“as spicy or as tame” by Julia on her couch

Saturday March 10, 2018
10:03pm
5 minutes
Allrecipes.com

Her skin smelled spicy and I couldn’t get it out of my head. The way she plucked rosemary from other people’s gardens and tucked it in her back pocket or in the bun of her hair. She needed the earth like she needed to laugh. I loved that she did not pass one bushel unpicked. She liked to roll the green between her fingers and pull them up to her nose at traffic lights. She said it calmed her. She said it made her feel like she was already home. When we’d wake, I’d find her laying in my practice baseball shirt and smelling good without the help of something bottled. When I told her she smelled spicy she laughed and said, what were you expecting, lavender?

“I didn’t hear that part” by Julia on the 84

Monday November 13, 2017
4:08pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 84

Oh he says he loves me needs me wants to squeeze me
Holds me shows me deep down knows me
Dreams me means me in betweens me
Wants me likes me day and nights me
He says a lot of things
Forever and always
Lots of love love love
He says he can’t live his life without me can’t stop won’t stop hugging up on me
He says something after that and before
But I do not hear them
Over the noise

“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.

“For twenty-five years my father” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday January 26, 2017
9:32pm
5 minutes
In Recognition Of A Quarter Century Of Contribution To UMA
Curtis LeBlanc


For twenty-five years she watched her father shaking his head at people taking up too many seats on the subway. She finds herself doing it now, or purposefully sitting where a bag sits, so entitled and peppy. “I’m getting off at the next stop,” says a man wearing white sunglasses and brown boots. She doesn’t feel bad. She has a right to that subway seat, more so than the canvas duffle. The summer after her father died, she didn’t ride the subway very often. Preferred to bike or walk.

“okay okay okay” by Julia on the reading chair


Sunday, July 10, 2016
1:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the street

It’s the eleventh time (maybe the twelfth) that he’s told me he loves me today and it’s not even noon yet. I think he’s covering up for something. Overcompensating like he does sometimes when he becomes afraid of me. I catch a glimpse of myself being hugged in the mirror, (bent low) by his unavoidable embrace. I say, okay okay okay and he lifts me up, hurt on the inside, and in his eyes. You don’t want me to love you? I catch reflection again and there is hurt on me too. I do, I say, just not parallel to the floor like that, not crumpled up in a ball that makes my back ache. Sorry, he says, I didn’t mean to hurt you. Okay okay okay, I say, I know, no one ever means to. I give myself a time out so I can be far away from him and his love that doesn’t know how to feel rejection. I don’t want to be the thing that twists his insides when he’s happy and makes him drift off to sleep dreaming about my funeral. I tell myself, in exactly five minutes (maybe six), I will go back over there and squeeze him with the honest love I’ve been keeping from him.

“fumbling as she removes” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday June 11, 2016
9:58pm
5 minutes
from an assignment

It’s the second time they’ve fucked in 2 hours. She is eyes closed, veal roast in the oven, 15 minutes left, oven mitts on and panties down. He is grabbing, grinding, purring in her ear pushing pants down, hers, his, lower, lower. She is arched back, kicking off tight jeans, kicking tight jeans aside, making more room, getting better grip. He is neck kissing, hair pulling, t-shirt over head lead her from the kitchen counter, all the way to the living room floor. She is focused, free, committed. He is thirsty, licking, willing. She is sniffing his skin and sighing deep. He is groaning each second, spilling into her, spilling out of her.

“She said she was an actress” by Julia at Grange Park


Friday, July 3, 2015
3:48pm
5 minutes
said by a Valens customer

She said she was an actress
Her heart the bleeding kind
She said she was a change maker
Her heart the bleeding kind
She said she was only half living
Her heart the tortured kind
She said she was only half being
Her heart the tortured kind
She said she was a lover once
Her heart the open kind
She said she was mother once
Her heart the open kind
She said she was an actress
Her heart the beating kind
She said she was a slave to the art
Her heart the beating kind
She said she was unhappy
Her heart the breaking kind
She said she was wasn’t done yet
Her heart the breaking kind

“Walking and talking” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday January 13, 2015
11:42pm
5 minutes
Brave New World
Aldous Huxley


Open hands
She puts a green pea there
Near the life-line
Near the river leading towards me
Drifting like snow
Clean
Better than before
Riper with age
Avocado on the table
No other fruits or vegetables
Walking and talking
Like rain
Anyway
Back to the point
She puts the pea on her tongue
Lets it rest there
Let’s rest there

“Feathers and flowers” by Julia on her parents’ couch


Friday January 16, 2015
5:19pm
5 minutes
from a 2015 calendar

He got me a necklace with a feather on it. It was really pretty and made my eyes stand out. That was the first thing he ever bought me like that. I remember him saying once that he just wanted to spoil me but not with gifts or clothes or jewelry…But with touching and love and food and laughter. Probably because he really wouldn’t know where to start if he were buying me jewelry. And it made me happy to know that he knew me enough to give me what I needed and not what he thought I wanted. The feather necklace was beautiful because I was never expecting him to gift me something tangible in the form of something beautiful. My expectations for love are high. He promised me that. Now I want it forever.

