“books about people living on the street” by Julia in The Loop, Chicago

Saturday September 8, 2018
10:39pm
5 minutes
Searching, results
Shawn Syms

I walked into a bookstore today. The shelves were lined with post-it-notes telling me which staff member recommended which book. The girl working the counter had a tattoo of a strawberry wearing sunglasses. She recommended the Miranda July and I thought she and I would be friends. Mariella, the store owner, had recommended a few books about the housing crisis and single room occupancies. When I asked the girl with the same lipcolour on as me if she had read Mariella’s recommendations, she got real quiet and said, Mar used to live on the streets. She built this place so it’d be here for anyone who might need it. That’s why we’re open so late.

“She lives by the sea” by Julia at her dining table


Monday September 26, 2016
6:47am
5 minutes
wordvancouver.ca

I didn’t plan to bury the hatchet so far away from where it did all its chopping
One day the tide pulled me out and I let it
Whispered my goodbyes to the tracks I had laid
Told them all how nice it has been to be trailing
And blew some buoyant kisses to the way things used to sound
when I held up a traveler’s old home to my ears
after she had abandoned it for something bigger
the rocky waves eased me into a place that I could sleep in
Ones I didn’t intend to dream or marry
The saline dresses the top of my lip and I introduce my tongue to the ridges
all the folds it has been missing
And now I belong here
by the sea
because the wind carried me over
and I let it

“Share the love” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday March 9, 2016
6:01pm
5 minutes
From the sign at Platform 7

I can remember Len holding my sunglasses out of reach. I was trying to grab them back but he wouldn’t let me hold them anymore because I kept taking them off and throwing them into the ocean. He knew how much I loved those stupid things. I used to get so bratty after whiskey. I wonder if he takes care of Kia that way. I wonder if she needs someone to keep her in check the way I did. I can remember the freckle on the inside of his left ear, the way his skin smelled of spicy cucumber, his favourite pajama pants with the secret pocket. I can remember the pain in my chest when he told me he couldn’t stay. It’s easy to remember the thing that stays the same.

“really only happy when working” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday November 3, 2015
10:46pm
5 minutes
chaninicholas.com

I called him from the parking lot on my lunch break.
“Hi!”
“Hi? Is everything okay?”
“Yup! It is okay. It is all okay!”
“Okay….did you need something then?”
“Why, do I need to need something to call my lover in the middle of the day?”
“No…not exactly…What’s going on, seriously?”
“I’m just so happy. I wanted to be happy in this moment with you.”
“Oh.”
“You got cynical!”
“And you’re cured now?’
I kicked a giant rock at my foot toward the fence. I debated hanging up right there on the spot, calling back, and pretending to be in pain.
“I didn’t say I was cured. I’m just trying to be positive.”
“Oh.”
“If you’d rather I didn’t try to turn my life around and try to change my opinion, just say the word.”
“You know that’s not what this..that’s not what I mean.”
“No, I know, I know what you mean.”

“I’ve been catfished!” by Sasha at Higher Grounds


Friday March 6, 2015
1:41pm
5 minutes
from a text from Sandra

Not even kidding. Not even. I sobered up one year ago today. It’s pretty strange being twenty and being sober. I said I’m not gonna drink because I wanted to live a life of abstinence from everything. I couldn’t get clean, and, after I moved here, I stopped doing drugs but it was hard not to drink. It’s, like, acceptable. This year I’ve been clean and sober from everything. I didn’t do the program because it felt cult-y. I don’t know. No offence, I mean, I know it really helps people, but I found that it was this weird meat market where everyone was looking for a fuck, or something. I’ve got a new life to live, man. It’s a day by day thing. I just wanna be a better person. Alcohol is everywhere. It really is. Going out dancing sober is pretty fucking uncomfortable. But I do it. I want to do it. It’s a real shame. I’ve lived a whole life of forgetting everything, blacking out, you know. I don’t want to forget.

“the old ones” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday December 5, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
10:01pm
5 minutes
a Smirnoff ad on the streetcar

She left them by the side of the road. Said she didn’t need them any more at all. Said she never needed them to begin with but was trying to be nice. No more politeness, she was thinking, or saying. She couldn’t tell which thoughts were internal or external. She hoped, for her sake, that everything was external. She was making a point to live out loud anyway. Her back arched against the white wicker chair and she yawned with her tongue out like a lion. If anyone asked, she thought, I’ll say I was robbed. She shook her head furiously. There is no need for lying now. Anything she did could be justified with a flippant “so what?”. She was training her mind to let herself go. It was harder than she thought. She was 6 or 7 New Year’s resolutions into the same attempt. She had been holding tightly to the remnants of her former self. It was hard to say goodbye to her when she looked so good in skinny jeans.