“She actually cooks” By Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 16, 2018
12:16am
5 minutes
Overheard in the dining room

I read your poetry hoping to find a piece of me there
Maybe a big piece that cannot be mistakened for someone else
When I uncover the grave there is a body buried alive
barely breathing, but not dead yet
I weep at the beauty of those words–stiched together like a
quilt to leave hanging on the fraying loveseat
I find a way to see your heart in the hurt
And we are both bodies buried alive, barely breathing
but not dead yet
I have hooked up the tubes and wires and run you through
my veins delivering a kind of test to all my internal organs
It works
I am working
You can be my blood and I will keep pumping
pumping

“famous for flying around”by Julia in her bed

Wednesday February 14, 2018

2:38am

5 minutes

Anthony’s Glass Eye

Billeh Nickerson

Today he was wearing a giant crystal dangling on a thin leather rope. It was so close to his Adam’s apple I thought he was going to slice it right off. He told us all that his ukulele was a lesbian and that he used to be a winged thing in the life before this one.

I know that feeling. Of wanting to share everything inside my skull. But I don’t do it because I’ve seen what happens when you’re candid with everyone. They can’t handle the honesty. It makes them squirmy.

The person beside me was breathing so consistently and heavily that it started to activate my anxiety. I had to keep catching my own breath and plugging my one ear. If I had been honest I would have gotten in trouble for asking them to please try breathing with their mouth open or not at all.

“Get just the right pick-me-up” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday March 15, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
pulpliterature.com

You go to sleep early because you’ve been up since 6:27am and you say that the mountains have made you tired again. I can hear you breathing from behind the living room wall. You sound like you’re trying to send me tiny signals as I stay up to paint my nails. I don’t like to go to sleep after you but it’s been happening more and more these days. I am racing against daylight and I can’t afford to take short cuts right now. I know your body’s heat by this time. I know that there’s a softness there in the curve of your back that fits most of my organs perfectly. I picture that spot while I think simultaneously about chicken thighs with preserved lemon or that surprise weekend getaway golden ticket you gave me for my birthday last June. You told me to pick wherever I wanted to go. I told you we could close our eyes, point on the map and go where our fingers land.

“cultural and community differences” by Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Sunday March 13, 2016
3:46pm
5 minutes
From a sample CV

In the moments of stillness
In between where you left and you loved me
I can count the number of breaths I have taken
On one hand
Maybe one and a half
The song I made you write for me plays
It never stops
It doesn’t know how
I don’t know how
I’m embarrassed that you didn’t want to do it
On your own
I could have asked
But I demanded
I could have invited
But I fought
I guess I was under the impression that
We do things for people
When we know it makes them feel good
I am sorry I put you in that category
Of people who care about people
Of people who give because they can
Not because they are tallying points
I am wrong too
I am happy to be so wrong
I am learning in the space between wrong and never right
You taught me that

“everyone can help themselves” by Julia at her dining table


Monday, January 11, 2016
5:43pm
5 minutes
thestonesoup.com

Mind Body Connection:
Deep breath
Okay, good
Good?
Breathing, breathing
I don’t need to be told to breathe
Well you stopped
Because I was thinking!
NO THINKING.
Are you serious?
Yes, very serious
Fine, deep f–
No swearing
Come ON, how did you know I was even going to?
Because you’re very transparent and stubborn and I’ve been observing you
Ugh
Focus
I am
Okay then do it
breathe?
Yes, breathe
okay, Deep Breath
Mhm
Breathing
yes, good, continue
I am alone on a rock
Oh, good, rock is good,
I am alone and I am breathing—
Breathing
I AM, I told you I don’t need you to tell me
I am breathing
You?
breathing in and out calmly, slowly, to encourage you
Is this even about me?
Yes, very serious.
WHAT THE FUC–
NO SWEARING.

“calm and balance your mind” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday, June 17, 2015
3:21pm
5 minutes
The Epsom salt bag

I had a good friend and I loved her and her name was Annie but she begged us to call her SID so we did cause it suited her but only after she dyed her hair bright purple like Easter threw up. I liked spending time with Annie who let me and only me call her Annie because she was full of good ideas about how to find “eternal happiness”. Once Annie showed me how to breathe and I didn’t think it was a very necessary thing because hadn’t I been breathing this whole time? But Annie showed me the right way and I paid close attention cause the way Annie breathed felt a lot better than the way I had been doing it and from that moment on I knew that I could trust her and she wouldn’t laugh at me for somehow not knowing how to do something I was born knowing how to do. When we went to the drive in, Tucker and Jesse and Leila tried to convince us to go cow-tipping after the movie was done cause we were in this big field and they said “SID, YOU HAVE TO COME WITH US!” And I looked at Sid with my “Annie” eyes and she told them, “why don’t we all just learn to breathe instead?”

