“my oblivious affinity for pies” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday November 29, 2013
2:10pm
5 minutes
www.localmilkblog.com

This year, Celeste isn’t making the pies. My brother, Earl, and I had talked in hushed voices at her birthday in late September. “Should we offer?” We wondered. “Should we ask?” Earl had decided that if you didn’t want to make them then she could tell us so, that we shouldn’t undermine her matriarchal act but simply usurping the duty. I got a phone call late last night, proceeded by a text. “Are you up?” Asked Celeste. I texted back a moon. Celeste had married our father when we were in our late teens. She had re-ignited our father’s love of brewing beer, of collage, and of family brunches the final Sunday of each month, rotating the host so that the work was spread around evenly. Celeste had arthritis that made her sixty six year old body appear much older. She’d had to leave her job at the Newspaper. She’d had to hire a cleaning lady. Celeste called right away, upon receiving the moon. “Honey,” she said, “I don’t think I’m up to the pies…” I smiled. “We were waiting for the word! Earl and I are happy to do it…” There was an anchor in the silence, weighing us, holding us. “But,” said Celeste, “I’d love to be there when you make them?” I could hear Earl chuckling about back-seat cooking. “Of course,” I said.

“my oblivious affinity for pies” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Friday November 29, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
2:12pm
5 minutes
www.localmilkblog.com

I’m looking for a poet to lend my heart to. I know he’ll be gentle with it, describe its core and pulp and colour. I know he will grieve it, believe it, and leave it. I know he will put feathers around it in a cage and display it. I know he will plant flowers in the garden just so it has something to look at. I’m looking for a poet, other artists need not apply. A poet would fear it, treat it with the power of a thousand suns, and try, on occasion, to butter it with compliments and attempt to eat it. I know he’ll treat it as his own, knowing the pain that comes with it if given without an instruction manual. How could I let it touch the hands of any other man? How could I rest easy if I gave it to someone else, when the poet would love it too much to ever hate it? How could I send my heart up the stairs of its bomb shelter and into direct line of fire, or nuclear attacks, or toxic air, knowing full well it would die on impact?

“Featured Products” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday, November 28, 2013
6:07pm
5 minutes
http://www.pashop.com

Nell opens the door to my study. “Can I come in?” I nod. She walks over to me, behind my desk. Nell gives me her list. It’s typed this year. “Thanks,” I say. “If you need clarification, just ask,” says Nell. When she leaves I put on my glasses. I read it. She wants a blue pottery bowl. She wants an easel. She wants a bamboo cutting board. She wants a subscription to a magazine that’s entirely in French. I call her. She comes. “When did you learn to speak French?” I ask. She blinks just like her mother. “I don’t know… I’ve been practising. I want to get better…” She blushes. “Fine,” I say. I wish I’d said, “Wonderful!”

“BLUE & GOLD” by Sasha in her bed


Wednesday November 27, 2013
5:02pm
5 minutes
a poster in Kerr Hall

When you walk in you feel immediately at home. It doesn’t matter that the stairs need sanding. You’ve never lived on your own before. In the kitchen, you smile. Sure, the floors could use a good scrub and the walls have scuff marks. Okay, you wish that the living room wasn’t grey but you just heard about a cheap paint store where there are leftovers from the biggest and best paint jobs in town – The Opera House to the Shangri-La Hotel. You hear the upstairs neighbour calling to her child. “Lunch!” You walk into the bedroom and your breath catches in your throat. Blue walls with gold baseboards, not muted gold, bright, shiny, sparkly gold. Marisa, the landlady, her red fleecy zipped up under her chin, laughs. “The last tenant, she was a leetle crazeeey…” You sit down on the floor and you cry. Marisa rubs your back and you apologize and you say you’ll take it. You say you’d like to move in on Monday. You say that you need this place more than anything, that you’ve been couch-surfing since September and you’re going crazy. You don’t mention your cat. You wipe your cheeks and Marisa hugs you and says she’ll call your references and if everything checks out it’s yours.

“Featured Products” by Julia at El Cafecito


Thursday, November 28, 2013 at El Cafecito
3:18pm
5 minutes
http://www.pashop.com

I’ve been on a particular website, I won’t name names cause I’m embarrassed, but for maybe hours now. I haven’t eaten one single solitary thing all day, because you can’t count a decaf latte, and I don’t even feel the hunger anymore. It’s like my drive kicked in and all I need is to watch…those…videos….no, not videos! Just the “featured products” on the site….not videos! That’s stupid! There’s nothing worth talking about with regards to the videos. In fact, what videos? Ha! I’ll tell you they’d just be the regular type if they were being watched at all! I’d just have to say that the “products” being “featured” are really addictive. Sort of in a way that makes you feel satisfied and content without having to do anything yourself. And I mean, just looking at them, not watching them, because they’re not videos. Above all else I feel relief. Just a lot of relief and excitement about my next coming hours, not necessarily revolving around the same thing, but just knowing I saw them….knowing I witnessed them in some form, not in a moving picture form, I told you, just…Oh I wish I could tell you. I wish you would understand, but you won’t. You won’t and then things will only be medium good. I’ll be thinking about how you don’t understand and I won’t be able to enjoy it the same way at all.

“BLUE & GOLD” by Julia at Kerr Hall at Ryerson


Wednesday November 27, 2013 at Kerr Hall at Ryerson
3:22pm
5 minutes
a poster in Kerr Hall

In a room of strangers, she looked like she didn’t want to stand out intentionally. She was the only one wearing her school’s colours. With pride, even. She looked great. She thought everyone would have the same spirit, the same attitude toward game days. She had moved from a school that celebrated every single moment, game day or not. She didn’t realize what a beautiful thing she had, or had come to know until it was basically forbidden. The teachers all looked at her as if she had broken the uniform code. There was no uniform; unless you counted the uniform judgment that she was experiencing on all fronts. Bright blue. Bright gold. Stars and glitter across her face, pompom strands in her hair. She was trying not to let it bother her that everyone was staring and laughing at her. She was trying to keep it together more than she ever needed to before. Did she really not belong? Could this not be a perfect moment for rallying the troupes and collecting school spirit to pass out to everyone who might, show it or not, actually really want some?

