“Pandemic of lilies” by Julia at the “cottage”

Wednesday June 17, 2020
10:03am
5 minutes
My Sister Says White Supremacy Is Turning Her Crazy
Morgan Parker

It’s now a different day but it still feels eerily like yesterday.
Uber Eats guy is on a first name basis with you. Wonderful. A bit
sad, but nobody else is witnessing this exchange, so, wonderful.
This time a spicy chicken sandwich accompanies the egg mc muffin
and double order of hash browns. Last time they forgot the extra
hash brown and you had to pretend like that did not make or break
your day but you could not stop talking about it for a week and
a half. The chicken this time, no mayo (you learned your lesson)
was a welcome addition and even though you felt greasy you felt
fed so you chose fed first and greasy as the bi-product and thing
that will likely get dislodged from memory with ease because that
is what keeps you and the Uber Eats guy on a first name basis.

You never ate takeout of any kind before the pandemic. You’d like
to think when this whole thing is over you never will again. But
you also know what lying to yourself sounds like and it sounds like
this. You wish you had a better habit, like buying fresh cut lilies
for the living room but you bought this habit. This deliver to your
door habit.

“I didn’t blink when the water” by Julia on the couch

Saturday June 6, 2020
8:43pm
5 minutes
The Truth
Ross Gay

When the water rushed I did not blink, I did not dare
Summoned the courage to open wider
let her teach me something
let her toss my body around
let her leave her mark on my easy skin

I did not look away
I will not look away

How many dreams in a row will
show me the same thing
A baptism by river
An escape route from the dogs itching for a scent
A marriage to the ocean herself

A purifying cleansing hope
A soaking soul giving testimony
after the eyes get washed and the mouth

“describe what it might be like to be her child” by Julia on the couch

Sunday May 31, 2020
10:46pm
5 minutes
Room To Write
Bonni Goldberg

She’s soft and open
her thighs spill out of her shorts
like a river running over the cup
she asks permission before she lifts me or puts me down
it’s very important for her to talk to me while she’s chopping the broccoli or the cauliflower
she tells me everything she does

She dances with me when a beam of light hits the floor in the afternoon
she sings me to sleep
She is sometimes crying but mostly smiling
She makes eating fun, making silly faces and noises to distract me
I feel like she would swallow me if she could
if she could put me back in her belly and start the whole thing over
she’s softer today and more open than yesterday

“La vita con te é fantastica” by Julia at the desk

Friday May 29, 2020
10:51am
5 minutes
from a birthday card

Amore, quando ho ricevuto questo cartolina per mio compleanno (auguri, auguri)
ho pianto tanto-per il tuo cuore, per la tua mente, per tuo ala tua capacità di esprimerti
in questa nuova lingua che hai lavorato così duramente per imperare e praticare.
Che regalo. Per questa donna con un piede in Italia, e un qua. E anche tu, Amore,
con il cuore pieno di pasta ed espresso, ed la voglia di scoprire una vita bella,
diversa, lontano via di tutto che conosciamo qui.
Voglio dirti la stessa cosa…La vita con te è fantastica, e so che riusciremo a
a trovare la luce insieme.

“Wild Gourmet Fish” by Julia on the bed

Monday May 25, 2020
1:08pm
5 minutes
West Coast Select Flyer

Haley and Hartley miss making shrimp skewers.
Shrimp has been expensive lately, and the old grill is kaput.
Haley and Hartley can eat other things so it’s okay.
Hartley says the grill never really worked that well.
Haley thinks he’s full of shit because she used to grill
all kinds of vegetables and never had a problem with it.
Hartley got rid of the grill one day and said it was done.
Haley wondered if Hartley was exaggerating and
didn’t want to do some necessary things with it first,
like check to see if it needed a deep clean (like most
things in the apartment) before tossing it to the alley-way
mafia coming by in 10 minute intervals to go through the
bins. Hartley told her that it was for sure done and it
never worked that well to begin with and Haley didn’t go
down and check so she decided to accept the fate of the
old grill even though she couldn’t bring herself to believe
what Hartley was telling her about it. Maybe because once
Hartley threw away some of the mason jars she had stored
under the sink next to the grill. She went looking for them
one day because she was storing them for a reason and they
weren’t there. It took a week for Hartley to admit that he
had thrown them out. He said he didn’t think she needed them.

“if you are not comfortable I totally understand” by Julia in the couch

Thursday May 14, 2020
11:06am
5 minutes
from a text

If you are not comfortable asking me I totally understand
but if you are comfortable making it my problem because you’re not comfortable asking me then I will not.
I will not be a backwards bending stick.
I will not stop slamming doors.
I will not stop yelling if I think it’s funny.
I will not stop taking things too far but I will recognize that sometimes I need to flip the switch on to realize that I too preferred it off.
I want a vacation from this expectation.
One person expects me to be laughing when it’s not funny.
One person won’t understand where I am coming from even after explaining it 65 times.
One person will sigh out deeply and hope for ammends.

“when you went to Vermont” by Julia at the desk

Friday, May 8, 2020
10:00am
5 minutes
she is in the kitchen now
Nora Pace

I didn’t wait up every night I stayed up
I rubbed one out like it would be my last time
fell asleep in a crooked pocket of the couch
and remained despite the spinal chord damage
the knots now forming

If you were in a different time zone working
sleeping finding yourself in a bigger city
then this house would become a time zone all
on its own a spinning thing of waking sleeping
sliding across sheets and floors and into
breakfast without thinking about another
person’s hunger

It could have been a disaster but I don’t
linger on moments in between when you step
yourself out of town out of my life for six
weeks or something like that loosing track
and not counting and we stop calling each
other on the phone this distance making the
heart grow fonder for a thing that this isn’t

And it was worth noting how many boxes I
ticked off the list and all the living I
did without the help of another person’s
hunger telling me when it was time to eat
time to cook up the browning green beans
time to get out of bed

“When the rains come,” by julia on the couch

Thursday, May 7, 2020
8:13pm
5 minutes
Monologue of a Fly’s Shadow
Danielle Hanson

If I’m laying in the earth when the rains come
leave me there
let me drink at the mighty fall
let me drench in the midnight sink
lather my bones so they are ocean ready
force out the salt of my skin
till I am as clean as the first day of spring
leave me there to swallow what I’ve thirsted for

Do not bring a bucket
do not dry my hands
do not move the muck from my eyelids
I will be purified by the ends of this and I will have waited

After a new wind has blown me
if I’m laying when the rains come
leave me
oh leave me there

“A man parted his beard” by Julia at the desk

Friday April 24, 2020
10:12am
5 minutes
Animal
Kim Goldberg

A man parted his beard and I saw the great
white space between yesterday and today
It was wide and wide and great and there
we found some clarity because we dared, I
think, to ask of ourselves that courtesy.

A man twisted the red out of his face and
then one day overnight or in a blink there
were so many silver strays and things looked
like they made more sense more wise sense
All this time the man was living living

The facial hair goes through some stages
of grief just like the rest of us
at first there is a rough stubbornness and
soft things are always getting poked
instead, denying the possible softness
being hurt like that, unaware

There is an anger at one point, so the
man parts his beard to see what’s underneath
skin still young and learning

then it grows some more but changing
shape and colour and being too long
suddenly it is just right and it’s
all a cycle of time that no one is
marking up on the calendar

“I had a voracious appetite” by Julia at the desk

Thursday April 23, 2020
6:50pm
5 minutes
You Never Stop Saving The World
Don English

When I was little
5, 6, halo hair of fuzz
ringlets underneath
I sauced my face a smile
like the Joker on Nonna’s
Bones

Her ribs were silky smooth
the meat would slide off
and you could slurp the juice
off a clean sword

They were my favourite
growing up I wanted to
be exactly like my father
if he held a hot pepper
while eating then I held
a hot pepper while eating
and if he didn’t wipe his
mouth until after he was
finished, I would smile
sauce all over the table
until I had gotten full

There’s a photo of me looking
satiated and filled with
glee after finishing my plate
and likely bites off my sister’s
picky plate and my brother’s
baby plate, meat sauce on the
collar of my balloon patterned shirt

I liked being the favourite
in some way, eating when
maybe I wasn’t really hungry
but in the mood to taste
something

My father liked a girl who
could eat and any kid that
didn’t say ew before trying
something as if they knew
everything about everything
except how to ride a bike
maybe or to finish their
dinner before begging for
dessert

“the great spiritual geniuses” By Julia at her desk

Tuesday April 14, 2020
April 14, 2020
11:21am
5 minutes
quoting Maria Popova

It’s hard to start when the clock keeps jumping ahead
you put your face in the internet for 10 seconds and
then you forget why you went there in the first place
and usually it was to look up a recipe not fall down
a rabbit hole of other people’s lives and what
they are doing to fill their days and their empty

The great spiritual geniuses of our time are
advising against screen sucks as a device to numb
the heartache and if the great spiritual geniuses
of our time are advising anything then I want to be
on the side of things that takes a deep breath when
they’re saying it and sees which part of my body it
lands in

According to some other profound thoughts from the
20th century geniuses it is clear to me now more
than ever that history has always repeated itself
but the words to describe it shift and shoot over
time and when the discovery of consciousness and
self was put into words that we could use the
whole system of language itself began to brighten

