“difficult for the Western mind to understand” by Sasha in her kitchen

Thursday October 4, 2018
9:15pm
5 minutes
The Heart of Understanding
Thich Nhat Hanh

Hold it steady
Hold it steady
Your heart on the outside
beating for the world to see
beating for me to write a song to

Hold it steady
Hold it steady
Sweet angel you’ve got all the goodness
Sweet angel you’ve got all the badness
Like we all do – in equal parts

Hold it steady
Hold it steady
My hand in your hand
as the leaves turn in their glory
in the breaking as we turn towards

each other

“Hard as it may be to believe” by Sasha on her bed

Tuesday October 2, 2018
8:46pm
5 minutes
Beneath Our Feet
Redfern Jon Barrett

Frida sings me a lullaby and I toss and turn and hope that someone – anyone – might save me from myself.

It doesn’t have to be you, although that would be ideal.

You, fresh from the shower and smelling of sand and amber. You, seeming to have grown a few inches overnight – how do you do that? You, sweet mermaid man, good to the bone, knowing the perfect amount of honey for tea and exactly how to light a room a dusk.

“your inner rock collecting childhood self” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday March 9, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
BUNZ Trading Zone

Now that we’ve had all this time
Now that we haven’t spoken in almost a year
Or has it been more
I’m terrible with dates
I think it’s been more

I recognize that this was
always meant to happen
I don’t mean it in a morbid way
but you were supposed to go your way
(Garage sales, cheap candy, BUNZ, ribeyes)
I was supposed to go my way
(I can’t easily classify my own WAY
I’ll leave that task to you)

Sometimes I miss you
when I’m through Chinatown
or laughing at how nastily someone eats
in public
That’s when I miss you

Sometimes I forget about you
and I stopped feeling bad about that
about six weeks ago
Took a really long time to stop
feeling bad about forgetting

“may all the bones” by Sasha at her desk

Friday, February 23, 2018
4:02pm
5 minutes
And if there is a day of resurrection
Todd Davis

I want to be the best for you. I wake up sweaty. I wake up hungry. I wake up wanting blood. I make steak and eggs and go for a run. I run farther than ever. I run to the desert. I taste you. I feel you in my liver. I hear you in my ears. I take a sick day and buy a canvas from an art store and paint you from memory. You’ve never looked better. I listen to Britney Spears, Chopin, Coldplay, Marvin Gaye. I drink gallons of water. I take vitamins. I eat chia seeds by the spoonful. I go to the doctor. I will live forever, for you, because of you.

“He’s not worthy of competing with you” by Sasha at the Roundhouse

Saturday January 27, 2018
1:43pm
5 minutes
The Duel
Thomas Brasch

When it’s late
and I’m alone
and nothing’s really wrong
but right is around the corner
smoking a joint
hat pulled down

When it’s late
and I’m alone
the glow of this
putrid light burning
I can’t help but
search for you

I know where to find you

Buried in my inbox
scattered in my outbox
what we used to say
makes my heart race

I imagine you rocking
your baby to sleep
so peaceful
so good
I imagine you thinking
about me
getting hard
getting soft
getting a drink of water

None of these ghosts
can compete with what I’ve got

I know where to find you

Singing out of a tinny speaker
Singing words I wrote for a
melody we already knew

“beneficial to anyone” by Sasha at the casita

Monday October 23, 2017
11:21am
5 minutes
From an email

I woke this morning with a heavy feeling
That familiar weight
Brick on chest
Snake in bowels

The dogs were barking
There are so many here
Roaming the side streets with
Nipples almost touching the ground
They’ve had so many pups
They sulk
Open though the alleys and side streets
You wonder where the puppies are

I trust you with my heart now
Something about the temperature
The past month
Has brought us closer to the root
Of it all
To God
To the stars
To the salt water

I rose with a lightness
Because you were there
In your stunning stillness
Hands up by your face

“You said not to read his old texts” by Julia on her couch


Thursday August 31, 2017
11:58pm
5 minutes
From confidential sides

Told yourself you wouldn’t log into his e-mail account.
You put a tally beside your computer and started calling it your sobriety calendar.
Eleven days clean. Haven’t checked it since that fall.
You told yourself that “this is why you don’t snoop through other people’s lives.”
You said “this is why you stop rationalizing all together.”
There are exes marked day after day. You nod, slightly to the fact that you are now an ex marked day by day.
You wonder if his computer will notify him that someone else is in his account.
You worry that he already knows what you’re doing.
You wonder why he doesn’t change his beautiful password.
You wonder why he chose her over you.
You wonder why you eat a tub of peanut butter every three days.

