“she’s in a shoe store with her friends,” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday August 2, 2019
10:24pm
5 minutes
Some Notes Against the Burden of Representation
Rahat Kurd

she’s in a shoe store with her friends and she’s smiling and pointing at the shiny gold platforms and they roll their eyes because she won’t buy them and she won’t wear them but she tries them on to push it a bit to push her possibility at wildness at the person she maybe used to be and her friends tell her she should get them and two of them mean it and one of them doesn’t because that one is holding that she’s changed that they’re all changing and they took her out today because they didn’t want her to be alone with the beast in her belly moving through the motions of coffee and a boiled egg and replying to emails and cancelling subscriptions because they didn’t want her to be alone

“no one would know me.” by Julia on A’s couch

Monday July 29, 2019
11:00pm
5 minutes
The Landing
Marie Howe

I am sitting by the tree, waiting for my real friends to come see what’s wrong. We all do this. I like the tree, I like this alone. The kind that turns into something soon. The kind that makes time feel like forever but in a good way. One of these moments they’ll all come running to me. What will I say? I’m feeling sad. I’m feeling left out. I got upset and didn’t know how to tell you. I want to play and have fun. I say nothing until someone comes. I don’t leave the tree until someone comes.

Sometimes nobody comes. Sometimes it’s an exercise in will power. In patience. In believing that everyone is better off without me. Better off since they didn’t have to tell me to my face. There’s no more room. There’s not enough space for you. This is when it feels like forever but in the bad way. The way the bell never rings, never saves me, the way the real friends never appear because they never existed.

“no one can remember” by Julia at her desk

Sunday April 21, 2019
8:03pm
5 minutes
Anthem
Terese Svoboda

We reach back into our skulls for candy or god or something that smiles at the past of us. There are no guarantees for this existence and no one can remember every single warning sign. I don’t think that’s how it works. If we could then hindsight would be out of a job. It would be sad to see something imperative for lesson learning rendered useless.
It, is, after all, everyone’s biggest fear. We want our lives to have purpose, to affect change, to be worth writing down.

We want our children to need us, our parents to see us, and our friends to rely on us. And in turn we rely on them. It’s a cycle of life we would be silly to ignore. We need each other. We keep one another useful by our belief that we cannot navigate this realm alone. We were never designed to in the first place.

“under his dark eye-lids” by Julia at her desk

Thursday April 11, 2019
10:23pm
5 minutes
Faces Of The Sun-Man
Rienzi Crusz

He’s staying up late again eating stale Cheetos cause somehow that makes him feel better. He is bothering himself and it’s punishment, maybe for letting himself get this alone. Loneliness is worse when you hate yourself on top of it.

The Cheetos in the bag turn his fingers fuzzy. He is careful not to smear them on any of the furniture. She wouldn’t let him hear the end of it. Too bad she’ll never know one way or the other what he’s up to since she broke his heart into a shape that no longer fits inside his chest.

He thinks about wiping them underneath him, just to see. And maybe to spite her. Who buys a white couch anyway? Stupid fucking white couch. This is a place where liars sit, he thinks to himself. This is where liars pretend they’re going to be just fine.

“Falling in love is appropriate for now” by Julia in her bedroom

Monday March 25, 2019
10:42pm
5 minutes
Handy Tips on how to Behave at the Death of the World
Anne Herbert

Help, is anyone out there? Is anybody reading this? There are a lot of people worried and seeking and I know them. I am them. We might recognize one another at a party. Yes there’d be bread at this party. That would be giving the party a lot more value.

I’m…I guess..I’m wondering if I’m alone. I mean I know I’m not, I’m talking to you. You’re there. You’re looking at me and I’m you. Aren’t you? We? I feel united and excited and loved by that. That thought, the you me we thing, that acceptance, yes, that permission. I can say I love me and that would be like saying I love you and then you’d know love. I know love for me because and only because I see you in me, and you, YOU, you are easy to love. Easy to love with hands cuffed. Easy to love with lids droopy. Easy to love in the dark when the words hurt more than heal and your warmth does the talking. Easy to love like that.