Today there are few things still dark but with
an artificial light we confuse the thing for
pathway or guide or leader or mentor and it’s
where time gets stuck in a continuum of
backwards backwards yesterday

“Let’s find out” by Julia on her bed

Friday April 10, 2020
8:18pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Hello WORLD you wild ride you
let me look at you real close
okay?
you see what i’m getting at here?
Seeeeeeeing is beeeeeelieving

I see a world who is looking classy right now
straight up putting on heels at the Loblaws classy sassy and getting it done

I see little girls in sequins jackets LIGHTING up the sidewalk okay, DRAWING ME IN with their SHEER RADIANCE AND YOUTHFUL UNKNOWING

I see blue skies green grass a pencil in every room now and a story for every hour

I see people drawing pictures of their hearts and putting them on
the windows for everyone to SEE

and all that with my ONE GOOD EYE
SEE, all you need is one and you got three to begin with so those are good odds

Let’s find out if I did in fact scratch my cornea if I did in fact
If I did

“I learn by going where I have to go” by Julia on her couch

Sunday April 5, 2020
5:21pm
5 minutes
quoted by Theodore Roethke

I went all the way
cause that’s where
I said I wanted to
go when it all comes
down to it

it all comes down to
it all the way down
and into it and deep
and below and down
and in in in

I said I needed to
find the key and it
was tucked there in
in inside of me

like waking from the
dream and pushing
beneath the easy signs
to see clearly what
I have previously
left behind

when I stayed where I
was I learned about
staying and when I went
to where I was going
I learned how to go
by going I keep going

and I’ve been practicing
how to breathe under
water with all these years
on my belt and on the wall
I show up to not knowing
every single morning

I launch myself out and
then watch as I find the
truth in the centre of
my experience the one
I must listen to

“He can fix anything” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday March 31, 2020
4:21pm
5 minutes
Easter Morning
Jim Harrison

He’ll be waiting till morning because he can’t do anything until the sun rises.
He’s busy, all day, it seems, but night time shuts him right down. This might be
a survival technique or some kind of boundary he put in place a long time ago that
he hasn’t been able to unlearn. It’s too fucking bad because I need my drip fixed.
I know that sounds sexy, but I’m talking about my faucet and if he can’t do anything
tonight, then I’m shit out of luck and things, as far as I can tell in my world, are
all about me and that simply won’t fly. Before you get on my ass about waiting for
“him” to fix my shit like some knight (day) in shining armour, there is a reason
why I am not doing it. I am the one who washes the dishes, and makes the food, and
rakes the leaves, and initiates intimacy, and folds the fucking laundry. Do you know
how he does it? He wouldn’t fold it, that’s how. I tell him, we want to take care of
our delicates because they go near our genitals and we should be respecting our
genitals. AND I don’t like my folded boxers touching his mushed up balled into the drawer
boxers. Makes me feel like I have to clean everything all over again. Plus, he’s a plumber.
That’s what he does! And he can fix anything! HE JUST FUCKING WON’T.

“August is coming” by Julia at her desk

Thursday March 26, 2020
9:43am
5 minutes
Any prince to any princess
Adrian Henri

August is coming and we will welcome her with arms butter flake and cloud kiss
we will hold her in our blanket fort and pin the fairy lights all around her
we will wind up her train on the backs of our hands and twirl her about
we will weep at her feet and bathe her toes in a rose water blessing
we will sing at how far she has traveled
flown around the world in hope but flesh set in stone and sand and grit
we will honour her presence with a basket of fresh basil and rosemary braids
we will give her a cluster of moments to rest at the base of our skulls
or next to the balcony gardens or by the hummingbird feeder
we will listen to her tales of triumph after a journey fraught
and how she never dropped faith even for a second
we will seed her new life with a promise to be children again
delighting in the moonlight of her smile and how her open chest beats a dance
for us all to dream

“They’ll be able to describe it” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
12:17pm
5 minutes
Teaching a Child the Art of Confession
David Shumate

They’ll be able to describe it by the finches singing in the yard
the construction workers outside still constructing work and homes and noise
the old photographs now strewn across the coffee table and some on top of the bedside drawers
They’ll be able to paint a grey spring and remember what March felt like during this
The space held between people with great care, like a balloon blown up past its comfort
or an egg, last and lonely keeping the refrigerator feeling
They’ll be able to search their daily journals that all start with today, and end with now
that focus on the heathers brightening up every corner or the magnolia passing us a much needed bloom
They’ll describe it in belly moans and leg cramps
in chapped hand skin and swollen eyelids
in red cowboy shirts and purple lipstick warn at home on a day that feels like any other day and no day and this day
They’ll be able to describe it with a time capsule, a few items here and there from the house that they won’t miss too much
A reminder that right here and right now there are things to collect
and give us

“Permit me to add my first” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday March 17, 2020
5:20pm
5 minutes
Old French Fairy Tales
Sophie, Comtesse de Ségur

you will find a journal of unsent letters addressed to you
in each one will be our ending but you will never suspect that they are about you

you will find the truth of what was hurting and why

you will learn the code words based on the shape of my Gs and in the loop of my Zs

you will wonder why you never saw it first and if there might be proof of this reckoning coming somewhere down an earlier pipe

you will not think any of those Gs or Zs are about you until one day that is all you can think of and then you will see yourself all over everything

you will question why you couldn’t ask me better questions or why you assumed me one way

must have been the wild west in me, the untameable horse, the rulebreaker you always wished you could be

you will be shocked on the outside but on the inside you will know the truth and how you are responsible for more than you name

“… let’s just see what happens.” By Julia on the 84

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
6:15pm
5 minutes
For as Many Days as We Have Left
Pam Houston

I am about to barf
Let’s just see what happens

Said nobody ever

The body knows
Deeply
Carries

Things in its pockets that
You have forgotten about

A travelling secret
Across decades
Buried deep in the palm creases
Or behind the ear

The body is particularly intuitive when it comes to barfing

Let’s just see what—

Is what someone trying to ignore the body might say

Trying being the operative word

I don’t tell you this but today I wonder what the point of it all is

Why this journey then and not another

Why this body rejecting something I’ve put in it or worse rejecting what I keep outside it

What is the point
But I don’t tell you this

You’d rather hear about vomit and
Stomach bile and the garbage can next to the bed

“In the moonstruck dusk” by Julia at her desk

Monday February 17, 2020
8:42pm
5 minutes
Wolf OR-7
Natalie Diaz

It has been over said but I will say it again:
I do not recognize that man, I’m tellin’ ya, Jerry,
I don’t know the guy from a can of paint!

These guys are tryna screw my lid so I can’t think
straight and if that’s alright with you, then you’re
no different than those bone heads.

I’m not gonna tell you what you should do, alright,
far be it from me to weigh in on how you should do
your job, Jerry, but I’m tellin’ ya, if it was up to
me, which I can honestly say, no disrespect, that it
is not, you’re gettin’ your berries stirred and it’s
not gonna be a fancy fruit salad, you understand?

In this moonlight, Jerry, it’s romantic, people got their
notions all tied up tight and they let them get yanked
around by a little dusk blindness. That’s all it is.
They pick a guy like me to yank the wool, you understand, Jerry?
A guy like me!

“The day care lies at the base of an oak tree” by Julia in the fishbowl

Monday January 27, 2020
2:39pm
5 minutes
Gods at Play
Susanne Antonetta

Darling dear is playing at the base of the oak tree, the sweet light is blooming. I wait for her to tell me something is wrong. I see it in her
walk, the way she deflates every step, hunching. I watch her from the
kitchen window, taking note of her little sighs, her clenched fists, her
opinion growing stronger. Sweet light.

I don’t want to ask her because I want her to know what the sensation
feels like. I don’t want to say the words explicitly. Because maybe I’m
jumping to conclusions. Maybe this is how she inhales this life and it’s
different than what I would expect.

All I can do is hold her in the space I give and open my heart to her so
she knows that if she needs to say something she can. I can ask her how
she is without a qualifier. Without a word with connotation or implication.

She is running her fingertips around the trunk of the tree. She is slowly
circling it, her eyes closed and drawn into the bark.

“Curious, maybe, you’ll turn to books.” by Julia at her desk

Sunday January 26, 2020
8:39pm
5 minutes
When You See A Skimmer
David Gessner

One night she stayed up till 3 in the morning reading the 3rd book in the series. V.C Andrews had written some other harrowing tales of brothers and sisters falling in love, and being locked away in an attic while the real world happened all around them and outside them. She was 10 going on 11 and the book was a page turner. A group of young girls, older than her, but still young, were in group therapy and each book a different girl got to be the narrator. She was told to go to sleep hours ago but she couldn’t help it. She laid in her bed soaking up fiction that might have been a bit too advanced for her. Might have been, if anyone cared to ask about the content of her desired reading materials. These girls were teaching her things no one thought to tell her. How they had received unwanted touching from the jocks at their schools, or how their mother’s new boyfriends found a way into their bedrooms at night.
They were an education all on their own, seeping into the glow cast from her bedside lamp, lulling her into a steady hum of alive.

