“Off the wall” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesdy May 31, 2016
9:45pm
5 minutes
from a Foot Locker store

Karl tried to hang the frame after hearing me ask him to do it for the past 6 months. I think the only reason why it took him so long is because he didn’t know how to..but also didn’t want me to know that. Not that I would have cared. I didn’t know how to so that’s why I asked him to do it. I’m sure we could have both learned together how to hang a simple frame and everything would have been fine, but we preferred to argue about the fact that it hadn’t yet been done. The first moment he held the nails in his hand, I knew he didn’t have a clue what he was doing. I left the room to “go fold the laundry” so he wouldn’t have the added pressure of me watching him. I heard him tapping away at the wall and I could only imagine that it was coming along nicely. I didn’t want to ask how he was so I just sat on the bed reading my magazine until I got the go ahead. Instead, suddenly, I heard a scream.
I rushed out of the bedroom to find Karl shaking his head at the frame I had asked him to hang, smashed to pieces on the rug.

“Who taught us to embrace life” by Julia at Kits Beach


Monday May 30, 2016
5:08pm
5 minutes
from a bench memorial plaque

There was a gleam in his eye as he let my brother put a cold grape into his hand. He was looking at me with a challenging look like he was about to do a trick and wanted to make sure he had my attention. I started to shake my head, smiling, telling him I knew he was up to something and I didn’t like whatever it was. He put the grape into his mouth and chewed it around for a second. Then when I looked away, he spat it out onto my leg. I looked up at his smug face and it broke my heart. Maybe that’s what the last visit between us was supposed to be like. Jokes and silliness. Him trying to make me laugh. Even at his least self, he managed to let me remember him exactly as he was when we was his most.

“We’ve never found the evidence” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday May 29, 2016
2:10pm
5 minutes
Thunder Head
Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child


According to Elliot, Sharon was supposed to be coming home from work at exactly 5:06pm. We had, according to Elliot, up until 5:00pm to do what we needed to do, and get out before anyone noticed a thing. I told Elliot I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through her things. I didn’t know if I might find some troubling things that I would only realize too late in the game that I wasn’t equipped to deal with what I learned. Elliot told me not to be afraid of the unknown. He said that’s what was making me so paranoid in the first place, and either I suck it up, go in there and be an adult about this, or I could go home and live the rest of my life wondering if I was being lied to. He had a point.
“You sure your sister won’t be home before 5:00?” I asked one last time, secretly hoping he’d say no.
“Marcus, my brother. please,” Elliot started, “Why would I lead you astray? You really don’t trust anybody do you?”
As I was about to check myself for being so caught up in the what ifs, we heard a car pull into the drive way.

“Anytime, night or day” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday May 28, 2016
10:33pm
5 minutes
All I Have To Do Is Dream
The Everly Brothers


Call me mouth filled with peach cobbler
I’ll come running
Call me curlers in, kettle on the stove screaming
I’ll be there
Call me moments before sleep
Or moments right after
Call me as my dreams play on
As my body drifts off to stillness
And I’ll throw on a pair of jeans and show up
Call me when you’re high
Call me when you’re low
When you know you’re wrong
When you need someone to tell you you’re right
When you want to laugh
When you need to cry
When you don’t have a reason at all
I’ll drop what I’m doing to make time
Call me when it’s my fault
Call me when it’s yours
Call me to tell me your crazy dream
Your biggest fear
Your funniest joke
Your most embarrassing moment
Your favourite recipe
Your new discoveries
Your life hacks
Your revelations
Your promises to me
Your promises to yourself
And I’ll come running
I’ll find a way to meet you
Because I know
Without a doubt
You would do the same for me

“Ready to rock?” by Julia at Poppy Salon


Friday May 27, 2016 at Poppy Salon
4:01pm
5 minutes
People Magazine
March 2016


Maggie tells me she doesn’t have time to pick me up from the dentist because she’s too busy cutting the sleeves off of her Van Halen t-shirt and to call someone else, like Mom, or Aunt Isabel. The thing is, Maggie already said she would pick me up and I’m supposed to be having a major mouth surgery that they specifically won’t perform on you if you can’t ensure that someone will be there to drive your drugged ass home. I call Maggie back and this time she answers with one of her character voices.
“Bonjour?”
“Maggie, don’t hang up, it’s me. I need you to put your fucking craft shears down and come get me after this appointment or they won’t let me do it. You can cut your shirt in the car. Or just be here for 3:30 and do it anytime else. Please.”
I can hear Maggie’s eyes rolling back in her head as she decides right then and there to either be a good person for once, or the dick that she usually is.

