“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

“whose eyes are a thousand blind windows:” by Julia in Amanda’s kitchen

Tuesday August 7, 2018
11:52pm
5 minutes
Howl
Allen Ginsberg

We wait for each other to stop speaking
silence drifting between us in our car seats
Sometimes saying nothing is saying everything
How shame lives in my cheeks when I can’t
“say nothing”
“say nothing”

We spend three hours staring into each others’ eyes
separated by green tea and a key chain
and some blurry tears streaming without warning
We don’t call me what I am but later I feel it
The reckoning of too much information shared
Too much honesty not yet checked in the echo

We both say how lovely it is and how sad it was
and how soon we will do this again
nobody is crying now
The summer night too hot for tears to puddle

“All my friends are having babies” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday April 4, 2018
10:56pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

you won’t know me when you finally decide that i’m worthy and i’ll put a german shepherd in charge of my heart who will bark when you come close because that’s what i’ve got to do and i’ll do it because that’s the kind of person i am now. surprise. will you have thought long and hard about how to punish me (silence) how to hurt me back (silence) how to make me feel so low that your lowness is lessened is lighter. is your low less? is your low light? good good i’m glad for you i want the best for you i want the light for you. it’s been a long time. you won’t know me and the shape of my new face new world new days in and out in and out flying to see my lion home alone again nights alone thinking of the soup i’ll make the tea i’ll brew the better tomorrow better tomorrow. thinking of the babies i’ll have and hold and bundle and cradle and never let know this lonely this guilt this shame this bad call not the worst it’s okay it’s okay. i love.

“I think you’re really mean” By Julia on her bed

Friday March 30, 2018

1:49pm

5 minutes

Not Fair

Lilly Allen

The little girl says this to me after I tell her that I’m not mad at her for breaking my crayon box. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to feel bad but she feels bad and now she thinks every word out of my mouth is going to shame her head into the sand. This comment is followed by a lot of screaming for me not to talk to her. Nobody is allowed to talk to her. And I have to let it pass because she is not my child and she doesn’t know that I am trying to hold her. Minutes earlier she is flinging her arms around me and telling me she loves me. I wonder about the size of a three year old’s emotions. I ask myself, how do such big feelings fit into such small bodies. Her hands, when she lets me squeeze them, a tiny pillow for all the unknowing in the space between us. Her curls, when she lets me comb them, a bouncy castle of dreams.

If you believe it has been lost, stolen or compromised.” By Julia on her couch

Wednesday December 13, 2017
6:11pm
5 minutes
BC Revenue Services

There’s that ring in the ears…

When a thief fears being stolen from, or a liar paranoid of being lied to.

We all find our cells interlocked with the cells of the mirror. The truth scares us because we have not told it. The worry of someone who is capable of taking something that doesn’t belong to them is because we know we have already waited for the perfect umbrella to be left behind. The perfect chance to live, risk, live.

There is no scolding.

No judgement.

No scorn.

No blame.

“peel and core the remaining apples.” by Julia on the 84

Sunday November 19, 2017
10:55pm
5 minutes
Apples
Andrea Albin

Unra is being asked to pack the kids ” inclusive lunches”
Unra has never heard of “inclusive lunches”
Unra does not have time to figure out what “inclusive lunches” are
Unra is tired of being called a “clueless mommy” by all the other with-it mommies
even if the with-it mommies are inventing ways to make other women feel bad simply because they’re working
the with-it mommies create drama to gossip about because their lives are so small
the with-it mommies meddle too much in their kids’ lives and their kids are brats
the with-it mommies call each other up at lunch because they can’t stand to be alone with themselves when their kids have gone to school
Unra is not a with-it mommy
Unra is sleepless
Unra feels bad enough as it is

“I lied all the time” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 11, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Louis C.K
Sunbeams of The Sun (May 2017 issue)


five years old, Nonna visits,
leaves her face creams tubed in the upstairs bathroom
curious, five years old, sneaks into the upstairs bathroom
counts the black tile, counts the white,
opens the cream, smears it on, five years old,
closes it, runs away to pretend that nothing is out of the ordinary
mother, thirty-five years old, yells at all of us
because one of us, five years old, left the tubes partially open
Nonna wants to know who would, since she wouldn’t
five years old wants to blame it on the upstairs bathroom ghost
thirty-five years old asks flame on lips for the last time,
shoots missile from eyes, no prisoners
five years old, scared, ashamed, caught, decides to lie
blames it on the upstairs bathroom ghost,
learns guilt, confesses
one hour later

