“a sense of optimism and openness” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday November 13, 2018
7:48am
5 minutes
A Decade’s Difference
Kaija Pepper

In the fifth floor office staff room
A bar fridge a basket of bananas and clementines
A sign stuck above the sink that reads
Your habits are a reflection of you
Marion forgets to wash her coffee cup
and leaves it in the sink where
Jake finds it and traces
the outline of her lips
with his index finger

At the holiday party last year
Jake told Marion that he loved her
she was wearing a royal blue dress
and holding a Manhattan Jake was wasted
and wasn’t and isn’t
sure if she was too

“I’m sorry I’m sorry” she kept saying
she was still with Keith then
she was still making turkey meatballs
on Sunday and packing them
in glass tupperware containers
for them both for lunch
Keith
Jake thinks
What a douchebag name

“We emailed back and forth” by Julia on the 99

Monday November 20, 2017
10:50pm
5 minutes
overheard at JJ Bean

There was an email I sent him once. We were still in high school. I can’t remember if this was before or after Natalie locked us in Denise’s storage room, hoping that we’d have nothing to do in there but make out. I was hoping the same thing. You’d think that after he told me he would do it, but it would mean more to me than it would to him, that I’d get the message and move on to another emotionally unavailable 16 year old, but no. I took it as a sign that he was noble or decent or protective of me even, because he loved me. I have had some serious let downs from thinking I was all that before. The fall is always harder from the great height of delusion.
But this email I sent him was a survey. It was designed for teenagers to flirt with each other, confessing their secrets, disguised as “everybody is doing it so here you go.” He answered my survey. He wrote down what song made him think of me. He said “I was born in a small town”. I thought at the time it was cute. Look how well he knows me. But he didn’t know me. I was born in a bigger city than he was.

“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.

“You know I’m fallin'” By Sasha at her desk


Sunday March 5, 2017
10:23pm
5 minutes
Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac

I pull up, into my usual parking spot. I didn’t have time to put make-up on before leaving the house and dropping Tam at daycare. I never used to even wear make-up. Look what you’ve done to me, Gurmeet. I put on “Prussian Pink” lipstick and a bit of eyebrow pencil and I can’t believe how fast my heart is beating. I brought my travel mug today, because it usually allows us an extra minute or two of conversation. Steven asked why I’ve started wearing perfume again. I shrugged it off. I said, “I don’t know, Steven! When did you stop flushing your shits?” I think he got the hint. I don’t even like Tim Horton’s coffee. But here I am, walking in, knowing that I’m going to see you, knowing that you’re going to ask me about Tam and if I want an Old Fashioned.

“I don’t even think that your songs are about me” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday January 11, 2016
5:24pm
5 minutes
Like You
EXES


I don’t think that your songs are about me, but I pretend that they are. I imagine that you want me more than anything, that you’d take me anywhere. I imagine that we live together. Some place with exposed brick and an espresso maker. We can see the skyline. I just stare at it, all day, waiting for you to come back from the studio or a songwriting session. I stare at the expanse of city, and I think about what I might wear to the next awards show, or what cologne I’ll spray on my chest before I hear your key in the lock. I wait a few days before shaving because you like a good five o’clock shadow.

“How did you recognize him?” by Julia at her dining table


Thursay April 21, 2016
6:18pm
5 minutes
overheard in the car

I wrote a poem about your laugh when I was 17 and in love with you. I compared it to Santa. I didn’t know anything about you, or love, or poetry then. Maybe I still don’t. I felt proud reading it in front of my class and thinking of you secretly as I shared some of my truest, most ridiculous metaphors about you. I told them about your laugh, about how you were so inclusive and even laughed at people’s bad jokes to make them feel good. I remember thinking you were generous. And I think I was right because a few months later I found out that you were trading kisses with other girls and going out with whichever ones you thought you would be able to sleep with. Maybe I was the generous one for sharing you! I was crushed. I could pull you off of a busy street with my eyes closed if I could hear your laugh. These days I don’t hear it as much as I used to. We don’t live in the same place. We live worlds away.

