“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 wokld 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.

“cultivate the kind of robust gladness” by Julia on the bed

Friday July 20, 2018
11:37pm
5 minutes
The Spiral Staircase
Karen Armstrong

When your heart opens you know it in the stiff of your ribs
the slow of your knee
Everything breathes, even the crease of your doubt,
the no in your lips
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel that?
If I were a witch I’d cast a spell that wouldn’t let me forget how easy it is to be kind to myself:
It would have it’s own incantation, sung by the bones wishing in my skin
to be held and touched
And I have to be open as it can’t get in if I’m not
I want to cultivate that and if I don’t say it out loud
it might never come true

Thankful now for moments of clarity like these
And for the wisdom of my future me, the one who knows how good I am

If I were a witch I’d…
oh wait…I’d…hold on…
close your eyes

say this one
with me

“Mixed Media-Pastels-Drawings-Photos” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday July 10, 2018
8:31am
5 minutes
http://www.johnmcalpineart.com

I used to draw for hours
sat at the kitchen table
lost in purple and blue

Pastels worn down to nubs
and the rounded edges of
beeswax crayons
watercolour pools
paintbrushes left unwashed
and hardened

Somewhere along the way
I stopped
Was is when I started
writing songs?
Writing stories?
Performing?

Somewhere along the way
I stopped

Why does it feel
as though there isn’t
enough space
for all the creativity?

“Get used to me.” by Sasha on Granville Island

Tuesday June 12, 2018
5:12pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Muhammad Ali

Walking through the snowy trails in big boots. Snow pants making steps feel strange and belaboured, intentional, my Mom, sister and I trudge across the beaver ponds. Many separate ponds connected by banks of shore, each trek took a similar shape – elation at the cold air biting my cheeks and feeling so warm in my pink jacket and pants, white boots and pink scarf that could be pulled up to make a hat. Joy at the rush of the endorphins – being with my family out in the ponds, especially after spending hours inside playing cards by the wood stove. And then hatred – too tired, too far, too long, too hot, need to pee, “I hate this!”, tears sometimes, fights sometimes. “See that cardinal there! Look, Sash, over there by the pointy pine! See the red?!” “Oh my gosh look! Look at what the beavers did to that tree!” Eating snow.

“I liked watching him BBQ” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday June 7, 2018
11:13pm
5 minutes
From a text 

Driving along the country road
The paved ones before the gravel ones
I stick my arm out the window
and play with the air

You’ve never been to Knowlton Lake before
and I am already excited about waking up tomorrow
The way that the quiet hugs
The way that the birds know
the tune to the songs in our hearts

I can do no wrong with you
except when I do and then it’s bad
And then I cower in the corner
and you use your size
And I say that this isn’t what I want
and you cry until we go to the bedroom

James Taylor on the tape deck
I realize that I don’t know if
corn is in season
if we have to turn on the water
if there’s a French press

“I take the streetcar alone to Nathan Phillips Square” by Julia on her couch

Friday, May 25, 2018
11:15pm
5 minutes
Demchanizing Our Politics
Maggie Hutcheson 

It is 2009 and I am living downtown for the first time. I am afraid of the streetcar and of this city. Its open heart a pulse I cannot yet dance to. Its screaming life, unimaginable still. I am sitting on the streetcar going east when I am supposed to be going west. I wonder how I got this wrong and why I am sitting this long going in the opposite direction. I learn everything the hard way: feet on the ground and running backwards, the feeling of being lost, an echo of who I am growing out of, slowly. I am riding the streetcar alone and I am in awe of all the people here who know where the water is without looking at it. Who weren’t born here the way I was but who know its secrets the way I don’t. I am home and I am back and I am unsure about how to get anywhere but I am sure that here is where I’m supposed to be. The stop names don’t mean anything to me yet. The voice calling out Nathan Phillips Square blends in with the sidewalks, the hotdog stands, the concrete rushing.

“I call to ask my mother the name of the street” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 2, 2018
3:44pm
Flight
Idrissa Simmons

I want to remember everything from that house before it gets lost
The long staircase leading into the living room where I’d watch
my parents watch TV when I was supposed to be in bed
The upstairs bathroom with the black and white tiles that I would
count at night where my father took me so I wouldn’t wet the bed
The night my own bed became a flood and me, the punished rain, a sadness
The closet in my bedroom where I unzipped the front of my overalls to
show the blonde-haired boy something that he wanted that I didn’t know was mine
The lilac dining room that I would stand in watching the trees in the yard,
pretending they were alive and waiting for me
the telephone I used when I dared my first prank call on the operator and
the pulse of it when she called me back
I want to ask my mother if there are things I might be missing
the moment she knew I was made of her
the times she watched me sleep on the floor with my ponytail spilling over the pillow

