“And we created a hybrid,” by Sasha at her desk

Monday August 27, 2018
7:15am
5 minutes
Poetry Is The Song Of The People
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Finally they are laughing again. It happens without them knowing. Sat around the table, eating homemade caesar salad and garlic bread and baked zucchini. Who knows what was even said, or what was even funny, but they are laughing and they haven’t in a long time, not all of them. When you lose a child, or a sibling, when you lose someone young, you forget how to laugh, or they did. We can’t speak in generalizations, but it’s easy to imagine that this is what happens, that this is what the grip of grief does, that this is what it’s like now. Finally they are laughing again, on this Monday at the end of August, as summer wanes and traffic buzzes and a fruit fly lands on the pineapple on the counter.

“I can’t get rid of useful things” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday May 1, 2018
10:10am
Carpet Bomb
Kenyatta Rogers

Mama is a packrat and I’m her packrat baby
she likes to keep all the old papers and
documents just in case just in case
calls me on the phone and asks if I can let
it go to voicemail cause mama wants to leave
me a message that’s gonna make my day
When I listen back I hear her reading me the
old birthday card I made for my baby brother
and she can’t get through it without lauging
so I save the voicemail cause one day I’m
gonna play it on hers so she can listen
Mama liked to keep all kinds of containers
and now I keep all kinds of containers even
if the lids are missing or the bottoms are
warped and melted from accidentally being
put in the dishwasher or on the element
she has taught me so well and our houses
hold memories and everyting else inside

“plush and pregnant into my palm” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday, March 3, 2018
11:46pm
5 minutes
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
James Cagney

You used to make jokes about people like me. And now I’ve become one of those calorie counting, jegging wearing, decaf guzzling zombies. It wasn’t the kids. I can’t blame them. Change doesn’t happen overnight, it happens slowly, right? You used to mock the mother’s, smiling through a scream in the grocery store line-up, buying their kids Timbits in the drive thru just to shut them up for one fucking second?! Hahahaha! Ha. Joke’s on us I guess. You never wanted to be a father, or that’s what you said before Jonah started to look exactly like you and then it was all, “He’s the best little guy…” and “Jojo, say “Li-on”!”

“the grey of old age” by Julia on Amanda’s toilet

Wednesday December 27, 2017
1:48am
5 minutes
Oath
Hussain Ahmed

We were all laughing until time ran out. I don’t know why we were so surprised, we practically begged it to hurry up. Now it’s gone and we’re left kissing by the clock in case these moments are our last. You stopped sipping your whiskey. She stopped her favourite hum. The windows waited, and I stopped tonguing the rotten tooth. The silliness tiptoed around us. We couldn’t very well pretend to be fine. We were all just laughing a minute ago, laughing because where did the time go? And then we all knew where it was because it had run out and

it’s easy to feel when it does. Now it’s gone and we’re not sure if we made all the right decisions but we don’t have the luxury of going into it.

“She is giant and bossy and funny as hell.” By Sasha at the casita

Saturday, October 14, 2017
2:10pm
5 minutes
From a text

Darla, you gotta meet her. She’s giant and bossy and funny as hell. When you get her going she will not stop. She will make joke after joke until you really have to say, “Darla, you must be quiet. You must stop talking!” She must be close to six feet, and she’s got the biggest breasts anyone has ever seen. It’s problematic only for those of us that come up to her nipples and have a bard time seeing her face. She has this great bit about how both her parents are half a foot shorter than her, her father being shorter than her mother and how maybe her Mom actually fucked the big friendly giant.

“rub your largest organ” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday December 10, 2016
10:26pm
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Honey bee.” “Honey bee a dear and get me some water?” Cleo just learned about knock knock jokes. I taught her that one, so it’s good, but mostly she makes them up and they are terrible. Ben and I laugh out loud, especially when they are bad, because we get to see her mind at work and what a mind it is.

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Largest organ.” “Largest organ who?” “I’m your skin! The skin is the largest organ!”