“This is a test broadcast” By Julia on her couch

Monday January 13, 2020
8:04pm
5 minutes
from a text

You are receiving this message because you are subscribed to the Know Better Do Better Newsletter.
As a result of you signing up on our site, you will now be berated with notifications that will notify you when you can be a better person.
This is a text broadcast to ensure that you are still voluntarily providing your contact details so we may inform you of how shitty you have been.
You will be receiving messages tailored toward your resistance, your privilege, and your failures.
Did you click the “I agree” button when reading the terms of service?
Did you click the “I agree” button when we told you we would be using all kinds of archaic and twisted shame tactics to make you feel uncomfortable?
We, at the Know Better Do Better site, are not only compelled, but obligated, as well as entitled to tell you about you.

“The insufferable arrogance of humanity” by Julia on her couch

Friday January 10, 2020
8:08pm
5 minutes
Big Picture
A. Whitney Brown

Babe says that he doesn’t trust people anymore, cause they like, wear their MO a little too loud. Like Babe says that you can smell some people’s try-hard like they bathe in it and that is so relatable. Like, think about it. You can tell when someone’s trying to like, butter you up, or get in your pants, or like, get you to smuggle some low grade shit. And you can tell when someone’s like performing instead of being. There’s a really big difference actually, and Babe says the insufferable people are the ones who name drop and shame shop. Babe says that shame shopping is like, who’s buying, you know? Like who’s trying to be better by taking on all the bullshit of the known world as if they could carry it on their own?

“The lunatic is carried” by Julia on her couch

Sunday December 22, 2019
9:28pm
5 minutes
Song of Myself
Walt Whitman

From the last word to the first idea, she is there

she waits for me to slip up so she has a reason to come out and say I Told You So

Of course she sings sweetly too, never yelling or threatening or causing a scene out of turn

It’s as if she were playing some game, some twisted little diddy that she knew she was doing

I carry the lunatic out of the box and into the day

I carry her on my back and let her see everything that I’m seeing

You could say I let her stay because I am a bit afaid of her and what she might do if I don’t give her what she wants

I suppose I am the one to blame afterall for giving her the front row seat to my weakness

“Timing’s everything.” by Julia in her office

Thursday December 19, 2019
3:50pm
5 minutes
Snowflake
William Baer

If you sit there long enough the right people will come by
I don’t know if that’s the way it always works
but that was my today…

So I’m sitting there, minding my own business, writing out some things with the hope of manifestation, and along comes Pauly.

He’s on his way home or so it looks like, but he stops directly in front of my door. Okay I need to scratch something and reverse it. The manifesting part kind of needs to be revisited. So I’m not going to tell you what I was writing, but I will tell you that because I was writing it, that’s why Pauly came along.
It wasn’t about him necessarily, but he was the one who gave me the idea to write it. So this manifestation thing appears to be working for any of you cynics outs there, reading “You There, Behind Your Screens!”

So Pauly came by and I learned a couple more things about him. It was subtly. Nuanced. For instance. I now know he is a film buff. And a bit of a nerd.

“I am so amazed to find myself kissing you” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday December 17, 2019
9:29pm
5 minutes
Feasting
Elizabeth W. Garber

I find your mouth there in the open like a winter song
the snow flakes landing on the tip of your lips and the cold
mixes with the hot
and the slippery touches the soft
Maybe people before have told you how superior your kiss is
because you kiss like you already know and that you like knowing

I am prancing around like some February fairy and you think
maybe, it’s cute
This is my hope, that you will be forced to kiss me with all
that sparkly dusty floating around

Before this I have kissed you plenty
And each time I think the same thing
I can’t believe I am the lucky recipient of this
hot mouth opening and closing so artfully

“The first was of Saint Gabriel” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 14, 2019
7:53pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I fell in love with the messenger. There are no addages about not kissing them, only shooting. He arrived with flowing hair and a scroll tucked under his arm. Romantic. I wanted to watch him slowly unroll it, revealing only one line at a time.
He arrived at my door like a whisper.
He was a figure from a painting, his smile a twig snapped from Paradise itself.
I thought about his mouth unfolding the news. It did not take much for me to want him, truth be told. A man bearing a letter in my name. That was all I could ever ask for.

“The meaning doesn’t matter” by Julia in her office

Friday December 13, 2019
12:26pm
5 minutes
Bunthorne’s Song
W.S. Gilbert

We can all let go now
there is no discovery of meaning because the meaning doesn’t matter anymore
So anything you were holding
release
anything you were imagining would change into something else
say goodbye
it is was something nothing
it doesn’t need to be investigated
the meaning
has left the building

I personally would like to take that personally but that’s my personality trying to make it about me
trying to blame something internal or past tense for the pain I feel in the right now
and it’s not about me
even the no shows or the blank stares
or the awkward bumbling about
I want that to be mine so I can transform it into something good
but I don’t need to make it mine to transform it

I can think it into meaninglessness by remembering that meaning no longer matters
I can will it into atoms and particles, the way it was intended
by not even clutching my fist around it to begin with

It’s not mine!
It never belonged to me
And here I was thinking that I had some divine right to it
that I earned it or deserved it
but it was never mine or anyone’s and it was wrong of
me to remove it from its den and blow it up

“Don’t let the exclamation point fool you.” by Julia at her desk

Sunday November 24, 2019
5:27pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

Not Happy. Not thrilled. Not at all okay.
Okay? Get it? The question mark is rhetorical.
Don’t answer that. Read the room, you know?
you know. Not happy. Not thrilled. Not great.
Could it be about passion, hmm? Could it be
anger? DO I HAVE TO SHOW YOU THE VOLUME or does
the rage fall flat when all you see is the blasted !! !!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I see how you can get it twisted.
Good liar. Good at feeling the thing but not in front of anyone.
Not good at hiding the feeling, but excellent at lying about it.
That’s even worse, now you know, now you know, but you’ll say
you don’t if you see the s m i l e !
See? SEE? SEE?! All different.
I am all different and all angry and all the opposite of okay.
Not thrilled. Not happy. Happy during rage but not about the rage
that now I feel because of you not being able to read the room.
The rhetorical question. Don’t answer that. No question mark.
Not an invitation. Not something for you to hang your dumb old hat on.
See the rage, feel the not okay now?
See what’s being tossed around?
Don’t let that shit fool you.
Don’t be so naive out of convenience.
Who is fine anyway.
Who is ever fine ANYWAY.

“Still coughing” by Julia at her desk

Friday November 22, 2019
5:04pm
5 minutes
From a text

Bitsy’s brother clears his throat over the phone and it is the worst sound he makes.
It is the worst sound to hold there in the ear, without warning, right there.
He doesn’t know how loud it is, or how frequent, and telling him now after all
these years might be hard. Might be hard to say, Listen I Love you but your throat-clearing
is aggressive. My Bro, I love you, but you just need to pull the phone a little bit away
from your mouth when you feel one coming on. Listen I love you.
He’s not coughing anymore which is good. Now he believes he has to clear it even if there’s
nothing really there. It’s a trick of the mind. The old sickness still clinging.

“You receipt” by Julia on her couch

Thursday November 21, 2019
8:29pm
5 minutes
From an email

the bill comes and when I flip it over I see that I spent too much on punishing myself again
afraid of being big
but why tell them all that I am, lion, lion, lyin’

It’s the loneliest place, you know the one that used to be, the one that was
was was was and nobody cares about you past tense
nobody
nobody
nobody remembers
nobody cares

when I revisit every item on the receipt it’s clear i’ve wasted my money
put the bets on unknown needs of the masses
now I know what they’re after
now I know
it’s not me at my best
it’s not me at my worst
it’s not me at all

and there’s no flow left
nothing left
no more room in the brain
no more space in the drain

“There are moments when art attains” by Julia on her couch

Saturday November 16, 2019
9:27pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Oscar Wilde

it’s the here, the now, the paint contained by canvas,
the wall oozing imagination, the hallway singing, the contemplative violin cloaking everything in sadness. it’s the heart of an artist, the pulse of an entrepreneur hoping to convince you that this feeling needs you as much as you need it. it’s that circle of friends who gather around the experimental, who bring their dogs to wag their tails, who sit there listening to the latest thing this artist is obsessed with.

“A flawless flagpole clinks” by Julia blow drying her hair

Thursday November 14, 2019
3:32pm
5 minutes
Small-Town Autumn
Donna Steiner

According to the other people’s house in a new life that is so far away from the city, we have to pay for the first day of the year and then we can go back into town. I’m sorry I’m late for these things but you know how much you love me.
One day it will make sense for us.
I don’t want anyone to figure it out so for now you have to try to drive the truck back to the shop..try to find out how much you owe…you see what I am trying to say? Don’t let them catch you.

“Twenty years ago” By Julia at her desk

Tuesday November 12, 2019
4:14pm
5 minutes
The Unspeakable Things Between Our Bellies
Lidia Yuknavitch

It would seem that 20 years ago
some big fundamental decisions
were being made about who I
would be.

I would be winning first place
for a poem written for the legion’s
Remembrance Day competition.

I would be practicing my comedic
timing in Mrs. Foss’ grade 6 class
storming out of the portable with
flair only to enter a proper beat later
announcing that “I forgot my pencil”.

I would be collecting my classmates’
loonies and twonies to pitch in and
buy Mrs. Foss a surprise bucket of
bubble gum for her birthday and reign
supreme as her favourite after hearing
that one of her former students was
now the godmother to her oldest son,
Zachary.

