“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.”

“I abandoned their plan” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre


Saturday July 22, 2017
11:18am
5 minutes
The Chang Girls
Lan Samantha Chang


Even when we thought we were alone, we weren’t. I knew that he was there. I’ve never been one to believe in ghosts, but when the temperature changes that drastically without a gust of wind or anything? Well, there’s simply no denying it. Freema got this look in her eyes like there was something she had to tell me. I put the kettle on, because Daddy always said that tea helps when you’re spooked. Freema took my cue, and put dried peppermint leaves into the bottom of two mugs. “No honey for me please,” I said. It wasn’t a foreboding presence or anything. It was him – warm and rough, quiet and watchful.

“super slinky.” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 14, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
from the pack of guitar strings

Keaton brings home a box under his arm, covered by his coat,
he hopes for the sound of running
Daddy’s home, the moment they’ve all be waiting for
Dawn usually hears the car door and knows
Delia sometimes comes outside if Iris lets her
there is a silence where the noise should be
there is a box for the girls but there are no girls
for the box
Keaton calls out, Daddy’s home!
no one responds
Iris!
nothing
He sets down the box next to the broken floor lamp
Iris says if we don’t trip over it every
day we’ll never think to take it out
He walks slowly, the house creaking with empty
Iris?
a wash of dread pulls him under
he doesn’t know what to do
Suddenly the peep peep of a toddler unable to keep
a secret
another laugh, then
SURPRISE!!
Happy Birthday Daddy!

“You’ve had them for about 12 days” by Julia at Bump And Grind


Friday January 27, 2017
5:43pm
5 minutes
Syllabus
Lynda Barry


When you hold up your twisted hands you forget that somewhere sometime ago they were new, and they were good. You wish the light wasn’t so damn revealing. You wish that old adage about knowing something like the back of your hand could stay true. You wish that you didn’t care about what they looked like, but they still feel like they are meant to be a reminder of vanity’s curse. The rain stings them more than you thought it would. Your daughters grabbing them to dance with you in the kitchen sting them more than you wish it would. You wish you believed in God for the days where reason doesn’t seem to be good enough. You wish you could open a jar without the help of your son, or the two dollar electric can opener from the Salvation Army.

“their grass-stained skin” by Sasha in the Kiva


Wednesday December 21, 2016
11:36pm
5 minutes
So Full Of Light
Marie Specht Fisher


We thought we were sisters until we were
too old to take baths together and we started
hissing and picking the knobs off
backs instead Sometimes you’d paint my nails
a colour that I would never choose
Lavender or indigo or charcoal
I’d refuse to wash dishes those weeks
or bathe because I didn’t want the you
on me to chip I didn’t want the choices
you’d made to fall away from my fleshy form

We rubbed grass-stained skin together and
started a fire that our fathers and their
fathers fathers couldn’t put out

“with my fingers and lick” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday December 3, 2016
8:30pm
5 minutes
Cake Pops
Amy Roher


You are afraid for your three daughters but you push it down below your ribs and you smoke dope on Wednesday when that fear pokes your nipples from the inside. Your boyfriend forgets your birthday and you don’t even cry or anything you just say, “Todd. It’s my birthday. Please give me a neck massage.” Your middle daughter says that she’s going to drop out of university because she’s tired of feeding “The Machine”. You wonder about that band that your brother used to like… something about Rage, and whether or not it’s the same “Machine”.

“what was that process like?” By Sasha at her desk


Sunday November 13, 2016
8:27pm
5 minutes
From an interview question

I keep seeing pictures of our future and your
brows are furrowed “So here we are”
I can’t see everything in focus
I see windchimes and mushrooms and candle wax
Maybe you’re calling the new me the one with
more patience and breath that smells like artichokes
Maybe you’re thinking about
the past Now
Soon all this will be forgotten from our minds
but remembered by the elephant hearts
that I cradle like unborn daughters
dreaming in their soft sleep
dreaming this future into Now

“Preach” by Julia on the 99


Thursday May 26, 2016
11:25pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

