“beneficial to anyone” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Monday October 23, 2017

9:44pm

5 minutes

from an email

Can’t drink anymore. When I do I’m no use to anyone. Can’t remember simple words. Yes and no get confused. No looks a lot like yes. No gets put on the shelf as decoration.

She told me years ago it was time to trade in the bottle. Said my body didn’t like it. She was right. My mother replaced it with structured silver. Said to take a shot of that every morning before I make any other bad decisions. I always had a good memory. I could tell you the birthdays of all 30 cousins and at least 5 aunts and uncles. I could tell you phone numbers of friends and loved ones up until 2008 (I got a cell phone late). I could tell you what you were wearing when we met. How your hair was.

“and then he came down the stairs” by Julia at the New York


Tuesday April 25, 2017
11:49pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

He is wearing a bandana around his neck and a new pair of toe shoes. I shudder.
“what? WHAT, ADI?”
“you look like…you look like someone else.”
“Nobody knows what you’re talking about, Adi, this is me.”
“That is not you! Are you kidding? Where did you even get a banadana?”
“This? This? This was a GIFT-you know what, I don’t have to explain myself to you. Fashion is subjective, haven’t you heard?”
I roll my eyes as far back in my skull as I can send them. He has a point but I can’t take him seriously when he’s dressed like this!
“You have a point, but I still can’t take you seriously when you’re dresses like this!”
“Adi–”
“Toe shoes?!?”

“Secret Society” by Sasha in her bed


Friday April 7, 2017
10:52pm
5 minutes
From the Quo eye palette

One foot. The other foot. One foot. The other foot. Step. Step. You can do it. You can do it. Just to the bathroom. Just to the toilet. Head heavy. Feet heavy. Eyelids heavy. One foot. The other foot. Step. You can do it. You want to be out of bed today when Sue gets home. You want to be better. You want to have dinner on the table, even if it’s something easy like a grilled cheese sandwich. One foot. The other foot. Press your palm against the wall. Deep breaths.

“Sad to see you go” by Sasha on her couch


Friday February 17, 2017
11:48pm
5 minutes
From a Goodbye card

You don’t tell her that you’re sad to see her go.
Not with your voice, at least.
You wait until the coffee’s cold
and her station wagon is halfway to the highway
and then you send a text:
“Sad to see you go…”
Most important is the ellipses.
Most important is the space between the dots…
That’s where her hands would go.

You wonder when you’ll hear from her.
If she’ll call from the side of the road
or the backseat, sweaty in her sleeping bag.

You wish that you’d been able to
articulate the expanse of the truth.
You wish that you’d bee able to
speak the three words that filled
every room that the two of you
were in together.

I love you.

“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.

“I’m just so sad” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday November 19, 2016
12:07pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Oak St.

“I’m just so sad,” Phoebe has eyes like macaroni and cheese, deep pools of swamp. “I know you are, babe,” I say, and I wish that there was more comfort in those five words. They are just five words and words aren’t enough today. “I’m scared to live here,” she pulls the hood of her sweatshirt around her neck, cocooning. “I want to disappear.”

Inside the quietness of my ribcage, I talk to her about going to the desert and getting married, a klezmer band of lesbians singing to our love in ancient howls under a crescent moon. Inside the quietness, I whisper sounds that aren’t words that might hold her in a way English never can.

“what was that process like?” By Sasha at her desk


Sunday November 13, 2016
8:27pm
5 minutes
From an interview question

I keep seeing pictures of our future and your
brows are furrowed “So here we are”
I can’t see everything in focus
I see windchimes and mushrooms and candle wax
Maybe you’re calling the new me the one with
more patience and breath that smells like artichokes
Maybe you’re thinking about
the past Now
Soon all this will be forgotten from our minds
but remembered by the elephant hearts
that I cradle like unborn daughters
dreaming in their soft sleep
dreaming this future into Now

“RESET BALANCE” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday October 30, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
From a Freshii sign at the airport

When your mother puts you in gymnastics you glare at the back of her head as she drives you there the station wagon screeching to a stop in the parking place that’s meant for pregnant people. She doesn’t walk you in and make sure everything’s okay like all the other mothers she says HAVE A GOOD TIME and looks at you like everything about your existence is a highly regrettable mistake. Your purple leotard is crawling up your bum crack and you need to go pee but you say BYE MAMA and close the door gently and then you go inside and say that you’re here for beginning gymnastics please and where is the bathroom please and where is a cubby for you to put your boots.

Happy Birthday To Us!

Today these five minutes is celebrating 5 YEARS of dipping, 5-minute writes, process over product, and of course, a daily writing practice that strengthens us and keeps us showing up.
Thank you for reading and sharing and writing alongside us. We are grateful for this community.
To many, many more!

