good traits into great ones since 1999! Melia said with a smile. She had one of those shit eating grins that actually made you want to be better in spite of yourself. She considered herself a life coach, Melia did. Guess someone told her when she was very young that she had a gift for the outside eye or for the criticism as we all liked to call it. Every one of us has been under her scrutiny once or twice, and it’s the worst when she gets a little one who takes her too personally and ends up hating everything about themselves by the time they’re 12. She means well, Melia does, but she doesn’t know any better. She thinks she’s helping even when it sometimes feels like the opposite. She wanted to see how improvements in people could come from one honest lady with a penchant for dissecting other human beings. Lord knows she’s the only one allowed to do it; any body try telling Melia what she’s done wrong or what she could do better, and that dumb excuse for a human better get their running shoes on.

“when her man got bagged” by Julia on her parents’ deck in Baden


Sunday, May 19, 2013
1:59pm
5 minutes
DECODED
Jay-Z


A hundred things were floating in her head, I guess you could say, about the crash, or the garden. She was lost in her own list-making at the time when she heard. Avery told her he was coming home for dinner and Alice made a point about being late because things never start on time there anyway. Lydia was in shambles and making lists about which pieces she was going to glue back together inside her brain first. When Avery didn’t show up at all, and Alice came an hour late to prove something or other, Lydia started to do the shaking thing that happened to her left hand when she felt God talking to her. She was listening, setting the vibrations, getting ready for the bad news to come. She knew about it before it even happened, it’s safe to say. Alice arrived and didn’t even know something was the matter. She was wrapped up in making everyone around her notice her and her new blonde hair do. Avery never misses dinner, Alice finally noticed. But Lydia had already started with the list making. She went outside to pick a few sprigs of rosemary, Alice trailing behind talking about some new scissors she wanted, when she saw it. There in the garden, with boulders holding down his hands and feet.

“impetus to write the play” by Sasha at The Common on Bloor


Monday, May 21, 2013 at The Common on Bloor
1:07pm
5 minutes
the Toronto Arts Council Playwright Grant guidelines

It was threatening to rain. I’ll blame it on that. You know that I get moody when it feels heavy like that, when the clouds are practically touching the ground. I hadn’t been in a physical fight since, since, since… Since my brother and I used to wrestle over who got to ride in the front seat on the way to school. The woman looks like the type that goes to Wasaga every weekend and smears on tanning oil. She probably drinks Coors Lite. She definitely eats veal and lamb and probably other baby animals. She definitely read the Sun. Now you get the picture. I see her shouting at her kid. They’re on the other side of the street. It catches my attention, it catches everyone’s attention. He’s little, you know, maybe four, but probably more like three… three and a half. Next thing I know she’s hitting him. Hard. I don’t even think before I run across the street. Cars are honking, people are shouting. I grab her arm and say, “Hey!” That’s it. Just, “Hey!” What is there to say… I’m not one to judge, but, like, that’s not okay, you know? Then she turns on me and, and, and… I just punch her. Right in the cheek. Hard. Oh my gosh it was…

“scarcity into prosperity” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday, May 20, 2013
11:24pm
5 minutes
From the cover of a book on the table

It was cold in the hospital, artificial air-conditioning air, and bright, too bright, the kind of bright light that illuminates every too-open pore and every yet-to-be tweezed hair. She imagines what it would be like if all the fixtures were on their own dimming switches. Perhaps not practical, but she never claimed to be. “Polly?” She rolled over. She opened her eyes. She hadn’t expected Tom to come. They’d only e-mail to arrange drop-off and pick-up of their shared custody Yorkie, West. They each had keys to the others apartment and they’d make a point of not being home for that, there was no need for them to cross paths. He hadn’t sent a note when he’d heard, he hadn’t even added a “P.S.” He hadn’t dialed her number, which she was sure he still knew by heart, and said… even, nothing. He hadn’t called her and said nothing at all but her name. Tom had shaved his head and she thought it made him look intimidating and severe. She’d liked him better with more hair. “I’m sorry I didn’t… I just couldn’t… I didn’t know what to…” He was crying, or, rather, tears were falling out of his eyes. His face didn’t contort the way hers did when she wept. She used the strength from the Codine and raised her fingers up. He walked closer and touched them, with his own fingertips. It was the intimacy of a brother and sister. Funny that they’d been married once, that they’d lain naked together so many nights, that they had thought they’d be buried side-by-side in Mount Pleasant Cemetery one day.

“when her man got bagged” by Sasha on her bed at Knowlton Lake


Sunday, May 19, 2013
7:32am
5 minutes
DECODED
Jay-Z


You have a few regrets. You don’t let them anchor. You aren’t too upset about them. You feel about these regrets how you feel about scrambled eggs – take ’em or leave ’em. Sometimes they hit the spot and sometimes they taste like throw-up. When you decide to fess up about these regrets, you’ll do it to a lover that you found on a park bench. The ground will be scattered with cherry blossom petals and the odd beer can. It won’t be your usual type of lover, it will be a bit different, a bit mysterious, a bit rare, a bit rough. After, sweaty and giggling, you’ll be moved to share these regrets, small pebbles that weighed down your pockets that day.

1. Bernice Goldstein, who you would pinch most days of Grade Two. She was snotty-nosed and greasy-haired, and exuded neediness and it frustrated you. You later found out she had killed herself. You hated to think you had something to do with it. You wish that you could apologize.
2. Your cousins wedding, which you missed because of a Foo Fighters concert, prioritizing “cool” over “family”, the first of many. Years later he told you how hurt he’d been that you weren’t there, that you didn’t care enough to sell the tickets on Craigslist and use that money to get on a train.
3. Forgetting your mother’s birthday that one year, when you were tree-planting. You’d arranged to call her, had planned to sing to her, the birthday song that was in the secret language you used to speak together.

