“I am weak willed when I want to be” by Julia on her couch

Monday September 23, 2019
9:30pm
5 minutes
The Doctor and the Soul
Dr. Victor E. Frankl

Some days are hard, darlin’, and you with your feet up
on the coffee table tell us all, us all in the room
exactly how you feel.

The headaches are worse this year than ever before and every
time I speak to my mother on the phone she tells me she’s
looking into it. A sufferer of migraines her whole life,
my mother is now worried about my liver.

I don’t drink much and when I do I curse the bottle and
the ice, and the cup, and the loud bar, and the quiet
will too weak to say no.

What am I supposed to do when the headaches come without
the liquid, and when they are here all I can do is feel
cold inside.

I am angry that a boy coughed in my face when I was trying
to rock him to sleep. I am recovering from the stress of
getting it wrong, and living like a backyard animal.

There is so much to do some days and when they come it
is easy to find a bad movie and watch the whole thing
even if you tell yourself you will shut it off after
30 minutes, get your stuff sorted, then go back to it
if it’s worth it.

Darlin’, on the couch, in the quiet, it can all feel
hopeless and when the rain bounces off the pot holes
in the alley behind my apartment it can really paint
the whole room a certain shade.

“The courage that my mother had” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday September 10, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

They all bet on her, did you know that?
She was the quietest one and they all
put down their twenty-dollar bills with
confidence. “She’s going to be last.”

When my mother was in labour with my
brother, nobody saw it coming. She is
not the kind of person to screech or
claw, but she will sit softly on the
edge of her heart being thrust into
outer space, into another dimension.

She has always been this way,
underestimated, as though physical
size were an indication of anything.
She did not complain. Not when her
head was throbbing, or her knee
threatened to make her sorry she
ever tried to walk. Not when her
knuckles furled in on themselves,
not when she was giving birth to
all three of us.

She simply did it. Quietly.
And I did not inherit that
from her.

When the nurses found out that my
mother was the first of all the
labouring mothers to deliver,
they yelled at her.
“You just lost me twenty bucks,
lady.”

“The courage that my mother had” by Sasha at the table upstairs

Tuesday September 10, 2019
12:25pm
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

My mother tells me that she
couldn’t have done what I’m doing

Not that anything is the same
Twenty-seven years between

what happened then
and what’s happening now

We speak of re-writing
of re-visioning

in a new tongue
built from rubble

and hope
I imagine a world in which

I do not need you
I do need you

Both are true
as this and that is

As faith and doubt are
love and rage

My mother’s courage
the bones that I build on

Flesh and sinew
teeth and tears

My mother’s courage
the rainbow prayer flags

strung up in the window
catching the wind

“and the words still ring true” by Julia at her desk

Sunday September 1, 2019
12:37am
5 minutes
From Christy Webb’s Directors Notes (Lungs)

The words still ring true, like a bell
and you know that you cannot un-ring a bell?
I know that. I know that because I say it
all of the time. Did I make it up? I mean,
did any one of us make up any one thing?
No, I must have heard it somewhere, but
I don’t know anyone in my immediate circles
who say it, and if they do, I surely said
it first to them, but where did I get it?
These words that still ring in my ears and
breathe life into my lungs…Lungs. I don’t
have a quippy metaphor about lungs. Bells
I like, bells I understand, bells I know
the sounds of. Ring ring, the bell on the
door, the bell in the clock tower, the bell
on the fine gold chain that belonged to my
mother but that she lets me wear because
I love it so much. I didn’t have the impulse
for the necklace itself, as in, I was not
the first person to choose it, but I wear it
every day and I muse on the ringing of it
every time. And some words that still ring
true after all this time are I love You and
tonight when I said them, I heard the bells.
I did, I heard them.

“Mandala-Image Dip” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday August 31, 2019
9:32am
5 minutes
Mandala
Margaret Collis

The heart is at the centre. Yes. You know this to be true.

Your mother teaches you this, again and again, through the seasons of life.
Now, she teaches you in how she listens, how she questions, how she protects.
You will teach heart to your daughter, too, and your sister will teach heart to her daughter and these women, us women, will stand hand-in-hand in the heart revolution.

It sounds more serious than it is. Or maybe it is serious. It’s both.

You wake from another dream where you see the truth in crystal clear image and you don’t smash it down and break it. You lean in and you listen (almost as well as your mother). You lean in and you hear the quiet wisdom of forgiveness. You hear the quiet knowing voice of patience. You hear the trueness of your heart, your heart’s desire, your heart’s heart.

