“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.”

“you need to do better, Kev.” By Julia in her bed

Monday July 1, 2019
12:10pm
5 minutes
From an instagram story

I am laying here a bit weak and helpless from the bleeding. It’s the first of the month and my period has arrived. Happy Canada Day. Red and white for me too. Wonderful.
The rumbling was loud and I thought by now I’d be staring up into the clear blue sky, but it would be too loud for everyone.
Meaning it would feel too loud to be around anyone.
A faint whisper of “you need to do better than this.”

The hot water bottle on my pelvis and sometimes on my upper right quadrant (a rib is starting to speak up now too, wants its turn) is also red. Look at the patriotism.

But I am grateful I didn’t feel this way yesterday while we were in a car for the last leg of our trip, wincing through every sparkling river, every endless mountain. My body is quiet until it is not. Now it is loud, as I mentioned, and I am here listening as it repeats the same story on a low hum.

“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.

“never showed me where the wreck lay.” By Julia on the 99

Thursday January 31, 2019
10:09pm
5 minutes
Foe
J.M. Coetzee

Each one pointed to a different place of hurt
Here, the wreckage of the heart,
the spot where the rib cage was invaded, break and entering
Here, the spasm of the lower back,
deep breath a kind of torture
Acquitted somehow of all charges

I wanted to ask-Did I do this to you?
Was it by my hand you know this?

I should have asked where else it throbbed, reminded you of your punishable naked
unwalled

“Till the only word your mouth remembers” by Julia at her parents’ table

Sunday December 23, 2018
11:52am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

my mouth knows how to repeat the same thing over and over until it loses meaning
until it turns into dust

my mouth knows how to curse the ones I love the most because their mouths say what my mouth could

my mouth eats itself more than it doesn’t
twisting the almost rebellion into quiet
cheek sores, taking up space

my mouth hums the tune of the earth that keeps me grounded when the noise is trying to lift me out of my skin

my mouth coos the sweet-lipped words of admiration and gratitude with ease and with abundance

my mouth remembers being shut violently and told that this is not violence but love and history and justified

my mouth knows a lie like a pang in the gums, a bell dinging endlessly under the tongue

“These are the demons you wanted” by Julia in her bed

Monday September 3, 2018
5 minutes
11:47pm
FtM
Kierst Wade

you called for these, right? these back spasms, hole in the heel of our feet, night light, better dreams? these are the demons you asked for. the ones who lie about comfort. the ones who throw you onto the pile, fire, fire, but won’t give out the punishment. they are just looking for abandoned hopes. they are looking for hoplessness. that is their favourite snack. amuse bouche at midnight.

“My miracle is not that you can’t knock me down” by Julia at G and C’s house

Wednesday August 15, 2018
9:01am
5 minutes
Monday Night Class
Stephen Gaskin

weak knees she said
she didn’t want to marry someone who had weak knees
what about running?
does that just go out the window? I know how she feels. when indigo’s shoulder slipped out for the eleventh time in three days, I got worried too. how will we play catch for the rest of our lives? timidly? it’s worrisome. And it’s so very mortal. I suppose nothing lasts forever. we are, at best, temporary. I guess I’d choose an unexpected shoulder pain over a partner who can’t even take a night walk. I’d rather good shoulders though too.

“My mother, who lost her teeth” by Julia on A and W’s couch

Friday June 15, 2018
9:29pm
5 minutes
What We Lost
Brenda Peynado

I’m praying to anyone who will listen but also to anyone who has the follow through. Not sure if god gets how deeply uncomfortable it is to have a uterus, so I’d rather talk to someone else. I catch myself calling out for my Nonna. She knew how to live with discomfort. With pain. With problems. She was a freaking magician. A soldier. A person with no teeth and the strongest gums you’ve ever seen. Flapping words around her mouth like weapons. Like violin lessons. She kept her dentures in a yellow cup over night. She once moved her entire living room around with a broken arm because “it had to get done.” And no it did not have to get done. Nothing did. Everyone told her to sit down and rest for once. I’m calling on her now because she didn’t have an off switch. She’s probably making god’s bed while god is still laying in it. She did not let anything stop her. Not even a little bit.

“with its blood-red brick” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Sunday May 20, 2018

11:09pm

The Virgin Cure

Ami McKay

Both of us are bleeding and craving steak. You told me twelve years ago that eating it would make my period come after a pregnancy scare. You say you still sort of believe that.

