“We may not be able to accommodate” by Julia at the airport

Monday December 17, 2018
9:29pm
5 minutes
overheard at YVR

I’m worried that soon I will be alone. All these years of keeping up with every friend and staying in touch. It’s dwindling now. I either hate the people I used to love or they’ve forgotten about me. Usually I hate them because they’ve forgotten about me. Let the relationship fizzle out. I stopped contacting everyone and that’s all it took I suppose.
Soon I will be all alone. I will talk to myself. I will call my family on the weekend. I will not need the people who think they’re better than me or more woke than me. I already find myself angry. Quietly seething at some. I don’t trust the ones who lie to themselves. And I won’t miss them when they’re gone. I don’t have that bone. It wouldn’t do any good anyway.

“face/integrate/deal with.” By Julia in her bed

Sunday December 16, 2018
11:00pm
5 minutes
from a text

1) face the fear of getting it wrong
2)integrate bodily functions as warning signs: why am I crying? What is my stomach trying to tell me? Write, woman. Run.
3) deal with the loud emotions instead of
ignore or
turn down or
stave off or
fight back or
feel weak because of
4) give an open field for playtime and general exuberance, for loud, lift, freedom
5) treat the wound with tough love enough to disinfect it first; smothering it with a bandaid will stop the blood but not the bad attitude

“face/integrate/deal with.” By Sasha at her coffee table

Sunday December 16, 2018
10:50pm
5 minutes
From a text

Face the reality that despite all the books read and classes attended and the very best of intentions (the very very very very very best), you will make so many mistakes and not know what you’re doing and be the person you want to be mostly and the person you don’t want to be sometimes and that’s all okay. Get really good at saying, “Whoops!” and letting shit go. Start practising that now. “Whoops!”

Integrate the knowledge that life will never be the same, that this is the biggest change possible, and that change is sometimes hard for you. It’s miraculous and mundane It’s good. This is good. It will be good.

Deal with the finger-waving ghosts in your heart, in your closet, in your suitcase, in your vegetable crisper. You won’t have the same kind of space to meet them and greet them and face them come Spring.

“Super-trendy” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 15, 2019
5:05 pm
5 minutes
From the Gift Guide in Toronto Life

all the good purses are in the closet, top shelf.
haven’t wanted to wreck them or my shoulder. Alignment guy says I’m out of alignment: one arm weighed down far more than the other, hanging there like a bag of grapes.
I do not want to shrivel up before my time.
I have so much reaching still to do. The best part about it is out of sight out of mind. I am not who I was when I can’t see anything to remind me. I am me now, staring desperately into the reflections of convenience: The kettle, the tea cup filled, the tv turned off watching me instead.

“Super-trendy” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday, December 15, 2019
7:13am
5 minutes
From the Gift Guide in Toronto Life

Looks good in a blazer
Looks good in a tie
Looks good in a swimsuit
Knows what to buy

Wears high end lipstick
Has an expensive coat
Owns lots of runners
but doesn’t gloat

Doesn’t drink coffee
Only drinks green tea
Smiles so shyly
The person that you want to be

Looks good in a dress
Looks good in jeans
Looks in in PJs
Whatever that means

“we are hanging out” by Julia on the 15

Friday December 14, 2018
3:48pm
5 minutes
From a text

It’s nice that you’re here.
All of us, we, think it’s nice. Nice that you say nice all the time. Nice that your hands are always wet for some reason. All of us, we, are curious about you. We’re all together and then there’s you. We’re all hanging out now. We, all of us, are making a memory. You’ll say it so we’ll just stop you right there-it’s nice. Soon you will be a part of what we do. Soon you will fix the leak in the boiler room. Soon you’ll be prepared to leave the stratosphere that you have come to call nice and never look back.

“we are hanging out” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, December 14, 2018
9:02am
5 minutes
From a text

The last time we hung out it was summer
it was raining it feels like a long time ago

Time is a snake slithering quick then slow
winding around the belly of the truth

You were wearing that denim shirt from forever ago
I had just cut my hair and it hadn’t
settled in yet

You had stopped smoking and I had started reading
Dostoevsky only took me three years to finish
Crime and Punishment

You were less pretension then especially in the glow
of the sputtering streetlight I was trying to
learn the tune of your wanting

I only think about you sometimes not always
don’t flatter yourself

I only think about you when I smell orange or
see two crows sitting side-by-side on a branch

