“That’s what I like about disappointment:” by Julia at her desk

Sunday, March 29, 2020
6:57pm
5 minutes
Disappointment
Tony Hoagland

to fear a thing that hasn’t yet happened is the most normal thing we do. we humans. we us.

I want to put it out there. There universe. Universe us:
we don’t have to do it like that.

okay hear me out. Here me. Here you.

what if we left anticipation for the good stuff?

don’t give up on me yet. Me yet. Us.

what if I anticipate the good, I experience fear in the moment, but I do not anticipate the disappointment because I can not know any moment other than this one?

I you. You me. Me we. We us.
See what I’m trying to cultivate here on this grey clouded open night?

I never learned to tell the future. I have dreams that lead the way sometimes but it’s never exactly as it appears to be. Be this.
Be us.

“You wish you were in the woods” by julia on her couch

Saturday, March 28, 2020
11:19pm
5 minutes
To A Frustrated Poet
R.J. Ellmann

it is lucky we live in a rainforest

tonight we went out for a walk thinking it would be pouring rain
(you could hear it)
but it wasn’t and that was luckier still

we put one foot in front of the other until we found the water
saw the empty bridges
crossed the street between traffic lights
until we met a different hour
inhaled dripping trees

we didn’t see a soul on the sidewalks but we still walked
on the road framed by cherry blossoms

on the day that time wasn’t
we could see the city lit up
across itself

saturday night and every window glowing orange light

“The deal is struck” by Julia on her couch

Monday, March 23, 2020
9:25pm
5 minutes
Seven Deadly Sins
Virginia Hamilton Adair

According to Angel it was nice getting to see her teacher at comic con. Mr. Rose wore his out of school clothes which looked a lot like his in school clothes and he had his wife with him.

According to Angel Mr. Rose was acting strange because he had seen his student outside of school but this was not the case.

Every time Angel saw Mr. Rose after that she would remind him of the day they saw each other at comic con. he would tell her he did remember and she would bring up the same part about his wife and her orange t-shirt.

“A marriage is risky business these days” by Julia at The Cottage

Sunday, March 22, 2020
9:23pm
5 minutes
Wedding Poem for Schele and Phil
Bill Holm

When the invite came in the mail I didn’t take it out of its envelope.
Marnie would have fainted if she knew. I just threw it straight into the trash.
It was hard not being able to tell her. I mean, if you were me you wouldn’t tell her.
No one needs their best friend telling you that they can’t trust themselves to make a better decision.
I couldn’t support it and I don’t think I should have lied to her about it.
If I had gone, she would have had me there but I’d be lying the whole time.
It’s not better to lie about stuff like that.
Guess you could say I avoided it, I lied, same same double same, but the truth is, Marnie didn’t get subtle wake up calls.
She didn’t take anything seriously and in a way I kind of hoped she would have this one time.
It was the end of our friendship, to be honest with you. Marnie wasn’t going to listen to me tell her after the fact.
It’s my fault though. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror after I let her walk down the aisle.
Some people think it was my job to say something, but I don’t know, if it were that easy…
Well. Anyway, all I can say is marriage is already a risky business these days. It doesn’t need
more doubt thrown onto the fire.

“The spring is compressed” by Julia on the floor

Friday March 20, 2020
10:11pm
5 minutes
A Brief Lecture on Door Closers
Clemens Starck

I wake today to a text but I’m not allowed to look at it until 7am. I am not in a rush. I lay back in the bed. I lay there laying. I make a coffee, read the text and a friend has asked how I spent the equinox, and I don’t want to tell her that I ate a Big Mac. I didn’t remember about the equinox until she mentioned it. She is not trying to make me feel bad because she didn’t do anything for it after all and also she would have respected my choice to have a Big Mac.

I wake again now after falling asleep on the couch and my book is open and I am exposed once more with all my swirly ls and inconsistent shadow-work.

I say I’m tired and then I write this. This makes me less tired. My hips need some help. My skin has endured so many broken promises. Someone else has waited for me.

