“I grasped his.” By Julia at a cabin in Tofino


Wednesday February 22, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
Learning to Love You More
Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July


It was sudden in the way that sometimes my own pulse strikes me. I saw his tiny face and I loved it instinctively. I loved everything about him without meaning to; I had not prepared my heart for such surrender. He was something like a perfect feeling. A land without time. The best hug. I threw myself at his helpless feet. I grasped his burden like a swatter catching a fly. I have never thought once about anything.

“leftover Hamburger Helper garbage” By Julia on her couch


Tuesday December 13, 2016
5:51pm
5 minutes
Summer OF My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews


Danika and I couldn’t believe her mom would let us have the house to ourselves for the weekend. The ENTIRE weekend. We were drunk on freedom and cotton balls and anything from the medicine cabinet that we could have turned into crafts or art. The first night we both had double chocolate fudge ice cream for dinner and a can of whipped cream EACH for dessert. What a life! We didn’t think to get an emergency number from Danika’s mom before she left, or find out where exactly she was going to be for this long without worrying about her 9 year old kid and her best friend. My mom would never let us stay by ourselves. So we didn’t tell my mom that Danika’s mom left a note on the kitchen table that she had scrawled in messy writing saying “Gone for the weekend, Hamburger Helper on the stove.”

“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

“I have a question for you” by Julia at the VPL


Wednesday, August 31, 2016
7:13pm
5 minutes
From a Facebook message

I wanted to ask how you were doing, how your day was. I didn’t want to remind you that I was here and that you were hurting, just wanted to know if you needed anything at all. I bit my tongue into two. The strips can talk to each other now if they need to say something. I wanted to ask if we could keep each other safe in the memory of one another. If we could hold our names to the light and blow kisses at them in the dark. That we may recall instances of laughter and music instead of whatever it is we are making now. I wanted to ask if you could write me a letter and send it to me in a decade, telling me the truth about what I was for you. I think by then I’ll be able to handle it. I wanted to ask if one day I could take you out for coffee and tell you of all the poems I had to write about you that one night. That one night where we held each other’s soft and wept for the history we had built. I wanted to ask you if you would carry me in all my funny pieces and if I could carry you in all of yours.

“Bought wedding bands on Etsy” By Julia at Bean Around The World


Friday July 29, 2016 at BATW
7:10am
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Marissa was insistent on spending as little as possible on her wedding to Greg. Her friends asked her why she wouldn’t want this special day to be more classy or fancy or memorable. And then Marissa dumped all her friends and moved to a tiny island town and lived in a log cabin where she ate dehydrated beef and played scrabble with her cat. She told them she didn’t want to wake up one day and realize she had wasted all her hard earned money on a thing that might not last. And they were appalled. Was she having second thoughts about Greg? Was she cheating on him with his brother Grant? Was she going to be a Run-away Bride? And Marissa slapped them all in their dumb mouths and ate a bowl of peach cobbler drenched in Añejo 7. It wasn’t about doubting Greg. But a marriage is the thing that people should be focused on. The thing that takes 100 years to succeed at. Not the wedding, which lasts for 8 hours on the day, but then haunts your financial dreams for the next 1000 years, leaving you wishing you just went to City Hall like all the smart people.

“the new thing in us” By Julia at Bean Around The World


Thursday July 28, 2016 at BATW
7:10am
5 minutes
Letters To A Young Poet
Rainer Maria Rilke


She hopped to her seat at the back of the aircraft and chuckled to herself as she heard the voice in her head refer to it as an aircraft. A craft that belongs in the air, she thought, how magical. Someone thought this thing up and then built a bunch of Popsicle stick models out of it before building the real thing.
She was anxious to get home for her brother’s surprise 30th that her whole family was apparently gathering for. He was the one who invited her to it in the first place, but they were close and couldn’t keep secrets from each other. Her brother had found an envelope in the garbage that had the details on it. She was excited to get back to her life as she knew it best for a little while. Familiar streets and faces, going strawberry picking with the family, spending quality time with her dog.

“my drunken soul flies” By Julia at Bean Around The World


Tuesday July 26, 2016 at BATW
6:53am
5 minutes
from the write up on the painting “Ascend”

Heaven forbid I tell you how I actually feel. I say that under my breath because I’m too afraid to say anything about how I actually feel with full voice. What the eff. Where did that start? When I was a kid? As everything in this life does? I had to do what you did when we were young because I wanted to be you and the only way I knew how to be you was to do what you did or what you wanted. That made sense. I was looking for lightening. Wasn’t about to spend three to five years wishing I was you without trying to make it so. I still want to be you on most days. You were older than me then but now you’re a painting. I see you still: beautiful and still. You’re not going anywhere and I don’t have to run to catch up to you. I don’t have to hold my breath and count to three because you’re not running away from me. I am a mess. It makes sense that I would want to live your life and not mine. But I still can’t tell you how I actually feel. Because my soul is drunk on doubt and it flies high when it’s left to its own devices. You are still the moon, and I love you for that. The shiny thing in my sky that makes me want to open my eyes and see…

“It’s hot in here” By Julia at Bean Around The World


Friday July 22, 2016 at BATW
7:33am
5 minutes
Overheard at the No Frills

He tells me it doesn’t feel like there’s any oxygen in the air today. He tells me that ‘outside’ is trying to compress him, make him small. We round the corner by the Mac’s and see a dog squatting to relieve herself. See? He says. See what I mean?
I try to hold his hand but he only lets me take his forefinger. Something about energies and needing most of ‘them’ free. I don’t know if I’ve just never noticed before, or if it’s new. His voice trembles a little bit when he speaks. I want to ask him about it but now doesn’t feel like the time. We make our way to the coffee shop to get a couple donuts, dodging three (or “one hundred”) babies as we line up to order our espresso. It’s hot in here, he tells me. The whole world is on fire.

“the jeans have not been washed yet” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday July 20, 2016 at Starbucks
7:16am
5 minutes
Grasshopper Jungle
Andrew Smith


I invited Elliot back to my apartment after drinks because he tied a cherry stem in a knot with his tongue and I wanted to see if he was a one trick pony or if his tongue could tie other things into knots…
When we got back to my place I told him to make himself comfortable while I poured us some scotch. But then I remembered he was wearing dark denim, and I had to rush out to see if he had plopped his Abercrombie & Fitch ass down on my new white couch. He had. I tried to act cool, but I could practically see his jeans forming a navy puddle underneath him. Was he sweating or something? Didn’t he know you have to wash new jeans before you wear them? Didn’t he think, oh I might ruin this sweet Norwegian couch?

“I don’t have anything else…” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday July 14, 2016
5 minutes
overheard at The Tenant

I wish you’d stop staring at my cousin at our family dinner. You think you’re doing a good job of hiding it, but you’re wrong. I know she doesn’t interest you or stimulate you mentally, but I also know that she is exactly the type you go for when you’re thinking outside my box. She’s objectively better looking than I am even though her features are offensively small. When I picture her and her tiny eyes and gummy smile, I think sometimes that she might just be a bear with bangs. Except really pretty.

