“Go to hell” by Julia on her couch

Saturday January 11, 2020
9:19pm
5 minutes
Age Of Iron
J.M. Coetzee

Jesus and the devil had the same haircut, the same beard, the same laugh. Did you know that?

Did you ever see them shadow on the wall in your bedroom?
I could tell you a thing about that.

Maybe the prayer part doesn’t appeal to you.
It’s not for everyone.

Some people don’t realize that giving gratitude is prayer. That honouring a thing with your attention is prayer.
Praying to the devil?

I could tell you a thing about that.

You might even go to hell and confuse the place for something else since you’ll see so many good people there.

I don’t know if I’ve made that enticing but now you can think about it. All the best intentioned, good as gold people.

“God is a really famous spirit” by Julia on the 84

Tuesday January 7, 2020
1:15pm
5 minutes
OMG! How Children See God
Monica Parker

Okay hi God, I know you must be really hard pressed for time these days since you became such a famous spirit and all. I get it, people want things, need things, expect things from you. I also know it’s not always as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Sure, you answer prayers and smite people, sure when we see your crib it’s decked out in pure gold and you have angels everywhere. But that daily stuff can be brutal. People are blaming you for things and it’s not your fault, your ideas are misinterpreted, and you’re like held to some unrealistic standard to be on all the time and to be perfect. I’m not here to ask for much, but if you’re not hiding out today from all the stress, would you mind gracing my sister? She has been struggling lately to find meaning and I think a tiny reminder from you would go a long way. Even a bit of sunshine or something like that.

“brought their wives and children” by Julia in Baden

Wednesday January 1, 2020
12:07am
5 minutes
The Trial of Louis Riel
George R.D. Goulet

lingering behind the red door
Dottie clutches a tattered handkerchief to her mouth to keep from crying out

the demons were in there, shaking

Dottie isn’t finding the deeper cause but knows she needs them gone

like that time she was drugged at the bar, an unmarked capsule fizzing in her drink, and a tiny girl suffering, needing her

She looked herself in the mirror and said it over and over again, rebuking, encouraging-
“You must” she said, “you must. You Must.”

“They did almost everything wrong” by Julia on Howland

Sunday December 29, 2019
12:04am
5 minutes
The Body
Bill Bryson

aunt judy waited at the foot of the driveway for the consistent mist, the blanket of wet to stop. She didn’t have an umbrella. aunt jude hated carrying around umbrellas. She didn’t get out of her car at first and then it was too long and she got self conscious. So she stood outside. And her hair plastered to her cheeks and forehead. And the tip of her nose held one single drop, hanging there, swaying in the breeze.

“They all would be knocking back a few” by Julia on Howland

Saturday December 28, 2019
11:06pm
5 minutes
The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe

They would be on their third or fourth beer by now,
knocking them back on the hour to keep up with the clock.

I know they would be waiting for the “girls” to arrive before they started playing the game. Better to have an audience. Helps with the ego. A little friendly competition. Someone to see you win gracefully. Someone to watch you hand another guy’s ass to him without it becoming a thing.

By the 6th beer they’d be showing everyone their choreography from Ker’s wedding.

“walk-in counselling clinic” by Julia on the Megabus

Friday December 27, 2019
9:35am
5 minutes
from a sign

Devra puts on her new lace cardigan. New to her, hand me down from Aunt Mary’s kids. Yesterday she went through the big garbage bag of the no-longer wanted/fitting and managed to find one item. The coral cardigan was the only thing that didn’t instantly turn her into a baby doll. Aunt Mary’s kids were young. Devra could fit into the tights but she didn’t feel proud to be wearing a 12 year old’s stuff.

She pats her face dry after washing with the new rose-water cleanser she got for Christmas and looks herself in the mirror. “Today’s a good day for it.” She says to herself.

“You can do the job when you’re in town” by Julia in Amanda’s bed

Thursday December 26, 2019
11:26pm
5 minutes
Walking In A Winter Wonderland

visiting my sister in law and she’s a trip, I’ll tell you a story. She has this kid, right, who is like, I don’t know, 10 years old or something. And she makes her sleep in her bed with her still. Like, it’s not the kid who needs to sleep with her mom, but now she kind of does since her mom’s been making her all this time. She’s lonely, I guess. My brother doesn’t even want kids and there he goes finding a woman to marry who already has one. Kind of nuts if you ask me. Like how fair is it for the kid? Shouldn’t she get the kind of dad who will be able to love her? And so my sister in law texted me
before I even met her. She apparently made my brother tell her our whole family’s numbers so she could text us about an “emergency” about Kyle. So I was texting Kyle like, are you safe, can you tell me when you get this, cause I thought he broke his arm or something worse, right?

