“deposited myself in your softest corner” by Julia at her desk

Monday August 26, 2019
8:35pm
5 minutes
Your Room
Robert Sherrin

I saw him at a distance and couldn’t get my
soft away from the bone in time

I needed to do something different in this
case, in this particular case, a few limbs

now unhinged and so we tell them this story
A wish is not usually enough, we tell them

but in our case it seemed to work out fine
so we always keep fallen eyelashes in the

special jar that we see every time we open
the fridge or put on the kettle in the morning

He saw me at a distance and couldn’t stop
wondering at the smell of me long enough

to keep himself away from each and every
part of me worth sniffing

We tell them, if they ask, or if they don’t
we tell them this story

“therefore determined to find fault with her” by Julia at her desk

Friday May 31, 2019
2:10pm
5 minutes
St. Urbain’s Horseman
Mordecai Rcihler

You could say she was impatient.
you wouldn’t be saying anything new, but you could say it.
She has likely, herself, already pointed this fact out.
Not to get ahead of the discovery of flaws,
but to practice self-awareness.
You might have opinions about her impatience, or her basket,
but she has not asked to hear them.
Questions, however, she will field:

What is in the basket?
When did you first notice your impatience?
Did someone make you wait when it was really quite urgent?
What is your favourite season?

She will start with the easiest ones and work her way back:

Favourite season is spring. You did not ask why. Now you may
muse on that and wait to ask a separate question in another round.
I first noticed my impatience when the sky was falling and
nobody seemed to have any urgency about it until it was too late.
Someone the day the sky was falling did not make me wait but
was too dead to join in the urgency. And I loved him.
The basket holds a ticking heart, tick, tick ticking…

“Exactly how they want you to be” by Julia in J’s Attic

Friday May 10, 2019
9:49pm
5 minutes
Martin John
Anakana Schofield

She sits, pretty, mouth closed, because pretty
She is 7, going on 8, she is the middle child
Her younger sister is wearing white beside her
She is wearing white
Her sister youngest is beside her wearing white
They are all to be seen, not heard, no peeps, no sound
Mother does the talking
Mother always does the talking
Mother talks circles around Father
Father says little but is feared most
She is sitting, not speaking, no peeps, wondering
Am I Allowed To Go To The Bathroom?
Am I Allowed To Ask If I Can Go To The Bathroom?
Am I Allowed To Need To Use The Bathroom?
The clock ticks a slow death, a burn, a punishment
She is counting everything she knows how to count:
chickens, lashings, siblings, six of each
times she woke up from being unconscious:
three, and one she is not remembering
The adults are eating, maybe laughing, but none of them see
They don’t see three pretty little dolls sitting on the couch
Three pretty little dolls, dolled up for the sake of looking at
Three pretty dolls too afraid to move or be heard
She sits still with her hands clasped in her lap, knuckles itching
The way a nightmare might

“all past, present or future actions” By Sasha in the Kiva

Wednesday December 19, 2018
11:33pm
5 minutes
From an application form

It’s hard to speak when the overcoming comes
When it’s all heart beat and throat tight and
Here we go again
Past and present and future whirlpooling
Whipperwhiling scumbagging scumbugging

You tell me that you see how I’m growing
How I’m showing the centre that you know
That you watch when I’m dreaming
Projections of horses stampedeing across
The prairie of my forehead

It’s good to let go and move the old
Ice from the freezer chest
It’s good to release the pigeons from
The rusty roof

“Wring or twist” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore

Monday November 19, 2018
10:32am
5 minutes
from a blanket tag

For L.

Three swollen bellies
Three sisters standing
shoulder to shoulder
Babies arriving in
March, April and May

A father
A father to one of them
married to the other two’s mother
Quakes in his body
Fights in his body
Surrender in his body
His spirit soaring
on the tails of grace notes
Crafting harmonies
with all he has
These babies whispering
from beyond
Please stay

Someone will write
this story one day
People will say
“There’s no way”
“Really?”
“How can that be?”
Maybe I will
I will write this
story my story
our story
Maybe I am
right now maybe
that’s what I’m doing
right here

Trying to make sense
of this impossible timing
of this wrecking ball
swinging between
joy and sorrow
excitement and grief

Pregnant with possibility
Dying into possibility

“in the blue plastic chair” by Julia at her desk

Sunday October 7, 2018
5:28pm
5 minutes
Illness and Literature
Tony Hoagland

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know what you’re thinking.
I won’t stand and do it.
Kneel and do it.
Won’t close my eyes and picture you saying it.
All I can do from here, from outside your skull
from across the world, is invent a story that might explain.
I might tell myself that you think you’re right.
That you believe I should be working on my apology.
That everyone you know thinks the worst of me now.
I might try to understand why you’re desperate to control things.
But what it all means, that is something I’ll only be able to dream up.
No proof.
No facts.
You’re probably not sorry.
And there I go again.
I don’t know what you are thinking but I know what I am feeling.
I want to scream it out but the wisdom says, the source says, the sister says:
I should practice being still and if I know I am right, let that be enough.
But I don’t know now.
I don’t know what is good.

