Commonplace Book XIV

I hate endings. Just detest them. Beginnings are definitely the most exciting, middles are perplexing and endings are a disaster.
The temptation towards resolution, towards wrapping up the package, seems to me a terrible trap. Why not be more honest with the moment? The most authentic endings are the ones which are already revolving towards another beginning. That’s genius.
– Sam Shepard

Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.
– Jean-Paul Sartre

Where is what I started for,
and why is it yet unfound?
– Walt Whitman

Eileen Myles:

At a Waterfall, Reykjavik

I still feel like
the world
is a piece
of bread

I’m holding
out half
to you.

That little letdown
at the end of a long day
one-foot waterfall.
– Clark Strand

Believe me I am not being modest
when I admit my life doesn’t bear repeating.
I agreed to be the poet
of one life, one death alone.
– C.D. Wright

This should be the spirit every Monday. Know that something good will always happen.
– Gabriel García Márquez

Chiho’s Calligraphy
(for Chiho Kaneko)
Chiho brushed for me
three Chinese characters.
She sent them to me in the mail.
I have her calligraphy framed on the wall
in my room above my little homemade
altar where I sit every day.
The characters from top to bottom say:
Shu, which means keep or obey,
as in obey the teacher.
The second one is ha, which means
break, rebel, try things out, other than
what the teacher said.
The third one is ri, which means
depart on your own path,
go your own way.
– David Budbill, Happy Life

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s a cold and it’s a broken cowabunga.
– Alicia Kraft

A dream is the bearer of a new possibility, the enlarged horizon, the great hope.
– Howard Thurman

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
– Oprah Winfrey

How else to enter into the forty-day place that lay ahead of him? How else to cross into the wilderness where he would have no food, no community, nothing that was familiar to him—and, to top it off, would have to wrestle with the devil? How else, but to go into that landscape with the knowledge of his own name: Beloved.
– Jan Richardson

Beloved Is Where We Begin

If you would enter
into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.

Do not leave
without hearing
who you are:
named by the One
who has traveled this path
before you.

Do not go
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.

I cannot promise
this blessing will free you
from danger,
from fear,
from hunger
or thirst,
from the scorching
of sun
or the fall
of the night.

But I can tell you
that on this path
there will be help.

I can tell you
that on this way
there will be rest.

I can tell you
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort
and strength,
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
curious insistence
whisper our name:


– Jan Richardson

One of the things I try to do: memorize the smallest, most mundane and ordinary, unprepossessing, and virtually invisible of physical moments: the look and feel of a certain wall at a certain time on a certain day. Those walls, those little shacks, those cats in the sun: all that is lacking in self-consciousness I seek to hold in vision, memory. (Simple composition, color tints, a wash of light, crumbled brick, cold shadow, stillness, rose-color dirt, a twitching whisker.) Not knowing why, but thinking I may want it later, I try to keep it and I never can.
– Michelle Anderson-Binczak

How beautiful you must be
to have been able to lead me
this far with only
the sound of your going away
heard once at a time and then
remembered in silence
when the time was gone
you whom I have never seen
o forever invisible one
whom I have never mistaken
for another voice
nor hesitated to follow
you incomparable one
for whom the waters fall
and the winds search
and the words were made
– W.S. Merwin

We should have fled at once, and we both knew it,
but we both lacked the stamina to do it;
tugged by two loves, society and sorrow,
we drifted off to different romances,
leaving behind a monument of glances.
– Rachel Wetzsteon

Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene, I hardly paid it any mind. I never stopped to think of it as something that would make a lasting impression, certainly never imagined that eighteen years later I would recall it in such detail. I didn’t give a damn about the scenery that day. I was thinking about myself. I was thinking about the beautiful girl walking next to me. I was thinking about the two of us together, and then about myself again. It was the age, that time of life when every sight, every feeling, every thought came back, like a boomerang, to me. And worse, I was in love. Love with complications. The scenery was the last thing on my mind.
– Haruki Murakami

‘Listening,’ [Erich] Fromm argues,’is an art like the understanding of poetry’ and, like any art, has its own rules and norms. Drawing on his half-century practice as a therapist, Fromm offers six such guidelines for mastering the art of unselfish understanding:

1. The basic rule for practicing this art is the complete concentration of the listener.

2. Nothing of importance must be on his [her] mind, he [she] must be optimally free from anxiety as well as from greed.

3. He [She] must possess a freely-working imagination which is sufficiently concrete to be expressed in words.

4. He [She] must be endowed with a capacity for empathy with another person and strong enough to feel the experience of the other as if it were his [her] own.

5. The condition for such empathy is a crucial facet of the capacity for love. To understand another means to love him [her] — not in the erotic sense but in the sense of reaching out to him [her] and of overcoming the fear of losing oneself.

6. Understanding and loving are inseparable. If they are separate, it is a cerebral process and the door to essential understanding remains closed.

– Erich Fromm

It is still grey out as I follow the outline of memory.
– Joy Harjo, The Psychology of Earth and Sky

Walk the good road, my daughter, and the buffalo herds wide and dark as cloud shadows moving over the prairie will follow you . . . Be dutiful, respectful, gentle and modest, my daughter. And proud walking. If the pride and the virtue of the women are lost, the spring will come but the buffalo trails will turn to grass. Be strong, with the warm, strong heart of the earth. No people goes down until their women are weak and dishonored …
– Howard Zinn

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places – and there are so many – where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
– Howard Zinn

But you don’t have to become art
to hunger me, nor do I need
metaphor to see you as love.
– Jack B. Bedell

The whole sky is yours
to write on, blown open
to a blank page.
– Rita Dove

The peril is that the human intellect is free to destroy itself. Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent further thinking by teaching the next generation that there is no validity in any human thought. It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith. Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all. If you are merely a skeptic, you must sooner or later ask yourself the question, “Why should anything go right; even observation and deduction? Why should not good logic be as misleading as bad logic? They are both movements in the brain of a bewildered ape?” The young skeptic says, “I have a right to think for myself.” But the old skeptic, the complete skeptic, says, “I have no right to think for myself. I have no right to think at all.
– G. K. Chesterton

“Shut up,” he said, “you talk too much.”
“Thank you; now I see how many books are still inside of me before I can close my mouth.”
– David Bedrick

The Request

The day my son was born
my spiritual practice dissolved.
Whatever I had absorbed

on the wisdom of non-attachment
left in a great commotion. Rope of
— what else can I name it — love

pulled me towards his unopened eyes.
Expelled from his first home, he flailed
naked in the new light. I bent over my wife

and tasted the salt sweat beading on her brow,
stroked her hair matted in its disarray,
bent over both of them — flesh

to flesh to flesh — and whispered a request:
grant me another hundred years
to spend in my present form.
– Ken Victor

Subject and object of consciousness cannot exist apart from each other. Without an object, the subject cannot be aware of anything. Mountains and rivers, earth and sun, all lie within the heart of consciousness. When that realization arises, time and space dissolve. Cause and effect, birth and death, all vanish.

Though we dwell a hundred thousand light years from a star, we can cross that distance in a flash. The saints of the past can return to the present in a microsecond, their presence as vivid as a bright flame.

You are there, because I am here. We inter-are. If we do not exist, nothing exists. Subject and object, host and guest, are a part of each other…

Let us welcome impermanence and non-self. There is no need to seek a Pure Land somewhere else. We only need to lift our heads and see the moon and stars. The essential quality is awareness. If we open our eyes, we will see.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.
– Howard Zinn

Like the ground turning green
in a spring wind, like birdsong beginning inside the egg.

Like this universe coming into existence,
the lover wakes, and whirls

in a dancing joy,

then kneels down
in praise.

