“she will not live long.” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
11:21pm
5 minutes
june 20th
Lucille Clifton

Mary-Beth gets a chicken
and she loves her with
all her heart because that’s
what a chicken does
to a person

You wouldn’t think it
but it’s true
They are bringing
chickens into senior citizens’
homes to help fight all
the loneliness

Mary-Beth lets Fiesta
(That’s her chicken’s name)
sit on her shoulder while
she is playing checkers with
Anthony and Robin
Fiesta helps her heart beat
to more music than ever
and she also helps her win
at checkers

“creamed corn with beer” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday July 4, 2016 at Starbucks
6:57am
5 minutes
Visiting my Sisters
Phil Hall


Only had one plan for the entire weekend and that was to roll out of my house and down the hill to the corner store and buy a banana or two and maybe a variety pack of mini travel cereals. Frosted Flakes. Had some nostalgia for times past, for the flavours of my youth. I turned off my phone and I bundled myself up in flannel and wool. I didn’t want to see anyone and I didn’t expect to. Hart had been gone for almost a month. He wrote me a letter saying it would be his last and that I should probably do my best to move on and not take the break-up too personally. Okay, Hart, I thought, I will only take it medium-personally. The teenager working the cash was on her phone and I was not in the mood for kindness anyway so it was fine. Then I heard my name being hollered from behind me. I turned around reluctantly and saw Hart’s oldest daughter, Carmen. She was holding a can of creamed corn and carrying a case of Labatt Blue.

“You put that out into the world” by Julia on her couch


Thursday June 2, 2016
11:05pm
5 minutes
overheard at UBC

Let me just put out there
that I was
about to
come to bed when you
closed the door on me
decided you just had to sleep
right then
and there
like the gods made you do it
I don’t know if
you could hear
me
grumbling to myself
how everything is on your time
and on your impulse
and I’ll just
wait out
here
until my blood has cooled
and my tongue
won’t burn you
because I was about to burn you
strike below
the belt
and make you feel
more alone than you’ve ever felt
but instead I remember that
you
bought
me
flowers
once

“How are you doing this morning?” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 1, 2016
8:38am at Starbucks
5 minutes
Overheard at Starbucks

My face is in the window and every single person who walks by has a dog
Every single person who walks by has a dog that looks like them
The woman in her clunky heels behind me shakes the floor so much it makes me have to pee
Holding it in, letting it pulse inside me like a flood threatening a levy, is the closest I’ve come to having an orgasm in weeks
I can’t think straight because James is studying in Nepal and I’m worried that she’ll die over there
She is obsessed with going sky diving or bungee jumping
The last time we spoke I told her to please just build a house and stay on the ground
I hate every moment that I’m awake these days
The man beside me is listening to the sound of me breathing and using it as a metronome for his typing
I want to shoot an elastic band at him for stealing my life and turning it into something I don’t have access to
The woman I bought the toaster from off of craigslist last June walks by holding a scruffy man’s hand and wearing fishing boot waders
I wave to her and she waves back but she clearly doesn’t recognize me right away
Then I see it click as a big wide smile crosses her face and she gives me an encouraging ‘thumbs up’ before walking away

“I’ll avoid her for a few weeks” by Julia on her couch


Saturday March 19, 2016
6:35pm
5 minutes
from a text

If I close my eyes I can almost hear perfect silence. The buzz of the fridge seems to disappear. The beeping of the trucks backing up outside my balcony are muted. I can get centred without going anywhere at all. I’ve been practicing getting zen and doing it under pressure as that’s the most necessary time. Sheila says that if I practice every single day, reaching for meditation every single time I have the urge to call her instead, I’ll really start to form a habit. I think Sheila has a point. You can’t reach zen when you’re trying to make plans to go mini-golfing, or asking someone about knitting. I think Sheila is doing the exact same thing every time she thinks of calling me. I imagine her sitting there on the floor 6 or 7 times a day if she’s being diligent about curbing the urge. I don’t remember the last time Sheila even called me so her approach must be working! If I can get to a point where I don’t even think about how little human contact I’ve had, I’ll call that a success.

