“what God told me in a dream once” by Julia at her desk

Sunday December 8, 2019
6:57pm
5 minutes
A Poem In Which God Is Both A Metaphor And Not
Chloe N. Clark

It was the day I discovered the Ouija Board. Brett and Lauren convinced me and Jenna to play. I didn’t want to. I didn’t think it was a very good idea.
When Brett asked the question, “What is written on the back of my ring”, the one his mother used to wear that he now never takes off, I waited with my breath trapped in my chest. The pointer piece started to move on the board and I felt like I was watching my worst nightmare come to life. It hovered over the initials, T…..S…..Brett was shocked. He took off his ring to show us the same two letters.

Later that night I woke from a dream to find the silhouette of Jesus on my wall. I stared at it, him beaming at me from the shadow. His beard and eyes, soft. I opened my mouth and almost spoke. Then the figure began to laugh. It was high pitched and getting bigger and bigger. Jesus was laughing at me. And I knew right then and there that I had invited the devil into my room, just like I always feared.

“a single bird within a constellation” by Julia in her office

Thursday December 5, 2019
3:29pm
5 minutes
irrelevant
Sophia Cannazzaro

I’ve told you the story about Nonna and the bird
the one that sat in a nest near the archway of our front door

I have never known her like that again
the day she scooped this tiny bird from its home and placed

him gently in my pocket
I was five and I found it to be magical

I don’t know if she was trying to make me laugh or delight
in life’s tiny fuzzy adorable things but she did both

And she confused me for years later

Why didn’t I know her that way in Italy?
Why didn’t I know her that way when we were inside the house?

When I got old enough, I grieved the tiny bird that
would have died shortly after my Nonna let him live

inside of my jean skirt
What mother would return to him then knowing that

he had been touched by human hands, greedy at the
fluff of him

“since I let myself think about” by Julia on her couch

Sunday December 1, 2019
8:06pm
5 minutes
I Never Liked Your Friends
Alexandria Maillot

mushrooms and pizza crust
mountains of cheese
decadent pudding
vanilla milkshakes
black cherry yogurt
mint chocolate
driveby burger dorritos
roti
roti
roti
hazelnut cream sea-shells
nutella filled donuts
double-baked almond croissant
lemon meringue pie
zia’s easy cheesecake
zia’s tiramisu
zia’s porcini mushroom gnocci
zia’s sweet-milk tarts

“Coming today” by Julia at her desk

Sunday November 17, 2019
9:31pm
5 minutes
From a note on the table

B’s coming today from Thunder Bay. She texted earlier saying she doesn’t know exactly when she’s set to arrive now on account of the highway moose.
When I asked her for details I didn’t get a response for over 2 hours and that worried me. Finally she wrote back saying, “Dead already, RIP, still coming” which from B is a miracle. I think it was blocking the road but I’ll have to wait till she gets here for the information. If she had hit the moose she would likely cancel her trip without even telling me. B is prone to last minute cancellations depending on the severity of the unexpected circumstance.
When I was last in Thunder Bay I also saw a dead highway moose and to tell you the truth I wasn’t as shocked when B told me about hers because of it. I somehow planted that in my memory as a Thunder Bay thing, which is unfair since I was only there for a few hours. I guess I could remember it for having the “Best Chinese Restaurant” as well but I ate at that restaurant and it was clear that Thunder Bay had a penchant for hyperbole. Well I don’t know about all of Thunder Bay, again, it was the only place I ate.

“I remembered a story” by Julia at her desk

Friday November 15, 2019
4:40pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Laurens van der Post

papa used to make up stories on the spot
after being begged
after we climbed him like baby baboons
after we heard one good one and knew
there had to be more where that came from

sometimes he’d do it with his eyes closed
and the telling would be the only thing
keeping him from sleeping
he’d say “I’m just resting my eyes”

mama never made up stories
but told the same ones over and over again
usually to teach us a lesson
but sometimes because she couldn’t hold
a memory any better than she could hold space
for Bastien’s learning disability

mama didn’t want any stupid kids and that’s
what she thought she got
she and Bastien were so much a like
you’d swear he had the same thing she did
although she’d never admit that she had
anything but a lack of patience

papa doesn’t remember the tales he used
to tell us, and that’s how you know he
was really in the moment and not somewhere
else wishing he wasn’t

mama doesn’t remember hating Bastien

“Though I had quit drinking” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday November 13, 2019
4:22pm
5 minutes
Free Rent at the Totalitarian Hotel
Poe Ballantine

I was still having dreams about putting the pine into my veins
even after I saw what the stuff could do to me
If I were ever strong before, it was the thing that brought me to my knees
And old boyfriends to their knees with what happened the night before
did we really break up and was it true, this bout of insanity?
Nobody asked if it was the birth control, but it was the birth control
mixed with whatever I was swigging before leaving the house
Memories weren’t the only thing I was leaving on the floor
And if I’d come home a blur with missed calls it wasn’t on the tip of my tongue
to blame the gin
I couldn’t see the lines connected, the outer or inner, the shapes stopped
making sense all together
And then my warning came in the weight of a small healing cat
sitting on my legs while the woman examined my history of traumas and blacking out
She called it an allergy
and it was then I realized my body had been begging.

