“Trucker’s Haven” by Julia in the car


Friday July 21, 2017
7:03pm
5 minutes
from the sign at the 401 on ramp

Wendy and Adele try and stuff their pot into the glove compartment before the state trooper gets to their car.
“Stay cool,” says Adele. “Stay so fucking cool, Wen.”
The dark sunglasses slide down his nose, aided by the tiny pools of sweat collecting on the bridge of it.
“License and registration.” he says, his want poking uncomfortable holes through Adele’s ribbed tank top.
She hands him the paper and pretends there’s a wad of gum in her mouth. She bites her tongue not to address how he is addressing her.

“ungratefulness” By Julia at her desk


Wednesday May 24, 2017
12:07am
5 minutes
English
Amber O’Reilly


It’s easy to forget just how equal machine
and magic kiss up my body
Some nights the moon falls before
I can get a handle on things
and I make plans to trash the guest room
I am visiting
I muck my feet on the welcome mat
and crack a bottle of beer
right next to the bathtub and I don’t
say thank you to the steam
because the steam is simply doing its job
I don’t say thank you to the clean when it
shouldn’t be hard to scrub
Some nights I remember to notice
that my body is fighting to protect me
and silence is sometimes softer
than compliments

“I was not able to hold high notes that long” By Julia at her desk


Tuesday May 23, 2017
10:05pm
5 minutes
from a YouTube comment on a Mariah Carey music video

Heaven help me–if Larry ever offered to do the groceries I would know that something was terribly wrong at the centre of things. I don’t know who’s in control, if it’s NASA, if it’s Horoscope writers, or what not, but we’d be in trouble that’s for sure. Larry has a groove print the size of his ass on the sofa and it is notcibly sat in but he doesn’t care. He doesn’t think about that kind of thing. No, he can’t think about teaching his body to even find a different part of the room to eat chips in, let alone offer to help me out in anyway.
Not on his own, at least. Larry’s the kind of man who requires a lot of prompting and I’m not saying that’s his mother’s fault or what not, I’m sure she’s a real ham-sweetheart. But his father? If I’m going to go blaming anyone for the permanent Larry-groove in my sofa, I’m going to go ahead and blame him: the iceberg lettuce who didn’t think responsability applied to him.

“system of divination.” By Julia at 49th Paralell


Monday May 22, 2017
2:43pm
5 minutes
An interview with Chani Nicholas in lennyletter.com

Aunt Bobby moves to a ranch but hates horses
Mama Lilia tells her if she wants to hear what her voice sounds like
she should go before the noise comes
Aunt Bobby sells all her personal belongings but keeps Aunt Kay’s ashes in the urn
puts a label on the side, marked “fragile/necessary”
leaves her on the mantle, apology foregone or forgotten
Mama Lilia tells her peace is in taking care of living land and the more the better
Aunt Bobby staples scrap paper together to make her own notebook
She sharpens her number 2 pencils and sticks them in her hair like a cross,
like protection
Mama Lilia tells her to write the songs her bones sing to her
when she is alone in the wild

“and they’ll break your heart” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 21, 2017
6:14pm
5 minutes
trueactivist.com

My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby a week ago. It is the happiest my entire family has ever been, and I’m including the time my mom caved and let us get KFC the day we moved into our new house. My sister called her Cleo and all of us can swear we’ve never known love until her. Harper’s doing great. She has a glow. She looks as calm as if she’d been a mother her whole life. It doesn’t look as hard as I thought it would be, of course Harper has always been good at figuring things out. Cleo latched right away and seeing my baby sister stroke her daughter’s cheek as they bond there in the rocking chair–it’s all I need to see to send me into a fit of emotion. I am overcome by how beautiful it all is. Even Danya is in awe, and we never thought she’d step foot in our parents’ house since she tried to burn it down in 1994.

