“It is a highly awkward effort” by Julia on the Brown Line

Sunday September 16, 2018
5:55pm
5 minutes
How to Unthink (In Two Movements)
Jill Boettger

The bedsheets wake up bloody and somebody’s name gets cursed for choosing white. Not my name, I’ll tell you that. The first tears are muted into the pillow at 6AM. The second at seven. The stomach starts talking to me around ten after eight and starts yelling at nine. So far universe: 5, me: 0.

When the deep weakness punches back from the reflection in the mirror I know I am on an up-cliff climb without a rope. The first person to get hit in a street fight is usually the one who loses.

Somehow the angel card that gets flipped up from the pile by no one with fingerprints is
Acceptance.

It wasn’t me, I’ll tell you that. You said it wasn’t you.

Acceptance.

“We made sure you could still heal” by Julia at Washington and Wabash

Sunday September 9, 2018
9:45pm
5 minutes
Day Thirteen
Adrienne Gruber

there is an old saying
let yourself be loved
and you
will love those who
love yourself better

okay those are
my words
I said them
I’m saying them

someone could have said these words before me
maybe not in their exact sequence but life is art
and art is theft

I’m glad we’re choosing all the right things to copy
all the good things to stand up for

these are all the words we heal by:
the ones that sound off in the echo of our own hearts
the ones that bridge the gap between lonely and understood

I could keep a tally of good dreams that mean something
that tell me I am collaborating with the energy of every good place I’ve touched

“Age is a work of Art” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday July 17, 2018
11:40pm
5 minutes
from a Banyen Books bookmark

It is an ever changing thing today I got older and younger during the same conversation

I see myself reflected sometimes so young in her eyes

And when I see her as wise and older and let her be, she is kind

Remarkably kind

And generous with her heart

And that is age painted pretty

That is the poster child the reason why, the trailer for the good show kindness is age and love is old

Love is young

Love is ever changing

I hear myself laughing the way she does and I know we are born from the same legs, mixed in the same sky

“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

“before we found our planet” by Sasha on the couch at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday October 4, 2017
10:01am
5 minutes
The Enemy Stars
Poul Anderson

Before we found our planet we chased shooting stars and solar flares before breakfast. We did not know the saltiness of addiction – heartache – betrayal. Before we knew the taste of first kiss, we knew blue, the true meaning, gold, the weight and scope of it. Some might call it alchemy, but we call it morning.

Turning the page, our children (by which I mean all the children here not the ones I’ve borne, in fact, I cannot tell the difference, all their faces are innocence and power, curiousity and wisdom)… Turning the page, our children laugh at the nostalgia for a time before time. They wrinkle their little brows at Milky Way and ask for a glass of water.

“A year ago, even six months ago, it would have been, but not now.” by Julia on Amanda’s tub


Wednesday July 19, 2017
11:31pm
5 minutes
Why I Write
George Orwell


I told a bunch of people I didn’t know that if someone asked me what the best thing about life is, I’d say getting older. I mean it. What else is there in this existence aside from growth and love and mistakes and love?
I know a lot of people agreed with me. If that same someone asked me a year ago I would not have said this. I wouldn’t have said a lot of things. In the time between figuring some shit out and sitting where I’m sitting, I have out grown so many beliefs. So many stories. So many past versions of myself. If someone asked me even six months ago I would say, I’m sorry, but I do not recognize my own reflection. I wouldn’t have been able to point out what’s true over what’s not.

I keep thanking my bones for speaking up. I keep asking if anyone who lives in my skin is tired or hungry. I keep listening to the answer when it changes and changes.

