“I’d say that’s OK” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday Oct 10, 2019
11:45am
5 minutes
On A Cliff With You
David Allan Cates
A: Would you like to go to the park?
B: NO.
A: But it’s so nice out! It’ll be fun. I promise.
B: I don’t want to go.
A: I’ll push you on the swing…
B: The big kid swing or the baby swing?
A: Your choice.
B: Big kid swing!
A: Deal!
B: But I don’t want to wear my hat!
A: You need to wear your hat.
B: No way!
A: It’s chilly! Your ears will get cold.
B: NO!
A: Ear muffs?
B: NO.
A: Headband?
B: …
A: …
B: Fiiiiiine.
A: Great. Let’s do it. Put on your boots please.
B: I want to wear my Crocs.
A: It’s too cold for Crocs, my darling.
B: NOOOO!
A: …
B: – OOOOO!
A: I’m going to start putting on my boots, and whenever you’re ready –
B: – OOOOOOOO!
A: Hey. Darling. Please stop shouting.
B: I don’t want to wear my boooooooots!
A: I can see that. What about your runners?
B: My runners make my toes itchy!
A: They do?
B: Yeah.
A: What about if you wear your purple socks inside your runners?
B: The sparkly socks?
A: Yeah!

“Mandala-Image Dip” by Julia at her desk


Saturday August 31, 2019
9:36pm
5 minutes
Mandala
Margaret Collis

Okay is this our future? Me you and this baby
that we talked about having and then keep having
conversations about but only when the universe
decides to throw darts at us and prick us with
tiny messages from outside ourselves? Reminding
us that we are very much of the earth and on the
earth and of the people on the earth, not different
not unique, really, since aren’t those thoughts
my thoughts, and those words, yours? Didn’t I say
something like that yesterday or last month and
now, tonight, the woman in the play says the
same exact sentiment? Didn’t I write that play
one afternoon, one argument ago, one plea to
get married, one yes or no about the future?
Me and you and this baby that we’ve talked
about are all in the room now, not talking
about what might be true for them and us now
and in the future. This idea, this earth, we
are living on and in and for and it’s only
an idea, isn’t it? Only a fraction of what we
could be thinking about or acting upon, and the
actors tonight said the words. They said what
you’ve asked, and what I’ve denied, and everyone
in the room was crying so, is everyone having
this very same conversation? About the earth
and about the future and about babies and about
if we’re good people, or if we’re all lost…

“shattered in a thousand pieces” by Julia on the 4

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
5:23pm
Sing to the Moon
Laura Mvula

I am not, if you thought maybe I might be. I think you think I already checked out, but I hadn’t.
I was afraid of saying the wrong thing. Saying the wrong thing has resulted in lashings before. Still have the scar of where you wielded the silent treatment.

I don’t have anger now and before if it seemed it, that was hurt wearing a little mask. A Little armour.

I knew you were done but I didn’t know it would come like this. I have an intuition about you and that might be because it’s been years, or because I’m listening to what you don’t say. You might be surprised to learn of how much I’m capable of. Change is the first thing. I’m glad you’ve come around to that.

“Shower still not working?” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 29, 2019
5:20pm
5 minutes
from a text

You’re hot then you’re cold, you’re hot, then you’re hot, then you’re hot
I CANNOT TAKE A SHOWER IN BURNING WATER, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
Options:
REDUCE SHOWER TO 20 ENDURABLE SECONDS. Impossible option?
SHOWER IN THE BATHROOM SINK. Use washcloth and towel on floor?
DO NOT SHOWER. Bad option? Angry option?
You are lucky this is today and not tomorrow when my period comes to haunt this house.
You didn’t mention anything was wrong.
You didn’t even hint at needing some help.
How am I supposed to know?
I gave you time to yourself.
I didn’t force you.
Okay a little I forced you.
I didn’t yet have perspective cause I was still in shock.
I thought you were teasing me.
You let me turn you and turn you and still you ran dry.
I’m sorry, okay.
I don’t know the correct amount of time to give a broken faucet.
SORRY. I don’t know for sure if it’s you that’s broken…
Trust me I’d rather it be me!
I WANT TO BELIEVE IT’S ME.

“how are you feeling?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday January 12, 2019
10:42pm
5 minutes
From a text

A: How are you feeling?
B: Today. Shitty.
A: How shitty? What kind of shitty?
B: I saw someone who is too afraid to face me, who can’t meet me how I need to be met, and I was tired and sad and I saw someone, and it was –
A: Take a deep breath?
B: I’m fine. I’m breathing fine.
A: Okay…

B: How are you?
A: I’m good. I’m great!
B: That’s nice.
A: When you’re shitty, I can still be great. It’s not a competition.
B: I know. I’m glad you’re great.
A: Why can’t you just be happy for me?
B: I am!

