“He shone with Heavenly Courtesy” by Julia on the 144

Friday September 13, 2019
3:30pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I’m not asking for any kindness.
I never wanted kindness and I’m not asking for it.
Do you think I’m sitting up late at night crossing off names or putting tiny robotic checks next to the ones who opened the door for me?
I don’t need to keep track because nobody is ever doing anything out of kindness but out of fear that one day they’ll be punished somehow for not being kind. It is self-serving and I want none of it.
They talk about it like it’s some new age book, as if we’ve never considered things like this before.
How do you measure the absence of expectations? Is there a way to determine who did something without thinking that someway someday they would get their precious heavenly courtesy back?
Nobody gives away anything for free and I don’t want that kindness shining in my face like a flash-light illuminating.
There are too many awards and rewards and systems based on punitive response for there to be a thing called kindness.

“He can fix anything” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
2:04pm
5 minutes
Easter Morning
Jim Harrison

Jer is one of those guys who can fix anything. Sink dripping underneath? Jer’s got it. Car door won’t lock. Call Jer. He even knows how to fix a broken heart. When Kelly left, Jer brought Jemima a scribbler, a new pen, a pepperoni stick and a Toblerone bar. All she needed to write out all her ache, have some protein and a bit of a treat.

When I first met Jer, he wasn’t in the place he is now. He was still drinking, I guess that was a big part of it. He was a fixer for others, I guess, but not really, and certainly not for himself. It wasn’t until he was able to show up and sort out the stuff inside of him that needed fixing, no… healing, that he was really able to start helping other people… the people around him that he loved and saw him through.

“sometimes come last” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday September 5, 2019
8:03am
5 minutes
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball
Vicki Churchill

I watch the water drain from the bath, legs pulled up, hair dripping down my back. “Stay on that brink and do not concretize,” Pema writes. I close my eyes and taste the sleepy morning. Earl needs a walk, but I’m thinking about crawling back into bed, in my towel, and getting a bit more sleep. The doctor’s appointment this afternoon will be a relief. Dinner with Margot will be a relief. My mother coming to visit next month will be a relief. Earl drinks in the kitchen, splashing water onto the tile. I stand up, the water all swirled away, and see myself in the medicine cabinet mirror.

“translator, teacher” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday September 2, 2019
7:32am
5 minutes
from a bio

Mike was the first teacher I had who actually treated me like a human being, you know what I mean? Like, he valued my ideas, and how I found my way through them… to them… Not just my ideas, everyone’s. Even Amanda Ramsey, who didn’t seem to have very many. I remember the first day of class, when he said that he didn’t believe in “Mr.” this and that, we were all equals and we should call him “Mike”. “Not Michael,” he said, “my mother is the only one who can call me that.” He winked at one of the guys, like they could possibly already have an inside joke.

“and create a platform” by Sasha on her living room floor

Thursday August 29, 2019
2:02pm
5 minutes
from the Arts Council of New Westminster

Liam lost his job in November and has been looking for something, anything, since then. He had to borrow money from his brother. Ed works in tech. He loaned Liam ten thousand dollars at the same interest rate as the credit union. Liam took on some odd jobs (cleaning out a storage locker of an old professor, painting a bathroom, alphabetizing files for the old professor’s husband), and went on thirty two interviews before he landed something with a start up no one has heard of but most will know in six months, once the app takes off. Liam likes that dogs are allowed at the office, and that Misty, the German Shepherd with one eye, licks his fingers under his desk after he eats Doritos.

“She has even lost one leg” by Sasha at her counter

Sunday August 25, 2019
10:09pm
5 minutes
Fetish
Pierre Reverdy

Pam grabs Maxine, her passport, her laptop, and a Cliff bar. Standing outside in her Rolling Stones T-shirt and underwear, Maxine meows and scratches her. They watch the building burn. “Shit,” Pam says, pulling down her T-shirt, trying to cover her bum. Rudy, from the basement apartment comes over and puts his arm around Pam. She’s not into it, but doesn’t shrug away. They are losing everything, so might as well feel “in it” together.

“Nice kitty,” says Rudy. He has bad breath.

“I’m going to go back in… My photo albums… My mother’s engagement ring… My external hard drive…” Pam keeps listing things and Rudy shakes his head and keeps his arm firmly where it is.

