“Very rarely patients develop __________.” by Julia on the 20

Wednesday April 11, 2018
8:49pm
5 minutes
Diagnosis
Adam Sol

You’re online again because that’s where the answers are. That’s where you’re allowed to be sick. Because the forums are full of people like you looking for inches to turn into miles. Itches to turn into conditions and you’re convinced you’ve been cut by the hidden incision bit by the bug that borrows its fangs into your skin and then buries its offspring underneath it. You’re sick and you know it. The rash you developed shows it, the hard lump in your throat chose itself and you tell the world you did not make this up. Where all the people like you play, looking to lose at another game, maybe this way you will have something to blame for the wrong going on in your life. The invisible pains, come and go strains, the ones that buy you sympathy and community and attention.

“all these obsessions we’ve believed” by Sasha on her couch

Monday, February 26, 2018
9:16pm
5 minutes
Wake The Dead
Julia Pileggi

saw the visions this afternoon
their heads blurred gold
knew what was going on
but didn’t trust myself again
stumbled home through icy skulls
you caught me as i fell through the door
straight to the toilet
all of lunch
swirl down
rub back
head split
visions gone
dark room
quiet now quiet please

slept like a ghost
spinning wool out of dreams
you fed me pills
my mother said to take
“get on top of the pain”
“what did she eat?”
“maybe it’s hormonal”
“cranio sacral”
“chiropractor”
okay okay hushhhhhh

as a child i’d come home
to my sister
dark room
quiet now quiet please

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

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

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

“confirm your choice” by Sasha in her bed

Monday December 18, 2017
9:02pm
5 minutes
The Essential Enneagram
David Daniels and Virginia Price

I don’t have anything to say
Everything hurts
Go away

I turn into a needy kid when I’m ill
That’s a fact
You’re name’s not Bill

I’ve gone through three boxes of tissue
And that’s not all
There’s a bigger issue

My brain is mushy slimy mud
I don’t have a nurse
I don’t have a bud

This really is a poem of pity
I hope no one read’s it
It’s a terrible ditty

I don’t have anything to write
My head is throbbing
Turn off the light

“Vampire bats also appear” by Sasha in bed at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday October 3, 2017
5:53pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino

I’ve never been sicker.
I always feel that when I’m sick.
I’ve never felt this hot wound sore achey fuckedup messy snot mess.
Can’t focus pencil on page.
Can’t breathe.
Can’t think.
No space.
So tired.
Could someone else please do this for me?
I need help.
I moan and groan and moan more groan more.
Cold water down the throat of knives and you tried to feed me eggs and I ate them, reluctant.
I’ve never been sicker.
This is the worst time.
This is the worst of the most terrible.
I may not survive.
I know that I am dramatic but LittleBoy does see a wolf one day and what happens then?

“stomach discomfort” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday September 7, 2017
10:25pm
5 minutes
saje.com

My stomach knew you weren’t to be trusted
I was sick for months with the twisting and turning and writhing
Once I pressed the metal bowl by my bedside to my skin
crawling over it like a slug
the cool pressure relieving all of the things I didn’t know

The more I ached the more I knew that something
was wrong but the older I get the more I know
that when something’s wrong it takes it’s time
and will send the memo when all parties are ready

The last time I saw you was waiting to board a plane
back home

“There is nothing here” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 25, 2017
10:08pm
5 minutes
This is It
James Broughton


I have waited for inspiration to strike
like the match of missed connections
like the booklet of nose aids on high alert
There is no force of flame, nor flicker
There is nothing here that looks like me

According to a long lost diary from my
mother’s storage locker we all gave up
on her when we believed that she was fine
Of course we didn’t think to ask further
to make sure that she was being honest
If I could defend us without seeming
defensive, I would say we didn’t want to know
the truth and so we let her smile

We gave her short hugs like they wouldn’t
be our lasts
Called her twice a month
business as usual, instead of once a week
And she thought it would be too much
to ask for more
And she wanted to ask for more.

“Wherever you are” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday April 15, 2017
2:41pm
5 minutes
The Promise
Tracy Chapman


M. brings me an avocado smoothie after
I’m vomited and shit
for three days straight
Too bad the walls are thin
Too bad the sun takes as much as it gives
He brings me up to the roof and we
look out
the ocean cresting a possible future
Kisses me and I laugh because his gaze
is so penetrating
I think about AIDS when we fuck and
then feel ignorant and sick
I vomit as soon as we’re done
my breasts resting on the toilet seat
M. holds my hair
Naked and retching
prayers over the loudspeakers
perched on top of the mosque

“he could hear her husky” By Julia on her couch


Thursday March 2, 2017
9:48pm
5 minutes
Ordinary Thunderstorms
Wiliam Boyd


After a week of coughing up dark globules of phlegm, Andie had had enough. She couldn’t afford to be anywhere other than a sink because as soon as she got comfortable, she’d get the call in her throat, and she’d have to spit. It was disgusting, to say the least. She wasn’t thrilled about horking up half of baby seal everytime she swallowed, but “better out than in” her mother used to say. Pierre was getting pretty sick of Andie being sick too. He once had to politely ask her not to spit in the bathroom sink out of fear of her clogging the drain with one of her “infection chews”. Andie laughed at this because, yes, they were chewy, and yes she was worried about clogging the drain too. When she did this, however, while as sick as she was, Pierre couldn’t help but be turned on. Her husky voice made her sound like pure sex. And he wanted her.

