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

Monday, March 19, 2018
5 minutes
Undue Familiarity
Ellen Collett

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

“something wonderful happens:” by Julia on the 84

Sunday, March 18, 2018
5 minutes
A Marriage
Michael Blumenthal

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

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

Saturday, March 17, 2018
5 minutes
The Possible Universe
Claire Halliday

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

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

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

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

“God may have written” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


5 minutes

From a quote by Nancy Cartwright

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

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

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

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

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

“A woman came out of the farmhouse.” By Julia on Kits Beach

Monday, March 12, 2018
5 minutes
Exactly What To Say
Kim Church

In her hand she was clutching a dead chicken by the neck. From where I was standing behind the red Birch, and how its head bobbed methodically, it appeared to be still alive, merely intoxicated. Like Ariane was dragging her drunk friend home after too many jagger bombs.
I don’t know why I thought I could hide from her. She spotted me right away, a twig in these heavy woods.
I froze in my spot and then managed a wave. It was as awkward as I’d ever been. The look on her face said nothing in the world had ever disappointed her more.

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

Saturday March 10, 2018


5 minutes


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

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

Wednesday March 7, 2018
The Stand
Stephen King

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

“connection as friends.” by Julia at the studio

Monday, March 5, 2018
5 minutes
I Know How You Feel
F. Diane Barth

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

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

Saturday, March 3, 2018
5 minutes
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
James Cagney

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

“object of concentration” by Julia on the 99

Friday, March 2, 2018
5 minutes
Ashtanga Yoga Primer
Baba Hari Dass

On my mind like a wind chime

blowing in the night

Playing a song so sweet

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

You are who I know I need

Raindrops carry the ease of you

On my rooftop I have felt the drum

You are who my heart knows is the one

You are who my heart knows is the one

In the faces in shower tiles I see yours

In the gravel roads I’m travelling on

You’re the smile in my bowl of soup

the wisdom in the moon

You are who I was supposed to meet

You are who my dreams told me to write

You are who my eyes were built to see

You are who my heart knows

“The only thing I can come up with” by Julia in her bed

Thursday, March 1, 2018
5 minutes
No Idea
Dana ID Matthews

Today I told them that I didn’t know
That I want to know and that I wish I did but I don’t
No one asked to see my badge, my credentials
No one gave me a sidemouthed remark
I felt worried and then I felt honest
and the authenticity parade was loud for all to hear
Later one of them told me that they didn’t know
That they want to know, but they don’t, and isn’t that okay?
Later still one of them told me they thought it was
important to admit when we don’t know
and maybe others might want to hear that too
that life is not easy and no one knows everything
Here, take this make-shift answer, this feather
falling itchy onto my lap,
Find my discomfort and amplify it
Always remember that I lied right to your face
to save my own
I am glad that for once the only thing I could
come up with was the worthy and unveiled truth

“wedding bells at the airport” by Julia in her bed

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
5 minutes
jessie read

It was hard to sleep cause the bugs were busy burrowing into their favourite skin:
Side of the face
Baby toe
A hard glance at paranoia might
Point you directly at the mosquito
Pest that everyone blames Noah for
not killing
Every light hair lifted by wind or arm is warning sign and restless nights
A lady bug would have been a welcome replacement
You don’t have to hear a ladybug plot murder right in front of you
But the night was closing in
Big day tomorrow and everyone watching and it would take
a weak prisoner if the mind stopped chirping
The way you might forget your room is haunted when the light is on

