“I know that guy, we’ve talked” by Julia on her couch

Monday May 21, 2018
10:19pm
From a text

You’re the guy from my dreams
Wake up in a cold sweat wish I never fell asleep
The one who my mother warned me about

The one who told the truth all those years ago and I still heard what I wanted to hear
Isn’t it funny how you wish for some things and they end up coming true?
The way I said Give me someone who doesn’t let me get away with my bullshit
Give me someone who fights back

I heard myself say that you and I would never work–told myself that and then I pretended like I didn’t know what I was talking about
That I was wrong about those instincts

That I didn’t know what being right felt like anyway

It’s been a long time now and we’ve talked
You’re the guy from my dreams I choose other people over
But how can you trust a dream that wakes itself up?
…surprises me with how little he knows about the things I thought I knew

“with its blood-red brick” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Sunday May 20, 2018

11:09pm

The Virgin Cure

Ami McKay

Both of us are bleeding and craving steak. You told me twelve years ago that eating it would make my period come after a pregnancy scare. You say you still sort of believe that.

I think maybe I don’t have to worry about that for better or worse, complicatedly.

Upstairs it sounds like the devil is playing back your promise to him in reverse. I don’t move because I don’t need him coming for me next. All that stamping on his grave I did. All that burning chocolate.

It wasn’t possible the last time I was late. I had to rack my brain to make sure I wasn’t forgetting something. Someone. When it came I looked in the blood to see if the start of a living thing was in there, pooling at the bottom of the toilet bowl. It made me feel better to see it disappear even with a thick string painting it jelly fish before it sunk.

“present something that is true” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Saturday May 19, 2018
10:40pm
5 minutes
From a quotei by Kelly Hill

Life’s goal:

Find the truth

Full stop

Repeat

Full stop

Repeat again

And then the going gets toughLike it always does

And the choices don’t seem so clear

Foot on the break and watch the deer with her baby?

Swerve and keep going to people please the car behind you?

What if a friend does not ask for advice but you still want to give it? Safe? Smart? Honesty over tact?Truth over tragedy?

Life’s goal:

Be the truth so you won’t have to go looking for it

Be the truth so it will always be right there in front of you waiting for you

Repeat

Repeat

“Let me die, dear Lord” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Friday May 18, 2018
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Birth House
Ami McKay

I am giving up my sad boots and asking for something a little less heavy. I want to tip toe toward you and maybe we can all quiet the floor. I want us to be happy. I don’t know how to make that sound better. No metaphors. No regrets. Happy and whole. You can take the old me and kill it. Ask someone if you need to use a particular tool to save the rest. What knife would the good Lord use? Let that one sing her last song at the moon and go gently into the earth. Only death can make room for new life. Only goodbye to sorrow can rebuild.

“Intelligent, quirky, passionate” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday May 15, 2018
11:44pm
5 minutes
from Quill and Quire

Let them see all the good colours
the ones that the sky knows in the morning
and when the sun decides to sleep
Let them see them in me
Let me

I am too tired to write a lie
Everything is coming out neon green
If I had more time I would spin a web of almost truth
And you might get caught because it wil be beautiful
It will blow your friggen mind out of your skull

let them choose brains over braun
quirk over perk
passion over rations
Let them pick the harder one to be
Let them learn how
Let me

I wish the bed didn’t sink in the middle
I wish Chicago wasn’t trying to recruit me so persistently
I wish the edges of this soft made you cry for once instead of me
I wish I didn’t need to do everything in the same line format

BREAK THE FOURTH WALL AND DO NOT OFFER TO PAY FOR DAMAGES
DIP SUGAR INTO A SALTY THING AND BOW DEEPLY
VOLUNTEER TO GO FIRST
T
R
U
S
T
YOUR EMOTIONAL LIFE WHEN IT IS HOOKED UP ALL THE WAY DOWN YOUR SPINE

“My mom calls him that” by Julia at her desk

Monday May 14, 2018
11:53pm
5 minutes
from a text

My mom used to call my brother Terminator 3. That was before Terminator 3 came out. Is it out? He used to do some pretty Terminator-like stuff. Once he wiped his bloody nose on the neighbours clean white sheets drying on the line in the backyard. That one was pretty bad.
He’s probably the most devoted kid she has though. He lived at home for a while and mowed the lawn for a while and picked up groceries for a while and payed their credit cards for a while. Now he’s the designated driver when I come home to visit. He picks me up at the airport even during a blizzard and he never seems put out by having do something for family. He had to get hip surgery recently and ended up staying at my mom’s house while he was healing. He got to ring a little bell too when he needed something. He loved that. But my mom thought it was really funny so she loved it too. I don’t think she calls him Terminator 3 anymore. Now he gets his real name. I guess ever since he grew into himself he’s been pretty okay to be around. When I go home he tells me some of the same stories over and over again but that might have more to do with genetics than anything.

