“it was just sort of whispered around my family” by Julia in her bed

Friday October 25, 2019
10:04pm
5 minutes
Choosing Happiness
Veronica Ray

the weird thing was we were all saying it just at different volumes

when dad tried to make us keep our doors open he didn’t really know why and he didn’t know how to tell us that so he stood his ground

unfair it’s unfair but it would not get brought up at the dinner tribunal

no one said it then or ever or louder than a whisper because it was all still in beta: what might happen if we disrespected any of them,
even unintentionally

better than what they got we were told, and sure, it was, and sure, they learned, but we had so many questions answered with “because I said so” it stopped making sense when you heard it

and “why” felt like the emptiest hug, the most out there on a limb next to I love you

that whispered around our family too but at least we fixed that one when it counted most

“If ignorance is bliss” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday, September 12, 2019
5:07pm
5 minutes
The Benefits of Ignorance
Hal Sirowitz
If ignorance is bliss why then
I don’t want bliss
not in the form of head in the sand
fingers in the ears
not in the form of illusion dancing
in her opaque scarves
It’s been six weeks and all I crave
is protein and truth
seeing with the eyes of a woman
who has seen and been seen
as she knows is possible
as she knows is her birthright
Crunchy leaves underfoot
today on a walk in the neighbourhood
I found myself humming a song
that I taught myself in my dream last night
learned by heart on the strong back
of a premonition
that he only told me half the story
last night
Won’t admit fear where the spills are
where the stains are
won’t admit defeat
twirling his ring round and round
a quiet threat
I hum the song all the way back to the
garden and then I sit amongst the
butterflies and squirrels
the cone flowers and nasturtium
spicy open mouth
catching a taste
of what might be possible
I write him a letter in the major key
not to be predictable
not to be oppositional
but because the chord feels right
the timbre in my chest
my fingers playing imaginary keys
a new story
He loves me
that is why
don’t forget
It’s easier to know words
when they are put to music

“She has even lost one leg” by Julia at her desk

Sunday August 25, 2019
9:07pm
5 minutes
Fetish
Pierre Reverdy

It is too bad, really, a shame, that she has lost one leg to the bed
and one leg to the floor. Nobody knows what to do anymore. The pull

between is too strong. She has tried to step out into the real world
but one of her legs remains asleep, under the duvet, sweating.

She is convinced that her legs aren’t speaking to each other and wouldn’t
listen based on how things have been going. They wouldn’t be willing, is

what she is saying. This may be a mountain imagined where a small hill
sits, but for her it is very true and very powerful, and hard to avoid.

The leg on the floor is doing a lot of lunging, trying to remove the leg
from the bed, so they are in fact talking, but at this stage it doesn’t

appear that they are speaking the same language, and thus, the
break down of communication. One is saying sakjadsadsjafkkafj and one is

saying, i hear you talking but I can’t understand what you’re saying. What
are you saying? Is that about me? Is that directed over here, or at yourself?

The leg in the bed is doing a lot of worrying, perceiving the floor to be
too slippery, too dangerous, too leading into the next room or beyond that

heaven forbid. The body in between both legs is almost being ripped apart,
this heave, this ho, this here, this there, this what are you talking about?

“we should not trust the masses” by Julia at M and D’s table

Thursday August 15, 2019
1:03pm
5 minutes
Discourses
Epictetus

This tiny bug starts crawling on my arm
and I know I’m not supposed to freak out
about a tiny bug but I’m afraid because
my dad told me that they were going to
suck my blood and even though I have
never seen teeth on a bug this teeny tiny
I believe him because he is my dad and
why would my dad lie to me especially
if it’s about being bit or not being bit

I am going to the Philippines with my
mom and my dad told me there were
all kinds of bugs flying around there so
now I am scared of the Philippines the
way I am afraid of my backyard because
what if I get bit and then I never get to
see him again and I shouldn’t be going
in the first place if I know that there are
bugs that are always trying to land on me

I didn’t apply to university because my
dad said that there are so many people
all at once and he reminded me that I
don’t do very will with big crowds because
someone might step on me or hurt me or
stab me or steal my purse or push me or
take me and put me in their car and hide
me in their basement for 4-7 years while
I am forced to eat dust and have their babies

“retirement and investment savings” by Julia on her couch

Saturday August 3, 2019
9:34pm
5 minutes
From a piece of mail

It’s true what they say, the banks are out to get us.
Mine charges me for being self-employed by making me pay a fee every time I exceed 12 transactions in a month. I could look into options that don’t include throwing money away but this stuff scares me because it makes me feel stupid and being stupid is one of my major fears.
I wouldn’t be able to admit that to just anyone. I am afraid of feeling small and helpless and useless and dumb and this perpetuates the cycle. I let the banks get me. I let them keep me small. I have no plans for investments or retirement because my brain doesn’t know how to think any further into the future than the next word after this. Maybe that’s fear too, keeping me believing that.

