“The courage that my mother had” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday September 10, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

They all bet on her, did you know that?
She was the quietest one and they all
put down their twenty-dollar bills with
confidence. “She’s going to be last.”

When my mother was in labour with my
brother, nobody saw it coming. She is
not the kind of person to screech or
claw, but she will sit softly on the
edge of her heart being thrust into
outer space, into another dimension.

She has always been this way,
underestimated, as though physical
size were an indication of anything.
She did not complain. Not when her
head was throbbing, or her knee
threatened to make her sorry she
ever tried to walk. Not when her
knuckles furled in on themselves,
not when she was giving birth to
all three of us.

She simply did it. Quietly.
And I did not inherit that
from her.

When the nurses found out that my
mother was the first of all the
labouring mothers to deliver,
they yelled at her.
“You just lost me twenty bucks,
lady.”

“So close to the end of my childbearing life” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday September 3, 2019
7:32am
5 minutes
The Girl
Marie Howe

It was never a matter of if
it was only a matter of when
and the knock at the door started

months before we merged
magic and satisfaction
love and hope

the knock of your heart
on my heart

”let’s dance”
”it’s time”

Christmas time
three years ago
he told me he wanted
to have a baby together

He gave me a pacifier
and I behaved strangely

given that I’ve always known

It was the pacifier

Pacify
Placate
I don’t know
I was younger then
I didn’t know what I know now

I cried in the basement
of my parent’s house
the tree aglow two floors above

“Redeemable exclusively at” by Julia on her bed

Thursday August 1, 2019
2:40pm
5 minutes
From a Salvation Army flyer

you can cash in here
give your nickles and dimes
for a better time
sure you can cash in here

i’ve got some grief i need to redeem, trade it in for
a bucket of your best excuses
mourn the loss of every baby i let die in the mines after i finally said they could be gold

i did what i was told, held their hands and plugged their noses, dunked their heads and laid out roses
the goodbye don’t come easy when it’s not your time to go

you can cash in here, get your bang for your buck, i’m the counter with the tear duct tango and you’re trying to find someone to dip

“everything is ending” by Julia at the studio

Monday June 18, 2018
1:14pm
5 minutes
A Visit from the Goon Squad
Jennifer Egan

Good timing. I was about to flip my shit.
Who do I flip my shit toward, anyway? Is there
someone out there who has the necessary skills to
deal with shit being flipped at them?
Do they specialize in flipping shit back over or something?
It’s a good thing that everything is ending.
because I am not sure how much more beginning I can take.
New life, new friends, new ideas about my eyebrows.
This shit takes time to build and see and I think what is
worse is that it does not take long to flip, just long to
decide to flip it. Flip the shit I mean, If I wasn’t being clear.
Things are ending and the new moon is like, Yo, do your new thing.
We are all new. We are all brand new babies sucking on the nipple of life
hoping there’s enough milk to keep us from crying our heads off.
That’s what the new moon says. I swear to god she is full of shit herself
but like, it’s the moon, and she may be royalty but she’s not an asshole.
She doesn’t think she’s better than us.
I like my moon to have a little bit of attitude anyway.
She’s not pretending to be better than us new babies trying to navigate
this ridiculous existence. She sees it all, so she knows how common
the scrambling around is.
And now that everything is ending I can finally take a shit
instead of piling shit on shit and getting buried in a world
of my own misguided making.
I’m still talking metaphoric shit here, cause I never really let
that whole concept go. I’m working on making some more specific shit.
That’ll be good when it all ends and has to begin again.

“All my friends are having babies” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday April 4, 2018
2:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

All my friends are having babies and I am more concerned with how good my freaking nails look these days. It’s taken a long time to like my hands. How do you like a hand that squeezes too hard, that breaks the good mugs, that spends most of its time down the front of raggedy sweat pants? These hands have never housed nice nails. These nails have never looked this strong. Some days I couldn’t tell if it was blood underneath them or just ketchup chips. It’s all I can think about because it’s like they belong on someone else’s body. Someone else who, say, might be having a baby. I’m used to seeing chips and tears and skin peeling off where it shouldn’t. They were not the hands that held soft things and kept them soft. They didn’t know how to stay one colour when stepping out into the cold.

