“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

“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

“It was a wild weekend” by Sasha at Casa Violeta

Friday, October 13, 2017
10:16pm
5 minutes
From cnn.com

It was a wild weekend, let me tell you. Alejandra and I went to that unmarked bar, the one that everyone’s been talking about, I mean who knows what the name actually is, not me. Not Ale. We ordered mojitos! They grind the sugarcane juice right there, right in front of you, it’s like, too cool. Ale was flirting pretty hard with the bartender and I was just kind of like, watching that. We drank a few drinks and then we started dancing and it was the best night, totally the best. Ale wanted to go after the bartender told her he’s married, she wanted to leave. I was not ready to leave, but whenever I’m ready to leave someplace and Ale isn’t she’s super nice about it and doesn’t make it seem like I’m being a granny or anything.

“Babysat while Christian went to bingo.” By Sasha at Black River Farm

Saturday, October 6th, 2017
8:12am
5 minutes
Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years
Sue Townsend

When Christian went to bingo, Dominique and I babysat Felix. He would pay us ten dollars each, which at the time we thought was a hundred. Mimi would save hers. Right into her bank account it would go. She couldn’t get there fast enough. Christian had to tell her, repeatedly, that she ought to buy herself something. “It’s okay to spend a little,” he’d say, smiling. I would make lists of what I wanted – the newest YM, a watermelon lipgloss, a journal with a sparkly peacock on the front, a set of fine-tip sharpies, an extra large toblerone bar, my own matte scotch tape, Guatemalan slippers, a mini flatiron… The list would be so long that I wouldn’t be able to choose what I wanted first. Sometimes I’d cry and Mimi would console me. By this time, Felix would be drinking out of the toilet or scratching the wallpaper off the walls in the den and we’d have to call the bingo hall and Christian would have to come home early.

“The morning, happy thing” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday August 5, 2017
1:12am
5 minutes
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickenson

The morning, happy thing
dancing puppy dogs in maple syrup
unending stream so coffee and cream
Happy thing you happy happy thing
Musn’t be very smart if you’re happy
right that dumb idiot riding at the
front of the bus talking to the driver
the driver doesn’t want to fucking talk
but talk talk talk is all you do
Must be nice
being happy
Get your head out of your ass happy happy
Ronald McDonald
The morning with your egg mcmuff toast toast
I’m not mad I’m just disappointed
Why aren’t you smiling

“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.

“not a permanent” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday June 28, 2017
11:32pm
5 minutes
From an email

“It’s not permanent,” Izzy says, braiding my hair. I love the feeling, and ask her to do it any chance I get. There’s a chicken roasting in the oven and we’ll eat it whenever it’s done. Doesn’t matter that it’s almost eleven. Izzy’s parents own a restaurant so they are always out at night, and it’s prime hang time. They stock their house with these amazing ingredients. Her Dad even went to Italy a few weeks ago, just to get cheese and tomato sauce and flour. Izzy only came out of her shell when we started hanging out. Before that she barely spoke. She’d read and make bracelets in the bleachers at lunch.

“I was speaking body-to-body.” By Sasha at her desk


Wednesday June 21, 2017
11:18pm
5 minutes
From an interview with Lidia Yuknavitch on http://www.bloom-site.com

We don’t have much to say to each other
with these things
with these words
with syll-
ables
broken and frayed
and drunk on vowels

We speak body-to-body
sweaty sheets wound round
thighs and arms and
you touch me with the
conviction I’ve always
wanted to be wanted
in this articulation

When we walk down the
street you are distant
one hand on the handlebars
of your bicycle
I’m not used to this
arrangement of hard
K’s and V’s and
you disorient me
with your vague
interpretations of
song lyrics of the
band I wish I knew

I am gutted when
you stop calling
because I’ve only known
this body-to-body to mean
something
something languid
something truthful
something gracious

It’s two years before I
know the true taste of sweetness
of gentle whispered w’s and a’s

“That’s what I was thinking” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday June 19, 2017
12:03am
5 minutes
Overheard on West Broadway

On the Saturday before Grade Nine was to start, in a new school, an hour and a half commute from my one house and an hour and forty three minute commute from my other house, I stare at my reflection in the bathroom mirror (at the former house). Something. Does. Not. Look. Right. My left eye is… swelling. Perhaps a less astute person would not notice anything (at least at this point), but I, I am beyond astute. I might as well have a magnifying glass.

