“I am not yours” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
10:54pm
5 minutes
I Am Not Yours
Z. Randall Stroope

I think I’m yours but I’m not yours.
I am mine. I am mine first and I forget
sometimes when you come into the room.

Maybe you don’t notice I stop
what I am doing and follow you around
to the blackberies and to the fridge.
I am not yours.
I was’t born attached to you. I did
that big thing all on my own (you know
what I mean. My mother is a saint and
the Lord blesseth her, Amen)
I can do what I am doing. I can love
you without wondering where I went.

“She actually cooks” By Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 16, 2018
12:16am
5 minutes
Overheard in the dining room

I read your poetry hoping to find a piece of me there
Maybe a big piece that cannot be mistakened for someone else
When I uncover the grave there is a body buried alive
barely breathing, but not dead yet
I weep at the beauty of those words–stiched together like a
quilt to leave hanging on the fraying loveseat
I find a way to see your heart in the hurt
And we are both bodies buried alive, barely breathing
but not dead yet
I have hooked up the tubes and wires and run you through
my veins delivering a kind of test to all my internal organs
It works
I am working
You can be my blood and I will keep pumping
pumping

“I’ll back my car up” by Julia at her desk

Friday, May 11, 2018
9:31pm
5 minutes
Catching the Westbound
Corvin Thomas

It was a nice time to drive then
you behind the wheel and me out the window tracking waterfalls
(There, another, did you see that one? On your left. I said on your left!)
I suppose I wasn’t doing any of the driving
too much fear built up over the years, too many MVA and physio
You never wanted to ride shot-gun, and I don’t think it’s because
you liked the sound of me narrating the outdoors to you, the roadside, the clouds
You liked the finger feeding, the tiny snack bites of cheese and olive
You liked choosing the music
You liked letting me sleep
And it was a good time with a car that was ours for the first trip of our lives
It was good after that with the duct tape holding up the under side of the car
(I call it that to this day because neither of us know much about automobiles, or whatever they’re calling them these days. Human carriers? Life holders? Vessels of transformation and transport?)
But soon after you were screaming your frustration into the pillow
Geeva had died again on the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
And we mourned her then: her and her licence plate namesake

“I call to ask my mother the name of the street” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 2, 2018
3:44pm
Flight
Idrissa Simmons

I want to remember everything from that house before it gets lost
The long staircase leading into the living room where I’d watch
my parents watch TV when I was supposed to be in bed
The upstairs bathroom with the black and white tiles that I would
count at night where my father took me so I wouldn’t wet the bed
The night my own bed became a flood and me, the punished rain, a sadness
The closet in my bedroom where I unzipped the front of my overalls to
show the blonde-haired boy something that he wanted that I didn’t know was mine
The lilac dining room that I would stand in watching the trees in the yard,
pretending they were alive and waiting for me
the telephone I used when I dared my first prank call on the operator and
the pulse of it when she called me back
I want to ask my mother if there are things I might be missing
the moment she knew I was made of her
the times she watched me sleep on the floor with my ponytail spilling over the pillow

“I can’t get rid of useful things” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday May 1, 2018
10:10am
Carpet Bomb
Kenyatta Rogers

Mama is a packrat and I’m her packrat baby
she likes to keep all the old papers and
documents just in case just in case
calls me on the phone and asks if I can let
it go to voicemail cause mama wants to leave
me a message that’s gonna make my day
When I listen back I hear her reading me the
old birthday card I made for my baby brother
and she can’t get through it without lauging
so I save the voicemail cause one day I’m
gonna play it on hers so she can listen
Mama liked to keep all kinds of containers
and now I keep all kinds of containers even
if the lids are missing or the bottoms are
warped and melted from accidentally being
put in the dishwasher or on the element
she has taught me so well and our houses
hold memories and everyting else inside