“People will say,” by Julia in her childhood room


Friday January 6, 2017
12:45am
5 minutes
from The Province

I didn’t wish you a happy birthday and people will say-probably-that I am avoiding you or doing it on purpose or trying to play games. I’m not doing any of those things-though it’s your prerogative to think that I am. To believe everyone else but me. I didn’t do it this year because I was busy and because I don’t think you’re a good person. I should clarify that I still love you somewhere deep down as the person who first showed me what borrowing my parents’ car was really for; who laughed easy to build someone else up when you knew how much that would matter. I can’t condone the rest of you these days. Maybe not for the last few years. I tried to trick myself but it didn’t work. I’m not a very good liar. Not nearly as good as you.

“Oh gosh I would be so horrified” by Julia in Amanda’s bed


Thursday January 5, 2017
12:47am
5 minutes
from an email

When aunt Maxine died she left all her beloved jewelry to my younger sister, Annie, instead of to her own daughter. Gemma stormed in and out of my apartment that year like a horse trying to buck off a leech. She always brought with her an impossible tension followed by a cloud of smoke that she would sometimes beat herself up for. You never need that first cigarette! Trust me, I know, she would shriek. You never do but you think you do and that’s when bad shit starts to happen-dark shit like not trusting yourself! Gemma, I’d beg, can we please stop talking about it?

“test audience” by Julia on her couch


Friday December 16, 2016
9:41pm
5 minutes
from a recruiting email

My favourite herb is cilantro and I HATE when people call it coriander. I asked Jedene if she wanted me to stay and take notes but she didn’t think it was necessary-the first graders either liked the thing or not. They either thought it tasted good or like dish soap. I told her I would be happy to stay and record the data for her pro bono. Really I just couldn’t risk someone fucking it all up by writing “coriander” in any of the boxes, or heaven forbid two people shared the task and wrote the different words interchangeably. Jedene was hoping to get out of there by noon but I secretly projected 1:35pm as first graders are not highly cooperative and especially when in groups of other first graders. I know this because I was once, unlike Jedene, a first grader. Jedene skipped the first grade. She has no idea how stupid it was to do that.

“rub your largest organ” by Julia on her couch


Saturday December 10, 2016
12:27am
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

Marti came to my family in a time of great reducing.
She saw an opening in our fragile hearts, starting lives over in unexpected places, and she burrowed deeply enough that hers leached into ours. She was kind and she was good so it made it more tolerable but she was still implanting her life on ours. She comes to mind when otherwise she would be lost in prayer, when the others were lost to us. After long days and nights she surfaces again. Her kids covered in macaroni, her good intentions folded up in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“Welcome Home Party” by Julia on her couch


Friday December 9, 2016
12:27am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

There was a banner hanging in the front window that looked like his kids had helped make it. I drove by once, forgetting, and saw it. It made me feel sick. I realized why we said we wouldn’t put ourselves in each other’s reality. It was not only dangerous for the one who lives there, but painful for the one who doesn’t. I saw it though, and it sickened me. I couldn’t believe I had played a role in such big deceit of people who missed him so much even though all this time he was sleeping in another woman’s hotel room. And crafting a lie, and withholding the truth. And I helped trick them. I m helped to sneak him away from his family.

“bare bones information” by Julia in her bed


Wednesday November 30, 2016
11:33pm
5 minutes
from a lesson plan

I will tell you that she is getting married whether he understands that or not. He hasn’t been around for a while–not really. She tells him the plans and her dreams and he says so little she could take all of them as agreement. As yeses. As freedom. She may marry him for whatever reason she likes. I don’t think she’d take advantage even though most of us would. But for whatever reason she will not settle until it happens and it will be a long life of smiling for the cameras and crying alone in the bathroom mirror until then. He must love her. Or at least he must have before. I don’t know how someone sticks around without knowing they can trust someone. He must have loved her pretty damn good.

