“occupational hazard” by Julia at her desk

Saturday December 7, 2019
9:03pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Tracee Ellis Ross

It’s going to be hard to forget your birthday tomorrow. When
for the last eighteen years I’ve wished you a happy one.
I’ve thought of you. I’ve hoped you were well. And now this.
It’s maybe easier for you, I don’t know. I say maybe because
anything is possible. Not being in each other’s lives is
possible, as we’ve already established. Maybe you don’t think
of me at all. That would also be possible, as anything is.
I dream about you still. You’re angry in my dreams, at me, and
you’re trying to make sure the whole world knows how shitty I am.
I am avoiding you in my dreams for the most part but sometimes
I yell. Sometimes I tell you just where to shove your misguided
notions about me or in general. I don’t usually feel good when I
wake up, but I do feel alive. And like I’m processing this massive
shift that you and I both know will take as long as it takes.
Or maybe you don’t consider it at all. I’m not underestimating you.
I know how awful that can feel. If you’re reading this, which is
possible, know that you didn’t get erased from my memory. I still
consider you.

“Yet as quickly as the idea came to me,” by Julia at her studio

Wednesday November 6, 2019
2:50pm
5 minutes
Water, Water Everywhere
Ariana Conrad

There was a song on the tooth of me
this morning as I flew myself down
a red clay hill and in the acid moon
dust there was a high like no other
it rang on it did and then was gone
but not before it tripped the tongue
into playing out for all the birds
to hear. The song was a good reminder
of the only things that matter and
it had no words so what does that
say to you in a place where ideas are
wearing words as party hats
A celebration of the dream still living
and the flying flying down the steepest
slide you ever did cycle on
so deep and down and fast and good that
your shoulders dislocated from their
sockets and flung you from sleep most
dramatically
The song that was left singing on
the edge of a smile ready to burst
forth from the lips was a tune no
recording would ever fossilize and
so the moment and all its clever
wanderings was made whole simply
by resting into it and holding what
was left to dissolve there on the tongue

“The bit about the doorbell” by Sasha in her living room

Saturday October 19, 2019
9:13am
5 minutes
Someday Is Today
Alethea Black

The doorbell rings and Ange stops in her tracks. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. Fe wasn’t supposed to arrive until this afternoon. “I’ll be right there!” She calls, running up the stairs and shutting the bedroom door.

Fe is on her phone, talking in Spanish. Ange always says she’s going to learn, but the Duolingo app on her phone goes unopened for the most part.

”What language do you dream in?” Ange asked Fe one of their first morning’s together.

Fe thought about it for awhile. “I’m not sure,” she eventually replied, picking sleep out of the corners of her eyes.

”It’s probably Spanish. I think I read once that we dream in our mother tongues.”

As she opens the door, Ange asks, “Why don’t you have your key?”

Fe cocks her head and glares at her. She’s cut her hair.

“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

“Today, they target” by Sasha at the dining room table on Oak Dr.

Wednesday September 18, 2019
7:12am
5 minutes
Snapshot of a Lump
Kelli Russell Agodon

I didn’t think I’d be sat in the suburban dream
with manicured front lawns and dishwashers humming
with crickets and plush pillows
with beige carpets
beige table
beige couch

I wonder about learning a martial art
another language
(how would I choose which one?)
how to make croissants

how to learn to drive

Is that the only thing stopping me
from going to the woods for a few weeks
and howling the stains out
crying the confusion down to the
whittled tip?

Here I am
last night’s dreams on the coffee table
with the rattle and the book
the sun rising
towards all that is possible
etching light onto unknown

carving maybe on my toes

 

“If ignorance is bliss” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday, September 12, 2019
5:07pm
5 minutes
The Benefits of Ignorance
Hal Sirowitz
If ignorance is bliss why then
I don’t want bliss
not in the form of head in the sand
fingers in the ears
not in the form of illusion dancing
in her opaque scarves
It’s been six weeks and all I crave
is protein and truth
seeing with the eyes of a woman
who has seen and been seen
as she knows is possible
as she knows is her birthright
Crunchy leaves underfoot
today on a walk in the neighbourhood
I found myself humming a song
that I taught myself in my dream last night
learned by heart on the strong back
of a premonition
that he only told me half the story
last night
Won’t admit fear where the spills are
where the stains are
won’t admit defeat
twirling his ring round and round
a quiet threat
I hum the song all the way back to the
garden and then I sit amongst the
butterflies and squirrels
the cone flowers and nasturtium
spicy open mouth
catching a taste
of what might be possible
I write him a letter in the major key
not to be predictable
not to be oppositional
but because the chord feels right
the timbre in my chest
my fingers playing imaginary keys
a new story
He loves me
that is why
don’t forget
It’s easier to know words
when they are put to music

“I’ll try to sneak across the border somewhere, somehow” by Julia on A’s couch

Friday July 26, 2019
12:29am
5 minutes
Summer Of My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews

you’re on the other side of the country right now. Missing me, you say, needing me. I’m feeling it hard right now. I’m feeling you. Thank you for believing in my dreams even when you won’t get those 15 minutes back. You listen. You always listen.