“You soda cracker!” By Julia in Baden

Wednesday December 25, 2019
11:09pm
5 minutes
Soda Cracker 
Raymond Carver

Listen, Libby, we’re not doing this again. Your brother really likes this girl and I don’t need you giving her a hard time. Now when they get here I want you on your best behaviour. No aggressive questions. No buts! I don’t want to hear it. You don’t go attacking people, I don’t care how funny you think that is. Liam’s never done that to you. I bet if you really liked a boy he wouldn’t be scheming over there trying to make it harder for you. Surely you can’t imagine it, but being newly in love for a boy like your brother is already difficult. There’s all the unwritten rules he’s got to navigate and bringing her home to meet the whole scrutinizing family, prickly older sister and all? Now come on if you think you’re a soda cracker!

“Ice on the sidewalk” by Julia in Joe’s childhood room

Tuesday December 24, 2019
12:02pm
5 minutes
Or Death and December
George Garrett

This city is colder than the one we left. I haven’t missed the rain once. Not in my life, even during the draught. When we left the first time coming back was like a time stamp on where we had been and how much we’ve learned. Seeing the CN Tower used to make me cry. Every street is a buzz. There are people out and about, wearing layers, walking slowly on the icy sidewalk. Back home, I guess we’re calling it that now, the cold was welcome when it came. It wasn’t too much or too hard. Not for someone born to a cold far harsher.

I don’t have the right gear for this city. Been known to keep a parka around just in case but the reality of this no longer being my home has finally sunk in. Why keep a coat around when you live in a place that doesn’t need it.

“Outside the ripe hayfields” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 21, 2019
8:55pm
5 minutes
My Father’s Lunch
Erica Funkhouser

Daddy was smiling as he told me about taking me to work with him. You could see a little glint in his eye like he’d been thinking about it on his own. Planning, smiling. I couldn’t wait to go with him on account of that little smirk. You could tell he was excited to show off his little girl and let them all know who would be taking over the business.

When I think of him that way it brings a tear to my eye. Daddy always knew how to make me feel special. I guess when someone really believes in how special you are, it oozes out of them. I wouldn’t trade that look for anything.

“what God told me in a dream once” by Julia at her desk

Sunday December 8, 2019
6:57pm
5 minutes
A Poem In Which God Is Both A Metaphor And Not
Chloe N. Clark

It was the day I discovered the Ouija Board. Brett and Lauren convinced me and Jenna to play. I didn’t want to. I didn’t think it was a very good idea.
When Brett asked the question, “What is written on the back of my ring”, the one his mother used to wear that he now never takes off, I waited with my breath trapped in my chest. The pointer piece started to move on the board and I felt like I was watching my worst nightmare come to life. It hovered over the initials, T…..S…..Brett was shocked. He took off his ring to show us the same two letters.

Later that night I woke from a dream to find the silhouette of Jesus on my wall. I stared at it, him beaming at me from the shadow. His beard and eyes, soft. I opened my mouth and almost spoke. Then the figure began to laugh. It was high pitched and getting bigger and bigger. Jesus was laughing at me. And I knew right then and there that I had invited the devil into my room, just like I always feared.

“I have continued to struggle” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday November 19, 2019
9:26pm
5 minutes
From a letter 

you were born in toronto
you thank your lucky stars
when people ask you where
you’re from you don’t have to lie or embellish

now after all these years your area code is worth something and when people discover you never changed your number they seem offended and you are proud

didn’t think you’d be here this long, but here you are, still here, still here

you remember the day you looked out at the skyline and said two years max as if the timeline were drawn in the sand without factoring the storm

it takes longer than you thought it would to find home in a new place and three seems like the magic number; the beginning of the not so terrible, maybe even good

you’re still here now
still here

“I remembered a story” by Julia at her desk

Friday November 15, 2019
4:40pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Laurens van der Post

papa used to make up stories on the spot
after being begged
after we climbed him like baby baboons
after we heard one good one and knew
there had to be more where that came from

sometimes he’d do it with his eyes closed
and the telling would be the only thing
keeping him from sleeping
he’d say “I’m just resting my eyes”