“For adult use” by Julia on her couch

Monday November 4, 2019
6:18pm
5 minutes
from the the sticker package

For adult use.
for adult use!
I told them to repeat the phrase and now look at me!
I am for adult use, right?
Or for child’s, kid’s, youth’s, what have you?
Oh no one.
Maybe no one’s.
Maybe for no one’s use but my own?
No but, environment. ENVIRONMENT, right.
I am for the universe and not for you.
Okay I am not for you but I am for the universe, environment, right?
For adult use would be more like thing, toy, book, object.
I am not
I am not an
I am not an object but but you could argue.
one could argue…
For who
for whose use then in fact am I?
IN FACT!
I want to tell you something
I want to tell you something
when you don’t know what to say you can repeat the phrase and now look at me!
You can repeat
you can repeat and that’s the use!
For general, in general, generally speaking:
It is clear the use because it is repeated often!
It is repeated and now you remember it
it is of use to your memory
I told them to repeat
And so one of them did:
baseball baseball
baseball baseball baseball baseball
baseball
by the 17th baseball it became hysterical
and he was serious
and I was laughing
and they were rolling their eyes, roll roll little eyes
in the back of their ten year old brains
and I thanked him!
WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY….

“it was just sort of whispered around my family” by Julia in her bed

Friday October 25, 2019
10:04pm
5 minutes
Choosing Happiness
Veronica Ray

the weird thing was we were all saying it just at different volumes

when dad tried to make us keep our doors open he didn’t really know why and he didn’t know how to tell us that so he stood his ground

unfair it’s unfair but it would not get brought up at the dinner tribunal

no one said it then or ever or louder than a whisper because it was all still in beta: what might happen if we disrespected any of them,
even unintentionally

better than what they got we were told, and sure, it was, and sure, they learned, but we had so many questions answered with “because I said so” it stopped making sense when you heard it

and “why” felt like the emptiest hug, the most out there on a limb next to I love you

that whispered around our family too but at least we fixed that one when it counted most

“to make easy” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday October 22, 2019
8:08pm
5 minutes
Zanichelli Italian-English dictionary

the pill comes my way and I swallow, take the skin cells resting on the back of the hand and tilt my head back the way my mother taught me

it is to make it easier to stay up, to endure this shallow thud in the temple reminding me that I have been places and seen people and prepared a space for chaos today

the pill is advertised by the good looking man I live with and he will go as far as to feed it to me so I don’t even need to get off the sofa, unless there is more sorcery in the cupboard

he’s forgetting about

I have always been an easy target and you could say it’s because I want to believe in everything and everyone or on the flipside that I do not read enough of the news paper

in the fifth grade I saved my weather project for the night before and while everyone was saving harrowing news stories about biblical storms, an earthquake down south, a lightning bath off the coast, I cut out 7 clippings of the daily forcast and glued the tiny strips side by side in a binder

“We did all these things and more,” by Julia at her desk

Friday October 11, 2019
8:29am
5 minutes
We Did
Brian Doyle

There is proof of us in the corn fields behind the house
They have replaced them with houses now, new swing sets
but we were there with our cousins, hunting field mice
on our way to the river and they cannot take that away

They tried to cover up our living with their
white paint after we had put every colour there on purpose
Tiny gold stars stamped from a potato on the walls
of the bathroom where one of us learned to read
and where one of us dropped a GI Joe into the toilet
and then again the following week after it had been
rescued by one of us with smaller wrists

They let the pussy-willow bush overcrowd the deck and
now the light doesn’t get in but they don’t notice
because they are accustomed to living in the shadows
of a family who did all their growing there

They can’t erase the vibration that pulses in their
hallway, where one of us greeted all the neighbour
kids with hugs and smiles and unlimited time

“This week just got ducking crazy” by Julia on her couch

Friday October 4, 2019
12:27am
5 minutes
From a text message

Two places at once:
the benefit of seeing each thing less…
but we can do it, you can do it.
split focus, split time, details, details.

Tonight we saw an owl get stuck on a fence
it swiveled its head around and stared at
us from its 360 position of momentary panic.
I said we should help it and you said, How
exactly might we do that? And I said, We
could pray a bit. Praying transcends time
and space and frees trapped owls. I know
about things like this, I used to split
my soul in two all the time before I met
you. I used to send half of me to the sky
and half of me to the other sixteen year
olds playing strip pool and drinking in
Alex’s basement. I used to apologize after
for going against God’s will, and then I’d
get forgiven, zip my soul right back into
place. And the other place, the guilt place
would make me feel like I deserved whatever
punishment I got. And the place I kept
putting my body made me feel so alive…

So I know about praying, and how it mends
you whole again after you’ve tried to
please too many people at a time.