“#BESTOFVAN” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday July 13, 2016 at Starbucks
6:55am
5 minutes
from a sign on a newspaper box

A couple of us decided we were going to sneak into the Kits pool and I was trying to work up my nerve. Casey and Alison had their trust funds to use if they got caught, but what did I have? Two pennies and a stick? A lighter filled with pocket lint? I told them I was having second thoughts and they both stood there on the sidewalk howling at the sky, trying to get me to cave. I can’t do this you guys, I said, I’m not lucky enough to pull this off. Alison rolled her eyes back in her skull. You think I have a golden horseshoe up my ass or something? I don’t know, I told her, I’m sure you could buy one if you needed to. Casey grabbed my shoulders and stared me straight in the eye. We don’t want to do this without you, she said, but we will if you’re not okay with it. But know this, you will be missing out. I felt like I was being bullied into a licking a frozen lamp post in the dead of winter.

“everything I possibly can” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday July 12, 2016 at Starbucks
6:28am
5 minutes
from a text

I sit on the edge of my nothingness like it’s a cloud and I’m in love with it. I am cotton candy insides and I’m melting away leaving a trail of rainbow guts and tie-dyed blood. There is nothing wrong with my nothingness and for the first time in all the time there ever has been, it is peaceful instead of not. Acceptance of nothingness is a road with bumps and potholes and with poor lighting sometimes but usually free of other travelers because it’s a long one and there is enough room for everybody. There is a space now between yesterday’s pain and tomorrow’s worry and it’s all here all now- all everything I’ve been avoiding- because feelings are attached to beliefs and those things get stuck pretty hard as a system that limits me if I let it. I dangle my feet off the edge of nothingness now like it’s a dream and I’m no longer trying to catch it. No flash photography here to capture it, just smiling into the places that can be so easily filled with words words words.

“spread the word” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday July 11, 2016 at Starbucks
7:01am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

There are crazy people everywhere. Waiting to get on a bus, complaining about a dirty table, screaming about the bugs in their hair. Some days I am this way. I can see myself reacting, overreacting to things and I don’t recognize my face. It’s like some crazy person has hijacked my body to do all their crazy things. I know it’s me, but it feels like a movie or video game. My therapist says I can’t be held responsible for things I do or how I behave outside my “window of tolerance”. She says that trauma can lead to the window being broken wide open and that’s how things become blurry; hard to control; hard to keep rational. I told her, I don’t know how I could do it, I never wanted to do it, and she said, well it’s that “window of tolerance” thing we talked about and would you like to go back in time and speak to your six year old self right now?

“okay okay okay” by Julia on the reading chair


Sunday, July 10, 2016
1:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the street

It’s the eleventh time (maybe the twelfth) that he’s told me he loves me today and it’s not even noon yet. I think he’s covering up for something. Overcompensating like he does sometimes when he becomes afraid of me. I catch a glimpse of myself being hugged in the mirror, (bent low) by his unavoidable embrace. I say, okay okay okay and he lifts me up, hurt on the inside, and in his eyes. You don’t want me to love you? I catch reflection again and there is hurt on me too. I do, I say, just not parallel to the floor like that, not crumpled up in a ball that makes my back ache. Sorry, he says, I didn’t mean to hurt you. Okay okay okay, I say, I know, no one ever means to. I give myself a time out so I can be far away from him and his love that doesn’t know how to feel rejection. I don’t want to be the thing that twists his insides when he’s happy and makes him drift off to sleep dreaming about my funeral. I tell myself, in exactly five minutes (maybe six), I will go back over there and squeeze him with the honest love I’ve been keeping from him.

“it would be like not listening at all” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday July 8, 2016 at Starbucks
6:49am
5 minutes
When I Am King, Dilly Dilly
Don Cummer


I wake up everyday already loving you, you’re at, let’s say 20%. You know, like a server at a restaurant: I go in and I give you the benefit of the doubt, I start you at a 20% tip and if you mess up by being rude, I knock a couple percent off. I have no ill intentions, I don’t go to a restaurant expecting to be disappointed. I expect kindness. I expect good food. I expect thoughtfulness. And I expect, sometimes more than I should, a freebie of some sort. And then because I’ve eaten out at other restaurants before, I compare this service to that service to this service to that service, and I know when I’m not being treated right. I also know because I was a server once too, and it’s not hard to remember what was involved in a customer experience job. I wake up everyday at the top of my love for you. And then you forget to buy the garbage can again, or print off the movie tickets, or you bring home the light mayonnaise even though I specifically asked you NOT to get the light mayonnaise, for reasons that don’t need to be stated here. I’d say you’re lucky if you’re getting a base tip of 15% by lunch time.

“where the water is still” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday July 7, 2016 at Starbucks
6:59am
5 minutes
Cranes and Egrets
Marlene Cookshaw


I will meet you there at our favourite spot
the one where we feel like we’re in our own little world
early in the morning before the rest of the ones who need the sun
even see it
where the water is still
where the sail boats line up so perfectly
camping on the ocean
When you need to remember why we chose each other
when you need to feel big in your smallness
I will
I will always.
I will meet you there
at our favourite spot
where the moments feel full
and little ducks rest on rocks
the one where we’re one
with each other
and with the sky

“behind your kiss” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday July 6, 2016 at Starbucks
7:05am
5 minutes
When I touch you; Peter Ilyanov
Diana Brebner


Behind your kiss I can feel
the thing you’re trying desperately
not to ask me.
Did you do it?
Would you do it?
Do you still love me?
Am I enough for you now
that you’re bigger
than you used to be?
Don’t ask don’t tell;
maybe something I taught you,
maybe something you taught me.
But your lips leak your secret,
parting the seas
every open close pucker and smack.
Each breath
you take
parts the seas for the truth
to spill
out
into
my
mouth,
drowning me,
or begging me to swim.
I watch you sometimes
from behind my eyes,
searching for meaning
and a reason.
Do I need to answer everything
for you?
Have you never looked
inside yourself
for something you need?
Will you ever be enough
for you?
Your tongue licks and flicks
all the possibilities of honesty
to the roof
of
my
mouth.
Behind your kiss,
there is a flood coming.
Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies;
maybe something you taught me,
maybe something I taught you.

“dies in slow motion” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday July 5, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
In Search of Agamemnon
Bruce F. Fairley


Cut to me, 4 years old–MAYBE 5– and all the tiny humans in Mrs. Beliveau’s class have just come back from an assembly. We don’t have enough time to learn anything, not that we really ever did, so Mrs. B. tells us we can play on the structure if we can change as quickly as possible into our gym clothes. I see no one is on the structure and for some reason today I need to be the first one. So I strip down and throw on my shirt and I go running up to Mrs. Beliveau to ask her if I may “board the spaceship” (because we were in kindergarten and that’s what we called it, even though it looked nothing like a spaceship)and she looked down at me and said, “you may, as soon as you have some pants on.” And I looked down and I was standing there in my orange-starred underwear, in front of everyone, made to be aware of shame for the first time in my tiny life. I did whatever Macaulay Culkin got hired for in Home Alone then proceeded to die in slow motion; my face a shade of fire that burned me to death.

