“like slivered almonds in the bulk section,” by Sasha in her bed

Monday September 10, 2018
10:31pm
5 minutes
Parsley
Listen Chen

Someone who’s just as lonely as all of us. A change of heart.
A sliver of a dream from a decade ago, a sliver of a hope that got washed out, a sliver of all the “no’s”; all mixed in together like almonds for baking in the bulk section at the grocery store. This is the way it goes, I guess.
Thirty two years doing this life, and I still don’t know
much beyond what I do. I imagine your body turning into a million tiny shards
of light – fireflies – and ascending up up up up up.

“I tell him how a blimp once hit my head.” by Julia on the 7

Tuesday September 4, 2018
7:26am
5 minutes
DADDY
Prathna Lor

I used to tell everyone that I was struck by a truck when I was little. Story goes: I was on my tricycle and the truck smashed me and I was very badly injured and everyone came running because they were so worried. Story is: I was on my tricycle and the truck backed up slightly and bumped me and I was fine.

Maybe the real story is better in the first place. The one that has me up against a monster truck and being saved in the 11th hour. The way I was saved in the 11th hour when I was 18. Swerved in the ice slush, totalled my parents’ Corolla, suffered back and wrist pain, but was still alive enough to get my charges dropped down to “Failure to Share The Road.”
Their car was a write off. they ended up getting more because of me.

“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

“Wild Birds Unlimited” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday April 3, 2018
9:42pm
5 minutes
From a storefront on West Broadway

On the T-shirts that Zia Nancy brought back
from Atlantic City were birds wearing sunglasses
Nothing is cooler than a bird wearing sunglasses
We were grateful for the oversized and bright
we did not know then how to ask for something better
How to wish we could be lucky enough for more
We were lucky enough then with two kisses and
a chili pepper
thrust into our hands like the lesson was in the
small bravery of turning our tongues on fire
The picture says a thousand things
Not including all of the comments made by
all the cool birds wearing sunglasses
on our T-shirts brought back from Atlantic City
We were built by each other’s dedication to being there
A wall of neon cousins smiling while
Michael cries into his birthday cake

“for what little he had left” by Julia on V, J, W, and A’s couch

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

9:41pm

5 minutes

Ordinary

Curtis LeBlanc

He had to get his hip replaced at 28. That’s too young. I shouldn’t have to say that. He shouldn’t have to know it. He lost his hair first. Before everything. Too short to get away with it. People saw. Some of them were mean. A full head of hair does not a man make. I shouldn’t have to say that. He shouldn’t have to feel it.

When they took his car away from him they clipped his wings and put him in a cage. He was helping someone else out and he still had the law trying to keep him from flying. He was helping someone. I shouldn’t have to say that. I forgot to tell him he was enough. I don’t know why I think it’s my job but it feels like it is. Like he’d listen to me. I shouldn’t have to say it. But I didn’t anyway. I really should have said it.

“only four corals spawn” by Julia at her desk

Sunday, February 25, 2018
10:16pm
5 minutes
Sea Sick
Alanna Mitchell

Did you know that coral is not a plant? Everybody thinks it’s a plant because of its size and the way it hangs out on ocean floors. Corals are not plants. Technically, they’re animals because they don’t produce their own food. They actually have mouths. I’m not a coral mouth expert so I can’t really say much about them, but I know they’re there because they capture food with their tentacle-like arms and then sweep it into them. They have been around for millions of years. Did you know that? I know a girl who is named Coral but I don’t think she was named after THE coral because she’s sort of the opposite of amazing. She’s the type of girl you just want to roll up in a dusty rug and toss off your 6 story balcony onto your mom’s boyfriend’s parking spot. I’ve never heard her talk about the ocean before. What a waste. Anyway, did you know that coral reefs rival old-growth forests in terms of how long they can live? I don’t blame you for not knowing that. I didn’t even know that and I’ve read EXTENSIVELY about corals.

“He couldn’t get enough of sky” by Julia on her couch

Thursday February 8, 2018
10:08pm
5 minutes
North America’s Favourite Zoo Animal
Stephanie Bolster

This boy flies in a plane
never seen the sky from
this high up
never seen his church
from this far away
Counting stars, Mamma,
I see them all the same as
down there
Makes a wish in case
one of them unexpectedly falls
And this one can be yours too,
Mamma, we can share it
This boy wears light blue hat
with bear ears sticking out
He sleeps in the soft of his
mother after watching the pink
and orange stripes fade
The gentle lady walks by and
catches herself off guard
by his tiny perfect face

“We emailed back and forth” by Julia on the 99

Monday November 20, 2017
10:50pm
5 minutes
overheard at JJ Bean

There was an email I sent him once. We were still in high school. I can’t remember if this was before or after Natalie locked us in Denise’s storage room, hoping that we’d have nothing to do in there but make out. I was hoping the same thing. You’d think that after he told me he would do it, but it would mean more to me than it would to him, that I’d get the message and move on to another emotionally unavailable 16 year old, but no. I took it as a sign that he was noble or decent or protective of me even, because he loved me. I have had some serious let downs from thinking I was all that before. The fall is always harder from the great height of delusion.
But this email I sent him was a survey. It was designed for teenagers to flirt with each other, confessing their secrets, disguised as “everybody is doing it so here you go.” He answered my survey. He wrote down what song made him think of me. He said “I was born in a small town”. I thought at the time it was cute. Look how well he knows me. But he didn’t know me. I was born in a bigger city than he was.

