“I want.” By Julia in Mt. Washington, LA

Sunday September 15, 2019
8:42pm
5 minutes
Prayer
Galway Kinnell

I want to shit
I want to shower
I want to swim in the ocean again
I want to wash the salt out of my ears
I want to go to Joshua Tree
I want to live in a place where it doesn’t get cold
I want to sit quietly
I want to inhale mulch all day long
I want to finish my song
I want to practice patience
I want to be brave enough to rent a car by myself and drive it in a new city
I want to find another taco
I want to buy those gold shoes
I want to get people excited about making things
I want to wave to an airplane and believe it’s waving back at me
I want to write the book
I want to be published
I want to go to Italy
I want to practice patience

“The courage that my mother had” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday September 10, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

They all bet on her, did you know that?
She was the quietest one and they all
put down their twenty-dollar bills with
confidence. “She’s going to be last.”

When my mother was in labour with my
brother, nobody saw it coming. She is
not the kind of person to screech or
claw, but she will sit softly on the
edge of her heart being thrust into
outer space, into another dimension.

She has always been this way,
underestimated, as though physical
size were an indication of anything.
She did not complain. Not when her
head was throbbing, or her knee
threatened to make her sorry she
ever tried to walk. Not when her
knuckles furled in on themselves,
not when she was giving birth to
all three of us.

She simply did it. Quietly.
And I did not inherit that
from her.

When the nurses found out that my
mother was the first of all the
labouring mothers to deliver,
they yelled at her.
“You just lost me twenty bucks,
lady.”

“I was so amazed” by Julia at her desk

Saturday September 7, 2019
3:19pm
5 minutes
Feasting
Elizabeth W. Garber

The plants on the window sill drooped as the door shut behind you.
We didn’t ask for such living things to care for and there we were
with thumbs turning green, scooping soil out of bags and into pots.

The wilting started when you had your second shoe on.
I didn’t see it happen but I knew, the way a soft gaze lets you see
the entire room without blinking, or braiding a second without letting go.

You held my cheeks in your hands as if you hadn’t handled the roots
of what we were sowing with such promise of tomorrow.
I believed you by the cup of your palm and I believe you now.

You are not beholden to me the way this plant is not obliged to live forever.
I wouldn’t expect anything to stay for eternity, but the pain comes from
wanting so badly for you to.

I was amazed at the breeze left inside the room after the smell of you
had dissipated gently into the ceiling. I thought you would cling to the
window screens but you were small enough to pass through even those.

“Any sense if Sunday can work?” by Julia at her desk

Friday September 6, 2019
8:24pm
5 minutes
From a text message

I don’t remember the day now because it was 4 years ago. 4 years ago you gave me the idea: we could move to a new city and start new lives. That was it. That was as far as it got. And I thought you were nuts. Out of your tree. Lost your mind. You were tired of living in a place that required a block heater but I was never good in the rain, so why did I let you explain what you were hoping to do? Too early to head back home because you weren’t ready to settle down. Too cold to stay where you were. Too small.

Maybe you told me on a Skype call while I was filming that TV show. Was it Providence? Was it the day I missed you so much I decided I would go where you go and stop putting up walls around all my soft, gooey, fleshy parts?

Tonight we celebrated some of our recent successes, one of them being living here for 4 whole years with new lives. You said you loved us as adults, and it hit me in that moment that when we met we were kids. Children. What could we possibly have known? This city has been good to us because we chose to fully be here. We saw ourselves rising and we did. We really did.

Finally, we go all out at the restaurant we’ve been meaning to make reservations at. Finally we manage it and finally we don’t limit ourselves by only ordering the cheapest items. We try things. We love things. We clink forks with every bite, every embrace of where we are. And then at the end…the beautiful man beside us pays for our entire meal. We don’t find out until he leaves. And we can’t believe it. How much this city has given.

“sometimes come last” by Julia on L’s couch

Thursday September 5, 2019
9:30pm
5 minutes
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball
Vicki Churchill

I have done a lot today. I won’t list it here cause All I Am Are Lists Lately.
I want to talk about something important. Sometimes I don’t want to talk about myself but I start the sentence with I because I know I will be able to follow it. We. I also believe in what is powered by us, what we’ve built, who we are and choose to be. I could write a list about that too but I’ll spare you the details. Nobody wants details unless they’re in them. Like dreams. Like clouds for resting your chin on. You is something to be seen in. If I say You, you get to believe it really is even if the You I am talking about keeps changing. I know about You. I know about I. I know about We. I don’t know about It as much or The, but I know about This. And These. These five minutes, This heart lifting symphony, Those 3-dollar earrings I got in Chinatown that two people took photos of so they could try and make a pair themselves…