“Preach” by Julia on the 99


Thursday May 26, 2016
11:25pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

Mickey and I were laying in her bedroom listening to Eminem and painting our nails. Her mother had called us once to come down for breakfast but we weren’t hungry because we had just finished a pack of Oreos and a pack of cigarettes. Mickey’s mother always smelled of canned ham but she worshiped on Sundays and Mickey wasn’t supposed to miss it. Mickey told me it didn’t matter, let her keep calling until that woman strains her voice and has nothing left for Jesus. Mickey’s mom had 3 other kids to get ready before service so she didn’t call on us as much as I thought she would. Mickey was already putting on her plaid vest with the fur and opening her window so we could bust out the heavy Sunday green. Mickey glanced at me from over her shoulder, a cigarette stuck to the dry part of her lower lip. She said “you’re lucky your mother doesn’t bug you when you’re just trying to have a good time.” I laughed for a second. Then I told her, “you’re lucky your mother is alive!”

“Share the love” by Julia at Go Studios


Wednesday May 25, 2016 at Go Sudios
12:12pm
5 minutes
From a sign at Platform Seven

I met Darryl at a McDonald’s the night I told Jer I’d pick him up a double cheese burger and two apple pies. Jer had been home sick all day, coughing and snotting all over our bed, probably on my side too because I know when he’s sick he likes to smell my pillow. Darryl was already finished his Mcflurry and was sitting by the window reading the Metro newspaper. He started talking to me. I think it was because of the pies. He asked me what I was going to do with two of them and I don’t know how, I wasn’t thinking, I told him he could have one if he wanted. As if, no, I don’t currently have plans to return these pies to my sickly boyfriend, here, stranger, please, enjoy one on me. Darryl accepted on the pretense that I sit with him for a few minutes so we could get to know each other. I liked the idea of talking to a man who wasn’t spitting up phlegm. I sat with him and told him my name. Darryl made us stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes without breaking contact. Once it was over he told me that now he could understand me; now he had seen my soul.

“Share the love” by Sasha at UBC


Wednesday May 25, 2016
3:09pm
5 minutes
From a sign at Platform Seven

English muffins with butter and scrambled eggs on the side and a few slices of tomato. That’s your preferred breakfast. You believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and no matter what you read that indicates otherwise, you always eat first thing, as soon as you’ve peed and had a glass of water. Sometimes you go to the kitchen completely naked, but now that you’re living in a first floor apartment, you almost always put on a robe. Or at least a T-shirt. You tend to get cold feet, so you put on slippers that you’ve had since the eighties.

“a dozen individuals aged” by Sasha on her porch


Tuesday May 24, 2016
9:55pm
5 minutes
Harbor
John Ajvide Lindqvist


You find a payphone and you haven’t used one in so long that you forget how it works. Muscle memory leads you to insert a quarter. The screen says that another is required. You mutter about fifty cents being a whole lot of money to make one phone call but do it anyway. You dial the phone number and wait. It rings seven times before I answer.

“Hi?”

“Hello?”

“Where are you?”

“By the side of the road near Joshua Tree…”

“Oh my God – ”

“I’m safe. I’m fine. I had to get rid of my phone. I’m sorry I didn’t call earlier.”

“Shit, shit…” I’m crying and I can hear your smile

“you smiled at me” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday May 23, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
Sunny
Bobby Hebb


you smiled at me and I was an eagle in a birch on the tip top branch looking out over the whole earth thinking it was mine and then we were swimming together dolphins in the greenest water dolphins shaking seaweed from our hair the guitar music reminds me of the mobile in the nursery where the baby sleeps where the baby sleeps the cubs and the birdies and the fawns

the moon is a sliver like mustard and your red t-shirt is ripped in all the right places and i can’t get that song out of my head that song out of my head

“I honour this privilege” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Sunday May 22, 2016
3:15pm
5 minutes
From a birthday card

I honour this privilege of roasting you a chicken, and making you macaroni because you refuse to eat chicken! I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but bacon is meat, honey, and you had some with breakfast so you are not, I repeat you are not a vegetarian.

I love being your mother, I really do, but tonight I quit. No, I… I am going to go on a temporary leave. Your Dad is at soccer so you’re going to have to fend for yourselves, my offspring. I empower you to make a mess and then CLEAN IT UP! I encourage you to do the FUCKING DISHES.

“Late last night I heard the screen door slam” by Sasha in her bed


Saturday May 21, 2016
11:22pm
5 minutes
Big Yellow Taxi
Joni Mitchell


Your lips taste like ketchup chips.

“I have to go,” I say, searching for my jeans. Your room is messier than anything I’ve ever seen but it kind of makes you hotter.