“REDIRECTION” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday November 26, 2013
11:41pm
5 minutes
The front of the bill from Rogers

A little misdirection, a little action. Yeah. Yeah. Grant me the serenity to…yeah. yeah. When did it become so hard? To hardly exist. To hardly be anything but a regret. A little redirection, a little reaction. Yeah. Yeah. On this day you will be alive and…yeah. yeah. Where did all the pretty colours go? To blend in with the nothingness and be the fear it tried to avoid. A little direction, a little inaction. Yeah. Yeah. Peace before pieces before peace…yeah. yeah. Why must I be without the essentials 98% of the time? To fall on my knees with the wind’s whisper in my ear telling me to land softly, or else. A little redirection please, a little action? Yeah? Yeah. A little yeah. Yeah. A little.

“REDIRECTION” by Sasha at her desk


Monday November 25, 2013
10:36pm
5 minutes
The front of the bill from Rogers

I watch the fish sleep. I think about losing – teeth, love, mind, race, art. The fish swims to the back of his bowl. Losing respect, losing faith, losing generosity. My mother used to talk about how she would steal cigarettes from her family’s housekeeper. She was twelve. She’d smoke them out the window. Losing innocence. My friend has met a man that sparks her tips, lights her eyes. Losing loneliness. His mind keeps going back to running into that old friend in front of the bookstore on Bay Street, no matter how much he tells it to stay here, at the dinner table, with me. Losing perspective. The sun rises later, sets earlier. Losing light.

“we deliver” by Julia at her kitchen table


Monday November 25, 2013 at the Starbucks at Queen and Bay
11:20pm
5 minutes
The American Express Ad
The Wifi connection page


We deliver all the things! To your front door, your back door, your wherever’s most convenient door! We even do it when you’re not looking! When you’re not home! Like crazy people wearing ski masks in the dark! Just kidding! We don’t own ski masks! But we do creep around a bit. But only so it doesn’t disturb you! Only so you can rest and relax and watch your family show with your family, in absolute peace! We know about the family show, yes, but don’t be alarmed! Every family has one. It’s an easy thing to know about a person. We also know that you were saving those frozen pizza shells in the freezer for a special occasion and when it finally came, you wouldn’t eat them because “someone” forgot to buy the proper “melting cheese”. We know about that because don’t fool yourself! That one is more common than you think! The uncommon things you do are the common things we know about. We know because we’re human beings! Human beings are connected by the root, by the guts, and by the throat on most days! Those feelings are not new. Someone somewhere has had them before. That’s a wonderful thing! Your cheese problems are not rare! You are! But the experience is shared! Don’t you see? It’s not meant to trouble you! It’s meant to free you! I am you and you are me and we are we are we are we! Say it with me! I am you and you are me and we are we are we are we. Whatever you need! You can call us and we’ll know exactly when, where and why!

“we deliver” by Sasha at Starbucks


Monday November 25, 2013 at the Starbucks at Queen and Bay
5:26pm
5 minutes
The American Express Ad
The Wifi connection page


We deliver the news like a casserole
Stinking of tuna
Of cream of mushroom soup
Of egg noodles
You look like a Stepford wife
You changed your hair colour
It doesn’t suit you
We come as a pair
Salt and Pepper
Just how you like
“Don’t look at the gardenias”
You say
“They don’t want to grow this year
I just can’t understand why”
Salt
(Me)
Looks at Pepper (him)
“Are you going to go to the funeral?”
Pepper asks
You think for a moment
Scratching a troublesome freckle on your upper lip
“I can’t see why I would”
You furrow your arched brows
Newly red
To match
“We’re going”
Pepper coughs

“A knock on the door” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday November 24, 2013
11:36pm
5 minutes
At The End
Mark Gore


There was a knock at the door. You weren’t expecting anyone. In fact, your hair was wet and wrapped in a towel and you were wearing your father’s old Edmonton Oilers jersey, too-short fleecy pants and mismatched socks. You thought about pretending that no one was home but the lights were on and your guilt mechanism kicked in. You opened the door. You gasped, not for the cold but for me, there, in front of you. “Holy sh – … Come in! Come in!” I do. I put my backpack down and take off my boots and my raincoat, placing it on the back of the red couch. “You shouldn’t do that!” You say. “I could’ve had a heart attack. You know about my murmur…” “I took the red-eye,” I say. You look at your watch. 8:12. “Should I call in sick?” You’d have to leave in forty minutes. “No, it’s cool – ” “Are you…?” “Yeah. I’m staying this time. I’m… sticking around.” You sigh and I see a fleck of wondering. “What happened with – …?” “He decided that it would be better if we…” You nod. I follow you into the kitchen where your bagel has gotten cold. “Tea?” I shake my head. “I’m going to sleep for a couple of hours… If that’s okay?” You nod. “It’s really, really good to see you,” your eyes are soft, I like them better without make-up. “You too, Izzy.” I walk like a ghost into your bedroom and lie down on your bed. It smells like Paul.

“A knock on the door” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 24, 2013
11:30pm
5 minutes
At The End
Mark Gore


I felt a slight breeze on the back of my neck. It was cool, and quick, and made me want to die.
I wasn’t about to turn around to inspect it. I didn’t believe in ghosts, or the supernatural. It must have been a draft, I convinced myself. I was alone in my house. I would have heard the door open, someone stepping up onto the porch, the shoes getting kicked aside because there are always pairs left right in front it…
But I heard none of that, yet still felt the chilling breeze.
I wasn’t about to turn around.
Just ignore it, I said. The thing will vanish from your mind like a pooped bubble, a passing cloud. I was employing all the strength of mind I had to conquer it, to remain unchanged and better than it, whatever it was.
I was trying to stay calm, when suddenly, a knock on the door.
Not a ‘someone let me in’ knock…
A single, solitary one, with the hollowness of a deep grave, preparing to take its corpse for the very first time.
I turned around.