Mickey and I were laying in her bedroom listening to Eminem and painting our nails. Her mother had called us once to come down for breakfast but we weren’t hungry because we had just finished a pack of Oreos and a pack of cigarettes. Mickey’s mother always smelled of canned ham but she worshiped on Sundays and Mickey wasn’t supposed to miss it. Mickey told me it didn’t matter, let her keep calling until that woman strains her voice and has nothing left for Jesus. Mickey’s mom had 3 other kids to get ready before service so she didn’t call on us as much as I thought she would. Mickey was already putting on her plaid vest with the fur and opening her window so we could bust out the heavy Sunday green. Mickey glanced at me from over her shoulder, a cigarette stuck to the dry part of her lower lip. She said “you’re lucky your mother doesn’t bug you when you’re just trying to have a good time.” I laughed for a second. Then I told her, “you’re lucky your mother is alive!”

“Did you send the message?” by Julia on her couch


Friday, April 1, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

Connie has her overnight bag packed. She laughs every time she thinks of Alison calling it her “satchel”. Alison’s mom always teaches her to use the correct word for things, which is good because Connie can learn from that too. She thinks about her own mother falling asleep with a cigarette in her mouth while watching Wheel of Fortune every night after work. Once she solved a puzzle with only two letters revealed and Connie thought she was faking. She never hears words like “satchel” or “rotunda” or “enigmatic” so Connie didn’t think her mom was even fully watching her word shows. Connie goes into the living room to kiss her mother goodbye. She’s already asleep. Connie covers her in the red afghan and turns off the TV.

“Canada’s Indigenous communities” by Sasha at Benny’s


Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at Benny’s
2:21pm
5 minutes
An email from The David Suzuki Foundation

I watch as they search and I’m full and empty and nothing and everything
I help them I try to help them
Feeble attempt at solidarity
Until the sun sets and breath is visible
Until icicles form inside my ears
“Let’s call it a day,” Bruce says
and I’m grateful
“No.”
Jenny glares at me
at her father
“We have flashlights, we have tea…
What if she’s out here, freezing to death?”
Bruce goes home and I stay
Jenny and me
I’m half her size and my heart beats in my ears
the whole time
“She’s not dead,” Jenny says
offering me the thermos
“I know it.”
I nod
I drink deep
Cedar and something I’ve never smelt or tasted
“She’s somewhere.”
My sister
At home in Edmonton
Putting her daughter to sleep
Saying prayers about monsters
Kissing her nose

“You mustn’t lose it.” By Sasha in her garden


Tuesday August 12, 2014
7:42pm
5 minutes
a quote from Robin Williams

Here’s the necklace I was telling you about, Robin. You mustn’t lose it. You must put it someplace safe. Your grandmother gave it to me when your father and I got married. It was my “something old”. She wasn’t a warm woman, by any stretch of any imagination. She was… she was a mountain. I’ll never forget it – I heard a firm knock on the door of the room where Aunt Lil and I were getting ready. “Yes?” “May I come in for just one moment,” I couldn’t believe my ears. She wasn’t one for primping and preening. She would rather mow the lawn than plant flowers. In she came, in a gust of intensity. Lil and I exchanged looks. “Now both of you just stop with that,” she said, “I have something to give you Bobette.” She reached into her bag and pulled out a carved wooden box.

“the highest levels” by Julia on the 511 going south


Saturday June 8, 2013
5:18pm
5 minutes
Car and Truck June 1, 2013 volume 2, issue 21

Shoo fly don’t bother me. Shoo fly don’t bother me. Shoo fly don’t bother me. Cause I belong to somebody. Did you ever know that those were the words? I didn’t. I didn’t know someone thought a fly would give two sweet shits if you belonged to someone or not because those assholes are just looking for someone to poop on. But it’s a sweet song, sort of makes you love the city again when you think flies are things we concern our minds with. My dad used to sing that song but I’m pretty sure he didn’t know the words. He would make up whatever, sing whatever words he felt like that day. It was cute really, and none of us ever had the nerve to correct him. Either that or we just didn’t want to because his versions of songs were always better. That’s why I didn’t know the real lyrics to shoo fly. Unless the man in the line up at the GAP also didn’t know the words and was singing his kid a song he made up too.