“I really cannot tell you with what it was filled” by Julia at Queen and University


Wednesday, July 31, 2013
2:47pm
5 minutes
Kwaidan
Lafcadio Hearn


I will try with every single ounce of my strength to recall to you what was in that delicious, light, and flaky pastry, but I’m sorry, when you eat something that is as magnificent as this gift from, quite literally, heaven up above, you find it a little difficult to…OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH. Sorry. I did just get a reminder of how unbelievable it was. As you can see, pastries are my weakness. My Achilles’ heel! I was just thinking about it again and I couldn’t even stop to tell myself to stop because it was just so freaking mouth watering. I’m sorry. I’ll try again. It had a custard….OOOOOOOOH! It was french, and I know it, because I have tasted so very many of them, and it was creamy, and rich, and I…..I’m sorry. This has never ever been an easy subject for me to talk about. I’m actually getting…oh no….emotional….I didn’t mean for it to…overcome me this way. It’s just when I get to the filling, my brain goes into overdrive and my heart just pounds for mercy. Let me out! It screams. My heart, of course, as it feels like a caged animal being kept from the wild even though it’s the worst possible thing for an animal of that nature! I WOULD SAY IT WAS JUST A REGULAR FILLING BUT THAT WOULD BE A LIE.

“An enormous explosive crescendo” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, July 30, 2013
12:52am
5 minutes
from The American Book of the Dead
E.J. Gold


I think it was the moment he told me I reminded him of his sister. I think it was right then and there that my heart blew up in my chest and time stopped so I could properly shower Times Square with the millions and millions of my tiny heart shards. It was something trivial. And I know that. But it didn’t really come in like a lamb, or sneak up on me in the night, waiting around for my eyes to adjust to the dark. No. Just sort of…attacked. It attacked me. It was a realization of my love not being the right love that he needed, and that my love was a love that made him feel like playing video games and chasing each other with boogers. I am boogers to him. And not a beautiful and intricate sonata…not a poetic taste of possibility…nothing. Just boogers. And so inside me grew a bomb, very abruptly because there was no time to make it complex, and it expanded and then exploded from behind my skin, and it ruined every single part of the white t-shirt I was wearing. Stained it red. Obviously.

“An enormous explosive crescendo” by Sasha at The Sydenham Public Library


Tuesday, July 30, 2013
5:55pm
5 minutes
from The American Book of the Dead
E.J. Gold


When you were talking about your mother, you never once mentioned how you have the same hands. It might seem odd, given that she’s a sixty-seven year old woman and you’re a thirty year-old man, but, in actual fact, it’s not odd. It’s wonderful.

When you were talking about driving your asshole motorcycle across the country, from Atlantic to Pacific, you never once mentioned that you’d get stuck in Winnipeg, where you’d meet a new friend named Crowfeather, or that you’d call me from the hospital in Calgary with half your face ripped off.

When you were talking about the re-occurring dream of the enormous explosive crescendo, I laughed only because I’d never had a dream where there was only sound. That’s something that’s just yours. You never mentioned that it was every night, usually followed by flying. I had to find that out via your journal. That felt really shitty.

“The thing is this, Eddie,” by Sasha on the couch at Knowlton Lake


Monday, July 29, 2013
12:00am
5 minutes
Jack Maggs
Peter Carey


Eddie and I were roommates in university. I was already moved in when Eddie arrived in a red Chevy pick-up, his Daddy-oh behind the wheel. Two years later I asked him about that. “Is your father’s name Oliver? Or, Oratio?” Eddie looked at me like I was the crazy one. “Nope…” He furrowed his brow and rolled his eyes at the same time, a skill he’d perfected growing up with three older sisters. “So, is Daddy-oh, just, like a pet name? It’s not referring to an actual “O”?” I pressed on. Eddie closed the book he was reading, something I can’t remember the name of, The Semantic of… something or other. “Daddy-oh was just… what we called him – “ “He’s not dead, Eddie! You still call him that! I heard you talking to him on the phone last night! Get your tenses straight!” I couldn’t believe that I’d had such an outburst. And about the English language, no less! Eddie narrowed his eyes. “What’s really going on here, Robert,” he said, taking that tone that only someone pursuing a Masters in Psychology and Social Work could. “Nothing!” I slammed my fist down on the library table, garnering wicked glares and a communal “Shhhh!” from the students the surrounded us. “Sorry,” I said, partially to them but mostly to Eddie, who was so patient with my temper and insolence.

“He leaned forward” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake on the porch


Sunday July 28, 2013 at Belly Acres
11:52am
5 minutes
The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway


“He leaned forward and looked me in the eye. “If you want to roll with us,” he said, “you’re gonna have to prove yourself.” I was expecting it, I was waiting for it, actually. I already had ideas of what I’d offer to do… Strangle a cat or steal a watch or something. I didn’t expect…” Jorge paused and looked down at his hands. They were shaking. His nails were well bitten, his cuticles cracked and dry. Three of the knuckles on his right hand were bruised and bloody. “What happened?” I asked, gently. Talked to Jorge was like easing out a sliver. You couldn’t pull too fast or it would break and you’d really be up shit’s creek.

“I’ve never noticed that before” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake on the dock


Saturday July 27, 2013 at Belly Acres
2:41pm
5 minutes
Napier’s Bones

I’ve never noticed how your left eye is a darker colour than your right. They are both brown, but the left eye, the eye that you close when you’re winking, is darker. You wink at me when you come in in the morning. When you ask if there are any messages. “Bernadette is waiting in the conference room,” I say, putting on my breathy voice, the one that you prefer. Or, I say, “There’s a message from Mr. Galloway. It sounds… urgent.” I whisper urgent so that we have a secret together. Our own thing. You’ve started working on your goatee. You think it makes you look more professional. You didn’t tell me that, with words, you told me with your thoughts. You send me these thought messages. The one time I brought it up, you denied it. We were all out for Halloween beers at Gretzky’s. You were dressed up as Don Draper. Ironic, I thought, or hoped. I was dressed up as The Philadelphia Cream Cheese Angel, because one time you told me that my hair reminded me of her.

