“exit only” by Julia in Piazza del Francia


Tuesday October 28, 2014
4:21pm
5 minutes
from the side of a tper bus

He entered a room filled with mirrors. The instructions said he must look within before he could exit the game. He knew how this worked. A hundred minutes ripping apart all his flaws just to realize he was fine all along and didn’t need to inflict any self harm to find that out. So instead he tried to see what features he liked about himself; starting with the outside to make it easier when he got to the inside.

Decent enough eye shape. Not an almond. But almost. Long eyelashes-like a fawn, or a prostitute. Standard cheekbones (thankfully). One big bottom lip and one almost normal looking top lip. Straight teeth. Really straight. Should smile more. Will note that.

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“thank you for your hate” by Julia in Piazza del Francia


Monday October 27, 2014
1:09pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I’ve received numerous letters from viewers this week and I wanted to share with you the major themes they all have in common. As you are well aware, we set the example for those at home and when those at home see you at work, they follow your actions without thinking and they do what you do. Now you may be thinking, Marlena, great stockings today, but how are we supposed to know which behaviour the viewers at home will want to emulate? How, Marlena, should we prepare ourselves for the randoms and for the sheep-like viewers? And to that I will respond with, Thank you, they’re from Barclay’s, and because you don’t know what they’ll do, you must always behave accordingly. Now the first thing I’m going to talk about is one that’s really inspired a different breed of human to participate. I am going to say this only once: WE DO NOT EAT OVER OUR CATS. Does anyone know why we don’t do this, aside from having to spend 2-3 minutes pulling the couscous from their fur while debating whether or not it can be washed off and still eaten??

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“MADE IN ITALY” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday October 25, 2014
7:12pm
5 minutes
The back of a room spray

It’s late. The rain’s stopped but the moon’s to blame now. For this insatiable urge to eat gelato. I pull on shorts and a tank top. I’ve been naked because it’s so hot. There’s a gelato place three blocks from the room I’m renting. I see him and I recognize him but I’m not wearing a bra so I keep walking. “Hey!” He calls. I stop. I don’t want to be rude. Fucking Canadian. I stop. He runs towards me. I don’t know him well enough for him to run. My best friend didn’t even run towards me when I got home from China and she hadn’t seen me in two years. He smiles. “You look like you just woke up,” he says and I didn’t just wake up but I’m disheveled. I’m not wearing a bra. “Where’re you going?” His eyes dart to my nipples, then to my lips, then to my eyes. Too slow. “Home,” I say. “I’ll walk you,” he says. My mind races with options – how can I avoid him but get to the gelato but avoid him? “No thank you.” I say. “It’s not safe for you to walk alone right now… You know how it goes with the men here…” “I’m fine.” I say. His face eclipses. His face changes. He looks angry. He starts to say something and then stops. “I’ll see you around,” he says. I wait. I catch my breath. I close my eyes and I think about my first real boyfriend, who took my virginity, who cried when we had sex because he was so scared of hurting me. Where are you, Steve Levine? Where are you now?

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“in the passenger seat” by Julia at her desk


Sunday October 26, 2014
12:33am
5 minutes
from the early draft of a screenplay

Anja sat quietly in the front seat, not wanting to disturb her father while he was lost. She knew she’d only have a few more calm minutes with him before he lost his temper, and she didn’t want to reduce them by saying the wrong thing, or breathing too loudly. Anja had wanted to go up to the cabin with her father ever since she was a kid, but for some reason they never did things just the two of them. Of course Pat got to do everything with their father, and he’d come home shining like the sun after a weekend alone with him. Anja knew she didn’t have much to say to her father, but always assumed that was because she never got to go on these trips like her brother did. If she had had the opportunity, she would have made herself known. She would have told a few jokes and proven how strong she was, and fearless. It felt like the two of them, finally spending some quality time together, had been driving in circles for at least an hour. Anja wondered briefly if this moment would be enough to bring them closer together.

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“MADE IN ITALY” by Julia in her bed


Saturday October 25, 2014
3:05am
5 minutes
The back of a room spray

I’ve been feeling my roots being tugged deep down from within me. They reach reach into the ground and spread like a forrest fire on a mission. They dig and they wrap around the rocks below. They hold on tight so no one can pull them up. Not even magic can bring them to the surface, poking through the tops of the earth. I was born in this place many years ago. I know this because my heart sings when it hears the call of home. A singing heart is one thing to hope for in this life. Not all hearts sing. Some whisper. This one of mine likes a quiet hum to start it off, finishing with a lulling chant and a whoop every now and again. I was brought here once and made a promise to return. Threw my coins into the fountains, wished on bracelets and pizza crusts. It worked. I keep coming back. Like a cat through the window left open at night, crawling softly into the bed occupied by a lover.

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“I don’t have any change,” by Julia at Colazione da Bianca


Friday October 24, 2014 at Colazione da Bianca
3:39pm
5 minutes
Overheard at 49th Parallel

It’s the second time someone has come up to me trying to sell me lazer beam lights as if I could really use a green lazer beam light for my every day activities. Yeah, I almost told the second guy, how much do I have to pay you to get my very own travelling discoteque? You know, in case I’d like to bust it out at my next lecture, or, hey, even while ordering an empty brioche at 8am on a Tuesday? But I get it, it’s a job. Gotta make money somehow in this town. But those guys you can say no to easier because, really buddy, lazers? I roll my eyes and they know they’re trying to sell the impossible if their audience is anyone over the age of 4. The harder ones to shake your head at are the ones who just need 50 cents to help buy a coffee or a pack of cigarettes. Those are the ones who hang around for 6 minutes after you’ve said no, hoping that you’ll change your mind.

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“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

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