“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

I told myself I’d be married at 24 cause of my mother. She was married at 24 and that felt like the best map I could follow since she has never once said she regretted it. I also said I wouldn’t have sex till I was 24 either case of Jesus. Or the patriarchy. Save my sex for someone who loves God more than he’ll ever love me and believes in owning humans as property? Yeah, what a great fucking idea. I was young then. And committed to Christ (by choice, weirdly, I know). And in love with the idea that I didn’t have to make my own decisions cause life was already going to have too many of those in the first place. I told myself that I would have a child by 28 cause of my mother. She waited 4 years to have one after she got married and that seemed smart, and good, and completely doable. I have missed both of these “destiny numbers”(by choice, I know, I know). Somewhere along the way I decided I could trust myself to lead me through it. Sometimes it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. But it’s better than being married with a bazillion kids coming out of my ears. Age, I’ve learned, is just a number that you get to hold for a year. And then–we let it go, just like everything else.

“I don’t even think that your songs are about me” By Julia at her dining table


Wednesday January 11, 2016
2:40pm
5 minutes
Like You
EXES


When we saw each other again for the first time in three years, you looked different. You smiled different. I felt like you did that on purpose so I wouldn’t look too closely at the you we both know you used to be. It didn’t work. Distractions don’t work on people who have seen your entire insides. I should know. I can’t hide from you either. Even if I was panicking about how I looked seconds before you met me at the underground station. I didn’t want you to think anything other than I Used To Love This Person. I wish I didn’t think that appearances were the only road to remembering that. When we hugged I tried to hold on a little longer so I could smell your neck. I don’t know if I was expecting the same smell you used to have, or hoping for a new one to break all my stupid patterns. Either way I might have been the only one in that hug, and it broke my heart a little. You told me that it’s good to see me and I wanted to say Yeah? But Can You Define What Good Means To You Real Quick? Instead I laughed and swatted at your arm, saying You Too, You Too.

“what curious sense does it make?” By Julia at Sasha’s kitchen table


Tuesday January 10, 2016
2:45pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


She looked around the room
wild eyed and buzzing
her tiny eyes still too glassy
to make sense of any faces
or shapes
little hands and noses mushed
into her field of vision
blurring in and out
in and out
Her head was fully held up
by the neck on which it stood
Advanced, some of the other new mothers
were marveling
She was anxious to be independent
ready, rather, since she popped out
her new mother said nonchalantly as she gnawed
on a meaty rib bone with her free hand

She gulped at the air
her mouth the same shape as her tiny fists
eager to be in the glory of it all
curious and young
to be so new and so old
all at the same time
a thousand tiny lifetimes lived
in every breath
every glance
every nod
of her perfect little head

“what curious sense does it make?” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday January 10, 2016
2:45pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


What curious sense does it make
the mouse nibbling the corner of
the book page, rice collecting at the bottom of
the bird cage
Tiny animals lined up in a row?

The majesty of monarchs
sending smoke signals up to the Gods
The killer whales sonar harmony
that’s just for the coral and
the lichen and the squid and the moss?

Pandora’s Box left open on the counter
tied in a red ribbon
wrapped in a green shawl
dusted with dirt and the smell of home.

You step closer.
You step closer.

You open it.

All of a sudden
it’s clear as the timer
as the coffee
as the inspiration!

All of the animals
aren’t in a row
They are in a circle
Stretching land and sea and sky!

They are in a circle
and they are singing
raising their calls.

“you can experience racism” By Julia on her couch


Wednesday September 14, 2016
11:06pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

Did you know that if you can think it, it already exists somewhere on the internet? Because it’s a dark and twisted jungle and some people don’t know how to find their way home after getting lost in it. Anything you can think of at all. Sure, it would take a little digging. You’d have to be good at searching. But for every good thought you’ve ever had, someone has beat you to one like it somewhere online. And for every bad thought you’ve ever had, someone has beat you to 10. At least. The ratios do not lie. We’re more alike in this life than we’d ever like to admit. My bad thoughts, fleeing, your bad thoughts breeding and burying their eggs all over the web. It’s the only place where there always exists someone more hurt than you.

“I had to let her know” By Julia in her bed


Tuesday September 13, 2016
11:18pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Words unspoken turned into her next studio album
I wished she would have thanked me in the liner notes
Some of her best songs were un-fought wars about me
And some of her most beautiful lyrics
Were silent wishes tucked away and forgotten
I would have liked to explain myself
I would have liked to be understood before the divide instead of because of it
Too many resolutions gleaned from the backs of our sleeping heads facing opposite walls
And all the haunting melodies I will hum to myself forever
now that they are stuck inside my dreams

“How I came into being” By Julia on her couch


Monday September 12, 2016
9:46pm
5 minutes
poetryfoundation.org

How I was birthed twice in this life by my mother and twice by me. How I have started over. How I have changed destinies and opinions. How I have grown bigger in this year alone than I have in all my years prior combined. How I realized I could draw. How I realized I could sing. The moments of myself split me open like a decision, like a soybean.
I met myself one afternoon in July. I was outside my house and inside my body. I sipped on scotch. I wrote a letter to the me I was becoming. I wrote music for my tired self’s funeral.

