“It begins from the heart.” By Julia on her couch

Sunday October 13, 2019
6:26pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Shahla Khan

say your sorry
go on say the piece that is yours, that belongs to you
that you are holding back
as punishment
as deep sigh
as victim complex
say it out so it stops haunting you
so it stops sucking out the room

once upon a time this room had horns and it wasn’t a bad room but it did what it pleased
today you have gripped them tightly, and the horns feel a bit trapped
so if you are honest with
the room, with me, with yourself, you will abandon the punch left dangling
at the bottom of your hurt

I can tell you egos never want to be wrong but we both know yours is and if you say it, if you apologize
if you bring out the word that keeps you sick by hiding…

“Today, they target” by Sasha at the dining room table on Oak Dr.

Wednesday September 18, 2019
7:12am
5 minutes
Snapshot of a Lump
Kelli Russell Agodon

I didn’t think I’d be sat in the suburban dream
with manicured front lawns and dishwashers humming
with crickets and plush pillows
with beige carpets
beige table
beige couch

I wonder about learning a martial art
another language
(how would I choose which one?)
how to make croissants

how to learn to drive

Is that the only thing stopping me
from going to the woods for a few weeks
and howling the stains out
crying the confusion down to the
whittled tip?

Here I am
last night’s dreams on the coffee table
with the rattle and the book
the sun rising
towards all that is possible
etching light onto unknown

carving maybe on my toes

 

“He shone with Heavenly Courtesy” by Julia on the 144

Friday September 13, 2019
3:30pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I’m not asking for any kindness.
I never wanted kindness and I’m not asking for it.
Do you think I’m sitting up late at night crossing off names or putting tiny robotic checks next to the ones who opened the door for me?
I don’t need to keep track because nobody is ever doing anything out of kindness but out of fear that one day they’ll be punished somehow for not being kind. It is self-serving and I want none of it.
They talk about it like it’s some new age book, as if we’ve never considered things like this before.
How do you measure the absence of expectations? Is there a way to determine who did something without thinking that someway someday they would get their precious heavenly courtesy back?
Nobody gives away anything for free and I don’t want that kindness shining in my face like a flash-light illuminating.
There are too many awards and rewards and systems based on punitive response for there to be a thing called kindness.

“so much past inside my present” by Julia on the Ebus from Chilliwack

Saturday August 24, 2019
10:09pm
5 minutes
Past in Present
Feist

I prayed to the sweet in my finger prints,
the gold that has been found in all the touching.
I thanked the god that had done the speaking.
I knelt down to the alter of my former self: Great Teacher.
Oh how I wept.
How there was a deep whisper.
But how loud.
But how I listened.
The gentle nudge of spirit,
the family of cells storing memory in my dreams and letting me remember.
Oh how I remember.
The way a crowd would bring out my inner coward,
how I would ask to start over.
And Teacher Self bathed in love now,
in abundance now, I needed you as you were then.
I needed you exactly as you were.

“I’ll try to sneak across the border somewhere, somehow” by Julia on A’s couch

Friday July 26, 2019
12:29am
5 minutes
Summer Of My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews

you’re on the other side of the country right now. Missing me, you say, needing me. I’m feeling it hard right now. I’m feeling you. Thank you for believing in my dreams even when you won’t get those 15 minutes back. You listen. You always listen.

I am writing so many things about you, yoy’d think we just fell in love for the first time this year. But I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve fallen in love with you. How many days are in a decade again? Somewhere around there.

Tonight I’ll find yet another bed to think of you in. I’ll meet you across the border of sleep and into the place we keep choosing. It’s nice there and it’s warm, and I know the breeze of you like the back of my hand. Even if I don’t see your face, I’ll know.

1234

“Is it the beginning of a poem?” By Julia in the bathroom

Thursday March 28, 2019
10:30pm
5 minutes
The Poet Always Carries A Notebook
Mary Oliver

I tell the woman my name after she asks and make a joke about my last name rhyming with wedgie so she’ll remember how to pronounce it.

She looks at me for a minute then I explain that it came from some unkind yet quite creative grade fours when I was the new kid in school. I laugh, she laughs, everyone sitting near us laughs. And then she begins to talk about how a pebble in a stream can change the course of a river and I’m going where she’s taking me. She uses it as a teaching moment to remind the class that even small moments can stay with us our whole lives and we don’t know which pebbles people are walking around with in their pockets.

It even hits me hard and I’m the one joking about it.

She tells me, maybe that’s the start of a poem. It already rhymes…

“as the cells of his scalp” by Julia on Kits beach

Thursday March 21, 2019
5:06pm
5 minutes
Candlelight
Tony Hoagland

It was disgusting because it wasn’t my filth. I guess you could make the same argument that it could be less repulsive due to my separation from it, but let me set the record straight: I threw up in my mouth the moment this woman left her apartment. Well, in her defence it was a short term rental and she was probably getting a cleaner with the deal or whatever her husband’s work was willing to pay. But in the meantime, to live with so much food on the floor it could feed a small family for days…I shouldn’t continue. You’ll get so grossed out. Okay but let me say one thing, her sweet 9 month old had extreme eczema and when he’d wake up from his nap or if he got upset he’d start ripping at his little head. There was bits of his scalp all over the apartment—on the back of his high chair, on the changing mat, on the carpet. I considered if his home were clean that he might be less upset at the things he couldn’t control and less hell-bent on destroying his own skin. I also know that these things aren’t likely connected. But I wondered.

