“All tickets sales are final” by Sasha on a bench near the water

Sunday December 31, 2017
1:32pm
5 minutes
From a ticket

You get tired thinking about who you can’t be. You buy a ticket for a cross-country train ride. You’ll write. You’ll sing. You’ll buy bad small town coffee. Really, you’ll spend a lot of time looking out the window. Really, you’ll finally stop dreaming about giving birth. You start reading the books you’ve always wanted to read. You start learning survival skills, karate, rock climbing. You have more space now. You call your brother on Sunday mornings and ask about his daughter. It hurts less and less. You aren’t sure about resolutions. You aren’t sure about numbers. You aren’t sure how long it takes for turkey to go bad in the fridge. You think about how you’ll wait however long it takes. You’ve got time.

“All tickets sales are final” by Julia on Amanda’s futon

Sunday December 31, 2017

11:16am

5 minutes

From a ticket

I know you and I don’t know each other very well. Aside from the fantasies. Okay, my fantasies. My fantasies of you and me: knowing each other. I almost said ‘nod nod wink wink’ just there. My grade four teacher used to say that. I don’t know why I just told you that. I don’t know what I’m doing right now, I’m sorry. I wish I hadn’t made it weird. You know what, let’s please just scratch what I said. Re re re re-wind! Back to the beginning of time before I ruined everything!

I know you and I don’t know each other very well. I thought I knew you cause my dreams have always been vivid and what I’d even risk calling ‘clairvoyant’. Pisces! Guilty!

“hesitating to” by Julia on Amanda’s tub

Saturday December 30, 2017
2:08am
5 minutes
From a tweet

Tell you the truth

Telling myself first

Listening

Believing you’re right

Believing I’m wrong

Go to the bathroom

Leaving the moment

Leaving the bar

Say something I’ll regret

To let you get away with it all

To let you have the last word

To agree with you

Disagree

Cry in front of you

Tell you about the hurt

Relive the hurt

Let you see me hurt

Be hurt

Ask for clarification

To cry when you cry

To hug you

To tell you I love you

To relive the past

To share what I’m feeling

To apologize

Fight

Forgive

Order another drink

Let you leave in anger

Keep you there in anger

Fight

Forgive

Fight

Forgive

Ask you to write me something

Ask you to read something

Admit I don’t know

“hesitating to” by Sasha on her floor

Saturday December 30, 2017
10:01am
5 minutes
From a tweet

Is there a hesitation?

Only a cherry pit at the bottom of a glass.

Some people never change.

I’ve said sorry a thousand time and now I’m not even sure what the word means.

“Sore” “eee”.
“So” “Re”.
“Sorry”.

What’s in the middle of the sandwich?

Sorry sorry sorry I’m so sorry.

I think I’ll stop.

Wash the dishes listening to loud music letting the soap splash all over.

Heed my love’s advice to stop apologizing and start moving.

Buy some good olives.

“Out beyond the rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field”
it’s full of wildflowers
bumblebeees
I’ll meet you there.

“proud of your generation” by Julia at her parents’ house

Friday December 28, 2017

12:01am

5 minutes

Hidden Fruit

Madhur Anand

Could afford more if I worked

Harder

Lessons lived, life, rice?

Savings sellings ceiling sailing

One pot, pasta for one week, tiny containers and small

Achievements

Scavenger heart

Muscular calves

Walk to the grocery

And to the dentist

And to the Long Distance

Meditation

Saving

Save on bus fare

Could buy a burger

For lunch today and tomorrow

If I had more

If I worked

Harder

If I wanted to

If I worked

If it all worked

“proud of your generation” by Sasha at JJ Bean

Friday December 29, 2018
4:12pm at JJ Bean on Cambie
5 minutes
Hidden Fruit
Madhur Anand

when you wish upon a star
wish you could be proud of your generation
zombies marching towards the end of the world
radical in their distraction tendencies
worshipping dollar bills and black amex and celebrity dieties
seagulls calling some hymn of the moment
or is that a jingle
no one knows the difference anymore
no one knows the difference

when you run through the forest
wish you weren’t so afraid to be alone
maybe it’s cuz we all are
maybe it’s cuz you learned trust and then mistrust
house of cards
huff and you’ll puff and you’ll blow the house down
diseased and itchy and tired and broken
put the deck back together but the joker’s missing
and the queen of hearts
what a love affair
what a love

when you rise out the brainwashing
honey from your ears and dried flowers from your nostrils

“a weak spot” by Julia on Amanda’s futon

Thursday December 28, 2018
11:48pm
5 minutes
Golden Ray of Chemo
Fawn Parker

I didn’t believe you when you said today was Thursday. I see that it is now but earlier I thought you were going out of your way to try and trick me…

I do not like to be tricked.