A: Dad said that Ming is off dairy so we can’t do rice pudding on Sunday.
B: Good for Ming.
A: Ha!
B: She always feels sick. It’s good she’s doing some investigating. I’ll bring something else. I’m sick of rice pudding anyway.
A: But we always have rice pudding for dessert –
B: Yeah, and sometimes things have to change. Sometimes change is healthy.

“Till the only word your mouth remembers” by Julia at her parents’ table

Sunday December 23, 2018
11:52am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

my mouth knows how to repeat the same thing over and over until it loses meaning
until it turns into dust

my mouth knows how to curse the ones I love the most because their mouths say what my mouth could

my mouth eats itself more than it doesn’t
twisting the almost rebellion into quiet
cheek sores, taking up space

my mouth hums the tune of the earth that keeps me grounded when the noise is trying to lift me out of my skin

my mouth coos the sweet-lipped words of admiration and gratitude with ease and with abundance

my mouth remembers being shut violently and told that this is not violence but love and history and justified

my mouth knows a lie like a pang in the gums, a bell dinging endlessly under the tongue

“a conversation unfolds” by Julia on the 4

Sunday, December 2, 2018
4:34pm
5 minutes
Conversation Across Languages
Derick Mattern

We’re talking a lot
It’s good
I’m grateful
You’re sad
The space between us
is nothing and
everything
We have always
operated under
extreme circumstance
Big or invisible
Madness or dark
You’ve asked the
hard questions
and I wonder if
I have lied in answering
I promised you I’d
be honest but nothing
is everything and
it can get a little
confusing
The conversation
is ongoing and some
days the words do
all the talking and
some days the belly-
The snail inside the
belly unwinding and
folding back in on
itself

“never stop bringing hope to humanity” by Julia on her walk home

Friday November 2, 2018
11:27pm
5 minutes
More Than Cooking
Marla Cimini

Today my sister lights a spark in me from across the country
we act like we never left our childhood bedroom
her side painted with the hope of blue and
mine dwelling pink
we didn’t know each other until later but I think we always knew

Takes one to no one
I tell her after she has told me that so many times
I wonder how bright we can get when we trust that the light inside us is made of love
I call her on my walk somewhere hoping she’s free after school
neither of us expect to have a life-changing conversation and every time it is a life-changing conversation
her philosophy
tender hearted curiosity
She is the reason I am able to do anything for the rest of the day
The morning begins like a siren reminding me that I have bodies to bury in the backyard
She listens with the kind of patience you can only get from Barbie dolls
but she is not poking her head into somebody else’s blouse
She is the strongest thing I can lean my head against
In her company I am the most uniquely grounded me
it comes on a day perfect timing for both of us to remember that the light can be seen from far away when it is turned on
So she flips the switch on for me
And I flick the switch for her
We plan a trip to Europe in the year 2024 like it were already here.

“full of tenderness” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday August 8, 2018
6:52am
5 minutes
Chant
Wang An-Shih

Gimme a minute sweet one I’ve got water boiling on the stove
Gimme a minute honeypots I’m on the phone
Hold on darling there’s something I need to finish here
Can you wait?
Why not?
Okay…
Hold on…
HOLD ON…
Okay.
What is it?
A caterpillar?
My goodness!
You’re right!
Can you could those legs?
How many do you think she has?
Gentle.
Gentle!
See that little yellow stripe?
How do you think she feels about it?
It’s not quite time for lunch yet but I have some apricots if you’d like.

“whose eyes are a thousand blind windows:” by Julia in Amanda’s kitchen

Tuesday August 7, 2018
11:52pm
5 minutes
Howl
Allen Ginsberg

We wait for each other to stop speaking
silence drifting between us in our car seats
Sometimes saying nothing is saying everything
How shame lives in my cheeks when I can’t
“say nothing”
“say nothing”

We spend three hours staring into each others’ eyes
separated by green tea and a key chain
and some blurry tears streaming without warning
We don’t call me what I am but later I feel it
The reckoning of too much information shared
Too much honesty not yet checked in the echo

We both say how lovely it is and how sad it was
and how soon we will do this again
nobody is crying now
The summer night too hot for tears to puddle

“exiled to the foothills” by Sasha on her couch

Monday July 23, 2018
12:02am
5 minutes
The Gulag Archipelago
Solzhenitsyn

“Let’s go to the mountains, mama…” Oli looks up at me with longing.

“Why do you want to go there?”

“Because I’ve never been!”

“Why do you think you’d like it?”

“Because mountains are tectonic plates that smashed together and that’s so cool and I want to do my project on them and how can I when I’ve never seen them in real life?!”

“Please don’t whine.”

“I’m not! I’m just saying that it’s only fair – ”

“Honey, nothing about decision making when it comes to vacation has to do with what’s fair.”

“BUT – ”

“I’ll think about it, okay? Now, go brush your teeth, it’s already seventeen minutes passed your bedtime.”