“Perhaps she will spend the morning” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, November 23, 2013
8:26pm
5 minutes
The Days You’ve Spent
Suzanne Bowness


Perhaps she will spend the morning writing love letters for every day that he will be gone this winter. She will write them in different colours, each one for a day of the week. “Thursday” will be green. “Monday” will be purple. Perhaps she will spend as much time as it takes to find the perfect brownie recipe, one with just enough butter and melted chocolate, one that encourages the cook to lick the bowl and top the brownies with Maldon salt. Perhaps she will make one pot of coffee and then another, when the first one goes down too easy and craves an encore. Perhaps she will do the laundry, but slowly, not rushing, smelling and folding and letting her hands keep warm in the soft downy. Perhaps she will make just enough noise to wake him and when he comes into the kitchen she will surprise him with kisses that taste like dreams.

“tie up my son and me” by Sasha on the Queen streetcar going West


Friday November 22, 2013
6:53pm
5 minutes
Toronto Star (Life Section)

Mika was making currant and orange marmalade tea cake and George was raking leaves. Ryan was reading a Tintin comic on the couch, trying to not nibble on his nails. Miss Christie, his homeroom teacher, had shamed him horribly on Friday afternoon saying, in front of everyone, “Ryan, do you know how many germs live underneath our fingernails?” Ryan imagined hundreds of tiny bugs, of various shapes, crawling around together in an orgy-like pile. Although he was an intelligent seven-year-old, he wasn’t sure what a “germ” really was. Sometimes his mother added “wheat germ” to muffins so that she could call them “breakfast”. George came in the back door. “Hey, bud!” He said. His cheeks were red from the bite in the air that had arrived at the beginning of the month and hadn’t wanted to leave. “What does a “germ” look like, Dad?” Asked Ryan. “Oh sheesh, bud, what have you been reading?” George peeled off his grey sweater. “Do me a favor and don’t Google that, okay?” Mika was singing along to the radio in the kitchen, the house suddenly smelling of sweet citrus.

“domestic assault” by Sasha at Annapurna


Thursday November 21, 2013 at Annapurna
4:25pm
5 minutes
Toronto Star

Jo calls me from somewhere on the highway between Lethbridge and Calgary. The Cowboy Trail. She’s pulled over, I make sure of it. “I gone this time,” she says, “I’m gone for good.”

At their wedding, Jo’s “something borrowed” was my polka-dotted pink socks.

“I’m staying at a motel tonight. I don’t think I should keep driving… I keep thinking Jeremy is going to run out in front of me like a moose and I’m going to swerve off the road.” I wonder if I should go and meet her so that she can put her cold toes between my calves and we can watch Breaking Bad until she falls asleep.

“I wish you could just, like, support me!” Jo screamed, running down the stairs. I’d just told her that I couldn’t get behind her and Jeremy moving in together. I’d heard too many details of too many stories of too many nights. It took her three weeks to speak to me again, and even then, she was distant and cold. “I need your rent cheque,” she’d said, barely looking up from her eggs and toast.

“a broken-down piano” by Sasha on the Bathurst streetcar


Wednesday November 20, 2013
12:32am
5 minutes
from the Jared Leto Wikipedia page

All that was in the room was three nearly-empty bookshelves and a broken-down piano. When I walked in I called for you. You weren’t there yet, you’d gotten caught in a traffic jam up near the park. There was no place to sit so I stood, near one of the huge windows. I looked out. I coughed. It was dusty. I thought I heard a voice, one that sounded like a molasses and brandy. “Hello?!” I called. I went to the piano and played a chord my mother had taught me. “You play?” I don’t know how you’d opened the door without making a sound. “No,” I blushed, “I mean, I try, but I don’t exactly…” You smiled. “You hungry?” I wasn’t. “Are you?” “Always.” We haven’t even hugged yet! I don’t understand how this happens, how two people can see eachother and not… “Let me show you something.” You take my hand and lead me up the winding staircase. On the way you stop and tell me that you have an appointment at eight so we probably won’t have time to get anything fancy for dinner.

“FREQUENCY” by Sasha on her bed


Tuesday November 19, 2013
11:05pm
5 minutes
from the Cold-FX bottle

When we listened to the sound of the first snow flakes landing on our cheeks
When we heard their corners melting
We knew we were in for a good season
A good time at this
When we walking around the graveyard and counted letter
M
D
A
S
We slow danced under the maple tree
By the pond
Where you swore you saw a fish jump
Making a kissy face
But not making fun of us
Enjoying our laughter
Our footsteps
When we bought our house on the dead end street
You painted the walls late into the night
I slept
A pizza-induced coma
You joined me
Fresh from the shower
And we made promises that involved mountains and coffee

“they forgot they had committed a crime” by Sasha on the Bathurst streetcar


Monday, November 18, 2013
2:39pm
5 minutes
Urban Myth the board game

It wasn’t an intentional type of thing. They had forgotten that they had committed the crime. It was the kind of selective memory that kids use on their second grade teachers in regards to spelling lists and book titles. They broke out of Kingston Pen and hitchhiked to Peterborough. “Let’s go to the edge of the world,” Lou said to Felix. He wasn’t having it. “Let’s get ice cream,” Lou said. Felix wondered why they’d ever thought leaving the warmth and the books and Katherine the smiley supper lady was a good idea. When Mr. Bartholomew picked them up and said that he was, in fact, going all the way to Peterborough, Felix said, “Thank you, sir. We won’t be any trouble.” Bartholomew wasn’t so sure, but he’d once been the one down on his luck and God had given him a helping hand. The three men hadn’t spoken much at first, until Lou farted so bad that something had to be said.