“apartment door was closed and triple-locked” by Julia at her desk

Monday March 18, 2019
8:56pm
5 minutes
The Langoliers
Stephen King

I can’t have you look at me that way
With eyes dripping pity
Boy you never looked less pretty
I don’t want your face to say
You knew better all along or
This is a self-inflicted song
Weeeeeooooo the wound is pulsing
Weeeeeooooo the pressure rushing
I’m not cut out for this
Can’t handle a setback or a twist
Where’s the paper I signed up for
Can’t recognize my signature from a blood stain on the floor
Weeeeeooooo the ground is home
Weeeeeooooo this place is normal
Maybe I was wrong once or twice
But I never kept the knife jabbed in
Who are you to know my sins
Can’t have judging eyes
No one look at me

“We may not be able to accommodate” by Julia at the airport

Monday December 17, 2018
9:29pm
5 minutes
overheard at YVR

I’m worried that soon I will be alone. All these years of keeping up with every friend and staying in touch. It’s dwindling now. I either hate the people I used to love or they’ve forgotten about me. Usually I hate them because they’ve forgotten about me. Let the relationship fizzle out. I stopped contacting everyone and that’s all it took I suppose.
Soon I will be all alone. I will talk to myself. I will call my family on the weekend. I will not need the people who think they’re better than me or more woke than me. I already find myself angry. Quietly seething at some. I don’t trust the ones who lie to themselves. And I won’t miss them when they’re gone. I don’t have that bone. It wouldn’t do any good anyway.

“Party in the house” by Julia on her couch

Sunday November 18, 2018
8:41am
5 minutes
Overheard at the Fairmont Pacific Rim

I told them when you were gone I smoked your weed. This time when you are gone I’ll clean the house and have a personal party. I’ll try on all my clothes and take a photo of the good outfits. If my hair looks right. I told them when you were gone I fell asleep on the couch. That will probably happen again. No chicken wings this time since you threw away our grill. I believed you when you said it didn’t work anymore but I wished I had tried it out myself.
I told them I did not cry and I did not cry over you. I will cry this time over me and that is the beauty of you being gone. The writing songs as soon as I wake up, the sleeping on your side of the bed. The silence will be all mine. I told them when you were gone I ate ice cream and that will probably happen again too. And I’ll miss you. And I’ll wish you were coming home soon. And I’ll wish you had never left. And I’ll watch a bad movie that I wouldn’t want you to know about.

“exiled to the foothills” by Julia at the desk

Monday July 23, 2018
6:36pm
5 minutes
The Gulag Archipelago
Solzhenitsyn

Send me out to the no where place and let me weep there
Water the dry earth with my ache and pouring
I need to be alone, in a place where spider webs take over the sky
Will I continue to decompose when nobody is around
I exile myself before it is too late
Before I am stuck forever in the shape of how things used to be
I banish my lost and force my bones to build something
from the inside out
I am already dreading it
and that is how I know I must
I do not have time to sit and wonder how the world knows me
Give me fields to lay in
to pronounce my epiphany in the echo
Let me know me
Let me know that this is my enough
my contribution
A care package tied with a strand of my hair

“Jesus do I have to even get out of bed” by Julia at her desk

Monday June 4, 2018
9:26pm
5 minutes
From an interview by Devin Friedman

Do I have to leave this? I’ve built a warm thing to lay in. My head is heavy. My eyes blink slowly. What is it about grey mornings.

Don’t say they’ll turn into something beautiful. It’s always too late when this city decides to help me out.

I think it’s sadness?
It feels like it.
Laying, laying, not moving, sort of staring

I think another body in the bed would change the shape of things.
Make me sink a little toward the middle.
Make me have to get up in the night.
Make me have to come right back and settle.

Today is hard.

If I admit it maybe it will get the validation it needs and move on.
Maybe tomorrow won’t be so needy.
I slept with all my clothes last night.
Sweater, pants, socks.

Another body in the bed would require shorts or nothing.
Another body in the bed would be built like a furnace, jobbed and ready to heat whatever is close and shivering.

