“three boring facts about yourself” by Julia on R’s couch

Thursday, November 29, 2018
12:41pm
5 minutes
Two Truths and a Lie
Alicia Elliot

Okay number one is that I pick my nose. Nothing exciting about that, nobody cares, everyone does it, and the only people who think it’s bad are parents to toddlers who are embarrassed of everything they do. Once I said that I do it in a job interview and the whole room fell in love with me. I knew not because I did it and they do it but because I said it and had no shame.

Number two is that I sometimes watch Grey’s Anatomy even though it’s no longer good or fun, and I still cry my eyes out every time. I watch it when I need to turn off my mind completely. I don’t care about the characters when I’m not watching. I don’t tell anyone I watch it. It’s a boring thing about me. Now you know.

Number three is that I can sit in silence for a long time with my back in a weird position. Not on purpose like a life model posing for painters. Not like a Yogi who is meditating or a regular person who is meditating. Like a person who finds a position and then doesn’t move even though the spine is probably breaking. It’s just a thing I do.

“silence that voice.” By Julia at her desk

Wednesday October 3, 2018
9:41pm
5 minutes
Sitting in the Fire
Pema Chodron

She doesn’t whisper anymore
she begs
she wants me to be loud
that’s my goddamn mantra anyway
Yell Woman, Yell As Loud As The Moon
But the pull of this river is telling me something different
That I should quiet the voice quaking
that I should walk in silence and observe the wind moving
I am being tested every second and there are so many seconds
which mountains I’ve made and which I’ve climbed
I am fairly certain there have been no molehills worth dying on
I know that is what the pull is saying
the one that doesn’t whisper anymore
The one that doesn’t say anything at all
Wisdom is knowing you are right and not beating a love
over the skull with how right you are
and how wrong they have been
It is about knowing deep within and underneath bone
that sometimes saying less is saying more
and saying nothing is saying nothing

But what about the Yell Woman.
The Women of Yell that I have built all my bridges on
They rumble sometimes
and still
I must sit

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

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

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

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

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

“spilled cola, coffee, and cigarette ashes.” by Julia on her patio

Sunday June 17, 2018
8:44pm
5 minutes
The Best Lack All Conviction
Jacob Scheier

We have come out here to avoid our inside lives
the ones that get sticky on the couch
or forget to take out the recycling again
(mistakes and impulse decisions piling up on each other)
(A bitter taste from the cruel beach wind on your tongue)
The woman across the alley way is telling everyone the same story
“The government something and now he’s outta there”
Neither of us can catch it
But we watch like she is the movie keeping us silent and side by side
She knows she can be obnoxious and has repeated that too
The air is perfect
The sky is purple and pink and orange on my side and
blue and lime green and red on yours
We light up and pass the joint without words
I’ve got the ukulele and you have your guitar
It’s so nice here outside our inside lives
It feels like the sun is still kissing our shoulders
It feels like my body didn’t just give out on me an hour ago
I crave coffee now and I never used to
You love that about me and I love that you love that
Outside, looking down at the man trading his time for our bottles
the gas fumes wafting up through the patio floor
Inhaling our new air and some of the neighbours’ below

“the hypocrites will teach.” By Julia in her bed

Monday May 7, 2018
11:01pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Suzy Kassem

All the voices I’ve been avoiding living inside me are more alive than I’ve been letting them be, more living than I’ve been thinking they are

I was right about you
it’s written in the stars and I’ve been right so many times but I’ve been scared and so I don’t say anything with words but with worlds of voices dancing around in my head

And they are so loud that my skin crawls and maybe you can see it so you ask me what is wrong and the truth is inside nothing is wrong everything is right but it is dangerous to say out loud

It is hard to believe that I know more than I think I do
That I am bigger than I think I am

