“Real slow. Real good.” by Julia on the 506 going east

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
5 minutes
from Phil’s Original BBQ storefront

I guess I musta been dreamin’ real good cause I didn’t even notice the small child meowing outside my window. Usually I’m very sensitive to children. And I guess cats. So I guess both of em. Wouldn’t let that sound go unnoticed if I were more awake. I’ve been dreamin’ with every bone in my body for about a week now. I know it’s new cause before I wasn’t remembering anythin’ vivid or nothin’ and lately it’s been just like movie after movie after movie. Musta been somethin’ I ate or drank or smoked. The only thing I’ve had consistent all week was jerky and that ol’ stuff never hurt me none before. Maybe it’s my jaw. Been slammin’ it back and forth in my sleep, prolly convincin’ my brain that I’d gone and experienced one helluva trauma. I read once that your body carries those moments better than your brain can.

“The Psychology of Colour” by Julia on her couch

Monday December 30, 2013
5 minutes

Apparently the plum colour she bought was meant to signify “confidence”. She believed it I guess. I guess because she didn’t have any to begin with. She planned it out, thought she might wear it to Christmas dinner to show her brother that she was fine without him and that it wasn’t because of her “twisted smile” that made him “run away” She wanted to show him that she was brave and bold and all the things he thought she wasn’t. To hurt her? Maybe. To help her? She rationalized. He, if she had to pick, would be brown, the colour of practicality and ultimately boredom. She didn’t see a colour that he would wear anyway. None of them jumped out at her because he wasn’t a very good person and all the colours on the wheel seemed way too nice for him anyway. Maybe red, the colour of hunger and rage, and the devil. That made sense to her. She was new to this ‘psychology of colour’.She was trying to channel calm, in the light blue, and lightness in the bright yellow.

“should be the soundtrack” by Julia on her couch

Sunday December 29, 2013
5 minutes

Audrey had on her black flowy skirt
said she was in the mood for dancing
held a flower up to her face
went well with her complexion
put it in her side bun
made sure to spritz it with hairspray to keep it there
waited for Simon to get off work
had a bottle of sauvignon blanc chilling in the ice bucket
she didn’t know if she’d get to the dancing
she was hopeful he would notice what she was wearing
and then take her somewhere fancy just so it didn’t go to waste
the music was playing
she blasted the songs she wanted to move to
had the dial in her hand just so she’d be ready when it called her
couldn’t do a single other thing but wait
and groove
and slide her head from side to side with a puckered smile
Simon didn’t call
probably wouldn’t call anyway
her flower was the cutest thing she had worn in weeks
wasn’t feeling sexy before
wasn’t feeling like the effort would even matter
tonight she woke from a nap and a dream
it saved her a little bit
it showed her the sweetness that she had forgotten
she was doing this for her
she was doing this for Simon
she was.

“clean, soft” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Saturday December 28, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
HandiBac tube

Like a baby’s face,like a sky’s blank slate, like a call in the wild, like a fresh wall of paint, I’m your sinner, you’re my saint.
I can’t cause these power outages to last longer.
I just keep seeing myself in the mirror and I know it’s clearer than it was before.
With the lights out I know, that my problems are gone, so I keep myself in the dark dark until I can understand my mark.
On the world.
Just a big splatter of poetry. I put on to you so you can see.
My life is a coiled up wire that is exposed and could explode into a million sparks of gold if I let it. If I’m not careful.
Clean minds like to clean mine, all my troubles go and into the black hole they blow.
I know I know. I can’t keep the image staying untarnished cause I just like finger smudging and floor rumbling.
They try, they try. But I’m alone most of the time and I can’t hear, what’s inside, I can’t hear all the pride I store away.
They try to keep my anger at bay.

“10 days prior” by Julia on her couch

Friday December 27, 2013
5 minutes
Application for a Special Occasions Permit

I guess I’ll stop waiting now. For you and the raspberry jam you promised me. Oh well, I should say, it’s just jam! But goddammit, everybody knows that it isn’t. It’s your word! Your stupid word that I don’t trust anymore. I keep trying to forget, but I can’t. So every new time you don’t do what you say you’ll do, I am just reminded of the thing you didn’t do yesterday, and the day before, and blah blah, etc. Years are too hard to store in my brain! Did you ever think of that? I can’t stack the empty promises onto one another because they are all weird shapes and containing different contrasting contents! Some are hot, and some are very cold. Some are liquid and leaky, and some are little tiny rocks. You did that. I didn’t ask for this. I know it’s not about the jam. I said that, I know that, you know that, we all know that. This angle of me is not one I’m happily displaying to any cameras, or to the kids. I don’t want them to see me hate you but I don’t have the energy anymore to give over those feelings, those resenting feelings for you. I was never an actress. I never ever said I enjoyed putting on a face like that. I know you don’t know what you said 10 minutes ago let alone 10 days ago, but I know. I know so well it kills me each time.