“what kids want” by Sasha at The Elysian Room


Friday September 11, 2015 at Elysian
1:21pm
5 minutes
From the front page of the Globe and Mail Life and Arts section

Because these days she wants to crawl into a shell and become sand
Because she eats til she’s empty and the toilet bowl is full
Because she’d lied about her first kiss for two decades and that’s a heavy weight to bare
Because now that the leaves are changing she can’t deny that she is
Because when she’s alone she feels a hollow sternum further than the sky
Because she was a kid once with a fear bigger than the top bunk
Because around the corner is something she’s never seen before and it’s flashing neon
Because Toby and Gwen got married and she can’t stop looking and re-looking at the photographs of their first dance

“It’s almost like cheating.” By Julia in the Poet’s Room


Thursday September 11, 2014
12:15am
5 minutes
from an interview with Emma Healey in papirmasse

You don’t know who’s watching in a place like this
In an open space surrounded by people who seemingly don’t care one way or another
You can never be sure
You can never really know if you’re interesting enough to just one person
Or if your actions can go unnoticed
And your lips go unread
You might wear a smile just in case
You might bite your thumb nail in an attempt to look pensive
You might be completely naked
Loneliness written right across your forehead like a stamp
Extreme longing dripping from the nape of your neck as you pass your hand through your hair
Someone might see those things
And how beautiful you’d be if in those instances of unedited sadness
Having someone catch your soul in the air when you think no one’s looking
Those seconds of hiding behind nothing at all

“do something which both parties desire but are unwilling to do” by Julia on Nicole’s couch


Tuesday September 2, 2014
11:45pm
5 minutes
from the English translation of mamihlapinatapai

It was a look. It started out that way at least. He saw her standing in the rain with a broken umbrella at her feet and melting ice cream cone in her hand. She was letting it drip down her wrists and arms. It was sort of beautiful. Like an abstract oil painting of a feeling or a sentiment, captured by circles and lines and bright colours all winding into each other trying to tell a story of life and suffering.
She didn’t notice him there because that would have diminished her moment. She didn’t see anything but the rain falling around her so hard it looked like there was none coming down at all. She didn’t see the look he gave her which came from not his eyes but his chest. A heart beating wildly inside and for something he couldn’t quite explain or express. It wasn’t a quantity he could estimate or a dream he could decipher. It was her in all her perceived loneliness, in all her pain that he was adjusting to. Without moving, careful not to disturb her; careful not to disrupt the catharsis that was forming in his throat.

“any kind of company” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday July 29, 2014
4:37pm
5 minutes
wikipedia.org

She swept the living room floor for the third time that morning. She somehow kept stepping in sand, which she thought she had fully cleaned the day before. She put on The Dirty Projectors and made sure to press repeat every time Impregnable Question came on. It felt like the perfect song to listen as she was feeling alone, yet didn’t want to fall too far into a problematic state. This was after eating the raw cookie dough from the tube and drawing a sketch of a bat wearing a clown nose. Every time her phone rang, she leapt from her sprawled out on the floor position to see who it could be. Telemarketing usually. The occasional scam rewards program from Cruises R Us. She was desperate for any kind of company. Any kind that would require a conversation, the outpouring of her emotions and her opinions, and perhaps a hug that would last at least six seconds to ensure a proper connection was established.

“Parking available at the rear” by Julia on Jessica’s couch


Monday, July 7, 2014
12:02am
5 minutes
from a window sign


I don’t know if you know this, but I just got my license so I am free now and I can ride.
I can be the party bus.
I can be the one you call. Don’t drink and drive! So if you want to, I’ll take you there.
I’ll go anywhere. Just as long as I can get out of the house. It’s stuffy inside. It feels like the walls are made of rock crumble and at any moment it could come crashing down on me, burying me alive in all the rubble.
My mother is a sweetheart. She watches TV all day and tells me to heat up the carrots for dinner.
Nobody likes cooked carrots around here. Not even her. But she doesn’t know what else to feed me and she’s scared if she doesn’t I’ll go blind.
I heat up the carrots and put them on her TV tray beside the couch. She doesn’t even sniff them. They sit there all night. I don’t eat mine either so the house smells like warm mushy carrot and I don’t know if she knows this, but it’s not helping her case against my future blindness.
I want to get out and just drive along the highway.
I want to roll the windows down and breathe in the fresh freedom that I’ve been so hopeful for.
I want to drive away and never come back.
My mother is a sweetheart, but she won’t even know I’m gone.

