“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

“I will complete them upon my return” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday July 17, 2017
11:17pm
5 minutes
From an email

I’m not sure how to tell you this
I’m not sure about much actually
I’m questioning all of my choices
my vices
my fears
so big so big
Oh
I’m not sure how to tell you this
When I get back I’m gonna head out
on my own for a while
Gotta find the rhythm of the grind again
Gotta find the direction of the sun again
I’m not sure how to tell you
that when I swam in those big waves
I saw
G-O-D
and it wasn’t in the shape of a
face or a torso
it was in the shapelessness of a
blue blue white aquamarine
movement

“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

“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

I told myself I’d be married at 24 cause of my mother. She was married at 24 and that felt like the best map I could follow since she has never once said she regretted it. I also said I wouldn’t have sex till I was 24 either case of Jesus. Or the patriarchy. Save my sex for someone who loves God more than he’ll ever love me and believes in owning humans as property? Yeah, what a great fucking idea. I was young then. And committed to Christ (by choice, weirdly, I know). And in love with the idea that I didn’t have to make my own decisions cause life was already going to have too many of those in the first place. I told myself that I would have a child by 28 cause of my mother. She waited 4 years to have one after she got married and that seemed smart, and good, and completely doable. I have missed both of these “destiny numbers”(by choice, I know, I know). Somewhere along the way I decided I could trust myself to lead me through it. Sometimes it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. But it’s better than being married with a bazillion kids coming out of my ears. Age, I’ve learned, is just a number that you get to hold for a year. And then–we let it go, just like everything else.

“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.

“Don’t judge” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday September 22, 2015
9:58pm
5 minutes
from a calendar

Halle and I walk hand in hand down to the end of the driveway. Kristina is on her bike and she looks stupid in her pink helmet. Not because she’s wearing a helmet. But because her helmet has tassels like her bike handles do and it just looks like a the kind of bike a circus monkey would ride. Too many ribbons and too many balloons. Or so it seems. Kristina tries to stop her bike but she hasn’t learned that yet. She’s really struggling. She wants to come talk to Halle and me. Kristina finally gets off her bike and lets it rest on the ground. She also hasn’t learned to use her kick stand yet. Her face is round and rosy and the snot bubble she’s blowing never seems to pop.
“Hi Nathan, Hi Halle. What are you doing today? Want to talk about our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ?”
Halle squeezes my hand. She’s 4 and she already knows that this girl is a quack job.

“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.

“right on the train, first one out of here” by Sasha in The Loving Hut


Thursday, August 6, 2015
7:01pm
5 minutes
If Only
Fink


i see the guilt around your lips
smudges of purple and gold
your eyes say something else
your eyes say
BELIEVE ME
i kiss your cheek with my teeth
clever cleavers
BELIEVE ME
god is there when i leave you
god traces my courage with monarch wings

“You look terrible.” By Julia at Holy Oak Cafe


Monday March 23, 2015 at Holy Oak Cafe
5:01pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Higher Grounds

Oh I can’t be seen with you. I can’t be seen with you. I told you not to wear that damn New Years shirt. I must have said it a thousand billion times. And now the only explanation for you wearing it tonight when it matters more than you’ll ever fully grasp, is that God is testing me. But do you know what the downside is? I don’t give a flying fuck if I fail God’s stupid little test because I don’t need his rewards. That’s right. I don’t need anything from someone who is going to dangle opportunities for success right in my face and then snatch them away with one touch of the world’s most hideous shirt. And he puts it on my boyfriend. To test and torture. I swear to you it would be better if you wore zero shirts to this fucking wedding than the God-awful, God-testing one you’re wearing right now. Please stand the fuck away from me. Just go over to the other side of the room where the haunting and painful pattern of your God-damn stupid fucking shirt can’t be seen or heard.

“What will you do?” by Sasha in the Kiva


Wednesday December 17, 2014
11:49pm
5 minutes
From a Together For London bus ad

When your heart is heavy – take a bath. Fill the tub up high. Soak til you’re floating.
When your stomach growls – eat some almonds. Unless you have a nut allergy. Then eat a honey crisp apple.
When your soul is weary – see a dear friend. Even if you feel like you want to hide your head in a book or a pillow. She’ll be sure to rub your arm just as she did many moons ago.
When you’re questioning your purpose – read an old love letter. I know you’ve got one. Mine are kept on the bookshelf between Rumi and The Joy Of Cooking. It’s fitting, really.
When you talk to God – speak as you do to your feet when they’re walking. With humour. With irreverence. With love.