I think maybe I don’t have to worry about that for better or worse, complicatedly.

Upstairs it sounds like the devil is playing back your promise to him in reverse. I don’t move because I don’t need him coming for me next. All that stamping on his grave I did. All that burning chocolate.

It wasn’t possible the last time I was late. I had to rack my brain to make sure I wasn’t forgetting something. Someone. When it came I looked in the blood to see if the start of a living thing was in there, pooling at the bottom of the toilet bowl. It made me feel better to see it disappear even with a thick string painting it jelly fish before it sunk.

“I have been in love with a life—“ by Julia at her desk

Saturday April 7, 2018
12:28am
5 minutes
Grammar School
Megan Fennya Jones

Some audiences don’t snap for poems about joy
if the joy is coming out of certain bodies
You could say you love your body and they will
say that it’s because you never had to struggle
You could say you like yourself and they will
wait for the moment before when you didn’t
I have been grateful in front of the wrong people
Gave my full heart and let the light open the room
and still it was not the right place for it
it did not compare with all of the other sadness
Makes you wonder sometimes if you have enough
pain to even be a poet
if you have enough of anything at all
If you want to sing the love song for your loved song
you will have to wait until there’s a
space in the programming
You can’t try to be joyful after someone else has wept
it will make you look like you’re bragging
like you’re the enemy
and some audiences will call you undeserving
of a ten

“I’d be fucking rocked if I were you.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 11, 2017

8:54pm

5 minutes

From a text

He forces my wrist until it is twisted up and screaming quietly. He wants me to get into the bathtub. I don’t know why. I let him hold my arm and push until I am kneeling beside the tub and looking in. He keeps pointing. I keep imitating him. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do but he is strong for six and this is the first time we’re in a bathroom together. He looks at me like he’s trying to tell me about his pain. His face is contorted and his eyes are loud. I look back at him with as much heart as I can muster. Tell him with my smile he’s not alone. That I’m here. That I’m sorry he’s trapped inside his head with so many feelings and not enough words. He grabs me by the wrist when I try to open the door. He brings me back to the tub. I am breathing loud enough so he might hear it in his skin. I want to save him but I don’t know what from. He is crying without tears. I tell him, it’s okay. It’s okay.

“stomach discomfort” by Julia at her desk


Thursday September 7, 2017
8:44pm
5 minutes
saje.com

It does this twisting thing it used to do after running
body’s way of kindly suggesing to stop taking hills like I’m in the army
respect the hill
walk the hill
or to please drink a glass of water today, okay, please?
It feels like birth and like preventing it
it knots me up so nothing feels good
not even breathing
no breathing can make this good
And the moon says it’s almost time
but the moon has never tried to be so in my life about it
there haven’t been warnings before
And in the middle of sleep sex it’s there, twisting
and you are sleep concerned
and I am sleep breathing in the toilet
so that nothing worse happens
like every reminder that I have done this to myself
because I’m the one who wanted the sleep sex
and to avoid the tap
and to run up the hill
and to hide the health card papers behind the TV
because no one ever looks behind the TV
nobody ever finds poetry ideas
or classical music scores
or the lipbalm that looks much better than it smell

“meeting your heart’s longing.” By Sasha at her desk


Tuesday September 5, 2017
6:11pm
5 minutes
The Invitation
Oriah


Lion’s roar in the morning
and we’re off in these trenches
crawling on arms and my core’s not
strong I know that and you’re tired
and I know that
We’re overtalking but it’s all I’ve got
these pudding words these greys and whites
The smokey sky is ominous
and we bark and we cry and we we we we
We’re ready
you say
We’ve got this
you say
Doubt rains heavy
Faith dances on my fingertips only when
I write
So I do
I write to you
I write a manifesto to my great-granddaughter
I tell her
Trust yourself
The wisdom of your fulfillment is inside you
I tell her
Rise up from the heaviness that’s plagued us
for generations

“It depends how aware you are.” By Sasha in her bed


Saturday August 19, 2017
3:51pm
5 minutes
Lennon on Lennon
edited by Jeff Burger


He comes home raging
his eyes are round open
he’s not sure what the point is
in doing what he’s doing

I’m questioning everything
where I come from
where I’m going
what I do and what’s the meaning

