“I didn’t like my job” by Julia at her desk

Monday February 18, 2019 5 minutes The Wild Dogs of Hong Kong Sarah Vallance I was there for two weeks and I knew that I would be leaving for good but I didn’t tell them that I said I was looking for summer employment Hello I’m calling from Toledo University and blah blah blah Sign up for this and blah blah blah this is Lisa that’s my real name… I met a woman named Sayward who referred to herself as Lisa on calls so she wouldn’t have to spell her name each time and justify that her dad was born in Japan She had brown bangs and a weird furry pouch that she wore around her waist and kept her diamond coins or whatever she called them inside She invited me to go LARPING with her but could not detect the actor in my voice when I said I was deeply interested I wanted to know the ins and outs of these people unlike me who would die a thousand deaths and come back as pizza and then want to date each other when they took off their masks Or maybe they left their masks on Either way I said I’d be happy to go along Cause I wanted to film it or write about it as if it were mine Sayward tried to teach me how to knit and lent me $2 to ride the bus I never said goodbye to her or explained that I was temporarily working there cause I didn’t care and I think she got attached to me Who wouldn’t, when someone says they love everything you do You think you’ve found a kindred or something sweet like that

“but the monkey will go” by Julia in her room

Sunday February 17, 2019
9:59am
5 minutes
Nature Is Strong
Tony Hoagland

Say hi to my monkey
She comes around when things feel clunky
Begging me to return to the key
The constant truth inside of me
She’s asking for play and to leave behind structure
Cause forcing her to climb is like stealing her love for freedom and spontaneity
Wondering if she’ll ever have the chance to be left alone to be
Exactly who she sees in me
Say hi to monkey I’ve kept her caged I didn’t want her to choose cause I was too afraid
How will she make me look if I put her in charge?
Will my friends stick by me if my play bone grows large?
Will the ones that I choose, choose me back if I’m happy, no sadness here just one laughing monkey?
If when they asked how I am I said good when I was, instead of looking for reasons why things aren’t enough, could I let myself smile even when I think I could do more? Isn’t that the key to this self-locked door?
Say hi to my monkey cause I’m bringing her along, sometimes she makes me dance, or break out in song
She’s the younger self I’ve been trying to pin
Say hi to my monkey, now I’m letting her in.

“not only the present” by Julia on her couch

Saturday February 16, 2019
11:40pm
From the Constitution of the Iroquois Nation

You’re allowed to think about the past if you want to. There’s nothing wrong with the way you’re doing it. Some people want to take a deep breath in and out and focus and be right where they are in the moment. Right where they are with their physical bodies. Our past holds different aspects of ourselves. We would need to put attention on those every now and again if they’re a part of us, wouldn’t you agree? You’re allowed to time travel and thank yourself and see yourself and accept yourself. You can go back as many times as you want. You can be where you once were before you ever thought anything was wrong with you. A land before shame.

“not only the present” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday February 16, 2019
9:33pm
5 minutes
From the Constitution of the Iroquois Nation

straddling the teetor totter
of the now and the then
now and again
when is the next
cheeks wet with anticipation
with faith
with fear
okay i tell you
little one
okay i say in the night
when you twist and roll
i hear your becoming
i feel your growing
i am at your mercy
on my knees
on the tiles of the
kitchen floor
your daddy meditating
ten steps away
let’s stay quiet so
he can have this moment
this now so he can
have this

“nature acts.” By Julia on her couch

Friday February 15, 2016
11:26pm
From a quote by Voltaire

Nothing can be said most days. Body decides without meaning to and we hear the real truth anyway. What do you say when a tree calmly screams at you? Are there words? Are there instructions? What do say when the Big Dipper is so clear? Do you say that, The Big Dipper Is So Clear? Do you say say you’re sorry at a celebration of life memorial?

