“his birthplace has now lost its charm” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday November 14, 2018
8:40am
5 minutes
Master of the Masterpiece
Anya Georgijevic

He remembers home as bigger than it is. Maybe that’s because he has something to compare it to now. He remembers walking down Princess St. and knowing almost everyone he passed. How they’d greet one another. Mrs. Blake, his kindergarten teacher, pushing her grandson in a stroller. Dan Savant, star athlete turned used car salesman, after he dislocated his shoulder one too many times.

“Hi, Davey, how are you?”

“Good to see you, Davey! Lookin’ good!”

Now that he’s back, packing up Mama’s house, putting everything in piles (recycle, donate, trash, keep), he feels it’s lost it’s charm. Home changes, it’s not static. Home is something else.

“for young students who can’t sit still” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday November 8, 2018
6:11pm
5 minutes
From the Beginning
Chelsey Burnside

Mickey makes the sign of the cross and rolls his eyes back into his head so that only the whites are showing. Sister Helen waddles to the front of the class and we all try not to laugh. We don’t want to get our knuckles smacked with her big protractor. She whips her head around and Mickey is still going, crossing himself faster and faster, tongue hanging out of his mouth. No one moves. Sister Helen narrows her eyes.

“Mr. Fitzgerald, do you need to visit the nurse?” Her voice could cut ice.

“No, ma’am…” Mickey says, quietly.

“WHAT DID YOU SAY?!”

“No, Sister Helen.”

“I get a lot of praise for the work I do” by Sasha in her bed

Thursday November 1, 2018
11:40am
5 minutes
A quote by José Andrés

This morning I woke up with a pain in my side the size of your body
And now I’m carrying you along side me unable to move or breathe
I’ve never had trouble sleeping til now and now I can’t sleep past
Sunrise something about the light creeping through the cracks and
I’m ready to feel the flutters and kiss the surrender and get into
A hot shower

We talk about the power of water sitting on a couch across from
Each other and I know now more about listening and being listened to
Than I did only half a year ago mark the difference in feeling in my
Throat in my heart in my guts when I’m being really listened to

“It received glowing praise” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday October 20, 2018
8:02pm
5 minutes
A quote by Gordon Campbell

Avocados ripening in a ceramic bowl
next to butternut squash
a lemon
Regretfully
I have everything I want
and still I want more
It’s natural right
these bananas ripening
too quick these bananas
that will likely become
bread become stomach
become sweet become shit
Guzzling water standing
over the sink I can’t get
enough I can’t have enough
Enough
Rinsing lentils for soup
until the water runs clear
A handful of pecans
of potato chips
of cut up apple
These are the moments
This is the moment

“Worries are the most stubborn habits” by Sasha at her desk

Monday October 15, 2018
4:09pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Vicki Baum

Worries are the most stubborn habits. I know this by heart, like the songs we sing in the morning when we’re drunk with dreams. I have a bad habit named Worry. I count on her to visit when I’m least expecting, when I think I have a handle, when I’m still, when I’m flying. Worry is a loyal companion, especially when things are fucked up and fraying, delicious and beautiful. A habit is a thing that can be broken in thirty days. No. A habit is a thing that can be started in thirty days. Does it go both ways?

“This report contains confidential information” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday October 13, 2018
11:39pm
5 minutes
From the lab report

This report contains confidential information. Please do not show this report to anyone, share it via the internet, or forward it in an email. This report is for your eyes only. There’s no reason for the confidentiality really, besides that this report wants to be taken very very seriously, and confidentiality means seriousness. Everyone knows that. This report is really only pertinent to you and no one else would care about it if they did happen to see it. This report is snickering about how earnest the expression is on your face.

“not even debate” by Sasha at Terrace Beach

Friday October 12, 2018
9:38am
5 minutes
From a quote by Richard Wolff

Jennifer doesn’t enjoy debate, but Paul does, and so they do, because that’s how things go. Jennifer enjoys conversation, and avocado and cucumber sushi, and sleeping in socks. Paul enjoys debate, reading the New Yorker with a cup of lukewarm black coffee, and running uphill. Jennifer thinks that Paul is bizarre, and that’s one of the things she loves about him. Paul thinks Jennifer is simple, and that’s one of the things he loves about her. Paul instigates debates and Jennifer resists and refutes and then engages, because that’s what he wants, and she wants to give him what he wants.

