“connected by canals” by Julia on her couch

Thursday October 19, 2017

8:24pm

5 minutes

from the Scuba Diving Pamphlet

In Amsterdam you and Ben took me on G’s brunch boat. We had mimosas. I love that my mom used to babysit you and when we were young we pretended to be power rangers. You have always been blonde and my hair has always had curls. During that rainy October visit I slept on your couch and got lost in Vondel Park after dark. Ben rolled me some weed and we ate the best pancake of my life. The next time I’m in Amsterdam it’ll be for your wedding. I can’t wait to celebrate you and your love. I will tell everyone that I have known you longer than I have known myself. That you and I have lived in the same heart for twenty three years. That you have always been blonde and I’ve always had curls.

“It seems to me an awfully silly thing” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday October 17, 2017

8:47pm

5 minutes

The Mystery of the Blue Train Agatha Christie

I go to pick up his phone right, to go through it and shit? See he’s been pissing me off lately, chuckling to himself, constantly being on his stupid Instagram laughing at god knows whose feed. So I’m like, watch me destroy his life with a click and a swipe and delete delete delete. The first thing that pops up is his alarm. Like why is this interesting, I don’t know, but I’m there. I’m in it. I’m detective what’s his nuts. No, fuck Sherlock, I’m freaking Harriet the spy over here. Anyway I’m like, looking through, like when does this idiot need to wake up? 6:35am? Fine. And then an alarm for 7:35am. Okay. And then one for 8:35am. And 9:35am, like buddy, you’re already late what is the point of all these alarms an hour apart and like, 25 to? So I’m not even on his Instagram and I’m just scrolling and he comes out of the washroom like, what are you doing with my phone? And I’m like, these alarms—and he’s like, uhh uhh you weren’t supposed to see those.

“Show them yourself, your highness” by Julia on the 99

Monday October 16, 2017
10:39pm
5 minutes
from a dream

She opens the door and stands back as she gestures for me to enter. The door is covered in cobwebs. I’m supposed to be impressed? She clears her throat and then starts down the foyer. Her heels are click clacking and I imagine what her tongue looks like when she’s disappointed in someone. I don’t want her to see me looking around so I don’t but I clock everything. Listen for grandfather to signal me the hour. Even time is shrouded in mystery here. She brings me to a tiny room and shows me in. She waits at the door while I put down my bag. I think I’m meant to gasp or cover my mouth in honest surprise. She glares at me with anticipation and I’m still not sure if I’m allowed to speak. Suddenly the door slams shut and she is nowhere to be found. I am acutely aware now that she was waiting for me to leave. The lock thuds in the door. I understand how it looked like I was staying. She sealed the deal for me.

“Space Womb” by Julia at Kits beach

Sunday October 15, 2017
3:49pm
5 minutes
YouTube.com

Galaxy inside me oozing star dust and making plans

Staining my finger tips Milky Way

So when I stamp myself on the backs of all the envelopes I leave a trail of meteor magic behind.

My body amazes me every time I think about it. She is busy holding another human in her space womb. Making space for something good to come, preparing the introductions.

Hello world, this is tiny human and she is going to be a force of fresh air and binaural melodies. She’s going to change the planet and I’m going to be her keeper until she’s big enough to see. In this space womb I am weaving a promise through the umbilical cord and into her tiny soul. I play the music, everybody’s favourite song, and she dances inside me till she sleeps.

She is giant and bossy and funny as hell.” By Julia on her couch

Saturday October 14, 2017

11:22pm

5 minutes

a text

Kitty tells me to say that that I’m the baby and she’s the mum. I say, I’m the baby and you’re the mum. Then she tells me to say I’m addicted to raisins! I say, do I know what addicted means already? And she tells me to just say it already. I say I’m the baby and you’re the and mum and I’m addicted to raisins. She tells me, okay now say you’re trapped in a lemon peel. And I say oh no I’m the baby and you’re the mum and I’m addicted to raisins and I’m trapped in a lemon peel. Then kitty bursts out laughing. She is laughing so hard she gives herself hiccups. She tries to give direction between giant gulps of air. I tell her to take a second and catch her breath and she tells me to hurry up and be funny. I tell her she’s being a bit bossy and she shrieks at the top of the lungs, THAT’S BECAUSE I’M THE MUM.