“we always found a way” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday July 31, 2019
11:10pm
5 minutes
From a thank you card

This is you, body coiled and then crumpled
naked in pillows, the baby thrashing
an arm’s length away

We have always found a way back to how we tether,
how we teethe the truth, a bone
like the dinosaurs on display

You want so much

This is the heart within the heart,
a love that I didn’t know was possible,
the ache that grabs my throat

licks my cheek,
tells me to grovel and snarl,
thumbs protected by fingers,

protected by the willingness to pretend.
I stick sorry across your torso,
your back, your jaw

I want so much

I see myself through your eyes
and she’s a famished feral one,
governed by hunger

frozen by fear.
I stick sorry on the tip of my tongue,
lick my arms, legs, belly

Hold up one finger to you
A white flag.

“I can’t handle this” by Julia in Baden

Thursday July 25, 2019
11:29pm
5 minutes
What Every Body Is Saying
Joe Navarrro

It’s the dreams, Bev, I’m telling you. I get paralyzed in my sleep cause of what I’m doing in my dream and then when I wake up, I can’t move for real.
Take today’s for example! I was napping, right, probably too late in the day for one to be honest, but I got myself into a deep sleep. And in the dream I’m floating 50 ft in the air on some circular device, like one of those snow dishes that you slide down a hill on? And it’s attached to this tiny tiny thread. But long-cause it’s above the ocean. Yeah. All water below and up there I’m having a picnic! Little basket and everything! But then all of a sudden the wind starts turning me upside down and back again at least 6 or 7 times. I am holding onto the ledge of the dish thing, right, holding on for dear life, Bev, cause this shit is unnatural! Then somehow we get down and I have no idea how it works, but we’re safe, and I’m thinking, I do not want to go up back there again. So Elliot gets off the device, right, cause she was up there with me in the dream, right and since she’s down, she’s not scared anymore. But then suddenly I get launched all the way back up!

“special pings” by Julia on her patio

Sunday July 14, 2019
6:50pm
5 minutes
Tinnitus
Emily Osborne

High as a kite and no plans of coming down
Down is the place where all the dirt lives
The down and dirty, the hole, the pit
I’m going to fly high right over this town
Town is a place where all the small people
get together and wage wars against any one
who seems like they have finally learned to
love themselves

They don’t know anything about us
They don’t know anything about us

And oh what a war it already was, the lonely
people all huddled together with their ideas
and their weapons because the truth feels like
too much to fight
Oh the light, that glittering thing illuminating
all the inside from the bottom of the barrel
sending them a mirror to see themselves clearer

High as a kite and it could be on life itself
or life alone and you would never even know
think it’s a strain or a pill or a potted plant
a cheap kind of thrill that leaves the seeking
emptier than when they started

They don’t know anything about us
They don’t know anything about us

They could come if they wanted to but they don’t

They don’t know anything about us

“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.

“It must be nice to hold” by Julia at the cabin in Galina Bay

Thursday June 27, 2019
9:45pm
5 minutes
Calypso
David Sedaris

Like the front scruff of a standard poodle, the soft of a blind dog’s ears.
There is more to feel than the fur or the bone. It must be nice to hold the trust of your companion–in a small dish, or a pocket. Safe there from the heartbreak of losing the other half of his soul.
We offer choice to a dog who has lost the ability to decide whether to stay in or go out.
A lap for a lay, will he or will he remain upright for the third day in a row?
Will he stop trembling?
Will he say yes? Or maybe?

“how will you use your” by Julia on her couch

Saturday June 8, 2019
5:12pm
5 minutes
from a Women Deliver notepad

My dream is to one day wake up and remember the reason i started losing sight
In this same dream, I do not spend as much time erasing as i go, finding the
red underlines too distracting to move forward; an excuse
This dream watches me surrender more to the moment and to acknowledge the muse
fluttering in and out of my porch window instead of finding reason to avoid
getting to the end of the sentence. A monster is at the end of the sentence.
The choice/iteration.
Wouldn’t want to end it too late, and make her angry; find out what
it really wants to say.

IN this dream I would not edit every moment in my head if I’m in them. I would
choose to be IN this dream, this body, this moment.