“the shedding of lint” by Julia at her desk

Saturday August 10, 2019
8:02pm
5 minutes
Laundromat
Carmen Pintea

We walk every morning toward a cinnamon bun and
everybody stares at you, watches you. I am but
a thread attached to your coat pocket, I do not
unravel, but lead, I lead you to the cinnamon bun
so you can walk without bumping into all the people
who are falling in love with you.
You and your gap-toothed mouth, little air bubbles
flying out, like an angel or a dream.
It would seem like you are drifting but that’s because
the people watching you give you lift by grabbing time
by the throat so she will slow down and let them see you
better. It is not magic. It is not good.
What’s good is a cinnamon bun and that is all you want
this morning, like every morning, not to be watched or
crossed or lifted from the earth, you have been begging
for dirt in your toe nails since the last time someone
tried to convince you that you were theirs.
It wasn’t me, I wouldn’t do it. I know what it’s
like to have the whole world needing something from
you that you can’t give them because it’s made up
from the inside places they hide all the wrong ideas.
I know because I wasn’t always a thread, I wasn’t
always a help, I wasn’t always so sure of how to
leave my house and find the cinnamon bun.
But because this lint sheds form the lining of our
hearts in the same way, I take you. I show you how.

“I’ll try to sneak across the border somewhere, somehow” by Julia on A’s couch

Friday July 26, 2019
12:29am
5 minutes
Summer Of My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews

you’re on the other side of the country right now. Missing me, you say, needing me. I’m feeling it hard right now. I’m feeling you. Thank you for believing in my dreams even when you won’t get those 15 minutes back. You listen. You always listen.

I am writing so many things about you, yoy’d think we just fell in love for the first time this year. But I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve fallen in love with you. How many days are in a decade again? Somewhere around there.

Tonight I’ll find yet another bed to think of you in. I’ll meet you across the border of sleep and into the place we keep choosing. It’s nice there and it’s warm, and I know the breeze of you like the back of my hand. Even if I don’t see your face, I’ll know.

1234

“The vast majority of people don’t want to do anything physical” by Julia on the 4

Wednesday July 17, 2019
5:16pm
5 minutes
Overhead on the 4

People this and people that and man I’m with you but then again no I am not

I was with you a year ago
Everything I was a year ago was with you

I wanted to bitch and moan about anything I could wrap my tongue around

I wanted to hate everyone and everything because that made it easier to accept that I wasn’t going to be perfect either

The opposite, really

I wasn’t willing to accept myself in any shape or form so who got my shit talking?

The girl in the alley with her shorts riding her butt crack all the way to next Thursday

The guy bringing his yippy dog into the glasses shoppe and refusing to remove him

The baby crying on the plane

I don’t feel good about that last one but it’s the truth, alright, and that’s something worth clinging too

Nobody can drive
Nobody listens
Nobody cares about their bodies these days
All generalization and no examination
All avoidance and no allowance
All them them them against me me me

But I was against me by being against them

These are things I’ve learned

“Fall in love” by Julia at her desk

Monday July 8, 2019
6:37pm
5 minutes
From a Bard on the Beach flyer\

He’s in this blue t-shirt with a little pocket
the kind of blue a leading man would wear
the kind of leading man who makes friends with
the kind of guy preparing a poke bowl on his first day

He’s beautiful
I mean really beautiful
This eyebrow that he has, man oh man
with the scar he got from running into
the corner of a table before his brother
was born, man
I’m a goner

I love that he laughs at his own arms
for no reason, and why, who cares,
let’s laugh like that until forever

He is getting softer by the minute
and growing smarter by the day
I am seeing clearly these months and
trust me it is good and it is good

I wish you asked about him
I wish it hasn’t been a year and a half
since you said his name out loud to me
as if he wasn’t the biggest part of
my body
As if he wasn’t the one giving me
new life when I thought a day was
like any other day

He doesn’t become less good because
you don’t say it
I want you to know that
He becomes more, I think
He is always becoming more

“A federal statutory holiday” by Julia on B and W’s couch

Saturday July 6, 2019
10:54pm
5 minutes
From a Wikipedia page re: Canada day

It’s hard to take the day off much less the whole summer.
SoMe
One
Told me that we need to take breaks
Just like the people who work the same hours every week or the ones who go to offices or places of employment outside their brains

This is a foreign concept to me:
I haven’t known the value of a weekend since I was in high school
It feels like every day there is something that needs doing
Especially if no one else is checking to see if it’s done or not
There is no paycheque on a Monday or a Sunday if I am busy sleeping in

This year I am trying-I mean embracing -summer and all its charms
The sunshine, the beach, the cycling, the road, the long walks, the long calls, the patio, the music, the playing, the throwing, the catching, the eating, the laying

I am and I am not because it takes a while to relax and when the relaxing comes it feels like a trick to knock me off my game and stay off

But the folding the laundry, the putting away the clothes, the reorganizing the closets is just as much me as the writing is; as the making
It is just as much me to walk around my house without bottoms as the me who puts on a bra and faces the edge of the street

“the stuff where the composition has a seduction to it” by Julia at her desk

Friday July 5, 2019
7:47pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Jeff Buckley

start with the eyebrow hair, gingerly plucked
by thumb and forefinger from their home there
above the eyes and do not look in the mirror

this will be your first mistake, but darling,
what is life, if not blindly ripping hairs
from your face when you begin to drift away