“You could get lost there.” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday April 17, 2017
1:11pm
Up
Margaret Atwood

There are no signs and so they warn you before you arrive
to keep your hands inside the vehicle just in case something
falls out of the sky
you could take a photo of the sun setting
get it framed and keep it on a shelf or take the
picture with your eyes instead and lock it
for a lifetime in yourself and then there are all the moments
in between that might read like the spine of your dreams where
you got lost in the waiting so deep and when you surfaced
you had no idea which direction south was which direction you were
facing and how to force those next steps taken
toward the hill
that might lead you to the top of it all where you’ll be able to
see the vastness of it all and then after the work is done
collect those eye blinks one by one storing each in a perfect
corner of your mind for those lonely days where the glow is
harder to find

“Wild Birds Unlimited” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday April 3, 2018
9:42pm
5 minutes
From a storefront on West Broadway

On the T-shirts that Zia Nancy brought back
from Atlantic City were birds wearing sunglasses
Nothing is cooler than a bird wearing sunglasses
We were grateful for the oversized and bright
we did not know then how to ask for something better
How to wish we could be lucky enough for more
We were lucky enough then with two kisses and
a chili pepper
thrust into our hands like the lesson was in the
small bravery of turning our tongues on fire
The picture says a thousand things
Not including all of the comments made by
all the cool birds wearing sunglasses
on our T-shirts brought back from Atlantic City
We were built by each other’s dedication to being there
A wall of neon cousins smiling while
Michael cries into his birthday cake

“connection as friends.” by Julia at the studio

Monday, March 5, 2018
3:53pm
5 minutes
I Know How You Feel
F. Diane Barth

When we first met I wanted to like you. I wanted to like you and I liked
you. I said “She and I are going to be friends.” I said we were, and we
were. I learned that If I wanted something, believd in the wanting, in the
why, then I would get what I wanted. I tried that out on other friends too,
just to see. It worked. I wanted to like them and I liked them. I said “We
are going to be friends and we were friends. Maybe you could make the
connection that I made us have the connection. You could infer that I was the
one who brought us floating together in the same orbit to begin with. Afterall,
if you wanted us to be friends, wouldn’t you have made us friends?
You might interrupt here and tell me that we are friends because we both wanted
us to be friends. We made the connection in tandem. Made, a verb, an action,
a choice. I know that this is not the case because I did all of the work. I
showed you my whole thumping heart. I bled out when it was not convenient.
You said yes. But you waited for me to go first.You didn’t want it as bad as me.

“The only thing I can come up with” by Sasha sitting on her floor

Thursday, March 1, 2018
10:07pm
5 minutes
No Idea
Dana ID Matthews

The only thing I can come up with is

us dancing in the kitchen in the country
getting drunk and making a fire

The only thing I can come up with is

taking a bath in the clawfoot tub
and you sneaking photographs

I wonder what happened to those photographs
I wonder if they are under your bed
or if they are dead in a hard drive somewhere
or are they just negatives in a memory
somewhere between then and now
you and I

The only thing I can come up with is

you running into a friend
of a friend at Lee’s Palace
friend of a friend says my name
and you tap her on the shoulder and say

“She’s one of the loves of my life”

“There is a dream I remember having” By Julia on V, J, W, and A’s couch

Thursday, February 22, 2018

10:01pm

5 minutes

The Wilds of Sleep

Kat Duff

I am younger than nine

I remember just fine

Not the age or the stage

But the people and the place

It’s not scary

but it’s a nightmare

I go down to tell my mom

Having a bad dream again

But it’s my dad shaving in the bathroom

And he’s smiling

And I ask where she is

And he says right here

And then my dad enters again

And my dad stands beside my dad

And my dad shaves besides my dad

As in, my mom is my dad

As In, my dad is my mom

As in, my mom has been absorbed by my dad

As in, my mom is turned into his copy

Two dads, as good as he is, is not

a substitute for one of each

My mom signs my report cards

My mom toasts my bread

My mom reads me stories

Let’s me sleep on her side of the bed

“we were in the same grade together” by Julia on the 99

Thursday February 15, 2018

9:43pm

5 minutes

Lesbian at a Bachelor Party

Amber Dawn

I remember him when I think about my front tooth. When i accidentally hit it with a fork, or a glass of water. The last time it was knocked out was half a decade ago by a guy turning his car when he shouldn’t be. The first time was on a snow hill when I was seven years old. This kid in my grade came at me with his rotten mitts and punched me in my mouth. I guess it was already loose, but there was still a lot of blood. When I went to the bathroom to rinse out my mouth the tooth fell down the drain. I remember I was more angry at him for making me lose out on the tooth fairy money than I was that he attacked me for absolutely no reason. How do you prove to the tooth fairy that you lost your tooth when you actually lost your tooth?

