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

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

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

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

“the amniotic brine of tears” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Tuesday January 16, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
Memo to a Self
Steven Heighton

“Soak the fish in salty water”, Gramma says, dropping the cut up chunks of cod into the brine. “It should taste like the sea, or tears”. She laughs. She wheezes. She inhales her cigarette. “Add chopped shallots and garlic. Maybe a pinch of cayenne pepper. Put it in the fridge for hours, not a second more or less…” Her eyes twinkle.

“Really? It matters down to the second?” I ask.

“Absolutely!” She says.

I add the shallots, garlic and pepper. We cover the bowl and put it in the fridge.

“What is rooted” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday May 9, 2017
9:40pm
5 minutes
Tao Te Ching
Translated by Stephen Mitchell


“Stop calling me that!”

“What… Tuna?!”

“Nooooo!”

“Tuna tuna tuna tuna tu-na-na-na-na-na!”

“I do not smell like fish I do not!”

“Um, it’s a human thing that if you’re exposed to a smell for long enough you just start to get used to it… It’s natural.”

“Girls?!” Mom calls from the landing. “What are you doing up there?”

“Mini says that I smell like fish!”

“Min, leave her alone, okay? Go do something useful like putting away the clothes on the floor of your room.”

Mini leaves Isabelle with a glare, holding her nose as she trots away.

“No mere goldfish, these.” By Julia at her dining table


Friday February 3, 2017
7:38pm
5 minutes
from the Windows display

I don’t think I ever cared about the fish we had when we were growing up. I think I wanted to, and I meant to, but it never hit. My sister seemed to care about them. She gave them names, she put tiny pellets into their water, she sometimes made up songs about them. But then she also kept killing them and had to flush them down the toilet and then get three more replacement fish. And then she did it again. I can see how one would think they’d be an unfit mother if they never figured out just how hard it is for goldfish to actually live in the first place. I realize now that I also couldn’t care about them because when my sister got them for her birthday that year, I also got a pair of white Barbie running shoes with sparkly pink laces. I was very busy.

“bless his heart” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday January 4, 2015
9:45pm
5 minutes
http://www.mynewroots.com

He wore his bow tie, bless his heart. And it even looks like he shined his shoes! I didn’t even know people do that anymore! I didn’t know that was a thing. He probably wants to have sex with me, what with the ironed shirt and all. Cufflinks – holy eff! He’s wearing little dolphin cufflinks.

We are making sushi, or, rather, rolling it. He has the ingredients laid out and neither of us has done it before so it’s a sticky situation. I keep licking my fingers and he keeps dipping his into the tiny bowls of warm water he’s provided for both of us. He’s all about the carrot and I’m all about the avocado. Says a lot about someone – what they choose to put in their home made hand rolls. He doesn’t have any crab because his roommate is deathly allergic. A-okay. I’m not that into it anyway. We are listening to an array of music – Cheryl Crow to Robin Thicke. He seems much more into the former. I look over at his fish, Kinky Boots, and I see that he’s belly up. Oh oh! “Um… I’m afraid that Kinky Boots has, uh…” He finishes rolling and looks at me seductively.

“Wish I could, you know that” by Sasha at Vancouver Children’s Hospital


Sunday November 30, 2014
3:22pm
5 minutes
overheard at Bolpetta

“Wish I could, sweet-tart, you know that – ” Did she just call me sweet-tart? This wasn’t the kind of tarot card reader that would mix-up “tart” and “heart”. This was intentional, meditated, chosen carefully. “But, I’m flying back to Edmonton tomorrow and I’ve been trying to get in to see you and this is really what I just totally need in my life right now to make me feel like I can survive!” I plead with her, something I haven’t done since I was a child, and reserved only for my mother and oldest brother, the ones who held true power over me. She looks at her wrist but there’s no watch – there are seven small moons, of various cycles, waxing or waning, depending on the angle at which you’re looking. “I can give you twenty two minutes and not a second more.” I never knew that a mystic would be so down to the hair about time. “Okay-that’s-great-thank-you-so-so-SO-much,” I say, closing the door behind me. She collects tropical fish and has a big aquarium, almost the size of her whole living room wall. I could stand there for about quadruple the time we’re supposed to have together, watching the yellow, the blue, the magenta, watching the gills ripple and the mouths open and close. “We’ll chat in the kitchen,” she calls to me, “I need to chop beets for Borscht.”

