“good-luck puppet” by Julia on L’s couch

Monday April 8, 2019
5 minutes
Pierre Reverdy

Meda says I’m not allowed to carry her around anymore. Says the face is chewed off too rough and it’s scaring the cat. I tell Meda that the cat does not get a say in this.
“You’ll give her nightmares,” She tells me, “don’t you care about that?”

“Oh I’m sorry does the cat find herself screaming in the middle of the night, unable to get a single thing done the next day, Meda? Does she get behind on all of her chores, Meda, all of her living?”

I realize I am yelling now and the good-luck puppet appears to disintegrate further with each decibel. Meda isn’t looking at me.

“I am not trying to be cruel about the cat, Meda, I’m really not. I don’t want her to suffer. Much. “

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

Tuesday October 9, 2018
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.

“the serpent coiled around the pillar” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday September 25, 2018
5 minutes
Come of Age
Stephen Jenkinson

I have been casting out the devil since I knew he could break into my bedroom at night while I slept.
Lord knows I have stomped my little heart out on the floor more than once to rebuke that son of a bitch.
They do not tell you, when you are just starting to welcome Jesus into your heart, that atheists don’t get possessed by the devil. Why would they? The Christians are stacking their team with the impressionable. The talented. The eager.
Mostly I had to curse his name after watching a scary movie. I believed he could get in easier through my nightmares. I prayed for god to please not let me see anything bad, hear anything bad, or dream of anything bad. Because once I saw Jesus’ shadow on the wall and when he started laughing maniacally,
I knew.

“full of tenderness” by Julia in Amanda’s kitchen

Wednesday August 8, 2018
5 minutes
Wang An-Shih

I sleep in your bed when you’re away and I toss and turn and have nightmares about people breaking into your apartment because I’ve done something wrong in a past life to ruin the trust you have in me. On a different night I dream of having to find an outfit for prom. 13 years later and I wonder what I have accomplished since then. Still trying to fit in. Still worrying if I will be perceived by them as I perceive myself. On the night with the nightmares I am landlocked to the bed. I can’t rise. I can’t wake up. Sleep paralysis plays a slideshow of disturbing footage and I’m not allowed to leave. I’m not allowed to leave. Your bed used to be softer. I think you gave that one to our parents. I think your heart full of tenderness gives everything to everyone. I’m sorry my body heavy with jet leg and self-doubt can’t ease into the gift. You’d be sorry if you knew it was hard, and it shouldn’t be hard. It should be soft. You’re sleeping on the cold ground right now and I pray that your bones aren’t wet all the way through. I hope you’re sitting on the garbage bag instead of a damp log. I hope you find peace in the stillness of the wilderness. You impress me. Someone who knows when to say yes.

“Clear eyes” by Julia on her couch

Saturday February 18, 2017
5 minutes
Friday Night Lights

When I pray I ask god to give me clarity so I may trust
what I see and be able to know it
I ask to be bypassed by nightmares like I did when
I was a child
twenty years of wishing I wouldn’t see the bad things because
I had glue for brains
terror haunting me like flies twitching on a sticky rope
I ask god to give me clear eyes so I can’t blame inaction
on blurry vision
I ask god to save me so we don’t get caught up in logistics
Tell her I’m tired now of specificty
mainly because it hurts
too much
When I pray I ask for something I can hold on to
something that won’t burn me in the night and leave a scar

“can definitely travel” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday January 12, 2016
5 minutes
From an email

My mother braids my hair before bed, because it’s long now and I toss and turn so violently that I wake, morning after morning, with a birds nest at the nape of my neck. I have nightmares at seven, eight, nine and my mother makes a little bed beside her own that I can crawl into without having to wake her. The run from my room to her room is agony. I do it nightly, building courage like a city around me, inside me, gaining courage until I burn pictures drawn in crayon of my nightmare and he goes.

“traumatic for a baby” By Julia at The Marriott In Decatur, Georgia

Monday August 1, 2016
5 minutes
overheard at the Marriott in Decatur

We didn’t want to put any clowns in her room just in case she wasn’t one of those kids that loved them. I’m talking nice clowns too. We didn’t want to risk it-no marionettes (gifts from our friends, sent from Mexico), no figurines (a doll my sister in law built out of a mop head and some satin), no posters, and no photographs. We made the mistake earlier with Keegan and I’m worried about him becoming a psychopath. I blame Stephen King. I blame him and whatever mother didn’t love him enough to give him such twisted ideas. I also blame Charles, who grew up with clowns all over his damn house and never once murdered anything with a heart beat. Charles told me it would be fine, but I wasn’t convinced. There are so many things in this life that pose less of a threat to psychologically damaging a child, like bunny rabbits, and flowers, and Marilyn Manson.

“tossing rolled oats” by Julia at her dining table

Sunday February 21, 2016
5 minutes
from a recipe

Karma comes calling, knocking on my door, middle of the night, full intention of awakening, startling me from my sleep. In the form of a dream, in the guise of a nightmare. I get the message: loud and clear and painful and frightening. I don’t know what I did but I’m paying for it, I can assure you. Tossing in my bed like rolled oats in a bowl of coconut shreds. I am not good at the thing where I see one thing in my head and compare a real life thing to that to express myself, describing something. I am maybe suffering the consequences in more than just sleepless nights. Feeling inept, not having the right words to say, to feel, to communicate. I am being punished by Karma in a way that doesn’t feel so obvious. I know how she rolls. In and out of view, thinking she’s gone for a little bit, then rushing right back in to remind me that I am not rid of her yet and that I am not safe in my alone. I am least protected when I leave the comfort of crowds and people with worse problems. She knows that and comes in when I’ve shaken off the possibility of seeing her at all today.