 

“Take a moment to remember” by Sasha at her desk

Monday August 12, 2019
8:32pm
5 minutes
The bus instructions

On the day you were born
the skies whispered to go deeper
into the cave than I had
ever been the clouds kissed
the sweat from my back
my brow the matriarchal line
protecting me from all the danger
and all the unlove
bringing me deeper into my
self

On the day you were born
I met a part of my
self that I
didn’t know before
the threshold of pain
higher the threshold of power
wider the space for opening
a portal to the other realm

where the light glows
where the truth knows
where mother and daughter
are on a continuum
through age
through heaven
through

“Come visit me in Halifax soon!” By Julia on her couch

Tuesday July 30, 2019
8:58pm
5 minutes
From a thank you card

I remember visiting Halifax for the first time and I thought your parents’ place was right around the corner. Nope. It was a few hours away. There were way more mosquitoes. And I loved it. Not the mosquitoes-those bites swelled up as big as golf balls. But your family? Welcoming me with a huge pot of fresh mussels? I was in east coast heaven. I could have married you right then and there.

Your mom showed me photos of your playing with a guitar when you were so small and it melted my heart. I loved you even more seeing you with them. They loved you with the biggest love I’d ever seen.

When we went to see the whales, everyone said that each time on the boat they’d seen them. I didn’t see any whales and that was the only disappointing bit.

I will always remember your mom razzing me about being short, like an elf. I really hope she’s well. And your dad. I hope your sisters are great. And their kids. I don’t know how many there are now…

We were so young back then. We were so open to everything.

“She heard a deeper vibration” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday July 18, 2019
10:50am
5 minutes
From a quote by Willa Cather

She sits on the edge of my bed
her body different than ever
but this isn’t about her body
for once
this is about her transformation
not that body and transformation are mutually exclusive
just that too much attention has been paid to form
and now it’s about something formless
more important

She’s wearing a burnt caramel
three quarter sleeved shirt
it’s her colour
when I see this colour in the wild it reminds me of her
She’s talking about gratitude
like it’s her new guru
like it’s saving her life
and it is

Shrouded in white
glowing aura of wisdom and wreckage
gratitude leads her back
to the place that broke her
heart
the first time round

“O Dio, vorrei morir” by Julia at her desk

Saturday May 25, 2019
7:02pm
5 minutes
Gianni Schicchi
Giacomo Puccini

I have asked you before but you ignored it.
So I’m not asking anymore, I’m telling you.
I would like to die.
If I cannot see my son, because my son is
never coming back, then what is there left
to live? I mean, there is nothing for me if
he is not here. I am not asking anymore.

I see him sometimes as the butterfly
that has been visiting me every day since
he was taken from me. Does a butterfly
who is not carrying the spirit of a loved one
land on your shoulder, or the kiss of your knuckle?
No, I am not asking, I already know. It’s him.

I am telling you, God, I have nothing to
offer, contribute. I am no longer holding
all the pieces together, it’s too painful.
The grief pushes out all the cracks and
makes me want to sink into the floor.
I am not asking.

This gash is open for war and I welcome
the blade. Twist it. Twist it all the way.

“Can you see my fingers?” by Julia at her desk

Friday May 24, 2019
5:30pm
5 minutes
The Fighter
Craig Davidson

No rings. You’re looking for a ring, I don’t have one.
Yeah we’ve been together for a decade.
Yeah we’ve been filing our taxes as a “unit”.
Yeah I’m paying higher medical fees than I would be if I were single.
No I don’t have a ring.
I don’t know if his mom has one in the family she’s hoping will go to use.
I don’t know if that’s something they do.
We don’t have that.
I saw my mother’s engagement for the first time this weekend and hers is beautiful,
but it would get caught in my hair.
I never liked spending money on symbols.
I’m a writer.
I can give more meaning to a 10 year long relationship with words, and those,
if you think are free, are not.
Something simple would be nice.
Something that suits me and my spirit and my skin tone, if we’re going down that road.
I like my hands better these days.
I like the way they’ve aged and my nails too, so if this is an option, I’m glad
they look the way they do now.
He isn’t so much a gifts person as he is a touch person,
a quality time person, a words person.
He’s pretty amazing at all of those, hence the 10 years thing.
If you’re looking, and think you should see something, that’s your own narrative.
But if it makes you feel any better, I think about it sometimes too.

“still interested in babysitting?” By Julia on her bed

Tuesday May 21, 2019
8:01pm
5 minutes
From a text

I was just saying to Jam that it was out of sight, out of mind for three whole weeks and I didn’t miss it.
The way I don’t miss anyone.
I was saying good, cause you know, riddance, and I was saying now it’ll be easier to turn down since I’m already 3 weeks in. But it’s as if the universe has bigger ears than I used to and hears when you say that you are ready to level yourself up.
That’s all it needs when you think about it: strong decision making in the direction of your dreams. It sends road blocks right after it catches wind to see if you’re still interested.

“The emotional sensory radar of the infant” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Saturday May 18, 2019
10:01am
5 minutes
Scattered Minds
Gabor Maté M. D

smiling at him I am smiling
at him and he is smiling
at me and we are seeing now

I am sad on the inside I
put him down for a minute
I don’t want him to see my sad from the inside out
I want him to feel alive love, the process of reacting and being present

I respond to his tiny face and his tiny laugh and his
squeals

I try to heal my insides before I pick him up again It is lifelong

I want to love him but I am
diatracted by stress
I want to see him but I am looking somewhere else.
He knows
He knows me by my smell
by the impetous behind authentic smile
He knows when I am simply using the same mouth muscles to mimic a feeling and he is sad if I am sad and he is sad if I am there but not fully
This small heart
he is smarter than me
He is not yet scrambled
naive, easily fooled into a love that isn’t.

