“Oh you exercise?” By Julia on her couch

Sunday May 6, 2018
10:41pm
5 minutes
From a text

Comes out to meet me with
his shirt off and I’m like dude those wont work on me, save your six-pack for someone who cares. And he’s like this is for you and I’m like this is what I just said and you are not listening. Then he does up his shirt and starts to pout and I say, hey that wont work on me either cause I’m not into crying for no reason. And he’s like, this is not for you, it’s for me and don’t you get it? And I’m like get what? No? Get what? And he’s like never mind you don’t care. And I’m like, about what though?

“I thought my love would never recover.” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday March 21, 2018
10:57am
5 minutes
A quote by Madeleine L’Engle

It is a gift given often without being returned
a tiny bird’s egg rescued from concrete
the padded footsteps around the house
while he sleeps through the day again
Expectations far away from here

But then it is still true
When the silence is so loud it weeps
the hurt so present it raises the skin
you might think this love bone might never mend
this aching might never go away

He sleeps, through the day again,
her mother forgets to ask about her doctor’s appointment
the padded footsteps, soft from walking with empty
And the next day, a window cracks
the light streaming in just a little

“Sometimes I can hear Harry’s voice” by Julia at Olympic village station

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
9:27pm
5 minutes
Thomas Lee
#WeAreHarryChang

When I sang to her she asked me to stop. I’d like to think if I had a child I would not let this one thing fly. Sure, throw your tantrums on the floor at the Super Low, decide that there’s too much brown in your granola bar to eat, wish for rain on the only day it’s sunny because you feel like it, fine. But I would not want a child to be a pushover unable to stand up for themselves. I wouldn’t want them to learn to swallow their tongue either and so I ask myself, how? How does one encourage self expression in others without shutting down their own organs because someone else needs to be heard? What is the balance, or is there such a thing? Do kids get to be so bold and then what? They stop needing so much? Or needing so much out loud? It’s not like you can punish a child for a crime they did not commit. It is not illegal to prefer the sound of nothing. Not even a little bit.

“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

“a forest lake frozen to the bottom” by Julia in Phong Nha-ke national park

Wednesday January 31, 2018

10:20pm
5 minutes
Seen
Pia Tafdrup

It reminds me of the time we tried to take our leftovers home and the waitstaff who couldn’t understand our English very well didn’t know what a container meant. And so they gave it to us in a giant ceramic bowl that wouldn’t fit in our tiny fridge. They must have thought we were out of our minds. We brought the bowl to our room and some smaller bowls to eat from but we were too full to keep eating that night so we put them in the tiny fridge. The next day the giant bowl was gone but our two smaller bowls were still in there. We didn’t want leftovers until later and by the time it was later, we couldn’t eat them anyway. When we went to stick a spoon in, the top was hard as rock. It took a moment to figure out that it had frozen over-we put it in the wrong spot. This made us laugh for a while. Thinking of them coming to collect our giant bowl and saying, well I guess we’ll leave their ice noodles in the fridge then?

“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.

“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.

“strikes out at the enemy” by Sasha at her desk

Friday November 17, 2017
5:43pm
5 minutes
When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chodron

Lindsay never believed in enemies until she met Luis. She knew she didn’t like him from the moment she met him. It was a Tuesday morning staff meeting, and he was hoarding the pastries and the Coconut Creamer.

“You must be the new girl…” He said, biting into a danish. A bit of blueberry rested on his lower lip.

Lindsay thought about schooling him on the micro-aggression of using “girl” instead of “woman”. How would she do this without sounding bitchy? Does she have the right to be bitchy? She decides that yes, she does have the right.

“I’m forty-two.” She said, grabbing a slice of granny smith apple

“Acceptable for Breakfast” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 4, 2017
5:36pm
5 minutes
Smittenkitchen.com

Every Zia made sure we had the right breakfast. Zia one would let us have cookies and milk. Oreos to be exact. Wih a tiny esspreso spoon, we’d crush them all up and eat it like ice cream. Zia two had something good to eat too. Salmon gravlax, snails, probably, and cantaloupe.  Zia three never had to feed us. Zia four had homemade leftover pizza, yogurt, biscotti and homo milk. Zia five had captain crunch cereal. Zia six gave us cadburry cream eggs. Zia seven gave us soft boiled eggs and olive oil. That’s not even all the Zias.

