“may find offensive” by Julia at her desk

Sunday, September 29, 2013
5 minutes
from a TV warning on Global

Is there a single thing that we know or don’t know or want to know or need to know? One single thing? I think if we close our eyes and just trust, good things will happen. Bad things will happen too, and I know this, and I think everyone knows this, but no one will be as good if that we’rent true. Cause there’s a fear of messing it all up. Sometimes life doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it’s a stream of consciousness thing that you’ll have to go back and fix because you ruined everything when you weren’t thinking of the consequences. It’s all a blur. And when it’s not, it seems like it is because we are just lost in the moment, or the past, or the worst case scenario. Some people may find that offensive. To live so openly, so directly, so messily. I get it. I really, truly get it. It’s almost insulting to the planning, to the people who plan, who get mad when the sun doesn’t shin just because they wanted it to. They’re allowed to be offended. But that doesn’t make them right. Life is happening right now and we are all sitting here analyzing the shit out of it. It was better when we didn’t see the end. We just closed our eyes and did it.

“at own risk” by Julia on her couch

Saturday, September 28, 2013
5 minutes
Alligator Party Rental form

Did you see the way Callie knocked the ever-living shit out of Stephanie? It was AMAZING. I mean, girl had it coming. She was acting all tough and whatever, but Callie hates fake ass bitches so hard she can’t help herself. She can’t help herself even for one second! It was so great. Everyone around just dropped their jaws and stared at Stephanie while she tried to get up. Like, she wasn’t expecting it either, which is totally understandable since she didn’t really know Callie that well. I mean, if I’m being honest, I’m glad she wasn’t expecting it. I’m glad that she learned her lesson the hard way. Now we probably never have to see her again. Girl’s gonna be so scared to come back around her. Knowing that Callie will not hesitate to fuck her right the fuck up. She’d have to be a real moron to do anything near Callie again, that’s for sure. It’s like, Enter at your own risk, you know? If Stephanie isn’t still seeing stars from being ADJUSTED by Callie, then she must have some secret force field around her that no one else can see. Because even if you didn’t witness it up close, ANYONE within 100 feet would have heard the hit.

“Fire between my thighs” by Julia at her kitchen table

Friday, September 27, 2013
5 minutes
Dirty Old Fire
Lindsay Crosby

I’ve got big plans for us. Big pumpkin plans. I know you hate pumpkins. That’s why I’m involving them. I’m going to get you to love pumpkins. I’m going to get you to love everything I love. You will be playing rugby by Tuesday. You will be eating sweet potato fries by Tonight. You will be sleeping nude also by tonight. You will be buying my mother flowers by May. You will be watching New Girl by 5pm today. I think we are just needing to expand our interests a little bit. We just need to be a little open so we can love each other the way we’re supposed to. After you have successfully done all of the things I want, I will do the things you want. I will give you a blowie while you’re driving the company car. I will cook steak on nights that aren’t holidays or birthdays. I will wear your pajama bottoms while massaging your back. I will make sure you always have freshly stocked candy canes in your night side table.

“at own risk” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday, September 28, 2013
5 minutes
Alligator Party Rental form

“You’re a very lucky girl, Rachel,” he says, “I don’t think you know how lucky you are.” And she does… But she doesn’t. She does in her candy floss brain. She doesn’t in her crumpled newspaper heart. Rachel made a sculpture out of clay of a woman on her back, legs lifted high. “What is that?” her mother asked. “A woman,” said Rachel. “What in God’s name is she doing?” her mother squeaked. “She’s getting ready to give her daughter an airplane ride,” Rachel sighed, looking out the window of the station wagon and thinking how she so wished Mrs. Rosa was her mother. Mrs. Rosa wore pink lipstick and plaid pants. Mrs. Rosa’s first name was… Annette. Rachel had never heard such a beautiful name. Mrs. Rosa knew how to make meringues and how to shoot a three-point-shot on the basketball court. “Rachel!” her mother hooted, “are you even listening to me?” Rachel imagined rolling her mother into a ball of plasticine and throwing her across the corn field.

“Fire between my thighs” by Sasha on her couch

Friday, September 27, 2013
5 minutes
Dirty Old Fire
Lindsay Crosby

I always do spectacular things in Fall.
I autumn into love and run away with a bearded lady and her triplets.
They’ve left the Circus (aka the City).
She buys a piece of property with a well and an apple orchard.
The triplets and I press cider, mould pie lattice and simmer sauce on the gas stove that you have to light with a match (or a cigarette).
The lady smokes a pipe.
The triplets go to bed at eight, which leaves a whole lifetime for just adult-talk.
She tells me about their father and how he was softer than a peach.
She found him at a Salvation Army.
She left him in Idaho.
Sometimes I sleep with the triplets, in their King size bed, all in a row.
I sleep at the foot, length-wise, and their tiny toes dance into my dreams.

“There is absolutely no subletting” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday, September 26, 2013
5 minutes
The City Of Toronto Permit Policy

When I got my ears pierced, you scowled and said, “What a conformist.”
At my tenth birthday party, you gave me a purple journal with cats on it that locked. It came with two keys – one for me and one for you.
During our Eighth Grade graduation, you picked off your blue nail-polish the whole time we were all onstage. Your mother was mortified. My mother was crying and didn’t notice.
The day after I lost my virginity, you wore black because you were mourning my childhood, stretching behind me like a lazy cat.
When the black thing faded, you started sporting army jackets and jelly shoes, and this lasted up until you met Bee.
I moved to Winnipeg and you stayed in Montreal.

