“The circle, not the line.” by Julia at Starbucks

Thursday June 30, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
The Axeman
Shaun Cunningham

Kit eats her broccoli, raw, cold, all the tiny floret bits getting stuck in her teeth. It looks like she has braces: one green bit in every single one. She waits for Adam to get off the bus at a bus stop that has frequent buses. Each bus thinks she is waiting to go on and so they wait for her, but Kit just keeps eating her raw broccoli even when it starts to rain and even when she gets yelled at by a driver for wasting his time. Kit is waiting for Adam so she can show him around the city. She sent him a map and a circle around this particular bus stop to ensure that he would find it with utmost ease. Kit pulls out her identical copy of the map and draws in a line (right beside the meet up spot) and jots a note: rude, to avoid in future.

“Hands me a shovel” by Sasha in Trinity Bellwoods

Wednesday June 29, 2016
5 minutes
Zen Poem
Jane Rohrer

“Hand me that shovel,” Jeremy says. He’s sweating like a fountain, spurts comin’ out his forehead and chest. I don’t want him to be shirtless, but he is. Didn’t ask me my opinion. Oh, I guess I didn’t even tell ya what we’re doing. We’re diggin’ Tiny’s grave. It’s okay, I mean the tears are done for now. Jer said we had to bury Tiny in the yard by the plum tree and I said, “Isn’t that illegal?” but his mind was made up. Digging is harder than you might think. If you’ve never done it. Jer said we should make the grave deeper than six feet, that we should make it, like, eight feet. “What if someone moves in here after we’ve moved on and then they want to put in a pool and then they find a body?!” Good point, Jer. Good point.

“keep coming back” by Sasha on the plane

Tuesday June 28, 2016
5 minutes

He keeps coming back.

Everywhere I look he’s there. Okay, not everywhere. But too many places. The emails. I forget about him, I forget about our months together, our sticky skin, the rum and the tears, and then an email arrives. We have no choice in this, it’s not a knock at a door that can be ignored.

Or, I could block him but that feels extreme. That feels violent.

And here he is, six people ahead of me in the line. Tousled and tanned. Here he is.

I steer clear, a swift moving undercover agent. I steer clear.

“Hands me a shovel” by Julia at Starbucks

Wednesday June 29, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
Zen Poem
Jane Rohrer

Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Says Whatchu Waiting For?
Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Hands me a shovel and tells me I have to and if I won’t do then I won’t do anything else today, no eating, no running, no laying down, no reading. So I do because I want to do other things but I don’t want to dig. My arms are weak from all the lifting he made me do yesterday. He sits back and watches me work while he chews on a piece of straw and rocks back and forth saying, That’s Nice, and Good, and, Very Good. The last time I tried to run away he sent his dogs. So I don’t threaten to head to the fence anymore. He wants to keep me right where he can see me. I don’t want to dig but his face is sweaty and mean today. I have to. I have to.
Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Says I Like Watching You Drip
Says Thank You
Says I’ll Show You How Thankful I Am

“keep coming back” by Julia at Starbucks

Tuesday June 28, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes

I keep having the same dream–that I’m lying in my bed with my eyes closed, asleep, and in my mind’s eye I see fuchsia orbs coming toward me, flickering in the sky then disintegrating into nothing. I am in that paralyzed, meta state where I recognize that I’m dreaming but I can’t wake up or move or change anything. In this dream I always look past the flickering pink and can make out more colours in the distance. Flames. Outside my window the tall tree, the one that the crows perch in and caw in every morning at exactly 4:43, is on fire. The leaves are burning up and they’re going slow enough to wonder if this too shall pass…
In this dream, I scream to you to call 911 and you tell me it’s not necessary. I tell you it is because I can see it from my position and this fire will consume us if we don’t treat it with respect. You rush into the room and the sky outside is orange and red.
You stare out blankly and whisper to me, you were right…

“how she wants to move herself” by Sasha on her balcony

Monday June 26, 2016
5 minutes
Apartment Hunting in the East End
Don Austin

she wants to move herself like mercury like cactus arms like
ocean tide
she steps on pavement covering blood vessels of ocean
she she she
she shields her eyes from the sun thirsty for
woods and pine and sweetgrass
thirsty for full moon laughter and bonfire harmony tincture
she doesn’t wait anymore
for someone else to move her
eyes up and down her resting on her lifting her
pressing her
she doesn’t wait

“how she wants to move herself” by Julia at Starbucks

Monday June 27, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
Apartment Hunting in the East End
Don Austin

How she wants to move herself is her business! My father exclaims from behind the island in the kitchen as he emphatically chops up the rabbit he’s getting ready for dinner. Why are we all spending so much time worrying about her? His cleaver comes down hard and clean, splitting leg from torso. I don’t know, Honey, I think this is a call for help. Tanya needs us right now and we’re just watching her spiral! My mother remains at her makeshift office in the corner of the dining room that connects to the kitchen. Her glasses are balancing on the tip of her nose. She wants to pay a bunch of strangers to crack her mind open so they can fill it back up with useless garbage!
Rita, my father shakes his head. We don’t need to get involved. She’s a grown woman. We did our job already. I don’t know, I just don’t know, my mother grumbles to herself.

