“she will not live long.” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
5 minutes
june 20th
Lucille Clifton

Mary-Beth gets a chicken
and she loves her with
all her heart because that’s
what a chicken does
to a person

You wouldn’t think it
but it’s true
They are bringing
chickens into senior citizens’
homes to help fight all
the loneliness

Mary-Beth lets Fiesta
(That’s her chicken’s name)
sit on her shoulder while
she is playing checkers with
Anthony and Robin
Fiesta helps her heart beat
to more music than ever
and she also helps her win
at checkers

“The pleasures and perils of a drug-altered mind” by Julia at JJ Bean

Thursday May 4, 2017 at JJ Bean
5 minutes
Vancouver Sun
Thursda May 4, 2017

My aunt Barb tells me that she wrote herself a note when she “wasn’t straight” about how the “negativity is too loud in her head” and “cutting through all her good thoughts”. We (the family, collectively) got her into medicinal marijuana after her husband passed away last June. We wanted him to try it but he refused to smoke the stuff even after we showed him all the videos of people his age trying it. Barb is in love with it. She calls me at least once a day with her “new thoughts”. Yesterday she told me that “the sky is trying to kill her” and that she “would go but there is laundry to be folded”. In a meeting with the cousins, we secretly discuss Barb’s usage and pat ourselves on the back for helping her out. Then her daughter, Dina, raises her hand timidly. “My mom says she wants to try crack next!”

“a dozen individuals aged” by Julia at her dining table

Tuesday May 24, 2016
5 minutes
John Ajvide Lindqvist

Across the street I spied a man who had been resting on a bench. He was sweating from his brow and was hunched over, defeated. He didn’t have a cane, or a walker, but looked like he could have used one. He was convincing himself he didn’t, surely. I quietly watched him from my bus stop. He didn’t know anyone was paying any attention to him. He tried to get up a few times without the help of the bench. He couldn’t seem to do it. The struggle in his face was clear even all the way over to where I sat pretending to read my novel. It looked like his body had been slowly betraying him for a while but that he had only just now started to deny it. I remember working with a man who told me once that when you get old, your body stops matching up with your mind and you can’t control yourself the way you used to. He told me that it may be frustrating for those of us who can still easily get to our destinations to have to always wait behind the ones who aren’t as mobile, but it wasn’t to be disregarded that it was far more frustrating for them.

“what I could imagine” by Julia on her floor

Sunday, January 31, 2016
5 minutes
The New Song
W.S. Merwin

As I lay here, invalid, senior citizen before my time, I imagine the ceiling above me holding all my secrets and hanging each one within the perfect distance of one another. It’s like they all float up there when there’s no where else for them to go. They loom, they threaten to fall, or dangle, tease, disrupt. They’re not all bad, not all good. some of them are not so secret: I am a young person stuck in an old person’s body. I injure myself a lot. I am breakable. I am Samuel L. Jackson. I am worried by this. It still gets pinned on the ceiling even though I just divulged it. I think the real issue is that I keep it a secret from myself-not wanting to admit that I need help with my body and I will need more help as I age. You’d wonder, if you could lay where I am, seeing what I see, if I have any secrets left at all inside me. Are they not all on the ceiling? Hanging at different heights, holding space between them all? Do some of them ever co-mingle? They probably do, but maybe they do it in secret too. Like the one where I am on the floor, feeling old and broken, and I actually like it…

“If you want to change the world” by Julia at Second Cup in Winnipeg

Monday June 30, 2014 at Second Cup
5 minutes
from a poster at Second Cup

I guess stop talking about the elderly as if they’re barnyard animals? I guess don’t say “that chick is just skin and bones” or “that chick shakes when she stands cause she’s just all skin and bones.” I think that’s the first step; to give all people an equal chance at existing without prejudice. I don’t know from where I sand–from where I sit–it just feels like there’s more to talk about than the people we know and especially when they’re not in the room. I was taught that once anyway. “Don’t have conversations with people who aren’t in the room.” I guess that’s about breakups or asking for things, mainly, but it could also mean that it’s better to not talk about someone who can’t defend themselves. There are other steps too-you know–if you want to change the world. First I’d say carry a quarter in your pocket everywhere you go so you can give it to someone who needs it more than you if you have the chance. Second I’d say that praying helps.

EARLY BIRD by Sasha at Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar

Monday December 16, 2013 at Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar
5 minutes
From the sign on the wall

“Early bird catches the loyalty,” says Joan. “That’s not the – … Nevermind,” I say. She’s doing her “exercises” on the living room carpet. Her physiotherapist gave her a bright pink Elasto-Stretch band and she’s totally infatuated with it. When I’m making her bagel and cream cheese for lunch I glance over and see her smelling it. “What does it smell like, Joan?” I call from the kitchen. “Vanilla pudding,” she says, somewhere far away. “Early bird catches the foam,” says Joan, lifting one leg and then the other, the band snug around the bottom of her foot. “… Almost,” I say. I’m not doing it to be mean. She doesn’t like when I give her the answer. I’ve tried that before and it didn’t get either of us anywhere. “Early bird catches the…” She stopped stretching and is holding the band now, stroking it. I go into the living room and do a dance move that should never have been resurrected. But it makes her laugh. She says, “the worm! Early bird catches the… WORM!”

“He leaned forward” By Julia at Belly Acres

Sunday July 28, 2013 at Belly Acres
5 minutes
The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway

He had been rocking in his chair for over an hour, flipping through the same Living Home magazine from cover to cover. Stopping to point out his favourite pictures each time as if he had never noticed them before. He was getting old. And tired. And a bit more cranky than he used to be. Sort of lost his tolerance for the usual daily delights. He’d rather sit there silently, not looking at anything in particular and thinking about Sandy his Border Collie who was his biggest joy. Sandy hadn’t been around for years but he still missed her. He didn’t miss anyone else. Not even his late wife Margaret who never completed a day of her life without complaining about the weather even on the most beautiful days. He was convinced it was about time for lunch, but had given up with clocks too. They only reminded him that he was spending another hour by himself. The rocking chair felt like a good place to hide out. At least until his chicken noddle soup was ready.