“I am not yours” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
10:54pm
5 minutes
I Am Not Yours
Z. Randall Stroope

I think I’m yours but I’m not yours.
I am mine. I am mine first and I forget
sometimes when you come into the room.

Maybe you don’t notice I stop
what I am doing and follow you around
to the blackberies and to the fridge.
I am not yours.
I was’t born attached to you. I did
that big thing all on my own (you know
what I mean. My mother is a saint and
the Lord blesseth her, Amen)
I can do what I am doing. I can love
you without wondering where I went.

“I know that guy, we’ve talked” by Julia on her couch

Monday May 21, 2018
10:19pm
From a text

You’re the guy from my dreams
Wake up in a cold sweat wish I never fell asleep
The one who my mother warned me about

The one who told the truth all those years ago and I still heard what I wanted to hear
Isn’t it funny how you wish for some things and they end up coming true?
The way I said Give me someone who doesn’t let me get away with my bullshit
Give me someone who fights back

I heard myself say that you and I would never work–told myself that and then I pretended like I didn’t know what I was talking about
That I was wrong about those instincts

That I didn’t know what being right felt like anyway

It’s been a long time now and we’ve talked
You’re the guy from my dreams I choose other people over
But how can you trust a dream that wakes itself up?
…surprises me with how little he knows about the things I thought I knew

“I know that guy, we’ve talked” by Sasha on the ferry back to the mainland

Monday May 21, 2018
3:18pm
5 minutes
From a text

I still get texts from you
three years after I knew you
After I took your words
in my mouth
sloshed them around
Spit out teeth and tar

With the gin and tonic
With the water and lemon juice
With the salad dressing

I still hear from you sometimes
When I’m least expecting
When I’m with my shiny prize of a lover
When I’m lonely
When I’m full

There’s nothing that sorry can’t buy
At least with me
But the fact that you don’t say it
That you never will
Is apple cider vinegar
Bath overflowing

What the fuck do you want from
Me on a Monday
So far in the future

I don’t respond
I never do
I imagine blocking your number
But then how will I know that
You need me
How will I know
That hundreds of kilometres away
Someone is reaching for
The past

“With its blood-red brick” by Sasha on Pender Island

Sunday May 20, 2018
10:43
The Virgin Cure
Ami McKay

Some women have broccoli pussies. Just a fact. Some women have grapefruit ones, at least they taste like that, at least that’s what some people say. Some women smell like fish and chips down there, real salt n’ vinegar. Ha ha! Some women have pussies that look like dahlias or roses or venus fly traps. Some women bleed every month with the moon, all witchy and wild-like. Some women don’t bleed at all because they’re too skinny, or they lost something that they have to find again. Sometimes you see one and you’re like – HEY! I’ve been wondering when you’d come into the light!

“present something that is true” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Saturday May 19, 2018
10:40pm
5 minutes
From a quotei by Kelly Hill

Life’s goal:

Find the truth

Full stop

Repeat

Full stop

Repeat again

And then the going gets toughLike it always does

And the choices don’t seem so clear

Foot on the break and watch the deer with her baby?

Swerve and keep going to people please the car behind you?

What if a friend does not ask for advice but you still want to give it? Safe? Smart? Honesty over tact?Truth over tragedy?

Life’s goal:

Be the truth so you won’t have to go looking for it

Be the truth so it will always be right there in front of you waiting for you

Repeat

Repeat

“present something that is true” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday May 19, 2018
10:05 pm
5 minutes
From a quotei by Kelly Hill

The cedars remind me that
all that matters is
what’s true

I pick fossils on the beach
Wonder how many million
Years are in my hand

Trying to let go of expectations
You touch my cheek
Here we are

Sunburned nose and stars
Peeking bright
My heart races

The cedars whisper
Be here now
No where else to go

Eat cheesecake on the
Picnic table and
Listen to the waves

“Let me die, dear Lord” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Friday May 18, 2018
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Birth House
Ami McKay

I am giving up my sad boots and asking for something a little less heavy. I want to tip toe toward you and maybe we can all quiet the floor. I want us to be happy. I don’t know how to make that sound better. No metaphors. No regrets. Happy and whole. You can take the old me and kill it. Ask someone if you need to use a particular tool to save the rest. What knife would the good Lord use? Let that one sing her last song at the moon and go gently into the earth. Only death can make room for new life. Only goodbye to sorrow can rebuild.