Write your memoir in the morning, and don’t
worry about hurting the feelings of your
loved ones, they will never read it because
you will never finish it

you will be enchanted by the possibility of all
things but your ground level conscientiousness
will prevent you from getting anything done
and you will want to blame your personality
type or your mother and both will be excuses

start with the melody, floating softly above
your cheek bones and open your mouth to catch
the drops of an almost song on the tip of your
tongue
it will feel good until it dissolves there

“Llttle wallet multicolour has zip” by Julia in Kettle Valley

Saturday June 29, 2019
7:01am
5 minutes
from and old text from my dad

I look for this bag and you are Ocean far telling me there’s something in it for me
I look for this bag
What bag
I took this bag Out
I took another
I put the bag Away
I shelved the other
There is nothing new and you are Ocean away telling me
You are telling me it’s there and did I find it?
I am worried it’s money
I know it’s money and I’m worried because you snuck it in there
Where?
Where did you sneak it?
It, still a surprise
In the Bag, you say
Front Pocket
It’s been days and do I always take out my things and put them away without looking?
Wouldn’t it catch my eye?
Tell me where to find it again, I say
Ocean away, you say
Llttle wallet multicolour has zip
Little wallet
Must be money
I have no multicolour wallet but
You call it a wallet because I
had some money in there
Just in there
Because I do that
If you had looked in my book
you might have put it there too

“This App Finds Every Discount On The Internet” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday June 11, 2019
9:32am
5 minutes
From a sponsored Honey Ad

I have questions about this. Mainly, is it safe.
Do I want some third party knowing everything I’m
interested in purchasing with money that I don’t
necessarily want them to be privy to?
I am not a daily shopper, a binge shopper, an expensive
shopper. I am, however, an impulse shopper, and
do I need those impulses to be made even easier to
act upon? Maybe I want to know if the shoes I’m saving up
for become more affordable, or the head phones, or the
baking sheets since I burnt the last good one we had.
Maybe, though, I don’t want my free time to be spent
“hunting for deals” because then at what point am I
L I V I N G. In the moment. Imagine that: real life!
It sounds alluring. Who is behind it? Is it the government?
Is it Facebook? Is it Nike? Is it sad that these things
make their way into my daily writing as if any of
it fucking matters? It’s one of the things I hate the most
about my generation, about the climate of existence
these days: The phone and its long cord was romantic,
the snail mail, a dream. To talk about a cellular device
that can make calls and simultaneously take photos
while connecting me to EVERY DISCOUNT ON THE INTERNET
is surely the opposite of that.

“how will I survive without you” by Julia on her patio

Thursday May 30, 2019
8:30pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the patio across from her

my sister is picking the poetry she’ll sing at my tribute concert. she’s gotten a composer to put my words to music. it’s going to be heartbreaking and strange. I never thought anyone was going to hear what i wrote and now I’m not even there to willingly give it. my sister means well. i’m glad she’s choosing the writing out of anyone who could have free reign on my books but I never wanted this. I wasn’t secretly hoping people would see them. that sounds like a lie but it’s not. I honestly wrote most of that for me. and if someone gets hurt by what I said, how will that bring me peace? I know I felt my own shit in the moment and it didn’t change my love after I felt it. how am I supposed to explain that to them now that I’m dead?

“Can you see my fingers?” by Julia at her desk

Friday May 24, 2019
5:30pm
5 minutes
The Fighter
Craig Davidson

No rings. You’re looking for a ring, I don’t have one.
Yeah we’ve been together for a decade.
Yeah we’ve been filing our taxes as a “unit”.
Yeah I’m paying higher medical fees than I would be if I were single.
No I don’t have a ring.
I don’t know if his mom has one in the family she’s hoping will go to use.
I don’t know if that’s something they do.
We don’t have that.
I saw my mother’s engagement for the first time this weekend and hers is beautiful,
but it would get caught in my hair.
I never liked spending money on symbols.
I’m a writer.
I can give more meaning to a 10 year long relationship with words, and those,
if you think are free, are not.
Something simple would be nice.
Something that suits me and my spirit and my skin tone, if we’re going down that road.
I like my hands better these days.
I like the way they’ve aged and my nails too, so if this is an option, I’m glad
they look the way they do now.
He isn’t so much a gifts person as he is a touch person,
a quality time person, a words person.
He’s pretty amazing at all of those, hence the 10 years thing.
If you’re looking, and think you should see something, that’s your own narrative.
But if it makes you feel any better, I think about it sometimes too.

