“Powerful, self-actualized women should feel no shame” by Julia on F’s couch

Sunday November 12, 2017
9:38pm
5 minutes
Communion
Bell Hooks

When speaking
When listening
When choosing not to have a baby
When changing her mind about having a baby
When saying no
When saying yes
When crying
When asking the bus driver for help
When helping
When wanting to be alone
When wanting to be with him
When wanting to be with him even though he still forgets
When speaking
When listening
When making dinner
When waking up
When brushing her teeth
When taking a long shower
When touching herself
When asking to be touched
When deciding not to give an answer
When deciding not to justify her feelings
When not justifying her feelings
When saying no
When saying yes
When speaking
When listening
When wanting someone to hold
When wanting to be fucked and never called again
When fucking and not calling
When talking about her dreams
When breaking down in the supermarket
When buying a box of cookies

“Powerful, self-actualized women should feel no shame” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday November 12, 2017
9:31pm
5 minutes
Communion
Bell Hooks

One night
walking home
I felt shadow on my back

I don’t need to turn around
I know what’s there

I’m sixteen

One night
walking home
keys gripped between my fingers
I played the piano today
and that was nice

I get home and
I eat the shame

Gliding down a throat
that’s closed
Don’t ask me how that works

One night
waiting for the subway
a man in a grey coat
asked me

How much

One night

Here we are again

Tonight
I’ll walk home in the rain
I’ll consider how to use my umbrella
as a sword

“the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue,” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday November 11, 2017
10:22pm
5 minutes
What The Living Do
Marie Howe

The sky’s a deep, headstrong blue and you’re walking away from me. It’s a big field, as far as we can see. I call after you and you look back and you smile. It’s like you can’t hear the panic in my voice. It’s like you don’t know that you’re leaving. I used to dream about a red-headed monster breaking windows. Now I dream about – … The colour of the sky. It’s there when I close my eyes. Even right now, I can conjure it.

“the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 11, 2017
6:26pm
5 minutes
What The Living Do
Marie Howe

Even though I asked it very nicely to stop, the sky would not stop laughing.
Some days it is miserable only benneath the skin. The bones squeek.
We forget that there is more beyond this dome or we never forget and some days we act like we do. We have gotten good at acting.

Miriam and I have been sneaking behind the Hollands’ shed to practice kissing. I told Miriam that she had soft lips and a subtle but effective use of tongue. She told me that I could afford to go a little harder. I was worried if I kissed her any harder I might want to stay kissing her. I didn’t know I would like girls. I didn’t know I would like her. I liked the groaning noises she made. I liked how warm her skin felt, her breath on the side of my mouth like a warning.

“Along with underwear, love is a woman’s work” by Sasha at her desk

Friday November 10, 2017
11:16pm
5 minutes
How to Be A Woman
Caitlin Moran

Love’s her work. She doesn’t say it, but it is. Fold the t-shirts, ball the socks, and L-O-V-E. She keeps saying, “I’m tired,” and she’s not sure why, what could it possible be. “Women’s work”. She hasn’t heard that term since her grandmother was alive, doing crossword puzzles in the sunroom and asking for another peppermint. She wonders what would happen if she left a note on the table that said, “Make dinner for yourselves!”

“A long with underwear, love is a woman’s work” by Julia on the 99

Friday November 10, 2017
7:16pm
5 minutes
How to Be A Woman
Caitlin Moran

Wash the clothes
Wash the dishes
Wash the bum
Wash the pocket
Wash the slate
Wash the record
Wash the something
Wash the something

Wash the car
Wash the pipe
Wash the pipe
Wash the potatoes
Wash the bathroom ceiling
Wash the sheets
Wash the tears
Wash the something

His and Hers
Mugs
Sides of the bed
Pasta noodles
Drawers
Hands
Pills
Sides of the office
Kisses
Pains
Emotions
Towels
His and Hers
Apologies
Mistakes
Tattoos
Regrets
Butter
Cheese
Silence

“then laid bare.” By Julia in her bed

Thursday November 9, 2017
11:27pm
5 minutes
The Task
Jane Hirschfield

Across the bed she laid herself bare
Gloves to invite play
Boots to indicate business
Okay to invite play
Her hair curled into a jungle cat
That’s what he asked for
He called her his lion
She wanted to make his birthday a special one
Remember when she had those
Sexy photographs taken when she
was twenty-five and newly off the hormones
She kept it a surprise for him
and then one day decorated the entire house with her in lacy underwear, his plaid shirt, her
Sam Edelman knee highs
She thought it was for him
Years later she knows that it
was always for her