“Do everything as slowly as possible” by Julia at her desk

Friday, April 20, 2018
11:00pm
5 minutes
The Art of Aging
Sparrow

Get here later, take your time
ask the elderly man if he needs
to borrow your elbow while getting
off the plane
bring him to the luggage carousel
and wait for his bags to pop through
the shute so you can help him pull
them off
Be the kindness that I know
Be the patient peace
Let the family of five go ahead
of you in line for the taxi
do not ask your driver to put a
rush on the ride home
Lover, I will be waiting for
your arrival with all the
bounty and welcoming of a midday
reunion
I will kiss you like time is
not the enemy
I will be close to sleep but
being closer to you will keep
me rested until we are in each
other’s arms
Stop for french fries if you’re
hungry and bring your bags up
one by one
Do not worry about the clock now
I will be here when you get here

“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

“sometimes a pencil is an octopus” by Julia on her couch

Sunday February 11, 2018
10:11pm
5 minutes
Octopus vs. Pencil
Philip A. Miletic

Sometimes you know the answer and sometimes you don’t. You don’t know because no one knows and you know because everyone knows. It’s an exact science you can rely on. It’s called Life and everyone knows it because it happens to everyone. Sometimes a theory is a sword. Sometimes an accusation is a law.
Sometimes a lie is a punishment.
Sometimes a lie doesn’t know it’s being lied. But this scientific thing, this thing that everyone knows, called Life, is hard to prove because everyone who knows it knows it in their own scent. It’s a thing everyone knows but it’s a thing no two people know the same way.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is dinner.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is breakfast.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is punishment.
Sometimes a punishment is self generated.
Sometimes the body is trying to protect itself.

“it was a god that acted through me.” By Julia at her desk


Sunday August 27, 2017
12:02pm
5 minutes
Disgrace
J.M. Coetzee


I found a home on a shape shifting cloud
hung up my dreams
put away my human skin
You could say that this one is mine now
here all the time
even the angels know my name
When I look down I can see it all
The places I used to burrow into my own flesh
trying to find a tunnel to an alternate reality
the shops I stole from
Candy, jackets, a single tampon
the secret leafy groves where I asked for forgiveness

And without warning I was shooting upward
my body buoyed by the possibility of knowing something sweet

“intimate questions” by Julia on C’s couch


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

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

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


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


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

“I lied all the time” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 11, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Louis C.K
Sunbeams of The Sun (May 2017 issue)


five years old, Nonna visits,
leaves her face creams tubed in the upstairs bathroom
curious, five years old, sneaks into the upstairs bathroom
counts the black tile, counts the white,
opens the cream, smears it on, five years old,
closes it, runs away to pretend that nothing is out of the ordinary
mother, thirty-five years old, yells at all of us
because one of us, five years old, left the tubes partially open
Nonna wants to know who would, since she wouldn’t
five years old wants to blame it on the upstairs bathroom ghost
thirty-five years old asks flame on lips for the last time,
shoots missile from eyes, no prisoners
five years old, scared, ashamed, caught, decides to lie
blames it on the upstairs bathroom ghost,
learns guilt, confesses
one hour later

“they fought amongst themselves” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday May 10, 2017
9:42pm
5 minutes
True Confessions Of Adrian Albert Mole
Sue Townsend


It took a long time for us to go back and visit
the pussy willow tree overgrowing the back deck
so much they chopped it down in all the impulsive
places
the gold stars sponge painted on the downstairs bathroom walls
the office converted into a nursery
the playroom now belonging to the boy who once
convinced me to show him my orange star underwear
They smiled sweetly at us like they weren’t responsible
for making us move to a better town filled with
worse people
they never apologized for the pussy willow tree
or the black berry bush
or the playroom
they volly whispers back and forth
about asking us if we’d like something to eat,
a danish or a banana

“What is rooted” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday May 9, 2017
11:02pm
5 minutes
Tao Te Ching
Translated by Stephen Mitchell


somewhere between a beautiful conversation and
a shot-to-the-heart epiphany
you are unfolding to me
beneath a hot cloud
I am here too and I am on fire
and you are coming undone

It is now and maybe only
now that I do not feel sorry for
myself for feeling
so much
Your face betrays your every kindness
and this is what trusting feels like
this is the circle that happiness draws

when we dance into peace offerings with wobbly knees
we do not know this hard wood floor
but these walls have seen us try

“it would be like not listening at all” by Sasha at Simit and Chai Co.


