“I am a young, talented writer.” By Julia on her couch

Thursday November 7, 2019
8:45pm
5 minutes
Citizens of the Dream
Cary Tennis

Mr. Zeiler hands out
the assignments
thinks it’ll keep
us busy long enough
to let him finish
his chapters

I am alive with the
possibility of writing
my very own story
I cannot wait to explore
this world and these characters. that will emerge from my brain

Mr. Zeiler says 10-15
pages is best, is most,
is more than enough
By the time I get to 15
I am just getting started

This scenario I’ve lifted
from my favourite sit-com
is a perfect container for characters like me and also like the ones from the show and I keep going

I glue in extra pages
when I finish what I was
given and begin to forego
illustrations to fit in more words

“I am plagued by one question” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday November 5, 2019
12:33pm
Fifty Shades of Grey
E L James

I walk through my neighbourhood, brick house upon brick house, a sprinkling of Halloween decorations still up, dancing dizzy in the wind. I write the story in my head, under my breath, for the hundredth time. The morning I got that message that changed everything, I had said to you over breakfast, “I trust you. I completely trust you.” The irony’s metallic taste doesn’t change no matter how many times I repeat the story, no matter how many times I go over and back, writing and re-writing. Lola sleeps in the carrier, her breath a rising and falling against my chest, our ribs a convex puzzle. A woman rakes leaves into a pile. She wears khaki overalls and bright red gardening gloves. I keep circling back to the places where there are holes, to try to patch them up, to try to see if they’ll hold this time better than the last. 

“the shedding of lint” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday August 10, 2019
9:38pm
5 minutes
Laundromat
Carmen Pintea

Picking the lint out between your tiny bean toes is sweet satisfaction. Saying your name, a mantra, a call to dig deeper, go further, hold on, give it up, a wish. Burrowing my face in your neck – this love is eternal. This love is wilder than any love I’ve ever known. Words are strange weights, strange reaching, strange how things all line up and then don’t and then do. You see the truth of every moment, every interaction, know who to trust. God I hope you never lose that. You and me, I’d say quietly, those ten months, when things were the hardest. You and me. I can’t wait to see you in my sisters arms, my sister, my lifeline. I can’t wait for you to meet your cousins. I can’t wait to dance you around the first floor of the house in the woods, where I danced as a babe, where we all danced.

“a stretch of road, a write, and birch trees” by Sasha in her bed

Sunday April 14, 2019
3:04pm
5 minutes
The Death Of The Partisan Girl
Tom Wayman

Grief has a way of tossing around the heart
a big ginger cat pawing
the beating thing
back and forth and down
by the curb
a stretch of road ahead
that’s sketched in the colours
of a face you’ll never stop missing

You’re not the only one
who wakes up with tears on her pillow
the words to a song you haven’t thought of in years
swinging from the branches of the
dawn mind

You see other people rushing and hustling
and calling and tripping
and a friend tells you that you’ve changed

I have changed
you say and your voice catches
because isn’t change the only thing
that we can count on?

“This song.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday March 11, 2019
10:08am
5 minutes
Freedomland
Richard Price

We go for nachos before the breastfeeding class. I’m proud of myself for remembering that I should put the seatbelt under my belly, not across. I don’t spend very much time in cars anymore. We order the ones with smoked tofu, corn, pickled onions. We add guacamole, obviously. A good order of nachos feels like you’ve barely made a dent when you’re already starting to get full, and that happens, and I like it. We pack up the leftovers, pay the bill, and I go to the washroom. When I come out, our song is playing. I watch you as you put on your coat and hat, this being who I know so well, who is still such a profound mystery. I am transported back to our wedding day, swaying and twirling in your arms in the middle of a circle of so many that we love.

“to calm a stranger” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday February 19, 2019
10:02pm
5 minutes
Walking at Night
Elizabeth Poliner

A man is screaming in the alley behind the house. I usually avoid that place, where we used to find syringes and condoms. It’s not like that anymore, not usually, but I’m still wary. The man swears and yells, and I wonder what in me overrides the basic human call to comfort someone in need. What if this were a woman? Would it be different? What if I were a man? Would it be different? I peek out the window and see him, bike leaned against a garage, pants wet from the snow. He doesn’t see me.

