“You will be very welcome” by Julia at her desk

Sunday March 15, 2020
12:26pm
5 minutes
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum

Here in our home we have a pull-out couch for visitors who need to rest their bones.
We are sorry that it’s old, but it does the trick, and should you need it, you won’t notice minor details like that.
Our cooking skills will make you forget you were tired, and if your muscles ache, Bunny has been going to school for massage therapy ever since her friend Mrs. Wang told her she had “healing hands”. Bunny always takes notes of advice like this seriously, and as her primary recipient for practice and development I can attest to the truth of Mrs. Wang’s insights. Bunny has always been able to find the places in my back that need rearranging or light touch and energy. Our guests will find themselves with the luxury of this extensive care. If one chooses not to partake in the massage therapy portion of our offerings, Bunny and her magic fingers, of course, will not be offended because she is also practicing the art of not taking anything personally.
If any one should require more information on our balcony garden, they can direct their questions to me as I’m the one with the green thumb. Guests can expect to enjoy fresh parsley, rosemary, tomatoes, basil, and chives. Guests can also opt out of any additional meals prepared if they are not in the mood for what we have. No questions asked.

“but what disturbed that idea” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday March 14, 2020
3:02pm
5 minutes
The War of the Worlds
H. G. Wells

It’s my first time ringing the bell and Marla makes a silly face and Goddamnit I hope I don’t laugh. Don’t laugh! Don’t laugh! DON’T LAUGH! But you say this enough, and you say it with an Irish accent, and then of course… you laugh. Shit. I want to ring the bell all serious and true and committed and professional, like I really am the grown up that has a job that pays seventeen dollars an hour (WHEEEE!) and where there are incentives and bells get rung and goals get achieved. Don’t laugh! Shit. Marla will be the death of me. I wonder what the spot behind her right ear smells like. I wonder what she wears to bed. I wonder what she eats when no one is looking and how she does it, like, does she use her finger, or a sharp knife?

“On the dank and dirty ground.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 10, 2020
3:51pm
5 minutes
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare

On the dank and dirty ground, you see a shiny penny. You pick it up. You turn it over and over in your hand. You’ve heard stories about these copper discs, how they were once used to buy things like candy and newspapers. Your father was once standing on a crowded subway platform and he looked up, smiling, thinking of a funny video he’d seen earlier that day, shared with him by you, of all people, and someone else on that crowded subway platform had decided to throw a penny in the air, and it hit your father right on his left front tooth and that tooth chipped, the small bony piece flying up and then down, never to be seen again. You love your father’s strange tooth, now mended, but the shadow of the crack visible in bright light.

“You are something like” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
7:16
5 minutes
Earthly Love
Nathaniel Perry

Robbie and I would talk while our mother’s ran the fundraising garage sale at the school. He looked like a cherub – round cheeks, blonde ringlets, big loonie eyes. Sweatpants with elastics around the ankles. Who cares about fashion when you’ve got that smile, that charm. Who cares about anything. Always a goner for the art of conversation. He made me laugh. Rolling change, trading stories, touching sneaker toes. Robbie. I never thought about him in any real special way until I ran into Tara out of the blue, who I hadn’t seen in years. She was babysitting my neighbour, Freddie. Tara somehow got to talking about boys (of course) and said that she had a huge love-on for this guy Robbie and then I jokingly said “Robbie Jenkins?” And she said, “Correct!”

“We try in a polite and partly exhausted way” by Sasha on her couch

Monday February 24, 2020
9:52pm
5 mintues
Gooseberry Marsh
Gretchen Legler

Your stomach hurts? Well, have you had a snack? Here, I’ll make you a snack. Hummus and cucumber? Cheese and crackers? What would you like? What do you feel like? What about a cup of tea? Would you like a cup of tea? Is it an allergic reaction? Do you think you ate something that didn’t agree? Could be food poisoning? Do you know the symptoms of food poisoning? How are your stools? Have you called Dr. Gordon? I mean we don’t want to make a fuss… but, maybe it would be a good idea to call Dr. Gordon? The rash is spreading quite quickly. I don’t want you to worry, but you’re turning a strange shade of… But, Dr. Gordon has been our doctor since you were a kid, since you were – … Oh. Okay. Well, I mean – … What did you say? What did you tell her? Why don’t you just have a snack. You probably haven’t eaten since breakfast. Maybe you ought to lay off sushi for awhile. Who knows what kinds of bacteria live on that raw fish.