“we should not trust the masses” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday August 15, 2019
10:02am
5 minutes
Discourses
Epictetus

“Do not trust the masses”, Domenic says, drinking his dry white wine and scratching his chin. His beard is turning grey. I haven’t seen him since I was a teenager, and he looks the same but a bit more pickley.

“I don’t, I’m just trying to – …” Domenic puts his hand on my hand, rested on the tabletop.

“You must follow your own sense, or one day you’ll wake up and you won’t know how you got to where you got to. That is not a good feeling. Take it from me.” He finishes his wine. My mother tops him up. She’s been sitting quietly across the table, watching.

“I believe that we can have our own sense, and be contributing members of society,” I look up at the starry sky.

“the only identifier” by Julia in the floor of a hotel room

Wednesday August 7, 2019
10:33pm
5 minutes
Orange Socks
Kate LeDew

it is cold in here
I
I
I
am glad I brought a sweater
the people
will
b
e
coming home soon
I have identified the
pro
b
lem

it is me and my hugged wound
laying
together as if
ol
d
frien
ds

we are In sep er able

or so they say

they
they
they

it does not compute
spelling in this
lan
gua
ge

is
hard enough already
already hard
alredy enough

e nu f f

I
I
I
have stopped asking questions because

no

body

knows

any thing
anything
any things

“Aida drank her father’s unsugared coffee” by Sasha in her bed

Sunday August 4, 2019
10:21pm
5 minutes
A Dull Yellow Presence
Mona’a Malik

Aida reaches across the table and takes a sip of her father’s unsugared coffee. It tastes like tar.

“What are you doing?” He’s back from the washroom, hands in his pockets, crease between his eyebrows deeper than when he left.

“I just wanted to – …”

“That’s for grown-ups.” He sits down and stacks his cutlery on his plate, putting the paper napkin, folded, on top.

“I’m sorry, Papa.” Aida gets that sinking feeling in her stomach and wonders when her mother will pick her up. Saturday morning breakfasts with her father were court ordered. No one checked with her.

“Aida drank her father’s unsugared coffee” by Julia laying

Sunday August 4, 2019
8:21pm
5 minutes
A Dull Yellow Presence
Mona’a Malik

Aida lays with her left eye in her palm, pulsing, pushing. Her father is across from her in his easy chair, perusing the daily flyers. That’s the only thing he enjoys reading. The last book he finished was in 2000. He doesn’t remember the title, but the year is easy to recall.

Aida doesn’t like to be gaurded, watched. She feels like her parents keep taking turns on “Aida Duty” and neither of them really want to do it. Aida clears her throat, a bit strained.

Her father leans over and passes her his cup. She takes a sip and shudders.

“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!

“found the conversation a burden to listen to” by Julia in Baden

Wednesday July 24, 2019
11:29pm
5 minutes
Lonesome Dove
Larry McMurtry

Hurley wakes up early fries a couple of eggs

Shirley’s getting twirly cause she’s got her new legs

Izzy’s feeling dizzy with her head in her hands

Lizzy’s way too busy with those chaotic plans

Hurley’s loving Shirley when she twirls from her heart

Izzy’s missing Lizzy when she plans them apart

“It Helps To Ask” by Julia in A’s bed

Tuesday July 23, 2019
11:33pm
5 minutes
ECK Wisdom on Inner Guidance
Harold Klemp

A: For alone time?

B: Yeah, I have to ask.

A: Yourself?

B: Yeah. I have to check in.

A: With yourself…

B: Because my permission matters to me.

A: Oh, okay, it’s about your permission.

B: No, MY permission.

A: That’s what I just said.

B: But the emphasis was wrong.

A: Not how I intended it, the emphasis was correct for how I intended it.

B: But you weren’t getting the full scope of what I intended.

A: Okay, you know how you need your thing for you?

B: I… yes.

A: Do you see?

B: I… yes.

“beauty care products that deliver” by Julia in Baden

Sunday July 21, 2018
10:39pm
5 minutes
Live-clean soap label

You could go in there, Lamby, and ask them to test their luxury soaps and they’ll let you! You don’t even have to tell them you have sensitive skin! I think they hope you buy something, but mostly they don’t care at ALL.

I went in there last weekend and saw a soap that had raspberry seeds inside it. For a scrub. It was so pretty. I also saw a corn on the cob face toner. No seriously, Lamby, the toner was yellow. They told me how it worked but I was in such shock I didn’t retain any of it! It was expensive too. So I asked to try it and they let me and I don’t know how they do it but having it on my face just felt right.

