“Hard as it may be to believe” by Julia on S’s couch

Tuesday October 2, 2018
8:40pm
5 minutes
Beneath Our Feet
Redfern Jon Barrett

when you trust someone you don’t catch all the warning signs that float in and out of consciousness
you believe everything they say and do and prove
you don’t look for reasons why they should be hunting you
not in the folds of the couch or buried deep beneath a compliment

when you trust someone else more than you trust yourself
you don’t think their help will hurt you
you don’t think their generosity will silently strip the screws from your chair and watch as your backbone slowly caves in
leaving you defenceless
when they tell you they think you an equal
you will consider it a kindness, a gift until you realize the fact that they tell you that at all
kicks the level playing field out from your feet

“whose eyes are a thousand blind windows:” by Julia in Amanda’s kitchen

Tuesday August 7, 2018
11:52pm
5 minutes
Howl
Allen Ginsberg

We wait for each other to stop speaking
silence drifting between us in our car seats
Sometimes saying nothing is saying everything
How shame lives in my cheeks when I can’t
“say nothing”
“say nothing”

We spend three hours staring into each others’ eyes
separated by green tea and a key chain
and some blurry tears streaming without warning
We don’t call me what I am but later I feel it
The reckoning of too much information shared
Too much honesty not yet checked in the echo

We both say how lovely it is and how sad it was
and how soon we will do this again
nobody is crying now
The summer night too hot for tears to puddle

“a flickering lamp, a phantom” by Julia on the couch at the Airbnb

Thursday July 12, 2018
9:41pm
5 minutes
Diamond Sutra
Buddha

We sit in the dark.
Connie tells me, “These wafer cookies taste like they cost only a dollar.”
I tell her, “that’s because they do cost only a dollar. People who buy these don’t by them for quality, they buy them because they’re trying to bury the thing inside them that keeps them itching.”
Connie says, “Who has a face long enough to shove one of these in without biting?”
And I say, “What in the world are you talking about?”
Connie says, “These things leave crumbs everywhere like a motherfucker. I’m not Hansel and Gretel. I don’t need someone to follow the path of them all the way back to me. Me and my face trying to hide the sadness in my stomach.”
I don’t really know why she keeps eating them except for the fact that she might be one of those people who eat the wafers that the people trying to bury the thing inside them buy so she can at least complain about them.
Connie says, “They leave a film on the roof of your mouth. What is that?”
“Regret”, I tell her. “Or something like it.”

“in that beautiful mind” by Sasha in the Kiva

Wednesday June 20, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
All Of Me
John Legend

It brews in the guts for months and I wonder why I’m streaming rivers
It raises as a wail on a phone call and I feel sick with the wondering if I am not enough of a friend for this
But that isn’t it
That isn’t it

He’s held a throne since before we met so I don’t even know a world in which things are different
But it’s been in my guts since then since forever ago since before we met
So
Now it almost feels like I’ve missed my chance
But I know I haven’t
The chance is always there

I’m not sure how I’ll tell you
I’m not sure when is the best moment
Haven’t had a weight like this in awhile
Clouds over my eyes dimming the blue
Brick on my chest
Marble in my throat
Tears just almost there
Eyes the lake in the morning

I guess it’s not about what to do
It’s not about what to say or not say
It’s not about leaving
It’s about being with the truth in guts and sharing that with you
That something is off in the painting of the house on the hill on the island and I’ve always felt it I’ve always known
Maybe then I didn’t trust
Or I wished I would
Wished I could

As complicated as telephone wires strung above our heads
A spark
A deep breath
Here goes

“Resource Recovery” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday May 22, 2018
11:21pm
5 minutes
From an apartment garbage bin

All is okay now that we’ve touched hearts again
Now that the sky has turned from blue to black
Now that the space between is a bridge of goodness
We eat baby carrots and we drink from glasses
That’ve never touched these lips
These new places all new all fresh all free

My breath catches a million times and it’s okay
Because you know this kind of ache
Because you get where we’ve been and where we are
And where we’re going
It’s gonna take time we say
And we’re right
We know
We trust that this is where we’re supposed to be
Where we are

Riding home
Up hills and over potholes
I laugh and sing a song about travel
I make it up as I pedal pedal pedal
Like you would
Make it up on the spot
Gift it to you

“connection as friends.” By Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Monday, March 5, 2018
6:42pm
5 minutes
I Know How You Feel
F. Diane Barth

She’s used to having her
pick of friends.
Like,
she walks into a room,
takes everyone in,
says to herself,
“YOU”
(sprinkle of magic,
shake of cool dust)
and that’s it.

End of story.

It happened like that
with us. Me and her.

I was in the lecture
hall of Anthropology 100,
minding my own business,
reading a book. I think
I was reading Rilke.

She spotted me,
all hot eyes and focus,
and came over.
She said,
“Anyone sitting here?”
I said,
“Nope.”
She was majoring in
Women’s Studies.
My major was
Undeclared.

It happened like that
with us. Me and her.

“hesitating to” by Julia on Amanda’s tub

Saturday December 30, 2017
2:08am
5 minutes
From a tweet

Tell you the truth

Telling myself first

Listening

Believing you’re right

Believing I’m wrong

Go to the bathroom

Leaving the moment

Leaving the bar

Say something I’ll regret

To let you get away with it all

To let you have the last word

To agree with you

Disagree

Cry in front of you

Tell you about the hurt

Relive the hurt

Let you see me hurt

Be hurt

Ask for clarification

To cry when you cry

To hug you

To tell you I love you

To relive the past

To share what I’m feeling

To apologize

Fight

Forgive

Order another drink

Let you leave in anger

Keep you there in anger

Fight

Forgive

Fight

Forgive

Ask you to write me something

Ask you to read something

Admit I don’t know

“more than 20 pages” by Sasha on her balcony


Monday September 11, 2017
1:15am
5 minutes
from bcartscouncil.ca

I haven’t written anything in forty three days
I feel like shit
I want to live in my bed amongst stray hairs and dust bunnies
I won’t take the dog out
She can shit on the balcony in the herbs I haven’t watered

This is what you tell me

I hold your grief for the millionth hour
And I watch as you fall into her like a lover
I cradle your grief here in this public space
In this shop where there’s croissants and babies

We are etched into one another’s star signs
We are tattooed on our guts
We are sisters here in this hot asphalt jungle
Cars honking and streetcars lurching

This is what I tell you

“not a permanent” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday June 28, 2017
11:32pm
5 minutes
From an email

“It’s not permanent,” Izzy says, braiding my hair. I love the feeling, and ask her to do it any chance I get. There’s a chicken roasting in the oven and we’ll eat it whenever it’s done. Doesn’t matter that it’s almost eleven. Izzy’s parents own a restaurant so they are always out at night, and it’s prime hang time. They stock their house with these amazing ingredients. Her Dad even went to Italy a few weeks ago, just to get cheese and tomato sauce and flour. Izzy only came out of her shell when we started hanging out. Before that she barely spoke. She’d read and make bracelets in the bleachers at lunch.

“hangover tomorrow” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday April 30, 2017
10:45pm
5 minutes
from an
adman media Instagram story


When Miley says goodbye she leans in close so you can smell her. She doesn’t wear a scent or anything. It’s her natural smell. You breathe it in, without being obvious. You remember when Chuck Landspergas, who sat behind you in AP English, used to sniff your hair and how obvious he was about it. No tact. Miley’s phone dings and she’s on it, right away, that’s how she does. You pretend not to be interested, but you are. You really are. You always are. “I’m meeting Bee at the movie theatre in an hour…” She says, reading your mind.

“I wish that we could talk about it” by Sasha at her desk


Monday April 17, 2017
11:46am
5 minutes
Someone Great
LCD Soundsystem

It’s the kind of morning that your mother
used to yawn about Laying in bed with a book
and a cold tea on the nightstand
The golf ball is in your throat again
but maybe this Earl Grey will wash it
down

It’s not a crisis of faith you hear yourself
say to your oldest friend It’s not anything
like that

“Does this one need closure too?!” By Julia on the 99


Sunday February 5, 2017
11:34pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Quebec and west Broadway

“Does this one need closure too?” Lara bellowed, incredulous that she was getting another phone call after just exclaiming how “done” she was. Kya snatched Lara’s phone put of her hand and jogged a few feet away, leaving one of her hands up as defense against her ever fuming friend. “Ask her if she wants a reason! Ask her!” Lara was pressing her thumbnail into her forefinger to keep her from biting off her own tongue. She wanted to feel blood.
“Tell her that she’s not welcome in this friendship anymore-tell her that and to go love herself!”
Kya shook her head emphatically from side to side and turned her back.

