“All skill levels” by Julia on the 17

Saturday June 1, 2019
4:10pm
5 minutes
From a sign on the street

You want to be inclusive, right, whip your hands into a circle, knot them twice.
Everybody here holds hands.
We don’t care who you are or what “level” you think you’re at or on or what have you, but we all play on the same turf here, and that’s called Right Now.
Right Now doesn’t ask you where you’re from or if you think you’re a part of a special club. Right Now doesn’t care what you did or who you screamed at or what you wished for.
Right Now has no expectations because Right Now changes every second. Right Now knows you and your right now is changing too.
So grab a patch of palm from your neighbour from another neighbourhood and close your freaking eyes all the way to the bone.

“how will I survive without you” by Julia on her patio

Thursday May 30, 2019
8:30pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the patio across from her

my sister is picking the poetry she’ll sing at my tribute concert. she’s gotten a composer to put my words to music. it’s going to be heartbreaking and strange. I never thought anyone was going to hear what i wrote and now I’m not even there to willingly give it. my sister means well. i’m glad she’s choosing the writing out of anyone who could have free reign on my books but I never wanted this. I wasn’t secretly hoping people would see them. that sounds like a lie but it’s not. I honestly wrote most of that for me. and if someone gets hurt by what I said, how will that bring me peace? I know I felt my own shit in the moment and it didn’t change my love after I felt it. how am I supposed to explain that to them now that I’m dead?

“Best Western Plus” by Julia on the GO bus

Thursday May 9, 2019
7:54pm
5 minutes
Best Western

Best Western
Plus good sex in a gross room
Plus funny story
Plus memories
Plus strange mattress stain
Plus cute bathroom spiders

Best Western
Plus affordable trip
Plus more weird walls
Plus a bible missing the book of Genesis
Plus chatty front desk
Plus ratty pillow cases

Best Western
Plus lucid dream
Plus the first time someone says I Love You
Plus the first time someone needs to go get ice
Plus the chair no one has a purpose for
Plus the pens they use to tattoo a heart on their ring fingers

“to inspire his team” by Julia in J’s attic

Tuesday May 7, 2019
9:41pm
5 minutes
From a text

well the first thing would be to see his team
see his team, learn their names
names learned? check
seeing team, know each one, can have conversation with any of them
about their families?
know enough about their home life?
uncheck, box currently empty
can smile?
yes, check
don’t need a family tree to smile at someone
smiling leads to inspiration
smiling leads to conversations about family
ah, okay, inspiration comea before family
see team, check, know names, check, smile, check, inspiration?
leads to
leads
okay lead by smile
no?
lead by example
be the leader
smile

“pulling its guts out” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday April 16, 2019
12:19pm
5 minutes
Identify Hunt
Elaine Bougie

“I need fries. Right now. And mayo. Fries and mayo. Right now.” The server (tall, tattooed, thin-lipped), nods and walks away. “And a gin martini. Dirty,” she calls after him.

Jane slumps on her bar stool. It’s only Tuesday. Jesus Christ. Her feet hurt. Her skirt is too tight around the waist. Rebecca was going to meet her here but texted to say that she has a migraine and needs to go straight home. Lies. Jane knows that Rebecca uses her migraines as an excuse when she’s sleeping with someone knew. Migraine, my ass. Since Marnie had the twins five months ago she’s never able to meet, so Jane doesn’t even bother to text her anymore. It used to be the three of them, Tuesdays and Thursdays, drinking their stress away, laughing into the wee hours.

“I was supposed to have the afternoon off” by Julia at her desk

Saturday April 13, 2019
8:02pm
5 minutes
Truckin’
Ken Mitchell

We’ve been burning the midnight oil! It is the right kind of burning.
The burning out part is coming, surely, and if it comes in the afternoon, we will take it off, let the smoke rise, and take a nap.

This is trying to be something with too many metaphors. What do you call that anyway, a poem?

We’ve been working on our RELATIONSHIP. We’re not up watching TV, I’ll tell you what. Since B has come back from his work trip in Nevada, he’s been saying, no one is safe, not even us. Between you and I, I think he caught a bug, but I love the man, I’ll tell you, so I’m willing to put the long hours in if that’s what he needs! Even if it’s a bit strange. I mean, what’s he worried about? Me leaving in the middle of the night if we’re not up the whole time discussing our needs?
B never needed anything before. I find it refreshing!

“under his dark eye-lids” by Julia at her desk

Thursday April 11, 2019
10:23pm
5 minutes
Faces Of The Sun-Man
Rienzi Crusz

He’s staying up late again eating stale Cheetos cause somehow that makes him feel better. He is bothering himself and it’s punishment, maybe for letting himself get this alone. Loneliness is worse when you hate yourself on top of it.

The Cheetos in the bag turn his fingers fuzzy. He is careful not to smear them on any of the furniture. She wouldn’t let him hear the end of it. Too bad she’ll never know one way or the other what he’s up to since she broke his heart into a shape that no longer fits inside his chest.

He thinks about wiping them underneath him, just to see. And maybe to spite her. Who buys a white couch anyway? Stupid fucking white couch. This is a place where liars sit, he thinks to himself. This is where liars pretend they’re going to be just fine.

“good-luck puppet” by Julia on L’s couch

Monday April 8, 2019
2:21pm
5 minutes
Fetish
Pierre Reverdy

Meda says I’m not allowed to carry her around anymore. Says the face is chewed off too rough and it’s scaring the cat. I tell Meda that the cat does not get a say in this.
“You’ll give her nightmares,” She tells me, “don’t you care about that?”

“Oh I’m sorry does the cat find herself screaming in the middle of the night, unable to get a single thing done the next day, Meda? Does she get behind on all of her chores, Meda, all of her living?”

I realize I am yelling now and the good-luck puppet appears to disintegrate further with each decibel. Meda isn’t looking at me.

“I am not trying to be cruel about the cat, Meda, I’m really not. I don’t want her to suffer. Much. “

“The room is dingy” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday April 7, 2019
9:35pm
5 minutes
When She Leaves Me
James Wyatt, JR.

The room isn’t exactly dingy, but it’s nothing fancy. You starfish on the bed and sigh. I check out the bathroom. I start running a bath. I don’t have tub in my studio apartment. It almost deterred me but then I remembered my budget and how I promised myself I’d finish my novel this year and the more I paid in rent the less I could write because I’d have to work at the bar and good grief am I really forty two years old and pouring pitchers of beer…

“Shall I join you?” You call from the bed.

“If you’d like!” I call back.

“What would you like?” You say, appearing in the doorway.

“The room is dingy” by Julia on her couch

Sunday April 7, 2019
8:49pm
5 minutes
When She Leaves Me
James Wyatt, JR.

