“picked and consumed” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 29, 2015
9:31pm
5 minutes
From the Wikipedia article on jalapeños

I love you more than I ever have
I picked you from the crowded place in my brain that tells me not to make rash decisions
I chose you from the pile of mistakes I had been sweeping to one side
I love you more than I ever have
I didn’t think I could grow to love you more but I’ve surprised myself
The way you’ve surprised me
Reminding me that people can change and that mistakes can be forgiven
And sometimes forgotten
Thank you for forgetting
Thank you for reminding me daily that I’m your favourite flavour of perfect imperfection
Sometimes I pretend I can’t hear you when you talk on the phone to your parents
And you tell them how proud you are of me
But in the other room, I am teary-eyed and feeling so damn lucky
And when you come in I act like I don’t know how sweet you are
Maybe it’s a little game
Maybe it’s self-preservation and keeping my feelings clothed so they don’t feel embarrassed
I love you more than I ever have
I picked you from the wall of beautiful artwork that hangs in my imagination

“technically I could be there by” by Julia on her couch


Saturday November 28, 2015
11:10pm
5 minutes
From an email

Alana has stopped dreaming in colour and can’t figure out why
Maybe ever since she started seeing Rich things have been different
Maybe ever since she started filling her prescriptions and taking her pills
Maybe ever since she stopped eating cheese
Nothing makes Alana more upset then to think of her head as a black and white pod of pain
She feels like Dorothy before the tornado
She feels like somebody who isn’t her
She feels like her imagination is being replaced with something sad
Rich wakes up each morning with obnoxiously detailed dreams
Rich dreams in colour
Rich tells Alana how crazy it all was every single day
Alana used to dream the way Rich does
She used to remember every bit of them and sometimes use them to write her music
She used to look forward to going to sleep

“picked and consumed” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday November 29, 2015
1:49pm
5 minutes
From the Wikipedia article on jalapeños

She picks me like a trophy
standing on the other side of the field out of
arm’s length.

I tell the children to stop laughing but
they are in a wash of tie die pastel here and
now gone too quick.

Polly paints her room green like the grass
first picked a daisy with all the petals still intact.

We pick raspberries
Polly and me
on the way to the tournament and she asks me how I’ve gotten
so fat.

I beg my mother not to put capers in the
potato salad
She snaps my training bra like it’s a tenderness.

“technically I could be there by” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday November 28, 2015
7:37pm
5 minutes
From an email

Harriet prays that Kendra might, by divine grace, arrive early. She’s been alone with Sam and Leah for three days straight. Vic had to take the job, their financial woes causing her eczema and him lock-jaw. “I’ll only be away seven days out of the month, hon,” Vic had said, picking a chunk of oatmeal off her sweater.

When Kendra gets there, all rosy cheeks and perky breasts, Harriet considers kissing her. She hasn’t kissed a woman since college, when she experimented with lesbianism via a three months relationship with Luella, her Spanish TA. She decides against it, she needs Kendra, in a practical, supercharged way that trumps saviour lust.

“Hard to hand over the reins” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday November 27, 2015
5:17pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Sun
Friday, November 27, 2015


When you teach me how to make your mother’s guacamole and salsa verde, when you show me how to carve a jalapeño open and scrape out the seeds, I’m finally getting to know you. I wanna dance around your kitchen like Swan Lake, I’m so excited. “I know you now,” I say. You smile, and hand me an avocado. It’s the first time I’m at your place, and it’s bigger than I’d imagined. It makes sense. I don’t read into the fact that you don’t have a roommate. I don’t make assumptions about your past, your bank account, or your job. I know you work in consulting. That’s enough. This is enough. You feed me a freshly fried tortilla, topped with our salsa and a leaf of cilantro. I close my eyes, savouring the spice and the juiciness of the green tomatoes.

“Letter Writing” by Sasha in her bed


Thursday November 26, 2015
11:21pm
5 minutes
From the specials board at Our Town Cafe

Dear Kitty,
When they came to take James away, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I know that might sound strange, or surprising, but it’s just the plain old truth. I know what you went through with him and I’m writing to say that, well, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I never looked you in the eye and said, “I believe you.” I’m sorry I didn’t intervene last Thanksgiving. And, finally, I’m sorry that I let him back into my home and under my roof. See, Kitty, if you ever decide to have children and if you’re ever blessed by a son, I think you’ll understand why I did what I did. He’d never turned on me and when he did I felt sick. Not because of me. Because of you. All those visits to the lake and the fights through the paper-thin walls. All the times I could’ve said or done something. If Arthur were still alive, he’ve kicked James all the way back to Sunday. I guess that’s not the point. Or maybe it is. I don’t know. Father Henry says that forgiveness is the most powerful tonic. I’m not there yet. I won’t be visiting James any time soon. I’m so sorry for all of your pain and suffering. If you ever need anything, you know who to call.

“participate in all activities” by Sasha at Platform Seven Coffee


Wednesday November 25, 2015 at Platform Seven Coffee
3:10pm
5 minutes
from http://www.playwrights.ca

Lying on the hood of Jeff’s car, the metal is hot against Sara’s back. She’s wearing the sundress she borrowed from Mel, with the cut-out mid back and the tiny birds. It’s their Sunday ritual, one that Jeff proposed before Sara stopped smoking week and before they both read Joan Didion. A plane takes off and they both close their eyes. Jeff counts to seven out, shouting. When they open their eyes, the plane is right above them. Sara grabs Jeff’s hands and suddenly the fact that he hasn’t eaten her out in seven months and that there are three days worth of dishes in the sink when they get home and that her Mom found another lump in her breast… None of it matters.

“that time of innocence” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 24, 2015
11:02pm
5 minutes
from a poem by bell hooks

it was that time of gold
the innocence of maple butter
slathered on cheeks kissed by the wind
a typhoid of hormones
your fingertips a garter snake in
the zucchini flowers

it was that time of innocence
too much lavender incense from
the dollar store
chipped nail polish tea leaves
empty fortune cookies celebrated
leaving more room for our dreams

“Hard to hand over the reins” by Julia at Our Town Cafe


Friday November 27, 2015 at Our Town
3:15pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Sun
Friday, November 27, 2015


They play the kind of oldies music that I love here. I can’t help but tap my foot and sing along. It’s a crowded place. Not the best spot for open expression of who I am. If my father could see me he’d be so embarrassed at how little tact I have. He always hated when I’d check to see if I had food in my teeth in a knife while sitting at a restaurant. He thought it was classy. I thought it would be less classy if I spoke to someone with spinach hanging from my gums, but no, what I was doing was inappropriate. I couldn’t tell you how many times my dad has embarrassed me just by being narrow minded. I never told him that I didn’t want to be seen with him, even if he told a bad joke, or said that people with dreadlocks shouldn’t work at a housewares store. I even remember one time he came skating with my grade 4 class and fell on the ice in front of everyone. I was 9 and sure, it was a big deal then, but I did not act like I was even a little bit bothered because I bet he was way more embarrassed than I was. In fact now that I think about it I was really just worried that he might have hurt himself and there wouldn’t have been room for anything else…