“Perhaps she will spend the morning” By Julia at Rustic Owl Cafe


Saturday, November 23, 2013 at Rustic Owl Cafe
11:50am
5 minutes
The Days You’ve Spent
Suzanne Bowness


Like a morning breeze waking us from our sleep, trying to keep us from leaving the bed, and telling us it’s not safe out there if we’re separated. We stay. We listen. We hear each other’s body and we respond to it, authentically, intuitively. We feel the warmth from the night’s good dreams and the callous bottoms of four feet rubbing up against each other accidentally. We remember the stillness, the snowflakes, the morning magic with its power over us. The first snowfall, we decide, is something to spend in bed watching with another soul. We listen to our sleepy logic, we adhere to it, we make it a rule, a ritual. We don’t need to ask the other to stay when we both feel as much a part of the bed, as we do our own minds. We own it in half, and split the rent to share perfect moments like these, on mornings where it’s below freezing, and full of possibility, and the money, in coins, both mine and yours, goes into a clear jar marked “Laundry Fund”.

“tie up my son and me” by Julia on her couch


Friday November 22, 2013
6:53pm
5 minutes
Toronto Star (Life Section)

had a dream last night that we were playing pin the tail on the clouds. it was a game my son and me made up for when the bad days felt too long. i’d hold him and he’d hold a feather in his pudgy little hand. Then i’d lift him as high as i possibly could, reaching up and up, till the sun made him squint and he felt like it was enough. it was something we started a long time ago. with whatever he could find on the ground at the time, a rock, a stick, a snail. we would both pick a cloud, and he would try to pin the tail on it. on the same spot we chose together. i could feel him breathing, focussing, trying to get it just right. and he would never get the spot perfectly, but the concentration needed would always make it feel like he did. like just one more push and we’d get there. in the dream we were shooting right up to the real clouds. we were in a contraption that took us up, made us feel like we were flying. we knew even then that we might not touch the spot exactly, but we’d get close. in the dream he wasn’t holding an object from the yard, or the sand box. it was a framed photograph of me.

“domestic assault” by Julia on her couch


Thursday November 21, 2013
2:08am
5 minutes
Toronto Star

Erin was crying for what felt like days. She didn’t even know why, but couldn’t stop. Not even for ice cream, or Saved By The Bell. Trust me, we tried. She was on one of those journeys…just…lost on the way to no where. I didn’t want to be the first to give up on her, but I was useless too. I was. I tried all my wisdom out on her the first day, hell, the first hour, and she didn’t stop so..Rachel tried employing some of her own brand but Erin was non-responsive. It was obvious. But still each of us took a turn. Auburn decided not to say anything at all and just hold her, but every time someone touched her she flipped out again. It made it too real. To painful. I tried to be understanding, trying to tell her it would be bad now, but not forever, and that worked for maybe a half second. Then she tried to rip her own eyelashes out. So we all had to restrain her, but she didn’t want to be touched, so…it was a long night. And that was just the first of many like it.

“a broken-down piano” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday November 20, 2013
12:31am
5 minutes
from the Jared Leto Wikipedia page

If you look closely at him, you’ll see he’s one of those artist types. He plays with his fingers as if they were keys on a piano, trying to make music. Trying to express himself. He doesn’t draw, but he understands lines and colours better than anyone I know. It’s hard to describe someone with the capacity for “lines and colours”, I recognize that, but he really is. He’s never mentioned the word Art. I don’t know if he knows what it means. But he’s authentically him, and that’s more artistic than I’ve ever seen, and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of artistic people. He started when he was young. Very quiet. Very observant. He didn’t say much, he just took everything in, and breathed into it like a balloon, giving it shape and understanding. We wanted to put him in music lessons, but he didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t his idea even if we could see that he could benefit from it. He’d rather use his dreams to teach him anyway. He was so different like that. I worried when he was little that if he didn’t let us foster his gifts, then he’d grow up one day to be a broken-down piano…a beautiful shell with lots of potential, but without the ability to touch lives with its sound.

“FREQUENCY” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday November 19, 2013
1:05am
5 minutes
from the Cold-FX bottle

I can only imagine what Bev is going through. She went to order those mussels. She loves those mussels; you know the ones with the spicy tomato sauce? She lives for them. Every time we go there, she orders them without even looking at the menu. I remember once, she even ordered them, they were out, so they went next door and bribed the manager there to give them a bunch so they could serve her. It was like a special little ego boost that they somehow knew Bev needed. She’d come in with her hospital bracelets sending signals to the wait staff that she was being taken care of elsewhere, and I think that was genuine. She didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for her. That’s why she’ll go out of her mind. She was treated like an equal there and now it’s closed down without so much as a sign on the door to all the faithful patrons like Bev. Some might argue that she got those mussels as a special treatment. But if you’d seen the way they were with her. You’d just know they actually liked her personality. Not that she was hard to like…but she was difficult. I want to call her the way I would if our mom passed away. I don’t even know if she knows yet.

“they forgot they had committed a crime” By Julia at Rustic Owl Cafe


Monday, November 18, 2013 at Rustic Owl Cafe
2:34pm
5 minutes
Urban Myth the board game

She was so loud I could have killed her. I don’t throw that word around lightly, I mean, I’m a good person, I swear. But she awakened something in me that no one ever has. And maybe it’s because I watched an episode of Dr. Phil last night where a woman was threatening to kill a six year old “demon child” and she seemed totally justified in her struggle. This woman, though. Her voice was penetrating my head phones–just talking in such a slow and shrill way it made me feel like I was at the dentist. I don’t think I’m actually capable of murder. No, not really. But the idea was a fun one. It made me feel alive again, and honest, which, full disclosure, my usual meds don’t let me feel. I’m not saying that because I’m being treated for things that I should be allowed to have these thoughts…I told you, I’m a good person. But when you don’t even smile when a baby waves at you, you welcome any kind of stimulus that luckily makes its way to your heart. Killing isn’t exactly the fuzzy-wuzzies, or the nurturing instincts that kick in when we’re talking about children. But the dream of it, the fantasy? God I gotta tell you, it gets me going even better than sex.

