“books about people living on the street” by Julia in The Loop, Chicago

Saturday September 8, 2018
10:39pm
5 minutes
Searching, results
Shawn Syms

I walked into a bookstore today. The shelves were lined with post-it-notes telling me which staff member recommended which book. The girl working the counter had a tattoo of a strawberry wearing sunglasses. She recommended the Miranda July and I thought she and I would be friends. Mariella, the store owner, had recommended a few books about the housing crisis and single room occupancies. When I asked the girl with the same lipcolour on as me if she had read Mariella’s recommendations, she got real quiet and said, Mar used to live on the streets. She built this place so it’d be here for anyone who might need it. That’s why we’re open so late.

“Before Tampa” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre


Friday February 10, 2017
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Edge of the World
Connie May Fowler


Before Tampa there was Santa Cruz. Before Santa Cruz there was San Jose. Before San Jose there was Seattle and that’s where the story really starts. I was busking full time and would go warm up and use the bathroom at the bookstore on 10th Ave… It was a cold winter that year, and my finger tips would turn blue after two hours of playing. I saw Greg. He was a cashier. I didn’t have a thing for ponytails or anything. He was too short, he looked dumb in his running shoes. It’s not like I believed in love at first sight, not prior to that moment. Greg didn’t notice me, not for weeks. I realized that I was going to have to buy something. I picked up a copy of Crime and Punishment from the discount bin and brought it up to the cash.

Water glass, pint glass and a bottle of hot sauce (photo) by Julia at her kitchen table


Saturday, April 20, 2013
4:22am
5 minutes
Dip!

Spicy kind of girl with spicy kind of skin.
Smells like something from a summer garden in Italy.
Feels as smooth as shea butter cream.
She gives that extra wink without even meaning to.
If she were any less good-looking she would never get away with eating messy foods in public.
Spicy.
Full of spice and some other stuff that she doesn’t like to talk about.
Like anger and disappointment for most people she meets.
Why?
Why does she do that?
Why does anyone do anything, retorts back at you.
It’s cold in her house.
So she sits on the floor of an abandoned underground used bookstore at the corner of her street.
No one comes in and no one goes out, she thinks, wishing she could bring business back.
Spicy. No amount of perfume will cover it.
Is it the raw garlic she used to eat as a child?
Daddy offered her sister two dollars to eat a whole clove. Or two.
A dare.
She’d do it voluntarily, never really cared for money.
It happens sometimes.
When she’s alone.
She licks her lips till they’re raw, then smacks them hard to feel the tingle.