– Rumi

No birth happens in the light:⁣
Not human, plant or plankton.⁣
Find and gather your seeds,
Push them deep into the soil⁣
Of undoing, made deeper
By digging and attrition,⁣
So the moon shall be a sun
For all things hidden,⁣
For everything germinating inside you.
– Jack Adam Weber

When you die, only three things will remain of you, since you will abandon all material things on the threshold of the otherworld: what you have taught to others, what you have created with your hands, and how much love you have spread.

So learn more and more in order to teach wise, long-lasting values. Work more and more to leave the world things of great beauty. And love people around you for the light of love heals everything.

– François Bourillon

I love the way you take a walk / And all the things you see with your eyes/ Oh, to be that distant thought / Some growing meaning in your mind
– Angel Olsen

you have yourself within you
yourself, you have her, and there is nothing
that cannot be seen open then to the coming of what comes.
– Carolyn Forché

Books, like landscapes, leave their marks in us. Sometimes these traces are so faint as to be imperceptible – tiny shifts in the weather of the spirit that do not register on the usual instruments. Mostly, these marks are temporary: we close a book, and for the next hour or two the world seems oddly brighter at its edges; or we are moved to a kindness or a meanness that would otherwise have gone unexpressed. Certain books, though, like certain landscapes, stay with us even when we have left them, changing not just our weathers but our climates.
– Robert Macfarlane

What if, when we take a long, mindful look at everything around us, we’re not actually seeing everything? What if we’re only seeing part of what’s really there? What if we are missing an entire layer of reality?

And what if, by simply opening our hearts and our minds to a new vocabulary of seeing and understanding, we begin to see a much bigger picture? What if the world suddenly becomes a magnificent tapestry of connections and signs and light and love, all woven into the ordinary fabric of life that we’re so used to?

– Laura Lynne Jackson

I’ve reached the edge of this world. I’m at an outpost. I’m standing in the middle of an expansive, godless rubbish dump of culture; a quarry filled with pop songs that have fallen back to earth like false angels; status updates that endlessly stream like SOSs; and a haze of news, fashion, books, thoughts and clever ideas that have became rubbish the instant they were born. And I can hear the sound of seagulls circling above it all; a dog whimpers somewhere from inside a parked car and strangers race to what they call their ‘next scheduled appointment’, when really, they’re just running blindly from death. And as I lean over the crumbling edges of myself, I’m ready to take the leap.
– Darby Hudson

top down, heading home, /
jasmine lines roadside, perfume /
still mingles with stars
– Greg Sellers

Landscapes with frames around them, to keep the landscapes from leaking out.
– Kelly Link

Do you understand? When I am done telling you these stories, when you’re done listening to these stories, I am no longer I, and you are no longer you. In this afternoon we briefly merged into one. After this, you will always carry a bit of me, and I will always carry a bit of you, even if we both forget this conversation.
– Hao Jingfang

Having a Coke with You
Frank O’Hara – 1926-1966

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them
I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together for the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse
it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it

Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure you’re fully absorbed. He’s making sure your imagination withers. Until it’s as useful as your appendix. He’s making sure your attention is always filled. And this being fed, it’s worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what’s in your mind. With everyone’s imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.
– Chuck Palahniuk

Things didn’t remember their names and I have begun to forget them
memory’s like a pocket riddled with holes that cannot hold change
words or ideas and some in the Dark Ages knew this already
and some know it still in our pitch-black era
as they store up what others before them had carried
and released into the dark from their embarrassed hands
like a bird or a lizard or simply a crumb
something between something and nothing between us and our forgetting
something with no beginning no end and no meaning
– Jaan Kaplinski

As we are a doomed race, chained to a sinking ship, as the whole thing is a bad joke, let us, at any rate, do our part; mitigate the suffering of our fellow-prisoners; decorate the dungeon with flowers and air-cushions; be as decent as we possibly can.
– Virginia Woolf

There are so many ways to reconnect with the sacred within creation, to listen within and include the earth in our spiritual practice and daily life. When we hear the morning chorus of birds, we may sense that deeper joy of life and awake to its divine nature; at night the stars can remind us of what is infinite and eternal within us and within the world. Watching the simple wonder of a dawn or a sunset can be an offering in itself.

Whatever way we are drawn to wonder, to recognize the sacred, what matters is always the attitude we bring to this intimate exchange. It is through the heart that a real connection is made, even if we first make it in our feet or hands. Do we really feel our self as a part of this beautiful and suffering planet, do we sense its need? Then this connection comes alive, a living stream that flows from our heart as it embraces all of life. Then every step, every touch, will be a prayer for the earth, a remembrance of what is sacred.

– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

The Edge You Carry With You

What is this
beguiling reluctance
to be happy?

This quickness
in turning away
the moment
you might

The felt sense
that a moment’s
unguarded joy
might after all,
just kill you?

You know
so very well
the edge
of darkness
you have
carried with you.

You know
so very well,
your childhood legacy:
that particular,
sense of hurt,
given to you
so freely
by the world
you entered.

And you know
too well
by now
the body’s
at the invitation
to undo
others seemed
to want to
make you learn.

But your edge
of darkness
has always
its own definition
as an edge of light

and the door
you closed
by its very nature
one just waiting
to be leant against
and opened.

And happiness
might just
be a single step away,
on the other side
of that next
and undeserving

Your way home,
understood now,
not as an achievement,
but as a giving up,
a blessed undoing,
an arrival
in the body
and a full rest
in the give
and take
of the breath.

This living
breathing body
always waiting
to greet you
at the door,
always prepared
to give you
the rest you need,
no matter
the long
years away,
wanting you,
to come home.

– David Whyte

O Thou
Dweller in my heart,
Open it out,
Purify it,
Make it bright and beautiful.

Awaken it,
Prepare it,
Make it fearless,
Make it a blessing to others.

Rid it of laziness,
Free it from doubt,
Unite it with all,
Destroy its bondage.

Let thy peaceful music
Pervade all its works.

Make my heart
Full of joy,
Full of joy,
Full of joy.

– A favorite prayer of Gandhi

I care about what is said, and I care about how it is said. They’re twins, and together they form the whole point & meaning …
– Olivia Dresher

Water, be my memory, let me see what I have lost.
– Agha Shahid Ali

For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
– William Butler Yeats

I am torn because I cannot find on earth
An answer to the sunset’s aching cry.
– Richard Eberhart

Learning from History
by David Ferrty
They said, my saints, my slogan-sayers sang,
Be good, my child, in spite of all alarm.

They stood, my fathers, tall in a row and said,
Be good, be brave, you shall not come to harm.

I heard them in my sleep and muttering dream,
And murmuring cried, How shall I wake to this?

They said, my poets, singers of my song,
We cannot tell, since all we tell you is

But history, we speak but of the dead.
And of the dead they said such history

(Their beards were blazing with the truth of it)
As made of much of me a mystery.

How intense can be the longing to escape from the emptiness and dullness of human verbosity, to take refuge in nature, apparently so inarticulate, or in the wordlessness of long, grinding labour, of sound sleep, of true music…
– Boris Pasternak

I have closed my eyes on the past
As you want it remembered for
The rest of life, called ‘forever.’
– Kenneth Rexroth, No!

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
– Roald Dahl

An Earth Song
by Langston Hughes

It’s an earth song,—
And I’ve been waiting long for an earth song.
It’s a spring song,—
And I’ve been waiting long for a spring song.
Strong as the shoots of a new plant
Strong as the bursting of new buds
Strong as the coming of the first child from its mother’s womb.
It’s an earth song,
A body song,
A spring song,
I have been waiting long for this spring song.