“Why does having children” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday September 3, 2017
11:59pm
5 minutes
Don’t Even Think About It: why our brains are wired to ignore climate change
George Marshall


So many babies already born
already needing love
already hurting
already here
So many babies taking up
so much space
I read about climate change
I read about destruction
over and over
and I know the stats I know the reasoning

And yet

Everything in my body says
MAKE LIFE
Everything in my body says
GIVE ME A BABY
I never thought myself traditional
I never thought myself wanting
wanting wanting a generation of
longing paid to want paying for the want

“while the couple works out their troubles without distraction” by Julia on the 99


Monday June 12, 2017
5:00pm
5 minutes
Committed
Elizabeth Gilbert


My sister tells me she doesn’t want kids and it ruins everything. I know she used to but then she dated a man she didn’t want to have a copy of so she changed her mind and then things were better for her. I always thought if anyone, it would be her, and I would happily be the world’s best Zia to her kid, and even co-parent when I needed to. My sister breaks my heart accidentally when she breaks the news. I wonder who will give our parents grandchildren now? Isn’t she the one who has always done the right thing? Up till this I have been very lucky that no one expects much of me other than poetry and improvised musicals about my day.
How weird it must be for everyone that I’m the one who caught the bouquet at Stef’s wedding, and guessed the exact measurement of Cheryl’s pregnant belly at her baby shower.

“capacity for self-control.” by Julia at her desk


Sunday June 11, 2017
8:17pm
5 minutes
From an interview with Maia Szalavitz in The Sun

In the space between two o’clock and safe and sound, the ideal smell of me is masked in cream cheese smeared eyebrows. The baby I thought would be sweet is bigger and more violent than I want her to be. The other one, thank god for him.
Who says you are what you eat?
Am I nothing today and yesterday?
Am I impatience and knotted hair?
She says help yourself to the fruit in the fridge or the yogurt. Says this is the most rested she’s felt in a long time. I am supposed to be generous and glad to help out a woman who didn’t mean to be a mother.
Instead I want to rip her precious book in two;
remind her there is also only one of me.

“update your voter information” by Julia on the 99


Saturday March 11, 2017
7:22pm
5 minutes
from Elections BC

Raise your hand in the air if you vote yay to Cinnamon Bun Sundays. Really? Only 1 of you? I thought you people would be over the moon about that. Okay all opposed? All of you now? What is this, Fake Out Mommy Friday? Let’s try again: all in favour of Topless Tuesday? Oh come on, Elliot, you know you’ve been trying to get me to agree to this for weeks now! There we go, thank you, someone is finally being honest around here. And we have two more! Motion granted. Topless Tuesdays for everybody! Ok anyone who wants to begin Monkey Mondays raise your chubby little hands. You’re all sheep. All four of you. You don’t even know what Monkey Monday means!

“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

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.

“misgendering a trans person” by Julia at Jericho Beach


Sunday June 26, 2016
4:12pm
5 minutes
From a Tweet


-I can’t believe we’re discussing your baby. Your baby that’s attached to you!
-I know, I’m glad we decided to keep this little cashew.
-When are you going to find out the sex?
-No, we’re not doing that.
-What? why not? All the aunts will be expecting a party.
-Party?
-A gender reveal party: get a cake with hidden icing, slice it up, check for sex, play stupid games…
-And yet, those are reasons I hadn’t considered. The last thing I need is a bunch of middle aged women blasting each other with blue or pink silly string.
-You don’t want to find out if it’s a girl cashew or a boy cashew?
-THAT’S NOT THE POINT!

“the best of” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, April 2, 2016
11:41pm
5 minutes
from a program insert

How do you know if a toddler is thirsty? They don’t know how to ask for things, they get distracted by spinning and highlighters and drumming on the refrigerator with paper towel rolls. How do you know if they need something? I am wondering because as an adult I never even know when I’m thirsty. I mean I know when I am and that I ignore it and that I have to have an app my phone remind me when it’s time to ingest a life fluid that I know I need to drink in order to be healthy. A toddler is waiting for the adult to give him water isn’t he? Isn’t the little one waiting until she sees her cup to know she could put it to her lips and feel better after she drinks? Do you have to ask every thirty seconds? I don’t want to be responsible for a child’s thirst. Do they just swallow their own saliva, manufactured every millisecond by the gallon? Is there some forum online for this? I don’t want to ask this question publicly if the world already has an answer. It’s not even my kid by the way. I guess that’s why I kind of need to know…

“What kids want” by Julia at Kibune Sushi


Friday September 11, 2015
6:48pm
5 minutes
from the front page of the Globe and Mail
Life and Arts section


What kids want is to be born into a family that wants them. Then after they’re alive in this world, after they’ve traveled from one distant universe to the one we all share, they want to be held and warmed up, and spoken to very softly. They need someone else to carry their spongy bones for a while so they can rest after their long journey. That’s not asking too much. That’s the least we can do. And after they feel like they’ve been shown a kindness or two, they start to want a couple more things. They want love and they want home and they want patience and they want security and they want comfort and they want ice cream and they want to cry and they want to laugh and they want to shriek and they want to imagine. These and all the other things they want, are the things we can give them. They don’t ask for everything. They don’t need that. We do all the complicating. We do all the blaming.