“creamed corn with beer” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday July 4, 2016 at Starbucks
6:57am
5 minutes
Visiting my Sisters
Phil Hall


Only had one plan for the entire weekend and that was to roll out of my house and down the hill to the corner store and buy a banana or two and maybe a variety pack of mini travel cereals. Frosted Flakes. Had some nostalgia for times past, for the flavours of my youth. I turned off my phone and I bundled myself up in flannel and wool. I didn’t want to see anyone and I didn’t expect to. Hart had been gone for almost a month. He wrote me a letter saying it would be his last and that I should probably do my best to move on and not take the break-up too personally. Okay, Hart, I thought, I will only take it medium-personally. The teenager working the cash was on her phone and I was not in the mood for kindness anyway so it was fine. Then I heard my name being hollered from behind me. I turned around reluctantly and saw Hart’s oldest daughter, Carmen. She was holding a can of creamed corn and carrying a case of Labatt Blue.

“Use that attitude to your advantage.” by Julia on the SkyTrain


Sunday July 3, 2016
9:16am
5 minutes
Writing Down the Bones
Natalie Goldberg


Maybe Shane didn’t want to see you looking all hot cause then he’d realize he’s an idiot for even letting you go! Delia punctuates every word with her straw. She is on her third margarita and I love her like this.
That’s cute, but I don’t buy it, I tell her. I don’t care anyway why am I even talking about Shane! I throw my hands up to the sky as if god or someone else who lives there might know what the fuck I’ve been doing with my life.
Girl, Delia says, you are working through shit. Don’t ever forget how hard that is. Seriously. She slurps the slushy mess from the bottom of her glass and flags down the cute waiter who’s been avoiding us.
We’ll take two more, sweetness, and can you bring my girl here an umbrella or something? Thank you thank you, you’re beautiful.

“Highway 2” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday July 2, 2016
10:03pm
5 minutes
NOW Magazine

According to the late night clock on the wall ticking Go To Bed we realized we hadn’t slept since the Rainstorm because you couldn’t fall asleep in the quiet and I couldn’t fall asleep without you. I blamed you then for your sadness. I didn’t know that when you said you were the happiest you had ever been you were trying to manifest happiness because you didn’t have any. I wished you’d stop pretending that it was better on the side of the world where you were left alone, unbothered by me. It made me feel like and onion in an apple patch, a melody in the silence. I made you a card with a picture of a heron because of that one day when we owned the beach before sunrise and saw three of them in a line like an omen for good future, or good luck, or good observation skills.

“Children of narcissists” by Julia at her dining table


Friday July 1, 2016
11:24pm
5 minutes
Trapped in the Mirror
Elan Golomb


It’s no secret that she loved him. She did. She used to. She used to love him. He was good to her the way chocolate is good to you: All instant validation and no nutritional Value. I wish I didn’t know him. But I loved her. I do. I love her and she loves him. Loved. Used to. I look at him now and it makes sense: this whole time I thought he was an alcoholic. Turns out he was a narcissist. I loved him more when I thought he was an alcoholic. I remember him coming to put us to bed one night. He looked like Beetlejuice in the dangerous hallway glow.

“The circle, not the line.” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 30, 2016 at Starbucks
7:15am
5 minutes
The Axeman
Shaun Cunningham


Kit eats her broccoli, raw, cold, all the tiny floret bits getting stuck in her teeth. It looks like she has braces: one green bit in every single one. She waits for Adam to get off the bus at a bus stop that has frequent buses. Each bus thinks she is waiting to go on and so they wait for her, but Kit just keeps eating her raw broccoli even when it starts to rain and even when she gets yelled at by a driver for wasting his time. Kit is waiting for Adam so she can show him around the city. She sent him a map and a circle around this particular bus stop to ensure that he would find it with utmost ease. Kit pulls out her identical copy of the map and draws in a line (right beside the meet up spot) and jots a note: rude, to avoid in future.

“Hands me a shovel” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 29, 2016 at Starbucks
7:33am
5 minutes
Zen Poem
Jane Rohrer


Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Says Whatchu Waiting For?
Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Hands me a shovel and tells me I have to and if I won’t do then I won’t do anything else today, no eating, no running, no laying down, no reading. So I do because I want to do other things but I don’t want to dig. My arms are weak from all the lifting he made me do yesterday. He sits back and watches me work while he chews on a piece of straw and rocks back and forth saying, That’s Nice, and Good, and, Very Good. The last time I tried to run away he sent his dogs. So I don’t threaten to head to the fence anymore. He wants to keep me right where he can see me. I don’t want to dig but his face is sweaty and mean today. I have to. I have to.
Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Says I Like Watching You Drip
Says Thank You
Says I’ll Show You How Thankful I Am

“keep coming back” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday June 28, 2016 at Starbucks
7:31am
5 minutes
buddiesinbadtimes.com

I keep having the same dream–that I’m lying in my bed with my eyes closed, asleep, and in my mind’s eye I see fuchsia orbs coming toward me, flickering in the sky then disintegrating into nothing. I am in that paralyzed, meta state where I recognize that I’m dreaming but I can’t wake up or move or change anything. In this dream I always look past the flickering pink and can make out more colours in the distance. Flames. Outside my window the tall tree, the one that the crows perch in and caw in every morning at exactly 4:43, is on fire. The leaves are burning up and they’re going slow enough to wonder if this too shall pass…
In this dream, I scream to you to call 911 and you tell me it’s not necessary. I tell you it is because I can see it from my position and this fire will consume us if we don’t treat it with respect. You rush into the room and the sky outside is orange and red.
You stare out blankly and whisper to me, you were right…

“how she wants to move herself” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday June 27, 2016 at Starbucks
7:04am
5 minutes
Apartment Hunting in the East End
Don Austin


How she wants to move herself is her business! My father exclaims from behind the island in the kitchen as he emphatically chops up the rabbit he’s getting ready for dinner. Why are we all spending so much time worrying about her? His cleaver comes down hard and clean, splitting leg from torso. I don’t know, Honey, I think this is a call for help. Tanya needs us right now and we’re just watching her spiral! My mother remains at her makeshift office in the corner of the dining room that connects to the kitchen. Her glasses are balancing on the tip of her nose. She wants to pay a bunch of strangers to crack her mind open so they can fill it back up with useless garbage!
Rita, my father shakes his head. We don’t need to get involved. She’s a grown woman. We did our job already. I don’t know, I just don’t know, my mother grumbles to herself.