“Letter Writing” by Julia at her desk


Thursday November 26, 2015
11:44pm
5 minutes
from the specials board at Our Town Cafe

Dear guy from the Turkish market buying one kilo of sun-dried tomatoes while wearing a safety vest,

You may have just stolen my heart, permanently, and I’m okay with that.
See I was looking for someone new to give it to, after I got it back from the guy I lent it to without knowing. I was tricked into telling him things about me and letting him see a version of me that most people don’t want to see, or shouldn’t see, or…Oh…now I wish I hasn’t mentioned that part at all cause it’s a bit embarrassing…..
Umm….If I hadn’t written this in pen, I would have erased the aforementioned weirdness but because I hate the way stuff looks scratched out, I will leave it in hopes that you don’t actually mind a little oversharing every now and again.
Back to the important matters at hand, guy wearing a safety vest.
I love sun-dried tomatoes so much and to see you buying them in such a large quantity is incredibly heartening. I can only begin to imagine what you’re planning to do with so many beautiful tomatoes. My biggest fear is that your wife or girlfriend or mother sent you here to buy them for the big party you’re announcing your future plans with a woman other than me at.
….Oh boy.
I wish I could erase that part too.

“participate in all activities” by Julia at Platform Vancouver


Wednesday November 25, 2015 at Platform Vancouver
2:50pm
5 minutes
from http://www.playwrights.ca

We hear laboured breath, thumping, pausing, groaning, then more thumping, some light twinkling, then a thud.
Mom’s got the Christmas box out and she’s ready to go.
We hear a lot of rustling, then a small shriek, a giggle, and the crash of a thousand holiday CDs hitting the floor.
She’s going to turn this house into a merry one if it kills her. And it might. All that stuff is heavy and mom has always had a terrible back.
My brother looks at me.
“Should we go and help her?”
I don’t respond.
I don’t want to.
“You can go if you want,” I tell him.
“Well why don’t you want to help, too?”
“Because I hate Christmas,” I tell him.
“You hate everything.” He says back, resuming his video game.
Suddenly we hear Rosie O’Donnell’s Christmas album blaring.
“If we help maybe we won’t have to listen to this garbage that Mom likes.” My brother tries again.

“that time of innocence” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday November 24, 2015
11:22pm
5 minutes
from a poem by bell hooks

It was a very knobby knees sort of pick your nose behind a book kind of pants too baggy in all the wrong places kind of time. Garrett was in love with me and asked me to be his girlfriend at least three times a day.They were very long days sort of strategic routes taken home from school to avoid certain people kind of too shy to say why kind of time. When I told him no the first time I think I was even cruel about it. I didn’t know yet that just because a boy was of no interest to me it didn’t mean he didn’t just use up all his courage trying to be. It was a very young kids playing in the cornfield sort of kiss behind the church before getting called into supper kind of late nights laying on the floor with candles lit listening to Bon Jovi kind of time.

“a finger in each mouth” by Julia at her desk


Sunday November 22, 2015
8:11pm
5 minutes
From a poem by bell hooks

I can’t read what you wrote because it hurts me every time
like a knife in my side
like a drill in my spine
I can’t see your doctor-prescription-careless-anarchy penmanship because it reminds me that you don’t have any respect for what I do
Your o’s look like d’s, your d’s look like meteors
your ripped napkin with the tomato sauce stain letterhead of our kitchen makes me cry
The part scratched out that I wish to God I could read haunts me
You told me you were leaving me on a garbage scrap and then left it on the fridge next to the photo of us rubbing noses

“a finger in each mouth” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday November 23, 2015
4:41pm
5 minutes
From a poem by bell hooks

a finger in each mouth and
bare feet the woman doesn’t know
how deep she is
in
she wakes up crusty and disoriented a
different day a different toothbrush
opaque window
peeking out towards wednesday
the woman doesn’t leave a note on the counter or
on the fridge in lipstick
the woman loads the dirty dishes into the dishwasher only to
realize that the dishes inside are
clean
the woman promises to never live in a place with a dishwasher
how confusing
how complicated
she leaves the key under the welcome mat and
fishes around for her lighter
she’s not a
smoker
she’s a smudger
she takes the small bag of dried sage leaves
from her purse
and lights two
clasped between thumb and forefinger

“I love kittens!!” By Sasha on the ferry to Horseshoe Bay


Sunday November 22, 2015
5:43pm
5 minutes
From a text

When I call you, your voice is horse.

“Did you just wake up?”

“No…”

“You did!”

“So what?”

“It’s two o’clock, Jay… Don’t you work today?”

“At three.”

“What’re you going to eat?”

“Tuna sandwich.”

It’s getting worse. I can almost see the dark of the sky where you are, even though it’s sunny, even though it’s a shimmery kind of day.

“I’m gonna go pee. Wanna stay on the phone?”

“No, no… I’ll let you go.”

“Thanks for the call.”

“Of course…”

“I love you, Syd.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t” by Sasha at Szos’ desk in Cowichan Bay


Saturday November 21, 2015
4:13pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the Eastside Culture Crawl

I keep replaying the moment before, like that cat food jingle no one can get out of their heads.

“Maybe we shouldn’t,” you say. “What if it hurts?”

I don’t feel fear like you do, as a “golf ball in your throat, covered in thorns”.

I jump first. I’m a more experienced swimmer. I promise you I’ll be fine but we make the plan that if I don’t bob up within a few minutes you should call 911.

The water is colder than hell. It shakes me into oblivion. It’s better than coke. I bob up and I scream, “Jump! Jump!”

You say that you’re scared and I reassure you that it’s deep, that it’s safe, that you’ll be fine.

