“Vampire bats also appear” by Sasha in bed at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday October 3, 2017
5:53pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino

I’ve never been sicker.
I always feel that when I’m sick.
I’ve never felt this hot wound sore achey fuckedup messy snot mess.
Can’t focus pencil on page.
Can’t breathe.
Can’t think.
No space.
So tired.
Could someone else please do this for me?
I need help.
I moan and groan and moan more groan more.
Cold water down the throat of knives and you tried to feed me eggs and I ate them, reluctant.
I’ve never been sicker.
This is the worst time.
This is the worst of the most terrible.
I may not survive.
I know that I am dramatic but LittleBoy does see a wolf one day and what happens then?

“I wouldn’t want it any other way” by Julia in the car

Friday September 22, 2017
1:08pm
5 minutes
overheard at York Mills Station

All of us are tired from the rain. Maggie suggests we kill ourselves ceremoniously and Reece flips her shit about that. Maggie stares Reece in the eyes and doesn’t stop until everyone is laughing. Reece reluctantly smirks. The problem with people these days is everyone is offended by everything, Maggie tells us. Reece shakes her head. Some people actually do want to kill themselves, she persists, and I don’t know if you know this but some people actually do. I didn’t know that at all, Maggie says with mock surprise, her favourite of all the mocked anythings. Reece rolls her eyes and opens her chest to the group. Could we all just hold each other and intuit where might be a good place to travel? None of us want to fight and so we huddle close to one another, put our hands on the backs of our neighbours and we close our eyes.

“I could be wrong” by Sasha on her couch


Friday September 8, 2017
12:25am
5 minutes
Overheard at Oak and 16th

I could be wrong but when Steve called, I don’t know, I just felt like I had to tell him. Who are we to make that choice for him, Mom? Seriously! I’m sorry if you feel it’s not my place, but I can’t just stand here and act like someone, Steve, shouldn’t have choice in whether he fucking lives or dies. Mom. Listen to me. LISTEN! He is not a dog! He has a voice! This isn’t about putting down an animal! Okay, I don’t want to fight with you. I don’t want to…

“You waited for me to let you learn” by Julia at her desk


Wednsday September 6, 2017
9:21pm
5 minutes
Yours Is This
Julia Pileggi


It feels like I have been here before
in this moment between Mars and Monday
you are here too like a cup of water
or a good pencil
We chose this space and this timeline to wander together
I know your hands less than I should
You will likely forget mine when I die
Of course I can’t pretend that I won’t
All true things have death attached
And still I hope you don’t go first
Unless your body could use the rest
in which case I will keep my arms strong
so I may hold your last breath
the last time your body builds a memory
I will be the softest bed you ever had to leave

“Host art classes” By Julia at her desk


Saturday August 26, 2017
11:50pm
5 minutes
from a business card


“I think we should buy the warehouse like we talked about.”
“With what money, exactly?”
“Your money. I know, I know–”
“It’s not really my money, you know that right?”
“Well, he left everything to you so whose money could it be?”
“No, obviously, but it doesn’t necesarily feel right to spend it all on an abandonned building because you have a good idea.”
“I am not trying to make you do anything you don’t want to do. But think of what it could be: A place where artists come to create, where they can put on their own events, where we can host classes. Come on, it writes itself.”
“It’s not that easy. I have to make sure I’m using his money for the right thing. This feels like a lot of work.”
“Everything in this life is work. Look, I know I’m asking a lot of you, but you know me. I wouldn’t be suggesting it if I didn’t believe in it. And you have been floating since he died-”
“Am I not allowed to be sad?”
“Of course. Of course you are.”

“Rabies is a fatal disease” by Julia in her bed


Thursday August 17, 2017
12:19am
5 minutes
Health Tips for the Tropical Traveller

we all know the things we thought would kill us
if disturbed
when we were young
wasp nests
staircases
feral cats
rain storm
mouse traps
we all know we stayed behind
the line, worried
waiting
quick sand
mosquito pond
hot stoves
manholes
highways
all meant to be
left
alone

“tremendous whooshing noise” by Julia at her desk


wednesday August 9, 2017
10:35pm
5 minutes
The Enormous Crocodile
Roald Dahl


“If I can’t see you I don’t want to see anyone!”
Mitchell wept into his pillow. He talked to his Dad before bedtime.
Mitchell’s Dad wanted to do the right thing. He didn’t want to confuse him. He didn’t want to make him reliant on someone the rest of the world couldn’t see.
“You can’t leave me,” he cried, “I can’t give you away!”
Mitchell’s Dad told him he would have to let him go and help out the Angels. He didn’t want to leave either but Mitchell was getting so big. He told him he would never really leave him. He’d always be close by, watching over him.
“But how will I know that it’s you?” Mitchell squeaked.