They sat there on the curb
him, in his own piss, her holding blood. Where could they go at this desperate in the morning. He shivers.

“If we go back now, we’re fucked”

“Nobody is going back. Nobody is even talking about it, do you hear me? “

“I said ‘if.’ To remind us that we could go back and we’re not.”

“I can’t do this by myself.”

“I’m not going. “

She pushes open the door to the room. It stays open, falls off the track.

“Nice”

“Throw your bag over to keep it shut.”
She coughs.
“We’re fucked.”

“My brother finds out this Friday” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday April 2, 2019
9:11pm
5 minutes
From an email

Is it better to assume than to make an ass out of myself? Don’t answer that. I’m nervous. I get chatty when I’m nervous. I mean, common problem. Are you writing this down? I just said I was nervous. Really know how to make a speaker feel listened to. Please don’t write this. I don’t represent myself well on paper. I’m often misunderstood. Not in a whiny way. Out of context. People can’t formulate their own opinions anymore because there’s not enough data. Things are being hidden away, we’re getting tricked, we’re falling…falling for all of it…

You know people will believe what is being fed to them especially when it’s not shoved down their throats. I don’t blame them. It’s quite logical. More efficient if you think about it.

“as the cells of his scalp” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday March 21, 2019
7:36am
5 minutes
Candlelight
Tony Hoagland

Take out the trash to the bin in the garage. Wheel the bin to the curb. The neighbourhood is still sleeping. Mandy and the boys are still sleeping, too. Jacob was up in the night crying. Mandy went to him, and then came and got me. He was dreaming about monsters again. “No more scary movies,” Mandy whispered as we climbed back into bed forty minutes later. Thank God for the coffee maker, wooing me towards the kitchen when the alarm goes off. Thank God for coffee. Mrs. Henderson across the street in her quilted housecoat and winter boots. She waves.

“How are you holding up?” I say, and then regret breaking the silence, fracturing the stillness of this Wednesday morning.

“with some bullshit approach” by Julia in her room

Wednesday March 13, 2019
10:26pm
5 minutes
Created By
Richard Christian Matheson

LEEDS
with some bullshit approach, too, that’s why I’m pissed. If his lies were at least creative I would be able to give him that. It’s disappointing how unclever they are. I thought he was more of a man that that.

MNERA
You want him to lie to you?

LEEDS
Yeah, with some attention to craft, is that so much to ask?

MNERA
Wanna know what I think?

LEEDS
You waiting for me to answer that, seriously? Just say what you think, Mnera, for Christ’s sake.

MNERA
You’d be surprised at how little you’d want to hear it if I didn’t ask you.

LEEDS
Okay I take it back. You happy?

“He had to warm the guy up fast” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday March 12, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The Obsidian Chamber
Preston & Child

So Ray is playing ball this year and he’s got one hell of an arm. I was warming him up in my backyard last night and that kid almost took my nose off. One hell of a pitcher. He looks like he’s having fun too and that’s in spite of Rory coming to every practice with his stupid lawn chair trying to get inside that poor kid’s head. Surprised he wasn’t on my porch hollering at me. Ray gets all of his attention. His other kid, well shoot, I don’t even know her name. She don’t play ball, that’s all I do know, or Rory would be splitting his rage between the two of them. Maybe she’s better off. I can’t tell, really. Ray seems to have his head on straight but at his age he could just be showing his shyness. He doesn’t want to be like his dad, so there could be some intentionality behind it as well. Either way, that kid’s arm. I’ll tell you, if I were hitting against him this year I’d be out at the batting cages every damn day.

“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

“Roads here are nuts.” By Julia on her couch

Thursday March 7, 2019
8:20pm
5 minutes
From a text message

Earlier today the damn weather forecast never said nothin’ about no snow. No rain in there neither and somehow we had both, now didn’t we. Nobody spectin’ a downfall or downpour or whatever. Nobody out dressed thinkin’ it’s back to winter out here. Not after all them sunny days we got. We was laughin’ cuz Spring was tryna tell us it was ready. Yesterday I saw all them robins scurryin’ about too so what’s up with that! It got me real angry when the man opened the door for me this mornin’, saw the skies and said, “Just miserable. And you haven’t got an umbrella?” Wanted to punch his rich little mouth right offa him. I said, “It’s snowin.’” with a hook in my voice that told him I was it was feeakin’ news to me too.

“Addiction” by Sasha at work

Monday February 25, 2019
3:40pm
5 minutes
We Need to Talk
An interview with Anne Hallward

Dishes aren’t piled in the sink. In fact, Maxine’s three bowls (one broke), four plates, and half dozen mason jars are neatly arranged on her shelves. The sink drips, and a mark of rust has settled in the basin. Nursing is hard work, and Maxine isn’t home a lot. She works sixty hours a week, sometimes more. Sundays are her special day. She spends Sundays reading The New Yorker and drinking creamy coffee, lazing in bed with sweatpants and wool socks. She does one line of blow at six thirty, before Bill comes over. They’ve been sleeping together for just over three months, and Sunday is their night. Maxine doesn’t want a relationship. She deals with enough shit at work, the last thing she needs is more chatter at home. A good high fuck a week is perfect for her.

“hitchhike into the wilderness” by julia on her couch

Saturday February 23, 2019
8:27pm
5 minutes
Trail’s End
Sy Safransky

I have hitchhiking thumbs and you’re busy singing that Beatles song
“If there’s anything that you want, if there’s anything I can do—“
And I want to tell you that all I want is for you to please shut the hell up
I’m trying to get us further down this nightmare highway but you never learned to read the room
I half expect us to get stuck cause of you putting out that vibe that is so different from mine
You are having fun, I guess I can’t begrudge you that
Maybe thanks for keeping it light
I admit the accent you do is pretty cute
One more
Hour won’t kill me
“With love from me, to you”

“Are you Joaquin or River?” By Julia on the 2

Saturday February 9, 2019
6:29pm
5 minutes
From a voicemail message

Hey River,

I miss you. I’ll start by saying that. I’m listening to an old tape of you snoring. I used to hate you for it when we shared a room. Recorded you one night to show you just how loud it was. Now all I’m wishing for is to hear you breathe again. I wouldn’t care if it kept me up this time.
I’ve been thinking about you lately. Someone asked how I was doing as if it hasn’t been a lifetime since you left. I fucking miss you every day. Maybe I should have said that. I said, Things are good for me. And they are, you know, most days. I’m working so much you’d be real proud. Wish you could see how much better my chops are now.
Anyway, I know you’re with me so I’m not here to whine. Send me a rumble when you think of it.

Love, Joaquin.

