“Redeemable exclusively at” by Julia on her bed

Thursday August 1, 2019
2:40pm
5 minutes
From a Salvation Army flyer

you can cash in here
give your nickles and dimes
for a better time
sure you can cash in here

i’ve got some grief i need to redeem, trade it in for
a bucket of your best excuses
mourn the loss of every baby i let die in the mines after i finally said they could be gold

i did what i was told, held their hands and plugged their noses, dunked their heads and laid out roses
the goodbye don’t come easy when it’s not your time to go

you can cash in here, get your bang for your buck, i’m the counter with the tear duct tango and you’re trying to find someone to dip

“treats cognitive complaints” by Julia at her table/couch

Wednesday May 22, 2019
5:33pm
5 minutes
From a med school whiteboard

they always got the prescription pad ready
tell them you aren’t
feeling
like you and they write something that will make you feel like even less
what about sleep?
Doctors seem to
forget about
that one
Or someone to talk to
or listening to the underground communication network of an old growth forest
some birds have healed me before
yeah
birdsong in the morning
the slap of a hardball on leather
the crack of a bat
the perfect thumping sound a wooden spoon makes when it taps on the bottom of the pot

“faster than all your sadness” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday February 26, 2019
8:38pm
5 minutes
What To Look For In A Horse
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

It’s racing to the bottom of the well cause that’s the place you always get too scared to look.
Underneath every painted layer, a tiny garlic skin, or a forgotten birthday. Some of those choices live down there with the sadness.
You don’t go because you say it’s too crowded, likely story. There’s not room enough for all of us. Convenient, still, until the sadness finds out that no one’s keeping an eye on her down there so she starts to creep up.
She might burrow in the thick of a nightmare, the icy layer of morning frost.
I may have seen her once or twice at the party you thought you attended by yourself…

“faster than all your sadness” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday February 26, 2019
9:13am
5 minutes
What To Look For In A Horse
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

Underneath the layers
a stray fingernail clipping
a rose petal
a thank you card from a million years ago

Your sadness sits
next to the time your mother
forgot your birthday
on top of your first heartbreak
(you never knew it possible
to break without breaking
so fully)

Your sadness sings to you
in the hours when you lie awake
A song you know the tune of
but the words change

“I imagine him alive.” By Julia in her bed

Monday January 21, 2019
9:28pm
5 minutes
Stories We Keep To Ourselves
Bill Glose

I imagine him alive with dark hair covering his tiny little head
He has a perfect face
Maybe a few years from now he’ll need glasses just like you
His dark hair transforms into light hair later like mine does in the sun
You are holding him and cooing in his face and everything is sweet now
I keep him alive by not leaving him
That is my only job
I picture him loving me before he leaves home
Some of them only realize how much has been done for them after they build their bed behind walls that no one can wonder against
He is kind to insects and birds
He is funny because of you and only you
From me he learns how to hum
From me he learns how to weep
From me he learns how to stare into the nothingness past the room and bright noise
You smile extra hard these days

“like food processors” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 16, 2019
8:21pm
5 minutes
On Becoming A Cat
Emily Mitchell

In the middle of the night I hear you whispering sweet words into the pillow
They’re for me
I kiss you back to sleep
I stay awake wondering about the light dancing across the ceiling
I was tired before this and
now maybe it’s denial
The past few days have felt impossible
Each of our hollow seems to be bouncing off every surface in sight and you might not be rubber but I’m definitely glue
I wonder at the dancing light, the collective sadness seaping into my skin, the way waking up never arrives without a headache anymore

“there were also many miracles then.” by Julia at her desk

Monday January 7, 2019
5:44pm
5 minutes
The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor Dostoevsky

There is a door that leads to the magical world of peace beyond peace. I found it once in a dream when I walked through my parents’ closet. It opened into a landscape that I could only describe as pure joy. The sun was warming, the grass was singing. I longed to stay there forever and when I woke up I went downstairs and tried to find the door again. It had disappeared. I have never been so sad in my life. To know a place exists but to not know how to get there. I could have cried my heart dry that day. And some days here, and now, the place blurs from my memory all together and leaves me in a house of despair. I could walk to the ocean and then all the way to the core of it in one hollow breath. The people around continue to walk about in their aimless, pointless way. The anchor is so heavy it’s as if the simulation is broken. The seagulls do not even bother to dive past.