“Brady and Rix” by Julia at the desk

Saturday July 21, 2018
11:40am
5 minutes
Fever Pitch
Nick Hornby

Brady and Rix are the names of my imaginary kids.
They’re both neutral names but they’re both boys.
I am seeing my life with boys. I am allowed to see
what ever I want. God made me a writer. This is what
that’s for. Dreaming. Going there. Writing stories.
Brady is the older brother. My first. I love him like
an avalanche. Falling over myself every day. Knocked
down by love for the kid who can fit inside my pocket.
He holds my hand and calls me mama. He loves bubbles
and laughing and me. And his dad. He loves his dad so much.
He thinks everything he does is amazing. And everything
he does is amazing. Rix is the baby. He’s very serious.
He looks at everything with curiosity. He wants to know
my soul and does not let go. He is learning with a bit
of discernment. He loves being in the water. He pours
out of me and into things and into light. The whole room
loves him.

“Angel texted” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday July 4, 2018
12:26pm
5 minutes
V.I.P. Tutoring
Vanessa Hua

Angel texted, told me to look where I was going and to read while sitting down. It made sense. The text was very much related to a thing I was about to do carelessly. It came right on time.
Angel is always watching over me. I think she thinks she has to. She thinks she has to cause her name tells her she should. I tend to listen to what Angel has to say. If she tells me to wait until the next morning to make a hard decision, I listen. Angel knows how to get me right in the soft. She sent me an e-mail yesterday after waking up at the crack of dawn. She said the sky was “milk-blue” and it melted me. I love when milk is used to describe things, like the sky. I picture Angel knowing more about the sky than anywhere else. Maybe I think she’s from there and her name was given because her mother was a clairvoyant and there’s magic and stardust in her smile. I might name my kid Sunshine so she brightens up people wherever she goes and everyone thinks she’s ‘of the sun’ because her name makes them believe. I could name her Honesty so people are reminded to look inward. But that might be too heavy a burden to carry. What if there is shame? What if she reminds people they have lived in this life with secrets? Maybe she’d remind everyone that we have all lives our lives with secrets.

“in that beautiful mind” by Julia on her patio

Wednesday June 20, 2018
8:56pm
5 minutes
All Of Me
John Legend

I used to fantasize about making out with you. And kind of fucking you in the bathroom but never telling anyone about it. I have a feeling you would have preferred to be doing it than people thinking you were and I wouldn’t want anyone to know. Our bodies are too similar in size and maybe that’s part of why I like the idea of us and why there never was an us. I think you’d be good for the record, but you come off in groups like you don’t think you’d deserve it and be so afraid to just slap my ass or kiss me like you mean it. Maybe that’s what I told myself so I wouldn’t be tempted to flirt with you. You were an easy target in that way. Innocuous. Bug spray. I have thought about you seldom since because I’m not sure that I’m wrong. I want you to be bad. I guess that’s the fun of fantasies. You get to make a good one into a midnight mystery tour and be as bad as you think you are with someone who you believe would bend over backwards to sleep with you. Maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you’d say no if I cornered you in the bathroom. I don’t think I’m wrong. But. I guess we’ll never know for sure.

“She actually cooks” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday May 16, 2018
7:02am
5 minutes
Overheard in the dining room

I take more time now
I try to rush less now
Or maybe that’s a lie now
T-R-Y is the truth I guess

I watch my mother’s body break
And I think about all the women
Breaking
Breaking open
Breaking down
Breaking through
Breaking waves
Breaking story
Breaking bread
Breaking hearts
Breaking wide

I can’t punctuate because
This isn’t over and there’s
No symbol that can accurately
Mark the
Break

Maybe it’s better to stick with
fingers stained
Yellow from curry powder
Or the fine art of slicing tomato
Blending chickpeas into gold

Breaking down the heart
Breaking down the nucleus
Breaking into laughter
Breaking into love

