“Just go in the direction where there is no direction” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday May 26, 2015
11:57am
5 minutes
Forbidden Rumi
Tr. By Nevit O. Ergin and Will Johnson


Like the wind, she speaks, she says
Oooh ooh, yes, yes
Calmly without rushing
No goal exists but to breathe in
every single moment
she whispers through my hair
Hums a day song worth remembering
Oooh ooh, yes, yes
And they say go where the wind blows you
And they say if you’re moved travel alongside her
I don’t know where she’s taking me
But I feel cradled in her billowy arms
And I feel welcomed by her carefree smile
Shhh shh, yes, yes
She reminds me to take time
She reminds me to inhale
and stop worrying
and exhale
and stop worrying
Shhh shh, yes, yes
I’m here for you until you get to where you’re going
Don’t run…
Glide
Don’t push…
Float
And the air is changed beneath me
And the air is changed right through me

“I made this cake” by Julia on her bed


Sunday May 17, 2015
9:44pm
5 minutes
http://www.epicurious.com

I uhh…I made this cake for you. I’ve never made a cake before but I made this. Or like, I tried to, I guess? I mean. Yeah. A cake! For your birthday. And I know your birthday was like, a month ago. But I wasn’t confident enough to try making a cake then so, I didn’t give you anything and I wanted to, but I was embarrassed so I just pretended that you didn’t have a birthday at all so that you wouldn’t..uhh.. not get a cake from me. I also pretended that not even wishing you a happy birthday alongside not making you a cake was an okay thing to do. It wasn’t. It’s weird, it was just what I decided to do. Uhh…You don’t have to eat this even. The cake, obviously. It might not be edible, actually, because I didn’t taste it and I didn’t know how to taste it without wrecking it so I just took a chance and thought, maybe I’ll taste it first when we’re together so in case it’s bad there will be someone there to warn you. So if you want we can do it that way, or I can just stop talking now so you can stop wishing this was a different moment in your life and not the one you have to be in.

“I made this cake” by Sasha in the bed a Horseshoe Bay


Sunday May 17, 2015
11:56am
5 minutes
http://www.epicurious.com

Let’s make a world where everyone has enough
Where everyone has what they NEED
When they NEED it
Not MORE
Not LESS
Where mother’s can feed babies from their breasts and where father’s can sing lullabies
Let’s make a world where trees are our priests
Where forests are our temples
Where dolphins are our recognized and respected sisters
Where computers and labs and scientists aren’t involved in food growth
Where governments champion children, art, the elderly, green space, democracy
Let’s make a world where we celebrate one another’s successes
Where we dive deep for our bravery and bring it to each interaction
Let’s make a world where we listen
With our whole being
Where we stop
SHUT OFF
TURN DOWN
POWER FAIL
POWER FULL
Let’s make a world where we dance in the street with strangers
Let’s make a world where anyone can marry anyone
Where love is the beginning, middle and end
Let’s make a world with less cars and more bikes
With less oil and more bio-fuel
With less guns and more sunflowers
With less plastic and more recycling
With less hiding and more showing
Let’s make a world where we are all different
And connected
Where we can smile at our complicated understanding about otherness
Where we can remember
Where we can remember
Where we can remind each other
One another
We all come from the same mother
She’s here
But we need to love her up
Love her down
Love her all around
We need to be more radical in our loving
More fearless
We need to embrace change
(it’s always here)
It’s always here
Is it?
Always here?
We are water
Water is polluted
We are polluted
It’s not complicated
It’s a simple story
Why can’t we understand?
Thank you for your bravery
Thank you for your attention
I made this cake for you

“About 10 years ago” By Julia at Holy Oak Cafe


Thursday May 14, 2015 at Holy Oak Cafe
1:17pm
5 minutes
From a story by Mikal Cronin

About ten years ago I got arrested for shoplifting and it was the best day of my life. I had been taking things that didn’t belong to me for years, for a lifetime even. I would have killed at living on the streets if I had ever had to do that..I don’t know if saying that diminishes it or not, but my skills were unparalleled. I’m not just talking little kid stuff like embroidery floss, or key chains. It was that stuff plus the good hits. I’m talking fancy face creams, high end jewelry, many expensive bathing suits, and a couple electronics every now and again. I was a little thief and I was having the time of my life. I don’t know how I got away with so much of it. Nobody every caught me, I assumed I’d never have to “pay the price”. And then that day I got arrested and had to own up, for the very first time, to what I had been doing. To who I had been. And it made me realize that I am not invincible. That I am not the exception to the rule. Cause eventually everyone has to learn that somehow.

“In the 1950’s the word” by Julia at Dark Horse


Wednesday May 13, 2015 at Dark Horse
5:16pm
5 minutes
The R-Word
Heather Kirn Lanier


In the 1950’s the word was imagined. Created. Conjured up. It was used for a brief time to describe the feeling of having everything but still feeling so helplessly and problematically empty. It was a truthful word adopted by a lot of artists. They began to write songs about it, make plays about it, dream about it, live by it. The issue that arose was the word was being over-used and becoming too loved. Yes, the strain it had, the effect of identifying too closely with one word, caused artists and young people to connect so strongly to it that they stopped trying to end the initial suffering of it. They began to accept it as it was, without the need to change it in any way.

“scoop up all the trash” by Julia on her patio


Thursday May 7, 2015
10:04pm
5 minutes
from http://www.ecokids.ca

Community service. As if I should have to serve the community for doing one thing against the legal system. Like one tiny thing, and they make you serve the entire community with your penance and your time and your new shame. There are so many people doing illegal and stupid things. SO MANY. They’re not serving the community, they’re not even worried about having to. I mean, a service to my community would be warning everybody about where not to smoke hash in this city. Tell people where not to speed. Now these are services people want. The community doesn’t give a flying fuck if I rake up some completely docile leaves. Leaves don’t bother people, why is that one of the tasks? The community doesn’t care if I scoop up all the trash in the park. There are city people who get PAID to do that so they’re not going to suddenly feel like a big weight’s been lifted off them if I, the apparently guilty, offer a bunch of hours to essentially take away job opportunities from someone who actually needs the work.

“scoop up all the trash” by Sasha at Higher Grounds


Thursday May 7, 2015 at Higher Grounds
3:29pm
5 minutes
from http://www.ecokids.ca

Don’t pick a girl who wants you to treat her like a princess. I did, and look where it got me. Broke, broken-hearted, broken set of toes… Damn. Still got my cowboy hat and still got my pride, though. No one can ever take those two away from me. Look, Sandro, I don’t wanna freak you out, but, like, you pick a girl who wants you to treat her like a princess and you’re never gonna be happy. I mean, I don’t think life is really about being happy, but it’s about being, like, peaceful or something. It’s only when you’re scooping up the trash of your life that you realize – you did everything for her and nothing for you. You’ve spent almost a decade sucking up to someone who wishes she were royalty. She’s not! If you’d just stuck to your guns and told her that when you first got together, “Honey, you’re from Campbell River, you’re never gonna be Cinderella, get over yourself…” maybe things would’ve worked out a little differently. I want the best for your Sandro, I don’t want what happened to me to happen to you… I mean, what am I supposed to do now? I’m forty two. I’m supposed to start over?

“chemical or thermal irritation” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday May 6, 2015
8:17pm
5 minutes
http://www.webmd.com

I, Seraphina Tallula Roryson, born on the twelfth of May, nineteen eighty two, am the fourth wife of George Fredrick Roryson, polygamist father of sixteen children (and two on the way, not twins, I’m pregnant and so is His second wife, Marybeth), and ruler of the Winter Church of New Placemonton. New Placemonton is on the border of the New World and the Old World. We wear bonnets, with jeans and V-necks. I make date squares for every bake sale between here and Kittaback, and I do Crossfit. I will be George’s last wife, he proclaimed this over baked salmon and tater tots, made by the third wife, Trina. Each one of us has our… “Thing”. Katherine, the first wife, is the “Quiet One”. Marybeth is the “Political One”. Trina is the “Born Mother”. And I? I’m the “Wild Card”. Most polygamist men have a wild card but few are as wild as I. George says I keep him “on his toes”. He says he wouldn’t live a day past seventy if it weren’t for me. “You keep me young, Seraphina. You keep me spry.”

