“I imagine him alive.” By Sasha at her desk

Monday January 21, 2019
1:55pm
5 minutes
Stories We Keep To Ourselves
Bill Glose

He’s running along the beach
He doesn’t leave footprints in the sand
He floats above like the sand flies
Leaving no trace
Making no impression

I’m watching him from a nearby
piece of driftwood
Back and forth he goes
One end becoming the other
Horizon becoming sky

He doesn’t see me there
Lost in the movement of his muscles
Found in the meditation of waves
Lost in the between-world wonder
Found in the bits of seaweed and shell

I call out to him
He doesn’t hear me
The ocean thundering before us
Dusk wraps around our shoulders
Takes us back to the center
Takes us back in time

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

Wednesday May 2, 2018
9:46pm
Flight
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
9:40pm
5 minutes
Multitudes
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.

“feel free to mix it up!” By Julia on her couch

Friday January 5, 2018
2:06pm
5 minutes
One Part Plant
Jessica Murnane

There is a new tenant who is keeping her own bees. She is a bee keeper and she lives in the corner apartment facing the gardens. I’ve seen her up there, watching, waiting for the bees. She’s not odd looking. I thought she would be odd looking but she’s not. I don’t know why I thought that. She’s normal. She’s cool even, she wears ripped jeans and converse sneakers. She has a braid that I’m not sure of its origins. I know it’s none of my business where her braid is born or whatever but she has one and it’s doing it’s own thing. Just like she is. Keeping her bees, watching her bees in the parking lot garden. Seducing lovers in front of the window cause her bees are busy building sexy hives and she can’t help it.
Okay maybe she’s not licking any clits because of her bees. I don’t know maybe that was going one step too far.

“helps clear the air of many toxins” by Sasha on her living room floor


Sunday March 26, 2017
8:10pm
5 minutes
From alive magazine

You watch the movement of hips and arms
muscles and bone
You can only see in once the sun has set
and that’s okay
You like it that way
You never thought yourself to be a watcher
like this but you find yourself
wondering if I’m there
visible
open
eating roasted sweet potato from the pan
at the stove
You find yourself
wondering if I’m there
unpacking jars from a reusable
canvas carry bag
Washing dishes
Wiping the counter
Sat at the table laughing at my own jokes

“Imagine having fantastic sex with him or her” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Wednesday, January 13, 2016
3:01pm
5 minutes
Instant Enlightenment
David Deida


You close your eyes and I know what you’re doing Owl Man. I see you for what you are. Hooo hooo hooo.

You lick your lips and I can only imagine what you’re tasting (creamed honey/Hershey’s kisses/body juices). Oh Owl Man, why don’t you just notice me for once?

You see me as the Pharmacist Assistant, the one who checks you out when you’re picking up your prescriptions (Zoloft, fungal cream). You see me as the overweight (“curvy”), middle-aged (“40 is the new 20!”), funky-haired (who actually knows how to henna?) woman who may be of Portuguese heritage. You, Owl Man, know me even though you think you don’t, even though you think this is less than it is.

You take a twenty from your wallet. It’s well-worn. You probably bought it in Greece when you were there to help people who were in some kind of crisis. OWL MAN.

“But it clearly manifests itself” by Julia at her desk


Thursday October 29, 2015
8:19pm
5 minutes
The Real Terror Network
Edward S. Herman


She was taking secret sips from her mickey of Beefeater and had herself convinced that nobody could tell. They don’t care about me. They’re not even looking at me. And though she was actively believing herself, she couldn’t help but wish it wasn’t true at the same time. She knew that gin was her body’s vice so she chose it on purpose. She couldn’t handle it in even small doses, so this, she concluded, was an experiment. A waiting game stretched out, or turned into Chicken. She wasn’t going to be the first to give up, to quit, to get scared off. As her sister got up to the podium to make her big speech, she had her fingers gripped tight around the neck of the bottle inside her purse, ready to go.

“I feel so dirty.” by Julia at JJ Bean


Wednesday October 28, 2015 at JJ Bean
8:10pm
5 minutes
A Thin Green Mist
Robert Shaw


He stands at the window. She ducks beside him.