“There is absolutely no subletting” by Julia on her couch

Thursday, September 26, 2013
5 minutes
The City Of Toronto Permit Policy

Okay so you’re moving? You’re just up and leaving? Didn’t you think about what I would have to do? Fucking course not. You’re a selfish dick. You could have warned me, at least, that you wanted to move. That you wanted to travel. Like, now I’m stuck either paying all the rent, or finding a roommate, which I know you know sucks ass. You have to leave me your throw blankets now. And the microwave, and the coffee table. I don’t think you get a say, sorry. Selfish people need to be accountable for their actions. What do you mean “not a big deal” ? Huh? Are you fucking kidding me? My best friend is LEAVING THE COUNTRY for an undetermined length of time and you want me to calm down? How about, WHEN WILL I EVER SEE YOU AGAIN? Or, Hey, just a head’s up, you might want to get all your shit-ducks in a row cause I’m about to DISORGANIZE THE FUCK OUT OF THE ONES THAT ARE ALREADY TRYING TO LINE UP.

“My bones” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at the CSI Coffee Pub
5 minutes
From Kat’s warm-up at the these five minutes: resident writing group

Aching, a little sore today. probably not going to make it to the gym, but fuck me, what else is new. Started at 6am this morning. fucking Dee couldn’t get her shit together to call me before 5 on a night where I wasn’t in an almost comas as i’d expect anyone else but Dee to be in because she’s the only one I know who works the morning zombie apocalypse shift. Rog called med to double check that I was coming in. I didn’t answer him, I just said fuck you by pressing the pound key until he hung up. Didn’t know what the world looked like on that end: the sun rising, and me rising with it as opposed to running alongside it with my leather jacket flapping open, trying to race it to see who could get to the end first. I usually win.
Fucking Dee. Probably dead somewhere. She never misses her mornings.
I brought myself a slow burning tab of Ecstasy to keep me going through the morning rush. On days like these, I put on a big t-shirt, and throw my messy hair under a hat and just fucking yawn it out.

“My bones” by Sasha at the CSI Coffee Pub

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at the CSI Coffee Pub
5 minutes
From Kat’s warm-up at the these five minutes: resident writing group

The mortar
The bricks
The tongue
The ticks
The grind
The heave
The stretch
The weave
The bones
The break
The wheel
The snake
The smile
The slap
The roar
The tap
The fade
The grow
The story
You know

Down in the femur
Where the pursed lips hum,
The ancestor watches
And beats her drum.

Laced in the tendons
Of a well-formed face,
The pressed flowers flake,
The Queen Ann’s lace.

She takes her tea with sugar and milk.

“but-as usual- I was wrong.” By Sasha on the Bathurst bus going North

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
5 minutes
From the MamaEarth Organics newsletter

“Make yourself at home,” he said. I giggled and thought, “What does that even mean? You want me to bite my toenails and pop the blackheads on my chest?” “No, seriously,” he said, “My home is your home, honey.” “Sure,” I said, and thought, “You’re funnier that Louis CK.” He was chopping onions for the soup and tears were streaming down his cheeks like we were watching Titanic. I think that was the only other time I saw him cry. It was awkward when Kate Winslet was naked. I couldn’t watch. Oh, and I also saw him cry when he and Denise told me that they were splitting up, for real, for good. My Dad has a bald, Mr. Clean head. Once, my best friend Lucinda said that she often has the desire to rub it. “Desire” comes up a lot for us. It’s a pretty “desirable” time right now. “How’s your mother?” he said, all pretend-casual. “She’s fabulous,” I said, just like she’d told me to. “She’s taking Aquafit classes at the YWCA and she’s thinking of getting her Aerobic Teacher Certification. She’s really fit.” He smiled, only slightly, and I felt my stomach blush.

“Serve.” by Sasha on her couch

Monday, September 23, 2013
5 minutes

Ya know Ian? Ya know Ian who lives over der by dem pines? Ian killed his wife. I’ll tell ya the story but you have to promise that ya won’t tell no-one. I don’t wanna be that kinda gossip, ya know?

So. Story goes, Ian is a shady kinda character. He has a grow-op in that basement. We’re not talking a few plants, we’re talking a whole operation, a big ‘ol operation, with the lights and the special liquids and whatever. He had this girlfriend, Caroline, and she was around for longer than any of the other ladies. Ya know those meth head ladies? With the real bad teeth and the scratchy faces? Lotsa those ladies. Story goes that Caroline had finally had enough, she was tired of his wily ways, she was trying to get clean. She left Ian and started goin’ with some hotshot guy in Kingston, some guy who was the president of AA and in a biker gang or something. Story goes, Ian tracked down Caroline, who was cleaning out a camper on this new hotshot’s property. He shot her. Right in the head.

“I never knew a poet personally” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday, September 22, 2013
5 minutes
Away Alone
Janet Noble

I never knew a poet personally but I sure as the garden of roses knew those words of theirs. And that’s pretty personal, isn’t it? The first poem I learned got me through a backpacking trip across Europe and the heartbreak of leaving my dear old dog, Bruce. The second poem found me love and found me the best french kisses on this side of the equator. The third poem got me pregnant. The fourth saw me planting a garden and hauling manure into the back of the Daddy’s blue truck. The fifth, the sixth, the nineteenth, got me through childbirth. By forty, three kids, two cities and one Bruce-grave later, I knew over one hundred and three poems, all stored up there in the cobwebby corners that can’t seem to remember things like birthdays or taking out the recycling.

