“Let us briefly consider the back” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday June 5, 2018
7:05pm
5 minutes
The Other Side
Sarah Ball

Built for carrying heavy all up and down the stairs
Used to holding tension in the crevices that can’t be reached without injury
The smoothest skin on the weakest part of me
The softest muscles bending forward and forward and the other way
Let us, if we might, consider how we can’t see it but must trust it’s there
even when it feels like it’s been buried under all the heavy
carried up and down the stairs
I would watercolour the shit out of yours, painting tiny villages along your spine
planting flowers at the base of the hinge that folds you
I would write you the sweetest words with the nicest flowing pen
straddling your hips, using your bum as a seat
and I would breathe life into you that you will never see without the help of a mirror
but will have to trust is there

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

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

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

“freckles on thighs and in-between.” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday February 13, 2018
6:07pm
5 minutes
Teachable Moment, 1986
kellee Ngan

you were the one who first told me about the freckle
on the inside of my bum cheek and I didn’t even
know it was there
I want to thank you now in retrospect for looking
as close at the inside of my bum cheek as you did
For looking as close at the inside of my chest
even when I couldn’t be happy for your happiness
or when I chose silence over words even though
you knew I knew words better
I want to thank you now for noticing then the trilion
tiny specks of me
the good the bad, the ugly ugly ugly
You were so patient until your patience bit
and when it did it took out a deep chunk
You always knew where to sink your teeth in
but that was your reward for paying such perfect
attention
You told me once that my tongue whipping down your
throat was not sexy and I didn’t have the thought
to tell you then that I was holding tightly
to a thread that held your head close to mine
And I was not anything close to ready
to letting it go in case you went with it
One day I opened my fingers and you went with it
but I thank you now
the first

“for a lot of people” by Julia on the 99

Tuesday November 28, 2017
8:43pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

There is a moment every morning where a decision is made. Not a big one. Maybe not a little one. But not a nothing one. Every choice leads to a different life. A better life, a worse life, that we cannot ever know. But different. Always different. Every morning starts with a series of silent promises made to the skin we are borrowing. Skin, hello, I trust you slept well. Today I am going to use you to travel across the expanse of my thoughts. I will go far or maybe not really and you will witness what I am brave enough to see. Skin, hello, I should start with an apology for yesterday: I wasn’t thinking clearly and I was lonely and if you think I don’t love you, please remember how weak the human heart can be.
Every moment is a magic one. One with agency and choice and opportunity and potential.

“never been good at multitasking” by Julia on her couch


Sunday September 10, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
from a text

I know I’m inching fufther away from myself when I can make sure I send you a writing prompt but I will go the whole day without writing a single word for me. And I think long and hard about what I’ll suggest to you. What I hope is something that gives you a reason to write. Because I care that you aren’t writing. I care that you must write. That the bones of your body only feel warm when you do. I know this sensation too. Cold bones. The feeling of your bed being the scariest place to end the day. When sleep takes more from you than it gives. I have been shivering these days. And I do not want to turn on the radiator because it shouldn’t be this frigid in my home. It shouldn’t be this removed from skin. I don’t remember how to fix this but I do know that it always comes back–which means it always goes away first.

“Don’t tell anyone.” by Julia at her desk


Sunday December 6, 2015
9:43pm
5 minutes
http://www.globeandmail.com/life/parenting

Don’t tell anyone but I love the smell of my own skin. Like the ooey gooey yeasty smell of the inside of my bra after a long day of support and entrapment. I like it like I like the smell of your hands after they’ve been down your pants. I don’t know why but they smell the same to me. Secret Skin. Hidden in plain sight. Terribly crass. Undeniably human. I love the human you become when I’m an animal sniffing the sweat off your thighs. I ache for you to want me like your body has no choice. You tell me you like the smell of my arms, behind my ears, my belly button. I tell you to describe the scent that you like so much. I beg for you to prove it to me that it’s worth risking everything for.
You don’t know what to say except that it’s spicy and reeks of the earth. I am lifted from my bones when I hear you inhale me.

“chemical or thermal irritation” by Julia at Caledonia Park


Wednesday May 6, 2015
7:17pm
5 minutes
http://www.webmd.com

According to Gwen’s self-diagnosis, she had 3 days to live and a whole lot of goodbyes to give. I laughed when she said that. “It’s just mild discoloration. You’re fine!” Gwen wasn’t amused. After spending hours googling her “condition” she was convinced that she had the rare unpronounceable disease, and this was, in fact, the very end of the line for her. “You don’t know anything, you’re not a doctor, Ian!”
I laughed again. “Neither are you! Come on, don’t put this stress on yourself, people on there have nothing better to do than to scare perfectly healthy people who are not even close to dying.”
“And if they’re right? Some small chance that this is actually happening? Then what?”

