“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.

“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

“I’m still on the boat.” by Julia on her couch


Friday August 4, 2017
10:57pm
5 minutes
Sea Sick
Alanna Mitchell

I’m trying to read to pass the time. Everybody is taking Gravol. My sister gets carsick on tiny windy roads and gets to sit in the front seat of the good car. I have to sit in the back seat behind the same t-shirt going on twelve days in a row. I don’t know how no one notices the oppressive stench but I can’t seem to pretend otherwise. My sister is not looking forward to the boat ride to go see the blown glass in Venicd. There really isn’t a front seat on a boat. My mother is the same way. Neither of them do well when the waves get choppy or even if there’s a bit of wind.
My uncle has taken us on this exact tour for the third time now and still explains everything like it were the first. I don’t know how no one notices.

“A year ago, even six months ago, it would have been, but not now.” by Julia on Amanda’s tub


Wednesday July 19, 2017
11:31pm
5 minutes
Why I Write
George Orwell


I told a bunch of people I didn’t know that if someone asked me what the best thing about life is, I’d say getting older. I mean it. What else is there in this existence aside from growth and love and mistakes and love?
I know a lot of people agreed with me. If that same someone asked me a year ago I would not have said this. I wouldn’t have said a lot of things. In the time between figuring some shit out and sitting where I’m sitting, I have out grown so many beliefs. So many stories. So many past versions of myself. If someone asked me even six months ago I would say, I’m sorry, but I do not recognize my own reflection. I wouldn’t have been able to point out what’s true over what’s not.

I keep thanking my bones for speaking up. I keep asking if anyone who lives in my skin is tired or hungry. I keep listening to the answer when it changes and changes.

“I’m superstitious” by Julia on bec’s balcony


Sunday July 16, 2017
2:19am
5 minutes
the Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


Sarah won’t let me walk under the ladder.
She stops the street with her
loud.
I laugh.
I don’t care about anything like
this.
She cares.
She doesn’t need any more bad luck these days.
We don’t worry about stepping on cracks.
Our mothers’ backs are much too strong for that.
On the street we move into the wind slowly.
I have to remember to snail down to enjoy it.
My feet are always trying to take me somewhere quickly.
They might be showing off their stride.
I could stop more to take in all the alley mattresses left behind.
I could snap a photograph to keep a memory like that.
Sarah believes in a mustard yellow cozy that one day, if nothing else, I hope she gets in spades.
Sarah doesn’t ask for much.
But she deserves all the kitchen mugs on their tiny hooks.
And a little peace.

“Paragraphs of information” by Julia on Nicole’s balcony


Thursday July 13, 2017
12:15am
5 minutes
from a syllabus

Of course I didn’t ask for the ring with the gold flower when she died. I had wanted it since I was small enough to fit in her arms. But I got something better. When I spritzed her perfume in the bathroom I thought I was getting away with curiosity. Turns out my curiosity was too big to ignore. It was the first time she held me. She brought me out of the bathroom with love while I was embarrassed at being caught. Then she gave me the bottle of perfume I had tried on. Just gave it to me. You like it? Here, it’s yours. I cherished that bottle. I kept it in my closet. I didn’t know anything about her-there wasn’t a book about her, not paragraphs of information written about this woman. But I knew the smell of her young skin. I knew the size of her generosity. I knew the way her quiet was her prison. And how she wished she could have given me more.

“intimate questions” by Julia on C’s couch


Friday June 23, 2017
10:34pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

S gives me the idea
to interview my dad.
She’s interviewing hers.
She says she’s learning a lot.
I have always dreamt
of sitting down with
my father and talking with
him about the good stuff.
Like the time he crashed
the car, or the time he fell
in love with someone
who didn’t want him back
or the time he had his limp alcohol poisoned body
dragged home by his
parents who had to fetch
him from the underage
party at Lindsay’s house.
I want to know that he sees
himself in my mistakes and
that I’m not the only one.
That maybe I got some
extraordinary traits from
him beside my wild
curls and my penchant
for chili peppers.
I’d like to ask him if he’s ever regretted his anger
or if he’s ever had to
break up with an old
friend too.
You know
the good stuff.