“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.

“He’s horrendous tonight” by Julia on her couch


Thursday December 1, 2016
11:35pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Canucks game

We wished we had tried harder to get him to make his famous ravioli. Aunt Katherine said that’s the only thing that would have made him feel better. Because it reminded him of his late grandmother who first taught him how in her kitchen covered in flour.
He didn’t seem to want motivation anymore. He didn’t like being pushed.
How do you tell a man that doesn’t want to hear it? How do you carefully construct a space where he can decline but also maybe change his mind. That’s what we should have worked at.

“I do and I don’t” by Julia on the 250


Sunday May 8, 2016
3:59pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 2 bus

By the time I have to decide whether I’ll go and visit Tracey in the hospital, I’ll probably know if Tracey is even still there. Last time I heard from Tanya that Tracey was fighting with her tubes and didn’t want anything “touching her blood”. I told Tanya I would come and relieve her but I didn’t end up going because I am actively avoiding the hospital. Tanya told me not to come if I don’t want to be there but Tina thinks I’m not pulling my weight. She says if I’m not going to come relieve them I should at least give 24 hours notice. Tanya had someone just in case I decided not to so everything was fine and Tina doesn’t scare me. Tina calls me everyday and so I make sure it goes to voicemail. She likes to give all the gory details like “Tracey only has a few good days left” and “you better show up for her” or “Tracey vomited in her sleep because her intubation wasn’t done right”.

“putting on sweat pants and sunglasses” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday September 26, 2015
11:32pm
5 minutes
a tweet

Simone brings Jude a butter tart at work. He woke up with a cold and she feels bad for him. Butter tarts are Jude’s love language. Simone learned this two years too late. She bikes from the bakery all the way downtown, sticking to side streets. Biking in the fall reminds Simone of grade five, the first year she got to cycle to school on her own. The independence was dizzying. She texts Jude from the lobby. “I’m here!” He doesn’t respond and she only waits a moment or two. She tries to find the stairs but fails and finally takes the elevator up to the twelfth floor. This is one of those strange buildings that doesn’t have a thirteenth. She wonders about paranoia and superstition. She wonders who started the thirteen witch hunt. She like the number – the mix of tall and wide. She suddenly feels nervous about being at Jude’s work – like she doesn’t belong. She wishes she had taken the bus, maybe then she wouldn’t be so windswept and sweaty.

“putting on sweat pants and sunglasses” by Julia on her couch


Saturday September 26, 2015
10:40pm
5 minutes
a tweet

Harley is sick again. She tells us this. She sips her “fluids”. That’s what she calls them, her “fluids” when they’re clearly as simple as chamomile tea or apple cider vinegar and honey. Harley is always sick and I stopped believing it was true about a year ago. She shows up to our meetings with sweat pants and sunglasses on, drinking her “fluids” and she doesn’t talk above a whisper.
“Why didn’t you just stay at home in bed if you’re not feeling well?”
“I don’t want to let you guys down.”
“Well you’re hurting us more than helping us. You could spread the germs.”
“I think the contagious part is over, I think I’ve tackled that part on my own already.”
“Okay, so should we get started? Harley, let’s see your notes for the–”
Harley is sick again. She tells us this. She sips her “fluids” and gives excuses for not completing her work. I don’t know why we keep her in the group. Maybe because we see that she needs us more than we need her. Maybe because she’s my baby sister and I have to make sure she doesn’t fall off the face of the planet.

“I sent you an email” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday, July 12, 2015
3:09pm
5 minutes
from a text message

I send you an email because I’m not sure what else to do. You’re so sick in our bed and I can’t come in there because there’s a high probability that I’ll yell at you or say something dumb like, “wanna go get gelato?” or, “you look like shit!”

The email says:

Hey!
Just wondering if you need anything? I’m going to CrossFit at 7… Please don’t die when I’m gone
Love ya!

You’re not going to check your email. You’re probably sleeping. You’re probably trying not to barf.

I send another one.

I’m terrible at this. I’m sorry. My Mom used to call my Gran to come when I was sick because she had no idea how to take care of anyone. Not even herself. Too bad my Gran’s dead or I’d see if she could come look after you…

“Watch your belongings” by Julia on the 505 going west


Tuesday, April 28, 2015
11:54pm
5 minutes
A sign in the Kitsilano Public Library

Tuck had been running back and forth to the toilet all morning. He felt like a train was plowing through his stomach since last night’s sushi. He knew he shouldn’t have finished it all after the first bite of tuna that smelled very close to the stuff he’d sometimes find underneath his toes. Tuck always smelled his toe jam. He couldn’t help it. He kind of liked it. But Tuck wasn’t big on waste, or health, or being an adult and ordering new food because that would take time and he was hungry as all hell. Every bite he ate he had to plug his nose so he wouldn’t taste the…funk of it. He ate every last morsel and it only took him 25 minutes for him to regret it. He could hear his mother’s shrill voice in his ear as he hunched over the can, preparing his guts for another roller coaster ride. “Don’t you want to enjoy your food, Tucker? What’s the point in eating if you refuse to even taste it!” He didn’t want to be thinking of her right now. It was hard enough having to ask a customer to watch the diner every 5 minutes so he could run to the bathroom and purge.

