“You are my real mother, aren’t you?” by Julia on her couch

Thursday January 10, 2019
8:54pm
5 minutes
Life After Life
Kate Atkinson

I used to want Zia Vilma to be my mother cause she knew how to french braid, and make her own halloween costumes, and turn an old pair of leggings into a choker with a broken heart earring as the pendant.

She was the only one spent time with us, who played cards with us when we were little and begging to sit at table with all the adults.
She lit up when she saw us.

My own mother was a little different than she is now. She used to scream at us more then. She used to whip her eyes shut when she was yelling out all her demons.
I hated that face she made. I was afraid of it. she couldn’t look us in the eye.

“It’s always too soon to go home.” by Julia at her desk

Thursday, March 22, 2018
10:26pm
5 minutes
Hope In The Dark
Rebecca Solnit

The last conversation was a bad one:
you on the phone with the love held up
to your ear, me at the good plate trying
not to miss you. And maybe it was dinnertime
for me and bedtime for you and we
couldn’t get our wires uncrossed, or it
was just me, as it always is, when the
volume rises for no reason.
All you said was no more canned tomatoes.
It could have been so funny.
But lately I’ve been trying not to sway so
damn easily at the nudge of you. I made
a deal with the body I get to visit
that I would not wait for you to
come home for me to start deciding.
You managed, like a duck diving,
not to mind the dark and cold at all.

“The trees around here” By Julia in her bed

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
11:14pm
5 minutes
Intrigue In The Trees
John Brehm

The trees around this place remind me of the book I said I’d write. If only there was time, or if Roddy wasn’t sick, or if the dog would let himself out of the flapping door.

The red ones remind me of all the vanity.
Blood beech. Not meant to be that way.
Something wrong with it. Metabolic disorder. Not enough sunlight.

Here, let’s plant the thing in a park filled with green. Keep your mind off the everyday. Give you something to hold onto. They didn’t know it is harder for the tree. It is always harder for the tree left in the middle. The example. Pose for your photograph. Backdrop perfect for the wedding pictures. And I keep wishing Roddy could choose another city to die in. I don’t want to think of him every time I see the post office. Or the sad red tree in the middle of the park. One thing sick and the rest of them fine and far away. Normal. I don’t need any reminders of that.

“You’ve had them for about 12 days” by Julia at Bump And Grind


Friday January 27, 2017
5:43pm
5 minutes
Syllabus
Lynda Barry


When you hold up your twisted hands you forget that somewhere sometime ago they were new, and they were good. You wish the light wasn’t so damn revealing. You wish that old adage about knowing something like the back of your hand could stay true. You wish that you didn’t care about what they looked like, but they still feel like they are meant to be a reminder of vanity’s curse. The rain stings them more than you thought it would. Your daughters grabbing them to dance with you in the kitchen sting them more than you wish it would. You wish you believed in God for the days where reason doesn’t seem to be good enough. You wish you could open a jar without the help of your son, or the two dollar electric can opener from the Salvation Army.

“my drunken soul flies” By Julia at Bean Around The World


Tuesday July 26, 2016 at BATW
6:53am
5 minutes
from the write up on the painting “Ascend”

Heaven forbid I tell you how I actually feel. I say that under my breath because I’m too afraid to say anything about how I actually feel with full voice. What the eff. Where did that start? When I was a kid? As everything in this life does? I had to do what you did when we were young because I wanted to be you and the only way I knew how to be you was to do what you did or what you wanted. That made sense. I was looking for lightening. Wasn’t about to spend three to five years wishing I was you without trying to make it so. I still want to be you on most days. You were older than me then but now you’re a painting. I see you still: beautiful and still. You’re not going anywhere and I don’t have to run to catch up to you. I don’t have to hold my breath and count to three because you’re not running away from me. I am a mess. It makes sense that I would want to live your life and not mine. But I still can’t tell you how I actually feel. Because my soul is drunk on doubt and it flies high when it’s left to its own devices. You are still the moon, and I love you for that. The shiny thing in my sky that makes me want to open my eyes and see…

“Letter Writing” by Julia at her desk


Thursday November 26, 2015
11:44pm
5 minutes
from the specials board at Our Town Cafe

Dear guy from the Turkish market buying one kilo of sun-dried tomatoes while wearing a safety vest,

You may have just stolen my heart, permanently, and I’m okay with that.
See I was looking for someone new to give it to, after I got it back from the guy I lent it to without knowing. I was tricked into telling him things about me and letting him see a version of me that most people don’t want to see, or shouldn’t see, or…Oh…now I wish I hasn’t mentioned that part at all cause it’s a bit embarrassing…..
Umm….If I hadn’t written this in pen, I would have erased the aforementioned weirdness but because I hate the way stuff looks scratched out, I will leave it in hopes that you don’t actually mind a little oversharing every now and again.
Back to the important matters at hand, guy wearing a safety vest.
I love sun-dried tomatoes so much and to see you buying them in such a large quantity is incredibly heartening. I can only begin to imagine what you’re planning to do with so many beautiful tomatoes. My biggest fear is that your wife or girlfriend or mother sent you here to buy them for the big party you’re announcing your future plans with a woman other than me at.
….Oh boy.
I wish I could erase that part too.

