“contact the storage directly” by Julia at her desk

Thursday, July 11, 2019
4:32pm
5 minutes
From the Secure Storage website

In my dream you were there as if
it hadn’t been 4 years of silence
When our other friends left the room
I looked at you, still there, shrugging
Was this night more awkward because you
and I haven’t talked anything out yet?
You wait to answer because the answer
is yes but you are there waiting for me
I didn’t know if you wanted to talk…
And now it is my turn to wait, to ask
myself, floating above my body if, maybe,
I do

Things are said but mostly not and
by the end of the scene we are hugging
deeply and I have said I love you again
and you have cried and said I love you back

You didn’t look the same and your calm
was foreign to me from what I remember and
yet I knew it was you there, wondering if
anything is possible the way they say it is

I gave you my answer and then I woke up,
glad that in the dream, after drawing the
card of Mercy, I could see what that might
look like even if no real action
had yet been taken

“which are past their upright peak” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday February 27, 2019
7:14am
5 minutes
Tulips for Barbara
Ann E. Michael

It’s okay if you want me to leave you be.
I know that it might feel like there’s nothing left to say.
I’m sorry I’m so sorry please forgive me please please I’m sorry.

These are the lines that I practice
piano scales a thousand moments a thousand days
You are held in my mind’s eye
the Wizard of my Oz

I turn forgiveness over in my mouth
a bitter lozenge
it sinks to the bottom of the well
it settles

I send you another letter
this time I say none of the lines
I’ve been practicing
I try something new

Yellow tulips on the table
past their upright peak
a few petals fallen
scattered ashes

“he had this reputation because” by Julia on the 7

Sunday July 22, 2018
8:05am
5 minutes
Under The Skin
Michel Faber

Because he was good
Because he was kind
Because he was thoughtful
Because he was sweet
Because he was playful
Because he was funny
Because he was grateful
Because he was honest
Because he was forgiving
Because he was generous
Because he was happy
Because he was smart
Because he was curious
Because he was willing
Because he was respectful
Because he was adventurous
Because he was unique
Because he was listening
Because he was trying
Because he was athletic
Because he was vulnerable
Because he was hard working
Because he was loved
Because he was love
Because he was true
Because he was different
Because he was strong
Because he was light
Because he was committed
Because he was disciplined
Because he was musical
Because he was mine
Because he was real

“with that thirsty, drink-it-down look” by Sasha at the Canterra Inn and Suites

Saturday January 20, 2018
8:13pm
5 minutes
For you
Tammy Armstrong

I wonder who taught you about forgiveness.
Was it on the school yard?
A pig-tailed know-it-all in-your-face?
Was it your sister?
Did you break her dollhouse door
and try to tape it back to opening and closing?
Did she cry and then say,
“It’s okay. I know it was an accident.”

I wonder who taught you about forgiveness
more now than a month ago. A month
ago I wondered who taught me about
forgiveness. I’m still not sure.

I can’t remember.

I remember

a pivotal moment of
my sister knowing I ate her caramel
and saying
“It’s okay.”

I read about a woman
who goes to visit her husband’s killer
in prison. They are dear friends now.
That is possible.

I remember

This isn’t a dollhouse and it’s not
caramel or murder.

“It’s the nicest gift anyone’s given me” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Monday January 15, 2018
1:48pm
Fetters
Madeline Sonik

Would you give me grace if I asked
nicely and gave you spice mixtures,
ran you a hot bath, took out
the recycling?

What if I promised to love you through
this storm?

What if I called you every day
and told you something funny,
or irreverent, or sad?

The greatest gift I’ll ever receive
is forgiveness.

For days and days
and days
I thought that it was you
who would give me this.

I thought that it was me

who would leave voicemails,
roast sweet potatoes, make
angel cards and golden milk.

And then today
as I walked in the coldest cold
it struck me –

the giver and the receiver
are one and the same.

Forgiveness
like honey and cinnamon,
like the end of a fire,
like dew underfoot.

Here it is.
Right here.