“the two men ceased exchanging words” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday February 2, 2019
2:02pm
5 minutes
Marlarky
Anakana Schofield

I don’t talk to him anymore and I’ve found peace with that. It took time. I’m patient. I’ve learned how to be patient. I don’t talk to him because what’ the point. It doesn’t matter that he’s my brother. The only thing we have in common is blood, and even that’s debatable. We have the same mother, but I’ve always had a theory that his curly hair and jawline aren’t Dad’s, they aren’t anywhere, they are from – … Nevermind. I digress. I haven’t spoken to Tom since Christmas 2003. Mom insisted that Cheryl and I bring the kids to Saratoga Springs and eventually I caved. Cheryl was ambivalent, to say the least. We got there and had a nice meal. Everyone was getting along. Stella was starting to talk and Mom was losing it over how cute she was. Then there’s a knock at the door and my stomach felt like it was bottoming out. I knew it was him. Mom looked all pretend surprised and, “Who could that be?!” and of course it was Tom.

“The coach was bullshit.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday January 30, 2019
11:56pm
5 minutes
Created By
Richard Christian Matheson

It wasn’t my fault. Coach was bullshit. I tried telling Stevie and Jay from the get-go that Coach was a turd, didn’t know what she was talking about, didn’t know her ass from the ball… Nobody listened to me! We had a good reputation, man, I mean, we weren’t seven time champions but we gave Crescent Hill a run for their money every year! When Coach Peterson retired I knew we were effed. I’d seen Coach Jenkins sniffing around the court, trying to butter up the team, trying to use her jokes to make everyone like her. I’m not gonna fall for that shit!

“law of human psychology” by Sasha at her coffee table

Thursday January 24, 2019
10:01pm
5 minutes
A quote by William Pickens

“Shit, it’s uh, it’s um… It’s – …”

Mika forgets her new phone number. She’d started to rattle off her old one and then stopped part way through. “I had to change my number because… You don’t need to know that, um – …”

After twelve years of the same ten digits it takes a while to update. Mika thinks about the brain and plasticity and how memory works.

She sees a flash of Kyle sledding. She blinks. She sees Izzy there, too, eating snow off to the side.

“Miss?”

Mika digs out her notebook. She knows she wrote her new number down in there.

“I met Luke after my marriage ended.” By Sasha on her couch

Thursday January 17, 2019
10:17pm
5 minutes
The Ghost of a Boy
Piper Vignette

I didn’t mean to meet Luke. I was minding my own business. I was keeping my head down. Ever since I left Allison, to distract myself from the crippling guilt and regret, I’d become obsessed with Ayurveda. I read every book I could get my hands on. I mentored with an Ayurvedic doctor. I cooked lentils, rice, cauliflower. I cut out onions and garlic. I was in the co-op weighing red lentils for dahl and there he was – wearing wire-rimed glasses and a red sweater with worn elbows. He looked like he’d just woken up. He was staring at me.

“What are you gonna do with those?” He asked, a sparkle in his eyes.

“Dahl.” I said. I wasn’t interested in a flirty bulk food section exchange. I hadn’t flirted with a man since graduate school.

“I met Luke after my marriage ended.” By Julia on M’s couch

Thursday January 17, 2019
1:33pm
5 minutes
The Ghost of a Boy
Piper Vignette

You could say I manifested it; the end of my first marriage the way it is written. By that I mean death, and not
some fault of our own. We might have stopped trying. Stopped listening. Stopped seeing Love in the reflection of each other. I think we were lucky enough to preserve our relationship before it got so sad we committed any of those aforementioned acts of betrayal. I think those are worse than cheating anyway. Sex is something I can justify as “not personal”. But I suppose you’re right, if I claim to have manifested my late husband’s death. I guess that is a fault of my own I should be less light-hearted about. My intentions were that he would die and leave me while we were still in love. I didn’t know it would happen so soon or that it would work so well. If I believed in manifesting at all (before this) I would have made sure I had pots of money and enough hair product to last my entire lifetime. I would have manifested some inner peace.

“Day after day we worked” by Sasha in Mississauga

Monday December 24, 2018
12:12pm
5 minutes
The Swiss Family Robinson
J.D. Wyss

Jeremy puts on his father’s coat and his mother’s fake fur hat and goes to smoke a joint in the garage. It’s the first Christmas without Sara and everyone is on their best/worst behaviour. Since moving away from Kingston, Jeremy has learned how what we think is our best is sometimes our worst because it’s not necessarily honest. Jeremy tries to be honest.

“Are you high?” His mother asked last night, as she washed and he dried. Joan Baez’s Christmas album on the stereo.

“Yup,” he said, carefully wiping the platter that used to be his grandmother’s, the one with little raised cranberries on it.

“Jeremy… Is it necessary that you – “

“You do you, Mom. Drink a little too much Pinot Grigio, eat a little too much baked brie. I’m gonna do me, and smoke a bit of weed.”

She raised her eyebrows, unsure about this man in front of her who resembled the little boy gripping her hand til her knuckles turned white on the first day of school.

“none of which are taken very seriously.” By Julia on Amanda’s red chair

Tuesday December 18, 2018
9:40pm
5 minutes
From an email

The girl downstairs blasts her stereo. It’s new. She never used to blast anything before. She has played Drake and no one else I recognize. It’s past my bedtime but aside from today she’s been pretty good about turning it off by 9pm. 9pm is my bedtime. I’m waiting to see if she figures that out or if a guy leaves her place. That would explain the volume. She’s entertaining. I don’t hear voices. Maybe they’re dancing. I could go down there and throw a stone at her door but this is something my therapist advises against. She says I can take certain things too seriously. I’m being really patient for the reccord. I haven’t thrown anything at all yet. I haven’t banged on the floor like some people would at exactly 9:46pm on a Tuesday. Maybe Tuesdays are her new Fridays because Wednesdays are her new Saturdays.

“Better than a landfill.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 13, 2018
12:35pm
5 minutes
Dust
Brianne Battye

“You’re a mess, Robbie,” Val shivers and zips her coat up past her chin.

“Jesus, it must be minus twenty-five – ” Rob looks up at the sky.

“Don’t ignore me!”

“I’m not, I’m just sayin’…” They stand there for a full minute, Val stamping her feet to get feeling back in her toes.

“I am a mess, but it’s okay… Like, I don’t usually let my life get messy, right? When have you ever seen me like this?” He makes a good point.

Val’s cheeks are turning bright red. “I just think that you should talk to someone, a counselor or something. You might even be able to find something subsidized?”

“Thanks. Yeah. I’ll look into it.” Rob pushes his hands further into his coat pockets. He feels something round.

“somehow you are sacred,” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday December 12, 2018
4:30pm
5 minutes
The Third Treatise
Yara Farran

Mia has started praying to the saints that she get better at baking, some of which are real and some of which are made up. Saint Chelsea looks after newly attempted recipes gone wrong. Cakes the overflow and fold molten rocks on the bottom of the oven, breads that don’t rise, cookies with bases burned to a crisp. Saint Tyrese is the saint of dishes. Caked on crumbs be gone! Solidified caramel – banish! Mia prays and beats egg whites into pearly peaks and wonders if buying this whole in the wall bakery was really a good idea.