“clean, soft” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday December 29, 2013
5 minutes
HandiBac tube

“It’s not sustainable,” Ben says. It’s his latest and greatest catch-phrase. “You staying up late working? It’s not sustainable!” “The to-go coffee cups? It’s not sustainable…” “This iTunes obsession is not sustainable!” Nothing is sustainable in the eyes of my boyfriend. I freak out at him eventually, but in the beginning I like that he’s thinking about sustaining things. Previous to this, he was far more concerned with the wear of his wallet in his back pocket and the grind of the espresso in his stovetop pot. I bring up the laundry from the basement. I fold it, perched on our bed, listening to NPR. Ben strides in. He picks up the small box of softening sheets. “What the heck are these?” he asks, rhetorically. “Well, Ben,” I say, indignantly folding his boxers, “those are – ” “I know what they are!” he snaps. “Dryer sheets kill seals,” I try not to smile. He pauses, dramatically. Wait for it. Wait for it… “Not sustainable.” He throws down the box and exits our bedroom en route for a tall can of beer in the fridge.

“10 days prior” by Sasha at her desk

Friday December 27, 2013
5 minutes
Application for a Special Occasions Permit

Ten days prior to the coldest day of the year, Marnie had a baby girl. They hadn’t found a name for her yet. Marnie had listened to every one of her seashells and searched in every recipe book, Bible and receipt envelope. No name had landed. Gideon cared less about the name and more about the colour of the walls of her room. Should he sponge-paint mauve or paper floral?

Ten days later, after twenty-seven hours of pushing and crying and drinking fresh squeezed citrus juice, they held a baby girl between them. Gideon turned to Marnie. “Well,” he said, not too loud so as to not disturb his sleeping daughter, “what’s it gonna be, buttercup?”

“the bomb” by Sasha on her bed

Thursday December 26, 2013
5 minutes
from the cover of NOW

I’ve been thinking a lot about success. And failure. And where the two intersect, or don’t… Or what. See, when you’re creative, when you call yourself an “artist”, a name of privilege, a warrior path, I believe that doing your art

is enough.

I believe

if you’re living your passion

practising your craft

honing and sanding and steaming and basting

you are doing your job.


Standing high on a snowbank

I call out in a voice reserved for my tribe


I can’t wait to hear what you make, to sing along to what you glazed with love and sweat, I long to feel your story in my toes. You doing what you do is ENOUGH. I don’t give a fireball what anyone else says about it. I reject the Tweet-erings too shy to cry out in their tribe-voice. I say “no thank you” to critics and naysayers and people that long to build something with their hands and don’t and then crash and bash into those of us that are brave enough to do just that.

Bravery is a bomb I will drop.

Bravery is a rhyme I will turn over in my mouth until it melts.

“lead us not” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday December 25, 2013
5 minutes
from a Christmas carol

The stove burned a fire like a vision of what will come
The heart roared like the boom of the beat of a drum
We sipped wine from a cup that was passed down deep
We talked until our bodies were ready for sleep
Then we tucked into bed like wolves in a den
Until morning when we’ll do it all again
We’ll rise, bathe, be in quiet, drink what’s pure
We’ll plan and we’ll hope but we won’t be sure
We’ll scream and we’ll laugh, we’ll give love bold
Just like the story we’ve always been told

“warmest of wishes” by Sasha on a couch in Mississauga

Tuesday December 24, 2013
5 minutes
from a Christmas card

On the back of a postcard with a church on the front.
Dear B.,
I send you the warmest wishes from Moscow. It should be “coldest” wishes but that doesn’t sound kind. It’s freezing here. When I arrived, the wind was like a slap, knocking my face back and forth as if angered by something I’d done. Perhaps it’s that I didn’t say a proper goodbye to my father. Perhaps it’s that I told you those few too many truths over that terrible vodka the Sunday before I left.
You’d like it here. At least I think you would. It’s nothing like Prague. Remember when we drank beer instead of water? That didn’t end well. I meant what I said about how you need to stop jerking Melanie around. She’s unravelling and if you don’t want to be with her leave her alone for good. I didn’t mean it when I said you’ve become bitter and cynical. You haven’t. You still have that light in your eye, the one that made me want to be your friend that first day of University in that awful Bio class in the building that smelt like chlorine.

“Namesake” by Sasha sitting beside her Christmas Tree

Monday December 23, 2013
5 minutes
the album Love Takes No Prisoners
Anthony Wilson

Fox has his pinstripe suit on, the one you bought him at the Sally Ann in Peterborough. He’s finally grown into it. The sleeves are still a bit long, but he’s rolled them up with effortless style. Like you. He shot up this year. He’s almost as tall as you. He’s saying words like, “radical”, “crazy”, and “stellar”. You’d be proud of his widening shoulders and his deepening voice. You’d smile and raise your eyebrows at his intelligent and spunky sense of humour. His room is a mess but I forgive him that because he knows how to cry in movies and shovel the walk in under five minutes.

“we chase our dreams deep under water” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday December 22, 2013
5 minutes
Hold Me For Now
Skinny Bitches

My backpack is heavier than when I started, and not because I’ve picked anything up. Hiking the Kalalau trail came to me in a dream. I had just left my lover, lost my job and cut my hair. You’ve had those times, I know you have. We all have and will, still. During that time I dreamt of tigers and jungles and skies with rockets. I dreamt of slicing pig snouts and skiing across sand. And then, I dreamt of the Kalalau trail. I didn’t even know it existed. I had to look it up. I don’t do my “looking up” like most people of my generation. I take the Encyclopedia from the bottom of my bookshelf and sift through the transparent pages. There it is. An eleven mile trail on the Napali Coast of the smallest Hawaiian island, Kauai. I booked my flight and here I am, three months later, my backpack heavier than when I started. It isn’t actually heavier, but it feels so, my ankles blistered and my body covered in scrapes and sweat.

