“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.

“astral projection, stress and depression” by Sasha in the bath


Tuesday September 12, 2017
10:42pm
5 minutes
Binaural Beats & Healing Sounds on YouTube

No one’s here to help baby
No one’s here to help

Magic mushroom toast root bake festival
Astral projection
Stress and depression
Forests of consumerism
Extra large M’s and double D WHY’s
Shaking our devices in our sister’s faces
Shaking our devices so we can feel somebody
Find a chin hair shake a leg
Take a bow and call for help
9-1-1 is just a static
9-1-1 is just a dial tone

No one’s here to help baby
No one’s here to help

Cocaine snow angels
In the ashes of our mothers
Water tastes like urine and coffee
Coffee is urine
Urine is coffee
The land’s most trusted caregivers
Are gathered in a place made of cardboard
And needles and songs
Stress and depression
Coffins under the ground layer

No one’s here to help baby
No one’s here to help

“big comfy chairs” by Sasha at her desk


Monday August 21, 2017
4:36pm
5 minutes
From an email

She’s afraid of dropping the ball so much that she holds
it up above her head at all times and her arms are
achey and tired and the muscle is ripping away from the
bone She’s afraid that they’ll see her open
flayed on the sidewalk next to the black moons of gum
chewed seven years ago chewed by a lover she dreamed about once
She sucks on her hair now that she can
now that it’s grown up
now that it’s grown out
and the edges turn hard
She wonders how long it’s been since she cried
Too long, her mother would say
You need a good cry, she’d say
She’s afraid that if she’s found out to be who she really is
Everyone will play hot potato
with her heart
Passing it round and round the circle
until it’s too hot too fast too fuck oh my God
and she smashes on the asphalt and she’s gone

“I see our history” by Sasha on her balcony


Wednesday August 2, 2017
11:33pm
5 minutes
One Nation, Indivisible in The Sun, August 2017

The moon is orange and my heart breaks
I see my future self and my present self
and it isn’t all what I imagined
A heavy push on a chest
fireflies circle the grief of the
wasteland wasteland wasteland

Fires are raging and the kids
next door play with their boogie boards
on the ash grass
Laughing and screaming and singing
and I watch them from my perch

What will the future be for them
Grey sky
Burn
Chest
Burn
What will the future be for them

“body painting” by Julia at her desk


Monday June 5, 2017
10:00am
5 minutes
A business card

The skin is smooth and ready for art. Kat slips off her robe, overrulling the knot in her throat trying to tell her to run.
“I am art”
“I am enough”

She is standing in front of a collection of new eyes. She reminds herself not to see them. Not to look directly at them.
“I am art”
“I am enough”
Kat lays herseld down on the cushions and waits. The instructor hasn’t said anything yet. No one has. Everyone watches. Nobody moves.

Finally a voice cracks in the back of the room, letting the light in. Kat hums her panic away, steady, low.
“I am art”
“I am enough”
The first brush tongues her hip skin upward into a smile

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


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

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

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

“he can sound like the rain” by Julia on her apartment’s lawn


Friday May 26, 2017
10:46pm
5 minutes
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Dr. Seuss


there wasn’t any rain but I swear that I heard it
he’s been known to sound like thunder storm;
like flood
I’ve learned to expect his water
but not all learning is love

on days when he is clear skies,
and sunglasses,
and still,
I believe him to be the calm before
and the calm before
is never
calm at all,
is it

“There is nothing here” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 25, 2017
10:08pm
5 minutes
This is It
James Broughton


I have waited for inspiration to strike
like the match of missed connections
like the booklet of nose aids on high alert
There is no force of flame, nor flicker
There is nothing here that looks like me

According to a long lost diary from my
mother’s storage locker we all gave up
on her when we believed that she was fine
Of course we didn’t think to ask further
to make sure that she was being honest
If I could defend us without seeming
defensive, I would say we didn’t want to know
the truth and so we let her smile

We gave her short hugs like they wouldn’t
be our lasts
Called her twice a month
business as usual, instead of once a week
And she thought it would be too much
to ask for more
And she wanted to ask for more.

