“Show them yourself, your highness” by Julia on the 99

Monday October 16, 2017
10:39pm
5 minutes
from a dream

She opens the door and stands back as she gestures for me to enter. The door is covered in cobwebs. I’m supposed to be impressed? She clears her throat and then starts down the foyer. Her heels are click clacking and I imagine what her tongue looks like when she’s disappointed in someone. I don’t want her to see me looking around so I don’t but I clock everything. Listen for grandfather to signal me the hour. Even time is shrouded in mystery here. She brings me to a tiny room and shows me in. She waits at the door while I put down my bag. I think I’m meant to gasp or cover my mouth in honest surprise. She glares at me with anticipation and I’m still not sure if I’m allowed to speak. Suddenly the door slams shut and she is nowhere to be found. I am acutely aware now that she was waiting for me to leave. The lock thuds in the door. I understand how it looked like I was staying. She sealed the deal for me.

“Space Womb” by Julia at Kits beach

Sunday October 15, 2017
3:49pm
5 minutes
YouTube.com

Galaxy inside me oozing star dust and making plans

Staining my finger tips Milky Way

So when I stamp myself on the backs of all the envelopes I leave a trail of meteor magic behind.

My body amazes me every time I think about it. She is busy holding another human in her space womb. Making space for something good to come, preparing the introductions.

Hello world, this is tiny human and she is going to be a force of fresh air and binaural melodies. She’s going to change the planet and I’m going to be her keeper until she’s big enough to see. In this space womb I am weaving a promise through the umbilical cord and into her tiny soul. I play the music, everybody’s favourite song, and she dances inside me till she sleeps.

She is giant and bossy and funny as hell.” By Julia on her couch

Saturday October 14, 2017

11:22pm

5 minutes

a text

Kitty tells me to say that that I’m the baby and she’s the mum. I say, I’m the baby and you’re the mum. Then she tells me to say I’m addicted to raisins! I say, do I know what addicted means already? And she tells me to just say it already. I say I’m the baby and you’re the and mum and I’m addicted to raisins. She tells me, okay now say you’re trapped in a lemon peel. And I say oh no I’m the baby and you’re the mum and I’m addicted to raisins and I’m trapped in a lemon peel. Then kitty bursts out laughing. She is laughing so hard she gives herself hiccups. She tries to give direction between giant gulps of air. I tell her to take a second and catch her breath and she tells me to hurry up and be funny. I tell her she’s being a bit bossy and she shrieks at the top of the lungs, THAT’S BECAUSE I’M THE MUM.

“I’d be fucking rocked if I were you.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 11, 2017

8:54pm

5 minutes

From a text

He forces my wrist until it is twisted up and screaming quietly. He wants me to get into the bathtub. I don’t know why. I let him hold my arm and push until I am kneeling beside the tub and looking in. He keeps pointing. I keep imitating him. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do but he is strong for six and this is the first time we’re in a bathroom together. He looks at me like he’s trying to tell me about his pain. His face is contorted and his eyes are loud. I look back at him with as much heart as I can muster. Tell him with my smile he’s not alone. That I’m here. That I’m sorry he’s trapped inside his head with so many feelings and not enough words. He grabs me by the wrist when I try to open the door. He brings me back to the tub. I am breathing loud enough so he might hear it in his skin. I want to save him but I don’t know what from. He is crying without tears. I tell him, it’s okay. It’s okay.

“All in your head” by Julia in her bed

Monday October 9, 2017
11:55pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Tim Hortons

Imogen and Harriet are grinding their hips and Imogen likes Harriet and Harriet knows that. The music makes Imogen want more than what she has. Harriet doesn’t want to waste the song. Imogen thinks arching backs and swaying thighs is proof. Harriet wants to be free and enjoy each second because she doesn’t know when she’ll get another one.

The two of them remember this night differently.

“delicately flavored granita” by Julia in her bed


Saturday September 9, 2017
12:57am
5 minutes
Apples
Andrea Albin


mom’s in the kitchen making “something you’ll like, shut up and trust me”
it’s her speciality
don’t know if she learned how when she was living in Naples nannying those conjoined twins
or before
or when she was raising her younger brothers so they wouldn’t fall off a cliff or accidentally drink lighter fluid
“something we’ll like” is often a combination of soft bread and sour spreads
something we wouldn’t know to choose
or if we’re lucky espresso granita
served with impossibly cute spoons

“I was not able to hold high notes that long” By Julia at her desk


Tuesday May 23, 2017
10:05pm
5 minutes
from a YouTube comment on a Mariah Carey music video

Heaven help me–if Larry ever offered to do the groceries I would know that something was terribly wrong at the centre of things. I don’t know who’s in control, if it’s NASA, if it’s Horoscope writers, or what not, but we’d be in trouble that’s for sure. Larry has a groove print the size of his ass on the sofa and it is notcibly sat in but he doesn’t care. He doesn’t think about that kind of thing. No, he can’t think about teaching his body to even find a different part of the room to eat chips in, let alone offer to help me out in anyway.
Not on his own, at least. Larry’s the kind of man who requires a lot of prompting and I’m not saying that’s his mother’s fault or what not, I’m sure she’s a real ham-sweetheart. But his father? If I’m going to go blaming anyone for the permanent Larry-groove in my sofa, I’m going to go ahead and blame him: the iceberg lettuce who didn’t think responsability applied to him.