Do you think they can see us?
No. Don’t even say that.
Well they could!
No they could not. Stop.
You know they could, come on, that’s part of the fun…

He slips his hand down the front of her blouse.

Adam.
What, I’m just participating. It’s what they want…

He nibbles on her ear.

Adam..
Mhm…
I don’t know if I can…
Mhm…
Shit! They just looked over here!
Good. Let them watch. That’s what we’re doing.
I don’t want them to know I’m watching!
I kind of like it…

She runs to turn the light off.

Good call.
They’re really going at it, huh.

He unbuttons her blouse slowly.

Mhm…

“Feed your creative juices” By Julia on her bed


Tuesday, August 4, 2015
1:05am
5 minutes
from a pencil case

Lana blotted the excess lipstick off with a square of toilet paper, remembering how her aunt Kathy showed her while she was living with her. Apparently Aunt Kathy was only supposed to stay for a couple weeks-a month tops- but things got complicated and before they all knew it, it had already been 4 years. Lana used to hear Aunt Kathy in the early morning when she would get up to shower and get herself ready for her receptionist job. When the water would stop, Lana would crawl out of bed and go sit beside the bathroom door, tapping on it quietly. Aunt Kathy would open the door, scoop her up and sit Lana down on the toilet seat while she did her makeup. Lana would have been two years old. She didn’t say a word, but she watched Aunt Kathy’s every move from the blush to the spacing out of her mascaraed eyelashes with the tip of a safety pin. On some days, Aunt Kathy would even put a little eye shadow on Lana, or let her taste a bit of her vanilla lip gloss.

“I got you I won’t let go” by Sasha at Kits beach


Monday, June 1, 2015
5:13pm
5 minutes
I got You Babe
Sonny and Cher


Hiding behind her neighbour’s wisteria bush, Ronnie marvels at how well Judy keeps her yard. “That grass… It’s fucking perfect,” she says. Ronnie forgets where she left the baby. She says a prayer for him, “Jesus, please keep James safe while I’m out of the house,” and goes back to her watching. She’s taken up this spot several times over the last week – only when Derek is at work. If he were home she wouldn’t need this, she’d have adult company. She sips from her Starbucks travel mug, a gift from Derek on her first mother’s day. The vodka is flavoured by the coffee that’s sometimes contained inside. Judy emerges from her back door in an aqua bikini top and khaki shorts. “Seriously?!” Ronnie mumbles, drinking deep. “She had Adelaide five months ago!” Judy looks towards the bush, cocks her head like a beagle, and then delicately unravels the garden hose. She sets up the sprinkler.

“Some of the inspiration came from silent movies.” By Sasha at Great Dane Coffee


Tuesday March 24, 2015 at Great Dane Coffee
2:43pm
5 minutes
From Women In Clothes
Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & 639 Others


When she moves she’s a dancer but
she’s not a dancer
in the proper sense of the word
capital D
She doesn’t glide across sprung floors to the beat of
a drum or
leap like a fawn from here to there
legs spread wide
She moves with grace down the aisle of the grocery store
stretching a long arm for a high placed bottle of low sodium soy sauce
Pushing her cart like it contains her first born daughter
A small watermelon
Some linguine noodles
A bag containing seven lemons

“You saw her bathing on the roof” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday March 1, 2015
9:43pm
5 minutes
Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen


When you saw her, you weren’t sure if you were seeing a woman or seeing sunlight reflecting off a chimney. Nope, a woman. You paced yourself (slow down! Slow down!) and tried your best not to giggle, you didn’t want to scare the pigeons, which might scare her, which might make her leave. You had no idea how you were going to get up there, but you knew, in that moment, that reaching the top was one of your life’s greatest purposes.

You bribed the door man with an under-ripe banana and three Canadian Tire dollars.

“He moved in an uneasy trance” by Sasha in the Kiva


Thursday December 25, 2014
12:48am
5 minutes
Vile Bodies
Evelyn Waugh


When he moved (and that was rare) it was in an uneasy trance. Once, you pressed your cheek to the floor in the kitchen in order to see if there was indeed space between the bottoms of his feet and the white tiles. Mostly he sat in his chair by the fire, reading and re-reading the Newspapers. The New York Times from before he left that grey hulk of a city. His favourite is July 25th, 1994. Nothing particularly incredible happened that day, but it was hot and he remembered that he went for a long walk in Central Park and fed birds. He reads and re-reads and you watch him and you tell him a joke and he laughs, but his eyes stay on the page.