A profound love between two people involves, after all, the power and chance of doing profound hurt.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Slender memory, stay with me.
– Li-Young Lee

Love Sonnet I
How often I have wished time with you was
More than dreams my mind keeps, though any real
Time with you seemed a dream, too. Between us
Time meant everything yet nothing—the seal
For an empty tomb when we had to part,
Some sense of timelessness together. Still,
There’s no need to roll a stone from this soul,
For eternity won’t matter without your heart
To save my own. And the world that waits will
Never offer enough beauty to hold
My attention or affection as you
Did. Now time’s all wrong, each day’s a year, each
Year a lifetime, yet there’s no life without
Your breath to breathe, eyes to see, heart to be.
– Greg Sellers, Love Sonnet

Love, how the hours accumulate. Uncountable.
The trees grow tall, some people walk away
and diminish forever.
The damp pewter days slip around without warning
and we cross over one year and one year.
– Li-Young Lee

When you realize you are mortal you also realize the tremendousness of the future. You fall in love with a Time you will never perceive.
– Etel Adnan, Journey to Mount Tamalpais

I see that the life of this place is always emerging beyond expectation or prediction or typicality, that it is unique, given to the world minute by minute, only once, never to be repeated. And this is when I see that this life is a miracle, absolutely worth having, absolutely worth saving. We are alive within mystery, by miracle.
– Wendell Berry

No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
Drinks his dark rum all day, and is content.
– Robert Bly

It is not diversity that divides us; it is not our ethnicity or religion or culture that divides us.
– Nelson Mandela

Fear unites the disparate parts of our false selves very quickly.
The ego moves forward by contraction, self-protection, and refusal, by saying no.
Contraction gives us focus, purpose, direction, superiority, and a strange kind of security.
It takes our aimless anxiety, covers it up, and tries to turn it into purposefulness
and urgency, which results in a kind of drivenness.
But this drive is not peaceful or happy.
It is filled with fear and locates all its problems as
“out there,” never “in here.”

The soul or the True Self does not proceed by contraction but by expansion.
It moves forward, not by exclusion, but by inclusion. It sees things deeply
and broadly not by saying no but by saying yes, at least on some level,
to whatever comes its way. Can you distinguish between those two
very different movements within yourself?

Fear and contraction allow us to eliminate other people, write them off,
exclude them, and somehow expel them, at least in our minds.
This immediately gives us a sense of being in control
and having a secure set of boundaries…

But in controlling we are usually afraid of losing something.
If we go deeper into ourselves, we will see that there is both a rebel
and a dictator in all of us, two different ends of the same spectrum.
It is almost always fear that justifies our knee-jerk rebellion
or our need to dominate—a fear that is hardly ever recognized as such
because we are acting out and trying to control the situation.

– Richard Rohr

Just live your life as it comes.
Keep quietly alert, inquiring into the real nature of yourself.
Perception is based on memory and is only imagination.
The world can be said to appear but not to be.
Only that which makes perception possible is real.

You agree to be guided from within
and life becomes a journey into the unknown.
Give up all names and forms, and the Real is with you.

Know yourself as you are. Distrust your mind and go beyond.
Do not think of the Real in terms of consciousness and unconsciousness.
It is utterly beyond both.
It gives birth to consciousness.
All else is in consciousness.

Nothing you can see, feel or think is so. Go beyond the personal and see.
Stop imagining that you were born. You are utterly beyond all existence
and non-existence, utterly beyond all that the mind conceives.

Question yourself: Who am I?
What is behind and beyond all this?
Soon you will see that thinking yourself to be a person
is mere habit built on memory. Inquire ceaselessly.

Just be aware of your being here and now.
There is nothing more to it.
In reality you are not a thing nor separate.

You are the infinite potentiality, the inexhaustible possibility.
Because you are, all can be.
The universe is but a partial manifestation of your limitless capacity to become.
You are neither consciousness nor its content.
You are the timeless Source.

Disassociate yourself from mind and consciousness.
Find a foothold beyond and all will be clear and easy.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

You must become brother and sister
to each and every thing
so that they flow through you
dissolving every difference
between what belongs to you and others.

No star, no leaf shall fall –
you fall with them –
to rise again
in every new beginning.

– Hermann Hesse

When I think of the relationship between artists and society – and for me the question is always what it could be, rather than what it is – I think of the word transcendent. It is a word I never use in public, but it’s the only word I can come up with to describe what I think about the role of artists. By transcendent, I mean that the artist transcends the immediate. Transcends the here and now. Transcends the madness of the world. Transcends terrorism and war.
– Howard Zinn

Blue Horses
Franz Marc

I step into the painting of the four blue horses.
I am not even surprised that I can do this.

One of the horses walks toward me.
His blue nose noses me lightly. I put my arm
over his blue mane, not holding on, just
He allows me my pleasure.
Franz Marc died a young man, shrapnel in his brain.
I would rather die than explain to the blue horses
what war is.
They would either faint in horror, or simply
find it impossible to believe.
I do not know how to thank you, Franz Marc.
Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually.
Maybe the desire to make something beautiful
is the piece of God that is inside each of us.
Now all four horses have come closer,
are bending their faces toward me
as if they have secrets to tell.
I don’t expect them to speak, and they don’t.
If being so beautiful isn’t enough, what
could they possibly say?
– Mary Oliver

I do most sincerely believe that ethical behavior as we best construe it ought to be followed by us throughout our lives, even on the last day of life, and that if we have made a bad or even evil choice we are not barred (or excused) thereby from continuing to live the last moments or years given to us in whatever way we consider to be most right.
– William T. Vollmann

from “Sand and Foam”
Kahlil Gibran
Once I filled my hand with mist.
Then I opened it and lo, the mist was a worm.
And I closed and opened my hand again, and behold there was a bird.
And again I closed and opened my hand, and in its hollow stood a man with a
sad face, turned upward.
And again I closed my hand, and when I opened it there was naught but mist.
But I heard a song of exceeding sweetness.

Sad people have the gift of time, while the world dizzies everyone else; they remain stagnant, their bodies refusing to follow pace with the universe. With these kind of people everything aches for too long, everything moves without rush, wounds are always wet.
– Warsan Shire

A child’s instinct is almost perfect in the matter of fighting; a child always stands for the good militarism as against the bad. The child’s hero is always the man or boy who defends himself suddenly and splendidly against aggression. The child’s hero is never the man or boy who attempts by his mere personal force to extend his mere personal influence.

But really to talk of this small human creature, who never picks up an umbrella without trying to use it as a sword, who will hardly read a book in which there is no fighting – to take this human creature and talk about the wickedness of teaching him to be military, seems rather a wild piece of humour. He has already not only the tradition of fighting, but a far manlier and more genial tradition of fighting than our own. No; I am not in favour of the child being taught militarism. I am in favour of the child teaching it.
– G. K. Chesterton

Why We Stay

I am on the porch with strong coffee.
All the artists, poets, philosophers with
no reason, and the haphazard gardeners

are sleeping in or waking to their visions.
At the feeder – the first birds of the morning:
chickadees in their black-and-white cassocks,

the house finches, their muted red scarves
head to shoulder, nuthatches upside down.
This is the way the day is to be – loved

without definition. Joy known without
needing sorrow. It is only quiet, first
light moving in its unencumbered way

across each leaf, branched or fallen. Deep
in itself the earth trembles, our own way
lost and lingering at an unfelt edge.

– Jack Ridl

I want to be in such a
passionate adoration that
my tent gets pitched against the sky.

Let the beloved come
and sit like a guard dog
in front of the tent.

When the ocean surges,
don’t let me just hear it.
Let it splash inside my chest.