“and then he came down the stairs” by Julia at the New York


Tuesday April 25, 2017
11:49pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

He is wearing a bandana around his neck and a new pair of toe shoes. I shudder.
“what? WHAT, ADI?”
“you look like…you look like someone else.”
“Nobody knows what you’re talking about, Adi, this is me.”
“That is not you! Are you kidding? Where did you even get a banadana?”
“This? This? This was a GIFT-you know what, I don’t have to explain myself to you. Fashion is subjective, haven’t you heard?”
I roll my eyes as far back in my skull as I can send them. He has a point but I can’t take him seriously when he’s dressed like this!
“You have a point, but I still can’t take you seriously when you’re dresses like this!”
“Adi–”
“Toe shoes?!?”

“in her full out pajamas” by Julia on her couch


Sunday April 9, 2017
9:44pm
5 minutes
overheard in the hallway

walks into the store
in her full out pajamas
b lines it all the way to the frosters
pumps two XL cups in rainbow layers
chugs half of the first one then tops it off with more
green syrup fuses to the corners of her mouth
lime flavoured wings
drags her feet to the counter
pays in bottle caps and pocket lint
throws in a box of saltines
at the last minute
wipes her mouth on the arm of her fleece
drags her sneakers too big for her feet
across the floor
laces trailing behind

“update your voter information” by Julia on the 99


Saturday March 11, 2017
7:22pm
5 minutes
from Elections BC

Raise your hand in the air if you vote yay to Cinnamon Bun Sundays. Really? Only 1 of you? I thought you people would be over the moon about that. Okay all opposed? All of you now? What is this, Fake Out Mommy Friday? Let’s try again: all in favour of Topless Tuesday? Oh come on, Elliot, you know you’ve been trying to get me to agree to this for weeks now! There we go, thank you, someone is finally being honest around here. And we have two more! Motion granted. Topless Tuesdays for everybody! Ok anyone who wants to begin Monkey Mondays raise your chubby little hands. You’re all sheep. All four of you. You don’t even know what Monkey Monday means!

“Let’s get to breakfast” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday January 24, 2017
9:46pm
5 minutes
from an infomercial

I remember I got mad at him for asking for his eggs plain
It wasn’t difficult to see that I put thought into making his eggs interesting
I don’t know why anyone would prefer a plain egg
Isn’t the whole point of an egg to be a base for something else?
Like cheese?
Who likes regular, plain eggs?
After he wiped his mouth he told me he would rather his bare
I got mad at him for waiting till he was finished to say something to me
I was mortified
And I was disappointed that he would think it was okay to be ungrateful
at breakfast time
Because I had gotten up earlier to make the damn things in the first place
And that is why I hacked his dick off with a cheese grater
And that is why we are no longer eating eggs together
And that is why he is married to a woman who doesn’t argue
And that is why I won’t visit England

“Don’t carry it all” by Julia on her couch


Monday January 23, 2017
8:53pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar: Writers Resist

Isn’t it nice to drink something out of a circular rim? Tiny lips on tiny lips! I just don’t like being left out to drown, do you know what I mean?
I don’t like spilling things. And those glasses are only there to make a fool out of me. It’s not fair. It’s not nice. it’s not good. What if you spill some? What if you lose it? I-I-I-I… It’s.. There’s more. I’m not able to carry it all. I’m not able to have one more thing that could go wrong, that I could be bad at. I am not good enough to be bad at some things. I have to be good.

“test audience” by Julia on her couch


Friday December 16, 2016
9:41pm
5 minutes
from a recruiting email

My favourite herb is cilantro and I HATE when people call it coriander. I asked Jedene if she wanted me to stay and take notes but she didn’t think it was necessary-the first graders either liked the thing or not. They either thought it tasted good or like dish soap. I told her I would be happy to stay and record the data for her pro bono. Really I just couldn’t risk someone fucking it all up by writing “coriander” in any of the boxes, or heaven forbid two people shared the task and wrote the different words interchangeably. Jedene was hoping to get out of there by noon but I secretly projected 1:35pm as first graders are not highly cooperative and especially when in groups of other first graders. I know this because I was once, unlike Jedene, a first grader. Jedene skipped the first grade. She has no idea how stupid it was to do that.

