“Shrimp only” by Sasha at Szos’ desk


Tuesday, March 29, 2016
11:46pm
5 minutes
From a recipe in Cowichan Bay

Mama’s gumbo is the best gumbo this side of the river. She’d never say that herself. She’s not a Braggy Betty. Me an’ Kit ask for Gumbo at least three times a week but Mama only makes it on Saturday nights. Me an’ Kit are each allowed to invite over one friend for dinner that night. If we’ve been good all week, they can even stay for a sleepover in the treehouse. Kit’s growing out his hair and so sometimes people think he’s a girl. Mama tells me to stop teasin’ him and that if he wants to confuse folks that is “his prerogative”, whatever that means. I asked Helen to come over this Saturday. She’s never had my mama’s gumbo. I’m not sure if she’s ever even had gumbo at all ‘cuz she’s from New York State. Her daddy is in the army and they just moved here.

“What? What’s wrong?” by Sasha in Cowichan Bay


Monday, March 28, 2016
11:02pm
5 minutes
From some sides

“What’s wrong with you, Loretta?”

Biddie is superstitious. She pours some salt from the shaker shaped like a chicken into her palm and tosses it over her shoulder.

They’ve been in this Highway Diner for what feels like seventeen years. Loretta can’t tell Biddie what’s wrong. It’s far too complicated.

“I’m just sad I didn’t get to say bye to Malcolm and Lilly… Especially with Lilly’s concert coming up. I’m just… sad.” Loretta wishes they hadn’t thrown their cellphones out the window while doing war-cries.

“They’ll forgive you, Lo. Promise.” Biddie eats a mouthful of flapjacks and a bit of syrup drips onto her chin.

“Professional photography” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday, March 27, 2016
10:11pm
5 minutes
From a flyer

Holly grips her Minolta like an infant and looks at me, checking the light on my face, squinting her eyes. I’ve never done this before and I feel sick with nerves.

“Are you having second thoughts?” Holly asks. Her Australian accent still catches me off guard.

“Yes, I guess I am,” I say, looking at my feet. My toenails need trimming.

“You aren’t going to get my feet in the shot, are you?” I scratch my thigh and then my balls. It’s a nervous habit. Holly catches me and then laughs.

“Good!” She says, snapping a series of photographs. “I’m glad you’re relaxing.”

“Shrimp only” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday, March 29, 2016
2:43pm
5 minutes
from a recipe in Cowichan Bay

I could live off of shrimp only and maybe some garlic. I really could. I could live off of a lot of things that seem simple like that. I could live off of sunsets and matchsticks. I could live off of olive oil and crusty bread. I could live off of my mother’s laugh and my father’s silly singing. I could live off of silent walks to the beach and quiet crying by the ocean. I could live off of his kisses and his squeezes and his eyebrow scar and his banjo playing. I could live off of people watching and star gazing. I could live off of understanding and connecting. I could live off of summer’s heat and throwing a baseball. I could live off of burgundy pens and graph paper. I could live off of peaches and hot peppers. I could live off of magic and synchronicity. I could live off of curiosity and fresh basil. I could live off of truth-speaking and patio writing. I could live off of my belly soft and my lucid dreams. I could live off of the perfect yawn and the perfect hug.

“What? What’s wrong?” by Julia at her dining table


Monday, March 28, 2016
10:17pm
5 minutes
from some sides

You ask me what I’m not telling you for the second time because my face looks like it’s hiding something from you. I don’t know why I keep saying,

Nothing.
Nothing.
Nothing.

If this were a year ago you’d have stopped questioning, whether you believed me or not, assuming you believed me, assuming you didn’t care to take notice when I said something I mean or when I didn’t.
Now you won’t let up and you won’t let me wallow and you won’t let me silently hate you or me if that’s what you think I think I’m doing. I should be grateful that you notice my subtleties now, that you inquire past surface level, that you don’t let me get away with the idea of performing perfect or unbothered or both.
But I guess I am holding on to that a bit so I won’t be held accountable to explain my feelings. To name them.
The only thing I want to say right now is,

Sometimes I don’t think you really love me.

Even though that’s ludicrous. I don’t want to say that to you now because I know how untrue that statement really is. I just want to hear you say

Always.
Always.
Always.

“Professional photography” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday, March 27, 2016
9:13pm
5 minutes
from a flyer

Abigail got my parents a professional photo session for their anniversary. I told her not to waste her money on something like that cause it would be more of a gift for her and not them. She told me that everybody likes having nice photos of themselves and that was literally the end of that. Abi can be so stubborn sometimes. She once hired a clown to entertain at her own kid’s birthday even though he’s scared to death of clowns and spent the whole afternoon crying in the bathtub. She doesn’t want to listen, she just wants to do what ever she thinks will be best. I have stopped questioning if she ever thinks past herself and considers putting somebody before her. I know the answer. She doesn’t. My parents did the photo shoot to appease her because her temper is as unpredictably violent as you can imagine, and they are the most awkward and cringe worthy photos you’ve ever seen, let alone that my parents have ever been in. I want to take her into a sound proof room sometimes and shake the living shit out of her while just screaming NO to her over and over.

“your field of experience” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday, March 26, 2016
5:05pm
5 minutes
http://www.mysticmamma.com/

It’s taking all of Sylvia’s strength not to snip her eyelid skin just to see…
Just to know what it’s like to have a hole to look through when her eyes are closed.
She traces the smoothest part of her face and gathers a fold in the middle with her thumb and forefinger.
She is overcome with an urge so big it starts talking to her..
Nobody cares about the girl with two normal eyelids… ….. …..
Nobody talks about the girl who doesn’t take any risks..
Nobody wonders why the girl without scars has no scars… ……………………………
Sylvia is convinced after the third or fifth hour of debating-daydreaming-conjuring up responses, that it probably wouldn’t hurt much anyway..
She envisions the incision healing quickly.
Assuming it must be pretty resilient skin if it has never been ripped in all her years alive and reckless on this planet….