“Manifest plainness” by Julia in her bed

Sunday, May 13, 2018
6:19am
5 minutes
From a quote on by Lao Tzu

The colour is right
Light pink, baby blue, hazy orange

The wake up is long
pushing the eyelashes open slowly
almost drifting off and farther away

The label on the alarm is a message from past me, wisdom and honesty
Please Write. I Love You.
And it works by the time I travel there

Eyelids weigh a wet feather or a hundred pounds and we take it easy
The body machine is working hard at staying up to see the seagulls swooping close to the window but not quite
The body machine is looking for excuses to stay asleep

One eye open, seeing the room through a dream

“The danger of tying your self-worth” by Julia on her couch

Saturday, May 12, 2018
10:18pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Brene Brown

Watch out for potholes
Dips in the concrete that make your toes do the work

Keep you upright

Can’t walk with your eyes down got to feel them quicker, know what your foot needs to recalibrate sooner

If you tie your self-worth to a perfect line you will be disappointed when someone else sees it crooked

If success is the only marker of success then you will always be walking in circles.

Tie your self worth to the spiral. Going in and out on itself, out and back again, outer world, inner world, beyond, down deep. Let the rise and fall be what they are.
Who are these lessons for? Me? You?
Is anyone listening anymore?

Was anyone ever?

“I’ll back my car up” by Julia at her desk

Friday, May 11, 2018
9:31pm
5 minutes
Catching the Westbound
Corvin Thomas

It was a nice time to drive then
you behind the wheel and me out the window tracking waterfalls
(There, another, did you see that one? On your left. I said on your left!)
I suppose I wasn’t doing any of the driving
too much fear built up over the years, too many MVA and physio
You never wanted to ride shot-gun, and I don’t think it’s because
you liked the sound of me narrating the outdoors to you, the roadside, the clouds
You liked the finger feeding, the tiny snack bites of cheese and olive
You liked choosing the music
You liked letting me sleep
And it was a good time with a car that was ours for the first trip of our lives
It was good after that with the duct tape holding up the under side of the car
(I call it that to this day because neither of us know much about automobiles, or whatever they’re calling them these days. Human carriers? Life holders? Vessels of transformation and transport?)
But soon after you were screaming your frustration into the pillow
Geeva had died again on the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
And we mourned her then: her and her licence plate namesake

“we were exhausted” by Julia at J, W, and A’s house

Thursday, May 10, 2018
11:08pm
5 minutes
To The Beach
Brian Doyle

It was as if time travelled back into the clock and left us there, happy
The only thing we were waiting for was the still frame photograph of our lives once lived

At the end of the day there was a host of us bent over at the hip
hard and fast kiss at the moon, and a thank you brushing the cloud
We have lived here once, echoing like the faint buzz of a ghost pepper bleeding out from the lips
a lasting like this one and we were a donation
a giving of our bodies from one open wound to another
and we did not waver
we did not ask for cotton swabs or for distilled gin
We drank at the quiet like a dream coming home for the first time
We knew aching the way a mother of seven might.

“I am weary” by Julia at The Cottage

Wednesday May 9, 2018
10:23pm
5 minutes
The Identity Repairman
Thomas Sayers Ellis

I told him I made a dinner out of scraps when he asked
said I used the butt of the broccoli and the kale that
had been in there for 6 weeks, wrinkling slowly.
Then I mentioned the bacon and he said Oh The Bacon?
And I said I’m still alive, AND didn’t have to leave
the house. He said he was going to stop off somewhere
and pick something up because he was hungry and I said
please help yourself to my left over left overs and he
said I Trust Your Left Overs. I Trust Them. And I knew
without asking that he did not trust them. He was weary
of them. And so I did ask, because of comedy, and he
said he was going to stop off somewhere and pick
something up because he was hungry. I am never weary of
the bottom of the fridge or the inside of a stranger’s
throat. I will peer in if I have the chance and take
a chipped mug from the shelves of unwanted nick nacks.
I am only weary of people who are weary of me for not
being weary at all. Now I will have left overs of left
overs left over to eat for lunch tomorrow. And I will
still be alive then too. Because it’s not a death
sentence. It just makes my farts smell impossible.