“All in your head” by Julia in her bed

Monday October 9, 2017
11:55pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Tim Hortons

Imogen and Harriet are grinding their hips and Imogen likes Harriet and Harriet knows that. The music makes Imogen want more than what she has. Harriet doesn’t want to waste the song. Imogen thinks arching backs and swaying thighs is proof. Harriet wants to be free and enjoy each second because she doesn’t know when she’ll get another one.

The two of them remember this night differently.

“You waited for me to let you learn” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday September 6, 2017
5:16pm
5 minutes
Yours Is This
Julia Pileggi


You waited for me to let you learn
slow like a crocus or a grandmother
Slow like I’ve come to know is true
Fast used to whisper to me from under
the bed taunting that I could never
get to where I wanted without moving
FAST
Now I’m wiser or something and I don’t
prize the fast I don’t look on those
bunnies and say
WOW
I wish for that life

“bigger than my hand laid out flat” by Sasha in the TA office at UBC


Monday March 27, 2017
2:12pm
5 minutes
From an assignment

You’ve never asked me about
my appetite
my one night stands
my musical aspirations
my stretch marks
my collection of cards and crystals
my hidden chocolate

I wonder about honesty
and where it’s filmy and where
it’s white
opaque
bigger than my hand land out flat

We’ve started drinking more
and eating more potato
chips and I’m not sure if
these are
good things or bad things

I’ve never asked you about
what you write about in
your morning page journal
your one night stands

“Now that I’m free from any such shackles” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday March 6, 2017
10:37pm
5 minutes
davidsilverberg.ca

saved by the ivory
tower but not for long
good god i hope i don’t
have to
saved from the beer
spills and “our house wine
is a dollar an ounce”
from roll-ups and tip-outs
and “can we have more
bread?”
i’ll tell you what
the magic word is
it’s please

the summer i was
twenty one i worked
at a place where
the bartenders were
always high and the
sous chef called me a
stuck up bitch
and i cried in the
basement and ate shrimp
in the stairwell
and everyone seemed to
be fucking each other

then there was the
sous who would request
my presence in the kitchen
only to undo my apron
so that i’d have to bend
over and pick it up

then there was the
sous (is there a theme
here holy hell) who
would stick out his
chest when i’d come
to ask a question like
those are just my breasts
it’s how they are i
am not sticking anything
out or up except my
middle finger at your
ignorance

“there was a rubric” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday February 1, 2017
9:49pm
5 minutes
From a voice memo

There was a rubric and we were to use it when evaluating patients. Zero meant bad and ten meant good. You’d think that it would be easy, especially after the twelve odd years of training. You’d think that within three minutes of sitting with someone, one would have a sense of, “Oh, this person is closer to a three. That’s for sure!” Or, “A seven. Most likely a seven.” But it is not easy. In fact, it is virtually impossible. And the preceptor wants to know exact numbers, and is satisfied with nothing else. I don’t see patients as exact, in any way! They are ever-changing! They are five hundred shades of grey!

“there was a rubric” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 1, 2017
9:39pm
5 minutes
from a voice memo

He asks if I like it like he wants me to say no. Asking me at all automatically gets a no. Am I not showing you? Am I not putting my whole thing into it? I want to tell him that “no” I don’t, but keep making these sounds and see if he is listening to my mouth or to my body. If he were he wouldn’t have to ask–as if there’s some kind of rubric for me to fill out: The student was sufficient. The student was timid. The student showcased strong grasp of concepts. The student handed in his assignment early but did not get extra marks because, though he finished, it wasn’t done to the best of his ability.

VANCOUVER WRITER’S WORKOUT!


