“A master-beggar art thou.” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday January 8, 2019
10:13pm
5 minutes
Kim
Rudyard Kipling

I don’t want your money but if you send a cheque I’ll cash it
I don’t want your pity but if attention’s coming I’ll stash it
So many times I’ve said I wouldn’t stoop so low
but every day is turning me into a master at limbo
surprise yourself with pleasantries or avoidance or a feeling
never say never cause the holy spirit’s teething
wants a bite of my earthly flesh and all the lies I let in
this is how you get on your knees and pray for all the sinning
I don’t want your money but I’ll take it if it’s there
cause I don’t like to waste things like guilty almost care
I’d rather have your praise but I guess beggars can’t be choosers
I used to crave the fame when I was caught up with the losers
Now I don’t know where I am supposed to be going
Put the money in the hat and hope it don’t start snowing

“This is the beginning of the beginning” by Julia at her table

Thursday January 3, 2019
8:56pm
5 minutes
When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chödrön

This is excellent timing. The beginning of the beginning.
Good. Not to worry. It’s not the end, it’s all new.
Nothing to fear! The world, at this point, is your oyster!
Don’t like oysters? Don’t get caught up in words! They’re
just words! But they are excellent words, aren’t they?
The Beginning of the Beginning! It’s exciting. What will
you do? Set a schedule? Make a plan? Cross of the items on
the list? It’s all up to you, isn’t it. It’s yours to do
with what you like. If you are looking for an example of
what to do now since it’s the beginning and not the ending
then I will offer that to you. I am planning (see!) to
BEGIN the process of the end. Confused? I understand. You.
I understand how you might be. If this is the beginning,
should I be so defeatist? I have all this time to make
a new thing at the beginning of the beginning. I could
do whatever my heart desired, after all. And that is why
I am happy to announce my retirement! I am beginning to
retire from this life that no longer keeps me tuned in!
I want to go back home. I’m as surprised as you. I only
realized today how much I hate it here.

“Let’s roll, babycakes” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday April 14, 2016
11:52pm
5 minutes
overheard on Arbutus

I want you to beg me to stay when I tell you I’ll be sleeping at my mother’s place tonight. I want you to get on your knees and apologize for being a dick so I can forgive you and then apologize for being a dick back to you. I’m angry but I won’t be later but I don’t know how to turn this thing around before later is later. I feel like I’ve pushed all your buttons and there’s no easy rewind let’s pretend that never happened one to press. Why don’t you come with one like that? I am at the door with my overnight bag and I want you to throw me a banana if you’re not going to try to keep me from going. Let me know you still care about my potassium intake even when we’re hating each other. Even when you’re secretly glad that I won’t be sleeping beside you tonight to remind you of this stupid fight we both engaged in when we were both enraged about the thing we won’t remember in the morning.

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


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

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

“She said my mistakes made her feel confused” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 14, 2016
6:24pm
5 minutes
Dear Mr. You
Mary-Louise Parker


I braid my hair long down my back and I glance down to see which flower I want to put in. I let the blooms speak without forcing them to make themselves available to me. I feel the sun peaking out of the clouds just to watch what I do, see what I choose, why. Little purple one, I think. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. Marissa doesn’t like it when I choose wrong. She yells, stomps her feet, says I didn’t teach her anything and her whole life is a joke. I hate to think of angering Marissa or showing her that I haven’t been paying attention. I’m trying. I really am. I feel like she has her minions looking out on all corners of this place to see that I’m doing what I am supposed to. She’s blackmailed the trees, she’s sleeping with the whole sky it seems. Nobody crosses her. Everybody fears her. I listen to my belly, rumbling on luck near empty. Little purple one, woven into the base of my braid. I do not question myself in this moment. I hear wind chimes in the distance congratulating my bravery. Last time Marissa saw me right after a big decision, she scanned my whole body up and down looking for where exactly she might have failed me.

