“lured into my childhood home” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday October 9, 2018
1:34pm
5 minutes
The Stray
Stephen A. Waite

Matthew and Mark used to watch scary movies at their house. I used to lay with my head in Matthew’s lap and my legs in Mark’s. I felt like my older cousins were taking care of me. We weren’t allowed to watch scary movies at our house. And after seeing IT with them when I was six, I figured out why. I have always been the dreaming kind. Pisces born on land, a vivid seer of worlds beyond my own. I knew the answers were there. I knew the questions were there. I knew I was making connections and being guided. Of course when nightmares are a regular occurrence, it’s hard to think they serve a purpose other than torture, punishment, torment.
I used to pray before bed to avoid the bad. Pray to override the scary images swirling around in my tiny body. What did Matthew and Mark have? Who did they talk to about their bad dreams? Did they just learn not to remember them? Was it easier to stay quiet and keep watching scary movies? Was watching scary movies less scary than the reality they had to face?

For a while I used to associate their dad with Beetlejuice. One time he came to Mark’s room to tell us to shut up and go to sleep. In the shadows, his eyes looked sunken in. I dreamed about him that night instead.

“The joy of bursting and bearing fruit” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday July 11, 2018
9:30pm
5 minutes
Earth Prayers
John Soos

It’s on my mind on my tongue on my heart in my hands. It’s everywhere. An obsession like none other that I’ve ever felt. A craving deep inside my body, and beyond my body. Of the body and not of the body. This profound ache. This transcendental desire. The distance from here to there feels long, but short, too. In moments when I value quiet, independence, my body being only my own. So much hinges on this, this choice, this timing, this trust, this surrender. I can’t know anything but right now, we all can’t, really. I read articles, I look at photos, I ache. I try to explain it to you, or it just is explained through the markings in my words, on my tongue; the etchings of my heart make a potato print onto yours.

“Mother stomps up” by Julia on the 20

Tuesday April 24, 2018
8:42pm
5 minutes
Says Mother
Laura Willwerth

Uninvited and flipping through the notebook left collecting mud on the patio.
Some things are not meant for mothers to read.
Did you mean what you said?
Did you say what you mean?
I would nod and tell her don’t you remember? You taught me well.
When we’d get mad about you smoking didn’t you know it was because it turned your lungs into yelling? Didn’t you know our anger was speaking for our fear that hadn’t yet collected its thoughts?
She would give me the bed off her back and sleep in a mold-heavy
yesterday so my boyfriend’s tall wouldn’t hang off the end
Nobody asked you to sacrifice yourself.
If she read that she would cry.

“then I had a boy.” By Julia at V, J, W, and A’s house

Sunday April 15, 2018
7:30pm
5 minutes
Devices on Standby
Kelly Ann Malone

I heard the words come out of my mouth like a broken record: MOVE just like my mother used to say. And it worked. That tone, that strength. She listened and she did. Then I hugged her. Because I didn’t want her to go to sleep right after being yelled at. So then I hugged him too because he was good the whole night and i didn’t want him to feel left out. And that is what I’m learning. That girls still need hugs after being told no. And boys still need hugs after being told yes.

I keep thinking, don’t let your kids grow to be unlikeable, if I don’t like them the world won’t like them and I want the world to like my kids. Send them to my parents house so they can see what listening feels like, what being a kid feels like. I want that for me and for my kids and for the grandparents my parents will turn into.

“your inner rock collecting childhood self” by Julia on L and J’s couch

Friday March 9, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
BUNZ Trading Zone

draw a set of bunny ears on the front and the poofy tail on the back
collect enough flat rocks to draw all animals
cat whiskers and ears on the front
tail on the back
horse braid on the front
tail on the back
you get the idea
the tail goes on the back whenever there is a tail
like a coin
but you won’t be flipping these
they’ll be too heavy
you can skip them if they’re flat
there is room for some funny jokes in there
(cats not really liking the water, for a first idea)
(you can lead a horse to water…)
you can also give these rocks away
as little parting gifts
or put them in the loot bags at your child’s brithday party
they’ll think they’re getting something
like a chocolate
or an eraser
but they will get to display it on their mantle
forver reminding them
(their parents)
that you had time for your kid and then some
who doesn’t want more time
who doesn’t need more time
maybe we’ve jumped ahead and you do not have kids yet
you’re still a kid yourself
you’re still so damn young
(sorry, darn)
scrawl the name of the boy you like on the front
and write your name on the back
throw it into the water
and make a wish
they always go into the water

“children dawdling to school” by Julia in Hanoi

Saturday February 3, 2018
10:20pm
5 minutes
Prazeres
K.V Skene

It’s over the hill and past the old abandoned ice cream truck.
The little ones don’t seem to
be afraid when they go by it
but I don’t like the feeling it
gives me. I don’t like what it
represents but then again I’m
old enough to remember what
happened. They skip and play
and sometimes pretend to steer
the wheel. They make believe
that they are just like the ice
cream man on a regular Wednesday in June.
The police say there might have been more than twenty bodies.
They say
they didn’t consider
digging so far back until
they had a reason to. When
you think of what all of us kids
knew back then, it makes you
wonder what their priorities were,
and what order.

“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.

“before we found our planet” by Sasha on the couch at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday October 4, 2017
10:01am
5 minutes
The Enemy Stars
Poul Anderson

Before we found our planet we chased shooting stars and solar flares before breakfast. We did not know the saltiness of addiction – heartache – betrayal. Before we knew the taste of first kiss, we knew blue, the true meaning, gold, the weight and scope of it. Some might call it alchemy, but we call it morning.

Turning the page, our children (by which I mean all the children here not the ones I’ve borne, in fact, I cannot tell the difference, all their faces are innocence and power, curiousity and wisdom)… Turning the page, our children laugh at the nostalgia for a time before time. They wrinkle their little brows at Milky Way and ask for a glass of water.

“Vampire bats also appear” by Julia on the 84

Tuesday October 3, 2017
6:52pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino

Kinney and I are taking her boys trick or treating tomorrow night. They refused to go with Chet and I don’t blame them. He looks like Beetle Juice to me too. K thinks we should dress up as vampires or something. She doesn’t want to go as Mom for Halloween when she goes as Mom for everyday. I’ll wear your clothes and go as you, I tell her. I don’t want to be a bat. Fine, she says her eyes dead in thought, you give me your fishnets and I’ll go as you. I don’t wear those anymore, I say, but Kinney doesn’t care. She’s dreaming up a costume that has less to do with me and more to do with her enacting some fantasy of me. In her mind I’m the fun one. In her mind that means wearing fishnets. I don’t want to burst her bubble.