“nature acts.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday February 15, 2019
6:49pm
5 minutes
A quote by Voltaire

The big joke is that
nature will survive
relentless and brave
It’s us who won’t

vulnerable and ignorant
Twins in the hole of
the big cedar
hide-and-go-seeking
hiding
not sure

It’s not the kind
of joke that we laugh at
it’s the kind that stops
us in our tracks
and makes us a little bit
sick when we’re trying to
fall asleep or make love

I find myself
wringing my hands
biting hangnails
scrubbing at the grout
around the tub

“Union dues” by Julia at her desk

Thursday February 14, 2019
9:52pm
5 minutes
from a tax form

Never part of the heard
Never a shepherd either
This one time, took a dance class, a lot of pointing
And flexing
Teased
At the dance class
Underarm hair, visible, peculiar
Didn’t even want to take that class
Wanted jazz
Wanted something with more jump
Never thought about teasing
Thought about jazz
Thought everyone there wanted that
Maybe next year
Never took class again
Didn’t like competing

“Union dues” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday February 14, 2019
9:53pm
5 minutes
From a tax form

Leftovers from dinner are cooling on the counter when Bill gets home. A half eaten chicken, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, brown rice. He packs things up in containers and puts them in the fridge, snacks on a few morsels of dark meat, works at the caked on rice with a butter knife. Margaret is in the bath upstairs. He can tell because she’s talking to herself and that’s the only place she does it. She hasn’t written in a long time, but when she’s in the bath and talking out loud it means she’ll be back at the book soon, that the characters are moving in her.

“It’s comfy and cozy.” By Sasha on her couch

Wednesday February 13, 2019
11:02pm
5 minutes
From a text

Those wouldn’t be words that I’d use to describe Max… More like gruff… and, and kind. He isn’t the touchy-feely type, right, like, he is a good guy but he keeps people at arm’s length. Might be because he was orphaned when he was young, betcha didn’t know that. Yup, his folks’ died in a train accident and he went to live with his uncle who didn’t have any idea how to raise a child. Poor guy. He’s a dreamer, like, he’s the kind of man that can wander around a city and not care where he’s going. Maybe he’ll end up in a bookstore or a sandwich shop or sitting on a park bench. Max likes days like that. If you ask him how’s he’s doing he’ll always answer the same, have you noticed that? He’ll say, “I’m still here…”

“It’s comfy and cozy.” By Julia in her bed

10:43pm
Wednesday February 13, 2019
from a text

Salesman sells the bed
well says that’s where it’s
comfy cozy and did you see?
It’s big enough for three..

We say we ain’t looking for a bed that fits more
than two,
just us we and our four feet
that’s what we like to do

salesman sells the bed by sayin’ you’ll regret it if you don’t try
So we go home right away
and try to conceive
that night

We were happy with our elbows
meetin’ in the middle space
our noses in each other’s mouths was our funny
little place

But salesman’ got us thinkin’ when he was sellin’ us that bed
That we could have a spot for two or one for three instead

“live life well” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday February 12, 2019
10:10pm
5 minutes
From a mural

All she wants is to “live life well.” Those are her words. She chooses them carefully, her words, like her handbags, like her cantaloupes. She doesn’t think that she’s done this up until now, not the “well” part at least. She’s done the living and the life. Turning fifty was a big deal for her. She re-assessed in a way that she never had before – not when she went to graduate school, not when she had her son, not when she divorced her first love, not when she lost her second. What does it mean, to “live life well”? For her, it means a few days a week of waking up without an alarm; a walk in the forest with a close friend; eating the five dollar chocolate.

“live life well” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday February 12, 2019
10:05pm
5 minutes
From a mural

How many times can you ask me what you’ve done wrong. I can’t answer a specific action or thing you’ve said. I can’t tell you exactly the reason I’ve been testing you, pushing you away way way. I think for the most part we live life well. Live laugh love. We do whatever that cheesy print tells us we should be doing. The frame with a ballet dancer on it or something. Not that it’s bad advice, I mean, shouldn’t we live life well laugh love?

Okay, you have done nothing wrong. You’re the stars on the ceiling. You’re the real deal. The one without secrets. Me, I’m the sailor. I’m the one who took the job on the sea, see you, see you see.