I must have been caught up in yesterday or seven years ago when the city summer fried all my people reading skills. Maybe it’s from all the medicine. All the weed. All the nights spent trying to quiet my dreams.

The night before last I didn’t smoke and my nightmares came back like quick sand or an overripe banana. I dreamed I was being made to fight another woman and everyone watched when I won.

I wasn’t ready for Thursday. One more day closer to seeing you or seeing me and neither feels easy.

“a weak spot” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 28, 2018
7:41am
5 minutes
Golden Ray of Chemo
Fawn Parker

D: Do you have to eat like that?
M: Like what?
D: You are chewing very loud.
M: I’m chewing how I chew.
D: PLEASE stop.
M: Why are you –
D: Can I have a beer?
M: No.
D: Please please please please please?
M: No.

D: My camera’s better than yours!
M: When did you become a photography expert?
D: We don’t need duplicates of everything we do!
M: Alright, we’ll use yours.
D: Did you know that you snore?
M: I do not snore.
D: You live alone. Who would tell you?
M: I do?
D: Yes. It’s sweet. It’s like a little bulldog.

She imitates a bulldog snore. They laugh.

M: When you were little you used to pick your nose and eat it.

“the grey of old age” by Julia on Amanda’s toilet

Wednesday December 27, 2017
1:48am
5 minutes
Oath
Hussain Ahmed

We were all laughing until time ran out. I don’t know why we were so surprised, we practically begged it to hurry up. Now it’s gone and we’re left kissing by the clock in case these moments are our last. You stopped sipping your whiskey. She stopped her favourite hum. The windows waited, and I stopped tonguing the rotten tooth. The silliness tiptoed around us. We couldn’t very well pretend to be fine. We were all just laughing a minute ago, laughing because where did the time go? And then we all knew where it was because it had run out and

it’s easy to feel when it does. Now it’s gone and we’re not sure if we made all the right decisions but we don’t have the luxury of going into it.

“the grey of old age” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday December 27, 2017
4:20pm
5 minutes
Oath
Hussain Ahmed

The grey of old age is creeping up your sideburns
and it’s sexier than I imagined it would be

You’ve got wrinkles in your forehead
Laugh lines across your cheeks
Dimples in the small space between joke and laugh

When we promised forever
I didn’t know it would be
like this
When we promised forever
I didn’t know so much would change
I didn’t know so much would stay the same

We’re making more tacos
more love
more dirt under the fingernails
We’re making less fuss
less waste
less fire

“little package” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday December 26, 2017
6:55pm
5 minutes
From an email

“You mentioned in your voicemail that you’ve seen several other counsellors. What has your experience been like with them?”

“I, I… We… It wasn’t a good fit.”

“Why do you imagine that might be?”

“My insurance only covers psychiatrists and psychologists, so – “

“I’m a psychiatrist – “

“I don’t want to go on medication – “

“There’s no shame in supporting your healing with – “

“I DON’T WANT TO GO ON MEDICATION.”

A silence like Don Mills station at 1:15AM.

“Let’s take a step back.”

I nod. “Okay.”

“When you say, “episodes”, what do you mean?”

“Um…” A silence like Thanksgiving with Al and Carly, Dad and Penelope with her stupid sweet potato pie.

“little package” by Julia on the greyhound bus

Tuesday December 26, 2017

2:07pm

5 minutes

From an email

In recent years I believed a gift had to have many moving parts:

First, a card, a language of otherwise indescribable gratitude. A love, living. A promise, dancing in the living room.

Second, a thought profound and seeing. A proof, light, opening the airways.

Third, a joke, folded into the side bed of the card and woven through the thought. A humble choice to make such vulnerable words a party of intention.

Fourth, a practical container, one that said The Inside Counts Best Here. I Have Used My Time Solely For The Contents. I Have Neglected The Wrapper On Purpose.

“I’ve never been more absorbed in anyone.” By Sasha on her couch

Monday December 25, 2017
3:15pm
5 minutes
Elliot, Adam, Elly and Me
Charlotte Joyce Kidd

Heloise listens through the wall. Dan caught her twice last week so now she has to be much more stealthy.

“I’m going to the gym!” Dan calls, already half out the door, scarf pulled up over his nose.