“Wanna sleep over tonight?” You pick at a scab on your right index finger.

“I can’t. I have plans.” I lie. You furrow your eyebrows.

The screen door slams and I walk in the rain til I’m soaked and I’m worried about my nipples attracting unwanted attention.

“Be wildly generous” by Sasha on the 99


Friday May 20, 2016
6:19pm
5 minutes
From Julia’s notebook

I get a text and it annoys me and I hum and haw and hum hum hum and then I realize that this is the universe shouting via inconvenient letters on my shiny iPhone:
BE WILDLY GENEROUS! COME ON! YOU CAN DO IT!
What a sneaky minx. Thanks, universe.

I respond late, once I should be asleep, once anyone worth their shoe size is dreaming of Earl Grey clouds. “Sure! I’d love to help!” And I would, I really would. It took me a few hours to get there but I’m excited now.

“It’s a little big now” by Sasha at Kafka’s


Thursday May 19, 2016
2:17pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Kafka’s

The candle’s burning low and you’re out on the porch howling at the moon. I want to “shhh” you, but then I remember the shapes that we made in the bed last night and how the duvet is still shaped like a dream dragon.

“I’m sorry for what I said when I hadn’t eaten yet,” I bark, over the sound of the chainsaw. You don’t hear me. I let the screen door slam behind me. Ten minutes later you come inside for a glass of water. I don’t repeat myself.

“I make him feel guilty.” By Sasha on her couch


Wednesday May 18, 2016
11:14pm
5 minutes
Burner Season
Ellie Sawatzky


Sometimes when I’m lying awake I think about the other girls that look just like me who might also be lying awake and I wonder about courage and what really matters.

Sometimes when I make him feel guilty for the bad things he does I wonder about all the bad men in all the bad places and whether or not someone is making them feel bad. And then I water my plants and forget about it.

Sometimes in the winter I think about the summer and long for it and then when the summer comes I wonder about all that rain and if it makes me a better writer.

“our minds drift to the beach” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday May 17, 2016
11:10pm
5 minutes
health.amhosp.org

In the desert I find my trust
Buried beneath a mirage
Buried beneath all the dreams I thought I had
(Fifteen children, fame, hair down to my tailbone)
It winks at me and I scoff like I do when
something is real
I drink it quick
Dribbling sparkles onto my breasts
I get drunk on the punch
on the fury and the beads of sand
I am high on the possibility that this might lead to
In the desert I find my trust
Nestled beside a crab

“a dozen individuals aged” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 24, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
Harbor
John Ajvide Lindqvist


Across the street I spied a man who had been resting on a bench. He was sweating from his brow and was hunched over, defeated. He didn’t have a cane, or a walker, but looked like he could have used one. He was convincing himself he didn’t, surely. I quietly watched him from my bus stop. He didn’t know anyone was paying any attention to him. He tried to get up a few times without the help of the bench. He couldn’t seem to do it. The struggle in his face was clear even all the way over to where I sat pretending to read my novel. It looked like his body had been slowly betraying him for a while but that he had only just now started to deny it. I remember working with a man who told me once that when you get old, your body stops matching up with your mind and you can’t control yourself the way you used to. He told me that it may be frustrating for those of us who can still easily get to our destinations to have to always wait behind the ones who aren’t as mobile, but it wasn’t to be disregarded that it was far more frustrating for them.

“you smiled at me” by Julia at her dining table


Monday May 23, 2016
4:22pm
5 minutes
Sunny
Bobby Hebb


There were so many people lined up to get your autograph outside the cinema. It was cloudy but hot. I wasn’t planning on waiting for you but I was wearing my nice yellow sundress with a matching yellow head-scarf and I remember thinking it was too good to be wasted on just meeting Debbie and her boyfriend, Charles at the diner. Suddenly I was hit with the convincing thought that I could have you. I think I was moving as little as possible to avoid sweating through my sleeves. I didn’t want your autograph. I wanted to smell your skin. I wanted to get so close that you would have no choice but to touch me. I had dreamed of that moment and was replaying it over and over again in my head as we waited for you to emerge. Some women were already crying. You were making us wait for no reason in particular. I think you were preparing for the mob. I was preparing to envelop you.

“I honour this privilege” by Julia at the bus stop


Sunday May 22, 2016
5:15pm
5 minutes
from a birthday card

I heard him say it to himself when he thought I had left for the evening. He was reciting it in the mirror, getting ready for his big night. I crept in the house quietly, I had forgotten my wallet by the island. I don’t know why I had left it there but I didn’t want to impose myself. Just a few quiet steps while he rehearsed his speech in the bathroom. The one I had begged him to do for me because I wasn’t able to go. He said no. He didn’t want me anywhere near it. I tried to go as fast as my curiosity would let me. He repeated one line over and over and I wanted to hear him get it right. “I honour this privilege. I honour this privilege.” My hand was reaching for the soft leather while my mind tilted toward him in the bathroom. I felt the wallet graze my hand and I quickly realized that if I could go in this instant I would have a secret but nothing to be sorry for.