“in search of a taxi.” By Julia at her desk

Monday September 30, 2019
9:33pm
5 minutes
The Rage
Gene Kerrigan

It seems like this city is punishing me for
being too afraid to drive myself around

Thanks to the rare sighting of a taxi cab
when I’m running late, and finally do I

understand the saying

I surprise myself with how quickly I arrive
to a bus stop when I’ve left my house later

than I meant to

even when it’s uphill, or across the intersection,
my own two legs have never failed me

I am faster than I meant to be

They called me wheels on the baseball diamond
and I liked it but I never thought I was as

fast as they thought I was

But you should see me round those bases
or snag a ball all the way in right from centre

But when I decide to take a car I am always
later than I would be if I had walked, run

I drove myself around at the beginning and
got intimidated by the parking, the parallel

the quiet knock knock to my ego, and the punchline
of needing to do a thing like that in private

the luxury of not driving is privacy

“He straightened up, roaring” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday September 27, 2019
9:41pm
5 minutes
Surface Detail
Iain M. Banks

His strange hurting is not mine to hold alone now
one way of building the house brick by brick
choosing the funny and misshapen ones
the burnt ones choosing the faceless and the wild
When I first met him I felt his way and I didn’t like it
Too much too close to leery to curious too much too much
I am a softer kind of animal
When I met him for the second time I did like it
I was ready for the rumble then around that long table
ready for the way these waves would crash against
the side of reality and wish and trust and begin again

Now meeting him for the millionth time
my mind still isn’t made up and maybe it isn’t about the mind
maybe it isn’t even about the heart
a five letter word overused to the point of letting the blood out
maybe it is about the guts that circle around the centre of the body
the body knows the body doesn’t forget the body keeps a tally
of all the doings and undoings

Earthquake comes when we are least expecting
we are not the choosers of the timing of the bricks turning
to sand turning to ash turning to memory

“How could God?” By Julia on the faculty lounge patio

Thursday September 26, 2019
1:55pm
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

How could you forget me
in the aisle at the grocery store
in the hallway with my coat on while you were saying goodbye to everyone at the get together

how could you say I’d be saved and then leave me there
to fend for myself
when they all asked me why you took away the people they loved: their grandfathers, their mothers
where were you when they chose me to blame?
As if at 14 I could carry the weight on my own

I followed you with a bag over my head, with my eyes scooped out

I followed you to the edge of the cliff, chased by angry hyenas, and I waited there, as if the pit was not filled with more of them

“Any sense if Sunday can work?” by Julia at her desk

Friday September 6, 2019
8:24pm
5 minutes
From a text message

I don’t remember the day now because it was 4 years ago. 4 years ago you gave me the idea: we could move to a new city and start new lives. That was it. That was as far as it got. And I thought you were nuts. Out of your tree. Lost your mind. You were tired of living in a place that required a block heater but I was never good in the rain, so why did I let you explain what you were hoping to do? Too early to head back home because you weren’t ready to settle down. Too cold to stay where you were. Too small.

Maybe you told me on a Skype call while I was filming that TV show. Was it Providence? Was it the day I missed you so much I decided I would go where you go and stop putting up walls around all my soft, gooey, fleshy parts?

Tonight we celebrated some of our recent successes, one of them being living here for 4 whole years with new lives. You said you loved us as adults, and it hit me in that moment that when we met we were kids. Children. What could we possibly have known? This city has been good to us because we chose to fully be here. We saw ourselves rising and we did. We really did.

Finally, we go all out at the restaurant we’ve been meaning to make reservations at. Finally we manage it and finally we don’t limit ourselves by only ordering the cheapest items. We try things. We love things. We clink forks with every bite, every embrace of where we are. And then at the end…the beautiful man beside us pays for our entire meal. We don’t find out until he leaves. And we can’t believe it. How much this city has given.

“sometimes come last” by Julia on L’s couch

Thursday September 5, 2019
9:30pm
5 minutes
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball
Vicki Churchill

I have done a lot today. I won’t list it here cause All I Am Are Lists Lately.
I want to talk about something important. Sometimes I don’t want to talk about myself but I start the sentence with I because I know I will be able to follow it. We. I also believe in what is powered by us, what we’ve built, who we are and choose to be. I could write a list about that too but I’ll spare you the details. Nobody wants details unless they’re in them. Like dreams. Like clouds for resting your chin on. You is something to be seen in. If I say You, you get to believe it really is even if the You I am talking about keeps changing. I know about You. I know about I. I know about We. I don’t know about It as much or The, but I know about This. And These. These five minutes, This heart lifting symphony, Those 3-dollar earrings I got in Chinatown that two people took photos of so they could try and make a pair themselves…

“I could not agree with those who called the autumn a decline” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 4, 2019
9:08pm
5 minutes
Earthly Paradise
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

I will always recall the critique of my sixth grade teacher
in front of the entire class one afternoon as she made an
example out of me. The task was to draw three autumn trees
with pastels; the reds, the oranges, the golds.
I drew two reasonably lovely trees. I had spent so much time
getting those two just so and the bell rang. We were painting
on the hill outside our classroom and I was inspired by the
falling leaves, the perfect newness of September and all its
promise. Instead of quickly or poorly drawing one more tree,
or admitting that I couldn’t get it done in the time allotted,
I decided on the spot to rip the edges of the white paper to
frame the two trees I had drawn with an intentionality that I
was prone to back then. Such creative choices were so easily
discovered. I ripped it to give it a rustic look that would
mirror the trees and all their splotchy crowns: the dabs, the
finger tip strokes. When my teacher showed it to everyone she
said, This person was so lazy, they only did two trees and they
couldn’t even be bothered to use a pair of scissors.

