“The fires were still smouldering” by Julia on her couch

Thursday January 9, 2020
11:33am
5 minutes
The Known World
Edward P. Jones

The haze we’re breathing is a filter on the known world.
The daily dos and don’ts.
The run and hide or stay lows.

Babies are inhaling against their will.
Animals are being wiped out.

Some people don’t think the issue is connected.
Some people would rather focus on the strength
of the inhabitants being weakened.

Will the dying lungs be as resilient?
Will the buried come back to stand on their country’s podium?

While we’re gathered on the beach with our
hearts in our mouths
covered in ash and soot
inching closer to the waves
a long siren blares.

We wish we could say it was in the distance.
We wish we could say it was only one
and not one after another after another.

We are accepting prayers
and money
and help
and
and
and

“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.

“When your music ends” by Julia on her patio


Sunday August 6, 2017
5:07pm
5 minutes
Spotify

That feeling when your guts are in your throat
when you want to breathe deeply but nobody will let you
the empty swallow that burns your chest
that makes you wish for more time or a disguise

The last song has to be a good one. Maeve and Alexis lay on the floor touching skulls, feet outstretched in opposite directions. Maeve has been planning for a long time and Alexis knows patience. She goes along hand in hand with everything. She is not a pushover. She just never gets tired. Maeve is close to tears. She doesn’t know which one to choose and everyone is putting their two cents in. Alexis has stopped suggesting options. Instead she lays there without thinking about the clock and lets her friend quietly cry.

“our minds drift to the beach” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 17, 2016
11:08pm
5 minutes
health.amhosp.org

I didn’t have my swimsuit. I purposely didn’t pack it because I didn’t want to be forced to wear it. Dale said that she wouldn’t swim either in solidarity but I didn’t want her pity as much as she was trying to be a good friend. I told her to go ahead, enjoy herself. I sat on the beach in light billowy pants and a white camisole. I could hear everyone laughing in the night, splashing in the ocean. Suddenly my head felt wet. I looked up and Terrence was standing there, dripping his salty midnight water all over me.

“Yes?” I looked up expectantly.
“Come in with us.”
“Nah, I don’t have my suit.” I said, shrugging my misfortune of an absent bikini.
“Come on, Leigh, that’s a sorry excuse. Didn’t you know that skin is waterproof?”

“Are you free” by Julia on the 47 going north


Tuesday, April 7, 2015
11:57pm
5 minutes
From a text message

Are you free of your anger and your blame? Or do you curse at the passing bus who forgot to show you compassion and pick you up even though you were waiting just two feet too wrong to board? Are you free of your expectations and your disappointment? Or do you wonder why some people operate on a different level than you do? I’m a bit of Column A, little of Column B. I ask these questions because I’m half hoping you’ll say no and half hoping to hear you say yes. Solidarity. For one. And inspiration for two. Cause I’m not there yet. Cause I really want to be but I don’t know how to to find it. Are they already inside? The releasing agents? The ones that set my mind and heart and soul free of all their burdens? For this one I hope you say yes yes yes so I can stop with these excuses.