“all-new, feature-length” by Sasha at Jericho Beach

Sunday August 5, 2018
1:30pm
5 minutes
Teamsters and Tutus
Simon Lewsen

Do you ever hear the soundtrack of the movie of your life playing? Do you ever imagine the Norah Jones, Gypsy Kings, Tori Amos, TLC, Marvin Gaye… It happens to me most when I’m on public transit, usually a train, occasionally a bus. Looking out the window and there it is – the music.

What’s the song that plays the most in your head?

Have you ever been to a concert and thought, “this must be what heaven is like?”

Have you ever heard the quote, “Without music life would be a mistake”?

I once thought that if I didn’t have music I might shrivel up and fade away. I don’t think that anymore, I’m in a better place, but I get it. I get that.

“Luke punched a boy” by Sasha on the walk home

Friday March 23, 2018
10:43pm
5 minutes
Two Moons
Debbie Urbanski

Luke punched Isaac. Isaac kicked Luke. Luke spit on Issac’s face. Isaac called Luke a bad word. Hillary called the Ms. Gregory. Ms. Gregory pulled the boys apart. Ms. Gregory loves her work but she does not love breaking up fights on the playground. That’s not why she’s here. If only Todd could’ve taken her recess duty and she could’ve enjoyed her salad with bacon. Luke runs at Isaac. Ms. Gregory has her back turned. Isaac screams. Hillary starts to cry. Ms. Gregory closes her eyes and thinks about Spring Break when she’ll go to Oahu. Ms. Gregory walks Luke and Isaac to Mr. Polanski’s office. Isaac’s been there before, many times, but Luke hasn’t.

“Resist the millionth purchase” by Sasha at JJ Bean in Olympic Village

Sunday January 7, 2018
5:15pm at JJ Bean
5 minutes
Advice to Myself #2: Resistance
Louise Erdrich

She tries to resist the sale on tank tops at The Gap (who makes their clothes? How are the workers treated in the factories? Where did the cotton come from?)

Emma finds resistance ridiculously challenging.

She tries to resist avocados (the carbon footprint), coffee (labour exploitations), cleaning products (what happens when all that shit goes down the drain?).

She tries. She fails. She tries. She fails. Is this what life is? She thinks.

She tries to resist the space heater in the office. Just bring another sweater. Buy warmer socks. Turn off the light. Turn down the thermostat at home. Recycle. Compost. Ride a bike. Take transit. Resist. Rise up. Resist. She tries. She fails. She tries.

“I analyzed four rape jokes” by Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Thursday January 4, 2017
6:09pm
Shrill
Lindy West

It smells like old bacon fat and pinecones here. I hate your apartment, but you don’t like going outside so you never come to mine. The TV plays the news news news news news. Turns to music if you let it. Turns to grime if you let it. It’s all a frame of mind. You reach over and touch my nipple with your beer can. OUCH. I go to the kitchen and open the fridge even though I’m not hungry. I’m not hungry. I think resolutions are bullshit but you like them so I humour you and we talk about them forever. And ever.

Yours:
More exercise (what else is new)
Less TV
Call your mother

Mine:
Less beer
More vegetables
Clean your front hall closet (just threw that one in so that you would think I really cared)

“Can I ask you somethin?” By Sasha at her desk

Wednesday November 29, 2017
11:16pm
5 minutes
Cities of the Plain
Cormac McCarthy

Can I ask you somethin’? In confidence? Okay so… I feel like Aggie hates me and I don’t want to be paranoid but it really sucks it really really sucks to feel like… She acts like every question is an inconvenience! She doesn’t mind questions from Paul or Tim but when I ask her a question she rolls her damn eyes and makes it seem as though I’m really getting in the way… Now I don’t wanna be a complainer or anything but… I can’t take it anymore because goddamnit I have questions! I’m new! All I have is questions!

“For real people” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday November 22, 2017
11:22pm
5 minutes
From a storefront

This is for those real real people who pop blackheads and shout at their lover who eat too much salt and chocolate and butter who fuck up and lean in and reach out. This is for those real real people who live amongst dust bunnies and dirty corners and a patch behind the toilet that never gets cleaned. This is for those real real people who watch too much Netflix and drink too much coffee who are always feeling a little bit ill. This is for those real real people who don’t know what they want but try every day to find it maybe it’s love maybe it’s safety maybe it’s a chicken roasting in the oven maybe it’s music maybe it’s fame maybe it’s that all the people around them stop complaining all the fucking time.

“We are writing to confirm” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday November 21, 2017
10:53pm
5 minutes
From an email

We are writing to confirm that you will be joining us for the safari in the Sahara from September 19th-29th, 2021! We want to commend you on your extreme foresight in booking your vacation four years in advance. While we know that many of our clients are busy, and book a year or even 18 months in advance, we have never had someone schedule a safari for four years away. We want to reward you with a special full moon feast.

“All winter we went on like that” by Sasha on her balcony


Saturday May 6, 2017
6:07pm
5 minutes
After Birth
Elisa Albert


My brother Chris and Aaron became friends the summer of 1995. I would watch them playing outside from my bedroom window. It had the perfect view – straight out. We lived in a bungalow. If I didn’t have my bedroom light on, they couldn’t tell that I was watching. I liked Aaron okay, but didn’t trust him. Something in my belly knew that he wasn’t safe. It was a Saturday. Chris was in the kitchen heating up pizza pockets in the toaster oven. Our parents were across the street drinking palomas on the Hendrickson’s porch. I watched Aaron pull the legs off of a tree frog. He held the wriggling body in his hand, a small smile on his face.

“This is what you’ve been waiting for” by Sasha at her desk


Friday May 5, 2017
6:15pm
5 minutes
The Gate
Marie Howe


We met on a Wednesday. I remember that. Iron and Wine was playing. Melissa was having people over to celebrate her “retirement”. She wasn’t actually, she’d just changed careers. We all had, once or twice by then. You were wearing a red sweater and horn-rimmed glasses. Your hair was long. We talked about meditating before eating, the cheapest cities to live in, and when we would give up social media.

