“it’s an overhead shot” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday, February 28, 2017
4:03pm
5 minutes
Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play
Anne Washburn


At first I don’t think it’s a problem, but then I realize that it is a problem, a big problem, and so I call Dot.

Dot doesn’t answer, because she’s at chemotherapy. I instantly feel bad that I’m going to bug her about something as silly as a cinematic existential crisis. She’s dying. Nothing trumps that.

I resent the fact that the word T-R-U-M-P is now ruined, because before all of this baloney I really did like that word.

Dot calls me back before dinner, while the chicken breasts sear in the pan, and NPR plays from the shitty speaker in my phone.

“I can’t say I know what you’re talking about,” Dot says, in that way that she does, in that way that feels like chamomile tea.

“I see the slug-lines of my life, Dot!” I cry, flipping the over-cooked chicken with a pair of tongs she gave me. “For example right now, this conversation, it’s an overhead shot, lit dimly, with a score of sweeping cello!”

“trying to teach them technology” by Sasha at her kitchen


Monday February 27, 2017
9:25pm
5 minutes
From a text

Bobby makes Owen laugh, and that’s why
he keeps him around. Some people have
sidekicks and some people have acne
especially on their chins and foreheads.
Bobby has acne. Owen has
two girlfriends.
They weren’t always
friends, in fact, they used to be sworn
enemies, in the way that
nine year old boys
swear in blood and sticks whittled
with their fathers’ pen knives.

Owen asks Bobby if he wants a turn
with one of his girlfriends. Bobby
doesn’t know what that means,
politely declines. They are sitting
inside the slide in the schoolyard
where they used to go to school,
where they swore in blood,
made statements bigger than their bodies,
bigger than their dreams of the NHL
(Owen)
and running a non-profit that serves
both the hungry and stray cats
(Bobby)

“I felt stung” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:29pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

When Heloise first saw Penelope, she knew that they’d been cut from the same piece of floral corduroy. It had nothing to do with the hands of the mothers that they were each holding. It had everything to do with their size. Both a head taller than everyone else in their Grade Three class, the girls became fast friends. Height aside, their physical features couldn’t have been more different. Heloise had jet black hair cut into a bob, with blunt bangs that ended just above her eyebrows. Her mother had the exact same haircut. They went every five weeks to the salon on 10th. Heloise’s eyes were brown, like her father’s, and she had a small mouth, which she regarded with disdain. Penelope had auburn curls, which she wore loosely braided down one side. She had her ears pierced, and wore small jade heart studs. They’d been a birthday present from her mother. Penelope’s mother reminded everyone of someone they knew. “I have one of those faces,” she’d say with a smile.

“trying to teach them technology” By Julia in her cabin


Monday February 27, 2017
4:47pm
5 minutes
from a text

my sister turns 32 and the entire family eats
stuffed lobster tail and shrimp
they gather around the table and tell
each other some of the same stories
after hearing some temporary new ones
my siblings make my parents use cell-phones
I am the only one missing
I am the only one on an island
I am the only one in a different time zone
my mother calls me on my birthday 4 days earlier
proud that she finally got the day right
she doesn’t forget my birthday
she just doesn’t know which day it is anymore because
she isn’t forced to look at a calendar all day
she asks what I am planning and I say nothing really
then my father gets on the phone
he asks me what I’m planning and I say I’m going to the island
he asks me if it feels different being 30
when yesterday I was only 29
I tell him sort of because sort of but not more
because my eggs are getting cold
he sighs and says that at the end of the day
it’s all just soup anyway
I laugh because he is so Italian
but he has a point
he says the first bite tastes like soup
and the last bite still tastes like soup

“I felt stung” By Julia in her cabin


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:19pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

I don’t have any memories of my mother’s father. He died when I was three, lived in Italy, and I only met him a couple times. The first time, they tell me, was when I was 3 months old. I had my ears peirced with gold studs (by my aunt Patricia, who was also travelling to Italy with us), I carried around a rainbow striped bunny that I would later name “Skittles”, and according to my mother, I was a very picky eater during the first couple months of my life. They tell me that he was a big man, feared by many. They tell me all the other grandkids ran away from him because they were intimidated by his size, or his mood, or his silence. They tell me that when he walked by my crib I begged for him to pick me up. They tell me that it was strange for a small thing to reach out to him. They tell me that he lived for taking me out into the fields to pick fresh figs. They tell me he smiled a lot when we were there.

