“Thanks to electricity” by Julia in her office

Wednesday January 22, 2020
3:55pm
5 minutes
World At Dawn
Diane Ackerman

I have been thanking inanimate objects all day. I have been thinking deeply about this and so it comes as no surprise that here it is, the ‘question’ as if it’s supposed to throw me off guard! I have come prepared, Ma’am! I have already practiced this one. The thing that I could absolutely not live without is not electricity, or Britta filter, or my car! I’m more of a reading by candle light, mason jar using, walking kind of person. I am thankful for those things, don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful. I enjoy having things plugged in when I need to and charge things, I think I’m getting off track. Yes, so the thing I couldn’t live without would be a spoon. You’d think I would say knife or fork before spoon, but knives are overrated, and spoons are gentler on the mouth, but ultimately I just can’t stand getting my hands dirty! I hate touching things, actually, anything, because you don’t know where those things have been or who has touched those, and you know how many germs are out there floating around?

“No one knows what the” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday January 21, 2020
2:02pm
5 minutes
Lost Dog Creek
Brian Doyle

Don’t call me Dottie, only my lover calls me that. It’s Dorothy to you, and I will stand by it. No one knows what the reason is and that’s because it’s just none of your business. I’m supposed to be a lady, is that right? I’m supposed to follow some invisible set of pre-determined rules made for me by whom? Men? I won’t give you the pleasure of thinking you’ve had me beat. I don’t follow rules no matter who sets them, I play my own game. If you knew me, you would know that I stay true to my word, but you don’t so you won’t ever get that great luxury.

I’m a damned good friend, I’m loyal as they come, and I’m a lion when I need to be–and sometimes just because! If I were man would you be waiting for an explanation? If you didn’t have your own set of preconceived and limiting notions would you be expecting anything at all? I don’t care if you don’t think me sweet, or nice. In fact! I’d prefer it. I don’t like those silly labels, some sort of map that I’m supposed to study to know which place to head, left or right or, let’s be honest, back back backwards.

If you knew me, which you don’t, you would know how lucky you really are.

“Still later she folded into herself,” by Julia at her desk

Monday January 20, 2020
12:42pm
5 minutes
Peaches
Marion Winik

It was blue Monday (a blue blue Monday). It was raining (not outside). It was a couch calling her name, it was a blanket taking him hostage. It was blue.

Blue like the ice cube sitting on her chest (jagged, sharp). Blue like the jeans warn to shreds without ever being washed (why bother). Why bother?

Try and persuade a block to melt, try and switch the light on to fix. Should we?

….

It was a blue Monday and the rest of it coloured the same (the months, the memories).

It was enough for him to sink back into his shiver (blanket or not, go figure) and even after the warm soup, she still folded into herself (folding, folding).

It was raining (inside, outside, beside). It was blue. It was blue for every single one of them.

“Sit comfortably” by Julia on her couch

Sunday January 19, 2020
9:35pm
5 minutes
Sparrow’s Guide to Meditation
Sparrow

comfort is relative
relatives bring comfort
comforting relatives

on Friday my mother sent the news
she called it dreaded
after all the time zones it travelled to reach her
the last time we spoke she told me she was on the phone with him and he switched over to Zia, and then when she wanted to say bye to him he said, “tell her I’ll say bye to her tomorrow”
and then tomorrow was there but he had slipped into a coma over night
and those are the last words she will remember
that tomorrow always comes but sometimes it doesn’t bring everybody from yesterday with it

the day was spent sending love up to the sky, to the family I have lost up until now
and to the family feeling lost all over Ontario and Lozzola
trying to ease whichever hurt they were holding

“Once, two women hiked a volcano,” by Julia on her bed

Saturday January 18, 2020
8:26pm
5 minutes
Lava
Danusha Lameris

Okay you’re not going to believe it but we did it.
We packed light bags, made sure everything we brought could be used for at least 3 things. I’m talking scarf=pillow=warmth=shade. We planned it out, we mapped it out. We knew every divot, every crevice, every turn. And we could do it with our eyes closed. Bobbie wasn’t as afraid as I was. It was her idea to map it out. I’ll admit, some of it, I just let her take the reigns on and didn’t ask any questions. I should mention that that’s an important aspect. It’s not always the pack, or the prep. It’s the trust. I never once doubted her. She never once doubted me. I was honest about the stuff I felt unsure of, but there were things I managed and she accepted. My dad’s a shoe-salesman. I knew exactly what kind of boots and how long we had to work them in. I knew how much food we’d realistically need. The drive, though? That was something we each had in equal measure.

