“washroom of the bar” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday February 27, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
2:55pm
5 minutes
spiderwebshow.ca

I go down, I slip down to the washroom of the bar so nobody notices me. So nobody realizes I’ve gone. I need some alone time and I can’t have that here with these people drinking these cocktails eating these dirty fingered bar nuts. I bring with me my flirty lipstick. I leave my phone in my purse hung over my chair. I don’t tell anyone to watch my stuff cause I don’t want anyone watching my anything. I go down, I slip down to the washroom of the bar so I can look at myself in the mirror and give my head a break. I need to see myself sometimes when I’m in a crowded place. When I’m so busy smiling and listening with my whole face that I don’t remember what I look like. I don’t remember what my soul looks like. I’ve got my flirty lipstick. I can hear the bass, I can hear the shriek laughter, the bartender breaking a second glass. I escape. I escape it all. I get into the washroom. The washroom of the bar and I want to stay here for a bit. I finally understand why they call it a ‘stall’.

“Baby you’re much too fast” by Sasha in her bed


Wednesday February 26, 2014
12:13am
5 minutes
Little Red Corvette
Prince


I feel sick with worry that you want three babies. You tell me this over coffee you’ve simmered on the stovetop, sputtering on the white metal, leaving flecks of brown. I pour almond milk in mine and you drink yours black. “Three babies!” You say, like we’re choosing a colourful and slightly daring couch at Ikea. I don’t worry about the carrying or the baring. I have a round, strong body for this. I feel sick with worry because this world is so broken and I’d never say it to your face but sometimes, like a dark cloud passing over, I feel really hopeless. Sometimes this goes away and I feel only excited.

“#PRACTICE” by Sasha at Fresh on Bloor


Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at Fresh on Bloor
5:13pm
5 minutes
The Dentyne Ice Subway Poster

She annoys herself with her recycled thoughts. She’s had them since the time before hashtags, since the time before a thumbs up meant a thumbs up and not a “like”. She goes to the mirror and tries to get out the blackhead that’s been annoying her since last night, when she spent approximately thirty seven minutes picking at herself. Poor face. She hears her mother’s voice, “use a q-tip or you’ll scar!” She doesn’t care so much about the scars you can see, more about the scars you can’t. “Practice love,” she hears the voice in her ear-buds. “Practice healing.” She’s annoyed at this voice, this coo-ing, goo-ing voice. She’s unsure of gender or time of day, she’s unsure of origin. She hates this voice. She throws her iPod onto the floor. “Practice patience,” she hears, tinny, trying to reach her, trying to grab her, trying to pull her back.

“The play you are about to see” by Sasha on the Queen Streetcar going West


Monday February 24, 2014
11:17pm
5 minutes
The Laramie Project
Moises Kaufman


When Capitalism is in crisis I rejoice. Fuck. What do I even mean by that. I’m not smart. I’m not a thought worthy of the name “idea”. What counts as something or nothing or… I’m not trying to impress you anymore. I’m tired of that charade.

Tonight I told a woman with fake tits and a fur scarf to Google “David Suzuki”. I made a joke about fish and then said something about my main man Suzuki and she looked at me blankly. Oh My God, I thought. She doesn’t know who the fuck that is. Oh good grief. I wrote his name on the back of a chit from the bar and said, “Google him. He’ll blow your mind.”

“Baby you’re much too fast” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday February 26, 2014
12:09am
5 minutes
Little Red Corvette
Prince


I called you up, I said Vroom Vroom baby
you told me I was out of my mind
I casually laughed then told you I was taking you out tonight
You shrieked a bit and then you were hooked
Where are we going?
And then I said it again, Vroom Vroom baby
You leave that part to me
You had on your jean jacket and you twirled in front of the mirror
Listening to Madonna or Tina
I had the keys and all I had to do was get to you
On my way over I remembered how you liked to bite my bottom lip when you kissed me
I thought about how if I close my eyes and lean into you, I always find your mouth
Or yours always finds mine
I felt cool with the hood down and the midnight air whispering through me
You were just a couple minutes away
And I couldn’t get to you fast enough
I almost ditched my ride on the side of the road
Just to run to you and make the wait disappear.
And then my song came on
Our song
The one you liked to sing in the shower

“#PRACTICE” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at Starbucks
9:45am
5 minutes
The Dentyne Ice Subway Poster

Trent was a bit of an overachiever. He worked very hard at everything and always had the least amount of fun possible when doing things. He started out as a controlling child, and no one ever led him in any other direction, so he became a controlling teen, then a controlling young adult, then a controlling full adult. He didn’t seem to mind that none of his friends ever lasted more than 4-6 months. He was not interested in forever friends. He was interested in his forever future. Trent once chewed a stick of bubble gum for over 6 hours because he wanted to prove that it could be done. No one was competing against him. He wanted to win all by himself and for himself. Trent knew how to centre his mind and ensure that even if it were an uncomfortable circumstance, he would be able to persevere. He practised meditating more than anyone he could think of because he wanted to be a master. He wanted to be a master of literally everything imaginable. He meditated so hard sometimes he would miss meals, miss weddings, miss important things in life. Trent considered “importance” relative anyway. Who is to say what’s really important?

“The play you are about to see” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 24, 2014
11:15pm
5 minutes
The Laramie Project
Moises Kaufman


full of wonder, of joy, of mystery. opens her heart, her legs, her life. there he goes, skipping across the landscape of her body. does he notice her there yet? does he see that she isn’t present, not even a little bit? she shuts it off, shuts him in, and leaves him for dead in all that exploring. all that discovering. full of wonder, of joy, of mystery. little boy, he’s a little boy. he runs back and forth without a destination. he doesn’t care if there or here is the prize. his prize is in the running. and when he doesn’t know any better? he runs even faster. didn’t know what it would feel like. didn’t understand what it would mean. if she up and left her body there, took her mind, but left her body there. left him behind, didn’t ask if he wanted to come. didn’t seem like she wanted him to go with her anyway. when he notices, then it will be a day of hardship. when he recognizes what she did, he’ll fall a little inside his own body and wish so bad that he was not left alone there. those thoughts, too grown up for him to deal with. those dreams, too shattered for him to reassemble them all. full of wonder, of joy, of mystery. both of them started out that way. opens her heart, her legs, her life. both of them started there too.