“The job wasn’t that bad.” By Julia in her bed

Tuesday May 8, 2018
11:15pm
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

I stand by the water and admit out loud that I want the busier streets, the prettier graffiti, the taller buildings. If one day I have to throw myself off of one, at least it’d be a longer fall. And I could go home. He hears lump in the throat, Justify Janice. He thinks about childish gambino and how iphone is gonna start autocorrecting his name with capital letters. He waits for me to stop talking so he can kiss me. I do not stop talking. I let him kiss me on the walk to the other place we live in.

“the hypocrites will teach.” By Julia in her bed

Monday May 7, 2018
11:01pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Suzy Kassem

All the voices I’ve been avoiding living inside me are more alive than I’ve been letting them be, more living than I’ve been thinking they are

I was right about you
it’s written in the stars and I’ve been right so many times but I’ve been scared and so I don’t say anything with words but with worlds of voices dancing around in my head

And they are so loud that my skin crawls and maybe you can see it so you ask me what is wrong and the truth is inside nothing is wrong everything is right but it is dangerous to say out loud

It is hard to believe that I know more than I think I do
That I am bigger than I think I am

“Oh you exercise?” By Julia on her couch

Sunday May 6, 2018
10:41pm
5 minutes
From a text

Comes out to meet me with
his shirt off and I’m like dude those wont work on me, save your six-pack for someone who cares. And he’s like this is for you and I’m like this is what I just said and you are not listening. Then he does up his shirt and starts to pout and I say, hey that wont work on me either cause I’m not into crying for no reason. And he’s like, this is not for you, it’s for me and don’t you get it? And I’m like get what? No? Get what? And he’s like never mind you don’t care. And I’m like, about what though?

“a giant note to self” by Julia on the 99

Saturday May 5, 2018
5:16pm
5 minutes
@a_belovedgreen Instagram

Get a screen protector on my phone so the nosy Nancy sitting beside me on the bus stops staring into my life.
Stop judging me Nancy!

Find a banana box to keep my banana from mushing against the inside of my bag.

Find less sexual ways to describe the messes I make.

Thank her with coffee and flowers and an invitation. Don’t forget. She’s a good one.

Keep saying yes until I have to say no. Then say no.

Hound the right people. Be a presence. Bark up the tree and stay there.

Walk before everyone else wakes up. Smell the pine. Breathe the solitude in like a reward.

Stop waiting for the wrong hearts to do right by me.

Ascend gradually. Adjust to new heights. Don’t look down.

“earth, sky, water, fire and wood” by Julia at R’s house

Friday May 4, 2018
2:00pm
5 minutes
From a Caitlin Press newsletter

They told me I was air and I never forgot that.
Not the feeling in the room when they all thought they had figured me out.
Not the pang against my guts when my insides begged to differ.
I wanted to be earth, steady, unmoving.
I wanted to be tethered to feet and stone.
I wanted to be fire, holy, hot and badass.
And though I fight it, when I spill over I know again and again that I am not air.
Not light like this. Not a carrier of plastic bags and other floating, diacarded.

“It works excellent!” By Julia on her bed

Thursday May 3, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
From BUNZ trading zone

Keanu Reeves said it best: Let’s just be excellent to everyone. And if he said it a different way then he said it best that way. I want for the world. I do. I want a hello to mean hello and I want thank you to mean I see you. I mean, I see you. And why wouldn’t I want to be excellent to you? What on earth would have to happen for me to want to be anything less? How nice not to blame any one else for that decision. We are only less when we feel less. These lessons are the easily fixed. They’re the accessible ones.They live in our hallways, our lockers, on our bathroom walls.

“How could I predict” by Julia in her bed

Sunday April 29, 2018
8:45am
5 minutes
The Address Book
Louis Phillips

I wonder how I was supposed to know
how I was supposed to recognize you after all this time away
Your face changes every time you come back to me and my eyes are different too
Was I supposed to look for the switch of your skin
wait for the weight of your arm in my lap as you slept
and I wrote
Was I supposed to open the door and feel it
Maybe it’s in the hours collecting one by one in the bottomless hope of our pockets
Maybe after breakfast together one day or after lunch or after dinner

“Come prepared with questions” by Julia on the 99

Friday April 27, 2018
10:56pm
5 minutes
the Verses Festival of Words 2018 program

Are you home yet are you waiting in the bed are you staying this time are you home for a while are you sticking around are you there already are you as hungry and tired as I am did your journey tonight teach you something like mine did were you able to listen to your body like I wasn’t did you problem solve on the spot in a room full of strangers and lights hiding their faces are you home yet are you waiting for me are you going to be there to hold me will you hold me until I’m sleeping will you please let me sleep in will you stroke my cheek will you untie my knots are you on your way yet can you be home now can you stay home now can you stay home now

“My mother is a wood thrush” by Julia at M’s house

Thursday, April 19, 2018
11:19pm
5 minutes
A List Of My Utopias
Debbie Urbanski

I can recite her laugh lines by heart
in the quiet night I hear her in my rib cage
I saved a couple of her voicemails
when I want to visit with her again
in the dead of winter
when speaking half in english, half italian, half french, my skin knows story
sometimes she sings and I know where I got it from
and where she must have gotten it from
that alone would connect us
the hum.

