“whose eyes are a thousand blind windows:” by Julia in Amanda’s kitchen

Tuesday August 7, 2018
11:52pm
5 minutes
Howl
Allen Ginsberg

We wait for each other to stop speaking
silence drifting between us in our car seats
Sometimes saying nothing is saying everything
How shame lives in my cheeks when I can’t
“say nothing”
“say nothing”

We spend three hours staring into each others’ eyes
separated by green tea and a key chain
and some blurry tears streaming without warning
We don’t call me what I am but later I feel it
The reckoning of too much information shared
Too much honesty not yet checked in the echo

We both say how lovely it is and how sad it was
and how soon we will do this again
nobody is crying now
The summer night too hot for tears to puddle

“everything is ending” by Sasha on her mother’s couch

Monday, June 18, 2018
10:47am
5 minutes
A Visit from the Goon Squad
Jennifer Egan

Mama cries alligator raindrop tears cuz things are changing
“Why do things always have to change?”
She cries and cries and the house fills with salt water

Papa doesn’t laugh much anymore because he’s got a belly ache
And Mama is real worried
Danny’s going to firefighting school and leaving home
“We’re empty nesters!” She wails
And the tears spill out the windows

“Vivian! You’re going to drown the whole neighbourhood!”
Says Papa and I tell ya, I think he’s right

“the amniotic brine of tears” by Julia on the 99

Tuesday January 16, 2018

8:56pm

5 minutes

Memo to a Self

Steven Heighton

I called my mother today and yelled and cried at her while she was helping me. I yelled emotions, not anger. Or maybe frustration and fear and annoyance. And she didn’t get mad. She was kind. She knows when I yell I’m not mad at her but feeling more than my body can handle. She knows that and says it’s okay, or I’m not taking it personally, or you can take out your anger on me. But I’m not angry. And I shouldn’t be yelling. But I am yelling and so I yell that I’m not mad. Or I yell that I love her. Or I yell that I’m afraid of dying before I get to see her again. When I yell my mother rolls a batch of date and walnut cookies. She puts me on speaker phone and forgets to tell me that my dad is in the other room with his leg up cause he can’t straighten his knee. That’s when I feel bad about the yelling. As if my dad, unexpectedly home from work, can hear how ridiculous I’m being and might think I’m an asshole. As if had I known that someone else was in the house I would have put on more of a front. That’s just as ridiculous. I don’t yell at my dad because my dad doesn’t know that I have fears of dying before I see him next.

“SEE ALL” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday November 16, 2017
11:52pm
5 minutes
http://www.bestbuy.ca

The front of my fleecy is wet. SHE SEES ALL. Have I been sweating again? Have I been crying again? SHE KNOWS YOU’RE WET. There are more than seven balled up tissues on the floor at my feet. I pick them up. I put them in the waste basket beside the lavender couch. I swat at a fruit fly.

“Would you like to pay by cheque or card?”

I am furious that Noreen has the audacity to ask me to pay for this divine interaction. God was here with us. Do we pay to go to church? Not where I come from.

“Card please.”

“tired of having sex only with me” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday October 31, 2017
10:52pm
5 minutes
A Few Portals
Debbie Urbanski

It’s okay
You say
Brushing my hair out of my face
Can’t stop crying
Won’t stop crying

Joy
Shhh
You say
And I breathe in your smell
Applesauce and bicycle tires

I go into the bathroom
Splash water on my face
Let it run down my neck
You knock on the door

Go away
I say
I will not
You say
I love you
I say

You make us bagels and cream cheese
I don’t want tomato

“big comfy chairs” By Julia on the 99


Monday August 21, 2017
10:17pm
5 minutes
from an email

My head wants to cry and my eyes won’t let it happen. The woman beside me smells like cupcakes. The light is too bright, the windows are too open, and the woman beside me who smells like cupcakes is describing the dream she had about the big house and the sunroom. I do not picture big comfy chairs where my skin can sink. I see a pool warm enough for these cold August nights. I see a kiss on the temples where the pain likes to sit. The woman beside me who smells like cupcakes is gone and I am thinking about her dirty skirt and how terry cloth clothing always feels like the wrong kind of summer.
My head wants to pour out. Wants my eyes to get a bath. Maybe that’s what it will feel like from now on. Maybe that’s what happens after you stare directly at the sun taking the only break she ever gets.

