“the usual flood of dark worries” by Julia on C’s couch


Saturday June 17, 2017
9:57pm
5 minutes
The Tools
Phil Stutz and Barry Michels


I find myself in the afternoon
but I lose myself every morning
it’s a hunger I don’t feed much
because it will eat whatever it can
find whether I like it or not
and why do extra work
the alarm was set for early o’clock
and ignored
the day sneaks past me like
it’s trying to keep something
from me
I assume it’s time
I am sure it’s grace
in the bathroom I can
be alone with my family of
dark worries
I can close the door
waste the water
light a candle
remain still
I find myself among the faces
in the shower tiles that have all
begun to look like me

“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

“who’d surprise his roommates” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 22, 2016 at Starbucks
7:07am
5 minutes
Anthony’s Glass Eye
Billeh Nickerson


Callahan is coming home tonight. He’s been in Europe mastering the art of Instagram and showing off his cool life that his parents are paying for. He started his trip in Spain and then decided he wanted to live in Italy, then changed his mind to Berlin, then eventually just went back to Spain. The only person he told he was coming back was me and he made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone else. “Gonna surprise everybody: The Prodigal Roommate returns! But, I tell him, I can’t pick you up, it’s not enough notice. And he tells me, don’t worry; one of the guys will be there. Except you didn’t tell any of the guys, remember? Oh yeah, he said, no, I know, all good. Bueno! Muy bueno! I casually mention the bus and Callahan “gets another call”.

“provides clear directions” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday, January 30, 2016
1:24pm
5 minutes
theatlantic.com

When I tell you where my heart lives, I draw a map of its outline in the sand with an arrow pointing straight through it toward the ocean. I say, find me here when I am lost, find me here when you are.
You can rest easy knowing that I will never need you to buy me expensive things. Give me seashells and messages in a bottle. Give me soft splash and softer footprints. Give me calm winds and driftwood walking sticks. I will lay myself bare so you don’t have to go hunting for me. I will be as naked as the full moon making love to the night, and on my skin, a thousand Xs marked to remind you that you’ve found me.

“store solar power” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 18,2015
10:07pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by the Globe and Mail

When we’re alone after a full day of kissing my family and eating tortelli you tell me there’s this new game you can’t wait to play when we get home. I don’t know why, but this bothers me. I can’t tell why I’m upset by this. You’re not hurting me by playing. Or are you? I haven’t figured out why my insides are twisting and my veins are pulsing. Am I looking for a reason to be mad at you? I try to delay my response because I’m worried it’ll come out naggy, or pissed off. I would much rather come to the conclusion of my feelings before involving you in an outburst. Is it because I wish I had something to look forward to when we go home? Is it because we have plans when we get home and you’re blowing me off? Do we have plans at all? I’m mad at how mad I am without quite knowing why. I rack my brain for instances to refresh my memory about why it is I can’t handle this decision. It seems like one you’ve made before. I remember that. Or something like it…

“holier-than-thou” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday November 17,2015
12:05am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Went to church when I was younger I guess, so I have this really big soft spot for budding Christians. Not the full blown ones, I have no room for those. But the ones who are starting to feel community and straight-edged living are the ones I see myself in. So many of my beliefs were centered around permission and guilt and acceptance and guilt and lying and begging and praying and guilt. Like I was sand being shaken back and forth in an hourglass. Always trying not to be wrong. Always trying to right the wrong. Always being wrong. Always feeling bad for being wrong. But there in the community where we’d raise our hands to the Lord and sway them back and forth while our eyes were closed and our hearts exploded, we felt like pieces cut out of the same felt, glued onto bristol board to form a perfect circle; the poster kids for The Lost.

“Our favourite woman is missing!!!” by Julia at Valens Restaurant


Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at Valens Restaurant
10:02 pm
5 minutes
From a text

I wait for Dany to close the door fully before I utter a single word about Cynthia. I hear the click. Dany waits at the window watching Mitchell get into his car. She makes sure he drives away then she slowly turns around.
“He’s gone.”
“You sure?”
“Yeah. Watched him drive off. ”
“I don’t think she’s dead. ”
“Don’t say that. I knew you were going to say that. ”
“Hear me out, Dany. I’ve given this a lot of thought. ”
“I don’t like that she could be alive and wouldn’t tell us. Or wouldn’t even tell her own brother. ”
“That’s just it, Mitch can’t know about her. No one can. ”

“take her children to church” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday June 4, 2015
10:21pm
5 minutes
Vogue
October 2014


We’re down the road at the Allen’s and we’re drinking sangria and laughing about the sound of Kevin practising the trumpet. We’re eating hot dogs and coleslaw and Mary says, “Lar, didn’t you have something you wanted to say to these guys?” And Larry looks dumbfounded, or struck by this, by what Mary’s said. Your Mom and I have no idea what’s happening, and I’m thinking about whether or not I’ve got mustard all over my face! Finally, Larry says, “We’ve lost everything…” Mary runs inside, her hand over her mouth, stifling tears, and your mother goes, “Mary! Larry…” And I’d never thought about how their names are, you know… So I can’t even help it! I laugh! Larry stands up and pulls back like he’s going to sock it to me and your mother glares at me and I follow Mary, running inside.