“she will not live long.” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
11:21pm
5 minutes
june 20th
Lucille Clifton

Mary-Beth gets a chicken
and she loves her with
all her heart because that’s
what a chicken does
to a person

You wouldn’t think it
but it’s true
They are bringing
chickens into senior citizens’
homes to help fight all
the loneliness

Mary-Beth lets Fiesta
(That’s her chicken’s name)
sit on her shoulder while
she is playing checkers with
Anthony and Robin
Fiesta helps her heart beat
to more music than ever
and she also helps her win
at checkers

“then I had a boy.” By Julia at V, J, W, and A’s house

Sunday April 15, 2018
7:30pm
5 minutes
Devices on Standby
Kelly Ann Malone

I heard the words come out of my mouth like a broken record: MOVE just like my mother used to say. And it worked. That tone, that strength. She listened and she did. Then I hugged her. Because I didn’t want her to go to sleep right after being yelled at. So then I hugged him too because he was good the whole night and i didn’t want him to feel left out. And that is what I’m learning. That girls still need hugs after being told no. And boys still need hugs after being told yes.

I keep thinking, don’t let your kids grow to be unlikeable, if I don’t like them the world won’t like them and I want the world to like my kids. Send them to my parents house so they can see what listening feels like, what being a kid feels like. I want that for me and for my kids and for the grandparents my parents will turn into.

“Then it went shooting back from the window.” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday April 10, 2018
12:45pm
5 minutes
Pope Hats
Ethan Rilly

I think it was a raven, you said it was a crow. Either way we’re both inside the house, close to the maple candied pecans, and not planning on leaving to prove the other one wrong. I love Sundays. You don’t make me put on pants, and I don’t make you put down your gingerale. We argue about which birds are hanging out on our back porch, but we’re not angry. We’re not anything that is not easy. Easy as Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon! We’ve got scrambled eggs and chocolate eggs! We’ve got rich cheeses and no place to be-ses! When the sun sets we don’t miss the day. We say hello to the stars from the couch and we count commercials instead of hours. We put on something more comfortable than before. We’ve earned the night. We rest like it’s the last day before you leave again. And it is the last day before you leave again. We do not waste a second.

“The process is afterall like music,”by Julia at the BC Women and Children’s Hospital

Friday April 6, 2018

9:54am

5 minutes

Käthe Kollwitz

Miriam Rukeyser

I am not over here laughing at you

If you think I am laughing at you

Not smirking at the thought of you grovelling, not turned on by your comeuppance

The memory of us swells like a song that is trying to teach me something

To ride the wave, go up, come down, stay down, stay down, and again

It is not one of those scores that gives it all away at the outset

You don’t get ahead of it because it keeps changing, twisting, turning, forcing me to touch each tendon, pulling and pressing

The resolve comes after the rise, the fall, after the shift, after the decision

And it is not the kind of music that I can dance to joyfully

It begs of me

It bruises

“A woman in the shape of a monster” by Julia on the 99

Monday April 2, 2018

10:57pm

5 minutes

Planetarium

Adrienne Rich

I guess I’m supposed to shape shift into the Phoenix now, huh? Rise from the ashes and flap my glorious wings around, fanning all the too hot, too dangerous. You expect me to be big the way you expect dinner to be on the table when you come home. I guess I’m supposed to use you as my downfall and build a sturdy ladder from my rock bottom so I can climb my ass to the fucking moon. You’d like that wouldn’t you: a real success story to attach your dick to. Watch me decide which edge to use as I slice the vein out of your skin. Show you just how much monster I can be, when you expect me to be anything but mine.

“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.” By Julia on the 98

Saturday March 31, 2018

6:10pm

5 minutes

A quote from Stephen Hawking

In the 4th grade I was a times tables genius. I won around the world so many times I had to give some of my suckers away. By the time I got to the 5th grade I became so deathly afraid of graphs that I had to excuse myself to the bathroom anytime we played games that required the use of them. By the 6th grade I stopped remembering math class as a place to learn and turned it into one where I could practice my stand up routine. I think that’s when I realized I was funny. When all the kids in my class were being tested for the special skills test, I was deeply saddened when they didn’t ask me to do it. They were going to decide if those kids needed an individual education plan and I had high grades and I felt smart, but it was not enough to get the fancy folder with my name on it. I wondered why they thought that numerical testing was the only way to determine if we were gifted.

