“Our mission is” by Julia in her bed

Saturday, November 24, 2018
11:06pm
5 minutes
Braving the Wilderness
Brene Brown

Our mission is to meet ourselves at the centre of our longing and stand with our arms open. Welcome the longing. Welcome the life that you know is for you.
Sounds great.
And it sounds like perfect bullshit.
The answer of knowing is inside us…
The impossible questions have justifications there.
Am I supposed to flit off into the Wild pulse of my heart and find the truth?
Am i the only one who needs to visit that spot? Everyone else seems to be there already, sipping from the special cup.

Our mission is to stop going on missions. Stop believing the voyage will save us. Stop thinking that one size fits all. Our spirits are tired. They don’t want to travel all that way.
Not when they’re wobbly. Not when they’ve been beaten down for being big in the first place.

“Of course we should postpone.” by Julia at the desk

Tuesday July 31, 2018
10:02pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I’ve been reading about community and how you don’t always get it without making one you fit into on your own. It brings me back to middle school. I was put with all the kids who weren’t try-hards or try-at-alls and I had to do the leading. I had to do all the deciding. I had to do all the work. And I still didn’t get anything out of it. I still didn’t get any respect. Didn’t get any thanks. Didn’t get any friends. Nobody surprised me. Nobody learned anything new about me. And those were the people I was getting. Were they the ones I was asking for by refusing to set boundaries or make my own rules? Maybe. Am I simply adverse to work? There are many maybes here. The point is, it’s not for free. It’s not a guarantee. So I have to learn to love myself instead. I have to learn to love myself so much so that the absence of community doesn’t destroy me. I have to be stronger than that. And it is more work than waiting around. It is more.

“The joy of bursting and bearing fruit” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday July 11, 2018
9:30pm
5 minutes
Earth Prayers
John Soos

It’s on my mind on my tongue on my heart in my hands. It’s everywhere. An obsession like none other that I’ve ever felt. A craving deep inside my body, and beyond my body. Of the body and not of the body. This profound ache. This transcendental desire. The distance from here to there feels long, but short, too. In moments when I value quiet, independence, my body being only my own. So much hinges on this, this choice, this timing, this trust, this surrender. I can’t know anything but right now, we all can’t, really. I read articles, I look at photos, I ache. I try to explain it to you, or it just is explained through the markings in my words, on my tongue; the etchings of my heart make a potato print onto yours.

“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

“barely do I sense that faint tug” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday February 7, 2018
9:37pm
5 minutes
Hiking With My Shadow
Don McKay

once there was a faint tug of determined grace
it came on the night after
it started to grow like a headache
and it was loud then, too, unavoidable
grace is supposed to feel light
like a tongue
forgiving a whisper
but the whisper changes shape
and the tongue gets confused

the faint tug was built like
a milkshake, everything getting
caught in the straw on the way up
the pull
a force that shouldn’t
be this hard;
the pull
a lie that
keeps getting stuck in the cheeks
it was there once
but it hasn’t come knocking
since

“You’ll do pants today.” by Julia in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Sunday January 21, 2018
9:19pm
5 minutes
Summer, Winter, War
Melinda Moustakis

As we got off the plane all I could think about was my jean shorts. How long it’s been since I’ve gotten to wear them and how I will wear them as soon as we get our entrance visas stamped. Entrance visas take a long time to get stamped, it turns out. We can feel the thick weighing down the airport from inside of it. I want my legs to see the sun. I want my jeans to return to my backpack and shut up about not being chosen. Hours and hours go by because the lineups are all over the place. The taxi driver takes us the long way, round and round, before dropping us off at our hotel. The hotel staff needs to get through their spiel. Today I’m doing pants and shorts. And gratitude. And abundance.

“she honestly does not have those impulses” by Sasha on the ferry heading home


Wednesday November 16, 2016
6:35pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio


I found the sweet spot in a twin bed in my father’s house
second floor of the Victorian brick house on the tree-lined street
Lying on my back thinking thinking seeing thinking wishing panting
parting spreading leaking oh oh say it yes sweet sweet sweet
There was not shame on the futon on the floor of the basement
of my mother’s house
first love like liquid gold between my legs
first love passion and clumsy hands and is it supposed to feel like
this?
I see these young ones
pups
I see these crying mothers
for their daughters in crop tops with eyes the basins of longing
Fill me up
Fill me up