I would be inviting the new girl into
my friendship circle so she would never
have to feel what I felt when for the
first year I was made fun of for being
good at french and knowing my times
tables, and being tripped into the snow
for having spinach stuck in my teeth.

I would be wearing a grey sports bra,
without even realizing I had breasts
but wishing I had what the new girl
had, even though her bra was padded.

“winter chess championship” by Julia on her bed

Monday November 11, 2019
5:48pm
5 minutes
Mr. Oleander
Brian Doyle

It has been 24 hours and the bed is sinking

There is proof of the sinking and one day I will show it to you

A warning, that I will have to say I Told You So and you should really prepare for how that’s going to feel

I won’t say the other thing, though

I know how much you hate it

Checkmate

Sorry

I said it

I had to say it, let’s be real

This is another win for me and yes I’m keeping score and yes you’re keeping score

This is the winter championship and it’s a who’s who over here

It’s a do or die

It’s a prove or be proven

I am not actually sorry

Not even for saying the thing that you hate

It is a competition and I am competing with you so there is no room for apology

There is no room for softness and I’ve already told you my stance on that

Remember the framed art sitting on the kitchen shelf

It says We Don’t Do Soft In This House

And yes I made the art

I wrote the poem

But you let it sit there and you have referenced it before

You have been complicit and there is no time for taking anything back

But we could play on the same team for once

I am not offering a forfeit but a surrender

A surrender to this thing we’re going to have to carry

“In this realm of,” by Julia on her couch

Saturday November 9, 2019
5:43pm
5 minutes
St. Sebastian
Tony Hoagland

I should go outside
again
twice today would be
a lot
but I should go to
make
something of myself
build
a better version of
rest
than the avoidant one that
plagues
me when I stay inside

I should breathe in the
salt
air of the sea and thank
someone
outside my body for
giving
and when that’s done I
should
put down my sword and
stop
fighting or is it the
other
way around?

I should tear the veil
laced
and swinging back and
forth
I should kiss from the
heart
I should open my skull
and
let the sky gods lick
me
clean until it is dry

I should go outside
while
the night is still young
while
the space is still fluid

“I am plagued by one question” by Julia on the 351

Tuesday November 5, 2019
6:25pm
5 minutes
Fifty Shades of Grey
E L James

Will you still love me tomorrow?
yea, promise

Why do birds suddenly appear?
cause remember, you’re free

Where’a the love?
everywhere, everywhere

When will I see you again?
In our dreams…

How…

how…

Who’s loving you?
all of us, me, I am, me

Who do you think you are?
a bag of cookie crumbs

What’s love got to do with it?
I don’t know how to answer this without restating the question.

Can you come home?

“no words can describe it.” By Julia on her couch

Wednesday October 30, 2019
7:03pm
5 minutes
from a Youtube comment

envy for someone else’s sadness. what’s the word for that? not to carry it so they don’t have to…not that kind of want, or the kind of want they write about. no honour. I’m not hunting honour and maybe that’s a helper word. to feel anything deeply and be able without a shadow of a doubt to call it sadnesss. to know. that is the envy. not to guess, not to be the holder of another’s circumstance but to tongue the name of the insurmountable hill. the climb that almost kills you but slowly because you don’t know the word.
when your eye skin is hot and tired from never crying. if there was anything, a name would be the all.

“the speed at which galaxies are retiring” by Julia on the toilet

Monday October 28, 2019
11:35pm
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson

they don’t wnt to be here nymore
cn’t even sy their nme nd
i get it
i get it
been getting it since lst christms when nothing felt like it mttered cuse nothing does but then, then, it ws the deepest low but nobody knew
sw smiles cndy wrpped some versions of the function so noone thought to sk if it were ll the wy down low or if it were circling something else
smiles cndy wrpped
sold to the voidnt ones
the esy sit nd sy little
ones
nd glxies too re leving cuse one dy everything does
boy you’d be shocked t how
quickly things tht were re no longer

“it was just sort of whispered around my family” by Julia in her bed

Friday October 25, 2019
10:04pm
5 minutes
Choosing Happiness
Veronica Ray

the weird thing was we were all saying it just at different volumes

when dad tried to make us keep our doors open he didn’t really know why and he didn’t know how to tell us that so he stood his ground

unfair it’s unfair but it would not get brought up at the dinner tribunal

no one said it then or ever or louder than a whisper because it was all still in beta: what might happen if we disrespected any of them,
even unintentionally

better than what they got we were told, and sure, it was, and sure, they learned, but we had so many questions answered with “because I said so” it stopped making sense when you heard it

and “why” felt like the emptiest hug, the most out there on a limb next to I love you

that whispered around our family too but at least we fixed that one when it counted most

“The phone doesn’t ring” by Julia at her desk

Friday October 18, 2019
9:12am
5 minutes
Low Noon
Jim Ralston

When we took the phone of the hook we realized we liked it better just us three.
Bobbi cried less. I think it’s because she didn’t feel like we were going to
leave her to answer somebody else’s call. It should have always been this way
but when the phone rings, it’s another agonizing reminder that there isn’t
enough time in the day to keep up with everything being thrown at us. And
answering is sometimes the only thing we can control in a sea of chaos that
goes around buzzing whether we want it to or not.

And then it was quiet. Alistair finished his will and Bobbi napped in his
arms. We were afraid of this infinite reminder that one day we
would no longer hear his sound. How terrifying it is to think of your family
losing one member of its voice. Again, to things we can’t control no matter
how hard we tried.

The phone doesn’t ring now. We can connect it later if we want, but for today
while both Bobbi and Alistair are breathing, we don’t even think about what
we might have missed.

“Light like sugar cane.” by Julia at her desk

Thursday October 17, 2019
8:30am
5 minutes
Daybreak
Gerry Lafemina

It was all you could do to stop the thud in your brain
thhud thhud from the last bit of morning sleep
the first heavy fall you’ve had and thanks to him

Thanks to him for refusing to let you cross rooms in
the dream and for holding you unapologetically so the
whisper of waking hours wouldn’t touch you until it was time

And you almost stayed in the bed, but you rose, and planted
a kiss on the back of his neck instead, sending him back
to the last place he was without shivering

If he had asked you to reprise your role as Warm Body In The Cold
you would have forgone morning light for sugar cane
and he would not have had to ask twice

The head is soft again but the stomach is loud and nothing
seems to line the shelves long enough to act as promise
amidst the already fleeting

Your lack of math or belief in numbers ruins your oatmeal
you pour too much hot water in and think you might just eat
it like that as a reminder that you skipped some crucial steps

“You plan, you design, you labor,” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday October 16, 2019
7:55am
5 minutes
An Absorbing Errand
Janna Malamud Smith

It’s the morning but still dark
too dark, not dark enough
you are awake but not fully here
the city looks quiet, still asleep
too asleep, not asleep enough
there is a small light from the
couch lighting up words written
and bound together with money
you are planning the next one
and this one but you are not fully here
the yellow glow pulls at the aching bone
and you must either ignore it or join it

how does one become as yellow as this light?
how does one join something that hurts?
It’s the morning but still night
too night, not night enough
you are writing and you are wondering
but you are not fully here
you are in a day one week from now
two weeks from now and you are planning
and designing and wondering about what
they will all be like when they meet
themselves on the page that you laboured on

It’s the morning but not a warm spring
it’s the morning but not a conscious howl
it’s the morning but you are still dreaming
now writing out your dreams so they shake
free from your writing bone and keep
the light from pulling

“the feelings that have been aroused” by Julia on her bed

Monday October 14, 2019
9:35pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Susan Sontag

calm, a tingling, a lying buzz that I know well
You see me and then pretend not to
I see you and pretend not to
We are the same and yet I think yours
is not about hate the way mine is but
about something that is beyond me to name
yours maybe something to do with resistance
to what I might have represented for you

a calm, still, I do not care the way
I used to in the pit of me but the
tingling comes because your face has always
been a panda that should be cuter
and that is shallow but deep
as it teeters in the stagnant pool of me
that no one gets to see

A lying buzz because I am striving for
honesty but I told myself some
untruths to justify my ignoring you
I have not been the bigger person
but the more sensitive one
as I am contemplating you here and you
are likely not offering my name a second
thought

I know it well and I hate it the same
it comes for me to knock me off my
high horse and since I’m not high anymore
I can see if for what it is
and lesson is what it is
and letting go is what I must be practicing

You might not care and this is more for
me than it is for you and yes I see it
clearly now
I see it like the horse

“It begins from the heart.” By Julia on her couch

Sunday October 13, 2019
6:26pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Shahla Khan

say your sorry
go on say the piece that is yours, that belongs to you
that you are holding back
as punishment
as deep sigh
as victim complex
say it out so it stops haunting you
so it stops sucking out the room

once upon a time this room had horns and it wasn’t a bad room but it did what it pleased
today you have gripped them tightly, and the horns feel a bit trapped
so if you are honest with
the room, with me, with yourself, you will abandon the punch left dangling
at the bottom of your hurt

I can tell you egos never want to be wrong but we both know yours is and if you say it, if you apologize
if you bring out the word that keeps you sick by hiding…

“all the facts” by Julia on her bed

Saturday October 12, 2019
5:33pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Wendell Berry

It’s a long weekend. Fact.
Or wait do you want to know
if it’s a fact before seeing
the fact?
Or do you wish to decide yourself?
Here
is an example:

FACT: it is a long weekend.