“The pleasures and perils of a drug-altered mind” by Sasha at JJ Bean


Thursday May 4, 2017 at JJ Bean
2:16pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Sun
Thursda May 4, 2017


Karla wears pink heart-shaped sunglasses. Sublime is playing on a beat-up boombox plugged in on the porch. Adi’s backyard sprawls long and wide, pimpled with dandelions. I’m not quite scared, but I’m not quite excited. I wonder where he got the weed, and if I’ll become addicted. How glamorous. I wonder if I’ll cough or my eyes will turn red. I wonder if we’ll laugh more than usual. Bare legs scratched by the grass, he lights up the joint and we pass it. Karla always knows what she’s doing, or is a very good pretender. I am a bit more bumbly, a bit more rosy-cheeked, a bit more novice in general. I do cough. I don’t feel high. I wait and wonder what all the fuss was about. “Lots of people don’t feel it their first time,” Adi says, laying back and stretching out, skinny legs sticking out of his cut offs, arms long. The clouds move like water. Karla puts her sunglasses on me.

“hangover tomorrow” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday April 30, 2017
10:45pm
5 minutes
from an
adman media Instagram story


When Miley says goodbye she leans in close so you can smell her. She doesn’t wear a scent or anything. It’s her natural smell. You breathe it in, without being obvious. You remember when Chuck Landspergas, who sat behind you in AP English, used to sniff your hair and how obvious he was about it. No tact. Miley’s phone dings and she’s on it, right away, that’s how she does. You pretend not to be interested, but you are. You really are. You always are. “I’m meeting Bee at the movie theatre in an hour…” She says, reading your mind.

“Judging your early artistic efforts” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday April 20, 2017
8:48am
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


hours at the round kitchen table
pencil crayons building

bungalows making circles
and roofs the paper

my playmate my confidante
my lover my dreamcatcher

embroidery thread spun
into small balls

the summer of the hair wrap
the friendship bracelets

Layah and I had a store out of the living
room where our parent’s friends would

purchase anklets for a quarter

“I had some excellent excuses for letting go of that wheel” by Sasha at her kitchen counter


Wednesday April 19, 2017
7:11pm
5 minutes
Year Of Yes
Shonda Rhimes


When I start working for Mary, she’s shaking and scratching but still won’t let go of the wheel. I’m there to help her, at least that’s what her daughter Clea said in the second interview. I didn’t meet Mary until after I was hired. Maybe Clea didn’t want her condition to scare me off.

“How many attendants has Mary had over the past few years?” I asked.

“We need someone who is the right fit,” Clea evaded the question, smiling.

“Of course,” I folded my hands in my lap and knew what I was getting myself into.

“several thousand feet above sea” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday March 22, 2017
12:12pm
5 minutes
Traveling Mercies
Anne Lamott

I have lived on the edge separating peace and prayer
the whole ship sank but failed to go under
We learned a lot about swimming
and staying afloat
and how they are not the same thing
we sang for the lost sheep
the ones who boarded too early
we mourned for the found hurt
that couldn’t stand on its own two feet
we do not beg for better circumstances
We fight a thing called tomorrow before
it ever walks out of the womb
we only ask questions we know the answer to
And knowing is not the same as knowledge

“several thousand feet above sea” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday March 22, 2017
9:45am
5 minutes
Traveling Mercies
Anne Lamott

“Boy you best pray that I bleed real soon
How’s that thought for you” oh Tori Amos
my fourteen year old self did not know the
weight of this waiting my fourteen year old
self sang this line at full voice full wave
crest and now sixteen years later I wait
for blood and we talk about bank accounts
and moving thousands of miles home

We’re giddy on possibility and the sweetness
of spring in the air and you pull me extra
close as we cross the street

“If all your favourite makers got together” by Sasha on her couch


Monday March 20, 2017
1:10am
5 minutes
Steal Like An Artist
Austin Kleon


If all your favourite makers got together and made
you all of your favourite things
then would you feel worthy of the bounty
in you life?

Beeswax candles dipped by hand and
decorated with pressed flowers
Tinctures of mugwort and cleavers
and rose
An oak wood board decorated with honey
crisp apples and dried figs
Garlands of lily of the valley
sunflowers
ferns
Lavender infused honey in a
small clay pot
Nettle tea
A painting of a dream you
had six months ago
swimming with dolphins
dancing with dolphins
the underwater music the
truest song you’d ever heard

“There is a pay parking garage” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday March 10, 2017
8:43pm
5 minutes
From an email

In the basement of the building
forty nine stories high
there is a parking garage.
This is where Nan sleeps
in a recycling bin
laying on it’s side.
This is where people in
black and grey suits
park their Lexus and
their Prius and their
BMW. Nan did not imagine
that she would lose it
all. We all have problems.
Some of them are invisible.
Nan wakes to the BEEP BEEP
of the cars locking. Nan
wakes to the sound of heels
clicking on the concrete.
Once
in a snowstorm
a bike courier with a joint
between his lips found her
and he screamed. He wasn’t
expecting to see anyone
he explained.

“Definition of knowledge” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday March 9, 2017
11:46pm
5 minutes
From an email

When you sleep, you dream in black and white. You aren’t sure if everyone does, or if it’s just you. Often, you dream about wild horses. They are running across deserts, through rivers, over mountains. You rarely see yourself in your dreams, and when you do, you are wearing a cape. When you dream about Stella, or your father, they look like younger versions of themselves. They laugh more in real life.

“We heard you loud and clear” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday January 21, 2017
8:19pm
5 minutes
From a text

An eagle with wings spread
blessed the chapel and we gathered
two hundred strong and you stood
at the front between the drum kit
and the electric piano
and you spoke W.H. Auden
while your knees shook and your voice
was strong.