Sixteen years later I went to Italy for the second time. I found his gravestone. I listened to the air between my life and his. I still can’t say I ever knew him. But I missed him then.

“your body is not his home.” By Sasha on her couch


Saturday February 25, 2017
9:45pm
5 minutes
milk and honey
Rupi Kaur


I get home and I dump all of my shit on the bed, because who has the energy to put things away after twelve and a half hours of filing and photocopying and scanning and – … well, you get the picture. Next, I change, because I do not know any sane adult who hangs out at home in their work clothes. I go into the kitchen, pour myself a glass of – … Wait, should I not mention booze? Will that be a point against me? I mean, I know that there isn’t really a point system but… you know what I mean? Oh. Okay. Yes. Of course. Water? Sure. Sure…

“So am I. So Am I.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday February 24, 2017
11:33pm
5 minutes
East of Eden
John Steinbeck


watching this woman
all back muscles and delicacy
all breath in taut places
all grace and elegance
all body
a hiccup
so am i so am i
watching this woman
all strength and intention
all motherhood and wisdom
all risk all insecurity
all body
a sneeze
so am i
so am i
a sob in my throat
i wonder how this
whole sex
generation after
generation comes to
despise their home
watching this woman
moving across a floor
in pink tennis shoes
carving air like cake

“your body is not his home.” By Julia in her cabin


Saturday February 25, 2017
9:03am
5 minutes
milk and honey
-rupi kaur


When I was 7 my mother babysat a boy named Benjamin who was my age, and his two younger brothers. Ben had white blond hair and white blond eyebrows and he swore like a sailor. He had a lot of excess saliva, always pooling at the base of his tongue so when he spoke he shot out spurts or sometimes entire globules of spit. I thought this made him cute. I thought his boyish hair was something to brag about. One day we were playing in my room and Benjamin asked if we could sit in my closet. I didn’t know what he wanted to do but I do know that going into the closet was slightly wrong. It felt bad. I wanted to be bad with Benjamin. We brought Barbies and then sat in there on the floor with the lights on just staring at each other. Ben suggested that we show each other our private parts and I thought, yeah, alright, I don’t see why not.

“mini-volcanoes” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday February 23, 2017
10:11pm
5 minutes
From the Ocean Village Activity Book

Granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood, backsplash, and just wait until you see the shower. I know that you were hoping for a little bit more square footage, but I can guarantee you that you aren’t going to find anything better in your price range. Bear in mind that the previous owner lived there for almost thirty five years, so you may notice – … you know what? Nevermind. Let’s just go in.

Here it is! Bear in mind that it needs a paint job, and…

Look. Angela, this is the forty seventh unit I’ve shown to you. You need to, how can I say this, shit or get off the pot?

“So am I. So Am I.” By Julia in her cabin


Friday February 24, 2017
11:26pm
5 minutes
East of Eden
John Steinbeck


I’ve always had a hint of melodrama in everything I’ve written. I like extremes. I like metaphors. I tend to forget how little I actually need to say. I tend to over-explain. I tend to use familiar similes and words. I tend to talk about the ocean. I tend to smoke pot with the moon. I tend to rhyme and I tend to cry out every single one of my feelings. I tend to close the door when I brush my teeth. I tend to want to hide after I bare my soul. I tend to bare my soul. I tend to use words like soul.

“mini-volcanoes” By Julia in her cabin


Thursday February 23, 2017
10:11pm
5 minutes
from the Ocean Village Activity Book

In five minutes maybe I can remove all of the spicy chip from my teeth with my tongue and clear my mouth of all the tiny volcanoes erupting in my gums
In five minutes I’ll be able to finish the whole bag without meaning to and without effort, trying not to show signs of regret or shame so I can succeed in a more worthwhile game
I will learn the value of enough, I will learn it in my mouth so I don’t spend lifetimes filling my molars with trash to avoid the silence

“I grasped his.” By Julia at a cabin in Tofino


Wednesday February 22, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
Learning to Love You More
Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July


It was sudden in the way that sometimes my own pulse strikes me. I saw his tiny face and I loved it instinctively. I loved everything about him without meaning to; I had not prepared my heart for such surrender. He was something like a perfect feeling. A land without time. The best hug. I threw myself at his helpless feet. I grasped his burden like a swatter catching a fly. I have never thought once about anything.