“Modern medicine clashes” by Sasha on her balcony

Thursday May 17, 2018
8:43pm
5 minutes
from The Observer (UK)

“You must be Mrs. Macarthy? It’s nice to meet you, I’m the resident who assisted Dr. Chokrany in Stephen’s surgery. I’m pleased to say that it was a success, and your husband is in post-op and he should be waking up in the next hour or so…”

“Hi Mom, I only have a minute and – … No, Mom. I don’t get long weekends. I’m – … Mom, I only have a minute so please let me finish. I didn’t get the fellowship in Halifax so I won’t be back for Gus’ wedding… Mom. Calm down. I, I – … Shit, I have to go. I’ll call you back when I’m out of surgery. I love you.”

“Babe? I’m going to be late… I’m sorry… I, I – … It’s been a long fucking shift, okay, and – … I’ll be home by ten at the latest.”

“Are you Sue Rothstein’s son? Hi, I’m Dr. Gold, I’ve just come out of the OR and I’m so sorry to say that your mother’s tumour had spread into her brain far more intensely than we could see from the imaging. She didn’t make it through surgery. I’ll give you a minute, and if you have any questions – … We always do our best, that always what we do… I’m sorry for your loss.”

“She actually cooks” By Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 16, 2018
12:16am
5 minutes
Overheard in the dining room

I read your poetry hoping to find a piece of me there
Maybe a big piece that cannot be mistakened for someone else
When I uncover the grave there is a body buried alive
barely breathing, but not dead yet
I weep at the beauty of those words–stiched together like a
quilt to leave hanging on the fraying loveseat
I find a way to see your heart in the hurt
And we are both bodies buried alive, barely breathing
but not dead yet
I have hooked up the tubes and wires and run you through
my veins delivering a kind of test to all my internal organs
It works
I am working
You can be my blood and I will keep pumping
pumping

“She actually cooks” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday May 16, 2018
7:02am
5 minutes
Overheard in the dining room

I take more time now
I try to rush less now
Or maybe that’s a lie now
T-R-Y is the truth I guess

I watch my mother’s body break
And I think about all the women
Breaking
Breaking open
Breaking down
Breaking through
Breaking waves
Breaking story
Breaking bread
Breaking hearts
Breaking wide

I can’t punctuate because
This isn’t over and there’s
No symbol that can accurately
Mark the
Break

Maybe it’s better to stick with
fingers stained
Yellow from curry powder
Or the fine art of slicing tomato
Blending chickpeas into gold

Breaking down the heart
Breaking down the nucleus
Breaking into laughter
Breaking into love

“My mom calls him that” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday May 14, 2018
1:13pm
5 minutes
from a text

“Scrub-a-dub”. That’s what Mom used to call Dustin. He hated bath time, he hated water. He didn’t even want to drink it. Mom would have to add a splash of cranberry juice to his water bottles that she’d send to school. If it was straight water he simply wouldn’t drink it. Kira and I used to joke that he’d have a heart attack if he ever fell into a bath, or the lake.

“Come on, scrub-a-dub,” Mom would say, trying to distract him or something, trying her best to get him to bathe. He would scream and cry. He would tantrum. She’d usually resort to a sponge bath. We didn’t know that Dustin had a lot of other fears, too. We didn’t know what was going to happen.

“The danger of tying your self-worth” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday, May 12, 2018
11:47 pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Brene Brown

The danger of tying your self-worth to the way

that you look is that the way you look is
always changing and so if you think you
matter because you’re face looks good
or you gained ten pounds or you lost
five or your butt looks decent in those
jeans you thrifted

Well

It’s all impermenant
it’s all here today and gone
tomorrow just like the T-shirt
you got at the garage sale
on Arbutus two summers ago

I’ve come to know that it’s
the deep inside that truly
knows the words

“The danger of tying your self-worth” by Julia on her couch

Saturday, May 12, 2018
10:18pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Brene Brown

Watch out for potholes
Dips in the concrete that make your toes do the work

Keep you upright

Can’t walk with your eyes down got to feel them quicker, know what your foot needs to recalibrate sooner

If you tie your self-worth to a perfect line you will be disappointed when someone else sees it crooked

If success is the only marker of success then you will always be walking in circles.