Bent over the plywood coffin
that your father will be cremated in
“sometime later this week”
you said goodbye to the body
that helped to make your body
the body that protected and
didn’t
the body that caught babies
and treated wounds and stitched up
bodies that bleed like his body did

“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

I told myself I’d be married at 24 cause of my mother. She was married at 24 and that felt like the best map I could follow since she has never once said she regretted it. I also said I wouldn’t have sex till I was 24 either case of Jesus. Or the patriarchy. Save my sex for someone who loves God more than he’ll ever love me and believes in owning humans as property? Yeah, what a great fucking idea. I was young then. And committed to Christ (by choice, weirdly, I know). And in love with the idea that I didn’t have to make my own decisions cause life was already going to have too many of those in the first place. I told myself that I would have a child by 28 cause of my mother. She waited 4 years to have one after she got married and that seemed smart, and good, and completely doable. I have missed both of these “destiny numbers”(by choice, I know, I know). Somewhere along the way I decided I could trust myself to lead me through it. Sometimes it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. But it’s better than being married with a bazillion kids coming out of my ears. Age, I’ve learned, is just a number that you get to hold for a year. And then–we let it go, just like everything else.

“bring it with me” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday January 17, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
From an email

I leave my dig-
nity on your
futon under
the fit-
ted sheet
with the
stain on
the lower
right corner.

I put my
underwear
in my coat
pocket and
pray that I
have a five
dollar bill
in there
to keep them
company
to hold
their tired
hand.

I buy a coffee
at the shop
that also
does photo-
copies and
lamination.

I realize
that I forgot
my phone on
the floor
beside your
futon and
I wonder
what might
be worse
buying a
new phone
or seeing
you again?

“can definitely travel” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday January 12, 2016
1:37pm
5 minutes
From an email

My mother braids my hair before bed, because it’s long now and I toss and turn so violently that I wake, morning after morning, with a birds nest at the nape of my neck. I have nightmares at seven, eight, nine and my mother makes a little bed beside her own that I can crawl into without having to wake her. The run from my room to her room is agony. I do it nightly, building courage like a city around me, inside me, gaining courage until I burn pictures drawn in crayon of my nightmare and he goes.

“I don’t even think that your songs are about me” By Julia at her dining table


Wednesday January 11, 2016
2:40pm
5 minutes
Like You
EXES


When we saw each other again for the first time in three years, you looked different. You smiled different. I felt like you did that on purpose so I wouldn’t look too closely at the you we both know you used to be. It didn’t work. Distractions don’t work on people who have seen your entire insides. I should know. I can’t hide from you either. Even if I was panicking about how I looked seconds before you met me at the underground station. I didn’t want you to think anything other than I Used To Love This Person. I wish I didn’t think that appearances were the only road to remembering that. When we hugged I tried to hold on a little longer so I could smell your neck. I don’t know if I was expecting the same smell you used to have, or hoping for a new one to break all my stupid patterns. Either way I might have been the only one in that hug, and it broke my heart a little. You told me that it’s good to see me and I wanted to say Yeah? But Can You Define What Good Means To You Real Quick? Instead I laughed and swatted at your arm, saying You Too, You Too.

“what curious sense does it make?” By Julia at Sasha’s kitchen table


Tuesday January 10, 2016
2:45pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


She looked around the room
wild eyed and buzzing
her tiny eyes still too glassy
to make sense of any faces
or shapes
little hands and noses mushed
into her field of vision
blurring in and out
in and out
Her head was fully held up
by the neck on which it stood
Advanced, some of the other new mothers
were marveling
She was anxious to be independent
ready, rather, since she popped out
her new mother said nonchalantly as she gnawed
on a meaty rib bone with her free hand

She gulped at the air
her mouth the same shape as her tiny fists
eager to be in the glory of it all
curious and young
to be so new and so old
all at the same time
a thousand tiny lifetimes lived
in every breath
every glance
every nod
of her perfect little head

“what curious sense does it make?” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday January 10, 2016
2:45pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


What curious sense does it make
the mouse nibbling the corner of
the book page, rice collecting at the bottom of
the bird cage
Tiny animals lined up in a row?

The majesty of monarchs
sending smoke signals up to the Gods
The killer whales sonar harmony
that’s just for the coral and
the lichen and the squid and the moss?

Pandora’s Box left open on the counter
tied in a red ribbon
wrapped in a green shawl
dusted with dirt and the smell of home.

You step closer.
You step closer.

You open it.

All of a sudden
it’s clear as the timer
as the coffee
as the inspiration!

All of the animals
aren’t in a row
They are in a circle
Stretching land and sea and sky!

They are in a circle
and they are singing
raising their calls.

“Can you please bring me my water?” By Sasha on the couch at Macdonell


Sunday December 25, 2016
6:23pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

I don’t know what to write today. I’m tired. I’m sick. I’ve overwhelmed. I’m sad. I’m full of buttery, meat-y, spicy, sweet. I don’t know what to write today. The sound of my pen moving across the page feels like shit. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got nothing.

Layah asked Oli to bring her water because she is nursing the baby. I never realized that nursing is pretty much a full time gig. I romanticized nursing, like most things. I romanticize everything. What a strange quality. Ugh. Ugh. I’m pretty sure I have a fever. I hope I don’t make everyone here sick.

