“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” By Julia on the 99

Sunday July 7, 2019
5:06pm
5 minutes
Philippians 4:13

I can ask for what I’m worth
I can believe in what I’m worth
impact
impact
remember how I’ve changed
changed the energy in the room
changed the room
impact
after the fact
during, before
I’m doing what I came here for
connect to the guts
connect to the love
lead heart first and
fall at the feet of a
stranger saying
you are enough
you are more
and I am you too
I am the same
the might is gold
the light is green
I’m ths dreamiest motherfucker you’ve
ever seen
I’m the way things were
but not the way they used
to be
and I’ve got packets of
promise and hope for free
I can believe that I am good
I can ask for what I need
I can push boundaries I’ve set up if they’re no longer serving me
I’m the anthem I sing
I’m the naked floor dance
let them know I own
every last steady stance

“The room is dingy” by Julia on her couch

Sunday April 7, 2019
8:49pm
5 minutes
When She Leaves Me
James Wyatt, JR.

They sat there on the curb
him, in his own piss, her holding blood. Where could they go at this desperate in the morning. He shivers.

“If we go back now, we’re fucked”

“Nobody is going back. Nobody is even talking about it, do you hear me? “

“I said ‘if.’ To remind us that we could go back and we’re not.”

“I can’t do this by myself.”

“I’m not going. “

She pushes open the door to the room. It stays open, falls off the track.

“Nice”

“Throw your bag over to keep it shut.”
She coughs.
“We’re fucked.”

“survive and maybe be heroic.” By Sasha at the Airbnb

Sunday September 23, 2018
11:43pm
5 minutes
Loud, Unpleasant Noises
Norbert Ruebsaat

Today is the day
one year ago this one
that we stood
surrounded from all
circular curves
in grass and with
the whippoorwills
with the cumulous
and the grandparents
Today is the day
we promised love
and patience and
not to take things
personally I’m still
working on that one
slowly slowly slowly
We said we would do
our best and we have
and we are and that
one is almost always
true even when it
doesn’t feel like it
Today is the day
that we passed rings
down the spiral
sang an ancient song
as we did every cupped
hand charging them up
for the times when we
just can’t bear the truth
or we can but we aren’t
exactly sure how

“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

“you can work on in your backyard” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday March 23, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
viralnova.com

Mom calls me from the subway and her phone keeps cutting out because she’s standing on the steps half deciding whether or not to hang up or go and catch her damn train. She calls me back every time and I can’t get any work done or any listening done because we manage to sneak in one or two conjunctions and then there’s static. She’s scared of going to the doctor because she’s convinced they’re going to tell her she’s dying. She’s afraid of cancer. She has no visible symptoms. She is just afraid so she made the appointment. She’s not saying any of this. She’s talking about aunt Rene’s cockatiel and how the Chinese garlic situation has fucked with her tomato sauce. I want to tell her to go and to listen to them tell her that she’s fine but I can’t actually promise anything of the sort. I picture her attached to the subway stairs for hours, clinging in between the knowing and the unknowing of every single thing on this planet. I picture how she feels when she decides the reason she can’t get herself to go is because her only kid is too busy not reading in between her lines to go and be there for her. I put on my shoes.

“A hundred tourists are caught” by Julia on Jess and Rick’s couch


Friday, January 1, 2016
12:35am
5 minutes
Coda, Etcetera
Amber Tamblyn


I am mad because I told myself that tonight I would sleep and even if I didn’t mean it, at least I would try.
I am no where close to sleep. I am not in a bed, my teeth are not brushed, my mind is not quiet, and my eyes are not closed.
I am mad.
Because I broke a promise to my immune system.
Because I broke a promise to my morning self who has to get up early.
Because I couldn’t manage the day in all the time that was allotted so I pushed it hard into tomorrow and am now trying to justify that sometimes this kind of sneaky maneuver is necessary.
I wonder if this is what the mind of a traveler always looks like.
I wonder if the brain of a tourist is mushed up and confused by all the maps, the plans, the routes, the tricks, the lists, the food, the uncomfortable beds.
I am caught here in my inbetween and don’t know if I should kill one half to let the other be born or forget about divisive lines and hurry up and create something already.