So far…

“round their throats” by Julia in her bed


Friday, March 25, 2016
12:23am
5 minutes
From lyrics in a song

i remember my father teaching me how to tie a tie. he told me it would be good for me to know.
i remember telling my father i didn’t plan to ever wear a tie. i told him that i would prefer to learn how to plant things and build my own garden. he told me that someday, even if i didn’t wear the tie myself, i could help someone out who needed to but didn’t know how. i asked him again about the garden. he told me that if i learned how to tie a tie he would teach me about herbs and tomatoes and hot peppers and garlic. i asked him who would need to tie a tie. he said anyone could need to know. i asked him if he ever had to tie a tie for someone. he told me that he was once that person in need. he told me that he had a job interview, two weeks after landing in PEI. he told me how he met a woman on the subway who took him aside and showed him how to do it properly because he had done it wrong. he told me he barely spoke English but that day he realized how important gesture is. he told me that it’s better to know as much as possible in case one day someone needs to be taught but is too afraid to ask.

“your field of experience” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, March 26, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
http://www.mysticmamma.com/

field research: the boss who flirts unabashedly in front of his wife so much so that she hate me and finally after four years he fires me in the same office the same office where we used to talk about rumi and cinnamon and i don’t walk out of the restaurant and i don’t shame or trash talk and i crouch behind the bar so that my five tables enjoying their famous salad dressing enjoying their meals so that my five tables won’t see these tears.

field research: innocent until proven guilty that men grasp like a medal because the only one it protects is them the corrosive fear that makes me feel afraid to have daughters afraid to have daughters and afraid to have sons more so almost because what has happened to this generation of men that twist and burn and choke and shut down and i know it’s not just about gender i know that this binary is reductive to folks I’M SORRY OKAY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY what will happen when this generation of women has boys and we will try our best to teach them how to love how to love how to love.

“round their throats” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday, March 25, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
From lyrics in a song

She keeps her secret safe around her throat a
red ribbon tied in a bow the edges fraying the
fray undoing the past and what is heavy there.
She keeps her secret safe drinking beer with
breakfast drinking coffee with lunch drinking
no water only brown liquids to keep the pain
down below the sludge. She keeps her secret
safe by only calling him on his birthday and
making sure it’s at a time he won’t pick up.

“Happy birthday, Owen. Hope you’re well.”

Dial tone like the drone note of a prayer she
won’t do this again. This is the last time.
She keeps her secret safe until it doesn’t
want safety. It wants air it wants light prisms.

“WIN $5000” by Sasha at Trees Organic Cafe


Thursday, March 24, 2016 at Trees Organic Cafe
9:36pm
5 minutes
from a No Frills receipt

If you won $5000 you would give a lot of it away. You would take yourself out for a meal at that restaurant you really want to try but have deemed “out of your budget”. You would treat a friend to a really good book, anything they want, from the book store you walk by on your way to yoga. You wouldn’t give what you’re giving away in one big chunk. You’d give a hundred dollars here. Fifty there. If you won $5000, you would keep doing what you’re doing. You would book people fancy vacations you could never afford. You would speak so many hours on the phone with Iceland that you’re neck would hurt. It’s not enough money to change things, really. But, every time you give, you feel stronger.

“you can work on in your backyard” by Sasha in the bath


Wednesday March 23, 2016
11:23pm
5 minutes
viralnova.com

Alice: I have money to get where I’m going…
Bree: Why does it sound like you’re trying to convince yourself?
Alice: I do! I am…
Bree: It’s going to be okay.
Alice: You don’t know that.
Bree: When you get there, go find a place to get a grilled cheese sandwich. It will help it feel like home.
Alice: That’s a good idea… Are you sure you can’t come?
Bree: Monty needs me. I work tomorrow.
Alice: Call in sick.
Bree: I can’t.
Alice: Why not? How long has it been since you did something for yourself?
Bree: This isn’t for myself, Alice! It’s for you!

“the way you would like them to appear” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday March 22, 2016
11:43pm
5 minutes
On the artist program guide site

We met when I was damp with summer between
my temples the handlebars of my bike luring
in all the strays
We met when I drank too much tequila and ate
onion rings at the diner where the man promised
they weren’t fried in the same oil
as the chicken fingers
We met when I glued eyelashes to my lids even
though I’ve always gotten compliments on the
ones that are already there
We met when I was mixed up with things I
didn’t know the consequences of unsafe
sex in bathroom stalls and blowjobs on
counters of restaurants where you julienned
the perfect carrots

“It smells like fucking McDonald’s” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday March 21, 2016
11:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

curly fries and big guy eyes extra
large coke and free refills to boot
open twenty four hours a day never
know when the cleaning happens then
brother can you buy me an ice cream
cone brother can you please add extra
salt to that can you please upgrade the
patty count to seven eight nine
ten eleven and smear on some of that
special sauce

“It is important to notice the differences and similarities in the success stories” by Sasha in her bed


Sunday March 20, 2016
9:35pm
5 minutes
from authorspublish.com

Henry thinks we are going to go make memories or something but I’m just in it for the free trip to Mexico. I know that that’s a pretty crazy thing to say, but, like, I’m just trying to be honest. Henry said that he likes honesty, that he’s attracted to honesty, so that’s what he’s going to get.

I don’t think it’s going to get awkward once we’re there. I’ll give him just enough attention. I’m no worried.

“WIN $5000” by Julia at Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar


Thursday, March 24, 2016 at Platform 7
2:36pm
5 minutes
from a nofrills receipt

Leda sends me a photo of her vagina and asks if I have the same rose-looking ‘thing’ on mine.

I send her back an image of a desert and tell her there are no flowers blooming here. You don’t use it you lose it. Pft. Everything turns to dust.

She texts back a hands up emoji, praising my perfect timing and accurate representation of whatever my sorry situation is right now.

I text her asking why she’s asking about her rose-thingy and use many ellipses to demonstrate that I have been left hanging and my curiosity is in fact sparked.

She texts back a photo of our matching tattoos and says she wanted to know if she should be worried or if we were fine.

I text Leda saying that I’ll get back to her but if it doesn’t hurt, it’s probably fine?