“Many words will be written” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Queen East


Sunday, November 17, 2013 at Dark Horse Espresso Bar
5:32pm
5 minutes
The Art of Listening
Henning Mankell


A polaroid picture with “Winter 1979” written in black ballpoint pen in the bottom left corner. There are fingerprints all over it, thumbs mostly. It shows an eight year old girl in a pink snowsuit. Her boots are too big, but we can barely see them. Her toes are cold. She’s standing beside a very large snowman. There is no way that she could have reached the head. He has cherries for shirt buttons, arms made of a broom handle sawed in half, eyes made of small grey rocks. He doesn’t have a nose. His mouth is a string from her mittens, unravelling bit-by-bit. She’s smiling. Her left arm disappears behind the snowman. She’s trying to embrace him, she’s trying to pose with him like an adult might, with their brother or spouse. Her hood is pulled tight so we can’t quite see that she has black hair.

“when he was only 16” by Sasha at Balluchon


Saturday, November 16, 2013 at Balluchon
1:12pm
5 minutes
Edge Studio DG Tour Script Selection

I bled through two pads, one stuck to the other. I stand up to get a book from a shelf in a row close to where we’re working and James says, “Uh, Rachel, uh, you’re, uh…” I know what’s happening. I know what he can’t say. I hadn’t even told him I was pregnant. He thought my breasts were going through a miraculous growth spurt. I mutter, “Oh shit,” and run/walk to the bathroom, tying his track jacket around my waist. The library is suddenly more quiet than it’s ever been. There’s a line. It’s the handicapped stall. I wait for a woman with purple cornrows to go before me. I smile at her and she looks at me like I’m the Devil. As soon as I get in, I lock the door and take a big breath. I pull down my pants and put my asshole make-shift diaper into the trash. I unwind a whole roll of toilet paper and stick it in my underwear, that are already ruined. I want to lie down on the floor and let it swallow me, one blue and white tile at a time. I don’t. I splash water on my face, flush the toilet, for good measure, and leave. I walk back to James. “Uh, what, uh… happened?” When he gets nervous his cheeks look like two giant cinnamon hearts. “I had a miscarriage.” I say, hollow and heavy. James’ cinnamon cheeks fall down his body and his face is white.

“Smartass Acts Of Vandalism” by Sasha at her desk


Friday November 15, 2013
11:42pm
5 minutes
http://www.smosh.com

“Don’t be a timid little idiot,” CJ says, as he takes the can of red paint out of his black backpack. “Be a fearless fucker,” CJ says, like it’s as easy as Tic-Tac-Toe, like it’s second nature or something. I’ve been practising on a piece of plywood in the backyard since August. “Don’t over-think it,” CJ says, right up close to my ear. “Shut up,” I say, taking the lid off the can, listening to the silence of the city at this hour. I smell the adrenaline off of him, his high off of me, even though nothing has really happened yet. The wall stretches brick after brick. CJ steps back, finally getting the hint, finally giving me my space. I push the nozzle and my months of practise emerge like a butterfly, but in the shape of a man. He looks even fatter here than he is in real life, which is real fat.

“Many words will be written” by Julia in her bed


Sunday, November 17, 2013
12:21am
5 minutes
The Art of Listening
Henning Mankell


It was a thought that dawned on me today as I was picking up my kid from pre-school. I didn’t acknowledge it until I got home and had him safely playing Lego in the living room. By then it was bigger. It had grown. This thought, where once only a small meaning was housed, now had so much more importance. I can’t explain it really. Unless I say “it grew” which, I suppose, is very accurate. It matured and formed its own offshoots of itself without me being conscious of it. Then by the time I was ready to entertain it, it was ripe for the pickin’ and I had no problem taking a bite.
This thought was full and pregnant with possibility. It was welcoming me to answer its knock and yet when I listened at the door, I didn’t hear a thing.

“when he was only 16” by Julia at Rustic Owl Cafe


Saturday, November 16, 2013 at Rustic Owl Cafe
12:36pm
5 minutes
Edge Studio DG Tour Script Selection

Learned how to play the ukelele to impress girls,
asked a lot of stupid questions he already knew the answer to,
refused to go to bed before midnight,
ate crepes at lunch, and dinner, on weekdays,
preferred to jam in the garage even in the winter,
warned his mother about him leaving someday,
dreamed in vivid blues and purples and reds,
spent Saturday nights playing Gin Rummy with his grandmother,
asked a friend to knit him a scarf for Christmas,
watched and re-watched The Sandlot,
ran away from home for one night only,
made a batch of cookies to bring to his teachers,
ran in the Student Council and became an Athletic Chair,
drove his father’s Toyota Corolla into the neighbours basket ball net,
sang in a choir at church for the last time,
prepared to-do lists on napkins, and hand towels,
avoided cleaning his room at all costs,
helped mow the lawn and water the rhubarb,
brought home the girl with the broken glasses out of fear.

“Smartass Acts Of Vandalism” by Julia on her couch


Friday November 15, 2013
1:45am
5 minutes
http://www.smosh.com

Of course he was trying to impress me. I know what that stupid display of affection was about. I mean, at the time I didn’t realize it was affection, and I’m sure neither did he, but oh, is it clear right now. He thought (I’m sure of me subconsciously)that painting a big red and bloody X through the mural I had hanging in the library would get the attention of book-readers, and anarchists. He was trying to make a point about literature and oppression. I know his type, he’s as translucent as Saran Wrap. He likes to put up a big fight, make a big statement, and then get at someone who actually matters to him so he can be closer to them. That’s what he was doing for me. I know it wasn’t hate, but desperation! It’s so easy to see through that stuff. It’s all just a show, and a reminder that he wasn’t held enough as an infant (easy mistake).

