“My mother told us” by Julia on her couch

Sunday September 30, 2018
9:10pm
5 minutes
Waiting For My Rape
Jessica Anya Blau

she says “just do your best” and no matter why she says it, she always sounds close to (if not battling) tears. I don’t think she likes crying. but it’s in her like she’s made of sand. a billion moving particles loose under her skin, washing. she says “bye” at least three times. she has to be the last one to say it. it’s an italian thing. like goodbye is the saddest most beautiful world they could think of. and her goodbye keeps me calling. I don’t want to be this far away from her. this daughter’s body a river of sand just like her. a milky way. starlight.

“My mother told us” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday September 30, 2018
4:43pm
5 minutes
Waiting For My Rape
Jessica Anya Blau

My mother told us the prognosis
over the phone as we lay in our bed
your hand on my belly
my hand on your heart

The rain came today and it feels
right a cleansing a weeping
a shedding and you’re cleaning
the house of all the summer sand

My mother astounds me every day
with her willingness to feel the truth
with her ability to meet the mystery
with her strength in the breaking

It’s good to have stillness
amidst the flurry the fury
the unfurling the fraying
It’s good to have a Sunday like this

Jolie eats an apple on FaceTime
and we laugh at the determination
the squeals the sweetness
the surrender

“what day she was born,” by Julia on her bed

Saturday September 29, 2018
11:18pm
5 minutes
The World’s Oldest Person
Elizabeth Onusko

i’m doing that thing where I’m waiting for the first of the month to come again. permission to be bad until then. permission to be born anew and with readiness.
goodbye bad choices and to a cruel time user.goodbye to avoidance and laziness. goodbye to an empty fridge and full days of not leaving the fridge. and full days of
not leaving the house. and full.

“what day she was born,” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday September 29, 2018
6:01pm
5 minutes
The World’s Oldest Person
Elizabeth Onusko

when mama forgets the day that daisy was born everyone knows that’s it. probably any day now. uncle bert hid the vodka, the whiskey and the gin. mama was drinking everything in sight, and that makes her worse, that makes things worse for everyone. chloe sings to her, “rock-a-by-baby” and all the songs mama used to sing to us when we had nightmares. daisy, poor thing it’s her birthday, makes a sponge cake with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. we bring mama a slice in bed and she chokes and coughs but says that it’s delicious. she’s right. it is. “good job, daisy,” chloe says and I play with her hair the way she likes.

“Three hundred years” by Julia at her desk

Friday September 28, 2018
9:51pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Barack Obama

Tonight I walked by a raccoon party. There’s some symbolism already, K tells me, and I should probably start looking this stuff up. It’s 3 raccoons at first and then I look to the left and there are 3 more in on it. One skunk. There is symbolism about skunks too, I’m sure, and I take a photo cause I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. K tells me to look up skunks and raccoons and snakes. Together? No, K, says, just when you get a moment. Don’t make it your life’s work or something. Like you? I joke, but K isn’t laughing at all. K has drank most of her blood red wine and is asking if she can have what’s in my glass. I give it to her cause she bought the bottle and I care more about looking up the goddesses and whatever associated with the little lawn party I feel like I was a part of. No snakes on the lawn, mostly in text books and on medallions, and in stories. K wants me to write the story of my first day on earth. I don’t want to tell her that it might be pretty boring. It’ll start with Cold Cold Cold and then maybe lead into Cry Cold Cry. K isn’t impressed with my comedy. She says I am wildly talented but have a chip on my shoulder and sorry for saying so but it’s true. I think she might be right. I wish I didn’t give her the rest of my wine.

“Three hundred years” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday September 28, 2018
8:02am
5 minutes
From a quote by Barack Obama

A handful of grapes in a small plastic bag. Fifty cents in nickels. A post-it with an address. Half an envelope with a shopping list. September is a strange month. Put the sweaters away. Water the mint on the porch. Set the alarm. Boil the kettle. Send a text – “I hope today was a good day.” A paperclip. A stack of unopened mail. Recycling to be sorted. A pile of incense and matches. Rain. I’ll never forget this month. A staple. An old lime in the crisper that’s turned hard.

“thinking maybe you threw it all away” by Julia in her bed

Thursday September 27, 2018
1:04am
5 minutes
When A Guy Helps You Out
Cary Tenn

it takes ten years for either of us to notice.
ten years of never realizing
fully seeing.
when I see what takes ten years to see, I am changed.
ten years to notice that these eyes belong on two different faces. how do you go back from that? you noticed it too, ten years later, only you thought it was something about the pupils. Something scary.
or did you think it before and now you have the guts to say it? Now you’re what’s making me clock it?
I know you might see what I see: two forceless halves tricking you into believing me seamless like
this whole body is a map to one destination
catch me in my good eye and see my young heart
catch me in the other and see a lion or a truth

Did you always love a hybrid?
Did I?

“thinking maybe you threw it all away” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday September 27, 2018
10:22pm
5 minutes
When A Guy Helps You Out
Cary Tenn

At the back of the club it’s dark and smoky. She leans against the wall. Shirley is in the bathroom, pissing or doing a line. Shirley is wearing a faux fur vest and a silver tub dress. Shirley made jokes about abortion on the way, on the bus, and she wanted to “shush” her, but she didn’t. Deep bass that she feels in her guts, in her spine. A guy with a beret tries to catch her eye and she evades. She looks up. She waits for Shirley.

