“what God told me in a dream once” by Julia at her desk

Sunday December 8, 2019
6:57pm
5 minutes
A Poem In Which God Is Both A Metaphor And Not
Chloe N. Clark

It was the day I discovered the Ouija Board. Brett and Lauren convinced me and Jenna to play. I didn’t want to. I didn’t think it was a very good idea.
When Brett asked the question, “What is written on the back of my ring”, the one his mother used to wear that he now never takes off, I waited with my breath trapped in my chest. The pointer piece started to move on the board and I felt like I was watching my worst nightmare come to life. It hovered over the initials, T…..S…..Brett was shocked. He took off his ring to show us the same two letters.

Later that night I woke from a dream to find the silhouette of Jesus on my wall. I stared at it, him beaming at me from the shadow. His beard and eyes, soft. I opened my mouth and almost spoke. Then the figure began to laugh. It was high pitched and getting bigger and bigger. Jesus was laughing at me. And I knew right then and there that I had invited the devil into my room, just like I always feared.

“This week just got ducking crazy” by Julia on her couch

Friday October 4, 2019
12:27am
5 minutes
From a text message

Two places at once:
the benefit of seeing each thing less…
but we can do it, you can do it.
split focus, split time, details, details.

Tonight we saw an owl get stuck on a fence
it swiveled its head around and stared at
us from its 360 position of momentary panic.
I said we should help it and you said, How
exactly might we do that? And I said, We
could pray a bit. Praying transcends time
and space and frees trapped owls. I know
about things like this, I used to split
my soul in two all the time before I met
you. I used to send half of me to the sky
and half of me to the other sixteen year
olds playing strip pool and drinking in
Alex’s basement. I used to apologize after
for going against God’s will, and then I’d
get forgiven, zip my soul right back into
place. And the other place, the guilt place
would make me feel like I deserved whatever
punishment I got. And the place I kept
putting my body made me feel so alive…

So I know about praying, and how it mends
you whole again after you’ve tried to
please too many people at a time.

“in search of a taxi.” By Julia at her desk

Monday September 30, 2019
9:33pm
5 minutes
The Rage
Gene Kerrigan

It seems like this city is punishing me for
being too afraid to drive myself around

Thanks to the rare sighting of a taxi cab
when I’m running late, and finally do I

understand the saying

I surprise myself with how quickly I arrive
to a bus stop when I’ve left my house later

than I meant to

even when it’s uphill, or across the intersection,
my own two legs have never failed me

I am faster than I meant to be

They called me wheels on the baseball diamond
and I liked it but I never thought I was as

fast as they thought I was

But you should see me round those bases
or snag a ball all the way in right from centre

But when I decide to take a car I am always
later than I would be if I had walked, run

I drove myself around at the beginning and
got intimidated by the parking, the parallel

the quiet knock knock to my ego, and the punchline
of needing to do a thing like that in private

the luxury of not driving is privacy

“The pulsating life force energy in such children” by Julia at the bus stop/on the 84

Wednesday September 25, 2019
7:34pm
5 minutes
The Relationship Garden
Jock McKeen & Bennet Wong

I have learned these days to give the A before I meet them, no they will not scare me into giving them anything less. I can provide the passion, the please, the panel of supoort, but not the passing grade. No, the above and beyond. Thank you for showing up exactly as you are, right here right now. You will not prove me wrong. You want to be here right here right now even if you don’t know how to express it.
I give the A before I walk into the room. These young hearts beat themselves to sleep at night, solid sleeps at night, but during the day they stay up and up and up and up. They cannot come down when their heart beat flies them to the ceiling, fluttering so fast like fairy wings and then. Then they show me what is at the top of the room. I can see from their eyes, all the ground they leave, all the lift they prefer. I give the A.

“I was what I stood there for” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday August 27, 2019
8:44pm
5 minutes
Later, When I Am Carried Forward This Far
Parm Mayer

I waited for the answer to fall down from the sky
with a little help from whoever was doing the sending.

I’ve been praying more these days and I have said
I wouldn’t call upon the clouds because of what

they did the last time. I never stood tall in the rain.
I never held hope in the grey. I waited waited then and

now I’m waiting waiting still. It’s different these days.
The time in between seems like the right amount to hold

my breath. Lady tells me how much good the Good Lord has
done for her and I haven’t seen the spoils cause I haven’t

been to church. Not since what it did the last time.
Traded Fridays for a cheap lava lamp, get those dumb

kids off the street with bribery and with the false
light. Already members got a discount ticket to Lazer Quest.

