“I have eaten his emptiness” by Julia in her kitchen

Saturday November 30, 2019
8:36pm
5 minutes
Visit from an incubus 
Laura Murphy

it was 3AM
came to me in a dream
fed the beast
broke the cycle

didn’t tell anyone
didn’t believe it at first
wrote it down
walked around

by dawn there was none of me left
I had eaten so much of what was weighing him down
my skin held his emptiness

my arms lifted a different hope from their bones and one I did not recognize
one that did not belong to me

the dream kept speaking as if it knew better
and so I listened
one body freer of their limits and counting

“Light like sugar cane.” by Julia at her desk

Thursday October 17, 2019
8:30am
5 minutes
Daybreak
Gerry Lafemina

It was all you could do to stop the thud in your brain
thhud thhud from the last bit of morning sleep
the first heavy fall you’ve had and thanks to him

Thanks to him for refusing to let you cross rooms in
the dream and for holding you unapologetically so the
whisper of waking hours wouldn’t touch you until it was time

And you almost stayed in the bed, but you rose, and planted
a kiss on the back of his neck instead, sending him back
to the last place he was without shivering

If he had asked you to reprise your role as Warm Body In The Cold
you would have forgone morning light for sugar cane
and he would not have had to ask twice

The head is soft again but the stomach is loud and nothing
seems to line the shelves long enough to act as promise
amidst the already fleeting

Your lack of math or belief in numbers ruins your oatmeal
you pour too much hot water in and think you might just eat
it like that as a reminder that you skipped some crucial steps

“You plan, you design, you labor,” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday October 16, 2019
7:55am
5 minutes
An Absorbing Errand
Janna Malamud Smith

It’s the morning but still dark
too dark, not dark enough
you are awake but not fully here
the city looks quiet, still asleep
too asleep, not asleep enough
there is a small light from the
couch lighting up words written
and bound together with money
you are planning the next one
and this one but you are not fully here
the yellow glow pulls at the aching bone
and you must either ignore it or join it

how does one become as yellow as this light?
how does one join something that hurts?
It’s the morning but still night
too night, not night enough
you are writing and you are wondering
but you are not fully here
you are in a day one week from now
two weeks from now and you are planning
and designing and wondering about what
they will all be like when they meet
themselves on the page that you laboured on

It’s the morning but not a warm spring
it’s the morning but not a conscious howl
it’s the morning but you are still dreaming
now writing out your dreams so they shake
free from your writing bone and keep
the light from pulling

“in the present moment for” by Julia at her desk

Friday August 16, 2019
7:58am
5 minutes
Meditations
Marcus Aurelius

Right now we are fighting the comfort of our bed
fighting the snooze as if together we might be
more successfulLight enters the whole room but we trap it under
the pillows and right now we are on the same team

Tomorrow is another story
Tomorrow can’t be written yet

Right now you are sleep singing to me and yesterday
is not here in the bed, yesterday could not make it
to today’s meeting because yesterday has turned

In a babble we are speaking about the day that has
yet to materialize because right now is all we are
right now is what we have and if we stretch it

and if we let it leak into the next moment for a little
while longer while we sleep on the skin of each other’s
back, while we fight waking, it’s me and you

against the cloudy sky and sun trying to tell us something
We don’t listen if it means one more
configuration holding ease and comfort and promise

This afternoon is another story
This afternoon hasn’t wandered in through the
window yet and we don’t go chasing it

Right now we push the heels of our feet into
the soft of our arches, and whisper a couple mmms
into the hem of our sheets

“I can’t handle this” by Julia in Baden

Thursday July 25, 2019
11:29pm
5 minutes
What Every Body Is Saying
Joe Navarrro

It’s the dreams, Bev, I’m telling you. I get paralyzed in my sleep cause of what I’m doing in my dream and then when I wake up, I can’t move for real.
Take today’s for example! I was napping, right, probably too late in the day for one to be honest, but I got myself into a deep sleep. And in the dream I’m floating 50 ft in the air on some circular device, like one of those snow dishes that you slide down a hill on? And it’s attached to this tiny tiny thread. But long-cause it’s above the ocean. Yeah. All water below and up there I’m having a picnic! Little basket and everything! But then all of a sudden the wind starts turning me upside down and back again at least 6 or 7 times. I am holding onto the ledge of the dish thing, right, holding on for dear life, Bev, cause this shit is unnatural! Then somehow we get down and I have no idea how it works, but we’re safe, and I’m thinking, I do not want to go up back there again. So Elliot gets off the device, right, cause she was up there with me in the dream, right and since she’s down, she’s not scared anymore. But then suddenly I get launched all the way back up!

