“I call to ask my mother the name of the street” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday May 2, 2018
Idrissa Simmons

I see a woman holding the hand of a small child. Maybe he’s two and a half. The woman looks rotten. The child isn’t screaming, but I bet that he was a few minutes ago. She wipes his snotty nose with her own sleeve. It’s a nice sweater. That moment is full of surprise and worry. On my part. She looks at him with something I do not know. I am not a mother. Is it love? Is it hate? Is it indifference? Is it fatigue? She catches my eye, watching them, and glares at me. I must look crazy. Watching them. She’s just trying to get her toddler to blow his nose.

“the beauty and challenge of facebook” by Julia at her desk

Sunday February 18, 2018
5 minutes
Margaret Christakos

Earlier today I was on Facebook deleting all the people who I no longer want to have access to my life. You don’t get to see what I’m up to if you’ve been a bad friend. Or not a friend at all. It isn’t your right! I decide, okay? I’m getting heated up forof a myriad of reasons. Sometimes it feels like the whole damn world is watching. Sometimes I want to be left alone. Tina and Guy send messages from each other’s accounts and that drives me up the wall. Speaking of walls, I don’t need some stranger commenting on a conversation I’m having with my sister’s boyfriend. I don’t need to be having conversations at all on Facebook but I’m on it and that’s that. I don’t want to miss anything. My brother posts videos of his kids in the pumpkin patch. I don’t want to miss my mom accidentally telling me she misses me on my profile picutre. But I don’t want the people who don’t deserve my time to witness my activities. If they can’t be in my life, they shouldn’t get to see it. I don’t just post all the best stuff either so it’s really, really my life.

“Who taught us to embrace life” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday May 30, 2016
5 minutes
from a bench memorial plaque

if I was born a dancer
in body in stead of
in words
i would move like i move
in water
in bed sheets
like i mov-
ed at twenty-three
on sweaty dance
floors kissing
strangers like
my tongue knew
things my gut
didn’t i’ve always
wished i were a dancer
dancing to teach me
to embrace the rhythm in-
herent in my womban-
ness my woman-
mess dancing teaches me
about my unborn daughter’s
a dj who knows what i
ache for
ate for
breakfast lunch midnight
snack picking up bobbi
pins from the women’s
womb out
worn in
worn out
ring in
ring out
ring on

“2 hours or longer” by Sasha in lecture

Tuesday January 27, 2015
5 minutes
the Air Canada cafe booklet

How to hold a stranger’s hand

Sitting on the bus
Minding your own headphones
You watch the rain make caterpillars
on the window.

A woman sits beside you
A purple poncho dripping droplets
on your leg

you look
You wonder if she’s crying or if she’s just your age
You cross the divide of leg touching

You take her hand

She pulls away but not
She looks like a damp version of you
only a little in the future


The water’s calm
Maybe it’s just the Bay
You sit on one of twelve big logs
You wonder if they’ve been here tripe the time
that you have

A man
walking a small dog
who barks at the gulls
He sits
Not near enough to reach
But near enough for you to know

You go to him
Six steps

You take his hand

He smiles
He calls the name of his dog
loud enough for only you to hear

“Grazie e Arrivederci” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday October 19, 2014
5 minutes
From a receipt

A: I’m curious about your accent. Where are you from?
B: Rome.
A: I’ve never been to Italy, but it’s on my bucket list.
B: “Bucket list?”
A: Yeah, you know that list you keep of all the things you wanna do before you die?
B: I don’t have that list…
A: What?
B: I don’t have that “bucket”…
A: No, I mean, come on, everyone has a list, even if it’s just in their head, of the things they want to do before they –
B: Nope. Not me…
A: Bullshit.
B: Pardon?
A: I call “bullshit”!
B (laughs) You’re a very strange girl.
A: I’m not a girl.
B: Oh?
A: I’m a woman.
B: Excuse me.
A: So, you’re saying that you don’t want to see the Great Wall of China? Or, fly in a hot air balloon? Or, go on “The Maid of the Mists”? Or… see a volcano? Or, even, like, eat haggis or something?
B: I’ve seen the Great Wall of China –
A: Really?
B: Yes… My ex-wife did business in China so I went frequently in the early nineties.
A: Wow…

“founded in Cuba” by Sasha on the streetcar going East

Friday June 20, 2014
5 minutes
from a sign at Queen and Abell St.

