“something wonderful happens:” by Julia on the 84

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Friday March 9, 2018
5 minutes
BUNZ Trading Zone

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


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

Thursday March 8, 2018
5 minutess
From a text

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


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

Wednesday March 7, 2018
The Stand
Stephen King

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


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

Tuesday March 6, 2018


5 minutes

Vancouver Yellow Cab

Ask me. Please God, ask me.

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


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

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

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


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

Monday February 12, 2018
5 minutes
Emily Davidson

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


“children dawdling to school” by Julia in Hanoi

Saturday February 3, 2018
5 minutes
K.V Skene

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

R-And should we take the Q-tips?

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

R-should we take the bag of crackers?

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

R-And should we take the pillows?

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

R-Yes, should we take them?

A-The pillows?

R- Yes.

A-But…the pillows?


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

Wednesday January 31, 2018

5 minutes
Pia Tafdrup

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


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

Monday January 29, 2018
5 minutes
Bad Hand
Mallory Tarses

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

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

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

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


“Well, God is perfectly fair.” By Julia on the bus to Can Tho

Tuesday January 23, 2018
5 minutes
Tamas Dobozy

Middle child=fairness and unfairness

When god isn’t fair the middle child feels it. In her toenails. In her tears.
All this adding up does not equal the right sum.
Someone miscalculated.
Someone forgot to check the math. God is supposed to be good at math.
One good for you one good for me one bad for you one bad for me.
And if my turn comes today yours will be tomorrow. Yours will come and mine will come and faith and trust and acceptance and patience.
God doesn’t play favourites with disaster. That’s the rule. But what if it comes and it’s not fair? That’s the rule too. How does the middle child handle all these mismatched moments. How does god give back after all the taking.
Let’s take a bite until it’s gone. The middle child understands fractions. How to ration. How to make sure there is enough for everyone for as long as possible. You want the middle child on the boat when trouble finds you. You want the one who knows how to be fair.


“I am numb to you.” By Julia on her bed

January 11, 2018
5 minutes
Natalie Crick

It’s a cab ride after a long ride of not speaking. And you are still not speaking to me. I have done all the heavy lifting. At the table, with strangers, painted you in the pinkest of lights. I was talking shop like you’re the bike, like you’re the ride. And this whole ride you’ve been avoiding me. Trying your best to bite your tongue and let them hear you noble. And you forget me in the middle of it all. Arm outstretched, fork untapped, drink unclinked, and you do not smile. You make a face at them that looks like good and looks like great and then with me you are alone again. Unriddled by my questions, unannounced as if the couch owned your legs. I am mad for being mad. And for being right. And for being nothing but good. So why does it feel so damn exhausting-to nap during the day and wake up still unloved by you. So tiring to keep this back pocket free in case you slip your hand in, and when you do not ask me how my day was, I know to check for stolen change. Hand in my pocket to protect you against the yell machine, the perfect plane, soaring right back down after take off.


“Resist the millionth purchase” by Julia on her couch

Sunday January 7, 2018
5 minutes
Advice to Myself #2: Resistance
Louise Erdrich

Went by the Salvation Army on my way home from work today. I thought I was going to pick up a perfect sweater. I didn’t know what kind of sweater, exactly, but I had a good feeling. Too bad it was closed. The Salvation Army is not open on Sundays. This is good according to my hormone tracking app. Best not to overindulge on impulse purchases cause when my hormones get back in check my bank account will not be. Then I went to the used book store and spent some time browsing and checking prices and being appalled at how expensive books in a used bookstore for some reason still can be. I don’t know why as soon as I step foot in one I have to dust the crops like it’s my job. I think my prayer sister, Geri, told me about that. When you lay a series of farts up and down the aisles? She also taught me about “shooting a bunny” which is what she called it when someone tooted a good hard fast one.


“stories superimposed” by Julia on D and A’s couch

Saturday January 6, 2018
5 minutes
Winter Watch
Jennifer Elise Foerster

A lot of weird conversations lately. A lot of jet lag and weird conversations. I heard the story I was telling myself and told it to myself anyway. I didn’t want to but I did. I had a weird conversation with somebody who wasn’t in the room. I had a weird conversation when I was the only somebody in the room.