“compelled to live under difficult conditions” by Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday June 15, 2017
11:01pm
5 minutes
Ancient Wisdom, Modern World
The Dalai Lama


learn things the hard way:
make the same
mistake a million times
expect too much
drink too much
spend too much
return
return
return
avoid the telephone
avoid the woman who carried you in her body because she knows too well what you look like when you’re hiding
lie to the mirror
avoid the mirror
apply for msp
pay the wrong premiums
cry about it
forget to call the people about the help the people said they’d provide
avoid the telephone
avoid the truth
do not create anything
do not sleep
smoke too much
spend too much
binge too much
avoid the shower
avoid the fun
return
rip your hair from your head
from your eyebrows
from your lids
rip your hair from your crotch
one by one
until they’re all gone
be a girl after being a woman
avoid the mirror
avoid sex
avoid asking for what you need
resist the urge to be brave
let commercials steal your soul
spend too much
complain too much
return

“let it come through.” by Julia on the 99


Saturday April 29, 2017
12:26am
5 minutes
From a quote by Jackson Pollock

I have been swallowing words of wisdom in case it looks like I think too highly of myself. She never asked for what I thought but her eyes told me she could use it. We don’t have to speak if we can’t improve the silence. I learned that somewhere. Maybe my sister said it once. Maybe she heard it from a good book or a peace keeper. I am working on communicating without speaking. I let the people who need voice give voice. I am working on letting it come through with skin and smiles and sound effects

“Do not be dynamic” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday April 11, 2017
10:37pm
5 minutes
Microphone Lessons For Poets
Helen Guri


do not make any sudden movements
do not move your head or your eyes
do not express an opinion
do not engage outside of your peripheral vision
if you need to practice how to be still
how to feel less
then please do so
practice being unmoved by beauty
practice being unphased by magic
practice being unchanged by other human instances
do not be dynamic
do not vibrate too quickly
do not let them see you in motion
do not say anything
do not know anything
do not let your thoughts require air
do not beg the wind to carry you
do not write a poem
do not need to speak it

“RESET BALANCE” by Julia on the airplane


Sunday October 30, 2016
6:04am
5 minutes
from a Freshii sign at the airport

Things are slowing down
Down
We are finding our breath and our hurt and we are letting them kiss
I know how to find centre
I know now I know now I know now

Yesterday’s self portrait is unrecognizable to me today. The shapes are the same but the lines are different. Different good, different wise. I think in the last few hours I have grown new lines or old ones have morphed into something that holds my skin in place better now. I greet the mirror with the kind of warmth reserved for reunion; homecoming to the eyes of my mother.

“In just 10 months you have come a long way” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday May 3, 2016
8:31pm
5 minutes
From the Twitter account of the woman sitting in front of Julia

Look at your new smile
Your new confidence
Your new found love for yourself
You see me see you
I see you
I have always seen you
You see me see you seeing you
It is beautiful
In all the ways this world is beautiful
In all the ocean songs
And amethyst hearts
And moon cakes
And rain forests
And sounds of a baby’s laugh
Your new you is an old you returning
A home where you can
take off your shoes
Stay for a while
And dance in the magic suit you were born in
Look at your new wisdom
The kind that comes from
Re-learning how to trust yourself
Re-learning how to choose yourself
It is whole and it is warm
I would hold it
but I’ve already gotten so much
You keep it for now
Let it fill the cracks that once split you open
Let it fill the space where you said yes
To being more alive
Than yesterday

“As a heavy-metal band” by Julia at Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar


Wednesday March 2, 2016 at Platform 7
2:59pm
5 minutes
The Comic Toolbox
John Vorhaus


I am joining a band!
A Circus!
I don’t care about the big hair part! I just want to eat music for breakfast!
I’m big when I want to be, loud when I’m allowed. I don’t like walls, unless they’re made of sounds.
Mama says
BE CAREFUL
Pa says
DON’T SHOUT
Baby Brae says
AHHH! AHHH!
And I say
YEAH!! YEAH!!
Mama says
YOU MAY BE TOO LITTLE
Pa says
NOT LITTLE ENOUGH!-patting my head, chuckling HA HA
I want to tell them I can be what I want!
I am big like a thunderstorm.
I am loud like a parade!
I am going to sing with my mouth open like this:
( )
( )
Swallowing songs and guitars and applause!
Mama says
BE WHAT YOU WANT!
Pa says
DON’T FORGET US!
Baby Brae says
AHHH! AHHH!
I say
YEAH!! YEAH!!
I am going to see the world!
I am going to be the sky!