“That was my first personal encounter” by Sasha on the couch at Knowlton Lake


Saturday, May 18, 2013 at Knowlton Lake
3:31pm
5 minutes
Some Freaks
David Mamet


When the roosters wake you up you won’t be irritated. You’ll be grateful. You didn’t set the alarm clock that you found at Honest Ed’s, painted with a pink cat. You’ll be confused because you live in the city, in the heart of it, and you never expected a rooster. It will reminds you of your grandfather’s farm, sold to a contracting company who would raise a whole subdivision in four or five years. It reminds you of the smell of the manure, and the bales of hay and the apple orchard. You decide you won’t get out of bed today. You call in sick, to a manager who you don’t respect, not on principle, in a “stick it to the man” sort of way, in the way that you might choose to hate any manager because really you are completely capable of managing yourself. You don’t respect him because he’s choosing to be with Emily, from Finance, who just turned twenty. He left his wife for her. He’s forty two, with a preteen daughter and autistic twin boys who couldn’t be more than eight. He smells like a mowed lawn. You used to like that smell. Not anymore. You call this manager and you tell him that you’re not feeling well. “A mental health day, perhaps?” He scoffs. It’s a migraine, you whisper, for effect. You hang up the phone and listen to the rooster. You pull the covers over your head.

“That was my first personal encounter” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, May 18, 2013
8:31pm
5 minutes
Some Freaks
David Mamet


He and I, remember Andy? Didn’t like to be called Andrew, God knows why. I tried, Sal, I did. I used to say, Andrew my love, to disguise it and he would see right through me like a piece of plastic wrap on a bowl of cold noodles. Anyway, Andy and I, we met that day on the bridge because my car stalled and he was the only nice son of a bitch to stop and help me. I was losing my mind about it and he kept me real calm. So then he asked what I was on my way to and if maybe I wanted to grab a coffee with him. I was sort of amused that he thought I was just driving on the bridge and had all this free time in the world to grab coffee with a complete and utter stranger! Anyway I told him, remember what I said? I told him, You can call me tomorrow afternoon and ask me out for a proper date! That’s what I said, Sal! It’s true, don’t act like I made that up; you can’t write that shit, you know you can’t! Then he did call me. Remember? The next day, at the strike of noon like he was waiting there all morning for it to be “afternoon” so he could call. And that night we ate at, uh, what’s that place? Well good thing I don’t remember because we didn’t last thirty seconds before we snuck off to the bathroom and he fucked me against a urinal! I’m sure those snobby bastards won’t want to see me again anyway!

“A good vinegar is hard to find.” by Julia at TAN on Baldwin


Friday May 17, 2013 at TAN
2:28pm
5 minutes
bon appetit magazine, February 2013 issue

They were telling me to use some sort of apple vinegar? Is that it? Apple cider or whatever? No, Marie, it wasn’t for a recipe. On my hair! Can you believe that bunch a baloney? I’m gonna just go ahead and say it: SOME PEOPLE ARE BAT SHIT CRAZY. I’m being so serious here. Why would I ever do that? So I can walk around all day smelling like a garden salad? N to the O thank to the you. I almost laughed in her face. I didn’t because she was still cutting my hair and I didn’t want her to go all Edward Scissorhands on me and turn me into an award winning piece of front lawn shrubbery. I waited till after, sort of swallowed down my embarrassment for the poor girl. Should have told her the moccasins were not doing anything for her cankles either, while I was at it, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, am I right? So now I’m thinking I should go out and find this vinegar, maybe buy it, I don’t know yet, I’m still deciding, then come home, make a video of me using it and STUPID I look just to prove a point. I’ll put it up on YouTube and see how many hits something as dumb as this gets!

“A good vinegar is hard to find.” by Sasha at her desk


Friday, May 17, 2013
8:46am
5 minutes
bon appetit magazine
February 2013 issue


“A good vinegar is actually very hard to find,” says Vera, applying face cream. “A good vinegar, in fact, is like a good man – from Italy!” She laughed her belly-laugh, like it was the funniest thing she’d ever said. I laughed too, because how could I not. Vera had lost about five inches. Osteoporosis. “Have I grown?” She’d ask, a sparkle in her eye, every Friday morning. I’d come over and I’d do her hair and nails. I’d stopped charging her three years ago. We were friends. She’d make tuna sandwiches with the crusts cut off, or egg salad with cut up sweet pickles, she’d brew a pot of strong tea, she’d dig some shortbreads out of the freezer… That was enough. Vera had been married three times and she wasn’t afraid to talk about it. She loved comparing one husband with the other, the first with the last, the second with the others. The one thing they had in common were that they were all Italian. Vera was not. Vera was vague about her own heritage. “I’m a mutt!” She’d say, winking. She was also vague about her age – “probably at least one hundred and seven,” she’d said, since the day I’d met her. She always went for a perm. And french tipped nails.

“If asked a question; meander” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday, May 16, 2013
3:55pm
5 minutes
Environs
T.P White


It’s funny how the questions just keep coming and all I do is smile. “Where did you leave the keys?” “What time is the neurologist appointment?” “What’s for dinner?” “What are we getting Jenny for her birthday?” Smile, smile, smile. It’s the easiest answer. You can take whatever meaning you’d like – yes, or, no.

One time, you asked me what I thought about grapefruits. This was a long time ago. I had a contrived, long-winded, intellectual answer. I indeed gave you what I “thought”. Now, now that I’ve packed away the file-folders and recipe cards, the address book and the alarm clock, now? I would say, “wait here!” I would walk to the fruit stand. I would find the most beautiful, ripe, succulent grapefruit. I would buy it, and only it. I would arrive home and you wouldn’t have moved, you’d have waited, patiently. I’d peel the whole thing, while you watched. I’d break every section apart, making a sun on the table. I’d feed you each piece, you, licking the juice from my fingers.

“If asked a question; meander” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday, May 16, 2013 at Starbucks
12:46pm
5 minutes
Environs
T.P White


Think about it. If you don’t like it in a few minutes, I’ll take it back.
It’s not an “it”, Johnny, it’s a her. She’s a her.
See, I knew you’d come around eventually. She’s not even scary. She’s a python, but she’s not scary.
She’s…unpredictable. I don’t trust anything with a brain that small.
Oh come on, Maddy, she’s a baby. All she knows how to do is crawl up and down a rock for crying out loud. Please can we keep her? I’ll do dishes for a whole month. I’ll mop the floors every week! I’ll…let you tie me up in all your crazy belts or whatever…
Shut it. Not happening! If that thing gets lose that’s it for us. Goodbye damage deposit.
If she gets loose. Dana Lee. If Dana Lee gets loose…
She’s an it again to me, okay, I’m wishy-washy. Do you really want to co-parent a reptile with someone who’s this wishy-washy?
You’ll like her if you give her a chance, Mad, I know you will.
Yeah, the same way you knew I’d never go Sky Diving?