“a flickering lamp, a phantom” by Julia on the couch at the Airbnb

Thursday July 12, 2018
9:41pm
5 minutes
Diamond Sutra
Buddha

We sit in the dark.
Connie tells me, “These wafer cookies taste like they cost only a dollar.”
I tell her, “that’s because they do cost only a dollar. People who buy these don’t by them for quality, they buy them because they’re trying to bury the thing inside them that keeps them itching.”
Connie says, “Who has a face long enough to shove one of these in without biting?”
And I say, “What in the world are you talking about?”
Connie says, “These things leave crumbs everywhere like a motherfucker. I’m not Hansel and Gretel. I don’t need someone to follow the path of them all the way back to me. Me and my face trying to hide the sadness in my stomach.”
I don’t really know why she keeps eating them except for the fact that she might be one of those people who eat the wafers that the people trying to bury the thing inside them buy so she can at least complain about them.
Connie says, “They leave a film on the roof of your mouth. What is that?”
“Regret”, I tell her. “Or something like it.”

“Where every member is a minister” by Julia on her couch

Monday July 9, 2018
9:50pm
5 minutes
from a business card

I got this card from someone who I don’t know but might be reading this.

Free Press, he said, I said, yeah, good, why not?

I thought he was selling something,trying to get me to come over to the side of all the glowing. I might have gone with him if I didn’t have a bus to catch.

Where you headin’, Chicago?

Maybe he lived there. At the bus station, in Chicago. When I asked him he said he was exactly where he needed to be.

I could live with that, I thought.

I could learn from this and all the other apparition-wise sentiments.

He gave me cereal. In a ziplock bag, for later.

“I’m as prepared as I ever am” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday June 2, 2018
9:52pm
The Art Of Freeloading
Alana Levinson

“Vic, you’re starting to freak me out…”

“Why! We have to be prepared!”

“We live in a one bedroom apartment! We don’t have storage space for seven of those water jugs! We don’t have the space!”

“You know who is going to thank me when there’s an earthquake? You know who?!”

“Me?”

“YOU!”

“I’m down for being prepared, I am, I’ve told you that a million times, but this is just… too much. Every time you come home from the store there are more cans, more blankets, more matches… and this water?! Where are we going to put it?!”

“The storage unit. Obviously.”

“The one in the basement?”

“Yes.”

“Isn’t that full of camping gear?”

“And whose junk is that?”

“It’s mine! And it’s not junk! It took me a long time to collect all that stuff!”

“Thanks guys” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday May 30, 2018
7:08am
5 minutes
Overheard on Oak St.

“Why are you pouting, Liz?”

“I’m not…”

“You absolutely are.”

“You got what you wanted! You got the promotion, you got a second date with that hottie from the coffee shop, you got into the pottery class… Like, what’s the problem?”

“It’s never enough. I always want – …”

“More?”

“Yeah.”

“Welcome to being human. You’re not special for being insatiable.”

“I don’t think I’m special. That’s the thing.”

“You are special, but you aren’t special for always wanting more more more – ”

“Please stop.”

“Stop what? Trying to make you feel better?”

“I don’t want to – “

“Oh you exercise?” By Julia on her couch

Sunday May 6, 2018
10:41pm
5 minutes
From a text

Comes out to meet me with
his shirt off and I’m like dude those wont work on me, save your six-pack for someone who cares. And he’s like this is for you and I’m like this is what I just said and you are not listening. Then he does up his shirt and starts to pout and I say, hey that wont work on me either cause I’m not into crying for no reason. And he’s like, this is not for you, it’s for me and don’t you get it? And I’m like get what? No? Get what? And he’s like never mind you don’t care. And I’m like, about what though?

“My mother is a wood thrush” by Julia at M’s house

Thursday, April 19, 2018
11:19pm
5 minutes
A List Of My Utopias
Debbie Urbanski

I can recite her laugh lines by heart
in the quiet night I hear her in my rib cage
I saved a couple of her voicemails
when I want to visit with her again
in the dead of winter
when speaking half in english, half italian, half french, my skin knows story
sometimes she sings and I know where I got it from
and where she must have gotten it from
that alone would connect us
the hum.

“God may have written” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

10:33pm

5 minutes

From a quote by Nancy Cartwright

Aubrey tells me that she wishes she could sing without trying. Without crying. Without opening her mouth. She asks me to ask God what can be done about that. She asks me because I’m taller than her and therefore closer to God. She’s not wrong…

When I ask her why she wants this she doesn’t answer with words but with a look of disapproval. As if I didn’t already know. As if it needs to be spelled out.

Aubrey tells me it’s important that singing be true. She says she’s heard enough people trying and she doesn’t want to be the kind who has to push put feelings; one who tries to get it right.

Would you be okay with being wrong? I ask her, a little afraid now that I’ve pushed her too far.

She smiles then and blows her bangs out of her oval face.