“then gave it to his daughter” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday June 24, 2016 at Starbucks
7:10am
5 minutes
The Govenlock Hotel
Sharon Butala

He was out in the yard gardening, tending to his beloved cherry tree
Those damn birds…
He propped the ladder up and began to climb, explaining himself each step
Then we pick the ones that are good…
And pops a dark survivor cherry right his mouth
And we keep doing that until they’re all gone…
Or until our arms get tired…
And we wait until the warmer months for the sour ones…
Those ones drive your mother crazy…
He scoops her up little into his chest big, holds her with one strong arm, searching for one perfect cherry with the other.
This is why we come out here…
He presents the cherry like a prize for his little thing to take a bite, deep red squeezing out fast, splattering onto her chin and dripping down her canary t-shirt

“I balance unlaced shoes” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 23, 2016 at Starbucks
6:53am
5 minutes
Circling Before Landing
Mariene Crookshaw

Man puts on the radio, turns the dial so slowly
slowly
we hear bits and pieces of moments
and conversations
and music
and static
and we wait until he finds the station
he likes
he can put up with
that won’t make him crazy
He is responsible for us now
he keeps our spirits
in the switch of the dial
in the palm of his hand
In the corner
by the only
window
there is a bony girl in green and black
striped pants
who holds a paper
airplane up to the light
that was here yesterday
she is holding on
for
her turn
to dance
but the music doesn’t stay
the crackling continues
Her mother is lying two feet
away from her
her belly robbed in the
middle
of
the
night
the blood is slowing now
her eyes remain open
pointed at the ceiling
longing for
escape

“who’d surprise his roommates” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 22, 2016 at Starbucks
7:07am
5 minutes
Anthony’s Glass Eye
Billeh Nickerson


Callahan is coming home tonight. He’s been in Europe mastering the art of Instagram and showing off his cool life that his parents are paying for. He started his trip in Spain and then decided he wanted to live in Italy, then changed his mind to Berlin, then eventually just went back to Spain. The only person he told he was coming back was me and he made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone else. “Gonna surprise everybody: The Prodigal Roommate returns! But, I tell him, I can’t pick you up, it’s not enough notice. And he tells me, don’t worry; one of the guys will be there. Except you didn’t tell any of the guys, remember? Oh yeah, he said, no, I know, all good. Bueno! Muy bueno! I casually mention the bus and Callahan “gets another call”.

“What’s wrong with my body?” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday June 21, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
Amber Dawn


When I think about it
it doesn’t look good for me
old woman’s body trapped in a young woman’s skin
There’s the part where my neck pops for no reason
the part where my fingers go numb during hot yoga
the part where I bruise easy
the part where my thigh muscle…detaches?
the part where my side stitches when I run
the part where my uterus goes into contractions if I don’t drink enough water
the part where it hurts to take a deep breath for sometimes minutes
(yeah, plural, whoops)
the part where my feet get charlie horses
(is that even a thing? I don’t know anymore)
the part where my back spasms or pulls or gets thrown out
WEEKLY
I would throw it out for good if I could
and get a new and young one, Christ.
(you know what they say: back pain is just an old soul trying to escape…)
throw in some casual IBS?
Why the fuck not

“We have a Christmas cake box?!” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday June 20, 2016 at Starbucks
7:30am
5 minutes
overheard at Starbucks

Isabel calls me from the front lawn. I can see her pacing back in forth in front of my house from the kitchen window. I watch her kick a chestnut around, her feet shuffling on what appears to be a tightrope made of dandelions. I’m not coming anymore, she says, okay? I really can’t do it this time. She doesn’t know I am watching her. My curtains are drawn just enough. Is everything okay, Iz? What’s going on? I watch my sister kick the chestnut out of reach. She would have to leave her sacred shuffling space to go get it. She stands there frozen, staring at it. Oh, yeah, I’m good! I’m great! I think my stomach is acting up. Had chocolate again last night. I couldn’t find the right wrapping paper so maybe it’s all for the best anyway.
Isabel, I tell her, I have Christmas boxes here. Do you want to use one of mine?

“the games you don’t play” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday June 17, 2016 at Starbucks
7:51am
5 minutes
What You Don’t Do
Lianne La Havas


Millie’s coming! Millie’s coming! That’s me yelling from the centre of my happiness–shouting out that my HEART is visiting me in this god forsaken shit-hole of a town! MILLIE IS COMING EVERYBODY SHE IS GOING TO BE HERE IN T-MINUS 1 HOUR CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE BUY THE CAKE AND THE SPARKLERS CAUSE I WILL BE TOO BUSY SCREAMING MY HEAD OFF AND MAKING A KILLER GUACAMOLE THANK YOU. When I told her I didn’t want her to come, that no she shouldn’t take off work, that please don’t worry about me, I’m very much fine just going INSANE, she refused to take no for an answer. Lydia, she’d say, Lydia, Lydia, why wouldn’t I want to come see my favourite sister in her most loathed living location to date? And I’d say, A) I’m your only sister and B) I chose this place, it’s not like they’re forcing me to stay. Millie always says something subtly sisterly like I’ve always wanted to visit Saskatoon! Or just put the two of us in a room and we will seriously run that town!

“reaction to terror” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 16, 2016 at Starbucks
6:25am
5 minutes
from cnn.com

Children at the convenience store are screaming something about a playground, something about knee-high socks, something about strawberry milkshakes. An old man on the bus is doing the same only about justice and about torture, and I think also about strawberry milkshakes. A woman waking up on a park bench is screaming something about homicide, and recklessness, and something about terror. Something about loss. It all blends in thick, swirling ideas and fears into a tornado small enough to package up and fit into the tight spot between our chests. We can walk the earth with the unknown and unknowing spinning, spinning, ripping up our insides and sending them flying to every corner. We don’t have to name it if we take it with us.

“Packing planner checklist” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 15, 2016 at Starbucks
7:35am
5 minutes
from the Uhaul website

I think T-Lite said she’d meet us at the train station but she didn’t say what time. If she doesn’t show up, we’re screwed, but I don’t want to tell that to Roy yet. He still thinks we’re escaping this place on some magic carpet, flying far far away. I look up at the departure board and Santa Monica has one coming up, the next one not for a few hours. If we’re late, I don’t know what happens to the ones we’re expected to pick up at the station. Roy yawns and takes his heart shaped sunglasses off to rub his eyes. We goin’ or what? He says. Let’s make moves! Yeah, I say, we are, hold tight. Maybe, he tells me, I’ll catch a few z’s before T-Lite gets here, ah? Yeah, find a little spot on the ground, I say. Check for wet. He brings his hands to prayer and bows his head in my direction. I look at my watch again. I sink a little: we are definitely not making this next train.

“Mangiamo Italiano!” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday June 14, 2016 at Starbucks
6:52am
5 minutes
The front page of the Westender

They are sitting around a long table, glass bottles filled with fresh spring water from the well down the road. They are drinking Limoncello before noon. They are cracking jokes in dialect, English, Italian, and a combination of all three. They are sprinkling extra Parmigiana on their pasta shuta, adding extra wine, cheaper than water, to their tiny cups. Some of them add sugar. Some of them fall asleep while drinking it…
They are pouring olive oil on everything, going up for seconds before there are none left, and passing the soft bread, still warm from the hands that broke it just seconds ago. They are telling the same stories that have been told for decades, still expecting the same laughs, the same response even though everyone there has heard them in rotation. They are quiet and trying not to eat as much, or quiet and trying to take it all in, or quiet because there is so much love and it speaks volumes in the moments where only faint chewing is audible.