“In case you think that all of this” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday, November 25, 2018
8:30am
5 minutes
Come Of Age
Stephen Jenkinson

“This isn’t about you!” Gary shouts. I can hear him through the wall. His office is his favourite place in the world. He loves it in there so much that whenever I forward him a seat sale he writes back, “I’d rather be at home.” Our bedroom is on the other side of the wall, and because I don’t work from home didn’t imagine that I’d need an office. When we bought this house, it was perfect in every way and a space to call only my own wasn’t all that necessary. But now that Gary’s dear old Dad has finally died, and he’s sorting things our with his sister Becky, all I hear in the evenings, while I try to read in bed, is him shouting at her. Shouting that this “isn’t what Dad would’ve wanted!” Shouting “you are so narcissistic, Rebecca, I don’t know how you’ve made it thus far!” Gary isn’t usually a shouter, actually I can maybe count the times he’s yelled at me on one hand.

“white supremacy is disseminated” by Julia on the 9

Thursday November 22, 2018
6:56pm
5 minutes
White Fragility
Robin DiAngelo

In the years before this one
Tiny beliefs were planted in the
fertile pockets of our earth
And twigged things sprouted forth
bearing the ugliest fruit imaginable
Somehow the farmers convinced
the people to eat the ugly fruit
They might have used something violent like the deepest kind of lie
They might have thrown god somewhere in there to be safe
And inside every body that ate the wrong fruit grew a hole that hurt so much it needed to be filled
The people with bellyaches were desperate to put something in the place of the void
They tried eating whatever they could to stop the empty
The limbs of small children at first
But that wouldn’t do the trick
And then someone heard from someone’s uncle that self-hate takes up a lot of space…

“his birthplace has now lost its charm” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday November 14, 2018
8:40am
5 minutes
Master of the Masterpiece
Anya Georgijevic

He remembers home as bigger than it is. Maybe that’s because he has something to compare it to now. He remembers walking down Princess St. and knowing almost everyone he passed. How they’d greet one another. Mrs. Blake, his kindergarten teacher, pushing her grandson in a stroller. Dan Savant, star athlete turned used car salesman, after he dislocated his shoulder one too many times.

“Hi, Davey, how are you?”

“Good to see you, Davey! Lookin’ good!”

Now that he’s back, packing up Mama’s house, putting everything in piles (recycle, donate, trash, keep), he feels it’s lost it’s charm. Home changes, it’s not static. Home is something else.

“A fresh perspective.” by Sasha at Pallet Coffee Roasters

Monday November 12, 2018
12:46pm at Pallet Coffee Roasters
5 minutes
Montecristo Magazine

Being by the water gives him a fresh perspective, and he learns this young, when he is still a boy. As a young man, he surfed Great Lakes and oceans, and paddled on rivers. Being by the water helps him to forget his heartaches, his growing pains, his regrets. Now that he’s grown, now that Maria has called off the engagement, he decides to leave the city. He can work from home most days, and if he needs to go into the office, it’s a seventy five minute drive. He loves to a cabin overlooking Lake Superior. He has to put in new floors and get rid of a mice infestation, but other than that it’s perfect.

“10-year anniversary” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday November 10, 2018
8:34am
5 minutes
Into the Raven’s Nest
Curranne Labercane

I can still hear my heart beating in my ears and the rush of blood to my scalp. He pulled his chair back and came around in front of his desk.

“What do you think your punishment should be for this bad behaviour, Miss Bennett?” He’s so close to me I can smell his musky aftershave.

“Um… I don’t know?” I’m fifteen. I have never been sent out of the classroom, let alone in a principle’s office.

He leans down close to my face. The heart beat in my ears. Rush of blood. It feels like every hair on my body is standing straight up.

I’d heard rumours about him. This kind of thing.

“she continued to cook into the early evening” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday October 31, 2018
5:33pm
5 minutes
A quote from Pasquale Cusano

there’s a book i’m reading
about a woman’s love affair with food and cooking
you gave it to me
it has all the lines you like underlined
you used pencil mostly
but sometimes pen
I think that’s bold of you
it makes me read it through your eyes
it makes me think of you read and what you think about things
material things-as in you don’t seem to care much one way or the other
I wonder if you take notes during phone conversations
or pause the movie a bunch of times to record your favorite lines
I wonder how long it takes you to get ready in the morning
if you’re the kind who owns a steamer because you need a steamer or if
you’re the kind who wears wrinkly shirts because you don’t have a steamer

“The sunset was worth it” by Julia in her bed

Thursday October 25, 2018
11:24pm
5 minutes
From a Roots ad

It had been at least six months and one week since they had seen the sunset. A hundred plus a hundred nights of missed opportunity. Beth had begged (a risk that didn’t look good on her) him to walk down to the water with her. He kept saying yes with his mouth and no with the rest of him. She could have gone on her own but she didn’t see that as an option. How is one supposed to see anything when the light in the room has changed. Hero stopped asking Beth to go down to the water with him. As if he was punishing her for wanting it so badly. After all, she could have gone on her own if she really wanted to see the sunset that badly. But it wasn’t about the sunset and both of them knew it.

“The first time you park your car” by Julia on the 7

Wednesday September 26, 2018
10:02pm
5 minutes
The Cure for Racism is Cancer
Tony Hoagland

Nobody can watch me maneuver this stupid car in this stupid spot and yet that is what everybody is doing. What, did all the world’s best parallel parkers get their cars impounded today? Is that why all of you PEDESTRIANS are such fucking experts? Fucking judgmental pieces of—you know what? I am a good driver. I was the only one out of my friends to pass my test on the first try. I got my graduated licence first too and there I was driving everyone around every single day. So yes, sometimes parking’s a bitch, but I only ever hit another car when I was BACKING OUT because it was dark as hell and the car was CAMOUFLAGED by being blue and parked in my BLIND SPOT. Parallel parking should be taught all the way from kindergarten so everyone gets really comfortable being stared at by a bunch of people who probably don’t even know how to get on the FUCKING HIGHWAY.

“And we created a hybrid,” by Julia on D’s chair

Monday August 27, 2018
1:38am
5 minutes
Poetry Is The Song Of The People
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Altogether in the forest
I remember us walking in a line linked like breakfast sausages
It wasn’t cold or I had on a good coat, I can’t exactly recall. But Illiah was wearing a red rope around his neck with a hangy medalian. a piece of wood with a stamp on it maybe.
and as we gathered around the mother tree, Jara started to sing and we all started to sing too. as if we knew the song. as if our bones were already in tune.I remember feeling like warm water was being poured over my head, cascading down and blanketing my spirit. I never wanted to leave. I never wanted to wake up.