“rather than something crafted from odds and ends” by Julia at her desk


Sunday November 23, 2014
11:56pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Mary Catherine Bateson

She leaves a note on the kitchen table
Says there’s pizza in the oven and yogurt in the fridge if you’re hungry
I observe her life without her there
Taking it in, seeing how big of a fan she is of Bob Dylan
The sink is filled with a paste of flour and water
Pancakes, she says, taste better at midnight
I wander through her closet, see her obsession with shoes
Shoes and shoes and belts and shoes
I leave her drawers
I don’t go in them even though I want to
Even though I want to know everything
I can’t stop thinking about the kiss she didn’t give my mouth
But the kiss she wrote on paper
I can keep the one she left there
On the table top with a small bowl
A spoon
And a coffee pot on a cutting board
She wants to care for me in her way
And I could stay all day in her dirty kitchen
Scrubbing the stove free of pancake paste
And smiling to myself

“study and travel” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday October 5,2014
9:11pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

She chose her own name and she chose “Alibi”. She heard her father say it, something about his work, something about people with scars on their wrists and tired tongues. She chose her birthday and she chose today. Crisp, like a Gala apple. Blue sky like the birds soaring. She sang only in the forest because she found the trees to be the most receptive audience. She found the trees to listen with their whole being, not like people, not like us, arms crossed, teeth gripped like we’re afraid our own voice might escape.

“But we will judge you.” by Julia at her kitchen table


Monday July 28, 2014
11:40m
5 minutes
from www.winnipegpoetryslam.wordpress.com


She had a beautiful accent and I fell in love with her voice before I ever saw her face. I was lucky then. Oh I was so lucky my friends used to joke about me having a horse shoe jammed right up my ass. But the difference between me and some of those other lucky ones is that I know damn well how lucky I am. Maybe it was even just luck that the first time I got to listen to her it was at a poetry reading where she read the prose of her favourite poet. It’s luck when you get to hear something as intimate as a confession. That’s what I heard when she spoke and I could understand her. I could see her. I don’t think I ever saw anything after that that mattered as much as her.

“Get creative” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday June 26, 2014
11:25pm
5 minutes
from the spaghetti package

She woke early
She stretched long
She didn’t think about turning on the brightness
Or turning off the dark
In the Meeting last night she cried
She wishes she hadn’t but forgives herself
She wishes that she hasn’t worn mascara
Who was she trying to impress?
She laughs at herself
Truly
Not the kind where she’s just imagining that she’s being filmed
Not that kind of laughter
She drinks a pint glass of water
She wonders why she still has pint glasses in her cupboard
She imagines smashing them all
And sweeping it up
And tossing it into the garden
The shards of glass might help her tulips grow
No
She calls her Sponsor
“Get creative,” she says
“Make something,” she says
“Go to the Island and ride your bike around and pick up things that strike you as beautiful,” she says
She disregards this
(The Island)
But goes on a bike ride from West to East
Along the Lake
She watches the sailboats

“(Warning: This is going to be personal)” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday June 24, 2014
10:25pm
5 minutes
mytinysecrets.com

I start off by telling him to buy a broom. I say this because we’ve been without one for a week and 4 days and I’ve never been more acutely aware of how dirty floors get. We just keep carrying food bits and street crumbs around with us from room to room, from surface to surface. I tell him that I’ve tried to be okay with transferring the tiny dried up pieces of day to living around with me under my feet. I’ve tried to ignore how much was building up. I’ve tried to pretend it was kind of nice not having to worry about sweeping, and not being a slave to the system anymore. But then one minute on one day, enough is enough. It happens abruptly. The level of ‘here’ up to which I have had the proverbial ‘it’ is above my head as well as his, and though I am not tall, he is, so it is radically different than the moment before when it didn’t matter, or it masqueraded as such. The second thing I tell him to buy is a dustpan. He looks at me with those eyes saying why why why and I answer with mine saying because because because.

“Even if she is feeling like the scum of the earth” by Julia at her kitchen table


Monday June 2, 2014
11:38pm
5 minutes
an Instagram photo

She told me herself she didn’t feel like herself when the rain fell and when her stomach fell
I heard her say it with a faint ringing in my ear
I heard her say it cause I saw her there in the mirror
She was alone and cold and a full-blown ally to the dark side, to the wrong side
She was something that I could only dream about
Or wish for
She told me herself she didn’t feel much like singing when the sun was out
She would be there, crouched in the mud, trying to taste her mistakes
Trying to make a waterfall from her eyes’ outpouring
The earth is a wet and cold place
I heard her say it with a faint longing in my bones
I heard her say it cause I was stuck there inside her ribcage when her heart started screaming
Take me away
Take me so far away from this
And the sky would open with her desperate kiss
And she would lay there holding on to the only thing she knew

