“Ooh! A fun challenge!” By Sasha at the table

Friday May 15, 2020
5 minutes
From brittab.com

Monica shrugs her shoulders. She feels Dan’s eyes on her body, taking in the rise and fall of her chest as she breathes. She remembers when she used to lie with her head on the soft place between his shoulder and his clavical. The easy silence between them. Now, a layer of plexiglass between their hands as they reach, palm to palm. “I don’t know what happened, Danny, he doesn’t have a father figure, he dpesn’t have a role model,” Monica repeats herself. Dan knows that she does this when she’s anxious. He remembers how she bailed him out at least a half a dozen times when he was working with Len and Gary. The way she’d peel out of the parking lot in her old red Honda Civic, tires screeching and then rail into him, repeating and repeating as he bit his tongue and said, “I’m sorry, baby.”

“Party in the house” by Sasha on the couch at Bowmore

Sunday November 18, 2018
5 minutes
Overheard at the Fairmont Pacific Rim

When Pawpaw gets home Gramma makes a big party and we even get to have pop! Sprite and Pepsi. Clyde mixes them together and then laughs and some comes out his nose. I try not to pee when I laugh at him with that brown stuff coming out, but I think I do a little bit, but not enough that anyone would know. Pawpaw hasn’t been home in TWENTY SIX years, since right before Daddy was born. Before Daddy went to prison he would take me to visit Pawpaw and we’d even sometimes get touch, like once or twice that really happened.

“drove up to the prison” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday August 30, 2017
5 minutes
This American Life episode 282

I never thought that I would, I mean, I never knew that… Wait. Can I start over? I don’t know… I’m not good when I’m on the spot. I finished high school, even started community college something but I can’t… I’m nervous. If Jay was here I’d be… I’d be… I drove up to the prison last Saturday, for visits… Went all alone. Sometimes his mama wants to come and I’m not gonna deny her that, she has the right to see her son. She doesn’t drive so… It’s hard. It’s hard.

“We got a good surge” by Sasha in the Kiva

Thursday, July 21, 2016
5 minutes
Overhead at The Rickshaw

When you got to prison, you missed the smell of your home pillow – the one with the blue paisley design, worn from so many years of face and head and hair. You called your brother and cried and cried until your phone card ran out of money. You learned the rules, but it took time, and you goofed up enough that the guards kept their eye on you. This went against the plan to remain invisible. This went against who you always were – a well mannered wallflower whose anger was buried beneath layers and layers of fear, whose visions of knives and train tracks and fingernails only came at night, in the safety of your basement apartment bedroom.

“not released until all” by Sasha in the bath

Sunday June 5, 2016
5 minutes
From the online grading centre

we are held until the officer processes every one every single one. the women are all in burlap sacks and then men are in prison jumpsuits of varying colours. mostly orange. some grey. a man pushes a woman and before i can call for help everyone is fighting and pushing and punching. i cling to a wall, wondering if it will bring me safety, wondering if concrete is kinder than people. i try to find jamie but everyone looks the same. everyone has the same rabid squirrel expression. everyone looks sweaty and pale and dehydrated and exhausted. a nursing woman’s breasts start leaking. she cries, “i need to feed my baby! i need to feed my baby!”

“Sentenced to two years for new offences” by Sasha at Culprit

Friday, June 19, 2015 at Culprit
5 minutes

You never thought it would come to this. You never thought you’d be here. You never thought your wrists would be bruised by handcuffs and that you’d be wearing granny panties and and a used bra two sizes too big. You never thought you’d be sentenced to two years for new offences. You never thought that you’d be back. You never thought that once you were out you’d be tempted and you’d fuck up and you’d be arrested. Again. you never thought that you’d kiss a woman. You never thought that your sons would be raised by your mother. You hope that she’ll do better with them than she did with you. You never thought that they’d stop coming to visit after only two years. You never thought you’d develop a taste for mashed potatoes. You never thought you’d cut your hair short. You never thought you’d miss the smell of freshly cut grass.

