“Door To Hell” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, August 30, 2016
7:31am
5 minutes
aplus.com

it starts with a whisper with a promise to be better
when you don’t really mean it and you don’t really want to
commit to process
it’s opened then
when you say anything that doesn’t sound like truth and when you think
everybody only hears sincerity when you are wrong but don’t
want to believe that yet
a little crack further
and you keep far away from it because it’s calling you
it knows you by face and you pretend it’s a different you a different you with
the same name
coincidence
that each day a little bit less is tried
a little bit less is wagered
and the pit beyond grace is surrounded by old flames that
you ran from because you didn’t have the courage
to snuff them out
it starts with a whisper with the song of wandering souls
you fall each day
further off the track you triumph over
unfairly

“It languished in the vault” by Sasha at her desk


Monday, August 29, 2016
11:34am
5 minutes
rollingstone.com

Grizz drinks forties on Tuesdays, tall boys on Wednesday and Thursdays, and Jamaican spiced rum on the weekends. Mondays are for sobering up, if you can call it that. He’s organized in his alcohol chaos. He’s been growing a beard since Easter and since we started planting, he hasn’t been trimming his cheeks or his neck. He’s the Woodsman. All the girls here wanna bang him, and the guys wanna be him, and he’s too drunk to know the difference. Our supervisor, Alex, who comes to camp once a week, is charmed by him, just like the rest of us. He turns a blind eye to it, even supplying some of the poison. He thinks he’s helping, keeping us all happy, but he’s not.

“they did not” by Sasha on her porch


Sunday, August 28, 2016
10:12pm
5 minutes
From a piece of feedback

They did not tell us that we would fight like dogs
and fuck like them too especially when the heat broke
They did not tell us that there would be days when
everything would feel broken
They did not say,
“Kindness is the most important thing, followed
closely by respect, by humour, by knowing when to
let it go and when to raise the torch.”
They did not say that there would be times when
we would be strangers sleeping side by side.
They did not tell us that we would fall deeper
in love with each fight, each fuck, each break,
each repair, each song, each pizza, each jump
underwater.

“We like what you’ve got to say” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday, August 27, 2016
12:07am
5 minutes
Penn’s Sunday School

The sound of the dry erase pen on the whiteboard makes my stomach turn. It’s hour five of eight and Henry’s voice woos me in and out of sleep. He came up and pinched my ear just after lunch when my head hit the desk and distracted everyone. At least that’s what he said. I could still taste him, which made that extra weird. It was our special arrangement – I’d blow him on our fifteen minute break in exchange for free driving school. On the fifteen minute break, everyone was either smoking or at the Seven Eleven buying coffee and Slurpees. Henry came in under six minutes, so it wasn’t an issue in that way. When he’d propositioned me, at first I said no. But I really wanted to be able to get to my job at Shoppers without having to take the bus.

“It languished in the vault” by Julia at her dining table


Monday, August 29, 2016
7:08am
5 minutes
rollingstone.com

I put it there along with other things. I wanted a collection of all the lies I had been telling. In the secret parts of my understanding I like to believe they live in a garden on their own. But they are not thriving in their soil. I don’t water them. I have deep hopes that they don’t need it. The walls of this decision are dried and crumbling. They don’t fall or crack revealing light. They pile on top of the old ones and bury the new ones that were just put there for a second. Now everything is locked up. The idea that this is all I’ll ever be. I am the one languishing in the vault. I am the one wasted. And I only choose to visit the scraps of myself there when no one else is around. Stuck internal, asleep on a mattress that divides all of my bones into unusable groups, and keeps me from attending the day like they all expect me to.

“they did not” by Julia on her couch 


Sunday, August 28, 2016
9:32pm
5 minutes
from a piece of feedback

They do not ask you how you’re doing. They do not wonder if you’re a good liar. They aren’t supposing anything about you except that you must have few worries in this world. They do not pour your water first before theirs. They do not bring you batches of lemonade or lavender shortbread. They don’t call you on the phone. They don’t respond to your letters. They don’t tell you when they see something that reminds them of you. They do not buy it. They never buy it. They do not tell you when you are making them feel unsafe. They do not think you are hijacking the room. They do not know how little you’re listening. They do not expect anything from you. They do not include you in their conversation. They do not ask you if you want to help. They do not ask you if you’ve been places. They do not ask you if you understand the feeling. They do not give you the chance to improve the silence. They do not thank you for your advice. They aren’t borrowing your clothes or your poetry.