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Knock knock?” “Who’s there?… Okay, honey, get to it…” “Okay, okay, Avenue!” “Avenue, who?” “Avenue knocked on this door before?”

“don’t get it in your eyeball!” by Julia in the air bnb in Winnipeg


Tuesday October 25, 2016
9:41am
5 minutes
from a text

I shared an attic with my brother one summer during a heatwave in Italy. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. All we had was a spray bottle filled with heating water between our beds and we didn’t know how badly we would need something in between us. When your brain is melted there is just a puddle where your patience should be. We were puddles of annoyance and sweat and sleepless.
One night we were both aliens to each other, trying to rest, delirious from the air trapped somewhere in a tiny cloud inches from our skin and far enough away from all roads carrying oxygen. He sprayed me with water which was our ritual. I sprayed him back. We did this for 5 minutes or 5 hours and laughed the whole time. Nobody knows why. Something about enough being enough. Something about my eyeball. Something about the first time we didn’t hate each other.

“One of the biggest challenges of learning” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 9, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday, June 9, 2016


Of course Freddie was trying to hide her smile, she didn’t need Mitchell to see his math tutor also not taking him seriously. He was telling her about his day and the traumatic experience of Ashley and Ashley tricking him into sliding a penny down the centre of his face during the lesson with manipulatives. They told him if a line appears on his skin it means he’s deficient in iron. Mitchell didn’t want to be deficient in anything in front of the Ashleys but he rolled the penny and sure enough, it produced one tiny grey line. He told Freddie how they snickered and caused such a commotion that everyone came to look. All day, apparently, Mitchell had tried to convince everyone to do the same. He didn’t know they had coloured in the penny with pencil.

“We talked at length about it” by Julia at her dining room table


Friday, December 18, 2015
6:36pm
5 minutes
Dispatched To The Derwent
Malcolm Dale


Greer reaches down to pull up her knee socks that never seem to stay at the knee. She leans over in her chair disappearing under the table for a moment while Brody shifts in his spot, uneasy about a lot of things, in addition to the fact that Greer is no longer making eye-contact as he explains himself.
Greer’s stupid socks keep bunching in her shoes! That’s why they never stay up, they are being pulled down but her toes or something equally as lame! She lets out a tiny laugh.
“What? What is it?”
Brody doesn’t like unexpected bouts of laughter. He doesn’t like being the butt of anyone’s joke.
“Sorry, I, it’s nothing, really. What were you saying?”
“No, seriously, just tell me!”
“It’s actually not worth repeating, but, I’m fully listening, please continue.”
Brody starts to chew on the inside of his lower lip. He Has created a patch of bite marks, raised to the touch of the tongue, a tiny graveyard of anxious scars.

“open 7 days” by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Saturday, September 5, 2015
6:59pm
5 minutes
from the sign at the liquor store

When she begged me to forgive her there were tears in her eyes and I was wearing a red and green apron that made me look very Italian and very comical. I couldn’t take myself seriously, let alone take her, so instead of being an adult, I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I’ve always dreamed about these kind of moments where the lighting is just right, there’s the perfect amount of rain, maybe a bit of wind, and an underscoring of building music that sounds like it’s just far enough away to be acceptable. But instead we were both covered in gnocchi flour and our bangs were plastered to our foreheads cause in real life there are no perfect forgiveness temperatures. I laughed and she got very angry. I didn’t mean to offend her but I was angry too…that she couldn’t have picked a better moment for all of her guilt to add up. Instead, right as the tester gnocchi were rising to the top, she fell to her knees and buried her face in my Italian flag.

“shouting and laughing and throwing dirt” by Julia at the Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library


Thursday February 26, 2015 at the Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library
4:01pm
5 minutes
My Immortal Promise
Jen Holling


We had found ourselves in a ditch off the 39, laying on our backs facing the sky. About an hour had past and nobody had come looking for us so we did what anyone would do: We got married. We made a promise to each other, etched our signatures in the dirt and that was that. We kissed to seal the deal, me worrying about what my mother would say, her worrying about what my mother would say. We knew it wasn’t a recognized union, but to us it was something more than that–It was a symbolic moment of truth. After years of laughing and crying our way through any hardship, we knew that ours was a love worth continuously working for. After all, at the end of the day we only have two things: our best selves, and the person we choose to see us when we’re not.

