“You’ve had them for about 12 days.” By Sasha at Bump n Grind


Friday January 27, 2017 at Bump n Grind on Granville
5:43pm
5 minutes
Syllabus
Lynda Barry


You opened up your belly with a whale bone and you filled yourself with rocks.
You went into the river, and you didn’t sink, you floated down, like Ophelia, you floated all the way to the beginning.

When you arrived there, you planted the rocks like seeds and restitched your belly with a daisy chain.

You watered those seeds until words grew:

goodbye

rhythm

hope

You picked the words and tied a blue ribbon around their stems.

You gave them to me.

You told me this story and then I kissed your scar. I cradled ‘goodbye’. ‘rhythm’, and ‘hope’.

I changed their water and fed you peanut butter banana sandwiches.

I watched ‘goodbye’ grow and ‘rhythm’ die.

“let’s get to breakfast” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday January 24, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
From an infomercial

We were never sure of much, were we? We were sure of the skyline, condo buildings and smokestacks, voices ballooning out of windows, bass wafting through tailgates. We weren’t sure about the future. We couldn’t be. We weren’t sure about where we’d get breakfast, and, once we got it, what it might be. I thought that might feel like the world was our oyster but instead it felt like the world was our can of tuna, ninety nine cents at No Frills. One thing Annie taught me was how to score a deal, how to comparison shop, how to be smart about every dime.

“can definitely travel” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday January 12, 2016
1:37pm
5 minutes
From an email

My mother braids my hair before bed, because it’s long now and I toss and turn so violently that I wake, morning after morning, with a birds nest at the nape of my neck. I have nightmares at seven, eight, nine and my mother makes a little bed beside her own that I can crawl into without having to wake her. The run from my room to her room is agony. I do it nightly, building courage like a city around me, inside me, gaining courage until I burn pictures drawn in crayon of my nightmare and he goes.

“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

“Ridiculously simple directions” by Sasha in the Kiva at Macdonell


Sunday December 18, 2016
10:29pm
5 minutes
From Grand Slam Mad Libs

“Go left at the fork in the road,” you’d said. I’d made a note in the margins of the dictionary that I take everywhere I go. It’s full of scribbled recipes (mostly soup and muffins), directions (mostly how to find you), quotes (mostly my mother, John O’Donohue, you, and Rilke), predictions (tea leaves, tarot, strip mall palm readers), weather reports (“Don’t forget long johns and mittens”). I go left, like you’d said and I wonder where you’ve ended up this time, through a fir forest, through knee high snow. I make an angel for old time’s sake.

“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

“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.

“LYING TO TELL THE TRUTH” by Sasha at Pascoe Rd.


Thursday October 20, 2016
12:49am
5 minutes
From a workshop description
Johnny MacRae


I know you’re scared shitless
crapping oceans every day eating saltine’s like
your life depends on it
(your life does depend on it)
I know that the voices in your head keep
you up at all hours
counting blessings counting sheep counting the second hand
ticking at the speed of waiting
I know you paint red and blue on your face
warrior mask smudging orange and yellow on the darkest days
I know you’ve been pulling out your eyelashes again
your eyelids naked as a newborn
naked as a piglet

“Lying flat because my back is killing” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday October 19, 2016
10:11pm
5 minutes
from a text

I’m lying flat because I threw out my back again. As if I need another thing for the guys to mock me about. As if. Doc said, “Lie flat like a board and call your sister.” Ha! Like Julianne could possibly leave Jim for twenty four hours to take care of me! Ha! It was a humbling moment, you know, when Doc said that… Because really, what with Zachariah away at school, I don’t really have anyone to… I mean, who am I gonna call besides Julianne?! I wracked my brain for someone who owed me a favour and, well, I think I’m square with most folks. So… that’s why I’m callin’ you. Would you think about comin’ to look after me for a couple days? I’d take care of the bus fare, and you can get whatever food you want, even that fancy meat stuff you like?

“shouldn’t cost you money” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday October 11, 2016
10:10pm
5 minutes
From a Tangerine ad

No one tells you that you become invisible. Your nose gets bigger, you sprout hair out of your ears, you lose all your pubes, and you become invisible. That’s the truth. I want you to know it because I wish I had. I would’ve given a heck of a lot less attention to how I looked when I actually looked like a Goddamn goddess. I’m not exactly sure when the invisibility cloak was placed over my shoulders… Fifty five? Sixty? I even tried dressing extra sassy, then extra sophisticated, then radical… Didn’t real change a thing. It really showed me what we were fighting for in the Women’s Lib Movement… If you aren’t deemed valuable, viable (ie. child bearing) to MEN, then suddenly society doesn’t value you. You are no longer sexual currency. Might as well be in the bargain bin.