“Good girls wore miniskirts but not hot pants” By Julia at her desk


Sunday June 18, 2017
9:56pm
5 minutes
They Used To Call Me Snow White…But I Drifted
Regina Barreca


I wish we didn’t have to fight so hard for our bodies. How can one opinion be the ignition behind so much devestation. All these lies we told ourselves because of the lies we heard first from someone else’s head. It must have been a group. There must have been a threat lobbied at enough of them to cause a movement. Why hold some bodies back if nothing is at risk? But what was at risk? What could it have possibly been to mean so much? What is the small bone we must find before breaking all of ours instead?

“Popeye was right!” By Sasha at her desk


Friday June 16, 2017
10:46pm
5 minutes
La Dolce Vegan
Sarah Kramer


When your mother brings home Steve, the third potential stepfather, you are immediately sceptical of his black goatee and reddish, greying hair. You know that that is not how nature works. Steve is the “assistant manager” (oh-kay) at the mechanic on the corner of First and MacDonald. His brother is the owner. His brother, according to Michelle St. Bernard, is almost a millionaire. Something about good investments, or the stock market, or Atlantic City. You and Tina kick each other under the table as your mother giggles at Steve’s jokes. You get a few of them, and want to laugh because they are not half bad, but you don’t. Out of solidarity with Tina. Out of mourning for your father. Steve says something about the spinach and rice pilaf and your mother says something about Popeye. Tina’s eyes light up.

“wild horses” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday June 3, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
From the Microsoft home-screen

Huddled in the closet where your mother keeps bleach, baking soda, laundry detergent, you whisper in my ear that there’s something you need to show me.

I’m wearing purple shorts and a black T-shirt with Phantom of the Opera on it. You’re wearing jean shorts and a stained white hoodie.

“I ate a freezee in less than thirty seconds,” you’d told me earlier, referencing the orange drips. They look like tears, I’d thought, before running to the washroom to check if I’d peed a few drips – sisters.

It’s dark, except for the slit of light reaching under the door. You reach for the button of your shorts.

“stress hormones can also cross the placenta” by Sasha on the 99


Thursday June 1, 2017
11:32pm
5 minutes
alive.com

Monica makes the sign of the cross and sits down at her desk. She wonders if she’ll have the courage to do it today. The phone rings.

“Dr. Kent’s office, how may I help you?” Her voice sounds different here than at home, when she’s talking to Bozo or singing to the radio as she makes dinner.

“I need to speak to Dr. Kent right away,” says the woman on the other end of the line.

“Dr. Kent is with a patient at present. Might I pass along a message?” Monica reaches for her green tea and sips it. It’s cold.

“I just read something online about how stress hormones can cross the placenta and reach the babies? I’m freaking out! This has been the most stressful three months of my life. It’s bad enough to give one child issues, but two?! I need to speak to – ”

“Take a deep breath. In through your nose and out through your mouth.” Monica rolls her eyes.

“happy, noisy, Elephant” by Sasha on the 41 bus


Wednesday May 31, 2017
4:43pm
5 minutes
Snip Snap Pop-Up Fun
tiger tales


“One day, when you’re a bit more grown up, I’m going to take you to the Land of the Elephants. We’ll ride on their backs, and teach them to sing our songs.”

“Will Michael come too?”

“Nope. Just you and I.”

“Who will feed Scooby?”

“Michael and Mommy.”

“Will we bring backpacks or suitcases?”

“Which would you prefer?”

“Backpacks. More mobile.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

“Will we fly in two or three airplanes?”

“I think it takes two… but we’ll sort out the details closer to the time.”

“Do the elephants talk?”