“The audience is your partner” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, June 28, 2015
8:44pm
5 minutes
Conversations with Anne
Anne Bogart


Hi! Oh there are so many of you! Such a good looking group, and I swear I’m not just saying that. I don’t tell everyone that. I don’t think it’s fair to give people false interpretations of themselves. If it’s not a good looking group, I just avoid the topic entirely. But you. You are a stunning piece of work, and you should know that you are because everyone should hear it if it’s true. I don’t like when people go crazy for babies even if they’re not cute. Some people say the mothers always think their kid is cute but what about the truly ugly infants? I’m not trying to be cruel, but my friends, I value authenticity; I value reality. How does a mother look at her ugly kid and still make claims that he or she is adorable. Okay okay I know what you’re thinking, “she’s an asshole, she must be dealing with some childhood trauma, or self-image issues.” I can assure you, and maybe I should be lying here, that I do just simply hate people who won’t see the truth.

“Those were the worst nights” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday June 2, 2015
12:44am
5 minutes
overheard at Higher Grounds

Trains pounding through the thin night air and landing directly beside us in bed
Mosquitoes trapped between the broken screen door and the hot summer sunset
Newborn babies trying to name their pain at every single hour
Flash floods and terrible eaves
Basement apartment and a new soggy sofa bed complete with rain-water swimming pool
Wasps building nests and forever homes in our nest and forever home
Staying up late fighting over who would get the window side
Staying up late fighting over who would get Tess and who would get Jinx

“Mummy, mummy!” by Julia on the tube


Tuesday December 16, 2014
5:07pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Sainsbury’s

I have to tell you this, mother to mother..I hate hearing my own name. I mean, I miss hearing my real name, the one given to me by my mother, but I can’t stand hearing ‘mummy’ anymore. It just started really affecting me. I’d say up until two weeks ago I didn’t think anything of it. But I want to ask you’ve ever asked your kids to call you Ruth? I had a day dream that they were calling me Enid and it made me love them more. I hear mummy and it sounds so very desperate. They need something from me at all times with that name. With Enid, we were equals and it was a choice for me to take care of them, not an obligation. Of course I always want to take care of them, I’m not mad..but having the autonomy is in a way, more freeing.
In my mind little Emma can’t pronounce it properly but it still works like a charm.

“founded in Cuba” by Julia on her couch


Friday June 20, 2014
10:36pm
5 minutes
from a sign at Queen and Abell St.

met a lovely woman and a lovely man
they were married
they met us there in the sand
came bringing mangos
gifts of the beach for us and for friendship
and we gave them all our soaps, our gum, our sandals
we could get more at home and they couldn’t get more in their home
and it was sad
but that’s the way it was
they met us there in the sand
showed pictures of their babies in braids beaching topless with bikini bottoms
young and free and didn’t know
and so we walked with them
hand in hand
and ate the mangos while the sun set
peeling back the skin with our teeth
taking photos of the moments like these
with people like those
and we held hands
met a lovely woman and a lovely man
I don’t know where they live now
I sent letters
I sent money
I sent the necklace she said she loved but felt bad taking when I offered it then
I sent love
I sent photos of my babies, straight, curly, straight
naked in the pool
splashing tiny drops and making big waves
and we haven’t heard a word
and we don’t know if they’re allowed to get the mail
or to see the mail
or to open the mail
and so maybe someone else has the money
and maybe someone else has the necklace
and maybe someone else has the photos of my babies
and maybe someone else has the love
we think of them often
the day there in the hot hot heat
we met a lovely woman
and we met a lovely man
they were married
they were the ones we hold

“Virginia” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday June 5, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
7:34pm
5 minutes
from a sign on the wall of the Antique Shop

I wanted to call her Ginny because I thought that was cute but Madeleine bit my head off about it and said I had to call her by her full name, Virginia, or everyone else would start calling her stupid “off-shoot” names. She said “off-shoot” as if it were some terrible disease. I think nicknames are sweet. Mad never cared that I called her a short-form. It wasn’t an “off-shoot” as much as it was a term of endearment. Something you call someone that means something to you because it’s your thing and her thing or his thing or whatever. Anyway, Virginia ended up being a boy so we had to think of another name for her after all. I always picture when we have a girl, or if we do, that Mad will want to still call her Virginia and maybe I can call her Ginny when Mad’s not around so it can be our special thing, just the two of us. Names are a very important part of a person’s identity. I don’t want to have a kid that has to go around correcting everybody just because they call her a name her mother doesn’t like. She’s the one who calls me Mike when she knows my mother hates it when I get anything other than Michael.