“I found an opossum” by Julia at the studio

Monday April 23, 2018
6:07pm
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

Opossum, opossum, where for art thou possom?
Are ye brothers? Are ye sisters?
Are ye an April Fools joke played by the World Wide Webbeth?
I don’t care much for either or, IF I’M BEING COMPLETELY HONEST.
When I was a kid Haley Halpert had a weird-ass obsession with
opposums and would correct everyone if they dropped the O because
HOW THE HELL WERE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW?
It’s right up there on the old crazy train with people who are
obsessed with alpacas. They are not cute. They are not sweet.
They are just creepy things that look like llamas. Which is what
makes alpaca lovers even crazier.
One of my first boyfriends was obsessed with alpacas along with
saying “It’s an alpaca not a llama, the two are NOT the same.”
DID YOU KNOW THEY CAN SUCESSFULLY CROSS-BREED, GARRETH?
I had to break his heart into a bazillion pieces over e-mail.

“Anne would lie for hours” by Julia at her desk

Sunday April 22, 2018
9:55pm
Anne
Joe Hutto

somehow the moment you walked out the door
the clock on the wall sped up twice its usual tick
I am almost sick at how little has happened
in how many hours have magically passed and
the drum of the crows outside my window have
faded into a night that does not need to
interrupt me

I would lie for hours in the bathroom at the
mirror with a false smile and an empty stomach
tell myself a story to keep me busy and away
from that buzzing fridge
I would lie for hours on the bed staring at
the lonely space on the wall where the choices
should go and wonder how I managed to leave
them all tucked in between the books I care
less to read

“not like you” by Julia at her desk

Saturday April 21, 2018
11:33am
5 minutes
From a quote by Carlos Fuentos

He asks you if we are the kind of couple who needs
to spend every second together
He asks this while you are living in another province than me
I think it is one of those questions that doesn’t need an answer
But you answer in full sentences and give a thought out response
I would not have thought about it as long as you and
I suppose that is because I am not like you
You say it has taken a long time to get here
that once upon a time we were too codependent
and once upon a time after that we were too independent
and now we have found this happy medium where you can
go away and I can go away and we can live our individual
lives but still miss the other person
I would have simply said No
we’re not that kind of couple
And yet I appreciate all the history of us you are remembering
You know where we’ve been because you are not like me
and have been paying attention to the arc of things
I sometimes pretend like half of of our lives toegther
didn’t even happen in the first place
It is good that you are not like me

“She warned me, ‘Have nothing to lose.’” by Julia at her desk

Thursday April 5, 2018
8:25pm
5 minutes
Among Women
Marie Ponsot

tucked a daisy in my jacket pocket and said “this is for a rainy day”
didn’t seem to mind that it might not last that long in denim like this
i forgot it was in there and went about my day
picked up apples from the market
peeled the sweet potatoes that were growing eyes
the night became a different world
me in my own skin and bones rustling about the tiny kitchen
she, i decided, blessing newborns and the dying with her sweet
the next morning i awoke to the sun burning the sky and drawing sweat
from my neck
the pillow was wet and the seagulls were loud
I did not bring an umbrella
and of course, as it happens here, out of the blue
it started to rain
i understood what ‘out of the blue’ meant for the first time
shoved my hands in my pockets to keep dry
and there it was, waiting for me
a wilting daisy, still more alive than me

“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.

“A utopian vision” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday November 15, 2017
11:47pm
5 minutes
from a quote by bell hooks

“He’s in Kingston Pen with twenty three years left on his sentence. That’s where he is. Now. You have a choice. Are you going to follow in his footsteps? Or, are you going to blaze your own trail – succeeding in your final year of high school, coming in top of your class at George Brown Culinary School? Getting a fine job under a celerity chef at a high-end restaurant? Being promoted to sous within your first year?” Stephen’s voice is booming. Cynthia looks at me. I look at Cynthia. We’ve both stopped worked. We are riveted. We are electrified. Holy EFF STEPHEN YOU ARE A GOD AMONGST US SIMPLE FOLK.

“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.