“I shook and then I licked” by Sasha in her bed


Tuesday May 14, 2013
12:35am
5 minutes
Coffee Courage
Mark. R. Slaughter


I don’t want a picture of us kissing. I found one, just now, and it gave me a shock of electricity in through my belly button. It’s harder when these things are stored on hard-drives. It’s harder to be sure that we’re rid of them. These pictures; these e-mails professing love that has now turned to something else, something different, not disdain but…; these songs that you recorded on your GarageBand and sent late one night so that I would wake up to it in the morning. It’s harder to be sure we’re rid of those such things. When it was a print, the fingerprints bright, the colours lovely, when it was a print, it was easier to burn, to tear, to shred and recycle. The sound of the photo being dropped in the “Trash” is so much less satisfying. Will I regret it? Will I regret that the footprint of you and I is, perhaps, closer to being nothing at all? What have you done with the photos and the e-mails and the songs?

“you do it because” by Sasha at Nova Era Bakery


Monday May 13, 2013
11:15am at Nova Era Bakery
5 minutes
Wild Mind
Natalie Goldberg


It started with a tube of toothpaste. I didn’t think anything of it. I guess she had used mine once, when she hadn’t felt like using her own, when she’d wanted a break from Colgate. Fine. Totally okay. I’m cool with that. Then it was a haircut. As if, maybe, she’d brought in that photo we took on my birthday and said to the stylist, “Like that. Like hers.” Next, she’d asked where I bought my boots. “Vintage,” was a safe choice. A lie, but a safe choice. “Damn,” she’d said. When I walked by her room, door open, teddybear pertly displayed beside white and yellow pillows on her bed, a journal tossed at the foot. I gasped. “That’s my fucking…” I grabbed the book and opened it, seeing that it wasn’t mine at all. It was new. It was hers.

“I shook and then I licked” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday May 14, 2013
12:32am
5 minutes
Coffee Courage
Mark. R. Slaughter


I waited by the water for your truth to reach me. I told myself I wasn’t leaving until I found you there in some form or another; in the stars if nowhere else.
I wanted you to fight me on it all the last time I saw you. I wanted you to tell me I was wrong and to hurry up already with the tuna melts I was taking my sweet time in bringing to you.
It’s been a long time now. I’m not sure if you want to come back home or if you even notice how blurry the sky looks lately.
I thought if I shook off the night that you left and sort of held my head high, things would be fine.
Reverse psychology really works on me, did you know that? I told myself not to think of you and my brain just laughed at my gull.
Here’s the address of where we first kissed in case you forgot it. Or in case you want to keep it, maybe laminate it, and show it to our grandkids if you ever decide that we’re the thing you want to perfect.
If not, then at least I’ll know I tried everything I could think of to get you to want to be here on your own.
Your answer lingered in the air and hung on a couple clouds or so…taunting me with potential rain, or a big storm.
I closed my eyes so I could hear it better.

“you do it because” by Julia at Nova Era Bakery


Monday May 13, 2013
11:15am at Nova Era Bakery
5 minutes
Wild Mind
Natalie Goldberg


You do it because you like to watch pudgy toddlers purse their chubby faces into a pout and watch the pudgy tears form in their chubby eyes, and then stream down like the Niagara Falls-no end in sight. You pinch. You squeeze too hard–for love. To be loved….
Poor pudgy baby only knows first the pinch, then the ouch, then the inconsolable sadness that follows once the pain sets in. And you will stay there for the duration of this whole progression. Because you want to be the one they run to. Poor pudgy baby. You bend down and scoop them up in your arms and you rock them, singing Shhh shhh, it’s okay, it’s okay, I’m here, into their chubby toddler ears. You hum a lullaby of I’ll protect you, of Don’t worry, of I’ve got you, you’re safe now. You’re not a bad person, but you do love being the one to fix the pudgy baby’s mood, the sadness. You’re the loving face they forget is the same one behind the pinch, then the ouch, then the Niagara Falls.
Your smile and sympathy are as real as your need to save, but it comes from your dark place. No, no. Don’t worry. You’re not a bad person. You do it because you need to.

“not a single hero” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 12, 2013
4:27pm
5 minutes
The front page of the Sunday Star
Sunday, May 12th


Artie had cabin fever. He hadn’t left his house in months but to Artie, it felt like years. No one came to visit him, even after the big accident. He didn’t know if someone, his mother, had told everyone to stay away. He didn’t ask. He didn’t want to know. If he discovered that she had not said anything to anyone, then it’d be worse to think that not a single hero did he know. Sure it would have been shocking to come by the house they all knew so well, and all practically elected as the common grounds for Friday and Saturday night affairs, and see the person they thought they knew one way, in a completely different world. Artie had conceded himself to the notion that if he had any real friends, they would have all come by now and he wouldn’t have to worry if they would still love him, even after what happened. But when your friend that you know and love, suddenly becomes a murderer, things inevitably change…a little. Not that Artie was a murderer. He didn’t like that word. But some people in the town didn’t quite know how to reference him any longer. He hoped for a minute, that his mother did in fact tell them to keep their distance while Artie got better. He really, really didn’t like that word..