mama never made up stories
but told the same ones over and over again
usually to teach us a lesson
but sometimes because she couldn’t hold
a memory any better than she could hold space
for Bastien’s learning disability

mama didn’t want any stupid kids and that’s
what she thought she got
she and Bastien were so much a like
you’d swear he had the same thing she did
although she’d never admit that she had
anything but a lack of patience

papa doesn’t remember the tales he used
to tell us, and that’s how you know he
was really in the moment and not somewhere
else wishing he wasn’t

mama doesn’t remember hating Bastien

“A flawless flagpole clinks” by Julia blow drying her hair

Thursday November 14, 2019
3:32pm
5 minutes
Small-Town Autumn
Donna Steiner

According to the other people’s house in a new life that is so far away from the city, we have to pay for the first day of the year and then we can go back into town. I’m sorry I’m late for these things but you know how much you love me.
One day it will make sense for us.
I don’t want anyone to figure it out so for now you have to try to drive the truck back to the shop..try to find out how much you owe…you see what I am trying to say? Don’t let them catch you.

“Later I found the fork” by Julia on the 4

Friday November 8, 2019
11:25am
5 minutes
Because These Failures Are My Job
Alison Luterman

later I found the fork in my bag next to the bloodied napkin. two big splotches. culprit? not the fork, nope, although you’d like to believe it so. “Professor Plum, in the backpack with the fork!” but nope, not so. no so. did you think to inspect the collection of decorative pins on the backpack, inspect for blood or a motive at least? nope, didn’t think so, could be the fork but it’s not so, already ruled out the clue. the clue is in the wound. always check the wound. ahh yes, the hole in the fingertip is the same size as the pin tip. which pin? the one that looks safe, yes, look again, always verify with evidence. Always verify. the blood splotch? ah yes, inconsistent with a small wound. but nope, think of the napkin. the way blood spreads on porous materials.

“I am a young, talented writer.” By Julia on her couch

Thursday November 7, 2019
8:45pm
5 minutes
Citizens of the Dream
Cary Tennis

Mr. Zeiler hands out
the assignments
thinks it’ll keep
us busy long enough
to let him finish
his chapters

I am alive with the
possibility of writing
my very own story
I cannot wait to explore
this world and these characters. that will emerge from my brain

Mr. Zeiler says 10-15
pages is best, is most,
is more than enough
By the time I get to 15
I am just getting started

This scenario I’ve lifted
from my favourite sit-com
is a perfect container for characters like me and also like the ones from the show and I keep going

I glue in extra pages
when I finish what I was
given and begin to forego
illustrations to fit in more words

“the speed at which galaxies are retiring” by Julia on the toilet

Monday October 28, 2019
11:35pm
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson

they don’t wnt to be here nymore
cn’t even sy their nme nd
i get it
i get it
been getting it since lst christms when nothing felt like it mttered cuse nothing does but then, then, it ws the deepest low but nobody knew
sw smiles cndy wrpped some versions of the function so noone thought to sk if it were ll the wy down low or if it were circling something else
smiles cndy wrpped
sold to the voidnt ones
the esy sit nd sy little
ones
nd glxies too re leving cuse one dy everything does
boy you’d be shocked t how
quickly things tht were re no longer

“The bit about the doorbell” by Julia on L’s couch

Saturday October 19, 2019
10:20pm
5 minutes
Someday Is Today
Alethea Black

it’s a looming kind, this patchwork. Nobody sees

the origins because it
is built over time, from

grains of one person to
the next. it is closer

to waiting for food poisoning to strike after

consuming under cooked shrimp. they say it could

take 4-48 hours for the
symptoms to start, and

how do you go on living
casually knowing it’s on

the way? the driver who sees
the car approaching from the

rear view mirror is the one
who gets whiplash from

bracing for the crash. why suffer twice, but it’s too

late, the sick is coming.
it is the doorbell ringing

when everyone is tucked in,
far away from expecting.

“The phone doesn’t ring” by Julia at her desk

Friday October 18, 2019
9:12am
5 minutes
Low Noon
Jim Ralston

When we took the phone of the hook we realized we liked it better just us three.
Bobbi cried less. I think it’s because she didn’t feel like we were going to
leave her to answer somebody else’s call. It should have always been this way
but when the phone rings, it’s another agonizing reminder that there isn’t
enough time in the day to keep up with everything being thrown at us. And
answering is sometimes the only thing we can control in a sea of chaos that
goes around buzzing whether we want it to or not.