“Yes. Absolutely.”

“Do we speak their language?”

“We’ve got plenty of time to learn.”

“The only thing we lack” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday May 28, 2017
2:19pm
5 minutes
A program from the Cultch

Today I rise from bed groggy
heart full of last night’s baring
dreams of children and quartz
eyes wide
rushing water
my sister’s hair
a walk in the woods
barefoot
I sit on the balcony
cradling tea and my thirty-first
cradling all that I have built
on this borrowed plot
I call my father
and he sings in a voice
that lands somewhere
before time
A hummingbird
lands on the tree with
the yellow blooms
Joy
Joy
Joy

“he can sound like the rain” by Sasha on her couch


Friday May 26, 2017
12:48am
5 minutes
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Dr. Seuss


“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Gemma-ma-ma, happy birthday to you!”

Mom’s made strawberry shortcake. I don’t have to request it, she knows it’s what I want. Calvin is a vegan so she even whipped up some tofu thing for him to have. What a woman. Her face has changed over the last nine months. She’s looking more and more like Gran. It’s the first birthday in our family since Dad died, and I know that Cal just sang the “ma-ma” because that’s what Dad would’ve done. While we eat our cake, the rain starts. It gets quiet.

“Maybe that’s him,” Mom says.

“I was not able to hold high notes that long” by Sasha in the car on the way home


Tuesday May 23, 2017
10:06pm
5 minutes
From a YouTube comment on a Mariah Carey music video

When the voices told her to steal, Julianne heard a high pitched sound before she did it. Club Monaco just opened on Princess St. The voices asked for a black crew neck T-shirt and a blue and white striped sweater. Julianne was worried. Club Monaco was expensive. Club Monaco sounded like a place the Kardashians would stay, someplace in Aruba, or Mexico, or France. Shoppers was easiest. Mac, the security guard, had loved Julianne since they were five years old and in the same senior kindergarten. He let her go last Sunday when she took three foundations (varying skin tones), an expensive face wash and some almond butter. “You gotta stop it, Julianne,” Mac had said, behind the rolls of toilet paper and dryer sheets. “You really gotta stop.”

“she barely ever wore dresses” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday May 16, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from an interview wth Ingrid Michaelson
Jezebel.com


Her favourite thing to do on her days off (Monday and Tuesday) is
to go to the vintage stretch along Elderwood St.
Right when the stores open. She thumbs through
silk and taffeta, satin and spandex.
She doesn’t try anything on.
That’s her rule,
at least until she’s out of debt. But she touches
the clothes, like lovers, like a darling
kitten, like the world she wishes she lived in more.
This morning she buys a scarf for three dollars
blue with small yellow daisies.
Standing on the sidewalk,
the sun on her face,
she ties it around her neck and continues on.

“I waited twenty minutes, then thirty.” By Sasha at JJ Bean


Monday May 15, 2017
3:25pm at JJ Bean on Cambie
5 minutes
Ghostly Woman on The Rumpus
Zoe Bossiere


I do three shots of tequila before I walk the
seven blocks to the bar where I order a glass of
white wine and wait

and wait


and wait.

Eventually he arrives smelling of rum and sex
and man and rain and sweat

and man.

You’re late
I say
I got caught up
He says
I was about to leave
I say
He looks at me like no woman has ever
called his bluff no woman has ever met
him with a scowl
I’m here now
He says
You’re late
I say.

“super slinky.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday May 14, 2017
9:57pm
5 minutes
From the pack of guitar strings

Sadie flips pancakes at the old stove that you’ve got to kick on it’s right side to get going. She’s made them just out of bananas, almond butter and eggs, blended in the Magic Bullet. She’s a witch (and I mean that as the highest compliment) in the kitchen and the rest of us are her disciples, watching as she sprinkles cinnamon, hemp hearts, gogi berries. Marlene gave birth only two weeks ago and whenever she’s away from Arlo for longer than thirty minutes, her nipples start leaking. She’s got big, wet circles on her purple tank top. “No one tells you that this happens,” she says, looking down. Sadie kisses her on the cheek, and hands her a pancake, fresh from the skillet.