“Part of the explanation” by Julia on F’s couch


Friday June 9, 2017
9:24pm
5 minutes
The Globe And Mail

I have been avoiding calling my mother because I know I am going to cry.
She is avoiding me too for the same reason.
Earlier this week my sister tells me that the family reunion is off.
After swearing in the bathroom and crying and yelling and crying some more,
I tell her I’m sorry for overreacting.
My sister tells me she could listen to me swear for days, and if it’s any consolation,
I was not overreacting, but reacting, and both would be okay.

Today I finally phone her and for whatever reason we start speaking french to each other.
I think because this softens the blow.
Keeps things light, after all, it is only a family that will not be reuniting.
It’s not the end of the world.
I hear the sigh in her voice as she mixes in some words in Italian, some a combination of both.
I tell her I already know.
She laughs.
Then later she cries.
We both do.

“even if it was just an honest mistake” by Julia on her couch


Saturday May 20, 2017
10:48pm
5 minutes
Soft Taco
Fernando Raguero


he didn’t mean to hurt me
told me so after the dance
said the excitement got to him
said the music was too loud
a hundred I love yous and I’m sorrys
interchangeable and frequent
I never said it back
never wanted him to know that
my love was bigger than my hurt
that he could get away with
twisting the skin on my back
gently
until it popped
and then the explanations came
and wouldn’t stop
he needed to eat something
he needed to feel something
he wasn’t thinking about me it
wasn’t personal or punishment
even if it felt exactly like both of those two things
I wanted to stop crying but the tears told me what was real
not the other way around
release release go to sleep
release release go to sleep
told me I should be over it
by now
said that I say it’s okay but I don’t ever forgive anyone
not really

“An often overlooked side effect” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday January 25, 2017
12:04am
5 minutes
from a tweet

I guess you’d dismiss the tears if you saw them
mistaken them for fears of feelings of the sort that don’t garner recognition
Aren’t they our body’s most tuned in sensor?
I want to know what they say about crying in places that aren’t here
I want to know which animals cry and what that means
I want to know why I cry when I cry differently than acceptable or out of
Nothing in particular
What am I doing with so many feelings released from the gum ball machine that is my control panel
My heart
My soul
My something
Something that gets flooded
Something that can be broken
Something that exists more than just to fill buckets

“he couldn’t explain or understand.” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 4, 2016
8:07pm
5 minutes
4000 Days
Warren Fellows


It was like yesterday, I remember it like yesterday.
Sunny was in the yard playing with her mason jar filled with tiny snails. She was calling them funny names like Gabrielle and Inmim. I watched her babysit them like they were her dolls. She liked to explain things to them in Spanish, in case they ever needed to be able to do the same. But then there is a flash in this memory, like two films stitched together to edit the problem in between. There was a problem in between. There’s a second vision as strong and detailed as the first before the flash. Thea and Perry are crying in my living room and everyone is screaming Sunny’s name. Thea is wearing the locket she gave to her and shaking her head back and forth so furiously it looks like it might spin off. Perry is holding her hand and clenching his jaw. He is smiling but he doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

“I see four stages” by Julia on the bench outside Baldwin Laundry


Friday, July 10, 2015
4:08pm
5 minutes
On Writing Zion
Maureen Stanton


Day One:
listening at the door to see if Alistair is still crying into his pillow
making sure he knows he can talk to me if he needs to
hoping that if he needs to he doesn’t bring up Deb
knowing that if he’s going to, he’s going to bring up Deb
preparing to talk about Deb
hand-washing the kimono Rufus stole for me at the charity drive
listening to Marco Beltrami to help focus my intentions