“A rare chance” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday May 5, 2015
12:35am
5 minutes
A Friends of Chamber Music brochure

Am I dying and I don’t know it because I’m crying and I don’t know it? I mean I know it. That’s something I know. But what I don’t, is, is it a threat to my living self if my body is crying but my mental awareness of that physical reaction to something happening in my life… is non-existent? Or delayed, I mean. For one whole hour? Is that too long to go without realizing that tears are pouring out of my face? I mean I know that’s too long, so maybe something big is happening. Maybe I’m releasing all the bad in my body, in my spirit, and then just that kind of peace after the bad is all gone feels like dying. Because maybe that kind of dying is the right kind.

“A rare chance” by Sasha at Culprit Coffee


Tuesday May 5, 2015
10:20am
5 minutes
A Friends of Chamber Music brochure

“It’s a rare chance, Al,” Clare says, painting the big toe of my right foot. “I think you need to go for it…” Her hands are cold and I think about when we met, tadpoles in overalls and baseball hats. “I just can’t imagine going so far away, it seems so extreme…” “You’ll be fine,” she blows on my toes and I laugh, pulling my foot away. “That tickles!” “Don’t jerk around! You’ll mess them up!” She furrows her eyebrows. “What time is the concert tonight?” “I thought you said you’d bought your ticket?” “I…” “Claire!” “I’ll get it at the door!” “You’re just waiting to see if something more interesting turns up. I know you.” “I am certainly not doing that… My credit card was cut off, I, I can’t book anything online and I didn’t want to ask someone to cover for me…” “Shit. Sorry.” “It’s okay.” “I’ll ask again about getting you on the guest list?” “I’m happy to pay…” “I’ll ask again.”

“Like eagle rounding out the morning” by Sasha in front of the fire


Monday May 4, 2015
11:03pm
5 minutes
from a poem by Joy Harjo

Like eagle rounding out the blooming morning
my brother leans into the sunflower and shakes the dew off
It splatters onto his plaid shirt and he
brushes it off
The damp more than he bargained for
The yellow petals remind me of Aunt Ginny’s fresh
churned butter
Dipping our fingers in and licking them and dipping our fingers in
She’d tap our wrists
“Scram!” She’d say
But it was warm as flannel and cloves
It wasn’t cruel like our grandfather

My brother pulls weeds from around the flowers
chucking them over his shoulder
I do the same
Following his lead
“Like this,” he says
Making a pile
the unwanted

“I would have been an eighth-grader” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday May 3, 2015
10:15pm
5 minutes
On Writing
Stephen Kingk


I would have been an eighth-grader this year if they hadn’t held me back, if they hadn’t oppressed my rights and made me wait for it, made me beg for it… Graduation. I saw my classmates who I’d been with since the very beginning, since tear-away track pants and Pogs, get up on the stage in the gym in blue and yellow gowns and hats. I heard Davie Bernstein make the valedictorian speech. “Hey Davie,” I said later, side-by-side in the urinal, “Nice speech.” He looked at me sideways and said, “Go suck a dick, Howard.” He tucked his into his stupid dress pants, didn’t wash his hands and left, laughing and talking loudly with the rest of the class. They held me back not because I’m not smart, not because I can’t write an essay or solve an algebra equation. They held me back because I’m not a go-getter. “You’re just not a go-getter,” Mrs. Sherman said, purple lipstick on her front teeth. “We think you’ll do better with one more year in Grade Six. We think you’ll thrive with Miss Davidson.” “Who is this “we”?” I asked, scratching the scab on my right knee. “The faculty, your parents and me,” Mrs. Sherman said, blinking her cow-like eyes quickly, like the question caught her off guard.

“work its magic” by Sasha in the bath


Saturday May 2, 2015
10:42pm
5 minutes
from seriouseats.com

come on pretty baby we’re taking the long road this time
out out out
away from green trying her best to break through grey
away from horns honking their loud scream interruption
in in in
waterfall baths and making love under the full beltane moon
i had an alibi once but it failed me
i knelt before you
i cried my own version of apology
i slipped on your disillusionment and went flying
falling
dancing
dark dark dark
someone’s at the door and they are saying your name the way i do
too heavy with love
too wet with wanting
you don’t know what to do with the weight of my hope
faith and doubt dance
tango tango tango

“Abundance” by Sasha on her couch


Friday May 1, 2015
6:38pm
5 minutes
from a vintage matchbook

Every now and then I think of you and
where you might be now that it’s this year
I think of how you might smell in the heat of the West
Your hands holding tight to sticks from an arbutus tree
Drumming on the air
Waving one hand high
Motioning me closer

I burnt my hand this morning
Thinking of you as I poured boiling water from the kettle into my
blue mug
I didn’t dare make a sound
Wondering if I might wake him
the one I’ve chosen

“Summer road trip” By Julia at the Bloor/Gladstone Library branch


Thursday April 30, 2015
4:24pm
5 minutes
from a magazine article

Oh I’ve got that urge again to take off and just go somewhere that isn’t here. Been travellin’ every year now it seems and I do not want to stop that now. Got a good case of wanderlust, now that’s for sure. Been feelin’ that itch deep down for a while. Been keepin’ tabs on it, and it’s inchin’ its way on up to the surface again. I can’t tell you how anxious stayin’ put makes me feel. All these things I have to get done here because I keep puttin’ them off, seein’ the world, exploring myself. Some people might say that I’m runnin’ away but I can honestly say to you that for the first time, that’s not what this is. I think I’ve found what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to live outside this place and exist in a transient way sort of like a sailor or a thrill-seeker. But I also have plans to put my skills to use while I’m away. I’m not just spendin’ all my money on food or booze or whatever. It’s more calculated than that. It’s about makin’ that connection’ with other humans on a level that I can’t quite explain.

“saying she is lost” by Julia on the 505 going west


Monday, April 27, 2015
11:49pm
5 minutes
from Hopelessly Hoping
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


Do you remember those days we would show up to a concert wearing almost the exact same thing? I don’t know if you got a kick out of it but it was one of my favourite things. Did I not tell you that? I loved when we’d dress alike because it meant we were spending a lot of time together and our styles were merging because that’s just what happens when people are connected by heart strings. I liked most how it was unconscious or subconscious or whateverconscious because that was more proof that we weren’t even trying to be similar, we just were. Anyway, I guess all that to say I miss it. I miss you. I don’t even know where I am half the time and I’ve realized lately it’s because you’re not here anymore. You used to anchor me to the earth; to myself. I knew more about the world when you were around. I knew more about magic and wonder and rushing out of the house just to meet you at whatever corner so we could talk about writing or the painfulness of falling out of touch with ourselves.

“saying she is lost” by Sasha at Kafka’s Coffee


Monday, April 27, 2015 at Kafka’s Coffee
6:09pm
5 minutes
from Hopelessly Hoping
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


Her mouth says she’s lost but her eyes say something else, something in a language where tongues and lips aren’t involved, where it’s goosebumps and eyelashes.

It’s been ten years since she spoke to her sister.

The margarine was left out and now it’s a tub of yellow paint. She wonders about rubbing it on the dry skin on the soles of her feet. She wonders about putting it on the wall in the bathroom – could use a fresh coat of paint.

She cancels her subscription to People magazine because she’s tired of the buzz and the dresses and the pictures of strangers babies.

