“Is it the beginning of a poem?” By Julia in the bathroom

Thursday March 28, 2019
10:30pm
5 minutes
The Poet Always Carries A Notebook
Mary Oliver

I tell the woman my name after she asks and make a joke about my last name rhyming with wedgie so she’ll remember how to pronounce it.

She looks at me for a minute then I explain that it came from some unkind yet quite creative grade fours when I was the new kid in school. I laugh, she laughs, everyone sitting near us laughs. And then she begins to talk about how a pebble in a stream can change the course of a river and I’m going where she’s taking me. She uses it as a teaching moment to remind the class that even small moments can stay with us our whole lives and we don’t know which pebbles people are walking around with in their pockets.

It even hits me hard and I’m the one joking about it.

She tells me, maybe that’s the start of a poem. It already rhymes…

“I almost loved you,” by Julia in her room

Thursday February 28, 2019
10:16pm
5 minutes
In Dublin
Maura Hanrahan

I almost loved you out of me but that’s not the way some beds work. There was no formula that I could plug my feelings into; no step by step guide to the other side of mercy.

Not when you can justify just about anything. Even the ones with a pulse far below the surface of being true. I almost loved you right back into you. The way I want you to get the bigger chicken breast; the sexiest garlic clove between the four of them.

I almost did that but I detoured at the stop where I was supposed to fill up on seeing myself fairly. I confused that for your lack.

But almost.

“not only the present” by Julia on her couch

Saturday February 16, 2019
11:40pm
From the Constitution of the Iroquois Nation

You’re allowed to think about the past if you want to. There’s nothing wrong with the way you’re doing it. Some people want to take a deep breath in and out and focus and be right where they are in the moment. Right where they are with their physical bodies. Our past holds different aspects of ourselves. We would need to put attention on those every now and again if they’re a part of us, wouldn’t you agree? You’re allowed to time travel and thank yourself and see yourself and accept yourself. You can go back as many times as you want. You can be where you once were before you ever thought anything was wrong with you. A land before shame.

“They say looks aren’t everything,” by Julia on the 84

Friday January 25, 2019
9:40pm
5 minutes
What to Look for in a Horse
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

I want to see a person and not make any thoughts up about who they are and what they do and why they’re wearing what they’re wearing. I do make up some thoughts about some
people but mostly I thank myself quietly for being me instead of them. They are busy being them, wearing the shoes they wear, the big bright buttons on their slacks, the cool hat, the stupid shoes. I am not judging. Stupid shoes is not an opinion, it’s a broken ankle waiting to happen. What makes a shoe more stupid than its shape is where that shoe is worn. Managing a restaurant? Stupid. Walking the dog in a rainstorm? Stupid. The person I have no problem with. Or maybe I do. Maybe I’m one judgemental piece of shit projecting my unexamined insecurities on people just passing me on the street on their way to the grocery store. Looks aren’t everything. But it’s what you see. It’s what you notice. I don’t think the flower kingdom is going around saying, here I am, but I’m not just a pretty face, I matter, I’m important. Everyone knows flowers matter but if they self-claimed it they wouldn’t have time to simply live it.

I may have lost the plot a little bit here.

“grateful to be where we are now.” By Julia on her couch

Friday January 11, 2019
12:06am
From a Christmas card

A garden preened to the high heavens mocks my morning walk to the compost heap left bubbling
I hate these neighbours and their tireless knees
How some people sit like that I will never understand
My mother didn’t meet her green thumb until her 60s so maybe there’s still time for me. Not sure why my father didn’t force me into the earth when I was young and curious. Some life skills I fear I may never own
My garden wouldn’t make sense anyway-a clump of rosemary, a hill of daisies
I have never been willing to look so far ahead into a year
It’s the same pill I swallow when packing my things even if only for the night

“So the Search was begun” by Julia at Pearson Airport

Monday December 31, 2018
8:08am
5 minutes
The Tao Of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff

In the middle of the night I heard a whisper in the sound of my own voice coming from inside my head. It was me, or I believed it to be. I was telling me to breathe and focus and stop focusing and see the white wall and Dear Lord Please, Please. I was telling me to find peace in the stillness. A little voice asked if it was okay if I watched a movie instead. I said yes to myself and began to play a moving picture show of all my choices and all the bread I got to eat. The lobster. The Italian sausage. The night my father and I took a deep look. The movie played and I rewatched it again and again. I told me I could watch it in the morning once I had woken up but the me laying didn’t feel like the me saying was being true. The search had begun for what was. For what was true. Why would inside voice me try to trick outside laying me? What is inside voice me trying to get me to notice or understand or remember forever and ever amen.

“To cling to water?” By Julia at M’s table

Saturday, December 1, 2018
9:17pm
5 minutes
Is It Possible to Love a Ghost?
Erin Kang

Had to get my
ass down to the
water yesterday
I took you with
me and didn’t
have to ask
where we were
Country wide
You knew
You always do
And that is the
beacon above
it all and under
I had been
hearing people
talk about the
healing properties
of the ocean
but you have to
bring yourself
to the waves
You have to
Face the ripples
and reflection
Be ready to
find yourself
echoing

In my last city
I did not have
the option
in my backyard
the way I do here
I could have
swallowed all the
right pills and
travelled to the
island once every
Three hundred
and sixty-five
days

“Our “new” or higher brain” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday November 21, 2018
2:25pm
5 minutes
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
Sarah J. Buckley

Take me out to dinner
I say this to me
me says this to me
take me out of this house
and into the world
Order something delicious!
I say this to me as
if I might try to save a few
dollars like the last time
I had this conversation
Take the good out and let
the world see it so they can
see themselves the way they need to
It is not easy
It could be easy
Leave the house! Leave the house!
I say this to me when I have tricked
myself into believing that
inside will keep me from breaking
But it isn’t like that
I could lie and say I’d prefer
to stay inside where it is safe
but the truth is that is where
all the breaking happens
It is not safe indoors with all
the mirrors and all the couch
not asking me to leave it
Take yourself on a walk
I say this to myself when my body
feels like it has forgotten
how to move
Smell the fresh mountain air!
That’s why you live here!
I say this to myself when I catch
a bead of sweat pooling in the
elbow crease
This is today’s sweat in yesterday’s
sweater and this does not keep
you safe
I say this to myself so I can hear
it in the voice of someone
higher than me

“I want to do right but not right now” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday November 20, 2018
10:03pm
5 minutes
Look at Miss Ohio
Gillian Welch

There’s an idea floating in the air
one you planted maybe so I would hear it
Something about success being mere moments away
as if to say that it isn’t already here
I could always do something more
now that you’ve gotten me thinking about it
I have to ask you though,
do you think I will only be successful after
I climb to the highest rung of the ladder?
Am I not already a success?
Being thoughtful. That’s good work too.
Or perhaps the ladder is of your making.
I won’t be climbing that one, for the record.
Up is not the place I’m trying to get.
I’d rather go in. Go deep. Go bravely.
It could be that you have my best interest
at heart and that you see my potential
but I do not wish to be known for what I could be
if the circumstances allow
I want to be known for the love I am showing myself today
now
The one I keep risking in a world where they tell you
it’s for the best but when you do it they try to
take a rung out from under you
as if you were climbing up up up just like them
I know I have fallen
But I have learned more on the way back up
than I ever thought I would

“hence it is important that you DETERMINE” by Julia at the desk

Sunday July 29, 2018
6:24pm
5 minutes
Snark Tuner Instructions

You must be able to read the language of your personality with care
Know how to take the truth and swallow it
Understand how to protect yourself
how to avoid swallowing too much air along with it
You must get good at asking yourself the right questions:
Am I hungry?
Am I Lonely?
There are others
They can work for all of us
You must be able to determine which thing is occurring
You must be able to listen to the answer as if it were a
new born baby crying with reckless abandon
As if it cannot be ignored
And then don’t ignore it
Pick up your baby (You)
rock your baby (you) with love
Kiss your baby’s (your) cheeks
And wait there for a miute
to be informed

the fortifiers of human agency” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday March 27, 2018
11:14pm
5 minutes
On Being