“He’s horrendous tonight” by Julia on her couch


Thursday December 1, 2016
11:35pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Canucks game

We wished we had tried harder to get him to make his famous ravioli. Aunt Katherine said that’s the only thing that would have made him feel better. Because it reminded him of his late grandmother who first taught him how in her kitchen covered in flour.
He didn’t seem to want motivation anymore. He didn’t like being pushed.
How do you tell a man that doesn’t want to hear it? How do you carefully construct a space where he can decline but also maybe change his mind. That’s what we should have worked at.

“dies in slow motion” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday July 5, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
In Search of Agamemnon
Bruce F. Fairley


Cut to me, 4 years old–MAYBE 5– and all the tiny humans in Mrs. Beliveau’s class have just come back from an assembly. We don’t have enough time to learn anything, not that we really ever did, so Mrs. B. tells us we can play on the structure if we can change as quickly as possible into our gym clothes. I see no one is on the structure and for some reason today I need to be the first one. So I strip down and throw on my shirt and I go running up to Mrs. Beliveau to ask her if I may “board the spaceship” (because we were in kindergarten and that’s what we called it, even though it looked nothing like a spaceship)and she looked down at me and said, “you may, as soon as you have some pants on.” And I looked down and I was standing there in my orange-starred underwear, in front of everyone, made to be aware of shame for the first time in my tiny life. I did whatever Macaulay Culkin got hired for in Home Alone then proceeded to die in slow motion; my face a shade of fire that burned me to death.

“with the theme of fear” by Julia at Coco et Olive


Monday November 9, 2015 at Coco et Olive
3:23pm
5 minutes
ionmagazine.ca

I am not alone in this room
I share my bed with my former self
And all my past mistakes
I lay my head down on the same pillow as the shame that haunts me
I close my eyes and see the me I never wanted to be
The me I never thought I could be
I am not alone in this lie
Sometimes good people make bad choices
Sometimes bad choices make bad people
I watch the blame hang on every corner of every wall
I wait for it to cling to my eyelids and bind my mind forever
He said she said
She does he does
She regrets he preys
He forgets she stays
I am not alone in this guilt
I share my memories with the poor judgement that follows me
And all the wrong I’ve invited in
To stay a while
To live on inside me

“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.”

“She expected me to be in jeans” By Julia in Brooklyn


Friday, July 31, 2015
2:17am
5 minutes
from Sasha’s transcriptions

As if to say I had already fucked everything up for everyone, she looked straight down her nose at me and slightly shook her head. Not a full shake. Just enough to really shame me and make me wish I hadn’t needed to even come. Stevie was on the other side of the lounge and she was sending over her best “Sorry, Delia” eyes. I think at one point she mimed tightening a noose around her neck out of solidarity but even she knew she had no idea what hell I was in. Stevie happened to meet one of the suitors who liked her care-free, dress-code breaking, entirely beautiful, but way too young looking face and had told the monitor that Stevie was free to remain as she was. I on the other hand didn’t get so lucky.

“scoop up all the trash” by Julia on her patio


Thursday May 7, 2015
10:04pm
5 minutes
from http://www.ecokids.ca

Community service. As if I should have to serve the community for doing one thing against the legal system. Like one tiny thing, and they make you serve the entire community with your penance and your time and your new shame. There are so many people doing illegal and stupid things. SO MANY. They’re not serving the community, they’re not even worried about having to. I mean, a service to my community would be warning everybody about where not to smoke hash in this city. Tell people where not to speed. Now these are services people want. The community doesn’t give a flying fuck if I rake up some completely docile leaves. Leaves don’t bother people, why is that one of the tasks? The community doesn’t care if I scoop up all the trash in the park. There are city people who get PAID to do that so they’re not going to suddenly feel like a big weight’s been lifted off them if I, the apparently guilty, offer a bunch of hours to essentially take away job opportunities from someone who actually needs the work.

