“So the Search was begun” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday December 31, 2018
11:11am
5 minutes
The Tao Of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff

Faith and Doubt are sisters, unruly hair intertwined, sleeping side-by-side, dreamscapes overlapping. I find Faith in the predictability of a trusted recipe. I find Doubt in the despair of misunderstandings small and large. Faith laughs at Doubt’s sureness, kindly, pointedly. Doubt rolls her eyes at Faith’s optimism, wisdom, sureness. Faith cries when Doubt pushes her so hard on the swing she falls off, skinning her knees.

“So the Search was begun” by Julia at Pearson Airport

Monday December 31, 2018
8:08am
5 minutes
The Tao Of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff

In the middle of the night I heard a whisper in the sound of my own voice coming from inside my head. It was me, or I believed it to be. I was telling me to breathe and focus and stop focusing and see the white wall and Dear Lord Please, Please. I was telling me to find peace in the stillness. A little voice asked if it was okay if I watched a movie instead. I said yes to myself and began to play a moving picture show of all my choices and all the bread I got to eat. The lobster. The Italian sausage. The night my father and I took a deep look. The movie played and I rewatched it again and again. I told me I could watch it in the morning once I had woken up but the me laying didn’t feel like the me saying was being true. The search had begun for what was. For what was true. Why would inside voice me try to trick outside laying me? What is inside voice me trying to get me to notice or understand or remember forever and ever amen.

“tempted to encourage others with insincere praise.” By Sasha at the airport

Sunday December 30, 2018
8:39pm
5 minutes
Lying
Sam Harris

Praise be! The sky is falling!
Praise be! The child in the hand knitted sweater is laughing!
Praise be! Death is knocking at the door and we’re dancing to Klezmer!
Praise be! 2018 is almost over!
Praise be! Soon we’ll fly twelve kilometers above the ground!
Praise be! The bottom is not where you thought it was!
Praise be! There are always more tears!
Praise be! You have a home to go home to!
Praise be! You laugh at your own jokes!
Praise be! You’ve got an orange in your handbag!
Praise be! A hot shower!
Praise be! The birds are scowling!
Praise be! The girl sleeps straddling her mother!
Praise be!

“tempted to encourage others with insincere praise.” by Julia at Amanda’s

Sunday December 30, 2018
11:31pm
5 minutes
Lying
Sam Harris

When I was nine we went on an overnight camping trip with our church friends. They were church people, not quite friends, to be honest. Jesus thought it would be good for us to be around all the right-hearted youth so we could learn something. I learned something. I learned I could pee in the middle of the night very quickly. I learned that I was a quick night pee-er when my tent mates told me so. I learned that I could walk in the woods and sing at the same time. I learned that some people are better than me because of their relationship with god.
On the last day our leaders gave out awards to the ____est camper. They gave me the award for “happiest camper”. I was thrilled until Julie Perna got “friendliest” camper and I realized that my award was total bullshit.

“I never tire of saying that” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore

Saturday December 29, 2018
10:12pm
5 minutes
Man’s Search For Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl

I never tire
I always tire
There isn’t a line between
of looking into my own eyes
of reversing the years of not enough into so much
of being with the ache
of being okay with not being okay

It’s the end of the year
and there’s cobwebs in my ears
in my hair and spiders crawling
across my insides

I see how the hungry ghosts
long for you
for me for us all really
I see how they claw and paw
Bracing for rebuttal
Bracing for a shrug

“I never tire of saying that” by Julia on the Greyhound

Saturday December 29, 2018
5:20pm
5 minutes
Man’s Search For Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl

I tire of saying certain words
Yes
Sorry
Unfortunately
I love you
It’s not on purpose but I know what I hate and I say it now to be clear and not cutting
But I never tire of saying what is bigger than me and truer than you
I say it with the inside of my cheek and the silk of my skin
I say it with the moon bearing witness
with the oven mitts on
with the bathroom door open
I want this
I don’t want this
I tire because the struggle of wanting and not wanting is one of deep diving
There is no around it
Above it
Under it
To travel down you have to go through it
And deeper still
The pain is exhaustible and yet there is no shortcut
No other way