“treats cognitive complaints” by Julia at her table/couch

Wednesday May 22, 2019
5:33pm
5 minutes
From a med school whiteboard

they always got the prescription pad ready
tell them you aren’t
feeling
like you and they write something that will make you feel like even less
what about sleep?
Doctors seem to
forget about
that one
Or someone to talk to
or listening to the underground communication network of an old growth forest
some birds have healed me before
yeah
birdsong in the morning
the slap of a hardball on leather
the crack of a bat
the perfect thumping sound a wooden spoon makes when it taps on the bottom of the pot

“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

“Speaking of hosting!” By Julia on her couch

Friday February 8, 2019
8:47pm
5 minutes
from a Wordplay call out

In the middle of the night it starts to rain. We can hear it pitter patter on the rooftop. You had asked for that. For more rain. To hear it tapping off the wood of the cottage like that makes us both better. This is a quieter night than some of the others. It is easy to fall back to sleep and dream. I wanted it too: more rain; more reminders of living.

“he fell like the rain,” by Julia at the Rivendell Cottage

Friday January 18, 2019
11:22pm
5 minutes
In The Beautiful Rain
Tony Hoagland

Her eyelids sank, heavy with dust
collected in the creases
So
many
damn
intricate
feelings
Sleep stretched out like a cat before her and she put her hand out to scratch under its chin
The night and all its bigger shadows
loomed in and around, sort of stalking
Her mouth a steady waterfall pointing ground-ward
He, on the other hand warmed up another cup of tea in the microwave
Flipped the pages of his book like punishment
Pushed the bed so far away
it
turned
into
the
couch

“So the Search was begun” by Julia at Pearson Airport

Monday December 31, 2018
8:08am
5 minutes
The Tao Of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff

In the middle of the night I heard a whisper in the sound of my own voice coming from inside my head. It was me, or I believed it to be. I was telling me to breathe and focus and stop focusing and see the white wall and Dear Lord Please, Please. I was telling me to find peace in the stillness. A little voice asked if it was okay if I watched a movie instead. I said yes to myself and began to play a moving picture show of all my choices and all the bread I got to eat. The lobster. The Italian sausage. The night my father and I took a deep look. The movie played and I rewatched it again and again. I told me I could watch it in the morning once I had woken up but the me laying didn’t feel like the me saying was being true. The search had begun for what was. For what was true. Why would inside voice me try to trick outside laying me? What is inside voice me trying to get me to notice or understand or remember forever and ever amen.

“I kissed the person next to me” by Julia at G and C’s

Friday December 28, 2018
11:49pm
5 minutes
Contemplation
Franz Kafka


I kissed the person next to me and he fell asleep with the tip of my nose in his mouth
The first time it was funny
The second time we wondered how we ever managed to fall asleep any other way
I dreamt about stealing feathers and magnets from his rich friend
I ached to be as close as possible
He asked if we could sit in our comfortable silence and I agreed
Lately I have been running around the stock in my head and can’t seem to find anything to say anyway
The long laying and breathing is kind of new to us
We usually put on a show to give our bodies permission to entangle
I don’t know what to do in some moments and that is when I shall find his lips instead of searching for answers
From now on I will fill all the unknowing with kisses

“The only time this does not happen” by Julia at Amanda’s

Thursday December 27, 2018
1:26am
5 minutes
The Undiscovered Self
C.G. Jung

It is dark out
still morning
still raining
You’ll have to leave soon
I could remain here
I hate leaving the bed before you
Last night you tossed in your sleep
Back and forth, flip the pillow
I know it was probably too hot
The window is broken
I told you that before we turned off the light
You didn’t believe me
I can understand your perspective
It hasn’t been dry out for a while
I don’t remember how long, maybe you do
You always remember the things I don’t
That’s very convenient, by the way
You could be re-writing our
history and I wouldn’t even know it

“Hard as it may be to believe” by Sasha on her bed

Tuesday October 2, 2018
8:46pm
5 minutes
Beneath Our Feet
Redfern Jon Barrett

Frida sings me a lullaby and I toss and turn and hope that someone – anyone – might save me from myself.

It doesn’t have to be you, although that would be ideal.