“misgendering a trans person” by Julia at Jericho Beach

Sunday June 26, 2016
5 minutes
From a Tweet

-I can’t believe we’re discussing your baby. Your baby that’s attached to you!
-I know, I’m glad we decided to keep this little cashew.
-When are you going to find out the sex?
-No, we’re not doing that.
-What? why not? All the aunts will be expecting a party.
-A gender reveal party: get a cake with hidden icing, slice it up, check for sex, play stupid games…
-And yet, those are reasons I hadn’t considered. The last thing I need is a bunch of middle aged women blasting each other with blue or pink silly string.
-You don’t want to find out if it’s a girl cashew or a boy cashew?

“misgendering a trans person” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday June 26, 2016
5 minutes
From a tweet

What if it’s all downhill from here

Jake asks caterpillar eyebrows up and down
and up the sun is setting and traffic has
calmed for once He’s not drinking beer
this month in preparation for the marathon
at the end of the month I don’t have anything to say
to that because I’m not sure about it either

I don’t have anything to say to him because
I’m not sure about even tomorrow or five minutes
from now I just turn up the music and start to dance
and the bass is as thick as the pink clouds
Jake doesn’t get up but he watches me and his
eyes are dancing so it’s almost just as good


“Contemporary and traditional ceremonies” by Sasha on her porch

Saturday June 25, 2016
5 minutes
Weddings from the Heart

Make no mistake, we aren’t going to have one of those Cinderella bullshit weddings. Kenny isn’t going to “lose twenty pounds” or anything heinous like that. Someone said that now that gay people getting married is legal, the whole wedding game has changed. We know how to do it up. We know how to do it better. There are more layers on the cakes, more tears, more techno, more flowers, more, more, more. But, not me and Kenny. We’re gonna go down to City Hall, with Henrietta and Jo, Kenny’s Mom and Dad and my Granny, and then have a reception at our favourite Italian pizzeria. No one has ever had a wedding reception there, and Domenico, the owner, is so excited he keeps texting me bride emoji followed by pizza emoji followed by flower bouquet emoji.

“Contemporary and traditional ceremonies” by Julia at her dining table

Saturday June 25, 2016
5 minutes
Weddings from the Heart

I haven’t packed a bag in a long time. I don’t really know where I’d go, so I don’t do things that get me going. Matt will have been gone for exactly a year tomorrow. We’re having a mass for him even though he hated church. Mom is always there these days. She says she has a lot to repent about and just wished she could have done it before. She thinks she could have saved him with prayer. I haven’t thought about leaving home since he killed himself. Maybe because I had been away so long and if I were close by, or closer, he wouldn’t have felt so alone. I guess we all blame ourselves for him being gone. I wish the same thing as my mother, that I could have changed my ways sooner. Only in my case that I would have been less selfish and had the foresight to know the repercussions of moving away from home and leaving your kid brother to fend for himself.

“then gave it to his daughter” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday June 24, 2016
5 minutes
The Govenlock Hotel
Sharon Butala

Isaac gives Josie a kiss on her nose, like he does every morning and watches as she gets on the school bus. He does the breakfast dishes and part way through Googles what it would take to install a dishwasher. Barb liked doing the dishes, but to him it’s torture. He’d rather run his nails on a chalkboard. It’d cost more than he has, or more than he wants to spend right now. He wipes toast crumbs off the table. Barb used to bitch at him endlessly about not wiping up, about leaving the dishcloth bunched up beside the tap instead of spread out over it. “No wonder they always stink!” She would swat at him with the stinky cloth and then usually they’d laugh and have a kiss.

“I balance unlaced shoes” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday June 23, 2016
5 minutes
Circling Before Landing
Mariene Crookshaw

I balance unlaced shoes on my nose like a circus
animal making sure my eyes are open to see the
meteor shower The shoe stays perched until it’s
late and I’m late and there’s a pregnancy that’s
heavy and wilted but not with a child with a hope
with a candy floss dream with the possibility of
actually making it happen.