Tie your self worth to the spiral. Going in and out on itself, out and back again, outer world, inner world, beyond, down deep. Let the rise and fall be what they are.
Who are these lessons for? Me? You?
Is anyone listening anymore?

Was anyone ever?

“I am weary” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday May 9, 2018
11:11pm
5 minutes
The Identity Repairman
Thomas Sayers Ellis

“May is my Everest,” I hear myself saying too many times a day.

“And then the summit is your birthday!” You said yesterday.

Today you say, Kiss on the mouth.

Tomorrow you say, “I know, sweetheart.”

“May is my Everest,” I tell a student, who laughs.

“May is my Everest,” I text a friend on the other side of the country.

“You can do it! You can do it all! I love you!” She texts back with the muscle emoji.

“May is kinda my… Everest,” I tell my Mom when I call her on Sunday.

“One day at a time,” she says.

“The job wasn’t that bad.” By Julia in her bed

Tuesday May 8, 2018
11:15pm
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

I stand by the water and admit out loud that I want the busier streets, the prettier graffiti, the taller buildings. If one day I have to throw myself off of one, at least it’d be a longer fall. And I could go home. He hears lump in the throat, Justify Janice. He thinks about childish gambino and how iphone is gonna start autocorrecting his name with capital letters. He waits for me to stop talking so he can kiss me. I do not stop talking. I let him kiss me on the walk to the other place we live in.

“The job wasn’t that bad.” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday May 8, 2018
8:15pm
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

The job wasn’t that bad. It was the people. It wasn’t even the people. It was the person. She’d never met anyone like Mel, so angry, so vile, so bitter, so angry, so two-faced, so angry. She’d never met anyone like her.

“You’re a real asset here, Beth,” Mel said back in October.

“Aw, that’s kind of you to say. Thank you.”

“Any chance you’ve got the time to proof my pitch for the Silverstein’s?”

“Uh, I mean, I have an appointment at five thirty, but – …”

“Reschedule?”

“I… I can’t.”

“But I need your help.”

“When is the meeting?”

“Tomorrow morning!” Her voice started to get louder.

“Why are you just asking me – “

“Never mind. I’ll stay up all night. Whatever.”

“I, I’ll… I’ll help you. I just have to leave by five…”

“Whatever.”

“the hypocrites will teach.” By Sasha at her desk

Monday May 7, 2018
11:10pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Suzy Kassem

“I’m so glad you’ve come, Genevieve! I didn’t think you were going to – “ Katherine smells like Clinique.

“You didn’t tell you Mom I was coming?” Genevieve whispers out the side of her mouth.

“ I did,” says Sara. “I absolutely did.”

Katherine’s white collar is popped in a way that Genevieve has never seen, and somehow it looks good on her. She dyes her hair a deep red, almost purple. Somehow it looks good on her.

She’s slicing watermelon for the salad. “Sara says your almost done your thesis, is that true?”

“Why would I lie?” Sara looks at Genevieve like, “I’m sorry.”

“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?

“a giant note to self” by Julia on the 99

Saturday May 5, 2018
5:16pm
5 minutes
@a_belovedgreen Instagram

Get a screen protector on my phone so the nosy Nancy sitting beside me on the bus stops staring into my life.
Stop judging me Nancy!

Find a banana box to keep my banana from mushing against the inside of my bag.

Find less sexual ways to describe the messes I make.

Thank her with coffee and flowers and an invitation. Don’t forget. She’s a good one.

Keep saying yes until I have to say no. Then say no.

Hound the right people. Be a presence. Bark up the tree and stay there.

Walk before everyone else wakes up. Smell the pine. Breathe the solitude in like a reward.

Stop waiting for the wrong hearts to do right by me.

Ascend gradually. Adjust to new heights. Don’t look down.

“earth, sky, water, fire and wood” by Julia at R’s house

Friday May 4, 2018
2:00pm
5 minutes
From a Caitlin Press newsletter

They told me I was air and I never forgot that.
Not the feeling in the room when they all thought they had figured me out.
Not the pang against my guts when my insides begged to differ.
I wanted to be earth, steady, unmoving.
I wanted to be tethered to feet and stone.
I wanted to be fire, holy, hot and badass.
And though I fight it, when I spill over I know again and again that I am not air.
Not light like this. Not a carrier of plastic bags and other floating, diacarded.