“their best shots are” by Sasha at the table at Knowlton Lake


Friday, July 26, 2013
8:32pm
5 minutes
The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin

Hit me with your best shot, motherfucker. You got that look on you face, that look on your face like you already know what’s gonna happen. Like you know that I’m gonna leave her and go downstairs and get a nice mickey and forget that I’m supposed to pick them up at seven. You’re not a psychic, okay, you don’t know. I actually came here to tell you somethin’ nice, somethin’ kind, I was going to be the good guy here, I was gonna give you a present. But, you just start railing into me about child support and how the apartment’s got rats and how Molly needs a new fucking backpack! Like, give me a fucking chance, you dumb bitch! Sorry. I don’t mean that. Barb, I just, I’m tired. I’ve been working overtime, like, this was my eighteenth day in a row or something and, I’m, I’m exhausted. I think it’s better if they stay with you tonight? Maybe I can come and get ‘em for dinner tomorrow or somethin’, then you don’t have to worry about cooking? Go get your nails done… on me. Go get some nice French tips!

“There’s kind of a weird thing about dogs and babies” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday, July 25, 2013
7:46pm
5 minutes
overheard by Sasha on the Cafe Pamenar back patio

Nathan wasn’t what you would expect. He was clean-cut, but had a mop of shaggy black hair, curly, like, you don’t usually see hair like that on a guy. I didn’t even think that they let men in there keep their hair long. Lice, you know? The first day I arrived a guard in the waiting room said, “You should cover up, Miss.” He glanced at my chest. I was wearing a button-up! It was buttoned! I did it up all the way to my neck. He looked me up and down. “Got a sweater?” It was thirty degrees outside. “I think I’ve got something in the car,” I said, shaking my head. He nodded. I disregarded him. My session was held in one of three recreational rooms. I’d e-mailed a flyer to the coordinator and asked him to put them up. “I can’t get funding if only three guys show up,” I told him. When I walked into the room, the fluorescent lights buzzed. Six men, all in orange jumpsuits, stood around, looking tired. Two of them spoke quietly to one another, laughing every so often. One of them was Nathan. When I introduced myself and told them a bit about my training, about how I’d studied in India with a meditation guru, how I had observed six weeks of silence, Nathan said, “what made you do that?”

“The thing is this, Eddie,” by Julia on her couch


Monday, July 29, 2013
12:00am
5 minutes
Jack Maggs
Peter Carey


Shelly wanted to flip her hair out the way she had watched Skyla do it a million times. Sky said it was so easy and Shelly just nodded her head and waited till she was alone to practice. Skyla was better at it. She was born that way, Shelly assumed. She wasn’t one of those people that when they’re young they don’t know about shaving their legs until grade 9. Skyla knew about all the stuff a woman is supposed to know about early on. Maybe she was even the first. She had everything that Shelly wanted. Shelly tried to wear pink lipgloss and tweeze her eyebrows when she saw that Skyla’s had a more defined arch than her own. She was told specifically that she was not to wear mascara until high school, so Shelly used vaseline instead, just the way Skyla taught her, and the way just being alive taught Skyla. She wondered if people like Skyla ever had to deal with acne, or even freckles. She didn’t even want to hear the answer to that dilemma as if the response alone would kill her dead in her knobby knees. Skyla was not above giving lessons, but even her beauty sessions came at a price. Skyla always told the girls, “You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”

“He leaned forward” By Julia at Belly Acres


Sunday July 28, 2013 at Belly Acres
9:32am
5 minutes
The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway


He had been rocking in his chair for over an hour, flipping through the same Living Home magazine from cover to cover. Stopping to point out his favourite pictures each time as if he had never noticed them before. He was getting old. And tired. And a bit more cranky than he used to be. Sort of lost his tolerance for the usual daily delights. He’d rather sit there silently, not looking at anything in particular and thinking about Sandy his Border Collie who was his biggest joy. Sandy hadn’t been around for years but he still missed her. He didn’t miss anyone else. Not even his late wife Margaret who never completed a day of her life without complaining about the weather even on the most beautiful days. He was convinced it was about time for lunch, but had given up with clocks too. They only reminded him that he was spending another hour by himself. The rocking chair felt like a good place to hide out. At least until his chicken noddle soup was ready.

“I’ve never noticed that before” By Julia at Belly Acres


Saturday July 27, 2013 at Belly Acres
12:14pm
5 minutes
Napier’s Bones

Her hair was a burnt orange. like something you’d see in a candle or an autumn-themed living room. She hated it, though. She had thought about really burning it and seeing what people called it then. She thought that obviously no one had seen burnt orange in real life because maybe then it wouldn’t be such a conversation piece. No one in her family had her colour. Her younger sister was born blonde. Even still, she was not the pretty one. She had to work very hard to be noticed around little red, as they lovingly called her. Little white had to wear more makeup, do more stand out tricks just to be noticed. Little red was the better looking sister but she didn’t actually realize. She hated her hair. She thought about dying it and who she’d be after it was all gone. The only desire she had was to make it black as snow white’s. Even if her skin would disappear immediately after (being so pale and unmatched in colour for dark dark hair).

“their best shots are” by Julia at her desk


Friday, July 26, 2013
6:55pm
5 minutes
The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin

Like bats in the night they creep up on you. They hold you hostage with their rodent-pitched squeaking and then fly around your head making you dizzy until you’re so dizzy you have no choice but to close your eyes and pretend nothing’s there–even though you can hear it and ‘it’ sounds wild or distressed. And you think with every part of you that the bats want nothing but your blood. Your demise. Your fall from grace. You think to yourself, “How nice and soft death would be.”…Better than the hell you’re in right now. Better than the story you’d tell to haunt the neighbours or your grandchildren when you acquire either of them. Those are what they’re like. Masked versions of everything you fear–the enemy’s rifle locked and loaded and ready to shoot. They’ve already won. Your mind is too weak for getting out of here alive. And they know that.