“Her face was like a spring sun halo” by Sasha on the futon in Cowichan Bay


Friday November 20,2015 in Cowichan Bay
11:13pm
5 minutes
White Heat
M.J. McGrath


He’s turning thirty tomorrow.
He’s having a breakdown.
He’s got a gun and it’s cocked towards his temple.
He made love to a stranger last night, poorly, he guesses.
He ate Cheerios for breakfast, alone, having asked the Stranger to be on their way.
He didn’t have any milk so he ate them dry.
“Nothing worse than dry Cheerios.”
Punishment.
The laces on his shoes are broken so that he can’t tie them.
When he walks, they squeak.
“Nothing is more demeaning.”
Punishment.
He considers calling Celeste and then decides against him.
“Nothing worse than disappointment.”
He’s sitting on the toilet when the succulent on the shelf above falls, unexplained, right onto his head.
He stops his shit, clenching his anus closed, clenching his teeth.
He blacks out, only for an instant, and in the instant, “blacks out” makes no sense because he sees light.
The metal is cold against the side of his head.
His mouth waters.
“Is this really how I feel about death?”
He thinks about who might find his body.
He thinks about Celeste, and Jon and Katherine.
He thinks about his shit, still sitting in the toilet, unflushed.
“Can’t leave unfinished business.”
He puts the gun down.
He goes into the bathroom.
He flushes the shit.
He sees a piece of the ceramic pot that housed the succulent.
He goes to the kitchen to get the broom and dust pan.
There’s a knock at the door.

“methodological, theoretical, practical” by Sasha at UBC


Thursday November 19, 2015
5:13pm
5 minutes
From the back of a theatre theory book

With a moustache of icing sugar, when Caleb talks puffs of white billow onto the front of his shirt. Doughnuts are his religion, his one true desire. When Caleb wants something, he’s incredibly skilled at berating you until you cave, like an avalanche, even though you think of yourself as stubborn. You never knew stubborn until you knew Caleb. You answered an ad in the newspaper. “Looking for a care worker for a strong-willed teenager with developmental disabilities. Experience required.” You didn’t have experience, really, but you knew that you could do it, what with Dev, your younger brother. Your mother wrote your reference, but Cynthia didn’t need to know. On your first day, Caleb told you that he loved you. Cynthia thought that was a good sign. You weren’t sure, at first, but now, seven months later, you agree. Hindsight.

“store solar power” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday November 18, 2015
6:42pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by the Globe and Mail

(Whispered with snaps)
Energy from sun stored in our branches
Mmm hmmm
A dream of a snowflake in an acorn
Yeah
Mmmm hmmmm
We’re all connected by the same star matter
It’s true
We’re all looking at the same moon face
Mmm hmmm
A maple is a birch is a dove is a bead of sweat
Yes yes
A pig is an egg is a drop of blood from your finger
Mmm hmmm
We’ve got nothing if we don’t have each other
We’ve got nothing if we don’t have one another
Mmm hmmm
Mmm hmmm
Mmm hmmm

“I love kittens!!” by Julia at Our Town Cafe


Sunday November 22, 2015 at Our Town
3:14pm
5 minutes
from a text

Dear Diary:

I love kittens!! Mom said if I finished reading my new book that she got me (it’s called: KITTENS) and ask Auntie Genie about the responsibilities around raising an animal friend as a pet, she MIGHT, maybe, will POSSIBLY consider letting me go to the shelter (where they keep the kittens from dying before they’re old enough to take care of themselves) and learn about some of my favourite ones. When I told her that I promised I would and would make sure I was very well informed about kittens and EVERYTHING they need before I asked her to get one, she said, Now, Izzie, this is not a YES or a NO it is a MAYBE, and it is ON CONDITION. I Know I know I know already. She is “non-committal”. Just like my father was. Or at least that’s what Auntie Genie tells me. She told me that FACT when I asked her once if he left because he was allergic to me. She said, Of course not, but that would have been a better reason.

“Maybe we shouldn’t” by Julia on her couch


Saturday November 21, 2015
11:40pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Eastside Culture Crawl

Maybe we shouldn’t talk about the future, about how many kids you want, or how many pieces of artwork we don’t agree on. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Maybe we shouldn’t tell each other everything just in case we wake up one time in the middle of the night and realize there’s nothing left to learn. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Maybe we shouldn’t co-own anything unless that thing is a fruit and custard pull-away tart from the coffee shop on the corner where the barista is mean to you. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Maybe we shouldn’t wait for the other one to be honest about the things we’re afraid of first. Maybe there’s pain in the waiting. Maybe there’s disaster in the lie before it becomes the truth.
Maybe we shouldn’t tell our parents, when they ask what we did last night, that we didn’t leave our beds because we were too high to stand up. Maybe we shouldn’t.

“Her face was like a spring sun halo” by Julia at Shaktea


Friday November 20,2015 at Shaktea
1:06pm
5 minutes
White Heat
M.J. McGrath


I scooped up her tiny face into my hands and I brought her close to mine so I could feel her nose and inhale her intoxicating smell. She smelled of cinnamon and felt comforting to be around. I liked that she didn’t have a sweet smell because when I thought of her defending herself against the world, it put me at ease to think that she’d be a little bit tougher, connected to her roots, fiery, quick.
She was sleeping still and I thought about leaving in that moment so I could remember her like that: peaceful, calm, perfect. I couldn’t bare the idea of her crying at the realization of my absence. I didn’t want to cause her any more pain than I already had.

“methodological, theoretical, practical” by Julia on her couch


Thursday November 19,2015
10:32pm
5 minutes
from the back of a theatre theory book

Belief isn’t strong enough on its own, she tells me, as the crumbs of her double baked almond croissant stick to the corners of her mouth.
You need to put beliefs into practice, Marnie. It’s all about practicality here.
I can’t stop staring at her lips. Encrusted in almond flakes, spewing some wisdom or advice that I can barely pay attention to.
Do you think you put your beliefs into practice, Marnie?
She notices where my eyes land on her face and instantly reaches up to swat the crumbs away. She looks embarrassed now. She keeps her gaze on me.
Have you been listening, Marnie?
Yes, I tell her quickly, before she tries to ask me if I’m sure.
Good. That’s good. Is there anything you’d like to add? I don’t want to be the only one offering ideas here. That’s not why I asked to meet with you, is it?

“holier-than-thou” by Sasha in Mary Bollert Hall


Tuesday November 17,2015
1:32pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I just moved here and my friend Toby in Atlanta said he did one of these Craigslist posts when he first moved there and he met some cool people so… Here goes nothing!
What you might want to know about me:
I clench my teeth when I sleep.
I eat spoonfuls of peanut butter with chocolate chip hats on top for breakfast three out of seven mornings a week.
I have a holier-than-thou attitude towards two things and two things only – politicians and buzz-cuts (politicians with buzz-cuts – BEWARE).
I wear platform shoes even though I can’t really walk in them because being tall is a totally viable aspiration.
I have never smoked a cigarette, gone para-sailing, touched a nipple, eaten squid, shopped at the Gap, or liked the colour fuchsia. (Fuck fuchsia!)
I’m looking for friendship and love in whatever shape, form, size, quadrant, place, space, etc. etc. I don’t discriminate. I just pontificate! Wut wut!