“half-way dressed” by Julia in R’s studio

Wednesday May 15, 2019
7:20am
5 minutes
Peer Pressure
James Bay Ft. Julia Michaels

There’s a sugar cube in your voice
All the words you don’t say
you’re humming to me, baby, I can feel it
and I want you to want me this way forever

There’s nothing I’d rather do, skin on skin
with our built in heating system
want to keep our sweat kissing forever, babe

This shirt is leaving after this sentence
yours on the floor like they’re keeping each other company
I want to hear your heartbeat in my sleep
clock strikes another minute spent in
this moment wanting only you

Take my mouth and fill it with your favourite
song, sing into my tongue with the slow
burn you’re famous for
If I could find this in the afterlife
I would take you with me and leave everything
else behind, babe

Take my smooth and find your place in it
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be right here in it

“a wish for happiness” by Julia in Jessica’s attic

Tuesday April 29, 2019
10:22pm
5 minutes
A quote by the Dalai Lama

I wish for happiness the way I wish for
a seat sale to fly me back into the swell
of my mother’s longing. I wish for her
linguini and clam sauce above all other
things, and dad’s Shrimp With a Vengeance.
He does not make them the same way twice
and for the first time in my life I am happy
that I inherited that from him. Earlier I
told J that I didn’t know how I was going
to cut the potatoes until I put the knife
to one. She thought I was being self-
deprecating again, a trait I did not get
from him. If I have to trace it back, I’d
say I got it from my mother but hers has
gone away now since she started swearing.
I think I’m the one she got that from.
The first time I came home from theatre
school she was shocked at how easily
my tongue had turned to fucking mud.

We let other people fight their own battles.” By Julia at her desk

Wednesday April 24, 2019
6:24am
5 minutes
A quote by Roxanne Gay

Bless! The return of the original format! OF EASE.
Before we curse them, let’s thank those birds, they know who they are, for being so protective of their babies. Maybe they don’t know none of us are after crow eggs,
because we can’t really do anything with them, but they perch stalkingly.
Surely other animals are a risk, need a warning, but outside our window, we hear them forming the chorus of summer mornings. We cannot be angry, although, believe me, we’ve tried.
It’s lighter now than it’s been. We’re up too so this day is not only for them. The crows. Thank you. I should say that again before I forget.
I wonder if they’re trying to tell us something important that we don’t already know:
Spring is a lie!
Hurry up!
Come check out this sunrise!
Okay, SPEAK. You have my full attention, I say, lighting another cigarette.
My mother would be proud of how much I am like her
even after she cautioned me not to be.

“her notebook is reserved for” by Julia at her desk

Monday April 22, 2019
8:44pm
5 minutes
You Are Our Witness
Debbie Urbanski

jotting down ideas
making lists:
grocery
to pack
to do
etcetera
recipes
things in point form, bullets, pew pew
asking questions
reminders
love notes
money coming in
ideas to revisit
songs
letters to self, also love
interviews
memorizing
story shaping
deep investigations of the heart
deep investigations of the mind
deep investigations of the body
reasons why
reasons why not
sketches made from spelling errors
secrets
swear words
memories
reliving dreams
letters never meant to send
penmanship practice
workshop plans
titles
the date
the time
Accountant information
poetry
timed writing
free writing
bad writing
good writing
new writing
risky writing
flow charts
calendars
gratitude

“And you arrive light” by Julia at her desk

Friday April 19, 2019
7:28PM
5 minutes
Sumer Lines
Judy McGillivary

It’s just like I imagined you would. You arrive by an orb of light, tiptoes off the ground, stardust encircling you.
I think I dreamed this in that liminal space where I could hear the voice of my own inner child laughing.
I am not trying to convince you, there would be no point. I know what i saw after I drifted out of this world and into the lucky one that let me see. It was lucky. It was beautiful. I would recognize you anywhere, rainbow milk sweet, the twinkling sound that shimmer makes when it hangs suspended over the top of the trees.
You arrive now and in this readiness sits a basket of more open.
More open cause that’s the only way to more of you.
I keep my arms wide like bird song and I let the night glide alongside me.

“a stretch of road, a write, and birch trees” by Julia at her desk

Sunday April 14, 2019
5 minutes
The Death Of The Partisan Girl
Tom Wayman

It’s that open road song that you’ve been singing
Got that twitch in the eye again, that ache in the toe
Standing too long in front of miniature motor homes again
A look you get caught in the lip when you’re planning our next steps

I’ve been singing louder these days too, and maybe this time we could
make more space for writing a few lines with each other in mind
It’s that open road song that you’ve been singing
Stretch of highway and the yellow lines prove themselves without pushing

We’ve finally found excitement here and to be honest I don’t
want to leave but if you go, I go, and then we’re promising
we’ll put our hearts out there to build from scratch again
All I know for certain is that if we see a new view from behind
the windshield then I’ll start a new notebook and I’ll bring a fresh pen

“The room is dingy” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday April 7, 2019
9:35pm
5 minutes
When She Leaves Me
James Wyatt, JR.

The room isn’t exactly dingy, but it’s nothing fancy. You starfish on the bed and sigh. I check out the bathroom. I start running a bath. I don’t have tub in my studio apartment. It almost deterred me but then I remembered my budget and how I promised myself I’d finish my novel this year and the more I paid in rent the less I could write because I’d have to work at the bar and good grief am I really forty two years old and pouring pitchers of beer…

“Shall I join you?” You call from the bed.

“If you’d like!” I call back.

“What would you like?” You say, appearing in the doorway.

“We need drugs” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 27, 2019
8:02pm
5 minutes
A quote by Wendell Berry

Let’s get through the wedding, the heartache, the backseat, the rain.

Give me drugs and I will write you the world’s worst poem, but my heart will be honest. Does anyone want that?