“nearly killed him.” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday November 14, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
10:02pm
5 minutes
creative writing MFA handbook
Tom Kealey


Sitting at my brother, Ian’s, bedside, I listen to his breath. It wasn’t his breath anymore, really, it was through the machine that makes an eerie, almost-human inhale and exhale. His husband, Michael, is getting gelato with their four-year-old daughter, Margaret. “What flavour do you think she’s having?” Ian asks, eyes half open. “You’re awake!” I say. The morning nurse, Shanique, comes in. She’s Ian’s favourite. He watches her huge gold hoop earrings move back and forth, back and forth. “Where’s Margaret?” She asks. Ian motions for me to explain. “They’re getting ice cream.” I massage Ian’s feet. They’ve been achey since Sunday. “Lucky!” Shanique says, checking the pump, the IV, taking Ian’s temperature. “They better bring us back some!” She winks at me and I smile. She leaves in a bustle of light pink scrubs with small bouquets of flowers on them, singing a gospel song that Ian sometimes hums when Michael bathes him. “Would you trade places with me? If things worked like that?” Ian asks, his blue eyes piercing right into the place where love lives, where devotion sprouts wings.

“nearly killed him.” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday November 14, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
9:50pm
5 minutes
creative writing MFA handbook
Tom Kealey


And it was on purpose and it would have been amazing if that bitch Gloria didn’t back out of her garage right at the moment I was going to send him to limbo to give my mother in law a message for me. Probably something like, Not so tough without your lungs are ya? I don’t know, I hadn’t thought that far ahead yet. I should have just done it in his sleep like I’d planned in the first place, but SOMEBODY had INSOMNIA that night because of the heart burn because of the hot peppers. And it almost kills ME because they were my peppers and had I known he was such a little wuss, I wouldn’t have given him any, or slipped so many into his pasta. Whatever. This isn’t all on me. I could have gotten away with it too. It would have gone down in the books as an unsolved mystery because I spent four godforsaken years studying theatre in university, and as a result I know how to cry with an “emotional trigger” and would have been able to pull that “trigger” EVERY GODDAMN DAY until I could honestly say I was dry. And no one would have questioned me even a little bit. Because I’m fucking good at what I do!

“documenting, communicating” by Sasha at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday November 13, 2013
10:42am
5 minutes
25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer
Jocelyn K. Glei


Bob opens the bottom drawer of his father’s desk. A pile of papers, as high as three phonebooks. Bob takes each sheet out and makes piles according to type. He’s glad be inherited the organized genes from his Mother. Bills, bank statements, letters, newspapers, clippings, photographs. He’s sitting on the floor, cross-legged, when Brian arrives. “I’m in the study!” Bob calls. Brian is growing a moustache for Movember. The guys at the club all did it together last year and Brian said it was dumb, but then felt left out. Bob forgets what the whole thing is about. “Holy shit,” says Brian, seeing his brother surrounded by a fortress of paper piles, seeing his brother sitting on the floor, legs folded like the hot yoga teacher at the Y. “Not only does Dad not have a will,” says Bob, matter-of-fact, “he hasn’t filed a single thing since Mom died.”

“Where are you going?” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 12, 2013
7:41pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on the Lansdowne bus

She holds the promise on her tongue like a purple pill. It melts. She swallows. Making mistakes used to be her hobby. Now she’s sure of one thing only. This. She didn’t mean to hurt you. She tried to resist it but… They’re calling for thundershowers tomorrow. They’re calling for hail, but up North. Not here. “You must forgive me,” she pleads. She doesn’t fall to her knees because it doesn’t even occur to her. She doesn’t clasp her hands because they’re arranging and re-arranging the newspapers on the table. She reads a headline she wished she cared about. You do. That’s what guts her. You care. “We should go to Quebec City.” She doesn’t know where it comes from, but it does. It comes. “We could get cheap flights from Chandra…” She’s not even that close with Chandra anymore. Not since she told her to go screw herself. Not since she said she couldn’t babysit Charlie.

“documenting, communicating” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday November 13, 2013
10:42am
5 minutes
25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer
Jocelyn K. Glei


Corinne and her baby brother, Emilio, were standing at the bus stop–well, Emilio was not standing, but sitting more so on Corinne’s hip and playing with the gold chain around her neck. She was careful to watch him so he wouldn’t pull off the ‘C’ that hung near her cleavage.
Emilio, according to most, was an accident baby as he had been born 20 years after Corinne. She didn’t think of him like that…A happy accident if any.
Corinne was the only one who seemed to care for little Emilio as her mother was away for weeks at a time attending to “business” which really just meant “business men”. Corinne wasn’t even convinced that her and Emilio had the same father. Her mother was not one to kiss and tell so everyone was always just left guessing.
Corinne was on her way, with unintentional offspring in tow, to meet Carla, her friend from high school who said she had some very important news.

“Where are you going?” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday November 12, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
8:44pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on the Lansdowne bus

He was waiting in his underwear for her on the couch when she got home. She hadn’t given him a key yet, so he had to charm her neighbour into believing she had and he had just misplaced it while helping another old lady cross the street. It seemed like a likely story. When he let himself into her apartment, he washed all her dishes, then washed between his legs, put back on his underwear, a bow tie, and some coconut body lotion, and sat himself on the couch to surprise her. He was planning a big night. One that would start out as a joke and end up as a proposal. He wanted to “open her mouth with laughter and then shove the truth down” as he had heard his acting teacher say in second year. He agreed with that sentiment, and knew she would be disappointed with any other display of something that meaningful. He had heard her say millions of times that if anyone ever proposed to her with her family around, or in a public space, she would have no problem breaking up with him right then and there, on his knee or not. He knew that he would have to stand out and showcase that he had heard her all those times. He also wanted to make sure she wasn’t even slightly suspecting a ring, because that, he was sure, would ruin things. He had been waiting for a long time. She had failed to mention that she was flying to Montreal to visit her grandmother for her birthday that weekend.

