“never been good at multitasking” by Julia on her couch


Sunday September 10, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
from a text

I know I’m inching fufther away from myself when I can make sure I send you a writing prompt but I will go the whole day without writing a single word for me. And I think long and hard about what I’ll suggest to you. What I hope is something that gives you a reason to write. Because I care that you aren’t writing. I care that you must write. That the bones of your body only feel warm when you do. I know this sensation too. Cold bones. The feeling of your bed being the scariest place to end the day. When sleep takes more from you than it gives. I have been shivering these days. And I do not want to turn on the radiator because it shouldn’t be this frigid in my home. It shouldn’t be this removed from skin. I don’t remember how to fix this but I do know that it always comes back–which means it always goes away first.

“if everyone else forgets” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday August 24, 2017
6:55pm
5 minutes
From a greeting card

In 1976 it’s the coldest birthday you’ve ever had
February brings hail and relentless freezing
Marg and Bob forget too
and that makes everything colder
Brittle and bone-chilling

You get home from your job
as a teller at the bank
and Bob is in his chair
CBC is on the radio
Marg is hacking at a frozen slab
of pork or at least it looks like pork

“Hey hon,” Marg says not looking up
You feel
tears behind your eyes
at least something’s hot
Your cheeks burn

You go upstairs and close your door
and lament still living with these two
who you’ve sworn to no longer call
mother
father
Marg
Bob
You roll a joint and hang your head out the window
like you’re fourteen again

“Back then baby it didn’t seem so strange” by Julia


Wednesday August 16, 2017
10:33pm
5 minutes
Dearly Departed
Shakey Graves


we didn’t use to ask each other anything
shuffled through the corridor with too much heart at stake to risk
we didn’t know what we didn’t know
you thought my favorite colour was blue,might have gotten away with it too if I didn’t walk right on out
it didn’t seem strange when we assumed how each other was feeling
it didn’t seem to bother us too much that all these notebooks were half-filled
now I want to know
I don’t know about you since you don’t know what you don’t know
but I want to ask every question that rolls through mush and makes it out alive
why do you tap your feet like that
why do you forget to book that flight
why do you hate your own eyes so much
why do you lie about how cold your hands get

“The wind streaked in from a thousand kilometers of Atlantic” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday July 26, 2017
8:58pm
5 minutes
The Enemy Stars
Poul Anderson


I wonder what the people on the Titanic thought when they were dying in the Atlantic. This catastrophe has been on my mind lately. Anytime I see the word Atlantic I think of how impossibly cold it must have been; how abrupt. I watched the movie recently. It was still a tear jerker twenty years later. But a lot of talk about the Unsinkable Ship this and the Unsinkable Ship that. I have a special connection to it due to being in the musical Titanic fourteen years ago. It’s where I learned the power of acting: of believing. We all stood on the set, the giant structure meant to simulate the three levels of the ship. During the opening number, us saying goodbye to our loved ones on shore, our director encouraged us to wave to the audience and envision us leaving for the maiden voyage. I waved to my dad, sitting in the fourth row, and he, without meaning to, waved back.

“Your hands are cold” by Julia on the 14


Friday April 22, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Scars
James Bay


You’re sweet. You let me put my cold hands in your armpits when I need to warm up, when my teeth are chattering and I’m complaining excessively. You squirm the first few seconds and you dance around but you don’t make me take them out. That’s one of my favourite types of touching. I feel taken care of by you and your overheated underarms. You are always a furnace, kicking off articles of clothing in your sleep, ripping up sheets, opening windows in the minus 30s or 40s. The only time I ever remember warming you up was when we went skinny-dipping in your family’s salt-water pool. It wasn’t warm yet, but we were high and felt free, and so I cupped your nut-sack in my hands so they wouldn’t retract and we stood like that for a while, impersonating Ethel Merman and smiling big at each other.

“This never happened before.” by Julia on the 99


Monday April 11, 2016
11:39pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

You tell me you love me like a bazillion times a day and I say it back maybe once? Twice if I’m in a good mood. I wonder it it bothers you that I say I love pizza more than I say I love your lips or your hands or whatever nice shit you say to me. You don’t seem bothered. You seem normal. Not even phased. I assume because you must believe you’re hearing me return your sentiments every time you say them cause otherwise your heart would need mending. And I’m saying you seem fine so I imagine you feel great about needing to express yourself so much and being with a person who needs coffee before speaking to you and who wants to be left alone for the first 40 minutes after returning home. I used to think saying I love you meant meaning it. If you asked me now I’d say it had nothing to do with that.