“I kissed the person next to me” by Julia at G and C’s

Friday December 28, 2018
11:49pm
5 minutes
Contemplation
Franz Kafka


I kissed the person next to me and he fell asleep with the tip of my nose in his mouth
The first time it was funny
The second time we wondered how we ever managed to fall asleep any other way
I dreamt about stealing feathers and magnets from his rich friend
I ached to be as close as possible
He asked if we could sit in our comfortable silence and I agreed
Lately I have been running around the stock in my head and can’t seem to find anything to say anyway
The long laying and breathing is kind of new to us
We usually put on a show to give our bodies permission to entangle
I don’t know what to do in some moments and that is when I shall find his lips instead of searching for answers
From now on I will fill all the unknowing with kisses

“I kissed the person next to me” by Sasha on the couch at Bowmore

Friday December 28, 2018
9:42am
5 minutes
Contemplation
Franz Kafka

I kissed the person
I kissed the person that is you now
Today you are a different incarnation
Today you are the cut-out gingerbread man

Today you are organizing suitcases and eating
Spiced nuts

I kissed the person
I kissed the person that is you then
A different face with different watercolour texture
You were the wholeness of the circle of the full moon

You were biting your tongue and praying
for change

I kissed you here and here and here and there
Full up of family stories

the ghosts and the glory
the hurt and the heal

“The only time this does not happen” by Julia at Amanda’s

Thursday December 27, 2018
1:26am
5 minutes
The Undiscovered Self
C.G. Jung

It is dark out
still morning
still raining
You’ll have to leave soon
I could remain here
I hate leaving the bed before you
Last night you tossed in your sleep
Back and forth, flip the pillow
I know it was probably too hot
The window is broken
I told you that before we turned off the light
You didn’t believe me
I can understand your perspective
It hasn’t been dry out for a while
I don’t remember how long, maybe you do
You always remember the things I don’t
That’s very convenient, by the way
You could be re-writing our
history and I wouldn’t even know it

“The only time this does not happen” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Thursday December 27, 2018
10:12am
5 minutes
The Undiscovered Self
C.G. Jung

I saw that the sky was flames and wept
as I do as we do as we can
The hill across from the window
slips into a dream slips into tomorrow
You go to the fourth floor at seven in the morning
While we sleep
Your children
Your love
Dreaming in the Year of the Pig
when all the babes arrive
Dreaming in black and blue and pink and grey
Tears make way for clementines
make way for baths and stories
All paths lead back to Lou
I saw birds on the wire at Coxwell and Gerrard
There must’ve been seventy of them
Lou said that he wants to live to seventy-two
I saw your eyes cloud
Your doubt surface
Your faith swoop down and lift your chin

“experiences unbearable psychological turmoil” by Julia in Kitchener

Wednesday December 26, 2018
11:36pm
5 minutes
Eros
Stella Kalogeraki

Mom tells me about the shingles that people my age are getting. Chicken pox she says, we used to have chicken pox parties, can you believe that?
They seem to know things then that we don’t anymore. I say stress can cause it, it happened to my friend.
My mother nods and her eyes light up, yes yes stress can cause it and other things, can you believe that?
Some assumptions keep us rotting in our skin when the torture becomes self-inflicted. The brain knows how to protect its team by sending warriors to build walls that block out the worst case scenario. The blood still pumps through the highway of the body, alive in the channels sending it this way and that.

“experiences unbearable psychological turmoil” by Sasha in her old room

Wednesday December 26, 2018
11:32pm
5 minutes
Eros
Stella Kalogeraki

We gathered around the table in the common room. Fluorescent lights. Boughs spread. A strange ache. A beauty. Cups and cutlery that Mom collected over the week from lunch and dinner trays. I made stew and we ate it out of compostable bowls. J. kept saying, “It’s quiet in here!” We shared a few homemade gifts. We took photos. We ripped pieces of focaccia from a loaf. I sat at the end on the left. I couldn’t be in the middle. I felt my eyes heavy, my heart in my guts, my jaw clenched. I played with J. “This is my kitchen!” She said, and she put earth from a potted plant into a cup with a spoon.