“Hurry down the chimney tonight” by Sasha on Nadeem’s bed in Mississauga


Saturday December 24, 2016
3:59pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the radio

I bake bread because I believe bread
and I believe in sourdough starter that sits in
a jar in the back of the fridge until I remember
to feed it asking so little
I believe in natural yeast
and the power of time passing
I bake bread because it takes so long
and going to the store is so easy
I bake bread because it’s expensive and messy
and flour always ends up in my hair
I make bread because
I believe in the ancient
traditions of kneading and rising and baking
I believe in the slow task of refining the recipe
of making it my own
of weighing rye and red fife
and measuring salt

“people who called themselves atheists.” By Sasha on Nadeem’s bed in Mississauga


Thursday December 22, 2016
11:35pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino


We’ll go to Church on Christmas Eve, with the whole family. Mass at four, with the children’s choir singing carols. The priest will say what he always says. He’ll talk about Bethlehem and the black sheep of the family and we’ll say, “Peace be with you”, and shake hands with strangers and kiss cheeks and pat backs. I’ll sing harmonies on hymns, a small subversiveness. I’ll pray for all we’ve lost and all we’ve gained.

“their grass-stained skin” by Sasha in the Kiva


Wednesday December 21, 2016
11:36pm
5 minutes
So Full Of Light
Marie Specht Fisher


We thought we were sisters until we were
too old to take baths together and we started
hissing and picking the knobs off
backs instead Sometimes you’d paint my nails
a colour that I would never choose
Lavender or indigo or charcoal
I’d refuse to wash dishes those weeks
or bathe because I didn’t want the you
on me to chip I didn’t want the choices
you’d made to fall away from my fleshy form

We rubbed grass-stained skin together and
started a fire that our fathers and their
fathers fathers couldn’t put out

“Did I miss the theatre?” by Sasha in the Kiva


Tuesday December 20, 2016
10:29pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

Simon’s been wishing for a mentor, someone who could teach him how to tie a bowtie and cook an omelette and cross country ski. Someone who would take him to the theatre. He knows that his father wishes he were that, but he isn’t. Simon doesn’t begrudge Paul, he tries his best. “You two are cut from different cloths,” his mother, Oleanna, says. Simon used to wonder if maybe Paul wasn’t actually his father. Oleanna might’ve had some tryst with a neighbour, or a bartender, or a colleague at the hotel. Once, he asked his mother, and she laughed in his face. “Honey, your father was my first and he’ll be my last,” she’d said. Simon thought that was the saddest thing he’d ever heard.

“Ridiculously simple directions” by Sasha in the Kiva at Macdonell


Sunday December 18, 2016
10:29pm
5 minutes
From Grand Slam Mad Libs

“Go left at the fork in the road,” you’d said. I’d made a note in the margins of the dictionary that I take everywhere I go. It’s full of scribbled recipes (mostly soup and muffins), directions (mostly how to find you), quotes (mostly my mother, John O’Donohue, you, and Rilke), predictions (tea leaves, tarot, strip mall palm readers), weather reports (“Don’t forget long johns and mittens”). I go left, like you’d said and I wonder where you’ve ended up this time, through a fir forest, through knee high snow. I make an angel for old time’s sake.

“through the gateway of feeling” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday December 10, 2016
3:57pm
5 minutes
From a Pathwork card


Maybe I was drinking myself into the feeling of being okay. Sort of saw it through a long hallway kind of telescope that points outward and catches the light very far away. They didn’t give out instruction manuals when I had some big questions so my etchings of trial by error are all I have left to reference. When I see light I am under the distinct impression that I need to be close to it to feel better again. Trial and error. You just find these things out when the rest of your existence bleeds so dark. Maybe I was drinking myself into the feeling of being okay. Of being fed. Of being nursed. Of being missed. I caught the light once but I didn’t know at the time how hard I really was supposed to grip. I didn’t want to hurt it. Or scare it away. I didn’t know that if I let go it would go as far back into the places I can only see with my telescope pointing far far away until it is almost gone. Unreachable, and almost gone anyway. I didn’t know that some people only get one catch. If you miss it…that’s just too bad.

“through the gateway of feeling” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday December 11, 2016
3:33pm
5 minutes
From a Pathwork card


If I was a man, I’d wear clear framed glasses and have a bit of scruff and a bit of a belly and I would wear sweaters that I’d found in thrift shops until they were threadbare at the elbows. I would unravel my sweaters when they could no longer be worn and I would roll the wool into balls and then I would knit myself new sweaters, on the subway. It would be important to me to knit only in public, a small creative subversive act of gentle masculinity. If I was a man, I would learn how to be a better listener, a better ally, a better listening ally. If I was a man, I would sing Christmas carols while walking down the street.

“you are not the first” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday December 6, 2016
9:28pm
5 minutes
aware
Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry


Kevin keeps joking about the icy streets and people wiping out but no one is laughing. All I can hear is his stupid voice cawing like a crow. Sometimes I dream about Kevin and I wake up and I’m pissed. I try to stay focused –

“Hello, Milner and Associates, this is Deborah, how may I help you?”

but it’s so hard. If he wasn’t the boss I would report him. We all would. My favourite thing is when he comes and stands behind me and times how long it takes for me to type up some bullshit that he’s asked me to email to Jed.

“Nice work, Deb! You came in under thirty six seconds!”

Douchebag.

“Could have walked by now” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday December 4, 2016
8:45pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Burrard street

Take my good word, you could’ve walked all the way home by now.
Take my advice and don’t ever turn your underwear inside out and wear it for a second day.
Take my hand and follow me down to toes in sand and tears in eyes and it’s okay, I promise, everything’s going to be okay.
Take thirty dollars out of the bank and walk through a neighbourhood that’s unfamiliar and buy yourself the first thing that you truly love. It doesn’t matter that you’re broke and should buy lettuce and a few cans of tuna instead.
Take me back to the place where we met and remind me where love grows.

“with my fingers and lick” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday December 3, 2016
8:30pm
5 minutes
Cake Pops
Amy Roher


You are afraid for your three daughters but you push it down below your ribs and you smoke dope on Wednesday when that fear pokes your nipples from the inside. Your boyfriend forgets your birthday and you don’t even cry or anything you just say, “Todd. It’s my birthday. Please give me a neck massage.” Your middle daughter says that she’s going to drop out of university because she’s tired of feeding “The Machine”. You wonder about that band that your brother used to like… something about Rage, and whether or not it’s the same “Machine”.