You, fresh from the shower and smelling of sand and amber. You, seeming to have grown a few inches overnight – how do you do that? You, sweet mermaid man, good to the bone, knowing the perfect amount of honey for tea and exactly how to light a room a dusk.

“after every sick joke” by Julia at The Coffee Studio

Monday September 17, 2018
2:35pm
5 minutes
July, ’77
Jill Mandrake

In the night the sticky hot wakes you up and the ac robot beside you becomes a sleep villain. The edge of noise I can teeter on has become finer. The line a little less warning, a little more plummet. I remember you asking for permission but I don’t remember granting it.
My throat catching all the room particles and holding them there. I pull the sheet over my legs and up to my mouth. It’s been an hour in sleep years and in my dream I’m asking you if it can die soon? The robot closes its eyes so now I know you can meet me in my dreams. I know you’ll be able to hear me. In the morning the alarm clock is a welcome sound. No more begging for breeze in the dip of my back, the swamp of my neck. You say, Well that was the most comfortable sleep of my life. Even this joke turns to mud.

“The sun has risen but gives off no warmth.” by Julia at the desk

Tuesday July 24, 2018
11:24pm
5 minutes
Waiting for the Barbarians
J.M. Coetzee

On days like these I rise heavy, rub the sleep heavy
from my eyes heavy, and nod off on the hot bus.
I carry the heavy thing I’ve borrowed in the heavy sun.
I carry all of it pressed in the furrow of my brow-
the one that confuses people, Is she okay? Is she mad?
This morning’s sun burnt a hole in my head and reminded
me of it every second after it. I could have moved my
face but I was smitten there, sitting there, luxuriating
in the imminent ache. I might say I know better but on days
like these I don’t know what I know, if anything. The heavy
is only heavy until you put it down. I could put it down
and catch my breath for a minute, write a song, say hello
to the man with no teeth, nodding at me from the passenger
seat of the helping van. Later, I will watch the sun set
inch by inch to prove that even this shall pass. When the
sun stops, I take off my pack and rest.

“Jesus do I have to even get out of bed” by Julia at her desk

Monday June 4, 2018
9:26pm
5 minutes
From an interview by Devin Friedman

Do I have to leave this? I’ve built a warm thing to lay in. My head is heavy. My eyes blink slowly. What is it about grey mornings.

Don’t say they’ll turn into something beautiful. It’s always too late when this city decides to help me out.

I think it’s sadness?
It feels like it.
Laying, laying, not moving, sort of staring

I think another body in the bed would change the shape of things.
Make me sink a little toward the middle.
Make me have to get up in the night.
Make me have to come right back and settle.

Today is hard.

If I admit it maybe it will get the validation it needs and move on.
Maybe tomorrow won’t be so needy.
I slept with all my clothes last night.
Sweater, pants, socks.

Another body in the bed would require shorts or nothing.
Another body in the bed would be built like a furnace, jobbed and ready to heat whatever is close and shivering.

I’ll ask Jesus if he knows where to get one.

“Manifest plainness” by Julia in her bed

Sunday, May 13, 2018
6:19am
5 minutes
From a quote on by Lao Tzu

The colour is right
Light pink, baby blue, hazy orange

The wake up is long
pushing the eyelashes open slowly
almost drifting off and farther away

The label on the alarm is a message from past me, wisdom and honesty
Please Write. I Love You.
And it works by the time I travel there

Eyelids weigh a wet feather or a hundred pounds and we take it easy
The body machine is working hard at staying up to see the seagulls swooping close to the window but not quite
The body machine is looking for excuses to stay asleep

One eye open, seeing the room through a dream

“stinking up the bedsheets” by Julia at her desk

Monday April 9, 2018
9:15pm
5 minutes
Lonely
Z. Da Costa

I noticed crumbs in the bed yesterday morning
they belong to both of our feet
both of our pajama pants
I don’t know
I don’t hate it
But this lonely has been stinking up the bed sheets
and I know that it only belongs to me
that the nights left unslept are mine
but they’re because of you
I don’t think you will mind sharing this custody
I think your bed has fewer crumbs in it
but it is more empty
I have never been there and left it
I have never rolled my day’s lint at the bottom of your sheets
and then made you sleep alone in it
I noticed your side of the bed doesn’t dip as much
maybe this haunting was all part of your master plan

“there are still shoelaces to be tied” by Julia at her desk

Sunday April 8, 2018
11:15pm
5 minutes
Ten Seconds for Each Year
Fernando Raguero