“Bye, hon!” Heloise shouts back. She runs to the kitchen for a glass. She runs back upstairs and almost wipes out. Must get socks with grips on the bottom, she thinks. It’s not like she runs any other time.

She puts the glass to the wall. She can hear Liam typing. He must be writing again. Good for you, she smiles. Footsteps. He gets up. Maybe watering a plant? Maybe stretching? Writer’s block?

“I’ve never been more absorbed in anyone.” By Julia at her parents’ house

Monday December 25, 2017

2:54pm

5 minutes

Elliot, Adam, Elly and Me

Charlotte Joyce Kidd

When I see you differently and you see me the room is shaded pretty like a lilac or a leaf of sage. I haven’t asked for this the way I have been so bold to ask for other things. I have asked for so many now that I’ve lost count. My bones have always wept for this. My dreams have always known. You are crying at the dinner table and I have never felt your pulse as thick. I am crying at the dinner table and you do not turn away. In kiss we are rooted deeply like a fire place, locked. Nothing gets in. Nothing gets out. There is no wondering anymore. About the silence or the motivation. There is no hungry imagination turning dust into villains, holding sweet hostages for ransom. We are a seeing and a knowing now. We rest firmly in this house.

“winter solstice ritual at a hippy retreat center” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Sunday December 24, 2017

1:16pm

5 minutes

Dear Sugar on therumpus.net

In the upstairs room we open the skylight to let in the crisp air. We cover up the light with a dark pillow and a rainbow one that fits better on top. We sit on the floor next to the strawberry creams in a plastic bag. We light the candles of each chakra and place them around us. We light the incense and the joint and we take off our socks. The tears are there before the answers. We always knew we were witches. She reads the booklet and I hold the cards near my heart. She tells me where to lay them and I open my skin to the room. After everything is illuminated we sit inside our sanctuary and let our esses turn to mud.

“winter solstice ritual at a hippy retreat center” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday December 24, 2017
9:09am
5 minutes
Dear Sugar on therumpus.net

Come on Thelma! It’s the solstice! The darkest day of the year, Thelma!
We gotta go down to the ritual at Morningstar. It only happens once a year! You loved it last time you went, I don’t know why you keep acting like you didn’t… You said you loved those drums! If you don’t want to go, then unfortunately I’m going to have to go without you. I need this, I really do. It’s been a hell of a year, Thelma. I know I put on a brave face, but truth be told – I’m struggling. I need to jump over that fire! I need to drink apple cider vinegar cocktails! I need to hug Bear Claw MacDougall!

“continues scheming to win” by Julia on Amanda’s toilet

Saturday December 23, 2017

11:50pm

5 minutes

a Bard on the Beach program

Stomach empty, churning

butter into bitter

bitter into bit

Hungry belly begs

Hungry heart quakes

More or something like it

good or something close

Full feels faraway and fleeing

Catch me if you pay attention

Stomach empty, churning

Wanting wishing waiting

asking for a morsel

eating itself quiet

sucking the bones dry

“continues scheming to win” by Sasha at Elysian

Saturday December 23, 2017
3:36pm at Elysian 5th and Burrard
5 minutes
From a Bard on the Beach program

It’s all about winning for you
Being the best of the best of the best
It’s all about competition to you
Whose got the highest score
The best lines
The searing jokes
The this the the this that that

It’s all about rising to you
And that’s easy to glorify
I did I do I did did do
But when I look closer
I see the oozing self consciousness
The fear
The smallness small small tiny smallness

It’s all about anger to you
Not even sure what the difference is anymore
Being or being angry
You dump all over all all over over over
Until it’s all red all best all small all fear

Only in distance can I see it
Up close it’s ha-ha yes yes okay um maybe sure
Up close it’s feel good
Far away it’s oh oh tastes metal tastes burned tastes cheap

It’s always been about winning for you
So hard to give a compliment
So hard to give a something something real something good

“when my father went crazy” by Julia at her parents’ house

Friday December 22, 2017

11:43pm

5 minutes

The Monsters Inside

By Eric Sherman

There wasn’t enough breadcrumbs to coat the chicken the way he would have liked. Mom suggested cornflakes instead but he didn’t want to hear about it. The roads were too wild to go into town. Marge begged him not to leave but dad wasn’t one for heeding warnings. He went outside to dust the snow off his Corolla, something he’d done a million times in his life. Mom watched from the kitchen window as she always did, sending him warmth or hope or speed. Then he looked up at her and started taking off all his clothes. First went the winter hat, spiking his thinning hair into a little tuft pointing upward. Then he removed his winter coat, and threw it over the windshield of the car. Mom started laughing. Dad’s face didn’t move.