“Looking at those thin winter trees” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday February 23, 2014
8:22pm
5 minutes
Cairo Blues
Leif Vollebekk

I suppose I could have warned Pat about the ice on the roads cause I was fairly certain for a moment that it would have served as the proper amount of warning to dissuade him from coming up here. I could have told him the trees looked thinner than usual and he would’ve known what that meant. He would’ve understand that it wasn’t safe, that it wouldn’t be worth his time. I could have told him all of those things, and yet, knowing him, it wouldn’t have mattered. He’d see right through it. Right through me. Probably because he’d know that if it were too dangerous for him to come to me then it must be too dangerous for me to stay up here alone. I guess that’s what I love most about him. Even when I’m testing him without fully realizing it, he passes. He’s just so good natured he doesn’t really see these things I do as tests in the first place. He just sees them as things.

“Looking at those thin winter trees” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 23, 2014
3:28pm
5 minutes
Cairo Blues
Leif Vollebekk


If I opened my kitchen cupboards, I’d feel exposed, I’d feel excited, I’d feel giggly and sweaty-palmed. You’d see smoked paprika and pink sea salt first, truffle salt second, alongside pumpkin seeds and peppercorns. The small, red sesame grinder rests nearby, no doubt a small pile of ground seeds under her bottom. Behind that is a can of chickpeas, a can of kidney beans, a small can of tomato paste. A jar of popcorn kernels, nearly forgotten because I’ve forbidden Sam from burning another one of my favourite pots. Powdered kale, made by my mother, a small jar of her famous corn relish, corn shucked by me, small husk dolls made by Sam. On the second shelf are the oils and vinegars, the wet things that bring balance and provide lubrication in the roasting pan – Palestinian olive oil, organic balsamic, Umeboshi, grapeseed oil. Some people pride themselves on their shoes, or their books or their antiques. The things I hold dear rest on our tongues and go down our throats to our thankful bellies. The places I go, away from the thin winter trees, are carried on spoonfuls of coconut butter and sprinkles of cardamon.

“I might forget” by Sasha at Cherry Bomb


Saturday February 22, 2014 at Cherry Bomb
9:57am
5 minutes
overheard on Roncesvalles

I’ve been following my heart
Like it’s an old friend whom I trust unconditionally and unequivocally.
You know that friend
Who you call when things collapse and you’ve lost all sense of time and morals?
I’ve been letting my heart lead me by the hand.
I find that she often takes me towards strong coffee and sunlight playing through azure stained glass.
Today, she surprised me with shopping on eBay for black boots and paisley dresses.
We’re poor, so I laugh and shake my head and stick my pinky into the jar of almond butter.
We are well worn for our twenty eight years,
us gals.
We find dead birds on the sidewalk and a sob catches in our throat.
We chase the love that we promised ourselves was truest
Even when it aches
Even when growing pains threaten
And thunderstorms brew heavy.

When I forget that she’s there,
that sweet one,
swollen and ripe like an August peach,
she taps me on the shoulder and hums with a tone that sounds like a cello.

“lives right here in Halifax” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday February 21, 2014
12:03am
5 minutes
The Vinyl Cafe radio show

When you say that you live right here, in Halifax, I’m taken aback. “Oh,” I say, looking down at the snow melting. “I grew up in St. John’s but came here for university,” you blush, like your education is something embarrassing, like you might be losing your footing now that you’ve met me. “I’m from…” I don’t want to say Toronto, because you’ll probably judge me, you’ll probably think that I don’t make eye contact when I walk past a kindred spirit on the street for fear of disrupting the pace of the moving people. You wait, so patient, lips questioning. “I’m from Kingston. I live in Toronto, but I was born in Kingston. Near the water.” I add that last bit because I think, perhaps, it will make us seem closer together. I add that last bit because, perhaps, it will make you reconsider. “I’m here until Wednesday,” I say. You smile.

“I might forget” by Julia on the 506 going north/south/west


Saturday February 22, 2014
10:51pm
5 minutes
overheard on Roncesvalles

So I’m on the streetcar and the conductor is like, so listen up folks, the next stop is Spadina, but here’s where I need your attention. After this light on the other side of this intersection, there’s a good hunk of rail missing so I’m going to go north on Spadina, all the way up through the station, then back down Spadina, and across college on the other side to continue going west. Anyone who wants to get off now please do so, anyone who wants to stay on there will be no stops from here to there so no one ring the bell. It’ll take a whole 4 minutes extra so don’t worry, I’ll get ya where ya need to go. Then after all that he starts driving up north on Spadina right? And then not a second later, a guy rings the bell. The conductor is pissed. He’s like. So what’s going on here guys? I told ya, no extra stops. Then like 14 people get off all saying they didn’t hear him. Now I was even reading my book and I heard him loud and clear.

“lives right here in Halifax” by Julia on her couch


Friday February 21, 2014
2:12am
5 minutes
The Vinyl Cafe radio show

Oh that’s where my ex girlfriend was born! In Halifax. She used to brag about it like it was the best place on earth. Not saying that it was or that it is, but she was proud so that was the thing we went on. She kept telling me I had to go to Halifax, I had to see Halifax. I was planning to go just as much as she was but there was always something that got in the way. Big storms, delaying take off, or canceling flights all together, or someone in one of our families dying. It wasn’t meant to be I guess. My ex, she’d always say it, that it was a crying shame I never got to go. I told her that maybe someday I would. It doesn’t matter now, we haven’t been together for years.

“uniquely connected to her” by Julia on her bed


Thursday February 20, 2014
6:14pm
5 minutes
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/theatre
Amanda taught Julia how to read, how to blow bubbles with her gum, how to play games on the Compquest plus, how to tie her hair back in a long ponytail so it wouldn’t get in the way while swimming. She held her hand when they crossed the road and taught Julia to wait until all the cara had passed and after the magic song was finished. Amanda taught Julia the magic song: Never run across the street, it’s the safety of the beat! Julia loved to sing it any time of the day and Amanda liked to remind Julia not to sing it unless there was a road that needed crossing. Amanda didn’t want Julia to fall behind in school, so she taught her how to listen, how to strive for good grades, how to do word problems in math class. She taught her how to kiss a boy, how to trust her instincts, and how to wear her high school uniform so people wouldn’t make fun of her. Amanda taught Julia how to look at the world with a kindness that she would never ever forget.