“made with real almonds” by Julia at Amanda’s kitchen counter


Thursday January 15, 2015
2:29pm
5 minutes
from the Earth’s Own Almond Milk carton

So my brother got sick once and turned into the kind of guy who reads labels and won’t put anything into his body without a reason. Like a good solid reason, like “fixing” “helping” “improving” “nourishing”.
All of these things are fine and I’m happy he does it cause he should do it. But I just got so bored about discussing this with you that I literally fell asleep for one minute there. I just went off to a distant land. And now I remember what we were talking about and I totally see why. The “point” is, sickness=health for some people and some people=boring life because of it. The “point” I was trying to make, was that you’ll be fine. You might even be better than you are now. But you have to start reading labels and being okay with not telling any more good stories.

“Optimal health” by Julia on a bridge in Venice


Saturday December 6, 2014
5:49pm
5 minutes
The back of the chia seed bag

Mom got sick, mom changed her diet, mom stopped working, mom ate only air and self pity, mom waited for the mail everyday, mom bought a yoga mat she never used, mom began to juice, mom began to sing, mom began to smile, mom began to coach, mom saw her worth, mom hid her grief, mom preached without being preachy, mom reminded us of our lives, mom made sure we knew we were not too young, mom made sure we knew we could help ourselves, mom started saying I love you, mom started laughing at nothing, mom started seeking alternative medicine, mom started smoking pot, mom started sleeping again, mom started resting again, mom had a million phone calls, mom stayed home in her PJs.

“Flowers for Mama” by Julia at Second Cup


Wednesday June 5, 2013 at Second Cup
6:40pm
5 minutes
from the Public Sketchbook Project at Cafe Novo

She was sick, Mama was. On her birthday…so me and Angela decided to throw her a casual house party. Bedroom party, actually. Bedroom brunch. Mama didn’t want anything crazy or expensive, so Angela and I wrote her a silly song and sang it to her with her eyes closed while she clutched each of our hands. Mama loved when Angela and I got along long enough to make things like funny songs, and eggs by accident, which she coined when we were small. These eggs were half scrambled, half nobody knows. But Mama was excited by the fact that we didn’t chew each others’ eyes out while we did it. Angela and I have never really been close. Close enough that we fight, close enough that we know each other better than anyone, but we bicker. Probably because we’re the same, Mama says. It was Angela’s idea to get flowers for Mama. I wish I could take credit but she was always better at that stuff than me. She just knew when things would matter and when they wouldn’t. Mama loved the flowers, maybe most of all. Maybe more than the eggs and that’s what I was in charge of. Angela told me later, it was my rhyming that got Mama smiling the biggest. I didn’t correct her when she said that.

“supplement” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday, December 26, 2012
12:21am
5 minutes
the Emergen-C packet

Jackie’s sick again. Nearly coughed up a whole lung at dinner. Poor girl. She doesn’t believe in washing her hands and I can only guarantee, based on my life’s experience, that that’s the one wrong thing she’s doing.
She thinks it strips your hands of their natural oils and things. I never met someone like her and when Ian brought her home, I could tell from our very first exchange that she was different. She looked like a beautiful alien: large eyes, white blonde hair. I wanted to smack her in the forehead just to see what a pretty thing like that would look like when she cried.
Ian told me she was a true angel. Well, in my humble opinion, I never met an angel who’s so clearly without the luck of God.
Every time she moves she winces, trying to stifle the moans. Her body aches, I can hear her trough the vent. Was hoping Ian would convince her to take some cough medicine or a Tylenol, but she’s pretty persistent on only putting natural things into her system.
Jackie’s nice enough, don’t get me wrong, just a little misguided, I think. She could afford to supplement some of her wacky ideas for a spoon of Buckley’s.

“they descended on him,” by Sasha at R Squared


Monday, November 12, 2012 at R Squared
11:15pm
5 minutes
Pest Control
Bill Fitzhugh


She wishes she were sick. She wishes laziness were excusable and that people would coo sympathy and love and bring her sweet potato soup and apple crisp. She wishes she remembered the prayer her grandmother would say before bed because she really needs the comfort of God and romanticized lacy nightgown memory. She wishes that tomorrow she might wake up to summertime and orange juice in the fridge and Jon snoring softly beside her. She makes a mistake by calling his brother and asking for Jon’s journal, the one how wrote in every day during his fifty minute lunch break. Why couldn’t they just give him a full hour? She reads it and re-reads it and learns his words by heart. “I like Angela,” he wrote. “But I could never love her.” She sings this line, her only line in his special book, over and over, trying to take a shower but failing.