“perhaps he really knew nothing” by Julia at Amanda’s

Tuesday December 25, 2018
9:30pm
5 minutes
The Trial
Franz Kafka

The night before is a blur now,
book-ended by so many sweet sounds
He tells me he admires me
Complex, he says, And damn good at it
I want to thank him for saying that
For putting words to that level of seeing me
I felt sorry the whole damn day
My eyelashes stung like Angel wings clipped at the tip
I can be so difficult to love when I am this repetitive
This growth of heart choosing the only way it knows how
I could say every year gets better
I could make sure I write that down
and read it back one night after tea

“perhaps he really knew nothing” by Sasha in the Kiva

Tuesday December 25, 2018
12:20am
5 minutes
The Trial
Franz Kafka

Perhaps he knew everything and perhaps he knew nothing and that’s just how things were now. When he made his bed in the morning (bottom sheet smoothed, top sheet folded in and under, comforter, quilt, pillows) he felt he knew nothing. The whole day stretched before him. A canyon of unknown. He went downstairs and turned on the coffee maker. He got the paper from the front porch. He fed Harriet her wet food, as she mewed and meowed and rubbed against his legs.

“day after day we worked” by Julia in Baden

Monday December 24, 2018
7:19pm
5 minutes
The Swiss Family Robinson
J.D. Wyss

We bathed in the sun of the afternoon
calling licorice to our tongues
And on the heels of I’ll-see-you-soon,
we dreamt of tomorrow’s hunt
The sky opened up and licked us both-quiet and wet serene with it
We raced through time loops with a quake in our jump, a hop in our stretch
The only thing stopping us from hitting high was the high we felt from feeling it
Those golden shades that painted the night, that painted your skin, we swore by them
as cures to the ails inside of us that we did not stop long enough to notice
I was being reversed by timelessness
And you were alongside the great ravine crossing
My bravest day’s obsession
would lift the platform up a level
We threw our heads back
and laughed

“Day after day we worked” by Sasha in Mississauga

Monday December 24, 2018
12:12pm
5 minutes
The Swiss Family Robinson
J.D. Wyss

Jeremy puts on his father’s coat and his mother’s fake fur hat and goes to smoke a joint in the garage. It’s the first Christmas without Sara and everyone is on their best/worst behaviour. Since moving away from Kingston, Jeremy has learned how what we think is our best is sometimes our worst because it’s not necessarily honest. Jeremy tries to be honest.

“Are you high?” His mother asked last night, as she washed and he dried. Joan Baez’s Christmas album on the stereo.

“Yup,” he said, carefully wiping the platter that used to be his grandmother’s, the one with little raised cranberries on it.

“Jeremy… Is it necessary that you – “

“You do you, Mom. Drink a little too much Pinot Grigio, eat a little too much baked brie. I’m gonna do me, and smoke a bit of weed.”

She raised her eyebrows, unsure about this man in front of her who resembled the little boy gripping her hand til her knuckles turned white on the first day of school.

“Till the only word your mouth remembers” by Julia at her parents’ table

Sunday December 23, 2018
11:52am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

my mouth knows how to repeat the same thing over and over until it loses meaning
until it turns into dust

my mouth knows how to curse the ones I love the most because their mouths say what my mouth could

my mouth eats itself more than it doesn’t
twisting the almost rebellion into quiet
cheek sores, taking up space

my mouth hums the tune of the earth that keeps me grounded when the noise is trying to lift me out of my skin

my mouth coos the sweet-lipped words of admiration and gratitude with ease and with abundance

my mouth remembers being shut violently and told that this is not violence but love and history and justified

my mouth knows a lie like a pang in the gums, a bell dinging endlessly under the tongue

“Till the only word your mouth remembers” by Sasha in Mississauga

Sunday December 23, 2018
11:51am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

Kiss me until the only word your mouth knows is
mine beloved make true. Love me until we are divine
light swirling towards eternity
time no longer a barrier time now
a surrender a hope. Remember when we used to know
each other less fully. That’s funny to think about.