“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.

“conducted his own laboratory experiments” by Julia at her mom’s dining table

Monday May 13, 2019
2:51pm
5 minutes
The Flouride Deception
Christopher Bryson

In the laboratory (kitchen) my mother is filling
the espresso machine with more beans.
She is on the phone with her sister in Italy,
speaking in dialetto and switching to English
when it’s easier to explain. I am conducting my
own experiment about which Animal is aligned
with my authentic essence and which medicine
I should take care to recognize as an offering
to the world who needs it. I am asking which
animals do I reject? I asked her earlier, and she
said snakes. In Italy there are snakes all over
the place. I saw my first one in the mountain town
where my mother grew up and where my nonna lived.
There are a few more experiments to participate in,
the animal of my family, the tribe that I belong to.
I’ll have to ask more questions, write down more
findings and one day draw a map with all the right
tree roots connecting. We all have a specimen to
study. Some inner worlds become one and when they
do I want to be able to notice them. I want to
vibrate buzz with the truth reflected around me. I want

to arrive and stay arriving with my heart out, collecting.

“Exactly how they want you to be” by Julia in J’s Attic

Friday May 10, 2019
9:49pm
5 minutes
Martin John
Anakana Schofield

She sits, pretty, mouth closed, because pretty
She is 7, going on 8, she is the middle child
Her younger sister is wearing white beside her
She is wearing white
Her sister youngest is beside her wearing white
They are all to be seen, not heard, no peeps, no sound
Mother does the talking
Mother always does the talking
Mother talks circles around Father
Father says little but is feared most
She is sitting, not speaking, no peeps, wondering
Am I Allowed To Go To The Bathroom?
Am I Allowed To Ask If I Can Go To The Bathroom?
Am I Allowed To Need To Use The Bathroom?
The clock ticks a slow death, a burn, a punishment
She is counting everything she knows how to count:
chickens, lashings, siblings, six of each
times she woke up from being unconscious:
three, and one she is not remembering
The adults are eating, maybe laughing, but none of them see
They don’t see three pretty little dolls sitting on the couch
Three pretty little dolls, dolled up for the sake of looking at
Three pretty dolls too afraid to move or be heard
She sits still with her hands clasped in her lap, knuckles itching
The way a nightmare might

“a wish for happiness” by Julia in Jessica’s attic

Tuesday April 29, 2019
10:22pm
5 minutes
A quote by the Dalai Lama

I wish for happiness the way I wish for
a seat sale to fly me back into the swell
of my mother’s longing. I wish for her
linguini and clam sauce above all other
things, and dad’s Shrimp With a Vengeance.
He does not make them the same way twice
and for the first time in my life I am happy
that I inherited that from him. Earlier I
told J that I didn’t know how I was going
to cut the potatoes until I put the knife
to one. She thought I was being self-
deprecating again, a trait I did not get
from him. If I have to trace it back, I’d
say I got it from my mother but hers has
gone away now since she started swearing.
I think I’m the one she got that from.
The first time I came home from theatre
school she was shocked at how easily
my tongue had turned to fucking mud.

“Mom had written bad checks” by Julia at her desk

Sunday April 27, 2019
9:20pm
5 minutes
What Little She Had
Doug Crandell

“Okay so we’re back together but don’t tell Mom. She’ll flip her shit and I don’t need to see that women’s shit anywhere, do you?”
Lise was screaming on the phone to her sister, walking with pace.
“Why would I tell her when she doesn’t deserve to know? Because someone who can’t keep their hands to themselves and their opinions on a need to know basis doesn’t deserve to know.”
She was making giant circles in the lobby way, not stopping to see how her yelling was being received. Why would she? She had every right to be there, pacing, having a dramatic conversation about something important to her. So what if Lionel wasn’t the most successful car salesman. So what if he didn’t see himself working up the ladder to challenge his skills. Her mother wouldn’t know love if it slapped her upside the head. Who was she to even dare open her mouth about it.

“the moon hung full” by Julia at her desk

Saturday April 27, 2019
3:31pm
5 minutes
The Wandering Jew
David Slabotsky

she was bragging as she often does
her belly drooping over her jeans
as if she had stuffed something
down there, something she was
trying to hide
her anger was hard to ignore
since she liked making it other
people’s business
it was loud
and everywhere and fascinating
and severe
this time saying what she’d
managed to swipe from the
counter when that idiot
wasn’t looking
she got a box of Oreos and a bra
that didn’t even fit her
that seemed to make her the proudest
of all things, a thing that wouldn’t
even be useful
taking things just because she could
and because it would make more of a
story
A few of them were watching from nearby
making an assessment but they didn’t
see her life story so it felt natural
to be repulsed
they didn’t know the kind of home she
grew up in or that her first mother
didn’t want her very much