“Just go in the direction where there is no direction” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday May 26, 2015
11:57am
5 minutes
Forbidden Rumi
Tr. By Nevit O. Ergin and Will Johnson


Like the wind, she speaks, she says
Oooh ooh, yes, yes
Calmly without rushing
No goal exists but to breathe in
every single moment
she whispers through my hair
Hums a day song worth remembering
Oooh ooh, yes, yes
And they say go where the wind blows you
And they say if you’re moved travel alongside her
I don’t know where she’s taking me
But I feel cradled in her billowy arms
And I feel welcomed by her carefree smile
Shhh shh, yes, yes
She reminds me to take time
She reminds me to inhale
and stop worrying
and exhale
and stop worrying
Shhh shh, yes, yes
I’m here for you until you get to where you’re going
Don’t run…
Glide
Don’t push…
Float
And the air is changed beneath me
And the air is changed right through me

“The days will be longer” by Julia at Zia Kathy’s house


Sunday March 8, 2015
12:29am
5 minutes
http://www.skam.ca

I suddenly became the girl who sits cross legged at her typewriter with her lamp weirdly perched on the bed beside her knee. It happened in the moment where I wanted to feel alive and well and proper and good. The lighting wasn’t right and somehow being closer to it felt more rustic. It felt the way a real writer would sit. Propped up against a few pillows, wrapped in an itchy couch throw. I knew that I was okay with the emptiness that was leaving my body because I could feel my lungs filling with a golden breath after so long without activity. In and out, lights on and bright. The days, I realized, would be longer from that instant on. There would be an abundance of abundance. How beautiful and mysterious and possible it all began to appear. You and your day will work together. You and your night will snuggle up and sleep soundly.

“It was probably so hard not to slap him” by Julia in Lozzola


Monday December 1, 2014
12:45am
5 minutes
A text from Katerina

Turned around with a fire in my face and I knew that if I did not leave in that exact moment I would be facing criminal charges for the rest of my life. I get like that sometimes. Blinded by rage. Can’t see straight. Impulse impulse impulse. It’s like a movie I’ve already seen is playing in the background of my mind, distracting the rest of my brain from figuring out what I’m about to do. It’s fuzzy, there are a lot of colours, but the moment right in front of me is clear. I’m not sure when it started. I was told to focus on my breathing by more than one person. My sister tries to send me links on how to deal with anger, how to channel my inner black cloud, how not to kill a man who has accidentally brushed up against me at the supermarket while rifling through vine tomatoes.

“I remember needing nothing” By Julia at her desk in Bologna


Wednesday October 15, 2014
11:33pm
5 minutes
Minute Eternity
David Whyte


I called him up after, I don’t know, maybe it was forever. Who’s counting, maybe he is. I’m not. I’m not counting anymore. I called him up after a year, could have been two, and I did it so I could hear the way his breath sounds. That’s all I wanted. Nothing more, and I swear it to you because I’m already spilling my guts here so you can trust that all of this is true. I was counting the days, crossing them off on a list like someone who gives themselves a gold star for every cookie they don’t eat, or a chocolate for every day until Christmas. I wasn’t eating my feelings this time because that didn’t interest me. It didn’t feel good to order two pizzas and finish them both without even a single flinch. That was the thing I knew I didn’t need anymore. But I was obsessed with trying to convince myself that I could keep going, one day at a time, without thinking of him. I was in withdrawal, or something equally as lame, and I had a problem. Either I would call him up and tell him all the things I shouldn’t, or count the days that I didn’t but wanted to.

“Get creative” by Julia on her couch


Thursday June 26, 2014
11:17pm
5 minutes
from the spaghetti package

On her forefinger she wrote HOME and on her middle she wrote HERE. On her ring finger she wrote WHEN and on her pinky she wrote ALWAYS. On her thumb she drew a ❤ and touched each finger to it for the ritual of it all. She had been feeling a little out of sorts lately. Not really knowing who to trust or who to ask her questions. People had the distinct capability of scaring her senseless, even when they didn’t pose any actual threats. She chalks that up to her childhood and almost getting killed in the woods by her two best friends. That happened way before the incident where those two girls did actually kill their best friend in the woods. She wondered sometimes if those girls all knew each other somehow, thinking to kidnap someone they supposedly loved and bring her to her worst nightmare. Lucky girl who died. She didn’t have to think about the entire world coming after her every other minute.
She looked at her thumb again and took a deep breath. Someone taught her to do that whenever she was doubting herself: take a deep breath and just choose love.