Four thousand strong
gathered twelve blocks away
give or take
take or give

I nurse a neck that’s twisted
wrecked and tense
with warmth and lemon
with ice and tv

“if indoors, stay indoors” by Julia at her desk


Monday June 26, 2017
10:56pm
5 minutes
from the Central 1 credit union emergency response plan

The man in the green hat was shouting loudly on his cell-phone as he jogged his small dog around the pool and back and back and back.
We watched as he panted into somebody’s ear and didn’t know who to feel more sorry for. Dog included.
I looked at Lexi and knew I would not always love her. I smiled and tugged her shirt at the v.
We stayed there for a while, counting times he reached to yank up his boxer shorts poking through with his phoned hand.
When we walked home I intentionally stepped on the back of her foot and made her yelp.
I kissed her sorry, so sorry, so so sorry.

“This I wore when I met Margaret Thatcher.” By Julia at her desk


Wednesday May 17, 2017
5:17pm
5 minutes
Women in Clothes
Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 Others


We didn’t break bread until we had broken each other
into pieces
the stir before sunset set our dining room to
incubation, warming the alibis of forgotten promises
She was wearing sheer nylons with a tinge of lavender
She was wearing someone else’s face, not mine, not hers
Standing on opposite corners of our equally divided turf
we had to wonder, is this artifical power or are you really
stronger there by the kitchen and I better next to the balcony?
The show is going on outside our tiny terrarium of
heart ache and mishandled history
Our secrets, both undone and left spilling
onto the floor that seperates us
from forgiveness and missing
our reservation

“bound in chains” by Julia on her couch


Saturday April 8, 2017
9:32pm
5 minutes
from Poems by Christopher Marlowe

we can’t touch pain that does not belong to us
we watch from behind our screens
and from behind our great luck
we think we know what it’s like to be broken but we don’t
not when the chains we use to bind ourselves are made out of paper
macaroni necklace nooses
tie dyed t-shirts dressed up as bullet holes
we have no idea about loss
when we’ve never lost anything

“rejection is deeply painful” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday March 14, 2017
10:00pm
5 minutes
Daring Greatly
Brené Brown


I am gutted when I realize how wrong I have been
I think a lot about the feeling of my guts being yanked out of me
My belly ripped open
My heart now more exposed
I didn’t know that you were also worried
I didn’t know that you felt pain in the same spot as I did
You are amazed I am still crying
I am amazed you are still here
A hundred years ago we met and we’re still fighting for ease
I didn’t know that you felt pain the same spot as I did
I’m sad for all the simplicity I’ve avoided
I have never been a speaker of few words
You don’t need my apology for that
It’s a nice way to distract you from my genuine fear of being alive and fully feeling everything sharp

“but the apricot” by Julia at her dining table/desk


Wednesday February 15, 2017
7:39pm
5 minutes
Peterson First Guide to Tress
George A. Petrides


It stung like the needles off a pine tree pricking into her left breast. She could have begged for mercy but she hadn’t felt anything in days and was afraid the pain might be better than the nothing. Jac pressed into the soft spot screaming back at her. Sympathy pains? She wondered if Leah being in the hospital was causing some pyschosomatic symtoms. I can feel you, sweet thing, I am witness, believe me. The gentle stabbing persisted, aching only due to it’s lack of sleep. Jac got up to busy her mind with something else. The pain eased suddenly, washing over her with a cool relief.
Then she noticed the apricot smudge on the window. She winced, drawing her open palm to the base of it once more.

“She sees light and shapes” by Julia on her couch


Monday January 30, 2017
8:28pm
5 minutes
from a text

She sees through me like nobody else has ever been able to. I feel like a string of twinkle lights wrapped in cellophane. She knows when my heart races. When my blood pumps. She knows when my hurt is anxious of when my hurt is lonely. She knows when my reasons are irrational or when they’re rationed just so. She knows when I am tired or when I’ve forgotten to eat. She knows when the silence I give her is because it is so loud inside me. She knows that my tears are not because of her but because of me. She knows when the moon is in control and when I am merely vessel. She sees the struggle cloaked in good intentions, cloaked once more in sand or tide. She sees me like a painting with all the sadness behind the eyes that cannot be quelled or released. She knows when I’m talking to fill the air with something that doesn’t reek of me. She knows when I am waiting for her to scold me or save me or keep me right where I am.