Wait till your eyes run out of juice
try typing that letter to your friend
see how many times you nod off in the
middle of a good sentence
tell her: there are stillllllllllll swppp
tell her: you are so eeeeeen qqQ hip
She will really appreciate that you didn’t
make time for her earlier in the day
that you were saving up all your creative
expression for the moments in between
sleep and almost sleep because that’s
when all the best ideas come through
tell her: that thought you had about
the cactus and the kiwi eloping
tell her: neck kink and unlimited yawn
tell her: fall onto the bed mascara
still holding all your eyelashes together
Don’t forget about the roasting pan in
the sink or the shoes out in the foyer
or the wet hair drying slowly on your back

the fortifiers of human agency” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday March 27, 2018
11:14pm
5 minutes
On Being

Things may have escalated. My alarm clock now tells me how shitty I’m being for sleeping. Not sleeping in, but being tired. Labels as the chimes go off: don’t waste your potential! Get thee to the yoga mat! I should be thanking night me for trying to kick morning me in the ass for some good quality productivity but I do not listen to myself. I’m the only one who can fortify my own agency and yet, snooze, sorry, tomorrow. My mind craves structure and my body craves cuddles. Nobody wins here. Nobody wins, and somebody should since it’s all just me playing me against me playing me. Nothing is real! Getting up early is not real! Wishing I didn’t wonder where the hours go is not real!

“boys can be dangerous.” by Julia at the studio

Monday, March 19, 2018
3:57pm
5 minutes
Undue Familiarity
Ellen Collett

It is under the covers of this empty bed where I feel the most like nothing.
Where are your knotted legs to wrap mine around?
Where is the soupy whisper in my ear telling me I am good enough already?
Boys are so damn dangerous
when you let them love you so good
the lack of them creates chaos in the sweet stream
A kink in the neck now from piling up your pillows
it is my back, desperate
to be held by something other
than this muscle spasm, kidnapper and cruel one
I rub the void between my legs until sleep takes me
I wake up wet from the dream that I said I’d meet you in
I used to think I slept better when you are gone
but when I let you love me so good
the sheets change all of their demands

“famous for flying around”by Sasha in the bath

Wednesday February 14, 2018
10:52pm
5 minutes
Anthony’s Glass Eye
Billeh Nickerson

Suddenly a song comes on that makes me think of Dan. I haven’t thought of him in a really long time and that feels like a small victory, close to finding blood oranges on sale or something like that. Didn’t I by Darondo. We listened to that song so many times that spring and summer. Dan was the worst sex I ever had. But I loved him. Maybe I loved him more like a brother, or a sister, or a puppy. I didn’t love him like a lover. But. Suddenly Darondo comes on and I’m transported back to watching him sleep in my bed in the apartment across from the college, watching his little belly rise and fall.

“All I’ve ever learned from love” by Julia on N’s couch

Friday November 24, 2017
10:23pm
5 minutes
Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen

Neck ache: you are nestled into the folds of my body.
My body belongs to you during these circuits of heavy breathing.
I am afraid to move now that you’re still.I don’t want to wake you.

Sleeping arm: you need me to hold you in a way that numbs my limbs. My body does what you ask it to. You are sweaty but need to be close. My wrist is hoping that this is enough.

Closed eyes: you keep checking to see if I am with you or faking it. I am here. After you cried I felt bad for dismissing you before. You are not as tough as you look.

Heart strings: you ask me to stay with your sleep whimper. I ask you if you want me to sing to you and you wait a long minute before you answer. Nobody’s ever asked you that before. You don’t know if it will make you feel less alone or more.

“We can’t get nothin’ tomorra.” By Julia in her bed

Tuesday November 14, 2017
11:08pm
5 minutes
Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck

J is beside me reading Grapes Of Wrath. He wants to read out loud but I’m not in the mood. I tell him I just want to let my mind think itself to sleep. I’ve been very good at doing that. I close my eyes or keep them open and I tell myself, okay, think of all the things you need to do tomorrow. And then suddenly I’m asleep before I’ve gotten to the good parts. Listen to J read. Go to the water. Say I’m feeling full instead of busy. Call my mother. I think I’m quite lucky. Some people can’t sleep because of thinking too much and here I am using it as a game. Sometimes sleep has to be a game or I will avoid it. J is the one who helps me the most. He knows when it’s is to sleep. He knows when I’ve had enough for one day. I forget how to bring myself to the edge of tonight and tomorrow when I am alone. I fall asleep on the couch 5 times before I drag myself to my toothbrush.