“I had a big fight with him” by Julia on her couch


Monday December 5, 2016
12:02am
5 minutes
from an interview transcription

According to my research of you- that I did on the interwebs, you will not be a suitable match for my sister and you will not make her happy even though you look the part and she will deny just how unhappy she is until it is too late. That is why she is not to be trusted in deciding on her own. She saw you and immediately wanted you but failed to do a basic Google search, and I’m sorry but it’s 2016 and this is protocol. This is everyday, okay? Get up, wash face, check e-mails, research potential companions for my sister, conduct a basic Google search to rule out that he is not a) an attempted murderer, b) a stalker, c) an actual murderer, and d) a dentist. I call the shots and you do not pass the test. You are still more in contact with your ex than she is with you and you have claimed, even if it was a joke or even if it did happen during your ignorant youth, that you would choose AJ over Bryan and that shit simply will not fly in my family.

“Does anyone have any questions” by Julia on the toilet


Sunday November 27, 2016
7:33pm
5 minutes
overheard at BC Children’s Hospital

I shoot my hand up into the air slicing though immediate sky and most expectations
WILL THERE BE A TEST ON THIS OR WHAT?
The whole room is looking at me
like they did not plan or hope for this
as if they didn’t know the test would be so brazen and surprising and at the wrong time of the day
as if they wished they had prepared for being tested on someone testing their patience and their ethics
I laugh because I don’t know, isn’t this whole thing a sham?
WE ARE PAYING SOMEBODY ELSE TO DISAPPOINT OURSELVES. ISN’T THAT RIGHT DELIA AND OR ROBERT?
Nobody is clear on what this is now
some of them think it could be a gorilla performance piece and Trey starts filming me with his Iphone 6000 and something
I’M NOT YOUR ENEMY! I’M YOUR DEEP DARK TOMORROW MORNING!
Crickets have a way of sounding like revolution

“Includes taxes” by Julia at Our Town Cafe


Wednesday October 5, 2016 at Our Town
6:40pm
5 minutes
from the Westjet website

Enid dances around in her new bodysuit. It sparkles in the light, she notices, when she takes shape in the diagonal. She practices leaping out from the bedroom in front of the full length mirror…in a splits. She tries to keep her head facing forward while stealing a glance at herself at the same time. She kinks her neck. She tries twice more before the whiplash buzzes. Enid’s body suit is coloured unicorn and made out of suntan oil fabric that kisses and smears her skin into confident. She realizes she still has the tag hanging from the back. She is proud of her rare find. Only $5.99 from the second hand bin! $6.77 including tax and rounding up.

“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.

“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.

“feel free to talk to me” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday April 19, 2016
9:36pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Dearest Dot,
I am wearing the friendship bracelet you sent me in your last letter as I write you this letter in response. It is beautiful. You have such knack for colour coordination and choosing the coordinating colours that suit me best. My favourite part is the little H stitched in. How did you do that? You must send a tutorial for me to try in your next letter. Before I forget, I wanted to enclose some photos of me and my family while we were camping at Driftwood Beach this summer. I think you’ll find a pleasant surprise in the photo with me and Elsie holding her fetch ball in her mouth! Won’t spoil the surprise but I wanted to give you a heads up to look for it. Joshua tried to kiss me again behind the big elm tree in my backyard. I told him that if he keeps doing it I’ll have to find someone else to be in my play. I heard Benjamin and his brother, Nick, wanted to be in it but are too shy to talk to me. I wonder why that is? I like talking to everybody! I hope that you feel like you can talk to me? I mean I know you do because you always write back! Well I hope you know that I want you to feel free to talk to me about anything. Even this request!

Until next time,
Heath Heath

“biking in the rain” by Julia on Kits Beach


Monday April 18, 2016
4:49pm
5 minutes
overheard on Yew

I am
Moving
To a place where
You do not have
To worry
About
Biking
In
The
Rain
Because this place
Doesn’t have
Rain
And this place
Doesn’t have
Bike
Lanes
So crisis averted
And nobody’s hurt
And nobody’s sad
Because their
Favourite
Shirt
Got
Road grit
Splattered
On it
This place where
I’m going
Is far
And is
Wide
And is
Hope
And is
Dream
I will invite
You to meet me
As soon
As
I
Learn
My new
Address
Something like
Sunny Lane
In Sunshine Town
Just at the corner
Of
Rainbow and Sunset
Or I guess
Not Rainbow?
No more
Rainbows?
I didn’t
Think
This
New life
Through
I’ll need
Rainbows

“My head is so horrible” by Julia on her couch


Sunday April 17, 2016
11:44pm
5 minutes
From a text

Remember when you wore your pink thong to the beach and greased yourself up in olive oil to go play Frisbee in front of all our friends? You put glitter in your beard and people were taking photos of you the whole afternoon. I searched the hashtag “manthong” and your photo was all over Instagram. I spent that day laughing my ass off at your ass in the sand and your boyish charm. When people asked you why you were wearing your “thing” you said “it’s 34 degrees my brother” and then you’d do a cartwheel. I admit at first I was annoyed, maybe slightly even embarrassed. But I’m glad you didn’t care about one single bit of that.