“a supermoon in Taurus.” by Julia on the 2


Sunday November 20, 2016
3:02pm
5 minutes
From chaninicholas.com

The other night after hating you for loving me I left the house in my pajama bottoms to seek out the supermoon
You said I probably wouldn’t be able to see anything in this fog but if she was waiting for me to catch her she would probably be that-away and you pointed to the east
I half expected she would be there and willing and believed I would be found if I found her but I couldn’t track her down and that was one more thing to be wrong about that day
I came back up the stairs slowly and stood outside our apartment door for a minute longer than usual while I decided how to feel in front of you
I could hear you inside telling yourself that you deserved to be happy too sometimes

“the world is ending” by Sasha at JJ Bean


Wednesday November 9, 2016 at JJ Bean on Cambie
2:06pm
5 minutes
From a tweet


I have cried all the cries
and all the fears
endless rivers of grief
a chasm in my chest the size of an orange man

I have raged on my bed
and my body
and my love
I have lost hope

A violent collision of
faith and doubt
I’ll go listen to music tonight
eat a muffin
write my daily write

A sadness has descended
that I haven’t known

The privilege of self reflection
of whiteness
of able body
cis-gender

The privilege of a bed to rage
a body to move
a love to hold and weep and hold
six dollars for an americano and
a peach oatmeal muffin

On my walk here
I searched the eyes of people I passed
in a way that I don’t usually
with a tenderness I have been conditioned
to withhold
I searched the eyes of a pregnant woman
wearing purple
and grey
I smile

“Lying flat because my back is killing” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday October 19, 2016
9:31pm
5 minutes
from a text

Oh no! Me? I’m THRILLED to stay at home laying on the hard wood floor instead of watching Lauryn Hill and being changed for the better. Trust me. I couldn’t be happier that my back is no longer functioning enough to hold me vertical and allow for even the most casual of swaying. I tell myself I will get an opportunity like this again and not to worry. And not to cry because crying hurts my entire body. My sister’s voice on the phone echoes off the floor. She yells at me to stay strong and to remember how many people wouldn’t dare complain about much worse. I don’t know what the fuck that means. I am missing Lauryn Fucking Hill. I don’t even have a good reason. Slipping on a patch of ice is not a good reason!

“slack jawed” by Sasha in the bath


Thursday October 12, 2016
11:09pm
5 minutes
From an email

I wasn’t used to the attention
an excuse
okay
a discretion
I did fifteen things I regret
okay
starting and ending with
you
Tears fall onto a notebook page
a and e and s swell and bleed
a womb away my sister
nurses the next generation
It’s late there
My sorry will never be
enough
for the slack jaw
fuck
on the couch
in the country
My regrets bite my tongue
Assault my dreams
night after night
season after fall
driving cars off cliffs
walking topless into a family reunion
in Florida

“primarily my fault” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday September 20, 2016
12:58am
5 minutes
from a text

I apologize to you with the back of my head and the front of my chest pushing into you like a bean out of its pod there is no quiet or calm no pleasant or nice I do not even mean it with the whole of me I do not know the still of you I do not want to be wrong when being right hurts so much I show you with examples words I’ve said once or twice before bent into a shape I do not recognize when I aim them straight at you I should have known better than to waste myself on the off chance of you on the dull blade that won’t cut through but won’t stop dragging back and forth back and forth slow death slow and unbearable life lived backwards I apologize to you with the parts of me that are still num from the sting as if I could take the blame and eat it so you don’t have to stuff it down so you don’t have to swallow me

“the meltdown” by Julia at her dining table


Friday September 16, 2016
6:32pm
5 minutes
The Globe And Mail
September 16, 2016


Now that she had a name for her pain it was easier to feel it. Started in the tip of her nose and found roots in her stomach. She had been carrying around the seeds of it. Of the pain. Of the pretending. It had been harder before when things sprouted up because the leaves were all so similar looking. No one was identifying the loss of her inside of her. She had first to grow it into something people could recognize. That’s when the naming started. No growing thing can be complete without a name. An identity. The power of believing it to be. Then things got worse. She tried to avoid it but this swaying thing with long branches was always moving around inside her begging to be remembered. She tried to put other things in her stomach to keep the thing company so it wouldn’t make her pay all of her attention to it when she needed to be smiling and get things done.

“for a fun birthday” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday August 25, 2016
6:59am
5 minutes
SAD MAG
from a TMZ video

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

I am not celebrating my birthday this year.