To celebrate, these five minutes will be hosting their first Vancouver writer’s workout this Saturday, November 5, 2016. Details below! A few spots still available! 


love,
Sasha and Julia

“butler service, gourmet dining” by Sasha at Pascoe Rd.


Sunday October 23, 2016
9:59am
5 minutes
Westjet magazine

Shaving off his moustache was an identity thing. James didn’t want to make a big deal about it, but it was a big deal and everyone knew it. Facial hair quickly becomes a meaningful manifestation of identity and no, he didn’t first grow it during Mo-vember and yes, he does use wax. Fiona had suggested it when she witnessed James’ profound attachment to his moustache. She introduced the idea with subtlety at first and then got a little bit more bold.

I’m ecstatic to announce” by Sasha on her couch


Friday September 30, 2016
11:24am
5 minutes
A Facebook post

Holds her tongue when she wants to speak when she wants to yell
REBEL! REBEL! REBEL!
Holds her hands tight
lips
tight fingers around the truth
She was raised to be
QUIET
Speaking when spoken
Taking when token
She was raised to be
SMALL
Sink and shrink and skimp and
chew with your mouth closed
Don’t
talk with your mouth open
OPEN
CLOSED
OPEN
open
open up and let him in
Holds her tongue when she
is
FEAR
near
tear
bear
bare
here

“We should be there by then” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday, July 27, 2016
7:23pm
5 minutes
From a text

Reese made me throw out my slushie before I got in the car and I wanted to strangle him for the next six hours as a result. I thought it was stupid of him to be a dick to me as I was the only thing keeping him from driving off a cliff. But whatever. It’s like, maybe if you would drink some slushie I wouldn’t have to throw it all away just so we don’t risk getting your stupid car dirty. It wasn’t even going to happen again but Reese holds grudges, like woah. Like woahhhhhh. So. Whatever. I threw it away. But then I sat with my arms crossed the whole time because car tension really messes with a driver’s head. Especially Reese because he holds grudges but he also holds on to guilt. When he’d ask me to change the music, I did it and everything. I’m not a monster. But I took my sweet time and I made him wait for it. And if he got hungry I would give him a chip or or a piece of cheese, but then pretend to fall asleep in between bites. I don’t know if I wanted an apology or if he was waiting for me to be sorry that I was trying to have a little fun on this road trip, but whatever. I think we both lost or something.

“Yeah that’s correct” by Sasha in her bed


Friday, July 15, 2016
1:02am
5 minutes
Overheard at Platform 7

A: You know Kenny?
B: Yeah.
A: When’d you meet him?
B: At the gym…
A: Did you hang out a lot?
B: Why are you givin’ me the third degree here, man? I just came in to get a coffee.
A: Do you know who I am?
B: No idea.
A: Kenny’s little brother.
B: Ok, nice to meet you. Excuse me –
A: Kenny’s been gone since Friday.
B: What?
A: Yup.
B: Shit.
A: No one’s seen him.
B: He said that –
A: You were the last person to speak with him.
B: Yeah, we spotted each other Friday morning.
A: And?
B: …
A: What did you do with his body, huh?
B: Excuse me?
A: I know you know our secret.
B: What are you fucking talking about?
A: …
B: I’m calling the cops.
A: I am the cops.
B: What?
A: Happy Monday, Benjamin. Happy fuckin’ Monday.

“community based competitions” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday June 19, 2016
10:38pm
5 minutes
http://www.academicinvest.com

I’m standing at the microphone and I can hear my own breathing inside my head, but everything else in the room is perfectly still. I am ready. I am prepared. I am under water. I feel true calm. I hear the speaker bellow out a long word in slow motion. I hear every single part of his word. I see every single part of his word. I take a deep breath and I pause. The silence is back. My focus is razor. I repeat his word, his multisyllabic and challenging word and I spell it back to him, punching. each. letter. It is good to be good. I am floating. I am waiting. The sound of the auditorium floods back to my ears and there is thunder. There is pulse. I am lifted.

“and lifted right up” by Julia on her couch


Saturday June 18, 2016
10:10pm
5 minutes
All My Puny Sorrows
Miriam Toews


Caught me in the middle of ‘researching’ various porn sites and I got mad at you for barging in unannounced. Kendra, you said, I live here. Do I really have to announce anything? I was embarrassed, obviously, that’s why people get defensive and upset in the first place, but I was not about to tell you that.
Listen, Matt, I don’t think a text or a phone call is a very big inconvenience just to tell me you’re on your way or that you’re 5 or 10 minutes out, or that you’ll be disturbing me and just wanted to give me a heads up.
Disturbing you? You asked.
Yes, I told you, or disrupting the flow.
I didn’t know there would be so many arbitrarily chosen rules popping up when you moved in.
I’m just saying we share the space and it’d be nice to be aware of each other.
Fine, Kendra. You said. You were on your way back out the door. I’d like all parties present to be informed that I am, ANNOUNCING, that I am leaving for the night, and all parties present can go back to being a huge dick for no reason, by herself.