“I’m old enough to be that girl’s mother,” by Julia in T’s kitchen

Friday August 24, 2018
7:11pm
5 minutes
My Mother’s Body
Marie Howe

we sit at the diner without speaking. Lulu is mad at me and I am mad at her. the drive was long, quiet, peanut butter stuck in the back of the throat. when I pointed out the horses grazing in the field she gave me the finger. Lu knows i loves horses. she even loves them more than me. I don’t know where I went wrong. i’m old enough to be that girl’s mother but I am not her mother. they don’t tell you that trying to parent another person’s kid will pulverize your heart into something you wish you could snort. Madelyne isn’t sending any instructions from where she is. how to handle a kid who hates me for not being more. when she was just my niece she used to beg Mad to sleep over in my truck. I guess that’s a hope worth tucking beneath the hip.

“‘You talking to me like that in my home?'” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday August 23, 2018
8:02am
5 minutes
Rum Punch
Elmore Leonard

Mica uses her tongue to lick the centre out of the Oreo cookie. It’s not a real Oreo, it’s a gluten free knock off that her sister bought at the health food store on Princess Street. She’s on her fourth and she’s in a trance, she’s in another dimension. She’s sat on her sister’s floor and suddenly she is love, she is presence, she is God. Her sister won’t be home for three more hours, and her mother is at her Women’s Group and her father is in the basement painting war figurines.

“trying to pry one of them” by Julia on the 505

Friday August 17, 2018
2:37pm
5 minutes
Ship
Tony Hoagland

The smallest one didn’t speak very loudly. Brandan started calling her “Small One” and she liked it so much that she stayed small. Even after a game where she spent most of her time smiling at dandelions, you had to pry Small One off the field. She didn’t want to go home to Bad Dale or Claudia, Bad Dale’s chihuahaha. Small One tried to sing to Claudia once and she bit her square in the cheek. The next time Brandan saw Small One at practice with a band-aid on her face she whispered to her, “I bet you’re not so small afterall.”

“Hey, man, fuck that.” By Julia at The Common on Bloor

Tuesday August 14, 2018
11:44am
5 minutes
A quote by Elvis Presley

I have never been to florida and now addie is planning to have her wedding there. she says it’s so dean’s family can drive there and some of them don’t handle flying very well. when we were young she used to invite me but I was never allowed to go. my mom said there was something she didn’t trust about florida but she had never been there either. addie wants the resort to plan the wedding because she plans events for a living and wants a day off where friends and family can drink and eat and tell her how awesome she is. if people give her a hard time about not doing a tradional (stupidly expensive) wedding at a hall she usually flips them the bird and tells them to fuck off.

“Mixed Media-Pastels-Drawings-Photos” by Julia outside her apartment

Tuesday July 10, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
http://www.johnmcalpineart.com

Tells me he can’t decide what kind of artist he wants to be
I wonder if he really has a choice
Not to say you can’t do more than one kind of art
That’s like saying you can’t ever cut your mushrooms tail first
There’s no one way to do art but I want him to know
the kind of artist he is
What he stands for
What he looks at
What he sees
What he wants to say
Or fuck
What he must
He can paint and take photos and write
He can dance and sing and sew
He can sculpt and build and carve
He can dream and drink and draw
He can also be true to himself
He can cut the mushrooms lengthwise
Down the middle
In slices
In quarters
In bits
Regardless
Mushrooms are a part of this
The dish called for them
It wasn’t really up to him

“Greet me at the gate” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday June 26
10:40pm
Green
Nikki Sharp

Glad you could make it, I’m so glad you’re here.Got a typewriter from Anne Marie Lossing, do you remember her? Big hair, bigger teeth? She was going through the trash cans in the alley and someone was throwing one away, can you believe it? Says it works too, good as can be given the circumstances. Did you want to write something? I could make some tea and some cake. Well the cake I would reheat. I won’t have time to make a cake for you now, but did you want that, would you like that? It’s been a while since you’ve seen something floating around in there worth holding on to. If you don’t like Anne Marie’s typewriter, that’s okay. I won’t tell her. She always liked your sense of humour, you know. I think she respects you a lot more than you might realize.

“I liked watching him BBQ” by Julia in her bed

Thursday June 7, 2018
11:38pm
5 minutes
From a text 

He flips the portobello and my lip risks a twitch
I want to know what he’s thinking
If you could have any superpower…
And he says flying without missing a beat
And I say Let me be invisible
And he asks me why
He does not miss beats
Not any of them
And I say so I can watch people living when they think they’re alone…
He presses down on the mushroom with the tongs and it gives them a little sizzle
I want to be able to see what is going on inside their heads
But why not say your power is mind-reading? That’s what it is.
Because thoughts have the same super power as you do
They never stay too long to be seen
Someone walking back and forth?
That’s forever

“Jesus do I have to even get out of bed” by Sasha at her desk

Monday June 4, 2018
11:32pm
5 minutes
From an interview by Devin Friedman

Ben calls to me from upstairs, “Jesus, do I have to even get out of bed?!” It’s the third morning in a row that he hasn’t wanted to crawl out from under the covers. It’s the third morning that I’ve wooed him with bacon, extra coffee, pancakes, sex in the kitchen. These tactics don’t always work, but they sometimes do, so I try.

“It’s almost ten, babe!” I call back. I hope he smells the brewing french press. I hope he hears the love in my voice, and not just the impatience.

“Manifest plainness” by Julia in her bed

Sunday, May 13, 2018
6:19am
5 minutes
From a quote on by Lao Tzu

The colour is right
Light pink, baby blue, hazy orange

The wake up is long
pushing the eyelashes open slowly
almost drifting off and farther away

The label on the alarm is a message from past me, wisdom and honesty
Please Write. I Love You.
And it works by the time I travel there

Eyelids weigh a wet feather or a hundred pounds and we take it easy
The body machine is working hard at staying up to see the seagulls swooping close to the window but not quite
The body machine is looking for excuses to stay asleep

One eye open, seeing the room through a dream

“a giant note to self” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday May 5, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
@a_belovedgreen Instagram

I never wanted a fancy Bratwurst or a beer stein or anything. I don’t know why he brought all that stuff back. I found it all – oh, and don’t forget the Leiderhosen – on the coffee table. Mark had gotten home and then left again. He was probably at the gym. He’d written a note – “I really missed you XO”. No punctuation. I blinked because it was like the items were all a banner saying, “LEAVE! GO! NOW IS YOUR CHANCE!” I blinked because I had less than half an hour before he’d be back.