Morning fades to afternoon and I
clench my jaw sprawled on the floor
of your childhood bedroom the kid wallpaper
still there the art you made
before I knew you from anyone.

My nostalgia makes me drunk
in a way vodka never did in a way
chocolate never does in a way that only
these darkest days turning lighter do
here and here hand and heart
and belly swelling snow.

“it makes us feel insecure” by Julia in her childhood room

Saturday December 22, 2018
1:11am
5 minutes
The Book
Alan Watts

The nothing howls
like a deep seeded pit
writhing in the grass,
burying itself free
from the light touching
The pain lives not in the
not knowing but in
the inventing of what the
unknown might be-
could be,
never ever will be
I can hear it too if
I listen
I can see the blues and pinks jumping off its bones and into the night
streaking the silence with
premature dread
What if we never learn to
see the unseen as a gift?
What if the ache builds a
house on its broken back and
boards all the whispered wondering there?

“it makes us feel insecure” by Sasha in Mississauga

Saturday December 22, 2018
12:03am
5 minutes
The Book
Alan Watts

Insecurity via hangnails
Insecurity via show choice
Insecurity via feminism
Insecurity via fear
Insecurity via pressure
Insecurity via body body body body
Insecurity via okay deep breath okay

Full moon in cancer
Leading us backwards and forwards
Mothering the past present future
Reaching towards the love
We’ve always known we deserve

Clean under the stove and hope
There’s no mouse shit
Don’t like mouse shit
Don’t like mice
Clean in the corners where
The dust settles into something
Thick

“Whose language would he speak?” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Friday December 21, 2018
6:35pm
5 minutes
Siddhartha
Herman Hesse

when he tries to tell you he doesn’t want you,
maybe that’s his soul speaking about another
place that feels empty
You look like the empty because you are the closest thing to him
You and him standing in the kitchen, throwing words at available skin
But maybe he’s right
Maybe you’re the empty vase
the empty promise
the seat up on a high horse
that you don’t know how to
ride, much less get down from
He might be missing pieces but you are missing parts too:
backbone
truth tongue
tact
a pulse

“Whose language would he speak?” By Sasha at Ideal Coffee

Friday December 21, 2018
1:35pm
5 minutes
Siddhartha
Herman Hesse

You’re learning Spanish
You fell in love with the
language on our honeymoon
and now you’re teaching

yourself by an app
usually at the end of the day
in our bed you repeat

Lo siento
Pequeño
Gato

You’re good with languages
in a way I’m not and I think
about how you’ll help our
daughter with her French homework

I’ll look over and remember
counting to twenty
conjugations
shame
quizzes

I was good at a lot of things
but this wasn’t one of them

“She shook her head helplessly.” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Thursday December 20, 2018
10:42pm
5 minutes
Solaris
Stanislaw Lem

I don’t know why I can’t just leave him. I love him. Maybe I don’t. I have to love him don’t I? 30 years I’ve lived in that house, am I supposed to suddenly pick up and move? I don’t know why he doesn’t help me. All of our financial problems are because he won’t. I’ve asked him. I’ve tried to ask him but it’s not that easy, Sweetie. Nothing is ever easy for me. You know, I had this dream where I was climbing this huge staircase. These massive spiraled stairs and I was climbing them, climbing them, but I couldn’t go anywhere. And I could see at the top there was this beautiful castle. It was all the way at the top and I was climbing, sweatting, aching, and no matter what I did I couldn’t make it. All I wanted was to reach it and I was stuck right there.