“Late last night I heard the screen door slam” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday May 21, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
Big Yellow Taxi
Joni Mitchell


You were leaving trying not to let me hear you trying not to let me hear your heart stop wanting me
I waited there trying not to stop you trying not to tell you that I would try to be better you packed up your items you packed up your clothes you packed up all your reasons and you did your best not to wake me
You were leaving trying to avoid another argument of he said she said I said you said of all those times we laughed at how foolish we had been
I was sobbing there in my pillow on my side of the bed afraid to move an inch and realize it was real after all crying tears of apology into the mattress trying not to let you hear me trying not to let you hear my hollow chest echo as the tiny pieces of my heart fell to the bottom
You were leaving there was nothing I could do and you were leaving me so there was nothing I could do.

“You change when you want to change” by Sasha on the 99


Monday May 16, 2016
10:37pm
5 minutes
huffingtonpost.com

You leave me letters in the mailbox, even after you’ve died. You’d warned me this might happen, shelling peas in your hospital room a few weeks ago. I laughed and kissed your toes. You always changed when you wanted to change, not before, not after, just then.

I’m smoking all the weed that’s left, once the sun goes down and Liam is asleep. Kali is scared I might become addicted but I tell her to fuck off and let me grieve the way I want to grieve. I miss you so much my throat swells. I miss you so much my gut aches for the smell of you.

“Throws it up in the air” by Sasha at BC Children’s Hospital


Sunday May 15, 2016
3:20pm
5 minutes
Basketball commentary

Mikey, I’m sorry that I didn’t come to your game tonight. I tried to get away from the restaurant at least for the first quarter but we were slammed. I even asked Gary if I could be first cut, and you know how I don’t like to to do that, you know how that’s against my code. Gary was a total dick about it, he gave me an extra four tables out of spite. How’d it go? How’d it go, Mikey? Cecelia came in on her way home for a slice of apple pie and she said you played real good. She said that there were some scouts hanging around and that when you threw a three pointer everyone gasped! I’m proud of you, Mikey, I really am.

“If you have already completed” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday May 14, 2016
10:49pm
5 minutes
The Canadian Census

“If you have completed the checklist in station three, you may move on to station four,” said the voice. I didn’t recognize it, but it sounded somehow familiar. I stood up, my legs sticking to the red leather chair. I should’ve worn pants. Who wears shorts to something like this, anyway? “Don’t judge yourself too harshly,” said the voice, and I almost responded aloud and then reconsidered. Station four had three small cat figurines and a hard boiled egg. “What am I supposed to do?” I asked. “Play,” said the voice.

“Be wildly generous” by Julia at her dining table


Friday May 20, 2016
6:15pmm
5 minutes
from Julia’s notebook

My grandmother had been staying at our house after her hip surgery. She was sleeping in my room and she liked to spend her time organizing my bookshelves and my underwear drawer. One day she called me into our room to show me her latest clean-up effort. All of my underwear, she showed me, beaming with pride, were folded and stacked neatly according to size, colour, and functionality. I was 16 at the time and I had been wearing thongs for a couple years by then. My grandmother pointed to each stack reminding me “These ones are your nice ones, these are for staying at home only, and these ones are for your ‘holidays'”. She was pointing to the tiny stack of thongs and she was clearly referring to my ‘romantic encounters’. I remember, before I could defend or deny, she brought her finger to her lips, shushing the air as if to say “I won’t tell anyone, don’t worry.” I raised my eyebrows in relief and mouthed the words “thank you.” She smiled wide and squeezed my shoulder, thrilled to keep my business just between us. The truth was, I wasn’t, actually wearing thongs for my ‘holidays’ as I hadn’t had any ‘holidays’ yet, but I just never mentioned that to her. I could tell she needed my secret more than she needed my honesty.

