“your inner rock collecting childhood self” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday March 9, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
BUNZ Trading Zone

Now that we’ve had all this time
Now that we haven’t spoken in almost a year
Or has it been more
I’m terrible with dates
I think it’s been more

I recognize that this was
always meant to happen
I don’t mean it in a morbid way
but you were supposed to go your way
(Garage sales, cheap candy, BUNZ, ribeyes)
I was supposed to go my way
(I can’t easily classify my own WAY
I’ll leave that task to you)

Sometimes I miss you
when I’m through Chinatown
or laughing at how nastily someone eats
in public
That’s when I miss you

Sometimes I forget about you
and I stopped feeling bad about that
about six weeks ago
Took a really long time to stop
feeling bad about forgetting

“children dawdling to school” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday February 3, 2018
9:04am
5 minutes
Prazeres
K.V Skene

You forget what you came into the kitchen for. You don’t think much of it. These things happen. You have been working long days. It’s taking it’s toll.

You put the sponge in the freezer. You know that you have one and you can’t find it. This pisses you off. You scream swear. You’ll go for the frozen bananas tomorrow morning when it’s time for a smoothie. There it is. Frozen solid. Shit.

You forget why you got on the bus, and where you’re supposed to be going. Your heart sinks. You wonder if this is what happened with your mother, and her mother, and her mother before her. You wonder if you should’ve eaten more broccoli, less sugar. You wonder if this is your destiny, riding the bus across the bridge unsure when to get off.

“a weak spot” by Julia on Amanda’s futon

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

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

I do not like to be tricked.

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

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

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

“bring it with me” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday January 17, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
From an email

I leave my dig-
nity on your
futon under
the fit-
ted sheet
with the
stain on
the lower
right corner.

I put my
underwear
in my coat
pocket and
pray that I
have a five
dollar bill
in there
to keep them
company
to hold
their tired
hand.

I buy a coffee
at the shop
that also
does photo-
copies and
lamination.

I realize
that I forgot
my phone on
the floor
beside your
futon and
I wonder
what might
be worse
buying a
new phone
or seeing
you again?

“it would be like not listening at all” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday July 8, 2016 at Starbucks
6:49am
5 minutes
When I Am King, Dilly Dilly
Don Cummer


I wake up everyday already loving you, you’re at, let’s say 20%. You know, like a server at a restaurant: I go in and I give you the benefit of the doubt, I start you at a 20% tip and if you mess up by being rude, I knock a couple percent off. I have no ill intentions, I don’t go to a restaurant expecting to be disappointed. I expect kindness. I expect good food. I expect thoughtfulness. And I expect, sometimes more than I should, a freebie of some sort. And then because I’ve eaten out at other restaurants before, I compare this service to that service to this service to that service, and I know when I’m not being treated right. I also know because I was a server once too, and it’s not hard to remember what was involved in a customer experience job. I wake up everyday at the top of my love for you. And then you forget to buy the garbage can again, or print off the movie tickets, or you bring home the light mayonnaise even though I specifically asked you NOT to get the light mayonnaise, for reasons that don’t need to be stated here. I’d say you’re lucky if you’re getting a base tip of 15% by lunch time.

“Home of the burger” by Julia on the 9


Thursday, December 17, 2015
6:06pm
5 minutes
from the A&W sign

More often than not do I get to the point where I suddenly remember that I have to eat something before I fall down dead. It’s true. Sometimes I get so engrossed in work and I realize after 7 hours or something ridiculous that all I’ve eaten so far is a probiotic and a couple Oreos. I can’t even think straight when I do this. I start to aimlessly wander around the house from room to room with no real plan or solution. I look in every single cupboard but nothing looks appealing cause all of it looks like it requires work. It’s sad, it happens so much, but I still don’t try to avoid that. I don’t know many adults who have to write “Eat Lunch” on their to-do list just so they actually do it! When I get to the point of fainting or falling apart mentally, the only thing that calms me is envisioning biting down on a huge and messy burger, reeking of onions and dripping a rainbow sauce concoction all over the counter. I suppose I get so delirious that I dream of doing this while standing up? Over the sink? My hunger dreams don’t make sense, really.