“because they don’t realize” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday April 20, 2019
4:53pm
5 minutes
Real Roger
Harold Ober

How will I teach you how to love your body
in a world where a choir of voices sing
BE SMALL
HOLD IT IN
DON’T
STOP
YOU ARE TOO MUCH

deafening crescendo
coming from all sides
every time you leave home

at least that’s how it felt to me
often
sometimes
mostly

How will I teach you how to love your body
when the lineage of women hating themselves
runs as deep as the lineage
of love and water

That is my work
my task from the very first day

Strength and wisdom
in your muscles and bones
blood like fire
burning up towards a sky
that forgives all the hurt
carried in cells
all the shrinking

We will not shrink

You will hear me praise
how my body carried you
and made you who you are
and fed you and carried you

You will hear me celebrate
the stretch marks and dimples
and you will believe me
because I will be telling the truth

You will hear me speak of the beauty
of all bodies
ones like yours and ones like hers
and ones like mine and ones unlike many
and you will hear me
sing louder than the choir

A lone voice
a mother’s voice
swallowing the many
with the power of the matriarchy
that only knew what they knew
and now we know more

“You would hide your bitten nails under the table” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday April 12, 2019
8:46pm
5 minutes
The Intellectual
Benny Anderson

You would hide your bitten nails under the table. That’s what you’d do. You should’ve sprung for a manicure. Can’t remember the last time you did that. One of those places called “Chic Nails” or something, with TVs on the wall and so many tiny bottles to choose from. Flushing forty bucks into the toilet, but whatever. Lots of guys like that. Groomed nails. Whatever. You look at your hands and you see your childhood, your bad haircut and your ill-fitting jeans, cuffs rolled up. You have child hands. Drove your mother crazy, how you bit your nails. She tried everything. Told you she’d give you a dollar for every week you went without biting. “It’s nasty, Viv,” she’d say. You’re nasty, Viv. Why’d you say yes to this date anyway? He probably likes fishing. He probably has a hairy neck. He probably has pepperoni nipples.

“‘small healings’ take place every day” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday April 3, 2019
9:36pm
5 minutes
The Human Elements of Psychotherapy
David N. Elkins

Healing found in the gummy smile of a three-month-old
lentils stewed by her mother in my belly
full and empty
both and.

Letting the light in
embracing the magnolias
carpeting the sidewalks
cool air on my toes.

There is no treasure map
for this
and we are not lost
both

a break in the clouds
for a beam of sun
massaging tired eyes
reaching achey heart.

This morning a hundred and fifty
voices sang Let It Be
four thousand kilometres
away we joined in
You could hear us

and my mother spoke
elegance and beauty

her articulation
clear and practised
all the years of
reading poems aloud.

I’ve been praying
to ancestors
to unborn ones

to the hummingbird
drinking sweetness
on the balcony
all hours of the day.

“my mother is waiting” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday March 26, 2019
8:07pm
5 minutes
The Greeter
T Kira Madden

Call the woman who decided you were good, the one who heard a whisper of you and was convinced. No shouting match with the sky gods, the enough of you was felt by her first. Call her on the phone and hear her laugh. The real one that she gives you at her own jokes, the real one that you cannot will not forget.

My mother is not waiting by the phone but she will run to it.

After getting rid of all the portable ones in the house, she went out and bought phones with long, curly
cords. She was born running, the woman can run up stairs and around tracks and to the neighbour’s house to give her infant the Heimlich Manoeuvre. My mother was ready and is ready. She doesn’t have call display but she knows it’s me by the tone of the ring. She knows me by the song on the other end waiting for her.

“my mother is waiting” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday March 26, 2019
6:04pm
5 minutes
The Greeter
T Kira Madden

My mother calls
grace on her lips
grief crawling out
between her fingers
that thick sludge oh God
how do we bear
this kind of breaking
again she’s losing love
again she’s splitting open
she knows in a different way
this time

My daughter was a seed
in me in my mother’s womb
She carried us so well
grew us strong in heart
soft in hip
grew us brave

My mother sits
by the bed of her beloved
vigil in the stillness
in the nurses coming and going
speaks to him with the care
she spoke to my sister and I
when we were girls

“as the cells of his scalp” by Julia on Kits beach

Thursday March 21, 2019
5:06pm
5 minutes
Candlelight
Tony Hoagland

It was disgusting because it wasn’t my filth. I guess you could make the same argument that it could be less repulsive due to my separation from it, but let me set the record straight: I threw up in my mouth the moment this woman left her apartment. Well, in her defence it was a short term rental and she was probably getting a cleaner with the deal or whatever her husband’s work was willing to pay. But in the meantime, to live with so much food on the floor it could feed a small family for days…I shouldn’t continue. You’ll get so grossed out. Okay but let me say one thing, her sweet 9 month old had extreme eczema and when he’d wake up from his nap or if he got upset he’d start ripping at his little head. There was bits of his scalp all over the apartment—on the back of his high chair, on the changing mat, on the carpet. I considered if his home were clean that he might be less upset at the things he couldn’t control and less hell-bent on destroying his own skin. I also know that these things aren’t likely connected. But I wondered.

