“high clouds no wind” by Sasha on her balcony


Saturday July 1, 2017
11:30pm
5 minutes
The Wayfinders
Wade Davis

the woman who lives across the way
my balcony doors look into her living room
she watches so much tv and i am sad about it

she recently bought a rosemary plant
a cactus with a pink flower
and a rose that has beautiful flowers
they are still in their plastic

i am trying to see what she’s watching
is it FRIENDS
i am trying to see into her darkness

a hummingbird comes to drink from our feeder
sucking back the sugar water with her
extra long tongue

high and mighty with my notebook
looking up and through and into
this sister dwelling

“We heard you loud and clear” by Julia in her bed


Saturday January 21, 2017
12:13am
5 minutes
from a text

I grew up in a cornfield
Nonna aproned in the backyard
Picking dandelions for supper
Knew all the kids on my block and sold drawings for pennies in groups of 2 or 3
We planted a sprig of pussy willow and it grew as wild and large as the entire porch
The people who repainted our bathrooms white with gold stars and moons had to cut it down because it was starting to grow into the house
We’d go for walks to the river in clusters of young
Not fully knowing which direction was the right one
The backyard was home to blackberry bushes and mint leaves
And to cousins and neighbours singing loud at the bonfire on summer nights

“a couple annual holidays” by Julia at Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar


March 4, 2016 at Platform 7
5:09pm
5 minutes
from Sasha’s play

And there’s no time to wait
For my health to come back
I have already planned a vacation
I’m going away
I’m going to go
I’m not going to stop
Until I get home
I don’t remember what my yard looks like
Cause I don’t remember much
Was there one tree or two?
Did the cornfields shoot higher than the pussy willow?
I don’t remember much
Time has run out
In the most respectful way it could
Reminding me that I don’t have to
keep living like I used to
I wish for courage
I wish us all courage
I’m going back home with my ball of yarn
Going to wrap it around each branch
Each trellis
So I can draw a map of where I used to live
The hardest part of that is remembering
how to remember
I think I’ll write a note
In red red string
On the gates of all my neighbours
to let them know I’m back
And I’m collecting memories
Shiny new ones that I can still see
Maybe they’ll have more than just the ones
of my sister and me
selling drawings for 6 pennies each

“OH MY GOD I GOTTA GO!” by Sasha on the 99 going East


Thursday, July 23, 2015
11:22am
5 minutes
Overheard on the Street

Effin’ Dustin, man. When Dustin steps, it sounds like a rhino, it sounds like the ceiling’s gonna come down an some shit. Effin’ guy. An I even hear ’em talkin’, right? Like, “OH MY GOD I GOTTA GO!” an’ shiz… Makes me crazy.

Yes, I know him. Kunch. I think that’s how you say it. I’ve met him once or twice. I don’t know know him. I see his mail piling up. I hear his bass blaring. I get wafts of smoke up my grate. Nothing better than waking up to smoke coming up out of the floor. Note the sarcasm. There’s always about twenty three men in that apartment. Travels in a pack. Kunch. I sincerely wonder what that name means.

“take her children to church” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday June 4, 2015
10:21pm
5 minutes
Vogue
October 2014


We’re down the road at the Allen’s and we’re drinking sangria and laughing about the sound of Kevin practising the trumpet. We’re eating hot dogs and coleslaw and Mary says, “Lar, didn’t you have something you wanted to say to these guys?” And Larry looks dumbfounded, or struck by this, by what Mary’s said. Your Mom and I have no idea what’s happening, and I’m thinking about whether or not I’ve got mustard all over my face! Finally, Larry says, “We’ve lost everything…” Mary runs inside, her hand over her mouth, stifling tears, and your mother goes, “Mary! Larry…” And I’d never thought about how their names are, you know… So I can’t even help it! I laugh! Larry stands up and pulls back like he’s going to sock it to me and your mother glares at me and I follow Mary, running inside.

“Bitch better have my money” by Julia in a taxi


Wednesday, April 8, 2015
3:21pm
5 minutes
Better Have My Money
Rihanna


Went to the mailbox today. Noticed all my letters were soaked right through. Holes. I chalk it up to holes. I expect this shitbox house I am living in with its shitbox buzzing refrigerator and its shitbox screaming radiators and its shitbox location right beside not one but TWO railway tracks to also have a leaky shitbox mail collector. I have no more hopes for myself. I’m at what you would call, rock bottom. And no, though you think it might, it doesn’t feel good. Sorry I get sarcastic when I’ve slept for only 3 hours because my shitbox neighbours were up until sunrise playing a death metal rendition of The Itsy Bitsy Spider. I LOVE MY LIFE.