I am writing so many things about you, yoy’d think we just fell in love for the first time this year. But I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve fallen in love with you. How many days are in a decade again? Somewhere around there.

Tonight I’ll find yet another bed to think of you in. I’ll meet you across the border of sleep and into the place we keep choosing. It’s nice there and it’s warm, and I know the breeze of you like the back of my hand. Even if I don’t see your face, I’ll know.

1234

“your teeth glint” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday, July 13, 2019
10:51am
5 minutes
Next Time
Lucy Yang

Your teeth glint
refraction of streetlamp
and truth
Your mouth is bigger than ever
fizzing future
foaming present
shhhhh past

It’s July and it’s not as warm
as we’re used to this time of year
The only smoke is coming from
the change
the fizzing foaming shhhh-ing
At least for now
We’re lucky
I suppose

Keep reminding myself of that

I wake sweaty from a dream
baby wiggling for my breast
sighing in her sleep

Someone left their kid
in the hot car and they died

Water is the only thing
that brings me comfort in this
strange and stinking desert

Tears
Showers
Room temperature from the jug
on the counter

“her notebook is reserved for” by Julia at her desk

Monday April 22, 2019
8:44pm
5 minutes
You Are Our Witness
Debbie Urbanski

jotting down ideas
making lists:
grocery
to pack
to do
etcetera
recipes
things in point form, bullets, pew pew
asking questions
reminders
love notes
money coming in
ideas to revisit
songs
letters to self, also love
interviews
memorizing
story shaping
deep investigations of the heart
deep investigations of the mind
deep investigations of the body
reasons why
reasons why not
sketches made from spelling errors
secrets
swear words
memories
reliving dreams
letters never meant to send
penmanship practice
workshop plans
titles
the date
the time
Accountant information
poetry
timed writing
free writing
bad writing
good writing
new writing
risky writing
flow charts
calendars
gratitude

“your life depends upon lying close” by Julia in her kitchen

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
7:56pm
5 minutes
Zero Meridian
Marie Silkeberg

The morning is the time you roll into me and whisper sweet affirmations in my ear. They’re so sweet it’s the only thing keeping me from slapping you for waking me up before my alarm. And yet I love it. I love those little groans or little sighs. The hot air on my neck. The warmth from your skin. The perfect placement of our knees.
I do not whisper affirmations to you but I’m busy remembering my dreams. Poems I wrote in my sleep or lines that snuck up on me in the quiet. I am hoping they are part of me by now but by now you are part of me. I think I’ve learned that before.
We don’t have to prove our love in these moments. The bed is love and we are love and the heat is love. I am convinced that in the oven we share, baking cookies of history and comfort and light (using terrible metaphors for what it is we’re doing), nothing more needs to happen.

“Whale, Seahorse, Narwhal, and Crab” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday November 23, 2018
11:20pm
5 minutes
A Whale of a Tail!
Illustrated by Jo Moon

I’m going to shake the dreams from my ears and watch
as they fall out into the bathtub with a PLOP.
I’m going to greet the Whale with a bow and a song as
she knows so much more than I ever will.
I’m going to ride the Seahorse across the purple prairies
and listen to his breath through his body through my legs.
I’m going to dance up to the treetops and find a branch to swing from
where all the babies and children can see me and laugh and laugh.
I’m going to tell the Narwhal that I’m sorry for all the times
I’ve forgotten she was sleeping and turned on the twinkle lights.
I’m going to skate across the Milky Way and settle in a galaxy
beyond here where there is a field big enough for my hope.
I’m going to tell the Crab that it’s safe to come out even though
it doesn’t always feel like it is.

“It received glowing praise” by Julia on the 2

Saturday October 20, 2018
12:13am
5 minutes
a quote by Gordon Campbell

So the other day I decided I will become ambidextrous. Right now I’m binging on my right hand before I dive deep into my left. Currently typing with one hand only. I’m sending off my dominance in a big way. And the idea came to me when I started to have wrist pain. What if I can’t write with my right all my life? What happens to a writer who can’t write? Anything? Do they just become regular people again? Regular people who read other writers words?