“the authors of our lives” by Sasha at her desk


Monday October 10, 2016
4:44pm
5 minutes
The Rising Strong Manifesto
Brene Brown


I’m sorry for my chin hairs – – –
my legs \\ my armpits \/
my belly >
“my” is pejorative
none of these parts are mine
TRUMP CARD
I laugh because the cry is too big for my one bedroom apartment

I’m sorry for the unpalatable opinions
on the table between us
swirling squash and shit and sex and
squash

My dreams of motherhood don’t betray my dreams
of taking over the world
with stories of chin hairs
legs armpits bellies

Shred the TRUMP cards and recycle them
Maybe they will end up
paper that you’ll write me a letter on

“I’ll do your reading and then email it to you” by Sasha in the NICU kitchen


Thursday September 22, 2016
10:07pm
5 minutes
livewithmoxy.com

I’m riding my bike quickly down the hill, the wind blowing a symphony of “yes” in my ears, hands firmly on the handlebars and

OOFFFFFFF

My front tire hits a bump, a piece of metal? A big nail? A shoe? I fly over my handlebars and in that moment

suspended

I see my life

my loves

my bathroom with the new coat of eggshell white paint

I wonder if it’s already happened

Am I dead?

Thank goodness it’s already turned cool and I’m wearing my denim jacket or my elbows and arms would be torn to shred

A car pulls over and a woman gets out

She looks like my Mom but with black black hair

She gives me her hand and helps me up

“two beautiful faces” by Sasha at the Airbnb in Montreal


Wednesday September 21, 2016
10:12am
5 minutes
Overheard on Av. Girouard

the NICU beeps and wails and whispers
the nurses scrubs have cats and flowers on them
the babies are so small
so new
how were they ready to be born?
the babies are so strong
so new
they were ready to be born
at least that’s what i
tell myself
washing a pear for my sister
filling her water bottle
rubbing her neck
at least that’s what i
tell myself
walking by the darkened rooms
code indigo taped on the door
mothers and fathers and families
like angel zombies
tired eyes and microwave dinners
sanitize the hands

“I had to let her know” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday September 13, 2016
11:32pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Marnie can’t stop biting her nails. She’s tried nail polish, hypnotherapy, herbal remedies, even putting rat poison on her fingertips (that resulted in an overnight stay at the hospital. She can’t stop biting her nails. She wakes up in the middle of the night, her hands in her mouth, and she screams. She’s with a client and the urge to bring fore-finger to mouth overwhelms her and she excuses herself to go to the bathroom and she nibbles and then cries. Marnie goes to therapy. The red headed therapist asks if she can remember when she first started. “I have no idea,” says Marnie.

“Door To Hell” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, August 30, 2016
7:31am
5 minutes
aplus.com

it starts with a whisper with a promise to be better
when you don’t really mean it and you don’t really want to
commit to process
it’s opened then
when you say anything that doesn’t sound like truth and when you think
everybody only hears sincerity when you are wrong but don’t
want to believe that yet
a little crack further
and you keep far away from it because it’s calling you
it knows you by face and you pretend it’s a different you a different you with
the same name
coincidence
that each day a little bit less is tried
a little bit less is wagered
and the pit beyond grace is surrounded by old flames that
you ran from because you didn’t have the courage
to snuff them out
it starts with a whisper with the song of wandering souls
you fall each day
further off the track you triumph over
unfairly

“It languished in the vault” by Julia at her dining table


Monday, August 29, 2016
7:08am
5 minutes
rollingstone.com

I put it there along with other things. I wanted a collection of all the lies I had been telling. In the secret parts of my understanding I like to believe they live in a garden on their own. But they are not thriving in their soil. I don’t water them. I have deep hopes that they don’t need it. The walls of this decision are dried and crumbling. They don’t fall or crack revealing light. They pile on top of the old ones and bury the new ones that were just put there for a second. Now everything is locked up. The idea that this is all I’ll ever be. I am the one languishing in the vault. I am the one wasted. And I only choose to visit the scraps of myself there when no one else is around. Stuck internal, asleep on a mattress that divides all of my bones into unusable groups, and keeps me from attending the day like they all expect me to.