“for being born and stuff” by Julia at her desk


Friday March 14, 2014
11:44pm
5 minutes
Nelu’s Birthday Card

When I welcome baby Preston I will tell him, “you’re little and I’m big, so that makes me the boss of you!” He will laugh at all my jokes and tell me I’m his favourite sister with his eyes, and we’ll both giggle cause I’m his only sister! I will take him for walks and introduce him to Mr. Andrews who rakes our lawn, and Mrs. Edwards who helps us cross the street with her bright yellow vest. Then when the grass is dry, I will take him to the park and show him what the sun really looks like! I will feed him chunks of bread dipped in Cheese Wiz, and he will make sure the flies don’t land on our stuff by drooling everywhere! I know baby Preston will drool because my Mommy told me so! She said, “He will drool as much as you did,” and I drooled a lot! Baby Preston is supposed to come from Mommy’s tummy in exactly one week from right now. If he doesn’t show up at 2:22 PM, he will be late for his first big appointment. I will teach him how to always be on time and run when Mommy or Daddy calls him. Sometimes you think you’re already running very fast, but I will show him that he should always run fastest before dinner.

“I loved my father” by Julia at her kitchen table


Friday March 7, 2014
10:38pm
5 minutes
Black Elk Speaks
John G. Neihardt


Once he held me in the palm of his hand, said shh shh little sweetie, shh shh my little one, and he sang to me when no one was listening, the songs his father used to sing to him, and he held me there just gazing at the top of my sleeping head, dreaming of the future angel fuzz that he hoped I would get from him, and he stayed in one spot scared to move even an inch, because the smell of my skin made him happy, and he knew if I woke I would want to go to someone else instead.
Once he held me in his lap while I wept crocodile tears, told me he wouldn’t touch the splinter dug deep into my heel, promised he wouldn’t because he knew it would hurt very deeply, and because he knew when he promised I would trust him with no strings attached, then when no one was around, he hummed our favourite song, and pulled the splinter out, saying shh shh little sweetie, shh shh my little one, no more pain for you tonight, no more pain if I’m around.

“Baby you’re much too fast” by Sasha in her bed


Wednesday February 26, 2014
12:13am
5 minutes
Little Red Corvette
Prince


I feel sick with worry that you want three babies. You tell me this over coffee you’ve simmered on the stovetop, sputtering on the white metal, leaving flecks of brown. I pour almond milk in mine and you drink yours black. “Three babies!” You say, like we’re choosing a colourful and slightly daring couch at Ikea. I don’t worry about the carrying or the baring. I have a round, strong body for this. I feel sick with worry because this world is so broken and I’d never say it to your face but sometimes, like a dark cloud passing over, I feel really hopeless. Sometimes this goes away and I feel only excited.

“documenting, communicating” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday November 13, 2013
10:42am
5 minutes
25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer
Jocelyn K. Glei


Corinne and her baby brother, Emilio, were standing at the bus stop–well, Emilio was not standing, but sitting more so on Corinne’s hip and playing with the gold chain around her neck. She was careful to watch him so he wouldn’t pull off the ‘C’ that hung near her cleavage.
Emilio, according to most, was an accident baby as he had been born 20 years after Corinne. She didn’t think of him like that…A happy accident if any.
Corinne was the only one who seemed to care for little Emilio as her mother was away for weeks at a time attending to “business” which really just meant “business men”. Corinne wasn’t even convinced that her and Emilio had the same father. Her mother was not one to kiss and tell so everyone was always just left guessing.
Corinne was on her way, with unintentional offspring in tow, to meet Carla, her friend from high school who said she had some very important news.

“pleasures of science.” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday, September 10, 2013
12:40am
5 minutes
The Norton Anthology of English literature

And here’s where I pick a relatively HUGE-ASS bone with people who refer to their parents as their “best friends”. For the record, I am not saying that one cannot get a long with their parents, or want to spend time with them, or tell hem personal things, or feel loved or love or whatever, blabbity blah blah. But best friends? BEST FRIENDS? This is not okay. Your parents HAVE TO LOVE YOU. They signed up for it when they decided to raise you even after you shat all over their NEW COUCH/KITCHEN TABLE/BED/BATHTUB/CAR/SINK/FAVOURITE SKIRT/PERFECT PANTS. They were like, this shitting machine is still somewhat cute and needs a lot of guidance to stop SHITTING EVERYWHERE, oh look, I’m the only one who spends this much time with it, I might be a good fit to lend some teaching, also, have you seen those cheeks? UNREAL! They were not like, I CHOOSE YOU IN SPITE Of YOUR FLAWS, they were like, I GUESS I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS WHAT THIS CRYING THING YOU’RE DOING MEANS, GODDAMMIT.
So. I rest. Parents can be your “best parents”, but they cannot be your “best friends”. SEEK HELP. K, thanks.