Friday July 8, 2016 at Simit & Chai
5:15pm
5 minutes
When I Am King, Dilly Dilly
Don Cummer


lotsa hurt
this week mornings with
bowling ball lumps in dry hot
throat mornings spent
scrolling tears
streaming feet
tingling
what can i do what can i do what can i
can i do
can i
can’t i
ally alley ally
i want to choke
the fear and
ignorance
mine
yours
i am sorry for my
race and our horrible
terrible empty
fear
fear
fear grips a gun
tight like a baby
the baby watching
in her carseat
the father reaching
for a license
for a license to drive
license to shoot
license to bleed
license to break
we are breaking
we are broken
broken down
broken up and open
broken open

“your comfort and ours” by Julia at the pastry shop on Davie


Saturday April 9, 2016
2:31pm
5 minutes
from an email

Sylvia stays over for a night puts her feet up on the coffee table cooks with Remi’s fresh herbs and his signature sauces drinks my wine and dusts my curtains sleeps in late forgets to hang the bath mat over the edge of the tub stays up late talks on the phone to her psychic friend hangs my photos irons my shirts tells Remi that she’s menstruating tells Remi how to tell me he loves me in sign language listens to me cry about my mother’s surgery holds my hand when I lie about hating my new dance class sleeps over again stays for a week and then another.

“authentic salt” by Julia at her dining table


Friday, April 8, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
from the Real Salt shaker

I’ve been digging for the salt of the earth
Salt of my mother’s womb
Salt of rebirth
Where did all the good go?
The salty salty good go?
I know where to look but how deep do I go?
How far below?
Can I borrow some then give it back?
When I need a snack?
When I need to bleed the earth’s tears?
I don’t need a lot I just want a taste
To remind me of what I lost
To remind me of what I need inside and what’s worth risking
I promise I’ll return it
Along with my first born and first song
All the stuff worth trading for
Give me that diamond salt sparkling light
Give me that freedom first that cause for thirst
Digging for the true salt of the earth

“poetry got a mainstream reputation” by Julia on Michael’s old bed


Monday, December 28, 2015
10:11pm
5 minutes
LENNY letter no. 14

Gabriela is my mother’s first cousin but she was disowned by the family in 1977 because she was “spreading the lies of the devil through her evil written word.” My mother only mentions Gabriela by accident when I ask her if we have any writers in the family. I ask because my son, Warren, is working on his family tree for school and has to answer a bunch of questions about the jobs his relatives have had. My mother tells me by accident that Gabriela used to write poetry about things people were too afraid to talk about. In one she remembers well, Gabriela wrote a line that said “The Church is lying in the Church. The Church is hiding in the Church. We do not know what we refuse to see.”
“So, she was a poet?” I ask my mother.
“No,” she tells me, “She was a sinner.”

“Just go in the direction where there is no direction” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday May 26, 2015
11:57am
5 minutes
Forbidden Rumi
Tr. By Nevit O. Ergin and Will Johnson


Like the wind, she speaks, she says
Oooh ooh, yes, yes
Calmly without rushing
No goal exists but to breathe in
every single moment
she whispers through my hair
Hums a day song worth remembering
Oooh ooh, yes, yes
And they say go where the wind blows you
And they say if you’re moved travel alongside her
I don’t know where she’s taking me
But I feel cradled in her billowy arms
And I feel welcomed by her carefree smile
Shhh shh, yes, yes
She reminds me to take time
She reminds me to inhale
and stop worrying
and exhale
and stop worrying
Shhh shh, yes, yes
I’m here for you until you get to where you’re going
Don’t run…
Glide
Don’t push…
Float
And the air is changed beneath me
And the air is changed right through me

“Titus and Louise” by Sasha at Great Dane Coffee


Thursday February 12, 2015 at Great Dane Coffee
2:50pm
5 minutes
a storefront window on Dupont St.