“If I’m ever lonely” by Julia at her desk


Saturday February 21, 2015
1:01am
5 minutes
mirandajuly.com

If I’m ever lonely, I’ll close my eyes and think of that day in April when I see you again. You’ll be ready to get out of the cold you’re trapped frozen in, and you’ll welcome the melting of all your icicles with thawing extremities. We have done this before. We have stood still in our distant lives and breathed in a time difference for months. Now good morning is still good morning, and good night is still good night, but my here is not your here and your here is not you’re here..
If I’m ever lonely, I’ll write you something sweet on the napkin beside my bed, hum the words to music and turn it into a song I sing inside my head to keep you close. You’ll ask if you can learn the chords that go with it so you can play your version on the other side of where I am.
We have done this before. We have loved from far away for days and days and days.

“heated rivalry and the jealousy” by Sasha in the Fredrick Wood Theatre


Friday February 6, 2015
9:35pm
5 minutes
http://www.mtv.ca

Winter is coming
Don’t look so blue
Winter is coming
What you gonna do?

Warmer here but colder too, in the damp way.
In the down to your bones and souls way.
Winter is coming
Don’t look so blue
Winter is coming
What you gonna do?

The crows know how to stay warm.
They caw with full bird breath.
They caw the warmth from the inside out.
Winter is coming
Don’t look so blue
Winter is coming
What you gonna do?

Mama run me a bath and don’t let me out.
Don’t drain the water til it’s morning.
I won’t drown, I won’t fall asleep,
I’m thinking about the Spring.
I’m thinking about the Spring.
Winter is coming
Don’t look so blue
Winter is coming
What you gonna do?

“to firm up” by Sasha at Culprit Coffee


Friday January 30, 2015 at Culprit Coffee
4:10pm
5 minutes
Ani’s Raw Food Desserts
Ani Phyo


You build up your courage
A layer of restlessness
The rain isn’t good enough
You’re after something stronger

Your mother made bread
Sunday morning warmth
Honey and oats
Music from the Church three doors down

Remember where you came from
Dear heart
The taste of summer
It’ll be back soon
Sooner than you can say

“I’m cold”
“I’m tired”
“I feel so far away”
“I’ve got everything”
“I’ve got nothing”

You left your heart on the side of the road
You marked it like a grave
Two sticks bound with sweetgrass
You looked back over your shoulder

Once

“Isn’t that the same thing?” By Julia on her couch


Saturday January 24, 2015
6:29pm
5 minutes
The Green-ish pilot

Ari told me to ask the Universe for what I wanted in life and make it very specific. She said, “what’s the harm in asking?” And I didn’t have an answer so I told her I didn’t know and that I would try it this weekend. I realized she wanted me to do it in that very moment while she was there so she could share it with me, but I’ve never been very good at asking for help and I didn’t want her to catch me in the middle of my ineptitude. It would shine brightly, stick out like a sore thumb, and remind everyone that I don’t have a clue. So I thought of Ari as I walked home in the most perfect light and Canadian snow, and wondered for the first time if asking was actually easy..Once you strip it bare of its shame and crippling vulnerability…
I remembered once asking my dad if he could lend me $1100.00. Some might argue that asking him or the universe was actually the same thing..

“initiates sexuality” by Julia on Katie’s couch


Friday December 19, 2014
1:47am
5 minutes
Can Love Last?
Stephen A. Mitchell


Heat in the garage
Said meet me there said wait for me there
Crept inside knowing it would be dark
Said join me there said find me there
Cold cold heat
Cold heat cold
A note in the garage
Said ready for me here said ready for me here
A light touch grazing my arm
Said I want you here said I need you here
Silk robe hitting the pavement
Said I crave you here said I take you here
A hot kiss on my mouth
Said I eat you here said I drink you here

“Then we’d better be jolly, jolly sure” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday October 30, 2014
10:18pm
5 minutes
On Directing Film
David Mamet


You’re gonna ask him to marry you? Well, you better be jolly, jolly sure that he’s the one. You better not just know in your nuts, but in your heart, too. Hahahahaha! Sorry. Was that inappropriate? Do you even have a ring? Oh my word! Of course you do. It’s beautiful, honey. It’s really beautiful. He’s gonna look so handsome in that. When your father proposed to me it was the coldest day of the year. Power was out and we were under seventeen blankets, sucking on one another’s noses to keep them from freezing off! He didn’t have a ring or anything but he had his word and I took that for gold.

