“you called me at 5:30, said you couldn’t sleep” by Julia on the 99


Monday August 7, 2017
10:36pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

The phone buzzes beside my dreams and I think for a sleep second (which in real life is like, 100 wisps of sand) that you are dying and I am the only one who can love you when you’re dying. I can’t give you money but I can give you that. You want a soft arm to hold when the sky opens up? I can be that for you.
When my body alerts me to wake up (and I always wake up) there is a voicemail from you saying that you can’t sleep. My internal clock knows when it’s time to reach you. It knows 5am like a rock in a shoe.

“bigger than my hand laid out flat” by Julia on the other chair


Monday March 27, 2017
9:29pm
5 minutes
from an assignment

If we’re trading in gesutures…
I extend my hand
I look you in the eye
I wait for you to meet me
you take my hand
we do the cheorgraphed move to symbolize greeting
shake
and drop

You raise your head high above my head
I aim to connect
with my flesh on yours
we do the rehearsed beat to symbolize rhythm
and how we like to make sound out loud
every now and again

If we’e trading gestures…
I’ll give my laugh
for his lips

“with one hundred hands each” by Julia the VPL


Thursday March 16, 2017
6:20pm
5 minutes
Age Of Bronze Betrayal
Eric Shanower


Hold me like the sun is going down for the last time–
like the nights are long
like the mornings are extinct.
Keep me alive under a dead moon–
under a baren sky
under a hurt wing.

With one hundred hands you will know enough
how to close the door without waking me
how to prepare a tea without asking me
how to teach my skin what it’s worth.
With one hundred hands can you memorize my scars–
how the thick one reeks of curiosity,
how the raised one is a reward for the brave?

“but the apricot” by Julia at her dining table/desk


Wednesday February 15, 2017
7:39pm
5 minutes
Peterson First Guide to Tress
George A. Petrides


It stung like the needles off a pine tree pricking into her left breast. She could have begged for mercy but she hadn’t felt anything in days and was afraid the pain might be better than the nothing. Jac pressed into the soft spot screaming back at her. Sympathy pains? She wondered if Leah being in the hospital was causing some pyschosomatic symtoms. I can feel you, sweet thing, I am witness, believe me. The gentle stabbing persisted, aching only due to it’s lack of sleep. Jac got up to busy her mind with something else. The pain eased suddenly, washing over her with a cool relief.
Then she noticed the apricot smudge on the window. She winced, drawing her open palm to the base of it once more.

“you can work on in your backyard” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday March 23, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
viralnova.com

Mom calls me from the subway and her phone keeps cutting out because she’s standing on the steps half deciding whether or not to hang up or go and catch her damn train. She calls me back every time and I can’t get any work done or any listening done because we manage to sneak in one or two conjunctions and then there’s static. She’s scared of going to the doctor because she’s convinced they’re going to tell her she’s dying. She’s afraid of cancer. She has no visible symptoms. She is just afraid so she made the appointment. She’s not saying any of this. She’s talking about aunt Rene’s cockatiel and how the Chinese garlic situation has fucked with her tomato sauce. I want to tell her to go and to listen to them tell her that she’s fine but I can’t actually promise anything of the sort. I picture her attached to the subway stairs for hours, clinging in between the knowing and the unknowing of every single thing on this planet. I picture how she feels when she decides the reason she can’t get herself to go is because her only kid is too busy not reading in between her lines to go and be there for her. I put on my shoes.

“the way you would like them to appear” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday March 22, 2016
9:18pm
5 minutes
on the artist program guide site

A woman just crashed into a table behind me. I didn’t look up. I don’t know for sure that it even happened but I sensed it in some way and then I accepted it as not my problem. I hope I don’t go to hell for this. Like people say there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women. Well is there a special place for women who sense that other women around her are in distress but don’t actually have concrete evidence or even a witness account that that’s the case? I mean. If I can be real for a quick second, I very well may have invented that there was even a woman behind me at all. I felt the room’s energy shift. I also could have had a heart palpitation and confused it for someone being hurt? Maybe I’m the hurt one? Like is this even an issue. I’m sure she’s fine. No one around me has changed their activities. Either it didn’t happen or she didn’t need help in the first place. It’s not fair to invent victims. I’m simply saying if I had turned around to just see, I could have better assessed my destination as hell or otherwise.