“the lid to Pandora’s box slides right off.” By Julia on her couch


Tuesday January 26, 2016
11:56pm
5 minutes
From catskinner.club

There’s a secret waiting at the bottom of this moment
Scrape
Scrape away with claw-like urgency
I don’t know who needs to uncover
To reach the very last layer of earth possible before digging becomes inadvisable
I wave to you from behind my acted ease
I don’t want to startle you
But there’s a major shift happening all around us
We could work together
I know I need someone to remind me that this is a good idea
You are unaware
Usual issue
You don’t want to dig
Not past the cool dirt
Not through my caked on smile
I have to bleed bigger if I want emotion
Reaction
I have to show you how…
Remember pain comes in many different perfect looking boxes
Shape shifting
Scrape and claw
Claw and scrape

“a work in progress” by Julia on the futon


Monday September 21, 2015
11:33pm
5 minutes
from a dramaturge’s notes

I stare into the mirror, I am naked.
Paint me.
I hear myself say.
I am naked.
Am I ashamed?
Paint me.
Do I need clothes?
Paint me something good.
I hear myself whisper to myself.
I want layers of art. Not fabric.
Paint my heart, thumping.
And I do.
Paint my lungs singing.
And I do.
Paint my mind growing.
Paint my skin softening.
Paint my posture straightening.
Paint my arms strengthening.
Paint my smile more genuine.
Paint my eyes brightening.
Paint my worries lessening.
Paint my self-consciousness subsiding.
Paint my risk taking.
Paint my understanding.
Paint my learning.
And I do. I do.

“It has nothing to do with you.” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, August 22, 2015
9:50pm
5 minutes
Art & Fear
David Bayles & Ted Orland


When you come inside from dancing with the moon and making promises to her that you see the light she’s shedding and the path she’s illuminating just for you, your skin tingles with joy and recognition for the you she knows.
Your skin: The protector of your bones.
She is held together tight with a thousand promises just like the ones you made with your Moon Mother. And you can feel each one alive inside you, making their way down your veins to keep you warm.
You can’t live another way. You even feel tempted to shed the skin you’re in but she hugs your limbs in close and whispers, I’m Not Going Anywhere….I Still Know Your Insides.
If you don’t keep the dancing hot and perfect in your hair, and the pure boundless generosity you feel with every concentrated breath, then you might just live on in a different moment and you don’t blame yourself for that either.

“No not that fake smile!” by Julia on the subway going west


Friday, August 21, 2015
1:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard at a bus stop

Biddy and me make a pact to bleed each other’s blood and wear each other’s smile. I want to marry Biddy so I can be around her all the time and let her light wash over me and catch me in all the right moments. Biddy plays the violin and when she does the whole world stops. I do all the humming and Biddy plays so I can feel. She tells me that I’m most me when I open my mouth and let my heart sing out. She tells me she can see me growing into the person who’s taking better care of me. She tells me I’m the kind of woman who becomes more beautiful with age and experience and confidence and time. It’s my idea to combine our life force and Biddy smiles with her whole face because she loves all of my grand ideas. She snips a lock of her strawberry blonde curls and wraps it around my finger to remind me that we’ve got each other’s soul close by.

“from bridges to clouds” by Julia on Amanda’s patio


Monday, June 22, 2015
8:16am
5 minutes
theawesomedaily.com

My sister, Monica, loved a book when we were growing up: Bridge to Terabithia. I never read it but I didn’t have to cause my sister told me all about it 2 billion times and it was somehow my favourite book too. I would have favoured anything that already had my older sister’s stamp of approval. She knew good books. I trusted her. Monica also knew how to french kiss and told me to practice on the crook of my elbow. She said that space there felt the most like a mouth that I could get. She was right about that too. She was very wise and so I waited for her opinions before I gave mine. When I told Monica that I wanted to shave my head like her, she told me I should wait until the full moon to decide cause in that moment I wasn’t making the decision for me.