“I grasped his.” By Sasha at her desk


Wednesday February 22, 2017
6:35pm
5 minutes
Learning to Love You More
Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July


Before he could say anything
I
I
I’m not sure if words are the
answer after all I mean I I I
it’s bigger than I I
I grasp his hand because sometimes
often a touch says a universe
and all I want is the promise of
the present
Before he could say anything
I I
I I
I interrupted
a habit worse than
chewing up
I inturr-
upted saying
“LOOK
I get scared
I get real scared
that this is all gonna
burn and what’s left
won’t be enough to keep
my full keep me
filled
LOOK I love you
like lava
LOOK I interrupt
because I’m passionate
LOOK here’s my full
hands full heart
full hands full of heart”

the batter is out.” By Sasha on her couch


Tuesday February 21, 2017
10:18pm
5 minutes
From the rules of cricket

You tell yourself that it’s okay, but it’s not. It’s not okay. You rev yourself up, turning the music so loud that the crucifix on the wall shakes. You grandmother won’t be home for another forty five minutes at least. She’s at the doctor. She has cataracts. You tell yourself that the police always try to scare people like you, but they won’t actually press charges. You grandmother calls and you turn the music off. If you don’t, she’ll nag you about how the “neighbours complain” and “the neighbours have a baby” and “have a little respect”.

“I need a reader” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday February 20, 2017
11:05pm
5 minutes
castingworkbook.com

Sometimes my eyes get so tired, looking at the bright light of the screen, that I wish I had a reader. I don’t even think that I’m an auditory learner, but I do love being read to. I really do. I often ask N to read to me before bed and he usually says no because his voice is tired. He talks all day. I get it. But there’s something about that soothing sound of someone reading aloud that is ultimate comfort, hey? Maybe, if it was work related, it wouldn’t be so productive. Maybe I should stick to reading for myself.

“the batter is out.” By Julia on the toilet


Tuesday February 21, 2017
11:37pm
5 minutes
From the rules of cricket

I rolled my eyes at Elliot who happened to turn and face me right at my guiltiest. He snapped the shutter again and again but looked frustrated.
“Damnit,” he said, “I missed it.”
“I’ll likely do it again,” I told him, “it’s not like my opinion of you has gone away.”
“No, moron,” he sucked his teeth, “it was perfect timing: the look on your face, the giant sign behind you…”
I rolled my eyes at him again as a gesture of condolence. He shook his head and said, “It doesn’t matter now, Rita. It doesn’t matter.”
“Oh come on,” I said, “what will you do now that your life is completely ruined?”

“I need a reader” By Julia at her desk


Monday February 20, 2017
11:01pm
5 minutes
castingworkbook.com

I need a reader.
Someone to read fiction from the tattered corners of the used book shop.
Someone to read stories that come from imagination and what ifs.
Someone to read their weight in other people’s words
to understand why we tell stories in the first place.
I need a reader.
Someone to read non-fiction and learn a thing or
two from the life of somebody that isn’t them.
Someone to read in between the lines when the tears come.
Someone to read the reasons why we write or why we feel we must.
I need a reader.
Somone to read me when I don’t want to be read.
Someone to read me when I need to be splayed open
heart on page after page.
Someone to read the furrow line in my forehead as
habit and not anger.
I need someone who loves flipping pages and
learning new things.
I need someone who won’t stop at the introduction
just because they can’t understand the trajectory yet.
I need a reader.
I need someone who will stay up late tracing
skin tags and face creases and bad dream mumble jumble.