“I didn’t hear that part” by Julia on the 84

Monday November 13, 2017
4:08pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 84

Oh he says he loves me needs me wants to squeeze me
Holds me shows me deep down knows me
Dreams me means me in betweens me
Wants me likes me day and nights me
He says a lot of things
Forever and always
Lots of love love love
He says he can’t live his life without me can’t stop won’t stop hugging up on me
He says something after that and before
But I do not hear them
Over the noise

“Powerful, self-actualized women should feel no shame” by Julia on F’s couch

Sunday November 12, 2017
9:38pm
5 minutes
Communion
Bell Hooks

When speaking
When listening
When choosing not to have a baby
When changing her mind about having a baby
When saying no
When saying yes
When crying
When asking the bus driver for help
When helping
When wanting to be alone
When wanting to be with him
When wanting to be with him even though he still forgets
When speaking
When listening
When making dinner
When waking up
When brushing her teeth
When taking a long shower
When touching herself
When asking to be touched
When deciding not to give an answer
When deciding not to justify her feelings
When not justifying her feelings
When saying no
When saying yes
When speaking
When listening
When wanting someone to hold
When wanting to be fucked and never called again
When fucking and not calling
When talking about her dreams
When breaking down in the supermarket
When buying a box of cookies

“the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 11, 2017
6:26pm
5 minutes
What The Living Do
Marie Howe

Even though I asked it very nicely to stop, the sky would not stop laughing.
Some days it is miserable only benneath the skin. The bones squeek.
We forget that there is more beyond this dome or we never forget and some days we act like we do. We have gotten good at acting.

Miriam and I have been sneaking behind the Hollands’ shed to practice kissing. I told Miriam that she had soft lips and a subtle but effective use of tongue. She told me that I could afford to go a little harder. I was worried if I kissed her any harder I might want to stay kissing her. I didn’t know I would like girls. I didn’t know I would like her. I liked the groaning noises she made. I liked how warm her skin felt, her breath on the side of my mouth like a warning.

“finally coming home” by Julia on Bec’s couch

Thursday September 21, 2017
1:45am
5 minutes
from a text

you keep telling me you’re on your way but you’re not. that’s cool. i’ll wait. just sit here by the beer stuffed chicken i made for you. cause you told me you liked it. cause you said you’d be home for dinner.
i get a text every 25 minutes or when you remember that someone is expecting you. things get carried away. timing is all wrong. you’re just caught up in the excitement. the roads are bad now, better wait. i thought about throwing out the chicken so you could see how you messed up, but i was raised way better than that. maybe i’ll put it on your pillow instead. tuck it way in there so you keep finding the juices dripping all the way down. my mother never said anything about bed chicken. you send a message saying you’re finally coming home and then an hour later i get the same message. i don’t respond. i don’t know how. if i write anything it’s going to be a lightening rod. if i write anything it’s going to be the end of me.

“Christian Science Reading Room” By Julia on the 9


Wednesday August 23, 2017
11:07pm
5 minutes
from a storefront on West Broadway

At the Christian Science reading room I wait for Melody to meet me in the lobby. She says she’s coming with a big bag and to get ready. Melody’s ideas make me sweat. She’s been planning something for a while it she says she needs my help now. I always get sucked into Melody’s warped world. I swear she’s not from here. Like, I’d say Vancouver but what I mean is earth. I’m worried she’s got something slightly off centre in her bags. A little light spray painting would be ideal but I know it’s going to vibrate more than that. Everything she does has a pulse. If the pulse of something dangerous were trapped in a bag for too long.

“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.

“The morning, happy thing” by Julia on her couch


Saturday August 5, 2017
12:59am
5 minutes
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickenson

In the morning, I stood up, naked and sweaty. I walked to the fridge with weight. I felt a stillness. This house has been quiet since you left.

When you were gone I slept on your side of the bed and didn’t wke up once. There could be two reasons.
1)Because your side is better than mine or 2)Because I sleep better when you are gone.

I missed you most in the afternoon when the daylight no longer knew which colour it wanted to be. I watched a video of you singing that made me smile out loud.

“I’m still on the boat.” by Julia on her couch


Friday August 4, 2017
10:57pm
5 minutes
Sea Sick
Alanna Mitchell

I’m trying to read to pass the time. Everybody is taking Gravol. My sister gets carsick on tiny windy roads and gets to sit in the front seat of the good car. I have to sit in the back seat behind the same t-shirt going on twelve days in a row. I don’t know how no one notices the oppressive stench but I can’t seem to pretend otherwise. My sister is not looking forward to the boat ride to go see the blown glass in Venicd. There really isn’t a front seat on a boat. My mother is the same way. Neither of them do well when the waves get choppy or even if there’s a bit of wind.
My uncle has taken us on this exact tour for the third time now and still explains everything like it were the first. I don’t know how no one notices.