“earth, sky, water, fire and wood” by Sasha at her desk

Friday May 4, 2018
1:34pm
5 minutes
From a Caitlin Press newsletter

You walk by the water when you need the noise of the waves
Volleyball further down the beach
That’s okay
Those people are having fun and that’s okay

You walk the same stretch of beach and it knows
The cadence of your footsteps
That’s okay
It’s come to know when you’re alone and when you’re firing

Today was the same as most other days
People pissed you off and it had nothing to do with you
Why are there so many assholes?
You whisper it under your breath and wonder if it’s possible

That the sand smiled knowingly back
She understands assholes
Cigarette butts and glass bottles
She understands

“It works excellent!” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday May 3, 2018
11:11pm
5 minutes
From BUNZ trading zone

I want a really nice blender. One of those high-powered bad boys that will make nut butter, salad dressing, and grind fresh flour. So sue me! I want a really nice six hundred dollar blender. Please don’t lecture me about my privilege. I know all about it. My privilege chokes me half the time so that I’m voiceless and like, I might be white but my Mom was a single mother and she raised my two brothers and I in a trailer park on three hundred dollars a month in child support payments so please don’t lecture me on privilege. I just want a goddamn blender that really works.

“I can’t get rid of useful things” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday May 1, 2018
9:19pm
Carpet Bomb
Kenyatta Rogers

“Never get rid of useful things,” Homer says, leafing through a Chinese food take-out menu from 1993. The restaurant’s closed. He’s comparing prices of spring rolls and proving his point about inflation. I wouldn’t call Homer a pack rat, or a hoarder, but I would call him a bonafeid collector. They say that our greatest gift, is also our greatest challenge, and that definitely applies to Homer.

“Someone has opened a giant map” by Julia at her desk

Monday April 30, 2018
9:09pm
The Wall
Bruce Guernsey

said he didn’t want the globe i had my eye on
said it would take up too much room on the table
and i said what else are dreams for and he didn’t
seem to get it and the discussion was case closed
then he left and i got a tiny globe that used to
be a tiny piggy bank of the world but the bottom
fell out and i got it for free so i brought it
home and put it on the table and i waited for him
to tell me to get rid of the damn thing taking
up too much space on the freaking living room table
but when he got home he saw the tiny globe and said
oh nice globe i’ve always wanted a globe and i
didn’t say anything because i’ve always wanted a
globe and now i had one and it wasn’t being thrown
away or talked about badly or hurled against me
i said that one used to be a piggy bank but the
bottom fell out so now it’s just a tiny globe
but it’s always been a place to put your change

“Someone has opened a giant map” by Sasha at her desk

Monday April 30, 2018
11:16am
The Wall
Bruce Guernsey

Tap tap tap tap. Leg goes up and down
bobbing for apples. Good grief it shakes
the whole bench. Good God it drive me crazy
when people have no sense of how much space
they take up, how loud their breath is, how
much they are shaking everyone around them.
What kind of person is so unaware? Who was his
mother? Who taught him manners? I bet he’s a real
piece of work, probably drives a Benz.

Side-eye. He doesn’t notice. I bet he thinks
he’s a very big deal. What is that he’s holding?
Is it a map? Is he reading a map in the waiting
room? Who does that?! Where could he possibly
be going that he has to do this here?
Why is he anxious, is it because of the dentist
or the trip he’s about to take?

“Excuse me,” I close my eyes because if I open
them I’ll most certainly lose my courage.
“Could you please stop shaking your leg?” Benny
looks up at me, up from his book, he’s never
heard his mother speak to a stranger like this.
“Mama?” He says. I don’t look at him. I don’t
look at anyone. My eyes are closed.

The man folds his map.

“How could I predict” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday April 29, 2018
6:15pm
5 minutes
The Address Book
Louis Phillips

How could I predict the
shade of grey your hair
would turn
and mine too
every day a new
one near my temples
I don’t pull them out
like I used to
I say a prayer
for them
little warriors
little fuckers
little beauties
they are the milage
and the turning season

Every time I see you
I see the shimmer of
myself in you
around the eyes
the mouth the shape
of the face
the shade of grey
vessels to the time
before leading us
back there leading us
to now

We laugh like lions
staring down the barrel
of the gun
we nod and recognize
and know and surrender

