“The phone doesn’t ring” by Julia at her desk

Friday October 18, 2019
9:12am
5 minutes
Low Noon
Jim Ralston

When we took the phone of the hook we realized we liked it better just us three.
Bobbi cried less. I think it’s because she didn’t feel like we were going to
leave her to answer somebody else’s call. It should have always been this way
but when the phone rings, it’s another agonizing reminder that there isn’t
enough time in the day to keep up with everything being thrown at us. And
answering is sometimes the only thing we can control in a sea of chaos that
goes around buzzing whether we want it to or not.

And then it was quiet. Alistair finished his will and Bobbi napped in his
arms. We were afraid of this sound, this infinite reminder that one day we
would no longer hear his sound. How terrifying it is to think of your family
losing one member of its voice. Again, to things we can’t control no matter
how hard we tried.

The phone doesn’t ring now. We can connect it later if we want, but for today
while both Bobbi and Alistair are breathing, we don’t even think about what
we might have missed.

“I can’t help but reflect” by Julia on her couch

Sunday October 6, 2019
6:53pm
5 minutes
from an email

Last night I saw you in my dreams. Time had past, Too late, I kept thinking. Your house was big and beautiful and uncharacteristic of you in its excess. But this was your home, and the taps sprayed intruders with a blast unless you controlled the pressure with a knob. I got soaked. You showed me, “Like this” and it only happened once.

I went to pick up your baby girl and then my eyes wouldn’t open all the way. I couldn’t see her at all. I couldnt manage the pain of coming all that way and not even get to hold her. Too late, I am too late.

When I went to the kitchen to cry, I asked God to give me back my eyes. Instead your husband came in and asked if I was hungry. I felt like if I ate with him it would take too long and I’d keep missing out on you.
But he and I shared our lunches, mine leftover saffron noodles, and his leftover peppers with thick sauced beef.

“foolish joy, greedy desire” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday August 14, 2019
10:03am
5 minutes
On The Brevity Of Life
Seneca

drunk on his own smell it’s gross really i’m not sure about any of it any of the bullshit that goes along with an i do or a yes or a no is there ever actually a question or are we animals running around the farmyard the jungle the scent of another calling us down into the mud calling up to the balloon clouds unsure unsure unsure and then sure sure sure sure is the service of oneself the ultimate gift to the other crow calls that it’s a tuesday that it’s warm that the baby’s diaper needs changing i don’t know where i put my biggest baddest dreams the deeper we got into the earth burying our toes in the sand watching the horizon turn dark

“A funeral” by Julia at her desk

Thursday August 8, 2019
10:21pm
5 minutes
Sophocles
Charles Kell

it’s a colour i can’t name
so i don’t bother

it’s not about getting it right
but the proof of you being gone

is louder when there is something
to nestle your name under

once here now not
the categories of today and yesterday

and should have called you more
and should have loved you better

it’s sad because i would have written
a really nice eulogy for you and

i know now i am holding on to that
as if it might have brought you back

right before you’d have to hear me
deliver it in front of everyone

no words can bring you back and i
have to accept that as hard as it is

not mine and not yours and not god’s
or whoever is doing the talking now

at the funeral someone else spoke
and it was fine for someone who

isn’t the colour that you are
the colour that shall not be named

“shattered in a thousand pieces” by Julia on the 4

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
5:23pm
Sing to the Moon
Laura Mvula

I am not, if you thought maybe I might be. I think you think I already checked out, but I hadn’t.
I was afraid of saying the wrong thing. Saying the wrong thing has resulted in lashings before. Still have the scar of where you wielded the silent treatment.

I don’t have anger now and before if it seemed it, that was hurt wearing a little mask. A Little armour.

I knew you were done but I didn’t know it would come like this. I have an intuition about you and that might be because it’s been years, or because I’m listening to what you don’t say. You might be surprised to learn of how much I’m capable of. Change is the first thing. I’m glad you’ve come around to that.

“It must be nice to hold” by Julia at the cabin in Galina Bay

Thursday June 27, 2019
9:45pm
5 minutes
Calypso
David Sedaris

Like the front scruff of a standard poodle, the soft of a blind dog’s ears.
There is more to feel than the fur or the bone. It must be nice to hold the trust of your companion–in a small dish, or a pocket. Safe there from the heartbreak of losing the other half of his soul.
We offer choice to a dog who has lost the ability to decide whether to stay in or go out.
A lap for a lay, will he or will he remain upright for the third day in a row?
Will he stop trembling?
Will he say yes? Or maybe?