“Exactly!” By Julia at her dining table


Wednesday August 10, 2016
11:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the Inside house

I won’t ever fully know why
not the colour of the moon that worries me
the one that knocks me dead and vinegar
not the salty lines left lining the walls in the room where you
where you
where you don’t know me
where you don’t see what I think I would see your shoes
where you don’t recognize
me when I’m me. When I’m
not the ache in my chest when
I feel most unseen by you
not the moments of triumph that feel so
if only because the others were mercury and iron
paling in comparison
but I do know
but what I do know in this place
is that I am misery’s companion
by choice
by decision
by the map of my mother’s tears
and I unchoose myself at the speed of you

“Take a day trip.” By Julia at her dining table


Monday August 9, 2016
10:25pm
5 minutes
odysseyonline.com

Take a day trip
remember the road and the smell of the car and the first song playing when you start
Take a trip to a place you’ve never been and take photos
that make you cringe to do in your own neighbourhood
Sing each other your favourite lyric
record yourselves in conversation
forget that you’re recording
lay on the grass
Get a little bit dirty
Take a trip
Leave the disappointing
and ridicule
and pipe dreams
and anxiety dreams
aside

“change has alway happened in the margins” By Julia on her couch


Sunday August 8, 2016
10:00pm
5 minutes
Becoming Wise
Krista Tippett


I can’t recall his clothes but I remember his hands and the way his neck smelled. I held him for longer than I would have if it were anyone else. I held him longer than I would have but long enough for him to feel welcomed. I don’t blame him for seeking us out, looking for a safe space to exist among us but not within us. I wanted him to feel wanted. And brave. But also I wanted to reward his bravery. I wanted to include him the way he so desperately needed to be included. The way I so desperately needed to be included instead of just passing. The way I would never have asked for what he asked for even if what he asked for was exactly what I needed. I can’t remember his drink, but I remember his face. And his voice. And his smile.

“the life of his human counterpart” By Julia at The Deklab County Public Library


Sunday August 7, 2016 at the Deklab County Public Library
2:14pm
5 minutes
Unsaid
Neil Abramson


It was hard to see him through the rain but I didn’t have to see his face to know who he was. Michael kept his head down as if the stream of water cascading down his hair could shield his eyes. I knew that he was crying. I knew that stance anywhere. I hadn’t seen him in months and still knew he had gotten a hair cut too. I wasn’t sure if I should approach him first or wait for him to see me. I didn’t want to disrupt whatever praying he might have been doing. I didn’t want to interrupt his ritual of getting right with himself before he came to find me. The life of his human counterpart was just as complex, and he knew that too. Hell, from behind the heavy sheets of rain pouring down on us, I’m sure he could see that I was doing my work to get right with myself just the same as he was.

“I like your bow tie” By Julia at The Marriott In Decatur, Georgia


Saturday August 6, 2016
3:17am
5 minutes
overheard at the NPS finals in decatur

Wears a bow tie. Ties his hair back. Brushes
His
Teeth
Before
Dinner
Checks his smile. Takes his hair down. Walks to the grocery store. Wears a bow tie. Buys a butter tart. Wears a bow tie.

Want to tell me what you’re doing?
I guess. I was borrowing this.
This?
Mhm.
Okay.
Okay?
Yeah. I just want you to be honest with me. I don’t want secrets. I want us to have them not hide them. Is that okay?
Okay. Yeah.
Yeah?
Yeah. Okay.

“And in the business library” By Julia at The Marriott In Decatur, Georgia


Thursday August 4, 2016
1:46am
5 minutes
the Mariott wifi

I want to make a Clue reference here but I don’t know enough about it to give it the credit it deserves. Solid movie. I mean board game. See what I mean? The reason was because if anything is “in the library” I want to say “with the candlestick!” But that might be the end of it. I probably didn’t need to explain it. I’m bad at explaining things. I wish you weren’t here. It’s weird having another human see me this much and you seem to be amused or something or sweet or caring. Maybe all of those things. Thank you for that. There is a list of things I am thankful for. Remind me to send that to you tomorrow. Anyway you were saying something about the library? The business library? Will you be doing your business there? Sorry, I mean, will you be conducting business there? You can say no. You don’t have to laugh either. I don’t want pity laughs! I guess I never learned to take a compliment! Or a clue! I mean get a clue. Except then it doesn’t really sound that good. But maybe that’s okay. Maybe it doesn’t have to sound good.