“It was a wild weekend” by Julia on her couch

Friday October 13, 2017

5:33pm

5 minutes

cnn.com

Holy balls I can’t hear out of my left ear and I am not even mad. I thought I would be devastated if I lost my hearing but I’m fine. I think that’s what happens when you get older. When the real things matter. Anyway I’m not even bragging just trying to make peace with the things that are out of my control. Been cleaning more these days. Been organizing everything I can. They say it’s best to organize things that don’t have a heart beat. Cause you can’t control anything with one but sometimes you still need to put things in their perfect order. I’m upset that Lara is sick. She won’t tell me how bad it is but I know she’s been going to the doctor’s office more and more. At first I thought she was just pregnant. That would have been a whole different jar of worms and I think it’s safe to say now that a baby would not be the solution.

“a friend, and all around super amazing person” by Julia on the 84

Thursday October 12, 2017
9:44pm
5 minutes
from the bunz faceboook page

I’m

Vouching

For you

Like you deserve it

Like you’ve earned

some kind of love

like this

Thank you

is something you

can say to me

if you’re looking

for words after

all this is over

Thank you

will never get old

I can’t say I’ll

forget that if you

weren’t who you are

I wouldn’t be thinking

twice about helping

you but you’re lucky

I already love you

You get the friend

discount of me not

slapping your ass all

the way to next Tuesday

Some people would

be through with you

Some people would

ask to see your

transcripts

and driving records

“I’d be fucking rocked if I were you.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 11, 2017

8:54pm

5 minutes

From a text

He forces my wrist until it is twisted up and screaming quietly. He wants me to get into the bathtub. I don’t know why. I let him hold my arm and push until I am kneeling beside the tub and looking in. He keeps pointing. I keep imitating him. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do but he is strong for six and this is the first time we’re in a bathroom together. He looks at me like he’s trying to tell me about his pain. His face is contorted and his eyes are loud. I look back at him with as much heart as I can muster. Tell him with my smile he’s not alone. That I’m here. That I’m sorry he’s trapped inside his head with so many feelings and not enough words. He grabs me by the wrist when I try to open the door. He brings me back to the tub. I am breathing loud enough so he might hear it in his skin. I want to save him but I don’t know what from. He is crying without tears. I tell him, it’s okay. It’s okay.

“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.

“your name is the strongest” by Julia on L’s couch

Sunday October 8, 2017

10:55pm

5 minutes

milk and honey

Rupi Kaur

They tried to call me everything but my name to keep me small. Nicknames that referred to me as Other. As too smart. Too different looking. Too unlike them. But big spirits don’t stay trapped in small towns just because everyone else is.

They learn early which opinions to keep and which to let slide. Sometimes they don’t even know how much they already know about themselves. They don’t realize they’re bursting at the seams but they are. They’re not changing to conform. They’re not easily bent. They’re busy trying to stay loud while being silenced.

“how on earth an idiot like that could be trusted” by Julia at the bus stop

Friday October 6, 2017

10:19pm

5 minutes

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou

Wally took off work early again and decided to pick up Dallas and Dax from school even though they still had two periods left. Of course the school doesn’t think to notify me since one of their “guardians” is given my permission. I don’t like him going around there trying to be the hero for two teenage boys who are desperate for their father’s time. He buys them double cheeseburgers and milkshakes while I have whole chicken thawing on the counter. I told him he can keep his privileges if he keeps his drinking under control. I really didn’t want to drag my kids through court to prove to them that their daddy is a fuck up. So far he’s been okay, but I know he’s still polishing off a 24 every two days. That may seem like a small amount compared to some, but these are my kids.

“Vampire bats also appear” by Julia on the 84

Tuesday October 3, 2017
6:52pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino

Kinney and I are taking her boys trick or treating tomorrow night. They refused to go with Chet and I don’t blame them. He looks like Beetle Juice to me too. K thinks we should dress up as vampires or something. She doesn’t want to go as Mom for Halloween when she goes as Mom for everyday. I’ll wear your clothes and go as you, I tell her. I don’t want to be a bat. Fine, she says her eyes dead in thought, you give me your fishnets and I’ll go as you. I don’t wear those anymore, I say, but Kinney doesn’t care. She’s dreaming up a costume that has less to do with me and more to do with her enacting some fantasy of me. In her mind I’m the fun one. In her mind that means wearing fishnets. I don’t want to burst her bubble.