My left hand is going to make me a millionaire. The work I’ll end up creating will receive glowing praise. “New!” “Raw!” “Purposeful”

“lured into my childhood home” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday October 9, 2018
1:34pm
5 minutes
The Stray
Stephen A. Waite

Matthew and Mark used to watch scary movies at their house. I used to lay with my head in Matthew’s lap and my legs in Mark’s. I felt like my older cousins were taking care of me. We weren’t allowed to watch scary movies at our house. And after seeing IT with them when I was six, I figured out why. I have always been the dreaming kind. Pisces born on land, a vivid seer of worlds beyond my own. I knew the answers were there. I knew the questions were there. I knew I was making connections and being guided. Of course when nightmares are a regular occurrence, it’s hard to think they serve a purpose other than torture, punishment, torment.
I used to pray before bed to avoid the bad. Pray to override the scary images swirling around in my tiny body. What did Matthew and Mark have? Who did they talk to about their bad dreams? Did they just learn not to remember them? Was it easier to stay quiet and keep watching scary movies? Was watching scary movies less scary than the reality they had to face?

For a while I used to associate their dad with Beetlejuice. One time he came to Mark’s room to tell us to shut up and go to sleep. In the shadows, his eyes looked sunken in. I dreamed about him that night instead.

“what would happen if we moved to Vancouver?” by Julia in her bed

Thursday September 20, 2018
12:31am
5 minutes
Crystal
Gillian Wigmore

nobody saw it coming
not me
not you
not the ones we were leaving behind
i suppose some deep place made known only to me in my dreams and
i guess in my mother’s
it was expected that i would make it
we both knew somewhere that i would twist silk into roots
and sink them in
she always knows the limits to my reach better than me
which is funny
since she doesn’t think I have any
but maybe vancouver gave me the pocket of soil to grow myself out of
she said that to me today
and here i am talking about leaving or staying or what in the world should I do
what would happen?

“he lowered the drink onto the table,” by Julia at New Waves

Tuesday September 18, 2018
1:02pm
5 minutes
Candy Cap Magic
Jocelyn Kuang

It’s a shot to the knee
not the heart
The heart would stop
The knee would keep screaming
What are you supposed to do without your knee?
Get good at reading
Get good at writing at the bar with another beer
another beer
You’re never going to be better than this
pour another
keep your tab open
a shot to the liver to
keep the knee from reminding you it’s there
Bring a book and black out all the lines that have you in them
turn the pages into a diary of the wasted major organs
the wasted time and delusions
all those prayers to the wrong god
all that for nothing
When they tell you you’re meant to be more
it’ll be too late
Tilt your head back and chase the bottom of the glass
You would lick it clean if your tongue were long enough
If you were good at something
The knee isn’t dead
the heart is sick
the throat is never dry

“after every sick joke” by Julia at The Coffee Studio

Monday September 17, 2018
2:35pm
5 minutes
July, ’77
Jill Mandrake

In the night the sticky hot wakes you up and the ac robot beside you becomes a sleep villain. The edge of noise I can teeter on has become finer. The line a little less warning, a little more plummet. I remember you asking for permission but I don’t remember granting it.
My throat catching all the room particles and holding them there. I pull the sheet over my legs and up to my mouth. It’s been an hour in sleep years and in my dream I’m asking you if it can die soon? The robot closes its eyes so now I know you can meet me in my dreams. I know you’ll be able to hear me. In the morning the alarm clock is a welcome sound. No more begging for breeze in the dip of my back, the swamp of my neck. You say, Well that was the most comfortable sleep of my life. Even this joke turns to mud.

“people are still listing reasons” by Julia on the Red Line

Saturday September 15, 2018
7:55pm
5 minutes
Collaboration: Visual/Written Poetry
Sarah Leavitt & Jen Currin

When the subway ascends and we can see the city, you nudge my shoulder, point my body in the direction of the skyline and the tail lights of all those cars
glowing up the street
You say, look at that.
You’ve been giving me reasons why I should stay and what we could do if we decide to and who we would be if I decide to
They sound like good reasons
The good Mexican food being at the top of the list
You tell me this doesn’t have to happen and I believe the sweet in your eyes when you say it’s not going to move you if we don’t move here
Move lives
Move dreams over to a bigger city that we will surely get lost in
You are good at drinking slowly
Waiting for me to finish swirling the straw and ice around in my glass
But if we move here, you tell me, we will also find ourselves

“like slivered almonds in the bulk section,” by Sasha in her bed

Monday September 10, 2018
10:31pm
5 minutes
Parsley
Listen Chen

Someone who’s just as lonely as all of us. A change of heart.
A sliver of a dream from a decade ago, a sliver of a hope that got washed out, a sliver of all the “no’s”; all mixed in together like almonds for baking in the bulk section at the grocery store. This is the way it goes, I guess.
Thirty two years doing this life, and I still don’t know
much beyond what I do. I imagine your body turning into a million tiny shards
of light – fireflies – and ascending up up up up up.