“In terms of expenses” by Julia on her couch


Sunday April 10, 2016
11:44pm
5 minutes
from an email

Mia and I have plans on the weekend. She wants to go camping and I want to go where Mia goes. So we’re going camping. She says it will be really easy if we just pack a tent in my car and then sleep in cornfields or daisy patches or whatever the fuck she actually said. I said yes. I said, I love camping, and I’ve been camping many times, and I am not afraid of getting caught by police or bears or raccoons or snakes. Mia wears an anklet that drives me wild. It’s a gold infinity rope thing and I didn’t know I liked ankles, but fuck hers are nice. She asked me recently if we could squeeze one more person in the back. I heard myself say yes but my whole body was screaming no. My body was too late to the party. It was distracted by the smell of her ponytail.

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


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


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

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

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

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

“Cookie duty” by Julia on her brother’s old bed


Wednesday, January 6, 2016
1:35am
5 minutes
Overheard at Platform Seven

Marta was busy teaching herself Spanish on her new audio learning app. She had her headphones in at all hours of the day and out of nowhere she’d blurt out a “Donde esta el banio?” or a “buenas noches!” even if she was in the middle of a conversation or an activity that did not require Spanish. Marta’s little sister, Leah, had asked her to help her make cookies for her bake sale and Marta told her “me gustaria help you”. Marta pictured herself making cookies for Ambrosio, the ridiculously hot life guard at the community pool who was the reason for her Spanish lessons in the first place.

“His name is Luke.” by Julia on her couch


Saturday July 11, 2015
10:59pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Higher Grounds

After she named her first two boys Matthew and Mark, everyone thought she’d name her third one Luke. She didn’t name the first two with any religious references in mind, she simply wanted the names and that was that. She might have named the third one Luke but she never liked the name. It felt too small for a man once he grew up. That and it reminded her of the first boy she ever agreed to marry. Luke Walker had asked her to marry him in the first grade and she said yes because that’s what six year olds do. He was small and feminine and had a horrendously small nose. She only said yes because she thought Andrew Griffith was going to ask Sylvia Van Kasterin to marry him. Turns out Andrew liked her all along. She found out when he left school to join the army.

“within 15 days” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, July 9, 2015
4:44pm
5 minutes
A letter from Health Insurance BC

The vines climb her legs like a joke
Like a hiccup
A mistake

Thursday night karaoke
no one can look away
from her song
She’s naked
Nipples like rosebuds
“Pat Benatar’s a good gardner”

She left her wedding ring at home
Not because she doesn’t love Cal
Because she’s too hot for metal
She’s melt it

The bartender makes a joke about the weather
Someone says
“Shhhhhh”
A sacrilege

“Who is she?”
A hand on a lower back
Mine
No one answers
It hangs in the air between the chorus and the bridge
A river

In the bathroom I want to kiss her but I don’t
I’m a puddle in my jean cut-offs
I know she’ll be gone in two weeks
They are moving to Mexico City
Cal got a job there

“Why don’t you ever sing?”
She puts on fresh lipstick
Red like the sky

“from bridges to clouds” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday, June 22, 2015
6:11pm
5 minutes
theawesomedaily.com

Mitch drove a green Ford pick-up that summer and he felt proud to be so high off the ground. When he filled up the tank he wondered about how manly he looked and whether or not his shoulders were filling out his T-shirt well. He made a left onto Lexington and saw Jennie and Angel on her front porch. He slowed down. They were passing a litre bottle of Ginger ale back and forth. Jennie clocked him and his whole body reacted – a ripple of want and lust and longing. “HEY!” Called Angel, “Mitch Porter!” He pulled over and took a deep breath before hopping out of the truck. He slowly walked up to the house, not waiting to come across as too eager. The girls watched him. “Haven’t seen you since school got out, hey?” Jennie drank. He sat on the third step. “What’re you up to this summer?” Angel lit a cigarette. “Can I bum one off you?” Mitch asked. She extended the pack. He took one and lit it, hoping neither of them would be able to tell it was his first.

“I wish he would ask me out. But he won’t.” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday March 10, 2015
4:33pm
5 minutes
Julia’s Diary
September 1997


how have i spent so much time inventing scenarios about this?
i’m sitting by the tree, knees up, cause that’s the cool pose, wearing the plaid vest with the hood and the white t-shirt, hair in a ponytail. what am i missing? lunch recess or afternoon? god, i’m so stupid. it’s not up to me. it’s all his decision. he can decide the time and the moment and the location. i’ll be by the tree because that’s like staying behind in class when everyone else leaves. he’ll know being alone will give him the opportunity. he’ll feel confident. nobody wants to be heard getting rejected. but i would never reject him since i’ve loved him for two years! i’ve been waiting all this time and on the last day of school last year i wrote him a note asking if he like-liked me, yes, no, or maybe.? he said “yes. a bit.” so i know he wants to ask. he likes me a bit! that’s way more than not at all! and so that’s why i want it to be perfect.

