“still interested in babysitting?” By Julia on her bed

Tuesday May 21, 2019
8:01pm
5 minutes
From a text

I was just saying to Jam that it was out of sight, out of mind for three whole weeks and I didn’t miss it.
The way I don’t miss anyone.
I was saying good, cause you know, riddance, and I was saying now it’ll be easier to turn down since I’m already 3 weeks in. But it’s as if the universe has bigger ears than I used to and hears when you say that you are ready to level yourself up.
That’s all it needs when you think about it: strong decision making in the direction of your dreams. It sends road blocks right after it catches wind to see if you’re still interested.

“Invigorate with peppermint” by Julia in Amanda’s bathroom

Sunday May 19, 2019
11:42pm
5 minute
Trader Joe ‘s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo

so I was hungover, right, first day on set, fucking bush league. I didn’t think anyone would notice, right, I wasn’t puking or anything you know, just tired, bags under my eyes. The make-up artist asks how I feel. I say fine. she says she can smell my skin. I’m like, good for you. she tells me, do you need something for your head, and I’m like why do you have something? then she pulls out some peppermint oil, rubs it on my wrists. I feel it tingle inside my arms and i’m okay with it. then she puts some on my head and things start looking up immediately. I don’t know how she knows but she knows. and I’m glad she knows. and i know i’m not the only one she’s seen. she has it in her kit for a reason.

“The emotional sensory radar of the infant” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Saturday May 18, 2019
10:01am
5 minutes
Scattered Minds
Gabor Maté M. D

smiling at him I am smiling
at him and he is smiling
at me and we are seeing now

I am sad on the inside I
put him down for a minute
I don’t want him to see my sad from the inside out
I want him to feel alive love, the process of reacting and being present

I respond to his tiny face and his tiny laugh and his
squeals

I try to heal my insides before I pick him up again It is lifelong

I want to love him but I am
diatracted by stress
I want to see him but I am looking somewhere else.
He knows
He knows me by my smell
by the impetous behind authentic smile
He knows when I am simply using the same mouth muscles to mimic a feeling and he is sad if I am sad and he is sad if I am there but not fully
This small heart
he is smarter than me
He is not yet scrambled
naive, easily fooled into a love that isn’t.

“me as an individual” by Julia on the GO bus

Friday May 17, 2019
10:46am
5 minutes
Overheard on the GO

see i’m going in, right
diving deep, losing sleep,
dreaming more, right
when i go in, i go all the
way in, trust my heart can
swim even if my legs never
learned how
see i’m on the hunt now,
gentle lion seeking shade now, tired tail and pink pawed, finding it within now
i want more pathways, more
sideways, more what ifs, more expansion, and i do this: little tongue kiss, inside out fist, i’m going all the way
if i can land myself at the bottom of the well then
i might come up with new eyes and
see you deeply too
cause i am myself an not individual, i am everything and you

“pretty sure I came that way” by Julia on the Megabus

Tuesday May 15, 2019
10:37am
5 minutes
Overheard on the Megabus

I didn’t think of her on Sunday, Mother’s day, which would have been the day.
She was here and there but I didn’t light the candle.
She enters the dining room on any given day. She doesn’t reserve her visits for media recognized calendar celebrations.
She’s been gone for 22 years and the missing doesn’t go away. It’s not always at full volume but I feel her without trying that it sometimes helps she’s so quiet.
She tells me things I need to remember:take the pills, leave the house, ask for help, ask for belp.
She would stock my fridge cause she knew I would starve if it were ip to me.
I taste her in evey linguni noodle. In every spoon of sauce.

“You know you got the wrong ticket” by Julia on the Megabus

Saturday May 11, 2019
10:47am
5 minutes
Said to me by the bus driver

When mistakes are made it is often a result of lack of sleep, fury, or living in a dream.
I know this because I have made choices in all of these a scenarios and mistakes occurred.
I have been lucky to have kind people make room for my mistakes. They understand humans do this because likely they’ve done this.
Mistakes can be made and the outcome can stay the same.
That is when gratitude comes in. That is when I practice my thank you on the ride so the driver knows how much good he did by making room for my mistake.
In this instance, making the mistake did not hurt anybody.
It did not change the outcome.
It did, however offer perspective in the form of mild surprise and embarrassment.
It reminded me to be awake before making choices.

“Exactly how they want you to be” by Julia in J’s Attic

Friday May 10, 2019
9:49pm
5 minutes
Martin John
Anakana Schofield

She sits, pretty, mouth closed, because pretty
She is 7, going on 8, she is the middle child
Her younger sister is wearing white beside her
She is wearing white
Her sister youngest is beside her wearing white
They are all to be seen, not heard, no peeps, no sound
Mother does the talking
Mother always does the talking
Mother talks circles around Father
Father says little but is feared most
She is sitting, not speaking, no peeps, wondering
Am I Allowed To Go To The Bathroom?
Am I Allowed To Ask If I Can Go To The Bathroom?
Am I Allowed To Need To Use The Bathroom?
The clock ticks a slow death, a burn, a punishment
She is counting everything she knows how to count:
chickens, lashings, siblings, six of each
times she woke up from being unconscious:
three, and one she is not remembering
The adults are eating, maybe laughing, but none of them see
They don’t see three pretty little dolls sitting on the couch
Three pretty little dolls, dolled up for the sake of looking at
Three pretty dolls too afraid to move or be heard
She sits still with her hands clasped in her lap, knuckles itching
The way a nightmare might

“Best Western Plus” by Julia on the GO bus

Thursday May 9, 2019
7:54pm
5 minutes
Best Western

Best Western
Plus good sex in a gross room
Plus funny story
Plus memories
Plus strange mattress stain
Plus cute bathroom spiders

Best Western
Plus affordable trip
Plus more weird walls
Plus a bible missing the book of Genesis
Plus chatty front desk
Plus ratty pillow cases

Best Western
Plus lucid dream
Plus the first time someone says I Love You
Plus the first time someone needs to go get ice
Plus the chair no one has a purpose for
Plus the pens they use to tattoo a heart on their ring fingers

“to inspire his team” by Julia in J’s attic

Tuesday May 7, 2019
9:41pm
5 minutes
From a text

well the first thing would be to see his team
see his team, learn their names
names learned? check
seeing team, know each one, can have conversation with any of them
about their families?
know enough about their home life?
uncheck, box currently empty
can smile?
yes, check
don’t need a family tree to smile at someone
smiling leads to inspiration
smiling leads to conversations about family
ah, okay, inspiration comea before family
see team, check, know names, check, smile, check, inspiration?
leads to
leads
okay lead by smile
no?
lead by example
be the leader
smile

“calls forth one’s muse.” By Julia on the pullout couch

Friday May 3, 2019
6:19am
5 minutes
deepstorydesign.com

hello I am calling you!
from the depths of my soul
from the heart of my experience
from the flesh of my centre
where did you sleep last night?
in my wrist
in my mouth
in my womb?
I felt a pulsing in my dream
and all of my living
did you need more rest last night?
did you have an idea you wanted to share?
if you are waiting for me I am sorry I am late
I haven’t been myself
I’ve been lingering in the kitchen next to tired bodies
aching and i’ve been wearing them around
you may not recognize me with all this heavy in my bones

“we are called to act” by Julia at YVR airport

Monday April 28, 2019
9:11pm
5 minutes
A quote by Starhawk

we made the plan before we were in the system of things
sometimes you have to jump off the ledge you’re on without knowing what’s next. we say sometimes, but it’s always this way. you can what if yourself into a dark
cloud, should have, wished you’d, but still, you’re not where you started. You’re here, wherever this is.
one might argue that it’s
closer to the future, closer to the dream, the light, yhe answer.
we are called to act often before we are ready. but since readiness is a state of mind we are either always or never ready. when we put it that way, choosing to be always ready feels like the more fruitful option.