“I think you’re really mean” By Julia on her bed

Friday March 30, 2018

1:49pm

5 minutes

Not Fair

Lilly Allen

The little girl says this to me after I tell her that I’m not mad at her for breaking my crayon box. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to feel bad but she feels bad and now she thinks every word out of my mouth is going to shame her head into the sand. This comment is followed by a lot of screaming for me not to talk to her. Nobody is allowed to talk to her. And I have to let it pass because she is not my child and she doesn’t know that I am trying to hold her. Minutes earlier she is flinging her arms around me and telling me she loves me. I wonder about the size of a three year old’s emotions. I ask myself, how do such big feelings fit into such small bodies. Her hands, when she lets me squeeze them, a tiny pillow for all the unknowing in the space between us. Her curls, when she lets me comb them, a bouncy castle of dreams.

“Get that money get that cash!” By Julia on the 99

Thursday March 29, 2018

6:20pm

5 minutes

From a text

I think it’s funny when you ride a bus facing the wrong way and you think you can talk on the phone with nobody hearing you. As if it gives you the superpower of being invisible.

I also think it’s funny when you try to write on a bus facing the wrong way and your stomach starts to swivel and you can feel it in your temples. Hilarious. Ha ha. Great joke.

I’ve been wondering about the money. About the funny money on the bus. The coins. The lost dimes. The people all huddled at the back too cool to tap in with their bus pass. Too cool says the sunglasses hiding the eyes too worried about being caught. The heart jumps around in there when you think it might be the last time it gets to. Isn’t it funny when you have no money and you have to pay the $250 fine because you didn’t pay the money? Hilarious. Ha ha.

I think it’s funny when the person behind you has the voice of a machete and thinks they’re also invisible.

“Luke punched a boy” by Julia on her couch

Friday March 23, 2018
12:11am
5 minutes
Two Moons
Debbie Urbanski

Luke Walker had a feathery step

He made a dark room lift

He loved his dad more than his mom

On Tuesdays he would pack his own lunch

On Wednesdays he would walk through the park, by the ducks chasing hunks of bread

Luke walker kissed his cousin on the mouth once during truth or dare

He liked it

On Christmas morning he would drag the cassette player to the kitchen to make everyone listen to his favourite Yoko Ono song on repeat

“boys can be dangerous.” by Julia at the studio

Monday, March 19, 2018
3:57pm
5 minutes
Undue Familiarity
Ellen Collett

It is under the covers of this empty bed where I feel the most like nothing.
Where are your knotted legs to wrap mine around?
Where is the soupy whisper in my ear telling me I am good enough already?
Boys are so damn dangerous
when you let them love you so good
the lack of them creates chaos in the sweet stream
A kink in the neck now from piling up your pillows
it is my back, desperate
to be held by something other
than this muscle spasm, kidnapper and cruel one
I rub the void between my legs until sleep takes me
I wake up wet from the dream that I said I’d meet you in
I used to think I slept better when you are gone
but when I let you love me so good
the sheets change all of their demands

“something wonderful happens:” by Julia on the 84

Sunday, March 18, 2018
2:26pm
5 minutes
A Marriage
Michael Blumenthal

When the days go by without poetry
I am lost inside the labyrinth my own making has built for me to conquer
Busy relearning how to walk
with two new feet that have not yet carried this heavy
The hero’s journey has always been someone else’s movie
And I have not watched myself transform into grace from the sidelines
Inside out she is begging to be fed
That I may find my appetite for words the way I once did in the weeds and speckled laneways
She is the hero waiting
Outside is not safe and she knows that
She wants out anyway but there are more protectors at the gate
More worried hearts preoccupied with the consequence of light
First I must put her ease in plain view
Ask her if she’s sure and if she is how sure
Something wonderful happens when I let her speak
When she sees a door and calls it a wishing well.

“The next time he comes over” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, March 17, 2018
10:57pm
5 minutes
The Possible Universe
Claire Halliday

The next time he comes by, in dream or almost, I’m going to make sure I taste his lips.
Last time the whole sleep paralysis thing got me. He came home, but I was stuck on the couch. I could feel him next to me. I asked him for a kiss. He bent down, his mouth hot near mine, and all I could do was lay there. Now I’ve had a good talking to with my brain and we both agreed we were not going to do that again. If he was showing up in my subconcious, he should get to make actual contact. None of this Nearly But Not Quite stuff. He asked me if we could rendezvous at a train station this time. I got worried, knowing me, always waking myself up before the good parts. So we decided to meet on the train itself to maximize our dream time together. He said he wanted to make love to me in the dining car. I would very much like to show up for this one. I’ve always wanted to make love in a dining car.