“I worry for a moment that he’s coming back” by Julia on the 4


Saturday February 13, 2016
6:10pm
5 minutes
The Valley
Joan Macleod


I have this spine tingling hair whispering feeling that I won’t be alone here for long. The way I know when my body needs to throw up: the cues, the signals, the deep understanding of when things are in order and when they are even slightly off. I read the room, literally, spiritually and I know that if I want it I have to move fast. I can do it safely if I do it now. I can avoid being caught in the act, avoid improvising a reason, response, defense, if I just focus and mind over matter everything. I scan my surroundings, two doors, one camera, three potential stations for pick up, four paths to and from said locations to confuse and distract. I choose route two and I walk with a clip to station one. I pick up necessary tools in completing future steps with most ease and comfort. I scoop my hands into the deep bag, careful to only pull out enough to fit in both of my hands when cupped.

“Help us fight the flu!” by Julia at her dining table


Friday February 12, 2016
12:51pm
5 minutes
from the elevator at VGH

I am sitting motionless but moving on this perfect log facing the perfect sun peaking out behind the perfect mountain. Everything is wonderful. Everything around me is alive and I am still alive to experience it. There’s a difference between living and not dying. I come out here to remind myself exactly that when things feel uneasy. I ask myself, am I still alive, or am I living until I die? I am hoping to find clarity around that; peace, even. Asking myself as often as I can if this life is holding space for me or if I am holding space for it. It should be the former, shouldn’t it? Should. Huh. I know, I’m working on that too. Working on coming to perfect stillness and looking at perfect views and thinking so many imperfect thoughts. I am alone but not lonely. I feel supported from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I decide to keep them closed for the night. And I am not dying. Not yet. Not today. Although if the timing were right, this wouldn’t be such a bad last spot to be in; not a bad last feeling to have–one where I am myself inside myself inside a moment of deep desire to understand.

“Action plan” by Julia on the 99 bus


Thursday February 11, 2016
11:08pm
5 minutes
from a sign at Commercial-Broadway station

Okay let’s stay on this path let’s pick all the berries and watch the sunset from here cause it’s safe here under the canopy of jungle under the protection of soft light let’s pack our tiny bags full of notebooks and truth juice to sustain us but not delay us to suspend us but not limit us we can sip sparingly and save some of that for tomorrow and when we get to tomorrow let’s write a new song about the afternoon or turn dusk into the chorus we can sing it out cause we know the words and bang on the drum of our chest cavities to keep the rhythm going to keep the music alive let’s stay on this path and pray to the star gods to keep us happy and in love in case tomorrow’s tomorrow surprises us.

“I can’t leave people unattended inside with the doors closed” by Julia on the 506 going east


Saturday February 14, 2015
3:36pm
5 minutes
An explanation from the 506 TTC driver

It’s hard to think of him differently after all those years. I mean, hey, yeah, my dad spent the first half of my life as a cook in a greasy diner. He lived for that place. I don’t know anyone else who has been brought to tears over a perfectly poached egg, but he sure has. And sometimes it was hard, and sometimes we thought he was going insane as many kitchen people do, but at the end of the day, when he’d come home smelling like smoked meats and the deep frier, he’d have a smile on his face.
Then, all of a sudden, my dad decided he wanted to be a teacher. Just like that, no real discussion about it, just this is it, I used to cook in a diner and now I want to be responsible for educating the youth of this fine country. I had never seen my dad in a suit before, or anything other than an apron for that matter. We all wondered where a man with barely even a high school diploma would start.