“therefore determined to find fault with her” by Julia at her desk

Friday May 31, 2019
2:10pm
5 minutes
St. Urbain’s Horseman
Mordecai Rcihler

You could say she was impatient.
you wouldn’t be saying anything new, but you could say it.
She has likely, herself, already pointed this fact out.
Not to get ahead of the discovery of flaws,
but to practice self-awareness.
You might have opinions about her impatience, or her basket,
but she has not asked to hear them.
Questions, however, she will field:

What is in the basket?
When did you first notice your impatience?
Did someone make you wait when it was really quite urgent?
What is your favourite season?

She will start with the easiest ones and work her way back:

Favourite season is spring. You did not ask why. Now you may
muse on that and wait to ask a separate question in another round.
I first noticed my impatience when the sky was falling and
nobody seemed to have any urgency about it until it was too late.
Someone the day the sky was falling did not make me wait but
was too dead to join in the urgency. And I loved him.
The basket holds a ticking heart, tick, tick ticking…

“Proven ability to develop lessons plans” By Julia at her desk

Sunday May 26, 2019
5:24pm
5 minutes
allianceforarts.com

Hi I’m here for the workshop teaching position.
I have a shit ton of experience with kids and with teaching.
I have worked with some real piece of work asshole youth
in my time, but I find that if I see them as real people and not their
attitudes, I can get them to open up. It’s easy to be shitty
when you don’t believe you matter in the grand scheme of things.
Some of the lesson plans I’ve developed have really fucked
with my own understanding of writing, and taking risks.
I mean, they say the best way to learn something is to teach it.
And once in a workshop I got the kids to teach each other something
and that shit was the real deal.
They were so open, and chatty, and they had this light, you know.
They are a lot more willing to dive in than they get credit for,
so you know, I just filled the pool with shit they wanted to
swim in. It’s supposed to be fun but it’s also supposed to be
honest. I’ve been doing it now, for Christ, 10 years now? I
started leading them when I was just out of university, and I
got to work with a bunch of 6-8 year olds.
They didn’t even have a curriculum, but by the time I left
they were all so fucking thrilled to keep discovering.

Sorry, the position is already filled? Because I dropped the f bomb?

“Alabama” by Julia at J and R’s kitchen table

Thursday May 16, 2019
7:17pm
5 minutes
http://www.thecut.com

I don’t know what to say. I screamed already. In the presence of my 7-month
old nephew. I didn’t realize until it was too late. I think I scared him.
We’re all scared. To think of a child having to go through more than she
already had forced upon her. This world. Why are we sliding backward? Why
is science and medicine and knowledge progressing and the only thing staying
the same, stubborn, stuck in the mud, is the law.
Alabama. Goddamn.
Heaven forbid our girls get their periods young. Heaven forbid our girls
find an adult worth trusting and who won’t expose their tiny human hearts
to a pack of wolverines, hungry from tasting all the blood they’ve already bled.
We are not moving toward the future with expansion. We are not moving at all.

I don’t know what to say.

“Falling in love is appropriate for now” by Julia in her bedroom

Monday March 25, 2019
10:42pm
5 minutes
Handy Tips on how to Behave at the Death of the World
Anne Herbert

Help, is anyone out there? Is anybody reading this? There are a lot of people worried and seeking and I know them. I am them. We might recognize one another at a party. Yes there’d be bread at this party. That would be giving the party a lot more value.

I’m…I guess..I’m wondering if I’m alone. I mean I know I’m not, I’m talking to you. You’re there. You’re looking at me and I’m you. Aren’t you? We? I feel united and excited and loved by that. That thought, the you me we thing, that acceptance, yes, that permission. I can say I love me and that would be like saying I love you and then you’d know love. I know love for me because and only because I see you in me, and you, YOU, you are easy to love. Easy to love with hands cuffed. Easy to love with lids droopy. Easy to love in the dark when the words hurt more than heal and your warmth does the talking. Easy to love like that.

“apartment door was closed and triple-locked” by Julia at her desk

Monday March 18, 2019
8:56pm
5 minutes
The Langoliers
Stephen King

I can’t have you look at me that way
With eyes dripping pity
Boy you never looked less pretty
I don’t want your face to say
You knew better all along or
This is a self-inflicted song
Weeeeeooooo the wound is pulsing
Weeeeeooooo the pressure rushing
I’m not cut out for this
Can’t handle a setback or a twist
Where’s the paper I signed up for
Can’t recognize my signature from a blood stain on the floor
Weeeeeooooo the ground is home
Weeeeeooooo this place is normal
Maybe I was wrong once or twice
But I never kept the knife jabbed in
Who are you to know my sins
Can’t have judging eyes
No one look at me

“with some bullshit approach” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday March 13, 2019
5:47pm
5 minutes
Created By
Richard Christian Matheson

What scares us fascinates us
Oh such delicate creatures
The news is a fear machine