“Water music” by Julia on the 84

Monday October 2, 2017

10:03pm

5 minutes

Major Orchestral Works

Felix Mendelssohn

On the night I saw my reflection I was wearing a wolf mask

I looked into the lines of my face

(of the faces that have howled before mine)

And wept for the good me that was left behind

Sorrow mixing with salt

Forgiveness twisted into wave

I opened my throat to give

something that swung

at the pit of me

I did not ask why happiness had been so cruel

I did not beg to be understood

“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

“even if it was just an honest mistake” by Julia on her couch


Saturday May 20, 2017
10:48pm
5 minutes
Soft Taco
Fernando Raguero


he didn’t mean to hurt me
told me so after the dance
said the excitement got to him
said the music was too loud
a hundred I love yous and I’m sorrys
interchangeable and frequent
I never said it back
never wanted him to know that
my love was bigger than my hurt
that he could get away with
twisting the skin on my back
gently
until it popped
and then the explanations came
and wouldn’t stop
he needed to eat something
he needed to feel something
he wasn’t thinking about me it
wasn’t personal or punishment
even if it felt exactly like both of those two things
I wanted to stop crying but the tears told me what was real
not the other way around
release release go to sleep
release release go to sleep
told me I should be over it
by now
said that I say it’s okay but I don’t ever forgive anyone
not really

“This I wore when I met Margaret Thatcher.” By Julia at her desk


Wednesday May 17, 2017
5:17pm
5 minutes
Women in Clothes
Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 Others


We didn’t break bread until we had broken each other
into pieces
the stir before sunset set our dining room to
incubation, warming the alibis of forgotten promises
She was wearing sheer nylons with a tinge of lavender
She was wearing someone else’s face, not mine, not hers
Standing on opposite corners of our equally divided turf
we had to wonder, is this artifical power or are you really
stronger there by the kitchen and I better next to the balcony?
The show is going on outside our tiny terrarium of
heart ache and mishandled history
Our secrets, both undone and left spilling
onto the floor that seperates us
from forgiveness and missing
our reservation

“not just the punch line.” by Julia at Bec’s table


Friday December 30, 2016
10:40pm
5 minutes
Humans of New York

Lots of lessons lately
Lots of waiting for space to crack a joke that wouldn’t get any laughs
Lots of holding back opinions that wouldn’t be popular
Especially if spoken
There has been fresh snow
And melted streets
Icy walks
And freezing fingers
Lots of lessons lately
Lots of lessons
Instincts are starting to get creative
Because nobody is paying them any attention
They’re starting to hum or buzz
Starting to soften grip
On everyday existing
Lots of lessons
Lots of lessons lately
And reading about hearts
And educating each other’s
Because we cannot do that on our own
That’s the joy of solitude
After days of being tirelessly ready for it

“We’ll discuss some of the best” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday, July 23, 2016
1:12am
5 minutes
vancouvertrails.com

On the walk home tonight you grabbed my hand so I wouldn’t tumble down the hill and told me you were seriously considering buying a camper van.
It was a nice moment.
I could tell you more about what I was thinking inside my head when you said it.
I could say that I wanted to know you forever right then and there. I could say I wasn’t sure all this time because I was convinced you would find a reason to leave me but then I was. And it felt different. It felt different than being weary of you. It felt different being so completely certain.
But I didn’t say any of those things. I smiled at you. I gripped your hand tighter. And I looked into your eyes with a deep sadness for all the moments before I doubted you. The moments before I doubted you could love me as much as I loved you and as much as I needed to be loved.
So I think that was enough.
I think that was all I needed to do.
And then we came home and baked some tortilla chips because why the fuck not.

“SUPREMEBEING” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 25, 2016
11:27pm
5 minutes
Treasures & Travels Blog

You yelled in the car ride over to Tessa’s gallery opening and I had to beg you to pull over so I could get out before you killed us both with your rage. When I got out of the car I wiped my eyes, reapplied the lipstick I had chewed off and walked so fast ahead of you it may have seemed like I was trying to lose you. For the record: I was. I forced a smile to peel onto my lips and I strut through the trendy studio space like I invented the idea of putting so many pillars everywhere. Tessa was happy to see me and she hugged me tight and said How are you though?! I lied through my teeth and said Your art makes me want to be a better person. She was thrilled and then she left me alone. You finally entered the gallery and by that moment I thought you had decided not to come at all. I was planning my way home in my head and how when I finally got back, if you were still awake, I’d just walk straight to the bedroom and close the door. You saw that I saw you and even when I turned my back to you, you came right over to me and kissed me so sorry I forgot for a second how scared I was just minutes ago. I didn’t mean it, you cooed in my ear. I didn’t mean any of it.

