“the woman’s anonymous appearance” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday November 4, 2018
8:21am
5 minutes
Beauty Beheld
Sara Harowitz

The woman appears in what she always knew she’d be wearing in this moment, an outfit she’s thought about more than any other thing in her life, though she’s loathed to admit that, she’d never admit that.

Horowitz calls the woman into his office. She’s ready – cheek’s flushed, breath deep, hands shaking only slightly. Horowitz recently died his hair black and the woman isn’t used to it yet. It looks severe, menacing even.

“How are you, Katrina?” Horowitz doesn’t stand up when she enters, even though he should, and he knows it. He takes her in, toes to scalp. The woman bristles. This isn’t going as she’d planned.

“Thanks for meeting with me, Henry. I appreciate your time.” She sits down in one of the red leather chairs opposite his desk. He leans back.

“What’s up?” He pulls a file from the top drawer and files his left thumb nail.

“I have worked here for three and a half years. I have managed every account you’ve given me to the best of my ability, and received only glowing praise from clients. I know it. You know it.” She uncrosses her legs, feels her feet firmly planted on the floor.

“Come prepared with questions” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday April 27, 2018
7:33pm
5 minutes
From the Verses Festival of Words 2018 program

He got there first. I’m early. He’s got a beard. He didn’t have a beard when I googled him, none of the photos did. His beard has grey in it. His hair is dark, almost-black but not quite. He has dark eyes, too. Very white, very straight teeth.

“You must be Lucy?” He reaches out a hand, he stands up, he reaches out a hand and it’s warm.

“Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. Thank you for agreeing to do this…” I’m shaking. We sit. I order a sparkling water. He says something about needing to eat. I can’t imagine eating, so I say I already did, even though I didn’t. “I have some questions prepared,” I pull my notebook out of my backpack.

“The next time he comes over” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, March 17, 2018
10:57pm
5 minutes
The Possible Universe
Claire Halliday

The next time he comes by, in dream or almost, I’m going to make sure I taste his lips.
Last time the whole sleep paralysis thing got me. He came home, but I was stuck on the couch. I could feel him next to me. I asked him for a kiss. He bent down, his mouth hot near mine, and all I could do was lay there. Now I’ve had a good talking to with my brain and we both agreed we were not going to do that again. If he was showing up in my subconcious, he should get to make actual contact. None of this Nearly But Not Quite stuff. He asked me if we could rendezvous at a train station this time. I got worried, knowing me, always waking myself up before the good parts. So we decided to meet on the train itself to maximize our dream time together. He said he wanted to make love to me in the dining car. I would very much like to show up for this one. I’ve always wanted to make love in a dining car.

“meeting your heart’s longing.” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday September 5, 2017
8:12pm
5 minutes
The Invitation
Oriah


Hello, I say to her
tender teeth and Milky Way.
Hello, hello you humming bird wing
you olive oil drenched skin
you whistling Lilly
I have waited for you.
I have been here being here
and I have been waiting for you.
Hello.
You found me.
Would you like to stay the night?
I have some things I’d like us to do together if you have some time to rest.
I know how far you’ve travelled,
let me rub your sandy feet.
Hello.
She is unlike midnight and yet she sits perfect in the sky.
She glows like she’s been drinking from a river cried by the Moon.

“This is what you’ve been waiting for” by Sasha at her desk


Friday May 5, 2017
6:15pm
5 minutes
The Gate
Marie Howe


We met on a Wednesday. I remember that. Iron and Wine was playing. Melissa was having people over to celebrate her “retirement”. She wasn’t actually, she’d just changed careers. We all had, once or twice by then. You were wearing a red sweater and horn-rimmed glasses. Your hair was long. We talked about meditating before eating, the cheapest cities to live in, and when we would give up social media.