I think from now on I’ll do my best to remember those good cards guiding me into my autonomy. All of them said I’d be able to choose everything on my own and that I’m already capable. I don’t know whose opinion I’m waiting for. I’ve never told a good friend not to trust their feelings. I don’t know why I’d ever tell myself that. And those cards had good images on them. So many trees that I’d be remiss in ignoring. Trees don’t wait for the other forest creatures to tell them they are mighty. They just are. They grow tall and strong whether someone tells them to or not. And that’s just one example. I even got a message saying I would
know how to reroute my own journey. Me. I don’t need to wait.


“hesitating to” by Julia on Amanda’s tub

Saturday December 30, 2017
5 minutes
From a tweet

Tell you the truth

Telling myself first


Believing you’re right

Believing I’m wrong

Go to the bathroom

Leaving the moment

Leaving the bar

Say something I’ll regret

To let you get away with it all

To let you have the last word

To agree with you


Cry in front of you

Tell you about the hurt

Relive the hurt

Let you see me hurt

Be hurt

Ask for clarification

To cry when you cry

To hug you

To tell you I love you

To relive the past

To share what I’m feeling

To apologize



Order another drink

Let you leave in anger

Keep you there in anger





Ask you to write me something

Ask you to read something

Admit I don’t know


“I’ve never been more absorbed in anyone.” By Julia at her parents’ house

Monday December 25, 2017


5 minutes

Elliot, Adam, Elly and Me

Charlotte Joyce Kidd

When I see you differently and you see me the room is shaded pretty like a lilac or a leaf of sage. I haven’t asked for this the way I have been so bold to ask for other things. I have asked for so many now that I’ve lost count. My bones have always wept for this. My dreams have always known. You are crying at the dinner table and I have never felt your pulse as thick. I am crying at the dinner table and you do not turn away. In kiss we are rooted deeply like a fire place, locked. Nothing gets in. Nothing gets out. There is no wondering anymore. About the silence or the motivation. There is no hungry imagination turning dust into villains, holding sweet hostages for ransom. We are a seeing and a knowing now. We rest firmly in this house.


“A good traveller has no fixed plans” by Julia in her bed


Sunday December 17, 2017

Tao Te Ching

Translated by Stephen Mitchell

We did it. We’re going. Bought the ticket, told the parents, brought up the suitcases. Shook hands. Went exploring. Went learning. Got lost. Got overwhelmed. Got hungry. Got quiet. We found ourselves in different cabins. Waking up to unbelievable. Got lost. Found each other. Soothed each other’s tired muscles. Laughed out the tension. Decided on some things like desires, geography. Dreamed about not knowing. About figuring it out. How we’ll figure it out. Sharing strengths. Trading off who gets to lead when a trade can be made.


“Can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.” By Julia on her couch

Friday December 15, 2017
5 minutes
Calvin and Hobbes
Bill Watterson

In the night when I’m dreaming of saving you or someone else I love

I can see all the feelings I’m experiencing. I can hold them. Touch them. I can’t tell if some things are very funny or very scary. There are images in dreams and I can see both versions clearly, as if they’re showing off. Screaming, laughing, tell your neighbour how much more unstable she is than you. I am busy holding my feelings in my elbow crease. Deep down In the cuticles creeping up onto my toenails.


“The randomness comes from atmospheric noise” by Julia on the 2 bus

Sunday December 10, 2017


5 minutes


Yesterday I came home and I heard a buzzing. I stopped. I looked around. You had eyes on me like you were worried. Like I was smelling burnt toast. Or listening to satan sing. I swear I heard it. You said you didn’t and that messed me up. You tried to get me to come to the couch and sit near you but I was rhythmically attached elsewhere. When you tried to tell me about your day I didn’t respond. I heard the buzzing and the room shifting on its axis. I was listening the where it was originating from. The television had never buzzed like this before. The floorboards made me suspicious. We’ve been finding a lot of dead spots lately and for a minute it made sense. But in between tuning in and trying not to make you think I had lost my mind, it lost a little bit of strength. I felt sad then. As if I had lost my chance. Or my baby.