“Better than a landfill.” By Julia at her desk

Thursday December 13, 2018
8:50pm
5 minutes
Dust
Brianne Battye

Dumpster diving looks different than you think it is. It is colder and wetter and darker. You need tools, like a flashlight, and bravery. You need to have a giant curiosity. Strength of wrists and will. You must be able to see the bigger picture. You must decide what is worth taking. What is worth carrying around back and forth every day until you don’t. It helps if you are a team; if one person holds the lid, or lifts it if it gets stuck. You have to generally like animals, such as raccoons. You need to be okay with collecting at any hour of the day and know that before the garbage trucks come by, or before the people walk their dogs it might be quieter and more lonely. But it’s better than having to go to one landfill, losing track of all the new arrivals.

“Better than a landfill.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 13, 2018
12:35pm
5 minutes
Dust
Brianne Battye

“You’re a mess, Robbie,” Val shivers and zips her coat up past her chin.

“Jesus, it must be minus twenty-five – ” Rob looks up at the sky.

“Don’t ignore me!”

“I’m not, I’m just sayin’…” They stand there for a full minute, Val stamping her feet to get feeling back in her toes.

“I am a mess, but it’s okay… Like, I don’t usually let my life get messy, right? When have you ever seen me like this?” He makes a good point.

Val’s cheeks are turning bright red. “I just think that you should talk to someone, a counselor or something. You might even be able to find something subsidized?”

“Thanks. Yeah. I’ll look into it.” Rob pushes his hands further into his coat pockets. He feels something round.

“somehow you are sacred,” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday December 12, 2018
4:30pm
5 minutes
The Third Treatise
Yara Farran

Mia has started praying to the saints that she get better at baking, some of which are real and some of which are made up. Saint Chelsea looks after newly attempted recipes gone wrong. Cakes the overflow and fold molten rocks on the bottom of the oven, breads that don’t rise, cookies with bases burned to a crisp. Saint Tyrese is the saint of dishes. Caked on crumbs be gone! Solidified caramel – banish! Mia prays and beats egg whites into pearly peaks and wonders if buying this whole in the wall bakery was really a good idea.

“somehow you are sacred,” by Julia on the 84

Wednesday December 12, 2018
3:54pm
5 minutes
The Third Treatise
Yara Farran

As I stand here mighty, bigger than you,
I feel the earth holding you up. When the sight of me existing without force
the way you sometimes don’t
makes you stop in your tracks, I see you then, and know you are good. This rain has marked its territory on my skin. I have married and left it now too many times to count. This is how I know about growing. About staying. About you.
Somehow, it is true, you are sacred even if you do not know the meaning of the word. And I know what it’s like to wait for my time to shoot upward; to shed my old season; to take the place of my mother.

“fingers slimy from fries” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday December 11, 2018
11:03pm
5 minutes
Nicer
Amanda Proctor

I watch the kid with cat eyes lick his fingers clean
then he shoves his whole hand in his mouth and it’s no longer about grooming
the girl is said to be an angel, piece of cake, perfect
except she’s not as brave as they’d like her to be
reads too many books
is already proving smarter than one of them
I watch the kid roll his eyes at me when I apologize
to him for raising my voice
apologies come in buckets here and he knows they’re not worth their weight
I want to explain that I was scared he’d hurt himself with that knife, that I’m not mad anymore
The girl uses a dictionary to play Hangman
she draws a bunny rabbit instead of someone swinging by a noose

“fingers slimy from fries” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday December 11, 2018
8:03am
5 minutes
Nicer
Amanda Proctor

We fall in love over fish and chips, fingers slimy from fries, mayo and ketchup and coleslaw understanding the language of our kisses better than we do. We make love in the kitchen, the oven door a handle of acrobatic inspiration, opening and closing, opening and closing. We walk the long way to the store for avocados, eggs, kimchi, orange juice. We sing in the shower together, soaping each others’ bodies with a tenderness that transcends time. We dream together, for one another, about each other, bodies cocooned in flannel sheets and pillows tossed on the floor.