– Rumi

All attempts to restore the sky,
even just a spark, have left us here in the dark.
– Cat Dixon

…and the memory of her lived in my body for years.
– Abdulrazak Gurnah, Gravel Heart

Not enough light has ever reached us here among the shadows, and yet I think it has never been entirely absent.
– Wendell Berry

Imagine all the
flowers we’ve trampled
are growing in paradise,
ready to forgive us.
– C. T. Salazar

I’m not saying
it never existed
but it never existed
the way I’m saying.
– C. T. Salazar

I said I wanted to worship something,
and felt myself become gospel in your hands.
– C. T. Salazar

Perhaps there is no greater lie than the feeling that someone else’s prolonged daylight depends on you, their chance to flounder for a while longer on the surface, to appear briefly once more in the light before yielding to the complete and total darkness.
– Maria Stepanova

With the invention of digital photography, yesterday and today have coexisted with unprecedented intensity. It’s as if the waste chute in a building has been blocked off and all the trash just keeps piling up forever. There’s no need to save film, just press the shutter release, even the deleted pictures remain in the computer’s long memory. Oblivion, the copycat of nonexistence, has a new twin brother; the dead memory of the collector. We look through a family album with a sense of affection–it contains a little, perhaps just what remains. But what should we do with an album containing everything, without exception, the whole disproportionate volume of the past?
– Maria Stepanova

In the country, spring is a time of small happenings happening quietly, hyacinth shoots thrusting in a garden, willows burning with a sudden frosty fire of green, lengthening afternoons of long flowing dusk and midnight rain opening lilac…
– Truman Capote

I have Spanish dancers in my stomach

they’re my arching striving in dance where it’s black
red flowers darken to be huge pleasuring the
severe, tried Angel who meets transition,
transport, as abruptly as necessary
for everyone’s are apt

Says the Unassuming Graceful
Whose down-hip-ness
Is that window
The dancers’ sensuous flaw
That admits Spring,
Contingent upon our personality
Spring is for the worldly
just like the HaHa Room
Just like dearest rockbottom
suddenly gone buoyant

To be black geese to be
strenuous dancers
is not to dignify a passion but to
grip it.

Not saints but always pupils
pupils dilated fully black in full achievement of
gut-feeling. Joy.

– Alice Notley, How Spring Comes

She lets the confused stay confused
if that is what they want
and is always available
to those with a passion for the truth.

In the welter of opinions,
she is content with not-knowing.

She makes distinctions
but doesn’t take them seriously.

She sees the world constantly breaking
apart, and stays centered in the whole.

She sees the world endlessly changing
and never wants it to be
different from what it is.

– Chuang-tzu

Even a short period of retreat is a benevolent rest, a stepping outside of busy daily rounds, and our ordinary identity. Released from the tyranny of time, we are invited into the reality of the present, to see the mystery of life anew. My teacher Ajahn Chah called it food for the heart.

Find ways to take regular retreats. Long ones, short ones, daily mini ones. Take five minutes to do nothing, walking under the trees outside work. Sit silently on the grass or the balcony or the porch, or on your zafu. First breathe with compassion for your busy self and then put down all your plans. Open yourself to wonder. Let your heart be fed and your spirit renewed. May it be so.

– Jack Kornfield

One could start just by taking a few minutes out of every day to sit quietly and do nothing, letting what moves one rise to the surface. One could take a few days out of every season to go on retreat or enjoy a long walk in the wilderness, recalling what lies deeper than the moment or the self. One could even, as Cohen was doing, try to find a life in which stage sets and performances disappear and one is reminded, at a level deeper than all words, how making a living and making a life sometimes point in opposite directions.

“What if?” points in both directions.
– Pico Iyer

There is a permanent amnesia planted in us, which just as we keep forgetting our dreams, we sometimes keep on forgetting our reality.
– Isaac Bashevis Singer

My great religion is a belief in the blood, the flesh, as being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds. But what our blood feels and believes and says, is always true. The intellect is only a bit and a bridle. What do I care about knowledge. All I want is to answer to my blood, direct, without fribbling intervention of mind, or moral, or what-not.
– D. H. Lawrence

Stories are the only enchantment possible, for when we begin to see our suffering as a story, we are saved.
– Anaïs Nin

Grandma once gave me a tip:

During difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by bit.
Don’t think about the future, not even what might happen tomorrow. Wash the dishes.
Take off the dust.
Write a letter.
Make some soup.
Do you see?
You are moving forward step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Get some rest.
Compliment yourself.
Take another step.
Then another one.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow bigger and bigger.
And time will come when you can think about the future without crying.

Good morning

– Elena Mikhalkova, The Room of Ancient Keys

Maps are ubiquitous in one sense, and completely missing in another. A lot of younger people don’t own maps and atlases and don’t have the knowledge a map gives you. We call things like MapQuest and Google Maps on your phone interactive… but are they? Are they interactive? It’s a system that largely gives you instructions to obey. Certainly, obedience is a form of interaction. (Maybe not my favorite one.) But a paper map you take control of — use it as you will, mark it up — and while you figure out the way from here to there yourself, instead of having a corporation tell you, you might pick up peripheral knowledge: the system of street names, the parallel streets and alternate routes. Pretty soon, you’ve learned the map, or rather, you have — via map — learned your way around a city. The map is now within you.

You are yourself a map.

– Rebecca Solnit

How to Come Out of Lockdown
by Jim Moore


Someone will need to forgive me for being
who I am, for sneaking back to my blue chair

by the window, where for the last three hundred and seventy days
I have learned that to be alone is what is good for me. I am pretending

as if I really belong with those who want to return to this world
with open arms, even though it has done to us

what it has done. I wish I could love like that,
instead of wanting to turn my back on it all,

as if life in the world were a marriage
assumed too young and necessarily left behind.

Try as I might I will never become
one of the world’s faithful ones.

My naked face and your naked face,
maskless. A cold March dawn,

harsh sunlight, impersonal and honest,
mindless like the light from a surgeon’s lamp

worn on the forehead as you peer down
into the wound. Nothing in this new life

is asked of me except to remember how small I am.


Sometimes the world won’t let itself
be sung. Can’t become a poem. Sometimes

we are sane, but sanity alone is not enough.
Warm moonlight and wind. I am sitting here,

simply breathing because there is no other way
to be with those who no longer can.

I don’t know what to say about it all,
but if you do please show me how to be you.

In the last play I saw, fourteen months ago,
before there were no more plays,

they had made a sea of the stage. Songs were chanted
on its shore. Lives lived. People pretended to die

and a ship sailed into the night. A moon. One star.
Afterward, applause. Then began that long silence

which it is now time for me to admit I have loved
beyond any reason or defense. Who among us

has not seen that star to the left
of the lockdown moon, shining

as the ship sets sail?

It seems to be in the nature of human beings to spend the first part of their lives mocking the cliches and conventions of their elders and the final part mocking the cliches and conventions of the young,
– Michael Chabon

Apologize when you’re Wrong. Stop looking for quotes that support your stupidity.
– unknown

Do you know what’s more exciting than red flags and ‘passion’? Healthy, respectful love.
– unknown

One thing a person cannot do, no matter how rigorous their analysis or heroic their imagination, is to draw up a list of things that would never occur to them,
– Thomas Schelling

Don’t make rules for others,
make them for yourself.
We’ll all be better off,
the old monk said.
– via Tom Montag



If you can’t
see the mountain,

you’ve gone too far,
the old monk says.



The edge of
the universe is

always new,
the old monk said.



If you go back
to talk about it,

you’ve already
lost the argument,

the old monk says.



Even if
it occurs

only once,

there’ll still be
wisdom in it,

the old monk says.



If I go up
the mountain

with rice and beans
what do I come

back down for,
the old monk asked.



The sound you hear,
that note is E-flat,
the old monk says.

That’s the key
the universe
sings in.



Physics is the way
the universe thinks,

the old monk says.
Pull up a chair, listen.



If you keep
wanting it

to hurt,
it will hurt,

the old monk says.
Stop wanting it

to hurt.



Fly through
fast enough,

you make it
halfway to

the old monk says.