“I wanted to go on sitting there” by Julia on the 84

Friday October 20, 2017
5 minutes
Daphne Du Maurer

Kenneth and I haven’t spoken since last winter and he knows why. I don’t like it when people call me sensitive when I’m just feeling my feelings. I don’t go around telling everyone who seems to be under reacting that they’re insensitive. They’re entitled to their own way of expression. Obviously. I’m not trying to take that away. But Kenneth knows how I feel about the word and how I don’t like being labelled emotional when I am simply being alive. Yes, of course it goes back to high school. The girls thought I was a loose cannon, fine, that’s what I became. I put on a real show for them too. Throwing pencil cases and screaming, crying a lot. They thought I was a nut job. And to hear someone say that I’m sensitive after knowing that the word only sticks a knife into my heart, really makes me whirl. I wish I could have stayed still, sat there without bubbling up, but I’m not that kind of person. And yet I am a kind person. And he was wrong to try to tell me how to respond. He was wrong to even put me in the position. Anyway he’s probably enjoying Gran’s oatmeal crisp right now. Sitting happy and quiet without me.


“connected by canals” by Julia on her couch

Thursday October 19, 2017


5 minutes

from the Scuba Diving Pamphlet

In Amsterdam you and Ben took me on G’s brunch boat. We had mimosas. I love that my mom used to babysit you and when we were young we pretended to be power rangers. You have always been blonde and my hair has always had curls. During that rainy October visit I slept on your couch and got lost in Vondel Park after dark. Ben rolled me some weed and we ate the best pancake of my life. The next time I’m in Amsterdam it’ll be for your wedding. I can’t wait to celebrate you and your love. I will tell everyone that I have known you longer than I have known myself. That you and I have lived in the same heart for twenty three years. That you have always been blonde and I’ve always had curls.


She is giant and bossy and funny as hell.” By Julia on her couch

Saturday October 14, 2017


5 minutes

a text

Kitty tells me to say that that I’m the baby and she’s the mum. I say, I’m the baby and you’re the mum. Then she tells me to say I’m addicted to raisins! I say, do I know what addicted means already? And she tells me to just say it already. I say I’m the baby and you’re the and mum and I’m addicted to raisins. She tells me, okay now say you’re trapped in a lemon peel. And I say oh no I’m the baby and you’re the mum and I’m addicted to raisins and I’m trapped in a lemon peel. Then kitty bursts out laughing. She is laughing so hard she gives herself hiccups. She tries to give direction between giant gulps of air. I tell her to take a second and catch her breath and she tells me to hurry up and be funny. I tell her she’s being a bit bossy and she shrieks at the top of the lungs, THAT’S BECAUSE I’M THE MUM.


“I’d be fucking rocked if I were you.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 11, 2017


5 minutes

From a text

He forces my wrist until it is twisted up and screaming quietly. He wants me to get into the bathtub. I don’t know why. I let him hold my arm and push until I am kneeling beside the tub and looking in. He keeps pointing. I keep imitating him. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do but he is strong for six and this is the first time we’re in a bathroom together. He looks at me like he’s trying to tell me about his pain. His face is contorted and his eyes are loud. I look back at him with as much heart as I can muster. Tell him with my smile he’s not alone. That I’m here. That I’m sorry he’s trapped inside his head with so many feelings and not enough words. He grabs me by the wrist when I try to open the door. He brings me back to the tub. I am breathing loud enough so he might hear it in his skin. I want to save him but I don’t know what from. He is crying without tears. I tell him, it’s okay. It’s okay.


“All in your head” by Julia in her bed

Monday October 9, 2017
5 minutes
overheard at the Tim Hortons

Imogen and Harriet are grinding their hips and Imogen likes Harriet and Harriet knows that. The music makes Imogen want more than what she has. Harriet doesn’t want to waste the song. Imogen thinks arching backs and swaying thighs is proof. Harriet wants to be free and enjoy each second because she doesn’t know when she’ll get another one.

The two of them remember this night differently.