“Water music” by Julia on the 84

Monday October 2, 2017

10:03pm

5 minutes

Major Orchestral Works

Felix Mendelssohn

On the night I saw my reflection I was wearing a wolf mask

I looked into the lines of my face

(of the faces that have howled before mine)

And wept for the good me that was left behind

Sorrow mixing with salt

Forgiveness twisted into wave

I opened my throat to give

something that swung

at the pit of me

I did not ask why happiness had been so cruel

I did not beg to be understood

“COLD PRESS BRIGHT” by Julia at the studio

Sunday October 1, 2017
6:22pm
5 minutes
from the EPSON box

Cold press bright
button baby button
we are living in pink
hues and baby blues
baby baby will you
want to watch me grow
another human inside
me and then love someone
you’ve never met
but always known
button baby button

Conversation paused
on the problem
Nobody has written down
the plan for us
the three of us
nobody knew there
would be three
unless you knew
without telling me

Bright press cold
button baby baby
witness this magic
of me carrying a
peice of us both
in my body tell
the ocean we are
ready to cross it
all three of us
rock and wave it
all the way to
the shore to save it
baby button baby

Letters written in
father to be cursive
and mamma to be
subversive
you tell the
jokes and I’ll
tell the truth
you tell the
jokes and I’ll
tell the truth
We have not
always wanted you
but you were baby
worth the change
my mind made

“so you can focus on work at that time” by Julia on the seabus

Saturday September 30, 2017

10:17am

5 minutes

from a text

He’s been getting up early to work on his novel. I think there’s a big plot twist that’s been keeping him going. He leaves me in the bed, kisses my shoulder, and closes the door. I’m awake but asleep. I like knowing that words are calling him from slumber into the most awake he’s been in months. Later, he smiles over at me while he types away, croissant in mouth. I am on in the breakfast nook sipping coffee and reading the paper. I smile back.

I get an opportunity to travel across the country for a conference. When I tell him he gives me a confusing look. Bittersweet eyes.

“don’t go” he says, but I can see that he is excited about me being gone. Eliminating distractions is on his list.

“Are you sure you have to?” he tries once more, a dream or the cure rushing across his brow.

“Know this place?” by Julia on Fa Fa’s couch

Friday September 29, 2017

9:12pm

5 minutes

from google maps

There’s a light that keeps switching on by itself. Demi said not to worry about it cause it was just the spirits entering the space (????????). It is bad enough that a light goes on by itself but one that’s delivering ghosts to my living room? No thanks Tom Hanks. Demi has a couple crystals. She says they help. Help what, I don’t know. The light just went out again. If you had to hazard a guess, would you say that means they’ve left or they’ve fallen asleep? I’m referring to the spirits obviously. I don’t know what’s worse that one is coming and going

or many are coming and staying. How many spirits can this place hold anyway? I’m wondering about capacity, like how much can my own spirit handle. How many before I have to call the fire department.

Demi says they won’t bother me unless I invite them to. She did not mention how to avoid doing this.

“I’m driving so couldn’t really see it” by Julia at Black River Farm

Saturday September 23, 2017
8:33am
5 minutes
from a text

It is not more important to check your texts while operating a vehicle. I believe this. My mother would say, PRECIOUS CARGO BACK HERE, EH? We once were with Justin, watching helplessly from the back seat, when he got caused a minor fender bender cause he was trying to text his girlfriend a shooting star emoji. My mother yelled at him that their stupid love could wait and Justin never really forgave her for that. She was fed up. She had a right to be. His girlfriend broke up with him a week or two later anyway.

“if you have troubles” by Julia on the reading chair


Thursday August 17, 2017
11:02pm
5 minutes
from an e-flyer

“If you have troubles, I know a guy,” Elvira called over, “but he’s out of the country until Monday.”
The window shut behind her and the lights went out. Elvira seemed to sleep easily and often. I supposed if I could I would too. I took off my tank top and threw on Vic’s t-shirt. I liked the way it made my nipples look. I took out my notepad and wrote down “Elvira” and “knows a guy” in two separate bullet points. I wanted to be able to tell Vic she didn’t have to worry. It would have been a nice moment.