Do it different
than you always do,
you will lose it,
the old monk says.
– via Tom Montag

Help doesn’t always come
in big packages,

the old monk said,
nor hope either.
– via Tom Montag

Look, America is no more a democracy than Russia is a Communist state. The governments of the U.S. and Russia are practically the same. There’s only a difference of degree. We both have the same basic form of government: economic totalitarianism. In other words, the settlement to all questions, the solutions to all issues are determined not by what will make the people most healthy and happy in their bodies and their minds but by economics. Dollars or rubles. Economy über alles. Let nothing interfere with economic growth, even though that growth is castrating truth, poisoning beauty, turning a continent into a shit-heap and driving an entire civilization insane. Don’t spill the Coca-Cola, boys, and keep those monthly payments coming.
– Tom Robbins

Searching for spring all day, I never saw it,
straw sandals treading everywhere
among the clouds, along the banks.
Coming home, I laughed, catching
the plum blossom’s scent:
spring at each branch tip, already perfect.
– unknown zen nun from the Song Dynasty
Sam Hammill and J.P. Seaton

If you only walk on sunny days,
you’ll never reach your destination.
– Paulo Coelho

I’m a radiant void. I’m convalescing after a long and dreadful illness… I cannot brood over broken hearts, mine is too recently mended.
– Vladimir Nabokov

Annunciation by Denise Levertov
We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,

almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
God waited.

She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.

Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
More often
those moments
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.

She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.

Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
only asked
a simple, ‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
perceiving instantly
the astounding ministry she was offered:

to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.
Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –

but who was God.

This was the moment no one speaks of,
when she could still refuse.

A breath unbreathed,


when no one looks / both poets & children grieve / the shifting contours // of cathedrals
– Ina Cariño

BONE by Mary Oliver

Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died
hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something
for the ear bone

is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where
once, in the lively swimmer’s head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only
two inches long
and thought: the soul
might be like this
so hard, so necessary

yet almost nothing.
Beside me
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,
unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn’t see anything
through its dark-knit glare;
yet don’t we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it

lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts
and what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
through the pale-pink morning light.

The Book of Longing
by Leonard Cohen

I can’t make the hills
The system is shot
I’m living on pills
For which I thank G-d

I followed the course
From chaos to art
Desire the horse
Depression the cart

I sailed like a swan
I sank like a rock
But time is long gone
Past my laughing stock

My page was too white
My ink was too thin
The day wouldn’t write
What the night penciled in

My animal howls
My angel’s upset
But I’m not allowed
A trace of regret

For someone will use
What I couldn’t be
My heart will be hers

She’ll step on the path
She’ll see what I mean
My will cut in half
And freedom between

For less than a second
Our lives will collide
The endless suspended
The door open wide

Then she will be born
To someone like you
What no one has done
She’ll continue to do

I know she is coming
I know she will look
And that is the longing
And this is the book

Beware the ‘empathy-washing’ of self-proclaimed caring capitalists
by Evgeny Morozov

… In reality, the technological euphoria spawned by the refugee crisis suggests that we update the list of clever co-optation efforts that arise from compassionate capitalism –from “greenwashing” for fake ecological commitments to “openwashing” for fake transparency pledges – with yet another term: “empathy-washing”. It seems apt to describe growing corporate efforts to hijack humanitarian crises in order to tout corporate commitment to humanitarianism.

Empathy-washing initiatives create the false impression that the crisis is under control, with individual ingenuity, finally unlocked by privatised technologies, compensating for the rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground. And even if some of them do temporarily relieve the effects of the crises – against their causes, privatised technological solutions are impotent – they also entrench the power of technology platforms as indispensable intermediaries essential to the smooth administration of the post-crisis political landscape.


In the future – which, somehow, increasingly looks like our feudalist past – to be truly free, we’ll first have to pledge allegiance to a giant technology provider. Should our corporate overlord “pivot” to a new business model or simply decide that our freedom can no longer be justified in its cost-benefit analysis, we’ll have to find some other private guarantor of freedom.

Fleeing from the effects of neoliberal capitalism, all of us are becoming permanent refugees – with technology giants occasionally taking pity on us by offering us free services, identity papers, and an opportunity to make money in the sharing economy. And, soon, there won’t be anywhere to flee.

We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released.
– Jean Houston

Laughter is the loaded latency given us by nature as part of our native equipment to break up the stalemates of our lives and urge us on to deeper and more complex forms of knowing.
– Jean Houston

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.
– Jean Houston

No matter the situation, never let your emotions overpower your intelligence.
– Jean Houston

The world needs the sense that we are all in it TOGETHER!
– Jean Houston

If you keep telling the same sad small story. You will keep living the same sad small life.
– Jean Houston

I firmly believe that all human beings have access to extraordinary energies and powers. Judging from accounts of mystical experience, heightened creativity, or exceptional performance by athletes and artists, we harbor a greater life than we know.
– Jean Houston

Development involves giving up a smaller story in order to wake up to a larger story.
– Jean Houston

With subtly developed body awareness, it is possible for the individual to become the conscious orchestrator of health.
– Jean Houston

Critical to any practice of sacred psychology is training in multiple imageries to facilitate the inner realism of journeys of the soul. …
– Jean Houston

Run towards the roar,’ the old people used to tell the young ones. When faced with great danger and when people panic and seek a false sense of safety, run towards the roaring and go where you fear to go. For only in facing your fears can you find some safety and a way through. When the world rattles and the end seems near, go towards the roar.
– Michael Meade

An old Celtic proverb boldly places death right at the center of life. ‘Death is the middle of a long life,’ they used to say. Ancient people did things like that; they put death at the center instead of casting it out of sight and leaving such an important subject until the last possible moment. Of course, they lived close to nature and couldn’t help but see how the forest grew from fallen trees and how death seemed to replenish life from fallen members. Only the unwise and the overly fearful think that death is the blind enemy of life.
– Michael Meade

If you don’t know who you are, anyone can name you.
– Michael Meade

The genius inside a person wants activity. It’s connected to the stars; it’s connected to a spark and it wants to burn and it wants to make and it wants to create and it has gifts to give. That is the nature of inner genius.
– Michael Meade

In these dark and uncertain times, there can be great value in imagining a bit of star in each human soul.
Not just that it gives some hope for humanity at a time when man’s inhumanity to man seems ever on the increase; but also because it points to an inner brightness
that can light the way
in dark times.
– Michael Meade

Our job is not to comprehend or control everything, but to learn which story we are in and which of the many things calling out in the world is calling to us. Our job is to be fully alive in the life we have, to pick up the invisible thread of our own story and follow where it leads. Our job is to find the thread of our own dream and live it all the way to the end.
– Michael Meade

If we want the world to change, the healing of culture and greater balance in nature, it has to start inside the human soul.
– Michael Meade

Life roars at us when it wants or needs us to change. Ultimately, change means trans formation, a shifting from one form to another that involves the magic of creation. The trouble with entrenched oppositions is that each side becomes increasingly one-sided and single minded and unable to grow or meaningfully change. In the blindness of fear and the willfulness of abstract beliefs, people forget or reject the unseen yet essential unity that underlies all the oppositions in life.
– Michael Meade

Liberation happens each time we become conscious of the contents of the soul.
– Michael Meade

All meaningful change requires a genuine surrender. Yet, to surrender does not simply mean to give up; more to give up one’s usual self and allow something other to enter and redeem the lesser sense of self. In surrendering, we fall to the bottom of our arguments and seek to touch the origin of our lives again. Only then can we see as we were meant to see, from the depth of the psyche where the genius resides, where the seeds of wisdom and purpose were planted before we were born.
– Michael Meade

The ship is always off course. Anybody who sails knows that. Sailing is being off course and correcting. That gives a sense of what life is about.
– Michael Meade

Each life involves an essential errand; not simply the task of survival, but a life-mission embedded in the soul from the beginning.
– Michael Meade

What’s secretly in the water
of modern culture is that people
enter the world empty.
That’s a very dangerous idea,
because if everybody’s empty
than other people can get us
to do whatever they want
because there’s nothing
in us to stand against it.