“Luke punched a boy” by Julia on her couch

Friday March 23, 2018
12:11am
5 minutes
Two Moons
Debbie Urbanski

Luke Walker had a feathery step

He made a dark room lift

He loved his dad more than his mom

On Tuesdays he would pack his own lunch

On Wednesdays he would walk through the park, by the ducks chasing hunks of bread

Luke walker kissed his cousin on the mouth once during truth or dare

He liked it

On Christmas morning he would drag the cassette player to the kitchen to make everyone listen to his favourite Yoko Ono song on repeat

“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.

“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.

“God may have written” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

10:33pm

5 minutes

From a quote by Nancy Cartwright

Aubrey tells me that she wishes she could sing without trying. Without crying. Without opening her mouth. She asks me to ask God what can be done about that. She asks me because I’m taller than her and therefore closer to God. She’s not wrong…

When I ask her why she wants this she doesn’t answer with words but with a look of disapproval. As if I didn’t already know. As if it needs to be spelled out.

Aubrey tells me it’s important that singing be true. She says she’s heard enough people trying and she doesn’t want to be the kind who has to push put feelings; one who tries to get it right.

Would you be okay with being wrong? I ask her, a little afraid now that I’ve pushed her too far.

She smiles then and blows her bangs out of her oval face.

“Oh my god it HURTS!” By Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 7, 2018
8:47pm
The Stand
Stephen King

Okay let me tell you what it’s like. On a good night? He comes home, he kisses me in the driveway, he slaps my ass and then he brings in the groceries from the car, puts them away, then sits on the couch. I give him a back massage and then I cook dinner. He does the dishes, then he reads in his chair and snacks on those chewy mints. He loves those chewy mints even though they get stuck in his teeth. He tells me he loves me. He sings in my ear. On a bad night it’s not much different. He comes home, he reads, he chews, he does the dishes. But on those days he does not kiss me in the driveway. Doesn’t tell me that he loves me. Plays the piano in the other room with his headphones in. Watches reality tv and surfs the web for funny videos in the other room with his headphones in. Doesn’t kiss me before we sleep. Doesn’t touch me in the bed. Doesn’t ask how my day was. Comes home but doesn’t want to be there.

“If you have any questions” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 6, 2018
7:32am
5 minutes
Vancouver Yellow Cab

Allow me to jump ahead for a second. We don’t fall in love, and we don’t get married, and we don’t have three red-haired and freckled children. That doesn’t happen. What does is that I cheat on you thirteen times (eleven with men, twice with women). You forgive me ten times. The last three break you. Especially the women. I ask forgiveness every day with actions and words and neither matter and both make things hurt more. You pack a bag and take your grandmother’s lamp and walk out one morning and I lie on the floor and despite knowing I deserve it all I wail and slobber for forty eight hours.

“There is a dream I remember having” by Sasha in the wicker chair

Thursday, February 22, 2018
6:59am
5 minutes
The Wilds of Sleep
Kat Duff

Dr. Sandhu is wearing a linen cream pantsuit today. Did she think of me as I thought of her when choosing my blue sweater that covers my bum and stretchy grey tights and my fun boots that I usually only wear out in the evening for evening plans? WHY DO MY BOWELS FEEL AS THOUGH THEY WANT TO EMPTY?

“How was your week, Claire?” She says my name like it’s a pastry or a perfume or something a little bit biblical.

“It was okay. I brought my Dad a roast chicken on Sunday because at the home the chicken is dry and I never hear the end of it.”

“Tell me about your Dad.”

“What do you want to know?”

“How long has he been sick?”

“Both my parents had Alzheimer’s at the same time so if you want to know about him you have to know about her, too – “

“Your mother?”

“Yeah, they really overlap a lot inside my – “

“Near Middle: for “Devilish woman,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday February 17, 2018
7:04pm
5 minutes
Errata and Addenda
Rachaela Van Borek

Can’t tell her the truth even though that’s what we both promised we’d do.
When she tells me hers, she apologizes a month later and says, “Maybe when
you asked what I thought that night I shouldn’t have answered at all.”
I tell her “No, you should have, I want you to be honest with me,”
but I don’t know if that’s just because I don’t know what else to say.
I have some ideas about the questions she doesn’t ask me and
I know I can’t tell her what I think so I agree inside that maybe she is right.
A blanket gets thrown at me when I look cold but feel sweaty.
That’s probably on account of all the discomfort.
Some people sweat when they lie.
I put it on my toes and count the minutes before the pizza arrives.
Maybe when we’re eating we will have less time to peer into each other’s
souls and risk ruining a perfectly good family.
Suddenly her phone rings and she answers it in the middle of my good story.
She covers the receiver, tells me that our mother is frying shrimp dumplings again and asks if I want any.
I tell her to tell her yes.
She tells our mother we’ll be right over.
When she hangs up she shakes her head.
“Not sure what Mom is doing making dumplings at midnight.”
“Not sure what Mom is doing thinking we all still live in the same time zone.”

“Near Middle: for “Devilish woman,” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday February 17, 2018
12:22
5 minutes
Errata and Addenda
Rachaela Van Borek

She reaches into her pocket and there’s a melting Hershey’s kiss, six fifty in change, a receipt for a mini bottle of vodka, and lip chap that she’s scraped out using her pinkie nail. This is the state of her life. This is what she deserves. This is forty-two. She pulls her hand out. Step back.

She caught his eye in the elevator that first time only because that one asshole who had to stand facing the opposite direction. It’s eight thirty in the morning, dingus. Now is not the time for a social experiment. He’d smiled. He’s gorgeous. She’d blushed. Game over.

She packs her desk up into a banker’s box – lemon hand cream, a framed photo of her nephew, her BOSS mug, the succulent that’s hanging on by a thread. Is that what it’s come to? Step back.

He texts her and says that he’s thinking of her. He’s on a beach in Playa del Carmen. His kids are probably squishing guacamole all over his torso. His wife is probably emerging from the ocean, tan and beautiful.

“eat all of our food? Rude.” By Julia in N’s kitchen

Friday February 16, 2018
8:03pm
5 minutes
Flushed
David Delisca

When Harley stays with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays cause it’s closer to the hospital
he buys us hot dogs and
orders pizza
He doesn’t want us to make him anything special simply
because he’s dying
He’d rather eat out of the garbage
can than put us out any more
than he thinks he is already
On Mondays and Wednesdays
Mitch goes out to pick up
the groceries he thinks Harley
might like to snack on when
he thinks the rest of us aren’t
paying attention
Fruit by the foot and Reese’s
Peanut butter Puffs
Organic strawberries and Oreos
We stock the cupboards just
in case

“we were in the same grade together” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday February 15, 2018
9:51pm
5 minutes
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
Amber Dawn

I run for miles just to get close to you and then when you’re there when you’re in front of my there aren’t words there is only my incessant heart that insists on beating seventeen times too fast whenever I’m in your presence.