“packing slip” by Julia on E’s brother’s couch


Saturday August 12, 2017
10:28pm
5 minutes

from a receipt


Henry is moving out of his condo and into a nursing home. He is not happy about it. He is so full of resentment his hips hurt. Nobody wants him. He doesn’t get to play with his grand kids. Nobody is going to come visit him. He’s going to die there in the home without a family to comb his hair or make sure his eyebrows don’t grow out of his face sideways. All because of his one and only fall. Now they’re saying he can’t be left alone. It couldn’t have been the bacon grease on the floor that he slipped on, not a chance. It had to be because his body is giving out on him. Because his limbs don’t listen to his brain anymore. It’s always a reminder that he is becoming more of a burden to his family every single day and needs constant supervision.
Henry doesn’t want to go. He doesn’t want to start the next chapter of his life refusing to forgive himself.

“you called me at 5:30, said you couldn’t sleep” by Julia on the 99


Monday August 7, 2017
10:36pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

The phone buzzes beside my dreams and I think for a sleep second (which in real life is like, 100 wisps of sand) that you are dying and I am the only one who can love you when you’re dying. I can’t give you money but I can give you that. You want a soft arm to hold when the sky opens up? I can be that for you.
When my body alerts me to wake up (and I always wake up) there is a voicemail from you saying that you can’t sleep. My internal clock knows when it’s time to reach you. It knows 5am like a rock in a shoe.

“Trucker’s Haven” by Julia in the car


Friday July 21, 2017
7:03pm
5 minutes
from the sign at the 401 on ramp

Wendy and Adele try and stuff their pot into the glove compartment before the state trooper gets to their car.
“Stay cool,” says Adele. “Stay so fucking cool, Wen.”
The dark sunglasses slide down his nose, aided by the tiny pools of sweat collecting on the bridge of it.
“License and registration.” he says, his want poking uncomfortable holes through Adele’s ribbed tank top.
She hands him the paper and pretends there’s a wad of gum in her mouth. She bites her tongue not to address how he is addressing her.

“I thought you had it” by Julia on the 99


Monday July 3, 2017
4:49pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

Kelsey can’t find her wallet for the third time today and the next person who walks through the door is going to hear about it. Loudly.
She’s late, as usual, and thinking of Type A Andrea who always tsk tsks tardiness as if she has zero human flaws. Maybe it’s not easy for everyone to be on time, Andrea. Maybe some of us are burying a deceased bunny rabbit or deciding to floss for the first time in a year!
Andrea never says anything to Kelsey but her disapproval is as present as that fucking mole next to her nose. Kelsey can tell when she’s misplacing things: money, keys, glasses, blame, when she starts digging at her own friends.Your mole is adorable, Andrea, everybody fucking knows that.

“a certain brand of peanut butter” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday June 27, 2017
11:41pm
5 minutes
The Power Of Habit
Charles Duhigg


What do we have
we have a jar of peanut butter
we have Nescafe
we have all the will to
change this place for
the better
Oh the better
Oh the better
What do we have
we have tear-away track pants
we have water from the tap
we have the grief of forty two
years between us
What do we have
Oh the better
Oh the better
we have the better of this
the best of eachother

“if indoors, stay indoors” by Julia at her desk


Monday June 26, 2017
10:56pm
5 minutes
from the Central 1 credit union emergency response plan

The man in the green hat was shouting loudly on his cell-phone as he jogged his small dog around the pool and back and back and back.
We watched as he panted into somebody’s ear and didn’t know who to feel more sorry for. Dog included.
I looked at Lexi and knew I would not always love her. I smiled and tugged her shirt at the v.
We stayed there for a while, counting times he reached to yank up his boxer shorts poking through with his phoned hand.
When we walked home I intentionally stepped on the back of her foot and made her yelp.
I kissed her sorry, so sorry, so so sorry.

“wild horses” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday June 3, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
From the Microsoft home-screen

Huddled in the closet where your mother keeps bleach, baking soda, laundry detergent, you whisper in my ear that there’s something you need to show me.

I’m wearing purple shorts and a black T-shirt with Phantom of the Opera on it. You’re wearing jean shorts and a stained white hoodie.