“Life Lessons From 100-Year-Olds” by Julia at the studio


Sunday July 30, 2017
8:59pm
5 minutes
Youtube

1)Don’t go to bed with makeup on
2)Don’t go to bed with strangers
3)Don’t go to bed
4)Tell him how you feel
5)Tell her what you want
6)Listen to your body
7)Listen to her body
8)Be gentle with his body
9)find the joy
10)Give thanks
11)Visit your parents when you can
12)Write the date on your journals
13)Leave if you want to leave
14)If you want to stay, then really stay
15)Spend the money on quality items
16)Speak to children with respect
17)Watch a sunrise
18)Kiss in public
19)Refuse to let other people decide for you
20)Save yourself
21)Don’t save the red ones for last
22)Kiss your own body parts
23)Take initiative
24)Practice your cursive writing
25)Give thanks

“I want you to sleep beside me” by Julia on L’s couch


Friday April 21, 2017
10:22pm
5 minutes
said by Q

I cannot tell you what it means to be needed so well that your bones warm.
I say I love you to
a child that does not belong
to me
I do not plan this
nor all the joy I find in how easy it is to say
my blood bathes
I know this feeling
the one that makes us believe we are real
maybe because I don’t want him to go a night not hearing it before he sleeps while his mother is out there taking care of herself
I want her to succeed.
I want her child to be lifted.
Maybe I do love her child.
Maybe I have seen him.
wearing his souls’s clothes
Maybe he has laughed at every one of my jokes
with the same enthusiam and delight
laughing so easy
Maybe I wanted to.
maybe he was holding the mirror

“How many nights” by Julia on her couch


Sunday April 16, 2017
7:57pm
5 minutes
Breach
Blair Trewatha


We mourn each day past with a song-we both cradle our heads at the month changing places, on a mission.
How many nights as children did we spend enjoying instead of worrying we were running out of time?
How many days did we write the date and think just how much can happen in a year?
This time we’ll sing (misty-eyed)
about the seasons; about the natural curve of the calendar
April come she will
April come she will

“A cherished pastime” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday March 21, 2017
9:08pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Samar shows me the sweater she’s been knitting since last Tuesday after learning how last Monday and I’m embarrassed because I’m impressed because she’s seven and it’s stunning. Samar tells me that the sweater if for her sister because she doesn’t want her to think the world is cold. I ask her what she’s reading these days and she pulls out the biggest book I’ve ever seen. She tells me she’d rather save reading for another time though because now would be a good opportunity to teach me how to knit since I liked her sweater so much. I’m embarrassed again but this time for being behind on my own life. I didn’t know what knitting was when I was seven. I wasn’t relying on the smell of books to calm me down.
I causally mention to her that knitting is a good balance to reading because you get to wield a weapon. Samar laughs at this and for the first time today I feel smart.

“As Elizabeth lost” By Julia on SM’s couch


Tuesday March 7, 2017
9:43pm
5 minutes
the Globe and Mail Lives Lived

It had been an hour and Remi still hadn’t called. Elizabeth paced the shiny tile in front of the door. She wasn’t angry because she wasn’t surprised. She’d stopped expecting him to get it together because Allie and Nathan needed one of their parents to show up for them. Elizabeth had given up on Remi a long time ago. She couldn’t keep space for him anymore. A car zoomed by outside and Elizabeth stopped in her tracks. It wasn’t him.

“We would not murmur nor complain” By Julia at The Marriott In Decatur, Georgia


Wdnesday August 3, 2016
12:17am
5 minutes
The Book Of Mormon

When you left her there blue on the bathroom tile for the first time, we knew we couldn’t love you anymore. We didn’t know how not to before but it was clear that after that, after her tooth got knocked out of her head and we couldn’t find it, after she opened her mouth to call for help and all that came out was a blood bubble popping on her lips and dripping down her chin, we knew. We were kids then and we wanted to love you both the same. You did a good job of buying that from us at the start. We got new books every week and sometimes you would read them to us in funny voices. You took us to the water park and let us pick the good ice cream or the waffle cones. You took us on secret drives when ‘mommy was having one of her episodes’ and you counted stars while we counted the dollars you slipped into our pockets. We tried to love you.
We really, really did.

“traumatic for a baby” By Julia at The Marriott In Decatur, Georgia


Monday August 1, 2016
11:59pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Marriott in Decatur

We didn’t want to put any clowns in her room just in case she wasn’t one of those kids that loved them. I’m talking nice clowns too. We didn’t want to risk it-no marionettes (gifts from our friends, sent from Mexico), no figurines (a doll my sister in law built out of a mop head and some satin), no posters, and no photographs. We made the mistake earlier with Keegan and I’m worried about him becoming a psychopath. I blame Stephen King. I blame him and whatever mother didn’t love him enough to give him such twisted ideas. I also blame Charles, who grew up with clowns all over his damn house and never once murdered anything with a heart beat. Charles told me it would be fine, but I wasn’t convinced. There are so many things in this life that pose less of a threat to psychologically damaging a child, like bunny rabbits, and flowers, and Marilyn Manson.

“how she wants to move herself” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday June 27, 2016 at Starbucks
7:04am
5 minutes
Apartment Hunting in the East End
Don Austin


How she wants to move herself is her business! My father exclaims from behind the island in the kitchen as he emphatically chops up the rabbit he’s getting ready for dinner. Why are we all spending so much time worrying about her? His cleaver comes down hard and clean, splitting leg from torso. I don’t know, Honey, I think this is a call for help. Tanya needs us right now and we’re just watching her spiral! My mother remains at her makeshift office in the corner of the dining room that connects to the kitchen. Her glasses are balancing on the tip of her nose. She wants to pay a bunch of strangers to crack her mind open so they can fill it back up with useless garbage!
Rita, my father shakes his head. We don’t need to get involved. She’s a grown woman. We did our job already. I don’t know, I just don’t know, my mother grumbles to herself.

“his eyes were heavy, his muscles ached.” By Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday March 3, 2016
11:46pm
5 minutes
Walkabout
James Vance Marshall


Poor thing had just come in from an unexpected encounter. He was sore all over, one eye glued right shut-save for the little drop of blood that squeezed out and marked up his left cheek. I didn’t know what to do, seeing him like that. I imagined Teri wouldn’t want to know that her little boy had been horse whipped by her own brother, but she was bound to find out sooner or later. I took him over to the sink and I tried to dab a cool cloth on his face, on that nasty eye. He pulled away at first but when I started humming to him he calmed down a bit. I told him over and over again I was so sorry. I didn’t know Elliot would be home so early. I didn’t even have two seconds to hide the sweet little thing before he got his monster hands on him. When I bent down close to meet his eyes with mine, little thing whispered to me, please don’t tell my mom.

“imagining our future.” By Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 10, 2016
10:19pm
5 minutes
CBC.ca/books

When I think of our children, we only have 2, you win, I see one with little curls, one with glasses, and both with big innocent loving smiles. How bad would it be if I pictured our kids frowning? They’re not, though. They’re so happy. They have your heart. They have your never ending optimism and your family first attitude. They have my temper, both hilarious and terrifying. I like that they snarl at things as much as they laugh. They don’t give up when enough is enough. They don’t understand “enough.” Maybe I shouldn’t be proud that they’re miniature versions of a trait I’m trying to eradicate. But I am. Anger is an emotion that creates change, carries it, lifts it up, and shoots it to the moon. I think Alanis said that. The part about anger being the vessel for moving forward.

