“boys can be dangerous.” by Julia at the studio

Monday, March 19, 2018
5 minutes
Undue Familiarity
Ellen Collett

It is under the covers of this empty bed where I feel the most like nothing.
Where are your knotted legs to wrap mine around?
Where is the soupy whisper in my ear telling me I am good enough already?
Boys are so damn dangerous
when you let them love you so good
the lack of them creates chaos in the sweet stream
A kink in the neck now from piling up your pillows
it is my back, desperate
to be held by something other
than this muscle spasm, kidnapper and cruel one
I rub the void between my legs until sleep takes me
I wake up wet from the dream that I said I’d meet you in
I used to think I slept better when you are gone
but when I let you love me so good
the sheets change all of their demands

“something wonderful happens:” by Julia on the 84

Sunday, March 18, 2018
5 minutes
A Marriage
Michael Blumenthal

When the days go by without poetry
I am lost inside the labyrinth my own making has built for me to conquer
Busy relearning how to walk
with two new feet that have not yet carried this heavy
The hero’s journey has always been someone else’s movie
And I have not watched myself transform into grace from the sidelines
Inside out she is begging to be fed
That I may find my appetite for words the way I once did in the weeds and speckled laneways
She is the hero waiting
Outside is not safe and she knows that
She wants out anyway but there are more protectors at the gate
More worried hearts preoccupied with the consequence of light
First I must put her ease in plain view
Ask her if she’s sure and if she is how sure
Something wonderful happens when I let her speak
When she sees a door and calls it a wishing well.

“The next time he comes over” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, March 17, 2018
5 minutes
The Possible Universe
Claire Halliday

The next time he comes by, in dream or almost, I’m going to make sure I taste his lips.
Last time the whole sleep paralysis thing got me. He came home, but I was stuck on the couch. I could feel him next to me. I asked him for a kiss. He bent down, his mouth hot near mine, and all I could do was lay there. Now I’ve had a good talking to with my brain and we both agreed we were not going to do that again. If he was showing up in my subconcious, he should get to make actual contact. None of this Nearly But Not Quite stuff. He asked me if we could rendezvous at a train station this time. I got worried, knowing me, always waking myself up before the good parts. So we decided to meet on the train itself to maximize our dream time together. He said he wanted to make love to me in the dining car. I would very much like to show up for this one. I’ve always wanted to make love in a dining car.

“seemed to love us anyway” by Julia on her couch

Friday, March 16, 2018
5 minutes
Beauty: 1976
Ruth L. Shwartz

We stole little things from her vanity-a ring, a sample bottle of eau de toilette, a hair pin. It didn’t look like she would notice them gone. There were so many more important things to notice. After she told us about the robbery and how they found Granite’s debit card being used in six different diners in two days, we felt bad. Here she was telling us about how people keep stealing from them, and we were there, stealing from them. It was so easy to convince ourselves she wouldn’t notice on account of how many stories we’ve been forced to listen to for the 60th time. People who tell the exact same story to the exact same people year after year are not the look around and see what’s new about the room kind of people. People who are so damn sad do not have time to count their broaches, or their Jean jackets.

“writing poems on placemats.” By Julia on the 99

Thursday, March 15, 2018
5 minutes
Garlic In My Ear

Jerie told me she’d only move back to Vancouver if I could find her a two bedroom apartment that wasn’t being eaten. By what she did not specify, but the easy answer would be “at all”. I first asked her to come back when Elliot got in that car crash and was put into a coma. Surely someone in a coma couldn’t work the corner office. I wasn’t hoping for him to die, just, stay where he was. Jerie said it was a shitty thing to do and wasn’t moving on principal. I hadn’t touched her skin in 5 months. I guess I got desperate. She was right. But how do you woo someone with a bachelor apartment and a bachelor salary? The second time I asked her was after I got the side job at McDonalds. I started writing her reasons why on napkins. Wrote her sonnets on the backs of greasy placemats.

“The trees around here” By Julia in her bed

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
5 minutes
Intrigue In The Trees
John Brehm

The trees around this place remind me of the book I said I’d write. If only there was time, or if Roddy wasn’t sick, or if the dog would let himself out of the flapping door.

The red ones remind me of all the vanity.
Blood beech. Not meant to be that way.
Something wrong with it. Metabolic disorder. Not enough sunlight.

Here, let’s plant the thing in a park filled with green. Keep your mind off the everyday. Give you something to hold onto. They didn’t know it is harder for the tree. It is always harder for the tree left in the middle. The example. Pose for your photograph. Backdrop perfect for the wedding pictures. And I keep wishing Roddy could choose another city to die in. I don’t want to think of him every time I see the post office. Or the sad red tree in the middle of the park. One thing sick and the rest of them fine and far away. Normal. I don’t need any reminders of that.