“deposited myself in your softest corner” by Sasha on her floor

Monday August 26, 2019
7:16am
5 minutes
Your Room
Robert Sherrin

If I could go back in time
the only thing that I would do differently
is I wouldn’t have broken into your house
and stolen my books back

If I could deposit myself in your softest corner
I would do that
I would nestle into your armpit
and breathe in deep
filling my lungs with cedar wood and salt

If I could predict the future
I wouldn’t even dare
The bubble gets too big and pops
The baby cries and I’m on my knees again
Begging for more time

If I could have anything I wanted
I would know what it is to be seen in the light
of Monday
Unashamed and true
Sunday a forgotten kiss
Saturday a distant memory

“so much past inside my present” by Julia on the Ebus from Chilliwack

Saturday August 24, 2019
10:09pm
5 minutes
Past in Present
Feist

I prayed to the sweet in my finger prints,
the gold that has been found in all the touching.
I thanked the god that had done the speaking.
I knelt down to the alter of my former self: Great Teacher.
Oh how I wept.
How there was a deep whisper.
But how loud.
But how I listened.
The gentle nudge of spirit,
the family of cells storing memory in my dreams and letting me remember.
Oh how I remember.
The way a crowd would bring out my inner coward,
how I would ask to start over.
And Teacher Self bathed in love now,
in abundance now, I needed you as you were then.
I needed you exactly as you were.

“it is the revelation of the god-like” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday August 21, 2019
5:31pm
5 minutes
Quote by Nicholas Berdyaev

So i double booked myself on Wednesday.
You said you could meet me after i could
meet you and then i realized that i had said
yes too quickly again and i’m sorry

i think i didn’t want to see you more than
the other thing but that’s because you
forgot my birthday last year and i guess
i still haven’t forgotten that

now you’re telling me it’s your birthday
the next time i’m free to meet you and
i don’t know why but i don’t care and i
don’t want to make it my problem

It’s not just that you forgot my birthday
last year, it’s that you invited me over
to your place to celebrate and then when
i got there you didn’t even mention it

So i was excited to be doing something
sweet like being celebrated on my
birthday and i could have stayed home
and smoked weed and danced by myself

I could have made plans with any of my
other friends but I chose you and the
realization never even came to you, not
late but never and that’s the weirdest part

As far as you know I’m the only one in the
world who doesn’t get older every year.

“Take a moment to remember” By Julia on the 4

Monday August 12, 2019
12:55pm
5 minutes
the bus instructions

Well I have 5 minutes to remember my whole life and i know I have more memories than time.
I remember you sitting above me in the lecture hall with your swoopy hair and your cool glasses, confident, quiet, intriguing. My eyes landed on you and I liked you instantly. You looked like someone I wanted to know. Like someone I wanted to kiss. You stared a hole in the back of my head and when I turned to look you didn’t stop. We made eye contact for one whole minute at a time, and in those days one minute was like one complete lifetime. You were in my tutorial afterward but you barely uttered a word. So confident with rows between us and no real reason to speak. I got my claws in you then. I remember wanting you to be watching when you weren’t and I let you know I knew it. I could tell this story with more time and more juice but I know I’m running out.

“more relaxed than how I think I look to people.” by Julia at her desk

Friday August 9, 2019
9:34pm
5 minutes
Descension
David Ly

There is a teacher with his dick in his pants waiting
to eat whoever dares to look directly at it. Him.

I meant to say him. I meant to say his eyes but. Fuck.
Fuck it all. He wears those tight jeans and he’s begging

anyone with breasts to prove to him that he belongs in
front of us all, laying down some hard lust disguised

as hard truth. Another hard-on reference. I get the
innuendo, I’m fully fucking aware of it. He knows too.

He yells at me when I’m listening because my face looks
like it’s pissed off and that’s not me that’s just my

face. He’s not the first to think I look angry when I’m
not but he is the first to call me out on it in front of

the entire room and try to make me feel like shit for
something I didn’t even do. He wants to prove a point.

Once when I’m up there not all the way in it acting but
trying to, he gets in the way with his big dick voice;

he gets in my head. I yell at him from the wall I’m
standing on and he gets off at how mad I finally am.

“she’s in a shoe store with her friends,” by Julia at her desk

Friday August 2, 2019
9:42pm
5 minutes
Some Notes Against the Burden of Representation
Rahat Kurd

She’s waiting for her dad because on Saturdays her dad takes her to lunch.
He takes her to the food court and lets her pick: Chinese food, or New York Fries.
He’s sweet to her on these days, shows her off to his employees.
They talk about her hair, how it’s like his, how she looks just like him.
She’ll help him rearrange the shoes in the window after she wipes down the clear shelf.
She feels like she’s helping him. He’ll likely redo it after she leaves.
The faster the shoes get organized in the window, the faster he can take his break.
He is sweet to her on these days, doesn’t tell her how to do it better.

