“I can’t help but reflect” by Julia on her couch

Sunday October 6, 2019
6:53pm
5 minutes
from an email

Last night I saw you in my dreams. Time had past, Too late, I kept thinking. Your house was big and beautiful and uncharacteristic of you in its excess. But this was your home, and the taps sprayed intruders with a blast unless you controlled the pressure with a knob. I got soaked. You showed me, “Like this” and it only happened once.

I went to pick up your baby girl and then my eyes wouldn’t open all the way. I couldn’t see her at all. I couldnt manage the pain of coming all that way and not even get to hold her. Too late, I am too late.

When I went to the kitchen to cry, I asked God to give me back my eyes. Instead your husband came in and asked if I was hungry. I felt like if I ate with him it would take too long and I’d keep missing out on you.
But he and I shared our lunches, mine leftover saffron noodles, and his leftover peppers with thick sauced beef.

“She heard a deeper vibration” by Julia on D’s couch

Thursday July 18, 2019
10:05pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Willa Cather

the windows keep banging back and forth or more the wind is filling

there is a lawn bowling party for the ages happening below me and every time someone whoops and hollers the doors thump I think it’s sounds like this that make a person really feel alone and almost intruded on

Its an almost aloneness then, deep in the vibration of obligation and commitment

It’s the one that rattles the creaks in the floor back to life after much deliberating

The music is finally quiet now because someone has won

I kept thinking about the wind and how it is aching me but they seemed to be able to enjoy themselves over the noise

The music might have been louder to account for Vancouver’s inconsistencies and here I am wishing I wore pants this evening

“I still can’t see” by Julia on her bathroom floor

Thursday April 25, 2019
9:13pm
5 minutes
The Black Man Speaks
Langston Hughes

We got a professional to come in and I still can’t see my face in the mirror. It’s speculated to be a ghost situation. These are not my words but the professional’s. She thinks because I used to be able to see a reflection that there’s a ghost living in the mirror now. I’m telling her, maybe there’s something in me. And she says, yes like a ghost. And I’m thinking, no, more like a brick. Not a brick growing roses in the pit of my stomach. But a brick blocking everything in there from getting enough sun. Light is needed for a reflection. The professional doesn’t answer cause she’s tapping the pencil to her teeth and it looks like she’s busy making a clink sound. Clink clink. I think, she pulls it away slowly, you might be haunted by a ghost of your past self and you can’t see yourself because you don’t recognize someone so different.

“exhale passively” by Julia in her living room

Tuesday March 19, 2019
9:44pm
5 minutes
Physiotherapy Instructions

Yesterday you asked me why I had given such a deep sigh. I thought it was self-explanatory: I needed it. But why did you need it? Cause you are exasperating. But you didn’t like that answer. You don’t think you’re exasperating. Sometimes I blow out air that’s keeping me angry at you. Sometimes it holds the place of my longing, my crying. I do not exhale passively around you since I decided I was going to give you the full range of me. Here, this is me existing without alterations, reservations, or tiny lies.

Yesterday I shook my hips around while we were laying in bed. I didn’t stop to apologize and you did not ask me to stop. The body sometimes needs permission to be alive. To exist.

I like it better this way. The breathing more intentional the view in front of me tangible, clear, echoing.

I shake and breathe and you ask me why and I tell you why. I’ve always wanted an intimacy like that.

“I almost loved you,” by Julia in her room

Thursday February 28, 2019
10:16pm
5 minutes
In Dublin
Maura Hanrahan

I almost loved you out of me but that’s not the way some beds work. There was no formula that I could plug my feelings into; no step by step guide to the other side of mercy.

Not when you can justify just about anything. Even the ones with a pulse far below the surface of being true. I almost loved you right back into you. The way I want you to get the bigger chicken breast; the sexiest garlic clove between the four of them.

I almost did that but I detoured at the stop where I was supposed to fill up on seeing myself fairly. I confused that for your lack.

But almost.