“Where every member is a minister” by Sasha at her desk

Monday July 9, 2018
10:03am
5 minutes
from a business card

She dreams of parliament. She dreams of platforms. She dreams of knowing how to articulate all the change that she wants to make and that everyone listens. She dreams she’s speaking to a cabinet of women. Some are stretching. Some are breastfeeding. Some are rolling their eyes. Some are interrupting. She dreams that they find their way. She dreams of a world where she might prioritize childcare, elder care, health care. CARE. She dreams of being allowed to fail and that failure won’t haunt her. She dreams of risk. She dreams of loss. She dreams of calling another leader and deciding she will unleash the tidal wave of wrong-doings.

“our bodies amalgamated from the great melting pot” by Julia on her couch

Sunday June 10, 2018
11:45pm
5 minutes
The Communion of Strangers
Brian Jay Stanley

tonight you are coming home
this morning
tonight’s border with morning and you will be crossing the border too
I think we talked about the amalgamation of our bodies
but I know you’ll be tired
I can wait one more day
been waiting
been staying up late to avoid going to sleep without you
I’ll put my hand in between your shoulder blades
wake me up if you can last long enough to say hello
my body will know you’re there in my sleep
the human heart is pretty amazing like that
I can meet you in my dreams
we used to do that but this whole time was different
we forgot
we had other things going on
I tried not to make plans but plans were made
I’ll be leaving the bed before you and then maybe
I’ll see you at breakfast
maybe lunch
definitely dinner
how can we be in the same city and see each other after everything happens
I hope our sleep bodies find some peace before we
get to lay in the curve of one another without a plane telling us it’s time to go

“Someone has opened a giant map” by Julia at her desk

Monday April 30, 2018
9:09pm
The Wall
Bruce Guernsey

said he didn’t want the globe i had my eye on
said it would take up too much room on the table
and i said what else are dreams for and he didn’t
seem to get it and the discussion was case closed
then he left and i got a tiny globe that used to
be a tiny piggy bank of the world but the bottom
fell out and i got it for free so i brought it
home and put it on the table and i waited for him
to tell me to get rid of the damn thing taking
up too much space on the freaking living room table
but when he got home he saw the tiny globe and said
oh nice globe i’ve always wanted a globe and i
didn’t say anything because i’ve always wanted a
globe and now i had one and it wasn’t being thrown
away or talked about badly or hurled against me
i said that one used to be a piggy bank but the
bottom fell out so now it’s just a tiny globe
but it’s always been a place to put your change

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

Monday, February 26, 2018
10:24pm
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

“ready for the feel of fire” by Sasha at her desk

Monday, February 19, 2018
7:16am
5 minutes
All Things Wasting
Mallory Tater

I keep having dreams that I’m pregnant, or giving birth, or losing a baby, or holding a baby, or handing you our baby. I google what this means and google tells me that I’m “pregnant with change” and that “there’s a part of me that I’m neglecting that needs nurturing”. Um. Kay. I’ve never been more sure of not wanting to have an actual real life screaming shitting baby, so it’s absolutely not “a baby dream may be telling you that you are actually pregnant. Congrats!” Um. Nope! I don’t tell Todd, and I don’t tell my therapist because there are more important things to discuss with both of these people.

“a weak spot” by Julia on Amanda’s futon

Thursday December 28, 2018
11:48pm
5 minutes
Golden Ray of Chemo
Fawn Parker

I didn’t believe you when you said today was Thursday. I see that it is now but earlier I thought you were going out of your way to try and trick me…

I do not like to be tricked.

I must have been caught up in yesterday or seven years ago when the city summer fried all my people reading skills. Maybe it’s from all the medicine. All the weed. All the nights spent trying to quiet my dreams.

The night before last I didn’t smoke and my nightmares came back like quick sand or an overripe banana. I dreamed I was being made to fight another woman and everyone watched when I won.

I wasn’t ready for Thursday. One more day closer to seeing you or seeing me and neither feels easy.

“Can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.” By Julia on her couch

Friday December 15, 2017
11:39pm
5 minutes
Calvin and Hobbes
Bill Watterson

In the night when I’m dreaming of saving you or someone else I love

I can see all the feelings I’m experiencing. I can hold them. Touch them. I can’t tell if some things are very funny or very scary. There are images in dreams and I can see both versions clearly, as if they’re showing off. Screaming, laughing, tell your neighbour how much more unstable she is than you. I am busy holding my feelings in my elbow crease. Deep down In the cuticles creeping up onto my toenails.

