“sorely tested—and found wanting.” By Julia in bed

Wednesday October 2, 2019
5 minutes
Assignment To Hell
Timothy M. Gay

a matter of stimuli, and it would be with that attitude

but where is the reward?
in the resistance of temptation, then? in the discovery of so many quick-legged spiders?

we release the tiny scurrying living being while we clean

if the start of a home becomes uprooted by the sudden decision to weild an unruly hand with a broom at the end of it…the home goes but the little friend stays

(the secret is to find another corner)

(the secret is no bites exchanged if asylum granted)

(asylum is granted for friend one and two and three and four)

but if this were not a moment of sobriety who knows what other homes would have been ressurected

“Sorrows bring forth.” By Julia in Mount Washington

Saturday September 14, 2019
5 minutes
Proverbs of Hell
William Blake

crashing waves smash the bad out of me
smash the everything out of me
returns salt to my inner ear instead
returns salt to my hair line

washed clean are you listening
nothing left to send to the jury
nothing left to mourn

loud pacific ocean knocks me around like a song in a tumble dry
pulls me under
pushes me across the sand
and reminds us all who is in charge
who ragdoll
who rubber band
who goes under and won’t stand back up

washed clean are you listening
rebirthed from the sorrows flipped and flung

“fingers slimy from fries” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday December 11, 2018
5 minutes
Amanda Proctor

I watch the kid with cat eyes lick his fingers clean
then he shoves his whole hand in his mouth and it’s no longer about grooming
the girl is said to be an angel, piece of cake, perfect
except she’s not as brave as they’d like her to be
reads too many books
is already proving smarter than one of them
I watch the kid roll his eyes at me when I apologize
to him for raising my voice
apologies come in buckets here and he knows they’re not worth their weight
I want to explain that I was scared he’d hurt himself with that knife, that I’m not mad anymore
The girl uses a dictionary to play Hangman
she draws a bunny rabbit instead of someone swinging by a noose

“Flying Housewife” by Julia on the 4

Saturday April 28, 2018
5 minutes

She has wings

Her hands know how to flutter at the end of her arms
Watch how she keeps herself up
Watch how she treads the deepest air

She is getting things done

Busy busy flying throughout the house before her wife comes home because her wife is the only one who leave the house little bird stays inside floats in the living room
Above the coffee table hovering along the shelves lined with baby photographs she is cleaning up the disagreements the mirrors collecting dust in all the ghosts of her lipstick affirmations she is keeping things tidy for when her wife comes home because she doesn’t leave so what excuse does she have not to have the house clean for when she arrives

She moves quickly to avoid getting stuck

She keeps her wings flapping
So she will be ready to use them

“If you want to go out with her or give her a bath” by Julia in the office chair

Thursday March 8, 2018
5 minutess
From a text

Lottie ain’t gonna fightcha, if ya’ll wanna take her out or give her a nice scrubbin’, be my guest, understand? She used to put up a stink, but I think the old gal has gotten tired and to be honest I think she likes the company different these days. When we first got her, boy could she kick a hole in all your hard work! The fences that Horace put up? Took him the whole damn summer. When he left for two minutes to fetch himself a congratulatory beer Lottie had already marked her exit route. You shoulda seen his face, my god. If he didn’t already feel bad for the poor thing, he mightta sold her that very day. Thing is, Lottie came from a bad group. The owners liked to use their animals for experiments in show business-Kind of impossible circus types.

“All winter we went on like that” by Julia at her desk

Saturday May 6, 2017
5 minutes
After Birth
Elisa Albert

It was a tough one with all the rain seeping into all my dry
I think it’s safe to say that something was trying to be planted
Something needed care enough to sprout

I used to dread cleaning my apartment when the grey outside made the inside feel dirty
Today I swept up a spider and saluted to her as she crawled away and into a safe place
The light painted my home in a newness that I’ve been waiting for
Everything on the shelves, a choice, a decision, an opinion
Spring has signed the contract, says she can take it from here
I cannot wish for something better than feeling home in the home I live in
I give thanks for the cupboards that hold every envelope, every light bulb

“What is “beginner’s mind”?” By Julia in Brooklyn

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
5 minutes
from a tweet by Shambhala Sun

Set out on that journey with the wind whispering a farewell to your back
Let it make its way into your hair and dance there for a minute
Maybe two
Maybe three
She doesn’t want to hold you back or make you think you’re not ready
Only you know that
She just thinks goodbyes are important
You have your pencil sharpened and your pages born fresh and clean
Your long trek’s sword; your protector; your companion
Set out on that journey with the wind catching up to your skin
Let it make its way onto your face and caress you there for a minute
Maybe two
Maybe three
She doesn’t want to interfere or keep you from moving forward
You will do it anyway
She just thinks hello-agains are worth it

“With lots of ice-creams” by Julia at the Fleming Cottage

Saturday March 1, 2014
5 minutes
My Dream World
Parul Naveen

I had a really perfect moment the other day. It was Wednesday, not any other day. I always have my really perfect moments on Wednesdays. I don’t know how that came to be, but it’s something I have learned to be grateful for, and to count on. The moment I’m talking about now is the one that I will be talking about forever. I was walking across the grass at the little park near my house. I was thinking about investing in something. I can’t remember that part. It might have been a new vacuum cleaner, or maybe it was even just a broom. But it had something to do with tidying, and cleaning up messes, and collecting all the dirt we try and hide and putting it into one easily accessible spot to then throw out, or away, or suck up. I was thinking about something like this. The necessity of tidying. And then that really perfect moment happened to me. A little boy on a tricycle was licking the top of his ice-cream cone with such delight. It was beautiful. He was so young, and captivated, and innocent. And as I walked by him, I worried for just a brief moment that he might drop his cone, as kids sometimes do, and not get to enjoy it any more. And then, instead of that happening, he handed it to me. I only took it because I could see it in his eyes, that he truly wanted me to have it.

