“You know how advice is.” by Julia at her desk

Thursday July 4, 2019
5:48pm
5 minutes
From a quote by John Steinbeck

It’s usually hot and swift like a shot
to the throat, rusty, at best, mistimed
And here I should be on my knees
swallowing
thank you for the wisdom, dripping down
into my guts
You mix with me until I can’t feel my
own hunger pangs
you’re the one speaking now, my stomach
the house you spread the gospel in

I did not ask for this and then again
maybe I did with a quivering lip the
way you’ve learned to decode as Somebody
Decide For Me, Make This Moment Stop
Hurting So much
Did I ask for this? Standing slumped
unworthy of my own back bone straight
and arrow into my lungs where the
breathing is supposed to go

It’s something you want to say but
I don’t need to hear, masked as a
kindness, the way new addictions
come in the prettiest of boxes
I learn to separate myself out
of the equation the whole time
wondering why nothing seems to
add up anymore

Me here with your hand up my
skull, flapping my face around
while I recite the script you wrote

“I make him feel guilty.” by Julia at Lindsay’s house


Wednesday May 18, 2016
10:44pm
5 minutes
Burner Season
Ellie Sawatzky


Kev and I haven’t spoken since last Wednesday. It’s been a week. I told him I wanted to see how long we could go without engaging with each other. He was angry that I even suggested something like that. I didn’t say it but I wanted him to know how I felt. How when I want intimacy, conversation, attention, I have to practically beg him for it. I wanted him to know what it felt like to live with someone who didn’t “put out” emotionally. So far it’s been brutal for both of us but I don’t know who’s got it worse. I decided on purpose that I would avoid him to teach him a lesson but I’m not sure if I’ve now pushed him away instead. When we have to share the kitchen, Kev reaching up to the top shelf to pull down his favourite cereal bowl, me underneath him grinding flax seeds, we don’t make eye contact if we can avoid it. I don’t know what he would do if I looked him in the eye, but I do know that if he met my gaze I would have a hard time keeping my mouth away from his. This distance, despite my efforts to remain unmoved has made me want him more than I am maybe willing to control. I have been fighting myself for 7 days: Make him come to me, or make him come for me.

“our minds drift to the beach” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 17, 2016
11:08pm
5 minutes
health.amhosp.org

I didn’t have my swimsuit. I purposely didn’t pack it because I didn’t want to be forced to wear it. Dale said that she wouldn’t swim either in solidarity but I didn’t want her pity as much as she was trying to be a good friend. I told her to go ahead, enjoy herself. I sat on the beach in light billowy pants and a white camisole. I could hear everyone laughing in the night, splashing in the ocean. Suddenly my head felt wet. I looked up and Terrence was standing there, dripping his salty midnight water all over me.

“Yes?” I looked up expectantly.
“Come in with us.”
“Nah, I don’t have my suit.” I said, shrugging my misfortune of an absent bikini.
“Come on, Leigh, that’s a sorry excuse. Didn’t you know that skin is waterproof?”

“nasal congestion” by Julia at Grange Park


Friday, June 26, 2015
5:45pm
5 minutes
NETI: Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda

I can hear her blow her nose through the wall. Thin ass walls, the realtor conveniently forgot to mention. My husband’s obsessed with her. Whenever he hears her go out onto her patio he somehow gets struck with an urgent need for”fresh air”. He goes out there so he can ogle her and imagine what colour her underwear is. He thinks he’s being so slick but I know what he’s doing. He just assumes I’m none the wiser because I don’t say anything. I guess I don’t quite know how I feel about it. Do I care? Do I even mind? When he goes outside for his fantasy time, I have the house to myself and I forget about him completely. It doesn’t even bother me when he goes out because that alone time feels so good. It’s when he comes back in I can’t stand: adjusting himself and quickly thinking of something to say that will convince him, and he thinks me, that he wasn’t just outside wishing he could stay there.

“sometimes you’re like a stranger to me” by Julia on her patio


Saturday May 23, 2015
11:44pm
5 minutes
Stranger
Alfie Conor


Came into the bedroom and the first thing that made me worry was your smell. You don’t like to shower at night. So why did you smell clean and sneaky and lying and suspicious?
I smelled you with a new nose. A detective’s nose. Unwilling to rest until the case is solved.
The second thing that was cause for concern was your humming. For someone who prefers to whistle. I found it peculiar. I found it unsettling. Your humming was beautiful. That was unsettling too.
I heard you with new ears. A dog’s ears. Unable to ignore the information traveling at a higher frequency right above my head.
Then, the last thing I noticed…the last thing…

“9AM-6PM” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday May 20, 2015
12:33am
5 minutes
from a parking sign

That’s when I’m awake and dreaming about being so much better.
Wishing I had taken out the trash.
Wishing I had eaten breakfast on the back porch.
Wishing I had cleaned my house last night so I could wake up with it ready.
That’s when I spend time thinking about what food I could eat.
How excited I’ll get when I plan a delicious feast.
But really just eat pickled eggplant and chili bean paste from the jar.
And call that a proper meal.
All day.
From 9AM-6PM when the rest of the world is out there making a living.
I’m in here thinking about how one day I’ll be making a living.
Instead of making a living now.
Instead of living now.
But there are other dreams too.
Of how tomorrow will be filled with positive and productive and persistent.
How if I can just get through this day.