“Most families” by Sasha at the table at Terrace Beach

Thursday October 11, 2018
4:05pm
5 minutes
Poor and Poorer
Jerrold Ladd

I know how lucky I am and I don’t take it for granted. Really I don’t. I know how lucky I am when I become an artist and no one questions it or asks how I’ll pay rent; when I fail and rise and break and shed and am seem for all of it, for each of them, by each of them. I know when I see how she isn’t known by her family in the way she wants so badly to be, and she is known by mine, in a different way, but in a way closer to her craving. I know how lucky I am, when he has pie and tea with my father and can talk about how hard it’s been, how he doubts me, and us, and the future, and more so himself.

“lured into my childhood home” by Sasha at MacKenzie beach

Tuesday October 9, 2018
2:42pm
5 minutes
The Stray
Stephen A. Waite

We play Monopoly lying on our stomachs on the carpet
in front of the woodstove. Mom is out for a cross
country ski. We just filled our bellies with hot
chocolate, more than we’re allowed to have, more than
is good for us, but that’s okay. You put another
log into the mouth of the stove, and I jump up
because there are sparks, and fire is brave.
You know how to turn the damper. You know how to
be the banker. We hear Mom banging her skis on
the porch.

“I married Dave” by Sasha at Ocean Village

Monday October 8, 2018
3:31pm
5 minutes
Plants Don’t Have Birthdays
Andrea Gregor

If I’d married Dave my life wouldn’t be what it is. I would never have married Dave, but if I had, it would be chaos. It’s chaos now, in a way, but life is chaos sometimes and I’m okay with that. Dave is chaos. I’m not okay with that.

I sometimes get bored by the stories of my past that just go round and round and round and round. Can I ever let go? Am I the only one? What’s with the barnacles?

Summer makes me nostalgic and fall makes me nostalgic and winter makes me so nostalgic and spring makes me nostalgic too.

“slow puffs of steam” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday August 16, 2018
6:02pm
5 minutes
What Happened During The Ice Storm
Jim Heynen

She bakes because her favourite thing is the smell of bread rising, butter browning, cookies crisping. She bakes because her mother bakes, and her grandmother baked, and so on and so forth.

She limits her baking to Saturday, and brings the treats to her meditation group on Sunday afternoon.

“These are the best lemon squares I have ever had, Rachel,” says Glenn, who lead today and accidentally hit the gong with his foot when he was readjusting his seated position.

“Aw, thanks,” she says, and she knows he’s telling the truth. Her lemon squares are the best.

“You should open a bakery,” says Carol.

“I’ve thought of it, but I worry that if it’s my job I won’t love it as much anymore.”

“Maybe you’ll come to love it even more,” Glenn smiles. “That’s just as much of an option…”

“My miracle is not that you can’t knock me down” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday August 15, 2018
7:10am
5 minutes
Monday Night Class
Stephen Gaskin

you know that you’ll find yourself
finally
in your forties
you’ve heard that it can happen
for some people
in their thirties
but that’s just not you
you can’t even remember to
take the recycling out on the
proper day
or survive a month on
plenty of fish
you know you’ll find yourself
eventually
before death
you imagine that that’s what
that means
eventually
it’s a miracle that you often say
“I’m fine,”
when asked
“How are you, Melanie?”
you know that you are fine
most of the time
occasionally you drink too much
and on those nights
you wonder if anyone
is fine at all
if anyone has found themself

“Eyes roaming distant waters,” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday August 9, 2018
3:52pm
5 minutes
Wandering At Oblique Creek
T’ao Ch’ien

You walk to the lake before sunrise. You barely stumble on the path because you’ve tread it so many times but once or twice there is a new root, a new rock, and you almost trip but you don’t because you’re listening. When you arrive at the water’s edge, the light is rising. The sun isn’t on the horizon yet, but the light is reaching up up up up up and there are colours like you’ve never seen before – a new lilac, a new azure, a new lapis, a new rouge. You find a place to sit, the quiet, familiar dome of a boulder that you’ve sat on many times before. You unfocus your eyes over the still glass of the water. Sky and lake blend. You and this place are one, these birch trees, these ferns, these cedars.

“full of tenderness” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday August 8, 2018
6:52am
5 minutes
Chant
Wang An-Shih

Gimme a minute sweet one I’ve got water boiling on the stove
Gimme a minute honeypots I’m on the phone
Hold on darling there’s something I need to finish here
Can you wait?
Why not?
Okay…
Hold on…
HOLD ON…
Okay.
What is it?
A caterpillar?
My goodness!
You’re right!
Can you could those legs?
How many do you think she has?
Gentle.
Gentle!
See that little yellow stripe?
How do you think she feels about it?
It’s not quite time for lunch yet but I have some apricots if you’d like.