“when my father went crazy” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday December 22, 2017
7:12pm
5 minutes
The Monsters Inside
Eric Sherman

We didn’t see it coming. The tantrums. The scabs. The howling. The hiding in closets, under the bed, in the subway station. He was always the breadwinner, the Dad with a capital “D”. He was quiet and stern and warm only on birthdays or Christmas or graduation. My Mum says that when they first started dating, when he was twenty-six and she was twenty-nine, that he said something about struggling with depression, but when she asked more he didn’t want to talk about it. “Let sleeping dogs, lie, hey?” That’s what he said. Mum is in Nurse Mode, meaning, she is calm and smiley on the outside. On the inside? Who knows.

“turns up the heat” by Julia in Nicole’s bed

Thursday December 21, 2017
12:09am
5 minutes
a flyer from The Cultch

Her room, she says, is too cold to sleep in. Except when he’s here and he’s furnace and he’s dripping sweat in her sheets. I ask if I can turn the oven on tomorrow. She says it might blow up the whole place and better to put on a better sweater. I have a better sweater now. It was the only thing I told myself I’d bring and then I packed too many what ifs and accidentally forgot to leave some things behind. I forgot that I told myself I wouldn’t smoke so much.
She says we’ll have to make sure to look out the window. When I ask if there’s a meteor shower she doesn’t laugh. She says 10 somethings of snow will be falling tonight. I don’t remember the measure of snow she used. It wasn’t what you would have expected. He’s not coming by to warm the bed. She says I won’t be meeting him until tomorrow.

“turns up the heat” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 21, 2017
3:24pm
5 minutes
A flyer from The Cultch

My daughter
I just want to take her for

My mother
She just wants to take me for

STEAK

A good steak

The best steak

Rare

The best steak is in

The best steak

The best steak is in

SPAIN

I have been saving for months
Air miles every time I buy gas
Air miles every time I buy cereal

Air miles

She doesn’t think I’m going to say

YES

Who would refuse a trip to fucking Spain?

Hahaha

We haven’t travelled together since I was a kid

We went to Florida every other winter
It was all I could afford

A single Mom

I’ve never been to Europe
I never thought it would be with my Mom but

It’s good

We’ll have that time together

It’s good

“unconscious anger at my mother” by Julia at LoPan

Wednesday December 20, 2017 at LoPan
12:27am
5 minutes
This wounded healer says warp up the loom
Sharon K. Farber

We didn’t speak much after her mother died. I didn’t ask her how she was each day and maybe that’s good.
I always knew how to keep living.
I remember that she never had as much as I gave before. As little. And I resented for a period that she didn’t beg herself better. That she did not shoot a little higher. I see this woman on the moon, and in the moon, and of the moon and of the moon, and she does not want to admit that.
I don’t know which truth tasted sweeter. I would likely have done the same thing in her position. Even I would hope for love in another way.
I am happy in my life thanks to all the sauces she’s talked me through over the phone.
I sometimes wish it could have been her.
I sometimes wish it wasn’t me, or us,or him,just her.
Just her floating through life unattached to the promise of pleasing

“unconscious anger at my mother” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday December 20, 2017
2:09pm
5 minutes
This wounded healer says warp up the loom
Sharon K. Farber

Fiona asks me to go to a therapy appointment with her. I read the magazines so I know that therapy isn’t stigmatized like it used to be. I mean, you practically hear people bragging about their therapist-this and their therapist-that. But why on earth my daughter wants me to go with her? I don’t know. I thought it was a personal, private, solitary thing… Unless you’re going as a couple or something.

“Are you sure you don’t want your father to go instead?” I ask. She smiles her little condescending smile and I want to say, “I changed your nappies! I wiped your ass!” But I don’t. I smile back. I say, “Alright. I’ll come. When is it?”

“It made me feel so much better” by Julia on Rebecca’s couch

Tuesday December 19, 2017
11:21pm
5 minutes
From Not That Kind of Girl
Lena Dunham

I clenched my fist so hard it turned to dust.
(The brick that I was busy holding onto crushing.)
When the small bits caught hold of their wind, they flew.
They flew to the moon and back again,
they built their own closet of
hopeless fear-facing dragons.
They learned how to dance with them
and how to lock the door tight.
How to be so tired.
And they learned how to rest and I learned
to let go and it did not kill me.
It did not know where to strike me first.
A month of release, dominoes,
pouring when it rains.
I let it go and it let go and one of us
said goodbye sweetly
and one us said the words.