“I keep thinking about the night we spent in Rome” by Sasha on the porch in Cowichan Bay


Friday August 26, 2016
10:50am
5 minutes
Super Sad True Love Story
Gary Shteyngart

I keep thinking about the night we spent in Rome, finding every fountain we could. You were wearing socks, so you had to peel them off each time. We waded around in each one of them, crouching down if someone came who we thought might get us in trouble. Walking barefoot over the cobblestone, we bought pepperoni sticks from a man on the corner and ate so many I got a stomach ache. We lay under a tree in a park where ladyboys wandered from bush to bush, telling each other secrets we’d never told anyone.

“We like what you’ve got to say” by Julia on her couch 


Saturday, August 27, 2016
12:04am
5 minutes
Penn’s Sunday School


They hired Keith for the job even though he thought they hated everything he said during his interview. It had nothing to do with content, Elise told him, it was all about personality. Keith did have a great personality. He was kind and light hearted and he never got obnoxious drunk, just flushed and a bit anxious. Keith had a hard time receiving compliments. He didn’t want anyone to be tricking him into acknowledging his strengths because acknowledging his strengths would be considered a weakness. Elise told him he deserved to be happy for once. He had been taking care of Carl since they were kids. Everyone knew Carl didn’t have a terribly bright prognosis but Keith was in denial. He missed him. Elise tried not to let him blame himself. You did everything you could. Some things are meant to be. Please enjoy this one life that you have, Carl would have wanted that. And do not throw a pity party and expect to have a good turnout.                                                    

“I keep thinking about the night we spent in Rome” by Julia at her dining table


Friday August 26, 2016
6:50am
5 minutes
Super Sad True Love Story
Gary Shteyngart

I remember it like it was five minutes ago. You didn’t even want to go but I told you it was something to see. You were worried about not getting a good picture and I said Trust Me It Will Be Even Better. We stopped for pizza first and that put you in a better mood. It was thin crust and saucy and probably the best we’d ever had. You said it was too salty but you were just in a funk and I tried to wait it out. When we made it to the Colosseum, your face lit up like I knew it would. It’s Beautiful, you said, and you looked up starry eyed. There’s a peacefulness at night. Fewer people, but always someone. You wanted to get mad about the men selling the neon light sticks and the sound makers that shot way up in the air, changing colour on the way down, and making children go crazy with bright love but you couldn’t. You were very pleased even if you didn’t say it every ten seconds. I wanted to dip you low and kiss you under the night sky, our happy place in Rome.

“for a fun birthday” by Sasha on the ferry


Thursday August 25, 2016
3:06pm
5 minutes
from a TMZ video

For my funnest birthday party we went to Ikea! I got to eat all the meatballs I wanted! It was practically heaven on earth, I mean, those meatballs are what dreams are probably made of! My cousin, Gemma, she’s only six, she ate so much ice cream that she puked in the ball pit. My Mom said, “This is a disaster!” And so now Gemma always says, “This is a disaster!” In her little tiny baby voice, “This is a disaster!” They had to empty the ball pit and we didn’t get to help, we just had to watch. That was not the funnest. But then my Mom bought me this lizard type of plush toy and she said, “Sorry that Gemma had to go and ruin this…” And she looked sad but I said, “This is the funnest birthday party, so don’t even worry about it!”

“Sitting in rapt attention” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday August 24, 2016
3:44pm
5 minutes
SAD MAG
Issue No. 19

Doris is screaming and I can smell the shit in her diaper. “Could you change her?” I ask Ted. He gives me a look like, “Fuck you, cow,” and I pick her up and put her on my hip. “Could you get me a coffee?” I say, over my shoulder. Ted nods, but I doubt he’ll do it. Doris pulls by earring out and I watch as it rolls under a row of seats. Shit. I love these earrings. She reeks and I’m hungover and the ocean is choppy. I’ll come back for it. No one wants a single amethyst stud. It will be there. The shit is all over Doris’ back, one of those explosive situations that people warn about but you don’t always believe actually happen.

“We hopped on bikes with banana seats” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday August 23, 2016
7:06am
5 minutes
parent.co

On bikes with banana seats we ride to the sea
You’re going fast and you’re far ahead of me
The road is steep and we’re going full speed
But I’m more cautious and I know what you need
Your hands off the bars you’re screaming so loud
I glance up for a moment and see a hand shaped cloud
You’ve stripped down to your briefs by the time I get there
I peel off my dress and I let down my hair

“You close?” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday August 22, 2016
11:12pm
5 minutes
from a text

Lucas called when he was close, just like he knew Marjorie liked him to do. “I should be there in ten or so,” he said and Marjorie listened like a spy dog, trying to decipher if he was using his headphones or not.

