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jules Dec 2017
Liam and I both had younger sisters in the eighth grade the year we got married. The day it started he came in from work with a strange look on his face. I asked him what was wrong, and he showed me the text Shannon had sent him earlier that afternoon. Upon checking my cellphone I realized I had two missed calls and a similar panicked text from my own sister. The headlines appeared online minutes later. Local Small Town Politicians Close the Doors of the County Mall Indefinitely in the Name of Social Science. The tweens tried everything they could to break down the doors, but being 13, physical strength wasn’t a luxury they had. With no other options, they began to congregate all over the place; they went to each other’s houses, sat on benches together at parks, or hung out at local fast food restaurants. The experts said they’d never seen anything like it. I caught Shannon one late night crawling out through the doggy flap in the back door of our condo, half a case of Budweiser under her left arm. They stole cigarettes from their grandfathers and shoved their tongues in each other’s mouths. As the days turned into weeks, they asked each other, “Are you feeling it yet?” After some pondering, the answer would come, and it was always the same. “Yeah. I am.” About a month in, someone mentioned the book Lord of the Flies, to which someone else responded, “Let’s ******* do it.” They rubbed dirt on their faces and ripped their clothes, spat on their palms and rubbed their stomachs. Shannon’s boyfriend became the leader and he rolled up a piece of construction paper and used it as a bullhorn. He stood on a turned over milk crate in the middle of the mall parking lot and delivered decrees and everyone listened because he was the tallest and his voice the loudest. None of this particularly bothered any of us, but Liam couldn’t handle it. He’d taken a sociology course as an elective at NYU. He told me again and again, “These kids are the future. This is what happens when you take away their resources. They don’t need this.” He cried in the bathtub, then got out, dried off, put on a suit and tie and climbed into bed with me. He Facebook messaged his estranged ex-wife, in all caps, OH GOD OH GOD I’M GOING TO DIE SOMEDAY, and then dropped his phone into a glass full of flat coke. When I woke up in the morning, he was gone. I don’t think they ever ended up re-opening that mall.
jules Oct 2017
The landlord told us never to go on the roof.
We take to borrowing others, tiptoes clanging on steel and iron
My knees rubbing gravel and asphalt.
We finish the wine and **** three stories up.

Most days we sit curled on broken patio chairs
Cigarette to split
No, I want my own.
Unspoken fourth neighbor snoresputtercoughsnortsneezes from the corner.
*******, Chaz.
We didn't come, by pick up truck and bicycle, to live above crackheads again.
I could smell it, those May mornings.
Misha, always sick, he said.
He was.

You were always the Junction.
drunken promises
sober **** ups
idle hope
came and met ****** up ugly only to straighten out again.
Destined Final Resting Place of my last drops of liquor.
In a way it could never amount to more than that.
A wasteland we did nothing but lay waste to.

Avery taught me how to french inhale sitting on the hood of her 74' Ford something or other.
Fishnets Valu Village miniskirt, lakeside cold
Her zippo lighter roman candle flash bright.

Didn't I steal that?
Didn't I, one winter darkened morning, rifle through your jeans for TTC fare and a fiver for an Egg McMuffin?

Who can remember.
jules Oct 2017
I swing my legs over yours, languid sprawl barside stoop
You light Marlboro golds your cousin brought you from North Carolina.
Or were they those ancient Belmonts
Procured from that corduroy jacket you picked up last week?
Or did you roll us two in the palm of your hand
with the kind of ease that makes me wish I was still a stoner?
We wash it down with cheap *****, or whiskey
Or was it the leftover of your mother’s brandy?
If I close my eyes I can still feel the warm in my belly
The burn on my lips, that metal flask taste on my tongue.
We stumble through cobblestoned alleyways.
Did I forget my bike?
Did you?
I want to exist somewhere in that dark before 4AM last call.
I want everything to be as easy as we believed it could be.
I want to remember how to forget like that, again.
jules Oct 2017
Started ******* my coke dealer that night. What the **** did you expect me to do? A homecoming celebrated with paperwork and the task of identifying the ******* who shoved his hand down my pants on the train in a photo line-up. I swallowed the bullet. The next time I smiled at you the shrapnel was still caught in my teeth. Couldn't fish it out.