“some of your visitors” by Sasha on the Gulf Islands ferry


Wednesday December 31, 2014
11:11am
5 minutes
http://www.wordpress.com

He likes those yogurt shakes. Strawberry. Sometimes peach, but only on Fridays. He brings Benji home a can of tuna but forgets that Benji likes SPAM. “Sorry Benji!” He watches the news and says a silent prayer for the bees and the whales and the old growth forests. He does not recycle. He only smokes cigars with his father, and on his father’s birthday. He smoked marijuana once, and only once, when he was twenty seven and in Amsterdam. One of his only regrets. His other regret is not having asked Gus Lipinski to the prom. He swears he would have said “Yes”. He swears they would have been the last couple dancing and that the chaperones and Mr. Tyler would have had to say, “Okay, boys, it’s time to go home.”

“Handmade Robot” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday November 29, 2014
11:32pm
5 minutes
from a pamphlet

Josiah made a tuna casserole for the potluck. He wasn’t sure if Tony was going to be there, but just in case, he used cornflakes. Do you know that secret? Cornflakes add crunch. He listened to Joan Baez and he turned the lights down low and he sang along –
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were laughing
The night they drove old Dixie down

When he showed up at Clarke’s, the casserole was still steamy. He had to wear an oven mitt on the subway. A little girl sitting on her father’s lap beside him plugged her nose. The father blushed and when he and Josiah looked at one another they both said, “Sorry” at the same time.

“Power protects power” by Sasha at Higher Grounds


Saturday November 1, 2014 at Higher Grounds
4:12pm
5 minutes
From the program notes for Saint Joan at the Arts Club

I have a huge crush on Jay. Like, huge. I realize that I act like an idiot around him, laughing and blushing and pretending I don’t know things that I do know. I know a lot of things. My voice gets high and my cheeks get red and I almost can’t feel my toes when I’m around him. I can see myself, floating above, the real me, the one that has read the whole Young Adult section at the library, acting like a fucking bimbo idiot. I am ashamed of myself.

“The realist canon” by Julia at her desk


Thursday October 23, 2014
1:14am
5 minutes
Realisms of Redress
Natalie Alvarez


saw that pretty little thing reading in the corner
the edges of her book tattered
the pages ripped and curled
she had a bookmark made out of a piece of toilet tissue
making me smile
knowing she likes to read in the bathroom
and why not?
why not read in the bathroom?
she wasn’t looking at anyone at all
not distracted for even a minute
the book was a good one
I couldn’t tell which one it was
the cover was a solid forrest green without any writing
but she didn’t stop even to sip her tea
probably purchased just to have something on her table
a place holder for the idea of multitasking
she was wearing a potato sack
or at least she could have been
I wasn’t looking at her outfit
I was busy trying to see inside her mind
wondering if she could see me seeing her
wondering if she was in fact so distracted by me
that she had to pretend to keep reading
to prevent herself from turning red
or if she was engrossed
in love
with the words on the page

“have a beautiful night, beautiful” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday August 26, 2014
9:32pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the streetcar

My heart flutters and I try not to spill the glasses of wine on my tray. “The Shiraz, the cab sauv, the Pinot Noir…” “Are you okay?” “Yeah, yes, yuppp…” I walk back to behind the bar and close my eyes and replay the moment. I pretend that there’s no bell dinging or beer bottles being popped open or obnoxious laughter.