“exhale passively” by Julia in her living room

Tuesday March 19, 2019
9:44pm
5 minutes
Physiotherapy Instructions

Yesterday you asked me why I had given such a deep sigh. I thought it was self-explanatory: I needed it. But why did you need it? Cause you are exasperating. But you didn’t like that answer. You don’t think you’re exasperating. Sometimes I blow out air that’s keeping me angry at you. Sometimes it holds the place of my longing, my crying. I do not exhale passively around you since I decided I was going to give you the full range of me. Here, this is me existing without alterations, reservations, or tiny lies.

Yesterday I shook my hips around while we were laying in bed. I didn’t stop to apologize and you did not ask me to stop. The body sometimes needs permission to be alive. To exist.

I like it better this way. The breathing more intentional the view in front of me tangible, clear, echoing.

I shake and breathe and you ask me why and I tell you why. I’ve always wanted an intimacy like that.

“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”

“the biographies of our heroes” by Julia at this the studio

Friday February 22, 2019
8:00pm
5 minutes
Political Paralysis
Danusha Veronica Goska

You know how they say we stand on the shoulders of giants? You know how they say that, Sash? I feel sometimes like I’ve got a couple sitting on mine. Maybe I read that in a book somewhere, like I can’t make anything great because I can’t live up to the fact that someone else has already done it better than me. Makes me want to email Miriam again and tell her she really makes it hard for me because she is so good. I would just be repeating myself though since I think I already told her that.
Do you ever think that someday your daughter might be a writer? You know cause you are, and your mom is, and it makes sense. She’d have a couple of giants of her own, you know? But I think she’ll write about you. The way you write about your mom. The way it’s meant to be. I know you’ve already written about her, growing there below your heart.

“he fell like the rain,” by Julia at the Rivendell Cottage

Friday January 18, 2019
11:22pm
5 minutes
In The Beautiful Rain
Tony Hoagland

Her eyelids sank, heavy with dust
collected in the creases
So
many
damn
intricate
feelings
Sleep stretched out like a cat before her and she put her hand out to scratch under its chin
The night and all its bigger shadows
loomed in and around, sort of stalking
Her mouth a steady waterfall pointing ground-ward
He, on the other hand warmed up another cup of tea in the microwave
Flipped the pages of his book like punishment
Pushed the bed so far away
it
turned
into
the
couch

“The horse flung his head up” by Sasha at her desk

Friday January 4, 2019
8:12am
5 minutes
The Pearl
John Steinbeck

The whippoorwill flies at night, sings in the morning, nests in the afternoon. Like you did, when days were shorter and nights were longer. Like you did when 10 pm was early. The whippoorwill’s song is a memory of August days in the hammock on the porch, reading books, sending shivers into the corner of your imagination, chasing worlds that might be possible one day. The whippoorwill was believed to be a bird of witchcraft. Yes please, you say, yes please.

“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.

“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.

“Whale, Seahorse, Narwhal, and Crab” by Julia on D and M’s couch

Friday November 23, 2018
11:16pm
5 minutes
A Whale of a Tail!
Illustrated by Jo Moon

I’m in the ocean now and that’s where I live
Somewhere in between the deep and the light
Been working on my swimming so I’m finally better
I’m better

What’s her name used to say I swam like a fish but she was being nice and I think she said that about everyone
I couldn’t keep my head above water
I wept on the diving board while everyone inside the pool tried to cheer me on
I was always afraid of doing what other people were doing easily
I didn’t understand how to trust a thing bigger than me
I failed Yellow
The way some people fail their driver’s test
But when I passed it the next year I skipped ahead into Maroon
That made me feel like a real fish
What’s her name wrote it on my card again

“never stop bringing hope to humanity” by Julia on her walk home

Friday November 2, 2018
11:27pm
5 minutes
More Than Cooking
Marla Cimini

Today my sister lights a spark in me from across the country
we act like we never left our childhood bedroom
her side painted with the hope of blue and
mine dwelling pink
we didn’t know each other until later but I think we always knew

Takes one to no one
I tell her after she has told me that so many times
I wonder how bright we can get when we trust that the light inside us is made of love
I call her on my walk somewhere hoping she’s free after school
neither of us expect to have a life-changing conversation and every time it is a life-changing conversation
her philosophy
tender hearted curiosity
She is the reason I am able to do anything for the rest of the day
The morning begins like a siren reminding me that I have bodies to bury in the backyard
She listens with the kind of patience you can only get from Barbie dolls
but she is not poking her head into somebody else’s blouse
She is the strongest thing I can lean my head against
In her company I am the most uniquely grounded me
it comes on a day perfect timing for both of us to remember that the light can be seen from far away when it is turned on
So she flips the switch on for me
And I flick the switch for her
We plan a trip to Europe in the year 2024 like it were already here.