“they did not” by Julia on her couch 


Sunday, August 28, 2016
9:32pm
5 minutes
from a piece of feedback

They do not ask you how you’re doing. They do not wonder if you’re a good liar. They aren’t supposing anything about you except that you must have few worries in this world. They do not pour your water first before theirs. They do not bring you batches of lemonade or lavender shortbread. They don’t call you on the phone. They don’t respond to your letters. They don’t tell you when they see something that reminds them of you. They do not buy it. They never buy it. They do not tell you when you are making them feel unsafe. They do not think you are hijacking the room. They do not know how little you’re listening. They do not expect anything from you. They do not include you in their conversation. They do not ask you if you want to help. They do not ask you if you’ve been places. They do not ask you if you understand the feeling. They do not give you the chance to improve the silence. They do not thank you for your advice. They aren’t borrowing your clothes or your poetry.

“I think he’ll appreciate this food” by Julia on the 84


Friday August 19, 2016
7:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 84

I think he’s in the hospital or at least that’s what Addie thinks. She heard it from his sister’s boyfriend’s sister. I want to visit him because he might be lonely. And maybe hungry. So I want to buy him a burrito cause I doubt he’s allowed to have those in the hospital. I think he’ll be happy. But I’m still waiting on Addie’s intel to confirm because I can’t afford to take the morning off for no reason. Not just cause I want to cause there aren’t enough chances to go around. Got to save it for something good. This would be good though. This would be a really good reason to skip work.
Did you hear what happened to him not this time but the one before that?
Somebody took a baseball bat and..
Anyway you can put two and two together. Just hope someone is there with him until we can get there. I worry that the longer he goes the worse it’ll be.

“See the world” by Julia on her bed


Thursday August 18, 2016
12:01am
5 minutes
From a flyer

Ginny hasn’t left the country. Hasn’t left the city, really. Hasn’t left the space in her head that tells her it’s not safe to go outside. Ginny does’t know which pen pals have forgotten her. She doesn’t know which ones are hoping she’s alright. It’s not safe to go outside. Ginny spins the globe that uncle Andy brings her. Says the world is so big but if you hold it in your hand you feel small. Ginny lets him leave it in her room because every so often he comes by to spin it for himself. Pick a place, any place, he tells her. What kind of place should I pick? Ginny doesn’t go outside. It’s not safe to go outside. It doesn’t matter, he says. This is dreaming and dreaming doesn’t need reasons. But a place that I want to go? She asks. Sure, he says, any place that isn’t right here.

“See the world” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday August 18, 2016
1:06pm
5 minutes
From a flyer

pop says see the world but i’m not sure what he even knows about that because he’s never left chesterton. probably something he’s heard on tv or something, like, a thing he heard someone say that he thought sounded smart. he never finished high school even, so what does he know. sorry pop. you know a lot about how to raise pigs, and how to nurse a pup back to health after she eats too much grass. you know a lot about corn. seeing the world? don’t know nothing about that. if i actually took your advice and left chesterton, i think you’d cry for a week. not that i’ve ever seen ya… but i can imagine. it’s been you and i since mama and berg drowned, since i was three and you were twenty six. mama has finally learned how to make peach pie, the crust and everything. at least that’s what you tell me. mama had just learned to make peach pie.

“the reconnection of a couple” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday August 17, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
roommagazine.com

Snap your fingers and we’re back on track
back to black
back to back
Spines align like a star sign
Smoke signals in the magic hour light
snaking from my mouth to yours
from my mouth to yours
the distance of the north star to
the horizon stretching brighter than we’ve
ever seen
In our home the plants are thirsty
we’re thirsty
we dance naked on the porch unafraid
of who sees our flawless bodies

“every minute” by Julia on her bed


Sunday, July 24, 2016
11:41am
5 minutes
From a birthday card

I didn’t mean to be rude but I was. I told you I didn’t think it mattered if you lived or died and I see the error of my ways now and how if I were thinking clearly I could have avoided hurting you. I really didn’t mean to. Not that I ever do, but that stuff doesn’t usually make up enough for the other stuff, so I’m sorry. I am. I wasn’t trying to be rude. I think if I could go back in time I would have assessed you differently and I would have made different choices. Maybe I would have asked you what you meant, or asked for clarification before I assumed you were really asking me the question. Of course it matters if you live or die. I mean, every minute of your life is important so don’t get me wrong when I tell you any of this. I should have been more careful.