“The pleasures and perils of a drug-altered mind” by Julia at JJ Bean


Thursday May 4, 2017 at JJ Bean
2:16pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Sun
Thursda May 4, 2017


My aunt Barb tells me that she wrote herself a note when she “wasn’t straight” about how the “negativity is too loud in her head” and “cutting through all her good thoughts”. We (the family, collectively) got her into medicinal marijuana after her husband passed away last June. We wanted him to try it but he refused to smoke the stuff even after we showed him all the videos of people his age trying it. Barb is in love with it. She calls me at least once a day with her “new thoughts”. Yesterday she told me that “the sky is trying to kill her” and that she “would go but there is laundry to be folded”. In a meeting with the cousins, we secretly discuss Barb’s usage and pat ourselves on the back for helping her out. Then her daughter, Dina, raises her hand timidly. “My mom says she wants to try crack next!”

“bigger than my hand laid out flat” by Julia on the other chair


Monday March 27, 2017
9:29pm
5 minutes
from an assignment

If we’re trading in gesutures…
I extend my hand
I look you in the eye
I wait for you to meet me
you take my hand
we do the cheorgraphed move to symbolize greeting
shake
and drop

You raise your head high above my head
I aim to connect
with my flesh on yours
we do the rehearsed beat to symbolize rhythm
and how we like to make sound out loud
every now and again

If we’e trading gestures…
I’ll give my laugh
for his lips

“I felt stung” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:29pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

When Heloise first saw Penelope, she knew that they’d been cut from the same piece of floral corduroy. It had nothing to do with the hands of the mothers that they were each holding. It had everything to do with their size. Both a head taller than everyone else in their Grade Three class, the girls became fast friends. Height aside, their physical features couldn’t have been more different. Heloise had jet black hair cut into a bob, with blunt bangs that ended just above her eyebrows. Her mother had the exact same haircut. They went every five weeks to the salon on 10th. Heloise’s eyes were brown, like her father’s, and she had a small mouth, which she regarded with disdain. Penelope had auburn curls, which she wore loosely braided down one side. She had her ears pierced, and wore small jade heart studs. They’d been a birthday present from her mother. Penelope’s mother reminded everyone of someone they knew. “I have one of those faces,” she’d say with a smile.

“trying to teach them technology” By Julia in her cabin


Monday February 27, 2017
4:47pm
5 minutes
from a text

my sister turns 32 and the entire family eats
stuffed lobster tail and shrimp
they gather around the table and tell
each other some of the same stories
after hearing some temporary new ones
my siblings make my parents use cell-phones
I am the only one missing
I am the only one on an island
I am the only one in a different time zone
my mother calls me on my birthday 4 days earlier
proud that she finally got the day right
she doesn’t forget my birthday
she just doesn’t know which day it is anymore because
she isn’t forced to look at a calendar all day
she asks what I am planning and I say nothing really
then my father gets on the phone
he asks me what I’m planning and I say I’m going to the island
he asks me if it feels different being 30
when yesterday I was only 29
I tell him sort of because sort of but not more
because my eggs are getting cold
he sighs and says that at the end of the day
it’s all just soup anyway
I laugh because he is so Italian
but he has a point
he says the first bite tastes like soup
and the last bite still tastes like soup

“I felt stung” By Julia in her cabin


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:19pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

I don’t have any memories of my mother’s father. He died when I was three, lived in Italy, and I only met him a couple times. The first time, they tell me, was when I was 3 months old. I had my ears peirced with gold studs (by my aunt Patricia, who was also travelling to Italy with us), I carried around a rainbow striped bunny that I would later name “Skittles”, and according to my mother, I was a very picky eater during the first couple months of my life. They tell me that he was a big man, feared by many. They tell me all the other grandkids ran away from him because they were intimidated by his size, or his mood, or his silence. They tell me that when he walked by my crib I begged for him to pick me up. They tell me that it was strange for a small thing to reach out to him. They tell me that he lived for taking me out into the fields to pick fresh figs. They tell me he smiled a lot when we were there.

Sixteen years later I went to Italy for the second time. I found his gravestone. I listened to the air between my life and his. I still can’t say I ever knew him. But I missed him then.