“but-as usual- I was wrong.” By Julia in her bed

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
5 minutes
From the MamaEarth Organics newsletter

I’m in love with you (fact one)
I’m angry at you (fact two)
You look good when you’re mad at me (fact three)
Sometimes I yell because I think if someone were filming it, it would be funny (fact four)
When you cry I want to die and not in the good way (fact five)
I’m not saying you’re not allowed to cry and that you must maintain a level of composure or “manliness”. I’m entitled to my opinion. That’s literally all I mean by that (fact six)
I’m happier when I’m eating things that are bad for me (fact seven)
I don’t know if it’s Sri Lankan culture or just like, common knowledge about numbers, but I’m considered a “two” and my Sri Lankan friend told me so (fact eight)
A “two” is not a “great” nor a “crap” number to be, but it’s definitively very mediocre in how my friend explained it so I’m currently dealing with that and sometimes it makes me feel worthless (fact nine)
I’m wrong a lot (fact ten)

“Serve.” by Julia on her other couch

Monday, September 23, 2013
5 minutes

I hate everything, Age. So what. If you don’t already know this about me, now you know.
It’s not something I’m even ashamed of anymore. I just hate everything. I hate that my feet don’t touch the floor when I’m sitting at my kitchen table. I hate that I don’t tell everyone who I hate that I hate them. I hate that when someone mistreats a server at a restaurant that everyone in the establishment doesn’t stand up and stare them down until they leave. I hate that people are dying every single second of every single day and we spend all of our time reading about celebrities on crappy blog cites. Am I supposed to feel bad about this? I hate. At least I’m doing something. I didn’t say I hated everyone, Age, that’s different. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s not like that. It’s like…Everything is annoying because it’s a thing. Even things I love, I hate. There’s always something to hate about something you love. Loving something doesn’t mean you can’t find flaw in it. That’s the biggest mistake human beings make. I’m serious, Age! Love doesn’t mean ‘no matter what’. Even unconditional love doesn’t mean that. It just means there’s an abundance of joy and admiration and care and whatever else love is. I’m not denying that love is beautiful. It’s just swell. But it’s not perfect. So there is room to hate things that you love. I love hot peppers and yet I hate that they burn my eyeballs if I touch them right after chopping. If we loved everything without hating something about it, we’d all be just a bunch of idiots.

“I never knew a poet personally” by Julia on her couch

Sunday, September 22, 2013
5 minutes
Away Alone
Janet Noble

My first instinct when I hear you talking to Old Mike on the front porch from our living room window is to call you and act like it’s some emergency. Talk like the sky is falling and you’re in danger, and it’s never been more important than it is right now for you to leave where you are. I think this because I want to save you the way I’d like to be saved if I got stuck with him. Which did happen to me about a month ago, and all I wanted was to fake my own death right then and there so he’d stop talking to me and let me just smoke my fucking cigarette in peace. I think how happy you’d be to hear from me, to get my call and pretend it’s some loved one from a place that isn’t only 5 feet away from you. I’d be so poetic in my description of the emergency, so that I’d be the only one acting, and you could just react. Just respond. Just listen, fully and honestly as if what I was saying was in fact the best or worst thing you’d ever heard, and as if it were the first time, because, of course, it would be.

My second instinct is to blast Cyndi Lauper from the stereo in the kitchen. So much so that you’d be able to just “what the fuck” yourself right out of your trap that you’re too nice to otherwise free yourself from.
Instead I sit here, and I listen to your conversation. It sounds, almost, like you’re having a good time with him. I’m tricked for a second, because you’re so good at fake laughing.

“hopeful of making amends” by Sasha at Layah & Oliver’s farm

Friday, September 20, 2013
5 minutes
Fresh Meat 2013 program

Dear Wilson,
Writing you makes me think about that Leonard Cohen song that you love. Famous Blue Raincoat. It’s close to four in the morning, but it’s the end of September, not December. It’s much cooler now than when you were here. Autumn has come in like that thug we knew back in Cabbagetown. He was stealthy. Leonard just turned seventy-nine. Did you know that? I saw it on Twitter. Rebecca told me that I really ought to have an account, for work and whatnot. I don’t really understand it. The upside is knowing more useless things about people who I care nothing about. Or is that the downside? You tell me. Wilson, I’m hopeful that you and Rebecca will make amends, that this too shall pass. I know that my seeds of wisdom always irritated you, but I can’t help myself. I’ve enclosed a book that I just finished and thought you might enjoy. Have you heard of Rumi? He was a Sufi mystic. A visionary. I read him on the toilet and before bed. Those sacred times. Thinking of you frequently. Wondering how you are. Rebecca is worried. She speaks of you constantly.

“Only need touchin’ up” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, September 20, 2013
5 minutes
David Budbill

You’ve been tallying your wins and loses on the wall beside your side of the bed, with the pencil with the chewed on end. You count four and then slash it across. You don’t know that I know that’s what you’re doing. We both play dumb a lot.

When I found the cat hiding in the garage, wet from the rain, I called you and you said, “We can’t take care of a cat. You can barely keep a cactus”. I left him there. I still feel guilty. I think about that cat, starving, or, worse.

On my birthday you gave me a box of cherry pop-tarts. You wrapped it in tinfoil. You left for work early, before I was awake. The gift sat on the kitchen table, beside a glass of orange juice. It was the first time you’d given me a present.

“hopeful of making amends” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Saturday September 21,2013 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
the Fresh Meat 2013 program

I didn’t want to talk to Emily because I was scared of breaking down into tears and forgetting my original point which was that I was hurt by her. She some how always makes me feel inadequate, so I’ve learned to write my thoughts down and make sure I stick to my notes so she doesn’t derail me. That’s what she does! She manipulates me into thinking she’s done nothing wrong..or that I’m the one who should be apologizing instead of seeking an apology from her. So I was avoiding her in general. The first Wednesday we had plans to have coffee together, and I bailed because I was on my period and had been crying over things like bed sheets and olive oil and didn’t want to fall into a pit of uncontrollable water works. The second time we had plans my sister had just called with bad news about my childhood cat and I was not emotionally stable for the whole week. Then when I was seemingly out of excuses, I called her. Got her voicemail and even contemplated just telling her how I felt there.
I chickened out.

“Only need touchin’ up” by Julia on her couch

Friday, September 20, 2013
5 minutes
David Budbill

Hey there Anna, ho there Anna! Hi there–
Okay, Ol, I get it. We all get it.
Just being polite, Anna!
I know you are, Ol, but no right now, please, it’s been a rough day.
Wanna talk about it, Anna?
No, Ol, not at all.
I’m here if you need me, wanna chat my ear off or if you’re looking for a small, yet effective back rub then I’m your guy.
Thanks, Ol. Maybe later.
Is it work, Anna?
Yes and no, Ol.
Something or someone?
I’m said I don’t really want to talk about it. What are you hungry for tonight?
Chicken fingers and French fries!
Again, Ol? You had that yesterday and the day before. Why don’t you try something new tonight. It’ll be fun.
I will if you tell me what’s bothering you, Anna. I will make you a deal and seal it with a handshake.
I’ll think about it.