“O Dio, vorrei morir” by Julia at her desk

Saturday May 25, 2019
7:02pm
5 minutes
Gianni Schicchi
Giacomo Puccini

I have asked you before but you ignored it.
So I’m not asking anymore, I’m telling you.
I would like to die.
If I cannot see my son, because my son is
never coming back, then what is there left
to live? I mean, there is nothing for me if
he is not here. I am not asking anymore.

I see him sometimes as the butterfly
that has been visiting me every day since
he was taken from me. Does a butterfly
who is not carrying the spirit of a loved one
land on your shoulder, or the kiss of your knuckle?
No, I am not asking, I already know. It’s him.

I am telling you, God, I have nothing to
offer, contribute. I am no longer holding
all the pieces together, it’s too painful.
The grief pushes out all the cracks and
makes me want to sink into the floor.
I am not asking.

This gash is open for war and I welcome
the blade. Twist it. Twist it all the way.

“becomes a junkyard beast” by Julia at her desk

Friday April 26, 2019
6:30am
5 minutes
Loving You Burns Like Shingles
Terri Kirby Erickson

In the swelter of August’s last days, Reid and Elliot bike their two speeds down to the lake.
Sirra and Jamie are already there, waiting.
Sirra is holding a blue bandanna, smudged with grease and soot.
Jamie isn’t looking up, and Reid starts to panic.
Elliot approaches slowly, worried about Reid who doesn’t usually show signs of fear.
Sirra passes the bandanna to Elliot, and there is a collective knowing.
Lusechee is gone.
Jamie start to sob, shoulders heaving, crumbling, heaving.
Sirra puts a hand out but nobody takes it.

“a stretch of road, a write, and birch trees” by Sasha in her bed

Sunday April 14, 2019
3:04pm
5 minutes
The Death Of The Partisan Girl
Tom Wayman

Grief has a way of tossing around the heart
a big ginger cat pawing
the beating thing
back and forth and down
by the curb
a stretch of road ahead
that’s sketched in the colours
of a face you’ll never stop missing

You’re not the only one
who wakes up with tears on her pillow
the words to a song you haven’t thought of in years
swinging from the branches of the
dawn mind

You see other people rushing and hustling
and calling and tripping
and a friend tells you that you’ve changed

I have changed
you say and your voice catches
because isn’t change the only thing
that we can count on?

“Falling in love is appropriate for now” by Sasha on her balcony

Monday March 25, 2019
9:02pm
5 minutes
Handy Tips on how to Behave at the Death of the World
Anne Herbert

today we called and told
you that we love you
and when i said it
you said “thanks, sister”

the tears were the
cord connecting my mother
and i across the mountains
the prairie
across the great lakes
a rocky expanse
full fledged
far flung

today we called and told you
that we love you
and you said hello
you heard us
you knew it was me and him
and this little one
nestled
and growing

today was a hard day
a soggy day
a heart on the floor
in the throat
in the guts day
soggy and heavy and
hurting

the only thing
left to say is
i love you
love is the only
word that holds
all the other words
in the bowl of the “o”
in the cup of the “v”

“a conversation unfolds” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday, December 2, 2018
7:32am
5 minutes
Conversation Across Languages
Derick Mattern

When I call
the conversation between us
unfolds open
reaches break
lily-of-the-valley
Rose-of-Sharon

Oh the grief is heavy
on my tongue
stretching down
to my throat
to my belly
to my feet

Oh this grief meets
the very core and
I hold you over long distance
airways over the Prairies
I hold you like you did me
when most of what I was
was daughter

“I thought that I could take it from here” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday October 16, 2018
9:54pm
5 minutes
Falling Water
Maggie Rogers

I wonder what you’ll do for your birthday this year
and if you’re aware of your failure to recognize
your reflection in the mirror? I wonder what you’ll
say to your daughter when she asks you where we are?
I wonder if you ever challenge your King for real or
if it’s all a performance because to survive you’ve
had to drink the juice and buy in buy in buy in.
I wonder what you think happened. I wonder what it
means that those that have helped you most are all
on the outs now. I wonder if you see this. I wonder
if you’re too broken, if he’s too sick, if there’s
just too much for you to see beyond the beyond.