Here is
another example:

I am funnier without the pot?
FACT

See how one is a call and response
and the other
is some kind of proof or statement
not up for debate?

I am not sure why I am asking you.
You are not me and I know the facts
about me and what is true. And
yes some of them are facts about life
but it is I who is experiencing
them and therefore I can say.
I can also say because of poetic
licence which you do not need to
pass a test to get, but that you
must be willing to risk something.

FACT: I RISK
even when I am scared

I risk even when I am the only one? FACT

The strength is in what I am trying to convey
and maybe it’s not always a fact
or never is
a fact but the point is that
in this moment of telling you
it certainly is because I’ve
committed to it on this
document.

This document is proof: FACT.

FACT: this document is proof of me risking

“I’d say that’s OK” by Julia on her couch

Thursday October 10, 2019
9:30pm
5 minutes
On A Cliff With You
David Allan Cates

turn the lights off
flash the head lamp
talk about what might
happen during a camping
fiasco
say these bulbs are only
bright enough in a power
outage to wear until
the candles are located
that’s what you get for
spending 10 dollars less
and for never going camping

the other one in this room,
the light decider
prefers fairy lights for their
name and for their hue
it must be slightly hard to
see at all times
in the morning
at night
Is this OK? is asked
without really caring if it
is okay because if more light
is needed then the failed
headlamp can be re-visited
since that is already deemed
successful when used in
the confines of our
1 bedroom apartment

The fairy lights sometimes
stay on all day because
ambiance is an inside out
kind of thing

“Everybody froze.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 9, 2019
6:11pm
5 minutes
The Man At Table Five
Alison Clement

it is common, the ice off his tongue. this is what happens when one is bad at keeping oneself warm. everybody else freezes. and here we are thinking that our cold doesn’t hurt anyone but that is not true. there is proof in the quiet, and in the glaring lights.

earlier when we encountered it, we took it on as our own and had to remind ourselves not to do that but what about the ones who do not walk in pairs? who do not count breaths, who do not know how to seperate?
we can say it’s not our responsibility but that is another great convenience we like to cling to.

when a driver flashes their headlights at another behind the wheel it is usually a warning of something to be mindful of up ahead. a signal to slow down, or that the surfboard has come loose from the roof mount. it is not legally required, but there is an unwritten code.

“How loyal the heart is” by Julia on L’s couch

Tuesday October 8, 2019
8:35pm
5 minutes
Red Tights
Danusha Lameris

with every passing hour
there is an ink stain
seeping deeper into the
contract of this. Of Us.

Who put their name down
in what order is something we might joke about but I know I was the one who signed first.

I decided.

Somewhere between the first
time I saw you and first time I kissed you I had my pen ready.

That is saying something: no pencil, no eraser.

And you were there in my
room playing the guitar for me and telling your
jokes to me and sharing
your smoke with me.

But I was the one who thought we should live together. I’m the one who found us our first house
to dwell in.

I can’t say for certain
how but I can say I did.

“Gladys was a hefty Puerto Rican” by Julia at her desk

Monday October 7, 2019
7:20pm
5 minutes
Anything For Love
Ruth L. Schwartz

In this dress she wore, she swore she
would not conform to the pressure of
being beautiful like this or that as
if some magazine might be the deciding
vote.

Gladys in her big swooshy dress, covering
the curves and equalizing the line that
leads her all the way down to the floor
and back up again. She stood tall.
She wore the bright pink like a medallion
to ward off the evil eye.
The evil kind of eye that keeps a person
small.

My baby, Indie used to hide underneath it
and count the love on her kneecaps with
slobbery kisses and giggles.
Gladys let her and only her go under,
see what was beneath the fabric.
She liked the love adding up on the
tongue of two year old on a mission.

This is the way she felt beautiful.

When Gladys came by the house she would
bring us cookies baked from scratch,
her own personal recipe and tell us
if we didn’t eat them she would eat
them and what kind of friends let friends
lose track of fallen crumbs.

“I can’t help but reflect” by Julia on her couch

Sunday October 6, 2019
6:53pm
5 minutes
from an email

Last night I saw you in my dreams. Time had past, Too late, I kept thinking. Your house was big and beautiful and uncharacteristic of you in its excess. But this was your home, and the taps sprayed intruders with a blast unless you controlled the pressure with a knob. I got soaked. You showed me, “Like this” and it only happened once.

I went to pick up your baby girl and then my eyes wouldn’t open all the way. I couldn’t see her at all. I couldnt manage the pain of coming all that way and not even get to hold her. Too late, I am too late.

When I went to the kitchen to cry, I asked God to give me back my eyes. Instead your husband came in and asked if I was hungry. I felt like if I ate with him it would take too long and I’d keep missing out on you.
But he and I shared our lunches, mine leftover saffron noodles, and his leftover peppers with thick sauced beef.

“This week just got ducking crazy” by Julia on her couch

Friday October 4, 2019
12:27am
5 minutes
From a text message

Two places at once:
the benefit of seeing each thing less…
but we can do it, you can do it.
split focus, split time, details, details.

Tonight we saw an owl get stuck on a fence
it swiveled its head around and stared at
us from its 360 position of momentary panic.
I said we should help it and you said, How
exactly might we do that? And I said, We
could pray a bit. Praying transcends time
and space and frees trapped owls. I know
about things like this, I used to split
my soul in two all the time before I met
you. I used to send half of me to the sky
and half of me to the other sixteen year
olds playing strip pool and drinking in
Alex’s basement. I used to apologize after
for going against God’s will, and then I’d
get forgiven, zip my soul right back into
place. And the other place, the guilt place
would make me feel like I deserved whatever
punishment I got. And the place I kept
putting my body made me feel so alive…

So I know about praying, and how it mends
you whole again after you’ve tried to
please too many people at a time.

“The ship had sailed” by Julia on her couch

Thursday October 3, 2019
8:08pm
5 minutes
Just Enough
A.J. Liberling

What would you do if I sailed away
stole the boat straight from you
and I took on the waves
would you come after me
I’m just wondering if I
should stop the boat in the middle
and wait up for you
cause we could sail around the world
and back, I’d wait for you
are you coming along
there’s no right or wrong
I’m just wondering what you’d do
come sail around me with me
oh just me and you

picture it now, the world gives
you one choice and you
have to decide between falling
and falling behind
do you do the new thing
do you take the big leap
sacrifice everything you have
if the feeling is real
the future’s not sure
but you could not ever go back

trust me I’m not
trying to make you just pick
up and go
I just want to know

what would you do if I sailed away
stole the boat straight from you
and I took on the waves
would you put on your life vest
and invest in everything
we can’t yet prove

“sorely tested—and found wanting.” By Julia in bed

Wednesday October 2, 2019
11:18pm
5 minutes
Assignment To Hell
Timothy M. Gay

a matter of stimuli, and it would be with that attitude

but where is the reward?
in the resistance of temptation, then? in the discovery of so many quick-legged spiders?

we release the tiny scurrying living being while we clean

if the start of a home becomes uprooted by the sudden decision to weild an unruly hand with a broom at the end of it…the home goes but the little friend stays

(the secret is to find another corner)

(the secret is no bites exchanged if asylum granted)

(asylum is granted for friend one and two and three and four)

but if this were not a moment of sobriety who knows what other homes would have been ressurected

“A score of tiny eyes stared” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday October 1, 2019
11:20pm
5 minutes
Stardust
Neil Gaiman

do we ever get used to the leaky faucet, the drips in the sink, the host of sponges soaking up every word

do we ever stop lounging in the face of something pressing, like launching, or standing back up, or sleeping

it seems unnecessary to get used to any one thing, all the changing that might move in, all the new stimuli that arrives

why do we beat ourselves over the head with what ifs that sound a lot like an evil twin plottingg against what we know to be good

will it ever go away?

i’m talking about the push for peace and that is all

“and I will do you no harm.” by Julia at her desk

Saturday September 28, 2019
4:10pm
5 minutes
Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe

I refuse to slice when you ask me for the blade
I will not cut you
I will not draw blood
Do you want my approval for a thing that you know I hate?
How can I do anything but weep when you tell me?

The truth is a funny edged sword
I thought I’d prefer honesty but maybe I’ve never had it pointed at me like this before
Is it better that you said it or could I live not knowing?
We all do a little coned living from time to time
You could have kept my opinion of you in the shape you left it

And you chose to say it, you chose to come clean
You say this is The Age of Truth and in The Age of Truth we confess things
I will not cut you
I will not draw blood
But I cannot shame you either because isn’t that the sharpest part?

