“as the cells of his scalp” by Julia on Kits beach

Thursday March 21, 2019
5 minutes
Tony Hoagland

It was disgusting because it wasn’t my filth. I guess you could make the same argument that it could be less repulsive due to my separation from it, but let me set the record straight: I threw up in my mouth the moment this woman left her apartment. Well, in her defence it was a short term rental and she was probably getting a cleaner with the deal or whatever her husband’s work was willing to pay. But in the meantime, to live with so much food on the floor it could feed a small family for days…I shouldn’t continue. You’ll get so grossed out. Okay but let me say one thing, her sweet 9 month old had extreme eczema and when he’d wake up from his nap or if he got upset he’d start ripping at his little head. There was bits of his scalp all over the apartment—on the back of his high chair, on the changing mat, on the carpet. I considered if his home were clean that he might be less upset at the things he couldn’t control and less hell-bent on destroying his own skin. I also know that these things aren’t likely connected. But I wondered.

“a sleek white line” by Julia on her couch

Sunday May 27, 2018
5 minutes
Are You Really An Artist?
Leah Burns

You’re wearing all white and you’re okay with it. Say you’re going to go pump gas, fix your bike chain, eat a rack of ribs. Nobody tells you what everybody knows. A hundred wet wipes and a gallon of bleach. But the days are short and why wait. The nights don’t count so go to town. A bird could shit on your window or down the front of your jeans and the whole show can get cancelled.

You tempt fate like someone was paying you to do it. Hold up a mirror then disappear behind it. Throw your open wound in front of a shark. You try the rules until they’re broken and too tired to fight back. You invite disaster with every sway of your hip, every rainy day in April. When you walk back and forth you look like a q-tip or a sleek white line.

“Take a day trip.” By Julia at her dining table

Monday August 9, 2016
5 minutes

Take a day trip
remember the road and the smell of the car and the first song playing when you start
Take a trip to a place you’ve never been and take photos
that make you cringe to do in your own neighbourhood
Sing each other your favourite lyric
record yourselves in conversation
forget that you’re recording
lay on the grass
Get a little bit dirty
Take a trip
Leave the disappointing
and ridicule
and pipe dreams
and anxiety dreams

“Glottal stop” by Julia at her dining table

Friday, January 29, 2016
5 minutes
From an email

I remember his tongue like I remember my favourite song. His words were different when he was tired or when he was mad. I loved to see him mad. It made me wet. I want to explain that but I can’t. It just turned me on so fast I couldn’t hide it: flush to the cheek, quiver in my breath. He never knew that. I never told him. I didn’t want to ruin it, or put pressure on it. It was like my own dirty little secret, and you know what they say about two people keeping a secret…I sometimes think about his anger when I’m trying to get off with someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. It takes all my focus and I have to picture him saying the right words, pausing in the right places. It’s very difficult remembering something that happened 12 years ago. But I know I can count on it so it’s always worth the struggle. I think back on the way he spit out his Ks and cradled his Ss before unleashing them all, wild and loud.

“rather than something crafted from odds and ends” by Julia at her desk

Sunday November 23, 2014
5 minutes
from a quote by Mary Catherine Bateson

She leaves a note on the kitchen table
Says there’s pizza in the oven and yogurt in the fridge if you’re hungry
I observe her life without her there
Taking it in, seeing how big of a fan she is of Bob Dylan
The sink is filled with a paste of flour and water
Pancakes, she says, taste better at midnight
I wander through her closet, see her obsession with shoes
Shoes and shoes and belts and shoes
I leave her drawers
I don’t go in them even though I want to
Even though I want to know everything
I can’t stop thinking about the kiss she didn’t give my mouth
But the kiss she wrote on paper
I can keep the one she left there
On the table top with a small bowl
A spoon
And a coffee pot on a cutting board
She wants to care for me in her way
And I could stay all day in her dirty kitchen
Scrubbing the stove free of pancake paste
And smiling to myself