Everybody who works there walks around wearing lip liner and cold heart. It’s very thrilling.

“Bishop Family Bees” by Julia in J and R’s attic

Saturday July 20, 2019
12:17am
5 minutes
Honey Child Apothecary

I know about growing bees
I know about spreading honey
I know about brushing a bee away
I know that bzzzzzz growing is the wrong word bzzzz
keeping
my
lips
sealed
don’t want to let out the wrong words
wrong words get me in trouble
wrong words get the bzzzz going and no one thinks it’s the buzz word that does the damage
if that’s too on the nose
I DON’T GIVE A SHIT
I’m done with the passiveness, the persistent preocupation of politeness
This is a family bizzzness
OKAY?

“shoved me into the bathroom” by Sasha in her bed

Tuesday July 16, 2019
7:52pm
5 minutes
A Head Full OF Ghosts
Paul Tremblay

Hands around my hips
pushing me towards the open door
Is this the life
I always dreamed of?
Molson on my breath
and All Dressed chips
I wish I’d eaten something
better

We’re up against the sink
graffiti on the walls
Is this all there is?

“Why aren’t you into this?”
Who are you?
“Shit, I’m sorry…”
Down on my knees but he
pulls me up and back
and mouths and breath
and eyes and my mother
used to say that I had
a strange nose it didn’t
come from either lineage
it is all my own

Someone flushes in the
other bathroom
We laugh

“What’s your name?”

“I do love his quips.” By Julia on her couch

Monday July 15, 2019
10:05pm
5 minutes
A Working Theory Of Love
Scott Hutchins

Réal makes dinner
for June at 9:30pm
It is too late to eat
but he says it’s
because he’s
European and it’s
true but also a bit
of a challenge
June used to eat
at 5pm before Réal
walked into her life
wearing an apron
and a smart watch
He says the best
things happen at
night and to him
that means sex
and food and wine
and massage
June likes all of
those things so
she is happy to
have them even if
she still hasn’t
gotten to bed
before midnight
since she met
Réal two months
ago

“Forced Kate to go to karaoke” by Julia on L’s couch

Friday July 12, 2019
11:06pm
5 minutes
From www.grubstreet.com 

Kate doesn’t want to sing so she stays quiet
This is her usual approach

inside she knows it is because she just isn’t brave enough to try but
no one else has to know

she feigned being sick at Brett’s birthday party when Alistair suggested they go to karaoke after everyone had already gathered for dinner at Bar Nuovo

she also uses her phone as a distraction whenever possible: texts, pretend phone calls, “emergencies” or better known as “friends in crisis”

“A federal statutory holiday” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday July 6, 2019
7:51pm
5 minutes
From a Wikipedia page re: Canada day

Mona is grateful for Canada Day because it means time and a half. She doesn’t know about colonization or the traumatizing effects of fireworks on refugees from countries where there’s war. She’s ignorant to the questionable politics. She doesn’t even know how much she likes it like that. Mona stocks tampons and pads, adult diapers and lube. She wishes she could listen to music, her own music not the bullshit they play in the store, but she makes due.

“Hey Mona, how’s it goin’?” Says Jeremiah. Jeremi-ahhhh.

“Hey…” She’s holding a box of ribbed Trojans.

“Are you going down to the lake for fireworks tonight?” He looks at his high tops.

“I don’t know…” She touches her braid.

“two mirrors facing” by Julia at the studio

Monday June 24, 2019
6:59am
5 minutes
from an old vision board

I stuck a mirror in my makeup bag in case your aunt doesn’t have any mirrors,
or in case I can’t go a few days without looking at myself.
You are cool with this no electricity, no running water thing, and I am cool.
I am very cool about it. I have only thought about how I will dry my hair once, and the answer is AIR.
So that’s cool.
I have never showered in a lake before which I think I’m going to like.
Unless your aunt and her people all go down their naked together?
They’re not going to ask to shower with us are they?
Never mind, don’t answer that. I am very cool.

I also packed some pads. I’m not looking forward to having my period
on a paper plate again, so I’ll just..free-bleed..so all good.
Oh the plate? Yeah that was at a different cottage with running water and stuff
just the pipes froze over and we couldn’t use any of it.
I was bringing my blood on a plate out into the snow and burying it like a squirrel.
I don’t know if squirrels bury things like blood, but if so, we are all cool, all of us.