“whose eyes are a thousand blind windows:” by Sasha on her balcony

Tuesday August 7, 2018
7:30am
5 minutes
Howl
Allen Ginsberg

He’s got a tight face. I wonder about plastic surgery (try not to judge, each to their own, I guess)… He’s expressionless, which is super odd given his job, given that he’s a self-proclaimed actor. I wonder how much he actually works. It might sound awful, but his eyes are hollow, like looking into them is very unsettling. I bet he pulled the wings off flies as a kid. Maybe still does. I bet he googles weird, really weird shit. You know those people who you see and you just know that if you went into their search history it would be worse than a murder show?

“You should always be sure” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday August 6, 2018
7:02am
5 minutes
The Law of Success
Paramahansa Yogananda

The thing is, we’re never sure
And we leap anyway
Off the edge
Whatever that looks like for you

It’s often a dock
like the one at Knowlton Lake
Sometimes it’s a cliff
something I would never do

Every big decision
doesn’t come from a place of sureness
It comes from an inkling
like the loons calling at dusk

Did you hear that?
Was that their song?
Is it time?
Is it now?

We’re never sure
or maybe I’m never sure
But I am on the other hand
My gut whispers “Go”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hear splash blue” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday August 4, 2018
2:42pm
5 minutes
Here Room Sleeps
Dale Smith

“Do you hear that?” Mimi tilts her head up, and cocks it a little to the right.

“No…” This happens often, but I play along. I got a good sleep last night so I’m feeling game.

“It’s it’s it’s it’s BLUE!” Mimi laughs.

“You’re hearing the blue?”

“M-hmm.”

“Mimi, how are you hearing a colour?”

“It’s easy! You just feel in your tummy and your tongue and some other places like maybe the liver or the kidney! And it’s clear that it’s BLUE.”

I haven’t heard her explain something like this before, about her experience of the world.

“Mama, are you crying?” She touches my face.

“$750-million investment” by Sasha at her desk

Friday August 3, 2018
9:33pm
5 minutes
From an Enbridge ad

It’s a million dollar
three point two
seven point nine
three and half
oh my word
it’s dollar symbols
and decimal points
and I can’t even
count that high

They are building a
new skyscraper and
every new story
makes me
every new story
gives me
I joke about
going down there
and getting a tour
dressing up
I’ll wear heels and
you’ll wear a three
piece suit

Two million
down payment I can’t
believe I ever thought
owning a house with a
garden and a bird bath
was going to be

Oh wait
here are the angels
in blue

Oh wait
we’re getting
somewhere

“exiled to the foothills” by Sasha on her couch

Monday July 23, 2018
12:02am
5 minutes
The Gulag Archipelago
Solzhenitsyn

“Let’s go to the mountains, mama…” Oli looks up at me with longing.

“Why do you want to go there?”

“Because I’ve never been!”

“Why do you think you’d like it?”

“Because mountains are tectonic plates that smashed together and that’s so cool and I want to do my project on them and how can I when I’ve never seen them in real life?!”

“Please don’t whine.”

“I’m not! I’m just saying that it’s only fair – ”

“Honey, nothing about decision making when it comes to vacation has to do with what’s fair.”

“BUT – ”

“I’ll think about it, okay? Now, go brush your teeth, it’s already seventeen minutes passed your bedtime.”

“Greet me at the gate” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday June 26, 2018
7:12am
Green
Nikki Sharp

meet me at the gate with your arms open and lift me up but don’t spin me just get me off the ground and whisper something in my ear that you’ve never said to anyone that you’ve only ever said to me and put me down and look me in the eyes because my eyes have changed since you last really saw me i know you saw me this morning but i’m talking about really seeing really knowing and my eyes are going to tell you how i miss you til i’m sick and dizzy and gorging and my eyes will tell you how i’m not sure if i can take this but my words won’t my words won’t they can’t that’s not how they work

“I’m as prepared as I ever am” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday June 2, 2018
9:52pm
The Art Of Freeloading
Alana Levinson

“Vic, you’re starting to freak me out…”

“Why! We have to be prepared!”

“We live in a one bedroom apartment! We don’t have storage space for seven of those water jugs! We don’t have the space!”

“You know who is going to thank me when there’s an earthquake? You know who?!”

“Me?”

“YOU!”

“I’m down for being prepared, I am, I’ve told you that a million times, but this is just… too much. Every time you come home from the store there are more cans, more blankets, more matches… and this water?! Where are we going to put it?!”

“The storage unit. Obviously.”

“The one in the basement?”

“Yes.”

“Isn’t that full of camping gear?”

“And whose junk is that?”

“It’s mine! And it’s not junk! It took me a long time to collect all that stuff!”