I AM NOT CELEBRATING MY BIRTHDAY THIS YEAR.

So. You can all go back to what you were doing. WHAT wERe YoU DOinG AnyWAY?? Celebrating something else?? Probably anything else??

I am very upset.
UPset. UPset. because. BECAUSE: I WAS Set Up. That is the truth. TO FAIL. set up to fail and to deal with the repercussions on my oWN. Which is painful. I mISs My Sister.
I miss her laugh. I miss her handssssssss.

And they want me to KEEP PUSHING?

How far before I am edging off the face of this planet? How FAR BEFORE I AM JUST Another NEWs STORy. This Just In: Everything is wrong and nothing is right and someone who needs those things to be switched is feeling the sadness of losing someone close and needs to be held but people are afraid and needs to be told IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY by someone WHO KNOWS and by someone who Won’t Turn It Into A Media Scandal.

I am not celebrating my birthday this year. I have disappointed everyone and nobody will come and everyone is mad and nobody can fix broken with cake.

“your hand in mine” by Julia on her bed


Saturday August 20, 2016
2:08pm
5 minutes
Heard in a song on Co-op radio

I catch myself believing I deserve better when I grab your hand in the crowded street and you pull away after only a second. I grab your hand as a gesture to show you that in this sea of people, I cling to you. I reach for you. I choose you. I remind you every chance I get that I am proud of you. That I am proud to be with you. That the touch of your skin connects me to the only things in this life that matter. And you might miss all of that if you’re not expecting to see it. If you think holding hands is something to be taken for granted. Or to be done differently, perhaps. On days like this I swim along the shoulders of other people when I think of how lonely it is to love you. How far I’ve pushed my heart into opening and how tired she is from never being cradled back. I don’t think I’m allowed to ask for more. I need so much so much so much.

“We’ll discuss some of the best” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday, July 23, 2016
1:12am
5 minutes
vancouvertrails.com

On the walk home tonight you grabbed my hand so I wouldn’t tumble down the hill and told me you were seriously considering buying a camper van.
It was a nice moment.
I could tell you more about what I was thinking inside my head when you said it.
I could say that I wanted to know you forever right then and there. I could say I wasn’t sure all this time because I was convinced you would find a reason to leave me but then I was. And it felt different. It felt different than being weary of you. It felt different being so completely certain.
But I didn’t say any of those things. I smiled at you. I gripped your hand tighter. And I looked into your eyes with a deep sadness for all the moments before I doubted you. The moments before I doubted you could love me as much as I loved you and as much as I needed to be loved.
So I think that was enough.
I think that was all I needed to do.
And then we came home and baked some tortilla chips because why the fuck not.

“We got a good surge” by Julia by her bed


Thursday, July 21, 2016
12:16am
5 minutes
overhead at The Rickshaw

Because there was an opening
we stood up tall on a mountain and opened our mouths to the wind
We wanted to
We wanted to shout
out
all of the sadness and all of our lungs
Just in case she was listening
Just in case she was sorry
I dream of her in reds and yellows
In basil and lavender
In honey and lace
She is perfect still in a world where compliments cannot buy her
I dream of her in here yes today please
She is gone like a feather from a wing
And I can only let my agony
into the wild
As a ghost
As a whisper
As a lullaby

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


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

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

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


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

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

“Textures” by Julia on her couch


Thursday April 28, 2016
8:52pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

It’s hard for me not to see you in the wallpaper and feel you in the tile. Your life danced on these floors. Your heart wept in this bed. I feel you in the counter grime, underneath the green dust that has formed a film on the island–the spot where you placed all those freshly picked wild flowers for me. I tell myself it is not over. That you are still here and that I am still here and that this is still our home, the living room still a place where we used to make music, the kitchen still a place where we used to make love. I hear you in the buzzing hallway light, and the hum of the furnace. They sing to me your laugh and I am held there by the beauty of this pain. In moments where I am completely quiet, I can almost even see you reading in your favourite arm chair by the window, legs outstretched and resting on the blue accent pillow.