Day Two:
Consoling Alistair again about Deb
Using kind words with him like Easy Does It, There There Sweet One, I’m Not Going Anywhere
Wearing the kimono in front of the mirror to test it out
Deciding to wear the kimono loosely tied when dealing with Alistair
Figuring out ways to move my body naturally so as not to arouse suspicion when dealing with Alistair
practicing the look of genuine understanding and concern mixed with attraction

“A rare chance” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday May 5, 2015
12:35am
5 minutes
A Friends of Chamber Music brochure

Am I dying and I don’t know it because I’m crying and I don’t know it? I mean I know it. That’s something I know. But what I don’t, is, is it a threat to my living self if my body is crying but my mental awareness of that physical reaction to something happening in my life… is non-existent? Or delayed, I mean. For one whole hour? Is that too long to go without realizing that tears are pouring out of my face? I mean I know that’s too long, so maybe something big is happening. Maybe I’m releasing all the bad in my body, in my spirit, and then just that kind of peace after the bad is all gone feels like dying. Because maybe that kind of dying is the right kind.

“Rathburn Rd.” by Julia at her desk


Thursday April 23, 2015
12:44am
5 minutes
from a street sign

When I approached his body laying there in the middle of the street, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread–as if it were my little brother or my own baby, lifeless, helpless, quiet. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a problem with overreacting to roadkill. I love all animals, I hate seeing any of them injured or dirty or unhappy. Seeing them dead is pretty hard for me. Even when it’s a skunk or a squirrel. Most people don’t care about those animals because they’re a nuisance. I don’t see them as that. I see them as these almost human beings trapped in a world of insensitivity. So I was walking up to this poor thing and it wasn’t moving. I’m glad I didn’t see the moment of impact. Really glad. But as I got closer I started full on weeping there, right in the middle of Rathburn Rd. Sobbing for a dead pigeon, and wishing there was someone I could call for him.

“shouting and laughing and throwing dirt” by Julia at the Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library


Thursday February 26, 2015 at the Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library
4:01pm
5 minutes
My Immortal Promise
Jen Holling


We had found ourselves in a ditch off the 39, laying on our backs facing the sky. About an hour had past and nobody had come looking for us so we did what anyone would do: We got married. We made a promise to each other, etched our signatures in the dirt and that was that. We kissed to seal the deal, me worrying about what my mother would say, her worrying about what my mother would say. We knew it wasn’t a recognized union, but to us it was something more than that–It was a symbolic moment of truth. After years of laughing and crying our way through any hardship, we knew that ours was a love worth continuously working for. After all, at the end of the day we only have two things: our best selves, and the person we choose to see us when we’re not.

“to firm up” by Julia on the 506 heading west


Friday January 30, 2015
8:08pm
5 minutes
Ani’s Raw Food Desserts
Ani Phyo


Someone’s been spying on me. I tell them. I tell them in my eyes. No more of that, I say. No more. And I ask them not to bother. I ask them. They don’t listen. They never listen. I can feel it now in my belly button. It tingles and it’s in crying. It’s making a hurt feel. I want to say nice loud Please Stop, Please Stop Now Now, but I don’t know how that is. How that is? And I don’t like having big windows. And I don’t like being big windows. Birds flying hurting into big widows. It isn’t me. It isn’t the real me. But I get big when I have to. I get very high if I need to stand. And no more sand for my feet to live.

“I never used to notice this awful quiet” by Julia on her couch


Friday January 23, 2015
1:16pm
5 minutes
from a song by The Be Good Tanyas

Stings like pine needles pricked into my brain-
Where have you been?
Don’t bother me with little words.
I begged you not to leak here.
I asked you nicely not to unload real feelings near this.
And you cry cry cry.
Faucet leaky and abandoned.
Then I hear the high pitched song of the radiators. About to explode. About to change tunes forever-Where you’ve been don’t bother me. But where you are I can’t seem to wrap my head around.
Are you happy now? Are you here? I never noticed this sadness. I always saw it from a distance, bleeding into the landscape before. Now it’s mine and it’s heavy and it’s not just a blurred line off beyond the horizon. Now it’s mine and it’s loud. This crippling tender quiet.