“How could I predict” by Julia in her bed

Sunday April 29, 2018
8:45am
5 minutes
The Address Book
Louis Phillips

I wonder how I was supposed to know
how I was supposed to recognize you after all this time away
Your face changes every time you come back to me and my eyes are different too
Was I supposed to look for the switch of your skin
wait for the weight of your arm in my lap as you slept
and I wrote
Was I supposed to open the door and feel it
Maybe it’s in the hours collecting one by one in the bottomless hope of our pockets
Maybe after breakfast together one day or after lunch or after dinner

“Flying Housewife” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday April 28, 2018
12:58pm
5 minutes
http://www.independent.co.uk

crouching behind the counter tears staining wood
neko case on the stereo my favourite thing about
this place is that i can play my own music
pretty things on the patio ha ha ha caw ha ha
woman nursing in the third booth at the back
a party coming in thirteen minutes and i’m
all mascara stream all chest breath and salty lips
we grow to know the taste of being fucked over
because of our woman-ness only 24 and we know it
the lilt of our voices the tonic of our smiles
the cup size maybe or the calf muscle from walking
back and forth from kitchen to patio to kitchen
twelve minutes and twenty people who don’t get it
who think that maybe i’ve just had a bad day
pretty thing they think maybe her boyfriend dumped her
more like this place this man upstairs says his wife
doesn’t like me doesn’t like me doesn’t like pretty thing
more like the loyalty turned bad orange juice
oops fuck oops i’m sorry i never meant to
oops i’m sorry i didn’t mean to be
too alive for this hierarchy of buttered toast
he always did like the pretty things but i didn’t
think i was one of those i thought i was something
else a good conversation a killer joke a knack
for smoothing over the discontent of cold eggs

“Come prepared with questions” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday April 27, 2018
7:33pm
5 minutes
From the Verses Festival of Words 2018 program

He got there first. I’m early. He’s got a beard. He didn’t have a beard when I googled him, none of the photos did. His beard has grey in it. His hair is dark, almost-black but not quite. He has dark eyes, too. Very white, very straight teeth.

“You must be Lucy?” He reaches out a hand, he stands up, he reaches out a hand and it’s warm.

“Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. Thank you for agreeing to do this…” I’m shaking. We sit. I order a sparkling water. He says something about needing to eat. I can’t imagine eating, so I say I already did, even though I didn’t. “I have some questions prepared,” I pull my notebook out of my backpack.

“Response rate: 100%” by Julia at her desk

Thursday April 26, 2018
6:54am
5 minutes
poparide.com

If you call me and I can’t pick up but I CALL YOU RIGHT BACK
as in I do not let you finish your voicemail
as in your phone should still be open on my number
can I just ask one little question?
WHERE THE EFF ARE YOU?
Seconds have past
Has the urgency left?
Are you passed out, dead, on the phone with someone else?
Is your ringer on?
Would you like to join the conversation?
Here’s my two cents
People who call you and then have their phone on silent
shouldn’t be allowed to own a phone
They have classes for driving a car
And if you don’t pass, you don’t drive
You should have to take a test for the use of your dinky cell phone
“Oh I don’t know how that happened, that’s weird, it was in my pocket”
I don’t want to have to wait to talk to you
if I call you I am CALLING YOU
but if you don’t pick up I will be on the phone with someone else
because you forfeit the right to speak with me and I have shit to discuss
I hope you’re not dead

“The liar’s punishment” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday April 25, 2018
6:47am
5 minutes
From a quote by George Bernard Shaw

Five minutes isn’t long enough
to tell you
about the consequences of running away
Each movie sounds like your fear through the
megaphone of your worried heart beat
Each character flaw revealed stirs up your
blood and what if you start bleeding
right here
right now
You will think it is your job from this moment
on to live with the secret heavy that has been
pulling you down slowly, slowly
The sweet stillness will be sickened with dread
and what if dread lives in the elbow skin
collecting at the crease
turning soft into sweat

“Mother stomps up” by Julia on the 20

Tuesday April 24, 2018
8:42pm
5 minutes
Says Mother
Laura Willwerth

Uninvited and flipping through the notebook left collecting mud on the patio.
Some things are not meant for mothers to read.
Did you mean what you said?
Did you say what you mean?
I would nod and tell her don’t you remember? You taught me well.
When we’d get mad about you smoking didn’t you know it was because it turned your lungs into yelling? Didn’t you know our anger was speaking for our fear that hadn’t yet collected its thoughts?
She would give me the bed off her back and sleep in a mold-heavy
yesterday so my boyfriend’s tall wouldn’t hang off the end
Nobody asked you to sacrifice yourself.
If she read that she would cry.