“Got a call from a flower shop.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday December 9, 2017
8:16am
5 minutes
From a text

“Had the weirdest dream last night…”

“Oh yeah?”

“Mhmm. I was riding this snake, like it was pretty much a crocodile but it looked like a snake? And I was riding it, totally naked, riding it into this forest, but the trees were all silver, like the leaves were silver and so was the bark – “

“Please stop.”

“What?”

“I will actually die if I hear one more of your dreams. I will die.”

“What are you talking about?”

“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!”

“I always tell you my dreams…”

“Yeah, you do! And I fucking hate it! The only person who is interested in your dreams is YOU! You’re such a fucking narcissist that you just assume that other people are going to care what your mind involuntarily comes up with?! You know that dreams mean nothing, right? Freud was an idiot!”

“What’s your problem?”

“YOU AND YOUR DREAMS! You and your need to talking non-stop about your dreams! Weird shit happens in my dreams, too, but I write it down in my fucking private journal if I really have to get it out, I don’t bore someone who I supposedly care about with every agonizing detail!”

“This one has more nuts” By Julia at the studio


Wednesday September 13, 2017
6:28pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Bump n’ Grind

Last night I thought I’d woo you with a sage butter walnut sauce
in my dreams the slick pasta would make you hard instantly
then you’d fuck me on the counter top
taking breaks to slurp back another slippery noodle
Last night I made a sage butter walnut sauce
Okay, margarine
I should have grinded the nuts more
I should have put fewer in
You ate three bowls and we didn’t fuck once
You asked why I wasn’t talking
I said these walnuts are killing me
You laughed
it really wasn’t funny
I told you sometimes I’m not sure how deep this
sadness lives
You interrupted me then, the first real thing I’d said
in days
to tell me how much you liked the sage
I guess dreams really do come true

“it was a god that acted through me.” By Julia at her desk


Sunday August 27, 2017
12:02pm
5 minutes
Disgrace
J.M. Coetzee


I found a home on a shape shifting cloud
hung up my dreams
put away my human skin
You could say that this one is mine now
here all the time
even the angels know my name
When I look down I can see it all
The places I used to burrow into my own flesh
trying to find a tunnel to an alternate reality
the shops I stole from
Candy, jackets, a single tampon
the secret leafy groves where I asked for forgiveness

And without warning I was shooting upward
my body buoyed by the possibility of knowing something sweet

“Host art classes” By Julia at her desk


Saturday August 26, 2017
11:50pm
5 minutes
from a business card


“I think we should buy the warehouse like we talked about.”
“With what money, exactly?”
“Your money. I know, I know–”
“It’s not really my money, you know that right?”
“Well, he left everything to you so whose money could it be?”
“No, obviously, but it doesn’t necesarily feel right to spend it all on an abandonned building because you have a good idea.”
“I am not trying to make you do anything you don’t want to do. But think of what it could be: A place where artists come to create, where they can put on their own events, where we can host classes. Come on, it writes itself.”
“It’s not that easy. I have to make sure I’m using his money for the right thing. This feels like a lot of work.”
“Everything in this life is work. Look, I know I’m asking a lot of you, but you know me. I wouldn’t be suggesting it if I didn’t believe in it. And you have been floating since he died-”
“Am I not allowed to be sad?”
“Of course. Of course you are.”

“big comfy chairs” By Julia on the 99


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

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

“The waters here” by Julia at 49th Paralell


Thursday August 10, 2017
2:56pm
5 minutes
The Lonely Planet Bali and Lombok

I scooped up the sea in my hand and drank at the thought of you.
“I wish you were here” might be carved into my belly.
Yesterday, the croon of the waves kissed my shoulder blade the way you used to. It’s nice to be touched by your memory when you are far away. I gave my salt right back to the source. We laughed a little at the impermanence of things that never belonged to us in the first place. our dreams, on loan from the sky and the breeze and the gentle hereafter.

