“she died before age forty” by Julia at Wabash and Washington, Chicago

Friday September 7, 2018
12:44am
5 minutes
F*** Face
Amber Dawn

She didn’t know what she wanted. Thought she wanted to change some minds and open some hearts. Thought she wanted to tell the truth and free herself of the lies she told herself. Guess some
dreams never come true. Guess some hopes are too high to reach.

On a Friday she realizes she
needs to define her path. She cries about the roadblocks but doesn’t even know the road. Her friends seem to be making strides. Putting their hands in all the right collection plates, offering themselves to the highest bidder. Maybe God is a good excuse not to do anything. Maybe having a baby is a better one.

She didn’t know how much the lion’s roar would sadden her. She didn’t know how small a big thing kept would feel when she wasn’t allowed to be free. Guess some dreams never come true. Guess some hopes are too high to reach.

“the sum total of the courage and the integrity” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
5 minutes
10:37am
A quote by Eleanor Roosevelt

We can walk into the mouth of our lover with gratitude
and compassion or wake up on the wrong side of the bed
with a vengeance that travels in heat, and ready.
I remember this when I am late to the day after a long
night of bad decisions and I am too ashamed to greet you
in your half way done morning, specific goals set, etc.
I come out with a new tail tucked between my legs and you
stop your structure and stretch out your arms to me,
welcoming, grateful. You say how lucky you are and you
say it with skin and smile before words leave your lips.
I remember this when you are late to the day and I am
awake before you and running and weaving and juicing
and you come to me with the same openness but my first
instinct is to keep running, make you catch up, make
you feel bad. We can walk into the mouth of our lover
with gratitude and patience if we remember how important
time spent gazing at each other really is. We can choose
this in the morning, at night, and in the afternoon. You
do this and you teach me. I thank whoever is in charge
that you do not dole out grades to match the student.

“I’ll back my car up” by Julia at her desk

Friday, May 11, 2018
9:31pm
5 minutes
Catching the Westbound
Corvin Thomas

It was a nice time to drive then
you behind the wheel and me out the window tracking waterfalls
(There, another, did you see that one? On your left. I said on your left!)
I suppose I wasn’t doing any of the driving
too much fear built up over the years, too many MVA and physio
You never wanted to ride shot-gun, and I don’t think it’s because
you liked the sound of me narrating the outdoors to you, the roadside, the clouds
You liked the finger feeding, the tiny snack bites of cheese and olive
You liked choosing the music
You liked letting me sleep
And it was a good time with a car that was ours for the first trip of our lives
It was good after that with the duct tape holding up the under side of the car
(I call it that to this day because neither of us know much about automobiles, or whatever they’re calling them these days. Human carriers? Life holders? Vessels of transformation and transport?)
But soon after you were screaming your frustration into the pillow
Geeva had died again on the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
And we mourned her then: her and her licence plate namesake

“Come prepared with questions” by Julia on the 99

Friday April 27, 2018
10:56pm
5 minutes
the Verses Festival of Words 2018 program

Are you home yet are you waiting in the bed are you staying this time are you home for a while are you sticking around are you there already are you as hungry and tired as I am did your journey tonight teach you something like mine did were you able to listen to your body like I wasn’t did you problem solve on the spot in a room full of strangers and lights hiding their faces are you home yet are you waiting for me are you going to be there to hold me will you hold me until I’m sleeping will you please let me sleep in will you stroke my cheek will you untie my knots are you on your way yet can you be home now can you stay home now can you stay home now

“Do everything as slowly as possible” by Julia at her desk

Friday, April 20, 2018
11:00pm
5 minutes
The Art of Aging
Sparrow

Get here later, take your time
ask the elderly man if he needs
to borrow your elbow while getting
off the plane
bring him to the luggage carousel
and wait for his bags to pop through
the shute so you can help him pull
them off
Be the kindness that I know
Be the patient peace
Let the family of five go ahead
of you in line for the taxi
do not ask your driver to put a
rush on the ride home
Lover, I will be waiting for
your arrival with all the
bounty and welcoming of a midday
reunion
I will kiss you like time is
not the enemy
I will be close to sleep but
being closer to you will keep
me rested until we are in each
other’s arms
Stop for french fries if you’re
hungry and bring your bags up
one by one
Do not worry about the clock now
I will be here when you get here

“All my friends are having babies” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday April 4, 2018
2:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

All my friends are having babies and I am more concerned with how good my freaking nails look these days. It’s taken a long time to like my hands. How do you like a hand that squeezes too hard, that breaks the good mugs, that spends most of its time down the front of raggedy sweat pants? These hands have never housed nice nails. These nails have never looked this strong. Some days I couldn’t tell if it was blood underneath them or just ketchup chips. It’s all I can think about because it’s like they belong on someone else’s body. Someone else who, say, might be having a baby. I’m used to seeing chips and tears and skin peeling off where it shouldn’t. They were not the hands that held soft things and kept them soft. They didn’t know how to stay one colour when stepping out into the cold.