“It smells like fucking McDonald’s” by Julia on the walk home


Monday March 21, 2016
11:03pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

Remind me not to want to fuck Elliot for future’s sake. I swear to god this kid’s skin actually reeks of Big Mac. I saw him mowing down chicken nuggets this morning and then he somehow had special sauce on his face all through 3rd period so someone please explain that to me. When I first saw him and his giant sensual lips I was like, whoa, damn, hot damn, good lord, seriously, holy shit, no way, seriously, take me, touch me, holy shit, snail trail, holy shit. I would have wanted him to mack up on me but I think if he were to now it would have a completely different meaning. But it’s cause he also plays the guitar and that’s a huge turn on for me. But the excessive deep fry that seeps out of his pores is the opposite of everything I’ve ever wanted. I wonder if I can wear an inconspicuous nose plug???

“It is important to notice the differences and similarities in the success stories” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday March 20, 2016
3:32pm
5 minutes
from authorspublish.com

When William came home from his first day of grade 1, he showed me a chart he made- a Venn diagram with the titles:

THINGS I DO AT HOME

THINGS I DO AT SCHOOL

William had scribbled in Colouring and Playing and Fun and Story Time in the At School Circle. In the At Home one he had written Eating and Bath Time and Bed With No Dessert and Chicken Nuggets
I realize how little I can control what he will do or say when he’s not around me. How I can’t protect an identity or a culture that I’ve built in my own home because people will always have their opinion no matter what the context. I realize how much he absorbs and how he defines himself as a member of my household. It makes me want to make a spinach salad for dinner and spend time cutting out magazine images for a collage to hang in his bedroom.

“I’ll avoid her for a few weeks” by Julia on her couch


Saturday March 19, 2016
6:35pm
5 minutes
from a text

If I close my eyes I can almost hear perfect silence. The buzz of the fridge seems to disappear. The beeping of the trucks backing up outside my balcony are muted. I can get centred without going anywhere at all. I’ve been practicing getting zen and doing it under pressure as that’s the most necessary time. Sheila says that if I practice every single day, reaching for meditation every single time I have the urge to call her instead, I’ll really start to form a habit. I think Sheila has a point. You can’t reach zen when you’re trying to make plans to go mini-golfing, or asking someone about knitting. I think Sheila is doing the exact same thing every time she thinks of calling me. I imagine her sitting there on the floor 6 or 7 times a day if she’s being diligent about curbing the urge. I don’t remember the last time Sheila even called me so her approach must be working! If I can get to a point where I don’t even think about how little human contact I’ve had, I’ll call that a success.

“White-sand beaches” By Julia at her dining table


Monday March 7, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
from an online ad

If you’re asking then I’m going, going with you, going wherever you go.
I don’t have any bags packed yet but I don’t mind getting whatever I need as we bleed.
Can I borrow your toothbrush? If you’re asking, can I share your knapsack?
I could sing you one of your favourites. You can pick the one. I know you like some feeling kinds, some country, some bluegrass, some sweet sweet soul.
I don’t care if you’re a white-sand beaches kind of thing, a hot air balloon, an air dive off of a mountain kind of heart. I am an open mess of so much yes and so little reservation.
I can curl up small on your back, or lead you hand in hand to a secret place where the pure strength river will never run dry.