“It is a highly awkward effort” by Julia on the Brown Line

Sunday September 16, 2018
5:55pm
5 minutes
How to Unthink (In Two Movements)
Jill Boettger

The bedsheets wake up bloody and somebody’s name gets cursed for choosing white. Not my name, I’ll tell you that. The first tears are muted into the pillow at 6AM. The second at seven. The stomach starts talking to me around ten after eight and starts yelling at nine. So far universe: 5, me: 0.

When the deep weakness punches back from the reflection in the mirror I know I am on an up-cliff climb without a rope. The first person to get hit in a street fight is usually the one who loses.

Somehow the angel card that gets flipped up from the pile by no one with fingerprints is
Acceptance.

It wasn’t me, I’ll tell you that. You said it wasn’t you.

Acceptance.

“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.

“Response rate: 100%” by Sasha on the 17

Thursday April 26, 2018
9:52pm
5 minutes
poparide.com

Our third Thanksgiving all together, Babs teaches Simon and me how to make a mirepoix – two parts onion, to one part celery, and one part carrot. Babs peels her carrots, but when Simon and I make it later, and she isn’t around, we don’t, almost like we’re honouring Mom.

Mom was a lover of peasant food, or at least that’s what she’d call it. Nothing fancy. As few pots as possible. She made a great Dahl. She used to pack it in our lunches and the other kids would wrinkle their noses when we opened our thermoses, steaming lentils and curry. We weren’t embarrassed. Maybe it’s because we always had eachother, Simon and I. Being a twin is weird. But you do always have someone, and that’s nice.

Babs never asks us to call her anything but “Babs”, not like Dad’s second wife who insisted we call her “Maman”.

“seemed to love us anyway” by Julia on her couch

Friday, March 16, 2018
11:53pm
5 minutes
Beauty: 1976
Ruth L. Shwartz

We stole little things from her vanity-a ring, a sample bottle of eau de toilette, a hair pin. It didn’t look like she would notice them gone. There were so many more important things to notice. After she told us about the robbery and how they found Granite’s debit card being used in six different diners in two days, we felt bad. Here she was telling us about how people keep stealing from them, and we were there, stealing from them. It was so easy to convince ourselves she wouldn’t notice on account of how many stories we’ve been forced to listen to for the 60th time. People who tell the exact same story to the exact same people year after year are not the look around and see what’s new about the room kind of people. People who are so damn sad do not have time to count their broaches, or their Jean jackets.

“The trees around here” By Julia in her bed

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
11:14pm
5 minutes
Intrigue In The Trees
John Brehm

The trees around this place remind me of the book I said I’d write. If only there was time, or if Roddy wasn’t sick, or if the dog would let himself out of the flapping door.

The red ones remind me of all the vanity.
Blood beech. Not meant to be that way.
Something wrong with it. Metabolic disorder. Not enough sunlight.

Here, let’s plant the thing in a park filled with green. Keep your mind off the everyday. Give you something to hold onto. They didn’t know it is harder for the tree. It is always harder for the tree left in the middle. The example. Pose for your photograph. Backdrop perfect for the wedding pictures. And I keep wishing Roddy could choose another city to die in. I don’t want to think of him every time I see the post office. Or the sad red tree in the middle of the park. One thing sick and the rest of them fine and far away. Normal. I don’t need any reminders of that.

“don’t trip on the stairs” by Julia on the couch


Tuesday June 13, 2017
11:02pm
5 minutes
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
Neil Gaiman


Kit can’t stand the new shoes Lou brought back from Iceland. She hates the way the toe catches on concrete and splits the difference between leather and sole. Lou tries to tell her that they were custom made and one of a kind. Kit thought about hiding them in the laundry hamper, pretending somebody stole them. She couldn’t throw them out. She wasn’t a monster.
Lou has been bringing home gifts more and more lately. Obviously trying to atone for taking her away from all her friends. When Marnie got sick, the sky opened up and took some more things that Kit didn’t want to give away. Gave her some things she didn’t need, stuck with a stepfather who didn’t want to stay.

“There is nothing here” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 25, 2017
10:08pm
5 minutes
This is It
James Broughton


I have waited for inspiration to strike
like the match of missed connections
like the booklet of nose aids on high alert
There is no force of flame, nor flicker
There is nothing here that looks like me

According to a long lost diary from my
mother’s storage locker we all gave up
on her when we believed that she was fine
Of course we didn’t think to ask further
to make sure that she was being honest
If I could defend us without seeming
defensive, I would say we didn’t want to know
the truth and so we let her smile

We gave her short hugs like they wouldn’t
be our lasts
Called her twice a month
business as usual, instead of once a week
And she thought it would be too much
to ask for more
And she wanted to ask for more.