“There’s kind of a weird thing about dogs and babies” by Julia at Grange Park


Thursday, July 25, 2013
6:14pm
5 minutes
overheard by Sasha on the Cafe Pamenar back patio

And when you have one you have everything you thought you always wanted. You stop singing in the morning. You stop crossing off days on your calendar. You just don’t need to do any more planning because when you have one the planning goes out the window. Your hair blows in the wind and you no longer think of that time you rode in a yellow convertible on the 401 and thought you were badass. Now it blows and you let all the lose strands wrap around your eyelashes and say “well this is it now. Why bother.” You feel empty inside because before you had all these great ideas and great moments you were waiting to wear your perfect outfits for. You can stop shopping now. You can stop going to the Trevi fountain in Rome and stop wishing on pennies to bring you happiness. There’s kind of a madness you feel. It’s hard to detect because it creeps up on you when you’re sleeping like a bed bug and integrates itself into your brain and you don’t know if it’s a dream or if it’s not until you wake up three years later and you notice your mind is different than it used to be.
You have everything you thought you always wanted. Did you know that? It’s true. It rings loud like wind chimes.

“It did always seem so to us” by Sasha at Capital Espresso


Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at Capital Espresso
4:32pm
5 minutes
King Lear
William Shakespeare

I’m half way through. It feels good, clean, and organized. I still have a long way to go. I had to quit my job, you know. I just couldn’t manage both. I was staying up all night, which wasn’t a good way to go about it. It had to be my priority, I had to get my priorities straight. Marcus calls me crazy but he’s just jealous that I have clarity in my life right now. He’s just jealous that I have a purpose, that I wake up and I know what’s going to happen. I’ll walk you through the process. First, I shower. I scrub myself with a loofah and a simple bar of sensitive skin soap. I’ve already laid out the instruments – the cotton balls, the rubbing alcohol, the tweezers. I towel off, vigorously. I make sure to get behind my ears and between my toes. I don’t put on lotion. That would make everything harder. I started with my toes, plucking each hair on the big ones. There were four or five on each, about a quarter of an inch long and darker than the hair on my head but lighter than my pubes. Then I worked my way up my legs. They were challenging. I went through half a pack of cotton balls in that region.

“social insurance number” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday, July 23, 2013
12:34am
5 minutes
from the back of an envelope from the government

“Who is left that remembers?” she keeps asking, a Werthers tucked in her cheek for sweetness and lubrication. When Nanna laughs it’s like the sky is singing Hallelujah hymns, it’s a spiritual event. She’s talking about when her and Russ, my grandfather, and Russ’ brother Gus (I know) escaped from Poland during World War II. “I guess there aren’t very many people left,” I say, opening her fridge and taking out a litre container of Tropicana, extra pulp. It’s like drinking swamp water, but I enjoy it. Only at her place. She’s lived in a condo in the Florida Keys since Russ died. Nanna and Russ were my great escape from the quiet and over dramatic introspection of my own mother and father. I spent any time I had a break from school on the pullout in their den. Nanna always secretly paid for my flight. Guss wouldn’t have been into it. He believed in everyone carving their own path, paying their own way. They had separate bank accounts until he died of prostate cancer in 2002. Nanna giggled as I sat beside her, clutching her hand, as she told the branch manager to merge their accounts. She looked up and said, “It all works out as it should in the end.”

“It did always seem so to us” by Julia on the 94 going west


Wednesday, July 24, 2013
8:57pm
5 minutes
King Lear
William Shakespeare


That we were made from pancake batter and sprinkled with icing sugar.
That we had stars in our eyes and little pretty shards of glass in our hands.
That we were meant for rocking back and forth, side to side.
That we held all of the ocean’s secrets deep in our eyes.
That we remember all the things that the world has long forgotten.
That we were told the answers to the questions everyone else has.
That we were born out of a spider’s web, illuminated by the moon’s smile.
That we were holding on to each other’s skin so nobody else could touch it.
That we could heal a dying bird with our love and our sweet singing.
That we would wait forever until forever became a dream.
That we were spun out of the grass’s cool morning dew and into dandelions meant for blowing wishes.
That we had on the hat of someone who was much more powerful than our mothers.
That we were locked in a crystal cage, reflecting all our sorrows into blessings until we believed them.
That we were hand in hand until the time on our watches stopped counting.

“social insurance number” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday, July 23, 2013
12:33am
5 minutes
from the back of an envelope from the government

Somebody stole my identity. I guess I played some part in that, if I’m being honest. I made it pretty easy to steal. I just was out there, living my life, being outward with everything and then bam, one day, you get a call and they’re like “you have been pretty shitty lately” and you’re like, not any more than usual, and they’re like “no, seriously. You’re gonna get fined or whatever.” Like they don’t use that vocabulary maybe, but they basically tell you that someone found it pretty easy to get a hold of your information and your life and just fucking take it like it’s a fresh pie on a windowsill with no guard dog. They don’t tell you in life school that you should get a fucking guard dog. For your personality! That is some crazy ass stuff let me tell you. So now someone is out there and they’re living like I would be and charging all kinds of shit to my credit card and there’s nothing I can do about it. Except reinvent. I mean, it’s too late for the person I was being. I have to let her go, you know? This fuckup of a human needs someone else’s life more than they’re own, then yeah, I’m not going to fight this weirdo. I just want something that’s mine and mine only.

“what the hell was I looking for anyway!” By Sasha in the car on the way home


Monday, July 22, 2013 at
10:56pm
5 minutes
99 Ways to Tell a Story
Matt Madden


I was glad that Millie wasn’t playing the piano when I got there. I was glad that she was in the kitchen. I was glad that she was chopping zucchinis, great big ones, and throwing them into a blue pot. I was glad that she was wearing a striped red and white apron, and that her feet were bare. I was glad that Miles Davis was on the radio. I was glad that the windows were open and the screens were in. Mosquitos would have ruined everything. I was glad that Millie had an open bottle of white wine in the fridge, the cork jammed back in the mouth, keeping the brightness there, inside the bottle.