“you called me at 5:30, said you couldn’t sleep” by Julia on the 99


Monday August 7, 2017
10:36pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

The phone buzzes beside my dreams and I think for a sleep second (which in real life is like, 100 wisps of sand) that you are dying and I am the only one who can love you when you’re dying. I can’t give you money but I can give you that. You want a soft arm to hold when the sky opens up? I can be that for you.
When my body alerts me to wake up (and I always wake up) there is a voicemail from you saying that you can’t sleep. My internal clock knows when it’s time to reach you. It knows 5am like a rock in a shoe.

“I didn’t want to wait in that line either” by Julia on the plane


Friday July 7, 2017
6:25am
5 minutes
overheard at Vancouver international airport

Dear JT,

It’s almost time to say goodbye. We’ve all been awake since four in the morning on account of a sweaty sleep and a flight to catch. The bed has new sheets but you won’t feel them till next week. I slept without clothes and it was still an inferno. I am almost glad you weren’t there. of course I’d rather see you, and even now as I write this, I regret saying that. I think Emmett will be fine on trip-we got him one of those thingy spinnings? I don’t know what they’re called but I’m sure you’ve heard of them. They’re everywhere.

“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.’

“The only thing we lack” by Julia in her bed


Sunday May 28, 2017
11:13pm
5 minutes
from a program from the Cultch

you are holding me as I write this
breath on my shoulder, butterfly, same thing
I know I’ll meet my crows tomorrow morning
I know you’ll meet yours

I can feel you falling heavy
twitching into dream
As long as our skin kisses
we will know safety
we will have made it under the gazebo just in time for rain
and dancing
you are holding me as I write this
the only thing we lack
is more

“I want you to sleep beside me” by Sasha in her bed


Friday April 21, 2017
10:42pm
5 minutes
Said by Q

I want you to sleep beside me so that I can
travel your dreamscapes
your garden paths roses and camellias
charting the ups and downs of the river
underwater snaking underwater
the ledges and the resting rocks
in the way that sisters do
I want you to sleep beside me tonight
and hold me close feet touching
backs and arms and bellies and
I want to wake and make you porridge
like I did ten years ago
porridge with almond butter
coconut
apples
dates

“helps clear the air of many toxins” by Julia on the other chair


Sunday March 26, 2017
8:00pm
5 minutes
from alive magazine

Silas comes home after a fight and 3 long nights of sleeping on the floor of his best friend’s living room. there was no couch after Trevor’s boyfriened made them get rid of it under the suspicion of bed bugs. he comes home needing to shower, carrying a Peace Lily and looking me in the eye.
“i think we’ve been misunderstanding each other and i want you you to know that i want to understand you. ”
he doesnt hold out the plant, but keeps it tucked under his arm on condition.
“where did you get that?” i ask him without moving from my office chair.
“honestly, Lydia? is that what you think is the most important question?”

“can definitely travel” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday January 12, 2016
1:37pm
5 minutes
From an email

My mother braids my hair before bed, because it’s long now and I toss and turn so violently that I wake, morning after morning, with a birds nest at the nape of my neck. I have nightmares at seven, eight, nine and my mother makes a little bed beside her own that I can crawl into without having to wake her. The run from my room to her room is agony. I do it nightly, building courage like a city around me, inside me, gaining courage until I burn pictures drawn in crayon of my nightmare and he goes.

“improve life for their families.” By Sasha at her desk


Wednesday January 4, 2017
2:10pm
5 minutes
From a Kiva.org card

Kevin starts blowing glass in his sleep. Tom isn’t sure whether he should chain him to the bed or let him, which is a greater risk. At breakfast Kevin wonders how he has burns on his fingers. Tom pours more orange juice and kisses him before putting on his jacket and going outside to warm up the car.

“I’m not sure moving the studio into the house was the best idea,” Kevin minces garlic later that day, before dinner. Tom opens a bottle of Merlot. “Why’s that?” he asks. “I keep dreaming about work,” Kevin glugs olive oil into the cast iron pan. “It’s like I can’t escape… And then when I do go into the studio, during the day, my stuff is shit. Really. Total shit.”