“I had been able only to grieve” by Julia on the couch


Tuesday May 2, 2017
8:50pm
5 minutes
The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion


we lost our muscles
left them somewhere between here and there
the radio show was static familiar
we counted the clicks and the white noise like ducks in a row
we are not walking or running
the streets are filled with other people’s shoes
we had no time for writing cards
to express condolences
to each other
there were too many floors to find
too many beds to melt
too many casserole dishes to wash
we promised to press our palms together every hour
to remind us what living flesh felt like
the telephone had to be disconnected
too many hearts bleeding on the line

“when you sign up” by Julia on the bathtub


Saturday April 22, 2017
9:43pm
5 minutes
From the Aeroplan flyer

The flyers keep filling up my mailbox. I am waiting for your letter. I have to check everyday that the flyers haven’t eaten it.

The summer was filled with mosquito bites and eye licking. You let me lick yours after we did mdma. We took photos of your keys and wallet from underneath the glass table.

You said you’d write and then you never did. I wished I didn’t care. Then you moved. And now neither of us know how to find one another.

“bound in chains” by Julia on her couch


Saturday April 8, 2017
9:32pm
5 minutes
from Poems by Christopher Marlowe

we can’t touch pain that does not belong to us
we watch from behind our screens
and from behind our great luck
we think we know what it’s like to be broken but we don’t
not when the chains we use to bind ourselves are made out of paper
macaroni necklace nooses
tie dyed t-shirts dressed up as bullet holes
we have no idea about loss
when we’ve never lost anything

“Sad to see you go” by Julia at her desk


Friday February 17, 2017
11:40pm
5 minutes
from a Goodbye card

I didn’t realize you were leaving when you left
You forgot to say Goodbye or Sad To Leave You
forgot to mourn the loss of me
I wish too for lesser consequence

I do not own another recourse
my heart is broken
and it was the only one I had to begin with

You might not notice how long it takes
for a heart to heal when some peices
never get returned

I blame newness
I blame adventure or the lust for it

“gracefully tragic” by Julia on her couch


Saturday December 17, 2016
4:44pm
5 minutes
from the BOOKS section of NOW magazine

I hadn’t thought about them since New Years…as if I had released them with the magic of a fresh start. I don’t remember whose idea it was to each write a list of all our personal tragedies this year and then accept them somehow before lighting them up and letting them burn. To be fair (and maybe a little post-reflective) we were using the term loosely. Nothing was too small but everything seemed so big to not include it. I remember losing myself this year being on the list. It was traumatic because it kept happening. It kept happening in smaller places than a Walmart super store or a Costco. But when I found the list again and reread what I was calling my tragedies, I realized I had luckily lumped some truly graceful ones in there as well.

“You change when you want to change” by Sasha on the 99


Monday May 16, 2016
10:37pm
5 minutes
huffingtonpost.com

You leave me letters in the mailbox, even after you’ve died. You’d warned me this might happen, shelling peas in your hospital room a few weeks ago. I laughed and kissed your toes. You always changed when you wanted to change, not before, not after, just then.

I’m smoking all the weed that’s left, once the sun goes down and Liam is asleep. Kali is scared I might become addicted but I tell her to fuck off and let me grieve the way I want to grieve. I miss you so much my throat swells. I miss you so much my gut aches for the smell of you.

“It’s a little big now” by Julia on the 84


Thursday May 19, 2016
8:14pm
5 minutes
overheard at Kafka’s

he was cooking dinner on the island
he liked to call it his ‘cutting station’
where he did most of his cutting
not me
i liked to use the counters by the fridge
i don’t really like the feeling
of floating in the middle of something
just dangling out there
alone
he asked me what my favourite thing to eat was
when i told him i said but it has to be the way
my dad used to make it
he said not to worry
he said he would take care of me
when i looked at his ‘cutting station’
i couldn’t see one ingredient that matched
the items i told him
all the things necessary to make
my favourite thing to eat
i tried not to be bothered by it
or to worry
he said he would take care of me and
i had to
trust him
but i could smell the veggies cooking
and i could tell that he wasn’t
getting
it
right
and so i was bothered by it
and i did worry
and i missed my dad
in that moment more than ever
nothing is the same after your favourite loves die
not life
not dinner

“Alberta’s oil sands” by Julia on the 319


Thursday May 5, 2016
6:11pm
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

Mauve and red and magenta and orange. Sky bright. Night hot. Night fear. Red blood pumping. Running. Running. Dreams interrupted. Sleep disrupted. Running. Running.
I want to go home where the fields were mine and where the sky guided me back. Nothing left now. No home. No fields. No fix. No fight. Night hot. Sky bright. Love out. Love in. Goodbyes painted flame. Least important importance stays behind. No one wins. Running. Running.