“You were late today…”
“My bike got a flat tire and I had to walk up the hill on McDonald.”
“Want me to fix it?”
“My bike?”
“Your tire.”
“You know how?”
“Yes.”
“Sure! That would be amazing! I was going to go to the bike shop tomorrow but they always rip me off, I know they do, just cuz I’m not a guy in one of those little hats or whatever…”
You smile. You keep stacking dishes.
“You’ve never been late before. Boss isn’t mad. Don’t worry.”
“You’ve been keeping track?”
“I notice.”
“Oh you “notice”…”
“You live close to here?”
“East End. You?”
“West.”
There’s a pause like a rainstorm, or a collision of stars.
“I was wondering if – …”
The kitchen door swings open and in comes Boss.
“Sefton, are your bothering her?”
“No. He’s not.”
“No, Boss.”
“Get to work Fatty, you gotta make up for that lost time…”

“Have a good one” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday August 15, 2014
4:13pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 18 bus going south

“Have a good one,” he said and he really meant it. I could tell. Maybe it was the way that his sleeves were rolled up or the fact that he was wearing glasses this time. He really meant it. “You know,” I said, “I’ve never introduced myself. I’m Erin.” He smiled, and maybe it was his dimples or the newsprint on his fingertips. “Hi Erin… I’m… Aaron…” I DIED. I… died inside. Here I am, falling for this guy, this news stand guy, for, like a whole year and… WE HAVE THE SAME EFFING NAME?! I definitely blushed.

“That really hurted!” by Julia at Gimli beach


Sunday, July 27, 2014
4:00pm
5 minutes
overheard at Gimli Beach


Well, I told him not to go into the water but he insisted. He was afraid of it for years so I guess I didn’t think I’d have to worry about it, then one day, or one instant, really, he got up the nerve, ran into the waves, and a big one came and smacked him in the belly.
Not life threatening stuff. He was fine in minutes, really. But he was shaken up for a bit, that’s for sure. He wouldn’t stop talking about how big it all felt. How he wasn’t sure if he could do it again today, but maybe the next time we came. I don’t know what changed his mind. Could have been just the ways of growing up-or it could have been that cute little thing who was playing with her dinosaur floaty. She might have lured him in with all her joy if I had to hazard a guess. I told him, Bobby, those waves are choppy do you see? Might not be the best for your first time so you have to be real careful. He said, Gramma, I know! I have two eyes in my head just like you do! Then he ran off and within seconds he was right back on the blanket with me rubbing his tummy.

“set a time, a location, and a few basic rules” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence


Monday May 5, 2014
4:01pm
5 minutes
Beautiful Trouble
Edited by Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell


We decided on a Sunday cause of that song–you know the one, it’s that mellow feel good one–Groovin’…on a Sunday afternoon….Really couldn’t get away too soon.
It just felt right. We’d meet on a Sunday, get in my car and drive to Nowhereville until the sun set and the breeze got too cold to have the windows down. And that’s when it started. I went to the meeting place, the gate that has all those twinkly lights still up from Christmas, you know, a few blocks away from her house. We didn’t want anyone to know. So the discreet pick up spot made it really fun. And also pretty hot. She was waiting there for me, her face buried in her phone, trying to look busy, trying not to look like she was waiting for anyone at all. Then I pulled up and watched her and I got excited and I got scared. And I got out of the car, and walked over to her slowly. And didn’t say one thing. I just kissed her. Grabbed her hand and led her to the passenger side. I opened the door for her. She said, Wow, you’re chivalrous. And I got shy and I said, I don’t know, you just make me want to be a better woman. Then she smiled and got into my little car. And she fiddled with the radio. And we were Groovin’…on a Sunday afternoon.

“All it takes is time.”by Julia on her couch


Friday April 11, 2014
12:38am
5 minutes
From a quote by Kurt Vonnegut

I had a diary when I was young filled with the same name over and over again. I thought I was going to marry this human being and I thought the song Mmbop by Hanson was going to play at our wedding. I was thinking first dance because I was also assuming that this human would love the song as much as me and he’d practically beg me to have it playing on repeat. He was obviously as into me as I was into him and he probably also wrote my name in his boy diary the way I wrote his.
Then I grew up.
But before that, I wrote him a note in the fourth grade and asked if he Liked Me Yes No Or Maybe and he wrote back Kinda and I screamed internally with all my girl parts dancing a choreographed routine out of joy and love and acceptance. I took it as a full invitation. I wrote back (with balls I might add) When Did You Start Liking Me? And he wrote back I Don’t Know. A While?