“the biographies of our heroes” by Julia at this the studio

Friday February 22, 2019
8:00pm
5 minutes
Political Paralysis
Danusha Veronica Goska

You know how they say we stand on the shoulders of giants? You know how they say that, Sash? I feel sometimes like I’ve got a couple sitting on mine. Maybe I read that in a book somewhere, like I can’t make anything great because I can’t live up to the fact that someone else has already done it better than me. Makes me want to email Miriam again and tell her she really makes it hard for me because she is so good. I would just be repeating myself though since I think I already told her that.
Do you ever think that someday your daughter might be a writer? You know cause you are, and your mom is, and it makes sense. She’d have a couple of giants of her own, you know? But I think she’ll write about you. The way you write about your mom. The way it’s meant to be. I know you’ve already written about her, growing there below your heart.

“grateful to be where we are now.” By Julia on her couch

Friday January 11, 2019
12:06am
From a Christmas card

A garden preened to the high heavens mocks my morning walk to the compost heap left bubbling
I hate these neighbours and their tireless knees
How some people sit like that I will never understand
My mother didn’t meet her green thumb until her 60s so maybe there’s still time for me. Not sure why my father didn’t force me into the earth when I was young and curious. Some life skills I fear I may never own
My garden wouldn’t make sense anyway-a clump of rosemary, a hill of daisies
I have never been willing to look so far ahead into a year
It’s the same pill I swallow when packing my things even if only for the night

“You are my real mother, aren’t you?” by Julia on her couch

Thursday January 10, 2019
8:54pm
5 minutes
Life After Life
Kate Atkinson

I used to want Zia Vilma to be my mother cause she knew how to french braid, and make her own halloween costumes, and turn an old pair of leggings into a choker with a broken heart earring as the pendant.

She was the only one spent time with us, who played cards with us when we were little and begging to sit at table with all the adults.
She lit up when she saw us.

My own mother was a little different than she is now. She used to scream at us more then. She used to whip her eyes shut when she was yelling out all her demons.
I hated that face she made. I was afraid of it. she couldn’t look us in the eye.

“experiences unbearable psychological turmoil” by Julia in Kitchener

Wednesday December 26, 2018
11:36pm
5 minutes
Eros
Stella Kalogeraki

Mom tells me about the shingles that people my age are getting. Chicken pox she says, we used to have chicken pox parties, can you believe that?
They seem to know things then that we don’t anymore. I say stress can cause it, it happened to my friend.
My mother nods and her eyes light up, yes yes stress can cause it and other things, can you believe that?
Some assumptions keep us rotting in our skin when the torture becomes self-inflicted. The brain knows how to protect its team by sending warriors to build walls that block out the worst case scenario. The blood still pumps through the highway of the body, alive in the channels sending it this way and that.

“Day after day we worked” by Sasha in Mississauga

Monday December 24, 2018
12:12pm
5 minutes
The Swiss Family Robinson
J.D. Wyss

Jeremy puts on his father’s coat and his mother’s fake fur hat and goes to smoke a joint in the garage. It’s the first Christmas without Sara and everyone is on their best/worst behaviour. Since moving away from Kingston, Jeremy has learned how what we think is our best is sometimes our worst because it’s not necessarily honest. Jeremy tries to be honest.

“Are you high?” His mother asked last night, as she washed and he dried. Joan Baez’s Christmas album on the stereo.

“Yup,” he said, carefully wiping the platter that used to be his grandmother’s, the one with little raised cranberries on it.

“Jeremy… Is it necessary that you – “

“You do you, Mom. Drink a little too much Pinot Grigio, eat a little too much baked brie. I’m gonna do me, and smoke a bit of weed.”

She raised her eyebrows, unsure about this man in front of her who resembled the little boy gripping her hand til her knuckles turned white on the first day of school.

“somehow you are sacred,” by Julia on the 84

Wednesday December 12, 2018
3:54pm
5 minutes
The Third Treatise
Yara Farran

As I stand here mighty, bigger than you,
I feel the earth holding you up. When the sight of me existing without force
the way you sometimes don’t
makes you stop in your tracks, I see you then, and know you are good. This rain has marked its territory on my skin. I have married and left it now too many times to count. This is how I know about growing. About staying. About you.
Somehow, it is true, you are sacred even if you do not know the meaning of the word. And I know what it’s like to wait for my time to shoot upward; to shed my old season; to take the place of my mother.

“who is already a married woman.” By Julia on the 41

Monday, December 3, 2018
7:50pm
5 minutes
Good Fate
Virginia Suk-yin Ng

I thought I would be married by 24. Like my mother. She was a married woman in her early twenties and 6 years later, me. I was there too. I think it was different back then. We all do, I’m pretty sure. I don’t know if my mother thinks I should be married by now or if my dad has an opinion about it. A few aunts have made the mention but outside of that nobody seems to care about me one way or the other.
Some people have been divorced twice by my age. Just saying. I don’t know, I never got a toaster for any of my commitments. Not a good luck on your career shift! Or a wow you’ve been writing for a long time, here’s a nice pack of pens!
Where was the congratulations card when I celebrated my 11th year of not shaving a single hair off my body.