“it won’t matter what house I move into” by Sasha on her couch


Friday May 12, 2017
9:51pm
5 minutes
Love Warrior
Glennon Doyle Melton


Gramma takes us in after the house burns down. We move into her attic, me and Kate and Selma. Ma and Freddie McFly go to the Spencers’. Selma says that they might be swingers, but Kate and I say, “please don’t make us picture that.” Gramma never recovered after Gramps died. She doesn’t smile, or laugh, or do the crossword puzzles. She makes us toast with raspberry jam in a little bowl. No butter in sight. “We can just use jam from the jar, Gram,” says Kate. Gramma scowls. Sometimes, at night, when all the lights are out and we are three in a row in the king bed, we hear her whistling the Canadian anthem.

“they fought amongst themselves” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday May 10, 2017
9:49pm
5 minutes
True Confessions Of Adrian Albert Mole
Sue Townsend


When I saw you for the first time I wasn’t sure about you. I couldn’t believe that you came from my body, my place where I’d lived for thirty nine years. “You’ll never get pregnant,” they’d told me – furrowed brows and lips like a line drawn with a Sharpie – “it’s just not possible”. I swore at the midwife. She was a real cunt, telling me to breathe, trying to feed me frozen mango juice in the shape of little hearts.

“When do we become adults?” By Sasha at JJ Bean


Monday May 8, 2017
5:22pm
5 minutes
http://www.intrepidtheatre.com

“Wise beyond her years”
she was also
the master of
the baby voice.
She shrugged her
shoulders and
giggled down
at painted toes.
Adult body came
too fast comes
too round.
“This isn’t what
I wanted,” she
whispers to
her pillow.
“Wise beyond her years”
a spell cast after
the wall fell.
“Wise beyond her years”
a blessing spoken
over dinner beeswax
candles lighting
changing faces.
“Wise beyond her years”
outgrowing jeans and
shoes seeing all the
noticing
growing
breaking

“borrows and ruins your clothes” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday May 7, 2017
9:42pm
5 minutes
From a tweet by Mara Wilson

The sweet sluttery of fingering through your sister’s closet, touching the dewy tank tops in maroon, purple and grey, the high-waisted jeans, the eyelet dress that you know for a fact she got for thirty-two dollars at the thrift store in Kingston. It’s a drug you can’t quit – touching her stuff – and you wonder about the morality of it, the fairness of it, the injustice of it. You know that every time you do it, you cross a boundary. You know that. But you keep doing it.

“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 Sasha at JJ Bean


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


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

“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!”

“Chickpeas / Tahini” by Sasha at her desk


Monday May 1, 2017
11:02pm
5 minutes
From a grocery list

The way to his heart was through his taste
buds blooming on the upside down tree
dripping tahini and
honey
Begging for a lick
She made him falafel and pickled lemon
Peach sorbet
She tossed mint with arugula and massaged
kale with olive oil and vinegar
The way to his heart
The map she makes every day
charting the topography of a love
story that is still being written
right before their eyes
She blends tahini and chickpeas
garlic
salt
the rhythm of the pulsing
the rhythm of her heart
his heart
this heart
beats

“let it come through.” By Sasha on her balcony


Saturday April 29, 2017
1:41pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Jackson Pollock

LET IT COME DOWN
that acid rain
LET IT COME THROUGH
those brilliant unicorn
bubble dreams
LET IT COME OUT
the savage and
the succulent
LET IT SHAKE
all those beautiful
jiggly bits
LET IT GO
LET IT ALL GO
LET IT SCREAM
HErE I aM
I aM aWaKe!
LET IT KNOW
the very pearl
of wisdom
that lies in the
very centre of the earth
is the sound of
your laughter
head thrown back
eyes closed
the very pearl of wisdom

“There were times when nothing played back.” By Sasha on her porch


Wednesday April 25, 2017
4:14pm
5 minutes
What It Is
Lynda Barry


When I was younger I laughed
at the synchronicity of seasons
how the robin shows her cheeky
face in the hours
before the magnolias the camellias
the cherry blossoms