“Shrimp only” by Sasha at Szos’ desk


Tuesday, March 29, 2016
11:46pm
5 minutes
From a recipe in Cowichan Bay

Mama’s gumbo is the best gumbo this side of the river. She’d never say that herself. She’s not a Braggy Betty. Me an’ Kit ask for Gumbo at least three times a week but Mama only makes it on Saturday nights. Me an’ Kit are each allowed to invite over one friend for dinner that night. If we’ve been good all week, they can even stay for a sleepover in the treehouse. Kit’s growing out his hair and so sometimes people think he’s a girl. Mama tells me to stop teasin’ him and that if he wants to confuse folks that is “his prerogative”, whatever that means. I asked Helen to come over this Saturday. She’s never had my mama’s gumbo. I’m not sure if she’s ever even had gumbo at all ‘cuz she’s from New York State. Her daddy is in the army and they just moved here.

“As a heavy-metal band” by Julia at Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar


Wednesday March 2, 2016 at Platform 7
2:59pm
5 minutes
The Comic Toolbox
John Vorhaus


I am joining a band!
A Circus!
I don’t care about the big hair part! I just want to eat music for breakfast!
I’m big when I want to be, loud when I’m allowed. I don’t like walls, unless they’re made of sounds.
Mama says
BE CAREFUL
Pa says
DON’T SHOUT
Baby Brae says
AHHH! AHHH!
And I say
YEAH!! YEAH!!
Mama says
YOU MAY BE TOO LITTLE
Pa says
NOT LITTLE ENOUGH!-patting my head, chuckling HA HA
I want to tell them I can be what I want!
I am big like a thunderstorm.
I am loud like a parade!
I am going to sing with my mouth open like this:
( )
( )
Swallowing songs and guitars and applause!
Mama says
BE WHAT YOU WANT!
Pa says
DON’T FORGET US!
Baby Brae says
AHHH! AHHH!
I say
YEAH!! YEAH!!
I am going to see the world!
I am going to be the sky!

“late summer night in 1990” by Julia on the 23


Tuesday March 1, 2016
7:04pm
5 minutes
http://therumpus.net/2016/03/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-true-story/

Hardly slept-hadn’t been since March if I’m being honest. I don’t know if it was the construction or the lawn mowers- working nights make you stop sleeping and forget who you are, what your name is. But-I don’t know if I’m making excuses or whatever-all I know is I was fried. Wasn’t thinking. Maya couldn’t come and get me and that was fine-she said she was tied up at the shelter and some lone wolf told her he wasn’t going to leave unless she shaved his nut sack. I know I shouldn’t have left on my own-should have just waited there at the rest zone until someone could come get me, or some bus route opened up. I don’t like waiting around. Makes me feel like I’m killing time before I die. No in between. I didn’t mean to be so stupid. I didn’t need to drive I just had to get out of there-the smell of the plastic was starting to seep into me, twisting my guts up. Head pounding, all of that- I was just tired.

“KEEP REFRIGERATED” by Julia on her bed


Saturday February 27, 2016
8:12pm
5 minutes
From the tetra pack of arugula

Darling waits for me outside the gym after I’m done my sweat with a big juicy bag of fresh spinach and a muffin devoid of anything delicious in it. Darling really knows me; knows I’m desperately trying to value myself and stop feeding my fears with unnecessary carbs or sugars.
I swat my hand at Darling as if it were no big deal at all that I had just cycled all of my aggression out for the 2nd time today. Darling smiles and offers me a perfect little towel with the tag snipped off. I know I’ll never have to go one single day without Darling picking me up after a sweat, or a shop, or a mental breakdown on the I-5. Today I want to cry but I don’t know if Darling has brought the necessary preparations for it…

“No, I’ll never come back down,” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday February 1, 2016
10:29pm
5 minutes
Salt
Portugal.The Man


Guilty pleasures? Oh god. I don’t have those! HA. I do. I really do. My life is a guilty pleasure. No. It’s not. But I wish it were! HA.

Fried chicken? Cigarettes when I’m drunk? Molly? Salt water taffy?

No. Actually. If I had to choose just one it would be snooping into other people’s stuff. Fridges are my favourite. No! Pantries. Have you ever just like gone to town looking through someone’s pantry?! It’s a riot! And, if you ever do, help yourself to a thing or two! They’ll never know because who in their right mind does that? A kitchen is sacred. It’s personal. It’s intimate. I once ate a handful of mini peanut butter cups from someone’s (who shall remain nameless) secret stash and saw them lose it but they’d never guess it was me! Blamed it on the roommate. Poor soul. HA!

“Imagine having fantastic sex with him or her” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Wednesday, January 13, 2016
3:01pm
5 minutes
Instant Enlightenment
David Deida


You close your eyes and I know what you’re doing Owl Man. I see you for what you are. Hooo hooo hooo.