“who’d surprise his roommates” by Sasha at Bump n Grind

Wednesday June 22, 2016 at Bump n Grind Cafe
5 minutes
Anthony’s Glass Eye
Billeh Nickerson

He shakes his hair dry and leaves splash marks on the mirror
Forgot his towel in his room and woudn’t dare touch Jim’s
with his hands let alone his sensitive places
Cuts himself shaving and sticks a piece of toilet paper on the open skin
Pink dots on his neck remind him of adolescent acne
Naked and dripping there’s a knock at the door that he
pretends he doesn’t hear
It’s relentless
Smells someone frying bacon
“I’ll be right out!”
He puts on his dirty boxers
damp from the moisture in the room
There was a time when he’d wear the same underwear
days in a row
There was time it didn’t all matter
like it does now

“What’s wrong with my body?” by Sasha at Bump n Grind

Tuesday June 21, 2016 at Bump n Grind Cafe
5 minutes
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
Amber Dawn

M. hated his body in a way that I understood. I’d been there, for about ten years, but I wasn’t there anymore. I was flirty and free and feeling sexy approximately five and a half days a week. He hid his body in a way that repulsed me. Coming out of the shower, M. would wrap a towel around his whole self. At six five, it was strange seeing such a big man, wrapped up like that, a big burrito. Sometimes his penis would dangle out the bottom, peeking, flacid. The towel couldn’t contain all of him. The sex was good. His body issues didn’t get in the way like mine had for so long. He wasn’t a big talker but once told me that I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen naked in real life. He sometimes worked editing porn films, so he’d seen a lot of naked women on screen.

“We have a Christmas cake box?!” by Sasha in her bed

Monday June 20, 2016
5 minutes
Overheard at Starbucks

It’s Christmas, which means that Aunt Cathy is hammered and Pa is smoking pipe after pipe and Jason, my twin brother, is likely going to try to hang himself again. He does it every Christmas. The attempts are feeble, but are attempts nonetheless. Our mother, Joan, recently got a tattoo of a turtle on her right bicep. Jason thinks she’s having a midlife crisis but from what I’ve read, those only happen to men. Jason lives in the weird loft space above the garage. There’s a box spring and a mattress, a hotplate and a mini fridge. It’s where we used to hang out with friends and drink forties when we were in high school. I only see him a couple of times a year and every time I do he has more grey hair. We aren’t identical, but we look a lot a like. My hair is still entirely brown. I haven’t even spotted one grey strand. Aunt Cathy whispers that Joan went grey in her early thirties, too.

“community based competitions” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday June 19, 2016
5 minutes

Ned has sweaty palms and can’t seem to find Mol in the crowd. He’s up next. He scans and scans but no Mol. He takes three deep breaths, like Coach Perkins taught him, and plants his feet hip width apart. He learned that from Mol. “Up next, Ned Kirkpatrick!” The announcers voices always sound the same, no matter where he goes. He scans once more. Maybe Mol got lost like last time, he thinks. A lump in his throat, he walks up to the mic. “Hello boys and girls, parents and teachers. Today I am going to blow your mind with a magic trick of epic proportions!” Just then, as he pulls on his cape, Mol comes running in through the doors at the back of the gymnasium. As if in slow motion, everyone turns around to look. Ned smiles. Mol always comes through.

“and lifted right up” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday June 18, 2016
5 minutes
All My Puny Sorrows
Miriam Toews

They found the squirrel on the side of the road, barely hanging on to life. Eyes open and feet pawing at the air, her stomach was split open and guts and blood were coming out. He tried to make a joke but it fell as flat as the soda in the back seat, rolling around on the floor. She held back tears, searching for veterinary clinics and animal rescue shelters on her cellphone. The reception was bad so she kept holding her arm up into the air like she had a question for a teacher in the sky.

