“Oh, good for you!” By Julia on her patio

Saturday June 15, 2019
12:44pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the alleyway

You’re a good little pet
I give you a pat on the head
Woman the size of a doll
Because the man doesn’t
Take her seriously
She doesn’t need to be taken
Seriously by this man who does not listen she wants this man to stop speaking so she can show him
She wants it
She wants it
All her life waiting for the chance to prove wisdom, look a little older
And open your mouth to say
And now she is older but he is still in the old way and congratulates her for doing her job as if it’s a feat of nature
As if she deserves a treat or an allowance
She doesn’t need it
But she wants it
Him to stop speaking
Him to start listening
Him to hear the good
Ideas
Him to actually deserve them
Then he starts talking about his son
His tall good looking talented and unhappy son looking for a doll
To marry him
A doll like her who smiles grace
But seethes underneath
Who waits
Who sits

“making dinner for my family” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday January 20, 2019
9:43pm
5 minutes
The Other, Invented Man
Matthew Vollmer

I used to think that I’d be
keeping long hours in dank rehearsal halls
Poorly heated
Poorly lit
Weaving stories out of breath
blood bones
breaking beauty like bread

I used to think that success
was measured in letters
in selling out a run
in someone saying
“I saw myself on that stage
in that stranger”
“I know myself better now”

Now the sacred carrot
celery and onion
meets lentils and then broth
I spend Sundays in the kitchen
listening to Emmylou Harris and
This American Life
I lie down when I’m tired
and sing to my belly until
I drift off to sleep

Now I think that success
is having a fridge full of goodness
ready for the week
and that the stories we weave
at the table over steaming oats
the story of right now
is the greatest win of all

“she continued to cook into the early evening” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday October 31, 2018
5:33pm
5 minutes
A quote from Pasquale Cusano

there’s a book i’m reading
about a woman’s love affair with food and cooking
you gave it to me
it has all the lines you like underlined
you used pencil mostly
but sometimes pen
I think that’s bold of you
it makes me read it through your eyes
it makes me think of you read and what you think about things
material things-as in you don’t seem to care much one way or the other
I wonder if you take notes during phone conversations
or pause the movie a bunch of times to record your favorite lines
I wonder how long it takes you to get ready in the morning
if you’re the kind who owns a steamer because you need a steamer or if
you’re the kind who wears wrinkly shirts because you don’t have a steamer

“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

“all these obsessions we’ve believed” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 26, 2018
10:24pm
5 minutes
Wake The Dead
Julia Pileggi

They told me they like the way they could see the room that we were in,
the kitchen, to be exact (and isn’t it always)
I told them it was a true story and some of them nodded along, grateful

I plan to one day have a kitchen of my own that my kids will want
to write about
When they think of me, maybe they’ll place me by the toaster oven or
the built in cutting board, raw from the busy family of serated edges
I have not yet held my mother in my own kitchen
I have never cooked dinner for my father
They have no idea what I know and what I know from them

The other day my mother was surprised when she heard that
I don’t skip breakfast
I was surprised that she would think I was the type that did
In her own way, she is complimenting me, thinking me independent,
autonomous and wise enough to know
In my own way, I am insulted, thinking she thinks I am too irresponsible
to make sure that I properly feed myself
Some of these are stories that I tell myself, maybe as a reminder
to write them down later in case I happen to forget

“stories superimposed” by Julia on D and A’s couch

Saturday January 6, 2018
9:53pm
5 minutes
Winter Watch
Jennifer Elise Foerster

A lot of weird conversations lately. A lot of jet lag and weird conversations. I heard the story I was telling myself and told it to myself anyway. I didn’t want to but I did. I had a weird conversation with somebody who wasn’t in the room. I had a weird conversation when I was the only somebody in the room.

I think from now on I’ll do my best to remember those good cards guiding me into my autonomy. All of them said I’d be able to choose everything on my own and that I’m already capable. I don’t know whose opinion I’m waiting for. I’ve never told a good friend not to trust their feelings. I don’t know why I’d ever tell myself that. And those cards had good images on them. So many trees that I’d be remiss in ignoring. Trees don’t wait for the other forest creatures to tell them they are mighty. They just are. They grow tall and strong whether someone tells them to or not. And that’s just one example. I even got a message saying I would
know how to reroute my own journey. Me. I don’t need to wait.