“eat all of our food? Rude.” By Sasha on the 99

Friday February 16, 2018
10:22pm
5 minutes
Flushed
David Delisca

Crumbs under the toaster again! GODDAMNIT SHARLEEN! I can’t take it anymore! Crumbs all over the counter and it’s not hard to moisten a cloth, wipe the counter, lift the toaster, wipe under the toaster! I raised you to be better than this, Sharleen! Come downstairs! I hate shouting. Sharleen?! Jesus, she’s not even here?!

Furiously dials on the cordless phone.

Hello, Sharleen. This is your mother. Please call me immediately. This is an emergency. I repeat. This is an E-M-E-R-G-E-N – Oh! You’re calling on the other line. Shit. How do I – ?

Sharleen?

GODAMNIT!

Sharleen!

“Should we take the pillows?” By Sasha in her bed

Thursday February 1, 2018
11:04pm
5 minutes
What Are You Thinking?
Jay Ruzesky

A: Should we take the pillows?

B: Why would we? They’ll have pillows there…

A: I know, but I sleep better with my pillow.

B: It’s a weekend, I mean –

A: – but if the whole idea is that we’re going to relax and –

B: Bring it.

A: Should I?

B: Isn’t that what –

A: I don’t want to by high maintenance.

B: You aren’t.

A: Was that sarcasm?

B: Um – …

A: Rude!

B: It just seems a bit excessive to bring your own pillow to a B and B. What will the hosts think?

A: Who cares what they think!

“If we changed the rules of our games” by Sasha at work

Friday January 26, 2018
12:13pm
5 minutes
The Mercy Seat
Norman Ravvin

A: I’m movin’ on, B! So get the fuck outta my way!

B: I will not.

A: MOVE.

B: Nope.

A: MOVE!

B: I can’t let you go. If you go then I’ll be –

A: That isn’t my problem anymore. I’m movin’ on!

B: But I love you…

A: Too bad.

B: Come on.

A: No!

B: Come on, A –

A: I’ve heard it all before. I’ve heard every stupid asshole cliche. I’ve heard your excuses, and your lies and your bullshit. I’m movin’ on!

B: Okay. Okay. Okay.

A: Great. Bye. Thanks for the good times and fuck you VERY much for the bad times.

B: What has gotten into you?

A: I have finally come to my senses! I’m feeling like a fucking goddess right now!

“with that thirsty, drink-it-down look” by Julia on the plane

Saturday January 20, 2018
12:28am
5 minutes
For you
Tammy Armstrong

-So should we join the mile high club?

– -I would do it, yeah.

-Oh please, don’t sound so enthused. It’s too much.

– -Well those bathrooms are so small.

-Yeah.

– – And apparently you can get in a lot of trouble if you get caught.

-Yes, you can only join the club if you risk breaking the rules. You can’t just be in the club. There has to be danger. And earning it.

– -Okay fine let’s join then. I’m in. I’ve heard the best time to do it is when the flight attendants are trollying along with snacks.

-Oh you heard that, did you?

“She’ll use timid hand gestures,” by Sasha on the plane

Friday January 19, 2018
9:02am
5 minutes
Black Roses Bloom
Bill Gaston

She says that her mother won’t return her calls. He says that he’s sorry. She says that it feels like her whole family is dead, when really only her dad is. He doesn’t know what to say so he says ahhhhh. She says that she’s not sure if the year went fast or slow. She says that she’s finally eating again. He says he’s glad. He says that she needs to nourish herself in every way. She smiles. She says that she never could have guessed that this is where she’d be. He says it’s funny how life works. She says that’s one way of putting it.

“hesitating to” by Julia on Amanda’s tub

Saturday December 30, 2017
2:08am
5 minutes
From a tweet

Tell you the truth

Telling myself first

Listening

Believing you’re right

Believing I’m wrong

Go to the bathroom

Leaving the moment

Leaving the bar

Say something I’ll regret

To let you get away with it all

To let you have the last word

To agree with you

Disagree

Cry in front of you

Tell you about the hurt

Relive the hurt

Let you see me hurt

Be hurt

Ask for clarification

To cry when you cry

To hug you

To tell you I love you

To relive the past

To share what I’m feeling

To apologize

Fight

Forgive

Order another drink

Let you leave in anger

Keep you there in anger

Fight

Forgive

Fight

Forgive

Ask you to write me something

Ask you to read something

Admit I don’t know

“a weak spot” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 28, 2018
7:41am
5 minutes
Golden Ray of Chemo
Fawn Parker

D: Do you have to eat like that?
M: Like what?
D: You are chewing very loud.
M: I’m chewing how I chew.
D: PLEASE stop.
M: Why are you –
D: Can I have a beer?
M: No.
D: Please please please please please?
M: No.