I’ll ask Jesus if he knows where to get one.

“literally naked, mopping, and crying ‪at midnight‬” by Julia on the 99

Sunday June 3, 2018
10:04pm
5 minutes
quoted by Sienna Miller

This house casts a shadow on all the rooms emptied of you. I don’t like it. I don’t like that I like it. I don’t like it.

The hum from the radio breaks my heart so I turn it off. The sound of your music playing on the iPad doesn’t help. I’ve tried keeping you here.

Wandering back and forth like the in between needs discovering. Laying in bed like the rest of the house will burn me if I move. I have been late to meet friends. I have stayed under.

A phone call a day lets me know you wish I was where you are. Am I supposed to unravel the day’s decisions for you? Are you interested in hearing how nothing I feel?

The new waste bin is drying upside down in the tub. I scrubbed it after I finished my shower, still dripping wet, my hair pasted to my neck and back. I know how to decide. See? Somethings are easy.

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

Wednesday March 7, 2018
8:47pm
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.

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

January 11, 2018
10:41pm
5 minutes
Midwinter
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.

“proud of your generation” by Sasha at JJ Bean

Friday December 29, 2018
4:12pm at JJ Bean on Cambie
5 minutes
Hidden Fruit
Madhur Anand

when you wish upon a star
wish you could be proud of your generation
zombies marching towards the end of the world
radical in their distraction tendencies
worshipping dollar bills and black amex and celebrity dieties
seagulls calling some hymn of the moment
or is that a jingle
no one knows the difference anymore
no one knows the difference

when you run through the forest
wish you weren’t so afraid to be alone
maybe it’s cuz we all are
maybe it’s cuz you learned trust and then mistrust
house of cards
huff and you’ll puff and you’ll blow the house down
diseased and itchy and tired and broken
put the deck back together but the joker’s missing
and the queen of hearts
what a love affair
what a love

when you rise out the brainwashing
honey from your ears and dried flowers from your nostrils

“peel and core the remaining apples.” by Julia on the 84

Sunday November 19, 2017
10:55pm
5 minutes
Apples
Andrea Albin

Unra is being asked to pack the kids ” inclusive lunches”
Unra has never heard of “inclusive lunches”
Unra does not have time to figure out what “inclusive lunches” are
Unra is tired of being called a “clueless mommy” by all the other with-it mommies
even if the with-it mommies are inventing ways to make other women feel bad simply because they’re working
the with-it mommies create drama to gossip about because their lives are so small
the with-it mommies meddle too much in their kids’ lives and their kids are brats
the with-it mommies call each other up at lunch because they can’t stand to be alone with themselves when their kids have gone to school
Unra is not a with-it mommy
Unra is sleepless
Unra feels bad enough as it is

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

Wednesday October 11, 2017

8:54pm

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.

“It depends how aware you are.” by Julia in F’s kitchen


Saturday August 19, 2017
9:53pm
5 minutes
Lennon on Lennon
edited by Jeff Burger


walking eyes ground walking walking
don’t stop moving eyes ground further further

count cracks sidewalk busted bruised gum gum gum somebody’s bad decision spit shit cigarette butt

empty sky sun alone head no where near the clouds but in them with them nothing around

five dollar bill twenty cigarette butt shopping list bus pass toothpick

hands stuffed into jeans pockets bursting ripped and bleeding bang into the cyclist crossing chipped lips

shuffling pushing one foot next foot walking running listen for the lights to change beep beep at your own risk

seagulls pigeons balloon string toilet paper hat full of coins people people everywhere there here up down

“packing slip” by Julia on E’s brother’s couch


Saturday August 12, 2017
10:28pm
5 minutes

from a receipt


Henry is moving out of his condo and into a nursing home. He is not happy about it. He is so full of resentment his hips hurt. Nobody wants him. He doesn’t get to play with his grand kids. Nobody is going to come visit him. He’s going to die there in the home without a family to comb his hair or make sure his eyebrows don’t grow out of his face sideways. All because of his one and only fall. Now they’re saying he can’t be left alone. It couldn’t have been the bacon grease on the floor that he slipped on, not a chance. It had to be because his body is giving out on him. Because his limbs don’t listen to his brain anymore. It’s always a reminder that he is becoming more of a burden to his family every single day and needs constant supervision.
Henry doesn’t want to go. He doesn’t want to start the next chapter of his life refusing to forgive himself.