“heart wrenching soaring n magical place.” By Julia on the 4

Monday February 11, 2019
6:04pm
5 minutes
Kits
Bill Bissett

Left my heart on the beach with the tide out

Sun dippin’ low givin’ glow to all the good neighbours

Those clouds, man, did they drink

I drank too like it might be my last sip and I swirled it there in my mouth, painting my tongue a kind of magic

Bear’s hands were holding the cups and I have the good eye so I took all the photos, freezin’ my hand skin as offerin’, trade, holy sacrifice

And then the red x pinged off the horizon and splashed us both diagonal, split us both in two cause then more of us could witness

Bear’s mug clanked my mug and we two stepped with the teasing foam as it came knocking on our boots, kissing at our toes

“heart wrenching soaring n magical place.” By Sasha on her couch

Monday February 11, 2019
4:10pm
5 minutes
Kits
Bill Bissett

Apparently you’re not supposed to blow out beeswax candles. You’re supposed to snuff them with a candle-snuffer. I feel like a real rebel when you’re not home and I huff and puff that candle out. You’d be pissed. I tell you to eat more dates, take your multi-vitamin, drink more water. You roll your eyes and say that there are women in impoverished places who don’t even have access to proper nutrition and they birth perfectly healthy babies. I can’t make you do anything. At least I’ve learned that by now. It’s not like we planned any of this. We’d only been dating for three months, in fact, and then you were pregnant and I became obsessed with never becoming my father.

“We look forward to moving you!” By Julia on her couch

Sunday February 10, 2019
9:42pm
5 minutes
a Morrison’s Moving poster

It’s a dark room and you are sitting in it. All around it, waiting for something. You’re feeling a tingle of surprise and expectation. You will never fully get what you think you’re going to get. You are ready. All of you in your collective readiness is current. Is consciousness. You and all your pockets touching, phones buzzing or quietly, you and all your friction, candy wrapper anticipation blows the floor out of quotidian thought. You are all in the dark waiting for something. And there’s magic in that. It’s connection in the wings, it’s about to happen and we’re all a part of it. You and me and all of us in this room, gathered to share a thing with some other humans at the same time, while breathing. We remember to breathe, feel, in groups. We know the power of persuasion. We say yes.

“We look forward to moving you!” By Sasha on her couch

Sunday February 10, 2019
1:11pm
5 minutes
a Morrison’s Moving poster

I added some psychedelic mushrooms to my morning omelette. My sister went to chef school in Paris and learned how to make a real omelette. She taught me. There’s no going back. It’s omelettes almost every morning. Shrooms are only added on Sundays, though. Let’s not get too crazy over here. I also added chevre and fresh chives. I thought about texting Jess to see if she wanted to come over and get high together, but then I remembered the last time we did that she ended up fully clothed in the shower for two hours and the waste of water alone was enough to shut that idea down. Tripping by oneself is not for the faint of heart, though.

“Are you Joaquin or River?” By Julia on the 2

Saturday February 9, 2019
6:29pm
5 minutes
From a voicemail message

Hey River,

I miss you. I’ll start by saying that. I’m listening to an old tape of you snoring. I used to hate you for it when we shared a room. Recorded you one night to show you just how loud it was. Now all I’m wishing for is to hear you breathe again. I wouldn’t care if it kept me up this time.
I’ve been thinking about you lately. Someone asked how I was doing as if it hasn’t been a lifetime since you left. I fucking miss you every day. Maybe I should have said that. I said, Things are good for me. And they are, you know, most days. I’m working so much you’d be real proud. Wish you could see how much better my chops are now.
Anyway, I know you’re with me so I’m not here to whine. Send me a rumble when you think of it.

Love, Joaquin.