“the nervous towns of Mars” by Julia on her couch


Monday June 13, 2016
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury


I don’t have words right now
not for the pain
not
for the other stuff
I have alien feelings
not happiness
not fear
something is in me breaking
as we speak
I would ask for
permission
to go home early
from all of this
try my lungs out
call to the wild but
there’s a scientist
waiting to take
my blood out
and I think
she owns me or something
Because my thoughts don’t feel
like mine anymore
they feel
like nothings floating
deep
and bobbing up for air
every
now and again
she tells me
stop trying
and I assume she means
everything
everything
everything
My arm is her best friend
my vein
is her guilty pleasure
she looks at my dancing
blue fluids
my
inside life
with fluorescent sparks shooting out
of her eyes
getting ready to keep me
from jumping out of
my skin
and into the world
beside this one
I tell her
They have much more
star-dust because it’s a destination
Not a curse
She says
and I know now
stop
which means
shuffling around while this
thing is in me
which means
talking
because I use
my hands
too much

“screaming like Tasmanian devils” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday June 12, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Bye Judy and Good Luck
Mona Awad


Madelyn had stepped out onto her porch, dimly lit, a few mosquitoes, joint lit. No sweater, it was good to feel cold every now and again. Not impossible cold. Awareness-making cold. She glanced down at the stain on her yellow cable knit T-shirt, pulling the base of it down and out to examine the damage, to survey the crime scene. They had been screaming like Tasmanian devils; running up and down the house so feverishly and never-endingly causing the whole house to vibrate. Madelyn didn’t know if the love she had for them was enough to keep her from hating them when they were like this. She thought she might have to take notes and keep watch on their behaviour with the cycles of the moon. She picked again at the orange-red blotch of defeat on her top. She picked again. She swatted away a mosquito.

“Solid colour” by Julia at her desk


Friday May 6, 2016
11:56pm
5 minutes
From a text

Had a dream I was trying to kill you again. I was coming at you with the blue knife Marnie gave us as an engagement gift. In my dream you’re not afraid or anxious. You almost have a calmness about you. You expect that I’m going to hunt you and you don’t even run. I think what I’m learning from this nightmare is that you don’t give up on me when I test you. You don’t run away when things get crazy. You don’t try to hurt me just because I’m trying to hurt you. This dream shows me how good you are. It makes me realize that one day, when I finally stop trying to sabotage us, stop making you prove yourself, we will be so obnoxiously happy. Until then know that this isn’t personal, that me trying to kill you says more about me than it says about you and that at least we’re getting our use out of that little blue knife.

“Alberta’s oil sands” by Julia on the 319


Thursday May 5, 2016
6:11pm
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

Mauve and red and magenta and orange. Sky bright. Night hot. Night fear. Red blood pumping. Running. Running. Dreams interrupted. Sleep disrupted. Running. Running.
I want to go home where the fields were mine and where the sky guided me back. Nothing left now. No home. No fields. No fix. No fight. Night hot. Sky bright. Love out. Love in. Goodbyes painted flame. Least important importance stays behind. No one wins. Running. Running.

“In just 10 months you have come a long way” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday May 3, 2016
8:31pm
5 minutes
From the Twitter account of the woman sitting in front of Julia

Look at your new smile
Your new confidence
Your new found love for yourself
You see me see you
I see you
I have always seen you
You see me see you seeing you
It is beautiful
In all the ways this world is beautiful
In all the ocean songs
And amethyst hearts
And moon cakes
And rain forests
And sounds of a baby’s laugh
Your new you is an old you returning
A home where you can
take off your shoes
Stay for a while
And dance in the magic suit you were born in
Look at your new wisdom
The kind that comes from
Re-learning how to trust yourself
Re-learning how to choose yourself
It is whole and it is warm
I would hold it
but I’ve already gotten so much
You keep it for now
Let it fill the cracks that once split you open
Let it fill the space where you said yes
To being more alive
Than yesterday