Vancouver get ready!
Another writer’s workout is coming your way!
Check it out, share, and get your write on.

feb19-t5mwritersworkoutfeb19-t5mwritersworkout2

“joke poem about a black bear” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday January 31, 2017
9:53pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


“I had that bum tooth of mine finally go” she says, tapping the nub left inside her mouth. “I got over zealous, you could say. I got too comfortable with my routine and it turned me careless.” Lorna looks off into the distance for a while. I wait there, my finger hovering over the pause button. I don’t want to use battery while she drifts off but I don’t want to miss anything. It isn’t the first time it has happened. I remind myself of my privildge. I am desperate to know this woman and she is desperate to keep something for her for once. “Did I ever tell you about that joke poem? That joke poem about the–” She catches herself abruptly and her eyes dart around the room. I try not to move. I do anyway. I ask her, “is there something wrong?” She stares at me, nodding her head very slowly.

“joke poem about a black bear” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday January 31, 2017
3:08pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


‘It’s sunny today,
so that’s something’
Adam says, stroking his beard
as if he might be a wizard.

‘Yes. It is something,” I
respond, furrowing my eyebrows,
lifting my face
towards the sky.

Adam buys me an orange
from Florida and I wonder
about the politics of the
farmer, their tan lines,
their birth order.

Sitting by the ocean
at sunset, the buzz of
Granville Market behind
us, seagulls begging for
scraps of hotdogs from
children dressed in sweaters.

Sometimes
I long for a simpler time
when my heart didn’t live
in my throat.

“First we marched” by Sasha at Matchstick on Fraser


Sunday January 22, 2017 at Matchstick
10:26am
5 minutes
From a tweet

First we marched and now we carry on
the song that our grandmother’s started

Daisy used to tell Layah and I
about meeting First Nations women at the Edmonton
bus depot on 105 Avenue

bringing her into the city
feeding her hamburger soup
giving her shampoo and
tampons
baby formula and
sweaters knit by the
Catholic Women’s League

Okay she never said anything about
tampons to me
but I imagine her giving a woman tampons
and that woman saying thank
you and brown eyes meeting brown eyes

Anne made dinner every night for her family
and she managed the money
and she made her own
her own money
trading stocks and investing
Anne never knew she was a radical
She was an
“unfulfilled woman”
She was never okay
with the shape of herself

“People will say,” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Friday January 6, 2017 at JJ Bean
4:30pm
5 minutes
From an email

She’s never found trouble that she didn’t like the taste of
coffee warmed on a space heater in a chipped jam jar
socks and underwear washed in a
dishwasher amongst beer cans and spaghetti plates
She joined a choir because she thought nothing strange
could happen when everyone’s singing
but before she knew it she’d lit a wreath and a ponytail
(neither of which were hers)
on fire and before she knew it she was
asked to leave
“It’s for the safety of the group,”
said the woman who photocopied the words for
Desperado and
Lean on Me

She thought a haircut might straighten
things out but the only thing that got straighter
was her bangs

“Oh gosh I would be so horrified” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday January 5, 2017
9:46pm
5 minutes
From an email

I’ve started this story five hundred times. I’ve ripped up three trees worth of paper, and burning seventeen pencils. I’ve started this story six thousand times. I would be horrified if you knew how I struggle, how I sweat. I would be horrified if you knew how I knit myself into a sleeping bag and didn’t set an alarm for three days. I would be horrified if you knew how many times I ordered pizza and Chinese food. No wonder I’ve gained thirty pounds. “It’s all about the numbers,” you always used to say. And it’s a real shame that I believed you.

“Hit the road Jack” by Sasha on the couch in Cowichan Bay


Saturday December 31, 2016
8:08pm
5 minutes
From a record

Jack’s packed this car like a master puzzler, every box and bag filling any open space. “Will you be able to see?” I ask, putting our turkey sandwiches into old yogurt containers.

I kiss the doorframe and Jack says, “Goodbye, sweet spot.” We hug for awhile, before I lock the door and slide the key through the mailbox, like we told George, our super, we’d do.

Halfway to the highway, I start to cry.

“Can you please bring me my water?” By Sasha on the couch at Macdonell


Sunday December 25, 2016
6:23pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

I don’t know what to write today. I’m tired. I’m sick. I’ve overwhelmed. I’m sad. I’m full of buttery, meat-y, spicy, sweet. I don’t know what to write today. The sound of my pen moving across the page feels like shit. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got nothing.

Layah asked Oli to bring her water because she is nursing the baby. I never realized that nursing is pretty much a full time gig. I romanticized nursing, like most things. I romanticize everything. What a strange quality. Ugh. Ugh. I’m pretty sure I have a fever. I hope I don’t make everyone here sick.