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


5 minutes


Curtis LeBlanc

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

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

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

Monday, February 26, 2018
5 minutes
Wake The Dead
Julia Pileggi

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

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

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

“only four corals spawn” by Julia at her desk

Sunday, February 25, 2018
5 minutes
Sea Sick
Alanna Mitchell

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

“A queen travels” by Julia in T’s car

Saturday, February 24, 2018


5 minutes

Winter Watch

Jennifer Elise Foerster

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

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

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

Thursday, February 22, 2018


5 minutes

The Wilds of Sleep

Kat Duff

I am younger than nine

I remember just fine

Not the age or the stage

But the people and the place

It’s not scary

but it’s a nightmare

I go down to tell my mom

Having a bad dream again

But it’s my dad shaving in the bathroom

And he’s smiling

And I ask where she is

And he says right here

And then my dad enters again

And my dad stands beside my dad

And my dad shaves besides my dad

As in, my mom is my dad

As In, my dad is my mom

As in, my mom has been absorbed by my dad

As in, my mom is turned into his copy

Two dads, as good as he is, is not

a substitute for one of each

My mom signs my report cards

My mom toasts my bread

My mom reads me stories

Let’s me sleep on her side of the bed

“eat all of our food? Rude.” By Julia in N’s kitchen

Friday February 16, 2018
5 minutes
David Delisca

When Harley stays with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays cause it’s closer to the hospital
he buys us hot dogs and
orders pizza
He doesn’t want us to make him anything special simply
because he’s dying
He’d rather eat out of the garbage
can than put us out any more
than he thinks he is already
On Mondays and Wednesdays
Mitch goes out to pick up
the groceries he thinks Harley
might like to snack on when
he thinks the rest of us aren’t
paying attention
Fruit by the foot and Reese’s
Peanut butter Puffs
Organic strawberries and Oreos
We stock the cupboards just
in case

“we were in the same grade together” by Julia on the 99

Thursday February 15, 2018


5 minutes

Lesbian at a Bachelor Party

Amber Dawn

I remember him when I think about my front tooth. When i accidentally hit it with a fork, or a glass of water. The last time it was knocked out was half a decade ago by a guy turning his car when he shouldn’t be. The first time was on a snow hill when I was seven years old. This kid in my grade came at me with his rotten mitts and punched me in my mouth. I guess it was already loose, but there was still a lot of blood. When I went to the bathroom to rinse out my mouth the tooth fell down the drain. I remember I was more angry at him for making me lose out on the tooth fairy money than I was that he attacked me for absolutely no reason. How do you prove to the tooth fairy that you lost your tooth when you actually lost your tooth?

“famous for flying around”by Julia in her bed

Wednesday February 14, 2018


5 minutes

Anthony’s Glass Eye

Billeh Nickerson

Today he was wearing a giant crystal dangling on a thin leather rope. It was so close to his Adam’s apple I thought he was going to slice it right off. He told us all that his ukulele was a lesbian and that he used to be a winged thing in the life before this one.

I know that feeling. Of wanting to share everything inside my skull. But I don’t do it because I’ve seen what happens when you’re candid with everyone. They can’t handle the honesty. It makes them squirmy.

The person beside me was breathing so consistently and heavily that it started to activate my anxiety. I had to keep catching my own breath and plugging my one ear. If I had been honest I would have gotten in trouble for asking them to please try breathing with their mouth open or not at all.

“sometimes a pencil is an octopus” by Julia on her couch

Sunday February 11, 2018
5 minutes
Octopus vs. Pencil
Philip A. Miletic

Sometimes you know the answer and sometimes you don’t. You don’t know because no one knows and you know because everyone knows. It’s an exact science you can rely on. It’s called Life and everyone knows it because it happens to everyone. Sometimes a theory is a sword. Sometimes an accusation is a law.
Sometimes a lie is a punishment.
Sometimes a lie doesn’t know it’s being lied. But this scientific thing, this thing that everyone knows, called Life, is hard to prove because everyone who knows it knows it in their own scent. It’s a thing everyone knows but it’s a thing no two people know the same way.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is dinner.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is breakfast.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is punishment.
Sometimes a punishment is self generated.
Sometimes the body is trying to protect itself.

“I’ll probably do it while you’re sitting on the toilet” by Julia on the toilet

Saturday February 10, 2018
Who Says I’m Not a Romantic
Fernando Raguero

We bought new toilet paper and you used the last bit of the roll but forgot to change it and we bought new toilet paper so it would have been easy. It would have been satisfying or maybe you’re not me. It is satisfying to change the roll, out with the old, in with the new. It’s a fresh start. A roll that hasn’t yet gotten dusty or humid or damp. A roll that suggests a readiness for all. And maybe you’re not me. And I can’t expect you to wait for me to have dinner even though you invited me to have dinner. You might have meant dinner on a different night like tomorrow or Easter Sunday. I can’t expect you to buy a new garbage can if the old one is busted even if you said you’d pick it up after work. You might have meant you were going to pick up the garbage can and see if it was heavy. You might have meant pick it up and put it back down again.