You lick your lips and I can only imagine what you’re tasting (creamed honey/Hershey’s kisses/body juices). Oh Owl Man, why don’t you just notice me for once?

You see me as the Pharmacist Assistant, the one who checks you out when you’re picking up your prescriptions (Zoloft, fungal cream). You see me as the overweight (“curvy”), middle-aged (“40 is the new 20!”), funky-haired (who actually knows how to henna?) woman who may be of Portuguese heritage. You, Owl Man, know me even though you think you don’t, even though you think this is less than it is.

You take a twenty from your wallet. It’s well-worn. You probably bought it in Greece when you were there to help people who were in some kind of crisis. OWL MAN.

“winexpert” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday December 12, 2015
3:12pm
5 minutes
from a wine cork

When I opened my eyes and looked out the window, though, I
jus’… I lost it! I mean, all those little squares a earth an’ shit! An’ snow, all that white an’ the little cars and the little houses and my Ma was all, “What the fuck the matter witchu?!” But, I, I… We’re tiny, man. I know I’m a XL guy, but, like, we’re all this big.

I don’ know if I believe in God or what, man… I seen some
fucked up shit go down an’ I wonder about if this God would
really let that all happen… If this God is cool with Dad’s
runnin’ out, an’ kids bein’ hungry an’ on the street because
their Mama’s sellin’ themselves in their bachelor apartment,
like… Is that the God you want?! Is that the fuckin’ God
that everyone is prayin’ to? That’s a fucked up God, man.

“We talked at length about it” by Julia at her dining room table


Friday, December 18, 2015
6:36pm
5 minutes
Dispatched To The Derwent
Malcolm Dale


Greer reaches down to pull up her knee socks that never seem to stay at the knee. She leans over in her chair disappearing under the table for a moment while Brody shifts in his spot, uneasy about a lot of things, in addition to the fact that Greer is no longer making eye-contact as he explains himself.
Greer’s stupid socks keep bunching in her shoes! That’s why they never stay up, they are being pulled down but her toes or something equally as lame! She lets out a tiny laugh.
“What? What is it?”
Brody doesn’t like unexpected bouts of laughter. He doesn’t like being the butt of anyone’s joke.
“Sorry, I, it’s nothing, really. What were you saying?”
“No, seriously, just tell me!”
“It’s actually not worth repeating, but, I’m fully listening, please continue.”
Brody starts to chew on the inside of his lower lip. He Has created a patch of bite marks, raised to the touch of the tongue, a tiny graveyard of anxious scars.

“Home of the burger” by Julia on the 9


Thursday, December 17, 2015
6:06pm
5 minutes
from the A&W sign

More often than not do I get to the point where I suddenly remember that I have to eat something before I fall down dead. It’s true. Sometimes I get so engrossed in work and I realize after 7 hours or something ridiculous that all I’ve eaten so far is a probiotic and a couple Oreos. I can’t even think straight when I do this. I start to aimlessly wander around the house from room to room with no real plan or solution. I look in every single cupboard but nothing looks appealing cause all of it looks like it requires work. It’s sad, it happens so much, but I still don’t try to avoid that. I don’t know many adults who have to write “Eat Lunch” on their to-do list just so they actually do it! When I get to the point of fainting or falling apart mentally, the only thing that calms me is envisioning biting down on a huge and messy burger, reeking of onions and dripping a rainbow sauce concoction all over the counter. I suppose I get so delirious that I dream of doing this while standing up? Over the sink? My hunger dreams don’t make sense, really.

“benefiting those in your” by Julia on her old couch


Wednesday, December 16, 2015
6:55pm
5 minutes
From a Caroline Myss card

I no happy at job
I look for other opportunities
I ask around
I talk to all the bosses
I show skills and personality
I ready for new life
New job offer benefits
I take job
I need help
I need security
Benefits no start right away
Must wait long time for starting
I wait long all day
I wait long all night
I pray fast comes the help
I pray for family
For friends
I make sure I no mess up
I make everything perfect
Old job slow
Old job not much help
No go to dentist for 2 years
No go to department store
No buy new underwear
Even when old ones have holes

“Her head is down.” By Julia on her couch


Thursday November 5, 2015
9:08pm
5 minutes
An assignment in the marking pile

Walking along the dirt road, she shines her new smart phone flashlight along her feet to light her path.
“Why are there no fucking lights on this street?”
She is so over this shit town, she can’t stand it. She never yelled to herself before. She never was one to talk out loud to nobody.
“Maybe cause this is a perfect place for me to get jumped and attacked and murdered so no one will ever hear me sing the fucking National Anthem at a home game ever fucking again.”
She’s scared because it’s dark and she’s mad because she’s scared. She didn’t want to be here in the first place, fought tooth and nail to avoid it.
“My Bonnie lies over the ocean..”
She clutches her house keys in her right hand, ready to stab the first thing that crosses her path. She hopes all the leaf-crunching she’s hearing is just a raccoon or a skunk. She prays it’s just the wind.
“My Bonnie lies over the sea…”
She hears a quick snap right behind her and stops in her tracks. Her heart is in her throat.
“My Bonnie lies over the o–“