“they couldn’t handle you?” by Julia on Kits beach


Friday July 28, 2017
7:10pm
5 minutes
overheard on Kits beach

You walked into your new office right, you stroked your beard, you adjusted your belt, you waved at everyone? Right? You made your presence known? You held a baby ( I don’t know, Shelley from HR can never get a sitter, okay, she’s tired, you cooed at him, it was a good moment, everybody loves a pair of stylish suspenders holding an infant) and high fived the custodian? You walked all the way over to your boss’ desk and you put your foot up on it. You let him see you, right? You look him square in the eyes and unleash the most deadpan almost too-close-to-home joke and you wait, right?
Then…boom.

“and they’ll break your heart” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 21, 2017
6:14pm
5 minutes
trueactivist.com

My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby a week ago. It is the happiest my entire family has ever been, and I’m including the time my mom caved and let us get KFC the day we moved into our new house. My sister called her Cleo and all of us can swear we’ve never known love until her. Harper’s doing great. She has a glow. She looks as calm as if she’d been a mother her whole life. It doesn’t look as hard as I thought it would be, of course Harper has always been good at figuring things out. Cleo latched right away and seeing my baby sister stroke her daughter’s cheek as they bond there in the rocking chair–it’s all I need to see to send me into a fit of emotion. I am overcome by how beautiful it all is. Even Danya is in awe, and we never thought she’d step foot in our parents’ house since she tried to burn it down in 1994.

“when you sign up” by Julia on the bathtub


Saturday April 22, 2017
9:43pm
5 minutes
From the Aeroplan flyer

The flyers keep filling up my mailbox. I am waiting for your letter. I have to check everyday that the flyers haven’t eaten it.

The summer was filled with mosquito bites and eye licking. You let me lick yours after we did mdma. We took photos of your keys and wallet from underneath the glass table.

You said you’d write and then you never did. I wished I didn’t care. Then you moved. And now neither of us know how to find one another.

“Amusement park adventures” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday April 4, 2017
10:47pm
5 minutes
From The YouTube video Joe is watching

“You’ve relieved so much of my guilt, Sandy… Thank you so so much.” Julie cut the crusts off of the egg salad sandwiches. “I’m tired of feeling guilty,” Sandy said, popping ice out of a pink tray and into the punch bowl. Julie knew what she meant. She’d been up half the night with Tommy who had had some awful nightmares. Julie had wondered if it was because she’d started back to work. Maybe Tommy wasn’t ready to be left with Consuela. Maybe everything was happening too fast.

“I’m thinking about taking Gabriel and Kimberly to the amusement park on Sunday, would you and Tommy like to come?” Sandy came close to Julie and smiled. Julie could smell her perfume. Something expensive. Lily of the valley and vanilla.

“free health care to” by Sasha at her desk


Monday February 6, 2017
7:21pm
5 minutes
From a #goodnews tweet

Below the freckle below the bellybutton below the clavicle below the hip bone below the knee below the baby toe below the finger tip below the eyelash below the calf below the small of the back below the forehead below the wrinkle below the earlobe below the sole of the foot below the belly below the sternum below the laugh lines below the scalp below the lungs below the liver below the heart

“We heard you loud and clear” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday January 21, 2017
8:19pm
5 minutes
From a text

An eagle with wings spread
blessed the chapel and we gathered
two hundred strong and you stood
at the front between the drum kit
and the electric piano
and you spoke W.H. Auden
while your knees shook and your voice
was strong.

Bent over the plywood coffin
that your father will be cremated in
“sometime later this week”
you said goodbye to the body
that helped to make your body
the body that protected and
didn’t
the body that caught babies
and treated wounds and stitched up
bodies that bleed like his body did

“A failure to be my best self” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday January 15, 2017
6:22pm
5 minutes
Becoming Wise
Krista Tippett


When I broke into your home, your roommate was fucking her girlfriend. I wasn’t sure if I should stay, or go, or pretend that this was a normal way to spend a Wednesday evening. I knew that you were in China, and that a million different people were taking you out for every meal of the day. I knew that you hadn’t texted me back in exactly seventy six days. I get in your room, the moaning and screaming coming through the wall, and I’m not even sure what to do, I’m not even sure what I want. I take off all of my clothes. I climb into your bed. I drink in your smell.