Some things add up really nicely.

Some things make sense to me but not to you, maybe, because you are not me.

“moths drift from the trees” by Julia on her couch

Friday February 9, 2018
5 minutes
Al’s House
Lorna Crozier

I slide my nose along your nose while you lay your head in my lap
I’m convinced this is the map
of your breath travelling in and out of your body
I sniff your nose skin like it gives information and I have to track
the proof of you here
I could almost weep at the sweet of your nose and the smooth and the still
while you let me trace the personality poised in the middle of your face
Maybe that is the road the sprit knows
Up and down and back and forth
Maybe my spirit knows your spirit so plainly by now by the route of this place
The way the answers light themselves up bright enough to see
even when the eyes are closed and the room is dark.

“He couldn’t get enough of sky” by Julia on her couch

Thursday February 8, 2018
5 minutes
North America’s Favourite Zoo Animal
Stephanie Bolster

This boy flies in a plane
never seen the sky from
this high up
never seen his church
from this far away
Counting stars, Mamma,
I see them all the same as
down there
Makes a wish in case
one of them unexpectedly falls
And this one can be yours too,
Mamma, we can share it
This boy wears light blue hat
with bear ears sticking out
He sleeps in the soft of his
mother after watching the pink
and orange stripes fade
The gentle lady walks by and
catches herself off guard
by his tiny perfect face

“Ninety pounds.” By Julia in Hanoi

Sunday February 4, 2018
5 minutes
T is for Texas
Derek McCormack

I met a woman in the museum today
She was 90 pounds and making things
Pushing through the thick
and then
more making, more things
She won the medal for
perseverance or something like it
Not a war hero but a woman hero
and a wall climbing metaphor
She didn’t see the wall and
think there was no other way

Can’t go over it
Can’t go under it
Can’t go around it
Got to go through it
(Going on a lion hunt)
(If the lion was accomplishment in spite of)

The angle of her made her body
look big and she seemed
so very unfazed

“children dawdling to school” by Julia in Hanoi

Saturday February 3, 2018
5 minutes
K.V Skene

It’s over the hill and past the old abandoned ice cream truck.
The little ones don’t seem to
be afraid when they go by it
but I don’t like the feeling it
gives me. I don’t like what it
represents but then again I’m
old enough to remember what
happened. They skip and play
and sometimes pretend to steer
the wheel. They make believe
that they are just like the ice
cream man on a regular Wednesday in June.
The police say there might have been more than twenty bodies.
They say
they didn’t consider
digging so far back until
they had a reason to. When
you think of what all of us kids
knew back then, it makes you
wonder what their priorities were,
and what order.

“handed down mother to daughter” by Julia at Tree Hugger Cafe, Dong Hoi

Friday February 2, 2018 at Tree Hugger Cafe
5 minutes
Without Mercy
Howard Wright

The slow blink while angry
The smooth legs
The internal smile at babies
The compassion
The sometimes door mat sometimes door
The olive oil skin
The walking feet
The running instinct
The humming bone
The story teller
The clam sauce recipe
The porcini mushroom gnocchi
The onion soup
The date and walnut cookies
The open face
The open mouth
The ears
The rage
The hurt
The agency
The curiosity
The attention to details
The service to the ones loved most
The glued roots to Italy
The never ending conversation
The family first

“Should we take the pillows?” By Julia in Phong Nha-ke bang National Park

Thursday February 1, 2018
5 minutes
What Are You Thinking?
Jay Ruzesky

R-Should we take the coffee packets? Will you want those later?

A-I’m collecting them. I think they’ll be good to have on the go, don’t you

R-And should we take the Q-tips?