“not like you” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday April 21, 2018
12:02pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Carlos Fuentos

I’m not like you, Mimi. I’m not noble. I’m not one of those people who goes home and lies awake thinking about what I did wrong that day. I do my business, I do my best, and I move on. I don’t do integrity like you do, heck, no one does. You can’t hold everyone to the standards that you hold yourself to! It doesn’t work like that! We all need something different! We are all something different!

Do you want to say something?

No?

Okay. I’ll… continue. Mimi, I value you as a friend, and as a colleague, and you’re good for this place, you’re GOOD. But this perfectionism is taking over everything you do, and everything we all do, and it’s got to stop.

“My mother is a wood thrush” by Julia at M’s house

Thursday, April 19, 2018
11:19pm
5 minutes
A List Of My Utopias
Debbie Urbanski

I can recite her laugh lines by heart
in the quiet night I hear her in my rib cage
I saved a couple of her voicemails
when I want to visit with her again
in the dead of winter
when speaking half in english, half italian, half french, my skin knows story
sometimes she sings and I know where I got it from
and where she must have gotten it from
that alone would connect us
the hum.

“she will not live long.” By Sasha at her desk

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
5:02pm
5 minutes
june 20th
Lucille Clifton

she will not live long
this bloom rising ripe on the table
amidst rose quartz and stone

she will fall
as we all do
as you have
as i will
she will go back to the earth
as we all do

yellow petals
sister to rose
sister to the magnolia tree
across the street
exploding confidence and
beauty

i change her water
every other day
more than i floss
more than i call my mother

“You could get lost there.” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday April 17, 2017
12:02am
Up
Margaret Atwood

“Claire?” A gentle, but assured knock. “Are you alright?”

How long have I been here? How long have I been hosting a Moon Circle for one?

“Um, yes, yes, I am. Be right out.” I pull up my underwear (threadbare and elastic a bit stretched out), my jeans, and then realize I forgot to wipe. GET IT TOGETHER, CLAIRE. Back down, wipe, up, wash hands, holy eff, here we go.

“Come on in,” Noreen opens the door to her office and I go first. She is the perfect gentlewoman.

A lavender couch underneath a window. Spider plants, succulents and African Violets line the sill. Not one dry leaf. Of course she has a green thumb. She sits in a caramel leather chair, perhaps Moroccan. Paintings on the walls, all in blues, greens, purples.

“I’m from hard-boiled eggs” by Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Saturday, April 14, 2018
2:14pm
5 minutes
E 9th Street
Ricky Cantor

Bubby wraps rice and meat in cabbage
sucks on a Werther’s
keeps them in the fridge
away from the Florida heat
away from reaching fingers

Bubby sends boxes of oranges
to us in Toronto
sweet and juicy
legs draped over the edge
of the tub I gorge
on citrus must be
the vitamin c

Bubby didn’t want
another child
at least that’s what
Mom says barely
gained any weight
when she was pregnant
barely even noticed
Mom was there

Bubby makes food
for the freezer
at Knowlton Lake and
when the house is broken
into one winter
the thieves steal
the tupperwares
wrapped in tinfoil
wrapped in a plastic bag

“Jon came home” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, April 13, 2018
5:22pm
5 minutes
Modern Grief
Nancy Westaway

Jon comes home and he’s angry and shivering.

“What’s for dinner?” He says, like I know, or I’m keeping it a secret.

“I just got home too, Jon,” I say, and he doesn’t like that. He opens and closes the fridge a few times. Same with the pantry cupboards.

“Can ya make something hot? It was all icy on the rig today.” Jon fills the kettle, which I can’t say I’ve ever seen him do.

“How about spaghetti?” I lean back in my chair.

“Spaghetti?” A small smile curls over his lips, like fog.

“No?” I watch him turn on the wrong burner, and then realize and move the kettle.

“Spaghetti sounds good.”