“At times they cast themselves” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, February 21, 2020
2:34pm
5 minutes
My Love Feeds the Crows
Mark Sullivan

Gus used to laugh when we sang off tune on purpose. See, everyone in the family has perfect pitch. Singing off tune took great effort. Kelly’s brows would furrow, she was trying so hard to stay off tune. Even when he was exhausted, coming off a night shift, to recovering from a flu, if my sisters and I sang off tune, it was only a matter of minutes before Gus had tears rolling down his cheeks. We could see his big old tonsils, he laughed with such a wide open mouth. Something Latin always really did him in, must’ve been the contrast to how we normally sang the songs of his childhood.

“Caley pushed her sandy brown hair” by Julia in the fishbowl

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
3:37pm
5 minutes
A Private Wild
Laurel Nakanishi

Ever since Magda told her that if she swallowed too much of her hair it would form a big ugly glob in her stomach that would start stealing the nutrients from anything that she fed herself, Caley was trying desperately to stop eating it. She sometimes heard Magda growling, or howling at night when she was supposed to be fast asleep. Caley didn’t want Magda to know she would spy on her and secretly believed her to be some wild wolf woman from another time. Or land.
She can’t remember know why she started putting her blonde braid in her mouth. Surely, Magda told her once, a handsomely paid and dressed person would one day be employed to help her with that. It was nice having someone tell Caley about the future and what to expect. Everyone knows her own mother couldn’t be bothered to give Caley the time of day. Once, Caley almost choked on her ponytail and her mother, reading a magazine, simply glanced up.

“In the moonstruck dusk” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday February 17, 2020
7:02am
5 minutes
Wolf OR-7
Natalie Diaz

We are the only souls up for miles, or at least that’s what it feels like. You are riding a very large horse named Bailey and I’m laughing because I didn’t know that you knew how to ride horses. You’d taken her from her stall with such tender conviction. I thought we were going for a walk. I know that your father had been a rancher before his accident, but I thought that happened (he fell from the roof of the barn and lost his right leg) and I thought you had left when you were little, like, before you could walk. Three crows circle high overhead in the moonstruck dusk. Who was I to think we were the only souls up for miles.

“My new bedroom was an old kitchen.” By Julia on her couch

Saturday February 15, 2020
7:09pm
5 minutes
Waxy
Camilla Grudova

If you count the summers we went strawberry picking and made milkshakes you could say we had a nice childhood. If you count the times we got sent to our rooms without dinner you might say the opposite.
The one who gave birth to me wasn’t very nice. I learned later that nice was all I ever wanted and she wasn’t that. She hated me and I hated her and everyone knew it but nobody stepped in to do anything about it.
I might have loved my stepdad or the one after him if they would have. I might have known that it wasn’t some kind of divine punishment.
They didn’t know how to handle me let alone a new baby on the spectrum who would grow to run wild like a huskey anytime we left the door unwatched.
I wish I had the same tendency.

“My new bedroom was an old kitchen.” By Sasha in the living room

Saturday February 15, 2020
12:41pm
5 minutes
Waxy
Camilla Grudova

Hilary brags that her new bedroom was the old kitchen like that’s something to be proud of. She’s got one of those dumb beautiful noses that turns up a bit. I wonder if she waxes her nostrils, I mean I don’t see any hair, boogers – nothing. Hilary says she’s going to paint the walls white, what a boring choice, she says that she can’t sleep in a room with yellow walls. I don’t mean to make a joke about insomnia. That shit is real. Hilary has insomnia. Once, she didn’t sleep for thirteen days in a row. That’s when she thought about ending it all, writing a note to Fredrick and Liza, and leaving food out for Silly Anne. When she finally slept, she slept for twenty seven hours, the longest sleep she’d ever had. Then, that’s all she could talk about.