“We would not murmur nor complain” By Julia at The Marriott In Decatur, Georgia


Wdnesday August 3, 2016
12:17am
5 minutes
The Book Of Mormon

When you left her there blue on the bathroom tile for the first time, we knew we couldn’t love you anymore. We didn’t know how not to before but it was clear that after that, after her tooth got knocked out of her head and we couldn’t find it, after she opened her mouth to call for help and all that came out was a blood bubble popping on her lips and dripping down her chin, we knew. We were kids then and we wanted to love you both the same. You did a good job of buying that from us at the start. We got new books every week and sometimes you would read them to us in funny voices. You took us to the water park and let us pick the good ice cream or the waffle cones. You took us on secret drives when ‘mommy was having one of her episodes’ and you counted stars while we counted the dollars you slipped into our pockets. We tried to love you.
We really, really did.

“keep your face at a reasonable distance” By Julia at The Marriott In Decatur, Georgia


Tuesday August 2, 2016
12:13am
5 minutes
Microphone Lessons For Poets
Helen Guri


I want to be loud. So loud. So loud you can’t hear after I’m done being loud. So loud your eardrum feels violated, your heart feels opened, and your spirit feels heard. I think that’s the point: to reach my spirit to your spirit and to split it open and to plant a seed inside it and watch it grow as high as the sky. I want to be loud. I want to be far away and still loud enough to find you, loud enough to hold you, loud enough to keep you in this moment between us because distance is nothing but a number. I don’t want to yell but I need you hear me and the only way I know how to do that is to dig deep and make sure my truth is anchored at the pit of me before I open my mouth and send it soaring to you. I want to be loud. I want to be opinions and suggestions and refusals and encouragements. I want to be gracious, give gratitude with my whole body, not just my eyes. Not just my hands. I want to be loud. High decibel, room shaking, lips to the raw and ugly places, mouth on microphone and singing.

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


Monday August 1, 2016
11:59pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Marriott in Decatur

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

“comrade in arms” By Julia at her dining table


Sunday July 31, 2016
9:25pm
5 minutes
from a text

I asked Lindsey if she wanted to come to my sister’s citizenship ceremony and she told me she wouldn’t miss it. When I reminded her that it was this week, she told me it was a date. When I called her that morning asking what she was going to wear, she gave me a detailed description and helped me choose a necklace for me over the phone. So when she didn’t show up for the ceremony I knew something wasn’t right. I called her a million times and it went straight to voicemail. I was freaking out, trying not to let my sister see me. I had a terrible knot in my stomach. Nothing was making sense, the room was spinning, and I was struggling to stay standing. My sister caught my eye and looked concerned. She motioned for me to leave. I nodded, I ran, I stumbled out of the auditorium and into a burst of fresh air. When I saw Lindsey standing there I almost threw up. She was holding her throat so the blood wouldn’t spill out.

“community based competitions” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday June 19, 2016
10:38pm
5 minutes
http://www.academicinvest.com

I’m standing at the microphone and I can hear my own breathing inside my head, but everything else in the room is perfectly still. I am ready. I am prepared. I am under water. I feel true calm. I hear the speaker bellow out a long word in slow motion. I hear every single part of his word. I see every single part of his word. I take a deep breath and I pause. The silence is back. My focus is razor. I repeat his word, his multisyllabic and challenging word and I spell it back to him, punching. each. letter. It is good to be good. I am floating. I am waiting. The sound of the auditorium floods back to my ears and there is thunder. There is pulse. I am lifted.

“and lifted right up” by Julia on her couch


Saturday June 18, 2016
10:10pm
5 minutes
All My Puny Sorrows
Miriam Toews


Caught me in the middle of ‘researching’ various porn sites and I got mad at you for barging in unannounced. Kendra, you said, I live here. Do I really have to announce anything? I was embarrassed, obviously, that’s why people get defensive and upset in the first place, but I was not about to tell you that.
Listen, Matt, I don’t think a text or a phone call is a very big inconvenience just to tell me you’re on your way or that you’re 5 or 10 minutes out, or that you’ll be disturbing me and just wanted to give me a heads up.
Disturbing you? You asked.
Yes, I told you, or disrupting the flow.
I didn’t know there would be so many arbitrarily chosen rules popping up when you moved in.
I’m just saying we share the space and it’d be nice to be aware of each other.
Fine, Kendra. You said. You were on your way back out the door. I’d like all parties present to be informed that I am, ANNOUNCING, that I am leaving for the night, and all parties present can go back to being a huge dick for no reason, by herself.

