“an overdose, the fire hall repainted red.” By Julia at her desk

Monday August 5, 2019
5:59pm
5 minutes
Orography
Alison Braid

It’s never as bad as it feels in the brain
Until the day that it is worse
And expectations of forever look like this:
Swollen eyes and spine shriveled
Everything pointing toward the floor
Oh Lord, is there anything lower?
The clock ticking bruises
The warning signs begin to dart around
as if they had been there the whole time
As if it were you alone responsible for the knowing
I do not give you anything that sounds like blame
You did not deserve this
You did not miss the signal

I have wanted to take back what I said because
I am angry now more than ever for you and I don’t
know how to be that when you might not need that
But it’s true and it is constant and
I want to go to battle for you
I am ready
I will bring my tiny-hearted arrows and I will
launch them at whatever target you give order to hit
I will hit each one because I have spent my life
practicing my aim and my arm is steady
You do not need to walk this alone even in the
moments after you think you have asked for too much

When the Phoenix rises from the ashes she takes
all of her sisters with her and forms a flock
of fire born sky-dwellers who can see as far
as this world may reach

“Alabama” by Julia at J and R’s kitchen table

Thursday May 16, 2019
7:17pm
5 minutes
http://www.thecut.com

I don’t know what to say. I screamed already. In the presence of my 7-month
old nephew. I didn’t realize until it was too late. I think I scared him.
We’re all scared. To think of a child having to go through more than she
already had forced upon her. This world. Why are we sliding backward? Why
is science and medicine and knowledge progressing and the only thing staying
the same, stubborn, stuck in the mud, is the law.
Alabama. Goddamn.
Heaven forbid our girls get their periods young. Heaven forbid our girls
find an adult worth trusting and who won’t expose their tiny human hearts
to a pack of wolverines, hungry from tasting all the blood they’ve already bled.
We are not moving toward the future with expansion. We are not moving at all.

I don’t know what to say.

“you should have asked me nicely” by Julia on the 4

Monday September 24, 2018
7:22pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 4 bus

A fallen chestnut narrowly misses the baby’s head I am in charge of protecgjng.
It comes directly after thinking how if a chestnut fell it would gash a chunk out of her head. Good thing that won’t happen. As if mother’s aren’t pushing their babies down chestnut tree lined streets. When it falls and bounces off the rim of the stroller instead of her it feels the way stopping an inch short of getting shat on buy a pigeon toremnting in the rafters feels.
All luck and karma and universal flow rolled up into a warning.

“Angel texted” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday July 4, 2018
12:26pm
5 minutes
V.I.P. Tutoring
Vanessa Hua

Angel texted, told me to look where I was going and to read while sitting down. It made sense. The text was very much related to a thing I was about to do carelessly. It came right on time.
Angel is always watching over me. I think she thinks she has to. She thinks she has to cause her name tells her she should. I tend to listen to what Angel has to say. If she tells me to wait until the next morning to make a hard decision, I listen. Angel knows how to get me right in the soft. She sent me an e-mail yesterday after waking up at the crack of dawn. She said the sky was “milk-blue” and it melted me. I love when milk is used to describe things, like the sky. I picture Angel knowing more about the sky than anywhere else. Maybe I think she’s from there and her name was given because her mother was a clairvoyant and there’s magic and stardust in her smile. I might name my kid Sunshine so she brightens up people wherever she goes and everyone thinks she’s ‘of the sun’ because her name makes them believe. I could name her Honesty so people are reminded to look inward. But that might be too heavy a burden to carry. What if there is shame? What if she reminds people they have lived in this life with secrets? Maybe she’d remind everyone that we have all lives our lives with secrets.

“Can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.” By Julia on her couch

Friday December 15, 2017
11:39pm
5 minutes
Calvin and Hobbes
Bill Watterson

In the night when I’m dreaming of saving you or someone else I love

I can see all the feelings I’m experiencing. I can hold them. Touch them. I can’t tell if some things are very funny or very scary. There are images in dreams and I can see both versions clearly, as if they’re showing off. Screaming, laughing, tell your neighbour how much more unstable she is than you. I am busy holding my feelings in my elbow crease. Deep down In the cuticles creeping up onto my toenails.

“Well, I have my rights, sir” by Julia at Matchstick Coffee Roasters


Monday October 26, 2015 at Matchstick Coffee Roasters
10:02am
5 minutes
The Lorax
Dr. Seuss


Can’t hold me back, hold me down, can’t hold me
Can’t hold me back, hold me down, can’t hold me
Tattooed on the inside of my left arm, running along the route of the vein
a tiny little reminder that I don’t owe anything to anyone
but myself
Written in my own hand, it protects my heart from the dangers of persuasion
it protects my soul from the threat of infiltration
it protects my skin from the deliberate burn
Because it’s already there, and it’s already mine
Can’t hold me back, hold me down, can’t hold me
Can’t hold me back, hold me down, can’t hold me
The deal I’ve made with myself, to not let anyone take me
to not let anyone shake me
to not let anyone scare me into giving in.
I have my rights
I have my rights
I get to keep them wherever I want to
wherever I need them
wherever suits me best.
I choose it all.
Nobody can remove what I have built eternal.

“It has nothing to do with you.” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, August 22, 2015
9:50pm
5 minutes
Art & Fear
David Bayles & Ted Orland


When you come inside from dancing with the moon and making promises to her that you see the light she’s shedding and the path she’s illuminating just for you, your skin tingles with joy and recognition for the you she knows.
Your skin: The protector of your bones.
She is held together tight with a thousand promises just like the ones you made with your Moon Mother. And you can feel each one alive inside you, making their way down your veins to keep you warm.
You can’t live another way. You even feel tempted to shed the skin you’re in but she hugs your limbs in close and whispers, I’m Not Going Anywhere….I Still Know Your Insides.
If you don’t keep the dancing hot and perfect in your hair, and the pure boundless generosity you feel with every concentrated breath, then you might just live on in a different moment and you don’t blame yourself for that either.

“What is “beginner’s mind”?” By Julia in Brooklyn


Tuesday, July 28, 2015
11:11pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by Shambhala Sun

Set out on that journey with the wind whispering a farewell to your back
Let it make its way into your hair and dance there for a minute
Maybe two
Maybe three
She doesn’t want to hold you back or make you think you’re not ready
Only you know that
She just thinks goodbyes are important
You have your pencil sharpened and your pages born fresh and clean
Your long trek’s sword; your protector; your companion
Set out on that journey with the wind catching up to your skin
Let it make its way onto your face and caress you there for a minute
Maybe two
Maybe three
She doesn’t want to interfere or keep you from moving forward
You will do it anyway
She just thinks hello-agains are worth it

“uniquely connected to her” by Julia on her bed


Thursday February 20, 2014
6:14pm
5 minutes
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/theatre
Amanda taught Julia how to read, how to blow bubbles with her gum, how to play games on the Compquest plus, how to tie her hair back in a long ponytail so it wouldn’t get in the way while swimming. She held her hand when they crossed the road and taught Julia to wait until all the cara had passed and after the magic song was finished. Amanda taught Julia the magic song: Never run across the street, it’s the safety of the beat! Julia loved to sing it any time of the day and Amanda liked to remind Julia not to sing it unless there was a road that needed crossing. Amanda didn’t want Julia to fall behind in school, so she taught her how to listen, how to strive for good grades, how to do word problems in math class. She taught her how to kiss a boy, how to trust her instincts, and how to wear her high school uniform so people wouldn’t make fun of her. Amanda taught Julia how to look at the world with a kindness that she would never ever forget.