“You plan, you design, you labor,” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday October 16, 2019
10:04pm
5 minutes
An Absorbing Errand
Janna Malamud Smith

You are the Carolina Parakeet
hunted for feathers in hats worn by women like

You are the Passenger Pigeon
flocking with billions of kin
darkening the bright sky
trying to make it home to

You are the Stephens Island Wren
flightless and tiny
hunted by pet cats to complete extinction
New Zealand lost her

You are the Great Auk
not knowing the threat of their human predator
they waddled up to the Settler
hoping to make a new friend in

You are the Elephant Bird
Ten feet tall and five hundred pounds
Prehistoric and wise
Bobbing your head towards the familiar

You
Sweet Dodo Bird of Mauritius
hunted for meat by the hungry and tired

“sucking everything in.” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday August 6, 2019
6:50pm
5 minutes
Across This Body
Jeni De La O

I don’t know how many days I will write about time and
how many minutes

When i pour my coffee for the 3rd time you wait and
smile cause oh you see yourself in it

I never had addictions until i met you
I never smoked a thing until that night

And darlin’ I will wait for another puff
if it means you’re the one passing it to me

I don’t know how many days I will love this line
or the next one that inevitably follows

When i stumble on a phrase I like better than the feeling
it occupies inside of every swallow

I never had addictions until i met you
I never smoked a thing until that night

And darlin’ I will write this way till mornin’
Cause I’ve got the best obsession in front of me

I don’t know how many days I’ll write about time
and how many hours

When I dance for you after all the years of sucking in
you smile at my body of work and of beauty

I never had addictions until i met you
I never smoked a thing until that night

And darlin’ I will hold on to forever and again
if it means that you’re holding back to me

I never had addictions until i met you
and now you’re the one thing on my mind

“I’ll try to sneak across the border somewhere, somehow” by Julia on A’s couch

Friday July 26, 2019
12:29am
5 minutes
Summer Of My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews

you’re on the other side of the country right now. Missing me, you say, needing me. I’m feeling it hard right now. I’m feeling you. Thank you for believing in my dreams even when you won’t get those 15 minutes back. You listen. You always listen.

I am writing so many things about you, yoy’d think we just fell in love for the first time this year. But I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve fallen in love with you. How many days are in a decade again? Somewhere around there.

Tonight I’ll find yet another bed to think of you in. I’ll meet you across the border of sleep and into the place we keep choosing. It’s nice there and it’s warm, and I know the breeze of you like the back of my hand. Even if I don’t see your face, I’ll know.

1234

“the moon hung full” by Julia at her desk

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

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

“Like the blueprint of a lake.” by Julia at her desk

Monday April 15, 2019
6:36am
5 minutes
Weatherman
Norman MacKenzie

It’s been a game studying you
wondering where your true north is
and if you’re following it.
I like knowing that somewhere out there
you hold a map of you the size of your history
and on it is marked all the places
you’ve walked instead of taking the car
I know where your feet have been but
where was your heart? There are stretches
of cartography dipped in blue and I know
that’s when you found the water, believed
yourself lake, swam in the light.
When travelling you don’t bring a camera with
you when you leave. You don’t have any need to prove
you saw anything or to show the world how
you’ve seen it. You take it in, mix it around with
whatever you already have in there (blood, life, decisions)
and you tell yourself what you have seen.
and you remember it better that way.
I don’t often write about you in the positive
because sometimes I think it would be less
graceful of me to prove how I see you to
the rest of the world. The only one who
knows how good you are to me is me. And you.
You know because you designed it.
And I follow you because you have built
such a beautiful blueprint

“no matter how uncomfortable staying has become.” by Julia on the 99

Sunday March 10, 2019
5:27pm
5 minutes
Devil With a Briefcase
Jan Janzen

Hey if you’re reading this, this is for you. I know you as a 14 year old girl with bruised calves and giant beaded necklaces. I know the you that regifted me a notebook with an angel on the front cover and a devil on the back. You didn’t know at the time I wasn’t the type to like that sort of thing or that my reasons were the same as yours were when you gave it away. I know you in the mouldy elevator singing at the top of our lungs, performing on the cafeteria stage wearing matching scarves, sitting in the student council office during 3rd period spare. I know you falling to your knees with joy the day I brought you back a crispy chicken sandwich after lunch.

“not like you” by Julia at her desk

Saturday April 21, 2018
11:33am
5 minutes
From a quote by Carlos Fuentos

He asks you if we are the kind of couple who needs
to spend every second together
He asks this while you are living in another province than me
I think it is one of those questions that doesn’t need an answer
But you answer in full sentences and give a thought out response
I would not have thought about it as long as you and
I suppose that is because I am not like you
You say it has taken a long time to get here
that once upon a time we were too codependent
and once upon a time after that we were too independent
and now we have found this happy medium where you can
go away and I can go away and we can live our individual
lives but still miss the other person
I would have simply said No
we’re not that kind of couple
And yet I appreciate all the history of us you are remembering
You know where we’ve been because you are not like me
and have been paying attention to the arc of things
I sometimes pretend like half of of our lives toegther
didn’t even happen in the first place
It is good that you are not like me

“stinking up the bedsheets” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday April 9, 2018
8:13am
5 minutes
Lonely
Z. Da Costa

That summer that will always be sepia toned
according to you
For me it’s florescent and hungover and
smells like coffee and stinky sweaty bedsheets

That summer is immortalized in my body now

That summer is an infection
a joy
a trechory
a thing I couldn’t possibly have done
was that me?