“It’s a little big now” by Julia on the 84


Thursday May 19, 2016
8:14pm
5 minutes
overheard at Kafka’s

he was cooking dinner on the island
he liked to call it his ‘cutting station’
where he did most of his cutting
not me
i liked to use the counters by the fridge
i don’t really like the feeling
of floating in the middle of something
just dangling out there
alone
he asked me what my favourite thing to eat was
when i told him i said but it has to be the way
my dad used to make it
he said not to worry
he said he would take care of me
when i looked at his ‘cutting station’
i couldn’t see one ingredient that matched
the items i told him
all the things necessary to make
my favourite thing to eat
i tried not to be bothered by it
or to worry
he said he would take care of me and
i had to
trust him
but i could smell the veggies cooking
and i could tell that he wasn’t
getting
it
right
and so i was bothered by it
and i did worry
and i missed my dad
in that moment more than ever
nothing is the same after your favourite loves die
not life
not dinner

“I make him feel guilty.” by Julia at Lindsay’s house


Wednesday May 18, 2016
10:44pm
5 minutes
Burner Season
Ellie Sawatzky


Kev and I haven’t spoken since last Wednesday. It’s been a week. I told him I wanted to see how long we could go without engaging with each other. He was angry that I even suggested something like that. I didn’t say it but I wanted him to know how I felt. How when I want intimacy, conversation, attention, I have to practically beg him for it. I wanted him to know what it felt like to live with someone who didn’t “put out” emotionally. So far it’s been brutal for both of us but I don’t know who’s got it worse. I decided on purpose that I would avoid him to teach him a lesson but I’m not sure if I’ve now pushed him away instead. When we have to share the kitchen, Kev reaching up to the top shelf to pull down his favourite cereal bowl, me underneath him grinding flax seeds, we don’t make eye contact if we can avoid it. I don’t know what he would do if I looked him in the eye, but I do know that if he met my gaze I would have a hard time keeping my mouth away from his. This distance, despite my efforts to remain unmoved has made me want him more than I am maybe willing to control. I have been fighting myself for 7 days: Make him come to me, or make him come for me.

“our minds drift to the beach” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 17, 2016
11:08pm
5 minutes
health.amhosp.org

I didn’t have my swimsuit. I purposely didn’t pack it because I didn’t want to be forced to wear it. Dale said that she wouldn’t swim either in solidarity but I didn’t want her pity as much as she was trying to be a good friend. I told her to go ahead, enjoy herself. I sat on the beach in light billowy pants and a white camisole. I could hear everyone laughing in the night, splashing in the ocean. Suddenly my head felt wet. I looked up and Terrence was standing there, dripping his salty midnight water all over me.

“Yes?” I looked up expectantly.
“Come in with us.”
“Nah, I don’t have my suit.” I said, shrugging my misfortune of an absent bikini.
“Come on, Leigh, that’s a sorry excuse. Didn’t you know that skin is waterproof?”

“You change when you want to change” by Julia at her dining table


Monday May 16, 2016
10:35pm
5 minutes
huffingtonpost.com

Eden was on her way to change it for good. She had thought about keeping it, of course she had. But she also needed to listen to her spirit and stop letting her be trapped by a name that didn’t fit? Eden didn’t choose her name and most of us don’t change them, but Eden wanted something that felt more like the her she had become and gotten to know. Eden’s best friend, Jack said that we aren’t suited to name ourselves which is why we are given a name before we can see. Someone else takes away the pressure for us and we get to just be. But Eden didn’t believe that it was meant to be that way at all. That maybe if she just had more understanding and open-minded parents in the first place, they would have let her choose her own name eventually, and she would have made it clear enough to them what it would be through repetition and attraction. She was doing it today whether people agreed with it or not. She at least waited till her mother had died before she decided to do it.

“Throws it up in the air” by Julia on the 250


Sunday May 15, 2016
4:00pm
5 minutes
basketball commentary

Of course Chris wanted to play basketball. He was tall, everyone around him basically told him that was all he would be good for anyway, so yeah, he liked it a lot. It never hurt his knees to jump, or his shoulder never popped out. He was tall so it was a fun sport and he liked it a lot. When his dad started talking to him more that felt real good too. Chris wanted to be better at other things. Better suited. He wished someone had said, your hands are so big I bet you’d make a wonderful pianist. Nobody ever gets everything they want. That’s what you know going in. What you believe because it’s the one thing that hasn’t changed.

“If you have already completed” by Julia on the 99


Saturday May 14, 2016
5:39pm
5 minutes
The Canadian Census

So I walk on the bus and there’s a woman in a jean ball cap flipping through flyers and ripping out coupons. She’s sitting by the window, taking up two seats to do this and there’s nowhere for me to sit. So I say, very politely, excuse me may I sit there? And she grumbles to herself and then instead of moving her papers off the aisle seat, she moves herself over and makes me climb over her to get to the window. I’m already miffed, but then the bus jolts and I go flying into her flyers which makes her grumble even more. I make it a point not to say I’m sorry. If I don’t say anything I can’t say anything mean either, right? Then she moves herself to another seat near by, and she keeps clicking her tongue like she can’t believe “this person” and “this person” is clearly me, even though I’m just on my phone writing a grocery list for later. Then she moves herself again to a completely different seat, complaining to the woman beside her that I’m going to give her cancer for being on my phone near her!