“Bowl of acceptance” by Julia in the guest suite


Thursday, December 31, 2015
5:31am
5 minutes
Overheard in the Living Room

Honouring our mother we stare deep into our blood with a little wink and a hug saying “we can only go forward now.” Your heart rests just above mine like it was designed to. You came first, you reached up to the sky where you saw endless possibilities and I reached up to you because I believed you were as high as I needed to go. Now we lead each other, honouring our mother, giving her the gift we refused to when we were young.
“Please don’t fight.” “Why can’t you two be kind to each other?” “Tell me, do you treat your friends this way?”
We didn’t know it at the time that we weren’t treating each other like anything but ourselves and we both had a lot of figuring out to do. We threw self-blame and self-hate and self-wondering because we were each other’s mirror and we saw ourselves reflected back through shades of green in a way we couldn’t understand.
I let your heart shift around on mine to find its spot. I keep you there like a stamp of time and a promise of forever.

“She was in a pure state,” by Julia at Jess and Rick’s kitchen table


Saturday, April 17, 2015
9:11pm
5 minutes
100 Essays I Don’t Have Time To Write
Sarah Ruhl


she stared out the window regretting all the missed moments
the missed targets
the missed connections
where did they all go?
did they find a home inside someone else’s heart?
she watched as the water swooshed up onto the beach
washing away the seconds that were there before
purifying the spot where sadness and helplessness like to procreate
she stared out the window
thankful for all of nature’s help
cleansing the pallet and offering up a blank space
for her to scrawl the initials of a life painting worthy of a name
I’m sorry
she hummed to the nothingness
I’m finished with that one
she whispered to the nobodys
I’m better now
she believed to the quiet
I’m making room for the good
she promised to the sunset

“You saw her bathing on the roof” by Julia in her childhood bedroom


Sunday March 1, 2015
11:56pm
5 minutes
Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen


I’ve seen all your parts
Tarnished and familiar
Bruised from being too sensitive
And taking a world’s beating
You glow sometimes
under the proper light
When the pain is dimmed down low
And you feel safe in you skin
When you trust yourself enough
To thank your demons for their good fight
And to put a stop
to any future breakage
I’ve seen all your parts
Bathing in the haze of the moon
Your heart creaks
when it’s been walked over
That’s how you recognize the enemy
That’s how you know when to rebuild the wall
And the faint memory of it cracking
Keeps you far away from me
Even though I’m here to hold you
Even though I’m here to hold you

“shouting and laughing and throwing dirt” by Julia at the Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library


Thursday February 26, 2015 at the Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library
4:01pm
5 minutes
My Immortal Promise
Jen Holling


We had found ourselves in a ditch off the 39, laying on our backs facing the sky. About an hour had past and nobody had come looking for us so we did what anyone would do: We got married. We made a promise to each other, etched our signatures in the dirt and that was that. We kissed to seal the deal, me worrying about what my mother would say, her worrying about what my mother would say. We knew it wasn’t a recognized union, but to us it was something more than that–It was a symbolic moment of truth. After years of laughing and crying our way through any hardship, we knew that ours was a love worth continuously working for. After all, at the end of the day we only have two things: our best selves, and the person we choose to see us when we’re not.

“gals give some sneaky hints” by Julia on the 47 going north


Tuesday February 24, 2015
6:35pm
5 minutes
blog.muchmusic.com

Don’t want to give you any false raised hope, but there will be a surprise tonight that is going to blow your mind. I promised Angela I wouldn’t say what was going down, but it’s your freaking birthday, dude, it’s not like you don’t expect some wicked cool event to happen in your complete and perfect honour. I pinky swore your girlfriend that I would keep all details of this extravagant celebratory secret to myself. But I thought about it, and I was like, dude needs to know what to wear, you know, how is he supposed to dress himself without a dress code! What is this, New Years? No. Not even close. That phrase doesn’t really work here, cause I actually stole it from my ex-boyfriend who used to say it all the time, and the way he did it was so funny, so I was trying to be funny. Anyway, he also hated surprises. Or, no, he hated when surprises got ruined. And, yeah, the reaction to the “SURPRISE!!!!!” Is really only as good as the secret kept, but I still maintain that you would be happier walking into your favourite place, with all your favourite people, knowing that it was happening, so you could fill your face with honest gratitude and appreciation. You’re welcome, dude!