“uniquely connected to her” by Sasha at Balluchon


Thursday February 20, 2014 at Balluchon
2:08pm
5 minutes
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/theatre

He tells me that he’s sorry but I have this bad habit of not trusting anyone with dark eyebrows. It comes from too many times left alone with this bad boy, dark eyebrows arching into Never Never Land. He’s been crushing his Ritalin and snorting it. I’ve been inadvertently supporting his drug habit, picking up his prescription at the pharmacy every Tuesday, like a diligent, Subway-riding idiot. “You don’t understand,” he says and I wonder, for the seventeenth time, if we ever really understand or if we’re just really talented at “fake it til you make it”. We are not making it. He forgets that he came home drunk again, that I found phone numbers in his pocket written in blue pen by girls name “Shannon” and “Mel”. He forgets that he humped me as I pretended to sleep, his dark eyebrows furrowed with carnal focus.

“say I love your product” by Sasha at the CSI coffee pub


Wednesday February 19, 2014 at The CSI Coffee pub
11:50am
5 minutes
Dipped from Julia’s notebook

The forest breathed a sigh like spring and wrung her hands, squeezing out lilies of the valley and ferns. The grouse hopped to the stream and drank. Have you ever seen a bird drink? It’s phenomenal. Their beaks open, their strange tongues go in and out. The lake hummed at the tickle of the fish, the trout. The moss says, “pass the sangria?” Everyone laughs, except the grouse, who has fallen asleep near the rock shaped like a turtle.

I’m not sure about much these days, what with Allison’s memory loss, but I’m sure of all this and that feels good.

“say I love your product” by Julia at the CSI coffee pub


Wednesday February 19, 2014 at The CSI Coffee pub
11:50am
5 minutes
Dipped from Julia’s notebook

Deirdre was a door-to-door sales woman. She started off selling makeup and then one find day met Eva, who looked like she was 47 and not the 32 she actually was, who showed her the way and got her into selling knives. Eva trained Deirdre and taught her everything she knew-showing her that “these scissors can cut through pennies,” and “this knife set has a life time warranty.”

I met Deirdre on a windy day in April. She knocked on my door and asked if I was happy with my kitchen, happy with my appliances, my utensils, happy with my life. I wasn’t necessarily unhappy about any of the aforementioned items but Deirdre had a soft pink lipstick on and mascara on both her top and bottom lashes and for some reason, I felt like she actually cared. I questioned myself for an instant before letting her in–still not fully convinced if she was going to sell me on a knife set or on The Lord Jesus Christ as my savior. Chalk it up to curiosity, I let her in, we sat down at the kitchen table and she demonstrated the strength of her blades by cutting through a tin can.

“Cinnamon coffee” by Julia on the subway going east


Tuesday February 18, 2014
6:12pm
5 minutes


I was waiting outside your back gate with a cinnamon coffee for you and a batch of failed cookies. It was your favourite kind of day: the one with the light snow and the zero regrets policy. You did that for yourself once a year, you said, and this day just happened to be your birthday. The reject cookies I ultimately brought over were burnt on the bottoms and much too salty every second bite. I tried a couple rounds but there was a lot of pressure to get them right because they were supposed to be your favourite. Not that they were difficult or challenging due to their obscure nature. You never cared for fancy things. For things that looked like they were trying too hard. Chocolate chip. You liked the simplistic, classic, easy to make chocolate chip ones. The ones you can’t even really mess up. I brought them for you anyway hoping you secretly liked the underdog cookies: the ones that needed a bit more love and understanding.

“cinnamon coffee” by Sasha at Lansdowne Station


Tuesday February 18, 2014
1:03pm
5 minutes
A sign at the Dosa Restaurant

“I’m feeling like there’s a big change comin’,” Margie says. “I’m feeling like the only change is that all the damn TV plays is bullshit about the shitty shitter Olympics!” Rona swigs back her coffee, forgetting it’s hot. “Shit!” She cries, spitting coffee everywhere. Margie rushes over with a sponge. Rona blows in the mug and sips again. She’s the type to get right back up on that horse. Margie learned about putting cinnamon in her coffee when she went down to Montreal when she was younger. It’s all fancy like. “I’m just sayin’…” She says, “for me, somethin’ is changin’… Somethin’ big!” Rona rolls her eyes and lights a du Maurier. “You hear about how much those Russian shits drink vodka?” Rona blows smoke out real slow. “Five times anyone else, that’s how much!” She laughs like she just made a joke. Margie and me roll our eyes.

“Sharks spotted” by Sasha on the Queen Streetcar going West


Monday February 17, 2014
12:21am
5 minutes
the news feed at Ossington Station

“Michael?!” She calls, “What are you doing in your room? It’s so quiet!… Are you… meditating?” She’s right up close, I can practically hear her nails tapping on the door. “I’m fine, Mom,” I say, quietly. “What?” She says. She waits. “I’m making you a sandwich. You’re getting too skinny.” She trots down the stairs. I close my eyes. I breathe in, covering one nostril and out, covering the other. I picture white light surrounding the house, Alfalfa and Ruby. I spot a shark coming in from out of nowhere. I used to have nightmares about sharks but haven’t thought about them since I reached puberty. The shark swims through the window in the kitchen, takes one look at my mother, and eats her whole. “Shit!” I shout, my eyes opening, my breath rising high. A light tap on the door. “Michael?” She says. I sigh. “Yeah?” “I’m leaving an egg salad sandwich outside your door. Come and get it in a second or two or Alfalfa will have diarrhea for a week because of you.” I go to the door and open it. I kiss her on the cheek. I take a bite out of the sandwich.

“Virgin and Child” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday February 16, 2014
3:38pm
5 minutes
Perfect Happiness
Penelope Lively


When I found you, you were sleeping in a tire. I was afraid, then in love, then mortified that I’d been the one to find you. I called for the Officer, standing close to the gate, but he was too busy playing Tetris on his blue Nokia cellphone. I called for one of the others, but they were running on the track like a bunch of horses, they were too busy listening to the wind. I picked you up and you were heavier than I expected. I saw no other option but to hold your little ear to my chest, so you could hear my heartbeat and perhaps it would remind you of something familiar. I hid you in my jumper and went inside. I put you in the cupboard under the sink in my room. “Remember,” I whispered, “I’m your person now.” You smiled, a tiny baby smile, and it made me shine.