“Can you bring your shredder?” By Sasha on the couch in Mississauga


Friday December 23, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
From a text

Viv: George! Bring me the shredder!

George: You’re supposed to be resting?

Viv: Screw resting. I have shit to do!

George: Okay, okay. Hold on… I’ll have to unplug it and –

Viv: It’s an emergency!

George enters the bedroom, where Viv is propped up. He kisses her on the forehead.

George: The doctor said that for the first two weeks you are supposed to rest, my love.

Viv: I know. I am resting. I’m rested. And now I’m going to shred that whole filing cabinet!

George: But all the stuff from your taxes?

Viv: Who needs it!

George: What if you get audited?

Viv: What asshole is going to audit someone on their deathbed?

George: Touche.

Viv: And when you bring the shredder, my dear, could you please bring me a glass of sherry?

“test audience” by Sasha at the little desk at Bowmore


Thursday December 15, 2016
6:25pm
5 minutes
From a recruitment email

The clock in the entrance way is off by seven minutes and it aggravates you. When it chimes you wonder where on the list it says that one of your duties is to wind it. You wore sensible black shoes today, after Mrs. Smithers commented on your red boots yesterday.

“Well, well, well…” She’d said, looking you up and down. Her roots were showing, clawing their way back in. The kettle had boiled and she’d made herself a Jasmine tea.

“Are those appropriate for the office?” She’d asked, dropping a sugar cube into her “WORLD’S BEST MOM” mug.

“I thought so,” you’d said, peeling a clementine.

“leftover Hamburger Helper garbage” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday December 13, 2016
5:59pm
5 minutes
Summer OF My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews


Could you pick up some ground beef at the Superstore on your way, George? I’m making that thing that Steve likes? With the Hamburger Helper? And a salad, for Ami, I mean it’s not like she’s going to eat the other – … George? Are you there? You didn’t say anything! How was I supposed to know! Drive safely, okay? It’s going to snow a whole bunch and we don’t need anymore unfortunate events this year… Let’s let 2016 peter out with some simplicity? George? Are you there?!

“you are not the first” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday December 6, 2016
9:28pm
5 minutes
aware
Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry


Kevin keeps joking about the icy streets and people wiping out but no one is laughing. All I can hear is his stupid voice cawing like a crow. Sometimes I dream about Kevin and I wake up and I’m pissed. I try to stay focused –

“Hello, Milner and Associates, this is Deborah, how may I help you?”

but it’s so hard. If he wasn’t the boss I would report him. We all would. My favourite thing is when he comes and stands behind me and times how long it takes for me to type up some bullshit that he’s asked me to email to Jed.

“Nice work, Deb! You came in under thirty six seconds!”

Douchebag.

“Could have walked by now” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday December 4, 2016
8:45pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Burrard street

Take my good word, you could’ve walked all the way home by now.
Take my advice and don’t ever turn your underwear inside out and wear it for a second day.
Take my hand and follow me down to toes in sand and tears in eyes and it’s okay, I promise, everything’s going to be okay.
Take thirty dollars out of the bank and walk through a neighbourhood that’s unfamiliar and buy yourself the first thing that you truly love. It doesn’t matter that you’re broke and should buy lettuce and a few cans of tuna instead.
Take me back to the place where we met and remind me where love grows.

“I still honoured my vows” by Sasha in her bed


Tuesday November 29, 2016
11:02pm
5 minutes
Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert


I make a vow that I’ll do better
I do it often I do it daily
Curse of being born in this body
with this medallion of whiteness
of middle class-ness
of education
we’re just trying to be better
do better make better make something
I make a donation to Standing Rock
thirty dollars
I buy a ticket to a play that my friend wrote
twenty one dollars
I buy a bag of slivered almonds for granola
fourteen dollars

“You’re more than welcome to wear it” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday November 22, 2016
4:13pm
5 minutes
Overheard at GO studios

I know that this place is haunted but if I talk about I’ll freak myself right out. Prolly freak you out, too…

But I should really tell you that there were footsteps upstairs last night. And there is no “upstairs”… It’s an attic. I asked Mel about raccoons or squirrels and she said, “No way.”