“without a lot of fragmentation” by Julia on Bec’s chair


Thursday December 29, 2016
12:39am
5 minutes
Misery
Stephen King


I haven’t slept in a week. I asked my wrists if they wouldn’t mind staying quiet tonight for a change so I could heal. They remained restless. They don’t know how else to be and I don’t blame them for that. The pillows have ranged from perfect to perfectly fine so that’s not it. Alone or not, still can’t do it. Might want to stop eating so late at night. Might want to stop snacking enough to curb hunger and trick my body into perfect or perfectly fine. Might want to forgive myself for not forgiving you. Might want to keep screens to a minimum and stick to real pages for once. Might want to call you and tell you that you were right and I was wrong but now that I’m over the dramatics of this week I can admit my shit better.

“can’t think of anything to add.” by Julia on her couch


Monday November 28, 2016
9:45pm
5 minutes
From a feedback form

I wish I didn’t fall asleep when I read
Wish I didn’t love chocolate
Wish I didn’t need to spend a long time in the bathroom with the door closed not talking me to anyone for hours
Wish I didn’t only call my mom when I am walking somewhere
Wish I cared more about DIY
Wish I knew how to play the ukulele
Wish people asked me to sing for them
Wish I could wear sweatpants to the printers or the dentist
Wish I didn’t have a permanent retainer (or two) (for flossing)
Wish flossing was stupidly enjoyable
Wish someone could squeeze me all day
Wish someone would squeeze me all night
Wish I never needed to consult the Internet for recipes
Or scrabble words
Or origins of weird sayings
Wish I was born in a different decade
Or area code

“the hands upraised” by Sasha at her desk


Friday November 25, 2016
11:54am
5 minutes
The back of a Buddha greeting card

I couldn’t sleep again last night. I don’t usually have this problem, toes touching the warmth of your calf, stretching into a dream. I woke you from almost-sleep, “I have the scares,” I said. We stole the line from our eight year old friend because kids are the most articulate in my books. Before I woke you from almost-sleep, before we brushed teeth and put socks and underwear into the laundry hamper, I had been edgy and grating and needy with you, asking “Why?” over and over, even when it wasn’t called for. Mostly when it wasn’t called for. Before the sixty three “Why’s” we had seen a play about a brothel in which a woman is sold into sexual slavery. Our friends were in it. On the way there, I sang along to the radio in the car as the rain slapped the windshield. We held hands. The play was really good, really painful, really vital – which is more than I can say most of the time. Maybe all the “Why’s” I threw at you were easier than the “Why’s” I really have, the thundercloud ones and the screaming ones and the throat closing sob ones. I’m sorry. You don’t have answers because there are no answers, you can’t give me the answers I need, you shouldn’t ever have to. Hands upraised, reaching for something, reaching for meaning, reaching for why, reaching for God.

“whenever I decide to finally” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday October 16, 2016
10:54pm
5 minutes
from A Pinterest board

If it’s not the third time you’ve come to collect my mushing bones from the living room and scoop me back to bed with you, it’s the second, and I’ve already said no once in a way I was sure you got it. See this mushing thing that I’ve been doing/allowing is sort of on purpose sort of something that I don’t want to change. You’re in the bed, I’m out here, it is quiet. It is easy. You in the bed means sleep comes next means tomorrow comes after means tomorrow night follows. Means I don’t want to wake up. Because I wanted to love today better. But didn’t. Because I don’t want to get out of bed. Because I wanted to love myself better today but I didn’t. Because I don’t want to face myself in some form or another, some battle of self expression or survival- I don’t know which way I’ll be asked to listen to myself tomorrow. So if I ignore you, make it seem like your fault, it’s because sleep will ruin me and you and everything it touches, and I am doing my best to shield you from that.

“I don’t even have kids” By Julia on her couch


Thursday August 11, 2016
10:10pm
5 minutes
a facebook post

It’s taken a lot of will power to keep my eyes open and push through. Some days last longer than others. Some days exist only to remind me of how hard it is to get anything done. And if I don’t dedicate myself to it, not every part of me shows up.
I don’t have kids yet but I know that if I did I would understand lack of sleep even better than I do now. I know that. But until then. I have this.

“an unexpected family thing” by Julia on her bed


Monday, July 25, 2016
8:13am
5 minutes
From a text

Annie calls me from the other room to see if I’m awake. I am. But I ignore the ring. Letting it finish its tune before I toss in bed some more to make it seem like I’m still asleep. Annie hasn’t been sleeping well on the couch, even though she says she has been. She makes sad squealing noises throughout the night but doesn’t remember doing it. I know she isn’t well but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. I told Jeremiah about it and he told me he needed at least eight hours sleep to get through his day and if he could sleep on the couch, he would. I told Jeremiah I would sleep on the couch if he would let my sister sleep on my side with him in the bed. He looked at me like I had just swallowed too many blue pills. He shook his head slowly from side to side and said, I don’t know, Lisa, I don’t know.
For the first time I wonder if Jeremiah is attracted to Annie. Or if he is trying to assert his power.