“Hitchhiking” by Julia on Jessica’s couch

Monday January 1, 2018

10:38pm

5 minutes

Trek: A Publication of Alumni UBC

Have you ever hitchhiked? Have you ever held out your best thumb and thought, I might die trying to get myself from this roadside to, I don’t know, say, Philadelphia? I’ve never done it. I would be the kind of person who makes the other person nervous because I’d be so awkward. I also think I’m afraid of being kidnaped by the wrong person. The kind of person who’s been driving back and forth on dirt roads looking for the most naive person to steal. I used to think I could ask anyone for a ride. But then again you don’t hear too many stories about the bad-lucked girl who invited herself into a murderer’s pick up truck. I mean, you hear those stories, but by then it’s too late.

“There were times when nothing played back.” By Sasha on her porch


Wednesday April 25, 2017
4:14pm
5 minutes
What It Is
Lynda Barry


When I was younger I laughed
at the synchronicity of seasons
how the robin shows her cheeky
face in the hours
before the magnolias the camellias
the cherry blossoms

“Make space for your stories”
my almost husband smiles into my ear
He is referencing the leaning tower
of books on my bedside table
in my knapsack
on the coffee table
the earbuds in my ears while
I steam kale
walk to the market
chase away nightmares

“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

“can definitely travel” by Julia on her couch


Thursday January 12, 2016
10:12pm
5 minutes
from an email

Joe says he wants to tour around the country with me when I take my poetry on the road and that is the biggest kindness I have ever been given. Someone wanting and believing me to succeed so bad that they will come along with me as I pursue my dreams. What will you do? I ask him, ever the middle child worried about fairness and equality and making sure everything is balanced as it should be. I’ll watch your shows, he says, and I’ll carry your merch. We talk about getting a camper van and taking off, getting out of here, seeing this country or elsewhere, and sleeping in our car before we live too much to want to. We talk about making memories the way people talk about making money. I think if we did it I’d have so many poems. I think if we did it we’d have so many stories.

“I can’t really imagine” from an old journal” by Julia on Amanda’s bed


Tuesday December 27, 2016
11:07pm
5 minutes
from an old journal

That time you told me about the cops and highway 7-you know when you told me about when you got arrested or written up or ticketed or yelled at or blah blah blah? I listened to maybe half of it. Maybe 3/4ths because sometimes randomly they’d be different enough but for the most part you didn’t really care that you had told all your stories but didn’t hear any of mine. That’s okay. I’m not mad. I’m just thinking you owe me one. Cause I can’t imagine a time where you invite me over to your house and I end up just talking the whole time about me and all the times someone’s given me a dirty look or told someone they didn’t like me or something completely random like that time my friend Natalie pieced my ears in the 11th grade and the right one never really healed properly or blah blah blah. I don’t think you would have enjoyed yourself. I think you would have liked the chance to even interject maybe with an anecdote or a moment offering me something to drink to distract me.

“you can experience racism” By Julia on her couch


Wednesday September 14, 2016
11:06pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

Did you know that if you can think it, it already exists somewhere on the internet? Because it’s a dark and twisted jungle and some people don’t know how to find their way home after getting lost in it. Anything you can think of at all. Sure, it would take a little digging. You’d have to be good at searching. But for every good thought you’ve ever had, someone has beat you to one like it somewhere online. And for every bad thought you’ve ever had, someone has beat you to 10. At least. The ratios do not lie. We’re more alike in this life than we’d ever like to admit. My bad thoughts, fleeing, your bad thoughts breeding and burying their eggs all over the web. It’s the only place where there always exists someone more hurt than you.

“I had to let her know” By Julia in her bed


Tuesday September 13, 2016
11:18pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Words unspoken turned into her next studio album
I wished she would have thanked me in the liner notes
Some of her best songs were un-fought wars about me
And some of her most beautiful lyrics
Were silent wishes tucked away and forgotten
I would have liked to explain myself
I would have liked to be understood before the divide instead of because of it
Too many resolutions gleaned from the backs of our sleeping heads facing opposite walls
And all the haunting melodies I will hum to myself forever
now that they are stuck inside my dreams

“How I came into being” By Julia on her couch


Monday September 12, 2016
9:46pm
5 minutes
poetryfoundation.org

How I was birthed twice in this life by my mother and twice by me. How I have started over. How I have changed destinies and opinions. How I have grown bigger in this year alone than I have in all my years prior combined. How I realized I could draw. How I realized I could sing. The moments of myself split me open like a decision, like a soybean.
I met myself one afternoon in July. I was outside my house and inside my body. I sipped on scotch. I wrote a letter to the me I was becoming. I wrote music for my tired self’s funeral.