“seemed to love us anyway” by Julia on her couch

Friday, March 16, 2018
11:53pm
5 minutes
Beauty: 1976
Ruth L. Shwartz

We stole little things from her vanity-a ring, a sample bottle of eau de toilette, a hair pin. It didn’t look like she would notice them gone. There were so many more important things to notice. After she told us about the robbery and how they found Granite’s debit card being used in six different diners in two days, we felt bad. Here she was telling us about how people keep stealing from them, and we were there, stealing from them. It was so easy to convince ourselves she wouldn’t notice on account of how many stories we’ve been forced to listen to for the 60th time. People who tell the exact same story to the exact same people year after year are not the look around and see what’s new about the room kind of people. People who are so damn sad do not have time to count their broaches, or their Jean jackets.

“God may have written” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

10:33pm

5 minutes

From a quote by Nancy Cartwright

Aubrey tells me that she wishes she could sing without trying. Without crying. Without opening her mouth. She asks me to ask God what can be done about that. She asks me because I’m taller than her and therefore closer to God. She’s not wrong…

When I ask her why she wants this she doesn’t answer with words but with a look of disapproval. As if I didn’t already know. As if it needs to be spelled out.

Aubrey tells me it’s important that singing be true. She says she’s heard enough people trying and she doesn’t want to be the kind who has to push put feelings; one who tries to get it right.

Would you be okay with being wrong? I ask her, a little afraid now that I’ve pushed her too far.

She smiles then and blows her bangs out of her oval face.

“Jobs for college students” by Julia on M’s front porch

Sunday March 11, 2018

7:08pm

5 minutes

Seediness

James got me a job working the phones at the writing centre after he heard me give an improvised tour of it even though I had only just walked into the place five minutes prior. He liked my spunk and I liked that he needed someone to replace him while he worked out or read a book to his kid over lunch hours on Mondays Wednesday and sometimes Fridays. His wife let him see her during the days because she didn’t want her getting used to seeing him only before bed. She was convinced that’s how you give a child nightmares. I presume she meant when he couldn’t make it at nighttime, as understandably, he sometimes would not. I used to steal pens and post its and I never felt bad about it. I guess I thought James wouldn’t care because I assumed he did the same thing. I felt like a rockstar scheduling students in for their one on one essay appointments. I wasn’t there enough to be invested, but I wanted James to feel validated by his instinct of me.

“as spicy or as tame” by Julia on her couch

Saturday March 10, 2018
10:03pm
5 minutes
Allrecipes.com

Her skin smelled spicy and I couldn’t get it out of my head. The way she plucked rosemary from other people’s gardens and tucked it in her back pocket or in the bun of her hair. She needed the earth like she needed to laugh. I loved that she did not pass one bushel unpicked. She liked to roll the green between her fingers and pull them up to her nose at traffic lights. She said it calmed her. She said it made her feel like she was already home. When we’d wake, I’d find her laying in my practice baseball shirt and smelling good without the help of something bottled. When I told her she smelled spicy she laughed and said, what were you expecting, lavender?

“your inner rock collecting childhood self” by Julia on L and J’s couch

Friday March 9, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
BUNZ Trading Zone

draw a set of bunny ears on the front and the poofy tail on the back
collect enough flat rocks to draw all animals
cat whiskers and ears on the front
tail on the back
horse braid on the front
tail on the back
you get the idea
the tail goes on the back whenever there is a tail
like a coin
but you won’t be flipping these
they’ll be too heavy
you can skip them if they’re flat
there is room for some funny jokes in there
(cats not really liking the water, for a first idea)
(you can lead a horse to water…)
you can also give these rocks away
as little parting gifts
or put them in the loot bags at your child’s brithday party
they’ll think they’re getting something
like a chocolate
or an eraser
but they will get to display it on their mantle
forver reminding them
(their parents)
that you had time for your kid and then some
who doesn’t want more time
who doesn’t need more time
maybe we’ve jumped ahead and you do not have kids yet
you’re still a kid yourself
you’re still so damn young
(sorry, darn)
scrawl the name of the boy you like on the front
and write your name on the back
throw it into the water
and make a wish
they always go into the water

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

Thursday March 8, 2018
10:17pm
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.