A-always good to have cotton swabs we didn’t have to buy in case of an emergency.

R-should we take the bag of crackers?

A-Of course I think we’ll enjoy having them as a snack in between major meals on the road.

R-And should we take the pillows?

A-well, if they will fit in our bags then it would be good to—wait. The pillows? Should we take the pillows?

R-Yes, should we take them?

A-The pillows?

R- Yes.

A-But…the pillows?

“the holy monkeys and the colourful birds” by Julia on the bus to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng

Tuesday January 30, 2018
5 minutes
Anna Margolin

In the morning before we said goodbye to Ann, the tiny blue bird with the long beak that I had seen in my half sleep from the bus reappeared. It cradled a thin branch near the water with its feet and stopped the world from stepping. I tried to tell you that it was a sign. You couldn’t see the blue and told me it was probably some other bird. It was the same one and I knew by the way it sat. Its stillness was a perfect one. I would know it anywhere. I managed to quiet my heart beat long enough to hear. To sense the strength or the message or the absence of expectation. I heard it like the humming of my Nonna, her voice soothing while she used to mend my favourite sleep shorts. I would know that sound anywhere. I would.

“it was poetry, fireworks, ticker tape” by Julia in Hue

Monday January 29, 2018
5 minutes
Bad Hand
Mallory Tarses

It was hard beds, good sleeps, wild dreams.
It was soft hands, stark words, sweet kisses.

It held us in our tiny pod, two feet from the ground and floating. Brought us to the flashing lights and the back alleys and the families of perfect chickens. It was poetry and history and a birthday song over the PA in the lobby.

It was poetry and river walks.
It was poetry as patience.

As kindness.
As covered knees in the solemn place.
As the sunrise on a boat in the Mekong Delta.

“Said she’s comin’ back to stay” by Julia in Da Nang

Sunday January 28, 2018
5 minutes
Gonna Have Love
Buck Owens

You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. They might be your boxers. Your at home clothes. Your lounge wear. I don’t know that much about you yet. I don’t know that you love Buck yet. I know you’re funny. I know I’ve accidentally said your name while lying next to someone else. I know I don’t want to live with anyone but you. You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. You knock on my door every night and when I say come in from my desk you come in with your guitar. You play a song. You charm the pants off of me. You make me laugh. You make me better. You are a one man show and I am your only audience. You and your black shorts, boxers, lounge wear. You and your perfect timing and your perfect face. You and your way of changing the room so the right light hits the right spot. I don’t know much about you but I am watching every part. I am studying your hands. Your knee caps. The way you don’t take anything personally. The way you sing to me.

“He’s not worthy of competing with you” by Julia in Da Nang

Saturday January 27, 2018
5 minutes
The Duel
Thomas Brasch

You can tell me you’re not competing and I will be more likely to believe you but the ones who love me most and know me best will know you’re lying. I didn’t know we were after the same horizon. I didn’t know because I wasn’t looking over in your lane.

I only ever wanted to know how you are doing your best not how to do your best. I thought we could share instruction manuals once we got them. But you hide yours from me. This has been going on for years. And it is not a compliment to withhold your gold on account of my capacity. I am big and you are big but this constant comparing makes you smaller. You do that to yourself. I don’t want what you’re after. You could spend more time expanding. You could do that instead. Because I am big. I am so big already.

“If we changed the rules of our games” by Julia in Hội An

Friday January 26, 2018
5 minutes
The Mercy Seat
Norman Ravvin

Now that we’ve changed
the rules I don’t cry as much.
As if my face can tell
you how I feel without
losing any water without
causing a drought somewhere
else deep down near the well of me
Now the well of me is full
and happy looks like patience
or a bucket
or forgiveness on the conveyor belt
switched on at high speed
You are coaching and playing
at the same time sometimes
and this is a rule you
have always known to follow
I can learn from this
I can play better too

“like a man swallowing clay.” By Julia in Ho Chi Minh city

Thursday January 25, 2018
5 minutes
Fish-Eye Marble
Sophia Lecker

Some days are harder to get through in terms of schedule and temperature and sadness and homesick and lack of nutrients and muscle aches and a belly that won’t empty. Things move slow like a man swallowing the sea or one who tries to make a clay pot in his guts. The night feels too dark, too short, too long, too distracted. The morning lies its face off about your desirability as a human. Sleep comes at the wrong time. The battery on your phone won’t last when you’re lost. The roads left unmarked shake like the devil’s in them. The eyes get heavy before it’s time.