“original packaging” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, April 25, 2015
10:14pm
5 minutes
From a receipt from The North Face

There were three reasons why Anna didn’t want to go to the doctor.
One – Doctors never bring good news. Why would anyone want to go to a place where it’s a given that there will be bad news? Isn’t that the sign that there’s something wrong with you? If you seek out bad news?
Two – Her sister had died on the table of a walk-in clinic three falls ago. No explanation. Just dead. She had been there to get some answers about a rash on her stomach. Anna had vowed to stay away from all “clinics” from thereon in.
Three – When she used to go to the doctor it made her sweat in places she didn’t even knew existed – inside her ears; her fingertips; underneath her toenails. “Is that sweat?” she’d asked her boyfriend at the time. He’d scoffed and made fun of her.

“Rathburn Rd.” by Sasha in her bed


Thursday April 23, 2015
1:03am
5 minutes
from a street sign

Joe’s biggest complaint is that there aren’t enough windows.
“It’s dark,” he repeats, fiddling with a knob on a kitchen cupboard.
Alexandra reassures him that it’s going to be fine.
“It’s such a steal,” she says, grabbing his bicep for emphasis.
They walk up to the second floor and see flashes of what could be.
“Are we ready for this?” Joe’s brows are furrowed and Alex tries not to think about how he looks like a Great Dane when he does this.
“Joe…” She kisses him and makes it last a bit longer than she might’ve, had she not been on a mission.
He sighs.
Out the smaller bedroom window, they watch Leanne, the real estate agent pace the driveway, talking on her cellphone.

“The sound of cracking bones” by Sasha in her bed


Wednesday April 22, 2015
1:12am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

When I see your selfies I hear cracking bones
Not knuckles
Bigger bones
Bones of more consequence
Femur and humerus
A selfie is self-exploration
the self-portrait of our generation so why am I
goosebumps and stomach flips?
Why am I skeptical?
Your face is the milky way of your being so seeing thirteen
photos a day of it leaves less mystery
leaves less imagining
leaves room for less mess
Or
Maybe
it’s my awkwardness
I like my face
It’s one of my better attributes
But when I hold the camera
short arm extended
It still makes my nose look larger than it is
My roots exposed above ground
(I think?)
My forehead
the prairies

“Die this way” by Sasha on her porch


Tuesday, April 21, 2015
10:01am
5 minutes
from a song on the radio

I’m ready for this age
Wrinkles across
wrapping paper cheeks
My grandmother’s tiny bird-frame lasted ninety seven years
These curves becoming rounder and these feet
taking me deeper into the red valley

The last time I saw my father I noticed the lines around his eyes
My eyes
This blue like the party dress I wore to my sister’s wedding
I noticed the whiteness of his beard
His ears
Hairs like ivy
My sister and I talk
long distance
about our mother’s pains
spreading like a forest fire
Now it’s her knees

“the wisdom of the world” by Julia at Jess and Rick’s kitchen table


Sunday, April 18, 2015
7:12pm
5 minutes
http://www.onbring.org

On my way to the edge of the world I found myself
dangling there
one foot over the part where it’s dangerous
too far to come back from
and one foot teetering on the earth beside it
that’s where I was
that’s where I found myself
Melting into my own choices
left alone to face this vastness
and my own devices
but what I found I started to like
what I found I started to love
what I found I started to nurture
cause she was lost before
and she was scared
and suddenly I heard her prayer
and her promise to make time a priority
not to waste or to kill it, but to welcome it
And I was her just days ago falling
Or wanting to
over the edge of the world where I didn’t recognize my own thoughts
My own gifts
nothing mattered at all
Then I took a drive by my old memories
and I conjured up the spirits of my past
asked questions like, oh, do you remember me?
And if you do, can you spare a hope or two?

“She was in a pure state,” by Julia at Jess and Rick’s kitchen table


Saturday, April 17, 2015
9:11pm
5 minutes
100 Essays I Don’t Have Time To Write
Sarah Ruhl


she stared out the window regretting all the missed moments
the missed targets
the missed connections
where did they all go?
did they find a home inside someone else’s heart?
she watched as the water swooshed up onto the beach
washing away the seconds that were there before
purifying the spot where sadness and helplessness like to procreate
she stared out the window
thankful for all of nature’s help
cleansing the pallet and offering up a blank space
for her to scrawl the initials of a life painting worthy of a name
I’m sorry
she hummed to the nothingness
I’m finished with that one
she whispered to the nobodys
I’m better now
she believed to the quiet
I’m making room for the good
she promised to the sunset

“the wisdom of the world” by Sasha on her porch


Sunday, April 18, 2015
5:34pm
5 minutes
http://www.onbring.org

I’m not sure about this place. I’m not sure about a city where pork is cheaper than chard. I’m not sure about boys in between home and school being stopped and carded and not given explanations and not being given whys. I’m not sure about some women sleeping under bridges and some women wearing jeans that cost five hundred dollars. I’m not sure about sending away the garbage we are too lazy to separate into recycling and compost. I’m not sure about cars. I’m not sure about unsafe bike lanes and people that don’t care about the people that choose to ride bikes. I’m not sure about dumping toxins into Lake Ontario. I’m sure that there’s a connection between the hormones in our dairy and the puffers in the backpacks of our young friends. I’m not sure about gender binaries and public bathrooms. I’m not sure about so many Starbucks.

“always more for less!” By Julia on Jessica and Rick’s couch


Thursday, April 15, 2015
12:12am
5 minutes
A Food Basics store sign

Shondra decided to leave a half drunk bottle of Trapiche right beside my computer. It was a nice thing that she did until the contents of the bottle found its way in all the cracks of the keyboard. I was mad at Shondra for being so thoughtful, cause if she had just finished the bottle, there would have been no spillage, or ruinage of my very expensive new laptop. However, she is a good person and it’s not her fault, per-say, that now my life is in shambles. No, that’s not fair. It’s not the worst thing to happen to me. It’s not like I lost a limb or a loved one. Just all my pertinent information, work, and browsing history. I hear how it sounds. I’m the dirt-bag for even saying it. I spilled the wine. It was me. I can’t be trusted. I can’t do anything. Shondra, I’m sorry. I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at me. I’m always more mad at me than anyone but.. I guess I like to first put blame elsewhere cause I’m so fed up with being so bad.

“GOOD BOY!” By Julia at George Brown Theatre School


Tuesday, April 13, 2015
7:01pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

He strokes the skin right behind my ears. Tells me I’m soft, but I’m hiding it. He takes his tongue to the edge of where is expected. He lightly drags it up my neck to my ear lobe. He pauses. He whispers. “You taste like sunset.” He continues. My earlobe is in his mouth now, the softness being swallowed, chewed, ignited. Tells me I don’t have to be afraid of magic. I start to tell him I’m not–he devours me whole. “Shhh” he croons. “Don’t fight it. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.” I try again, “I’m not afraid. I’m fine.” He groans in a gentle way, holding my head up with his thumb and forefinger.

“please remove” by Julia on her bed

Monday, April 13, 2015
2:12am
5 minutes
The Blue Bottle Bag

Please remove the idea you have of me in your head. I’m asking you this because I’m desperately trying to fix myself. I don’t know how else to do it but to make sure there’s a clean slate first. I’m aware that I’m asking a lot. Maybe too much. But I wouldn’t be asking at all if I didn’t think it was worth the effort. I’ve just always had this plan for myself. This vision of who I was supposed to be. And I’ve got to admit, I haven’t been so great at upholding that vision. Completing anything that I imagined for myself, that I had set out to do. In fact, I had gotten good, great even, at being the person who doesn’t do anything at all with the intentions for being the person I am supposed to be. So. Maybe it’s more for me than for you, but, in the end it’s for you. In the end it’s for everyone. I know that sounds self-indulgent. I guess cause I have indulged so little in the things that would actually make me better, and so much in the things that don’t matter from one day to the next. I’m trying to sell my cookies here. I’m trying to lay out all my ingredients and convince you that they’re good enough to make you want to try them, buy them, and recommend them to your friends. I’m not selling them for a lot of money either. Not yet, anyway.