“You can grow” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Thursday, September 19, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes

Herbs, he was thinking. Big basil in the back yard, big love in the kitchen. He watched his father build a beautiful garden filled with every kind of tomato and green leaf and rhubarb. He didn’t know his wife hated rhubarb when they first met, but when he realized he was hopeful that he would change her mind. His mother, on the other hand, loved the stuff so much they were eating a rhubarb pie every 4th day. And nobody complained. Big love in the kitchen. He sometimes questioned his ability to read people. He was on occasion disappointed with his wife’s narrow minded pallet, her stubbornness when it came to trying new things. How was she raised? He’d sometimes wonder out lout and let his brain move back to the days where his parents didn’t even give him the option. Eat what’s on your plate, they’d say.

“on the contrary” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
5 minutes
from the Dawn to Earth pamphlet

Sheryl was in the middle of a very important thought post shower. She stood with her naked body reflected in the cloudy mirror as she tried very hard not to move or speak. Sheryl had a tendency and a history of spilling her guts to herself and she wasn’t interested in sharing this time. She remembered Lazar from the book shop and how he wrote her a letter on the front page of her journal about (wisely) not having to tell everyone everything. That thought comes back to her every now and again when she’s about to ruin something in her own life by publicizing certain information. Sheryl was weak when it came to the mirror, fearing lying was a worse offense than stealing or murdering; assuming the mirror would know the truth regardless. She glanced at her body, growing old from the rainy days, and zipped up her lips with a mimed gesture of will power.

“You can grow” by Sasha at the AGO

Thursday, September 19, 2013 at the Art Gallery of Ontario
5 minutes
From the front page of the Toronto Metro Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I listen with my ear against the wall. They’re talking about Betsy and how she’s smoking weed and having sex with strangers. They seem more concerned about the former than the latter. I’m more concerned about the diseases inside her, all over her, the hands touching her, the tongues tasting her, the faces pressed up against hers. I haven’t had a real conversation with Betsy since she started hanging out with the Gases. That’s what they call themselves. I don’t get it. They must have told her something about how I wasn’t cool enough, I wasn’t bad enough, I would try to tell her what she was doing was wrong. Betsy and I are only seventeen months apart but you’d never know it. At least, not anymore. People used to think we were twins, but when my hair turned curly and I got glasses, they suddenly thought I was babysitting.

“on the contrary” by Sasha on the Bathurst streetcar

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
5 minutes
from the Dawn to Earth pamphlet

I left the city. Bunny came with me. He got his own seat on the bus and everything. He didn’t cry much, only once when we stopped and we didn’t get to buy a chocolate bar. I told him it would be better where we were going. Better than Hal trying to get us to eat cheese from a can and Mommy laughing at the empty bottles. I told him that Babar would never make us do the stack of dishes. All I knew was that Babar lived in Fance. I figured France must be close to London. I knew we could take a bus to London because I’d seen it on the Departure screen when we’d gone to St. Thomas to visit Aunt Ashley at Christmas. I told Bunny how Babar would treat us like princes and we still might have to share a room, but it would be so big we wouldn’t even notice. Bunny just looked at me like, “Drool”.

“FANDEMONIUM” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
5 minutes
From the front page of the Toronto Metro Wednesday, September 11, 2013

She wanted to swallow the ballpoint pen that the officer was chewing on. She wanted to swallow it and die. Or at least have the sharp parts cut her stomach and have to have a lot of surgery. No one would be yelling at her then.

“Miss Miller, I’m going to need you to co-operate. Being silent is not co-operating.”
“I’m waiting for my lawyer.”
“He’s not going to be coming in today.”
“It’s my right! I thought it was my rights?”
“Let’s try to remain calm – ”
“I am calm.”
“We know that nothing was on purpose. We know that you were texting your Mom that you were on your way. We know that you were late, it was after your curfew, because you’d been at the Christina Aguilera concert…”
“Yeah… That’s all true.”
“Three girls are dead, Miss Miller.”
She looked at the ballpoint pen, now gripped in his hand like a knife.

“on the contrary” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
5 minutes
from the Dawn to Earth pamphlet

Given my very recent history, one might think me to be a little…uh…how would you say, “inconsistent”, as I’ve, well, behaved in such a way that might corrupt your opinion of me. Some might say I’m, “a tad insane”, or “passionate”, or “well on my way to Monaco”. Others might simply say I’m “mean”. Which, I suppose if you’re a sensitive person you may think me “mean”. If you’re a self-reliant and independent, strong, charming individual, you’d think me “honest” and almost 100% of the time, “confident”. So though I’m aware of my..how would you put it,”incongruities”, I still know who I am. And I’m trying to assert that right now by using tiny “air-quotes” as if they can protect me from what I’ve become. Not someone I like very much. Quite the contrary, really.

“FANDEMONIUM” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
From the front page of the Toronto Metro Wednesday, September 11, 2013

“And the crowd goes wild haaaaaa and they’re begging to see Jareth take off his shirt haaaaaaaa and everyone is shouting but it sounds like a whisper haaaaaaaa
And everyone is begging and crying because the sheer sight of him alone makes people weep with love and joy and madness haaaaaaaaa!!”

Jareth leaps from his bed to the floor of his bedroom in his shitty basement apartment. He’s been living at 43 Summits Dr. since early October of 2011. He still dreams of rocking out to a real guitar instead of the air guitar he’s gotten so good at playing while he’s alone. Jareth is a dream journal analyst and still calls his mother everyday after work. He is a normal dude in every sense of the word, except he still acts like the 11 year old version of himself….And he’s a dream journal analyst.