We glue our eyeballs to our
tiny screens and scroll
The extinctions
The exhaustions
The exhuming
The extreme

Risk and learn
Power off the empathy
because the heart can’t

bear all the hurting

Everything we do
impacts who we are
who our children are
who our parents are

We do everything in connection
Multiplicity
There isn’t organization in the chaos

Turn off the light when
you leave the room
Turn off the tap while brushing teeth
Say

Thank you

“faster than all your sadness” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday February 26, 2019
8:38pm
5 minutes
What To Look For In A Horse
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

It’s racing to the bottom of the well cause that’s the place you always get too scared to look.
Underneath every painted layer, a tiny garlic skin, or a forgotten birthday. Some of those choices live down there with the sadness.
You don’t go because you say it’s too crowded, likely story. There’s not room enough for all of us. Convenient, still, until the sadness finds out that no one’s keeping an eye on her down there so she starts to creep up.
She might burrow in the thick of a nightmare, the icy layer of morning frost.
I may have seen her once or twice at the party you thought you attended by yourself…

“the snow falling like confetti.” By Julia in her bed

Wednesday February 20, 2019
10:31pm
5 minutes
The First Morning
Edward Abbey

I can’t ask you to stay cause then you’d know I thought of you leaving
And the truth is, swear to God, dot my I, i didn’t know what you going would do to me. I thought I might never recover. The thought alone could kill me. But I don’t want to put the idea in your head now. We are happy. Don’t think about it at all, no need to invite excuses to this party. Ups and downs baby. Ups and downs. I watched you leave in my mind like lightly falling snow, disappearing into the leaves. Dissolving into the wind.
It was soft the way a gentleman would do it. And it still broke my heart all the same.

“her sarcastic curl of a smile” By Julia at Ocean Village

Monday February 4, 2019
7:14am
5 minutes
Finders Keepers
Stephen King

It’s the seconds in between two very different things.

Before you decide, you have to know beside which two things you stand. Here, an example, and one for me that I can articulate, could be the same or maybe similar for you.

I stand here and likely always, before a Love choice and Delay choice.

There is nothing cheeky about me saying this now even though you might know me as someone who smirks in her sleep, protecting herself against what is absolute. I mean all of this. No sarcasm. No holy joke.

A Love choice is something that will only add to existing Love, creating more, or creating more opportunities for Love to be made. They are decisions that contribute, heal, help, celebrate, cleanse, trust..

Delay choices are simply the ones made out of fear of the existing love leaving the immediate experience.

“There is no rule that is true under the circumstances” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday January 6, 2019
8:42am
5 minutes
Synchronicity
C.G. Jung

We ask ourselves why and how and when and then hold hands and call Red Rover. We swim in the same ocean we pollute and forget the connection between the food we eat and the rising temperatures. We plug our ears when it doesn’t concern us and when it does we scream to the sky and beg for more. Under the circumstances, we are perched on the edge of the precipice, stratus clouds no longer reaching a hand down to help. It rains and rains. The rich get richer. Somebody says that it’s too late and in the heartbeat of my unborn daughter I feel the drum of hope. Hope no longer blind faith or unsubstantiated optimism, but hope like a conversation, like the space between then and now and then.

“Whale, Seahorse, Narwhal, and Crab” by Julia on D and M’s couch

Friday November 23, 2018
11:16pm
5 minutes
A Whale of a Tail!
Illustrated by Jo Moon

I’m in the ocean now and that’s where I live
Somewhere in between the deep and the light
Been working on my swimming so I’m finally better
I’m better

What’s her name used to say I swam like a fish but she was being nice and I think she said that about everyone
I couldn’t keep my head above water
I wept on the diving board while everyone inside the pool tried to cheer me on
I was always afraid of doing what other people were doing easily
I didn’t understand how to trust a thing bigger than me
I failed Yellow
The way some people fail their driver’s test
But when I passed it the next year I skipped ahead into Maroon
That made me feel like a real fish
What’s her name wrote it on my card again

“In front of a full crowd” by Julia on the 9

Friday November 9, 2018
11:10pm
5 minutes
No Place Like Home
Monika Markovinovic

If I am being honest with myself I don’t need to see anyone for a long time. I wonder why that is, if maybe I’ve been seeing enough of something else that makes the solitude taste so good.
I wonder too if maybe it’s because I don’t have anything to say since the lie of saying a thing sometimes makes doing a thing feel unnecessary. I probably need to read more. I don’t know enough big words. Can’t leave the house and see somebody and use too small of a word.
That might break the system of expectation. That might really teach me something.
I don’t need a full room or anything, maybe because these days that kind of room scares me. Might send me up to the front of it with not just the wrong words but the wrong feelings.
It could have something to do with not knowing if thirst is that tickle in the throat or the one just below it. It could be about listening.