“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.

“keep coming back” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday June 28, 2016 at Starbucks
7:31am
5 minutes
buddiesinbadtimes.com

I keep having the same dream–that I’m lying in my bed with my eyes closed, asleep, and in my mind’s eye I see fuchsia orbs coming toward me, flickering in the sky then disintegrating into nothing. I am in that paralyzed, meta state where I recognize that I’m dreaming but I can’t wake up or move or change anything. In this dream I always look past the flickering pink and can make out more colours in the distance. Flames. Outside my window the tall tree, the one that the crows perch in and caw in every morning at exactly 4:43, is on fire. The leaves are burning up and they’re going slow enough to wonder if this too shall pass…
In this dream, I scream to you to call 911 and you tell me it’s not necessary. I tell you it is because I can see it from my position and this fire will consume us if we don’t treat it with respect. You rush into the room and the sky outside is orange and red.
You stare out blankly and whisper to me, you were right…

“not released until all” by Julia at Moksha Yoga Vancouver


Sunday June 5, 2016 at Moksha Yoga Vancouver
8:47pm
5 minutes
from the online grading centre

Mary-Beth had big dark circles under her eyes from being up for the last 72 hours without so much as a nap. She had been working the case straight through life as if that would distract her from the fact that her life at the moment, was in shambles. When Leah called her from their mother’s house to tell her that she was worried, Mary-Beth put her on speaker phone so she could keep her hands free to manipulate the evidence board. The call went something like:
Ring Ring
“Hello?”
“I don’t think she’s going to make it till Friday, M, you have to come now.”
“Oh that’ll be nice, let’s take her to the beach one last time.”
“Mary-Beth.”
“I’ll set it up.”
Click

“Let’s roll, babycakes” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday April 14, 2016
11:52pm
5 minutes
overheard on Arbutus

I want you to beg me to stay when I tell you I’ll be sleeping at my mother’s place tonight. I want you to get on your knees and apologize for being a dick so I can forgive you and then apologize for being a dick back to you. I’m angry but I won’t be later but I don’t know how to turn this thing around before later is later. I feel like I’ve pushed all your buttons and there’s no easy rewind let’s pretend that never happened one to press. Why don’t you come with one like that? I am at the door with my overnight bag and I want you to throw me a banana if you’re not going to try to keep me from going. Let me know you still care about my potassium intake even when we’re hating each other. Even when you’re secretly glad that I won’t be sleeping beside you tonight to remind you of this stupid fight we both engaged in when we were both enraged about the thing we won’t remember in the morning.

“Get just the right pick-me-up” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday March 15, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
pulpliterature.com

You go to sleep early because you’ve been up since 6:27am and you say that the mountains have made you tired again. I can hear you breathing from behind the living room wall. You sound like you’re trying to send me tiny signals as I stay up to paint my nails. I don’t like to go to sleep after you but it’s been happening more and more these days. I am racing against daylight and I can’t afford to take short cuts right now. I know your body’s heat by this time. I know that there’s a softness there in the curve of your back that fits most of my organs perfectly. I picture that spot while I think simultaneously about chicken thighs with preserved lemon or that surprise weekend getaway golden ticket you gave me for my birthday last June. You told me to pick wherever I wanted to go. I told you we could close our eyes, point on the map and go where our fingers land.

“Are you sure about that?” by Sasha on the 16


Wednesday February 3, 2016
5:15pm
5 minutes
Right Hand Man
Stacey Kaser


I sleep with a book under my pillow. It started when I was five and my parents were fighting and the dissonance of that lullaby needed to be somehow interrupted.

When lovers find the book (Anita Rau Badami or Miriam Toews or Saleema Nawaz or Madeleine Thien or Ann-Marie MacDonald Esi Edugyan or Michael Ondaatje or Joy Kogawa), dripping in sleep, they curl eyebrows into question marks. Some understand, a small smile spreading. Most don’t.

If I wake up and my mind starts talking too loud, too fast, the usual, I take the book, such easy access and I fall in.

