“in the blue plastic chair” by Julia at her desk

Sunday October 7, 2018
5:28pm
5 minutes
Illness and Literature
Tony Hoagland

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know what you’re thinking.
I won’t stand and do it.
Kneel and do it.
Won’t close my eyes and picture you saying it.
All I can do from here, from outside your skull
from across the world, is invent a story that might explain.
I might tell myself that you think you’re right.
That you believe I should be working on my apology.
That everyone you know thinks the worst of me now.
I might try to understand why you’re desperate to control things.
But what it all means, that is something I’ll only be able to dream up.
No proof.
No facts.
You’re probably not sorry.
And there I go again.
I don’t know what you are thinking but I know what I am feeling.
I want to scream it out but the wisdom says, the source says, the sister says:
I should practice being still and if I know I am right, let that be enough.
But I don’t know now.
I don’t know what is good.

“whose eyes are a thousand blind windows:” by Julia in Amanda’s kitchen

Tuesday August 7, 2018
11:52pm
5 minutes
Howl
Allen Ginsberg

We wait for each other to stop speaking
silence drifting between us in our car seats
Sometimes saying nothing is saying everything
How shame lives in my cheeks when I can’t
“say nothing”
“say nothing”

We spend three hours staring into each others’ eyes
separated by green tea and a key chain
and some blurry tears streaming without warning
We don’t call me what I am but later I feel it
The reckoning of too much information shared
Too much honesty not yet checked in the echo

We both say how lovely it is and how sad it was
and how soon we will do this again
nobody is crying now
The summer night too hot for tears to puddle

“Rule # 17: Act a little stupid.” By Julia at the studio

Thursday June 14, 2018
5:03pm
5 minutes
The Queen Of Hearts
Kathleen Hawes

She is desperate to speak to someone in French. She goes over to Chantal’s desk because Chantal will talk to anyone and she wants to speak French too. Le Sandwich. I understopd that one, Sans Probleme. Whatever. Let them speak in the secret language that I should know after four years of taking it in high school. After getting the French award at my grade 8 graduation.

At first I thought she was a miserable cunt who hated that I shared a cubicle with her. Maybe she thought I typed too loudly. Maybe she resented my youth. I can see now she might not have known how to express herself properly in English. I wish I didn’t spend so much time hating her back.

She smiles at me on her way to Chantal’s desk. She puts a little French in my name as she passes.

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

Saturday January 6, 2018
9:53pm
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.

“You know I will oh baby” by Julia at her desk


Friday March 17, 2017
9:33pm
5 minutes
Never Had A Dream Come True
S Club 7


For almost two years we have been meaning to go to Burgoo. For almost two years the blue name lit up on the front of the restauant always called to us. Tonight, we finally make the dream a reality. We had heard good things from friends and locals. And it’s Friday, we want to get out of the house, we want to spend time together, it’s raining; it’s going to be Burgoo. And then we sit down, read the menu, and we realize…that we have spent almost two years assuming that it’s a burger place. There were no burgers. Because Burgoo is a stew from Kentuky that has okra in it.

“two complimentary movie passes” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday September 29, 2016
7:44am
5 minutes
cycleto.ca

I come home with a smile on my face and I kiss you on the mouth
You say you missed me
You say this day is better now that I’m back
You ask how the conference was
You ask if I got any swag
I bounce around my tote bag (swag) and pull out the pens (swag) and post-it pad (swag)
You are impressed and I am impressed with my ability to stock up on office supplies
I would otherwise refuse to purchase
Then I reach in and pull out two tickets
You ask me what they are and try to pull them out of my hand
I snatch them away and tell you These Are Not For You!
You try to get a closer look at them and I keep them at arm’s reach
You scowl and cross your arms when you see what they are
You Won Movie Tickets?
I smile again, being coy for some reason
Maybe I Did
Awesome Which Movie Are We Seeing?
I put them back in my bag
These Are Not For You

“flat-out rejected” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 10, 2016
9:09pm
5 minutes
http://howlround.com/submitting-like-a-man-we-have-a-winner

I told him how I feel and he said nothing. Well that’s not entirely true, I suppose, he did say “Ciao.” Like I said, you can call me sometime other than for Halloween and he said, Okay, ciao. With this weird sliminess that I wasn’t expecting from him. And he never did call me. And then he stopped coming for brunch. And I swear he came to that terrible restaurant too many weekends in a row for him to not have had an ulterior motive. And once he helped me clean behind the bar when we were understaffed and I got slammed. He manned the glass-washer. And he made me a couple coffees. And when I tell him to call me, he says, “Ciao”? I guess part of me wondered if I was supposed to learn the “don’t assume shit lesson” because I assumed he liked me. Because he acted like he liked me. He tipped huge. He asked me for opinions on his flooring. And he introduced me to his friends? He even came to eat at the new shitty restaurant I was working at after I left the first one.