“then laid bare.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday November 9, 2017
8:33am
5 minutes
The Task
Jane Hirschfield

This morning the sky was caramel
I dipped my finger in and tasted
sweet and sour
bitter and salty
I gulped and drank
and gorged
Please won’t this help me understand

I wept off the balcony
hoping my tears might bring Spring
Five more months
Five more months

Hallelujah
I said
The world broken
and laid bare
My hands covered in sunrise
My lips dripping fatigue

The sun understood my yearning
You do too

“We’ll look into this right away” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday November 8, 2017
11:20pm
5 minutes
vistaprint.ca

You’re running again
feel it
feel that
it’s your feet
they’re tired of carrying you
they’ll do it
they’ll always do it
but they’d like to rest
they’d like you to get
that wart on the side
of your foot checked out
it hurts
it hurts when you run
and you’ve been running again
do you ever thank them
your feet
your tired aching feet
they might carry you further
if they knew you cared
it doesn’t need to be big
not a singing telegram
or anything balloon related
but a rub would be nice
a rub with oil if you have it
if you have the time
You’ve been wondering why
it feels like you’ve slowed
and if we’re going to look
into this right away we need
you to first look into this
we on behalf of your feet
the representatives you chose
before you started running
before you started moving
so fast and maybe too fast
we’re not mad but we do
want to make sure you know

“We’ll look into this right away” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday November 8, 2017
10:56pm
5 minutes
vistaprint.ca

A: Hello? Hi, I just wanted to unsubscribe from –

B: Hello, and thank you for holding. We’re so sorry to hear that you are unsatisfied with our services and would request your feedback as to why you would no longer like to receive our emails. A representative will be with you shortly.

A: Oh good God.

B: Hello, and thank you for holding. We’re so sorry to hear that you are unsatisfied with our services and would request your feedback as to why you would no longer like to receive –

R: Thank you for holding. Rebecca here.

A: Rebecca. Hi. How are you? I just, I want to unsubscribe from the mailing list and I can’t believe that this requires a phone call, who even calls anyone anymore –

R: Could you please tell me you nineteen digit PIN?

“every zit is proof” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday November 7, 2017
10:33pm
5 minutes
The Time I Went Into a Full-Body Spasm for Six Days
Betty Gilpin

Okay so you made the deal with yourself
You know the one where you said you’d be kinder
(including the skin stuff, remember you said?)
and now you’re wondering how long you can pull it off
You ask evethe mirror everytime you walk by it
Will today be the day I decide to love myself
(how could you forget, you do it everytime!)
And then before you know it you’re right there
zapping all those little fuckers with the sharpest
parts of your fingernails and you make dents
you excavate
you dig a hole so big in a face you keep lying to
I want to tell you that every zit is proof
that you are signed up to the self-sabotage
e-mails and you have not unsubscribed yet
Not to hit you while you’re down but you
also said you would start eating better
(as a part of the deal, you know, full package?)
And I will tell you that those chips have
not been eating themselves

“every zit is proof” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday November 7, 2017
8:16am
5 minutes
The Time I Went Into a Full-Body Spasm for Six Days
Betty Gilpin

Writes herself clean
and when she’s done
she’s dripping
light

There’s this habit
of being against ourselves
Every fuck up
some kind of proof

Can we re-write the code
of our grandmothers?

Do we have the courage to
show up to our lives
Broken
Rising
Wisdom
Heartbreak
Learning grace

“At the end of the day” by Julia at her desk

Monday November 6, 2017
11:32pm
5 minutes
From an email

I talk about my day sometimes only to you!
I write you stories of my deep shell quaking
and you
do not know that so many
things are true
and then you do know cause I tell you
cause some days I do not lie a lick
I try but I still can’t

I talk about my day only to you
and I love our little secret
I love so much this meeting place of
ours that we met at in our dreams
I’m glad I tell you
cause when you tell me
it is so sweet.