“The first time you park your car” by Julia on the 7

Wednesday September 26, 2018
10:02pm
5 minutes
The Cure for Racism is Cancer
Tony Hoagland

Nobody can watch me maneuver this stupid car in this stupid spot and yet that is what everybody is doing. What, did all the world’s best parallel parkers get their cars impounded today? Is that why all of you PEDESTRIANS are such fucking experts? Fucking judgmental pieces of—you know what? I am a good driver. I was the only one out of my friends to pass my test on the first try. I got my graduated licence first too and there I was driving everyone around every single day. So yes, sometimes parking’s a bitch, but I only ever hit another car when I was BACKING OUT because it was dark as hell and the car was CAMOUFLAGED by being blue and parked in my BLIND SPOT. Parallel parking should be taught all the way from kindergarten so everyone gets really comfortable being stared at by a bunch of people who probably don’t even know how to get on the FUCKING HIGHWAY.

“The first time you park your car” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday September 26, 2018
5:21pm
5 minutes
The Cure for Racism is Cancer
Tony Hoagland

The first time you park your car outside the bungalow where Marv and I are staying, I know you’re there before I hear the engine shut off or the door slam. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. You’re probably doing the same.

Three knocks on the front door and I’m there, face pressed against the foggy glass. You can’t see me, but I’m sure as hell you know I’m there.

“Betsy?” Your voice. I haven’t heard your voice in three years, seven months, three days. “Betsy… I know you’re there.”

“the serpent coiled around the pillar” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday September 25, 2018
9:55pm
5 minutes
Come of Age
Stephen Jenkinson

I have been casting out the devil since I knew he could break into my bedroom at night while I slept.
Lord knows I have stomped my little heart out on the floor more than once to rebuke that son of a bitch.
They do not tell you, when you are just starting to welcome Jesus into your heart, that atheists don’t get possessed by the devil. Why would they? The Christians are stacking their team with the impressionable. The talented. The eager.
Mostly I had to curse his name after watching a scary movie. I believed he could get in easier through my nightmares. I prayed for god to please not let me see anything bad, hear anything bad, or dream of anything bad. Because once I saw Jesus’ shadow on the wall and when he started laughing maniacally,
I knew.

“the serpent coiled around the pillar” by Sasha in her bed

Tuesday September 25, 2018
6:21pm
5 minutes
Come of Age
Stephen Jenkinson

I have been plagued with loving you
the serpent coiled around the pillar
What is this ache for more and more
The moon knows the difference
The moon knows when enough is enough

I’m empty now that I’m full
the house is quiet and the tea is drunk
Lhasa on the stereo telling me that
life is short
Don’t I know it

There’s nothing left for me to burn
my fingers are matchsticks
my love is the wick at the stump
I’ll dance with my hands
while whispering a lullaby

Singing along in Spanish
a language I wish I knew

“you should have asked me nicely” by Sasha on her couch

Monday September 24, 2018
10:04pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 4 bus

I stand up and I feel his eyes on me. I walk towards the bathroom and then turn around. I’m not going to take this shit.

“Do you have something that you need to say to me?”

“Uh,” he looks at his buddies like I’m the creep.

“You’ve been staring at me for over an hour. I’m trying to enjoy my book and my beverage, and all I feel is your eyes baring a whole in every vulnerable part of my body. Have some respect. Stop fucking looking at me.”

“Is it that time of the month?” Buddy A winks.

“My menstrual cycle is far too important to enter this conversation.”

“you should have asked me nicely” by Julia on the 4

Monday September 24, 2018
7:22pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 4 bus

A fallen chestnut narrowly misses the baby’s head I am in charge of protecgjng.
It comes directly after thinking how if a chestnut fell it would gash a chunk out of her head. Good thing that won’t happen. As if mother’s aren’t pushing their babies down chestnut tree lined streets. When it falls and bounces off the rim of the stroller instead of her it feels the way stopping an inch short of getting shat on buy a pigeon toremnting in the rafters feels.
All luck and karma and universal flow rolled up into a warning.

“survive and maybe be heroic.” By Sasha at the Airbnb

Sunday September 23, 2018
11:43pm
5 minutes
Loud, Unpleasant Noises
Norbert Ruebsaat

Today is the day
one year ago this one
that we stood
surrounded from all
circular curves
in grass and with
the whippoorwills
with the cumulous
and the grandparents
Today is the day
we promised love
and patience and
not to take things
personally I’m still
working on that one
slowly slowly slowly
We said we would do
our best and we have
and we are and that
one is almost always
true even when it
doesn’t feel like it
Today is the day
that we passed rings
down the spiral
sang an ancient song
as we did every cupped
hand charging them up
for the times when we
just can’t bear the truth
or we can but we aren’t
exactly sure how

