“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.

“Rule # 17: Act a little stupid.” By Julia at the studio

Thursday June 14, 2018
5:03pm
5 minutes
The Queen Of Hearts
Kathleen Hawes

She is desperate to speak to someone in French. She goes over to Chantal’s desk because Chantal will talk to anyone and she wants to speak French too. Le Sandwich. I understopd that one, Sans Probleme. Whatever. Let them speak in the secret language that I should know after four years of taking it in high school. After getting the French award at my grade 8 graduation.

At first I thought she was a miserable cunt who hated that I shared a cubicle with her. Maybe she thought I typed too loudly. Maybe she resented my youth. I can see now she might not have known how to express herself properly in English. I wish I didn’t spend so much time hating her back.

She smiles at me on her way to Chantal’s desk. She puts a little French in my name as she passes.

“The only thing I can come up with” by Julia in her bed

Thursday, March 1, 2018
7:38pm
5 minutes
No Idea
Dana ID Matthews

Today I told them that I didn’t know
That I want to know and that I wish I did but I don’t
And NO ONE GOT HURT
No one asked to see my badge, my credentials
No one gave me a sidemouthed remark
I felt worried and then I felt honest
and the authenticity parade was loud for all to hear
Later one of them told me that they didn’t know
That they want to know, but they don’t, and isn’t that okay?
Later still one of them told me they thought it was
important to admit when we don’t know
and maybe others might want to hear that too
that life is not easy and no one knows everything
AND THE ONLY THING THAT BURST WAS MY HEART
Here, take this make-shift answer, this feather
falling itchy onto my lap,
Find my discomfort and amplify it
Always remember that I lied right to your face
to save my own
I am glad that for once the only thing I could
come up with was the worthy and unveiled truth

“and they’ll break your heart” by Sasha on her balcony


Sunday May 21, 2017
10:01pm
5 minutes
trueactivist.com

This thing we pretend we know
even those hand holding
white haired beauties
shuffling along
place after place
for sixty odd years
even they don’t know.

I pretend to know
what is going through
your head when your
brow furrow
your jaw clenches
your nostrils flare.

I occasionally appreciate
the mystery of you
when I’m rested
caffeinated
exercised
but mostly
I long to know
without having to ask
“what’s wrong?”

“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

“Welcome to Amsterdam” by Sasha at Vancouver General Hospital


Thursday November 20, 2014
2:21pm
5 minutes
A sign at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Welcome to Amsterdam
And Lethbridge
And Honolulu
Welcome to your grandmother’s basement
And the siren songs
And the back of the Chevy pick-up
Welcome to NeverNeverLand
And the rainforest
And my kitchen table
Welcome to yesterday
and under your covers
And the black sand beach
Welcome to the bus
And the clover field
And the lavender farm
Welcome to Athens
And Venezuela
And Whitehorse

“exit only” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday October 28, 2014
6:21pm
5 minutes
from the side of a tper bus

Megan and I are walking in the maze-like markets of Marrakech. “Hannah Montana!” “Blue eyes!” “Blue eyes Hannah Montana!” They shout. Men, shopkeepers. Eyes follow us like, glued. We are followed by three teenage boys, and a man in his sixties who, in broken English, invites us for mint tea, repeatedly. We wear loose-fitting clothing and are covered up to our necks. We speak quietly and try not to draw unnecessary attention to ourselves. We seek refuge in our hostel room, breathless, dizzy from getting lost. We buzz with all that is unknown here. We buzz in our bodies, the magnets, the prisons, the homes.

“You steal the water from the valley” by Julia at Bar Roma in Monteleone


Tuesday September 16 2014
5:35pm
5 minutes
Screenplay
Sid Field


An abstract painting is stuck in my mind-I think it’s an artist unknown and I think I dreamt about it this morning. It has lines across it like a grid and speckles of what I’m interpreting as gold or light are all winding around the thick grid’s lines. I think I’m happy to be in this memory but I can’t tell because I’m trying so hard to peace it all together to figure out what it means, and I know you’re not supposed to do that with abstract paintings. I know you’re not supposed to do that with abstract paintings. I know you’re supposed to just look at them and feel something, usually lifted or weighed down, happy or sad. When I see this painting in my head, I see it perfectly and I calculate it imperfectly. I become obsessed with the measurements, the directions, the reasons. I don’t know if I feel anything because of it other than confusion and attraction and my wondering of this angers me because then I’m stuck figuring out my feelings instead of just feeling them. I put down my guard for a second and a taste of honesty slips through. I can’t catch it in the air–I don’t dare welcome whatever might change me.

“The healthiest things” by Julia at Gertrude Park


Friday July 25, 2014
11:09am
5 minutes
Food Rules
Michael Pollan


Darlin’ I’m slippin’. I’ve been feelin’ off these days, you know? Can’t help myself from makin’ tiny trips to the garage. I hid all kinds of bottles in there, cause you know your mother, she was always all over me for bein’ thirsty. One, you know, I don’t know how I did it, but I found it way up on the top shelf there right by the trophies. Almost fell right off, I had to climb so high. And I brought that one down, and it took me a minute, but by the time I got my footin’ I noticed it was actually empty. Why I was keepin’ an empty bottle so out of reach is beyond me, but that’s the problem. If I don’t even remember why I was hidin’ certain things, then maybe I also have more than I thought. More bottles on top shelves. More uncovered memories I at some point in my life tried very hard to bury. But guess what the truth is. I haven’t once had a sip yet. I’ve been starin’ at those bottles but that doesn’t mean I’ve been hittin’ them. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to though..

“an orange (photo dip)” by Julia on her couch


Saturday February 23, 2013
2:44am
5 minutes

IMG_4832


It scared me from when I was a kid. Half of the stringy stuff got caught in my throat and I choked on it. I guess that’s how you learn. You almost die before you realize that it is not the right way to eat an orange. Couldn’t someone have showed me that it was improper? I’ve had an issue with these things for a long time. It would be nice if someone noticed and just helped me along. I used to think you had to peel an artichoke the entire way to its core before you could eat it. But I kept peeling and peeling, and eventually all the layers were sitting on a paper towel and the heart of it was missing. Someone could have mentioned it then…but they thought it was endearing. I will never forget it. I thought it was the same as opening up a chocolate Kinder Egg to get to the little toy inside. But nothing was inside, I was just disappointed. Oranges are the same way now. They could have easily been a favourite but I think I’m going to go about eating it the wrong way and never think to buy them on my own unless they’re pre-cut.
Choking is not a fun feeling, so. I guess it’s residual fear or something.
I wonder if it’s just a life lesson I have to experience my own way. Like learning everything the hard way; burning my hands on the stove to know that it’s hot, and eating too many spicy peppers to understand my body just isn’t meant for that kind of thing.