“God may have written” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


5 minutes

From a quote by Nancy Cartwright

Aubrey tells me that she wishes she could sing without trying. Without crying. Without opening her mouth. She asks me to ask God what can be done about that. She asks me because I’m taller than her and therefore closer to God. She’s not wrong…

When I ask her why she wants this she doesn’t answer with words but with a look of disapproval. As if I didn’t already know. As if it needs to be spelled out.

Aubrey tells me it’s important that singing be true. She says she’s heard enough people trying and she doesn’t want to be the kind who has to push put feelings; one who tries to get it right.

Would you be okay with being wrong? I ask her, a little afraid now that I’ve pushed her too far.

She smiles then and blows her bangs out of her oval face.

“A woman came out of the farmhouse.” By Julia on Kits Beach

Monday, March 12, 2018
5 minutes
Exactly What To Say
Kim Church

In her hand she was clutching a dead chicken by the neck. From where I was standing behind the red Birch, and how its head bobbed methodically, it appeared to be still alive, merely intoxicated. Like Ariane was dragging her drunk friend home after too many jagger bombs.
I don’t know why I thought I could hide from her. She spotted me right away, a twig in these heavy woods.
I froze in my spot and then managed a wave. It was as awkward as I’d ever been. The look on her face said nothing in the world had ever disappointed her more.

“Jobs for college students” by Julia on M’s front porch

Sunday March 11, 2018


5 minutes


James got me a job working the phones at the writing centre after he heard me give an improvised tour of it even though I had only just walked into the place five minutes prior. He liked my spunk and I liked that he needed someone to replace him while he worked out or read a book to his kid over lunch hours on Mondays Wednesday and sometimes Fridays. His wife let him see her during the days because she didn’t want her getting used to seeing him only before bed. She was convinced that’s how you give a child nightmares. I presume she meant when he couldn’t make it at nighttime, as understandably, he sometimes would not. I used to steal pens and post its and I never felt bad about it. I guess I thought James wouldn’t care because I assumed he did the same thing. I felt like a rockstar scheduling students in for their one on one essay appointments. I wasn’t there enough to be invested, but I wanted James to feel validated by his instinct of me.

“as spicy or as tame” by Julia on her couch

Saturday March 10, 2018


5 minutes


Her skin smelled spicy and I couldn’t get it out of my head. The way she plucked rosemary from other people’s gardens and tucked it in her back pocket or in the bun of her hair. She needed the earth like she needed to laugh. I loved that she did not pass one bushel unpicked. She liked to roll the green between her fingers and pull them up to her nose at traffic lights. She said it calmed her. She said it made her feel like she was already home. When we’d wake, I’d find her laying in my practice baseball shirt and smelling good without the help of something bottled. When I told her she smelled spicy she laughed and said, what were you expecting, lavender?

“your inner rock collecting childhood self” by Julia on L and J’s couch

Friday March 9, 2018
5 minutes
BUNZ Trading Zone

draw a set of bunny ears on the front and the poofy tail on the back
collect enough flat rocks to draw all animals
cat whiskers and ears on the front
tail on the back
horse braid on the front
tail on the back
you get the idea
the tail goes on the back whenever there is a tail
like a coin
but you won’t be flipping these
they’ll be too heavy
you can skip them if they’re flat
there is room for some funny jokes in there
(cats not really liking the water, for a first idea)
(you can lead a horse to water…)
you can also give these rocks away
as little parting gifts
or put them in the loot bags at your child’s brithday party
they’ll think they’re getting something
like a chocolate
or an eraser
but they will get to display it on their mantle
forver reminding them
(their parents)
that you had time for your kid and then some
who doesn’t want more time
who doesn’t need more time
maybe we’ve jumped ahead and you do not have kids yet
you’re still a kid yourself
you’re still so damn young
(sorry, darn)
scrawl the name of the boy you like on the front
and write your name on the back
throw it into the water
and make a wish
they always go into the water

“If you want to go out with her or give her a bath” by Julia in the office chair

Thursday March 8, 2018
5 minutess
From a text

Lottie ain’t gonna fightcha, if ya’ll wanna take her out or give her a nice scrubbin’, be my guest, understand? She used to put up a stink, but I think the old gal has gotten tired and to be honest I think she likes the company different these days. When we first got her, boy could she kick a hole in all your hard work! The fences that Horace put up? Took him the whole damn summer. When he left for two minutes to fetch himself a congratulatory beer Lottie had already marked her exit route. You shoulda seen his face, my god. If he didn’t already feel bad for the poor thing, he mightta sold her that very day. Thing is, Lottie came from a bad group. The owners liked to use their animals for experiments in show business-Kind of impossible circus types.