“their grass-stained skin” by Sasha in the Kiva


Wednesday December 21, 2016
11:36pm
5 minutes
So Full Of Light
Marie Specht Fisher


We thought we were sisters until we were
too old to take baths together and we started
hissing and picking the knobs off
backs instead Sometimes you’d paint my nails
a colour that I would never choose
Lavender or indigo or charcoal
I’d refuse to wash dishes those weeks
or bathe because I didn’t want the you
on me to chip I didn’t want the choices
you’d made to fall away from my fleshy form

We rubbed grass-stained skin together and
started a fire that our fathers and their
fathers fathers couldn’t put out

“get shared and discovered” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday May 4, 2016
12:47pm
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

“I want to write about female friendship, but no one publishes it,” Rhonda picks at the scab on her forearm. She just got a tattoo covered up. A rose covering a butterfly. “Fuck butterflies,” she says. I remember when she got that tattoo. We were eighteen. She wouldn’t shut up about the fact that it was her spirit animal and a “governing force in the journey of her life”.

“I’m getting more iced tea,” Rhonda stretches, standing up from the picnic table. The bench has made a line on her thighs. Her cutoffs are riding up. “Want some?” She’s in through the screen door.

“Yeah, sure,” I say, putting on more sunscreen.

“feel free to talk to me” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday April 19, 2016
9:36pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Dearest Dot,
I am wearing the friendship bracelet you sent me in your last letter as I write you this letter in response. It is beautiful. You have such knack for colour coordination and choosing the coordinating colours that suit me best. My favourite part is the little H stitched in. How did you do that? You must send a tutorial for me to try in your next letter. Before I forget, I wanted to enclose some photos of me and my family while we were camping at Driftwood Beach this summer. I think you’ll find a pleasant surprise in the photo with me and Elsie holding her fetch ball in her mouth! Won’t spoil the surprise but I wanted to give you a heads up to look for it. Joshua tried to kiss me again behind the big elm tree in my backyard. I told him that if he keeps doing it I’ll have to find someone else to be in my play. I heard Benjamin and his brother, Nick, wanted to be in it but are too shy to talk to me. I wonder why that is? I like talking to everybody! I hope that you feel like you can talk to me? I mean I know you do because you always write back! Well I hope you know that I want you to feel free to talk to me about anything. Even this request!

Until next time,
Heath Heath

“What? What’s wrong?” by Sasha in Cowichan Bay


Monday, March 28, 2016
11:02pm
5 minutes
From some sides

“What’s wrong with you, Loretta?”

Biddie is superstitious. She pours some salt from the shaker shaped like a chicken into her palm and tosses it over her shoulder.

They’ve been in this Highway Diner for what feels like seventeen years. Loretta can’t tell Biddie what’s wrong. It’s far too complicated.

“I’m just sad I didn’t get to say bye to Malcolm and Lilly… Especially with Lilly’s concert coming up. I’m just… sad.” Loretta wishes they hadn’t thrown their cellphones out the window while doing war-cries.

“They’ll forgive you, Lo. Promise.” Biddie eats a mouthful of flapjacks and a bit of syrup drips onto her chin.

“you can work on in your backyard” by Sasha in the bath


Wednesday March 23, 2016
11:23pm
5 minutes
viralnova.com

Alice: I have money to get where I’m going…
Bree: Why does it sound like you’re trying to convince yourself?
Alice: I do! I am…
Bree: It’s going to be okay.
Alice: You don’t know that.
Bree: When you get there, go find a place to get a grilled cheese sandwich. It will help it feel like home.
Alice: That’s a good idea… Are you sure you can’t come?
Bree: Monty needs me. I work tomorrow.
Alice: Call in sick.
Bree: I can’t.
Alice: Why not? How long has it been since you did something for yourself?
Bree: This isn’t for myself, Alice! It’s for you!

“poignant revelations about life” By Julia on her couch


Sunday March 6, 2016
9:25pm
5 minutes
mic.com

Sirrah comes over to my house and tells me she is craving ice cream and fried chicken.
She says she’s been craving it since last week. I know immediately that She is pregnant. She never eats fried chicken. I don’t even really believe that she’s craving it now, but I don’t doubt that she is hoping I clue in and ask why she’d ever want to do such an out of character thing.
Sirrah drops another hint about laying off white wine spritzers for a while, even though I haven’t actually offered her anything. She talks a lot about how this life is so short and how we have to find our purpose through offerings and sacrifice. I want to punch Sirrah right in her first trimester. Trying to pass down life lessons to me without asking for permission. I don’t like that she assumes I want the same things as she does. I am perfectly happy without some other human to depend on me- complicating everything. I know that sounds bitter but it isn’t. If I wanted a baby, trust me, there could have been plenty of opportunities.

“awaken in the morning’s hush” by Julia at a Sichuan restaurant on West Broadway


Tuesday February 2, 2016
3:18pm
5 minutes
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye


Over the years that I’ve known her, Shawna has never arrived anywhere on time. I don’t think she’s particularly proud of this habit, but I’ve also never seen her try to fix it. She apologizes, sure, don’t get me wrong, but she is always, always late. I wonder what she does every morning before she meets me or gets to her appointments. We meet at 11:30 because she can’t get there any earlier. I seriously wonder what her schedule looks like, what she prioritizes, what she lets slip away. I’ve also never once been to Shawna’s house. It’s so mysterious but perhaps I am more curious because I want to see if any of my speculations are true: does she make the bed twice because she can’t help but jump on it after she makes it the first time? Does she stay up all night, victim of insomnia, and finally catch her sleep when the rest of the world is waking up? Is she hiding a small family of raccoons in her basement that she doesn’t want anyone to see?

“Rainfall warning” by Sasha on the couch at Pascoe Rd.


Thursday November 12, 2015
10:36pm
5 minutes
from the weather network

What you can do:
Be present.
Hold space.
Actually listen (ie. refrain from thinking about whether or not your lover just texted a sexy picture of their shoulders or what you’re going to have for dinner).
Breathe deep and feel your feet on the floor.
Bring Sleepytime tea and a hot water bottle with a dog on it. Even if there’s a rainfall warning or a blizzard or you really just want to stay in your pyjamas and watch reruns of Nashville.
Stay for a sleepover and rub her back until she’s sleeping even if you are also tired. Wait until she falls asleep and then you can follow.

What you can say:
“I believe you.”
“I believe you.”
“I believe you.”
“I believe you.”
“I love you.”
“I support whatever choice you make.”
“I believe you.”

“is your weapon” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday November 7, 2015
11:46pm
5 minutes
from the back cover of Watchdogs

We pinky swear that we’ll only kiss guys (or girls) named “Chris”
I stick to it
Three months of
“What’s your name?”
Fingers crossed under the bar
You fail
Ever the sucker for “Bobbi” and “Shannon”
I catch you with “Fred” and you don’t even make an excuse
Broken promises like the flu
I pretend not to care but I do
I really do
We pinky swear that we’re going to Croatia at Christmas
I don’t want to see my family
and you want an excuse to not have to see “Fred”
“Just end it”
“I can’t”
“Why not?”
“Too precious”
It’s the second week of December and I ask if you’ve
booked your ticket
“I’m broke”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I felt too bad”
“Now I’m really fucked”
“I’m sorry”
“Now I’m going to be in Zagreb alone hoping Santa doesn’t forget me”

“it brings out the deliciousness” by Sasha on her couch


Sun, October 18, 2015
4:29pm
5 minutes
The Ayurvedic Cookbook
Amadea Morningstar & Urmila Desai


Jay gets back from the woods and he’s different. He went to tree plant for a summer and stayed for four years. You got an email from him that simply said, “i’m staying”. No capitalization or punctuation. Just those two words. He gets back from the woods and the colour of his eyes has changed. We meet on Main St. for a beer and he takes me in like he never has before. He takes me in like a mirage, or the fall colours. I ask if he was lonely and he says he wasn’t. I ask if he’s weirded out by the concrete and the new buses. He says he isn’t. He asks if we’re still friends and I say, yeah, but it’s a bit of a lie because since he’s been gone we’ve only hung out a couple of times. His new eyes glaze over when I say this. He looks at his hands. They look like the hands of a father, the hands of someone who knows things about maple syrup and skinning rabbits.