“something wonderful happens:” by Julia on the 84

Sunday, March 18, 2018
2:26pm
5 minutes
A Marriage
Michael Blumenthal

When the days go by without poetry
I am lost inside the labyrinth my own making has built for me to conquer
Busy relearning how to walk
with two new feet that have not yet carried this heavy
The hero’s journey has always been someone else’s movie
And I have not watched myself transform into grace from the sidelines
Inside out she is begging to be fed
That I may find my appetite for words the way I once did in the weeds and speckled laneways
She is the hero waiting
Outside is not safe and she knows that
She wants out anyway but there are more protectors at the gate
More worried hearts preoccupied with the consequence of light
First I must put her ease in plain view
Ask her if she’s sure and if she is how sure
Something wonderful happens when I let her speak
When she sees a door and calls it a wishing well.

“A utopian vision” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday November 15, 2017
11:13pm
5 minutes
from a quote by bell hooks

Call it a quest, yes let’s call it a quest of light. On this quest, well let’s not over use it, there will be many a dark tunnel. Good dark, light, I like that. Dark, harrowing tunnels leading—wait—harrowing? Confirmation on definition? Ah yes, not quite. Dark, dangerous (simplicity, thank you) tunnels. I’m sorry I got myself a bit lost in the harrowing world of diction. Still not right? When can I use harrowing? Ah I see, not for this. But on this quest-oh I remember! It’s a quest but not an overused word quest, a journey, a pilgrimage (ah!) toward the sun! Toward the great bright glow! Here we go now: there will be some rough earth on which to tread but walking makes footprints!

“COLD PRESS BRIGHT” by Julia at the studio

Sunday October 1, 2017
6:22pm
5 minutes
from the EPSON box

Cold press bright
button baby button
we are living in pink
hues and baby blues
baby baby will you
want to watch me grow
another human inside
me and then love someone
you’ve never met
but always known
button baby button

Conversation paused
on the problem
Nobody has written down
the plan for us
the three of us
nobody knew there
would be three
unless you knew
without telling me

Bright press cold
button baby baby
witness this magic
of me carrying a
peice of us both
in my body tell
the ocean we are
ready to cross it
all three of us
rock and wave it
all the way to
the shore to save it
baby button baby

Letters written in
father to be cursive
and mamma to be
subversive
you tell the
jokes and I’ll
tell the truth
you tell the
jokes and I’ll
tell the truth
We have not
always wanted you
but you were baby
worth the change
my mind made

“drove up to the prison” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday August 30, 2017
11:39pm
5 minutes
This American Life episode 282

can’t stop a freight train
on its way
it knows where it’s going
it goes
and goes
it doesn’t think to break to take
in the scenery
it doesn’t put off gettting to
its destination because there is
something easier to do
nothing is better than arriving
when all you’ve done is travel

can’t stop a freight train
on its way
it carries the load it was meant to
doesn’t complain about the weather
the speed of the tracks
doesn’t beg for something to make it
more fun
doesn’t whine about needing snacks
it definitely doesn’t light the Palo Santo
over and over again until it believes
it doesn’t call its mother on the
phone to ask for directions
it knows where it’s going
it goes

“what was that process like?” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 13, 2016
10:45pm
5 minutes
From an interview question

I can think of a thousand ways to say it
Sunday soothe day
Tucked in telling the truth day
Playing scrabble and cooking a meal all in one pot day
Taking a walk
to the ocean
and back
and then back
Throwing the stress ball in the living room not caring about the fixtures
Singing loud to the good ones
and louder to the ones we don’t really know but want to
Taking turns Laying heavy in each other’s lap
Sharing poetry
And short stories
And music
And dreams
And plans
And worries
Saying yes
Saying no
Filling up each other’s cup
with water
and with admiration
and with lemon meringue
and with choice