“The morning, happy thing” by Julia on her couch


Saturday August 5, 2017
12:59am
5 minutes
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickenson

In the morning, I stood up, naked and sweaty. I walked to the fridge with weight. I felt a stillness. This house has been quiet since you left.

When you were gone I slept on your side of the bed and didn’t wke up once. There could be two reasons.
1)Because your side is better than mine or 2)Because I sleep better when you are gone.

I missed you most in the afternoon when the daylight no longer knew which colour it wanted to be. I watched a video of you singing that made me smile out loud.

“As the vibrations release” by Sasha at her desk


Friday June 2, 2017
10:45am
5 minutes
Freeing the Natural Voice
Kristin Linklater


“What are you getting at?” Ben puts his hands in his pockets. That’s never a good sign.

“I just…” My mouth is pasty. My knees are weak. My heart is beating like I’m running, but I’m still.

“Spit it out, Caroline,” Ben says, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.

“I want to go by myself.”

He steps back, putting more space between us. Maybe he understands.

“We bought our plane tickets,” Ben says in a soft voice.

“I know, I know… You can go, too! But, I want to travel alone. I need to do this. I really need to do this.” I will tears not to come. Please please please.

“This is fucked.” Ben walks into the bedroom and slams the door.

“I had some excellent excuses for letting go of that wheel” by Julia on the expo line


Wednesday April 19, 2017
6:18pm
5 minutes
Year Of Yes
Shonda Rhimes


I turned my phone off thinking I would get some me time in-some r&r, a personal party, you know, the good stuff. I was so proud of myself for unplugging that I forgot I was expected to answer not one phone call, but four different ones. I don’t know how I did it. They said No One Needs To Be Reached At All Times, but I did, in fact, need to be reached at all times! I needed to be reached by the woman who was taking over my job in two weeks, by my bank because of the credit card fraud, by the company that might not hire the person I was supposed to be a reference for, and by the dermatologist who casually dropped that the bump on my head might not be a benign fibroma afterall.

“The life and crimes of” by Julia on the 4


Saturday March 18, 2017
12:04am
5 minutes
Exclaim Magazine

I’m not saying that I’m perfect
I’m not saying that
I just remember some things didn’t turn out exactly the way my mom planned
the way my dad planned
that way anyone really hoped things would be
I won’t say I was stupid
But I wasn’t thinking clearly
I was just sort of acting like I knew what was best for everybody
I thought that the entire family’s financial burdens were falling on me because my mom was stuck in her bed too sad to move too mad at herself for all the shit she put us through to go out and get herself cleaned up and get a goddamn job my dad wasn’t around not just because of my mom but because he was really let down as a kid and he never got over that
I’m not saying I’m a bad person because I believe that I was doing what I thought was right at the time but I haven’t made the best choices my younger sister still blames me for not getting into college
my younger brother still thinks that I should have called more adults into the equation

“Ridiculously simple directions” by Julia on her couch


Sunday December 18, 2016
5:19pm
5 minutes
from Grand Slam Mad Libs

He asked me to keep his plants alive over the Christmas vacation and I smiled like a lunatic and told him I would have no problem! I only said I would do it so I could have an excuse to sleep in his bed and be in his house without him. I had a million things I was going to snoop through: his desktop, his Netflix, his bedside drawers,his old notebooks,his fridge. It was going to be great. I figured it would be easy enough to Google “how to keep a ficus alive while my new boyfriend is away with his family in Amsterdam thinking I am more capable than I am”. Apparently it was the hardest thing in the world according to all of the online forums I found myself getting lost in-Don’t let this temperature this, don’t let the ficus that.

“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.”