“How’re you?” By Julia on her couch


Sunday September 11, 2016
11:12pm
5 minutes
From a text message

I have micro cuts on the inside of my lips from the spicy Chinese food I ate earlier. I couldn’t help myself. I was compelled. They sting a little. Mostly when I open my mouth or run my tongue along the raw bits. I meant to bring a nourishing lip balm but some days you can’t be held responsible for the minor setbacks: the micro cuts. I think to some degree we are always accepting a base amount of pain. We decide what is tolerable. What is bad but just good enough that it’s worth putting up with it. I wonder how many of my friends are smiling through the blood. Which ones, I wonder, are licking their wounds like I do.

“How’re you?” By Sasha on her porch


Sunday September 11, 2016
7:20am
5 minutes
From a text message

How’re you?

Fine. Tired.

Yeah… But, really – … How are you?

So so tired.

What are you doing for the soft parts of yourself that get confused and think they need to be hard in order to get everything done?

Reading self help books?

Ha ha.

Zoning out on my phone too much.

Yeah. I do that, too. What would happen if you took a bath instead?

I’d probably fall asleep and drown.

Unlikely.

I should, I should take a bath. I have those fancy bath salts from six Christmases ago.

“Mysterious Serum” by Sasha on her bed


Saturday September 10, 2016
11:01pm
5 minutes
Fallout

Fingers sticky with mysterious serum of future fugitives clasped in tight fists
Belly clenched a clam shell with macaroni and cheese inside open it up open
it up Face with a frown like winter like frostbite Breath reeks of coffee and fear Fingers to mouth Eat the serum The fugitives are here now They are here.

Keep looking over my shoulder for who I thought you were. Kindness evades. Mice in the pipes. Periods in place of spaces in place of joy in face of wonder. Keep looking over my shoulder for who I thought you were.

“provide reasonable protection” by Julia while walking


Thursday, September 1, 2016
10:01pm
5 minutes
From an external hard drive warranty

I couldn’t pronounce the word but I knew it was one of those words that if you said the wrong way it would ruin you for life. Or was it one of those words that in English means one thing, but in a different language it means something completely inappropriate? What are those words called? Frenemeies? Word cousins? I don’t know, I’m no good with words in English even. But I didn’t want to pronounce it or even say it at all because I didn’t want to be laughed at. I have always been laughed at. What is the point of trying when you know people are just going to find the one thing that cuts you deep and rip open the wound even more? But who do I think I am anyway? I’m no wordsmith. I can’t be making metaphors! Who do I think I am?

“provide reasonable protection” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, September 1, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
From an external hard drive warranty

Margie adds a scoop of cumin to the chilli and watches a cardinal land on the big old maple that has seen it all. Craig putters in the basement. Jazz plays on the radio. She hasn’t been cooking much this winter, what with the tragedy at the school, and so many long hours. It feels good to have soaked the beans, stewed the tomatoes, chopped the garlic, onions, peppers and sweet potato, and toasted the spices, just the way her mother taught her. There won’t be cornbread, but there will be a thick nest of old cheddar on top. “Almost ready?” Craig calls up. He’s hungry, having met with a struggling student through his lunch break, causing him to forget to eat. Margie often finds sandwiches in Craig’s briefcase from days before. She shakes her head. He cares so much, she thinks, putting turkey and swiss, ham and cucumber, rye with almond butter and banana, right into the compost pail on the counter.

“Door To Hell” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, August 30, 2016
7:31am
5 minutes
aplus.com

it starts with a whisper with a promise to be better
when you don’t really mean it and you don’t really want to
commit to process
it’s opened then
when you say anything that doesn’t sound like truth and when you think
everybody only hears sincerity when you are wrong but don’t
want to believe that yet
a little crack further
and you keep far away from it because it’s calling you
it knows you by face and you pretend it’s a different you a different you with
the same name
coincidence
that each day a little bit less is tried
a little bit less is wagered
and the pit beyond grace is surrounded by old flames that
you ran from because you didn’t have the courage
to snuff them out
it starts with a whisper with the song of wandering souls
you fall each day
further off the track you triumph over
unfairly

“It languished in the vault” by Julia at her dining table


Monday, August 29, 2016
7:08am
5 minutes
rollingstone.com

I put it there along with other things. I wanted a collection of all the lies I had been telling. In the secret parts of my understanding I like to believe they live in a garden on their own. But they are not thriving in their soil. I don’t water them. I have deep hopes that they don’t need it. The walls of this decision are dried and crumbling. They don’t fall or crack revealing light. They pile on top of the old ones and bury the new ones that were just put there for a second. Now everything is locked up. The idea that this is all I’ll ever be. I am the one languishing in the vault. I am the one wasted. And I only choose to visit the scraps of myself there when no one else is around. Stuck internal, asleep on a mattress that divides all of my bones into unusable groups, and keeps me from attending the day like they all expect me to.