“I can be courageous enough to feel” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday January 1, 2019
8:14pm
5 minutes
Comfortable With Uncertainty
Pema Chödrön

The sorrow I’ve been pushing into the deep hole of me has started to itch
It rubs up against the sides of its cage and begs for fresh water
Don’t you know you cannot burry sadness alive?
The clock on the wall clicks more than ticks and I think everything around me is breaking
At dinner the light is soft and golden and everyone is in a perfect mood but me
The air in my lungs escapes before I know what I am saying and the room tunnels into the shape of my hurt
All those years of doing my best and being told to go back to the old me-the one who is better understood by shopkeepers and mothers and fathers and groups of afraid
I feel this pit beginning to take root and I am not sure what I’ll be if I pluck it from the dark mud where it’s been lost
How easy to say Fine instead of Not Fine
How easy to say sorry after the garden has been torn up
I am courageous enough to feel all this and all this that cannot be named

“She shook her head helplessly.” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Thursday December 20, 2018
10:42pm
5 minutes
Solaris
Stanislaw Lem

I don’t know why I can’t just leave him. I love him. Maybe I don’t. I have to love him don’t I? 30 years I’ve lived in that house, am I supposed to suddenly pick up and move? I don’t know why he doesn’t help me. All of our financial problems are because he won’t. I’ve asked him. I’ve tried to ask him but it’s not that easy, Sweetie. Nothing is ever easy for me. You know, I had this dream where I was climbing this huge staircase. These massive spiraled stairs and I was climbing them, climbing them, but I couldn’t go anywhere. And I could see at the top there was this beautiful castle. It was all the way at the top and I was climbing, sweatting, aching, and no matter what I did I couldn’t make it. All I wanted was to reach it and I was stuck right there.

“The girl looking like Catherine Deneuve” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday December 4, 2018
9:33pm
5 minutes
Fall Is the Last Season of the Year
Nasim Marashi

I don’t want to say she had a pouty mouth but I guess that’s what she had.
Made it look like she was always trying to seduce her Cheetos.
Somebody in London once said that she was so beautiful some man
harassed her at the grocery store and she had to stop shopping alone.
All because of her face. I know a woman that beautiful and she once told
me that she never wanted that kind of attention. She never asked for it.
So the woman in London–even her friends talk about her perfect
face when she’s not around. They forget what else she’s good at, or which
jokes she’s told. They all wish they could be her. And she’s there wishing
she didn’t have to be. But no one would understand if she threw back a drink
one night and told everyone that she was tired of being beautiful. They would
all pause dramatically and stare at her, drinks in mid lift, until she broke out into
hysterical laughter. She’d see that she wasn’t getting through and remember
that beauty is not the right kind of sadness to have.

“The biggest personality among this trio” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday November 7, 2018
9:09pm
5 minutes
High Living
Jacqueline Ranit

I have to write about something positive. It’s been a long time and maybe some of you are noticing. Or not. Maybe none of you are noticing because none of you are reading these. You used to but maybe life got in the way which is to say got in the way of me. For you all it means is that you have one. A life. And that’s wonderful for you. I think everyone deserves that. I wonder if you’re out with your new family now that you’re not reading these. I wonder if you’ve ever thought to check in and see how I am doing. I might have been very honest in these and could have been giving you the real keys to my under belly but you might be busy is all. You might have other things to do, going to fancy picnics, ordering pizza on a Wednesday. Well in case you’re reading this, things are going really really good for me. They couldn’t be better.

“I married Dave” by Julia at her desk

Monday October 8, 2018
8:30pm
5 minutes
Plants Don’t Have Birthdays
Andrea Gregor

I married Dave
He is the one I wanted to marry
He is the one I wanted to marry
He is the one I wanted
I am happy with Dave
He is the one who makes me happy
He is the one who
He is the one who makes me
I am in love with Dave
He is the one I wanted to love
He is the one I loved to want
He is the love I wanted
I settled for Dave
He is the one I wanted to leave me
He is the one I wanted to leave
He is the one I wanted then didn’t
I am still with Dave
He is the one I regret
He is the one I didn’t expect
He is the one I was too afraid to question
He is the one I can’t see myself in
He is the one who was there
He is the one who had a car
He is the one who had a temper
He is the one who had a problem
He is the one who had a temper
He is the one who lied
He is the one who kept me small
He is the one who I let keep me small
He is the one I married

“survive and maybe be heroic.” by Julia on her couch

Sunday September 23, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
Loud, Unpleasant Noises
Norbert Ruebsaat

please stop asking me
how my day was
no matter what I do
I am not equipped
to answer in a way
that absolves me
of the truth
if you’re asking
because you want
to know how easy
it is to put a hand
on a hot burner
and wait for the scream
then ask me
if you’re asking
because you want
to know how long
a mirror can stay
clean until it is
bloody from the
face reflected back
then ask me
ask me why the roof
of my mouth is a
pocket of worry
or why the kettle
screaming does not
rouse me from the
closet
ask me if you want
to hear denial dripping
dripping
drip