“a conversation unfolds” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday, December 2, 2018
7:32am
5 minutes
Conversation Across Languages
Derick Mattern

When I call
the conversation between us
unfolds open
reaches break
lily-of-the-valley
Rose-of-Sharon

Oh the grief is heavy
on my tongue
stretching down
to my throat
to my belly
to my feet

Oh this grief meets
the very core and
I hold you over long distance
airways over the Prairies
I hold you like you did me
when most of what I was
was daughter

“three boring facts about yourself” by Julia on R’s couch

Thursday, November 29, 2018
12:41pm
5 minutes
Two Truths and a Lie
Alicia Elliot

Okay number one is that I pick my nose. Nothing exciting about that, nobody cares, everyone does it, and the only people who think it’s bad are parents to toddlers who are embarrassed of everything they do. Once I said that I do it in a job interview and the whole room fell in love with me. I knew not because I did it and they do it but because I said it and had no shame.

Number two is that I sometimes watch Grey’s Anatomy even though it’s no longer good or fun, and I still cry my eyes out every time. I watch it when I need to turn off my mind completely. I don’t care about the characters when I’m not watching. I don’t tell anyone I watch it. It’s a boring thing about me. Now you know.

Number three is that I can sit in silence for a long time with my back in a weird position. Not on purpose like a life model posing for painters. Not like a Yogi who is meditating or a regular person who is meditating. Like a person who finds a position and then doesn’t move even though the spine is probably breaking. It’s just a thing I do.

“It’s her first time here” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday November 28, 2018
9:58pm
5 minutes
I Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind
Marianne Apostolides

she comes in with a bit of a pulse in her scarf, a few minutes late of course, the bit of bird shit still on her boot.
The ladies spot a chicadee and point her into the right room, tossing his jacket into the stroller, checking in.
Later she tries to convince another mother that her kid’s coat was not his coat.
she is told by the instructor or care giver that her kid slapped a girl in the head. That no needs to be firm and understood

“Help yourself to some food” by Julia at the studio

Saturday November 17, 2018
11:10am
5 minutes
From a text

I’ve got an Italian family waiting for me at the table and they’re excited to see me. My mother will make her new favourite thing: date walnut cookies. Some will have chocolate chunks. Some will be overcooked and she will be the only one to notice. Most will fly off the table before I get there. I have to hurry, one month until we’re all laughing. Until my brother tells the same story he’s told for years. Until my sister makes a very good family photo on her fancy camera. There will be clam sauce because I am coming home and my mom knows it’s my favourite. There will be crab legs and the best mushrooms on this side of the world. My father will say, this smells like a happy home. And it will be. We have a lot to talk about. A lot of food to praise. I’m going to stop eating now to prepare. Italian families don’t trust a person who refuses food. They won’t believe you if you say you’re full anyway.

“the high priestess of soul” by Sasha in her old bedroom at Bowmore

Friday November 16, 2018
11:03pm
5 minutes
Universal Soldiers
Andrea Warner

My mother is beautiful
in the thickness of grief
My mother
bless her ravaged heart
her oatmeal-making
her devotion

People don’t talk
about how it smells
(salty wet acidic)
about how it looks
(pale shrunken)
about how it feels in the bones
(heavy empty ragged)

I awaken with clenched teeth
and a prayer between them
Glory Bound
sweat on my forehead
butterfly kicks
in my womb

“his birthplace has now lost its charm” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday November 14, 2018
7:01am
5 minutes
Master of the Masterpiece
Anya Georgijevic

I am planning my trip to Italy
It is 2014. I will go stay with my Nonna and my Zia and my cugini in my mother’s town. Lozzola, land of parmeggiano, prosciutto, the famous Nocciole for the best tasting spring water you’ve ever blessed your throat with.
I ask my father if I should go to Calabria. San Nicola where he’s from. He says nobody lives there anymore. Everyone moved to Canada or to heaven and there’s no one left at the lemon tree. I want to see where he lived for the first 7 years of his life. Where he learned to run, eat crusty pane in warm cocoa milk.
He tells me there would be no point now. No one is there.

“Most families” by Julia at her desk

Thursday October 11, 2018
6:10pm
5 minutes
Poor and Poorer
Jerrold Ladd

Most families are not all families. I have to tell you I’m lucky.
Lucky that I never had to prove myself anyone. Lucky that I could
move out and move far and the guilt wouldn’t be there. The guilt
wasn’t given to me. I am lucky that my father shows love in sauteed
shrimp and that my mother will talk to me on the phone for an hour
if I’m walking that far. I am lucky that my sister sees my insides.
That she thinks my growth is beautiful. That she isn’t afraid to
tell me the truth. That she never pulls me down when I’m up.
That my brother let’s me call him whatever I want. That he wears
the bracelet I got him for Christmas 6 years ago. That he will pick
me up from the airport during a blizzard. Drive me to the airport
on his only day off. Tell the story at the table that makes me look
hilarious. I am lucky that my family gives what they have and doesn’t
count favours. That they send me photos of their meals when the only
thing missing is me. I am lucky that my family holds me. That they
think I’m important enough to wait for.