“the games you don’t play” by Sasha at Platform Seven

Friday June 17, 2016 at Platform Seven
5 minutes
What You Don’t Do
Lianne La Havas

You don’t play those kinds of games that other guys play. The ones where they act all interested, all invested, and then dive off the deep end, out of nowhere. “It’s called ‘ghosting’,” someone said at a dinner party last night. You thought about it when you brushed your teeth, carefully polishing each one with the rechargeable electric toothbrush. “Ghosting,” you whisper, rubbing vaseline into your lips and the callouses on your feet. You don’t play those kinds of games. Helen texts when you’re already in bed and you know it’s her before you check the screen. She’s close by and wants to come over. You switch your phone onto silent and turn out the light. “Ghosting…”

“reaction to terror” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday June 16, 2016
5 minutes
from cnn.com

A man with orange skin is trying to take over
He spends all his time calculating
A man with combed over hair and orange skin is trying to take over
People drink their Slurpees and get blue tongues scared tongues don’t speak truth scared tongues don’t speak free scared blue tongues
The man with orange skin
dyed with lotion the colour of Kool-Aid
no one actually believes he’s been in the sun
The man with orange skin spreads bigotry
Peanut butter all over the States where box stories
are King and billboards are Queen

“Packing planner checklist” by Sasha on the 99

Wednesday June 15, 2016
5 minutes
from the Uhaul website

“Do you ever feel like there’s a sinking?” Kari has her feet tucked under her, all upper body, and hands wrapped around a glass of white wine. “What do you mean?” I’m making us a stir fry with cubes of soft tofu, beansprouts, shredded carrots, green onion. “Like, a sinking feeling right in your chest that goes all the way down to, well, I guess basically to your vagina?” She is earnest, looking out the window with the spider plant hanging above. I smile. “Yeah, I guess so… I wouldn’t put it exactly like that, but I think I know what you’re saying.” She comes into the kitchen and stands beside me as I stir the brown rice. “Should I go back on those meds?” Kari has been off her anti-depressants since just after her birthday. I can hear her voice then, “I can’t paint, Beth. I can’t paint, I can’t eat, I can barely shit… This isn’t life.”

“Mangiamo Italiano!” by Sasha on a bench at UBC

Tuesday June 14, 2016
5 minutes
The front page of the Westender

His breath is sharp parmesan cheese, shaved with a pocket knife.
His back is the topography of vineyards, muscles of grapes and sweat of dew.
His words are wise cirrus clouds almost touching heaven.
When we walk together our strides fall into one stride, two strides, three strides, a harmony of flavour and footsteps.
When we swim, he’s stronger so he’s faster. I watch the ripple of the water where his arms break the surface, break the break, broken in more than two.
When we sleep, I fall asleep first and I feel his eyes, Jupiter on the pillow here, scavenging for secrets that haven’t been grated yet, waiting for the moment to eclipse.

“the nervous towns of Mars” by Sasha on the 99

Monday June 13, 2016
5 minutes
The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury

I know that there’s a theme here. Or themes. A handful, like raspberries kissed with mould, picking out the ones that are still good enough to eat. Do these themes spoil? Juice staining hands red. A map of a place that I keep going back to.

I read seven poems that my mother sends me in an email attachment. I shiver, reading them on the bus. The raspberry juice is on her hands too.

“then gave it to his daughter” by Julia at Starbucks

Friday June 24, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
The Govenlock Hotel
Sharon Butala

He was out in the yard gardening, tending to his beloved cherry tree
Those damn birds…
He propped the ladder up and began to climb, explaining himself each step
Then we pick the ones that are good…
And pops a dark survivor cherry right his mouth
And we keep doing that until they’re all gone…
Or until our arms get tired…
And we wait until the warmer months for the sour ones…
Those ones drive your mother crazy…
He scoops her up little into his chest big, holds her with one strong arm, searching for one perfect cherry with the other.
This is why we come out here…
He presents the cherry like a prize for his little thing to take a bite, deep red squeezing out fast, splattering onto her chin and dripping down her canary t-shirt

“I balance unlaced shoes” by Julia at Starbucks

Thursday June 23, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
Circling Before Landing
Mariene Crookshaw

Man puts on the radio, turns the dial so slowly
we hear bits and pieces of moments
and conversations
and music
and static
and we wait until he finds the station
he likes
he can put up with
that won’t make him crazy
He is responsible for us now
he keeps our spirits
in the switch of the dial
in the palm of his hand
In the corner
by the only
there is a bony girl in green and black
striped pants
who holds a paper
airplane up to the light
that was here yesterday
she is holding on
her turn
to dance
but the music doesn’t stay
the crackling continues
Her mother is lying two feet
away from her
her belly robbed in the
the blood is slowing now
her eyes remain open
pointed at the ceiling
longing for

“who’d surprise his roommates” by Julia at Starbucks

Wednesday June 22, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
Anthony’s Glass Eye
Billeh Nickerson

Callahan is coming home tonight. He’s been in Europe mastering the art of Instagram and showing off his cool life that his parents are paying for. He started his trip in Spain and then decided he wanted to live in Italy, then changed his mind to Berlin, then eventually just went back to Spain. The only person he told he was coming back was me and he made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone else. “Gonna surprise everybody: The Prodigal Roommate returns! But, I tell him, I can’t pick you up, it’s not enough notice. And he tells me, don’t worry; one of the guys will be there. Except you didn’t tell any of the guys, remember? Oh yeah, he said, no, I know, all good. Bueno! Muy bueno! I casually mention the bus and Callahan “gets another call”.