“WANTED” By Julia at her desk in Bologna


Sunday October 12,2014
1:22am
5 minutes
from a gelato advertisement

past. it was then that i saw it. i was afraid. i breathed one breath at a time out of fear of waking it. him. the beast. horror. it was a film. it was made up of my own worst nightmares. i asked my head to stop. to please. it didn’t know how. it had gone too far. present. i am sitting in a cave. the night is loud with silence. i am shivering. i am empty faced, heavy hearted. you only get one try. one attempt to flee. he was growling deep inside himself. it made me awake in every part of me. my bones. quaking. my skin soaked. future. he will eat my softness. he will wound my earth. i will fight to bind him. i will hunt to be unhunted.

“SO COLD” by Julia at MAKE coffee+stuff


Saturday June 21, 2014 at MAKE
1:49pm
5 minutes
a postcard at MAKE coffee+stuff

Hadn’t thought about Missy since last winter when I remembered how much she loved the cold. She somehow disappeared from my life and my mind quicker than she came into it. Them. Both things, in which she was sort of a permanent resident. A fixture. A thing that made me crazy and wild and irrational. She was always going on about getting the right jacket and then just sucking the rest of it up. I told her I had grown up in the cold and ‘sucking it up’ was just not enough. She said if you’re going to complain just move already! And then I understood what everything in the world meant. Something about not wishing for things that are outside of you or wanting things that aren’t in front of you. We choose everything. We choose the temperature we stay in, we choose the people we spend time with, we choose to love or not love someone. We choose to be happy. Missy had that fully realized and she was living it. She chose me one second and the next something else. I’m still alive. I missed her for a while. But I understood that right now is something different from right now every time the second hand on the clock shifts right. Then I thought about getting a really proper jacket and just sliding down some snow hills face first. Cause, you know, choices.

“Free evening newspaper” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday March 11, 2014
11:43pm
5 minutes
the to.night street box

We are more beautiful when we’re writing
When our ink is flowing
When we aren’t thinking about what we need from the grocery store
Or spilling chilli oil on the leg of our favourite black pants
(How can black get blacker with a stain?)
We are more alive when we’re moving
Fluid and fast
Slow and steady
Our bodies know what’s right and what’s off
Off centre
Off balance
“Is the apple cider in the fridge off?”
We try to tell our futures in the free evening newspaper
“Gemini”
and
“Cancer”
We try to read the stars
Like palms we know and love
Like hands we hold when the cold comes back

“turning to the little girls” by Sasha at La Merceria


Monday, February 10, 2014 at La Merceria
4:40pm
5 minutes
Under the Lilacs
Louisa M. Alcott


I wasn’t feeling grateful when I got home and the house was dark and the walls were quiet and the bed was cold. I wasn’t feeling grateful when the cat was thirsty and the garbage was full and the toothpaste was empty. And, still, it’s Thanksgiving. I text you: “WTF?” I wait. Nothing. I get up to pee at twenty past two and I check my phone and you’ve responded. I should make you a flower crown. “Exams” is all it says. I wonder where things went wrong. Was it your (s)mother? Was it deciding to go straight to University after High School? Was it your older brother’s MDMA problem? In a fit of middle-of-the-night sleepy rage I too type a single word. I am not better than that. I will speak your language. “Shit.” I write, hoping you don’t catch on to my gargantuan caring, to the balloon that was formerly known as my heart, growing daily in my chest.

“WIN $2000” by Julia on the 504 going east


Tuesday January 28, 2014
4:00pm
5 minutes
from a Loblaws receipt

And I would buy so many thermal things, seriously you don't even know. I would spend the $500 on a winter coat that I was denying myself before because it seemed just effing ridiculous if I couldn't even afford to pay my phone bill. I would get the warmest boots money can buy. They would be toasty and stylish. That is the dream. I would buy those hand warmer things and wear them daily and I wouldn't care about the environment because clearly the environment doesn't care about me. It would be a war on the elements and I would be a warrior for warmer temperatures, fighting only for my extremities and my facial features that can't be protected without looking like an extreme bank robber. And with the rest of the money I'd spend it on taxies so I would never have to wait in the cold for a stupid transit system to be 15 minutes later than it says it's going to be and I would be happy. And after saying all that I realize I could JUST LEAVE THIS CITY!! $2000 can get me that right??

“I’ll be here with you” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday January 7, 2014
11:22am
5 minutes
Let’s Ride Into The Sunset Together
Don Burnam


Oh this will be nice, a picnic on an ice rink. Surely nobody’s ever done that and we’re just the types to be the first! UH! I love that stuff. We’ll bring sleeping bags and heated hand pouches so we don’t go crazy, but it will be so beautiful we won’t even notice how cold it is! I’m sure of all these things. Can’t not work, you know, if we’re together. The sun will set and we’ll be drinking hot chocolate from a thermos. I have a photographer in mind. She really loves the cold, and loves being the first at things too. So she’ll get bundled, and take our pictures like a magazine spread. That’s my ultimate goal in this. I would not mind getting a bit of publicity out of this. And we’ll just look so in love that everyone will want us to be on the cover of their publications. I really know that this will work. We need to find a doggie to run around or curl up with us. It has to look like as cozy as it would if we were at home and sitting by the fire place. But at the end of the day, we’ll have each other to keep us warm. We’ll lay in bed when we’ve exhausted the sunlight, and we’ll use our body heat to restore any lost feelings in our extremities.

