“in the blue plastic chair” by Sasha at Ocean Village

Sunday October 7, 2018
10:26pm
5 minutes
Illness and Literature
Tony Hoagland

Mia sits in the blue plastic chair and chews on the end of her braid. She’s waiting for her Oma to finish her treatment in the room with all the buzzing and whirring, where people of all colours and ages are hooked up to tall poles. Mia brought a book but she doesn’t feel like reading. On the way here, Oma said that Mia could play on her cellphone while she waited. Mia said, “No thanks”. Sometimes, looking out the window is enough. Sometimes, when you’re ten and a half, your imagination is what saves you.

“Light becomes me.” By Sasha on her couch

Sunday August 26, 2018
8:22pm
5 minutes
Here Be Monsters
Lisa Foad

Light becomes me
like blue does
and rest does
even now when
everything is
upside down
and changing

Light becomes you
like a white shirt does
and rest does
even now when
you aren’t getting
very much
and you feel
like you’re failing

I’ve never loved
you more than the
moment I fell into
your arms near the
bookshelf that saturday
that morning I’ll
always remember

I’ve never loved
you more than now
watching you sleeping
watching your face
change with the dreaming

Here we are
on the edge
this new jump
it’s higher than
we’ve ever gone
and I know there’s
a peak of doubt
and a plunge of faith
but all I can

hear is all the
ones who have come
before saying

You’re ready
You’re ready
You’re ready

“The joy of bursting and bearing fruit” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday July 11, 2018
6:58am
5 minutes
Earth Prayers
John Soos

One day conceivable from here, from now, from everything that I know,
I will hold a tiny, living thing in my arms and I will feel this great love…
The one everyone talks about
the changing kind, the one that gently nudges, inspires, forces you into bearing witness

Each moment between now and then is a teacher
A dream
I will want this when I have gotten good at turning the love inward
At being a witness to myself
And there is much to see. This life has been long already, the one before this one longer still, I imagine, and it is going going
I would very much like to give a tiny, living thing, my heart beat in excess
I want to give everything away when I know I don’t need to hold onto anything I’ve gotten but a tiny, living thing
Everything of use to me is being shown to me from the inside out and the whole world knows it
At least it does if I give permission to the whole world to be within me

Last night I felt a connection with a tiny, living thing
that did not burst forth from my own joy,
but was able to recognize it
We rocked there, our heads touching
and that was enough for me to know

“with its blood-red brick” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Sunday May 20, 2018

11:09pm

The Virgin Cure

Ami McKay

Both of us are bleeding and craving steak. You told me twelve years ago that eating it would make my period come after a pregnancy scare. You say you still sort of believe that.

I think maybe I don’t have to worry about that for better or worse, complicatedly.

Upstairs it sounds like the devil is playing back your promise to him in reverse. I don’t move because I don’t need him coming for me next. All that stamping on his grave I did. All that burning chocolate.

It wasn’t possible the last time I was late. I had to rack my brain to make sure I wasn’t forgetting something. Someone. When it came I looked in the blood to see if the start of a living thing was in there, pooling at the bottom of the toilet bowl. It made me feel better to see it disappear even with a thick string painting it jelly fish before it sunk.

“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

“there are still shoelaces to be tied” by Julia at her desk

Sunday April 8, 2018
11:15pm
5 minutes
Ten Seconds for Each Year
Fernando Raguero

Wait till your eyes run out of juice
try typing that letter to your friend
see how many times you nod off in the
middle of a good sentence
tell her: there are stillllllllllll swppp
tell her: you are so eeeeeen qqQ hip
She will really appreciate that you didn’t
make time for her earlier in the day
that you were saving up all your creative
expression for the moments in between
sleep and almost sleep because that’s
when all the best ideas come through
tell her: that thought you had about
the cactus and the kiwi eloping
tell her: neck kink and unlimited yawn
tell her: fall onto the bed mascara
still holding all your eyelashes together
Don’t forget about the roasting pan in
the sink or the shoes out in the foyer
or the wet hair drying slowly on your back

“All my friends are having babies” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday April 4, 2018
2:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

All my friends are having babies and I am more concerned with how good my freaking nails look these days. It’s taken a long time to like my hands. How do you like a hand that squeezes too hard, that breaks the good mugs, that spends most of its time down the front of raggedy sweat pants? These hands have never housed nice nails. These nails have never looked this strong. Some days I couldn’t tell if it was blood underneath them or just ketchup chips. It’s all I can think about because it’s like they belong on someone else’s body. Someone else who, say, might be having a baby. I’m used to seeing chips and tears and skin peeling off where it shouldn’t. They were not the hands that held soft things and kept them soft. They didn’t know how to stay one colour when stepping out into the cold.