It’s always my fault, whether I like it or not.

You are valuable. I mean that. I just meant before in the grand scheme of life, that it didn’t matter because nothing matters, because everything matters, but because it’s everything it’s also nothing. Does that make sense? In the grand scheme of things, and things being the world, and the world being life, nothing matters.

“every minute” by Sasha at the table in Mississauga


Sunday, July 24, 2016
11:03am
5 minutes
From a birthday card

You sing Jann Arden at karaoke like it really matters, like important people are watching. This speaks to something in you that’s superior to most people. You aren’t afraid to belt:

Maybe you might have some advice to give
On how to be insensitive
Insensitive
Insensitive


You sit down next to me, after you’ve wrapped up and some bro in a pink tank top is trying to sing the Beastie Boys, and you’ve got tears in your eyes. I grab your face and kiss your nose. You are surprised, but you like it, and you tell me so.

“Are you gonna sing something?” You ask, swigging soda water.

“Yeah,” I say, “I absolutely am.”

“We’ll discuss some of the best” by Sasha on the grass in Mississauga


Saturday, July 23, 2016
3:11pm
5 minutes
vancouvertrails.com

Marika says that we’ll discuss the best scores and feedback over beers at the tent. I have no idea what she’s talking about but I nod and say, “Sure! Sounds good!” When I meet her there, she’s ordered a pitcher of something blonde and she’s eating pretzels and curly fries. “Hey!” She waves at me and I try not to cringe. “Hi.” I say.

I’ve known Marika since we were campers, since we competed just like these kids are. I never thought that she’d last. I never thought we’d be coaching together. I never thought I’d be stuck with her for four months of every year.

“I can’t believe that Amy actually got the highest score,” Marika says, picking a bit of pretzel out of her molar.

“where the water is still” by Sasha at the kitchen counter


Thursday July 7, 2016
11:39pm
5 minutes
Cranes and Egrets
Marlene Cookshaw


“When you swim far out, way out past the break, past where the waves are tall as houses, the water is still…” Granny eats a piece of honeydew, the juice dripping down her chin. She wipes it with the back of her hand. “You have to be very brave to swim out that far, you have to be bigger than you are… Fifteen or sixteen. It takes strength of mind an’ body, you see, an’ something else, too…” At this time of night her accent gets thick. “You need the determination, the power that comes along with really believing in yourself.” She swats at a mosquito. “I used to spend hours and hours out there, in the still water, thinking up what might happen. I’m more of a future person than a past person. Past people, they’re more apt to get all depressive. Future people? Like me? Anxiety… But on the still water, floating on my back an’ my front an’ treading water – just calm.”

“dies in slow motion” by Sasha on the couch


Tuesday July 5, 2016
11:11pm
5 minutes
In Search of Agamemnon
Bruce F. Fairley


It’s the hottest day of the year and the air conditioning is broken. We’ve rehearsed the scene what feels like a million times and Mario says, “Ah! Yes! The deaths… The deaths are… they aren’t working, mes amis. Let’s try them both in, in…” We wait, bracing ourselves, willing him to call the day, “in slow motion!” As he says it he does a demo, as if we don’t know what slow motion means. Eric and I look at eachother and try not to scream/cry/laugh. Mario wonders aloud why we’re stalling. “It’s forty degrees. I’m sweating my balls off,” I say. Eric blushes. Mario gets up. He has his water bottle in his hand. He looks pissed. He pours a bit of water into his palm and then throws it at me, right in the face. Pour, throw. Pour, throw. Nicola, the stage manager, almost says something but Eric silences her with a glare.

“We have a Christmas cake box?!” by Sasha in her bed


Monday June 20, 2016
8:30am
5 minutes
Overheard at Starbucks

It’s Christmas, which means that Aunt Cathy is hammered and Pa is smoking pipe after pipe and Jason, my twin brother, is likely going to try to hang himself again. He does it every Christmas. The attempts are feeble, but are attempts nonetheless. Our mother, Joan, recently got a tattoo of a turtle on her right bicep. Jason thinks she’s having a midlife crisis but from what I’ve read, those only happen to men. Jason lives in the weird loft space above the garage. There’s a box spring and a mattress, a hotplate and a mini fridge. It’s where we used to hang out with friends and drink forties when we were in high school. I only see him a couple of times a year and every time I do he has more grey hair. We aren’t identical, but we look a lot a like. My hair is still entirely brown. I haven’t even spotted one grey strand. Aunt Cathy whispers that Joan went grey in her early thirties, too.

