“First we marched” by Sasha at Matchstick on Fraser


Sunday January 22, 2017 at Matchstick
10:26am
5 minutes
From a tweet

First we marched and now we carry on
the song that our grandmother’s started

Daisy used to tell Layah and I
about meeting First Nations women at the Edmonton
bus depot on 105 Avenue

bringing her into the city
feeding her hamburger soup
giving her shampoo and
tampons
baby formula and
sweaters knit by the
Catholic Women’s League

Okay she never said anything about
tampons to me
but I imagine her giving a woman tampons
and that woman saying thank
you and brown eyes meeting brown eyes

Anne made dinner every night for her family
and she managed the money
and she made her own
her own money
trading stocks and investing
Anne never knew she was a radical
She was an
“unfulfilled woman”
She was never okay
with the shape of herself

“I’m interested to hear” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday January 20, 2017
1:43am
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

Women’s rights are under attack
shots fired through slit eyes
like a bad joke but we’re not laughing
Us cis ones and our trans sisters
we are all worried about
our bodies and our fundamental
rights right right
our vital signs like abortion
and access to birth control
and and and and

My future children’s brown skin
makes me fear for what they will know
What I won’t ever know
my privilege showing from sunrise
to sunset through park visits
and all that I hope the world
will be for them

“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

“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.

“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.

“poignant revelations about life” By Julia on her couch


Sunday March 6, 2016
9:25pm
5 minutes
mic.com

Sirrah comes over to my house and tells me she is craving ice cream and fried chicken.
She says she’s been craving it since last week. I know immediately that She is pregnant. She never eats fried chicken. I don’t even really believe that she’s craving it now, but I don’t doubt that she is hoping I clue in and ask why she’d ever want to do such an out of character thing.
Sirrah drops another hint about laying off white wine spritzers for a while, even though I haven’t actually offered her anything. She talks a lot about how this life is so short and how we have to find our purpose through offerings and sacrifice. I want to punch Sirrah right in her first trimester. Trying to pass down life lessons to me without asking for permission. I don’t like that she assumes I want the same things as she does. I am perfectly happy without some other human to depend on me- complicating everything. I know that sounds bitter but it isn’t. If I wanted a baby, trust me, there could have been plenty of opportunities.

“She said my mistakes made her feel confused” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday February 14, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
Dear Mr. You
Mary-Louise Parker


How to shake hands with the first ever Woman President
(who just happens to have long peach coloured fingernails and three very large rings on)

Shake her hand like she’s any other woman.
She is, in fact, an-other woman.
She too uses tampons.
She forgets to pluck a stray chin hair.
She sometimes smokes when she’s drunk.

She too wonders about frizz, and sexism, and avocado in smoothies.

Shake her hand like you mean it.
Like through your palms you’re able to transmit all of your heart’s yearnings.
Who knows?
Maybe you can.


Shake her hand and look her in the eye.
No one likes a watcher – you know the kinda person who looks at the hand their shaking.
There’s too much intimacy there,
Especially for a first meeting.

Shake her hand with power and attention to how her
particular hand wants to be shaken.
Don’t project your own desires on to her.
You’ll only learn her shake style a few shakes in.

 

“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.

“Bowl of acceptance” by Julia in the guest suite


Thursday, December 31, 2015
5:31am
5 minutes
Overheard in the Living Room

Honouring our mother we stare deep into our blood with a little wink and a hug saying “we can only go forward now.” Your heart rests just above mine like it was designed to. You came first, you reached up to the sky where you saw endless possibilities and I reached up to you because I believed you were as high as I needed to go. Now we lead each other, honouring our mother, giving her the gift we refused to when we were young.
“Please don’t fight.” “Why can’t you two be kind to each other?” “Tell me, do you treat your friends this way?”
We didn’t know it at the time that we weren’t treating each other like anything but ourselves and we both had a lot of figuring out to do. We threw self-blame and self-hate and self-wondering because we were each other’s mirror and we saw ourselves reflected back through shades of green in a way we couldn’t understand.
I let your heart shift around on mine to find its spot. I keep you there like a stamp of time and a promise of forever.

“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.

“in response to” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday November 11, 2015
6:11pm
5 minutes
From Performing Site Specific Theatre
Ed. Anna Birch and Joanne Tompkins


my mother’s mother had a strong jaw
my mother has a strong jaw
i have a
strong jaw
women like foothills
hips that lead to knowing
women like water
shoulders that feel the weight

my mother’s mother
all interruption
all control
all strength
all smoke
all ash
all sun
all dust
all breath
all power
all shame
all grace
all cherry tree
all candle wax
all salt
all curve
all language

my mother’s mother
a legacy of cabbage rolls
chocolate worship
picked the scabs on her arms until she bled
i pick the scab on my arm until i bleed
the story spins a web of then and now
my future daughter
my mother’s mother
my mother
my sister
the story spins a dreidel
marking roots
marking laugh lines
marking tear tracks
marking what’s good
what’s bad
the space between

“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.”

“It has nothing to do with you.” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, August 22, 2015
9:50pm
5 minutes
Art & Fear
David Bayles & Ted Orland


When you come inside from dancing with the moon and making promises to her that you see the light she’s shedding and the path she’s illuminating just for you, your skin tingles with joy and recognition for the you she knows.
Your skin: The protector of your bones.
She is held together tight with a thousand promises just like the ones you made with your Moon Mother. And you can feel each one alive inside you, making their way down your veins to keep you warm.
You can’t live another way. You even feel tempted to shed the skin you’re in but she hugs your limbs in close and whispers, I’m Not Going Anywhere….I Still Know Your Insides.
If you don’t keep the dancing hot and perfect in your hair, and the pure boundless generosity you feel with every concentrated breath, then you might just live on in a different moment and you don’t blame yourself for that either.

“No not that fake smile!” by Julia on the subway going west


Friday, August 21, 2015
1:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard at a bus stop

Biddy and me make a pact to bleed each other’s blood and wear each other’s smile. I want to marry Biddy so I can be around her all the time and let her light wash over me and catch me in all the right moments. Biddy plays the violin and when she does the whole world stops. I do all the humming and Biddy plays so I can feel. She tells me that I’m most me when I open my mouth and let my heart sing out. She tells me she can see me growing into the person who’s taking better care of me. She tells me I’m the kind of woman who becomes more beautiful with age and experience and confidence and time. It’s my idea to combine our life force and Biddy smiles with her whole face because she loves all of my grand ideas. She snips a lock of her strawberry blonde curls and wraps it around my finger to remind me that we’ve got each other’s soul close by.

“grabbed by the notion” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday, July 21, 2015
12:10pm
5 minutes
From a letter to a celebrity

I love the expansive sky across the back
Shoulder to shoulder
I love the gentle down coat
The hand that fits on waist and hip and bum cheek
Men though
Man though
A man can’t be a sister like a woman
Obvious
Perhaps
But sometimes I forget
When I look across the table and see a gaze that doesn’t understand
Humans are humans
Gender is
I don’t know
I reach out my finger and you touch it with yours
This is our understanding
A quiet moment
Your back to me
Expansive sky
My eyes searching for clouds
In bed
Your chest is my pillow
Legs and arms intwined
Enough