“a few drops of peppermint oil.” by Julia on the Red Line

Tuesday September 11, 2018
4:27pm
5 minutes
The Incense of Those Rooms
Jen Currin

Misery loves Company so Misery keeps inviting Company over. Together they sway in the dark and call it romance. Call it pretty.
Misery asks Company to stay a while and talk to her while she cries. And she cries Niagara Falls. Sometimes on the inside where her sandwich drowns a thousand deaths. Company loves Misery and keeps telling her she’ll be there. That she’ll never leave her. Company draws a bath and sprinkles in a few drops of peppermint oil. All this running water and nowhere to go. Misery wants to be who she is, find someone who will love her this way. Company keeps Misery from changing. Keeps bringing her baskets of hand picked sorrow. Calls it unconditional. Calls it sweet. Calls it forever.

“Are we able to live simply,” by Julia on her patio

Sunday July 15, 2018
9:26pm
5 minutes
Living Buddha, Living Christ
Thich Nhat Hanh

Every time this poor dog howls you look up at me from your book with those eyes that are trying to make a connection with mine.
I think you’re hoping that I will want one just as bad as you do; as if this three hour howling dog is helping your case.

How can we live simply with a dog suffering? Think of how much work it’ll be to love something who is always distressed.

And then I think about how you love me extra when I am visited by sadness, three hour tears streaming down my cheeks. You have some magic touch and a resevoir of love overflowing. You don’t even hide it. You give generously. You are there when I get thirsty.

And maybe we aren’t meant to live simply. Maybe some things are supposed to stretch us wide.

“a flickering lamp, a phantom” by Julia on the couch at the Airbnb

Thursday July 12, 2018
9:41pm
5 minutes
Diamond Sutra
Buddha

We sit in the dark.
Connie tells me, “These wafer cookies taste like they cost only a dollar.”
I tell her, “that’s because they do cost only a dollar. People who buy these don’t by them for quality, they buy them because they’re trying to bury the thing inside them that keeps them itching.”
Connie says, “Who has a face long enough to shove one of these in without biting?”
And I say, “What in the world are you talking about?”
Connie says, “These things leave crumbs everywhere like a motherfucker. I’m not Hansel and Gretel. I don’t need someone to follow the path of them all the way back to me. Me and my face trying to hide the sadness in my stomach.”
I don’t really know why she keeps eating them except for the fact that she might be one of those people who eat the wafers that the people trying to bury the thing inside them buy so she can at least complain about them.
Connie says, “They leave a film on the roof of your mouth. What is that?”
“Regret”, I tell her. “Or something like it.”

“Where it pours bean green over blue” by Julia walking home

Friday June 22, 2018
11:26pm
Daddy
Sylvia Plath

I thought I saw you walking toward me
You had headphones on and you were walking a bulldog
You don’t have a bulldog so I knew it couldn’t be you but the face and the beard and the eyes were yours
The same sadness was not doing a very good job of hiding there in the corners
I almost reached out anyway
The whole thing has got me blurry
Seeing you on neck of other men wishing
Watching you look at me like we both know that you’re not in this city but your soul has been hopping
I almost reached out
I almost touched the you that wasn’t
In this way that I do

“Jesus do I have to even get out of bed” by Julia at her desk

Monday June 4, 2018
9:26pm
5 minutes
From an interview by Devin Friedman

Do I have to leave this? I’ve built a warm thing to lay in. My head is heavy. My eyes blink slowly. What is it about grey mornings.

Don’t say they’ll turn into something beautiful. It’s always too late when this city decides to help me out.

I think it’s sadness?
It feels like it.
Laying, laying, not moving, sort of staring

I think another body in the bed would change the shape of things.
Make me sink a little toward the middle.
Make me have to get up in the night.
Make me have to come right back and settle.

Today is hard.

If I admit it maybe it will get the validation it needs and move on.
Maybe tomorrow won’t be so needy.
I slept with all my clothes last night.
Sweater, pants, socks.

Another body in the bed would require shorts or nothing.
Another body in the bed would be built like a furnace, jobbed and ready to heat whatever is close and shivering.

I’ll ask Jesus if he knows where to get one.

“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

“Oh my god it HURTS!” By Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 7, 2018
8:47pm
The Stand
Stephen King

Okay let me tell you what it’s like. On a good night? He comes home, he kisses me in the driveway, he slaps my ass and then he brings in the groceries from the car, puts them away, then sits on the couch. I give him a back massage and then I cook dinner. He does the dishes, then he reads in his chair and snacks on those chewy mints. He loves those chewy mints even though they get stuck in his teeth. He tells me he loves me. He sings in my ear. On a bad night it’s not much different. He comes home, he reads, he chews, he does the dishes. But on those days he does not kiss me in the driveway. Doesn’t tell me that he loves me. Plays the piano in the other room with his headphones in. Watches reality tv and surfs the web for funny videos in the other room with his headphones in. Doesn’t kiss me before we sleep. Doesn’t touch me in the bed. Doesn’t ask how my day was. Comes home but doesn’t want to be there.