That summer is a fit body
a cloudy mind
a wailing spirit
a whole
a fill
a scream
toes curled
mouth wide
here
there
okay
YES

That summer is a shame
a cushion
a burning room in a hell place
a soaring bird
in cumulus skies

“Said she’s comin’ back to stay” by Julia in Da Nang

Sunday January 28, 2018
7:08am
5 minutes
Gonna Have Love
Buck Owens

You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. They might be your boxers. Your at home clothes. Your lounge wear. I don’t know that much about you yet. I don’t know that you love Buck yet. I know you’re funny. I know I’ve accidentally said your name while lying next to someone else. I know I don’t want to live with anyone but you. You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. You knock on my door every night and when I say come in from my desk you come in with your guitar. You play a song. You charm the pants off of me. You make me laugh. You make me better. You are a one man show and I am your only audience. You and your black shorts, boxers, lounge wear. You and your perfect timing and your perfect face. You and your way of changing the room so the right light hits the right spot. I don’t know much about you but I am watching every part. I am studying your hands. Your knee caps. The way you don’t take anything personally. The way you sing to me.

“Remember that time” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday June 14, 2017
8:18pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

Remember that time our landlords tried to bribe us with blueberries and yogurt from the Korean grocery store in Richmond Hill? You think it’s weird that I’m friends with them
on facebook but I just think it’s funny. They always wanted us to be friends for real. We weren’t exactly into that when we lived below them because friendship then meant them coming into our unit on saturday mornings to use the laundry room without giving us 24 hrs notice. One night we listened to them argue upstairs, the smell of prawns wafting through the vents. We looked at each other, worried, as if we were hearing our own parents threaten divorce. But that would have made us siblings, and now we see each other naked, so.

“Judging your early artistic efforts” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday April 20, 2017
8:48am
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


hours at the round kitchen table
pencil crayons building

bungalows making circles
and roofs the paper

my playmate my confidante
my lover my dreamcatcher

embroidery thread spun
into small balls

the summer of the hair wrap
the friendship bracelets

Layah and I had a store out of the living
room where our parent’s friends would

purchase anklets for a quarter

“living in the ordinary world” by Sasha in the Kiva


Thursday April 13, 2017
10:42pm
5 minutes
From a Way of the Heart info sheet

Living in an ordinary world
like we all are
like the sound of the streetcar rattling
like a city haunted with
bike rides and kisses
scratched palms and farmers markets
Here we all are
now now now
shaking hands with history
nodding at future
making eye contact with what could have been
falling backwards into what is
Here we are
dancing circles around the
house where we grew up

“Exile” By Julia on her bed


Monday February 13, 2017
10:30pm
5 minutes
from a business card

How do I forgive something so permanent?
made me miss my bus
made me take out the trash
made me clean out the coffee filter
made me apologize for something I’m not solely sorry for
made me dinner
made me eat breakfast before leaving
made me smile
made me laugh
made me feel bad for crying
made me feel stupid for trying
made me lose my train of thought
made me angry
made me demand more of myself
made me let go
made me better than I ever was going to be
made me question

“the life of his human counterpart” By Julia at The Deklab County Public Library


Sunday August 7, 2016 at the Deklab County Public Library
2:14pm
5 minutes
Unsaid
Neil Abramson


It was hard to see him through the rain but I didn’t have to see his face to know who he was. Michael kept his head down as if the stream of water cascading down his hair could shield his eyes. I knew that he was crying. I knew that stance anywhere. I hadn’t seen him in months and still knew he had gotten a hair cut too. I wasn’t sure if I should approach him first or wait for him to see me. I didn’t want to disrupt whatever praying he might have been doing. I didn’t want to interrupt his ritual of getting right with himself before he came to find me. The life of his human counterpart was just as complex, and he knew that too. Hell, from behind the heavy sheets of rain pouring down on us, I’m sure he could see that I was doing my work to get right with myself just the same as he was.