He throws his tie behind his shoulder and dives in to the burger, or the chicken balls.
He asks if she’s done any good shopping yet and she tells him about the earrings she bought; little ladybugs
She won’t remember what they talked about years from now but here in this moment she thinks she’ll never forget.
Next Saturday she should ask her friend if she wants to come, he says he’ll drive them.
Maybe they could catch a movie at the Cineplex Odeon in the afternoon.

“the stuff where the composition has a seduction to it” by Sasha at her desk

Friday July 5, 2019
5:05pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Jeff Buckley

I used to tempt fate by riding my blue
bike with no helmet to houses uphill
where I would undress faster than I could
say “yes” or “no”

The stuff that hope is made of
caught between my fingers
the world thick with temptation
sticky with seduction

I would slip my phone number
written on receipts
in back pockets of men
who smelled like summer
who smelled like Brazil
who smelled like drumming

“Yes, that’s what you’ve told me to do.” By Julia in Kettle Valley

Friday June 28, 2019
5:35pm
5 minutes
Dipped from a dream

I wait by the foot of the stairs because I hear your steps, softly
Beyond another life and yet
you do not make your way down
the hall and down to me
and maybe this is the last time I will think quietly that you might
I have been carrying you gently from year to year and not much has changed
Or if substantial is a measurement then nothing has
I wish to not be carrying you as if you might whisper into the cracks of my hands something I will remember
Something like the velvet of your ear lobe between my thumb and forefinger or the thicker skin on your neck that ties your skull and backbone together
Something I won’t even try to forget Something exactly like that

“it was stolen from me a few weeks ago” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday June 12, 2019
11:10am
5 minutes
From a Craigslist Post

I go to the principal’s office
it’s a couple weeks after I noticed
I didn’t mean to wait so long
but I had other things going on
I am the president of my
student council, and I am not
thinking about having a fellow
student arrested

The Vice Principal already hates me
even though the only thing I’ve done
is express myself out loud by
rolling my eyes when she speaks
She says the same shit over and over
again so I do not feel bad when my
adviser advises that I keep my
opinions to myself during meetings
that pertain to the well-being of
the student body

She is mad that I did not report
my missing wallet as “stolen”
even after I tell her I did not
think it was stolen
I thought I lost it, or it fell
out of my bag, I did not think
that another student in my drama
class would have thought to take
it from me while we were busy
playing Zip Zap Zop

She then tells me he’s sick
He’s sick in the brain and
in the body and he’s in the hospital
right now so is pressing charges
going to really help this guy
and the only thing I want back
are the photo booth pictures of
me and my best friends at the mall
and for the little notes I kept
that he thought he would throw into the
sewer since he wasn’t able to spend them

“pretty sure I came that way” by Julia on the Megabus

Tuesday May 15, 2019
10:37am
5 minutes
Overheard on the Megabus

I didn’t think of her on Sunday, Mother’s day, which would have been the day.
She was here and there but I didn’t light the candle.
She enters the dining room on any given day. She doesn’t reserve her visits for media recognized calendar celebrations.
She’s been gone for 22 years and the missing doesn’t go away. It’s not always at full volume but I feel her without trying that it sometimes helps she’s so quiet.
She tells me things I need to remember:take the pills, leave the house, ask for help, ask for belp.
She would stock my fridge cause she knew I would starve if it were ip to me.
I taste her in evey linguni noodle. In every spoon of sauce.

“Is it the beginning of a poem?” By Julia in the bathroom

Thursday March 28, 2019
10:30pm
5 minutes
The Poet Always Carries A Notebook
Mary Oliver

I tell the woman my name after she asks and make a joke about my last name rhyming with wedgie so she’ll remember how to pronounce it.

She looks at me for a minute then I explain that it came from some unkind yet quite creative grade fours when I was the new kid in school. I laugh, she laughs, everyone sitting near us laughs. And then she begins to talk about how a pebble in a stream can change the course of a river and I’m going where she’s taking me. She uses it as a teaching moment to remind the class that even small moments can stay with us our whole lives and we don’t know which pebbles people are walking around with in their pockets.

It even hits me hard and I’m the one joking about it.

She tells me, maybe that’s the start of a poem. It already rhymes…

“staring into the eyes of a giant wasp” by Julia on her bed

Thursday March 14, 2019
10:10pm
5 minutes
Micro
Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

So I had just finished eating a strawberry Passion Flakie and I was on cloud nine. I loved those things more than a good hug when your insides get antsy: creamy, soft, chewy, cool. I may have had two. And there I was standing on the low A bar of the swing set, the old rusty broken down swing set. The top pole was missing a cover on both sides and I discovered that if you sing into it, the echo was so brilliant you sounded like a rock star making love to a microphone. I made up a song, naturally, and I tested it out amplified. The next thing I knew, two hornets had found the leftover Passion Flakie on my lips. The scream rang out like a bell; tortured, honest, amplified.