It’s funny, seeing ghosts, spirits, whatever you want to call them. It’s awkward when I talk to one and everyone else, all the alive people are like, “Who are you speaking to?” And I have to pretend like, “Oh, no one! I’m just talkin’ full volume to myself!”

“The Arts Factory” by Sasha at her desk


Monday November 21, 2016
11:36pm
5 minutes
From an Eastside Culture Crawl postcard

I am going to build you a factory, Johnathan. It’s going to be big and beautiful and on every floor there’s going to be artists making the wildest stuff you’ve ever dreamed of. Pottery pigs and blown glass pinatas and burlesque dance routines by the old folks! All the things you fought so hard for… If we don’t have hope now, when are we gonna? I promise you, by next birthday, you’ll have your factory. And you studio? With the biggest windows and the highest ceilings and walls all white-washed alabaster… You’ll paint when you see in your dreams. You’ll paint the red oceans and the bubbles holding whole worlds inside. You’ll paint it all and we won’t worry about selling anything. We’ll give them away! If you want, of course. You’ll give them away to folks that really that kind of light in their lives.

“I’m just so sad” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday November 19, 2016
12:07pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Oak St.

“I’m just so sad,” Phoebe has eyes like macaroni and cheese, deep pools of swamp. “I know you are, babe,” I say, and I wish that there was more comfort in those five words. They are just five words and words aren’t enough today. “I’m scared to live here,” she pulls the hood of her sweatshirt around her neck, cocooning. “I want to disappear.”

Inside the quietness of my ribcage, I talk to her about going to the desert and getting married, a klezmer band of lesbians singing to our love in ancient howls under a crescent moon. Inside the quietness, I whisper sounds that aren’t words that might hold her in a way English never can.

“she honestly does not have those impulses” by Sasha on the ferry heading home


Wednesday November 16, 2016
6:35pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio


I found the sweet spot in a twin bed in my father’s house
second floor of the Victorian brick house on the tree-lined street
Lying on my back thinking thinking seeing thinking wishing panting
parting spreading leaking oh oh say it yes sweet sweet sweet
There was not shame on the futon on the floor of the basement
of my mother’s house
first love like liquid gold between my legs
first love passion and clumsy hands and is it supposed to feel like
this?
I see these young ones
pups
I see these crying mothers
for their daughters in crop tops with eyes the basins of longing
Fill me up
Fill me up

“Hey hey hey” by Sasha in Cowichan Bay


Tuesday November 15, 2016
11:28am
5 minutes
A Rufus Wainwright song


Gus makes the sign of the cross and says, “Well fuck me, I think she’s a keeper!” You feel sick to your stomach but you don’t talk about it. You mush garlic into Becel and spread it on the baguette that Mom pocketed from the restaurant. When you go there, Marla reminds you that you used to nap on the banquette at the back. Gus didn’t know that Mom was bringing you in on her shifts. He would’ve lost his shit. When you sit down at the table, Mom is nodding off and your Gina is trying her best not to cry and you are glaring at Gus and wondering if you’ll all survive the weekend.

“Are we lost?” By Sasha at her desk


Thursday November 10, 2016
5:53pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 84

You get a notice in your e-mail on Saturday. You don’t remember when they started delivering e-mails on Saturdays, but you don’t remember many of the details these days. It’s all tiring. The e-mail pings on your watch and you check it by pushing the red button. Siri’s voice reads,

“Hello. You are receiving this message because your presence is required at Main Camp on Monday, November twenty first. Please report to Sergeant Marryweather by 9AM. Bring your grey suit. Wear boots.”

You don’t walk the dog, instead, you lie on the couch and scroll though ads for movies coming soon. You’ve heard about messages like this. You never thought you’d get one.