“he can sound like the rain” by Sasha on her couch


Friday May 26, 2017
12:48am
5 minutes
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Dr. Seuss


“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Gemma-ma-ma, happy birthday to you!”

Mom’s made strawberry shortcake. I don’t have to request it, she knows it’s what I want. Calvin is a vegan so she even whipped up some tofu thing for him to have. What a woman. Her face has changed over the last nine months. She’s looking more and more like Gran. It’s the first birthday in our family since Dad died, and I know that Cal just sang the “ma-ma” because that’s what Dad would’ve done. While we eat our cake, the rain starts. It gets quiet.

“Maybe that’s him,” Mom says.

“I don’t ever think about death” by Julia on her couch


Monday March 13, 2017
9:31pm
5 minutes
from Glory And Gore
Lorde


I don’t ever think about death in the dying kind of way. I think I’ll be here then gone then always haunting the people who loved me. I think I’ll be able to reach them. I will try to send them messages until I know they’ve received them.
I will sleep in my sister’s bed and tell her she’s not alone.
I will ride shotgun in my brother’s Lexus and tell him that he is loved.
I will curl up on the couch with my mother and tell her how lucky I was to get her.
I will kneel in the garden with my father and tell him that he is enough.
I will live on the lips of my love and tell him that it’s okay to let me go.

“I felt stung” By Julia in her cabin


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:19pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

I don’t have any memories of my mother’s father. He died when I was three, lived in Italy, and I only met him a couple times. The first time, they tell me, was when I was 3 months old. I had my ears peirced with gold studs (by my aunt Patricia, who was also travelling to Italy with us), I carried around a rainbow striped bunny that I would later name “Skittles”, and according to my mother, I was a very picky eater during the first couple months of my life. They tell me that he was a big man, feared by many. They tell me all the other grandkids ran away from him because they were intimidated by his size, or his mood, or his silence. They tell me that when he walked by my crib I begged for him to pick me up. They tell me that it was strange for a small thing to reach out to him. They tell me that he lived for taking me out into the fields to pick fresh figs. They tell me he smiled a lot when we were there.

Sixteen years later I went to Italy for the second time. I found his gravestone. I listened to the air between my life and his. I still can’t say I ever knew him. But I missed him then.

“We heard you loud and clear” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday January 21, 2017
8:19pm
5 minutes
From a text

An eagle with wings spread
blessed the chapel and we gathered
two hundred strong and you stood
at the front between the drum kit
and the electric piano
and you spoke W.H. Auden
while your knees shook and your voice
was strong.

Bent over the plywood coffin
that your father will be cremated in
“sometime later this week”
you said goodbye to the body
that helped to make your body
the body that protected and
didn’t
the body that caught babies
and treated wounds and stitched up
bodies that bleed like his body did

“Oh gosh I would be so horrified” by Julia in Amanda’s bed


Thursday January 5, 2017
12:47am
5 minutes
from an email

When aunt Maxine died she left all her beloved jewelry to my younger sister, Annie, instead of to her own daughter. Gemma stormed in and out of my apartment that year like a horse trying to buck off a leech. She always brought with her an impossible tension followed by a cloud of smoke that she would sometimes beat herself up for. You never need that first cigarette! Trust me, I know, she would shriek. You never do but you think you do and that’s when bad shit starts to happen-dark shit like not trusting yourself! Gemma, I’d beg, can we please stop talking about it?

“gracefully tragic” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore


Saturday December 17, 2016
3:14pm
5 minutes
The Books section of NOW Magazine

She thinks of her life,
when she’s reflecting
on it, over the long
twelve days before
she goes, she thinks
of her life as graceful-
ly tragic.

She wishes that she’d
called her daughter more
especially in the years
when they were estranged.

She wishes that she hadn’t
dyed her hair, that she had
let it go grey, like wise women
everywhere.

She’s glad that she ate a lot
of pizza, and had sex outside
three different times with three
different lovers.

The tragedy comes out of the
fear, all the fear, circling her
throat like a snake.

“I had a big fight with him” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday December 5, 2016
12:42pm
5 minutes
From an interview transcription

In the months before she died
my mother’s mother ripped herself out of pictures
because she thought she looked fat.
When I was seven and we visited her
in Florida at the apartment by the river
where manatees swam by
I took the Werther’s Originals from her candy bowl
and filled my pockets with them
She told on me to my mother.
I had a big fight with my boyfriend
the day after she died
He was in Toronto and I was Montreal
sitting on pillows on the floor
of a hotel room I shared with my sister.
He said that he didn’t know if he
could get off work for the funeral.