I wrote a note to our former selves because I’ve heard that living without
wifi for more than 24 hours really changes a person.
I wrote: You love each other, just because you can’t upload a picture of this
doesn’t mean it’s not happening!

“We’re happy to accomodate you” by Julia on her balcony

Tuesday June 18, 2019
6:23am
5 minutes
from AirBnb

towels, here, for your bodies, for your long hair, for your face, wash cloths too.
toothbrush, if you need us we’ll be baking mini quiches.
you can try them, they’re for you.

breakfast will be served in bed unless you specify otherwise. we will leave a tray for you outside your door unless you allow entry.
We wish to honour your privacy. We are most willing to accomodate you during your stay. Anything you desire.
We will not engage in sexual communication unless invited.
We will not call you afterwards unless you leave your phone number in the drop box by the front desk.

lunch is available upon request. if lunch is being eaten on the terrace, there will be a time limit.

“Get $300” by Julia on the Expo Line

Sunday June 16, 2019
9:45am
5 minutes
From a Scotiabank bus ad

Are you rich?
Yes
Are you alive?
Yes
Are you happy?
No
Are you rich?
Yes
But you’re not happy?
No
Could you be happy?
Yes
But not today while you’re rich?
No
Tomorrow?
No

Are you a wisher?
Yes
Are you a breather?
No
Are you alive?
Yes
Are you a breather?
No
Will you become one?
Yes
Will you today?
No
Tomorrow?
No

Do they pay you?
Yes
Is it enough?
Yes
Is it more than enough?
No
Is it good?
No
Is it better than nothing?
Yes
Is it everything you thought?
No

Do you dream?
No
Do you daydream?
Yes
Do you believe?
No

Are you going on a boat?
Yes
Are you going to see the world?
No
Are you going to eat shrimp cocktail?
Yes
Are you going to see a whale?
No
Are you going to watch the show?
Yes
Are you going to drink?
Yes
Are you going to find an answer?
No
Are you going to take a picture?
Yes
Are you going to remember?
No
Are you alive?
Yes
Are you rich?
No
Are you alive?
No
Are you alive?

“I now busied myself in preparations” by Julia at her desk

Thursday June 6, 2019
6:37pm
5 minutes
Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë

There was much to do. Much much around and in.
I simply would not stop my legs or my hands,
drumming my finger tips on every surface and edge.
Company was coming, as it always does, without
enough warning and I was alone, as I always am
without enough time. I had yelled for Kilner to
stay home a few moments longer but of course,
his presence was demanded elsewhere, even though
I can’t imagine what could possibly be so important
at 10AM on a Sunday. He threw on his jacket and
left in a hurry, so I believed him when he said it
was urgent, and in fact, life or death. Sidney coming
to brunch was not at all life or death although it
surely felt like it. She perpetually had her nose
turned up toward the sun, as if she had asked a
doctor friend with time to spare if she might
stitch it there for her so it never moved.
I would never go to another woman’s home and run
my finger along a baseboard. It’s the single most
offensive thing you could do. Of course, I appreciate
cleanliness too, but the difference is, I’m not a monster.

“Take it you guys are out” by Julia in her room

Wednesday June 5, 2019
10:11pm
5 minutes
from a text

I got scared when it was up to me to defend you. I didn’t know how to ask for what you needed. I thought of it though. I couldn’t stop thinking of it. I was worried you’d be angry with me or worse, her. I wanted to protect us both. I also would have rathered be with you. You and your soft skin in the bed. I could let you talk me into anything. And that could be a very bad thing.

“Many toothaches” by Julia on the 84

Monday June 3, 2019
11:16am
5 minutes
Antibioticwise.ca

I tell you I don’t trust life coaches the way I don’t trust my dentist. You might be a nice person but some people try to keep you sick because your money keeps them from worrying about getting sick themselves. When you have someone else’s sick money you can live a life of luxury. Is that what you do? And I have a feeling you’re not going to tell me yes, but I have to know: what do you get out of this work. Keep me sick and keep you from worrying or heal my sick because it heals yours too. I bet you’ll say the second one. I practically gave you the answer. I don’t hold onto anything if it might help someone else. Maybe we’re more alike than my cynicism would have me believe. Maybe you’re really out here trying to make the world a little brighter.