“this music has more religion in it than any church” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 17, 2016
9:54pm
5 minutes
from a YouTube comment by GB3770

I pray at the church of kindness, I can’t settle for anything less than that as my temple. I don’t believe in a God that won’t invite us all to play, that condemns for ignorance, that promotes the weak and bludgeons the strong. I don’t believe in a God that withholds, that accepts money as the only currency, that won’t forgive us for very arbitrary, yet non-negotiable acts. I bow my head at the alter of generosity. It’s the only home I ever feel safe enough to lower my shield in. It’s the only thing that moves me to a state of rejoicing. Don’t give me that hearsay scripture, that haunting, beautifully crafted by poets rule book. I worship at the church of soul music. The kind that lifts your skin off your bones just enough to make room for grace.

“with the theme of fear” by Julia at Coco et Olive


Monday November 9, 2015 at Coco et Olive
3:23pm
5 minutes
ionmagazine.ca

I am not alone in this room
I share my bed with my former self
And all my past mistakes
I lay my head down on the same pillow as the shame that haunts me
I close my eyes and see the me I never wanted to be
The me I never thought I could be
I am not alone in this lie
Sometimes good people make bad choices
Sometimes bad choices make bad people
I watch the blame hang on every corner of every wall
I wait for it to cling to my eyelids and bind my mind forever
He said she said
She does he does
She regrets he preys
He forgets she stays
I am not alone in this guilt
I share my memories with the poor judgement that follows me
And all the wrong I’ve invited in
To stay a while
To live on inside me

“It wasn’t good in the first place” by Julia at Kafka’s


Saturday, October 10,2015 at Kafka’s
3:35pm
5 minutes
overheard at Gene Cafe

I am making amends with my old self. I want to say I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve caused her. She was young, she didn’t know any better. And she tried. Oh, she tried. She wasn’t trying to hurt me and I see that now, she did her best, even though she was not well-rested. A lot of decisions made after not enough sleep. And a lot of decisions made, without the right things to eat. Putting toxins in her belly, instead of love, she did her best. She did what she thought was enough.
I am making amends with my old self. She was young, she didn’t know better. And she tried. Oh, she tried. I can see her efforts now. Holding up a cracked mirror. I can see her clearer. She was just looking to find a little peace. A little more ease. A little more release. And sometimes it was hard and she dug her heels in, she didn’t want to deal with the repercussions of the universe. Oh, how do I blame her? She hadn’t met me yet. So now I can forgive her. She did her damn best.
I am making amends with my old self. I’m sorry for all the harsh words I’ve said. She was young, she didn’t know better. And she tried. Oh, she tried. I should be offering thanks. I should be offering an olive branch. I should be inviting her to stay the night if she needs to visit again.

“open 7 days” by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Saturday, September 5, 2015
6:59pm
5 minutes
from the sign at the liquor store

When she begged me to forgive her there were tears in her eyes and I was wearing a red and green apron that made me look very Italian and very comical. I couldn’t take myself seriously, let alone take her, so instead of being an adult, I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I’ve always dreamed about these kind of moments where the lighting is just right, there’s the perfect amount of rain, maybe a bit of wind, and an underscoring of building music that sounds like it’s just far enough away to be acceptable. But instead we were both covered in gnocchi flour and our bangs were plastered to our foreheads cause in real life there are no perfect forgiveness temperatures. I laughed and she got very angry. I didn’t mean to offend her but I was angry too…that she couldn’t have picked a better moment for all of her guilt to add up. Instead, right as the tester gnocchi were rising to the top, she fell to her knees and buried her face in my Italian flag.

“OH MY GOD” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday, August 11, 2015
11:18pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Gerrard St.