“all that we went through” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday April 16, 2016
5:31pm
5 minutes
Back to Black
Amy Winehouse


I don’t feel right writing this. You’ve been gone for one month. I know you said it wouldn’t bother you if I saw other people once you said goodbye, but everyone else is saying it’s too soon. I met someone. I don’t know if he’s my one, but he’s someone and it feels nice to be with a man that isn’t dying. Your mother is still angry at me. She thinks I am mistreating your memory, disrespecting what we had. But the worst part is, I know I’m not doing anything wrong and I know that when you told me you didn’t want me to mourn you for long that you meant it. I still love you, I always will. I would have died with you if I could have but it doesn’t work like that. I wanted to thank you for being so understanding and trusting and knowing that me dating someone else does not mean I’ve moved on or that I’m okay or that I wanted to be with someone else this whole time. Nobody outside of us can know what we went through and what we talked about and what we decided together. Now all that’s left is my side of the story and no one seems to want to believe me when I say it’s okay that this is happening and you wouldn’t be upset. I don’t know how long I can keep justifying myself in the eyes of your family or my family. I miss you more than life.

“American singer-songwriter” by Julia on her couch


Friday April 15, 2016
8:55pm
5 minutes
from a Lenny Kravitz Google search

Performing in the bar, local bar, playing to crowds who love it, come back each week, bring their friends, become family. That’s what I really want. I don’t need stadium. I just want to entertain and share my music. I don’t care if I’m not rich. I’ll have artistic needs being met. I’ll get to share an experience, make people happy, help the bar make a bit more cash that night, drink for free. That’s it. I’m far from it. I’m not a flake or anything; I know that I’ve got a long road ahead of me before I can be that ready. I’m not delusional. It’s the dream though. I don’t necessarily envision it with a band or just me and my guitar. I don’t play the guitar yet. Doesn’t mean I can’t learn. Never too old to learn something new.

“Let’s roll, babycakes” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday April 14, 2016
11:52pm
5 minutes
overheard on Arbutus

I want you to beg me to stay when I tell you I’ll be sleeping at my mother’s place tonight. I want you to get on your knees and apologize for being a dick so I can forgive you and then apologize for being a dick back to you. I’m angry but I won’t be later but I don’t know how to turn this thing around before later is later. I feel like I’ve pushed all your buttons and there’s no easy rewind let’s pretend that never happened one to press. Why don’t you come with one like that? I am at the door with my overnight bag and I want you to throw me a banana if you’re not going to try to keep me from going. Let me know you still care about my potassium intake even when we’re hating each other. Even when you’re secretly glad that I won’t be sleeping beside you tonight to remind you of this stupid fight we both engaged in when we were both enraged about the thing we won’t remember in the morning.

“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.

“who are doing anything but the typical” By Julia on her couch


Saturday March 5, 2016
11:18pm
5 minutes
ubc.ca

I don’t know where the ground is where the ground is where the ground is
Mama says I should know because my feet are there but I don’t know where it is I don’t know
She says breathe deep and feel the earth
She says close your eyes and visualize
and I am confused because I can’t see anything either
How do I know where I’m going if I don’t know where I am?
I don’t know where I am I don’t know where I am
I haven’t known for a long time I haven’t felt secure
The ground isn’t under me, nothing is supporting me
Mama says it is I just need to find my feet again
I look down and see feet but I can’t see what’s below.
Mama says trust that you know and trust that you do
I’m sorry I am not better, I’m sorry I don’t know where the ground is

“his eyes were heavy, his muscles ached.” By Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday March 3, 2016
11:46pm
5 minutes
Walkabout
James Vance Marshall


Poor thing had just come in from an unexpected encounter. He was sore all over, one eye glued right shut-save for the little drop of blood that squeezed out and marked up his left cheek. I didn’t know what to do, seeing him like that. I imagined Teri wouldn’t want to know that her little boy had been horse whipped by her own brother, but she was bound to find out sooner or later. I took him over to the sink and I tried to dab a cool cloth on his face, on that nasty eye. He pulled away at first but when I started humming to him he calmed down a bit. I told him over and over again I was so sorry. I didn’t know Elliot would be home so early. I didn’t even have two seconds to hide the sweet little thing before he got his monster hands on him. When I bent down close to meet his eyes with mine, little thing whispered to me, please don’t tell my mom.

“A single breast winking,” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 29, 2016
11:32pm
5 minutes
FWD FWD
Robin Evans


In the shadow of chaos she emerges from her pain, long enough to sit up straight and shake off her darkest parts. Sinking in grungy bathwater, reeking of self hate and self punishment, she lets out a wail, a song of her finned underwater comrades. She is touching ocean floor and stratosphere. She is marking both sides of this earth so she can find her place in between them again.
Her mouth is opened and sound falls out like one last hope-one last plea. She is begging herself to save herself: No muskets, no smoke, no hugs, no rope.