“STOP HERE” by Sasha at Rena and Tahir’s


Sunday, July 21, 2013
12:11am
5 minutes
from a traffic sign in Mississauga

She’s wearing a World Series sweatshirt and cut-offs and I don’t know how, but she manages to make it look like couture. She’s wearing dark red lipstick. That’s why. Lipstick makes it different, makes it sparkle, makes it bomb, but I mean “bomb” as in “exploding light”, in a good way. I glance down at her belly and I realize that she’s preggers, but must only be three or four months along. That is why her skin is so luminous. It makes my womb ache, just to steal glances at her, to taste the sweetness of the dew on her cheek. I’m so attracted to her I could almost call myself a lesbian, in this quartz crystal moment. Beethoven is the soundtrack, regardless of the fact that my iPod is playing A Tribe Called Quest. I’m scared that I might start crying if she gets off the train, that my heart might break worse than when my mother told me I was an accident thanks to Tromba, worse than when my father forgot my twelfth birthday and spent the day alphabetizing his record collection.

“What the hell was I looking for, anyway?!” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Monday, July 22, 2013 at Sambuca grill
8:53pm
5 minutes
99 Ways to Tell a Story
Matt Madden


I think you and my mother would be best friends, so call her, and when you try to hang up, she’ll tell you her life story or just reiterate the entire conversation as if you didn’t just listen to her say it for an hour, and then when she says she’s got to go, you’ll literally do the exact same thing. So then at the end of it, you’ll know everything about her, and she’ll know everything about you, and the next thing that happens will be a date for just the two of you to go on a wine tasting in Niagara On The Lake where the both of you will not drink even a little bit of wine because neither of you really enjoy drinking or being drunk, and instead you’ll just walk around in circles talking about how nice the vineyards are. She’ll laugh at all your jokes and then try to get you to tell all the same ones she just heard again because that was fun enough so why bother with anything new? And you’ll listen to her tell you all the jokes she knows from the Reader’s Digest, only she’ll leave out all the punchlines or tell all the punchlines first because she’s never been that great with telling jokes that require the listener to follow along. And when I finally get put back into the equation, I’ll ask if the two of you had a nice time together, and you’ll both just nod and smile and say, “yeah, it was nice.” And I’ll be mad for no reason because I was hoping you two would have bonded better, but instead you just talked about accents and blueberries.

“STOP HERE” by Julia at her desk


Sunday, July 21, 2013
12:08am
5 minutes
from a traffic sign in Mississauga

there is a fine line between right and wrong, and delanie likes to flirt with it. she waddles up to it as if she’s about to give it a big fat blow job then she waddles back, acting all coy and shy like some girl scout who just got caught for eating too many of her own delicious mint cookies. delanie knew she was a line flirter since she was young but she never once called it that. to her, are you kidding, she called it “adventure” or “fun”, even. she’d sometimes put on a slinky dress and ooze her bad ideas right on up to that line, and she’d dance directly on it letting her ruffles touch the edge but not long enough for them to get caught there. she’d work up enough confidence to stick her tongue out right over that line but pull it back into her wet mouth right before it was too late. she never went over it though…she wouldn’t want what was on the other side anymore if she did. the chase was something she was into….her mother taught her about reverse psychology when she was young and as soon as she understood what it was, she knew right away that she was going to be a victim of it. delanie always wants what’s on the other side but doesn’t want to give in too much to show that she might..just..take it…
her mother doesn’t flirt with the line like her daughter does. she stands far enough away dabbing the sweat off her brow with the handkerchief her grandmother gave her when she was in her twenties.

“Turn your passion into” by Julia on the subway going south


Saturday, July 20, 2013
8:55pm
5 minutes
A sign for Bow Valley College at The Calgary Airport

turn your passion into french fries. greasy and burnt, or crispy, or undercooked. you can do it. trust me. it’s easy. you just plunge them in hot oil and then forget about them, or forget you had them in the first place. might be better. then serve them up with some spicy kind of aioli like a roasted red pepper thing, or maybe use dill, i don’t know. it’s up to you: they’re your dreams. or they were, i guess. i don’t know, i’m no expert. you could put them in a nice bowl so they still hold the illusion of being worth something, or just throw them on a piece of “fancy” wax paper so everyone knows how cheap you really are. how much you’ve settled. how many bad choices you’ve made and are now either dealing with slowly, but surely, or completely denying. maybe they’re reminding you of who you really are and you don’t know if you like what you see, or if you’re even wrong about this stuff anymore. You don’t need to stick around to see if anyone’s enjoying them, all squishy, or broken, or sopping wet. nobody cares, because nobody is going to have to eat them but you. or not eat them. just let them go cold sitting out on the counter all night and hope that an under the sink rat doesn’t become and on top of the sink rat and devour every single last one.

“Turn your passion into” by Sasha at The Calgary Airport


Saturday, July 20, 2013
4:20pm
5 minutes
A sign for Bow Valley College at The Calgary Airport

Turn your passion into wool
Soft like alpaca
Strong like sailing rope
Colourful like the sun catching the waves crest
Hungry like the grizzly coming our of his hibernation
Curious like the child looking up at the Milky Way

Turn your passion into breakfast
A ripe Hawaiian papaya
A juicy California peach
A crunchy Ontario apple
A sweet Florida orange
A fruit salad bowl that will nourish
Your heart

Turn your passion into a sculpture
Made of clay and sand and birch bark
Built on the pine needle floor

“Bollywood Chai” by Sasha at David’s Tea in Banff


Friday, July 19, 2013
7:17pm
5 minutes
from the David’s Tea cup

You’ve been picking at your scabs again; the ones on your arms from mosquito bites and the ones on your knees from falling off your bike and the ones on your face from your pimples. You tell me that you do it in your sleep, that you wake up with streaks of blood all over your sheets and red under your nails. I don’t buy it. “Have a little self-control,” I think. It’s as if you hear me, “I do it in my sleep!” you say, rolling your eyes like when we were thirteen. “It’s going to scar,” I respond, bitchier than I would’ve liked. “Why do you care?!” You look hurt. “You don’t need scars! You have enough shit on your plate!” She thinks I’m talking about the divorce, but I’m not. I’m talking about her Mom’s dementia and her brother in prison and how living off of Pringles and Fuzzy Peaches can’t result in anything other than scurvy. She drinks her tea and scratches her cheek. A drop of blood falls down like a tear.