“What’s wrong with my body?” by Julia at Starbucks

Tuesday June 21, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
Amber Dawn

When I think about it
it doesn’t look good for me
old woman’s body trapped in a young woman’s skin
There’s the part where my neck pops for no reason
the part where my fingers go numb during hot yoga
the part where I bruise easy
the part where my thigh muscle…detaches?
the part where my side stitches when I run
the part where my uterus goes into contractions if I don’t drink enough water
the part where it hurts to take a deep breath for sometimes minutes
(yeah, plural, whoops)
the part where my feet get charlie horses
(is that even a thing? I don’t know anymore)
the part where my back spasms or pulls or gets thrown out
I would throw it out for good if I could
and get a new and young one, Christ.
(you know what they say: back pain is just an old soul trying to escape…)
throw in some casual IBS?
Why the fuck not

“We have a Christmas cake box?!” by Julia at Starbucks

Monday June 20, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
overheard at Starbucks

Isabel calls me from the front lawn. I can see her pacing back in forth in front of my house from the kitchen window. I watch her kick a chestnut around, her feet shuffling on what appears to be a tightrope made of dandelions. I’m not coming anymore, she says, okay? I really can’t do it this time. She doesn’t know I am watching her. My curtains are drawn just enough. Is everything okay, Iz? What’s going on? I watch my sister kick the chestnut out of reach. She would have to leave her sacred shuffling space to go get it. She stands there frozen, staring at it. Oh, yeah, I’m good! I’m great! I think my stomach is acting up. Had chocolate again last night. I couldn’t find the right wrapping paper so maybe it’s all for the best anyway.
Isabel, I tell her, I have Christmas boxes here. Do you want to use one of mine?

“community based competitions” by Julia at her dining table

Sunday June 19, 2016
5 minutes

I’m standing at the microphone and I can hear my own breathing inside my head, but everything else in the room is perfectly still. I am ready. I am prepared. I am under water. I feel true calm. I hear the speaker bellow out a long word in slow motion. I hear every single part of his word. I see every single part of his word. I take a deep breath and I pause. The silence is back. My focus is razor. I repeat his word, his multisyllabic and challenging word and I spell it back to him, punching. each. letter. It is good to be good. I am floating. I am waiting. The sound of the auditorium floods back to my ears and there is thunder. There is pulse. I am lifted.

“and lifted right up” by Julia on her couch

Saturday June 18, 2016
5 minutes
All My Puny Sorrows
Miriam Toews

Caught me in the middle of ‘researching’ various porn sites and I got mad at you for barging in unannounced. Kendra, you said, I live here. Do I really have to announce anything? I was embarrassed, obviously, that’s why people get defensive and upset in the first place, but I was not about to tell you that.
Listen, Matt, I don’t think a text or a phone call is a very big inconvenience just to tell me you’re on your way or that you’re 5 or 10 minutes out, or that you’ll be disturbing me and just wanted to give me a heads up.
Disturbing you? You asked.
Yes, I told you, or disrupting the flow.
I didn’t know there would be so many arbitrarily chosen rules popping up when you moved in.
I’m just saying we share the space and it’d be nice to be aware of each other.
Fine, Kendra. You said. You were on your way back out the door. I’d like all parties present to be informed that I am, ANNOUNCING, that I am leaving for the night, and all parties present can go back to being a huge dick for no reason, by herself.

“the games you don’t play” by Julia at Starbucks

Friday June 17, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
What You Don’t Do
Lianne La Havas

Millie’s coming! Millie’s coming! That’s me yelling from the centre of my happiness–shouting out that my HEART is visiting me in this god forsaken shit-hole of a town! MILLIE IS COMING EVERYBODY SHE IS GOING TO BE HERE IN T-MINUS 1 HOUR CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE BUY THE CAKE AND THE SPARKLERS CAUSE I WILL BE TOO BUSY SCREAMING MY HEAD OFF AND MAKING A KILLER GUACAMOLE THANK YOU. When I told her I didn’t want her to come, that no she shouldn’t take off work, that please don’t worry about me, I’m very much fine just going INSANE, she refused to take no for an answer. Lydia, she’d say, Lydia, Lydia, why wouldn’t I want to come see my favourite sister in her most loathed living location to date? And I’d say, A) I’m your only sister and B) I chose this place, it’s not like they’re forcing me to stay. Millie always says something subtly sisterly like I’ve always wanted to visit Saskatoon! Or just put the two of us in a room and we will seriously run that town!