“I ate a freezee in less than thirty seconds,” you’d told me earlier, referencing the orange drips. They look like tears, I’d thought, before running to the washroom to check if I’d peed a few drips – sisters.

It’s dark, except for the slit of light reaching under the door. You reach for the button of your shorts.

“and they’ll break your heart” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 21, 2017
6:14pm
5 minutes
trueactivist.com

My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby a week ago. It is the happiest my entire family has ever been, and I’m including the time my mom caved and let us get KFC the day we moved into our new house. My sister called her Cleo and all of us can swear we’ve never known love until her. Harper’s doing great. She has a glow. She looks as calm as if she’d been a mother her whole life. It doesn’t look as hard as I thought it would be, of course Harper has always been good at figuring things out. Cleo latched right away and seeing my baby sister stroke her daughter’s cheek as they bond there in the rocking chair–it’s all I need to see to send me into a fit of emotion. I am overcome by how beautiful it all is. Even Danya is in awe, and we never thought she’d step foot in our parents’ house since she tried to burn it down in 1994.

“it won’t matter what house I move into” by Sasha on her couch


Friday May 12, 2017
9:51pm
5 minutes
Love Warrior
Glennon Doyle Melton


Gramma takes us in after the house burns down. We move into her attic, me and Kate and Selma. Ma and Freddie McFly go to the Spencers’. Selma says that they might be swingers, but Kate and I say, “please don’t make us picture that.” Gramma never recovered after Gramps died. She doesn’t smile, or laugh, or do the crossword puzzles. She makes us toast with raspberry jam in a little bowl. No butter in sight. “We can just use jam from the jar, Gram,” says Kate. Gramma scowls. Sometimes, at night, when all the lights are out and we are three in a row in the king bed, we hear her whistling the Canadian anthem.

“Did you know?” by Julia on the 14


Sunday April 23, 2017
11:34am
5 minutes
from a bus ad

“Did you know that if you make your bed every day you’ll feel more accomplished? I read that in an article about the army and why they make you make your bed every morning. It teaches discipline and says to the world ‘I value my bed, my rest, my belongings, ETCETERA.’ I have been making my bed every morning, even if I have to get right back in it later to sleep. I have been feeling more accomplished. I like crossing off my to-do list. They say if you start your day with something easy then the rest of your day feels a whole lot more manageable. I told my sister this and she refuses to believe that it works. She doesn’t listen to me about anything. I’ve told her about vision boards and angel cards and manifesting and avoiding night shades but she does not like to be told anything. ”

“Certified manager” by Julia on her couch


Friday April 14, 2017
10:13pm
5 minutes
from a business card

Barry is my boss and also my father. He does not let me take home extra envelopes or paper clips. Once he said I could have the left over pinapple from the staff party, but other than that he’s a pretty big stickler for the rules. He’s the middle child so I guess you could say he was a big advocate for justice. Things always needed to be fair. Barry is a good boss and a good father. He sends me letters when I travel, he walks me all the way to the baggage drop off at the airport. Barry has a picture of me in his wallet singing into a toy microphone. He tells his other emplpoyees very little about himself. I’m the only one who knows his birthday.

“Bad bitch” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Tuesday March 28, 2017 at JJ BeanJJ Bean
2:05pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean on Cambie

Krista knows how to walk in high heels and does so, day after day, without any visible discomfort or achy lower back. She’s one of those women. She carries a small tin of flaky sea salt in her purse and asks for her salad without salt because she wants to add her own. She probably did a lot of blow in her twenties, but you’d never know it, and she never talks about it, but her appetite is still suppressed. Krista didn’t fuck your boyfriend, that was someone else altogether, let’s not get distracted. She only meets men on Tinder who are a decade older than her and whose salaries are at least ten thousand dollars less than hers. It’s one of many little rules that keep Krista Krista.

“IT’S TRUE!” By Sasha on her couch


Wednesday March 8, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

It’s true, Jenna thinks. She does hate to disappoint. “I wouldn’t say that’s the primary thing going on here, though…” Dr. Hendricks looks over her wire rimmed glasses and raises her eyebrows. Jenna has been a patient for long enough to know what this means. “You’re full of shit.”