And then it was quiet. Alistair finished his will and Bobbi napped in his
arms. We were afraid of this infinite reminder that one day we
would no longer hear his sound. How terrifying it is to think of your family
losing one member of its voice. Again, to things we can’t control no matter
how hard we tried.

The phone doesn’t ring now. We can connect it later if we want, but for today
while both Bobbi and Alistair are breathing, we don’t even think about what
we might have missed.

“Light like sugar cane.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Oct 17, 2019
11:11am
Daybreak

Gerry Lafemina

Light like sugar cane through the kitchen window and you’re wild with belief, whirling dervish of possible outcomes. You dream of rivers and oceans over and over, research water metaphors, read poetry written by women who came before their time. You meditate on the round stone in the park garden, grown over since summer’s ripe peach, sun is still here though, sun is still here. You were once groped by a man on a crowded train, ass and vulva, rubbed top to bottom, or bottom to top depending on who is telling the tale. You said nothing. This haunts you more than the time you cheated on the first man you actually loved, more than stealing fifty dollars from your grandmother’s handbag, more than lying to your friend about why you couldn’t make his birthday dinner (a new beau who turned out to be a sour stale egg, barf barf barf). You looked the groper in the eye, though, that’s one wee bit of action you took. You made it clear that you saw him, in his unshaven violence, in his hand violating the body of a woman, of a fawn.

“It begins from the heart.” By Julia on her couch

Sunday October 13, 2019
6:26pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Shahla Khan

say your sorry
go on say the piece that is yours, that belongs to you
that you are holding back
as punishment
as deep sigh
as victim complex
say it out so it stops haunting you
so it stops sucking out the room

once upon a time this room had horns and it wasn’t a bad room but it did what it pleased
today you have gripped them tightly, and the horns feel a bit trapped
so if you are honest with
the room, with me, with yourself, you will abandon the punch left dangling
at the bottom of your hurt

I can tell you egos never want to be wrong but we both know yours is and if you say it, if you apologize
if you bring out the word that keeps you sick by hiding…

“Everybody froze.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 9, 2019
6:11pm
5 minutes
The Man At Table Five
Alison Clement

it is common, the ice off his tongue. this is what happens when one is bad at keeping oneself warm. everybody else freezes. and here we are thinking that our cold doesn’t hurt anyone but that is not true. there is proof in the quiet, and in the glaring lights.

earlier when we encountered it, we took it on as our own and had to remind ourselves not to do that but what about the ones who do not walk in pairs? who do not count breaths, who do not know how to seperate?
we can say it’s not our responsibility but that is another great convenience we like to cling to.

when a driver flashes their headlights at another behind the wheel it is usually a warning of something to be mindful of up ahead. a signal to slow down, or that the surfboard has come loose from the roof mount. it is not legally required, but there is an unwritten code.

“How loyal the heart is” by Julia on L’s couch

Tuesday October 8, 2019
8:35pm
5 minutes
Red Tights
Danusha Lameris

with every passing hour
there is an ink stain
seeping deeper into the
contract of this. Of Us.

Who put their name down
in what order is something we might joke about but I know I was the one who signed first.

I decided.

Somewhere between the first
time I saw you and first time I kissed you I had my pen ready.

That is saying something: no pencil, no eraser.

And you were there in my
room playing the guitar for me and telling your
jokes to me and sharing
your smoke with me.

But I was the one who thought we should live together. I’m the one who found us our first house
to dwell in.

I can’t say for certain
how but I can say I did.

“Gladys was a hefty Puerto Rican” by Julia at her desk

Monday October 7, 2019
7:20pm
5 minutes
Anything For Love
Ruth L. Schwartz

In this dress she wore, she swore she
would not conform to the pressure of
being beautiful like this or that as
if some magazine might be the deciding
vote.

Gladys in her big swooshy dress, covering
the curves and equalizing the line that
leads her all the way down to the floor
and back up again. She stood tall.
She wore the bright pink like a medallion
to ward off the evil eye.
The evil kind of eye that keeps a person
small.

My baby, Indie used to hide underneath it
and count the love on her kneecaps with
slobbery kisses and giggles.
Gladys let her and only her go under,
see what was beneath the fabric.
She liked the love adding up on the
tongue of two year old on a mission.

This is the way she felt beautiful.