“while the couple works out their troubles without distraction” by Julia on the 99


Monday June 12, 2017
5:00pm
5 minutes
Committed
Elizabeth Gilbert


My sister tells me she doesn’t want kids and it ruins everything. I know she used to but then she dated a man she didn’t want to have a copy of so she changed her mind and then things were better for her. I always thought if anyone, it would be her, and I would happily be the world’s best Zia to her kid, and even co-parent when I needed to. My sister breaks my heart accidentally when she breaks the news. I wonder who will give our parents grandchildren now? Isn’t she the one who has always done the right thing? Up till this I have been very lucky that no one expects much of me other than poetry and improvised musicals about my day.
How weird it must be for everyone that I’m the one who caught the bouquet at Stef’s wedding, and guessed the exact measurement of Cheryl’s pregnant belly at her baby shower.

“borrows and ruins your clothes” by Julia on couch


Sunday May 7, 2017
9:38pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by Mara Wilson

Jess helps me get ready to go out and meet my co-star, the director, and the show runners. She lets me borrow her black pumps and the sheer olive top that looks great with my faux-leather pants. She lends me jewelry. She boosts me up.
I arrive, nervous, to the cocktail bar. I am tipsy after the one drink I let him order for me. I almost leave my bag.
At the restaurant I am drunk again. I order a dish but I have no idea what I’m getting. The drunk laughs. The drunk tries to hide her shame that she ended up just getting a pasta. The drunk spills pasta in cream sauce on Jess’s sheer olive shirt. She stains it. She almost leaves her bag.

“I tried to do it years ago” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday May 3, 2017
4:43pm
5 minutes
Devices On Standby
Joan Didion


I remember writing letters to my future self
I made it pretty clear that by 24 I would be married just like my mom
that I would have dated a man for at least 6 years before the wedding
that I would have met my husband in high school
that my first love would be my only
I thought it was a pretty good model
today is my parents’ 37th anniversary
and they are still happy

I told myself I would be a gymnast and/or a lawyer and/or a children’s author
(.5/3 if you’re counting)
I don’t remember if I had factored in life being any different than how my 10, or 12, or 17 year old self imagined it to be
I am 30 now and I am not married
I have dated a man for 7 years
and I met him in university
(1/3-if you’re counting)
I am a writer and/ or poet and/or artist
I am not like the letters said I’d be
but I am happy

“There were times when nothing played back.” by Julia at the VPL


Wednesday April 25, 2017
6:13pm
5 minutes
What It Is
Lynda Barry


My sister and I used to make up songs about jello and school and Days Of Our Lives. We’d improvise them with our neighbour and choose funny nicknames and put on terrible accents. I still remember my big one. I am proud of the word play. I am proud that at 9 I was already writing songs.
wiggily jiggily wiggily jiggily wiggily jiggily wiggily jiggily
Jello can be very jiggily
jello can be very wiggily
jello can be very very cool
jello can be all sorts of flavours
jello can be all sorts of colours
Ooooooooh–
(here’s where I bopped my sister on the head and told her not to take a solo because this was MY song.)
Strawberry, cherry
lemon, or lime,
jello can be very fruity
or even the pudding kind
wighily jiggily wiggily jiggily

(I didnt say the songs I was writing were good.)

“bald or willing to shave head” by Julia on her couch


Monday April 24, 2017
4:16pm
5 minutes
from a casting call

Souzan came back from her trip to Australia and shaved her head. Mind you, she was suffering from a spinal injury and it was too heavy to carry around her long hair, but for the record, she looks amazing. I think I have so much hair because the universe knows how weird my skull is shaped. I can’t imagine feeling beautiful without it. My identity is coiled around each curl. And yet, I feel like I need to do this before I die. To feel weightless. To feel naked. To feel like I don’t care how I am viewed by any one else in this life. I used to joke about shaving it all off when I was younger-the tangles made every comb through a nightmare. Once my Nonna asked if she could brush it after I had already styled it. I said yes because she is a tiny woman and I love her. But when she ripped a chunk of hair from my head I whipped the the brush against the mirror and shrieked to the entire world to “Never Touch Me Again”. She felt bad. Lesson learned all around, I suppose.