“You’ll need to investigate your feelings about disappointment, Jenna. We’ll do some of that work here, in session, but you’ll also need to keep a close eye on when you’re feeling disappointed, in yourself or in others, and how that effects your behaviour. Are you lashing out more? Are you quiet? Pay attention.”

“You know I’m fallin'” By Sasha at her desk


Sunday March 5, 2017
10:23pm
5 minutes
Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac

I pull up, into my usual parking spot. I didn’t have time to put make-up on before leaving the house and dropping Tam at daycare. I never used to even wear make-up. Look what you’ve done to me, Gurmeet. I put on “Prussian Pink” lipstick and a bit of eyebrow pencil and I can’t believe how fast my heart is beating. I brought my travel mug today, because it usually allows us an extra minute or two of conversation. Steven asked why I’ve started wearing perfume again. I shrugged it off. I said, “I don’t know, Steven! When did you stop flushing your shits?” I think he got the hint. I don’t even like Tim Horton’s coffee. But here I am, walking in, knowing that I’m going to see you, knowing that you’re going to ask me about Tam and if I want an Old Fashioned.

“he could hear her husky” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday March 2, 2017
9:58pm
5 minutes
Ordinary Thunderstorms
Wiliam Boyd


Husky voiced and heart racing, Edith reached out towards Mr. Jackson. “Can I get you another drink, sir?” He didn’t hear her, or he did, and ignored her, she wasn’t sure which was worse. Someone across the room, a ravishing maven in a tight red dress, waved to him, and he walked towards her, as if floating, as if cross country skiing, across the white marble. Edith adjusted her bowtie and went into the kitchen to see if there were more appetizers to pass out. Finkelstein was already on it. He winked at her on his way out the swinging door, a massive tray in his hand of mini quiches, smoked salmon wraps.

“I felt stung” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:29pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

When Heloise first saw Penelope, she knew that they’d been cut from the same piece of floral corduroy. It had nothing to do with the hands of the mothers that they were each holding. It had everything to do with their size. Both a head taller than everyone else in their Grade Three class, the girls became fast friends. Height aside, their physical features couldn’t have been more different. Heloise had jet black hair cut into a bob, with blunt bangs that ended just above her eyebrows. Her mother had the exact same haircut. They went every five weeks to the salon on 10th. Heloise’s eyes were brown, like her father’s, and she had a small mouth, which she regarded with disdain. Penelope had auburn curls, which she wore loosely braided down one side. She had her ears pierced, and wore small jade heart studs. They’d been a birthday present from her mother. Penelope’s mother reminded everyone of someone they knew. “I have one of those faces,” she’d say with a smile.

“but the apricot” by Julia at her dining table/desk


Wednesday February 15, 2017
7:39pm
5 minutes
Peterson First Guide to Tress
George A. Petrides


It stung like the needles off a pine tree pricking into her left breast. She could have begged for mercy but she hadn’t felt anything in days and was afraid the pain might be better than the nothing. Jac pressed into the soft spot screaming back at her. Sympathy pains? She wondered if Leah being in the hospital was causing some pyschosomatic symtoms. I can feel you, sweet thing, I am witness, believe me. The gentle stabbing persisted, aching only due to it’s lack of sleep. Jac got up to busy her mind with something else. The pain eased suddenly, washing over her with a cool relief.
Then she noticed the apricot smudge on the window. She winced, drawing her open palm to the base of it once more.

“imagery is ignored” by Julia at her dining table/desk


Tuesday February 14, 2017
8:29pm
5 minutes
from a grading rubric

On the wall that she stared at day in and day out, good lighting bad lighting, Cynthia hung a portrait of a woman with black swollen eyes and puffy cheeks. She was something of an attitude more than an appearance. She wasn’t saying anything so much as she was receiving something. Accepting something. Most days Cynthia didn’t have a reason to look at the woman and she hadn’t fully taken her in. Something about it was hard to engage with. The expression lifeless yet the most honest thing she’d ever seen. The look in her face was not sadness nor sympathy. Cynthia found it hard to look at things like that.