“Make space for your stories”
my almost husband smiles into my ear
He is referencing the leaning tower
of books on my bedside table
in my knapsack
on the coffee table
the earbuds in my ears while
I steam kale
walk to the market
chase away nightmares

“”when you sign up” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday April 22, 2017
7:00pm
5 minutes
From the Aeroplan flyer

It’s fine, like, if… if you want to come over before you go? I won’t be mad… like last time? I wasn’t seeing people, anyone, I wasn’t seeing anyone last month. It wasn’t personal. I didn’t go out. Thank fuck for those grocery delivery services. Did you know that Save On does it now? You can shop from your bed in your pyjamas. Come over… okay? Even if it’s for ten minutes. I have something I want to give you. I don’t know when I’m gonna see you next and I really just want to – … I’m not going to tell you what it is, but you’re going to want it. Trust me. Ah… It’s Mom’s bracelet, okay! I have it! I didn’t lose it in New Mexico, I have it, I didn’t want you to… I’m sorry. Fuck. I’m sorry.

“While I watched a yellow caterpillar” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday March 29, 2017
11:24pm
5 minutes
Standing
Shel Silverstein


My sister had dance class on Thursday nights. My Mom would take her there. I’m not sure what she would do while my sister danced – did she read a book? Eat a chocolate chip cookie? See a friend?

My Dad and I would be home alone together. This was rare. It was treasured. The King and Queen would come for dinner. We would eat something my Mom had left on the stove for us.

Afterwards, when the food had settled and the King and Queen had left, we would go into the dining room and dance to Dire Straits. Sometimes I would dance on my own feet and sometimes my Dad would pick me up.

“Bad bitch” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Tuesday March 28, 2017 at JJ BeanJJ Bean
2:05pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean on Cambie

Krista knows how to walk in high heels and does so, day after day, without any visible discomfort or achy lower back. She’s one of those women. She carries a small tin of flaky sea salt in her purse and asks for her salad without salt because she wants to add her own. She probably did a lot of blow in her twenties, but you’d never know it, and she never talks about it, but her appetite is still suppressed. Krista didn’t fuck your boyfriend, that was someone else altogether, let’s not get distracted. She only meets men on Tinder who are a decade older than her and whose salaries are at least ten thousand dollars less than hers. It’s one of many little rules that keep Krista Krista.

“I can bearly remember a thing” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday March 25, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
From a fridge notepad

When this song comes on, it reminds me of you like that summer was last summer. It wasn’t. It was seven summer’s ago, and I didn’t even have a good time, mostly, but there’s something about you, there’s something about then, that catches like a bubble in my throat. I cough. Can I finally dislodge this? Can I finally blow you away?

I consider emailing you, with this song, in this coffee shop. But I don’t. I don’t need to write another chapter to that story.

“Is Mommy pretty…” by Sasha at her desk


Friday March 24, 2017
9:52pm
5 minutes
Is Mommy?
Victoria Chang


I don’t want to be all doomsday-y but I’m feeling like shit today. I really am. And I don’t want to say that because of all that you’ve been through, and all that you’re still going through but… Well, bumblebees are officially on the endangered species list. I’m going to say it again. Bumblebees are on the endangered species list. Do you know how badly we need bees? They transfer pollen from flower to flower. They help to fertilize many plants that become our food. Without bees, many of our food sources will die, too. And people don’t care. They just don’t. Maybe it’s because they don’t know how to relate to it… Bees. How come bees matter to me in my life when I have to work forty seven hours a week just to afford my bus pass and mediocre apartment?!

“You live on campus?” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday March 12, 2017
1:05am
5 minutes
Overheard on the 4 going west

My dorm room was on the fourth floor of the Fine Arts residence. When my Mom dropped me off – a few boxes, a laundry hamper, some bedding, a plant from Ikea – I turned away from all the people screaming in the quad. I remember putting my black and white postcards on the wall from Paris, Vienna, Greece and Switzerland, and putting the framed photograph of my boyfriend and I on the desk. I remember brushing my teeth in the communal bathroom. I remember telling my Mom that I wasn’t sure if this was going to work out.