“Her head is down.” By Sasha on her couch


Thursday November 5, 2015
7:53pm
5 minutes
An assignment in the marking pile

We don’t have it in the budget to make that happen. I’m sorry. Mostly what we do, is help facilitate community groups, but it’s not always easy for them to navigate stuff in the process. There isn’t always a clear path, right? It’s not that kind of place… We try to navigate that, on behalf of the community groups, but when something comes along that really catches our eye… We have a lot of people pitching events and stuff, it’s the lowest threshold of thing we can do in the space. It’s easy to focus people’s attention… We hope that we’re building powerful relationships, right, that we’re making sustained change… It’s tough. It’s a tough market… It really depends. I’m sorry. We really considered it. We really did.

“But it clearly manifests itself” by Sasha in her bed


Thursday October 29, 2015
8:30pm
5 minutes
The Real Terror Network
Edward S. Herman


Poseidon feels bad about the fish-sticks he eats. “They were on sale,” he whispers as we waits for them to crisp up in the toaster oven. He squirts ketchup on his plate in preparation. “It’s okay,” he says, biting down, the flaky white fish filling his mouth with saliva, a wave of flavour and crunch, softness and salt. “Yummm…” he sighs.

His parents were vegetarians, and Poseidon still feels shame and guilt when he goes out for burgers or shrimp roti. When his mother calls and asks what he’d like to bring for the Thanksgiving potluck, he bites his tongue. “Prime r-“… “What?” His mother laughs, astonished.

“it could not establish” by Sasha at Liberty Bakery


Tuesday October 27, 2015 at Liberty Bakery
3:38pm
5 minutes
the Iphone internet connection message

Margo made good eye contact. It didn’t come easily, but she did. No tricks, like staring in between the eyebrows, we are talking about full on retina connection.

As a child, Margo always looked up – the shapes of the clouds, a crow on the high branch of a tree, the jet-stream left behind a plane. Or, she looked down – pink sidewalk chalk, an earthworm left exposed, a tumbleweed.

It was her fourth grade teacher, Mr. Rowland, who pulled her aside one day before recess.

“Margo, you never look me in the eye! I don’t even know what colour your eyes are!”

He was so genuinely concerned, so deeply invested in her connection with others, that from that day onwards, Margo changed her course. She began to sneak peeks into people’s eyes.

“ideal cooking oil” by Sasha at The BC Children’s Hospital


Saturday, October 24, 2015
3:44pm
5 minutes
from the coconut oil jar

Bo knows her eleven times table best of alllll. It’s revolutionary how quickly she can spew it, shooting star glitter and candy corn, too. “I bet you don’t know what comes after thirty three?” Bo has bits of carrot in her braces. She’s the first one with braces in our class. Everyone admires them on day one, and then feels her pain when they rip her inner lip to shreds. “Need help with that?” Henry asks, as she smooths wax over the wires, protective gloss, true love.

“I know I wouldn’t change much” by Sasha in Buchanan E


Thursday October 8, 2015
5:18pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday, October 8, 2015


If you were here or
I was there
the sun would still be setting
all pink and gold
If you were here or
I was there
the leaves would still be falling
all rust coloured bold
If you were here or
I was there
the crows would still be calling
flying towards the west
If you were here or
I was there
The phoebes would still be curled
together snug in their nest
If you were here or
I was there
the night would still be coming
breathing dark on the sky
If you were here or
I was there
winter would still be on it’s way
and I’d still be asking “why”

“I would like to invite you” by Julia at o5 Tea Bar


Friday October 9, 2015 at o5 Tea Bar
2:20pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Hi, how are you? Good? I’m good. I would like to invite you to something. An event. An important engagement. Not an engagement between two people who have agreed to get married. Not an agreed engagement. But one between two people and guess who those two people are? Me? And you? Yes. Both of us are invited to this engagement. Not that I want the two of us to be engaged, as in agreeing to marry. Not that I don’t, for the future, or for the possible future. But the two of us, are both invited to the something I am inviting you to and we will have alone time to discuss whatever we’d like, if you were concerned at all about what the allowances would be, and yes, if you so preferred, could discuss the topic of marriage or the topic of agreeing to marry someone, sometime, in some form or another. How are you? Good? I’m good. I’m very good. So I would like to invite you to a top secret meeting. It’s not in a top secret location, in fact, it’s a very obvious one. I don’t want to say it here because I prefer facts to metaphors, but it’s somewhere less factual and more feeling-based. I don’t know if you prefer facts to metaphors as well, but that is one of the reasons why I am inviting you to this one so you may be able to see for yourself if you do, in fact, have an opinion about it one way or another.