When Gladys came by the house she would
bring us cookies baked from scratch,
her own personal recipe and tell us
if we didn’t eat them she would eat
them and what kind of friends let friends
lose track of fallen crumbs.

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

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

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

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

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

“verde y amarillo” by Julia on her couch

Saturday October 5, 2019
11:22pm
5 minutes
@quenoteam
Javier Rupérez Instagram

It’s bees I’m talking about, Lydia. Honey’s bees, you know? They’re the ones doing all the work and getting none of the reward. It’s something I’m just learning about now since Kiki came home with that school project and needed an adult to fact check her research. That was the first time I even read anything about these bees, Lydia, and how was I supposed to help her if I never knew nothing about them? I helped her make it colourful, you know the poster board that she needed to decorate? We put some nice yellows and greens and purples too. I thought cause the bees are attracted to bright flowers it would be a nice touch. Subtle. Kiki loved it, she kept saying, but this is so pretty I want to keep it in my room!

“sorely tested—and found wanting.” By Julia in bed

Wednesday October 2, 2019
11:18pm
5 minutes
Assignment To Hell
Timothy M. Gay

a matter of stimuli, and it would be with that attitude

but where is the reward?
in the resistance of temptation, then? in the discovery of so many quick-legged spiders?

we release the tiny scurrying living being while we clean

if the start of a home becomes uprooted by the sudden decision to weild an unruly hand with a broom at the end of it…the home goes but the little friend stays

(the secret is to find another corner)

(the secret is no bites exchanged if asylum granted)

(asylum is granted for friend one and two and three and four)

but if this were not a moment of sobriety who knows what other homes would have been ressurected

“A score of tiny eyes stared” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday October 1, 2019
11:20pm
5 minutes
Stardust
Neil Gaiman

do we ever get used to the leaky faucet, the drips in the sink, the host of sponges soaking up every word

do we ever stop lounging in the face of something pressing, like launching, or standing back up, or sleeping

it seems unnecessary to get used to any one thing, all the changing that might move in, all the new stimuli that arrives

why do we beat ourselves over the head with what ifs that sound a lot like an evil twin plottingg against what we know to be good

will it ever go away?

i’m talking about the push for peace and that is all

“I’ll never hunt big ones again” by Julia in her bed

Sunday September 29, 2019
10:38pm
5 minutes
An American Dream
Norman Mailer

I’ll stop looking under the bed for monsters bigger than me
I’ll stop expecting to find something there

(Those days are over)

Today I will accept you
and everything you haven’t done as proof

Tomorrow I will stop talking about proof as if it could save my life
Proof of what, of being human? I have much to practice

You have never waivered, not even from one side to the other, no casual leaning

You have never hunted me the same way I have hunted you: looking high and low to spot grounds for dismissal

(I accept)

“and I will do you no harm.” by Julia at her desk

Saturday September 28, 2019
4:10pm
5 minutes
Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe

I refuse to slice when you ask me for the blade
I will not cut you
I will not draw blood
Do you want my approval for a thing that you know I hate?
How can I do anything but weep when you tell me?

The truth is a funny edged sword
I thought I’d prefer honesty but maybe I’ve never had it pointed at me like this before
Is it better that you said it or could I live not knowing?
We all do a little coned living from time to time
You could have kept my opinion of you in the shape you left it

And you chose to say it, you chose to come clean
You say this is The Age of Truth and in The Age of Truth we confess things
I will not cut you
I will not draw blood
But I cannot shame you either because isn’t that the sharpest part?

I will hold silence before I hold a knife to your skin
I will wait until you beg me to speak
I will let my quiet tell you where I am

“He straightened up, roaring” by Julia at her desk

Friday September 27, 2019
6:21pm
5 minutes
Surface Detail
Iain M. Banks

There is a common thread that pulls his anger along
through the throw pillows and into my stockings I
have seen him bead the string

In lines at the grocery store he cannot hold his tongue
from thrashing around in his mouth and he lets out great
big howls from the guts

Hunger oh hungry man look at him he’s dying to get out
of this place and is the promise of food coming or is it
out of the question

His breath is wasabi now, only mad for a minute, no more, his
words laced in green paste and still I wait for this
to return to the middle

This is a Thursday, likely story, and if we’re not careful
the whole shop gets a blast, but it’s never pointed at me
even if I absorb some it first

I could know better by now but I am shocked as I was the
first time, a witness to a tiny explosion and poof, no
proof of it ever touching down