She texts back asking for a picture of my vagina to confirm that our genes are fine.

I text back a photo of Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.

“you can work on in your backyard” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday March 23, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
viralnova.com

Mom calls me from the subway and her phone keeps cutting out because she’s standing on the steps half deciding whether or not to hang up or go and catch her damn train. She calls me back every time and I can’t get any work done or any listening done because we manage to sneak in one or two conjunctions and then there’s static. She’s scared of going to the doctor because she’s convinced they’re going to tell her she’s dying. She’s afraid of cancer. She has no visible symptoms. She is just afraid so she made the appointment. She’s not saying any of this. She’s talking about aunt Rene’s cockatiel and how the Chinese garlic situation has fucked with her tomato sauce. I want to tell her to go and to listen to them tell her that she’s fine but I can’t actually promise anything of the sort. I picture her attached to the subway stairs for hours, clinging in between the knowing and the unknowing of every single thing on this planet. I picture how she feels when she decides the reason she can’t get herself to go is because her only kid is too busy not reading in between her lines to go and be there for her. I put on my shoes.

“the way you would like them to appear” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday March 22, 2016
9:18pm
5 minutes
on the artist program guide site

A woman just crashed into a table behind me. I didn’t look up. I don’t know for sure that it even happened but I sensed it in some way and then I accepted it as not my problem. I hope I don’t go to hell for this. Like people say there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women. Well is there a special place for women who sense that other women around her are in distress but don’t actually have concrete evidence or even a witness account that that’s the case? I mean. If I can be real for a quick second, I very well may have invented that there was even a woman behind me at all. I felt the room’s energy shift. I also could have had a heart palpitation and confused it for someone being hurt? Maybe I’m the hurt one? Like is this even an issue. I’m sure she’s fine. No one around me has changed their activities. Either it didn’t happen or she didn’t need help in the first place. It’s not fair to invent victims. I’m simply saying if I had turned around to just see, I could have better assessed my destination as hell or otherwise.

“I’ll avoid her for a few weeks” by Sasha on Granville Island


Saturday March 19, 2016
5:35pm
5 minutes
From a text

It’s not, like, complicated. I’ll just like, avoid her for a few weeks… I mean, it’s not like anything really happened… We just, we just… You know… Stop looking at me like that! Seriously! I’m not, I’m not…

I guess we do have Spanish together, but I’ll just skip. It’s not a big deal. Justin would literally lose his mind. Or he’d think it was hot. Hard to know. Hard to know. Got any gum? My breath smells like a dog. I’m thinking about going down to the beach for final period. I can’t sit through another one of Mr. Valencelli’s lectures about STI’s. I just can’t.

“I’ve never been a male filmmaker” by Sasha at Studio 1398


Friday March 18, 2016
6:32pm
5 minutes
From a Death, Sex and Money podcast

“Don’t give me another reason to doubt you! Just don’t do it. Don’t give me another reason to hate you, Sanders!”

Mick shouts at the top of his lungs on his way out of the deli.

The rift goes back. Way back. Before the streets had the names they do now. Before Venus made eggs over easy.

Sanders doesn’t hear Mick. He pisses and then washes his hands and then wipes his hands on his pants. He mutters,

“Shit.”

He forgot that he wore khakis.

“passionate artists” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday March 17, 2016
12:21am
5 minutes
from a program

I woke up. Not, like, from sleep. There was no stretching, or coffee, or yawns. Well, maybe there was, but that’s beside the point. I realized something, something huge. Something so huge that it completely transformed everything about me – from the size of my baby toes to colour of my heart.

From the time I was a little girl, everyone said, “you can be whatever you want to be!” This was well intentioned. This was meant to be a good thing, to be freeing… “Are you going to be a nurse like your Dad?” People would say. “Are you going to be an engineer like your Mom?” They would ask. “I just want to be a passionate artist!” I said one day… And it just kind of stuck. I kept saying it. Suddenly, that’s what I wanted.

“The earth’s insomnia” by Sasha at Studio 1398


Wednesday March 16, 2016
9:08pm
5 minutes
Moonlight
Lorna Crozier


Julie and Mel stand on the steps of a Church downtown.

J: Want a smoke?
M: Naw…
J: Why not? You too good for this now?
M: Naw?
J: You fuckin’ quit.
M: Nu-uh.
J: You did! You fuckin’ quit!
M: You know what, Julie? You’re a bitch!
J: What?
M: Yeah! You’re a fuckin’ bitch who talks too fuckin’ much and I’m sick of your bullshit.
J: Naw. You’re grumpy cuz you quit smoking.

Pause.

M: So what if I did?
J: I knew it! I fuckin’ knew it!
M: Yeah, I did. I’m tryin’ to get things back on track, okay?
J: Good for you! I’m proud a’ you! Really.
M: Shut up.
J: I am!

Pause.

M: Really?
J: Yeah…
M: Thanks. Thanks alot, Jules.
J: Yeah, man. You’re welcome! Onwards to health and vitality, man.

Julie finishes her cigarette and lights up another. Mel watches her, out of the corner of her eye. A few moments pass. A car goes by blaring hip hop. They both bop their heads.

“It smells like fucking McDonald’s” by Julia on the walk home


Monday March 21, 2016
11:03pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

Remind me not to want to fuck Elliot for future’s sake. I swear to god this kid’s skin actually reeks of Big Mac. I saw him mowing down chicken nuggets this morning and then he somehow had special sauce on his face all through 3rd period so someone please explain that to me. When I first saw him and his giant sensual lips I was like, whoa, damn, hot damn, good lord, seriously, holy shit, no way, seriously, take me, touch me, holy shit, snail trail, holy shit. I would have wanted him to mack up on me but I think if he were to now it would have a completely different meaning. But it’s cause he also plays the guitar and that’s a huge turn on for me. But the excessive deep fry that seeps out of his pores is the opposite of everything I’ve ever wanted. I wonder if I can wear an inconspicuous nose plug???