“Are you Joaquin or River?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday February 9, 2019
2:16pm
5 minutes
From a voicemail message

It’s a call to arms
the sound of three thousand
trumpets at dawn
waking the birds even
waking the sky

a war cry and

I’m nothing
in the face of this strength

I’m quaking in my combat boots
shaking in my conviction
or maybe that’s fear

Sand in my eyes
wonder in my belly
This is not what
my father said it
would be

Came home flag draped
and empty my mother
spoke his name only
in whispers until
she draped herself too

saying she can’t lose
another

“Speaking of hosting!” By Julia on her couch

Friday February 8, 2019
8:47pm
5 minutes
from a Wordplay call out

In the middle of the night it starts to rain. We can hear it pitter patter on the rooftop. You had asked for that. For more rain. To hear it tapping off the wood of the cottage like that makes us both better. This is a quieter night than some of the others. It is easy to fall back to sleep and dream. I wanted it too: more rain; more reminders of living.

“Speaking of hosting!” By Sasha in her bed

Friday February 8, 2019
8:46pm
5 minutes
from a Wordplay call out

I seem to be made more
of water than of bones
sinew muscle guts
I seem to be made of
salt water the amount
I am overflowing

My eyes are changing
colour with this
bursting with this
breaking with this
heavy heavy
Will you help me
to carry this weight?

You say that you
can’t bear the water
the sound as you fall asleep
that it’s been too many
nights in a row of this
filling filling flowing filling

I am helpless in the hands
of the drops falling down
filling falling flowing
it’s the law of this week
this week only I say
this week it’s like this

“How about just one email a week or month?” By Julia at Ocean Village

Thursday February 7, 2019
7:58am
5 minutes
from swimoutlet.com

There is a box of unopened envelopes in the bottom of a drawer somewhere. I remember it like that. You, I believe, think you left them in the alleyway with our old tables and laptops and extension cords.

I gave that box to you before I went away. It ended up being one whole year away. I didn’t see that coming either.

I even bought you stamps, I see now that was ambitious. Also a waste of money since I don’t think you thought to save those. To you stamps are miniature pictures of things you don’t need: a tiny boat, a maple leaf. To me they are freedom of communication, luxury items, covetable if I am without and in need.

I thought you could write me a letter while I was drinking an espresso at the bar. While I was sipping on Aperol Spritz or eating a tramezzino sandwich in Venice. I daydreamed about waking up to words thought up by you, about me, about us.

“How about just one email a week or month?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday February 7, 2019
7:42am
5 minutes
from swimoutlet.com

I don’t want to cramp your style, that’s for sure. But… You know me. I’m going to worry! I’m sorry it’s true, but it is. What about a text everyday, we don’t even have to decide on the time or anything, just when you see fit, sometime between when you wake up and when you go to bed? No? Too much? What about an email, then… You’ll obviously be checking your email… Right? What about one email every other day? Come on! Work with me here! I’m your mother! What do you – … You’re seventeen, Chloe. You’re seventeen. What was I thinking letting you – … An email a week. An email a week… An email a week? No. What will I do those whole six other days?! How will I sleep?!

“bar brew belong” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday February 6, 2019
9:53pm
5 minutes
From Charqui’s flyer

Wanna meet at the new place, that hidden burger spot that opened up behind the cafe? I’d like to buy you onion rings and french fries and a cheeseburger or a bacon burger or I guess whatever you’re in the mood for. What I’m saying is… I’m paying. I mean, I’m treating. I want to get you a milkshake! Shit. This isn’t coming out right… I’m sorry. I… I was wondering if you’d like me meet me at the burger place? I’d like to take you out for a burger, and whatever drink or side you fancy.

“bar brew belong” by Julia at Ocean Village

Wednesday February 6, 2019
6:40am
5 minutes
From Charqui’s flyer

I want to be one of those craft brewery types! The ones who set up kegs at events even though they’re awkward to lift for a body my shape-you know, arms not as long as my legs, like a regular human body.

I want to be the kind of woman who wears a toque to dinner and either after or before tests a new brew for our seasonal tap. I want to know what it’s missing and what fries would be best served with it. I never understood the complexities of someone with this life. They always seem to know much more about patience and slow and laid-backness than me.