“no matter how uncomfortable staying has become.” by Julia on the 99

Sunday March 10, 2019
5:27pm
5 minutes
Devil With a Briefcase
Jan Janzen

Hey if you’re reading this, this is for you. I know you as a 14 year old girl with bruised calves and giant beaded necklaces. I know the you that regifted me a notebook with an angel on the front cover and a devil on the back. You didn’t know at the time I wasn’t the type to like that sort of thing or that my reasons were the same as yours were when you gave it away. I know you in the mouldy elevator singing at the top of our lungs, performing on the cafeteria stage wearing matching scarves, sitting in the student council office during 3rd period spare. I know you falling to your knees with joy the day I brought you back a crispy chicken sandwich after lunch.

“There are certain cautions” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 6, 2019
8:51pm
5 minutes
Prescription for Nutritional Healing
Phyllis A. Baluch, CNC

There was yellow tape outside your old house
off Gibson there, that house where you hid your first stolen watch.
The watch that belonged to your uncle there, Dominick?
You remember him?

He slapped you so hard it sizzled. Left a bacon stain on your cheek and you were fourteen so he ceased to exist to you from that day on. You took his favourite keychain too. But he found that.

I walked by cause I always do even though you don’t live there anymore. I know you did. The bedroom door where you scrawled your brother’s name: backward and spelled wrong

“heart wrenching soaring n magical place.” By Julia on the 4

Monday February 11, 2019
6:04pm
5 minutes
Kits
Bill Bissett

Left my heart on the beach with the tide out

Sun dippin’ low givin’ glow to all the good neighbours

Those clouds, man, did they drink

I drank too like it might be my last sip and I swirled it there in my mouth, painting my tongue a kind of magic

Bear’s hands were holding the cups and I have the good eye so I took all the photos, freezin’ my hand skin as offerin’, trade, holy sacrifice

And then the red x pinged off the horizon and splashed us both diagonal, split us both in two cause then more of us could witness

Bear’s mug clanked my mug and we two stepped with the teasing foam as it came knocking on our boots, kissing at our toes

“How about just one email a week or month?” By Julia at Ocean Village

Thursday February 7, 2019
7:58am
5 minutes
from swimoutlet.com

There is a box of unopened envelopes in the bottom of a drawer somewhere. I remember it like that. You, I believe, think you left them in the alleyway with our old tables and laptops and extension cords.

I gave that box to you before I went away. It ended up being one whole year away. I didn’t see that coming either.

I even bought you stamps, I see now that was ambitious. Also a waste of money since I don’t think you thought to save those. To you stamps are miniature pictures of things you don’t need: a tiny boat, a maple leaf. To me they are freedom of communication, luxury items, covetable if I am without and in need.

I thought you could write me a letter while I was drinking an espresso at the bar. While I was sipping on Aperol Spritz or eating a tramezzino sandwich in Venice. I daydreamed about waking up to words thought up by you, about me, about us.

“What Jesus was doing” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday January 22, 2019
6:52am
5 minutes
Love Thy Neighbour
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Sit still. Don’t fidget. Don’t pick your nose. Sit still. Sit stiller. Pay attention. Sister Judith is falling asleep. Don’t laugh. Don’t giggle. Don’t kick the pew in front. Jesus is watching. Mother is watching. Don’t elbow Russell. Don’t look at Russell. Russell is picking his nose. Ew, Russell! Sit still. Sit still. Hands to yourself. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Stand up. Sing. Don’t sing too loud. Mother is watching.

“there were also many miracles then.” by Julia at her desk

Monday January 7, 2019
5:44pm
5 minutes
The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor Dostoevsky

There is a door that leads to the magical world of peace beyond peace. I found it once in a dream when I walked through my parents’ closet. It opened into a landscape that I could only describe as pure joy. The sun was warming, the grass was singing. I longed to stay there forever and when I woke up I went downstairs and tried to find the door again. It had disappeared. I have never been so sad in my life. To know a place exists but to not know how to get there. I could have cried my heart dry that day. And some days here, and now, the place blurs from my memory all together and leaves me in a house of despair. I could walk to the ocean and then all the way to the core of it in one hollow breath. The people around continue to walk about in their aimless, pointless way. The anchor is so heavy it’s as if the simulation is broken. The seagulls do not even bother to dive past.

“He was young and handsome” by Julia at the table

Saturday January 5, 2019
5:36pm
5 minutes
The Elephant Vanishes
Haruki Murakami

This year we didn’t look at old photos of you
and Mom wearing your brilliant sweaters at Niagara Falls.
I think there was too much going on, but I missed it anyway.
Tracing the outline of your fro,
curls I know intimately since they landed on my head too.
Thank you for those, by the way.
When I was little and everyone said I looked more like you
it used to break my heart.
I don’t know why I thought it was anything but a compliment.
You were young and handsome.
You are still young and handsome.
I am in awe of how big your heart has grown in these sixty-two years of living.
Sixty-two years today.
You have gotten so soft and there is all this room for me now.
Thank you for that too, by the way.
I am looking at the photo of you holding me for the first time
a month and a couple weeks after your thirty-second birthday,
and the look in your eyes as you look down at me
is turning me into something sweet.
Thank you for that.
That is how I see you too.