“plush and pregnant into my palm” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, March 3, 2018
12:16am
5 minutes
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
James Cagney

I catch myself being more ready for the things I used to avoid
Motherhood
True Love
White Cheddar popcorn topping
In the span of a few months my chest has expanded:
my heart has grown three full sizes
I know you are to blame
as you always are for changing my mind
as you always are when you are the next thing in the room
I have never wanted you closer
Even after all the undecided books
or old tables put in new places
It is medicine when our worlds spin in the same direction
It is better this way
On the street you ask me if things are okay when they don’t feel okay
I tell you now before they turn into unswept corners, spiders crawling out

“You waited for me to let you learn” by Julia at her desk


Wednsday September 6, 2017
9:21pm
5 minutes
Yours Is This
Julia Pileggi


It feels like I have been here before
in this moment between Mars and Monday
you are here too like a cup of water
or a good pencil
We chose this space and this timeline to wander together
I know your hands less than I should
You will likely forget mine when I die
Of course I can’t pretend that I won’t
All true things have death attached
And still I hope you don’t go first
Unless your body could use the rest
in which case I will keep my arms strong
so I may hold your last breath
the last time your body builds a memory
I will be the softest bed you ever had to leave

“meeting your heart’s longing.” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday September 5, 2017
8:12pm
5 minutes
The Invitation
Oriah


Hello, I say to her
tender teeth and Milky Way.
Hello, hello you humming bird wing
you olive oil drenched skin
you whistling Lilly
I have waited for you.
I have been here being here
and I have been waiting for you.
Hello.
You found me.
Would you like to stay the night?
I have some things I’d like us to do together if you have some time to rest.
I know how far you’ve travelled,
let me rub your sandy feet.
Hello.
She is unlike midnight and yet she sits perfect in the sky.
She glows like she’s been drinking from a river cried by the Moon.

“it will be a tight squeeze” by Julia at her desk


Saturday May 27, 2017
10:47pm
5 minutes
http://www.onceuponachef.com

She sits on a bench near the water with her sunglasses on
She stares down the sun
She waits for a change in the air to speak

“Let me say out loud all of the things I need to do”
“Again?”
“It helps me. Please?”
“Okay so 8:30pm is dinner…”
“More like 9. 9pm is dinnner. By the time we pick up the food, lay it out, set it up–”
“–Fine, 9.”
“Fine, 9. And then I have to review my materials.”
“And that’s going to take a long time?”
“It’s going to take as long as it takes. But I can also do it in the morning.”
“Okay, that doesn’t sound like a lot to get done!”
“I’m not finished listing.”
“Okay…”
“I have to make sure I have a change of clothes. I need something for every weather system because I won’t be coming home. I need to make sure my bag is big enough for everything. I need to lay out what I’m wearing. I have to shower–Goddammit! I have to shower too?”

“All winter we went on like that” by Julia at her desk


Saturday May 6, 2017
6:30pm
5 minutes
After Birth
Elisa Albert


It was a tough one with all the rain seeping into all my dry
I think it’s safe to say that something was trying to be planted
Something needed care enough to sprout

I used to dread cleaning my apartment when the grey outside made the inside feel dirty
Today I swept up a spider and saluted to her as she crawled away and into a safe place
The light painted my home in a newness that I’ve been waiting for
Everything on the shelves, a choice, a decision, an opinion
Spring has signed the contract, says she can take it from here
I cannot wish for something better than feeling home in the home I live in
I give thanks for the cupboards that hold every envelope, every light bulb

“all that we went through” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday April 16, 2016
5:31pm
5 minutes
Back to Black
Amy Winehouse


I don’t feel right writing this. You’ve been gone for one month. I know you said it wouldn’t bother you if I saw other people once you said goodbye, but everyone else is saying it’s too soon. I met someone. I don’t know if he’s my one, but he’s someone and it feels nice to be with a man that isn’t dying. Your mother is still angry at me. She thinks I am mistreating your memory, disrespecting what we had. But the worst part is, I know I’m not doing anything wrong and I know that when you told me you didn’t want me to mourn you for long that you meant it. I still love you, I always will. I would have died with you if I could have but it doesn’t work like that. I wanted to thank you for being so understanding and trusting and knowing that me dating someone else does not mean I’ve moved on or that I’m okay or that I wanted to be with someone else this whole time. Nobody outside of us can know what we went through and what we talked about and what we decided together. Now all that’s left is my side of the story and no one seems to want to believe me when I say it’s okay that this is happening and you wouldn’t be upset. I don’t know how long I can keep justifying myself in the eyes of your family or my family. I miss you more than life.