“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!

“an advanced degree in creative writing” by Sasha on her balcony


Thursday April 26, 2017
1:19pm
5 minutes
Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert


Sitting on her bed, the woman shoves
chocolate chip cookies into her mouth
one two three four five six seven.
She barely chews, inhaling the
sweet soft hardness, exhaling
the loneliness, the fatigue,
the face and the feet.
The woman has just been accepted
to an advanced creative writing program.
Three, in fact. She tastes the imposter.
She tastes the unlovable. She tastes
the big body big story big in a world
where she is only wanted if she is
small. She tastes the failure of the
places where she has not been accepted.
She catches herself. She sweeps crumbs from
the bedspread and walks to the bathroom.

“silent as the folds of the yellow” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday April 18, 2017
7:35pm
5 minutes
Up
Magaret Atwood


I think his tiptoeing around me is louder than he believes it is.
I don’t like feeling as if he’s afraid to rock the boat for no reason.
Am I really that horrible?
Am I that much of a bear?
Lately he hasn’t been singing in the shower.
I think I broke his spirit.
He’s afraid to do anything wrong in case I might revert to the dark months.
I told him not to worry about me but he wouldn’t hear it.
Yesterday I woke up to him silently removing all the pictures from the walls.
He was nervous that I’d hurt to look at them.
He thinks a bare wall with holes in it is better to look at than a wall with art.
I don’t know how to explain to him that I am fine.
He doesn’t believe me anyway.
He thinks everything I say is a beautiful story.
He over laughs when I speak even if it’s not funny.
He brings home plastic flowers from the dollar store and sneaks them into my rain boots.
He smooths the hair on my arms in the wrong direction.

“Secret Society” by Sasha in her bed


Friday April 7, 2017
10:52pm
5 minutes
From the Quo eye palette

One foot. The other foot. One foot. The other foot. Step. Step. You can do it. You can do it. Just to the bathroom. Just to the toilet. Head heavy. Feet heavy. Eyelids heavy. One foot. The other foot. Step. You can do it. You want to be out of bed today when Sue gets home. You want to be better. You want to have dinner on the table, even if it’s something easy like a grilled cheese sandwich. One foot. The other foot. Press your palm against the wall. Deep breaths.

“their mothers will be there if needed” by Julia on H’s couch


Saturday April 1, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
Hold Me Tight
Dr. Sue Johnson


when she calls me
at night it makes my heart shake
i answer quickly
in case someone is dying
in case it’s all of us
in case it’s her
she doesn’t want to bother me
“mom, please call me whenever you want to. i don’t want to always be the one to call you.”
she tells me she knows and that’s what she’s doing- getting better at reaching me when she remembers how far away i am
she says maybe now she needs to get better at timing things
“No, you asked what i was doing and i answered ‘discussing dinner’ because that’s what i was doing. if i couldn’t answer i wouldn’t answer. please always always call me.”
right before she ‘lets me go’ she tells me her good news
and my heart shakes

“periodic assessment” by Julia on her couch


Sunday March 19, 2017
8:54pm
5 minutes
from a contract

There was a scrawny boy, from my teaching days, who used to come into my office for extra help on his map reading at recess. He was very worried that he wasn’t picking up on the navigation unit as comfortably as the other children so I worked with him as best as I could and showed him plenty of examples. He seemed to always wear that same confused face even after I felt I had made things very clear. I tried not to get frustrated that he’d come in every day to work on the unit that everyone else had figured out with relative ease. I asked him one day if he thought coming in to see me was helping him. That’s when he told me he had understood the whole time but was afraid of recess because of Tyler, who sometimes tripped him while he ran.

“periodic assessment” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday March 19, 2017
10:37am
5 minutes
Exclaim Magazine

The children will be assessed periodically in the following areas: mathematics, language, geography, biology, physics, public speaking and physical stamina. It is up to you, as their leaders, to make sure that they are ready. If they fail more than one assessment per term, they will be punished, and you will be penalized. Please do not ask for details at this present moment, as the penalization changes yearly. We have found that incentivizing the learning is highly beneficial. Our assessment success continues to increase, which is what has put our institution on the map. If you have concerns, write them on a piece of paper and set that piece of paper on fire. I don’t care for worry-warts, complainers or socialists.