“Bollywood Chai” by Julia at her kitchen table


Friday, July 19, 2013
10:07pm
5 minutes
from the David’s Tea cup

It’s nice when you meet someone who completes you. Then you fuck it all up by being flawed. I know we all are. Flawed. But I’m not just lightly dusted with them…so buyer beware I guess.
Everyone has their shit and sometimes that’s a good enough excuse. Not for me. In order of importance to me on this day, at this time only: I have bad fingernails. Weak from the lack of milk. Chipped from the climbing of fences and or trees. I wait too long to pee. I hold it in till I’m blue in the face and then I even enjoy the discomfort; the pain. I ask questions I already know the answer to just to make conversation. I eat more than my share of ketchup chips whenever I buy a bag. I lie only to myself. I’m falsely confident on most days and on the days I’m not at all, I don’t even leave the house.

“He began patiently” by Sasha at the desk in the hostel at Banff


Thursday, July 19, 2013
12:16pm
5 minutes
House Rules
Heather Lewis


He began patiently peeling of the floral wallpaper. “Honey?” His mother, her freshly-cut bob framing her face like a daisy, stood at the door. “Do you want a sandwich?” She held out a plate with a grilled cheese sandwich. She’d made it in her new panini press. She bought it for herself as a retirement present. “Sure,” he walked towards her, took the plate, and sat down in the middle of the floor. She joined him, her demin capris pinching at the waist. She pulled out her purple T-shirt, she didn’t want her newly formed muffin-top to show. Sam wouldn’t care, he wouldn’t even notice, but she didn’t think about that. “How’s it going?” She asked, looking around the room. “Slowly,” he said, biting the sandwich and closing his eyes. She made the best sandwiches. No matter how many times he made tuna salad, he couldn’t get it as good as hers. “It’s so weird being back here, Mom,” Sam continued, putting the rest of the half in his mouth and chewing loudly. She furrowed her brow. He opened his mouth, showing her all the partially chewed bread and cheese. He made the sound of a lion, roaring. s

“Monument Scale Free” by Sasha on the bed at Jo and Pat’s


Wednesday, July 17, 2013
11:41pm
5 minutes
from Julia’s refrigerator magnets

When I first met Dolly I couldn’t believe it was real. I was in a dive bar in Austin, writing the first draft of a children’s book in a three-ringed notebook. I never do my first draft on a computer. Words don’t emerge with fingers hitting a keyboard. They come through the lead of an HB pencil. For me. For me, that’s how it works. I had a pile of peanuts in a bowl beside me, and a half drunk cranberry juice leaving a ring of sweat on the paper table cloth. I was writing, madly, I was on a roll. I saw her sit down at the bar. She ordered a whiskey on the rocks. I knew her voice, I could tell that voice from anywhere, from anyone. I glanced up, trying to be stealthy, again and again. I closed by notebook. I saw a man, an old cowboy in a tall hat and muddy boots with spurs on the back, approach her. I felt protective. “Don’t bug Dolly,” I muttered, under my breath.

“We see the memory” by Sasha in the car on the way to Lethbridge


Tuesday, July 16, 2013
5:13pm
5 minutes
The Lost Hotels of Paris
Jack Gilbert


You tie your shoelaces very tight this morning. They break. You curse God. It’s not God’s fault but… Whatever. God forgives you. You see the memory before you, playing in sepia-tone, the memory of your older brother teaching you how to tie up the laces of your hockey skates. He was gruff about it, as usual, but caring, too. He kept repeating, “The bunny-ears, goddamnit…” He sat with you, on the bench, as you tied and re-tied. He cursed, but he sat. He didn’t circle the rink doing his fast stops or skating backwards. When you finally got it, tying your skates up perfectly six times in a row, he bought you some watery hot chocolate from a machine where he put in a loonie and a cup ejected.

“the suffering they have known” by Sasha at Moncton Rd.


Monday, July 15, 2013
11:56am
5 minutes
A Brief For The Defense
Jack Gilbert


At the beginning of the trail, I was underwhelmed. I had imagined a sprawling landscape, massive hills, cliffs like in those postcards, and either a rising or setting sun. I got none of these. What I did get was a sprinkle of rain, seventeen mosquito bites and a run-in with a mountain lion. I had come to the mountains to reconnect with my mother. She loved this place. She was a hiker, always planning her next adventure to somewhere exotic and steep. I hated her for that. She’d dump me at my second stepdad’s and say, “I’ll send postcards!” And she did. She was true to her word. She’d send a few a week. I kept them all in a Payless Shoe Store box until I moved to go to university. I wish I hadn’t recycled them. I wish I had those small scrawlings of her dignity and her heart.

“He began patiently” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, July 19, 2013
11:56pm
5 minutes
House Rules
Heather Lewis


Started by brushing his teeth one tooth at a time. Doing circles and shit on each one as if he thought Santa was going to bring him a new toy for every clean piece of enamel. He was careful because he had to put his attention on something. On something other than the growing life inside her or the way she started to only wear oversized grey T-shirts around the house. But he did it well. Those two, sometimes three minutes he’d spend in the morning and the one, but usually two minutes he’d spend before bed. Just thinking and relaxing and taking pride in what otherwise felt like a lost cause. She’d lay on the couch with a half empty bottle of Blue in her hand and a stale piece of peppermint gum rotting the inside of her cheek. And so he decided that there were other places he’d rather be.