“the king is me” by Sasha in the car on the way home


Monday October 5, 2015
11:26pm
5 minutes
from a slam poem

Kel frames it like, “Have I got a story for you!” Like, there’s actually something I’m gonna get out of it. What a jerk! I love that guy but he’s a jerk, right? He jumps around from thing to thing, like some kinda rabbit, and expects to be the best every time. Pretty wild. Pretty wild. I’m like, “Shoot, Kel…” I forget what we were eating, maybe Thai? No! No, Chinese. Kel ordered in. Moo Shoo this and that. Right? So, he tells me he’s going to become, wait for it… Wait… He’s going to go to Pastry School. KEL. The guy who just worked on the rigs. I almost choked on my Egg Roll. “What?” “Yup,” he says, like it ain’t no thang. “I met this group of chicks and they are all bakers. It’s an untapped market, man, you should really join me.” I laugh. I laugh my ass off. And then he shows me his, like, enrolment letter or whatever and it’s true. He’s doing it.

“It is such a relief” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday October 7, 2015
9:51pm
5 minutes
Wit
Margaret Edson


When they took my blood to see if I was a match I remember holding my breath for a very long time and thinking that if I could get through this, I would be a different person. Stronger. More…everything. I was not referring to getting through the needle part. In fact, the needle part was the only part that I was sure I would heal from if the rest didn’t…pan out.
I also remember praying, and I was not a prayer. I’m still not. But at the time, that’s what brought the most comfort. I don’t want to question why certain words came out of my mouth because it was such a relief to get them out of my head that I would have said yes to anything if it had helped as much as praying did. I don’t like needles. I never did. I didn’t have to have them until I did.

“off the grid gypsies” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday October 6, 2015
10:21pm
5 minutes
from a text

I’m giving up garage saleing.
Please. Don’t try to stop me. I’ve not thought on this lightly. It’s the right time.
I have had some wonderful experiences. Oh have I felt the most alive. The rummaging, the bartering, the blankets and lawns filled with a giant mishmash of items. Seeing all the things that other people give away, throw away, don’t want, don’t need, don’t see the value in anymore displayed like a personal glimpse into someone’s life that you wouldn’t otherwise get to have. Those are such intimate details.
And the bragging rights. Oh! To show off my spoils and parade my savings proudly.
But..It’s over now. That was a period in my life that I’m happy happened but am also ready to say goodbye to.
It’s time to stop being a human squirrel.

“the king is me” by Julia at her desk


Monday October 5, 2015
11:45pm
5 minutes
from a slam poem

I have looked through the garbage for the second time today. I have been diligent, each time, and I am thinking that soon I will need to return to it for a third time; peel through everything again, just, with no shadow of a doubt that I left some pieces un-turned, because it’s that important. I don’t know if I could forgive myself if I find out that I could have done something more. I just want to do all that now, so I can rest easy that I truly did my best. I may not be the best at it right away, but I will make sure I give it my all. When it comes to this. Life or death. Life and death. Whatever. I am the go-all-the-way-guy. Never foresaw myself sifting through garbage, but here I am, king of this heap. I’ll master something. When it’s important. That’s just me.

“Violence faces” by Julia at her desk


Sunday October 4, 2015
11:21pm
5 minutes
from a tweet from the Green Party of Canada

I am wearing a mask every day for a week leading up to Halloween to protest all the shitty costumes I have seen in my day. MANY. You were wondering? There have been MANY. I have decided to wear the mask to illustrate what Halloween is for. It is not for putting on a single headband that “resembles” antennae. That is not what it is for. It is not for putting on skeleton earrings and calling that a costume (I’m talking about you, Linda, the quintessential receptionist). It is for a million reasons, among which is raising the souls from the dead (obviously), but the most important one is for DISGUISING OUR FACES. How is that so hard? Something scary or rotting or dead or all of the above, is, quite frankly, the most preferred type, but it can vary depending on your IQ and your tax bracket.

“The blonde of your dreams” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday September 30, 2015
10:29pm
5 minutes
A Guinness billboard

I’ve got issues with the word “blonde” and issues with the word “dreams”. I know that that’s a bit dramatic, but I’m a bit dramatic, so, take me or leave me, you know? I have wanted blonde hair for years. I almost think people would like me more. Not because people like blondes more than other hair colours, but because it’s like I’m in disguise, or playing up the good because it’s not what I was born with. A good friend once told me that I’m more interesting when I speak in accents. He likes my southern drawl, could listen to that all day, enjoys my child-like British, says it’s cute. Hell, I knew I had a problem when he said he’d rather listen to me in my half-assed and terrible Irish. That means, I’m not good enough as is, right? And I should have dreams to change the hair, the voice, the personality. Right?