“bare bones information” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday November 30, 2016
9:44am
5 minutes
From a lesson plan

Calls me and leaves me a voicemail
she’s got big news she’s got crescent moons

I listen like I did when my father
read me Runaway Bunny

I missed her call on purpose
a glue on my lips a glue on my lips

I wait three days before calling back
“Hey, how are you? Sorry I’ve been so busy.”

I’m walking in the rain in a not-warm-enough jacket
I’m counting the November rotting underfoot

“I still honoured my vows” by Sasha in her bed


Tuesday November 29, 2016
11:02pm
5 minutes
Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert


I make a vow that I’ll do better
I do it often I do it daily
Curse of being born in this body
with this medallion of whiteness
of middle class-ness
of education
we’re just trying to be better
do better make better make something
I make a donation to Standing Rock
thirty dollars
I buy a ticket to a play that my friend wrote
twenty one dollars
I buy a bag of slivered almonds for granola
fourteen dollars

“can’t think of anything to add.” By Sasha at her desk


Monday November 28, 2016
1:59pm
5 minutes
From a feedback form

“Can you think of anything that you want to add?” She says, looking at me with sorrow eyes.

“I don’t think so?” I start to put on my jacket and she stands up. “You’re brave, for doing this…” Sorrow eyes get wider. “Many people never report anything, for a variety of reasons, that are all valid but – … then how are we supposed to – ”

“I have to get to class.” I say, and rush out of her office.

“Oh. Okay. Thanks again for coming, Alice.” She extends her hand and I shake it. It’s warm.

I lock myself in a bathroom stall for awhile and as other people come and go I think about those sorrow eyes and how I’m tired of them and really, I’m actually just tired. So, so tired.

“You’re more than welcome to wear it” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday November 22, 2016
4:13pm
5 minutes
Overheard at GO studios

I know that this place is haunted but if I talk about I’ll freak myself right out. Prolly freak you out, too…

But I should really tell you that there were footsteps upstairs last night. And there is no “upstairs”… It’s an attic. I asked Mel about raccoons or squirrels and she said, “No way.”

It’s funny, seeing ghosts, spirits, whatever you want to call them. It’s awkward when I talk to one and everyone else, all the alive people are like, “Who are you speaking to?” And I have to pretend like, “Oh, no one! I’m just talkin’ full volume to myself!”

“a supermoon in Taurus.” By Sasha in the bath


Sunday November 20, 2016
10:04pm
5 minutes
From chaninicholas.com

Thirteen in Peurto Vallarta walking
ahead my mother and sister keeping close

Men in Tommy Hilfiger T-shirts hiss and growl
first taste of the power and the burden

Fish tacos on the beach salty hair
Sunburn like a bad weather forecast

At the hotel a man who works there
teaches me how to say “How are you?” in Spanish

He blushes and looks at his Nike’s when I ask it
I take my hair out of a ponytail

“I’m just so sad” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday November 19, 2016
12:07pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Oak St.

“I’m just so sad,” Phoebe has eyes like macaroni and cheese, deep pools of swamp. “I know you are, babe,” I say, and I wish that there was more comfort in those five words. They are just five words and words aren’t enough today. “I’m scared to live here,” she pulls the hood of her sweatshirt around her neck, cocooning. “I want to disappear.”

Inside the quietness of my ribcage, I talk to her about going to the desert and getting married, a klezmer band of lesbians singing to our love in ancient howls under a crescent moon. Inside the quietness, I whisper sounds that aren’t words that might hold her in a way English never can.

“More money, like I said.” By Sasha in her bed


Friday November 18, 2016
11:41pm
5 minutes
A Boy Of Good Breeding
Miriam Toews


Janis takes her money out of the bank. All of it. All thirty thousand, six hundred and sixteen dollars. The teller (hair long and stringy, a row of pimples across her chin) calls the manager (overweight and balding with very kind eyes). Janis smiles politely. She waits. The manager asks her to take a seat and then calls her into his private office. It doesn’t have a door that closes. It’s one of those places. It’s one of those banks.

“the world is ending” by Sasha at JJ Bean


Wednesday November 9, 2016 at JJ Bean on Cambie
2:06pm
5 minutes
From a tweet


I have cried all the cries
and all the fears
endless rivers of grief
a chasm in my chest the size of an orange man

I have raged on my bed
and my body
and my love
I have lost hope

A violent collision of
faith and doubt
I’ll go listen to music tonight
eat a muffin
write my daily write

A sadness has descended
that I haven’t known

The privilege of self reflection
of whiteness
of able body
cis-gender

The privilege of a bed to rage
a body to move
a love to hold and weep and hold
six dollars for an americano and
a peach oatmeal muffin

On my walk here
I searched the eyes of people I passed
in a way that I don’t usually
with a tenderness I have been conditioned
to withhold
I searched the eyes of a pregnant woman
wearing purple
and grey
I smile

“the channeling of heavenly love” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 8, 2016
10:43am
5 minutes
sunnyray.org

Kay believes it is her purpose on the planet to channel heavenly love. She receives a message in her pizza, written in red pepper and goat cheese. She sees it because she’s looking for it. Have you ever thought about that? My sister tells me about a book she’s reading about signs, and how they are everywhere, and how maybe this is one for you, right now. Kay forgets her keys inside her truck and she doesn’t get angry or say “shit”. She smiles. Smiles! She smiles and walks home and it takes her two hours and twenty three minutes and they are the best ones of her life, thus far.