“Oh my god it HURTS!” By Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 7, 2018
8:47pm
The Stand
Stephen King

Okay let me tell you what it’s like. On a good night? He comes home, he kisses me in the driveway, he slaps my ass and then he brings in the groceries from the car, puts them away, then sits on the couch. I give him a back massage and then I cook dinner. He does the dishes, then he reads in his chair and snacks on those chewy mints. He loves those chewy mints even though they get stuck in his teeth. He tells me he loves me. He sings in my ear. On a bad night it’s not much different. He comes home, he reads, he chews, he does the dishes. But on those days he does not kiss me in the driveway. Doesn’t tell me that he loves me. Plays the piano in the other room with his headphones in. Watches reality tv and surfs the web for funny videos in the other room with his headphones in. Doesn’t kiss me before we sleep. Doesn’t touch me in the bed. Doesn’t ask how my day was. Comes home but doesn’t want to be there.

“If you have any questions” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday March 6, 2018

11:20pm

5 minutes

Vancouver Yellow Cab

Ask me. Please God, ask me.

Don’t wait until the question is asking you. Don’t hold off until you think I might be ready. Ask me. In the middle of the night. In the middle of this sentence. In the seconds before a skydive. In the goodbye of our old-selves. In the presence of your heartache. In the drip of your throat. In the worst moment ever. In the 9 minute snooze meant for snoozing. Ask me. Please. Don’t wait. Don’t wish. Let me know how you feel. Let me know what you need. I will do my best to hear you. I will not make you feel bad. I don’t know how to judge you.

“connection as friends.” by Julia at the studio

Monday, March 5, 2018
3:53pm
5 minutes
I Know How You Feel
F. Diane Barth

When we first met I wanted to like you. I wanted to like you and I liked
you. I said “She and I are going to be friends.” I said we were, and we
were. I learned that If I wanted something, believd in the wanting, in the
why, then I would get what I wanted. I tried that out on other friends too,
just to see. It worked. I wanted to like them and I liked them. I said “We
are going to be friends and we were friends. Maybe you could make the
connection that I made us have the connection. You could infer that I was the
one who brought us floating together in the same orbit to begin with. Afterall,
if you wanted us to be friends, wouldn’t you have made us friends?
You might interrupt here and tell me that we are friends because we both wanted
us to be friends. We made the connection in tandem. Made, a verb, an action,
a choice. I know that this is not the case because I did all of the work. I
showed you my whole thumping heart. I bled out when it was not convenient.
You said yes. But you waited for me to go first.You didn’t want it as bad as me.

“shit and eggshell” by Julia on the 9

Sunday, March 4, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
My Life Smells Like This
Amy Bloom

You are no longer sleeping here-I beg the smart side of my brain to seize the opportunity: Paint the fucking thing shit brown and eggshell, a reminder of just how useless you were. The smart part of body buys the brushes, borrows a roller and a tray, sticks colour swatches to the wall. The other side, the middle sister side, sits on the edge of the bed and seizes into a chemical tear bath. The salty breath is held there like a brown paper bag was trying to keep it from floating away. Laboured. Inconsolable. The smart side of my brain has it all figured out: Leave, let leave, let live, live, leave. Do not pick up the phone. Do not keep slippers in the room that fit only the feet who walked out on you. Don’t do it. Don’t ask the other side for grace.

“plush and pregnant into my palm” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, March 3, 2018
12:16am
5 minutes
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
James Cagney

I catch myself being more ready for the things I used to avoid
Motherhood
True Love
White Cheddar popcorn topping
In the span of a few months my chest has expanded:
my heart has grown three full sizes
I know you are to blame
as you always are for changing my mind
as you always are when you are the next thing in the room
I have never wanted you closer
Even after all the undecided books
or old tables put in new places
It is medicine when our worlds spin in the same direction
It is better this way
On the street you ask me if things are okay when they don’t feel okay
I tell you now before they turn into unswept corners, spiders crawling out

“object of concentration” by Julia on the 99

Friday, March 2, 2018
4:02pm
5 minutes
Ashtanga Yoga Primer
Baba Hari Dass

On my mind like a wind chime

blowing in the night

Playing a song so sweet

You are who I think of when I can’t get to sleep

You are who I know I need

Raindrops carry the ease of you

On my rooftop I have felt the drum

You are who my heart knows is the one

You are who my heart knows is the one

In the faces in shower tiles I see yours

In the gravel roads I’m travelling on

You’re the smile in my bowl of soup

the wisdom in the moon

You are who I was supposed to meet

You are who my dreams told me to write

You are who my eyes were built to see

You are who my heart knows

“for what little he had left” by Julia on V, J, W, and A’s couch

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

9:41pm

5 minutes

Ordinary

Curtis LeBlanc

He had to get his hip replaced at 28. That’s too young. I shouldn’t have to say that. He shouldn’t have to know it. He lost his hair first. Before everything. Too short to get away with it. People saw. Some of them were mean. A full head of hair does not a man make. I shouldn’t have to say that. He shouldn’t have to feel it.