“modern doughnuts” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday December 21, 2013
5 minutes
From the Jelly doughnut store sign on College

There’ll be sushi
baked brie
figs and honey
you and me

I’m going to make you a spread like you’ve never seen before

I never thought I’d delight in setting a table
In finding an antique table cloth at the flea market
And stitching it where it was worn
In lighting the candles
And decanting the wine

I wish I’d been there when you were born
Maybe that sounds far out
I wish I’d been the one to catch you
To wash you
To see you first

“the bomb” by Julia on her couch

Thursday December 26, 2013
5 minutes
from the cover of NOW

I wished you were coming with us Auntie Di! Please change your mind and stay with us for just a night!
Allie was begging her aunt with the best puppy dog eyes she could muster.
Pleasepleaseplease! I’ll be your best friend!!
I want to, Allie, I really do. But I can’t this time. It won’t be a good idea. Can you trust me when I say that, sweetie?
Dianne crouched down to look into Allie’s eyes. She stroked her hair and smiled reassuringly.
I trust you. But I want to know how come Auntie Di!
Dianne kept smiling even though he didn’t believe herself when she did it.
Baby, it’s complicated. Your mommy doesn’t want me to stay.
Allie furrowed her brow.
She’s mad at you? But I’m not mad at you!

“lead us not” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Wednesday December 25, 2013
5 minutes
from a Christmas carol

I followed God or the idea of him around like a lost puppy one morning. I swear I heard him calling me. I listened closely and went where his voice was leading me. I stopped off in every room of my heart to see if his voice got louder or clearer. I didn’t want to leave any place in me untouched out of fear that he might find solace in my anger place or my subconscious desires place and I’d miss him there. He never told me what to do. His call was generous and sweet. He was inviting me and I was feeling very welcomed. The urge to see him got bigger even though I didn’t quite know what to expect when I finally did. I tried to picture his wild hair or his big hands. I agreed with his warmth and saw his skin glowing when I closed my eyes. He would be whatever I needed, and I would know when I saw him.

“warmest of wishes”by Julia at her parents’ kitchen table in Baden

Tuesday December 24 2013
5 minutes
A Christmas card

Selling them by the basket, by the armful. Wishing they were smiles or something simple like that, something that wouldn’t require payment at all. Rode all night in a car without heat just to be ready in the morning for the swarms of people, the origin of the exchange. Couldn’t wait to tell them, reduced prices for today only! Waited all afternoon by the machine while it pumped out the heart songs, the warmest wishes, the apologies. Nothing is free anymore. Nothing is free but at least these ones aren’t expensive. Excited to set up shop on the street, reserve a spot that can be decorated with love and kindness. Then when the people see how easy it is to give them out, they’ll buy more just to give the rest away to their loved ones. They’ll smile without buying a smile. They’ll forget that once it felt complicated. That’s the hope. That they forget whatever reasons made them refuse to buy before.

“Namesake” by Julia on her couch

Monday December 23, 2013
5 minutes
the album Love Takes No Prisoners
Anthony Wilson

I was supposed to be a Zoe. My mother always liked that name but she felt weird giving me one that didn’t tie with the family. I’m glad she didn’t. It’s always weird thinking of the differences in my life that would come from just having a different name. I was worried when I was younger that my name would dictate everything. Not a Britney. Not a blonde. Not an Emily. Not the cute one. It was silly. I know that now. My father jokes about planning to name me Geppetto. From Pinocchio. That really bothered me. I was a dumb kid, I believed everything anyone told me. And I was mad at my father for trying to name me something so stupid. As if that were the real name I should have had and thus developed all the qualities that go with it.

“become the master” by Sasha on her couch

Friday December 20, 2013
5 minutes
from the Curl Keeper bottle

Lois stands in front of the mirror and sprays her hair. She hope that it, and her face, and her heart, stay completely in place. She’s not banking on it, though. Ever since hiking the Camino, Lois finds it harder and harder to fake it. She used to be a master of that. She faked her way through Community College, through working as a Paralegal, through turkeys and meatloafs and scrambled eggs. Lois was a Master Faker. She made herself a certificate and put it on her wall. She kisses it sometimes, other times she draws tiny “x’s” on it with eyeliner.

“Behind the new shopping centre” by Sasha on the Queen Streetcar going West

Thursday December 19, 2013
5 minutes
The Globe and Mail
Thursday December 19, 2013

I am the sort of woman who brews strong coffee
I wear rubber boots with pride
I curse like I drive long highway nights
I find a promise behind the new shopping centre
I’ve been trying to avoid it
(Both the promise and the mall)
But I find myself pulled
A moth to the light of the unknowing
The promise is to see each one of you
You and you and you and you
With compassion
With the knowledge that you’re trying your very best
You and you and you and even, yes, you
Sometimes I am the sort of woman
Who takes herself very seriously
Last night’s lipstick staining this morning
Cries in the kitchen when a man
Her man
Tells her what he found
Behind the new shopping centre
Tells her that he, too
Is looking for a promise
But his is threaded
to his father
And his aunts
And his mother
In her fierce fragility

“Last Goodbye” by Sasha in the Kiva

Wednesday December 18, 2013
5 minutes
from the Charles Bradley record

When I get to your house, I stop, my feet drowning in slush. I don’t feel worthy of the curb, of the elevation. I see you through the window. You’re holding your son. He must be three now. He has your hair, your curls. I imagine he has your eyes, too, and your nose. He has her mouth, though, at least that’s what I see, when I close my eyes. You raise your boy up, high in the air and he laughs, you laugh. My heart drops and hits the slush. I catch it and put it back where it belongs, or where it used to be. I’m not sure where it will go next. Your Christmas tree looks right out of The Nutcracker, all lights and ribbons and silver and gold. It’s bigger than my apartment. I walk closer and closer and closer, sinking into the snow. When I get to the window I push my face up against the glass. I cross my eyes. You see me and your face pales. You put down your son and whisper something in his ear.