“I am numb to you.” By Julia on her bed

January 11, 2018
10:41pm
5 minutes
Midwinter
Natalie Crick

It’s a cab ride after a long ride of not speaking. And you are still not speaking to me. I have done all the heavy lifting. At the table, with strangers, painted you in the pinkest of lights. I was talking shop like you’re the bike, like you’re the ride. And this whole ride you’ve been avoiding me. Trying your best to bite your tongue and let them hear you noble. And you forget me in the middle of it all. Arm outstretched, fork untapped, drink unclinked, and you do not smile. You make a face at them that looks like good and looks like great and then with me you are alone again. Unriddled by my questions, unannounced as if the couch owned your legs. I am mad for being mad. And for being right. And for being nothing but good. So why does it feel so damn exhausting-to nap during the day and wake up still unloved by you. So tiring to keep this back pocket free in case you slip your hand in, and when you do not ask me how my day was, I know to check for stolen change. Hand in my pocket to protect you against the yell machine, the perfect plane, soaring right back down after take off.

“Not even sure” overheard on 14th Ave by Julia on Bec’s couch


Sunday July 9, 2017
2:07am
5 minutes
overheard on 14th Ave

We haven’t talked since Maeve’s funeral. A bit strange, since we live together. We have been weaving in and out of the hallways to avoid our skin brushing. It helps that there are mirrors. You don’t know I’m watching but I know when to move. I don’t miss your voice and that’s also a bit strange. I thought I would but it turns out I’ve never known silence. Neither have you. My quiet is different than yours. Mine is settled. Yours sounds like bees, dying. Maybe if you didn’t kiss my sister while everyone else was burying my step mother. Maybe then yours would have sounded lighter.

“I was speaking body-to-body.” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday June 21, 2017
10:52pm
5 minutes
from an interview with Lidia Yuknavitch on http://www.bloom-site.com

Horay, you fixed the bed. Now our bones don’t crumple in at the meeting place. I never knew how much knee crawling I do until receieving the cease and desist.
It is bad for some reasons, but you don’t want to hear that because it would get in the way of you patting yourself on the back.
You don’t want to hear them but I am not built like a slow cooker. I make popcorn with my feelings. I burst through every single lid in this apartment.
I don’t like sleeping in and now I am more comfortable because my spine is no longer screaming at me. I am speaking body to body now. If you don’t want to hear how my silence stings, you better set your chest to ‘Listen.’

“let it come through.” by Julia on the 99


Saturday April 29, 2017
12:26am
5 minutes
From a quote by Jackson Pollock

I have been swallowing words of wisdom in case it looks like I think too highly of myself. She never asked for what I thought but her eyes told me she could use it. We don’t have to speak if we can’t improve the silence. I learned that somewhere. Maybe my sister said it once. Maybe she heard it from a good book or a peace keeper. I am working on communicating without speaking. I let the people who need voice give voice. I am working on letting it come through with skin and smiles and sound effects

“the wild nature teaches us” by Julia on her living room floor


Friday March 31, 2017
10:25pm
5 minutes
Women Who Run With the Wolves
Clarissa Pinkola Estes


when my insides echo
when the only thing that can fill me is silence
when the forest begs for a closer look
I may know no home like the moss-covered stumps
like the nurse logs championing life
or the quiet stream carrying the whisper of souls reconciled without debt
we are taught so little about where we come from
some stories are passed down but are not built for us
we are reminded that one size does not fit all
even if the tongue doing the telling is loud

“A failure to be my best self” by Julia on her bed


Sunday January 15, 2017
12:32pm
5 minutes
Becoming Wise
Krista Tippett


Since waking I have been making all sorts of lists
Things to do
What to eat
When to do them
How to eat it
All the tiny boxes either checked or unchecked
Waiting or finished
Day’s beginning turning into day’s middle then day’s end before the joints become lubricated enough to sustain it all
Since waking I have been making all sorts of lists
Who to write to
What my dreams were
What my dreams meant
Who I want to be today
Who I plan to be today
Who I end up being today
I have not scheduled in silence
Or stillness
Or sunshine
I have expected all to come when necessary
When called
When unavoidable
I have not promised to love myself in case I can’t quite get to it
I meant to reduce tasks and expectations and heartbreak and time travel of any kind
But I keep adding to the list without breathing first info what it feels like to be alive on a perfect day of perfect opportunity to give thanks