“preceded by chaos” by Sasha on her couch


Monday November 7, 2016
10:56pm
5 minutes
From a tweet

This is the war cry that you’ve been waiting for
It isn’t packaged in hand blown glass or bubble wrap
It isn’t dusted in icing sugar
This is a roar seven generations in the making
It’s messy and delicate and has a bad haircut
It spits and sputters and sighs low like a dog
It sings full voice when it’s favourite song
comes on the radio OH
This is the war cry that has haunted dreams and
subway cars haunted holidays and shopping centres
Wake up, it calls
Wake up

“so that we can contact you” by Sasha at her desk


Friday November 4, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
from a contest information sheet

Obsessively check Facebook? Check. Ponder witty tweets? Check. Look and re-look at Instagram story feed. Check. Scroll into the bizarre backlog of texts from three years ago when you were still single? Check! Fold the laundry? Nope. Scrub the bathtub? Nope. Read an e-newsletter you aren’t sure you signed up for? Check.

“I’ll stop now” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday November 1, 2016
9:44pm
5 minutes
From a Facebook post

Crusty says he’ll stop buggin’ me when I actually wear a real bra, like, not a training bra, like this one. We’re supposed to go camping on the Labor Day weekend but if Crusty’s gonna be there I do not want to go. I will not go. I told Lou and Lou said that Crusty and I need to learn how to get along but that’s not even an option, like, Crusty is impossible. Lou doesn’t even get it at all, like, Lou doesn’t have a care in the world now that she works at Baskin Robins. “You’re gonna get so fat!” I told Lou, but she ignored me, like always.

“Unmasked” by Sasha at Nadeem’s desk


Thursday October 27, 2016
7:56pm
5 minutes
A Manitoba concert hall sign

There is nothing about you that I don’t want to consume there is nothing about you. Your mistakes are the most delectable because they convince me that you are in fact human. Flesh, shit, bones, brains, heart, sinew. I learned about human when I started gorging on junk. Sugar, shit, bones, brains, salt, salt, sinew, guts. I learned about human when the world fell apart when my Dad left. I tempted human when I fucked anyone that made good eye contact. I chased human when I moved far far away.

“Goodbye!” By Sasha in her bed


Wednesday October 26, 2016
11:55pm
5 minutes
Overheard out the window

it’s hard to imagine the beginning
just like it’s hard to imagine the end when the bus shuts
off her lights eyelids dimmed to close
it’s hard to imagine and so we don’t
but we do because it’s the only absolute
but we don’t out loud really
it’s a quite wonder caught in the petals of the throat
or the ear when there’s music
beginning and ending are relative
the moon waxes and wanes with a poetry bigger than us
beginning and ending are here now
gone now
before the timer stops before the time’s up

“don’t get it in your eyeball!” By Sasha on the bus


Tuesday October 25, 2016
11:21am
5 minutes
From a text

The voices start quietly, slurring into my vision, tripping my feet over pavement cracks. I don’t say shit to them but they go on and on, taunting and daring. I can’t even count how many there are any more and I’m not going to tell Kelly because there’s no way he’ll understand the migraines or the pebbles in my pockets. Got to make sure I start doing my own laundry, leaving the windows open. Got to get a new prescription, is what he’ll say, but he’s wrong as Christmas.

“Important passages” by Sasha at her desk


Monday October 24, 2016
8:40am
5 minutes
Judaism
Jacob Neusner


there’s a bridge atop a tree atop a cliff
it creates a passage from one side to the other
only the brave and broken know where to find it
have hands and feet that know the knots to grip and
branches to swing up from
momentum will be a friend but not a guide
only the brave and broken know the intricacies of a
delicate and powerful tree climb
at the top of the cliff and up the tree
when you make it
you’ll gaze out over the pregnant horizon
you’ll see buildings and highways
gulls and sailboats
ant-sized people
before you cross the bridge
atop the tree
atop the cliff
before you cross from one side to the other
you take a breath
inhale
all the times you’ve kissed a face you love goodbye
all the groggy mornings
before water
all the moments
like this one
that you’ve dared to resist the urge to jump

“eat off the counter” by Sasha at Pascoe Rd.


Saturday October 22, 2016
5:12pm
5 minutes
from a list of instructions

Please don’t let Finn eat off the counter. He loves to do it and will try, especially if you leave out bread or snacks. He’ll even go for dirty dishes if they haven’t been loaded into the dishwasher or left inside the sink. He’s a rascal… So, watch out. When you take him for a hike, keep him on a leash while in the parking lot especially if it’s the weekend and there’s a lot of people out. He runs in front of cars and won’t get hit, but it really pisses off drivers. Understandably.

“Lying flat because my back is killing” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday October 19, 2016
10:11pm
5 minutes
from a text

I’m lying flat because I threw out my back again. As if I need another thing for the guys to mock me about. As if. Doc said, “Lie flat like a board and call your sister.” Ha! Like Julianne could possibly leave Jim for twenty four hours to take care of me! Ha! It was a humbling moment, you know, when Doc said that… Because really, what with Zachariah away at school, I don’t really have anyone to… I mean, who am I gonna call besides Julianne?! I wracked my brain for someone who owed me a favour and, well, I think I’m square with most folks. So… that’s why I’m callin’ you. Would you think about comin’ to look after me for a couple days? I’d take care of the bus fare, and you can get whatever food you want, even that fancy meat stuff you like?

“has been hurt on the job” by Sasha in her bed


Monday October 17, 2016
11:49pm
5 minutes
From a Facebook post

I’m not bitter. I wouldn’t say that. But Jeanie coming in here and saying, “Shit happens,” like she has no clue – … I just, it bugs me. It bugs me. I’m not gonna tell the story again and I’m not gonna whine but, like, you’re goin’ along, having a normal day, a regular Thursday, and then – BANG. Everything changes. Nothing will ever be the same. I don’t want pity! I really don’t. But I just don’t need some punk with attitude comin’ into my hospital room, actin’ like they know what’s up! Jeanie has no fucking clue!