Why put other words in place of everything real
I’ve ever felt
in everything real I have never been able
to articulate
you see the inside of some of my inside’s
biggest fears

And thank you

“At the end of the day” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday November 6, 2017
10:10pm
5 minutes
From an email

At the end of the day
I run a bath
I have to make myself do it
Easier to read
Easier to watch babies eating lemons on YouTube
But I do
I run a bath

I always make it too hot
Need to add some cold water
Story of my life

I dump in epsom salts
Many drops of lavender oil

I light three candles
Two real
Ones I made last December
Brewing beeswax like tea
for three days straight
One candle is the fake kind
that looks pretty real
But any real fire lover
can spot the difference

I work in the bath
A book light on the side of the tub
Reading about this and that

“You are a joke cookie” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday November 5, 2017
11:23pm
5 minutes
From the postcard from Amanda

You, MR. SWANSON, are a joke cake, doughnut, um, loaf, no… cookie. YES! That’s it! You’re a JOKE COOKIE! You may not think that it’s your best attribute, but I do, oh I do. You are most possibly the funniest manager I’ve ever had. NO! You’re the funniest man I’ve ever met! NOW, I know that this might mean that I’ll be in some sort of trouble, but no one appreciates you, MR. SWANSON. In fact! Everyone says terrible things behind your back. “He looks like a turtle,” that kind of thing.

“You are a joke cookie” by Julia on her couch

Sunday November 5, 2017
11:44pm
5 minutes
From the postcard from Amanda

I never meant to run this dry. This many days in a row without even attempting to find the joy behind the keys. And I never understood the power of peripheral vision until now. How have I always been such a tentative typer with this new feature? I am crumbling cookie dry like an over baked chicken over baked chick and I never meant to be. I never meant to fall apart. I have been avoiding some truths to myself and spilling the beans to him.  During the full moon I tell him that I feel like I’m being wasted. He tells me he’s sorry. I have been avoiding. Didn’t want the back ache, the carpal tunnel, the magical erase button. Didn’t want the proof of purchase. So dry the cookie forgets to laugh at itself. So dry the cookie thinks about milk for the first time in years. So dry the cookie asks for help. So dry the cookie tells a joke. Nobody laughs. I never meant to fall apart.

“Acceptable for Breakfast” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 4, 2017
5:36pm
5 minutes
Smittenkitchen.com

Every Zia made sure we had the right breakfast. Zia one would let us have cookies and milk. Oreos to be exact. Wih a tiny esspreso spoon, we’d crush them all up and eat it like ice cream. Zia two had something good to eat too. Salmon gravlax, snails, probably, and cantaloupe.  Zia three never had to feed us. Zia four had homemade leftover pizza, yogurt, biscotti and homo milk. Zia five had captain crunch cereal. Zia six gave us cadburry cream eggs. Zia seven gave us soft boiled eggs and olive oil. That’s not even all the Zias.

“Acceptable for Breakfast” by Sasha at Moii Cafe

Saturday November 4, 2017 at Moii Cafe
4:45pm
5 minutes
Smittenkitchen.com

My Mom and Angel have completely different ideas of what’s acceptable for breakfast. My Mom believes that sugary cereals and bacon are only appropriate for Sundays. Every other day has to contain whole grains. Angel will slather anything, and I really mean anything, in Nutella. She loves the stuff. My Mom goes on and on about how much crap Angel eats, but how she keeps the body of “Cindy Crawford”. I don’t tell her that I have no idea who that is. Gotta add that to my Google List. Whenever I have access to my Mom’s computer, or Bruce’s tablet, I go through my Google List and check off the things that have been accomplished.

“Your nanny today was” by Sasha on her couch

Friday November 3, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

I start in the kitchen. Pantries are my kryptonite. I’m just so interest
I try not to do it, I really really do… But once the kids are asleep and the house is so quiet, I just, I can’t, I just can’t help myself. Do they say that the kid is gluten free and then keep a secret stash of KD? Does the Dad have a private jar of shitty peanut butter? You can learn a lot about someone from searching through someone’s pantry. The health nuts have the craziest stuff… Seventeen dollar boxes of rice, for example. That’s a thing! I don’t eat stuff, unless they offer. But you better believe I look around.