“He’s horrendous tonight” by Julia on her couch


Thursday December 1, 2016
11:35pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Canucks game

We wished we had tried harder to get him to make his famous ravioli. Aunt Katherine said that’s the only thing that would have made him feel better. Because it reminded him of his late grandmother who first taught him how in her kitchen covered in flour.
He didn’t seem to want motivation anymore. He didn’t like being pushed.
How do you tell a man that doesn’t want to hear it? How do you carefully construct a space where he can decline but also maybe change his mind. That’s what we should have worked at.

“in a less than forgiving city” by Sasha at the table on Monkland


Wednesday September 28, 2016
10:12pm
5 minutes
vancouveractorsguide.com

In a less than forgiving city
where wind catcalls
and frost bites
we pull hoods around ears
so we can’t hear the whining
We trudge passed post apocalyptic nativities
We motor across bridges rife with dead fish
A salamander tries to get your attention
en route to capitalism
en route to mortgages
A salamander calls to you and asks for your heart

“I’ll do your reading and then email it to you” by Sasha in the NICU kitchen


Thursday September 22, 2016
10:07pm
5 minutes
livewithmoxy.com

I’m riding my bike quickly down the hill, the wind blowing a symphony of “yes” in my ears, hands firmly on the handlebars and

OOFFFFFFF

My front tire hits a bump, a piece of metal? A big nail? A shoe? I fly over my handlebars and in that moment

suspended

I see my life

my loves

my bathroom with the new coat of eggshell white paint

I wonder if it’s already happened

Am I dead?

Thank goodness it’s already turned cool and I’m wearing my denim jacket or my elbows and arms would be torn to shred

A car pulls over and a woman gets out

She looks like my Mom but with black black hair

She gives me her hand and helps me up

“He got a gun to his head” by Julia on her couch


Saturday September 17, 2016 at the Shadbolt Centre
11:43am
5 minutes
Overheard at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts

If there’s a reason why we’re meeting here, none of us know it yet. The sky is dark and ominous. There are casual signs promoting danger or intrigue popping up in shadows and creaky floorboards but we haven’t seemed to take heed because we are convinced that this is a dream and nothing bad can ever actually happen to us because bad things only happen to other people or to humans in movies. It’s dark and cold. We don’t speak much in case talking gives us away somehow. Ali and Strat have both cried into their paper bags. I have been inhaling and exhaling in mine, assuming that’s why we were given these to hold in the first place. Cece said she would be here by ten but since none of us can reach her we have already accepted that she is probably dead by now or swallowed up by the night.

“Nothing ever ends poetically.” by Julia on her couch


Sunday September 4, 2016
9:26pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Kait Rokowsky

Reese couldn’t believe her luck. She used to play the lotto crosswords with her grandpa every Sunday after church. They never won anything. Reese’s grandpa made sure not to show her how upset he was when they missed yet another chance at “hitting the big time” and she had always gotten an ice cream out of it anyway. It was their thing. Their ritual. Before each scratch he’s rub his hands together like he was about to roll the dice. It had been a year to the day since he passed away. Reese couldn’t keep herself from buying a scratch card in memory of him. She rubbed her hands together just like her grandpa did. She smiled down at the scratch card as tears filled her eyes. She had won three dollars.

“demonstrate power and courage” by Sasha on her porch


Tuesday August 16, 2016
10:21pm
5 minutes
jinxiboo.com

You measure your self worth in productivity but don’t know it’s deadly til it kills you. You collapse in the produce isle of the big box store, tomatoes exploding out of your hands, cart overturning, head smashing on the concrete floor. It takes awhile for anyone to notice, faces down, stuffing heads of broccoli in plastic bags, reading lists off iPhones. You don’t die on impact, it takes a few minutes. You wonder whether or not Pete will be able to find the hidden folder on your desktop that contains your will. You never told him about it. You wonder who will undress and wash your body. You wonder how many people will come to the memorial.

“everything I possibly can” by Sasha on her bed


Tuesday July 12, 2016
9:32pm
5 minutes
From a text

I don’t remember Scott. I can’t find his face anymore, way back in the very back of my brain. It used to be there, before Jonah and Daisy, and before I had to memorize so much for school. I’m the oldest one there. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise… Jonah laughed when I told him I was going back. He thought that I’d finished my degree. I never lied to him, he just jumped to a conclusion. Scott would do the same thing, we all do, but these two are worse than the rest. Scott would convince himself that someone had said something, something really particular, and he was so persuasive, especially within his own mind, that he would truly believe it had happened. Jonah was six when I saw him do this, for the first time. I was excited, because it reminded me of Scott, and sad. I was really, really sad.