“Looking for a therapist?” by Julia on the subway going south


Sunday, April 26, 2015
1:49pm
5 minutes
From a PRS subway ad

There are feelings
Woah like the waves of the sea
And they’re big
Whoosh like the world shifting
Tectonic plates moving
And I have them
They’re in me
Whoosh waving through me
Around my bones
Keeping them cold
Keeping me far away from settling in
That’s the best way to describe
Whoosh
Wave
Whooshing
Is there a cure?
For the feelings that slosh around beneath my skin
Boom begging me to hold on tight
To wrap up my insides
So they stay good and out of contact
With all my major organs?
Does the doctor know this brand of illness?
Oh the waving
Whooshing
Sloshing sick-feelings landslide
Tsunami
and
Evolutionary jolting
Rocking my core
And shaking me from my roots?

“performing like ‘bungling idiots’ ” by Julia at Creperie Du Monde


Wednesday January 7, 2015 at Creperie Du Monde
5:18pm
5 minutes
The Times
Wednesday January 7, 2015


take off the mask
take it off, leave it there on the table
leave it there where I can see it
leave it there so I can see you
you look scared underneath it all
underneath the thing you were wearing
wasn’t it uncomfortable?
wasn’t it suffocating?
but you needed it to perform the magic tricks and the lying dance
you needed it to put on the show, to give you courage to see it through
I understand the whole thing
I understand your motivation
audience, lights, camera, inaction
you don’t want to show me your real skin
you don’t want me to reach out and touch you in case it feels too real
I want to know what you look like
I want to know what your naked emotions do to you when you can’t control them

“WANTED” By Sasha on the Gulf Islands ferry


Sunday October 12,2014
5:28pm
5 minutes
from a gelato advertisement

Her skin is breaking out and she’s blaming it on the Chinese take-out. “What the fuck, Evan! We need to start eating vegetables!” “There are vegetables in Chow Mein!” Evan doesn’t know what to say. He’s doing his best. She resents his hat, his asshole hat. She resents his bad breath, and his hair loss, and his teeth, and his Facebook habit. “I’m going to get some spinach. We’ll eat spinach every meal of the day, honey…” She gazes at a zit the size of Olympus (to her, to you or I, it’s the size of an ant body). She looks herself in the eyes. Back to the zit. Back to her eyes. It’s a strange thing, gazing in your own eyes. It’s a strange thing, gazing into the eyes of a man you think you know, named Evan, who secretly pulls out his eyelashes and eats them.

“For the Canadian Girl!” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday September 14, 2014
10:02pm
5 minutes
From a note from a new friend

He hands me a glass of wine and says, “for the Canadian girl!”
I smile because this kind of thing doesn’t happen to me.
I smile because he’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen and the subway doors aren’t closing between us.
I smile because he looks at me like I am his secret.
We cheers.
He says, “How long have you been here?”
I forget, but say, “Two weeks.”
He says, “You like?”
I do, and I say, “Yes!”
He smiles because he’s never seen someone with darker skin than his in the flesh.
He smiles because he’s been waiting for the moment since the day Lucia Marzano refused to kiss him.
He smiles because I am here, now and we are both ready.
There’s a silence, but it’s not heavy, it’s buoyant like a red helium balloon.

“For the Canadian Girl!” by Julia at Parco Delle Energie in Rome


Sunday September 14, 2014
5:26pm
5 minutes
From a note from a new friend

When the light in the room was enough to make out who was who but not distinguish any defined features, we traded partners after the daze of wine had begun to take shape, and the after effects of the powder we dropped into our glasses started to tingle our skin. I had wanted him from the beginning but I never let on because it felt unfair to her. She had no idea that he had wanted me too, so I pretended not to notice that our looks across the pool the night before had lasted longer than they maybe should have. Tonight when it was her idea, in love with the drug and the moonlight giving her courage, none of us said no for fear of complicating an easy reward. We moved slowly, finally to each other’s lover and sat slowly down beside the new arms and legs, the new heartbeat, the new pulse. She wanted mine and I wanted hers. I always always wanted hers.

“most honour you” by Julia at Parco Del Colle Oppio


Wednesday September 10, 2014
4:08pm
5 minutes
King Lear
William Shakespeare


A man I can see from the corner of my eye has gone from one side’s fountain to the other side’s fountain back and forth for over an hour now. Sometimes he has his shirt off, sometimes he has it on. He carries a plastic bag with him so I’m assuming from that alone that he stays here most of his time. The first moment I saw him, he was drinking the water and wetting his hands. The second time he was dunking his whole head in it and pouring water down the back of his pants. The third time he washes under his arms. He must have been just trying to keep cool, but he seemed more obsessed with the baptism of something deeper–the purifying of what’s under the skin.