“Yep, thinks Frank,” by juli on her couch

Sunday February 9, 2020
9:39pm
5 minutes
Nothing Like It Was
Mark Wagstaff

He’s bounding around the corner without eyes, eyes squeezed shut, not seeing. it’s his favourite trick, seeing without seeing. he is running full force lime a wrecking ball, no remorse, no consideration. Frank thinks this is hilarious. He thinks it’s incredible or people will say it is after they see him do it, after they see him make a perfect turn without being able to see. Yep, thinks Frank, they’ll all wonder at me then. They’ll all come leaps and clicks to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth! Frank would tell them he could see. He could see everything that was in front of him and nothing was in the way. It would inspire millions. It would reach beyond everyone’s wildest dreams.
This is his favourite part: this reveal of perfect imperfection; showing what the inner eye looks like when it is not afraid.

“One of my friends used to work at” by Sasha in the kitchen

Saturday February 8, 2020
5:09pm
5 minutes
Candy Cap Magic
Jocelyn Kuang

Selina used to work at the Shoppers on Woodbine. She would tell us when Mr. Finklel bought laxatives, or George Haliburton’s stepmom bought Slimfast, or when Joaquin and David bought extra large condoms. Once, she even caught a shoplifter. Ironic, but that’s another story for another time. She sprayed bug spray in the thief’s eyes and screamed at the top of her lungs. The police came and everything. She said that one of the officers, the hot one, was checking out her boobs. Selina was the eyes on the ground, siphoning information to the rest of us and getting us high on the tantalizing mundanity of maxi pads and extra strength Tylenol. When Angelica thought she might be pregnant, Selina hid a pregnancy test in her winter coat and brought it her at school. She peed on the stick in the teacher’s bathroom, with all of us in there too, watching.

“Trust the face of expansion” by Sasha on the living room floor

Wednesday February 5, 2020
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Power Of Intention
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Trust the face of expansion
Trust the open mouth of a new way portal taking you
back to yourself
back to the archangel who brought your spirit into
physical form
who told you riddle and
stuck a finger in your ear
and made you laugh until
you’re teeth ached like
ice cream
and chalkboards

Trust the signs
on the carpet in the strange hotel
that smells like bubble gum and has a rooftop
pool open all hours where no one has ever drowned
where you drink the mini bar pre mixed cocktails
and eat the small packet of nuts
and consider masturbation
but braid your hair instead

Trust the gas station attendant
who tells you to never chase a tornado
who gives you the best beef jerky you’ve ever had
who runs your credit card three times
and each time it’s declined
winks as though someone
might have your back

“picking mushrooms at the edge” by Julia in the fishbowl

Tuesday February 4, 2020
11:04am
5 minutes
What Kind Of Times Are These
Adrienne Rich

Manny and I go foraging and Rutabaga lunges ahead of us
we take hemp bags and sticky tape to seal them off

When Rutabaga parks herself along the roots of the chestnut trees
we take a small sip of our camomile tea and bend down

The earth is cool and damp and Rutabaga coats herself in it
Manny is humming under his breath and I whisper the words left out

Quando Quando Quando Quando…

We are forest people now and we sip espresso standing up
while Rutabaga makes friends with the Macellaio’s dog

Together they sing out and passersby laugh at their duet

Manny in the woods and I with our backpacks carry every
mushroom friend we make

“The day care lies at the base of an oak tree” By Sasha on the couch

Monday January 27, 2020
11:09am
5 minutes
Gods at Play
Susanne Antonetta
I wish I believed in God or grace or the unbearable lightness of being.
I wish I knew the twelve times table and how to build an IKEA bookshelf and how to care for an orchid.
I wish I was a Sagittarius and had a thicker head of hair and trusted more people.
I wish I wasn’t so stubborn and cranky and had less dry skin.
I wish I called my mother more when she was still alive and told her what I’d made for dinner and thanked her for teaching me how to cook for myself.
I wish I’d told Winona that I’d loved her and that I always would and that thirty five years later I’d still jerk off to the thought of her in her school uniform chewing gum.
I wish I read the newspaper and would have the guts to cancel my subscription it just becomes fire starter and who needs to pay so much for that.
I wish that I understood politics and plumbing and women.
I wish I was a homeowner and had been to the Grand Canyon and that I actually liked Kanye West’s music.
I wish that I didn’t want to keep everything sentimental and that I didn’t cry when the Leafs won and that my mother was still here to bring me her pecan granola.