“It is important to notice the differences and similarities in the success stories” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday March 20, 2016
3:32pm
5 minutes
from authorspublish.com

When William came home from his first day of grade 1, he showed me a chart he made- a Venn diagram with the titles:

THINGS I DO AT HOME

THINGS I DO AT SCHOOL

William had scribbled in Colouring and Playing and Fun and Story Time in the At School Circle. In the At Home one he had written Eating and Bath Time and Bed With No Dessert and Chicken Nuggets
I realize how little I can control what he will do or say when he’s not around me. How I can’t protect an identity or a culture that I’ve built in my own home because people will always have their opinion no matter what the context. I realize how much he absorbs and how he defines himself as a member of my household. It makes me want to make a spinach salad for dinner and spend time cutting out magazine images for a collage to hang in his bedroom.

“I’ll avoid her for a few weeks” by Julia on her couch


Saturday March 19, 2016
6:35pm
5 minutes
from a text

If I close my eyes I can almost hear perfect silence. The buzz of the fridge seems to disappear. The beeping of the trucks backing up outside my balcony are muted. I can get centred without going anywhere at all. I’ve been practicing getting zen and doing it under pressure as that’s the most necessary time. Sheila says that if I practice every single day, reaching for meditation every single time I have the urge to call her instead, I’ll really start to form a habit. I think Sheila has a point. You can’t reach zen when you’re trying to make plans to go mini-golfing, or asking someone about knitting. I think Sheila is doing the exact same thing every time she thinks of calling me. I imagine her sitting there on the floor 6 or 7 times a day if she’s being diligent about curbing the urge. I don’t remember the last time Sheila even called me so her approach must be working! If I can get to a point where I don’t even think about how little human contact I’ve had, I’ll call that a success.

“I’ve never been a male filmmaker” by Julia at Artstarts


Friday March 18, 2016 at Artstarts
2:41pm
5 minutes
from a Death, Sex and Money podcast

I’ve been making a movie and it’s about my green bike, Gloria, and all the places Gloria ends up even though it might not always seem likely that she can get there. It’s a thoughtful piece meant to comment on the system of transportation and the moon and how the two are actually lovers. So far the feedback about my project has included statements such as “what is this film really about?”, “what exactly are you trying to say here?”, “is there a story at any point that we might be introduced to?”, and “I love the name Gloria!” I am preparing to submit this feature length movie to many festivals in the circuit. I am very positive about what’s to come.

“passionate artists” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday March 17, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
from a program

There’s a group of people protesting outside my window. I saw one of their signs and it said “equal rights for all” and that’s how I know this country is going to shit. I’m being very serious. What’s a poet supposed to do with equal rights? I’m pretty sure that’s not how art is made and I can say that because my sister’s ex boyfriend was one of them and all his creation revolved around the worst feelings and circumstances in the world. I think these conditions exist so writers have something to write about about and painters have something to paint. Look at the statistics! Love isn’t going to get “bums in the seats” and valuing a system where hippies just hang out at the beach all day banging on drums and talking about their spirit animals is just going to create more bonfires on beaches!

“The earth’s insomnia” by Julia at her “New York”


Wednesday March 16, 2016
9:04pm
5 minutes
Moonlight
Lorna Crozier


I have been out stealing rosemary again. Middle of the night. I am not sorry. But I do recognize the pattern. It’s not about much more than needing to have it in my home so I can touch it when I want to and it can calm me down. Some people do the very same thing with animals. I mean maybe they don’t go around at midnight and sneak into people’s front yards, but–I mean they feel comforted by the presence of a pet. So what? I don’t have one of those. I make do. I’m fine. Please don’t ever think my problems will be solved by a cat. They most certainly will not. I don’t need something like that. Thank you for the offer of your offer. I miss my fucking mother. I want to call her and cry and let her love me back to life. I want to tell her that after all that rosemary thieving I didn’t even put any in the roast potatoes. Because I wanted to keep it longer in a vase next to my bed. Because I wanted to hold onto her soft voice telling me for the last time that I was her laugh.

“Get just the right pick-me-up” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday March 15, 2016
12:10am
5 minutes
pulpliterature.com

man. get just the right pick-me-up before you crash because once you’re down it’s impossible to get back up and away to the clouds where the angels in their cream cheese dresses are as high as you are the fancy footworks a distraction.

rehab is for pussies been there done that no use in denying what’s real here what’s the point of pretending. lola makes these mean tacos and when i’m blitzed i can eat like ten of them swear to god like ten. can’t get tacos in rehab, man. can’t get anything but that hooey fooey shit with the crystals and the artwork and the counselling sessions that put me to sleep, man.

“electro hypersensitivity” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday March 14, 2016
11:56pm
5 minutes
Common Ground Magazine

My mama has been shut in doors for almost thirty seven years. She thanks her lucky stars that there weren’t any complications with my birth, and Kenny’s, because then she’d a had to get on outta there. She blames it on electro hypersensitivity but it’s not. It’s agoraphobia through and through. She has the script that she rattles off, “I have a disorder where the electricity fields from the wires snaking all over the damn place give me crippling headaches and heartburn”. Kenny and I roll our eyes and she doesn’t even notice cuz she’s so committed to the story. She’s lost everyone, you know. Except for us. The house smells like a chicken coop.

“cultural and community differences” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday March 13, 2016
5:24pm
5 minutes
From a sample CV

A stench in the music of his voice he invites
me into the backseat and I’m wary of the way that
his hands dance. “Make a kissy face make a kissy
face” he says taking photos on his flip phone my
femininity is not enough for him without pursed
lips. The sky is shitting hail and he rolls a joint
on my thigh jeans like armour legs spread.

“You want to go to the falls?” I know there isn’t
actually a question in there even when I look
inside the spaces between want and to.

“Get just the right pick-me-up” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday March 15, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
pulpliterature.com

You go to sleep early because you’ve been up since 6:27am and you say that the mountains have made you tired again. I can hear you breathing from behind the living room wall. You sound like you’re trying to send me tiny signals as I stay up to paint my nails. I don’t like to go to sleep after you but it’s been happening more and more these days. I am racing against daylight and I can’t afford to take short cuts right now. I know your body’s heat by this time. I know that there’s a softness there in the curve of your back that fits most of my organs perfectly. I picture that spot while I think simultaneously about chicken thighs with preserved lemon or that surprise weekend getaway golden ticket you gave me for my birthday last June. You told me to pick wherever I wanted to go. I told you we could close our eyes, point on the map and go where our fingers land.