“regular procedures” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday April 5, 2017
12:53pm
5 minutes
From the thesis formatting guidelines

I am sitting across from you
you are either editing your novel
(YOUR FUCKING NOVEL!!)
or worrying about being ripped off
Even when you’re busy you look up when it’s time
mouth 1234 to me and smile
wait for me to stop what I’m doing
so I don’t miss it
so I don’t forget to believe in magic

I am sitting across from you
you are either playing a new riff on your guitar
or researching guitars that have headphone jacks
this is a very nice gift for me
even though it comes at a cost for you

I am sitting across from you
I am either telling the world about you
or trying to sell my clothes online
our feet are touching
it’s nice

you told your contract job that your girlfriend
isn’t too happy about you working from home
because she has now gained an office mate
but no other office mate
has let me rest my feet on his before

“Is Mommy pretty…” by Julia on Quinn’s couch


Friday March 24, 2017
9:19pm
5 minutes
Is Mommy?
Victoria Chang


She wouldn’t like that I am telling you this but when I was young I would have said my mom made the best Caesar salads out of anyone because she used those bacon bits or those “facon” bits or whatever they were called. She would tell you she knows better these days. She might even say that it wasn’t true.
I would have said that my mom liked to yell.
She’d say she didn’t like it but she had to do it because we misbehaved a lot. Misbehaving meant bickering with one another. Misbehaving meant not listening to her.
I would have said that she smelled like vanilla and could whoop your ass in Tetras.

“IT’S TRUE!” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday March 8, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

I saw a heron tonight-true
I have cried today-true
I have cried fewer than three times today-lie
I wore all black today-true
I met someone new this afternoon-true
I found the ear bud cover-lie
I listened to the ocean today-true
I wiped my snot on my coat-true
I had only rational thoughts-lie
I loved myself today-true
I thought about drowning-true
I wrote this easily-lie

“It was ass-backwards” By Julia on her couch


Wednesday March 1, 2017
8:42pm
5 minutes
overheard on the Queen Of Cowichan

Meredith and Abbey were two kids I babysat when I was twelve. Meredith was five and she wanted to play pretend every minute of every day. She’d always start her role plays with “I’m the princess and you’re the baby and say you say ‘oh look how beautiful your dress is!'” I hated playing this game. How about I say what I say, Meredith? Okay? You say what you say and I say what I say, capiche?
Abbey on the other hand spent her two year life humping herself into the corner of the coffee table or the carpet, or the high chair every time I looked away. She’d stop as soon as she caught me seeing her. But then again sometimes she didn’t care that I was even on the planet.

“trying to teach them technology” By Julia in her cabin


Monday February 27, 2017
4:47pm
5 minutes
from a text

my sister turns 32 and the entire family eats
stuffed lobster tail and shrimp
they gather around the table and tell
each other some of the same stories
after hearing some temporary new ones
my siblings make my parents use cell-phones
I am the only one missing
I am the only one on an island
I am the only one in a different time zone
my mother calls me on my birthday 4 days earlier
proud that she finally got the day right
she doesn’t forget my birthday
she just doesn’t know which day it is anymore because
she isn’t forced to look at a calendar all day
she asks what I am planning and I say nothing really
then my father gets on the phone
he asks me what I’m planning and I say I’m going to the island
he asks me if it feels different being 30
when yesterday I was only 29
I tell him sort of because sort of but not more
because my eggs are getting cold
he sighs and says that at the end of the day
it’s all just soup anyway
I laugh because he is so Italian
but he has a point
he says the first bite tastes like soup
and the last bite still tastes like soup

“I felt stung” By Julia in her cabin


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:19pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

I don’t have any memories of my mother’s father. He died when I was three, lived in Italy, and I only met him a couple times. The first time, they tell me, was when I was 3 months old. I had my ears peirced with gold studs (by my aunt Patricia, who was also travelling to Italy with us), I carried around a rainbow striped bunny that I would later name “Skittles”, and according to my mother, I was a very picky eater during the first couple months of my life. They tell me that he was a big man, feared by many. They tell me all the other grandkids ran away from him because they were intimidated by his size, or his mood, or his silence. They tell me that when he walked by my crib I begged for him to pick me up. They tell me that it was strange for a small thing to reach out to him. They tell me that he lived for taking me out into the fields to pick fresh figs. They tell me he smiled a lot when we were there.