“Oh my god it HURTS!” By Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 7, 2018
The Stand
Stephen King

Okay let me tell you what it’s like. On a good night? He comes home, he kisses me in the driveway, he slaps my ass and then he brings in the groceries from the car, puts them away, then sits on the couch. I give him a back massage and then I cook dinner. He does the dishes, then he reads in his chair and snacks on those chewy mints. He loves those chewy mints even though they get stuck in his teeth. He tells me he loves me. He sings in my ear. On a bad night it’s not much different. He comes home, he reads, he chews, he does the dishes. But on those days he does not kiss me in the driveway. Doesn’t tell me that he loves me. Plays the piano in the other room with his headphones in. Watches reality tv and surfs the web for funny videos in the other room with his headphones in. Doesn’t kiss me before we sleep. Doesn’t touch me in the bed. Doesn’t ask how my day was. Comes home but doesn’t want to be there.

“If you have any questions” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday March 6, 2018


5 minutes

Vancouver Yellow Cab

Ask me. Please God, ask me.

Don’t wait until the question is asking you. Don’t hold off until you think I might be ready. Ask me. In the middle of the night. In the middle of this sentence. In the seconds before a skydive. In the goodbye of our old-selves. In the presence of your heartache. In the drip of your throat. In the worst moment ever. In the 9 minute snooze meant for snoozing. Ask me. Please. Don’t wait. Don’t wish. Let me know how you feel. Let me know what you need. I will do my best to hear you. I will not make you feel bad. I don’t know how to judge you.

“connection as friends.” by Julia at the studio

Monday, March 5, 2018
5 minutes
I Know How You Feel
F. Diane Barth

When we first met I wanted to like you. I wanted to like you and I liked
you. I said “She and I are going to be friends.” I said we were, and we
were. I learned that If I wanted something, believd in the wanting, in the
why, then I would get what I wanted. I tried that out on other friends too,
just to see. It worked. I wanted to like them and I liked them. I said “We
are going to be friends and we were friends. Maybe you could make the
connection that I made us have the connection. You could infer that I was the
one who brought us floating together in the same orbit to begin with. Afterall,
if you wanted us to be friends, wouldn’t you have made us friends?
You might interrupt here and tell me that we are friends because we both wanted
us to be friends. We made the connection in tandem. Made, a verb, an action,
a choice. I know that this is not the case because I did all of the work. I
showed you my whole thumping heart. I bled out when it was not convenient.
You said yes. But you waited for me to go first.You didn’t want it as bad as me.

“shit and eggshell” by Julia on the 9

Sunday, March 4, 2018
5 minutes
My Life Smells Like This
Amy Bloom

You are no longer sleeping here-I beg the smart side of my brain to seize the opportunity: Paint the fucking thing shit brown and eggshell, a reminder of just how useless you were. The smart part of body buys the brushes, borrows a roller and a tray, sticks colour swatches to the wall. The other side, the middle sister side, sits on the edge of the bed and seizes into a chemical tear bath. The salty breath is held there like a brown paper bag was trying to keep it from floating away. Laboured. Inconsolable. The smart side of my brain has it all figured out: Leave, let leave, let live, live, leave. Do not pick up the phone. Do not keep slippers in the room that fit only the feet who walked out on you. Don’t do it. Don’t ask the other side for grace.

“plush and pregnant into my palm” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, March 3, 2018
5 minutes
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
James Cagney

I catch myself being more ready for the things I used to avoid
True Love
White Cheddar popcorn topping
In the span of a few months my chest has expanded:
my heart has grown three full sizes
I know you are to blame
as you always are for changing my mind
as you always are when you are the next thing in the room
I have never wanted you closer
Even after all the undecided books
or old tables put in new places
It is medicine when our worlds spin in the same direction
It is better this way
On the street you ask me if things are okay when they don’t feel okay
I tell you now before they turn into unswept corners, spiders crawling out

“object of concentration” by Julia on the 99

Friday, March 2, 2018
5 minutes
Ashtanga Yoga Primer
Baba Hari Dass

On my mind like a wind chime

blowing in the night

Playing a song so sweet

You are who I think of when I can’t get to sleep

You are who I know I need

Raindrops carry the ease of you

On my rooftop I have felt the drum

You are who my heart knows is the one

You are who my heart knows is the one

In the faces in shower tiles I see yours

In the gravel roads I’m travelling on

You’re the smile in my bowl of soup

the wisdom in the moon

You are who I was supposed to meet

You are who my dreams told me to write

You are who my eyes were built to see

You are who my heart knows

“The only thing I can come up with” by Julia in her bed

Thursday, March 1, 2018
5 minutes
No Idea
Dana ID Matthews

Today I told them that I didn’t know
That I want to know and that I wish I did but I don’t
No one asked to see my badge, my credentials
No one gave me a sidemouthed remark
I felt worried and then I felt honest
and the authenticity parade was loud for all to hear
Later one of them told me that they didn’t know
That they want to know, but they don’t, and isn’t that okay?
Later still one of them told me they thought it was
important to admit when we don’t know
and maybe others might want to hear that too
that life is not easy and no one knows everything
Here, take this make-shift answer, this feather
falling itchy onto my lap,
Find my discomfort and amplify it
Always remember that I lied right to your face
to save my own
I am glad that for once the only thing I could
come up with was the worthy and unveiled truth