“Alberta’s oil sands” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Thursday May 5, 2016
1:50pm at Platform Seven
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

the world is burning where all the oil lives
the grass is scorched and the trees with the treehouses are ashes
the houses with the photo albums and the calico kitten and
the painting from france from a great-grandmother
the jeopardy of prized possessions
an apocalypse of biblical proportions

true colours show when we’re in danger
fingers around a neck with “mine” over “yours”
cars driving on sidewalks to get ahead of other cars
the irony of politics
the irony of “how did we get here?”
dollar bill pilgrims drilling for gold

another headline another photograph another heart up in flames

“The earth’s insomnia” by Julia at her “New York”


Wednesday March 16, 2016
9:04pm
5 minutes
Moonlight
Lorna Crozier


I have been out stealing rosemary again. Middle of the night. I am not sorry. But I do recognize the pattern. It’s not about much more than needing to have it in my home so I can touch it when I want to and it can calm me down. Some people do the very same thing with animals. I mean maybe they don’t go around at midnight and sneak into people’s front yards, but–I mean they feel comforted by the presence of a pet. So what? I don’t have one of those. I make do. I’m fine. Please don’t ever think my problems will be solved by a cat. They most certainly will not. I don’t need something like that. Thank you for the offer of your offer. I miss my fucking mother. I want to call her and cry and let her love me back to life. I want to tell her that after all that rosemary thieving I didn’t even put any in the roast potatoes. Because I wanted to keep it longer in a vase next to my bed. Because I wanted to hold onto her soft voice telling me for the last time that I was her laugh.

“the lid to Pandora’s box slides right off.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday January 26, 2016
10:15pm
5 minutes
From catskinner.club

Tracy has got Jan’s smile, that’s for sure. When she looks at me and smiles, all teeth, I’m, well, I’m toast. When Jan was sick I wasn’t sure about what would happen after she went… I mean, Tracy could’ve said she wanted to move to Windsor to be with her Dad, or… I don’t know. But after everything settled down, after we scattered Jan’s ashes in the river and after we’d eaten all the casseroles in the fridge people brought over and the last of Jan’s frozen squash soup from the freezer… Tracy said that she wanted to stay here, with me. She said, “You’re more my Dad than my real Dad has ever been. I want to live here. With you.” We’d cried a lot of tears over the months before but there were still some left to cry then.

“with the theme of fear” by Sasha at the table at Pascoe Rd.


Monday November 9, 2015
1:17pm
5 minutes
ionmagazine.ca

The night she dies I get a text from a bartender
I sometimes fuck
I wash my
face I get on my
bicycle and I go to
his house
On the way
Somewhere east of Dupont
My chain falls off
I can’t stop the tears
Can’t stop the oil from getting
on my dress
I arrive too close to morning
too far from my father
He lights a joint and the promise
I made to myself not to tell him
Undoes like the clasp of my bra
Naked I’m a puddle of chipped nail polish and
missing
He’s a father so he knows
how to soothe
He rubs my back until I’m hiccups and
when we fuck he’s gentle
he knows just how to look me
in the eye
I leave before I can feel grosser before
I can taste the tinniness of shame
My tongue heavy in my mouth I sing
under my breath
Up the hill on the way
home

“Reimagine your world” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, October 22, 2015
11:31pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Writer’s Festival Program Guide

my mother mimes cutting her hair on the edge of the world
her fingers the scissors
red falling
maple tree leaves
dripping pancakes and tenderness
the smile eclipses something below the kidney
the liver?
never sure of geography
yemen
istanbul
tel aviv
a new sweater
the colour of her longing
down to my ankles
done with wishing i was taller
a bus to the recycling depot
where we go for snow cones
for prayer

“amazing work” by Julia on her couch


Friday, October 23, 2015
9:44pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

I had been trying to catch his attention for, if I’m counting, the last twelve years. Huh. Wow. That’s more than I thought I’d admit. Was hopeful. I mean, who wasn’t at that age. But I guess it’s not fair to take it personally. He wasn’t not loving me, he was just, not forgetting her. I don’t know if I would do it any differently than that myself. I’ve never lost a child so I don’t get to pretend to understand. But weeks bleed into months and then years, and it all just feels like the same nightmare, playing over and over or just continuing without resolve every 16 hours. This time it was a scholarship that I was awarded because of my application letter about him. I wanted to show him. He wanted to drink.