You said earlier the way I see the world is authentic and that’s why you love me.
I said, what do you mean, and you said I don’t filter things to make them better, and I said am I mean? You said no. That was a good answer.

We need some shrooms for the dance party in a couple weeks. That would be smart wouldn’t it? Find the light in the room and float to it?

The third time I did them I wrote the best song I’ve ever felt. It was full of pain and lonely but, hey I went all the way in and came back out again. In retrospect I could have done them with a friend but I was curious about what I would do on my own. I danced with the moon. I don’t know if a companion would have yielded the same results.

“You must unlearn the habit of being someone else” by Julia at her desk

Saturday March 9, 2019
9:33pm
5 minutes
A quote from Herman Hesse

I say this to myself. I say this to you as me thank you universe as mirror
I started this thinking I was going to channel someone else’s tone and make a profound discovery about all my major opinions. I wonder who she wanted to be like or sound like or only wished she could express half as well as. Maybe I’ll ask her that. The first breeze of the morning. I’ll bet she’ll say something like that as her response. Something loose like an escaped curl from a tight bun. She’ll say that was her inspiration. That was what she tried to emulate. I could use my own voice but I’m still not sure which one she is.

“I almost loved you,” by Julia in her room

Thursday February 28, 2019
10:16pm
5 minutes
In Dublin
Maura Hanrahan

I almost loved you out of me but that’s not the way some beds work. There was no formula that I could plug my feelings into; no step by step guide to the other side of mercy.

Not when you can justify just about anything. Even the ones with a pulse far below the surface of being true. I almost loved you right back into you. The way I want you to get the bigger chicken breast; the sexiest garlic clove between the four of them.

I almost did that but I detoured at the stop where I was supposed to fill up on seeing myself fairly. I confused that for your lack.

But almost.

“it has become a cliche” by Julia on her couch

Sunday February 24, 2019
9:47pm
5 minutes
A quote by Tim Flannery

economy of movement, of expression; Grace, they say plods along with hooves.
Winter pathways cloaked in secret rendezvous between birds and squirrel (or very very tiny wolf)sound the stadium silent. Hushes the crowd, stuns all us with efficiency; precision. We watch in awe not expecting to. The whole night is painted pink with hot after that. She tips and taps with the pads of her thumbs. Fingerprints proving the time she had left over to read, maybe, or plant a small garden.

“the biographies of our heroes” by Julia at this the studio

Friday February 22, 2019
8:00pm
5 minutes
Political Paralysis
Danusha Veronica Goska

You know how they say we stand on the shoulders of giants? You know how they say that, Sash? I feel sometimes like I’ve got a couple sitting on mine. Maybe I read that in a book somewhere, like I can’t make anything great because I can’t live up to the fact that someone else has already done it better than me. Makes me want to email Miriam again and tell her she really makes it hard for me because she is so good. I would just be repeating myself though since I think I already told her that.
Do you ever think that someday your daughter might be a writer? You know cause you are, and your mom is, and it makes sense. She’d have a couple of giants of her own, you know? But I think she’ll write about you. The way you write about your mom. The way it’s meant to be. I know you’ve already written about her, growing there below your heart.

“A master-beggar art thou.” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday January 8, 2019
10:13pm
5 minutes
Kim
Rudyard Kipling

I don’t want your money but if you send a cheque I’ll cash it
I don’t want your pity but if attention’s coming I’ll stash it
So many times I’ve said I wouldn’t stoop so low
but every day is turning me into a master at limbo
surprise yourself with pleasantries or avoidance or a feeling
never say never cause the holy spirit’s teething
wants a bite of my earthly flesh and all the lies I let in
this is how you get on your knees and pray for all the sinning
I don’t want your money but I’ll take it if it’s there
cause I don’t like to waste things like guilty almost care
I’d rather have your praise but I guess beggars can’t be choosers
I used to crave the fame when I was caught up with the losers
Now I don’t know where I am supposed to be going
Put the money in the hat and hope it don’t start snowing

“tempted to encourage others with insincere praise.” by Julia at Amanda’s

Sunday December 30, 2018
11:31pm
5 minutes
Lying
Sam Harris

When I was nine we went on an overnight camping trip with our church friends. They were church people, not quite friends, to be honest. Jesus thought it would be good for us to be around all the right-hearted youth so we could learn something. I learned something. I learned I could pee in the middle of the night very quickly. I learned that I was a quick night pee-er when my tent mates told me so. I learned that I could walk in the woods and sing at the same time. I learned that some people are better than me because of their relationship with god.
On the last day our leaders gave out awards to the ____est camper. They gave me the award for “happiest camper”. I was thrilled until Julie Perna got “friendliest” camper and I realized that my award was total bullshit.