“she honestly does not have those impulses” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday November 16, 2016
8:48pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio


I used to say no when I was younger
Labelled difficult
Used to feel everything so strongly
labelled irrational
emotional
sensitive
weak
My sister is 7 and I am 5 and she is having her first Holy fucking communion
I am 5 and she is 7 and she is wearing white, hair in a bun, dressy shoes, holding a rosary
holding attention
getting gifts
for being older?
For having hair that cooperates into a bun?
I am 5 and she is 7 and I have to smile in photographs because my dress is being cute and that is my only job too?
I say No to the photos and to the people fussing over her and to this stupid fucking dress that is not cute enough to keep me from scowling
Labeled younger sister
labeled difficult
irrational
sensitive
jealous
I am 5 and my sister is 7 and everybody loves her more than me
and no one explained this part to me
and nobody warned me about the shadow
and nobody told me I was allowed to feel anything
Nobody heard No and thought
that’s right
let’s not betray ourselves
let’s feel what we feel
and still love each other

“Not to be pulled savagely” by Julia on her couch


Monday November 14, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
Canvas
John Coyote


These days I am built out of gossamer drenched in oil
I sit heavy with stillness
My bones are chalky inside their covering
Nobody knows how to hold me
The air is thick with loneliness
And every voice outside my head that tries to calm me sticks to my unease and pulls savagely
And I am without fortress
Even fresh lines and hot ink bind me
I am old and new at the same time and my centre has moved to another spot that I don’t have a compass for

“Includes taxes” by Julia at Our Town Cafe


Wednesday October 5, 2016 at Our Town
6:40pm
5 minutes
from the Westjet website

Enid dances around in her new bodysuit. It sparkles in the light, she notices, when she takes shape in the diagonal. She practices leaping out from the bedroom in front of the full length mirror…in a splits. She tries to keep her head facing forward while stealing a glance at herself at the same time. She kinks her neck. She tries twice more before the whiplash buzzes. Enid’s body suit is coloured unicorn and made out of suntan oil fabric that kisses and smears her skin into confident. She realizes she still has the tag hanging from the back. She is proud of her rare find. Only $5.99 from the second hand bin! $6.77 including tax and rounding up.

“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.

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


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

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

“for a fun birthday” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday August 25, 2016
6:59am
5 minutes
SAD MAG
from a TMZ video

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

I am not celebrating my birthday this year.

I AM NOT CELEBRATING MY BIRTHDAY THIS YEAR.

So. You can all go back to what you were doing. WHAT wERe YoU DOinG AnyWAY?? Celebrating something else?? Probably anything else??

I am very upset.
UPset. UPset. because. BECAUSE: I WAS Set Up. That is the truth. TO FAIL. set up to fail and to deal with the repercussions on my oWN. Which is painful. I mISs My Sister.
I miss her laugh. I miss her handssssssss.

And they want me to KEEP PUSHING?

How far before I am edging off the face of this planet? How FAR BEFORE I AM JUST Another NEWs STORy. This Just In: Everything is wrong and nothing is right and someone who needs those things to be switched is feeling the sadness of losing someone close and needs to be held but people are afraid and needs to be told IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY by someone WHO KNOWS and by someone who Won’t Turn It Into A Media Scandal.

I am not celebrating my birthday this year. I have disappointed everyone and nobody will come and everyone is mad and nobody can fix broken with cake.

“your hand in mine” by Julia on her bed


Saturday August 20, 2016
2:08pm
5 minutes
Heard in a song on Co-op radio

I catch myself believing I deserve better when I grab your hand in the crowded street and you pull away after only a second. I grab your hand as a gesture to show you that in this sea of people, I cling to you. I reach for you. I choose you. I remind you every chance I get that I am proud of you. That I am proud to be with you. That the touch of your skin connects me to the only things in this life that matter. And you might miss all of that if you’re not expecting to see it. If you think holding hands is something to be taken for granted. Or to be done differently, perhaps. On days like this I swim along the shoulders of other people when I think of how lonely it is to love you. How far I’ve pushed my heart into opening and how tired she is from never being cradled back. I don’t think I’m allowed to ask for more. I need so much so much so much.