“I abandoned their plan” by Julia in her old room


Saturday July 22, 2017
6:32pm
5 minutes
The Chang Girls
Lan Samantha Chang


K and D start laughing uncontrollably. They don’t even try to hush their loud the way young girls seem to know better than adult ones. I keep my face focussed on the blue-lined paper, the margins, the blank space. I steal a glance at them from the corner of my eye and remind myself we aren’t friends anymore and I don’t need to care. They can be talking or laughing about whatever they want and I don’t have to buckle into myself. D snorts her signature sign of enjoyment and K wipes the tears pooling under her cheap mascara. I ignore them. I don’t need them. Suddenly K comes over to me and snatches my notebook right from under my pretending. I scramble for it. I miss.
K throws my book to D and D snorts again. K blows me a kiss.

“When do we become adults?” by Julia in her bed


Monday May 8, 2017
11:34pm
5 minutes
intrepidtheatre.com

when the night is young and our bones crave fresh sheets instead of fresh beers, we are wondering, if we’ll ever need ice again
and some of us don’t look like age has visited but our joints know it’s here
when it rains
when the sky gets dark
we are wondering if we’ll ever laugh at the morning like we used to
if we’ll ever buy 5 cent candies from the corner store
we are wondering if knowing is growing and if growing is expected
we are wondering, if time will ever slow down so we can see it

“Clear eyes” by Julia on her couch


Saturday February 18, 2017
7:40pm
5 minutes
Friday Night Lights

When I pray I ask god to give me clarity so I may trust
what I see and be able to know it
I ask to be bypassed by nightmares like I did when
I was a child
twenty years of wishing I wouldn’t see the bad things because
I had glue for brains
terror haunting me like flies twitching on a sticky rope
I ask god to give me clear eyes so I can’t blame inaction
on blurry vision
I ask god to save me so we don’t get caught up in logistics
Tell her I’m tired now of specificty
mainly because it hurts
too much
When I pray I ask for something I can hold on to
something that won’t burn me in the night and leave a scar

“I miss you.” By Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday February 16, 2017
10:23pm
5 minutes
From a text

In the tenth grade I had a crush on a boy who was tall and almost perfect looking. He played the guitar. He was smart. He loved his family. I was already drafting up wedding invitations. But during the summer there was another boy. He had curly hair and made me laugh. He also played the guitar but he was the biggest asshole I’d ever met. I liked him a little but he liked me more. We spent a night together on the couch in my friend’s parent’s basement. He talked me into making out even when I told him I was scared I’d be bad at it. It was not my first kiss but it might as well have been. He stuck his tongue so far down my throat I could have sworn he licked my stomach lining. My face was gooey from the slobber he left behind. He asked me if I liked it. I didn’t want to tell him the truth because of how proud of himself he was. Instead I told him I didn’t know since I had nothing else to compare it to. I wished it wasn’t him.

“I don’t have any change” by Julia on the 99


Monday January 16, 2017
10:56pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99″

I feel like I ask for help the way young me never could and so it comes out young me when I’m trying not to give away that I have lived but maybe just not out loud until now
I feel sorry that my vulnerability is showing through my tough smile and then when people guess my age they cant believe how many decades I’ve been alive because the kind of asking for help I produce suddenly weighs heavy like a lightening bolt
Splitting me and all my good sides into halves and then again and then again
My lightening is as heavy as my sorry is as heavy as my untapped rage, and all the revenge I’ve ever bled out over
Young me living through now me is so damn sweet it hurts
It really fucking does
When everyone looks at you like you’ve just shown them a new wound on your knee or bottom lip

“leftover Hamburger Helper garbage” By Julia on her couch


Tuesday December 13, 2016
5:51pm
5 minutes
Summer OF My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews


Danika and I couldn’t believe her mom would let us have the house to ourselves for the weekend. The ENTIRE weekend. We were drunk on freedom and cotton balls and anything from the medicine cabinet that we could have turned into crafts or art. The first night we both had double chocolate fudge ice cream for dinner and a can of whipped cream EACH for dessert. What a life! We didn’t think to get an emergency number from Danika’s mom before she left, or find out where exactly she was going to be for this long without worrying about her 9 year old kid and her best friend. My mom would never let us stay by ourselves. So we didn’t tell my mom that Danika’s mom left a note on the kitchen table that she had scrawled in messy writing saying “Gone for the weekend, Hamburger Helper on the stove.”

“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…

“What’s wrong with my body?” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday June 21, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
Amber Dawn


When I think about it
it doesn’t look good for me
old woman’s body trapped in a young woman’s skin
There’s the part where my neck pops for no reason
the part where my fingers go numb during hot yoga
the part where I bruise easy
the part where my thigh muscle…detaches?
the part where my side stitches when I run
the part where my uterus goes into contractions if I don’t drink enough water
the part where it hurts to take a deep breath for sometimes minutes
(yeah, plural, whoops)
the part where my feet get charlie horses
(is that even a thing? I don’t know anymore)
the part where my back spasms or pulls or gets thrown out
WEEKLY
I would throw it out for good if I could
and get a new and young one, Christ.
(you know what they say: back pain is just an old soul trying to escape…)
throw in some casual IBS?
Why the fuck not

“a dozen individuals aged” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 24, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
Harbor
John Ajvide Lindqvist


Across the street I spied a man who had been resting on a bench. He was sweating from his brow and was hunched over, defeated. He didn’t have a cane, or a walker, but looked like he could have used one. He was convincing himself he didn’t, surely. I quietly watched him from my bus stop. He didn’t know anyone was paying any attention to him. He tried to get up a few times without the help of the bench. He couldn’t seem to do it. The struggle in his face was clear even all the way over to where I sat pretending to read my novel. It looked like his body had been slowly betraying him for a while but that he had only just now started to deny it. I remember working with a man who told me once that when you get old, your body stops matching up with your mind and you can’t control yourself the way you used to. He told me that it may be frustrating for those of us who can still easily get to our destinations to have to always wait behind the ones who aren’t as mobile, but it wasn’t to be disregarded that it was far more frustrating for them.