When he straightens his back to roar one out I know
to get ready

“How could God?” By Julia on the faculty lounge patio

Thursday September 26, 2019
1:55pm
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

How could you forget me
in the aisle at the grocery store
in the hallway with my coat on while you were saying goodbye to everyone at the get together

how could you say I’d be saved and then leave me there
to fend for myself
when they all asked me why you took away the people they loved: their grandfathers, their mothers
where were you when they chose me to blame?
As if at 14 I could carry the weight on my own

I followed you with a bag over my head, with my eyes scooped out

I followed you to the edge of the cliff, chased by angry hyenas, and I waited there, as if the pit was not filled with more of them

“The pulsating life force energy in such children” by Julia at the bus stop/on the 84

Wednesday September 25, 2019
7:34pm
5 minutes
The Relationship Garden
Jock McKeen & Bennet Wong

I have learned these days to give the A before I meet them, no they will not scare me into giving them anything less. I can provide the passion, the please, the panel of supoort, but not the passing grade. No, the above and beyond. Thank you for showing up exactly as you are, right here right now. You will not prove me wrong. You want to be here right here right now even if you don’t know how to express it.
I give the A before I walk into the room. These young hearts beat themselves to sleep at night, solid sleeps at night, but during the day they stay up and up and up and up. They cannot come down when their heart beat flies them to the ceiling, fluttering so fast like fairy wings and then. Then they show me what is at the top of the room. I can see from their eyes, all the ground they leave, all the lift they prefer. I give the A.

“Your arms would eventually tire” by Julia on the 351

Tuesday September 24, 2019
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Purpose Driven Life
Rick Warren 

Jeremy is green-eyed, like the sea, and sea-eyed like the man. He has beautiful white teeth that look white thanks to all the dirt he’s wearing. Caked on his neck like a sunburn, Jeremy is trying to make it here. Left
his ex and his kids and has lived all over this place: lasted longer in Winnipeg than Fort McMurray, and tried to make it to “Van City” but ended up here.
No luck with the criminal record check this time.

Jeremy lifts rebar all day. He’s wiped but he has all this pent up energy and doesn’t know what to do
with it, who to screw with it, or who to call.
Jeremy’s eyes are green.

“But in a poem we can do anything we want.” By Julia on her couch

Friday September 20, 2019
9:18pm
5 minutes
Since You Asked
Lawrence Raab

But we can’t stop anything in a poem. If The Tears are

there, then that’s where they’ll stay. If the lines

he softens on my forehead run as deep as they look

then in this poem I will cry for all the soft I’ve ever

tried to conceal, every rough idea, every gouged edge.

We can cross the rope of a decade and counting, here in

this poem; travel in dreams you want to hear about.

We can lay in the after lull of a couch cradling all the

body parts that caught a child’s scream today.

But we can’t erase what is there. We cannot change the brick.

“Today, they target” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday September 18, 2019
4:25pm
5 minutes
Snapshot of a Lump
Kelli Russell Agodon

do those jade roley things work?
I need something to smoothe out the forehead lines I’ve given myself for always looking so pissed off.
today the billboard asked me if I was willing to do what it takes and I am. I’m willing.
I’ve seen the writings on the wall and they are usually saying the same thing:
you are not good enough to reach the end of the tunnel with the face you have on.
Did you want to trade it in for one of these models? They’re sleek and uniform so all you have to do is slice and dice and then you’ll look like everybody else!

On a different Wednesday I heard that it might be better if I used the 16-dollar scrub. It’s the only one that works, they said.

“You will find it” by Julia at the Hyatt Regency, LA

Tuesday September 17, 2019
10:02pm
5 minutes
The Yak
Hilaire Belloc

in the mirror that enhances all your beautiful white beard hairs

in the dripping bathing suit, sand and salt stained, hanging in the tub

in the crash and burn of an arrival, a hard pill to swallow

in the feeling of say something and then stomaching the consequences when something said would have flapped the wings of that butterfly so rapidly you’d swear we woke up in another dimension

in the dry heat frying our brains into unthinkable messes

in the traffic jam, the nowhere but here, the time spent, given, given

in the hotel pool watching the sky change from summer to purple to night

in the burgers we ate on the bed, the good we pressed into each other’s feet

in the deep sigh when you are waiting for me to hurry up and finish this so I can fill the space between your skin and the sheets