Sixteen years later I went to Italy for the second time. I found his gravestone. I listened to the air between my life and his. I still can’t say I ever knew him. But I missed him then.

“We heard you loud and clear” by Julia in her bed


Saturday January 21, 2017
12:13am
5 minutes
from a text

I grew up in a cornfield
Nonna aproned in the backyard
Picking dandelions for supper
Knew all the kids on my block and sold drawings for pennies in groups of 2 or 3
We planted a sprig of pussy willow and it grew as wild and large as the entire porch
The people who repainted our bathrooms white with gold stars and moons had to cut it down because it was starting to grow into the house
We’d go for walks to the river in clusters of young
Not fully knowing which direction was the right one
The backyard was home to blackberry bushes and mint leaves
And to cousins and neighbours singing loud at the bonfire on summer nights

“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

I told myself I’d be married at 24 cause of my mother. She was married at 24 and that felt like the best map I could follow since she has never once said she regretted it. I also said I wouldn’t have sex till I was 24 either case of Jesus. Or the patriarchy. Save my sex for someone who loves God more than he’ll ever love me and believes in owning humans as property? Yeah, what a great fucking idea. I was young then. And committed to Christ (by choice, weirdly, I know). And in love with the idea that I didn’t have to make my own decisions cause life was already going to have too many of those in the first place. I told myself that I would have a child by 28 cause of my mother. She waited 4 years to have one after she got married and that seemed smart, and good, and completely doable. I have missed both of these “destiny numbers”(by choice, I know, I know). Somewhere along the way I decided I could trust myself to lead me through it. Sometimes it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. But it’s better than being married with a bazillion kids coming out of my ears. Age, I’ve learned, is just a number that you get to hold for a year. And then–we let it go, just like everything else.

“Can you please bring me my water?” By Sasha on the couch at Macdonell


Sunday December 25, 2016
6:23pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

I don’t know what to write today. I’m tired. I’m sick. I’ve overwhelmed. I’m sad. I’m full of buttery, meat-y, spicy, sweet. I don’t know what to write today. The sound of my pen moving across the page feels like shit. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got nothing.

Layah asked Oli to bring her water because she is nursing the baby. I never realized that nursing is pretty much a full time gig. I romanticized nursing, like most things. I romanticize everything. What a strange quality. Ugh. Ugh. I’m pretty sure I have a fever. I hope I don’t make everyone here sick.

“what was that process like?” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 13, 2016
10:45pm
5 minutes
From an interview question

I can think of a thousand ways to say it
Sunday soothe day
Tucked in telling the truth day
Playing scrabble and cooking a meal all in one pot day
Taking a walk
to the ocean
and back
and then back
Throwing the stress ball in the living room not caring about the fixtures
Singing loud to the good ones
and louder to the ones we don’t really know but want to
Taking turns Laying heavy in each other’s lap
Sharing poetry
And short stories
And music
And dreams
And plans
And worries
Saying yes
Saying no
Filling up each other’s cup
with water
and with admiration
and with lemon meringue
and with choice

“don’t get it in your eyeball!” by Julia in the air bnb in Winnipeg


Tuesday October 25, 2016
9:41am
5 minutes
from a text

I shared an attic with my brother one summer during a heatwave in Italy. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. All we had was a spray bottle filled with heating water between our beds and we didn’t know how badly we would need something in between us. When your brain is melted there is just a puddle where your patience should be. We were puddles of annoyance and sweat and sleepless.
One night we were both aliens to each other, trying to rest, delirious from the air trapped somewhere in a tiny cloud inches from our skin and far enough away from all roads carrying oxygen. He sprayed me with water which was our ritual. I sprayed him back. We did this for 5 minutes or 5 hours and laughed the whole time. Nobody knows why. Something about enough being enough. Something about my eyeball. Something about the first time we didn’t hate each other.

“in a less than forgiving city” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday September 28, 2016
7:32am
5 minutes
vancouveractorsguide.com

I came to the place in myself I always worried I’d find. The part that doesn’t have patience for people who don’t pull their weight, the part that doesn’t feel good about having to remind a group of adult children how to get by. Maybe I should have signed up for this in advance. If I had chosen to help people maybe I wouldn’t hate them so much. If I worked in a place where my help was needed…

I am so disgusted with the hole in my chest that comes from resenting other people. I don’t want to admit it but I need help too. I guess that’s where the pain comes from.