“to calm a stranger” by Julia on the 9

Tuesday February 19, 2019
2:20pm
5 minutes
Walking at Night
Elizabeth Poliner

How many times have you seen a woman crying in the bathroom at the bar? How many times have you been that woman’s friend? How many times have you been that woman?
It’s nice to remember that we are all sometimes going through it. If you’re not and I am, then good, someone to lean on. If you are and I’ve already been there, even better, I can hold you in the soft of my understanding.
We are not so different anyway.
Not really at all.
Would you believe that we are all the same but reflecting back to each other a different expression of spirit?
I might believe this when I think I don’t need a stranger’s help, or that someone else will come along and ask the stranger crying in the bathroom stall if she’s okay. I might remember it best when I am feeling closer to whole. So I can look around me and actually notice when someone could use a hand extended or a hug or a smile. The currency of kindness is worth more when you think you don’t have enough to spare.

“heaven is great, earth is great, people are great” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 2, 2019
10:21pm
5 minutes
Living the Wisdom of the Tao
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

There’s a man I walk by everyday on my way to the grocery store. He has a different sign all the time but I know he’s asking for help. I’m waiting for the day he transforms from his sidewalk seat to a radiant standing man with a flowing robe. He will smile at all of us with his kind warm heart and say, “Sorry fuckers, don’t have room on this trolley for the inconsiderate.” Then all the people going in and out of Whole Foods will think about things for a minute. And I will be just like them. Because I have ignored him. I don’t even know what he looks like. I feel bad that I don’t want to give him anything so I walk with my head high in avoidance. I am aware enough to know that I am avoiding the aspect of myself that needs help, the one that doesn’t want pity, the aspect that is not making enough money. I am him and he is me and this lesson is a little too late learned for flowy asshole Jesus.

“To cling to water?” By Julia at M’s table

Saturday, December 1, 2018
9:17pm
5 minutes
Is It Possible to Love a Ghost?
Erin Kang

Had to get my
ass down to the
water yesterday
I took you with
me and didn’t
have to ask
where we were
Country wide
You knew
You always do
And that is the
beacon above
it all and under
I had been
hearing people
talk about the
healing properties
of the ocean
but you have to
bring yourself
to the waves
You have to
Face the ripples
and reflection
Be ready to
find yourself
echoing

In my last city
I did not have
the option
in my backyard
the way I do here
I could have
swallowed all the
right pills and
travelled to the
island once every
Three hundred
and sixty-five
days

“exiled to the foothills” by Julia at the desk

Monday July 23, 2018
6:36pm
5 minutes
The Gulag Archipelago
Solzhenitsyn

Send me out to the no where place and let me weep there
Water the dry earth with my ache and pouring
I need to be alone, in a place where spider webs take over the sky
Will I continue to decompose when nobody is around
I exile myself before it is too late
Before I am stuck forever in the shape of how things used to be
I banish my lost and force my bones to build something
from the inside out
I am already dreading it
and that is how I know I must
I do not have time to sit and wonder how the world knows me
Give me fields to lay in
to pronounce my epiphany in the echo
Let me know me
Let me know that this is my enough
my contribution
A care package tied with a strand of my hair

“It gave her a deep sinking feeling” by Julia on the couch at Alma Beach Manor

Friday July 13, 2018
9:27pm
5 minutes
Cujo
Stephen King

She spent an hour reorganizing the spices. Rosemary in front,
Chinese five spice in the back. Somehow she has more Chinese five spice than anything else. Well not somehow. She doesn’t like it. She’s only used it once.
After that she moved the sugars and honey to a different shelf. “Everything has its home” and now everything looks like company’s coming.
That was the plan all along
But really it was just the catalyst. She needs clean cupboards so she can see all the spices she isnt using.
She slammed the cupboards around as if he wasn’t sleeping in the other room.
She didn’t feel much like being quiet. Especially now that she had “exhausted him” into an early evening nap.
He said some things earlier that she rebutted well but the tears came as they always do, as the Niagara Falls always does. She wondered if he was right about one thing. Maybe two.

