“the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 11, 2017
6:26pm
5 minutes
What The Living Do
Marie Howe

Even though I asked it very nicely to stop, the sky would not stop laughing.
Some days it is miserable only benneath the skin. The bones squeek.
We forget that there is more beyond this dome or we never forget and some days we act like we do. We have gotten good at acting.

Miriam and I have been sneaking behind the Hollands’ shed to practice kissing. I told Miriam that she had soft lips and a subtle but effective use of tongue. She told me that I could afford to go a little harder. I was worried if I kissed her any harder I might want to stay kissing her. I didn’t know I would like girls. I didn’t know I would like her. I liked the groaning noises she made. I liked how warm her skin felt, her breath on the side of my mouth like a warning.

“discussing something that’s totally wrong” by Sasha in her bed


Tuesday August 15, 2017
11:18pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

Whenever I hear the faint din of Family Guy it reminds me of my first boyfriend
how desperate I was to kiss and be kissed
I’d lied about my first and whether it had happened on a baseball diamond
or whether it had happened on a camping trip
Truth or Dare doesn’t count everyone knows that
Really really I promise I’m telling the truth
it happened in the basement of my mother’s house
my private secluded dank strange jungle
with a hammock in the corner and my own bathroom
every sixteen year olds dream
MY OWN BATHROOM
I had so many strange products in that fucking bathroom
from the drugstore
what is it with teenagers and drugstores
It was a good honest earnest real kiss

“There’s a lot of blood in your lips” by Julia at JJ Bean on Main


Thursday November 3, 2016 at JJ Bean
7:10pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

I sucked her bottom lip slowly like I was trying to extract a stinger without disrupting the blood vessels. I wanted to taste her. I wanted to be gentle. In the hollowed buzz between us I could tell which breath belonged to her and which didn’t. I suddenly couldn’t stand the feeling of not sharing air. What had I been doing up until this point? Had I ever considered I had been hiding my truth somewhere deep in the shame of me–that tended to burrow underneath expectations and the holy grail of perfection? Had I even lived at all? We didn’t have anywhere else to be, no other versions of ourselves to uphold. I made a promise to only stop if she asked me to.

“is your weapon” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday November 7, 2015
11:46pm
5 minutes
from the back cover of Watchdogs

We pinky swear that we’ll only kiss guys (or girls) named “Chris”
I stick to it
Three months of
“What’s your name?”
Fingers crossed under the bar
You fail
Ever the sucker for “Bobbi” and “Shannon”
I catch you with “Fred” and you don’t even make an excuse
Broken promises like the flu
I pretend not to care but I do
I really do
We pinky swear that we’re going to Croatia at Christmas
I don’t want to see my family
and you want an excuse to not have to see “Fred”
“Just end it”
“I can’t”
“Why not?”
“Too precious”
It’s the second week of December and I ask if you’ve
booked your ticket
“I’m broke”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I felt too bad”
“Now I’m really fucked”
“I’m sorry”
“Now I’m going to be in Zagreb alone hoping Santa doesn’t forget me”

“see discuss contemplate” by Julia at her desk


Saturday, October 17, 2015
10:55pm
5 minutes
A Toronto Public Library card

Can I ask you something?
I say this to you right in the middle of a long and delicious make out.
Right now?
You ask, eyes still closed and hands still wandering.
No, I’ll wait a couple weeks, as you were.
I keep kissing you, a little more preoccupied than before.
What? What? You have to say it now.
You are no longer kissing me. Your hands have found a stagnant position on each side of my face.
Nah, forget I said anything. It was stupid! Where were we?
I shove my tongue down your throat and you reel away from me like I just tried to lick your eyeball or something.
Hey, hey, what are you doing? What’s going on with you?
You’re still holding my face, searching deep into my eyes, hoping to find something better than what I’m giving you right now.
I just wanted to ask you….If you…I wanted to ask you if you ever…fuck…just if you…
I am looking anywhere but your face. It’s harder than I thought it’d be.