“All skill levels” by Julia on the 17

Saturday June 1, 2019
4:10pm
5 minutes
From a sign on the street

You want to be inclusive, right, whip your hands into a circle, knot them twice.
Everybody here holds hands.
We don’t care who you are or what “level” you think you’re at or on or what have you, but we all play on the same turf here, and that’s called Right Now.
Right Now doesn’t ask you where you’re from or if you think you’re a part of a special club. Right Now doesn’t care what you did or who you screamed at or what you wished for.
Right Now has no expectations because Right Now changes every second. Right Now knows you and your right now is changing too.
So grab a patch of palm from your neighbour from another neighbourhood and close your freaking eyes all the way to the bone.

“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…

“how will I survive without you” by Julia on her patio

Thursday May 30, 2019
8:30pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the patio across from her

my sister is picking the poetry she’ll sing at my tribute concert. she’s gotten a composer to put my words to music. it’s going to be heartbreaking and strange. I never thought anyone was going to hear what i wrote and now I’m not even there to willingly give it. my sister means well. i’m glad she’s choosing the writing out of anyone who could have free reign on my books but I never wanted this. I wasn’t secretly hoping people would see them. that sounds like a lie but it’s not. I honestly wrote most of that for me. and if someone gets hurt by what I said, how will that bring me peace? I know I felt my own shit in the moment and it didn’t change my love after I felt it. how am I supposed to explain that to them now that I’m dead?

“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?

“The emotional sensory radar of the infant” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Saturday May 18, 2019
10:01am
5 minutes
Scattered Minds
Gabor Maté M. D

smiling at him I am smiling
at him and he is smiling
at me and we are seeing now

I am sad on the inside I
put him down for a minute
I don’t want him to see my sad from the inside out
I want him to feel alive love, the process of reacting and being present

I respond to his tiny face and his tiny laugh and his
squeals

I try to heal my insides before I pick him up again It is lifelong

I want to love him but I am
diatracted by stress
I want to see him but I am looking somewhere else.
He knows
He knows me by my smell
by the impetous behind authentic smile
He knows when I am simply using the same mouth muscles to mimic a feeling and he is sad if I am sad and he is sad if I am there but not fully
This small heart
he is smarter than me
He is not yet scrambled
naive, easily fooled into a love that isn’t.

“pretty sure I came that way” by Julia on the Megabus

Tuesday May 15, 2019
10:37am
5 minutes
Overheard on the Megabus

I didn’t think of her on Sunday, Mother’s day, which would have been the day.
She was here and there but I didn’t light the candle.
She enters the dining room on any given day. She doesn’t reserve her visits for media recognized calendar celebrations.
She’s been gone for 22 years and the missing doesn’t go away. It’s not always at full volume but I feel her without trying that it sometimes helps she’s so quiet.
She tells me things I need to remember:take the pills, leave the house, ask for help, ask for belp.
She would stock my fridge cause she knew I would starve if it were ip to me.
I taste her in evey linguni noodle. In every spoon of sauce.

“Best Western Plus” by Julia on the GO bus

Thursday May 9, 2019
7:54pm
5 minutes
Best Western

Best Western
Plus good sex in a gross room
Plus funny story
Plus memories
Plus strange mattress stain
Plus cute bathroom spiders

Best Western
Plus affordable trip
Plus more weird walls
Plus a bible missing the book of Genesis
Plus chatty front desk
Plus ratty pillow cases

Best Western
Plus lucid dream
Plus the first time someone says I Love You
Plus the first time someone needs to go get ice
Plus the chair no one has a purpose for
Plus the pens they use to tattoo a heart on their ring fingers

“to inspire his team” by Julia in J’s attic

Tuesday May 7, 2019
9:41pm
5 minutes
From a text

well the first thing would be to see his team
see his team, learn their names
names learned? check
seeing team, know each one, can have conversation with any of them
about their families?
know enough about their home life?
uncheck, box currently empty
can smile?
yes, check
don’t need a family tree to smile at someone
smiling leads to inspiration
smiling leads to conversations about family
ah, okay, inspiration comea before family
see team, check, know names, check, smile, check, inspiration?
leads to
leads
okay lead by smile
no?
lead by example
be the leader
smile

“Mom had written bad checks” by Julia at her desk

Sunday April 27, 2019
9:20pm
5 minutes
What Little She Had
Doug Crandell

“Okay so we’re back together but don’t tell Mom. She’ll flip her shit and I don’t need to see that women’s shit anywhere, do you?”
Lise was screaming on the phone to her sister, walking with pace.
“Why would I tell her when she doesn’t deserve to know? Because someone who can’t keep their hands to themselves and their opinions on a need to know basis doesn’t deserve to know.”
She was making giant circles in the lobby way, not stopping to see how her yelling was being received. Why would she? She had every right to be there, pacing, having a dramatic conversation about something important to her. So what if Lionel wasn’t the most successful car salesman. So what if he didn’t see himself working up the ladder to challenge his skills. Her mother wouldn’t know love if it slapped her upside the head. Who was she to even dare open her mouth about it.