“the world is ending” by Sasha at JJ Bean


Wednesday November 9, 2016 at JJ Bean on Cambie
2:06pm
5 minutes
From a tweet


I have cried all the cries
and all the fears
endless rivers of grief
a chasm in my chest the size of an orange man

I have raged on my bed
and my body
and my love
I have lost hope

A violent collision of
faith and doubt
I’ll go listen to music tonight
eat a muffin
write my daily write

A sadness has descended
that I haven’t known

The privilege of self reflection
of whiteness
of able body
cis-gender

The privilege of a bed to rage
a body to move
a love to hold and weep and hold
six dollars for an americano and
a peach oatmeal muffin

On my walk here
I searched the eyes of people I passed
in a way that I don’t usually
with a tenderness I have been conditioned
to withhold
I searched the eyes of a pregnant woman
wearing purple
and grey
I smile

“the channeling of heavenly love” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 8, 2016
10:43am
5 minutes
sunnyray.org

Kay believes it is her purpose on the planet to channel heavenly love. She receives a message in her pizza, written in red pepper and goat cheese. She sees it because she’s looking for it. Have you ever thought about that? My sister tells me about a book she’s reading about signs, and how they are everywhere, and how maybe this is one for you, right now. Kay forgets her keys inside her truck and she doesn’t get angry or say “shit”. She smiles. Smiles! She smiles and walks home and it takes her two hours and twenty three minutes and they are the best ones of her life, thus far.

“We talk all about our relationship” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday November 6, 2016
8:50pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

We talk all about our relationship until our tongues are heavy
and our hearts are downward dogging stretching
tailbones to the stars
You notice the curl of a lip too quick
the taste of salt on a throat kept tight tight
Fireflies lead us outside and we follow them
into the forest where the dreams of six months from now
call us quietly
by our names
We strip off our clothes and it’s cold but
we don’t mind
I don’t mind
We jump into the water and it’s so cold it’s hot
Takes breath like you do like I do
Takes courage
this
this
Early nights in the fall as the temperature drops

“It was really a labor of love” by Sasha at Studio 1965


Saturday November 5, 2016
1:53pm
5 minutes
An interview in Room Magazine with Deni Loubert

Making the home together. It’s a labor of love. I think about the beauty in the mundanity of dishwashing, of picking up socks, of picking up glasses off the floor, of picking up your acu-ball. I try to find the meditation, the sacred in hanging shirts on hangers on the drying rack. Motown helps. Dharma talks help. I found it yesterday, that unnamable sweet spot, stirring cayenne into the tomato sauce, chopping carrots and celery. I found it, and then it was gone – the creep of resentment in my gut, the spread of “what the fuck” up my teeth. It is a labor of love, this gorgeous, strange, domesticity. Pema Chodron telling me to breathe, breathe, breathe. Your keys in the lock and it’s present tense dinner-time, the daily dance.

“so that we can contact you” by Sasha at her desk


Friday November 4, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
from a contest information sheet

Obsessively check Facebook? Check. Ponder witty tweets? Check. Look and re-look at Instagram story feed. Check. Scroll into the bizarre backlog of texts from three years ago when you were still single? Check! Fold the laundry? Nope. Scrub the bathtub? Nope. Read an e-newsletter you aren’t sure you signed up for? Check.

“There’s a lot of blood in your lips” by Julia at JJ Bean on Main


Thursday November 3, 2016 at JJ Bean
7:10pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

I sucked her bottom lip slowly like I was trying to extract a stinger without disrupting the blood vessels. I wanted to taste her. I wanted to be gentle. In the hollowed buzz between us I could tell which breath belonged to her and which didn’t. I suddenly couldn’t stand the feeling of not sharing air. What had I been doing up until this point? Had I ever considered I had been hiding my truth somewhere deep in the shame of me–that tended to burrow underneath expectations and the holy grail of perfection? Had I even lived at all? We didn’t have anywhere else to be, no other versions of ourselves to uphold. I made a promise to only stop if she asked me to.

“I’ll stop now” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday November 1, 2016
9:44pm
5 minutes
From a Facebook post

Crusty says he’ll stop buggin’ me when I actually wear a real bra, like, not a training bra, like this one. We’re supposed to go camping on the Labor Day weekend but if Crusty’s gonna be there I do not want to go. I will not go. I told Lou and Lou said that Crusty and I need to learn how to get along but that’s not even an option, like, Crusty is impossible. Lou doesn’t even get it at all, like, Lou doesn’t have a care in the world now that she works at Baskin Robins. “You’re gonna get so fat!” I told Lou, but she ignored me, like always.