“Don’t stare at The Nude.” by Julia at Saving Gigi

Wednesday January 29, 2014 at Saving Gigi
5 minutes
God Loves Hair
Vivek Shraya

I had to revert my eyes. I had to force myself to think of things that deliberately grossed me out: polenta, mushy polenta, rice pudding, candy corn, creamed corn, any corn, vomit, cat vomit, parsnips, cigarette butts in water, sidewalk hork, discharge, eye gunk on a man, unroasted pig ears, food stuck in a beard. I was worried that if I even enjoyed him for a millisecond I was going to cum. I blame it on not getting my lady mane stroked in over 4 months and the first naked penis to make my acquaintance just so happened to be beautiful and maintained and directly in front of my eyes. Or my vag. It really could have been in front of either.

“a dirty joke” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, September 7, 2013
5 minutes
Sometimes I Forget Completely

She sends me her love in a perfectly washed yellow spring jacket. She can’t wait to show me, how all the black marks around the collar are gone, and how the sleeves aren’t grey anymore. It’s almost too yellow now. Before it was bright but muted because it was so filthy. I think I like it better now because it doubles as a safety precaution every time I wear it. It’s really a great jacket. I guess I didn’t notice how nice it was until after she gave it back to me. Too bad about the little rip on the back, she says, shaking her head like she’s disappointed a good washing doesn’t bring back dead threads from beyond the grave. Thanks, I say, you really didn’t have to. She has a gift, making those dirty things clean with a smile and a determined attitude. I didn’t get either from her. I wish I had. I know I’d be better if I had. It smells nice, I tell her. Does it? She asks, her head cocking to one side, smirking coyly with just the right amount of satisfaction.

“working relationships” by Sasha at her desk

Monday, September 2, 2013
5 minutes
The Playwright At Work
Rosemarie Tichler and Barry Jay Kaplan

Woman on the subway. Smells like four ninety nine perfume and farts. Sits down right beside you. On one of those three seaters. Plenty of other seats around. Sits right there. You see her big ass lowering, in tight. It squeezes in beside you, because there’s one of those holding poles on the other side. One of those poles with all the fingerprints. You’re squished right up. Long sigh. Look across. Across there’s three teenage boys. Must be fifteen. No. Fourteen. Fourteen for sure. One has a shrunken head. You know those shrunken head people? He’s goddamn good-looking. He’s gorgeous. He looks like he just feel out of God’s pocket. The boys sit down. You can’t stop staring at Shrunken. You hope no one notices. You hope no one thinks you’re thinking anything other than “Holy shit, you’re beautiful”. One of the other boys, the one with a shaved head, takes an eraser out of his pocket and starts going at the scuffs on his shoes. White running shoes. Nikes. You start looking at all the shoes, all the shoes around – Woman’s, Shrunken’s, the Doddle-face, and the Carrot Kid. All the shoes. Some dirty. Some clean. Some in between.

“they descended on him,” by Julia at R Squared

Monday, November 12, 2012 at R Squared
5 minutes
Pest Control
Bill Fitzhugh

“What a whiny baby Adil has.” I find myself saying out loud to Eliot as he fixes the clasp of my bracelet while it still sits on my wrist.
“Don’t be mean, Katie.”
“I’m not,” I say, “It’s just honest. He whines, he doesn’t just cry. It’s not very cute, that’s all I’m saying.”
“Don’t be mean.” He says to me again without looking up. “There. Your thing is fixed.”
I shake my wrist like a gypsy to test how strong the new clasp is. Eliot takes off his glasses and stands at the sink.
“Why do you do that?” I ask him, the water cutting out of the tap at first, turning into an even flow in seconds.
“Do what, Katie?” He asks, drying his now clean hands on the dish towel hanging from the stove.
“Why do you wash your hands like that every time you touch me.”
“I don’t.” Says Eliot, leaving the room now.
“You do, actually. It bothers me.”
“It’s not intentional,” he says,coming back into the kitchen.
“Well I don’t like it. Because it makes me feel like I’m dirty.”
“The metal is dirty, Katie, that’s all.”