“Thanks to electricity” by Sasha in her living room

Wednesday January 22, 2020
10:16am
5 minutes
World At Dawn
Diane Ackerman

Anna could move things with her mind. I didn’t believe it until I saw her do it. We were on the screened in porch. It was August. Hot into the night, we were all in bathing suits and shorts, skin sticking to the wicker chairs, wicker tattooing shapes onto the back of our thighs. It was Mary, Anna, Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s mother, Anita, Anita’s girlfriend, Frankie, and I. It was a third year we’d all gone up to the lake, but the first that Frankie was there. Anita and Frankie were together the year before, but it was too soon for her to come. Anna had told us years earlier about her “special powers” but we’d all scoffed and poked her ribs, and told her to stop being an idiot. “I could move that popsicle stick just with my thoughts,” Anna said, having just finished her creamsicle. Mary and I exchanged sceptical looks. Frankie said, “Please do!” And took a swig of her rum and Diet Coke.

“Once, two women hiked a volcano,” by Julia on her bed

Saturday January 18, 2020
8:26pm
5 minutes
Lava
Danusha Lameris

Okay you’re not going to believe it but we did it.
We packed light bags, made sure everything we brought could be used for at least 3 things. I’m talking scarf=pillow=warmth=shade. We planned it out, we mapped it out. We knew every divot, every crevice, every turn. And we could do it with our eyes closed. Bobbie wasn’t as afraid as I was. It was her idea to map it out. I’ll admit, some of it, I just let her take the reigns on and didn’t ask any questions. I should mention that that’s an important aspect. It’s not always the pack, or the prep. It’s the trust. I never once doubted her. She never once doubted me. I was honest about the stuff I felt unsure of, but there were things I managed and she accepted. My dad’s a shoe-salesman. I knew exactly what kind of boots and how long we had to work them in. I knew how much food we’d realistically need. The drive, though? That was something we each had in equal measure.

“My neighbourhood in Upstate New York” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday January 17, 2020
5:21pm
5 minutes
Waiting for the Coywolf
Devin Murphy

When I’m looking at all the faces, mewing and meowing, I’m overwhelmed. I want them all. I have to choose one. Choose one, Teri. I don’t say this out loud, at least I don’t think I do. I say it inside my mind to myself, where most of the Talking happens. Gulliver told me to get a cat several years ago. I ignored him. He told me he thought it might help with the night sweats and the sadness. I told him to go fuck himself. Aw, Gull. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. A fat tabby catches my eye, but then I see that she’s a senior and I worry about her dying weeks after loving her and I don’t think I could take that. I need someone younger. Someone more spry and resilient. No one diabetic. No one who requires medication.

“I find the result” by Sasha in her living room

Thursday January 16, 2020
9:00 am
5 minutes
From a quote by Mark Twain

I find the results under hydro bills and newspaper clippings on your desk. I don’t know why I’m there, going through your stuff, in your office. Something keeps compelling me to go in there. Read the inscriptions of your books. Sniff your strange bottles of tinctures and brews. Today is the first time that I’ve gone through your desk drawers. More disorganized than I’d guessed, especially the third one down. So much random crap… a baseball, a fountain pen, postcards from places you’ve never been… The top of the desk is more organized, but there’s bills and stuff. And then. The results. You must’ve asked for a copy from the doctor. Make it real. Return to it again and again. Turn the paper over in your hands. Taste the trueness of it. Lick a corner. Turn it upside down.

“What about his own sex life?” By Sasha on her couch

Sunday January 12, 2020
7:42am
5 minutes
Elbowing The Seducer
T. Gertler

Beth lost her sex drive when she lost her pubic hair, sometime in 2016. Glenn has resolved himself, and no long asks via a gentle pawing at her back when they get in to bed after Friday nights at the Cineplex. Sometimes they kiss, but even that has dwindled. Beth tries not to feel badly about it – she and Glenn had a lot of sex when they first met, less sex after they got married, less sex when they had the twins, more sex when the twins started school, less sex when they left for college… you get the idea. Like everything in a twenty three year relationship, there are changing tides, ebbs and flows. When she stopped wanting to have sex, four years ago, she felt awful, wondering if there was something clinically wrong with her. She asked Dr. Reid, who said, “Completely normal. Would you like some assistance?” At first Beth thought, yes, she would.