“As I held his hand he would have tremors and small jerking movements” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday February 5, 2014
10:10pm
5 minutes
Learning To Love You More
Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July


sometimes you wanna sing, have a song in your head
and all the rest seems unimportant
or just too plain to care about right then
so you do
you sing it out and you let the emotions from
well, your past
bubble up and from words that rhyme with each other
Shania Twain kind of words
words you never thought you’d hear your boyfriend defend
words you always told yourself you would never own
you do now
cause Shania knew what she was doing
and on some deep level, everybody knows that
you sing to the one who stole your heart
the one with eyes so blue you can only come up with lyrics about the sky
the one who loved you in secret but hurt you hard in front of the whole world
you may even sing about the wind or something
the breeze, the trivial, the dew?
probably the dew.
let’s be honest: the dew.
and you struggle to come up with a chorus
or a verse
or whichever didn’t come first
and you picture singing that to someone, anyone
one day in the future
your lover-
when you get one
or your kid-
when you are capable of one
and you hope it causes those lovey dovey tremors
those small ever so subtle shakes that keep
you singing those songs when you find them

“300 pages” by Sasha on her bed


Wednesday January 8, 2014
2:21am
5 minutes
from the cover of an old notebook

When he wears those red pants I want to die. In a good way. I want to melt into the floor so that he can mop me up. With his red pants. Which means, he will have to remove them. Shiiiiiit. And then. Then. Then I will see his underwear. His boxer shorts that his mother probably got him for Christmas when he still went back home. They’re navy blue with small bunnies. From far away it looks like they’re horses. But they’re not. Bunnies. When he’s mopping me up, the puddle of a soul and a Joni Mitchell album, the doorbell will ring and he’ll laugh because he got caught with his pants down. Again.

“become the master” by Sasha at her desk


Monday October 21, 2013
12:52am
5 minutes
the back of the Curl Keeper bottle

I want to know what you named the mole on your mother’s back and how you take your tea. I want to know the sound of your sleep. When we meet, you’re wearing a smart jacket and an expression like you’ve just landed. I’m teetering in too-tall shoes and laughing too hard at a too lame joke. I instantly want to know what colour socks you’re wearing and I get the thrill of my young life when I catch a glimpse of them, as you cross your legs, sipping on a whiskey. Blue and red. Striped. I want to become a master of you, to know every scar and every pet peeve, to know where you’re ticklish and what your voice does when you’re grumpy. I want to meet your big toe and your heartbeat. I want to know all the jobs you’ve worked. I want to know the name of the street that you grew up on.

“two arms uplifted” by Sasha at The Big Secret Theatre


Saturday, July 6, 2013
3:16pm at The Big Secret Theatre
5 minutes
The Origin Of Consciousness in The Breakdown of The Bicameral Mind
Julian Jaynes


With two arms uplifted you look towards the moon. It’s a sliver, smaller than you’ve ever seen. You imagine the moon on a necklace around your neck, finally illuminating your eyes, finally bringing light back. You imagine french kissing the boy you have a crush on, the moon hanging unassumingly, perhaps smiling slightly and lowering her eyes to give you privacy. You lower your arms. You reach your left hand into your pocket and you sigh. You hear a screen door slam shut, several doors down.

“He was a rich asshole.” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday, December 16, 2012
7:12pm
5 minutes
Hands Off
An essay by Miranda July


He was a rich asshole, yes, but he had those hands and those eyes and that sideways smile that makes my heart go BOOM BOOM BOOM so loud I think he might hear it. “Ruth? Can you please bring me the Jefferson file?” He says. I pause. I think. I think maybe he glanced at my boobs, bigger since Christmas vacation, and looking particularly good today in a blue striped sweater. “Of course!” He returns to his office and a few moments later I knock, as I always do, the file tucked under my arm. “Here you go, Mr. Jenkins…” I say, unsure if there’s more maybe, unsure if I could go on and not have it be rambly ridiculousness. “Ruth…” He says, when I’m partway out the door, “if my wife calls – ” “Tell her you’re in the conference room?” He smiles that sideways smile and, you guessed it, my heart makes the sound of a very large drum. A very, very large drum. “God, you’re good,” he says. I wish he was talking about something else, that I was good at something more close and nasty than remembering the memos concerning his diamond-wearing, clutch-tucking, lip-smacking wife. “Have you booked Ballentine in for tomorrow morning?” The intimacy of our interactions are thrilling, aren’t they?