“World’s Greatest Dad” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday February 16, 2016
11:05pm
5 minutes
from a picture of Joe’s t-shirt

I liked him because he thought my name was Vanessa.
I liked him because he’d make excuses to talk to me.
Because he’d serenade me in the funniest ways and always show up in my doorway without a reason.
Because his smile hasn’t changed one bit since he was little.
Because he knows how to communicate me to me.
Because he can educate without agendas or judgments.
I liked him because he was charming.
Because he was funny.
Because he was the best looking thing I’d ever seen.
I liked him because he wore truth-manifesting, subliminal foreshadowing on his funny old t-shirts.
I liked that his favorite shirt used to be the one that read “WORLD’S GREATEST DAD”.
I liked him because I believed he believed he would be.

“agreed-upon sex date” by Julia on her patio


Friday, August 14, 2015
2:11pm
5 minutes
From http://thehairpin.com/2015/08/today-is-the-12th-anniversary-of-the-big-blackout/

Me and Matthew are intimate with each other on average 6 times a week. Before you grab your shit to egg my house or something, you should know that I don’t just mean sex. Phew. Collective exhale. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we fuck like rabbits and we do that a lot too (Woah, easy…) but plain intimacy is harder for us so we have to schedule that in. Now I’m not saying this is how it should be. But we’ve figured out a way to stop taking sex personally and to stop measuring our value as a couple (or our self worth) by the act. We still struggle with making time for us to stare into each other’s eyes for an extended period of time, or sit in silence without other stimuli creeping in. It’s taking a long time. So we pencil it in and we work on it.

“I met my first savant 52 years ago” By Julia on the A train


Saturday, August 1, 2015
3:30am
5 minutes
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com

I didn’t want to meet him. I wasn’t really in the position of meeting someone outside my own brain let alone someone outside my own comfort zone. I tried to be sweet but I came off as this precious little bitch with an agenda and a superiority complex. He was kind. He played me the song he wrote on his banjo and asked me if I thought if sounded genuine enough. I couldn’t lie to him so I told him it sounded like heaven and I wished he’d never stopped to ask me about something I was clearly already thinking about. I hate when people push their shit on you. I didn’t really know sweetness. What I knew was that he cared about my opinion and what I knew was that he didn’t actually need to hear what my true one was. That should have been enough of a warning sign but I stuck around anyway. I waited till he sent me a photo of him wearing army pants to call it off.

“good energy vibes” by Julia at her desk


Thursday, July 16, 2015
12:31am
5 minutes
From a text

When you walk into a room I can hear you without knowing you’re there. It’s funny, this feeling. I know you’re around yet I haven’t seen you at all. What do you call that? What kind of connection is it when your skin perks up all tingly and awake without fully understanding why? My back is to you and your presence greets me. I wonder if you feel me the way I feel you. Is it your smell? Are we horses, sniffing each other’s flesh and taking each other in? I don’t know if it’s because I want to sense you so I do. I read somewhere that we never can fully know someone else, but I think I know you. I think I know when you’re near because I know you like I know me.
Because you are me.

“Knowing they can’t touch us” by Julia at her desk


Monday May 11, 2015
12:55am
5 minutes
Breathe Easy
Rachel Sermanni


I called out to an old friend who had come back into my life recently. I called out to her while she still had one foot in my world and one out the door. I wanted her to hear everything before she left.
She turned her head slowly, with an expectant look in her eyes. She could see right through me like I was made of glass. She knew I was in need of her and the way things used to be. Maybe she was in need of me and the way things used to be too. It’s as if in that moment of time-stopping-fears-cast-aside-light-warming-honest-connecting we were transported back to the place where the rain poured everywhere except for directly on us. We were untouchable then and I wanted that again. If not for us, than for me. She was back and here for only moments, maybe not even. She held that daisy chain limp in her hand as if she knew time was a thing one of us imagined some hot afternoon in July.