“always more for less!” By Sasha on her couch


Thursday, April 15, 2015
11:14pm
5 minutes
A Food Basics store sign

tug of war over the land again
birch bark and salmon skin ripped from
their bodies
their roots
my feet in rainboots
cracks in the plastic
the water always finds a way in
how can we make peace with injustice?
should we?
can i?
pinecones marking the sacrificial trail
a tuft of rabbit fur
a shark’s tooth

“GOOD BOY!” By Sasha at Kits Beach


Tuesday, April 13, 2015
9:14am
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

I take Ned for a walk every morning. Before I’ve fully arrived here, in the day, I walk down to the beach and I let Ned off the leash even though it’s against the law. It’s my small “Fuck the man”. I don’t do it anywhere else, I play by the rules, but I’m gonna let my hundred pound dog off the damn leash. Come on. There are other dog walkers there, and runners… A few carriage pushers. A few old women in running shoes and shawls. Sometimes I bring my travel mug with green tea. Sometimes I stop for a full fat latte. Screw the fads. My mother drank full fat milk and she was always thin as a broom handle. I don’t reward Ned with treats. I give him a good scratch behind the ears and a “good boy”. It’s enough for him.

“please remove” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday, April 13, 2015
11:02am
5 minutes
The Blue Bottle Bag

please remove the cobwebs from around your ears and listen
this this this story
opening like a fist
closing like a flower at
night
catching venus and the moon
an ancient song
we know the tune even though we’ve only heard it whispered
in the womb
the kind of memory that lives in the flora of our guts

“our only option!” By Julia on her bed


Sunday, April 12, 2015
1:05am
5 minutes
A text message from Sarah

Calls me up and he’s like, it’s our only option, we’re doing it, we’re moving to New York City. I say, how can you be so sure? And he says, a place that has city in the name? That was always the winning ticket! I say, but how can you be sure. I told you! He says. It’s in the name. Okay okay, when I got my palms read at the Slice and Saint, she said that New York City would make us happy. Is this before you finished your complimentary pizza slice? I ask. Of course! He says. They don’t let you have the slice without the voodoo! The phone beeps on his end. Gotta take this one, babe! It could be destiny calling!

“Thousands of things” by Julia on her bed


Saturday, April 11, 2015
2:45am
5 minutes
The Bargain Club sign

Got a thousand things to do today meliss! I set my alarm for exactly 7:41am, snoozed it for exactly 9 minutes, laid in bed for exactly ten more minutes thinking about the thousand things I have to do, and then I finally got out of bed by 8:00 am. I was prepared to get started, I had made a list, and then on my way to the bathroom, I tripped on the steamer that I left in the middle of the floor (cause I thought I’d just be able to SEE it and something like this would never even happen), I fell to the ground, and I fractured my wrist, meliss! How was I supposed to get things done like that!

“These jokes are for intellectuals only. ” By Julia at Pearson airport


Thursday, April 9, 2015
9:24pm
5 minutes
higherperspectives.com

Here’s one: what did the farmer say to his neighbour farmer yesterday morning? He said good morning, neighbour. Oh another? What did the elephant do to cool off? It sprayed itself with water, just like a regular elephant would. Making you laugh I see. Well in that case you’ll love this one: When is the right time to throw out your garbage? When the bin is full. Yeah yeah. These are fun. I could keep going all day. What did the basket ball team do again last night? They lost. Two apples roll down a hill. One is red. One is green. The green apple bumps into the red apple. And the red apple says to the green apple, “What do you think I am a typewriter?” That one’s my favourite. Classic typewriter jokes. Hope you didn’t find these too hard to understand. I know how difficult intellectual jokes can be for the average mind. If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t get the typewriter one at first either. Obviously now I do though. Obviously now I do.

“Are you free” by Julia on the 47 going north


Tuesday, April 7, 2015
11:57pm
5 minutes
From a text message

Are you free of your anger and your blame? Or do you curse at the passing bus who forgot to show you compassion and pick you up even though you were waiting just two feet too wrong to board? Are you free of your expectations and your disappointment? Or do you wonder why some people operate on a different level than you do? I’m a bit of Column A, little of Column B. I ask these questions because I’m half hoping you’ll say no and half hoping to hear you say yes. Solidarity. For one. And inspiration for two. Cause I’m not there yet. Cause I really want to be but I don’t know how to to find it. Are they already inside? The releasing agents? The ones that set my mind and heart and soul free of all their burdens? For this one I hope you say yes yes yes so I can stop with these excuses.

“Your values” by Julia on her couch


Monday, April 6, 2015
12:41am
5 minutes
From a bookmark

I wish I could go back in time and erase all the bad thoughts I’ve ever had about you. Not that I regret having them because you were hurt by them. You don’t even know they exist. I want to erase them because they remind me of a time when I didn’t trust myself enough to fall deeply. I’m mad that I had the signs laid out in front of me. All the proof was there: you were good. You showed me everyday. You made me feel it even when it felt impossible. And sometimes the fear of being fully loved by you manifested itself into negative thoughts about you. If I could I would replace all those bad ones with all the times you made me laugh, all the times you told me I was beautiful even when I had just woken up, all the times you serenaded me with your ukulele, all the times you held my hand when I got too scared to take a risk. It’s not to prove to you that I’m only keeping the good stuff from now on, it’s to prove to me that I know the difference.

“our only option!” By Sasha on her couch


Sunday, April 12, 2015
10:03pm
5 minutes
A text message from Sarah

Margot had never planned on living in the Five Alive Motel, it just sorta happened. When she and Lucy split up, Lucy got Suki, their German Shepard, which meant she got to keep the apartment. “What do I get?! What do I even get?!” Margot had shrieked until her voice was horse. Lucy had given her the cast iron frying pan, the red Rubbermaid blender and a teapot that her mother had given them when they first moved in together.

The Five Alive actually has a different name, but it smells like Five Alive so Margot calls it that. “Better than urine!” She jokes to the cashier at the IGA. She’s stocking up on nacho fixings, the primary food group for the broken hearted. She chooses her salsa carefully, switching it up every time in pursuit of the perfect blend of sweet, spicy and tangy. “When ya movin’ on, hon?” Asks the cashier, all feathered bangs and chipped coral nail polish. “Moving on?” Margot opens the bag of tortilla chips and starts stuffing them in her mouth. It was then, tongue burning with salt, cheeks being torn open by the sharp edges, that she realizes she’s been at the Five Alive for seven weeks. “Shit,” she says, reaching across the checkout, chip bag extended towards the cashier.

“Thousands of things” by Sasha in front of the fire


Saturday, April 11, 2015
10:28pm
5 minutes
The Bargain Club sign

Ellie isn’t sure when they started coming, if it was before Ryan started to leave bananas on the counter to ripen, or after the cherry blossoms bloomed. The ant infestation has gotten out of hand. She takes her frustration out on the carrots she chops for Gerrard, the sixteen year old rabbit that once belonged to her older sister. Ryan is at work when she decides that something must be done. “I’ve tried everything,” she’d said earlier, brushing her teeth. “What have you tried?” Ryan asked. “I sprinkled cayenne everywhere, and I made a honey trap!” She washed her face and Ryan left the bathroom, pulling on one grey sock, and then the other, as he walked down the hall. Ellie goes to the Home Hardware a few blocks away and asks the teenager with bad acne and nice teeth where she might find the pest control isle. He leads her there, sneaking a peek at his cellphone on the way. “What’s your vermin?” He asks, like it doesn’t matter, like he gets this question a lot. Ellie wonders why employees aren’t trained on sensitivity. “Lower your voice,” she growls. “Sorry,” he whispers, smiling, revealing teeth like Chicklets, all perfectly lined up. “Ants,” she replies. He crouches down and she crouches too, you’re in this with me now, she thinks. He hands her something called Raid, something nozzled and metallic. “This’ll get them good.” He leads Ellie to the cash, like she’s his puppy from the pound.