“Canada’s Indigenous communities” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday, October 20, 2015
3:34pm
5 minutes
An email from The David Suzuki Foundation

If you felt around the little one’s head, you’d notice it has bumps ranging in sizez all over. You’d have to finger deep beneath the hair to get to the source. Gracie showed me how she liked to pick at the scabs on her scalp and pull little pieces of it through the hair one at a time. It was a long process. It usually involved many tries, and a little blood. The more she did it, the longer they lasted. Grace wasn’t the only one. Seth also had little scabs on his scalp. He was better at leaving them put than Gracie cause he was always out running around and getting dirty, occupying his head with ant hills, or the migration patterns of the hawks up above. Gracie was afraid of the outdoors. She didn’t like to the leave the house at all, but she liked watching Seth play in the fields behind her new house. Gracie would sit for hours, picking each scab through her long matted hair, fighting the knots, and the temptation to leave the bits resting in her curls.

“Elevated stress response” by Sasha at Prado Cafe


Friday October 2, 2015 at Prado Cafe on Commercial
12:37pm
5 minutes
Epigenetics
Richard C. Frances


My mother makes the bed with tucked in corners. That generation’s dying, right? No one does that anymore. No one teaches their children how to do that… Maybe nurses, or hotel workers, or… I don’t know. When she comes to visit she brings cake from scratch and flowers from Costco. She calls the week before to ask Lindy what kind of cake she wants. Lindy takes her time deciding – chocolate, or lemon, or pound cake, or strawberry shortbread. I let Lindy decide, without interrupting, or adding in my preference. The doctor says that it’s good for her to make choices without interference. I get on the phone after and ask my mother what time she’ll arrive. “I’ll leave Ottawa first thing so I should be at yours by afternoon?” “Yours”. Who says that anymore? “Sounds good, Mum.” I say. “Sounds good, Mum.” Lindy parrots.

“A boy in my algebra class nicknamed me “terrorist”” by Julia at English Bay Beach


Saturday September 12, 2015
8:01pm
5 minutes
https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/life-as-a-hairy-muslim-girl-after-911

I think Luke heard it from his dad or something. Luke is always coming into class with his big words and his big hate and it sounds like stuff his dad says. My dad says that Luke’s dad is a vessel of pure sadness. I don’t get how he thinks he’s sad, cause Luke’s dad is always yelling and screaming and swearing and stuff and that seems like he’s pretty angry to me. Sad is when you cry and when your nose leaks and your stomach gets that empty feeling. How do you get that sad empty feeling when you’re always filling your stomach with cans of beer?
Luke is always saying things to me or to Ruby about our skin and about our voices. He laughs and his face goes all red when he holds my arms behind my back and calls me a “terrorist.”

“What kids want” by Julia at Kibune Sushi


Friday September 11, 2015
6:48pm
5 minutes
from the front page of the Globe and Mail
Life and Arts section


What kids want is to be born into a family that wants them. Then after they’re alive in this world, after they’ve traveled from one distant universe to the one we all share, they want to be held and warmed up, and spoken to very softly. They need someone else to carry their spongy bones for a while so they can rest after their long journey. That’s not asking too much. That’s the least we can do. And after they feel like they’ve been shown a kindness or two, they start to want a couple more things. They want love and they want home and they want patience and they want security and they want comfort and they want ice cream and they want to cry and they want to laugh and they want to shriek and they want to imagine. These and all the other things they want, are the things we can give them. They don’t ask for everything. They don’t need that. We do all the complicating. We do all the blaming.

“The stress that I have been carrying around with me” by Julia at Barb’s house in Vernon


Wednesday, September 2, 2015
9:40pm
5 minutes
Teach Only Love
Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.


Oh it’s like a sack of potatoes just weighing down my shoulders, you see? I never once thought of an image quite like that before! It’s actually thrilling to be creative in this way. Hmm. Let’s see, how else would I describe my stress? Well, I suppose I could say, if I’m really going deep here, is that it’s like a 4 year old who refuses to walk on his own and is nothing but dead weight because he’s desperate for attention or something like that. You know the way children act out when they’re not getting what they want, and they throw tantrums, and you can barely drag them around, let alone carry them? Oh dear, I’m afraid that one got a little further away from me than I was expecting. The truth is, I know a lot about these things and those memories that just sort of add up and when I let myself, they all come flooding back to the surface. I’m understanding now that all I needed to say was the refuses to walk on his own bit. The rest just seems superfluous. Either way, we were discussing what my stress feels like. It also feels like a cement block tied around my ankle right before I’ve been thrown into the water….

“No not that fake smile!” By Sasha on her couch


Friday, August 21, 2015
5:11pm
5 minutes
Overheard at a bus stop

Gimme a smile, Goldie! No, not that fake smile! Give us a truthful, good, honest one! I don’t know why this child doesn’t want to smile – all I do is give her what she wants. She isn’t mine, oh no way. You think I look old enough to be a mother? HA! How a three year old learns how to fake smile is beyond me. It’s her mother. Truthfully, I’ve never met such a wicked woman. I play along, I play along with her strange games but when I go up to my room at night and close the door sometimes I just can’t stop thinking about how she looks at her children. Like they are the carriers of some disease! Goldie vomited on the coffee table while there was company over and she dragged her out by her pigtail.

“how to be a parent” By Julia on her couch


Wednesday, August 5, 2015
12:40am
5 minutes
from Harper’s at a kiosk at the airport

Didn’t trust myself with Audrey. I didn’t know what I would do to her if I got mad and she said the wrong thing. I didn’t have the breaks for something like that. Some people, you know, they can stop on a dime, but not me. For me it’s 0-100 and there’s no taking back after that. Audrey, you know, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She always was. And the first time I realized I wasn’t safe for her was the last time. I snapped. I just…leapt out of my skin and I was a monster. Truly. At the time it was her or me. Feeding Audrey or feeding the monster. Only one of them could eat at a time and I used to make sure that I knew the difference. That wasn’t easy.

“Feed your creative juices” By Julia on her bed


Tuesday, August 4, 2015
1:05am
5 minutes
from a pencil case

Lana blotted the excess lipstick off with a square of toilet paper, remembering how her aunt Kathy showed her while she was living with her. Apparently Aunt Kathy was only supposed to stay for a couple weeks-a month tops- but things got complicated and before they all knew it, it had already been 4 years. Lana used to hear Aunt Kathy in the early morning when she would get up to shower and get herself ready for her receptionist job. When the water would stop, Lana would crawl out of bed and go sit beside the bathroom door, tapping on it quietly. Aunt Kathy would open the door, scoop her up and sit Lana down on the toilet seat while she did her makeup. Lana would have been two years old. She didn’t say a word, but she watched Aunt Kathy’s every move from the blush to the spacing out of her mascaraed eyelashes with the tip of a safety pin. On some days, Aunt Kathy would even put a little eye shadow on Lana, or let her taste a bit of her vanilla lip gloss.

“I wake in the middle of the night” by Julia at Grange Park


Wednesday, July 8, 2015
3:45pm
5 minutes
from Between Gods
Alison Pick


There’s a ghost in my room and she’s been haunting me since last Wednesday. She won’t let me sleep the whole night because she’s only interested in getting what she needs. I told Cass before she slept over that she might not get a good sleep because this ghost has been haunting me lately and Cass looked at me like, “duh, there’s no such thing as ghosts.” But I’ve been feeling her while I lay there in bed when she wakes me up at the same time each night. I first feel the breeze by my face, and then I hear the laughing. Cass would have to see for herself, so I just stopped mentioning it all together. Sure enough me and Cass are sleeping soundly head to foot, then I feel the breeze. It’s 2:02am. I look at Cass and she doesn’t even flinch.