“Most families” by Sasha at the table at Terrace Beach

Thursday October 11, 2018
4:05pm
5 minutes
Poor and Poorer
Jerrold Ladd

I know how lucky I am and I don’t take it for granted. Really I don’t. I know how lucky I am when I become an artist and no one questions it or asks how I’ll pay rent; when I fail and rise and break and shed and am seem for all of it, for each of them, by each of them. I know when I see how she isn’t known by her family in the way she wants so badly to be, and she is known by mine, in a different way, but in a way closer to her craving. I know how lucky I am, when he has pie and tea with my father and can talk about how hard it’s been, how he doubts me, and us, and the future, and more so himself.

“silence that voice.” By Sasha on her couch

Wednesday October 3, 2018
6:37am
5 minutes
Sitting in the Fire
Pema Chodron

Silence the voices of doubt
like you would a mewing lamb
weaving between your legs
underfoot and gentle

Silence the voices of doubt
with the kindness of a lover
with the patience of teacher
with the fire of freedom

I know doubt like I know
my mother’s face
even though I go months now
without seeing her

My mother
not doubt

Doubt creeps in often
hard to say exactly how often
when I’m turned the other way
when I’m tying my boot

“My mother told us” by Julia on her couch

Sunday September 30, 2018
9:10pm
5 minutes
Waiting For My Rape
Jessica Anya Blau

she says “just do your best” and no matter why she says it, she always sounds close to (if not battling) tears. I don’t think she likes crying. but it’s in her like she’s made of sand. a billion moving particles loose under her skin, washing. she says “bye” at least three times. she has to be the last one to say it. it’s an italian thing. like goodbye is the saddest most beautiful world they could think of. and her goodbye keeps me calling. I don’t want to be this far away from her. this daughter’s body a river of sand just like her. a milky way. starlight.

“My mother told us” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday September 30, 2018
4:43pm
5 minutes
Waiting For My Rape
Jessica Anya Blau

My mother told us the prognosis
over the phone as we lay in our bed
your hand on my belly
my hand on your heart

The rain came today and it feels
right a cleansing a weeping
a shedding and you’re cleaning
the house of all the summer sand

My mother astounds me every day
with her willingness to feel the truth
with her ability to meet the mystery
with her strength in the breaking

It’s good to have stillness
amidst the flurry the fury
the unfurling the fraying
It’s good to have a Sunday like this

Jolie eats an apple on FaceTime
and we laugh at the determination
the squeals the sweetness
the surrender

“what would happen if we moved to Vancouver?” by Julia in her bed

Thursday September 20, 2018
12:31am
5 minutes
Crystal
Gillian Wigmore

nobody saw it coming
not me
not you
not the ones we were leaving behind
i suppose some deep place made known only to me in my dreams and
i guess in my mother’s
it was expected that i would make it
we both knew somewhere that i would twist silk into roots
and sink them in
she always knows the limits to my reach better than me
which is funny
since she doesn’t think I have any
but maybe vancouver gave me the pocket of soil to grow myself out of
she said that to me today
and here i am talking about leaving or staying or what in the world should I do
what would happen?

“I’m old enough to be that girl’s mother,” by Sasha in her bed

Friday August 24, 2018
10:14pm
5 minutes
My Mother’s Body
Marie Howe

When I’m on the bus
or downtown
I see these packs
of wolf-girls
and I think

“I could be your mother, howler”

There’s a power
in that I didn’t
know to be true
until I got a disdainful
look until I was
standing in front
of the classroom
asking them to write
poems and a few of
these wolf-girls
look at me like
I’m old
I’m gross
I’m uncool
HA!

Jokes on them
but it does feel strange
because I used to be
one of them
judging less overtly
though

I used to be one of them
and now I’m old enough
to be that girl’s mother

“I’m old enough to be that girl’s mother,” by Julia in T’s kitchen

Friday August 24, 2018
7:11pm
5 minutes
My Mother’s Body
Marie Howe

we sit at the diner without speaking. Lulu is mad at me and I am mad at her. the drive was long, quiet, peanut butter stuck in the back of the throat. when I pointed out the horses grazing in the field she gave me the finger. Lu knows i loves horses. she even loves them more than me. I don’t know where I went wrong. i’m old enough to be that girl’s mother but I am not her mother. they don’t tell you that trying to parent another person’s kid will pulverize your heart into something you wish you could snort. Madelyne isn’t sending any instructions from where she is. how to handle a kid who hates me for not being more. when she was just my niece she used to beg Mad to sleep over in my truck. I guess that’s a hope worth tucking beneath the hip.