“Now get your ass over here!!!” By Julia at her desk


Saturday October 18, 2014
1:09am
5 minutes
from a comment on a photo on Facebook

I was tired from running around the house from my deranged mother. Turns out you tell her to shut up one time and it’s… I don’t know, over, I guess. I should have known better than to run from her. Should have just let her hit me right then and there. The more she runs the angrier she gets, which, makes sense, so it’s my fault. But she chased me up and down stairs, everywhere, everywhere. Finally, I thought, no, I cannot do this anymore, so I surrender. I just threw myself on the floor underneath the dining room table, and I gave up. I think she needed to catch me more than I needed to escape. So I let her hit me a couple times with her wooden spoon. It hurt. A lot. But I guess it was sort of a release for the both of us. Dad had only been gone for 3 days, but those three days without him really felt like more than enough. We both cried while she was whacking me. There was a moment before it ended where it actually felt okay. It felt like something was real again.

“not responsible for loss, theft, damages” by Julia in the Poet’s Room


Saturday September 13, 2014
8:33am
5 minutes
A Schiaffini bus ticket

Of course we felt bad for guessing the wrong costume. Who doesn’t feel bad about that? Who doesn’t always wish at a Halloween party when asked to guess in the first place about an obscure costume or concept or poorly designed idea, that they’d just said, “I’m drawing a blank!” “I Can’t seem to put my finger on it…!'” The whole, “I’m so bad at these things” thing. We wished we’d been smart enough to fake it-quick enough to shove a devilled egg in our mouths and feign complete ignorance about the magnitude of it all. When Ry guessed an elephant, she almost started crying. She looked to me as if to salvage her image–one desperate hope in her eye so effective I couldn’t help but suggest an alternate. I said “Rhinoceros?” And I truly meant it as a question because I had no idea either and I was already surprised I was even there in the first place. Her eyes welled up-her skin flushed-and she started to wail in a way that made me regret even pushing through my mother’s birth canal 40 years ago.

“You want to be just interested enough” by Julia at her kitchen table


Monday March 17, 2014
11:54pm
5 minutes
from an interview with Barbara Kingsolver

Don’t let them hear you breathing or whimpering. I know you think it’ll help you establish a presence but it will only make things worse. They don’t want to think of you as a human being as bad as that sounds. They love knowing you can smile on cue no matter what’s going on inside. You can do that can’t you? Well the breathing thing is an obvious one..I mean, breathe, don’t die, but do it subtly. It’s got to go under the radar, completely undetected. And don’t cry because then you don’t look tough. And you can’t show any tears or they’ll eat you up. People don’t remember strength but they do remember weakness. That’s because they automatically start to assume you can’t handle even small situations. They think you’ll need handholding and they don’t want to hold anyone’s hands. If I were you I’d try not to sneeze either. I mean get that stuff out of your system before you walk into the room. And if you’re one of those people who get triggered by the light? Don’t open your eyes.

“beautiful tradition” by Julia on her couch


Friday February 14, 2014
9:23pm
5 minutes
A subscription letter from Bon Appetit

It’s this beautiful tradition we have where one of us is barbecuing in his socks and the other one is telling her partner that comedy is not teachable. One of us will always say “Don’t concern yourself with other people. Don’t concern yourself with what they value and choose to talk about.” The other one will always say “It’s nice you have such empathy and always take everyone else’s side when it comes to me.” One of us will flip the perfect steaks and ask “do you really want to blame everybody else for your unhappiness?” And the other one will say “I love you, Jer, but right now I don’t even want to look at you.” Then the tradition continues with a little cute thing known as a yelling match, where one of us says “This is it for me! “You’re it for me!” And the other one will cry or laugh or both until it’s over.