“picked and consumed” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 29, 2015
9:31pm
5 minutes
From the Wikipedia article on jalapeños

I love you more than I ever have
I picked you from the crowded place in my brain that tells me not to make rash decisions
I chose you from the pile of mistakes I had been sweeping to one side
I love you more than I ever have
I didn’t think I could grow to love you more but I’ve surprised myself
The way you’ve surprised me
Reminding me that people can change and that mistakes can be forgiven
And sometimes forgotten
Thank you for forgetting
Thank you for reminding me daily that I’m your favourite flavour of perfect imperfection
Sometimes I pretend I can’t hear you when you talk on the phone to your parents
And you tell them how proud you are of me
But in the other room, I am teary-eyed and feeling so damn lucky
And when you come in I act like I don’t know how sweet you are
Maybe it’s a little game
Maybe it’s self-preservation and keeping my feelings clothed so they don’t feel embarrassed
I love you more than I ever have
I picked you from the wall of beautiful artwork that hangs in my imagination

“you either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.” by Julia at Camera a Sud in Bologna


Monday November 24, 2014 at Camera a Sud
1:10pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Charles Bukowski

Ahh I’m falling. I’m falling. It’s a good feeling. You replace the A, the L, with two Es. You want to know where I’m going? To the place were my brow furrows…concentration and magic and old habits. You want to touch that spot on my face. Remind me not to clench my jaw, hold tension in my forehead. “Don’t get old before you have to.” And I have that falling feeling. It’s a good one. It’s when the inspiration breathes and lives and stays awake next to a roaring fire.
You steal the wood off the side of the road for me.
Stoking my pilot light with a little consideration, saying, “yeah, you need five minutes to get that beauty down on paper, I give you ten. Take a hundred of them if you want. A million minutes, even, and I’ll be here watching you and making sure you don’t loose that spark. And that you don’t get wrinkly from the thinking and the trying hard to focus right.”
I remember you like that, rocking in your reading chair and sitting content in the million moments reserved for being apart but together in the same room.
I tell you after this “I want to drink a bubbly white wine and I want to eat an oven-baked fish with the head and tail still attached.”
You say you have the perfect one and it’s in the fridge when we’re ready.
“How do you already have what I want?” And you smile into your book and say, “Cause we’ve been here before. We’ve done Sunday like this a thousand times already.”
“Ahh,” I say, “You’re right. I guess it’s good this spot, this falling feeling place.”
You chuckle quietly, reminding me, “You’ve said that before too…”

“Heavy duty” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence RI


Friday May 2, 2014
11:45pm
5 minutes
from the sponge wrapper

Papa used to get so mad at me when I’d track mud through the house–told me, Deirdre, could you for once stop playing like a little piggy? And I’d say, Papa, I’ll just take them off, it’s easier. He’d smile and say, Sure, sure, Dee Dee, and I’d smile back and say, You’ll miss me to the moon when I’m gone.
I didn’t quite know what that meant but I had heard Lucy-Bell say it to her boyfriend when they were having a big fight out on the veranda. She’d run in screaming just to scream and told me to stay out of her way or she’d yank every blonde hair out of my head one by one. I’d sit by the front window and watch her boyfriend, Dillon, with his hands in his jean pockets and his eyes closed, just sighing at the night and all its bigness. Probably at Lucy-Bell in all her bigness. I didn’t want Papa to think I wasn’t good at listening, I just always forgot to do what he told me cause I’d get so caught up in the fun of it all.

“The big mystery” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence RI


Thursday May 1, 2014
1:12am
5 minutes
The Q Podcast

I forgot what your face looked like for a brief moment yesterday. I was having one of those fake conversations with you in my head and I was trying to picture your exact reaction- that head tilt to the side and that one squinty eye thing. I kept saying my part over and over and I couldn’t see your face in the response. So I changed what I said and I waited for your face to just magically appear. It didn’t. It was so strange. Up until now all I had to do was think of you and it would be as if I was sitting right next to you, almost touching your skin with mine and hearing you breathe.
This feeling, it was like going blind. It was being able to see my entire life for my entire life, the sunsets, the stars, the reeds sticking out alongside the river, and then suddenly being forced to make out a picture in complete darkness.
I didn’t want to tell you that. I didn’t want you to think it was the beginning of the end or something. It wasn’t. It was just a trick of the mind, a game my head was playing on me. Maybe even just a test to see what I held dear…

“First Sunday in May” by Julia at South Philly Bar and Grill


Sunday April 20, 2014 at
8:01pm
5 minutes
Blue Cross Broad Street Run sign

I envisioned arriving with orchids for her cause those are her favourite. I was hoping she’d forget I forgot to call her on her birthday, but more importantly that I “forgot” to tell her I was moving to Kelowna. I wanted to tell her, and I was planning to but then she got sick and I thought that if i told her she’d get sicker. This way she’d think I was just some snot-nose kid who didn’t have time for her, instead of believing that I was leaving even after I knew. I guess she knows now. I guess either way I lose and she thinks she raised some terrible version of the kid who was actually going places a few short years ago. She asked me one night how I thought I was going to get away with it, and I told her I was planning on being better at faking all the bullshit that she wouldn’t have approved of. So then when it was Mother’s day, I was going to surprise her with a visit and tell her I was sorry cause it was a pretty selfish thing to do. And it would be a real sad story if the sickness had gotten the best of her and there was no first Sunday in May for me to make amends. That would have been real sad. Instead she just moved from her house that I grew up in and “forgot” to tell me where she was going. That’s the problem with not having a telephone number. Things don’t always work out the way you envision.

