“translator, teacher” by Julia at her desk

Monday September 2, 2019
9:19pm
5 minutes
from a bio

in the offering tonight, over papaya salad too bitter
and a bucket of rice as plain and soothing as it gets

a slight hesitation of fear is replaced with the true
realization that this is what we do, this is what we make

And yes i say yes to you asking with your teeth giddy
and yes i say yes to the work that is transformative

because this is what we do, I do, we can remember
And you want to come home to yourself and i want to

greet you at the door because you are so damn alive
inside when we’re scheming together and i am so much

more reliable now that i’m not fucking with that old
stuff like i used to, so when we make a decision i can

tell you honestly why or why not or when or how or if
And the heart is less stutter these days, more roar

The brain is more fire these days, less air, the triumph
is in the decision to collect our secret vulnerabilities

at the foot of one another and laugh there about nothing
even when the chicken is too dry and the work, we know

will be long, or hard, but good. Always, always good.

“unapologetic about her love of narcotics.” By Julia at Ocean Village

Friday February 1, 2019
8:41pm
5 minutes
Orange Is The New Black
Piper Kerman

I met her the night we dropped MDMA and spoke with sweat and sweet and true and good
I was grateful for the peaks of love that kiss sunlight
So high the only thing we could do was see each other

The time before that we found cocaine on the bump of her key, the public bathrooms at every place we ended up: the bar, the house party, the tennis court, after moving a rustic ladder from the back of my apartment to her’s—wearing heels and dressed ready
We felt like we were made of arms

The same two of us, and deeper,
found a butterfly sanctuary on the day we were decided on being real joy

“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.

“He’s not worthy of competing with you” by Julia in Da Nang

Saturday January 27, 2018
8:48am
5 minutes
The Duel
Thomas Brasch

You can tell me you’re not competing and I will be more likely to believe you but the ones who love me most and know me best will know you’re lying. I didn’t know we were after the same horizon. I didn’t know because I wasn’t looking over in your lane.

I only ever wanted to know how you are doing your best not how to do your best. I thought we could share instruction manuals once we got them. But you hide yours from me. This has been going on for years. And it is not a compliment to withhold your gold on account of my capacity. I am big and you are big but this constant comparing makes you smaller. You do that to yourself. I don’t want what you’re after. You could spend more time expanding. You could do that instead. Because I am big. I am so big already.

“they couldn’t handle you?” by Julia on Kits beach


Friday July 28, 2017
7:10pm
5 minutes
overheard on Kits beach

You walked into your new office right, you stroked your beard, you adjusted your belt, you waved at everyone? Right? You made your presence known? You held a baby ( I don’t know, Shelley from HR can never get a sitter, okay, she’s tired, you cooed at him, it was a good moment, everybody loves a pair of stylish suspenders holding an infant) and high fived the custodian? You walked all the way over to your boss’ desk and you put your foot up on it. You let him see you, right? You look him square in the eyes and unleash the most deadpan almost too-close-to-home joke and you wait, right?
Then…boom.

“two or more writers” by Julia on Bec’s bed


Tuesday January 3, 2017
10:59pm
5 minutes
bcartscouncil.ca

Two or more writers gathered at the table
Nobody inside yet
Nobody hungry
Two or more writers sit together after more than a year of not sitting together being writers at the same place
Sit together now and laugh about old times and give each other hope
Two or more writers or was it two or less writers not knowing how to define themselves
Even if either one would have given the same title to the other
Two or less writers sit together wondering how it is that before two or more writers were more than just writers and more than not writers
Two or more writers gathered at the table
Eggs and toast eaten
Tea and coffee finished

“In just 10 months you have come a long way” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday May 3, 2016
8:31pm
5 minutes
From the Twitter account of the woman sitting in front of Julia

Look at your new smile
Your new confidence
Your new found love for yourself
You see me see you
I see you
I have always seen you
You see me see you seeing you
It is beautiful
In all the ways this world is beautiful
In all the ocean songs
And amethyst hearts
And moon cakes
And rain forests
And sounds of a baby’s laugh
Your new you is an old you returning
A home where you can
take off your shoes
Stay for a while
And dance in the magic suit you were born in
Look at your new wisdom
The kind that comes from
Re-learning how to trust yourself
Re-learning how to choose yourself
It is whole and it is warm
I would hold it
but I’ve already gotten so much
You keep it for now
Let it fill the cracks that once split you open
Let it fill the space where you said yes
To being more alive
Than yesterday

“What? What’s wrong?” by Julia at her dining table


Monday, March 28, 2016
10:17pm
5 minutes
from some sides

You ask me what I’m not telling you for the second time because my face looks like it’s hiding something from you. I don’t know why I keep saying,

Nothing.
Nothing.
Nothing.

If this were a year ago you’d have stopped questioning, whether you believed me or not, assuming you believed me, assuming you didn’t care to take notice when I said something I mean or when I didn’t.
Now you won’t let up and you won’t let me wallow and you won’t let me silently hate you or me if that’s what you think I think I’m doing. I should be grateful that you notice my subtleties now, that you inquire past surface level, that you don’t let me get away with the idea of performing perfect or unbothered or both.
But I guess I am holding on to that a bit so I won’t be held accountable to explain my feelings. To name them.
The only thing I want to say right now is,

Sometimes I don’t think you really love me.

Even though that’s ludicrous. I don’t want to say that to you now because I know how untrue that statement really is. I just want to hear you say

Always.
Always.
Always.

“too damn cool” by Julia at her desk


Friday November 21, 2014
8:32pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Walking down the busy cobblestone street
Strutting something fierce
Oozing confidence and poise
Leaking soul music
And a je ne sais quois
Dropping bits and pieces of perfect balance
Power and magnetism in eyes of jade
(Thanks to that scarf: a perfect colour match to those open windows leading to the soul)
Stepping to the steady beat of
Qui se ne frega?
And the
don’t need anything but this moment

“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.