“wedding bells at the airport” by Julia in her bed

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
5 minutes
jessie read

It was hard to sleep cause the bugs were busy burrowing into their favourite skin:
Side of the face
Baby toe
A hard glance at paranoia might
Point you directly at the mosquito
Pest that everyone blames Noah for
not killing
Every light hair lifted by wind or arm is warning sign and restless nights
A lady bug would have been a welcome replacement
You don’t have to hear a ladybug plot murder right in front of you
But the night was closing in
Big day tomorrow and everyone watching and it would take
a weak prisoner if the mind stopped chirping
The way you might forget your room is haunted when the light is on

“for what little he had left” by Julia on V, J, W, and A’s couch

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


5 minutes


Curtis LeBlanc

He had to get his hip replaced at 28. That’s too young. I shouldn’t have to say that. He shouldn’t have to know it. He lost his hair first. Before everything. Too short to get away with it. People saw. Some of them were mean. A full head of hair does not a man make. I shouldn’t have to say that. He shouldn’t have to feel it.

When they took his car away from him they clipped his wings and put him in a cage. He was helping someone else out and he still had the law trying to keep him from flying. He was helping someone. I shouldn’t have to say that. I forgot to tell him he was enough. I don’t know why I think it’s my job but it feels like it is. Like he’d listen to me. I shouldn’t have to say it. But I didn’t anyway. I really should have said it.

“all these obsessions we’ve believed” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 26, 2018
5 minutes
Wake The Dead
Julia Pileggi

They told me they like the way they could see the room that we were in,
the kitchen, to be exact (and isn’t it always)
I told them it was a true story and some of them nodded along, grateful

I plan to one day have a kitchen of my own that my kids will want
to write about
When they think of me, maybe they’ll place me by the toaster oven or
the built in cutting board, raw from the busy family of serated edges
I have not yet held my mother in my own kitchen
I have never cooked dinner for my father
They have no idea what I know and what I know from them

The other day my mother was surprised when she heard that
I don’t skip breakfast
I was surprised that she would think I was the type that did
In her own way, she is complimenting me, thinking me independent,
autonomous and wise enough to know
In my own way, I am insulted, thinking she thinks I am too irresponsible
to make sure that I properly feed myself
Some of these are stories that I tell myself, maybe as a reminder
to write them down later in case I happen to forget

“only four corals spawn” by Julia at her desk

Sunday, February 25, 2018
5 minutes
Sea Sick
Alanna Mitchell

Did you know that coral is not a plant? Everybody thinks it’s a plant because of its size and the way it hangs out on ocean floors. Corals are not plants. Technically, they’re animals because they don’t produce their own food. They actually have mouths. I’m not a coral mouth expert so I can’t really say much about them, but I know they’re there because they capture food with their tentacle-like arms and then sweep it into them. They have been around for millions of years. Did you know that? I know a girl who is named Coral but I don’t think she was named after THE coral because she’s sort of the opposite of amazing. She’s the type of girl you just want to roll up in a dusty rug and toss off your 6 story balcony onto your mom’s boyfriend’s parking spot. I’ve never heard her talk about the ocean before. What a waste. Anyway, did you know that coral reefs rival old-growth forests in terms of how long they can live? I don’t blame you for not knowing that. I didn’t even know that and I’ve read EXTENSIVELY about corals.

“A queen travels” by Julia in T’s car

Saturday, February 24, 2018


5 minutes

Winter Watch

Jennifer Elise Foerster

A queen travels in the backseat of a Honda Civic. The front two seats have zebra print covers. The heat doesn’t work. She falls asleep with her neck jammed to the right. She is mushed up, her bones all squeaky.

A queen takes her shoes off because her socks are wet from the tiny hole in her boot. She spreads herself out when she thinks she’s earned it. After reminding herself how many conversations she attempted to start; how many thick silences she endured. At the border she smiles at the man on duty. She lets the others do the talking. She shakes her head from highway sleep.