“domestic assault” by Julia on her couch


Thursday November 21, 2013
2:08am
5 minutes
Toronto Star

Erin was crying for what felt like days. She didn’t even know why, but couldn’t stop. Not even for ice cream, or Saved By The Bell. Trust me, we tried. She was on one of those journeys…just…lost on the way to no where. I didn’t want to be the first to give up on her, but I was useless too. I was. I tried all my wisdom out on her the first day, hell, the first hour, and she didn’t stop so..Rachel tried employing some of her own brand but Erin was non-responsive. It was obvious. But still each of us took a turn. Auburn decided not to say anything at all and just hold her, but every time someone touched her she flipped out again. It made it too real. To painful. I tried to be understanding, trying to tell her it would be bad now, but not forever, and that worked for maybe a half second. Then she tried to rip her own eyelashes out. So we all had to restrain her, but she didn’t want to be touched, so…it was a long night. And that was just the first of many like it.

“nearly killed him.” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday November 14, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
9:50pm
5 minutes
creative writing MFA handbook
Tom Kealey


And it was on purpose and it would have been amazing if that bitch Gloria didn’t back out of her garage right at the moment I was going to send him to limbo to give my mother in law a message for me. Probably something like, Not so tough without your lungs are ya? I don’t know, I hadn’t thought that far ahead yet. I should have just done it in his sleep like I’d planned in the first place, but SOMEBODY had INSOMNIA that night because of the heart burn because of the hot peppers. And it almost kills ME because they were my peppers and had I known he was such a little wuss, I wouldn’t have given him any, or slipped so many into his pasta. Whatever. This isn’t all on me. I could have gotten away with it too. It would have gone down in the books as an unsolved mystery because I spent four godforsaken years studying theatre in university, and as a result I know how to cry with an “emotional trigger” and would have been able to pull that “trigger” EVERY GODDAMN DAY until I could honestly say I was dry. And no one would have questioned me even a little bit. Because I’m fucking good at what I do!

“hopeful of making amends” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Saturday September 21,2013 at Sambuca Grill
8:50pm
5 minutes
the Fresh Meat 2013 program

I didn’t want to talk to Emily because I was scared of breaking down into tears and forgetting my original point which was that I was hurt by her. She some how always makes me feel inadequate, so I’ve learned to write my thoughts down and make sure I stick to my notes so she doesn’t derail me. That’s what she does! She manipulates me into thinking she’s done nothing wrong..or that I’m the one who should be apologizing instead of seeking an apology from her. So I was avoiding her in general. The first Wednesday we had plans to have coffee together, and I bailed because I was on my period and had been crying over things like bed sheets and olive oil and didn’t want to fall into a pit of uncontrollable water works. The second time we had plans my sister had just called with bad news about my childhood cat and I was not emotionally stable for the whole week. Then when I was seemingly out of excuses, I called her. Got her voicemail and even contemplated just telling her how I felt there.
I chickened out.

“STOP HERE” by Sasha at Rena and Tahir’s


Sunday, July 21, 2013
12:11am
5 minutes
from a traffic sign in Mississauga

She’s wearing a World Series sweatshirt and cut-offs and I don’t know how, but she manages to make it look like couture. She’s wearing dark red lipstick. That’s why. Lipstick makes it different, makes it sparkle, makes it bomb, but I mean “bomb” as in “exploding light”, in a good way. I glance down at her belly and I realize that she’s preggers, but must only be three or four months along. That is why her skin is so luminous. It makes my womb ache, just to steal glances at her, to taste the sweetness of the dew on her cheek. I’m so attracted to her I could almost call myself a lesbian, in this quartz crystal moment. Beethoven is the soundtrack, regardless of the fact that my iPod is playing A Tribe Called Quest. I’m scared that I might start crying if she gets off the train, that my heart might break worse than when my mother told me I was an accident thanks to Tromba, worse than when my father forgot my twelfth birthday and spent the day alphabetizing his record collection.