“how on earth an idiot like that could be trusted” by Julia at the bus stop

Friday October 6, 2017


5 minutes

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou

Wally took off work early again and decided to pick up Dallas and Dax from school even though they still had two periods left. Of course the school doesn’t think to notify me since one of their “guardians” is given my permission. I don’t like him going around there trying to be the hero for two teenage boys who are desperate for their father’s time. He buys them double cheeseburgers and milkshakes while I have whole chicken thawing on the counter. I told him he can keep his privileges if he keeps his drinking under control. I really didn’t want to drag my kids through court to prove to them that their daddy is a fuck up. So far he’s been okay, but I know he’s still polishing off a 24 every two days. That may seem like a small amount compared to some, but these are my kids.


“Water music” by Julia on the 84

Monday October 2, 2017


5 minutes

Major Orchestral Works

Felix Mendelssohn

On the night I saw my reflection I was wearing a wolf mask

I looked into the lines of my face

(of the faces that have howled before mine)

And wept for the good me that was left behind

Sorrow mixing with salt

Forgiveness twisted into wave

I opened my throat to give

something that swung

at the pit of me

I did not ask why happiness had been so cruel

I did not beg to be understood


“stress hormones can also cross the placenta” by Julia at her desk

Thursday June 1, 2017
5 minutes

Your baby is not safe! Sorry, but it’s not. It’s figthing to stay alive every second and you know what? It’s dealing with enough placentra stress as it is, it doesn’t need any more! It comes down to gut health. It always does. You have to stop eating your feelings! Stop swallowing excuses and old wounds. That stuff is not meant for human consumption. You shouldn’t eat them before bed either. Your body is busy protecting something and you just go ahead to the cookie jar where you hide your pain? Soon there will be nothing left to protect!


“happy, noisy, Elephant” by Julia at her desk

Wednsday May 31, 2017
5 minutes
Snip Snap Pop-Up Fun
tiger tales

You have tugged my hairs out again and I am
wishing you were dead
In the same hour I notice sudden breast tenderness
and that I do love you
Earlier you popped your face into my work zone
and I nearly called the cops
What a lovely chance to talk about consent
and we both laugh at how
your kisses are never quiet
I could not ask for something more than that
I think, if it’s being categorized,
it would be filed under Lucky
or Happy Noisy Elephant


“it will happen on Wednesday” by Julia on the 99

Tuesday May 30, 2017
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

I wrote a note to myself
daily aspirations, thank you universe,
thy will be done,
amen, amen

on a post it, to kiss my cork board
into fruition, I drew a heart around it
and then waited for the beat to drop
thank you, universe, amen

it will happen on Wednesday (in case you ask me to be specific)
success marked as faith
as finally
as forgiveness


“Secret Society” by Julia on the toilet

Friday April 7, 2017
5 minutes
from the Quo eye palette

1) there are no new joiners
2) every new joiner needs to learn the creed
3) no new joiners after April 1st
4) new joiners allowed if owner of a vehicle
5) new joiners allowed if owner of a beard
6) tuna tuesdays in effect- NO NEGOTIATION
7) we rise 5 minutes before dawn
8) no alarm clocks- NO EXCEPTIONS
9) mismatched socks must make acceptable case publicly PRIOR to breakfast
10) heartbreak corner off limits until further notice


“regular procedures” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday April 5, 2017
5 minutes
From the thesis formatting guidelines

I am sitting across from you
you are either editing your novel
or worrying about being ripped off
Even when you’re busy you look up when it’s time
mouth 1234 to me and smile
wait for me to stop what I’m doing
so I don’t miss it
so I don’t forget to believe in magic

I am sitting across from you
you are either playing a new riff on your guitar
or researching guitars that have headphone jacks
this is a very nice gift for me
even though it comes at a cost for you

I am sitting across from you
I am either telling the world about you
or trying to sell my clothes online
our feet are touching
it’s nice

you told your contract job that your girlfriend
isn’t too happy about you working from home
because she has now gained an office mate
but no other office mate
has let me rest my feet on his before


“he digs into that” by Julia at her desk

Thursday March 30, 2017
5 minutes
overheard at kafkas

We keep talking about getting a dog. We sometimes talk about if we ever moved it might make more sense, so we keep talking about moving. I don’t want this to happen. He does. Sometimes we talk about settling for the tiniest dog in the universe so if we can’t convince our current landlord to let us keep one, we can pretend like there is no dog, what dog? Oh that little fluffy..entity…nothing…just…tissue…?
We haven’t quite figured it out. I’m glad. He is not. But we can’t justify getting a dog when there are so many other items already on the list. First things first. Like getting a new matress, a vaccum cleaner, laundry detergent, a vaporizer, toilet paper, and bananas.