“She is giant and bossy and funny as hell.” By Sasha at the casita

Saturday, October 14, 2017
2:10pm
5 minutes
From a text

Darla, you gotta meet her. She’s giant and bossy and funny as hell. When you get her going she will not stop. She will make joke after joke until you really have to say, “Darla, you must be quiet. You must stop talking!” She must be close to six feet, and she’s got the biggest breasts anyone has ever seen. It’s problematic only for those of us that come up to her nipples and have a bard time seeing her face. She has this great bit about how both her parents are half a foot shorter than her, her father being shorter than her mother and how maybe her Mom actually fucked the big friendly giant.

“I’ll just call out the names and tell them to wait” by Sasha on her couch


Monday July 24, 2017
11:42pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the airport

A baby is screaming. I’m sympathetic, I really am. I know I’ll be her – that woman with white stains on her hoodie, a shrieking infant hanging off her – I know I’ll be her one day. I feel bad, I mean, everyone is trying to look supportive, but underneath they are cursing her, “Goddamn it, woman! Shut that baby up! Give it the bottle or the breast or a baby-sized dose of Gravol so it shuts UP!” The baby – cute, but not too cute – locks it’s little eyes on me. I’m on the other side of the plane, but it sees me and it stops screaming. Shit. Now it’s up to me to play peek-a-boo.

“Stanley stepped carefully” by Sasha at work


Friday July 14, 2017
2:17pm
5 minutes
Holes
Louis Sacher


Stanley carefully stepped into the water. He wasn’t sure about any of this. When Uncle Jim had asked if he would like to come with them to the beach that weekend, instead of staying in the city, he hadn’t said yes. Babs, Stanley’s mother, had quickly chimed in, “He would love to!” Stanley knew that Babs wanted some time to herself, to take a bath, eat some salt and vinegar chips, maybe watch a rom com. He didn’t blame her. Moreover, Stanley knew that Jim was a good influence on him. Stanley had never swum in the ocean before, despite living four hours away. Babs was once violently stung by a jellyfish, so she had no interest in a beach vacation.

“This is what you’ve been waiting for” by Julia at JJ Bean


Friday May 5, 2017 at JJ Bean
5:12pm
5 minutes
The Gate
Marie Howe


my family speaks poetry through me as I walk from my house to a place that isn’t
I am stopped on the sidewalk with the urge to take notes
They are dictating faster than I can write
The stories from our childhood, inspiration enough after the drought
I am greedy with rain and the secrets of our youth
the clues to finding solace in a memory built from our old garage,
the time we picked strawberries at the farm and made milkshakes,
the time we sang to Mariah Carey on the back porch and I made everyone
turn around to listen when it was my turn,
the time we got hats with the olympic rings on them at Mcdonalds,
the time we rode around on horses while they defecated,
the time I asked my older cousin if we could have a “talk” because I was feeling left out, the time they got the shots for whipping baby field mice against the brick

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


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


My aunt Barb tells me that she wrote herself a note when she “wasn’t straight” about how the “negativity is too loud in her head” and “cutting through all her good thoughts”. We (the family, collectively) got her into medicinal marijuana after her husband passed away last June. We wanted him to try it but he refused to smoke the stuff even after we showed him all the videos of people his age trying it. Barb is in love with it. She calls me at least once a day with her “new thoughts”. Yesterday she told me that “the sky is trying to kill her” and that she “would go but there is laundry to be folded”. In a meeting with the cousins, we secretly discuss Barb’s usage and pat ourselves on the back for helping her out. Then her daughter, Dina, raises her hand timidly. “My mom says she wants to try crack next!”

“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

“their mothers will be there if needed” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday April 1, 2017
10:46pm
5 minutes
Hold Me Tight
Dr. Sue Johnson


“Call me if you need, okay Amy?” My mother has hidden a cell phone in the lining of my sleeping bag. We aren’t allowed electronics.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” I tell her, but she is the most stubborn woman in the “whole dang province”. That’s what Bill-the-third-husband says.

Mom drops me off at the camp entrance and says, “text tonight before bed, okay? If it’s creepy or anyone here has tried anything strange with you, I’m coming back to pick you up.” She tosses her cigarette out of the window and a small brush fire starts.

“Please just go? I’ll be fine,” I say, opening up my water bottle and trying to stamp out the flames.

“IT’S TRUE!” By Sasha on her couch


Wednesday March 8, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

It’s true, Jenna thinks. She does hate to disappoint. “I wouldn’t say that’s the primary thing going on here, though…” Dr. Hendricks looks over her wire rimmed glasses and raises her eyebrows. Jenna has been a patient for long enough to know what this means. “You’re full of shit.”

“You’ll need to investigate your feelings about disappointment, Jenna. We’ll do some of that work here, in session, but you’ll also need to keep a close eye on when you’re feeling disappointed, in yourself or in others, and how that effects your behaviour. Are you lashing out more? Are you quiet? Pay attention.”