“Electro hypersensitivity” by Julia at her dining table


Monday March 14, 2016
11:55pm
5 minutes
Common Ground Magazine

We are lying on the hard wood floors we’re afraid to ruin. You run your hand along the outline of one square and then another. You grab my fingers and trace them along the spot you just were. You say
Do you feel that?
I say
Yeah I feel that.
The little nail pokes through and keeps getting caught in my socks and ripping them just a little. I watch your face change shape as you continue to drag your soft fingertips across the ground, searching for imperfections, thinking about preventative measures. I move my head into your lap and I close my eyes. You say
We will probably have to pay for these god forsaken floors.
I say
I know that. We aren’t very good at protecting them.
You say
Maybe because we care about real things like Orcas and braiding sweet grass into tiny nests.

“cultural and community differences” by Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Sunday March 13, 2016
3:46pm
5 minutes
From a sample CV

In the moments of stillness
In between where you left and you loved me
I can count the number of breaths I have taken
On one hand
Maybe one and a half
The song I made you write for me plays
It never stops
It doesn’t know how
I don’t know how
I’m embarrassed that you didn’t want to do it
On your own
I could have asked
But I demanded
I could have invited
But I fought
I guess I was under the impression that
We do things for people
When we know it makes them feel good
I am sorry I put you in that category
Of people who care about people
Of people who give because they can
Not because they are tallying points
I am wrong too
I am happy to be so wrong
I am learning in the space between wrong and never right
You taught me that

“In an attempt to get around this problem” by Julia on the 99


Saturday March 12, 2016
5:24pm
5 minutes
Epigenetics2 Revolution
Nessa Carey


There’s a man staring at me from under a balaclava. I am scared but more than that- I am furious. I think if I show fear he wins. I am mad that he is winning. I am so mad that he is anything on this planet, but because I have to deal with this, I am angry that these stupid tactics are working on me. He is on my mind. At the front of it. I tell myself not to look up at him. I don’t want to meet the gaze of this ridiculous human being who’s growing harder in his pants at the thought of displacing me in my rightful position on this earth. I tell myself that if I don’t look at him, I will be the one in control. I am desperate for another human to get on this god forsaken bus so I can avoid eye contact with him or her as well so it doesn’t look like he’s getting to me, just seeming that I don’t look at anyone, that I don’t give a flying fuck about connection.

I am afraid.
And I hate him for that.

“the conscious mind” by Julia on her couch


Friday March 11, 2016
4:19pm
5 minutes
A quote by Janet Burroway

Barshum tells me to meet him at the art supply store near Granville and I have to fight my urge to ask him if it’s a date. I don’t really want to know. I’m trying this new thing that probably isn’t actually new to the world but is to me that I learned when I was living in Naples for a semester abroad. The people there all hang out and enjoy each other’s company and nobody is actively trying to bang anyone. When I asked once if Martina was going to the movie looking for love, she laughed, shook her head, and then laughed again. In her broken English she said, (and I’ve interpreted) we don’t go out for more than just fun. If something else happens, okay, great, that’s a bonus. But if nothing happens, then no one is disappointed because no one was wearing a mask over their ulterior motives.

so…I’m trying not to have a second end in mind. Maybe no end at all would be better.

“This is a key aspect” by Julia on 5th


Thursday March 10, 2016 Trees Coffee
1:41pm
5 minutes
From an email

I have broken all the rules this week. Ate the cheesecake. Called Robyn. Drunk Dialed Robyn. Ruined everything with Robyn. Told Sidney that I didn’t want to tutor her in Spanish anymore because I didn’t think she was taking it seriously.
Ate the cheesecake (there were two). Bought the dress. Mixed black and brown. Sat on the public toilet seat at the Flyer’s game. Joked about hypocrisy. Judged Tina for being a hypocrite. Was a hypocrite. Didn’t correct the douche bag at the 7/11 when he called me Sir. Lied in my journal. Lied in my sleep. Killed a bathroom spider. Ate the cheesecake (there were three).

“Share the love” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday March 9, 2016
6:01pm
5 minutes
From the sign at Platform 7

I can remember Len holding my sunglasses out of reach. I was trying to grab them back but he wouldn’t let me hold them anymore because I kept taking them off and throwing them into the ocean. He knew how much I loved those stupid things. I used to get so bratty after whiskey. I wonder if he takes care of Kia that way. I wonder if she needs someone to keep her in check the way I did. I can remember the freckle on the inside of his left ear, the way his skin smelled of spicy cucumber, his favourite pajama pants with the secret pocket. I can remember the pain in my chest when he told me he couldn’t stay. It’s easy to remember the thing that stays the same.

“In my house we never had enough” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday March 8, 2016
9:49pm
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


In my house we never had enough moments of pure ease–we had some tensions around the dinner table–us correcting dad’s grammar, one little one getting in trouble for skipping school again, the big on getting in trouble for wanting to leave the dinner table to go work on her homework, the middle one getting in trouble for slamming the door earlier.
“Eat what’s on your plate”
“Eat this or don’t eat”
If you don’t eat what’s on your plate, you can’t leave the table”
We couldn’t say we weren’t hungry–we couldn’t say we didn’t want the risotto or the second day fried spaghetti or the chicken scallopini or the veal fettine with lemon and parsley. How could we say we don’t want to eat these good things with you when you get mad at us for BREATHING.
“You should feel so lucky you get to eat like this”
“You should see what the other kids have to eat every night: pasta from a can, tuna salad sandwiches”
“But we like tuna”
“Not for dinner we don’t”
Some moments reeked of attempted ease.
A joke here–him trying to steal a fork full of meat off our plates when weren’t looking–a question about the neighbour’s dog.