“packing slip” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday August 12, 2017
10:18pm
5 minutes
A receipt

I open my hands for you and
you put a packing slip there
you skip a packing note there
my hands are empty for you
and now not so empty
you
I open my hands and you
breathe fire I say
it’s okay
it’s okay
and I put that slip
in my back pocket
Never know when you’ve
got a list to write
Never know when you
might be struck by
inspiration

“I can bearly remember a thing” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday March 25, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
From a fridge notepad

When this song comes on, it reminds me of you like that summer was last summer. It wasn’t. It was seven summer’s ago, and I didn’t even have a good time, mostly, but there’s something about you, there’s something about then, that catches like a bubble in my throat. I cough. Can I finally dislodge this? Can I finally blow you away?

I consider emailing you, with this song, in this coffee shop. But I don’t. I don’t need to write another chapter to that story.

“if it must.” By Julia at her desk


Sunday February 19, 2017
10:34pm
5 minutes
The Refusal
Jane Hirschfield


If it maybes then it shouldn’t
If it musts then maybe it should

I must do a lot of things
like the octopus must
like the sun
like you

I must love you when it strikes me
I must see you when I do not want to be seen

Rain must live here
Ocean must roar sometimes
I maybe shouldn’t need to remind myself
like this, on text and tablet

And still I must remind myself because I maybe need you
I must need you
you must need me
if the sun must

“if it must.” By Sasha at her desk


Sunday February 19, 2017
4:58pm
5 minutes
The Refusal
Jane Hirschfield


I try to lean in to you
in your stoic silence
there lives
a birch tree forest
I am sorry for all the times
I say no before
I say yes
I wish it weren’t so
but alas
it is

You wake from a dream
in which we are running
a bullet has grazed
my leg
I am slowed down
and you slow down
to match my
wounded pace

Is life a teetor
totter up is faith
and down is doubt?

Or maybe
it’s the other
way around

“Destiny Number” by Sasha at Elysian on Broadway


Thursday January 19, 2017 at Elysian
4:35pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

You buy a car and drive across the country. You wear only your mother’s clothes, from the time before she knew you. Remember that that time existed, you say, under your breath like a rosary. You buy a car the colour of sunset and sand, wondering if chrome can chameleon. You paint your face with mud and forget. You go into a diner and order a mushroom omelette and extra crispy bacon. The waitress smiles at you. She knows where you’re coming from, and maybe even where you’re going. You eat with your hands.

”you push into a new space.” By Julia at R&D Spadina


Wednesday June 3, 2015 at R&D
3:55pm
5 minutes
http://www.mysticmamma.com/the-theme-for-june-2015-is-creative-action/

Birthing the new you out from the old you is the hard part. Woman on the floor Legs spread breathing breathing life into this place. And you, the new you, a bundle of joy wrapped up in perfect pain masked as a blanket has suffered the trauma just as any new born has. And just like the old you with your primal scream caught deep in your throat, your nightmares of the fight you put up just to be here, just to enter this new world from your old one are playing over and over again. You have a hope, you have a dream but you don’t know it yet–cause you’re so new. But you look at this new place with wonder and awe and excitement for all the magic it holds. You don’t leave all the things you wish you weren’t behind, but you don’t know how to access them in this place yet—Which is a good thing—because the hard part—the hard part before birthing your new self—is the discipline of leaving the you that doesn’t belong here on the shelf.