“So the Search was begun” by Julia at Pearson Airport

Monday December 31, 2018
8:08am
5 minutes
The Tao Of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff

In the middle of the night I heard a whisper in the sound of my own voice coming from inside my head. It was me, or I believed it to be. I was telling me to breathe and focus and stop focusing and see the white wall and Dear Lord Please, Please. I was telling me to find peace in the stillness. A little voice asked if it was okay if I watched a movie instead. I said yes to myself and began to play a moving picture show of all my choices and all the bread I got to eat. The lobster. The Italian sausage. The night my father and I took a deep look. The movie played and I rewatched it again and again. I told me I could watch it in the morning once I had woken up but the me laying didn’t feel like the me saying was being true. The search had begun for what was. For what was true. Why would inside voice me try to trick outside laying me? What is inside voice me trying to get me to notice or understand or remember forever and ever amen.

“The only time this does not happen” by Julia at Amanda’s

Thursday December 27, 2018
1:26am
5 minutes
The Undiscovered Self
C.G. Jung

It is dark out
still morning
still raining
You’ll have to leave soon
I could remain here
I hate leaving the bed before you
Last night you tossed in your sleep
Back and forth, flip the pillow
I know it was probably too hot
The window is broken
I told you that before we turned off the light
You didn’t believe me
I can understand your perspective
It hasn’t been dry out for a while
I don’t remember how long, maybe you do
You always remember the things I don’t
That’s very convenient, by the way
You could be re-writing our
history and I wouldn’t even know it

“day after day we worked” by Julia in Baden

Monday December 24, 2018
7:19pm
5 minutes
The Swiss Family Robinson
J.D. Wyss

We bathed in the sun of the afternoon
calling licorice to our tongues
And on the heels of I’ll-see-you-soon,
we dreamt of tomorrow’s hunt
The sky opened up and licked us both-quiet and wet serene with it
We raced through time loops with a quake in our jump, a hop in our stretch
The only thing stopping us from hitting high was the high we felt from feeling it
Those golden shades that painted the night, that painted your skin, we swore by them
as cures to the ails inside of us that we did not stop long enough to notice
I was being reversed by timelessness
And you were alongside the great ravine crossing
My bravest day’s obsession
would lift the platform up a level
We threw our heads back
and laughed

“Till the only word your mouth remembers” by Julia at her parents’ table

Sunday December 23, 2018
11:52am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

my mouth knows how to repeat the same thing over and over until it loses meaning
until it turns into dust

my mouth knows how to curse the ones I love the most because their mouths say what my mouth could

my mouth eats itself more than it doesn’t
twisting the almost rebellion into quiet
cheek sores, taking up space

my mouth hums the tune of the earth that keeps me grounded when the noise is trying to lift me out of my skin

my mouth coos the sweet-lipped words of admiration and gratitude with ease and with abundance

my mouth remembers being shut violently and told that this is not violence but love and history and justified

my mouth knows a lie like a pang in the gums, a bell dinging endlessly under the tongue

“while whittling cedar” by Julia on R’s couch

Friday, November 30, 2018
2:00pm
5 minutes
Finnish Schooling
Kayla Czaga

I know a woman who is in the woods right now teaching other women how to wield an axe, chop lumber, and defend themselves against bears and maniacal cretins from the underworld. She is a close talker- a rub your shoulder with her shoulder and make your space smaller type. She is a wine woman. She has cracked purple stained lips and her teeth to match. She doesn’t know her breath smells like the combination of stale and obvious. She is the one in the woods. She also knows about authentic movement and healing through the art of not dancing and not nothing. She was nice and I could talk to her. She explained it once after she had some wine. I think she was wearing a fanny pack made out of a rabbit’s foot or the rabbit’s foot was hanging from it? She was the kind to be wearing either. For the story’s sake I’m succumbing to hyperbole but believe me I was there. I saw her stand beside the chandelier. She was bigger than a tree.

“10-year anniversary” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday November 10, 2018
8:34am
5 minutes
Into the Raven’s Nest
Curranne Labercane

I can still hear my heart beating in my ears and the rush of blood to my scalp. He pulled his chair back and came around in front of his desk.

“What do you think your punishment should be for this bad behaviour, Miss Bennett?” He’s so close to me I can smell his musky aftershave.

“Um… I don’t know?” I’m fifteen. I have never been sent out of the classroom, let alone in a principle’s office.

He leans down close to my face. The heart beat in my ears. Rush of blood. It feels like every hair on my body is standing straight up.

I’d heard rumours about him. This kind of thing.