“I still can’t see” by Julia on her bathroom floor

Thursday April 25, 2019
9:13pm
5 minutes
The Black Man Speaks
Langston Hughes

We got a professional to come in and I still can’t see my face in the mirror. It’s speculated to be a ghost situation. These are not my words but the professional’s. She thinks because I used to be able to see a reflection that there’s a ghost living in the mirror now. I’m telling her, maybe there’s something in me. And she says, yes like a ghost. And I’m thinking, no, more like a brick. Not a brick growing roses in the pit of my stomach. But a brick blocking everything in there from getting enough sun. Light is needed for a reflection. The professional doesn’t answer cause she’s tapping the pencil to her teeth and it looks like she’s busy making a clink sound. Clink clink. I think, she pulls it away slowly, you might be haunted by a ghost of your past self and you can’t see yourself because you don’t recognize someone so different.

“no one can remember” by Julia at her desk

Sunday April 21, 2019
8:03pm
5 minutes
Anthem
Terese Svoboda

We reach back into our skulls for candy or god or something that smiles at the past of us. There are no guarantees for this existence and no one can remember every single warning sign. I don’t think that’s how it works. If we could then hindsight would be out of a job. It would be sad to see something imperative for lesson learning rendered useless.
It, is, after all, everyone’s biggest fear. We want our lives to have purpose, to affect change, to be worth writing down.

We want our children to need us, our parents to see us, and our friends to rely on us. And in turn we rely on them. It’s a cycle of life we would be silly to ignore. We need each other. We keep one another useful by our belief that we cannot navigate this realm alone. We were never designed to in the first place.

“because they don’t realize” by Julia at W and B’s table

Saturday April 20, 2019
8:57pm
5 minutes
Real Roger
Harold Ober

They’ll come home
Late
Shuffle the key in the door
and shush the boots crashing into each other

Shhh shhh
Go to sleep boots

They’ll fumble with the key house and the key ring and the key to the universe
At this hour, the key is water
They’ll fumble with the water
Pour it into a cup with the lights off

Shhh shhh this is gentle

And spill most of it onto the floor
They’ll sop up the accident
the almost
the not quite
Let the fridge door slam by mistake
They’ll tiptoe into the living room
remove their coat, floor,
bag, couch,
scarf, couch,
pants, floor

They’ll creak along the dead spots of hardwood and shift their bones around

Shhh shhhh almost

“silence flourishes sea-green.” by Julia on the 9

Thursday April 18, 2019
3:32pm
5 minutes
Overdose
Seamus Dune

It’s a flash of light and boom I’m in front of a bunch of humans and boom none of them are laughing and boom wasn’t I funny before this?

They say be a teacher, you’d be a great teacher, but I am too much like the dark side of my mother when teenagers are making me yell over them. I said a few times boom and again boom but nothing, they weren’t interested because, and I know, they were uncomfortable.

Teach! They say, as if boom it’s so damn easy.
The silence though, after a dreamy patch of vulnerability, is enough to
stitch my chest up ugly, leave a mark the size of my old me and keep me jagged, string hanging. My head is the only place silence won’t inhabit and the rest of me can’t handle it. I guess I have some core strengthening to do.

One kid did make me laugh today and that part was very good.

“the best part of her life” by Julia

Wednesday April 17, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The Politician
Patrick White

It smelled like discount brisket mushrooms and the spinach on its last legs
the crust of good intentions on the insides of some bowls
We ate enough to see feelingly
It felt of seeing enough
Seeing feelings as enough

Before hands met skin
Before the playful spin ritual
There in the The Too Salty Not Enough Flavour Will You Still Love Me
I had a moment of doubt then it left again
I’d take crust anyway

“Like the blueprint of a lake.” by Julia at her desk

Monday April 15, 2019
6:36am
5 minutes
Weatherman
Norman MacKenzie

It’s been a game studying you
wondering where your true north is
and if you’re following it.
I like knowing that somewhere out there
you hold a map of you the size of your history
and on it is marked all the places
you’ve walked instead of taking the car
I know where your feet have been but
where was your heart? There are stretches
of cartography dipped in blue and I know
that’s when you found the water, believed
yourself lake, swam in the light.
When travelling you don’t bring a camera with
you when you leave. You don’t have any need to prove
you saw anything or to show the world how
you’ve seen it. You take it in, mix it around with
whatever you already have in there (blood, life, decisions)
and you tell yourself what you have seen.
and you remember it better that way.
I don’t often write about you in the positive
because sometimes I think it would be less
graceful of me to prove how I see you to
the rest of the world. The only one who
knows how good you are to me is me. And you.
You know because you designed it.
And I follow you because you have built
such a beautiful blueprint

“I was supposed to have the afternoon off” by Julia at her desk

Saturday April 13, 2019
8:02pm
5 minutes
Truckin’
Ken Mitchell

We’ve been burning the midnight oil! It is the right kind of burning.
The burning out part is coming, surely, and if it comes in the afternoon, we will take it off, let the smoke rise, and take a nap.

This is trying to be something with too many metaphors. What do you call that anyway, a poem?

We’ve been working on our RELATIONSHIP. We’re not up watching TV, I’ll tell you what. Since B has come back from his work trip in Nevada, he’s been saying, no one is safe, not even us. Between you and I, I think he caught a bug, but I love the man, I’ll tell you, so I’m willing to put the long hours in if that’s what he needs! Even if it’s a bit strange. I mean, what’s he worried about? Me leaving in the middle of the night if we’re not up the whole time discussing our needs?
B never needed anything before. I find it refreshing!

“You would hide your bitten nails under the table” by Julia on the walk home

Friday April 12, 2019
9:45pm
5 minutes
The Intellectual
Benny Anderson

Well the jealousy found me. Always does. In the shape of a voice I would never expect. It sounded like sorry but stung like theft. And where does that tiny piece live now? In the back pocket of weak jeans? Clinging to a bit that solves my puzzle, otherwise used instead as coaster under tepid glass?

Why couldn’t I be loved like sister instead….lifted, whole.
It pangs at my hip.
Gnaws at the cut of my eye.