“the nervous towns of Mars” by Julia on her couch


Monday June 13, 2016
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury


I don’t have words right now
not for the pain
not
for the other stuff
I have alien feelings
not happiness
not fear
something is in me breaking
as we speak
I would ask for
permission
to go home early
from all of this
try my lungs out
call to the wild but
there’s a scientist
waiting to take
my blood out
and I think
she owns me or something
Because my thoughts don’t feel
like mine anymore
they feel
like nothings floating
deep
and bobbing up for air
every
now and again
she tells me
stop trying
and I assume she means
everything
everything
everything
My arm is her best friend
my vein
is her guilty pleasure
she looks at my dancing
blue fluids
my
inside life
with fluorescent sparks shooting out
of her eyes
getting ready to keep me
from jumping out of
my skin
and into the world
beside this one
I tell her
They have much more
star-dust because it’s a destination
Not a curse
She says
and I know now
stop
which means
shuffling around while this
thing is in me
which means
talking
because I use
my hands
too much

“screaming like Tasmanian devils” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday June 12, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Bye Judy and Good Luck
Mona Awad


Madelyn had stepped out onto her porch, dimly lit, a few mosquitoes, joint lit. No sweater, it was good to feel cold every now and again. Not impossible cold. Awareness-making cold. She glanced down at the stain on her yellow cable knit T-shirt, pulling the base of it down and out to examine the damage, to survey the crime scene. They had been screaming like Tasmanian devils; running up and down the house so feverishly and never-endingly causing the whole house to vibrate. Madelyn didn’t know if the love she had for them was enough to keep her from hating them when they were like this. She thought she might have to take notes and keep watch on their behaviour with the cycles of the moon. She picked again at the orange-red blotch of defeat on her top. She picked again. She swatted away a mosquito.

“a dozen individuals aged” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 24, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
Harbor
John Ajvide Lindqvist


Across the street I spied a man who had been resting on a bench. He was sweating from his brow and was hunched over, defeated. He didn’t have a cane, or a walker, but looked like he could have used one. He was convincing himself he didn’t, surely. I quietly watched him from my bus stop. He didn’t know anyone was paying any attention to him. He tried to get up a few times without the help of the bench. He couldn’t seem to do it. The struggle in his face was clear even all the way over to where I sat pretending to read my novel. It looked like his body had been slowly betraying him for a while but that he had only just now started to deny it. I remember working with a man who told me once that when you get old, your body stops matching up with your mind and you can’t control yourself the way you used to. He told me that it may be frustrating for those of us who can still easily get to our destinations to have to always wait behind the ones who aren’t as mobile, but it wasn’t to be disregarded that it was far more frustrating for them.

“you smiled at me” by Julia at her dining table


Monday May 23, 2016
4:22pm
5 minutes
Sunny
Bobby Hebb


There were so many people lined up to get your autograph outside the cinema. It was cloudy but hot. I wasn’t planning on waiting for you but I was wearing my nice yellow sundress with a matching yellow head-scarf and I remember thinking it was too good to be wasted on just meeting Debbie and her boyfriend, Charles at the diner. Suddenly I was hit with the convincing thought that I could have you. I think I was moving as little as possible to avoid sweating through my sleeves. I didn’t want your autograph. I wanted to smell your skin. I wanted to get so close that you would have no choice but to touch me. I had dreamed of that moment and was replaying it over and over again in my head as we waited for you to emerge. Some women were already crying. You were making us wait for no reason in particular. I think you were preparing for the mob. I was preparing to envelop you.

“I honour this privilege” by Julia at the bus stop


Sunday May 22, 2016
5:15pm
5 minutes
from a birthday card

I heard him say it to himself when he thought I had left for the evening. He was reciting it in the mirror, getting ready for his big night. I crept in the house quietly, I had forgotten my wallet by the island. I don’t know why I had left it there but I didn’t want to impose myself. Just a few quiet steps while he rehearsed his speech in the bathroom. The one I had begged him to do for me because I wasn’t able to go. He said no. He didn’t want me anywhere near it. I tried to go as fast as my curiosity would let me. He repeated one line over and over and I wanted to hear him get it right. “I honour this privilege. I honour this privilege.” My hand was reaching for the soft leather while my mind tilted toward him in the bathroom. I felt the wallet graze my hand and I quickly realized that if I could go in this instant I would have a secret but nothing to be sorry for.