“chimneys dress right with smoke” by Julia at Nguyen Shack homestay

Wednesday January 24, 2018
5 minutes
A Touch of Cynicism
Yannis Goumas

There’s a new chimney in my parents’ house. I’m glad because they use their fireplace a lot. They make decisions like this and then you never hear the end of it. I’m glad because they use their fireplace a lot. But then you have to hear them tell you about the guy who installed it. And then again. And then about the new handle on the new fireplace door. Because oh yeah, there’s a new fireplace at my parents’ house too. And people are allowed to be excited. That the first time in 20 years they are changing something in the downstairs area. Not the carpets or the windows. But the fireplace that they light every night. My dad even starts the fire for my mom before he leaves for work each morning. She can do it by herself but he still likes to make the house warm for her before he goes. If they tell me again about the fireplace, I will let them. I’ll ask about the guy who installed it. I’ll ask about the working chimney.

“Well, God is perfectly fair.” By Julia on the bus to Can Tho

Tuesday January 23, 2018
5 minutes
Tamas Dobozy

Middle child=fairness and unfairness

When god isn’t fair the middle child feels it. In her toenails. In her tears.
All this adding up does not equal the right sum.
Someone miscalculated.
Someone forgot to check the math. God is supposed to be good at math.
One good for you one good for me one bad for you one bad for me.
And if my turn comes today yours will be tomorrow. Yours will come and mine will come and faith and trust and acceptance and patience.
God doesn’t play favourites with disaster. That’s the rule. But what if it comes and it’s not fair? That’s the rule too. How does the middle child handle all these mismatched moments. How does god give back after all the taking.
Let’s take a bite until it’s gone. The middle child understands fractions. How to ration. How to make sure there is enough for everyone for as long as possible. You want the middle child on the boat when trouble finds you. You want the one who knows how to be fair.

“microwaved a saucer of milk” by Julia in Ho Chi Minh City

Monday January 22, 2018
5 minutes
Stephanie Yorke

Growing up I had a friend who used to do “experiments” and mix water and milk in a bowl and then microwave it. Then she’d taste what she made and offer it to her guests at sleepovers. I don’t know why you’d call something like that an experiment. It seems pretty obvious to me what will happen when you heat up milk and water in the microwave. Once when I was over at her house working on our science fair project, she had the bright idea to make the experiment a non experiment. That’s not me summarizing the events either, she literally asked me what my thoughts were on choosing something non-experimental for an experimental assignment. So that’s how I ended up with a booth of Lays original flavoured chips and Lays original flavoured baked chips. She thought we could let people taste test both chips to see if they could identify which was which. Genius.

“with that thirsty, drink-it-down look” by Julia on the plane

Saturday January 20, 2018
5 minutes
For you
Tammy Armstrong

-So should we join the mile high club?

– -I would do it, yeah.

-Oh please, don’t sound so enthused. It’s too much.

– -Well those bathrooms are so small.


– – And apparently you can get in a lot of trouble if you get caught.

-Yes, you can only join the club if you risk breaking the rules. You can’t just be in the club. There has to be danger. And earning it.

– -Okay fine let’s join then. I’m in. I’ve heard the best time to do it is when the flight attendants are trollying along with snacks.

-Oh you heard that, did you?

“She’ll use timid hand gestures,” by Julia on the 9

Friday January 19, 2018
5 minutes
Black Roses Bloom
Bill Gaston

She’ll calmly talk about her dad as if he were still alive. She’ll say he’s gone but her arms don’t quite believe it yet. Her jaw won’t accept it as the truth. She’ll stay up late in bed because the book is that good. Except it won’t be a book she’s reading. It’ll be hard to sleep with all those dreams of him. The ones of him showing up at her door with a basket of fresh picked cherry tomatoes and a couple dangerous Chili peppers. The ones of her getting a call from his cell phone but all he does is laugh and laugh when she picks up. The ones of him squeezing her shoulders when he hugs her tight. The ones of him calling her sweetie after a long time apart.