“REDIRECTION” by Sasha at her desk


Monday November 25, 2013
10:36pm
5 minutes
The front of the bill from Rogers

I watch the fish sleep. I think about losing – teeth, love, mind, race, art. The fish swims to the back of his bowl. Losing respect, losing faith, losing generosity. My mother used to talk about how she would steal cigarettes from her family’s housekeeper. She was twelve. She’d smoke them out the window. Losing innocence. My friend has met a man that sparks her tips, lights her eyes. Losing loneliness. His mind keeps going back to running into that old friend in front of the bookstore on Bay Street, no matter how much he tells it to stay here, at the dinner table, with me. Losing perspective. The sun rises later, sets earlier. Losing light.

“FREQUENCY” by Sasha on her bed


Tuesday November 19, 2013
11:05pm
5 minutes
from the Cold-FX bottle

When we listened to the sound of the first snow flakes landing on our cheeks
When we heard their corners melting
We knew we were in for a good season
A good time at this
When we walking around the graveyard and counted letter
M
D
A
S
We slow danced under the maple tree
By the pond
Where you swore you saw a fish jump
Making a kissy face
But not making fun of us
Enjoying our laughter
Our footsteps
When we bought our house on the dead end street
You painted the walls late into the night
I slept
A pizza-induced coma
You joined me
Fresh from the shower
And we made promises that involved mountains and coffee

“For their swim records” by Julia at Cafe Uno


Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at Cafe Uno
4:55pm
5 minutes
Super Fish Thorpe
Kaci Tami


I failed swimming lessons when I was 7. Or 6. Or something dumb and young like that. I was told in my first year of lessons that I “Swam like a fish”. That was bullshit. Just something Keri, the swim instructor told all the stupid kids. Truth was I couldn’t grasp it. I would try to paddle like a dog and just end up swallowing too much water. I was afraid of everything, the diving board (even when I wasn’t on it), the stairs, the shallow end. Keri said I was doing fine, but there was something different about her tone. Maybe she knew I wasn’t teachable, even at 6. Or 7. My sister wasn’t doing that well in swimming class either, so guess what, I didn’t care to be that great either. I thought if I was supposed to excel at it, my sister would have already shown me how to do it. My sister is the smart one. She picks up things quick, like baking, or when we were kids, being a leader. I was always fine just tagging along and wearing what she was wearing. Not much for making decisions. I wish I could go back in time and re-learn how to learn because something is still wrong with me. I can swim to save my life, I guess, but that’s only because my aunt Kathy forced me to tread water for an unnatural amount of time because she knew I wouldn’t even know how many minutes had passed. I suppose that was a nice thing she did. Either way. Swimming is still bullshit.

“When we came downstairs at 1 AM” by Julia at her desk


Thursday, April 18, 2013
11:43pm
5 minutes
In The Hills
Josh Weil


we are looking for a good man to play us a good song. we want to dance and we want to dance out loud. we want this man to spin us a record, a vinyl, a historical moment. we won’t be able to pay him. we don’t have any money. we come in and out of rooms like ghosts trying to cross over. we fail. the light is bright where we bring it. where is this man? the one who plays the music of our souls, connecting, lamenting, refusing to compromise. does he work at a tiny fish booth in Little Italy? does he have blonde highlights in his hair and a green ring around his pinky finger from a bad metal ring? he knows what we want. we know he does. we told him in our whispered dreams last may that we were going to need this in a year. it’s almost time. we don’t have much else in the way of options. we had our hearts set on the good man playing us a good song. we waited, even. for a year minus 15 days. we thought he’d bring the fish sandwiches to us, play the song, and smile with his eyes closed as we dance a promise out in big block letters that read J-O-Y.