“work its magic” by Julia at her desk


Saturday May 2, 2015
10:58pm
5 minutes
from seriouseats.com

Sometimes you just gotta wait and see, feel the earth steady under your feet, breathe in the moon, and wait. Last night I had an exchange with her. The moon. It was a silent, telepathic one. I went outside, I brought my favourite lighter, and I sparked up a conversation…among other things. I exhaled, dedicating the smoke right at her. She was cloaked in clouds and didn’t respond right away. I asked her, with my intentions only, if she wanted to join me. Couldn’t hurt to ask, even if the answer was no, it couldn’t possibly hurt me at all. She didn’t answer then and there. So I waited. I waited, I smoked, I sent my signals to her trying to tug her in my direction. Come get high with me, I willed. Take a load off. We don’t need the brightness of you every single second. Then suddenly, after all that patience I was practicing, she came out. She tossed aside her persistent body guards and she winked at me. I guess the waiting paid off.

“Summer road trip” By Julia at the Bloor/Gladstone Library branch


Thursday April 30, 2015
4:24pm
5 minutes
from a magazine article

Oh I’ve got that urge again to take off and just go somewhere that isn’t here. Been travellin’ every year now it seems and I do not want to stop that now. Got a good case of wanderlust, now that’s for sure. Been feelin’ that itch deep down for a while. Been keepin’ tabs on it, and it’s inchin’ its way on up to the surface again. I can’t tell you how anxious stayin’ put makes me feel. All these things I have to get done here because I keep puttin’ them off, seein’ the world, exploring myself. Some people might say that I’m runnin’ away but I can honestly say to you that for the first time, that’s not what this is. I think I’ve found what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to live outside this place and exist in a transient way sort of like a sailor or a thrill-seeker. But I also have plans to put my skills to use while I’m away. I’m not just spendin’ all my money on food or booze or whatever. It’s more calculated than that. It’s about makin’ that connection’ with other humans on a level that I can’t quite explain.

“saying she is lost” by Julia on the 505 going west


Monday, April 27, 2015
11:49pm
5 minutes
from Hopelessly Hoping
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


Do you remember those days we would show up to a concert wearing almost the exact same thing? I don’t know if you got a kick out of it but it was one of my favourite things. Did I not tell you that? I loved when we’d dress alike because it meant we were spending a lot of time together and our styles were merging because that’s just what happens when people are connected by heart strings. I liked most how it was unconscious or subconscious or whateverconscious because that was more proof that we weren’t even trying to be similar, we just were. Anyway, I guess all that to say I miss it. I miss you. I don’t even know where I am half the time and I’ve realized lately it’s because you’re not here anymore. You used to anchor me to the earth; to myself. I knew more about the world when you were around. I knew more about magic and wonder and rushing out of the house just to meet you at whatever corner so we could talk about writing or the painfulness of falling out of touch with ourselves.

“the waiting place” by Julia at Mosaic Cafe in Clapton


Tuesday January 6, 2015 at Mosaic Cafe
6:56pm
5 minutes
from An Incomplete Manifesto For Growth
Bruce Mau


Oh honey when I see you again, you’ll have flowers in your hair, you’ll have new cities in your smile. I’ll tell the world I knew you once, when you were wild and free. I’ll tell the story to my grandkids, about the day you stole my heart with your laugh and that ripped grey t-shirt you used to always wear. You’ll be older and I’ll be older still, but we’ll find a connection in the space between our bodies, where they once were, between our lips. I’ll know it’s you by the way you tug my hair. By the way you’ll still get mad at the moon for not hanging just your way. And you’ll recognize me by the way I hold your back and make you feel like even dying would be okay. It’ll be years that feel like moments and seconds dressed as decades. But one day, in the fields of light, quoting Leaves Of Grass, I’ll see you again.