“Your nanny today was” by Julia at S and M’s house

Friday November 3, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

Sabryn is smart. Like her mother. Sharp, rather (According to the book Drew Barrymore is quoting). Apparently you’re not supposed to say smart. Or tell your kid that they are. I don’t know why. I’m not a mother. I’m someone’s replacement for the evening. I’m their “older sister” who lets them watch one extra show before bed. I’m the one who tells their mother that they’re smart. So their mother will feel good about her job as someone’s mother. Some have been at it longer than others. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter if their kids are one or twelve, mothers want to hear that their kids are smart. Sharp. And I only say it if it’s true. I only tell them anecdotes that will make them love their own offspring more when it is genuine. I’m not in the business of lying to parents about how great their children are. They do enough of that on their own. I simply provide a service in which I keep their kids from killing each other while their parents are at the Guns & Roses concert and maybe teach them the joys of MadLibs.

“Then he yawned and returned to his deckchair.” By Julia on her couch

Thursday November 2, 2017
11:38pm
5 minutes
Life & Times of Michael K
J.M. Coetzee

Couldn’t blame the kid for blaming me. I did tell his father that I was going to give him a blowjob in the elevator. In front of him. That was my mistake. But this man didn’t even try to protect his kid so I assumed he was used to that kind of elevator talk. I’m not sure that he has positive role models at home. This man was so lonely he would have let me. Would have told his kid to wear earmuffs but would have still done it.

“Then he yawned and returned to his deckchair.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday November 2, 2017
11:32pm
5 minutes
Life & Times of Michael K
J.M. Coetzee

RUDY: “I love you, Nina. I love you. I love you. I watch you and I’ve never felt such love. I don’t want to sound – … I’ve never loved someone like this before. I’ve never felt such – … Shit, Nina. Would you look at me? Could you please – … I don’t want to be inappropriate, I don’t want to be – … I… I can’t find the words to tell you how I feel, how I want to – …”

GEM: No. You can’t say that. She will sue you.

RUDY: Sue me?

GEM: Sue you.

RUDY: SUE ME?

GEM: Rudy. Yes. She could sue you! It’s bad conduct, or whatever. It’s a misdemeanour.

RUDY: It is definitely not a misdemeanour.

“my mother gave me his toolbox” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday Novermber 1, 2017
11:34pm
5 minutes
My Father’s Hammer
John Hodgen

Emma opens the toolbox and smiles, thinking about how Jim would make a joke about how organized she keeps it. “Take after yer mother on that one, that’s for sure,” he’d say. It’s two years to the day since they last spoke. She was riding her bike home from work, and she pulled over to answer her phone because she thought it might be Zac. When she saw that it was her father, she thought about not answering and she feels so guilty about that. She did, though. That’s what Libby always reminds her of. She did answer.

“my mother gave me his toolbox” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday Novermber 1, 2017
9:07pm
5 minutes
My Father’s Hammer
John Hodgen

I had never hung a picture frame before. I didn’t like the idea of putting holes in a wall I was going to have to return. Never stayed around long enough to hold anything that wasn’t already mine. That, and each wall ruined cost one hundred dollars to fix, no matter how small. No matter how nook. Then out of nowhere my mother brings over his toolbox and leaves it on the doorstep. Like a sad nicky nicky nine doors. I couldn’t bring myself to open it until a year later. I found other ways to decorate. Most of my frames lived propped against the walls, as if forever waiting for their turn to go up. They collected dust, like they would if they were hanging, but I pretended I liked them that way. A cluster of art to acccent the floorboards and all the corners where the hundred dollar walls meet. One day it was raining and I somehow got up the nerve to open the box. Inside was a note addressed to me. It said “You can always take it down.” I don’t know how he knew.

“tired of having sex only with me” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday October 31, 2017
10:52pm
5 minutes
A Few Portals
Debbie Urbanski

It’s okay
You say
Brushing my hair out of my face
Can’t stop crying
Won’t stop crying

Joy
Shhh
You say
And I breathe in your smell
Applesauce and bicycle tires

I go into the bathroom
Splash water on my face
Let it run down my neck
You knock on the door

Go away
I say
I will not
You say
I love you
I say

You make us bagels and cream cheese
I don’t want tomato

“tired of having sex only with me” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday October 31, 2017
9:16pm
5 minutes
A Few Portals
Debbie Urbanski

I left the back door unlocked so he could sneak in and fuck me while you were taking a shower.
Before him I had that fantasy a million times. I wanted it to be you. I wanted to choose someone who wasn’t just the neighbour. And yet the neighbour makes me feel like I’m a priority because he comes when I call. And I called you the same way. I tried to pretend it didn’t matter. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t care. And yet I would drive to the store, buy a bottle of wine, come home, and wash up right before you. He would come right over. I was tired of being the only one having sex with me.