“Monument Scale Free” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday, July 17, 2013
1:40am
5 minutes
from Julia’s refrigerator magnets

We could hold hands in the night and go steal flowers from our neighbours’ lawns. We can sneak around in the dark and talk about which houses look like they belong to serial killers. We could stay up late and talk about our fears and our theories and our disbeliefs even if we disagree. We can make a reservation at a restaurant and leave before we order because we just don’t have time for bad food anymore.
Not with you dying.
We make those little moments count now. We make them laugh and dance and sing while we hold them and nurse them and tell them there are no monsters in their closets.
We could drink only aged vintage and things you need crystal for. We could lay in bed all day or all night with the AC blasting so we can still feel each other’s skin without sticking.

“We see the memory” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
3:44pm
5 minutes
The Lost Hotels of Paris
Jack Gilbert


Like a ghost in our heads with a vengeance and a purpose, oh it bleeds. And oh it screams. Such poetry and violence, such animal tendencies, and all we see are ghosts, are lies, are human pills swallowed whole. We laugh at the silliness of it all and the daydreams we used to have when we were young. And flexible. And malleable. Shape me into something good, you’d plead to no one in particular. And then no one in particular would work some magic and create a part of you that looked good in the daylight; looked good in the mirror. You didn’t owe anyone anything then. Stupid voices can’t be heard…not with all that noise going on.

“the suffering they have known” by Julia on the subway going north


Monday, July 15, 2013
6:30pm
5 minutes
A Brief For The Defense
Jack Gilbert


She was wearing denim cutoffs that were too big for her new body. They kept falling off every time she turned or moved. She wasn’t used to so much attention from everybody’s mother thinking she was too skinny to be healthy. She didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, but she had stopped eating the bad stuff and started calling everything an intolerance. Not because she had an eating problem, but because she had an intolerance to feeling shitty every day. She told herself that morning that she was going to buy a belt. Or new denim cutoffs. Or whatever. She found out recently that she has an obsession for calamine lotion. She didn’t really want to talk about it but it was becoming more and more of a problem. Just the cold stuff getting all crusty and crumbly. She liked that part the best, where she could brush off each bit like chalk dust. Her new body was like a new brain at the same time. Suddenly feeling out of place and like an object, but also liking the new looks that she was getting since it happened.

“in places like London” by Julia in her backyard


Sunday, July 14, 2013
10:02am
5 minutes
For Selma
Langston Hughes


That’s where we went and I found out I hated you. Sort of a last minute decision to go and then I was excited I went, but soon after all you could talk about was money and clothes and shit you do that’s better than me and how you thought I wasn’t grateful because I criticized the paintings hanging in your brother’s hallway. I didn’t know they were yours. I knew they were shit but I
didn’t know you painted them. So sorry. But like, not really. And I hated you because your hair was always perfect. And I hated you because your tolerance for alcohol and smarmy men was higher than mine. And I hated you because you smelled like almonds even after drinking. I don’t like feeling inferior to you. I don’t like feeling like you decide when I get to laugh or cry. I’m mad still, I realize this now. And I don’t want to go back to London. I didn’t get to see all of it because I spent the majority of my time thinking about ways to poison your croissantwiches or your shampoo. I was so angry that I forgot why I started to love you in the first place.

“in places like London” at Moncton Road


Sunday, July 14, 2013
7:04pm
5 minutes
For Selma
Langston Hughes


In places like London, the people wear grey, navy, black and white. The occasional red T-shirt or tie. This is my opinion. It doesn’t have to be yours. The people wear black or brown shoes or boots. They step with purpose. They button with purpose. They speak with purpose. Unless, they’ve just come from the pub, in which case, they might be slurring and staggering. In which case, they might be joking and leering. In which case, they might call you “sweetheart” and ask you back to their flat. If you should decide to go, you’ll most likely be safe. You’ll most likely be asked to listen to their most recently purchased jazz record.

“Church Girl” by Julia in her back yard


Saturday, July 13, 2013 at deVille Coffee
4:01pm
5 minutes
Girl
Jennifer Carranza


I knew when I invited God into my life, and the equation, I was making a mistake, but I didn’t know who else to ask. I know that sounds crazy, but times were tough and I was desperate and God wasn’t doing anything that night and all my other friends were busy or incommunicado. So. We made it work, him and me, me and God, trying to find it all out, trying to make it all work. I became a church person. A church girl who didn’t care about the air-condition malfunction, or the pigeons that made their way inside it every single time. I knew it was a mistake, but at the time, it was everything to me. God’s not the best listener, I warn you. He’s always listening to a million conversations at once and that does not make me feel special.

“of a life” by Julia at her desk


Friday, July 12, 2013
11:13pm
5 minutes
The Third Fable
Parme Hice


I remember meeting Addy at the drug store. She was wearing fluorescent pink high tops and was carrying a leash with nothing attached to it. I wanted to marry her right then and there so my penis would calm down and stop trying to trick me into sleeping with her immediately out of fear of never seeing her again. she asked me if I knew which dog food was better for her puppy and all I could do was smile at her because I had no fucking clue. I wanted to know more than anything else, but I didn’t because I have never owned a dog. She was something. Addison Miller. With her tiny hoop nose-ring. I remember everything about that day and how it felt like my heart was pumping hard enough to keep two people alive. Usually I think twice about girls like her, but with Addy, I couldn’t keep myself from staying away from her. Her warmth.