“You’ll always be older than me” by Sasha on the Queen streetcar going West

Tuesday December 17, 2013
5 minutes
From a birthday card

Dear Allison,
I want to be mad at you. I want it like SAT scores and peanut butter cups. But I’m… not. I look at you and I see our effing grandmother. I see the photograph of her wearing the red hat and black coat. Your face is shaped just like hers – like the moon. You’ll always be older than me. You’ll always have a birthday in January and I’ll always have a birthday in August. Aquarius and Leo. Those should be our names. Who needs “Allison”! Who needs “Suzie”! I want to be mad at you. You left me here with the depressed dog and our Father, who would rather be playing hockey than making me dinner. I hope University is really great. I do. I really do. I hope you’re kissing lots of attractive boys and that you’re wearing a great pair of boots. I hope that the food isn’t making you hefty. Joking. Joking. I love you, Al. I miss you. See you at Thanksgiving.

“we chase our dreams deep under water” by Julia on her couch

Sunday December 22, 2013
5 minutes
Hold Me For Now
Skinny Bitches

There was a time when the days bled into each other and we could not hear the tide of the ocean because it felt like our insides were making the same sounds. We, the two of us, we’d dance until we were tired. In the kitchen. With a roast burning in the oven. We, the three of us, you, me, and life, would hold hands while we slept or touch bums when we weren’t. There was a time when your face was too bright to even look at, or when I wasn’t ready for a love so right, or both. When we’d get home early just to spend more time in bed laying at the ceiling and listening to The Beach Boys, or the hum of our ancient radiators. We could not hear the sirens of the road, the chaos of a slippery tree cracking because our love was telling us stories and we were desperately trying to listen. There was a time, as if assembled by a five year old, our pieces stuck together; to each other with glue, with gentleness, with strength.

“modern doughnuts” by Julia on the 506 going east

Saturday December 21, 2013
5 minutes
From the Jelly doughnut store sign on College

And you could be better than me
cause you have seen the beast in me
and when I am alone I know that it’s right
for me to try to give you over, give you up tonight
My sacrifice for this good world, is setting you free as a bird
to fly with anyone who loves you as much as you love me
I’m scared of keeping you on the ground
I see it cinematically
with your life’s movie credits scrolling by
and the role I play is the Girl Who Ruined You
I am saddened by it all without the shame of admitting it, and it’s something
I don’t admit at all
to any one just cause they’re listening
you should be better than me
do better than me I swear
Life’s too short to hope for someone to give you what you always deserved
you earned all the good things
and I’m not a good thing
unless you’re blinded too….
I wouldn’t want to take, every single chance away from you
So take from me this gift of flight
this opportunity grand
and when you say hello to the night
you’ll know I would follow you there
But you’ll just have a head start
And maybe someone who brings you modern doughnuts from the little shop
down the street for no reason

“become the master” by Julia on her couch

Friday December 20, 2013
5 minutes
from the Curl Keeper bottle

I suppose he had a right to tell me that. I wasn’t expecting to hear it so blatantly put, but at least he wasn’t tippy toeing around me. That’s what I said! Tippy toeing. Yes that’s what I just said, tippy–oh. I hear it now. Tippy! Haha! Just one of those days, huh Judy? Anyway I’m not mad. No, at him. I’m not mad at him for being frank with me. What do you mean who else would he be? Are you serious, Jude? And you’re on my case for tippy toeing? Anyway, doesn’t matter. My point is he sort of charmed me by not letting me get away with anything. I appreciate a man who a) can spot bullshit, and b) who won’t stand for it. I’m telling you, Judy, he doesn’t stand for it even a little!

“Behind the new shopping centre” by Julia on the 506 going east

Thursday December 19, 2013
5 minutes
The Globe and Mail
Thursday December 19, 2013

Hal had me waiting in the car with the damn thing running because he said he’d be “two secs”. I hate when he says stuff like that. “two secs” sounds dirty no matter how innocently you mean it. So I was sitting there flipping through radio stations, seeking through them hoping to find a song I knew. I feel like I always have a hope for a certain song to come on. As if I deserve to hear it just by being in the car. I heard ones I knew but not ones I wanted to sing. I think that’s the difference. No one sits in a car alone and doesn’t sing! What’s the point of that! I like to belt it. Try to harmonize badly with good songs. Anyway Hal told me he’d be quick and to be honest I had lost track of time. I wouldn’t have minded if he stayed away a little while longer so I could find that song and just sing it out. I must have missed him calling my phone. Turned it to silent so I wouldn’t be tempted to check it every few minutes.