“You mustn’t lose it.” By Julia on Hugo Street


Tuesday August 12, 2014
4:49pm
5 minutes
a quote from Robin Williams

He said it matter-of-factly as he gripped his miniature hand over my closed fist. This was a gift from a tiny god and I was being entrusted with it. He made sure I was looking him in the eyes when I promised him I would keep it safe. And never give it to any one else? Of course not. And never drop it on the ground that doesn’t have carpet? Never ever. And never forget where you last put it? Not on my life. And with that he scampered off getting distracted by the grass that he in that moment just had to bend down to dig up. I watched him playing in the earth with my fist still tightly closed. The magic of this gift was fuelling me from my hands and seeping into my bones trough my troubled skin. He didn’t even say what it was. I suppose he didn’t have to. I had believed in the importance of it by virtue of his stern instructions. He didn’t make me promise not to open it until he was gone. I didn’t have to open it to know that it was ours.

Why do I write? by Sasha at the t5m: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday May 18, 2014
1:16pm
5 minutes
from a writing prompt by Natalie Goldberg

1. I write because I want to live forever.
2. I write because my mother writes and my father writes and my sister writes and the man I’m going to marry writes.
3. I write because I’m good at it.
4. I write because it helps me understand humanity.
5. I write to fly.
6. I write to go places I’ll never actually go.
7. I write to connect and to disconnect.
8. I write to remember.
9. I write for myself and for you.
10. I write for the six-year-old voicelessness.
11. I write because I can do it every day, on my terms.
12. I write because it brings me closer to God/Source/Creator/Nature.
13. I write because I like the sound of pen on paper, of fingers playing laptop keyboard.
14. I write for my family, the legacy of what’s been and what’s coming.

“lead us not” by Julia on Amanda’s couch


Wednesday December 25, 2013
8:33pm
5 minutes
from a Christmas carol

I followed God or the idea of him around like a lost puppy one morning. I swear I heard him calling me. I listened closely and went where his voice was leading me. I stopped off in every room of my heart to see if his voice got louder or clearer. I didn’t want to leave any place in me untouched out of fear that he might find solace in my anger place or my subconscious desires place and I’d miss him there. He never told me what to do. His call was generous and sweet. He was inviting me and I was feeling very welcomed. The urge to see him got bigger even though I didn’t quite know what to expect when I finally did. I tried to picture his wild hair or his big hands. I agreed with his warmth and saw his skin glowing when I closed my eyes. He would be whatever I needed, and I would know when I saw him.

“this is how it sometimes is at God’s table” by Julia at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday October 20, 2013 at the these five minutes: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab
1:27pm
5 minutes
The Essential Rumi
Ed. Coleman Barks


This is how it sometimes is,
you either love it or hate it, they call it Show Biz
With a hand on your hip you pose,
you say yes to every man when he proposes
“Marry me!” you shout and you let it all out
cause someone nearby is watching the lie,
and you are an actress with clout
But who do you perform for?
The God you named is a sleeping bore
he watches with his belly full
and packed from stuffing in more and more
his long beard white is braided into a promise–
he tells the angels to tape you so he won’t ever miss
the subtleties of you on your knees
and begging for an audience
that finally appeases you
Oh and his table filled with chicken and gin,
he tunes in to review your sins and you
put them in a jar marked ART-
say the people who watch you have you stuck in their hearts

“this is how it sometimes is at God’s table” by Sasha at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday October 20, 2013 at the these five minutes: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab
1:27pm
5 minutes
The Essential Rumi
Ed. Coleman Barks


The placemats are the make-your-own with an iron kind. The ones you can get at that art supply store. You put photos in between the two sheets of plastic and you… iron. God made these in August, when she was hot-flashing and moody. She’d elastic-banded an icepack to her bra strap. She took photos of her brothers, her daughters and you, quite a few of you, and she arranged them, collage-style, for each rectangular placemat. She also put in a cut out from a magazine of lasagna, because it’s her favourite, and a cut out from the newspaper of something Nelson Mandala said, to keep things real. She drank ice-y limeade and she arranged the collaged and she ironed, watching the plastic stick together and get gooey at the corners. Simon and Garfunkel played on her small, red boom-box.

“principle monetary unit of Morocco” by Sasha on the Bathurst streetcar


Monday, October 14, 2013
3:32pm
5 minutes
The Pocket Oxford Dictionary

I arrived wide-eyed
At night
Asking the taxi driver if he knew the town
Knew the people
Knew the ocean
He nodded to all my questions
Which did not reassure me
I arrived wide-eyed
At night
And she met me
My friend
Curls bouncing sweet surf
Smile telling secrets
Eyes twinkling her love for her man
Born in this place
In the dips of Paradise Valley
I woke up the next morning
Hung over with jet lag
And I heard the prayers
Of the men
I heard the voices of the people
Singing to God
And
I thought
“Imagine if we prayed together in the West?”

