“the hands upraised” by Julia on her couch

Friday November 25, 2016
5 minutes
from the back of a Buddha greeting card

She was the kind of person
who declared things,
sent everything up to the sky then washed her hands of it. Nothing to debate.
This is feeling. Feeling is real. I feel. I am.
Thank you. Goodnight.
He hadn’t stopped her yet from saying everything gospel.
Telling it all to the hilltops. Mountains.
He hadn’t noticed yet the tone she wasn’t intending.
Made it seem okay
or fine
or nothing. But maybe
was noticing it.
Maybe silently adding it up in weapons of mass cold shoulder
or gas light
which is to say
She had put her arms up that night to veto the smell of his feet. No ifs or ands–
he changed his socks emphatically.


“a signal he was about to shut down.” by Julia on the 9

Thursday May 12, 2016
5 minutes
Russell Wangersky

I remember asking him if he wanted to sleep over–it might have been the third or fourth time. We had just gotten home from a nice dinner, I had just peed myself in the laundry room and was cleaning it up with dryer lint while he waited for me upstairs in my room, you know, just a casual Friday night, and I thought he was going to say yes this time. I was cautious, I made sure the moment was right, made sure I was feeling his vibe, and then boom: another no. I assumed naturally, as one does, that it was either because he could smell remnants of secret urine off my legs (though I had washed them well enough in the bathroom sink before returning to my room), or that he was about to break up with me.


“Grab whatever looks good” by Julia on the 84

Wednesday May 11, 2016
5 minutes
from a text

Knock at our door, Lizzie quickly throws on one of my shirts. She slides over the peephole cover. She opens the door without wasting a breath.
Robert is standing there. We haven’t seen him in years. Lizzie goes to hug him, he stops her.
“We don’t have time for that right now. ”
Lizzie grabs him again and this time it’s not optional.
“You do not get to come here and pull this shit on me again. Tell me right now what is going on. ”
I’m on the bed, inching closer to Lizzie’s night side table. I don’t want to cause a commotion. I want her gun in my hands and nobody else’s.
“You guys have to leave. They know. They know about me. About us. We have to grab whatever we can and go. Now. ”
Lizzie sees me moving closer. She offers a tiny nod in approval. I see it. Robert doesn’t.
“Who is they, Robert?” Lizzie asks, conjuring up all the softness inside of her.


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

Sunday February 14, 2016
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.


“Safety” by Julia at her dining room table

Saturday, December 19, 2015
5 minutes
from the back of matches

There’s a level of discomfort that follows a perfect moment. It’s perfect until it’s not, fading into something hard to sit in. That second after the joint decision to bask in the glory of said perfect moment is made up of tiny doubts, fears, deep-swimming insecurities-or truths that we usually find more grace to disguise. I think it comes from wanting the next moment to be as good as the one before but it can only be anything close if it were the exact same moment and no two moments can be replicated no matter how badly we want them to be. So I guess it comes down to choices. Going left or right directly after the experience of tiny perfection. Does it live in us as a thing we both just know now, or does it change every moment after it by being so tightly clutched that we start to live in debt of that particular instance? Trying to pay it back forever.
I want to know…


“We talked at length about it” by Julia at her dining room table

Friday, December 18, 2015
5 minutes
Dispatched To The Derwent
Malcolm Dale

Greer reaches down to pull up her knee socks that never seem to stay at the knee. She leans over in her chair disappearing under the table for a moment while Brody shifts in his spot, uneasy about a lot of things, in addition to the fact that Greer is no longer making eye-contact as he explains himself.
Greer’s stupid socks keep bunching in her shoes! That’s why they never stay up, they are being pulled down but her toes or something equally as lame! She lets out a tiny laugh.
“What? What is it?”
Brody doesn’t like unexpected bouts of laughter. He doesn’t like being the butt of anyone’s joke.
“Sorry, I, it’s nothing, really. What were you saying?”
“No, seriously, just tell me!”
“It’s actually not worth repeating, but, I’m fully listening, please continue.”
Brody starts to chew on the inside of his lower lip. He Has created a patch of bite marks, raised to the touch of the tongue, a tiny graveyard of anxious scars.


“unless its roots reach down to hell” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 23, 2015
5 minutes
from a quote by Carl Jung

I’m not really sure how I got here. Not here here, just emotionally here. I wouldn’t have expected to end up like my mother but I guess it’s just in my genes. I don’t know if it’s fair to say that even. Like I’m blaming it on her or I’m not taking responsibility for my own life. I just wonder if I am predisposed to overreacting, turning molehills into mountains, turning good things into bad things. That’s what she does; my mother. She’s a hypochondriac and she’s a paranoid individual with a lot less good people in her life to help her out cause of the way she behaves. Now I see myself in her image. No friends. No partner. Nobody to convince me it’s better to be sane…


“Distant, tired, but holding her hand” by Julia in the car

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
5 minutes

He coughed into the crook of his elbow and tried not to make too big of a deal of it. She glanced at him from the side of her eye, the way she did when she was trying to read his e-mails without him noticing. He was growing tired of her testing him and she was growing skeptical of his patience.
Maybe if you didn’t worry so much about EVERYONE else for a change, you’d be—
He hadn’t prepared himself for a blow out. Had been priding himself on containing it all and picking his battles, in fact.
Forget it. He walked a bit in front of her.
What would I be? JUST. FUCKING. SAY IT. She was shaking now, trying to make direct eye contact. She realized when she asked him if he still loved her earlier she didn’t look him in the face when he gave his response.
How fucking easy I make it for him to despise me, she thought. I never look to see if his eyes are lying.