The ocean sounds like the sky, if you know what I mean… It looks like Bonita’s eyes, all bright and full. As soon as the sun rises, the waves catch her and hot damn it’s a beautiful sight, it’s a right overwhelming sight. Go down to the beach for that sunrise some time… Some time when you’ve been here long enough to feel settled in, settled in your heart. It’ll just be you and maybe Jose, the fish guy. You don’t even have to say anything to him, you can nod, or not nod, he won’t be offended. Find a spot on the sand and sink your toes in, bury them, that’s the real stuff right there, that’s the real stuff. You can actually see the sun moving. Did you know that? Yup. You close your eyes and it’s in a different place, it’s further up, it’s more awake.

“Negotiate with agents” by Sasha at CSI Coffee Pub

Friday, October 4, 2013 at CSI Coffee Pub
5 minutes
What Is Dramaturgy
Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas

A: You’ve got a wish on your cheek…
B: Pardon?
A: (clears throat) You’ve got a wish on your cheek.
B: Excuse me?
A licks a pointer finger and presses it to B’s cheek. He shows her the eyelash.
B: Oh! Ha ha ha –
A: Should you use this on or should I?
B: Knock yourself out.
A closes his eyes and wishes hard. He opens his eyes and blows on his finger. The eyelash remains.
A: (under his breath) Shoot.
B: Are you finished with that newspaper?
A: Yeah, I guess so…
B: I just want to read my horoscope, you can have it back when I’m done.
A hands B the newspaper. B flips to the page with Astrology and reads.
A: I’m Capricorn…
B looks up.
A: … if you’d like to read mine. After yours of course.
B: “You will meet a beautiful stranger. Your life will never be the same.”
A: (laughs) Seriously?
B: (standing up as the subway door chimes) Oh yeah.
A: Well, you can’t just –
The subway door chimes again. B exits.

“viciously funny” by Sasha at R Squared

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at R Squared
5 minutes
from the SummerWorks Performance Festival guide

They are eating chips for breakfast. They have freshly washed hair and are wearing variations of the same khaki shorts – hers are lighter in colour, his are longer in length. She has sunglasses on top of her head. When she puts them on, they’ll be smudged. He holds a brown manila envelope. She sits. He stands. They feed each other chips. I’m not the only one watching when she sucks his finger and he blushes. The enormously tall man sitting beside me, wedged in, really, he’s also looking. He is not charmed, like I am, thinking back to myself at twenty, thinking back to the firsts. Enormous Man has downturned lips and a deep wrinkle in his forehead. He gets off the train. Boyfriend kisses Girlfriend with salty lips.

“Softness, protection, control” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
5 minutes
from the macadamia oil bottle

Sheena was practicing her mindfulness. She was channeling light and focussing on dying her hair a magnificent shade of midnight blue by the end of the week. Her skin was soft, her eyes turned inward. Sheena was breathing slowly, thoughtfully. She had started meditating when Christopher died because it seemed like the only thing she could do without hurting herself. Midnight blue, and then maybe turquoise by December. She let her thoughts glide to Christopher and then back again, without punishment. She was allowed to miss him. She was allowed to see other men and be reminded of him. But that was not always easy. Sometimes she’d forget where she was or who she was and start hugging strangers. It was something, her therapist calmly told her, that was not okay. Sheena knew that anyway. She just couldn’t help herself on certain days.