“The insufferable arrogance of humanity” by Sasha on her couch

Friday January 10, 2020
8:01am
5 minutes
Big Picture
A. Whitney Brown

Remember when I looked you in the eye and told you you were everything? Remember when I looked you in the eye and told you you were everything I wanted?Forget about a book deal forget about a play on a big stage with lots of eyes on it forget about a bakery, a restaurant, a food truck, sharing the nourishment of my heart with the world. Forget about activism and radio shows. Forget about a yard full of chickens and kids. Forget about all of that because you, you are the pearl at the top of the mountain buried in the moss and ice found with fingers that know the way home. Remember when I looked you in the eye and told you I was leaving because you being everything isn’t enough. You being everything is only the beginning but it’s not the end and the end is here and that is it’s own pregnant beginning. Funny how things unravel when you think you know.

“brought their wives and children” by Julia in Baden

Wednesday January 1, 2020
12:07am
5 minutes
The Trial of Louis Riel
George R.D. Goulet

lingering behind the red door
Dottie clutches a tattered handkerchief to her mouth to keep from crying out

the demons were in there, shaking

Dottie isn’t finding the deeper cause but knows she needs them gone

like that time she was drugged at the bar, an unmarked capsule fizzing in her drink, and a tiny girl suffering, needing her

She looked herself in the mirror and said it over and over again, rebuking, encouraging-
“You must” she said, “you must. You Must.”

“They did almost everything wrong” by Julia on Howland

Sunday December 29, 2019
12:04am
5 minutes
The Body
Bill Bryson

aunt judy waited at the foot of the driveway for the consistent mist, the blanket of wet to stop. She didn’t have an umbrella. aunt jude hated carrying around umbrellas. She didn’t get out of her car at first and then it was too long and she got self conscious. So she stood outside. And her hair plastered to her cheeks and forehead. And the tip of her nose held one single drop, hanging there, swaying in the breeze.

“They all would be knocking back a few” by Julia on Howland

Saturday December 28, 2019
11:06pm
5 minutes
The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe

They would be on their third or fourth beer by now,
knocking them back on the hour to keep up with the clock.

I know they would be waiting for the “girls” to arrive before they started playing the game. Better to have an audience. Helps with the ego. A little friendly competition. Someone to see you win gracefully. Someone to watch you hand another guy’s ass to him without it becoming a thing.

By the 6th beer they’d be showing everyone their choreography from Ker’s wedding.

“Timing’s everything.” by Julia in her office

Thursday December 19, 2019
3:50pm
5 minutes
Snowflake
William Baer

If you sit there long enough the right people will come by
I don’t know if that’s the way it always works
but that was my today…

So I’m sitting there, minding my own business, writing out some things with the hope of manifestation, and along comes Pauly.

He’s on his way home or so it looks like, but he stops directly in front of my door. Okay I need to scratch something and reverse it. The manifesting part kind of needs to be revisited. So I’m not going to tell you what I was writing, but I will tell you that because I was writing it, that’s why Pauly came along.
It wasn’t about him necessarily, but he was the one who gave me the idea to write it. So this manifestation thing appears to be working for any of you cynics outs there, reading “You There, Behind Your Screens!”

So Pauly came by and I learned a couple more things about him. It was subtly. Nuanced. For instance. I now know he is a film buff. And a bit of a nerd.

“The bit about the doorbell” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday October 19, 2019
9:13am
5 minutes
Someday Is Today
Alethea Black

The doorbell rings and Ange stops in her tracks. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. Fe wasn’t supposed to arrive until this afternoon. “I’ll be right there!” She calls, running up the stairs and shutting the bedroom door.

Fe is on her phone, talking in Spanish. Ange always says she’s going to learn, but the Duolingo app on her phone goes unopened for the most part.

”What language do you dream in?” Ange asked Fe one of their first morning’s together.

Fe thought about it for awhile. “I’m not sure,” she eventually replied, picking sleep out of the corners of her eyes.

”It’s probably Spanish. I think I read once that we dream in our mother tongues.”

As she opens the door, Ange asks, “Why don’t you have your key?”

Fe cocks her head and glares at her. She’s cut her hair.