“enables you to become the master” by Julia at her desk


Friday May 13, 2016
11:05pm
5 minutes
The Curl Keeper Bottle

I think it has to deal with inside learning. You know what I mean when I say that? Inside learning? The act of getting to know yourself from the inside out. It sounds a bit out in left field but it is quite an easy concept if you just put it into your own words. I’ll try to explain myself: you look at a mirror every single day right? You know where your eyes are on your face, you know where your nose is. You know how your hair frames your forehead. But you don’t know what emotions are friends inside yourself. You don’t know how hate likes to attach itself to confidence and how love is always being eaten by fear. We need to understand how these feelings connect inside us. So we can become a master of ourselves. So we can learn truths on our own. So we can keep studying our souls with the intensity of learning a new language. That’s all it is, really. Learning how to speak our internal language.

“enables you to become the master” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Vancouver


Friday May 13, 2016
9:20pm
5 minutes
The Curl Keeper Bottle

You ask for a pic but I’m not versed in this language of yellow smiley faces and acronyms if that’s even what you call them
I send you a photograph of my plate licked clean after pasta with tomato sauce and zucchini fried in olive oil with garlic
It confuses you and I wonder about how this could ever happen beyond this month this year this apartment
You ask for a pic again and I send you one of my mother as a baby sitting on a blanket with a woman who isn’t a relative
You send back a question mark just that a squiggle of black and a dot and I say
“It’s a baby! What do you want?”
I don’t tell you it’s my mother as a baby as that’s too intimate that’s too close that lineage too sticky

“a signal he was about to shut down.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday May 12, 2016
10:38pm
5 minutes
Bolt
Russell Wangersky


He blinked thirty times in a row and seemed not to breathe for a worrisome length of time.

“Paul?”

“Yes.”

“What’s the matter?”

He gripped his coffee cup so hard that the handle popped off, or at least it did in my imagination.

“I can’t speak to you right now, Sandy,” Paul said, standing up, re-tucking in his golf shirt, clearing his throat. He threw a twenty down on the table. He walked out.

The twenty slowly drifted to the floor like an October leaf.

“Grab whatever looks good” by Sasha on the 20 bus


Wednesday May 11, 2016
8:48pm
5 minutes
From a text

I’m not sure about much these days
(the price of cauliflower and cucumber
the way people sit on the bus)
but I am sure that you’re getting better with age
(the finest peach plucked from the golden tree
the best gouda sat to rest in a satin-lined bowl)
I’m not sure about much these days
(the call to capitalism
a white wedding dress)
but I am sure that we are where we need to be
kissing raindrops and rose petals
combing beaches for stories older than the moon

“flat-out rejected” by Sasha on her porch


Tuesday May 10, 2016
9:19pm
5 minutes
http://howlround.com/submitting-like-a-man-we-have-a-winner

There you are pride in
your hands like a dead sparrow
crashed into too many windows
“Rejection tastes like pennies” you say
And I know you to be right about tastes
and books and the best bike
routes downtown
I coo you words of encouragement
“The only place to go is up!” but you
don’t believe me

“a signal he was about to shut down.” by Julia on the 9


Thursday May 12, 2016
10:48pm
5 minutes
Bolt
Russell Wangersky


I remember asking him if he wanted to sleep over–it might have been the third or fourth time. We had just gotten home from a nice dinner, I had just peed myself in the laundry room and was cleaning it up with dryer lint while he waited for me upstairs in my room, you know, just a casual Friday night, and I thought he was going to say yes this time. I was cautious, I made sure the moment was right, made sure I was feeling his vibe, and then boom: another no. I assumed naturally, as one does, that it was either because he could smell remnants of secret urine off my legs (though I had washed them well enough in the bathroom sink before returning to my room), or that he was about to break up with me.

“Grab whatever looks good” by Julia on the 84


Wednesday May 11, 2016
7:52pm
5 minutes
from a text

Knock at our door, Lizzie quickly throws on one of my shirts. She slides over the peephole cover. She opens the door without wasting a breath.
Robert is standing there. We haven’t seen him in years. Lizzie goes to hug him, he stops her.
“We don’t have time for that right now. ”
Lizzie grabs him again and this time it’s not optional.
“You do not get to come here and pull this shit on me again. Tell me right now what is going on. ”
I’m on the bed, inching closer to Lizzie’s night side table. I don’t want to cause a commotion. I want her gun in my hands and nobody else’s.
“You guys have to leave. They know. They know about me. About us. We have to grab whatever we can and go. Now. ”
Lizzie sees me moving closer. She offers a tiny nod in approval. I see it. Robert doesn’t.
“Who is they, Robert?” Lizzie asks, conjuring up all the softness inside of her.