“New Adventures” By Julia at Paper Crane Coffee


Wednesday February 8, 2017
1:48pm
5 minutes
from a postcard

Jackie meets me at the coffee shop bundled up in too many layers and chapped lips. She shakes off her scarf and laughs a little at the snow droplets covering the ground. She is carrying a stack of postcards that she needs to write thank you notes on. She says she’s going to mail them out today after she buys a thousand stamps. I am busy re-writing my to-do list because the first version I etched out didn’t include all the stuff I actually have to get done today. The first version was more of a dream journal than a to-do list. I have trouble with picking the right thing to prioritize. I don’t want to pick the wrong thing but I feel like I always do. Jackie is in a great mood because she was given an assignment to write for McCleans’s Magazine and is full of high fives and smiles. She asks me after I’ve breathed out heavily for the eighth time, not asking her about her day like I should have, if I’ve ever heard about ‘Important vs. Urgent’. I sigh out once more because I have heard about ‘Important vs. Urgent’ but I have obviously forgotten, again and again, and again.

“special thank you” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday October 1, 2016
9:11pm
5 minutes
a Vista print ad

Today Corinne told me to look into his face and tell him what I appreciate about him. I was like, Corinne, I don’t have anything to say that he hasn’t already heard. And she told me I was resisting because I didn’t like that I was being told what to do and not to let the work I have to do on my control issues and ego get in the way of making my partner feel loved. I told her that maybe if she was staring into her husband’s face she would get it and that to do it on command isn’t natural and that he won’t be offended if I save it for when the moment is more organic than this curated experience. Then she told me that every minute I spend resisting her, I spend double the time resisting myself and my feelings and the truth that I might actually have some that I’m too afraid to visit.

“I’m ecstatic to announce” by Julia on the reading chair


Friday September 30, 2016
7:34am
5 minutes
a Facebook post

There’s a new woman in my father’s life. He has been hiding it from me since they started seeing each other and maybe he had good intentions and maybe he was just being a coward. Either way, I got a Save The Date in the mail for three proposed coffee occasions that the new woman in my father’s life would like me to choose between. I think it’s funny that she chose not to even bother sending a singing telegram! Who doesn’t love getting an embossed card in the mail with tiny kitties in silver dresses, asking me, not to meet her, but to pick a time that I’d like to meet her. Then what happens when I send this back? Wait two weeks to get another Save The Date for a cappuccino and a butter tart?

“He got a gun to his head” by Julia on her couch


Saturday September 17, 2016 at the Shadbolt Centre
11:43am
5 minutes
Overheard at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts

If there’s a reason why we’re meeting here, none of us know it yet. The sky is dark and ominous. There are casual signs promoting danger or intrigue popping up in shadows and creaky floorboards but we haven’t seemed to take heed because we are convinced that this is a dream and nothing bad can ever actually happen to us because bad things only happen to other people or to humans in movies. It’s dark and cold. We don’t speak much in case talking gives us away somehow. Ali and Strat have both cried into their paper bags. I have been inhaling and exhaling in mine, assuming that’s why we were given these to hold in the first place. Cece said she would be here by ten but since none of us can reach her we have already accepted that she is probably dead by now or swallowed up by the night.

“We hopped on bikes with banana seats” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday August 23, 2016
7:04am
5 minutes
parent.co

It might have been 40 degrees out. It felt like we had already sweat off most of our top skin anyway. The trees were dense with moisture. Heavy like they were holding in all of the rain we hadn’t seen. Jessie and I ate kiwis while we waited for Reid and Lucia to hurry up. Lucia told us we’d hear the owl signal and know we should take off on our bikes to go meet them. Jessie didn’t want to move. She said her thighs were rubbing. We sat beside the shed while we finished eating, kiwi juice dripping down into our shirts. I didn’t want to ask Jessie to do much else. I was glad she finally came with us for once. Usually she’d have an excuse why she couldn’t come. She even used “blow-drying her hair” one time and missed out on one of the best nights of our lives. We spent that summer in the cemetery conjuring spirits and memories of loved ones we had never met.