“I tried to do it years ago” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday May 3, 2017
4:43pm
5 minutes
Devices On Standby
Joan Didion


I remember writing letters to my future self
I made it pretty clear that by 24 I would be married just like my mom
that I would have dated a man for at least 6 years before the wedding
that I would have met my husband in high school
that my first love would be my only
I thought it was a pretty good model
today is my parents’ 37th anniversary
and they are still happy

I told myself I would be a gymnast and/or a lawyer and/or a children’s author
(.5/3 if you’re counting)
I don’t remember if I had factored in life being any different than how my 10, or 12, or 17 year old self imagined it to be
I am 30 now and I am not married
I have dated a man for 7 years
and I met him in university
(1/3-if you’re counting)
I am a writer and/ or poet and/or artist
I am not like the letters said I’d be
but I am happy

“$1.6 million in prizes” by Julia on the 99


Monday April 10, 2017
6:42pm
5 minutes
from the sign on Mac’s Convenience

Jenna turns 19 and buys her first lottery ticket
she’s going to open up her own hair salon with those sitting hair dryer hoods and everything
The banner flapping in the wind says “$1.6 million in prizes!” and Jenna needs to go after any chance that presents itself
she phones Zach from the parking lot and tells him that she just got a sign from God
Zach tells her to buy two tickets because he feels lucky for some reason too
Zach always feels lucky when he’s spending Jenna’s money

“Definition of knowledge” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday March 9, 2017
11:46pm
5 minutes
From an email

When you sleep, you dream in black and white. You aren’t sure if everyone does, or if it’s just you. Often, you dream about wild horses. They are running across deserts, through rivers, over mountains. You rarely see yourself in your dreams, and when you do, you are wearing a cape. When you dream about Stella, or your father, they look like younger versions of themselves. They laugh more in real life.

“trying to teach them technology” by Sasha at her kitchen


Monday February 27, 2017
9:25pm
5 minutes
From a text

Bobby makes Owen laugh, and that’s why
he keeps him around. Some people have
sidekicks and some people have acne
especially on their chins and foreheads.
Bobby has acne. Owen has
two girlfriends.
They weren’t always
friends, in fact, they used to be sworn
enemies, in the way that
nine year old boys
swear in blood and sticks whittled
with their fathers’ pen knives.

Owen asks Bobby if he wants a turn
with one of his girlfriends. Bobby
doesn’t know what that means,
politely declines. They are sitting
inside the slide in the schoolyard
where they used to go to school,
where they swore in blood,
made statements bigger than their bodies,
bigger than their dreams of the NHL
(Owen)
and running a non-profit that serves
both the hungry and stray cats
(Bobby)

“Clear eyes” by Julia on her couch


Saturday February 18, 2017
7:40pm
5 minutes
Friday Night Lights

When I pray I ask god to give me clarity so I may trust
what I see and be able to know it
I ask to be bypassed by nightmares like I did when
I was a child
twenty years of wishing I wouldn’t see the bad things because
I had glue for brains
terror haunting me like flies twitching on a sticky rope
I ask god to give me clear eyes so I can’t blame inaction
on blurry vision
I ask god to save me so we don’t get caught up in logistics
Tell her I’m tired now of specificty
mainly because it hurts
too much
When I pray I ask for something I can hold on to
something that won’t burn me in the night and leave a scar

“confused about her life path” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday January 29, 2017
10:29pm
5 minutes
from Clairvoyance
Mary Ellen Flora


I wouldn’t say that I’m confused
that’s not how I feel it in the ball
of yarn in my guts snaking up on my tongue
through to
I wouldn’t say that I’m confused
but I am questioning of the evolution
of dreams and reality and present and future
and purpose
and if it’s enough to do it and do it and
do it and do it and then what if it’s not
enough?

Sitting in a circle in stretchy pants
and a grey sweatshirt I was twenty one
and I knew that the reason I wanted to
tell stories was because I felt how
they changed my becoming I was surrounded
by classmates and we spoke why we wanted
to be actors and we cried and we got naked
and we looked at ourselves in mirrors
and we fell in love with each other and with
the dreams and reality and present and future.

Making snow angels in the parking lot I
knew that I was not alone but I was so alone.

“The Arts Factory” by Sasha at her desk


Monday November 21, 2016
11:36pm
5 minutes
From an Eastside Culture Crawl postcard

I am going to build you a factory, Johnathan. It’s going to be big and beautiful and on every floor there’s going to be artists making the wildest stuff you’ve ever dreamed of. Pottery pigs and blown glass pinatas and burlesque dance routines by the old folks! All the things you fought so hard for… If we don’t have hope now, when are we gonna? I promise you, by next birthday, you’ll have your factory. And you studio? With the biggest windows and the highest ceilings and walls all white-washed alabaster… You’ll paint when you see in your dreams. You’ll paint the red oceans and the bubbles holding whole worlds inside. You’ll paint it all and we won’t worry about selling anything. We’ll give them away! If you want, of course. You’ll give them away to folks that really that kind of light in their lives.