“Auditions for the part of” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, September 6, 2014
10:03pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

He has a scar on his hand
the kind where you can see the stitches
the kind that looks like someone drew it there
with white-out

He has lady hands
which undermine the scar
I guess
His nails are longer than I’d like
But no one asked me

He has pock marks on his face
I wonder what it says about his teenage years
I wonder if they hurt
I wonder if he stood
bloody-faced
Wanting to shed his skin

He scratches under his left eye
I follow his fingers
His eyes are brown
Darker than when he first arrived
Darker than his childhood
Darker now that time is heavy
and the moon is full

“with MOSS FOLK” by Julia at Kawaii Crepe


Thursday August 7, 2014 at Kawaii Crepe
8:38pm
5 minutes
from the Wooden Shjips concert ticket


I’ve been sitting here with a patch of dead skin in my hands. I thought you would have noticed that my legs were peeling because some of the shapes looked like your favourite states: Minnesota, Alabama, Missouri. You didn’t say one thing about it, so I kept slowly detaching the snake-like-shreds, trying to keep them as long and intact as possible. Like orange peels. Like the backing of a press on tattoo. I guess I was looking for some attention, or to prove to myself that you cared about me and my well-being. I wondered if you wondered why I had burnt skin to begin with. If you thought to ask and discovered that I scalded my legs in a hot bath, if you’d wonder why anyone would think to take a hot bath in the middle of July. I don’t usually do that kind of thing. It just sort of happened as a result of my endless time alone and my desire to feel like anything but myself. Granted, I did feel a little like Virginia Woolf. I wondered if you’d wonder about that part…

“Anytime. Anywhere. Anything” by Julia on the subway going east


Friday May 16, 2014
8:20pm
5 minutes
from the side of a van

I’ve got you
Under my skin
I don’t know but somehow
I let you in
And if you went
A little deeper
You would see what
I was keeping there
I can’t hide
Not anymore
The wound is peeled
And you can see to my core
And if you stayed a little longer
You would taste
what I was feeling there

The lights are on
and I’m exposed like a secret
The world is quiet and that’s
The way I try to keep it
Ask me no questions
I’ll tell you great lies
The answers are twisted
The avoidance of whys
And an actor is born
Out of flesh and
Of pain
And we all struggle
To bear the truth we witness
Without placing the blame
In safety
And in vulnerability
I tell you this
I tell you


I’ve got you
Under my skin
I don’t know but somehow
I let you in
And if you went
A little deeper
You would see what
I was keeping there

“I remember” by Julia at the TUA Artists’ Retreat at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday, August 25, 2013
2:02pm
5 minutes
From the writer’s workout warm-up

I remember the feel of your morning skin more than the taste of your kiss. It’s something that eases me, that keeps me from spinning into the unknown. You lay there, sleeping, mumbling something to me or yourself, about me, or yourself, and I know you. Your skin: cool from the ever-blowing fan because of the air conditioner we never ever purchased. Your skin, inviting and honest, cloaking your masculinity, your desires, your rage. I remember that feel, that cool sticky skin feel, when I hate you. When I wish you never told me you loved me. When you break my bracelet because you can’t help yourself but play with the dainty things that are strewn across the dresser we share. That’s when I crawl back into those pretty morning moments, and I’m still, laying there behind you, counting your freckles and believing that I could not want for anything but this.
Your heart, a beating, living thing beneath the skin. I’m intrigued by its rhythm and the secrets you hold close but only let me see when you’re sleeping away. I remember.

“broke down under the pressure” by Julia in her backyard


Tuesday, August 20, 2013
11:24pm
5 minutes
The program for 7 Important Things at SummerWorks

She’s gotten into the habit of spitting. It’s a gross one, and she knows it, but somehow it’s stuck and she likes it better than the skin picking. I have to agree with her. The skin picking thing made her look like a meth-head and she swears she’s only done it twice. She just didn’t know what to do with her hands because she was anxious and worked up and all that. Now it’s like she doesn’t know what to do with her words so she keeps spitting onto the ground just to get them out so they’re not stuck inside her skull. Sometimes there’s nothing even to spit out but she grinds her throat together from the inside to make it rough and hurt. Then when she has enough throat juice, she spits it out without waiting to see what’s around her. She did that with the skin picking, only with that she was flicking her scabs and bloody epidermis around with reckless abandon. We’ll see if this is just a phase; just a coping mechanism for the mental break down she swears she only told me about.

“I feel your trace on my skin” by Julia at Pyrus Cafe


Sunday, December 23, 2012 at Pyrus Cafe
3:24pm
5 minutes
Your Body My Earth
Beth Murch


like a tattoo of i love you, i find myself remembering the beautiful laugh lines, the midnight escape lines, covered in cookie crumbles, covered in a deep baked pie crust.
you’re everywhere.
did you know how good your skin feels?
How could you know?
i want to trace the lies and years of bad decisions in the flesh of your hope, the window of your mind. i want the lies because they are you. the truth is nothing and never will be. truth is easy enough. like a cold night where your legs entangle mine, when you’re sleeping before me. so even when i’ve shed the day, shed my fears, my clothes, i stay warm from the heat of you. from the tattoo, crochet lines of i love you on your skin, imprinting themselves on mine.
permanence never felt so good. you are the infinite lines of everything i’ve always always wanted.
you know before i can tell you.
you’re the sky scape passing by me on a grey hound bus, the ever-present hum of the motor and the wheels.
The thing that keeps me up at night because feeling you when i’m awake is nothing short of your promise.