”you push into a new space.” By Sasha at Kafka’s


Wednesday June 3, 2015 at Kafka’s
11:01am
5 minutes
http://www.mysticmamma.com/the-theme-for-june-2015-is-creative-action/

You
in your oldest jeans and a threadbare flannel shirt
green and blue plaid
You
hands in your pockets
quietly jingling your nickels and dimes
You
all cedar wisdom and morning sweetness
a musky leader never leaving the ring
You
scribbling prophecies in your notebook
collaging dreams with photographs from albums filled with unknown faces
You
push into a new space
lift up to be bigger and deeper and more fluid
You
jump but in stillness
dive but in

“can’t go a day without” by Sasha at Kits Beach


Monday March 9, 2015
4:21pm
5 minutes
from a comment on YouTube

A small song

I can’t go a day without cracking my neck and my knuckles.
I can’t go an hour without clenching my teeth and craving coffee.
I can’t go a minute without deep breaths and laughter.
I can’t go a second without you you you.

I can’t go a day without peanut butter or yoga.
I can’t go an hour without laughing at the wrong time.
I can’t go a minute without heartbeats and a smile.
I can’t go a second without you you you.

“happens without words” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday February 11, 2015
1:07am
5 minutes
mysticmama.com

I’ve started this letter 4 times already. I don’t know how to address you…dear is close because you are dear to me but not in this current moment. I don’t remember the last time you were accurately dear to me. I don’t think people understand that when they write it in front of a name, substituting it for “to”. To you. Dear you. Am I missing something? I could just put your name but I don’t think that expresses my feelings well either. You,. I can’t start a letter with You comma; I’m not a complete idiot. You colon. Yeah I could do that. You: –because I could list all the things you are or that you do and the first couple would be aggressive but then I’d remember why I care about you and they would start to get good again.

“friends to build your community” by Sasha on the couch in Mississauga


Monday December 22, 2014
9:12am
5 minutes
from grooveshark.com

I want to tell you something small. And massive. And yellow. I want to tell you about moving across ice, fawn legged, and reaching up to catch a tired branch and missing. I want to tell you about the shame in my hips, tight and sepia toned, how she hums when the nights are cold, how she moans when the fire has turned to embers. I want to tell you how I see the tired in your smile, how I see the memories of before and the forgetting of now. I want to tell you to stop reading the Tabloids, that slow drip of mediocrity, and I want to tell you that I won’t judge you if you don’t stop, but I will keep shoving books of poetry under your bed in hopes that you’ll find them when you’re most filled with longing.

“a rebirth or maybe a leap” by Julia on the beach in Levanto


Monday September 22, 2014
12:20pm
5 minutes
from Jess’ email to her family

I wanted you to know (ocean air)
That I’m doing some growing
That I’m doing some growing but not away from you
In the distance of Here to There I have laid down tiny cut outs
Of my heart for you to follow
Trace back to me when you need
Or when you can’t sleep
If the letter written in my hand
The one I write for you (mountain springs)
Never reaches you
There will be another route
For you to find your way
Back to me
And this space has a fullness
Because I am making sure I water it
Swelling with the blood that pumps my joy to yours (sky eternal)
A tiny river that you can swim through
If the road around it gets too rough

“I don’t remember if he told me to look at the stars, but I did.” By Sasha at Higher Grounds


Friday, September 5, 2014 at Higher Grounds
12:44pm
5 minutes
How To Make Love In America
Sarah Nicole Prickett


I don’t remember if he told me to look at the stars, but I did. They were singing a Ray Lamontagne song, but only for me. For him, they were quiet. We were both still lost, still younger than we wanted to believe, still looking elsewhere for what we really wanted. It’s hard to find stars in the city. I do, though. It’s more important to me than a good book on my bedside table, but I won’t easily admit that. My mother is good at naming constellations. She can spot Orion and Cassiopeia and gives directions as to where to look. The stars sing Joni Mitchell to her. Even though she doesn’t say so, I know it. When I’m with her, and the stars, I hear Big Yellow Taxi.