“These jokes are for intellectuals only. ” By Sasha outside of Whole Foods on W 4th


Thursday, April 9, 2015
4:42pm
5 minutes
higherperspectives.com

I’m gonna take just a few minutes of your time… Like, three, yeah, five minutes. If I make you laugh, you gotta give me ten dollars, okay? Okay. A mushroom walks into a and sidles up to this super hot redhead. He sits down beside her. He’s like, “Babe, can I buy you a drink?” She rolls her eyes and is like, “Um, NO.” He order a shot of tequila and says, “Why? I’m a FUN GUY!” Like, get it? Like, FUNGHI?! Like, mushroom?! Why aren’t you laughing? That’s my best one, lady, I don’t know what you thought I was gonna say, I mean… Are you one of those intellectuals that only really laugh at, like, clever jokes, like the kind in The New Yorker? Not my fucking brand.

“Are you free” by Sasha on a bench at UBC


Tuesday, April 7, 2015
10:25pm
5 minutes
From a text message

Not sure how I got here but Goddamn am I glad that I am…
Remember last night? Blurry blurry foggy head like cobwebs, man, like sticky cobwebs…
We made a pact, right? Blood brothers?
Army pants were on the floor this morning and I was like, What the fuck?
Man, did you bring me home?
Whole 24 pack, right?
Trying to quit smoking but, like, it’s hard man, it’s so, like, deep.
The craving.
It’s from my cuts.
It’s from my guts.
Forgetabout it.
Want a Red Bull? I think I’ve got one in my backpack.
Fuck.
Where’s my backpack?
Man, have you seen my backpack?

“Your values” by Sasha on her couch


Monday, April 6, 2015
12:25pm
5 minutes
From a bookmark

You’ve got the value
You’ve got the game
You’ve got the pace
You’ve got the flame
You’ve got the smile
You’ve got the heart
You’ve got the garlic
You’ve got the smarts
You’ve got the face
You’ve got the mind
You’ve got the songs
You’re one of a kind
You’ve got the run
You’ve got the bat
You’ve got the coat
You’ve got the fat
You’ve got the sweat
You’ve got the guts
You’ve got the monkey
You’ve got the mutts

“Is it coffee time yet?” by Sasha on Sarah’s bed in Abbotsford


Sunday, April 5, 2015
11:14pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the bus station in Kitchener

She ties the rubber in a knot and flicks the white liquid. She scrunches her nose. She adds it to the jar. Thirty five. She texts Bec. “Up yer game bitch”. Flat Face Pug Man was completely quiet when he came. His Flat Face barely changed. She’d watch them, all of them, number six through til now, focused on the tiny muscles around their eyes, the purse of the lips, the flexing biceps.

“Thank you for using Bell, how may I help you today?” She gulps from her coffee mug. “Nancy?” She recognizes the voice. Her heart drops, a bomb in her stomach. “Hold please…” She crawls under her desk and sucks her thumb. Chris finds her like that, three hours later. “Are you okay?” She nods. Her phone vibrates on the cubicle desk above her head. “It’s from Bec,” says Chris, getting down on his knees and taking her face in his hands.

“Welcome visitors from Denmark” by Sasha on the 99 going West


Saturday April 4, 2015
10:01pm
5 minutes
from a school sign

cold coffee in a pottery mug made by hands that know the fault lines of a woman’s body
too much almond milk and a dash of vanilla
denmark feels far with so much water between
honey
lick the lip
guard the contents
a lioness
not sure about the night on these flower streets
not sure about eye contact or road signs or lazy feet
unrolling the mat is the hardest part
once you’re there the truth flows
honey
lick the lip
once you’re there the streetlight doesn’t forget anyone
her hips are the mantra i’ve been waiting for

“twists the whip” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday April 3, 2015
5:17pm
5 minutes
The Zurau Aphorisms
Franz Kafka


The fall that you swept in is now called the
Fall

a maple leaf all reds and yellows
I wasn’t expecting you on my doorstep
Lansdowne Avenue
The screech of the bus and the families overflowing
babies and trundle buggies coming straight from No
Frills
Unassuming you snuck peeks as we turned pages and showed our soft
places
A photograph of your parents kissing
Braided hair
God was there all salty breath and open palms facing
up

Nostalgia is a currency carried in my breast pocket

“Welcome visitors from Denmark” by Julia on the 47 going north


Saturday April 4, 2015
12:09am
5 minutes
from a school sign

What do we do, children? Yes very good, children. Rise to greet them, children. Yes very very good. Everybody is equal, aren’t they, children? Yes, of course they are. Yes, yes. How do we receive them, children? Yes, children, very good. With open hearts and a friendly smile, right, children? Yes, very, very very, good. What don’t we do, children? What are the things we must never do, children? Yes, remember well, children. All together now, children. Let’s recite them all together. Pretend like we don’t hear them. Yes, excellent remembering, children. What else, children? Let them hug you without returning the action. Yes. No one-sided embraces, children. None at all, children.

“twists the whip” by Julia at her desk


Friday April 3, 2015
8:17pm
5 minutes
The Zurau Aphorisms
Franz Kafka


Twists the whip
Gets it ready
Practices in the mirror
One, two, Go on three
Takes one for the team.
His own team
He’s the captain and the coach
Ready
Ready
Ready
Today’s the day
The song sings in his head
Right now is the only thing that matters
Manic energy
Checking his watch
Tick
Tick
Boom
He’s off
And running
Twists the whip
Cracks it in the air
No more practice shots
It’s real now
It’s real life
Dangerous
Destructive
But he has his weapons
He has his tools
Don’t forget to breathe
He hears his mother’s voice in his ears
Don’t forget to feel
The magic urgency fuels him
It’s exactly as he imagined
Only nothing like he hoped
Twists the whip
Gets it ready
Now he’s ready

“A woman staggered into” by Julia at her desk


Thursday April 2, 2015
1:12am
5 minutes
Focus
Daniel Goleman


A woman staggered into a room filled with people locked in their cages. She was reluctant at first but when she arrived, she decided to follow through with herself.
She glanced around at all the bars, and ropes. Sad. Sad. Helpless. Sad.
She went about her business, gliding from one side of the room to the next, opening jars of jam and tasting her fruit-dipped fingers. She made eye contact with every single one of them. What are they doing here, what do they need? Why. Why. Helpless. Why.
Her freedom made them angry. And their hurt hearts thudded loud for all to hear.
Her self-awareness and self-love made them wish they could turn off their 80% brain.
You Are Not Good Enough. You Must Let Others Win. You Are Not As Important. Don’t Bother Trying To Achieve What You Desire. Forget Your Passions. Kill Your Dreams.
The smell of her lightness was pungent to the lot of them.

“Jeff Jones, I’ll kill you!” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday April 1, 2015
2:36am
5 minutes
Bulk Basics

I have had it up to HERE with you JEFF JONES. Oh don’t smile at me you smug piece of shit, I will end you before you can even raise your eyebrows in that cocky ass way one more time. That’s right, I’m angry. I’ve said it and I stand by it. What were you thinking? Seriously, do you have an explanation or are you going to play the “This is just who I am BULLSHIT CARD?” Cause it is bullshit. You afraid or something? Is that why you’re so guarded and so resistant to help? Cause you secretly hate yourself? Well guess what, we all hate ourselves sometimes if not at all times so I don’t give a shit if you feel a little less self-love. It’s NOT AN EXCUSE, JEFF FUCKING JONES. Even your name makes me recoil. It’s such a pretentious name. You remind me of that two first names guy, Jeff David, from high school that everyone liked because he had spiky hair and a bad attitude. He was an asshole, Jeff. And just because you share the same name doesn’t mean you have to share the same behaviour. Now. Let’s discuss it. I don’t want to even HEAR any excuses!