“the important mother” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday, June 16, 2015
11:47pm
5 minutes
Back of the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar bottle

She wasn’t a very good mother, I can say that without even feeling the slightest pang of guilt. Wanna know why? Cause she wouldn’t let me love her. Not even a little bit. She made me call her by her first name. She didn’t want to be a mother, you understand? She didn’t want me at all. She used to send me to school with half used packets of Sweet And Low. And that was it. No PB&J with the crusts cut off, not even bologna and mayo. Sweet and Low, not ever the full packet. And that’s what she expected me to eat. Or that’s what I thought. It took me longer than it should have to figure out that she was trying to get me taken away from her. She thought maybe the teachers would see what she was packing me for lunch and send a note home, a warning, then maybe get a social worker to come and break the door down or something while she was watching Days of Our Lives. I guess every system failed me, cause I was never questioned. Maybe Deena’s first mistake was sending me to a school that couldn’t give a fuck about me either.

“I am a taffy snob” by Sasha outside Moksha Yoga Vancouver


Saturday May 30, 2015 outside Moksha Yoga Vancouver
8:04pm
5 minutes
From a text to Julia

“She’s a little shy,” Veronica’s mother used to say, when Veronica would crawl under her dress and hide there, safely between her thighs. On the first day of Kindergarten, Veronica made a silent oath that she would never again get in the car with her father, for he might drop her off at this stinky, loud, child infested place once again. When her mother tucked her in that night Veronica said, “I’m never going back to school, thank you very much.” Her mother smiled, smoothed her unruly red hair, kissed her freckled forehead and said, “Goodnight, Veronica.”

“sometimes you’re like a stranger to me” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday May 23, 2015
10:39pm
5 minutes
Stranger
Alfie Conor


He has dreams of being chased by the man in the black robe with the white fleck as his neck
That space
That small hollow space
He runs and runs and he can’t out-run and he’s down and then he’s up
In those big hands
Big veins
Big tongue
Big hurt
The forest floor changed those nights
Became angry and heavy and unkind
The pine needles pricking
The owl calls like a nightmare

One hundred and fifty thousand children
He and his army
His Sisters
His Brothers
Turtle Island cries elephant tears
An ocean of sobs
I turn my face away

Got a dollar I’m hungry
I don’t say anything
Got a dollar I’m thirty
Thirst won’t quench with the brown stuff
I don’t say anything

Truth
Reconciliation
My heart
Those hearts
Broke
Broke
KIN
Sisters
Brothers

“I made this cake” by Sasha in the bed a Horseshoe Bay


Sunday May 17, 2015
11:56am
5 minutes
http://www.epicurious.com

Let’s make a world where everyone has enough
Where everyone has what they NEED
When they NEED it
Not MORE
Not LESS
Where mother’s can feed babies from their breasts and where father’s can sing lullabies
Let’s make a world where trees are our priests
Where forests are our temples
Where dolphins are our recognized and respected sisters
Where computers and labs and scientists aren’t involved in food growth
Where governments champion children, art, the elderly, green space, democracy
Let’s make a world where we celebrate one another’s successes
Where we dive deep for our bravery and bring it to each interaction
Let’s make a world where we listen
With our whole being
Where we stop
SHUT OFF
TURN DOWN
POWER FAIL
POWER FULL
Let’s make a world where we dance in the street with strangers
Let’s make a world where anyone can marry anyone
Where love is the beginning, middle and end
Let’s make a world with less cars and more bikes
With less oil and more bio-fuel
With less guns and more sunflowers
With less plastic and more recycling
With less hiding and more showing
Let’s make a world where we are all different
And connected
Where we can smile at our complicated understanding about otherness
Where we can remember
Where we can remember
Where we can remind each other
One another
We all come from the same mother
She’s here
But we need to love her up
Love her down
Love her all around
We need to be more radical in our loving
More fearless
We need to embrace change
(it’s always here)
It’s always here
Is it?
Always here?
We are water
Water is polluted
We are polluted
It’s not complicated
It’s a simple story
Why can’t we understand?
Thank you for your bravery
Thank you for your attention
I made this cake for you

“Happy Mother’s Day” by Sasha in Horseshoe Bay


Sunday May 10, 2015
8:33pm
5 minutes
from a sign at the florist

spit up on the front of this goodwill shirt
i don’t have much of it
goodwill
so tired i might puke too
flowers
i don’t want flowers
i want sex and a steak and in that order
if you really knew the way to my heart
you wouldn’t have given me this creature that cries all the time
and bites my nipples so hard that they bleed
i’ve gotten fatter than i’ve ever been
your gaze like a canon ball
the beauty you once fell for
gone
like the cat
poster on the tree at the end of the street
my body
all stretch marks and cellulite
my face
all frown lines and bags under my eyes
“diamonds” you used to say
diamonds
twinkle twinkle little star
how i wonder what you are
where you’ve been
i’m not sure about this creature
whether he’ll turn out alright
i’m not sure about how tiny his toes are
puts me off

“chemical or thermal irritation” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday May 6, 2015
8:17pm
5 minutes
http://www.webmd.com

I, Seraphina Tallula Roryson, born on the twelfth of May, nineteen eighty two, am the fourth wife of George Fredrick Roryson, polygamist father of sixteen children (and two on the way, not twins, I’m pregnant and so is His second wife, Marybeth), and ruler of the Winter Church of New Placemonton. New Placemonton is on the border of the New World and the Old World. We wear bonnets, with jeans and V-necks. I make date squares for every bake sale between here and Kittaback, and I do Crossfit. I will be George’s last wife, he proclaimed this over baked salmon and tater tots, made by the third wife, Trina. Each one of us has our… “Thing”. Katherine, the first wife, is the “Quiet One”. Marybeth is the “Political One”. Trina is the “Born Mother”. And I? I’m the “Wild Card”. Most polygamist men have a wild card but few are as wild as I. George says I keep him “on his toes”. He says he wouldn’t live a day past seventy if it weren’t for me. “You keep me young, Seraphina. You keep me spry.”

“I would have been an eighth-grader” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday May 3, 2015
10:15pm
5 minutes
On Writing
Stephen Kingk


I would have been an eighth-grader this year if they hadn’t held me back, if they hadn’t oppressed my rights and made me wait for it, made me beg for it… Graduation. I saw my classmates who I’d been with since the very beginning, since tear-away track pants and Pogs, get up on the stage in the gym in blue and yellow gowns and hats. I heard Davie Bernstein make the valedictorian speech. “Hey Davie,” I said later, side-by-side in the urinal, “Nice speech.” He looked at me sideways and said, “Go suck a dick, Howard.” He tucked his into his stupid dress pants, didn’t wash his hands and left, laughing and talking loudly with the rest of the class. They held me back not because I’m not smart, not because I can’t write an essay or solve an algebra equation. They held me back because I’m not a go-getter. “You’re just not a go-getter,” Mrs. Sherman said, purple lipstick on her front teeth. “We think you’ll do better with one more year in Grade Six. We think you’ll thrive with Miss Davidson.” “Who is this “we”?” I asked, scratching the scab on my right knee. “The faculty, your parents and me,” Mrs. Sherman said, blinking her cow-like eyes quickly, like the question caught her off guard.