“Ninety pounds.” By Julia in Hanoi

Sunday February 4, 2018
9:47pm
5 minutes
T is for Texas
Derek McCormack

I met a woman in the museum today
She was 90 pounds and making things
Pushing through the thick
and then
more making, more things
She won the medal for
perseverance or something like it
Not a war hero but a woman hero
and a wall climbing metaphor
She didn’t see the wall and
think there was no other way

Can’t go over it
Can’t go under it
Can’t go around it
Got to go through it
(Going on a lion hunt)
(If the lion was accomplishment in spite of)

The angle of her made her body
look big and she seemed
so very unfazed
standing

“children dawdling to school” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday February 3, 2018
9:04am
5 minutes
Prazeres
K.V Skene

You forget what you came into the kitchen for. You don’t think much of it. These things happen. You have been working long days. It’s taking it’s toll.

You put the sponge in the freezer. You know that you have one and you can’t find it. This pisses you off. You scream swear. You’ll go for the frozen bananas tomorrow morning when it’s time for a smoothie. There it is. Frozen solid. Shit.

You forget why you got on the bus, and where you’re supposed to be going. Your heart sinks. You wonder if this is what happened with your mother, and her mother, and her mother before her. You wonder if you should’ve eaten more broccoli, less sugar. You wonder if this is your destiny, riding the bus across the bridge unsure when to get off.

“children dawdling to school” by Julia in Hanoi

Saturday February 3, 2018
10:20pm
5 minutes
Prazeres
K.V Skene

It’s over the hill and past the old abandoned ice cream truck.
The little ones don’t seem to
be afraid when they go by it
but I don’t like the feeling it
gives me. I don’t like what it
represents but then again I’m
old enough to remember what
happened. They skip and play
and sometimes pretend to steer
the wheel. They make believe
that they are just like the ice
cream man on a regular Wednesday in June.
The police say there might have been more than twenty bodies.
They say
they didn’t consider
digging so far back until
they had a reason to. When
you think of what all of us kids
knew back then, it makes you
wonder what their priorities were,
and what order.

“the holy monkeys and the colourful birds” by Julia on the bus to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng

Tuesday January 30, 2018
8:39am
5 minutes
You
Anna Margolin

In the morning before we said goodbye to Ann, the tiny blue bird with the long beak that I had seen in my half sleep from the bus reappeared. It cradled a thin branch near the water with its feet and stopped the world from stepping. I tried to tell you that it was a sign. You couldn’t see the blue and told me it was probably some other bird. It was the same one and I knew by the way it sat. Its stillness was a perfect one. I would know it anywhere. I managed to quiet my heart beat long enough to hear. To sense the strength or the message or the absence of expectation. I heard it like the humming of my Nonna, her voice soothing while she used to mend my favourite sleep shorts. I would know that sound anywhere. I would.

“Said she’s comin’ back to stay” by Julia in Da Nang

Sunday January 28, 2018
7:08am
5 minutes
Gonna Have Love
Buck Owens

You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. They might be your boxers. Your at home clothes. Your lounge wear. I don’t know that much about you yet. I don’t know that you love Buck yet. I know you’re funny. I know I’ve accidentally said your name while lying next to someone else. I know I don’t want to live with anyone but you. You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. You knock on my door every night and when I say come in from my desk you come in with your guitar. You play a song. You charm the pants off of me. You make me laugh. You make me better. You are a one man show and I am your only audience. You and your black shorts, boxers, lounge wear. You and your perfect timing and your perfect face. You and your way of changing the room so the right light hits the right spot. I don’t know much about you but I am watching every part. I am studying your hands. Your knee caps. The way you don’t take anything personally. The way you sing to me.

“It’s the nicest gift anyone’s given me” by Julia on her couch

Monday January 15, 2018
10:39pm
5 minutes
Fetters
Madeline Sonik

I still remember it even though I don’t really like to remember her.

I didn’t get into chamber choir when I was in the eleventh grade. I couldn’t read music but I could sing by ear. I was good. But I wasn’t good enough when it came to clapping out the bars. I had never felt more alone. Mrs. C had a look of pity on her face. I was sure I would never sing again. The next day K brought me a hand-bound booklet of music-reading printouts from the internet. She told me not to quit. I was moved beyond words. My friend believed in me even when I thought it was impossible to prove myself. The day after that I got the courage up to go and talk to Mrs. C and tell her that I would work hard and that even if I couldn’t read music, I belonged in the choir. She relented and let me in. I don’t remember now who gave me the idea to plead my case, but I will not forget that music booklet: the holes gathered by the cutest little sewing thread. When I think of her in my life I try and remember that version of her. I try not to let that part get swept away with the others.