“By a man’s fingernails,” by Julia on her “deck” steps


Tuesday August 5, 2014
9:54pm
5 minutes
a quote by Sherlock Holmes

It was unnecessary, really, for them to be so curt with their neighbours. They had, the neighbours that is, up until that point, made sure to smile each time they saw them and to greet them with a tiny wave-usually the small female neighbour did the hand gestures; the small male neighbour liked to nod his head ever so slightly. They hadn’t come over with a casserole or any baked goods out of kindness or welcoming. They simply said hello with their body language and were probably a little too hopeful that they would eventually be met with a similar greeting by the new couple who had moved in just down the hall. They did, after all, share a kitchen wall and a parking lot. When they saw the small female neighbour pacing back and forth in front of her kitchen door, they could tell she was distraught. A hello wouldn’t have been appropriate anyway. They knew exactly what had happened between her and the small male neighbour just moments before. Their shared kitchen wall was anything but thick. She had yelled at him because she had burnt her hand on the hot pan straight from the oven. She had already been having a bad day, and they assumed that was the straw that broke it. She looked up from her puffy eyes, sensing the newly arrived couple’s presence. Hopeful. Always hopeful.

“SO COLD” by Sasha in her garden


Saturday June 21, 2014
5:52pm
5 minutes
a postcard at MAKE coffee+stuff

I wake up and I’m so cold. Mickey is blasting the friggin air conditioning. He controls it from his place, right, so I’m pretty effed if I have a problem with whatever the setting is. And, you know, like, he’s an insomniac so… He sleeps during the day and I don’t wanna be that turd that bangs on his door cuz I’m cold. Like some sorta pussy or somethin. When I first moved in Mickey invited me down to his place for a beer a couple-a times. He’s got lotsa stories, man, like crazy stories. He was in a biker gang once, when he was in his twenties, and… He did some pretty whacked out shit. Like… Once, he beat a guy unconscious with a hammer. One of those little hammers. An’ once, he rode across the whole damn country… from Halifax to BC, man… That’s crazy. He has this one story about this time a huge storm almost lifted him right off of his bike. An’ he’s a big friggin guy!

“he had heard on the phone” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February March 2 2014
8:41pm
5 minutes
The Murder Room
P.D James


He had heard on the phone that there was a snowmobiler who had gotten shot out on the lake. Marti told him that where he was living was just not safe anymore if people are out on the lake just enjoying themselves, and minding their own business, and getting shot. He told her not to worry about him because he wasn’t a snowmobiler nor was he a targeted individual. Marti told him right then and there that the man who was shot, was not targeted either. He was the victim of a careless person, wielding a shot gun, and attempting to take a “cool” photo for the “internet”. He wasn’t happy with that news because all his life he had felt safe on that lake, felt secure in that little town knowing that the neighbours were kind, and willing to help at any chance they could. He did not see his home turning into a place for kids running around with a God complex trying to shoot things for the sheer fun of it all. Marti told him he should build a fence to help with all the shooters. He told her that there had been only one incident so far, and that it would be the very last one. Marti was not convinced and told him that if he didn’t want to listen to reason, he would be the next victim and to not come crying to her when he had a bullet lodged in his brain.

“safety matters to us” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at Starbucks
12:24pm
5 minutes
TTC subway poster

We salt the sidewalks, we do the whole thing. We get all the late night volunteers to bring their shovels and if they have them, their snow blowers. We take the whole street by storm, and if we’re feeling particularly energized, why hell, we take the whole subdivision. That’s how you get things done in Bimble Lake. Small citied people but big worldly hearts. I started operation GO-SNOW in 2001 after the Cearsons’ car got stuck in their drive way right as Eva was going into labour with Matthew, or maybe it was Logan. They weren’t the kinds to ask for help, but I could see them from my dining room window, and I had the tools so I went on over there and helped before they could say no. Not that they’d say no, I mean, Eva was pretty close to a car delivery! Would have been a great story for the town, but I’m doubting it would be as wonderful for Eva and Cam. I enlisted some neighbours’ help the following year to dedicate a couple nights of the week to planning, and to prevention. We started using my garage as a storage locker for all our materials and I gave Eddie, Tim S., Tim L., and Orval a key.

“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.

“may find offensive” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday, September 29, 2013
11:42pm
5 minutes
from a TV warning on Global

1. I hear a knock at the door.
2. I open the cabinet and throw the bag of chocolate chips inside that I’ve been eating.
3. I go to the door and I open it.
4. She’s wearing a wide-brimmed hat with a sunflower on it.
5. She’s smiling but her eyes are cloudy.
6. She looks how I felt yesterday.
7. We’re all more related than we think/
8. “Welcome to the neighbourhood!” She says, in an accent that coats her words like caramel. “I’m Marlena!”
9. She hands me a casserole dish.
10. “The girls call me Lena,” she says. “The girls?” I say.
11. “The neighbourhood girls!” She looks at her hands, dirty, and then looks at me, apologetically.
12. “We heard you’re expecting!” She smiles.
13. “”We”?” I ask.
14. “The girls, silly!”
15. I touch my belly, an obligatory move.
16. “When’s he coming?” She keeps smiling.
17. “Who?” I say, thinking she’s referring to Geoff, who’s still in Windsor.
18. “The bambino!”
19. “Oh, February.”
20. I invite her in.
21. She declines.
22. I invite her in.
23. She accepts.