“How did you recognize him?” by Julia at her dining table


Thursay April 21, 2016
6:18pm
5 minutes
overheard in the car

I wrote a poem about your laugh when I was 17 and in love with you. I compared it to Santa. I didn’t know anything about you, or love, or poetry then. Maybe I still don’t. I felt proud reading it in front of my class and thinking of you secretly as I shared some of my truest, most ridiculous metaphors about you. I told them about your laugh, about how you were so inclusive and even laughed at people’s bad jokes to make them feel good. I remember thinking you were generous. And I think I was right because a few months later I found out that you were trading kisses with other girls and going out with whichever ones you thought you would be able to sleep with. Maybe I was the generous one for sharing you! I was crushed. I could pull you off of a busy street with my eyes closed if I could hear your laugh. These days I don’t hear it as much as I used to. We don’t live in the same place. We live worlds away.

“feel free to talk to me” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday April 19, 2016
9:36pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Dearest Dot,
I am wearing the friendship bracelet you sent me in your last letter as I write you this letter in response. It is beautiful. You have such knack for colour coordination and choosing the coordinating colours that suit me best. My favourite part is the little H stitched in. How did you do that? You must send a tutorial for me to try in your next letter. Before I forget, I wanted to enclose some photos of me and my family while we were camping at Driftwood Beach this summer. I think you’ll find a pleasant surprise in the photo with me and Elsie holding her fetch ball in her mouth! Won’t spoil the surprise but I wanted to give you a heads up to look for it. Joshua tried to kiss me again behind the big elm tree in my backyard. I told him that if he keeps doing it I’ll have to find someone else to be in my play. I heard Benjamin and his brother, Nick, wanted to be in it but are too shy to talk to me. I wonder why that is? I like talking to everybody! I hope that you feel like you can talk to me? I mean I know you do because you always write back! Well I hope you know that I want you to feel free to talk to me about anything. Even this request!

Until next time,
Heath Heath

“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!

“to be euthanized” by Julia at Culprit Coffee


Friday February 19, 2016 at Culprit Coffee
4:37pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday February 18, 2016


Bitty and I found a little cat cat down by the lava house. Bitty’s the one who named it the lava house. I asked Rodney and he told me it was just a sewer. I like when Bitty calls things different because then we have a secret language and it feels like cookies and cream or picking out a splinter from your big toe after limping all day. Bitty picked up the cat cat first and told me she was going to take her home and I said, you mean “him” home and she said, this cat cat can be whoever she wants to be. And I said, yeah, well, I can see his thingy so maybe this one can’t. I didn’t want the cat cat until Bitty said she wanted her. Him. Ugh. But as soon as I couldn’t have him I needed him. More than I’ve ever needed anything. I needed to pretend like it could be her way, like it always is. But that was hard because it was staring to burn inside, like throwing up too much cookies and cream or getting a giant splinter lodged deep into your big toe.

“the globally inspired” by Julia on her couch


Sunday January 24, 2016
11:49pm
5 minutes
from the front of a flyer

I heard on the news today that two more kids were shot in their front yard.
They were selling lemonade.
I don’t know how I’m supposed to wake up every morning, drink my coffee, put on my suit, go into schools and teach young people how to measure the angles of an isosceles triangle, or that just because our country allows people to carry firearms that it doesn’t make it okay to use them, or that these two smiling babies were still warm from their mother’s womb, being watched from the kitchen window by that same love–looking down for just one second to pull a splinter out of her thumb.
I don’t know how any of us do it. Keep living on repeat like we don’t see what’s happening in our world, right outside our houses, hitting closer and closer to home each time. I don’t know how any of us leave the safety of our sheets each and every day and find a new version of brave to wear for the day.

“But it’s long, you have to go way down” by Julia at YVR


Saturday, December 26, 2015
7:52am
5 minutes
overheard at YVR

-It’s a long walk to your gate, Meliss, you want me to come with you?
-No you can’t come with me, dad, that’s after security.
-I know, you’re right. You sure you have enough snacks?
-I have two bananas and a bag of your trail mix. I think I’m going to be fine.
-Okay well you know that in security you have to take off your jacket and make sure your pockets are empty. They might make you take off your shoes so just be ready for that and if you are unsure just ask someone or read the signs, they should be posted everywhere–
-Dad. It’s okay. I’ll be fine.
-Okay I love you.
-I love you too.
-Call me when you land please. You know as soon as you can turn your phone off airplane.
-I know dad, I will. I’ll be okay. I’m not scared.
-No, I know I know you’re not.

“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.

“participate in all activities” by Julia at Platform Vancouver


Wednesday November 25, 2015 at Platform Vancouver
2:50pm
5 minutes
from http://www.playwrights.ca

We hear laboured breath, thumping, pausing, groaning, then more thumping, some light twinkling, then a thud.
Mom’s got the Christmas box out and she’s ready to go.
We hear a lot of rustling, then a small shriek, a giggle, and the crash of a thousand holiday CDs hitting the floor.
She’s going to turn this house into a merry one if it kills her. And it might. All that stuff is heavy and mom has always had a terrible back.
My brother looks at me.
“Should we go and help her?”
I don’t respond.
I don’t want to.
“You can go if you want,” I tell him.
“Well why don’t you want to help, too?”
“Because I hate Christmas,” I tell him.
“You hate everything.” He says back, resuming his video game.
Suddenly we hear Rosie O’Donnell’s Christmas album blaring.
“If we help maybe we won’t have to listen to this garbage that Mom likes.” My brother tries again.