“While I watched a yellow caterpillar” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday March 29, 2017
5 minutes
Shel Silverstein

Sometimes I forget how easy it is to listen to my body. I’ve been living under the impression that there’s some kind of decoding I need to do, some deep analytics about what signals I am feeling and what they mean.
Today I held the hand of a three year old while we ran him to the bathroom. I didn’t think he looked well but he was the one who told me he needed the toilet. I continued to hold his little hand as I watched this yellow caterpillar respond to what his body was telling him without questioning if it were true or right. As soon as it was over, he wiped his face and smiled. He felt better. He wasn’t going to keep thinking about his sick. His stomach had stopped speaking to him. It no longer needed to be heard.


“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library

Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
5 minutes

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.


“More money, like I said.” by Julia on her couch

Friday November 18, 2016
5 minutes
A Boy Of Good Breeding
Miriam Toews

Ida and Meryl met on a crowded subway car. Ida had lipstick on her teeth and turns out Meryl was the first person to have mentioned this to her. She fell in love with her instantly. Ida valued honesty in a person. She couldn’t understand why we’d waste so much of our time hiding behind lies. She thought it was too much work to live like that. Ida told Meryl that she was striking and that she liked her silver running shoes. Meryl covered her mouth when she laughed as if she was trying to keep a tiny gerbil inside. She fell in love with her instantly.


“don’t get it in your eyeball!” by Julia in the air bnb in Winnipeg

Tuesday October 25, 2016
5 minutes
from a text

I shared an attic with my brother one summer during a heatwave in Italy. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. All we had was a spray bottle filled with heating water between our beds and we didn’t know how badly we would need something in between us. When your brain is melted there is just a puddle where your patience should be. We were puddles of annoyance and sweat and sleepless.
One night we were both aliens to each other, trying to rest, delirious from the air trapped somewhere in a tiny cloud inches from our skin and far enough away from all roads carrying oxygen. He sprayed me with water which was our ritual. I sprayed him back. We did this for 5 minutes or 5 hours and laughed the whole time. Nobody knows why. Something about enough being enough. Something about my eyeball. Something about the first time we didn’t hate each other.


“She lives by the sea” by Sasha at the table on Monkland

Monday September 26, 2016
5 minutes

The old woman lives by the sea in a house on a cliff, painted yellow and purple. When it storms, the walls of the house shake and the old woman bundles herself in sweaters. The black and white photographs fall off the walls and she sweeps up the broken glass and places them back on their hooks. The old woman makes herself a pot of Lady Grey tea and adds a sugar cube and a splash of cream. She sits in her corduroy chair with her dog, Mimi, in her lap. She tells Mimi stories about when she was a girl, and when she travelled to Paris, and when she fell in love, and when she found a sword under a willow tree.


“Canada’s biggest ever insider” by Sasha at MELK

Saturday September 24, 2016 at MELK Bar & Cafe
5 minutes
Report on Business in the Globe and Mail

Canada’s hands are stained
yellow and red and purple and orange
We think blue
We think green
But those are little firefly lies
Wag wag wag
Those are big mountain lies
We think resource
Cougars and humpbacks
We think lakes and rivers
Pacific and Atlantic
We think
True North strong and free


“I’m in television right now” by Sasha in the apartment on Av. Monkland

Friday September 23, 2016
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

Bernie has worked the night shift since before his hair went white. He doesn’t think in years, he thinks in ages. Muscles, wrinkles, armpit hair… That’s a better way to measure time, Bernie thinks. He sleeps until four or five and then goes for a run by the river. Rain or shine, you’ll find him there. No need for a cellphone, Bernie keeps a routine that everyone can follow. You’d know where to find him. Sometimes, when Vivian still lived in town, she’s come down to the Mill and tell him something because she’d be gone to set by the time he returned.