“play the role of devoted son.” By Sasha in her bed

Saturday August 11, 2018
10:02pm
5 minutes
Tincture Of Mother
Alan Craig

You groomed me to be your little sidekick. Until I was thirteen or so, I liked it. I ate it up like a peanut butter sandwich. The role of devoted son was the best one I played. I could’ve earned a medal, or a Golden Globe, or at least some kind of pin/ribbon. God knows I didn’t have enough coordination for the school musical, and I wasn’t fast enough for softball. But being your boy? I had that down pat. You taught me exactly how you wanted to be treated – always “Maman”, never “Mom” or “Mother” or “Mummy”; a gin and tonic with a slice of lime and five ice cubes in your hand at 4pm; “I love you,” and kisses on both cheeks before getting on the bus. When Papa left you sat me down (drink in hand), in the parlour. We only ever sat in the parlour when we had guests over, important guests, colleagues of Papa’s or the Westford’s from the across the street who you always wanted to impress. You said, “You’re my man now, Francois.”

“The joy of bursting and bearing fruit” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday July 11, 2018
6:58am
5 minutes
Earth Prayers
John Soos

One day conceivable from here, from now, from everything that I know,
I will hold a tiny, living thing in my arms and I will feel this great love…
The one everyone talks about
the changing kind, the one that gently nudges, inspires, forces you into bearing witness

Each moment between now and then is a teacher
A dream
I will want this when I have gotten good at turning the love inward
At being a witness to myself
And there is much to see. This life has been long already, the one before this one longer still, I imagine, and it is going going
I would very much like to give a tiny, living thing, my heart beat in excess
I want to give everything away when I know I don’t need to hold onto anything I’ve gotten but a tiny, living thing
Everything of use to me is being shown to me from the inside out and the whole world knows it
At least it does if I give permission to the whole world to be within me

Last night I felt a connection with a tiny, living thing
that did not burst forth from my own joy,
but was able to recognize it
We rocked there, our heads touching
and that was enough for me to know

“My parents expected brilliance” by Julia at the studio

Thursday July 5, 2018
9:16am
5 minutes
In Praise Of Incompetence
Lauren Slater

We started watching the new Ghostbusters movie last night. There have been some funny moments. My mother told me to watch it. She thought I should have been cast in it. She always says that when funny women are on-screen. It’s nice she thinks so highly of me. She saysI remind her of Julia Louis Dreyfus. This just goes to show that my mother doesn’t know much about Julia Louis Dreyfus. Or show business. Or what I have been busying myself with.
Ten years ago I decide to be an actor. I also decided to be famous and be interviewed by all the Jimmies. At the time there may have only been one, but whatever, it’s all the same.
I thought it was the only thing I could be doing. I hadn’t really lived yet. I know now that I wasn’t willing to put in the work. I know it, Jam knows it, and maybe my mother knows it, but she still thinks I’m destined for greatness. At Aunt Tina’s wedding on Sunday, there was a distant relative there who said she saw me on a commercial. Said it was really funny. My mother said, don’t you think she reminds you of Julia Louis Dreyfus? This woman had no idea who Julia Louis Dreyfus was. My mother beamed anyway.

“Modern medicine clashes” by Julia at her desk

Thursday May 17, 2018
10:16pm
5 minutes
from The Observer (UK)

The lady with the floppy hat tells me that I should not let the doctors give me anything.
Don’t let them try to make you take more than your body needs.
Rely on homeopathic remedies.
I tell her my mother will flip her shit when she hears this.
The lady is concerned about my mother flipping and I have to tell her, out of joy.
My mother has been researching pills.
I think she thinks she has to prove to my sister that she knows what she’s talking about.
My sister will not take one wikepedia page as Gospel.
She used to take gospel as Gospel and would tell you that she is not that person anymore.
I didn’t want to take pills for my headache because the lady with the floppy hat
tells me that my body is too sensitive.
She tells me no alcohol either if I can avoid it.
I am about to tell her my mother will flip her shit again and then I stop.
I didn’t want to mess anything up but my head was already so messed up.
I took one of the white pills and swallowed the water.
I wasn’t going to take the second one because she said always take less than I need.
And then I took the second one.
Because I really didn’t want this headache.
I don’t know who to believe.
A faint throb quickens.

“She actually cooks” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday May 16, 2018
7:02am
5 minutes
Overheard in the dining room

I take more time now
I try to rush less now
Or maybe that’s a lie now
T-R-Y is the truth I guess

I watch my mother’s body break
And I think about all the women
Breaking
Breaking open
Breaking down
Breaking through
Breaking waves
Breaking story
Breaking bread
Breaking hearts
Breaking wide

I can’t punctuate because
This isn’t over and there’s
No symbol that can accurately
Mark the
Break

Maybe it’s better to stick with
fingers stained
Yellow from curry powder
Or the fine art of slicing tomato
Blending chickpeas into gold

Breaking down the heart
Breaking down the nucleus
Breaking into laughter
Breaking into love