“Hands me a shovel” by Sasha in Trinity Bellwoods


Wednesday June 29, 2016
4:58pm
5 minutes
Zen Poem
Jane Rohrer


“Hand me that shovel,” Jeremy says. He’s sweating like a fountain, spurts comin’ out his forehead and chest. I don’t want him to be shirtless, but he is. Didn’t ask me my opinion. Oh, I guess I didn’t even tell ya what we’re doing. We’re diggin’ Tiny’s grave. It’s okay, I mean the tears are done for now. Jer said we had to bury Tiny in the yard by the plum tree and I said, “Isn’t that illegal?” but his mind was made up. Digging is harder than you might think. If you’ve never done it. Jer said we should make the grave deeper than six feet, that we should make it, like, eight feet. “What if someone moves in here after we’ve moved on and then they want to put in a pool and then they find a body?!” Good point, Jer. Good point.

“Contemporary and traditional ceremonies” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday June 25, 2016
9:23pm
5 minutes
Weddings from the Heart

I haven’t packed a bag in a long time. I don’t really know where I’d go, so I don’t do things that get me going. Matt will have been gone for exactly a year tomorrow. We’re having a mass for him even though he hated church. Mom is always there these days. She says she has a lot to repent about and just wished she could have done it before. She thinks she could have saved him with prayer. I haven’t thought about leaving home since he killed himself. Maybe because I had been away so long and if I were close by, or closer, he wouldn’t have felt so alone. I guess we all blame ourselves for him being gone. I wish the same thing as my mother, that I could have changed my ways sooner. Only in my case that I would have been less selfish and had the foresight to know the repercussions of moving away from home and leaving your kid brother to fend for himself.

“and lifted right up” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday June 18, 2016
11:12pm
5 minutes
All My Puny Sorrows
Miriam Toews


They found the squirrel on the side of the road, barely hanging on to life. Eyes open and feet pawing at the air, her stomach was split open and guts and blood were coming out. He tried to make a joke but it fell as flat as the soda in the back seat, rolling around on the floor. She held back tears, searching for veterinary clinics and animal rescue shelters on her cellphone. The reception was bad so she kept holding her arm up into the air like she had a question for a teacher in the sky.

“I balance unlaced shoes” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 23, 2016 at Starbucks
6:53am
5 minutes
Circling Before Landing
Mariene Crookshaw

Man puts on the radio, turns the dial so slowly
slowly
we hear bits and pieces of moments
and conversations
and music
and static
and we wait until he finds the station
he likes
he can put up with
that won’t make him crazy
He is responsible for us now
he keeps our spirits
in the switch of the dial
in the palm of his hand
In the corner
by the only
window
there is a bony girl in green and black
striped pants
who holds a paper
airplane up to the light
that was here yesterday
she is holding on
for
her turn
to dance
but the music doesn’t stay
the crackling continues
Her mother is lying two feet
away from her
her belly robbed in the
middle
of
the
night
the blood is slowing now
her eyes remain open
pointed at the ceiling
longing for
escape

“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!”

“You change when you want to change” by Sasha on the 99


Monday May 16, 2016
10:37pm
5 minutes
huffingtonpost.com

You leave me letters in the mailbox, even after you’ve died. You’d warned me this might happen, shelling peas in your hospital room a few weeks ago. I laughed and kissed your toes. You always changed when you wanted to change, not before, not after, just then.

I’m smoking all the weed that’s left, once the sun goes down and Liam is asleep. Kali is scared I might become addicted but I tell her to fuck off and let me grieve the way I want to grieve. I miss you so much my throat swells. I miss you so much my gut aches for the smell of you.

“I do and I don’t” by Julia on the 250


Sunday May 8, 2016
3:59pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 2 bus

By the time I have to decide whether I’ll go and visit Tracey in the hospital, I’ll probably know if Tracey is even still there. Last time I heard from Tanya that Tracey was fighting with her tubes and didn’t want anything “touching her blood”. I told Tanya I would come and relieve her but I didn’t end up going because I am actively avoiding the hospital. Tanya told me not to come if I don’t want to be there but Tina thinks I’m not pulling my weight. She says if I’m not going to come relieve them I should at least give 24 hours notice. Tanya had someone just in case I decided not to so everything was fine and Tina doesn’t scare me. Tina calls me everyday and so I make sure it goes to voicemail. She likes to give all the gory details like “Tracey only has a few good days left” and “you better show up for her” or “Tracey vomited in her sleep because her intubation wasn’t done right”.