“Summer road trip” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday April 30, 2015
8:24pm
5 minutes
from a magazine article

Nikki won Miss Bellingtown when she was eight years old and it was all downhill from there. “Shit,” she says, whenever she thinks about that. Wearing her crown, her ribbon and a blue terry cloth robe, she puts wet food down for Hushie. She recently turned twenty seven. She’s never drank a real gin and tonic, she’s never gone on a camping trip and the most intimate conversations she has are with Hushie. She calls her mother on the rotary phone, as she does every Sunday. “Mom, it’s Nik. Call me – ” And Tasha picks up the phone, out of breath, the answering machine clicking on, recording their conversation. “Nikki! The chive flowers are blooming! You’ve gotta come down here and see ’em. They’re your favourite colour of purple!” Tasha’s boyfriend, Camerson, recently moved in with her. Ever since, when they speak, Tasha half shouts. “Why are you yelling, Mom?” Nikki asks, knowing the answer. Her mother finally found love, after seventeen and a half years of looking. “Camerson says HI!” Tasha wishes her daughter would get dressed. “Why don’t you go out for a coffee with a galpal?!” “What are you talking about…” “Put some clothes on, goddamnit, and take off that stupid crown!” “I’m not wearing a crown!” “Don’t lie to me Nicole.”

“the wisdom of the world” by Sasha on her porch


Sunday, April 18, 2015
5:34pm
5 minutes
http://www.onbring.org

I’m not sure about this place. I’m not sure about a city where pork is cheaper than chard. I’m not sure about boys in between home and school being stopped and carded and not given explanations and not being given whys. I’m not sure about some women sleeping under bridges and some women wearing jeans that cost five hundred dollars. I’m not sure about sending away the garbage we are too lazy to separate into recycling and compost. I’m not sure about cars. I’m not sure about unsafe bike lanes and people that don’t care about the people that choose to ride bikes. I’m not sure about dumping toxins into Lake Ontario. I’m sure that there’s a connection between the hormones in our dairy and the puffers in the backpacks of our young friends. I’m not sure about gender binaries and public bathrooms. I’m not sure about so many Starbucks.

“Welcome visitors from Denmark” by Julia on the 47 going north


Saturday April 4, 2015
12:09am
5 minutes
from a school sign

What do we do, children? Yes very good, children. Rise to greet them, children. Yes very very good. Everybody is equal, aren’t they, children? Yes, of course they are. Yes, yes. How do we receive them, children? Yes, children, very good. With open hearts and a friendly smile, right, children? Yes, very, very very, good. What don’t we do, children? What are the things we must never do, children? Yes, remember well, children. All together now, children. Let’s recite them all together. Pretend like we don’t hear them. Yes, excellent remembering, children. What else, children? Let them hug you without returning the action. Yes. No one-sided embraces, children. None at all, children.

“Can you see anything?” by Julia on Amanda’s couch


Saturday February 28, 2015
3:05am
5 minutes
overheard at Amanda’s house

I begged Birdie to let me have a look but she told me I was being impatient and to show some courtesy. When I asked her what courtesy meant she shushed me so fast it sounded like a bullet was zooming right past my face. It was my idea in the first place to “borrow” uncle Ray’s ladder and creep up the side of the fence. Birdie didn’t trust me with being the first set of eyes on Old Annabel Winkler because she was convinced I wouldn’t be able to
control my laughter and I’d give away our hiding spot in seconds. Then she got up there and all she was saying was “ooh” “woah” “oh my gosh” and “no way!”

“shouting and laughing and throwing dirt” by Sasha on her porch


Thursday February 26, 2015
4:46pm
5 minutes
My Immortal Promise
Jen Holling


shouting and laughing and throwing dirt
our clothes are the earth’s fingerprints
and our shoes are the bits of bulbs
the new life will come soon
we can feel it between our toes
we make mud pies and sell them to each other
for three butterfly kisses
two sets of sisters
we were born to be here
naked as the days we were born
nothing of it
only bodies and unselfconscious beauty
only girls
drinking from the spout at the side of the house
puppies
painting our faces with beet greens
drawing stories on our backs with dandelion

“Sell it to me! I want to fix it!” by Julia on the 63 going North


Wednesday January 28, 2015
1:12am
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

Well I went through a phase in my life where all I wanted to do was sell bracelets made out of human teeth. It was a longer phase than maybe I’d like to/should admit. I thought it would be really sweet to market to mothers–you know, Never Forget How Precious Your Child Once Was…
It was a strange endeavour, I know that it was, because you’d have to wait a couple years to get enough good teeth for a bracelet, but you’d have to have permission first and the whole thing. So I sold one or two bracelets. I knew there would be some people interested. And by some I mean…just the two. I don’t know if they bought them out of admiration for the craft or out of fear that if they didn’t I would cast some witchy voodoo curse on them, because honest to God, who collects and then sells human teeth?

“When did we leave for thing there?” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday January 18, 2015
10:10pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Julia’s aunt’s house

Little one, if you call? I’ll be there before you can say my name again, before you can blink twenty times, before you get scared. If you’re tucked in and you get a chill, close your eyes and imagine you’re on the beach and the ocean is coo-ing you and crashing you to warmth and sleep. My baby, the nightmares come, they do, I’m sorry, but so do the ecstatic dreams of present and future. When the nightmares come just meet them. Meet them, don’t run. They’ll chase you if you try to get away. Face them and say, “HEY! YOU!” And be patient because maybe around the next corner is something fabulous. When we leave things behind, we rarely need to go back for them, they are usually good just where they are. I love you, monkey, I love you fiercely and massively. I love you wider than the sky.

“32 million tonnes” by Julia on the tube


Saturday December 20, 2014
11:18am
5 minutes
from a pamphlet about the pipeline ”

-That’s what Lucinda said to me. I don’t know if it’s true, but apparently, men are attracted to shorter women.
-she’s a liar Sydney, she always lies. Probably said that to you just to make you feel bad
-you’re saying you don’t believe her?
-that girl is made up of 32 million tones of fake, that’s what I’m saying.
-but what if she’s right? About men? And they’ll never be attracted to me?
-it’s rubbish. It doesn’t make any sense so if you want to believe nonsense that’s up to you.
-what are you doing for Christmas then?
-wake up at mum’s, home breakfast, then spend the day with her, then dinner and sleep over at yours
-is daisy coming?
-who is daisy?
-the girl with the glitter hair
-oh right, her real name is Holly. I call her Holly anyway.
-do you want a bindi?
-yeah
-I have to remember if I brought one for you or not. I think I did. Yeah, here, I knew I did.