“I felt stung” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:29pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

When Heloise first saw Penelope, she knew that they’d been cut from the same piece of floral corduroy. It had nothing to do with the hands of the mothers that they were each holding. It had everything to do with their size. Both a head taller than everyone else in their Grade Three class, the girls became fast friends. Height aside, their physical features couldn’t have been more different. Heloise had jet black hair cut into a bob, with blunt bangs that ended just above her eyebrows. Her mother had the exact same haircut. They went every five weeks to the salon on 10th. Heloise’s eyes were brown, like her father’s, and she had a small mouth, which she regarded with disdain. Penelope had auburn curls, which she wore loosely braided down one side. She had her ears pierced, and wore small jade heart studs. They’d been a birthday present from her mother. Penelope’s mother reminded everyone of someone they knew. “I have one of those faces,” she’d say with a smile.

“I don’t know if it’s important or not, but it might be.” By Sasha at her desk


Tuesday February 7, 2017
10:55pm
5 minutes
from Gerald’s Game
Stephen King


Hi. You’ve reached – …

Shit. Donna?! Pick up the phone.

Hi. You’ve reached Donna. Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can.

BEEP.

Donna. It’s me. Where are you? I need to talk to you. Right now. Carlos is on to us, and it’s not looking good, Donna. It’s really not looking –

Hello?

What the fuck?

Relax.

Carlos is losing his shit over here, and I’m the one who’s probably going to get a chisel through my skull and you’re telling me to relax?

I’m waiting for Sadie to come home from school and then we’re going to come and pick you up, and we’re going to get out of town for awhile.

What am I supposed to tell Carlos?!

Tell him, tell him… tell him that your sister is sick and you’re going to help her with the kids. He never speaks to Angie.

Oh my God, Donna. I’m losing it over here.

“Don’t carry it all” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Monday January 23, 2017 at JJ Bean
3:39pm
5 minutes
From Dear Sugar Radio: Writer’s Resist

Put it down here
at my feet where the earth
is soft put it down
here where the crocus will
bloom come April
Put all your worries
down before you sleep
or else you’ll wake
like last night
in a pool of sweat
and tears calling
for God

They talk of faith
but I talk of birch
trees and whale bones

Put that world down
sweet one
it’s giving you
ulcers and rotten teeth
tumours and that
kind of sadness
that no word
has enough
consonants for

“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.

“People will say,” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Friday January 6, 2017 at JJ Bean
4:30pm
5 minutes
From an email

She’s never found trouble that she didn’t like the taste of
coffee warmed on a space heater in a chipped jam jar
socks and underwear washed in a
dishwasher amongst beer cans and spaghetti plates
She joined a choir because she thought nothing strange
could happen when everyone’s singing
but before she knew it she’d lit a wreath and a ponytail
(neither of which were hers)
on fire and before she knew it she was
asked to leave
“It’s for the safety of the group,”
said the woman who photocopied the words for
Desperado and
Lean on Me

She thought a haircut might straighten
things out but the only thing that got straighter
was her bangs

“Oh gosh I would be so horrified” by Sasha at her kitchen table


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

I’ve started this story five hundred times. I’ve ripped up three trees worth of paper, and burning seventeen pencils. I’ve started this story six thousand times. I would be horrified if you knew how I struggle, how I sweat. I would be horrified if you knew how I knit myself into a sleeping bag and didn’t set an alarm for three days. I would be horrified if you knew how many times I ordered pizza and Chinese food. No wonder I’ve gained thirty pounds. “It’s all about the numbers,” you always used to say. And it’s a real shame that I believed you.

“Hit the road Jack” by Sasha on the couch in Cowichan Bay


Saturday December 31, 2016
8:08pm
5 minutes
From a record

Jack’s packed this car like a master puzzler, every box and bag filling any open space. “Will you be able to see?” I ask, putting our turkey sandwiches into old yogurt containers.

I kiss the doorframe and Jack says, “Goodbye, sweet spot.” We hug for awhile, before I lock the door and slide the key through the mailbox, like we told George, our super, we’d do.

Halfway to the highway, I start to cry.

“hello sacred fire” by Sasha in the Kiva at Macdonell


Monday December 19, 2016
5:04pm
5 minutes
Hello Sacred Life
Kim Krans


The clock’s talking. Keeps telling Amy that time is running out. Tells her to “go faster” and “slow down”, too, but less often. She takes the one on the wall by the piano and puts it in the recycling. Two hours later, sat at her desk doing the inventory that should’ve been done yesterday, she wonders if you can recycle a clock. She puts it in the garbage. The one on the stove is a real fucking issue. She went at it with the hammer around lunchtime. Just the clock part. It bugs her when she’s cooking, especially starches like potatoes or rice. Pasta is the worst. “I’m running out…” it whispers, and she’s not sure if it’s inside her head or out, but then the mouth on the 1:14 starts frowning and it’s all over. Pete asks if she’s been taking her meds and she says she’s not really sure, but since starting to work from home things have been getting better. A whole lot better. Pete nods and eats his meatloaf.