“the moon hung full” by Julia at her desk

Saturday April 27, 2019
3:31pm
5 minutes
The Wandering Jew
David Slabotsky

she was bragging as she often does
her belly drooping over her jeans
as if she had stuffed something
down there, something she was
trying to hide
her anger was hard to ignore
since she liked making it other
people’s business
it was loud
and everywhere and fascinating
and severe
this time saying what she’d
managed to swipe from the
counter when that idiot
wasn’t looking
she got a box of Oreos and a bra
that didn’t even fit her
that seemed to make her the proudest
of all things, a thing that wouldn’t
even be useful
taking things just because she could
and because it would make more of a
story
A few of them were watching from nearby
making an assessment but they didn’t
see her life story so it felt natural
to be repulsed
they didn’t know the kind of home she
grew up in or that her first mother
didn’t want her very much

“becomes a junkyard beast” by Julia at her desk

Friday April 26, 2019
6:30am
5 minutes
Loving You Burns Like Shingles
Terri Kirby Erickson

In the swelter of August’s last days, Reid and Elliot bike their two speeds down to the lake.
Sirra and Jamie are already there, waiting.
Sirra is holding a blue bandanna, smudged with grease and soot.
Jamie isn’t looking up, and Reid starts to panic.
Elliot approaches slowly, worried about Reid who doesn’t usually show signs of fear.
Sirra passes the bandanna to Elliot, and there is a collective knowing.
Lusechee is gone.
Jamie start to sob, shoulders heaving, crumbling, heaving.
Sirra puts a hand out but nobody takes it.

“I still can’t see” by Julia on her bathroom floor

Thursday April 25, 2019
9:13pm
5 minutes
The Black Man Speaks
Langston Hughes

We got a professional to come in and I still can’t see my face in the mirror. It’s speculated to be a ghost situation. These are not my words but the professional’s. She thinks because I used to be able to see a reflection that there’s a ghost living in the mirror now. I’m telling her, maybe there’s something in me. And she says, yes like a ghost. And I’m thinking, no, more like a brick. Not a brick growing roses in the pit of my stomach. But a brick blocking everything in there from getting enough sun. Light is needed for a reflection. The professional doesn’t answer cause she’s tapping the pencil to her teeth and it looks like she’s busy making a clink sound. Clink clink. I think, she pulls it away slowly, you might be haunted by a ghost of your past self and you can’t see yourself because you don’t recognize someone so different.

“because they don’t realize” by Julia at W and B’s table

Saturday April 20, 2019
8:57pm
5 minutes
Real Roger
Harold Ober

They’ll come home
Late
Shuffle the key in the door
and shush the boots crashing into each other

Shhh shhh
Go to sleep boots

They’ll fumble with the key house and the key ring and the key to the universe
At this hour, the key is water
They’ll fumble with the water
Pour it into a cup with the lights off

Shhh shhh this is gentle

And spill most of it onto the floor
They’ll sop up the accident
the almost
the not quite
Let the fridge door slam by mistake
They’ll tiptoe into the living room
remove their coat, floor,
bag, couch,
scarf, couch,
pants, floor

They’ll creak along the dead spots of hardwood and shift their bones around

Shhh shhhh almost

“the best part of her life” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday April 17, 2019
9:02pm
5 minutes
The Politician
Patrick White

The best part of Syd’s life was the three weeks in the summer she spent at the lake. She’d overlap with her brother and his family for the first few days and then they’d head back to the city. Richard, her old mutt rescue, loved their time at the lake, too. They’d fall into an easy rhythm – rising with the birds and sun, going for a short walk with a mug of coffee in hand, a swim, some food, another walk, reading on the deck, another swim, some food… The summer after the divorce, the first time she came to the lake without Henry, she thought she might get lonely so invited different friends up on weekends, but now she cherishes these slow easy days, following her nose, drinking in the sunshine.