“As Elizabeth lost” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday March 7, 2017
5:07pm
5 minutes
Lives Lived
The Globe and Mail


Elizabeth. Forty seven, but she tells people she’s “on the cusp of forty”. Tall, taller than most at least, six feet and three inches, to the chagrin of her mother. No, she doesn’t play basketball. No, she doesn’t want to join your rep volleyball team that plays every other Wednesday in the gym on the university campus across town that smells like Smart Food. Elizabeth just lost her job, and now she’s sitting at the bus stop, a small tupperware box on her lap. Contents: pink sticky notes, three uni-ball pens, a framed photo of Henry, her ginger three-legged cat, and a small cactus that she hasn’t watered since 2013 and magically is still alive and well. She’s worked as a copywriter at Cityscape News for twelve years. “We’re going digital,” her boss Kenton, who looks like a bulldog, had said. “We’re streamlining…” He’d smiled his way through the “evaluation”, as though something, unknown to Elizabeth, was funny. She knew that she had one of those expressionless faces. She liked to think of it as “Mona Lisa-like”. She knew that others thought of it as “rude”.

“You know I’m fallin'” By Sasha at her desk


Sunday March 5, 2017
10:23pm
5 minutes
Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac

I pull up, into my usual parking spot. I didn’t have time to put make-up on before leaving the house and dropping Tam at daycare. I never used to even wear make-up. Look what you’ve done to me, Gurmeet. I put on “Prussian Pink” lipstick and a bit of eyebrow pencil and I can’t believe how fast my heart is beating. I brought my travel mug today, because it usually allows us an extra minute or two of conversation. Steven asked why I’ve started wearing perfume again. I shrugged it off. I said, “I don’t know, Steven! When did you stop flushing your shits?” I think he got the hint. I don’t even like Tim Horton’s coffee. But here I am, walking in, knowing that I’m going to see you, knowing that you’re going to ask me about Tam and if I want an Old Fashioned.

“he could hear her husky” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday March 2, 2017
9:58pm
5 minutes
Ordinary Thunderstorms
Wiliam Boyd


Husky voiced and heart racing, Edith reached out towards Mr. Jackson. “Can I get you another drink, sir?” He didn’t hear her, or he did, and ignored her, she wasn’t sure which was worse. Someone across the room, a ravishing maven in a tight red dress, waved to him, and he walked towards her, as if floating, as if cross country skiing, across the white marble. Edith adjusted her bowtie and went into the kitchen to see if there were more appetizers to pass out. Finkelstein was already on it. He winked at her on his way out the swinging door, a massive tray in his hand of mini quiches, smoked salmon wraps.

“trying to teach them technology” by Sasha at her kitchen


Monday February 27, 2017
9:25pm
5 minutes
From a text

Bobby makes Owen laugh, and that’s why
he keeps him around. Some people have
sidekicks and some people have acne
especially on their chins and foreheads.
Bobby has acne. Owen has
two girlfriends.
They weren’t always
friends, in fact, they used to be sworn
enemies, in the way that
nine year old boys
swear in blood and sticks whittled
with their fathers’ pen knives.

Owen asks Bobby if he wants a turn
with one of his girlfriends. Bobby
doesn’t know what that means,
politely declines. They are sitting
inside the slide in the schoolyard
where they used to go to school,
where they swore in blood,
made statements bigger than their bodies,
bigger than their dreams of the NHL
(Owen)
and running a non-profit that serves
both the hungry and stray cats
(Bobby)

“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 need a reader” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday February 20, 2017
11:05pm
5 minutes
castingworkbook.com

Sometimes my eyes get so tired, looking at the bright light of the screen, that I wish I had a reader. I don’t even think that I’m an auditory learner, but I do love being read to. I really do. I often ask N to read to me before bed and he usually says no because his voice is tired. He talks all day. I get it. But there’s something about that soothing sound of someone reading aloud that is ultimate comfort, hey? Maybe, if it was work related, it wouldn’t be so productive. Maybe I should stick to reading for myself.