“community based competitions” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday June 19, 2016
10:38pm
5 minutes
http://www.academicinvest.com

I’m standing at the microphone and I can hear my own breathing inside my head, but everything else in the room is perfectly still. I am ready. I am prepared. I am under water. I feel true calm. I hear the speaker bellow out a long word in slow motion. I hear every single part of his word. I see every single part of his word. I take a deep breath and I pause. The silence is back. My focus is razor. I repeat his word, his multisyllabic and challenging word and I spell it back to him, punching. each. letter. It is good to be good. I am floating. I am waiting. The sound of the auditorium floods back to my ears and there is thunder. There is pulse. I am lifted.

“and lifted right up” by Julia on her couch


Saturday June 18, 2016
10:10pm
5 minutes
All My Puny Sorrows
Miriam Toews


Caught me in the middle of ‘researching’ various porn sites and I got mad at you for barging in unannounced. Kendra, you said, I live here. Do I really have to announce anything? I was embarrassed, obviously, that’s why people get defensive and upset in the first place, but I was not about to tell you that.
Listen, Matt, I don’t think a text or a phone call is a very big inconvenience just to tell me you’re on your way or that you’re 5 or 10 minutes out, or that you’ll be disturbing me and just wanted to give me a heads up.
Disturbing you? You asked.
Yes, I told you, or disrupting the flow.
I didn’t know there would be so many arbitrarily chosen rules popping up when you moved in.
I’m just saying we share the space and it’d be nice to be aware of each other.
Fine, Kendra. You said. You were on your way back out the door. I’d like all parties present to be informed that I am, ANNOUNCING, that I am leaving for the night, and all parties present can go back to being a huge dick for no reason, by herself.

“the nervous towns of Mars” by Julia on her couch


Monday June 13, 2016
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury


I don’t have words right now
not for the pain
not
for the other stuff
I have alien feelings
not happiness
not fear
something is in me breaking
as we speak
I would ask for
permission
to go home early
from all of this
try my lungs out
call to the wild but
there’s a scientist
waiting to take
my blood out
and I think
she owns me or something
Because my thoughts don’t feel
like mine anymore
they feel
like nothings floating
deep
and bobbing up for air
every
now and again
she tells me
stop trying
and I assume she means
everything
everything
everything
My arm is her best friend
my vein
is her guilty pleasure
she looks at my dancing
blue fluids
my
inside life
with fluorescent sparks shooting out
of her eyes
getting ready to keep me
from jumping out of
my skin
and into the world
beside this one
I tell her
They have much more
star-dust because it’s a destination
Not a curse
She says
and I know now
stop
which means
shuffling around while this
thing is in me
which means
talking
because I use
my hands
too much

“screaming like Tasmanian devils” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday June 12, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Bye Judy and Good Luck
Mona Awad


Madelyn had stepped out onto her porch, dimly lit, a few mosquitoes, joint lit. No sweater, it was good to feel cold every now and again. Not impossible cold. Awareness-making cold. She glanced down at the stain on her yellow cable knit T-shirt, pulling the base of it down and out to examine the damage, to survey the crime scene. They had been screaming like Tasmanian devils; running up and down the house so feverishly and never-endingly causing the whole house to vibrate. Madelyn didn’t know if the love she had for them was enough to keep her from hating them when they were like this. She thought she might have to take notes and keep watch on their behaviour with the cycles of the moon. She picked again at the orange-red blotch of defeat on her top. She picked again. She swatted away a mosquito.

“fumbling as she removes” by Sasha on her yoga mat


Saturday June 11, 2016
3:59pm
5 minutes
From an assignment

There’ve been times when she’s looked at you like you’re a stranger
just arrived here by way of an invisible 747
landed ass first in the house that you own three quarters of
There’ve been times when she kisses you and you aren’t sure if her lips
are your lips or if your lips belong to someone much older
and much fatter
There’ve been times
in thunderstorms
When the dog cowers under the oak table growling and shaking
Peeing on the floor and she curses and you clean it up and then
you sneak a puff of a joint on the other side of the street

“within the high-rise’s stairway” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday June 7, 2016
11:01pm
5 minutes
Flushed
David Delisca


Ellen told Brody she wouldn’t be joining him on the hike this year but she didn’t give him much notice. She had been holding off on saying anything until she knew for sure if she could or not. Brody didn’t think to ask if there was a reason. He focused on the fact that Ellen bailed on him so last minute and he had already put his money down. Brody sent a lot of passive aggressive messages telling Ellen that he wished he could “find a way to make some much needed cash asap–life is so unexpected, you know?” Ellen didn’t have the heart to tell him what was really going on in case he decided not to go all together. The last thing she needed was her best friend giving up something he had looked forward to every year just to stay at home and offer some unwanted pity. Ellen toggled between telling him the whole truth, and avoiding anything but.