“Mummy, mummy!” by Julia on the tube


Tuesday December 16, 2014
5:07pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Sainsbury’s

I have to tell you this, mother to mother..I hate hearing my own name. I mean, I miss hearing my real name, the one given to me by my mother, but I can’t stand hearing ‘mummy’ anymore. It just started really affecting me. I’d say up until two weeks ago I didn’t think anything of it. But I want to ask you’ve ever asked your kids to call you Ruth? I had a day dream that they were calling me Enid and it made me love them more. I hear mummy and it sounds so very desperate. They need something from me at all times with that name. With Enid, we were equals and it was a choice for me to take care of them, not an obligation. Of course I always want to take care of them, I’m not mad..but having the autonomy is in a way, more freeing.
In my mind little Emma can’t pronounce it properly but it still works like a charm.

“the landing cure” by Julia at Hunter’s Landing


Saturday August 30, 2014 at Hunter’s Landing
2:25pm
5 minutes
Hunter’s Landing menu

Tawny lost her tooth at the supermarket and she’s really bummed about it, Kev. What are we supposed to do about the tooth fairy now? Cause she literally lost the tooth and the whole premise is that the tooth fairy takes the tooth and gives her a loonie. A loonie for a tooth, Kev, and now because she got knocked in the head by a box of Lucky Charms, she has no tooth. Some other kid probably has her bloody tooth and is making money on it right now. I mean, do we tell her the tooth fairy just has an intuition? Or do we shape her up for some good quality reality, and tell her that the tooth fairy will not be coming this time because rules are rules and she didn’t follow the protocol. I mean, this is the school of hard-knocks am I right? That girl has to learn sometime. She has to learn to be careful and not lose things of value! She has to learn to be more aggressive while looking for something that has value! She has to be more thoughtful of her surroundings and be more observant so that when one thing changes, ie, her tooth is now somewhere on the floor when minutes before the floor looked a different way, so that she can recognize when she needs to be on guard because consistency is like the thing before they have deja vu in The Matrix!

“I look at the sky recalling” by Julia at MAKE coffee+stuff


Wednesday July 23, 2014 at MAKE
3:21pm
5 minutes
A Memory Returns
Bobby Ferguson


It was my first sip of coffee and I remember thinking it was so bitter I couldn’t see straight. Why anyone would ever drink that stuff was beyond me. I saw all the adults drinking it and they seemed to be having a great time. But I was never interested much in the smell, or the aftertaste, or the colour of teeth it somehow also transformed. I took a second sip to show I was big, I guess. Bigger than I was feeling. I wanted to fit in, I wanted them to stop thinking they needed to spell controversial words around me. I was a very good speller anyway. It just made them look stupid if I’m being honest. I wanted to shout from the tiny kid’s table that felt like it was a mile away from all the fun that I could understand what they were saying; that I could follow along and offer an opinion every now and again if they’d let me. So I took another sip and swallowed down the fuzz that formed on my tongue when I drank the stuff. I could feel my head start to get a bit light and I remember thinking, huh, this stuff isn’t so bad once you get past all the gross parts. Each sip brought me closer to the adults in the room thinking I was beneath them just because I was younger. Each sip made me feel all the more alive.
I still don’t drink it. I thought I might be the type to take it up after all, but I wasn’t. Turns out I didn’t need to do something I didn’t like to make me feel big.

“Defeating death, embracing love” by Sasha in her garden


Sunday May 11, 2014
1:53pm
5 minutes
Reader’s Digest
March 2014


That Sunday, we all rode the streetcar to the end of the line and then we rode back again. It was Olivia’s turn. We each got a Sunday a month to choose what we would do. Leo chose the Science Centre to frequently that Eddie and I contemplated putting a monetary cap on the activities the kids chose. But seeing him so inspired, so electrified by learning, we dolled out the cash and beamed at our bright and curious boy. Olivia never chose the same thing twice. Once, we went to the park with notebooks and pencil crayons and drew flowers we didn’t know the name of. That was what she wanted – “you must not know what the flower is called!” she proclaimed. Once, she and Leo made us crepes with a multitude of fillings, both savoury and sweet. But that Sunday, in May, we all rode the streetcar. We didn’t get off once. We’d packed smoothies and almonds, and the kids had finished theirs before we even got to Pape. “It’s a long way back…” Eddie warned. At the end of the line we all high-fived. I produced fruit leathers from deep in my backpack. Leo and Olivia lost their minds. On our westward journey home, the sun was beginning to sink, and I was telling everyone about visiting Lisbon as a teenager. The kids loved my travel stories.

“Make a green choice” by Julia at Bodhi Coffee in Philadelphia


Wednesday April 16, 2014
4:55pm at Bodhi Coffee
5 minutes
from a Sheraton Hotel Voucher

There was a sign that she couldn’t help but stare at. It looked like a child had drawn the font, cut out each letter one by one, and pasted them akk to it without adult supervision. She was captivated by the colours, the shapes, the unique feeling it made her connect with. It read “Do The Right Thing. Do It ‘Till You Die.” It seemed like US Army propaganda from the 40s, but it looked like it was made only yesterday, or this morning, even, not giving the glue enough time to dry properly. The rest of the font was too small to see from where she was sitting. She didn’t want to move just to go up to it, feeling a little self-conscious that the sign, the poster from yesterday or today, had worked its magic on her. So she stayed where she was and glanced over at it hanging in the window only every other minute, and only after first looking all around it to make sure it seemed like she just had a curious and inquisitive eye. Nobody was looking at it. She wondered if the person responsible for making it or posting it up was sitting in the cafe with her, watching her watch the damn thing.

“Return for redemption” by Sasha on the Keele bus


Saturday April 12, 2014
6:10pm
5 minutes
A can of Magners

When he makes his way back into the classroom, the letter “F” has fallen from the felted alphabet that’s pinned up above the blackboard. He wonders if its a sign. “F” for “Failure”. “F” for “Fucked”.

He hadn’t meant to do it. But he had. The rumours circled faster than vultures to a dead deer.

“He’s a fat fag! Look at that fat faggy nasty ass face!” He’d walked in, just before Jay punched Alfonso in the nose. More blood. More broken. He’d seen it since September, one thirteen-year-old picking on the other, bullying the other, rallying the other eighth graders with the power of an army general. He’d been patient. He’d dutifully given detentions and sent home notes. He’d even called in Jay’s father for a meeting. He’d been stood up.

He moved faster than he knew he could. He pulled one boy off of the other, face covered in tears and snot. He threw all one hundred and three pounds of Jay Eiserman up against the wall. The inspirational quote calendar fell to the floor. “You lay a hand on Alfonso again, you little shit, and I’m gonna kill you.” Jay dropped to the floor, rage shooting from his eyes. He ran to the Principle.