“at the door” by Julia at Ka Chi


Thursday, July 11, 2013 at Ka Chi
7:36pm
5 minutes
Blue Moon Girls postcard

There was a cat with a broken leg begging to get into my house. I told him to fuck off and to stop being such a creep. It’s not his house–the cat’s house is literally anywhere with moderate warmth and humans. Maybe he’d be wrong about me anyway, so I don’t feel bad. He’d come seeking refuge and some love and I just don’t have any of that to give right now. Not enough for a persistent cat, at least. Another day I saw the same pathetic cat begging for a hand out on the corner of my street and I looked at him and just said, “Get a job.” you know? Am I supposed to spend my hard earned money on baby mice and like tuna for this thing? I never a had a cat. I don’t know what they eat but I bet it’s expensive. Especially if they have a broken leg, just limping everywhere trying to tug on someone’s heart strings long enough to be pet and scratched. He’s there every day at my door. I think about letting him in and then the phone rings and I forget about that.

“Church Girl” by Sasha at deVille Coffee


Saturday, July 13, 2013 at deVille Coffee
10:02am
5 minutes
Girl
Jennifer Carranza


Rosemary makes a cup of Earl Grey tea. She splashes in milk. She stirs in one sugar cube. She sits down with the latest edition of House and Home magazine. The phone rings. She trots into the kitchen. She never bothered buying a cordless, she thinks they are too progressive. “Hello?” She says. “Rosemary Hitchings?” A man’s voice, deep and rich, asks. “Yes? That’s me – ” Rosemary sees a robin in her backyard, a worm elegantly hanging from her beek. “It’s Dave. Dave Clarke. We went to – ” Rosemary gasps. The robin has flown right into her window. She tries to regain her composure. “Why, yes! Hello Dave! It’s been years! I remember when you left the firm and Vivienne and I cried for a solid hour! How are you?” Dave breathes for a moment, deeply. Rosemary remembers that she has an appointment at the hair salon at five thirty. “I’m fine,” says Dave. Rosemary doesn’t buy it for an instant. “I’ve got a big favor to ask of you,” he says, his voice shaky.

“of a life” by Sasha on Thom and Shelagh’s couch


Friday, July 12, 2013
11:13pm
5 minutes
The Third Fable
Parme Hice


Jelly lives in Saskatoon. She has a lisp from biting her own tongue a lot as a young kid. It was a nervous habit. Sometimes a bit of flesh would come off, and she’d suck her own tongue blood for awhile. She liked how it tasted. It reminded her of the Hardware Store. She prefers to wear New Balance running shoes and chew spearmint gum. Her parents let her name herself. “Jelly”, her favorite thing next to her older brother, Firetruck. Jelly just turned seventeen. She’s finally discovered Simone de Beauvoir. She feels as though she’s a full woman now, despite the fact that she still wears the 34A bra she’s had since she was twelve. She decided to paint the walls of her room black, so as to feel as though she were underwater. Her Mom didn’t get it. Her Mom dissuaded her/forbid it. She bought the paint with her own money and did the deed when her parents were away at a Tantra workshop.

“at the door” by Sasha in Motel (at the Epcor Centre)


Thursday, July 11, 2013
7:43pm
5 minutes
Blue Moon Girls postcard

I stood there, at the front door, hand poised to knock. Before I could, my father was there, a tennis racquet in his hand. “Honey! I’m so glad you’re here!” He said, bringing me in for a hug. His beard tickled my cheek. “You’re early!” He was shouting a bit. “I’m just on my way out to meet Ned for tennis… Wanna come? You can be our ball-picker!” He looked a bit stressed. I said, no, I’d rather get caught up on some reading. I forgot I didn’t have any reading. I’d finished school three months ago. “There’s OJ in the fridge! Help yourself to a bagel!” He wore the same shorts that he had when I was eleven and would take him up on the offer to join him and Ned, his best friend and business partner. They were designers. They wore round glasses and relaxed-fit jeans. They talked about Lebanon and US politics.

“I can’t even go on Facebook today” by Sasha in the Alberta Theatre Projects Rehearsal Hall


Wednesday, July 10, 2013
7:14pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha in the rehearsal hall

She couldn’t believe that you did it over text message. “Hey V, this isn’t working. I’m sorry. B” She couldn’t believe that you didn’t even take the time to write her full name. She called you thirty nine times, never leaving a message, but waiting til the voicemail kicked in so that you’d have to delete, you’d have to spend time thinking about what you’d done. She sent you a single e-mail. It read: “You are the absolute worst.” She didn’t sign off. She didn’t fill in the subject line.

She’s been playing this game. She’s been seeing how many Pringles she can fit into her mouth at once. She asked me to change her Facebook password because she can’t go on. She’ll creep you. She’ll look at and maybe even download every picture that you’re tagged in. She won’t be able to resist Liking your status from a couple of weeks ago that involved a hike in the hills and her beautiful sunburn.

“2009” by Sasha at Thom and Shelagh’s kitchen table


Tuesday, July 9, 2013
11:49pm
5 minutes
From a stamp in the sidewalk cement

In 2009 he finally remembered the words to A Case Of You. He wrote them on a cocktail napkin and slid it along the bar to the woman with curly hair and a nose that reminded him of Leonard Cohen. She read it aloud, to his surprise. She had a French accent and he liked how the words sounded like butter and satin. “I would still be on my feet,” she looked up at him and smiled. He thought about the children they would have and how he would keep her a secret from the people (his brother, his brother’s partner Vincent) that would tell him it wouldn’t work out in the long run, he shouldn’t get too invested. He preferred hundred metre dashes. He bought her a bourbon sour. She took out the straw and folded it inside itself creating a circle. She was visiting. She would be back in Paris in October. He ordered them a charcuterie board and a selection of local cheeses.

“the blank screen” by Sasha at The Big Secret Theatre


Monday, July 8, 2013
1:14pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on her way up the stairs

Monday is talking to Wednesday like she knows what’s good for her. She’s more irresponsible than she used to be, which is funny because it usually works the other way. She’s started leaving dirty socks on the coffee table and half smoked cigarettes on the bathtub ledge. Wednesday shakes her head. She sweeps up the dirt in the entrance way and tucks it in Monday’s bed, a small and gritty friend waiting for her arrival. When Monday crawls in that night, she shrieks and yells, “What is going on here?!” Wednesday hears her but doesn’t respond. Maybe now she’ll learn her lesson? Maybe now she’ll stop eating pistachios on the toilet?