“under his dark eye-lids” by Julia at her desk

Thursday April 11, 2019
10:23pm
5 minutes
Faces Of The Sun-Man
Rienzi Crusz

He’s staying up late again eating stale Cheetos cause somehow that makes him feel better. He is bothering himself and it’s punishment, maybe for letting himself get this alone. Loneliness is worse when you hate yourself on top of it.

The Cheetos in the bag turn his fingers fuzzy. He is careful not to smear them on any of the furniture. She wouldn’t let him hear the end of it. Too bad she’ll never know one way or the other what he’s up to since she broke his heart into a shape that no longer fits inside his chest.

He thinks about wiping them underneath him, just to see. And maybe to spite her. Who buys a white couch anyway? Stupid fucking white couch. This is a place where liars sit, he thinks to himself. This is where liars pretend they’re going to be just fine.

“imbalance and improperly-tuned segments” by Julia on her bed

Wednesday April 10, 2019
9:31pm
5 minutes
Later, When I Am Carried Forward This Far
Parm Mayer

You wouldn’t want to blame the word now would you? Unless it was the wrong one, I guess.

Equality is not the same as equilibrium. Balance is stronger. Why else would they teach that? They being the universe, obviously. On the sea saw of life (metaphor, check), there is up and down but there is always both. You could count on it. Or you could trust it. Think about why your hear about trust. Yes, about the universe. Because it works. Because believing in yourself is a medicine you don’t need a prescription for, and hey i’m a Doctor! Give yourself whatever you need. Cause limit is only a five letter word. You could crush it —if you wanted to.

“I have entered you quietly” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday April 9, 2019
8:21pm
5 minutes
Your Room
Robert Sherrie

I saw you seeing the ships the way I would and it made me feel alive
I like knowing parts of me can be transferred on to you like a patch or a scarf
I wear you gently
That is to say with care
I walk you around outside
I keep you facing the ocean, the silky lavender dress streaming
This is how I share you
I dance you on the inside
I slide on dead wood
splash around bit, whoop a knot out of my hair
I want to know how I have entered you
How you might wear me inside and out

“good-luck puppet” by Julia on L’s couch

Monday April 8, 2019
2:21pm
5 minutes
Fetish
Pierre Reverdy

Meda says I’m not allowed to carry her around anymore. Says the face is chewed off too rough and it’s scaring the cat. I tell Meda that the cat does not get a say in this.
“You’ll give her nightmares,” She tells me, “don’t you care about that?”

“Oh I’m sorry does the cat find herself screaming in the middle of the night, unable to get a single thing done the next day, Meda? Does she get behind on all of her chores, Meda, all of her living?”

I realize I am yelling now and the good-luck puppet appears to disintegrate further with each decibel. Meda isn’t looking at me.

“I am not trying to be cruel about the cat, Meda, I’m really not. I don’t want her to suffer. Much. “

“The room is dingy” by Julia on her couch

Sunday April 7, 2019
8:49pm
5 minutes
When She Leaves Me
James Wyatt, JR.

They sat there on the curb
him, in his own piss, her holding blood. Where could they go at this desperate in the morning. He shivers.

“If we go back now, we’re fucked”

“Nobody is going back. Nobody is even talking about it, do you hear me? “

“I said ‘if.’ To remind us that we could go back and we’re not.”

“I can’t do this by myself.”

“I’m not going. “

She pushes open the door to the room. It stays open, falls off the track.

“Nice”

“Throw your bag over to keep it shut.”
She coughs.
“We’re fucked.”

“Does not oblige you” by Julia on the bathtub

Saturday April 6, 2019
11:44pm
5 minutes
From an email

Not owed to yesterday
I am today’s collaborator
Fierce
Funny
We make choices as a team
The breath of fresh air on skin
The light rain nesting in puddles
Today the silver fish do not get murdered
Today the silver fish contributes something
Anything
Not sure yet
Today is for second chances
For walking straight into love
For breathing into things
For picking a good movie to only watch a third of
Today I give everything and then more when I think I have none left
I smile
I look up
I see the face in front of me
I make a laugh come out of an impossible woman
Today is what tomorrow will never be
And what I will carry on my tongue

“Maria’s self-view was that she was inadequate” by Julia in the bathroom

Friday April 5, 2019

8:17pm

5 minutes

Spirituality in Clinical Practice

Len Sperry

Can only write with one hand

Cannot read maps

Cannot read lips

Can only chew one one side of mouth (cavity)

Can hold grudges

Cannot decide quickly

Can lose track of time

Cannot multitask

Can underestimate task load/length

Can fall asleep sitting upright

Can dream scream

Cannot remember which books have money inside

Can stare blankly

Can want to help even if it complicates

Cannot drink a lot

Can blame others

Can check likes too often

Can only tie laces using bunny ears

“The relevance to actual practice has been questioned” by Julia on M and N’s couch

Thursday April 4, 2019
9:06pm
5 minutes
Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Practice in College Mental Health
Stewart E. Cooper

I mean they say practice makes perfect right? Hi! I’m here to tell you that the only thing practice makes is you better at making messes. What’s the perfect thing? What’s the perfect thing I’m supposed to need anyway?

I practice not hating myself
I practice not destroying my face
I practice not jumping to conclusions
I practice deciding
I practice the ukulele
I practice patience
I practice anger
I practice not giving a fuck
I practice not stealing.
And yet.
I am still a pile of shit most days.
I am still regretting my pop and pinch and pick and pull.
I am a full blown mess and some days I know how to clean it up and some days I wish I could evaporate into thin air and live somewhere that doesn’t require a face.
I practice these five and this five and those five.
I practice telling the truth and still find myself lying.
I practice words lit by a nightlight in my bathroom.

“‘small healings’ take place every day” by Julia in her couch

Wednesday April 3, 2019
8:29pm
5 minutes
The Human Elements of Psychotherapy
David N. Elkins

Earlier there was a chance to take the regular route home (a shortcut I had found a few years earlier to maximize the usage of my time), and a fork in the rode that would lead me to the water. I almost went the usual route, the reliable path, the pace I had already established. But something (water) caught my attention. It had “been a minute” since I had visited (a phrase my students taught me. ‘A minute’ could mean a week, a year, a while. All very fascinating) and I was more drawn then decided. I saw all of the neon shorts running and it seemed like a good idea even though it would add 4-6 minutes to my commute home, depending on the abundance of runners, and other stoppable fixtures in nature. Immediately I was drawn into a labyrinth. Upon my exit I saw a seal up close. Wild!

“My brother finds out this Friday” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday April 2, 2019
9:11pm
5 minutes
From an email

Is it better to assume than to make an ass out of myself? Don’t answer that. I’m nervous. I get chatty when I’m nervous. I mean, common problem. Are you writing this down? I just said I was nervous. Really know how to make a speaker feel listened to. Please don’t write this. I don’t represent myself well on paper. I’m often misunderstood. Not in a whiny way. Out of context. People can’t formulate their own opinions anymore because there’s not enough data. Things are being hidden away, we’re getting tricked, we’re falling…falling for all of it…

You know people will believe what is being fed to them especially when it’s not shoved down their throats. I don’t blame them. It’s quite logical. More efficient if you think about it.