“I know I wouldn’t change much” by Sasha in Buchanan E


Thursday October 8, 2015
5:18pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday, October 8, 2015


If you were here or
I was there
the sun would still be setting
all pink and gold
If you were here or
I was there
the leaves would still be falling
all rust coloured bold
If you were here or
I was there
the crows would still be calling
flying towards the west
If you were here or
I was there
The phoebes would still be curled
together snug in their nest
If you were here or
I was there
the night would still be coming
breathing dark on the sky
If you were here or
I was there
winter would still be on it’s way
and I’d still be asking “why”

“the result of a period of research” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday, August 27, 20151
8:36pm
5 minutes
Presence of Minds: The Importance of Active Exploration and Response in Dramaturgy
Christopher Michael Petty


I find I’m less lonely when the radio’s on. I’m sorry to be speaking about my loneliness again. I find that when the radio’s on I think less about Gwen and more about the whole wide world. Like the wars and the orphans and the earthquakes and global warming. Strangely, it doesn’t depress me like it used to… It used to really throw me for a loop. I actually remember saying to Gwen, “I can’t watch the news anymore, dear. Makes me feel so helpless and sad.” She’d draw spirals on my palm with her pinky.

“grabbed by the notion” by Julia on the 505 going West


Tuesday, July 21, 2015
11:28pm
5 minutes
from a letter to a celebrity

I’m on the ocean
The waves are healing me
I’m looking deep
In the cave in my chest
I’m on the ocean
The water is curing me
I’m holding tight
To the magic underneath

I remember these words better than I remember my own address. They’ve been sung into my soul so many times that they’re practically mine, top to bottom. Grandma used to sing it to me before bed. She dreamed of the ocean, and taking me there to live with her. When Aunt Christina passed away, Grandma said she knew a place where I wouldn’t feel any pain. She asked Mom if I could go but Mom said, You’re not leaving me too, not now, not ever. And Grandma tried so long to get me there. I didn’t know how much Mom hated to be alone.

“It showed from the start” by Sasha on the 14


Friday May 8, 2015
5:16pm
5 minutes
Fat Woman
Leon Rooke


It shows from the start
The ruin
Quaking breath in a full chest
Belly rises and falls
Heavy as full udders
Low as the stars this summer
It shows because we’ve stopped talking about the future
All present tense
All coronas and tortilla chips
Drinking so much that we forget we’re bored
Eating so much that the tops of our mouths are cut

It’s all inevitable
Isn’t it?
For an optimist
I’m awfully hopeless

We walk in the forest
Pointer fingers hooked
The dog charging ahead
Not needing to be called back
Leash free
He comes because he knows we’ve got treats
in our pockets

“Celebrating those who had died” by Sasha on a log at Kit’s Beach


Monday February 9, 2015
8:11am
5 minutes
The House Girl
Tara Conklin


It begins like every other day. Maggie licks my face until I moan and roll out of bed. She runs down the stairs and I open the back door to let her out to pee. Then I go, in the downstairs bathroom. I let her back in. I fill the kettle with water. Mike is still sleeping and the boys are playing in the room. They whisper breakfast orders. “Granola! French toast!” Mike’s on the night shift so he sleeps til at least two. I get the boys dressed and…

I’m sorry. I just realized that I still have my wedding ring on. Isn’t that strange? It’s been… nine months and I’m still wearing my God damn wedding ring.

You know it’s bad when two police officers show up. One? It’s probably something with the car being in the wrong place, or there’s been a weirdo hanging around the playground again. Two?