“passionate artists” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday March 17, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
from a program

There’s a group of people protesting outside my window. I saw one of their signs and it said “equal rights for all” and that’s how I know this country is going to shit. I’m being very serious. What’s a poet supposed to do with equal rights? I’m pretty sure that’s not how art is made and I can say that because my sister’s ex boyfriend was one of them and all his creation revolved around the worst feelings and circumstances in the world. I think these conditions exist so writers have something to write about about and painters have something to paint. Look at the statistics! Love isn’t going to get “bums in the seats” and valuing a system where hippies just hang out at the beach all day banging on drums and talking about their spirit animals is just going to create more bonfires on beaches!

“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.

“he couldn’t explain or understand.” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 4, 2016
8:07pm
5 minutes
4000 Days
Warren Fellows


It was like yesterday, I remember it like yesterday.
Sunny was in the yard playing with her mason jar filled with tiny snails. She was calling them funny names like Gabrielle and Inmim. I watched her babysit them like they were her dolls. She liked to explain things to them in Spanish, in case they ever needed to be able to do the same. But then there is a flash in this memory, like two films stitched together to edit the problem in between. There was a problem in between. There’s a second vision as strong and detailed as the first before the flash. Thea and Perry are crying in my living room and everyone is screaming Sunny’s name. Thea is wearing the locket she gave to her and shaking her head back and forth so furiously it looks like it might spin off. Perry is holding her hand and clenching his jaw. He is smiling but he doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

“Are you sure about that?” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 3, 2016
7:15pm
5 minutes
Right Hand Man
Stacey Kaser


Kenny carries his wife’s handbag around the house when no one is home. He loves the way it looks. It elevates so many of his outfits. He doesn’t feel ashamed but he doesn’t want to tell anyone. No. Scratch that: he does feel ashamed and is dying to tell someone. Melanie might wonder if he had other things he was hiding from her, but Kenny could promise her without lying that he just thinks he should be able to wear it without any labels attached. Kenny has had this conversation with Melanie inside his head before. It can only go one of two ways. The first being “I wonder what you’d think if I chose to do this.” “I’m totally cool with it because it doesn’t mean you are any less you.” OR…”I have this thing I like to do.” “I cannot be with someone who does what they do without putting all their things into neatly organized boxes.” Kenny believes it’d be the former, but he doesn’t know for sure.

“awaken in the morning’s hush” by Julia at a Sichuan restaurant on West Broadway


Tuesday February 2, 2016
3:18pm
5 minutes
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye


Over the years that I’ve known her, Shawna has never arrived anywhere on time. I don’t think she’s particularly proud of this habit, but I’ve also never seen her try to fix it. She apologizes, sure, don’t get me wrong, but she is always, always late. I wonder what she does every morning before she meets me or gets to her appointments. We meet at 11:30 because she can’t get there any earlier. I seriously wonder what her schedule looks like, what she prioritizes, what she lets slip away. I’ve also never once been to Shawna’s house. It’s so mysterious but perhaps I am more curious because I want to see if any of my speculations are true: does she make the bed twice because she can’t help but jump on it after she makes it the first time? Does she stay up all night, victim of insomnia, and finally catch her sleep when the rest of the world is waking up? Is she hiding a small family of raccoons in her basement that she doesn’t want anyone to see?

“stop making assumptions” by Julia at her Mom’s desk


Sunday, December 27, 2015
7:57pm
5 minutes
The Four Agreements
Don Miguel Ruiz


On some days when the hearts are full and the bellies even fuller
we will think the thoughts of a mind that is empty
because comfort takes the driver’s seat and warmth is possible from all directions
Some of us with full bellies also have full senses of self
and like to take any opportunity to be the loudest in the room
It will be difficult to ignore these bellies and these loud laughs
It will seem impossible to have a positive thought about them
But nothing is impossible
and we must be able to remember that when our hate wants to step on a stool to be easily seen
We must ask ourselves if it’s not worth saying, is it worth thinking?
The closer we examine these moments, the easier it becomes to be good at handling them
We do not want to assume that the loud bellies are seeking to harm
We do not need to assume that they have a particular agenda in mind
Only that they are in need of love just as much as we are

“Reducing your taxes” by Julia on her patio


Monday May 18,2015
10:19pm
5 minutes
http://www.finance.ubc.ca

I met a woman and she was obsessed with money and she gave me her card and it took me a while to realize it but the reason was cause she was an accountant and it dawned on me a couple days later but now it makes sense cause when a woman talks about money that much and with that much authority she must be some professional when it comes to sorting all that stuff out–you know the numbers and the what have yous. I think she was trying to sell me her business cause of the card cause she could hear that I wasn’t too good with all those numbers and terms and she musta thought I was a big dumb man not knowing how to take care of all those financial issues and the like. It got me to thinking of my ex-wife Rosie cause she didn’t know a thing about money and she used to tell me it wasn’t her job to worry about bills and limits and payments and the what have yous and that’s why ours were always such a problem case I didn’t like them either. She used to say that women don’t know money just the way men don’t know gentleness and if we just teamed up then we’d never have to learn the other part cause that’s how God intended it when he looked down on the earth and matched up two people and decided how to make them into a family. This woman with the money she told me real nice that my eyes made her feel things she had never felt before and when she gave me her card and told me to call her I thought for a second maybe she wanted to love me.