“test audience” by Sasha at the little desk at Bowmore


Thursday December 15, 2016
6:25pm
5 minutes
From a recruitment email

The clock in the entrance way is off by seven minutes and it aggravates you. When it chimes you wonder where on the list it says that one of your duties is to wind it. You wore sensible black shoes today, after Mrs. Smithers commented on your red boots yesterday.

“Well, well, well…” She’d said, looking you up and down. Her roots were showing, clawing their way back in. The kettle had boiled and she’d made herself a Jasmine tea.

“Are those appropriate for the office?” She’d asked, dropping a sugar cube into her “WORLD’S BEST MOM” mug.

“I thought so,” you’d said, peeling a clementine.

“Can you take that out of the oven?” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore


Thursday December 15, 2016
6:25pm
5 minutes
Overheard in my mother’s kitchen

“Can you take that out of the oven?”

Betty calls from upstairs. June is sitting at the kitchen table, the new one from Sears. She wonders how Betty and Earl afford new things every year, what with Earl getting laid off last summer.

“Of course!” June puts on oven mitts and takes the cake out. It’s Earl’s fortieth birthday and Betty is throwing him a surprise party tonight. June offered to help. It’s what neighbours do. She curses herself for not having arranged to have a conflict.

Betty comes downstairs and she’s wearing a lavender dress.

“No no you go ahead.” By Sasha on the plane


Wednesday December 14, 2016
9:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the line at airport security

Craving the punch of vodka like a mutherfucker. Craving the punch of a fist in my chest. My father’s speciality. It’s funny, what you crave, when you’re lying on the floor of the kitchen and the kids are screaming like the assholes that they are.

Craving a long bath in the tub that someone used to sing in.

“leftover Hamburger Helper garbage” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday December 13, 2016
5:59pm
5 minutes
Summer OF My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews


Could you pick up some ground beef at the Superstore on your way, George? I’m making that thing that Steve likes? With the Hamburger Helper? And a salad, for Ami, I mean it’s not like she’s going to eat the other – … George? Are you there? You didn’t say anything! How was I supposed to know! Drive safely, okay? It’s going to snow a whole bunch and we don’t need anymore unfortunate events this year… Let’s let 2016 peter out with some simplicity? George? Are you there?!

“Welcome Home Party” by Sasha on her couch


Friday December 9, 2016
12:27am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

used to make signs that we’d stick on the yellow door with masking tape
“don’t use the kind that takes the paint off, girls!”
when did we stop being “girls”?
when did we stop making signs with bearded men and red-haired women?
when did we start counting days of the weeks in underwear rolled in the bottom of a backpack?
used to make signs for everyday stuff not just special occasions
used to make signs with crayons and magazine pieces and words i didn’t
really know the meaning of

“I was so annoyed with Wendy” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Thursday December 8, 2016 at JJ Bean
4:18pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean on Cambie

When we first got here there wasn’t much going on. I mean the town had three hundred people, something like that. My father was a butcher and he heard that they needed one, and so without really telling my brother and I what was going on my parents loaded us into the car and we left Montreal. They said we were going on a vacation. I was so mad. So so mad. Jaques and I plotted to hitchhike home and never come back to Alton. I know now that my father had a falling out with the guys who trained him, we know them as Uncle Gary and Uncle Ziggy. Anyway, that’s why he needed to leave. Because we only spoke French, and we were arriving in the middle of a school year, it was terrible, at school for both Jacques and me.

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


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


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

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

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

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

Douchebag.

“I had a big fight with him” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday December 5, 2016
12:42pm
5 minutes
From an interview transcription

In the months before she died
my mother’s mother ripped herself out of pictures
because she thought she looked fat.
When I was seven and we visited her
in Florida at the apartment by the river
where manatees swam by
I took the Werther’s Originals from her candy bowl
and filled my pockets with them
She told on me to my mother.
I had a big fight with my boyfriend
the day after she died
He was in Toronto and I was Montreal
sitting on pillows on the floor
of a hotel room I shared with my sister.
He said that he didn’t know if he
could get off work for the funeral.

“He’s horrendous tonight” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday December 1, 2016
11:38pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the Canucks game

I never know what you mean when you say, “Know what I mean?” I wonder if that is indicative of a mutual lack of understanding that’s bigger than we ever realized. And, your spelling is bad.