I will hold silence before I hold a knife to your skin
I will wait until you beg me to speak
I will let my quiet tell you where I am

“How could God?” By Julia on the faculty lounge patio

Thursday September 26, 2019
1:55pm
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

How could you forget me
in the aisle at the grocery store
in the hallway with my coat on while you were saying goodbye to everyone at the get together

how could you say I’d be saved and then leave me there
to fend for myself
when they all asked me why you took away the people they loved: their grandfathers, their mothers
where were you when they chose me to blame?
As if at 14 I could carry the weight on my own

I followed you with a bag over my head, with my eyes scooped out

I followed you to the edge of the cliff, chased by angry hyenas, and I waited there, as if the pit was not filled with more of them

“Your arms would eventually tire” by Julia on the 351

Tuesday September 24, 2019
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Purpose Driven Life
Rick Warren 

Jeremy is green-eyed, like the sea, and sea-eyed like the man. He has beautiful white teeth that look white thanks to all the dirt he’s wearing. Caked on his neck like a sunburn, Jeremy is trying to make it here. Left
his ex and his kids and has lived all over this place: lasted longer in Winnipeg than Fort McMurray, and tried to make it to “Van City” but ended up here.
No luck with the criminal record check this time.

Jeremy lifts rebar all day. He’s wiped but he has all this pent up energy and doesn’t know what to do
with it, who to screw with it, or who to call.
Jeremy’s eyes are green.

“I am weak willed when I want to be” by Julia on her couch

Monday September 23, 2019
9:30pm
5 minutes
The Doctor and the Soul
Dr. Victor E. Frankl

Some days are hard, darlin’, and you with your feet up
on the coffee table tell us all, us all in the room
exactly how you feel.

The headaches are worse this year than ever before and every
time I speak to my mother on the phone she tells me she’s
looking into it. A sufferer of migraines her whole life,
my mother is now worried about my liver.

I don’t drink much and when I do I curse the bottle and
the ice, and the cup, and the loud bar, and the quiet
will too weak to say no.

What am I supposed to do when the headaches come without
the liquid, and when they are here all I can do is feel
cold inside.

I am angry that a boy coughed in my face when I was trying
to rock him to sleep. I am recovering from the stress of
getting it wrong, and living like a backyard animal.

There is so much to do some days and when they come it
is easy to find a bad movie and watch the whole thing
even if you tell yourself you will shut it off after
30 minutes, get your stuff sorted, then go back to it
if it’s worth it.

Darlin’, on the couch, in the quiet, it can all feel
hopeless and when the rain bounces off the pot holes
in the alley behind my apartment it can really paint
the whole room a certain shade.

“The person we think we are” by Julia at her desk

Sunday September 22, 2019
9:53pm
5 minutes
The Art of Purposeful Being”
Philip Winkelmans MA

It’s not a scar she wears on the back of
her knee, you cannot see perfectly this
little thing, unless the right light is
shining on it, call it cosmic, or call
it the soul…not so little after all,
this thing roars like a banshee and
tonight when she found black mould on
the counter top she lost her own as if
it had caught on fire and needed to be
launched immediately from
the premises. But this was no ordinary
nemesis, it was after all the soul
quietly deciding it will not sit quietly
inside of her any more and the real flame
came from denying the tiny voice begging
and then blaming the lack of control
on the other human in the room whose soul
was not looking for a war tonight.

She thought she was good.
Instead she was this.

“As a consequence” by Julia at her desk

Saturday September 21, 2019
5:45pm
5 minutes
quote: Ferrucci

You’ve got to be kidding me! You’re the one in charge of a whole slew of people and you can’t even write your name without a spelling error? How do I work under you? No please, tell me, how is it that someone with your level of competence can be managing other humans and expecting those us of with actual talent to report to you? I have been nothing but nice! I even took the time to sign your get well card when you got a concussion last year and I haven’t even met you face to face yet! Because I’m fucking sweet! All you have done all year is cock-block me from getting paid, getting opportunities, promoting myself just the way everyone else is, and you want to know why I think that is? Because you’re jealous of me. Because those who can’t do, SIT BEHIND THEIR COMPUTERS ALL DAY AND REPRIMAND THOSE WHO CAN.

“But in a poem we can do anything we want.” By Julia on her couch

Friday September 20, 2019
9:18pm
5 minutes
Since You Asked
Lawrence Raab

But we can’t stop anything in a poem. If The Tears are

there, then that’s where they’ll stay. If the lines

he softens on my forehead run as deep as they look

then in this poem I will cry for all the soft I’ve ever

tried to conceal, every rough idea, every gouged edge.

We can cross the rope of a decade and counting, here in

this poem; travel in dreams you want to hear about.

We can lay in the after lull of a couch cradling all the

body parts that caught a child’s scream today.

But we can’t erase what is there. We cannot change the brick.

“There are points of high silence” by Julia at her desk

Thursday September 19, 2019
8:38pm
5 minutes
The Lawyer
Carl Sandburg

In the severance of us, the split ship
one half now sinking and I play the part

Did you ever know me the way you said
you would, or were you filling pockets

of space with words, spiked, a quiet
fizz into the drink and I’m none the wiser

Who said it first? Don’t speak if you…
Don’t speak if you can’t…

The pebble in my throat throbs on and
in the morning, waking to find that

I did in fact swallow this painful pit,
that this is no dream, that you did go

On the wall, the grease of your fingertips,
tracks of your talking forevers but no body attached,

no hands

no arms

Were you changing the air with all the
great ideas, and who said it first?

Don’t speak if you can’t improve
the silence

“Is it starting to rain?” By Julia on a bed in Mt. Washington, LA

Monday September 16, 2019
9:37pm
5 minutes
Afraid So
Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Don’t tell me–it’s dark there, riht? Don’t tell me. How do I leave a forever summer and come back to a place where my hands turn white with cold in August?
Don’t tell me it’s raining. It’s not, right? Don’t tell me. I am not prepared. My jacket was a dud but I ignored it. I’m not ready for what is waiting for me. Reality, to put it mildly. Here it is so dreamy. Here I am so dreaming. Planning. Thinking of how we can make it work. We can make it work, right, but don’t tell me if you think we can’t. We can do whatever we want to do if we say we’re going to do it and if we say we’re going to rise.
It was 29 degrees today. 34 in some places. I don’t want to think about the rain.

“I want.” By Julia in Mt. Washington, LA

Sunday September 15, 2019
8:42pm
5 minutes
Prayer
Galway Kinnell

I want to shit
I want to shower
I want to swim in the ocean again
I want to wash the salt out of my ears
I want to go to Joshua Tree
I want to live in a place where it doesn’t get cold
I want to sit quietly
I want to inhale mulch all day long
I want to finish my song
I want to practice patience
I want to be brave enough to rent a car by myself and drive it in a new city
I want to find another taco
I want to buy those gold shoes
I want to get people excited about making things
I want to wave to an airplane and believe it’s waving back at me
I want to write the book
I want to be published
I want to go to Italy
I want to practice patience

“He shone with Heavenly Courtesy” by Julia on the 144

Friday September 13, 2019
3:30pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I’m not asking for any kindness.
I never wanted kindness and I’m not asking for it.
Do you think I’m sitting up late at night crossing off names or putting tiny robotic checks next to the ones who opened the door for me?
I don’t need to keep track because nobody is ever doing anything out of kindness but out of fear that one day they’ll be punished somehow for not being kind. It is self-serving and I want none of it.
They talk about it like it’s some new age book, as if we’ve never considered things like this before.
How do you measure the absence of expectations? Is there a way to determine who did something without thinking that someway someday they would get their precious heavenly courtesy back?
Nobody gives away anything for free and I don’t want that kindness shining in my face like a flash-light illuminating.
There are too many awards and rewards and systems based on punitive response for there to be a thing called kindness.

“If ignorance is bliss” by Julia at her desk

Thursday September 12, 2019
7:30pm
5 minutes
The Benefits of Ignorance
Hal Sirowitz

Pretend you don’t notice the ascorbic
acid plastered on all of my worst ideas.
I like it best when you don’t wear your
glasses during the day and can’t see
what I’m running from, or why I’m angry
or why I snap your neck between the
bite of my shame. Chomp chomp until
there is nothing less than apology.
Swallow till there is nothing left at
all.

Who teaches the class on letting things
slide? Are there any openings?
I don’t let anything fly under the radar
and I won’t give any free passes.
Only in dreams do I stop caring about
every last drop of you and what you’re
made of in relation to me. Only in dreams
do I chase the tail of other men who
don’t care about me one way or the other.

Last night you were waiting in the wings
to hear one more stupid decision I made,
a snap judgment with a whole lot of
consequence. You never showed your face,
but you were there, holding it over me
like you already knew.

“He can fix anything” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 11, 2019
8:23pm
5 minutes
Easter Morning
Jim Harrison

Summer speaks in rhymes and rhythms
says she can’t help it
says she was named after the season
of love

Autumn falls for guys who the rest
of the world can see through
falls in love and on her knees
and can’t help but get crunched
and kind of likes the sound

Aliens and astral planes can fix
anything, he says they can heal
you if you let them, if you
believe in the medicine they
bring from the outside in

Helmets and hardware, he says,
is all you need when you’re
afraid to bike down the street
Says preparation is how to
avoid disaster

Sunday talks about the tsunami
course that readies anyone for
a natural and life-threatening
act of god
She says she’ll take notes if
she doesn’t die from fear

Summer speaks in rhymes and rhythms
says she can’t help it

“The courage that my mother had” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday September 10, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

They all bet on her, did you know that?
She was the quietest one and they all
put down their twenty-dollar bills with
confidence. “She’s going to be last.”