“It’s all my fault.” by Julia at Platform 7 Cafe


Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at Platform 7 Cafe
3:19pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I have asked for clarification for the last time from Robbie. He is toxic and hearing his explanations of why he’d prefer to be with Patricia over me has stung for the very last time. I used to need to hear it from his mouth. I’d say, Let me hear it from your two lips, Robbie, tell me exactly why you need her. I want to hear the truth about the tiny heartshaped birthmark next to her left eye that has “cast a fucking spell on you. His earnestness is poisonous and it gets into my veins deep where it can torment me long after I’ve turned off for the night. Gets in my dreams. I thought knowing the words, hearing his reasoning would put this whole thing to bed. I thought it would give me closure or at least act as a critiquing sounding board. I wanted an excuse to get better. I think I also wanted an excuse to blame myself. I am good at taking on Robbie’s shit. I am so good at it I’ve carved out a special place in my life where I store all his stupid behavior and his shitty treatment of me. I take it off the shelves of my heart when I need a reminder that I’m so deeply human when it comes to him—or maybe because of him.

“She said my mistakes made her feel confused” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 14, 2016
6:24pm
5 minutes
Dear Mr. You
Mary-Louise Parker


I braid my hair long down my back and I glance down to see which flower I want to put in. I let the blooms speak without forcing them to make themselves available to me. I feel the sun peaking out of the clouds just to watch what I do, see what I choose, why. Little purple one, I think. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. Marissa doesn’t like it when I choose wrong. She yells, stomps her feet, says I didn’t teach her anything and her whole life is a joke. I hate to think of angering Marissa or showing her that I haven’t been paying attention. I’m trying. I really am. I feel like she has her minions looking out on all corners of this place to see that I’m doing what I am supposed to. She’s blackmailed the trees, she’s sleeping with the whole sky it seems. Nobody crosses her. Everybody fears her. I listen to my belly, rumbling on luck near empty. Little purple one, woven into the base of my braid. I do not question myself in this moment. I hear wind chimes in the distance congratulating my bravery. Last time Marissa saw me right after a big decision, she scanned my whole body up and down looking for where exactly she might have failed me.

“beyond borders” by Julia in the car


Tuesday February 9, 2016
6:57pm
5 minutes
from a Curl Ambassadors business card

I have pushed past the point of pain and now I spend most of my time lingering on regrets. What if, what if maybe, maybe if. They all sound the same. I know I have exhausted the semantics on this. It’s better, honestly, than trying to live in the hurt. Now I live in the past and keep myself afloat with dreams of what could have been. I am a master of this disguise. I am fooling everyone around me. I know how to dress to keep attention away from the truth. But I don’t know how long I can keep this up. It sounds great on paper but on paper you miss the whole, heart thumping out of tune thing, the deafening silence, the whimpering over hot tea turned cold every morning.

“he couldn’t explain or understand.” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 4, 2016
8:07pm
5 minutes
4000 Days
Warren Fellows


It was like yesterday, I remember it like yesterday.
Sunny was in the yard playing with her mason jar filled with tiny snails. She was calling them funny names like Gabrielle and Inmim. I watched her babysit them like they were her dolls. She liked to explain things to them in Spanish, in case they ever needed to be able to do the same. But then there is a flash in this memory, like two films stitched together to edit the problem in between. There was a problem in between. There’s a second vision as strong and detailed as the first before the flash. Thea and Perry are crying in my living room and everyone is screaming Sunny’s name. Thea is wearing the locket she gave to her and shaking her head back and forth so furiously it looks like it might spin off. Perry is holding her hand and clenching his jaw. He is smiling but he doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

“the lid to Pandora’s box slides right off.” By Julia on her couch


Tuesday January 26, 2016
11:56pm
5 minutes
From catskinner.club

There’s a secret waiting at the bottom of this moment
Scrape
Scrape away with claw-like urgency
I don’t know who needs to uncover
To reach the very last layer of earth possible before digging becomes inadvisable
I wave to you from behind my acted ease
I don’t want to startle you
But there’s a major shift happening all around us
We could work together
I know I need someone to remind me that this is a good idea
You are unaware
Usual issue
You don’t want to dig
Not past the cool dirt
Not through my caked on smile
I have to bleed bigger if I want emotion
Reaction
I have to show you how…
Remember pain comes in many different perfect looking boxes
Shape shifting
Scrape and claw
Claw and scrape