“that time of innocence” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday November 24, 2015
11:22pm
5 minutes
from a poem by bell hooks

It was a very knobby knees sort of pick your nose behind a book kind of pants too baggy in all the wrong places kind of time. Garrett was in love with me and asked me to be his girlfriend at least three times a day.They were very long days sort of strategic routes taken home from school to avoid certain people kind of too shy to say why kind of time. When I told him no the first time I think I was even cruel about it. I didn’t know yet that just because a boy was of no interest to me it didn’t mean he didn’t just use up all his courage trying to be. It was a very young kids playing in the cornfield sort of kiss behind the church before getting called into supper kind of late nights laying on the floor with candles lit listening to Bon Jovi kind of time.

“guiding his life direction.” By Sasha in the TA office at Mary Bollert Hall


Tuesday November 10, 2015
1:17pm
5 minutes
From a student’s short story

When You teach me to remember
my heart’s on fire the colour of sunset
the colour of ash

When You guide my hand towards the future
my eyes are a wash of birch
and sweetgrass

I don’t want to daydream my way to glory
I want to get there step by step
with You at my side
and the wind breaking trail

Over Cypress mountain the new day dawns
You braid bread and whistle
I grind coffee beans and light the stove

“It wasn’t good in the first place” by Julia at Kafka’s


Saturday, October 10,2015 at Kafka’s
3:35pm
5 minutes
overheard at Gene Cafe

I am making amends with my old self. I want to say I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve caused her. She was young, she didn’t know any better. And she tried. Oh, she tried. She wasn’t trying to hurt me and I see that now, she did her best, even though she was not well-rested. A lot of decisions made after not enough sleep. And a lot of decisions made, without the right things to eat. Putting toxins in her belly, instead of love, she did her best. She did what she thought was enough.
I am making amends with my old self. She was young, she didn’t know better. And she tried. Oh, she tried. I can see her efforts now. Holding up a cracked mirror. I can see her clearer. She was just looking to find a little peace. A little more ease. A little more release. And sometimes it was hard and she dug her heels in, she didn’t want to deal with the repercussions of the universe. Oh, how do I blame her? She hadn’t met me yet. So now I can forgive her. She did her damn best.
I am making amends with my old self. I’m sorry for all the harsh words I’ve said. She was young, she didn’t know better. And she tried. Oh, she tried. I should be offering thanks. I should be offering an olive branch. I should be inviting her to stay the night if she needs to visit again.

“her request seems to have been ignored.” By Julia on her patio


Sunday, August 16, 2015
11:01am
5 minutes
The New Yorker

Okay so we’re both wearing the same shirt which is not the first time and Dalton comments on Janie’s shirt and not mine which makes me want to compete with her even more, as if I don’t have a butt-loaf of insecurities I am already baking. Maybe because when Dalton walks into the shop, I start talking to him about all the various colours and flavours our cotton candy machine is capable of producing and Janie just sits quietly roping a strand of hair around her index finger with big shy eyes that don’t offend Dalton like my excessive and sometimes obnoxiously loud commentary does.

“I see four stages” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday, July 10, 2015
11:03pm
5 minutes
On Writing Zion
Maureen Stanton


I see four stages
You’re standing on one of them
Twirling
Your skirt makes a tulip around you
Your hair a halo
On the stage to your right
Your cousin Miles
His eyes are closed
He’s thinking about algebraic equations
and whipped cream
On the stage to your left
The man from the dry cleaner on 1st
He’s laughing
Unsure why he’s there
Happy to be included
He lives alone and
rarely gets to spend Sundays with others
On the final stage
is
Me
Taking pictures
Trying to remember this
Using any means necessary
A notebook between my teeth
A pencil behind my ear

“How’s that bite on your neck?” By Julia at Belly Acres


Sunday, July 5, 2015
10:09am
5 minutes
Said by Joe

The bathroom floor is covered in dead earwigs and it’s only fitting that earlier Edwin and I overturned a giant rock to investigate an earwig community, business as usual, frantic and overwhelming. Edwin told me how when he was younger he’d keep going deeper into their hub and see just what goes on further away from the light. When he told me that I fell a little bit more in love with him. There was an understanding I guess that wasn’t there before. A glimpse into his young and detailed mind.
I feel like I’ve seen them live a full life, come full circle from under the rock to making their way into this bathroom. They’re not as threatening or disturbing now. They’re just inching to get by like we are: hidden and safe from any distractions or dangers, then fully exposed out in the real world, trying to survive.

“In the 1950’s the word” by Julia at Dark Horse


Wednesday May 13, 2015 at Dark Horse
5:16pm
5 minutes
The R-Word
Heather Kirn Lanier


In the 1950’s the word was imagined. Created. Conjured up. It was used for a brief time to describe the feeling of having everything but still feeling so helplessly and problematically empty. It was a truthful word adopted by a lot of artists. They began to write songs about it, make plays about it, dream about it, live by it. The issue that arose was the word was being over-used and becoming too loved. Yes, the strain it had, the effect of identifying too closely with one word, caused artists and young people to connect so strongly to it that they stopped trying to end the initial suffering of it. They began to accept it as it was, without the need to change it in any way.