“Last date to withdraw” by Julia at The Common


Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at The Common
5:18pm
5 minutes
The UBC student services handbook

You can look inward and find the buttons. Press the buttons and look inward. Something there you want? Something there you don’t recognize?
Press the buttons.
Look inward.
You know how to play the game already. You don’t need to relearn anything. Maybe you went away too long and now there’s nothing left to know. Maybe what was inward travelled onward and outward and maybe there’s no room left for what was there and for what is there now.
Is that so horrible a thing to believe?
That time changes inside?
That time changes insides?
And if you go away too long you need to think of what you’ll find to replace what you had because otherwise there’s a lot of empty space and it doesn’t do well there inside. Emptiness is meant for the bottom of a picnic basket after a successful day at the park. That kind of emptiness will do just fine.
But inside yourself, looking inward, you must fill that space with something that you love.
Otherwise you will miss your before you and you will not learn to love your new you.

“we pass the time very well” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Queen East


Saturday May 24, 2014 at Dark Horse Queen East
5:25pm
5 minutes
Sambuca Grill Drink List

I want you to think I’m a really good listener.
I nod my head.
I “uh huh”.
I smile and I furrow and I gasp.
I want you to see me as a compassionate person.
I want you to think I’m filled to the brim with dignity,
with grace,
with ease,
with love.
I want you to know me as a kind soul.
I’m a kind soul.
Okay?
I want you to look at me and see health,
see vitality,
see brightness.
I want you to know I’m smart,
and articulate,
and creative,
and sensitive,
but not too sensitive,
just the right amount of sensitive.

“glimpse of you” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday, January 1, 2014
4:03pm
5 minutes
The New School for Drama brochure

I caught a glimpse of you
Between this year and last
Between dusk and dawn
Between the second hand and next number
You still had lips that seemed honey brushed
Cheeks dotted with wind kisses
You still had bad teeth from a hockey accident
Left without repair
As you are
The morning after
The night before
I caught a glimpse of you
Getting off the streetcar
My breath caught in my mouth like a truffle
It stopped me from calling your name

“should be the soundtrack” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday December 29, 2013
12:53am
5 minutes
www.songza.com

You wake
restless
Visions of waves
and skateboards
You stretch
Languid
Saying good morning
to what we’ve made
Your voice
singing
Should be the soundtrack of my day
It’s not a matter of better or worse
But if it were
You’d be better than
Joni
Bruce
Adele
Raphael
Joan
You are better than
Sunshowers
Pinecone crowns
A gull flying high overhead
Your love is deeper
than the centre of the earth
where quartz crystals
hum to the tune of the red hot
centre

“Last Goodbye” by Sasha in the Kiva


Wednesday December 18, 2013
6:29pm
5 minutes
from the Charles Bradley record

When I get to your house, I stop, my feet drowning in slush. I don’t feel worthy of the curb, of the elevation. I see you through the window. You’re holding your son. He must be three now. He has your hair, your curls. I imagine he has your eyes, too, and your nose. He has her mouth, though, at least that’s what I see, when I close my eyes. You raise your boy up, high in the air and he laughs, you laugh. My heart drops and hits the slush. I catch it and put it back where it belongs, or where it used to be. I’m not sure where it will go next. Your Christmas tree looks right out of The Nutcracker, all lights and ribbons and silver and gold. It’s bigger than my apartment. I walk closer and closer and closer, sinking into the snow. When I get to the window I push my face up against the glass. I cross my eyes. You see me and your face pales. You put down your son and whisper something in his ear.

“the railway that connects our country” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday November 30, 2013
9:07pm
5 minutes
the Local Heroes calendar

The railway that connects our country starts at the sea and ends at the mountains. If you were to walk alongside it, my guess is that it would take seven months to get from water to tip icy top.If you were to follow the railway, you might be able to jump on a train, speeding towards the tallest trees. Or, if you had great luck, you might meet a moose who would guide you to the mouth of the Big Dipper where you could both drink, side by side. In between the sea and the mountains are stretches of prairie with the widest skies you’ve known. You’ll see for miles and miles. There are waterfalls where you can find stones worn smooth over time. Perhaps you’ll put one in your pocket to handle when the nights are long. The railway snakes when it climbs, further west.