“They would tell everyone” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday, April 12, 2018
7:09am
5 minutes
Audience of One
Rob de Boyrie

Gert’s getting better at keeping quiet, but it’s never been her strong suit. She learns something new (needle-point!), or makes a goal (half marathon in September!) and she wants everyone to know (especially Henrik, Shantini, Vanessa, Nicole, Hashim, and Monique). But then when Vanessa tells her new girlfriend and Hashim and Shantini tell Kenton (the Kook) suddenly Gert loses her love of needle-point and her passion for running. Just – poof! So she practises keeping quiet, maybe telling Vanessa only, maybe not even that, and seeing what happens. It’s going well.

“Very rarely patients develop __________.” By Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Wednesday April 11, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
Diagnosis
Adam Sol

She’s got a real fear of sickness so she runs for ninety minutes on the treadmill every day after work. She thinks that if she sweats, if her heart rate is increased, she won’t get sick. She’s most scared of cancer and diabetes. Her father had type 2 and died of a heart attack at sixty-five. She only eats chocolate when she’s about to get her period because she should be allowed a tiny indulgence, right? Even then, it’s two squares of dark chocolate with no added sugar. Sugar is the enemy. Sugar makes sickness. So does salt, so does fat, so do carbs. The fear’s been getting worse, as she gets older, because older people are usually sicker people.

“Then it went shooting back from the window.” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday April 10, 2018
8:49pm
5 minutes
Pope Hats
Ethan Rilly

Cinnamon and nutmeg
at the bottom of the cup

A tea reading of a future
I think about constantly

Okay Jessa
we’re ready for you

Why did you say yes to tea
who does that who actually says yes

I’m worthy I’m qualified I’m the best
candidate for this job

You come highly recommended Jessa
you’ve got get experience Jessa

I think it would be a great fit
I mean I think it will be a great fit

I’ll take your cup I’ll wash your cup
We’ll be in touch in the next week or two

I’ll wash it I’ll keep it I’d like to have it
if that’s okay I’d like to keep this cup

“I have been in love with a life—“ by Sasha in the bathtub

Saturday April 7, 2018
11:18pm
5 minutes
Grammar School
Megan Fennya Jones

I have always been in love
with life. That is a truth
as sure as laugh lines,
as sure as chapped lips,
as sure as your voice singing,
as sure as the horse’s grey mane,
and the rising sun,
as sure as magnolia blossoms,
as sure as my mother’s knowing.

Even when I’ve lost faith
like a bus pass,
like an irreplaceable ring,
like a lover in another city,
like the name of someone
who I’ve met once in passing,
like the sound of the crickets
in the woods at Knowlton Lake,
like the tune to a song I wrote
as a teenager,

Even when I’ve lost faith,
I’ve always known that

love

is the
language
is the
religion
is the practise.

“All my friends are having babies” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday April 4, 2018
10:56pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

you won’t know me when you finally decide that i’m worthy and i’ll put a german shepherd in charge of my heart who will bark when you come close because that’s what i’ve got to do and i’ll do it because that’s the kind of person i am now. surprise. will you have thought long and hard about how to punish me (silence) how to hurt me back (silence) how to make me feel so low that your lowness is lessened is lighter. is your low less? is your low light? good good i’m glad for you i want the best for you i want the light for you. it’s been a long time. you won’t know me and the shape of my new face new world new days in and out in and out flying to see my lion home alone again nights alone thinking of the soup i’ll make the tea i’ll brew the better tomorrow better tomorrow. thinking of the babies i’ll have and hold and bundle and cradle and never let know this lonely this guilt this shame this bad call not the worst it’s okay it’s okay. i love.

“Wild Birds Unlimited” by Sasha on the plane

Tuesday April 3, 2018
5:24pm
5 minutes
From a storefront on West Broadway

When Kimbra takes the podium, we listen. We stop chewing bubblegum, and picking knee scabs, and looking at cutie-pie Hammy MacDonald with the freckles and the swimmer’s shoulders. Today’s debate is about Saddam Hussein and I don’t even know which side Kimbra’s on but she’s winning, she’s always winning.

“Look at her eyebrows,” Jimmy says and I am, and I do again, fresh slate, eyes blink, there they are the most perfect caterpillars.

“Do you think she waxes or plucks?” I say, not looking away.

“Neither,” whispers Jimmy, and goshdarnit, I think he’s right.