“the jeans have not been washed yet” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday July 20, 2016 at Starbucks
7:16am
5 minutes
Grasshopper Jungle
Andrew Smith


I invited Elliot back to my apartment after drinks because he tied a cherry stem in a knot with his tongue and I wanted to see if he was a one trick pony or if his tongue could tie other things into knots…
When we got back to my place I told him to make himself comfortable while I poured us some scotch. But then I remembered he was wearing dark denim, and I had to rush out to see if he had plopped his Abercrombie & Fitch ass down on my new white couch. He had. I tried to act cool, but I could practically see his jeans forming a navy puddle underneath him. Was he sweating or something? Didn’t he know you have to wash new jeans before you wear them? Didn’t he think, oh I might ruin this sweet Norwegian couch?

“I don’t have anything else…” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday July 14, 2016
5 minutes
overheard at The Tenant

I wish you’d stop staring at my cousin at our family dinner. You think you’re doing a good job of hiding it, but you’re wrong. I know she doesn’t interest you or stimulate you mentally, but I also know that she is exactly the type you go for when you’re thinking outside my box. She’s objectively better looking than I am even though her features are offensively small. When I picture her and her tiny eyes and gummy smile, I think sometimes that she might just be a bear with bangs. Except really pretty.

“#BESTOFVAN” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday July 13, 2016 at Starbucks
6:55am
5 minutes
from a sign on a newspaper box

A couple of us decided we were going to sneak into the Kits pool and I was trying to work up my nerve. Casey and Alison had their trust funds to use if they got caught, but what did I have? Two pennies and a stick? A lighter filled with pocket lint? I told them I was having second thoughts and they both stood there on the sidewalk howling at the sky, trying to get me to cave. I can’t do this you guys, I said, I’m not lucky enough to pull this off. Alison rolled her eyes back in her skull. You think I have a golden horseshoe up my ass or something? I don’t know, I told her, I’m sure you could buy one if you needed to. Casey grabbed my shoulders and stared me straight in the eye. We don’t want to do this without you, she said, but we will if you’re not okay with it. But know this, you will be missing out. I felt like I was being bullied into a licking a frozen lamp post in the dead of winter.

“everything I possibly can” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday July 12, 2016 at Starbucks
6:28am
5 minutes
from a text

I sit on the edge of my nothingness like it’s a cloud and I’m in love with it. I am cotton candy insides and I’m melting away leaving a trail of rainbow guts and tie-dyed blood. There is nothing wrong with my nothingness and for the first time in all the time there ever has been, it is peaceful instead of not. Acceptance of nothingness is a road with bumps and potholes and with poor lighting sometimes but usually free of other travelers because it’s a long one and there is enough room for everybody. There is a space now between yesterday’s pain and tomorrow’s worry and it’s all here all now- all everything I’ve been avoiding- because feelings are attached to beliefs and those things get stuck pretty hard as a system that limits me if I let it. I dangle my feet off the edge of nothingness now like it’s a dream and I’m no longer trying to catch it. No flash photography here to capture it, just smiling into the places that can be so easily filled with words words words.

“Not anymore” by Sasha on the College streetcar


Monday April 25, 2016
4:11pm
5 minutes
From a podcast

“I’m not gonna take it anymore,” you say and the record skips, you and it (Otis Redding) cousins on your mother’s side.

Elizabeth was so ashamed of her obese mother that she would make her meet her at the train seven blocks from school.

“I’m leaving for real,” you say and I wonder how many calories are in Marshmallow Fluff and if calories even matter at this point.

Elizabeth got her period before the rest of us, nipples chafing men’s V necks. She got excused from gym because of cramps.

You only want to eat eggplant dip and stale pita chips and frozen shrimp. You only want to see reruns of “Mad About You.”