But if we came to do
something that’s meaningful,
that involves giving and
making the world a more
beautiful, healthy, lively place,
then you become a difficult person
to move around and manipulate.
– Michael Meade

Whether we know it or not, our lives are acts of imagination and the world is continually re-imagined through us
– Michael Meade

There are those, however, that are not frightened of grief: dropping deep into the sorrow, they find therein a necessary elixir to the numbness. When they encounter one another, when they press their foreheads against the bark of a centuries-old tree…their eyes well with tears that fall easily to the ground. The soil needs this water. Grief is but a gate, and our tears a kind of key opening a place of wonder thats been locked away. Suddenly we notice a sustaining resonance between the drumming heart within our chest and the pulse rising from the ground.
– David Abram

Breathing involves a continual oscillation between exhaling and inhaling, offering ourselves to the world at one moment and drawing the world into ourselves at the next.
– David Abram

Sensory perception is the silken web that binds our separate nervous systems into the encompassing ecosystem.
– David Abram

Each place its own mind, its own psyche! Oak, Madrone, Douglas fir, red-tailed hawk, serpentine in the sandstone, a certain scale to the topography, drenching rains in the winters, fog off-shore in the summers, salmon surging up the streams – all these together make up a particular state of mind, a place-specific intelligence shared by all the humans that dwell therein, but also by the coyotes yapping in those valleys, by the bobcats and the ferns and the spiders, by all beings who live and make their way in that zone. Each place its own psyche. Each sky its own blue.
– David Abram

Each thing organizes the space around it, rebuffing or sidling up against other things; each thing calls, gestures, beckons to other beings or battles them for our attention; things expose themselves to the sun or retreat among the shadows, shouting with their loud colors or whispering with their seeds; rocks snag lichen spores from the air and shelter spiders under their flanks; clouds converse with the fathomless blue and metamorphose into one another; they spill rain upon the land, which gathers in rivulets and carves out canyons.
– David Abram

Entranced by the denotative power of words to define, to order, to represent the things around us, weve overlooked the songful dimension of language so obvious to our oral [storytelling] ancestors. Weve lost our ear for the music of language — for the rhythmic, melodic layer of speech by which earthly things overhear us.
– David Abram

Does the human intellect, or “reason,” really spring us free from our inherence in the depths of this wild proliferation of forms? Or on the contrary, is the human intellect rooted in, and secretly borne by, our forgotten contact with the multiple nonhuman shapes that surround us on every hand?
– David Abram

Only as the written text began to speak would the voices of the forest, and of the river, begin to fade. And only then would language loosen its ancient association with the invisible breath, the spirit sever itself from the wind, the psyche dissociate itself from the environing air.
– David Abram

The world we experience with our unaided senses is fluid and animate, shifting and transforming in response to our own shifts of position and of mood.
– David Abram

I think it was Miłosz, the Polish poet, who when he lay in a doorway and watched the bullets lifting the cobbles out of the street beside him realized that most poetry is not equipped for life in a world where people actually die. But some is.
– Ted Hughes

My courageous life
has gone ahead
and is looking back,
calling me on.

My courageous life
has seen everything
I have been
and everything
I have not
and has
forgiven me,
day after day.

My courageous life
still wants
my company:
wants me to
my life as witness
and thus
bequeath me
the way ahead.

My courageous life
has the patience
to keep teaching me,
how to invent
my own
and how
once gone,
to reappear again.

My courageous life
wants to stop
being ahead of me
so that it can lie
down and rest
deep inside the body
it has been
calling on.

My courageous life
wants to be
my foundation,
showing me
day after day
even against my will

how to undo myself,
how to surpass myself,
how to laugh as I go
in the face
of danger,
how to invite
the right kind
of perilous
how to find
a way
to die
of generosity.

– David Whyte

Words are carried away in this flow. They emerge, disappear, and reappear farther, like flotsam. They echo or repeat themselves. They associate with words, disassociate, re-associate with other words–constantly creating new images. They are elements of permanence and of change at the same time, in this continuously transforming landscape.
– Beatrice Szymkowiak

in bloom for only /
a few weeks, wisteria– /
cascades of blue grief
– Greg Sellers

We know more than we can say: we live
in waves of feelings and awareness
where images indwell and grow
along the leafwork of our nerves and veins;
and when one morning […]
we walk out on our porch and see
the white azaleas open to the air
we recognize them from our dreams
as every cell projects our affirmation
– Peter Meinke, Azaleas

I wish I didn’t love you
or that I loved you much more.
– Michelangelo Antonioni

For what should I save
my longing?
– Maggie Smith

Seattle weather: it has rained for weeks in this town,
The dampness breeding moths and a gray summer.
I sit in the smoky room reading your book again,
My eyes raw, hearing the trains steaming below me
In the wet yard, and I wonder if you are still alive.
Turning the worn pages, reading once more:
By misty waters and rainy sands, while the yellow dusk thickens.
– Weldon Kees

Wang Yangming noted, ‘There have never been people who know but do not act. Those who are supposed to know but do not act simply do not yet know.’ You know when you’ve reached the place of fully experiencing the Earth’s heartbreak, because you suddenly realize you are drawn to action – not because you think you should do something, but because you are impelled to do it.
– Jeremy Lent

And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man; A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thought, And rolls through all things.
– Jeremy Lent

The sense of separateness that our culture foists on us is, in Einstein’s words, ‘a kind of optical delusion of consciousness … a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us’. This delusion of consciousness is not, however, our only available option. ‘Our task,’ he continues, ‘must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
– Jeremy Lent

That was the river, this is the sea.
– Mike Scott

I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
– Mike Scott

a jutting bough –
here, another companion
of the moon
– Louis Osofsky

If you brew your own cauldron, magic will surely happen.
– Dara McAnulty

We must change almost everything in our current societies.
The bigger your carbon footprint – the bigger your moral duty.
The bigger your platform – the bigger your responsibility.
Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to given them hope.’
But I don’t want your hope.
I don’t want you to be hopeful.
I want you to panic.
I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.
And then I want you to act.
I want you to act as you would in a crisis.
I want you to act as if our house is on fire.
Because it is.
– Greta Thunberg

Some people say that the climate crisis is something we have all created. But that is just another convenient lie. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame.
– Greta Thunberg

Your silence is almost worst of all.
– Greta Thunberg

Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can ‘solve the climate crisis’. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.
– Greta Thunberg

And what is the point of learning facts within the school system when the most important facts given by the finest science of that same school system clearly mean nothing to our politicians and our society?
– Greta Thunberg

In this world you’ve a soul for a compass and a heart for a pair of wings/There’s a star in the far horizon, shining bright in an azure sky/For the rest of the time that you’re given, why walk when you can fly.
– Mary Chapin Carpenter

When in doubt, do something.
– Harry Chapin

Now sometimes words can serve me well
Sometimes words can go to hell
For all that they do
– Harry Chapin

He wondered what percentage of the world’s art was actually kept in bank vaults and the like. Like unread books and unplayed music, did it matter that art went unseen?
– Ian Rankin

Those who are most sincere are also the most morally suspect, as well as being incapable of producing or appreciating wit.
– Ian M. Banks

I can never get over when you’re on the beach how beautiful the sand looks and the water washes it away and straightens it up and the trees and the grass all look great. I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.
– Andy Warhol

Until we understand what the land is, we are at odds with everything we touch. And to come to that understanding it is necessary, even now, to leave the regions of our conquest – the cleared fields, the towns and cities, the highways – and re-enter the woods. For only there can a man encounter the silence and the darkness of his own absence. Only in this silence and darkness can he recover the sense of the world’s longevity, of its ability to thrive without him, of his inferiority to it and his dependence on it. Perhaps then, having heard that silence and seen that darkness, he will grow humble before the place and begin to take it in – to learn from it what it is. As its sounds come into his hearing, and its lights and colors come into his vision, and its odors come into his nostrils, then he may come into its presence as he never has before, and he will arrive in his place and will want to remain. His life will grow out of the ground like the other lives of the place, and take its place among them. He will be with them – neither ignorant of them, nor indifferent to them, nor against them – and so at last he will grow to be native-born. That is, he must reenter the silence and the darkness, and be born again.
– Wendell Berry, A Native Hill