“Late last night I heard the screen door slam” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday May 21, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
Big Yellow Taxi
Joni Mitchell


You were leaving trying not to let me hear you trying not to let me hear your heart stop wanting me
I waited there trying not to stop you trying not to tell you that I would try to be better you packed up your items you packed up your clothes you packed up all your reasons and you did your best not to wake me
You were leaving trying to avoid another argument of he said she said I said you said of all those times we laughed at how foolish we had been
I was sobbing there in my pillow on my side of the bed afraid to move an inch and realize it was real after all crying tears of apology into the mattress trying not to let you hear me trying not to let you hear my hollow chest echo as the tiny pieces of my heart fell to the bottom
You were leaving there was nothing I could do and you were leaving me so there was nothing I could do.

“Be wildly generous” by Julia at her dining table


Friday May 20, 2016
6:15pmm
5 minutes
from Julia’s notebook

My grandmother had been staying at our house after her hip surgery. She was sleeping in my room and she liked to spend her time organizing my bookshelves and my underwear drawer. One day she called me into our room to show me her latest clean-up effort. All of my underwear, she showed me, beaming with pride, were folded and stacked neatly according to size, colour, and functionality. I was 16 at the time and I had been wearing thongs for a couple years by then. My grandmother pointed to each stack reminding me “These ones are your nice ones, these are for staying at home only, and these ones are for your ‘holidays'”. She was pointing to the tiny stack of thongs and she was clearly referring to my ‘romantic encounters’. I remember, before I could defend or deny, she brought her finger to her lips, shushing the air as if to say “I won’t tell anyone, don’t worry.” I raised my eyebrows in relief and mouthed the words “thank you.” She smiled wide and squeezed my shoulder, thrilled to keep my business just between us. The truth was, I wasn’t, actually wearing thongs for my ‘holidays’ as I hadn’t had any ‘holidays’ yet, but I just never mentioned that to her. I could tell she needed my secret more than she needed my honesty.

“It’s a little big now” by Julia on the 84


Thursday May 19, 2016
8:14pm
5 minutes
overheard at Kafka’s

he was cooking dinner on the island
he liked to call it his ‘cutting station’
where he did most of his cutting
not me
i liked to use the counters by the fridge
i don’t really like the feeling
of floating in the middle of something
just dangling out there
alone
he asked me what my favourite thing to eat was
when i told him i said but it has to be the way
my dad used to make it
he said not to worry
he said he would take care of me
when i looked at his ‘cutting station’
i couldn’t see one ingredient that matched
the items i told him
all the things necessary to make
my favourite thing to eat
i tried not to be bothered by it
or to worry
he said he would take care of me and
i had to
trust him
but i could smell the veggies cooking
and i could tell that he wasn’t
getting
it
right
and so i was bothered by it
and i did worry
and i missed my dad
in that moment more than ever
nothing is the same after your favourite loves die
not life
not dinner

“I make him feel guilty.” by Julia at Lindsay’s house


Wednesday May 18, 2016
10:44pm
5 minutes
Burner Season
Ellie Sawatzky


Kev and I haven’t spoken since last Wednesday. It’s been a week. I told him I wanted to see how long we could go without engaging with each other. He was angry that I even suggested something like that. I didn’t say it but I wanted him to know how I felt. How when I want intimacy, conversation, attention, I have to practically beg him for it. I wanted him to know what it felt like to live with someone who didn’t “put out” emotionally. So far it’s been brutal for both of us but I don’t know who’s got it worse. I decided on purpose that I would avoid him to teach him a lesson but I’m not sure if I’ve now pushed him away instead. When we have to share the kitchen, Kev reaching up to the top shelf to pull down his favourite cereal bowl, me underneath him grinding flax seeds, we don’t make eye contact if we can avoid it. I don’t know what he would do if I looked him in the eye, but I do know that if he met my gaze I would have a hard time keeping my mouth away from his. This distance, despite my efforts to remain unmoved has made me want him more than I am maybe willing to control. I have been fighting myself for 7 days: Make him come to me, or make him come for me.