“I don’t buy Made In China,” by Julia on Jessica’s couch


Sunday, July 6, 2014
5:19pm
5 minutes
http://www.elephantjounral.com


I buy nice things and only nice things
I buy something new every day
every day
I buy nice trinkets
I buy nice glass
I buy something new every week
every week
My toenails are always done up with style
I paint them a new colour every time I yawn
I buy nail polish every day, every day
I buy something new every week
I won’t buy something that was owned from somebody else first
I won’t accept hand-me-downs
I don’t even mind if things aren’t on sale
I don’t even mind
My house is decorated with beige and gold
I don’t hang things on the walls that look cheap
The light fixtures are ornate
The bathroom sink is a pearl
I don’t even live there
I live at the shops
I buy something new every day
I buy nice things and only nice things
I buy something new so I can feel good
I buy something new so I never feel old
I buy something new so I can boast
I buy something new because it’s the only thing I’m good at

“Health and Beauty Aids” by Julia at the Sheraton in Philadelphia


Monday April 21, 2014
12:07am
5 minutes
A sign in Parkdale

Haven’t considered Oshawa? Wow! You’re gonna be in for a treat! One of those places you really oughtta see before you die, eh Margie?
Oh exactly, you just have to visit. Great for your health and one of a kind landscape! And the people! Don’t get me started on them!
You guys, stop it. I’m not going to die! And even if I were I don’t think I’d put Oshawa on my top destination list.
You’re being a bit rude, Liam! It’s a beautiful place. Your mother and I wouldn’t talk about a city like that without anything to back it up, huh Marge?
Oh honey, your father’s right. He’s always right. But if I can be candid, he did have to convince me too!
I wasn’t always aboard the Oshawa train, but now I’m on it and it’s full steam ahead!
Choo chooo!
Oh Peter, I love it when you do that! Chugga chugga chugga chugga.
Chugga chugga Choo choo!
Okay, okay, stop.
What, honey, is it too much? We just get a real kick out of it.
I know.
And I don’t think it would kill you to visit us every now and again, that’s all.

“allow my worlds to collide” by Julia at the Arts And Culture Centre in NL


Thursday March 27, 2014 at The Arts And Culture Centre in NL
1:15am
5 minutes
from The Pillowman program in St St. John’s NL

I had a moment of desperation when the zipper on my jacket busted. And I was standing in a wind storm. And you were far away from me. And I couldn’t even call you if I wanted to. That’s when I knew that if I didn’t have you, I would have, cheesy as it sounds, nothing. You were around whenever I needed you to be. And I didn’t hold on tightly enough because I didn’t think I had to. You did everything right. And I didn’t understand what that might have meant until I was left searching for some semblance of your spirit. I went through every old purse, hoping I had a photo of you somewhere. Why didn’t I print any photos of you? Why didn’t I do that? I should have known better. When your phone crashes or your computer explodes, you realize how many things you should have backed up. I should have backed you up. And I think I mean that figuratively and literally cause if I had just reminded myself of how great you were, and stood on your team every chance I got, I wouldn’t be left wishing for anything. Because I would still have you. You would be right here. And I would have someone to hold me.

“you fit the part” by Julia on her couch


Sunday , August 11, 2013
11:30pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card from a friend

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

I’ve heard it’s hard to paint ringlets, and if so, get researching. I have a head of hair that could combat the storm, and it needs to be perfect, perfect.
you have the fine lines of an artist, the deep set brow lines that let me know you’ve been examining again. The off colour in your cheeks when you prefer painting in your garage and not with natural light. The lonely things you say sometimes that remind me you spend most of your days by yourself.