“She shook her head helplessly.” By Sasha in the Kiva

Thursday December 20, 2018
12:31pm
5 minutes
Solaris
Stanislaw Lem

She shook her head helplessly becuase she couldn’t figure out how to get her words in order, how to get a word in, what to do with words. Her mother knew words better than anyone, or so she thought, better than her own face. Her mother knew how to shape words into cinnamon buns, into machetes, into room sized pillows. Sat around the table with the family, her family, that’s a word she knows. Bev sticks her tongue out at Larry and he gets up and grabs her cheeks.

“all past, present or future actions” by Julia at Amanda’s island

Wednesday December 19, 2018
11:11pm
5 minutes
From an application form

It’s about anger now. I’m about to let the lid off this house and cry to the high heavens.
Nobody wants me mad. Wants me dripping instead. Wants me nothing. I was nothing before this. I was very close to needing too much. You made me angry and now it’s about anger. Maybe that was your plan all along. I’m about to give over to it. It’s close to taking refuge in the soft spot of my nice. Nice no longer exists and hasn’t for a long time now. Have you been paying attention? It’s gone. I don’t think it ever was. Naive maybe. Spineless used to be here. You remember, don’t you? Nothing you said ever got a No from me? That was all the fear of being real showing through. Every other time I was real I got the boot. People disappeared like sugar being poured into a hot cup. The taste of desperation gets an addict hunting for her next fix. It’s not about feeding those demons anymore. It’s about the anger, like I said. I couldn’t be clearer. Things are going to change. You will be the first one to see it.

“none of which are taken very seriously.” By Sasha on the plane

Tuesday December 18, 2018
8:14pm
5 minutes
From an email

In the dark of the season
Longest day approaching
Train in the distance
Barrelling with purpose
Barrelling with direction
There is no place else to go
But inwards

You say that you want to take long baths
Play the piano
Listen to CBC radio
Eat clementines

Of course you do
Of course

Let go of the past
The winter says
Biting my earlobes
And reaching below the ice
Let go of what is no longer
All we have is now

“all past, present or future actions” By Sasha in the Kiva

Wednesday December 19, 2018
11:33pm
5 minutes
From an application form

It’s hard to speak when the overcoming comes
When it’s all heart beat and throat tight and
Here we go again
Past and present and future whirlpooling
Whipperwhiling scumbagging scumbugging

You tell me that you see how I’m growing
How I’m showing the centre that you know
That you watch when I’m dreaming
Projections of horses stampedeing across
The prairie of my forehead

It’s good to let go and move the old
Ice from the freezer chest
It’s good to release the pigeons from
The rusty roof

“none of which are taken very seriously.” By Julia on Amanda’s red chair

Tuesday December 18, 2018
9:40pm
5 minutes
From an email

The girl downstairs blasts her stereo. It’s new. She never used to blast anything before. She has played Drake and no one else I recognize. It’s past my bedtime but aside from today she’s been pretty good about turning it off by 9pm. 9pm is my bedtime. I’m waiting to see if she figures that out or if a guy leaves her place. That would explain the volume. She’s entertaining. I don’t hear voices. Maybe they’re dancing. I could go down there and throw a stone at her door but this is something my therapist advises against. She says I can take certain things too seriously. I’m being really patient for the reccord. I haven’t thrown anything at all yet. I haven’t banged on the floor like some people would at exactly 9:46pm on a Tuesday. Maybe Tuesdays are her new Fridays because Wednesdays are her new Saturdays.

“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.

“We may not be able to accommodate” by Sasha at her desk

Monday December 17, 2018
11:48am
5 minutes
overheard at YVR

When you embrace your beloved
You breathe in their scent
lily of the valley
cinnamon
Douglas fir
You feel a tingle in your guts
Just the same as the day you
Met them
Catching fireflies
Waiting for the streetcar
Stroking the pennies in their pocket
Unafraid

Time is a strange beast
The kind that lives in dreams
And now that you are struck by
the possible ending you are
Overcome
with the knowing that there is
nothing more precious than this

“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.