“enables you to become the master” by Julia at her desk


Friday May 13, 2016
11:05pm
5 minutes
The Curl Keeper Bottle

I think it has to deal with inside learning. You know what I mean when I say that? Inside learning? The act of getting to know yourself from the inside out. It sounds a bit out in left field but it is quite an easy concept if you just put it into your own words. I’ll try to explain myself: you look at a mirror every single day right? You know where your eyes are on your face, you know where your nose is. You know how your hair frames your forehead. But you don’t know what emotions are friends inside yourself. You don’t know how hate likes to attach itself to confidence and how love is always being eaten by fear. We need to understand how these feelings connect inside us. So we can become a master of ourselves. So we can learn truths on our own. So we can keep studying our souls with the intensity of learning a new language. That’s all it is, really. Learning how to speak our internal language.

“a signal he was about to shut down.” by Julia on the 9


Thursday May 12, 2016
10:48pm
5 minutes
Bolt
Russell Wangersky


I remember asking him if he wanted to sleep over–it might have been the third or fourth time. We had just gotten home from a nice dinner, I had just peed myself in the laundry room and was cleaning it up with dryer lint while he waited for me upstairs in my room, you know, just a casual Friday night, and I thought he was going to say yes this time. I was cautious, I made sure the moment was right, made sure I was feeling his vibe, and then boom: another no. I assumed naturally, as one does, that it was either because he could smell remnants of secret urine off my legs (though I had washed them well enough in the bathroom sink before returning to my room), or that he was about to break up with me.

“Grab whatever looks good” by Julia on the 84


Wednesday May 11, 2016
7:52pm
5 minutes
from a text

Knock at our door, Lizzie quickly throws on one of my shirts. She slides over the peephole cover. She opens the door without wasting a breath.
Robert is standing there. We haven’t seen him in years. Lizzie goes to hug him, he stops her.
“We don’t have time for that right now. ”
Lizzie grabs him again and this time it’s not optional.
“You do not get to come here and pull this shit on me again. Tell me right now what is going on. ”
I’m on the bed, inching closer to Lizzie’s night side table. I don’t want to cause a commotion. I want her gun in my hands and nobody else’s.
“You guys have to leave. They know. They know about me. About us. We have to grab whatever we can and go. Now. ”
Lizzie sees me moving closer. She offers a tiny nod in approval. I see it. Robert doesn’t.
“Who is they, Robert?” Lizzie asks, conjuring up all the softness inside of her.

“flat-out rejected” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 10, 2016
9:09pm
5 minutes
http://howlround.com/submitting-like-a-man-we-have-a-winner

I told him how I feel and he said nothing. Well that’s not entirely true, I suppose, he did say “Ciao.” Like I said, you can call me sometime other than for Halloween and he said, Okay, ciao. With this weird sliminess that I wasn’t expecting from him. And he never did call me. And then he stopped coming for brunch. And I swear he came to that terrible restaurant too many weekends in a row for him to not have had an ulterior motive. And once he helped me clean behind the bar when we were understaffed and I got slammed. He manned the glass-washer. And he made me a couple coffees. And when I tell him to call me, he says, “Ciao”? I guess part of me wondered if I was supposed to learn the “don’t assume shit lesson” because I assumed he liked me. Because he acted like he liked me. He tipped huge. He asked me for opinions on his flooring. And he introduced me to his friends? He even came to eat at the new shitty restaurant I was working at after I left the first one.

“I am in a meeting ” by Julia at her desk


Monday May 9, 2016
11:07pm
5 minutes
from a text

-I don’t want to have to tell you again that I’m keeping them to put salad dressing in. Fucking salad dressing for when I decide to make a salad for lunch and need a small container. To transport the dressing.

-Why can’t you just put it in on of your glass jars?