When my mother was in labour with my
brother, nobody saw it coming. She is
not the kind of person to screech or
claw, but she will sit softly on the
edge of her heart being thrust into
outer space, into another dimension.

She has always been this way,
underestimated, as though physical
size were an indication of anything.
She did not complain. Not when her
head was throbbing, or her knee
threatened to make her sorry she
ever tried to walk. Not when her
knuckles furled in on themselves,
not when she was giving birth to
all three of us.

She simply did it. Quietly.
And I did not inherit that
from her.

When the nurses found out that my
mother was the first of all the
labouring mothers to deliver,
they yelled at her.
“You just lost me twenty bucks,
lady.”

“Four beating wings” by Julia on the 84, then the walk home

Monday September 9, 2019
9:31pm
5 minutes
The Dalliance of Eagles
Walt Whitman

Running into you the other day
At the bowling alley…
That was shitty for me but it
Looked excellent for you seeing
As though you were being chatted
Up by a few different humans, mostly
women, mostly young women, mostly
young women who I wish I could tell
to run very far away from you

You once told me that you were
desperate to get off this ship
that was only heading in one
direction and that they don’t
want you on it anyway

You are the sinking ship

Everything about you is foreshadow
and everything you touch turns to
mud the way you think it’s being
done to you
You are the mud
The thick sludge that traps people’s
boots and keeps them low, you swallow
them with your whiskey tongue
You take everything down with you

Maybe those girls don’t know that
about you yet because upon
first glance you are the maiden
voyage, a divine craft of this weighted
possibility

“Spoons our fingers” by Julia on The Lost Chair

Sunday September 8, 2019
8:32pm
5 minutes
After Love
Maxine Kumin

Fine is the last thing I say in anger
and Bye is the last thing you say in jest
but you think I’m joking and I have no real
reason to be mad at you other than I have
stopped picking my face (okay yesterday was
the last time) and need to pick at something
so the control can lie to me a little bit.

I’m mad because I thought I made a good point
and you said you know what I mean and then
that was that. Spoons as fingers, we were
crossed wires and I caught you in the act.
You thought I wouldn’t notice that you didn’t
have any words to come back to me with, that
you shrank into a small hole and thought I
couldn’t see you there running away from me.

I am mad because I want to love you but
sometimes you say you’re here but you’re not
here and I don’t know where you go. I don’t
know where in your mind you are and I know it’s
none of my business and none of mt business
but I want to know where is better than here;
where is the place you’d rather be than in
this moment with me, with my good points,
with my nice legs.

I’m sitting here not waiting for you to come
back but angry at you for leaving and you better
know I know the difference. That I can feel you
drifting off from a mile away.

“I was so amazed” by Julia at her desk

Saturday September 7, 2019
3:19pm
5 minutes
Feasting
Elizabeth W. Garber

The plants on the window sill drooped as the door shut behind you.
We didn’t ask for such living things to care for and there we were
with thumbs turning green, scooping soil out of bags and into pots.

The wilting started when you had your second shoe on.
I didn’t see it happen but I knew, the way a soft gaze lets you see
the entire room without blinking, or braiding a second without letting go.

You held my cheeks in your hands as if you hadn’t handled the roots
of what we were sowing with such promise of tomorrow.
I believed you by the cup of your palm and I believe you now.

You are not beholden to me the way this plant is not obliged to live forever.
I wouldn’t expect anything to stay for eternity, but the pain comes from
wanting so badly for you to.

I was amazed at the breeze left inside the room after the smell of you
had dissipated gently into the ceiling. I thought you would cling to the
window screens but you were small enough to pass through even those.

“Any sense if Sunday can work?” by Julia at her desk

Friday September 6, 2019
8:24pm
5 minutes
From a text message

I don’t remember the day now because it was 4 years ago. 4 years ago you gave me the idea: we could move to a new city and start new lives. That was it. That was as far as it got. And I thought you were nuts. Out of your tree. Lost your mind. You were tired of living in a place that required a block heater but I was never good in the rain, so why did I let you explain what you were hoping to do? Too early to head back home because you weren’t ready to settle down. Too cold to stay where you were. Too small.

Maybe you told me on a Skype call while I was filming that TV show. Was it Providence? Was it the day I missed you so much I decided I would go where you go and stop putting up walls around all my soft, gooey, fleshy parts?

Tonight we celebrated some of our recent successes, one of them being living here for 4 whole years with new lives. You said you loved us as adults, and it hit me in that moment that when we met we were kids. Children. What could we possibly have known? This city has been good to us because we chose to fully be here. We saw ourselves rising and we did. We really did.

Finally, we go all out at the restaurant we’ve been meaning to make reservations at. Finally we manage it and finally we don’t limit ourselves by only ordering the cheapest items. We try things. We love things. We clink forks with every bite, every embrace of where we are. And then at the end…the beautiful man beside us pays for our entire meal. We don’t find out until he leaves. And we can’t believe it. How much this city has given.

“sometimes come last” by Julia on L’s couch

Thursday September 5, 2019
9:30pm
5 minutes
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball
Vicki Churchill

I have done a lot today. I won’t list it here cause All I Am Are Lists Lately.
I want to talk about something important. Sometimes I don’t want to talk about myself but I start the sentence with I because I know I will be able to follow it. We. I also believe in what is powered by us, what we’ve built, who we are and choose to be. I could write a list about that too but I’ll spare you the details. Nobody wants details unless they’re in them. Like dreams. Like clouds for resting your chin on. You is something to be seen in. If I say You, you get to believe it really is even if the You I am talking about keeps changing. I know about You. I know about I. I know about We. I don’t know about It as much or The, but I know about This. And These. These five minutes, This heart lifting symphony, Those 3-dollar earrings I got in Chinatown that two people took photos of so they could try and make a pair themselves…

“I could not agree with those who called the autumn a decline” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 4, 2019
9:08pm
5 minutes
Earthly Paradise
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

I will always recall the critique of my sixth grade teacher
in front of the entire class one afternoon as she made an
example out of me. The task was to draw three autumn trees
with pastels; the reds, the oranges, the golds.
I drew two reasonably lovely trees. I had spent so much time
getting those two just so and the bell rang. We were painting
on the hill outside our classroom and I was inspired by the
falling leaves, the perfect newness of September and all its
promise. Instead of quickly or poorly drawing one more tree,
or admitting that I couldn’t get it done in the time allotted,
I decided on the spot to rip the edges of the white paper to
frame the two trees I had drawn with an intentionality that I
was prone to back then. Such creative choices were so easily
discovered. I ripped it to give it a rustic look that would
mirror the trees and all their splotchy crowns: the dabs, the
finger tip strokes. When my teacher showed it to everyone she
said, This person was so lazy, they only did two trees and they
couldn’t even be bothered to use a pair of scissors.

“So close to the end of my childbearing life” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday September 3, 2019
8:46pm
5 minutes
The Girl
Marie Howe

So close to the dream of what I used to believe in
and here we are smiling our hearts out at the little
ones down at the water, running or screaming, or
staring back at us with tiny fists.

I have never needed to prove my allegiance before
and I still don’t, but now I want to. I want to
give you a girl with a mix of our eyes or a boy
with your lips.

But when, when, it’s getting later and later and do
we stay here in this comfortable life for a little
while longer or do we fly fly like we talked about?

The cobble stone is calling us, the seaside, the
dream, the reason why you’re learning a new language
on Duolingo every morning and why we speak together
every night at dinner in a tongue that tickles.

How much longer do we put off this wishing, this
future of us joining hands with two more? How much
older can I be before we are ready to land…

Or do they co-exist, the new country and the new
baby, the new life and the new beating heart.
Do we all get what we need when we need it?

“translator, teacher” by Julia at her desk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“and the words still ring true” by Julia at her desk

Sunday September 1, 2019
12:37am
5 minutes
From Christy Webb’s Directors Notes (Lungs)

The words still ring true, like a bell
and you know that you cannot un-ring a bell?
I know that. I know that because I say it
all of the time. Did I make it up? I mean,
did any one of us make up any one thing?
No, I must have heard it somewhere, but
I don’t know anyone in my immediate circles
who say it, and if they do, I surely said
it first to them, but where did I get it?
These words that still ring in my ears and
breathe life into my lungs…Lungs. I don’t
have a quippy metaphor about lungs. Bells
I like, bells I understand, bells I know
the sounds of. Ring ring, the bell on the
door, the bell in the clock tower, the bell
on the fine gold chain that belonged to my
mother but that she lets me wear because
I love it so much. I didn’t have the impulse
for the necklace itself, as in, I was not
the first person to choose it, but I wear it
every day and I muse on the ringing of it
every time. And some words that still ring
true after all this time are I love You and
tonight when I said them, I heard the bells.
I did, I heard them.