“fumbling as she removes” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday June 11, 2016
9:58pm
5 minutes
from an assignment

It’s the second time they’ve fucked in 2 hours. She is eyes closed, veal roast in the oven, 15 minutes left, oven mitts on and panties down. He is grabbing, grinding, purring in her ear pushing pants down, hers, his, lower, lower. She is arched back, kicking off tight jeans, kicking tight jeans aside, making more room, getting better grip. He is neck kissing, hair pulling, t-shirt over head lead her from the kitchen counter, all the way to the living room floor. She is focused, free, committed. He is thirsty, licking, willing. She is sniffing his skin and sighing deep. He is groaning each second, spilling into her, spilling out of her.

“She wants to keep the baby.” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday June 10, 2016 at Starbucks
7:10am
5 minutes
from Facebook post

-So we’re going to do this then? Is this actually happening?!
-Well you’re not exactly doing anything, are you.
-Sam. What the fuck. This is my baby too.
-How do we know if this will even be a baby? What if I change my mind-aren’t I allowed to do that?
-Woah. Yes..I mean, of course you… But I thought we talked about it. I thought we made the decision together?
-Yeah, if I remember correctly, I told you I was pregnant and you said you wanted me to keep it. The end.
-That’s not true, Sam, you wanted the same thing! Where is all this coming from all of a sudden?
-Where is it coming from? How about there’s a living thing growing inside me right now and everyone around me seems to be an expert on the situation but when I say something, it’s “coming out of nowhere.”
-Okay. I… didn’t realize–
-No, you didn’t realize, that’s the first smart thing you’ve said.
-I’m sorry, babe, I really am…

“One of the biggest challenges of learning” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 9, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday, June 9, 2016


Of course Freddie was trying to hide her smile, she didn’t need Mitchell to see his math tutor also not taking him seriously. He was telling her about his day and the traumatic experience of Ashley and Ashley tricking him into sliding a penny down the centre of his face during the lesson with manipulatives. They told him if a line appears on his skin it means he’s deficient in iron. Mitchell didn’t want to be deficient in anything in front of the Ashleys but he rolled the penny and sure enough, it produced one tiny grey line. He told Freddie how they snickered and caused such a commotion that everyone came to look. All day, apparently, Mitchell had tried to convince everyone to do the same. He didn’t know they had coloured in the penny with pencil.

“Freckles on thighs” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 8, 2016 at Starbucks
8:01am
5 minutes
Teachable Moment, 1986
Kellee Ngan


You spend two bucks to get a coffee and, you think, the right to sit beside me while I read the morning paper. You think you spend two bucks to get to invade my privacy with the stench of last night that you feel entitled to keep close. You spend two bucks to get a coffee and a seat at the window in between me and the man who has been here since before you were born, saddling up closer to me because, to you, “that guy’s a fucking weirdo torpedo.” You spend two bucks to “accidentally” spill your two buck coffee onto my knee closest to you, reaching into my privacy once again–this time to apologize, “instinctively” trying to “undo” the mess now pooling between my legs. You spend two bucks to make me wish I were dead when you tell me that you like the secret freckles on my inner thigh.

“within the high-rise’s stairway” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday June 7, 2016
11:01pm
5 minutes
Flushed
David Delisca


Ellen told Brody she wouldn’t be joining him on the hike this year but she didn’t give him much notice. She had been holding off on saying anything until she knew for sure if she could or not. Brody didn’t think to ask if there was a reason. He focused on the fact that Ellen bailed on him so last minute and he had already put his money down. Brody sent a lot of passive aggressive messages telling Ellen that he wished he could “find a way to make some much needed cash asap–life is so unexpected, you know?” Ellen didn’t have the heart to tell him what was really going on in case he decided not to go all together. The last thing she needed was her best friend giving up something he had looked forward to every year just to stay at home and offer some unwanted pity. Ellen toggled between telling him the whole truth, and avoiding anything but.

“to watch someone fall” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday June 6, 2016 at Starbucks
7:32am
5 minutes
Poetry Is Dead Magazine
Issue 01 Volume 05


There wasn’t a whole lot of proof that Ingrid and Raymond were meant for each other.
Ingrid preferred to eat outside, Raymond preferred to eat in.
Ingrid wanted to visit the kids in Vermont, Raymond wanted them to come to the cottage.
Ingrid told Raymond once that she didn’t have any idea how two people who loved each other as much as they did could disagree as much as they did. Raymond told Ingrid once that the only reason why they didn’t see eye to eye was because they were meant to be teaching each other.
Ingrid liked to write letters by hand and send them in the mail. When the two of them were young, Raymond worked overseas for two years and Ingrid asked if he would write to her.
Raymond didn’t like to write much; his penmanship was hard to read and that frustrated him. He told Ingrid that even if he didn’t send her a letter he would send her something and not to worry.

“not released until all” by Julia at Moksha Yoga Vancouver


Sunday June 5, 2016 at Moksha Yoga Vancouver
8:47pm
5 minutes
from the online grading centre

Mary-Beth had big dark circles under her eyes from being up for the last 72 hours without so much as a nap. She had been working the case straight through life as if that would distract her from the fact that her life at the moment, was in shambles. When Leah called her from their mother’s house to tell her that she was worried, Mary-Beth put her on speaker phone so she could keep her hands free to manipulate the evidence board. The call went something like:
Ring Ring
“Hello?”
“I don’t think she’s going to make it till Friday, M, you have to come now.”
“Oh that’ll be nice, let’s take her to the beach one last time.”
“Mary-Beth.”
“I’ll set it up.”
Click

“Valid ID is required” by Julia on set


Saturday June 4, 2016
7:57pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

-You can’t come in here, it’s restricted.
-Restricted to what?
-Uh, employees? It says it right there, ’employees only’?
-So I work here.
-No you don’t, I’ve never seen you.
-Maybe I work when you’re at home sleeping, snuggling up to your body pillow, pretending somebody loves you.
-Excuse me?
-What, you don’t have a body pillow?
-Who the hell are you?
-I told you. I work here.
-Tell me right now or I’m calling the cops!
-The cops?
-Yes, you’re severely creepy and I don’t plan to be one of your next weird victims or something.
-My victims?
-Yeah like whatever your deal is, I’m not into it.
-I don’t know what you mean.
-Like your mind-reading, people-reading weird-creepy-psycho-shit.
-So you do have a body pillow?
-That’s it, I’m calling the–oh my god.
-Let me guess, you don’t have your phone.
-How did you know that?
-I told you, I work here.

“your laziness” by Julia on her bed


Friday June 3, 2016
11:32pm
5 minutes
The Intent To Live
Larry Moss


My laziness smells like a scab
Twice
picked over
Like the way a bad avocado tastes
Like the way tomorrow
Never means
Today
My laziness was
Mistaken once
For fear
By a good teacher
Who wanted me
To do well
When I confessed that I
Didn’t start the things
That I meant to start
That I waited for

I thought I was
Doing
Myself
A favour
Calling out my own flaws
Before anyone else could get
The chance to
She told me that
It wasn’t laziness
That kept me
From
Moving
Forward
It was the fear
Of wanting a thing that didn’t want me back
But the sound of it
was like
Hot air
Pushing through..

