“joke poem about a black bear” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday January 31, 2017
9:53pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


“I had that bum tooth of mine finally go” she says, tapping the nub left inside her mouth. “I got over zealous, you could say. I got too comfortable with my routine and it turned me careless.” Lorna looks off into the distance for a while. I wait there, my finger hovering over the pause button. I don’t want to use battery while she drifts off but I don’t want to miss anything. It isn’t the first time it has happened. I remind myself of my privildge. I am desperate to know this woman and she is desperate to keep something for her for once. “Did I ever tell you about that joke poem? That joke poem about the–” She catches herself abruptly and her eyes dart around the room. I try not to move. I do anyway. I ask her, “is there something wrong?” She stares at me, nodding her head very slowly.

“bring it with me” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday January 17, 2017
9:19pm..
5 minutes
from an email

I don’t think I’d be able to leave it anywhere else. Not under the bed or in the closet. Not on the shelf or in the key house. I’d have to bring it with me because there is no place it belongs better than the place I’ve built. I carry it; the last thing you gave me. The world could shake me down till I were naked branch and still not be able to pry the light of you from me. I have stitched it on tight. I wear it when I cannot hold it. I wrap it when I need it bigger. I couldn’t leave that behind. Things already happen just so already…things already break too easy.

“the globally inspired” by Julia on her couch


Sunday January 24, 2016
11:49pm
5 minutes
from the front of a flyer

I heard on the news today that two more kids were shot in their front yard.
They were selling lemonade.
I don’t know how I’m supposed to wake up every morning, drink my coffee, put on my suit, go into schools and teach young people how to measure the angles of an isosceles triangle, or that just because our country allows people to carry firearms that it doesn’t make it okay to use them, or that these two smiling babies were still warm from their mother’s womb, being watched from the kitchen window by that same love–looking down for just one second to pull a splinter out of her thumb.
I don’t know how any of us do it. Keep living on repeat like we don’t see what’s happening in our world, right outside our houses, hitting closer and closer to home each time. I don’t know how any of us leave the safety of our sheets each and every day and find a new version of brave to wear for the day.

“he had heard on the phone” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February March 2 2014
8:41pm
5 minutes
The Murder Room
P.D James


He had heard on the phone that there was a snowmobiler who had gotten shot out on the lake. Marti told him that where he was living was just not safe anymore if people are out on the lake just enjoying themselves, and minding their own business, and getting shot. He told her not to worry about him because he wasn’t a snowmobiler nor was he a targeted individual. Marti told him right then and there that the man who was shot, was not targeted either. He was the victim of a careless person, wielding a shot gun, and attempting to take a “cool” photo for the “internet”. He wasn’t happy with that news because all his life he had felt safe on that lake, felt secure in that little town knowing that the neighbours were kind, and willing to help at any chance they could. He did not see his home turning into a place for kids running around with a God complex trying to shoot things for the sheer fun of it all. Marti told him he should build a fence to help with all the shooters. He told her that there had been only one incident so far, and that it would be the very last one. Marti was not convinced and told him that if he didn’t want to listen to reason, he would be the next victim and to not come crying to her when he had a bullet lodged in his brain.

“safety matters to us” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at Starbucks
12:24pm
5 minutes
TTC subway poster

We salt the sidewalks, we do the whole thing. We get all the late night volunteers to bring their shovels and if they have them, their snow blowers. We take the whole street by storm, and if we’re feeling particularly energized, why hell, we take the whole subdivision. That’s how you get things done in Bimble Lake. Small citied people but big worldly hearts. I started operation GO-SNOW in 2001 after the Cearsons’ car got stuck in their drive way right as Eva was going into labour with Matthew, or maybe it was Logan. They weren’t the kinds to ask for help, but I could see them from my dining room window, and I had the tools so I went on over there and helped before they could say no. Not that they’d say no, I mean, Eva was pretty close to a car delivery! Would have been a great story for the town, but I’m doubting it would be as wonderful for Eva and Cam. I enlisted some neighbours’ help the following year to dedicate a couple nights of the week to planning, and to prevention. We started using my garage as a storage locker for all our materials and I gave Eddie, Tim S., Tim L., and Orval a key.

“SOARING” by Julia on the subway going north


Monday December 9, 2013
9:44pm
5 minutes
from a Ryerson University subway ad

high above the pain and the suffering I left behind, you can see me there, painting the clouds with my smile and my open heart.
nice and red. and soft too, so it’s easy to look at. easy to take in. each one puffs by me, new now from my artwork. the tears up here are bright blue, almost turquoise. it’s nice when the salt mixes with the sweet cotton candiness of it all. i am flying now. i have been here before. my mind is clear like blowing air through a straw and making the objects on the other side move, even just a little. the forecast is not unbearable, or terrifying. it’s calm and predictable but impulsive without being too harsh. i’ve learned to love my new place in the sky. it feels far away from everything i knew, but no one speaks my language and i never need them to. the money, the time, the regrets all seem to float away. they don’t want to get in the way of my flight. they don’t want to hinder my soul from creeping up from its safe place and being exposed right there in front of me. i let out my expectations slowly from the hem of my skirt, and i do this until the string is fine and coiled around itself. below i see, i left it all there for another moment in time.

“unless otherwise indicated” by Julia on the subway going south


Sunday, May 26, 2013
9:06pm
5 minutes
from the back of a TTC day pass

I can’t breathe. Half of me is shaking the other half is on fire. I’m in a locked cage and I can see out but I’m not allowed to touch anything at all. Where did my body go? I think, unless otherwise indicated, you have it. I think I gave it to you. My arms. My legs. My heart is there too. It was safe with you so I left it there and went wandering. Being around people without my arms, my legs, is harder than I thought it would be. They don’t know my heart is gone, a big smile and some witty asides cover it up nicely. I can’t breathe. I can’t. If I do it means I’m admitting that I am living without you. If I move it means I’m capable without everything I used to have. Not happily, just basic motor skills. I’d rather they pull the plug. Didn’t I sign something earlier stating that if I were a vegetable, I didn’t want to be here? Somebody has to find that form.