“Spilled secrets” by Julia at the Sheraton in St. John’s

Wednesday March 26, 2014
5 minutes
Atlantic Business Magazine
Jan/Feb 2014

of course there are spilled secrets all over this place. you think i don’t know that? I know that. I know everything about this place. when i was little i used to run this place. you’re laughing but you don’t understand. i was in and out of room corners and closets and hiding everywhere. nobody knew where to find me and i was damn good at staying hidden until i knew no one was watching for me to come out. that’s how i learned about everyone and everything because i got real good at keeping my mouth shut and my ears wide wide open. i got good at breathing with my mind and not with my lungs. i know about each wall plastered with its tiny mosaics of truth and shame. i know about mom trying to hide the pistol and about dad shouting out for annabell, my sister before he went and not me. i know more than you can possibly imagine. and everyone knows one thing or two, but not me. i know each fold in each sheet like it was my nanny, i know each speckle on each mirror like my own shadow. i could fill rooms of books with what i know here. and that’s why i’m so hell bent on leaving now. not that anyone would stop me..not anyone but the secrets. they whisper to me when i sleep. they haunt my dreams like nightmares that are made up by crazy men in their libraries. only they’re real. they’re so real they could kill me just by being in my head. i have a song i sing right before bed so i don’t hear them. i had to invent something when i was young to make sure they didn’t.

“Loading zone” by Julia at her desk

Friday, June 28, 2013
5 minutes
From a street sign

There’s a place, I guess you should know it, it’s on the way to your worst fear and on the way back from your worst nightmare. You let the devil in for one second and he’s already made a home inside your safe space and mucked up all the white tiles. He’s put his grubby hands on all of your favourite paintings and rummaged through your fridge to see what you loved so he could just dump it on the ground and let the fruit flies at it. I don’t know if you had a sign on your door, something saying you didn’t mind about intruders or that you welcomed them even. Some mats have that little saying that means something different than what it says and you could have just picked the wrong one. I know for me, when I let the devil in, I didn’t have any locks on my doors so it was sort of like inviting him in or giving him free reign over all of my belongings. I was sorry about not investing in locks earlier. I didn’t know that there would ever be a time when someone just failed to knock first. I’m hoping you learn from my mistakes and keep your nightmares closer to yourself. The first wrong step is telling someone about them…

“No seeds, no stems, no sticks” by Julia in her bed

Sunday March 3, 2013
5 minutes
Understand Rap
William Buckholz

There’s a forest behind my house And I’ve never been inside it. I grew up here and always knew to avoid it. You just didn’t go past a certain point in your yard because you didn’t know what stuff you hadn’t dealt with yet. It all represented something bigger than it was. But that’s before it wasn’t. This is not all a metaphor but a lot of it is. I can see the forrest from my bedroom window and it’s safe to say that it haunted me slowly and daily. I don’t think there are any wild animals or feral people living in it, just sort of my own nightmares of myself and my past and other things equally as poetic or lame, depending on your angle. I think for the most part I’m not bothered by it. But some days when my brain is quiet, I think I can hear more of what goes on inside there.

“could go wrong.” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday January 29, 2013
5 minutes
The Well in the Frog
Jana Gatien

You’re in my bed. It’s a good thing. You’ve baked me a stuffed potato or whatever and you’ve washed your feet, which is also a good thing. You’re playing some stupid game on your phone and you’re asking me stupid philosophical questions that don’t really need answers. You’re sweet. You’re very kind to your mother when she calls, even though she sometimes calls 3 or 4 times a day. I like that you have patience. I don’t, so I like that you do. You’re in my bed.
I didn’t ask you here, or force you. You just sort of knew so you came one day and you haven’t left yet. I do the groceries and I don’t make you pay me back for any of it because getting to sleep beside you every night is pay back enough. In the good sense. It’s just that I have these nightmares and when I’m alone they get real crazy. But when you’re here, when I can smell your skin, I don’t have them at all. I dream about daisies a lot which should be weird but it’s not.
You sometimes scratch the space on my neck in between the flat parts.

“A Bite of Flesh” by Julia at Rustic Owl

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at Rustic Owl
5 minutes
Bone Dream
Moira MacDougall

Starting talking in her sleep. Started racing through her dreams as if she were going to win a medal. This one, not this one, this one, not this one. She was trying to reward herself for the good ones. She was firing on all cylinders to remember every part.
She thinks back 20 years to the one where a witch tried to steal her nightgown with a bow right off of her back, then the one where she dreamed her mother had turned into her father and they were both shaving their same face side by side at the bathroom sink. ‘A nightmare’ she mumbles out loud–only it comes out as “Monster mayhem” or something like “Mrs. Gangl’s teeth” because she’s entranced. She screams at one point-at the dream where she locked the neighbour’s 1 year old in her playroom and waited on the outside till she heard him cry. Then when she opened the door, he would hug her because he was scared and didn’t want to be alone. She screams because that was not a dream. It was a reality. “What is it doing here?” She mumbles again—manifesting itself out loud as “No, Anthony.” She kicks her legs, her body convulsing. She’s almost at the end now. Almost at the morning. Almost at the sun rise.