“Door To Hell” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, August 30, 2016
7:31am
5 minutes
aplus.com

it starts with a whisper with a promise to be better
when you don’t really mean it and you don’t really want to
commit to process
it’s opened then
when you say anything that doesn’t sound like truth and when you think
everybody only hears sincerity when you are wrong but don’t
want to believe that yet
a little crack further
and you keep far away from it because it’s calling you
it knows you by face and you pretend it’s a different you a different you with
the same name
coincidence
that each day a little bit less is tried
a little bit less is wagered
and the pit beyond grace is surrounded by old flames that
you ran from because you didn’t have the courage
to snuff them out
it starts with a whisper with the song of wandering souls
you fall each day
further off the track you triumph over
unfairly

“The secret of remaining young” By Julia on Lindsay’s Couch


Saturday August 13, 2016
7:12am
5 minutes
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde


Mom calls me to tell me about her trip tells me all about the seaside
And how people don’t care
That North America has judgments about women’s bodies and women’s
Minds
She tells me that she bought
Her first bikini
In 15 years
And that she loves it
And that she’s decided
She no longer cares
About the rules
Either
Mom tells me about her trip
How she listened to her body
Instead of punishing it
How she gave her skin a chance
How she smiled more than before
How people told her how good
She looked
And how shocking that
Was
And how nice that is
And how maybe she has
Finally
Let herself believe them
Because they are right
Because she has put the hard work in
Because she has unlocked her heart
And freed her inner child
Mom tells me about he trip
About her journey to find
peace
And how on the way
She found a whole lot more
Inside herself
Than she meant to

“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.

“that you already know and like.” By Julia at her dining table


Monday February 22, 2016
9:11pm
5 minutes
gnoosic.com

I am having a party
putting up balloons
decorating the whole house with streamers
and pictures
to celebrate the journey
to congratulate for not giving up
giving away loot bags at the end of the night
filled with moments of strength
examples of accepting imperfection
honesty
some vulnerability tossed in for good measure
I am inviting all my past selves
Like a reunion
But better
I will tell them
DRESS CODE IN EFFECT
And they will show up
wearing their sorrys
and their lessons
on their sleeves
carrying abundance and respect
in each jean pocket
I am saying farewell to fear
Sending her off on vacation
Killing three birds with one stone
honouring growth
A goodbye party for that which no longer serves me
And a good excuse to celebrate
Because the hill was high
but I’ve climbed it

“good times” by Julia at her island


Wednesday, December 23, 2015
12:13am
5 minutes
from the back of a CD

Memories are being made in our perfect little apartment
I can see you from across the room and I like that I can take in every part of you now
Before I think I forgot to make eye contact with you
We sat side by side so we got used to staring straight ahead
It was more comfortable that way
Now I can see you from a distance
See your smile
Your strength
Your genuine desire to help me
Memories are being made here
We sit on our properly sized couch and remember how things used to me
We are learning to remember our hardships as the golden thread in our tapestry
The through line in our story
The magic of perspective and just-desserts
We can see the mountains from our bedroom window
We can see the ocean from our dining room table
We can see the future of our love expanding when it finally has the space to grow
These are good times
These are our good times

“What kids want” by Julia at Kibune Sushi


Friday September 11, 2015
6:48pm
5 minutes
from the front page of the Globe and Mail
Life and Arts section


What kids want is to be born into a family that wants them. Then after they’re alive in this world, after they’ve traveled from one distant universe to the one we all share, they want to be held and warmed up, and spoken to very softly. They need someone else to carry their spongy bones for a while so they can rest after their long journey. That’s not asking too much. That’s the least we can do. And after they feel like they’ve been shown a kindness or two, they start to want a couple more things. They want love and they want home and they want patience and they want security and they want comfort and they want ice cream and they want to cry and they want to laugh and they want to shriek and they want to imagine. These and all the other things they want, are the things we can give them. They don’t ask for everything. They don’t need that. We do all the complicating. We do all the blaming.