“it’s the ending that keeps me in my chair.” By Julia in her bed

Thursday January 18, 2018
5 minutes
Sue Goyette

Guess I want to know what you’ll look like when you’re eighty. What you’ll smell like. Where your smile will point. I want to know if your vocal chords will turn grey. If you’ll wear a hat or not. If you’ll still kiss like a goddamn unicorn. If you’ll still whisper nonsense into my ear to see if I’ll laugh. If you’ll still sneak white cheddar popcorn topping into our turkey pasta. If you’ll rub my feet for no reason. If you’ll tell your phone to tell me you love me so I get it in writing and in the third person the way I always secretly liked. It’s the happy, the ending, that keeps me glued to your station. It’s the last days that make we want to stick around and see what happens.

“The woods are filling up with snow.” By Julia on the 9

Wednesday January 17, 2018
5 minutes
James Pollock

Let me paint you a picture. Imagine pulling into the driveway and seeing fresh deer tracks in the snow. It’s magical. Isn’t it magical? It’s really magical. I’ve always thought that. Deers are the most magical creatures in the world. They are gentle and they are graceful and they are majestic and they are soft. Deers are so soft and magical it makes me cry. One magic moment I had with a deer, and this was three years ago, was when I was pulling into the driveway at the cottage and I noticed there were fresh deer tracks in the snow and I thought well isn’t this magical? To what do I owe this magic? Am i-Is this Narnia? Is this a Taylor swift music video? Is this pure, unadulterated magic with a spoonful of luck? Let me ask you something-you ever feel like the snow falling lightly and landing on your eyelashes is a kiss from heaven? That’s magic too! That’s the most magical magic there is.

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

Tuesday January 16, 2018


5 minutes

Memo to a Self

Steven Heighton

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

“It’s the nicest gift anyone’s given me” by Julia on her couch

Monday January 15, 2018
5 minutes
Madeline Sonik

I still remember it even though I don’t really like to remember her.

I didn’t get into chamber choir when I was in the eleventh grade. I couldn’t read music but I could sing by ear. I was good. But I wasn’t good enough when it came to clapping out the bars. I had never felt more alone. Mrs. C had a look of pity on her face. I was sure I would never sing again. The next day K brought me a hand-bound booklet of music-reading printouts from the internet. She told me not to quit. I was moved beyond words. My friend believed in me even when I thought it was impossible to prove myself. The day after that I got the courage up to go and talk to Mrs. C and tell her that I would work hard and that even if I couldn’t read music, I belonged in the choir. She relented and let me in. I don’t remember now who gave me the idea to plead my case, but I will not forget that music booklet: the holes gathered by the cutest little sewing thread. When I think of her in my life I try and remember that version of her. I try not to let that part get swept away with the others.

“It never rains but it pours;” by Julia in her bed

Sunday January 14, 2018
5 minutes
Rhona McAdam

Even the sunny days get fogged out. You think you won’t be able to see the water but you can if you get close enough. You can let yourself go even if your first tongue tells you there is no point. It will help if you can remember how you thanked yesterday’s sky for being so pink. How you smiled up at the setting sun and let joy in. How you walked through a purple path of damp earth and felt alive from every tingling limb. How you felt loved. How you thought of your mother coming to Canada for the first time. How she was taught this same beautiful word in the form of a new friend’s dress. How she’ll never forget how perfect purple is and how you won’t now either. Yes, there are moments of blame. And then some following of disappointment. But they are small. And they don’t have to be the day.