“feel your own feelings” by Sasha at her desk

Monday, September 16, 2013
5 minutes
Codependent No More
Melody Beattie

I wore my straw hat, and my long red swishy skirt, and a lace top that used to belong to a woman named Moondancer. I’d taken great care in painting my toenails, even though they’d only peek out under the hem, dancing coral crescents. I wanted it completely quiet in the house. Even though I loved music, I preferred to listen to the rhythm of the ravine, the crooning of the wind through the chimes hanging on the porch. I made skillet cornbread dotted with hot peppers. Your favourite. A big ol’ pot of chilli simmered on the stove, chock full of beans, tomato, garlic, cumin, vegetables from Fredrick’s garden, and all the thoughts I thought while chopping and stirring. Mostly of you. Mostly of the sound of your breath when you’re waking.

I knew that you were the one I would cook for when it turned cold, last year. I got home, hung my scarf, and saw that you’d taken my forest green parka from the antique cedar chest and hung it up in the coat closet, making me ready for the change.

“I spent decades awakening” by Sasha at the table at Knowlton Lake

Sunday, September 15, 2013
5 minutes
Her Account Of Herself
Amy Gerstler

It’s like you re-learned your name. Now, when you say it, you claim it like a plot of land. You put your flag down and mark the territory as yours and only yours. Remember when you called yourself “stupid”? Remember when you looked at yourself in the mirror and you sucked in and pushed out and puckered and picked? Remember the sound your father makes when he sneezes, rattling the paintings on the wall? I was glad, when you breached for air, that your face wasn’t blue. I was glad you had colour, high in your cheeks, the colour of fruit salad. You’d been underwater for quite some time, so I wasn’t sure what it was all going to look like. You were stronger, your shoulders screaming “SWIMMER!”

The last time I saw you, you were wearing your flippers and goggles, your navy blue bathing suit, but you said you’d misplaced the mouthpiece, the scuba diving paraphernalia that would allow you to breathe down there, with the coral and the tiger-fish.

“we find out the heart” by Sasha on the porch at Knowlton Lake

Saturday, September 14, 2013
5 minutes
Tear it Down (Poem)
Jack Gilbert

We find out the heart is inextricably connected to the shapes painted on the ground
The ones that we etch with pointed toes and dreamscapes of cake batter and mud
We find out the left atrium is filled with salt-water
and the right is bubbly champagne
They balance eachother out
Effervescent illumination of a bit of ache and a chunk of love
The aorta smells of cinnamon and nutmeg and is velvet to the touch
We find out
over time
It happens somewhere around nineteen or twenty
Maybe on a road-trip or while lying naked with a new friend
The pulmonary artery connects directly to the hysterical laughter we can only find when we feel truly safe
We learn
When we’ve loved and grieved and died and been reborn
The right ventricle holds our heavy secrets
The ones that feel like they are in our toes

“A sterile cap and mask” by Sasha on the couch at Knowlton Lake

Friday, September 13, 2013
5 minutes
The Birth (Poem)
Paul Muldoon

When he was born, the apple of the eye of his Mama’s eye, her not-so-secretly favorite baby, his Papa’s face was the first face he saw. Papa wore a sterile cap and mask, he had latex gloves covering his dirt-under-the-fingernails. Under the mask was a huge smile. Papa cut the cord. Mama cried tears of tired elation. Older Sister was tucked in her bed at home, in the house with the blue tin roof. The vegetable patch in the backyard seemed to resist carrots but yield unimaginable amounts of chives. Grandpa read Scientific American on the couch and waited for the phone call from the hospital. When he got it, he hooted and hollered so much so that Older Sister awoke and wiped a good dream from her sleepy eyes only to hear the news a baby boy was coming to live in the room next to hers.

“feel your own feelings” by Julia on her couch

Monday, September 16, 2013
5 minutes
Codependent No More
Melody Beattie

Hi Dixie,

I’ve been thinking an awful lot about you and your wide brimmed hat. It made you look like a supermodel. I just wanted you to know that. Have you given any thought to my idea to make your life into a film? You can absolutely take all the time you need, and consult with your lawyers about the matter, that’s no problem. I’m hoping to start filming in early November of this year, and as I mentioned in our previous correspondence, I’ve begun writing what I think presents itself as a real “masterpiece”. Right now it’s just the bare bones of the project (of course, awaiting your full approval and life rights in writing) but I do believe there’s a lot of quality meat that would hang nicely on the already carefully crafted skeleton. My vision is an artsy film, sort of independent; something to premiere on the festival circuit by next September. When we met you mentioned something about your sister, Aurora’s lung disease. Of course if that is not something you’d wish to see in the film, that won’t be hard to avoid. I, am after all, just trying to capture your true essence.


“I spent decades awakening” by Julia at her desk

Sunday, September 15, 2013
5 minutes
Her Account Of Herself
Amy Gerstler

Opened my eyes with the heart of what I wanted to say and I told the world one thing:
The world opened up its arms and held me close so I didn’t feel so alone in all my subconscious ramblings.
Then we walked hand in hand, me and the world, without sunglasses on so we could stare the sun right in the face.
We paused for a moment when I needed to change the song playing in my head. The world patiently waited for me to pick the one that best represented my spirit in that very moment.
I switched it to something without words so we could make up our own lyrics. We’re silly like that.
I decided I was meant for this. Whatever this was, and even if what it was was just walking. It was the best thing for me.
It was beginning to be very clear what my goals should be.
I started listing them in a sing-song-like way.
I yelled out
Make love into a braid and then wear it around my wrist
Hold tightly to the kinks in my neck, my legs, and my fingers. To remember discomfort.
Be an optimist and live to kiss tree roots

“we find out the heart” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Saturday, September 14, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
Tear it Down (Poem)
Jack Gilbert

wants what it wants
loves who it loves
waits for what it waits for
misses who it misses
aches for who it aches for
dreams of who it dreams of
quits who it quits
bleeds what it bleeds
needs what it needs
holds on to what it holds on to
remembers what it remembers
sings what it sings
wakes when it wakes
sleeps when it sleeps
opens when it needs to
closes when it has to
relies on what it relies on
pumps for what it pumps for
breaks for who it breaks for
grows for what it grows for
listens to what it wants to
speaks up when it needs to
believes what it wants to
seeks what it seeks
finds what it finds
learns to love what it learns to love
we find out the heart is a powerful thing. it is everything and everything and everything. it is music.
it will be an entity on its own and part of a functioning, living, breathing, organism.
it is delicate.
it is strong.
we find out the heart is filled with tears and laughter, stored in different compartments.
we keep it caged in a box, or we wear it out on our sleeves.
we find out the heart is alive.