“a pair of black overalls and some scrunchies” by Sasha at UBC


Monday November 16, 2015
2:11pm
5 minutes
Julia’s diary
Age 10


Dear Diary,
We finally got a TIGGER! My Tigger came from the Round. You know the Round? Do you know things like that, Diary? I don’t know. This is my first one so I’m not exactly sure what you know and what you don’t know or if you’re just, like, me, or if you’re something else entirely! Okay. So, back to the point. Sheesh. We got my Tigger at the Round. It’s where other Tigger’s go when they lose their Mamas or their houses. We went there on Sunday, on the Sunday-before-my-birthday-party-Sunday, and we walked around and all the Tigger’s were crying! It was so sad I actually cried too. My Mama said, “Don’t cry Nelly! We’re gonna save one of these lil’ guys!” That cheered me up so I stopped. When we saw our Tigger I absolutely knew that it was ours because it looked at me like it knew me. She looked at me like she knew me. (She’s a girl Tigger.)

“but also for the people in the neighbourhood” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday November 15, 2015
10:22pm
5 minutes
from the Union Gospel Mission calendar

bomb bomb finger on the trigger wait for the warning there isn’t one there isn’t one my neighbour hits his cat kicks his dog i think that’s bad i think that’s what’s bad what are we to do tell our children go to school hair in pigtails i’m a child a pretty little liar what do you want my money my hunger my fear my fear my fear your fear murders the innocents here we go again we’ve been here before why can’t we learn why can’t we love i see the glass half full usually but now it’s broken on the floor on the t-shirt with the blood stains on the scream the fear the fear the nightmare is real

“The oldest surviving” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday November 14, 2015
12:39am
5 minutes
from a tweet

The oldest survivor, Maya, white braids woven around her head like a brain basket, lives on the Big Island of Hawaii. When I visit her, careful not to step on the wildflowers and cacti that line the path towards her door, she opens it before I can raise my fist to knock. “You’re here,” she says, like she knows me, like she knew that I would have a sunburned nose. “I’m here!” I say, unsure what to do besides parrot. Maya leads me into her kitchen and cracks a coconut open with a machete on her countertop. She’s plump in the most beautiful way, her arms strong and her shoulders broad. They’ve carried waves. They’ve carried change. They’ve carried children and banana leaves.

“211 Bannatyne Ave.” By Sasha at Pascoe Rd.


Friday November 13, 2015
11:52pm
5 minutes
from a business card

When we buy the house, we know what we’re getting ourselves into. Or, we fool ourselves into thinking we do. “We want to pour love into our home!” We say. “It’s a fixer upper!” We say.

Seven months into renovations, Kelly is three weeks away from giving birth and she’s ready to kill. If you’ve never been around a pregnant woman who wants to brood but can’t, you really haven’t ever seen rage. She’s normally such a level headed woman, I mean that’s why I married her. Also for her incredible intelligence and wicked banana pancakes. That and her ass. She’s got a great ass.

“store solar power” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 18,2015
10:07pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by the Globe and Mail

When we’re alone after a full day of kissing my family and eating tortelli you tell me there’s this new game you can’t wait to play when we get home. I don’t know why, but this bothers me. I can’t tell why I’m upset by this. You’re not hurting me by playing. Or are you? I haven’t figured out why my insides are twisting and my veins are pulsing. Am I looking for a reason to be mad at you? I try to delay my response because I’m worried it’ll come out naggy, or pissed off. I would much rather come to the conclusion of my feelings before involving you in an outburst. Is it because I wish I had something to look forward to when we go home? Is it because we have plans when we get home and you’re blowing me off? Do we have plans at all? I’m mad at how mad I am without quite knowing why. I rack my brain for instances to refresh my memory about why it is I can’t handle this decision. It seems like one you’ve made before. I remember that. Or something like it…

“holier-than-thou” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday November 17,2015
12:05am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Went to church when I was younger I guess, so I have this really big soft spot for budding Christians. Not the full blown ones, I have no room for those. But the ones who are starting to feel community and straight-edged living are the ones I see myself in. So many of my beliefs were centered around permission and guilt and acceptance and guilt and lying and begging and praying and guilt. Like I was sand being shaken back and forth in an hourglass. Always trying not to be wrong. Always trying to right the wrong. Always being wrong. Always feeling bad for being wrong. But there in the community where we’d raise our hands to the Lord and sway them back and forth while our eyes were closed and our hearts exploded, we felt like pieces cut out of the same felt, glued onto bristol board to form a perfect circle; the poster kids for The Lost.

“a pair of black overalls and some scrunchies” by Julia at Matchstick Coffee Roasters


Monday November 16, 2015 at Matchstick Coffee Roasters
2:02pm
5 minutes
Julia’s diary
Age 10


I can’t drink anything without it spilling it all over myself. Eating too, but drinking mostly. I’ve had this problem since I was a kid. I remember sitting on the yellow bus in the fourth grade, going home after school, and eating vanilla yogurt while talking to the older kids sitting in front of me. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but found out soon enough thanks to Lisa Van Oorschot who suddenly shrieked out at the top her lungs, “Amanda! Your sister just slopped yogurt all over herself!” The bus filled with cruel laughter and I went red and felt young and stupid and careless. I’ll never forget how thrilled Lisa was at the sight of me, sitting there embarrassed and completely ready to cry. I haven’t exactly grown up in that department. I can’t drink water without wearing most of it, regardless of the type of cup or bottle it’s in. It’s like my mouth refuses to adapt to glassware, turning me into a wild lion quenching my thirst at the watering hole.

“but also for the people in the neighbourhood” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 15, 2015
10:12pm
5 minutes
from the Union Gospel Mission calendar

Karen sat patiently by the phone willing it to ring and wishing that it had already. She had, earlier that week, applied to be a member of Neighbourhood Watch and was told that all successful applicants would be contacted by Friday at the very latest. Karen didn’t have anything else particularly pressing to do since she fell ill two months back. She wanted to fill her time with meaningful activities since she wasn’t fit enough to return to the grocery store. Emirel said she might have overextended herself there anyway, coming into help stack and pack when she wasn’t even scheduled to work. Karen wanted to do something other than tend to the plants she had been growing in her laundry room. She didn’t think she’d have a very strong harvest the first time around, especially because she had been relying on various youtube videos to teach her how to grow a crop of marijuana properly. Karen got bored easily. She wanted to have at least two things to watch, if she could help it.