“I knew that sitting like that would bring me happiness.”by Julia on her couch

Friday January 12, 2018
5 minutes
How To Sit
Thich Nhat Hanh

I sat there, sitting, and a bird came and perched itself on my shoulder. Isn’t that incredible? I invited the bird with my stillness. I sat there, sitting, and a bird sat there, sitting on me. How fascinating. I am the inviter. The invitation. The inventor. I invent still moments for my body to sit sweetly. I give choice to my bones, I say “loud or quiet?” I say “moving or moved?” I like this new sitting style. I like knowing how much I used to avoid it. How much it used to fill the room with loud even when I did not say. I do not say loud if I can help it. I like hearing every part of my legs and every part of my stomach and they will speak if they don’t have to yell. And it is helping more than just the room. It is helping every house inside my skin.

“I am numb to you.” By Julia on her bed

January 11, 2018
5 minutes
Natalie Crick

It’s a cab ride after a long ride of not speaking. And you are still not speaking to me. I have done all the heavy lifting. At the table, with strangers, painted you in the pinkest of lights. I was talking shop like you’re the bike, like you’re the ride. And this whole ride you’ve been avoiding me. Trying your best to bite your tongue and let them hear you noble. And you forget me in the middle of it all. Arm outstretched, fork untapped, drink unclinked, and you do not smile. You make a face at them that looks like good and looks like great and then with me you are alone again. Unriddled by my questions, unannounced as if the couch owned your legs. I am mad for being mad. And for being right. And for being nothing but good. So why does it feel so damn exhausting-to nap during the day and wake up still unloved by you. So tiring to keep this back pocket free in case you slip your hand in, and when you do not ask me how my day was, I know to check for stolen change. Hand in my pocket to protect you against the yell machine, the perfect plane, soaring right back down after take off.

“shorten the contract” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 10, 2018
5 minutes
for your consideration
Laura Yan

Owlie is coming to visit and I got her an air matress from Winners. This is what adults do. Adults go to the store on a Wednesday or a Monday and buy produce. Adults invite their friend to sleep over but only if there is proper bedding. I haven’t seen Owlie since 2012 and I’m afraid she’ll ask me all the same questions. Where am I working? Did I ever find a family doctor? Do I still sleep with a bible underneath my pillow? A lot can change in six years. People can grow or stop gowing or get a promotion or lose their job. You won’t find any air mattresses in an unemployed adult’s home. Nobody would see one and expect their host to not be able to afford a nice one like this from Winners. Owlie has always been successful at anything she tries. She got a serving job once just by walking into a place and telling the owner she could see herself working there.

“if she was obligated to say” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday January 9, 2018
5 minutes
Dominique Bernier-Cormier

When I asked her if I could pitch her an idea
her eyes rolled back in her skull like a whip and I waited there
patiently for her to nod her head or give some sign that
I wasn’t just wasting all the god given air in her lungs
Finally she motioned for me to keep speaking and I did speak
but she did not laugh and I waited again for it to click
and for her to realize suddenly how funny it really was
She didn’t do anything or she clucked her tongue
and let me know she had heard but
she didn’t say anything or offer up even a small smile
Of course she was not obligated to tell me how smart my
idea was but it would have been nice
It would have been nice if she didn’t need so many proofs
before suspending her disbelief
Of course if I were to tell her that she’d get angry at me
for suggesting that she didn’t have an imagination
but my real question would be regarding her funny bone

“I analyzed four rape jokes” by Julia at Pearson airport

Thursday January 4, 2018
5 minutes
Lindy West

One of them was funny. I’ll give you that. I can say this because I’m a woman. Because I have certain rights. Because #metoo. Because I don’t want to cry at every mention of the word rape. Out of four, one was funny and the rest were painful. I am a woman and I laughed so sue me, I’m not even sorry. I’m a little sorry. I wondered if I was bad immediately after I let myself smile. The smile turned into a laugh so what was I supposed to do? Be a brittle bag of inconsolable? Who does this help? I am genuinely asking. I am a woman and I don’t know. I am a survivor and I don’t know. Who am I supposed to ask?

I am a woman and I don’t know.

I analyzed all four of the rape jokes. That is my job. I am paid to do this. And I don’t know who decides that this is work or not. That this falls under my job description or not. Am I supposed to give it to someone who doesn’t know even more than I don’t know?