“if something opens up” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday, July 16, 2016
1:14am
5 minutes
from a text

I’m waiting in line at the store
planning to buy this canned tuna
and a clue
because I got hungry
just
waiting and looking at the food
Seron said he was going to meet me here
I don’t think he’s coming
he said he would come to the broccoli aisle
but no one has showed up yet
that looks like it could be Seron
Based on his picture he will have a big black beard
and he said
for fun
he would be carrying
a daisy
in some way
I liked that he was trying to be creative
for me
because I told him before
I like making art and starting conversations
I wonder if we are at the same store
if he meant, maybe, a different one
or if I got the address wrong
I have been waiting for two hours
now
and counting
I wonder how long he has
been waiting
for me

“Secret Sundays” by Julia in her bed


Thursday January 28, 2016
12:12am
5 minutes
A Mission Kitsilano business card

There’s a few of us who meet at dusk and always on Sundays. Meredith came up with the idea but had no real concept of how important it would become. None of us did. She came to me with the thought of gathering, combining energies, uniting, and giving offerings. Meredith thought it would be a nice gesture if she danced while I offered my singing to the powers that be; to the earth; to the sky. The others started joining us, Reemah with her prayers and Tilda with her tears. Our ceremonies last for sometimes 90 minutes. There is a lot of openness and engaging that none of us get elsewhere. The group is especially honouring of my offering and sometimes ask me to sing three or four times. I am good at creating safety with my voice: acting as an umbrella energy for all of our gifts to come together underneath and feel at home.

“The people Fred wanted me to meet” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, December 20, 2015
7:12pm
5 minutes
from the back of matches

He was excited to have me over, I could tell cause he was wearing a pressed shirt and up until then I had only ever seen him in a hoodie. I was impressed too, his fingernails were clean, his apartment smelled of cinnamon, and there were place settings on the table. Fred told me there was a surprise and I started to get nervous, but he told me there was nothing to be worried about. Then the doorbell rang. I was like, what? What is happening? Fred sprung to the door and I was instantly upset that his efforts weren’t for me alone. Who could I possibly be meeting?
Fred came back from the door with a dark haired woman and her perfect little arm linked through his.
Amy, this is Katya.
It’s so very nice to meet you, Amy. Fred has spoken about you at length.
I laughed quietly shifting my eyes from her succulent mouth to her dainty wrist hanging in Fred’s elbow bend.
How do you two know each other?
Oh, Katya’s my ex-girlfriend!

“Why do we do that?” By Julia at Christie Pits Park


Thursday, August 13, 2015
12:48pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the Spadina streetcar

So I met her on a subway platform. She was going to jump and I didn’t say anything. I just stood close to her thinking maybe she would feel something from me and decide not to do it. I don’t know what I was thinking. I can’t say it was my brightest moment. But I felt bad interfering. She had decided this would be how she goes and who was I? Someone she didn’t even know trying to convince her not to take her own life. I started humming. What else do you do when you’ve basically resigned yourself to assisting a stranger’s suicide? It was Chariots of Fire. God, don’t ask me why cause I’m still trying to figure that out. But it was like a movie. Maybe a badly written one. She started humming a long. I kept going. I could keep going with that song more than others. Maybe that’s why. Maybe not. I could see the light on the train coming toward us. She hadn’t looked up from her feet yet. So I just sang louder. She sang along with me, and then she looked me in the eyes, tears in hers. I smiled.

“I met my first savant 52 years ago” By Julia on the A train


Saturday, August 1, 2015
3:30am
5 minutes
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com

I didn’t want to meet him. I wasn’t really in the position of meeting someone outside my own brain let alone someone outside my own comfort zone. I tried to be sweet but I came off as this precious little bitch with an agenda and a superiority complex. He was kind. He played me the song he wrote on his banjo and asked me if I thought if sounded genuine enough. I couldn’t lie to him so I told him it sounded like heaven and I wished he’d never stopped to ask me about something I was clearly already thinking about. I hate when people push their shit on you. I didn’t really know sweetness. What I knew was that he cared about my opinion and what I knew was that he didn’t actually need to hear what my true one was. That should have been enough of a warning sign but I stuck around anyway. I waited till he sent me a photo of him wearing army pants to call it off.