“My neighbourhood in Upstate New York” by Julia in her office

Friday January 17, 2020
11:11am
5 minutes
Waiting for the Coywolf
Devin Murphy

We love living in the great state without being a part of the dense population, don’t we? We love it. We love riding our bikes. We love baking cakes. We love petting our cats, don’t we love petting our cats? We love hollering over to each other. We love dropping by for a visit or some sugar or to talk about the neighbourhood. We love talking about the neighbourhood, don’t we? A stroller was stollen right from Carrie Gingerich’s front porch. $2000 down the drain, and for what, they had a garage! We love talking about the neighbourhood. Liz Merridew’s husband caught wearing black gloves and switching them to grey before he entered the house. We love it! Kip Anderson’s dog digging a hole in Garret Fullerton’s prized begonia patch. It’s all about staying current with the daily news. And telling the others, best keep them in the loop too, never know, you just never ever know. Lots of stuff going on in this big bad world, and lots of stuff going on right here, in the neighbourhood we love talking about!

“I find the result” by Julia in her office

Thursday January 16, 2020
9:30am
5 minutes
From a quote by Mark Twain

The result of staring into the window of other people’s stories is that it’s a window. Not a door. You can look all you want, but there’s a connection that calls you at the bottom of that longing, and looking isn’t enough. We think it’s enough, and sometimes, sure, it is, but when we want to see others and be seen, we don’t mean ‘what they’re doing’ or ‘what they had for brunch’. We want to see the hearts, the human underneath the facade, the spirit underneath the human.
This is because we have gotten good at believing that it’s the quickest way, the easiest way to bridge the gap, cross the ravine, is to log in, put our feet up and watch other people live their lives. We think this because it resembles a bonding, a gathering, but it’s not all the way there. We don’t know what’s real and what isn’t anymore. Or we know, and we ignore it. Or we don’t care, and what is worse, my friends. My ‘friends’, my ‘likes’, my online bubble of bursting potential…
The window is not a door.

“They are noble who” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 15, 2020
8:08pm
5 minutes
From a quote by the Buddha

breathe deeply
that’s the only requirement here
place your hand on your belly and feel if it’s expanding
and if it’s landing you are one of the noble few

who want to get to the heart of the matter
and won’t run away if things start to shatter

Maybe there’s one more that I missed
anyone who happens to notice that they’re breathing
when they’re breathing and if it’s deeply
then they are the noble who

Pay attention and move on through
as if this was the only moment that counted
here and now there’s nothing found that proves this is how
but someway it proves this somehow

Breathe into the corners of a dusty room
breathe into the midnight and the afternoon
breathe into the creaky floor board or the bones
breathe into the hips and the home alones

breathe first and foremost
and be noble
even if it takes some reminding

“What the heck is going on” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday January 14, 2020
9:29pm
5 minutes
from a text message

It’s a lapse of confidence, it’s leaving the body
the confidence comes and leaves, lapses as it pleases
and it is not pleasing to be around someone who cannot keep feet firmly planted on the ground
at the arrival of any increasing winds

When it leaves it startles first the body then the mind then everyone around the body and the mind
and this whole thing begs the question, “what the heck is going on?” When a moment ago
there wasn’t this much snow and the sights far off were clear. When just earlier today
you heard yourself say how much easier problem solving had gotten…

Now what the heck is going on when the body leaks precious esteem? Is there a hole? Is there a hole
in the armour or in the body itself? Or has it always been draining like this, slowly, and for no reason?

“This is a test broadcast” By Julia on her couch

Monday January 13, 2020
8:04pm
5 minutes
from a text

You are receiving this message because you are subscribed to the Know Better Do Better Newsletter.
As a result of you signing up on our site, you will now be berated with notifications that will notify you when you can be a better person.
This is a text broadcast to ensure that you are still voluntarily providing your contact details so we may inform you of how shitty you have been.
You will be receiving messages tailored toward your resistance, your privilege, and your failures.
Did you click the “I agree” button when reading the terms of service?
Did you click the “I agree” button when we told you we would be using all kinds of archaic and twisted shame tactics to make you feel uncomfortable?
We, at the Know Better Do Better site, are not only compelled, but obligated, as well as entitled to tell you about you.

“what about his own sex life?” by Julia on her couch

Sunday January 12, 2020
5:43pm
5 minutes
Elbowing The Seducer
T. Gertler

He spends his days watching porn
Not nights, not worse
His knees find a bend the way his ass finds a chair
the way he’s seen it done in badly-lit office sets
he can jack off to anything at this point
but doesn’t he stay looking, stay open, scroll, scroll
and isn’t that now part of it?
The decision to do it is inside and not buried, the content
a hot net filled with endless possibilities, every day the internet doubles in size
and anything you can think of is online, but what if he can’t think anymore on his own?
Scrolls and scrolls and until the webpage tells him the scene he wants to watch,
the scene he didn’t know he was fantasizing about, and now it’s not just for him
It’s not just him and the screen, but the scene thought out by other people,
given to him as a replacement for his own imagination

When he closes his eyes, he does not picture people
or women
or people
he sees the roll of the die, the happenstance so easily come by
he can’t come by himself
and isn’t that the hard part, the hardest part giving up the control of the fantasy generator
to someone who lives on the internet
giving ideas to anyone interested

“Go to hell” by Julia on her couch

Saturday January 11, 2020
9:19pm
5 minutes
Age Of Iron
J.M. Coetzee

Jesus and the devil had the same haircut, the same beard, the same laugh. Did you know that?