“your comfort and ours” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday April 9, 2016
8:32pm
5 minutes
from an email

My mother and father on their wedding day

Anthony and Sharon
Twenty nine – both of them, born the same year

1979 – August
U of T Faculty club
“My friend got us in” My mother says now, on the rare occasion that she talks about their wedding.

A modern dancer
A justice of the peace
His Catholic family from Edmonton
Her Jewish family from Montreal
Finger foods made by aunties and the Thai restaurant on Baldwin St.
They danced to Joan Baez and Rikki Lee Jones

I imagine my mother running her hands over the ribs of the brown corduroy
I imagine my father touching the soft floral cotton of her dress
“I didn’t wear a bra,” My mother says now, we’re only talking about weddings because I’m planning mine.

“Your grandma loved that.”

“We ate cabbage rolls and pad thai and Richard drank too much and Bubby was anxious and it was just what it was supposed to be, I guess.”

“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.

“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.

“your comfort and ours” by Julia at the pastry shop on Davie


Saturday April 9, 2016
2:31pm
5 minutes
from an email

Sylvia stays over for a night puts her feet up on the coffee table cooks with Remi’s fresh herbs and his signature sauces drinks my wine and dusts my curtains sleeps in late forgets to hang the bath mat over the edge of the tub stays up late talks on the phone to her psychic friend hangs my photos irons my shirts tells Remi that she’s menstruating tells Remi how to tell me he loves me in sign language listens to me cry about my mother’s surgery holds my hand when I lie about hating my new dance class sleeps over again stays for a week and then another.

“White-sand beaches” By Julia at her dining table


Monday March 7, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
from an online ad

If you’re asking then I’m going, going with you, going wherever you go.
I don’t have any bags packed yet but I don’t mind getting whatever I need as we bleed.
Can I borrow your toothbrush? If you’re asking, can I share your knapsack?
I could sing you one of your favourites. You can pick the one. I know you like some feeling kinds, some country, some bluegrass, some sweet sweet soul.
I don’t care if you’re a white-sand beaches kind of thing, a hot air balloon, an air dive off of a mountain kind of heart. I am an open mess of so much yes and so little reservation.
I can curl up small on your back, or lead you hand in hand to a secret place where the pure strength river will never run dry.

“Secret Sundays” by Julia in her bed


Thursday January 28, 2016
12:12am
5 minutes
A Mission Kitsilano business card

There’s a few of us who meet at dusk and always on Sundays. Meredith came up with the idea but had no real concept of how important it would become. None of us did. She came to me with the thought of gathering, combining energies, uniting, and giving offerings. Meredith thought it would be a nice gesture if she danced while I offered my singing to the powers that be; to the earth; to the sky. The others started joining us, Reemah with her prayers and Tilda with her tears. Our ceremonies last for sometimes 90 minutes. There is a lot of openness and engaging that none of us get elsewhere. The group is especially honouring of my offering and sometimes ask me to sing three or four times. I am good at creating safety with my voice: acting as an umbrella energy for all of our gifts to come together underneath and feel at home.

“what you can expect” by Sasha at Harvest Community Foods


Monday, January 18, 2016 at Harvest
5:32pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I wouldn’t say no to you becoming a seagull and riding a wind pattern West. Because that’s what you need. Because your wings are achy from underuse.

I would kiss your feathery cheek and whisper, “be safe.”

I would watch as a feather fell into the water and I would strip off my clothes and run in even though it’s cold out now and I would catch the feather in my teeth and carry it to shore.

I would wonder when I saw other seagulls in the weeks to follow if perhaps it was you or a new friend.

“A lot of physical theatre” by Julia at her dining table


Monday January 25, 2016
6:17pm
5 minutes
overheard at PTC

Andie used to be a performer, but she doesn’t tell anyone that now. Whenever she meets someone new at a coffee shop, or the library, she actively chooses not to bring it up or even reference it.
It’s hardest when Andie meets someone who is a performer or also used to be a performer because they tend to be the types that always want to discuss the nitty gritty or the pain or the joy of being in front of a big audience night after night. Her insides are screaming a million curses at the people who act like they’re the only ones who truly understand their lives and as a result, how eccentric everybody else must find them. Andie bites her tongue, trying to remind herself she doesn’t need them to think one thing or another about her, that chiming in with a “Yes, I do, in fact, understand,” or “No, I haven’t always been a florist,” won’t change her life choices or her past or her reasons for saying goodbye to it all. Some nights Andie dreams she is the only thing on stage, crying alongside the most beautiful and haunting violin playing that ever existed.

“the globally inspired” by Julia on her couch


Sunday January 24, 2016
11:49pm
5 minutes
from the front of a flyer

I heard on the news today that two more kids were shot in their front yard.
They were selling lemonade.
I don’t know how I’m supposed to wake up every morning, drink my coffee, put on my suit, go into schools and teach young people how to measure the angles of an isosceles triangle, or that just because our country allows people to carry firearms that it doesn’t make it okay to use them, or that these two smiling babies were still warm from their mother’s womb, being watched from the kitchen window by that same love–looking down for just one second to pull a splinter out of her thumb.
I don’t know how any of us do it. Keep living on repeat like we don’t see what’s happening in our world, right outside our houses, hitting closer and closer to home each time. I don’t know how any of us leave the safety of our sheets each and every day and find a new version of brave to wear for the day.

“a sneak peek” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday,January 23, 2016
6:57pm
5 minutes
a Facebook Post

I’m teaching my kid about privacy. Started with me locking my bedroom door because she wasn’t aware that there were any differences between my space and hers.
It’s heartbreaking. It doesn’t feel good to hear her scratch at the door and blame herself for being locked out. I think it’s a good lesson, I guess. Or I thought it was. I don’t know what it means except that I’m illustrating how my kid needs to ask for permission to exist….
I don’t want my kid to think she needs to ask someone else before she can do what she wants. Not that she should always get to do what she wants..Or should she? I don’t know what I’m supposed to be teaching her. Is she going to grow up thinking there were no doors open to her when she was just being herself? Is she going to think that I am only available for her when I decide, and not when she needs? Is that a good thing? Independence or something…I don’t know now. Maybe my kid is teaching me about understanding. Maybe she’s teaching me to stop looking for structures to follow. Maybe she’s teaching me to trust myself.

“This man does not speak for me” by Julia at her dining table


Friday,January 22, 2016
11:49pm
5 minutes
medium.com

Do I irritate you? Sitting here with a plan to speak every 28 seconds to say something to that will convince you of me?
Halo haze of truth and depth. You see me and I let you. Is that a good idea?
Do I irritate you?
You have to prove to me that you’re not accidentally in love with me.
I demand this of you the way I demand smokers step outside my home before pulling out their lighters.
I need you to tell me, to show me.
The things that confirm you’re not here because you forgot to look somewhere else.
That you’re not too afraid to look somewhere else.
I need.
I don’t have to explain why. You want me to. It’s easier.
But pass this test first.
Then you can turn it on me.
Pass this experimental mission and I’ll find my feet.
The earth. I’ll love her again.
The steady and the strong.
You lay kisses on my cheek when I believe I’m doing the right thing.
And my guts betray me.
And my skin starts to lie to you.