“the globally inspired” by Julia on her couch


Sunday January 24, 2016
11:49pm
5 minutes
from the front of a flyer

I heard on the news today that two more kids were shot in their front yard.
They were selling lemonade.
I don’t know how I’m supposed to wake up every morning, drink my coffee, put on my suit, go into schools and teach young people how to measure the angles of an isosceles triangle, or that just because our country allows people to carry firearms that it doesn’t make it okay to use them, or that these two smiling babies were still warm from their mother’s womb, being watched from the kitchen window by that same love–looking down for just one second to pull a splinter out of her thumb.
I don’t know how any of us do it. Keep living on repeat like we don’t see what’s happening in our world, right outside our houses, hitting closer and closer to home each time. I don’t know how any of us leave the safety of our sheets each and every day and find a new version of brave to wear for the day.

“a wacky one” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday, January 16, 2016
12:05pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 16 bus

I don’t know what he meant when he said “That’s what you do.”
Said like an insult instead of forgiveness. Said like punishment. Said like tar.
I said I was sorry for nagging him and he said, “That’s what you do.”
Bells. Sirens. Those words went off in my brain like a fourth of July massacre.
That tone.
Loud.
And clear.
But I don’t know what he meant, that I nag, that’s what I do? Like he’s come to know me as the type who won’t ever pick a battle, or back down from an opinion that not everyone shares?
Or that I am sorry a lot and so I apologize a lot, and maybe that’s the thing that I do.
Either way it did not feel like a compliment.
Or a way to mend the bridge that we had both taken a match to earlier.
I wanted to reach him when he felt far away.
My instinct was to cry so I made very sure not to.

“Paul had known” by Julia at her table


Thursday, December 24, 2015
5:11pm
5 minutes
Dune
Frank Herbert


It was hidden in the secret stash, tucked away deep in the back of her closet.
She didn’t want anyone to see. She didn’t want to be reminded.
Paul had known the whole time that Lara was keeping a shoe box sealed with a red ribbon tied in a hundred tiny knots. He had known and he had attempted many times to open it up. He knew Lara didn’t want it to be opened. But his curiosity was bigger than both of them.
One day Paul sneaked to the closet while Laura was napping on the couch in the living room.
He brought with him a Swiss Army knife and a plastic bag, just in case.
Paul didn’t care about the photos Lara kept, or the notes she liked to hold onto from her high school friends.
He slipped out the dusty shoe box and flipped it upside down. Paul held the knife carefully and began to draw a fine line on the box’s seam. He was nervous. He wasn’t sure if what he was doing was worth the findings. Worth Lara never trusting him again. Worth Lara not being able to deal with what seeing the contents might bring up…

“vow to scrap” by Julia at Platform 7 Cafe


Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at Platform 7 Cafe
11:29am
5 minutes
Overheard on Gerrard St.

I think I know why
I don’t want to say why
I think I know why I can’t keep the moments from turning into monuments
To keep the steam from turning into smoke
To keep the cut from turning into scar
I think I know why I don’t want to say why
I think I know why I can’t
I’m sorry
You say don’t be I’m trying to remember that
You say don’t try I’m trying to remember not to do that either
It’s taking some time
I am not sorry I am not trying
I think I know why
I think it scares me more than it might scare you
Human beings dancing without the proper shoes
Eagles flying without wings
You work hard to keep my wound a slice
To keep my throbbing a pulse
To keep my hyperventilating a breath
I think I know why
But I don’t say why

“a finger in each mouth” by Julia at her desk


Sunday November 22, 2015
8:11pm
5 minutes
From a poem by bell hooks

I can’t read what you wrote because it hurts me every time
like a knife in my side
like a drill in my spine
I can’t see your doctor-prescription-careless-anarchy penmanship because it reminds me that you don’t have any respect for what I do
Your o’s look like d’s, your d’s look like meteors
your ripped napkin with the tomato sauce stain letterhead of our kitchen makes me cry
The part scratched out that I wish to God I could read haunts me
You told me you were leaving me on a garbage scrap and then left it on the fridge next to the photo of us rubbing noses