“Doll factory.” by Julia on her couch


Monday, August 24, 2015
12:43am
5 minutes
a receipt

When I look at your face, I remember my best friend from the 10th grade. I thought I had found my soulmate. Someone who I could talk easily with, be always welcome at her house, be always welcome in her life. I would have done anything for her and I thought she would have done anything for me. We’re not friends anymore, but you and her are so much alike that I can’t tell if it’s on purpose or if I just miss the good things about her and I’m forgetting all the bad. I know you’re different people. I know that. But your laugh is the same and the way you move like a dancer is the same. And the way you hug me is the same. So sometimes I feel like I’ve found my soulmate again: someone who understands me and encourages me and sees me. But then I worry if one can turn sour, maybe another one can do. You might not be cut from the exact same cloth, but in my fear pit lives the defenses that you in fact might be.

“Let me get what I want this time” by Sasha on her porch


Monday, August 17, 2015
5:11pm
5 minutes
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
The Smiths


All of my life I longed for a friend like you
Someone who would wear purple when I would wear blue
I wished on every birthday candle and every shooting star
That someone would appear who is just as you are
The day that I met you I felt everything shift
Like an earthquake or a season or an iceberg set adrift
I am writing to say I love you and that I always will
I am writing to say you’re the best and I’ll never get my fill
I think you’re the most creative person I have ever met
And your incredible curiosity means your mind is never set
You’re adventurous and funny and your smile lights the night
When you are by my side everything feels right

“good energy vibes” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, July 16, 2015
7:57pm
5 minutes
From a text

The year I changed how I wrote my lower case “A’s” I met Dallas. He looked me up and down and said, “I like your style…” He had an accent that I’d never heard before, which isn’t saying much.

“You’ve got good energy vibes,” I said, three hours and two tubs of raspberry sorbet later. Dallas’ Dad made it from scratch and sold it to health food stores. Sometimes Dallas helped him with deliveries.

“Can I come?” I asked, one particularly hot Saturday morning. We took turns sleeping over at one another’s houses – we spent Friday nights in his basement on camping mats and we spent Saturdays in my sister’s room because she had a double bed. She was away at college and couldn’t get mad at us for not washing our feet before crawling in.

“I’ve never had a friend like you,” I told Dallas and he rolled his eyes and laughed.

“legs crossed and notebooks open.” by Julia on her patio


Fridayy May 29, 2015
9:43m
5 minutes
Intro to Happiness
J. Allyn Rosser


Brooke had that lisp she was self conscious about so she was avoiding esses this week. Her best friend Phoebe told Brooke that she would say all the hard ess words for her until she was comfortable doing them on her own. Brooke wanted to trade with Phoebes, make it nice and equal, so she offered her the small Doritos snack that her dad had snuck into her lunch that morning when Brooke’s mom was putting Leon into his new leg braces. She knew Phoebe didn’t get Doritos snacks in her lunches, just sandwiches that smelled of bananas. Phoebe liked to swing her lunch bag around and she was always bruising the nice yellow bananas her mom packed for her.

“scoop up all the trash” by Sasha at Higher Grounds


Thursday May 7, 2015 at Higher Grounds
3:29pm
5 minutes
from http://www.ecokids.ca

Don’t pick a girl who wants you to treat her like a princess. I did, and look where it got me. Broke, broken-hearted, broken set of toes… Damn. Still got my cowboy hat and still got my pride, though. No one can ever take those two away from me. Look, Sandro, I don’t wanna freak you out, but, like, you pick a girl who wants you to treat her like a princess and you’re never gonna be happy. I mean, I don’t think life is really about being happy, but it’s about being, like, peaceful or something. It’s only when you’re scooping up the trash of your life that you realize – you did everything for her and nothing for you. You’ve spent almost a decade sucking up to someone who wishes she were royalty. She’s not! If you’d just stuck to your guns and told her that when you first got together, “Honey, you’re from Campbell River, you’re never gonna be Cinderella, get over yourself…” maybe things would’ve worked out a little differently. I want the best for your Sandro, I don’t want what happened to me to happen to you… I mean, what am I supposed to do now? I’m forty two. I’m supposed to start over?

“A rare chance” by Sasha at Culprit Coffee


Tuesday May 5, 2015
10:20am
5 minutes
A Friends of Chamber Music brochure

“It’s a rare chance, Al,” Clare says, painting the big toe of my right foot. “I think you need to go for it…” Her hands are cold and I think about when we met, tadpoles in overalls and baseball hats. “I just can’t imagine going so far away, it seems so extreme…” “You’ll be fine,” she blows on my toes and I laugh, pulling my foot away. “That tickles!” “Don’t jerk around! You’ll mess them up!” She furrows her eyebrows. “What time is the concert tonight?” “I thought you said you’d bought your ticket?” “I…” “Claire!” “I’ll get it at the door!” “You’re just waiting to see if something more interesting turns up. I know you.” “I am certainly not doing that… My credit card was cut off, I, I can’t book anything online and I didn’t want to ask someone to cover for me…” “Shit. Sorry.” “It’s okay.” “I’ll ask again about getting you on the guest list?” “I’m happy to pay…” “I’ll ask again.”

“The sound of cracking bones” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday April 22, 2015
1:01am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

This one is a nod to three old friends from a former existence who found each other again in this current one. Their souls were already promised to one another and they were happiest then when they loved each other without question. There is a story about a hotel room and sharing beds and drugs and jokes and chips. It’s a good story. It started with a road trip and it ended with truck stop ice cream. In the middle there was a lot of laughter and unexpected ease. In the middle middle there was a promise wedged in that this would be how it is. When these three old friends met in a different dimension, they exchanged a round of flat stones they found in the ocean that represented loyalty and acceptance and longevity. There was a grand speech made in that different lifetime that would inspire their strength in this one.

“always more for less!” By Julia on Jessica and Rick’s couch


Thursday, April 15, 2015
12:12am
5 minutes
A Food Basics store sign

Shondra decided to leave a half drunk bottle of Trapiche right beside my computer. It was a nice thing that she did until the contents of the bottle found its way in all the cracks of the keyboard. I was mad at Shondra for being so thoughtful, cause if she had just finished the bottle, there would have been no spillage, or ruinage of my very expensive new laptop. However, she is a good person and it’s not her fault, per-say, that now my life is in shambles. No, that’s not fair. It’s not the worst thing to happen to me. It’s not like I lost a limb or a loved one. Just all my pertinent information, work, and browsing history. I hear how it sounds. I’m the dirt-bag for even saying it. I spilled the wine. It was me. I can’t be trusted. I can’t do anything. Shondra, I’m sorry. I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at me. I’m always more mad at me than anyone but.. I guess I like to first put blame elsewhere cause I’m so fed up with being so bad.

“Ungouge yourself” by Sasha at Benny’s


Friday, April 16, 2015 at Benny’s Cafe
11:17am
5 minutes
A yak.ca bus ad

Climbing into the oldest pair of pants I own, khakis that I got at a flea market when I was fifteen, I consider leaving this place. I won’t, of course, because Pete’s here and he needs me, but I have to give myself the gift of consideration. So, I’m painting the first floor. The furniture is moved away from the walls, draped in old sheets. The rollers are in from the garage, and I got discount paint at that place on Adelaide. It’s hot. Summer is full-bodied here, all sticky sleeps and popsicle drips. I might leave. Pete is getting worse. No one wants to say it, but it’s true. When he goes, I’ll leave. No one will need me anymore. That sounds sad, but I don’t mean it in that way. I’ll be free. Pete texts. “Can you bring orange juice?” He’s never liked orange juice, but chemo has left him wanting strange things, things he never had a taste for, like pulled pork and Oreo cookies.