“I’ll probably do it while you’re sitting on the toilet” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday February 10, 2018
1:21am
5 minutes
Who Says I’m Not a Romantic
Fernando Raguero

I’m saving myself for the race
to the centre of the earth
saving my “sorry’s” for all
the broken-hearted children
saving my strength for you
when you get home tired and
hungry and lonely and angry

The whole world is singing
to a drum beat
singing to a heartbreak
singing quiet then loud
then quiet

My girl we’ve gotta stop this
too many boys with bullets
I don’t even know about hope today
What’s that man with a rifle in his hand
gonna say to us with our saving and our singing

World’s gone mad

Shoot me in the head

World’s gone mad

I’m saving my sadness
I’m saving my ears
I’m saving my pennies
Too much saving and not
enough doing

It all seems petty
these grievances between us
your eyes brimming
my eyes brimming

something in common

“This one has more nuts” By Julia at the studio


Wednesday September 13, 2017
6:28pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Bump n’ Grind

Last night I thought I’d woo you with a sage butter walnut sauce
in my dreams the slick pasta would make you hard instantly
then you’d fuck me on the counter top
taking breaks to slurp back another slippery noodle
Last night I made a sage butter walnut sauce
Okay, margarine
I should have grinded the nuts more
I should have put fewer in
You ate three bowls and we didn’t fuck once
You asked why I wasn’t talking
I said these walnuts are killing me
You laughed
it really wasn’t funny
I told you sometimes I’m not sure how deep this
sadness lives
You interrupted me then, the first real thing I’d said
in days
to tell me how much you liked the sage
I guess dreams really do come true

“astral projection, stress and depression” by Sasha in the bath


Tuesday September 12, 2017
10:42pm
5 minutes
Binaural Beats & Healing Sounds on YouTube

No one’s here to help baby
No one’s here to help

Magic mushroom toast root bake festival
Astral projection
Stress and depression
Forests of consumerism
Extra large M’s and double D WHY’s
Shaking our devices in our sister’s faces
Shaking our devices so we can feel somebody
Find a chin hair shake a leg
Take a bow and call for help
9-1-1 is just a static
9-1-1 is just a dial tone

No one’s here to help baby
No one’s here to help

Cocaine snow angels
In the ashes of our mothers
Water tastes like urine and coffee
Coffee is urine
Urine is coffee
The land’s most trusted caregivers
Are gathered in a place made of cardboard
And needles and songs
Stress and depression
Coffins under the ground layer

No one’s here to help baby
No one’s here to help

“You said not to read his old texts” by Julia on her couch


Thursday August 31, 2017
11:58pm
5 minutes
From confidential sides

Told yourself you wouldn’t log into his e-mail account.
You put a tally beside your computer and started calling it your sobriety calendar.
Eleven days clean. Haven’t checked it since that fall.
You told yourself that “this is why you don’t snoop through other people’s lives.”
You said “this is why you stop rationalizing all together.”
There are exes marked day after day. You nod, slightly to the fact that you are now an ex marked day by day.
You wonder if his computer will notify him that someone else is in his account.
You worry that he already knows what you’re doing.
You wonder why he doesn’t change his beautiful password.
You wonder why he chose her over you.
You wonder why you eat a tub of peanut butter every three days.

“Host art classes” By Julia at her desk


Saturday August 26, 2017
11:50pm
5 minutes
from a business card


“I think we should buy the warehouse like we talked about.”
“With what money, exactly?”
“Your money. I know, I know–”
“It’s not really my money, you know that right?”
“Well, he left everything to you so whose money could it be?”
“No, obviously, but it doesn’t necesarily feel right to spend it all on an abandonned building because you have a good idea.”
“I am not trying to make you do anything you don’t want to do. But think of what it could be: A place where artists come to create, where they can put on their own events, where we can host classes. Come on, it writes itself.”
“It’s not that easy. I have to make sure I’m using his money for the right thing. This feels like a lot of work.”
“Everything in this life is work. Look, I know I’m asking a lot of you, but you know me. I wouldn’t be suggesting it if I didn’t believe in it. And you have been floating since he died-”
“Am I not allowed to be sad?”
“Of course. Of course you are.”