(unpublished draft circa 2015)
jules Jan 2015
We’d been waiting in line at Chipotle for half an hour
when you turned to me and said
“If we have to stand here for five more ******* minutes I’m throwing myself in the deep frier.”
I told you that I figured a person could stand just about anything
for ten seconds
Then when that’s over,
you just start on another ten seconds
Our burrito bowls would be here right away
if we just took it ten seconds at a time
So the first night I slept in your bed,
as you kicked me in the side as punishment
for a night’s worth of nightmares dreamt too close for comfort
Each prime number punctuated by another jab I counted
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
One month later at Tim Horton’s I ordered you breakfast.
A sesame seed bagel lightly toasted with butter.
It’s two shades too dark
and when I came home you told me
as far as you were concerned we both belong in the garbage,
slammed the door in my face so I counted
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
Ten weeks before, woke up to knife elbows
slicing into my ribs saying I can’t sleep
So you played architect and I was Pompeii
Finally touching me for the first time in centuries
The dust rising to reveal relief as tangible as ruins themselves
I leaned in to brush my lips against yours,
hands rushed up my cheek and you pushed me,
Just a little too roughly into a forest of flannel sheets and recycled oxygen
I felt thankful that at least you were touching me
In a way that if I tried hard enough I could perceive as romantic
You rolled away like ocean’s waves pushing against the dams of my eyelids
One audible leak and I’d be sleeping in the bathtub again so I counted
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Eight days later at my parents’
Edith Piaf was on my turntable
Your borrowed vape in my hand
I should’ve probably been crying,
But my mind has only ever had one track and missing you took precedence over tears.
Wanting to go back to you feels gross.
It feels wet
It feels nauseating
Why do I want to go back to a place
That was once a home but is now just an apartment
where I pay rent in my ability to sidestep the landmines scattered across floor made of eggshells?
I love you because when you saw me have a panic attack for the first time
You held me until my muscles felt like they hated me a little less
I don’t because when I walked in on you ******* your ex girlfriend
Your thunder shook my tree branch shoulders
So hard that my boughs convulsed and burst the twig capillaries in my eyeballs.
I love you because your stepmother is younger than you are
And that’s just really ******* sad.
I don’t because you say you never did anything that would warrant “this kind of behaviour”
As if loving you had landed me in detention
I love you because you once felt like home.
I don’t because you changed the locks.
1, 2, 3,
For months I told myself that we all crack under pressure
But once I saw that my tremors were coming from your faults
I realized how deep trembles are felt
Love is not an earthquake
Love is not painful
Love is learning how to come home again
Love is ******* magic
I will not delay its happening by wasting another ten seconds on you.
jules Oct 2014
When I moved to the city I expected everything to change, fast.
I wanted to leave behind this shell of a girl
Torn apart by hands too rough and voices too loud
Come into my own this
Maybe Girl Maybe Boy Maybe Yes Maybe No
Whirlwind of being ball of energy hurricane
I wanted to be tough.
I wanted to be the kind of person
That people would look at and say
My God
I don’t know if that’s a boy or a girl
Whatever they are they are **** as ****
But **** I wouldn’t go anywhere near them without asking first.
I started buying cigarettes and drinking whiskey
Got a half pit-bull half Rottweiler
Shaved my head but not my legs
Pierced my nose and my ******* and anything else that I thought would make my mother angry
I wanted to be tough.
But I want you to tell me
How I can hold my head high and walk through these busy streets
When the same voices are loud and are bodies close too close much too close
When I go to a bar and eyes assault me
Looking but not seeing
Thick hips and **** and red lips
How can I glare back?
When I go to a University party with my girlfriends
Get so drunk I can’t stand and my legs turn to rubber and my head turns to glass
And he finds me and takes me upstairs turns out the lights and hurts me
How can I snarl and tell the world to go ***** itself?
Fear is not something we are born with
It is taught
when that dark car pulls over and asks your 8 year old self if you’d like a ride home
when your first boyfriend tells you he loves you before threatening to slap you across the face
when the man on the subway waits to see what stop you get off at
when he crosses the street to your side
when boys talk about grabbing a girl’s *** as “ice breaker ****”
I am not tough
I am afraid
It permeates my being and I know for some part of you it permeates yours too
Fear has left your No Vacancy light on and no one else can check in.
Ladies of every color and age and walk of life
Ace Pan Bi Gay Trans Queer
Female presenting or passing
They’ve taught us fear
They’ve taught us that toughness is reserved for your man your protector
I am here to tell you I’ve seen fear so close it breathed down my neck
And being tough is not about cigarettes and leather and piercings
Sometimes it’s about being fragile and wearing thick *** armour
Girls there is nothing wrong with faking it until you make it
Let your bones show
Scream and cry and stomp your feet
Lash out baby yell till your vocal chords feel raw
Let your ****** ***** freak flag fly
Tough as nails might not look how your trapped suburban self imagined it
Remember that the conversation of your hand intertwined with hers
Speaks louder in your memory than the screams of telling him to go **** himself ever could.
Let bravery be your Vacancy light.
Be tough.
jules Aug 2014
When I dress in the morning, I feel you grab me from behind. I buy myself a drink and you smash the glass. I turn to kiss him and you pull my hair, hard.


(You don't understand when I say I am angry. I'm not talking about jutting out my lower lip and clenching my fist, I mean my hand wants to fly up and rip my own ******* mouth off of my face.)
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