“your grief for what you’ve lost” by Sasha on her couch


Friday March 21, 2014
12:04am
5 minutes
Bird Wings
Mary Oliver


You’ve lost a lot of things over the course of your thirty three years. One. An apple on the subway tracks, you gasped as the train boomed into the station, imagining your apple, your perfect, red, Gala apple, becoming pulp under the pressure. Two. You sanity, at the hands of a red-headed woman who claimed to be the mother of his child, your husband’s child (well, okay, you weren’t actually married but you might as well have been), who came with a photograph and a baby book and claims of rights and asthma and child support. Three. Your keys, you were drunk and you were dancing and you put your black bag, small, so small you could tuck it under your arm or hold it in your hand, you put that black bag on the back of the toilet seat when you went to pee and then you stood up and forgot to flush (guilty as charged, every time) and then forgot to see it sitting there, waiting patiently on the dirty porcelain. Four. You dignity, when you cheated on the Biology exam in your second year of University. You were caught. You took a leave. And then returned when you were well-rested, well-travelled, well-aged.

“for being born and stuff” by Julia at her desk


Friday March 14, 2014
11:44pm
5 minutes
Nelu’s Birthday Card

When I welcome baby Preston I will tell him, “you’re little and I’m big, so that makes me the boss of you!” He will laugh at all my jokes and tell me I’m his favourite sister with his eyes, and we’ll both giggle cause I’m his only sister! I will take him for walks and introduce him to Mr. Andrews who rakes our lawn, and Mrs. Edwards who helps us cross the street with her bright yellow vest. Then when the grass is dry, I will take him to the park and show him what the sun really looks like! I will feed him chunks of bread dipped in Cheese Wiz, and he will make sure the flies don’t land on our stuff by drooling everywhere! I know baby Preston will drool because my Mommy told me so! She said, “He will drool as much as you did,” and I drooled a lot! Baby Preston is supposed to come from Mommy’s tummy in exactly one week from right now. If he doesn’t show up at 2:22 PM, he will be late for his first big appointment. I will teach him how to always be on time and run when Mommy or Daddy calls him. Sometimes you think you’re already running very fast, but I will show him that he should always run fastest before dinner.

“Sarah is currently working” by Julia on her couch


Thursday March 13, 2014
12:09am
5 minutes
the Wikipedia page for Sarah Hudson

She has it in her mind to become the president of the “Tights Club”. Maddy and Addy started the club last year, but Maddy moved away and Addy got in trouble for being in a club. Sarah doesn’t want to tell any of the other girls about her hopes to be the president in case they’re all thinking the same thing. She doesn’t want it to become a competition. Sarah has to work hard to pretend like nothing is going on, and plant the idea in everyone’s head that it was their idea first to have Sarah as the president. Maddy and Addy shared the presidential duties, and because they started it, no one really questioned their authority. The only thing that Maddy told Addy was that if she ever wore non-tights outside of the Tights Club she’d have some serious explaining to do. Maddy only told Addy that because one time Addy did wear non-tights. They were jeans! She wore them because her mother told her that “tights are not pants” and if she was “going to go to cousin Jamie’s house, then she better put on some pants”. Sarah already only wore tights ever. She would make a perfect president.

“Baby you’re much too fast” by Sasha in her bed


Wednesday February 26, 2014
12:13am
5 minutes
Little Red Corvette
Prince


I feel sick with worry that you want three babies. You tell me this over coffee you’ve simmered on the stovetop, sputtering on the white metal, leaving flecks of brown. I pour almond milk in mine and you drink yours black. “Three babies!” You say, like we’re choosing a colourful and slightly daring couch at Ikea. I don’t worry about the carrying or the baring. I have a round, strong body for this. I feel sick with worry because this world is so broken and I’d never say it to your face but sometimes, like a dark cloud passing over, I feel really hopeless. Sometimes this goes away and I feel only excited.

“Real slow. Real good.” by Julia on the 506 going east


Tuesday, December 31, 2013
5:16pm
5 minutes
from Phil’s Original BBQ storefront

I guess I musta been dreamin’ real good cause I didn’t even notice the small child meowing outside my window. Usually I’m very sensitive to children. And I guess cats. So I guess both of em. Wouldn’t let that sound go unnoticed if I were more awake. I’ve been dreamin’ with every bone in my body for about a week now. I know it’s new cause before I wasn’t remembering anythin’ vivid or nothin’ and lately it’s been just like movie after movie after movie. Musta been somethin’ I ate or drank or smoked. The only thing I’ve had consistent all week was jerky and that ol’ stuff never hurt me none before. Maybe it’s my jaw. Been slammin’ it back and forth in my sleep, prolly convincin’ my brain that I’d gone and experienced one helluva trauma. I read once that your body carries those moments better than your brain can.

“LESS ORDINARY” by Julia on the 506 going east


Saturday December 14, 2013
3:46pm
5 minutes
Guinness Black Lager streetcar ad

Oh yeah I’d definitely define him as a curve ball? Sort of just your crazy man but without looking like that on the outside? Less ordinary than most people in his category and I’m sure I’ve seen my fair share of them. I think I noticed it first when he came over to my house to help Rodney with his math homework? He brought over a baseball glove and bat and the two of them played outside for hours. Rodney aced his test but I don’t remember them studying at all. I guess he has a way with explaining? Sort of never cared to question it further, cause we was seeing results and that’s all that mattered to Al and me. I think, no, I wouldn’t necessarily call him strange although he didn’t act like I ever expected. Strange sort of has a negative connotation and that’s not the kind of label I’m trying to give him. But different, maybe. Definitely special if you want to make sure he knows that I’m on his side? I never once worried when he’d spend time with Rodney. I think he liked being around kids cause they never judged him or nothin. They just sort of, let him be was all.

“THE BATTLE FOR CONTROL” by Julia on the 506 going east


Thursday December 12, 2013
9:20am
5 minutes
cover of aux magazine September 2013 issue

And it was a real battle
Hair pulling and ripping
Teeth grinding and popping
Skin scratched and bruised
Clothes torn and stained
It started early Monday morning at the jungle gym
Theresa was hosting a “peaceful protest” about My Little Pony being banned from recess. Turns out teachers don’t like when little girls and boys make believe they’re unicorns.
Theresa was trying to make a difference.
She was calm and she was smiling.
But Nadia didn’t think it was right. For whatever reason, and no one seemed to ask her, she was against the protest from the start. She had rallied her side and there were tomatoes and mashed butternut squash involved.
It had taken about 2 days to fully escalate.
Theresa didn’t know it was coming. Suddenly at the end of lunch, a group gathered around them, black zinc face paint under each of their eyes, and all hands cocked:
ready, aim,fire.

“it’s not my favourite thing to do” by Julia at the IMA building at Ryerson


Tuesday December 10, 2013
6:52pm at Ryerson University
5 minutes
overheard at Capital Espresso

Margot tells me to “drink my water” because she doesn’t know what else to say. I tell her I feel “sick” and she just says, “drink your water”. It’s not enough, Margot, God. It’s like, do some research, assess my symptoms, and like, be a better person. I don’t think I’m asking for much. But she’s just too lazy to figure out the real reasons we EXIST most of the time that I can’t take her seriously. I tell her almost every day that I have a headache and Margot says “are you drinking enough–” and before she can say “water” which I know she’s going to say, I tell her “NOT TODAY MARGOT. I’M NOT ONE OF YOUR GUINEA PIGS.” She doesn’t usually know what to do when I say things like that, but that’s even better. She once told me I was causing her to have mini heart attacks with my outbursts and I said “what do you think I am, a typewriter?” I got that from an old joke that my uncle used to tell me before he died on the airplane. Margot doesn’t get it, which is the point, because you’re not supposed to, but then she tries to discipline me for being too “rambunctious”.