“Absolutely everybody gets a little something” by Julia at Bull Street Gourmet and Market in Charleston


Monday April 28, 2014 at Bull Street Gourmet and Market
1:23pm
5 minutes
Slaughterhouse Five
Kurt Vonnegut


Toni-Marie-Belle, she said with a crispness in her voice. She should be expecting me in five minutes from now. She sat down and pretended to care about the Garden and Gun magazine that was staring up at her from the coffee table. Ooh, she said out loud, in case someone was overhearing her moments of mostly silence in this waiting room. Love this one. She leaned back breathing out heavily, trying to suspend the air and she exhaled slower than she had planned. Toni-Marie-Belle, she said again under her breath as if she were trying to convince herself that that was in fact her real name. Someone approached her and asked if she wanted water or anything while she waited. She shook her head and at the same time asked, Sweet tea but mostly unsweetened? The small garden gnome lady cocked her head to the side and examined her for a brief moment in time. It means half and half, she told the confused lady. Right, the lady said. Right, yeah, okay.
The garden gnome lady walked away muttering something to herself in a way that was incomprehensible and yet totally audible.

“tie up my son and me” by Julia on her couch


Friday November 22, 2013
6:53pm
5 minutes
Toronto Star (Life Section)

had a dream last night that we were playing pin the tail on the clouds. it was a game my son and me made up for when the bad days felt too long. i’d hold him and he’d hold a feather in his pudgy little hand. Then i’d lift him as high as i possibly could, reaching up and up, till the sun made him squint and he felt like it was enough. it was something we started a long time ago. with whatever he could find on the ground at the time, a rock, a stick, a snail. we would both pick a cloud, and he would try to pin the tail on it. on the same spot we chose together. i could feel him breathing, focussing, trying to get it just right. and he would never get the spot perfectly, but the concentration needed would always make it feel like he did. like just one more push and we’d get there. in the dream we were shooting right up to the real clouds. we were in a contraption that took us up, made us feel like we were flying. we knew even then that we might not touch the spot exactly, but we’d get close. in the dream he wasn’t holding an object from the yard, or the sand box. it was a framed photograph of me.

“Don’t ignore” by Julia on the subway going north


Sunday June 16, 2013
2:46pm
5 minutes
an ad at Ossington subway station

Pushing his little face away with the palm of her hand, she kept her eyes closed, breathing deeply. Not now, Benny, Mommy can’t right now. Benjamin had been sitting with his mother at the table since breakfast. She wouldn’t speak to him or look at him. She put an empty bowl in front of him with a dirty spoon and told him to eat his breakfast. Benjamin didn’t know where the cereal was. He didn’t want to look for it in front of his mother in case that would make her
more angry. So he sat and watched his Mommy breathe with her eyes closed. After an hour of watching and waiting and being very concerned, he tried to get closer. Tried to get close enough so his mother could hear his tummy growling. That’s when she pushed him away, feeling his big blinky eyes on the inside of her hand, tracing the scar line on his forehead from when he fell into the chalkboard at Auntie Caroline’s two winters ago. He didn’t ask her for a single thing.

“unless otherwise indicated” by Julia on the subway going south


Sunday, May 26, 2013
9:06pm
5 minutes
from the back of a TTC day pass

I can’t breathe. Half of me is shaking the other half is on fire. I’m in a locked cage and I can see out but I’m not allowed to touch anything at all. Where did my body go? I think, unless otherwise indicated, you have it. I think I gave it to you. My arms. My legs. My heart is there too. It was safe with you so I left it there and went wandering. Being around people without my arms, my legs, is harder than I thought it would be. They don’t know my heart is gone, a big smile and some witty asides cover it up nicely. I can’t breathe. I can’t. If I do it means I’m admitting that I am living without you. If I move it means I’m capable without everything I used to have. Not happily, just basic motor skills. I’d rather they pull the plug. Didn’t I sign something earlier stating that if I were a vegetable, I didn’t want to be here? Somebody has to find that form.