“may all the bones” by Julia in her bed

Friday, February 23, 2018


5 minutes

And if there is a day of ressurection

Todd Davis

May all the bones rest easy in their skin

stop fumbling around in the orange

light lit by the soft falling snow

May they live happy in their home of flesh and sinew

May they give their postal code with pride

Under all those baggy sweaters they have been convincing each other of the safety outside themselves

No one is watching closely, they’d say

No one is paying attention

“There is a dream I remember having” By Julia on V, J, W, and A’s couch

Thursday, February 22, 2018


5 minutes

The Wilds of Sleep

Kat Duff

I am younger than nine

I remember just fine

Not the age or the stage

But the people and the place

It’s not scary

but it’s a nightmare

I go down to tell my mom

Having a bad dream again

But it’s my dad shaving in the bathroom

And he’s smiling

And I ask where she is

And he says right here

And then my dad enters again

And my dad stands beside my dad

And my dad shaves besides my dad

As in, my mom is my dad

As In, my dad is my mom

As in, my mom has been absorbed by my dad

As in, my mom is turned into his copy

Two dads, as good as he is, is not

a substitute for one of each

My mom signs my report cards

My mom toasts my bread

My mom reads me stories

Let’s me sleep on her side of the bed

“Use your body to be the tent” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
5 minutes
Nest Filled
Kim Stafford

I don’t know that I would sheild you first in an attack from outer space
You’re high on the list but not at the top
Maybe you’re fourth or fifth, or sixth which, don’t get me wrong, is still very good
I wouldn’t want to be fourth or fifth on anyone’s list but
for you on mine it’s a privileged spot
Especially when you consider how many things are important to me
How many people too
I don’t think I would use my body as the tent in case it happens
to rain outside
even if you were wearing your tailor-made suit
I would much rather you employ an umbrella to do that job
I guess I don’t consider rain life threatening
But in the event of a life threatening occurence
I would save my right hand and then my left
And then my sister
and then my notebooks
and then my cousin’s kid
and then you
That’s sixth for you, just like I promised
After, of course, counting my hands seperately

“During a rest stop” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


The Ecology of Prayer

Fred Bahnson

When Erin got out of the truck her hands were still sticky. She told Cal to keep the engine running as a joke but he didn’t quite compute. She walked back to the passenger seat and held up her hands, then said, I’m going to be a minute. Cal got it. He could see his semen catching the light like dried glue. He watched her go into the gas station and wondered if he should be washing off too. He thought about the baby wipes Raisa used to leave all over the place, making everything smell like diapers. Erin tried not to touch anything until she reached the bathroom. She realized it was a mistake to walk along the row of Doritos.

“ready for the feel of fire” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 19, 2018
5 minutes
All Things Wasting
Mallory Tater

The last time I spoke to him I lied and said I had roasted his favourite shoes over the open fire. I told him I made chestnuts out of them. He believed me. I guess that’s saying something about me. About him, sure, but about me first because I must be pretty convincing. I suppose he has good reason. Once when we were laying in a sleeping bag somewhere in Tobermory, I said I’d stab him if he let go of me and when he did, so did I. Stab him, I mean. It was only a little, and he bled but not for long, but I said I would do it and I did it and that’s when he started to get a little scared of me. Even if it was only my thumb nail piercing his upper thigh. He’s entitled to his opinions. He can think I’m whatever he thinks, but I would never actually roast somebody’s shoes on a fire. I’m not a monster. He didn’t even respond right away when I told him I did it. He took a few long breaths and then said that was all he could take for right now. I think that was a tactic his therapist told him to practice. I don’t think he would have thought of those words on his own.

“the beauty and challenge of facebook” by Julia at her desk

Sunday February 18, 2018
5 minutes
Margaret Christakos

Earlier today I was on Facebook deleting all the people who I no longer want to have access to my life. You don’t get to see what I’m up to if you’ve been a bad friend. Or not a friend at all. It isn’t your right! I decide, okay? I’m getting heated up forof a myriad of reasons. Sometimes it feels like the whole damn world is watching. Sometimes I want to be left alone. Tina and Guy send messages from each other’s accounts and that drives me up the wall. Speaking of walls, I don’t need some stranger commenting on a conversation I’m having with my sister’s boyfriend. I don’t need to be having conversations at all on Facebook but I’m on it and that’s that. I don’t want to miss anything. My brother posts videos of his kids in the pumpkin patch. I don’t want to miss my mom accidentally telling me she misses me on my profile picutre. But I don’t want the people who don’t deserve my time to witness my activities. If they can’t be in my life, they shouldn’t get to see it. I don’t just post all the best stuff either so it’s really, really my life.