“9AM-6PM” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday May 20, 2015
12:33am
5 minutes
from a parking sign

That’s when I’m awake and dreaming about being so much better.
Wishing I had taken out the trash.
Wishing I had eaten breakfast on the back porch.
Wishing I had cleaned my house last night so I could wake up with it ready.
That’s when I spend time thinking about what food I could eat.
How excited I’ll get when I plan a delicious feast.
But really just eat pickled eggplant and chili bean paste from the jar.
And call that a proper meal.
All day.
From 9AM-6PM when the rest of the world is out there making a living.
I’m in here thinking about how one day I’ll be making a living.
Instead of making a living now.
Instead of living now.
But there are other dreams too.
Of how tomorrow will be filled with positive and productive and persistent.
How if I can just get through this day.

“SOARING” by Julia on the subway going north


Monday December 9, 2013
9:44pm
5 minutes
from a Ryerson University subway ad

high above the pain and the suffering I left behind, you can see me there, painting the clouds with my smile and my open heart.
nice and red. and soft too, so it’s easy to look at. easy to take in. each one puffs by me, new now from my artwork. the tears up here are bright blue, almost turquoise. it’s nice when the salt mixes with the sweet cotton candiness of it all. i am flying now. i have been here before. my mind is clear like blowing air through a straw and making the objects on the other side move, even just a little. the forecast is not unbearable, or terrifying. it’s calm and predictable but impulsive without being too harsh. i’ve learned to love my new place in the sky. it feels far away from everything i knew, but no one speaks my language and i never need them to. the money, the time, the regrets all seem to float away. they don’t want to get in the way of my flight. they don’t want to hinder my soul from creeping up from its safe place and being exposed right there in front of me. i let out my expectations slowly from the hem of my skirt, and i do this until the string is fine and coiled around itself. below i see, i left it all there for another moment in time.

“I used to sleep at night” by Julia on her couch


Friday November 1, 2013
11:58pm
5 minutes
lyrics of Empty Room by Arcade Fire

When the wind blew in, when the rain teased the screen and taunted us with impending disaster…
that’s when I could sleep the best.
You with your head on my chest, counting my heart beats per minute, and telling stories with the sounds of my stomach gurgling. You’d sleep too, after my breath slowed and my legs began to twitch.
You’d wait for me to go first so you’d have some place to follow me to.
Then our dreams would touch in our sleep and we’d find ourselves in a combination haze of love almighty and sheer terror. When we’d wake you’d tell me of the horror but the good kind, the one that made your heart dance because it knew it was protected by the shell of mine. I’d tell you of the buildings we leaped over together, the songs we wrote just by listening to each other’s laugh.

“one time” by Julia on her couch


Thursday October 24, 2013
1:10am
5 minutes
A piece of mail from Shoppers Drug Mart

I remember it well. You were wearing that white cotton, barely there, too sweet to be seductive, too seductive to be sweet, summer dress. You said something about espadrilles and I just nodded my head up and down until you smiled, trying to convince you I had any idea what on earth an espadrille was, let alone, a pair of them. That was the day I asked you to run away with me. In my mind, of course, you were married then, or on your way to be. I think I said something like, When’s the caged bird going to stop singing, and you shrugged your shoulders as if you enjoyed my wit enough to entertain it. I think if I had the proper gear, I would have taken you with me somewhere and not even asked you. Asking doesn’t get anyone anything, did you know that? It just gets the word No. I wish so hard I would have asked for your forgiveness, or his, instead of your permission. But at least you knew that if I couldn’t take you, you had already taken me. Surely if I need to describe it all in detail to you after all these years, it shows you may still care a little bit about me. Why bother reminiscing in something you never wanted? So I do have to go ahead and believe that it is out of regret and not merely out of the desire to tease me. I don’t think I could stand it if I were existing as one of your little jokes.

“We are not captives” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday February 10, 2013
1:51am
5 minutes
Mud, River, Stone
Lynn Nottage


Getting a bit hazy in my head.
Had a million questions to ask before bed.
Wished you would have stayed.
Instead you just left.
There’s an empty space now.
Ow Ow. My empty space hurts now.
Where are you in this moment.
On a cloud, I hope. That would be nice.
It would be a shroud of doubt.
It would be nice.
I hear violins and I like them.
You never left a note like all the other men.
Didn’t know how to sign your own name?
That’s what I’ll tell people.
Fear of dyslexia and that is okay.
You won’t have an airport bar all to yourself in any other life.
So HA!
Ha! Things taste good when you’re not tasting.
Things taste good when you’re not wasting.
We are not captives!
You said that in your sleep once.
I listened, I wrote it down, I framed it, and put it on the mantle in the living room.
You never even saw it. Never noticed. Those were your words!
Getting a bit hazy in my head.
Had a million questions to ask before bed.
Wished you would have stayed.
Instead you just left.
There’s an empty space now.
Woah, woah, my empty space is singing now.
Songs of you, wouldn’t that be nice?
Wouldn’t that be something to tell your friends.
I can prove I’m enough.
Give me half a chance.
Come back and I’ll promise to do your laundry until we both fall down dead.
I’ll let you wash my hair the way you always wanted.