“This is the beginning of the beginning” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday January 3, 2019
4:38pm
5 minutes
When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chödrön

More compassion, soft ears, green vegetables, dancing, reading, surrender to the mystery of it all, quiet, nature, calling far-away loved ones, patience, filing, writing, movement, sleep, boundaries.

Less judgement, sweet stuff, jaw clenching, catastrophic thinking, Instagram, tension, impatience, screen time, expectations.

“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.

“cinnamon, cardamom and ginger” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday, November 26, 2018
7:18am
5 minutes
A recipe for apple muffins

Baking helps me understand why some people like math. You buy good ingredients, you measure these ingredients, you preheat the oven, you stir, you blend, you incorporate, you get to the bottom of the bowl, maybe you even try to save on a few unnecessary steps or dishes, but that’s it, nothing more. The recipe is the container and it holds you. Follow it, and you’re (almost) guaranteed to have a house that smells good and something delicious. There aren’t variables in math (or, are there?!) and there are variables in baking, but not big ones.

“Help yourself to some food” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore

Saturday November 17, 2018
5:48pm
5 minutes
From a text

I make food for you because it’s all I can do. I make fish, broccoli, mashed sweet potato. I add extra butter because you need the calories. Mom isn’t sure if you’ll be able to eat it, if you’ll like it, but it’s all I can do so I do it, and I don’t mind if you don’t like it, or can’t stomach it. Tomorrow I’ll roast a chicken and make stew, finely dicing carrots, onions, celery, potato, zucchini. No garlic. Only salt and pepper and love. I make food for you because it’s all I can do, but it’s better. It’s better being able to do this simple thing, this vital simple thing now that I’m here.

“Flying Housewife” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday April 28, 2018
12:58pm
5 minutes
http://www.independent.co.uk

crouching behind the counter tears staining wood
neko case on the stereo my favourite thing about
this place is that i can play my own music
pretty things on the patio ha ha ha caw ha ha
woman nursing in the third booth at the back
a party coming in thirteen minutes and i’m
all mascara stream all chest breath and salty lips
we grow to know the taste of being fucked over
because of our woman-ness only 24 and we know it
the lilt of our voices the tonic of our smiles
the cup size maybe or the calf muscle from walking
back and forth from kitchen to patio to kitchen
twelve minutes and twenty people who don’t get it
who think that maybe i’ve just had a bad day
pretty thing they think maybe her boyfriend dumped her
more like this place this man upstairs says his wife
doesn’t like me doesn’t like me doesn’t like pretty thing
more like the loyalty turned bad orange juice
oops fuck oops i’m sorry i never meant to
oops i’m sorry i didn’t mean to be
too alive for this hierarchy of buttered toast
he always did like the pretty things but i didn’t
think i was one of those i thought i was something
else a good conversation a killer joke a knack
for smoothing over the discontent of cold eggs

“famous for flying around”by Sasha in the bath

Wednesday February 14, 2018
10:52pm
5 minutes
Anthony’s Glass Eye
Billeh Nickerson

Suddenly a song comes on that makes me think of Dan. I haven’t thought of him in a really long time and that feels like a small victory, close to finding blood oranges on sale or something like that. Didn’t I by Darondo. We listened to that song so many times that spring and summer. Dan was the worst sex I ever had. But I loved him. Maybe I loved him more like a brother, or a sister, or a puppy. I didn’t love him like a lover. But. Suddenly Darondo comes on and I’m transported back to watching him sleep in my bed in the apartment across from the college, watching his little belly rise and fall.

“with that thirsty, drink-it-down look” by Sasha at the Canterra Inn and Suites

Saturday January 20, 2018
8:13pm
5 minutes
For you
Tammy Armstrong

I wonder who taught you about forgiveness.
Was it on the school yard?
A pig-tailed know-it-all in-your-face?
Was it your sister?
Did you break her dollhouse door
and try to tape it back to opening and closing?
Did she cry and then say,
“It’s okay. I know it was an accident.”

I wonder who taught you about forgiveness
more now than a month ago. A month
ago I wondered who taught me about
forgiveness. I’m still not sure.

I can’t remember.

I remember

a pivotal moment of
my sister knowing I ate her caramel
and saying
“It’s okay.”

I read about a woman
who goes to visit her husband’s killer
in prison. They are dear friends now.
That is possible.

I remember

This isn’t a dollhouse and it’s not
caramel or murder.