“sky turned red then erased” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday November 17, 2016
11:23pm
5 minutes
Penknife
Ellie Sawatsky


Walls thin as butterfly wings I know that your ear is there
High on the sky turning red with the possibility
of midnight I know that your ear is there
pressed on the monarch tissue paper
Sigh lifts above the ceiling
lifts us up the only division between us is us
the only difference between us is this
The chrysalis shed
The womb bare
The holy
water falling over fingertips

College kids smoke joints outside the window
leave rolling papers on the sill
A queen bee makes a hive around the rebellion
the sex the nicotine the so in love
so in love
I am the queen bee and you are bringing me gifts

“Bought wedding bands on Etsy” by Sasha on the couch in Swansea


Friday July 29, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Ever since I started wearing your wedding ring I’ve been having bad dreams, seeing things I’ve never seen before. I wake up sweaty, the sheets soaked, and shaking. I tried to write the dreams down once or twice, but it freaked me out too much, when I went back and re-read it. Molly really really wanted it. I don’t know why you didn’t just give the ring to her. Dad says that because I’m the oldest granddaughter it had some sort of special significance to you, but you never showed that, I mean, I never knew you felt that way when you were alive. To be honest, I didn’t really think you ever liked me. I got a birthday card from you once or twice, but other than that, and Christmas visits, you didn’t seem to care for me or Bill. Molly and Kenneth were another story. I know that you took care of them more when they were still cute and cuddly. It’s not my fault my Mom thought you were irresponsible.

“keep coming back” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday June 28, 2016 at Starbucks
7:31am
5 minutes
buddiesinbadtimes.com

I keep having the same dream–that I’m lying in my bed with my eyes closed, asleep, and in my mind’s eye I see fuchsia orbs coming toward me, flickering in the sky then disintegrating into nothing. I am in that paralyzed, meta state where I recognize that I’m dreaming but I can’t wake up or move or change anything. In this dream I always look past the flickering pink and can make out more colours in the distance. Flames. Outside my window the tall tree, the one that the crows perch in and caw in every morning at exactly 4:43, is on fire. The leaves are burning up and they’re going slow enough to wonder if this too shall pass…
In this dream, I scream to you to call 911 and you tell me it’s not necessary. I tell you it is because I can see it from my position and this fire will consume us if we don’t treat it with respect. You rush into the room and the sky outside is orange and red.
You stare out blankly and whisper to me, you were right…

“Anytime, night or day” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday May 28, 2016
10:33pm
5 minutes
All I Have To Do Is Dream
The Everly Brothers


Call me mouth filled with peach cobbler
I’ll come running
Call me curlers in, kettle on the stove screaming
I’ll be there
Call me moments before sleep
Or moments right after
Call me as my dreams play on
As my body drifts off to stillness
And I’ll throw on a pair of jeans and show up
Call me when you’re high
Call me when you’re low
When you know you’re wrong
When you need someone to tell you you’re right
When you want to laugh
When you need to cry
When you don’t have a reason at all
I’ll drop what I’m doing to make time
Call me when it’s my fault
Call me when it’s yours
Call me to tell me your crazy dream
Your biggest fear
Your funniest joke
Your most embarrassing moment
Your favourite recipe
Your new discoveries
Your life hacks
Your revelations
Your promises to me
Your promises to yourself
And I’ll come running
I’ll find a way to meet you
Because I know
Without a doubt
You would do the same for me

“gathering the medicine you need for re-birth.” by Julia at her dining table


Monday, April 4, 2016
9:26am
5 minutes
Mosaic magazine
Spring 2016


I have been free before I was alone
I have been seen before I succumbed to the fear
A little heart shaped pouch holds my dreams in it
A little heart shaped pouch holds my truth in it
I’ve been running wild in my imagination
Picking pretty flowers that I can carry with me all day long
I paint up the ocean I paint in a song
The mountains they’ve been calling so I can always find my way back
I am missing my tribe
The heart shaped hearts that I live for
Mother laughing
Sister holding
Auntie listening
Cousin giving
And to the wild women I left behind
Who I fit inside my sacred space
My medicine is abundant and flowing
I can take a sip from my blessings’ cup
And take steps to find myself again in the river when the deep in me craves
to be surrounded

“White-sand beaches” By Julia at her dining table


Monday March 7, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
from an online ad

If you’re asking then I’m going, going with you, going wherever you go.
I don’t have any bags packed yet but I don’t mind getting whatever I need as we bleed.
Can I borrow your toothbrush? If you’re asking, can I share your knapsack?
I could sing you one of your favourites. You can pick the one. I know you like some feeling kinds, some country, some bluegrass, some sweet sweet soul.
I don’t care if you’re a white-sand beaches kind of thing, a hot air balloon, an air dive off of a mountain kind of heart. I am an open mess of so much yes and so little reservation.
I can curl up small on your back, or lead you hand in hand to a secret place where the pure strength river will never run dry.