“Spiritual teachers” by Julia on her bed


Sunday, July 17, 2016
11:06am
5 minutes
Women Food And God
Geneen Roth


I called my spiritual teacher, Helia, because I was in a state of emergency. I couldn’t find anything to wear and I couldn’t tell if it was my inner child reacting to my adult life, or if it was sign from the universe telling me I had to listen inward, or take a risk, or write down my dreams in the journal marked “For Dreams”. Helia was on vacation in the Okanagan. She had posted a photo from Peachland so I knew she was alive, but why wasn’t she responding to my very desperate attempts at contacting her? It’s not like this was a run of the mill anxiety attack or some realization that I cannot do this alone. I already know that I can’t, and that’s what I pay a spiritual healer for. Healia said to never hesitate to reach out. She failed to mention that I should just never be in crisis during the last weeks of July and first weeks of August. So I called my sister instead and she invited me over for homemade brownies and lemonade. She said she would try to massage my left shoulder knot out and maybe I just needed some TLC from someone who used to share a room with me.

“Contemporary and traditional ceremonies” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday June 25, 2016
9:23pm
5 minutes
Weddings from the Heart

I haven’t packed a bag in a long time. I don’t really know where I’d go, so I don’t do things that get me going. Matt will have been gone for exactly a year tomorrow. We’re having a mass for him even though he hated church. Mom is always there these days. She says she has a lot to repent about and just wished she could have done it before. She thinks she could have saved him with prayer. I haven’t thought about leaving home since he killed himself. Maybe because I had been away so long and if I were close by, or closer, he wouldn’t have felt so alone. I guess we all blame ourselves for him being gone. I wish the same thing as my mother, that I could have changed my ways sooner. Only in my case that I would have been less selfish and had the foresight to know the repercussions of moving away from home and leaving your kid brother to fend for himself.

“the nervous towns of Mars” by Julia on her couch


Monday June 13, 2016
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury


I don’t have words right now
not for the pain
not
for the other stuff
I have alien feelings
not happiness
not fear
something is in me breaking
as we speak
I would ask for
permission
to go home early
from all of this
try my lungs out
call to the wild but
there’s a scientist
waiting to take
my blood out
and I think
she owns me or something
Because my thoughts don’t feel
like mine anymore
they feel
like nothings floating
deep
and bobbing up for air
every
now and again
she tells me
stop trying
and I assume she means
everything
everything
everything
My arm is her best friend
my vein
is her guilty pleasure
she looks at my dancing
blue fluids
my
inside life
with fluorescent sparks shooting out
of her eyes
getting ready to keep me
from jumping out of
my skin
and into the world
beside this one
I tell her
They have much more
star-dust because it’s a destination
Not a curse
She says
and I know now
stop
which means
shuffling around while this
thing is in me
which means
talking
because I use
my hands
too much

“screaming like Tasmanian devils” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday June 12, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Bye Judy and Good Luck
Mona Awad


Madelyn had stepped out onto her porch, dimly lit, a few mosquitoes, joint lit. No sweater, it was good to feel cold every now and again. Not impossible cold. Awareness-making cold. She glanced down at the stain on her yellow cable knit T-shirt, pulling the base of it down and out to examine the damage, to survey the crime scene. They had been screaming like Tasmanian devils; running up and down the house so feverishly and never-endingly causing the whole house to vibrate. Madelyn didn’t know if the love she had for them was enough to keep her from hating them when they were like this. She thought she might have to take notes and keep watch on their behaviour with the cycles of the moon. She picked again at the orange-red blotch of defeat on her top. She picked again. She swatted away a mosquito.