”you push into a new space.” By Julia at R&D Spadina


Wednesday June 3, 2015 at R&D
3:55pm
5 minutes
http://www.mysticmamma.com/the-theme-for-june-2015-is-creative-action/

Birthing the new you out from the old you is the hard part. Woman on the floor Legs spread breathing breathing life into this place. And you, the new you, a bundle of joy wrapped up in perfect pain masked as a blanket has suffered the trauma just as any new born has. And just like the old you with your primal scream caught deep in your throat, your nightmares of the fight you put up just to be here, just to enter this new world from your old one are playing over and over again. You have a hope, you have a dream but you don’t know it yet–cause you’re so new. But you look at this new place with wonder and awe and excitement for all the magic it holds. You don’t leave all the things you wish you weren’t behind, but you don’t know how to access them in this place yet—Which is a good thing—because the hard part—the hard part before birthing your new self—is the discipline of leaving the you that doesn’t belong here on the shelf.

“make myself solid in this transitory world” by Julia at Source Centre for Health and Wellness


Tuesday February 3, 2015 at Source Centre for Health and Wellness
9:04pm
5 minutes
A Time Of No Place
Natalie Goldberg


If Regis (that’s the dog that I’m watching) licks my left ankle one more time, I’ll take it as a sign from the sky gods (that’s a term my friend Birdie told me about recently. Her real name is Roberta, but what fun is that?)that I’m connecting with something magical. Mirabell (that’s Regis’ long lost love) died two years ago today and he never fully recovered. Now he licks ankles but I don’t think those things are related. Tiger-Blossom (That’s my spirit animal. He’s a she and sometimes she’s a monster) says that when it’s really cold at night we must let our lives live without the halves we think they need.

“Last date to withdraw” by Julia at The Common


Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at The Common
5:18pm
5 minutes
The UBC student services handbook

You can look inward and find the buttons. Press the buttons and look inward. Something there you want? Something there you don’t recognize?
Press the buttons.
Look inward.
You know how to play the game already. You don’t need to relearn anything. Maybe you went away too long and now there’s nothing left to know. Maybe what was inward travelled onward and outward and maybe there’s no room left for what was there and for what is there now.
Is that so horrible a thing to believe?
That time changes inside?
That time changes insides?
And if you go away too long you need to think of what you’ll find to replace what you had because otherwise there’s a lot of empty space and it doesn’t do well there inside. Emptiness is meant for the bottom of a picnic basket after a successful day at the park. That kind of emptiness will do just fine.
But inside yourself, looking inward, you must fill that space with something that you love.
Otherwise you will miss your before you and you will not learn to love your new you.

“skill testing question required” by Sasha on the King streetcar going West


Friday April 4, 2014
5:03pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

Answer the question correctly, Angel, and we might actually get somewhere! We might actually get out of this hell-hole of a trailer park! Think really hard. Please. Think the best you possibly can. We might actually progress beyond communal showers and deep fried hot dogs. I love you, Angel, but… It’s harder when you’re old, like me, to really feel like you’ve got much of anything. If I can offer you one word of advice, it’s this… If you let them chain you, they will. Don’t let them chain you, Angel! I guess that’s more than one word. Shit. I got chained, I got chained too young. Barely seventeen and I was chained to that bald man for fifty three years! Can you even imagine?