How is one to know—with strangers?” By Sasha at Studio 1398


Saturday March 14, 2015
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Midwich Cuckoos
John Wyndham


Let’s take ourselves back in time to the time before
the time when we knew about consequence
and hemming of jeans and the blueberry kiss of

summer

How is one to know when a stranger is the icy breath on the window
of the car accident?

or

The Mother we’ve been waiting for since the day we arrived her
spewing needs and hunger
calling for

more

at the top of our lungs

I’ve wanted a revolution from day one but I don’t like starting things
preferring the sourdough to rise in the cupboard
unwatched by blue eyes

brown eyes

We wrapped purple and blue and green and grey around strands of hair we weren’t
afraid to lose

a summer of coconut oil and tuna sandwiches

Cherry popsicle lipstick

“I wish he would ask me out. But he won’t.” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday March 10, 2015
4:33pm
5 minutes
Julia’s Diary
September 1997


how have i spent so much time inventing scenarios about this?
i’m sitting by the tree, knees up, cause that’s the cool pose, wearing the plaid vest with the hood and the white t-shirt, hair in a ponytail. what am i missing? lunch recess or afternoon? god, i’m so stupid. it’s not up to me. it’s all his decision. he can decide the time and the moment and the location. i’ll be by the tree because that’s like staying behind in class when everyone else leaves. he’ll know being alone will give him the opportunity. he’ll feel confident. nobody wants to be heard getting rejected. but i would never reject him since i’ve loved him for two years! i’ve been waiting all this time and on the last day of school last year i wrote him a note asking if he like-liked me, yes, no, or maybe.? he said “yes. a bit.” so i know he wants to ask. he likes me a bit! that’s way more than not at all! and so that’s why i want it to be perfect.

“a wonderful future beckoned and winked” by Julia on her bed


Thursday March 5, 2015
11:59pm
5 minutes
The Fig Tree
Sylvia Plath


“I’m ready for something bigger.” I took a deep gulp of air and I said that to myself. I did. I was, in that moment, feeling very existential. I wanted to know things about myself. I realized I wanted to enjoy my own abilities instead of waiting, forever waiting, for someone else to tell me that they enjoy them. “How is that living?” I exhaled and I said that to myself. “How is it?” If I might, I’d like to paint the scene for you so perhaps you’d see how silly it is too.
You wake up, you dread enjoying your own gifts because you’re afraid someone else might disagree with you or have an opinion about what you’ve made. You make a bowl of quick oats and banana, and you tell yourself internally how bad you are for wanting to spend time doing the things that bring you joy and amusement and pleasure. You clean the dishes and you imagine a world where there is applause for you, but you see it as its own entity and not attached to the doing. Then you put on your jeans and you notice that you don’t ever see the part where you’re actually enjoying your own ability. You can’t envision the perfect happiness that comes from simply doing that thing, and you can’t fathom for even a split second what the feeling of truly expressing and connecting would mean for you.
So you throw on your winter scarf and head out of the house to once again avoid doing what you know your heart bleeds for.
Bizarre, isn’t it?

“Can you see anything?” by Julia on Amanda’s couch


Saturday February 28, 2015
3:05am
5 minutes
overheard at Amanda’s house

I begged Birdie to let me have a look but she told me I was being impatient and to show some courtesy. When I asked her what courtesy meant she shushed me so fast it sounded like a bullet was zooming right past my face. It was my idea in the first place to “borrow” uncle Ray’s ladder and creep up the side of the fence. Birdie didn’t trust me with being the first set of eyes on Old Annabel Winkler because she was convinced I wouldn’t be able to
control my laughter and I’d give away our hiding spot in seconds. Then she got up there and all she was saying was “ooh” “woah” “oh my gosh” and “no way!”

“32 million tonnes” by Julia on the tube


Saturday December 20, 2014
11:18am
5 minutes
from a pamphlet about the pipeline ”

-That’s what Lucinda said to me. I don’t know if it’s true, but apparently, men are attracted to shorter women.
-she’s a liar Sydney, she always lies. Probably said that to you just to make you feel bad
-you’re saying you don’t believe her?
-that girl is made up of 32 million tones of fake, that’s what I’m saying.
-but what if she’s right? About men? And they’ll never be attracted to me?
-it’s rubbish. It doesn’t make any sense so if you want to believe nonsense that’s up to you.
-what are you doing for Christmas then?
-wake up at mum’s, home breakfast, then spend the day with her, then dinner and sleep over at yours
-is daisy coming?
-who is daisy?
-the girl with the glitter hair
-oh right, her real name is Holly. I call her Holly anyway.
-do you want a bindi?
-yeah
-I have to remember if I brought one for you or not. I think I did. Yeah, here, I knew I did.

“Optimal health” by Julia on a bridge in Venice


Saturday December 6, 2014
5:49pm
5 minutes
The back of the chia seed bag

Mom got sick, mom changed her diet, mom stopped working, mom ate only air and self pity, mom waited for the mail everyday, mom bought a yoga mat she never used, mom began to juice, mom began to sing, mom began to smile, mom began to coach, mom saw her worth, mom hid her grief, mom preached without being preachy, mom reminded us of our lives, mom made sure we knew we were not too young, mom made sure we knew we could help ourselves, mom started saying I love you, mom started laughing at nothing, mom started seeking alternative medicine, mom started smoking pot, mom started sleeping again, mom started resting again, mom had a million phone calls, mom stayed home in her PJs.

