“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.

“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

“There’s a lot of blood in your lips” by Julia at JJ Bean on Main


Thursday November 3, 2016 at JJ Bean
7:10pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

I sucked her bottom lip slowly like I was trying to extract a stinger without disrupting the blood vessels. I wanted to taste her. I wanted to be gentle. In the hollowed buzz between us I could tell which breath belonged to her and which didn’t. I suddenly couldn’t stand the feeling of not sharing air. What had I been doing up until this point? Had I ever considered I had been hiding my truth somewhere deep in the shame of me–that tended to burrow underneath expectations and the holy grail of perfection? Had I even lived at all? We didn’t have anywhere else to be, no other versions of ourselves to uphold. I made a promise to only stop if she asked me to.

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


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

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

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


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

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

“flat-out rejected” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 10, 2016
9:09pm
5 minutes
http://howlround.com/submitting-like-a-man-we-have-a-winner

I told him how I feel and he said nothing. Well that’s not entirely true, I suppose, he did say “Ciao.” Like I said, you can call me sometime other than for Halloween and he said, Okay, ciao. With this weird sliminess that I wasn’t expecting from him. And he never did call me. And then he stopped coming for brunch. And I swear he came to that terrible restaurant too many weekends in a row for him to not have had an ulterior motive. And once he helped me clean behind the bar when we were understaffed and I got slammed. He manned the glass-washer. And he made me a couple coffees. And when I tell him to call me, he says, “Ciao”? I guess part of me wondered if I was supposed to learn the “don’t assume shit lesson” because I assumed he liked me. Because he acted like he liked me. He tipped huge. He asked me for opinions on his flooring. And he introduced me to his friends? He even came to eat at the new shitty restaurant I was working at after I left the first one.

“I am in a meeting ” by Julia at her desk


Monday May 9, 2016
11:07pm
5 minutes
from a text

-I don’t want to have to tell you again that I’m keeping them to put salad dressing in. Fucking salad dressing for when I decide to make a salad for lunch and need a small container. To transport the dressing.

-Why can’t you just put it in on of your glass jars?

-Because they’re too big. You don’t know how heavy my bag is.

-Okay fine. You’ve got an answer for everything.

-Because I have a perfectly good reason why I’m keeping them. I thought it through, it’s not like I am collecting them because it annoys you.

-It really does annoy me. Everything you keep–

-Let me keep what I keep.

-Okay. You keep what you keep.

-Thank you.

-But seriously they should be thrown out. They’re one time use. For travelling soy sauce.

-Exactly.

“I do and I don’t” by Julia on the 250


Sunday May 8, 2016
3:59pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 2 bus

By the time I have to decide whether I’ll go and visit Tracey in the hospital, I’ll probably know if Tracey is even still there. Last time I heard from Tanya that Tracey was fighting with her tubes and didn’t want anything “touching her blood”. I told Tanya I would come and relieve her but I didn’t end up going because I am actively avoiding the hospital. Tanya told me not to come if I don’t want to be there but Tina thinks I’m not pulling my weight. She says if I’m not going to come relieve them I should at least give 24 hours notice. Tanya had someone just in case I decided not to so everything was fine and Tina doesn’t scare me. Tina calls me everyday and so I make sure it goes to voicemail. She likes to give all the gory details like “Tracey only has a few good days left” and “you better show up for her” or “Tracey vomited in her sleep because her intubation wasn’t done right”.

“Let’s discover our” by Julia on the 7


Saturday May 7, 2016
7:39pm
5 minutes
from a chef magazine

Let’s discover our soft spots
Our unwants
Our don’t touches
Our yes love this
Let’s discover our truth’s truth
Our hard lost youth
Our who’s who
Tell me about your day dreams
I’ll tell you about my nightmares
Tell me about your battle wounds
I’ll tell you about my big scares
Your scars
My empty jars
Your hopes
My nopes
Your yeses
My catch this
Let’s discover the good and the bad
The moments we never had
The memories that make us sad
The language that holds us together

“the tallest trees send down roots” by Julia at Nelson the Seagull


Sunday, September 6, 2015 at Nelson The Seagull
2:32pm
5 minutes
The Soul’s Code
James Hillman


Mama, there’s a shooting pain coming and going in my legs! It feels like knives and daggers and glass, digging deep and twisting tight.
My dear, you are growing. Your legs are becoming longer, your torso building higher toward the sky.
But why do I ache? Why do my legs shriek out every night?
Because to grow is to change and to change is to expand. You’re stretching, my love, growing into the you you are meant to be.
How big will I get? How long will I grow?
As big as you’re meant to be. As long as your soul needs.
My soul is growing through my legs? Will it always hurt this much?
Maybe a little at first. But it lets you know you’re alive. That you’re entering new dimensions. Filling bigger spaces.