“Worries are the most stubborn habits” by Sasha at her desk

Monday October 15, 2018
4:09pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Vicki Baum

Worries are the most stubborn habits. I know this by heart, like the songs we sing in the morning when we’re drunk with dreams. I have a bad habit named Worry. I count on her to visit when I’m least expecting, when I think I have a handle, when I’m still, when I’m flying. Worry is a loyal companion, especially when things are fucked up and fraying, delicious and beautiful. A habit is a thing that can be broken in thirty days. No. A habit is a thing that can be started in thirty days. Does it go both ways?

“The first time you park your car” by Julia on the 7

Wednesday September 26, 2018
10:02pm
5 minutes
The Cure for Racism is Cancer
Tony Hoagland

Nobody can watch me maneuver this stupid car in this stupid spot and yet that is what everybody is doing. What, did all the world’s best parallel parkers get their cars impounded today? Is that why all of you PEDESTRIANS are such fucking experts? Fucking judgmental pieces of—you know what? I am a good driver. I was the only one out of my friends to pass my test on the first try. I got my graduated licence first too and there I was driving everyone around every single day. So yes, sometimes parking’s a bitch, but I only ever hit another car when I was BACKING OUT because it was dark as hell and the car was CAMOUFLAGED by being blue and parked in my BLIND SPOT. Parallel parking should be taught all the way from kindergarten so everyone gets really comfortable being stared at by a bunch of people who probably don’t even know how to get on the FUCKING HIGHWAY.

“the serpent coiled around the pillar” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday September 25, 2018
9:55pm
5 minutes
Come of Age
Stephen Jenkinson

I have been casting out the devil since I knew he could break into my bedroom at night while I slept.
Lord knows I have stomped my little heart out on the floor more than once to rebuke that son of a bitch.
They do not tell you, when you are just starting to welcome Jesus into your heart, that atheists don’t get possessed by the devil. Why would they? The Christians are stacking their team with the impressionable. The talented. The eager.
Mostly I had to curse his name after watching a scary movie. I believed he could get in easier through my nightmares. I prayed for god to please not let me see anything bad, hear anything bad, or dream of anything bad. Because once I saw Jesus’ shadow on the wall and when he started laughing maniacally,
I knew.

“This is an obituary.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday September 22, 2018
9:31am
5 minutes
Empty Condolences
Joey Comeau

I can’t write on this today. Too close. Too close to the mortality of all of us. Suffocating in the what if and the best and the worst and what does this all even mean anyway. Hands around my throat or the possibility of hands and I cannot think about an obituary today. Even though I know it’s natural and why the fuck are we so afraid of death here and why don’t we speak about it more here and now there’s so much new life and this fear and sickness and growing and leaving and loving and all I can do it lie on the floor or light a candle or turn on the stove to make tea.

“people are still listing reasons” by Julia on the Red Line

Saturday September 15, 2018
7:55pm
5 minutes
Collaboration: Visual/Written Poetry
Sarah Leavitt & Jen Currin

When the subway ascends and we can see the city, you nudge my shoulder, point my body in the direction of the skyline and the tail lights of all those cars
glowing up the street
You say, look at that.
You’ve been giving me reasons why I should stay and what we could do if we decide to and who we would be if I decide to
They sound like good reasons
The good Mexican food being at the top of the list
You tell me this doesn’t have to happen and I believe the sweet in your eyes when you say it’s not going to move you if we don’t move here
Move lives
Move dreams over to a bigger city that we will surely get lost in
You are good at drinking slowly
Waiting for me to finish swirling the straw and ice around in my glass
But if we move here, you tell me, we will also find ourselves

“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

“But when he reached the age” by Julia at YVR airport

Thursday August 2, 2018
9:07am
5 minutes
Atheist at the Pulpit
Larry Krotz

Elliot, Romy’s kid, had a wine stain birthmark on his hair line. It bled out a bit toward his eyes and cheeks but framed his face in a sweet way. He smiled at me when I caught his eye. It made me feel good. then I watched him smile at anyone he looked at and realized he was not in love with me alone but with people. With life. That made me me feel good too. he pointed at the man on his bluetooth next to me. As if to say “you’re the one that I love the most.” I liked his birth mark. I imagined the skin kissed red to be extraordinarily smooth and squishy. My best friend in high school had a wine stain birth mark on her arm. Her skin was so fun to press myself into. She used to get teased but she was so beautiful. People really suck the life out of you when they dont understand something.