“LESS ORDINARY” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday December 14, 2013
9:44pm
5 minutes
Guinness Black Lager streetcar ad

There’s a man living in the bus shelter at the end of my street. He has a chair, a recycling bin filled with an assortment of papers and Tim Horton’s cups and a yellow blanket. As it gets colder, I find myself thinking of him when I unlock the door to my warm apartment. When I walk by him, I avert my eyes and then feel guilty. I regret not bringing him a tangerine or a sandwich. Leftovers. Last night, coming home from a late shift at the restaurant, I rounded the corner and forgot about him. Then I heard a voice. Singing. I peeked in the bus shelter and he was sitting in his recycling bin, the yellow blanket draped over his head. I paused. I smiled. It started to snow. Big, fluffy, feather flakes. I thought about his toes. I thought about the socks in my drawer that I never wear because they don’t allow my feet to fit into shoes.

“OPEN HOUSE” by Julia at Dundonald Park in Ottawa


Thursday, October 3, 2013
3:37pm
5 minutes
from the Saint Paul University Poster in Dundonald Park

Charlie and I are planning to make the big move to the city. She already has a set of cute bowls she wants us to get. “No more second-hand items”, She told me, “unless they’re vintage”. I didn’t want to break her little heart by telling her that people in the city don’t necessarily have nicer things or more money-but she wouldn’t have wanted to listen to me anyway. Ever since I get my promotion she’s been letting her imagination run wild–thinking about how our lives would just magically improve because we’re leaving this itty-bitty town with two stop-lights and a Tim Horton’s that closes every third day for “maintenance”. She thinks the change of scenery will help everything. Help us. I was never meant for the city. God knows I’m only going for Charlie. God knows I’m a sucker for her big brown eyes and her hopeful smile that tells me she’s willing to try. I think the city turns people cold. I think it makes everyone hard and fast and uncompromising. I don’t know if Charlie’s strong enough for it yet. I’d hate to see her loser her joy–over something like finding parking on a one way street, or seeing a hundred homeless teens everyday on her way to work.

“A sterile cap and mask” by Julia at the Italian Consolate


Friday, September 13, 2013
11:13am
5 minutes
The Birth (Poem)
Paul Muldoon

I hate my doctor. He looks at me with dead eyes. He makes me feel cold. He makes me feel small. He makes me feel like I’m a number. He makes me feel like I’m lying when I tell him my stomach aches. It does. It aches. It feels like it’s burning and he says, “here, take these antacids” and I take them, and still, nothing works. I return to him. I tell him my symptoms again. He looks right through me and says “here these are stronger this time” and I take them. Then I return again. I hate him so much. He doesn’t ask how I am. He doesn’t even remember me. He asks if I’m a smoker. “I was here yesterday,” I tell him. “Do you smoke?” He asks again. I tell him my stomach feels like it’s bleeding. Like it’s trying to push out everything. I tell him “you need to help me.” My doctor has one green eye and one blue. I don’t trust him because of that fact alone. When I see him in his office, he feels like a ghost. The whole room feels like a shed. Like a laundry room without insulation. Like a chilly bathroom tile right after you step out of a warm shower.
I want to tell him this. But something keeps me from speaking my mind.

“only the sound of the wind” by Sasha at her desk


Friday, April 5, 2013
3:14pm
5 minutes
Misery
Stephen King


It was colder than we’d ever thought it would be. It was colder and damper. The kind of cold that sneaks into your insides, your lungs and your marrow. The kind of cold that’s hard to get out. The kind of cold where you cross your fingers for a bathtub, or a fireplace, or a hot radiator to sit by. There was only the sound of the wind. It might’ve been lonely, but we were there together, Papa and me, and there was nothing lonely about that. He’d grown up on this tundra, with this snow. I’d always wondered why he was sad, the sadness heavy in the air around him, coming out of his mouth. It was because he missed the ice, he missed the sky. “You won’t like it here,” he’d said on the phone, so many times. “I will! I will!” I’d said. “You’re there,” I’d thought.