“Traditionally served with rice” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday March 31, 2015
12:42am
5 minutes
overheard at Culprit Coffee Co.

There’s a stinging silence as he introduces his family to the love of his life.
He had expected this and prepared for it, but it is still happening. It is still real.
She is not the same as him (Thank God) in more ways than one.
They’re the reasons he loves her so deeply. They’re the reasons he needs her, specifically her, and why she is irreplaceable.
She calls him on his shit and challenges him when he’s being wishy-washy.
She teaches him about sharing, and avoiding waste, and saving money.
She always makes eye contact when they’re speaking.
She makes him want to play and explore and experience.
She also happens to be a hazel eyed red head with perfect freckles and a collection of fashionable wide brimmed hats.
His family wants something different for him. Something closer to what they know.
Something traditionally served with rice.

“This is a highly competitive, adjudicated process” by Julia at the Bloor/gladstone public library


Monday March 30, 2015 at the TPL
5:46pm
5 minutes
The BC Arts Council website

I have never been so nervous! I’m sweating behind my knees and I’m gassy like a bagel on a cow’s hip. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? BECAUSE I CARE WAY TOO MUCH?? IS IT MY FAULT? I just want them to like me. To accept me and recognize me for my efforts. I think that’s a normal human thing to want. But this is big. It’s not just like, oh, you didn’t gain approval, it means, oh, you didn’t get funding, validation, encouragement to continue trying, etc, etc. I’m fully aware of the competition. I don’t want to be the kind of person who competes with the people out there who compete in these things for sport. But can a nobody compete against his or herself? Can this be turned into a positive somehow? I can’t think, I just want this. But did I do enough work to earn it? I don’t know, I’m sitting here waxing ridiculous to a bunch of overly medicated rich people who all equally believe that their kid deserves this over me.

“Welcome to the playground of the future” by Julia on the 505 going west


Sunday March 29, 2015
6:37pm
5 minutes
A TIFF kids TTC ad

Join me on the moon
and we’ll shoot spit balls down below
trying to hit the people in love
the ones who tongue kiss at the bus stop
we’ll laugh and we’ll touch our skin together
we’ll weave a human bracelet out of our heart strings
we’ll tie them together so when one of us moves
the other gets tugged along
back and forth
we seesaw with our metaphors, two points of equilibrium
I’ll bake cookies for the occasion
buttery ones with some kind of special chip
not chocolate though cause what’s the point?
I’ll save you a spot right beside me on the mountain
and we’ll send paper airplanes of our promises to each other
down below so somebody else may see
just what I mean to you
and just what you mean to me
on my list it’ll say To Hold Your Face In My Hands Once A Day
on yours you could put something along the lines of
To Smile From The Core Of Me Whenever Possible
And we’ll have designed the rules to our very own board game
Making sure that number one is We Both Win Always Always

“WOMAN SENTENCED FOR BUTT INJECTIONS” by Julia at her desk


Saturday March 28, 2015
1:19am
5 minutes
An unknown transit newspaper

Not a crime, is it, to want a better backside? I don’t know when butts became so in demand. What makes a great butt? I know the answer is one that can have a bowel movement whenever necessary. I know about functionality, let me tell you a story. Oh you really want a story? Shoot. Once upon a time, there was a human being that could not have a bowel movement and it really really sucked. The end. I mean, where do you go from there? And I’m not talking about the humans who don’t have pleasant bowel movements, cause that is a very different category. I am convinced there is no such thing as a human who can not expel waste from the usual place. I believe that if there did exist such a creature it would be an old wives tale. But…then again, I don’t read the news so I only know, in total, like, a handful of things about this world, and butt conditions is definitely on the speculative list

“Traditionally served with rice” by Sasha in the bath


Tuesday March 31, 2015
10:13pm
5 minutes
Bulk Basics

He looks at the menu and isn’t sure what to make of anything – the symbols are jumbled, there are red peppers dancing in the corners, the numbers are the words is the address are the burrito toppings!
“Please excuse me, I’m just going to go to the bathroom.” He stands before she can say, “Of course,” and he’s through the door with a moustache and a sombrero before she can have another sip of her margarita. He gazes into his own eyes, something he doesn’t recommend usually, but this evening is different. He rubs at his forehead – trying to scratch off the five letters scrawled across it. He sees a flash of Polly, hair short, eyes glinting. “You need to get lost right now, honey! I’m on a date!” W-I-D-O-W. He washes his face. He goes into the stall and sits on the closed toilet. The tears come faster than he’s ever felt and before he can blow his nose, the sombrero door is open. “Oliver? Are you alright?” He sits straight up. “This is the, uh, men’s room! I think you chose the wrong door!” “It’s me, it’s Jillian…” He stands, takes a deep breath and opens the door.

“Choosing what is important for her” by Julia on the 504 going west


Friday March 27, 2015
1:08am
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

When Andrea lifted her head from steering wheel she didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know that she had just crashed her cream coloured Toyota corolla into a city transit bus, inhibiting 50 people from getting to work on time, or to school, or to the first job interview the two or three people were able to secure since getting back on their feet. She felt her stomach doing summersaults, regretting in that instant her choice to consume only spicy salami cut up into thick round chunks for breakfast. She saw smoke all around her and thought it was only a dream; the rising and falling of a dragon’s breath, heating his layer and keeping himself warm in his cave.

“I checked and it looks good.” By Julia at Starbucks


Thursday March 26, 2015 at Starbucks
6:32pm
5 minutes
From an email

I hate sometimes more than I want to
More than I ought to
More than I need to
It fills me up
Enough to skip my second meal
And try to nap for 25 minutes
Before I have to get somewhere
I don’t like when people refuse to laugh at my jokes cause they have no sense of humour.
I know it does not mean they are wrong or right if they don’t find me funny, but the ones who smile without showing their teeth don’t like to be showed up by someone in front of a group of someones. I guess that shows weakness. I guess that shows emotional unwillingness.

“a new relationship to the vagina” by Julia on the subway going west


Wednesday March 25, 2015
5:28pm
5 minutes
Vagina
Naomi Wolf


Yesterday I glanced down and I was surprised. Surprised that after all these years (31 if you’re wondering), I actually liked what I saw. Yeah get over it I’m talking about my vagina. Why can’t I? Don’t answer that, I don’t give a shit. I’m allowed to talk about whatever I want, especially when it’s something I love. You hear that, I don’t just like my vagina. I love her. With a thousand deeply regretted shitty comments I’ve uttered about myself, I take a stand today, mirror in between my legs, and facing the setting sun. I see who I am all over. Soft. Capable. Hungry. Open. Closed. Both. Alive. Strong. Resilient. Self-preserved. Willing to house others.
My vagina is my spirit animal.
I am she and she is me.

“Some of the inspiration came from silent movies.” By Julia at her desk


Tuesday March 24, 2015
5:45pm
5 minutes
From Women In Clothes
Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & 639 Others


Close your eyes
Don’t be afraid
But
hold on tight
Because it’s the ride of your life
It’s starting tonight
With a dream
And a hope
Time’s suspended here
It’s not a joke
Keep your faith
In what matters most
Things like flying
And diving In head first
And finally letting go
And finally letting go far
Farther than what you think is possible
Be ready for the curves up ahead
And changes in weather
And the voice inside you saying
This isn’t easy
So better turn back
Don’t turn back
Now that you’re here
There is no there

“You look terrible.” By Julia at Holy Oak Cafe


Monday March 23, 2015 at Holy Oak Cafe
5:01pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Higher Grounds

Oh I can’t be seen with you. I can’t be seen with you. I told you not to wear that damn New Years shirt. I must have said it a thousand billion times. And now the only explanation for you wearing it tonight when it matters more than you’ll ever fully grasp, is that God is testing me. But do you know what the downside is? I don’t give a flying fuck if I fail God’s stupid little test because I don’t need his rewards. That’s right. I don’t need anything from someone who is going to dangle opportunities for success right in my face and then snatch them away with one touch of the world’s most hideous shirt. And he puts it on my boyfriend. To test and torture. I swear to you it would be better if you wore zero shirts to this fucking wedding than the God-awful, God-testing one you’re wearing right now. Please stand the fuck away from me. Just go over to the other side of the room where the haunting and painful pattern of your God-damn stupid fucking shirt can’t be seen or heard.