You send me a text at two fifty six in the morning. Why are you awake?

“Was I a dick to you yesterday?”

I don’t answer until three o’clock the next day.

“Absolutely.”

“bare bones information” by Sasha at her desk


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

“Does anyone have any questions” by Sasha in the bath


Sunday November 27, 2016
6:33pm
5 minutes
Overheard at BC Children’s Hospital

A: If you could be any colour what colour would you be?

B: Um, red? You?

A: Blue. Obviously.

B: Why is that obvious?

A: Because of my eyes and the colour of my sweater and jeans?

B: Oh. Right.

A: If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?

B: Hm… That’s a hard one –

A: Why, because you hate animals?

B: No. Because I’m a veterinary assistant. And I love animals.

A: Oh, right. I forgot that… So?

B: I guess a dolphin? Or a grizzly bear?

A: Those are very different animals. You have to choose one.

B: A grizzly.

A: Really? I was going to say a warthog.

B: That’s just mean.

“With a couple of girlfriends” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday November 26, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Overheard at BC Children’s Hospital

“What are you hoping to get out of this position in regards to personal growth?”

Genevieve squints at me and re-crosses her legs.

“Um, well, I’ve always wanted to work in the charity sector, you know, like, give back?”

She doesn’t move a muscle. Didn’t they teach you about mirroring body language in your HR trainings? Are you capable of nodding or saying “Mm-hm” or something?

There are five seconds of agonizing silence. Are you waiting for me to say more? What more is there to say? I thought that this job was mine? What is happening?

“You aren’t really a people person, are you Becky?” Genevieve pulls her Blackberry out of the pocket of her blazer and starts typing furiously.

“Am I supposed to answer that?”

“I look forward to a random day” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday November 23, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook comment

I see a man’s face through the ice looking up
his mouth contorted in salt water scream

I am standing on the thick part but still
wonder about safety and falling through

Many women are gathered here
some men too We all wear blue ribbons

I look forward to the day when this is not
the headline and the currency and the

reason I can’t sleep.

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

“sky turned red then erased” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday November 17, 2016
11:23pm
5 minutes
Penknife
Ellie Sawatsky


Walls thin as butterfly wings I know that your ear is there
High on the sky turning red with the possibility
of midnight I know that your ear is there
pressed on the monarch tissue paper
Sigh lifts above the ceiling
lifts us up the only division between us is us
the only difference between us is this
The chrysalis shed
The womb bare
The holy
water falling over fingertips

College kids smoke joints outside the window
leave rolling papers on the sill
A queen bee makes a hive around the rebellion
the sex the nicotine the so in love
so in love
I am the queen bee and you are bringing me gifts

“Hey hey hey” by Sasha in Cowichan Bay


Tuesday November 15, 2016
11:28am
5 minutes
A Rufus Wainwright song


Gus makes the sign of the cross and says, “Well fuck me, I think she’s a keeper!” You feel sick to your stomach but you don’t talk about it. You mush garlic into Becel and spread it on the baguette that Mom pocketed from the restaurant. When you go there, Marla reminds you that you used to nap on the banquette at the back. Gus didn’t know that Mom was bringing you in on her shifts. He would’ve lost his shit. When you sit down at the table, Mom is nodding off and your Gina is trying her best not to cry and you are glaring at Gus and wondering if you’ll all survive the weekend.

“Not to be pulled savagely” by Sasha in Cowichan Bay


Monday November 14, 2016
10:39pm
5 minutes
Canvas
John Coyote


I once was a doll dressed in burlap and lace
a voice in my toes
beneath sheep’s wool stuffing
drumming fingers on the back of an empty soup can
Standing on a base with a name carved in cursive
“It’s not my name it’s not my name!”
But no one hears

I once was a doll with a face frozen in smile
curtsey cutesy never stop the YES
I’ll bend and I’ll spread and I’ll
lose arms and paint
I’ll shake and I’ll squish and I’ll
get sick and I’ll love you
love you
love

“what was that process like?” By Sasha at her desk


Sunday November 13, 2016
8:27pm
5 minutes
From an interview question

I keep seeing pictures of our future and your
brows are furrowed “So here we are”
I can’t see everything in focus
I see windchimes and mushrooms and candle wax
Maybe you’re calling the new me the one with
more patience and breath that smells like artichokes
Maybe you’re thinking about
the past Now
Soon all this will be forgotten from our minds
but remembered by the elephant hearts
that I cradle like unborn daughters
dreaming in their soft sleep
dreaming this future into Now

“FREE” by Sasha in her bed


Saturday November 12, 2016
12:41am
5 minutes
from a vice magazine

Your head is itchy. You know lice are extinct, so it can’t be that, it can’t be – … You catch a glimpse of yourself in the side of a building, monsters, you catch a glimpse and you’ve never seen yourself like this – head shaved, breasts shrunken, combat boots without laces, eyes that have seen too too much.