“The phone doesn’t ring” by Julia at her desk

Friday October 18, 2019
9:12am
5 minutes
Low Noon
Jim Ralston

When we took the phone of the hook we realized we liked it better just us three.
Bobbi cried less. I think it’s because she didn’t feel like we were going to
leave her to answer somebody else’s call. It should have always been this way
but when the phone rings, it’s another agonizing reminder that there isn’t
enough time in the day to keep up with everything being thrown at us. And
answering is sometimes the only thing we can control in a sea of chaos that
goes around buzzing whether we want it to or not.

And then it was quiet. Alistair finished his will and Bobbi napped in his
arms. We were afraid of this infinite reminder that one day we
would no longer hear his sound. How terrifying it is to think of your family
losing one member of its voice. Again, to things we can’t control no matter
how hard we tried.

The phone doesn’t ring now. We can connect it later if we want, but for today
while both Bobbi and Alistair are breathing, we don’t even think about what
we might have missed.

“Light like sugar cane.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Oct 17, 2019
11:11am
Daybreak

Gerry Lafemina

Light like sugar cane through the kitchen window and you’re wild with belief, whirling dervish of possible outcomes. You dream of rivers and oceans over and over, research water metaphors, read poetry written by women who came before their time. You meditate on the round stone in the park garden, grown over since summer’s ripe peach, sun is still here though, sun is still here. You were once groped by a man on a crowded train, ass and vulva, rubbed top to bottom, or bottom to top depending on who is telling the tale. You said nothing. This haunts you more than the time you cheated on the first man you actually loved, more than stealing fifty dollars from your grandmother’s handbag, more than lying to your friend about why you couldn’t make his birthday dinner (a new beau who turned out to be a sour stale egg, barf barf barf). You looked the groper in the eye, though, that’s one wee bit of action you took. You made it clear that you saw him, in his unshaven violence, in his hand violating the body of a woman, of a fawn.

“I cried during the silent walking meditation” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday October 15, 2019
7:19pm
Reunion
Halina Larman

Alice left Jim on a Wednesday. It was a long time coming. At least that’s what everyone said. It wasn’t dramatic. It was deliberate and soft. She had packed a black suitcase, as she knew that she needed to actually leave, not just figuratively leave. The suitcase had been Alice’s mother’s. It was worn on the bottom corner, but still zipped up. Their other suitcases, stored in the basement next to the box of Christmas ornaments and wrapping paper, belonged to Jim. At least she thought they did. It was the division of things that most overwhelmed her. Not the conversation, the “leaving” conversation. The division of their items, their life, parsed out in “I’ll take the immersion blender and you take the coffee grinder?” The older Alice got the more she didn’t care for things that she could turn on, hold in her hand, or cart around. She cared for the feeling of her blood pressure lowering, the October wind bringing her closer to herself.

“Everybody froze.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 9, 2019
6:11pm
5 minutes
The Man At Table Five
Alison Clement

it is common, the ice off his tongue. this is what happens when one is bad at keeping oneself warm. everybody else freezes. and here we are thinking that our cold doesn’t hurt anyone but that is not true. there is proof in the quiet, and in the glaring lights.

earlier when we encountered it, we took it on as our own and had to remind ourselves not to do that but what about the ones who do not walk in pairs? who do not count breaths, who do not know how to seperate?
we can say it’s not our responsibility but that is another great convenience we like to cling to.

when a driver flashes their headlights at another behind the wheel it is usually a warning of something to be mindful of up ahead. a signal to slow down, or that the surfboard has come loose from the roof mount. it is not legally required, but there is an unwritten code.

“Everybody froze.” By Sasha at her kitchen counter

Wednesday October 9, 2019
11:30am
5 minutes
The Man At Table Five
Alison Clement

Looked to the sky and there it was. Giant ball of orange and gold, burning and spewing. Coming down on us. Falling here to earth. Everybody froze. Looked up. A communal gasp. Nobody said a word. A universal silence. Something spiritual. Something profane. Something shared. Something unbelievable. Stars don’t often fall this fast, this low. But they sometimes do. Here it is. The thing we’ve all wondered about. The thing we’ve all waited for, without knowing we’re waiting. There’s no sense in running, in moving to another place somewhere close. The reverberations will be felt everywhere. The buckles and ripples can’t be escaped. And then it’s here, and the frozen moment is broken. Everyone is moving. The birds are calling. The dogs are howling. Human beings trying to take flight.