“This is a highly competitive, adjudicated process” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday March 30, 2015
2:13pm
5 minutes
The BC Arts Council website

Ladies and gentlemen, theys and theirs, it is of the utmost importance that you understand that this is a highly competitive, adjudicated process. Not everyone will succeed. In fact, look around you, look at the over-plucked or unkempt eyebrows and the chapped lips and the waxy moustaches… Only a handful of these toenailed toes will make it onwards. This is not to dissuade you. This is to INSPIRE YOU! This is to set you FREE! Competition is the fire in your loins or loinettes! It’s the rumble in your belly (and not from burrito night!) It’s setting your mind to something with the whole-hearted belief that YOU CANNOT FAIL! (But you can. And you most likely will. Always allow that littttttle voice in the back of your head that says you’re a loser to taunt you and judge you and keep you in check.)

“Welcome to the playground of the future” by Sasha in her bed


Sunday March 29, 2015
2:13pm
5 minutes
A TIFF kids TTC ad

When you care for me it’s like a wave crashing
Salt on my cheeks
Hair a little bit wet and a little bit greasy
The sound is gentler though
Water in the morning
A bit more still
I say “sorry” because you don’t want me to say “thank you”
because I need to say something
because it’s hard to just accept this unconditional love
Gulls circle
Tempting me towards awkward paranoia
Leading me down sand dunes that are riddled with
photographs
mixed tapes
black socks with holes in the toes
I want to cling to you like a barnacle
my desire calcifying on your chest
I want to swim next to your freedom like a dolphin
My fingers grazing the possibility of your soft wet skin

“WOMAN SENTENCED FOR BUTT INJECTIONS” by Sasha in her bed


Saturday March 28, 2015
9:39pm
5 minutes
An unknown transit newspaper

The city roars like a lion and she sleeps like a
dove
Wings tucked and coo-ing while feathers reminding us to
look up look down look deeper look through
The island calls with her harp and her pine needles
slugs leaving hope-slime
Will it be enough?
I’ll need to get a driver’s licence
Where do ambition and simplicity meet?
Let’s go there and
bring twelve lemons and our favourite books
One for me
(bell hooks)
One for you
(Dharma Bums)
It’s all we’ll need

Choosing what is important for her” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday March 27, 2015
6:42pm
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

She’s kept a food journal for twelve years. Mostly it’s been a secret. Only three people know. Sonja – because they spend so much time together and secrets are boring to keep for so long with someone so close; Pete (her once removed ex) – because he once caught her writing in it, when she’d thought he’d been asleep, and he asked and asked until she caved and then he made endless fun of her (via questions) and then she left him; and Jillian – because when Jillian was going through her sex change she felt it was only fair to reveal something private and strange and a bit shameful because Jillian was revealing so much so publicly and it was all she could think to reveal of herself.

She decides, one particularly rainy evening, as she sits cross-legged on her bed, her sheepdog Oscar snoring beside her, that this madness has to stop. She’s taken to recounting everything she’s eaten before bed, a kind of calming ritual, perhaps similar to putting ones legs up against the wall or praying (but entirely different). Today, she can’t remember what she’d eaten for lunch. Was it a can of tuna on baby salad greens? Was it miso soup? Was it half a cantaloupe with cottage cheese? Was it a protein shake? It was as though every day was every other day and nothing was as it should be. “Why am I doing this?” She asks aloud, Oscar waking up and cocking his head towards her, just the amount of sympathy she needs.

“I checked and it looks good.” By Sasha on her couch


Thursday March 26, 2015
5:35pm
5 minutes
From an email

“It’s okay,” you say. “I’ll be fine,” you say. “I know that you didn’t mean it,” you say.

None of us think we’re prejudiced. But we’re programmed to prefer what’s like us. But we’re taught that they are safe when they smell the same as we do, they are trustworthy if they speak our language and eat our kind of food.

I looked and it doesn’t check out. I am ashamed of the places where I am closed to difference. I am speaking this because I want to shine a light there, I want to say, “Look, I am a pretty progressive woman, but there are still moments where I am boggled by my own distaste for “difference”, where I am perplexed by my incapacity to understand!”

This is a quiet war cry from a red couch in a beautiful apartment in a towering house in the most expensive cities in the country.

“a new relationship to the vagina” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday March 25, 2015
9:41am
5 minutes
Vagina
Naomi Wolf


She mentions the book over pottery mugs of Earl Grey tea, cupped in our open palms. We’re perched in chairs that used to live in her parents house, smaller versions of their armchair grownup selves. She tells me that it’s changed her life, this book, and I trust her, this woman, and I promise myself that when I see it, I will buy it. I want a new relationship with my vagina, too.

The timer is running out of time because I’ve paused a bunch while writing this, feeling nervous, not wanting to overshare, but wanting to be very honest.

If you haven’t read Vagina by Naomi Wolf, please find someone to borrow it from, or buy it, or order it from the library. If you are a woman, this is for you. If you are a man, this is for you. If you are neither, this is also for you. No matter who you love or why you love them or what you have or what you don’t have, this book is for you.

It took me a long time to recognize the politics of my body. I want to understand them and I can’t simply from reading The Globe and Mail.

“Some of the inspiration came from silent movies.” By Sasha at Great Dane Coffee


Tuesday March 24, 2015 at Great Dane Coffee
2:43pm
5 minutes
From Women In Clothes
Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & 639 Others


When she moves she’s a dancer but
she’s not a dancer
in the proper sense of the word
capital D
She doesn’t glide across sprung floors to the beat of
a drum or
leap like a fawn from here to there
legs spread wide
She moves with grace down the aisle of the grocery store
stretching a long arm for a high placed bottle of low sodium soy sauce
Pushing her cart like it contains her first born daughter
A small watermelon
Some linguine noodles
A bag containing seven lemons

“You look terrible.” By Sasha at Higher Grounds


Monday March 23, 2015 at Higher Grounds
11:10am
5 minutes
Overheard at Higher Grounds

I choose my sweaters carefully. I only have six of them and each has a very particular role. The forest green one, purchased for my Engagement Party that took place around four long picnic tables in a huge park, has now become worn and over-washed. I refuse to get rid of it, though, as I so love the memories associated and the high neckline, perfect over a collared shirt. Does one need to hand wash sweaters? The black v-neck, one of those crosses between a sweater and a shirt, is tight and sexy. When I wear it I feel like I am a real woman. Gold hoop earrings and boyfriend jeans are it’s perfect partners. It has a hole in the left armpit that I’ve stitched up several times. I’ve had it since my early twenties. I’ve gone a year without wearing it, but choosing to keep it in the Annual Spring Purge means that I know a time will return when I crave it’s clinginess and slightly washed-out colour.