“slack jawed” by Sasha in the bath


Thursday October 12, 2016
11:09pm
5 minutes
From an email

I wasn’t used to the attention
an excuse
okay
a discretion
I did fifteen things I regret
okay
starting and ending with
you
Tears fall onto a notebook page
a and e and s swell and bleed
a womb away my sister
nurses the next generation
It’s late there
My sorry will never be
enough
for the slack jaw
fuck
on the couch
in the country
My regrets bite my tongue
Assault my dreams
night after night
season after fall
driving cars off cliffs
walking topless into a family reunion
in Florida

“your hand in mine” by Julia on her bed


Saturday August 20, 2016
2:08pm
5 minutes
Heard in a song on Co-op radio

I catch myself believing I deserve better when I grab your hand in the crowded street and you pull away after only a second. I grab your hand as a gesture to show you that in this sea of people, I cling to you. I reach for you. I choose you. I remind you every chance I get that I am proud of you. That I am proud to be with you. That the touch of your skin connects me to the only things in this life that matter. And you might miss all of that if you’re not expecting to see it. If you think holding hands is something to be taken for granted. Or to be done differently, perhaps. On days like this I swim along the shoulders of other people when I think of how lonely it is to love you. How far I’ve pushed my heart into opening and how tired she is from never being cradled back. I don’t think I’m allowed to ask for more. I need so much so much so much.

“I balance unlaced shoes” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 23, 2016 at Starbucks
6:53am
5 minutes
Circling Before Landing
Mariene Crookshaw

Man puts on the radio, turns the dial so slowly
slowly
we hear bits and pieces of moments
and conversations
and music
and static
and we wait until he finds the station
he likes
he can put up with
that won’t make him crazy
He is responsible for us now
he keeps our spirits
in the switch of the dial
in the palm of his hand
In the corner
by the only
window
there is a bony girl in green and black
striped pants
who holds a paper
airplane up to the light
that was here yesterday
she is holding on
for
her turn
to dance
but the music doesn’t stay
the crackling continues
Her mother is lying two feet
away from her
her belly robbed in the
middle
of
the
night
the blood is slowing now
her eyes remain open
pointed at the ceiling
longing for
escape

“I make him feel guilty.” by Julia at Lindsay’s house


Wednesday May 18, 2016
10:44pm
5 minutes
Burner Season
Ellie Sawatzky


Kev and I haven’t spoken since last Wednesday. It’s been a week. I told him I wanted to see how long we could go without engaging with each other. He was angry that I even suggested something like that. I didn’t say it but I wanted him to know how I felt. How when I want intimacy, conversation, attention, I have to practically beg him for it. I wanted him to know what it felt like to live with someone who didn’t “put out” emotionally. So far it’s been brutal for both of us but I don’t know who’s got it worse. I decided on purpose that I would avoid him to teach him a lesson but I’m not sure if I’ve now pushed him away instead. When we have to share the kitchen, Kev reaching up to the top shelf to pull down his favourite cereal bowl, me underneath him grinding flax seeds, we don’t make eye contact if we can avoid it. I don’t know what he would do if I looked him in the eye, but I do know that if he met my gaze I would have a hard time keeping my mouth away from his. This distance, despite my efforts to remain unmoved has made me want him more than I am maybe willing to control. I have been fighting myself for 7 days: Make him come to me, or make him come for me.

“I’m flexible” by Sasha in Mississauga


Friday April 29, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
From an e-mail

We found ourselves in the middle of your kitchen floor. A key in the lock. Shit. Shit. I sneak into the pantry cupboard with flour and chickpeas and tortilla chips. I can’t believe I fit. I don’t understand. I hear his voice and yours, higher than usual. I wonder if he can smell the stress? The pasta?

He goes upstairs, heavy feet. You whisper to me, “it’s safe now,” and I almost say, “nevermind,” and stay in the kitchen and let it all blow up.

I don’t. I go. I walk the three doors down, from your house to mine. My wife kisses me. “What did you have for lunch?” she asks.

“saying she is lost” by Julia on the 505 going west


Monday, April 27, 2015
11:49pm
5 minutes
from Hopelessly Hoping
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


Do you remember those days we would show up to a concert wearing almost the exact same thing? I don’t know if you got a kick out of it but it was one of my favourite things. Did I not tell you that? I loved when we’d dress alike because it meant we were spending a lot of time together and our styles were merging because that’s just what happens when people are connected by heart strings. I liked most how it was unconscious or subconscious or whateverconscious because that was more proof that we weren’t even trying to be similar, we just were. Anyway, I guess all that to say I miss it. I miss you. I don’t even know where I am half the time and I’ve realized lately it’s because you’re not here anymore. You used to anchor me to the earth; to myself. I knew more about the world when you were around. I knew more about magic and wonder and rushing out of the house just to meet you at whatever corner so we could talk about writing or the painfulness of falling out of touch with ourselves.