“I can’t even go on Facebook today” by Julia on the subway going west


Wednesday, July 10, 2013
4:15pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha in the rehearsal hall

I’m avoiding Vicky because I know she’s coming to town on Sunday and expects to stay at my house. She doesn’t know I don’t have a house anymore and started living in my car because it was cheaper (for one) and it was better fodder for my future novel (the next great Canadian, to be exact). I didn’t want her to know with her accomplished dental hygienist job and her new engagement because she’d disapprove (for one), and she’d blame me for ruining her life goals (because to Vicky, the only important thing she has is Vicky). Probably because she’d feel the need to “reach out” and throw me a couple dollars every time I tried to pay for an effing dinner or breakfast, even. I once found 20 dollars stuffed in my jacket pocket because she couldn’t let it go that I was eating only half pieces of gum at a time. She thought I was doing it because I couldn’t afford to purchase more. It bothers me because Vicky would always say, “Just buy another one, Lay, they’re only $1.49.”

“2009” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, July 9, 2013
1:39am
5 minutes
From a stamp in the sidewalk cement

This was the year things changed. Dad was recovering from his minor surgeries because of his minor heart attacks, Alessia became a vegan, and mom decided to take up smoking marijuana in the garage every night after everyone went to sleep. Alessia’s best friend’s brother passed away so we all considered ourselves very lucky that we were all recovering. And I…I stopped wearing makeup and thinking about mirrors as if they’d be able to save me. Mom didn’t want me to go back to school, even though I was pretty sure I had wasted grandma’s tuition money the first time around because I was “too eager to learn”. I studied philosophy for a year, then transferred to theatre studies, and then finally finished in children’s lit. My mom said that was enough learning. I had to get out of the house more than I thought possible. Everyone was eating dinners with some fake alternative salt product, and not really enjoying steaks any more because they were practically banned.

“the blank screen” by Julia at Tarragon Theatre Courtyard


Monday, July 8, 2013
2:23pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on her way up the stairs

Dear friend (who shall remain nameless),

You have taught me a lot. Did you know that? I got in touch with my five year old self earlier today and realized some things:
1)It’s not my fault that I wanted to be exactly like my older sister (who shall also remain nameless)
2) I am okay just the way I am. AKA I’m enough, I’m enough, I’m enough.
3)You belong in my life and I miss your hugs more than you know.

It was like looking inward at a blank screen, trying to connect the dots of my past and make myself feel something. Trying to outline a reason for why I am the way I am. And then your face was just there. Glowing like a smiling fire, a tiny nightlight to keep me from dying while I sleep. You weren’t speaking but you were saying so much. Something about our band, and how we’ll start it up when you get back because we’ll compliment each other perfectly. You also alluded to having a silent walk in the park while you dog sit like we did last year and ended up having an impromptu summer of dreams that excluded, nor welcomed, anyone but the two of us.

“with/without food” by Sasha at The Big Secret Theatre


Sunday, July 7, 2013 at The Big Secret Theatre
4:12pm
5 minutes
From the label on the vitamin C bottle

“Don’t drink this on an empty stomach,” Nathan says, picking at a scab on his elbow. “Obviously,” I say, but it’s not obvious. He brought it back from Thailand, and it comes in a jar with the kind of lid that has to be popped off, like on a can of cocoa, or paint. I didn’t ask for a gift like this. When he called at three in the morning my time and said, “What do you want me to bring you?” I thought we were in the sarong or jewellery realm. Not this. He didn’t kiss me when I picked him up at the airport. Maybe it’s because Matt was there. When I asked him about it later, he said, “Don’t get all weird on me,” so I figured I should drop it. He got a tattoo of a lotus flower. I hadn’t gotten up the courage to ask why. It didn’t look feminine, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s one of the most beautiful tattoos I’ve ever seen. I wish that he’d let me trace it for a whole night. He says, “I should get to work,” but he doesn’t have a job yet so I don’t know what that means. “Sure…” I say, glancing down at the tin of tea and back up at him. “Maybe you should wait for me to make it. I can show you the ropes,” Nathan grabs his backpack and his bike helmet. “Yeah, good idea. Why don’t you come over tomorrow night and we can make it together?” “Deal,” says Nathan, smacking me on the upper arm and squinting his eyes.

“two arms uplifted” by Sasha at The Big Secret Theatre


Saturday, July 6, 2013
3:16pm at The Big Secret Theatre
5 minutes
The Origin Of Consciousness in The Breakdown of The Bicameral Mind
Julian Jaynes


With two arms uplifted you look towards the moon. It’s a sliver, smaller than you’ve ever seen. You imagine the moon on a necklace around your neck, finally illuminating your eyes, finally bringing light back. You imagine french kissing the boy you have a crush on, the moon hanging unassumingly, perhaps smiling slightly and lowering her eyes to give you privacy. You lower your arms. You reach your left hand into your pocket and you sigh. You hear a screen door slam shut, several doors down.

“with/without food” by Julia at Bryan’s cottage


Sunday, July 7, 2013
12:12pm
5 minutes
From the label on the vitamin C bottle

Oh darling, can you help me in the kitchen? We’re hosting a party and I forgot to mention that to you. It’s a little late to be punishing me but if you could chop the mango into cubes that would be helping me out. Oh darling, can you go to the store to pick up garlic and a bottle of Chianti? I know that’s what we need but didn’t know we needed it till now when I’m nowhere near the store and nowhere near ready to leave my kitchen. Oh darling, I’ll make you your special dessert, but can you help me with the living room? I’d love if flowers were in vases and sort of dispersed around the mantle and in the window sills. Lilacs, darling, and daisies if you can pick them for me? Oh thank you. What would I do without you? Tonight we’re having a wonderful party. They’ll all look at us and think, they’re so in love, look how welcoming they made the house together. Wouldn’t that be nice, darling? For them to all look at us with delight and think that?