-Because they’re too big. You don’t know how heavy my bag is.

-Okay fine. You’ve got an answer for everything.

-Because I have a perfectly good reason why I’m keeping them. I thought it through, it’s not like I am collecting them because it annoys you.

-It really does annoy me. Everything you keep–

-Let me keep what I keep.

-Okay. You keep what you keep.

-Thank you.

-But seriously they should be thrown out. They’re one time use. For travelling soy sauce.

-Exactly.

“I do and I don’t” by Julia on the 250


Sunday May 8, 2016
3:59pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 2 bus

By the time I have to decide whether I’ll go and visit Tracey in the hospital, I’ll probably know if Tracey is even still there. Last time I heard from Tanya that Tracey was fighting with her tubes and didn’t want anything “touching her blood”. I told Tanya I would come and relieve her but I didn’t end up going because I am actively avoiding the hospital. Tanya told me not to come if I don’t want to be there but Tina thinks I’m not pulling my weight. She says if I’m not going to come relieve them I should at least give 24 hours notice. Tanya had someone just in case I decided not to so everything was fine and Tina doesn’t scare me. Tina calls me everyday and so I make sure it goes to voicemail. She likes to give all the gory details like “Tracey only has a few good days left” and “you better show up for her” or “Tracey vomited in her sleep because her intubation wasn’t done right”.

“Let’s discover our” by Julia on the 7


Saturday May 7, 2016
7:39pm
5 minutes
from a chef magazine

Let’s discover our soft spots
Our unwants
Our don’t touches
Our yes love this
Let’s discover our truth’s truth
Our hard lost youth
Our who’s who
Tell me about your day dreams
I’ll tell you about my nightmares
Tell me about your battle wounds
I’ll tell you about my big scares
Your scars
My empty jars
Your hopes
My nopes
Your yeses
My catch this
Let’s discover the good and the bad
The moments we never had
The memories that make us sad
The language that holds us together

“get shared and discovered” by Julia on the 99


Wednesday May 4, 2016
6:19pm
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

Open heart
Yeah
Dreaming something big
Like California
Waiting
Holding on to secret secrets
Yeah
Picking daisies making chains
Grass babies
We are forever of the earth
Got our back packs filled
With beach rocks
And honey sticks
Talking a lot
In the moments between
Silence and acceptance
Fantasizing
About the dreams
Yeah
That will become truths
Yeah
That will become our future
Daughters
In the sand
And we braid each other’s hair
And each other’s heart strings
And we tie knots around the wisdom
That keeps us dreaming big
Yeah
Like California
Yeah

“get shared and discovered” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday May 4, 2016
12:47pm
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

“I want to write about female friendship, but no one publishes it,” Rhonda picks at the scab on her forearm. She just got a tattoo covered up. A rose covering a butterfly. “Fuck butterflies,” she says. I remember when she got that tattoo. We were eighteen. She wouldn’t shut up about the fact that it was her spirit animal and a “governing force in the journey of her life”.

“I’m getting more iced tea,” Rhonda stretches, standing up from the picnic table. The bench has made a line on her thighs. Her cutoffs are riding up. “Want some?” She’s in through the screen door.

“Yeah, sure,” I say, putting on more sunscreen.

“not quite ready for viewing” by Julia at her dining table


Monday May 2, 2016
9:45pm
5 minutes
from leoawards.com

Miriam is working on a masterpiece she is not quite ready to show. She has been behind the curtain for 7 years and she is inspired every day to try and improve it, to make it better, to make sure that it’s perfect. She is getting so good at making the mistakes go away that the masterpiece may soon be on display without flaw and will of course be appreciated more. Miriam does not consider that people waiting for her to complete this masterpiece will have many expectations. She does not let that bother her as she is preoccupied with ensuring that her art is living, breathing, and winning. It must win what ever ribbon is awarded to the winner of the production of a masterpiece. Surely a blue ribbon for dedicating so much time to one thing because there was a vision? Miriam could use a blue ribbon. It’d be nice to be reminded why she stays inside creating without ever showing others her work. Must be a reason why she never feels like it’s good enough to offer.