“A woman in the shape of a monster” by Julia on the 99

Monday April 2, 2018

10:57pm

5 minutes

Planetarium

Adrienne Rich

I guess I’m supposed to shape shift into the Phoenix now, huh? Rise from the ashes and flap my glorious wings around, fanning all the too hot, too dangerous. You expect me to be big the way you expect dinner to be on the table when you come home. I guess I’m supposed to use you as my downfall and build a sturdy ladder from my rock bottom so I can climb my ass to the fucking moon. You’d like that wouldn’t you: a real success story to attach your dick to. Watch me decide which edge to use as I slice the vein out of your skin. Show you just how much monster I can be, when you expect me to be anything but mine.

“And made of no special wood.” By Julia at her desk

Sunday April 1, 2018
10:40pm
5 minutes
Afterward
Mark Rudman

And maybe I should have turned around then, when he was pressing himself into me. Bending me over at the crease of my dress, his hands roaming in and out and around. Maybe I should have kissed him then, when he was busy wanting me. I didn’t do anything. I moaned a little. I liked how hard he got at the curve of me. In that moment, his desire was enough. I should have closed my eyes sooner, out of respect for him and for me. He couldn’t see my eyes, but they were scanning the backyard and the pigeon shit on the barbeque. He didn’t know that I was moaning a little on cue at the same time as deciding to change the tarp. Things take longer when the mind is wandering on the deck outside the window of romance. He told me he liked my dress and I told him I liked pretending to be his secretary. He let it slip that Joan’s hugged her hips a little tighter.

“And made of no special wood.” By Sasha at the Airbnb in Saskatoon

Sunday April 1, 2018
8:13am
5 minutes
Afterward
Mark Rudman

I have something that I need to tell you and I’ve been putting it off because I’m a scared scared person, but it’s all getting too much and so I need to – … Because you are more well-read and educated on all of this, and have spent so much more time in the world of climate change education, I notice that I often feel like I am being educated and explained to when we’re discussing the upcoming re-writing of Bill 1305. On the one hand, I love getting the education and so appreciate all of your knowledge and expertise! On the other hand, it can be disempowering and I leave these sessions feeling like I don’t know anything and don’t have a doctorate and can’t articulate half of what I want to say… Does that make sense? Am I even making any sense?

“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.” By Julia on the 98

Saturday March 31, 2018

6:10pm

5 minutes

A quote from Stephen Hawking

In the 4th grade I was a times tables genius. I won around the world so many times I had to give some of my suckers away. By the time I got to the 5th grade I became so deathly afraid of graphs that I had to excuse myself to the bathroom anytime we played games that required the use of them. By the 6th grade I stopped remembering math class as a place to learn and turned it into one where I could practice my stand up routine. I think that’s when I realized I was funny. When all the kids in my class were being tested for the special skills test, I was deeply saddened when they didn’t ask me to do it. They were going to decide if those kids needed an individual education plan and I had high grades and I felt smart, but it was not enough to get the fancy folder with my name on it. I wondered why they thought that numerical testing was the only way to determine if we were gifted.

“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.” By Sasha at the Airbnb in Saskatoon

Saturday March 31, 2018
10:31am
5 minutes
A quote from Stephen Hawking

You are the first person at your gate again, and you sigh at your anal retentive control stuff for the seventeenth time since yesterday. You go into the corner and try not to be an asshole but really need to stretch, so you do a little bit of yoga. After all, even the gate staff haven’t arrived. You consider getting Starbucks even though you hate Starbucks. Something sweet even though you’re going to be sitting for two hours and have nothing to accomplish and don’t need caffeine. You sit on the floor and pull your phone out of your bag and check Instagram. You scroll scroll scroll scroll. You remember that you downed your water bottle before security and should re-fill it before boarding.

“I think you’re really mean” By Julia on her bed

Friday March 30, 2018

1:49pm

5 minutes

Not Fair

Lilly Allen

The little girl says this to me after I tell her that I’m not mad at her for breaking my crayon box. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to feel bad but she feels bad and now she thinks every word out of my mouth is going to shame her head into the sand. This comment is followed by a lot of screaming for me not to talk to her. Nobody is allowed to talk to her. And I have to let it pass because she is not my child and she doesn’t know that I am trying to hold her. Minutes earlier she is flinging her arms around me and telling me she loves me. I wonder about the size of a three year old’s emotions. I ask myself, how do such big feelings fit into such small bodies. Her hands, when she lets me squeeze them, a tiny pillow for all the unknowing in the space between us. Her curls, when she lets me comb them, a bouncy castle of dreams.