“how thrilled she was” by Julia on her bed


Thursday May 15, 2014
8:17pm
5 minutes
This American Life Podcast

He deals with the landlord because she gets real entitled for no reason. She thinks she should have holes in walls replaced immediately, and that he should be able to be contacted at any time of the day, the night, holiday or not. He knows that if he calls the landlord after business hours, he’ll get a better response. He can shoot the shit. He can talk about the basketball game or the hockey game or the weather or the news. She gets right down to the matter at hand and forgoes any niceties because she’s busy and doesn’t care if her landlord thinks she’s unpleasant. She’s made because she offered once to babysit his three girls because she thought that might help their chances of never getting their rent price inflated. He said no and she never forgave him so now she just calls him when she has to and otherwise gets pissy if the ceiling in the kitchen leaks and she knows it won’t get resolved till after business hours three weeks from now because everyone else is so damn laid back. He tells her that she needs to let go a bit and stop worrying that everyone is out to get her and purposely stretching out tasks that need completing. She tells him his standards are too low and that they are not friends because friends don’t make friends sign a contract for a 1 year lease.
She reminds him to remind the landlord and he tells her that it will all get done eventually.

“Defeating death, embracing love” by Julia on the Greyhound heading to Toronto


Sunday May 11, 2014
3:10pm
5 minutes
Reader’s Digest
March 2014


What am I going to have to do to get you to come out of there?
He knocked gently on the bathroom door and waited there with his head attached to the wall.
She stared daggers silently through him, through the wall.
I’m not coming out. You can stay there all day if you’d like.
He swivelled in his spot, turning so the back of his head was leaning on the door.
She cocked her fingers like a gun and fired.
Can you turn down the fucking Feist, please?
He peeled himself off the door and went to his laptop sitting on the coffee table. He waited.
She waited.
He closed the lid and the music stopped.
K, thanks.
Yup.
It’s not about me, right?
Yup.
Yup it is, or yup it isn’t?
I need you to go away now.
She walked backward feeling the cabinets on her way to the window. When she reached the tub, she climbed in one foot at a time, then drew the shower curtain.
Please talk to me.
No thank you.

“once” by Julia on the 506 going west


Wednesday December 11, 2013
7:51pm
5 minutes
from a poster for Once The Musical

Once she lied
He forgave her
Kisses on top of her head
And everything
She said she was sorry
And she meant it
Nothing made her feel worse
He said shh shh and held her close
Her eyes glassy
Her mouth dry
It’s not over it’s not over
He soothed her
Holding her heart in a velvet pouch
So she wouldn’t try to hurt it even more
She eventually forgave herself
He never stopped loving her
She would slip sometimes
Bringing up the past because it was eating at her
Shh shh he’d say to her
This is not then, it’s now
She would test him
Without even knowing it
Making him feel bad for things
That he couldn’t understand
And he loved her anyway
He came home after bitter fights
He wrote her love notes
Hiding them in her coat pockets
And on the bathroom mirror
So she’d know
And so she’d believe
That when he said he would always want her
He meant it

“Toronto had one film festival.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, October 5, 2013
1:43am
5 minutes
From an article in the VIA Rail Destinations magazine September/October 2013/

People are writing their secrets on the leaves of the big maple behind City Hall. It’s starting to turn, autumn sweeping her mysterious paintbrush across it. There’s a jar at the base of the tree, I put it there, filled with coloured pens. A plaque sits behind the jar, she made it, and reads, “Tell us your secrets.” She has curly, goddess penmanship and makes writing on wood with a Sharpie look like an ancient Japanese art form. We wait, perched in a chamber with an overlooking window. “Let’s stay for three days,” she says, sipping Earl Grey from a travel mug. The first person comes and reads the plaque and walks away. A couple, in somewhat matching plaid jackets, smiles at eachother. The each take a leaf, low down and write and wait, and write and wait. I trust this tree more than any person. He’s been listening to my secrets since before I was born.

“I wonder if she’d mind if I’d” by Julia on the 510 going north


Wednesday January 23, 2013
10:29pm
5 minutes
Her…
Jordan Moore


I wonder if she. I wonder if I’d..
God I’m an idiot.
I’m actually so stupid. I can’t hear my thoughts. They’re all coming out and in as just a jumble so it’s a lot. And I feel dumb. She’s. She’s everything to me. I don’t know how that is in terms of like life but right now. Right now she’s just. She’s everything.
I can’t describe it. When I smell her skin. It’s. This. It’s this thing that washes over me. Like knowing it’s almost summer or something. And I know it sounds lame. Like dumb or whatever, but she’s that to me. She has that kind of skin and those kind of eyes and that kind of laugh that just hits me hard. Like a hurricane. And I’m sort of wishing it wasn’t because now that I have it it’s bad. Like I don’t want to give it away but I also don’t want to deal with it now because it’s a lot. Too much maybe. I wonder if she. If I. I wonder if she’s sort of. I don’t know. Like I just wonder. I just keep wondering. I’m thinking about her so much that my brain is starting to see her wherever I go. It’s kind of nuts, actually.