“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.

“Grid of Polaroids” by Julia at Vancouver International Airport

Thursday September 6, 2018
6:15am
5 minutes
Sinuous
Lydia Kwa

When I first met you, you lived with two dudes who didn’t know what cleaning was. Or order. One of them waked and baked everyday. The other one had a weird thing with dogs. Your apartment was falling apart. You didn’t have proper wine glasses but you had wine. There was a wall of polaroids by the front entrance. You partying in those photos looked so cool. You had to bathe like an ape because the shower head was broken. You made that joke the first time I came over. Those thin walls. The corner store condom runs. The 28 hour day. The food poisoning.

“Light becomes me.” by Julia at the desk

Sunday August 26, 2018
9:46pm
5 minutes
Here Be Monsters
Lisa Foad
I have friends sending me long distance healing. I am blessed beyond reason.
When I remember this love I am lift. I become light.
Earlier my lover told me he loves looking at my eyes naked. As if he could see me better without mascara. I used to look at other women who didn’t need makeup with reverence. How much love they had for themselves, how nice their eyes were naturally.
I wanted to believe him better. Let him love me the way he loves me.
I am sad at how radical leaving the house without filling in my eyebrows has become for me.
Why when I am this loved from across the world. Why when I am this bright and grateful and open? Why do I question the quality of my light? Why do I sit and wait for someone else to tell me that they see it. Feel it. Notice it.
If I believe I am light then light will become me. It will be the best accessory. The sweetest outfit. It will bathe me in its glow. And I won’t need to line my eyes in purple paint to draw attention.

“play the role of devoted son.” By Julia at G and C’s house

Saturday August 11, 2018
1:33am
5 minutes
Tincture Of Mother
Alan Craig

you can call them while you’re walking home on the busy bridge and tell them you love them.
you can ask them if they can pick you up from the airport or have the bed made ready.
you can tell them what you’re afraid of and that you need their help.
you can bring back their phone charger so they don’t have to spend the money on a new one.
you can make them laugh and get a good reaction when you try out your jokes.
you can be honest about the pot you’re about to smoke on their porch after midnight.
you can make as little noise as possible so you don’t wake them up.
you can take them to the best sushi place in town.
you can make them dinner for the first time and show them the sunset.
you can thank them for the good advice, the good company, and the good food.
but you cannot ask them for the toothpaste.

“a family house can remain empty” by Julia on the couch

Wednesday August 1, 2018
11:15pm
5 minutes
The Highest Bidder
Kerry Gold

My sister answers the phone when I call even if she is with her friends. My brother did the same a few days ago when I called him on his birthday. He was at Montana’s eating a burger before going to the Falls. I felt bad for calling but it felt like he would have chatted all day. That’s the home I’m going back to. The house emptied of the three of us years ago. I was the first to leave and stay gone. I keep boots and books and pictures there. I like going back if we watch the old home videos. We all keep saying we should turn those VHS tapes into DVDs so we can keep our memories longer but no one ever does. If I can find my old glove in the garage I suspect we’ll hit the field behind the house and go long.

“a couple in a living room” by Julia on the 99

Thursday July 26, 2018
12:33pm
5 minutes
From audition sides

I see this couple get out of their car, walk up the stairwell, into their apartment, turn on the lights, sit on the couch, flip on the tv, get up, walk around, close the blinds, get up, walk around, steep a tea, come back to the couch, turn off the light, leave the room. They do this on Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays. I dont know where they go on Saturdays but I suppose that’s not for me to know seeing as though I’m not a part of their couple. I am a part of my own that does all the same things and none of the same things. And yet, I watch them but I don’t think they watch me. We are always moving but they are never looking. When I see movement, I look. Maybe it’s just a crow, or the guy from upstairs throwing his couch cushion by cushion from his patio into the bin. Maybe I don’t catch them looking when I am in my living room because I am busy living.

“I need my medicine” by Julia at S,G, and E’s house

Saturday July 14, 2018
10:05pm
5 minutes
overheard at Genavie’s house 

I need this before I can do this I need the house to be cleaned the old milk to be taken out the practice of preaching

I need many things
before I can be enough

I need the light on
the story told
the writes written
I need the glory of the coming of the Lord

I need my medicine
drip drop in the throat before I can sleep
I need my mom to come
back to come back for me to not leave me here without saying goodbye

I need to watch Annie and pretend that my chance will come too
sing a little while I scrub the bathroom
tell you all the counters I’ve wiped and counting
counting to remind myself I am here and they are comig back
that they haven’t forgotten me
that I am enough

I need my medicine
this healing
this grace

“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.

“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?!