“Alberta’s oil sands” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Thursday May 5, 2016
1:50pm at Platform Seven
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

the world is burning where all the oil lives
the grass is scorched and the trees with the treehouses are ashes
the houses with the photo albums and the calico kitten and
the painting from france from a great-grandmother
the jeopardy of prized possessions
an apocalypse of biblical proportions

true colours show when we’re in danger
fingers around a neck with “mine” over “yours”
cars driving on sidewalks to get ahead of other cars
the irony of politics
the irony of “how did we get here?”
dollar bill pilgrims drilling for gold

another headline another photograph another heart up in flames

“In just 10 months you have come a long way” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday May 3, 2016
10:53pm
5 minutes
From the Twitter account of the woman sitting in front of Julia

Grief looks good on her. At least that’s what people keep saying. Not directly, but that’s what they’re saying, under the tight lipped smiles. Mostly other women. Sometimes men, but it’s quiet, it’s less direct. She’s running every day, because she can’t sit still. Her feet shuffle when she’s at the table, opening the mail. She tries to write in the journal that her sister sent her from the New Age gift shop, but the pen won’t move. Meanwhile, her knees jump. She runs in the ravine, where the trees haven’t really changed since she was a child. She starts drinking all of her meals, unable to chew, almost unable to swallow.

“Get just the right pick-me-up” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday March 15, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
pulpliterature.com

You go to sleep early because you’ve been up since 6:27am and you say that the mountains have made you tired again. I can hear you breathing from behind the living room wall. You sound like you’re trying to send me tiny signals as I stay up to paint my nails. I don’t like to go to sleep after you but it’s been happening more and more these days. I am racing against daylight and I can’t afford to take short cuts right now. I know your body’s heat by this time. I know that there’s a softness there in the curve of your back that fits most of my organs perfectly. I picture that spot while I think simultaneously about chicken thighs with preserved lemon or that surprise weekend getaway golden ticket you gave me for my birthday last June. You told me to pick wherever I wanted to go. I told you we could close our eyes, point on the map and go where our fingers land.

“cultural and community differences” by Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Sunday March 13, 2016
3:46pm
5 minutes
From a sample CV

In the moments of stillness
In between where you left and you loved me
I can count the number of breaths I have taken
On one hand
Maybe one and a half
The song I made you write for me plays
It never stops
It doesn’t know how
I don’t know how
I’m embarrassed that you didn’t want to do it
On your own
I could have asked
But I demanded
I could have invited
But I fought
I guess I was under the impression that
We do things for people
When we know it makes them feel good
I am sorry I put you in that category
Of people who care about people
Of people who give because they can
Not because they are tallying points
I am wrong too
I am happy to be so wrong
I am learning in the space between wrong and never right
You taught me that

“What is “beginner’s mind”?” By Sasha at the desk at Joe Creek


Tuesday, July 28, 2015
12:03pm
5 minutes
From a tweet by Shambhala Sun

I read a short memoir about a woman with stage four breast cancer and my throat swells with fear. I resent her for reminding me of my mortality. I wonder about where I carry extra weight, if I eat too much cheese, is it dangerous to live in a city? Where does my unexpressed rage live? Is it in my breasts? My liver? I’m destined for the same fate. Sickness lies dormant inside of me and will strike when I least expect. The summer of my wedding. When I am pregnant with my first child. During the premiere of my most successful play.

A hummingbird feasts from a hydrangea, slurping up her fill until she’s drunk, flying into the morning before I can reach for my camera. I drink coffee, now cool, the bitterness sour long after the swallow.

I weave a whole narrative before I’ve finished my fried egg on toast. I hate her, this beautiful bald writer, I love her, I wish she were closer and that I might know her phone number so that I can call and thank her for this late July, early morning meditation on death.

“suffers from a lack of imagination.” By Sasha on White Shell Beach


Saturday, June 20, 2015
4:12pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Oscar Wilde

Julie reads her horoscope every morning. In fact, she reads three versions, all on different websites that different psychics recommended. She hopes that they’ll bring her inspiration. She crosses her fingers all the way through the last one, whispering, “Gimme gimme gimme,” just like the ABBA song, but different.

Writer’s block came like a fog, thick and inconvenient. She felt like she couldn’t see, like she couldn’t feel, like she couldn’t meet deadlines, like she’d die seated at her writing desk, where she’d had so much luck before.

“I’m sorry, Mel, I just need a couple more weeks…”
“You’re three months overdue, Julie – ”
“I know, I know. I’m sorry.”
“You’ve put me in a real tough position.”
“I’m – ”
“If you don’t have pages to me by the end of the week the deal’s off, hon.”

She takes up smoking, thinking that it can’t get worse. She’s addicted after the fourth drag. Maybe the protagonist is a smoker. Yes! That’s it. Billy McDonald is a chain-smoker. That’s why Lisbeth leaves him! That’s the final straw!