Lady tells me if I prayed I wouldn’t have to use
Jesus’ name and I don’t think I will cause of what

he did the last time. Showed up on my wall to give
me the message, masked in love but laughing out the
devil’s truth.

“she’s in a shoe store with her friends,” by Julia at her desk

Friday August 2, 2019
9:42pm
5 minutes
Some Notes Against the Burden of Representation
Rahat Kurd

She’s waiting for her dad because on Saturdays her dad takes her to lunch.
He takes her to the food court and lets her pick: Chinese food, or New York Fries.
He’s sweet to her on these days, shows her off to his employees.
They talk about her hair, how it’s like his, how she looks just like him.
She’ll help him rearrange the shoes in the window after she wipes down the clear shelf.
She feels like she’s helping him. He’ll likely redo it after she leaves.
The faster the shoes get organized in the window, the faster he can take his break.
He is sweet to her on these days, doesn’t tell her how to do it better.

He throws his tie behind his shoulder and dives in to the burger, or the chicken balls.
He asks if she’s done any good shopping yet and she tells him about the earrings she bought; little ladybugs
She won’t remember what they talked about years from now but here in this moment she thinks she’ll never forget.
Next Saturday she should ask her friend if she wants to come, he says he’ll drive them.
Maybe they could catch a movie at the Cineplex Odeon in the afternoon.

“no one would know me.” by Julia on A’s couch

Monday July 29, 2019
11:00pm
5 minutes
The Landing
Marie Howe

I am sitting by the tree, waiting for my real friends to come see what’s wrong. We all do this. I like the tree, I like this alone. The kind that turns into something soon. The kind that makes time feel like forever but in a good way. One of these moments they’ll all come running to me. What will I say? I’m feeling sad. I’m feeling left out. I got upset and didn’t know how to tell you. I want to play and have fun. I say nothing until someone comes. I don’t leave the tree until someone comes.

Sometimes nobody comes. Sometimes it’s an exercise in will power. In patience. In believing that everyone is better off without me. Better off since they didn’t have to tell me to my face. There’s no more room. There’s not enough space for you. This is when it feels like forever but in the bad way. The way the bell never rings, never saves me, the way the real friends never appear because they never existed.

“Taking a trip?” By Julia on her couch

Tuesday July 9, 2019
8:55pm
5 minutes
From a TD Bank envelope

some days I don’t have the space to dream about the future.
I try to be here and now and in it all very deeply.
some days I come home and you’ve been planning your next trip. you want me to join you but you also want to spend time with yourself.
how will I know what I want to do in october when I don’t even know what I will want to wear tomorrow?

you tell me we could leave for a month and then soon after I consider it you say 5 weeks. That’s close to a month but it’s also more. first you say we could fly into Hong Kong but you don’t know if that’s the best route.
I want to say you’ve already convinced me with your argument about our age. We’re not getting any younger, but we can still be as young as we are.

and still, I tell you to ask me again in the morning.

“Proven ability to develop lessons plans” By Julia at her desk

Sunday May 26, 2019
5:24pm
5 minutes
allianceforarts.com

Hi I’m here for the workshop teaching position.
I have a shit ton of experience with kids and with teaching.
I have worked with some real piece of work asshole youth
in my time, but I find that if I see them as real people and not their
attitudes, I can get them to open up. It’s easy to be shitty
when you don’t believe you matter in the grand scheme of things.
Some of the lesson plans I’ve developed have really fucked
with my own understanding of writing, and taking risks.
I mean, they say the best way to learn something is to teach it.
And once in a workshop I got the kids to teach each other something
and that shit was the real deal.
They were so open, and chatty, and they had this light, you know.
They are a lot more willing to dive in than they get credit for,
so you know, I just filled the pool with shit they wanted to
swim in. It’s supposed to be fun but it’s also supposed to be
honest. I’ve been doing it now, for Christ, 10 years now? I
started leading them when I was just out of university, and I
got to work with a bunch of 6-8 year olds.
They didn’t even have a curriculum, but by the time I left
they were all so fucking thrilled to keep discovering.