“hair slicked in waves” by Julia at her desk

Sunday March 31, 2019
8:20pm
5 minutes
Push
Adrienne Gruber

When the party’s done, over, you name it, do you go, we go, are we going back to your place, the bar, the next stage in our relationship?

Got questions for all the sweeties out there with hair-slicked-waves, with promises to burn, with ideas of how why how why, with roadmaps marked, checked, ripped from all the momentum.

If I told you I wanted to lay quietly with my legs between yours, no talking, no quipping, no music, no mustering, no interpreting, would you tell me it was too easy to do, too hard, too dumb, too beneath us, too much of a waste of time, too good?

When the moment’s over where do we go, you go, I go, have to see, need to see, want to see, dream of seeing, see in dreams, see in dreams? Where, why, how, are you, me, are we good at answering these questions or just good at asking them.

“Eat bread and understand comfort.” By Julia on W and B’s couch

Saturday March 30, 2019
9:21pm
5 minutes
To Begin With, the Sweet Grass
Mary Oliver

Some days are so low
So low the ground feels high
So low the stars aren’t shining

No reason
Except everything

The grass aches
The leaves lie
The world keeps spinning and something else that doesn’t feel true

Why when some days are the opposite
The singing
the squeezing
the good
The feeling
The family
The forever

I am not asking for this

Maybe I’m asking for this

And I know that I could be
the one to trade with
So I try to write down
all the very good that I know
The blessings, counted
The love
The roof
The everything
Even this low
Because I only know it
if I know the opposite
and if
I didn’t this would
feel normal

“concern also has been expressed” by Julia at the bus stop

Friday March 29, 2019
6:25pm
5 minutes
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
Sarah J. Buckley

I made a scene at dinner. Call me premenstrual, or incapable of having a nice night out, or insensitive to the needs of the room. Merel has said that about me before. She has said “read the room” and I think she means like a book. So does that mean let the book tell me what I’m experiencing? Am I not supposed to draw conclusions?

Someone asked a specific question and my face turned hot and my eyes filled up and my voice got loud. I don’t know that I was entirely inappropriate, all of us casually at the Cactus Club for happy hour. I am not happy! But the rest of them turned very small. I didn’t want small I wanted bigness. I wanted a fight or a debate or a hug or something.

I am most hurt by silence. By the fear I’ll go off the handle. One person agreed with me. And one person probably now thinks I’m the devil.

Merel says I shouldn’t make assumptions about the intentions of others. But I read the room and I still have to decide if I like it or not, don’t I? Merel would tell me to breathe before thinking anything at all.

“Is it the beginning of a poem?” By Julia in the bathroom

Thursday March 28, 2019
10:30pm
5 minutes
The Poet Always Carries A Notebook
Mary Oliver

I tell the woman my name after she asks and make a joke about my last name rhyming with wedgie so she’ll remember how to pronounce it.

She looks at me for a minute then I explain that it came from some unkind yet quite creative grade fours when I was the new kid in school. I laugh, she laughs, everyone sitting near us laughs. And then she begins to talk about how a pebble in a stream can change the course of a river and I’m going where she’s taking me. She uses it as a teaching moment to remind the class that even small moments can stay with us our whole lives and we don’t know which pebbles people are walking around with in their pockets.

It even hits me hard and I’m the one joking about it.

She tells me, maybe that’s the start of a poem. It already rhymes…

“We need drugs” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 27, 2019
8:02pm
5 minutes
A quote by Wendell Berry

Let’s get through the wedding, the heartache, the backseat, the rain.

Give me drugs and I will write you the world’s worst poem, but my heart will be honest. Does anyone want that?

You said earlier the way I see the world is authentic and that’s why you love me.
I said, what do you mean, and you said I don’t filter things to make them better, and I said am I mean? You said no. That was a good answer.

We need some shrooms for the dance party in a couple weeks. That would be smart wouldn’t it? Find the light in the room and float to it?

The third time I did them I wrote the best song I’ve ever felt. It was full of pain and lonely but, hey I went all the way in and came back out again. In retrospect I could have done them with a friend but I was curious about what I would do on my own. I danced with the moon. I don’t know if a companion would have yielded the same results.

“my mother is waiting” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday March 26, 2019
8:07pm
5 minutes
The Greeter
T Kira Madden

Call the woman who decided you were good, the one who heard a whisper of you and was convinced. No shouting match with the sky gods, the enough of you was felt by her first. Call her on the phone and hear her laugh. The real one that she gives you at her own jokes, the real one that you cannot will not forget.

My mother is not waiting by the phone but she will run to it.

After getting rid of all the portable ones in the house, she went out and bought phones with long, curly
cords. She was born running, the woman can run up stairs and around tracks and to the neighbour’s house to give her infant the Heimlich Manoeuvre. My mother was ready and is ready. She doesn’t have call display but she knows it’s me by the tone of the ring. She knows me by the song on the other end waiting for her.

“Falling in love is appropriate for now” by Julia in her bedroom

Monday March 25, 2019
10:42pm
5 minutes
Handy Tips on how to Behave at the Death of the World
Anne Herbert

Help, is anyone out there? Is anybody reading this? There are a lot of people worried and seeking and I know them. I am them. We might recognize one another at a party. Yes there’d be bread at this party. That would be giving the party a lot more value.

I’m…I guess..I’m wondering if I’m alone. I mean I know I’m not, I’m talking to you. You’re there. You’re looking at me and I’m you. Aren’t you? We? I feel united and excited and loved by that. That thought, the you me we thing, that acceptance, yes, that permission. I can say I love me and that would be like saying I love you and then you’d know love. I know love for me because and only because I see you in me, and you, YOU, you are easy to love. Easy to love with hands cuffed. Easy to love with lids droopy. Easy to love in the dark when the words hurt more than heal and your warmth does the talking. Easy to love like that.

“tired, bearded men” by Julia at her desk

Sunday March 24, 2019
8:58pm
5 minutes
Ways To Take Your Coffee
Leath Tonino

They’re tired because they are always worrying about their beards. Always trimming, and rubbing, and massaging them. They’re up early cause they need to style it so it looks naturally luscious. They need to style it so people will be attracted to them and understand on a deeper level that they care about details. That they care about expression. That is a good beard. One who has been sculpted by the hands of caregivers, thoughtful displays of affection and respect for their face.

Okay I started this off with more of a punchy vibe and now I’m all enamoured by men and their facial hair. Women have makeup as acceptable face alterations. Men have hair to coif and style and exude charisma out of. It’s art, when you think about it: all those tight lines and varying levels of rigidity.