“Last Goodbye” by Julia at Ossington station

Wednesday December 18, 2013
5 minutes
from the Charles Bradley record

I told him with my eyes and my gentle kiss, blown into the wind so it would follow him home. He heard nothing was expected of him. People can’t hear eye love or wind kisses. It was stupid of me to think he would. When he didn’t turn around, it ruined me for a while. Long enough to break, find the prices, and put them back together again. They were a little jagged and a little mismatched like a puzzle put together by an impatient person, or a cheater. Someone who cuts the edges so they fit the way they “should”. I examined them in the brief moment of loneliness I was in and I decided then and there to give away my poems to the homeless and my romanticism to the food bank. Surely they would need them more than I did. Surely someone in their lives would have a place for misguided ideals and hopes beyond reasonable doubt.

“You’ll always be older than me” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Monday December 16, 2013
9:55pm at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
From a birthday card

Oh darling one, I waited patiently by your bed for you to wake up and take me with you. Wherever you were going would be fine with me. I only wanted to be with you. You pushed me aside and you cast me out when I was too young to protect myself from that. I wanted to be you and you wanted to be anything but. I watched as you made life choices and hurt yourself. I watched as you learned and grew and became a woman of such grace and strength and dignity. I wanted to be like you then too. I never stopped. And I don’t blame you for trying to push me aside. You wanted me to be independent and I grew dependent on you far too early. I knew what opinions I should have but still waited to hear yours first before admitting mine. I asked you for help on the little things, the big things, and the things I didn’t even realize I already knew. You were patient but you weren’t kind. You didn’t see me for my worth until much later on. You didn’t want me to be anything but small and that’s not your fault. I forgive you for the times I felt like I was not enough for you to be happy. I know now that that’s not what you ever wanted me to believe.

“EARLY BIRD” by Julia on the 506 going east

Monday December 16, 2013
5 minutes
From the sign on the wall

Audrey was picking her nose in plain view again. There were many possible judgers but she stopped caring right after Blair decided to jump off the shed roof into a kiddie pool with no water. She had stopped caring about much, if you were adding it up. Not traffic violations, not being polite, not her appearance. Audrey had a hard time caring too little. At first she believed if life was going to end it would be on her terms. She was running red lights every chance she got, she would purposefully buy expired meats from the deli, and she would wait too long to pee just to feel that burn. She wasn’t ready for Blair’s sudden passing at all. She didn’t ask for that. She wasn’t in control. She had decided that she would need to experiment more.

“it has a song” by Julia on her couch

Sunday December 15, 2013
5 minutes
A quote by Maya Angelou

A lot of the time it has to do with slowing down your thoughts and really truly seeing each letter inside your mind before it forms a full word. It’s the same for sentences and then paragraphs and then stories. It’s a magical thing when you just trust that they will in fact form and they will in fact make sense and they will inevitably communicate something. Something communicated is a lovely thing. Not always does it translate perfectly from our brains to our mouths but not always does it have to. It’s especially difficult when you let a little air into your brain and start to give space in between words so you don’t know what the next thing you’ll think is until you’ve thought it. It’s hard to know if you already had the entire thing preplanned or if you were able to truly listen to each letter forming each word forming each thought. The joy is in not fully knowing but being willing to find out. It’s a risk on a small scale. It’s a risk because it isn’t a guaranteed success. That’s what living is. A risk. Each day is a new word, a new thought, a new story, a new memory.

EARLY BIRD by Sasha at Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar

Monday December 16, 2013 at Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar
5 minutes
From the sign on the wall

“Early bird catches the loyalty,” says Joan. “That’s not the – … Nevermind,” I say. She’s doing her “exercises” on the living room carpet. Her physiotherapist gave her a bright pink Elasto-Stretch band and she’s totally infatuated with it. When I’m making her bagel and cream cheese for lunch I glance over and see her smelling it. “What does it smell like, Joan?” I call from the kitchen. “Vanilla pudding,” she says, somewhere far away. “Early bird catches the foam,” says Joan, lifting one leg and then the other, the band snug around the bottom of her foot. “… Almost,” I say. I’m not doing it to be mean. She doesn’t like when I give her the answer. I’ve tried that before and it didn’t get either of us anywhere. “Early bird catches the…” She stopped stretching and is holding the band now, stroking it. I go into the living room and do a dance move that should never have been resurrected. But it makes her laugh. She says, “the worm! Early bird catches the… WORM!”

“it has a song.” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday December 15, 2013
5 minutes
A quote by Maya Angelou

You live in a solarium
The walls and ceiling are glass
You polish them when the sun sets
Using an old T-shirt and some white vinegar
You climb up the ladder that belonged to your father
Reaching for the top
Reaching for the small circle
The mark
On a pane facing west
You have twelve cacti
You warn the cat
To watch himself
The solarium has a song
You hear it humming
Mostly in the morning
Lubricated by the dew
Sometimes at night
When the moon shines silver and gold

“LESS ORDINARY” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday December 14, 2013
5 minutes
Guinness Black Lager streetcar ad

There’s a man living in the bus shelter at the end of my street. He has a chair, a recycling bin filled with an assortment of papers and Tim Horton’s cups and a yellow blanket. As it gets colder, I find myself thinking of him when I unlock the door to my warm apartment. When I walk by him, I avert my eyes and then feel guilty. I regret not bringing him a tangerine or a sandwich. Leftovers. Last night, coming home from a late shift at the restaurant, I rounded the corner and forgot about him. Then I heard a voice. Singing. I peeked in the bus shelter and he was sitting in his recycling bin, the yellow blanket draped over his head. I paused. I smiled. It started to snow. Big, fluffy, feather flakes. I thought about his toes. I thought about the socks in my drawer that I never wear because they don’t allow my feet to fit into shoes.