“if it must.” By Julia at her desk


Sunday February 19, 2017
10:34pm
5 minutes
The Refusal
Jane Hirschfield


If it maybes then it shouldn’t
If it musts then maybe it should

I must do a lot of things
like the octopus must
like the sun
like you

I must love you when it strikes me
I must see you when I do not want to be seen

Rain must live here
Ocean must roar sometimes
I maybe shouldn’t need to remind myself
like this, on text and tablet

And still I must remind myself because I maybe need you
I must need you
you must need me
if the sun must

“if it must.” By Sasha at her desk


Sunday February 19, 2017
4:58pm
5 minutes
The Refusal
Jane Hirschfield


I try to lean in to you
in your stoic silence
there lives
a birch tree forest
I am sorry for all the times
I say no before
I say yes
I wish it weren’t so
but alas
it is

You wake from a dream
in which we are running
a bullet has grazed
my leg
I am slowed down
and you slow down
to match my
wounded pace

Is life a teetor
totter up is faith
and down is doubt?

Or maybe
it’s the other
way around

“Clear eyes” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday February 18, 2017
7:47pm
5 minutes
Friday Night Lights

“What would you like for dinner?” He said.
“Pasta?” She said.
“I thought we were getting off wheat?” He said.
“Pizza?” She said.
He smiled.
She kept her eyes on her books, sure that if she moved them that she’d lose what she’d learned.
“Salad?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
She was unenthused though.
“Soup?” He said.
“Yes! Soup!” She said.
It was still cold out and she needed the nourishing warmth of something hot and filling.
“Lentil?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
He watched her, so focused, and he thought about the first time he met her. He thought about her clear eyes.
“So rare,” he’d told his mother. “So rare to see such clear eyes.”

“Sad to see you go” by Sasha on her couch


Friday February 17, 2017
11:48pm
5 minutes
From a Goodbye card

You don’t tell her that you’re sad to see her go.
Not with your voice, at least.
You wait until the coffee’s cold
and her station wagon is halfway to the highway
and then you send a text:
“Sad to see you go…”
Most important is the ellipses.
Most important is the space between the dots…
That’s where her hands would go.

You wonder when you’ll hear from her.
If she’ll call from the side of the road
or the backseat, sweaty in her sleeping bag.

You wish that you’d been able to
articulate the expanse of the truth.
You wish that you’d bee able to
speak the three words that filled
every room that the two of you
were in together.

I love you.

“Clear eyes” by Julia on her couch


Saturday February 18, 2017
7:40pm
5 minutes
Friday Night Lights

When I pray I ask god to give me clarity so I may trust
what I see and be able to know it
I ask to be bypassed by nightmares like I did when
I was a child
twenty years of wishing I wouldn’t see the bad things because
I had glue for brains
terror haunting me like flies twitching on a sticky rope
I ask god to give me clear eyes so I can’t blame inaction
on blurry vision
I ask god to save me so we don’t get caught up in logistics
Tell her I’m tired now of specificty
mainly because it hurts
too much
When I pray I ask for something I can hold on to
something that won’t burn me in the night and leave a scar

“Sad to see you go” by Julia at her desk


Friday February 17, 2017
11:40pm
5 minutes
from a Goodbye card

I didn’t realize you were leaving when you left
You forgot to say Goodbye or Sad To Leave You
forgot to mourn the loss of me
I wish too for lesser consequence

I do not own another recourse
my heart is broken
and it was the only one I had to begin with

You might not notice how long it takes
for a heart to heal when some peices
never get returned

I blame newness
I blame adventure or the lust for it

“I miss you.” By Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday February 16, 2017
10:23pm
5 minutes
From a text

In the tenth grade I had a crush on a boy who was tall and almost perfect looking. He played the guitar. He was smart. He loved his family. I was already drafting up wedding invitations. But during the summer there was another boy. He had curly hair and made me laugh. He also played the guitar but he was the biggest asshole I’d ever met. I liked him a little but he liked me more. We spent a night together on the couch in my friend’s parent’s basement. He talked me into making out even when I told him I was scared I’d be bad at it. It was not my first kiss but it might as well have been. He stuck his tongue so far down my throat I could have sworn he licked my stomach lining. My face was gooey from the slobber he left behind. He asked me if I liked it. I didn’t want to tell him the truth because of how proud of himself he was. Instead I told him I didn’t know since I had nothing else to compare it to. I wished it wasn’t him.