“and not mercy” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday February 20, 2013 at Starbucks
4:29pm
5 minutes
Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare


And not mercy, that’s not what I want. If you have it to give, fine, that’s one thing. But I will not ask for it. I will not beg. I don’t do things like that. I never have. I never will.
I woke up one cold morning and blamed the snow for cooling my skin. I had left the window open. Did I not invite it in? I did. I did. I realized then I was to blame for the misfortunes, the misguided ideas.
I offered once, to the man of my dreams, please take half of this shortbread. Take half and I will have the other. He forgot it and left the whole thing on the counter. I ate it all. I felt bad. Why? Did I not invite the guilt? That was one half that I had already offered up. How dare I pretend not to notice my promise?
That is why. That is why the mercy may come, but not if I request it. I do not deserve it. I do not want it if it comes falsely, if it comes because I can’t stand being in a room by myself surrounded by mirrors.
My skin, chilled from watching snow flakes hit it, my soul, ridden with the guilt that I burned in it myself. I am a mosaic of mistakes and regret and unfortunate decisions. I wasn’t thinking of anyone but myself.
Pain will come to those who cross their fingers tightly and wish and wish and wish for it.

“Words, I think, are oftenest weak.” by Julia on the subway going west


Saturday, January 19, 2013
6:40pm
5 minutes
the poem The Confession
Horatio Alger


There’s a chill in the air, it’s getting cold. Weather is changing. It’s getting cold.
A hundred people were standing in a line that wrapped around the street corner. They were waiting to see The Great John Abbey. Famous, perhaps, for something big. We don’t know. We just know we love him. He was visiting the local library on 5th. He was said to be coming at noon on a Tuesday. He didn’t show up, and the people, bundled in their winter bests, just waited there. I walked by a couple times, had to buy bread, and then go back out again for milk. I noticed the first time, the people were all in great spirits. On my way back home some of the children who had been standing were now being held by their parents or older siblings. The second time out some of them were huddled closer together, presumably to stay as warm as possible, and on my way back home, they were all swaying in time to a music-less song. Just swaying, back and forth. Swaying a dance that looked choreographed. They didn’t speak. They just waited there in each others’ silence. It was odd. It was calming and odd.
I was more shocked at that than I was at the fact that they were standing there long after noon with a hope so big, just to see a man who would never come.

“Peace at Christmas” by Julia at her parents’ kitchen table


Monday, December 24, 2012
12:30am
5 minutes
a line from a Christmas Card

Came in from the cold, crying and damp. Said to all of us, Merry Christmas, this is it. Told each and everyone of us we were loved. Waited till the drops fell from her coat and formed a perfect puddle in the shape of sadness on the linoleum. She was talking to all of us and none of us. She was making the rounds with a glass of mulled wine in her hand and a handkerchief in her other. Told us it was just hard, that’s all. Told us not to worry because it would pass, nothing to be concerned about. We hugged her, all of us, each one tighter than the next. We spoke softly to her like we would to a child. We smiled in a way that meant we cared but that we also hated to see her that way. She was shivering now, not from the frost, but from the memories. Started talking like him and asking us questions with his accent. It was sweet, we were touched, but then one by one we all got there. We all became sad. We bundled around one another with tight arms and we sang. Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. It was her favourite one. His too. Wished us all a Happy Easter. We laughed. We knew what she meant and so did she. She laughed the loudest, the puddle of sadness slowly drying up with the heat of our collective love around her. Happy Easter! She said again.

“A radio was knocked off a table.” by Julia at Rustic Owl Cafe


Saturday,December 1, 2012 at Rustic Owl Cafe
4:13pm
5 minutes
Rapture
Susan Minot


Somebody stop the music? I can’t hear the music anymore and I’ve been sittin’ here almost an hour or two now. Could be three, to tell ya the truth! Ha! I swears I’m goin’ deaf in my left ear anyway. Maybe the music is gone but just in the side of my body that can’t hear. Maybe the music is in the right and I just needs to listen harder. Oh, who knows anythin’ about anythin’ anymore. Are we a bunch of rats just scrapin’ around for a couple of left over cheese bis on the ground? Or do we not need more than that to get by?

Nice place ya got here. It reminds me of them old wood cabins that look like they’d be real cold but they sure are warm enough to keep you sane! I remember visitin’ my Annabell’s cottage over a decade ago and I was prepared to shake my buns off that entire weekend. She told me it was about time I got myself up there to visit. I knew she wanted me there for the kids, first, but also so she could keep a watch on me. Now I don’t go around pretendin’ to be better than I am. I knows exactly who I am and I don’t need nobody to tell me twice. But, I can’t lie about feelin’ a bit inadequate when my daughter feels the need to keep her eye on me just in case I go off the deep end.