“The actor has to develop his body” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday November 11, 2013
11:06pm
5 minutes
a quote from Stella Adler

“Nice rock,” Liam says, barely looking at my finger. We’ve been eating burritos and drinking cheap beer. He hasn’t said anything about the ring since he arrived. “Oh, thanks, Liam… I’m stoked…” I am not a snowboarder. I shouldn’t use a word like that. That’s it. That’s all he gives me. “Nice rock”. Maybe it’s because we’ve been friends since we were fourteen and assholes. Maybe it’s because we slept together that one time on Allison’s birthday, when we were drunk, and never really talked about it. Maybe it’s because he lives in Auckland now and… “Are you going to finish that?” he reaches over and takes my burrito stub. “Go for it,” I say.

“Would you trust a mouse” by Sasha on the streetcar going East


Sunday November 10, 2013
6:32pm
5 minutes
alive magazine October 2013

“Would you trust a mouse?” Jack asks Alice. His glasses have spaghetti sauce on them. “No way!” Alice says. “Would you trust a camel?” Jack slurps a noodle. “Nope!” Alice says. She’s picking off clumps of parmesan cheese and putting them on her extended tongue. “Would you trust… a… tiger?” Jack looks very pleased with himself. Annie thinks for a second. She takes a noodles and stretches it between two fingers. “Yes.” “Why?!” Jack looks shocked. “Because of their stripes,” Annie says, matter-of-fact. That’s enough logic for Jack.

“STORE AWAY FROM HEAT SOURCES” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday November 9, 2013
11:21pm
5 minutes
from the side of a box

He’s the kind of guy that drinks something different every week. Once it was orange juice. Once it was apple juice. Once! Diet Coke. And then tonight? Cranberry cocktail. Hard to believe someone could be so varied in their likes, have such an assortment of inspiration. He wears black rimmed glasses, in an un-hip way. One of his ears sticks out more than the other. He has curly blonde hair, that’s cut short, so it’s more the potential or the promise of curl and not curls in reality. He listens with his eyes closed, or, rather, he wish he could. He only does with his truest and best friends, or, that’s what I imagine.

“The actor has to develop his body” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Monday November 11, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
4:37pm
5 minutes
a quote from Stella Adler

Of course he would go to the gym at 4 in the morning! I mean, I know it’s not even open that early, but if it were, he’d be the type to beat every other person there. I don’t know how one can train oneself how to wake up every morning at the same time and do something good. I know when I wake up, I’m thinking about , and only thinking about (in order of importance) my morning shit, my English Muffin, toasted with half butter, half raspberry jam, my second morning shit, and then my shirt if it needs ironing that day. I don’t even think about my woman when I first wake up, and there goes my younger brother, Chad, outshining me with his good behavior, and probably fixing his girl a croissant and egg white omelet before she wakes up, and before he leaves for his cycling or running, or whatever else he thinks is possible at dawn.

“Would you trust a mouse” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday November 10, 2013
5:30pm
5 minutes
alive magazine October 2013

My lover and I used to have a regular visitor. He was tiny and he was fast, but we learned to love him because he was ours. Something we both shared and something we both knew to be true. I had seen him first, out of the corner of my eye, and I was accepting of his presence because he stared at me the first day with such confidence and unapologetic stillness. It was amazing. And so I didn’t scream, or jump, or chase him. I welcomed him into our home, and I knew my lover would be equally as accepting. When I filled with the finest cheese, peanut butter, and cookies. We didn’t want him to think we were the greedy type. My lover lined the basket with a gingham fabric that once used to line our picnic baskets, and on occasion, the inside of our coat pockets so we’d match. Oh how we forget the beautiful days that bonded us, even in clothing. We took care of our new housemate as if he were a cat, or a puppy. Lots of love and lots of witty banter.

“STORE AWAY FROM HEAT SOURCES” by Julia at her desk


Saturday November 9, 2013
1:45am
5 minutes
from the side of a box

How can I stop all the jumbling? It’s a serious question. It’s exactly what my mind feels right this very moment. It’s terribly overwhelming. I never thought having this affliction would actually end up a burden. It’s a sincerely difficult time right now. I had no idea it would all turn out this way. But I realize, I can’t even do it on my own. I cannot take care of anything while my brain is functioning at such a low level. It’s a wake up call about being alone forever, or taking in too many stray cats one night because the world isn’t a safe place after all. I just need a prescription to end this brain fiddling.

“I’m from a lot of places” by Sasha on her bed


Friday November 8, 2013
12:34pm
5 minutes
overheard from a customer at Sambuca Grill

I’m from the ravine in Scarborough
With the crow’s that call
And the ants that carry their dead friends.
I’m from the yellow door-ed house off of Kingston Road
With the crown moulding
The big kitchen
Perfect for practising ballroom dancing.
I’m from the semi on Juniper
Up the street from the IGA
With walls thin enough to hear my sister
Telling secrets to the page.
I’m from Parkdale.
I’m from Little India.
I’m from North York.
I’m from this square of linoleum that’s two shades lighter than the others.
I’m from the streetcar to the end of the line.
I’m from a red-headed woman.
I’m from the bicycle tire that’s low on air but high on freedom.