“survive and maybe be heroic.” by Julia on her couch

Sunday September 23, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
Loud, Unpleasant Noises
Norbert Ruebsaat

please stop asking me
how my day was
no matter what I do
I am not equipped
to answer in a way
that absolves me
of the truth
if you’re asking
because you want
to know how easy
it is to put a hand
on a hot burner
and wait for the scream
then ask me
if you’re asking
because you want
to know how long
a mirror can stay
clean until it is
bloody from the
face reflected back
then ask me
ask me why the roof
of my mouth is a
pocket of worry
or why the kettle
screaming does not
rouse me from the
closet
ask me if you want
to hear denial dripping
dripping
drip

“This is an obituary.” by Julia on V’s couch

Saturday September 22, 2018
9:30pm
5 minutes
Empty Condolences
Joey Comeau

You live in the walls I hang my new life on
all the hooks drilled into your grooves
thank you for not whistling
I
don’t
think
I
could
handle
that
You could be watching me but I know you’re not
Never really cared about the minutia of things
the quiet worries spent hiding my tears in the bathroom
the enevelope of cash in my bedside drawers
beside the envelope of letters adressed to me that I had to write to convince myself I was good enough without you
I wonder why you never read my journals
you would have learned so much
And now you’re here and nestled underneath
when I remember to remember

“This is an obituary.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday September 22, 2018
9:31am
5 minutes
Empty Condolences
Joey Comeau

I can’t write on this today. Too close. Too close to the mortality of all of us. Suffocating in the what if and the best and the worst and what does this all even mean anyway. Hands around my throat or the possibility of hands and I cannot think about an obituary today. Even though I know it’s natural and why the fuck are we so afraid of death here and why don’t we speak about it more here and now there’s so much new life and this fear and sickness and growing and leaving and loving and all I can do it lie on the floor or light a candle or turn on the stove to make tea.

“If not dead, dying.” By Sasha at her desk

Friday September 21, 2018
11:25pm
5 minutes
Nothing Like It Was
Mark Wagstaff

Watching you shine tonight
oh my oh my
that magnetism of your light
oh boy oh boy
I’ve got kisses on my lips for you
yeah yeah
and feelings in my guts for you
mmm hmm

Watching you shine and I’m so proud
Watching you shine and I’m so alive
Watching you shine makes
my light brighter
makes me wanna go higher
Watching you shine

Watching you shine tonight
oh my oh my
that magnetism of your light
oh boy oh boy
I’ve got kisses on my lips for you
yeah yeah
and feelings in my guts for you
mmm hmm

“If not dead, dying.” by Julia on the 99

Friday September 21, 2018
4:55pm
5 minutes
Nothing Like It Was
Mark Wagstaff

today you are the farthest from dying that you will ever be. you have more life in the wiggle of your brow than you even know. so far the room is changed by you. the building. the women. the men.
you are the farthest from unloved. the farthest from unwanted. you are the closest thing to god and even god knows it.
today you are born on the cusp of beauty. you’re already causing poetry and melting heart ache.
though we are on opposite ends of the country, you are the farthest from being far away from me. you are right here in this pocket of joy pushing through my chest. you are right where you belong.

“what would happen if we moved to Vancouver?” by Julia in her bed

Thursday September 20, 2018
12:31am
5 minutes
Crystal
Gillian Wigmore

nobody saw it coming
not me
not you
not the ones we were leaving behind
i suppose some deep place made known only to me in my dreams and
i guess in my mother’s
it was expected that i would make it
we both knew somewhere that i would twist silk into roots
and sink them in
she always knows the limits to my reach better than me
which is funny
since she doesn’t think I have any
but maybe vancouver gave me the pocket of soil to grow myself out of
she said that to me today
and here i am talking about leaving or staying or what in the world should I do
what would happen?

“what would happen if we moved to Vancouver?” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday September 20, 2018
9:13pm
5 minutes
Crystal
Gillian Wigmore

Before we moved to the land of mist drops
and mountain tops before we came where the rain
lasts and the leaves change colour in slow motion

We were clear only on the passion and ambition
needed to leave where we’d always known
H-O-M-E that four letter word that’s so sacred

We knew it was something that we had to do
“Go West” the wind whispered
“Go West” called the pines and cedars

And bless us that we listened
bless us that it’s been four years
and all these joys and fights and loves and aches

“They must have math class” by Julia in her bed

Wednesday September 19, 2018
10:47pm
5 minutes
Wakaranai
Hanako Masutani

The class watches as Ms. P puts the quadratic equasion on the board. she doesn’t have a ring on her finger and so they wonder why she might be unmarried. Someone as good at math should surely be a Mrs. Someone as nice with the right kind of floral shirts should know about weddings. Ms. P whips around and tells them she can hear them-that being behind her doesn’t make them suddenly invisible. Nick decides he wants to ask if she’s ever farted on a man. Nick is smart enough to do the math but his social skills are stuck in a tree in third grade.

“They must have math class” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday September 19, 2018
7:48am
5 minutes
Wakaranai
Hanako Masutani

“Math class give me the sweats!” Ramona shouts from the top of the stairs.

“This homework isn’t going to do itself!” Pho stands in the kitchen, almost raising her voice. “What will your Mom say when she gets home?” Pho listens. She waits. She hears the door slam upstairs, and then slow, heavy footsteps across the hall. At a snail’s pace, Ramona descends.