“Snoop through” by Julia on her couch


Sunday May 1, 2016
3:49pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by Toronto Life

Dear Martina,

This letter is for you so I do hope you come across it. Can I start off by saying that, my god, you are the most beautiful thing I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. You are so honest and trustworthy which is probably why you are so beautiful to me. I know that I could tell you anything and you’d understand, and that you’d be gracious to me by keeping that something as private as possible. I don’t want to neglect to mention how genuine you are, secure of yourself, and deeply noble you are. Thank you for showing me so much sincerity. And if you’re still reading, I want you to know one last thing: please know I feel the OPPOSITE of every single thing I just said about you because I fucking know you let yourself into my e-mail account the other night and I never want to see your unreliable and selfish fucking face ever again.

Love,
Matthew

“first on our list” by Julia on her couch


Saturday April 30, 2016
11:17am
5 minutes
from the PTC newsletter

Hello everyone, welcome, thank you for joining us. We’re so happy you could be here to share in our special day. Neuromica and I have been so supported in the decision to unify since the first turn of the old moon’s last embrace. We sincerely welcome you into our space and into our family, to witness this one true love the two of us have for each other. Thank you for your accountability to us, and with even more gratitude, our accountability to you. We appreciate the community in this union as one that holds us higher than we could possibly get standing on the shoulders of each other alone. First on our list of more specific and directed thanks is the beautiful and warm and all encompassing universe: you are simply radiant this fine afternoon at this 5 star resort in Costa Rica.

“I’m flexible” by Julia at her dining table


Friday April 29, 2016
3:41pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

bend me pretzel and salt me temptation
I want dinner for breakfast
I want all the rules broken for me
I am magic and missing you
if given the opportunity
I would tell you that
you’ve been gone for 516 days
I am counting each one
not a single night falls
without me wishing you weren’t
find the flavour of my cheek with your tongue
lap me animal, gentle wolf
greet me at the door’s hinge
tongue eager
and qualified

“Textures” by Julia on her couch


Thursday April 28, 2016
8:52pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

It’s hard for me not to see you in the wallpaper and feel you in the tile. Your life danced on these floors. Your heart wept in this bed. I feel you in the counter grime, underneath the green dust that has formed a film on the island–the spot where you placed all those freshly picked wild flowers for me. I tell myself it is not over. That you are still here and that I am still here and that this is still our home, the living room still a place where we used to make music, the kitchen still a place where we used to make love. I hear you in the buzzing hallway light, and the hum of the furnace. They sing to me your laugh and I am held there by the beauty of this pain. In moments where I am completely quiet, I can almost even see you reading in your favourite arm chair by the window, legs outstretched and resting on the blue accent pillow.

“Woohoo!” by Julia on the 20


Wednesday April 27, 2016
10:34pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I am EXCITED to see you. I left you a scavenger hunt in the garage that you will LOVE but you have to have a reason to go to the garage. I didn’t leave clues in the house to go into the garage because I LOVE you but I do not have that much TIME! Remember that time I picked you up from the airport wearing a pleather sexy nurse costume? That was FUNNY but you were ANGRY with me because you were tired and not in the MOOD for an EXPERIENCE or a MEMORY. I was only upset about that for 6 months. Pretty good! Could have been way longer! Pride takes so long to heal though. You know that. Also my instinct to take risks for you had been RUINED and I didn’t really know that that’s what happened until much LATER.

“We’ve got your back” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday April 26, 2016
11:30pm
5 minutes
from a Suburu ad

Got a letter from Marie the other day. It was written on a series of post-its, unnumbered,disordered, and accompanied by a stack of photographs. She sent me a photo of her new belly button ring with a big “SORRY!” Written on the back in red lipstick. Another of her dog, Kate, and her just waking up. She looks happy in that one. She also sent a photo of her and Iris swinging a toddler between them. On the back she wrote “this ones a good one” and I have no idea what or who she’s talking about. Her post-its had her dreams scrawled on some but not all, a list of all of her current measurements, and a haiku about mint chocolate with a bunch of sparkly cow stickers.

“Not anymore” by Julia on the 99


Monday April 25, 2016
6:51pm
5 minutes
from a podcast

I don’t want you anymore
She says
Mouth full of corn flakes
Heart full of lonely
Are we going to discuss this
He says
Forehead vein pulsing
Forehead skin wrinkling
We are discussing it
She says
We are discussing it right now
No
He says
I mean don’t I get a say in this
Whatever you want to say will be too late
I don’t want you anymore
I don’t owe you a debate
You don’t have to be cruel
You’re already leaving me
He says
Eyes cast down
Eyes filling up
I think I’m being very nice actually
Being honest with you is the nicest thing I could do.