“We emailed back and forth” by Sasha at JJ Bean

Monday November 20, 2017
6:10pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

we emailed back and forth a bit
you sent me jokes
i laughed into my screen
like an idiot

you asked if i knew where salamanca was
i said no
it took you thirteen days to reply
i waited and waited
every time the ding came
i thought
there it is

i could have googled it
i know that okay
but i wanted it to come from you

you invited me to the dominican republic
you said you’d pay
i got cold feet
i wasn’t sure what you maybe wanted

“peel and core the remaining apples.” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday November 19, 2017
11:08am
5 minutes
Apples
Andrea Albin

My mother makes baked apples
And I’m sad that dessert is something
With more sugar
More sweetness
Baked apples are glorified apple sauce
And she thinks it’s exciting that there’s oats
Sprinkled on top
A dusting of cinnamon

My mother bakes the apples in the toaster oven
It’s how she makes baked potatoes too
She puts raisins in too

I don’t know yet that betrayal is a spell
That will take lifetimes to break

I don’t know yet that dreams won’t come true

And they will

I don’t know yet that there will always be something
About this time of year

When my mother makes baked apples
I close my eyes and imagine it’s chocolate

“Show them yourself, your highness” by Sasha at the beach

Monday October 16, 2017
3:32pm
5 minutes
From a dream

A girl, maybe seven or eight, Moana bathing suit, high bun. She crouches in the water, making pancakes with white sand. Her mother sits nearby on the beach, a carbon copy older version, metallic silver bathing suit, high bun. She plays on her phone. A stray dog approaches, mangy, skinny, the colour of caramel. The girl’s back is to the dog. She doesn’t know he’s coming. He jumps on her back and she screams, glass shattering, bone breaking, primal fear. Mother jumps and runs before we can and kicks the dog off. Daughter cries. Mother holds her. Calms her. In three minutes she’s okay, back to making pancakes, back to play.

“Water music” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday, October 2
6:59pm
5 minutes
Major Orchestral Works
Felix Mendelssohn

I take a bath in the tub where I learned to swim
My sister across from me
Peppermint soap in our ear’s
The hum of our parents voices rising through the floorboards
Fluffy comfort that we don’t know can be broken

I think about writing this
How my appetite’s returned
Words haven’t satiated or helped or healed
But now they can
And they will

I lather my head with shampoo
And fill an old yogurt container with warm water from the tap
I rinse and rinse and rinse
A blue jay sits on the branch right there outside the window
Sings for awhile

There are stains where the drain is
And my love makes dinner downstairs
My parents live in different houses with different loves
My sister rocks her baby to sleep and sings the
Lullaby we heard
Here

“I’m driving so couldn’t really see it” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Saturday September 23, 2017
3:39am
5 minutes
from a text

You stand on the edge of a hill.
You take in the vista.
Maybe the sun is rising.

Maybe your mother is somewhere close by
And your sister
And her daughter.

And almost all of the women you love
Gathered around a fire.

A black river rushes close by.

You will marry your love today.
Yes. You will marry your love today.

You tie the sash of your dress and
The sun whispers about the past and the future.
You laugh because you’re unwrapping each minute.
A present.
Presence.

Eighty seven voices sing you into being
Sing you across the threshold.

“tremendous whooshing noise” by Sasha at Opus


Wednesday August 9, 2017
12:02pm
5 minutes
The Enormous Crocodile
Roald Dahl


My sister and I make bracelets out of embroidery thread and sell them to friends of our parents. We charge a dime or a quarter. Sometimes they overpay, a dollar or two and we gasp with the excitement of a financial transaction.

I put most things on my credit card now. I get air miles, so it feels like I’m getting more than just the thing I’m purchasing. Maybe a trip home to kiss my sister’s daughter. Maybe Hawaii in the rainy months.