“Don’t ignore” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday May 1, 2013
12:27am
5 minutes
from a sign on the subway for Bladder Cancer Canada

you saunter in, it’s 2 in the morning, you ask me if we have bread, i pretend i’m sleeping, i hide the fact that i’m bawling, i bury my face under the covers, i don’t let you see me, i never let you see me, you’re making so much noise now, you’re trying to find a snack, you’re turning on lights thinking it won’t bother me, it doesn’t, i’m sleeping, you’re mumbling out loud to yourself, i can smell her perfume from here, it’s calvin klein obsession, it reeks, you love it, i don’t, i never have, i don’t wear perfume, you’d think you’d know that by now, you’re going to want to lay on me, i want to sneeze into your eyeballs, i hear the microwave buzzing, you’re heating up a pork dumpling, you’re going to sit at the table and eat it with your hands, you’re not going to wash them before you come to lay with me, you’re going to change your clothes and not shower, you think i don’t notice things like that, you think even if i did it wouldn’t bother me at all, you’re wrong and you always will be, you’re a liar and yet i’m still here, i’m not crying anymore, i’m just sort of thinking about your smug smile

“He might get lucky” by Julia on her couch


Saturday February 9, 2013
1:26am
5 minutes
Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul
Jack Canfield


I’ve been holding it in. My pee. I know that sounds gross but if you had asparagus for dinner then you would understand and you would be holding in your pee as well. Whatever. Pee once a day, that’s fine. Except it’s NOT fine and I know the more I go the less the asparagus thing will bother me…
He might get lucky. I’m talking about Adam. He might accidentally whack his head off the corner of the table that sticks out in the dining room and suffer a mild concussion, and then some sort of short term memory loss. Or better: long term. Then he’d forget that I was a little bit of a crazy and he’d never stop loving me. Is that a thing? Any of this? Like, I want to know if anyone has ever had to wish an injury on a loved one so they would forget how weird their partner is. He picked me, or something like that, whatever, so. It’s partially his fault. He could have asked me before we went out the first time if I had anything weird about myself that I wanted to tell him. And yeah, if I were trying to be honest, I would have said something like, mmhm, some things. Here and there, might be deal breakers, not sure. And he’d have had the chance to ask more specific questions and then I could tell him then and there that I don’t like peeing when I’ve eaten asparagus, and therefore don’t really enjoy eating asparagus, and also that when I was 6 I locked my baby cousin in a dark room to make him cry so that when I finally opened the door, he would cling to me because I “saved him”. I could have told him all my things in one shot and he could have decided early on about me.

“small children who sang together” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday February 2, 2013
1:32am
5 minutes
The Sicilian
Mario Puzo


I didn’t think that I had any more tears. At a certain point you go, “Okay, there cannot possibly be more tears left in there!” And then, lo and behold, more just end up coming. It’s a curse. These tears. Edward was completely at a loss what to do with me anymore. He wouldn’t even say anything. He would look at me, see that I was crying again, and, most usually, yawn or readjust himself. I went to the market alone this morning. Usually we go together. This morning Edward said that he wanted to sleep in. It’s February, I mean it’s hardly time for choirs… Not like December or April are! I have no idea why they were performing but this… this children’s chorus was singing in the stairway on the South side. My breath caught in my throat. Oh goodness, no! I thought. Yes. The tears came, and the hiccups, and one of the little boy’s, he looked like the blonde version of Ned, he really did, he smiled. He must have a mother like me.

“ho-hum classic.” by Julia on the 510 going north


Wednesday, January 9, 2013
11:40pm
5 minutes
Wellman’s Chrestomathy of 22 Answers

In a series of letters my father wrote my mother (in German) before I even existed, I have seen the beauty of the world the way it was meant to be viewed. My father, utterly and almost desperately in love with my mother, was the one who began their romantic correspondence. He sent the first letter and pressed a daisy into the pages for her. It was incredible. Not that it would be so out of the ordinary for a man to write to a woman, but my father, a man of seemingly few words, even at the best of times, was so eloquent and impassioned in these letters. So poignant, so brave.
Each one made me cry and that’s saying something. Perhaps I wasn’t seeing the world and all its beauty, but the way the inner workings of a man’s heart are so intricate and inspiring and through that, the world is seen in a different light. He was never a poet in the life time in which I knew him. But these letters would shock anyone literate into clutching their heart out of the sheer emotion and catharsis that he achieved through his muse: my mother. Her letters never seemed to intrigue me in the same way as his; her penmanship almost too perfect to be considered poetry..