“how desolate the landscape can be” by Julia on her couch


Saturday May 11, 2013
2:22pm
5 minutes
Kindness
Naomi Shihab Nye


But when you’ve lost everything else, how might you view it? The landscape I mean, that is all I’m talking about. It could not bear to have any sunlit pastures, or violets. No, certainly not violets. It’s truly remarkable when the mist from the mountains shrouds the entire feeling. It’s delicate, and it’s a fine navigation between alive and dead. You’ve lost everything, my dear, and I feel emptiness on your behalf. I didn’t know the same wholeness you felt before you lost it all, but I do know, something of the sort. It starts quietly in the palm of your hand, turned out into the universe. And there, it begins to creep up onto your wrists, then your elbows, and it continues up, slowly, and fluidly, until it reaches your centre. It jumps inside your chest, almost instantaneously. You can’t prevent it, or predict it. It happens and then it strangles your heart until you can’t even cry out the pain from your eyes. You collapse, at the feeling of loneliness, and only loneliness because the other ways to describe it, are beyond our comprehension. Yes. That’s the thing that I too, understand without fail.

“not a single hero” by Sasha at The Good Neighbour


Sunday May 12, 2013 at The Good Neighbour
2:56pm
5 minutes
The front page of the Sunday Star
Sunday, May 12th


The magnolia trees were even brighter the day that Ichabod spotted Lucy, doing Tai Chi in the park. He hadn’t been to that particular park in quite some time, he was frequenting the other park more regularly, the park closer to his apartment building. This morning, he decided to go to the one a bit further, for a ride on the swingset. It was early. Ichabod suspected that he wouldn’t have to fight off any ankle-biters. He suspected he’d have the swingset all to himself. And he did! In fact, he had the whole park to himself, in all it’s sweet serenity, until Lucy arrived. She was wearing a blue sweatshirt and pink shorts. Her hair was tied back with a bright yellow ribbon, salvaged from her sisters gift wrapping drawer. Only a certain type of person has a drawer dedicated to gift wrapping. Lucy had only just started to practise Tai Chi, after reading an interview with Richard Gere, who apparently practised in his backyard most mornings. Lucy wished to cultivate a Richard Gere type serenity.

“how desolate the landscape can be” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday May 11, 2013
7:13pm
5 minutes
Kindness
Naomi Shihab Nye


I’ve got flea bites all over my back, localized around my spine, as if the little buggers paddled down that bone-river, pillaging as they went. I run out of my room, glancing each way, hoping no one decides to escape the peace of their bedrooms, or to go for a glass of grapefruit juice, at this very moment. I look at my naked back-body in the long mirror in the hall. Quick. There are probably over thirty bites, each one a tiny monument of reddish-pink sadness. What a metaphor. What a reality. I had decided to liberate Bijou and allow her to be an Outdoor Cat. It took lots of leashed visits to the park and to the Variety Store for sour candy or cinnamon gum. She’d gone out on her own for the first time last Tuesday. I watched her with my binoculars, usually reserved for moon-gazing, as she ventured into the neighbours yard and then into a bush, out of my sight. I spent the rest of the afternoon praying and teary. She came in at dinnertime, when I called her, strutting like she was a saucy lady of the night. Bijou had never had fleas before. She was one of those poised and prissy felines, I’d even trained her to use the toilet with one of those kits you can buy online.

“Physically he had changed” by Julia at her desk


Friday May 10, 2013
5:20pm
5 minutes
The Boys Of Summer
Roger Kahn


What makes a beautiful moment? He wondered, out loud, maybe.
Was it the way her hair softly fell into her eyes when you were looking deep into them…then the wind came, and you just had to smile? Was it the only time in the day where you felt true silence but that’s because your heart was buzzing so consistently that it felt like nothing at all?
He kept his eyes focused on his feet, shuffling back and forth, back and forth. If he lifted his gaze for even a second, he knew it would be the end of him. She wasn’t standing in front of him then, but he imagined her there. He got shy in his arms, his legs, his mouth.
I love you. He said, out loud, for sure this time. To nobody; to the soft breeze. To the sunset.
I love you more in this beautiful moment than I ever have.
His fingers formed a knot with each other, his knuckles popping out in all kinds of weird formations. He was different than he was before he met her. He was physically different, changed even, and he was very much okay with it.
You’re the only one. He sang, out loud, and internally.
Now that he knew her, he didn’t want to revert back to anything that he used to feel or think before this. Before this beautiful moment.

“Physically he had changed” by Sasha at her desk


Friday May 10, 2013
4:10pm
5 minutes
The Boys Of Summer
Roger Kahn


I got a head start. This infuriated you, I knew from the sound of your angry feet on the sand. I could hear you curse in Spanish, under your breath. I remember when you taught me how to ride a bike, up and down our half acre driveway. We were living in Santa Fe then, Oli had just left for the Army. You lost your temper only once, during those hours, back and forth from the house to the state road. It was when I said that I was afraid. You told me I should never tell anyone if I was scared, that I should keep that kind of thing to myself. I imagined your father, telling you that, and how you’d really done your best to stick to it. Mom said you waited outside when Oli was born and then again with me. You must’ve been terrified. You must’ve wanted no one to know. Easier to stay at arms length. No wonder she decided you weren’t for her.

I get to the other side of the beach. You’re only a few strides behind. You curse again, but this time with a smile on your face. You grab me and wrestle me to the ground.

“NO ADVERTISING NECESSARY” by Julia on the 506 going east


Thursday May 8, 2013 at The Common
7:28pm
5 minutes
The front page of Report on Business
The Globe and Mail
Thursday, May 8, 2013


-When did Ellis get here?
-Hmm. Yeah. Sunday? Early.
-Were you…ever going to tell me?
-Umm, yeah. I was just waiting I guess.
-For? A written invitation, or?
-Yeah. Something like that. I was just seeing if it was a thing and it wasn’t so I was going to tell you sooner but you already saw him.
-But you knew he was coming. You knew and you still didn’t say anything to me. I’m finding it difficult to stay calm right now, Max.
-What’s the big deal? He’s sleeping on the couch anyway.
Fine.
-Yeah?
-No it’s not fine, just fine that..ugh whatever. You don’t get it.
-Yeah. I don’t. Sorry.
-It’s fine.
-See? See how people are confused by you?
-When is he leaving?
-Who?
-Oh my sweet Jesus. Ellis. Who else could I possibly be talking about?
-Nobody knows.
-How can’t..what?
-Well he’s not talking.
-Oh. Again? I didn’t know that.
-Yeah, nobody did.