“reaction to terror” by Julia at Starbucks

Thursday June 16, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
from cnn.com

Children at the convenience store are screaming something about a playground, something about knee-high socks, something about strawberry milkshakes. An old man on the bus is doing the same only about justice and about torture, and I think also about strawberry milkshakes. A woman waking up on a park bench is screaming something about homicide, and recklessness, and something about terror. Something about loss. It all blends in thick, swirling ideas and fears into a tornado small enough to package up and fit into the tight spot between our chests. We can walk the earth with the unknown and unknowing spinning, spinning, ripping up our insides and sending them flying to every corner. We don’t have to name it if we take it with us.

“Packing planner checklist” by Julia at Starbucks

Wednesday June 15, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
from the Uhaul website

I think T-Lite said she’d meet us at the train station but she didn’t say what time. If she doesn’t show up, we’re screwed, but I don’t want to tell that to Roy yet. He still thinks we’re escaping this place on some magic carpet, flying far far away. I look up at the departure board and Santa Monica has one coming up, the next one not for a few hours. If we’re late, I don’t know what happens to the ones we’re expected to pick up at the station. Roy yawns and takes his heart shaped sunglasses off to rub his eyes. We goin’ or what? He says. Let’s make moves! Yeah, I say, we are, hold tight. Maybe, he tells me, I’ll catch a few z’s before T-Lite gets here, ah? Yeah, find a little spot on the ground, I say. Check for wet. He brings his hands to prayer and bows his head in my direction. I look at my watch again. I sink a little: we are definitely not making this next train.

“Mangiamo Italiano!” by Julia at Starbucks

Tuesday June 14, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
The front page of the Westender

They are sitting around a long table, glass bottles filled with fresh spring water from the well down the road. They are drinking Limoncello before noon. They are cracking jokes in dialect, English, Italian, and a combination of all three. They are sprinkling extra Parmigiana on their pasta shuta, adding extra wine, cheaper than water, to their tiny cups. Some of them add sugar. Some of them fall asleep while drinking it…
They are pouring olive oil on everything, going up for seconds before there are none left, and passing the soft bread, still warm from the hands that broke it just seconds ago. They are telling the same stories that have been told for decades, still expecting the same laughs, the same response even though everyone there has heard them in rotation. They are quiet and trying not to eat as much, or quiet and trying to take it all in, or quiet because there is so much love and it speaks volumes in the moments where only faint chewing is audible.

“the nervous towns of Mars” by Julia on her couch

Monday June 13, 2016
5 minutes
The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury

I don’t have words right now
not for the pain
for the other stuff
I have alien feelings
not happiness
not fear
something is in me breaking
as we speak
I would ask for
to go home early
from all of this
try my lungs out
call to the wild but
there’s a scientist
waiting to take
my blood out
and I think
she owns me or something
Because my thoughts don’t feel
like mine anymore
they feel
like nothings floating
and bobbing up for air
now and again
she tells me
stop trying
and I assume she means
My arm is her best friend
my vein
is her guilty pleasure
she looks at my dancing
blue fluids
inside life
with fluorescent sparks shooting out
of her eyes
getting ready to keep me
from jumping out of
my skin
and into the world
beside this one
I tell her
They have much more
star-dust because it’s a destination
Not a curse
She says
and I know now
which means
shuffling around while this
thing is in me
which means
because I use
my hands
too much

“screaming like Tasmanian devils” by Julia at her dining table

Sunday June 12, 2016
5 minutes
Bye Judy and Good Luck
Mona Awad

Madelyn had stepped out onto her porch, dimly lit, a few mosquitoes, joint lit. No sweater, it was good to feel cold every now and again. Not impossible cold. Awareness-making cold. She glanced down at the stain on her yellow cable knit T-shirt, pulling the base of it down and out to examine the damage, to survey the crime scene. They had been screaming like Tasmanian devils; running up and down the house so feverishly and never-endingly causing the whole house to vibrate. Madelyn didn’t know if the love she had for them was enough to keep her from hating them when they were like this. She thought she might have to take notes and keep watch on their behaviour with the cycles of the moon. She picked again at the orange-red blotch of defeat on her top. She picked again. She swatted away a mosquito.