“In an attempt to get around this problem” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday March 12, 2016
5:17pm
5 minutes
Epigenetics Revolution
Nessa Carey


“So Jean,” he says, peering over his bifocals, “tell me a bit about something you feel particular passion for…”

The way he says “passion” turns my guts. Or maybe it’s the nachos I had last night… Nope. Definitely how he just –

“Jean?”

“Yes?”

“Tell me a bit about something you feel particular – ”

“A well shaved leg.”

“Hm.”

“Weren’t expecting that now, were you?”

He shuffles my resume with a few others. Must be an intimidation tactic. He must not have loved my answer. Whatever.

“Have you ever worked in the not for profit sector, Jean?”

“Why as a matter of fact, I have. You just slid my resume cozily between a few others there, but if you refer to it once more you’ll see that I’ve worked in the – ”

“You’re funny Jean. I like that. You need a good sense of humour to survive in this business. It’s the Wild West.”

“Mmm?” I take a swig from my water bottle. He watches me.

“the conscious mind” by Sasha at Platform 7


Friday March 11, 2016 at Platform 7
12:52pm
5 minutes
A quote by Janet Burroway

TRISHA: Is there someone I can call? To come and get you? … Chuck, or…? You, you can’t be here. You can’t stay here.
TRISHA motions for the woman with the guinea pig to enter one of the exam rooms down the hall. The woman warily walks past JUDITH.
JUDITH: I said, “Go pooh pooh, Charlie!” and I think I might’ve, I think I must’ve locked the door and then I went to check on those cookies that he likes, those peanut butter cookies? They were on fire! The dreams burnt. The fire alarm rang – Aaa-ooooooo! Aaa-ooooooo! He didn’t have a place to come home to! Charlie must be… he was… He must be sopping wet somewhere! I’m scared for him I really am…

“This is a key aspect” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday March 10, 2016
11:08am
5 minutes
From an email

You are always in my mind when I’m making decisions. I promise you that. But sometimes I just have to go, “This is what I need to do. No matter what.” And not let anything get in my way. I know that we’ll always work it out, I have faith in that. That’s why I love us. I know that, even if we swim around in shit for a week or two, we’ll always work it out and it’ll all be okay because we’re inventors. We come up with ways to make the worst situations the best situations. Like… remember the time that we got into that fender bender on the way up to your aunt’s place? Shit. It was hailing, we couldn’t drive, you had forgotten your parka and CAA was taking a dog’s age to get there. But the stereo worked and so we listened to that Neil Young song… Whattaya call it? This is a key aspect of who we are, of how we work, of why I love you.

“Share the love” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday March 9, 2016
10:01pm
5 minutes
From the sign at Platform 7

Tonight I realized that I have never asked Bettina what she did at home in the Ukraine, like what she did for work or whatever. I felt like a complete asshole. I’ve been working with this woman for months and I really don’t know anything about her. I take her for granted. I really do. She sneaks me chunks of cheese and cucumber, and I basically act like she doesn’t matter. She’s here, working two jobs in a country where she’s a stranger everywhere, she’s not running into people she went to kindergarten with at the corner store… So I said, “Bettina, I can’t believe I’ve never asked, what do you do at home, in your country?”

“I work with the orphan”, she said. “I study education, medicine, arts, everything in university and then I work with orphans whose three to six years old.”

“In my house we never had enough” by Sasha on the pullout


Tuesday March 8, 2016
10:56pm
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


I try to take her plate away and she flips! “I’m not FINISHED!” So I feel like shit, like I’ve tried to rip a bottle away from a newborn or something and then she shoots me devil eyes for the next half hour… But I love my job. I really do. I love my new job. I love it because you have to be in the present, you know? You have to be current. You can’t get ahead of yourself or think about that rent’s due in a week or your boyfriend was an asshole this morning or whatever because all you’re thinking is “bacon or sausage? Milk or cream? Sunny-side up or scrambled? Cheddar or feta?” And there’s something about that’s that is really refreshing.

“White-sand beaches” by Sasha in her bed


Monday March 7, 2016
10:46pm
5 minutes
from an online ad

He says to me, “don’t get righteous”. Righteous?! I am probably the least righteous person in the whole world, right? So I look at him, I look him dead in the eye and I say, “Richard. Would you please just fuck off?” And you should have seen his face! It was priceless! It was totally priceless! He was shocked. He didn’t even know what to say. For once in his life, the man was speechless. So I just stood there and of course I immediately wanted to backtrack and apologize or something but I didn’t I didn’t I just stood there and we kind of just stared at eachother. Finally he walked away from my desk. Then I just started cracking up, Gus, it was horrible. And wonderful. I couldn’t stop laughing. So Richard hears me laughing, hysterically, because I can’t help the fact that sometimes my laugh gets kind of caught in my throat and sounds a little barky! I can’t help that! I just imagine that we get to fuck this stupid nine to five life and that we can spend winter on those white sand beaches, those ones you see in the ads on the subway? Who says that that can’t be us!

“poignant revelations about life” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday March 6, 2016
9:31pm
5 minutes
mic.com

F: Almost ready here, sweetheart. Almost ready. Why don’t you (hands her a glass of red wine) go sit down in the living room and I’ll call you in when everything’s good to go?
M: okay… (She grabs a green bean and pops it in her mouth) Mmm… Are these garlicy? Are these garlic green beans? Frank! You made them!
He hits her hand gently.
M: Okay okay okay I’m going. But not before… onemorebean!
She exits.
The phone rings.
F: Hi Mom. Well? How did that… Did you? No I’m not busy. Well I was just… But this is not…. Okay, Mom. Calm down. Try the plunger. And? Well how hard did you plung? What abou… There’s nothing… No I’m not mocking you. Yessss… Okay. Well… I was just making dinner for Mol… Can it wait, Mom? No no no – I’ll be right over. He hangs up the phone. Damn it.