When I was in elementary school, I was often ahead of the class and I cared about school and being great. I was always assigned to work in pairs with the students who didn’t understand any concepts, or who didn’t like being there. When I asked the teachers why I couldn’t be put with someone who was going to work hard and push me to be better, they all told me the same thing: You’re a strong student, you don’t need help as much as they do.
So when did anyone look down at me and think, well there’s some potential, why don’t we try to lift that one up? Why didn’t I ever hear, well she could use a mentor or an opportunity?

“Who taught us to embrace life” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday May 30, 2016
5:13pm
5 minutes
from a bench memorial plaque

if I was born a dancer
in body in stead of
in words
i would move like i move
in water
in bed sheets
like i mov-
ed at twenty-three
on sweaty dance
floors kissing
strangers like
my tongue knew
things my gut
didn’t i’ve always
wished i were a dancer
dancing to teach me
to embrace the rhythm in-
herent in my womban-
ness my woman-
mess dancing teaches me
about my unborn daughter’s
heart
beat
a dj who knows what i
ache for
ate for
breakfast lunch midnight
snack picking up bobbi
pins from the women’s
washroom
womb
in
womb out
worn in
worn out
ring in
ring out
ring on

“Your hands are cold” by Julia on the 14


Friday April 22, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Scars
James Bay


You’re sweet. You let me put my cold hands in your armpits when I need to warm up, when my teeth are chattering and I’m complaining excessively. You squirm the first few seconds and you dance around but you don’t make me take them out. That’s one of my favourite types of touching. I feel taken care of by you and your overheated underarms. You are always a furnace, kicking off articles of clothing in your sleep, ripping up sheets, opening windows in the minus 30s or 40s. The only time I ever remember warming you up was when we went skinny-dipping in your family’s salt-water pool. It wasn’t warm yet, but we were high and felt free, and so I cupped your nut-sack in my hands so they wouldn’t retract and we stood like that for a while, impersonating Ethel Merman and smiling big at each other.

“How did you recognize him?” by Julia at her dining table


Thursay April 21, 2016
6:18pm
5 minutes
overheard in the car

I wrote a poem about your laugh when I was 17 and in love with you. I compared it to Santa. I didn’t know anything about you, or love, or poetry then. Maybe I still don’t. I felt proud reading it in front of my class and thinking of you secretly as I shared some of my truest, most ridiculous metaphors about you. I told them about your laugh, about how you were so inclusive and even laughed at people’s bad jokes to make them feel good. I remember thinking you were generous. And I think I was right because a few months later I found out that you were trading kisses with other girls and going out with whichever ones you thought you would be able to sleep with. Maybe I was the generous one for sharing you! I was crushed. I could pull you off of a busy street with my eyes closed if I could hear your laugh. These days I don’t hear it as much as I used to. We don’t live in the same place. We live worlds away.

“your field of experience” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, March 26, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
http://www.mysticmamma.com/

field research: the boss who flirts unabashedly in front of his wife so much so that she hate me and finally after four years he fires me in the same office the same office where we used to talk about rumi and cinnamon and i don’t walk out of the restaurant and i don’t shame or trash talk and i crouch behind the bar so that my five tables enjoying their famous salad dressing enjoying their meals so that my five tables won’t see these tears.

field research: innocent until proven guilty that men grasp like a medal because the only one it protects is them the corrosive fear that makes me feel afraid to have daughters afraid to have daughters and afraid to have sons more so almost because what has happened to this generation of men that twist and burn and choke and shut down and i know it’s not just about gender i know that this binary is reductive to folks I’M SORRY OKAY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY what will happen when this generation of women has boys and we will try our best to teach them how to love how to love how to love.