“he couldn’t explain or understand.” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 4, 2016
8:07pm
5 minutes
4000 Days
Warren Fellows


It was like yesterday, I remember it like yesterday.
Sunny was in the yard playing with her mason jar filled with tiny snails. She was calling them funny names like Gabrielle and Inmim. I watched her babysit them like they were her dolls. She liked to explain things to them in Spanish, in case they ever needed to be able to do the same. But then there is a flash in this memory, like two films stitched together to edit the problem in between. There was a problem in between. There’s a second vision as strong and detailed as the first before the flash. Thea and Perry are crying in my living room and everyone is screaming Sunny’s name. Thea is wearing the locket she gave to her and shaking her head back and forth so furiously it looks like it might spin off. Perry is holding her hand and clenching his jaw. He is smiling but he doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

“awaken in the morning’s hush” by Julia at a Sichuan restaurant on West Broadway


Tuesday February 2, 2016
3:18pm
5 minutes
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye


Over the years that I’ve known her, Shawna has never arrived anywhere on time. I don’t think she’s particularly proud of this habit, but I’ve also never seen her try to fix it. She apologizes, sure, don’t get me wrong, but she is always, always late. I wonder what she does every morning before she meets me or gets to her appointments. We meet at 11:30 because she can’t get there any earlier. I seriously wonder what her schedule looks like, what she prioritizes, what she lets slip away. I’ve also never once been to Shawna’s house. It’s so mysterious but perhaps I am more curious because I want to see if any of my speculations are true: does she make the bed twice because she can’t help but jump on it after she makes it the first time? Does she stay up all night, victim of insomnia, and finally catch her sleep when the rest of the world is waking up? Is she hiding a small family of raccoons in her basement that she doesn’t want anyone to see?

“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.”

“Those were the worst nights” by Sasha in her kitchen


Tuesday June 2, 2015
8:32pm
5 minutes
overheard at Higher Grounds

“Those were the worst nights,” he says, “when she couldn’t sleep, when she’d sweat like an athlete, you know, that stinky sweat, like there’s toxins coming out?” I didn’t want to hear about her again but I swallowed it and looked at him like, “Nothing you say will phase me.” “I didn’t know what to do, I felt so helpless… It totally triggered my trauma around women being dependant on me, you know, like, my stuff with my mom…” I pulled the covers right up to my chin and thought about if there were chips in his cupboard, and then if Heather ever ate chips when she was sad. “What’s she up to now?” His eyes narrowed and he scratched somewhere under the covers.

“please remove” by Julia on her bed

Monday, April 13, 2015
2:12am
5 minutes
The Blue Bottle Bag

Please remove the idea you have of me in your head. I’m asking you this because I’m desperately trying to fix myself. I don’t know how else to do it but to make sure there’s a clean slate first. I’m aware that I’m asking a lot. Maybe too much. But I wouldn’t be asking at all if I didn’t think it was worth the effort. I’ve just always had this plan for myself. This vision of who I was supposed to be. And I’ve got to admit, I haven’t been so great at upholding that vision. Completing anything that I imagined for myself, that I had set out to do. In fact, I had gotten good, great even, at being the person who doesn’t do anything at all with the intentions for being the person I am supposed to be. So. Maybe it’s more for me than for you, but, in the end it’s for you. In the end it’s for everyone. I know that sounds self-indulgent. I guess cause I have indulged so little in the things that would actually make me better, and so much in the things that don’t matter from one day to the next. I’m trying to sell my cookies here. I’m trying to lay out all my ingredients and convince you that they’re good enough to make you want to try them, buy them, and recommend them to your friends. I’m not selling them for a lot of money either. Not yet, anyway.

“please remove” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday, April 13, 2015
11:02am
5 minutes
The Blue Bottle Bag

please remove the cobwebs from around your ears and listen
this this this story
opening like a fist
closing like a flower at
night
catching venus and the moon
an ancient song
we know the tune even though we’ve only heard it whispered
in the womb
the kind of memory that lives in the flora of our guts

“Choosing what is important for her” by Julia on the 504 going west


Friday March 27, 2015
1:08am
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

When Andrea lifted her head from steering wheel she didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know that she had just crashed her cream coloured Toyota corolla into a city transit bus, inhibiting 50 people from getting to work on time, or to school, or to the first job interview the two or three people were able to secure since getting back on their feet. She felt her stomach doing summersaults, regretting in that instant her choice to consume only spicy salami cut up into thick round chunks for breakfast. She saw smoke all around her and thought it was only a dream; the rising and falling of a dragon’s breath, heating his layer and keeping himself warm in his cave.