“we were never meant to be admired” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday February 5, 2015
5:13pm
5 minutes
Stranger in a Strange Land
Robert A. Heinlein


There she is
All round wisdom
He was inside of her
Eight hundred years ago
It aches in my though
Still
It’s funny how the gut knows
The gut always knows
She’s good at what she does
She shakes my hand like it matters
I almost feel badly
She has no idea
She thinks I’m just another wordworker
There’s more light where she’s standing
In the know is out of the yes
I taste her poetry
Like he tasted
I lean my head in my hands
It’s heavy
It’s all heavy
She twists her lock
She fills the space with her-
self
Ourselves
We are
We are one
We are one womb-
an
Woman
Womb and
Heart
We are all the same
Her inside is my inside
We’re all outside
Anyway

“thank you for your hate” by Julia in Piazza del Francia


Monday October 27, 2014
1:09pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I’ve received numerous letters from viewers this week and I wanted to share with you the major themes they all have in common. As you are well aware, we set the example for those at home and when those at home see you at work, they follow your actions without thinking and they do what you do. Now you may be thinking, Marlena, great stockings today, but how are we supposed to know which behaviour the viewers at home will want to emulate? How, Marlena, should we prepare ourselves for the randoms and for the sheep-like viewers? And to that I will respond with, Thank you, they’re from Barclay’s, and because you don’t know what they’ll do, you must always behave accordingly. Now the first thing I’m going to talk about is one that’s really inspired a different breed of human to participate. I am going to say this only once: WE DO NOT EAT OVER OUR CATS. Does anyone know why we don’t do this, aside from having to spend 2-3 minutes pulling the couscous from their fur while debating whether or not it can be washed off and still eaten??

“September I’ll remember” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, July 17, 2014
9:10pm
5 minutes
April Come She Will
Simon And Garfunkel



Having met you that one day, it uh, it really rocked me. It was like meeting the moon. Does that make..I’m just. I’m trying to sound honest, I guess. Or uh, expressive. You made me realize how closed off I’d been. I’m, I know you’re with someone, so I’m not, you know, I don’t want you to think that I..I’m just. Maybe you were right. Can barely get a thought out. I think you made a good point. And, you know, maybe you were right about me. I don’t know if I had uh, met you the day before or the day after if I would feel the same way I do now..Maybe I wouldn’t have been able to hear you at all if it, uh, were, you know, in any other minute than when it was. Your words. They were buzzing, uh, you know sort of resonating I guess, with my whole. Yeah. I. Thank you. I am so bad at this. Wow. I’m trying not to sound like the biggest idiot and yet that’s all I seem to be able to do. I’m glad it happened. Meeting you. I really am.

“set a time, a location, and a few basic rules” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence


Monday May 5, 2014
4:01pm
5 minutes
Beautiful Trouble
Edited by Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell


We decided on a Sunday cause of that song–you know the one, it’s that mellow feel good one–Groovin’…on a Sunday afternoon….Really couldn’t get away too soon.
It just felt right. We’d meet on a Sunday, get in my car and drive to Nowhereville until the sun set and the breeze got too cold to have the windows down. And that’s when it started. I went to the meeting place, the gate that has all those twinkly lights still up from Christmas, you know, a few blocks away from her house. We didn’t want anyone to know. So the discreet pick up spot made it really fun. And also pretty hot. She was waiting there for me, her face buried in her phone, trying to look busy, trying not to look like she was waiting for anyone at all. Then I pulled up and watched her and I got excited and I got scared. And I got out of the car, and walked over to her slowly. And didn’t say one thing. I just kissed her. Grabbed her hand and led her to the passenger side. I opened the door for her. She said, Wow, you’re chivalrous. And I got shy and I said, I don’t know, you just make me want to be a better woman. Then she smiled and got into my little car. And she fiddled with the radio. And we were Groovin’…on a Sunday afternoon.

“primarily unoaked” by Julia on her couch


Thursday January 16, 2014
2:05am
5 minutes
the drinks card at FRESH

She was sitting down, the only other person in the restaurant aside from the server. Rumour has it the chefs step out of the building every night after 9:25pm for their secret alley way meeting. Others say they’re just out there “having a smoke”. She was sniffing the cork of her wine bottle. She told the young girl with the side pony tail that she was waiting for someone and didn’t want to look like she cared. The girl sold her the bottle assuming her guest would soon arrive but after almost 62 minutes everyone in the place, and again it was just the two of them, had conceded that this “guest” was surely no longer coming at this point. The bottle was not as depleted as either of them thought it would be by this time, but neither one wanted to address it. The girl behind the counter was taking Instagram photos of stacked plates and sugar packets and nobody seemed to mind that either.