I don’t really want to wear a toque to a restaurant but I want to know about beer! People with friends who know about beer seem happy overall: not much to hate or hold on to, fun loving, always drinking together, or going on brewery tours. I wonder how easy it would be to infiltrate a group of brewery besties…is it as simple as wearing my toque to dinner? Is it as easy as drinking beer and not saying a word about it? Then maybe I would naturally pick up what they know and they would be welcoming because the more beer and the more people drinking beer the better.

Once a woman I wanted to be friends with asked if I liked beer then planned an entire brewery tour. In one night! It broke my heart that I like it as much as that.

“such a confusing tableau.” by Julia at Ocean Village

Tuesday February 5, 2019
11:08am
5 minutes
How To Change Your Mind
Michael Pollan
The trees are wind-blown sideways, their top leaves all leaning to the left.
In this scene they look like they are suspended in movement, choreographed effortlessly by the universe and all its majestic artistry. The tableau is alive and I am alive for looking at it. I want to know who I am to thank for these gradient skies and the sunrise and the reflection of my heart so clear on the morning beach.
I am not confused by nature’s vision.  I soak it all up and dance along the shoreline with a galumph I haven’t known since childhood’s end.
These trees are reaching over their own bodies in a pose, held with grace, we stand moved.
The hurry in my boots has left for the time being. Stillness has sunk itself deep into my toes where the cold sat earlier, nipping at my thin skin. Here, I can stand here, watching the trees live on in the picture of their own making.
We watch like a monkey might leap out from this tight-lipped secret. Or a rainbow.

“such a confusing tableau.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday February 5, 2019
8:11am
5 minutes
How To Change Your Mind
Michael Pollan
readying myself for this has become
unclenching my jaw
resting
loving deeply and truthfully
being clear about when it’s
yes
and when it’s
no
my days are a journal entry
a devotion
my mind is losing her sharpness
her edge
my heart is wider than ever
i wonder how you’ll love me
now that i’m new
how the sisters i drunk and
danced with will bear the change
i read in my nest
in the bed where she landed
page after page
gorging on preparation
i drink more water
eat more dates
look for soft things
find soft places in myself
that i wasn’t sure would arrive
they have
i welcome them
oh sweetness
stillness
opening

“her sarcastic curl of a smile” By Sasha at her desk

Monday February 4, 2019
2:28pm
5 minutes
Finders Keepers
Stephen King

Sorry it’s taken me so long to write back, D. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking of you, it’s that whenever I sat down at the computer to respond I couldn’t bring myself to actually hit send. I’ve deleted and re-written so many versions of this that I’ve lost count. Really all that I can say at this time is I’m not ready to talk. Grief is a strange beast, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes snarling, sometimes tender, and I’m doing my best to roll with it all honestly, and honesty for me right now looks like – I still need space. I trust that you’ll be able to understand, and that you’ll stop reaching out. When your name appears in my Inbox it’s like you’re knocking at my door, and I can’t have you knocking at my door right now, D.

“her sarcastic curl of a smile” By Julia at Ocean Village

Monday February 4, 2019
7:14am
5 minutes
Finders Keepers
Stephen King

It’s the seconds in between two very different things.

Before you decide, you have to know beside which two things you stand. Here, an example, and one for me that I can articulate, could be the same or maybe similar for you.

I stand here and likely always, before a Love choice and Delay choice.

There is nothing cheeky about me saying this now even though you might know me as someone who smirks in her sleep, protecting herself against what is absolute. I mean all of this. No sarcasm. No holy joke.

A Love choice is something that will only add to existing Love, creating more, or creating more opportunities for Love to be made. They are decisions that contribute, heal, help, celebrate, cleanse, trust..

Delay choices are simply the ones made out of fear of the existing love leaving the immediate experience.

“I just want a little privacy is all.” By Julia at Ocean Village

Sunday February 3, 2019
6:40pm
5 minutes
The Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold

You invite me to the pool but I think I should be alone now to sink in to myself. I cannot endure other people.