“So I let go of my parents’ approval” by Sasha on the subway going West

Sunday October 13, 2013
5 minutes
The Unhealthy Truth
Robyn O’Brien

I wish our conversations could go like this:
Me: Hey, when were you planning on doing the laundry?
You: Oh man! You read my mind! I’m going to go do it right now!
Me: I love you so much.
You: I love you so much.
What our conversations really go like is this:
Me: Why the fuck isn’t the laundry done, Sam?
You: Calm down –
Me: Don’t tell me to calm down!
You: I don’t have time right now, honey –
Me: I am not your honey!
You: Why do you care so much about this place being so… clean and organized?
Me: Because! Everything else in our fucking lives is out of control!
You: It’s because your parents are coming over for dinner isn’t it?
Me: Shit.

“a dirty joke” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, September 7, 2013
5 minutes
Sometimes I Forget Completely

She sends me her love in a perfectly washed yellow spring jacket. She can’t wait to show me, how all the black marks around the collar are gone, and how the sleeves aren’t grey anymore. It’s almost too yellow now. Before it was bright but muted because it was so filthy. I think I like it better now because it doubles as a safety precaution every time I wear it. It’s really a great jacket. I guess I didn’t notice how nice it was until after she gave it back to me. Too bad about the little rip on the back, she says, shaking her head like she’s disappointed a good washing doesn’t bring back dead threads from beyond the grave. Thanks, I say, you really didn’t have to. She has a gift, making those dirty things clean with a smile and a determined attitude. I didn’t get either from her. I wish I had. I know I’d be better if I had. It smells nice, I tell her. Does it? She asks, her head cocking to one side, smirking coyly with just the right amount of satisfaction.

“working relationships” by Sasha at her desk

Monday, September 2, 2013
5 minutes
The Playwright At Work
Rosemarie Tichler and Barry Jay Kaplan

Woman on the subway. Smells like four ninety nine perfume and farts. Sits down right beside you. On one of those three seaters. Plenty of other seats around. Sits right there. You see her big ass lowering, in tight. It squeezes in beside you, because there’s one of those holding poles on the other side. One of those poles with all the fingerprints. You’re squished right up. Long sigh. Look across. Across there’s three teenage boys. Must be fifteen. No. Fourteen. Fourteen for sure. One has a shrunken head. You know those shrunken head people? He’s goddamn good-looking. He’s gorgeous. He looks like he just feel out of God’s pocket. The boys sit down. You can’t stop staring at Shrunken. You hope no one notices. You hope no one thinks you’re thinking anything other than “Holy shit, you’re beautiful”. One of the other boys, the one with a shaved head, takes an eraser out of his pocket and starts going at the scuffs on his shoes. White running shoes. Nikes. You start looking at all the shoes, all the shoes around – Woman’s, Shrunken’s, the Doddle-face, and the Carrot Kid. All the shoes. Some dirty. Some clean. Some in between.

“rigidity out of it” by Julia on her couch

Monday, April 15, 2013
5 minutes
From a quote by Mark Twain

Apparently if you throw in a half damp sock into the dryer with a bunch of your already wrinkled clothes, and leave everythin’ in there for at least 20 minutes or somethin’, it makes everythin’ when you take it out come all nice and smooth. No wrinkles. So I’m plannin’ to try this today but I don’t know if I’ll have time, what with Jerry’s mother comin’ to visit us. She needs the casserole dish to be perfectly situated on the table, I need to get us a table cloth or the woman will not sit down, and there has to be enough house plants all over in case she wants to ash somewhere while she’s standin’. So. I won’t have much time to do all the other domestics I said to myself I was goin’ to do. Jerry’s mother is a real house Lady. She knows how everythin’ is supposed to go, and why. But she ain’t have no patience when it comes to dust so I’ve been scrubbin’ every surface around here since last Tuesday, just in case the woman gets out some plastic gloves and tries to run some tests or investigation in my livin’ room. I suppose she has a point, cleanliness, health, all that. But she still comin’ into my house so I have to make sure I have enough chocolate covered digestives just to calm me down!

“they descended on him,” by Julia at R Squared

Monday, November 12, 2012 at R Squared
5 minutes
Pest Control
Bill Fitzhugh

“What a whiny baby Adil has.” I find myself saying out loud to Eliot as he fixes the clasp of my bracelet while it still sits on my wrist.
“Don’t be mean, Katie.”
“I’m not,” I say, “It’s just honest. He whines, he doesn’t just cry. It’s not very cute, that’s all I’m saying.”
“Don’t be mean.” He says to me again without looking up. “There. Your thing is fixed.”
I shake my wrist like a gypsy to test how strong the new clasp is. Eliot takes off his glasses and stands at the sink.
“Why do you do that?” I ask him, the water cutting out of the tap at first, turning into an even flow in seconds.
“Do what, Katie?” He asks, drying his now clean hands on the dish towel hanging from the stove.
“Why do you wash your hands like that every time you touch me.”
“I don’t.” Says Eliot, leaving the room now.
“You do, actually. It bothers me.”
“It’s not intentional,” he says,coming back into the kitchen.
“Well I don’t like it. Because it makes me feel like I’m dirty.”
“The metal is dirty, Katie, that’s all.”