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

Saturday March 10, 2018


5 minutes


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?


“I don’t even think that your songs are about me” By Julia at her dining table

Wednesday January 11, 2016
5 minutes
Like You

When we saw each other again for the first time in three years, you looked different. You smiled different. I felt like you did that on purpose so I wouldn’t look too closely at the you we both know you used to be. It didn’t work. Distractions don’t work on people who have seen your entire insides. I should know. I can’t hide from you either. Even if I was panicking about how I looked seconds before you met me at the underground station. I didn’t want you to think anything other than I Used To Love This Person. I wish I didn’t think that appearances were the only road to remembering that. When we hugged I tried to hold on a little longer so I could smell your neck. I don’t know if I was expecting the same smell you used to have, or hoping for a new one to break all my stupid patterns. Either way I might have been the only one in that hug, and it broke my heart a little. You told me that it’s good to see me and I wanted to say Yeah? But Can You Define What Good Means To You Real Quick? Instead I laughed and swatted at your arm, saying You Too, You Too.


“the hands upraised” by Julia on her couch

Friday November 25, 2016
5 minutes
from the back of a Buddha greeting card

She was the kind of person
who declared things,
sent everything up to the sky then washed her hands of it. Nothing to debate.
This is feeling. Feeling is real. I feel. I am.
Thank you. Goodnight.
He hadn’t stopped her yet from saying everything gospel.
Telling it all to the hilltops. Mountains.
He hadn’t noticed yet the tone she wasn’t intending.
Made it seem okay
or fine
or nothing. But maybe
was noticing it.
Maybe silently adding it up in weapons of mass cold shoulder
or gas light
which is to say
She had put her arms up that night to veto the smell of his feet. No ifs or ands–
he changed his socks emphatically.


“We’ve got your back” by Sasha at Macdonell

Tuesday April 26, 2016
5 minutes
from a Suburu ad

Gramma makes apple rose tarts and we aren’t allowed to touch because she’s hosting Bridge tonight and all the ladies are going to get their finger’s into egg salad sandwiches. Me and Ceecee will have to stay in our room right up til bedtime and then we can come down and have one glass of Sprite and say goodnight to everyone. Mrs. McDougall smells like Thin Mints. Mrs. Clementine smells like she might’ve forgotten to change her shirt this week. Mrs. Oliver paints her nails only bright bright pink and Gramma says that colour has been out of fashion since before her First Communion.


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

Sunday December 6, 2015
5 minutes

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.


“Her face was like a spring sun halo” by Julia at Shaktea

Friday November 20,2015 at Shaktea
5 minutes
White Heat
M.J. McGrath

I scooped up her tiny face into my hands and I brought her close to mine so I could feel her nose and inhale her intoxicating smell. She smelled of cinnamon and felt comforting to be around. I liked that she didn’t have a sweet smell because when I thought of her defending herself against the world, it put me at ease to think that she’d be a little bit tougher, connected to her roots, fiery, quick.
She was sleeping still and I thought about leaving in that moment so I could remember her like that: peaceful, calm, perfect. I couldn’t bare the idea of her crying at the realization of my absence. I didn’t want to cause her any more pain than I already had.


“good energy vibes” by Julia at her desk

Thursday, July 16, 2015
5 minutes
From a text

When you walk into a room I can hear you without knowing you’re there. It’s funny, this feeling. I know you’re around yet I haven’t seen you at all. What do you call that? What kind of connection is it when your skin perks up all tingly and awake without fully understanding why? My back is to you and your presence greets me. I wonder if you feel me the way I feel you. Is it your smell? Are we horses, sniffing each other’s flesh and taking each other in? I don’t know if it’s because I want to sense you so I do. I read somewhere that we never can fully know someone else, but I think I know you. I think I know when you’re near because I know you like I know me.
Because you are me.


“bowled over” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday, April 19, 2015
5 minutes
The Cultch season announcement

Mimi gags. She wasn’t expecting the house to smell like skunks. “Dan?!” She calls, plugging her nose. She doesn’t hear anything but she knows he’s home because his work boots are outside the door, on the porch. It’s the only pair of shoes he owns. He wears them all year round, even in the heat of July, when no one should have anything that heavy on their feet. She hears the water running, he must be in the shower. She calls again, “Dan!” as she opens the fridge door. A bottle of no name hot sauce, three loose eggs and a hot dog, cooked, no bun. She’s afraid to open the cupboards.


“Let’s be honest.” by Julia in her hostel in Firenze

Tuesday September 23, 2014
5 minutes
Adria Vasil

Let’s be honest? Yeah, let’s be honest. I’ve been hallucinating you, babe, on the backs of other women. Wanna get real honest? I STOLE THAT LINE FROM A REGINA SPEKTOR SONG BUT IT’S POIGNANT AND I LOVE IT. A little more honest. Yeah? More honesty. Yeah. YEAH. I haven’t been able to help myself when it comes to finishing full packs of sour gummy worms at least once a day. I haven’t been able to sleep because I miss feeling your skin. It makes me cry. I cry instead of sleep. I’m crying now. How honest do you want me? I’m thinking about sending you letters but it costs too much. I’m thinking about writing a novel based on the smell of your mouth. I don’t know why but it drags me to a place where I can only breathe in blues and browns.


“Call it what you will” by Julia in the motel in Sault Ste. Marie

Thursday June 12, 2014
5 minutes
A song by Joe Pug

Caroline and Eddy had been driving for what felt like days. Eddy had begun to smell, refusing to put on deodorant because he said he was on the “open road” and if he couldn’t smell like the earth here, then he didn’t want to be alive. Caroline was battling her car-colepsy and told Eddy that if he was going to take pictures of her sleeping with her mouth wide open facing the roof of the car then he better not post them online or she would punch holes in his tires and make him drive back to Sugar Lake by himself. Eddy didn’t care about Caroline’s sleeping habits, or her poor taste in music. He didn’t care about anything except for getting really far away from everything he knew back home, and finally starting over without anyone knowing who he was. Caroline didn’t know about Eddy’s friend, Liam, with whom he had helped burry a curious large sack that weighed as much as an elephant.


“and the world steps in” by Sasha on the Jane bus

Saturday April 25, 2014
5 minutes
Revelation Must be Terrible
David Whyte

The smell of the rosemary is the same. The smell of the cedar is the same, a little damper, a little more fragrant. I’m more afraid of darkness, but that’s just because there’s less of it. I’m tired, but I know it’s because I’ve been eating too much chocolate and bread and some might say I’m allergic to both but I love them so I just keep trucking. My favourite blanket is dotted with marks of it’s history, and it’s rarely around my shoulders or gripped tightly in my clenched fist. It sits at the foot of my bed and only gets pulled up on the coldest nights. I’m no longer worried about grey hair at my temples, or bits of celery and broccoli clogging the drain of the kitchen sink. I’m no longer fighting for the last word.