“blows a kiss” by Sasha on her couch

Friday December 13, 2013
5 minutes
metro weekend December 14-15, 2013

Neither was expecting it to happen. Man was on the witness stand. Woman was on the Jury. She had been furious when she received the summon in the mail. “JURY DUTY?!” She’d shrieked, collapsing on her sofa.

When Man took the stand, when he said his oath, Woman raised her hands to her cheeks. A fellow Jury member glanced at her sideways and coughed. She closed her eyes and breathed in the knowing that this man was a rare seashell.

On break, Woman went to the water fountain for a drink. She turned on the faucet, bent over and drank. When she stood, wiping her mouth, there he was.

“Hello – ”
“We really shouldn’t be – ”
A silence like the August heat.
“What’s your name?”
“Hi, Alice.”
A silence like tiptoeing on sand.
“I’m going to go to the Deli on the corner for a sandwich whenever we wrap up here.”
“Would you like to join me?”
“Yes. But I’ll be in… there.”
Man nods and walks into the restroom. Before she can stop herself she’s followed him in.
“Yes, I, was, uh, I was, just, um…”
The hum of the fluorescent lights.

“THE BATTLE FOR CONTROL” by Sasha at White Squirrel Coffee Shop

Thursday December 12, 2013 at White Squirrel Coffee Shop
5 minutes
cover of aux magazine September 2013 issue

Cherry is looking at Jacob with those eyes, like the first snow on the rock in the garden. Jacob has had writer’s block since Luis got run over by a car. Cherry was standing on the other side of the road. She was calling “Luissss!” How she did, in that voice that was reminiscent of her Sixth Grade teacher. Few cars drove along their road. But that day, that unfortunate day, a black Dodge Caravan seemed to have some very important business to attend to. It’s driver wasn’t expecting a Collie, wasn’t expecting anything but a cool breeze and a cigarette. Jacob had never cried so much in his life. “Maybe my stories fell out my tear ducts,” he said to Cherry, one afternoon, munching on celery sticks. “Maybe…” Said Cherry, pretending that she knew the cosmic message that was floating about.

“once” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday December 11, 2013
5 minutes
from a poster for Once The Musical

Once, when I was standing on the edge of a volcano I was struck by my own significant insignificance. Then, two months later I looked at a man that I thought I loved and realized that what I really felt was pity. That was the same year that I saw Picasso. That was the same year I tried rambutan.

Lying on the black sand beach and feeling the water ebb over my toe-tips, I knew that I was on the right track. I’d gotten myself into the middle of the ocean, after all. I’d sprinted through the Vancouver airport after a snowstorm had threatened to kibosh my plan. Nothing could. It was impossible. I sat beside a man who was ready in shorts and a sunhat.

“LESS ORDINARY” by Julia on the 506 going east

Saturday December 14, 2013
5 minutes
Guinness Black Lager streetcar ad

Oh yeah I’d definitely define him as a curve ball? Sort of just your crazy man but without looking like that on the outside? Less ordinary than most people in his category and I’m sure I’ve seen my fair share of them. I think I noticed it first when he came over to my house to help Rodney with his math homework? He brought over a baseball glove and bat and the two of them played outside for hours. Rodney aced his test but I don’t remember them studying at all. I guess he has a way with explaining? Sort of never cared to question it further, cause we was seeing results and that’s all that mattered to Al and me. I think, no, I wouldn’t necessarily call him strange although he didn’t act like I ever expected. Strange sort of has a negative connotation and that’s not the kind of label I’m trying to give him. But different, maybe. Definitely special if you want to make sure he knows that I’m on his side? I never once worried when he’d spend time with Rodney. I think he liked being around kids cause they never judged him or nothin. They just sort of, let him be was all.

“blows a kiss” by Julia on her couch

Friday December 13, 2013
5 minutes
metro weekend December 14-15, 2013

She’s too sweet like a bag of candy from the bulk barn. You think you’re going to get sick of the sweetness, but then you see the bag there and you just can’t help yourself. You’re an addict for it, and you know you’ve had better quality than this before. You keep forgetting for a split second how unsubstantial it is, how filled with sugar to mask the lack of flavour. She’s like that. She’s one of those small doses, don’t miss it till you have it again and realize it’s been too long since you’ve had it in the first place. You keep hoping each bite will taste slightly different, maybe a touch of mint, you convince yourself was in the last attempt. She’s like that. She let’s you eat her up and think about how she’s doing absolutely nothing good for you. She’s not a cleanse, or a diet. She’s not a New Year’s resolution, or a necessary amount of nutrients for your daily intake. She’s nothing and everything, and she consumes you the way you consume her. The way you forget to make a proper meal for yourself because your body is tricked into feeling full after just one or two handfuls. Then before you know it, it’s past the hour you thought you’d be sleeping by, and it all seems so hard to stop.

“it’s not my favourite thing to do” by Sasha at Capital Espresso

Tuesday December 10, 2013
5 minutes
overheard at Capital Espresso

You have a dolphin heart.
I see it when you’re sweeping the floor,
when the sun is rising across your forehead,
when you’re singing in the bathtub.
You have a dolphin heart.
I listen to it when you’re sleeping,
when you’re laughing,
when we’re in the mud of fatigue and rage.
You have a dolphin heart.
I hold it when you’re in need of a big salad,
when you yell instead of cry,
when you remember the time they were rough with you.
You have a dolphin heart.