“Sharks spotted” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 17, 2014
12:28am
5 minutes
the news feed at Ossington Station

They were in a tank, but still. I was like, DO NOT LET THEM SEE ME. I thought they were going to smell my fear. From the tank, like, I know. That’s how big my fear was! I wasn’t prepared for those faces. Like, angry, scary, sneaky, creepy faces. Those smiles? What are you smiling about, you know? Like, am I your next big meal or something? Will you be using me to make an example out of people who get too close? I had a heart attack. My heart was legitimately attacked! Like, with the pain and the blurriness? I couldn’t see a thing. I could hear the JAWS theme song in my head, though. That’s something that actually happened. I was told before I went to the aquarium that they look scary, but they’re not. That’s just their face. That’s just the way they look. Which I guess is fair, right? Not all humans who look like pedophiles actually are. Okay, bad example. Not all humans who look like they’re about to murder you painfully actually do…Wait. Is this the right type of comparison? Point is, I saw these sharks, and I was petrified. And they didn’t kill me, and they didn’t give a shit about me, really, but I think, goddammit, I still think they could sense me there. As an outsider. As someone not to be trusted because if I were ever alone with them, I would try to do some weird psychoanalysis shit on them. See what they really wanted…

“when I got back to Toronto” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday February 15, 2014
11:38pm
5 minutes
the NOW magazine cover story
Feb 13-19, 2014


When I got back to Toronto the city smelled like you – tea tree oil shampoo, dreams of old growth forests, and your amber aftershave from the market in Jerusalem. As I descended, in the double decker jet, I watched the city come into focus. The CN Tower proclaimed the masculine power of Bay St. Row upon row of townhouse showed the ordered calibration of city. Lake Ontario stretched blue and feminine, a reminder that everything is constantly changing. I wondered if you’d be there, at the Arrivals Gate, like you’d said you would.

“Virgin and Child” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 16, 2014
1:35pm
5 minutes
Perfect Happiness
Penelope Lively


They used to attend the tiny church at the top of the hill every Saturday night. They went together. She’d brush her hair into a big loop curl and pin it back with a gold barrette. He’d lint roll his wool suit and smack his cheeks with aftershave. He’d hold her arm in his and lead her up the hill so she didn’t fall. She had a bad hip. He had a bad heart. Together they’d go to mass and sit in the very front row, arriving before even the priest had gotten his robe on. Every Saturday they’d listen for the church bells and make sure they were within arm’s length when they chimed out. It was something that helped secure them to the floor, helped them to see clearly in a moment in time. Something to calm them both, reassure them maybe. It wasn’t a big church but it was the one place they both found themselves in during their youth, during the war, during the sadness of anything. When he wasn’t able to take her up the hill, she would go hunting for her blue striped cane and she’d attempt to walk up to the church on her own. She didn’t care that it might take a lot longer. She didn’t want to go with the help of anybody else.

“when I got back to Toronto” by Julia on the 506 going west


Saturday February 15, 2014
11:38pm
5 minutes
the NOW magazine cover story
Feb 13-19, 2014


Everything had changed. Everything had glossed over. It was like viewing myself through a snow globe, sort of fluttery and beautiful but because I was the spectator. If I had been anywhere close to being inside my own body I’m sure I wouldn’t have felt so free. But I had taken a trip to a different part of myself and I was enroute back to the original me, the youthful, good natured me, when it went to shit. There was a detour sign and so I had to take back roads. There was a situation with a dangerous hitch hiker. There was the misread map moment taking me to the worst parts of myself. As if a tour guide were leading me there to make sure I didn’t just get a romanticized view of the thing, I was forced to stay with the group and take photographs for the album I’d make later. When I finally made it back to the centre I was not me anymore. I couldn’t recognize myself. I couldn’t recognize my shoes.

“beautiful tradition” by Julia on her couch


Friday February 14, 2014
9:23pm
5 minutes
A subscription letter from Bon Appetit

It’s this beautiful tradition we have where one of us is barbecuing in his socks and the other one is telling her partner that comedy is not teachable. One of us will always say “Don’t concern yourself with other people. Don’t concern yourself with what they value and choose to talk about.” The other one will always say “It’s nice you have such empathy and always take everyone else’s side when it comes to me.” One of us will flip the perfect steaks and ask “do you really want to blame everybody else for your unhappiness?” And the other one will say “I love you, Jer, but right now I don’t even want to look at you.” Then the tradition continues with a little cute thing known as a yelling match, where one of us says “This is it for me! “You’re it for me!” And the other one will cry or laugh or both until it’s over.

“beautiful tradition” by Sasha on her couch


Friday February 14, 2014
7:02pm
5 minutes
A subscription letter from Bon Appetit

All Alfie wanted was a birthday party with helium balloons that he could suck on after everyone had left. He would record himself reading sonnets with that high-pitched duck-y voice. “I’ll mail out invitations and everything,” he thought to himself. And he did just that. He bought special blue paper at the art store and cut out hearts. He carefully wrote each persons name. He was inviting John, Sean and Terry from the office. He was inviting Kofi, the barista from the coffee shop on the ground floor of the building that housed the office. He was inviting Kathy, Vanessa and Penelope from his meditation class at the YWCA. He didn’t know anyone’s address so he planned to deliver each invitation by hand. That thought made him a bit sweaty.

“we loved with a love that was more than love” by Sasha at Tsaa Tea Shop


Thursday February 13, 2014 at Tsaa Tea Shop
4:03pm
5 minutes
Annabel Lee
Edgar Allan Poe


We used to love with a love that was more than a love, more than a sticky note on the bathroom mirror saying “I love you”. We used to leave treasure hunts through our bachelor apartment, tiny, intricate searches. When I would arrive home I’d find rhyming poems leading me towards a chocolate truffle sitting on the bookshelf or a small sachet of smoked paprika in the medicine cabinet. We used to buy weed from our uptight neighbour, always in a sweater vest, always listening to Leonard Cohen. We used to search the sell-off vacations website for something under three hundred dollars.