“the wisdom of the world” by Julia at Jess and Rick’s kitchen table


Sunday, April 18, 2015
7:12pm
5 minutes
http://www.onbring.org

On my way to the edge of the world I found myself
dangling there
one foot over the part where it’s dangerous
too far to come back from
and one foot teetering on the earth beside it
that’s where I was
that’s where I found myself
Melting into my own choices
left alone to face this vastness
and my own devices
but what I found I started to like
what I found I started to love
what I found I started to nurture
cause she was lost before
and she was scared
and suddenly I heard her prayer
and her promise to make time a priority
not to waste or to kill it, but to welcome it
And I was her just days ago falling
Or wanting to
over the edge of the world where I didn’t recognize my own thoughts
My own gifts
nothing mattered at all
Then I took a drive by my old memories
and I conjured up the spirits of my past
asked questions like, oh, do you remember me?
And if you do, can you spare a hope or two?

“Is it coffee time yet?” by Sasha on Sarah’s bed in Abbotsford


Sunday, April 5, 2015
11:14pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the bus station in Kitchener

She ties the rubber in a knot and flicks the white liquid. She scrunches her nose. She adds it to the jar. Thirty five. She texts Bec. “Up yer game bitch”. Flat Face Pug Man was completely quiet when he came. His Flat Face barely changed. She’d watch them, all of them, number six through til now, focused on the tiny muscles around their eyes, the purse of the lips, the flexing biceps.

“Thank you for using Bell, how may I help you today?” She gulps from her coffee mug. “Nancy?” She recognizes the voice. Her heart drops, a bomb in her stomach. “Hold please…” She crawls under her desk and sucks her thumb. Chris finds her like that, three hours later. “Are you okay?” She nods. Her phone vibrates on the cubicle desk above her head. “It’s from Bec,” says Chris, getting down on his knees and taking her face in his hands.

“Weren’t you sorry” by Julia at her desk


Sunday March 15, 2015
10:32pm
5 minutes
from Sputnik Sweetheart
Haruki Murakami


Like a ton of bricks falling from the ceiling, right over your bed while you’re in the middle of a good dream. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from the moment of feeling like nothing else was even happening or existing around me. Just hazy, stabbing light, hacking into my every skin cell.
It was shocking to say the least. The motherfucking shock of my motherfucking life. I didn’t see it coming. Maybe I never wanted to see something like that, and in my head I couldn’t even think it was possible. And then all of a sudden I was sitting at my best friend’s hospital bed, holding her hand and keeping her eyelids cool with my fingertips. I don’t know if I said it out loud, but I know for a fact my heart was singing it. Over and over again like a broken, desperate record: Please don’t die. Please don’t die. Please don’t die.

“landed immigrants” by Julia on her couch


Friday March 13, 2015
6:39pm
5 minutes
from http://www.banffmediafestival.com

Touch down acquaint orient
Reorient
Find the water
Where’s the water?
Friendly Sir
Morning coffee spill parade
Left then left then left then straight
Breathe in this city
Ask all the hard questions
Where am I going?
Why am I going there?
Fear leads and buries
Don’t follow blind
Don’t assume
Ask all the hard questions
Can you help me?
Can you show me?
South then east then south then east
Home now, a strange word
Invented
Reinvented
Depending on the day
The time
The hour

“in the passenger seat” by Julia at her desk


Sunday October 26, 2014
12:33am
5 minutes
from the early draft of a screenplay

Anja sat quietly in the front seat, not wanting to disturb her father while he was lost. She knew she’d only have a few more calm minutes with him before he lost his temper, and she didn’t want to reduce them by saying the wrong thing, or breathing too loudly. Anja had wanted to go up to the cabin with her father ever since she was a kid, but for some reason they never did things just the two of them. Of course Pat got to do everything with their father, and he’d come home shining like the sun after a weekend alone with him. Anja knew she didn’t have much to say to her father, but always assumed that was because she never got to go on these trips like her brother did. If she had had the opportunity, she would have made herself known. She would have told a few jokes and proven how strong she was, and fearless. It felt like the two of them, finally spending some quality time together, had been driving in circles for at least an hour. Anja wondered briefly if this moment would be enough to bring them closer together.