“How is one to know—with strangers?” by Julia at the Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library


Saturday March 14, 2015 at the Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library
3:10pm
5 minutes
The Midwich Cuckoos
John Wyndham


Caught her staring at me from underneath her sunhat. She was trying to catch glimpses of me incognito but I could see her there, plain as day, paying all her attention to me, avoiding everything about herself. In her slight defense, I would be sneaking glances at me too if I were her. From an objective perspective, I was talking about some fascinating things. People always seem to perk up when they hear the words “wild” “unbelievable” “mind-blowing” “freedom” “sensual” and “magic”. I didn’t want to shame her for watching. After all, it was my choice to leave my house and interact with other human beings. You can’t really blame someone for wanting to see how another person lives, talks, eats, breathes, shares, listens, reacts, lies, sinks, falls, achieves, succeeds. I was curious about her too; sad girl hiding behind her over-sized beach hat.

“I’ve been catfished!” by Julia on the subway going west


Friday March 6, 2015
6:47pm
5 minutes
from a text from Sandra

I’ve been fully tricked
Half baked and eaten
Bowl of fruit and flies
Lights dimmed and lying kind of thing
It wasn’t easy to admit
In fact this is the first time
Felt too vulnerable and stupid
Felt too salty in all my gnashed out skin
Row of fakes
Tray of lies
Cup of deceit steeped to almost ready
And I drank it up gulped it down
Forgot all my faculties
Should have known it needed to cool before tasting
Donated all my wits to the charity drive on 8th
Wished I asked for a deposit on my self-worth

“heated rivalry and the jealousy” by Julia on her bed


Friday February 6, 2015
12:35am
5 minutes
http://www.mtv.ca

Karma’s a straight up bitch. Man, I’ve been saying that for as long as I can remember..like to other people, cause, hey, that’s what you say. But today I actually feel the bitter truth of it coursing through my veins like a sour drug. It fills me up so high my head pops off and my brains shoot out. It’s this epic battle between knowing that it’s deserved, and feeling one hundred percent blind-sided. I have realized, maybe for the first time ever, that I never want to be on Karma’s crazy bad side ever again. Cause right now, I’m at the lowest I’ve ever been. I don’t want to talk about why I’m at the bottom of the barrel because it feels like it gives my behaviour more power than it should have. On the other hand, I know avoiding it is cheap and cowardly, and I don’t want to be either of those things. So I guess what I’m saying is, I did it. I started the rumours about Tia because I was so jealous about her and Jay I couldn’t even see straight.

“friends to build your community” by Sasha on the couch in Mississauga


Monday December 22, 2014
9:12am
5 minutes
from grooveshark.com

I want to tell you something small. And massive. And yellow. I want to tell you about moving across ice, fawn legged, and reaching up to catch a tired branch and missing. I want to tell you about the shame in my hips, tight and sepia toned, how she hums when the nights are cold, how she moans when the fire has turned to embers. I want to tell you how I see the tired in your smile, how I see the memories of before and the forgetting of now. I want to tell you to stop reading the Tabloids, that slow drip of mediocrity, and I want to tell you that I won’t judge you if you don’t stop, but I will keep shoving books of poetry under your bed in hopes that you’ll find them when you’re most filled with longing.

“there’s plenty for everyone to do.” by Julia on Katie’s couch


Sunday December 14
1:33am
5 minutes
Eyewitness Travel London

Does everyone see how it works? It’s not a terribly easy concept so if you don’t, please speak up and let one of us know. No judgement in the room, can we hear everyone say that together? MMMMM NO JUDGEMENT IN THE ROOM….yes. Brilliant energy everyone. See how when we chant together we enliven the entire room? It’s a nice feeling, filling a space with a collective calm, isn’t it? Who is feeling a bit out of sorts? Does anyone need further clarification? Would it be useful to some if I turned off the lights, had everyone close their eyes and simply extend a hand if they were needing a bit of help? This way no one will be able to see the person who needs this extra assistance and I will walk about the room and feel their hand as a cry for help? And no one will be shamed for being unable to comprehend the basic instructions that are, of course, incredibly difficult to grasp?