D: My camera’s better than yours!
M: When did you become a photography expert?
D: We don’t need duplicates of everything we do!
M: Alright, we’ll use yours.
D: Did you know that you snore?
M: I do not snore.
D: You live alone. Who would tell you?
M: I do?
D: Yes. It’s sweet. It’s like a little bulldog.

She imitates a bulldog snore. They laugh.

M: When you were little you used to pick your nose and eat it.

“I’ve never been more absorbed in anyone.” By Julia at her parents’ house

Monday December 25, 2017

2:54pm

5 minutes

Elliot, Adam, Elly and Me

Charlotte Joyce Kidd

When I see you differently and you see me the room is shaded pretty like a lilac or a leaf of sage. I haven’t asked for this the way I have been so bold to ask for other things. I have asked for so many now that I’ve lost count. My bones have always wept for this. My dreams have always known. You are crying at the dinner table and I have never felt your pulse as thick. I am crying at the dinner table and you do not turn away. In kiss we are rooted deeply like a fire place, locked. Nothing gets in. Nothing gets out. There is no wondering anymore. About the silence or the motivation. There is no hungry imagination turning dust into villains, holding sweet hostages for ransom. We are a seeing and a knowing now. We rest firmly in this house.

“winter solstice ritual at a hippy retreat center” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Sunday December 24, 2017

1:16pm

5 minutes

Dear Sugar on therumpus.net

In the upstairs room we open the skylight to let in the crisp air. We cover up the light with a dark pillow and a rainbow one that fits better on top. We sit on the floor next to the strawberry creams in a plastic bag. We light the candles of each chakra and place them around us. We light the incense and the joint and we take off our socks. The tears are there before the answers. We always knew we were witches. She reads the booklet and I hold the cards near my heart. She tells me where to lay them and I open my skin to the room. After everything is illuminated we sit inside our sanctuary and let our esses turn to mud.

“turns up the heat” by Julia in Nicole’s bed

Thursday December 21, 2017
12:09am
5 minutes
a flyer from The Cultch

Her room, she says, is too cold to sleep in. Except when he’s here and he’s furnace and he’s dripping sweat in her sheets. I ask if I can turn the oven on tomorrow. She says it might blow up the whole place and better to put on a better sweater. I have a better sweater now. It was the only thing I told myself I’d bring and then I packed too many what ifs and accidentally forgot to leave some things behind. I forgot that I told myself I wouldn’t smoke so much.
She says we’ll have to make sure to look out the window. When I ask if there’s a meteor shower she doesn’t laugh. She says 10 somethings of snow will be falling tonight. I don’t remember the measure of snow she used. It wasn’t what you would have expected. He’s not coming by to warm the bed. She says I won’t be meeting him until tomorrow.

“Got a call from a flower shop.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday December 9, 2017
8:16am
5 minutes
From a text

“Had the weirdest dream last night…”

“Oh yeah?”

“Mhmm. I was riding this snake, like it was pretty much a crocodile but it looked like a snake? And I was riding it, totally naked, riding it into this forest, but the trees were all silver, like the leaves were silver and so was the bark – “

“Please stop.”

“What?”

“I will actually die if I hear one more of your dreams. I will die.”

“What are you talking about?”

“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!”

“I always tell you my dreams…”

“Yeah, you do! And I fucking hate it! The only person who is interested in your dreams is YOU! You’re such a fucking narcissist that you just assume that other people are going to care what your mind involuntarily comes up with?! You know that dreams mean nothing, right? Freud was an idiot!”

“What’s your problem?”

“YOU AND YOUR DREAMS! You and your need to talking non-stop about your dreams! Weird shit happens in my dreams, too, but I write it down in my fucking private journal if I really have to get it out, I don’t bore someone who I supposedly care about with every agonizing detail!”

“I didn’t hear that part” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday November 13, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 84

A lavender couch underneath a window. Spider plants, succulents and African Voilets line the sill. She sits in a caramel leather chair, perhaps Moroccan. Paintings on the walls, all in blues, greens, purples. An Indigenous etching of two women paddling a canoe, a Georgia O’Keefe flower, lily pads on a lake. I take it all in as quickly as I can. I can’t get enough. I’m dizzy.

“It’s so good to meet you,” she says.

“Yes. You too.”

“A first session is a time for us to get to know one another, to see if this is going to be a good fit.”

WRECKING BALL. OH MY GOD. If this is a good fit? It fits! I’m well fitted! My core is getting stronger by the minute! You mean this might not be –

“You seem distracted. Is there something on your mind?”

“Um – …”

“You’re flushed.”

“Yes. Well…” A silence longer than the GO Train ride to Union Station.