“our minds drift to the beach” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 17, 2016
11:08pm
5 minutes
health.amhosp.org

I didn’t have my swimsuit. I purposely didn’t pack it because I didn’t want to be forced to wear it. Dale said that she wouldn’t swim either in solidarity but I didn’t want her pity as much as she was trying to be a good friend. I told her to go ahead, enjoy herself. I sat on the beach in light billowy pants and a white camisole. I could hear everyone laughing in the night, splashing in the ocean. Suddenly my head felt wet. I looked up and Terrence was standing there, dripping his salty midnight water all over me.

“Yes?” I looked up expectantly.
“Come in with us.”
“Nah, I don’t have my suit.” I said, shrugging my misfortune of an absent bikini.
“Come on, Leigh, that’s a sorry excuse. Didn’t you know that skin is waterproof?”

“You change when you want to change” by Julia at her dining table


Monday May 16, 2016
10:35pm
5 minutes
huffingtonpost.com

Eden was on her way to change it for good. She had thought about keeping it, of course she had. But she also needed to listen to her spirit and stop letting her be trapped by a name that didn’t fit? Eden didn’t choose her name and most of us don’t change them, but Eden wanted something that felt more like the her she had become and gotten to know. Eden’s best friend, Jack said that we aren’t suited to name ourselves which is why we are given a name before we can see. Someone else takes away the pressure for us and we get to just be. But Eden didn’t believe that it was meant to be that way at all. That maybe if she just had more understanding and open-minded parents in the first place, they would have let her choose her own name eventually, and she would have made it clear enough to them what it would be through repetition and attraction. She was doing it today whether people agreed with it or not. She at least waited till her mother had died before she decided to do it.

“Throws it up in the air” by Julia on the 250


Sunday May 15, 2016
4:00pm
5 minutes
basketball commentary

Of course Chris wanted to play basketball. He was tall, everyone around him basically told him that was all he would be good for anyway, so yeah, he liked it a lot. It never hurt his knees to jump, or his shoulder never popped out. He was tall so it was a fun sport and he liked it a lot. When his dad started talking to him more that felt real good too. Chris wanted to be better at other things. Better suited. He wished someone had said, your hands are so big I bet you’d make a wonderful pianist. Nobody ever gets everything they want. That’s what you know going in. What you believe because it’s the one thing that hasn’t changed.

“If you have already completed” by Julia on the 99


Saturday May 14, 2016
5:39pm
5 minutes
The Canadian Census

So I walk on the bus and there’s a woman in a jean ball cap flipping through flyers and ripping out coupons. She’s sitting by the window, taking up two seats to do this and there’s nowhere for me to sit. So I say, very politely, excuse me may I sit there? And she grumbles to herself and then instead of moving her papers off the aisle seat, she moves herself over and makes me climb over her to get to the window. I’m already miffed, but then the bus jolts and I go flying into her flyers which makes her grumble even more. I make it a point not to say I’m sorry. If I don’t say anything I can’t say anything mean either, right? Then she moves herself to another seat near by, and she keeps clicking her tongue like she can’t believe “this person” and “this person” is clearly me, even though I’m just on my phone writing a grocery list for later. Then she moves herself again to a completely different seat, complaining to the woman beside her that I’m going to give her cancer for being on my phone near her!

“the days are not to slip emptily by” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday, January 19, 2016
4:57pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Vita Sackville-West

In the early morning when the sky is still dark and only the sounds of faint garbage trucks can be heard from my window, I am viewing the world with eyes made of satin and lace. It’s easy but distant, honest but soft. I love these moments where my mind speaks very little and my soul shifts between asleep and awake, alert and dreaming, alive and hopeful. I lay there in my silent body, noticing the still and focused mystery of dawn, the quiet whisper of newness and readiness joining hands to fuse energies from past and present. My heart is moved by the warmth of limbs thick on perfect fiber, like baby in blanket; like chocolate on tongue.