“domestic assault” by Julia on her couch


Thursday November 21, 2013
2:08am
5 minutes
Toronto Star

Erin was crying for what felt like days. She didn’t even know why, but couldn’t stop. Not even for ice cream, or Saved By The Bell. Trust me, we tried. She was on one of those journeys…just…lost on the way to no where. I didn’t want to be the first to give up on her, but I was useless too. I was. I tried all my wisdom out on her the first day, hell, the first hour, and she didn’t stop so..Rachel tried employing some of her own brand but Erin was non-responsive. It was obvious. But still each of us took a turn. Auburn decided not to say anything at all and just hold her, but every time someone touched her she flipped out again. It made it too real. To painful. I tried to be understanding, trying to tell her it would be bad now, but not forever, and that worked for maybe a half second. Then she tried to rip her own eyelashes out. So we all had to restrain her, but she didn’t want to be touched, so…it was a long night. And that was just the first of many like it.

“hopeful of making amends” by Sasha at Layah & Oliver’s farm


Friday, September 20, 2013
4:31pm
5 minutes
Fresh Meat 2013 program

Dear Wilson,
Writing you makes me think about that Leonard Cohen song that you love. Famous Blue Raincoat. It’s close to four in the morning, but it’s the end of September, not December. It’s much cooler now than when you were here. Autumn has come in like that thug we knew back in Cabbagetown. He was stealthy. Leonard just turned seventy-nine. Did you know that? I saw it on Twitter. Rebecca told me that I really ought to have an account, for work and whatnot. I don’t really understand it. The upside is knowing more useless things about people who I care nothing about. Or is that the downside? You tell me. Wilson, I’m hopeful that you and Rebecca will make amends, that this too shall pass. I know that my seeds of wisdom always irritated you, but I can’t help myself. I’ve enclosed a book that I just finished and thought you might enjoy. Have you heard of Rumi? He was a Sufi mystic. A visionary. I read him on the toilet and before bed. Those sacred times. Thinking of you frequently. Wondering how you are. Rebecca is worried. She speaks of you constantly.

“It’s time” by Julia at her kitchen table


Wednesday, August 28, 2013
1:27am
5 minutes
The membership renewal card from National Geographic

Walruses know best. I grew up thinking that. Because of Alice in Wonderland, obviously, and that poem. What a soothing thing. “To talk of many things…” And now is the time for that. What things? Any things? Good things? Bad things? Of your wildest dreams, your biggest fears, your sorriest regrets, your untold secrets. Whatever things you wanted or needed or felt pulled to talk about, now was that time. It made it seem like the walrus just knew that. That now is now and now is the time. That there is no need to wait. That there needn’t be a special occasion the way we save outfits and bottles of particular wine. Now. The time. To talk. Of many of things! Whichever are floating in your head, whichever make a good story, whichever bring three strangers from opposite sectors of the universe together…the things that help you realize you’re not a thing but a person who talks about–well–things…

“benchmark of excellence” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday February 19, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
2:34pm
5 minutes
A Jackson-Triggs bottle of Merlot

I met a man the other day, had an umbrella for a hat, had a cane for a baseball bat, had a smile where a smile shouldn’t be.
He told me two things: One, you are not alone. Two, if you really wanted to be full, you should eat something.
Said it with his interesting eyes, glancing inside of me without any effort.
I didn’t like his wisdom. I didn’t like his quirky way. I liked that he thought he had the right to tell me what to do…stranger…
He laughed at me when I shook my head, he said, oh dear, you think too much.
I think he’s right. There I go again. He told me that I was searching in the wrong garbage bin.
I think even then I said, I’m not into people’s leftovers.
He laughed again, he said, you thought about that. You were trying to impress me. You should care more about leftovers and less about your little wit. I was not trying to be witty, I was trying not to cry, but yeah, he was right, his umbrella face all yellow from the shadow. I was thinking too much and a strange man in a strange place was telling me what I needed to hear.
He told me more than one, two, three things. They kept coming like the words off his tongue turned to gold as soon as they hit the air.
I looked around myself and realized he was no longer there. He was not ever there, to begin with.
My soul is a man who wears rubber umbrella hats and knows what it is to be human…