“A sterile cap and mask” by Julia at the Italian Consolate

Friday, September 13, 2013
5 minutes
The Birth (Poem)
Paul Muldoon

I hate my doctor. He looks at me with dead eyes. He makes me feel cold. He makes me feel small. He makes me feel like I’m a number. He makes me feel like I’m lying when I tell him my stomach aches. It does. It aches. It feels like it’s burning and he says, “here, take these antacids” and I take them, and still, nothing works. I return to him. I tell him my symptoms again. He looks right through me and says “here these are stronger this time” and I take them. Then I return again. I hate him so much. He doesn’t ask how I am. He doesn’t even remember me. He asks if I’m a smoker. “I was here yesterday,” I tell him. “Do you smoke?” He asks again. I tell him my stomach feels like it’s bleeding. Like it’s trying to push out everything. I tell him “you need to help me.” My doctor has one green eye and one blue. I don’t trust him because of that fact alone. When I see him in his office, he feels like a ghost. The whole room feels like a shed. Like a laundry room without insulation. Like a chilly bathroom tile right after you step out of a warm shower.
I want to tell him this. But something keeps me from speaking my mind.

“photo or canvas prints” by Julia on her couch

Thursday, September 12, 2013
5 minutes
from a photography brochure

I think because I bought them for him for his birthday, Al thought he needed to use all the canvases up in one week just to show me that he was appreciative of the gift. Truth is, I didn’t know what else to get him. Everyone else, it seemed, was giving in to all his childhood desires and making sure he was spoiled rotten. Video games, and movies, a couple baseball hats. I didn’t even buy one thing for the kid, just showed up to Amy’s house on Saturday afternoon, early enough that there were still pork sliders left, and watched what he was getting. Then I slipped out of the party kind of sneakily I suppose, and I went back home to my garage. I was thinking about giving him some of my old ones, but when I saw how discoloured they were, I thought, no, I can’t give those to my nephew for his birthday, it wouldn’t be right. So I took myself to the art supply shop and bought him some brand spanking new canvases, two brushes, and a variety paint set. Hell, I didn’t even know if the kid was artistic or not, but I sure as hell didn’t want to be like everyone else keeping him inside and cooped up just so he wouldn’t bother any body. Turns out he likes to paint.

“Her bedroom” by Julia at LIT on College

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
10:49am at Lit on College
5 minutes
Diana Evans

It was lined with floral wallpaper but not the full wall wallpaper, just the trim or whatever. Just like -a thick strip around the top of the room. I don’t know what that’s called. It was ugly, though. I remember not liking it and if I had to sleep over it took me a while to drift off because I couldn’t stop looking at the flowers—the insecure, generic pattern that I felt, in my youth, didn’t match Cathy at all. I used to tell her every time that we should rip it down–that trim stuff or whatever–then her parents would be forced to paint it for her. She was such a prissy little do-gooder and obviously said no. So one night, when I was staying over, I waited for Cath to fall asleep, and climbed onto her dresser with a nail clipper and I peeled at the corner until the wallpaper lifted. I pulled till the strip came off where it wanted to disconnect from its mother. It felt good. It was dark so I hadn’t seen what I had done until I woke up holding the strip underneath my pillowcase where I slept on the floor.

“photo or canvas prints” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday, September 12, 2013
5 minutes
from a photography brochure

Marigold was born under the Aquarius sky, the winter moon heavy on the horizon, ice tendrils curling around frozen eaves. Her mother let out a bellow like a farmhouse, full, at the holidays. Her dark head breached. She was born.

Marigold made mud pies out of the earth that grew her carrots and her beets, out of the ground that housed the worms she cared for, with the devotion of a nun.

When she was nine, Marigold decided to tend the apple orchard, forgotten by her mother and father, past the fields and the garden. She spent every morning and every evening there, pruning and planting, singing songs she knew from her aunties from Lebanon.

By seventeen, the orchard was thriving. She pressed cider and cut Gala’s into perfect pieces, feeding them to her younger brothers, making pies and crisps to sell at the market on Saturdays.

“Her bedroom” by Sasha at Lit on College

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
10:49am at Lit on College
5 minutes
Diana Evans

When she gets home she always changes into one of his undershirts and a pair of his boxers. Their seventh floor apartment is hot, but it's not even that, it's the cling of her work skirt and her pressed blouse, it's the stretch of her nylons across her belly, it's the heels digging into her baby toe. He's been asking her if she's seen his clothes, his underthings, and she shrugs. "I don't know, dude, probably that freaky guy at the laundromat stealing stuff from the dryer." By the time he gets home from work, the door to her room is closed, a fog of soft light whispering through the cracks. She hears him frying an egg and making toast. She hears him pop the cap off a bottle of Budweiser.