“People will say,” by Julia in her childhood room


Friday January 6, 2017
12:45am
5 minutes
from The Province

I didn’t wish you a happy birthday and people will say-probably-that I am avoiding you or doing it on purpose or trying to play games. I’m not doing any of those things-though it’s your prerogative to think that I am. To believe everyone else but me. I didn’t do it this year because I was busy and because I don’t think you’re a good person. I should clarify that I still love you somewhere deep down as the person who first showed me what borrowing my parents’ car was really for; who laughed easy to build someone else up when you knew how much that would matter. I can’t condone the rest of you these days. Maybe not for the last few years. I tried to trick myself but it didn’t work. I’m not a very good liar. Not nearly as good as you.

“leftover Hamburger Helper garbage” By Julia on her couch


Tuesday December 13, 2016
5:51pm
5 minutes
Summer OF My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews


Danika and I couldn’t believe her mom would let us have the house to ourselves for the weekend. The ENTIRE weekend. We were drunk on freedom and cotton balls and anything from the medicine cabinet that we could have turned into crafts or art. The first night we both had double chocolate fudge ice cream for dinner and a can of whipped cream EACH for dessert. What a life! We didn’t think to get an emergency number from Danika’s mom before she left, or find out where exactly she was going to be for this long without worrying about her 9 year old kid and her best friend. My mom would never let us stay by ourselves. So we didn’t tell my mom that Danika’s mom left a note on the kitchen table that she had scrawled in messy writing saying “Gone for the weekend, Hamburger Helper on the stove.”

“Welcome Home Party” by Julia on her couch


Friday December 9, 2016
12:27am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

There was a banner hanging in the front window that looked like his kids had helped make it. I drove by once, forgetting, and saw it. It made me feel sick. I realized why we said we wouldn’t put ourselves in each other’s reality. It was not only dangerous for the one who lives there, but painful for the one who doesn’t. I saw it though, and it sickened me. I couldn’t believe I had played a role in such big deceit of people who missed him so much even though all this time he was sleeping in another woman’s hotel room. And crafting a lie, and withholding the truth. And I helped trick them. I m helped to sneak him away from his family.

“don’t get it in your eyeball!” by Julia in the air bnb in Winnipeg


Tuesday October 25, 2016
9:41am
5 minutes
from a text

I shared an attic with my brother one summer during a heatwave in Italy. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. All we had was a spray bottle filled with heating water between our beds and we didn’t know how badly we would need something in between us. When your brain is melted there is just a puddle where your patience should be. We were puddles of annoyance and sweat and sleepless.
One night we were both aliens to each other, trying to rest, delirious from the air trapped somewhere in a tiny cloud inches from our skin and far enough away from all roads carrying oxygen. He sprayed me with water which was our ritual. I sprayed him back. We did this for 5 minutes or 5 hours and laughed the whole time. Nobody knows why. Something about enough being enough. Something about my eyeball. Something about the first time we didn’t hate each other.

“special thank you” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday October 1, 2016
9:11pm
5 minutes
a Vista print ad

Today Corinne told me to look into his face and tell him what I appreciate about him. I was like, Corinne, I don’t have anything to say that he hasn’t already heard. And she told me I was resisting because I didn’t like that I was being told what to do and not to let the work I have to do on my control issues and ego get in the way of making my partner feel loved. I told her that maybe if she was staring into her husband’s face she would get it and that to do it on command isn’t natural and that he won’t be offended if I save it for when the moment is more organic than this curated experience. Then she told me that every minute I spend resisting her, I spend double the time resisting myself and my feelings and the truth that I might actually have some that I’m too afraid to visit.

“I’m ecstatic to announce” by Julia on the reading chair


Friday September 30, 2016
7:34am
5 minutes
a Facebook post

There’s a new woman in my father’s life. He has been hiding it from me since they started seeing each other and maybe he had good intentions and maybe he was just being a coward. Either way, I got a Save The Date in the mail for three proposed coffee occasions that the new woman in my father’s life would like me to choose between. I think it’s funny that she chose not to even bother sending a singing telegram! Who doesn’t love getting an embossed card in the mail with tiny kitties in silver dresses, asking me, not to meet her, but to pick a time that I’d like to meet her. Then what happens when I send this back? Wait two weeks to get another Save The Date for a cappuccino and a butter tart?