Did you ever see them shadow on the wall in your bedroom?
I could tell you a thing about that.

Maybe the prayer part doesn’t appeal to you.
It’s not for everyone.

Some people don’t realize that giving gratitude is prayer. That honouring a thing with your attention is prayer.
Praying to the devil?

I could tell you a thing about that.

You might even go to hell and confuse the place for something else since you’ll see so many good people there.

I don’t know if I’ve made that enticing but now you can think about it. All the best intentioned, good as gold people.

“The insufferable arrogance of humanity” by Julia on her couch

Friday January 10, 2020
8:08pm
5 minutes
Big Picture
A. Whitney Brown

Babe says that he doesn’t trust people anymore, cause they like, wear their MO a little too loud. Like Babe says that you can smell some people’s try-hard like they bathe in it and that is so relatable. Like, think about it. You can tell when someone’s trying to like, butter you up, or get in your pants, or like, get you to smuggle some low grade shit. And you can tell when someone’s like performing instead of being. There’s a really big difference actually, and Babe says the insufferable people are the ones who name drop and shame shop. Babe says that shame shopping is like, who’s buying, you know? Like who’s trying to be better by taking on all the bullshit of the known world as if they could carry it on their own?

“The fires were still smouldering” by Julia on her couch

Thursday January 9, 2020
11:33am
5 minutes
The Known World
Edward P. Jones

The haze we’re breathing is a filter on the known world.
The daily dos and don’ts.
The run and hide or stay lows.

Babies are inhaling against their will.
Animals are being wiped out.

Some people don’t think the issue is connected.
Some people would rather focus on the strength
of the inhabitants being weakened.

Will the dying lungs be as resilient?
Will the buried come back to stand on their country’s podium?

While we’re gathered on the beach with our
hearts in our mouths
covered in ash and soot
inching closer to the waves
a long siren blares.

We wish we could say it was in the distance.
We wish we could say it was only one
and not one after another after another.

We are accepting prayers
and money
and help
and
and
and

“But where is your life jacket” by Julia on the 9

Wednesday January 8, 2020
9:00pm
5 minutes
September 17
Amanda West Lewis 

Bev and I stopped watching the flight attendants do the safety demonstration on airplanes. I guess they lost our interest! Bev joked to me the last time we flew that she wished they wouldn’t have to interrupt our show to show us something we’ve seen before! Look at our frequent flier miles! You’ve seen the way some airlines really put a lot of thought into it, right? That’s the kind we’d be interested in. But what are the chances that something bad will even happen? You know how many times I’ve flown, and the worst thing that I encountered was a screaming baby? That’s the worst! Nothing to even worry about. Why put that negativity into our heads?

“God is a really famous spirit” by Julia on the 84

Tuesday January 7, 2020
1:15pm
5 minutes
OMG! How Children See God
Monica Parker

Okay hi God, I know you must be really hard pressed for time these days since you became such a famous spirit and all. I get it, people want things, need things, expect things from you. I also know it’s not always as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Sure, you answer prayers and smite people, sure when we see your crib it’s decked out in pure gold and you have angels everywhere. But that daily stuff can be brutal. People are blaming you for things and it’s not your fault, your ideas are misinterpreted, and you’re like held to some unrealistic standard to be on all the time and to be perfect. I’m not here to ask for much, but if you’re not hiding out today from all the stress, would you mind gracing my sister? She has been struggling lately to find meaning and I think a tiny reminder from you would go a long way. Even a bit of sunshine or something like that.

“How far your eyes may pierce” by Julia on the plane

Monday January 6, 2020
12:55pm EST
5 minutes
King Lear
Shakespeare

And still a river bleeds out the secret, close enough to the house babble babble

Who hushes the mouth spilling and if we can is it now?

Now that we have decided to leave tired skin on the ground for its new job

A spread on the earth and nurture the rest of the ecosystem
Like a fallen tree might
Like a called soul can

The water waits reflecting and there is not a chance for seeing the wrong thing
It does not lie
The deer does not get spooked

We unravel at the sorry bone and spin out out, babble babble
into a good home being built
into foundation strengthening

The river sings it out if we leave it up to her

And we do
We leave it up to her

“In the diary she kept” by Julia on Howland

Sunday January 5, 2020
9:55pm
5 minutes
Sabbath 
Wayne Muller

Mindy Lou kept her diary blue, locked with a prayer and a warning

“Open this and the devil will kiss you all the way to hell and back again”

She wrote from her truest heart, and nobody could part the seas she stirred and roared on

“This book is protected by none other than Jesus Christ and if you want to know deep suffering, turn the page, I double dog dare you”

For inside she stored her secrets, her bashful cheeks, and quiet rumblings

“Those were the rules.” By Julia in Baden

Saturday January 4, 2020
12:47am
5 minutes
The Murderee
Martin Amis

we waited until the white kissed the road and we went out walking

threw on the blanket scarf and made sure our foot prints told the story first

it felt like angels were laying down their wings for us to tread on

those were the rules: open chest, open song, a simple hush and a deep blink

you told me you were going to marry me and I laughed because you have been saying that for years

you know we are already promised, already mapping out the next decade after this beautiful throw

we held our breath under the lamp light as if we might catch the glow on our tongues and become fire

those were the rules: we live and move with new snow

“The dark thought, the shame” by Julia on Irvin

Friday January 3, 2020
11:40
5 minutes
The Illuminated Rumi
Tr. by Coleman Barks 

In the oversweat, the pace and panic, the perfect string holding this theory together, you are wishing I was someone else or no one here.