“Till the only word your mouth remembers” by Julia at her parents’ table

Sunday December 23, 2018
11:52am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

my mouth knows how to repeat the same thing over and over until it loses meaning
until it turns into dust

my mouth knows how to curse the ones I love the most because their mouths say what my mouth could

my mouth eats itself more than it doesn’t
twisting the almost rebellion into quiet
cheek sores, taking up space

my mouth hums the tune of the earth that keeps me grounded when the noise is trying to lift me out of my skin

my mouth coos the sweet-lipped words of admiration and gratitude with ease and with abundance

my mouth remembers being shut violently and told that this is not violence but love and history and justified

my mouth knows a lie like a pang in the gums, a bell dinging endlessly under the tongue

“buttered side up” by Julia in her room

Monday December 10, 2018
10:28pm
5 minutes
For Murphy
Jade Riordan

there’s a biscuit in our bed
I brought it in here
I’m the culprit sue me sorry
you’re the one who
buttered it
toasted it first then buttered it
you knew exactly what you were doing
And now I’m to blame for bed-crumbs and for low times
and for weakness
I’m the one we always hang the bad ideas on
but I never used to eat in bed until I met you and
I don’t remember now if it was to forget you or bring you closer to me
you’re the first guy who got me higher than this
I wanted more from you and you were smoking then
I didn’t think you
anything but cool
the first guy who got me high

“In front of a full crowd” by Julia on the 9

Friday November 9, 2018
11:10pm
5 minutes
No Place Like Home
Monika Markovinovic

If I am being honest with myself I don’t need to see anyone for a long time. I wonder why that is, if maybe I’ve been seeing enough of something else that makes the solitude taste so good.
I wonder too if maybe it’s because I don’t have anything to say since the lie of saying a thing sometimes makes doing a thing feel unnecessary. I probably need to read more. I don’t know enough big words. Can’t leave the house and see somebody and use too small of a word.
That might break the system of expectation. That might really teach me something.
I don’t need a full room or anything, maybe because these days that kind of room scares me. Might send me up to the front of it with not just the wrong words but the wrong feelings.
It could have something to do with not knowing if thirst is that tickle in the throat or the one just below it. It could be about listening.

“art remains a potent weapon” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday November 6, 2018
10:05pm
5 minutes
When The Beat Takes Over
Robert Collins

maybe I said it in my sleep-
walked to a notebook with decision-bowed deep to an excellent sentence.
maybe I didn’t hide the tears when you told me that I was brave.
you knew it meant something. not a guy scoring points with just anyone by doing rollups. you had to have been listening then. to the language my eyebrows speak. to the worry walking from room to room sort of moving things to the right.
and part of me still held your motive under surveillence. even asked point blank if you meant something by it and what did you mean.

“Food is more than what we eat” by Julia at her desk

Sunday October 28, 2018
10:09pm
5 minutes
Dishing on Destinations
Sarah Musgrave

I have been saying it lately, feed me something that will stick to the ribs
let it be meat-thick and full of lessons I could keep my shelves lined warm

I have been asking for more and taking less
Telling them what they put in their pill casings ends up at the bottom of the barrel anyway
the bottom of your best intentions

I have been eating less and craving more, making room for lessons that aren’t going anywhere
And saying to my guts don’t worry this is worth tasting
hold on for dear life and try not waste it

What we put in our bellies to keep us going, food for thought
are we thinking?
Soul food to bring the soup to boil and simmer there
simmer simmer there

“a ghost town at night” by Julia on her couch

Friday October 26, 2018
11:44pm
5 minutes
California’s Big Comeback
Degen Pener

It’s not like a place an ex lover lives
the wind chimes make your heart feel like stopping
Once there was a whole hour where the ice cream truck
stole our souls with its signature haunt
I know the place an ex lover lives like a 4am Hail Mary
Full of Grace
dream batted down by the inner shake of a too-heavy Indica
stretched lace across the blank of the mind
There where the street lights blur the memory of us

“I recommend starting your day off with” by Julia on L and J’s couch

Monday October 22, 2018
8:05pm
5 minutes
a quote by Chris Cahill

Since you asked, I’d say with a couple hundred words on paper, written by hand.
I recommend starting your day off with a big love letter to yourself. Tell your heart you’re listening and that she is welcome.
Tell your inner child that it’s okay to be here and be loud and be herself.
Tell your current self how brave you are and how happy you are to see yourself showing up in writing, creating a legacy, keeping a promise to exist.
Feel free to draw hearts all over everything. There is no such thing as too much love, only spaces too afraid to hold it. Here, in the beauty of this moment, alone, quiet, dedicated to discovery, you will find your voice. It may change from line to line but life is full of surprises. Don’t be surprised if you surprise yourself.

You don’t have to do any of this if you don’t want to. It’s all up to you to decide what you need. It always is.

“It received glowing praise” by Julia on the 2

Saturday October 20, 2018
12:13am
5 minutes
a quote by Gordon Campbell

So the other day I decided I will become ambidextrous. Right now I’m binging on my right hand before I dive deep into my left. Currently typing with one hand only. I’m sending off my dominance in a big way. And the idea came to me when I started to have wrist pain. What if I can’t write with my right all my life? What happens to a writer who can’t write? Anything? Do they just become regular people again? Regular people who read other writers words?