“The oldest surviving” by Julia on her couch


Saturday November 14, 2015
12:17am
5 minutes
from a tweet

Memo to staff:
Someone left their banana peel in the office garbage can again. Thank you for putting it in the trash receptacle this time, that is much appreciated and far more so than a little office prank of leaving said peel at the entrance of the co-ed bathrooms last Wednesday (Side note, Jamella is fine and will be returning to work on Monday following her post op). But now there are greater issues at hand. The peel left overnight in the bin has caused the entire office to reek of bananas and for some, that is an unkind order. Please ensure to remove the peels at the end of your break and retire them to the outdoor compost bin that has been highlighted on all of your maps in the welcome package that you received upon hire.

“211 Bannatyne ave.” by Julia at Horseshoe Bay


Friday November 13, 2015
11:50pm
5 minutes
from a business card

Remember when I used to come by your work and wait till you got off so we could go get ice cream and caramel sauce and walk the perimeter of the property together before you’d have to go back to your desk and count the hours till you were actually free? Remember how you’d try to take the long way around so you could spend more time with me without saying that you wanted to? Those sticky summer evenings when you would start late and work late and forget which day you were on. Those are the ones I think about when I think about you. Those are the nights I remember how lucky I used to be. Your building looks different now: someone tried to wash off the graffiti and now it just looks uglier. I have to stop myself from going to Nucci’s Gelati so I don’t get tempted by nostalgia to buy you a coconut cone, even thought we were always so disappointed by the shreds that didn’t even taste real.

“Rainfall warning” by Sasha on the couch at Pascoe Rd.


Thursday November 12, 2015
10:36pm
5 minutes
from the weather network

What you can do:
Be present.
Hold space.
Actually listen (ie. refrain from thinking about whether or not your lover just texted a sexy picture of their shoulders or what you’re going to have for dinner).
Breathe deep and feel your feet on the floor.
Bring Sleepytime tea and a hot water bottle with a dog on it. Even if there’s a rainfall warning or a blizzard or you really just want to stay in your pyjamas and watch reruns of Nashville.
Stay for a sleepover and rub her back until she’s sleeping even if you are also tired. Wait until she falls asleep and then you can follow.

What you can say:
“I believe you.”
“I believe you.”
“I believe you.”
“I believe you.”
“I love you.”
“I support whatever choice you make.”
“I believe you.”

“in response to” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday November 11, 2015
6:11pm
5 minutes
From Performing Site Specific Theatre
Ed. Anna Birch and Joanne Tompkins


my mother’s mother had a strong jaw
my mother has a strong jaw
i have a
strong jaw
women like foothills
hips that lead to knowing
women like water
shoulders that feel the weight

my mother’s mother
all interruption
all control
all strength
all smoke
all ash
all sun
all dust
all breath
all power
all shame
all grace
all cherry tree
all candle wax
all salt
all curve
all language

my mother’s mother
a legacy of cabbage rolls
chocolate worship
picked the scabs on her arms until she bled
i pick the scab on my arm until i bleed
the story spins a web of then and now
my future daughter
my mother’s mother
my mother
my sister
the story spins a dreidel
marking roots
marking laugh lines
marking tear tracks
marking what’s good
what’s bad
the space between

“guiding his life direction.” By Sasha in the TA office at Mary Bollert Hall


Tuesday November 10, 2015
1:17pm
5 minutes
From a student’s short story

When You teach me to remember
my heart’s on fire the colour of sunset
the colour of ash

When You guide my hand towards the future
my eyes are a wash of birch
and sweetgrass

I don’t want to daydream my way to glory
I want to get there step by step
with You at my side
and the wind breaking trail

Over Cypress mountain the new day dawns
You braid bread and whistle
I grind coffee beans and light the stove

“Rainfall warning” by Julia on her couch


Thursday November 12, 2015
10:31pm
5 minutes
from the weather network

Hasn’t stopped raining for weeks. Grant called last night to tell me he was sorry and wished he could have stopped by more. I told him not to worry, there were enough people coming by the house to make sure I was getting out of bed. He asked if Mary-Beth made he famous Parmigiana and I said yeah, for the third time. Hasn’t stopped raining since. When I found out, Grant was on his way over to drop off a pair of winter gloves for Owen so he was there when it all hit. He gave me a long hug and told me it was going to be okay. I didn’t let him leave me that night and he’s still acting strange about it. I don’t know why he feels bad, nothing matters anymore. I’m the one who has to live with it, and all I know is life is pretty short so nothing fucking matters. Hasn’t stopped raining for weeks.

“in response to” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 11, 2015
2:10pm
5 minutes
From Performing Site Specific Theatre Ed.
Anna Birch and Joanne Tompkins


Call my name, I say, hey, call it again, I turn I face you.
Hey.
You don’t want to stop for me?
Why you got something worth the time I’d be losing?
Maybe.
Oh yeah?
Yeah maybe I got somethin worth your while.
Mhm, do you?
I said maybe didn’t I?
Mhm, so when do you prove that then? Or are we just gonna sit here all day discussin it?
Shoot a smile, I say, Later then, nod your head, I move in close.
Hey.
What’s this?
You don’t like it when I get near your face?
I never said that.
But you agree, don’t you?
I don’t like anyone this close to me.
You don’t act like it.
I don’t need to.
Is that right?
Yeah.
You act all tough when someone threatens your comfort?
Gotta protect my space.
Yeah, and don’t you forget it.

“guiding his life direction” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday November 10, 2015 at Brendee’s table
5:18pm
5 minutes
from a student’s short story

Met up with Cheyrl, the psychic, who was really just my friend’s older sister, Talia, wearing a kerchief and staring into lava lamps. She told me she was going to get my life on track, but first we must see the path it’s on right now. I don’t know, maybe Parker was just trying to help, but I didn’t think I needed a psychic to tell me that I was unhappy. Cheyrl laid out a deck of cards with angels on them. She told me to centre my heart’s vision on picking three cards that are spiritually calling to me. I asked her if it’s just a reaction, or do I actually hear something calling me, and if she could please tell it to me straight so I don’t have to get all up in it for nothing.

“with the theme of fear” by Sasha at the table at Pascoe Rd.