“In just 10 months you have come a long way” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday May 3, 2016
10:53pm
5 minutes
From the Twitter account of the woman sitting in front of Julia

Grief looks good on her. At least that’s what people keep saying. Not directly, but that’s what they’re saying, under the tight lipped smiles. Mostly other women. Sometimes men, but it’s quiet, it’s less direct. She’s running every day, because she can’t sit still. Her feet shuffle when she’s at the table, opening the mail. She tries to write in the journal that her sister sent her from the New Age gift shop, but the pen won’t move. Meanwhile, her knees jump. She runs in the ravine, where the trees haven’t really changed since she was a child. She starts drinking all of her meals, unable to chew, almost unable to swallow.

“all that we went through” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday April 16, 2016
5:31pm
5 minutes
Back to Black
Amy Winehouse


I don’t feel right writing this. You’ve been gone for one month. I know you said it wouldn’t bother you if I saw other people once you said goodbye, but everyone else is saying it’s too soon. I met someone. I don’t know if he’s my one, but he’s someone and it feels nice to be with a man that isn’t dying. Your mother is still angry at me. She thinks I am mistreating your memory, disrespecting what we had. But the worst part is, I know I’m not doing anything wrong and I know that when you told me you didn’t want me to mourn you for long that you meant it. I still love you, I always will. I would have died with you if I could have but it doesn’t work like that. I wanted to thank you for being so understanding and trusting and knowing that me dating someone else does not mean I’ve moved on or that I’m okay or that I wanted to be with someone else this whole time. Nobody outside of us can know what we went through and what we talked about and what we decided together. Now all that’s left is my side of the story and no one seems to want to believe me when I say it’s okay that this is happening and you wouldn’t be upset. I don’t know how long I can keep justifying myself in the eyes of your family or my family. I miss you more than life.

“The earth’s insomnia” by Julia at her “New York”


Wednesday March 16, 2016
9:04pm
5 minutes
Moonlight
Lorna Crozier


I have been out stealing rosemary again. Middle of the night. I am not sorry. But I do recognize the pattern. It’s not about much more than needing to have it in my home so I can touch it when I want to and it can calm me down. Some people do the very same thing with animals. I mean maybe they don’t go around at midnight and sneak into people’s front yards, but–I mean they feel comforted by the presence of a pet. So what? I don’t have one of those. I make do. I’m fine. Please don’t ever think my problems will be solved by a cat. They most certainly will not. I don’t need something like that. Thank you for the offer of your offer. I miss my fucking mother. I want to call her and cry and let her love me back to life. I want to tell her that after all that rosemary thieving I didn’t even put any in the roast potatoes. Because I wanted to keep it longer in a vase next to my bed. Because I wanted to hold onto her soft voice telling me for the last time that I was her laugh.

“Help us fight the flu!” by Julia at her dining table


Friday February 12, 2016
12:51pm
5 minutes
from the elevator at VGH

I am sitting motionless but moving on this perfect log facing the perfect sun peaking out behind the perfect mountain. Everything is wonderful. Everything around me is alive and I am still alive to experience it. There’s a difference between living and not dying. I come out here to remind myself exactly that when things feel uneasy. I ask myself, am I still alive, or am I living until I die? I am hoping to find clarity around that; peace, even. Asking myself as often as I can if this life is holding space for me or if I am holding space for it. It should be the former, shouldn’t it? Should. Huh. I know, I’m working on that too. Working on coming to perfect stillness and looking at perfect views and thinking so many imperfect thoughts. I am alone but not lonely. I feel supported from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I decide to keep them closed for the night. And I am not dying. Not yet. Not today. Although if the timing were right, this wouldn’t be such a bad last spot to be in; not a bad last feeling to have–one where I am myself inside myself inside a moment of deep desire to understand.

“When ur cat is more” by Julia on her couch


Friday February 5, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
A meme on Facebook

I’ve been dreamin’ about Jeanie again. She’s comin’ back to haunt my sleep! Purrin’ like a pretty cat does. I think she’s tryin’ to tell me somethin’ important cause I keep on missin’ her and she keeps on comin’ back. Tonight I’m goin’ to try to ask her some very dreamy yet respectable questions. Jeanie never talks but maybe that’s cause she’s waitin’ on me to lead the way. That’s how she was when she was alive anyway. Always movin’ so slow just to let me go ahead of her. She was very chivalrous! Always waitin’ for me, lettin’ me go first. That’s real love cause cats don’t usually want to go anythin’ but fast, sept when they’re creapin’ up on prey! Oh Jeanie! Tonight in my dreams I am gonna ask you for the first time if you’re happy. You always asked me. You always made sure my answer was yes!