Sorry, the position is already filled? Because I dropped the f bomb?

“no matter how uncomfortable staying has become.” by Julia on the 99

Sunday March 10, 2019
5:27pm
5 minutes
Devil With a Briefcase
Jan Janzen

Hey if you’re reading this, this is for you. I know you as a 14 year old girl with bruised calves and giant beaded necklaces. I know the you that regifted me a notebook with an angel on the front cover and a devil on the back. You didn’t know at the time I wasn’t the type to like that sort of thing or that my reasons were the same as yours were when you gave it away. I know you in the mouldy elevator singing at the top of our lungs, performing on the cafeteria stage wearing matching scarves, sitting in the student council office during 3rd period spare. I know you falling to your knees with joy the day I brought you back a crispy chicken sandwich after lunch.

“I can feel it changing!” by Julia on the 19

Tuesday March 5, 2019
4:23pm
5 minutes
Death of a Salesman
Arthur Miller

It’s as if we never faced off that one night in June-you with your clever excuses and me with my tone trying to remain bigger than you.
I honestly thought you’d have more to say, the sand beading little reminders under your feet.
Where did you even go?
I swear I watched the you I knew get wiped away clean like two eyebrows drawn on, finally private enough to die.
Where did you even go?
I can’t speak for the me I was that night, edging closer to a storm, betraying my wisdom.
I hate seeming so small, fragile.
I went back in time, if you were wondering.
I landed on a year of my life that I am embarrassed about when looking at photographs.
Puffy bangs, sun-kissed cheeks,
all of the wrong teeth now missing

“but the monkey will go” by Julia in her room

Sunday February 17, 2019
9:59am
5 minutes
Nature Is Strong
Tony Hoagland

Say hi to my monkey
She comes around when things feel clunky
Begging me to return to the key
The constant truth inside of me
She’s asking for play and to leave behind structure
Cause forcing her to climb is like stealing her love for freedom and spontaneity
Wondering if she’ll ever have the chance to be left alone to be
Exactly who she sees in me
Say hi to monkey I’ve kept her caged I didn’t want her to choose cause I was too afraid
How will she make me look if I put her in charge?
Will my friends stick by me if my play bone grows large?
Will the ones that I choose, choose me back if I’m happy, no sadness here just one laughing monkey?
If when they asked how I am I said good when I was, instead of looking for reasons why things aren’t enough, could I let myself smile even when I think I could do more? Isn’t that the key to this self-locked door?
Say hi to my monkey cause I’m bringing her along, sometimes she makes me dance, or break out in song
She’s the younger self I’ve been trying to pin
Say hi to my monkey, now I’m letting her in.

“Are you Joaquin or River?” By Julia on the 2

Saturday February 9, 2019
6:29pm
5 minutes
From a voicemail message

Hey River,

I miss you. I’ll start by saying that. I’m listening to an old tape of you snoring. I used to hate you for it when we shared a room. Recorded you one night to show you just how loud it was. Now all I’m wishing for is to hear you breathe again. I wouldn’t care if it kept me up this time.
I’ve been thinking about you lately. Someone asked how I was doing as if it hasn’t been a lifetime since you left. I fucking miss you every day. Maybe I should have said that. I said, Things are good for me. And they are, you know, most days. I’m working so much you’d be real proud. Wish you could see how much better my chops are now.
Anyway, I know you’re with me so I’m not here to whine. Send me a rumble when you think of it.

Love, Joaquin.

“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.

“for young students who can’t sit still” by Julia at her desk

Thursday November 8, 2018
11:32am
5 minutes
From the Beginning
Chelsey Burnside

I have a couple cures up my sleeve
for those days with the knocking knees
Where you can’t sit still even if you please
cause the mind is a buzz with a billion bees
I know what to do when you can’t cut through
the noise that’s been making you feel annoyed
so listen up here it’s the answer it’s the key
for those bumping hearts that are bursting free
Keep moving then if the calm won’t stay
it’s the right time to run if your legs shaped that way
there’s a river to be imitated
if your hunger got you far from sated
you can roll in and out
till your bones get tired and eventually
your nerves will expire
so run like the wind and kiss like the moon
the silence will be there when you’re
ready to tune in your inner ear to the inner light
and until then just keep growing your bright.