“There is much discussion about the colour” by Sasha in the bath

Monday November 5, 2018
10:06pm
5 minutes
Blushing
Daenna Van Mulligen

River playing in the living room and I’m here
now okay this is the now and then there’s skating
on the dreams of when we wore pink snow suits
and swam in blue blue water turning us into
little women turning us into mermaids
killed and kissed and freedom and water

She’s so busy now being who she needs to be
that sometimes I’m not sure about any of the choices
that I’ve made oh those seven thousand miles between us
stretching into winter and forest and grouse and
oh scaling the chasm of forgetting

Let’s go back there to the place where we
would sing in the backseat of the white Nissan of the
truth and all that floral stationary telling our
secrets telling our futures reading our open
and outstretched palms

“a ghost town at night” by Julia on her couch

Friday October 26, 2018
11:44pm
5 minutes
California’s Big Comeback
Degen Pener

It’s not like a place an ex lover lives
the wind chimes make your heart feel like stopping
Once there was a whole hour where the ice cream truck
stole our souls with its signature haunt
I know the place an ex lover lives like a 4am Hail Mary
Full of Grace
dream batted down by the inner shake of a too-heavy Indica
stretched lace across the blank of the mind
There where the street lights blur the memory of us

“lured into my childhood home” by Sasha at MacKenzie beach

Tuesday October 9, 2018
2:42pm
5 minutes
The Stray
Stephen A. Waite

We play Monopoly lying on our stomachs on the carpet
in front of the woodstove. Mom is out for a cross
country ski. We just filled our bellies with hot
chocolate, more than we’re allowed to have, more than
is good for us, but that’s okay. You put another
log into the mouth of the stove, and I jump up
because there are sparks, and fire is brave.
You know how to turn the damper. You know how to
be the banker. We hear Mom banging her skis on
the porch.

“lured into my childhood home” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday October 9, 2018
1:34pm
5 minutes
The Stray
Stephen A. Waite

Matthew and Mark used to watch scary movies at their house. I used to lay with my head in Matthew’s lap and my legs in Mark’s. I felt like my older cousins were taking care of me. We weren’t allowed to watch scary movies at our house. And after seeing IT with them when I was six, I figured out why. I have always been the dreaming kind. Pisces born on land, a vivid seer of worlds beyond my own. I knew the answers were there. I knew the questions were there. I knew I was making connections and being guided. Of course when nightmares are a regular occurrence, it’s hard to think they serve a purpose other than torture, punishment, torment.
I used to pray before bed to avoid the bad. Pray to override the scary images swirling around in my tiny body. What did Matthew and Mark have? Who did they talk to about their bad dreams? Did they just learn not to remember them? Was it easier to stay quiet and keep watching scary movies? Was watching scary movies less scary than the reality they had to face?

For a while I used to associate their dad with Beetlejuice. One time he came to Mark’s room to tell us to shut up and go to sleep. In the shadows, his eyes looked sunken in. I dreamed about him that night instead.

“like slivered almonds in the bulk section,” by Julia in The Loop, Chicago

Monday September 10, 2018
10:38pm
5 minutes
Parsley
Listen Chen

Jessie keeps her handkerchief in the secret pocket of her purse. Nobody knows it’s there but her. A tiny reminder of her tiny grandmother who left a big hole in her life when she passed away. She has never been the type to use a handkerchief but knowing that it’s there makes her feel better. It is yellow and white and sweet and floral. It makes her feel lavish. Abundant. Like all those slivered and blanched almonds in the bulk section. Nothing else goes inside the secret purse pocket. It has to stay clean and folded there where all the memories live.

“Grid of Polaroids” by Julia at Vancouver International Airport

Thursday September 6, 2018
6:15am
5 minutes
Sinuous
Lydia Kwa

When I first met you, you lived with two dudes who didn’t know what cleaning was. Or order. One of them waked and baked everyday. The other one had a weird thing with dogs. Your apartment was falling apart. You didn’t have proper wine glasses but you had wine. There was a wall of polaroids by the front entrance. You partying in those photos looked so cool. You had to bathe like an ape because the shower head was broken. You made that joke the first time I came over. Those thin walls. The corner store condom runs. The 28 hour day. The food poisoning.

“I tell him how a blimp once hit my head.” by Julia on the 7

Tuesday September 4, 2018
7:26am
5 minutes
DADDY
Prathna Lor

I used to tell everyone that I was struck by a truck when I was little. Story goes: I was on my tricycle and the truck smashed me and I was very badly injured and everyone came running because they were so worried. Story is: I was on my tricycle and the truck backed up slightly and bumped me and I was fine.

Maybe the real story is better in the first place. The one that has me up against a monster truck and being saved in the 11th hour. The way I was saved in the 11th hour when I was 18. Swerved in the ice slush, totalled my parents’ Corolla, suffered back and wrist pain, but was still alive enough to get my charges dropped down to “Failure to Share The Road.”
Their car was a write off. they ended up getting more because of me.

“it has been six and a half years since you died” by Julia in her sister’s bed

Friday August 10, 2018
10:48pm
5 minutes
Welcome to the Club
Marion Winik

I don’t remember the day you died but I remember how you lived. Your chest was an open x-ray. Here, the place where love scarred you. Here the place hope left. You smiled through your eyes, through the pain, and we knew we were getting the best of you left in you. We knew you were telling the truth when you said you wanted us to find what makes us happy. I remember how you sang Elvis at New Years and Easter and my dad’s birthday. You left every room you entered brighter. You entered every room.