“virtual environments” by Sasha at Higher Grounds


Tuesday December 9, 2014
3:14pm
5 minutes
from the MLA research guide

There was something sheer about her, opaque. She used her eyes like planets, orbiting the room, hoping for a shooting star. She nods and she plays tetras with the ice cubes in her glass. She’s praying for smoked salmon, under her breath, a sacred mantra that she only utters this time of year. “How are you?” “How’s Seattle?” “What’s the weather like there?” “Does it rain all the time?” “You changed your hair right… Is it darker?” She fades in and fades out, like the end of a song, like the clouds over the moon.

“this folder is empty” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 11, 2014
10:02am
5 minutes
from the library tab on a computer

Josie browns her butter and smokes a cigarette. She regrets not going for a run that morning but doesn’t regret the butter. How can we ever regret butter? She stirs and listens to the bubbles. Nothing better. She ashes her cigarette in the earth of the cactus on the window ledge and then feels guilty. She gets a spoon from the drawer and removes the ash. She puts in the compost and then feels guilty. When she goes to remove it, it’s already mixed in with the coffee grinds, the grapefruit peel, the chicken bones. She smiles at herself. She thinks about quitting smoking. She turns off the stove and pours the butter into the eggs and brown sugar. She mixes with a wooden spoon.

“The realist canon” by Julia at her desk


Thursday October 23, 2014
1:14am
5 minutes
Realisms of Redress
Natalie Alvarez


saw that pretty little thing reading in the corner
the edges of her book tattered
the pages ripped and curled
she had a bookmark made out of a piece of toilet tissue
making me smile
knowing she likes to read in the bathroom
and why not?
why not read in the bathroom?
she wasn’t looking at anyone at all
not distracted for even a minute
the book was a good one
I couldn’t tell which one it was
the cover was a solid forrest green without any writing
but she didn’t stop even to sip her tea
probably purchased just to have something on her table
a place holder for the idea of multitasking
she was wearing a potato sack
or at least she could have been
I wasn’t looking at her outfit
I was busy trying to see inside her mind
wondering if she could see me seeing her
wondering if she was in fact so distracted by me
that she had to pretend to keep reading
to prevent herself from turning red
or if she was engrossed
in love
with the words on the page

“It’s almost like cheating.” By Julia in the Poet’s Room


Thursday September 11, 2014
12:15am
5 minutes
from an interview with Emma Healey in papirmasse

You don’t know who’s watching in a place like this
In an open space surrounded by people who seemingly don’t care one way or another
You can never be sure
You can never really know if you’re interesting enough to just one person
Or if your actions can go unnoticed
And your lips go unread
You might wear a smile just in case
You might bite your thumb nail in an attempt to look pensive
You might be completely naked
Loneliness written right across your forehead like a stamp
Extreme longing dripping from the nape of your neck as you pass your hand through your hair
Someone might see those things
And how beautiful you’d be if in those instances of unedited sadness
Having someone catch your soul in the air when you think no one’s looking
Those seconds of hiding behind nothing at all

“do something which both parties desire but are unwilling to do” by Julia on Nicole’s couch


Tuesday September 2, 2014
11:45pm
5 minutes
from the English translation of mamihlapinatapai

It was a look. It started out that way at least. He saw her standing in the rain with a broken umbrella at her feet and melting ice cream cone in her hand. She was letting it drip down her wrists and arms. It was sort of beautiful. Like an abstract oil painting of a feeling or a sentiment, captured by circles and lines and bright colours all winding into each other trying to tell a story of life and suffering.
She didn’t notice him there because that would have diminished her moment. She didn’t see anything but the rain falling around her so hard it looked like there was none coming down at all. She didn’t see the look he gave her which came from not his eyes but his chest. A heart beating wildly inside and for something he couldn’t quite explain or express. It wasn’t a quantity he could estimate or a dream he could decipher. It was her in all her perceived loneliness, in all her pain that he was adjusting to. Without moving, careful not to disturb her; careful not to disrupt the catharsis that was forming in his throat.