“FEEL YOUR FACE” By Julia on the living room floor

Thursday March 19, 2020
9:32pm
5 minutes
Burma-Shave
Traditional poem

there are apps that I have chosen to go to sleep at a certain hour now. Today, yesterday, now. How long does someone wait to call it Now in the habitual sense, the sense of saying I Do This Now when it has become something to do

I hate using the word “apps”. I barely like saying cell phone but here we are unavoidable. now. on the moving picture show of their life that is also my life too, now.

Now’s floor is more fun to sit on
more time to experiment with something new, a hat, an eye pencil, a semi supine. Now’s fridge clangs both empty and full. Now’s pantry has possibilities. Open ended.

“I would have missed so many smells” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 18, 2020
8:31pm
5 minutes
Ode to My 1977 Toyota
Barbara Hamby

once there was a girl in my bunk at jesus camp who didn’t have any sense of smell. this worked out

for me because I was dealing with an unnamed dairy allergy at the time and I could fart around her with ease and dare

I say delight?
Me and my friends would make it into a joke. Farting was part of the joke, the girl, for the most part didn’t get any flack.

one night at worship or cattle call or you name it, everyone was chanting Happy Song Happy Song and stomping on the bleachers.

the song, to my dismay got sung, but the girl with no sense of smell passed out because there were a lot of people all screaming and yelping and invoking the light of christ.

so when the first aid team descended upon us and the circle we had made to congreate around the girl, they gave her smelling salts to bring her to

and this, as you can imagine, did not work out. For her.

“Permit me to add my first” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday March 17, 2020
5:20pm
5 minutes
Old French Fairy Tales
Sophie, Comtesse de Ségur

you will find a journal of unsent letters addressed to you
in each one will be our ending but you will never suspect that they are about you

you will find the truth of what was hurting and why

you will learn the code words based on the shape of my Gs and in the loop of my Zs

you will wonder why you never saw it first and if there might be proof of this reckoning coming somewhere down an earlier pipe

you will not think any of those Gs or Zs are about you until one day that is all you can think of and then you will see yourself all over everything

you will question why you couldn’t ask me better questions or why you assumed me one way

must have been the wild west in me, the untameable horse, the rulebreaker you always wished you could be

you will be shocked on the outside but on the inside you will know the truth and how you are responsible for more than you name

“but what disturbed that idea” by Julia at her desk

Saturday March 14, 2020
5:29pm
5 minutes
The War of the Worlds
H. G. Wells

We were going to leave. Leave for a while, you know, nothing permanent, nothing too far out there, but things have changed since we said we’d do it. We told only a few people but that’s because we were trying to go off the grid in a casual, ghost-like way. If we left our current lives quietly, nobody would have any suspicions raised because there’d be no one sounding the alarm, and by the time they noticed, by the time they came looking for us we’d be far enough gone that they wouldn’t be able to interfere. Although we were worried about that slight possibility, we knew that most people cared about themselves more than what we were doing so the reality of us being persons of interest was not one we’d have to face. That being said, we were slightly concerned that Canada Post would be the first to realize that we had left. They tend to be the most aggressive about people especially when they’re trying to deliver your mail but can’t seem to do that if your mailbox is too full. That’s when they start keeping tabs on you to make sure this is, after all, your true address, and you, after all, are a true citizen.

We had rented a small cabin in a place I will no longer share, in case we can still access it. I shouldn’t have said cabin, but maybe that won’t matter either after any of this. What disturbed the idea of us going was the whistle from the morning bird; calling us, calling us, calling us.