“level of trust” by Sasha on the couch at Macdonell


Monday August 15, 2016
8:26am
5 minutes
Adbusters
Oct 2016 issue


She’s oblivious. Floating above herself, she brushes a fruit fly from her peripheral vision. She’s oblivious. There’s a level of trust between her and him, but not enough to allow her to land. A monarch traces maps on the air, blue sky, blue blue sky. I want to show her how to weave a basket to carry her worries. I want to make other plans. I want to learn guitar and write a song and play it over and over until she believes that I really do love her. She’s oblivious. She puts on lip balm for the hundredth time. She looks at me. She smiles with her eyes, but not her lips. He sees and kisses the tip of her nose. I turn away.

“it would be like not listening at all” by Sasha at Simit and Chai Co.


Friday July 8, 2016 at Simit & Chai
5:15pm
5 minutes
When I Am King, Dilly Dilly
Don Cummer


lotsa hurt
this week mornings with
bowling ball lumps in dry hot
throat mornings spent
scrolling tears
streaming feet
tingling
what can i do what can i do what can i
can i do
can i
can’t i
ally alley ally
i want to choke
the fear and
ignorance
mine
yours
i am sorry for my
race and our horrible
terrible empty
fear
fear
fear grips a gun
tight like a baby
the baby watching
in her carseat
the father reaching
for a license
for a license to drive
license to shoot
license to bleed
license to break
we are breaking
we are broken
broken down
broken up and open
broken open

“creamed corn with beer” by Sasha at Foundry Rd.


Monday July 4, 2016
10:16pm
5 minutes
Visiting my Sisters
Phil Hall


Vince likes his creamed corn with beer. He eats this on Sundays, because Sundays are lazy. Mondays Vince has a tuna melt with three dill pickles. Counts as his vegetables. That and the celery. “Good amount of veg,” thinks Vince. Tuesdays Vince goes for wings with Andy. Might even have a beer if he’s feeling deserving. Always gets Honey Garlic. He can’t handle heat. Andy makes fun of him, every week, because he gets Suicide. Vince used to laugh but doesn’t anymore. He doesn’t get how a joke can be funny the four hundredth time.

“Use that attitude to your advantage.” By Sasha in the car on the 401


Sunday July 3, 2016
4:10pm
5 minutes
Writing Down the Bones
Natalie Goldberg


She feels like she’s got it all figured out. She feels it so it’s real. At least that’s what she thinks. She turned twenty-three last week and the age stretches across hips and collar bones like medals – wrestling style and Olympic gold.

It’s too hot to do anything but breathe. She drinks some cold water from a beer stein. It was her father’s favourite, before she took it with her to university. Someone chipped the handle once and she banished him from her room. “That’s special to me, asshole.”

She uses her attitude to her advantage – a free drink here, extra cheese there, free entrance to the bus. She doesn’t smoke anymore, at least not cigarettes, and she swears off white bread.

“all that we went through” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday April 16, 2016
5:31pm
5 minutes
Back to Black
Amy Winehouse


I don’t feel right writing this. You’ve been gone for one month. I know you said it wouldn’t bother you if I saw other people once you said goodbye, but everyone else is saying it’s too soon. I met someone. I don’t know if he’s my one, but he’s someone and it feels nice to be with a man that isn’t dying. Your mother is still angry at me. She thinks I am mistreating your memory, disrespecting what we had. But the worst part is, I know I’m not doing anything wrong and I know that when you told me you didn’t want me to mourn you for long that you meant it. I still love you, I always will. I would have died with you if I could have but it doesn’t work like that. I wanted to thank you for being so understanding and trusting and knowing that me dating someone else does not mean I’ve moved on or that I’m okay or that I wanted to be with someone else this whole time. Nobody outside of us can know what we went through and what we talked about and what we decided together. Now all that’s left is my side of the story and no one seems to want to believe me when I say it’s okay that this is happening and you wouldn’t be upset. I don’t know how long I can keep justifying myself in the eyes of your family or my family. I miss you more than life.

“American singer-songwriter” by Julia on her couch


Friday April 15, 2016
8:55pm
5 minutes
from a Lenny Kravitz Google search

Performing in the bar, local bar, playing to crowds who love it, come back each week, bring their friends, become family. That’s what I really want. I don’t need stadium. I just want to entertain and share my music. I don’t care if I’m not rich. I’ll have artistic needs being met. I’ll get to share an experience, make people happy, help the bar make a bit more cash that night, drink for free. That’s it. I’m far from it. I’m not a flake or anything; I know that I’ve got a long road ahead of me before I can be that ready. I’m not delusional. It’s the dream though. I don’t necessarily envision it with a band or just me and my guitar. I don’t play the guitar yet. Doesn’t mean I can’t learn. Never too old to learn something new.