that’s where you will find it, and every last drop

“Is it starting to rain?” By Julia on a bed in Mt. Washington, LA

Monday September 16, 2019
9:37pm
5 minutes
Afraid So
Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Don’t tell me–it’s dark there, riht? Don’t tell me. How do I leave a forever summer and come back to a place where my hands turn white with cold in August?
Don’t tell me it’s raining. It’s not, right? Don’t tell me. I am not prepared. My jacket was a dud but I ignored it. I’m not ready for what is waiting for me. Reality, to put it mildly. Here it is so dreamy. Here I am so dreaming. Planning. Thinking of how we can make it work. We can make it work, right, but don’t tell me if you think we can’t. We can do whatever we want to do if we say we’re going to do it and if we say we’re going to rise.
It was 29 degrees today. 34 in some places. I don’t want to think about the rain.

“I want.” By Julia in Mt. Washington, LA

Sunday September 15, 2019
8:42pm
5 minutes
Prayer
Galway Kinnell

I want to shit
I want to shower
I want to swim in the ocean again
I want to wash the salt out of my ears
I want to go to Joshua Tree
I want to live in a place where it doesn’t get cold
I want to sit quietly
I want to inhale mulch all day long
I want to finish my song
I want to practice patience
I want to be brave enough to rent a car by myself and drive it in a new city
I want to find another taco
I want to buy those gold shoes
I want to get people excited about making things
I want to wave to an airplane and believe it’s waving back at me
I want to write the book
I want to be published
I want to go to Italy
I want to practice patience

“Sorrows bring forth.” By Julia in Mount Washington

Saturday September 14, 2019
9:50pm
5 minutes
Proverbs of Hell
William Blake

crashing waves smash the bad out of me
smash the everything out of me
returns salt to my inner ear instead
returns salt to my hair line

washed clean are you listening
nothing left to send to the jury
nothing left to mourn

loud pacific ocean knocks me around like a song in a tumble dry
pulls me under
pushes me across the sand
and reminds us all who is in charge
who ragdoll
who rubber band
who goes under and won’t stand back up

washed clean are you listening
rebirthed from the sorrows flipped and flung

“He shone with Heavenly Courtesy” by Julia on the 144

Friday September 13, 2019
3:30pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I’m not asking for any kindness.
I never wanted kindness and I’m not asking for it.
Do you think I’m sitting up late at night crossing off names or putting tiny robotic checks next to the ones who opened the door for me?
I don’t need to keep track because nobody is ever doing anything out of kindness but out of fear that one day they’ll be punished somehow for not being kind. It is self-serving and I want none of it.
They talk about it like it’s some new age book, as if we’ve never considered things like this before.
How do you measure the absence of expectations? Is there a way to determine who did something without thinking that someway someday they would get their precious heavenly courtesy back?
Nobody gives away anything for free and I don’t want that kindness shining in my face like a flash-light illuminating.
There are too many awards and rewards and systems based on punitive response for there to be a thing called kindness.

“so much past inside my present” by Julia on the Ebus from Chilliwack

Saturday August 24, 2019
10:09pm
5 minutes
Past in Present
Feist

I prayed to the sweet in my finger prints,
the gold that has been found in all the touching.
I thanked the god that had done the speaking.
I knelt down to the alter of my former self: Great Teacher.
Oh how I wept.
How there was a deep whisper.
But how loud.
But how I listened.
The gentle nudge of spirit,
the family of cells storing memory in my dreams and letting me remember.
Oh how I remember.
The way a crowd would bring out my inner coward,
how I would ask to start over.
And Teacher Self bathed in love now,
in abundance now, I needed you as you were then.
I needed you exactly as you were.

“Take a moment to remember” By Julia on the 4

Monday August 12, 2019
12:55pm
5 minutes
the bus instructions

Well I have 5 minutes to remember my whole life and i know I have more memories than time.
I remember you sitting above me in the lecture hall with your swoopy hair and your cool glasses, confident, quiet, intriguing. My eyes landed on you and I liked you instantly. You looked like someone I wanted to know. Like someone I wanted to kiss. You stared a hole in the back of my head and when I turned to look you didn’t stop. We made eye contact for one whole minute at a time, and in those days one minute was like one complete lifetime. You were in my tutorial afterward but you barely uttered a word. So confident with rows between us and no real reason to speak. I got my claws in you then. I remember wanting you to be watching when you weren’t and I let you know I knew it. I could tell this story with more time and more juice but I know I’m running out.