“Spilled secrets” by Julia at the Sheraton in St. John’s


Wednesday March 26, 2014
10:39pm
5 minutes
Atlantic Business Magazine
Jan/Feb 2014


of course there are spilled secrets all over this place. you think i don’t know that? I know that. I know everything about this place. when i was little i used to run this place. you’re laughing but you don’t understand. i was in and out of room corners and closets and hiding everywhere. nobody knew where to find me and i was damn good at staying hidden until i knew no one was watching for me to come out. that’s how i learned about everyone and everything because i got real good at keeping my mouth shut and my ears wide wide open. i got good at breathing with my mind and not with my lungs. i know about each wall plastered with its tiny mosaics of truth and shame. i know about mom trying to hide the pistol and about dad shouting out for annabell, my sister before he went and not me. i know more than you can possibly imagine. and everyone knows one thing or two, but not me. i know each fold in each sheet like it was my nanny, i know each speckle on each mirror like my own shadow. i could fill rooms of books with what i know here. and that’s why i’m so hell bent on leaving now. not that anyone would stop me..not anyone but the secrets. they whisper to me when i sleep. they haunt my dreams like nightmares that are made up by crazy men in their libraries. only they’re real. they’re so real they could kill me just by being in my head. i have a song i sing right before bed so i don’t hear them. i had to invent something when i was young to make sure they didn’t.

“submerged regrets were ready to overflow” by Julia at the Sheraton in St. John’s


Tuesday March 25, 2014
2:49amm
5 minutes
The New Yorker
Feb 17, 2014


You’re mad at me again because I left the stove on for the second time this week. You think I have dementia and you say this to me when you see it’s happened twice. I tell you it was an accident, I have a lot on my mind. I say, I’m not 90, you know. And you don’t laugh at this. You don’t laugh one little bit. I’m sorry, I say, I’m really, truly sorry about doing that, and you don’t say anything which I know is always worse.
You’re not well, Marissa. You tell me that with your head down, sort of shaking it in a “no”, sort of shaking slowly like a really disappointed “no”. I’m fine, I say, and try to force a smile. You leave things around sometimes! I tell you that and you get real angry again. You don’t like that I’ve compared my “dementia” to your carelessness. It’s a different kind of carelessness. It’s more about leaving the back door unlocked after you take out the recycling. It’s more about you forgetting to use a coaster. It’s not life threatening. That’s what you tell me. I argue that the door thing most certainly is, but you’re not having it. This is about my mental health…
Marissa.
You just say my name sometimes like I’ll know what you mean.

“primarily unoaked” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday January 16, 2014
2:49am
5 minutes
the drinks card at FRESH

She’s been unoaked by him
She’s been de-barrelled by him
She’s been popped
She’s been bubbled
She’s been released by him
I watched it all from behind the lens
From under the table
From the kitchen
(Them in the living room)
I saw the lights dim and the candles glow
I heard nothing but the whisper that says
too much
She’s forgotten about her bunny
Fred
Her love of roast beef dinners on Sunday
She’s distracted by the quake of her chest
Against his
She’s dreaming only of the freckles on his back

(an image from National Geographic) by Sasha at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday October 23, 2013
10:41am
5 minutes
National Geographic Photo Issue
October 2013


“Remember when you forgot your own postal code? That was soooo funny!” Lukas laughs. “Remember when you put all those sticky notes everywhere? With all those reminders? That was hillllarious!” He picks at a chicken pock scab on his forehead. “How many days til Christmas?” He asks. The scab is bleeding. He holds his finger to it and then tastes. “My blood tastes like perfume!” He holds out his finger to me, “Wanna try?” I pause. I nod. How can I ever say no to this boy? He squeezes his forehead and a red droplet appears. He extends his finger to me again. I take it into my mouth and suck, gently. Rose and lilac, lavender and mandarin. “That tickles! Grandma! That tickles!” I bite down and he squeals.

Sensory dip: Little red potato by Sasha at R Squared


Monday, January 7, 2013 at R Squared
10:05am
5 minutes
a little red potato (sensory dip)

My pockets are full of small red potatoes. I’ve been trying to forget my name. The shoes I was wearing yesterday and the day before are gone now. Now, I’m wearing an old man’s type of shoe, a loafer, with small pink ribbons as laces. They’re too big or, maybe, I’m too small. I’ve been trying to remember what Nigel looks like – the small freckle on the right side of his nose, the way one eye is a bit bigger than the other, how he needed a haircut, badly, when I left, his dark hair betraying his age and our secret and my tick tocks. I’ve got my hands in my potato pockets and I wonder if the hotel will have a pot I can use to boil them.