“It isn’t worth missing any moment.” By Sasha at her desk


Saturday October 15, 2016
9:58pm
5 minutes
http://www.apracticalwedding.com

I’m not sure what to tell you. Maybe that it’s going to be okay? But, that’s a bit of a white lie because I’m not actually sure if it’s going to be okay… Maybe that I love you? That usually feels good to hear, unless it’s someone professing something that you do not, in fact, reciprocate. Um… You’re going to do great. You’re going to be strong. You’re going to show this whole… situation… who is BOSS. You! You’re boss. I love you? It’s going to be okay? I don’t know. I’m bad when it comes to giving advice, I really am, I just… Here’s what I’ll say. You are probably the strongest human I have ever met. If anyone can face this, it’s you.

“Final deadline” by Sasha on her couch


Friday October 14, 2016
11:52pm
5 minutes
from the Crazy8s postcard

When I was seven I wanted a hamster so bad
that I would write notes to my mother
leave them tucked under her pillow
I don’t know why I chose a hamster to want
I am terrified of rodents
but
I did.
It eventually passed
I forgot about my wanting
Oh to be seven again.

“slack jawed” by Sasha in the bath


Thursday October 12, 2016
11:09pm
5 minutes
From an email

I wasn’t used to the attention
an excuse
okay
a discretion
I did fifteen things I regret
okay
starting and ending with
you
Tears fall onto a notebook page
a and e and s swell and bleed
a womb away my sister
nurses the next generation
It’s late there
My sorry will never be
enough
for the slack jaw
fuck
on the couch
in the country
My regrets bite my tongue
Assault my dreams
night after night
season after fall
driving cars off cliffs
walking topless into a family reunion
in Florida

“You could fight in the conventional ways” by Sasha at her desk


Monday September 19, 2016
9:41pm
5 minutes
The Deep
Nick Cutter


You could do this in the conventional way but you don’t.
You invite a stranger over way after the sun’s gone down.
You let him in through the shared door and hold your fingers to your lips
so that your downstairs neighbours aren’t alarmed.
Do they keep tabs on you?
Do they hear you?
You lead the stranger upstairs and the stranger kisses you
harder than you want to be kissed.
You go to the bathroom and splash water on your face and
you look tired.
You look really tired.

“I forgot how easy this is” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday September 18, 2016
9:52pm
5 minutes
overheard at the waterfront theatre

I forgot how easy it was to move from one place to another
drifting like clouds across the dawn
like tumbleweeds over the desert
I forgot how easy it is to sail over treetops
over shrubs
over dogs howling for their dinner.
I never considered myself a gypsy
too intent to carve home.
I never liked living out of a suitcase
til now.
Something so freeing about not having any
things
about having all I need
(a good book, a pen, a notebook a toothbrush, some underwear, a t-shirt, boots, jeans, a clean towel)
with me at all times
ready to soar
ready to land

“I had to let her know” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday September 13, 2016
11:32pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Marnie can’t stop biting her nails. She’s tried nail polish, hypnotherapy, herbal remedies, even putting rat poison on her fingertips (that resulted in an overnight stay at the hospital. She can’t stop biting her nails. She wakes up in the middle of the night, her hands in her mouth, and she screams. She’s with a client and the urge to bring fore-finger to mouth overwhelms her and she excuses herself to go to the bathroom and she nibbles and then cries. Marnie goes to therapy. The red headed therapist asks if she can remember when she first started. “I have no idea,” says Marnie.

“How I came into being” by Sasha on her couch


Monday September 12, 2016
12:46am
5 minutes
poetryfoundation.org

I came into being
thanks to charcoal and stardust
thanks to dinosaur bones and grandmother
fingernails I came into being because of you
I came into being with the seeds of my daughters
buried the womb of my mother’s mother
I came into being with the big bang
with the Holocaust
with a dance alone under a full harvest moon
I came into being once
twice
three
a thousand times
When I met you
and you
and you and you and you
when I met myself in the eye of the storm
rocking back and forth
whispering
Yes

“you can experience racism” By Julia on her couch


Wednesday September 14, 2016
11:06pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

Did you know that if you can think it, it already exists somewhere on the internet? Because it’s a dark and twisted jungle and some people don’t know how to find their way home after getting lost in it. Anything you can think of at all. Sure, it would take a little digging. You’d have to be good at searching. But for every good thought you’ve ever had, someone has beat you to one like it somewhere online. And for every bad thought you’ve ever had, someone has beat you to 10. At least. The ratios do not lie. We’re more alike in this life than we’d ever like to admit. My bad thoughts, fleeing, your bad thoughts breeding and burying their eggs all over the web. It’s the only place where there always exists someone more hurt than you.

“I had to let her know” By Julia in her bed


Tuesday September 13, 2016
11:18pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Words unspoken turned into her next studio album
I wished she would have thanked me in the liner notes
Some of her best songs were un-fought wars about me
And some of her most beautiful lyrics
Were silent wishes tucked away and forgotten
I would have liked to explain myself
I would have liked to be understood before the divide instead of because of it
Too many resolutions gleaned from the backs of our sleeping heads facing opposite walls
And all the haunting melodies I will hum to myself forever
now that they are stuck inside my dreams

“How I came into being” By Julia on her couch


Monday September 12, 2016
9:46pm
5 minutes
poetryfoundation.org

How I was birthed twice in this life by my mother and twice by me. How I have started over. How I have changed destinies and opinions. How I have grown bigger in this year alone than I have in all my years prior combined. How I realized I could draw. How I realized I could sing. The moments of myself split me open like a decision, like a soybean.
I met myself one afternoon in July. I was outside my house and inside my body. I sipped on scotch. I wrote a letter to the me I was becoming. I wrote music for my tired self’s funeral.

“How’re you?” By Julia on her couch


Sunday September 11, 2016
11:12pm
5 minutes
From a text message

I have micro cuts on the inside of my lips from the spicy Chinese food I ate earlier. I couldn’t help myself. I was compelled. They sting a little. Mostly when I open my mouth or run my tongue along the raw bits. I meant to bring a nourishing lip balm but some days you can’t be held responsible for the minor setbacks: the micro cuts. I think to some degree we are always accepting a base amount of pain. We decide what is tolerable. What is bad but just good enough that it’s worth putting up with it. I wonder how many of my friends are smiling through the blood. Which ones, I wonder, are licking their wounds like I do.