“Well I can’t.” By Julia on the 4 bus


Sunday February 12, 2017
3:23pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 4 bus

Tommie was rocking her newborn baby in her arms and humming gently when the telephone rang. She stopped suddenly but decided to keep going so Alex wouldn’t wake up again. She didn’t seem to mind the noise but the motion, or lack there of, she’d definitely notice. Tommie hadn’t been expecting a call or any visitors. Nobody seemed to come around these days. People weren’t too interested in seeing her after she took off without telling anyone. They didn’t understand that she needed to be far away from it all when she delivered. They didn’t want to know why she couldn’t just ask for help. Alex yawned in her arms but stayed asleep. The telephone rang again.

“Does this one need closure too?!” By Julia on the 99


Sunday February 5, 2017
11:34pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Quebec and west Broadway

“Does this one need closure too?” Lara bellowed, incredulous that she was getting another phone call after just exclaiming how “done” she was. Kya snatched Lara’s phone put of her hand and jogged a few feet away, leaving one of her hands up as defense against her ever fuming friend. “Ask her if she wants a reason! Ask her!” Lara was pressing her thumbnail into her forefinger to keep her from biting off her own tongue. She wanted to feel blood.
“Tell her that she’s not welcome in this friendship anymore-tell her that and to go love herself!”
Kya shook her head emphatically from side to side and turned her back.

“She sees light and shapes” by Julia on her couch


Monday January 30, 2017
8:28pm
5 minutes
from a text

She sees through me like nobody else has ever been able to. I feel like a string of twinkle lights wrapped in cellophane. She knows when my heart races. When my blood pumps. She knows when my hurt is anxious of when my hurt is lonely. She knows when my reasons are irrational or when they’re rationed just so. She knows when I am tired or when I’ve forgotten to eat. She knows when the silence I give her is because it is so loud inside me. She knows that my tears are not because of her but because of me. She knows when the moon is in control and when I am merely vessel. She sees the struggle cloaked in good intentions, cloaked once more in sand or tide. She sees me like a painting with all the sadness behind the eyes that cannot be quelled or released. She knows when I’m talking to fill the air with something that doesn’t reek of me. She knows when I am waiting for her to scold me or save me or keep me right where I am.

“You’ve had them for about 12 days” by Julia at Bump And Grind


Friday January 27, 2017
5:43pm
5 minutes
Syllabus
Lynda Barry


When you hold up your twisted hands you forget that somewhere sometime ago they were new, and they were good. You wish the light wasn’t so damn revealing. You wish that old adage about knowing something like the back of your hand could stay true. You wish that you didn’t care about what they looked like, but they still feel like they are meant to be a reminder of vanity’s curse. The rain stings them more than you thought it would. Your daughters grabbing them to dance with you in the kitchen sting them more than you wish it would. You wish you believed in God for the days where reason doesn’t seem to be good enough. You wish you could open a jar without the help of your son, or the two dollar electric can opener from the Salvation Army.

“You’ve had them for about 12 days.” By Sasha at Bump n Grind


Friday January 27, 2017 at Bump n Grind on Granville
5:43pm
5 minutes
Syllabus
Lynda Barry


You opened up your belly with a whale bone and you filled yourself with rocks.
You went into the river, and you didn’t sink, you floated down, like Ophelia, you floated all the way to the beginning.

When you arrived there, you planted the rocks like seeds and restitched your belly with a daisy chain.

You watered those seeds until words grew:

goodbye

rhythm

hope

You picked the words and tied a blue ribbon around their stems.

You gave them to me.

You told me this story and then I kissed your scar. I cradled ‘goodbye’. ‘rhythm’, and ‘hope’.

I changed their water and fed you peanut butter banana sandwiches.

I watched ‘goodbye’ grow and ‘rhythm’ die.

“We heard you loud and clear” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday January 21, 2017
8:19pm
5 minutes
From a text

An eagle with wings spread
blessed the chapel and we gathered
two hundred strong and you stood
at the front between the drum kit
and the electric piano
and you spoke W.H. Auden
while your knees shook and your voice
was strong.