“Everyone deals with breakups” by Julia on her bed

Saturday March 23, 2019
6:39pm
5 minutes
Love Running
Joseph Holt

Maggie got her heart crushed again. Did you see her leaving the cancer benefit? She was wasted. Nobody is a better friend to that girl than the bottle. She was supposed to give a speech too, but she made Alison deliver it on her behalf and told her to tell everyone she had a medical emergency. I don’t know if she keeps going for the same types of women—you know, the ones who disappoint her— or if she’s stretching herself thin and she’s actually the hard one to love. Everybody goes through it but somehow she’s enduring another breakup every month. Maybe she should just be by herself for a while and figure out what she wants. And if she stops working a little bit so at least they have time to really get to know her before they dump her.

“Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other.” By Julia in her living room

Friday March 22, 2019
8:13pm
5 minutes
A quote by Pema Chödrön

Said the Hellstorm to the Artist:

You will be damn insufferable and someone needs to come and wash you out, oopsie whoopsie itsy spider, time to crawl on back up. Said: don’t you remember where your boots are? Pull up the straps and go jump in a puddle. You do remember fun, don’t you? You need me as much as I need you. All that summoning of me you do, I’m just coming since you called me. I’m a good friend. Ever heard of loyalty? That’s me. I make you damn clean again. Sparkling. Smooth out your edges after so long of bruising myself against them. After I pelt you and you resist me, over and over again. I make you soft and grateful. You can thank us both for that.

“as the cells of his scalp” by Julia on Kits beach

Thursday March 21, 2019
5:06pm
5 minutes
Candlelight
Tony Hoagland

It was disgusting because it wasn’t my filth. I guess you could make the same argument that it could be less repulsive due to my separation from it, but let me set the record straight: I threw up in my mouth the moment this woman left her apartment. Well, in her defence it was a short term rental and she was probably getting a cleaner with the deal or whatever her husband’s work was willing to pay. But in the meantime, to live with so much food on the floor it could feed a small family for days…I shouldn’t continue. You’ll get so grossed out. Okay but let me say one thing, her sweet 9 month old had extreme eczema and when he’d wake up from his nap or if he got upset he’d start ripping at his little head. There was bits of his scalp all over the apartment—on the back of his high chair, on the changing mat, on the carpet. I considered if his home were clean that he might be less upset at the things he couldn’t control and less hell-bent on destroying his own skin. I also know that these things aren’t likely connected. But I wondered.

“as the cells of his scalp” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday March 21, 2019
7:36am
5 minutes
Candlelight
Tony Hoagland

Take out the trash to the bin in the garage. Wheel the bin to the curb. The neighbourhood is still sleeping. Mandy and the boys are still sleeping, too. Jacob was up in the night crying. Mandy went to him, and then came and got me. He was dreaming about monsters again. “No more scary movies,” Mandy whispered as we climbed back into bed forty minutes later. Thank God for the coffee maker, wooing me towards the kitchen when the alarm goes off. Thank God for coffee. Mrs. Henderson across the street in her quilted housecoat and winter boots. She waves.

“How are you holding up?” I say, and then regret breaking the silence, fracturing the stillness of this Wednesday morning.

“we minimize our vast social problems.” By Julia at Bean Around The World

Wednesday March 20, 2019
3:57pm
5 minutes
Filling the Void: Bruce K. Alexander on how our culture is making us addicted
Jari Chevalier

1. How are you? GREAT, AMAZING, NEVER BETTER, !!!!

2. Do you need anything? NOPE, NOTHING, I CAN HANDLE IT ALL BY MYSELF, !!

3. Is there anything you would change about yourself? I’M A PERFECTIONIST SO I GUESS THAT’S MY WEAKEST STRENGTH IF ANYTHING, …

4. What do you think we’re lacking? VULNERABILITY IS SO IMPORTANT AND IF MORE PEOPLE WOULD BE EMPATHS LIKE ME IT WOULD TAKE THE LOAD OFF CAUSE I FEEL SO MUCH THAT I HAVE TO SLEEP SO MUCH AND HONESTY AND COMFY BEDS AND MELATONIN AND AUTHENTICITY ARE SUPER NECESSARY,!!!!!!!!

5. What do you want more than anything? NOT POWER NOT FAME NOT MONEY NOT CONTROL NOT LOVE JUST FLOWERS, !…!

“exhale passively” by Julia in her living room

Tuesday March 19, 2019
9:44pm
5 minutes
Physiotherapy Instructions

Yesterday you asked me why I had given such a deep sigh. I thought it was self-explanatory: I needed it. But why did you need it? Cause you are exasperating. But you didn’t like that answer. You don’t think you’re exasperating. Sometimes I blow out air that’s keeping me angry at you. Sometimes it holds the place of my longing, my crying. I do not exhale passively around you since I decided I was going to give you the full range of me. Here, this is me existing without alterations, reservations, or tiny lies.

Yesterday I shook my hips around while we were laying in bed. I didn’t stop to apologize and you did not ask me to stop. The body sometimes needs permission to be alive. To exist.

I like it better this way. The breathing more intentional the view in front of me tangible, clear, echoing.

I shake and breathe and you ask me why and I tell you why. I’ve always wanted an intimacy like that.

“apartment door was closed and triple-locked” by Julia at her desk

Monday March 18, 2019
8:56pm
5 minutes
The Langoliers
Stephen King

I can’t have you look at me that way
With eyes dripping pity
Boy you never looked less pretty
I don’t want your face to say
You knew better all along or
This is a self-inflicted song
Weeeeeooooo the wound is pulsing
Weeeeeooooo the pressure rushing
I’m not cut out for this
Can’t handle a setback or a twist
Where’s the paper I signed up for
Can’t recognize my signature from a blood stain on the floor
Weeeeeooooo the ground is home
Weeeeeooooo this place is normal
Maybe I was wrong once or twice
But I never kept the knife jabbed in
Who are you to know my sins
Can’t have judging eyes
No one look at me

“A yellow ball of sun. “ by Julia at Kits Beach

Sunday March 17, 2019
6:19pm
5 minutes
The Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold

Maybe he’s a magician. He knew which cure I needed.

I said, I won’t be leaving the house today and he opened all the windows. Slowly he nudged
me out of one.

He threw down my tiny backpack after me with a row of Oreos wrapped neatly in the front pocket.

I didn’t thank him then because I still hated him for making me leave.

My body ached from the elephant standing on all my bones.
She was heavy but I didn’t want to be rude so I let her plant her home in me.

The first set of steps set off the fire alarm or the something alarm: Somebody save me or kill me please.

I kept moving, thinking of his wand or special drink. Whatever he used to work his magic on me to get me out.

I walked and walked with a slowness that might suggest a destination was out of the question.

Then I found my feet on the dirty sand filled with broken shells and cigarette butts.
The ball of sun told me where to put myself and I listened to him too.

I closed my eyes and sat there, staring directly into a hot face. I said to myself, Oh. So this is what he meant.