“coconut oil and coconut sugar” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday May 31, 2015
10:24pm
5 minutes
http://www.simplyquinoa.com/vegan-coconut-oil-chocolate-chip-cookies

down below the tell all tell tale there lives a man who wears a brown hat. it’s a bit too big for him. it sometimes slips down over his eyes (depending on his haircut). when he laughs you might catch a glimpse of the fact that he doesn’t have any eye teeth. it’s okay! he can still eat strawberry shortcake! down below the tell all tell tale, below the man in the brown hat, sits a calico cat, lean through the jowls and plump through the belly and hind legs. she licks herself clean (especially after dinner) and sings sad, edith piaf style songs until she falls asleep again. this is the cylce.

“Reducing your taxes” by Julia on her patio


Monday May 18,2015
10:19pm
5 minutes
http://www.finance.ubc.ca

I met a woman and she was obsessed with money and she gave me her card and it took me a while to realize it but the reason was cause she was an accountant and it dawned on me a couple days later but now it makes sense cause when a woman talks about money that much and with that much authority she must be some professional when it comes to sorting all that stuff out–you know the numbers and the what have yous. I think she was trying to sell me her business cause of the card cause she could hear that I wasn’t too good with all those numbers and terms and she musta thought I was a big dumb man not knowing how to take care of all those financial issues and the like. It got me to thinking of my ex-wife Rosie cause she didn’t know a thing about money and she used to tell me it wasn’t her job to worry about bills and limits and payments and the what have yous and that’s why ours were always such a problem case I didn’t like them either. She used to say that women don’t know money just the way men don’t know gentleness and if we just teamed up then we’d never have to learn the other part cause that’s how God intended it when he looked down on the earth and matched up two people and decided how to make them into a family. This woman with the money she told me real nice that my eyes made her feel things she had never felt before and when she gave me her card and told me to call her I thought for a second maybe she wanted to love me.

“Reducing your taxes” by Sasha on the deck at Horseshoe Bay


Monday May 18,2015
1:30pm
5 minutes
http://www.finance.ubc.ca

Across from him I’m all “What are we going to barbecue for dinner?” And he’s all “How much did you make last year?” I got here forty five minutes ago and I was cracking jokes for the first twenty. Twenty minutes. He’s all “When did you move here?” And I’m all “We got bumped up to first class!” And he doesn’t want my stories. He wants numbers. Okay! Okay. Numbers are a scary place. Numbers under the bed. Numbers hiding in the depths of the sea like the Loch Ness Monster. Numbers are extra time after school because I JUST DON’T GET IT. Give me a soul to sooth and I’ll do it with my eyes closed.

“About 10 years ago” by Sasha on the deck in Horseshoe Bay


Thursday May 14, 2015
7:48pm
5 minutes
From a story by Mikal Cronin

about ten years ago I was riding a horse across the desert and trying to remember the names of all my cousins eight five of them EIGHTY FIVE ~ about ten years ago I was stealing gum and wonder bread from the convenience store and blaming it on the homeless drunk ~ about ten years ago I was fucking every man I met not because I wanted to but because I needed to prove to myself and to God that I was worthy ~ about ten years ago I was trying to remember the eight times table ~ about ten years ago I was changing your mind about white chocolate ~ about ten years ago I stopped procrastinating ~ about ten years ago I fell in love with nutritional yeast ~ about ten years ago I got a disease that I’ll have til I die but I’ll never tell anyone but you what it is because I’m a stuck up prude ~ about ten years ago I bought a pink backpack and travelled by foot across india ~ about ten years ago I went a year without sugar ~ about ten

“our only option!” By Julia on her bed


Sunday, April 12, 2015
1:05am
5 minutes
A text message from Sarah

Calls me up and he’s like, it’s our only option, we’re doing it, we’re moving to New York City. I say, how can you be so sure? And he says, a place that has city in the name? That was always the winning ticket! I say, but how can you be sure. I told you! He says. It’s in the name. Okay okay, when I got my palms read at the Slice and Saint, she said that New York City would make us happy. Is this before you finished your complimentary pizza slice? I ask. Of course! He says. They don’t let you have the slice without the voodoo! The phone beeps on his end. Gotta take this one, babe! It could be destiny calling!

“Thousands of things” by Julia on her bed


Saturday, April 11, 2015
2:45am
5 minutes
The Bargain Club sign

Got a thousand things to do today meliss! I set my alarm for exactly 7:41am, snoozed it for exactly 9 minutes, laid in bed for exactly ten more minutes thinking about the thousand things I have to do, and then I finally got out of bed by 8:00 am. I was prepared to get started, I had made a list, and then on my way to the bathroom, I tripped on the steamer that I left in the middle of the floor (cause I thought I’d just be able to SEE it and something like this would never even happen), I fell to the ground, and I fractured my wrist, meliss! How was I supposed to get things done like that!