“A hundred tourists are caught” by Julia on Jess and Rick’s couch


Friday, January 1, 2016
12:35am
5 minutes
Coda, Etcetera
Amber Tamblyn


I am mad because I told myself that tonight I would sleep and even if I didn’t mean it, at least I would try.
I am no where close to sleep. I am not in a bed, my teeth are not brushed, my mind is not quiet, and my eyes are not closed.
I am mad.
Because I broke a promise to my immune system.
Because I broke a promise to my morning self who has to get up early.
Because I couldn’t manage the day in all the time that was allotted so I pushed it hard into tomorrow and am now trying to justify that sometimes this kind of sneaky maneuver is necessary.
I wonder if this is what the mind of a traveler always looks like.
I wonder if the brain of a tourist is mushed up and confused by all the maps, the plans, the routes, the tricks, the lists, the food, the uncomfortable beds.
I am caught here in my inbetween and don’t know if I should kill one half to let the other be born or forget about divisive lines and hurry up and create something already.

“Bye” by Sasha on the basement at Bowore


Monday, December 21, 2015
10:41pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Gerrard St.

R. never tells me she’s a surgeon. I find out from a process of elimination. After spending a third night in her bed, no sex, just cuddling and laughing at the strange sounds my stomach makes when I’m falling asleep, she gets a text and says she needs to take off for a few hours. “Sleep,” she insists, “I want you to stay.” I feel strange in her bed without her, smelling her cocoa butter smell.

After two weeks of this, and finding strange, comfortable, clog-like shoes in her gym bag, and seeing how tired she is and how much she knows about my concussed skull, I realize. We’d agreed not to talk about what we do, but this, this was something.

“communication and community” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, December 13, 2015
9:53pm
5 minutes
Dispersing Power
Raúl Zibechi


In the middle of the night I am shocked awake by your fist bruising my left cheekbone. You have been attacking me in your sleep since September but this is the first time it leaves a mark instantaneously.
I am livid in the moment because I am stunned and confused but I know you don’t know what you’re doing so I don’t wake you up to tell you what just happened like you want me to. In the morning you are concerned about my face and beg me to tell you what you’ve done. I say, it was an accident this time, I know it was. But you don’t believe me. I am not a good liar. You ask me to tell you what you’ve said but I don’t want to upset you so I stick to my guns and say I don’t think you said anything at all. The truth is, you’ve been calling out my name each time but I can’t bring myself to confess that you’re not just remembering your days on the battlefield. Once you yelled that I was keeping you a prisoner. Another time you told me that I didn’t deserve to live.

“My flight was $10, 200″ by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Friday September 18, 2015
9:40pm
5 minutes
overheard at Parallel 49

You let me fall asleep on you while you do you and read the newspaper or something
Catch the race or something
Eat a cob of corn or something
I nestle in there onto the soft of your body
Ready to greet sleep
Ready to find ease
And I do this so I can feel your heart beat without asking to
And I can breathe into the space of the folds of you while you carry the weight of me
These are my favourite moments
The world stops for me and continues for you
I die a thousand happy deaths laying there in your middle
And you go on living in the comfort of me lifeless, but content

It’s been one whole year without you and I don’t have a squishy home to lay my head
It’s not the same as it was
I cannot fall asleep on myself and float away
I don’t know where you are
I consider paying an unearthly sum to find you
A flight to the good old days may just cost me ten thousand dollars
Or ten thousand tears

“It’s almost magic” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday September 15, 2015
8:08pm
5 minutes
From a vintage ad for American Cyanamid Company

last night
purple flannel twisted around ankles
my bum against your bum
you said grace
full voice
at first i was annoyed
i’m sleeping!
i’m kind of sick!
and then
i listened
i really listened
“thank you for this food on our plates
thank you for the love in our home
thank you for thanksgiving”
it’s magic
how you pray in your sleep
how you love in your dreams
how you bless me with your sweetness

“it didn’t work all that well.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday, July 26, 2015
10:42am
5 minutes
From an email

When we go to sleep, I will whisper ten things I’m grateful for in your ear.
You will do the same to me, if you make it past seven.
I’ll know you’re asleep from the sound of your breath.
I’ll lie awake for awhile, thinking about when we’ll have kids, wondering if we’ll need a car, considering the carbon footprint of a child, or two.
I’ll lie awake for awhile and consider all the stuff we have, here, and all the stuff we have there.
Is where more of your stuff is home?
Or, is home where no stuff is and just where you are?
Where you and I are?
You will turn over and I’ll be the Big Spoon.
I’ll kiss you back and practise meditating on the in breath and the out breath.
It turns into –
I love you I love you I love you