“I am in a meeting” by Sasha on a bench downtown


Monday May 9, 2016
12:14pm
5 minutes
From a text

“Yeah, yeah…” I blow my nose into a scarf that’s in my backpack in case the bike ride home gets cold. “I’m fine.”

The man, wiry and wearing black cutoffs, a plaid shirt and a Jays hat, hands me his dog’s leash. She’s a bulldog, just older than a puppy. My bike is like a gutted fish leaning against the curb. His hands are covered in grease, just like mine are, as he wrestles the chain back on.

I bought the bike for fifty seven dollars on Craigslist from a Portuguese grandmother with impeccable hydrangeas.

“I do and I don’t” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday May 8, 2016
10:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Julia on the 2 bus

Newly fourteen, I’m living on a biodynamic farm in Durham, Ontario for three weeks. I’m there with two other girls from my Grade Nine class. We sleep in the basement of the farmhouse, in beds built for children. Heather’s feet hang over the footboard. She’s a head taller than me and Karla.

I have dirt under my fingernails, and my hair has been died by the hours in the sun. I have strange tan lines and know a handful of new songs. The two young women from Alaska who are working on the farm for the season teach them to us as we pick rocks from a field where plum trees will be planted.

“flat-out rejected” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 10, 2016
9:09pm
5 minutes
http://howlround.com/submitting-like-a-man-we-have-a-winner

I told him how I feel and he said nothing. Well that’s not entirely true, I suppose, he did say “Ciao.” Like I said, you can call me sometime other than for Halloween and he said, Okay, ciao. With this weird sliminess that I wasn’t expecting from him. And he never did call me. And then he stopped coming for brunch. And I swear he came to that terrible restaurant too many weekends in a row for him to not have had an ulterior motive. And once he helped me clean behind the bar when we were understaffed and I got slammed. He manned the glass-washer. And he made me a couple coffees. And when I tell him to call me, he says, “Ciao”? I guess part of me wondered if I was supposed to learn the “don’t assume shit lesson” because I assumed he liked me. Because he acted like he liked me. He tipped huge. He asked me for opinions on his flooring. And he introduced me to his friends? He even came to eat at the new shitty restaurant I was working at after I left the first one.

“I am in a meeting ” by Julia at her desk


Monday May 9, 2016
11:07pm
5 minutes
from a text

-I don’t want to have to tell you again that I’m keeping them to put salad dressing in. Fucking salad dressing for when I decide to make a salad for lunch and need a small container. To transport the dressing.

-Why can’t you just put it in on of your glass jars?

-Because they’re too big. You don’t know how heavy my bag is.

-Okay fine. You’ve got an answer for everything.

-Because I have a perfectly good reason why I’m keeping them. I thought it through, it’s not like I am collecting them because it annoys you.

-It really does annoy me. Everything you keep–

-Let me keep what I keep.

-Okay. You keep what you keep.

-Thank you.

-But seriously they should be thrown out. They’re one time use. For travelling soy sauce.

-Exactly.

“Let’s discover our” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday May 7, 2016
10:34pm
5 minutes
from a chef magazine

I get blood after losing seven litres in the cycling accident. I have no idea how many litres I lost but I know it was litres. I think it was “litres”. I never considered myself to be a spiritual man, but as soon as I had someone else’s blood pumping through my veins, I was. I was a spiritual man. I am a spiritual man. It wasn’t the blood, if that’s what you’re thinking. It was the act of getting the blood, that someone gave blood and now it’s in me, mixing with my own.

“Solid colour” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Vancouver


Friday May 6, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
From a text

Solids or stripes
or cigarettes or pipes
Make a face and hold it tight
Don’t you let the bedbugs bite
Jump around and make a scene
No one knows where you’ve been
The theme is truth the theme is dare
Mama says that your voice is rare
Solids or stripes
or cigarettes or pipes

She’s singing at the very top of her lungs
and climbing up the ladder rung after rung
She’s wearing a hat she got from her son
And at the top she knows she’s done
She’s quiet then more so than every before
And I sneak out the side door

“I do and I don’t” by Julia on the 250


Sunday May 8, 2016
3:59pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 2 bus

By the time I have to decide whether I’ll go and visit Tracey in the hospital, I’ll probably know if Tracey is even still there. Last time I heard from Tanya that Tracey was fighting with her tubes and didn’t want anything “touching her blood”. I told Tanya I would come and relieve her but I didn’t end up going because I am actively avoiding the hospital. Tanya told me not to come if I don’t want to be there but Tina thinks I’m not pulling my weight. She says if I’m not going to come relieve them I should at least give 24 hours notice. Tanya had someone just in case I decided not to so everything was fine and Tina doesn’t scare me. Tina calls me everyday and so I make sure it goes to voicemail. She likes to give all the gory details like “Tracey only has a few good days left” and “you better show up for her” or “Tracey vomited in her sleep because her intubation wasn’t done right”.