“who are doing anything but the typical” by Sasha in the bath


Saturday March 5, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
ubc.ca

It is Thanksgiving weekend and I am in the country with my family in a small wood house with old carpets and water that smells like copper. My phone rings at 10:53pm. I don’t answer but then sneak outside to check my voicemail. “Hi”, Ben says. “I got fired today. Call me back?” I decide to call him back in the morning but he calls ten minutes later and I take it, outside, in my slippers, the clear star sky winking down at me, laughing at my young heart.
He tells me about losing his job. He missed too many shifts. He showed up to work stoned. I tell him about walking my parents’ dog along the beach. He tells me he’s tipsy. I hear myself coo words of kindness and reassurance like no time has passed.

“a couple annual holidays” by Sasha on her couch


Friday, March 4, 2016
11:04pm
5 minutes
From Sasha’s play

we meet at a purim
you’ve got a flower in your hair
i’ve got a scarf the colour of first day blood
when i see you i feel i’ve known you for six thousand years
eye to eye a handshake means nothing in a moment
and yet when we do i feel a current of energy up my arm
down my leg into every cell into every crevice
i am shy when i ask for your phone number
shaking like the leaves
“let’s hang out,” i make it sound more casual than i feel

“White-sand beaches” By Julia at her dining table


Monday March 7, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
from an online ad

If you’re asking then I’m going, going with you, going wherever you go.
I don’t have any bags packed yet but I don’t mind getting whatever I need as we bleed.
Can I borrow your toothbrush? If you’re asking, can I share your knapsack?
I could sing you one of your favourites. You can pick the one. I know you like some feeling kinds, some country, some bluegrass, some sweet sweet soul.
I don’t care if you’re a white-sand beaches kind of thing, a hot air balloon, an air dive off of a mountain kind of heart. I am an open mess of so much yes and so little reservation.
I can curl up small on your back, or lead you hand in hand to a secret place where the pure strength river will never run dry.

“his eyes were heavy, his muscles ached.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday March 3, 2016
10:44pm
5 minutes
Walkabout
James Vance Marshall


She’s not sure if she has anything left to write. All the stories are the same the same the same the same the same. She burps beer and swallows it down. His eyes look heavy across from her. “Go to bed,” she thinks. “Want another?” She says. They both have notebooks open, filling the space between them. At least something is. She wonders whether the sex will ever get good again. She wonders whether his twin has a nicer jaw. She goes to the bar and gets another pitcher. She refills their glasses. His head is resting on his arm. Is he sleeping?

“poignant revelations about life” By Julia on her couch


Sunday March 6, 2016
9:25pm
5 minutes
mic.com

Sirrah comes over to my house and tells me she is craving ice cream and fried chicken.
She says she’s been craving it since last week. I know immediately that She is pregnant. She never eats fried chicken. I don’t even really believe that she’s craving it now, but I don’t doubt that she is hoping I clue in and ask why she’d ever want to do such an out of character thing.
Sirrah drops another hint about laying off white wine spritzers for a while, even though I haven’t actually offered her anything. She talks a lot about how this life is so short and how we have to find our purpose through offerings and sacrifice. I want to punch Sirrah right in her first trimester. Trying to pass down life lessons to me without asking for permission. I don’t like that she assumes I want the same things as she does. I am perfectly happy without some other human to depend on me- complicating everything. I know that sounds bitter but it isn’t. If I wanted a baby, trust me, there could have been plenty of opportunities.

“who are doing anything but the typical” By Julia on her couch


Saturday March 5, 2016
11:18pm
5 minutes
ubc.ca

I don’t know where the ground is where the ground is where the ground is
Mama says I should know because my feet are there but I don’t know where it is I don’t know
She says breathe deep and feel the earth
She says close your eyes and visualize
and I am confused because I can’t see anything either
How do I know where I’m going if I don’t know where I am?
I don’t know where I am I don’t know where I am
I haven’t known for a long time I haven’t felt secure
The ground isn’t under me, nothing is supporting me
Mama says it is I just need to find my feet again
I look down and see feet but I can’t see what’s below.
Mama says trust that you know and trust that you do
I’m sorry I am not better, I’m sorry I don’t know where the ground is

“a couple annual holidays” by Julia at Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar


March 4, 2016 at Platform 7
5:09pm
5 minutes
from Sasha’s play

And there’s no time to wait
For my health to come back
I have already planned a vacation
I’m going away
I’m going to go
I’m not going to stop
Until I get home
I don’t remember what my yard looks like
Cause I don’t remember much
Was there one tree or two?
Did the cornfields shoot higher than the pussy willow?
I don’t remember much
Time has run out
In the most respectful way it could
Reminding me that I don’t have to
keep living like I used to
I wish for courage
I wish us all courage
I’m going back home with my ball of yarn
Going to wrap it around each branch
Each trellis
So I can draw a map of where I used to live
The hardest part of that is remembering
how to remember
I think I’ll write a note
In red red string
On the gates of all my neighbours
to let them know I’m back
And I’m collecting memories
Shiny new ones that I can still see
Maybe they’ll have more than just the ones
of my sister and me
selling drawings for 6 pennies each

“his eyes were heavy, his muscles ached.” By Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday March 3, 2016
11:46pm
5 minutes
Walkabout
James Vance Marshall


Poor thing had just come in from an unexpected encounter. He was sore all over, one eye glued right shut-save for the little drop of blood that squeezed out and marked up his left cheek. I didn’t know what to do, seeing him like that. I imagined Teri wouldn’t want to know that her little boy had been horse whipped by her own brother, but she was bound to find out sooner or later. I took him over to the sink and I tried to dab a cool cloth on his face, on that nasty eye. He pulled away at first but when I started humming to him he calmed down a bit. I told him over and over again I was so sorry. I didn’t know Elliot would be home so early. I didn’t even have two seconds to hide the sweet little thing before he got his monster hands on him. When I bent down close to meet his eyes with mine, little thing whispered to me, please don’t tell my mom.

“As a heavy-metal band” by Sasha at Matchstick Coffee Chinatown


Wednesday March 2, 2016 at Matchstick Coffee
5:09pm
5 minutes
The Comic Toolbox
John Vorhaus


The rocks steamed and eucalyptus snaked up my nose. A woman
stout and frowning, smacked my back with some kind of abrasive
cloth. The market sung from outside the window, calling me towards
chickpea tajine and freshly squeezed orange juice. Naked as a
newborn I closed my eyes and thought of home
six thousand kilometres and a
lifetime away. The floor slippery under my
flip flopped feet I walked slowly, following the sound of
your voice. Laughter at the strangeness, clutching
the corners of a towel,
swaddled. “I feel like I’ve just been born!”