You have said it more than once and maybe I shouldn’t let it get to three…
3 giorni e il pesce puzza…mi dispiace

I believe you when you tell me that this is not rest.
Maybe I gave myself more credit than I deserved to be so wanted.

And I know you do not want my apology. Or the smell of me. Or the restless sleeping. Or the wait and wish of my quiet.

You push me away and one half wants to come closer even still.

“women simply take better care of themselves” by Julia in Baden

Thursday January 2, 2020
12:01am
5 minutes
The Compass In Your Nose
Marc McCutcheon

my mother knows the cure for whatever ails me

she sends photos of pages from the best books on how to heal without lies

I am indebted to her for every phone call lesson or reminder that I am worth taking expensive suppliments

funny after all this time of telling her about loving herself enough to allow healing

she is me and I am her and this is not a contest

the mirror is held up in turns, sometimes her holding it and sometimes me

when my father falls ill she nurses him from the flat of his bed onto his feet in 3 days or your money back

she says it’s easier to get better when you have someone reminding you when to take your vitamins

“brought their wives and children” by Julia in Baden

Wednesday January 1, 2020
12:07am
5 minutes
The Trial of Louis Riel
George R.D. Goulet

lingering behind the red door
Dottie clutches a tattered handkerchief to her mouth to keep from crying out

the demons were in there, shaking

Dottie isn’t finding the deeper cause but knows she needs them gone

like that time she was drugged at the bar, an unmarked capsule fizzing in her drink, and a tiny girl suffering, needing her

She looked herself in the mirror and said it over and over again, rebuking, encouraging-
“You must” she said, “you must. You Must.”

“Look to the notes, if you need to” by Julia at Amanda’s

Tuesday December 31, 2019
2:40am
5 minutes
How To Read Music
Roger Evans

In the same place as I have been
There is a good chance I could have been smaller

If not for the noticing I would be spending my time intellectualizing
But not this year, no, no

I will be looking to the notes if I need to and when that’s not making sense I will let the interruption be the new

The prompt
The passage

And then maybe I will do something that you could be a strong bear about

That you could write home to your parents for and tell them of the giant steps taken from such tiny feet

“I would like to say, in closing,” by Julia at The Common on Bloor

Monday December 30, 2019
2:43pm
5 minutes
Malcolm X Speaks
Selected speeches and statements

In conclusion, my soul is happiest with you.
That’s it. That’s the reason. Call me on my bullshit later.
This is the real deal deep down wub wub wubbbbbb wub of
what is happening here.

You and I can be a unit. Make a baby! Throw that baby into
the air and send collaboration up, way up into the sky until
that baby bursts into a billion baby flecks of light and makes
another baby! ANOTHER BABY! You and me, is what I’m saying.

As big as the biggest basin filled with baby making love. That
love, I didn’t want to say it, is the biggest thing about us
and you and me, me and you, our souls, joyful together, what a
good idea this is. I don’t think I need to convince you because of the feeling!

That feeling of Purple Thursday, that pump pump pouring of
feathers floating, you know that pouring of light feathers floating?
That ffff ffffff fffffffeeling of not needing anything else?
That White January and all new promises from the very bottom of
the baby basin.

I am happiest with you because of all we’ve built. That was hard work!
Hard team work and you know how much I hate being stuck with the wrong
group, doing all the heavy lifting on my own with these sad little wrists,
and I have done it and I have wanted to not. But not! Not with YOU.

“They did almost everything wrong” by Julia on Howland

Sunday December 29, 2019
12:04am
5 minutes
The Body
Bill Bryson

aunt judy waited at the foot of the driveway for the consistent mist, the blanket of wet to stop. She didn’t have an umbrella. aunt jude hated carrying around umbrellas. She didn’t get out of her car at first and then it was too long and she got self conscious. So she stood outside. And her hair plastered to her cheeks and forehead. And the tip of her nose held one single drop, hanging there, swaying in the breeze.

“They all would be knocking back a few” by Julia on Howland

Saturday December 28, 2019
11:06pm
5 minutes
The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe

They would be on their third or fourth beer by now,
knocking them back on the hour to keep up with the clock.