“our only option!” By Sasha on her couch


Sunday, April 12, 2015
10:03pm
5 minutes
A text message from Sarah

Margot had never planned on living in the Five Alive Motel, it just sorta happened. When she and Lucy split up, Lucy got Suki, their German Shepard, which meant she got to keep the apartment. “What do I get?! What do I even get?!” Margot had shrieked until her voice was horse. Lucy had given her the cast iron frying pan, the red Rubbermaid blender and a teapot that her mother had given them when they first moved in together.

The Five Alive actually has a different name, but it smells like Five Alive so Margot calls it that. “Better than urine!” She jokes to the cashier at the IGA. She’s stocking up on nacho fixings, the primary food group for the broken hearted. She chooses her salsa carefully, switching it up every time in pursuit of the perfect blend of sweet, spicy and tangy. “When ya movin’ on, hon?” Asks the cashier, all feathered bangs and chipped coral nail polish. “Moving on?” Margot opens the bag of tortilla chips and starts stuffing them in her mouth. It was then, tongue burning with salt, cheeks being torn open by the sharp edges, that she realizes she’s been at the Five Alive for seven weeks. “Shit,” she says, reaching across the checkout, chip bag extended towards the cashier.

“Thousands of things” by Sasha in front of the fire


Saturday, April 11, 2015
10:28pm
5 minutes
The Bargain Club sign

Ellie isn’t sure when they started coming, if it was before Ryan started to leave bananas on the counter to ripen, or after the cherry blossoms bloomed. The ant infestation has gotten out of hand. She takes her frustration out on the carrots she chops for Gerrard, the sixteen year old rabbit that once belonged to her older sister. Ryan is at work when she decides that something must be done. “I’ve tried everything,” she’d said earlier, brushing her teeth. “What have you tried?” Ryan asked. “I sprinkled cayenne everywhere, and I made a honey trap!” She washed her face and Ryan left the bathroom, pulling on one grey sock, and then the other, as he walked down the hall. Ellie goes to the Home Hardware a few blocks away and asks the teenager with bad acne and nice teeth where she might find the pest control isle. He leads her there, sneaking a peek at his cellphone on the way. “What’s your vermin?” He asks, like it doesn’t matter, like he gets this question a lot. Ellie wonders why employees aren’t trained on sensitivity. “Lower your voice,” she growls. “Sorry,” he whispers, smiling, revealing teeth like Chicklets, all perfectly lined up. “Ants,” she replies. He crouches down and she crouches too, you’re in this with me now, she thinks. He hands her something called Raid, something nozzled and metallic. “This’ll get them good.” He leads Ellie to the cash, like she’s his puppy from the pound.

“Welcome visitors from Denmark” by Sasha on the 99 going West


Saturday April 4, 2015
10:01pm
5 minutes
from a school sign

cold coffee in a pottery mug made by hands that know the fault lines of a woman’s body
too much almond milk and a dash of vanilla
denmark feels far with so much water between
honey
lick the lip
guard the contents
a lioness
not sure about the night on these flower streets
not sure about eye contact or road signs or lazy feet
unrolling the mat is the hardest part
once you’re there the truth flows
honey
lick the lip
once you’re there the streetlight doesn’t forget anyone
her hips are the mantra i’ve been waiting for

“Some of the inspiration came from silent movies.” By Julia at her desk


Tuesday March 24, 2015
5:45pm
5 minutes
From Women In Clothes
Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & 639 Others


Close your eyes
Don’t be afraid
But
hold on tight
Because it’s the ride of your life
It’s starting tonight
With a dream
And a hope
Time’s suspended here
It’s not a joke
Keep your faith
In what matters most
Things like flying
And diving In head first
And finally letting go
And finally letting go far
Farther than what you think is possible
Be ready for the curves up ahead
And changes in weather
And the voice inside you saying
This isn’t easy
So better turn back
Don’t turn back
Now that you’re here
There is no there

“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

“Feed Your Family” by Sasha at W Cafe


Tuesday March 17, 2015 at W Cafe
10:10am
5 minutes
taste.com

At Ken and June’s wedding
I sweat through my red silk dress
Alexandra sang Unforgettable
and everyone jumped in the river between the
ceremony
and the
reception
The rocky bank speckled with lacy undies and
spotted boxer shorts
like trilliums

I found Jasmine crying in the outhouse and
I told her a joke about a mushroom
she laughed
and
snot bubbled from her nose
and we both laughed
and I only thought once about the time that she made me
get in the red
Honda Civic with her ex-boyfriend
after he’d been drinking