“late summer night in 1990” by Sasha at Platform 7


Tuesday March 1, 2016
5:48pm
5 minutes
http://therumpus.net/2016/03/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-true-story/

The crickets were calling my name. I slept in the bottom bunk bed on the main floor sleeping porch, Jo tossing and turning above me, restless in the heat. We’d only been on the farm for five weeks. We rose before the sun and by the time it was cool again we were either in a bath or in bed. The days were longer and harder than we’d ever imagined. Even through Jo’s father was raised on a farm, we were from the city, we knew nothing about pigs and compost and birthing calves. The crickets were calling my name and I knew that if I ignored them I wouldn’t get the rest I needed tonight in order to be up and at ’em in six hours.

“As a heavy-metal band” by Julia at Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar


Wednesday March 2, 2016 at Platform 7
2:59pm
5 minutes
The Comic Toolbox
John Vorhaus


I am joining a band!
A Circus!
I don’t care about the big hair part! I just want to eat music for breakfast!
I’m big when I want to be, loud when I’m allowed. I don’t like walls, unless they’re made of sounds.
Mama says
BE CAREFUL
Pa says
DON’T SHOUT
Baby Brae says
AHHH! AHHH!
And I say
YEAH!! YEAH!!
Mama says
YOU MAY BE TOO LITTLE
Pa says
NOT LITTLE ENOUGH!-patting my head, chuckling HA HA
I want to tell them I can be what I want!
I am big like a thunderstorm.
I am loud like a parade!
I am going to sing with my mouth open like this:
( )
( )
Swallowing songs and guitars and applause!
Mama says
BE WHAT YOU WANT!
Pa says
DON’T FORGET US!
Baby Brae says
AHHH! AHHH!
I say
YEAH!! YEAH!!
I am going to see the world!
I am going to be the sky!

“late summer night in 1990” by Julia on the 23


Tuesday March 1, 2016
7:04pm
5 minutes
http://therumpus.net/2016/03/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-true-story/

Hardly slept-hadn’t been since March if I’m being honest. I don’t know if it was the construction or the lawn mowers- working nights make you stop sleeping and forget who you are, what your name is. But-I don’t know if I’m making excuses or whatever-all I know is I was fried. Wasn’t thinking. Maya couldn’t come and get me and that was fine-she said she was tied up at the shelter and some lone wolf told her he wasn’t going to leave unless she shaved his nut sack. I know I shouldn’t have left on my own-should have just waited there at the rest zone until someone could come get me, or some bus route opened up. I don’t like waiting around. Makes me feel like I’m killing time before I die. No in between. I didn’t mean to be so stupid. I didn’t need to drive I just had to get out of there-the smell of the plastic was starting to seep into me, twisting my guts up. Head pounding, all of that- I was just tired.

“A single breast winking,” by Sasha on her couch


Monday February 29, 2016
11:35pm
5 minutes
FWD FWD
Robin Evans


I don’t know how to tell you about
this body
that breaks open
seeds all over the place
dying your hands the colour of the hurt
I don’t know how to tell you about
the time I was grabbed on the subway platform
too young to know what this body even means
to a world obsessed
the time I was followed
fifteen
running up the stairs to
the house on the street named after a tree
heart pounding out of my ears out of my mouth
Thumbing through a phone book for the number to call
We are taught it’s not an emergency until someone
get’s hurt
I don’t know how to tell you about
the complexities of getting home alone
keys gripped one between each finger
glances over a shoulder that burden kisses
and has kissed since breasts sprouted
uninvited

“Inside our homes there is usually” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday February 28, 2016
11:46pm
5 minutes
From a magazine cutout

The smell of saffron and raisins, stewing zucchini
and red onion. You play with my hair like we’re sisters
and we are but we’re not. A writer from Paris who wants to
fuck you and might take me too if I offered tells us about
his book. “It’s a ghost story,” he says, rolling a cigarette.
“Aren’t all stories ghost stories?” I ask, mostly myself but
also you, and a little bit him. He looks surprised and asks
if we want to go to the underground liquor store to get wine.
You know ghosts, haunted by things I won’t about
until three years from now. I’m haunted by what I can’t even feel
let alone speak. Sister sister sister.
We follow the writer into the souks
like his ducklings. Every so often he looks
over his shoulder and smiles. He goes into a shop
we wait outside adjusting our scarves and our approachable expressions.

“A single breast winking,” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 29, 2016
11:32pm
5 minutes
FWD FWD
Robin Evans


In the shadow of chaos she emerges from her pain, long enough to sit up straight and shake off her darkest parts. Sinking in grungy bathwater, reeking of self hate and self punishment, she lets out a wail, a song of her finned underwater comrades. She is touching ocean floor and stratosphere. She is marking both sides of this earth so she can find her place in between them again.
Her mouth is opened and sound falls out like one last hope-one last plea. She is begging herself to save herself: No muskets, no smoke, no hugs, no rope.

“Inside our homes there is usually” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 28, 2016
11:44pm
5 minutes
from a magazine cutout/em>

Inside our homes there is usually less noise, more quiet, less hate, more love.
Usually.
Tonight there is more crying, less calm, more shaming, less light.
We are both nothing and everything, trying to love each other’s nothing and everything.
You do a better job with it than I do. When I am absolutely nothing nothing, you are still everything everything.
I ask you why you are so nice to me.
You answer with a forehead kiss and a squeeze.
I tell you you haven’t left enough space for me here.
You answer with a squeeze and direct eye-contact.
You will not let me take any prisoners.
You are so happy to be brought on board when I remember that you deserve that.
We are each other’s everything. We are our own nothings.
I have to remember that part too.
If I’m painting broad strokes of the everyday, there is usually more laughter, less pain, more teamwork less fight.
It depends on many things.
The things that usually happen 100% inside of me.