You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame, back home to exile, to escape to Europe and some foreign land, back home to lyricism, to singing just for singing’s sake, back home to aestheticism, to one’s youthful idea of ‘the artist’ and the all-sufficiency of ‘art’ and ‘beauty’ and ‘love,’ back home to the ivory tower, back home to places in the country, to the cottage in Bermude, away from all the strife and conflict of the world, back home to the father you have lost and have been looking for, back home to someone who can help you, save you, ease the burden for you, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time–back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.
– Thomas Wolfe

Natures of your kind, with strong, delicate senses, the soul-oriented, the dreamers, poets, lovers are always superior to us creatures of the mind. You take your being from your mothers. You live fully; you were endowed with the strength of love, the ability to feel. Whereas we creatures of reason, we don’t live fully; we live in an arid land, even though we often seem to guide and rule you. Yours is the plentitude of life, the sap of the fruit, the garden of passion, the beautiful landscape of art. Your home is the earth; ours is the world of ideas. You are in danger of drowning in the world of the senses; ours is the danger of suffocating in an airless void. You are an artist; I am a thinker. You sleep at your mother’s breast; I wake in the desert. For me the sun shines; for you the moon and the stars.
– Hermann Hesse

Only one who takes over his own life history can see in it the realization of his self. Responsibility to take over one’s own biography means to get clear about who one wants to be.
– Jürgen Habermas

[Jürgen Habermas’ obituary to friend and philosopher, Richard Rorty]

One small autobiographical piece by Rorty bears the title ‘Wild Orchids and Trotsky.’ In it, Rorty describes how as a youth he ambled around the blooming hillside in north-west New Jersey, and breathed in the stunning odour of the orchids. Around the same time he discovered a fascinating book at the home of his leftist parents, defending Leon Trotsky against Stalin. This was the origin of the vision that the young Rorty took with him to college: philosophy is there to reconcile the celestial beauty of orchids with Trotsky’s dream of justice on earth. Nothing is sacred to Rorty the ironist. Asked at the end of his life about the ‘holy’, the strict atheist answered with words reminiscent of the young Hegel: ‘My sense of the holy is bound up with the hope that some day my remote descendants will live in a global civilization in which love is pretty much the only law.
– Jürgen Habermas

Today, the language of the market penetrates every pore and forces every interpersonal relation into the schema of individual preference.
– Jürgen Habermas

Only by externalization, by entering into social relationships, can we develop the interiority of our own person.
– Jürgen Habermas

The parliament no longer is an ‘assembly of wise men chosen as individual personalities by privileged strata, who sought to convince each other through arguments in public discussion on the assumption that the subsequent decision reached by the majority would be what was true and right for the national welfare.’ Instead it has become the ‘public rostrum on which, before the entire nation (which through radio an television participates in a specific fashion in this sphere of publicity), the government and the parties carrying it present and justify to the nation their political program, while the opposition attacks this program with the same opennes and develops its alternatives.
– Jürgen Habermas

Always strive to excel, but only on weekends.
– Richard Rorty

My sense of the holy is bound up with the hope that some day my remote descendants will live in a global civilization in which love is pretty much the only law.
– Richard Rorty

A talent for speaking differently, rather than for arguing
well, is the chief instrument of cultural change.
– Richard Rorty

The purpose of a pilgrimage is about setting aside a long period of time in which the only focus is to be the matters of the soul. Many believe a pilgrimage is about going away but it isn’t; it is about coming home. Those who choose to go on pilgrimage have already ventured away from themselves; and now set out in a longing to journey back to who they are.
Many a time we believe we must go away from all that is familiar if we are to focus on our inner well-being because we feel it is the only way to escape all that drains and distracts us, allowing us to turn inward and tend to what ails us. Yet we do not need to go to the edges of the earth to learn who we are, only the edges of ourself.
– L.M. Browning

We all have those things that help us carry on through life. It is important that these things upon which we depend for daily strength are healthy for our character rather than harmful. We must ask ourselves whether the comforts we reach for each day are vices or virtues? Do they feed the best parts of us or do they rob us of them? Even when we are at our most fatigued and are tempted to reach for self-destructive things, we must try to seek out and take solace in those things that will lead to our eventual renewal; rather than those things that will only serve to bring us lower.
– L.M. Browning

Make the sunrise a temple.
– Frank LaRue Owen

The antidote to depression is devotion.
– Frank LaRue Owen

My deepest wish for you is that the deepest parts of you can one day put down the battle and let yourself truly be held in a cradle of loving sunlight.
– Frank LaRue Owen

Stop spinning on your busy wheel of pain long enough to hear this: You are not outside the fold of your original preciousness. Even the dawn-bird is heralding this truth each morning, singing to you a map-song with coordinates leading to your renewal.
– Frank LaRue Owen

If you’re tired of shouldering heavy weight: off-load what isn’t vital and begin what it is.
– Frank LaRue Owen

If what is true brings us sorrow, if what sorrow brings is truth.
– Robert Peake

I find people who have dedicated their lives to art in disparate media often arrive at similar conclusions about the artistic process. So, reading something about art from a painter can be just as inspiring to me as reading something by a poet.
– Robert Peake

it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities’that makes our heart sing.
– Steve Jobs

Remember when life’s path is steep to keep your mind even.
– Horace

Every poet is a herd of one.
– Lucie Brock-Broido

The mark of a moderate man / is freedom from his own ideas.
– Lao Tzu

Art is a way of life, not a career.
– Marvin Bell

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.
– Henri Bergson

Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.
– Goethe

When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else – we are the busiest people in the world.
– Eric Hoffer

The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.
– Dee Hoc

We are a landscape of all we have seen.
– Isamu Naguchi

Bring to me, it said, continual proof / you’ve been alive.
– Stephen Dunn

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
– Wordsworth

Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you may be fierce and original in your work.
– Flaubert

If there is somethig to desire, / there will be something to regret.
– Vera Pavlova

Let your lie be even more logical than the truth itself, so the weary travelers may find repose.
– Czeslaw Milosz

Celebrate any progress. Don’t wait to get perfect.
– Ann McGee Cooper

I have defined poetry as a ‘passionate pursuit of the Real.
– Czeslaw Milosz

Art makes life better, even in the harshest of circumstances
– Marvin Bell

Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.
– David Allen

That’s when you’re at your best, when you’re focused and serious and passionate about what you do…
– Derek Fisher

In the middle of my life, I found myself in a dark wood, the true path having been lost
– Dante

A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.
– Tom Robbins

Thinking and doing, doing and thinking – these are the sum of all wisdom.
– Goethe

Hard to find anything lovelier than a tree. They grow at right angles to a tangent of the nominal sphere of the Earth.
– Bill Nye

Anxiety is usually caused by lack of control, organization, preparation and action.
– David Kekich

Conceptions are artificial. Perceptions are essential.
– Wallace Stevens

Competitions are for horses, not artists.
– Béla Bartók

The wind blows because philosophy cannot move a tree.
– Boyd Benson

All the new thinking is about loss. In this it resembles all the old thinking.
– Robert Hass

I was very careful not to tell my students to only write about what you know, because I couldn’t define what they knew. That’s where the question really begins. How to define what you know.
– Paula Fox

So how can you write a great novel if you cannot touch upon the most burning issues of the society of which you are a part?
– Josef Skvoercky

What other writers get from geography—regionalism—I get from shoptalk.
– Stanley Elkin

But it’s what I love about poetry: there is so much intergenerational hanging out that I find very stimulating among the poets in San Francisco.
– Garrett Caples

When you read something good, the idea of looking at television, going to a movie, or even reading a newspaper is not interesting to you.
– James Salter

Can’t believe we buy into this right/left political frame where people who don’t want certain kinds of people to even exist are considered just as extreme as people who want everyone to have healthcare, including the people who don’t want certain kinds of people to exist.
– Ethan Nichtern

Being skeptical of new technologies is wise! But if that skepticism keeps you from examining new tech with an open attitude, that isn’t so helpful. Now you’ve just cordoned yourself off from what’s emerging.
– Vince Horn

Enlightenment is interoperable with all things.
– Vince Horn

Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.
– Dogen Zenji

Maybe a poet could come along who could solve all our problems, but I haven’t seen him yet.
– James Dickey

How the light is sad.
How it will not leave us alone.
How we are tugged up staircases
by the way it angles across landings.
Or just our faces – tipped
to the clear, depleted sky.
How because of sunset, the imagination
headquarters in the west.