“the lid to Pandora’s box slides right off.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday January 26, 2016
10:15pm
5 minutes
From catskinner.club

Tracy has got Jan’s smile, that’s for sure. When she looks at me and smiles, all teeth, I’m, well, I’m toast. When Jan was sick I wasn’t sure about what would happen after she went… I mean, Tracy could’ve said she wanted to move to Windsor to be with her Dad, or… I don’t know. But after everything settled down, after we scattered Jan’s ashes in the river and after we’d eaten all the casseroles in the fridge people brought over and the last of Jan’s frozen squash soup from the freezer… Tracy said that she wanted to stay here, with me. She said, “You’re more my Dad than my real Dad has ever been. I want to live here. With you.” We’d cried a lot of tears over the months before but there were still some left to cry then.

“to achieve perfect personal silence” by Julia on her couch


Thursday December 3, 2015
10:15pm
5 minutes
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou


I don’t like to hear myself breathing; it makes me too self-aware of being alive that I start to think about death. The absence of breath. The absence of thought. Eternal rest, peace…silence. I realized that audibly yawning triggered these ideas when I woke up the man who shared my bed by doing it. I had never realized how loud the tiny second just after it peaks, after the soft pallet is fully open, was. That I was luxuriating in it without thinking about it, or questioning it. The next time I yawned after that, I tried to quiet the denouement and found that I could achieve an effective yawn, almost gratifying enough to suffice, if I stopped adding sound to it. It’s less enjoyable but it doesn’t make me think about dying.

“Maybe we shouldn’t” by Sasha at Szos’ desk in Cowichan Bay


Saturday November 21, 2015
4:13pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the Eastside Culture Crawl

I keep replaying the moment before, like that cat food jingle no one can get out of their heads.

“Maybe we shouldn’t,” you say. “What if it hurts?”

I don’t feel fear like you do, as a “golf ball in your throat, covered in thorns”.

I jump first. I’m a more experienced swimmer. I promise you I’ll be fine but we make the plan that if I don’t bob up within a few minutes you should call 911.

The water is colder than hell. It shakes me into oblivion. It’s better than coke. I bob up and I scream, “Jump! Jump!”

You say that you’re scared and I reassure you that it’s deep, that it’s safe, that you’ll be fine.

“Her face was like a spring sun halo” by Sasha on the futon in Cowichan Bay


Friday November 20,2015 in Cowichan Bay
11:13pm
5 minutes
White Heat
M.J. McGrath


He’s turning thirty tomorrow.
He’s having a breakdown.
He’s got a gun and it’s cocked towards his temple.
He made love to a stranger last night, poorly, he guesses.
He ate Cheerios for breakfast, alone, having asked the Stranger to be on their way.
He didn’t have any milk so he ate them dry.
“Nothing worse than dry Cheerios.”
Punishment.
The laces on his shoes are broken so that he can’t tie them.
When he walks, they squeak.
“Nothing is more demeaning.”
Punishment.
He considers calling Celeste and then decides against him.
“Nothing worse than disappointment.”
He’s sitting on the toilet when the succulent on the shelf above falls, unexplained, right onto his head.
He stops his shit, clenching his anus closed, clenching his teeth.
He blacks out, only for an instant, and in the instant, “blacks out” makes no sense because he sees light.
The metal is cold against the side of his head.
His mouth waters.
“Is this really how I feel about death?”
He thinks about who might find his body.
He thinks about Celeste, and Jon and Katherine.
He thinks about his shit, still sitting in the toilet, unflushed.
“Can’t leave unfinished business.”
He puts the gun down.
He goes into the bathroom.
He flushes the shit.
He sees a piece of the ceramic pot that housed the succulent.
He goes to the kitchen to get the broom and dust pan.
There’s a knock at the door.

“Rainfall warning” by Julia on her couch


Thursday November 12, 2015
10:31pm
5 minutes
from the weather network

Hasn’t stopped raining for weeks. Grant called last night to tell me he was sorry and wished he could have stopped by more. I told him not to worry, there were enough people coming by the house to make sure I was getting out of bed. He asked if Mary-Beth made he famous Parmigiana and I said yeah, for the third time. Hasn’t stopped raining since. When I found out, Grant was on his way over to drop off a pair of winter gloves for Owen so he was there when it all hit. He gave me a long hug and told me it was going to be okay. I didn’t let him leave me that night and he’s still acting strange about it. I don’t know why he feels bad, nothing matters anymore. I’m the one who has to live with it, and all I know is life is pretty short so nothing fucking matters. Hasn’t stopped raining for weeks.

“with the theme of fear” by Sasha at the table at Pascoe Rd.