“We’ll look into this right away” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday November 8, 2017
11:20pm
5 minutes
vistaprint.ca

You’re running again
feel it
feel that
it’s your feet
they’re tired of carrying you
they’ll do it
they’ll always do it
but they’d like to rest
they’d like you to get
that wart on the side
of your foot checked out
it hurts
it hurts when you run
and you’ve been running again
do you ever thank them
your feet
your tired aching feet
they might carry you further
if they knew you cared
it doesn’t need to be big
not a singing telegram
or anything balloon related
but a rub would be nice
a rub with oil if you have it
if you have the time
You’ve been wondering why
it feels like you’ve slowed
and if we’re going to look
into this right away we need
you to first look into this
we on behalf of your feet
the representatives you chose
before you started running
before you started moving
so fast and maybe too fast
we’re not mad but we do
want to make sure you know

“We’ll look into this right away” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday November 8, 2017
10:56pm
5 minutes
vistaprint.ca

A: Hello? Hi, I just wanted to unsubscribe from –

B: Hello, and thank you for holding. We’re so sorry to hear that you are unsatisfied with our services and would request your feedback as to why you would no longer like to receive our emails. A representative will be with you shortly.

A: Oh good God.

B: Hello, and thank you for holding. We’re so sorry to hear that you are unsatisfied with our services and would request your feedback as to why you would no longer like to receive –

R: Thank you for holding. Rebecca here.

A: Rebecca. Hi. How are you? I just, I want to unsubscribe from the mailing list and I can’t believe that this requires a phone call, who even calls anyone anymore –

R: Could you please tell me you nineteen digit PIN?

“Then he yawned and returned to his deckchair.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday November 2, 2017
11:32pm
5 minutes
Life & Times of Michael K
J.M. Coetzee

RUDY: “I love you, Nina. I love you. I love you. I watch you and I’ve never felt such love. I don’t want to sound – … I’ve never loved someone like this before. I’ve never felt such – … Shit, Nina. Would you look at me? Could you please – … I don’t want to be inappropriate, I don’t want to be – … I… I can’t find the words to tell you how I feel, how I want to – …”

GEM: No. You can’t say that. She will sue you.

RUDY: Sue me?

GEM: Sue you.

RUDY: SUE ME?

GEM: Rudy. Yes. She could sue you! It’s bad conduct, or whatever. It’s a misdemeanour.

RUDY: It is definitely not a misdemeanour.

“keep this info handy” by Julia at her desk


Sunday August 20, 2017
10:01pm
5 minutes
the Shaw pamphlet

Mom gives me the phone card passcode so I can call Nanna in Berlin. She lives there now. She said it’s nicer than Whitby. I tell her that I probably don’t have time to call her cause I have finals this week and she doesn’t let me finish my sentence. She doesn’t think school is a good excuse not to do anything. Probably because she only finished the 8th grade. Probably because she knows when I’m talking out of my ass. Mom tells me to keep that info handy and maybe taake a photo of it on my new fancy icamera. I tell her it’s not an icamera, it’s an iphone, and it’s not fancy, it’s a 4s, and life is not as easy as she thinks.
When I ask Mom why she cares so much if I call Nanna or not, she laughs for longer than is necessary and comfortable. “If you have kids,” she says, “and they don’t call me, I will always blame their mother first.”

“intimate questions” by Julia on C’s couch


Friday June 23, 2017
10:34pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

S gives me the idea
to interview my dad.
She’s interviewing hers.
She says she’s learning a lot.
I have always dreamt
of sitting down with
my father and talking with
him about the good stuff.
Like the time he crashed
the car, or the time he fell
in love with someone
who didn’t want him back
or the time he had his limp alcohol poisoned body
dragged home by his
parents who had to fetch
him from the underage
party at Lindsay’s house.
I want to know that he sees
himself in my mistakes and
that I’m not the only one.
That maybe I got some
extraordinary traits from
him beside my wild
curls and my penchant
for chili peppers.
I’d like to ask him if he’s ever regretted his anger
or if he’s ever had to
break up with an old
friend too.
You know
the good stuff.

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


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


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

“Will Michael come too?”

“Nope. Just you and I.”

“Who will feed Scooby?”

“Michael and Mommy.”

“Will we bring backpacks or suitcases?”

“Which would you prefer?”

“Backpacks. More mobile.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

“Will we fly in two or three airplanes?”

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

“Do the elephants talk?”

“Yes. Absolutely.”

“Do we speak their language?”

“We’ve got plenty of time to learn.”

“it will be a tight squeeze” by Julia at her desk


Saturday May 27, 2017
10:47pm
5 minutes
http://www.onceuponachef.com

She sits on a bench near the water with her sunglasses on
She stares down the sun
She waits for a change in the air to speak

“Let me say out loud all of the things I need to do”
“Again?”
“It helps me. Please?”
“Okay so 8:30pm is dinner…”
“More like 9. 9pm is dinnner. By the time we pick up the food, lay it out, set it up–”
“–Fine, 9.”
“Fine, 9. And then I have to review my materials.”
“And that’s going to take a long time?”
“It’s going to take as long as it takes. But I can also do it in the morning.”
“Okay, that doesn’t sound like a lot to get done!”
“I’m not finished listing.”
“Okay…”
“I have to make sure I have a change of clothes. I need something for every weather system because I won’t be coming home. I need to make sure my bag is big enough for everything. I need to lay out what I’m wearing. I have to shower–Goddammit! I have to shower too?”