It doesn’t help that I’m so hungry for love for touch for attention for kissing for you that I hide when your close and that’s not a metaphor I actually hide as in I crawl under the sink and wait until you’re gone.

It doesn’t matter that I ran for miles to get here and that then seeing you real and alive and breathing and looking worse than I thought you’d look it doesn’t matter it doesn’t matter I will die here in the cupboard of shame and fear and love and sweat and

oh my god

you’re searching for dish soap.

I’ve been found.

“barely do I sense that faint tug” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday February 7, 2018
7:13am
5 minutes
Hiking With My Shadow
Don McKay

Mimi makes the chocolate birthday cake for Don’s birthday. She mixes wet and dry. Stirs in eggs and oil. She meticulously follows her mother’s recipe. It’s Don’s favourite cake. She’ll make the frosting and ice the cake tomorrow, right before the party.

“Mimi?” Don’s home early.

“I’m in the kitchen.” Of course she is. He knows that’s where to find her. She whisper calls, because Jonah’s napping.

“Mimi, it’s Dad. He’s in the hospital in Calgary and I have to go right away.”

“We’ll come with you…” She’s already taking off her apron.

“No, no… There’s no point. He’ll probably be dead by the time I get there.”

“children dawdling to school” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday February 3, 2018
9:04am
5 minutes
Prazeres
K.V Skene

You forget what you came into the kitchen for. You don’t think much of it. These things happen. You have been working long days. It’s taking it’s toll.

You put the sponge in the freezer. You know that you have one and you can’t find it. This pisses you off. You scream swear. You’ll go for the frozen bananas tomorrow morning when it’s time for a smoothie. There it is. Frozen solid. Shit.

You forget why you got on the bus, and where you’re supposed to be going. Your heart sinks. You wonder if this is what happened with your mother, and her mother, and her mother before her. You wonder if you should’ve eaten more broccoli, less sugar. You wonder if this is your destiny, riding the bus across the bridge unsure when to get off.

“children dawdling to school” by Julia in Hanoi

Saturday February 3, 2018
10:20pm
5 minutes
Prazeres
K.V Skene

It’s over the hill and past the old abandoned ice cream truck.
The little ones don’t seem to
be afraid when they go by it
but I don’t like the feeling it
gives me. I don’t like what it
represents but then again I’m
old enough to remember what
happened. They skip and play
and sometimes pretend to steer
the wheel. They make believe
that they are just like the ice
cream man on a regular Wednesday in June.
The police say there might have been more than twenty bodies.
They say
they didn’t consider
digging so far back until
they had a reason to. When
you think of what all of us kids
knew back then, it makes you
wonder what their priorities were,
and what order.

“If we changed the rules of our games” by Sasha at work

Friday January 26, 2018
12:13pm
5 minutes
The Mercy Seat
Norman Ravvin

A: I’m movin’ on, B! So get the fuck outta my way!

B: I will not.

A: MOVE.

B: Nope.

A: MOVE!

B: I can’t let you go. If you go then I’ll be –

A: That isn’t my problem anymore. I’m movin’ on!

B: But I love you…

A: Too bad.

B: Come on.

A: No!

B: Come on, A –

A: I’ve heard it all before. I’ve heard every stupid asshole cliche. I’ve heard your excuses, and your lies and your bullshit. I’m movin’ on!

B: Okay. Okay. Okay.

A: Great. Bye. Thanks for the good times and fuck you VERY much for the bad times.

B: What has gotten into you?

A: I have finally come to my senses! I’m feeling like a fucking goddess right now!

“like a man swallowing clay.” By Sasha in the bath

Thursday January 25, 2018
10:43pm
5 minutes
Fish-Eye Marble
Sophia Lecker

Yogi swallows clay to clean out her toxins. Yogi does a headstand. Yogi drinks ginger – pure ginger – liquified. Yogi swallows soft white fabric and shits it out and pulls and now she’s clean.

Beth fries chicken in a cast iron skillet. Beth wipes her hands on a cloth that she found in the laundry room. It has small blue ducklings. She thinks it might belong to a baby. Beth stole from a baby.

Kenneth makes his fiftieth egg sandwich of the morning. He wonders if Jess is up yet. He hates working brunch.

“The woods are filling up with snow.” By Julia on the 9

Wednesday January 17, 2018
4:16pm
5 minutes
Traveller
James Pollock

Let me paint you a picture. Imagine pulling into the driveway and seeing fresh deer tracks in the snow. It’s magical. Isn’t it magical? It’s really magical. I’ve always thought that. Deers are the most magical creatures in the world. They are gentle and they are graceful and they are majestic and they are soft. Deers are so soft and magical it makes me cry. One magic moment I had with a deer, and this was three years ago, was when I was pulling into the driveway at the cottage and I noticed there were fresh deer tracks in the snow and I thought well isn’t this magical? To what do I owe this magic? Am i-Is this Narnia? Is this a Taylor swift music video? Is this pure, unadulterated magic with a spoonful of luck? Let me ask you something-you ever feel like the snow falling lightly and landing on your eyelashes is a kiss from heaven? That’s magic too! That’s the most magical magic there is.

“It never rains but it pours;” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Sunday January 14, 2018
11:35pm
5 minutes
Bluegrass
Rhona McAdam

It’s hot as balls back here and Dylan keeps throwing prawn bits at me. Fuck off, I say, but he doesn’t.

When I first started here I was at the cold station, but now I’m at the fryer.

Chef said we’ve got some VIPs coming in tonight, but none of us ever want to know who.

We did three hundred and nine covers last night which might not sound like a lot but if you saw the size of our dining room, you’d get it.

Turns out the VIPs are a hockey player and his family, some old guy who doesn’t play anymore but is on the Sports Network now. I couldn’t give a fuck about hockey but I know more than to open my mouth in this kitchen. Dylan played AAA before having one too many concussions. He stares at the guy all night, grinding his teeth, flipping steaks on the grill.

“Resist the millionth purchase” by Julia on her couch

Sunday January 7, 2018
10:28pm
5 minutes
Advice to Myself #2: Resistance
Louise Erdrich

Went by the Salvation Army on my way home from work today. I thought I was going to pick up a perfect sweater. I didn’t know what kind of sweater, exactly, but I had a good feeling. Too bad it was closed. The Salvation Army is not open on Sundays. This is good according to my hormone tracking app. Best not to overindulge on impulse purchases cause when my hormones get back in check my bank account will not be. Then I went to the used book store and spent some time browsing and checking prices and being appalled at how expensive books in a used bookstore for some reason still can be. I don’t know why as soon as I step foot in one I have to dust the crops like it’s my job. I think my prayer sister, Geri, told me about that. When you lay a series of farts up and down the aisles? She also taught me about “shooting a bunny” which is what she called it when someone tooted a good hard fast one.