“Are you still on the highway?” She asked.

“Just got off. I’ll see you shortly.” Lucas hasn’t seen Marj since the mastectomy and while he knew that they wouldn’t talk about it, he could hear something changed in his mother’s voice.

“We’re having lasagna!” She squeezed in, before he hung up.

Lucas wasn’t sure where it came from, but a sob emerged from his throat as though it had been sleeping there for quite some time. Perhaps seven weeks. Perhaps since the surgery.

“The worst kept secret” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday August 21, 2016
10:43pm
5 minutes
lifehacker.com

You knew that Minnie had secrets but you weren’t sure how many, you weren’t sure how low they lay, stratus clouds in an otherwise blue sky. Sometimes, on the days when Minnie couldn’t get out of bed, you would bring her soft boiled eggs and toast “soldiers”, buttered and peppered, just how she liked. Often, on those days, when you’d come back in the bedroom, nothing would be touched, except for the egg’s shell, cracked with the teaspoon but then left to grow cold.

“for a fun birthday” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday August 25, 2016
6:59am
5 minutes
SAD MAG
from a TMZ video

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

I am not celebrating my birthday this year.

I AM NOT CELEBRATING MY BIRTHDAY THIS YEAR.

So. You can all go back to what you were doing. WHAT wERe YoU DOinG AnyWAY?? Celebrating something else?? Probably anything else??

I am very upset.
UPset. UPset. because. BECAUSE: I WAS Set Up. That is the truth. TO FAIL. set up to fail and to deal with the repercussions on my oWN. Which is painful. I mISs My Sister.
I miss her laugh. I miss her handssssssss.

And they want me to KEEP PUSHING?

How far before I am edging off the face of this planet? How FAR BEFORE I AM JUST Another NEWs STORy. This Just In: Everything is wrong and nothing is right and someone who needs those things to be switched is feeling the sadness of losing someone close and needs to be held but people are afraid and needs to be told IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY by someone WHO KNOWS and by someone who Won’t Turn It Into A Media Scandal.

I am not celebrating my birthday this year. I have disappointed everyone and nobody will come and everyone is mad and nobody can fix broken with cake.

“Sitting in rapt attention” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday August 24, 2016
6:45am
5 minutes
SAD MAG
Issue No. 19

He was leading a seminar on punctuality and he showed up 6 minutes late. If he had turned it into some teachable moment, or made us realize how important life is sometimes and how maybe he’s the perfect one to lead this seminar because punctuality is still a human invention and so a human can still mess it up, we would have been more in his corner. Instead the whole time I thought he was a flake. How he couldn’t admit that he was wrong. That he was trying to save face in a crowd of ruthless college kids who were looking for reasons not to take him seriously. I thought about where he might be coming from. I thought about his life’s struggles and decided he probably had a bunch of them because we all do. I don’t know what everyone else was thinking but I was hoping he’d end his seminar early and rush off to tend to one of those life things so we would all have a little more compassion for him. I think that’s a good thing, that I would rather be compassionate. I guess the bad part is that I need to have a reason first before I want to be.

“We hopped on bikes with banana seats” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday August 23, 2016
7:04am
5 minutes
parent.co

It might have been 40 degrees out. It felt like we had already sweat off most of our top skin anyway. The trees were dense with moisture. Heavy like they were holding in all of the rain we hadn’t seen. Jessie and I ate kiwis while we waited for Reid and Lucia to hurry up. Lucia told us we’d hear the owl signal and know we should take off on our bikes to go meet them. Jessie didn’t want to move. She said her thighs were rubbing. We sat beside the shed while we finished eating, kiwi juice dripping down into our shirts. I didn’t want to ask Jessie to do much else. I was glad she finally came with us for once. Usually she’d have an excuse why she couldn’t come. She even used “blow-drying her hair” one time and missed out on one of the best nights of our lives. We spent that summer in the cemetery conjuring spirits and memories of loved ones we had never met.

“You close?” by Julia on her couch


Monday August 22, 2016
10:09pm
5 minutes
from a text

I wish he had asked that without his mouth full of Subway. I almost instinctively said “Well not anymore I won’t be” but restrained myself. I swear sometimes Lance only does gross shit to provoke me. To test me into seeing how much I can take. How grimy he could be and get away with it.
“I have to lock up first.”
“Nobody’s going to want to break into your dad’s shed. Trust me.”
“I told them I would watch their place while they were away.”
“Yeah but what do they expect for you to lock each room before you leave the house too?”
“get away from me with your tzatziki breath. I’ll be two seconds you can wait in the car.”
We were going on an adventure. Lance made me do it, told me it would be fun and we would remember it always.