“Let’s roll, babycakes” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday April 14, 2016
11:52pm
5 minutes
overheard on Arbutus

I want you to beg me to stay when I tell you I’ll be sleeping at my mother’s place tonight. I want you to get on your knees and apologize for being a dick so I can forgive you and then apologize for being a dick back to you. I’m angry but I won’t be later but I don’t know how to turn this thing around before later is later. I feel like I’ve pushed all your buttons and there’s no easy rewind let’s pretend that never happened one to press. Why don’t you come with one like that? I am at the door with my overnight bag and I want you to throw me a banana if you’re not going to try to keep me from going. Let me know you still care about my potassium intake even when we’re hating each other. Even when you’re secretly glad that I won’t be sleeping beside you tonight to remind you of this stupid fight we both engaged in when we were both enraged about the thing we won’t remember in the morning.

“Don’t turn off your computer” by Julia at Platform 7


Wednesday April 13, 2016 at Platform 7
4:47pm
5 minutes
from the update installation screen

For the first time in a month of coming here, the man with obnoxious voice and even more obnoxious ponytail is not working in the cafe that I am borrowing as my office. I don’t mean to say I miss him-I don’t- but I’ve come to expect him and now things feel a bit off.
I spilled coffee into my laptop bag, and into my laptop keyboard, and onto my table, and into the self-deprecating narrative that I’m the kind of person who spills liquids on all the things that should never get wet.
I waited in line for the single-stall bathroom for the duration of “Another Day” from the Rent soundtrack because I could hear someone doing a million weird things inside and I didn’t know how long was reasonable to wait before I decided to stop waiting.
Nothing else bad has happened. I don’t think it’s obnoxious ponytail accent’s fault for not being here- I was just trying to connect some dots that don’t need connecting while my computer updates itself and tells me not to shut off until it’s done. It’s done now. It doesn’t take long to restart or update but I always think it will. Maybe that’s a reminder for me when I make excuses for staying married to bad habits…

“I do not lie to you.” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday April 12, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
from a text

When you ask me for the truth I gladly give it. Not to everyone, but to you, I don’t how not to. I remember sitting with you in a dusty bar a year and a half after first meeting you and feeling like that was the first time I actually got to know you. You said some profound shit and you were as lucid as I’d seen you. I preferred you like that. I wonder if you noticed me opening to you too. If you noticed me sharing more secrets or more weaknesses or more dreams laced in marijuana and vulnerability. We are close now like a weird combination of two unlikely flavours that you avoid combining at first because the idea puts you off, but that no longer surprises you once they’ve been mixed together and tasted and enjoyed.

So now. We’re both here: you in love with someone who loves you even more than you love him, and me in love with someone who loves me for reasons I will never comprehend, and we still have each other when we’re dying or when we’re thriving. You ask me if you think you deserve to be happy. I say yes. You ask me if you made mistakes. I say yes. You ask me if I’m happy. I say yes. You ask me if when the world ends, can we hold hands in a tulip garden. I say yes.

“This never happened before.” by Julia on the 99


Monday April 11, 2016
11:39pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

You tell me you love me like a bazillion times a day and I say it back maybe once? Twice if I’m in a good mood. I wonder it it bothers you that I say I love pizza more than I say I love your lips or your hands or whatever nice shit you say to me. You don’t seem bothered. You seem normal. Not even phased. I assume because you must believe you’re hearing me return your sentiments every time you say them cause otherwise your heart would need mending. And I’m saying you seem fine so I imagine you feel great about needing to express yourself so much and being with a person who needs coffee before speaking to you and who wants to be left alone for the first 40 minutes after returning home. I used to think saying I love you meant meaning it. If you asked me now I’d say it had nothing to do with that.

“How cool would this be?” by Julia at her dining table


Friday February 26, 2016
5:41pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Yew St.

You and me
?
midnight hiking!
Nothing on our backs…
but the idea…
that we couldn’t….
And the wouldn’t
?
Gone long and far because
We chose to set it free
Not worth
Keeping
Repeating
Glorifying
But now is
good!
And!
wide!
And!
invigorating!
because we chose to give ourselves
over to the truth
So no more lies
?
If we say so
We can could do-
We can anything:
Be
Do
Anything anything
Until we decide–
Stand firm–this
way
or
sideways

“SUPREMEBEING” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 25, 2016
11:27pm
5 minutes
Treasures & Travels Blog

You yelled in the car ride over to Tessa’s gallery opening and I had to beg you to pull over so I could get out before you killed us both with your rage. When I got out of the car I wiped my eyes, reapplied the lipstick I had chewed off and walked so fast ahead of you it may have seemed like I was trying to lose you. For the record: I was. I forced a smile to peel onto my lips and I strut through the trendy studio space like I invented the idea of putting so many pillars everywhere. Tessa was happy to see me and she hugged me tight and said How are you though?! I lied through my teeth and said Your art makes me want to be a better person. She was thrilled and then she left me alone. You finally entered the gallery and by that moment I thought you had decided not to come at all. I was planning my way home in my head and how when I finally got back, if you were still awake, I’d just walk straight to the bedroom and close the door. You saw that I saw you and even when I turned my back to you, you came right over to me and kissed me so sorry I forgot for a second how scared I was just minutes ago. I didn’t mean it, you cooed in my ear. I didn’t mean any of it.