“entirely free of the curse” by Julia at Kafka’s


Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at Kafka’s
12:49pm
5 minutes
a Wikipedia page

It’s a nightmare when I’m alone with her. She torments me and she tugs at all my soft spots. She pulls until she rips, and then claws away at the raw flesh. I don’t know why she is never sated. Why she comes back for more when I have nothing left to give her. And she throws herself at me, through me, in me. She’s everywhere and nowhere and she creeps in like a ghost that is convinced her only purpose is to haunt me. She haunts me. When I’m laughing, those moments in the day where I am happy or believe that I am. She gives me no peace, sinking her teeth into me, sucking my bones dry, killing me slowly. Until I give over. Until I’m just an empty vessel for her to inhabit. Then she’ll be complete. She’ll destroy every good thing I have, plow over the life I’ve so carefully built, rip up the early seedlings of joy I’ve planted, and scorch the earth of me. To ruin me. To feed off of me. Because I am weak. Because I let her. Because I deny that she exists even when she bulldozes all the love I’ve ever known. Some people give up. Some people give in.

“A boy in my algebra class nicknamed me “terrorist”” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday September 12, 2015
9:41pm
5 minutes
https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/life-as-a-hairy-muslim-girl-after-911

When we, like, started the band, we were like young and pretty unclear about our goals and our aspirations and our sound or lyrical content and like, I don’t mean to sound like a B but like, GoGo couldn’t even decide on a signature hair colour so like… And, like, a boy in my algebra class had, like, totally nicknamed me “terrorist” so I just totally went with it and claimed it and owned it and everyone called me terrorist aka terror aka lil’ t. I’m not sure if where we went wrong was like, not fully deciding on a message or a medium, you know? That’s a tough one. We are all about the music, like serving the music, but, like, when GoGo chooses like green or mauve or something the juju gets thrown off, you know?

“Cut to the chase” by Sasha at VGH


Tuesday, August 25, 2015
2:12pm
5 minutes
an in-flight magazine with Air Canada

I’m editing. Everything. Writing. Kitchen. Closet. Those were listed hardest to easiest. It’s a good way to go. I’d been wanting to do it for awhile – mostly with my closet. The other things just sort of fell into place. Editing is the most important part of creation, if you ask me. It’s not rocket science but it does take patience, dedication and a really good playlist. I divide my days into three sections, with breaks for meals and a nap. I start with writing, working my way through my pile of files. I edit in hardcopy. Just me. I grieve the trees but feel I can’t get in the groove on my desktop. Besides, it’s nice to be away from the luring Internet. Then, I make a cup of coffee, and move onto the kitchen. Who even purchased these cream of mushroom soups? Not I! They’ll go to the food bank. Did you know that spices go bad? They do! They don’t really spoil, but they do lose their strength. See you later, thyme from 1999!

“Doll factory.” By Sasha at Vancouver General Hospital


Monday, August 24, 2015
12:11pm
5 minutes
a receipt

Sunday morning quiet while Nanny sleeps
Baking cookies with rainbow sprinkles and peanut butter bits
Bit a oatmeal
Oatmeal is a health food, yeah?
Molly’s got that look on her face, all
“Heyyyyy there!”
Steals a handful of sprinkles and before you know it she’s all green lips and yellow tongue and she’s all sugar sugar high
Molly’s keeled over and says
“I need to go to the hospital! My appendix is bursting!”
It isn’t true but whatever
Put her in her snowsuit and walk to the bus stop and then she’s fine
And then she’s a-okay
And then she wants to go back home and finish those cookies
Nanny woke up and is already into the brandy
“What are you girls up to?”
Slurred words like slug juice

“her request seems to have been ignored.” By Julia on her patio


Sunday, August 16, 2015
11:01am
5 minutes
The New Yorker

Okay so we’re both wearing the same shirt which is not the first time and Dalton comments on Janie’s shirt and not mine which makes me want to compete with her even more, as if I don’t have a butt-loaf of insecurities I am already baking. Maybe because when Dalton walks into the shop, I start talking to him about all the various colours and flavours our cotton candy machine is capable of producing and Janie just sits quietly roping a strand of hair around her index finger with big shy eyes that don’t offend Dalton like my excessive and sometimes obnoxiously loud commentary does.

“Why do we do that?” By Julia at Christie Pits Park


Thursday, August 13, 2015
12:48pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the Spadina streetcar

So I met her on a subway platform. She was going to jump and I didn’t say anything. I just stood close to her thinking maybe she would feel something from me and decide not to do it. I don’t know what I was thinking. I can’t say it was my brightest moment. But I felt bad interfering. She had decided this would be how she goes and who was I? Someone she didn’t even know trying to convince her not to take her own life. I started humming. What else do you do when you’ve basically resigned yourself to assisting a stranger’s suicide? It was Chariots of Fire. God, don’t ask me why cause I’m still trying to figure that out. But it was like a movie. Maybe a badly written one. She started humming a long. I kept going. I could keep going with that song more than others. Maybe that’s why. Maybe not. I could see the light on the train coming toward us. She hadn’t looked up from her feet yet. So I just sang louder. She sang along with me, and then she looked me in the eyes, tears in hers. I smiled.