I know they would be waiting for the “girls” to arrive before they started playing the game. Better to have an audience. Helps with the ego. A little friendly competition. Someone to see you win gracefully. Someone to watch you hand another guy’s ass to him without it becoming a thing.

By the 6th beer they’d be showing everyone their choreography from Ker’s wedding.

“walk-in counselling clinic” by Julia on the Megabus

Friday December 27, 2019
9:35am
5 minutes
from a sign

Devra puts on her new lace cardigan. New to her, hand me down from Aunt Mary’s kids. Yesterday she went through the big garbage bag of the no-longer wanted/fitting and managed to find one item. The coral cardigan was the only thing that didn’t instantly turn her into a baby doll. Aunt Mary’s kids were young. Devra could fit into the tights but she didn’t feel proud to be wearing a 12 year old’s stuff.

She pats her face dry after washing with the new rose-water cleanser she got for Christmas and looks herself in the mirror. “Today’s a good day for it.” She says to herself.

“You can do the job when you’re in town” by Julia in Amanda’s bed

Thursday December 26, 2019
11:26pm
5 minutes
Walking In A Winter Wonderland

visiting my sister in law and she’s a trip, I’ll tell you a story. She has this kid, right, who is like, I don’t know, 10 years old or something. And she makes her sleep in her bed with her still. Like, it’s not the kid who needs to sleep with her mom, but now she kind of does since her mom’s been making her all this time. She’s lonely, I guess. My brother doesn’t even want kids and there he goes finding a woman to marry who already has one. Kind of nuts if you ask me. Like how fair is it for the kid? Shouldn’t she get the kind of dad who will be able to love her? And so my sister in law texted me
before I even met her. She apparently made my brother tell her our whole family’s numbers so she could text us about an “emergency” about Kyle. So I was texting Kyle like, are you safe, can you tell me when you get this, cause I thought he broke his arm or something worse, right?

“You soda cracker!” By Julia in Baden

Wednesday December 25, 2019
11:09pm
5 minutes
Soda Cracker 
Raymond Carver

Listen, Libby, we’re not doing this again. Your brother really likes this girl and I don’t need you giving her a hard time. Now when they get here I want you on your best behaviour. No aggressive questions. No buts! I don’t want to hear it. You don’t go attacking people, I don’t care how funny you think that is. Liam’s never done that to you. I bet if you really liked a boy he wouldn’t be scheming over there trying to make it harder for you. Surely you can’t imagine it, but being newly in love for a boy like your brother is already difficult. There’s all the unwritten rules he’s got to navigate and bringing her home to meet the whole scrutinizing family, prickly older sister and all? Now come on if you think you’re a soda cracker!

“Ice on the sidewalk” by Julia in Joe’s childhood room

Tuesday December 24, 2019
12:02pm
5 minutes
Or Death and December
George Garrett

This city is colder than the one we left. I haven’t missed the rain once. Not in my life, even during the draught. When we left the first time coming back was like a time stamp on where we had been and how much we’ve learned. Seeing the CN Tower used to make me cry. Every street is a buzz. There are people out and about, wearing layers, walking slowly on the icy sidewalk. Back home, I guess we’re calling it that now, the cold was welcome when it came. It wasn’t too much or too hard. Not for someone born to a cold far harsher.

I don’t have the right gear for this city. Been known to keep a parka around just in case but the reality of this no longer being my home has finally sunk in. Why keep a coat around when you live in a place that doesn’t need it.

“The judge sighs.” By Julia at the airport

Monday December 23, 2019
2:57pm
5 minutes
At the Arraignment
Debra Spencer

Being vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. I’ve seen vegans live off of oreos and french fries. I’m not judging that, I’m fine with it. What do I care if someone wants to do sugar for beeakfast lunch and dinner. Some people are more than their label, is what I’m saying. There are also feminists who want to kill all the men. They say they’re for equality but they have some unresolved anger too. The name isn’t cut and dry just like it’s not fair to say that every indigenous person opposes the pipeline. That’s simply untrue. And racist, isn’t it? To group people together without asking individuals how they feel?

“The lunatic is carried” by Julia on her couch

Sunday December 22, 2019
9:28pm
5 minutes
Song of Myself
Walt Whitman

From the last word to the first idea, she is there

she waits for me to slip up so she has a reason to come out and say I Told You So

Of course she sings sweetly too, never yelling or threatening or causing a scene out of turn

It’s as if she were playing some game, some twisted little diddy that she knew she was doing

I carry the lunatic out of the box and into the day

I carry her on my back and let her see everything that I’m seeing

You could say I let her stay because I am a bit afaid of her and what she might do if I don’t give her what she wants

I suppose I am the one to blame afterall for giving her the front row seat to my weakness

“Outside the ripe hayfields” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 21, 2019
8:55pm
5 minutes
My Father’s Lunch
Erica Funkhouser

Daddy was smiling as he told me about taking me to work with him. You could see a little glint in his eye like he’d been thinking about it on his own. Planning, smiling. I couldn’t wait to go with him on account of that little smirk. You could tell he was excited to show off his little girl and let them all know who would be taking over the business.