“you crave” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday February 12, 2014
11:10pm
5 minutes
the bag of ketchup chips

When you get here, you’re trying to stay positive. You think that maybe you’re going to find yourself, or God, or at least a love for push-ups. You don’t think about the cravings – for your mother’s Jerk Chicken, for your wife’s blow jobs, for a ride on an empty subway. My first night in, Mickey tried to take me under his wing, tried to show my the ropes… or whatever. I told him to “back off” and he did. Must have been the tone of voice I used because I don’t swear or anything. Second night in, Joaquin watched me for awhile and then said, “I heard you’re a teacher. You wanna teach my somethin’ nice?” I told him if he wanted to brush up on fractions, sure. Everything else was off of the table. First visiting day, my wife brought me a note from one of my students. It said, “I hope you’re having a nice sabbatical in The Dominican. We really miss you.”

“we loved with a love that was more than love” by Julia at her desk


Thursday February 13, 2014
10:16am
5 minutes
Annabel Lee
Edgar Allan Poe


And we knew it by the candle light that threatened to disappear
With kitchen slow dancing to a Sam Cooke masterpiece
And a couple loose kisses caught by whoever’s mouth was closest
And we knew it then
And we knew it then
The tile underneath our stocking feet
Inviting us to glide with the movement of each other
And a fistful of tickling hairs brushing across our cheeks
And we knew it then
And we knew it then
The night was our playground, our solace, our cure
Saving breaths for only when we needed them
Not wanting to disturb the peace our hearts had found inside each other’s chest
And we knew it then
And we knew it then
Holding dear those smiling eyes and those fluttering eye-lashes
With a whisper of eternity in the chorus of our love song
And a natural tendency to sink into the only moment that ever mattered
And we knew it then
And we knew it then

“you crave” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday February 12, 2014
11:01pm
5 minutes
the bag of ketchup chips

You crave to be in the middle
in the spotlight
in the memory of many
in the hearts of many more
you crave to be in the centre
in the moonlight
in the laughs of many
in the arms of many more
you get what you want, that’s a fact
you ask the universe if it does complimentary gift wrapping
you want to untie the bow on all your presents from the anniversary party
of your dreams and reality meeting at the park and kissing on the mouth
you get what you want, that’s a fact
you crave to be in the photographs
in the perfect moments
in the history in the making
you crave to be in the love letters
in the words of many
in the nightside table drawers of many more
you crave it all
and you get it all
you’ve charmed the world with your wit and your generosity
and you knew that was all you ever really wanted

“safety matter to us” by Sasha on the Bathurst bus


Tuesday, February 11, 2014
1:07pm
5 minutes
TTC subway poster

Sometimes she becomes a sloth
She sits
Warm computer on her thighs
Cup of lukewarm tea on the windowsill behind her
And she travels
Via screen
To places she might not get to before she wins the lottery
Mostly other women’s kitchens
Mostly women with children and nice cameras and gardens with fresh herbs
She’s embracing her sloth-dom
She used to fight it
With the “rush” epidemic
With the “yes” curse
She used to fight it
With coffee
And chocolate
And bagels
Not today
Today she rubs her sloth-body
She slow roasts tomatoes with garlic and rosemary
She let’s the darkness of the setting sun
Pull the brightness from the room where she sits
Where she’s sat
And she let’s the couch hold her
Like a friend
She let’s the screen take her
to islands and mountains and risotto and dragonfruit

“turning to the little girls” by Sasha at La Merceria


Monday, February 10, 2014 at La Merceria
4:40pm
5 minutes
Under the Lilacs
Louisa M. Alcott


I wasn’t feeling grateful when I got home and the house was dark and the walls were quiet and the bed was cold. I wasn’t feeling grateful when the cat was thirsty and the garbage was full and the toothpaste was empty. And, still, it’s Thanksgiving. I text you: “WTF?” I wait. Nothing. I get up to pee at twenty past two and I check my phone and you’ve responded. I should make you a flower crown. “Exams” is all it says. I wonder where things went wrong. Was it your (s)mother? Was it deciding to go straight to University after High School? Was it your older brother’s MDMA problem? In a fit of middle-of-the-night sleepy rage I too type a single word. I am not better than that. I will speak your language. “Shit.” I write, hoping you don’t catch on to my gargantuan caring, to the balloon that was formerly known as my heart, growing daily in my chest.

“safety matters to us” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at Starbucks
12:24pm
5 minutes
TTC subway poster

We salt the sidewalks, we do the whole thing. We get all the late night volunteers to bring their shovels and if they have them, their snow blowers. We take the whole street by storm, and if we’re feeling particularly energized, why hell, we take the whole subdivision. That’s how you get things done in Bimble Lake. Small citied people but big worldly hearts. I started operation GO-SNOW in 2001 after the Cearsons’ car got stuck in their drive way right as Eva was going into labour with Matthew, or maybe it was Logan. They weren’t the kinds to ask for help, but I could see them from my dining room window, and I had the tools so I went on over there and helped before they could say no. Not that they’d say no, I mean, Eva was pretty close to a car delivery! Would have been a great story for the town, but I’m doubting it would be as wonderful for Eva and Cam. I enlisted some neighbours’ help the following year to dedicate a couple nights of the week to planning, and to prevention. We started using my garage as a storage locker for all our materials and I gave Eddie, Tim S., Tim L., and Orval a key.

“And I like to surprise him with something sweet” by Sasha on her bed


Sunday February 9, 2014
11:31pm
5 minutes
http://www.brooklynsupper.net

Build me an igloo
And I’ll make you a cake
Make me a bookshelf
And I’ll bring you a lake
Weave me a dream
And I’ll give you my heart
Shake out the spiders
And I’ll get a head start
Catch me a star
And I’ll stomp you a path
Listen to my songs
And I’ll run you a bath

“go viral” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday February 8, 2014
11:21am
5 minutes
http://www.nationalpost.com

If I told you that I was a nun before I was a baker, would you believe me? I was a nun before I was a baker. I took the vows and everything. I prayed to the Heavenly Father and I wept over my love of God. Then, I met Alistair and it all went… hooey. He was a med student, paying a visit to Sister Elizabeth that had a terrible fever. We met in the hallway and he told me a joke that I can’t seem to remember. What I do remember, though, was his blue eyes, bluer than I’d ever seen them before, bluer than Lake Simcoe. We went on a walk the next day, and the Mother Superior clucked as though I was breaking some sort of rule. I wasn’t! Yet. Sister Elizabeth got better and Alistair said that he couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing me anymore. I couldn’t quite bear it either. To be honest, I’d decided on the convent when it seemed like the quietest and most viable option for someone with my education and… family. I was trying to turn my life around.