“wonders what’s in this woman’s fridge” by Julia at her desk

Saturday March 16, 2019
8:21pm
5 minutes
Malarky
Anakana Schofield

I go round to some houses that have giant fridges and a pantry filled with a lot of the Costco packaging. Giant boxes of shredded wheat, giant tubs of peanut butter, giant rolls of paper towel. The fridges upstairs have chocolate bars half-eaten, caramel M&M’s, bocconcini, tiny hummus cups with pretzels, and lime Perrier.

I am not hungry but they tell me to eat. And since I am here, and curious, and low on money, I save my rice leftovers. Leave the container in my bag and find as many things in the giant fridges to eat as I can. Anything already opened? Anything about to go bad anyway and finishing it is doing them more of a favour? Their leftovers sometimes taste better than mine. Because I didn’t make them. Sometimes old fries from a restaurant with a little bit of aioli.

“a long, slow, squirmy moment for both of us.” by Julia in her bed

Friday March 15, 2019
12:48am
5 minutes
Orange is The New Black
Piper Kerman

It’s been better than usual. Better than the best peanut butter. Nut Buts, he called it. And who was I to complain to the universe for anything. I put on my acceptance hat and my acceptance capris and I walked along the beach saying thank you. And I find the sweetness in every word he makes up. Every language I learn because of him. There is play and youth and love in it. I say thank you thank you.

“staring into the eyes of a giant wasp” by Julia on her bed

Thursday March 14, 2019
10:10pm
5 minutes
Micro
Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

So I had just finished eating a strawberry Passion Flakie and I was on cloud nine. I loved those things more than a good hug when your insides get antsy: creamy, soft, chewy, cool. I may have had two. And there I was standing on the low A bar of the swing set, the old rusty broken down swing set. The top pole was missing a cover on both sides and I discovered that if you sing into it, the echo was so brilliant you sounded like a rock star making love to a microphone. I made up a song, naturally, and I tested it out amplified. The next thing I knew, two hornets had found the leftover Passion Flakie on my lips. The scream rang out like a bell; tortured, honest, amplified.

“with some bullshit approach” by Julia in her room

Wednesday March 13, 2019
10:26pm
5 minutes
Created By
Richard Christian Matheson

LEEDS
with some bullshit approach, too, that’s why I’m pissed. If his lies were at least creative I would be able to give him that. It’s disappointing how unclever they are. I thought he was more of a man that that.

MNERA
You want him to lie to you?

LEEDS
Yeah, with some attention to craft, is that so much to ask?

MNERA
Wanna know what I think?

LEEDS
You waiting for me to answer that, seriously? Just say what you think, Mnera, for Christ’s sake.

MNERA
You’d be surprised at how little you’d want to hear it if I didn’t ask you.

LEEDS
Okay I take it back. You happy?

“He had to warm the guy up fast” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday March 12, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The Obsidian Chamber
Preston & Child

So Ray is playing ball this year and he’s got one hell of an arm. I was warming him up in my backyard last night and that kid almost took my nose off. One hell of a pitcher. He looks like he’s having fun too and that’s in spite of Rory coming to every practice with his stupid lawn chair trying to get inside that poor kid’s head. Surprised he wasn’t on my porch hollering at me. Ray gets all of his attention. His other kid, well shoot, I don’t even know her name. She don’t play ball, that’s all I do know, or Rory would be splitting his rage between the two of them. Maybe she’s better off. I can’t tell, really. Ray seems to have his head on straight but at his age he could just be showing his shyness. He doesn’t want to be like his dad, so there could be some intentionality behind it as well. Either way, that kid’s arm. I’ll tell you, if I were hitting against him this year I’d be out at the batting cages every damn day.

“This song.” by Julia on her couch

Monday March 11, 2019
6:01pm
5 minutes
Freedomland
Richard Price

Might be the thing I tell you
Might be the first thing I say
Baby you’re not going to well up
Your eyes don’t work that way
Might be the thing you remember
Might be the last thing you hear
Darlin’ I can’t stop myself thinking
That I’ll be the one shedding these tears
Some of these days will be dipped in summer’s haze and we won’t be able to see the cracks
But when it gets cold and the winter wind blows, we’ll be left with all of the cruel facts
Might be the thing I tell you
Might be the first thing I say
I wish it were different but now I’m a lingerin’ even though I cannot stay
I’ll miss you the most in the mornin
Cause that’s where our bodies would meet
These blankets with only me will get so lonely without you beside me

“no matter how uncomfortable staying has become.” by Julia on the 99

Sunday March 10, 2019
5:27pm
5 minutes
Devil With a Briefcase
Jan Janzen

Hey if you’re reading this, this is for you. I know you as a 14 year old girl with bruised calves and giant beaded necklaces. I know the you that regifted me a notebook with an angel on the front cover and a devil on the back. You didn’t know at the time I wasn’t the type to like that sort of thing or that my reasons were the same as yours were when you gave it away. I know you in the mouldy elevator singing at the top of our lungs, performing on the cafeteria stage wearing matching scarves, sitting in the student council office during 3rd period spare. I know you falling to your knees with joy the day I brought you back a crispy chicken sandwich after lunch.

“You must unlearn the habit of being someone else” by Julia at her desk

Saturday March 9, 2019
9:33pm
5 minutes
A quote from Herman Hesse

I say this to myself. I say this to you as me thank you universe as mirror
I started this thinking I was going to channel someone else’s tone and make a profound discovery about all my major opinions. I wonder who she wanted to be like or sound like or only wished she could express half as well as. Maybe I’ll ask her that. The first breeze of the morning. I’ll bet she’ll say something like that as her response. Something loose like an escaped curl from a tight bun. She’ll say that was her inspiration. That was what she tried to emulate. I could use my own voice but I’m still not sure which one she is.

“Roads here are nuts.” By Julia on her couch

Thursday March 7, 2019
8:20pm
5 minutes
From a text message

Earlier today the damn weather forecast never said nothin’ about no snow. No rain in there neither and somehow we had both, now didn’t we. Nobody spectin’ a downfall or downpour or whatever. Nobody out dressed thinkin’ it’s back to winter out here. Not after all them sunny days we got. We was laughin’ cuz Spring was tryna tell us it was ready. Yesterday I saw all them robins scurryin’ about too so what’s up with that! It got me real angry when the man opened the door for me this mornin’, saw the skies and said, “Just miserable. And you haven’t got an umbrella?” Wanted to punch his rich little mouth right offa him. I said, “It’s snowin.’” with a hook in my voice that told him I was it was feeakin’ news to me too.

“There are certain cautions” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 6, 2019
8:51pm
5 minutes
Prescription for Nutritional Healing
Phyllis A. Baluch, CNC

There was yellow tape outside your old house
off Gibson there, that house where you hid your first stolen watch.
The watch that belonged to your uncle there, Dominick?
You remember him?

He slapped you so hard it sizzled. Left a bacon stain on your cheek and you were fourteen so he ceased to exist to you from that day on. You took his favourite keychain too. But he found that.