“they are content with burning my books” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, July 13, 2014
4:42pm
5 minutes
Freud, 1938, Vienna
Lou Lipsitz



So I come home (hard day), the radio’s blasting (of course it is), and Jeremiah is sitting cross-legged on the cold linoleum (of course he is) surrounded by a perfectly stacked circle of all my books. I stand there in the doorway (leaning) just looking at him (confused), while he hums the alphabet song (leaving out J and S, I can only assume), and touches each book as if for the very first time. He’s deciding (magically) which ones he’ll discard (burn) at the final moment (3:33pm), while I question every single reason (mole, laugh, orgasm) why I’m still with him.

“Even if she is feeling like the scum of the earth” by Sasha on her couch


Monday June 2, 2014
11:39pm
5 minutes
an Instagram photo

Even when she feels like the scum of the earth, even when she feels like the worm, split in half and drowning in rainwater, she’s there. She shows up. The music, the lyrics are in a different language but they’re bubbling dreams inside there, beyond the understanding or the not-understanding. The pen keeps skipping, like a record player needle, but we’ll be laughing soon. Chin up. Chin up, old girl. We’re all good. We’ve all got more goodness than frailty, than dirt. The sun rises like a pregnant hummingbird. She can count on that. I can count on that

“rock ‘n’ roll-tinged bar chatter.” by Julia at Washington Dulles Airport


Thursday May 8, 2014
2:17pm
5 minutes
Washington Flyer
May/June 2014

Through the crowded space I could see her sitting at the bar with her sleeves pulled down right over hands. Hiding. Fiddling. I wanted to scoop her up right then and there and free her of her timid isolated prison and tell her, woman you don’t need to run away. The world wants you. She had two shot glasses lined up in front of her and was crashing them into each other, getting tiny splashes of the glass remnants onto her sleeves. The local band had started to play their set and everyone was moving closer to the stage. She didn’t move. She didn’t even turn. She ordered another shot of nondescript liquor from where I was standing and I could only assume it was vodka because she hated the way gin made her so volatile. She stared at her shot glass for longer than appropriate. I waited, thinking she needed to be alone. But I also felt like she needed to be saved from herself and having another body around just sitting in her silence might help.

“I was standing beside his bed” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday April 2, 2014
11:33pm
5 minutes
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


When Lee was a kid he used to sleep walk into our parents’ bedroom every single night and scare the shit out of them. I mean, I’m laughing about it now, and even dad is, but mom never got over it. She used to think he was going to murder her in her sleep! I’m laughing right now just thinking about it. Just thinking about Lee walking down there like a zombie, and just standing there over their bed. He could have chosen dad’s side, but he always went to mom’s and she was a light sleeper. He’d stand there, and his eyes would be wide open, and he’d lean into her, and just sway back and forth! I’m dying it’s so funny. I’m so SO relieved he never did that to me. I wouldn’t have made it! And now me and my dad, we laugh so hard at my mom, who every night would beg my dad to lock the door so she could sleep, but would lose, and would have to get woken up by Lee’s big bulgy sleep-wake eyes! Then one night, I know, this is so bad, but she locked the door without telling my dad, and Lee slept walked into the yard and stared at her through her bedroom window! It’s so bad, you can’t even write this stuff. Mom was so scared. She didn’t like being left alone with him even in the day time because she thought Lee was possessed by the devil! She made my dad take him to a sleep clinic to see why he had the urge to only stare at her.

“I was standing beside his bed” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday April 2, 2014
10:25pm
5 minutes
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


1. I am standing beside his bed, watching the dreams escape from his ears, watching his chest rise and fall like the sun.
2. I am lifting a tablespoon of tea leaves in the green, pottery mug, waiting to hear the whistle of the kettle.
3. I am looking out the window, watching the construction change the house next door, watching a tall man saw a piece of wood. I wonder what he’s making.
4. I am reaching for the epsom salts to pour into the bath that’s running.
5. I am listening to him speak to his parents on the phone and tell them what’s moving inside of us and I close my eyes and feel the disappointment in his chest. I’ll make it better with sweet potatoes and coconut rice.
6. I am reading my younger self on lined paper, and I am laughing at my goodness.

“viciously funny” by Sasha at R Squared


Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at R Squared
6:31pm
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.