“People and shopping” by Julia at Dreyfus Cafe in Clapton

Saturday January 10, 2015 at Dreyfus Cafe in Clapton 4:03pm 5 minutes from a map of London So one time my dad took us, my sister and brother, and I, you know, all three of us, to the mall and we were supposed to meet Santa and whatever. But there was this huge line so we were being huge brats, you know, all three of us, my brother and sister and I. So my dad’s like, nope, not dealing with spoiled rotten apple children, so he yells at us right there in the line for fucking no good Santa and everyone in the world stares at us like we’re animals in a cage or something, fighting each other with teeth and claws out.. And then my dad looks around like it’s the first time he realizes he’s awake that day, and he just starts to laugh. He throws his head back and cackles so hard that all three of us, my sister and brother and I, all start laughing too. Just howling. Losing it. And people are still looking at us like animals in a cage only this time we look like possessed creatures who love each other. When we stop laughing my dad says, let’s go take a sleigh ride instead! So we go and we end up having to wait in an even longer line…but this time with much more enthusiasm.

“What will you do?” by Julia on 328 going East


Wednesday December 17, 2014
4:24pm
5 minutes
From a Together For London bus ad

What will you do with your bright and shiny future? Unused, untouched, untarnished by expectations. Is it even possible? You might have the only one. The only one new and perfect.
I could tell you what I do if I were you. I’d wake up every morning, early, with a goal. And I would seek to accomplish that goal within one hour of getting out of bed. I would use all my time in the best way imaginable: eating, laughing, creating, loving. It sounds easy but it wasn’t for me and so I watched as the days went by and turned into things I didn’t have the ability to change.

“All the animals are laughing at us” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence RI


Sunday May 4, 2014
9:22pm
5 minutes
Aeolus
Freelance Whales


It made me laugh that you told me, Sh shh, baby, don’t be so loud, the animals will hear you, and then you put your finger to your lips as if I must recognize the universal signal for Please Shut The Fuck Up.
I couldn’t help it. In fact I hoped they did hear us. In the meeting place for animals being animals to hear or even witness two other animals being animals. I can’t remember whose idea it was to do it right there in the forrest, but either way neither of us had ever done it and we were both pretty into it. I mean, you were very much consumed with the idea that we were intruding or that we’d be disrupting the squirrels or whatever. Who cares! I yelled out at the top of my lungs, just to bug you. You threw your hands up in the air and shook your head, looking around frantically for signs of life, nature, or punishment. Baby, get over it, we’re doing the nasty in a forrest! That’s awesome! Stop wrecking it! And then you laughed for the first time and held my face in your hands and said, We are the most adventurous couple that ever lived! I was like, Yeah, that’s the spirit, now push me up against this tree. You tried doing it but you then couldn’t get over the part where the tree might be a bit pissed off that we were using her as a sex post.

“I was standing beside his bed” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday April 2, 2014
11:33pm
5 minutes
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


When Lee was a kid he used to sleep walk into our parents’ bedroom every single night and scare the shit out of them. I mean, I’m laughing about it now, and even dad is, but mom never got over it. She used to think he was going to murder her in her sleep! I’m laughing right now just thinking about it. Just thinking about Lee walking down there like a zombie, and just standing there over their bed. He could have chosen dad’s side, but he always went to mom’s and she was a light sleeper. He’d stand there, and his eyes would be wide open, and he’d lean into her, and just sway back and forth! I’m dying it’s so funny. I’m so SO relieved he never did that to me. I wouldn’t have made it! And now me and my dad, we laugh so hard at my mom, who every night would beg my dad to lock the door so she could sleep, but would lose, and would have to get woken up by Lee’s big bulgy sleep-wake eyes! Then one night, I know, this is so bad, but she locked the door without telling my dad, and Lee slept walked into the yard and stared at her through her bedroom window! It’s so bad, you can’t even write this stuff. Mom was so scared. She didn’t like being left alone with him even in the day time because she thought Lee was possessed by the devil! She made my dad take him to a sleep clinic to see why he had the urge to only stare at her.