“I waited twenty minutes, then thirty.” by Julia on the skytrain


Monday May 15, 2017
3:27pm
5 minutes
GHOSTLY WOMAN
ZOË BOSSIERE


AJ: Jesus fucking Christ, Tannis, will you close your gaping mouth for even two fucking seconds?
TANNIS: Why are you being so fucking icy with me? What did I fucking even do?
AJ: NOTHING, JUST SHUT UP.
TANNIS: SERIOUSLY?
*silence
*silence
*silence
TANNIS: I’m going to go ahead and assume you need me to sit with you but you are too afraid to admit that you’re fucked up because you know that when you put it to words, it automatically becomes true, but just so you know, I have a teeth cleaning appointment in 2 hours so my support for you is going to be limited.
*silence
*silence,shuffle
*shuffle,silence, deep breath
TANNIS: Oh when the saints…go marching in…oh when the–
AJ: Okay, okay, I’m fucked up.

“I had some excellent excuses for letting go of that wheel” by Sasha at her kitchen counter


Wednesday April 19, 2017
7:11pm
5 minutes
Year Of Yes
Shonda Rhimes


When I start working for Mary, she’s shaking and scratching but still won’t let go of the wheel. I’m there to help her, at least that’s what her daughter Clea said in the second interview. I didn’t meet Mary until after I was hired. Maybe Clea didn’t want her condition to scare me off.

“How many attendants has Mary had over the past few years?” I asked.

“We need someone who is the right fit,” Clea evaded the question, smiling.

“Of course,” I folded my hands in my lap and knew what I was getting myself into.

“You know I will oh baby” by Sasha on her couch


Friday March 17, 2017
10:46pm
5 minutes
Never Had A Dream Come True
S Club 7


“It’s fine, I’m not mad,” Louise says stirring a sugar cube into her coffee.

“I hear you, it just sounds like maybe there is anger in there somewhere, and I want to address it before it becomes resentment…” Yaris squares his jaw and pouts like a puppy.

“I’m irritated, but I’m not angry. Or mad.” Louise drinks. “Shit!” She says, “it’s hot.”

Yaris goes to the bar to get her a napkin.

“You have a lot of repressed feelings, Lou… I just want you to experience the release of sharing them.” He sits, and she rolls her eyes. “Resistance is normal. Change is hard.”

“Who died and made you Deepak Chopra?!” Louise is yelling now, even though she wishes that she weren’t.

“Let it out, let it out!” Yaris puts her hands palm up on his thighs.

“We barely know each other!” Louise hisses.

“I’m striving for intimacy, my dear. You are putting bricks on a wall that’s already so high.”

“Fuck you, Yaris! Is that even your name?! It’s a brand of a car. A car! Fuck you!”

“Clear eyes” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday February 18, 2017
7:47pm
5 minutes
Friday Night Lights

“What would you like for dinner?” He said.
“Pasta?” She said.
“I thought we were getting off wheat?” He said.
“Pizza?” She said.
He smiled.
She kept her eyes on her books, sure that if she moved them that she’d lose what she’d learned.
“Salad?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
She was unenthused though.
“Soup?” He said.
“Yes! Soup!” She said.
It was still cold out and she needed the nourishing warmth of something hot and filling.
“Lentil?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
He watched her, so focused, and he thought about the first time he met her. He thought about her clear eyes.
“So rare,” he’d told his mother. “So rare to see such clear eyes.”

“Can you bring your shredder?” By Sasha on the couch in Mississauga


Friday December 23, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
From a text

Viv: George! Bring me the shredder!

George: You’re supposed to be resting?

Viv: Screw resting. I have shit to do!

George: Okay, okay. Hold on… I’ll have to unplug it and –

Viv: It’s an emergency!

George enters the bedroom, where Viv is propped up. He kisses her on the forehead.

George: The doctor said that for the first two weeks you are supposed to rest, my love.

Viv: I know. I am resting. I’m rested. And now I’m going to shred that whole filing cabinet!

George: But all the stuff from your taxes?

Viv: Who needs it!

George: What if you get audited?

Viv: What asshole is going to audit someone on their deathbed?

George: Touche.

Viv: And when you bring the shredder, my dear, could you please bring me a glass of sherry?

“Does anyone have any questions” by Sasha in the bath


Sunday November 27, 2016
6:33pm
5 minutes
Overheard at BC Children’s Hospital

A: If you could be any colour what colour would you be?

B: Um, red? You?

A: Blue. Obviously.

B: Why is that obvious?