“A lot of physical theatre” by Julia at her dining table


Monday January 25, 2016
6:17pm
5 minutes
overheard at PTC

Andie used to be a performer, but she doesn’t tell anyone that now. Whenever she meets someone new at a coffee shop, or the library, she actively chooses not to bring it up or even reference it.
It’s hardest when Andie meets someone who is a performer or also used to be a performer because they tend to be the types that always want to discuss the nitty gritty or the pain or the joy of being in front of a big audience night after night. Her insides are screaming a million curses at the people who act like they’re the only ones who truly understand their lives and as a result, how eccentric everybody else must find them. Andie bites her tongue, trying to remind herself she doesn’t need them to think one thing or another about her, that chiming in with a “Yes, I do, in fact, understand,” or “No, I haven’t always been a florist,” won’t change her life choices or her past or her reasons for saying goodbye to it all. Some nights Andie dreams she is the only thing on stage, crying alongside the most beautiful and haunting violin playing that ever existed.

“Wanna be able to” by Julia on Nicole’s couch


Monday, January 4, 2016
1:46am
5 minutes
Overheard at R2 Cafe

There’s a dream I keep having that feels like a lesson I’m supposed to be learning but it is hard to remember in full detail. I wanna be able to recall all the events but it’s like my subconscious is making it hard for me on purpose. Then I get to wondering why my subconscious would wanna make it take so long for a lesson to be learned if it’s important enough to be learned at all in all this intricacy. This dream is even more difficult to understand because it’s in black and white and none of my dreams are in black and white. How confusing. Sometimes I think this dream could just be for entertainment purposes and I’m really not meant to do anything about it but enjoy it. But then there is a code, or what I think is a code, and new letters are revealed each time, and it’s not very enjoyable as I’m always under a lot of pressure to solve the puzzle with the clues that keep changing and I’m really never able to lay back and just watch. So then I wonder if maybe I’ve already figured it out and the recurring part is just a way for me to check my intel.

“technically I could be there by” by Julia on her couch


Saturday November 28, 2015
11:10pm
5 minutes
From an email

Alana has stopped dreaming in colour and can’t figure out why
Maybe ever since she started seeing Rich things have been different
Maybe ever since she started filling her prescriptions and taking her pills
Maybe ever since she stopped eating cheese
Nothing makes Alana more upset then to think of her head as a black and white pod of pain
She feels like Dorothy before the tornado
She feels like somebody who isn’t her
She feels like her imagination is being replaced with something sad
Rich wakes up each morning with obnoxiously detailed dreams
Rich dreams in colour
Rich tells Alana how crazy it all was every single day
Alana used to dream the way Rich does
She used to remember every bit of them and sometimes use them to write her music
She used to look forward to going to sleep

“the stakes couldn’t be higher” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday September 16, 2015
1:42pm
5 minutes
from an article from Maclean’s

When you sleep you dream in black and white. You shake down gangsters for American hundred dollar bills. You cry out for justice. The people you meet wear hats and gloves, shades of a memory, a memory of whose origin you aren’t quite sure of. When you wake, you’re disappointed by the colours. It’s all more complicated and muddy. It all bleeds, this thing into that thing into this one.

“It’s almost magic” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday September 15, 2015
8:08pm
5 minutes
From a vintage ad for American Cyanamid Company

last night
purple flannel twisted around ankles
my bum against your bum
you said grace
full voice
at first i was annoyed
i’m sleeping!
i’m kind of sick!
and then
i listened
i really listened
“thank you for this food on our plates
thank you for the love in our home
thank you for thanksgiving”
it’s magic
how you pray in your sleep
how you love in your dreams
how you bless me with your sweetness

“If you find yourself with a free second” by Julia on her patio


Thursday, June 11, 2015
11:14pm
5 minutes
from a staff meeting handout

Take that second to hold your face in the mirror and smile at that beautiful thing that is growing and sharing and developing in front of your very eyes. Such self love is necessary to survive and thrive and achieve and believe. It starts with an appreciation for magic and mistakes, for findings and failures, for dreams and denials. We can love a loaf of bread with every fiber of our being, but when we hold ourselves up to the light we can’t indulge in ourselves the same way. We can not crave it or feed ourselves with it. And we must. We must feed our souls with intense and concentrated self love, the kind that springs eternal when it’s allowed to enter. And though it’s not a vampire and it won’t kill us, it still won’t come in unless we invite it in.