“become the master” by Sasha at her desk


Monday October 21, 2013
12:52am
5 minutes
the back of the Curl Keeper bottle

I want to know what you named the mole on your mother’s back and how you take your tea. I want to know the sound of your sleep. When we meet, you’re wearing a smart jacket and an expression like you’ve just landed. I’m teetering in too-tall shoes and laughing too hard at a too lame joke. I instantly want to know what colour socks you’re wearing and I get the thrill of my young life when I catch a glimpse of them, as you cross your legs, sipping on a whiskey. Blue and red. Striped. I want to become a master of you, to know every scar and every pet peeve, to know where you’re ticklish and what your voice does when you’re grumpy. I want to meet your big toe and your heartbeat. I want to know all the jobs you’ve worked. I want to know the name of the street that you grew up on.

“this is how it sometimes is at God’s table” by Sasha at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday October 20, 2013 at the these five minutes: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab
1:27pm
5 minutes
The Essential Rumi
Ed. Coleman Barks


The placemats are the make-your-own with an iron kind. The ones you can get at that art supply store. You put photos in between the two sheets of plastic and you… iron. God made these in August, when she was hot-flashing and moody. She’d elastic-banded an icepack to her bra strap. She took photos of her brothers, her daughters and you, quite a few of you, and she arranged them, collage-style, for each rectangular placemat. She also put in a cut out from a magazine of lasagna, because it’s her favourite, and a cut out from the newspaper of something Nelson Mandala said, to keep things real. She drank ice-y limeade and she arranged the collaged and she ironed, watching the plastic stick together and get gooey at the corners. Simon and Garfunkel played on her small, red boom-box.

“I spent decades awakening” by Sasha at the table at Knowlton Lake


Sunday, September 15, 2013
10:04am
5 minutes
Her Account Of Herself
Amy Gerstler


It’s like you re-learned your name. Now, when you say it, you claim it like a plot of land. You put your flag down and mark the territory as yours and only yours. Remember when you called yourself “stupid”? Remember when you looked at yourself in the mirror and you sucked in and pushed out and puckered and picked? Remember the sound your father makes when he sneezes, rattling the paintings on the wall? I was glad, when you breached for air, that your face wasn’t blue. I was glad you had colour, high in your cheeks, the colour of fruit salad. You’d been underwater for quite some time, so I wasn’t sure what it was all going to look like. You were stronger, your shoulders screaming “SWIMMER!”

The last time I saw you, you were wearing your flippers and goggles, your navy blue bathing suit, but you said you’d misplaced the mouthpiece, the scuba diving paraphernalia that would allow you to breathe down there, with the coral and the tiger-fish.

“a dirty joke” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday, September 7, 2013
11:23pm
5 minutes
Sometimes I Forget Completely
Rumi


You got that look on your face, because you caught me, guilty, stealing bits of you.
Your over-used razor, your rusty flask with an “M’ carved on the bottom, your green paisley teacup and mis-matched saucer, your shopping list, your James Blake record.
I learned it from you.
The tiptoeing, quick, barely disturbing the dust on the windowsill, the sunbeam making dirty jokes on the wall.
We all make mistakes.
I’ve packed those things into my backpack and I’m going to bring them all the way to the beach.
I’ll take the streetcar, screeching and calling all the pigeons, a gathering place.
When I get to the beach, I’ll wait til it’s dark, til the sun sets.
I’ll sip on your flask, unsure what’s in there, what was in there.
Don’t leave me room for the doubt and the thirst.
When it’s dark, when the kids with their pails have left, I’ll make a small pile of driftwood.
I’ll throw your bits on top. Except the record. I’ll keep that.
I’ll dump the rest of the flask contents on.
I’ll take the lighter from my back pocket.
I’ll set you on fire.