“two complimentary movie passes” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday September 29, 2016
7:44am
5 minutes
cycleto.ca

I come home with a smile on my face and I kiss you on the mouth
You say you missed me
You say this day is better now that I’m back
You ask how the conference was
You ask if I got any swag
I bounce around my tote bag (swag) and pull out the pens (swag) and post-it pad (swag)
You are impressed and I am impressed with my ability to stock up on office supplies
I would otherwise refuse to purchase
Then I reach in and pull out two tickets
You ask me what they are and try to pull them out of my hand
I snatch them away and tell you These Are Not For You!
You try to get a closer look at them and I keep them at arm’s reach
You scowl and cross your arms when you see what they are
You Won Movie Tickets?
I smile again, being coy for some reason
Maybe I Did
Awesome Which Movie Are We Seeing?
I put them back in my bag
These Are Not For You

“in a less than forgiving city” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday September 28, 2016
7:32am
5 minutes
vancouveractorsguide.com

I came to the place in myself I always worried I’d find. The part that doesn’t have patience for people who don’t pull their weight, the part that doesn’t feel good about having to remind a group of adult children how to get by. Maybe I should have signed up for this in advance. If I had chosen to help people maybe I wouldn’t hate them so much. If I worked in a place where my help was needed…

I am so disgusted with the hole in my chest that comes from resenting other people. I don’t want to admit it but I need help too. I guess that’s where the pain comes from.

When I was in elementary school, I was often ahead of the class and I cared about school and being great. I was always assigned to work in pairs with the students who didn’t understand any concepts, or who didn’t like being there. When I asked the teachers why I couldn’t be put with someone who was going to work hard and push me to be better, they all told me the same thing: You’re a strong student, you don’t need help as much as they do.
So when did anyone look down at me and think, well there’s some potential, why don’t we try to lift that one up? Why didn’t I ever hear, well she could use a mentor or an opportunity?

“two beautiful faces” by Sasha at the Airbnb in Montreal


Wednesday September 21, 2016
10:12am
5 minutes
Overheard on Av. Girouard

the NICU beeps and wails and whispers
the nurses scrubs have cats and flowers on them
the babies are so small
so new
how were they ready to be born?
the babies are so strong
so new
they were ready to be born
at least that’s what i
tell myself
washing a pear for my sister
filling her water bottle
rubbing her neck
at least that’s what i
tell myself
walking by the darkened rooms
code indigo taped on the door
mothers and fathers and families
like angel zombies
tired eyes and microwave dinners
sanitize the hands

“Exactly!” By Julia at her dining table


Wednesday August 10, 2016
11:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the Inside house

I won’t ever fully know why
not the colour of the moon that worries me
the one that knocks me dead and vinegar
not the salty lines left lining the walls in the room where you
where you
where you don’t know me
where you don’t see what I think I would see your shoes
where you don’t recognize
me when I’m me. When I’m
not the ache in my chest when
I feel most unseen by you
not the moments of triumph that feel so
if only because the others were mercury and iron
paling in comparison
but I do know
but what I do know in this place
is that I am misery’s companion
by choice
by decision
by the map of my mother’s tears
and I unchoose myself at the speed of you

“Take a day trip.” By Julia at her dining table


Monday August 9, 2016
10:25pm
5 minutes
odysseyonline.com

Take a day trip
remember the road and the smell of the car and the first song playing when you start
Take a trip to a place you’ve never been and take photos
that make you cringe to do in your own neighbourhood
Sing each other your favourite lyric
record yourselves in conversation
forget that you’re recording
lay on the grass
Get a little bit dirty
Take a trip
Leave the disappointing
and ridicule
and pipe dreams
and anxiety dreams
aside

“change has alway happened in the margins” By Julia on her couch


Sunday August 8, 2016
10:00pm
5 minutes
Becoming Wise
Krista Tippett


I can’t recall his clothes but I remember his hands and the way his neck smelled. I held him for longer than I would have if it were anyone else. I held him longer than I would have but long enough for him to feel welcomed. I don’t blame him for seeking us out, looking for a safe space to exist among us but not within us. I wanted him to feel wanted. And brave. But also I wanted to reward his bravery. I wanted to include him the way he so desperately needed to be included. The way I so desperately needed to be included instead of just passing. The way I would never have asked for what he asked for even if what he asked for was exactly what I needed. I can’t remember his drink, but I remember his face. And his voice. And his smile.

“the life of his human counterpart” By Julia at The Deklab County Public Library


Sunday August 7, 2016 at the Deklab County Public Library
2:14pm
5 minutes
Unsaid
Neil Abramson


It was hard to see him through the rain but I didn’t have to see his face to know who he was. Michael kept his head down as if the stream of water cascading down his hair could shield his eyes. I knew that he was crying. I knew that stance anywhere. I hadn’t seen him in months and still knew he had gotten a hair cut too. I wasn’t sure if I should approach him first or wait for him to see me. I didn’t want to disrupt whatever praying he might have been doing. I didn’t want to interrupt his ritual of getting right with himself before he came to find me. The life of his human counterpart was just as complex, and he knew that too. Hell, from behind the heavy sheets of rain pouring down on us, I’m sure he could see that I was doing my work to get right with myself just the same as he was.