Things may have escalated. My alarm clock now tells me how shitty I’m being for sleeping. Not sleeping in, but being tired. Labels as the chimes go off: don’t waste your potential! Get thee to the yoga mat! I should be thanking night me for trying to kick morning me in the ass for some good quality productivity but I do not listen to myself. I’m the only one who can fortify my own agency and yet, snooze, sorry, tomorrow. My mind craves structure and my body craves cuddles. Nobody wins here. Nobody wins, and somebody should since it’s all just me playing me against me playing me. Nothing is real! Getting up early is not real! Wishing I didn’t wonder where the hours go is not real!

“filled with feeling but generally paralyzed.” By Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday February 2, 2017
11:19pm
5 minutes
From an interview with Miranda July in LENNY letter

My fears are bigger than Maggie’s but I dont want her to know. I tell her I don’t care and she tells me that I should. I tell her that it doesnt concern me so why should I even bother and she tells me to get educated; to get it right. I lie through my teeth because the lies are little enough to pass through uninjured. I lie through my teeth because the second step after waking up is leaving the bed. Because the one after that is looking myself in the eye and agreeing that more needs to be done. I tell Maggie it doesn’t interest me because it hurts to care so much and still be rooted to the darkness.

“I checked and it looks good.” By Julia at Starbucks


Thursday March 26, 2015 at Starbucks
6:32pm
5 minutes
From an email

I hate sometimes more than I want to
More than I ought to
More than I need to
It fills me up
Enough to skip my second meal
And try to nap for 25 minutes
Before I have to get somewhere
I don’t like when people refuse to laugh at my jokes cause they have no sense of humour.
I know it does not mean they are wrong or right if they don’t find me funny, but the ones who smile without showing their teeth don’t like to be showed up by someone in front of a group of someones. I guess that shows weakness. I guess that shows emotional unwillingness.

“this is the best place” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday February 4, 2015
10:29pm
5 minutes
castingworkbook.com

Shying away from the old heartache song
I don’t take too well to that kind of thing anymore
It hurts a bit in places that I didn’t know I had
So I let that tune play on elsewhere
I don’t tell it to stop cause I know it has to keep going
But I send it some peace so it knows It’s not personal
When I meet grace again, I’ll hum it softly
Maybe I’ll mouth the words
That’s when I’ll be able to have it quietly on repeat in the background
Underscoring my day to day
My dishes in the sink
My clothes on the line
My what ifs, if onlys
My midnight snack of whiskey and war

“The six methods are:” by Julia at MAKE coffee+stuff


Thursday July 24, 2014 at MAKE
1:55pm
5 minutes
Ashtanga Yoga Primer
Baba Hari Das

Oh for coping? I guess I have some experience. I usually don’t talk about them with anyone though. I don’t like sharing that stuff in case anyone finds it disturbing or whatever. TMI, maybe? I usually just avoid people during the coping period all together.
But okay. I could list them out, if that’s what you need? If you think it’ll help?
Number one…I’m suddenly acutely aware of myself. And my sadness. Because I’m still struggling with these and I’m the one who originated them. Sorry. Number one: Scream. It sounds easy, but it’s different than just letting sound out at a high volume. It’s a deep one. It’s guttural, it’s blood curdling, it’s hopeless and hopeful at the same time. And it lasts for at least 90 seconds. I do this one first to let it all out. Or try to.
Number two: find a sore spot on your body – a knot, a bruise, a tight muscle, and dig into it. With anything you want, but usually I use my elbows. You want something very pointy. Number three: Finish an entire container of peanut butter. Don’t move from your spot until it’s completely gone, lid licked. I don’t know why this one helps but it does. Maybe because you need something to stick to your bones once you’ve released all the unwanted parts. Number four: put on a blindfold and walk around your house until you know it by touch. Number five: Paint your mirror around your face. Turn it into something like a face cut out character you’d see at a carnival. Number six: floss.