“Hitchhiking” by Julia on Jessica’s couch

Monday January 1, 2018

10:38pm

5 minutes

Trek: A Publication of Alumni UBC

Have you ever hitchhiked? Have you ever held out your best thumb and thought, I might die trying to get myself from this roadside to, I don’t know, say, Philadelphia? I’ve never done it. I would be the kind of person who makes the other person nervous because I’d be so awkward. I also think I’m afraid of being kidnaped by the wrong person. The kind of person who’s been driving back and forth on dirt roads looking for the most naive person to steal. I used to think I could ask anyone for a ride. But then again you don’t hear too many stories about the bad-lucked girl who invited herself into a murderer’s pick up truck. I mean, you hear those stories, but by then it’s too late.

“All tickets sales are final” by Sasha on a bench near the water

Sunday December 31, 2017
1:32pm
5 minutes
From a ticket

You get tired thinking about who you can’t be. You buy a ticket for a cross-country train ride. You’ll write. You’ll sing. You’ll buy bad small town coffee. Really, you’ll spend a lot of time looking out the window. Really, you’ll finally stop dreaming about giving birth. You start reading the books you’ve always wanted to read. You start learning survival skills, karate, rock climbing. You have more space now. You call your brother on Sunday mornings and ask about his daughter. It hurts less and less. You aren’t sure about resolutions. You aren’t sure about numbers. You aren’t sure how long it takes for turkey to go bad in the fridge. You think about how you’ll wait however long it takes. You’ve got time.

“I’ve never been more absorbed in anyone.” By Sasha on her couch

Monday December 25, 2017
3:15pm
5 minutes
Elliot, Adam, Elly and Me
Charlotte Joyce Kidd

Heloise listens through the wall. Dan caught her twice last week so now she has to be much more stealthy.

“I’m going to the gym!” Dan calls, already half out the door, scarf pulled up over his nose.

“Bye, hon!” Heloise shouts back. She runs to the kitchen for a glass. She runs back upstairs and almost wipes out. Must get socks with grips on the bottom, she thinks. It’s not like she runs any other time.

She puts the glass to the wall. She can hear Liam typing. He must be writing again. Good for you, she smiles. Footsteps. He gets up. Maybe watering a plant? Maybe stretching? Writer’s block?

“when my father went crazy” by Julia at her parents’ house

Friday December 22, 2017

11:43pm

5 minutes

The Monsters Inside

By Eric Sherman

There wasn’t enough breadcrumbs to coat the chicken the way he would have liked. Mom suggested cornflakes instead but he didn’t want to hear about it. The roads were too wild to go into town. Marge begged him not to leave but dad wasn’t one for heeding warnings. He went outside to dust the snow off his Corolla, something he’d done a million times in his life. Mom watched from the kitchen window as she always did, sending him warmth or hope or speed. Then he looked up at her and started taking off all his clothes. First went the winter hat, spiking his thinning hair into a little tuft pointing upward. Then he removed his winter coat, and threw it over the windshield of the car. Mom started laughing. Dad’s face didn’t move.

“when my father went crazy” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday December 22, 2017
7:12pm
5 minutes
The Monsters Inside
Eric Sherman

We didn’t see it coming. The tantrums. The scabs. The howling. The hiding in closets, under the bed, in the subway station. He was always the breadwinner, the Dad with a capital “D”. He was quiet and stern and warm only on birthdays or Christmas or graduation. My Mum says that when they first started dating, when he was twenty-six and she was twenty-nine, that he said something about struggling with depression, but when she asked more he didn’t want to talk about it. “Let sleeping dogs, lie, hey?” That’s what he said. Mum is in Nurse Mode, meaning, she is calm and smiley on the outside. On the inside? Who knows.

“unconscious anger at my mother” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday December 20, 2017
2:09pm
5 minutes
This wounded healer says warp up the loom
Sharon K. Farber

Fiona asks me to go to a therapy appointment with her. I read the magazines so I know that therapy isn’t stigmatized like it used to be. I mean, you practically hear people bragging about their therapist-this and their therapist-that. But why on earth my daughter wants me to go with her? I don’t know. I thought it was a personal, private, solitary thing… Unless you’re going as a couple or something.

“Are you sure you don’t want your father to go instead?” I ask. She smiles her little condescending smile and I want to say, “I changed your nappies! I wiped your ass!” But I don’t. I smile back. I say, “Alright. I’ll come. When is it?”

“confirm your choice” by Julia at Vancouver International Airport

Monday December 18, 2017
11:04pm
5 minutes
The Essential Enneagram
David Daniels and Virginia Price

Confirm your choice between parsnips and yams. Please confirm.

You don’t know what a parsnip is?

You can say that on the form.

There is a box marked ignorance. You can check that one if it applies to you. It might also fall under indecisive. Might this fall under indecisive for you? Are you asking for help? You can only ask for help once, can you confirm your choice to ask for help? Good or bad? For you? You alone know the answer to that. I am not authorized to offer any responses as examples. Because I am not the one filling out the form. Please confirm your choice to ask a personal question. Confirm. I did not need to fill out a form. I did not need to fill out a form.

If you believe it has been lost, stolen or compromised.” By Sasha at her desk

Wednesday December 13, 2017
10:14pm
5 minutes
BC Revenue Services

Bernie isn’t sure which way is up and what, “everything happens for a reason” even means. Kim keeps saying that to him and at first he really tried to understand what it might mean, and how it might help him, but now he just thinks it’s a crock.

It’s been a bad month.

Bernie got fired at the end of November. He’d worked at the same paper mill for twenty three years. It’s closing. It isn’t personal. “Everything happens for a reason”. Kim says that “when one door closes another one opens,” and Bernie agrees but what he thinks should be an immediate follow-up is that who knows where that door is going to lead. It could be a basement with rats and mould.

“The children are the adventure now.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 7, 2017
11:17pm
5 minutes
Mating in Captivity
Esther Perel

I want to take Shayla to the Swiss Alps. I want to hike in the mountains with her and take photographs. I want us to sleep in side-by-side twin beds and talk until one of us falls asleep. When she was little, three to six, I had to stay with her until she fell asleep and she’d want me to talk the whole time. I would start by telling her a story, and then I would tell her things about my day – cucumbers on sale for a dollar each, Charlie’s bad breath, the stress of trying to keep up when everyone seems to be getting younger while I’m just getting greyer. If I stopped, even for a moment to think of what to say next, her blue eyes would pop open and she’d cock her head a little, like, “What are you trying to pull here, Mom?” I’ve been saving. Tickets to Switzerland are expensive, and it’s not like I have a lot of extra cash just sitting around.