“Near Middle: for “Devilish woman,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday February 17, 2018
5 minutes
Errata and Addenda
Rachaela Van Borek

Can’t tell her the truth even though that’s what we both promised we’d do.
When she tells me hers, she apologizes a month later and says, “Maybe when
you asked what I thought that night I shouldn’t have answered at all.”
I tell her “No, you should have, I want you to be honest with me,”
but I don’t know if that’s just because I don’t know what else to say.
I have some ideas about the questions she doesn’t ask me and
I know I can’t tell her what I think so I agree inside that maybe she is right.
A blanket gets thrown at me when I look cold but feel sweaty.
That’s probably on account of all the discomfort.
Some people sweat when they lie.
I put it on my toes and count the minutes before the pizza arrives.
Maybe when we’re eating we will have less time to peer into each other’s
souls and risk ruining a perfectly good family.
Suddenly her phone rings and she answers it in the middle of my good story.
She covers the receiver, tells me that our mother is frying shrimp dumplings again and asks if I want any.
I tell her to tell her yes.
She tells our mother we’ll be right over.
When she hangs up she shakes her head.
“Not sure what Mom is doing making dumplings at midnight.”
“Not sure what Mom is doing thinking we all still live in the same time zone.”

“eat all of our food? Rude.” By Julia in N’s kitchen

Friday February 16, 2018
5 minutes
David Delisca

When Harley stays with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays cause it’s closer to the hospital
he buys us hot dogs and
orders pizza
He doesn’t want us to make him anything special simply
because he’s dying
He’d rather eat out of the garbage
can than put us out any more
than he thinks he is already
On Mondays and Wednesdays
Mitch goes out to pick up
the groceries he thinks Harley
might like to snack on when
he thinks the rest of us aren’t
paying attention
Fruit by the foot and Reese’s
Peanut butter Puffs
Organic strawberries and Oreos
We stock the cupboards just
in case

“we were in the same grade together” by Julia on the 99

Thursday February 15, 2018


5 minutes

Lesbian at a Bachelor Party

Amber Dawn

I remember him when I think about my front tooth. When i accidentally hit it with a fork, or a glass of water. The last time it was knocked out was half a decade ago by a guy turning his car when he shouldn’t be. The first time was on a snow hill when I was seven years old. This kid in my grade came at me with his rotten mitts and punched me in my mouth. I guess it was already loose, but there was still a lot of blood. When I went to the bathroom to rinse out my mouth the tooth fell down the drain. I remember I was more angry at him for making me lose out on the tooth fairy money than I was that he attacked me for absolutely no reason. How do you prove to the tooth fairy that you lost your tooth when you actually lost your tooth?

“famous for flying around”by Julia in her bed

Wednesday February 14, 2018


5 minutes

Anthony’s Glass Eye

Billeh Nickerson

Today he was wearing a giant crystal dangling on a thin leather rope. It was so close to his Adam’s apple I thought he was going to slice it right off. He told us all that his ukulele was a lesbian and that he used to be a winged thing in the life before this one.

I know that feeling. Of wanting to share everything inside my skull. But I don’t do it because I’ve seen what happens when you’re candid with everyone. They can’t handle the honesty. It makes them squirmy.

The person beside me was breathing so consistently and heavily that it started to activate my anxiety. I had to keep catching my own breath and plugging my one ear. If I had been honest I would have gotten in trouble for asking them to please try breathing with their mouth open or not at all.

“freckles on thighs and in-between.” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday February 13, 2018
5 minutes
Teachable Moment, 1986
kellee Ngan

you were the one who first told me about the freckle
on the inside of my bum cheek and I didn’t even
know it was there
I want to thank you now in retrospect for looking
as close at the inside of my bum cheek as you did
For looking as close at the inside of my chest
even when I couldn’t be happy for your happiness
or when I chose silence over words even though
you knew I knew words better
I want to thank you now for noticing then the trilion
tiny specks of me
the good the bad, the ugly ugly ugly
You were so patient until your patience bit
and when it did it took out a deep chunk
You always knew where to sink your teeth in
but that was your reward for paying such perfect
You told me once that my tongue whipping down your
throat was not sexy and I didn’t have the thought
to tell you then that I was holding tightly
to a thread that held your head close to mine
And I was not anything close to ready
to letting it go in case you went with it
One day I opened my fingers and you went with it
but I thank you now
the first

“bellies full of unborn air” by Julia on her couch

Monday February 12, 2018
5 minutes
Emily Davidson

There is poetry in everything
Sadly singing
Love songs slowed down
A harmonica player on the curb
ushering out guests from the drink heavy bar, the heart heavy
We are bellies full of unnamed protests
our oceans only clear where the sky is
crossing the street as if we were still in another country
the one we learned to walk in
eyes forward, hands clasped, unafraid
Sundays turn into Sundays last
when the news comes in
another flight this evening
taking him away

“sometimes a pencil is an octopus” by Julia on her couch

Sunday February 11, 2018
5 minutes
Octopus vs. Pencil
Philip A. Miletic

Sometimes you know the answer and sometimes you don’t. You don’t know because no one knows and you know because everyone knows. It’s an exact science you can rely on. It’s called Life and everyone knows it because it happens to everyone. Sometimes a theory is a sword. Sometimes an accusation is a law.
Sometimes a lie is a punishment.
Sometimes a lie doesn’t know it’s being lied. But this scientific thing, this thing that everyone knows, called Life, is hard to prove because everyone who knows it knows it in their own scent. It’s a thing everyone knows but it’s a thing no two people know the same way.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is dinner.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is breakfast.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is punishment.
Sometimes a punishment is self generated.
Sometimes the body is trying to protect itself.