“high clouds no wind” by Sasha on her balcony


Saturday July 1, 2017
11:30pm
5 minutes
The Wayfinders
Wade Davis

the woman who lives across the way
my balcony doors look into her living room
she watches so much tv and i am sad about it

she recently bought a rosemary plant
a cactus with a pink flower
and a rose that has beautiful flowers
they are still in their plastic

i am trying to see what she’s watching
is it FRIENDS
i am trying to see into her darkness

a hummingbird comes to drink from our feeder
sucking back the sugar water with her
extra long tongue

high and mighty with my notebook
looking up and through and into
this sister dwelling

“kindergarten registration” by Sasha at a coffee shop on Dunbar


Thursday June 22, 2017
4:38pm
5 minutes
From a sign

This woman on the bus rides in a motorized wheelchair. She’s beautiful. She looks like Nicole Kidman and Helena Bonham Carter had a lovechild and gave her even better hair and eyes. She has a little dog on her lap. Cute, shaved down so it looks like it has a lion’s mane. We all watch – rapt – as she wheels into her spot (people cleared the way). As the bus starts to drive onwards, she takes a ziplock bag of something indistinguishable out of a bag in the basket that’s on the front of her wheelchair. She eats it, or, rather, she chews it and spits it out into her hand and tries to feed it to her dog. He doesn’t want it.

“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

“in her full out pyjamas” by Sasha in the bath


Sunday April 9, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the hallway

I want a pair of silk pyjamas. I feel very sophisticated when I put them on my Christmas list and ask my stepmother to buy me some – purple, with white pinstripes. I wear them the night I receive them. I feel like a queen, sliding into bed, the silk against my skin like a good dream. I fall asleep quickly and wake in the middle of the night in a sweat. What is wrapped around me restricting my movement suffocating my ribs and hips? Oh my god, get this shit off of me! I strip down, throwing my pyjamas beside the bed. When I wake in the morning I feel guilty. I promise myself that I’ll wear them on weekend mornings, to read and make breakfast. “They will be luxury loungewear,” I think.

“you might think she was an angry woman” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday April 6, 2017
12:59pm
5 minutes
The Birth House
Ami McKay


“You’re not going to get pregnant and have to quit or something, right?” I looked down at my hands in my lap, clasped tight.

“I’m not sure if you’re allowed to ask me that?” I wish I hadn’t phrased it as a question. I wish I’d said, “You’re not allowed to ask me that.”

I wonder about my friends who are men, who are also finishing graduate school, who will also go on a series of good, bad, demoralizing, funny, awkward interviews. I wonder about these men, fine men, good, kind men, and if a man in a purple tie might ask them about their future babies?

Unlikely.

“Thank you for your time. We’ll be in touch.” A clammy handshake.

“Thank you,” a knot in my throat, brow slightly furrowed, I go into the bathroom and change my shoes.

“regular procedures” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday April 5, 2017
12:40pm
5 minutes
From the thesis formatting guidelines

You can ask for what you really want sweet thing
I’ll turn on your power switch and we’ll ride
into the dark night with nothing but lipstick
and bathing suits
nothing but tequila and toasted english muffins

I was never sure about the deep azure of your dreaming
it turned by stomach with it’s vibrancy
with it’s tenacity
and now I’m the one chugging coffee
with my foot on the gas
pushing
pushing harder
harder
faster
pushing

Hysterical laughter over the irreverence
of the wish
“Ambition is a dirty word” you say

“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

“Now that I’m free from any such shackles” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday March 6, 2017
10:37pm
5 minutes
davidsilverberg.ca

saved by the ivory
tower but not for long
good god i hope i don’t
have to
saved from the beer
spills and “our house wine
is a dollar an ounce”
from roll-ups and tip-outs
and “can we have more
bread?”
i’ll tell you what
the magic word is
it’s please

the summer i was
twenty one i worked
at a place where
the bartenders were
always high and the
sous chef called me a
stuck up bitch
and i cried in the
basement and ate shrimp
in the stairwell
and everyone seemed to
be fucking each other

then there was the
sous who would request
my presence in the kitchen
only to undo my apron
so that i’d have to bend
over and pick it up

then there was the
sous (is there a theme
here holy hell) who
would stick out his
chest when i’d come
to ask a question like
those are just my breasts
it’s how they are i
am not sticking anything
out or up except my
middle finger at your
ignorance

“soothingly soft” by Sasha in the bath


Saturday February 4, 2017
12:31am
5 minutes
From the facial tissue package

driving to the silver’s farm
peach juice on my shorts from
wiping sticky fingers
and the pit in my pocket
cozy with a white shell
and a black stone

my mother
takes the winding road
slow because i get car
sick like she does
and our ginger cat too

pile out of the minivan
named athena and run
over the hot gravel
run run bare feet
tip toes

picking corn with
a careful eye watch
out for worms or
shrunken kernels

“confused about her life path” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday January 29, 2017
10:29pm
5 minutes
from Clairvoyance
Mary Ellen Flora


I wouldn’t say that I’m confused
that’s not how I feel it in the ball
of yarn in my guts snaking up on my tongue
through to
I wouldn’t say that I’m confused
but I am questioning of the evolution
of dreams and reality and present and future
and purpose
and if it’s enough to do it and do it and
do it and do it and then what if it’s not
enough?