“My friend Joe” by Julia on the 4

Saturday October 6, 2018
5:57pm
5 minutes
His Hands
Mary Jane Nealon

My friend Joe became
my boyfriend Joe at the end of the 12th grade. I liked the way his arms looked while driving. I liked that he knew how to use the barbecue.
when I went to university I stayed with Joe even though I no longer wanted him.
One of the first days there I made eye contact with the coolest guy I had ever seen. His name was also Joe. I wanted this Joe instead. I wanted to know everything about him.
There were a couple others I started to like before I told the first Joe that we needed to break up. There were also a couple of crying episodes in my dorm room. Not me. Him. This was the same guy who knew how to use the barbecue.

“Grid of Polaroids” by Julia at Vancouver International Airport

Thursday September 6, 2018
6:15am
5 minutes
Sinuous
Lydia Kwa

When I first met you, you lived with two dudes who didn’t know what cleaning was. Or order. One of them waked and baked everyday. The other one had a weird thing with dogs. Your apartment was falling apart. You didn’t have proper wine glasses but you had wine. There was a wall of polaroids by the front entrance. You partying in those photos looked so cool. You had to bathe like an ape because the shower head was broken. You made that joke the first time I came over. Those thin walls. The corner store condom runs. The 28 hour day. The food poisoning.

“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

“for the girls I kissed in seventh grade” by Julia in her bed

Sunday June 24, 2018
6:03am
5 minutes
Practicing
Marie Howe

In the food cellar in the basement I turn the light off
pull the chain hanging from a lone bulb and launch myself onto you and the concrete floor
you kiss me back and we are rubbing up down on each other
writhing around like two snakes let loose in a barrel
I dont remember who said we should go upstairs to your room but we go upstairs to your room and I stay on top of you
I stay on top of you and I catch your breath in my mouth
I think your mom was home cutting someone’s hair and there we were growing slowly and opening
Days earlier I am watching you and thinking I must have missed my chance
it didn’t strike me then that you might not want me
perhaps when you know something in your soft bones you really know it

“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’ll back my car up” by Julia at her desk

Friday, May 11, 2018
9:31pm
5 minutes
Catching the Westbound
Corvin Thomas

It was a nice time to drive then
you behind the wheel and me out the window tracking waterfalls
(There, another, did you see that one? On your left. I said on your left!)
I suppose I wasn’t doing any of the driving
too much fear built up over the years, too many MVA and physio
You never wanted to ride shot-gun, and I don’t think it’s because
you liked the sound of me narrating the outdoors to you, the roadside, the clouds
You liked the finger feeding, the tiny snack bites of cheese and olive
You liked choosing the music
You liked letting me sleep
And it was a good time with a car that was ours for the first trip of our lives
It was good after that with the duct tape holding up the under side of the car
(I call it that to this day because neither of us know much about automobiles, or whatever they’re calling them these days. Human carriers? Life holders? Vessels of transformation and transport?)
But soon after you were screaming your frustration into the pillow
Geeva had died again on the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
And we mourned her then: her and her licence plate namesake

“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

“increasing numbers of cars” by Julia in her bed

Saturday, March 24, 2018
12:34am
5 minutes
Three Dollars A Day
The note accompanying a photo series by Amlan Sanyal

I am going to drive by your parents’ house every chance I get and stare longingly at your garage where we hung out that one time with Natalie and a game of truth truth lie. I’ll be the world’s most respectful stalker. I’ll only wish I had enough courage to follow you to your car from the music store. I don’t actually know if you still go to the music store. See, I’m not really paying that close attention. You might be a car salesman now, or a dog whisperer. I realize the number of years since we’ve seen each other exceeds the number of years that I even knew you. I don’t know you now even a little bit. I am slowly coming around to the realization that i never really new you back then either. I thought I knew. I thought the you you were would really like the me I was.

“Said she’s comin’ back to stay” by Julia in Da Nang

Sunday January 28, 2018
7:08am
5 minutes
Gonna Have Love
Buck Owens

You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. They might be your boxers. Your at home clothes. Your lounge wear. I don’t know that much about you yet. I don’t know that you love Buck yet. I know you’re funny. I know I’ve accidentally said your name while lying next to someone else. I know I don’t want to live with anyone but you. You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. You knock on my door every night and when I say come in from my desk you come in with your guitar. You play a song. You charm the pants off of me. You make me laugh. You make me better. You are a one man show and I am your only audience. You and your black shorts, boxers, lounge wear. You and your perfect timing and your perfect face. You and your way of changing the room so the right light hits the right spot. I don’t know much about you but I am watching every part. I am studying your hands. Your knee caps. The way you don’t take anything personally. The way you sing to me.