“I’ll probably do it while you’re sitting on the toilet” by Julia on the toilet

Saturday February 10, 2018
Who Says I’m Not a Romantic
Fernando Raguero

We bought new toilet paper and you used the last bit of the roll but forgot to change it and we bought new toilet paper so it would have been easy. It would have been satisfying or maybe you’re not me. It is satisfying to change the roll, out with the old, in with the new. It’s a fresh start. A roll that hasn’t yet gotten dusty or humid or damp. A roll that suggests a readiness for all. And maybe you’re not me. And I can’t expect you to wait for me to have dinner even though you invited me to have dinner. You might have meant dinner on a different night like tomorrow or Easter Sunday. I can’t expect you to buy a new garbage can if the old one is busted even if you said you’d pick it up after work. You might have meant you were going to pick up the garbage can and see if it was heavy. You might have meant pick it up and put it back down again.

Some things add up really nicely.

Some things make sense to me but not to you, maybe, because you are not me.

“moths drift from the trees” by Julia on her couch

Friday February 9, 2018
5 minutes
Al’s House
Lorna Crozier

I slide my nose along your nose while you lay your head in my lap
I’m convinced this is the map
of your breath travelling in and out of your body
I sniff your nose skin like it gives information and I have to track
the proof of you here
I could almost weep at the sweet of your nose and the smooth and the still
while you let me trace the personality poised in the middle of your face
Maybe that is the road the sprit knows
Up and down and back and forth
Maybe my spirit knows your spirit so plainly by now by the route of this place
The way the answers light themselves up bright enough to see
even when the eyes are closed and the room is dark.

“He couldn’t get enough of sky” by Julia on her couch

Thursday February 8, 2018
5 minutes
North America’s Favourite Zoo Animal
Stephanie Bolster

This boy flies in a plane
never seen the sky from
this high up
never seen his church
from this far away
Counting stars, Mamma,
I see them all the same as
down there
Makes a wish in case
one of them unexpectedly falls
And this one can be yours too,
Mamma, we can share it
This boy wears light blue hat
with bear ears sticking out
He sleeps in the soft of his
mother after watching the pink
and orange stripes fade
The gentle lady walks by and
catches herself off guard
by his tiny perfect face

“barely do I sense that faint tug” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday February 7, 2018
5 minutes
Hiking With My Shadow
Don McKay

once there was a faint tug of determined grace
it came on the night after
it started to grow like a headache
and it was loud then, too, unavoidable
grace is supposed to feel light
like a tongue
forgiving a whisper
but the whisper changes shape
and the tongue gets confused

the faint tug was built like
a milkshake, everything getting
caught in the straw on the way up
the pull
a force that shouldn’t
be this hard;
the pull
a lie that
keeps getting stuck in the cheeks
it was there once
but it hasn’t come knocking

“coffee laced with rum” by Julia on the plane

Tuesday February 6, 2018
5 minutes
I’ve Fishing Crawford Lake
Kim Maltman

The coffee had been sweetened
with hazelnut syrup
There was no extra charge
and no side comments made
It was served in a tiny cup; handmade, delicate
The man ordered a cup in the morning and again in the afternoon
He joked and said he had already
forgotten the taste
It was not the coffee itself
he needed more of
-his head a jolt of unsafe caffeine
navigating foreign streets-
but the condensed milk
layered at the bottom or when lucky
whipped through, and hot
The woman took only little sips
when offered
but ached for more, quietly

“I’ve been hiding who I am” by Julia in Hanoi

Monday February 5, 2018
5 minutes
Sisterly Love
Elise Pallagi

Not under the rug or anything-
in the wide wide open
in my laugh
in the unkind words I’ve used to describe myself
in the moments between dream and awake when I can’t tell what’s real
When I know what’s real and still send my brain to the night cave,
the haunted ride,
the hole in my three/almost four year old running shoes
When I say I don’t need more
When I say yes, let me settle for this;
watch how this small nothing
does suffice
And in the wretched mirror of our private elevator I have been hiding
my joy behind picked skin regrets named Lack
named Control
It takes everything I am to say what
I am not
It is worse work
It does not come with sweets