“I’m going to leave the room” by Julia on her couch


Thursday,January 21, 2016
11:17pm
5 minutes
said to Sasha in rehearsal

I don’t wait for your pain to subside before I break more bad news directly to your heart passionate and raw abrupt and insensitive you just need to know the truth someway or another and I don’t want to tip toe around you or lie or lie or ever ever lie so fast and hard no thought given to sparing emotions the words hit you deep in the windpipe and you only have time to react not to analyze or to hurt and not qualify it I wish I could say I was sorry but I’m not because life is a juggling act and you don’t get to choose which feelings you keep up in the air and which ones fall I know it isn’t easy because I practice taking the news myself asking all the tough questions right after another so I let my guts respond without my rational getting in the way recognizing importance and value based on my insides churning or making space

“starting in the same spot” by Julia at Arbutus Coffee


Wednesday,January 20, 2016 at Arbutus Coffee
2:52pm
5 minutes
overheard at Arbutus Coffee

I can’t write about someone else doing something interesting or brave or great or even good. I physically can’t. Mentally can’t. My body refuses to listen to what someone else is doing, how they’re feeling, who they’re talking to. I have tried, I have erased. I have wondered, I have stopped. I don’t know why other than the fact that I have no choice but to write about myself. I suppose that is a strong enough reason for a writer going through things of her own. Can’t pour from an empty cup or however the saying goes. Put oxygen mask on self before assisting others. Something like that. All these ideas wrapped up in a journal or diary or confession or voice memo. They don’t belong in someone else’s mouth, or phrased in someone else’s diction. I can only put myself on paper, hope it doesn’t bleed through every single page and tarnish the book I’m writing of me. Unclear but honest, I am city girl noise and small town heart, bursting.

“Safety” by Julia at her dining room table


Saturday, December 19, 2015
11:02pm
5 minutes
from the back of matches

There’s a level of discomfort that follows a perfect moment. It’s perfect until it’s not, fading into something hard to sit in. That second after the joint decision to bask in the glory of said perfect moment is made up of tiny doubts, fears, deep-swimming insecurities-or truths that we usually find more grace to disguise. I think it comes from wanting the next moment to be as good as the one before but it can only be anything close if it were the exact same moment and no two moments can be replicated no matter how badly we want them to be. So I guess it comes down to choices. Going left or right directly after the experience of tiny perfection. Does it live in us as a thing we both just know now, or does it change every moment after it by being so tightly clutched that we start to live in debt of that particular instance? Trying to pay it back forever.
I want to know…

“We talked at length about it” by Julia at her dining room table


Friday, December 18, 2015
6:36pm
5 minutes
Dispatched To The Derwent
Malcolm Dale


Greer reaches down to pull up her knee socks that never seem to stay at the knee. She leans over in her chair disappearing under the table for a moment while Brody shifts in his spot, uneasy about a lot of things, in addition to the fact that Greer is no longer making eye-contact as he explains himself.
Greer’s stupid socks keep bunching in her shoes! That’s why they never stay up, they are being pulled down but her toes or something equally as lame! She lets out a tiny laugh.
“What? What is it?”
Brody doesn’t like unexpected bouts of laughter. He doesn’t like being the butt of anyone’s joke.
“Sorry, I, it’s nothing, really. What were you saying?”
“No, seriously, just tell me!”
“It’s actually not worth repeating, but, I’m fully listening, please continue.”
Brody starts to chew on the inside of his lower lip. He Has created a patch of bite marks, raised to the touch of the tongue, a tiny graveyard of anxious scars.

“Home of the burger” by Julia on the 9


Thursday, December 17, 2015
6:06pm
5 minutes
from the A&W sign

More often than not do I get to the point where I suddenly remember that I have to eat something before I fall down dead. It’s true. Sometimes I get so engrossed in work and I realize after 7 hours or something ridiculous that all I’ve eaten so far is a probiotic and a couple Oreos. I can’t even think straight when I do this. I start to aimlessly wander around the house from room to room with no real plan or solution. I look in every single cupboard but nothing looks appealing cause all of it looks like it requires work. It’s sad, it happens so much, but I still don’t try to avoid that. I don’t know many adults who have to write “Eat Lunch” on their to-do list just so they actually do it! When I get to the point of fainting or falling apart mentally, the only thing that calms me is envisioning biting down on a huge and messy burger, reeking of onions and dripping a rainbow sauce concoction all over the counter. I suppose I get so delirious that I dream of doing this while standing up? Over the sink? My hunger dreams don’t make sense, really.

“benefiting those in your” by Julia on her old couch


Wednesday, December 16, 2015
6:55pm
5 minutes
From a Caroline Myss card

I no happy at job
I look for other opportunities
I ask around
I talk to all the bosses
I show skills and personality
I ready for new life
New job offer benefits
I take job
I need help
I need security
Benefits no start right away
Must wait long time for starting
I wait long all day
I wait long all night
I pray fast comes the help
I pray for family
For friends
I make sure I no mess up
I make everything perfect
Old job slow
Old job not much help
No go to dentist for 2 years
No go to department store
No buy new underwear
Even when old ones have holes

“hello, you!” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday, December 15, 2015
10:31pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the bus

That’s what he says to me when I call his cell while he’s at work. He doesn’t want to let anyone know that it’s me. He refuses to use my name. I get it. I don’t want anyone to know either. It’s nice anyway, like he’s happy it’s “me” when he says it like that. Like he’s relieved. He sometimes answers the phone with just a “hello” when he picks it up in the company of others. He leaves quickly enough to go into another room, pretending always that it’s work related or family related, depending who’s nearby. I clear my throat twice, quickly, and that reminds him to adjust his volume. You never know who could be listening for key words or a flirty laugh. I can’t wait to be alone with him and when his volume is lowered I tell him this. He laughs because if he doesn’t he might do something he regrets. I laugh back.
“Were you able to rent the cottage for the weekend? Boys trip?”
“I’m working on it.”
“When will you know? I want to see you…”
“Yup! Let me get back to you, hopefully it all works out, sound good?”
“I miss you..”
“Thanks, I’ll see what I can do.”