“pulling its guts out” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday April 16, 2019
12:19pm
5 minutes
Identify Hunt
Elaine Bougie

“I need fries. Right now. And mayo. Fries and mayo. Right now.” The server (tall, tattooed, thin-lipped), nods and walks away. “And a gin martini. Dirty,” she calls after him.

Jane slumps on her bar stool. It’s only Tuesday. Jesus Christ. Her feet hurt. Her skirt is too tight around the waist. Rebecca was going to meet her here but texted to say that she has a migraine and needs to go straight home. Lies. Jane knows that Rebecca uses her migraines as an excuse when she’s sleeping with someone knew. Migraine, my ass. Since Marnie had the twins five months ago she’s never able to meet, so Jane doesn’t even bother to text her anymore. It used to be the three of them, Tuesdays and Thursdays, drinking their stress away, laughing into the wee hours.

“I was supposed to have the afternoon off” by Julia at her desk

Saturday April 13, 2019
8:02pm
5 minutes
Truckin’
Ken Mitchell

We’ve been burning the midnight oil! It is the right kind of burning.
The burning out part is coming, surely, and if it comes in the afternoon, we will take it off, let the smoke rise, and take a nap.

This is trying to be something with too many metaphors. What do you call that anyway, a poem?

We’ve been working on our RELATIONSHIP. We’re not up watching TV, I’ll tell you what. Since B has come back from his work trip in Nevada, he’s been saying, no one is safe, not even us. Between you and I, I think he caught a bug, but I love the man, I’ll tell you, so I’m willing to put the long hours in if that’s what he needs! Even if it’s a bit strange. I mean, what’s he worried about? Me leaving in the middle of the night if we’re not up the whole time discussing our needs?
B never needed anything before. I find it refreshing!

“You would hide your bitten nails under the table” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday April 12, 2019
8:46pm
5 minutes
The Intellectual
Benny Anderson

You would hide your bitten nails under the table. That’s what you’d do. You should’ve sprung for a manicure. Can’t remember the last time you did that. One of those places called “Chic Nails” or something, with TVs on the wall and so many tiny bottles to choose from. Flushing forty bucks into the toilet, but whatever. Lots of guys like that. Groomed nails. Whatever. You look at your hands and you see your childhood, your bad haircut and your ill-fitting jeans, cuffs rolled up. You have child hands. Drove your mother crazy, how you bit your nails. She tried everything. Told you she’d give you a dollar for every week you went without biting. “It’s nasty, Viv,” she’d say. You’re nasty, Viv. Why’d you say yes to this date anyway? He probably likes fishing. He probably has a hairy neck. He probably has pepperoni nipples.

“under his dark eye-lids” by Julia at her desk

Thursday April 11, 2019
10:23pm
5 minutes
Faces Of The Sun-Man
Rienzi Crusz

He’s staying up late again eating stale Cheetos cause somehow that makes him feel better. He is bothering himself and it’s punishment, maybe for letting himself get this alone. Loneliness is worse when you hate yourself on top of it.

The Cheetos in the bag turn his fingers fuzzy. He is careful not to smear them on any of the furniture. She wouldn’t let him hear the end of it. Too bad she’ll never know one way or the other what he’s up to since she broke his heart into a shape that no longer fits inside his chest.

He thinks about wiping them underneath him, just to see. And maybe to spite her. Who buys a white couch anyway? Stupid fucking white couch. This is a place where liars sit, he thinks to himself. This is where liars pretend they’re going to be just fine.

“good-luck puppet” by Sasha at her desk

Monday April 8, 2019
6:41pm
5 minutes
Fetish
Pierre Reverdy

“Good luck,” you say, brushing my hair out of my eyes.

“Thanks,” I pull back a little. You grimace. “Thanks,” I say again, and I mean it this time. I really do.

“Are you nervous?” I want you to go and find your place in the stands. I don’t have time for this. I need to warm up.

“A little. Not really… I need to – ” I see Alisha already on the field doing drills. “I need to start – ”

“I know. I’ll go. I’m sorry.” You put your hands in your pockets. “Have a good game.”

You lean in to kiss me and I lean in to hug you and you end up kissing above my head.

“good-luck puppet” by Julia on L’s couch

Monday April 8, 2019
2:21pm
5 minutes
Fetish
Pierre Reverdy

Meda says I’m not allowed to carry her around anymore. Says the face is chewed off too rough and it’s scaring the cat. I tell Meda that the cat does not get a say in this.
“You’ll give her nightmares,” She tells me, “don’t you care about that?”