“I miss you.” By Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Thursday February 16, 2017 at JJ Bean
7:24pm
5 minutes
From a text

Writing is the
loneliest number
Fingers thumping heartbeats
heart breaks
break beats
on a keyboard
lit from below.

I’m always surprised
by how many people
want to write.

We all do.

I’m not surprised.

That small voice
held between
clenched
teeth
slid between
index and fore
finger
hammocked in the
clavicle
That small voice
that says,

Listen
Listen
Listen
Listen
Listen
Listen

I miss you.

“but the apricot” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday February 15, 2017
12:19am
5 minutes
Peterson First Guide to Tress
George A. Petrides


First
you slice the apricot
along the back
Gentle gentle
Second
you slide
out the pit
Gentle gentle
and maybe you hold
it in your hand
wondering if or
when you might
plant it
and maybe you hear
Jem’s voice in your ear
saying
“Apricot trees don’t
grow here, silly”
Third
you slice
up the apricot
and put the soft
petal pieces into
the bowl with all
the others

“imagery is ignored” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday February 14, 2017
10:29pm
5 minutes
From a grading rubric

I say let’s get on with it and let’s get building. No more time for sitting and waiting for someone else to act. That’s not the kind of time we’re in. That’s not where we live anymore. If you need to grieve this fact, do it. Do it swiftly. And then, join us. I’m not entirely sure why we’re still talking about the “if”. That is no longer relevant. What’s relevant is the rumbling in the bellies of people across the nation.

“but the apricot” by Julia at her dining table/desk


Wednesday February 15, 2017
7:39pm
5 minutes
Peterson First Guide to Tress
George A. Petrides


It stung like the needles off a pine tree pricking into her left breast. She could have begged for mercy but she hadn’t felt anything in days and was afraid the pain might be better than the nothing. Jac pressed into the soft spot screaming back at her. Sympathy pains? She wondered if Leah being in the hospital was causing some pyschosomatic symtoms. I can feel you, sweet thing, I am witness, believe me. The gentle stabbing persisted, aching only due to it’s lack of sleep. Jac got up to busy her mind with something else. The pain eased suddenly, washing over her with a cool relief.
Then she noticed the apricot smudge on the window. She winced, drawing her open palm to the base of it once more.

“Exile” by Sasha on her couch


Monday February 13, 2017
10:38pm
5 minutes
From a business card

Headlines like coke snorted from toilet bowls
these days my optimism tastes like aspartame
Orange orange yellow the light can’t change to
green fast enough oh mama this one’s gonna
hurt this one’s gonna ache.

If I could tell you one thing it would be

I’m sorry for the years that I told more
lies than truth it was easier
but it was harder
long term

Suddenly you’ve started counting your blessings
re-tweeting bigots and racists and nazis
suddenly you smell like gasoline.

If I could tell you one thing it would be

I should’ve said
No.

“imagery is ignored” by Julia at her dining table/desk


Tuesday February 14, 2017
8:29pm
5 minutes
from a grading rubric

On the wall that she stared at day in and day out, good lighting bad lighting, Cynthia hung a portrait of a woman with black swollen eyes and puffy cheeks. She was something of an attitude more than an appearance. She wasn’t saying anything so much as she was receiving something. Accepting something. Most days Cynthia didn’t have a reason to look at the woman and she hadn’t fully taken her in. Something about it was hard to engage with. The expression lifeless yet the most honest thing she’d ever seen. The look in her face was not sadness nor sympathy. Cynthia found it hard to look at things like that.

“Exile” By Julia on her bed


Monday February 13, 2017
10:30pm
5 minutes
from a business card

How do I forgive something so permanent?
made me miss my bus
made me take out the trash
made me clean out the coffee filter
made me apologize for something I’m not solely sorry for
made me dinner
made me eat breakfast before leaving
made me smile
made me laugh
made me feel bad for crying
made me feel stupid for trying
made me lose my train of thought
made me angry
made me demand more of myself
made me let go
made me better than I ever was going to be
made me question