“traumatic for a baby” By Julia at The Marriott In Decatur, Georgia


Monday August 1, 2016
11:59pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Marriott in Decatur

We didn’t want to put any clowns in her room just in case she wasn’t one of those kids that loved them. I’m talking nice clowns too. We didn’t want to risk it-no marionettes (gifts from our friends, sent from Mexico), no figurines (a doll my sister in law built out of a mop head and some satin), no posters, and no photographs. We made the mistake earlier with Keegan and I’m worried about him becoming a psychopath. I blame Stephen King. I blame him and whatever mother didn’t love him enough to give him such twisted ideas. I also blame Charles, who grew up with clowns all over his damn house and never once murdered anything with a heart beat. Charles told me it would be fine, but I wasn’t convinced. There are so many things in this life that pose less of a threat to psychologically damaging a child, like bunny rabbits, and flowers, and Marilyn Manson.

“comrade in arms” By Julia at her dining table


Sunday July 31, 2016
9:25pm
5 minutes
from a text

I asked Lindsey if she wanted to come to my sister’s citizenship ceremony and she told me she wouldn’t miss it. When I reminded her that it was this week, she told me it was a date. When I called her that morning asking what she was going to wear, she gave me a detailed description and helped me choose a necklace for me over the phone. So when she didn’t show up for the ceremony I knew something wasn’t right. I called her a million times and it went straight to voicemail. I was freaking out, trying not to let my sister see me. I had a terrible knot in my stomach. Nothing was making sense, the room was spinning, and I was struggling to stay standing. My sister caught my eye and looked concerned. She motioned for me to leave. I nodded, I ran, I stumbled out of the auditorium and into a burst of fresh air. When I saw Lindsey standing there I almost threw up. She was holding her throat so the blood wouldn’t spill out.

“We’ll discuss some of the best” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday, July 23, 2016
1:12am
5 minutes
vancouvertrails.com

On the walk home tonight you grabbed my hand so I wouldn’t tumble down the hill and told me you were seriously considering buying a camper van.
It was a nice moment.
I could tell you more about what I was thinking inside my head when you said it.
I could say that I wanted to know you forever right then and there. I could say I wasn’t sure all this time because I was convinced you would find a reason to leave me but then I was. And it felt different. It felt different than being weary of you. It felt different being so completely certain.
But I didn’t say any of those things. I smiled at you. I gripped your hand tighter. And I looked into your eyes with a deep sadness for all the moments before I doubted you. The moments before I doubted you could love me as much as I loved you and as much as I needed to be loved.
So I think that was enough.
I think that was all I needed to do.
And then we came home and baked some tortilla chips because why the fuck not.

“We got a good surge” by Julia by her bed


Thursday, July 21, 2016
12:16am
5 minutes
overhead at The Rickshaw

Because there was an opening
we stood up tall on a mountain and opened our mouths to the wind
We wanted to
We wanted to shout
out
all of the sadness and all of our lungs
Just in case she was listening
Just in case she was sorry
I dream of her in reds and yellows
In basil and lavender
In honey and lace
She is perfect still in a world where compliments cannot buy her
I dream of her in here yes today please
She is gone like a feather from a wing
And I can only let my agony
into the wild
As a ghost
As a whisper
As a lullaby

“a dozen individuals aged” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 24, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
Harbor
John Ajvide Lindqvist


Across the street I spied a man who had been resting on a bench. He was sweating from his brow and was hunched over, defeated. He didn’t have a cane, or a walker, but looked like he could have used one. He was convincing himself he didn’t, surely. I quietly watched him from my bus stop. He didn’t know anyone was paying any attention to him. He tried to get up a few times without the help of the bench. He couldn’t seem to do it. The struggle in his face was clear even all the way over to where I sat pretending to read my novel. It looked like his body had been slowly betraying him for a while but that he had only just now started to deny it. I remember working with a man who told me once that when you get old, your body stops matching up with your mind and you can’t control yourself the way you used to. He told me that it may be frustrating for those of us who can still easily get to our destinations to have to always wait behind the ones who aren’t as mobile, but it wasn’t to be disregarded that it was far more frustrating for them.