“where she curled, suspended, gathering” by Julia at her parents’ house

Wednesday January 3, 2018
11:55pm
5 minutes
the woman who married a bear
Anne Haven McDonnell

Nonna used to ask me if she could style my hair after I had already finished doing it. When she was young she used to curl my mom’s into sections by wrapping it around a pencil. I told her no sometimes. But on other days I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she was hurting me; yanking and twisting all the pieces wrong. I know it meant a lot to her to play with my hair. She’d sing quietly as she did, and I choked back some painful yelps so I wouldn’t interrupt her. She used to get her hair done for everything. Had one of her five daughters put her dyed blonde hair in curlers for the baptisms, communions, confirmations, weddings, funerals, barbecues, walks around the block.

“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.

“the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 11, 2017
6:26pm
5 minutes
What The Living Do
Marie Howe

Even though I asked it very nicely to stop, the sky would not stop laughing.
Some days it is miserable only benneath the skin. The bones squeek.
We forget that there is more beyond this dome or we never forget and some days we act like we do. We have gotten good at acting.

Miriam and I have been sneaking behind the Hollands’ shed to practice kissing. I told Miriam that she had soft lips and a subtle but effective use of tongue. She told me that I could afford to go a little harder. I was worried if I kissed her any harder I might want to stay kissing her. I didn’t know I would like girls. I didn’t know I would like her. I liked the groaning noises she made. I liked how warm her skin felt, her breath on the side of my mouth like a warning.

“Did you try to reply to my email about confidence?” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 27, 2017
10:12am
5 minutes
from an e-blast

Krista: I know this seminar will suit you, Jeanie. I specifically designed it with you in mind and you’re not getting any younger so I–

Jean: No I’m not getting any younger. And believe it or not, that is not one of my concerns.

Krista: Oh sweetie, of course it is. It’s everyone’s concern.

Jean: I don’t know how staying young will serve me.

Krista: It’s a figure of speech, relax.

Jean: Well you used it, and you meant it, so. I’m not interested in discussing this with you.

Krista: Fine, but all I meant was that you could use some of what I teach and you’re only running out of time–

Jean: See! Again with the absolutism! I swear to Christ you do not listen.

Krista: Jeanie. Stop this blaming behaviour and own your life. You seem mighty hostile for someone who has nothing to prove.

Jean: You’re driving me upside the wall, okay? How am I supposed to respond.

Krista: Well you could come to my seminar. Respond with your actions not your attitude.

“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.

“Paragraphs of information” by Julia on Nicole’s balcony


Thursday July 13, 2017
12:15am
5 minutes
from a syllabus

Of course I didn’t ask for the ring with the gold flower when she died. I had wanted it since I was small enough to fit in her arms. But I got something better. When I spritzed her perfume in the bathroom I thought I was getting away with curiosity. Turns out my curiosity was too big to ignore. It was the first time she held me. She brought me out of the bathroom with love while I was embarrassed at being caught. Then she gave me the bottle of perfume I had tried on. Just gave it to me. You like it? Here, it’s yours. I cherished that bottle. I kept it in my closet. I didn’t know anything about her-there wasn’t a book about her, not paragraphs of information written about this woman. But I knew the smell of her young skin. I knew the size of her generosity. I knew the way her quiet was her prison. And how she wished she could have given me more.

“receiving invitation” by Julia in her bed


Tuesday June 20, 2017
11:18pm
5 minutes
from an email

I’ve been bleeding for days and nobody knows why. 
Nobody knows why because nobody knows and I suppose it’s up to me.
I make the calls and the appointments, I pay the bills or I don’t.
This growing thing, this fleshy bump is getting me down.
Isn’t that ironic-If to you growing means up. It is ironic that to me growing means up.
My impulsive decisions are growing too. In.
When Sarah pierced my ears on the back of a potato I didn’t think they’d ever be anything but proof of my young nights.
There was blood then too, on the carpet.