“I had been able only to grieve” by Julia on the couch


Tuesday May 2, 2017
8:50pm
5 minutes
The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion


we lost our muscles
left them somewhere between here and there
the radio show was static familiar
we counted the clicks and the white noise like ducks in a row
we are not walking or running
the streets are filled with other people’s shoes
we had no time for writing cards
to express condolences
to each other
there were too many floors to find
too many beds to melt
too many casserole dishes to wash
we promised to press our palms together every hour
to remind us what living flesh felt like
the telephone had to be disconnected
too many hearts bleeding on the line

“She sees light and shapes” by Julia on her couch


Monday January 30, 2017
8:28pm
5 minutes
from a text

She sees through me like nobody else has ever been able to. I feel like a string of twinkle lights wrapped in cellophane. She knows when my heart races. When my blood pumps. She knows when my hurt is anxious of when my hurt is lonely. She knows when my reasons are irrational or when they’re rationed just so. She knows when I am tired or when I’ve forgotten to eat. She knows when the silence I give her is because it is so loud inside me. She knows that my tears are not because of her but because of me. She knows when the moon is in control and when I am merely vessel. She sees the struggle cloaked in good intentions, cloaked once more in sand or tide. She sees me like a painting with all the sadness behind the eyes that cannot be quelled or released. She knows when I’m talking to fill the air with something that doesn’t reek of me. She knows when I am waiting for her to scold me or save me or keep me right where I am.

“confused about her life path” by Julia on her couch


Sunday January 29, 2017
8:19pm
5 minutes
from Clairvoyance
Mary Ellen Flora


There are days that pass that feel lighter than they are because the heaviness is elsewhere. But when the heaviness is back it’s all that there is. Nothing relative. Nothing to compare it to, it is everything and nothing and nothing that is everything. One day last week KT laughed at her self for returning to her desk with toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her shoe. She didn’t mind the tiny thing and wasn’t embarrassed. That was a heaviness is elsewhere kind of day. Today KT can’t stand without crying and can’t smile without lying and so she does neither. Pete doesn’t ask her what is wrong because he knows she will say nothing or everything and both will be either. He knows that it is nothing and everything but he can’t do a single thing to help.

“the hands upraised” by Sasha at her desk


Friday November 25, 2016
11:54am
5 minutes
The back of a Buddha greeting card

I couldn’t sleep again last night. I don’t usually have this problem, toes touching the warmth of your calf, stretching into a dream. I woke you from almost-sleep, “I have the scares,” I said. We stole the line from our eight year old friend because kids are the most articulate in my books. Before I woke you from almost-sleep, before we brushed teeth and put socks and underwear into the laundry hamper, I had been edgy and grating and needy with you, asking “Why?” over and over, even when it wasn’t called for. Mostly when it wasn’t called for. Before the sixty three “Why’s” we had seen a play about a brothel in which a woman is sold into sexual slavery. Our friends were in it. On the way there, I sang along to the radio in the car as the rain slapped the windshield. We held hands. The play was really good, really painful, really vital – which is more than I can say most of the time. Maybe all the “Why’s” I threw at you were easier than the “Why’s” I really have, the thundercloud ones and the screaming ones and the throat closing sob ones. I’m sorry. You don’t have answers because there are no answers, you can’t give me the answers I need, you shouldn’t ever have to. Hands upraised, reaching for something, reaching for meaning, reaching for why, reaching for God.

“a supermoon in Taurus.” by Julia on the 2


Sunday November 20, 2016
3:02pm
5 minutes
From chaninicholas.com

The other night after hating you for loving me I left the house in my pajama bottoms to seek out the supermoon
You said I probably wouldn’t be able to see anything in this fog but if she was waiting for me to catch her she would probably be that-away and you pointed to the east
I half expected she would be there and willing and believed I would be found if I found her but I couldn’t track her down and that was one more thing to be wrong about that day
I came back up the stairs slowly and stood outside our apartment door for a minute longer than usual while I decided how to feel in front of you
I could hear you inside telling yourself that you deserved to be happy too sometimes

“I’m just so sad” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday November 19, 2016
12:07pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Oak St.

“I’m just so sad,” Phoebe has eyes like macaroni and cheese, deep pools of swamp. “I know you are, babe,” I say, and I wish that there was more comfort in those five words. They are just five words and words aren’t enough today. “I’m scared to live here,” she pulls the hood of her sweatshirt around her neck, cocooning. “I want to disappear.”

Inside the quietness of my ribcage, I talk to her about going to the desert and getting married, a klezmer band of lesbians singing to our love in ancient howls under a crescent moon. Inside the quietness, I whisper sounds that aren’t words that might hold her in a way English never can.