“that’d be a mess” By Julia on her patio


Monday, July 13, 2015
7:10pm
5 minutes
In The Boom Boom Room
David Rabe


I’m thinking about what I’ll make you for dinner when I see you again.
See, I’m debating between ribs and chicken cause you really liked them both the last time. Maybe I’ll make you both with the special sauce and the arugula salad. You went crazy for the arugula salad. Or the chili shrimp. I could make you the chili shrimp. I want it to be special. Seeing you again after all this time, I mean, It has to be special right? It can’t just be thrown together. It has to be thought out. What a mess it’d be if I made all the dishes you liked but not well because there was a lack of focus. I tend to focus poorly when there’s more than one thing to focus on. I’m thinking about seeing you again, and kissing you again, and cooking for you again, and that’s very hard for me. It’s very hard not to let my mind wander. My mind’s a mess. You know it feels especially cluttered these days. Need someone to go in and do a spring cleaning, get all the cobwebs down, reorganize all the big issues so I don’t have to trip over them just to get to the good ideas.

“Welcome to the playground of the future” by Julia on the 505 going west


Sunday March 29, 2015
6:37pm
5 minutes
A TIFF kids TTC ad

Join me on the moon
and we’ll shoot spit balls down below
trying to hit the people in love
the ones who tongue kiss at the bus stop
we’ll laugh and we’ll touch our skin together
we’ll weave a human bracelet out of our heart strings
we’ll tie them together so when one of us moves
the other gets tugged along
back and forth
we seesaw with our metaphors, two points of equilibrium
I’ll bake cookies for the occasion
buttery ones with some kind of special chip
not chocolate though cause what’s the point?
I’ll save you a spot right beside me on the mountain
and we’ll send paper airplanes of our promises to each other
down below so somebody else may see
just what I mean to you
and just what you mean to me
on my list it’ll say To Hold Your Face In My Hands Once A Day
on yours you could put something along the lines of
To Smile From The Core Of Me Whenever Possible
And we’ll have designed the rules to our very own board game
Making sure that number one is We Both Win Always Always

“rather than something crafted from odds and ends” by Sasha at 49th Parallel


Sunday November 23, 2014
10:21pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Mary Catherine Bateson

found our way back to his place
his place
i usually prefer to go to my place
comfort
but the cat barfed on the carpet and so it smelled like
egg salad
i wasn’t sure how to do it
breach it
did i just grab his hand and put it on my crotch?
no
no
why would i do that
too abrupt
too out there
too in your face
i’d caught him staring at my adam’s apple
a small one
but still there
still not the woman i want to be
i caught him peeking down my shirt too though
found our way back to his place and we’re on his couch
and we’re kissing
soft lips
soft lips he says
and i’m saying
hold on
hold up
i’m i’m i’m i’m i’m

“Love rocks” by Julia on her couch


Thursday August 14, 2014
12:22am
5 minutes
from a girl’s purple t-shirt

Oh they say that when they have it, when they feel it, when they see it
Oh they say that when they know it, when they own it, when they free it
Oh they say those things, light on and good intentions
Oh they say those things, dreams out loud and good vibrations
Oh they, the ones who don’t have to do the missing
Oh they, the ones who don’t have to do the air kissing
Oh they, the ones who don’t need to pretend
Oh they, the ones who don’t need to wait
Love
Talking about Love
Talking about what everyone knows what I’m talking about
Paul Simon on the open road
Something about the loss of it and a window and the winds blowing
Talking about Love
Talking about the same old thing that poetry was built on
Hand-written letters in the mail, sent with two stamps and a kiss for good luck
Oh they say that when they have it, when they feel it, when they see it
Oh they say that when they know it, when they own it, when they free it
Love
Talking about Love