“you’re obliged to keep living” by Julia at a park in Charleston


Thursday April 23, 2014
4:29pm
5 minutes
Locked In To Life
Mark Brazaitis


Keep pushing, keep moving, keep trying trying trying.
Don’t believe you’re stupid. Don’t believe that because nobody believes that and you don’t want to give them any new ideas about it.
Keep.
Pushing.
Yeah, it’s hard.
And yeah there will be lots of crying.
(With you, there’s always lots of crying. Get used to it.)
And there will be lots of laughing.
(With you, there’s always more laughing than crying. See?)
But there will be no regrets.
You don’t have time for those.
You don’t even have enough time to call your mother.
Or send that postcard to your boyfriend.
Or apologize to your inner person for being so damn-self-deprecating on a daily basis.
You don’t have time for that stuff.
So you most certainly do not have time to wish you did it differently.
The universe can be cruel.
I know that. You know that. Everybody knows that.
But it can also be kind.
So be a little nicer.
Be a little less quick to place the blame.
Be a little less okay with believing you’re mediocre.
Even when you forget how to spell “Disappointment” without an electronic device correcting you.
And even when you convince yourself you can’t do simple math in your head when trying to tip the server.
Be a little more confident.
Because you’re here.
Because you’ve made it this far and because if you didn’t want to be alive, you just wouldn’t be.

“skill testing question required” by Julia at her kitchen table


Friday April 4, 2014
2:42pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

I was thinking about it all morning. It was a stupid math one, and I should have gotten it right with ease. Ease. I was good at math up until, what, grade five? Fucking graphs, you know? And ever since then it’s been downhill. I used to win fucking awards for my math. Like class-room accolades and shit. I used to get those lollipops. You know? We’d play around the world with our times tables, and I’d beat every single kid in my class, even the smart ones, and then I’d get a lollipop. I used to win so many times I could have opened a tuck shop at my desk and made 25 cents on each kid. See. Math. It’s all confidence anyway. Did you know that? I mean, sure, reading takes confidence, and whatever, Art. But math. It’s a skill you develop just by being confident enough to develop it. You have one bad teacher tell you you’re worth even a little less than you are, and you just learn to believe that crap. It’s one of those things that keeps coming back to bite you in the ass too. You know, taxes, and leaving tips, and getting the right change back from the damn Wal-mart clerk. Did she even finish high school? I don’t know. Does she assume I’m good at math because most people are at least able to calculate the simple stuff in their heads, and therefore this clerk works harder to be good herself so she doesn’t look like she’s trying to dupe a smart math guy? I don’t know. Maybe she thinks that because she’s bad at math, then I must also be bad at math.
Could have won a fucking car today. Fucking math.

“The Psychology of Colour” by Julia on her couch


Monday December 30, 2013
10:06pm
5 minutes
www.stumbleupon.com

Apparently the plum colour she bought was meant to signify “confidence”. She believed it I guess. I guess because she didn’t have any to begin with. She planned it out, thought she might wear it to Christmas dinner to show her brother that she was fine without him and that it wasn’t because of her “twisted smile” that made him “run away” She wanted to show him that she was brave and bold and all the things he thought she wasn’t. To hurt her? Maybe. To help her? She rationalized. He, if she had to pick, would be brown, the colour of practicality and ultimately boredom. She didn’t see a colour that he would wear anyway. None of them jumped out at her because he wasn’t a very good person and all the colours on the wheel seemed way too nice for him anyway. Maybe red, the colour of hunger and rage, and the devil. That made sense to her. She was new to this ‘psychology of colour’.She was trying to channel calm, in the light blue, and lightness in the bright yellow.

“Would you trust a mouse” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday November 10, 2013
5:30pm
5 minutes
alive magazine October 2013

My lover and I used to have a regular visitor. He was tiny and he was fast, but we learned to love him because he was ours. Something we both shared and something we both knew to be true. I had seen him first, out of the corner of my eye, and I was accepting of his presence because he stared at me the first day with such confidence and unapologetic stillness. It was amazing. And so I didn’t scream, or jump, or chase him. I welcomed him into our home, and I knew my lover would be equally as accepting. When I filled with the finest cheese, peanut butter, and cookies. We didn’t want him to think we were the greedy type. My lover lined the basket with a gingham fabric that once used to line our picnic baskets, and on occasion, the inside of our coat pockets so we’d match. Oh how we forget the beautiful days that bonded us, even in clothing. We took care of our new housemate as if he were a cat, or a puppy. Lots of love and lots of witty banter.

“I can’t wait to meet you” by Julia on the 506 going west


Tuesday June 4, 2013
11:40am
5 minutes
From a Target billboard on College

She had on a fringed leather jacket that she swore to herself she’d never ever wear. A lot of things were like that for her. She also said she’d never try those pointy witch shoes but they became popular and then she wore those too. Her worst fear was losing herself, completely cognizant of how much of a sell out she was becoming with each new thing she’d said she’d never do or eat or feel. She remembers telling JoJo that she wouldn’t be caught dead doing PDA and if she ever did to legitimately shoot her. Not dead, just in the foot or something so she would have to feel the punishment of being a hypocrite. We’re all hypocrites, JoJo told her. But she wasn’t in the mood for sympathy. She wanted to hide her newly tattooed arm under long sleeves until she could scrape up enough confidence to wear the thing out loud, in public. It was a personal tattoo. She had gotten it for her father when he passed away and it reminded her of how loved she was by that man. More by him than any other human she’d ever met. But for some reason it wasn’t right to show. JoJo hadn’t even seen it yet.