“We rent a condominium together” by Julia at her desk

Monday October 30, 2017
9:11pm
5 minutes
Telling Time
Philip Kelly

We take a drive down a quiet road and when we stop to see the horses he takes a small box out of his pocket. It’s not an engagement ring. He knows I am not marrying anybody thank you very much. It’s a key. A little one. I mean, a normal sized one. Just not like a big key. And I take it in my hand and I tell him it’s the dumbest and smartest thing we’ll ever decide to do. And he laughs, because I am fucking funny and then suddenly we have place together. I have my things beside his things in a drawer we share in the home we live in. Together.

We are in a the car driving down a quiet road when I tell him I have a living gingerbread baby growing inside me. And he laughs because who ruins pregnancy news like this but gets away with it? Me. Prince Chamring. I do. And he puts his hand on my belly and he thanks me. He thanks all of our lucky fucking stars.

“We rent a condominium together” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie

Monday October 30, 2017
5:58pm at JJ Bean
5 minutes
Telling Time
Philip Kelly

I never thought I’d be a condo-dweller, I mean, I do not like heights, I do not like being high up off of the ground. But when Ezra said that there was a place for sale in the Button Buildings, I mean… We’d be fools not to jump on that! And it was a private sale! I mean, come on…

We thought we might rent it out and move in a few years later, make a bit on the rental, save… But Ezra found another rat in the apartment on Cliff St. And he couldn’t take it anymore. I hate vermin but I’ve lived in New York, so… I came home from work and Ezra was already packing! HA! We hadn’t found the right people to rent the condo either, so. It was all meant to be. It really was. I can’t believe that we’re homeowners. Trippy.

“The great task in life” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday October 29, 2017
8:19pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Iris Murdoch

Iris stops smoking on her eighty-second birthday because it’s never too late to change a bad habit. It’s wild to out-live almost everyone you know, Iris says to anyone that will listen – the Wheel-Trans driver, the teller at CIBC, her grandson’s boyfriend. She has everyone over for Nanaimo Bars and sherry, and insists that she does not need eight-two candles. Grey kisses her on the nose and says, “I love you Gran.” She scoffs and says,

“I’m not dead yet, boy.”

“The great task in life” by Julia at YVR airport

Sunday October 29, 2017

7:36pm

5 minutes

from a quote by Iris Murdoch

The great task in life is being kind when things don’t add up to nice or good or in your favour
Half of us are waiting for the world to turn down the bed
for the sheets to be clean
for the roads to be paved                                                        What kindness do we keep when the world is busy keeping bridges suspended        art and freedom in love                                                          What do we choose when we aren’t being so damn entitled

Sorry

I said kindness                                                                  I am figuring that out myself                                                    Honesty isn’t always butterflies
(In case anyone was wondering)
Kindness isn’t always weak                                                    And honest kindness sometimes cuts with a serrated edge
It shouldn’t always be easy                                                      Easy isn’t always good                                                          We don’t know what we don’t know                                                And sorry
I was talking about me                                                      I think the kindest thing I can do is be tell the truth                            The truth doesn’t always stay for tea

“It goes on one at a time” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday October 28, 2017
5:41pm
5 minutes
The Low Road
Marge Piercy

Probably should’ve thought it through, you think, swelling hard. You taste last night’s tequila and Doritos. You should never have drunk that much, or eaten all those chips. When you drink, you overeat. That’s what Stu used to say. Fuck you, Stu. You flush the toilet another time, just in case Candice is in there staring at herself in the mirror. If you had a dollar for every time you catch her making a duck face at herself. Holy shit. You should go down to Starbucks and get a coconut water. You’re dehydrated, that’s all.