“what you can expect” by Julia on her couch


Monday, January 18, 2016
10:21pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

So my cousin had a baby and for some reason I think she’s my spirit animal.
I haven’t even met her but I have this feeling that we know each other already and that she’s going to want to hold onto my finger so tight.
I don’t know why I think this for this cousin and not the others. I don’t know how this new little baby girl and I will even spend time together now that we live on opposite sides of the country, but if my cousin will let me, I think I want to be her pen pal.
I want to write this girl a letter every day. She’s the only one who doesn’t know me at all. I could tell her all the things I wish I heard when I was growing up. I don’t know how I’d get these letters to her unopened, though. If I were my cousin I’d be reading each and every thing that comes in the mail addressed to my new born daughter. But what’s good, and that I may be forgetting, is that my cousin expects me to be a weirdo and maybe, without thinking too much about it, will let me correspond with his kid because on some level he knows she’d benefit from that.
I will start my “clean slate personal representation” letter the same way each time:
Hello, you are good, you are enough.
Those should be the first words she reads.

“Re posting it” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, January 17, 2016
9:55pm
5 minutes
from a text

There are a lot of young girls hanging out at the corner store with their ripped jeans and their big black eyeliner.
My mom thinks those are the girls I’ll want to hang out with so she gives me run around warnings like, “Beth, don’t take any shortcuts home from school.” Or, “Make sure you don’t walk with your face buried in your phone in case someone wants to steal it out of your hands and you don’t have the time to stop them.”
I guess she has a point or something. Better to pay attention.
I can tell she’s saying anything she can that doesn’t sound controlling or narrow minded about other people. She doesn’t want me to know that she knows what girls like that are like and only has her gut instincts as a barometer. There’s no proof, no real reason other than she’s deathly afraid of me getting hurt, or falling into the wrong crowd and changing all my core beliefs.
I can’t begin to talk to her about what’s going on in my life.
So I tell her, “I will not take shortcuts home from school.”

“there’s plenty for everyone to do.” by Sasha at the Loft in Portland


Sunday December 14
5:53pm
5 minutes
Eyewitness Travel London

When we find our way back to the cabin, we’re laughing.
We’re drunk on the highs and lows of love and winter.
When we sit in front of the roaring fire we make jokes about the times we were dumber.
“We weren’t dumb,” you say.
“We were free then,” you say.

You make stew with lamb and sweet potatoes.
I chop wood.
Snow starts to fall and comes down like a dusting of possibility.

The candles burn low.
I peel clementines and toss the rind on the fire.
We’re in Florida for a few minutes.
In the oranges groves of your grandfather’s farm.

“Power protects power” by Sasha at Higher Grounds


Saturday November 1, 2014 at Higher Grounds
4:12pm
5 minutes
From the program notes for Saint Joan at the Arts Club

I have a huge crush on Jay. Like, huge. I realize that I act like an idiot around him, laughing and blushing and pretending I don’t know things that I do know. I know a lot of things. My voice gets high and my cheeks get red and I almost can’t feel my toes when I’m around him. I can see myself, floating above, the real me, the one that has read the whole Young Adult section at the library, acting like a fucking bimbo idiot. I am ashamed of myself.

“Looking at those thin winter trees” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday February 23, 2014
8:22pm
5 minutes
Cairo Blues
Leif Vollebekk

I suppose I could have warned Pat about the ice on the roads cause I was fairly certain for a moment that it would have served as the proper amount of warning to dissuade him from coming up here. I could have told him the trees looked thinner than usual and he would’ve known what that meant. He would’ve understand that it wasn’t safe, that it wouldn’t be worth his time. I could have told him all of those things, and yet, knowing him, it wouldn’t have mattered. He’d see right through it. Right through me. Probably because he’d know that if it were too dangerous for him to come to me then it must be too dangerous for me to stay up here alone. I guess that’s what I love most about him. Even when I’m testing him without fully realizing it, he passes. He’s just so good natured he doesn’t really see these things I do as tests in the first place. He just sees them as things.