“Not to be pulled savagely” by Julia on her couch


Monday November 14, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
Canvas
John Coyote


These days I am built out of gossamer drenched in oil
I sit heavy with stillness
My bones are chalky inside their covering
Nobody knows how to hold me
The air is thick with loneliness
And every voice outside my head that tries to calm me sticks to my unease and pulls savagely
And I am without fortress
Even fresh lines and hot ink bind me
I am old and new at the same time and my centre has moved to another spot that I don’t have a compass for

“the world is ending” by Sasha at JJ Bean


Wednesday November 9, 2016 at JJ Bean on Cambie
2:06pm
5 minutes
From a tweet


I have cried all the cries
and all the fears
endless rivers of grief
a chasm in my chest the size of an orange man

I have raged on my bed
and my body
and my love
I have lost hope

A violent collision of
faith and doubt
I’ll go listen to music tonight
eat a muffin
write my daily write

A sadness has descended
that I haven’t known

The privilege of self reflection
of whiteness
of able body
cis-gender

The privilege of a bed to rage
a body to move
a love to hold and weep and hold
six dollars for an americano and
a peach oatmeal muffin

On my walk here
I searched the eyes of people I passed
in a way that I don’t usually
with a tenderness I have been conditioned
to withhold
I searched the eyes of a pregnant woman
wearing purple
and grey
I smile

“for a fun birthday” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday August 25, 2016
6:59am
5 minutes
SAD MAG
from a TMZ video

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

I am not celebrating my birthday this year.

I AM NOT CELEBRATING MY BIRTHDAY THIS YEAR.

So. You can all go back to what you were doing. WHAT wERe YoU DOinG AnyWAY?? Celebrating something else?? Probably anything else??

I am very upset.
UPset. UPset. because. BECAUSE: I WAS Set Up. That is the truth. TO FAIL. set up to fail and to deal with the repercussions on my oWN. Which is painful. I mISs My Sister.
I miss her laugh. I miss her handssssssss.

And they want me to KEEP PUSHING?

How far before I am edging off the face of this planet? How FAR BEFORE I AM JUST Another NEWs STORy. This Just In: Everything is wrong and nothing is right and someone who needs those things to be switched is feeling the sadness of losing someone close and needs to be held but people are afraid and needs to be told IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY by someone WHO KNOWS and by someone who Won’t Turn It Into A Media Scandal.

I am not celebrating my birthday this year. I have disappointed everyone and nobody will come and everyone is mad and nobody can fix broken with cake.

“your hand in mine” by Julia on her bed


Saturday August 20, 2016
2:08pm
5 minutes
Heard in a song on Co-op radio

I catch myself believing I deserve better when I grab your hand in the crowded street and you pull away after only a second. I grab your hand as a gesture to show you that in this sea of people, I cling to you. I reach for you. I choose you. I remind you every chance I get that I am proud of you. That I am proud to be with you. That the touch of your skin connects me to the only things in this life that matter. And you might miss all of that if you’re not expecting to see it. If you think holding hands is something to be taken for granted. Or to be done differently, perhaps. On days like this I swim along the shoulders of other people when I think of how lonely it is to love you. How far I’ve pushed my heart into opening and how tired she is from never being cradled back. I don’t think I’m allowed to ask for more. I need so much so much so much.

“We’ll discuss some of the best” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday, July 23, 2016
1:12am
5 minutes
vancouvertrails.com

On the walk home tonight you grabbed my hand so I wouldn’t tumble down the hill and told me you were seriously considering buying a camper van.
It was a nice moment.
I could tell you more about what I was thinking inside my head when you said it.
I could say that I wanted to know you forever right then and there. I could say I wasn’t sure all this time because I was convinced you would find a reason to leave me but then I was. And it felt different. It felt different than being weary of you. It felt different being so completely certain.
But I didn’t say any of those things. I smiled at you. I gripped your hand tighter. And I looked into your eyes with a deep sadness for all the moments before I doubted you. The moments before I doubted you could love me as much as I loved you and as much as I needed to be loved.
So I think that was enough.
I think that was all I needed to do.
And then we came home and baked some tortilla chips because why the fuck not.

“We got a good surge” by Julia by her bed


Thursday, July 21, 2016
12:16am
5 minutes
overhead at The Rickshaw

Because there was an opening
we stood up tall on a mountain and opened our mouths to the wind
We wanted to
We wanted to shout
out
all of the sadness and all of our lungs
Just in case she was listening
Just in case she was sorry
I dream of her in reds and yellows
In basil and lavender
In honey and lace
She is perfect still in a world where compliments cannot buy her
I dream of her in here yes today please
She is gone like a feather from a wing
And I can only let my agony
into the wild
As a ghost
As a whisper
As a lullaby

“Highway 2” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday July 2, 2016
10:03pm
5 minutes
NOW Magazine

According to the late night clock on the wall ticking Go To Bed we realized we hadn’t slept since the Rainstorm because you couldn’t fall asleep in the quiet and I couldn’t fall asleep without you. I blamed you then for your sadness. I didn’t know that when you said you were the happiest you had ever been you were trying to manifest happiness because you didn’t have any. I wished you’d stop pretending that it was better on the side of the world where you were left alone, unbothered by me. It made me feel like and onion in an apple patch, a melody in the silence. I made you a card with a picture of a heron because of that one day when we owned the beach before sunrise and saw three of them in a line like an omen for good future, or good luck, or good observation skills.