“It goes on one at a time” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Saturday October 28, 2017
12:36pm
5 minutes
The Low Road
Marge Piercy

It goes on one at a time

Defence Wall Window Lock

And the others are free to sleep

The moon is tired of being yelled at with such little purpose and she doesn’t tell anyone where she’s hiding

Let them protect themselves

Let them ask better questions

The night will not be given out for free anymore

Starting now there will be mandates

scrawled in the canopy of the highest tree and the only way to learn them will be to grow

To reach

To notice

Regular standing upright thinking feeling walks into the hardware store and buys all the essentials for building a dream team of proper readiness

The moon does not spill over

“telling about the poem” by Sasha at Bump n’ Grind on Granville

Friday October 27, 2017
4:35pm at Bump n’ Grind
5 minutes
I Was Reading A Poem
David Rutschman

It’s telling when all the poems are about a broken heart
She isn’t knitting any more scarves or sweater for penguins
She isn’t going to miss another opportunity to floss her teeth
Flow chart after flow chart about empathy screenshotted on her iPhone
Isn’t getting her anywhere but deeper down

Irma wishes there was never an earthquake named after her
Makes her feel dry and hot and afraid

Her sister asks if she’s still writing and she says
“Not really”
“That’s non-committal” says her sister and
Irma knows that she’s right but she “Humph’s” and
Returns to her needle-point

“There’s a real market for the ironic stuff on Instagram”
Says Irma
Her sister isn’t listening

“telling about the poem” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Friday October 27, 2017

5:03am

I Was Reading A Poem

David Rutschman

I tell them about my hurt orange

the bad peel and the good one

How my thumb bruised innocent meat and over and over

How every pressed part cried out for someone to make it stop

Hunger has a funny way of bringing out the kill

And the spectator

And the sport

I tell them about my poor hurt orange

The rough edges and the ever soft

How my nail ripped open the creases

without apology

How the juice begged not to be spilled over carpets busy like these

How the skin deflated anyway

“seems plausible to me” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday October 26, 2017
10:37am
5 minutes
From a quote by Susan Sontag

It’s all plausible now
Six hundred million people
Living within
10 meters of sea level
Hanging on to the edge of the cliff
As rocks drop into
Raging
Hot
Acidic
Sea
Below

It’s worse than you think

If it’s not keeping you up at night

You’re dreaming

It’s tempting

I know

Walking in my neighbourhood
Another movie poster for
An apocalypse
Bigger than the last

Displaced fear into multi-million dollar
Blockbusters

joke’s on us

I want to lessen this
I want to make it lighter

But I can’t

How many times can I ask the question
Where can we find hope

“seems plausible to me” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Thursday October 26, 2017

2:26am

5 minutes

from a quote by Susan Sontag

I love you impossible love song impossible time spent impossible rain storm

I dream of your home in the woods

where you held me without glue

and the hands of our freedom chose to wrap around each other’s

I love you impossible heart break impossible mud puddle impossible first day of spring

I keep your wandering parts in view

I know where your legs are itching for peace and where they are too big for your doubt

I know because you let me know

You let me see

You give me sight

All the eye lashes curled up

folding at the lid

making space for something impossible to get in

“She insisted I make no special concession” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday October 25, 2017
5:43pm
5 minutes
from Swing Low
Miriam Toews

I told you. She expressly insisted that I make no special concession! Yes, yes, I know that she’s my daughter but she articulated in her own words that she wants me to treat her as I would any other student. Mr. Black. You must listen to me. I know that defacing school property results in two weeks of detention, and probation for the rest of the year. Elizabeth is old enough to know better. I’ve already apologized for her behaviour, as I would with any of my students, but she must take responsibility for her actions. This has gone too far! Mr. Black. Please don’t look at me like that. Please.

“being interviewed” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Tuesday October 24, 2017
6:38pm
5 minutes
From a tweet

Ask me whatever you want

I’ve said it before

I’m an open book

you just have to read between the lines

Don’t ask me anything when I’m writing

Or dumping out

I say dumping out instead of taking a sweet shit

I just want to be clear with you

I’m not interested in your nightly rituals

I don’t want to put your mouth in my mouth

So we’re clear

If you ask I will answer

I’ll go above and beyond

out of my way to figure it out so you don’t have to

Wanna know what I’ve been carrying?