Monday November 9, 2015
1:17pm
5 minutes
ionmagazine.ca

The night she dies I get a text from a bartender
I sometimes fuck
I wash my
face I get on my
bicycle and I go to
his house
On the way
Somewhere east of Dupont
My chain falls off
I can’t stop the tears
Can’t stop the oil from getting
on my dress
I arrive too close to morning
too far from my father
He lights a joint and the promise
I made to myself not to tell him
Undoes like the clasp of my bra
Naked I’m a puddle of chipped nail polish and
missing
He’s a father so he knows
how to soothe
He rubs my back until I’m hiccups and
when we fuck he’s gentle
he knows just how to look me
in the eye
I leave before I can feel grosser before
I can taste the tinniness of shame
My tongue heavy in my mouth I sing
under my breath
Up the hill on the way
home

“make strong choices on the fly” by Sasha at Horseshoe Bay


Sunday November 8, 2015
11:16pm
5 minutes
from nativeearth.ca/w28series/

A: Are you even listening to me?
B: Of course I am –
A: What did I just say?
B: “You want to quit.”
A: NO!
B: Something about quitting…
A: Why is it so hard for you to just pay attention to me? Why are you always looking at the clock?
B: Do you really want to know?
A: Yes!
B: We ordered that pizza exactly twenty seven minutes ago… And, if it’s over a half hour, we get it for free. We could really use a free pizza.
A: Grrr…
B: I’m just excited about the pizza!
A: I want to quit my job of ten years and you’re thinking about pizza.
B: Tell me you aren’t thinking about pizza?
A: You love pizza more than you love me!
B: Not true.
A: True.
B: Not at all true! That would be so so sad!
A: You do love pizza…
B: I really do.

“is your weapon” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday November 7, 2015
11:46pm
5 minutes
from the back cover of Watchdogs

We pinky swear that we’ll only kiss guys (or girls) named “Chris”
I stick to it
Three months of
“What’s your name?”
Fingers crossed under the bar
You fail
Ever the sucker for “Bobbi” and “Shannon”
I catch you with “Fred” and you don’t even make an excuse
Broken promises like the flu
I pretend not to care but I do
I really do
We pinky swear that we’re going to Croatia at Christmas
I don’t want to see my family
and you want an excuse to not have to see “Fred”
“Just end it”
“I can’t”
“Why not?”
“Too precious”
It’s the second week of December and I ask if you’ve
booked your ticket
“I’m broke”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I felt too bad”
“Now I’m really fucked”
“I’m sorry”
“Now I’m going to be in Zagreb alone hoping Santa doesn’t forget me”

“with the theme of fear” by Julia at Coco et Olive


Monday November 9, 2015 at Coco et Olive
3:23pm
5 minutes
ionmagazine.ca

I am not alone in this room
I share my bed with my former self
And all my past mistakes
I lay my head down on the same pillow as the shame that haunts me
I close my eyes and see the me I never wanted to be
The me I never thought I could be
I am not alone in this lie
Sometimes good people make bad choices
Sometimes bad choices make bad people
I watch the blame hang on every corner of every wall
I wait for it to cling to my eyelids and bind my mind forever
He said she said
She does he does
She regrets he preys
He forgets she stays
I am not alone in this guilt
I share my memories with the poor judgement that follows me
And all the wrong I’ve invited in
To stay a while
To live on inside me

“make strong choices on the fly” by Julia at her desk


Sunday November 8, 2015
10:18pm
5 minutes
from nativeearth.ca/w28series/

Okay so I started taking this improv class-that’s what they say, it’s so cool, they don’t even finish the word. It’s every week on Tuesdays and the class is 3 hours long and it is the best thing in my entire life. It’s so funny. People really are hilarious in this class so I never feel like it’s a waste cause I’m always laughing and sometimes till I’m crying and that is the best feeling. Our instructor, Vijestica is a hobbit sized woman and she has a big laugh that starts, I am convinced, in her groin. She’s always snorting and shooting snot out of her nose because she loves to laugh and gets us really excited about our choices! In improv you learn how to YES AND which means nothing is wrong and everything is a good idea and you say yes to the first choice that comes and just keep building on that until you’re really rolling with it all and the jokes just flow and the laughs just follow. Vijestica says this is a safe place to leave the everyday at the door. I am so glad to leave my everyday at the door because working in a cubicle the size of an outhouse in my everyday is actually the thing that might kill me. It’s awful, there’s no silliness or fun, only deadlines and people telling me “nice maroon sweater, Alma,” or “Did you eat my peanut butter tuna sandwich, Alma?” Here, in improv class, we all just smile and tell each other how great and brave we all are.

“is your weapon” by Julia at her desk


Saturday November 7, 2015
11:45pm
5 minutes
from the back cover of Watchdogs

Is your weapon silence or is it force?
I’m asking cause I need to know.
I’m taking a survey.
Which one works better for you?
Are you using it at all?
Are you using your weapon for good or for evil?
You can decide what it is, at any point.
I’d recommend earlier than later.
But what do I know.
I’m just taking a survey.
Is your weapon strength or is it pain?
I’m asking cause I need to know.
I’m looking for the best answer.
Which one keeps the monsters at bay and which one keeps the good out?
It’s possible to keep the good out.
Some weapons only hurt ourselves.
Some weapons only become available after we need them.
You can decide when you’ll use it.
I’d recommend now or never.
But what do I know.

“for a variety of reasons” by Julia in a car


Friday November 6, 2015
11:45am
5 minutes
Overheard at Moii Cafe

Carmen is sitting on the kitchen sink, banging her feet against the cupboard to the rhythm that she’s humming in her head. Boom badoom, boom boom badoom.
Ely stares at her with a sideways smile and his head cocked to the side. He’s in love with her. She’s the most fascinating thing he’s ever seen in his life.
Carmen feels his gaze but acts like she can’t tell. She pretends to be in her own world. She likes the attention Ely gives her. She likes that he likes her and that she could be bad, or better, and he wouldn’t even notice. She likes that he doesn’t hold her to a particular standard. She likes that he isn’t like everybody else.
Ely wants to kiss her but hasn’t felt like she’s invited him yet. His body remains tense and leaning against the counter. He casts his eyes down when it gets to be too much.
“Are you afraid of me or something?”
Carmen’s legs still going, boom badoom, boom boom badoom.
“Me? No I’m. I’m not afraid of you or something. I’m. I’m not afraid.”
“Well why are you way over there, then?”

“Her head is down.” By Julia on her couch


Thursday November 5, 2015
9:08pm
5 minutes
An assignment in the marking pile

Walking along the dirt road, she shines her new smart phone flashlight along her feet to light her path.
“Why are there no fucking lights on this street?”
She is so over this shit town, she can’t stand it. She never yelled to herself before. She never was one to talk out loud to nobody.
“Maybe cause this is a perfect place for me to get jumped and attacked and murdered so no one will ever hear me sing the fucking National Anthem at a home game ever fucking again.”
She’s scared because it’s dark and she’s mad because she’s scared. She didn’t want to be here in the first place, fought tooth and nail to avoid it.
“My Bonnie lies over the ocean..”
She clutches her house keys in her right hand, ready to stab the first thing that crosses her path. She hopes all the leaf-crunching she’s hearing is just a raccoon or a skunk. She prays it’s just the wind.
“My Bonnie lies over the sea…”
She hears a quick snap right behind her and stops in her tracks. Her heart is in her throat.
“My Bonnie lies over the o–“

“for a variety of reasons” by Sasha at Moii Cafe


Friday November 6, 2015 at Moii Cafe
11:35am
5 minutes
Overheard at Moii Cafe

I’m angry at you for a variety of reasons. A WIDE variety. Wide like a mouth screaming. Wide like the clouds and the rain. Firstly, you ate my leftover curry and you know that the one thing I get truly invested in is lunch and I was sweaty and starving when I got home from my appointment at the optometrist and all I wanted, in life, was my leftover curry. I spent twelve dollars on it and it wasn’t even the best, but I’m practising portion control so specifically put aside half for today’s lunch. And then, and THEN, I see the take out container in the recycling bin. “He must’ve transferred it to a glass container. How sweet.” I thought. Nope. NOPE! You didn’t even leave a goddamn note, Trevor! You didn’t even leave a note saying, “Terribly sorry. Couldn’t resist your curry.”