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

Let me help you out. I’ll come in, read books to you, massage your shoulders, and prance around in tiny pyjama bottoms that show of my legs so you can be inspired. Or I’ll bring you your deep dish pizza from Dominos and we can start a fire with all the scribblings you’ve done that don’t quite capture my smile or my spirit.

“how desolate the landscape can be” by Julia on her couch


Saturday May 11, 2013
2:22pm
5 minutes
Kindness
Naomi Shihab Nye


But when you’ve lost everything else, how might you view it? The landscape I mean, that is all I’m talking about. It could not bear to have any sunlit pastures, or violets. No, certainly not violets. It’s truly remarkable when the mist from the mountains shrouds the entire feeling. It’s delicate, and it’s a fine navigation between alive and dead. You’ve lost everything, my dear, and I feel emptiness on your behalf. I didn’t know the same wholeness you felt before you lost it all, but I do know, something of the sort. It starts quietly in the palm of your hand, turned out into the universe. And there, it begins to creep up onto your wrists, then your elbows, and it continues up, slowly, and fluidly, until it reaches your centre. It jumps inside your chest, almost instantaneously. You can’t prevent it, or predict it. It happens and then it strangles your heart until you can’t even cry out the pain from your eyes. You collapse, at the feeling of loneliness, and only loneliness because the other ways to describe it, are beyond our comprehension. Yes. That’s the thing that I too, understand without fail.

“find the right words” by Julia at Dark Horse on Spadina


Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at Dark Horse on Spadina
5:06pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Jack Kerouac

Say you love me. Say you love love love me. Say you need me. Say you need need need me. Say you want me. Say you want want want me. Say you fear me. Say you fear fear fear me.
All those words in a song. In a song that sounds like swing, jazz, blues, real and true.
All those words in a poem you write. In a poem that sounds like Di Brandt, same voice, no punctuation.
That’s what I’m looking for. Been searching for years. Almost one hundred tiny years. Dog years maybe. Get me a dog. Buy me a house. Treat me to a nice dinner for one and pick me up when I’m finished.
You can decide how badly I treat you. You can play the record on repeat, dance a circle around your ideas in your living room, and then paint them on the walls the way toddlers do with markers.
It’s because I say I love you. That I love love love you. Because I say I need you. That I need need need you. Because I say I want you. That I want want want you. Because I say I fear you. That I fear fear fear you.
I can’t be the only one. Lonely one. One and only lonely one.
You too.
You can be me so you can free me. I can’t be you. I’ve already tried. I’m asking you nicely. I’m making it rhyme. I’m not wearing day clothes and I’m letting my heart drip drip onto the floor.
Do you want me to spell it out?

“I really do not know” by Julia at Quality Suites Hotel in London


Thursday March 7, 2013
10:33am
5 minutes
The Marvelous Land of Oz
L.Frank Baum


I really have a good feeling about the weather today. Cloudy, but nice enough to walk outside in. That’s the trouble I have with most days; I don’t ever want to leave the house. Not that I’m scared of the outside or anything. I’m really not. I’m just not a big fan of leaving if I don’t have to. Do I have to anyway? Who decides this? I go out when I need eggs or milk, or a hug from someone who doesn’t live with me. I’m not just going to go for a walk to get out. That, to me, is not the best reason. But what, who decides? Today is different, I guess. I think today makes me want to go out for no reason at all and that might be because I just admitted I don’t like leaving the house and I have to prove to everyone that I’m functioning. I am, by the way. I have a dog and I have a job. People think if you generalize things that means you’re really sad. I’m not sad, I don’t need any major pats on the back or whatever. I’m not angry!! I’m not! I really do not know why you’d think it in the first place! Some people just say the truth and automatically they’re deemed a spaz or a help-case. I don’t need help. I just need the weather to be nice enough for me to want to go out and not jog but maybe just stand there, and not shop, but maybe go to the backyard and look at the pear trees. I have pear trees! I’M NOT SAD! I think after all of this I may stay inside. I have a book I want to think about reading and I have a newspaper too.