“Sunday’s paper still lies flat open from earlier” by Sasha on her living room floor


Sunday January 25, 2015
10:24am
5 minutes
adult-mag.com

It’s okay if you wanna talk about the rain and where to get the best push up bra in this rainy city. It’s okay if you wanna not eat sugar (even the kind that’s like a birthday present from Mother Nature… Maple syrup, anyone?) It’s okay if you wanna leave yourself every once and a while, vis a vis bourbon or weed or MDMA. It’s okay if you bail on me, for the third time in two weeks, via a sad face and a missed call (me to you). It’s okay if you wanna purge your closet, selling your clothes for a fraction of what you paid, only to spend more on new clothes and new clothes and new clothes. It’s okay if you forget about the anniversary of my brother’s death and then ask why I’m not coming out tonight and then get awkward when I say why. It’s okay if you just wanna come over and lie on the floor with me and suck your thumb like you used to and be in the big silence.

“crisis points but also the potential for major realizations” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday January 3, 2015
8:14pm
5 minutes
http://www.mysticmama.com

Glad you got my Christmas card. I didn’t know you don’t celebrate Christ holidays anymore. Sorry about that. Didn’t intend to offend. I can’t believe how big Leila has gotten. She looks like you. It’s marvellous. We had a quiet Christmas. Doug was stuck in Denver so it was just me and my Mom. She’s got hair again. It’s really great. I made short ribs and we watched about twelve episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. I cried three times in every episode. My Mom laughed at me. Doug arrived home on Boxing Day with really nice flannel PJ’s for all three of us and we spent the day in them, drinking eggnog and making fun of the people who thought it would be a good idea to go for a walk. Walk when it’s nice out! Not in the middle of a snowstorm apocalypse! It was weird not having you close for the holidays. The first since before we met… It’s funny, it’s almost like I wasn’t alive before I met you. That sounds morbid. I don’t mean it in a morbid way… What I mean is, I can’t remember before I knew you. That’s just wild.

“friends to build your community” by Sasha on the couch in Mississauga


Monday December 22, 2014
9:12am
5 minutes
from grooveshark.com

I want to tell you something small. And massive. And yellow. I want to tell you about moving across ice, fawn legged, and reaching up to catch a tired branch and missing. I want to tell you about the shame in my hips, tight and sepia toned, how she hums when the nights are cold, how she moans when the fire has turned to embers. I want to tell you how I see the tired in your smile, how I see the memories of before and the forgetting of now. I want to tell you to stop reading the Tabloids, that slow drip of mediocrity, and I want to tell you that I won’t judge you if you don’t stop, but I will keep shoving books of poetry under your bed in hopes that you’ll find them when you’re most filled with longing.

“party town ballon time!” by Sasha in the bath


Wednesday November 12, 2014
10:02pm
5 minutes
From a text from Bec

Hey babe,
How’s it going? How was Jenny’s birthday? Party town balloon time?! I wish I could’ve been there. I miss you sooooooooo much. Like, you don’t even know. It sucks being here. My Dad is cool and my Mom is trying her best not to be a bitch but my brother? Oh my god. I honestly think that he’s an undiagnosed sociopath. Like, fully. He’s collecting dead bugs and archiving them on his wall. The wall of his room. My Mom says, “Leave him be…” as though there’s nothing weird going on at all. And he is totally obsessed with video games. He has a TV in his room now and sometimes he doesn’t even come out for meals. Mom leaves food outside his door like he’s in prison. It’s so weird. If I didn’t have Denny’s I would shoot myself in the head. But, I’m saving money, so that’s good. I guess. Ever since that DUI my parents aren’t helping with tuition so… I have to do what I have to do. I don’t want to be a bum my whole life so I have to finish this stupid degree.

“not long before you get there with us.” By Sasha at The Arts Club


Saturday November 8, 2014 at The Arts Club
7:41pm
5 minutes
From serialpodcast.org

His eyes are sand
Swirling golden turmeric honey
His eyes are searching
Sky reach twisting to cloud
His eyes tell me how
Why and when and where
His eyes are the reason I come back
Come back and come back and come back
“I want to write a book” he says
I don’t believe it
I shudder and I bite my nail
“I want to write a book about my mother” he says
I stand up and open the window
Even though it’s below zero

“you have to take your hat off to the French” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday November 6, 2014
6:57pm
5 minutes
Vedge by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby

You have to take your hat off to the French. You really do. Those women manage to remain thin as a pussy-willow whilst eating all that butter and cheese! And those men? So fashionable. When I was in Paris for my year abroad in college, I was just struck by the beautiful nature of that entire people! You really have to hand it to them. And so stylish! Sipping their Cafe Au Lait and eating their Crepes! Good grief. If only we took a page out of their book, you know? Here we are, nasty Americans, drinking Coors Lite and eating Big Macs, while the French roll cigarettes and wear capris! I should’ve been born there. I’m really a black sheep here, I always have been. I should go back. Would you like to go?! We could go together! Let’s see if there’s a seat sale! There’s a seat sale! Okay. When are you free? January? Paris in January is probably absolutely breathtaking. I can’t imagine that they get very much snow… More of a dusting, a sprinkling…

“Same words in another language” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday October 1, 2014
11:43pm
5 minutes
from a collage in a classroom

You asked if you could cheat off of me
And I said yes
Because it’s what I’m trained for
Golden Retriever
Revolver
Believer
You asked for my answers and I gave them
And when our fingers touched
Three ring lined paper
Thin
like you
Thick
like me
I felt that thunder
That electric sound
That deep growl
I wanted you to stay
You left
Right
You left
Right
You left
I wanted to say
I’ll give you everything
I’ll shape your hopes into cookies
and I will bake them
I’ll paddle to your cabin
and wait
Wait
Wait for you to come back
Late
I’m early
It’s on me
You go
Quicker than laugher
I’m left
Right
Left
Right
Watching your hair move
like water

“All of you come here” by Sasha on her futon (on the floor)


Sunday September 21, 2014
10:43pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the beach in Levanto

Hey,

I’m writing because Skype is bullshit. When your face freezes I feel like I’m losing something I never truly had and I can’t bear it. So, what I was saying when we got cut off is… I’m glad that you’re taking care of yourself but I worry about Bubble Syndrome. You know, that thing that happens and is awkward to talk about when you forget to call your father and you forget to text me and you end up in the bubble of your own head, of your own Halifax and it’s… painful. It’s painful the most, it’s the most painful for you, I think. You have this notion that you’re taking care of yourself, that you’re holing up with your work in a good way, but, be careful. Sometimes it’s not good. Sometimes it’s nasty and you smell like a hedgehog. Eat spinach and stuff, okay? If you only eat beef jerky and barbecue chips you will get scurvy. That’s not even a maybe. That’s a for sure.

“All of you come here” by Julia at the beach in Levanto


Sunday September 21, 2014
3:36pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the beach in Levanto

And taste the salty hope of a blessing left out in the sun too long
And wait for me there while the ocean devours your fears
I’ll come to you in your dreams and whisper your fate to you
Tell you you’re beautiful and soft and beautiful
In those perfect dances no one is catching up with one another
But allowing one to lead and then to follow when the sleep sets in
And you will find your voice buried deep in your bones
A cage left open for the birds to fly out or back in
The song of your openness will caress the mountain’s top
And the fog that started there will transform into calm
A hundred gestures of kindness given in the second half of every almond biscuit I save for you
Your mouth a heartache turned into the Milky Way
Soothed by the light that emulates through you and then around you
And you will be reborn into a morning rain

“I won’t leave it this late again” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday August 23, 2014
2:46pm
5 minutes
In The Long Run
The Staves


I won’t leave it this late again.
The moon’s howling and the wind is glowing red.
I won’t be coming back again.
Your grin was like butterscotch and sand.
I won’t leave it this late again.
I’m sorry for all the bad I’ve done.
The mountains are screaming banshees.
The ocean is rough.
When we said goodbye, you wouldn’t look at me.
I thought maybe it meant something.
I thought maybe it meant that you weren’t who you said you were.
I thought maybe when we said goodbye
You would hold my pointer finger and aim it right where you hurt.
The sand is cold and the bugs are loud.
It was dark.
It is dark.
Darkness is the ghost of knowing what we know and keeping quiet.
Darkness is light
Dressed up
Or down.
Darkness is the universal shroud of grief
of knowing there’s so much still to do.