“picked and consumed” by Julia on her couch


Sunday November 29, 2015
9:31pm
5 minutes
From the Wikipedia article on jalapeños

I love you more than I ever have
I picked you from the crowded place in my brain that tells me not to make rash decisions
I chose you from the pile of mistakes I had been sweeping to one side
I love you more than I ever have
I didn’t think I could grow to love you more but I’ve surprised myself
The way you’ve surprised me
Reminding me that people can change and that mistakes can be forgiven
And sometimes forgotten
Thank you for forgetting
Thank you for reminding me daily that I’m your favourite flavour of perfect imperfection
Sometimes I pretend I can’t hear you when you talk on the phone to your parents
And you tell them how proud you are of me
But in the other room, I am teary-eyed and feeling so damn lucky
And when you come in I act like I don’t know how sweet you are
Maybe it’s a little game
Maybe it’s self-preservation and keeping my feelings clothed so they don’t feel embarrassed
I love you more than I ever have
I picked you from the wall of beautiful artwork that hangs in my imagination

“a pair of black overalls and some scrunchies” by Julia at Matchstick Coffee Roasters


Monday November 16, 2015 at Matchstick Coffee Roasters
2:02pm
5 minutes
Julia’s diary
Age 10


I can’t drink anything without it spilling it all over myself. Eating too, but drinking mostly. I’ve had this problem since I was a kid. I remember sitting on the yellow bus in the fourth grade, going home after school, and eating vanilla yogurt while talking to the older kids sitting in front of me. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but found out soon enough thanks to Lisa Van Oorschot who suddenly shrieked out at the top her lungs, “Amanda! Your sister just slopped yogurt all over herself!” The bus filled with cruel laughter and I went red and felt young and stupid and careless. I’ll never forget how thrilled Lisa was at the sight of me, sitting there embarrassed and completely ready to cry. I haven’t exactly grown up in that department. I can’t drink water without wearing most of it, regardless of the type of cup or bottle it’s in. It’s like my mouth refuses to adapt to glassware, turning me into a wild lion quenching my thirst at the watering hole.

“senior’s line dancing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 4, 2015
9:13pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Nonna doesn’t stop talking until you ask her to talk about herself.
In fact, that is how you get Nonna to stop talking.
It was an accident that I found that fact to be true, but it’s true none the less.
I asked her once to tell me about when she was younger.
“Tell me about the dancing! Tell me about you and Nonno dancing or kissing or both.”
“Oh, we were young, yes, a long time ago. We did some dancing.”
She tells me this, in Italian, as she lays the tomatoes out to be sun-dried.
“No, Nonna, I mean tell me about your dancing. What kind of music did you like? What kind of necklaces did you wear?”
But she doesn’t want to tell me, or remind herself, and instead she trails off in a way that makes her sound like she doesn’t quite believe the sound of her own voice.
“Okay Nonna, tell me about the tomatoes.”
“Oh, these tomatoes? I picked these tomatoes. All by myself. This morning. I hurt my joints because I picked them so long.”

“10% off” By Sasha at Le Marche St. George


Monday, June 29, 2015 at Le Marche St. George
10:14am
5 minutes
From http://www.hollyhock.ca

You hide your face in your dirty hands. I want to lick your tears like a puppy, but I don’t, only because we’re in public, not because I wouldn’t do something like that. I would. I do. Sometimes when my Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor asks to see my tongue I worry about the stains of coffee or a banana. I suck back the spit and I hope he doesn’t lean in too close to analyze. I stick it out and he looks, but from his roll-y chair a bit of a ways away. “You’re stressed,” he says, like a Knighting. “Who isn’t?” I think. “Not really…” I say, doing the stress comparison. I was more stressed last time I was there. I am less stressed now, for sure. I spend many more hours lying on the beach now. Less hours sitting (“is the new smoking”) at my table or in a coffee shop, maybe eating a few too many paleo, almond butter cookies.

You hide your face in your dirty hands. We spent the morning building sand castles.

“Can I get you anything?” by Sasha at 49th Parallel


Monday, June 8, 2015 at 49th Parallel
3:06pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Culprit Coffee Co.