“the landing cure” by Julia at Hunter’s Landing


Saturday August 30, 2014 at Hunter’s Landing
2:25pm
5 minutes
Hunter’s Landing menu

Tawny lost her tooth at the supermarket and she’s really bummed about it, Kev. What are we supposed to do about the tooth fairy now? Cause she literally lost the tooth and the whole premise is that the tooth fairy takes the tooth and gives her a loonie. A loonie for a tooth, Kev, and now because she got knocked in the head by a box of Lucky Charms, she has no tooth. Some other kid probably has her bloody tooth and is making money on it right now. I mean, do we tell her the tooth fairy just has an intuition? Or do we shape her up for some good quality reality, and tell her that the tooth fairy will not be coming this time because rules are rules and she didn’t follow the protocol. I mean, this is the school of hard-knocks am I right? That girl has to learn sometime. She has to learn to be careful and not lose things of value! She has to learn to be more aggressive while looking for something that has value! She has to be more thoughtful of her surroundings and be more observant so that when one thing changes, ie, her tooth is now somewhere on the floor when minutes before the floor looked a different way, so that she can recognize when she needs to be on guard because consistency is like the thing before they have deja vu in The Matrix!

Total Control by Sasha on the 99 bus


Thursday August 28, 2014
7:32pm
5 minutes
The bottle of curl keeper

I’m not exactly sure how I got here but what I do know is it smells like fish. I woke up next to a little girl, curly hair, sucking her thumb. She kept sleeping. I found the toilet in the corner of the kitchen and peed, trying to keep my legs together. I heard a voice, “You’re home!” I heard a crash. I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do. I felt a tear trickle from one eye, to my upper lip. I licked it. The voice became a person, a woman, and she was wide and moustached. “You’re here! You’re home!” She smiled but it was more like a cat that got the cream. “This… is not my home… I don’t even know where I am…” She took my hand. She was cold. She began opening a can of tuna. She called, “Millicent! Sheldon! Bartholomew!” She tapped a fork against the can. I heard footsteps.

“Courier Mail and Daily Telegraph” by Sasha on her couch


Friday Aug 8, 2014
12:03am
5 minutes
http://www.taste.com

Nothing about this place made her feel comfortable. But it wasn’t about that. “Are you in line?” “No. Nope. Sorry…” She went to the frozen food section and took out a bag of peas and held it on her sacrum. She’d been sore since May. She thought about lying down, the peas underneath her, bringing her icy relief, and then she worried that all the ladies in their trackpants and their sweater sets might miss her. “You’re quite forgettable, aren’t you Liz?” Her mother used to say. She imagined these women, toddlers crying, cell phones ringing, rolling right over her with their shopping carts.

“the endless sky of Manitoba” by Julia at The Cabin Coffee in Bemidji, MN


Monday Aug 4, 2014 at The Cabin Coffee
11:18am
5 minutes
a quote from Joe Lawther


Oh I know I’m far from home
And I’ve got a long way to go
But I’ve been here a while and I say the same thing
There is so much to see
Endless possibilities
I have held on to the limitless feeling
Oh I’m under under under
Looking up to something bigger than me
Oh I’m under under under
Can’t keep my eyes on anything but
The endless skies of Manitoba
I can’t think straight
I just dream all day
I’ve been here for a while and I say the same thing
My whole life is this
Reaching for its bliss
I have held on to the limitless feeling
Oh I’m under under under
Looking up to something bigger than me
Oh I’m under under under
Can’t keep my heart on anything but
The endless skies of Manitoba
The endless skies of Manitoba
Stretched as far as I can go
looking each and every way and I can’t find my soul
Lost in some vast field under the bright calm blue
I’m far away from home but I’ve found my truth

“Detour 23” by Julia in a park in Lowertown, St Paul, MN


Sunday Aug 3, 2014
2:21pm
5 minutes
from a Pembina Hwy sign

Of course he left me. I was impossible. I smoked too much. I drank too often. I woke up late. I forgot to dust the underside of chairs, or books, or picture frames. I refused to water our one and only basil plant. I watched it die a slow death everyday by ashing into its pot. I left the TV on throughout the day. I only took long hot showers. I got Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup stains on the couch, the bed, and the wall in the front foyer. I coughed up phlegm and spat it into drinking glasses that were next to me. I dog eared every page in every book he loved. I scratched his DVD player so it no longer worked. I took the car out to the border just so I’d have something to do. I never filled up the tank for when he needed it. I chewed my nails and left the ripped bits on the kitchen table. I swore in my sleep. I never ever thanked him.
Of course he left me. I was impossible. I wanted him to go. Sometimes better people are out there beyond the comforts of “love”.