“always easier to leave it at home” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Tuesday February 23, 2016 at the VPL
6:49pm
5 minutes
abeautifulmess.com

Been fucking trying to leave it at home. Been fucking trying not to swear anymore either but as you can see, things have been a little bit rough these days. My asshole of a manager has decided that not only are we no longer allowed on our phones during work hours, but now we have to write a fucking positive message about the “team” each night before AND AFTER our shift. FUCK. How do you not swear when your life is a complete fucking joke? Tad, his fucking name is TAD. And Fucking TAD has so many fucking brilliant ideas for community building, such as embodying bullshit in the most unappealing human way this century has ever seen, or for making us walk through the back doors before we sign our lives away for 4-8 hours in a “light” and “baggage-free” way. Fucking Tad likes to tell me, “Leave your bad attitude at the door, Tegan, this place is a “frown-free” zone!” I want to fucking punch him with a fork. In the throat. Repeatedly. Until fucking forever and ever Amen.

“that you already know and like.” By Julia at her dining table


Monday February 22, 2016
9:11pm
5 minutes
gnoosic.com

I am having a party
putting up balloons
decorating the whole house with streamers
and pictures
to celebrate the journey
to congratulate for not giving up
giving away loot bags at the end of the night
filled with moments of strength
examples of accepting imperfection
honesty
some vulnerability tossed in for good measure
I am inviting all my past selves
Like a reunion
But better
I will tell them
DRESS CODE IN EFFECT
And they will show up
wearing their sorrys
and their lessons
on their sleeves
carrying abundance and respect
in each jean pocket
I am saying farewell to fear
Sending her off on vacation
Killing three birds with one stone
honouring growth
A goodbye party for that which no longer serves me
And a good excuse to celebrate
Because the hill was high
but I’ve climbed it

“tossing rolled oats” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday February 21, 2016
12:19am
5 minutes
from a recipe

Karma comes calling, knocking on my door, middle of the night, full intention of awakening, startling me from my sleep. In the form of a dream, in the guise of a nightmare. I get the message: loud and clear and painful and frightening. I don’t know what I did but I’m paying for it, I can assure you. Tossing in my bed like rolled oats in a bowl of coconut shreds. I am not good at the thing where I see one thing in my head and compare a real life thing to that to express myself, describing something. I am maybe suffering the consequences in more than just sleepless nights. Feeling inept, not having the right words to say, to feel, to communicate. I am being punished by Karma in a way that doesn’t feel so obvious. I know how she rolls. In and out of view, thinking she’s gone for a little bit, then rushing right back in to remind me that I am not rid of her yet and that I am not safe in my alone. I am least protected when I leave the comfort of crowds and people with worse problems. She knows that and comes in when I’ve shaken off the possibility of seeing her at all today.

“So sorry mine is late” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday February 20, 2016
2:13pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I didn’t want to hand in a piece of shit and to be honest that was exactly what I was doing because once again I didn’t do the proper thing of giving myself enough time to complete an assignment.
I wish I was better at keeping my shit together but for some reason mine is the type that crumbles upon contact like a gluten free brownie and then it’s everywhere and there’s a huge mess so it’s better not to touch that shit in the first place because its disaster is a bit unpredictable. These days.
So as I was shaming myself for becoming a useless sack of wasted potential, hearing my mother’s voice ringing in my ear saying “you see you do very well even when you don’t try but imagine if you only applied yourself once in awhile you could be thriving honey really thriving,” I start formulating a half smile that depicts my insides as accurately to my English Lit teacher as humanly possible.
“I’d rather accept the consequences than try and prolong the inevitable again so here it is in all its tarnished glory and tied with a stupid little punctual bow.”

“I love failure!” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 18, 2016
9:06pm
5 minutes
from a text message

I love failure. I do. I didn’t before but I love it now. Like a long lost sister, or a cousin you used to fight with. I think before there was this understanding that I could make it pretty far in this life without actually leaping, jumping, risking anything. I think I wore a lovely outer mask that said, I am confident I am going places, but on the inside a traumatized child had the fear of how much longer were we going to play make believe. I think, now, maybe for the first time, I can hear both voices at once. Things are suddenly less hard than they used to be. Because living truthfully and unafraid of being wrong? That’s the most freedom you’ve ever felt. Because it connects you with the spirit of your surroundings, the integrity of your self-love, your deepest soul. It’s such uplifting necessity. I do not understand now how I thought feeling confined in my skin, trapped in all my conjured narratives, was easier than letting anything go; than lightening my load; being kind to myself.

“this music has more religion in it than any church” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 17, 2016
9:54pm
5 minutes
from a YouTube comment by GB3770

I pray at the church of kindness, I can’t settle for anything less than that as my temple. I don’t believe in a God that won’t invite us all to play, that condemns for ignorance, that promotes the weak and bludgeons the strong. I don’t believe in a God that withholds, that accepts money as the only currency, that won’t forgive us for very arbitrary, yet non-negotiable acts. I bow my head at the alter of generosity. It’s the only home I ever feel safe enough to lower my shield in. It’s the only thing that moves me to a state of rejoicing. Don’t give me that hearsay scripture, that haunting, beautifully crafted by poets rule book. I worship at the church of soul music. The kind that lifts your skin off your bones just enough to make room for grace.