I don’t remember which one said what. I don’t remember what I said, or if I said anything or…

“to firm up” by Sasha at Culprit Coffee


Friday January 30, 2015 at Culprit Coffee
4:10pm
5 minutes
Ani’s Raw Food Desserts
Ani Phyo


You build up your courage
A layer of restlessness
The rain isn’t good enough
You’re after something stronger

Your mother made bread
Sunday morning warmth
Honey and oats
Music from the Church three doors down

Remember where you came from
Dear heart
The taste of summer
It’ll be back soon
Sooner than you can say

“I’m cold”
“I’m tired”
“I feel so far away”
“I’ve got everything”
“I’ve got nothing”

You left your heart on the side of the road
You marked it like a grave
Two sticks bound with sweetgrass
You looked back over your shoulder

Once

“Love rocks” by Julia on her couch


Thursday August 14, 2014
12:22am
5 minutes
from a girl’s purple t-shirt

Oh they say that when they have it, when they feel it, when they see it
Oh they say that when they know it, when they own it, when they free it
Oh they say those things, light on and good intentions
Oh they say those things, dreams out loud and good vibrations
Oh they, the ones who don’t have to do the missing
Oh they, the ones who don’t have to do the air kissing
Oh they, the ones who don’t need to pretend
Oh they, the ones who don’t need to wait
Love
Talking about Love
Talking about what everyone knows what I’m talking about
Paul Simon on the open road
Something about the loss of it and a window and the winds blowing
Talking about Love
Talking about the same old thing that poetry was built on
Hand-written letters in the mail, sent with two stamps and a kiss for good luck
Oh they say that when they have it, when they feel it, when they see it
Oh they say that when they know it, when they own it, when they free it
Love
Talking about Love

“Detour 23” by Julia in a park in Lowertown, St Paul, MN


Sunday Aug 3, 2014
2:21pm
5 minutes
from a Pembina Hwy sign

Of course he left me. I was impossible. I smoked too much. I drank too often. I woke up late. I forgot to dust the underside of chairs, or books, or picture frames. I refused to water our one and only basil plant. I watched it die a slow death everyday by ashing into its pot. I left the TV on throughout the day. I only took long hot showers. I got Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup stains on the couch, the bed, and the wall in the front foyer. I coughed up phlegm and spat it into drinking glasses that were next to me. I dog eared every page in every book he loved. I scratched his DVD player so it no longer worked. I took the car out to the border just so I’d have something to do. I never filled up the tank for when he needed it. I chewed my nails and left the ripped bits on the kitchen table. I swore in my sleep. I never ever thanked him.
Of course he left me. I was impossible. I wanted him to go. Sometimes better people are out there beyond the comforts of “love”.

“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.

“I look at the sky recalling” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday July 23, 2014
11:52am
5 minutes
A Memory Returns
Bobby Ferguson


I look at the sky recalling Jem’s face, beside mine, sharing one pillow like two chickens in the coop. His eyes are like the Big Dipper – sparkling and twinkling and telling stories without any words coming out. I go for walks in the forest by the old house, by the house with windows on all sides. Jem used to say he felt like he was in a fishbowl. “No one’s looking!” I’d say. We didn’t have neighbours. The only eyes on us were God’s.

“Even if she is feeling like the scum of the earth” by Julia at her kitchen table


Monday June 2, 2014
11:38pm
5 minutes
an Instagram photo

She told me herself she didn’t feel like herself when the rain fell and when her stomach fell
I heard her say it with a faint ringing in my ear
I heard her say it cause I saw her there in the mirror
She was alone and cold and a full-blown ally to the dark side, to the wrong side
She was something that I could only dream about
Or wish for
She told me herself she didn’t feel much like singing when the sun was out
She would be there, crouched in the mud, trying to taste her mistakes
Trying to make a waterfall from her eyes’ outpouring
The earth is a wet and cold place
I heard her say it with a faint longing in my bones
I heard her say it cause I was stuck there inside her ribcage when her heart started screaming
Take me away
Take me so far away from this
And the sky would open with her desperate kiss
And she would lay there holding on to the only thing she knew

“everyone is committed” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday March 18, 2014
3:40pm
5 minutes
An essay by Deborah Stein about collaboration
howlround.com


It isn’t a choice. It is a real thing, a non-choosing, a reality that has to be reckoned with like a cavity or a thunderstorm. I hate people that think everything is choice. Some things aren’t. Go suck an icicle and hum a bit of “om shanti” and goddamnit! I get really fired up about this. I do not choose to be attracted to Reese Witherspoon. It just is. I do not choose to hate pop music. I do not choose how angry it makes me when people stand on the walking side of the escalator. Geeze! I mean, come on, people. I don’t care how much spirulina you take! I don’t care how much you stand on your head!

Maisie believed in that kinda thing. That we choose our fates and that there’s some great-goddness-oh-oh-ah-ah power that makes it all okay. It’s ironic, right?

I can’t seem to bring myself to throw out her seeds and grains and… spirulina powder. I just… can’t.