This business of womanhood… Today, in the near perfection of the blue sky and mountaintops peeking over the colourful roofs, I could’ve done anything. I could’ve done anything, but I had a bikini wax. I both dread and crave them, relieved when the hair is gone, when the skin is soft, when it’s less sweaty, less stinky, less… hairy. I dread it because, goddamnit it hurts. Each waxer has their bit of advice or feedback, that upon unveiling my vagina, they impart with the sincerity of a grade one teacher on the first day of school. “Oh, you have ingrowns, hey? Do you exfoliate?” Or, “your hair is so coarse! Where are you from?” I find myself laughing, extra enthusiastic at their jokes or making excuses about my poor trim job. I feel the need to explain myself. In response to, “How long has it been since your last wax?” I say, “I was out of town!”, imagining myself in the bush of New Zealand harvesting rare herbs for tinctures to cure my mother of her arthritis. Who has time for wax when there’s healing to be done?! I wasn’t out of town. I was here. The whole time. Over coffee with my best girl, she proclaims, “I’m thinking of growing in my bush,” and I feel proud of her, I feel inspired, I think, for a moment, “Will I grow in my bush, too?” I give it a small go, half heartedly, like a “commitment” to stay away from simple carbs. But after seven weeks or it, I sniff my underpants in the change room at yoga, marvelling at the difference of the smell between a bush and a wax. Another woman walks in and catches me, she smiles and says, “the smell of your most intimate self never gets old, eh?”

“are you from here?” By Sasha in her bathroom


Saturday, June 6, 2015
10:51pm
5 minutes
Overheard at R&D

You thought I was someone I wasn’t, that’s for sure. How could you have thought that I was just me and that that was enough? I was wearing a red short, tight in the right place, loose in the others, aka “just right”. I’d ordered vodka sodas from you all night, smiling, eye contact, touching your fingers a little bit longer, aka “just right”. Before I left you called me over to the bar and said, “I want to see you again…” It was gentle, slow, it was corn roasted on the barbecue, perfectly blackened. I wrote my number on the inside of your wrist, where lots of women have etched in black forever ink “DESTINY” or “breathe”. You liked the placement, you had an accent but I wasn’t sure from where.

We met at a bar a few blocks from my apartment. I noticed blue nail-polish on your pinky. “What’s that?” I asked, a sip of cider fresh on my lips like a coy “Hello”. “My daughter,” you said, and I leaned back, swallowing.

“And I have been in Heaven” By Julia at Piccolo & Sumblime


Tuesday October 14,2014 at Piccolo & Sublime
5:16pm
5 minutes
from a quote from Isaac Asimov

I have been to a place of permanent happiness.
I’ve seen the sun rise and fall while wearing a tutu and performing for the world; a perfect dance, to which no applause follows.
I’ve laughed until my ribs ached, till my belly quaked, till my eyes were blurry, and my face wet.
I’ve kissed a pair of incomparable lips that I want to share with everybody just so I can say I did something good for this sorry world.
I’ve tasted the sea and the earth after a night of their hot and sweaty love-making.
I’ve licked the ocean off my lips and hummed a tune under the water until my heart and the pulse of the waves traded places.
I’ve danced body on body while my youth stayed up late–just so it could pretend that nothing else in this life even mattered.

“a divorce lawyer” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday June 8, 2014
11:41pm
5 minutes
Humans of New York post

I get home, late, from work. I eat a rice cake with goat cheese and avocado, my go-to late night snack. (How many calories? How bad is it, really, to eat before bed? Where does that energy go?) I open my laptop, the zombie glow. I search his name on Facebook, unfriended when we ended, you know how it goes. But I still listen to his band sometimes, streaming it on CBC. But I still… I search his name and I get that rush of naughtiness, of wonder, of mystery, of “am I the one that got away for him?” Probably not. Probably he’s glad that he ended it because… If I were skinny this would all be different.

He’s bartending at a restaurant in my old neighbourhood. He’s doing podcasts. He’s… I scroll and look and feel like I’m eating a big chocolate bar, a good one, fair trade. Why do I even care? He was an ass to me, at the end. Not calling and me wondering and waiting, so patient, so fucking patient with the assholes and never patient with the loves. Punishing the love for the assholes. Punishing the love for the father.

I slam my laptop closed. I eat my rice cake. I think about how I need to get a bikini wax because it’s shorts season. I think about moving across the country and how I don’t know if it really is that good of an idea. I think about watering the cactus.