“Highway 2” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday July 2, 2016
10:03pm
5 minutes
NOW Magazine

According to the late night clock on the wall ticking Go To Bed we realized we hadn’t slept since the Rainstorm because you couldn’t fall asleep in the quiet and I couldn’t fall asleep without you. I blamed you then for your sadness. I didn’t know that when you said you were the happiest you had ever been you were trying to manifest happiness because you didn’t have any. I wished you’d stop pretending that it was better on the side of the world where you were left alone, unbothered by me. It made me feel like and onion in an apple patch, a melody in the silence. I made you a card with a picture of a heron because of that one day when we owned the beach before sunrise and saw three of them in a line like an omen for good future, or good luck, or good observation skills.

“is your weapon” by Julia at her desk


Saturday November 7, 2015
11:45pm
5 minutes
from the back cover of Watchdogs

Is your weapon silence or is it force?
I’m asking cause I need to know.
I’m taking a survey.
Which one works better for you?
Are you using it at all?
Are you using your weapon for good or for evil?
You can decide what it is, at any point.
I’d recommend earlier than later.
But what do I know.
I’m just taking a survey.
Is your weapon strength or is it pain?
I’m asking cause I need to know.
I’m looking for the best answer.
Which one keeps the monsters at bay and which one keeps the good out?
It’s possible to keep the good out.
Some weapons only hurt ourselves.
Some weapons only become available after we need them.
You can decide when you’ll use it.
I’d recommend now or never.
But what do I know.

“senior’s line dancing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 4, 2015
9:13pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Nonna doesn’t stop talking until you ask her to talk about herself.
In fact, that is how you get Nonna to stop talking.
It was an accident that I found that fact to be true, but it’s true none the less.
I asked her once to tell me about when she was younger.
“Tell me about the dancing! Tell me about you and Nonno dancing or kissing or both.”
“Oh, we were young, yes, a long time ago. We did some dancing.”
She tells me this, in Italian, as she lays the tomatoes out to be sun-dried.
“No, Nonna, I mean tell me about your dancing. What kind of music did you like? What kind of necklaces did you wear?”
But she doesn’t want to tell me, or remind herself, and instead she trails off in a way that makes her sound like she doesn’t quite believe the sound of her own voice.
“Okay Nonna, tell me about the tomatoes.”
“Oh, these tomatoes? I picked these tomatoes. All by myself. This morning. I hurt my joints because I picked them so long.”

“Words, I think, are oftenest weak.” by Julia on the subway going west


Saturday, January 19, 2013
6:40pm
5 minutes
the poem The Confession
Horatio Alger


There’s a chill in the air, it’s getting cold. Weather is changing. It’s getting cold.
A hundred people were standing in a line that wrapped around the street corner. They were waiting to see The Great John Abbey. Famous, perhaps, for something big. We don’t know. We just know we love him. He was visiting the local library on 5th. He was said to be coming at noon on a Tuesday. He didn’t show up, and the people, bundled in their winter bests, just waited there. I walked by a couple times, had to buy bread, and then go back out again for milk. I noticed the first time, the people were all in great spirits. On my way back home some of the children who had been standing were now being held by their parents or older siblings. The second time out some of them were huddled closer together, presumably to stay as warm as possible, and on my way back home, they were all swaying in time to a music-less song. Just swaying, back and forth. Swaying a dance that looked choreographed. They didn’t speak. They just waited there in each others’ silence. It was odd. It was calming and odd.
I was more shocked at that than I was at the fact that they were standing there long after noon with a hope so big, just to see a man who would never come.