When they took his car away from him they clipped his wings and put him in a cage. He was helping someone else out and he still had the law trying to keep him from flying. He was helping someone. I shouldn’t have to say that. I forgot to tell him he was enough. I don’t know why I think it’s my job but it feels like it is. Like he’d listen to me. I shouldn’t have to say it. But I didn’t anyway. I really should have said it.

“all these obsessions we’ve believed” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 26, 2018
10:24pm
5 minutes
Wake The Dead
Julia Pileggi

They told me they like the way they could see the room that we were in,
the kitchen, to be exact (and isn’t it always)
I told them it was a true story and some of them nodded along, grateful

I plan to one day have a kitchen of my own that my kids will want
to write about
When they think of me, maybe they’ll place me by the toaster oven or
the built in cutting board, raw from the busy family of serated edges
I have not yet held my mother in my own kitchen
I have never cooked dinner for my father
They have no idea what I know and what I know from them

The other day my mother was surprised when she heard that
I don’t skip breakfast
I was surprised that she would think I was the type that did
In her own way, she is complimenting me, thinking me independent,
autonomous and wise enough to know
In my own way, I am insulted, thinking she thinks I am too irresponsible
to make sure that I properly feed myself
Some of these are stories that I tell myself, maybe as a reminder
to write them down later in case I happen to forget

“only four corals spawn” by Julia at her desk

Sunday, February 25, 2018
10:16pm
5 minutes
Sea Sick
Alanna Mitchell

Did you know that coral is not a plant? Everybody thinks it’s a plant because of its size and the way it hangs out on ocean floors. Corals are not plants. Technically, they’re animals because they don’t produce their own food. They actually have mouths. I’m not a coral mouth expert so I can’t really say much about them, but I know they’re there because they capture food with their tentacle-like arms and then sweep it into them. They have been around for millions of years. Did you know that? I know a girl who is named Coral but I don’t think she was named after THE coral because she’s sort of the opposite of amazing. She’s the type of girl you just want to roll up in a dusty rug and toss off your 6 story balcony onto your mom’s boyfriend’s parking spot. I’ve never heard her talk about the ocean before. What a waste. Anyway, did you know that coral reefs rival old-growth forests in terms of how long they can live? I don’t blame you for not knowing that. I didn’t even know that and I’ve read EXTENSIVELY about corals.

“only four corals spawn” by Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Sunday, February 25, 2018
7:32am
5 minutes
Sea Sick
Alanna Mitchell

India Arie has sold over 3.3 million records worldwide so if you’ve ever questioned her success you are the one who is, in fact, “out to lunch”. She won four Grammy Awards, okay. Do you remember the song “Video”? It basically started an entire revolution. I tried to wear India Arie inspired head wraps for about two weeks in junior high and everyone asked what statement I was making. “I am not making any statement! I am not my hair!” I said and then swore a vow of silence for third period chemistry so that my identity would not be questioned further.

“A queen travels” by Julia in T’s car

Saturday, February 24, 2018

12:57am

5 minutes

Winter Watch

Jennifer Elise Foerster

A queen travels in the backseat of a Honda Civic. The front two seats have zebra print covers. The heat doesn’t work. She falls asleep with her neck jammed to the right. She is mushed up, her bones all squeaky.

A queen takes her shoes off because her socks are wet from the tiny hole in her boot. She spreads herself out when she thinks she’s earned it. After reminding herself how many conversations she attempted to start; how many thick silences she endured. At the border she smiles at the man on duty. She lets the others do the talking. She shakes her head from highway sleep.

“There is a dream I remember having” By Julia on V, J, W, and A’s couch

Thursday, February 22, 2018

10:01pm

5 minutes

The Wilds of Sleep

Kat Duff

I am younger than nine

I remember just fine

Not the age or the stage

But the people and the place

It’s not scary

but it’s a nightmare

I go down to tell my mom

Having a bad dream again

But it’s my dad shaving in the bathroom

And he’s smiling

And I ask where she is

And he says right here

And then my dad enters again

And my dad stands beside my dad

And my dad shaves besides my dad

As in, my mom is my dad

As In, my dad is my mom

As in, my mom has been absorbed by my dad

As in, my mom is turned into his copy

Two dads, as good as he is, is not

a substitute for one of each

My mom signs my report cards

My mom toasts my bread

My mom reads me stories

Let’s me sleep on her side of the bed