“Mandala-Image Dip” by Julia at her desk


Saturday August 31, 2019
9:36pm
5 minutes
Mandala
Margaret Collis

Okay is this our future? Me you and this baby
that we talked about having and then keep having
conversations about but only when the universe
decides to throw darts at us and prick us with
tiny messages from outside ourselves? Reminding
us that we are very much of the earth and on the
earth and of the people on the earth, not different
not unique, really, since aren’t those thoughts
my thoughts, and those words, yours? Didn’t I say
something like that yesterday or last month and
now, tonight, the woman in the play says the
same exact sentiment? Didn’t I write that play
one afternoon, one argument ago, one plea to
get married, one yes or no about the future?
Me and you and this baby that we’ve talked
about are all in the room now, not talking
about what might be true for them and us now
and in the future. This idea, this earth, we
are living on and in and for and it’s only
an idea, isn’t it? Only a fraction of what we
could be thinking about or acting upon, and the
actors tonight said the words. They said what
you’ve asked, and what I’ve denied, and everyone
in the room was crying so, is everyone having
this very same conversation? About the earth
and about the future and about babies and about
if we’re good people, or if we’re all lost…

“Am I able to follow the spirit of love” by Julia at her desk

Friday August 30, 2019
9:04pm
5 minutes
Quote by M.C. Richards

All the way down to the river Oh
all the way down to the river Ohh
all the way
all the way
all

Do I follow the spirit when it tickles my tongue
do I answer when I hear it, do I make it all known

All the way down to the river Oh
All the way down

Do I listen when it finds me, do I put it all to bed
do I know that it’s the right time, do I ignore it instead

All the way down to the river Oh
all the way down

Is the secret in the lost sheets, do I make my bed each day
Is the tousled off what’s for keeps, do I hold it close and say

All the way down to the river Oh
all the way down

All the way down to the river Oh
all the way down

When the quiet takes its turn on, do I build a bigger space
If the hardship sails with me on, do I find a hiding place

All the way down to the river Oh
All the way down

All the way down to the river Oh
all the way down

We’ve got millions more of these things, resting in our finger tips
heaven knows us in the tight seems, and we slowly part our lips

All the way down to the river Oh
All the way down

All the way down to the river
All the way down

“Am I able to follow the spirit of love” by Julia at her desk

Friday August 30, 2019
9:04pm
5 minutes
Quote by M.C. Richards
All the way down to the river Oh
all the way down to the river Ohh
all the way
all the way
all
Do I follow the spirit when it tickles my tongue
do I answer when I hear it, do I make it all known
All the way down to the river Oh
All the way down
Do I listen when it finds me, do I put it all to bed
do I know that it’s the right time, do I ignore it instead
All the way down to the river Oh
all the way down
Is the secret in the lost sheets, do I make my bed each day
Is the tousled off what’s for keeps, do I hold it close and say
All the way down to the river Oh
all the way down
All the way down to the river Oh
all the way down
When the quiet takes its turn on, do I build a bigger space
If the hardship sails with me on, do I find a hiding place
All the way down to the river Oh
All the way down
All the way down to the river Oh
all the way down
We’ve got millions more of these things, resting in our finger tips
heaven knows us in the tight seems, and we slowly part our lips
All the way down to the river Oh
All the way down
All the way down to the river
All the way down

“and create a platform” by Julia at her desk

Thursday August 29, 2019
8:56am
5 minutes
from the Arts Council of New Westminster

Here is a platform that I have created. You can use it.
You can do with it what you want. If you need some ideas
on how to get started, I can help. I am the one who created
the platform.

Step 1) Step onto the platform
Step 2) Open your face
Step 3) Open your heart
Step 4) Breathe
Step 5) Breathe lower
Step 6) I mean really, way down, all the way lower
Step 7) Look out
Step 8) See out
Step 9) Take it* in (The everything that you see, the nothing you see, the in front of you, the negative space, etc)
Step 10) Receive it
(The everything)
Step 11) Open your face
Step 12) Open your heart
Step 13) Breathe
Step 14) Breathe in and out and around and down and over and under and through and in and out and around and down
Step 15) Say
something (using your eyes, your mouth, your nose, your ears, your guts, your arms, your hands, your toes, your spirit, your soul, etc)
Step 16) Do
something spontaneous (*Be, feel, trust)

“We need to withdraw from impatience” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday August 28, 2019
9:21pm
5 minutes
Quote by Carol Antony

And yes the clock strikes again and we think it’s Time doing the hitting but
we are the ones who have created the gong. We are the ones who have made violent the existence of passing hours.
I am no longer taking part in the flogging of Time.
What did Time do other than heal all wounds?
And return our hearts back to a functioning shape?
Did Time cross off the calendar or was that us again, trying to prove the finality
of things, the endings of days and longings for new ones?
Time fluttered lightly in the wind and we are the ones who caught it,
who captured it in a ticking bracelet and strapped it to our wrists as if it belonged to us.
Time kissed the forehead of every mourning mother, of every brand new life,
and whispered gently that we might remember.
Why must we place our minds in moments not yet lived or ones that have already past?
Isn’t there space to breathe anymore at the raw and open sky,
expanding past our dreams and doubts and daring hearts?

“I was what I stood there for” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday August 27, 2019
8:44pm
5 minutes
Later, When I Am Carried Forward This Far
Parm Mayer

I waited for the answer to fall down from the sky
with a little help from whoever was doing the sending.

I’ve been praying more these days and I have said
I wouldn’t call upon the clouds because of what

they did the last time. I never stood tall in the rain.
I never held hope in the grey. I waited waited then and

now I’m waiting waiting still. It’s different these days.
The time in between seems like the right amount to hold

my breath. Lady tells me how much good the Good Lord has
done for her and I haven’t seen the spoils cause I haven’t

been to church. Not since what it did the last time.
Traded Fridays for a cheap lava lamp, get those dumb

kids off the street with bribery and with the false
light. Already members got a discount ticket to Lazer Quest.

Lady tells me if I prayed I wouldn’t have to use
Jesus’ name and I don’t think I will cause of what

he did the last time. Showed up on my wall to give
me the message, masked in love but laughing out the
devil’s truth.

“deposited myself in your softest corner” by Julia at her desk

Monday August 26, 2019
8:35pm
5 minutes
Your Room
Robert Sherrin

I saw him at a distance and couldn’t get my
soft away from the bone in time

I needed to do something different in this
case, in this particular case, a few limbs

now unhinged and so we tell them this story
A wish is not usually enough, we tell them

but in our case it seemed to work out fine
so we always keep fallen eyelashes in the

special jar that we see every time we open
the fridge or put on the kettle in the morning

He saw me at a distance and couldn’t stop
wondering at the smell of me long enough

to keep himself away from each and every
part of me worth sniffing

We tell them, if they ask, or if they don’t
we tell them this story

“She has even lost one leg” by Julia at her desk

Sunday August 25, 2019
9:07pm
5 minutes
Fetish
Pierre Reverdy

It is too bad, really, a shame, that she has lost one leg to the bed
and one leg to the floor. Nobody knows what to do anymore. The pull

between is too strong. She has tried to step out into the real world
but one of her legs remains asleep, under the duvet, sweating.

She is convinced that her legs aren’t speaking to each other and wouldn’t
listen based on how things have been going. They wouldn’t be willing, is

what she is saying. This may be a mountain imagined where a small hill
sits, but for her it is very true and very powerful, and hard to avoid.

The leg on the floor is doing a lot of lunging, trying to remove the leg
from the bed, so they are in fact talking, but at this stage it doesn’t

appear that they are speaking the same language, and thus, the
break down of communication. One is saying sakjadsadsjafkkafj and one is

saying, i hear you talking but I can’t understand what you’re saying. What
are you saying? Is that about me? Is that directed over here, or at yourself?

The leg in the bed is doing a lot of worrying, perceiving the floor to be
too slippery, too dangerous, too leading into the next room or beyond that

heaven forbid. The body in between both legs is almost being ripped apart,
this heave, this ho, this here, this there, this what are you talking about?

“so much past inside my present” by Julia on the Ebus from Chilliwack

Saturday August 24, 2019
10:09pm
5 minutes
Past in Present
Feist

I prayed to the sweet in my finger prints,
the gold that has been found in all the touching.
I thanked the god that had done the speaking.
I knelt down to the alter of my former self: Great Teacher.
Oh how I wept.
How there was a deep whisper.
But how loud.
But how I listened.
The gentle nudge of spirit,
the family of cells storing memory in my dreams and letting me remember.
Oh how I remember.
The way a crowd would bring out my inner coward,
how I would ask to start over.
And Teacher Self bathed in love now,
in abundance now, I needed you as you were then.
I needed you exactly as you were.

“There must be something to worship.” by Julia at her desk

Friday August 23, 2019

6:01pm
5 minutes
Quote by Henry Miller
i pray to the sound your glove makes when
you catch my hardball, zooming
I pray to the clap my glove makes when I
keep your throw from falling
I do this back and forth dance today and
i will do it again tomorrow
i will stretch the elbow and meet you on
the green, in the rain, in the sun, i will
meet you there like i did today
You can shoot a smile at me through the
sunflower seeds and i feel like the only
thing you’ve ever turned your lips up at
If i’m stuck inside my head, you move me
back into my body with a nudge and a
curve ball, and a pop fly that makes me
run but that gets all the applause when
i find a way to get to it on time
you don’t let me cower back into my own
fears, you keep me paying attention,
whipping speed past my eyes and into
this moment this here and this now
i pray to the mightiness of our arms over
the last few years since we discovered
we were both happiest when we were
doing this together
i pray to the fields we’ve run and learned
on, and i pray to the kiss at the end that
changes the game each time