“Pain has been described as a gift” by Julia at her desk


Monday February 23, 2015
3:06pm
5 minutes
alive magazine
February 2015


I’ll be there when you need somebody
Hold you close when your heart’s been hiding
I will tell you what is inside my bones
Until you feel safe again again
I’ll be near when your strength is over
Pick up the pieces of your broken soul
I will sing to you until you sleep easy
But what do I do when you don’t come to me
Can I sit alone and wait for peace to be
You don’t always want something that you can see
You think you’ve got it covered
But that’s when I believe
You need me
I’ll reach out even when it’s lonely
On the edge of me waiting hoping
I will stay here all night if I have to
Do it again the next until you feel moved to
let it go and build a home again again
Don’t worry I won’t give up
Don’t worry I won’t let it hurt you anymore

“Feathers and flowers” by Julia on her parents’ couch


Friday January 16, 2015
5:19pm
5 minutes
from a 2015 calendar

He got me a necklace with a feather on it. It was really pretty and made my eyes stand out. That was the first thing he ever bought me like that. I remember him saying once that he just wanted to spoil me but not with gifts or clothes or jewelry…But with touching and love and food and laughter. Probably because he really wouldn’t know where to start if he were buying me jewelry. And it made me happy to know that he knew me enough to give me what I needed and not what he thought I wanted. The feather necklace was beautiful because I was never expecting him to gift me something tangible in the form of something beautiful. My expectations for love are high. He promised me that. Now I want it forever.

“Try and make a few local friends” by Julia on her couch


Monday August 18, 2014
1:03am
5 minutes
girlinflorence.com

My motha, she calls me in the middle of the night. She tells me, Keltie, don’t be that girl. I am not that girl, whatever girl she thinks I am, so I say, motha, please, don’t lump me into that group, for the love of christ. She says, Keltie, I don’t want you to be one of those loser girls who sits on her computer all day checking e-mails and how to blogs about growing vegetables indoors but doesn’t actually buy the seeds to do it. I have to take a moment to think about that one, but she doesn’t stop talking. You know, Keltie, you’ve got to be ahead of the crowd and ahead of yourself. Don’t try and hide behind your looks because you’re not fooling anyone and one day someone other than me is going to expect you to actually do something. I’m sitting up in my bed chugging a glass of day old water, trying to watch the tiny fuzz particles as they hid my teeth. I’m staring at the mirror. I’m plucking out stray hairs on inner thigh, fucking Carla forgot to get those white ones we talked about. Yes, uh-huh, I’m still here, I tell her, but she’s hardly even listening. You want to be one of those sad girls who doesn’t make any friends? Keltie? Promise me you’re going to get drunk at least once so you have the confidence to talk to someone other than your vagina. Ma! My vagina? What fresh hell is this conversation right now? She doesn’t answer for the first time. Promise me, Keltie.

“You mustn’t lose it.” By Julia on Hugo Street


Tuesday August 12, 2014
4:49pm
5 minutes
a quote from Robin Williams

He said it matter-of-factly as he gripped his miniature hand over my closed fist. This was a gift from a tiny god and I was being entrusted with it. He made sure I was looking him in the eyes when I promised him I would keep it safe. And never give it to any one else? Of course not. And never drop it on the ground that doesn’t have carpet? Never ever. And never forget where you last put it? Not on my life. And with that he scampered off getting distracted by the grass that he in that moment just had to bend down to dig up. I watched him playing in the earth with my fist still tightly closed. The magic of this gift was fuelling me from my hands and seeping into my bones trough my troubled skin. He didn’t even say what it was. I suppose he didn’t have to. I had believed in the importance of it by virtue of his stern instructions. He didn’t make me promise not to open it until he was gone. I didn’t have to open it to know that it was ours.

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


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

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

“I loved my father” by Julia at her kitchen table


Friday March 7, 2014
10:38pm
5 minutes
Black Elk Speaks
John G. Neihardt


Once he held me in the palm of his hand, said shh shh little sweetie, shh shh my little one, and he sang to me when no one was listening, the songs his father used to sing to him, and he held me there just gazing at the top of my sleeping head, dreaming of the future angel fuzz that he hoped I would get from him, and he stayed in one spot scared to move even an inch, because the smell of my skin made him happy, and he knew if I woke I would want to go to someone else instead.
Once he held me in his lap while I wept crocodile tears, told me he wouldn’t touch the splinter dug deep into my heel, promised he wouldn’t because he knew it would hurt very deeply, and because he knew when he promised I would trust him with no strings attached, then when no one was around, he hummed our favourite song, and pulled the splinter out, saying shh shh little sweetie, shh shh my little one, no more pain for you tonight, no more pain if I’m around.

