“writing poems on placemats.” By Julia on the 99

Thursday, March 15, 2018
5 minutes
Garlic In My Ear

Jerie told me she’d only move back to Vancouver if I could find her a two bedroom apartment that wasn’t being eaten. By what she did not specify, but the easy answer would be “at all”. I first asked her to come back when Elliot got in that car crash and was put into a coma. Surely someone in a coma couldn’t work the corner office. I wasn’t hoping for him to die, just, stay where he was. Jerie said it was a shitty thing to do and wasn’t moving on principal. I hadn’t touched her skin in 5 months. I guess I got desperate. She was right. But how do you woo someone with a bachelor apartment and a bachelor salary? The second time I asked her was after I got the side job at McDonalds. I started writing her reasons why on napkins. Wrote her sonnets on the backs of greasy placemats.

“You’ll do pants today.” By Sasha at at the Edmonton airport

Sunday January 21, 2018
5 minutes
Summer, Winter, War
Melinda Moustakis

I know the apartment is a bit of a mess. Dust bunnies in corners, the sink needs scrubbing, the toilet needs cleaning, the bathtub needs vinegar down the sides. I know that I like packing more than unpacking and three flights in one week is too many for me.

I know that the fridge has a few wilted pieces of celery in it, a bruised apple, a shrivelled lemon, a jar of tahini with an inch of oil on top and only a few centimetres of tahini.

I know the sheets are semi-clean, and the plants are thirsty.

“Does it not sound like shouting to them?” By Julia on her couch

Saturday January 13, 2018
5 minutes
The Sisters Brothers
Patrick DeWitt

There’s a couple down the hall-or there was a couple down the hall-who screams and screams and yells and yells and fights and fights and etcetera and etcetera. I say was because we haven’t heard fighting in a while and the more logical assumption is that they’ve moved out. I mean it’s sad that a couple has moved out of our building and we didn’t realize it until we noticed the quiet. Other people are living there now and we didn’t know that either. I say it was more logical that they moved out than that they stopped fighting because they used to fight so bad it didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would ever end. Even alone they fought, which is weird, but maybe it was on the phone so maybe not so weird. Anyway I’m certain that the whole building heard it because we heard it through the walls and over the Brahms. Over our own fights, which we were glad to realize weren’t as bad as theirs. I only know them by their loud. I wouldn’t be able to pick them out of a line up.

“feel free to mix it up!” By Julia on her couch

Friday January 5, 2018
5 minutes
One Part Plant
Jessica Murnane

There is a new tenant who is keeping her own bees. She is a bee keeper and she lives in the corner apartment facing the gardens. I’ve seen her up there, watching, waiting for the bees. She’s not odd looking. I thought she would be odd looking but she’s not. I don’t know why I thought that. She’s normal. She’s cool even, she wears ripped jeans and converse sneakers. She has a braid that I’m not sure of its origins. I know it’s none of my business where her braid is born or whatever but she has one and it’s doing it’s own thing. Just like she is. Keeping her bees, watching her bees in the parking lot garden. Seducing lovers in front of the window cause her bees are busy building sexy hives and she can’t help it.
Okay maybe she’s not licking any clits because of her bees. I don’t know maybe that was going one step too far.

“I analyzed four rape jokes” by Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Thursday January 4, 2017
Lindy West

It smells like old bacon fat and pinecones here. I hate your apartment, but you don’t like going outside so you never come to mine. The TV plays the news news news news news. Turns to music if you let it. Turns to grime if you let it. It’s all a frame of mind. You reach over and touch my nipple with your beer can. OUCH. I go to the kitchen and open the fridge even though I’m not hungry. I’m not hungry. I think resolutions are bullshit but you like them so I humour you and we talk about them forever. And ever.

More exercise (what else is new)
Less TV
Call your mother

Less beer
More vegetables
Clean your front hall closet (just threw that one in so that you would think I really cared)

“younger than before” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday December 2, 2017
5 minutes
Place To Be
Nick Drake

Jenni gets very irritated when Craig leaves crumbs on the counter. She reminds him that crumbs mean the mice have snacks, but he rolls his eyes. “I’m the one to empty the damn traps, anyway!”

Jenni hates mice. When she was younger, she used to have nightmares that hundreds of them were crawling all over her body and she couldn’t move. When they came to look at this apartment (hard wood floors, big windows, good closet space), Jenni had asked about rodents. The superintendent said that never in his sixteen year history of living in the building had he seen a mouse. They signed the lease right then and there.

“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.