“friends to build your community” by Sasha on the couch in Mississauga


Monday December 22, 2014
9:12am
5 minutes
from grooveshark.com

I want to tell you something small. And massive. And yellow. I want to tell you about moving across ice, fawn legged, and reaching up to catch a tired branch and missing. I want to tell you about the shame in my hips, tight and sepia toned, how she hums when the nights are cold, how she moans when the fire has turned to embers. I want to tell you how I see the tired in your smile, how I see the memories of before and the forgetting of now. I want to tell you to stop reading the Tabloids, that slow drip of mediocrity, and I want to tell you that I won’t judge you if you don’t stop, but I will keep shoving books of poetry under your bed in hopes that you’ll find them when you’re most filled with longing.

“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

“Even if she is feeling like the scum of the earth” by Julia at her kitchen table


Monday June 2, 2014
11:38pm
5 minutes
an Instagram photo

She told me herself she didn’t feel like herself when the rain fell and when her stomach fell
I heard her say it with a faint ringing in my ear
I heard her say it cause I saw her there in the mirror
She was alone and cold and a full-blown ally to the dark side, to the wrong side
She was something that I could only dream about
Or wish for
She told me herself she didn’t feel much like singing when the sun was out
She would be there, crouched in the mud, trying to taste her mistakes
Trying to make a waterfall from her eyes’ outpouring
The earth is a wet and cold place
I heard her say it with a faint longing in my bones
I heard her say it cause I was stuck there inside her ribcage when her heart started screaming
Take me away
Take me so far away from this
And the sky would open with her desperate kiss
And she would lay there holding on to the only thing she knew

“It’s right here” by Sasha at the Fringe Creation Lab


Wednesday December 4, 2013 at the Fringe Creation Lab
5 minutes
1:06pm
an Avision Young ad on a building

I’m gonna paint you a picture of the time you blew my mind
the time you sank my battleship
the time you showed me that there is redemption
and it wears a backwards baseball cap
The picture looks like
You
arriving with indignation
and bad breath
after
being swaddled and rocked
after sucking and biting me dry
shaking your head at the sound of the piano your father’s fingers play
making a stink about the colour of the music
I’m gonna paint you a picture
of what you said



You are the revolution



You are the clock
counting backwards
counting portrait and landscape
counting by letter
painting by number



I look at your chestnut eyes
And I can’t believe I made you

“Everything is all right” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, March 17, 2013
2:34am
5 minutes
Dharma Bums
Jack Kerouac


She sits by the window reading her favourite book this week for the second time. It’s about mystery, and passion, and deceit. Her book, that is. It’s a good one because it makes her stop to think about what it is she actually wants. Relatively speaking, of course. She wants daisies to be brought in bunches. She wants an impromptu car ride to the hill, or to a swimming pool where illegal night swimming happens every Thursday. She gets caught up in it all. Yearning for Mr. Abbotsford to casually ask if she’d like her lawn…mowed Or her sidewalks…shoveled. Mr. Abbotsford is the closest thing she has to The Gardiner. The Contractor. The Mailman. All of these dream-boat men exist in her book, but in real life she has to take care of her own yard. Not so glamorous when the fantasy gets squandered by reality. She keeps her nose buried deep in the pages, afraid to look up. Afraid to get anything done.

“Why is she following this river” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, December 29, 2012
2:29pm
5 minutes
Fool’s Bells
D’anna


Because she can’t help it. Woke up this morning, couldn’t feel her feet, went to find them. There. Now she’s in the river.
She said the water felt hot, like lava. Said she could stand it as long as she breathed…
Waiting for the sun to set, she says to herself in a calming tone:
Shhh.
Shhh.
This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end.
The stars from last night echo in her mind’s eye. Blink once for yes. Twinkle twice for no.
Yes. No.
Remember when it was so simple?
The hard rocks are not rough, but they keep their place without moving.
She is deep now. She’s letting the rush swallow her legs and memory all at once.
Where is the wind now, she wonders. Is it here?
She does not feel the breeze. It’s a trapping sensation that keeps her limbs tight.
She couldn’t feel her feet, went to find them.
Now she’s here.
Now she’s in the river.
The silent crushing of her everday’s dream. It is weighing on her every internal organ.
Crying out: PICK ME. SAVE ME. NEED ME.
It goes on and on and the mood is changed from wishful longing to regret.
Just plain regret.
And then she’ll dry off her toes, rest easy on her back, and count the flying snowflakes, trying to find a place to perch.
Will this hold me forever?
Will this keep me safe?