“10. going, going, gone” by Sasha in the trundle room

Monday June 15, 2020
12:52pm
5 minutes
alternate names for black boys
Danez Smith

  1. Take a seat and observe how the room twirls and smokes, scoffs and languishes. You are the eye of the storm in your silence and watching.

  2. It’s been so long since you’ve been in a group, since you’ve been at a party, that you don’t remember where to find words or place laughter. You bite your tongue a hundred times before you slice with a something small and the man in the rimmed glasses cocks his head and looks at your breasts.

  3. You wonder how many people here are pretending, how many people are holding in a fart or a pee, how many people really wish they were someplace else, swimming in a cool lake, touching the papery skin of their mother’s forearm.

  4. It used to take you hours to get ready for something like this, standing in front of the mirror, a bottle of tequila on the bathroom counter, swigging and painting your face for battle. Today it took you exactly six minutes to brush your hair and put Vaseline on your unruly eyebrows and chapped lips.

  5. You arrive late, as usual. Toss your jean jacket on the back of a chair, on top of other jean jackets and cardigans. You smile without showing your teeth. You forgot to brush them. You wonder about your breath, and if you’ll even get close enough to anyone to smell their toothpaste, their IPA, their roast chicken dinner.

“positive descriptions of the world” by Sasha in the trundle room

Sunday May 24, 2020
10:31am
5 minutes
Perceiving Ordinary Magic
Jeremy W. Hayward

Let’s go back to the time before the
anarchy and debauchery and the excuses dressed
as Big Cats

Let’s paint in sand and cello music
wrap ourselves in rhubarb leaves and moon juice
take a page out of the book of birds
and fly
and sing

There isn’t anything the matter
but everything hurts

Anyone who says otherwise
is wearing dress up clothes
musty from being in the attack
stinking of detergent
from being worn and washed

“This song.” by Julia on her couch

Monday March 11, 2019
6:01pm
5 minutes
Freedomland
Richard Price

Might be the thing I tell you
Might be the first thing I say
Baby you’re not going to well up
Your eyes don’t work that way
Might be the thing you remember
Might be the last thing you hear
Darlin’ I can’t stop myself thinking
That I’ll be the one shedding these tears
Some of these days will be dipped in summer’s haze and we won’t be able to see the cracks
But when it gets cold and the winter wind blows, we’ll be left with all of the cruel facts
Might be the thing I tell you
Might be the first thing I say
I wish it were different but now I’m a lingerin’ even though I cannot stay
I’ll miss you the most in the mornin
Cause that’s where our bodies would meet
These blankets with only me will get so lonely without you beside me

“I abandoned their plan” by Julia in her old room


Saturday July 22, 2017
6:32pm
5 minutes
The Chang Girls
Lan Samantha Chang


K and D start laughing uncontrollably. They don’t even try to hush their loud the way young girls seem to know better than adult ones. I keep my face focussed on the blue-lined paper, the margins, the blank space. I steal a glance at them from the corner of my eye and remind myself we aren’t friends anymore and I don’t need to care. They can be talking or laughing about whatever they want and I don’t have to buckle into myself. D snorts her signature sign of enjoyment and K wipes the tears pooling under her cheap mascara. I ignore them. I don’t need them. Suddenly K comes over to me and snatches my notebook right from under my pretending. I scramble for it. I miss.
K throws my book to D and D snorts again. K blows me a kiss.

“the waiting room and the forms” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Friday October 28, 2016
12:15pm
5 minutes
A LENNY Interview with Amanda Nguyen

I am a good pretender. I still think about doing it professionally, actually, especially when I’m lonely or the season’s change or when it smells like mothballs and tequila. You all try to fool yourselves that it’s not pretending, that it’s truth-telling but everyone else is laughing like crows.

Sitting in the waiting room, filling out the forms, picking egg yolk from my cuticle, rolling my eyes at the magazine selection. I’m pretending, Mistress of Disguise, clever clever. When the mouse behind the counter who tells everyone what to do but gets paid the least, when the mouse calls my name I smile. Liar. I smile and I hand in my form and I walk down the long hall.

“for a variety of reasons” by Julia in a car


Friday November 6, 2015
11:45am
5 minutes
Overheard at Moii Cafe

Carmen is sitting on the kitchen sink, banging her feet against the cupboard to the rhythm that she’s humming in her head. Boom badoom, boom boom badoom.
Ely stares at her with a sideways smile and his head cocked to the side. He’s in love with her. She’s the most fascinating thing he’s ever seen in his life.
Carmen feels his gaze but acts like she can’t tell. She pretends to be in her own world. She likes the attention Ely gives her. She likes that he likes her and that she could be bad, or better, and he wouldn’t even notice. She likes that he doesn’t hold her to a particular standard. She likes that he isn’t like everybody else.
Ely wants to kiss her but hasn’t felt like she’s invited him yet. His body remains tense and leaning against the counter. He casts his eyes down when it gets to be too much.
“Are you afraid of me or something?”
Carmen’s legs still going, boom badoom, boom boom badoom.
“Me? No I’m. I’m not afraid of you or something. I’m. I’m not afraid.”
“Well why are you way over there, then?”

“most honour you” by Sasha at Great Dane Coffee


Wednesday September 10, 2014 at Great Dane Coffee
2:02pm
5 minutes
King Lear
William Shakespeare


Let’s not pretend we’re above low blows like “I hate your face!”
Let’s not pretend that we’ve actually figured out how to get out of a bed without making it messy.
Let’s not pretend that we like those Internet slangs like “FML” and “LOL” and “OMG”.
Let’s not pretend we don’t go through our cigar box of trinkets when we’re feeling particularly alone.
Let’s not pretend if someone knocked on our door we wouldn’t invite them in for leftover pancakes and a talk about the Arctic and performance art.
Let’s not pretend that we like taking the bus.
Let’s not pretend that we can afford organic cucumbers.
Let’s not pretend that we like making small talk, making tiny tiny talk about things like neighbourhoods and preferences in music and wine.
Let’s not pretend that we’re comfortable.
Let’s not pretend that we’ve let go of things we haven’t – I see what you’ve got there, chained to your waist and you see what I’ve got around my wrists.

“two arms uplifted” by Julia at Bryan’s Cottage


Saturday, July 6, 2013
10:39pm
5 minutes
The Origin Of Consciousness in The Breakdown of The Bicameral Mind
Julian Jaynes


My mother gave me an organic throat lozenge because she thought I sounded hoarse. I told her her it’s because I tell at loud bars that think they’re concerts and that I haven’t been sleeping because I’ve been anxious about my job interview on Friday and also about dying you g.
So I took one to shut her up and keep her from worrying that I needed more than she could give. Then I turned around and she had basically already wrapped the entire tin with a pretty ribbon and told me to take them home with me because she could get more if she needed to. I’ve always had to feign inadequacy because that brings her joy–to know she’s helping her kid who can’t get her shit together without the constant guidance and hell from her loving and bored mother. She’s been staying at home lately, nursing a broken collar bone so she needs to help me more than I really need to be helped, but whatever, she’s sweet and it would hurt her to be more capable and less doomed than I’ve been. So I took the lozenges after the usual decline, and she looked pretty happy about it.