“buttered side up” by Julia in her room

Monday December 10, 2018
10:28pm
5 minutes
For Murphy
Jade Riordan

there’s a biscuit in our bed
I brought it in here
I’m the culprit sue me sorry
you’re the one who
buttered it
toasted it first then buttered it
you knew exactly what you were doing
And now I’m to blame for bed-crumbs and for low times
and for weakness
I’m the one we always hang the bad ideas on
but I never used to eat in bed until I met you and
I don’t remember now if it was to forget you or bring you closer to me
you’re the first guy who got me higher than this
I wanted more from you and you were smoking then
I didn’t think you
anything but cool
the first guy who got me high

“buttered side up” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday December 10, 2018
8:35am
5 minutes
For Murphy
Jade Riordan

Toast always falls butter side down
the good stuff with the flaky salt
that you really shouldn’t have bought
but did because you only live once
and it’s been a hard few months

Now you’re licking butter off the linoleum
and feeling sorry for yourself

You’re very good at feeling sorry for yourself
So good in fact that you wonder about listing it
as a special skill on your resume
alongside

Spanish speaker
Ballroom dancing
Susceptible to cold feet

You deserved that butter just as you deserve
to be squatting in the kitchen
robe coming undone
a smile spreading across your face

“I wonder if it’s the time of night” by Sasha in her bed

Sunday December 9, 2018
10:53pm
5 minutes
Tulips for Barbara
Ann E. Michael

Under the brush of this season
there’s a fire spreading across
the frost

You know it
I know it

Soup won’t help and neither
will twinkle lights

Sometimes there are times
when we have to fall deeper
into the unknowing

than we ever thought
possible

where purple and blue
make a new colour

where blood vessels
carve rivers in new bodies
held in old bodies
held in tree hollows

“I wonder if it’s the time of night” by Julia on her couch

Sunday December 9, 2018
7:15pm
5 minutes
Tulips for Barbara
Ann E. Michael

There’s this feeling in the air that something’s wrong with me. On the inside, there used to be more of a rumble. Now things are quiet and I’m not sure if they’re trying to be or if they’ve moved on from there. Empty core place? Void where instinct used to live?
Maybe it’s the time of night. The way the light hits the room. The way the absence of sound weighs heavy. I caught myself in the mirror during a deep furrow. It looked like it could have been there forever. The absence of inner voice feels like eyebrows meeting in the middle of my face under someone else’s circumstance. There’s a crunching. A knot.

“I am not a waitress” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 8, 2018
11:38pm
5 minutes
A Common Trap
Caitlin Thomson

I am not a waitress. I have not clocked in to a serving shift at a restaurant since 2015. The last place I worked was scheduling employees unfairly and when I met with the management team to discuss the issue, no one would step up. I knew I was leaving soon. Moving across the country at the end of the summer to start a new life doing anything but that. Staying up late cleaning dishware while other people enjoy their meals was not something I could do forever. I couldn’t keep coming home at 3 in the morning and pushing my art to the side. I couldn’t keep biking home after doing cocaine all night with strangers. I couldn’t keep hearing “Are you an actor? You must be an actor!”

“I am not a waitress” by Sasha at her coffee table

Saturday December 8, 2018
12:21pm
5 minutes
A Common Trap
Caitlin Thomson

I am not a waitress. I now have a job where I marry several of my skills, make the money I deserve, and have a cushy benefits package. It’s weird writing that. It still doesn’t totally feel real. I was a waitress for over a decade, and, to be honest, mostly I liked it. The rush of a good service, the camaraderie, the jokes, the sweet satisfaction of finding the right balance for each table in my section of quirk and charm, attention and space. The late nights, though… And the boozing culture. And the folks’ who would treat me like I was their servant. I remember a co-worker at a fancy beer restaurant in the financial district talking about these suits and ties who would come in and treat him like trash and meanwhile he’s smirking on the inside that he makes more than them annually, but just so happens to do it delivering mussels and swiping credit cards.

“the director of the play” by Julia on her couch

Friday December 7, 2018
10:12pm
5 minutes
Taking Your Child to Work, When Your Job is Making Theatre in The New York Times
Michael Paulson

He looks like Rob Lowe and I want him to choose me. The way a director is supposed to choose a young actress to be his muse. I want him to choose me because he looks like Rob Lowe and his passion for theatre makes me wet just thinking about it. He could be my biggest achievement but even if I could have him I wouldn’t tell anyone. I’d keep him all to myself. And during rehearsal I’d be professional with him but tease Andy in the green room. Heating both stones. As soon as everyone goes home, we’d be going at it in the wings, breathing hot air into each other’s ears and necks. Then he’d take me home and prepare monologues for me to read to him. I’d perform for him in the living room while he sips on bourbon and looks blissfully intoxicated by the rawness of my delivery. The heartbreakingly honest portrayal.
When I wake up he’d already be gone.