“This is what you’ve been waiting for” by Julia at JJ Bean


Friday May 5, 2017 at JJ Bean
5:12pm
5 minutes
The Gate
Marie Howe


my family speaks poetry through me as I walk from my house to a place that isn’t
I am stopped on the sidewalk with the urge to take notes
They are dictating faster than I can write
The stories from our childhood, inspiration enough after the drought
I am greedy with rain and the secrets of our youth
the clues to finding solace in a memory built from our old garage,
the time we picked strawberries at the farm and made milkshakes,
the time we sang to Mariah Carey on the back porch and I made everyone
turn around to listen when it was my turn,
the time we got hats with the olympic rings on them at Mcdonalds,
the time we rode around on horses while they defecated,
the time I asked my older cousin if we could have a “talk” because I was feeling left out, the time they got the shots for whipping baby field mice against the brick

“The pleasures and perils of a drug-altered mind” by Sasha at JJ Bean


Thursday May 4, 2017 at JJ Bean
2:16pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Sun
Thursda May 4, 2017


Karla wears pink heart-shaped sunglasses. Sublime is playing on a beat-up boombox plugged in on the porch. Adi’s backyard sprawls long and wide, pimpled with dandelions. I’m not quite scared, but I’m not quite excited. I wonder where he got the weed, and if I’ll become addicted. How glamorous. I wonder if I’ll cough or my eyes will turn red. I wonder if we’ll laugh more than usual. Bare legs scratched by the grass, he lights up the joint and we pass it. Karla always knows what she’s doing, or is a very good pretender. I am a bit more bumbly, a bit more rosy-cheeked, a bit more novice in general. I do cough. I don’t feel high. I wait and wonder what all the fuss was about. “Lots of people don’t feel it their first time,” Adi says, laying back and stretching out, skinny legs sticking out of his cut offs, arms long. The clouds move like water. Karla puts her sunglasses on me.

“I want you to sleep beside me” by Julia on L’s couch


Friday April 21, 2017
10:22pm
5 minutes
said by Q

I cannot tell you what it means to be needed so well that your bones warm.
I say I love you to
a child that does not belong
to me
I do not plan this
nor all the joy I find in how easy it is to say
my blood bathes
I know this feeling
the one that makes us believe we are real
maybe because I don’t want him to go a night not hearing it before he sleeps while his mother is out there taking care of herself
I want her to succeed.
I want her child to be lifted.
Maybe I do love her child.
Maybe I have seen him.
wearing his souls’s clothes
Maybe he has laughed at every one of my jokes
with the same enthusiam and delight
laughing so easy
Maybe I wanted to.
maybe he was holding the mirror

“Judging your early artistic efforts” by Julia at Trees on Granville


Thursday April 20, 2017
2:20pm at Trees Organic
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


The other day I found a note written on a teddybear notepad by my junior kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Beliveau. She signed her name with a heart in the ‘i’ and I remembered just how much I loved her-her and her soft nylons, and her “snot-free” desk (which I violated often and blamed on Justin Martens). The note was addressed to my parents telling them that I had a very nice first day of school: I painted a lot and loved story time (shocker), and sang a song for the class at Show And Tell (I remember this-I didnt bring something to show, like a doll or a toy I liked, so I made up a song and sang it for the class when it was my turn. Super shocker! Just kidding). I have always done this. Four year old me has always lnown this. Thirty year old me is grateful.

“How many nights” by Julia on her couch


Sunday April 16, 2017
7:57pm
5 minutes
Breach
Blair Trewatha


We mourn each day past with a song-we both cradle our heads at the month changing places, on a mission.
How many nights as children did we spend enjoying instead of worrying we were running out of time?
How many days did we write the date and think just how much can happen in a year?
This time we’ll sing (misty-eyed)
about the seasons; about the natural curve of the calendar
April come she will
April come she will

“A cherished pastime” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday March 21, 2017
9:08pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Samar shows me the sweater she’s been knitting since last Tuesday after learning how last Monday and I’m embarrassed because I’m impressed because she’s seven and it’s stunning. Samar tells me that the sweater if for her sister because she doesn’t want her to think the world is cold. I ask her what she’s reading these days and she pulls out the biggest book I’ve ever seen. She tells me she’d rather save reading for another time though because now would be a good opportunity to teach me how to knit since I liked her sweater so much. I’m embarrassed again but this time for being behind on my own life. I didn’t know what knitting was when I was seven. I wasn’t relying on the smell of books to calm me down.
I causally mention to her that knitting is a good balance to reading because you get to wield a weapon. Samar laughs at this and for the first time today I feel smart.