When I think of him that way it brings a tear to my eye. Daddy always knew how to make me feel special. I guess when someone really believes in how special you are, it oozes out of them. I wouldn’t trade that look for anything.

“The plastic statue of the virgin” by Julia in her office

Friday December 20, 2019
9:57am
5 minutes
The Alter
Charles Simic

Nonna carried the Vigrin Mother in her purse, and had one on her shelf, and one in a drawer under her nightstand. Nonna believed. Prayed. Maybe mostly felt guilty, but man was she a determined attendee of the smallest church you ever saw. Every Wednesday night and Saturday night and Sunday morning. Any chance to wear those pearls, get your hair pinned into fresh curls and to walk around getting told how beautiful you are. I am her nipote from the root. I got her church singing voice, her need for validation, her sweet affinity with entertaining babies. It’s been a few years, have we already lost count? She is missed beyond her faith or what we can make little jokes about today. She was always folding my underwear into perfect squares. Always sneaking us a twonie while telling us not to tell our parents cause they’d make us give them back. She believed in more than I ever have.

“Timing’s everything.” by Julia in her office

Thursday December 19, 2019
3:50pm
5 minutes
Snowflake
William Baer

If you sit there long enough the right people will come by
I don’t know if that’s the way it always works
but that was my today…

So I’m sitting there, minding my own business, writing out some things with the hope of manifestation, and along comes Pauly.

He’s on his way home or so it looks like, but he stops directly in front of my door. Okay I need to scratch something and reverse it. The manifesting part kind of needs to be revisited. So I’m not going to tell you what I was writing, but I will tell you that because I was writing it, that’s why Pauly came along.
It wasn’t about him necessarily, but he was the one who gave me the idea to write it. So this manifestation thing appears to be working for any of you cynics outs there, reading “You There, Behind Your Screens!”

So Pauly came by and I learned a couple more things about him. It was subtly. Nuanced. For instance. I now know he is a film buff. And a bit of a nerd.

“There below” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday December 18, 2019
7:47pm
5 minutes
Somewhere I’ll Find You
Phebe Hanson

There below the golden face

The shoulders broad and carrying

a tiny intersection of disbelief is straddled

Right there

Right below the knowing look

And maybe it wouldn’t be there

if instead of fuzz a master’s cap

sat collecting

Or another 5 years at least of hands on, on the field, trial and error

Maybe this is the error

Maybe this is the error

The time for mistakes and making

I told them that’s what I’m interested in doing

I told them that’s why I get so moved

The mantra is for everyone now

Make a mess

Make

Make

Make a mess

Nothing is not something I can allow myself to make

Not these days when young hearts find themselves on my cozy chair

Calling my room the Creative one

“I am so amazed to find myself kissing you” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday December 17, 2019
9:29pm
5 minutes
Feasting
Elizabeth W. Garber

I find your mouth there in the open like a winter song
the snow flakes landing on the tip of your lips and the cold
mixes with the hot
and the slippery touches the soft
Maybe people before have told you how superior your kiss is
because you kiss like you already know and that you like knowing

I am prancing around like some February fairy and you think
maybe, it’s cute
This is my hope, that you will be forced to kiss me with all
that sparkly dusty floating around

Before this I have kissed you plenty
And each time I think the same thing
I can’t believe I am the lucky recipient of this
hot mouth opening and closing so artfully

“because it was the only job” by Julia in her office

Monday December 16, 2019
2:53pm
5 minutes
The con job
Charles Bukowski

keep your coat on
no don’t tell them it’s because you’re shivering past the bone
or because your skin has thinned over the last few days
or that it’s the only thing that keeps the ache from surfacing
Don’t tell them the weight feels like a miracle since all the pain
kept you from sleeping

Nobody will ask you what you’re doing
don’t tell them the truth
be a mystery
a team player
a warm thing

Be a good story
Make them wonder at you
don’t give it all away
If they ask you can mention it so they don’t linger in the doorway
so you might be honest without having to be rude
Don’t be rude
shake that option from your skull
it wants to stay but you have to let it leave

count down the minutes
33, to be exact
keep your coat on so the exit is as quick as can be
smile at them on your way
don’t let them see you too long or the red under your nose
32, ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at

When it gets good and quiet take your shoes off
move to the big chair and pull down the shade
be a good story
even on days you don’t feel like doing the telling

“The first was of Saint Gabriel” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 14, 2019
7:53pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I fell in love with the messenger. There are no addages about not kissing them, only shooting. He arrived with flowing hair and a scroll tucked under his arm. Romantic. I wanted to watch him slowly unroll it, revealing only one line at a time.
He arrived at my door like a whisper.
He was a figure from a painting, his smile a twig snapped from Paradise itself.
I thought about his mouth unfolding the news. It did not take much for me to want him, truth be told. A man bearing a letter in my name. That was all I could ever ask for.