“World’s Greatest Dad” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday February 16, 2016
11:05pm
5 minutes
from a picture of Joe’s t-shirt

I liked him because he thought my name was Vanessa.
I liked him because he’d make excuses to talk to me.
Because he’d serenade me in the funniest ways and always show up in my doorway without a reason.
Because his smile hasn’t changed one bit since he was little.
Because he knows how to communicate me to me.
Because he can educate without agendas or judgments.
I liked him because he was charming.
Because he was funny.
Because he was the best looking thing I’d ever seen.
I liked him because he wore truth-manifesting, subliminal foreshadowing on his funny old t-shirts.
I liked that his favorite shirt used to be the one that read “WORLD’S GREATEST DAD”.
I liked him because I believed he believed he would be.

“Is the client’s wish achievable?” by Julia at the salon


Monday February 15, 2016
4:12pm
5 minutes
From a treatment plan at Black 2 Blond salon

I haven’t asked for permission since Charlie left. She used to make me feel like if I could just stop waiting for other people to validate me, I would start excelling in my own life, at work, in everything. Charlie knew how to get what she wanted, waltzing into corner stores and convincing the cashiers to give her something for free each time she went in. It was inspiring. But it also seems like it required a particular person to achieve such positive results. I didn’t think I could get away with it–just based on my demeanor, my fear of not being liked. Charlie used to say, it’s out there for the taking. Every single last bit is there for you, you just need to start acting like you deserve it. I’ve been doing that. I’ve been working hard and being free. It is almost better that she’s not here to watch the progression. I’m getting better but Charlie would be pushing me for more extreme results. She was good for motivating but she didn’t understand that everyone has their own pace. It feels good. To do what I’m doing. It’s faster than I thought I would..

“She said my mistakes made her feel confused” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 14, 2016
6:24pm
5 minutes
Dear Mr. You
Mary-Louise Parker


I braid my hair long down my back and I glance down to see which flower I want to put in. I let the blooms speak without forcing them to make themselves available to me. I feel the sun peaking out of the clouds just to watch what I do, see what I choose, why. Little purple one, I think. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. Marissa doesn’t like it when I choose wrong. She yells, stomps her feet, says I didn’t teach her anything and her whole life is a joke. I hate to think of angering Marissa or showing her that I haven’t been paying attention. I’m trying. I really am. I feel like she has her minions looking out on all corners of this place to see that I’m doing what I am supposed to. She’s blackmailed the trees, she’s sleeping with the whole sky it seems. Nobody crosses her. Everybody fears her. I listen to my belly, rumbling on luck near empty. Little purple one, woven into the base of my braid. I do not question myself in this moment. I hear wind chimes in the distance congratulating my bravery. Last time Marissa saw me right after a big decision, she scanned my whole body up and down looking for where exactly she might have failed me.

“I worry for a moment that he’s coming back” by Julia on the 4


Saturday February 13, 2016
6:10pm
5 minutes
The Valley
Joan Macleod


I have this spine tingling hair whispering feeling that I won’t be alone here for long. The way I know when my body needs to throw up: the cues, the signals, the deep understanding of when things are in order and when they are even slightly off. I read the room, literally, spiritually and I know that if I want it I have to move fast. I can do it safely if I do it now. I can avoid being caught in the act, avoid improvising a reason, response, defense, if I just focus and mind over matter everything. I scan my surroundings, two doors, one camera, three potential stations for pick up, four paths to and from said locations to confuse and distract. I choose route two and I walk with a clip to station one. I pick up necessary tools in completing future steps with most ease and comfort. I scoop my hands into the deep bag, careful to only pull out enough to fit in both of my hands when cupped.

“Help us fight the flu!” by Julia at her dining table


Friday February 12, 2016
12:51pm
5 minutes
from the elevator at VGH

I am sitting motionless but moving on this perfect log facing the perfect sun peaking out behind the perfect mountain. Everything is wonderful. Everything around me is alive and I am still alive to experience it. There’s a difference between living and not dying. I come out here to remind myself exactly that when things feel uneasy. I ask myself, am I still alive, or am I living until I die? I am hoping to find clarity around that; peace, even. Asking myself as often as I can if this life is holding space for me or if I am holding space for it. It should be the former, shouldn’t it? Should. Huh. I know, I’m working on that too. Working on coming to perfect stillness and looking at perfect views and thinking so many imperfect thoughts. I am alone but not lonely. I feel supported from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I decide to keep them closed for the night. And I am not dying. Not yet. Not today. Although if the timing were right, this wouldn’t be such a bad last spot to be in; not a bad last feeling to have–one where I am myself inside myself inside a moment of deep desire to understand.