“believe it or not” by Julia on the 72 going north


Tuesday May 19, 2015
10:45pm
5 minutes
A Ripley’s bus ad

believe it or not we’re here now together
you say you don’t want to believe that cause then it’s harder to let it go
but i’m telling you now that we’re here now together
and the harder you push me the farther i’ll get let go
why wouldn’t you just trust me?
when i say i have a heart built for two
when i say it’s like a bicycle and it carries the both of us?
why can’t you allow me to be exactly how i am
without getting scared of endings and losings and assumings
i’ve never been this happy before either
but i’m not running away
and i’m no trying to convince you that this is too good to be true
you have to listen to what your gut is trying to tell you
all those warm fuzzy tinglings?
they don’t exist there for nothing
and those happy pretty songs that you’re humming
aren’t just an accident either
they’re your feelings and they’re your truth
just the way i paint more when i think of your face
and i can’t help but smile when you cross my mind
i know it’s not normal that doesn’t mean it’s bad
you have to believe me when i tell you the truth before it all goes away
before you see exactly how much better us being here now together is
than what you’ll have when it’s gone

A photo of Jack and Daisy by Julia on Katie’s couch


Sunday January 11, 2015
12:17am
5 minutes

Jack and Daisy

Held my hand out for you and I waited
Hours went by and I waited
Days turned into butterflies and I waited
Still
Like the night
Like the only moment between us that you wanted to paint
I stood there, facing the light
Hours went by and I tortured myself with thoughts of you
Of your smile
Of your depth
Of your tiny birthmark hidden in the crack of your upper lip
Hours
Days
Lifetimes went by and I waited
My arm got tired from holding onto an escaped hope
It had flown away into the wind long ago
My heart got tired from beating for both of us
My head got tired from trying to convince my body to have patience
To wait there for you until you were ready
And finally
I left
I left you there with the rain cascading down
All the veins of every heavy hearted tree

“Try and make a few local friends” by Julia on her couch


Monday August 18, 2014
1:03am
5 minutes
girlinflorence.com

My motha, she calls me in the middle of the night. She tells me, Keltie, don’t be that girl. I am not that girl, whatever girl she thinks I am, so I say, motha, please, don’t lump me into that group, for the love of christ. She says, Keltie, I don’t want you to be one of those loser girls who sits on her computer all day checking e-mails and how to blogs about growing vegetables indoors but doesn’t actually buy the seeds to do it. I have to take a moment to think about that one, but she doesn’t stop talking. You know, Keltie, you’ve got to be ahead of the crowd and ahead of yourself. Don’t try and hide behind your looks because you’re not fooling anyone and one day someone other than me is going to expect you to actually do something. I’m sitting up in my bed chugging a glass of day old water, trying to watch the tiny fuzz particles as they hid my teeth. I’m staring at the mirror. I’m plucking out stray hairs on inner thigh, fucking Carla forgot to get those white ones we talked about. Yes, uh-huh, I’m still here, I tell her, but she’s hardly even listening. You want to be one of those sad girls who doesn’t make any friends? Keltie? Promise me you’re going to get drunk at least once so you have the confidence to talk to someone other than your vagina. Ma! My vagina? What fresh hell is this conversation right now? She doesn’t answer for the first time. Promise me, Keltie.

“I’m not doing this with you right now” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday August 13, 2014
2:01am
5 minutes
from a conversation

I’m
not
leaving
that’s not what I’m doing
I’m
not
leaving
you
We can talk every Wednesday
I’m
not
disappearing
I want to write you love letters by hand
I’m
not
leaving
you
Please don’t make this harder
I’m
not
going
far
away
If you don’t consider geography
I’m
not
going
far
way
from
you
If you believe me when I tell you I’m still here
I’m
not
going
I could stay inside this moment with you
I’m
not
going
at
all
Could we resume our puzzle pieced body formation?
I
will
never
leave
you
Take a second to promise me something
I
will
never
choose
something
over you
Distance is a word not a knife wound

“get a rise outta you!” by Julia at The Forks


Tuesday July 1, 2014 at The Forks
8:41pm
5 minutes
from the Phoenix Rising espresso bag

He started doing it to me when we first met. It was before we were allowed to love each other. Probably because I told a different person and I also told myself that I would be committed to him. The other person. I had met him first, he was my first real relationship. It wasn’t a forever thing but it was a then thing. So was he. The other other person. The one I wanted to love but wasn’t allowed to yet. I would look at him while he glanced around the room taking everyone in and learning something that even they didn’t know about themselves with just one silent look. I would hope that he was looking at me like that. From the inside out. And I would dream about leaving the person I had for the person I wanted but didn’t fully know the magnitude of that desire at the time. And he made sure that I kept wanting him. Because he’d tell me things that I’d believe just because it was coming out of his mouth, when really he was just seeing how much I would allow. I didn’t know there was such a thing as learning someone from the inside out. He showed me that. He once took off his glasses and convinced me that his eyes were wonky without them. He asked me if I thought he should get contacts. I said no.

“the railway that connects our country” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Saturday November 30, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
9:07pm
5 minutes
the Local Heroes calendar

Marley has never been on a train. She doesn’t understand simple concepts like “math” or “travel”. She does this thing where she sums up life just like that. Categorizing things in a vague fashion without recognizing how much more goes into it. She tells herself that “the future” is full of pain and that her “feelings” are wrong. Marley started doing this when she was very young. It might have even started as a joke but who knows when the fun of the whole thing ended. Marley is no longer making a joke, but a life comment. An observation of herself that she deems non-disputable. She considers these things to be “facts” and “truths” and “things people notice about her, but just don’t say out loud.” Marley isn’t trying to perpetuate those ideas. She just believes them now because it’s been too long that she’s felt like she didn’t have any other choice.