“SOARING” by Sasha on the Queen Streetcar going West

Monday December 9, 2013
5 minutes
from a Ryerson University subway ad

Soaring and falling are awfully similar, Maggie thinks to herself when she’s jumping. She stretches out her arms. The wind whips her braid. “Shit,” she thinks. “I should’ve called Ned.”

When she was five, Maggie got into her older brother, Malcolm’s permanent marker set. He’d gotten it from their grandmother who brought them various art supplies whenever she came to visit from Montreal. She decided that she’d have been better off if she was a boy. It seemed to her that Malcolm had it a whole lot easier. He didn’t have to wash his hair every day. He skateboarded to school. She drew glasses around her eyes, blue frames, just like Malcolm. He had a few pimples, so she dotted some pink onto her chin and forehead. The Housekeeper Svetlana found her before she got to her mop of curly, red hair. Svetlana promised not to tell Maggie’s parents so long as Maggie didn’t speak a peep about Svetlana doing the mopping in her underwear. Maggie and Svetlana pinky swore. When her father crept into her room to kiss her on the forehead, home from a late flight, he saw a small, usually pale face, red and raw. “What happened to Maggie?” he asked Malcolm, reading in his room. “She found my markers and went ape-shit,” Malcolm said, barely looking up.

“THE BATTLE FOR CONTROL” by Julia on the 506 going east

Thursday December 12, 2013
5 minutes
cover of aux magazine September 2013 issue

And it was a real battle
Hair pulling and ripping
Teeth grinding and popping
Skin scratched and bruised
Clothes torn and stained
It started early Monday morning at the jungle gym
Theresa was hosting a “peaceful protest” about My Little Pony being banned from recess. Turns out teachers don’t like when little girls and boys make believe they’re unicorns.
Theresa was trying to make a difference.
She was calm and she was smiling.
But Nadia didn’t think it was right. For whatever reason, and no one seemed to ask her, she was against the protest from the start. She had rallied her side and there were tomatoes and mashed butternut squash involved.
It had taken about 2 days to fully escalate.
Theresa didn’t know it was coming. Suddenly at the end of lunch, a group gathered around them, black zinc face paint under each of their eyes, and all hands cocked:
ready, aim,fire.

“once” by Julia on the 506 going west

Wednesday December 11, 2013
5 minutes
from a poster for Once The Musical

Once she lied
He forgave her
Kisses on top of her head
And everything
She said she was sorry
And she meant it
Nothing made her feel worse
He said shh shh and held her close
Her eyes glassy
Her mouth dry
It’s not over it’s not over
He soothed her
Holding her heart in a velvet pouch
So she wouldn’t try to hurt it even more
She eventually forgave herself
He never stopped loving her
She would slip sometimes
Bringing up the past because it was eating at her
Shh shh he’d say to her
This is not then, it’s now
She would test him
Without even knowing it
Making him feel bad for things
That he couldn’t understand
And he loved her anyway
He came home after bitter fights
He wrote her love notes
Hiding them in her coat pockets
And on the bathroom mirror
So she’d know
And so she’d believe
That when he said he would always want her
He meant it

“it’s not my favourite thing to do” by Julia at the IMA building at Ryerson

Tuesday December 10, 2013
6:52pm at Ryerson University
5 minutes
overheard at Capital Espresso

Margot tells me to “drink my water” because she doesn’t know what else to say. I tell her I feel “sick” and she just says, “drink your water”. It’s not enough, Margot, God. It’s like, do some research, assess my symptoms, and like, be a better person. I don’t think I’m asking for much. But she’s just too lazy to figure out the real reasons we EXIST most of the time that I can’t take her seriously. I tell her almost every day that I have a headache and Margot says “are you drinking enough–” and before she can say “water” which I know she’s going to say, I tell her “NOT TODAY MARGOT. I’M NOT ONE OF YOUR GUINEA PIGS.” She doesn’t usually know what to do when I say things like that, but that’s even better. She once told me I was causing her to have mini heart attacks with my outbursts and I said “what do you think I am, a typewriter?” I got that from an old joke that my uncle used to tell me before he died on the airplane. Margot doesn’t get it, which is the point, because you’re not supposed to, but then she tries to discipline me for being too “rambunctious”.

“SOARING” by Julia on the subway going north

Monday December 9, 2013
5 minutes
from a Ryerson University subway ad

high above the pain and the suffering I left behind, you can see me there, painting the clouds with my smile and my open heart.
nice and red. and soft too, so it’s easy to look at. easy to take in. each one puffs by me, new now from my artwork. the tears up here are bright blue, almost turquoise. it’s nice when the salt mixes with the sweet cotton candiness of it all. i am flying now. i have been here before. my mind is clear like blowing air through a straw and making the objects on the other side move, even just a little. the forecast is not unbearable, or terrifying. it’s calm and predictable but impulsive without being too harsh. i’ve learned to love my new place in the sky. it feels far away from everything i knew, but no one speaks my language and i never need them to. the money, the time, the regrets all seem to float away. they don’t want to get in the way of my flight. they don’t want to hinder my soul from creeping up from its safe place and being exposed right there in front of me. i let out my expectations slowly from the hem of my skirt, and i do this until the string is fine and coiled around itself. below i see, i left it all there for another moment in time.

