“More space to play” by Julia at the 84 bus stop

Tuesday May 28, 2019
1:33pm
5 minutes
from a window poster

break out break free break open break up
crack a hole crack a window crack a code crack a puzzle
release
let go
give
offer
light
light has room to enter
light has space to touch whatever it wants
whatever needs to be illuminated
whatever needs to be seen
whatever is over
oh well is over
what if is over
wish I would have is over
offer
give
let go
release
the no longer serving
the grown out of
the outdated
the old reason
light up the room
give room to light
to play
to dance around
to expose
hold on tight
let go light
let go of light so it
can glow

“itching for Presidency” by Julia on S, G,and E’s patio

Saturday June 16, 2018
11:03pm
5 minutes
The Politician
H.L. Mencken

Watch the sky turn from velvet to suede
The city, whatever the opposite of itching, below
It is easier than it was the last time
The last time I wasn’t myself and still they loved me
The last time I was eating scraps of pizza and noodles and
the one most lie me told her aunt that I ate A LOT of food
I didn’t mean to be so hungry
I was worried about dying and leaving them dead
I am worried about their parents and I wonder where they are

The waxing crescent moon is keeping score tonight
Making sure I don’t rely on all my usual charms
The city can look so beautiful when the light hits it right
I only eat the watermelon cut into slices
I only take a blueberry yogurt and a chicken finger
I am the boss and they know it but they do not care
And I do not make them care
I make them feel important
I tell them they are

“where she curled, suspended, gathering” by Julia at her parents’ house

Wednesday January 3, 2018
11:55pm
5 minutes
the woman who married a bear
Anne Haven McDonnell

Nonna used to ask me if she could style my hair after I had already finished doing it. When she was young she used to curl my mom’s into sections by wrapping it around a pencil. I told her no sometimes. But on other days I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she was hurting me; yanking and twisting all the pieces wrong. I know it meant a lot to her to play with my hair. She’d sing quietly as she did, and I choked back some painful yelps so I wouldn’t interrupt her. She used to get her hair done for everything. Had one of her five daughters put her dyed blonde hair in curlers for the baptisms, communions, confirmations, weddings, funerals, barbecues, walks around the block.

“New Adventures” By Julia at Paper Crane Coffee


Wednesday February 8, 2017
1:48pm
5 minutes
from a postcard

Jackie meets me at the coffee shop bundled up in too many layers and chapped lips. She shakes off her scarf and laughs a little at the snow droplets covering the ground. She is carrying a stack of postcards that she needs to write thank you notes on. She says she’s going to mail them out today after she buys a thousand stamps. I am busy re-writing my to-do list because the first version I etched out didn’t include all the stuff I actually have to get done today. The first version was more of a dream journal than a to-do list. I have trouble with picking the right thing to prioritize. I don’t want to pick the wrong thing but I feel like I always do. Jackie is in a great mood because she was given an assignment to write for McCleans’s Magazine and is full of high fives and smiles. She asks me after I’ve breathed out heavily for the eighth time, not asking her about her day like I should have, if I’ve ever heard about ‘Important vs. Urgent’. I sigh out once more because I have heard about ‘Important vs. Urgent’ but I have obviously forgotten, again and again, and again.

“the lid to Pandora’s box slides right off.” By Julia on her couch


Tuesday January 26, 2016
11:56pm
5 minutes
From catskinner.club

There’s a secret waiting at the bottom of this moment
Scrape
Scrape away with claw-like urgency
I don’t know who needs to uncover
To reach the very last layer of earth possible before digging becomes inadvisable
I wave to you from behind my acted ease
I don’t want to startle you
But there’s a major shift happening all around us
We could work together
I know I need someone to remind me that this is a good idea
You are unaware
Usual issue
You don’t want to dig
Not past the cool dirt
Not through my caked on smile
I have to bleed bigger if I want emotion
Reaction
I have to show you how…
Remember pain comes in many different perfect looking boxes
Shape shifting
Scrape and claw
Claw and scrape

“The oldest surviving” by Julia on her couch


Saturday November 14, 2015
12:17am
5 minutes
from a tweet

Memo to staff:
Someone left their banana peel in the office garbage can again. Thank you for putting it in the trash receptacle this time, that is much appreciated and far more so than a little office prank of leaving said peel at the entrance of the co-ed bathrooms last Wednesday (Side note, Jamella is fine and will be returning to work on Monday following her post op). But now there are greater issues at hand. The peel left overnight in the bin has caused the entire office to reek of bananas and for some, that is an unkind order. Please ensure to remove the peels at the end of your break and retire them to the outdoor compost bin that has been highlighted on all of your maps in the welcome package that you received upon hire.