“Church Girl” by Julia in her back yard


Saturday, July 13, 2013 at deVille Coffee
4:01pm
5 minutes
Girl
Jennifer Carranza


I knew when I invited God into my life, and the equation, I was making a mistake, but I didn’t know who else to ask. I know that sounds crazy, but times were tough and I was desperate and God wasn’t doing anything that night and all my other friends were busy or incommunicado. So. We made it work, him and me, me and God, trying to find it all out, trying to make it all work. I became a church person. A church girl who didn’t care about the air-condition malfunction, or the pigeons that made their way inside it every single time. I knew it was a mistake, but at the time, it was everything to me. God’s not the best listener, I warn you. He’s always listening to a million conversations at once and that does not make me feel special.

“when her man got bagged” by Julia on her parents’ deck in Baden


Sunday, May 19, 2013
1:59pm
5 minutes
DECODED
Jay-Z


A hundred things were floating in her head, I guess you could say, about the crash, or the garden. She was lost in her own list-making at the time when she heard. Avery told her he was coming home for dinner and Alice made a point about being late because things never start on time there anyway. Lydia was in shambles and making lists about which pieces she was going to glue back together inside her brain first. When Avery didn’t show up at all, and Alice came an hour late to prove something or other, Lydia started to do the shaking thing that happened to her left hand when she felt God talking to her. She was listening, setting the vibrations, getting ready for the bad news to come. She knew about it before it even happened, it’s safe to say. Alice arrived and didn’t even know something was the matter. She was wrapped up in making everyone around her notice her and her new blonde hair do. Avery never misses dinner, Alice finally noticed. But Lydia had already started with the list making. She went outside to pick a few sprigs of rosemary, Alice trailing behind talking about some new scissors she wanted, when she saw it. There in the garden, with boulders holding down his hands and feet.

“and not mercy” by Sasha on a bench at High Park


Wednesday February 20, 2013
2:23
5 minutes
Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare


Oh Lord! A guitar plays the riff of life and death. There’s a whisper, a mama, a dream of a snake. Thunder poetry knows the bounds here. She thinks about what she’d like her labor to be like, she thinks about how she’d like a warm bath, she thinks about how the hum of a daughter might feel on her chest. Have mercy! Have mercy on her, who sits, who rocks, who makes tomato soup. Oh Lord, I’ve been sending you e-mails, go straight to junk, drink away this worry with a whisss (and a) keyyyy. I see you’ve got something that I want and I’ve got nothing that you can’t find at the eighty eight cents store. Better than a dollar! Better than! I’ve been sending you e-mails, Lord, about the trackmarks on my stomach, about the puddles round my feet. Have mercy. I have sinned, oh Lord! You’re turning up the volume. You’re celebrating. You’re dancing the one-two step, one-two steps down the ladder and just grab my hand. I will reach for you because you’re the one with the soft voice, you’re the one with a whisper and a slide down the fret to salvation.

“Directly above and below” by Julia at the Eaton Centre


Friday, December 28, 2012 at the Eaton Centre
4:43pm
5 minutes
Rookie Year Book One
Edited by Tavi Gevinson


Somewhere above me, a sky sings. It’s the Lord’s prayer. The Lord of prayers that I don’t believe in anymore. It still sings. It sings for other people, not for me. I asked it to stop but you can’t control the whole world. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Someone else asks for it, and thy will be done, etc. etc. I’m just another number to them. The church, the people who pray, the believing ones. I’m the number 666 to most of them because they don’t see my logic or my rational. They like to pretend that I’m still a number worth saving. Worth turning into something holy, like 3, or 333, or some multiple of the aforementioned numbers that keeps me in the good books.
The good book is something I’d like to avoid if I can…
It kept me from nightmares when I was 6 (interesting) because I’d put it under my pillow to warn the underworld that I was armed and I wasn’t kidding. It kept me from ending up with a guy who would have ruined me when I was 16 (6 again. Curious.). And it kept me from falling off the edge when I was only hoping to land feet first when I was 18 (nobody’s perfect). Somewhere below me, a man in a red suit dances around, laughing, at every inappropriate thing I’ve ever said or done, and he’s taking credit for it as if it were his idea or initiative. The sky above me sings, the man below me dances. What song does he hear, I wonder sometimes. The one that plays from my youth, or the one that I’ve crafted since then?