“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