“turning to the little girls” by Julia at Cafe Novo


Monday, February 10, 2014 at Cafe Novo
9:13am
5 minutes
Under the Lilacs
Louisa M. Alcott


All the little girls with their little girl curls, running wild in the parks and the lawns of strangers. Flying high with the morning giggles syphoned from a rainbow’s end, learning to hold hands with the younger ones and protect them from the mean ones.
All the little girls with their little girl curls, eating blueberries from the bush and getting raspberry stains on their little girl frill. With sighs about the afternoon and their late day naps, not wanting to miss the moments of growth and maturation that come from watching Mommy.
All the little girls with their little girl curls, thinking they can change the moods of the wind and the ocean and have them turn in their favour. They dream big with their wide-eyes and believe the impossible is possible and not only possible but easy.
All the little girls with their little girl curls, drinking sweet pear nectar from a bright blue or yellow cup. Gulping back the flesh of a fruit in a juice so perfectly constructed to suit their needs and satiate their every curiosity.

“And I like to surprise him with something sweet” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 9, 2014
1:33am
5 minutes
http://www.brooklynsupper.net

Putting on my black lacy thing, I’m like Oh yeah this is all for you. Let the back ties stay a bit loose so he can see my skin and the birthmark that looks like a map of Africa. Spritz and spritz and spritz some more. Get that sweet vanilla frosting scent he likes so much and make sure it’s everywhere, on my neck, my hair, my inner thighs. He’ll go wild. I dream of it. He’ll come home and my intoxicating smell will arouse him from the door. He’ll be like Oh baby where is that mouth. I need to put my mouth on your mouth. And I will emerge from the kitchen with my black lacy thing underneath a red apron, wearing oven mitts and carrying a tray of heart shaped cookies with little inscriptions thoughtfully detailed on each one. Got some D’angelo playing. Oh yeah. He’ll take one look at me homemaking in my heels and he will accidentally yell Beyonce?? And I will giggle as I walk up him with that perfect little walk I do that drives him so perfectly crazy.

“go viral” by Julia at her desk


Saturday February 8, 2014
11:18am
5 minutes
http://www.nationalpost.com

Savvy had wanted to be one of those YouTube singing sensations. She had picked a new name and everything. She was going to get followers and fans and a music deal and a drug addiction. She was going about it all in the right way. She had followed other YouTube phenomenons to see how they had done it exactly. What surprised her were the videos themselves. Well edited and creative and at times using so many other individuals. Savvy wondered how she would get that fame if she were always competing for smiles with her friends and the extras she paid to be in her music videos for a cover she was singing of a band that every other YouTuber had done a cover for. She did not like the idea of learning to use a software. Not after spending so much time perfecting her singing face and learning which angle her nose looked best in. Savvy’s only M.O was to become a star, to be in an Us Weekly magazine and to maybe start her own perfume line.

“I’m working on organizing” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday February 7, 2014 at Starbucks
3:45pm
5 minutes
An e-mail from the Playwright’s Guild of Canada

I’m working on organizing my life better. I told my mother on the phone that I couldn’t talk right then and that as soon as I got my shit together I would phone her back. I haven’t called her since December. That is not okay, and as a human being with higher education in more ways than one, I know this. I fully understand and acknowledge my position here, I really do. My mother never wants to disturb me. Even when it might be a good time to tell me that my grandmother who was in the hospital with something as small as anemia, actually died in there, and I would have gone to see her, if I had just known she was sick. So now that I haven’t called her, she hasn’t called me, and honestly, that’s a great great thing. Because she’ll ask how I am, and ask me to come visit, and ask me to come live with her, and ask if I say no to all of those things if she’d rather she just offed herself with sleeping pills, and when I say no to that, she’ll ask, even the ones that Michael Jackson was using, and I’ll say too soon mom, it’ll always be too soon.

“I’m working on organizing” by Sasha at Early Bird Espresso


Friday February 7, 2014 at Early Bird Espresso
10:37am
5 minutes
An e-mail from the Playwright’s Guild of Canada

I’m working on organizing my thoughts about feminism. For a long time I’ve called myself a “humanist”, perhaps a naive cop out in an attempt to disengage with the question at hand, a cop out based in fear of ignorance. If feminism means equality, I am a feminist. I feel a flutter of fear and excitement at that proclamation. I remember being in the third year of my undergrad and in an elective Gender Studies class called “Women’s Sexualities”. The professor was a short-haired, sweater-vest wearing lesbian with square framed glasses and a deep love of the term “insofar as”. I was resistant to the male-bash, to the man as predator, to the negative focus on the differences of gender. I was challenged by our discussions that felt far away from my actual experience as a young woman in an urban centre and more based in academic jargon and name dropped heavy hitting feminist scholars.

“Hooded Shawl” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday February 6, 2014
11:56pm
5 minutes
the Circle Scarf tag
American Apparel


We were wiser when we were younger. Tuned into our hunger and our thirst. Seeing only the best and not the worst. Every person their own snowflake, melting on the tongue of the universe. We were wiser when we were younger. Brewing our tea in tiny cups and shaking hands with every stuffed bear at the party. No fashionably late. Always on time. You would braid my hair, fancy and french, and I would tell you made-up stories about a place we called “Venitaville”.

“We were wiser when we were younger,” you say, pouring more beer in my glass and getting really whimsical about it. “Remember that hooded shawl thing you had? That you’d wear October to April?” My Bubba had made it for me out of and old sweater. It was pink and purple.