Tonight, however, my love, I have already learned the gift of endurance from you. Here is a chance to meet your appropriate edge, you said without saying. Did you know, Love, that it is further outside yourself than you once believed?
I am being given a choice in this pure calm before the storm: the heavens open and waiting for me to step into the light…
As the wind first hits, we are in a kind of gentle magic. The beach is long and inviting and so we step further and further away.
Soon it is beyond white. The sky seems to hold all of this force in the palm of things. Against this colour of night, the locusts of snow overhead rage through us and our simple jeans.
You stand behind me creating a home; a vortex around my humble body in the face of something so big.

“I just want a little privacy is all.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday February 3, 2019
8:11am
5 minutes
The Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold

You look at my face like you’re learning
every freckle every pore every hair by heart
and today I bury in the nape of your neck
unsure about the scrutiny
about the fullness of the love

I mash sweet potatoes and you hold
my belly through T-shirt and apron
growing bigger everyday
You wash dishes and we sing to
our daughter with us and also not
here and also there

It’s cold today and flurries chase
each other’s tails by the chickadees
on the balcony
It’s warm in here with the oven on
with the one-bedroom closeness of
this new season

“the two men ceased exchanging words” by Julia at Ocean Village

Saturday February 2, 2019
3:42pm
5 minutes
Marlarky
Anakana Schofield

Milo is not talking to RJ because RJ is hugely unreliable. He said he was going to be around for a call after Milo finished breaking up with Bex. RJ wasn’t around because he was at the bar drinking like he usually is, trying to pick up vulnerable women who are suffering from insane amounts of self-doubt. RJ likes being the one who puts them back up on the ledge. He likes being the soft thing they fall into. Milo is even more mad at RJ because he refuses to admit he was wrong. RJ never learned to say he was sorry, or that he recognizes how his avoidance of reality effects the people he says he loves.

“the two men ceased exchanging words” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday February 2, 2019
2:02pm
5 minutes
Marlarky
Anakana Schofield

I don’t talk to him anymore and I’ve found peace with that. It took time. I’m patient. I’ve learned how to be patient. I don’t talk to him because what’ the point. It doesn’t matter that he’s my brother. The only thing we have in common is blood, and even that’s debatable. We have the same mother, but I’ve always had a theory that his curly hair and jawline aren’t Dad’s, they aren’t anywhere, they are from – … Nevermind. I digress. I haven’t spoken to Tom since Christmas 2003. Mom insisted that Cheryl and I bring the kids to Saratoga Springs and eventually I caved. Cheryl was ambivalent, to say the least. We got there and had a nice meal. Everyone was getting along. Stella was starting to talk and Mom was losing it over how cute she was. Then there’s a knock at the door and my stomach felt like it was bottoming out. I knew it was him. Mom looked all pretend surprised and, “Who could that be?!” and of course it was Tom.

“unapologetic about her love of narcotics.” By Sasha at her desk

Friday February 1, 2019
9:32pm
5 minutes
Orange Is The New Black
Piper Kerman

Kiki loves narcotics like Hillary loves vodka like Jess loves psychedelics. I’m not sure about any of it. That makes me the weird one? Jess says that she needs to do psychedelics at least monthly to feel like herself. I wonder what she’d feel like if she didn’t. I wonder who she’d be then. Hillary carries around her booze in an Evian bottle in her purse. Sips it on breaks at work, in a taxi, at the gym. No one knows. No one cares. Breath mint after and she’s good to go. At least that’s what she says. Kiki. I’m not worried about Kiki but I kind of am.

“unapologetic about her love of narcotics.” By Julia at Ocean Village

Friday February 1, 2019
8:41pm
5 minutes
Orange Is The New Black
Piper Kerman

I met her the night we dropped MDMA and spoke with sweat and sweet and true and good
I was grateful for the peaks of love that kiss sunlight
So high the only thing we could do was see each other

The time before that we found cocaine on the bump of her key, the public bathrooms at every place we ended up: the bar, the house party, the tennis court, after moving a rustic ladder from the back of my apartment to her’s—wearing heels and dressed ready
We felt like we were made of arms

The same two of us, and deeper,
found a butterfly sanctuary on the day we were decided on being real joy