“NO ADVERTISING NECESSARY” by Sasha at The Common on Bloor


Thursday May 8, 2013 at The Common
12:55pm
5 minutes
The front page of Report on Business
The Globe and Mail
Thursday, May 8, 2013


The day started out better than they’d expected. For one, it had finally stopped raining. It had rained for the past twelve days. Kiki started to wonder if something biblical was going on. “Something biblical is always going on,” said Elizabeth, making an omelette in their new cast iron frying pan. Kiki didn’t get annoyed when Elizabeth said things like this, she actually got a kick out of it. She liked the way Elizabeth was grandiose. She liked the way Elizabeth talked about getting into dog breeding, and opening a cafe, and flying to Belize and finding a real boyfriend. When Kiki had moved into the house, in July, Elizabeth had been in Maine, learning about starfish, just for fun. When she’d gotten back, Kiki had re-arranged the furniture. “Dope!” said Elizabeth, shaking the sand out of her duffle bag, out of the window. “What if that gets into someone’s eye?!” Kiki shrieked. “I’m not worried about it!” Elizabeth laughed. “Do you think you’ll get married?” Elizabeth liked to ask. Kiki wasn’t sure anymore. She was sure of her need for a record player, she was sure about her crush on Darondo, she was sure about the walls needing a good wash.

“slaving twenty hours a day” by Sasha at Jimmy’s Coffee in Kensington


Wednesday May 8, 2013 at Jimmy’s in Kensington Market
5:10pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Noam Chomsky

Clint has a wide forehead, stretching like Manitoba. He has a high hairline, isn’t balding, but has a high hairline, high like the corn stalks, high like the gulls calling for sunset. Clint has a broad nose, got it from his great-grandfather, a Cherokee chief. Somewhere along the line it got broken, like his wish for a red pick-up. Somewhere along that same line, rum and coke left their marks, too. He has brown eyes, the whites a bit less white than they used to be, before the storm at the Bay, before the lady in the black tank top too her heart back. Clint goes by “Clint” but he was named, sixteen days after being borned, he was named “Roberto”. No one quite knows when it got changed, when it did it stuck and that’s really all that matters now. His wrinkles are deep trenches, World War Three trenches, clay earth trenches, from nostrils to near the corners of his mouth. The bird digs for a worm.

“slaving twenty hours a day” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday May 8, 2013
7:32pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Noam Chomsky

It’s a hard job, trying to make ends meet, talking to your mother thirty times in a day, just to ask her, where did I got wrong? Did I stop being good at everything when I stopped taking swimming lessons when I was 6? She just sighs over the phone, says, My baby, you’re fine. This is the thing you need, and just wait in time it all will change.
She says, do you want to come back home? And you say, Mamma, you know I can’t. What’s there for me? One giant Tim Horton’s with a late night truck stop crew? Or maybe the one and only traffic light? Or perhaps the bar that closes at 9. She says, I know my baby, I know, I know, I know. Then what can you do? And you get choked up on your own ineptitude. Maybe work harder? She Mmhms you. Maybe take more classes. Mhmm, Mhmm, my baby. Maybe stop wasting time on silly things and silly people. Oh yes, my baby, that’s the answer. And you slave, and you work, longer than you need to. Cause Mamma’s far away, and you’re alone in a big big city with no one to tell you when to go to sleep. You work and work for nothing, spending all your money on movies, rented from the internet. The next time you ask her, Is it me? Mhmm, Mhmm, my baby, is what she’ll say.

“he comes up with a plan” by Julia on the 506 going west


Tuesday May 7, 2013
12:33am
5 minutes
The back of The Store DVD case

Join the club, she says to him, Join the club, or you can’t be my friend.
He holds the stick high over his head, ready to throw it at Little Tyler who is cowering in the mud. He’s crying, even, or at least it looks that way.
DO IT, she chants, little braid messy from all the running around. This is your last chance.
He can’t throw the stick. Little Tyler. Little Tyler.
He instead, launches the stick in the opposite direction. She screams. What are you doing!
He runs over to Little Tyler and picks him up. He’s a wounded dog, now, and bites at any hands at all. Even the helping ones, because they all blend in and feel the same when you’re scared.
Don’t touch him. He’s being punished, she screams, to nobody in particular, arms flailing, braid swinging.
Little Tyler finally opens his eyes and sees a gentle smile on Chubby Matthew’s face. He opens up. He breathes, for maybe the first time.
Connie, you stop this, Chubby Matthew says to her over his shoulder. No one wants to be in your club anyway.

“he comes up with a plan” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday May 7, 2013
12:37pm
5 minutes
The back of The Store DVD case

He comes up with a plan, one that he deems responsible. He writes it down in a three-ring notebook that he finds on a bottom shelf at the Dollar Store. First, he goes and gets a haircut. He closes his eyes when the barber massages his scalp and he doesn’t even care if it looks dumb. He almost asks the barber to keep going for a bit, he almost makes an offer for an extra five dollars. He could probably get a whole thing of diapers for five dollars. He doesn’t ask. When he gets home, to the basement apartment that he and Polly moved in to last September when they got evicted from their last place in Scarborough, he sits down at the kitchen table and starts his plan, his list, his on-paper, written-down, how-to. Number one: get a better job. He’s been working at the No Frills in the Produce department since they got to the new neighbourhood. He worked full-time but they could barely pay the bills. Number two: start a Savings Account. He wanted that baby to get to go to college if he wanted, or go to camp, or try his hand at sailing. The savings account would be called “BABY”, and once they decided on a name he’d change it. It was a place to start.

“What do we want?” By Julia at Belly Acres


Monday May 6, 2013 at Belly Acres
5:27pm
5 minutes
A sign on the blackboard

What do we want? Hard to say, I don’t know if I’d classify us as a ‘we’ anymore. See…when someone breaks someone’s heart, it’s really no longer ‘we’ territory. I’m fine without you, by the way. But that’s what it is: Me without you. There is no ‘we’. We–what we used to be– was weekends away at the cottage house in Grand Bend, and a bottle of red with a million re-runs of Scrubs. That’s what we used to be. Laura, you’re calling me too much. It’s hard, okay? We can’t–uh–there, I said it–you and I, can’t, keep doing this if the both of us want to move on, I mean, if you and I separately think it’s a good idea for personal growth or whatever. Maybe the friend thing you’re pushing could be real…12-18 months from now, yeah, I think I’d consider it. But–now is like–it’s like you’re allowed to still talk to me but you’re also allowed to still talk to him…and like, the best of both world’s thing, isn’t really my thing.