“a very small quantity of mud” by Julia in Lozzola


Tuesday December 2, 2014
8:06pm
5 minutes
Cartapaglia notebook

A very small quantity of mud
A memory
A soiled vision of a past self
Could never get that dirt off
Could never scrub hard enough
Could never pray loud enough
Too many times told
“You will never be more than what you are”
Too many times heard
“You’ll never be worth much”
Too many times believed
“Nobody wants you”
And so the story is written
Burned
Etched into the shadow of yesterday
Remembering the washing
Attempting to erase past mistakes
Stuck there in that moment
The helpless youth
Left staring at herself in a broken mirror
With a wet cloth
And a tiny quantity of mud

“clearly in the context of the show” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday November 3, 2014
11:26pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

He’s there. He’s there. I run up the stairs of the porch and I remember that my Mom has writing group tonight, she’s across the city in High Park. Shit shit shit shit shit. I get my key into the lock and I slam the door and he’s there, on the porch. Heart pounding, tears real, breath high. I call the police. “Um, hi, I just, I just was followed and the man came onto the porch and I’m not sure what to do because I’m home alone and…” This man is going to kill me. I know you’re there. I see you. Two officers come, ring the doorbell. I creep towards the door, wiping tears. “You called?” They circle the house with flashlight and report back that they didn’t find anyone. No one’s there. I say “thank you”. No one’s there.

“chicken liver pate”by Sasha at her desk


Monday April 14, 2014
3:08pm
5 minutes
The Grid
April 10-16, 2014

When Jon got here, he looked nervous. Most people do. He was how I expected him to be, in some ways, but in other ways he surprised me. I didn’t expect the lisp. Or the combed hair, to be honest. He had light blue eyes… Almost like that actor that played Jesus in that Mel Gibson film. You know that guy? I don’t remember his name. Anyway, he sat down, stiff, like, he wouldn’t even lean back against the couch. I asked him the usual questions… The questions I always ask a new client. “You come very highly recommended…” he said. “By whom?” I asked. There was a long pause. “I can’t say,” Jon looked at the carpet and I wondered when I’d last vacuumed. “Alright…” I sipped my green tea, I think. I said, “What brings you here, Jon?” He remained very quiet for quite some time and I wondered who it was who might’ve recommended me to him. “It was Larry Pickford,” Jon said, his voice louder. “I met Larry in a chatroom. On the Internet. A special support group…” He stopped speaking and left the room. I called him a few hours later and left him a voicemail, asking him to come the following week. It took him a month to call me back. I know what you’re thinking…

“skill testing question required” by Julia at her kitchen table


Friday April 4, 2014
2:42pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

I was thinking about it all morning. It was a stupid math one, and I should have gotten it right with ease. Ease. I was good at math up until, what, grade five? Fucking graphs, you know? And ever since then it’s been downhill. I used to win fucking awards for my math. Like class-room accolades and shit. I used to get those lollipops. You know? We’d play around the world with our times tables, and I’d beat every single kid in my class, even the smart ones, and then I’d get a lollipop. I used to win so many times I could have opened a tuck shop at my desk and made 25 cents on each kid. See. Math. It’s all confidence anyway. Did you know that? I mean, sure, reading takes confidence, and whatever, Art. But math. It’s a skill you develop just by being confident enough to develop it. You have one bad teacher tell you you’re worth even a little less than you are, and you just learn to believe that crap. It’s one of those things that keeps coming back to bite you in the ass too. You know, taxes, and leaving tips, and getting the right change back from the damn Wal-mart clerk. Did she even finish high school? I don’t know. Does she assume I’m good at math because most people are at least able to calculate the simple stuff in their heads, and therefore this clerk works harder to be good herself so she doesn’t look like she’s trying to dupe a smart math guy? I don’t know. Maybe she thinks that because she’s bad at math, then I must also be bad at math.
Could have won a fucking car today. Fucking math.

“customize the formula” by Julia at her kitchen table


Thursday April 3, 2014
11:57pm
5 minutes
ivillage.com

-If we never get out of here, it’ll be all your fault, Rita. If that is even your real name.
-I’m not going to tell you again, I didn’t do it on purpose and it’s my real friggen name. Do you know many people who go out looking on purpose for a name like Rita?
-I don’t believe anything you say anymore.
-Fine.
-Fine.
-I was told you were the best.
-Who told you that?
-I don’t know, Dr. Arnold. Maybe someone else too, I don’t remember.
-He said that?
-Yeah. So then I wasn’t worried, because I trust him, but now I’m not so sure.
-I told you it was an accident. I’m sorry you’re missing it.
-Missing what?
-The ceremony. I’m really sorry about that.
-Right, well your kid only gets one kindergarten graduation. Here’s hoping she makes it to high school or I’m coming after you.
-If it’s any consolation, I missed my kid’s graduation too. On purpose. I was working.
-Oh.
-I know, I’m a bad mother. I wasn’t thinking of him then.
-You feel bad about it at least. That’s a start.
-Not then I didn’t. When it counted.