Henry and I danced
only to fast songs
June took off her high-heeled shoes and ran
bare-foot
through the vegetable garden
pulling up carrots and handfuls of
nasturtiums

“Weren’t you sorry” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday March 15, 2015
12:34am
5 minutes
from Sputnik Sweetheart
Haruki Murakami


weren’t you sorry when you left the party early and then the shit hit the fan and nothing was the same
weren’t you sorry when you tied yourself in knots to please them and then they smirked anyway
weren’t you sorry when the moon was full and you were planted on the couch eyes on the screen
weren’t you sorry you never said sorry for blaming that shiny one for something she didn’t do

round and round and round
more predictable than the summer following spring
these days at least
it’s getting hotter here
and colder there
these days
these long sorry days
you tie a string around your finger to remind you to recycle

“Their smiling faces touched” by Julia at her dining room table


Monday March 16, 2015
5:47pm
5 minutes
Still Alice
Lisa Genova


In the window fog she traced his name with her pointer finger and drew a heart around it. Finding herself rereading the same last paragraph of his letter over and over again, she knew she wasn’t going to rid herself of his memory with any ease at all. She stopped herself for an instant, glanced out into the passing world outside her moving train, and came back into the present moment. She had been talking about him as if he had not only left her, but left this earth all together. Then, a tiny ember of hope flickered inside her. He wasn’t even gone, just away. Just away from her. His final words to her,the ones she’d been revisiting each time without effort, were suddenly so clear to her: “In time we fade and in time we’re built anew.”

“Weren’t you sorry” by Julia at her desk


Sunday March 15, 2015
10:32pm
5 minutes
from Sputnik Sweetheart
Haruki Murakami


Like a ton of bricks falling from the ceiling, right over your bed while you’re in the middle of a good dream. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from the moment of feeling like nothing else was even happening or existing around me. Just hazy, stabbing light, hacking into my every skin cell.
It was shocking to say the least. The motherfucking shock of my motherfucking life. I didn’t see it coming. Maybe I never wanted to see something like that, and in my head I couldn’t even think it was possible. And then all of a sudden I was sitting at my best friend’s hospital bed, holding her hand and keeping her eyelids cool with my fingertips. I don’t know if I said it out loud, but I know for a fact my heart was singing it. Over and over again like a broken, desperate record: Please don’t die. Please don’t die. Please don’t die.

“landed immigrants” by Julia on her couch


Friday March 13, 2015
6:39pm
5 minutes
from http://www.banffmediafestival.com

Touch down acquaint orient
Reorient
Find the water
Where’s the water?
Friendly Sir
Morning coffee spill parade
Left then left then left then straight
Breathe in this city
Ask all the hard questions
Where am I going?
Why am I going there?
Fear leads and buries
Don’t follow blind
Don’t assume
Ask all the hard questions
Can you help me?
Can you show me?
South then east then south then east
Home now, a strange word
Invented
Reinvented
Depending on the day
The time
The hour

“landed immigrants” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday March 13, 2015
4:09pm
5 minutes
from http://www.banffmediafestival.com

We have finally found the rainbow and it’s better than we’d heard
The blue tastes like french fries and the yellow
is smooth like velveteen rabbits
We have finally learned the secret and it’s gentler than we’d assumed
The Lost Boys know their times tables!
The ketchup has magic in it!
The library door is never locked!
We have finally burned the glass and it doesn’t shatter like we’d guessed
Friendship bracelets keep the moths out
Your grandmother is rolling cigarettes and blaring Edith Piaf from her
imaginary record player

“One male one female” by Sasha in her bed


Wednesday March 11, 2015
12:33pm
5 minutes
from an online acting breakdown

It is all we can do not to laugh our friggen heads off! He’s got a booger hanging out of his nose, AND his fly is down, AND he’s got a piece of something brown between his two front teeth… AND he’s trying to school us on Sensitivity and Awareness like it’s a rare bird… I mean, come on! If anyone needs the training it’s Dave and he’s out sick with bronchitis! Kathleen and I are literally losing it, I mean LOSING IT, and he says, “I need TWO volunteers – ONE male and ONE FE-male!” He says it like we should be friggen excited. No one puts up their hand. Not even Larry. I almost feel bad for him, you know, such a mess in front of the whole twelve of us. I go, “I’ll do it,” and he’s so grateful I think he might cry, and he takes me by the shoulders and puts me in the middle of the circle.

“I wish he would ask me out. But he won’t.” by Sasha at Studio 1398


Tuesday March 10, 2015
5:33pm
5 minutes
Julia’s Diary
September 1997


I wish he would ask me out. But he won’t. Because he can’t talk. Because he’s a horse. Because I’m a turkey. Because the world isn’t ready for inter-species love affairs just yet. Because feathers and manes might get tangled.