“The worst kept secret” by Julia on her couch


Sunday August 21, 2016
10:26pm
5 minutes
lifehacker.com

Somebody told me once that discharge was called sperm. Okay it was my sister. We used to fight a lot. She was older. I wanted to do everything she did. I believed everything she told me. I was so confident in her that I never questioned a single thing she said. I admired her. Now we’re older and she tells me when things I believe about myself are just stories. She tells me when she hears me choosing not to love myself. I believe her. I know she doesn’t say things now to break me down. When we were young, she wanted to tease me. But maybe to see how much I could take. How much I would hear before I pushed back. It’s trusting someone outside yourself. She knows everything I’ve never told anyone else. She will always be the keeper of my secrets. She keeps the ones I like next to the ones I never will. She keeps them for me, but she forgets they’re there. She doesn’t see me through eyes of things I wish I didn’t do. She does not love on condition.

“your hand in mine” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday August 20, 2016
12:17pm
5 minutes
Heard in a song on Co-op radio

your hand in mine we jump and i’m not sure about the aerodynamics and i’m not sure about the landing but i am sure about you and me and what kind of magic we are going to make here.

your hand in mine we walk as the leaves turn purple and gold as the sky opens and the rain comes and we’re soaking wet in the middle of the road but we’re laughing and then the moon laughs and it’s the best music we’ve ever heard. the best music.

your hand in mine and we let go long enough to miss one another not long enough to forget about the magnificence of this love so big that only the mountains can hold us so big that when the lightning hits we bow down and touch our foreheads to the earth.

“your hand in mine” by Julia on her bed


Saturday August 20, 2016
2:08pm
5 minutes
Heard in a song on Co-op radio

I catch myself believing I deserve better when I grab your hand in the crowded street and you pull away after only a second. I grab your hand as a gesture to show you that in this sea of people, I cling to you. I reach for you. I choose you. I remind you every chance I get that I am proud of you. That I am proud to be with you. That the touch of your skin connects me to the only things in this life that matter. And you might miss all of that if you’re not expecting to see it. If you think holding hands is something to be taken for granted. Or to be done differently, perhaps. On days like this I swim along the shoulders of other people when I think of how lonely it is to love you. How far I’ve pushed my heart into opening and how tired she is from never being cradled back. I don’t think I’m allowed to ask for more. I need so much so much so much.

“I think he’ll appreciate this food” by Sasha on her porch


Friday August 19, 2016
10:49pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 84

You slice watermelon. The juice drips
down your fingers over your wrists up your arms
and into your pits.
You pick out the seeds
the ones you can see at least
with the left fork finger and you stack them
one on top of the other on the counter.
The compost is patient.
You roll a lime between
your sticky palms.
You slice it open and squeeze it’s juice
on the melon
ready and waiting to receive.

“I think he’ll appreciate this food” by Julia on the 84


Friday August 19, 2016
7:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 84

I think he’s in the hospital or at least that’s what Addie thinks. She heard it from his sister’s boyfriend’s sister. I want to visit him because he might be lonely. And maybe hungry. So I want to buy him a burrito cause I doubt he’s allowed to have those in the hospital. I think he’ll be happy. But I’m still waiting on Addie’s intel to confirm because I can’t afford to take the morning off for no reason. Not just cause I want to cause there aren’t enough chances to go around. Got to save it for something good. This would be good though. This would be a really good reason to skip work.
Did you hear what happened to him not this time but the one before that?
Somebody took a baseball bat and..
Anyway you can put two and two together. Just hope someone is there with him until we can get there. I worry that the longer he goes the worse it’ll be.

“See the world” by Julia on her bed


Thursday August 18, 2016
12:01am
5 minutes
From a flyer

Ginny hasn’t left the country. Hasn’t left the city, really. Hasn’t left the space in her head that tells her it’s not safe to go outside. Ginny does’t know which pen pals have forgotten her. She doesn’t know which ones are hoping she’s alright. It’s not safe to go outside. Ginny spins the globe that uncle Andy brings her. Says the world is so big but if you hold it in your hand you feel small. Ginny lets him leave it in her room because every so often he comes by to spin it for himself. Pick a place, any place, he tells her. What kind of place should I pick? Ginny doesn’t go outside. It’s not safe to go outside. It doesn’t matter, he says. This is dreaming and dreaming doesn’t need reasons. But a place that I want to go? She asks. Sure, he says, any place that isn’t right here.