“considered to be” by Julia on the subway going west

Sunday December 8, 2013
5 minutes
The back of the Himalayan Sea Salt

One of the best
One of the worst
One of the best worst
One of the worst best
Settling in like a thick smog
One of the best
One of the worst
Adolescence and maturity
Racing against each other on derailed tracks
One of the best
One of the worst
Horror from the mirror
Reminding us why we pray
One of the best
One of the worst
Reaching for tomorrow’s answer
Before having asked today’s question
One of the best
One of the worst
Riding the wave of he said she said
While drowning in the sea’s coldest waters
One of the best
One of the worst
A retraction in a news paper
Too late to do any good
One of the best
One of the worst
One of the best worst
One of the worst best
It all seems black and white
Concrete or grass
Extremes or opposites

“1 min away” by Julia on the 7 going north

Saturday December 7, 2013
5 minutes
A text message from Matthew Del Degan to Nadeem Umar Khitab

Her 2 inch heels clicked across the pavement with more intensity than she had hoped. Everyone seemed to be looking her up and down because of the noise she was making alone. Amanda was late, as usual, but she was trying to make up for lost time by running every few steps, keeping her walk at a clip, and trying to leave her phone in her pocket so she wouldn’t be distracted by the time or by communication of any sort. Amanda fixed her purse after it fell off her shoulder and found herself slowing down because of it. For a brief moment she considered throwing the entire bag into the river just to be free of it. She thought about taking out her wallet, her keys, her notebook, her pen. She didn’t have a place to put those things either. Her coat pockets were barely large enough to house her phone without bursting a button. She clipped on her way, the cobblestone reminding her of how far away she still was.

“considered to be” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday December 8, 2013
5 minutes
The back of the Himalayan Sea Salt

She is considered to be civil. And thoughtful. Smiley. Warm. Honest. Kind. But then she punched the one in the white coat, the one with the painted eyes, and all those things flew like geese, north.

“Let’s go outside…” She said. “Okay,” said the one in the white coat. Trepidatious. Excited. On the sidewalk, dotted with cigarette butts and old pieces of gum now black and completely flat, like coins, she smiles. She takes a deep breath. She winds up. She punches the one in the white coat right there, in that soft baby spot, the space between the cheek and jaw bone. Slip. Connect. Spit. Teeth. A mouthful of rose petal.

She walked to the park and puked. She wondered if she might get arrested.

“We’ve been expecting you” by Sasha at her desk

Friday December 6, 2013
5 minutes
a Welcome To Toronto lamp post sign

I understand that you’re practising honesty. I understand that when you woke up you smelt fear. I understand that you peed blood and now you’re terrified that you’re dying. I understand that that probably makes you want to fuck other people. I understand that I might find you under a pile of clothes you’ve been meaning to bring to Goodwill. Here’s my good will – I love you. I’ll whisper that and I’ll scream it, I’ll sing it to the tune of Someone Like You. I’m sorry but I’m not sorry. It’s overrated. “Sorry”. I’m over the pleasantries. I’m over the aromatherapy baths. I’m crunching road salt like Skittles and I’m saying “We’ve been expecting you” to Doubt.

“the old ones” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday December 5, 2013
5 minutes
a Smirnoff ad on the streetcar

Remember Barney? What a dick. I bet there was a high old douchebag in that dinosaur suit. I bet on breaks he peed on the craft table and ate his boogers. JOKE. JOKING! Faaaack. You’re uptight. Relax. Want a pretzel? Let’s screw the system and not vote. Let’s go and let’s lick the ballot, like, spit on it and smear it around and then… Sorry. I’ve had a hard facking day. Faaaack. I guess Ash made me think about Barney… She didn’t say anything about him but she ate one of those grape popsicles and her lips were all… purple. Ash isn’t gonna be coming over for awhile. Her Mom is taking her to Ohio for Christmas. Never took me to Ohio! “Put her on the plane with one of those trashy flight attendants!” I screamed at Ash’s Mom. Don’t know what I never saw in that cat of a woman. Not in a good way. “Cat” like… bad teeth.

“It’s right here” by Sasha at the Fringe Creation Lab

Wednesday December 4, 2013 at the Fringe Creation Lab
5 minutes
an Avision Young ad on a building

I’m gonna paint you a picture of the time you blew my mind
the time you sank my battleship
the time you showed me that there is redemption
and it wears a backwards baseball cap
The picture looks like
arriving with indignation
and bad breath
being swaddled and rocked
after sucking and biting me dry
shaking your head at the sound of the piano your father’s fingers play
making a stink about the colour of the music
I’m gonna paint you a picture
of what you said

You are the revolution

You are the clock
counting backwards
counting portrait and landscape
counting by letter
painting by number

I look at your chestnut eyes
And I can’t believe I made you

“translate their natural strengths” by Sasha at the Berkeley Street Theatre

Tuesday December 3, 2013 at the Berkeley Street Theatre
5 minutes
from the edge newsletter

Eileen waters her succulent plants with her mouth. She swishes the water, mixing it with her spit, with her tongue twirls, with her promise secrets. Gordon sometimes catches her doing it and he pauses, watching her. She closes her eyes, the thin stream of water going from her pink lips, formed into an “O”, into the small clay pot containing soil, containing roots. He carries on past her, into the living room, where he lights his pipe and opens the newspaper. When she’s finished, Eileen joins him. She takes the pipe from his hand and breathes in the sweet, fragrant tobacco. “When are we going to move to Copenhagen?” Asks Gordon, for the twelfth time. Eileen thinks about bicycles and rivers.