I wish he would look at me. But he won’t. Because I’m out of his eye line. Because he prefers Daisy, the thoroughbred mare. Because all I can do is cluck and that’s only on a good day.

I wish he would spoon me. Because I could fit right in to that place under his neck. Because then maybe I’d kick this cold. Because then my beak wouldn’t chatter as I’m falling asleep.

“nothing has ever summed me up so succinctly” by Sasha on the number 3 bus


Saturday March 7, 2015
6:24pm
5 minutes
from a caitlinjstasey Instagram post

Nothing has ever summed me up so succinctly
The tickle tickle throat of the morning after
The flowers out of their water
On the floor
Beside the table

When I found my father’s secrets
I decided that I’d rather
eat a bag of chips
and make eyes at tall men in bars

It’s lonely here in the biggest city
in the biggest world
Bread rots but not the way that you think it might
The bus lurches and sputters like a drunk frat boy
Forget-me-knot
tied around a waist of the one I was before I became
before I became

“gals give some sneaky hints” by Julia on the 47 going north


Tuesday February 24, 2015
6:35pm
5 minutes
blog.muchmusic.com

Don’t want to give you any false raised hope, but there will be a surprise tonight that is going to blow your mind. I promised Angela I wouldn’t say what was going down, but it’s your freaking birthday, dude, it’s not like you don’t expect some wicked cool event to happen in your complete and perfect honour. I pinky swore your girlfriend that I would keep all details of this extravagant celebratory secret to myself. But I thought about it, and I was like, dude needs to know what to wear, you know, how is he supposed to dress himself without a dress code! What is this, New Years? No. Not even close. That phrase doesn’t really work here, cause I actually stole it from my ex-boyfriend who used to say it all the time, and the way he did it was so funny, so I was trying to be funny. Anyway, he also hated surprises. Or, no, he hated when surprises got ruined. And, yeah, the reaction to the “SURPRISE!!!!!” Is really only as good as the secret kept, but I still maintain that you would be happier walking into your favourite place, with all your favourite people, knowing that it was happening, so you could fill your face with honest gratitude and appreciation. You’re welcome, dude!

“I like chocolate!” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 15, 2015
12:51am
5 minutes
overheard at Caffe W

Woah, that’s, that there is my one and only weakness. My one and only true love…or you know, weakness because I love it. I’m talking about what you think I’m talking about. I’m not the only one and I know that, but it’s still a thing that I have to say out loud before we do this. I just don’t want you to have any false notions about who I am, or what I do, or what I’ll choose when push comes to shove. I choose my beautiful weakness, my beautiful soulmate. And in case you need explaining, it’s not you, or anyone you might know. It’s mint chocolate, okay? Is that what you need to hear to understand fully? It’s a delicious and cool mint chocolate and I would rather die than go a single day without a piece. I was hoping you’d bring it up this early just so I could address this thing before the beast rears its ugly head and you don’t know how to handle it, or me, or the commitment I’ve made to it. This is only a good thing.

“I can’t leave people unattended inside with the doors closed” by Julia on the 506 going east


Saturday February 14, 2015
3:36pm
5 minutes
An explanation from the 506 TTC driver

It’s hard to think of him differently after all those years. I mean, hey, yeah, my dad spent the first half of my life as a cook in a greasy diner. He lived for that place. I don’t know anyone else who has been brought to tears over a perfectly poached egg, but he sure has. And sometimes it was hard, and sometimes we thought he was going insane as many kitchen people do, but at the end of the day, when he’d come home smelling like smoked meats and the deep frier, he’d have a smile on his face.
Then, all of a sudden, my dad decided he wanted to be a teacher. Just like that, no real discussion about it, just this is it, I used to cook in a diner and now I want to be responsible for educating the youth of this fine country. I had never seen my dad in a suit before, or anything other than an apron for that matter. We all wondered where a man with barely even a high school diploma would start.

“Let’s make a list” by Julia on the subway going west


Friday February 13, 2015
6:12pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Great Dane Coffee

We’ve got time and we’ve got flowers
We’ve got love and we’ve got hours

Let’s make a list! She squeals.
Let’s write down all the items we need for our home to be perfect!
Okay you start! He sees she’s excited.
I can’t! You go. You go!
Okay, he starts, Lights!
Mood lights! Around the bed?
Yes!
Yes!
A double sink!!
Oh my god. YES.
To say we’ve made it!
Double sinks scream success!
We’ve made it!
Yeah baby.
What else, you go!
Oh-a good couch!
One that pulls out for guests!
All the guests in the world will sleep on our perfect pull out couch!