“Let’s discover our” by Julia on the 7


Saturday May 7, 2016
7:39pm
5 minutes
from a chef magazine

Let’s discover our soft spots
Our unwants
Our don’t touches
Our yes love this
Let’s discover our truth’s truth
Our hard lost youth
Our who’s who
Tell me about your day dreams
I’ll tell you about my nightmares
Tell me about your battle wounds
I’ll tell you about my big scares
Your scars
My empty jars
Your hopes
My nopes
Your yeses
My catch this
Let’s discover the good and the bad
The moments we never had
The memories that make us sad
The language that holds us together

“Solid colour” by Julia at her desk


Friday May 6, 2016
11:56pm
5 minutes
From a text

Had a dream I was trying to kill you again. I was coming at you with the blue knife Marnie gave us as an engagement gift. In my dream you’re not afraid or anxious. You almost have a calmness about you. You expect that I’m going to hunt you and you don’t even run. I think what I’m learning from this nightmare is that you don’t give up on me when I test you. You don’t run away when things get crazy. You don’t try to hurt me just because I’m trying to hurt you. This dream shows me how good you are. It makes me realize that one day, when I finally stop trying to sabotage us, stop making you prove yourself, we will be so obnoxiously happy. Until then know that this isn’t personal, that me trying to kill you says more about me than it says about you and that at least we’re getting our use out of that little blue knife.

“Alberta’s oil sands” by Julia on the 319


Thursday May 5, 2016
6:11pm
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

Mauve and red and magenta and orange. Sky bright. Night hot. Night fear. Red blood pumping. Running. Running. Dreams interrupted. Sleep disrupted. Running. Running.
I want to go home where the fields were mine and where the sky guided me back. Nothing left now. No home. No fields. No fix. No fight. Night hot. Sky bright. Love out. Love in. Goodbyes painted flame. Least important importance stays behind. No one wins. Running. Running.

“get shared and discovered” by Julia on the 99


Wednesday May 4, 2016
6:19pm
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

Open heart
Yeah
Dreaming something big
Like California
Waiting
Holding on to secret secrets
Yeah
Picking daisies making chains
Grass babies
We are forever of the earth
Got our back packs filled
With beach rocks
And honey sticks
Talking a lot
In the moments between
Silence and acceptance
Fantasizing
About the dreams
Yeah
That will become truths
Yeah
That will become our future
Daughters
In the sand
And we braid each other’s hair
And each other’s heart strings
And we tie knots around the wisdom
That keeps us dreaming big
Yeah
Like California
Yeah

“In just 10 months you have come a long way” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday May 3, 2016
8:31pm
5 minutes
From the Twitter account of the woman sitting in front of Julia

Look at your new smile
Your new confidence
Your new found love for yourself
You see me see you
I see you
I have always seen you
You see me see you seeing you
It is beautiful
In all the ways this world is beautiful
In all the ocean songs
And amethyst hearts
And moon cakes
And rain forests
And sounds of a baby’s laugh
Your new you is an old you returning
A home where you can
take off your shoes
Stay for a while
And dance in the magic suit you were born in
Look at your new wisdom
The kind that comes from
Re-learning how to trust yourself
Re-learning how to choose yourself
It is whole and it is warm
I would hold it
but I’ve already gotten so much
You keep it for now
Let it fill the cracks that once split you open
Let it fill the space where you said yes
To being more alive
Than yesterday

“Alberta’s oil sands” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Thursday May 5, 2016
1:50pm at Platform Seven
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

the world is burning where all the oil lives
the grass is scorched and the trees with the treehouses are ashes
the houses with the photo albums and the calico kitten and
the painting from france from a great-grandmother
the jeopardy of prized possessions
an apocalypse of biblical proportions

true colours show when we’re in danger
fingers around a neck with “mine” over “yours”
cars driving on sidewalks to get ahead of other cars
the irony of politics
the irony of “how did we get here?”
dollar bill pilgrims drilling for gold

another headline another photograph another heart up in flames