“Serve.” by Sasha on her couch


Monday, September 23, 2013
12:11am
5 minutes
www.foodnetwork.com

Ya know Ian? Ya know Ian who lives over der by dem pines? Ian killed his wife. I’ll tell ya the story but you have to promise that ya won’t tell no-one. I don’t wanna be that kinda gossip, ya know?

So. Story goes, Ian is a shady kinda character. He has a grow-op in that basement. We’re not talking a few plants, we’re talking a whole operation, a big ‘ol operation, with the lights and the special liquids and whatever. He had this girlfriend, Caroline, and she was around for longer than any of the other ladies. Ya know those meth head ladies? With the real bad teeth and the scratchy faces? Lotsa those ladies. Story goes that Caroline had finally had enough, she was tired of his wily ways, she was trying to get clean. She left Ian and started goin’ with some hotshot guy in Kingston, some guy who was the president of AA and in a biker gang or something. Story goes, Ian tracked down Caroline, who was cleaning out a camper on this new hotshot’s property. He shot her. Right in the head.

“It’s time” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, August 28, 2013
8:44pm
5 minutes
The membership renewal card from National Geographic

When you turned out the light, I lay there, eyes open, trying to find the hole in the ceiling. I knew that that this time, usually, I could see a star through there. Spring had gone and sprung, and it was the first warm night, the first night when I wanted to sleep on top of the down duvet. You were under it, as always, sweaty, but happy as a clam in his shell. I looked and looked, until my eyes stung from searching. No star. I got up, the droop of my naked breast catching the eye of the streetlamp peeking through the blinds. You stirred, and I stopped in my tracks. You made a small moan, and I turned to see the soft curve of your nose, the tip of which is one of my favourite things to kiss. I tip-toe into the kitchen and pour myself a glass of water from the glass jug in the fridge. I hear our neighbours laughing. She shrieks and he tickles, or at least that’s what I imagine. I creep back into the bedroom and step over you, careful not to squish a knee or an elbow. I settle into my pillow, that sacred spot between you armpit and your shoulder.

“COLORED EMOTIONS” by Julia on her bed


Monday, August 19, 2013
12:56am
5 minutes
Night Moves record

I can hear sounds from the neighbours in my dreams. I remember specifically asking them not to join me there, but there they were all dressed in their Christmas dinner clothes and trying to impress my mother. In my dreams my mother is almost always a southern belle with a chip on her shoulder. I don’t know why. She was born in south western Ontario. But the neighbours, they’re the real problem. They kind of do that thing where they come on in without knocking and then just start talking to me while I’m counting money, or making detailed plans with my future self. They don’t get the hint that I’m busy and they just start humming and blabbing about who stole who’s bike basket. In my dreams they’re less obvious. They’re buttering up my mother and making her laugh while I’m stuck there basting the turkey over and over again because she says ‘they’ll’ enjoy it better. ‘They’ being the neighbours. And I’m certain they’re vegetarians.

“Your efforts” by Julia on the 506 going east


Saturday, March 23, 2013
2:43pm
5 minutes
A quote by Jody Hayes

Heard Liam and Hannah fighting again. I could hear it through the walls, the vents.
She threw something at him, you could tell it was expensive. I didn’t want to listen but I didn’t really have a choice. Saturday morning, sleeping in, or trying to. There it was, just right above me. Liam wasn’t saying much but then every now and then he’d grunt and yell and I got worried for Hannah in case he was getting violent with her. Hannah liked to swear very much. She rotated between throwing vases and nasty words around the apartment. I guess she enjoyed the way the anger looked, all plastered to her walls like a Pollock painting.
Liam wasn’t a very talkative person. I only ever heard him speak if I was home, trying to watch a late night movie, and he was up, trying to yell at his girlfriend because she didn’t respond to his texts quick enough. That’s when I heard him the most. I thought about getting ear plugs but then I realized, I might actually miss their sounds of sadness and anger, passion and desperation, if I ever did.

“Your efforts” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday, March 23, 2013
11:02am
5 minutes
A quote by Jody Hayes

Helen and Kurt are finding laughter illusive, again. Used that word, “illusive” on a crossword puzzle on Saturday and it stuck. I’m trying to find ways to use it… I don’t know from seeing, the illusive laughter, I know from listening. We’ve been neighbours for thirteen years, you know. I’ve gotten used to the ups and downs. I don’t hold that glass to the wall. This building is old. It begs neighbours to know the snores, the blender, The Rolling Stones… You name it, I’ve heard it. They had a rough go in 2005. Might’ve been the transition into being empty nesters. I never thought that Kyle, their son, would get into University… I mean, he was a strange boy. Got into some College Program up North for Golf Course Management. Who knew that was even a thing? Ran into Helen in the entrance way a few days ago. She barely smiled. To think, I gave that woman my oven to use on Christmas for seven years in a row! And I water their plants when they go to Cuba! She barely even smiled. “Hi Helen!” I said. She just… nodded. What she was saying “yes” to, I never could say. Kurt seems to be away more now that he retired. I always know when he’s gone because there’s less hot water on our floor. Helen takes very hot baths.