“we can remember everything” by Julia on the train to Parma, Italy


Sunday September 28, 2014
5:05pm
5 minutes
Writing Down The Bones
Natalie Goldberg


We can so we don’t think we have to try.
We do, though.
We have to try.
We don’t get memories for free.
We think we do, but we don’t.
Just a little work first…
Just a little active listening.
Someone says “with the whole body”.
Someone says that someone says that.
That’s why when we’re young we hold it all.
Because we don’t know how to turn our bodies off.
We don’t know how to disconnect our hearts and minds yet.
And we carry the trauma and we remember without trying and we have a reservoir of moments.
But now it’s different.
Now it’s harder to let it all go but keep it all close at the same time.
So we must.
We must try.
We must try to remember by listening with everything.
And slowly slowly, the images will come.
And when they do, the feeling will be complete.

“Tutti liberi!” By Julia in Piazza della Mercanzia, Bologna


Saturday September 27, 2014
5:41pm
5 minutes
Street graffiti on Strada Maggiore in Bologna

When the missus takes my hat I fall in love with her hands and the silky smoothness of her fingertips as she lightly grazes mine. I fall in love with her in this instance and in all her past instances-her befores, her before thats. Her shadows following closely behind her-I see them and I love them too, for they know her intimately from the back, even though she barely turns her head.

She doesn’t say a word to me but with her silence I can tell she senses me more than she’d like to. She won’t meet my eyes but her skin is lit up and it radiates a heat that comes from fear disguised as indifference. She’s done this before and I’m aware that she knows this too, but old habits die the hardest. She doesn’t wish it were different, she doesn’t try to kill the thing that eats her. I wonder what the missus would have looked like as a girl and I picture her strawberry blonde curls frizzing in the midsummer’s heat.

“Have a good one” by Julia on the 18 bus south


Friday August 15, 2014
2:13pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 18 bus going south

The old man in the ratty suit tipped his ripped hat to a small girl with a daisy in her pony tail. She smiled shyly, then hid behind her mommy’s leg.
Poor thing, she’s shy!
Poor thing, she’s just a wee little love bug.
The old man had respect for his elders, his youngers, his same agers, his in-betweeners.
He didn’t think one person belonged on this earth with any more right than any other.
He might have been a dying breed; showing compassion to passers-by and loved ones alike.
Shouldn’t this be the way it goes?
Poor thing, he’s getting on!
Poor thing, he’s just a crumpled old dying thing.
He made everyone feel both good and bad at the same time. On the one hand he did a great job of including and inviting and making someone feel special. On the other, he was the only one who did this. He was better than the everyman.

“You mustn’t lose it.” By Julia on Hugo Street


Tuesday August 12, 2014
4:49pm
5 minutes
a quote from Robin Williams

He said it matter-of-factly as he gripped his miniature hand over my closed fist. This was a gift from a tiny god and I was being entrusted with it. He made sure I was looking him in the eyes when I promised him I would keep it safe. And never give it to any one else? Of course not. And never drop it on the ground that doesn’t have carpet? Never ever. And never forget where you last put it? Not on my life. And with that he scampered off getting distracted by the grass that he in that moment just had to bend down to dig up. I watched him playing in the earth with my fist still tightly closed. The magic of this gift was fuelling me from my hands and seeping into my bones trough my troubled skin. He didn’t even say what it was. I suppose he didn’t have to. I had believed in the importance of it by virtue of his stern instructions. He didn’t make me promise not to open it until he was gone. I didn’t have to open it to know that it was ours.

“Celebratory beverages” by Julia at Gimli beach


Saturday, August 9, 2014
3:23pm
5 minutes
from a text message


I have been saving a bottle of Veuve that was gifted to me by a man I thought was looking to be my sugar daddy 3 years ago. Turns out he was just insanely generous and sweet and wealthy and had already bought all the nice amusement parks for his kid and he didn’t know what else to spend his life’s earnings on. He also included a box of Earl Grey tea chocolate that taught me the true meaning of bergamot…and that I was too judgmental of people and things because of the superiority complex I began to nourish when I was in my early twenties. I was convinced that he wanted me to sleep with him and I was trying harder to convince myself that I didn’t, in fact, want a sugar daddy to take me on yachts and read me some dated poetry from the height of his teen years. I entertained the thought of running away with him for the weekends; flying to Paris on his private jet; feeling a weird fatherly yet romantic love that mostly just consisted of him calling me sweetie when we fucked and making sure I was always comfortable.

“be this comfortable” by Julia on the river walk in Minneapolis


Saturday Aug 2, 2014
4:27pm
5 minutes
dipped from Joe’s wallet

Hannah and her teddy bear were stranded on the side of the highway, holding a rescue seance and trying really hard not to cry. Somehow Mom and Dirk thought it was a good idea to leave the Walmart without first checking if she was with them. Hannah and her teddy bear were playing house in aisle 19 and she had accidentally fallen asleep while pretending to sleep on one of the mattress. Usually she heard when someone is coming and “wakes up” right as they walk past her, but today wasn’t very busy at Walmart and Hannah had been laying with her eyes closed, so comfortable clutching her teddy bear close to her body for a long time and eventually she was having real night dreams while Mom and Dirk looked at hunting equipment. When Hannah finally woke up for real, she couldn’t figure out where she was.

“That really hurted!” by Julia at Gimli beach


Sunday, July 27, 2014
4:00pm
5 minutes
overheard at Gimli Beach


Well, I told him not to go into the water but he insisted. He was afraid of it for years so I guess I didn’t think I’d have to worry about it, then one day, or one instant, really, he got up the nerve, ran into the waves, and a big one came and smacked him in the belly.
Not life threatening stuff. He was fine in minutes, really. But he was shaken up for a bit, that’s for sure. He wouldn’t stop talking about how big it all felt. How he wasn’t sure if he could do it again today, but maybe the next time we came. I don’t know what changed his mind. Could have been just the ways of growing up-or it could have been that cute little thing who was playing with her dinosaur floaty. She might have lured him in with all her joy if I had to hazard a guess. I told him, Bobby, those waves are choppy do you see? Might not be the best for your first time so you have to be real careful. He said, Gramma, I know! I have two eyes in my head just like you do! Then he ran off and within seconds he was right back on the blanket with me rubbing his tummy.