“It was ass-backwards” By Julia on her couch


Wednesday March 1, 2017
8:42pm
5 minutes
overheard on the Queen Of Cowichan

Meredith and Abbey were two kids I babysat when I was twelve. Meredith was five and she wanted to play pretend every minute of every day. She’d always start her role plays with “I’m the princess and you’re the baby and say you say ‘oh look how beautiful your dress is!'” I hated playing this game. How about I say what I say, Meredith? Okay? You say what you say and I say what I say, capiche?
Abbey on the other hand spent her two year life humping herself into the corner of the coffee table or the carpet, or the high chair every time I looked away. She’d stop as soon as she caught me seeing her. But then again sometimes she didn’t care that I was even on the planet.

“I felt stung” By Julia in her cabin


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:19pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

I don’t have any memories of my mother’s father. He died when I was three, lived in Italy, and I only met him a couple times. The first time, they tell me, was when I was 3 months old. I had my ears peirced with gold studs (by my aunt Patricia, who was also travelling to Italy with us), I carried around a rainbow striped bunny that I would later name “Skittles”, and according to my mother, I was a very picky eater during the first couple months of my life. They tell me that he was a big man, feared by many. They tell me all the other grandkids ran away from him because they were intimidated by his size, or his mood, or his silence. They tell me that when he walked by my crib I begged for him to pick me up. They tell me that it was strange for a small thing to reach out to him. They tell me that he lived for taking me out into the fields to pick fresh figs. They tell me he smiled a lot when we were there.

Sixteen years later I went to Italy for the second time. I found his gravestone. I listened to the air between my life and his. I still can’t say I ever knew him. But I missed him then.

“your body is not his home.” By Julia in her cabin


Saturday February 25, 2017
9:03am
5 minutes
milk and honey
-rupi kaur


When I was 7 my mother babysat a boy named Benjamin who was my age, and his two younger brothers. Ben had white blond hair and white blond eyebrows and he swore like a sailor. He had a lot of excess saliva, always pooling at the base of his tongue so when he spoke he shot out spurts or sometimes entire globules of spit. I thought this made him cute. I thought his boyish hair was something to brag about. One day we were playing in my room and Benjamin asked if we could sit in my closet. I didn’t know what he wanted to do but I do know that going into the closet was slightly wrong. It felt bad. I wanted to be bad with Benjamin. We brought Barbies and then sat in there on the floor with the lights on just staring at each other. Ben suggested that we show each other our private parts and I thought, yeah, alright, I don’t see why not.

“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

I told myself I’d be married at 24 cause of my mother. She was married at 24 and that felt like the best map I could follow since she has never once said she regretted it. I also said I wouldn’t have sex till I was 24 either case of Jesus. Or the patriarchy. Save my sex for someone who loves God more than he’ll ever love me and believes in owning humans as property? Yeah, what a great fucking idea. I was young then. And committed to Christ (by choice, weirdly, I know). And in love with the idea that I didn’t have to make my own decisions cause life was already going to have too many of those in the first place. I told myself that I would have a child by 28 cause of my mother. She waited 4 years to have one after she got married and that seemed smart, and good, and completely doable. I have missed both of these “destiny numbers”(by choice, I know, I know). Somewhere along the way I decided I could trust myself to lead me through it. Sometimes it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. But it’s better than being married with a bazillion kids coming out of my ears. Age, I’ve learned, is just a number that you get to hold for a year. And then–we let it go, just like everything else.

“people who called themselves atheists.” by Julia on her couch


Thursday December 22, 2016
8:25pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino


I never thought I’d put myself in the very box that I couldn’t for the life of me understand when I was younger. It made sense to my 9 year old brain to put my 9 year old trust in God and scripture and behaving with good intentions. It made sense for me to wake up each day and know my place, this road I was traveling, the one I had chosen wisely. And then maybe it was the lava lamp that put me over the edge. The one Pastor So And So offered up as a prize to the youth who could rally up the most sinners and bring them to Friday night service. I didn’t sign up for a church built out of bribery and attended primarily by a bunch of self-righteous teens. I wanted to find friends who wanted to know the Lord, not who wanted to make religion into an elitist club that only the truly good could be a part of. How is that the point of religion? Aren’t we all good and therefore all bad? I didn’t like giving so much of my youth to an ideology that didn’t want everyone just as we were.