Sitting in a circle in stretchy pants
and a grey sweatshirt I was twenty one
and I knew that the reason I wanted to
tell stories was because I felt how
they changed my becoming I was surrounded
by classmates and we spoke why we wanted
to be actors and we cried and we got naked
and we looked at ourselves in mirrors
and we fell in love with each other and with
the dreams and reality and present and future.

Making snow angels in the parking lot I
knew that I was not alone but I was so alone.

“First we marched” by Sasha at Matchstick on Fraser


Sunday January 22, 2017 at Matchstick
10:26am
5 minutes
From a tweet

First we marched and now we carry on
the song that our grandmother’s started

Daisy used to tell Layah and I
about meeting First Nations women at the Edmonton
bus depot on 105 Avenue

bringing her into the city
feeding her hamburger soup
giving her shampoo and
tampons
baby formula and
sweaters knit by the
Catholic Women’s League

Okay she never said anything about
tampons to me
but I imagine her giving a woman tampons
and that woman saying thank
you and brown eyes meeting brown eyes

Anne made dinner every night for her family
and she managed the money
and she made her own
her own money
trading stocks and investing
Anne never knew she was a radical
She was an
“unfulfilled woman”
She was never okay
with the shape of herself

“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.

“where the water is still” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday July 7, 2016 at Starbucks
6:59am
5 minutes
Cranes and Egrets
Marlene Cookshaw


I will meet you there at our favourite spot
the one where we feel like we’re in our own little world
early in the morning before the rest of the ones who need the sun
even see it
where the water is still
where the sail boats line up so perfectly
camping on the ocean
When you need to remember why we chose each other
when you need to feel big in your smallness
I will
I will always.
I will meet you there
at our favourite spot
where the moments feel full
and little ducks rest on rocks
the one where we’re one
with each other
and with the sky

“behind your kiss” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday July 6, 2016 at Starbucks
7:05am
5 minutes
When I touch you; Peter Ilyanov
Diana Brebner


Behind your kiss I can feel
the thing you’re trying desperately
not to ask me.
Did you do it?
Would you do it?
Do you still love me?
Am I enough for you now
that you’re bigger
than you used to be?
Don’t ask don’t tell;
maybe something I taught you,
maybe something you taught me.
But your lips leak your secret,
parting the seas
every open close pucker and smack.
Each breath
you take
parts the seas for the truth
to spill
out
into
my
mouth,
drowning me,
or begging me to swim.
I watch you sometimes
from behind my eyes,
searching for meaning
and a reason.
Do I need to answer everything
for you?
Have you never looked
inside yourself
for something you need?
Will you ever be enough
for you?
Your tongue licks and flicks
all the possibilities of honesty
to the roof
of
my
mouth.
Behind your kiss,
there is a flood coming.
Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies;
maybe something you taught me,
maybe something I taught you.

“dies in slow motion” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday July 5, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
In Search of Agamemnon
Bruce F. Fairley


Cut to me, 4 years old–MAYBE 5– and all the tiny humans in Mrs. Beliveau’s class have just come back from an assembly. We don’t have enough time to learn anything, not that we really ever did, so Mrs. B. tells us we can play on the structure if we can change as quickly as possible into our gym clothes. I see no one is on the structure and for some reason today I need to be the first one. So I strip down and throw on my shirt and I go running up to Mrs. Beliveau to ask her if I may “board the spaceship” (because we were in kindergarten and that’s what we called it, even though it looked nothing like a spaceship)and she looked down at me and said, “you may, as soon as you have some pants on.” And I looked down and I was standing there in my orange-starred underwear, in front of everyone, made to be aware of shame for the first time in my tiny life. I did whatever Macaulay Culkin got hired for in Home Alone then proceeded to die in slow motion; my face a shade of fire that burned me to death.