“Hooded Shawl” by Julia at her desk


Thursday February 6, 2014
11:40pm
5 minutes
the Circle Scarf tag
American Apparel


I can remember her smile, her eyes underneath that hooded shawl. She was some kind of–don’t worry; I won’t say it. I won’t say that lame thing you expect. She was something, though. Her name was Wanda. What a name, am I right? Wanda with the big blonde hair and the face that matched her daughter’s identically. From all of the plastic surgery, obviously, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care about how she could have passed for her daughter’s younger sister, even. It just didn’t bother me at all. What bothered me was the scar on her chin that looked like someone had tried to remove the bone by going through the skin. She was beautiful in every way, including that scar, but it just made me sad to see it is all. That a thing like that could have even gone through pain at some point, some unstoppable pain completely and utterly beyond me, in her lifetime, was the single most troubling thought I could have. Wanda. Oh, that name! I almost hate it, it’s so awful, and yet, instead, I hear it, and I think to myself, That woman could be named Tree and I’d still love her with my whole being. Wanda, Wanda! I am transported back to a day where a name like that was a dream come true!

“As I held his hand he would have tremors and small jerking movements” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday February 5, 2014
10:10pm
5 minutes
Learning To Love You More
Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July


sometimes you wanna sing, have a song in your head
and all the rest seems unimportant
or just too plain to care about right then
so you do
you sing it out and you let the emotions from
well, your past
bubble up and from words that rhyme with each other
Shania Twain kind of words
words you never thought you’d hear your boyfriend defend
words you always told yourself you would never own
you do now
cause Shania knew what she was doing
and on some deep level, everybody knows that
you sing to the one who stole your heart
the one with eyes so blue you can only come up with lyrics about the sky
the one who loved you in secret but hurt you hard in front of the whole world
you may even sing about the wind or something
the breeze, the trivial, the dew?
probably the dew.
let’s be honest: the dew.
and you struggle to come up with a chorus
or a verse
or whichever didn’t come first
and you picture singing that to someone, anyone
one day in the future
your lover-
when you get one
or your kid-
when you are capable of one
and you hope it causes those lovey dovey tremors
those small ever so subtle shakes that keep
you singing those songs when you find them

“As I held his hand he would have tremors and small jerking movement” by Sasha at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday February 5, 2014 at the CSI Coffee Pub
11:32am
5 minutes
Learning To Love You More
Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July


Don’t stop the music comin’, baby. Gimme that Louis Armstrong, the one with the blue sleeve. Bring me the cantaloupe, would ya? CeeCee cut one up and it’s in the fridge.

God. I love this song, baby, come and hold my hand and let’s just listen and forget about all the other things, the bad things.

Take your vitamins, baby, because you only get one body and you only get one chance at life. Your mother believes in that reincarnation but it’s a load of crap. She let’s herself off the hook with that. I don’t think tattoos are a good idea but if I did, and if I had to get one, a gun to my head or somethin’, it would be “Carpe Diem”.

You know what that means?

Good.


It’s juicy. Hard to find a juicy cantaloupe in February.

“he said I wasn’t suitable for the rodeo no more” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday February 4, 2014
11:03pm
5 minutes
Talking With…
Jane Martin


He held on and prayed to a God that he didn’t believe in that he might make it out alive
He smoked cigarettes all night watching the dog’s belly rise and fall
He ate Spam from the can
He drank a can of Bud Lite
He sewed the hole in the knee of his jeans with dental floss
He listened to the baseball game on the radio in his Chevy truck
He was hungover
He peed sitting down
He said I wasn’t “suitable for the rodeo no more”
He knew all the words to American National Anthem
He didn’t have a credit card

“while the real work is done outside” by Sasha on the Queen car going East


Monday February 3, 2014
4:08pm
5 minutes
The Essential Rumi
Rumi tr. Coleman Barks


Oh the nuances of what might happen in an alternate universe
Of what would happen if we spoke and broke and shook and took
This snow-globe keeps spinning and we’re disoriented but happy
He’s been strumming his guitar in memory of Pete Seeger
Even though he’s terrible
Even though he doesn’t know A from C from G
I’ll croon a lullaby so loud that no one sleeps
But the chords he’s trying are drowned out
The real work is done outside
In the drifts
In the squalls
In the acceleration of the afternoon
Sun high
Frost biting like a puppy
Birds feeding at the side of the house on seeds and jokes

“he said I wasn’t suitable for the rodeo no more” by Julia on the 506 going west


Tuesday February 4, 2014
10:41pm
5 minutes
Talking With…
Jane Martin


Probably cause I bucked a guy. I bucked him. I’m not sure it needs further explanation. Cause that’s what I did, I bucked him. Where? In his face, obviously. Cause. Cause he deserved it. I wouldn’t buck a guy if he didn’t deserve it, of course not. He was rude to me. He was patronizing and rude to me. So what? So I bucked him, that’s so what. Because! I didn’t like his attitude, my words weren’t going to do anything and so I just turned around and I buck–I just know. I just know. I just know. Because he wasn’t the type to listen so I didn’t bother–I didn’t want to waste my time on explaining something to someone who wasn’t going to receive it. You weren’t there so I guess we’ll never know. Cause he deserved it, am I going to have to repeat myself all nigh–no. No I said I bucked him. Yes that’s what I said. Well try to just picture it exactly as it sounds. No you didn’t hear wrong. I BUCKED HIM.

“while the real work is done outside” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 3, 2014
2:08pm
5 minutes
The Essential Rumi
Rumi tr. Coleman Barks


Get on those steal toes, that hard hat, that tool belt. Get on outside where the real world fights its fights. Protected by the construction of our warm and cozy houses, we sit and we contemplate. We fear the windows when the blinds are drawn, we fear the callousness of strangers we have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. We fear the ambulance and its never-ending cries. We stay indoors, thankful for running water and a steady stream of television programs or movies ordered by e-mail. We don’t leave the couch to see the world in action outside of us. There is a whole big thing out there, and it looks just like your imagination dreams it does. Only worse. Only better. There’s no way of knowing if the dead bolt on the front door stays locked. Just a thought. Just a hunch. That we thank those pillars and roofs and hardwood floors for keeping us safe and sheltered and avoiding anything that might cause us even the slightest amount of pain. There are people living in their nightmares all around, and not in a house with books rescued from the streets. Not in a house with a pumpkin loaf baking in the oven. Not that we should choose sadness. Choose hardship. But we should not stay in our pyjamas until noon, just because our jeans are cold from the wind blowing in through the cracks.