“pleasures of science.” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
5 minutes
The Norton Anthology of English literature

He’s all like “So, uh, I’m, uh, performing at this open mic and uh, do you, uh, like, wanna come?” And I basically lost it from here to next Sunday! I was like, “NO I DON’T WANT TO GO TO YOUR OPEN MIC! NO THANK YOU!” I stormed off, out the door, slammed the thing behind me, only to realize that I’d forgotten my sweater on the friggen barstool. I had to go back in there! He was smiling, holding my sweater like it was a dirty dishcloth and was like, chuckling. Like, completely chuckling. GOD! I was like, “What’s so funny?” And he was like, “You’re so dramatic. It’s cute.” Instead of losing it again I just said, “Thank you,” grabbed my sweater and left. So, I get home and there’s Isabel, waiting on the steps. “Dan needs to talk to you,” she said, looking all concerned, all, like, worried. “I JUST friggen saw him!” I said. She looked so confused. She looked like how we all look in Calculus, you know? And I was like, “What does he want?” “His Dad died,” said Isabel, looking at me like I was the asshole.

“(that was such a cute plan)” by Sasha at her desk

Monday, September 9, 2013
5 minutes
We Think Alone
Week 11 from an email sent by Lena Dunham that includes a picture of herself

1. Miles Ricci forgets to take the garbage to the curb and gets very annoyed that by next week the bin will be overflowing.
2. Miles leaves the seat up in the downstairs bathroom and sometimes, he takes a dump sitting just on the porcelain. He likes how it’s cool on his bottom.
3. Miles microwaves his popcorn and then adds margarine and pepper.
4. Miles photocopies the newspaper clippings of his niece, Christina, and keeps them all stored, organized by publication and date, in dark blue binders.
5. On his mother’s birthday, Miles calls her in Florida and sings her his best rendition.
6. Miles feeds his pomeranian, Bruce, one kibble at a time. He has a weak stomach.
7. Miles irons his work shirt every day, even if it wasn’t washed. He crisps the collar.
8. Miles drives, in his Chevy station wagon with wood panelling, to the mall. He buys a pretzel. He takes the jar of peanut butter that he’s brought in his briefcase out and balances it on his knee. He dips the pretzel, repeatedly, into the jar, while sitting by the fountain.

“pleasures of science.” by Julia at her kitchen table

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
5 minutes
The Norton Anthology of English literature

And here’s where I pick a relatively HUGE-ASS bone with people who refer to their parents as their “best friends”. For the record, I am not saying that one cannot get a long with their parents, or want to spend time with them, or tell hem personal things, or feel loved or love or whatever, blabbity blah blah. But best friends? BEST FRIENDS? This is not okay. Your parents HAVE TO LOVE YOU. They signed up for it when they decided to raise you even after you shat all over their NEW COUCH/KITCHEN TABLE/BED/BATHTUB/CAR/SINK/FAVOURITE SKIRT/PERFECT PANTS. They were like, this shitting machine is still somewhat cute and needs a lot of guidance to stop SHITTING EVERYWHERE, oh look, I’m the only one who spends this much time with it, I might be a good fit to lend some teaching, also, have you seen those cheeks? UNREAL! They were not like, I CHOOSE YOU IN SPITE Of YOUR FLAWS, they were like, I GUESS I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS WHAT THIS CRYING THING YOU’RE DOING MEANS, GODDAMMIT.
So. I rest. Parents can be your “best parents”, but they cannot be your “best friends”. SEEK HELP. K, thanks.

“(that was such a cute plan)” by Julia on the 505 going west

Monday, September 9, 2013
5 minutes
We Think Alone
Week 11 from an email sent by Lena Dunham that includes a picture of herself

And then he chased me out of the shop with a broom, yelling something about “inappropriate” or “this is not how the world works, little girl”. I didn’t mean to steal them…I thought they were free and I left once before for what could have been permanently and he didn’t say one thing to me. So who ratted me out? Does it even matter? I never have to go there again. I shouldn’t even care but I’m finding it very difficult to let this one go. He’s just the type that likes rules. That needs rules. And because I’m at the “whatever whatever” stage in my life, the “stick it to the man and live hard and fast” stage, I didn’t think twice about what he might be feeling. And I liked him right away. I was expecting us to have a nice rapport. I didn’t consider him at all…

“I dare say you should have” by Julia at her kitchen table

Sunday, September 8, 2013
5 minutes
Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul
Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jeff Aubrey, Mark & Chrissy Donnelly

I’m not your dream girl, so wake up! That’s what she used to say to me. Wake up! Whenever I would say something stupid or ask a hypothetical question. Wake up! Oh, wake up! That would never happen. And then she’d saunter off into the bedroom and apply copious amounts of shea butter to her knee caps and just mutter to herself over and over again. I’d like to believe that I wasn’t always day-dreaming the way she assumed me to be. I saw her glow around her face, her smile, and I wasn’t dreaming at all. I was trying to take her in, the realness of her, and the realness of my lucky situation to be loved by someone so beautiful. Sher never liked it when I held her up, on what she thought was a pedestal. She didn’t like being up so high; afraid of heights; afraid of falling to her death. It wasn’t that high. But I couldn’t explain that to her even if I tried. I’d tell her I wanted to get married in Hawaii and she’d say that same thing to me again: Oh, wake up! It’s too expensive! Trouble is, she wasn’t dreaming big enough. She’d act like something was impossible without even fully considering it.

“a dirty joke” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, September 7, 2013
5 minutes
Sometimes I Forget Completely

She sends me her love in a perfectly washed yellow spring jacket. She can’t wait to show me, how all the black marks around the collar are gone, and how the sleeves aren’t grey anymore. It’s almost too yellow now. Before it was bright but muted because it was so filthy. I think I like it better now because it doubles as a safety precaution every time I wear it. It’s really a great jacket. I guess I didn’t notice how nice it was until after she gave it back to me. Too bad about the little rip on the back, she says, shaking her head like she’s disappointed a good washing doesn’t bring back dead threads from beyond the grave. Thanks, I say, you really didn’t have to. She has a gift, making those dirty things clean with a smile and a determined attitude. I didn’t get either from her. I wish I had. I know I’d be better if I had. It smells nice, I tell her. Does it? She asks, her head cocking to one side, smirking coyly with just the right amount of satisfaction.