“Anytime, night or day” by Sasha on her living room floor


Saturday May 28, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
All I Have To Do Is Dream
The Everly Brothers


You never imagined that someone would say, “anytime, night or day, you can call me,” breaking their rule of keeping a cellphone on their bedside table, you never imagined that someone might love you like buttered bagels and a slender moon.

You never imagined that someone might press on your hip bones and remind you that you’re as ancient as stardust as new as the dawn as changing as the late may sky all aglow with a tempest like a thirtieth birthday.

You never imagined that someone would write you love poems and lick the tears from your face as you read them.

“Ready to rock?” by Sasha on her couch


Friday May 27, 2016
10:01pm
5 minutes
People Magazine
March 2016


Holding Grandma’s paper skin hand
A priest talks about forgiveness
Jesus
Bread
Her fingers are long
Knuckles like burls
I lean in close to smell her
Baby powder and drugstore perfume
Make up that is long expired
She doesn’t stand to sing anymore
On her perch
The Pew
Queen Bird

“a signal he was about to shut down.” by Julia on the 9


Thursday May 12, 2016
10:48pm
5 minutes
Bolt
Russell Wangersky


I remember asking him if he wanted to sleep over–it might have been the third or fourth time. We had just gotten home from a nice dinner, I had just peed myself in the laundry room and was cleaning it up with dryer lint while he waited for me upstairs in my room, you know, just a casual Friday night, and I thought he was going to say yes this time. I was cautious, I made sure the moment was right, made sure I was feeling his vibe, and then boom: another no. I assumed naturally, as one does, that it was either because he could smell remnants of secret urine off my legs (though I had washed them well enough in the bathroom sink before returning to my room), or that he was about to break up with me.

“I do and I don’t” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday May 8, 2016
10:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Julia on the 2 bus

Newly fourteen, I’m living on a biodynamic farm in Durham, Ontario for three weeks. I’m there with two other girls from my Grade Nine class. We sleep in the basement of the farmhouse, in beds built for children. Heather’s feet hang over the footboard. She’s a head taller than me and Karla.

I have dirt under my fingernails, and my hair has been died by the hours in the sun. I have strange tan lines and know a handful of new songs. The two young women from Alaska who are working on the farm for the season teach them to us as we pick rocks from a field where plum trees will be planted.

“flat-out rejected” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 10, 2016
9:09pm
5 minutes
http://howlround.com/submitting-like-a-man-we-have-a-winner

I told him how I feel and he said nothing. Well that’s not entirely true, I suppose, he did say “Ciao.” Like I said, you can call me sometime other than for Halloween and he said, Okay, ciao. With this weird sliminess that I wasn’t expecting from him. And he never did call me. And then he stopped coming for brunch. And I swear he came to that terrible restaurant too many weekends in a row for him to not have had an ulterior motive. And once he helped me clean behind the bar when we were understaffed and I got slammed. He manned the glass-washer. And he made me a couple coffees. And when I tell him to call me, he says, “Ciao”? I guess part of me wondered if I was supposed to learn the “don’t assume shit lesson” because I assumed he liked me. Because he acted like he liked me. He tipped huge. He asked me for opinions on his flooring. And he introduced me to his friends? He even came to eat at the new shitty restaurant I was working at after I left the first one.

“I am in a meeting ” by Julia at her desk


Monday May 9, 2016
11:07pm
5 minutes
from a text

-I don’t want to have to tell you again that I’m keeping them to put salad dressing in. Fucking salad dressing for when I decide to make a salad for lunch and need a small container. To transport the dressing.

-Why can’t you just put it in on of your glass jars?

-Because they’re too big. You don’t know how heavy my bag is.

-Okay fine. You’ve got an answer for everything.

-Because I have a perfectly good reason why I’m keeping them. I thought it through, it’s not like I am collecting them because it annoys you.

-It really does annoy me. Everything you keep–

-Let me keep what I keep.

-Okay. You keep what you keep.

-Thank you.

-But seriously they should be thrown out. They’re one time use. For travelling soy sauce.

-Exactly.