“a family house can remain empty” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday August 1, 2018
1:03pm
5 minutes
The Highest Bidder
Kerry Gold

Snap and we’re sat at the table and we’re talking about more money than I’ve ever had/dreamed of (that’s not totally true) and Snap we’re talking about a house a place where we’ll grow and scream and hug and make salads and Snap I tell you my secret and you hold it like you hold me Snap to the gentleness of the realization that words aren’t enough and the present is all we have and Snap okay baby you say okay baby we’ll do it Snap how do I deserve this (that’s not really it) Snap scrolling and scrolling and scrolling Snap rock a by baby on the tree top Snap lines of credit and how will the mortgage work and life’s short but also let’s hope life’s long and there’s no time like the present but timing is everything Snap

“in that beautiful mind” by Sasha in the Kiva

Wednesday June 20, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
All Of Me
John Legend

It brews in the guts for months and I wonder why I’m streaming rivers
It raises as a wail on a phone call and I feel sick with the wondering if I am not enough of a friend for this
But that isn’t it
That isn’t it

He’s held a throne since before we met so I don’t even know a world in which things are different
But it’s been in my guts since then since forever ago since before we met
So
Now it almost feels like I’ve missed my chance
But I know I haven’t
The chance is always there

I’m not sure how I’ll tell you
I’m not sure when is the best moment
Haven’t had a weight like this in awhile
Clouds over my eyes dimming the blue
Brick on my chest
Marble in my throat
Tears just almost there
Eyes the lake in the morning

I guess it’s not about what to do
It’s not about what to say or not say
It’s not about leaving
It’s about being with the truth in guts and sharing that with you
That something is off in the painting of the house on the hill on the island and I’ve always felt it I’ve always known
Maybe then I didn’t trust
Or I wished I would
Wished I could

As complicated as telephone wires strung above our heads
A spark
A deep breath
Here goes

“My mom calls him that” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday May 14, 2018
1:13pm
5 minutes
from a text

“Scrub-a-dub”. That’s what Mom used to call Dustin. He hated bath time, he hated water. He didn’t even want to drink it. Mom would have to add a splash of cranberry juice to his water bottles that she’d send to school. If it was straight water he simply wouldn’t drink it. Kira and I used to joke that he’d have a heart attack if he ever fell into a bath, or the lake.

“Come on, scrub-a-dub,” Mom would say, trying to distract him or something, trying her best to get him to bathe. He would scream and cry. He would tantrum. She’d usually resort to a sponge bath. We didn’t know that Dustin had a lot of other fears, too. We didn’t know what was going to happen.

“Mother stomps up” by Julia on the 20

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

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

“When I came down from the attic” by Julia at her desk

Monday April 16, 2018
1:17am
5 minutes
The Portrait
Stanley Kunitz

we never had things in our attic
mom was more of basement type
as in hit the bottom of the rung
type sit on the unfinished concrete
floor in the dark type
the attic was much too high up
too close to God
filled with insulation and spider
webs but not memories of us in
picture form or moth eaten sweater
reminders of our carelessness
of hers
she didn’t like to hide our things
away in a place that might collapse
wanted to be closer to the earth
just in case the apocolypse hit
she made herself a home down there
and on Sundays we were allowed to
visit if we brough her the yogurt
in the tubes and the frozen thyme
in the ice trays

“Very rarely patients develop __________.” By Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Wednesday April 11, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
Diagnosis
Adam Sol

She’s got a real fear of sickness so she runs for ninety minutes on the treadmill every day after work. She thinks that if she sweats, if her heart rate is increased, she won’t get sick. She’s most scared of cancer and diabetes. Her father had type 2 and died of a heart attack at sixty-five. She only eats chocolate when she’s about to get her period because she should be allowed a tiny indulgence, right? Even then, it’s two squares of dark chocolate with no added sugar. Sugar is the enemy. Sugar makes sickness. So does salt, so does fat, so do carbs. The fear’s been getting worse, as she gets older, because older people are usually sicker people.