My left hand is going to make me a millionaire. The work I’ll end up creating will receive glowing praise. “New!” “Raw!” “Purposeful”

“Three hundred years” by Julia at her desk

Friday September 28, 2018
9:51pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Barack Obama

Tonight I walked by a raccoon party. There’s some symbolism already, K tells me, and I should probably start looking this stuff up. It’s 3 raccoons at first and then I look to the left and there are 3 more in on it. One skunk. There is symbolism about skunks too, I’m sure, and I take a photo cause I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. K tells me to look up skunks and raccoons and snakes. Together? No, K, says, just when you get a moment. Don’t make it your life’s work or something. Like you? I joke, but K isn’t laughing at all. K has drank most of her blood red wine and is asking if she can have what’s in my glass. I give it to her cause she bought the bottle and I care more about looking up the goddesses and whatever associated with the little lawn party I feel like I was a part of. No snakes on the lawn, mostly in text books and on medallions, and in stories. K wants me to write the story of my first day on earth. I don’t want to tell her that it might be pretty boring. It’ll start with Cold Cold Cold and then maybe lead into Cry Cold Cry. K isn’t impressed with my comedy. She says I am wildly talented but have a chip on my shoulder and sorry for saying so but it’s true. I think she might be right. I wish I didn’t give her the rest of my wine.

“he lowered the drink onto the table,” by Julia at New Waves

Tuesday September 18, 2018
1:02pm
5 minutes
Candy Cap Magic
Jocelyn Kuang

It’s a shot to the knee
not the heart
The heart would stop
The knee would keep screaming
What are you supposed to do without your knee?
Get good at reading
Get good at writing at the bar with another beer
another beer
You’re never going to be better than this
pour another
keep your tab open
a shot to the liver to
keep the knee from reminding you it’s there
Bring a book and black out all the lines that have you in them
turn the pages into a diary of the wasted major organs
the wasted time and delusions
all those prayers to the wrong god
all that for nothing
When they tell you you’re meant to be more
it’ll be too late
Tilt your head back and chase the bottom of the glass
You would lick it clean if your tongue were long enough
If you were good at something
The knee isn’t dead
the heart is sick
the throat is never dry

“But fuck that kid. He was a shitty poet.” by Julia on D and M’s couch

Saturday August 25, 2018
9:53pm
5 minutes
A quote from Alex Leslie

I want
to tell
you that
you are
so damn
good
but I
can’t cause
I don’t
like to
lie if
the truth
saves
don’t get
me wrong
I still
think you
deserve love
and all
the nice
things in
life
but you
can’t write
cause you
refuse to
see your
own heart
even when
it begs
you to
bleed
look you
are so
damn good
at so
many things
and one
day you’ll
find your
peace
paper and
pen and
pencil and
ink and
blank page
will love
you better
if you
know it’s
how you
see the
world

“exiled to the foothills” by Julia at the desk

Monday July 23, 2018
6:36pm
5 minutes
The Gulag Archipelago
Solzhenitsyn

Send me out to the no where place and let me weep there
Water the dry earth with my ache and pouring
I need to be alone, in a place where spider webs take over the sky
Will I continue to decompose when nobody is around
I exile myself before it is too late
Before I am stuck forever in the shape of how things used to be
I banish my lost and force my bones to build something
from the inside out
I am already dreading it
and that is how I know I must
I do not have time to sit and wonder how the world knows me
Give me fields to lay in
to pronounce my epiphany in the echo
Let me know me
Let me know that this is my enough
my contribution
A care package tied with a strand of my hair

“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.

“a flickering lamp, a phantom” by Julia on the couch at the Airbnb

Thursday July 12, 2018
9:41pm
5 minutes
Diamond Sutra
Buddha

We sit in the dark.
Connie tells me, “These wafer cookies taste like they cost only a dollar.”
I tell her, “that’s because they do cost only a dollar. People who buy these don’t by them for quality, they buy them because they’re trying to bury the thing inside them that keeps them itching.”
Connie says, “Who has a face long enough to shove one of these in without biting?”
And I say, “What in the world are you talking about?”
Connie says, “These things leave crumbs everywhere like a motherfucker. I’m not Hansel and Gretel. I don’t need someone to follow the path of them all the way back to me. Me and my face trying to hide the sadness in my stomach.”
I don’t really know why she keeps eating them except for the fact that she might be one of those people who eat the wafers that the people trying to bury the thing inside them buy so she can at least complain about them.
Connie says, “They leave a film on the roof of your mouth. What is that?”
“Regret”, I tell her. “Or something like it.”

“I want to tell them” by Julia on her couch

Friday July 6, 2018
5:02pm
In the Dermatologist’s Office, Again
Robert Tremmel

I want to tell them I don’t hate them that I love them that I need them
I want to tell them that they hurt me that they weren’t me that I am them
I want to write it in a letter snail mail send it
Write it on the mirror in red lipstick
Call Them on the phone and sing a prayer of sorry
Meet Them in the park and hug them full of thank you

I want to tell them that they’ve helped me that they’ve shaped me that they’ve held me

Tell them that they’ve known me that they’ve shown me that they’ve stoned me

That they’ve made this soft centred M&M melt that they’ve crunched my hard shell easy that they’ve pressed too hard on my bruises and buttons

I want to tell them that I’m not going anywhere.