Michael died on Tuesday
I only met him once
Two summers ago
Walking across Langavin Bridge
Still thinking about his performance
His words
His spooked character
Abducted by aliens

I can’t shake the sadness
A coal of grief in my throat
I keep re-reading the article
in the Globe and Mail
A strange comfort in the facts
The newsprint

A pile-up on the Saskatchewan highway
A snow storm
A car with three others
Artists and activists
All of them killed

The coffee bubbles on the stove
The trees are starting to blossom
in Vancouver
All across the country
Other coals of grief burn
Brighter
Lighter
A crow calls
I look

“Flatten the dough into a disk” by Sasha in front of the fire


Saturday February 7, 2015
8:00pm
5 minutes
http://www.happyolks.com/

Lets lower the likes and lessen the filters
Let’s flatten the dough into a disk and throw it in the hottest oven
Let’s form a choir that only performs in Senior’s Homes
Let’s take that choir to the tiniest villages and ask if anyone wants to join
Let’s adopt a brother
Let’s drive a car up a mountain and get out and have a picnic that doesn’t involve nuts and does involve double cream brie
Let’s have a shot of tequila at the bar down the street in our pyjamas
Let’s make a movie for no one but ourselves and if anyone wants to watch it let’s let them
Let’s make a record and only release it on vinyl
Let’s screw the Internet
Let’s pickle peaches and pomegranate seeds and pumpernickel bread
Let’s wear shoes until they’ve stepped on every crack and every brick and every grain of sand
Let’s not leave the house when it rains and let’s make a pot of tea so big we could fit in it
Let’s wear the brightest lipstick and tell no one where we got it
Let’s have sex with the Internet and dominate it in the most gentle way
Let’s be wolves in the woods who howl at the moon whether it’s full or waxing or waning

“we were never meant to be admired” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday February 5, 2015
5:13pm
5 minutes
Stranger in a Strange Land
Robert A. Heinlein


There she is
All round wisdom
He was inside of her
Eight hundred years ago
It aches in my though
Still
It’s funny how the gut knows
The gut always knows
She’s good at what she does
She shakes my hand like it matters
I almost feel badly
She has no idea
She thinks I’m just another wordworker
There’s more light where she’s standing
In the know is out of the yes
I taste her poetry
Like he tasted
I lean my head in my hands
It’s heavy
It’s all heavy
She twists her lock
She fills the space with her-
self
Ourselves
We are
We are one
We are one womb-
an
Woman
Womb and
Heart
We are all the same
Her inside is my inside
We’re all outside
Anyway

“300 pages” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday January 8, 2014
1:24am
5 minutes
from the cover of an old notebook

wrote you a letter explaining my love
i used words and pictures so you would understand
thought i was being clear and concise
i have a habit for confusing beautiful things
it had symbols and references
metaphors and similes
song lyrics and abstract drawings
it was over 300 pages long
it was over 4 years of patience waning and devotion
it was full of perfectly crafted images to indicate my feelings
the words written slowly so you could read them with ease
and the same things kept repeating over and over
the things about forever
the things about honesty
the things about forgiveness
the things about grass watering
and moon bathing
the kind of love poets have trouble describing
mostly because they fear that words will only taint it

“my oblivious affinity for pies” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Friday November 29, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
2:12pm
5 minutes
www.localmilkblog.com

I’m looking for a poet to lend my heart to. I know he’ll be gentle with it, describe its core and pulp and colour. I know he will grieve it, believe it, and leave it. I know he will put feathers around it in a cage and display it. I know he will plant flowers in the garden just so it has something to look at. I’m looking for a poet, other artists need not apply. A poet would fear it, treat it with the power of a thousand suns, and try, on occasion, to butter it with compliments and attempt to eat it. I know he’ll treat it as his own, knowing the pain that comes with it if given without an instruction manual. How could I let it touch the hands of any other man? How could I rest easy if I gave it to someone else, when the poet would love it too much to ever hate it? How could I send my heart up the stairs of its bomb shelter and into direct line of fire, or nuclear attacks, or toxic air, knowing full well it would die on impact?