“see us soon!” by Julia at East Liberty Medical Centre


Thursday, September 5, 2013
3:25pm
5 minutes
Toronto public health poster

You heard them calling your name from across the yard but you were already too far gone out of their lives to turn back and wave.
“Goodbye”
You made that decision a long time ago but it was hard so you hadn’t come to terms with it until now.
“I can’t”
You wrestled with the idea of it all, the pain, the regret. You couldn’t count your finger paintings fast enough.
“Thank you”
You kept walking as if on a conveyor belt, every step taking you one more year, one more lifetime away.
“Wait”
You asked me if I would send you their pictures, they’re letters in the mail, signed by each of them in their own hand.
“Why”
I couldn’t promise you what I couldn’t bear to offer. It would be my pain too, every time I sealed the envelope with their kisses for you. Send the sweetness away to nowhere because that’s where it felt like you were existing.
“Please”
You chose your path. You picked the soft mattress to lay on, and the perfect duvet to lay under. You made it up so well it felt like a good thing.
“See us soon”
They’d call, in their sleep, in their restless daydreams of you.

“Lily and Gigi” by Julia at Nova Era Bakery


Monday May 27, 2013
11:15am at Nova Era Bakery
5 minutes
names dipped from a class list

Lily is the one who hates people, right? The one who wears her hair in braids and gets nervous when she sees someone smiling? Oh shit, is that Gigi? Yeah, now I think it is. I’m pretty sure the last time I saw Gigi she was sitting at a table by herself and I walked up to her and asked if I could sit down. That little bitch said no and then tried to stab me with a fork. Gigi. It’s for sure her. It’s hard, though, they look identical…yes, I know they’re identical twins–obviously. But like–there’s no differentiating–there’s no weird mole or twitch–and now that I think of it, they both wear braids and they both hate people. I want to blame their mother but she’s actually such a delight–long wavy hair, she likes to wear teal jumpsuits that show all of her lovely cleavage. She tells Lily that no one likes her sourpuss face because people don’t like ugly children–or was she saying it to Gigi…Goddammit! Why do I care? Anyway. Happy 5th birthday to both of you little shit storms. I hope you live long and happy lives and that one day someone will take pity on you and be able to fall in love with you.

“he comes up with a plan” by Julia on the 506 going west


Tuesday May 7, 2013
12:33am
5 minutes
The back of The Store DVD case

Join the club, she says to him, Join the club, or you can’t be my friend.
He holds the stick high over his head, ready to throw it at Little Tyler who is cowering in the mud. He’s crying, even, or at least it looks that way.
DO IT, she chants, little braid messy from all the running around. This is your last chance.
He can’t throw the stick. Little Tyler. Little Tyler.
He instead, launches the stick in the opposite direction. She screams. What are you doing!
He runs over to Little Tyler and picks him up. He’s a wounded dog, now, and bites at any hands at all. Even the helping ones, because they all blend in and feel the same when you’re scared.
Don’t touch him. He’s being punished, she screams, to nobody in particular, arms flailing, braid swinging.
Little Tyler finally opens his eyes and sees a gentle smile on Chubby Matthew’s face. He opens up. He breathes, for maybe the first time.
Connie, you stop this, Chubby Matthew says to her over his shoulder. No one wants to be in your club anyway.

“no matter what she wears.” By Sasha at The Common on Bloor


Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at The Common on Bloor
3:47pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Anne Roiphe

“We need to get him to start meditating, Carmen,” he hears his father say to his mother. It’s their Monday night phone call. When they’d first separated they had only communicated via e-mail. Two years later, now that he was seven, they spoke, once a week, about how he was doing. They’d even braved parent-teacher interviews. Together. He wasn’t sure how he felt about it. “He’s having trouble concentrating, Carmen,” his father said. Was he repeating himself. He imagined what his mother might be saying on the other end of the line, if she was raising her voice, if she felt vulnerable because he spent more time with her. His father was, “mmm-ing”. They were agreeing. Great. Great. His father laughed, “I know, I know. Last time I set the timer to twelve minutes and I didn’t tell him!” His father laughed again, louder this time. He had had enough. He went down to the kitchen, where there was another phone. He picked up. “Carlos?” Said his mother, “Is that you?” He couldn’t find his voice. “Carlos!” His father said, “This is a private conversation!” He held his breath. “Honey, I know you’re there…” Said his mother.

“white wine bottles” by Sasha at The Common


Saturday, March 30, 2013 at The Common
4:29pm
5 minutes
The Toronto Star
PUZZLES Section
March 30, 2013


Snaking down the valley is the Saskatchewan River, moody, changing, wide. The trail along her banks is well kept. A child, three or four years old, holds his sister’s hand. She’s older. Around eleven. They walk together. He’s got red velcro sneakers. She’s got a purple windbreaker. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in twenty seven years.

“I keep losing my place,” my mother used to say, trying to work through Wuthering Heights. It had been her favorite book. Alzheimer’s gripped her, Herculean strength. She flipped the books pages like fashion magazine, hoping something might stop her, catch her, make her look. “It’s okay, Mom,” I found myself repeating, more for my own sake then for hers. Eventually she said, “Yes, I know that.” Eventually, she forgot about waking up the morning. Eventually she arranged the white wine bottles in her cellar, hoping there might be a party.

“St. George” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, March 24, 2013
12:06am
5 minutes

St. George Subway

Sid was cutting the cuticles from her toenails while watching the nightly news. One more murder, she mumbled out loud with her turban toweled head cocked to one side. She had been waiting for her gluten-free carrot cake to be done in the oven but couldn’t help herself and had to keep opening the door to check. She was thinking about it again when the phone rang. Sid didn’t want to answer it, she wasn’t expecting anyone. But she did in spite of herself. She waited on the line while a man ran off some uninteresting facts about car dealerships and how buying a car is as important as adopting a baby. Sid never wanted a baby but her belly was growing with every new day and she found herself watching a lot of disturbing news stories or terrifying slasher films. She was getting acquainted with the idea of death so she’d be better equipped to handle it if it ever threatened her existence. Or her baby’s.

“small children who sang together” by Julia at the Dunn cottage in Keswick


Saturday February 2, 2013
2:31am
5 minutes
Sicilian
Mario Puzo


Where was I the day that Aggie stopped singing? Was I on a plane to Moscow? It doesn’t matter, I know this, and yet I’m just dying to know. Not that I could have stopped her from deciding, but at least then she would know it was a mistake.
That girl could truly belt out the loveliest notes you’d ever hear. Her and her little friends used to form choirs so they could sing together, but only Aggie ever got the solos. She didn’t want them, even, but no one else wanted to sing next to Aggie to compare. She was that kind of good.
It’s hard to believe now that a hundred times over by the weeping willow, I used to sit and wait for Aggie to delight us all with one of her little concerts.
Not going to listen to her anymore, that’s her choice, I understand that. But I can’t help but wonder if she is making a mistake. Was. Was making. I did myself struggling to remember that this isn’t happening now. There’s nothing I can do.