“What is “beginner’s mind”?” By Julia in Brooklyn


Tuesday, July 28, 2015
11:11pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by Shambhala Sun

Set out on that journey with the wind whispering a farewell to your back
Let it make its way into your hair and dance there for a minute
Maybe two
Maybe three
She doesn’t want to hold you back or make you think you’re not ready
Only you know that
She just thinks goodbyes are important
You have your pencil sharpened and your pages born fresh and clean
Your long trek’s sword; your protector; your companion
Set out on that journey with the wind catching up to your skin
Let it make its way onto your face and caress you there for a minute
Maybe two
Maybe three
She doesn’t want to interfere or keep you from moving forward
You will do it anyway
She just thinks hello-agains are worth it

“legs crossed and notebooks open.” by Julia on her patio


Fridayy May 29, 2015
9:43m
5 minutes
Intro to Happiness
J. Allyn Rosser


Brooke had that lisp she was self conscious about so she was avoiding esses this week. Her best friend Phoebe told Brooke that she would say all the hard ess words for her until she was comfortable doing them on her own. Brooke wanted to trade with Phoebes, make it nice and equal, so she offered her the small Doritos snack that her dad had snuck into her lunch that morning when Brooke’s mom was putting Leon into his new leg braces. She knew Phoebe didn’t get Doritos snacks in her lunches, just sandwiches that smelled of bananas. Phoebe liked to swing her lunch bag around and she was always bruising the nice yellow bananas her mom packed for her.

“The animals leave the shores” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday May 27, 2015
2:34am
5 minutes
Kimminkus Tuft
Kim Minkus


The animals leave the shores
They pack their things and go
To where nobody knows
But they follow the pull
And when the night falls down
And blankets the day
Wraps it up in a starry shield
Protects it from going away
They sleep
With the little ones in the armpit of the elders’
They sleep
With the little ones curled up tight in the heart of the pack
They don’t hold back
From giving them everything that they need
They sleep
The animals they move along
Trying to chase the sun
Don’t expect anything from anyone
They know they’ll soon be done
Their travels
documented in the flesh of the earth
Their tracks
are paintings Mother Nature hangs up in her living room

“study and travel” By Julia in her bed in Bologna


Sunday October 5,2014
10:50pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

I am at the part of the journey where I want to turn back because my head is swirling and my heart aches a bit. It’s the part you’d recognize in a relationship where right after the Honeymoon phase, it turns into a troubling time. Where the fruit isn’t as sweet, where the “out loud” ideas are nowhere near as good, where the smell of feet begins to make itself present in every room and conversation. I’m there now. It’s like, yes, I know I love it (you), and it’s going to be worth it (us) in the end, but right now the only thing that will make me happy is laying in bed with a stack of dark chocolate and a bottle of limonata. Alone. Completely alone. It’s the hard part where things are really different. You just start seeing the world without that rose and laced veil. Mostly because it’s a lot of work being absolutely and utterly alone. Even though it’s what you want most for yourself so you can be yourself.

“Image Dip” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday May 28, 2014 at The CSI Coffee Pub
10:42am
5 minutes
Image from The Sun Magazine

I can’t tell if the sky is blurry-foggy-or if this is just my mind-blurry-fuzzy. I can hear you breathing-panting behind me-your footsteps trying to keep up.
I say, You okay? And it takes a second before you respond-
Yeah.
The road is shining so I keep my eyes down and I hum the song that I know calms you-I wait for you to sing along-start singing along with my calming song-but you don’t. You’re just breathing-panting behind me-and I’m navigating through the dizziness-trying to pinch my left arm hard enough to wake me up from this.
Almost there, I call back to you, but you don’t answer and I’m glad cause ‘there’ is a place that as far as I’m concerned I’ve made up.
I hope I’m not wrong. I pray silently that I’m not.
I reach back to see if I can touch your fingertips but I don’t feel you-I don’t stop, I know you’re still there. I don’t want you to feel like you’re holding me up-
I hum again-I hum louder-
You’re not singing along with me but you’re using my voice as a guide-
Under the boardwalk-I call-Down by the sea-On a blanket with my baby-
and you say, That’s where I’ll be.

Shoes on grass (photo dip) by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday, May 31, 2013
10:02pm
5 minutes

20130601-021029.jpg

When we took off our shoes and felt the grasses soft fingertips
When we sang James Taylor and cradled your flask
When we laughed until I peed and you had a stomach cramp
When we made salads with whatever we could find for under seven dollars
When we refused to stop making mixed tapes
When we ate homemade popsicles made with strawberries and thyme
When we hiked in the woods in the rain and made a fort out of birch branches
When we yelled our frustration at each other about our own personal private sadness
When we quit our jobs and packed up our flat
When we bought a ’96 Volvo and drove to each corner
When we sold the Volvo ‘cuz it broke down and bought bus passes
When you got sick and we had to find a real hotel in Saskatoon
When Isaac taught us how to catch wild salmon
When the moon was a sliver and you told me about how your father cut your toes
When I had to take Plan B because we were still babies and that never works out