“Oh I’m sorry does the cat find herself screaming in the middle of the night, unable to get a single thing done the next day, Meda? Does she get behind on all of her chores, Meda, all of her living?”

I realize I am yelling now and the good-luck puppet appears to disintegrate further with each decibel. Meda isn’t looking at me.

“I am not trying to be cruel about the cat, Meda, I’m really not. I don’t want her to suffer. Much. “

“The room is dingy” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday April 7, 2019
9:35pm
5 minutes
When She Leaves Me
James Wyatt, JR.

The room isn’t exactly dingy, but it’s nothing fancy. You starfish on the bed and sigh. I check out the bathroom. I start running a bath. I don’t have tub in my studio apartment. It almost deterred me but then I remembered my budget and how I promised myself I’d finish my novel this year and the more I paid in rent the less I could write because I’d have to work at the bar and good grief am I really forty two years old and pouring pitchers of beer…

“Shall I join you?” You call from the bed.

“If you’d like!” I call back.

“What would you like?” You say, appearing in the doorway.

“The room is dingy” by Julia on her couch

Sunday April 7, 2019
8:49pm
5 minutes
When She Leaves Me
James Wyatt, JR.

They sat there on the curb
him, in his own piss, her holding blood. Where could they go at this desperate in the morning. He shivers.

“If we go back now, we’re fucked”

“Nobody is going back. Nobody is even talking about it, do you hear me? “

“I said ‘if.’ To remind us that we could go back and we’re not.”

“I can’t do this by myself.”

“I’m not going. “

She pushes open the door to the room. It stays open, falls off the track.

“Nice”

“Throw your bag over to keep it shut.”
She coughs.
“We’re fucked.”

“‘small healings’ take place every day” by Julia in her couch

Wednesday April 3, 2019
8:29pm
5 minutes
The Human Elements of Psychotherapy
David N. Elkins

Earlier there was a chance to take the regular route home (a shortcut I had found a few years earlier to maximize the usage of my time), and a fork in the rode that would lead me to the water. I almost went the usual route, the reliable path, the pace I had already established. But something (water) caught my attention. It had “been a minute” since I had visited (a phrase my students taught me. ‘A minute’ could mean a week, a year, a while. All very fascinating) and I was more drawn then decided. I saw all of the neon shorts running and it seemed like a good idea even though it would add 4-6 minutes to my commute home, depending on the abundance of runners, and other stoppable fixtures in nature. Immediately I was drawn into a labyrinth. Upon my exit I saw a seal up close. Wild!

“My brother finds out this Friday” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday April 2, 2019
9:11pm
5 minutes
From an email

Is it better to assume than to make an ass out of myself? Don’t answer that. I’m nervous. I get chatty when I’m nervous. I mean, common problem. Are you writing this down? I just said I was nervous. Really know how to make a speaker feel listened to. Please don’t write this. I don’t represent myself well on paper. I’m often misunderstood. Not in a whiny way. Out of context. People can’t formulate their own opinions anymore because there’s not enough data. Things are being hidden away, we’re getting tricked, we’re falling…falling for all of it…

You know people will believe what is being fed to them especially when it’s not shoved down their throats. I don’t blame them. It’s quite logical. More efficient if you think about it.

“concern also has been expressed” by Julia at the bus stop

Friday March 29, 2019
6:25pm
5 minutes
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
Sarah J. Buckley

I made a scene at dinner. Call me premenstrual, or incapable of having a nice night out, or insensitive to the needs of the room. Merel has said that about me before. She has said “read the room” and I think she means like a book. So does that mean let the book tell me what I’m experiencing? Am I not supposed to draw conclusions?

Someone asked a specific question and my face turned hot and my eyes filled up and my voice got loud. I don’t know that I was entirely inappropriate, all of us casually at the Cactus Club for happy hour. I am not happy! But the rest of them turned very small. I didn’t want small I wanted bigness. I wanted a fight or a debate or a hug or something.

I am most hurt by silence. By the fear I’ll go off the handle. One person agreed with me. And one person probably now thinks I’m the devil.

Merel says I shouldn’t make assumptions about the intentions of others. But I read the room and I still have to decide if I like it or not, don’t I? Merel would tell me to breathe before thinking anything at all.