“A passionate hot blooded woman” by Julia at her kitchen table


Monday May 26, 2014
12:29am
5 minutes
from the ‘Julia’ candle

Then he looked at me and said, damn woman, that was the hottest kiss. I’ve never been kissed that passionately before. And I was like, well I was drunk so what do you want me to say? And he said, say you meant it, say you needed it. I was about to punch him in his face when he came up to mine and kissed me again. I didn’t even pull away. When we were done, he said, are you drunk now? And I said, no, and he said, so there we go. And I said, there we go? And he said, yeah, see? That was sober passion. I said, that shit doesn’t exist, and he said, yeah it does; I just proved it to you. You like me.
Then the world went dark and my eyes got fuzzy and I said, no these are all lies you tell yourself but now you’ve included me in the conversation too. He said, you’re seriously disputing that we just made passion out of thin air just a second ago? And I said, well yeah, passion comes from the soul, not from the lips. And then the world got light again and I could breathe and I could breathe enough that I started to walk away. He said, where are you going? And I said, I have something to do. And he said, more than being here right now with me in the middle of this moment? And then I couldn’t say anything at all that would encompass my disdain for him in “this moment” so I just scoffed and rolled my eyes all the way back into my head. He said, seriously? And I said, What? It’s a kiss. It’s how I kiss. I’m a good kisser, what more can I tell you, Christ.

“You’ll always be older than me” by Sasha on the Queen streetcar going West


Tuesday December 17, 2013
12:03am
5 minutes
From a birthday card

Dear Allison,
I want to be mad at you. I want it like SAT scores and peanut butter cups. But I’m… not. I look at you and I see our effing grandmother. I see the photograph of her wearing the red hat and black coat. Your face is shaped just like hers – like the moon. You’ll always be older than me. You’ll always have a birthday in January and I’ll always have a birthday in August. Aquarius and Leo. Those should be our names. Who needs “Allison”! Who needs “Suzie”! I want to be mad at you. You left me here with the depressed dog and our Father, who would rather be playing hockey than making me dinner. I hope University is really great. I do. I really do. I hope you’re kissing lots of attractive boys and that you’re wearing a great pair of boots. I hope that the food isn’t making you hefty. Joking. Joking. I love you, Al. I miss you. See you at Thanksgiving.

“I shook and then I licked” by Sasha in her bed


Tuesday May 14, 2013
12:35am
5 minutes
Coffee Courage
Mark. R. Slaughter


I don’t want a picture of us kissing. I found one, just now, and it gave me a shock of electricity in through my belly button. It’s harder when these things are stored on hard-drives. It’s harder to be sure that we’re rid of them. These pictures; these e-mails professing love that has now turned to something else, something different, not disdain but…; these songs that you recorded on your GarageBand and sent late one night so that I would wake up to it in the morning. It’s harder to be sure we’re rid of those such things. When it was a print, the fingerprints bright, the colours lovely, when it was a print, it was easier to burn, to tear, to shred and recycle. The sound of the photo being dropped in the “Trash” is so much less satisfying. Will I regret it? Will I regret that the footprint of you and I is, perhaps, closer to being nothing at all? What have you done with the photos and the e-mails and the songs?

“Delicious” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday, December 25, 2012
1:29am
5 minutes
The Gluten-Free Vegan
Susan O’Brien


We were practicing our kissing face in the mirror. He was getting mad at me because I kept opening my eyes to watch us do it. Sorry! I said, but if I don’t see it, I’ll never know what we’re doing wrong. Marisha and Tan cannot have a better kissing photo than us, do you understand? THIS IS SERIOUS!
He was getting annoyed. I could tell because he started twisting his beard the way he did when he was annoyed. It was a pretty obvious signal. But I was hell-bent so his twisty ways were going to have to wait. Let’s try again, I said, but this time, let’s do it like we’re alone, like no one’s watching. YOU’RE WATCHING! He said. You’re making me self-conscious and I don’t give a flying fuck if our photo is just ‘sub-par’. DO NOT SAY SUB-PAR to me. THAT IS NOT AN OPTION, JEREMY. He rolled his eyes at me, but I didn’t care. Marisha was broadcasting her cuteness all over the internet by now and if we didn’t have one to mock up the date stamp, then we would just look like second place because she did hers first. LET’S PRACTICE WITH THE WEB CAM! I squealed. We could video tape it and watch it from a couple of angles, and this way I could keep my eyes closed and he would feel a little more at ease. No. He said. This is fucking stupid. I’M DOING THIS FOR YOU, JEREMY! GODDAMMIT!