“not quite ready for viewing” by Julia at her dining table


Monday May 2, 2016
9:45pm
5 minutes
from leoawards.com

Miriam is working on a masterpiece she is not quite ready to show. She has been behind the curtain for 7 years and she is inspired every day to try and improve it, to make it better, to make sure that it’s perfect. She is getting so good at making the mistakes go away that the masterpiece may soon be on display without flaw and will of course be appreciated more. Miriam does not consider that people waiting for her to complete this masterpiece will have many expectations. She does not let that bother her as she is preoccupied with ensuring that her art is living, breathing, and winning. It must win what ever ribbon is awarded to the winner of the production of a masterpiece. Surely a blue ribbon for dedicating so much time to one thing because there was a vision? Miriam could use a blue ribbon. It’d be nice to be reminded why she stays inside creating without ever showing others her work. Must be a reason why she never feels like it’s good enough to offer.

“Textures” by Julia on her couch


Thursday April 28, 2016
8:52pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

It’s hard for me not to see you in the wallpaper and feel you in the tile. Your life danced on these floors. Your heart wept in this bed. I feel you in the counter grime, underneath the green dust that has formed a film on the island–the spot where you placed all those freshly picked wild flowers for me. I tell myself it is not over. That you are still here and that I am still here and that this is still our home, the living room still a place where we used to make music, the kitchen still a place where we used to make love. I hear you in the buzzing hallway light, and the hum of the furnace. They sing to me your laugh and I am held there by the beauty of this pain. In moments where I am completely quiet, I can almost even see you reading in your favourite arm chair by the window, legs outstretched and resting on the blue accent pillow.

“No need to wait until we die!” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday April 23, 2016
4:35pm
5 minutes
The Essential Rumi
Tr. by Coleman Barks


We’re both sitting on the roof of Geri’s cottage and everyone else has gone to sleep. We are smoking weed and sipping on Mike’s Hard Lemonade and all of it feels perfect in this summer heat. I don’t know who started it but we’re playing a series of “get to know you”/ “get to fuck you” games. Questions like “Would you rather” or statements like “Never have I ever”. I am having the time of my life. I am flirting with you. Hard. You are flirting back and it feels like we could have been doing this thing together all our lives by how easy it all feels. At one point, after we simultaneously down our intentional drinks after both answering that we have have both in fact had a sex dream about the other, you tell me to close my eyes and say “stop” when your finger tips tracing my inner arm get to my elbow crease. I don’t want to say anything that might make it end.

“his eyes were heavy, his muscles ached.” By Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday March 3, 2016
11:46pm
5 minutes
Walkabout
James Vance Marshall


Poor thing had just come in from an unexpected encounter. He was sore all over, one eye glued right shut-save for the little drop of blood that squeezed out and marked up his left cheek. I didn’t know what to do, seeing him like that. I imagined Teri wouldn’t want to know that her little boy had been horse whipped by her own brother, but she was bound to find out sooner or later. I took him over to the sink and I tried to dab a cool cloth on his face, on that nasty eye. He pulled away at first but when I started humming to him he calmed down a bit. I told him over and over again I was so sorry. I didn’t know Elliot would be home so early. I didn’t even have two seconds to hide the sweet little thing before he got his monster hands on him. When I bent down close to meet his eyes with mine, little thing whispered to me, please don’t tell my mom.

“A single breast winking,” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 29, 2016
11:32pm
5 minutes
FWD FWD
Robin Evans


In the shadow of chaos she emerges from her pain, long enough to sit up straight and shake off her darkest parts. Sinking in grungy bathwater, reeking of self hate and self punishment, she lets out a wail, a song of her finned underwater comrades. She is touching ocean floor and stratosphere. She is marking both sides of this earth so she can find her place in between them again.
Her mouth is opened and sound falls out like one last hope-one last plea. She is begging herself to save herself: No muskets, no smoke, no hugs, no rope.

“tossing rolled oats” by Julia at her dining table


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

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

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


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


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

“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 days are not to slip emptily by” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday, January 19, 2016
4:57pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Vita Sackville-West

In the early morning when the sky is still dark and only the sounds of faint garbage trucks can be heard from my window, I am viewing the world with eyes made of satin and lace. It’s easy but distant, honest but soft. I love these moments where my mind speaks very little and my soul shifts between asleep and awake, alert and dreaming, alive and hopeful. I lay there in my silent body, noticing the still and focused mystery of dawn, the quiet whisper of newness and readiness joining hands to fuse energies from past and present. My heart is moved by the warmth of limbs thick on perfect fiber, like baby in blanket; like chocolate on tongue.