Monday November 9, 2015
1:17pm
5 minutes
ionmagazine.ca

The night she dies I get a text from a bartender
I sometimes fuck
I wash my
face I get on my
bicycle and I go to
his house
On the way
Somewhere east of Dupont
My chain falls off
I can’t stop the tears
Can’t stop the oil from getting
on my dress
I arrive too close to morning
too far from my father
He lights a joint and the promise
I made to myself not to tell him
Undoes like the clasp of my bra
Naked I’m a puddle of chipped nail polish and
missing
He’s a father so he knows
how to soothe
He rubs my back until I’m hiccups and
when we fuck he’s gentle
he knows just how to look me
in the eye
I leave before I can feel grosser before
I can taste the tinniness of shame
My tongue heavy in my mouth I sing
under my breath
Up the hill on the way
home

“Well, I have my rights, sir” by Sasha at 49th Parallel


Monday October 26, 2015 at 49th Parallel
6:39pm
5 minutes
The Lorax
Dr. Seuss


There once was an old man named Fred
Who wished that he was dead
He asked for the poison
And he asked for a gun
So he could shoot himself in the head

There was once a woman called Bea
Who wished she hadn’t lived past three
She saw terrible things
In the house where she lived
And chose…
Not to be

There was once a doctor named Ted
He often had songs in his head
He helped his patients
If they wanted to leave
And always slept snug in his bed

“amazing work” by Julia on her couch


Friday, October 23, 2015
9:44pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

I had been trying to catch his attention for, if I’m counting, the last twelve years. Huh. Wow. That’s more than I thought I’d admit. Was hopeful. I mean, who wasn’t at that age. But I guess it’s not fair to take it personally. He wasn’t not loving me, he was just, not forgetting her. I don’t know if I would do it any differently than that myself. I’ve never lost a child so I don’t get to pretend to understand. But weeks bleed into months and then years, and it all just feels like the same nightmare, playing over and over or just continuing without resolve every 16 hours. This time it was a scholarship that I was awarded because of my application letter about him. I wanted to show him. He wanted to drink.

“I would like to invite you” by Sasha at Benny’s


Friday October 9, 2015 at Benny’s
3:20pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I don’t know what to say. I’m afraid that when I open my mouth I’m going to say the wrong thing. I’m afraid I’m going to ask how Judd’s doing, if he’s been playing his guitar in the hospital. I don’t know what to say so I would like to invite you over for pizza. I’m going to make it. I’ll knead the dough and let it rise and it will be thin, how you like it. I won’t put tomato sauce on it, because tomatoes make your tongue feel strange. If you bring Judd up, I’ll listen. I won’t change the subject because I don’t know what to say. I’ll give you a massive ball of dough to take home so that you can make pizzas all week. I’ll loan you my pizza pan. I’ll kiss your eyes. I’ll let you sleep over.

“three crackerjack female” by Julia on her couch


Thursday September 24, 2015
11:39pm
5 minutes
http://www.shifttheatre.ca

There was a moment I didn’t think you were going to make it. No, seriously bro, you looked like you had tapped out. But I’m glad you didn’t because I get to be the one to tell you that you… you’re a hero. You’re a god damn hero and I’m impressed. So it brings me joy to relay that to you, man. So how’s Nancy? Oh man, she’s so nice to you. You’re a lucky guy. She puts up with a lot of your crap, you must be pretty damn lovable.

“right on the train, first one out of here” By Julia at her desk


Thursday, August 6, 2015
12:22am
5 minutes
If Only
Fink


I heard the cry of your sorry bones
Creeping up to the surface
Poking through the earth, begging, pleading
The haunting was my lullaby
The dream a hoax fabricated by guilt and uncertainty
Far apart from you I wept
Far apart I wished it was my life that was buried instead
I learned to sleep with the white noise of your pain;
the gentle and ever-present reminder that you were gone
That my punishment for all wrongs otherwise
Was getting out of bed even after memory restored
Each day
To face your ghost

“What is “beginner’s mind”?” By Sasha at the desk at Joe Creek


Tuesday, July 28, 2015
12:03pm
5 minutes
From a tweet by Shambhala Sun

I read a short memoir about a woman with stage four breast cancer and my throat swells with fear. I resent her for reminding me of my mortality. I wonder about where I carry extra weight, if I eat too much cheese, is it dangerous to live in a city? Where does my unexpressed rage live? Is it in my breasts? My liver? I’m destined for the same fate. Sickness lies dormant inside of me and will strike when I least expect. The summer of my wedding. When I am pregnant with my first child. During the premiere of my most successful play.