“American singer-songwriter” by Julia on her couch


Friday April 15, 2016
8:55pm
5 minutes
from a Lenny Kravitz Google search

Performing in the bar, local bar, playing to crowds who love it, come back each week, bring their friends, become family. That’s what I really want. I don’t need stadium. I just want to entertain and share my music. I don’t care if I’m not rich. I’ll have artistic needs being met. I’ll get to share an experience, make people happy, help the bar make a bit more cash that night, drink for free. That’s it. I’m far from it. I’m not a flake or anything; I know that I’ve got a long road ahead of me before I can be that ready. I’m not delusional. It’s the dream though. I don’t necessarily envision it with a band or just me and my guitar. I don’t play the guitar yet. Doesn’t mean I can’t learn. Never too old to learn something new.

“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.

“Let’s have a toast to our goodbyes” by Julia in on her couch


Thursday, January 14, 2016
6:53pm
5 minutes
I’m Out
Ciara feat. Nicki Minaj


I have this idea one snowy morning memory clouded but it feels like a good one so I let myself wake up to it. I’m not quite ready for my life. This idea is supposed to help. I want to make a list of all the things I’m saying goodbye to, or goodbye for. I have made a lot of lists about saying hello or, a bunch of arbitrary ‘shoulds’ chosen from the parts of my body that don’t get enough of my positive attention. This one is different. It’s a goodbye list but not for negative things or habits or hurts or harms. It’s all about harnessing inner truth and guidance. I want to be ready for my life.
Someone close to me once told me that we need to thank our enemies. Enemies can mean anything, so I like to think of them as hard bits that have been let in at one time or another, but will be sent off in a joyful way. I think these are the things that go on a goodbye list when I am toasting to all the bad things that have ever grown me shaped me helped me shown me.

“I love kittens!!” by Julia at Our Town Cafe


Sunday November 22, 2015 at Our Town
3:14pm
5 minutes
from a text

Dear Diary:

I love kittens!! Mom said if I finished reading my new book that she got me (it’s called: KITTENS) and ask Auntie Genie about the responsibilities around raising an animal friend as a pet, she MIGHT, maybe, will POSSIBLY consider letting me go to the shelter (where they keep the kittens from dying before they’re old enough to take care of themselves) and learn about some of my favourite ones. When I told her that I promised I would and would make sure I was very well informed about kittens and EVERYTHING they need before I asked her to get one, she said, Now, Izzie, this is not a YES or a NO it is a MAYBE, and it is ON CONDITION. I Know I know I know already. She is “non-committal”. Just like my father was. Or at least that’s what Auntie Genie tells me. She told me that FACT when I asked her once if he left because he was allergic to me. She said, Of course not, but that would have been a better reason.

“really only happy when working” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday November 3, 2015
10:46pm
5 minutes
chaninicholas.com

I called him from the parking lot on my lunch break.
“Hi!”
“Hi? Is everything okay?”
“Yup! It is okay. It is all okay!”
“Okay….did you need something then?”
“Why, do I need to need something to call my lover in the middle of the day?”
“No…not exactly…What’s going on, seriously?”
“I’m just so happy. I wanted to be happy in this moment with you.”
“Oh.”
“You got cynical!”
“And you’re cured now?’
I kicked a giant rock at my foot toward the fence. I debated hanging up right there on the spot, calling back, and pretending to be in pain.
“I didn’t say I was cured. I’m just trying to be positive.”
“Oh.”
“If you’d rather I didn’t try to turn my life around and try to change my opinion, just say the word.”
“You know that’s not what this..that’s not what I mean.”
“No, I know, I know what you mean.”

“I wish to offer him no honour” by Julia on her bed


Thursday, August 20, 2015
11:19pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by the Globe and Mail

I have been wondering if I will ever leave this place. It does not feel like home (never did), and it is starting to weigh heavy on my heart. It sounds like an easy decision but it is not. Nothing is an easy decision for me. I am used to making bad decisions. Maybe staying here this long is one of them. Maybe I am trying to justify something. I think it is hard because I do not know what I want instead. I do not know where is better than here. So I must stay here until I know where there is. Must I not? It does not sound very adventurous of me (well aware of that), but does it not make sense?
I cannot decide this with the help of anyone else. I am torn in two but I am the only one who can mend the halves and make them whole. I am learning here. It sounds as if I am not but I am.