“Submit where you can” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday July 15, 2014
12:33am
5 minutes
from a scrap paper

Lady at the counter said she saw me slip the lipchap into my bag and I told her, I said, no that wasn’t me, I don’t steal. And she cocked her head to the side all judgy and she said that she knew what she saw and that liars are the worst kind of thieves. I said, no, maybe you need glasses or something, but it wasn’t me, and i didn’t do what you think you saw me do. So I tried to walk out because this lady was just sitting there acting all tough, and trying to intimidate me. And then, the next thing I know, she’s got her hand on my shoulder and she’s firmly pressing in. I was like, look lady, I don’t want any trouble. And she said, well if you know what’s good for you, you’ll let me search your bag. And I hated her even more then because it wasn’t her right to do that, and I knew it. But I didn’t want her to win, so I threw my bag onto the ground. Make her work for it, I thought. Make that damn lady bend over and throw her back out just trying to prove a point. Teach her something today, maybe. Then she grabs my bag and dumps it on the ground. Just everything comes pouring out and I’m standing there hunched over, watching all my stuff fly. I know it’s in here, she said while she emptied it. I know I saw you put the damn thing in.

“lust and power” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence RI


Wednesday May 7, 2014
2:08am
5 minutes
From the Worldstage program of Mies Julie

Remember when we were young and in love and I’d whisper to you that I wasn’t wearing any underwear and you’d take hand and whisper back that if we didn’t leave where we were right then we’d be forced to commit an act of indecency? Remember how you’d send me dirty postcards in the mail and sign them with a fake name so none of my neighbours would know it was you? I’ve been thinking of those things so much lately. I don’t know why I just started having the longing to see you the way I used to and for you to see me the same way. It was so different there. Such late nights, such passionate conversation, such indulgent behaviour–and now when I try to categorize who we’ve become none of those words come to mind. Things like “comfortable” and “static” are what I see.

“a wise man” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston


Tuesday April 22, 2014
1:22am
5 minutes
A plaque beside a photograph

A wise man once told me to never drink vodka without a mixer, a chaser, a plan to get home, and parental supervision.
That wise man did tell me that when I was living under his roof, and after the first time my parents needed to lecture me about safe drinking. He was very nice about it. Thankfully. He was joking around thinking I had gotten enough punishment from the sheer fact that I woke up in somebody else’s clothes with part of my left tooth chipped, a busted nose, and a hangover to rival some of my university days. He was right. It wasn’t exactly my proudest moment. But neither was being 15 and not knowing what being drunk felt like. When you’re 15, even though your parents think you won’t be a problem, you have a bunch of stupid ideas and you scoop them all up in one handful and you make stupid choices. Then you suffer the consequences. And you live the rest of your life remembering how disappointed your mother was when you walked into the kitchen after realizing you couldn’t remember 80% of Lindsey’s party, and then remembering that your father was just slightly okay with giving that life lesson in such a capacity.

“MADE IN CANADA” by Julia on her couch


Monday March 31, 2014
1:02am
5 minutes
the hotel shampoo bottle

I was born here, wishing that I wasn’t, cause, when I was young everything was better when it wasn’t, when I wasn’t, when it just wasn’t. Hoped for the things I didn’t even know were things, but wanted them just cause I wanted them, just cause I didn’t have them, and that somehow made it better. I wanted what I didn’t know. Cause I didn’t have to milk any cows growing up, didn’t have to stay up late watching any infants while mom passed out on the couch watching TV instead, didn’t have to run from my parents after the age of 6 cause they weren’t chasing me anymore, they weren’t out to get me. They were never out to get me. But when I was good and young, I thought everybody was. Didn’t trust the people I should have trusted most. Thought maybe it came from reading, maybe it came from the teachers who shouldn’t have been teachers, who didn’t like kids and so didn’t like teaching kids things teachers should like teaching. But I wanted those things too. Wanted someone to see my stories and tell me they would be great some day. Wanted someone to tell me I’d grow into my face and not to listen to those other kids who had parents who didn’t want to be parents who were teaching them things they shouldn’t be teaching cause they weren’t teachers or the kind of people who could be.

“the porn industry” by Julia on her couch


Saturday March 15, 2014
3:07pm
5 minutes
from a web series break down

I come home early from work and don’t tell him, don’t call him, don’t surprise him that I am. I see he’s sleeping on the couch, the News blaring without him even flinching to notice. I never want to see him like this because it makes me feel old, and it makes him seem young. Today’s his day to have the house. We agreed on it before. I told him I wouldn’t be home till 8 or 9, and he said, come when you come! I think coming at 6 is too early for the plans we agreed on and I’m not mad at him for sleeping. I’m glad he is. I just wish I didn’t have to see it. It’s not something I can explain much better than that. But it doesn’t work for me, so I think tomorrow I will come home when I’m supposed to, after he’s had a chance to rest from his long day of lifting. He starts much earlier than I do. 5 AM. I would think if he didn’t nap during the afternoon he would be a zombie by dinner, so I know he does it for me. Especially when he waits for me to come home every night so we can eat together. He doesn’t have to do that, but I think it’s nice that he does.
I don’t want to take away from his day and his time, so I quietly make some crackers and cheese in the kitchen and sit down to the computer. I see the tabs that are all open: Global Tv, Life Hacks, How to get American Netflix, Best Banana Bread Recipes, and Hard..Harder..Hardest.