“itching for Presidency” by Julia on S, G,and E’s patio

Saturday June 16, 2018
11:03pm
5 minutes
The Politician
H.L. Mencken

Watch the sky turn from velvet to suede
The city, whatever the opposite of itching, below
It is easier than it was the last time
The last time I wasn’t myself and still they loved me
The last time I was eating scraps of pizza and noodles and
the one most lie me told her aunt that I ate A LOT of food
I didn’t mean to be so hungry
I was worried about dying and leaving them dead
I am worried about their parents and I wonder where they are

The waxing crescent moon is keeping score tonight
Making sure I don’t rely on all my usual charms
The city can look so beautiful when the light hits it right
I only eat the watermelon cut into slices
I only take a blueberry yogurt and a chicken finger
I am the boss and they know it but they do not care
And I do not make them care
I make them feel important
I tell them they are

“I’ve been hiding who I am” by Julia in Hanoi

Monday February 5, 2018
9:57pm
5 minutes
Sisterly Love
Elise Pallagi

Not under the rug or anything-
in the wide wide open
in my laugh
in the unkind words I’ve used to describe myself
in the moments between dream and awake when I can’t tell what’s real
When I know what’s real and still send my brain to the night cave,
the haunted ride,
the hole in my three/almost four year old running shoes
When I say I don’t need more
When I say yes, let me settle for this;
watch how this small nothing
does suffice
And in the wretched mirror of our private elevator I have been hiding
my joy behind picked skin regrets named Lack
named Control
It takes everything I am to say what
I am not
It is worse work
It does not come with sweets

“Can we burn something, babe?” by Julia at her desk

Thursday November 23, 2017
11:26pm
5 minutes
Love On The Brain
Rihanna

In toothpaste, above the bathroom
sink, drips a love letter reminder
for us to get our place back in order
In sweat and dirt condensating on
the ceiling, threatens the shadow
How long it has been since we’ve
seen our own reflections instead
of the steamy glaze holding our
finger prints as ransom in the
shape of sorry for forgetting
The new matches that you stole
or that I stole sit on the back
of the toilet ready to become
heroes of the dark and waiting
We must have heard the horns by
now screaming our names to pick
up the dirty baskets and throw
out the hapless paper strewn

“Judging your early artistic efforts” by Julia at Trees on Granville


Thursday April 20, 2017
2:20pm at Trees Organic
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


The other day I found a note written on a teddybear notepad by my junior kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Beliveau. She signed her name with a heart in the ‘i’ and I remembered just how much I loved her-her and her soft nylons, and her “snot-free” desk (which I violated often and blamed on Justin Martens). The note was addressed to my parents telling them that I had a very nice first day of school: I painted a lot and loved story time (shocker), and sang a song for the class at Show And Tell (I remember this-I didnt bring something to show, like a doll or a toy I liked, so I made up a song and sang it for the class when it was my turn. Super shocker! Just kidding). I have always done this. Four year old me has always lnown this. Thirty year old me is grateful.

“While I watched a yellow caterpillar” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday March 29, 2017
9:19pm
5 minutes
Standing
Shel Silverstein


Sometimes I forget how easy it is to listen to my body. I’ve been living under the impression that there’s some kind of decoding I need to do, some deep analytics about what signals I am feeling and what they mean.
Today I held the hand of a three year old while we ran him to the bathroom. I didn’t think he looked well but he was the one who told me he needed the toilet. I continued to hold his little hand as I watched this yellow caterpillar respond to what his body was telling him without questioning if it were true or right. As soon as it was over, he wiped his face and smiled. He felt better. He wasn’t going to keep thinking about his sick. His stomach had stopped speaking to him. It no longer needed to be heard.

“Your hands are cold” by Julia on the 14


Friday April 22, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Scars
James Bay


You’re sweet. You let me put my cold hands in your armpits when I need to warm up, when my teeth are chattering and I’m complaining excessively. You squirm the first few seconds and you dance around but you don’t make me take them out. That’s one of my favourite types of touching. I feel taken care of by you and your overheated underarms. You are always a furnace, kicking off articles of clothing in your sleep, ripping up sheets, opening windows in the minus 30s or 40s. The only time I ever remember warming you up was when we went skinny-dipping in your family’s salt-water pool. It wasn’t warm yet, but we were high and felt free, and so I cupped your nut-sack in my hands so they wouldn’t retract and we stood like that for a while, impersonating Ethel Merman and smiling big at each other.