“you have been invited” by Julia on her couch


Monday Aug 11, 2014
12:05am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

It’s my going away party, okay? It wasn’t supposed to be a big deal, and nobody was supposed to get upset or say goodbye at all. I didn’t want to have to tell you. I know it sounds stupid, how was I supposed to pull that one off, right? How was I supposed to take off in the middle of the night without a trace and never hug my best friend again. Well in my defence I would have probably told you right after the party. I just wanted to have one last good night where it’s not clouded by anything. I mean, I would have it hanging over my head, of course, and I just thought, yeah but I’m a good actress; I can fake that nothing is wrong better than anyone. But I didn’t want anything to be different. I’m sorry that I did that. I don’t know how I’m supposed to say goodbye to you. I can’t picture starting a chapter without you in it.

“Destroy the evidence” by Sasha at Black River Farm


Saturday, July 26, 2014
3:40pm
5 minutes
Cards Against Humanity


“You’re dying, Judy…” I say, for the seventieth time. She smiles. “I’m not.” She spits a cherry pit into her hand and chucks in out the window. “Are you hearing the doctor?” I say, trying not to be annoyed at her, trying to find the patience I practice with the kids. “I heard him alright,” she eats another cherry. “You’ve got three months, tops…” It sounds so harsh to repeat it, it sounds so cold. I don’t mean it to be. I want her to do what she needs to do before she’s too weak. “It’s in your liver…” “What is? The wine we drank last night?” There’s a glimmer in her eye. Is this full on denial? I go to her desk to find the pamphlet the doctor gave us. I look in the drawers. I sift through phone bills and… she’s destroyed the evidence.

“September I’ll remember” by Sasha in her kitchen


Thursday, July 17, 2014
9:16pm
5 minutes
April Come She Will
Simon And Garfunkel



In September I’ll remember the wild call of your heart to mine.
In September I’ll remember avoiding your phone call like mono kisses.
In September I’ll remember myself, and you, braiding grass and drinking warm beer from cans.
In September I’ll remember when you told me and how we cried and how you looked younger than the day you were born.
In September I’ll remember when we decided to have sex and how salty it was and how gentle you were and how happy I was to have escaped the mystery.
In September I’ll remember meeting Jer, your first boyfriend, the one who taught you everything you know about being with a man, and I’ll remember how he looked me up and down and said I was a “fairy queen”.
In September I’ll remember visiting you in Montreal and eating too much salami and laughing til I peed and I took off my undies and threw them in the woods.

“Ha parlato troppo” by Sasha at the International Plaza Hotel


Friday July 11, 2014
12:33am
5 minutes
overheard on Corydon

You call me and you’re breathless
You’re sobbing
You’re hiccuping.
I say,
“Breath Betsy, breath…”
And you try to listen
But it’s hard.
You tell me that they’ve been killed
the little girls you nanny
five and nine
brown hair in braids you tied.
I say,
“Breath Betsy…”
And you try.
“They haven’t found who did it…”
You repeat
as if it might help.
“Come over,” I say,
And you silently decline.
You’d been there five hours earlier
And then their mother had come home
had forgotten something at the grocery store
“Zucchini,” you say.
She’d gone out to get it
Leaving the girls alone.
She’d done it before.
When she got back
the house was quiet.

“Get creative” by Julia on her couch


Thursday June 26, 2014
11:17pm
5 minutes
from the spaghetti package

On her forefinger she wrote HOME and on her middle she wrote HERE. On her ring finger she wrote WHEN and on her pinky she wrote ALWAYS. On her thumb she drew a ❤ and touched each finger to it for the ritual of it all. She had been feeling a little out of sorts lately. Not really knowing who to trust or who to ask her questions. People had the distinct capability of scaring her senseless, even when they didn’t pose any actual threats. She chalks that up to her childhood and almost getting killed in the woods by her two best friends. That happened way before the incident where those two girls did actually kill their best friend in the woods. She wondered sometimes if those girls all knew each other somehow, thinking to kidnap someone they supposedly loved and bring her to her worst nightmare. Lucky girl who died. She didn’t have to think about the entire world coming after her every other minute.
She looked at her thumb again and took a deep breath. Someone taught her to do that whenever she was doubting herself: take a deep breath and just choose love.

“founded in Cuba” by Julia on her couch


Friday June 20, 2014
10:36pm
5 minutes
from a sign at Queen and Abell St.

met a lovely woman and a lovely man
they were married
they met us there in the sand
came bringing mangos
gifts of the beach for us and for friendship
and we gave them all our soaps, our gum, our sandals
we could get more at home and they couldn’t get more in their home
and it was sad
but that’s the way it was
they met us there in the sand
showed pictures of their babies in braids beaching topless with bikini bottoms
young and free and didn’t know
and so we walked with them
hand in hand
and ate the mangos while the sun set
peeling back the skin with our teeth
taking photos of the moments like these
with people like those
and we held hands
met a lovely woman and a lovely man
I don’t know where they live now
I sent letters
I sent money
I sent the necklace she said she loved but felt bad taking when I offered it then
I sent love
I sent photos of my babies, straight, curly, straight
naked in the pool
splashing tiny drops and making big waves
and we haven’t heard a word
and we don’t know if they’re allowed to get the mail
or to see the mail
or to open the mail
and so maybe someone else has the money
and maybe someone else has the necklace
and maybe someone else has the photos of my babies
and maybe someone else has the love
we think of them often
the day there in the hot hot heat
we met a lovely woman
and we met a lovely man
they were married
they were the ones we hold

“Make a lasting impression.” by Sasha on the Queen Streetcar going West


Friday May 30, 2014
5:42pm
5 minutes
L’OREAL ad in Flare Magazine
December 2011


“Come on Selma! Don’t be a baby! There’s nothing to be scared of… What do you think is gonna happen? Come on SELLLLLLMA!!!!!”
Push pause
Push stop
Push the slow-down-distorted-voice
Push
And he’s all pushy pushy
And he’s all “You’ll be fine!”
And he’s all “People do scarier things every day! Selma! You’re such a scared-y cat!”
And I don’t want to jump but I do anyway
Who cares about the spring
The spring of the diving board is like the first shot of tequila
(Never a good idea)
And he’s down there
Treading water
And he’s smiling up
And I say
“Move it!”
And I say
“I don’t want to jump if you’re right there”
And he doesn’t read into it
He swims across the pool and gives me a one handed thumbs up

“set yourself on fire” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday May 13, 2014
10:46pm
5 minutes
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
Stars


Sometimes you look at me and say, “I saw her again.” I know who you’re talking about. You’re talking about the one, in the mirror, with the furrowed brow. “It’s okay,” I tell you. “She’ll be gone soon.” But this time she doesn’t go. She stays. She sets up camp in the linen cupboard. You refuse to wash. You refuse to eat. I call you mother. “I’m worried,” I say. “You two are too co-dependant,” she tells me and calls the Institute to see if they have space for you. You’ll be gone for a few weeks and then you’ll return, “tuned up”. That’s what you say, like you’re a bike in the spring. “Just went in for my tune up!” When you get back, you’re always so happy it’s almost tinny. It’s almost annoying. “Make up your mind!” You tell me, rolling a cigarette. You made friends with a man there named Todd, who carries drum and papers, and tells you that the way to free yourself of yourself is to let go of all your attachments. “The thing I’m most attached to is you,” you say, inhaling deeply.