“Don’t tell anyone.” by Julia at her desk


Sunday December 6, 2015
9:43pm
5 minutes
http://www.globeandmail.com/life/parenting

Don’t tell anyone but I love the smell of my own skin. Like the ooey gooey yeasty smell of the inside of my bra after a long day of support and entrapment. I like it like I like the smell of your hands after they’ve been down your pants. I don’t know why but they smell the same to me. Secret Skin. Hidden in plain sight. Terribly crass. Undeniably human. I love the human you become when I’m an animal sniffing the sweat off your thighs. I ache for you to want me like your body has no choice. You tell me you like the smell of my arms, behind my ears, my belly button. I tell you to describe the scent that you like so much. I beg for you to prove it to me that it’s worth risking everything for.
You don’t know what to say except that it’s spicy and reeks of the earth. I am lifted from my bones when I hear you inhale me.

“Shhh…..” by Julia at her desk


Saturday December 5, 2015
11:49pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

I clutch the truth to my chest like a secret that is not meant for anyone to see but me.
It stings a bit, this truth. If I hold it too tight it starts to burn through my skin.
I don’t tell you because it might burn you too.
I can’t let that happen. I promised I would protect your heart. I promised I wouldn’t let even one bad thing get close.
You beg me for my truth. You try to sneak it away from me when I’m not thinking clearly. You bet you can take it from me to peak at its face in the place between asleep and awake. The place where I call out sometimes and tell stories in the dark.
You think it’s sweet that I grip it so tight. You laugh when I roar at you to back away. You call me your lion and you plant a kiss on the skin closest to my lips:close enough for me catch it…or close enough to bite.

“Junk Email Folder” by Julia on her couch


Friday December 4, 2015
9:56pm
5 minutes
from an email account

It’s been 5 consecutive days that I haven’t called you. It could have been 6 but one of those calls was out of my control and it would have happened no matter what. I don’t want to hear your voicemail again. I want to hear you. I want you to pick up and just say my name one last time.
I know it’s over. But I can’t help myself. I’ve checked your emails every day since you left. I know what you’ve sent, what you’ve said, what you’ve done, and how you feel. From some in the first few weeks, I knew you were unhappy too. But then…one day after I told myself to stop, I got this urge to log myself in…

“to achieve perfect personal silence” by Julia on her couch


Thursday December 3, 2015
10:15pm
5 minutes
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou


I don’t like to hear myself breathing; it makes me too self-aware of being alive that I start to think about death. The absence of breath. The absence of thought. Eternal rest, peace…silence. I realized that audibly yawning triggered these ideas when I woke up the man who shared my bed by doing it. I had never realized how loud the tiny second just after it peaks, after the soft pallet is fully open, was. That I was luxuriating in it without thinking about it, or questioning it. The next time I yawned after that, I tried to quiet the denouement and found that I could achieve an effective yawn, almost gratifying enough to suffice, if I stopped adding sound to it. It’s less enjoyable but it doesn’t make me think about dying.

“It’s already 10 o’clock!” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday December 2, 2015
6:00pm
5 minutes
said by Joe

Time is flying by and I wish he would just look up from that damned banjo of his for a second to notice that I am no longer interested in dicking around. When you meet the person your heart chooses to love and accept and be challenge by on a daily basis, why waste a single minute of that time after you’ve made up your heart to do something about it? I don’t think he believes that I love him and only him. I think he needs me to write it down and mail it in a letter! Maybe that’s what I’ll do, put it on some pretty pink stationary, spray it with my Eau De Toilette, then shove it in an envelope and seal it with a kiss! Telling him, you better hurry up and marry me quick before I change my mind about you, mister!

“I really like hugs” by Sasha on her couch


Monday November 30, 2015
11:10pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Vancouver Poetry Slam

Bob’s got chapped lips. Really bad chap. Like, the skin’s flaking off, and he must notice but he’s not even licking them or considering chapstick. Bob is distracted. After seventeen months, two weeks and three days of unemployment, Bob has a job.

On his first day at J Greer Computing, Bob is called into his manager’s office. Leslie has a trophy on her desk from the Regional Curling Championship. Around women like Leslie, Bob always finds himself with sweaty palms and an itchy upper lip.

“How’s it going today, Bob?”

“Oh pretty good, Leslie.”

“You’re settling in alright?”

“You bet,” Bob forgets about his moustache and tries to lick his lip where it’s tingling.

“Bob, I just have a question about your previous employer…”

“depending on importance & urgency” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday December 1, 2015
6:00pm
5 minutes
from a To Do list in October

Meredith is getting breast implants and she is sure so don’t ask her if she is. She’s answered that question 70 billion times and she knows what she wants. Each time someone inquires if she’s ready she becomes a thousand more percent positive that this is what she wants, answering each time with a resounding YES! Christ! YES I FUCKING AM. The only person who hasn’t asked Meredith if she’s thought about her decision is her mother who gave her the idea in the first place. Meredith’s mother said to do whatever her heart called her to do, and she would support her no matter what. Meredith’s mother was good about keeping promises. But everyone else seems to think they know better and can’t believe that this is the choice she’s come to. Meredith knew she wanted implants since her first year of medical school. She did not decide it while getting chosen to be the captain of the cheer-leading squad in high school. She did not decide it when her first boyfriend broke up with her over Thanksgiving weekend.