“How did you recognize him?” by Julia at her dining table


Thursay April 21, 2016
6:18pm
5 minutes
overheard in the car

I wrote a poem about your laugh when I was 17 and in love with you. I compared it to Santa. I didn’t know anything about you, or love, or poetry then. Maybe I still don’t. I felt proud reading it in front of my class and thinking of you secretly as I shared some of my truest, most ridiculous metaphors about you. I told them about your laugh, about how you were so inclusive and even laughed at people’s bad jokes to make them feel good. I remember thinking you were generous. And I think I was right because a few months later I found out that you were trading kisses with other girls and going out with whichever ones you thought you would be able to sleep with. Maybe I was the generous one for sharing you! I was crushed. I could pull you off of a busy street with my eyes closed if I could hear your laugh. These days I don’t hear it as much as I used to. We don’t live in the same place. We live worlds away.

“She didn’t need to tell me.” By Julia on her brother’s old bed


Wednesday, December 30, 2015
12:18 am
5 minutes
The Globe and Mail – Facts and Arguments
Monday, December 28, 2015
Yasmin Halfnight


She didn’t need to tell me I was being an asshole to her. I knew. I laid awake the whole night thinking about how kind my mom is and how short I can be when things don’t go exactly my way. Trying to prove myself to the woman who made me, sees right through me, detects my bullshit, and still loves me boundlessly anyway. In my mind I was just expressing myself, feeling impassioned by my need to be heard and understood, offering a lesson that otherwise might never have been found. But when I played back the sound of my voice, it was not compassion, though I believed it was, but the desperate attempt at impressing her, the woman who made me, sees right though me, hears my bullshit, and still loves me anyway. She didn’t need to say anything at all.

“the result of a period of research” by Julia on Joe’s couch


Thursday, August 27, 20151
10:14pm
5 minutes
Presence of Minds: The Importance of Active Exploration and Response in Dramaturgy
Christopher Michael Petty


According to the barometer set deep in my stomach, I am gauging that the level of contentment I am experiencing is lower than (if not the same as) the level it was at exactly one year ago today in exactly this very spot. It alerts me that something is wrong and that I am not safe. My body is registering some kind of prolonged trauma and it’s beginning to react accordingly. The spot in my brain where it’s supposed to regulate my mood and my outbursts is no longer functioning. It has shut off, hopefully not for good, but in this moment, it’s very much ineffective.

“I feel like a skid” by Julia at her desk


Saturday May 9, 2015
12:02am
5 minutes
overheard at Kits Beach

I accidentally caught a glimpse of myself in a store window earlier. I didn’t mean to look and I was even more startled because of it. I glanced briefly and I was surprised by what I had seen. So that’s why I double took. And that’s when I noticed myself for the first time. My white tank top was too lose for me. It was covering all my curves and it made me look 10 years younger or older than I am. My knees were all bruised up. I guess I have bruise-able knees, or I don’t walk carefully around bed frames or something. Maybe a bit of column A, maybe a bit of column B. And the part that did me over? The part of me I was most disgusted by? Was that I had a mustard stain right in the belly button of the shirt. How does one slop mustard right in the belly button of anything? By being a slob apparently.

“Inspired by the natural wonders” by Sasha on the pullout at the Angel’s Nest


Thursday January 1, 2015
11:21pm
5 minutes
from an Old Mout Cider pint glass
The trees are doing their belly dancing.
The ferns tickle the moss and the moss tries it’s best not to laugh.
The moon (the light) reflects off the dewy downy forest floor.
Quiet.
Quiet.
You turn away from me and I tuck my toes into yours.
The wood stove hums ancient wisdom of fire and following through.
I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the glass of the sliding door.
Simple.
My hair is longer than I realized, far down my back now.
You like it like this.
I look into my eyes, beyond my eyes and the forest waits and waits and waits.
You make a small sound that can only be described as a “coo”.

“a little bit of this” by Julia on the overground


Friday January 2, 2015
6:34pm
5 minutes
from a St. Germaine song

A little bit of this reflective thing going on. Thinking about my year and how I’m a bigger person in every sense of the word now. A little bit of this inward gazing thing happening. Wondering about the me I was last year and how I would have written a list of resolutions and lists and things to myself so I would remember everything. Now I don’t tell myself what I’ve done, I apply it. I practise what I’ve learned by living in my real life and being true to myself moment by moment. A little bit of this active curiosity thing going on. Pressing myself and all my experiences into each page of every notebook I fill, like a soft flower being realized forever by its imprint. I have blossomed and discovered and challenged and overcome. It was what I had been waiting for my entire life.