TJ & Sam by Julia at the these five minutes: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday February 2, 2014 at The Fringe Creation Lab
1:03pm
5 minutes
these five minutes: writer’s workout

They were brothers–not really–well, really, but not really. Not blood. Just blood brothers in expression–when you open up an old paper cut, or scratch a patch of skin back to make it bleed–rub your wounds into each other’s and promise something of yourselves to the other. For example: I’ll always be there for you, man. Or: No matter what, bro, no matter what.
It feels like when two dudes do this kind of thing they also automatically repeat key phrases like the MSP on a triple A baseball team…Atta boy, atta boy.
It’s nice.
TJ and Sam were like that–only contrary to common belief, they didn’t say anything when their blood was mixing together. They both closed their eyes and just felt it. TJ and Sam had that kind of bond where they could sit in an open space with their blood dancing–with another guy’s blood, and feel a connection without having to say “No homo” just to ease the silence, the magic. They gave it its space–they gave their blood a minute before they said a single thing.

TJ & Sam by Sasha at the these five minutes: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday February 2, 2014 at The Fringe Creation Lab
1:03pm
5 minutes
these five minutes: writer’s workout

TJ’s got her hands in her pockets like she’s some kinda cool kid, like she forget to lock the door. TJ blows bubbles with her gum and lets them bubbles pop on her own face and then she peels it off, bit by bit, and drops the gum balls on the carpet. When TJ makes a peanut butter sandwich she eats a spoonful of straight peanut butter, straight heart attack. She uses the same spoon for the sandwich. Who makes a sandwich with a spoon, anyway?!

Sam says nothing. He watches her and sometimes makes a small grunting sound. TJ has chosen to forget which sound means “good” and which sound means “bad”. TJ has disentangled herself from those words altogether. It’s all grey to her – the sky, the sidewalk, Sam’s hair, the snow.

“I ordered a half sandwich” by Sasha at The Holy Oak


Saturday February 1, 2014 at The Holy Oak
12:05pm
5 minutes
The True Secret of Writing
Natalie Goldberg


Walked up to the counter and thought, “this is the first day of the rest of my life.” The guy in the orange toque said, “What would you like?” “A reformation?” He didn’t get my joke, or whatever it was. I ordered a half sandwich (tuna), sat down and waited. When the guy came with the sandwich I said, “sorry for being weird. I’m having a rough week…” He smiled. He started to walk away. “I’m just… I got evicted. I’m pretty much homeless as of next month. And my family’s not from here so it’s pretty…” he turned around. “Sorry to hear that,” he said. I felt like an asshole. I felt like a walking “over-share”. I ate my sandwich. A minute later the guy came back. “Here’s the other half,” he smiled. “I think you need it more than I do. Tuna is the best.” I started to cry. “Shitshitshit,” I said, blubbering mayo and bits of fish and celery. “It’s okay…” He gave me some napkins. He looked sorry for me. He looked gentle and sweet and like he probably has really soft flannel sheets. When it was time for me to go, I left a twenty on the table. Even though it wasn’t the kinda place where you tip.

“weather permitting” by Sasha on her couch


Friday January 31, 2014
10:02pm
5 minutes
The Actor’s Survival Guide
Jon S. Robbins


When I tell you that I have a bladder infection I don’t want you to say, “Gross”. I want you to go to the market and buy cranberries and press juice using your palms. They’ll be dyed red for days but that’s just a sign of your devotion. When I come home after losing my bus pass I don’t want you to laugh. I want you to trudge with me, holding my hand, through the sludge, picking up every chocolate bar wrapper and soggy newspaper, wondering if it’s it. When I tell you that I’m having doubts, I want you to tell me the truth, that you are too, that it’s impossible not to, that we’re signing up for something big and serious. When I say, “Goodnight”, you say “Goodnight”, and in that moment, all is well, in that moment it’s you and me and our stormy future and I’m calm and I love you.

“I ordered a half sandwich” by Julia at The Holy Oak


Saturday February 1, 2014 at The Holy Oak
12:05pm
5 minutes
The True Secret of Writing
Natalie Goldberg


I had just spent the day talking to Olivia about her juice cleanse and how she felt invigorated by life and her own body and the new colour of her urine. I was half listening to her go on about it and half just imagining her peeing every seven minutes as if the juice was speaking to her through her urethra. That’s literally where my mind went, so when she asked me how mine was going I just said, “so great!” She was like, “where is yours?” And she meant my juice. She said it as she was drinking back a goopey red thing that looked more like period blood than anything, and I waited before I answered to see if she’d get those “strawberry wings” on her mouth…
“I drank my morning one at home!” I told her. I lied. I always lied to Olivia. Truth is, I had eaten an egg and mushroom tuna melt on marble rye and I was so damn pleased with myself that I didn’t even feel bad for bailing on our “joint cleanse”. She looked at me from the corner of her eye and paused. A little red period burp escaped her wet lips. “Oops! Excuse me!” I suppose her juice was speaking through her again…

“weather permitting” by Julia on her couch


Friday January 31, 2014
1:18am
5 minutes
The Actor’s Survival Guide
Jon S. Robbins


i guess my whole life has been ‘weather permitting’. like will i read a book today? yeah, maybe, ‘weather permitting.’ or, another example would be, will i get out of bed before noon today? yeah, maybe, ‘wether permitting.’ it makes sense because i’m a very sensitive person. i’m activated and deactivated by the temperature, by the sun, or the lack there of, by the rain, by the copious and dreadful amount of rain, by the mud, by the slush, by the snow, by the hail. like i’m not saying i’m the only one who is, cause, i know i’m not. i know i’m so not the only one. i don’t even have one of those lamps, like, to ease you into the day, to wake you up naturally like the sun does when it gets super depressing. like i don’t have one of those so i know i can’t be that bad, but the productivity that i base my success and failures on, well. yeah. that’s when i’d say it really effects me. almost so much so that i can’t even string more than three thoughts together to form a complete sentence or like, do the load of laundry that separates me from being a dirty hobo and a decent looking human being. you know when you just have one of those loads that has all your decent items in it cause you wore it all one week cause it was probably nicer out during that period? like all the coloured things or the shimmery stuff that you don’t feel like just busting out when you don’t get out of bed cause there’s like seriously no need, right?