“The meaning doesn’t matter” by Julia in her office

Friday December 13, 2019
12:26pm
5 minutes
Bunthorne’s Song
W.S. Gilbert

We can all let go now
there is no discovery of meaning because the meaning doesn’t matter anymore
So anything you were holding
release
anything you were imagining would change into something else
say goodbye
it is was something nothing
it doesn’t need to be investigated
the meaning
has left the building

I personally would like to take that personally but that’s my personality trying to make it about me
trying to blame something internal or past tense for the pain I feel in the right now
and it’s not about me
even the no shows or the blank stares
or the awkward bumbling about
I want that to be mine so I can transform it into something good
but I don’t need to make it mine to transform it

I can think it into meaninglessness by remembering that meaning no longer matters
I can will it into atoms and particles, the way it was intended
by not even clutching my fist around it to begin with

It’s not mine!
It never belonged to me
And here I was thinking that I had some divine right to it
that I earned it or deserved it
but it was never mine or anyone’s and it was wrong of
me to remove it from its den and blow it up

“And the show won’t stop.” by Julia in her office

Thursday December 12, 2019
11:45am
5 minutes
Theater
William Greenway

not if you’re sick, not if you’re wondering
not if you’re late to the party or fumbling
not if you don’t want to or you think you can’t
not if the door opens or it slams
not if the weather punishes you and only you
not if the sadness turns too blue
not if the schedule says that it won’t
not if the gravel road bumps or it don’t

The show won’t stop
the show won’t wait
the show won’t pop
the show won’t wait

not if you’re tired, not if you’re confused
not if you didn’t like what’s in the news
not if you got lost or took a different route
not if you succumbed to the shadows of doubt
not if you were hungry or if you needed to sit
not if you wanted to but couldn’t make it
not if you bent down to smell the flowers
not if you stayed up until the wee hours

The show won’t pop
the show won’t wait
the show won’t stop
the show won’t wait

it has to go on
it must

“Something continues and” by Julia in her office

Wednesday December 11, 2019
3:35pm
A Birthday
W.S. Merwin

This is how it goes
I wait until I know
the answer in my bones
and then I unload
the only thing I throw
are feelings at the wall
and if a yell unfolds
I’ll hurl it in the cold

This is how it is
I hold on to my skin
and shiver underneath
the seeming arbitrary
with passions dimmed
I fight the light within
until I am destined
to do it all again

This is how it hurts
it always comes in spurts
With hope interspersed
it really could be worse
but nothing cures the curse
like a living breath first
and if I am not sure
then I will become more terse

This is how it is
how it hurts
how it goes

“Why don’t you just” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday December 10, 2019
9:11pm
5 minutes
a text message

C: brush your teeth as soon as you wake up and then you’ll be ready for the day. Then you don’t have do it again.
M: But I eat, so, what am I supposed to do, have food breath?
C: Ever heard of mints?
M: Yeah. I have.
C: Fine do what you want, that’s what you always do anyway.
M: Yeah because I’m a grown man. That’s what grown men do.
C: Yeah. Right.
M: What?
C: Nothing. I said right. I was agreeing with you.
M: I don’t buy it.
C: I’m serious. That’s what grown men do.
M: But?
C: What?
M: You don’t think I’m a man.
C: That’s not what I said–
M: You didn’t have to. I heard it in your tone. So why don’t you just say it?
C: Well, this is a trap. I’m not saying anything, listen, you’re the one–
M: Cause you don’t have to say it. You don’t think I don’t notice? When we go out and you’re always trying to tell me which shirt I should wear, or if you think my hair’s too long for my beard?
C: You ask me my opinion! That would lead one to believe that you needed the second set of eyes.
M: But you hear how you do do that right?
C: It’s not like I’m trying to put you down!

“my friend the monkey” by Julia on her couch

Monday December 9, 2019
9:37pm
5 minutes
My Friends
Taro Gomi

J: It’s already tomorrow, can you believe it?
A: DON’T say that, we haven’t gone to sleep yet.
J: But that’s how late it is.
A: You have just ruined this moment for me.
J: Why because you can’t be in two at the same time?
A: Yeah, exactly. Can you?
J: I guess not…
A: Okay then, now we know.
J: Know what?
A: That we can’t be in more than one moment at once.
J: Is this for sure?
A: Well think about it.
J: Okay I can do it.
A: How?
J: Easy. My body can be in one moment and my mind can be in another.
A: But that’s cheating, you can’t split yourself. I’m saying you can’t fully be in more than one moment at a time. You can’t. Not all the way.
J: Ugh can’t you let anything be cool for even just one minute?
A: That depends, am I fully in that minute or..
J: PLEASE STOP.
A: What?
J: Ruining it.
A: Hey, you started it.
J: You’re the kind of person who looks at a shooting star and then has the nerve to make sure everyone knows it’s a burning rock!
A: That’s what you call being REALISTIC.