“What do we want?” By Sasha at Cafe Pamenar


Monday May 6, 2013 at Cafe Pamenar
5:00pm
5 minutes
A sign on the blackboard

At the Supermarket Nathan fills his cart with six bags of chicken thighs. They’re on sale. He’s stoked about that. He gets some frozen corn, some peas, some iceberg lettuce. He just likes the name, really. He buys a couple of litre jugs of Cola. He’s ready for the earthquake. His aunt Leona is a psychic and she predicted it. She’s been right before. He didn’t want to take any chances. His main hope is that his neighbour down the hall, in apartment 504, his beautiful neighbour with red hair and a round bum, won’t have prepared. She won’t have prepared for the earthquake and she’ll come to him, in his bachelor, the only bachelor on the floor and he’ll have everything they need – chicken, corn and Cola. They’ll feast by candlelight. They’ll feast and they’ll laugh and he’ll be funny for once, making her choke on a kernel of corn, and then he’ll do the heimlich maneuver and all will be well. She’ll know, that red haired, round bummed beauty, that he’s the one for her. So strong. So resourceful.

“find the light” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday May 5, 2013
4:15pm
5 minutes
from the Voice Over Survivor script book

She lived in a world of plain and simple Alice In Wonderland
She’d thought she would leave the Woods once or twice
And that she would find a fox-fur to sleep in
But then Spring came
She fell down the looking glass tunnel and ended up in
NeverNever Land
Peter was there
With his tights and his bow-n-arrow
And Wendy
In blue-black mascara and magenta lipstick
Acting older than she really is
The Lost Boys laughed like wind-chimes and BB guns
She was scared but that didn’t make her want to go back
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
They said
And she did
And it took her
To a graveyard
Where she slept on the stones of the people that had written the stories

“find the light” by Julia at Apollo Studios


Sunday May 5, 2013 at Apollo Studios
5:50pm
5 minutes
from the Voice Over Survivor script book

Oh let there be a shining sign,
A heart to hold, a hand on mine, for days to come, and down the line,
Oh let there be a shining sign.

Amelia stood in her kitchen fixing
tomato salad and nondescript beans. She swayed back and forth with an easiness about her she hadn’t recognized since her youth. Shawna would be home soon from the market with her fresh basil and Amelia had plans to ask her about the people there. Amelia hadn’t left her house in just shy of a month. Losing the baby was hard for her, as it would be, but she made a promise to Shawna and Valerie that she’d still be around if the two of them needed her. She was trying to hide the sadness when they came over, especially together. Valerie was too young to understand what was happening to her sister and Shawna was the type who just didn’t care much about anything that didn’t involve her.

“will rest my head.” By Julia at her desk


Saturday May 4, 2013
2:34pm
5 minutes
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I guess I was mad at him, that’s why I didn’t calm him on his birthday? I debated it, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I forgot the day or anything. I’m good with dates and people’s faces so that’s not usually my style to, you know, to do something like that. It just felt a bit outside myself to really hold back from it. But he was being kind of unmanageable so I was trying to teach him a lesson about life maybe, or about me. He wished me one even though he hated me that year. But I guess I was too mad to even let myself do it.
I should have now. I’m feeling nothing but guilt about the whole thing. I was fine the first two minutes of my decision but…I’m afraid you don’t just come back from that…when your only living family member doesn’t even wish you a happy birthday. Wow. You know? You just stop to think, is it all worth it, do I really want to die on this hill? That’s what my friend Redding always says, and he’s right. You have to pick your battles, don’t you? Why would I have to go ahead and pick that to do to him. I guess I’m proud, or stubborn. I got that from my father. He got the whole forgiveness thing from my mother so I’m hoping he still has that.

“will rest my head.” By Sasha on the subway


Saturday May 4, 2013
4:43pm
5 minutes
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

There was never a spot like Jenny’s Cabin, never a place I felt more safe or more happy. I’d spent as many weekends there in the summer as I could muster, and chose my day camp counsellor job accordingly (monday to friday). It was on a small lake near Georgian Bay. Jenny had met my mother at the library but when we’d had her over for dinner it was her and I that actually connected. My mother was a bit disappointed but nothing she couldn’t get over with a few gin and tonic’s and a Harlequin Romance. Jenny would take me to Shopper’s and give me a twenty to buy whatever I wanted. She knew how important a drugstore was to a seventeen year old. All summer long I’d take the bus up to the on Fridays at five thirty and Jenny would pick me up. Sometimes she’d be wearing her tiger print bikini with a pair of overalls. That was my favorite. Jenny told me about blow jobs, the importance of eating vegetables, and not sacrificing what you want for a man. We’d spend hours in the lake, we’d smoke joints while treading water, laughing til we peed.

“the Devil who touched my body” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday May 3, 2013
3:53pm
5 minutes
Aleph
Paulo Coelho


I saw the polar bear swim the most beautiful breast-stroke
Eyelashes with gold sparkles
Purple high heels on his front paws
Flippers on his back
I decided to jump on his back
Velveteen
He laughed
I had to hold on
I gripped
I wasn’t afraid
I saw the red oak tree stretching
Trying to be taller
Unsatisfied
By Summer she’ll smile
I saw the dolphins doing Stand-up
They all bombed
But no one cared
The polar bear asked my name
I lied
I said it was ZOE
I wish it was ZOE
He believed me though
Why shouldn’t he
He called me by that simple angel name
He called me over and over until I remembered to answer
He asked where I’m from
“The ravine” I said
He looked unimpressed
He looked tired
“Let’s rest” I said
He swam us to shore
We dried ourselves in the sun
The sun like the moon but more outrageous
I hadn’t seen the polar bears guitar
It must’ve been borrowed
Or stolen
We sang Dylan, Springsteen and Joan Baez
Until the stars joined the sun
The sun said goodnight
The stars clapped along