“two beautiful faces” by Sasha at the Airbnb in Montreal

Wednesday September 21, 2016
5 minutes
Overheard on Av. Girouard

the NICU beeps and wails and whispers
the nurses scrubs have cats and flowers on them
the babies are so small
so new
how were they ready to be born?
the babies are so strong
so new
they were ready to be born
at least that’s what i
tell myself
washing a pear for my sister
filling her water bottle
rubbing her neck
at least that’s what i
tell myself
walking by the darkened rooms
code indigo taped on the door
mothers and fathers and families
like angel zombies
tired eyes and microwave dinners
sanitize the hands


“primarily my fault” by Sasha on the bed in Montreal

Tuesday September 20, 2016
5 minutes
from a text

The flight was long and bumpy. Veronica had a headache that stretched all the way down her spine. She had the middle seat. She had to pee but didn’t want to disturb the sleeping woman beside her so she held it until she couldn’t any longer and then got to the bathroom and there was a line. She’d never flown this airline. The plane felt like it was put together with pipe cleaners and a glue stick. Veronica pees and then flushes and goes to wash her hands. The sink is clogged. She knows that her hand sanitizer is on her dressing table back at her apartment. She wrinkles her nose. She returns to her seat where the woman has miraculously fallen into a deep sleep, head on her fold out tray.


“You could fight in the conventional ways” by Sasha at her desk

Monday September 19, 2016
5 minutes
The Deep
Nick Cutter

You could do this in the conventional way but you don’t.
You invite a stranger over way after the sun’s gone down.
You let him in through the shared door and hold your fingers to your lips
so that your downstairs neighbours aren’t alarmed.
Do they keep tabs on you?
Do they hear you?
You lead the stranger upstairs and the stranger kisses you
harder than you want to be kissed.
You go to the bathroom and splash water on your face and
you look tired.
You look really tired.


“I forgot how easy this is” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday September 18, 2016
5 minutes
overheard at the waterfront theatre

I forgot how easy it was to move from one place to another
drifting like clouds across the dawn
like tumbleweeds over the desert
I forgot how easy it is to sail over treetops
over shrubs
over dogs howling for their dinner.
I never considered myself a gypsy
too intent to carve home.
I never liked living out of a suitcase
til now.
Something so freeing about not having any
about having all I need
(a good book, a pen, a notebook a toothbrush, some underwear, a t-shirt, boots, jeans, a clean towel)
with me at all times
ready to soar
ready to land


“He got a gun to his head” by Julia on her couch

Saturday September 17, 2016 at the Shadbolt Centre
5 minutes
Overheard at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts

If there’s a reason why we’re meeting here, none of us know it yet. The sky is dark and ominous. There are casual signs promoting danger or intrigue popping up in shadows and creaky floorboards but we haven’t seemed to take heed because we are convinced that this is a dream and nothing bad can ever actually happen to us because bad things only happen to other people or to humans in movies. It’s dark and cold. We don’t speak much in case talking gives us away somehow. Ali and Strat have both cried into their paper bags. I have been inhaling and exhaling in mine, assuming that’s why we were given these to hold in the first place. Cece said she would be here by ten but since none of us can reach her we have already accepted that she is probably dead by now or swallowed up by the night.


“He got a gun to his head” by Sasha at the Shadbolt Centre

Saturday September 17, 2016 at the Shadbolt Centre
5 minutes
Overheard at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts

A gun to his head he prays in a way he didn’t know he could
all the names for God he’s ever heard
he’s ever learned
all the names for God he’s seen carved in caves and bathroom stalls
The person wears a mask
wears gloves
He’s never smelled a person with this smell
Like stale bread and beetles and gas
He is quiet and he laughs when the person
burps loud into his ear
A gun to his head he knows that he should’ve told
Kari that he loves her.


“the meltdown” by Sasha at her desk

Friday September 16, 2016
5 minutes
The Globe And Mail
September 16, 2016

We don’t know that it’s started. We sleep in our plush beds, with our feather pillows and our wool socks. We snore and turn from back to belly to back. We don’t know that around us the mountains are melting, the rocks are turning to water. The city will float soon, our bed, above our house, above the tree where we buried three cats and two dogs. We don’t know that people are panicked, rushing and packing and crying and shouting. The phone lines collapse and the TVs are static.