Stale bread in the secret pocket of my purse

Just in case they don’t have what I need

A couple packets of raspberry jam

A Mickey of whiskey

Art for someone who loves me enough to buy it

Ask me

about my yesterday

and I will tell you everything

everything

everything

Might not apologize for leaving early

Might not fall down dead at the sound of sorry

Might beg for truth from you

if you’re getting it from me

“She insisted I make no special concession” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Wednesday October 25, 2017

3:21am

Swing Low

Miriam Toews

Invited me over for tea and sandwiches

Said the sandwiches are going to be first priority and tea very much second

I didn’t know what that meant

I went over for tea and sandwiches

hoping for a few easy laughs

crusts cut off and tucked away

Opened the door and shushed me upon entry

Said the baby was sleeping

But there is no baby

Led me into the dining room and turned off the light

Turned off all the lights

Sat me down in the middle of the room and asked me all my thoughts on God and grape jelly

The tea didn’t make an appearance at all

The sandwiches might have only been a metaphor

Nobody was allowed to use the toilet

Take escape in the next room over

The only one that had a lock

“being interviewed” by Sasha on the plane

Tuesday October 24, 2017
6:32pm
5 minutes
From a tweet

Miriam closes her eyes and prays. She would never tell anyone that she does this, a few times a day. It’s new for her and she holds new things close, a smooth black rock in her pocket. She would specify though, if she did tell you, that she isn’t praying to God. She prays to the sky, the colour of raspberry jam right now, sprawling wider than she’s ever seen. She wonders if Dad will still be alive when she gets there. She only brought a carry-on, even though she’s unsure how long she’ll stay. However long it takes. “Some things can’t be rushed,” Dad used to say when they’d be waiting for a calf to be born, clutching thermoses of hot peppermint tea, their breath dancing through the icy barn.

“beneficial to anyone” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Monday October 23, 2017

9:44pm

5 minutes

from an email

Can’t drink anymore. When I do I’m no use to anyone. Can’t remember simple words. Yes and no get confused. No looks a lot like yes. No gets put on the shelf as decoration.

She told me years ago it was time to trade in the bottle. Said my body didn’t like it. She was right. My mother replaced it with structured silver. Said to take a shot of that every morning before I make any other bad decisions. I always had a good memory. I could tell you the birthdays of all 30 cousins and at least 5 aunts and uncles. I could tell you phone numbers of friends and loved ones up until 2008 (I got a cell phone late). I could tell you what you were wearing when we met. How your hair was.

“beneficial to anyone” by Sasha at the casita

Monday October 23, 2017
11:21am
5 minutes
From an email

I woke this morning with a heavy feeling
That familiar weight
Brick on chest
Snake in bowels

The dogs were barking
There are so many here
Roaming the side streets with
Nipples almost touching the ground
They’ve had so many pups
They sulk
Open though the alleys and side streets
You wonder where the puppies are

I trust you with my heart now
Something about the temperature
The past month
Has brought us closer to the root
Of it all
To God
To the stars
To the salt water

I rose with a lightness
Because you were there
In your stunning stillness
Hands up by your face

“research purposes only” by Julia on the Canada line

Sunday October 22, 2017

9:23pm

5 minutes

from an Air Canada survey

I’m really good at guessing the time about things. This includes travel time (on foot) and what time exactly I’m going to be starting on the next thing after this first thing is done. I think it has something to do with always managing to glance at the clock (or stove, microwave, etc) when it’s 12:34. Every time. I know a lot of people say they see stuff like this (5:55 or 11:11) but I swear on my life I do. I always try to see if there’s a message in it. It’s 12:34, is there something I’m missing? Is there something I’m supposed to be doing and the clock is giving me a hint? So anyway I guess times and I notice time and I try my very best not to kill time or waste time but to hold time and love time and ask for its forgiveness every now and again. I try but I’m not perfect so sometimes I catch myself killing time and then I feel all kinds of bad about that. I have to think, what did time do to me that I want to kill it so slowly?

“research purposes only” by Sasha at the casita

Sunday October 22, 2017
6:04pm
5 minutes
From an Air Canada survey

“It’s just for research,” Jonah says, and for some reason I don’t totally believe him. “Would you like another beer?” He has long eyelashes. He has a disarming smile. I shake my head.

He calls me three days later. I’m not sure how he got my phone number, and I don’t ask. Am I doing the thing that I roll my eyes at? Shit. I am. I’m doing the thing.

“What exactly are you researching?” I ask, popping a tortilla chip in my mouth.

“Cultural anthropology,” Jonah says, checking his phone, and then putting it on the table face-down.