“the director of the play” by Sasha on her couch

Friday December 7, 2018
10:11pm
5 minutes
Taking Your Child to Work, When Your Job is Making Theatre
The New York Times
Michael Paulson

It was winter and the city was cloaked in grey. I rode the streetcar to and from the theatre. This was supposed to be everything I worked for, everything I wanted. Here is was, and yet, I couldn’t get the sinking feeling out of my chest, out of my throat, out of my heart. Was this the dream I worked so hard for? Was this worth everything? It was winter and it tasted like coffee from Dark Horse and cashews and raisins from a Ziploc bag.

“No one cares about your cheat day.” By Julia at L’s table

Thursday December 6, 2018
5:35pm
5 minutes
From a tweet

Nanna is recovering from her drinking problem. The first time dad found out was when he caught her swigging eggnog from the carton. Chasing it with a bottle of rum. “Just getting into the Christmas spirit” she said. Dad said she had been drinking for years and nobody ever knew how bad it was. She didn’t act like a drunk. But her liver couldn’t lie. She was in the hospital and everything was supposed to change. Her diet, her salt intake. Turns out she had diabetes too. She couldn’t live the way she was living if she wanted to live at all. She didn’t know how to stop at first. Said she would drink on Sundays if the lord asked her to. Said what kind of celebration is it if the blood of Christ goes untouched the whole day?

“No one cares about your cheat day.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 6, 2018
7:32am
5 minutes
From a tweet

No one cares if you had a smoothie bowl or a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips but you. That’s a fact. No one cares about your cheat day or how many squats you did, and really no one cares if you’re drinking enough water. No one cares about your mantra or your dreams or what either of them mean. No one cares about your new running shoes. No one cares about your sweatshirt or your matcha or your gluten free bagels.

“your life depends upon lying close” by Julia in her kitchen

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
7:56pm
5 minutes
Zero Meridian
Marie Silkeberg

The morning is the time you roll into me and whisper sweet affirmations in my ear. They’re so sweet it’s the only thing keeping me from slapping you for waking me up before my alarm. And yet I love it. I love those little groans or little sighs. The hot air on my neck. The warmth from your skin. The perfect placement of our knees.
I do not whisper affirmations to you but I’m busy remembering my dreams. Poems I wrote in my sleep or lines that snuck up on me in the quiet. I am hoping they are part of me by now but by now you are part of me. I think I’ve learned that before.
We don’t have to prove our love in these moments. The bed is love and we are love and the heat is love. I am convinced that in the oven we share, baking cookies of history and comfort and light (using terrible metaphors for what it is we’re doing), nothing more needs to happen.

“your life depends upon lying close” by Sasha at JJ Bean on campus

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
12:24pm at JJ Bean
5 minutes
Zero Meridian
Marie Silkeberg

When you come home for seventy two hours or so we can’t keep our hands off each other. So much kissing and fucking and being on each other’s skin and bones and lips and feet. When you come home you look different than when you left. Maybe it’s the stories you’ve been telling, maybe they’ve changed your face shape. Maybe it’s the person you’re becoming. Maybe you’re different on the inside and now it’s on the outside. When you come home after the initial giddiness wears off we usually fight a bit. Getting re-used to the things that annoy us. Remembering and looking to the future and wondering and doubt.

“The girl looking like Catherine Deneuve” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday December 4, 2018
9:33pm
5 minutes
Fall Is the Last Season of the Year
Nasim Marashi

I don’t want to say she had a pouty mouth but I guess that’s what she had.
Made it look like she was always trying to seduce her Cheetos.
Somebody in London once said that she was so beautiful some man
harassed her at the grocery store and she had to stop shopping alone.
All because of her face. I know a woman that beautiful and she once told
me that she never wanted that kind of attention. She never asked for it.
So the woman in London–even her friends talk about her perfect
face when she’s not around. They forget what else she’s good at, or which
jokes she’s told. They all wish they could be her. And she’s there wishing
she didn’t have to be. But no one would understand if she threw back a drink
one night and told everyone that she was tired of being beautiful. They would
all pause dramatically and stare at her, drinks in mid lift, until she broke out into
hysterical laughter. She’d see that she wasn’t getting through and remember
that beauty is not the right kind of sadness to have.