“I dare say you should have” by Sasha in High Park

Sunday, September 8, 2013
5 minutes
Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul
Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jeff Aubrey, Mark & Chrissy Donnelly

He was sweating. His forehead was shiny like a brass bowl. “Where’d you get that… outfit?” He asked. “A friend.” I said and that was the truth. I’d met Pollyanna after seeing her perform, I went and introduced myself and I said, “Hey, you ever teach someone how to do that?” Pollyanna kissed me on the mouth and said, “Uh huh.” I asked her if she was free on Thursday and she said, “Friday.” I went down to her house on Friday morning. A funny time, the morning, to be taking off your clothes. “Have to pick up my boys at one for lunch,” she said, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to think. I wondered, for the first time, what I was getting myself into. She lives in a nice part of the city, with colourful semi-detached houses, all in a row. A bakery on the corner of her street smelled like cinnamon and lemon. The “boys”? Turns out she has seven-year-old twins. Identical. I wore my best undies and my best bra. Unfortunately they didn’t match. She said that the trick was to think like you are the most alluring and mysterious woman in entire world. I could get used to that.

“a dirty joke” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday, September 7, 2013
5 minutes
Sometimes I Forget Completely

You got that look on your face, because you caught me, guilty, stealing bits of you.
Your over-used razor, your rusty flask with an “M’ carved on the bottom, your green paisley teacup and mis-matched saucer, your shopping list, your James Blake record.
I learned it from you.
The tiptoeing, quick, barely disturbing the dust on the windowsill, the sunbeam making dirty jokes on the wall.
We all make mistakes.
I’ve packed those things into my backpack and I’m going to bring them all the way to the beach.
I’ll take the streetcar, screeching and calling all the pigeons, a gathering place.
When I get to the beach, I’ll wait til it’s dark, til the sun sets.
I’ll sip on your flask, unsure what’s in there, what was in there.
Don’t leave me room for the doubt and the thirst.
When it’s dark, when the kids with their pails have left, I’ll make a small pile of driftwood.
I’ll throw your bits on top. Except the record. I’ll keep that.
I’ll dump the rest of the flask contents on.
I’ll take the lighter from my back pocket.
I’ll set you on fire.

“There is an old joke” by Julia at her kitchen table

Friday, September 6, 2013
5 minutes
The Fireman And The Waitress
Dessa Kaspardlov

I catch myself laughing sometimes at the wind and all its misery.
So bleak, so dark, and yet, free, as if it doesn’t even know it’s sad.
I don’t mean to be rude.
But the sounds of violins remind me that I’m better off. That I have exactly what I asked for.
That I don’t need the breeze, even when it’s teasing me.
The universe and I go way back. She gives me what I need and I just put it into a want-cloud for her to brush up against.
I know the symptoms of a happy life.
I own one.
My new happy, shiny life.
I break the news to the insects and to the sunbeams in all their abundance.
I’m having a baby! I exclaim to them.
I’m having a perfect realization baby!
I catch myself laughing.
I know it’s not quite common, or appropriate.
But I asked the dusk to put in a good word for me at the star library.
I take whatever sparkles brightest and I return them whenever I feel I’m done with them.
No one thinks I’m just going to run off with them without payment.
I’ve made sure I held the honesty tight to my chest just in case someone asked me to spell my last name to prove who I was.

“see us soon!” by Julia at East Liberty Medical Centre

Thursday, September 5, 2013
5 minutes
Toronto public health poster

You heard them calling your name from across the yard but you were already too far gone out of their lives to turn back and wave.
You made that decision a long time ago but it was hard so you hadn’t come to terms with it until now.
“I can’t”
You wrestled with the idea of it all, the pain, the regret. You couldn’t count your finger paintings fast enough.
“Thank you”
You kept walking as if on a conveyor belt, every step taking you one more year, one more lifetime away.
You asked me if I would send you their pictures, they’re letters in the mail, signed by each of them in their own hand.
I couldn’t promise you what I couldn’t bear to offer. It would be my pain too, every time I sealed the envelope with their kisses for you. Send the sweetness away to nowhere because that’s where it felt like you were existing.
You chose your path. You picked the soft mattress to lay on, and the perfect duvet to lay under. You made it up so well it felt like a good thing.
“See us soon”
They’d call, in their sleep, in their restless daydreams of you.

“I’m glad I am” by Julia at Bicerin Espresso Bar

Wednesday, September 4, 2013
5 minutes
Julia’s warm-up

I’m glad I am I’m glad I am
gummy bear reservoir
hidden nutella in the top cupboard
I’m not hiding anything
it’s in there if you’re looking
you hide your journals in plain view because I can’t-won’t-can’t read a single word you write
I couldn’t do that
I’m hopeful someone some day will find me in mine and never need to ask me what that shape is, or is that one words or two
I’m glad I am
like that
that consistent
you’d know that if you read me
stale bread so I wouldn’t feel guilty
stolen from the birds who were looking forward to an early morning snack
you don’t know it’s there either
should have mentioned it
you’ll eat a Hungryman dinner while staring at the fridge filled with new organic vegetables
and you’ll maintain there’s nothing to eat
gummy bears
the 1kg bag
who had the idea first, to pick them up and pretend it’s genius
you or me?
might have been me
I’m glad it was then

“There is an old joke” by Sasha at her desk

Friday, September 6, 2013
5 minutes
The Fireman And The Waitress
Dessa Kaspardlov

I’m not gonna go and say, “Ya let me down”. But ya did. Ya let me down. What the eff were ya thinkin’, Mindy? I was there. Ya know, I was waitin’ and as the clock went round and round my mind wouldn’ even go to the place of “She’s not comin'”. It wouldn’ even go there, ya know? Aften seven and a half hours it did, lemme tell you. Like, how many doughnuts can I eat? Do you want me to get all fat? I’m five feet tall! So, we make a plan, we make a hard n’ fast plan, like, there’s no wiggle room! We were gonna go in there! We were gonna take that painting! An’ there I was, sweating buckets, adrenaline pumping! That can’t be good for you, Mindy! It can’t be healthy, ya know?