“How’re you?” By Sasha on her porch


Sunday September 11, 2016
7:20am
5 minutes
From a text message

How’re you?

Fine. Tired.

Yeah… But, really – … How are you?

So so tired.

What are you doing for the soft parts of yourself that get confused and think they need to be hard in order to get everything done?

Reading self help books?

Ha ha.

Zoning out on my phone too much.

Yeah. I do that, too. What would happen if you took a bath instead?

I’d probably fall asleep and drown.

Unlikely.

I should, I should take a bath. I have those fancy bath salts from six Christmases ago.

“Mysterious Serum” by Sasha on her bed


Saturday September 10, 2016
11:01pm
5 minutes
Fallout

Fingers sticky with mysterious serum of future fugitives clasped in tight fists
Belly clenched a clam shell with macaroni and cheese inside open it up open
it up Face with a frown like winter like frostbite Breath reeks of coffee and fear Fingers to mouth Eat the serum The fugitives are here now They are here.

Keep looking over my shoulder for who I thought you were. Kindness evades. Mice in the pipes. Periods in place of spaces in place of joy in face of wonder. Keep looking over my shoulder for who I thought you were.

“What little it was” by Sasha on her couch


Friday September 9, 2016
12:17am
5 minutes
No Country For Old Men
Cormac McCarthy


Her shoulders are tight and her nipples are cracked and the baby rolled off the changing table and split his lip. Playground Moms will whisper and glare and she’ll put him in a swing that’s too big and push him too high and he’ll cry like he’s being tortured. Jeff gets home from the late shift and she wants him to fuck her but he grabs her belly fat and shakes his head. She watches The Shopping Channel until she passes out on the couch and wakes up because her tits are leaking Niagara Falls all over the place. The baby starts to cry and she wonders what kind of miracle it is that her tits know when he’s awake. They love him more than she does.

“You’re all a bunch of weirdos!” By Sasha on her couch


Thursday September 8, 2016
11:14pm
5 minutes
Said at Jackie’s

You scratch the place where I’m hurting and
I feel awkward and weird I feel words can never
do the things I want them too even though
I pretend I know them I pretend that they are my
business. My business is water and fire. My
business isn’t words. I set the timer I set it
again and again five minutes five minutes five
minutes. Ding time’s up. Ding it’s all over.
End of the world. End of the road. End of the
story. You scratch the place where the magic
lives.

“provide reasonable protection” by Julia while walking


Thursday, September 1, 2016
10:01pm
5 minutes
From an external hard drive warranty

I couldn’t pronounce the word but I knew it was one of those words that if you said the wrong way it would ruin you for life. Or was it one of those words that in English means one thing, but in a different language it means something completely inappropriate? What are those words called? Frenemeies? Word cousins? I don’t know, I’m no good with words in English even. But I didn’t want to pronounce it or even say it at all because I didn’t want to be laughed at. I have always been laughed at. What is the point of trying when you know people are just going to find the one thing that cuts you deep and rip open the wound even more? But who do I think I am anyway? I’m no wordsmith. I can’t be making metaphors! Who do I think I am?

“provide reasonable protection” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, September 1, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
From an external hard drive warranty

Margie adds a scoop of cumin to the chilli and watches a cardinal land on the big old maple that has seen it all. Craig putters in the basement. Jazz plays on the radio. She hasn’t been cooking much this winter, what with the tragedy at the school, and so many long hours. It feels good to have soaked the beans, stewed the tomatoes, chopped the garlic, onions, peppers and sweet potato, and toasted the spices, just the way her mother taught her. There won’t be cornbread, but there will be a thick nest of old cheddar on top. “Almost ready?” Craig calls up. He’s hungry, having met with a struggling student through his lunch break, causing him to forget to eat. Margie often finds sandwiches in Craig’s briefcase from days before. She shakes her head. He cares so much, she thinks, putting turkey and swiss, ham and cucumber, rye with almond butter and banana, right into the compost pail on the counter.

“Door To Hell” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday, August 30, 2016
7:35am
5 minutes
aplus.com
\
here you are
mouth full of blood and teeth
they are yours and not yours
they are all the ones you’ve stolen
here you are
opening the door to hell
forgetting you have a choice
forgetting the odds aren’t stacked
against you
here you are
holding hands with death
french kissing winter
snow banks stained red
dotted warzones

“they did not” by Sasha on her porch


Sunday, August 28, 2016
10:12pm
5 minutes
From a piece of feedback

They did not tell us that we would fight like dogs
and fuck like them too especially when the heat broke
They did not tell us that there would be days when
everything would feel broken
They did not say,
“Kindness is the most important thing, followed
closely by respect, by humour, by knowing when to
let it go and when to raise the torch.”
They did not say that there would be times when
we would be strangers sleeping side by side.
They did not tell us that we would fall deeper
in love with each fight, each fuck, each break,
each repair, each song, each pizza, each jump
underwater.

“We like what you’ve got to say” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday, August 27, 2016
12:07am
5 minutes
Penn’s Sunday School

The sound of the dry erase pen on the whiteboard makes my stomach turn. It’s hour five of eight and Henry’s voice woos me in and out of sleep. He came up and pinched my ear just after lunch when my head hit the desk and distracted everyone. At least that’s what he said. I could still taste him, which made that extra weird. It was our special arrangement – I’d blow him on our fifteen minute break in exchange for free driving school. On the fifteen minute break, everyone was either smoking or at the Seven Eleven buying coffee and Slurpees. Henry came in under six minutes, so it wasn’t an issue in that way. When he’d propositioned me, at first I said no. But I really wanted to be able to get to my job at Shoppers without having to take the bus.