TJ & Sam by Julia at the these five minutes: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday February 2, 2014 at The Fringe Creation Lab
1:03pm
5 minutes
these five minutes: writer’s workout

They were brothers–not really–well, really, but not really. Not blood. Just blood brothers in expression–when you open up an old paper cut, or scratch a patch of skin back to make it bleed–rub your wounds into each other’s and promise something of yourselves to the other. For example: I’ll always be there for you, man. Or: No matter what, bro, no matter what.
It feels like when two dudes do this kind of thing they also automatically repeat key phrases like the MSP on a triple A baseball team…Atta boy, atta boy.
It’s nice.
TJ and Sam were like that–only contrary to common belief, they didn’t say anything when their blood was mixing together. They both closed their eyes and just felt it. TJ and Sam had that kind of bond where they could sit in an open space with their blood dancing–with another guy’s blood, and feel a connection without having to say “No homo” just to ease the silence, the magic. They gave it its space–they gave their blood a minute before they said a single thing.

“Last Goodbye” by Julia at Ossington station


Wednesday December 18, 2013
6:27pm
5 minutes
from the Charles Bradley record

I told him with my eyes and my gentle kiss, blown into the wind so it would follow him home. He heard nothing was expected of him. People can’t hear eye love or wind kisses. It was stupid of me to think he would. When he didn’t turn around, it ruined me for a while. Long enough to break, find the prices, and put them back together again. They were a little jagged and a little mismatched like a puzzle put together by an impatient person, or a cheater. Someone who cuts the edges so they fit the way they “should”. I examined them in the brief moment of loneliness I was in and I decided then and there to give away my poems to the homeless and my romanticism to the food bank. Surely they would need them more than I did. Surely someone in their lives would have a place for misguided ideals and hopes beyond reasonable doubt.

“once” by Julia on the 506 going west


Wednesday December 11, 2013
7:51pm
5 minutes
from a poster for Once The Musical

Once she lied
He forgave her
Kisses on top of her head
And everything
She said she was sorry
And she meant it
Nothing made her feel worse
He said shh shh and held her close
Her eyes glassy
Her mouth dry
It’s not over it’s not over
He soothed her
Holding her heart in a velvet pouch
So she wouldn’t try to hurt it even more
She eventually forgave herself
He never stopped loving her
She would slip sometimes
Bringing up the past because it was eating at her
Shh shh he’d say to her
This is not then, it’s now
She would test him
Without even knowing it
Making him feel bad for things
That he couldn’t understand
And he loved her anyway
He came home after bitter fights
He wrote her love notes
Hiding them in her coat pockets
And on the bathroom mirror
So she’d know
And so she’d believe
That when he said he would always want her
He meant it

“find the light” by Julia at Apollo Studios


Sunday May 5, 2013 at Apollo Studios
5:50pm
5 minutes
from the Voice Over Survivor script book

Oh let there be a shining sign,
A heart to hold, a hand on mine, for days to come, and down the line,
Oh let there be a shining sign.

Amelia stood in her kitchen fixing
tomato salad and nondescript beans. She swayed back and forth with an easiness about her she hadn’t recognized since her youth. Shawna would be home soon from the market with her fresh basil and Amelia had plans to ask her about the people there. Amelia hadn’t left her house in just shy of a month. Losing the baby was hard for her, as it would be, but she made a promise to Shawna and Valerie that she’d still be around if the two of them needed her. She was trying to hide the sadness when they came over, especially together. Valerie was too young to understand what was happening to her sister and Shawna was the type who just didn’t care much about anything that didn’t involve her.

“When we came downstairs at 1 AM” by Julia at her desk


Thursday, April 18, 2013
11:43pm
5 minutes
In The Hills
Josh Weil


we are looking for a good man to play us a good song. we want to dance and we want to dance out loud. we want this man to spin us a record, a vinyl, a historical moment. we won’t be able to pay him. we don’t have any money. we come in and out of rooms like ghosts trying to cross over. we fail. the light is bright where we bring it. where is this man? the one who plays the music of our souls, connecting, lamenting, refusing to compromise. does he work at a tiny fish booth in Little Italy? does he have blonde highlights in his hair and a green ring around his pinky finger from a bad metal ring? he knows what we want. we know he does. we told him in our whispered dreams last may that we were going to need this in a year. it’s almost time. we don’t have much else in the way of options. we had our hearts set on the good man playing us a good song. we waited, even. for a year minus 15 days. we thought he’d bring the fish sandwiches to us, play the song, and smile with his eyes closed as we dance a promise out in big block letters that read J-O-Y.