Bent over the plywood coffin
that your father will be cremated in
“sometime later this week”
you said goodbye to the body
that helped to make your body
the body that protected and
didn’t
the body that caught babies
and treated wounds and stitched up
bodies that bleed like his body did

“Destiny Number” by Sasha at Elysian on Broadway


Thursday January 19, 2017 at Elysian
4:35pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

You buy a car and drive across the country. You wear only your mother’s clothes, from the time before she knew you. Remember that that time existed, you say, under your breath like a rosary. You buy a car the colour of sunset and sand, wondering if chrome can chameleon. You paint your face with mud and forget. You go into a diner and order a mushroom omelette and extra crispy bacon. The waitress smiles at you. She knows where you’re coming from, and maybe even where you’re going. You eat with your hands.

“what he did before fame” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday January 18, 2017
6:54pm
5 minutes
From a Google search

I have flashes of you famous and how I’ll wink at women in statement glasses at dinner parties and say, “I knew him before…”

You’re grounded when you’re famous, you’re not an arrogant asshole like the others.

You invest your millions ethically and always buy sandwiches for homeless people.

You always wear distressed jeans, but not the kind you can buy already worn in. You do that artfully, by yourself.

At said dinner parties, I always tell stories of when you had bad haircuts and got drunk off of a single can of beer.

“A failure to be my best self” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday January 15, 2017
6:22pm
5 minutes
Becoming Wise
Krista Tippett


When I broke into your home, your roommate was fucking her girlfriend. I wasn’t sure if I should stay, or go, or pretend that this was a normal way to spend a Wednesday evening. I knew that you were in China, and that a million different people were taking you out for every meal of the day. I knew that you hadn’t texted me back in exactly seventy six days. I get in your room, the moaning and screaming coming through the wall, and I’m not even sure what to do, I’m not even sure what I want. I take off all of my clothes. I climb into your bed. I drink in your smell.

“I don’t even think that your songs are about me” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday January 11, 2016
5:24pm
5 minutes
Like You
EXES


I don’t think that your songs are about me, but I pretend that they are. I imagine that you want me more than anything, that you’d take me anywhere. I imagine that we live together. Some place with exposed brick and an espresso maker. We can see the skyline. I just stare at it, all day, waiting for you to come back from the studio or a songwriting session. I stare at the expanse of city, and I think about what I might wear to the next awards show, or what cologne I’ll spray on my chest before I hear your key in the lock. I wait a few days before shaving because you like a good five o’clock shadow.

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“The Toy Box Burlesque” by Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Monday January 9, 2016
11:32pm
5 minutes
from a show postcard

When Gia gave me some of her old costumes I was in heaven. Birdie told me not to wear them cause I would catch her diseases and become a person of “interruption”…meaning my path to the lord might get a little patchy. I told Birdie I wouldn’t wear them because all I wanted to do was study them and use them as templates for my own sewing or building. Birdie nodded her head emphatically a few times before leaving as if to convince herself that I was telling the truth. She eventually left me and I was so excited to be alone with Gia’s beaded underwear and long satiny gloves. I pulled one glove on my arm, slowly, feeling every tiny hair brush against the smoothness. I peeled it off slowly, sliding the glove down my elbow and off my wrist with a patience I didn’t even know I had. When I finally revealed my last covered finger I could feel my insides rushing to greet me.

“People will say,” by Julia in her childhood room


Friday January 6, 2017
12:45am
5 minutes
from The Province

I didn’t wish you a happy birthday and people will say-probably-that I am avoiding you or doing it on purpose or trying to play games. I’m not doing any of those things-though it’s your prerogative to think that I am. To believe everyone else but me. I didn’t do it this year because I was busy and because I don’t think you’re a good person. I should clarify that I still love you somewhere deep down as the person who first showed me what borrowing my parents’ car was really for; who laughed easy to build someone else up when you knew how much that would matter. I can’t condone the rest of you these days. Maybe not for the last few years. I tried to trick myself but it didn’t work. I’m not a very good liar. Not nearly as good as you.

“two or more writers” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday January 3, 2017
5:39pm
5 minutes
bcartscouncil.ca

“Gather your things and meet me at the streetlamp on 12th,” Mother Lang says in her strange accent. “Where is she from?” I ask Elizabeth, who shrugs. I gather what will fit into the bag Mother Sherman gave me yesterday evening when she visited for the third time this month. It’s hard to know what to pack, but I imagine I’ll need at least seven pairs of cotton underwear, three blank notebooks, a lighter, and some shampoo. “No one ever clarified about toiletries, did they?” I call Elizabeth from the toilet. There’s no time to waste.