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


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

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

“you crave” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday February 12, 2014
11:01pm
5 minutes
the bag of ketchup chips

You crave to be in the middle
in the spotlight
in the memory of many
in the hearts of many more
you crave to be in the centre
in the moonlight
in the laughs of many
in the arms of many more
you get what you want, that’s a fact
you ask the universe if it does complimentary gift wrapping
you want to untie the bow on all your presents from the anniversary party
of your dreams and reality meeting at the park and kissing on the mouth
you get what you want, that’s a fact
you crave to be in the photographs
in the perfect moments
in the history in the making
you crave to be in the love letters
in the words of many
in the nightside table drawers of many more
you crave it all
and you get it all
you’ve charmed the world with your wit and your generosity
and you knew that was all you ever really wanted

“HEALTHY LIFE” by Julia at her desk


Saturday January 11, 2014
11:53pm
5 minutes
from the floss threader package

Start by giving away all your earthlies. You know, items of belonging, possessions, feelings. Yeah, feelings. You won’t get to take those with you when you go! I just know. I JUST KNOW. How are you supposed to feel anything in an alternate reality, or universe, or afterlife? Doesn’t it just make sense that there will be a new set of systems to adapt to and follow? What, you think whatever you have right now is the only thing there is? Wonderful! Leave that behind too. I’m talking about states of being, I’m talking about emotions, I’m talking about anything that sets you back in life (ie: feelings and emotions. You with me now?). We won’t need anything so learn now to part with them. Learn now to not desire them. Learn now to be above them. That is how we achieve ultimate happiness. We don’t need anything of the sort. No earthlies. Not even other people. I know that seems difficult for you to comprehend. No people? What is that? It’s better. I’m telling you.

“SOARING” by Julia on the subway going north


Monday December 9, 2013
9:44pm
5 minutes
from a Ryerson University subway ad

high above the pain and the suffering I left behind, you can see me there, painting the clouds with my smile and my open heart.
nice and red. and soft too, so it’s easy to look at. easy to take in. each one puffs by me, new now from my artwork. the tears up here are bright blue, almost turquoise. it’s nice when the salt mixes with the sweet cotton candiness of it all. i am flying now. i have been here before. my mind is clear like blowing air through a straw and making the objects on the other side move, even just a little. the forecast is not unbearable, or terrifying. it’s calm and predictable but impulsive without being too harsh. i’ve learned to love my new place in the sky. it feels far away from everything i knew, but no one speaks my language and i never need them to. the money, the time, the regrets all seem to float away. they don’t want to get in the way of my flight. they don’t want to hinder my soul from creeping up from its safe place and being exposed right there in front of me. i let out my expectations slowly from the hem of my skirt, and i do this until the string is fine and coiled around itself. below i see, i left it all there for another moment in time.

“translate their natural strengths” by Julia at Sambuca grill


Tuesday December 3, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
8:26pm
5 minutes
from the edge newsletter

I was taught from a very early age that I could do anything I wanted. Even if that thing seemed really really impossible. I could still do it. My mum would always say, I’m not saying you can’t do it, I’m simply asking if you should. And then I would reflect on myself and wonder sometimes if I should actually do something just because I wanted to. She also said, depending on the day, I’m not saying you can’t, I’m just saying do you really want to. And that would sort of twist my brain up and make me think that maybe I didn’t want to pee like a boy or climb a volcano during an eruption. And in those moments I’d believe that I could still do it, but it was less of an accomplishment if it wasn’t all that appealing anyway. So there was actually quite a bit of confusion in my head and I didn’t always understand what my capabilities were and what my desires were. So I’m not blaming my mum, you know, for confusing me blind, just thinking about how if you’re told something by someone you trust, you believe it. You’d believe anything. And I guess believing I’m capable is not a bad thing, yeah?

“you fit the part” by Julia on her couch


Sunday , August 11, 2013
11:30pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card from a friend

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

I’ve heard it’s hard to paint ringlets, and if so, get researching. I have a head of hair that could combat the storm, and it needs to be perfect, perfect.
you have the fine lines of an artist, the deep set brow lines that let me know you’ve been examining again. The off colour in your cheeks when you prefer painting in your garage and not with natural light. The lonely things you say sometimes that remind me you spend most of your days by yourself.

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

Let me help you out. I’ll come in, read books to you, massage your shoulders, and prance around in tiny pyjama bottoms that show of my legs so you can be inspired. Or I’ll bring you your deep dish pizza from Dominos and we can start a fire with all the scribblings you’ve done that don’t quite capture my smile or my spirit.