“In all times and all countries,” by Julia at her kitchen table

Monday, April 8, 2013
5:32pm
5 minutes
The Three Muskateers
Alexandre Dumas


Someone’s laughing
Someone’s crying
Someone’s holding someone’s hand
Someone’s being born
Someone’s dying
Someone’s asking for help
Someone’s waiting to speak
Someone’s getting dressed
Someone’s answering a phone
Someone’s accusing someone
Someone’s celebrating something
Someone’s killing something…small…and with antennae
Someone’s swearing
Someone’s promising
Someone’s lying
Someone’s hoping
Someone’s yelling
Someone’s sleeping
Someone’s listening
Someone’s writing
Someone’s eating
Someone’s making lists
Someone’s remembering
Someone’s forgetting
Someone’s falling in love
Someone’s drinking
Someone’s needing forgiveness
Someone’s playing the whole day back in their minds
Someone’s creating

“and not mercy” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday February 20, 2013 at Starbucks
4:29pm
5 minutes
Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare


And not mercy, that’s not what I want. If you have it to give, fine, that’s one thing. But I will not ask for it. I will not beg. I don’t do things like that. I never have. I never will.
I woke up one cold morning and blamed the snow for cooling my skin. I had left the window open. Did I not invite it in? I did. I did. I realized then I was to blame for the misfortunes, the misguided ideas.
I offered once, to the man of my dreams, please take half of this shortbread. Take half and I will have the other. He forgot it and left the whole thing on the counter. I ate it all. I felt bad. Why? Did I not invite the guilt? That was one half that I had already offered up. How dare I pretend not to notice my promise?
That is why. That is why the mercy may come, but not if I request it. I do not deserve it. I do not want it if it comes falsely, if it comes because I can’t stand being in a room by myself surrounded by mirrors.
My skin, chilled from watching snow flakes hit it, my soul, ridden with the guilt that I burned in it myself. I am a mosaic of mistakes and regret and unfortunate decisions. I wasn’t thinking of anyone but myself.
Pain will come to those who cross their fingers tightly and wish and wish and wish for it.

“I feel your trace on my skin” by Julia at Pyrus Cafe


Sunday, December 23, 2012 at Pyrus Cafe
3:24pm
5 minutes
Your Body My Earth
Beth Murch


like a tattoo of i love you, i find myself remembering the beautiful laugh lines, the midnight escape lines, covered in cookie crumbles, covered in a deep baked pie crust.
you’re everywhere.
did you know how good your skin feels?
How could you know?
i want to trace the lies and years of bad decisions in the flesh of your hope, the window of your mind. i want the lies because they are you. the truth is nothing and never will be. truth is easy enough. like a cold night where your legs entangle mine, when you’re sleeping before me. so even when i’ve shed the day, shed my fears, my clothes, i stay warm from the heat of you. from the tattoo, crochet lines of i love you on your skin, imprinting themselves on mine.
permanence never felt so good. you are the infinite lines of everything i’ve always always wanted.
you know before i can tell you.
you’re the sky scape passing by me on a grey hound bus, the ever-present hum of the motor and the wheels.
The thing that keeps me up at night because feeling you when i’m awake is nothing short of your promise.

“The sheriff nodded.” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday, November 25, 2012
9:49pm
5 minutes
A Lesson Before Dying
Ernest J. Gaines


I wasn’t going anywhere without Lucy. I would be damned if they locked me up this very moment and I had to watch her watch me get taken in. I knew damn well that Lucy wasn’t going to be coming with me. And suddenly I realized: I couldn’t go either. I was stuck to that girl like glue, you understand. Her freckles, her smile. I was lost in her baby blues the first time I laid eyes on her. She was shivering in the cold, wet from the rain, and alone. And I picked up that perfect little girl, with the coat off of my own back, and I cradled her there. Remember singing to her until she fell asleep, poor thing. Couldn’t stop shaking until she was dreaming. I wanted her to know I was there, and that I wasn’t going no place else because we had developed a perfect bond, you see. I never wanted children. Not in my whole life. I wanted a dog, maybe a cat if I got too lonely, but never ever a kid. Then that day, her tiny body sitting in a pothole on the road? You think I’m going to turn my back on her? Absolutely impossible. Some sorry excuse for a human being left her there on purpose. Couldn’t care for her. Well I couldn’t either, but that didn’t stop me, you see what I mean. I was going to keep this girl alive if it were the last thing I did.
I didn’t want to explain that whole story to the sheriff. Something about his smirk told me he wouldn’t understand. Or if he would, I knew he just wouldn’t believe me.