“See the world” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday August 18, 2016
1:06pm
5 minutes
From a flyer

pop says see the world but i’m not sure what he even knows about that because he’s never left chesterton. probably something he’s heard on tv or something, like, a thing he heard someone say that he thought sounded smart. he never finished high school even, so what does he know. sorry pop. you know a lot about how to raise pigs, and how to nurse a pup back to health after she eats too much grass. you know a lot about corn. seeing the world? don’t know nothing about that. if i actually took your advice and left chesterton, i think you’d cry for a week. not that i’ve ever seen ya… but i can imagine. it’s been you and i since mama and berg drowned, since i was three and you were twenty six. mama has finally learned how to make peach pie, the crust and everything. at least that’s what you tell me. mama had just learned to make peach pie.

“the reconnection of a couple” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday August 17, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
roommagazine.com

Snap your fingers and we’re back on track
back to black
back to back
Spines align like a star sign
Smoke signals in the magic hour light
snaking from my mouth to yours
from my mouth to yours
the distance of the north star to
the horizon stretching brighter than we’ve
ever seen
In our home the plants are thirsty
we’re thirsty
we dance naked on the porch unafraid
of who sees our flawless bodies

“demonstrate power and courage” by Sasha on her porch


Tuesday August 16, 2016
10:21pm
5 minutes
jinxiboo.com

You measure your self worth in productivity but don’t know it’s deadly til it kills you. You collapse in the produce isle of the big box store, tomatoes exploding out of your hands, cart overturning, head smashing on the concrete floor. It takes awhile for anyone to notice, faces down, stuffing heads of broccoli in plastic bags, reading lists off iPhones. You don’t die on impact, it takes a few minutes. You wonder whether or not Pete will be able to find the hidden folder on your desktop that contains your will. You never told him about it. You wonder who will undress and wash your body. You wonder how many people will come to the memorial.

“level of trust” by Sasha on the couch at Macdonell


Monday August 15, 2016
8:26am
5 minutes
Adbusters
Oct 2016 issue


She’s oblivious. Floating above herself, she brushes a fruit fly from her peripheral vision. She’s oblivious. There’s a level of trust between her and him, but not enough to allow her to land. A monarch traces maps on the air, blue sky, blue blue sky. I want to show her how to weave a basket to carry her worries. I want to make other plans. I want to learn guitar and write a song and play it over and over until she believes that I really do love her. She’s oblivious. She puts on lip balm for the hundredth time. She looks at me. She smiles with her eyes, but not her lips. He sees and kisses the tip of her nose. I turn away.

“the reconnection of a couple” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday August 17, 2016
10:31pm
5 minutes
roommagazine.com

He had been gone for a long time. I think he was fishing with his new wife, Amber. I hadn’t seen him after he left my mother with a hospital bill and a bag of rotting carrots in the fridge. I hoped he and Amber caught all the fish they could carry.

I was mad because of what he did to my mom. I mean even to this day it’s weird to say “did to” as if he did himself to her. He behaved himself to her. He was himself to her seems more accurate. I was mad because he would be so capable of disappointing someone who loved him that much.

I found out this year that my mother was horrible to him too. I didn’t know that before. I guess I needed someone to blame but I needed someone to stay more. I guess I chose wrong.

That’s when he called. He heard my mom wasn’t going to make it and he came home. He came back to what home used to be. He didn’t bring Amber. I respected him more for that. He didn’t bring any fish. I thought that was kind of rude.

“bore you with another list ” by Sasha in the garden at Macdonell


Sunday August 14, 2016
3:45pm
5 minutes
theestablishment.com

1. I’m sorry.
2. I’m sorry.
3. I’m sorry.
4. I’m so sorry.
5. I’m sorry.
6. I feel bad.
7. I love you.
8. I’m sorry.
9. I love you so much.
10. I’m so sorry.
11. I’m sorry.
12. I hate myself.
13. I love you.
14. I’m sorry.
15. Fuck you.
16. I love you.
17. I’m sorry.
18. I’m sorry.

“The secret of remaining young” By Sasha in the Kiva


Saturday August 13, 2016
2:10am
5 minutes
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde


I’m just having a fucking terrible
day. I spent last night at the
hospital with Alex because she
thought she was going into labor
three weeks early, but it was a
false alarm and then there’s
construction outside our apartment
so I couldn’t sleep, and then I got
another rejection letter from
another fucking school and, I just
– …