I’ve been the praying type before! Not really so much now, but before? MY GOD.
HAHA. That was a joke. But in all seriousness, I used to write letters to Jesus. I used to pray asking him for guidance and protection against my nightmares, my fears, my flaws. I had to ask for so much forgiveness just because I couldn’t keep my 11 year old head on straight enough to stop “accidentally” watching the Sunday Night Sex Show, or finding my mom’s electric nail buffer and “accidentally” using it to explore all of my “sacred” places. I said I was sorry at least 15 times a day, followed by a promise that I would be better next time and not do it ever again. I got good at making promises I couldn’t keep.

“Sunday’s paper still lies flat open from earlier” by Sasha on her living room floor


Sunday January 25, 2015
10:24am
5 minutes
adult-mag.com

It’s okay if you wanna talk about the rain and where to get the best push up bra in this rainy city. It’s okay if you wanna not eat sugar (even the kind that’s like a birthday present from Mother Nature… Maple syrup, anyone?) It’s okay if you wanna leave yourself every once and a while, vis a vis bourbon or weed or MDMA. It’s okay if you bail on me, for the third time in two weeks, via a sad face and a missed call (me to you). It’s okay if you wanna purge your closet, selling your clothes for a fraction of what you paid, only to spend more on new clothes and new clothes and new clothes. It’s okay if you forget about the anniversary of my brother’s death and then ask why I’m not coming out tonight and then get awkward when I say why. It’s okay if you just wanna come over and lie on the floor with me and suck your thumb like you used to and be in the big silence.

“lease holders and approved occupants” by Sasha on her floor


Wednesday August 20, 2014
10:15pm
5 minutes
from an apartment memorandum

I find the skeleton
The big one
Bigger than the one that stood on Mr. Reynolds desk in Grade 12 Biology
Bigger than your new nephew
Six months old
Eyes brown like his mother’s
I find the skeleton
You’ve been wishing the tide would take
It hasn’t
The moon isn’t on the side of deception
She’s on the side of the ocean
Who is relentless
And forgiving
Your skeleton is a hand-me-down
Don’t forget that
He sings the unsung song of your father
And I have compassion for that
I find the skeleton and I take him out
I close the closet he came from
I put him in the garden beside the chives

“300 pages” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday January 8, 2014
1:24am
5 minutes
from the cover of an old notebook

wrote you a letter explaining my love
i used words and pictures so you would understand
thought i was being clear and concise
i have a habit for confusing beautiful things
it had symbols and references
metaphors and similes
song lyrics and abstract drawings
it was over 300 pages long
it was over 4 years of patience waning and devotion
it was full of perfectly crafted images to indicate my feelings
the words written slowly so you could read them with ease
and the same things kept repeating over and over
the things about forever
the things about honesty
the things about forgiveness
the things about grass watering
and moon bathing
the kind of love poets have trouble describing
mostly because they fear that words will only taint it

“You’ll always be older than me” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Monday December 16, 2013
9:55pm at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
From a birthday card

Oh darling one, I waited patiently by your bed for you to wake up and take me with you. Wherever you were going would be fine with me. I only wanted to be with you. You pushed me aside and you cast me out when I was too young to protect myself from that. I wanted to be you and you wanted to be anything but. I watched as you made life choices and hurt yourself. I watched as you learned and grew and became a woman of such grace and strength and dignity. I wanted to be like you then too. I never stopped. And I don’t blame you for trying to push me aside. You wanted me to be independent and I grew dependent on you far too early. I knew what opinions I should have but still waited to hear yours first before admitting mine. I asked you for help on the little things, the big things, and the things I didn’t even realize I already knew. You were patient but you weren’t kind. You didn’t see me for my worth until much later on. You didn’t want me to be anything but small and that’s not your fault. I forgive you for the times I felt like I was not enough for you to be happy. I know now that that’s not what you ever wanted me to believe.