“the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence” by Sasha at Kits Beach


Sunday March 22, 2015
10:10am
5 minutes
The Prophet
Kahlil Gibran


I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean, do you report it to the police? Do you pawn it?! What if they trace it back to you? I don’ wanna go to jail for something I didn’t even do! Do you keep it as a trinket in your jewellery box for a year or two before you dare to wear it? I was quitting smoking at the time so I was a real moody SOB. I put it in my pocket and I continued on my way to the Salvation Army. I kept putting my hand in my pocket to make sure it was still there. My grandmother was into antiques and she taught me how to hold a diamond up to the light to see what it’s worth. She taught me how to lick the gold and see if it’s real. She could even name the carat – just from the tinny taste of it… A real talent. Yup… A real talent. I’d done all that, down in the park, in the ravine, so I knew it was worth a heck of a lot. It was worth Charity’s university fund and wedding fund and don’t-you-dare-get-preggers fund.

“we realize we can’t eat money” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday March 21, 2015
6:24pm
5 minutes
from an Indian Proverb

We realize we can’t eat money so we eat
banana pudding instead
The texture reminds us of babyhood of being
held close to the heartbeat of
the source
We slop it up like it’s delicious
fooling ourselves
Joke’s on us
Joke’s on the ice cream sundae
No banana split for old time’s sake
We realize we can’t keep eating banana pudding because
it’s making us sick
We’re turning soft
Ripened on the counter
Speckling brown and black

“the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence” by Julia on her couch


Sunday March 22, 2015
1:56pm
5 minutes
The Prophet
Kahlil Gibran


I knew they were going to ask me about it. My job, what did I do? Why was I always home all the time and what was I constantly doing sitting on the couch with 4 notebooks strewn around me? I knew it was coming. They wanted to understand who I was and what my deal was. And when I told them, these complete foreign strangers what my profession was, it all made sense to them. They said “Ohhhhh, okay, we understand now.” They were relieved that they had an explanation for me. “It’s different. Uh..very not common!” Then it went through my mind that they were automatically judging me and talking about me every time they spoke french around me. I started to question myself, was I truly what I said I was? I didn’t want them to think I was a liar or just good at making up excuses. Maybe where they’re from they don’t consider what I do to be a lucrative or respectable career. Or maybe they don’t care about that and are only interested in me because they want to invite me to a threesome.

“we realize we can’t eat money” by Julia at her desk


Saturday March 21, 2015
6:24pm
5 minutes
from an Indian Proverb

It stops me in my tracks for a second. We can’t keep it, eat it, turn it into fuel and be nurtured by it. We can’t take it with us, weave it into our bodies, make it anything but what it is. It stops me. It stops me in my tracks. When the world is spinning so fast it looks like it’s still..
That’s how it hits me, moves me, like a tectonic plate. I don’t know what I need usually -to remember this. A baby’s laughter, the oil painting of a woman breast feeding her new-born, a warm hug that lasts for at least 6 seconds, the poetry I buy with the currency of my tears. I am energy, I eat energy, I do not eat money. I wear artistic expression. I do not wear money. I think in hearts and hope. I do not think in money.

“I haven’t messed with or taken anything at all today.” By Julia at the Bloor/Gladstone Library branch


Friday March 20, 2015
1:07pm
5 minutes
Black Butler
Yana Toboso


Clean As a Whistle Wendy! That’s what they call me. Cause I can be counted on when it’s important (and when it’s not) to be fully present. And to drive people home when they’ve consumed too much! You can call my references, who are mostly my friends, because I’ve been nothing but a good one to them and they know it and they’ll tell you. If you want an example? Allow me to give one through a story. I was not my best self, one day, long ago, and I was finding myself easily persuaded. I would say yes to anything! I would say no to the consequences! But when I was asked if I wanted to put things up my nose like the rest of them, I said no! I said NO to that and I said yes to everything. So I made sure everyone arrived alive! Because It was a very clear choice! Say yes to everything but stand up for one thing. See, black heart and all, but my veins are clear as day! And that’s how I got my name!

“giving a private lesson” by Julia at her desk


Thursday March 19, 2015
9:19pm
5 minutes
from a slide in lecture

So I’ve been meeting with this guy for coffee every two weeks because on a whim, I put an ad on the internet offering my tutoring services. And honestly, I wasn’t expecting anyone to respond but this guy, who I’ve been meeting for coffee and conversation every week and a half, was looking to improve his Italian and so he sent me a message. The first day I showed up with all my books and my notes and an Italian flag lapel pin my mom found for me at a garage sale (which I regret, but still wore) because I was ready to teach; To exchange a service. But this guy, who I’ve been meeting for coffee and conversation and casual sex every week ended up being ridiculously hot. Like stupid hot. And he wanted to improve his Italian so I was like, WHAT? YES? YES.

“I haven’t messed with or taken anything at all today.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday March 20, 2015
10:58am
5 minutes
Black Butler
Yana Toboso


I like it when I’m spinning and the only way I can get that feeling is on a tire swing or with a shot of – … Never-mind, I mean, I don’t wanna upset you. I haven’t messed up or taken anything at all today. I pinky swear. I got that flame inside though… Needs more kindling. There’s a soundtrack, right, constantly playing these chords on a piano and I can’t keep it quiet because then, I mean, I hate it, but if it was quiet I’d think I was dead. Or dying. And clapping hands… To the rhythm of a march. My father was in the army right, so maybe it’s one of those memory that isn’t yours things. Maybe it’s one of those… I’d be more comfortable if we could go down to that little park around the corner so I could swing for a bit. Wouldn’t be so twitchy.

“giving a private lesson” by Sasha in the Binnings lecture hall


Thursday March 19, 2015
1:46pm
5 minutes
from a slide in lecture

The rabbit ran away. Don’t make me say it again… The rabbit ran away. I got nothin’ without that fuckin’ rabbit, man! I don’ gotta show without that rabbit. Clarissa said she saw it run towards the women’s washroom but I’m not gonna be one of those pervs who goes in, meets a lady, and then has to say, “Jus’ lookin’ for my RABBIT…”

Pepple want classics, man. They want the card tricks and the saw and the box and they want the rabbit in the hat. I tried to break out. I really did. That was pretty much all of 1998 for me. You know, hot sauce and table jumping an’ stuff. No one wanted it. I barely got by. Had to borrow money from fuckin’ Bucky.

You think Sting likes singing “Roxanne”? You think he likes it after thirty years of “you don’t have to wear that dress tonight”?! He doesn’t. There’s no way. But, people work hard for their money and when they spend it on YOU, you gotta deliver… You better give ’em what they want.

“And now I know he’s not my soulmate” by Sasha at UBC


Wednesday March 18, 2015
1:16pm
5 minutes
overheard at aroma espresso bar

Lying beside G., he smells like salami and body odour or maybe his body odour is salami-like
And now I know he’s not my soulmate
My soulmate’s sweat will smell like pinecones
Looking across the table at A., he chews like a rabbit (all front teeth) and it’s even stranger because we’re eating sushi
I down a half bottle of sake (come on, they’re small)
And now I know he’s not my soulmate
My soulmate will chew mostly with his molars
Flecks of rice will not escape when he leans in to tell me about the shower gel at his gym
Walking beside Z., he always keeps a half-step ahead of me, preferring that I always be in “catch-up” mode
And now I know he’s not my soulmate
My soulmate will walk with me, side-by-side, fingers grazing like blades of grass

I trust signs
It’s a sign
There’s a sign
And there, too

“Feed Your Family” by Sasha at W Cafe


Tuesday March 17, 2015 at W Cafe
10:10am
5 minutes
taste.com

At Ken and June’s wedding
I sweat through my red silk dress
Alexandra sang Unforgettable
and everyone jumped in the river between the
ceremony
and the
reception
The rocky bank speckled with lacy undies and
spotted boxer shorts
like trilliums

I found Jasmine crying in the outhouse and
I told her a joke about a mushroom
she laughed
and
snot bubbled from her nose
and we both laughed
and I only thought once about the time that she made me
get in the red
Honda Civic with her ex-boyfriend
after he’d been drinking

Henry and I danced
only to fast songs
June took off her high-heeled shoes and ran
bare-foot
through the vegetable garden
pulling up carrots and handfuls of
nasturtiums