“Variations may also occur” by Sasha at The Holy Oak from McDonald’s Ingredient Facts

Friday August 2, 2013
5 minutes
McDonald’s Ingredient Facts

That intimate moment when one stranger, a man, tall and tanned, in a white turban and a red Tommy T-shirt, lights the cigarette of another, a man, short, with a leather page-boy cap and a denim knapsack, Ray Bans and a sleeve of rainbow coloured tattoos. One man leans into the other in this shared moment of physical intimacy, brought together by need, by fire – ancient aspects of humanity. Driftwood meets on the shore of the lake, one side rubbing another, smoothing like sandpaper. For a hundred days, the water-logged pieces come to know one another with a quiet calm, with the sunrises and the loon calls, these stubborn bits of birch and pine, find sameness, find common ground, find connection. Skin to skin. One man’s finger brushes the others’. Turban cups Leather, makes sure the wind can’t work her wiles. The cigarette burns. And the moment is over before it’s even started. “Got a light?”

“Never say never, Moby!” by Julia on her couch

Monday, April 1, 2013
5 minutes
Overheard on the subway going west

yeah i guess he was talking to me, referring to me, inviting me. i guess you could say he was reaching out or something. anyway, not important. he had his mouth facing my general ear direction, like you know? talking? and then suddenly i just sort of flashed back from out of my body and into his and i could like, read his MIND. his MIND! that’s so wild, right? but like, the worst part was, it was as if i was lucid dreaming and i could control everything, except i was in a jail cell and there was like, nothing to do anyway. does that make sense? i was trapped in my own lucid dream! and i wanted to get out, believe me, but i felt bad for the guy. it felt like there had been no one inside his mind for years. just sad, you know? he wanted me to go with him to the promised land. he said that in maybe fewer words? but the sentiment was there. he was severely connecting with me and i was obviously doing the same because i wanted to know what he wanted from me and to make sure he wasn’t just some creepazoid tricking me into getting captured or something. he never once said my name, so i guess i might be speculating here after all. but i could feel him trying to break through to me. i pulled out my earphones and i stared at him, like, okay go, i’m listening just do it now before i change my mind. like all of it was happening in split second intervals. and he just said it to me then. he said, never say never, Moby!

“nor are we talking about thousands” by Julia at R Squared

Monday, March 11, 2013 at R Squared
5 minutes
The War Within (The New Yorker)
Jon Lee Anderson

-Which way is it? To Snakes and Lattes? Am I on the right side of the street anyway?
-Um, yup. You are. Just keep going. You’ll see it. I’m glad you’re going there.
-Me too. Kay, thanks.
-Oh, excuse me, do you want to come?
-No thanks, I don’t really like it there.
-You don’t?
-No! But you will. Bye!

-Hello light and sound and pedestrians. Your sign says “Traveller, Harmless.” Are you both or just one and I’m supposed to guess your two truths or two lies?
-Um, bro. I’m just trying stuff out. Got any?
-Change? No. I don’t believe in coins. Want a fiver?
-Um, yeah. Okay, thanks.
-No. I’m not going to give it to you…Just wondering if you’re okay with the idea of it.
-Fuck off.
-That’s a bit harmful..The language. My mother used to swear like you. I don’t think she felt justified the way you probably do. Nose ring, big scruffy dog. She was crazy, though.
-Umm…No..Whatever. It’s fine.
-You’re hungry? I’ll buy you lunch. Want me to?
-You’re going to take it back..
-Only if you say no.
-Okay. Yes. Whatever.
-Can I take you out for sushi? Do you eat that? I want to dine in.

“The scent of perfume” by Sasha at R Squared

Monday, December 3, 2012 at R Squared Espresso Bar
5 minutes
The contained scent of perfume

Even she’s unsure why she’s crying but she is so… that’s the hard part. It’s funny. No, it’s not funny, it hurts and is weird when you meet a crying stranger because our own connected humanity is… right there. I want to reach out and touch her tears with my pointer finger, to get to know her first like this, without words. I don’t, of course. I’m far too restrained and proud and… what… I don’t know, mostly. To touch a woman’s tear. I look, though, at her, unabashed staring. She sees me see her fragile breaking, like a promise or a taut string. So public in her desired privacy. She looks at me and I don’t know why but I move towards her quickly and I embrace her. She smells of cheap perfume.