“What a liberty!” by Julia on the train to London

Saturday December 27, 2014
5 minutes
from Chocolate And Cuckoo Clocks: The Essential Alan Coren
edited by Giles and Victoria Coren

I’m stuck on a train with a surprise murderer from Vancouver island. He’s reading right now, don’t worry. But he just spent the last half hour explaining the plot of his book that he’s trying to get published. He doesn’t have an agent. His protagonist just so happens to be a surprise murderer from Vancouver island. He lives alone. So does his protagonist. He’s a lumberjack. Has access to an axe. Knows how to wield one. So does his protagonist. Captures a traveling circus that’s moving through town. Don’t know how to prove that both of them do it. But his protagonist does. Told me he’d watch my bag while I went to the bathroom. Didn’t trust him. Didn’t go. He doesn’t know yet that I don’t trust him. Too big of a smile trying to reassure me he absolutely will never kill me. I think surprise murderers have to practice that smile. Over and over and over again.


“do something which both parties desire but are unwilling to do” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday September 2, 2014
5 minutes
from the English translation of mamihlapinatapai

I woke from a dream that was worse than the ones that I used to have
When nightmares reeked heavy
And my mother was sleepless for a whole year too
You were there
With the two of them
The women you desire
The women who desire you
The women you would be with if you hadn’t chosen me
Am I the only one that has that list?
The women you would be with if you hadn’t chosen me
Should I be ashamed of it?
Should I store it under the mattress
In the drawer by the stove that only I open
Buried in the sand for another woman to find when the tide goes out
Comes in
My stomach in my throat
My throat in my mouth
Tears and gulps
Salt water
You’re not home yet
You’re on the bus
I imagine you
Travelling closer to me
The one you’ve chosen
I imagine you
curling against my naked body
I imagine you
I imagine them
I see myself
floating above
Laughing like a crow
Sobbing like a beluga
Your key in the lock


“forced to break the locks” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Friday May 9, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
The TSA baggage inspection notice

Until I knew what I was doing, I was hoping to exist in private. That meant no windows, no doors, no working out in public, no eating sandwiches with too much meat in front of other humans. There was just so much to sort out: How I felt about road trips, if I preferred the raspberry jam with or without pectin, if green was in fact my favourite colour, if I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as our “Saviour”, if I was able to sleep at night knowing full well I just used air quotes to describe a deity, if I truly did hate jazz or just loved to hate it, how I interacted with sea-life, what, in actuality, was my true cup-size, would there ever be a family reunion that everyone came to willingly, how on earth I had made it so long without proclaiming my love for dandelions out loud.
I knew nothing about myself. I had all these questions, and worries, and paranoid dreams, and I was not about to throw it all away in the presence of other people who might deem said living style as a complete and utter failure…


“Make a green choice” by Julia at Bodhi Coffee in Philadelphia

Wednesday April 16, 2014
4:55pm at Bodhi Coffee
5 minutes
from a Sheraton Hotel Voucher

There was a sign that she couldn’t help but stare at. It looked like a child had drawn the font, cut out each letter one by one, and pasted them akk to it without adult supervision. She was captivated by the colours, the shapes, the unique feeling it made her connect with. It read “Do The Right Thing. Do It ‘Till You Die.” It seemed like US Army propaganda from the 40s, but it looked like it was made only yesterday, or this morning, even, not giving the glue enough time to dry properly. The rest of the font was too small to see from where she was sitting. She didn’t want to move just to go up to it, feeling a little self-conscious that the sign, the poster from yesterday or today, had worked its magic on her. So she stayed where she was and glanced over at it hanging in the window only every other minute, and only after first looking all around it to make sure it seemed like she just had a curious and inquisitive eye. Nobody was looking at it. She wondered if the person responsible for making it or posting it up was sitting in the cafe with her, watching her watch the damn thing.


“Any siblings?” by Julia at Starbucks

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at Starbucks
5 minutes
Margaret Edson

She asked me, as she scribbled something into her notebook. Probably something judgmental like, “Patient does not respond well to authority.” Or “Patient refuses to give her real name because she is paranoid that the “people” are after her.” or “Patient is not very interesting as a result of all her hardship. Hmmm.” I bet they write things like that all the time. The “Hmmm” part is the one I’m most concerned about. It’s neither here nor there and I never did well with the in betweens. Or the seeing someone who is vaguely familiar on the street and being able to ignore them. I’ve always given people a second glance, a second opportunity for us to make eye-contact and have an exchange of some kind. I don’t know where this inappropriate and extreme, because I can admit it, loyalty came from. I’m fairly certain I don’t owe the girl I used to know in university, that I just saw on the street(and with whom I happened to share one or two interests/ mutual friends)a single nod or smile, let alone a hello. And yet I give her it all. I smile with my heart like I’ve just seen one of my long lost siblings for the first time in 20 years. Ohhhhhh siblings.
This bitch really knows what she’s doing.