“Reduce heat to a simmer” by Sasha at at Ossington Subway Station


Thursday November 7, 2013
5:54pm
5 minutes
rebar modern food cookbook

that moment before you leap
before you belly flop
that second before you go
“freefall, suckers!”
you have a choice


remember the time before you knew how to read?
when you would make up stories about yellow jaguars
and orphan twins?
remember the time before you were afraid of your own voice?


standing on the window ledge
looking down
you see the city like you’ve never seen it before
you think about your bucket list
a hot air balloon ride
eating steak
writing down your dreams
going to iraq

“32 “_____” get this party started” by Sasha at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday November 6, 2013
10:20am
5 minutes
Crossword from NOW Magazine
October 31-November 6, 2013


They’re clapping. They’re stomping. They’ve drunk enough to no longer be self-conscious. They’re too young to know less. To know better. Someone might take off their shirt soon, and then another and before you can say, “Oh my God!” everyone is half naked and sweating and moving. When she wakes up it’s morning. There’s drool on her pillow. There’s a track and field guy beside her, his freckles catching the sun. She holds her head. She sits up. She steps over five people, passed out on the floor. She makes her way to the bathroom just in time. She throws up. There’s a knock at the door, “Hurry up! I gotta piss!” She opens the cabinet and is thankful when there’s mouthwash there. She swishes and spits. She opens the door. She smiles.

“the feeling when you’re in too deep” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 5, 2013
9:34pm
5 minutes
Sweet
Dave Matthews Band


When Sally and I finally got there, we were fighting like Mom used to say we’d fight when we were kids. She blamed that car accident on us, you know. Said we were fighting so bad that she got distracted. She didn’t see the truck making a left turn. “Why don’t you use the indicators!” Sally yelled at me, as we were pulling into Edmonton. “You want to drive?” She didn’t have a Driver’s License. Or, rather, she did, but she’d had it suspended. She glared at me. “You’re a real piece of work, Kali,” she hissed, opening a fruit leather. We didn’t talk for awhile. When we were getting close to the house, Sally put her hand on my shoulder. “You turn into a real bitch when you’re nervous,” she said. “Takes one to know one,” I couldn’t look at her. She looks so much like Dad, that sometimes just seeing her nostrils flare makes me want to scream.

“I’m from a lot of places” by Julia at her desk


Friday November 8, 2013
11:30pm
5 minutes
overheard from a customer at Sambuca Grill

I’ve been to the moon and back! The moon and BACK! I’ve settled for a million white lies painting my bedroom a colour I could stand looking at. I’ve been to the MOON. I’ve dreamed in shapes and numbers and it made sense to me. I’ve found my way through your brain while you’re sleeping and mumbling something about pink hot pants. I went there. I went there and I came back, and every time I come back to whatever back is, it’s different. So I’ve been to a lot of places. I’m from a lot of places, really. I’ve been to the sun and back! The SUN! THE SUN! I’ve filled my belly with worry and words and perfectly dewed grass blades in a park, in a backyard, in a green house. I’ve let my mind wander to find the key to the secret dwellings of the universe. I wouldn’t have gone by myself. I’ve taken good trips and bad trips and told everyone around me that I was going to stay there. They wouldn’t understand but they’d think it was a good idea if I seemed so hell-bent on it. I’ve been to hell and back, to heaven on earth, and heaven in heaven, which though similar, are very different things. I’ve been to here and there, and I’m from everywhere. From the moon, from the sun.

“32 “_____” get this party started” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday November 6, 2013
10:20am
5 minutes
Crossword from NOW Magazine
October 31-November 6, 2013


Don’t! she yelped. Don’t get this party started! And then she threw her head back and just laughed and laughed.
Who wouldn’t want to get the party started? she said through laugh snorts that were both cute and annoying. No guys, I have an idea! Let’s keep this party from evolving! Ok?! Let’s keep this ‘get together’ a ‘get together’ before it turns into a party! Heaven forbid!
She rolled up her sleeves and started laughing again.
No! It’s the anti-party! It’s that super prudish guy who is hell bent on only having a casual hangout with maximum 6 people. 6 people is a get together–7 people is a party. And like, someone’s all, Oh, you know what would be fun? Let’s invite Roy! And the host in his brown turtleneck is like No! Don’t you get this party started, Matthew! I have some nature sounds I was going to play for you all.
She started laughing yet again, this time acting out the anal host with her arms outstretched like a zombie.

“the feeling when you’re in too deep” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday November 5, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
9:17pm
5 minutes
Sweet
Dave Matthews Band


Oh how I need you how I love you how I need you.
When your face crosses my mind it’s like a lucid dream inviting me to fly.
You’re the something they talk about in all the great literature, in all the perfect poetry. You’re the whole thing and somehow you’ve chosen me.
What a life it is when doors open and you’re on the other side holding all your feelings for me like a bouquet of wild flowers.
No matter the day I’ll hug them close to my chest.
You never wane, you never wander.
You make the madness fall asleep long enough to leave me alone.
You send your well wishes my way and won’t stop until they get to me.
Oh how I need you how I love you how I need you.
More than you know.
More than I know.
You’re my everything and I can say that without seeing everything else. You’re the call that wakes me from a nightmare.
You’re the body that gave up part of itself so it could fit me right beside your thumping and ever-giving heart.

“they like to travel the world” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday, November 4, 2013
11:02pm
5 minutes
Kinfolk, Volume Nine

Once they were called “raindrops”
Nell and Jemima
Sliding down window panes
Smiles spread like mustard on a crusty bun
Once they found a man in a bar in Istanbul
Learned the names of his children
Took him back to their hostel
And took turns kissing his scars
Once they snacked on fresh almonds in Jerusalem
Counting their money on their bellies on the beach
Once
Nell and Jemima
Promised never to marry
They were betrothed to the map in the back pocket of their jean shorts
They were faithful only to the train tracks and the stamps on their passports
Once they found a kitten on the street in Venice
A calico
Nell hid him in her raincoat and they carried him all the way to Nice
They found him a home there
With a woman who sang to her statue of the Virgin Mary