“to fix those hearts” by Sasha in High Park


Thursday May 2, 2013 at Starbucks
3:43pm
5 minutes
SickKids special section in the Toronto Star

Shelley had called about a problem with her tub on a Thursday morning. I told her I’d be there by three. That’s usually a safe guess-timation, you know, but I was late. I only had my pager with me when I was out of the house so she couldn’t get through to me. I’d been by her place once or twice before to fix a toilet handle or something. She was a nice lady. A little mousey, but nice. She had four or five kids, all little, all ankle-biter size. She lived in a bungalow down on the East side. Didn’t get to that neighbourhood often, and wasn’t too sad about it, you know? Pulled up to her place around six. Her oldest kid, a boy, was in his bathing suit, riding a trike up and down the driveway. I honked the horn on my truck and I guess it scared him, cuz he ran inside. I knocked on Shelley’s door and she answered with one of those kids hanging off her tit, you know, like, nursing or whatever. She didn’t care. She showed me to the bathroom where that same little guy who’d been on the trike was sitting on the toilet, sideways. His ass was so little he had to hold himself up with his arms so he didn’t fall in.

“Don’t ignore” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday May 1, 2013
1:11am
5 minutes
from a sign on the subway for Bladder Cancer Canada

Don’t ignore the signs, he tells me, braiding bread before brushing it with egg whites. I don’t believe in signs, I say, peeling a sweet potato. You’re ridiculous, he says, closing the oven door without looking over. His parents will be here in two hours. I’d hoped we’d have sex, to ease the tension. Hey, I say. Wanna…? He furrows his brow. Later, he says. Okay… I spin lettuce dry. I whisk together olive oil, lemon, honey, dijon, salt. He comes up behind he and puts his hands on my stomach. I suck in. Babe, I’ve got to put the chicken in. He walks away, slowly. Where are you going, I call. I need to run to the wine store. He’s out the door quickly. He must be wearing sandals. I hate it when he does that. There’s still snow on the ground for God sake. I get a call ten minutes later, as I’m shoving cloves of garlic up the chicken’s butt, and dousing her in butter and rosemary. Italian? He asks, the connection bad. Spanish, I shout. Why are you yelling, he asks. I thought…

“That’s so awkward” by Sasha on the subway going West


Tuesday April 30, 2013
10:14pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the streetcar

Um, you’ve got something in your teeth…
What?
You have something stuck in your teeth, Mel –
Shit.
Mel leans closer to Chandra and opens his lips, revealing his teeth.
What do you think it is?
Ew, I don’t know… Just, like, deal with it…
He sits backa and starts picking his teeth with his fingernail.
Did you end up going to Larry’s thing?
Yeah, I swung by. I didn’t stay late though.
Mel finally withdraws his finger from his mouth. He sucks it. Chandra wrinkles her nose.
I couldn’t make it.
Pause.
No? Why’s that?
Well, firstly, I wasn’t exactly invited. Secondly, I had a Softball game. And, thirdly, I wouldn’t go into that scuzzy creeps condo if he paid me to.
Oh my God, Mel. Why do you hate him so much?
I see what others do not…
Dramatic much?
I see that that man is, actually, evil.

“Where you’re from” by Sasha at R Squared Cafe


Monday, April 29, 2013 at R Squared Cafe
11:02am
5 minutes
Caitlin’s warmup prompt

Where you’re from the women paint their fingernails different colours, commemorating the sacrifices and the wins. Where you’re from the women knead the dough with their hands until it’s ready to wait and rise. Where you’re from there are rules for the ones that question, and there are places for them to go, and there are lessons in burying, deep below the surface. Where you’re from, I’m realizing, the men always lead the dancing. Where you’re from the people still think that the earth is flat, like a board, stretching, suspended in the sky by two strong chords.

“the Devil who touched my body” by Julia at her desk


Friday May 3, 2013
2:11pm
5 minutes
Aleph
Paulo Coelho


It was magic, rushing through me, telling all my limbs to be easy, quieting my veins as it poured all the way into my heart.
The music playing in my mind was a beautiful electronic beat and kept me awake and dreaming.
I couldn’t tell you what I was wearing. Probably nothing as I tend to dance in my own skin when I’m trying to change the world. I bobbed my head and shrugged my shoulders, shrugging off the ways of yesterday and trading them for something a little more specific. Magic. Gush… it had so much more than temporary release, it lasted and lasted until I was making dust angels on my hardwood floor. Spreading my wings into the grooves I walk on daily. Let’s fly where we walk, tread lightly lest we wake our downstairs neighbours.
My headspace cleared and I knew what I wanted. From life, from God, from you, from books. Something tangible, something I could carry with me, enjoy forever. The change in tempo was nice. Not needing from others to feel alive. Pushing hard into a bruise to feel like it’s okay to get hurt. Using my cut finger to open a jar of pickles and let the scab peel off slightly just to watch the healing process all over again.

“to fix those hearts” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday May 2, 2013 at Starbucks
12:25pm
5 minutes
SickKids special section in the Toronto Star

To fix those hearts, what a lovely little sentiment
To go further than you thought you could with only smiles and contentment
What a world what a world please and thank you what a world
There’s some good left to be done, what a true and honest one, to go into schools with non verbal cues and make them feel like they’re loved a ton
What a world what a world please and thank you thank you what a world
To be easy and free to let go of all the weight to forgive and forget, to be early with kindness, never late
What a world what a world please and please and thank you what a world
To be true and free, to be you without me, hugging tight, letting go of night
And knowing that right here right now is right
What a world what a world please and thank you thank you thank you what a world