“blows a kiss” by Sasha on her couch


Friday December 13, 2013
11:14pm
5 minutes
metro weekend December 14-15, 2013

Neither was expecting it to happen. Man was on the witness stand. Woman was on the Jury. She had been furious when she received the summon in the mail. “JURY DUTY?!” She’d shrieked, collapsing on her sofa.

When Man took the stand, when he said his oath, Woman raised her hands to her cheeks. A fellow Jury member glanced at her sideways and coughed. She closed her eyes and breathed in the knowing that this man was a rare seashell.

On break, Woman went to the water fountain for a drink. She turned on the faucet, bent over and drank. When she stood, wiping her mouth, there he was.

“Hello – ”
“Hi.”
“You’re…?”
“We really shouldn’t be – ”
A silence like the August heat.
“What’s your name?”
“Alice.”
“Hi, Alice.”
A silence like tiptoeing on sand.
“I’m going to go to the Deli on the corner for a sandwich whenever we wrap up here.”
“Oh?”
“Would you like to join me?”
“Yes. But I’ll be in… there.”
Man nods and walks into the restroom. Before she can stop herself she’s followed him in.
“Alice?”
“Yes, I, was, uh, I was, just, um…”
The hum of the fluorescent lights.

“Negotiate with agents” by Julia at her friend’s table in Ottawa


Friday, October 4, 2013
1:09pm
5 minutes
What Is Dramaturgy
Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas


Waiting at the cross walk for you to come meet me at the corner of where our houses meet. It really is a wonderful thing how close the two of us live to each other. When I first saw you at the coffee shop we both like to go to, I just thought we had the same taste in espresso..I didn’t know we were neighbours. In fact, I didn’t know we were neighbours for a very long time. You didn’t ever seem to be leaving your place or entering it at the same time as me. It, to be honest, feels a bit like we’re meeting to go on a blind date, even though I’ve seen you so many times before and even had mini conversations with you at the coffee counter. Part of me keeps thinking it’s too good to be true, being so closely housed to you. I’m afraid that you’d rather keep me separate from your life, which is silly because I haven’t proven to be anything but pleasant yet. Not that you would find me unpleasant with time, or intolerable. I’m not clingy like that. I like my own space very much and just because we’re close to each other doesn’t mean I will be expecting to see you at all times, or expect you to invite me to every single one of your events that take place at your home. I’m really not like that. But if, for whatever reason, you want me to come to those things, I would not say no, don’t get me wrong. I am a good drinker. And I quite enjoy playing cards.

“That was my first personal encounter” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, May 18, 2013
8:31pm
5 minutes
Some Freaks
David Mamet


He and I, remember Andy? Didn’t like to be called Andrew, God knows why. I tried, Sal, I did. I used to say, Andrew my love, to disguise it and he would see right through me like a piece of plastic wrap on a bowl of cold noodles. Anyway, Andy and I, we met that day on the bridge because my car stalled and he was the only nice son of a bitch to stop and help me. I was losing my mind about it and he kept me real calm. So then he asked what I was on my way to and if maybe I wanted to grab a coffee with him. I was sort of amused that he thought I was just driving on the bridge and had all this free time in the world to grab coffee with a complete and utter stranger! Anyway I told him, remember what I said? I told him, You can call me tomorrow afternoon and ask me out for a proper date! That’s what I said, Sal! It’s true, don’t act like I made that up; you can’t write that shit, you know you can’t! Then he did call me. Remember? The next day, at the strike of noon like he was waiting there all morning for it to be “afternoon” so he could call. And that night we ate at, uh, what’s that place? Well good thing I don’t remember because we didn’t last thirty seconds before we snuck off to the bathroom and he fucked me against a urinal! I’m sure those snobby bastards won’t want to see me again anyway!