“with MOSS FOLK” by Julia at Kawaii Crepe


Thursday August 7, 2014 at Kawaii Crepe
8:38pm
5 minutes
from the Wooden Shjips concert ticket


I’ve been sitting here with a patch of dead skin in my hands. I thought you would have noticed that my legs were peeling because some of the shapes looked like your favourite states: Minnesota, Alabama, Missouri. You didn’t say one thing about it, so I kept slowly detaching the snake-like-shreds, trying to keep them as long and intact as possible. Like orange peels. Like the backing of a press on tattoo. I guess I was looking for some attention, or to prove to myself that you cared about me and my well-being. I wondered if you wondered why I had burnt skin to begin with. If you thought to ask and discovered that I scalded my legs in a hot bath, if you’d wonder why anyone would think to take a hot bath in the middle of July. I don’t usually do that kind of thing. It just sort of happened as a result of my endless time alone and my desire to feel like anything but myself. Granted, I did feel a little like Virginia Woolf. I wondered if you’d wonder about that part…

“By a man’s fingernails,” by Julia on her “deck” steps


Tuesday August 5, 2014
9:54pm
5 minutes
a quote by Sherlock Holmes

It was unnecessary, really, for them to be so curt with their neighbours. They had, the neighbours that is, up until that point, made sure to smile each time they saw them and to greet them with a tiny wave-usually the small female neighbour did the hand gestures; the small male neighbour liked to nod his head ever so slightly. They hadn’t come over with a casserole or any baked goods out of kindness or welcoming. They simply said hello with their body language and were probably a little too hopeful that they would eventually be met with a similar greeting by the new couple who had moved in just down the hall. They did, after all, share a kitchen wall and a parking lot. When they saw the small female neighbour pacing back and forth in front of her kitchen door, they could tell she was distraught. A hello wouldn’t have been appropriate anyway. They knew exactly what had happened between her and the small male neighbour just moments before. Their shared kitchen wall was anything but thick. She had yelled at him because she had burnt her hand on the hot pan straight from the oven. She had already been having a bad day, and they assumed that was the straw that broke it. She looked up from her puffy eyes, sensing the newly arrived couple’s presence. Hopeful. Always hopeful.

“Pure Life” by Julia in the car


Thursday July 31, 2014
8:44pm
5 minutes
the nestle water bottle

She was PURE LIFE. PURE JOY. I held her for the first time and I DIED. I MELTED. I wanted to stay seated on that wicker rocking chair that didn’t rock anymore FOREVER. FOR HER. She was honestly the best moment of my life. She was PURE LOVE. PURE HAPPINESS. I wanted to build a bubble of warmth and love around her fuzzy little head and hold her until she was too big to want that. That way I could pour all of my undying love into her bubble and feed her with is so she would know how special and worth it and truly unequivocally loved she was. This little thing without opinions of the world yet, without the sadness, the jaded crispiness that comes from getting left behind, or getting told you’re ugly, or getting felt up by a stranger at a sleazy hot dog stand one stupid night in Sacramento. This little thing without pain, and without anger, and without wanting so much that the world seems so unwilling to give. I would have shown her that all she needed to do was sleep there and giggle sometimes and hold my finger. I would have loved her the way I needed to be loved.

“any kind of company” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday July 29, 2014
4:37pm
5 minutes
wikipedia.org

She swept the living room floor for the third time that morning. She somehow kept stepping in sand, which she thought she had fully cleaned the day before. She put on The Dirty Projectors and made sure to press repeat every time Impregnable Question came on. It felt like the perfect song to listen as she was feeling alone, yet didn’t want to fall too far into a problematic state. This was after eating the raw cookie dough from the tube and drawing a sketch of a bat wearing a clown nose. Every time her phone rang, she leapt from her sprawled out on the floor position to see who it could be. Telemarketing usually. The occasional scam rewards program from Cruises R Us. She was desperate for any kind of company. Any kind that would require a conversation, the outpouring of her emotions and her opinions, and perhaps a hug that would last at least six seconds to ensure a proper connection was established.