“I hate integers…” Ramona plops into a stool at the kitchen island, her knapsack beside her filled with books. Pho loads the dishwasher.

“I know, sweetie, try your best.”

Ramona takes out her textbook and her spiral bound notebook. She sharpens a pencil.

“The longer you procrastinate, the later it’s going to be and then you’ll be more tired and your brain will – ”

“I’m DOING IT!” Ramona huffs her way through the first few practise problems.

“he lowered the drink onto the table,” by Sasha in her bed

Tuesday September 18, 2018
8:13pm
5 minutes
Candy Cap Magic
Jocelyn Kuang

If you were the one I’d married
there’d be drink rings on the table
and record sleeves on the floor
I’d be the one who did the laundry

When I think about moving back
I wonder if I’ll see you waiting
for the streetcar at Queen and Spadina
Skating at Nathan Phillips Square

If we’d chosen each other
we probably wouldn’t have made it
this far
this many months

Now that I know what it takes

“he lowered the drink onto the table,” by Julia at New Waves

Tuesday September 18, 2018
1:02pm
5 minutes
Candy Cap Magic
Jocelyn Kuang

It’s a shot to the knee
not the heart
The heart would stop
The knee would keep screaming
What are you supposed to do without your knee?
Get good at reading
Get good at writing at the bar with another beer
another beer
You’re never going to be better than this
pour another
keep your tab open
a shot to the liver to
keep the knee from reminding you it’s there
Bring a book and black out all the lines that have you in them
turn the pages into a diary of the wasted major organs
the wasted time and delusions
all those prayers to the wrong god
all that for nothing
When they tell you you’re meant to be more
it’ll be too late
Tilt your head back and chase the bottom of the glass
You would lick it clean if your tongue were long enough
If you were good at something
The knee isn’t dead
the heart is sick
the throat is never dry

“after every sick joke” by Sasha on her couch

Monday September 17, 2018
8:22pm
5 minutes
July, ’77
Jill Mandrake

Am I boring you?
I know we don’t edit these
but I just wrote
“borning” and had
to go back and erase
the “n”
Maybe I’m doing
that too

“N” is a letter
that I love
The cello is an
instrument that
I love
Fall is a season
that I love

Some days all we
can do is make
a short list of
the things
that we love

“after every sick joke” by Julia at The Coffee Studio

Monday September 17, 2018
2:35pm
5 minutes
July, ’77
Jill Mandrake

In the night the sticky hot wakes you up and the ac robot beside you becomes a sleep villain. The edge of noise I can teeter on has become finer. The line a little less warning, a little more plummet. I remember you asking for permission but I don’t remember granting it.
My throat catching all the room particles and holding them there. I pull the sheet over my legs and up to my mouth. It’s been an hour in sleep years and in my dream I’m asking you if it can die soon? The robot closes its eyes so now I know you can meet me in my dreams. I know you’ll be able to hear me. In the morning the alarm clock is a welcome sound. No more begging for breeze in the dip of my back, the swamp of my neck. You say, Well that was the most comfortable sleep of my life. Even this joke turns to mud.

“It is a highly awkward effort” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday September 16, 2018
6:17pm
5 minutes
How to Unthink (In Two Movements)
Jill Boettger

Remember when everything was “awkward”? When that word took over the mouths and minds of everyone under thirty? “He looked at me and it was so awkward!” “I slipped and it was so awkward!” “Ew, that’s… awkward…”

Words have power and yet when my mother calls with the news, I can’t find a single one that feels right. When my mother calls with the news, there are no words in my mouth.

I love words. They are my prayer, my heartbeat, they make stories – my blood. And, even then, over the phone, across the country, there’s nothing to say.

“It is a highly awkward effort” by Julia on the Brown Line

Sunday September 16, 2018
5:55pm
5 minutes
How to Unthink (In Two Movements)
Jill Boettger

The bedsheets wake up bloody and somebody’s name gets cursed for choosing white. Not my name, I’ll tell you that. The first tears are muted into the pillow at 6AM. The second at seven. The stomach starts talking to me around ten after eight and starts yelling at nine. So far universe: 5, me: 0.

When the deep weakness punches back from the reflection in the mirror I know I am on an up-cliff climb without a rope. The first person to get hit in a street fight is usually the one who loses.

Somehow the angel card that gets flipped up from the pile by no one with fingerprints is
Acceptance.

It wasn’t me, I’ll tell you that. You said it wasn’t you.

Acceptance.