I walked by cause I always do even though you don’t live there anymore. I know you did. The bedroom door where you scrawled your brother’s name: backward and spelled wrong

“I can feel it changing!” by Julia on the 19

Tuesday March 5, 2019
4:23pm
5 minutes
Death of a Salesman
Arthur Miller

It’s as if we never faced off that one night in June-you with your clever excuses and me with my tone trying to remain bigger than you.
I honestly thought you’d have more to say, the sand beading little reminders under your feet.
Where did you even go?
I swear I watched the you I knew get wiped away clean like two eyebrows drawn on, finally private enough to die.
Where did you even go?
I can’t speak for the me I was that night, edging closer to a storm, betraying my wisdom.
I hate seeming so small, fragile.
I went back in time, if you were wondering.
I landed on a year of my life that I am embarrassed about when looking at photographs.
Puffy bangs, sun-kissed cheeks,
all of the wrong teeth now missing

“Our self-centred fears whisper at us all day” by Julia on the 19

Monday March 4, 2019
5:42pm
5 minutes
Hallelujah Anyway
Anne Lamott

It’s one of those probing kind of voices
The one that gets in your head and lingers
Untucking sheets from bed frames
Lingering in the corner with the spiders too quick to spot
What if they’re looking at me
Laughing at me
Mad at me
Sorry for me
What if they’re all one team and I have no one left to pick to stand behind me
Pulse pulse throb throb
The echo alone enough to flip your eyelids inside out
No sleep for the talked about
No rest for the worrying
Everyone seems to have their own personal list, monogrammed into every towel meant for coming clean
The secrets etched in the base of our skulls tend to burrow into those silky memories
stripping them grey

“He thumped his chest” by Julia on her couch

Sunday March 3, 2019
8:01pm
5 minutes
Casual Vacancy
J.K Rowling

The colour of the room struck her as “underwhelming”
The glow of the yellow hall lights cast a sickly feeling throughout the apartment and she realized it was not this place alone
The whole street seemed to be cloaked in bad light and she wondered if it was her issue to overcome, or her city to leave
She tried to remember if this was ever a true problem back home
The walls were warmer, she concluded, more exposed brick and architectural appreciation
She couldn’t help but think that the people who put up with a light so unsettling were not to be trusted
She didn’t trust women with bare ankles during the winter months either
Both seemed to happen a lot here

“scratched plastic Fisher Price drum set” by Julia on her couch

Saturday March 2, 2019
9:10pm
5 minutes
(Lady)bug
Ilyssa Goldsmith

It was hard to read about the babies she found laying on the floor with dog shit. I read the case notes on some of these households and decided maybe this social work stuff isn’t for everyone. Maybe I’m not strong enough to witness that. I think I’d want to get too personal, with them, you know? Ask them if anyone’s hugged them lately from the bottom of their hearts and waited the requisite 6 seconds to synch up the heartbeats. I would want to sit there all day and say I’m here, okay, for you, I’m here right now and I have nowhere else to be. I’d bring them a gift basket and say it’s just what I do for everyone. Or maybe I do it for everyone. See the resources right now don’t allow for any kind of extraneous measures. No radical acts of kindness and those workers are fighting fires that won’t ever go out. They’re tired. They don’t have time for everybody.

“breaks the silence” by Julia on her couch

Friday March 1, 2019
11:06pm
5 minutes
The First Treatise
Yara Farran

Nothing puts a bug in the ear of silence more than talking about the future and being ready for what comes. You’re happy I’m happy.
You’re not thinking the same things as me. The full air is now like a blunt knife to the neck skin. It bruises before it breaks. It costs a different degree of commitment to finding out what happens. What comes.
I’m sorry you’re sorry. I liked the quiet then too. I didn’t know it was going to do so much changing.

“I almost loved you,” by Julia in her room

Thursday February 28, 2019
10:16pm
5 minutes
In Dublin
Maura Hanrahan

I almost loved you out of me but that’s not the way some beds work. There was no formula that I could plug my feelings into; no step by step guide to the other side of mercy.

Not when you can justify just about anything. Even the ones with a pulse far below the surface of being true. I almost loved you right back into you. The way I want you to get the bigger chicken breast; the sexiest garlic clove between the four of them.

I almost did that but I detoured at the stop where I was supposed to fill up on seeing myself fairly. I confused that for your lack.

But almost.

“which are past their upright peak” by Julia on L’s couch

Wednesday February 27, 2019
8:46pm
5 minutes
Tulips for Barbara
Ann E. Michael

Casey was not the most popular in high school. She had friends on both sides which automatically put her in the middle. Her fiery red hair was a constant conversation; love it hate it, sorry you didn’t luck out you’re so lucky. People knew who she was and liked who she was and that seemed good enough. For a while.

When Casey ran for president of the student council, she put up posters of her dressed in funny costumes, a tutu, giant bows, an 80s ensemble courtesy of her mother (even though she didn’t need a reason to wear any of it). She played up her small town charm and people either loved it or hated it, of course keeping her right in the middle. She hoped to win so she could stand somewhere other than on the sidelines. Casey wanted to be big.

“faster than all your sadness” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday February 26, 2019
8:38pm
5 minutes
What To Look For In A Horse
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

It’s racing to the bottom of the well cause that’s the place you always get too scared to look.
Underneath every painted layer, a tiny garlic skin, or a forgotten birthday. Some of those choices live down there with the sadness.
You don’t go because you say it’s too crowded, likely story. There’s not room enough for all of us. Convenient, still, until the sadness finds out that no one’s keeping an eye on her down there so she starts to creep up.
She might burrow in the thick of a nightmare, the icy layer of morning frost.
I may have seen her once or twice at the party you thought you attended by yourself…

“Addiction” by Julia on the 4

Monday February 25, 2019
3:36pm
5 minutes
We Need to Talk
An interview with Anne Hallward

Everybody has either a thing or two or three that we can’t live without or a thing or two or three that kills us slowly
we can think all we want that it could be worse
and maybe that’s reason enough to stop trying to fix all our little holes
something like sugar isn’t that bad anyway, right
Unlesss the internal organs have asked for that to be reduced or changed or stopped already
we can say that we’re not addicted to each other in some way or another but that could be a convenient way to pretend we’re independent

“it has become a cliche” by Julia on her couch

Sunday February 24, 2019
9:47pm
5 minutes
A quote by Tim Flannery

economy of movement, of expression; Grace, they say plods along with hooves.
Winter pathways cloaked in secret rendezvous between birds and squirrel (or very very tiny wolf)sound the stadium silent. Hushes the crowd, stuns all us with efficiency; precision. We watch in awe not expecting to. The whole night is painted pink with hot after that. She tips and taps with the pads of her thumbs. Fingerprints proving the time she had left over to read, maybe, or plant a small garden.