“for being born and stuff” by Julia at her desk


Friday March 14, 2014
11:44pm
5 minutes
Nelu’s Birthday Card

When I welcome baby Preston I will tell him, “you’re little and I’m big, so that makes me the boss of you!” He will laugh at all my jokes and tell me I’m his favourite sister with his eyes, and we’ll both giggle cause I’m his only sister! I will take him for walks and introduce him to Mr. Andrews who rakes our lawn, and Mrs. Edwards who helps us cross the street with her bright yellow vest. Then when the grass is dry, I will take him to the park and show him what the sun really looks like! I will feed him chunks of bread dipped in Cheese Wiz, and he will make sure the flies don’t land on our stuff by drooling everywhere! I know baby Preston will drool because my Mommy told me so! She said, “He will drool as much as you did,” and I drooled a lot! Baby Preston is supposed to come from Mommy’s tummy in exactly one week from right now. If he doesn’t show up at 2:22 PM, he will be late for his first big appointment. I will teach him how to always be on time and run when Mommy or Daddy calls him. Sometimes you think you’re already running very fast, but I will show him that he should always run fastest before dinner.

“She looked like anything but a winner” by Julia at R Squared Cafe


Monday, March 10 2014 at R Squared Cafe
4:55pm
5 minutes
The Bookman’s Wake
John Dunning


had the soles of her feet scratched up from the running
from the running with no shoes, no socks, no protection
just a little thing
not a lot to protect, small feet, but not a lot
had the lashes of her eyes all stuck together from the mud
from the mud rubbed into her face, from the falling down into the forests,
from the running with no shoes, no socks
from the running from herself to find herself
from the running from herself to find something that looked like home
had the tips of her fingers all bloody and bruised from the snatching
from the snatching of little bits of food from glass cases
from the snatching of little bits of hope sprinkled generously on all the tops of every barbed wire fence
from the running with no shoes, no socks
from the days that seemed warm but chilled her to the bones
had the dream of a future splattered across her face
from the running
from the running

“simultaneously ancient” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday January 22, 2014.
12:19am
5 minutes
KINFOLK, Volume 10

She was old and she was young
Not sure which parts were which
Sometimes her bones cracked
Sometimes they didn’t
Sometimes her mind forgot
Sometimes it didn’t
She was a glow
Any age can be
She was dark and lived
But in her face only at times
Other times in her soul alone
She was wise
And she was naive
She gave great advice
But she didn’t know how to take it
Her heart held lullabies
Her heart held broken pieces glued together
Her eyes were deep and lived
And sometimes flickered like someone who had never seen anything before
She was young and she was old
She was living and she was learning
Some days she taught herself something new
Some days she taught someone else to feel loved
Others she wouldn’t have anything to do with learning at all
She was grown
She was new

“We see the memory” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
3:44pm
5 minutes
The Lost Hotels of Paris
Jack Gilbert


Like a ghost in our heads with a vengeance and a purpose, oh it bleeds. And oh it screams. Such poetry and violence, such animal tendencies, and all we see are ghosts, are lies, are human pills swallowed whole. We laugh at the silliness of it all and the daydreams we used to have when we were young. And flexible. And malleable. Shape me into something good, you’d plead to no one in particular. And then no one in particular would work some magic and create a part of you that looked good in the daylight; looked good in the mirror. You didn’t owe anyone anything then. Stupid voices can’t be heard…not with all that noise going on.

“Don’t ignore” by Julia on the subway going north


Sunday June 16, 2013
2:46pm
5 minutes
an ad at Ossington subway station

Pushing his little face away with the palm of her hand, she kept her eyes closed, breathing deeply. Not now, Benny, Mommy can’t right now. Benjamin had been sitting with his mother at the table since breakfast. She wouldn’t speak to him or look at him. She put an empty bowl in front of him with a dirty spoon and told him to eat his breakfast. Benjamin didn’t know where the cereal was. He didn’t want to look for it in front of his mother in case that would make her
more angry. So he sat and watched his Mommy breathe with her eyes closed. After an hour of watching and waiting and being very concerned, he tried to get closer. Tried to get close enough so his mother could hear his tummy growling. That’s when she pushed him away, feeling his big blinky eyes on the inside of her hand, tracing the scar line on his forehead from when he fell into the chalkboard at Auntie Caroline’s two winters ago. He didn’t ask her for a single thing.

“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.

“Instant teller” by Julia at her desk


Friday February 22, 2013
11:13pm
5 minutes
CIBC at College and Grace

I had a wish, or a dream, or something in between, and when I woke up, it was nothing nothing nothing.
Wished so hard for it to come true, with my loose lashes glued, top finger or bottom, wanted to sleep right through.
Someone stole it from my cheek, asked me if the future was something I could see, wishing on a tiny hair, it belongs near my eyes, not floating somewhere. I closed them tight anyway, hoping a true wish would come, but nothing ever did, and it stayed empty on my tongue. I had no words, but a lie in the expression, told them, yes I’ve been thinking, and no it’s not a concession. It told them I had my plans and my hopes and my goals, it didn’t speak the truth that I was just closing my eyes to avoid their eye rolls. I was sitting in a blanket of lost wishes sung, and I held onto that lash, like kids do when they’re young. I grew old in an instant, forgot to believe in the magic, and now that I admit it, it sounds all the more tragic. I was not of the mind that one great thing could be earned, with two eyes closed tight, and all the bridges around me burned. It was nothing nothing nothing. I woke up from that dream. I had nothing nothing nothing, and it was all because of me.