“the king is me” by Julia at her desk


Monday October 5, 2015
11:45pm
5 minutes
from a slam poem

I have looked through the garbage for the second time today. I have been diligent, each time, and I am thinking that soon I will need to return to it for a third time; peel through everything again, just, with no shadow of a doubt that I left some pieces un-turned, because it’s that important. I don’t know if I could forgive myself if I find out that I could have done something more. I just want to do all that now, so I can rest easy that I truly did my best. I may not be the best at it right away, but I will make sure I give it my all. When it comes to this. Life or death. Life and death. Whatever. I am the go-all-the-way-guy. Never foresaw myself sifting through garbage, but here I am, king of this heap. I’ll master something. When it’s important. That’s just me.

“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.

“1 Eastside” by Julia at the motel in Thunder Bay


Friday June 13, 2014
10:56pm
5 minutes
The front of a bus in Sault Ste. Marie

We ended up taking a bus to a reserve somewhere with a sign that read “Gravel River Motel: Food, Gifts, Amethyst”. I didn’t realize how important amethyst was, but it happened to be my birthstone so I was intrigued enough to go in. We talked to the shop owner for at least 10 minutes, him asking me how I found myself here and me asking him why he was selling amethyst like cigarettes. He told me that I was here now and that’s all that mattered. I bought two or three of his little sacks filled with the stuff. I said, Thanks, I’ll give one of them to my sister when I see her next. Then we waved to him as we left the shop and wondered out loud if that entire experience was one we had dreamed up or one that truly transpired. I thought about the shop-owner later that night as I laid on the motel bed, counting the times the guy in the room next to ours, separated by a paper thin wall, said “Please” to his girlfriend or lover or something like that.

“Make a lasting impression.” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Friday May 30, 2014 at The CSI Coffee Pub
4:40pm
5 minutes
L’OREAL ad in Flare Magazine
December 2011


Cool fingertips on my eyelids and that’s how we met
He said, you will change the world with your words
I said, tell me that again and again and again
He said, write me something beautiful–write me something that looks like you
And I died
And I died
And I died
He rocked his head from side to side to a rhythm I couldn’t hear
I said, what song is in your brain right now
And he said, the one you sang to me in your sleep last night
I said, the one about the moon?
And he said, you always sing about the moon.
Cool fingertips on my eyelids and that’s how we fell in love
He said, when you think that you can’t, remember this feeling, this calming
I said, will you come with me forever?
He said, I’ll try. I’ll try to stop time too if you need
And I died
And I died
And I died

“Important Numbers:” by Julia at Amanda’s house


Saturday May 10, 2014
2:19am
5 minutes
A 2013 calendar

These are the important numbers in my life:
1) 13-good luck and baseball jersey number
2) 20-birthdate and baseball jersey number
3) 1-the easiest, loneliest, and baseball jersey number
4) 0-the number of bones I have broken
5) 5-the number of minutes it takes to write a pocket-sized story
6) 2-the number of siblings I have and care about
7) 1270-the number of unread e-mails in my inbox
8) 2-the number of couches I own and hate
9) 33-the number of pairs of shoes I own
10) 16-the date we decided to try again
11) 12:34-the time I always seem to look at the clock

“I believe that life is…” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday March 12, 2014 at The CSI Coffee Pub
10:07am
5 minutes
A writing group warm-up led by Dianne

I believe that life is made up of tiny insignificant dust particles that when stitched together form a quilt of all the moments we pretend we don’t see–or pretend don’t even exist.
I believe that when we close our eyes in the middle of a moment, we capture it better, giving over to the shutter bug in our insides that is in charge of all the remembering.
I believe that life is this: tiny moments, tiny dust, tiny realizations every second– that when we allow them, transform into not so tiny anythings…but the best kinds of love, of want, of joy, of happiness, of pain, of mess, of sorrow, of learning, of flying, of forgiveness, of seeing.
I believe that life is longer than we let it be and more important than we sometimes treat it, that John Steinbeck’s East Of Eden has the secrets to the universe, to this life we’re jumping in and out of, and that if read slow enough and in the right light, we see the God that we wish we knew.