“STAY THOUGHTFUL” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday April 29, 2014
7:01pm
5 minutes
The Holiday Inn note pad

When I look in your fridge I get to know you better.
And that feels good.
That shouldn’t have to be a clandestine, secretive thing.
Right?
I see the probiotics on the back of the shelf…
(Probably from when you had strep throat and were on antibiotics for two weeks. Your mother called and told you that you needed to get the good bacteria back into your body. You listened. For once.)
I see the two dozen eggs.
Who eats that many eggs?
“I have two soft boiled eggs, three pieces of flax toast and an orange for breakfast every single day,” you say, not the least bit defensive.
I see the ketchup, the mustard, the Sriricha, the mayo. You must make a mean burger. You must top it with all these delicious things.
No pickles. No yogurt. No apples.
I see the head of romaine, the spinach, the cilantro.
You’re on a salad kick.
I get it.
I see the thoughtful way you organize your sandwich meats.

“The heat is bad, the water’s bad” by Sasha on the bed in Mississauga


Sunday April 27, 2014
10:54pm
5 minutes
Knocked Up
Henry Lawson


When we made up our minds it was for real, it was for sure. It didn’t matter that the heat was bad and the water smelled like swamp muck, we were home. When I met Terri she’d just shaved her head and was massaging sunscreen onto it. She laughed when she saw me watching her and said, “I never realized how white my damn scalp is!” We were instant friends, the kind of friend you bring to Thanksgiving with your family and it somehow satiates their constant questioning about a boyfriend. She was enough, she was everything. “Let’s move to Alaska,” Terri said one night, when we’d smoked half a joint and eaten mac n’ cheese from the pot, feeding eachother using a wooden spoon. “Okay,” I said, and she looked confused that I was suddenly impulsive, like she was. We both knew I wasn’t, really, but I was trying it on, like a fuchsia prom dress at Salvation Army. We hitchhiked partway and took a bus the rest. Terri’s uncle Berry lived in Anchorage and we crashed at his place until we found an apartment of our own.

“will run as deep as the bloodline” by Sasha on the Lansdowne bus


Tuesday April 1, 2014
11:56am
5 minutes
www.jennylewis.com


There’s a cloud on her shoulder, pinning her down, pinning her to her place, which she doesn’t even enjoy. The cloud shakes its grey curls, making her heart ache, making the muscles tense. The cloud’s been there since the early Winter, since her husky got hit by a car, since she put on fifteen pounds, since she told her family she wanted a divorce from them. “Too much all at once,” I stroke circles onto her hand, hoping she’ll see that this will be over soon. Patchy, dry skin, bigger belly, so many new lines on her face I don’t even know her anymore. Bags heavier than bricks under her eyes. “I’m worried,” I hold her hand and it’s clammy, it’s cold, it reminds me of fish before you put it in the pan to broil.

“washroom of the bar” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday February 27, 2014
3:18pm
5 minutes
spiderwebshow.ca

“Amy?” I wait and hear nothing. “Amy. I know you’re in here…” Nothing. “Amy. I, I… We just need to talk about this. We can talk this out…” Nothing. And then… “Fuck you, Bridget.” The last stall, the only one that locks. Even though everything my mother taught me about public bathrooms goes against it, I get down on my knees and peer under the stall. Amy is crouched against the non-toilet side. “Our friendship is a fucking lie and I think you should just get the fuck out of here – ” “Come on – ” “I don’t ever want to see you again, Bridget. Seriously.” I didn’t think it was possible, but my heart sinks lower, almost down to my ass. “Amy. You were on a break…” “FUCK YOU!” “We were drunk – “, she stands up and opens the door quickly. It smacks me in the head. I fall backwards. She smiles for a moment, turns on the tap, cups her hands and throws water on me. “I’m so sorry. I love you. I love you more than I’m ever going to love any man… And I don’t love Brandon, I barely even like him…” All of a sudden she looks very sad. She runs up the stairs.

“Hooded Shawl” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday February 6, 2014
11:56pm
5 minutes
the Circle Scarf tag
American Apparel


We were wiser when we were younger. Tuned into our hunger and our thirst. Seeing only the best and not the worst. Every person their own snowflake, melting on the tongue of the universe. We were wiser when we were younger. Brewing our tea in tiny cups and shaking hands with every stuffed bear at the party. No fashionably late. Always on time. You would braid my hair, fancy and french, and I would tell you made-up stories about a place we called “Venitaville”.

“We were wiser when we were younger,” you say, pouring more beer in my glass and getting really whimsical about it. “Remember that hooded shawl thing you had? That you’d wear October to April?” My Bubba had made it for me out of and old sweater. It was pink and purple.

TJ & Sam by Julia at the these five minutes: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday February 2, 2014 at The Fringe Creation Lab
1:03pm
5 minutes
these five minutes: writer’s workout

They were brothers–not really–well, really, but not really. Not blood. Just blood brothers in expression–when you open up an old paper cut, or scratch a patch of skin back to make it bleed–rub your wounds into each other’s and promise something of yourselves to the other. For example: I’ll always be there for you, man. Or: No matter what, bro, no matter what.
It feels like when two dudes do this kind of thing they also automatically repeat key phrases like the MSP on a triple A baseball team…Atta boy, atta boy.
It’s nice.
TJ and Sam were like that–only contrary to common belief, they didn’t say anything when their blood was mixing together. They both closed their eyes and just felt it. TJ and Sam had that kind of bond where they could sit in an open space with their blood dancing–with another guy’s blood, and feel a connection without having to say “No homo” just to ease the silence, the magic. They gave it its space–they gave their blood a minute before they said a single thing.

“That’s the point.” by Julia on the subway going east


Monday January 27, 2014
6:40pm
5 minutes
The Grid
January 23-30 2014


Oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah
That's 1234
Four
Four yeahs
That's the point
You count them out and you go oh yeah but you say as many as you feel are necessary for the understanding you've just developed
Four sometimes five
Oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah
Extra yeah extra oh
For those moments when you just need to keep going on that track you started on
I've been punishing you with my absence
I'll admit that now
Haven't been responding to your messages or your needs or your calls or your smoke signals
Didn't really care if it was urgent or of it was life threatening
Didn't care at all
And so I saw your reach outs
And I ignored every last one
Cause you're a bad friend
And when you realize it all
The pieces falling where they should
The puzzle coming together
You'll do it
You'll say it
You'll go oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah
I have been terrible
I remember now

“it’s okay” by Sasha at lemonTree {studio}


Friday January 17, 2014 at lemonTree {studio}
5:20pm
5 minutes
overheard on the corner of Spadina and Adelaide

“I think you’re better off without them,” said Sam, over chocolate croissants from the bakery a thirty minute bike ride away. He’d gone this morning, early, because they always sell out by nine. He rewards himself with two. I get one, and sometimes the crunchy ends of his second, which he usually leaves behind. “These are the best part!” I always squeal, and he rolls his eyes. “I really do…” he dips a chocolatey chunk into his black coffee. “I actually don’t care what you think about my friends, Sam!” I am lying, but it has the right effect. “Those girls give you grief and only grief…” He wipes the side of his lips. “That’s what friends are supposed to do,” I know it sounds bogus, but, it’s actually what I believe. “It’s different for guys,” I pick up croissant crumbs from the table, one by one, blotting with my pointer finger. “You don’t get it.” Sam looks at me like I’m his puppy, not his girlfriend. Or maybe his gerbil. “It’s okay,” he says, like that’s enough, like that’s it.

“There is absolutely no subletting” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, September 26, 2013
5:33pm
5 minutes
The City Of Toronto Permit Policy

When I got my ears pierced, you scowled and said, “What a conformist.”
At my tenth birthday party, you gave me a purple journal with cats on it that locked. It came with two keys – one for me and one for you.
During our Eighth Grade graduation, you picked off your blue nail-polish the whole time we were all onstage. Your mother was mortified. My mother was crying and didn’t notice.
The day after I lost my virginity, you wore black because you were mourning my childhood, stretching behind me like a lazy cat.
When the black thing faded, you started sporting army jackets and jelly shoes, and this lasted up until you met Bee.
I moved to Winnipeg and you stayed in Montreal.