“Hands me a shovel” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 29, 2016 at Starbucks
7:33am
5 minutes
Zen Poem
Jane Rohrer


Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Says Whatchu Waiting For?
Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Hands me a shovel and tells me I have to and if I won’t do then I won’t do anything else today, no eating, no running, no laying down, no reading. So I do because I want to do other things but I don’t want to dig. My arms are weak from all the lifting he made me do yesterday. He sits back and watches me work while he chews on a piece of straw and rocks back and forth saying, That’s Nice, and Good, and, Very Good. The last time I tried to run away he sent his dogs. So I don’t threaten to head to the fence anymore. He wants to keep me right where he can see me. I don’t want to dig but his face is sweaty and mean today. I have to. I have to.
Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Says I Like Watching You Drip
Says Thank You
Says I’ll Show You How Thankful I Am

“Contemporary and traditional ceremonies” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday June 25, 2016
9:23pm
5 minutes
Weddings from the Heart

I haven’t packed a bag in a long time. I don’t really know where I’d go, so I don’t do things that get me going. Matt will have been gone for exactly a year tomorrow. We’re having a mass for him even though he hated church. Mom is always there these days. She says she has a lot to repent about and just wished she could have done it before. She thinks she could have saved him with prayer. I haven’t thought about leaving home since he killed himself. Maybe because I had been away so long and if I were close by, or closer, he wouldn’t have felt so alone. I guess we all blame ourselves for him being gone. I wish the same thing as my mother, that I could have changed my ways sooner. Only in my case that I would have been less selfish and had the foresight to know the repercussions of moving away from home and leaving your kid brother to fend for himself.

“You put that out into the world” by Julia on her couch


Thursday June 2, 2016
11:05pm
5 minutes
overheard at UBC

Let me just put out there
that I was
about to
come to bed when you
closed the door on me
decided you just had to sleep
right then
and there
like the gods made you do it
I don’t know if
you could hear
me
grumbling to myself
how everything is on your time
and on your impulse
and I’ll just
wait out
here
until my blood has cooled
and my tongue
won’t burn you
because I was about to burn you
strike below
the belt
and make you feel
more alone than you’ve ever felt
but instead I remember that
you
bought
me
flowers
once

“How are you doing this morning?” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 1, 2016
8:38am at Starbucks
5 minutes
Overheard at Starbucks

My face is in the window and every single person who walks by has a dog
Every single person who walks by has a dog that looks like them
The woman in her clunky heels behind me shakes the floor so much it makes me have to pee
Holding it in, letting it pulse inside me like a flood threatening a levy, is the closest I’ve come to having an orgasm in weeks
I can’t think straight because James is studying in Nepal and I’m worried that she’ll die over there
She is obsessed with going sky diving or bungee jumping
The last time we spoke I told her to please just build a house and stay on the ground
I hate every moment that I’m awake these days
The man beside me is listening to the sound of me breathing and using it as a metronome for his typing
I want to shoot an elastic band at him for stealing my life and turning it into something I don’t have access to
The woman I bought the toaster from off of craigslist last June walks by holding a scruffy man’s hand and wearing fishing boot waders
I wave to her and she waves back but she clearly doesn’t recognize me right away
Then I see it click as a big wide smile crosses her face and she gives me an encouraging ‘thumbs up’ before walking away

“In just 10 months you have come a long way” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday May 3, 2016
10:53pm
5 minutes
From the Twitter account of the woman sitting in front of Julia

Grief looks good on her. At least that’s what people keep saying. Not directly, but that’s what they’re saying, under the tight lipped smiles. Mostly other women. Sometimes men, but it’s quiet, it’s less direct. She’s running every day, because she can’t sit still. Her feet shuffle when she’s at the table, opening the mail. She tries to write in the journal that her sister sent her from the New Age gift shop, but the pen won’t move. Meanwhile, her knees jump. She runs in the ravine, where the trees haven’t really changed since she was a child. She starts drinking all of her meals, unable to chew, almost unable to swallow.