“people are still listing reasons” by Julia on the Red Line

Saturday September 15, 2018
7:55pm
5 minutes
Collaboration: Visual/Written Poetry
Sarah Leavitt & Jen Currin

When the subway ascends and we can see the city, you nudge my shoulder, point my body in the direction of the skyline and the tail lights of all those cars
glowing up the street
You say, look at that.
You’ve been giving me reasons why I should stay and what we could do if we decide to and who we would be if I decide to
They sound like good reasons
The good Mexican food being at the top of the list
You tell me this doesn’t have to happen and I believe the sweet in your eyes when you say it’s not going to move you if we don’t move here
Move lives
Move dreams over to a bigger city that we will surely get lost in
You are good at drinking slowly
Waiting for me to finish swirling the straw and ice around in my glass
But if we move here, you tell me, we will also find ourselves

“people are still listing reasons” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie

Saturday September 15, 2018
4:55pm
5 minutes
Collaboration: Visual/Written Poetry
Sarah Leavitt & Jen Currin

Keith Jarret on the record player. The Masquerade Is Over. You stir risotto over the stove, your glasses fogging up. You add white wine, and then swig from the bottle. Here we are. The temperature is dropping outside and people we thought we loved are turning out to be those who we never imagined. Or did we? And people we definitely loved are sick, and we are gathering around them with baskets of fresh veggies from the market and tear-stained cheeks. There aren’t words. There’s Keith Jarret. There’s a table settling for two.

“a multitude of mouths” by Julia on the Blue Line

Friday September 14, 2018
8:52pm
5 minutes
SWITCH/CHASE
Ben Rawluk

Got me dripping drooling thinking about the next mouth of yours I’ll kiss
Morning mouth afternoon mouth or after that. The one that tastes the most like you
I could sip it lick the flavour trick myself into saving it won’t forget it when I’ve savoured it and morning afternoon goodnight goodnight goodnight.
Got me craving itch-mouthed waiting for the mouth you make me want you with
The one that sucks the cold from my lips the one that steals the beat from the mix make the room fall silent
Make the flies on the wall get violent
Give me the mouth you need mine for
Give me the mouth you swish my name in.

“a multitude of mouths” by Sasha at her desk

Friday September 14, 2018
8:58pm
5 minutes
SWITCH/CHASE
Ben Rawluk

“I don’t believe in that,” Kelsey shakes her head and picks a lemon seed out of her water glass. Jem has been talking about orgies and polyamory and how as descendants of apes we are meant to have many mates – “Many, many mates!”

“It’s not a matter of belief,” Jem says, leaning in across the candle-lit table.

“Everything’s a matter of belief, my love,” Kelsey looks Jem right in the eye and they both laugh.

Their food arrives – Kelsey’s pesto pasta and garlic bread, Jem’s burger with caesar salad.

“Do you ever just want to say fuck it and move to the country and keep bees and make preserves and sing in a choir?” Kelsey steals a crouton from Jem’s plate.

“Of course! But will I do such a thing before I’m all wrinkled and grey and surrounded by dogs and cats and parakeets?! NO WAY!”

“still dangerous,” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday September 13, 2018
6:39pm
5 minutes
Soft
Sarah Pinder

Soon we will be spread out
different places
you here and her there and
me where we used to leave
the three of us

Different countries
Different worlds maybe
Or that’s my fear talking
She sounds like you
sometimes

I want to tell you everything
but I can’t
and that’s a first
kind of
and that’s strange
kind of

Curled up in my bed
watching the clouds
listening to jazz on the radio
dancing with my hands
until I fall asleep

My heart breaks for
who we used to be
The women on the corner
head’s thrown back
laughing

“still dangerous,” by Julia at Millennium Park, Chicago

Thursday September 13, 2018
1:48pm
5 minutes
Soft
Sarah Pinder

He whistles his love from the bathroom with the door closed
She is supposed to whistle back to signal that she heard him
She never learned how to whistle
It hasn’t been a major set back
except when everyone else was whistling in the
first scene of the show but her
She pursed her lips together and
raised her eyebrows to fake it

When he whistles from the bathroom
She is supposed to answer him but
she doesn’t know how to fake it
Whatever song comes out, comes out
Whatever noise, faint or otherwise
He takes it as a symbol of her love for him
But she does not know how to whistle
She does not know how to fake it
She has never been good at lying
He has never been good at detecting it

They say you can teach yourself how to whistle
The placement of the tongue in your mouth is everything
The space left for air to flow through

One day she tried to teach herself how to whistle
She put her mouth the way they say to
she made sure her tongue was in the right spot
One sad little note slipped out
And she was glad that she could learn to do
the thing that everyone seems to know how to do

When he whistled his love for her behind the bathroom door
She whistled back one flat note
She never learned how to change the tone
Or make it sound more alive

“and a quiet evening sipping whiskey” by Julia on the Brown Line

Wednesday September 12, 2018
7:16pm
5 minutes
Mr. Bright Eyes
John Barton

Who had the bright idea to go to Target and buy a 12 pack of Miller Lite? Must have been you since you’re the only one drinking Miller Lite these days. Me, I can’t swallow the stuff. Not just Miller Lite, but beer. The only thing they drink here. Not beer as in here take a sip, take a load off, take the edge off. Beer as in, here, here, here, and here, and more, and more, and more, and here. I can’t do it like that. I was told not to. My body has been trying to remind me that. You wouldn’t want me that way anyway. Those days when I used to drink beer and beer and here and here I wouldn’t know where here was or me, or my desires. I don’t recognize the person who used to drink in the shower, before the comedy show, before leaving the house. I could ask us to stay in one night, have a quiet evening sipping whiskey but, you are not the kind of person who sips anything. You like the feeling of being tipsy with me, but I can’t seem to get there anymore without losing myself. I don’t like the action of sipping things when I am simply not thirsty.
My guts have been full since I got here. You had a Miller Lite in the closet yesterday and I had one more reason to stop. The dreams come worse when I’ve been filling all the holes with the wrong kind of gold. The kind that costs four dollars at Target.