“It made me feel so much better” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday December 19, 2017
1:49pm
5 minutes
From Not That Kind of Girl
Lena Dunham

It made me feel so much better to go outside and be in the rain and the peek whisper of sun and to feel the nibble of cold on my cheeks and to be splashed by a car turning and then I was at the water’s edge and that always makes me feel so much better but when I feel good the very very best I cry then too because you know what my heart is the open doorway or frame my heart is the door frame there isn’t even a door there the door was taken a long time ago and sold in an antique store to someone who really needed it who needed that oak protection

“confirm your choice” by Julia at Vancouver International Airport

Monday December 18, 2017
11:04pm
5 minutes
The Essential Enneagram
David Daniels and Virginia Price

Confirm your choice between parsnips and yams. Please confirm.

You don’t know what a parsnip is?

You can say that on the form.

There is a box marked ignorance. You can check that one if it applies to you. It might also fall under indecisive. Might this fall under indecisive for you? Are you asking for help? You can only ask for help once, can you confirm your choice to ask for help? Good or bad? For you? You alone know the answer to that. I am not authorized to offer any responses as examples. Because I am not the one filling out the form. Please confirm your choice to ask a personal question. Confirm. I did not need to fill out a form. I did not need to fill out a form.

“confirm your choice” by Sasha in her bed

Monday December 18, 2017
9:02pm
5 minutes
The Essential Enneagram
David Daniels and Virginia Price

I don’t have anything to say
Everything hurts
Go away

I turn into a needy kid when I’m ill
That’s a fact
You’re name’s not Bill

I’ve gone through three boxes of tissue
And that’s not all
There’s a bigger issue

My brain is mushy slimy mud
I don’t have a nurse
I don’t have a bud

This really is a poem of pity
I hope no one read’s it
It’s a terrible ditty

I don’t have anything to write
My head is throbbing
Turn off the light

“A good traveller has no fixed plans” by Julia in her bed

11:27pm

Sunday December 17, 2017

Tao Te Ching

Translated by Stephen Mitchell

We did it. We’re going. Bought the ticket, told the parents, brought up the suitcases. Shook hands. Went exploring. Went learning. Got lost. Got overwhelmed. Got hungry. Got quiet. We found ourselves in different cabins. Waking up to unbelievable. Got lost. Found each other. Soothed each other’s tired muscles. Laughed out the tension. Decided on some things like desires, geography. Dreamed about not knowing. About figuring it out. How we’ll figure it out. Sharing strengths. Trading off who gets to lead when a trade can be made.

“A good traveller has no fixed plans” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday December 17, 2017
4:59pm
5 minutes
Tao Te Ching
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

I’m going to bring you a jar of soup for every day I’ve left you limping
Sunday will be tortilla with black beans and chipotle
I’ll pick off the coriander leaves and let you dollop the cream
Monday will be red lentil with lemon and rosemary
I’ll give you extra of that one because it’s my favourite
Tuesday’s soup will be white bean and pesto
so aromatic that you’ll smell it from the other side of the world
Wednesday will be roasted butternut squash with cumin and cinnamon
I’ll leave out the chilli pepper because you’re sensitive to spice
Thursday will be chicken and barley
Friday potato leek
Saturday roasted cauliflower with parmesan croutons
made from freshly baked bread
I’ll leave each jar on your doorstep so you won’t have to see me
You’ll taste how much I love you in each bite

“It’s not fair, after all, to lick tigers so small.” By Julia at D and A’s house

Saturday December 16, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!
Dr. Seuss

When I’m lucky enough
to feel lucky about my tongue
I think of her.
I think of how
all gums no teeth
she could hurl a yell
at any one of us;
have us quaking
in our boots.
Her tongue was a whip.
A weapon.
She used it and the
chorus did sing.
I got mine from her.
I borrowed it once
tried it on
liked it a hell of a lot
and then kept it
in my mouth
like a hard candy
turning it over
against my cheeks.
She could lick a tiger quiet.
She could hum a baby
back into the belly
of her mother.
She could break my
heart and crack it open
in the same breath.
When I’m lucky enough
to think about the origins
of my loud,
when I’m lucky enough
to think about my tongue,
the light in the room lifts.
I am soothed, tender lion cat
nuzzling in the neck
of her sister.
Calmed, the way
an anchovy might.