How is one to know—with strangers?” By Sasha at Studio 1398


Saturday March 14, 2015
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Midwich Cuckoos
John Wyndham


Let’s take ourselves back in time to the time before
the time when we knew about consequence
and hemming of jeans and the blueberry kiss of

summer

How is one to know when a stranger is the icy breath on the window
of the car accident?

or

The Mother we’ve been waiting for since the day we arrived her
spewing needs and hunger
calling for

more

at the top of our lungs

I’ve wanted a revolution from day one but I don’t like starting things
preferring the sourdough to rise in the cupboard
unwatched by blue eyes

brown eyes

We wrapped purple and blue and green and grey around strands of hair we weren’t
afraid to lose

a summer of coconut oil and tuna sandwiches

Cherry popsicle lipstick

“And it’s taking me a second so I’m sorry” by Julia at the Bloor/Gladstone Library


Friday February 27, 2015 at the Bloor/Gladstone Public Library
12:50pm
5 minutes
Lungs
Duncan MacMillan


I’m trying to fix it, that’s what I said I was doing.
Well why do I feel like you’re a balloon filled with unkept promises, floating out into the big big sky.
Because you read a lot of garbage and your head is filled with fairytales–
Or maybe because you can’t hold anything tight enough to keep.
That’s probably true.
Impermanence scares you.
No, that’s not it. I’m not a quick fix over a night of deep question-asking.
You don’t like thinking things end, and I see it in you, and you know it in you.
I’m sorry, this mumbo jumbo, this psycho analytical bullshit is making it really hard for me to think of anything else. It’s taking me a second to wrap my “clouded” head around.
Not everything has to end with a commitment. That’s very limiting. If you understood that the end goal is not important, you would find that much needed peace you’re always searching for.

“we thought we’d play a little trick” by Julia at the Perth/Dupont Library


Wednesday February 25, 2015 at the Perth/Dupont Library
1:51pm
5 minutes
Betty and Veronica Double Digest
The Archie Library 215


We had a ton of little games we used to play when we were kids: See how many fingers you could fit in your mouth, how far you could shove a twisted piece of facial tissue up your nose before sneezing, see who could sneeze the most in a row after that twisted piece of facial tissue was stuck up there, how many times you could belt out the national anthem while you did a number two. We’d come up with the weirdest shit and we would be so willing to complete every single thing. How many bubbles could you blow with your gum in the nude while you got wrapped up in a towel, how many bubbles could you blow with your gum before you got unwrapped from your towel? How many spoons of cinnamon could you keep in your mouth without spitting it everywhere. You’d think we didn’t have one single toy, one single book. Where we came up with these crazy ideas, I will never know.

“Truth is what works” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday February 17, 2015
10:35pm
5 minutes
Man Seeks God
Eric Weiner


Tell me a story where we start
“Once upon a time”
Where we end
by the apple tree
With a basket and a lantern

Tell me a story
and I will braid your hair
I’ll take one piece over another
I’ll stoke the fire

Tell me a story
where the truth works
Her mustard magic
Where we only mince garlic
Not words

“Truth is what works” by Julia at the Bloor/Gladstone Library


Tuesday February 17, 2015 at the Bloor/Gladstone Public Library
3:35pm
5 minutes
Man Seeks God
Eric Weiner


I’ve always thought so. I’ve ALWAYS said that haven’t I, Aims? I live for that shit. When someone just tells you like it is. How is it, one might ask? LIKE THIS. BAM. Like a roundhouse kick to the face! I have always appreciated roundhouse kick honesty. I value that shit over my entire LIFE, dude. So when I was sitting there at that stuffy, pretentious, God-forsaken shit hole of a restaurant on Bay, I was internally like, WHERE ARE ALL THE FUCKING STEAK KNIVES BECAUSE I AM ABOUT TO STAB THE ENTIRE WORLD. Externally I was sitting there quietly wishing I could just be honest. Then he goes, You know what? This place is not exactly what I was expecting. Kind of not my style. And I BREATHE again for the mother-fucking first time, Amy! I was like, I mean, externally I was like, YES. I KNOW, BRO! I’m so glad you said something cause I was thinking that I need to either set this place or myself on fire and I’m totally not prepared to ruin this outfit. And he laughed, dude. It was so fucking refreshing.