“and a quiet evening sipping whiskey” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday September 12, 2018
7:02am
5 minutes
Mr. Bright Eyes
John Barton

He calls and tells me that he misses me. I want to hear it from the one who hasn’t been drinking whiskey, the one who wakes up and washes the dishes, the one who plays basketball with the lanky teenagers in the courts by the community centre. I always said that I’d wait for you. I always said that I’d be able to. Now, though, it feels as though time moves faster and people are dying, and being born, and how are we wasting time on things that aren’t true? He calls and tells me that he misses me and I pull the phone away from my ear so that he can’t hear the catch in my throat, the tiny “me too,” the deep breath, the tear rolling down towards my upper lip.

“a few drops of peppermint oil.” By Sasha in the bath

Tuesday September 11, 2018
8:22pm
5 minutes
The Incense of Those Rooms
Jen Currin

We’re going to build a small house behind the house that I grew up in. A garden, five trees, a bird bath will separate the past from the present. Now it’s just drawings, and hoping, and scrounging, and working through feeling like hell. Now is making it happen for then. For them. For us, three years from now. It’s strange, isn’t it. How autumn brings nostalgia, heavy and ripe. We’re going to build something together, maybe a house, maybe several homes scattered across the coasts. East and West, sun and moon. God laughs at our plans. I hear it in my belly like butterfly wings, touching pinkies with you.

“a few drops of peppermint oil.” by Julia on the Red Line

Tuesday September 11, 2018
4:27pm
5 minutes
The Incense of Those Rooms
Jen Currin

Misery loves Company so Misery keeps inviting Company over. Together they sway in the dark and call it romance. Call it pretty.
Misery asks Company to stay a while and talk to her while she cries. And she cries Niagara Falls. Sometimes on the inside where her sandwich drowns a thousand deaths. Company loves Misery and keeps telling her she’ll be there. That she’ll never leave her. Company draws a bath and sprinkles in a few drops of peppermint oil. All this running water and nowhere to go. Misery wants to be who she is, find someone who will love her this way. Company keeps Misery from changing. Keeps bringing her baskets of hand picked sorrow. Calls it unconditional. Calls it sweet. Calls it forever.

“like slivered almonds in the bulk section,” by Sasha in her bed

Monday September 10, 2018
10:31pm
5 minutes
Parsley
Listen Chen

Someone who’s just as lonely as all of us. A change of heart.
A sliver of a dream from a decade ago, a sliver of a hope that got washed out, a sliver of all the “no’s”; all mixed in together like almonds for baking in the bulk section at the grocery store. This is the way it goes, I guess.
Thirty two years doing this life, and I still don’t know
much beyond what I do. I imagine your body turning into a million tiny shards
of light – fireflies – and ascending up up up up up.

“like slivered almonds in the bulk section,” by Julia in The Loop, Chicago

Monday September 10, 2018
10:38pm
5 minutes
Parsley
Listen Chen

Jessie keeps her handkerchief in the secret pocket of her purse. Nobody knows it’s there but her. A tiny reminder of her tiny grandmother who left a big hole in her life when she passed away. She has never been the type to use a handkerchief but knowing that it’s there makes her feel better. It is yellow and white and sweet and floral. It makes her feel lavish. Abundant. Like all those slivered and blanched almonds in the bulk section. Nothing else goes inside the secret purse pocket. It has to stay clean and folded there where all the memories live.

“We made sure you could still heal” by Julia at Washington and Wabash

Sunday September 9, 2018
9:45pm
5 minutes
Day Thirteen
Adrienne Gruber

there is an old saying
let yourself be loved
and you
will love those who
love yourself better

okay those are
my words
I said them
I’m saying them

someone could have said these words before me
maybe not in their exact sequence but life is art
and art is theft

I’m glad we’re choosing all the right things to copy
all the good things to stand up for

these are all the words we heal by:
the ones that sound off in the echo of our own hearts
the ones that bridge the gap between lonely and understood

I could keep a tally of good dreams that mean something
that tell me I am collaborating with the energy of every good place I’ve touched

“We made sure you could still heal” by Sasha at the beach

Sunday September 9, 2018
3:45pm
5 minutes
Day Thirteen
Adrienne Gruber

We’ve been healing these weeks
Me – slow like the leaves turning
You – fast like the leaves turning

We’ve been in that rocky water
All I want is the glass lake
All you want is to surf

The more I know the more I don’t know
about all of this
What I do know is that strength is

Saying every day
“I am ready to meet
whatever life gives me”

What I do know is that love is
the messiest kitchen and the
softest “yes”

“books about people living on the street” by Julia in The Loop, Chicago

Saturday September 8, 2018
10:39pm
5 minutes
Searching, results
Shawn Syms

I walked into a bookstore today. The shelves were lined with post-it-notes telling me which staff member recommended which book. The girl working the counter had a tattoo of a strawberry wearing sunglasses. She recommended the Miranda July and I thought she and I would be friends. Mariella, the store owner, had recommended a few books about the housing crisis and single room occupancies. When I asked the girl with the same lipcolour on as me if she had read Mariella’s recommendations, she got real quiet and said, Mar used to live on the streets. She built this place so it’d be here for anyone who might need it. That’s why we’re open so late.