“Ninety pounds.” By Julia in Hanoi

Sunday February 4, 2018
5 minutes
T is for Texas
Derek McCormack

I met a woman in the museum today
She was 90 pounds and making things
Pushing through the thick
and then
more making, more things
She won the medal for
perseverance or something like it
Not a war hero but a woman hero
and a wall climbing metaphor
She didn’t see the wall and
think there was no other way

Can’t go over it
Can’t go under it
Can’t go around it
Got to go through it
(Going on a lion hunt)
(If the lion was accomplishment in spite of)

The angle of her made her body
look big and she seemed
so very unfazed

“children dawdling to school” by Julia in Hanoi

Saturday February 3, 2018
5 minutes
K.V Skene

It’s over the hill and past the old abandoned ice cream truck.
The little ones don’t seem to
be afraid when they go by it
but I don’t like the feeling it
gives me. I don’t like what it
represents but then again I’m
old enough to remember what
happened. They skip and play
and sometimes pretend to steer
the wheel. They make believe
that they are just like the ice
cream man on a regular Wednesday in June.
The police say there might have been more than twenty bodies.
They say
they didn’t consider
digging so far back until
they had a reason to. When
you think of what all of us kids
knew back then, it makes you
wonder what their priorities were,
and what order.

“handed down mother to daughter” by Julia at Tree Hugger Cafe, Dong Hoi

Friday February 2, 2018 at Tree Hugger Cafe
5 minutes
Without Mercy
Howard Wright

The slow blink while angry
The smooth legs
The internal smile at babies
The compassion
The sometimes door mat sometimes door
The olive oil skin
The walking feet
The running instinct
The humming bone
The story teller
The clam sauce recipe
The porcini mushroom gnocchi
The onion soup
The date and walnut cookies
The open face
The open mouth
The ears
The rage
The hurt
The agency
The curiosity
The attention to details
The service to the ones loved most
The glued roots to Italy
The never ending conversation
The family first

“Should we take the pillows?” By Julia in Phong Nha-ke bang National Park

Thursday February 1, 2018
5 minutes
What Are You Thinking?
Jay Ruzesky

R-Should we take the coffee packets? Will you want those later?

A-I’m collecting them. I think they’ll be good to have on the go, don’t you

R-And should we take the Q-tips?

A-always good to have cotton swabs we didn’t have to buy in case of an emergency.

R-should we take the bag of crackers?

A-Of course I think we’ll enjoy having them as a snack in between major meals on the road.

R-And should we take the pillows?

A-well, if they will fit in our bags then it would be good to—wait. The pillows? Should we take the pillows?

R-Yes, should we take them?

A-The pillows?

R- Yes.

A-But…the pillows?

“a forest lake frozen to the bottom” by Julia in Phong Nha-ke national park

Wednesday January 31, 2018

5 minutes
Pia Tafdrup

It reminds me of the time we tried to take our leftovers home and the waitstaff who couldn’t understand our English very well didn’t know what a container meant. And so they gave it to us in a giant ceramic bowl that wouldn’t fit in our tiny fridge. They must have thought we were out of our minds. We brought the bowl to our room and some smaller bowls to eat from but we were too full to keep eating that night so we put them in the tiny fridge. The next day the giant bowl was gone but our two smaller bowls were still in there. We didn’t want leftovers until later and by the time it was later, we couldn’t eat them anyway. When we went to stick a spoon in, the top was hard as rock. It took a moment to figure out that it had frozen over-we put it in the wrong spot. This made us laugh for a while. Thinking of them coming to collect our giant bowl and saying, well I guess we’ll leave their ice noodles in the fridge then?

“the holy monkeys and the colourful birds” by Julia on the bus to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng

Tuesday January 30, 2018
5 minutes
Anna Margolin

In the morning before we said goodbye to Ann, the tiny blue bird with the long beak that I had seen in my half sleep from the bus reappeared. It cradled a thin branch near the water with its feet and stopped the world from stepping. I tried to tell you that it was a sign. You couldn’t see the blue and told me it was probably some other bird. It was the same one and I knew by the way it sat. Its stillness was a perfect one. I would know it anywhere. I managed to quiet my heart beat long enough to hear. To sense the strength or the message or the absence of expectation. I heard it like the humming of my Nonna, her voice soothing while she used to mend my favourite sleep shorts. I would know that sound anywhere. I would.

“it was poetry, fireworks, ticker tape” by Julia in Hue

Monday January 29, 2018
5 minutes
Bad Hand
Mallory Tarses

It was hard beds, good sleeps, wild dreams.
It was soft hands, stark words, sweet kisses.

It held us in our tiny pod, two feet from the ground and floating. Brought us to the flashing lights and the back alleys and the families of perfect chickens. It was poetry and history and a birthday song over the PA in the lobby.

It was poetry and river walks.
It was poetry as patience.

As kindness.
As covered knees in the solemn place.
As the sunrise on a boat in the Mekong Delta.