“Like eagle rounding out the morning” by Julia at her desk


Monday May 4, 2015
10:57pm
5 minutes
from a poem by Joy Harjo

Claire has her big day today. She rubs fresh mint on all her pressure points before she leaves the house. No stress, she breathes, no stress today. Claire is wearing the blouse her oldest sister, Amelia, gave to her on her 30th birthday, the black pendant necklace her father rescued from the sewer, her favourite blazer with the three buttons, and the underwear her grandmother used to poke fun at, saying, these ones for special party nights, these ones keep separate from comfy big and bad ones. She had been meditating all morning, humming softly to herself attempting to prepare for the news and the meaning of something this important. She had hunted down the perfect bar for when she receives the news she was hoping for, but also the perfect bar in case she is denied the thing that she wants most in this world.

“twists the whip” by Julia at her desk


Friday April 3, 2015
8:17pm
5 minutes
The Zurau Aphorisms
Franz Kafka


Twists the whip
Gets it ready
Practices in the mirror
One, two, Go on three
Takes one for the team.
His own team
He’s the captain and the coach
Ready
Ready
Ready
Today’s the day
The song sings in his head
Right now is the only thing that matters
Manic energy
Checking his watch
Tick
Tick
Boom
He’s off
And running
Twists the whip
Cracks it in the air
No more practice shots
It’s real now
It’s real life
Dangerous
Destructive
But he has his weapons
He has his tools
Don’t forget to breathe
He hears his mother’s voice in his ears
Don’t forget to feel
The magic urgency fuels him
It’s exactly as he imagined
Only nothing like he hoped
Twists the whip
Gets it ready
Now he’s ready

“If I’m ever lonely” by Julia at her desk


Saturday February 21, 2015
1:01am
5 minutes
mirandajuly.com

If I’m ever lonely, I’ll close my eyes and think of that day in April when I see you again. You’ll be ready to get out of the cold you’re trapped frozen in, and you’ll welcome the melting of all your icicles with thawing extremities. We have done this before. We have stood still in our distant lives and breathed in a time difference for months. Now good morning is still good morning, and good night is still good night, but my here is not your here and your here is not you’re here..
If I’m ever lonely, I’ll write you something sweet on the napkin beside my bed, hum the words to music and turn it into a song I sing inside my head to keep you close. You’ll ask if you can learn the chords that go with it so you can play your version on the other side of where I am.
We have done this before. We have loved from far away for days and days and days.

“this is the best place” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday February 4, 2015
10:29pm
5 minutes
castingworkbook.com

Shying away from the old heartache song
I don’t take too well to that kind of thing anymore
It hurts a bit in places that I didn’t know I had
So I let that tune play on elsewhere
I don’t tell it to stop cause I know it has to keep going
But I send it some peace so it knows It’s not personal
When I meet grace again, I’ll hum it softly
Maybe I’ll mouth the words
That’s when I’ll be able to have it quietly on repeat in the background
Underscoring my day to day
My dishes in the sink
My clothes on the line
My what ifs, if onlys
My midnight snack of whiskey and war

“Empire Trinket Box” by Julia in her bed


Monday, September 30, 2013
1:07am
5 minutes
from the bottom of a gift from Bowring

Oh goodie I cannot wait to share my dreams with you! Been working on them for a long time and now they’re finally ready! Going to tie each one to a pretty red string and let them up up in the air until they’re attached to the clouds or the moon! Or the stars! If that doesn’t work I think I can spread them thin in a vat of soap and blow them into bubbles so they can reach the sky. Then, when they’re up up in the air, they’ll land on something or someone and trickle down until there is just no hiding from them! That’s what I wanted to share with you! But you’re always so critical about things. See we have fundamental differences of opinion, you and I, and I’m trying to impress you, and you’re trying to impress me, but we’re both just getting caught in the trying a bit too much. I want to share my dreams with you and I’m prepared to do so but if you even smirk, if you even show one ounce of judgement, then that’s it. They’ll all just disappear into the night and no one will ever hear from them again. So I guess I need to know if you’re fully ready!

“feel your own feelings” by Sasha at her desk


Monday, September 16, 2013
11:58pm
5 minutes
Codependent No More
Melody Beattie


I wore my straw hat, and my long red swishy skirt, and a lace top that used to belong to a woman named Moondancer. I’d taken great care in painting my toenails, even though they’d only peek out under the hem, dancing coral crescents. I wanted it completely quiet in the house. Even though I loved music, I preferred to listen to the rhythm of the ravine, the crooning of the wind through the chimes hanging on the porch. I made skillet cornbread dotted with hot peppers. Your favourite. A big ol’ pot of chilli simmered on the stove, chock full of beans, tomato, garlic, cumin, vegetables from Fredrick’s garden, and all the thoughts I thought while chopping and stirring. Mostly of you. Mostly of the sound of your breath when you’re waking.

I knew that you were the one I would cook for when it turned cold, last year. I got home, hung my scarf, and saw that you’d taken my forest green parka from the antique cedar chest and hung it up in the coat closet, making me ready for the change.