“their grass-stained skin” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday December 21, 2016
8:34pm
5 minutes
So Full Of Light
Marie Specht Fisher “


I would have given my right arm to spend my afternoons with Alison the way Casey got to; the way everyone seemed to get closer than I was ever able. She was the most beautiful funny person I had ever met and I was in love with her. Everything she said made everyone laugh. Everything she wore set the trend for the rest of us. Every song she liked was automatically my new repeat ballad that I would dedicate myself to on nights I stayed in laying on my bedroom floor by candle light. I watched them play at recess and make up fun dances or do cartwheels down the hill. I wanted to know where she got the rule book-where she found the secrets to the universe all while still being a kid like the rest of us.

“sky turned red then erased” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday November 17, 2016
11:23pm
5 minutes
Penknife
Ellie Sawatsky


Walls thin as butterfly wings I know that your ear is there
High on the sky turning red with the possibility
of midnight I know that your ear is there
pressed on the monarch tissue paper
Sigh lifts above the ceiling
lifts us up the only division between us is us
the only difference between us is this
The chrysalis shed
The womb bare
The holy
water falling over fingertips

College kids smoke joints outside the window
leave rolling papers on the sill
A queen bee makes a hive around the rebellion
the sex the nicotine the so in love
so in love
I am the queen bee and you are bringing me gifts

“We hopped on bikes with banana seats” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday August 23, 2016
7:04am
5 minutes
parent.co

It might have been 40 degrees out. It felt like we had already sweat off most of our top skin anyway. The trees were dense with moisture. Heavy like they were holding in all of the rain we hadn’t seen. Jessie and I ate kiwis while we waited for Reid and Lucia to hurry up. Lucia told us we’d hear the owl signal and know we should take off on our bikes to go meet them. Jessie didn’t want to move. She said her thighs were rubbing. We sat beside the shed while we finished eating, kiwi juice dripping down into our shirts. I didn’t want to ask Jessie to do much else. I was glad she finally came with us for once. Usually she’d have an excuse why she couldn’t come. She even used “blow-drying her hair” one time and missed out on one of the best nights of our lives. We spent that summer in the cemetery conjuring spirits and memories of loved ones we had never met.

“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…

“Ready to rock?” by Julia at Poppy Salon


Friday May 27, 2016 at Poppy Salon
4:01pm
5 minutes
People Magazine
March 2016


Maggie tells me she doesn’t have time to pick me up from the dentist because she’s too busy cutting the sleeves off of her Van Halen t-shirt and to call someone else, like Mom, or Aunt Isabel. The thing is, Maggie already said she would pick me up and I’m supposed to be having a major mouth surgery that they specifically won’t perform on you if you can’t ensure that someone will be there to drive your drugged ass home. I call Maggie back and this time she answers with one of her character voices.
“Bonjour?”
“Maggie, don’t hang up, it’s me. I need you to put your fucking craft shears down and come get me after this appointment or they won’t let me do it. You can cut your shirt in the car. Or just be here for 3:30 and do it anytime else. Please.”
I can hear Maggie’s eyes rolling back in her head as she decides right then and there to either be a good person for once, or the dick that she usually is.

“Preach” by Julia on the 99


Thursday May 26, 2016
11:25pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

Mickey and I were laying in her bedroom listening to Eminem and painting our nails. Her mother had called us once to come down for breakfast but we weren’t hungry because we had just finished a pack of Oreos and a pack of cigarettes. Mickey’s mother always smelled of canned ham but she worshiped on Sundays and Mickey wasn’t supposed to miss it. Mickey told me it didn’t matter, let her keep calling until that woman strains her voice and has nothing left for Jesus. Mickey’s mom had 3 other kids to get ready before service so she didn’t call on us as much as I thought she would. Mickey was already putting on her plaid vest with the fur and opening her window so we could bust out the heavy Sunday green. Mickey glanced at me from over her shoulder, a cigarette stuck to the dry part of her lower lip. She said “you’re lucky your mother doesn’t bug you when you’re just trying to have a good time.” I laughed for a second. Then I told her, “you’re lucky your mother is alive!”

“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.