“books about people living on the street” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday September 8, 2018
7:12am
5 minutes
Searching, results
Shawn Syms

In a good bookstore (I think you know what that means) I wish I was a better writer I wish I was a better reader I wish I was a better person. Books make me want to do better in every inch keep things clean keep things open keep things real. I admire how my Dad reads. I wish I read like my Dad. I wish I spent way less time with a screen and way more time in pages and pages and pages and words are the way of the future they are how we become who we are how the future breathes life into the present.

“she died before age forty” by Julia at Wabash and Washington, Chicago

Friday September 7, 2018
12:44am
5 minutes
F*** Face
Amber Dawn

She didn’t know what she wanted. Thought she wanted to change some minds and open some hearts. Thought she wanted to tell the truth and free herself of the lies she told herself. Guess some
dreams never come true. Guess some hopes are too high to reach.

On a Friday she realizes she
needs to define her path. She cries about the roadblocks but doesn’t even know the road. Her friends seem to be making strides. Putting their hands in all the right collection plates, offering themselves to the highest bidder. Maybe God is a good excuse not to do anything. Maybe having a baby is a better one.

She didn’t know how much the lion’s roar would sadden her. She didn’t know how small a big thing kept would feel when she wasn’t allowed to be free. Guess some dreams never come true. Guess some hopes are too high to reach.

“she died before age forty” by Sasha on her couch

Friday September 7, 2018
5:11pm
5 minutes
F*** Face
Amber Dawn

She died before age forty
and it’s okay don’t be sad about it
she was ready she’d lived
a full life
she’d fucked
and fled
and funned
and stayed
and stopped
and loved

She died before she turned forty
right but she lived more in those
years than most people live in
their eighty two or seventy six

She called her sister
before she died
because her sister couldn’t be there
she was the only on
she had two new babies
two new babes
and she called her sister
and her sister cried and cried
her nipples dripping milk
the twins sleeping beside her
she rocked them with her foot

“Grid of Polaroids” by Sasha at 49th Parallel on Main St.

Thursday September 6, 2018
6:22pm at 49th Parallel
5 minutes
Sinuous
Lydia Kwa

I see those years like
a grid of polaroid
some overexposed
the drunk the tired
the shabby the shameful
the tender the kissing
I see you now like I
did then but different
now you’re chest is wider
because you’re heart
is bolder now your
you-ness is the best
taste after being
gone too long
after being out
and away
after leaving

We sleep back to back
some nights and I
like those nights
too because my lungs
breathe the air that
your lungs made and
your lungs breathe
the air that my
lungs made and is
there anything better
than the mystery of
what we’re up against
of what we’re doing

“Grid of Polaroids” by Julia at Vancouver International Airport

Thursday September 6, 2018
6:15am
5 minutes
Sinuous
Lydia Kwa

When I first met you, you lived with two dudes who didn’t know what cleaning was. Or order. One of them waked and baked everyday. The other one had a weird thing with dogs. Your apartment was falling apart. You didn’t have proper wine glasses but you had wine. There was a wall of polaroids by the front entrance. You partying in those photos looked so cool. You had to bathe like an ape because the shower head was broken. You made that joke the first time I came over. Those thin walls. The corner store condom runs. The 28 hour day. The food poisoning.

“I love the internet” by Julia at the desk

Wednesday September 5, 2018
11:09am
5 minutes
The Experimental Boy
Mat Laporte
Did you know that ladybugs are actually beetles? Where would we be without the internet? Without online check in. Without Google Chrome crashing every time I use it because of karma, likely. You can find out all the most important information: Am I going to die if I’ve eaten the same seeds for a week and today I found a tiny worm in them? How do I remove this wart on my foot using home remedies? Can I put a wool skirt in the washing machine? How do I wash my dishes if I am out of dish soap? Cloves is the answer. Did you know that?  I love the internet for watching my every move and tracking my routes traveled. I love that the internet knows where I live and who I see often and can recognize their faces in my photo apps and can suggest other e-mails when I’m writing to a certain group of people. Isn’t that what we’ve always wanted anyway? Someone to see us and know us and help us? Or some thing. Or someones. I wonder how many people know I care about what a ladybug actually is or that I’ve searched for the kind of porn with “gentle hands”.

“I love the internet” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday September 5, 2018
7:16am
5 minutes
The Experimental Boy
Mat Laporte

I refuse to believe that the internet is evil. Think about all of the political movements that were propelled forward through hashtags and blogs and twitter? Think about #metoo alone. Groundbreaking. Revolutionary. Literally changing the world and how we know it. If it weren’t for the internet, knowledge wouldn’t be shared with a click, opinions wouldn’t be batted back and forth across borders! You might look at me and think, “that old hippy dude probably thinks that we were better off without smartphones, Alexa, Google, whatever… In some ways, maybe. When we let the internet rule us – we’re in big trouble. When we are at the hand of capitalism, when our only identity is “consumer” – we are in big trouble. But, I do not fundamentally believe that all of us are lost at sea without a paddle, on a melting iceberg.