You clomp through the snow and can’t believe your eyes when you see a beggar, a man, a man with a beard, matted, without a coat, without teeth. He holds up a sign, made of cardboard, and it says, “FREE”. He’s smiling.

“he has a skunk butt” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday November 11, 2016
11:53pm
5 minutes
from a video game

“I don’t know what you want from me!” Kay screams. I can see her uvula. A bit of spit ends up on my cheek, but I let that go. It’s our first big fight. I want to hug her, because I know what kind of milestone this is, and that feels so good, even though everything about this feels bad bad very bad.

“Hello!? Are you even listening to me?!” Kay starts to cry. I grab her the box of tissues from the coffee table, and she smacks it out of my hand.

“I’m trying my best, Jules! I can’t do better than my best!” She looks like a terrier puppy and I’m mad but I’m also the happiest I’ve been in years.

“Are we lost?” By Sasha at her desk


Thursday November 10, 2016
5:53pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 84

You get a notice in your e-mail on Saturday. You don’t remember when they started delivering e-mails on Saturdays, but you don’t remember many of the details these days. It’s all tiring. The e-mail pings on your watch and you check it by pushing the red button. Siri’s voice reads,

“Hello. You are receiving this message because your presence is required at Main Camp on Monday, November twenty first. Please report to Sergeant Marryweather by 9AM. Bring your grey suit. Wear boots.”

You don’t walk the dog, instead, you lie on the couch and scroll though ads for movies coming soon. You’ve heard about messages like this. You never thought you’d get one.

“the world is ending” by Sasha at JJ Bean


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


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

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

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

A sadness has descended
that I haven’t known

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

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

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

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


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

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

“preceded by chaos” by Sasha on her couch


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

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

“It was really a labor of love” by Sasha at Studio 1965


Saturday November 5, 2016
1:53pm
5 minutes
An interview in Room Magazine with Deni Loubert

Making the home together. It’s a labor of love. I think about the beauty in the mundanity of dishwashing, of picking up socks, of picking up glasses off the floor, of picking up your acu-ball. I try to find the meditation, the sacred in hanging shirts on hangers on the drying rack. Motown helps. Dharma talks help. I found it yesterday, that unnamable sweet spot, stirring cayenne into the tomato sauce, chopping carrots and celery. I found it, and then it was gone – the creep of resentment in my gut, the spread of “what the fuck” up my teeth. It is a labor of love, this gorgeous, strange, domesticity. Pema Chodron telling me to breathe, breathe, breathe. Your keys in the lock and it’s present tense dinner-time, the daily dance.

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


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

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

“There’s a lot of blood in your lips” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday November 3, 2016
10:10pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

If I was being honest I’d tell you that there was blood on your lips. If I was being honest I’d say that no matter how fat you get I’ll still think you’re sexy. If I was being honest I’d tell you about the time I tasted my shit and wondered about pinworms. If I was being honest I’d mention the lice and the HPV. If I was being honest I’d lick the inside lower case “c” of your ankle.

“I’ll stop now” by Sasha at her desk


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

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

“RESET BALANCE” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday October 30, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
From a Freshii sign at the airport

When your mother puts you in gymnastics you glare at the back of her head as she drives you there the station wagon screeching to a stop in the parking place that’s meant for pregnant people. She doesn’t walk you in and make sure everything’s okay like all the other mothers she says HAVE A GOOD TIME and looks at you like everything about your existence is a highly regrettable mistake. Your purple leotard is crawling up your bum crack and you need to go pee but you say BYE MAMA and close the door gently and then you go inside and say that you’re here for beginning gymnastics please and where is the bathroom please and where is a cubby for you to put your boots.

“Unmasked” by Sasha at Nadeem’s desk


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

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

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


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

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

“Important passages” by Sasha at her desk


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


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

“butler service, gourmet dining” by Sasha at Pascoe Rd.


Sunday October 23, 2016
9:59am
5 minutes
Westjet magazine

Shaving off his moustache was an identity thing. James didn’t want to make a big deal about it, but it was a big deal and everyone knew it. Facial hair quickly becomes a meaningful manifestation of identity and no, he didn’t first grow it during Mo-vember and yes, he does use wax. Fiona had suggested it when she witnessed James’ profound attachment to his moustache. She introduced the idea with subtlety at first and then got a little bit more bold.