“winter chess championship” by Julia on her bed

Monday November 11, 2019
5:48pm
5 minutes
Mr. Oleander
Brian Doyle

It has been 24 hours and the bed is sinking

There is proof of the sinking and one day I will show it to you

A warning, that I will have to say I Told You So and you should really prepare for how that’s going to feel

I won’t say the other thing, though

I know how much you hate it

Checkmate

Sorry

I said it

I had to say it, let’s be real

This is another win for me and yes I’m keeping score and yes you’re keeping score

This is the winter championship and it’s a who’s who over here

It’s a do or die

It’s a prove or be proven

I am not actually sorry

Not even for saying the thing that you hate

It is a competition and I am competing with you so there is no room for apology

There is no room for softness and I’ve already told you my stance on that

Remember the framed art sitting on the kitchen shelf

It says We Don’t Do Soft In This House

And yes I made the art

I wrote the poem

But you let it sit there and you have referenced it before

You have been complicit and there is no time for taking anything back

But we could play on the same team for once

I am not offering a forfeit but a surrender

A surrender to this thing we’re going to have to carry

“All skill levels” by Julia on the 17

Saturday June 1, 2019
4:10pm
5 minutes
From a sign on the street

You want to be inclusive, right, whip your hands into a circle, knot them twice.
Everybody here holds hands.
We don’t care who you are or what “level” you think you’re at or on or what have you, but we all play on the same turf here, and that’s called Right Now.
Right Now doesn’t ask you where you’re from or if you think you’re a part of a special club. Right Now doesn’t care what you did or who you screamed at or what you wished for.
Right Now has no expectations because Right Now changes every second. Right Now knows you and your right now is changing too.
So grab a patch of palm from your neighbour from another neighbourhood and close your freaking eyes all the way to the bone.

“Roads here are nuts.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday March 7, 2019
5:40pm
5 minutes
From a text message

The cedars are telling me how
Step slow
Listen
Trust the roots

Moss on the undergrowth
Step slow
Eyelashes wet from dawn
Quiet like the beginning
and the end

In through the nose
and out through the mouth
Faith in the one foot
in front of the other

Surrender in the new
in the trusting
in the perfect
curve of the reach
of the fern

Rumi writes of the field
and it’s where I’m
going

I’ll meet you there

“My mother told us” by Julia on her couch

Sunday September 30, 2018
9:10pm
5 minutes
Waiting For My Rape
Jessica Anya Blau

she says “just do your best” and no matter why she says it, she always sounds close to (if not battling) tears. I don’t think she likes crying. but it’s in her like she’s made of sand. a billion moving particles loose under her skin, washing. she says “bye” at least three times. she has to be the last one to say it. it’s an italian thing. like goodbye is the saddest most beautiful world they could think of. and her goodbye keeps me calling. I don’t want to be this far away from her. this daughter’s body a river of sand just like her. a milky way. starlight.

“entirely free of the curse” by Julia at Kafka’s


Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at Kafka’s
12:49pm
5 minutes
a Wikipedia page

It’s a nightmare when I’m alone with her. She torments me and she tugs at all my soft spots. She pulls until she rips, and then claws away at the raw flesh. I don’t know why she is never sated. Why she comes back for more when I have nothing left to give her. And she throws herself at me, through me, in me. She’s everywhere and nowhere and she creeps in like a ghost that is convinced her only purpose is to haunt me. She haunts me. When I’m laughing, those moments in the day where I am happy or believe that I am. She gives me no peace, sinking her teeth into me, sucking my bones dry, killing me slowly. Until I give over. Until I’m just an empty vessel for her to inhabit. Then she’ll be complete. She’ll destroy every good thing I have, plow over the life I’ve so carefully built, rip up the early seedlings of joy I’ve planted, and scorch the earth of me. To ruin me. To feed off of me. Because I am weak. Because I let her. Because I deny that she exists even when she bulldozes all the love I’ve ever known. Some people give up. Some people give in.