A hummingbird feasts from a hydrangea, slurping up her fill until she’s drunk, flying into the morning before I can reach for my camera. I drink coffee, now cool, the bitterness sour long after the swallow.

I weave a whole narrative before I’ve finished my fried egg on toast. I hate her, this beautiful bald writer, I love her, I wish she were closer and that I might know her phone number so that I can call and thank her for this late July, early morning meditation on death.

“You can live in Heaven” by Julia in Brooklyn


Friday, July 24, 2015
11:05pm
5 minutes
The Four Agreements
Don Miguel Ruiz


I hear Bryan Adams in my head, playing a song I know I should love. Makes me wonder if I’m checked out or something. Makes me wonder if you’re the one. Makes me wonder if you’re not. I think because there aren’t angels in my version, or glitter bugs, or trumpets or whatever. There’s a couple things I do like a lot, but none of that Hallmark clownshit on your deathbed stuff. I guess I’m going to get a lot of flack for saying that. Don’t care. Not enough to retract it. It’s just been something on my mind for a while is all. You, me, what is perfect, if there’s a perfect, what’s forever, if there’s a forever, if Heaven is where we’re going, if it’s where we already are, if it doesn’t exist at all, thereby ruining everyone’s standards without fully knowing it. I don’t know. Bryan Adams or something.

“grabbed by the notion” by Julia on the 505 going West


Tuesday, July 21, 2015
11:28pm
5 minutes
from a letter to a celebrity

I’m on the ocean
The waves are healing me
I’m looking deep
In the cave in my chest
I’m on the ocean
The water is curing me
I’m holding tight
To the magic underneath

I remember these words better than I remember my own address. They’ve been sung into my soul so many times that they’re practically mine, top to bottom. Grandma used to sing it to me before bed. She dreamed of the ocean, and taking me there to live with her. When Aunt Christina passed away, Grandma said she knew a place where I wouldn’t feel any pain. She asked Mom if I could go but Mom said, You’re not leaving me too, not now, not ever. And Grandma tried so long to get me there. I didn’t know how much Mom hated to be alone.

“read in the privacy of one’s study.” By Sasha on her porch


Monday, July 6, 2015
6:23pm
5 minutes
“What is creative nonfiction?”
By Wayne Grady


Pauline watches me in my study.
I think I’m alone and then I realize that, nope, she’s right damn there.
Not sure what to do with her ashes.
Dead in January, the ground’s frozen. Not a good time to do something like burying.

“I never made it to the Eiffel Tower,” she said, the morphine changing her eyes from blue to grey.
“I know, I know,” I said, rubbing an ice cube on her chapped lips.

It’s the longest trip I’ve ever taken.
Only been to Montreal and Salt Lake City.
I pack three apples and a jar of almond butter for the plane, just in case the food is as bad as everyone makes it sound.
It isn’t.
I only leave the mashed potatoes.

“Our favourite woman is missing!!!” by Julia at Valens Restaurant


Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at Valens Restaurant
10:02 pm
5 minutes
From a text

I wait for Dany to close the door fully before I utter a single word about Cynthia. I hear the click. Dany waits at the window watching Mitchell get into his car. She makes sure he drives away then she slowly turns around.
“He’s gone.”
“You sure?”
“Yeah. Watched him drive off. ”
“I don’t think she’s dead. ”
“Don’t say that. I knew you were going to say that. ”
“Hear me out, Dany. I’ve given this a lot of thought. ”
“I don’t like that she could be alive and wouldn’t tell us. Or wouldn’t even tell her own brother. ”
“That’s just it, Mitch can’t know about her. No one can. ”

“I’ve got to go” by Sasha on the 16 heading West


Sunday May 24, 2015
5:13pm
5 minutes
When I’m away
The Colourist


Marg died on Wednesday. I got the phone call when I was trying to decide which olive oil to buy, in the oil aisle at the IGA. “Hello?” It was Henry. “Hi Henry.” I looked at one bottle and then another and then another. “I’m so sorry to say, but Marg passed today.” “Passed?” “Passed on…” I opened a bottle and drank and drank and drank until I was sick. “Hello? Honey? Are you there?!” “NO ONE EVEN TOLD ME SHE WAS SICK!!!” “You two were out of touch.” “I would’ve liked the opportunity to say goodbye, Henry. Jesus.” And then, I puked, all over the oil aisle, a whole bottle of the stuff, a whole bottle. I dropped the phone and it shattered. So much for the fifty dollar case. I could hear Henry still, saying, “Honey?! Honey?!” A clerk came with a mop and a bucket, a kind face, “Honey is in Aisle Seven,” he said, quietly, to the disembodied voice. I lay down and pressed my face into the cool linoleum.