“I tell him how a blimp once hit my head.” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday September 4, 2018
6:54pm
5 minutes
DADDY
Prathna Lor

A blimp once fell down out of the sky and hit me right here, right on my head! Do you see the scar? No?! It’s there. Cross my heart and hope to die. A bird pooped on me the first time my Mom took me outdoors to bring me to the doctor so I’m good luck. It’s good luck when a bird poops on you! My Dad my Dad my Daaaad used to be a firefighter until he had to stop because he’d inhaled so much smoke that they told him if he took in any more he’d become a dragon a real dragon!

“I tell him how a blimp once hit my head.” by Julia on the 7

Tuesday September 4, 2018
7:26am
5 minutes
DADDY
Prathna Lor

I used to tell everyone that I was struck by a truck when I was little. Story goes: I was on my tricycle and the truck smashed me and I was very badly injured and everyone came running because they were so worried. Story is: I was on my tricycle and the truck backed up slightly and bumped me and I was fine.

Maybe the real story is better in the first place. The one that has me up against a monster truck and being saved in the 11th hour. The way I was saved in the 11th hour when I was 18. Swerved in the ice slush, totalled my parents’ Corolla, suffered back and wrist pain, but was still alive enough to get my charges dropped down to “Failure to Share The Road.”
Their car was a write off. they ended up getting more because of me.

“These are the demons you wanted” by Julia in her bed

Monday September 3, 2018
5 minutes
11:47pm
FtM
Kierst Wade

you called for these, right? these back spasms, hole in the heel of our feet, night light, better dreams? these are the demons you asked for. the ones who lie about comfort. the ones who throw you onto the pile, fire, fire, but won’t give out the punishment. they are just looking for abandoned hopes. they are looking for hoplessness. that is their favourite snack. amuse bouche at midnight.

“These are the demons you wanted” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday September 3, 2018
5 minutes
7:41am
FtM
Kierst Wade

You asked for this when you were in your mother’s womb
You asked to be wrapped in colts foot and birch bark
You asked to be burned and wrung out and lifted high
You asked for the stars to be in Aries
the moon to full
You asked for twelve trusted women to flank you
when you emerged
naked and screaming and howling at the Gods

You asked to be tested
to be tried
to be true

You asked for all of this by choosing them
and then you asked again when you chose him
and here you are asking this newness
this dawn
and you asked again for the grace to
rise

and all the sheets drift jazz” by Julia in her bed

Sunday September 2, 2018
10:51pm
5 minutes
Bad Boy’s Slut Song
Nick Comilla

I told him I didn’t like jazz. Said the music made
my brain feel like a loaf of bread left sitting. He wanted to convince me that there is some good jazz. He said he knows the kind I’m talking about: elevator, supermarket. I said yeah but it disrupts me on a cellular level when it’s bad. I don’t trust people who say they like jazz. Like why.
He told me he liked jazz and I would have to stop generalizing. Like do you leave someone over jazz? As in can’t support someone who loves it or can’t be with someone if they can’t get with it?

“and all the sheets drift jazz” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday September 2, 2018
8:10pm
5 minutes
Bad Boy’s Slut Song
Nick Comilla

Raymond plays jazz at the Rex on Sunday afternoons. I’m there because Nicola likes to go, not because I really care about jazz. But Raymond does something to a trumpet that I can’t quite articulate. He shows us how music can be, who we can be, what a wild heart actually looks like. The rest of us are fakers. I used to play, but I got tired of staying out late and having the schmooze and kiss ass and all the rest of it. Raymond doesn’t play those games. He plays his set, drinks a cranberry soda at the bar, chats a bit with the regulars, and then walks home. He doesn’t make a big deal about it. He’s just living his life.

“she would rub her clit to her bed post,” by Julia on her couch

Saturday September 1, 2018
11:14pm
5 minutes
Nocturne v: c
Marie Segolène

Kinny would think of being pushed up against the wall in the basement of the hospital. She pictured finally having that blonde woman all to herself. People would be around, but they’d both be turned on by that. She thought about her until her clit begged. That blonde hair made her want to tug. And that sexy fitted button down. With her eyes closed she saw herself undoing each one until her black bra pulsed. A little lace. A little bow. She wondered if the blonde woman ever knew she was into her.

“she would rub her clit to her bed post,” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday September 1, 2018
10:01pm
5 minutes
Nocturne v: c
Marie Segolène

What time is it where you are? I’m not good at calculating that kind of thing. Vancouver to Tokyo? I don’t know… It doesn’t matter. Shit, I really miss you. Finding time to talk is hard, I mean “we’re all so busy” right? That’s what everyone says. “We’re all so busy”… I’m not that busy, but I pretend I am because I feel like it’s wrong to say that I’m actually bored about twenty percent of the time. Is that a good average or a bad one? I’ll never know because we never talk about that kind of thing. Sometimes when I’m bored I do weird stuff. I’m not going to get into it with you, because you wouldn’t get it, but let’s just say that vibrator that I got at that sex shop on Granville like ten years ago? It’s still going…