“the only identifier” by Julia in the floor of a hotel room

Wednesday August 7, 2019
10:33pm
5 minutes
Orange Socks
Kate LeDew

it is cold in here
I
I
I
am glad I brought a sweater
the people
will
b
e
coming home soon
I have identified the
pro
b
lem

it is me and my hugged wound
laying
together as if
ol
d
frien
ds

we are In sep er able

or so they say

they
they
they

it does not compute
spelling in this
lan
gua
ge

is
hard enough already
already hard
alredy enough

e nu f f

I
I
I
have stopped asking questions because

no

body

knows

any thing
anything
any things

“Aida drank her father’s unsugared coffee” by Julia laying

Sunday August 4, 2019
8:21pm
5 minutes
A Dull Yellow Presence
Mona’a Malik

Aida lays with her left eye in her palm, pulsing, pushing. Her father is across from her in his easy chair, perusing the daily flyers. That’s the only thing he enjoys reading. The last book he finished was in 2000. He doesn’t remember the title, but the year is easy to recall.

Aida doesn’t like to be gaurded, watched. She feels like her parents keep taking turns on “Aida Duty” and neither of them really want to do it. Aida clears her throat, a bit strained.

Her father leans over and passes her his cup. She takes a sip and shudders.

“retirement and investment savings” by Julia on her couch

Saturday August 3, 2019
9:34pm
5 minutes
From a piece of mail

It’s true what they say, the banks are out to get us.
Mine charges me for being self-employed by making me pay a fee every time I exceed 12 transactions in a month. I could look into options that don’t include throwing money away but this stuff scares me because it makes me feel stupid and being stupid is one of my major fears.
I wouldn’t be able to admit that to just anyone. I am afraid of feeling small and helpless and useless and dumb and this perpetuates the cycle. I let the banks get me. I let them keep me small. I have no plans for investments or retirement because my brain doesn’t know how to think any further into the future than the next word after this. Maybe that’s fear too, keeping me believing that.

“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

“we always found a way” by Julia in a stairwell

Wednesday July 31, 2019
11:01pm
5 minutes
From a thank you card

you and me sunday driving
is the arriving and we have no where else to go

told me yourself you miss those open roads and those open throats where all that wants to say is said

where did the time go and why has it been so kind to us? Wrapping around our pinky fingers as a promise to always slow down when it counts

and when I thought I had more open doors in front of me to walk through than open roads to travel with you, we still found a way to try again

the heart is as beautiful as it is funny and we have seen so many faces of the same clock, so many different ticks tocking

with you with you with you
if this were a song it would be a deep bow

a thread holding us together strong enough to break to keep finding a sweetness in the fray

“Come visit me in Halifax soon!” By Julia on her couch

Tuesday July 30, 2019
8:58pm
5 minutes
From a thank you card

I remember visiting Halifax for the first time and I thought your parents’ place was right around the corner. Nope. It was a few hours away. There were way more mosquitoes. And I loved it. Not the mosquitoes-those bites swelled up as big as golf balls. But your family? Welcoming me with a huge pot of fresh mussels? I was in east coast heaven. I could have married you right then and there.

Your mom showed me photos of your playing with a guitar when you were so small and it melted my heart. I loved you even more seeing you with them. They loved you with the biggest love I’d ever seen.

When we went to see the whales, everyone said that each time on the boat they’d seen them. I didn’t see any whales and that was the only disappointing bit.

I will always remember your mom razzing me about being short, like an elf. I really hope she’s well. And your dad. I hope your sisters are great. And their kids. I don’t know how many there are now…

We were so young back then. We were so open to everything.

“no one would know me.” by Julia on A’s couch

Monday July 29, 2019
11:00pm
5 minutes
The Landing
Marie Howe

I am sitting by the tree, waiting for my real friends to come see what’s wrong. We all do this. I like the tree, I like this alone. The kind that turns into something soon. The kind that makes time feel like forever but in a good way. One of these moments they’ll all come running to me. What will I say? I’m feeling sad. I’m feeling left out. I got upset and didn’t know how to tell you. I want to play and have fun. I say nothing until someone comes. I don’t leave the tree until someone comes.

Sometimes nobody comes. Sometimes it’s an exercise in will power. In patience. In believing that everyone is better off without me. Better off since they didn’t have to tell me to my face. There’s no more room. There’s not enough space for you. This is when it feels like forever but in the bad way. The way the bell never rings, never saves me, the way the real friends never appear because they never existed.