“Alberta’s oil sands” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Thursday May 5, 2016
1:50pm at Platform Seven
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

the world is burning where all the oil lives
the grass is scorched and the trees with the treehouses are ashes
the houses with the photo albums and the calico kitten and
the painting from france from a great-grandmother
the jeopardy of prized possessions
an apocalypse of biblical proportions

true colours show when we’re in danger
fingers around a neck with “mine” over “yours”
cars driving on sidewalks to get ahead of other cars
the irony of politics
the irony of “how did we get here?”
dollar bill pilgrims drilling for gold

another headline another photograph another heart up in flames

“Your hands are cold” by Julia on the 14


Friday April 22, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Scars
James Bay


You’re sweet. You let me put my cold hands in your armpits when I need to warm up, when my teeth are chattering and I’m complaining excessively. You squirm the first few seconds and you dance around but you don’t make me take them out. That’s one of my favourite types of touching. I feel taken care of by you and your overheated underarms. You are always a furnace, kicking off articles of clothing in your sleep, ripping up sheets, opening windows in the minus 30s or 40s. The only time I ever remember warming you up was when we went skinny-dipping in your family’s salt-water pool. It wasn’t warm yet, but we were high and felt free, and so I cupped your nut-sack in my hands so they wouldn’t retract and we stood like that for a while, impersonating Ethel Merman and smiling big at each other.

“How did you recognize him?” by Julia at her dining table


Thursay April 21, 2016
6:18pm
5 minutes
overheard in the car

I wrote a poem about your laugh when I was 17 and in love with you. I compared it to Santa. I didn’t know anything about you, or love, or poetry then. Maybe I still don’t. I felt proud reading it in front of my class and thinking of you secretly as I shared some of my truest, most ridiculous metaphors about you. I told them about your laugh, about how you were so inclusive and even laughed at people’s bad jokes to make them feel good. I remember thinking you were generous. And I think I was right because a few months later I found out that you were trading kisses with other girls and going out with whichever ones you thought you would be able to sleep with. Maybe I was the generous one for sharing you! I was crushed. I could pull you off of a busy street with my eyes closed if I could hear your laugh. These days I don’t hear it as much as I used to. We don’t live in the same place. We live worlds away.

“your comfort and ours” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday April 9, 2016
8:32pm
5 minutes
from an email

My mother and father on their wedding day

Anthony and Sharon
Twenty nine – both of them, born the same year

1979 – August
U of T Faculty club
“My friend got us in” My mother says now, on the rare occasion that she talks about their wedding.

A modern dancer
A justice of the peace
His Catholic family from Edmonton
Her Jewish family from Montreal
Finger foods made by aunties and the Thai restaurant on Baldwin St.
They danced to Joan Baez and Rikki Lee Jones

I imagine my mother running her hands over the ribs of the brown corduroy
I imagine my father touching the soft floral cotton of her dress
“I didn’t wear a bra,” My mother says now, we’re only talking about weddings because I’m planning mine.

“Your grandma loved that.”

“We ate cabbage rolls and pad thai and Richard drank too much and Bubby was anxious and it was just what it was supposed to be, I guess.”

“Don’t turn off your computer” by Julia at Platform 7


Wednesday April 13, 2016 at Platform 7
4:47pm
5 minutes
from the update installation screen

For the first time in a month of coming here, the man with obnoxious voice and even more obnoxious ponytail is not working in the cafe that I am borrowing as my office. I don’t mean to say I miss him-I don’t- but I’ve come to expect him and now things feel a bit off.
I spilled coffee into my laptop bag, and into my laptop keyboard, and onto my table, and into the self-deprecating narrative that I’m the kind of person who spills liquids on all the things that should never get wet.
I waited in line for the single-stall bathroom for the duration of “Another Day” from the Rent soundtrack because I could hear someone doing a million weird things inside and I didn’t know how long was reasonable to wait before I decided to stop waiting.
Nothing else bad has happened. I don’t think it’s obnoxious ponytail accent’s fault for not being here- I was just trying to connect some dots that don’t need connecting while my computer updates itself and tells me not to shut off until it’s done. It’s done now. It doesn’t take long to restart or update but I always think it will. Maybe that’s a reminder for me when I make excuses for staying married to bad habits…

“if there can be no final satisfaction” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday, April 3, 2016
9:50pm
5 minutes
The Wisdom Of Insecurity
Alan W. Watts