“BLUE & GOLD” by Julia at Kerr Hall at Ryerson


Wednesday November 27, 2013 at Kerr Hall at Ryerson
3:22pm
5 minutes
a poster in Kerr Hall

In a room of strangers, she looked like she didn’t want to stand out intentionally. She was the only one wearing her school’s colours. With pride, even. She looked great. She thought everyone would have the same spirit, the same attitude toward game days. She had moved from a school that celebrated every single moment, game day or not. She didn’t realize what a beautiful thing she had, or had come to know until it was basically forbidden. The teachers all looked at her as if she had broken the uniform code. There was no uniform; unless you counted the uniform judgment that she was experiencing on all fronts. Bright blue. Bright gold. Stars and glitter across her face, pompom strands in her hair. She was trying not to let it bother her that everyone was staring and laughing at her. She was trying to keep it together more than she ever needed to before. Did she really not belong? Could this not be a perfect moment for rallying the troupes and collecting school spirit to pass out to everyone who might, show it or not, actually really want some?

“The actor has to develop his body” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday November 11, 2013
11:06pm
5 minutes
a quote from Stella Adler

“Nice rock,” Liam says, barely looking at my finger. We’ve been eating burritos and drinking cheap beer. He hasn’t said anything about the ring since he arrived. “Oh, thanks, Liam… I’m stoked…” I am not a snowboarder. I shouldn’t use a word like that. That’s it. That’s all he gives me. “Nice rock”. Maybe it’s because we’ve been friends since we were fourteen and assholes. Maybe it’s because we slept together that one time on Allison’s birthday, when we were drunk, and never really talked about it. Maybe it’s because he lives in Auckland now and… “Are you going to finish that?” he reaches over and takes my burrito stub. “Go for it,” I say.

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


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


Oh dear, I seem to have misplaced my board. It has all the things I’m supposed to do on it on one side and on the other there’s a really cute picture of a boy with a helmet on, standing in the middle of the beach. My to do list: I like to rotate it off my board so I can keep that picture constant. I made a slip for the paper to slide in and it’s protected by a thin plastic layer–much like you’d see during an overhead presentation at school, when one of the classmates was responsible for teaching the others something about grammar that week. I can’t start my day without writing the list–and then also looking at that picture.

I don’t like to tell many people, but it’s not just the image that’s important to me, it’s the boy.
He is mine, actually.
I really don’t let on that he is, but it’s true. He has his front two teeth missing and that’s the last day I ever saw him because I left him there, at the beach. It was an accident. He was supposed to be in the car with his Aunt Roe.

“Freedom to give” by Sasha at Tarragon Theatre


Tuesday October 8,2013 at Tarragon Theatre
10:14pm
5 minutes
Universal Freedom
George Krokos


Do you want the cast iron pan? Your mom gave it to us when we first… You know what, why don’t you just have it. I mean, you make that cornbread and all those… omelettes. But, you have to season it, Sam… If you don’t, it goes all flakey and, well, like, Google how to season it, okay? Shit. I, I, I… This is… This was… I need more boxes. I’m gonna go to No Frills, wanna come? Or, maybe that’s… a bad idea. I just, I, I appreciate your, like, gentle way. How you’re being gentle? I’m, I hate this shit, this wrapping and labelling and having to remember if it’s your copy of To Kill a Mockingbird or… You know what? If you don’t mind, I’ll keep the pan. I love that pan. They don’t make them like that anymore so…

“sometimes enlightenment” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, October 1, 2013
12:30am
5 minutes
Grand Theft Auto 5

Sometimes enlightenment will come back to bite you right in the ass.
Umm, actually? Did you just use enlightenment and ass in the same sentence?
Yes. And I’m not apologizing. Did I offend you?
Yes. Which is nothing new. Not since you lost the baby.
Ahh, the mighty old exposition. Tell me again why my life is such a fucking failure.
I never said that. I would never ever say that.
You don’t have to. We’re braided together like soft cheese.
And I’m supposed to respond to that…how…exactly…?
SOMETIMES ENLIGHTENMENT CAN SUCK. THAT’S ALL. You want a remedy for this? For me?
Easy. I’m not even mad right now.
But I’m not good for you like this.
No, you’re not. But you’re fucking lucky I already love you.
Otherwise?
Otherwise I wouldn’t.
I appreciate your honesty. I’d rather not know most things because the truth is a wicker basket filled with regret. But not when you do it. When you do it, I respect you more.
Great.
Yes. It fucking is.