“sap moves in the veins” by Julia on her couch

Friday March 13, 2020
8:17pm
5 minutes
The Day Dream
Nora Acheson

I move slowly like sap dripping out

I want to be a thing that absorbs

light
sound
love
skin
human
faith
time
growth
abundance
appreciation
patience
foundation

I am slow to goodbye these wonder souls now buried in my spine

I will write a song for them
and one for their love

if I run I miss the magic
the pen pal letter written in the dark
the candle light pushed down into the coffee table for a bit of wax to right the empty

I will breathe deeply, move mountains, and these things take time, did you know?

these things take a hammer and nail, hand building, hand writing, hand holding and why rush

why race when the sun is setting pink over the hill and there are people gathered to witness

why look all the way in only to speed up past the heart throbbing for the heat of another

there is a slow we can drink

“I knew I should meet you here” by Julia on her couch

Thursday March 12, 2020
6:42pm
5 minutes
War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy

ask me where you want to meet me in our dreams and I give you an answer that throws you off my scent. I don’t want to share my dreams with you. I want to go alone and go all the way and go to the point of no return. But if you come too what will happen? You won’t remember it the way I can. Let’s say we meet at the train station. I always say that, have you noticed? I don’t say “on the train” because I want you to get lost while looking for the bathrooms or the cinnamon buns and not make it on before departure! I want to go where my quiet train goes on my own and nobody should take that personally. I can say “let’s meet on the path” because what path? Chances aren’t high that we’d find the same path. And if we do, even after all that, we will deal with it then!

“Supposing the force of gravity in any similar medium” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 11, 2020
9:20pm
5 minutes
Newton’s Principia: The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
Sir Isaac Newton

We all head south as the years pour out
Tonight, same as last, I made a choice
Not to take advantage
Not to rumble with someone else’s expectations
And I travelled down
because it hurt
the person who expected
And it begged the question
Was this decision made out of fear or out of truth
And trust it’s truth
I can always access it there in the fleshy undertones of my face and wonder if it was there all along

I ask the question
Measure twice
Cut once
Be a big decided sinking thing
And travel to the south of me
Gravity dragging me to my knees
And that is where humility can find you
Breathing in something like air only different
Transformative
Release maybe in the form of swollen ankles
Look at how long you have been holding yourself up
It says
And I listen
I don’t quake in my boots at the big decision but at the hurting hearts
The weight bearing hopeful hearts

“The king’s daughter” by Julia on her couch

Monday March 9, 2020
9:09pm
5 minutes
The Frog Prince
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

pissed now I am pissed now because
I just wrote the thing and then poof it was gone
ask Daddy and his friends to get it back
princess asks Daddy and his friends for anything and everything

Pissed since Saturday morning anyway
swollen undereye because of the drink because
last time I thirsted
thirsted
Daddy fetch the hair of the dog
the cure
get me what I need

I won’t go to where I said I’d go
Daddy and his friends have talked to the people and they are no longer expecting me
so here I am writing this

writing this thing so you know that I do other things
than ask other people to do things for me
I do them
i always do them

But when something gets in my way I make excuses and I never take the blame
There is too much ringing in my brain
notify
notification
your storage is insufficient
Your security adviser is speaking to you
You’re still ignoring that friend
and that contract
It has been 6 days did you want to send a mother fucking follow up?

Maybe if I had a mother fucking mother I wouldn’t need to ask
daddy for all of it
or his friends
or tell you about it
or tell anyone anything about anything

But I am writing this still
And for right now
today
that is enough.

“I know nothing about magic” by Julia on the toilet

Wednesday March 4, 2020
8:34pm
5 minutes
The Books Of Magic
Neil Gaiman

I know nothing about magic
and this is something you’d have to ask me to repeat
because if you know me you know
that I am lying through my teeth

“what was that you said? because I thought I heard –no, okay then, phew because–I thought you said ‘nothing’–okay phew”

I could write a long list about the sparkly stuff that seems to line the streets: where I saw it, how I got it, who I believe to be behind the gold

It’s things like gifts when you need them most or grace of god or getting to sleep in after weeks of burning the candle and no there is no physical proof

but physical proof is meant for other things like car parts and batteries and making sure there’s a banana in every lunch pail

I’m talking about the stuff that you feel or carry or reference but can’t name, the stuff trees in an old growth rainforest give off to warm you in February when you didn’t bring the proper jacket

“He’s a teenie, tiny picture” by Julia in Shuang’s office

Tuesday March 3, 2020
2:11pm
5 minutes
Who’s Zoo
Conrad Aiken

this tiny picture of a boy I PUT HIM IN A FRAME and then I put him on the shelf!

what a dream this TEENIE thing, to be so picture perfect and pristine

the rhymes are not here but in between
the dream the dream the dream!!