“There is absolutely no subletting” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, September 26, 2013
5:50pm
5 minutes
The City Of Toronto Permit Policy

Okay so you’re moving? You’re just up and leaving? Didn’t you think about what I would have to do? Fucking course not. You’re a selfish dick. You could have warned me, at least, that you wanted to move. That you wanted to travel. Like, now I’m stuck either paying all the rent, or finding a roommate, which I know you know sucks ass. You have to leave me your throw blankets now. And the microwave, and the coffee table. I don’t think you get a say, sorry. Selfish people need to be accountable for their actions. What do you mean “not a big deal” ? Huh? Are you fucking kidding me? My best friend is LEAVING THE COUNTRY for an undetermined length of time and you want me to calm down? How about, WHEN WILL I EVER SEE YOU AGAIN? Or, Hey, just a head’s up, you might want to get all your shit-ducks in a row cause I’m about to DISORGANIZE THE FUCK OUT OF THE ONES THAT ARE ALREADY TRYING TO LINE UP.

“An enormous explosive crescendo” by Sasha at The Sydenham Public Library


Tuesday, July 30, 2013
5:55pm
5 minutes
from The American Book of the Dead
E.J. Gold


When you were talking about your mother, you never once mentioned how you have the same hands. It might seem odd, given that she’s a sixty-seven year old woman and you’re a thirty year-old man, but, in actual fact, it’s not odd. It’s wonderful.

When you were talking about driving your asshole motorcycle across the country, from Atlantic to Pacific, you never once mentioned that you’d get stuck in Winnipeg, where you’d meet a new friend named Crowfeather, or that you’d call me from the hospital in Calgary with half your face ripped off.

When you were talking about the re-occurring dream of the enormous explosive crescendo, I laughed only because I’d never had a dream where there was only sound. That’s something that’s just yours. You never mentioned that it was every night, usually followed by flying. I had to find that out via your journal. That felt really shitty.

“The thing is this, Eddie,” by Julia on her couch


Monday, July 29, 2013
12:00am
5 minutes
Jack Maggs
Peter Carey


Shelly wanted to flip her hair out the way she had watched Skyla do it a million times. Sky said it was so easy and Shelly just nodded her head and waited till she was alone to practice. Skyla was better at it. She was born that way, Shelly assumed. She wasn’t one of those people that when they’re young they don’t know about shaving their legs until grade 9. Skyla knew about all the stuff a woman is supposed to know about early on. Maybe she was even the first. She had everything that Shelly wanted. Shelly tried to wear pink lipgloss and tweeze her eyebrows when she saw that Skyla’s had a more defined arch than her own. She was told specifically that she was not to wear mascara until high school, so Shelly used vaseline instead, just the way Skyla taught her, and the way just being alive taught Skyla. She wondered if people like Skyla ever had to deal with acne, or even freckles. She didn’t even want to hear the answer to that dilemma as if the response alone would kill her dead in her knobby knees. Skyla was not above giving lessons, but even her beauty sessions came at a price. Skyla always told the girls, “You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”

“Bollywood Chai” by Sasha at David’s Tea in Banff


Friday, July 19, 2013
7:17pm
5 minutes
from the David’s Tea cup

You’ve been picking at your scabs again; the ones on your arms from mosquito bites and the ones on your knees from falling off your bike and the ones on your face from your pimples. You tell me that you do it in your sleep, that you wake up with streaks of blood all over your sheets and red under your nails. I don’t buy it. “Have a little self-control,” I think. It’s as if you hear me, “I do it in my sleep!” you say, rolling your eyes like when we were thirteen. “It’s going to scar,” I respond, bitchier than I would’ve liked. “Why do you care?!” You look hurt. “You don’t need scars! You have enough shit on your plate!” She thinks I’m talking about the divorce, but I’m not. I’m talking about her Mom’s dementia and her brother in prison and how living off of Pringles and Fuzzy Peaches can’t result in anything other than scurvy. She drinks her tea and scratches her cheek. A drop of blood falls down like a tear.

“the blank screen” by Julia at Tarragon Theatre Courtyard


Monday, July 8, 2013
2:23pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on her way up the stairs

Dear friend (who shall remain nameless),

You have taught me a lot. Did you know that? I got in touch with my five year old self earlier today and realized some things:
1)It’s not my fault that I wanted to be exactly like my older sister (who shall also remain nameless)
2) I am okay just the way I am. AKA I’m enough, I’m enough, I’m enough.
3)You belong in my life and I miss your hugs more than you know.

It was like looking inward at a blank screen, trying to connect the dots of my past and make myself feel something. Trying to outline a reason for why I am the way I am. And then your face was just there. Glowing like a smiling fire, a tiny nightlight to keep me from dying while I sleep. You weren’t speaking but you were saying so much. Something about our band, and how we’ll start it up when you get back because we’ll compliment each other perfectly. You also alluded to having a silent walk in the park while you dog sit like we did last year and ended up having an impromptu summer of dreams that excluded, nor welcomed, anyone but the two of us.

“GTA” by Julia at The Common on Bloor


Monday, June 24, 2013 at The Common on Bloor
3:49pm
5 minutes
The Toronto Star

She was leaving the GTA that afternoon, said to me, Darlin’I have to get out of this city. Tipped her wide-brimmed beach hat at me and left the bar after doing a shot of Amaretto. Said she wanted to feel the sweetness on her tongue all the way to the airport. I had never met anyone like Elsa in all the time I’ve been here. She made me question who I was for two short weeks when she forced herself into my life. I don’t know why I was so open to her, so accepting of her UFO believing ways, or her constant reliance on whiskey and pecan butter tarts. Elsa was a mover, a shaker, and somehow that woman knows more about me than I do and I’ve only known her for a brief excerpt of it. Didn’t tell me she would miss me, but she did say that I should check my mailbox before the month was up. Elsa wasn’t going to send me a letter, but a tiny sculpture with the bottom carved out, stuffed with weed, then corked back up again, laying flush against the opening. She didn’t tell me this, but I knew. I knew Elsa better than she knew herself too. Sometimes you meet those kind of people and you don’t need to really keep them with you until you see a bottle of Maker’s Mark on the shelf somewhere.

“Lily and Gigi” by Sasha at Nova Era Bakery


Monday May 27, 2013
11:15am at Nova Era Bakery
5 minutes
names dipped from a class list

Let’s each bring a vegetable, a few vegetables, and let’s make soup. It can simmer on the stove the whole time we talk, and then, when we pause, when we’re hungry, there will be something delicious waiting. Gigi, you bring something starchy. I’ll bring onions and carrots and celery. The trifecta of the best soups. When you get here we’ll touch noses. We don’t even have to say, “Hi! Long time no see!” or anything. We’ll touch noses and we’ll go into the living room. I might need to draw while we talk because sometimes eye contact overwhelms me. Often eye contact overwhelms me. I’ll draw while you talk and while I talk you can do anything you want, anything that makes you comfortable. Bethany likes to be scratched behind her ears, if you’re at a loss for what exactly to do with your hands when I’m speaking.

“he comes up with a plan” by Julia on the 506 going west


Tuesday May 7, 2013
12:33am
5 minutes
The back of The Store DVD case

Join the club, she says to him, Join the club, or you can’t be my friend.
He holds the stick high over his head, ready to throw it at Little Tyler who is cowering in the mud. He’s crying, even, or at least it looks that way.
DO IT, she chants, little braid messy from all the running around. This is your last chance.
He can’t throw the stick. Little Tyler. Little Tyler.
He instead, launches the stick in the opposite direction. She screams. What are you doing!
He runs over to Little Tyler and picks him up. He’s a wounded dog, now, and bites at any hands at all. Even the helping ones, because they all blend in and feel the same when you’re scared.
Don’t touch him. He’s being punished, she screams, to nobody in particular, arms flailing, braid swinging.
Little Tyler finally opens his eyes and sees a gentle smile on Chubby Matthew’s face. He opens up. He breathes, for maybe the first time.
Connie, you stop this, Chubby Matthew says to her over his shoulder. No one wants to be in your club anyway.