“Her head is down.” By Sasha on her couch


Thursday November 5, 2015
7:53pm
5 minutes
An assignment in the marking pile

We don’t have it in the budget to make that happen. I’m sorry. Mostly what we do, is help facilitate community groups, but it’s not always easy for them to navigate stuff in the process. There isn’t always a clear path, right? It’s not that kind of place… We try to navigate that, on behalf of the community groups, but when something comes along that really catches our eye… We have a lot of people pitching events and stuff, it’s the lowest threshold of thing we can do in the space. It’s easy to focus people’s attention… We hope that we’re building powerful relationships, right, that we’re making sustained change… It’s tough. It’s a tough market… It really depends. I’m sorry. We really considered it. We really did.

“senior’s line dancing” by Sasha in the bath


Wednesday November 4, 2015
10:11pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Grams rolls her cigarettes with the concentration of a surgeon, or a chemist. The photos of her smoking are my favourite in the series, even though I don’t like that she does it. I photograph her every time I go to Sudbury and stay in the guest suite at her Nursing Home. She meets me in the dining room for breakfast at seven thirty and she’s wearing a lavender dress and a black cashmere sweater with teal pumps. Her hair is in a french twist and her lipstick matches her dress. I take her picture, as she eats her cream of wheat.

“really only happy when working” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 3, 2015
11:26pm
5 minutes
chaninicholas.com

Monique chews her gum like she talks. Loud. She’s one of those people that doesn’t have a sense of appropriate noise levels. On the bus, with sleeping babies and little old ladies in plastic hair covers, she’s the one on her cell phone, all shrieks and exclamations. What am I supposed to do? Sit her down and give her some constructive feedback? Is that my role now?

When she asked if she could move in after Kenny decided to move to Alaska, I said, “Sure.” I followed up with an email. “Given that it’s a bachelor, maybe think about finding a place for the New Year?” She ignored it. I re-read it, over and over, resenting her stinky shampoo and her dirty coffee cups in the sink. “I never should’ve said, “maybe”… That’s where I went wrong!”

“best learning environment” by Sasha at Starbucks


Monday November 2, 2015
3:11pm
5 minutes
from the post for an English tutor

When I get there, you’re sprawled on the floor. It reminds me of the time a bird flew into the window and we saw it. I cried while you scooped the bird up in your towel, still wet from your shower. It died in your hands.

“Bob? BOB?!” I try to wake you, even though I know you aren’t asleep. I curse postponing my full driver’s license. I curse type one diabetes. I curse my long hours at work. I’ve never said so many silent curses.

“senior’s line dancing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 4, 2015
9:13pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Nonna doesn’t stop talking until you ask her to talk about herself.
In fact, that is how you get Nonna to stop talking.
It was an accident that I found that fact to be true, but it’s true none the less.
I asked her once to tell me about when she was younger.
“Tell me about the dancing! Tell me about you and Nonno dancing or kissing or both.”
“Oh, we were young, yes, a long time ago. We did some dancing.”
She tells me this, in Italian, as she lays the tomatoes out to be sun-dried.
“No, Nonna, I mean tell me about your dancing. What kind of music did you like? What kind of necklaces did you wear?”
But she doesn’t want to tell me, or remind herself, and instead she trails off in a way that makes her sound like she doesn’t quite believe the sound of her own voice.
“Okay Nonna, tell me about the tomatoes.”
“Oh, these tomatoes? I picked these tomatoes. All by myself. This morning. I hurt my joints because I picked them so long.”

“really only happy when working” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday November 3, 2015
10:46pm
5 minutes
chaninicholas.com

I called him from the parking lot on my lunch break.
“Hi!”
“Hi? Is everything okay?”
“Yup! It is okay. It is all okay!”
“Okay….did you need something then?”
“Why, do I need to need something to call my lover in the middle of the day?”
“No…not exactly…What’s going on, seriously?”
“I’m just so happy. I wanted to be happy in this moment with you.”
“Oh.”
“You got cynical!”
“And you’re cured now?’
I kicked a giant rock at my foot toward the fence. I debated hanging up right there on the spot, calling back, and pretending to be in pain.
“I didn’t say I was cured. I’m just trying to be positive.”
“Oh.”
“If you’d rather I didn’t try to turn my life around and try to change my opinion, just say the word.”
“You know that’s not what this..that’s not what I mean.”
“No, I know, I know what you mean.”

“best learning environment” by Julia on her couch


Monday November 2, 2015
5:21pm
5 minutes
from the post for an English tutor

Ok, hi, can I ask you a favour? My sister, Mandy is in desperate need of assistance and I do not know if I alone can assist her. Maybe if I explain to you her issues, you’ll be able to better asses if you, in fact, can lend your help, or if you my know someone who is better equipped to deal with the inner workings of a twelve year old than you or I both are.
Ok, so, realistically speaking, she is unable to remember daily routine information. She does not know the names of her teachers, or if she has been using the blue toothbrush or the yellow one, even though all our lives we have had our very specific colours. She no longer enjoys watching reruns of Punky Brewster, which was her ever-living favourite television program of all time.
She also refuses to practice her times tables or eat ricotta cheese!

“Your vision, values and needs” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 1, 2015
11:59pm
5 minutes
An ad for a Life Coach

The back of my computer is covered in chocolate icing because…well fuck, because, obviously. It’s been a hard month, alright, I admit that. It’s been one of those times in my life that sounds great on paper–if you get off on misery and if you romanticize inadequacy. I’d like to say that I was surprised to find myself in this situation, but the truth is, I have expected it to come at one point or another because I have never really not been the type to somehow find ninety-nine cent frosting bits smeared across my laptop. Yes it was ninety-nine cents, yes I ate it with my hands, yes I ate it in under four days, yes I did this completely on my own, and yes I enjoyed it and felt that it was, at particular wee hours of the morning, a truly smart decision…
These are tough times.