I need to keep him forever and a sculpture will not do
no a sculpture will not do
nor a painting or a story
I must frame him oh the poor thing
he’ll me mine forever and a day

the picture better be clear and
big but not too big because he’s TEENIE TINY like a stone on a beach, a pebble in the shoe, a freckle on the lip HOW CUTE and tiny he is and must forever be (and a day)

So pristine this dream of mine to love a boy for all of time and watch him grow but not an inch lest he upset the stitch!

“I can’t tell you” by Julia on her couch

Monday March 2, 2020
10:03pm
5 minutes
For my friend who told me don’t celebrate the dead
Andrea Potos

tonight we found out just how full our days are when we flow out and flood the remaining worries.

I can’t tell you how it started but I can tell you it wasn’t tonight. The camel couldn’t take it any more. tonight the camel gave in.

the night doesn’t sting, though, when our days are good and they are. they’re bigger than before. we have been caught catching sun on the bed on some afternoons. been caught up high in conversation about the night before when we danced together in separate rooms

“I overheard” by Julia on her couch

Sunday March 1, 2020
9:03pm
5 minutes
My Book Life
Sparrow

I overheard a young woman last night discussing her desire to go off the grid and learn how to survive off of corn-bread and tree sap.
I think she is onto something. She’s not the only person who mentions running for the hills. Although someone else I overheard said that everyone is going to rush to the mountains in a crisis. Tsunamis, earthquakes, he says we should be on solid ground, but that’s not what everyone will think about first.
I, myself, will not be rushing toward any one group of people, I don’t care which direction they’re headed. Sure, things are going to get hard in a state of emergency, you know, when disaster strikes, and you’re not necessarily going to want to be alone–but there are a lot of stupid people in groups and I don’t think that’s the time to follow the crowd. I don’t want someone panicked and stressed, and making bad choices out of fear take away from what my instincts are telling me to do.
I think it might be time to get an escape bag packed and near the door just in case. My friend Annah says she’s got a granola bar and a pair of socks in hers. A bit lame, she says, but she’s doing something at least. I’m with her. I don’t want to be cold or hungry either.

“I don’t make jokes.” By Julia on her couch

Friday February 28, 2020
10:03pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Will Rogers

I don’t make jokes
I’m always serious
a lot is said but
better not laugh
it must be nice to
have nothing to worry
about that you can
laugh with such ease
it must be nice
I didn’t come here to
make a scene or make
you laugh or say your
name not your name I’m
not afraid to know you
to let my guard down
and let loose you know
I’m most definitely not
aftaid of that we just have
stuff to do and stuff
to get done

“Because Wednesday” by Julia on the toilet

Wednesday February 26, 2020
7:54pm
5 minutes
Dirt
Camille Dungy

these days rub my thighs together like they’re trying to deter me

you tell me I have had Days these days and the capital D is not silent

yes, I add, the kind of days where I even have to reschedule my bowel movements

here I am, I have pushed it back as far in the day as it can go and thank god

I needed these five minutes to be in a room with a door that locks

I told someone recently that I can write anywhere and here I am. here I am.

I don’t want the weeks to launch past me like they’ve been doing, I like to cook my eggs slow and low

I like to spend an hour drawing a title page for the first day of the month

but this is full and I am filled and there is no empty to speak of and there is gratitude in naming that and there is enough time if we let time play with us instead of thinking she is trying to do us in

tonight we’ll use the big paper to chart out our next moves

after this movement

after Brahms’ Second

“You are something like” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
9:48pm
5 minutes
Earthly Love
Nathaniel Perry

you are something like mmm
I am something like blue
you’re the skin I’m walking in
can’t convince me to walk away from you
you are something like look
I am something like need
I’m the sorry secret and you’re what’s underneath

the water stops and your breath is audible now from where I’m laying
you said it was going to be the biggest decade yet you’re telling me but how can it not be
what did I even know a decade ago
besides you
besides you who looked like everything I always wanted
besides you who gave me a look I didn’t know how to hold but grabbed anyway
besides you

you are something like always.