“Don’t ignore” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday May 1, 2013
12:27am
5 minutes
from a sign on the subway for Bladder Cancer Canada

you saunter in, it’s 2 in the morning, you ask me if we have bread, i pretend i’m sleeping, i hide the fact that i’m bawling, i bury my face under the covers, i don’t let you see me, i never let you see me, you’re making so much noise now, you’re trying to find a snack, you’re turning on lights thinking it won’t bother me, it doesn’t, i’m sleeping, you’re mumbling out loud to yourself, i can smell her perfume from here, it’s calvin klein obsession, it reeks, you love it, i don’t, i never have, i don’t wear perfume, you’d think you’d know that by now, you’re going to want to lay on me, i want to sneeze into your eyeballs, i hear the microwave buzzing, you’re heating up a pork dumpling, you’re going to sit at the table and eat it with your hands, you’re not going to wash them before you come to lay with me, you’re going to change your clothes and not shower, you think i don’t notice things like that, you think even if i did it wouldn’t bother me at all, you’re wrong and you always will be, you’re a liar and yet i’m still here, i’m not crying anymore, i’m just sort of thinking about your smug smile

“That’s so awkward” by Julia on the 506 going east


Tuesday April 30, 2013
8:33pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the streetcar

I wish you wouldn’t flick your freshly cut toenails at me, Lynn. It’s highly disgusting.
You’re kind of being overly sensitive about everything, so I don’t really feel bad.
Are we going to talk like adults about this? Or?
Yeah, eventually. Jesus, let me step foot inside the house first, please.
You’ve been home for 20 minutes, Lynn.
Get off it! I’m decompressing. This is my decompressing time.
I had a long day too.
Nobody asked you about anything, AJ.
Fine.
You want to talk?
I don’t know.
Do you? AJ?
I said I don’t know. I mean I do but you’re being a pain in the ass right now and it’s not fun for me, okay?
It’s weird to talk about it like it’s nothing.
I never said it was nothing.
But it’s the way you act about it, like, let’s just talk it out and then it will be fine. It won’t be.
You don’t know that, Lynn, it could be amazing for us to really discuss it for once.
Did you know it’s always raining every time you leave the country? Every time you get on a plane, really.
That’s not true.
It is. It’s a weird thing you and the universe are doing to me.
STOP FLICKING THEM AT ME.
I’m not doing it on purpose…
I think your phone is ringing.
I think your brain is buzzing.
Fine, Lynn, just let me know when you’re ready.
I will do no such thing.

“Where you’re from” by Julia at R Squared Cafe


Monday, April 29, 2013 at R Squared Cafe
11:02am
5 minutes
Caitlin’s warmup prompt

Where you’re from you don’t know anger. You don’t know I’m sorry and you don’t know Go to bed without dinner. You don’t know a songless table, Christmas Eve, or a sageless closet, bathroom, etcetera. You don’t know the leather slipper and all its rage. You don’t know perfectly folded laundry that smells like the mountains and nothing else. You don’t know lasagna for dessert, breakfast, and midnight snack. You don’t know spicy salami hanging on a string, cut thick and eaten with ciabatta before your parents come up for their morning espresso. Where you’re from you have yours. All the wounded pride that anyone else would have. All the snails collected in a mason jar that has the concord grape sticker peeled off. You have the sun telling you to stretch out. You have the moon thanking your mother for a good night. You have the rocky screen door and better windchimes than I could ever hope for. You have the silence of not knowing, the calm of preparation, and you know not the fear of panicking for no reason.

“successfully completed” by Julia at her desk


Sunday April 28, 2013
10:23pm
5 minutes
A Smart Serve Card

a hundred dollars.
a hundred dreams. waiting. waiting. waiting.
buy me a little car?
not real.
plastic, please and thank you, no i don’t need to see your receipt.
i hate you.
i hate your money.
you can’t give me love without a couple coins.
your change is no good here, little boy, little girl. oh no, both of you?
i can’t tell you enough times.
your savings are depleted.
your bank account is ruined.
you’ve successfully completed the course on how to fuck it all up.
you passed! you’re a genius and deserve a medal.
gold.
silver.
bronze.
i won these all in elementary school.
i competed for the teacher’s approval. won it. won mrs. williams’s love and she bought me an everything bagel, toasted with cream cheese.
winners.
buy me a little car?
not fake,
real, please and thank you, yes i do need to see your receipt.

“I’ll tell you anything you want to know” by Julia at her kitchen table


Saturday April 27, 2013
2:13am
5 minutes
The Dark Half
Stephen King


I’m good at keeping everyone’s secrets.
But my own.
My own are those dark ones, half night ones.
The ones that slip out in conversation.
For the sake of a story.
For the sake of a laugh.
Sometimes.
It’s sort of crazy.
How easy I am with them.
Thought I’d save the good ones for a poem, or a novel.
Maybe I’ll always have enough to go around.
Keep doing things that I should be ashamed about.
Keep making sure that I’m making my mark.
I’m good at keeping everyone’s promises.
But my own.
My own are those light ones, half day ones.
The ones that get put on a list and then never crossed off.
The ones that wait for tomorrow because, hey, tomorrow is coming, right?
For the sake of someone else’s story.
For the sake of someone else’s laugh.
Always.
It’s not helpful.
I have stories and dreams and secrets and goals.
All of them sound the same when they’re held under water.
When they can see their own reflection and still want to keep looking…
I’ll tell you anything you want to know.
About how bad I am.
About how much I need to work.
About how I’m the only one who ever made these mistakes.

“15 people lost limbs” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday April 26, 2013 at Starbucks
11:55am
5 minutes
The front page of the Metro Weekend
April 26-28, 2013


It was a nightmare the day she lost her left arm. A softball player since she was big enough to hold a stick and swing it at tossed pebbles at the end of her driveway. Marissa was the catcher for her team. It would make more sense to address that first, but she’s sensitive and doesn’t want everyone in the town to pity her. Marissa was in a car, driving, sleeping, driving. She woke up on the wrong side of the road once and was shocked so intensely she swore she’d never drive tired again. She had been on her way home from the big away game. It was the playoffs. Her team had won, Everyone was celebrating. Marissa didn’t drink, she even took a nap before talking on the three hour drive. She is still confused about what happened. How it happened. How she ended up in a ditch with her arm out the window–crushed beyond possible repair. She woke up in the hospital with her teammates all around her crying. She hadn’t even looked at the damage yet. But, she knew. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, she thought.