“RESET BALANCE” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday October 30, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
From a Freshii sign at the airport

When your mother puts you in gymnastics you glare at the back of her head as she drives you there the station wagon screeching to a stop in the parking place that’s meant for pregnant people. She doesn’t walk you in and make sure everything’s okay like all the other mothers she says HAVE A GOOD TIME and looks at you like everything about your existence is a highly regrettable mistake. Your purple leotard is crawling up your bum crack and you need to go pee but you say BYE MAMA and close the door gently and then you go inside and say that you’re here for beginning gymnastics please and where is the bathroom please and where is a cubby for you to put your boots.

“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.

“don’t get it in your eyeball!” By Sasha on the bus


Tuesday October 25, 2016
11:21am
5 minutes
From a text

The voices start quietly, slurring into my vision, tripping my feet over pavement cracks. I don’t say shit to them but they go on and on, taunting and daring. I can’t even count how many there are any more and I’m not going to tell Kelly because there’s no way he’ll understand the migraines or the pebbles in my pockets. Got to make sure I start doing my own laundry, leaving the windows open. Got to get a new prescription, is what he’ll say, but he’s wrong as Christmas.

“butler service, gourmet dining” by Sasha at Pascoe Rd.


Sunday October 23, 2016
9:59am
5 minutes
Westjet magazine

Shaving off his moustache was an identity thing. James didn’t want to make a big deal about it, but it was a big deal and everyone knew it. Facial hair quickly becomes a meaningful manifestation of identity and no, he didn’t first grow it during Mo-vember and yes, he does use wax. Fiona had suggested it when she witnessed James’ profound attachment to his moustache. She introduced the idea with subtlety at first and then got a little bit more bold.

“LYING TO TELL THE TRUTH” by Sasha at Pascoe Rd.


Thursday October 20, 2016
12:49am
5 minutes
From a workshop description
Johnny MacRae


I know you’re scared shitless
crapping oceans every day eating saltine’s like
your life depends on it
(your life does depend on it)
I know that the voices in your head keep
you up at all hours
counting blessings counting sheep counting the second hand
ticking at the speed of waiting
I know you paint red and blue on your face
warrior mask smudging orange and yellow on the darkest days
I know you’ve been pulling out your eyelashes again
your eyelids naked as a newborn
naked as a piglet

“Lying flat because my back is killing” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday October 19, 2016
10:11pm
5 minutes
from a text

I’m lying flat because I threw out my back again. As if I need another thing for the guys to mock me about. As if. Doc said, “Lie flat like a board and call your sister.” Ha! Like Julianne could possibly leave Jim for twenty four hours to take care of me! Ha! It was a humbling moment, you know, when Doc said that… Because really, what with Zachariah away at school, I don’t really have anyone to… I mean, who am I gonna call besides Julianne?! I wracked my brain for someone who owed me a favour and, well, I think I’m square with most folks. So… that’s why I’m callin’ you. Would you think about comin’ to look after me for a couple days? I’d take care of the bus fare, and you can get whatever food you want, even that fancy meat stuff you like?

“let us communicate” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday October 18, 2016
9:00pm
5 minutes
From the back of The Sun

He never asked me what I wanted to do or what I loved or what I was thinking.
He didn’t need to know, I assumed. He didn’t think it was necessary. I don’t
know how you go your whole life as a parent not thinking it is necessary. I don’t
Know how you go your whole life talking to so many people each day and saying so
little.

The best gift he ever gave me was a necklace: black gem stone, elegant.
He brought it home for me the day after my sister gave the other half of her best
friends forever necklace to someone other than me. He said he wanted me to have one
of my very own. One that I wouldn’t need somebody else to complete.

“let us communicate” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday October 18, 2016
6:29pm
5 minutes
From the back of The Sun

Henry builds forts out of pillows and blankets I always thought we’d use for company. When he started sleeping downstairs, in the basement, I thought it was because of the snoring. He felt bad for waking me, he said. When I finally went down there and saw his forts, I wondered if something else was going on. It took me awhile to get up the courage to talk about it. We’re both introverts. We prefer quiet dinners, reading side-by-side at the kitchen table. Sometimes I wonder if we’ve even spoken to one another that day. At least we texted about who was going to bring Bigsby to the groomer, I’ll say.