“Caley pushed her sandy brown hair” by Julia in the fishbowl

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
3:37pm
5 minutes
A Private Wild
Laurel Nakanishi

Ever since Magda told her that if she swallowed too much of her hair it would form a big ugly glob in her stomach that would start stealing the nutrients from anything that she fed herself, Caley was trying desperately to stop eating it. She sometimes heard Magda growling, or howling at night when she was supposed to be fast asleep. Caley didn’t want Magda to know she would spy on her and secretly believed her to be some wild wolf woman from another time. Or land.
She can’t remember know why she started putting her blonde braid in her mouth. Surely, Magda told her once, a handsomely paid and dressed person would one day be employed to help her with that. It was nice having someone tell Caley about the future and what to expect. Everyone knows her own mother couldn’t be bothered to give Caley the time of day. Once, Caley almost choked on her ponytail and her mother, reading a magazine, simply glanced up.

“My new bedroom was an old kitchen.” By Julia on her couch

Saturday February 15, 2020
7:09pm
5 minutes
Waxy
Camilla Grudova

If you count the summers we went strawberry picking and made milkshakes you could say we had a nice childhood. If you count the times we got sent to our rooms without dinner you might say the opposite.
The one who gave birth to me wasn’t very nice. I learned later that nice was all I ever wanted and she wasn’t that. She hated me and I hated her and everyone knew it but nobody stepped in to do anything about it.
I might have loved my stepdad or the one after him if they would have. I might have known that it wasn’t some kind of divine punishment.
They didn’t know how to handle me let alone a new baby on the spectrum who would grow to run wild like a huskey anytime we left the door unwatched.
I wish I had the same tendency.

“Yep, thinks Frank,” by juli on her couch

Sunday February 9, 2020
9:39pm
5 minutes
Nothing Like It Was
Mark Wagstaff

He’s bounding around the corner without eyes, eyes squeezed shut, not seeing. it’s his favourite trick, seeing without seeing. he is running full force lime a wrecking ball, no remorse, no consideration. Frank thinks this is hilarious. He thinks it’s incredible or people will say it is after they see him do it, after they see him make a perfect turn without being able to see. Yep, thinks Frank, they’ll all wonder at me then. They’ll all come leaps and clicks to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth! Frank would tell them he could see. He could see everything that was in front of him and nothing was in the way. It would inspire millions. It would reach beyond everyone’s wildest dreams.
This is his favourite part: this reveal of perfect imperfection; showing what the inner eye looks like when it is not afraid.

“trust the face of expansion” by Julia on the 84

Wednesday February 5, 2020
6:11pm
5 minutes
The Power Of Intention
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

in search of things to touch, Poppy floats around my office with tiny wings
she hovers over everything
her fingertips grazing any item with texture, like the lamp, or smooth, like the ribbon on the lamp
I haven’t brought up her last sadness because she seems to be in good spirits
but I want her to know I was thinking about her

Poppy finds the velvet material on the lounge chair and rubs it between her palms almost rhythmically, as if the answer is there and she is doing her best to hear it in full

I risk it and immediately
regret it, asking her about
the last time and her face drops because she had forgotten about it and there was a reason

I watch her drop subjects like burnt bacon bits
letting them crumble to the floor
without looking for a broom

“Still the house built itself a corridor” by Julia on her couch

Sunday February 2, 2020
8:20pm
5 minutes
Yesterday
Marie Howe

with all that soul sucking
all that senseless dripping
clanging against the stainless steel
with all that tulip dust coating
all that wind slamming the door slamming us out of bed
this is the house that we transferred ourselves to
this is the house that built us
the other day after the 28th consecutive rainfall
after the 28th dark morning
it pulled us out of our cotton curtains, exposing, interviewing, keeping a growing talley

we tried to qualify it but couldn’t come up with anything better than “look at how running it is; how strict”

with all that drip drip needless dripping, losing water in the basin
going bonkers with the sound of a hammer

“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.