“I really like hugs” by Julia on her couch


Monday November 30, 2015
11:00pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Vancouver Poetry Slam

I showered for this. I just want you to know that. It’s that level of important to me. You are that level of important to me. This is harder than I want it to be. I hope you won’t make me explain in different words cause I’m not too good at that part either. I am trying though. You said something to me the other day when you came over to my house with scones or whatever when my roommate was out? You said it’s nice to spend time together outside of work. And I wanted to tell you that I think so too and if I don’t seem like I agree, I just don’t know how to…meet you there quite yet. Not in the way that I want to. If you know what I–because I. You know. I’m sure you know. Also kick butt tonight. I know you’re gonna crush it. All the math and stuff.

“picked and consumed” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 29, 2015
9:31pm
5 minutes
From the Wikipedia article on jalapeños

I love you more than I ever have
I picked you from the crowded place in my brain that tells me not to make rash decisions
I chose you from the pile of mistakes I had been sweeping to one side
I love you more than I ever have
I didn’t think I could grow to love you more but I’ve surprised myself
The way you’ve surprised me
Reminding me that people can change and that mistakes can be forgiven
And sometimes forgotten
Thank you for forgetting
Thank you for reminding me daily that I’m your favourite flavour of perfect imperfection
Sometimes I pretend I can’t hear you when you talk on the phone to your parents
And you tell them how proud you are of me
But in the other room, I am teary-eyed and feeling so damn lucky
And when you come in I act like I don’t know how sweet you are
Maybe it’s a little game
Maybe it’s self-preservation and keeping my feelings clothed so they don’t feel embarrassed
I love you more than I ever have
I picked you from the wall of beautiful artwork that hangs in my imagination

“methodological, theoretical, practical” by Sasha at UBC


Thursday November 19, 2015
5:13pm
5 minutes
From the back of a theatre theory book

With a moustache of icing sugar, when Caleb talks puffs of white billow onto the front of his shirt. Doughnuts are his religion, his one true desire. When Caleb wants something, he’s incredibly skilled at berating you until you cave, like an avalanche, even though you think of yourself as stubborn. You never knew stubborn until you knew Caleb. You answered an ad in the newspaper. “Looking for a care worker for a strong-willed teenager with developmental disabilities. Experience required.” You didn’t have experience, really, but you knew that you could do it, what with Dev, your younger brother. Your mother wrote your reference, but Cynthia didn’t need to know. On your first day, Caleb told you that he loved you. Cynthia thought that was a good sign. You weren’t sure, at first, but now, seven months later, you agree. Hindsight.

“store solar power” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday November 18, 2015
6:42pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by the Globe and Mail

(Whispered with snaps)
Energy from sun stored in our branches
Mmm hmmm
A dream of a snowflake in an acorn
Yeah
Mmmm hmmmm
We’re all connected by the same star matter
It’s true
We’re all looking at the same moon face
Mmm hmmm
A maple is a birch is a dove is a bead of sweat
Yes yes
A pig is an egg is a drop of blood from your finger
Mmm hmmm
We’ve got nothing if we don’t have each other
We’ve got nothing if we don’t have one another
Mmm hmmm
Mmm hmmm
Mmm hmmm

“a pair of black overalls and some scrunchies” by Sasha at UBC


Monday November 16, 2015
2:11pm
5 minutes
Julia’s diary
Age 10


Dear Diary,
We finally got a TIGGER! My Tigger came from the Round. You know the Round? Do you know things like that, Diary? I don’t know. This is my first one so I’m not exactly sure what you know and what you don’t know or if you’re just, like, me, or if you’re something else entirely! Okay. So, back to the point. Sheesh. We got my Tigger at the Round. It’s where other Tigger’s go when they lose their Mamas or their houses. We went there on Sunday, on the Sunday-before-my-birthday-party-Sunday, and we walked around and all the Tigger’s were crying! It was so sad I actually cried too. My Mama said, “Don’t cry Nelly! We’re gonna save one of these lil’ guys!” That cheered me up so I stopped. When we saw our Tigger I absolutely knew that it was ours because it looked at me like it knew me. She looked at me like she knew me. (She’s a girl Tigger.)

“Rainfall warning” by Sasha on the couch at Pascoe Rd.


Thursday November 12, 2015
10:36pm
5 minutes
from the weather network

What you can do:
Be present.
Hold space.
Actually listen (ie. refrain from thinking about whether or not your lover just texted a sexy picture of their shoulders or what you’re going to have for dinner).
Breathe deep and feel your feet on the floor.
Bring Sleepytime tea and a hot water bottle with a dog on it. Even if there’s a rainfall warning or a blizzard or you really just want to stay in your pyjamas and watch reruns of Nashville.
Stay for a sleepover and rub her back until she’s sleeping even if you are also tired. Wait until she falls asleep and then you can follow.

What you can say:
“I believe you.”
“I believe you.”
“I believe you.”
“I believe you.”
“I love you.”
“I support whatever choice you make.”
“I believe you.”