“be this comfortable” by Julia on the river walk in Minneapolis


Saturday Aug 2, 2014
4:27pm
5 minutes
dipped from Joe’s wallet

Hannah and her teddy bear were stranded on the side of the highway, holding a rescue seance and trying really hard not to cry. Somehow Mom and Dirk thought it was a good idea to leave the Walmart without first checking if she was with them. Hannah and her teddy bear were playing house in aisle 19 and she had accidentally fallen asleep while pretending to sleep on one of the mattress. Usually she heard when someone is coming and “wakes up” right as they walk past her, but today wasn’t very busy at Walmart and Hannah had been laying with her eyes closed, so comfortable clutching her teddy bear close to her body for a long time and eventually she was having real night dreams while Mom and Dirk looked at hunting equipment. When Hannah finally woke up for real, she couldn’t figure out where she was.

“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

“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.

“your grief for what you’ve lost” by Julia at her desk


Friday March 21, 2014
12:44am
5 minutes
Bird Wings
Mary Oliver


Sarah-Jane lost her keys the same morning she lost her mind which was the same morning she lost her fiancee, and nobody knows which order it was. They speculate: they think one obvious event would lead to the next. Some call it Murphy’s law. Some would argue in the same breath that Murphy’s law doesn’t even come close to encapsulating what happened to poor Sarah-Jane.
There were reporters on her doorstep trying to interview her. Sarah-Jane was not really up for talking but the first couple times her doorbell rang she assumed it was family or a casserole and answered it without thinking there’d be cameras. Some people are cold and heartless that way. Not allowed to grieve what you’ve lost in peace and solitude the way she so clearly needed.

“your grief for what you’ve lost” by Sasha on her couch


Friday March 21, 2014
12:04am
5 minutes
Bird Wings
Mary Oliver


You’ve lost a lot of things over the course of your thirty three years. One. An apple on the subway tracks, you gasped as the train boomed into the station, imagining your apple, your perfect, red, Gala apple, becoming pulp under the pressure. Two. You sanity, at the hands of a red-headed woman who claimed to be the mother of his child, your husband’s child (well, okay, you weren’t actually married but you might as well have been), who came with a photograph and a baby book and claims of rights and asthma and child support. Three. Your keys, you were drunk and you were dancing and you put your black bag, small, so small you could tuck it under your arm or hold it in your hand, you put that black bag on the back of the toilet seat when you went to pee and then you stood up and forgot to flush (guilty as charged, every time) and then forgot to see it sitting there, waiting patiently on the dirty porcelain. Four. You dignity, when you cheated on the Biology exam in your second year of University. You were caught. You took a leave. And then returned when you were well-rested, well-travelled, well-aged.

“containing all parts” by Julia on her bed in Baden


Sunday, March 31, 2013
12:41am
5 minutes
the Bonomelli box of Camomile tea

She had bit the inside of her lip. Hard. Felt the blood start to fill her mouth. Tasted the iron. Running her tongue across the chewed up flesh underneath her bottom lip. She sat there in the middle of her bedroom floor, dreaming of a better feeling than this…A worse one? Was there such a thing? Or was this anything and everything? She was making a vision board; an inspiration collage; a quick fix to her lack of discipline and drive…
She jabbed her pointer finger into her mouth and pulled it out quick. She stared at her finger, examining it, the red water colour slowly dripping down until it collected at the base of her palm in a puddle. She was lost in thought. Lost in a trance because of the rain outside her window. Because of the soft thumping of a distant headboard in a room nearby… but not close enough to decipher any of the words, or moans–only close enough to know they were good…
She grabbed a square of bright pink construction paper. She folded her bottom lip down and pressed the bite mark on to it. Little red flecks splattered out and across.

“No, I promise” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, March 27, 2013
10:58am
5 minutes
Wild Mind
Natalie Goldberg


When you and I went for that walk, in the ravine, in the October blush, I secretly hoped that we would get lost. If we got lost, we’d get to spend more time together. We would have to huddle close together for warmth. You’d have to share your Gatorade, your pocket knife. We’d forage for wild leeks, and funguses. We’d build a fort out of a blanket that we’d find, a red and blue and white blanket, like the French flag… You’d get a kick out of that. “You are the grizzliest man I have ever met,” I would say, curled into you, under the blanket, a small bonfire burning before us. You’d scoff a bit. “No, I promise,” I’d say, and you’d believe me the second time. It’s something you learned from your mother. Refuse first. Accept second (maybe third). I knew this about you not because you told me. Because I took the time to learn it, because I listened to your deep breaths and your long eyelashes, because I understood the scar on on your cheek.