“adjacent to the wildly popular” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday, October 11, 2013
12:35pm
5 minutes
The Grid TO, Oct. 10-16, 2013 edition

I would very much like you to remember the time before you cradled a tiny screen like an infant. I would very much like you to remember spending hours in the lazy sun, tucked into your mother’s garden, pushing your fingertips into the soft, moist earth. She welcomed you. That tiny screen? He pushes you away. He pushes you away because in keeping it there, in your hand, like a premature baby, all the time, always scrolling or trolling or knoll-ing… you’re looking down. Your focus is too focused. I would very much like you to look up, or out, even just out, not necessarily up. Soften your gaze and behold how the maple forest has changed since yesterday. It’s a bit more golden, a bit more orange, a bit more musical. Widen your gaze and see that man in the red jacket who has taken a break from selling the Street News newspaper and is biting into an apple. Someone gave it to him, as a present, as an exchange of sweetness. They didn’t want a newspaper in return, just a moment’s eye contact, just a smile.

“All natural” by Julia on her couch


Saturday April 6, 2013
2:43am
5 minutes
Cameron’s beer coaster

Okie dokie! She said. She always said weird shit like that.
I met her when I was 9 and she annoyed me even then, but I also liked her. I didn’t have many friends. Felt like I was a friend failure since the only one I picked to hang out with was right nuts and needed to be put in restraints if she ate too many Gummie chews. I liked her because she was very sweet to the elderly, always drawing little pictures and writing poems for them. Old people are my soft spot. I really do love them. But it was her idea to go to the nursing home to perform the dance we made up to Madonna’s entire True Blue album.
That was nice. She had a good heart, but those phrases. Man those phrases. It was as if she wanted to convince me to use them too but it never worked. That’s something that will never rub off on me. Dumb catch phrases. And punny jokes.

“Never say never, Moby!” by Julia on her couch


Monday, April 1, 2013
12:06am
5 minutes
Overheard on the subway going west

yeah i guess he was talking to me, referring to me, inviting me. i guess you could say he was reaching out or something. anyway, not important. he had his mouth facing my general ear direction, like you know? talking? and then suddenly i just sort of flashed back from out of my body and into his and i could like, read his MIND. his MIND! that’s so wild, right? but like, the worst part was, it was as if i was lucid dreaming and i could control everything, except i was in a jail cell and there was like, nothing to do anyway. does that make sense? i was trapped in my own lucid dream! and i wanted to get out, believe me, but i felt bad for the guy. it felt like there had been no one inside his mind for years. just sad, you know? he wanted me to go with him to the promised land. he said that in maybe fewer words? but the sentiment was there. he was severely connecting with me and i was obviously doing the same because i wanted to know what he wanted from me and to make sure he wasn’t just some creepazoid tricking me into getting captured or something. he never once said my name, so i guess i might be speculating here after all. but i could feel him trying to break through to me. i pulled out my earphones and i stared at him, like, okay go, i’m listening just do it now before i change my mind. like all of it was happening in split second intervals. and he just said it to me then. he said, never say never, Moby!

“nor are we talking about thousands” by Julia at R Squared


Monday, March 11, 2013 at R Squared
11:20am
5 minutes
The War Within (The New Yorker)
Jon Lee Anderson


-Which way is it? To Snakes and Lattes? Am I on the right side of the street anyway?
-Um, yup. You are. Just keep going. You’ll see it. I’m glad you’re going there.
-Me too. Kay, thanks.
-Bye.
-Oh, excuse me, do you want to come?
-No thanks, I don’t really like it there.
-You don’t?
-No! But you will. Bye!

-Hello light and sound and pedestrians. Your sign says “Traveller, Harmless.” Are you both or just one and I’m supposed to guess your two truths or two lies?
-Um, bro. I’m just trying stuff out. Got any?
-Change? No. I don’t believe in coins. Want a fiver?
-Um, yeah. Okay, thanks.
-No. I’m not going to give it to you…Just wondering if you’re okay with the idea of it.
-Fuck off.
-That’s a bit harmful..The language. My mother used to swear like you. I don’t think she felt justified the way you probably do. Nose ring, big scruffy dog. She was crazy, though.
-Umm…No..Whatever. It’s fine.
-You’re hungry? I’ll buy you lunch. Want me to?
-You’re going to take it back..
-Only if you say no.
-Okay. Yes. Whatever.
-Can I take you out for sushi? Do you eat that? I want to dine in.