“I need a reader” By Julia at her desk


Monday February 20, 2017
11:01pm
5 minutes
castingworkbook.com

I need a reader.
Someone to read fiction from the tattered corners of the used book shop.
Someone to read stories that come from imagination and what ifs.
Someone to read their weight in other people’s words
to understand why we tell stories in the first place.
I need a reader.
Someone to read non-fiction and learn a thing or
two from the life of somebody that isn’t them.
Someone to read in between the lines when the tears come.
Someone to read the reasons why we write or why we feel we must.
I need a reader.
Somone to read me when I don’t want to be read.
Someone to read me when I need to be splayed open
heart on page after page.
Someone to read the furrow line in my forehead as
habit and not anger.
I need someone who loves flipping pages and
learning new things.
I need someone who won’t stop at the introduction
just because they can’t understand the trajectory yet.
I need a reader.
I need someone who will stay up late tracing
skin tags and face creases and bad dream mumble jumble.

“if it must.” By Julia at her desk


Sunday February 19, 2017
10:34pm
5 minutes
The Refusal
Jane Hirschfield


If it maybes then it shouldn’t
If it musts then maybe it should

I must do a lot of things
like the octopus must
like the sun
like you

I must love you when it strikes me
I must see you when I do not want to be seen

Rain must live here
Ocean must roar sometimes
I maybe shouldn’t need to remind myself
like this, on text and tablet

And still I must remind myself because I maybe need you
I must need you
you must need me
if the sun must

“if it must.” By Sasha at her desk


Sunday February 19, 2017
4:58pm
5 minutes
The Refusal
Jane Hirschfield


I try to lean in to you
in your stoic silence
there lives
a birch tree forest
I am sorry for all the times
I say no before
I say yes
I wish it weren’t so
but alas
it is

You wake from a dream
in which we are running
a bullet has grazed
my leg
I am slowed down
and you slow down
to match my
wounded pace

Is life a teetor
totter up is faith
and down is doubt?

Or maybe
it’s the other
way around

“I miss you.” By Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Thursday February 16, 2017 at JJ Bean
7:24pm
5 minutes
From a text

Writing is the
loneliest number
Fingers thumping heartbeats
heart breaks
break beats
on a keyboard
lit from below.

I’m always surprised
by how many people
want to write.

We all do.

I’m not surprised.

That small voice
held between
clenched
teeth
slid between
index and fore
finger
hammocked in the
clavicle
That small voice
that says,

Listen
Listen
Listen
Listen
Listen
Listen

I miss you.

“soothingly soft” by Sasha in the bath


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

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

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

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

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

“She sees light and shapes” by Sasha on her couch


Monday January 30, 2017
9:21pm
5 minutes
From a text

When I was a child, living in a big house on a tree lined street with a yellow door, I would build tiny worlds out of branches, moss, a shell from a visit to Florida. I saw things differently then, in different colours, with different textures. I didn’t know fatigue. I knew heartbreak.

When I had friends over – Sarah, Katie, Charlotte, – I invited them into the worlds. Sometimes someone brought a pinecone or a piece of string. Before bed, after brushing my teeth, washing my face and saying goodnight to my mother, I would take the tiny world apart, bit by bit.

“you need space sometimes.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday January 28, 2017
10:17pm
5 minutes
This One Summer
Jillian and Mariko Tamaki


You need space sometimes, and when you do I know it because of the smell behind your ears. I try my best to sniff there without you noticing, because when you need space it sets you off when I come that close. I make myself scarce, staying in the living room reading my book or quilting for Ann and Bob’s wedding. You need space sometimes, and I knew this when we started, I knew it through and through. I asked you once, a long time ago, if you could use your words so I didn’t have to go sniffing around. You said you’d try. If you did, I didn’t know it. I kept sniffing.