“screaming like Tasmanian devils” by Sasha at the Farmer’s Market

Sunday June 12, 2016
5 minutes
Bye Judy and Good Luck
Mona Awad

Jackson got a new haircut HEE HAW! I’m so excited about cheeseburgers for dinner! We’re gonna get curly fries too because it’s FRIDAY HEE HAW! My Mom’s coming back from her week on (she’s week on week off) and we get to have a whole week with her at home! HEE HAW! My Mom fights fires in the woods and she has to wear a huge suit and it weighs more than me even. Jackson’s new haircut MAKES ME WANT TO GET A NEW HAIRCUT TOO! I can’t help it that sometimes I scream! I’m so excited to be alive!

“fumbling as she removes” by Sasha on her yoga mat

Saturday June 11, 2016
5 minutes
From an assignment

There’ve been times when she’s looked at you like you’re a stranger
just arrived here by way of an invisible 747
landed ass first in the house that you own three quarters of
There’ve been times when she kisses you and you aren’t sure if her lips
are your lips or if your lips belong to someone much older
and much fatter
There’ve been times
in thunderstorms
When the dog cowers under the oak table growling and shaking
Peeing on the floor and she curses and you clean it up and then
you sneak a puff of a joint on the other side of the street

“She wants to keep the baby.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday June 10, 2016
5 minutes
From Facebook post

She wants to keep the baby, Bibbi does, and no one wants her to and everyone knows it’s the worst possible idea, but what are we supposed to do, right, what are we supposed to do to her.

No one knows if it’s Chuck’s or if it’s Kenny’s. Most of us don’t care but some of us do, I do, I know that I really do.

Ran into Chuck at the gas station buying some cigarettes and Diet Sprite and he looked really run down, like, he’s had a really bad day.

“Hey Alex,” Chuck says, all quiet. “Bye Alex.”

“fumbling as she removes” by Julia at her dining table

Saturday June 11, 2016
5 minutes
from an assignment

It’s the second time they’ve fucked in 2 hours. She is eyes closed, veal roast in the oven, 15 minutes left, oven mitts on and panties down. He is grabbing, grinding, purring in her ear pushing pants down, hers, his, lower, lower. She is arched back, kicking off tight jeans, kicking tight jeans aside, making more room, getting better grip. He is neck kissing, hair pulling, t-shirt over head lead her from the kitchen counter, all the way to the living room floor. She is focused, free, committed. He is thirsty, licking, willing. She is sniffing his skin and sighing deep. He is groaning each second, spilling into her, spilling out of her.

“She wants to keep the baby.” by Julia at Starbucks

Friday June 10, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
from Facebook post

-So we’re going to do this then? Is this actually happening?!
-Well you’re not exactly doing anything, are you.
-Sam. What the fuck. This is my baby too.
-How do we know if this will even be a baby? What if I change my mind-aren’t I allowed to do that?
-Woah. Yes..I mean, of course you… But I thought we talked about it. I thought we made the decision together?
-Yeah, if I remember correctly, I told you I was pregnant and you said you wanted me to keep it. The end.
-That’s not true, Sam, you wanted the same thing! Where is all this coming from all of a sudden?
-Where is it coming from? How about there’s a living thing growing inside me right now and everyone around me seems to be an expert on the situation but when I say something, it’s “coming out of nowhere.”
-Okay. I… didn’t realize–
-No, you didn’t realize, that’s the first smart thing you’ve said.
-I’m sorry, babe, I really am…

“One of the biggest challenges of learning” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday June 9, 2016
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday, June 9, 2016

Me and Gigi go way back, way way back. Like, we were practically born in the same room on the same day. Our mother’s are twins. They planned their pregnancies to line up. Not even kidding. And, like, you can’t really plan when you’re gonna go into labour but Mama and Jean? Within two hours of each other. I was a bit preemie and Gigi was three days past her due date. It’s weird sharing a birthday and grandparents and genes but not having shared a uterus. That’s weird, right? It’s not just me? It’s weird that we barely even speak now, right? Even though people think WE are twins. My father is Iranian and Gigi’s father is Italian so really there’s no mistaking that we are not twins, but we do, we do look alike, I guess.