“open 7 days” by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Saturday, September 5, 2015
6:59pm
5 minutes
from the sign at the liquor store

When she begged me to forgive her there were tears in her eyes and I was wearing a red and green apron that made me look very Italian and very comical. I couldn’t take myself seriously, let alone take her, so instead of being an adult, I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I’ve always dreamed about these kind of moments where the lighting is just right, there’s the perfect amount of rain, maybe a bit of wind, and an underscoring of building music that sounds like it’s just far enough away to be acceptable. But instead we were both covered in gnocchi flour and our bangs were plastered to our foreheads cause in real life there are no perfect forgiveness temperatures. I laughed and she got very angry. I didn’t mean to offend her but I was angry too…that she couldn’t have picked a better moment for all of her guilt to add up. Instead, right as the tester gnocchi were rising to the top, she fell to her knees and buried her face in my Italian flag.

“All of it, kid.” by Julia on her bed


Saturday November 22, 2014
3:06am
5 minutes
From a first draft of a screen play

-You like Ray Charles? You like that song he pours his guts into?
-Georgia?
-Yeah, beautiful right?
-Yeah, the best.
-Everything is the best.
-Right now, yes. Let’s die like this.
-Dance for me first. Before we die happy and perfect, dance as if Ray Charles put music in your veins
-Like this?
-Mmm, yeah, like a little bird, flying high and from the inside out.
-I’m your little bird.
-I’m your biggest fan.
-Mmm.
-Let me lick you. You have no lines on your face. The smoothest skin, no lines at all.
-I’m young and I’m yours and I’m a little bird with Ray Charles blood.
-Mmm, yeah. We can die now.
-Some water first?
-Yeah, you drink then let me taste it from your lips.
-Feed you life…like little birds do…
-Yeah, you dance and feed me, little bird, little bird.

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


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

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

“Have a beautiful night, beautiful.” By Julia at Nicole’s desk


Tuesday August 26, 2014
12:31am
5 minutes
Overheard on the streetcar

On our night in the woods we drank the blue stuff and turned the yellow stuff into powder. We clinked our glasses, and our thumbs, and we tilted our heads back to send the gift down-offering up an opportunity to our souls (we were looking for some peace of truth, whichever came first). The stars twinkled in sequence, telling a story, singing a song, drowning in ecstasy and not waving or struggling to stay above the tide. The moments lasted as long as they should have-the romance elongated, the touch softened. Our tongues traced tiny hearts on each other’s belly and we prayed with the night’s temple lit on fire from our commitment. We spoke only with our eyes and I said, Forever, and he said, Yes please.

“Pure Life” by Julia in the car


Thursday July 31, 2014
8:44pm
5 minutes
the nestle water bottle

She was PURE LIFE. PURE JOY. I held her for the first time and I DIED. I MELTED. I wanted to stay seated on that wicker rocking chair that didn’t rock anymore FOREVER. FOR HER. She was honestly the best moment of my life. She was PURE LOVE. PURE HAPPINESS. I wanted to build a bubble of warmth and love around her fuzzy little head and hold her until she was too big to want that. That way I could pour all of my undying love into her bubble and feed her with is so she would know how special and worth it and truly unequivocally loved she was. This little thing without opinions of the world yet, without the sadness, the jaded crispiness that comes from getting left behind, or getting told you’re ugly, or getting felt up by a stranger at a sleazy hot dog stand one stupid night in Sacramento. This little thing without pain, and without anger, and without wanting so much that the world seems so unwilling to give. I would have shown her that all she needed to do was sleep there and giggle sometimes and hold my finger. I would have loved her the way I needed to be loved.