“Gladys was a hefty Puerto Rican” by Julia at her desk

Monday October 7, 2019
7:20pm
5 minutes
Anything For Love
Ruth L. Schwartz

In this dress she wore, she swore she
would not conform to the pressure of
being beautiful like this or that as
if some magazine might be the deciding
vote.

Gladys in her big swooshy dress, covering
the curves and equalizing the line that
leads her all the way down to the floor
and back up again. She stood tall.
She wore the bright pink like a medallion
to ward off the evil eye.
The evil kind of eye that keeps a person
small.

My baby, Indie used to hide underneath it
and count the love on her kneecaps with
slobbery kisses and giggles.
Gladys let her and only her go under,
see what was beneath the fabric.
She liked the love adding up on the
tongue of two year old on a mission.

This is the way she felt beautiful.

When Gladys came by the house she would
bring us cookies baked from scratch,
her own personal recipe and tell us
if we didn’t eat them she would eat
them and what kind of friends let friends
lose track of fallen crumbs.

“I can’t help but reflect” by Julia on her couch

Sunday October 6, 2019
6:53pm
5 minutes
from an email

Last night I saw you in my dreams. Time had past, Too late, I kept thinking. Your house was big and beautiful and uncharacteristic of you in its excess. But this was your home, and the taps sprayed intruders with a blast unless you controlled the pressure with a knob. I got soaked. You showed me, “Like this” and it only happened once.

I went to pick up your baby girl and then my eyes wouldn’t open all the way. I couldn’t see her at all. I couldnt manage the pain of coming all that way and not even get to hold her. Too late, I am too late.

When I went to the kitchen to cry, I asked God to give me back my eyes. Instead your husband came in and asked if I was hungry. I felt like if I ate with him it would take too long and I’d keep missing out on you.
But he and I shared our lunches, mine leftover saffron noodles, and his leftover peppers with thick sauced beef.

“verde y amarillo” by Julia on her couch

Saturday October 5, 2019
11:22pm
5 minutes
@quenoteam
Javier Rupérez Instagram

It’s bees I’m talking about, Lydia. Honey’s bees, you know? They’re the ones doing all the work and getting none of the reward. It’s something I’m just learning about now since Kiki came home with that school project and needed an adult to fact check her research. That was the first time I even read anything about these bees, Lydia, and how was I supposed to help her if I never knew nothing about them? I helped her make it colourful, you know the poster board that she needed to decorate? We put some nice yellows and greens and purples too. I thought cause the bees are attracted to bright flowers it would be a nice touch. Subtle. Kiki loved it, she kept saying, but this is so pretty I want to keep it in my room!

“How could God?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday September 26, 2019
8:02am
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

Snaking through the aisles of the Seven Eleven, Rory catches a familiar shape out of the corner of his eye. Steve. Shit. Steve. STEVE. He grabs a pack of gum, a bottle of orange Gatorade, a bag of Salt and Vinegar Miss Vicky’s. The man behind the cash has the eyes of someone who has seen a lot. Takes one to know one, Rory doesn’t let himself think. Steve won’t see him. Steve will get a can of Diet Pepsi, maybe a Mars bar. He’ll be lost in the forest of his thoughts, of his hangover, of his wish for love. Rory pulls his debit card from his wallet. Taps. Tap. Tap on his shoulder. Steve. Eyes of someone who shares a secret.

“As a consequence” by Sasha on the couch

Saturday September 21, 2019
9:31pm
5 minutes
quote: Ferrucci

You beg her to think about consequences and she says that she doesn’t believe in morality, or ethics, or anything like that. Okay, you say, unsure where there is to go once someone says something like that. Maybe that’s judgement. Maybe that’s difference. Who knows. You wonder what her mother would say, wrapped in pearls, her curly haired beauty a wild, hedonistic animal. Something crashes outside. Raccoons, she says. She goes to window to see. It’s dark outside. Could be cats, you say. No way, she says.

“Please, just think about cause and effect, think about consequences,” you say again. Sometimes in the saying of something a second time, it lands. Not this time.

“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.