“you do it because” by Julia at Nova Era Bakery


Monday May 13, 2013
11:15am at Nova Era Bakery
5 minutes
Wild Mind
Natalie Goldberg


You do it because you like to watch pudgy toddlers purse their chubby faces into a pout and watch the pudgy tears form in their chubby eyes, and then stream down like the Niagara Falls-no end in sight. You pinch. You squeeze too hard–for love. To be loved….
Poor pudgy baby only knows first the pinch, then the ouch, then the inconsolable sadness that follows once the pain sets in. And you will stay there for the duration of this whole progression. Because you want to be the one they run to. Poor pudgy baby. You bend down and scoop them up in your arms and you rock them, singing Shhh shhh, it’s okay, it’s okay, I’m here, into their chubby toddler ears. You hum a lullaby of I’ll protect you, of Don’t worry, of I’ve got you, you’re safe now. You’re not a bad person, but you do love being the one to fix the pudgy baby’s mood, the sadness. You’re the loving face they forget is the same one behind the pinch, then the ouch, then the Niagara Falls.
Your smile and sympathy are as real as your need to save, but it comes from your dark place. No, no. Don’t worry. You’re not a bad person. You do it because you need to.

“find the light” by Julia at Apollo Studios


Sunday May 5, 2013 at Apollo Studios
5:50pm
5 minutes
from the Voice Over Survivor script book

Oh let there be a shining sign,
A heart to hold, a hand on mine, for days to come, and down the line,
Oh let there be a shining sign.

Amelia stood in her kitchen fixing
tomato salad and nondescript beans. She swayed back and forth with an easiness about her she hadn’t recognized since her youth. Shawna would be home soon from the market with her fresh basil and Amelia had plans to ask her about the people there. Amelia hadn’t left her house in just shy of a month. Losing the baby was hard for her, as it would be, but she made a promise to Shawna and Valerie that she’d still be around if the two of them needed her. She was trying to hide the sadness when they came over, especially together. Valerie was too young to understand what was happening to her sister and Shawna was the type who just didn’t care much about anything that didn’t involve her.

“Isabella (image dip)” By Julia at The Common on Bloor


Thursday, April 11, 2013 at The Common on Bloor
2:06pm
5 minutes
IMG_1394
By Julia Pileggi

Jumping time is any time! That’s what Mommy says! Mommy says so many things that I can’t even REMEMBER THEM ALL!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Mommy jumps. She wears her bathing suit in the winter time and then runs around in the snow because it’s FUN. I don’t have one with two pieces yet. Mommy says it’s not right for me. I tell her I want to run in the snow with my robe on! Pink and ripped but pink and perfect! Mommy says, do whatever your little heart desires. It desires cotton candy most days. Or CAMPFIRES with ROASTED MARSHMALLOWS!!! Yessssssss!!! I like it just me and Mommy. I can tell her I will not go to bed early and she will say, okay just five more minutes! And that is a nice thing she says. She also tells me to eat my vegetables first to get them out of the way! Then REWARD TIME with a Lindt Bunny! I tell her I want a real bunny and for Christmas she says, It’s looking good, baby! Got a good lead on a new friend for you. Someone for you to play with. But at Christmas I don’t get a bunny. I get a BABY BROTHER! Mommy’s so sneaky. I say, did Daddy come home and stay home long enough to help you make him? And Mommy says, Not quite, baby. Not quite.

“quite fussy” by Julia on the 506 going east


Friday, December 14, 2012
10:37am
5 minutes
Food and Drink
Early Summer 2012


baby eliot has a nice smile. smiles at the moon and the bees. he likes pablum. he likes trees. he likes grabbing earrings and necklaces and resting his hand in aunt D’s cleavage. he thinks he’s a bunny rabbit. he cries when he soils himself, as most babies do. he likes cheerios and chili flakes. baby eliot likes whatever his father likes. he wants to try what his father eats, how is father laughs. he watches and waits until he can practice when he’s by himself…which he does. he is particularly obsessed with dora the explorer and other shows with little girls in them. he likes when it snows more than when it rains. he gets shocked every time a flake lands on his nose. he laughs with life. he laughs with his whole life. when mommy is gone he cries and cries.