“what God told me in a dream once” by Julia at her desk

Sunday December 8, 2019
6:57pm
5 minutes
A Poem In Which God Is Both A Metaphor And Not
Chloe N. Clark

It was the day I discovered the Ouija Board. Brett and Lauren convinced me and Jenna to play. I didn’t want to. I didn’t think it was a very good idea.
When Brett asked the question, “What is written on the back of my ring”, the one his mother used to wear that he now never takes off, I waited with my breath trapped in my chest. The pointer piece started to move on the board and I felt like I was watching my worst nightmare come to life. It hovered over the initials, T…..S…..Brett was shocked. He took off his ring to show us the same two letters.

Later that night I woke from a dream to find the silhouette of Jesus on my wall. I stared at it, him beaming at me from the shadow. His beard and eyes, soft. I opened my mouth and almost spoke. Then the figure began to laugh. It was high pitched and getting bigger and bigger. Jesus was laughing at me. And I knew right then and there that I had invited the devil into my room, just like I always feared.

“occupational hazard” by Julia at her desk

Saturday December 7, 2019
9:03pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Tracee Ellis Ross

It’s going to be hard to forget your birthday tomorrow. When
for the last eighteen years I’ve wished you a happy one.
I’ve thought of you. I’ve hoped you were well. And now this.
It’s maybe easier for you, I don’t know. I say maybe because
anything is possible. Not being in each other’s lives is
possible, as we’ve already established. Maybe you don’t think
of me at all. That would also be possible, as anything is.
I dream about you still. You’re angry in my dreams, at me, and
you’re trying to make sure the whole world knows how shitty I am.
I am avoiding you in my dreams for the most part but sometimes
I yell. Sometimes I tell you just where to shove your misguided
notions about me or in general. I don’t usually feel good when I
wake up, but I do feel alive. And like I’m processing this massive
shift that you and I both know will take as long as it takes.
Or maybe you don’t consider it at all. I’m not underestimating you.
I know how awful that can feel. If you’re reading this, which is
possible, know that you didn’t get erased from my memory. I still
consider you.

“flowers called despair” by Julia in her office

Friday December 6, 2019
2:20pm
5 minutes
I planted my garden
Joan McNerney

The lady walks by after having her side pricked with 1000 volts
The man tells her he’s sorry for hurting her
She screams only once when she notices the pain even though it is deep and has been hurting her steady

The lady carries a vase of yellow tulips, all standing at attention except one
One droops to kiss the bottom of the vase
to smile a love letter at the new parquet floor

The lady smiles and gives a tear to the tulip
feels bad for her fallen sister
Say she needs to find a chopstick to hold her up

But when I see her bending tulip I do not see despair
Beauty is in the unique
In the one of a kind, the kind that looks down but is no less bright

I tell the lady this and she laughs
Maybe she will see it too

“a single bird within a constellation” by Julia in her office

Thursday December 5, 2019
3:29pm
5 minutes
irrelevant
Sophia Cannazzaro

I’ve told you the story about Nonna and the bird
the one that sat in a nest near the archway of our front door

I have never known her like that again
the day she scooped this tiny bird from its home and placed

him gently in my pocket
I was five and I found it to be magical

I don’t know if she was trying to make me laugh or delight
in life’s tiny fuzzy adorable things but she did both

And she confused me for years later

Why didn’t I know her that way in Italy?
Why didn’t I know her that way when we were inside the house?

When I got old enough, I grieved the tiny bird that
would have died shortly after my Nonna let him live

inside of my jean skirt
What mother would return to him then knowing that

he had been touched by human hands, greedy at the
fluff of him

“I step into the cold silence.” by Julia in her office

Wednesday December 4, 2019
2:19pm
5 minutes
New Planet
Misha Penton

It feels more like an autumn day than spring, something like October keeps ringing in my ears and against them.

A resistance here, a noticing. These two have never come together before.
And now in my bigger boots I can sense the weighted thought and it is attached to me.

The breeze whisks the hair around my face into a halo of buzzing. I cannot pretend I do not ache for sunny days, but this, this aliveness is more than
I thought I would know.

The air around me is still and I can hear a quiet humming.
I listen and find grace in the willingness to acknowledge.

It’s not hunger, it’s not sleep, but grief collected.
And here I count the withered leaves, one and two and three upon the ground.

It feels more…

“he became a living legend” by Julia in her office

Tuesday December 3, 2019
2:08pm
5 minutes
from Elvis Presley’s gravestone

He gave a call to his grandmother every Friday at 3
She liked to sit and knit a scarf or a blanket as he he’d speak
The wind was sometimes louder than the other days he’d ring
but she would stay on the line not to miss a thing
He’d tell her about his week at school and how he won the game
He’d ask her what news she learned even though it was always the same
He’d tell her she was his favourite and no one could come close
She’d smile and wipe a drop from her eye and say she loved him most

One day the phone rang and rang without her familiar greeting
she did not answer when he dialled and left him afraid of feeling
What would he do without this woman who had held his tears
Now that she was resting peacefully no longer here
He left a one final voicemail to tell her of his day
and knew that he could tell her that he loved her one last way