“There is a pay parking garage” by Julia in her bed


Friday March 10, 2017
7:40pm
5 minutes
from an email

The other day I gathered up my courage in a ball and I threw it as far as I could. I had to see how far it would land. I was aiming for the open door. When I couldn’t hear it crashing off the sidewalk I wondered if it had gotten squashed by a car or stuck on a branch instead. I pictured it deflating slowly, as it attempted to free itself from the tangle that I had forced it into. I couldn’t help but think that maybe I didn’t have enough courage to begin with, and it wasn’t the right kind of heavy to travel without being carried by the wind. I convinced myself I had to be patient; wait until there was more courage to choose from; pick the strongest looking stuff and stick it to the weaker ones did next time.

Suddenly, I realized, my curiosity had forced my legs out into the street. Out in the street to meet courage.

“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.

“New Adventures” By Julia at Paper Crane Coffee


Wednesday February 8, 2017
1:48pm
5 minutes
from a postcard

Jackie meets me at the coffee shop bundled up in too many layers and chapped lips. She shakes off her scarf and laughs a little at the snow droplets covering the ground. She is carrying a stack of postcards that she needs to write thank you notes on. She says she’s going to mail them out today after she buys a thousand stamps. I am busy re-writing my to-do list because the first version I etched out didn’t include all the stuff I actually have to get done today. The first version was more of a dream journal than a to-do list. I have trouble with picking the right thing to prioritize. I don’t want to pick the wrong thing but I feel like I always do. Jackie is in a great mood because she was given an assignment to write for McCleans’s Magazine and is full of high fives and smiles. She asks me after I’ve breathed out heavily for the eighth time, not asking her about her day like I should have, if I’ve ever heard about ‘Important vs. Urgent’. I sigh out once more because I have heard about ‘Important vs. Urgent’ but I have obviously forgotten, again and again, and again.

“filled with feeling but generally paralyzed.” By Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday February 2, 2017
11:19pm
5 minutes
From an interview with Miranda July in LENNY letter

My fears are bigger than Maggie’s but I dont want her to know. I tell her I don’t care and she tells me that I should. I tell her that it doesnt concern me so why should I even bother and she tells me to get educated; to get it right. I lie through my teeth because the lies are little enough to pass through uninjured. I lie through my teeth because the second step after waking up is leaving the bed. Because the one after that is looking myself in the eye and agreeing that more needs to be done. I tell Maggie it doesn’t interest me because it hurts to care so much and still be rooted to the darkness.

“filled with feeling but generally paralyzed.” By Sasha at her desk


Thursday February 2, 2017
2:09pm
5 minutes
From an interview with Miranda July in LENNY letter

always
filled with feeling
but generally unsure
where to place it

so it lands
in a throat
hides behind
a shoulder blade
cuts through the
softness below
the belly
button

unsure where to
categorize
alphabetize
energize
feeling lands
where we least
expect

in the space
between this
and that
on the coffee
table below
the book
of salvador
dali

so much
is accomplished
in stillness

“Don’t carry it all” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Monday January 23, 2017 at JJ Bean
3:39pm
5 minutes
From Dear Sugar Radio: Writer’s Resist

Put it down here
at my feet where the earth
is soft put it down
here where the crocus will
bloom come April
Put all your worries
down before you sleep
or else you’ll wake
like last night
in a pool of sweat
and tears calling
for God

They talk of faith
but I talk of birch
trees and whale bones

Put that world down
sweet one
it’s giving you
ulcers and rotten teeth
tumours and that
kind of sadness
that no word
has enough
consonants for

“you are not the first” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday December 6, 2016
9:23pm
5 minutes
aware
Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry


You are not the first to waste me to
get down to the nitty-gritty and decide
it was too true for you to pass up
but too true for you to love
and since then I’ve been crafting
properly this time
the fight I would pick with you
the argument that I would mount
in my own defense
You are not the first to wonder if
there was any more wounding
you could inflict on the dead
or dying because what is the
point anyway and maybe we should
be less naive with our hearts
and stop offering the bottom half of it
up for dessert
You are not the first
if I am

“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”.