“There is a dream I remember having” By Julia on V, J, W, and A’s couch

Thursday, February 22, 2018

10:01pm

5 minutes

The Wilds of Sleep

Kat Duff

I am younger than nine

I remember just fine

Not the age or the stage

But the people and the place

It’s not scary

but it’s a nightmare

I go down to tell my mom

Having a bad dream again

But it’s my dad shaving in the bathroom

And he’s smiling

And I ask where she is

And he says right here

And then my dad enters again

And my dad stands beside my dad

And my dad shaves besides my dad

As in, my mom is my dad

As In, my dad is my mom

As in, my mom has been absorbed by my dad

As in, my mom is turned into his copy

Two dads, as good as he is, is not

a substitute for one of each

My mom signs my report cards

My mom toasts my bread

My mom reads me stories

Let’s me sleep on her side of the bed

“the amniotic brine of tears” by Julia on the 99

Tuesday January 16, 2018

8:56pm

5 minutes

Memo to a Self

Steven Heighton

I called my mother today and yelled and cried at her while she was helping me. I yelled emotions, not anger. Or maybe frustration and fear and annoyance. And she didn’t get mad. She was kind. She knows when I yell I’m not mad at her but feeling more than my body can handle. She knows that and says it’s okay, or I’m not taking it personally, or you can take out your anger on me. But I’m not angry. And I shouldn’t be yelling. But I am yelling and so I yell that I’m not mad. Or I yell that I love her. Or I yell that I’m afraid of dying before I get to see her again. When I yell my mother rolls a batch of date and walnut cookies. She puts me on speaker phone and forgets to tell me that my dad is in the other room with his leg up cause he can’t straighten his knee. That’s when I feel bad about the yelling. As if my dad, unexpectedly home from work, can hear how ridiculous I’m being and might think I’m an asshole. As if had I known that someone else was in the house I would have put on more of a front. That’s just as ridiculous. I don’t yell at my dad because my dad doesn’t know that I have fears of dying before I see him next.

“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 Julia on Amanda’s futon

Thursday December 28, 2018
11:48pm
5 minutes
Golden Ray of Chemo
Fawn Parker

I didn’t believe you when you said today was Thursday. I see that it is now but earlier I thought you were going out of your way to try and trick me…

I do not like to be tricked.

I must have been caught up in yesterday or seven years ago when the city summer fried all my people reading skills. Maybe it’s from all the medicine. All the weed. All the nights spent trying to quiet my dreams.

The night before last I didn’t smoke and my nightmares came back like quick sand or an overripe banana. I dreamed I was being made to fight another woman and everyone watched when I won.

I wasn’t ready for Thursday. One more day closer to seeing you or seeing me and neither feels easy.

“the grey of old age” by Julia on Amanda’s toilet

Wednesday December 27, 2017
1:48am
5 minutes
Oath
Hussain Ahmed

We were all laughing until time ran out. I don’t know why we were so surprised, we practically begged it to hurry up. Now it’s gone and we’re left kissing by the clock in case these moments are our last. You stopped sipping your whiskey. She stopped her favourite hum. The windows waited, and I stopped tonguing the rotten tooth. The silliness tiptoed around us. We couldn’t very well pretend to be fine. We were all just laughing a minute ago, laughing because where did the time go? And then we all knew where it was because it had run out and

it’s easy to feel when it does. Now it’s gone and we’re not sure if we made all the right decisions but we don’t have the luxury of going into it.

“continues scheming to win” by Sasha at Elysian

Saturday December 23, 2017
3:36pm at Elysian 5th and Burrard
5 minutes
From a Bard on the Beach program

It’s all about winning for you
Being the best of the best of the best
It’s all about competition to you
Whose got the highest score
The best lines
The searing jokes
The this the the this that that

It’s all about rising to you
And that’s easy to glorify
I did I do I did did do
But when I look closer
I see the oozing self consciousness
The fear
The smallness small small tiny smallness

It’s all about anger to you
Not even sure what the difference is anymore
Being or being angry
You dump all over all all over over over
Until it’s all red all best all small all fear

Only in distance can I see it
Up close it’s ha-ha yes yes okay um maybe sure
Up close it’s feel good
Far away it’s oh oh tastes metal tastes burned tastes cheap

It’s always been about winning for you
So hard to give a compliment
So hard to give a something something real something good

“Can I ask you somethin?” By Julia on her couch

Wednesday November 29, 2017
9:34pm
5 minutes
Cities of the Plain
Cormac McCarthy

The ask from the humming bird’s wing came quick like a home run
There was an ounce of dread in it
a trill that caused the clouds to quake…

We were alone and now we are not.
I could have told you better if I didn’t see your eyes peeling away at me. I wanted to tell you about something beautiful. I wanted to share it with someone I thought would hold it reverent. I could tell you now the version that would ease you. The thought I had and not the moment it made. Like a dog jumping on a trampoline and then nothing. Stopping. Not everything needs to be talked about. I don’t know how to unask you; untell you. I don’t know how to cover up this new hole and pray that no one notices it pulsing here.

“For real people” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday November 22, 2017
11:22pm
5 minutes
From a storefront

This is for those real real people who pop blackheads and shout at their lover who eat too much salt and chocolate and butter who fuck up and lean in and reach out. This is for those real real people who live amongst dust bunnies and dirty corners and a patch behind the toilet that never gets cleaned. This is for those real real people who watch too much Netflix and drink too much coffee who are always feeling a little bit ill. This is for those real real people who don’t know what they want but try every day to find it maybe it’s love maybe it’s safety maybe it’s a chicken roasting in the oven maybe it’s music maybe it’s fame maybe it’s that all the people around them stop complaining all the fucking time.