”Many people want love to function like a drug,” by Sasha at Higher Grounds

Monday, June 15, 2015
5 minutes
A quote by bell hooks

I peel the sticker on the back of the “Visitor” tag off and stick it to my T-shirt. The guard pats me down and lingers on my left pocket. “I said empty your pockets,” she says. I take out Jose’s small red truck he wanted grandma to have. “What’s this?” She asks, like she’s never seen a toy before. “It’s my sons,” I say, “sorry, I forgot it was in there…” I toss it in the trash can. “You didn’t have to do that!” The guard smirks. “Won’t your kid be pissed?” “My kid will be fine. He has a few others.” I push past her and she grabs my shoulder. “Is there a problem?” “Nope…” “Who’re you here to see?” She takes out a clipboard. “Monique Rodriguez.” She looks up and raises her eyebrows. “What?” I say, worried, defensive, unsure. “You didn’t hear?” She licks her lips. “Hear what?” “Monique is in the hospital… She got in a fight.” “Excuse me?” My heart sinks. I hadn’t been to see my mother since two Christmas’ ago. I’d taken a five hour flight and a two hour bus ride to be there. “My mother is a pacifist,” I feel a tear trying to sneak out of my left eye but I will it back in. Not now. Not now.

“you crave” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday February 12, 2014
5 minutes
the bag of ketchup chips

When you get here, you’re trying to stay positive. You think that maybe you’re going to find yourself, or God, or at least a love for push-ups. You don’t think about the cravings – for your mother’s Jerk Chicken, for your wife’s blow jobs, for a ride on an empty subway. My first night in, Mickey tried to take me under his wing, tried to show my the ropes… or whatever. I told him to “back off” and he did. Must have been the tone of voice I used because I don’t swear or anything. Second night in, Joaquin watched me for awhile and then said, “I heard you’re a teacher. You wanna teach my somethin’ nice?” I told him if he wanted to brush up on fractions, sure. Everything else was off of the table. First visiting day, my wife brought me a note from one of my students. It said, “I hope you’re having a nice sabbatical in The Dominican. We really miss you.”

“Don’t stare at The Nude.” by Sasha her kitchen table

Wednesday January 29, 2014
5 minutes
God Loves Hair
Vivek Shraya

“What are you doing?” I ask, poking my head into her room. She’s just turned thirteen and would much rather me leave her alone. I can tell this from the way she’ll barely look me in the eye, from the way she paints black nail-polish across the batik of her name on her door, from the way she prefers earbuds tucked in than my voice telling her stories. “I’m writing a letter.” She barely looks up. I leave it at that.

We wash dishes, side-by-side. She washes and I dry. Sometimes our forearms brush up against eachother and she apologizes. “For what?” I ask. She’s turned on the radio and it’s set to the Jazz station. She doesn’t change it. I think about how her father loves Jazz and wonder if he plays it for her when she goes to see him in the Yukon every July. “Mom,” she says, draining the sink and dumping the leftover bits of broccoli and rice in the compost, just like I’ve taught her to do. “I’m writing to a guy in Texas…” I take a deep breath. “Oh?” I say, trying to be the open-hearted woman that she usually forgets I am these days. “He’s in prison… He’s…” “What?” “He’s lonely…” She looks at me and I see my own eyes, ripe and full and I sit down at the round table and she sits down too.

“Like sands in my feet” by Sasha on the Bathurst streetcar

Monday, August 5, 2013
5 minutes
In My Shoe
Tee’k Aminu

Dear Penelope. No. Dear Henrietta. Crap. Nooo. Dear Beatrice, “Bea” for short, when we’re feeling cuddly. Dear Beatrice, it is with a heavy heart that I must write on your most pristine of pages. I have decided to leave school – to depart from the fluorescent lights of the cafetorium, from the obnoxious and pimpled boys who have yet to be blessed with a growth spurt. I bid “adieu” to the one ply toilet paper and the sticky pink hand-soap. Never again will I hear that most dreadful sound, that shrill scream, the recess bell. Bea, I have simply had enough. There I was, minding my own business, separating out the bits of sweet pickle from my egg salad, sitting on the bench by the gate, where that questionable student teacher usually sits and sexts on her phone. Miles McCormack, smelling, as usual of tuna and body odour, said, “Bet you can’t guess what my Dad said about your Dad?” And I could. I could guess. Of course I could. But I didn’t. I contained myself. I kept throwing those tiny pickle pieces on the ground. It became hard to ignore him, however, when he came right up in my face, crouched in front. “What are you talking about, Miles?” I asked, as though I hadn’t heard, playing dumb. “Your Daddy got sent to PRISON!” he screamed, a bit of spit flying out of his mouth and landing in my eye.