“I’m just so sad” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday November 19, 2016
12:07pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Oak St.

“I’m just so sad,” Phoebe has eyes like macaroni and cheese, deep pools of swamp. “I know you are, babe,” I say, and I wish that there was more comfort in those five words. They are just five words and words aren’t enough today. “I’m scared to live here,” she pulls the hood of her sweatshirt around her neck, cocooning. “I want to disappear.”

Inside the quietness of my ribcage, I talk to her about going to the desert and getting married, a klezmer band of lesbians singing to our love in ancient howls under a crescent moon. Inside the quietness, I whisper sounds that aren’t words that might hold her in a way English never can.

“the world is ending” by Sasha at JJ Bean


Wednesday November 9, 2016 at JJ Bean on Cambie
2:06pm
5 minutes
From a tweet


I have cried all the cries
and all the fears
endless rivers of grief
a chasm in my chest the size of an orange man

I have raged on my bed
and my body
and my love
I have lost hope

A violent collision of
faith and doubt
I’ll go listen to music tonight
eat a muffin
write my daily write

A sadness has descended
that I haven’t known

The privilege of self reflection
of whiteness
of able body
cis-gender

The privilege of a bed to rage
a body to move
a love to hold and weep and hold
six dollars for an americano and
a peach oatmeal muffin

On my walk here
I searched the eyes of people I passed
in a way that I don’t usually
with a tenderness I have been conditioned
to withhold
I searched the eyes of a pregnant woman
wearing purple
and grey
I smile

“LYING TO TELL THE TRUTH” by Sasha at Pascoe Rd.


Thursday October 20, 2016
12:49am
5 minutes
From a workshop description
Johnny MacRae


I know you’re scared shitless
crapping oceans every day eating saltine’s like
your life depends on it
(your life does depend on it)
I know that the voices in your head keep
you up at all hours
counting blessings counting sheep counting the second hand
ticking at the speed of waiting
I know you paint red and blue on your face
warrior mask smudging orange and yellow on the darkest days
I know you’ve been pulling out your eyelashes again
your eyelids naked as a newborn
naked as a piglet

“slack jawed” by Sasha in the bath


Thursday October 12, 2016
11:09pm
5 minutes
From an email

I wasn’t used to the attention
an excuse
okay
a discretion
I did fifteen things I regret
okay
starting and ending with
you
Tears fall onto a notebook page
a and e and s swell and bleed
a womb away my sister
nurses the next generation
It’s late there
My sorry will never be
enough
for the slack jaw
fuck
on the couch
in the country
My regrets bite my tongue
Assault my dreams
night after night
season after fall
driving cars off cliffs
walking topless into a family reunion
in Florida

“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.

“your hand in mine” by Julia on her bed


Saturday August 20, 2016
2:08pm
5 minutes
Heard in a song on Co-op radio

I catch myself believing I deserve better when I grab your hand in the crowded street and you pull away after only a second. I grab your hand as a gesture to show you that in this sea of people, I cling to you. I reach for you. I choose you. I remind you every chance I get that I am proud of you. That I am proud to be with you. That the touch of your skin connects me to the only things in this life that matter. And you might miss all of that if you’re not expecting to see it. If you think holding hands is something to be taken for granted. Or to be done differently, perhaps. On days like this I swim along the shoulders of other people when I think of how lonely it is to love you. How far I’ve pushed my heart into opening and how tired she is from never being cradled back. I don’t think I’m allowed to ask for more. I need so much so much so much.