“Textures” by Julia on her couch


Thursday April 28, 2016
8:52pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

It’s hard for me not to see you in the wallpaper and feel you in the tile. Your life danced on these floors. Your heart wept in this bed. I feel you in the counter grime, underneath the green dust that has formed a film on the island–the spot where you placed all those freshly picked wild flowers for me. I tell myself it is not over. That you are still here and that I am still here and that this is still our home, the living room still a place where we used to make music, the kitchen still a place where we used to make love. I hear you in the buzzing hallway light, and the hum of the furnace. They sing to me your laugh and I am held there by the beauty of this pain. In moments where I am completely quiet, I can almost even see you reading in your favourite arm chair by the window, legs outstretched and resting on the blue accent pillow.

“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.

“The earth’s insomnia” by Julia at her “New York”


Wednesday March 16, 2016
9:04pm
5 minutes
Moonlight
Lorna Crozier


I have been out stealing rosemary again. Middle of the night. I am not sorry. But I do recognize the pattern. It’s not about much more than needing to have it in my home so I can touch it when I want to and it can calm me down. Some people do the very same thing with animals. I mean maybe they don’t go around at midnight and sneak into people’s front yards, but–I mean they feel comforted by the presence of a pet. So what? I don’t have one of those. I make do. I’m fine. Please don’t ever think my problems will be solved by a cat. They most certainly will not. I don’t need something like that. Thank you for the offer of your offer. I miss my fucking mother. I want to call her and cry and let her love me back to life. I want to tell her that after all that rosemary thieving I didn’t even put any in the roast potatoes. Because I wanted to keep it longer in a vase next to my bed. Because I wanted to hold onto her soft voice telling me for the last time that I was her laugh.

“A single breast winking,” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 29, 2016
11:32pm
5 minutes
FWD FWD
Robin Evans


In the shadow of chaos she emerges from her pain, long enough to sit up straight and shake off her darkest parts. Sinking in grungy bathwater, reeking of self hate and self punishment, she lets out a wail, a song of her finned underwater comrades. She is touching ocean floor and stratosphere. She is marking both sides of this earth so she can find her place in between them again.
Her mouth is opened and sound falls out like one last hope-one last plea. She is begging herself to save herself: No muskets, no smoke, no hugs, no rope.

“Inside our homes there is usually” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 28, 2016
11:44pm
5 minutes
from a magazine cutout/em>

Inside our homes there is usually less noise, more quiet, less hate, more love.
Usually.
Tonight there is more crying, less calm, more shaming, less light.
We are both nothing and everything, trying to love each other’s nothing and everything.
You do a better job with it than I do. When I am absolutely nothing nothing, you are still everything everything.
I ask you why you are so nice to me.
You answer with a forehead kiss and a squeeze.
I tell you you haven’t left enough space for me here.
You answer with a squeeze and direct eye-contact.
You will not let me take any prisoners.
You are so happy to be brought on board when I remember that you deserve that.
We are each other’s everything. We are our own nothings.
I have to remember that part too.
If I’m painting broad strokes of the everyday, there is usually more laughter, less pain, more teamwork less fight.
It depends on many things.
The things that usually happen 100% inside of me.

“always easier to leave it at home” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Tuesday February 23, 2016 at the VPL
6:49pm
5 minutes
abeautifulmess.com

Been fucking trying to leave it at home. Been fucking trying not to swear anymore either but as you can see, things have been a little bit rough these days. My asshole of a manager has decided that not only are we no longer allowed on our phones during work hours, but now we have to write a fucking positive message about the “team” each night before AND AFTER our shift. FUCK. How do you not swear when your life is a complete fucking joke? Tad, his fucking name is TAD. And Fucking TAD has so many fucking brilliant ideas for community building, such as embodying bullshit in the most unappealing human way this century has ever seen, or for making us walk through the back doors before we sign our lives away for 4-8 hours in a “light” and “baggage-free” way. Fucking Tad likes to tell me, “Leave your bad attitude at the door, Tegan, this place is a “frown-free” zone!” I want to fucking punch him with a fork. In the throat. Repeatedly. Until fucking forever and ever Amen.

“a finger in each mouth” by Julia at her desk


Sunday November 22, 2015
8:11pm
5 minutes
From a poem by bell hooks

I can’t read what you wrote because it hurts me every time
like a knife in my side
like a drill in my spine
I can’t see your doctor-prescription-careless-anarchy penmanship because it reminds me that you don’t have any respect for what I do
Your o’s look like d’s, your d’s look like meteors
your ripped napkin with the tomato sauce stain letterhead of our kitchen makes me cry
The part scratched out that I wish to God I could read haunts me
You told me you were leaving me on a garbage scrap and then left it on the fridge next to the photo of us rubbing noses