“The girl looking like Catherine Deneuve” by Sasha at the office

Tuesday December 4, 2018
12:35pm
5 minutes
Fall Is the Last Season of the Year
Nasim Marashi

It’s all about how you position yourself
How you make yourself be
I mean okay some of it is how you’re born
Your genes or God or whatever decides
Some of it is that

But you do have some choice in the matter
Like if you’re going to take care of yourself
and wear clothes that flatter you
and get a good haircut for your face shape
and everything

I used to think that I was one of the ugly ones
and then I turned into one of the pretty ones
and now I’m somewhere in the middle
now that I’m not flirting with everything in sight

I remember Mama saying that at a certain age
you become invisible and how strange that is
after being so visible for so long after being
ogled and eyed and cat-called
to suddenly disappear

“who is already a married woman.” By Julia on the 41

Monday, December 3, 2018
7:50pm
5 minutes
Good Fate
Virginia Suk-yin Ng

I thought I would be married by 24. Like my mother. She was a married woman in her early twenties and 6 years later, me. I was there too. I think it was different back then. We all do, I’m pretty sure. I don’t know if my mother thinks I should be married by now or if my dad has an opinion about it. A few aunts have made the mention but outside of that nobody seems to care about me one way or the other.
Some people have been divorced twice by my age. Just saying. I don’t know, I never got a toaster for any of my commitments. Not a good luck on your career shift! Or a wow you’ve been writing for a long time, here’s a nice pack of pens!
Where was the congratulations card when I celebrated my 11th year of not shaving a single hair off my body.

“who is already a married woman.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday, December 3, 2018
7:14am
5 minutes
Good Fate
Virginia Suk-yin Ng

“You’re married. You’re a married person. You’re a wed woman! You have a husband…” Melanie says, french braiding Sadie’s hair.

Sadie wiggles and writhes, “Mama, you’re pulling!”

“Oh, hush, my angel…” She rolls her eyes at me.

Yesterday was a beautiful overwhelming mess and Todd was perfect in his blue suit. I’m so glad I chose to wear red. “You look like a flamenco dancer!” Sadie had said.

Melanie finishes the braids and kisses the top of her daughter’s head. Since turning five, Sadie has exploded personality and spunk. “She reminds me of you,” Mel says.

“a conversation unfolds” by Julia on the 4

Sunday, December 2, 2018
4:34pm
5 minutes
Conversation Across Languages
Derick Mattern

We’re talking a lot
It’s good
I’m grateful
You’re sad
The space between us
is nothing and
everything
We have always
operated under
extreme circumstance
Big or invisible
Madness or dark
You’ve asked the
hard questions
and I wonder if
I have lied in answering
I promised you I’d
be honest but nothing
is everything and
it can get a little
confusing
The conversation
is ongoing and some
days the words do
all the talking and
some days the belly-
The snail inside the
belly unwinding and
folding back in on
itself

“a conversation unfolds” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday, December 2, 2018
7:32am
5 minutes
Conversation Across Languages
Derick Mattern

When I call
the conversation between us
unfolds open
reaches break
lily-of-the-valley
Rose-of-Sharon

Oh the grief is heavy
on my tongue
stretching down
to my throat
to my belly
to my feet

Oh this grief meets
the very core and
I hold you over long distance
airways over the Prairies
I hold you like you did me
when most of what I was
was daughter

“To cling to water?” By Julia at M’s table

Saturday, December 1, 2018
9:17pm
5 minutes
Is It Possible to Love a Ghost?
Erin Kang

Had to get my
ass down to the
water yesterday
I took you with
me and didn’t
have to ask
where we were
Country wide
You knew
You always do
And that is the
beacon above
it all and under
I had been
hearing people
talk about the
healing properties
of the ocean
but you have to
bring yourself
to the waves
You have to
Face the ripples
and reflection
Be ready to
find yourself
echoing

In my last city
I did not have
the option
in my backyard
the way I do here
I could have
swallowed all the
right pills and
travelled to the
island once every
Three hundred
and sixty-five
days

“To cling to water?” By Sasha at her desk

Saturday, December 1, 2018
9:10pm
5 minutes
Is It Possible to Love a Ghost?
Erin Kang

When I think about leaving
I think about leaving the ocean
This
Body
of water that has grown me up
and out and in

I make you promise that we’ll
go to the lake often
and to the house in the woods
This
Body
needs water

We are sixty percent water
and I am more now
growing life in water
my rivers more visible
pulsing and hot
readying for
the arrival