“swallowing harder than she intended” by Julia at the studio

Saturday October 21, 2017

3:18pm

5 minutes

The Touch of Aphrodite

Joanna Mansell

Maybe if the lump in her throat wasn’t made of spikes and sorrys.

Maybe if the hole she was trying to fill wasn’t so deep down there.

A couple days ago she asked for his forgiveness and he told her she didn’t need his. She figured he meant she needed her own but so far she wasn’t able to give herself that.

Maybe if her throat wasn’t the passageway for unforgivable thoughts.

Maybe if her mouth wasn’t trying to coat all of her words in stomach bile.

When she told him what she had done and that she was seeking punishment he told her she had already been put through the ringer enough. She was the one wielding the whip. She looked him in the eye and said, more, more, more.

“swallowing harder than she intended” by Sasha at the casita

Saturday October 21, 2017
11:00am
5 minutes
The Touch of Aphrodite
Joanna Mansell

You swallow.
I reach across the table and take your hand.
You pull away.
You reach backwards.
Are you stretching?
Are you grasping for…
“Let’s go get ice cream,” I say.
You wrinkle your forehead.
I know this shape well.
You swallow.
“I’m sorry, babe.” I say.
“I know.” You say.
I can’t believe I’ve done it again.
I swallow.
There’s love in your eyes back behind the disappointment.
I hate disappointing you.
A crow flies past the window.
She looks in on us.
She gives sympathy and a caw.
You love crows.
You talk about getting a crow tattoo on your back.
I try to dissuade you usually.
I wouldn’t if you mentioned it now.
“Let’s go get ice cream,” I say.
“It’s raining,” you say. “And freezing cold.”
I stand up and stretch against the counter
Sticking my ass into the back of your head.
“Stop that, Sophie,” you say.
I wiggle.
“Stop,” you say, but softer.

“I wanted to go on sitting there” by Julia on the 84

Friday October 20, 2017
6:10pm
5 minutes
Rebecca
Daphne Du Maurer

Kenneth and I haven’t spoken since last winter and he knows why. I don’t like it when people call me sensitive when I’m just feeling my feelings. I don’t go around telling everyone who seems to be under reacting that they’re insensitive. They’re entitled to their own way of expression. Obviously. I’m not trying to take that away. But Kenneth knows how I feel about the word and how I don’t like being labelled emotional when I am simply being alive. Yes, of course it goes back to high school. The girls thought I was a loose cannon, fine, that’s what I became. I put on a real show for them too. Throwing pencil cases and screaming, crying a lot. They thought I was a nut job. And to hear someone say that I’m sensitive after knowing that the word only sticks a knife into my heart, really makes me whirl. I wish I could have stayed still, sat there without bubbling up, but I’m not that kind of person. And yet I am a kind person. And he was wrong to try to tell me how to respond. He was wrong to even put me in the position. Anyway he’s probably enjoying Gran’s oatmeal crisp right now. Sitting happy and quiet without me.

“I wanted to go on sitting there” by Sasha at the casita

Friday October 20, 2017
10:47am
5 minutes
Rebecca
Daphne Du Maurer

Mama’s talking about the spaceship’s coming and Papa’s yelling at her to “SHUT UP, CLARISSA!” Petey reaches for Mama and flings his glass of milk off the table and he wails and wails. I take him upstairs and change him into his PJ’s. Mama and Papa yell a bit and Mama cleans up the mess. Kimmy still isn’t speaking and we’re all worried about that.

“The aliens are coming tonight, Phil!” Yells Mama and Papa rubs his temples like he always does.

Petey looks so cute in his one piece red number and I make faces at him so he doesn’t hear the strangeness. He smiles his big toothless moon smile and for a moment everything feels alright.

“connected by canals” by Julia on her couch

Thursday October 19, 2017

8:24pm

5 minutes

from the Scuba Diving Pamphlet

In Amsterdam you and Ben took me on G’s brunch boat. We had mimosas. I love that my mom used to babysit you and when we were young we pretended to be power rangers. You have always been blonde and my hair has always had curls. During that rainy October visit I slept on your couch and got lost in Vondel Park after dark. Ben rolled me some weed and we ate the best pancake of my life. The next time I’m in Amsterdam it’ll be for your wedding. I can’t wait to celebrate you and your love. I will tell everyone that I have known you longer than I have known myself. That you and I have lived in the same heart for twenty three years. That you have always been blonde and I’ve always had curls.