“All winter we went on like that” by Julia at her desk

Saturday May 6, 2017
5 minutes
After Birth
Elisa Albert

It was a tough one with all the rain seeping into all my dry
I think it’s safe to say that something was trying to be planted
Something needed care enough to sprout

I used to dread cleaning my apartment when the grey outside made the inside feel dirty
Today I swept up a spider and saluted to her as she crawled away and into a safe place
The light painted my home in a newness that I’ve been waiting for
Everything on the shelves, a choice, a decision, an opinion
Spring has signed the contract, says she can take it from here
I cannot wish for something better than feeling home in the home I live in
I give thanks for the cupboards that hold every envelope, every light bulb

“he digs into that” by Julia at her desk

Thursday March 30, 2017
5 minutes
overheard at kafkas

We keep talking about getting a dog. We sometimes talk about if we ever moved it might make more sense, so we keep talking about moving. I don’t want this to happen. He does. Sometimes we talk about settling for the tiniest dog in the universe so if we can’t convince our current landlord to let us keep one, we can pretend like there is no dog, what dog? Oh that little fluffy..entity…nothing…just…tissue…?
We haven’t quite figured it out. I’m glad. He is not. But we can’t justify getting a dog when there are so many other items already on the list. First things first. Like getting a new matress, a vaccum cleaner, laundry detergent, a vaporizer, toilet paper, and bananas.

“good times” by Julia at her island

Wednesday, December 23, 2015
5 minutes
from the back of a CD

Memories are being made in our perfect little apartment
I can see you from across the room and I like that I can take in every part of you now
Before I think I forgot to make eye contact with you
We sat side by side so we got used to staring straight ahead
It was more comfortable that way
Now I can see you from a distance
See your smile
Your strength
Your genuine desire to help me
Memories are being made here
We sit on our properly sized couch and remember how things used to me
We are learning to remember our hardships as the golden thread in our tapestry
The through line in our story
The magic of perspective and just-desserts
We can see the mountains from our bedroom window
We can see the ocean from our dining room table
We can see the future of our love expanding when it finally has the space to grow
These are good times
These are our good times

“lease holders and approved occupants” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday August 20, 2014
5 minutes
from an apartment memorandum

I feel a bit silly asking this, but do you think he wants me to stay for the winter? I’m only asking because we got this memo under the door today about getting new keys because the front locks were being changed, and he didn’t tell me about it. He like, hid the memo from me and I only found it because I was looking for the old memo from two days ago that said something about the drainage pipes. Why wouldn’t he invite me to stay long term? I feel like a summer fling all of a sudden, which is crazy right? He gave me a key for the summer and he’s going to give me a key for the winter too, isn’t he? Why would he all of a sudden not want me to get into his apartment easily? I feel like he’s going to be really annoyed with me calling all the time just to get inside the house we share, right? Well, we’ve been sharing it, I guess we don’t officially share it since my name is nowhere on the lease. I just thought, hey, I’m not a lease holder, fine, but I most certainly am an approved occupant! The residence manager has seen me a bazillion times while he’s watering the one plant in the front yard. I say hi to him every time I walk by even though he just stares at my boobs when he sees me. If anything, I’m an asset to this stupid building. Is that anti-feminist? Is this whole conversation anti-feminist? I’m just trying to figure out where I belong, you know? Well, no, not that desperately. I’m not begging for a key or anything. I’m not begging for a ring at all. I’m good with where we are. I’m good.

“BLUE & GOLD” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday November 27, 2013
5 minutes
a poster in Kerr Hall

When you walk in you feel immediately at home. It doesn’t matter that the stairs need sanding. You’ve never lived on your own before. In the kitchen, you smile. Sure, the floors could use a good scrub and the walls have scuff marks. Okay, you wish that the living room wasn’t grey but you just heard about a cheap paint store where there are leftovers from the biggest and best paint jobs in town – The Opera House to the Shangri-La Hotel. You hear the upstairs neighbour calling to her child. “Lunch!” You walk into the bedroom and your breath catches in your throat. Blue walls with gold baseboards, not muted gold, bright, shiny, sparkly gold. Marisa, the landlady, her red fleecy zipped up under her chin, laughs. “The last tenant, she was a leetle crazeeey…” You sit down on the floor and you cry. Marisa rubs your back and you apologize and you say you’ll take it. You say you’d like to move in on Monday. You say that you need this place more than anything, that you’ve been couch-surfing since September and you’re going crazy. You don’t mention your cat. You wipe your cheeks and Marisa hugs you and says she’ll call your references and if everything checks out it’s yours.

“For residential customers,” by Julia at her kitchen table

Saturday February 16, 2013
5 minutes
The back of the Toronto Hydro bill

I haven’t wanted to live in an apartment building since 2012. It was a stupid incident, really, not even a big deal. It was just sort of haunted, I’m not going to get into it, but it really was, so I left my complex. I’m not saying that houses or condos are not haunted. They for sure can be. But they’re the kind of place that ghosts like to hang out. Again, I don’t know why because I’m not a ghost buster or anything like that. I’m not really even the kind of person who believes in stuff like that. I just sort of know what I know and that’s enough to decide whether I want a new place or some rickety old apartment building with blood stains in the bathroom…I didn’t, for the record, find any blood stains in my apartment. That wasn’t the kind of haunted I mean. The kind I mean is the kind that makes you want to stay up all night without sleeping, and only eating corn chips and Mike and Ikes. Together. Like mixing them so they tasted like fruit loops cereal. The kind that makes you forget to bring your second pair of running shoes to the gym even though the ones you always remember are the ones that smell like Krispy Kremes and vomit. It’s just the kind of place that has ghosts of productivity past. The ghosts of almost but not quite because YOU’RE JUST SO BUSY SETTLING FOR NOT GREAT STUFF.