“Freckles on thighs” by Sasha on her yoga mat

Wednesday June 8, 2016
5 minutes
Teachable Moment, 1986
Kellee Ngan

You wear very small underwear smaller than the
ones a mouse would wear or
a rabbit
You wear them with pride showing off the
freckles on your thighs showing off the
hue of skin that rarely meets light
These underwear are red the colour of popping
cherries the colour of the apple on the teacher’s
desk the colour of blood and love and Sriracha
You strut about the rooster that you are
parading your very small underwear the grass
scratching the bottoms
of your feet

“within the high-rise’s stairway” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday June 7, 2016
5 minutes
David Delisca

They meet in the stairway of the high-rise where they both live with their significant others. Seems a bit ironic now, “significant” “other”. No one ever takes the stairs. Floor two, three, four and five are all amenities (meeting rooms and gyms and a pool and a massage room). The elevator has only broken once in the twelve years that she’s lived there. Even then, people didn’t take the stairs.

They fuck on the eleventh landing. It’s their spot.

She buys him a pay-as-you-go cell phone that he tops up at the Seven Eleven with phone cards that remind him of travelling in Africa. They text at least three hundred and seventeen times a day, sometimes whole conversations in only emojis.

“to watch someone fall” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday June 6, 2016
5 minutes
Poetry Is Dead Magazine
Issue 01 Volume 05

The chair is sticky, like someone who sat on it might’ve just been eating ice cream cones or something. It’s so hot outside, everyone in the waiting room is wearing next to nothing. The air conditioning is cranked high, so high that my teeth are chattering. So are the woman who sits across from me. Her hair in tight corn-rows, she pops gum and reads The Scientific American. They don’t call my name until I’m almost an ice block and then they do and everything happens at once and I wonder if I’m doing the right thing and if I should’ve talked to Dan or my Mom or anyone at all. 

“not released until all” by Sasha in the bath

Sunday June 5, 2016
5 minutes
From the online grading centre

we are held until the officer processes every one every single one. the women are all in burlap sacks and then men are in prison jumpsuits of varying colours. mostly orange. some grey. a man pushes a woman and before i can call for help everyone is fighting and pushing and punching. i cling to a wall, wondering if it will bring me safety, wondering if concrete is kinder than people. i try to find jamie but everyone looks the same. everyone has the same rabid squirrel expression. everyone looks sweaty and pale and dehydrated and exhausted. a nursing woman’s breasts start leaking. she cries, “i need to feed my baby! i need to feed my baby!”

“Valid ID is required” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday June 4, 2016
5 minutes
From a receipt

The first morning it happened you thought you were still dreaming
A small caterpillar on the pillow beside you
Squirming trying to find it’s footing
You looked up and down for a spot where it might’ve gotten in
but didn’t turn any such spot up.

The next day there were two –
both green and one with yellow spots.

The third day there were four caterpillars on the pillow
and one crawled out of your mouth and down your chin and
joined the others.

You cried drinking you tea and wondered how sick you were
and what a specialist would say and where you’d been infected.

You googled away the entire day and the only stuff you turned up
were horrific images of tapeworms and men swaddled in white fabric
completely emaciated.

“One of the biggest challenges of learning” by Julia at Starbucks

Thursday June 9, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday, June 9, 2016

Of course Freddie was trying to hide her smile, she didn’t need Mitchell to see his math tutor also not taking him seriously. He was telling her about his day and the traumatic experience of Ashley and Ashley tricking him into sliding a penny down the centre of his face during the lesson with manipulatives. They told him if a line appears on his skin it means he’s deficient in iron. Mitchell didn’t want to be deficient in anything in front of the Ashleys but he rolled the penny and sure enough, it produced one tiny grey line. He told Freddie how they snickered and caused such a commotion that everyone came to look. All day, apparently, Mitchell had tried to convince everyone to do the same. He didn’t know they had coloured in the penny with pencil.

“your laziness” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday June 3, 2016
5 minutes
The Intent To Live
Larry Moss

my laziness was a private pleasure
languishing in cream sheets
legs in the air
staring at painted
toenails chipping
scrolling through faces and
forty character prayers
thumb padding a rhythm
sleepy and slow
once my laziness was seen
by you and i wasn’t sure
if i liked it
caught on the couch in
my robe
open at the breasts
a bit
watching video after video after
video of hollywood actress

“You put that out into the world” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday June 2, 2016
5 minutes
Overheard at UBC

Momo gets on the school bus and it looks like there isn’t a seat, not anywhere, not without making it three kids in a row. Cutie, the bus driver, sighs, waiting for him to find a spot before she drives on. Momo trips over backpacks and lunch bags and stray feet, sticking out into the aisle, willing someone, anyone, to trip. Momo is glad that his Granny wasn’t feeling well enough to walk him to the end of the driveway today. If she’d been waving, on top of all of this, it just would’ve been too much.