“Greener than yesterday” by Sasha at Thom and Shelagh’s kitchen counter


Friday, July 5, 2013
10:03pm
5 minutes
Distance
Jeremiah T. Scott


A photograph from your website. He’s printed it in full colour. I doubt he has a printer, which means he went down to the copy centre and paid the thirty cents. Plus computer time. Unless he brought the image, your image, on a USB key and that’s… unlikely. It’s that photo of you from Halloween in third year when you were a bumblebee. You were doing the kissy face. You looked beautiful, of course. You’re not smiling, you’re looking to the right as though there’s someone there. There was probably someone there. Maybe it was Steve, your boyfriend at the time. I wonder where Steve is now. Your nipples poke through the black leotard that you’re wearing. He’s gone the whole nine years and printed the picture on card-stock, not just average Joe paper. I turn the image over and on the back is an old piece of sticky tack. It’s blue.

“80-minute discussion” by Sasha at the Epcor Centre


Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at the Epcor Centre
7:12pm
5 minutes
http://www.teamcoco.com

He sat me down. He pulled back the curtain and there was Mom and Dad, Devon and Bruce, Samantha and Ray. “Oh shit,” I thought. “You’ve got to be kidding me…” I said. I started to laugh, in that way that Devon tends to do at funerals. He called me on it. “Sweetheart,” said Dad, in the voice that he usually reserves for his delinquent students, “we’re worried about you.” I bolt to the bathroom and lock myself in. I run the tap and flush the toilet repeatedly. An eighty to ninety minutes discussion ensues between all of them. It’s hard to hear. They’re whispering because they think it will make me curious and come out of my self-imposed seclusion. At one point Mom comes to the door and does her usual tap – two short and quiet and one loud. She says, “Love-y, we don’t want you to feel shy. We want to connect…” I cannot believe that you’re in on this with them, like you aren’t part of the problem, like you aren’t the entire problem.

“when her man got bagged” by Sasha on her bed at Knowlton Lake


Sunday, May 19, 2013
7:32am
5 minutes
DECODED
Jay-Z


You have a few regrets. You don’t let them anchor. You aren’t too upset about them. You feel about these regrets how you feel about scrambled eggs – take ’em or leave ’em. Sometimes they hit the spot and sometimes they taste like throw-up. When you decide to fess up about these regrets, you’ll do it to a lover that you found on a park bench. The ground will be scattered with cherry blossom petals and the odd beer can. It won’t be your usual type of lover, it will be a bit different, a bit mysterious, a bit rare, a bit rough. After, sweaty and giggling, you’ll be moved to share these regrets, small pebbles that weighed down your pockets that day.

1. Bernice Goldstein, who you would pinch most days of Grade Two. She was snotty-nosed and greasy-haired, and exuded neediness and it frustrated you. You later found out she had killed herself. You hated to think you had something to do with it. You wish that you could apologize.
2. Your cousins wedding, which you missed because of a Foo Fighters concert, prioritizing “cool” over “family”, the first of many. Years later he told you how hurt he’d been that you weren’t there, that you didn’t care enough to sell the tickets on Craigslist and use that money to get on a train.
3. Forgetting your mother’s birthday that one year, when you were tree-planting. You’d arranged to call her, had planned to sing to her, the birthday song that was in the secret language you used to speak together.

“I didn’t have a word for it” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, March 16, 2013
2:37pm
5 minutes
Everything Bad Is Good For You
Steven Johnson


I had a word for it. I guess I would have called it ‘Hate’ or something like that. It tasted of Ketchup chips and white grapefruit juice. It was sort of sweet and salty and bitter and refreshing and dangerous all at the same time. I thought of it when I thought of you. I was different then, when we first met. I had something unique and good about me that I couldn’t possibly still have. Now I’m dark lips, dark mind, and eternally pissed off that the TV stand collects dust directly after having been wiped clean. I see the world through a lens that doesn’t offer much hope. I learned to be a critic in school, and now all I can enjoy watching is the embarrassment and failure of others. I have a word for it. ‘Hate’s’ the closest thing it could be without telling you what word I actually mean here. It’s something cold, needs a sweater. Like a knit or a fleece. It doesn’t travel well in packs; it’d rather be left alone staring the wall and imagining a person staring back. It has no love, I think, which is why it is so grey. It colours itself in with a yellow highlighter, dying to be the type who can pass itself off as ‘blonde’. It’s not, though. Neither am I. I’m just a brunette with a typewriter, and the only keys that still work on it are H, A, T, and E.