Saying goodbye to you was the worst thing I’ve ever had to endure.
I’ve already told you this but you like to ask it again and again. You say “what was going through your head when you had to leave? Were you sad? Were you empty?” You ask this stuff because you felt sad and you felt empty. I know it was harder for you because I was the one going and you had to stay. My neck was sore that day. I strained it from laying on you the way I did. I didn’t want to let you go. I didn’t want to stop smelling the spot behind your ear where your hair line starts. At the airport you were crying and it was making me angry. I didn’t want to cry there in front of everyone. I wanted to wait for my planned privacy sitting beside two strangers watching Gone Girl for me to cry over you. I wasn’t feeling sad, but hopeful. We needed the time apart and I couldn’t match your dissatisfaction. You wanted to relish in the misery and I wanted you to go do that in the car because it was hard enough already with a bad neck and a lot of emotions I hadn’t yet named. I didn’t think about how upsetting it would be to return to the house we used to share, see all my bath bombs and loose leaf tea, my microphone and my hair towel, and know I wouldn’t be coming back.

“Shrimp only” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday, March 29, 2016
2:43pm
5 minutes
from a recipe in Cowichan Bay

I could live off of shrimp only and maybe some garlic. I really could. I could live off of a lot of things that seem simple like that. I could live off of sunsets and matchsticks. I could live off of olive oil and crusty bread. I could live off of my mother’s laugh and my father’s silly singing. I could live off of silent walks to the beach and quiet crying by the ocean. I could live off of his kisses and his squeezes and his eyebrow scar and his banjo playing. I could live off of people watching and star gazing. I could live off of understanding and connecting. I could live off of summer’s heat and throwing a baseball. I could live off of burgundy pens and graph paper. I could live off of peaches and hot peppers. I could live off of magic and synchronicity. I could live off of curiosity and fresh basil. I could live off of truth-speaking and patio writing. I could live off of my belly soft and my lucid dreams. I could live off of the perfect yawn and the perfect hug.

“What? What’s wrong?” by Julia at her dining table


Monday, March 28, 2016
10:17pm
5 minutes
from some sides

You ask me what I’m not telling you for the second time because my face looks like it’s hiding something from you. I don’t know why I keep saying,

Nothing.
Nothing.
Nothing.

If this were a year ago you’d have stopped questioning, whether you believed me or not, assuming you believed me, assuming you didn’t care to take notice when I said something I mean or when I didn’t.
Now you won’t let up and you won’t let me wallow and you won’t let me silently hate you or me if that’s what you think I think I’m doing. I should be grateful that you notice my subtleties now, that you inquire past surface level, that you don’t let me get away with the idea of performing perfect or unbothered or both.
But I guess I am holding on to that a bit so I won’t be held accountable to explain my feelings. To name them.
The only thing I want to say right now is,

Sometimes I don’t think you really love me.

Even though that’s ludicrous. I don’t want to say that to you now because I know how untrue that statement really is. I just want to hear you say

Always.
Always.
Always.

“your field of experience” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, March 26, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
http://www.mysticmamma.com/

field research: the boss who flirts unabashedly in front of his wife so much so that she hate me and finally after four years he fires me in the same office the same office where we used to talk about rumi and cinnamon and i don’t walk out of the restaurant and i don’t shame or trash talk and i crouch behind the bar so that my five tables enjoying their famous salad dressing enjoying their meals so that my five tables won’t see these tears.

field research: innocent until proven guilty that men grasp like a medal because the only one it protects is them the corrosive fear that makes me feel afraid to have daughters afraid to have daughters and afraid to have sons more so almost because what has happened to this generation of men that twist and burn and choke and shut down and i know it’s not just about gender i know that this binary is reductive to folks I’M SORRY OKAY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY what will happen when this generation of women has boys and we will try our best to teach them how to love how to love how to love.

“As a heavy-metal band” by Sasha at Matchstick Coffee Chinatown


Wednesday March 2, 2016 at Matchstick Coffee
5:09pm
5 minutes
The Comic Toolbox
John Vorhaus


The rocks steamed and eucalyptus snaked up my nose. A woman
stout and frowning, smacked my back with some kind of abrasive
cloth. The market sung from outside the window, calling me towards
chickpea tajine and freshly squeezed orange juice. Naked as a
newborn I closed my eyes and thought of home
six thousand kilometres and a
lifetime away. The floor slippery under my
flip flopped feet I walked slowly, following the sound of
your voice. Laughter at the strangeness, clutching
the corners of a towel,
swaddled. “I feel like I’ve just been born!”