“211 Bannatyne ave.” by Julia at Horseshoe Bay


Friday November 13, 2015
11:50pm
5 minutes
from a business card

Remember when I used to come by your work and wait till you got off so we could go get ice cream and caramel sauce and walk the perimeter of the property together before you’d have to go back to your desk and count the hours till you were actually free? Remember how you’d try to take the long way around so you could spend more time with me without saying that you wanted to? Those sticky summer evenings when you would start late and work late and forget which day you were on. Those are the ones I think about when I think about you. Those are the nights I remember how lucky I used to be. Your building looks different now: someone tried to wash off the graffiti and now it just looks uglier. I have to stop myself from going to Nucci’s Gelati so I don’t get tempted by nostalgia to buy you a coconut cone, even thought we were always so disappointed by the shreds that didn’t even taste real.

“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.”

“with the theme of fear” by Julia at Coco et Olive


Monday November 9, 2015 at Coco et Olive
3:23pm
5 minutes
ionmagazine.ca

I am not alone in this room
I share my bed with my former self
And all my past mistakes
I lay my head down on the same pillow as the shame that haunts me
I close my eyes and see the me I never wanted to be
The me I never thought I could be
I am not alone in this lie
Sometimes good people make bad choices
Sometimes bad choices make bad people
I watch the blame hang on every corner of every wall
I wait for it to cling to my eyelids and bind my mind forever
He said she said
She does he does
She regrets he preys
He forgets she stays
I am not alone in this guilt
I share my memories with the poor judgement that follows me
And all the wrong I’ve invited in
To stay a while
To live on inside me

“Her head is down.” By Julia on her couch


Thursday November 5, 2015
9:08pm
5 minutes
An assignment in the marking pile

Walking along the dirt road, she shines her new smart phone flashlight along her feet to light her path.
“Why are there no fucking lights on this street?”
She is so over this shit town, she can’t stand it. She never yelled to herself before. She never was one to talk out loud to nobody.
“Maybe cause this is a perfect place for me to get jumped and attacked and murdered so no one will ever hear me sing the fucking National Anthem at a home game ever fucking again.”
She’s scared because it’s dark and she’s mad because she’s scared. She didn’t want to be here in the first place, fought tooth and nail to avoid it.
“My Bonnie lies over the ocean..”
She clutches her house keys in her right hand, ready to stab the first thing that crosses her path. She hopes all the leaf-crunching she’s hearing is just a raccoon or a skunk. She prays it’s just the wind.
“My Bonnie lies over the sea…”
She hears a quick snap right behind her and stops in her tracks. Her heart is in her throat.
“My Bonnie lies over the o–“

“I know I wouldn’t change much” by Sasha in Buchanan E


Thursday October 8, 2015
5:18pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday, October 8, 2015


If you were here or
I was there
the sun would still be setting
all pink and gold
If you were here or
I was there
the leaves would still be falling
all rust coloured bold
If you were here or
I was there
the crows would still be calling
flying towards the west
If you were here or
I was there
The phoebes would still be curled
together snug in their nest
If you were here or
I was there
the night would still be coming
breathing dark on the sky
If you were here or
I was there
winter would still be on it’s way
and I’d still be asking “why”

“unless its roots reach down to hell” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday September 23, 2015
9:31pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Carl Jung

I’m not really sure how I got here. Not here here, just emotionally here. I wouldn’t have expected to end up like my mother but I guess it’s just in my genes. I don’t know if it’s fair to say that even. Like I’m blaming it on her or I’m not taking responsibility for my own life. I just wonder if I am predisposed to overreacting, turning molehills into mountains, turning good things into bad things. That’s what she does; my mother. She’s a hypochondriac and she’s a paranoid individual with a lot less good people in her life to help her out cause of the way she behaves. Now I see myself in her image. No friends. No partner. Nobody to convince me it’s better to be sane…