“In love” by Julia at Lauren and Jack’s house


Saturday May 17, 2014
7:42pm
5 minutes
from a button

They were real in love like
Dreams left on the pillow
Like hope floating in a glass jar beside the bed like
skin on skin on skin on skin
And they had each other
And they had the moon
And they were all the world could think of
And they didn’t mind one bit
One bit
They were real in love like
Hot breath in the shower
Like finger traced laugh lines
Like mediocre soft eggs turned into a
king’s buffet
And they had each other
And they had the lake
And they had their wishes even if they had to keep them in a drawer
And they didn’t mind one bit
One bit
Cause oh they were real in love like
Fireworks in January like
Silence in the understanding like
Two spiders with a promise

“I might forget” by Julia on the 506 going north/south/west


Saturday February 22, 2014
10:51pm
5 minutes
overheard on Roncesvalles

So I’m on the streetcar and the conductor is like, so listen up folks, the next stop is Spadina, but here’s where I need your attention. After this light on the other side of this intersection, there’s a good hunk of rail missing so I’m going to go north on Spadina, all the way up through the station, then back down Spadina, and across college on the other side to continue going west. Anyone who wants to get off now please do so, anyone who wants to stay on there will be no stops from here to there so no one ring the bell. It’ll take a whole 4 minutes extra so don’t worry, I’ll get ya where ya need to go. Then after all that he starts driving up north on Spadina right? And then not a second later, a guy rings the bell. The conductor is pissed. He’s like. So what’s going on here guys? I told ya, no extra stops. Then like 14 people get off all saying they didn’t hear him. Now I was even reading my book and I heard him loud and clear.

“say I love your product” by Julia at the CSI coffee pub


Wednesday February 19, 2014 at The CSI Coffee pub
11:50am
5 minutes
Dipped from Julia’s notebook

Deirdre was a door-to-door sales woman. She started off selling makeup and then one find day met Eva, who looked like she was 47 and not the 32 she actually was, who showed her the way and got her into selling knives. Eva trained Deirdre and taught her everything she knew-showing her that “these scissors can cut through pennies,” and “this knife set has a life time warranty.”

I met Deirdre on a windy day in April. She knocked on my door and asked if I was happy with my kitchen, happy with my appliances, my utensils, happy with my life. I wasn’t necessarily unhappy about any of the aforementioned items but Deirdre had a soft pink lipstick on and mascara on both her top and bottom lashes and for some reason, I felt like she actually cared. I questioned myself for an instant before letting her in–still not fully convinced if she was going to sell me on a knife set or on The Lord Jesus Christ as my savior. Chalk it up to curiosity, I let her in, we sat down at the kitchen table and she demonstrated the strength of her blades by cutting through a tin can.

“Is the crisper only for lettuce?” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at the CSI Coffee Pub
9:42am
5 minutes
Susan’s warm-up in the these five minutes: resident writing group

Mira’s father fought for her more than mine fought for me. My father was never very wealthy and Mira’s mother, who didn’t care as a result of her psychosis, didn’t even mind that our family was mostly only well to do because of my mother. Sometimes I’d hear Mira’s mother, who if I’m being honest, learned to believe was my own mother most days due to the sheer involvement in our home, crying about menial things—the marigolds and their haircuts, the stove and its secrets, and almost daily asking if “the crisper was only for lettuce”. I wanted to tell her it wasn’t just so I could find out what she would have liked to put in there instead.

“I never knew a poet personally” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, September 22, 2013
10:16pm
5 minutes
Away Alone
Janet Noble


My first instinct when I hear you talking to Old Mike on the front porch from our living room window is to call you and act like it’s some emergency. Talk like the sky is falling and you’re in danger, and it’s never been more important than it is right now for you to leave where you are. I think this because I want to save you the way I’d like to be saved if I got stuck with him. Which did happen to me about a month ago, and all I wanted was to fake my own death right then and there so he’d stop talking to me and let me just smoke my fucking cigarette in peace. I think how happy you’d be to hear from me, to get my call and pretend it’s some loved one from a place that isn’t only 5 feet away from you. I’d be so poetic in my description of the emergency, so that I’d be the only one acting, and you could just react. Just respond. Just listen, fully and honestly as if what I was saying was in fact the best or worst thing you’d ever heard, and as if it were the first time, because, of course, it would be.

My second instinct is to blast Cyndi Lauper from the stereo in the kitchen. So much so that you’d be able to just “what the fuck” yourself right out of your trap that you’re too nice to otherwise free yourself from.
Instead I sit here, and I listen to your conversation. It sounds, almost, like you’re having a good time with him. I’m tricked for a second, because you’re so good at fake laughing.