“Powerful, self-actualized women should feel no shame” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday November 12, 2017
9:31pm
5 minutes
Communion
Bell Hooks

One night
walking home
I felt shadow on my back

I don’t need to turn around
I know what’s there

I’m sixteen

One night
walking home
keys gripped between my fingers
I played the piano today
and that was nice

I get home and
I eat the shame

Gliding down a throat
that’s closed
Don’t ask me how that works

One night
waiting for the subway
a man in a grey coat
asked me

How much

One night

Here we are again

Tonight
I’ll walk home in the rain
I’ll consider how to use my umbrella
as a sword

“seems plausible to me” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday October 26, 2017
10:37am
5 minutes
From a quote by Susan Sontag

It’s all plausible now
Six hundred million people
Living within
10 meters of sea level
Hanging on to the edge of the cliff
As rocks drop into
Raging
Hot
Acidic
Sea
Below

It’s worse than you think

If it’s not keeping you up at night

You’re dreaming

It’s tempting

I know

Walking in my neighbourhood
Another movie poster for
An apocalypse
Bigger than the last

Displaced fear into multi-million dollar
Blockbusters

joke’s on us

I want to lessen this
I want to make it lighter

But I can’t

How many times can I ask the question
Where can we find hope

“It was a wild weekend” by Julia on her couch

Friday October 13, 2017

5:33pm

5 minutes

cnn.com

Holy balls I can’t hear out of my left ear and I am not even mad. I thought I would be devastated if I lost my hearing but I’m fine. I think that’s what happens when you get older. When the real things matter. Anyway I’m not even bragging just trying to make peace with the things that are out of my control. Been cleaning more these days. Been organizing everything I can. They say it’s best to organize things that don’t have a heart beat. Cause you can’t control anything with one but sometimes you still need to put things in their perfect order. I’m upset that Lara is sick. She won’t tell me how bad it is but I know she’s been going to the doctor’s office more and more. At first I thought she was just pregnant. That would have been a whole different jar of worms and I think it’s safe to say now that a baby would not be the solution.

“how on earth an idiot like that could be trusted” by Julia at the bus stop

Friday October 6, 2017

10:19pm

5 minutes

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou

Wally took off work early again and decided to pick up Dallas and Dax from school even though they still had two periods left. Of course the school doesn’t think to notify me since one of their “guardians” is given my permission. I don’t like him going around there trying to be the hero for two teenage boys who are desperate for their father’s time. He buys them double cheeseburgers and milkshakes while I have whole chicken thawing on the counter. I told him he can keep his privileges if he keeps his drinking under control. I really didn’t want to drag my kids through court to prove to them that their daddy is a fuck up. So far he’s been okay, but I know he’s still polishing off a 24 every two days. That may seem like a small amount compared to some, but these are my kids.

“Did you try to reply to my email about confidence?” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 27, 2017
10:12am
5 minutes
from an e-blast

Krista: I know this seminar will suit you, Jeanie. I specifically designed it with you in mind and you’re not getting any younger so I–

Jean: No I’m not getting any younger. And believe it or not, that is not one of my concerns.

Krista: Oh sweetie, of course it is. It’s everyone’s concern.

Jean: I don’t know how staying young will serve me.

Krista: It’s a figure of speech, relax.

Jean: Well you used it, and you meant it, so. I’m not interested in discussing this with you.

Krista: Fine, but all I meant was that you could use some of what I teach and you’re only running out of time–

Jean: See! Again with the absolutism! I swear to Christ you do not listen.

Krista: Jeanie. Stop this blaming behaviour and own your life. You seem mighty hostile for someone who has nothing to prove.

Jean: You’re driving me upside the wall, okay? How am I supposed to respond.

Krista: Well you could come to my seminar. Respond with your actions not your attitude.

“making a retreat into self-protective cynicism” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday September 26, 2017
9:10pm
5 minutes
Fighting the Cowardice of Cynicism
Caitlin Moran

I suppose it makes sense: refusing to see someone’s good qualities so you won’t be decimated when they let you down. Some of us know which stake to hammer. Which part below the belt hurts. I’ve never experienced no as weapon like I do with you. Your no, I suppose, and it makes sense, is shaped like a gnarled hoof. It makes it hard for you to walk. For anyone to want to get close to you. I wish you could trust me a little bit. I wish you trusted yourself enough to trust me a little bit. I carry around shivs and rope too. I know what it’s like to wait for an attack.