“once” by Julia on the 506 going west


Wednesday December 11, 2013
7:51pm
5 minutes
from a poster for Once The Musical

Once she lied
He forgave her
Kisses on top of her head
And everything
She said she was sorry
And she meant it
Nothing made her feel worse
He said shh shh and held her close
Her eyes glassy
Her mouth dry
It’s not over it’s not over
He soothed her
Holding her heart in a velvet pouch
So she wouldn’t try to hurt it even more
She eventually forgave herself
He never stopped loving her
She would slip sometimes
Bringing up the past because it was eating at her
Shh shh he’d say to her
This is not then, it’s now
She would test him
Without even knowing it
Making him feel bad for things
That he couldn’t understand
And he loved her anyway
He came home after bitter fights
He wrote her love notes
Hiding them in her coat pockets
And on the bathroom mirror
So she’d know
And so she’d believe
That when he said he would always want her
He meant it

“Where are you going?” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 12, 2013
7:41pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on the Lansdowne bus

She holds the promise on her tongue like a purple pill. It melts. She swallows. Making mistakes used to be her hobby. Now she’s sure of one thing only. This. She didn’t mean to hurt you. She tried to resist it but… They’re calling for thundershowers tomorrow. They’re calling for hail, but up North. Not here. “You must forgive me,” she pleads. She doesn’t fall to her knees because it doesn’t even occur to her. She doesn’t clasp her hands because they’re arranging and re-arranging the newspapers on the table. She reads a headline she wished she cared about. You do. That’s what guts her. You care. “We should go to Quebec City.” She doesn’t know where it comes from, but it does. It comes. “We could get cheap flights from Chandra…” She’s not even that close with Chandra anymore. Not since she told her to go screw herself. Not since she said she couldn’t babysit Charlie.

“see us soon!” by Julia at East Liberty Medical Centre


Thursday, September 5, 2013
3:25pm
5 minutes
Toronto public health poster

You heard them calling your name from across the yard but you were already too far gone out of their lives to turn back and wave.
“Goodbye”
You made that decision a long time ago but it was hard so you hadn’t come to terms with it until now.
“I can’t”
You wrestled with the idea of it all, the pain, the regret. You couldn’t count your finger paintings fast enough.
“Thank you”
You kept walking as if on a conveyor belt, every step taking you one more year, one more lifetime away.
“Wait”
You asked me if I would send you their pictures, they’re letters in the mail, signed by each of them in their own hand.
“Why”
I couldn’t promise you what I couldn’t bear to offer. It would be my pain too, every time I sealed the envelope with their kisses for you. Send the sweetness away to nowhere because that’s where it felt like you were existing.
“Please”
You chose your path. You picked the soft mattress to lay on, and the perfect duvet to lay under. You made it up so well it felt like a good thing.
“See us soon”
They’d call, in their sleep, in their restless daydreams of you.

“Hearing John Malkovitch” by Julia at her desk


Saturday, June 1, 2013
4:39pm
5 minutes
From the ARTS Section of the Globe and Mail
Saturday May 25th edition


I waited for him
On the edge of my bed
It used to be ours
Before that it used to be his
He said he was coming right back
Never did
So I waited there like a sack of potatoes
Growing mould from
not being let out of the drawer
He never called
Or if he did I missed it
He never cried out
This will be the end of me too
He didn’t tell me he forgave me
And if he did I was dreaming
He didn’t give me his key
But I left the back window open anyway
I sat there all night
It used to be day
Before that it used to be ours
My back began to fade into the strain
My eyes began to close from the waterfalls at 3am trying to
man handle my face
My hope began to deflate
Like a balloon left
too long on the wall
after a birthday party
for someone who hates surprises

“accepts what it is” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday February 27, 2013
12:36am
5 minutes
August
Mary Oliver


Okay so I admit, I was wrong. I shouldn’t have let you walk home by yourself. I know you were pissed and that half bottle of wine was doing its thing. But I was mad too. I was so mad at you. I don’t like being blamed for everything you hate in your life. My job is to fix broken pipes in the bathroom, not be your punching bag for when the rest of the world knocks you down. Okay that sounds bad too but that’s not what I meant..baby please. Baby baby baby. Just listen. You’re tough, right? You don’t need me taking care of you. But I should have walked you home. You’re right, okay? It’s not safe at that time of night I was just giving you your space. Just letting you vent. You were walking so fast there was no way I could have caught up to you either. Come on don’t be mad. Please baby: I love you. Don’t cry anymore tonight. But you weren’t being fair. Can you admit that? I’m not perfect but you’re not perfect. That’s a good thing baby. Trust me. In the morning this will all be over. Right now it is what it is okay?