“32 “_____” get this party started” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday November 6, 2013
10:20am
5 minutes
Crossword from NOW Magazine
October 31-November 6, 2013


Don’t! she yelped. Don’t get this party started! And then she threw her head back and just laughed and laughed.
Who wouldn’t want to get the party started? she said through laugh snorts that were both cute and annoying. No guys, I have an idea! Let’s keep this party from evolving! Ok?! Let’s keep this ‘get together’ a ‘get together’ before it turns into a party! Heaven forbid!
She rolled up her sleeves and started laughing again.
No! It’s the anti-party! It’s that super prudish guy who is hell bent on only having a casual hangout with maximum 6 people. 6 people is a get together–7 people is a party. And like, someone’s all, Oh, you know what would be fun? Let’s invite Roy! And the host in his brown turtleneck is like No! Don’t you get this party started, Matthew! I have some nature sounds I was going to play for you all.
She started laughing yet again, this time acting out the anal host with her arms outstretched like a zombie.

“Empire Trinket Box” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday, September 30, 2013
11:02pm
5 minutes
from the bottom of a gift from Bowring

We’re laughing with our mouths open. We can see each others tongues, and fillings and spit. We’re laughing with our mouths open because you said something funny about the gift you gave me, the trinket box, you said something funny about “trinkets”.

“Did you read about that girl that got arrested for making a science experiment that her teachers thought might be a bomb?” You’re pretending to do our taxes. “No,” I say, working on the mittens I’m knitting for our niece. “Yeah, she was handcuffed and everything! This nerdy, fifteen-year-old girl!” You’re charmed by it. “Huh,” I say. “Isn’t that crazy?!” You want a reaction from me. Like usual, I’m not giving you the right one. “I guess…” “I mean, she’s a kid – ” “Kids do a lot of terrible things, sweetie,” I say, dropping a stitch.

“X&Z” by Julia on the 94 going east


Thursday June 6, 2013
9:48pm
5 minutes
from a sign on Harbord

Could it be the alcohol? Is my face red? Am I laughing too much? You’ve got me punch drunk on good vibes, didn’t touch a drop, don’t need to when I’m with you. Got that dyslexic view going on, X&Z and Y Y Y, as long as it stands for Yes. Don’t need to read when I’m with you. Don’t need to see a dictionary and feel the desire to open it up and put sense to what you’re doing to me. Could have recited Flanders Fields in complete and udder gibberish and I would have fallen to my knees in a fit of heat for you. Could it be the alcohol? Is my face red? Am I laughing too much? You’ve got me singing the alphabet backwards cause you’re testing me. Next thing is a tight rope on an empty side street, one foot in front of the other and I could land in a splat of whatever for you and I would have to say that yeah, I passed that test. You can make me do your bidding. Got a shovel? Cause I’ll dig a hole and bury whoever you want with it.

“quite fussy” by Julia on the 506 going east


Friday, December 14, 2012
10:37am
5 minutes
Food and Drink
Early Summer 2012


baby eliot has a nice smile. smiles at the moon and the bees. he likes pablum. he likes trees. he likes grabbing earrings and necklaces and resting his hand in aunt D’s cleavage. he thinks he’s a bunny rabbit. he cries when he soils himself, as most babies do. he likes cheerios and chili flakes. baby eliot likes whatever his father likes. he wants to try what his father eats, how is father laughs. he watches and waits until he can practice when he’s by himself…which he does. he is particularly obsessed with dora the explorer and other shows with little girls in them. he likes when it snows more than when it rains. he gets shocked every time a flake lands on his nose. he laughs with life. he laughs with his whole life. when mommy is gone he cries and cries.