“enables you to become the master” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Vancouver


Friday May 13, 2016
9:20pm
5 minutes
The Curl Keeper Bottle

You ask for a pic but I’m not versed in this language of yellow smiley faces and acronyms if that’s even what you call them
I send you a photograph of my plate licked clean after pasta with tomato sauce and zucchini fried in olive oil with garlic
It confuses you and I wonder about how this could ever happen beyond this month this year this apartment
You ask for a pic again and I send you one of my mother as a baby sitting on a blanket with a woman who isn’t a relative
You send back a question mark just that a squiggle of black and a dot and I say
“It’s a baby! What do you want?”
I don’t tell you it’s my mother as a baby as that’s too intimate that’s too close that lineage too sticky

“your mother’s sewing machine” by Sasha outside Koerner’s Library


Thursday September 10, 2015
3:12pm
5 minutes
from Sasha’s transcriptions

two million
three hundred and
ninety six
rays of light
converge
where my mother’s hand
rests
she’s sat on a stool
that we found by the side of
the road
wood worn for sitting bones
her foot
pumping the pedal
a handful of crickets
my fall dress

“sometimes you’re like a stranger to me” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday May 23, 2015
10:39pm
5 minutes
Stranger
Alfie Conor


He has dreams of being chased by the man in the black robe with the white fleck as his neck
That space
That small hollow space
He runs and runs and he can’t out-run and he’s down and then he’s up
In those big hands
Big veins
Big tongue
Big hurt
The forest floor changed those nights
Became angry and heavy and unkind
The pine needles pricking
The owl calls like a nightmare

One hundred and fifty thousand children
He and his army
His Sisters
His Brothers
Turtle Island cries elephant tears
An ocean of sobs
I turn my face away

Got a dollar I’m hungry
I don’t say anything
Got a dollar I’m thirty
Thirst won’t quench with the brown stuff
I don’t say anything

Truth
Reconciliation
My heart
Those hearts
Broke
Broke
KIN
Sisters
Brothers

“we can remember everything” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday September 28, 2014
6:11pm
5 minutes
Writing Down The Bones
Natalie Goldberg


we can remember everything
not only what happened to us
what happened to the ones that came before
what burned their hands
and their wonder
you tell me about smelling the train
the sounds outside
bombs and lightning
not knowing if the bursts of light
were from one
or the other
you tell me and i know you know it’s
impossible
nothing is
i’m sorry
nothing is
she wears a nun’s habit because she thinks it will save her
she’s a religious woman
it’s not bad
no one is judging her
i was there the night the car crashed
dead on impact
dead on the spot
stopped in the tracks
and
i remember the naked sky
no stars
i remember
but i wasn’t there
and neither were you
but we remember

“My bones” by Sasha at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at the CSI Coffee Pub
9:36am
5 minutes
From Kat’s warm-up at the these five minutes: resident writing group

The mortar
The bricks
The tongue
The ticks
The grind
The heave
The stretch
The weave
The bones
The break
The wheel
The snake
The smile
The slap
The roar
The tap
The fade
The grow
The story
You know

Down in the femur
Where the pursed lips hum,
The ancestor watches
And beats her drum.

Laced in the tendons
Of a well-formed face,
The pressed flowers flake,
The Queen Ann’s lace.

She takes her tea with sugar and milk.

“on the contrary” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday, September 18, 2013
4:40pm
5 minutes
from the Dawn to Earth pamphlet

Given my very recent history, one might think me to be a little…uh…how would you say, “inconsistent”, as I’ve, well, behaved in such a way that might corrupt your opinion of me. Some might say I’m, “a tad insane”, or “passionate”, or “well on my way to Monaco”. Others might simply say I’m “mean”. Which, I suppose if you’re a sensitive person you may think me “mean”. If you’re a self-reliant and independent, strong, charming individual, you’d think me “honest” and almost 100% of the time, “confident”. So though I’m aware of my..how would you put it,”incongruities”, I still know who I am. And I’m trying to assert that right now by using tiny “air-quotes” as if they can protect me from what I’ve become. Not someone I like very much. Quite the contrary, really.

“Mom forbade me to go” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, June 23, 2013
12:03am
5 minutes
Reader’s Write
Sun Magazine, July 2013


Told Ma I was going to Mars. She flipped her shit. I was all, Ma, don’t worry, I’ll be something to remember. She was all, Nadine, don’t start with me. Don’t you start with me. And so I told her we’d drop the topic and we could discuss whatever she wanted. She was all, Fine, Nadine, we’ll discuss something else. But how could you in your right mind decide you were going to go to Mars? I was all, Ma, seriously, you can drop it any time now. I’m sorry I didn’t include you in my decision, but I was pretty certain you’d do the thing where you don’t approve and I’d feel bad for going against your wishes. Ma was quiet for a second, and I’m serious when I say that, and then she was all, How am I supposed to visit you, Nadine? You want me to take a 5 year training course with a bunch of lunatics so I can then come visit you and by that point you’re probably going to be dead already, because let’s get serious, how long could someone like you last? And then I’ll be stuck there too for the rest of my life, at least 7 years, because, Nadine, I’m a tough cookie, that’s where you get it from. And I was all, Okay, Ma, you’re going insane. It’s good to freak out, because I know you’ll miss me, but you also have to learn how to let go. Since what I’m doing is making history. Huh? Did you ever consider that?