A: Because of my eyes and the colour of my sweater and jeans?

B: Oh. Right.

A: If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?

B: Hm… That’s a hard one –

A: Why, because you hate animals?

B: No. Because I’m a veterinary assistant. And I love animals.

A: Oh, right. I forgot that… So?

B: I guess a dolphin? Or a grizzly bear?

A: Those are very different animals. You have to choose one.

B: A grizzly.

A: Really? I was going to say a warthog.

B: That’s just mean.

“With a couple of girlfriends” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday November 26, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Overheard at BC Children’s Hospital

“What are you hoping to get out of this position in regards to personal growth?”

Genevieve squints at me and re-crosses her legs.

“Um, well, I’ve always wanted to work in the charity sector, you know, like, give back?”

She doesn’t move a muscle. Didn’t they teach you about mirroring body language in your HR trainings? Are you capable of nodding or saying “Mm-hm” or something?

There are five seconds of agonizing silence. Are you waiting for me to say more? What more is there to say? I thought that this job was mine? What is happening?

“You aren’t really a people person, are you Becky?” Genevieve pulls her Blackberry out of the pocket of her blazer and starts typing furiously.

“Am I supposed to answer that?”

“she honestly does not have those impulses” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday November 16, 2016
8:48pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio


I used to say no when I was younger
Labelled difficult
Used to feel everything so strongly
labelled irrational
emotional
sensitive
weak
My sister is 7 and I am 5 and she is having her first Holy fucking communion
I am 5 and she is 7 and she is wearing white, hair in a bun, dressy shoes, holding a rosary
holding attention
getting gifts
for being older?
For having hair that cooperates into a bun?
I am 5 and she is 7 and I have to smile in photographs because my dress is being cute and that is my only job too?
I say No to the photos and to the people fussing over her and to this stupid fucking dress that is not cute enough to keep me from scowling
Labeled younger sister
labeled difficult
irrational
sensitive
jealous
I am 5 and my sister is 7 and everybody loves her more than me
and no one explained this part to me
and nobody warned me about the shadow
and nobody told me I was allowed to feel anything
Nobody heard No and thought
that’s right
let’s not betray ourselves
let’s feel what we feel
and still love each other

“Hey hey hey” by Julia on the bus


Tuesday November 15, 2016
8:48pm
5 minutes
A Rufus Wainwright song


I forget if I’ve already told you…that I can’t do this? I have mentioned that to you, right? Well at any rate, I can’t, and I won’t, and if we have to have this discussion again we most certainly will not ever be doing it. Not ever because that will be breaching all of the serious codes and I do not go back on the promises I make to myself. I mean, hey, yeah, I used to. Up till even last week I was still showing up all lie-faced and comfortable. But since I’ve made the positive changes in the direction of my one bright and shiny future, I have been signing a lot more verbal contracts with others and myself and I’m actively avoiding saying yes to things that do not bring me joy or help or heal or offer positive light. So this thing we’re doing, this date, or this donut, is not for me. This is not for me.

“We have a Christmas cake box?!” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday June 20, 2016 at Starbucks
7:30am
5 minutes
overheard at Starbucks

Isabel calls me from the front lawn. I can see her pacing back in forth in front of my house from the kitchen window. I watch her kick a chestnut around, her feet shuffling on what appears to be a tightrope made of dandelions. I’m not coming anymore, she says, okay? I really can’t do it this time. She doesn’t know I am watching her. My curtains are drawn just enough. Is everything okay, Iz? What’s going on? I watch my sister kick the chestnut out of reach. She would have to leave her sacred shuffling space to go get it. She stands there frozen, staring at it. Oh, yeah, I’m good! I’m great! I think my stomach is acting up. Had chocolate again last night. I couldn’t find the right wrapping paper so maybe it’s all for the best anyway.
Isabel, I tell her, I have Christmas boxes here. Do you want to use one of mine?

“She wants to keep the baby.” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday June 10, 2016 at Starbucks
7:10am
5 minutes
from Facebook post

-So we’re going to do this then? Is this actually happening?!
-Well you’re not exactly doing anything, are you.
-Sam. What the fuck. This is my baby too.
-How do we know if this will even be a baby? What if I change my mind-aren’t I allowed to do that?
-Woah. Yes..I mean, of course you… But I thought we talked about it. I thought we made the decision together?
-Yeah, if I remember correctly, I told you I was pregnant and you said you wanted me to keep it. The end.
-That’s not true, Sam, you wanted the same thing! Where is all this coming from all of a sudden?
-Where is it coming from? How about there’s a living thing growing inside me right now and everyone around me seems to be an expert on the situation but when I say something, it’s “coming out of nowhere.”
-Okay. I… didn’t realize–
-No, you didn’t realize, that’s the first smart thing you’ve said.
-I’m sorry, babe, I really am…

“Grab whatever looks good” by Julia on the 84


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

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

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


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

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