“Your vision, values and needs” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday November 1, 2015
11:32pm
5 minutes
An ad for a Life Coach

Your arms around my hips
I’m Aphrodite
I’m the Appalachians
I’m striking a match and setting the sky aflame
with the colours of our love

Your head in my lap
I’m the Saskatchewan prairie stretching all the way from
somewhere to nowhere
I’m the North Star
Guiding migrations and permutations

Your forehead pressed to mine
I’m more powerful than Plato
I’m brighter than the sun on the Sahara
I’m stronger than a thousand elephants charging East
I’m ready for all the rocket launches and the boomerangs

“ASPERTAME CONTAINS” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday October 31, 2015
5:32pm
5 minutes
The pack of gum

Reggae bleeds out of Oli’s headphones and I take them off his ears. “What are you doing?” He looks at me like I smell of something putrid.

“I’m listeninggg.” He draws out the “g”.

“No music in detention, Oli, you know that.” He glares at me. I want to slap him but of course I don’t. Of course I say,

“I’m sure you’ve got some homework or something?” He doesn’t respond.

Oli transferred from a school in the West End at the beginning of the semester. Rosie said that his father was killed in an accident at work. “He was a roofer,” she said, lipstick on her front teeth, voice lowered as one has to do in the staff room at lunch. “He fell off a roof and apparently he just went, “splat”.”

“Because they prefer stability and predictability” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday October 30, 2015
1:32pm
5 minutes
The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh


Preferring stability and predictability, Marg and Wilbert decide to sell the Winnebago. “We never use it, sugarsnap,” says Marg. “You’re right, butternut,” says Wilbert.

It’s the first time either of them uses Craigslist. Jon, their middle son, gave them his old PC last Christmas. Marg couldn’t get over all of the videos on YouTube. She even set up a Twitter.

They call Caleb, their youngest, who lives in San Francisco with his partner Kasim, to guide them through the step-by-step of making a Craigslist ad.

“But it clearly manifests itself” by Sasha in her bed


Thursday October 29, 2015
8:30pm
5 minutes
The Real Terror Network
Edward S. Herman


Poseidon feels bad about the fish-sticks he eats. “They were on sale,” he whispers as we waits for them to crisp up in the toaster oven. He squirts ketchup on his plate in preparation. “It’s okay,” he says, biting down, the flaky white fish filling his mouth with saliva, a wave of flavour and crunch, softness and salt. “Yummm…” he sighs.

His parents were vegetarians, and Poseidon still feels shame and guilt when he goes out for burgers or shrimp roti. When his mother calls and asks what he’d like to bring for the Thanksgiving potluck, he bites his tongue. “Prime r-“… “What?” His mother laughs, astonished.

“ASPARTAME CONTAINS” by Julia on her couch


Saturday October 31, 2015
5:25pm
5 minutes
From the pack of gum

My mama told me from an early age that I was to stop drinking my diet colas and she told me it was because one day they would kill me. I would tell her from an early age that I did not like being talked to like an idiot and if she was going to tell me not to do something, she better bet her big behind that she isn’t doing it herself already. And I remember clear as day each time, my mama would say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” And I would say back, “Stupid is as stupid does.” From an early age my mama didn’t like me watching any movies with Mr. Tom Hanks in it if it was just going to “come back to bite her in her ass” each and every blasted time. I drank my diet colas whenever I felt like it, watching my mama guzzle back 6 pack before lunch. She didn’t want me to end up like her, and I knew that I wouldn’t because though I loved her, I didn’t respect her. She couldn’t get me to do what she said with a gun in her hand and a million dollars in her pocket.

“Because they prefer stability and predictability” by Julia on her couch


Friday October 30, 2015
12:30pm
5 minutes
The Political Economy Of The U.S. Militarism
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh


Carl and Carla sit on their breaking futon in front of their breaking television. Carl wears his only pair of jeans left, with the giant hole in the crotch, and Carla likes to wear her apron while she is at home “just in case.” Carl and Carla’s cat, Carter sits between them as they watch a re-run of Law and Order, SVU. Carl doesn’t speak to Carla when their show is on. Carla doesn’t touch Carl when their show is on. The two of them sit in very distinct bubbles when their show is on, and when their show is not on. Carl feels a pain in his lower back from the breaking futon. Carla feels a sting in her eyes from the breaking television.

“But it clearly manifests itself” by Julia at her desk


Thursday October 29, 2015
8:19pm
5 minutes
The Real Terror Network
Edward S. Herman


She was taking secret sips from her mickey of Beefeater and had herself convinced that nobody could tell. They don’t care about me. They’re not even looking at me. And though she was actively believing herself, she couldn’t help but wish it wasn’t true at the same time. She knew that gin was her body’s vice so she chose it on purpose. She couldn’t handle it in even small doses, so this, she concluded, was an experiment. A waiting game stretched out, or turned into Chicken. She wasn’t going to be the first to give up, to quit, to get scared off. As her sister got up to the podium to make her big speech, she had her fingers gripped tight around the neck of the bottle inside her purse, ready to go.

“I feel so dirty.” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday October 28, 2015
8:30pm
5 minutes
A Thin Green Mist
Robert Shaw


She wakes
Her hands wet
Saliva? she wonders
She falls back
Sleep
The ledge
She wakes
Her hands stuck
Touching herself again?
No she’s gooey
She’s spinning webs again
She’d hoped that it ended when
the leaves changed
when the days got short
when the dark got long
She sleeps
Maybe this time it’ll be different
Maybe this time it’ll change
She wakes
A web the size of the rug in the living room
Hand spun
Hand woven
A web
“Don’t open the door!” she calls
Not wanting you to get caught
Feeling sweaty
Feeling damp
Feeling dirty

“it could not establish” by Sasha at Liberty Bakery


Tuesday October 27, 2015 at Liberty Bakery
3:38pm
5 minutes
the Iphone internet connection message

Margo made good eye contact. It didn’t come easily, but she did. No tricks, like staring in between the eyebrows, we are talking about full on retina connection.

As a child, Margo always looked up – the shapes of the clouds, a crow on the high branch of a tree, the jet-stream left behind a plane. Or, she looked down – pink sidewalk chalk, an earthworm left exposed, a tumbleweed.

It was her fourth grade teacher, Mr. Rowland, who pulled her aside one day before recess.

“Margo, you never look me in the eye! I don’t even know what colour your eyes are!”

He was so genuinely concerned, so deeply invested in her connection with others, that from that day onwards, Margo changed her course. She began to sneak peeks into people’s eyes.