“hitchhike into the wilderness” by julia on her couch

Saturday February 23, 2019
8:27pm
5 minutes
Trail’s End
Sy Safransky

I have hitchhiking thumbs and you’re busy singing that Beatles song
“If there’s anything that you want, if there’s anything I can do—“
And I want to tell you that all I want is for you to please shut the hell up
I’m trying to get us further down this nightmare highway but you never learned to read the room
I half expect us to get stuck cause of you putting out that vibe that is so different from mine
You are having fun, I guess I can’t begrudge you that
Maybe thanks for keeping it light
I admit the accent you do is pretty cute
One more
Hour won’t kill me
“With love from me, to you”

“the biographies of our heroes” by Julia at this the studio

Friday February 22, 2019
8:00pm
5 minutes
Political Paralysis
Danusha Veronica Goska

You know how they say we stand on the shoulders of giants? You know how they say that, Sash? I feel sometimes like I’ve got a couple sitting on mine. Maybe I read that in a book somewhere, like I can’t make anything great because I can’t live up to the fact that someone else has already done it better than me. Makes me want to email Miriam again and tell her she really makes it hard for me because she is so good. I would just be repeating myself though since I think I already told her that.
Do you ever think that someday your daughter might be a writer? You know cause you are, and your mom is, and it makes sense. She’d have a couple of giants of her own, you know? But I think she’ll write about you. The way you write about your mom. The way it’s meant to be. I know you’ve already written about her, growing there below your heart.

“The silver-haired man’s name” by Julia in her bedroom.

Thursday February 21, 2019
10:48pm
5 minutes
Girl Underwater
Heather Sellers

remember the days your legs could keep up with your mind
remember your mind could outsmart your whole body
your body could surprise you
now you have to beg your thoughts to slow down and stop screaming
you’re waiting for an old fashioned kind of goodbye
begging your legs to take you off running
please, feet, carry me one more step, one more step

“the snow falling like confetti.” By Julia in her bed

Wednesday February 20, 2019
10:31pm
5 minutes
The First Morning
Edward Abbey

I can’t ask you to stay cause then you’d know I thought of you leaving
And the truth is, swear to God, dot my I, i didn’t know what you going would do to me. I thought I might never recover. The thought alone could kill me. But I don’t want to put the idea in your head now. We are happy. Don’t think about it at all, no need to invite excuses to this party. Ups and downs baby. Ups and downs. I watched you leave in my mind like lightly falling snow, disappearing into the leaves. Dissolving into the wind.
It was soft the way a gentleman would do it. And it still broke my heart all the same.

“to calm a stranger” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday February 19, 2019
10:02pm
5 minutes
Walking at Night
Elizabeth Poliner

A man is screaming in the alley behind the house. I usually avoid that place, where we used to find syringes and condoms. It’s not like that anymore, not usually, but I’m still wary. The man swears and yells, and I wonder what in me overrides the basic human call to comfort someone in need. What if this were a woman? Would it be different? What if I were a man? Would it be different? I peek out the window and see him, bike leaned against a garage, pants wet from the snow. He doesn’t see me.

“to calm a stranger” by Julia on the 9

Tuesday February 19, 2019
2:20pm
5 minutes
Walking at Night
Elizabeth Poliner

How many times have you seen a woman crying in the bathroom at the bar? How many times have you been that woman’s friend? How many times have you been that woman?
It’s nice to remember that we are all sometimes going through it. If you’re not and I am, then good, someone to lean on. If you are and I’ve already been there, even better, I can hold you in the soft of my understanding.
We are not so different anyway.
Not really at all.
Would you believe that we are all the same but reflecting back to each other a different expression of spirit?
I might believe this when I think I don’t need a stranger’s help, or that someone else will come along and ask the stranger crying in the bathroom stall if she’s okay. I might remember it best when I am feeling closer to whole. So I can look around me and actually notice when someone could use a hand extended or a hug or a smile. The currency of kindness is worth more when you think you don’t have enough to spare.

“I didn’t like my job” by Julia at her desk

Monday February 18, 2019 5 minutes The Wild Dogs of Hong Kong Sarah Vallance I was there for two weeks and I knew that I would be leaving for good but I didn’t tell them that I said I was looking for summer employment Hello I’m calling from Toledo University and blah blah blah Sign up for this and blah blah blah this is Lisa that’s my real name… I met a woman named Sayward who referred to herself as Lisa on calls so she wouldn’t have to spell her name each time and justify that her dad was born in Japan She had brown bangs and a weird furry pouch that she wore around her waist and kept her diamond coins or whatever she called them inside She invited me to go LARPING with her but could not detect the actor in my voice when I said I was deeply interested I wanted to know the ins and outs of these people unlike me who would die a thousand deaths and come back as pizza and then want to date each other when they took off their masks Or maybe they left their masks on Either way I said I’d be happy to go along Cause I wanted to film it or write about it as if it were mine Sayward tried to teach me how to knit and lent me $2 to ride the bus I never said goodbye to her or explained that I was temporarily working there cause I didn’t care and I think she got attached to me Who wouldn’t, when someone says they love everything you do You think you’ve found a kindred or something sweet like that

“but the monkey will go” by Julia in her room

Sunday February 17, 2019
9:59am
5 minutes
Nature Is Strong
Tony Hoagland

Say hi to my monkey
She comes around when things feel clunky
Begging me to return to the key
The constant truth inside of me
She’s asking for play and to leave behind structure
Cause forcing her to climb is like stealing her love for freedom and spontaneity
Wondering if she’ll ever have the chance to be left alone to be
Exactly who she sees in me
Say hi to monkey I’ve kept her caged I didn’t want her to choose cause I was too afraid
How will she make me look if I put her in charge?
Will my friends stick by me if my play bone grows large?
Will the ones that I choose, choose me back if I’m happy, no sadness here just one laughing monkey?
If when they asked how I am I said good when I was, instead of looking for reasons why things aren’t enough, could I let myself smile even when I think I could do more? Isn’t that the key to this self-locked door?
Say hi to my monkey cause I’m bringing her along, sometimes she makes me dance, or break out in song
She’s the younger self I’ve been trying to pin
Say hi to my monkey, now I’m letting her in.

“not only the present” by Julia on her couch

Saturday February 16, 2019
11:40pm
From the Constitution of the Iroquois Nation

You’re allowed to think about the past if you want to. There’s nothing wrong with the way you’re doing it. Some people want to take a deep breath in and out and focus and be right where they are in the moment. Right where they are with their physical bodies. Our past holds different aspects of ourselves. We would need to put attention on those every now and again if they’re a part of us, wouldn’t you agree? You’re allowed to time travel and thank yourself and see yourself and accept yourself. You can go back as many times as you want. You can be where you once were before you ever thought anything was wrong with you. A land before shame.

“nature acts.” By Julia on her couch

Friday February 15, 2016
11:26pm
From a quote by Voltaire

Nothing can be said most days. Body decides without meaning to and we hear the real truth anyway. What do you say when a tree calmly screams at you? Are there words? Are there instructions? What do say when the Big Dipper is so clear? Do you say that, The Big Dipper Is So Clear? Do you say say you’re sorry at a celebration of life memorial?