“See the world” by Julia on her bed


Thursday August 18, 2016
12:01am
5 minutes
From a flyer

Ginny hasn’t left the country. Hasn’t left the city, really. Hasn’t left the space in her head that tells her it’s not safe to go outside. Ginny does’t know which pen pals have forgotten her. She doesn’t know which ones are hoping she’s alright. It’s not safe to go outside. Ginny spins the globe that uncle Andy brings her. Says the world is so big but if you hold it in your hand you feel small. Ginny lets him leave it in her room because every so often he comes by to spin it for himself. Pick a place, any place, he tells her. What kind of place should I pick? Ginny doesn’t go outside. It’s not safe to go outside. It doesn’t matter, he says. This is dreaming and dreaming doesn’t need reasons. But a place that I want to go? She asks. Sure, he says, any place that isn’t right here.

“I don’t even have kids” By Julia on her couch


Thursday August 11, 2016
10:10pm
5 minutes
a facebook post

It’s taken a lot of will power to keep my eyes open and push through. Some days last longer than others. Some days exist only to remind me of how hard it is to get anything done. And if I don’t dedicate myself to it, not every part of me shows up.
I don’t have kids yet but I know that if I did I would understand lack of sleep even better than I do now. I know that. But until then. I have this.

“Exactly!” By Julia at her dining table


Wednesday August 10, 2016
11:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the Inside house

I won’t ever fully know why
not the colour of the moon that worries me
the one that knocks me dead and vinegar
not the salty lines left lining the walls in the room where you
where you
where you don’t know me
where you don’t see what I think I would see your shoes
where you don’t recognize
me when I’m me. When I’m
not the ache in my chest when
I feel most unseen by you
not the moments of triumph that feel so
if only because the others were mercury and iron
paling in comparison
but I do know
but what I do know in this place
is that I am misery’s companion
by choice
by decision
by the map of my mother’s tears
and I unchoose myself at the speed of you

“We got a good surge” by Sasha in the Kiva


Thursday, July 21, 2016
11:14pm
5 minutes
Overhead at The Rickshaw

When you got to prison, you missed the smell of your home pillow – the one with the blue paisley design, worn from so many years of face and head and hair. You called your brother and cried and cried until your phone card ran out of money. You learned the rules, but it took time, and you goofed up enough that the guards kept their eye on you. This went against the plan to remain invisible. This went against who you always were – a well mannered wallflower whose anger was buried beneath layers and layers of fear, whose visions of knives and train tracks and fingernails only came at night, in the safety of your basement apartment bedroom.

“#BESTOFVAN” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday July 13, 2016 at Starbucks
6:55am
5 minutes
from a sign on a newspaper box

A couple of us decided we were going to sneak into the Kits pool and I was trying to work up my nerve. Casey and Alison had their trust funds to use if they got caught, but what did I have? Two pennies and a stick? A lighter filled with pocket lint? I told them I was having second thoughts and they both stood there on the sidewalk howling at the sky, trying to get me to cave. I can’t do this you guys, I said, I’m not lucky enough to pull this off. Alison rolled her eyes back in her skull. You think I have a golden horseshoe up my ass or something? I don’t know, I told her, I’m sure you could buy one if you needed to. Casey grabbed my shoulders and stared me straight in the eye. We don’t want to do this without you, she said, but we will if you’re not okay with it. But know this, you will be missing out. I felt like I was being bullied into a licking a frozen lamp post in the dead of winter.

“it would be like not listening at all” by Sasha at Simit and Chai Co.


Friday July 8, 2016 at Simit & Chai
5:15pm
5 minutes
When I Am King, Dilly Dilly
Don Cummer


lotsa hurt
this week mornings with
bowling ball lumps in dry hot
throat mornings spent
scrolling tears
streaming feet
tingling
what can i do what can i do what can i
can i do
can i
can’t i
ally alley ally
i want to choke
the fear and
ignorance
mine
yours
i am sorry for my
race and our horrible
terrible empty
fear
fear
fear grips a gun
tight like a baby
the baby watching
in her carseat
the father reaching
for a license
for a license to drive
license to shoot
license to bleed
license to break
we are breaking
we are broken
broken down
broken up and open
broken open