“Smear out the last star.” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday, April 17, 2013
1:02am
5 minutes
Absences
Dom Moraes


You fill me with so many secrets that keep me from being able to actually think about whether or not, one day, we’ll move to Belize and have a fruit stand, as partners (not lovers), as best friends, as allies in this almost-apocalypse. Let’s forget about the time I yelled like a woman who’d lost her legs, and the time that I told you I hated you more than I’ve ever hated anyone ever. It’s a complicated thing, this, and that, too. Yeah. But… You take me the way I am. You don’t add cream or sugar. You take me still rusty, still dirty, still clumsy, still wondering. You fill my belly with secrets that haven’t ever breathed before. I’ve never met anyone who has the courage to do this. If you were a man, or a lesbian, I would be so desperately in love with you, I’d probably die, because my heart wouldn’t be able to sustain the kind of beating it would do in your heavenly presence. I love you like that. Even though you aren’t a man. Screw it. Let’s go to Belize. I don’t care that we can’t afford plane tickets. We’ll hitchhike, we’ll walk, we’ll double ride on that ridiculous folding bike you just bought.

“All natural” by Julia on her couch


Saturday April 6, 2013
2:43am
5 minutes
Cameron’s beer coaster

Okie dokie! She said. She always said weird shit like that.
I met her when I was 9 and she annoyed me even then, but I also liked her. I didn’t have many friends. Felt like I was a friend failure since the only one I picked to hang out with was right nuts and needed to be put in restraints if she ate too many Gummie chews. I liked her because she was very sweet to the elderly, always drawing little pictures and writing poems for them. Old people are my soft spot. I really do love them. But it was her idea to go to the nursing home to perform the dance we made up to Madonna’s entire True Blue album.
That was nice. She had a good heart, but those phrases. Man those phrases. It was as if she wanted to convince me to use them too but it never worked. That’s something that will never rub off on me. Dumb catch phrases. And punny jokes.

“I didn’t have a word for it” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday, March 16, 2013
9:12pm
5 minutes
Everything Bad Is Good For You
Steven Johnson


You took your time going down the steep side, towards the lake, with the trout and the laughter. I walked behind you, in case you fell backwards, which, in hindsight, isn’t the smartest, but… Oh well. I don’t have a word for that day, or the day before, when we finally got down to it and started working. It was Boxing Day when you’d said, “Let’s put together your family tree for real…” I thought you were kidding, I thought, “Why would you want to put together my family tree? Why would that even interest you?!” But I said, “Sure,” and didn’t think much of it. We drove up to my aunt’s cabin on Georgian Bay and brought all the books, the folders, the cassette tapes of my grandfather talking about the “Old Country”. We were smoking a joint on the dock. “Have you even put together a family tree before? Is this your first time?” You smiled and ashed into the lake.

“feeling my legs” By Julia at R Squared


Monday February 25, 2013 at R Squared
11:21am
5 minutes
Chaos Comes Again
Wilhelmina Baird


Jordie and in are going to run to the Starbucks at the end of our street–like a race–and then whoever is last has to buy the coffee! Yuck! Neither of us even like coffee, but a dare’s a dare and if we show up with nothing , then Al will think we didn’t even run or that we were scared. People in there always have their laptops and always look up at kids when they’re in there as if they should be attached to a leash or something. I only know this because like, my mom says that about other kids and I think every time–I could be one of those kids. Jordie is more that kid than me. If you give him like, a couple packs of unopened sugar, the next thing you know it’s all been dumped into ketchup cups or on the floor. Jordie is so bad he gets a timeout from my mom too. She hates disciplining Jordie but thinks his mom doesn’t do a very good job. Jordie’s not as fast as me but I know he doesn’t have three Dillard’s or the coffee dare. We have to get extra sugar first do we can drink it–with the lid on do we can run back and we can show Al we did it. I have an idea in my head to slow down just at the end to Jordie beat me. My mom gave me five dollars to buy bread. I’ll just explain the whole thing to her later.

“I’m doing good.” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday February 24, 2013
12:31am
5 minutes
Mick Unplugged
Greg Nelson


She calls me in the middle of the night. For the fifth time. I have a hard time getting to sleep. I wouldn’t call it insomnia but I wouldn’t deny it if you happened to call it that… So, when she calls I’m… not at my best. I answer. I mean, I promised her that I’d leave the phone on the nightstand so that if she needed me I’d be right there. But… You says these things, I mean, we all say these things and we rarely expect people to actually listen, or, take advantage of them… So, I answer. She’s crying. “Hi honey…” I say, groggy, forcing the “honey” because it’s not the word I really wanted to use. “He’s going crazy again, Nell,” she whispers. I sit up. I keep my eyes closed but I do sit up. “You want me to come and get you?” I yawn. “No, no, no, no, NO.” She says. “You probably have a lot to do tomorrow and the last thing you need is a middle of the night drive to Brampton…” I lie back down. “What happend?” She pauses, trying to catch her breath. “It was actually a pretty decent day… but after we got back from the pet store all of it went to shit.” “The pet store?” “Yeah,” she says, and I can hear the smile in her voice. “I thought things might get better if he had something really delicate to care for, like a bird, or a fish, or something…” Sounded like a terrible idea to me. “And?” “He doesn’t want a pet! He hates animals! He told me that I treat him like a child!” She was talking louder now and I found myself worrying that he might find her, that he might hurt her again. “I’m coming to get you,” I say, getting out of bed. “Nell, NO! He doesn’t like it when I disappear…”

“We are not captives” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday February 10, 2013
9:39am
5 minutes
Mud, River, Stone
Lynn Nottage


I made you chocolate pancakes and you didn’t say “Thank you”. You didn’t even say, “Wow. Chocolate pancakes.” You ate them, quietly, while I waited for any assortment of verbal affirmations that you might, finally, be happy. Debbie read somewhere that we have to detach from the whole concept of “happiness” because it’s a bag of lies. I didn’t say it to Debbie but I’m thinking, if happiness is a bag of lies than what have we got? If happiness is a big ol’ sack of bologna than where does that leave me, a forty-one year old accountant with weak lungs and a penchant for fondue? I refuse to detach from the “concept” of happiness. I will not become a captive, like Debbie, of a stupid yoga teacher who has a suspect strand of brown beads around his neck and back-hair suitable for lawn bowling! I just nod and smile when Debbie tells me about the wisdom he imparts, only to her, only after their private session. I am an intelligent woman and even if I didn’t go to graduate school and do the Peace Corps, I am the one making the top-notch decision to be HAPPY, regardless of the fact that you, my beloved son, my depressed beloved son, are incapable of expressing gratitude.

“two powerful unions” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday, January 3, 2013 at Starbucks
10:05pm
5 minutes
metro Thursday January 3, 2013
Joseph S. Nye, JR.


Joining forces to save the world, Alyssa and Katherine wore matching tunics and shared socks so each would have one of the other’s.
The girls decided that they would act as the school yard’s protective service when Alyssa’s little brother was shoved off of the play structure last Tuesday at recess and broke his collar bone.
Alyssa went to Katherine, crying, saying “That was my fault. I should have been there.” Katherine didn’t yet know that something like this had already happened to Alyssa.
Her brother almost died when he was 3 because the two of them were playing hide and go seek and the little
boy hid himself in the dryer.
Alyssa said it again then, “I should have been there.”
Katherine wanted to stop the bullying, but she also wanted to help her friend who seemed to always take these occurrences so seriously.
The girls walked around the perimeter of the school yard, hand and hand and didn’t speak a single word. They watched intently, Katherine squeezing Alyssa’s hand very now and again just in case.

“We’re not selling cheese.” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday, December 8, 2012
12:08am
5 minutes
Irma Voth
Miriam Toews


It was my first time. The music pumped so hard that my guts jiggled and my heart tried to find the beat in order to sync, somehow. I was there with my friend Coco. We’d met at the Cheese Shop in Kensington market, both of us with our eye on Smoked Gouda. She’d ask for tastes, hinting at fancy recipes and high brow dinner parties and then leave without ever buying anything. They were onto her now. Coco had blue eyeshadow up to her eyebrows. She wore pink platform sneakers and had a small furry backpack. Once inside, Coco screamed. Not in a girlish way, but guttural, beast-like. She was with her clan. She offered me a small pill in the palm of her hand. It was also pink and had a small heart on it. I couldn’t believe that someone like Coco was paying this much attention to someone like me and even offering to share her illicit tiny things. I let out a scream like Coco had but after it was done I wanted to cry more than dance or take E. Coco grabbed my hand and pulled me over to a far corner where her brother Ted was giving away bottles of Gatorade.