“Closed now” by Julia on her couch


Monday, December 14, 2015
11:26pm
5 minutes
From a Google search

Nobody is here to take your coat. Nobody is here at all. They all went home. Sanders said they could go early for Christmas. Sanders told them all they had to come to a unanimous decision. At first Donna didn’t want to go early because she was worried she wouldn’t have enough money to buy her son the snowboard he wanted. She cried for about 30 minutes straight until Lise and Desmond told her they’d chip in to help. They just wanted to get out of there. They were worried that Sanders would make them stay the whole night just cause he didn’t have anyone to go home to. Donna finally agreed and wouldn’t stop saying “thank you so very much. Thank you to the moon and back!”
I’m only here because I was waiting for you…

“It breaks my heart” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday December 9, 2015
10:14pm
5 minutes
overheard at 49th Parallel

When Mika leaves the office, she kisses the top of her Dell desktop monitor. “I love you,” she whispers, eyes closed. She fought to be here, tooth and nail, toe and cheek. She rides the train all the way West, the furthest you can go, and when she gets off, she waits for Mark to pick her up at the Kiss-N-Ride. She reads her book – a racy paperback from the library – and gets a bit turned on, but not too turned on. When Mark pulls up, he honks and she gets startled. He laughs. She gets in the backseat, because all his dirty work clothes are in the front seat and she’d rather not touch them. “How was your day, hon?” He says and she thinks for a minute. “It was superb,” she says, finally, making eye contact with him in the rearview mirror.

“communication and community” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, December 13, 2015
9:53pm
5 minutes
Dispersing Power
Raúl Zibechi


In the middle of the night I am shocked awake by your fist bruising my left cheekbone. You have been attacking me in your sleep since September but this is the first time it leaves a mark instantaneously.
I am livid in the moment because I am stunned and confused but I know you don’t know what you’re doing so I don’t wake you up to tell you what just happened like you want me to. In the morning you are concerned about my face and beg me to tell you what you’ve done. I say, it was an accident this time, I know it was. But you don’t believe me. I am not a good liar. You ask me to tell you what you’ve said but I don’t want to upset you so I stick to my guns and say I don’t think you said anything at all. The truth is, you’ve been calling out my name each time but I can’t bring myself to confess that you’re not just remembering your days on the battlefield. Once you yelled that I was keeping you a prisoner. Another time you told me that I didn’t deserve to live.

“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.

“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.”

“senior’s line dancing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 4, 2015
9:13pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Nonna doesn’t stop talking until you ask her to talk about herself.
In fact, that is how you get Nonna to stop talking.
It was an accident that I found that fact to be true, but it’s true none the less.
I asked her once to tell me about when she was younger.
“Tell me about the dancing! Tell me about you and Nonno dancing or kissing or both.”
“Oh, we were young, yes, a long time ago. We did some dancing.”
She tells me this, in Italian, as she lays the tomatoes out to be sun-dried.
“No, Nonna, I mean tell me about your dancing. What kind of music did you like? What kind of necklaces did you wear?”
But she doesn’t want to tell me, or remind herself, and instead she trails off in a way that makes her sound like she doesn’t quite believe the sound of her own voice.
“Okay Nonna, tell me about the tomatoes.”
“Oh, these tomatoes? I picked these tomatoes. All by myself. This morning. I hurt my joints because I picked them so long.”

“really only happy when working” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday November 3, 2015
10:46pm
5 minutes
chaninicholas.com

I called him from the parking lot on my lunch break.
“Hi!”
“Hi? Is everything okay?”
“Yup! It is okay. It is all okay!”
“Okay….did you need something then?”
“Why, do I need to need something to call my lover in the middle of the day?”
“No…not exactly…What’s going on, seriously?”
“I’m just so happy. I wanted to be happy in this moment with you.”
“Oh.”
“You got cynical!”
“And you’re cured now?’
I kicked a giant rock at my foot toward the fence. I debated hanging up right there on the spot, calling back, and pretending to be in pain.
“I didn’t say I was cured. I’m just trying to be positive.”
“Oh.”
“If you’d rather I didn’t try to turn my life around and try to change my opinion, just say the word.”
“You know that’s not what this..that’s not what I mean.”
“No, I know, I know what you mean.”

“best learning environment” by Julia on her couch


Monday November 2, 2015
5:21pm
5 minutes
from the post for an English tutor

Ok, hi, can I ask you a favour? My sister, Mandy is in desperate need of assistance and I do not know if I alone can assist her. Maybe if I explain to you her issues, you’ll be able to better asses if you, in fact, can lend your help, or if you my know someone who is better equipped to deal with the inner workings of a twelve year old than you or I both are.
Ok, so, realistically speaking, she is unable to remember daily routine information. She does not know the names of her teachers, or if she has been using the blue toothbrush or the yellow one, even though all our lives we have had our very specific colours. She no longer enjoys watching reruns of Punky Brewster, which was her ever-living favourite television program of all time.
She also refuses to practice her times tables or eat ricotta cheese!

“Your vision, values and needs” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 1, 2015
11:59pm
5 minutes
An ad for a Life Coach

The back of my computer is covered in chocolate icing because…well fuck, because, obviously. It’s been a hard month, alright, I admit that. It’s been one of those times in my life that sounds great on paper–if you get off on misery and if you romanticize inadequacy. I’d like to say that I was surprised to find myself in this situation, but the truth is, I have expected it to come at one point or another because I have never really not been the type to somehow find ninety-nine cent frosting bits smeared across my laptop. Yes it was ninety-nine cents, yes I ate it with my hands, yes I ate it in under four days, yes I did this completely on my own, and yes I enjoyed it and felt that it was, at particular wee hours of the morning, a truly smart decision…
These are tough times.

“I wanna see it up close” by Julia at 49th Parallel


Friday October 17, 2015 at 49th Parallel
11:41am
5 minutes
from a text

Carl grabbed the giant daddy long legs with a rubber band and squished it between his fingers. I looked at him with my mouth hanging all the way to the floor.
“What did you do that for?”
“What, it was a daddy long legs!”
“I know what he was, but why did you do it!?”
“It was crawling everywhere. It was going to get into our salad.”
“Screw the salad!”
“Words I never thought you’d ever say…”
“Carl!”
“WHAT?!”
“You killed an innocent little thing for absolutely no reason.”
“You would have let him live in our dinner?”
“Yeah. Maybe I would have. It’s not like he was trying to ruin our meal, Carl.”
“Well, what’s done is done. It’s too late for your bleeding heart to do anything about it.”
“Ugh. You’re such a…never mind.”
“A what, say it.”
“A caveman.”
“Oh my god, Trace, it was a stupid daddy long legs!”
“Tell that to your penis later.”

“the king is me” by Sasha in the car on the way home


Monday October 5, 2015
11:26pm
5 minutes
from a slam poem

Kel frames it like, “Have I got a story for you!” Like, there’s actually something I’m gonna get out of it. What a jerk! I love that guy but he’s a jerk, right? He jumps around from thing to thing, like some kinda rabbit, and expects to be the best every time. Pretty wild. Pretty wild. I’m like, “Shoot, Kel…” I forget what we were eating, maybe Thai? No! No, Chinese. Kel ordered in. Moo Shoo this and that. Right? So, he tells me he’s going to become, wait for it… Wait… He’s going to go to Pastry School. KEL. The guy who just worked on the rigs. I almost choked on my Egg Roll. “What?” “Yup,” he says, like it ain’t no thang. “I met this group of chicks and they are all bakers. It’s an untapped market, man, you should really join me.” I laugh. I laugh my ass off. And then he shows me his, like, enrolment letter or whatever and it’s true. He’s doing it.