That I’m big.
That I’m growing.

I want to tell them that the sea is going to swallow them up and they should let it.

I want to tell them who I am.
I want to tell them I’m the sea.

“My parents expected brilliance” by Julia at the studio

Thursday July 5, 2018
9:16am
5 minutes
In Praise Of Incompetence
Lauren Slater

We started watching the new Ghostbusters movie last night. There have been some funny moments. My mother told me to watch it. She thought I should have been cast in it. She always says that when funny women are on-screen. It’s nice she thinks so highly of me. She saysI remind her of Julia Louis Dreyfus. This just goes to show that my mother doesn’t know much about Julia Louis Dreyfus. Or show business. Or what I have been busying myself with.
Ten years ago I decide to be an actor. I also decided to be famous and be interviewed by all the Jimmies. At the time there may have only been one, but whatever, it’s all the same.
I thought it was the only thing I could be doing. I hadn’t really lived yet. I know now that I wasn’t willing to put in the work. I know it, Jam knows it, and maybe my mother knows it, but she still thinks I’m destined for greatness. At Aunt Tina’s wedding on Sunday, there was a distant relative there who said she saw me on a commercial. Said it was really funny. My mother said, don’t you think she reminds you of Julia Louis Dreyfus? This woman had no idea who Julia Louis Dreyfus was. My mother beamed anyway.

“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.

“Greet me at the gate” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday June 26
10:40pm
Green
Nikki Sharp

Glad you could make it, I’m so glad you’re here.Got a typewriter from Anne Marie Lossing, do you remember her? Big hair, bigger teeth? She was going through the trash cans in the alley and someone was throwing one away, can you believe it? Says it works too, good as can be given the circumstances. Did you want to write something? I could make some tea and some cake. Well the cake I would reheat. I won’t have time to make a cake for you now, but did you want that, would you like that? It’s been a while since you’ve seen something floating around in there worth holding on to. If you don’t like Anne Marie’s typewriter, that’s okay. I won’t tell her. She always liked your sense of humour, you know. I think she respects you a lot more than you might realize.

“I take the streetcar alone to Nathan Phillips Square” by Julia on her couch

Friday, May 25, 2018
11:15pm
5 minutes
Demchanizing Our Politics
Maggie Hutcheson 

It is 2009 and I am living downtown for the first time. I am afraid of the streetcar and of this city. Its open heart a pulse I cannot yet dance to. Its screaming life, unimaginable still. I am sitting on the streetcar going east when I am supposed to be going west. I wonder how I got this wrong and why I am sitting this long going in the opposite direction. I learn everything the hard way: feet on the ground and running backwards, the feeling of being lost, an echo of who I am growing out of, slowly. I am riding the streetcar alone and I am in awe of all the people here who know where the water is without looking at it. Who weren’t born here the way I was but who know its secrets the way I don’t. I am home and I am back and I am unsure about how to get anywhere but I am sure that here is where I’m supposed to be. The stop names don’t mean anything to me yet. The voice calling out Nathan Phillips Square blends in with the sidewalks, the hotdog stands, the concrete rushing.

“I am weary” by Julia at The Cottage

Wednesday May 9, 2018
10:23pm
5 minutes
The Identity Repairman
Thomas Sayers Ellis

I told him I made a dinner out of scraps when he asked
said I used the butt of the broccoli and the kale that
had been in there for 6 weeks, wrinkling slowly.
Then I mentioned the bacon and he said Oh The Bacon?
And I said I’m still alive, AND didn’t have to leave
the house. He said he was going to stop off somewhere
and pick something up because he was hungry and I said
please help yourself to my left over left overs and he
said I Trust Your Left Overs. I Trust Them. And I knew
without asking that he did not trust them. He was weary
of them. And so I did ask, because of comedy, and he
said he was going to stop off somewhere and pick
something up because he was hungry. I am never weary of
the bottom of the fridge or the inside of a stranger’s
throat. I will peer in if I have the chance and take
a chipped mug from the shelves of unwanted nick nacks.
I am only weary of people who are weary of me for not
being weary at all. Now I will have left overs of left
overs left over to eat for lunch tomorrow. And I will
still be alive then too. Because it’s not a death
sentence. It just makes my farts smell impossible.

“I call to ask my mother the name of the street” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 2, 2018
3:44pm
Flight
Idrissa Simmons

I want to remember everything from that house before it gets lost
The long staircase leading into the living room where I’d watch
my parents watch TV when I was supposed to be in bed
The upstairs bathroom with the black and white tiles that I would
count at night where my father took me so I wouldn’t wet the bed
The night my own bed became a flood and me, the punished rain, a sadness
The closet in my bedroom where I unzipped the front of my overalls to
show the blonde-haired boy something that he wanted that I didn’t know was mine
The lilac dining room that I would stand in watching the trees in the yard,
pretending they were alive and waiting for me
the telephone I used when I dared my first prank call on the operator and
the pulse of it when she called me back
I want to ask my mother if there are things I might be missing
the moment she knew I was made of her
the times she watched me sleep on the floor with my ponytail spilling over the pillow