Spring in the north: all that
tawny grass and gravel and nothing
green to sop up the excessive honesty.

Outside our windows,
something like youth or promises.
How the wind blows right through them,
blossoming. Fleet.
– Jan Zwicky

i don’t expect
any of us
to know
what it’s like
to be free
of worry

all i ask
is that when
a tree or stone
or cloud
mentions the possibility

we stop
what we’re doing
turn our heads

– Leath Tonino

The first duty of love is to listen.
– Paul Tillich

Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.
– James Baldwin

Lord, help me to accept my tools. However dull they are, help me to accept them. And then Lord, after I have accepted my tools, then help me to set out and do what I can do with my tools.
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Poem: Spring Letter — 25/3/22
By Don Paterson

April 7, 2022

Hi man—
OK, I’ll go. I thought I’d go in MacNeice’s rugged antiphon
with its drunk and disorderly rhymes
on the grounds that a form already halfway to broken
might be halfway adequate to the times;
besides, I certainly do not sit in one of the dives
but instead am up with the worms
watching the sunlight soften in a garden slung
between the Sidlaws and the Cairngorms,
up with the crocuses and snowdrops and celandine
that are up so early these years
we must soon change the wheel of the seasons
to align with the broken gears.
Heatwaves at the poles. The days
…Nah. I just don’t have the stomach for pastiche.
I’ll use the line I talk in in my sleep
since sleep is where I try to live these days.
Last night I dreamt the little guy again.
I was looking through his pisshole eyes and saw
my armies multiply and lands increase
and through the greasy thermoplastic windows
my towers tumesce and rise, my gold domes swell;
I saw my marble table yawn, and add
another mile of snow between my hands
and my own death, further away than ever.
Then suddenly I was down the other end
with the germs and free votes, knives and Novichok,
with the thugs and toadies, foremen and machinists
who bear the major offices of state
on the usual grounds that they’ll be shit at them.
And from there, I saw the truth. It’s parallax:
the wee man at the other end was shrinking,
his baby face all purple-black—O quick!
O bring him good news from the front! O tell him
Kyiv has fallen and his father loved him!
I saw exactly what would happen next.
Homunculus. White dwarf. Dead star. Black hole
and then the pause before he hits the button,
then with the radiance of a thousand suns—
My screaming woke up L and both the dogs.
Personally I blame it all on god
or at least the human tendency to place
whoever in the crew’s most like a god
at the centre of the office, team, class, party,
and use their psychopathic certainty
to act as we would not dare otherwise,
for the gods don’t wash away our sins
but our conscience. As order forms around them
we imagine that the gods like hierarchies,
that our hymns will win a high place at the table—
but gods like two things: everything and nothing.
So build his golden bridge, and gloriously.
Let him take the Donbas and Luhansk
and say his superb mission is complete.
The assassins will come now, given time and money.
Or not. Like I’d know. What’s your money on?
No one thinks they’ll ever take Kyiv.
I thought they’d rubblise it like Aleppo
but Russia might remember Stalingrad
and knows a year of fighting street to street
to take a city you don’t even want
will see her gold gone and her grain-bins empty
and the bodies of her young men shit for sunflowers.
Comic relief, at least, at times like this
to see ourselves up on the world stage
as bin-fire Churchill correlates the plight
of the children dead below the bombed-out theatre
in Mariupol marked CHILDREN on the roof
with Brexit, and is “desperate” to go to Ukraine
and be ruminant against its ruined skylines
in his faraway pose, his head full of his dinner,
if anything. I am collecting for his fare.
You see that tweet, him jogging on the beach?
Like a walrus won a holiday at Butlins
but had just been told his shadow was a demon.
What are you watching? I started The Bureau
finally, and a Polish horror thing
on the bike we bought in lockdown. Innocent times.
The algorithm’s tagged me for a sucker
for tales of corporate hubris and comeuppance
and keeps trying to punt me Risk about Assange.
Useful to see the cult shrunk to a snow globe:
the narcissist; the mini-me; the harem
of his doting supply; the childlike seekers;
the outer moons of useful idiots;
the goal whose moral purpose is long lost
in favour of progressively degrading
tests of one’s faith and talent for denial.
Russia always played these narcs like fiddles.
The Moscow Strings: Jools. Trump. Sleepy Cuddles.
Nige. Lebedev was in the fucking room
the night Wormtongue and Alex plumped for Brexit.
Anyway Girls5eva’s good. And Netflix
has all three seasons of Servant of the People
but since the even money’s on Zelensky
being dead by August, I can’t watch it
and I just start crying when I think of him.
I had better stop. One could go on
but in the time I took to write this thing
four outrages have come to pass such as
we used to count whole decades in between.
Being a poet, I’ll start to think it’s me.
(Bono: “Every time I click my fingers
another baby dies in Africa.”
Voice from the back: “Maybe stop doing it.”)
Even in these last four goddamn lines
Navalny has been rendered to some black site
in god knows where and is as good as dead.
But the news is all the wheels are coming off.
The Russian boys are begging food from villagers
while their crap tyres spin in the rasputitsa.
John Sweeney said they brought just three days’ food
to make room in their bags for their parade dress.
The villagers are binding the boys’ hands
for frostbite and sending them back home.
Their ration packs are five years out of date
and tins marked “prime beef” turn out to be dog food
since no good kleptocrat knows when to stop.
The boys don’t know what war is and beg gas
from Ukrainian squaddies like they were their mates
from the next town over and end up PoWs.
One brigade got slaughtered, so the kids
gave up and drove their tank over their colonel.
The boys are too tired to inter their dead.
All militarists agree this is not good.
The boys have no chemsuits, which is reassuring
until you think of Putin, and remember.
My old mum says some dude on Radio Tay
said put your valuables in the microwave.
Since I cannot fit my children in the microwave
and the iodine won’t do us any good
I’ll meet the shockwave headlong in the garden
but as the expert on the chemical life
you’ll want to know a gram of NAC
and one tab of dihydromyricetin
mostly kills the hangover. Tonight, I’ll add
a drop of food-grade hydrogen peroxide
to this middling Waitrose non-organic pinot
to turn the sulphites into sediment
because I have to work tomorrow morning
but need an eight-hour dream without him in it.
Wish me luck. Be safe. Slava Ukraini.

When no one remembers, what is there?
– Mark Strand

I love my land, comfortable; I love this life, loud. / I have a living– / I have a room.
– KB Brookins

Find a few poets that strike home to you and memorize them…The music gets inside your head.
– Eugene Peterson

Don’t let anyone tell you we need more cops because of this mess.
– Lisa Lucas

I do believe that poetry is in the realm of the gift and in the realm of the sacred. Poetry is earned spiritually. It’s earned with silences. It’s earned, it isn’t arrogated.
– Seamus Heaney

if the only thing you need to be happy is writing, you’ve got it.
– Mary Ruefle

Somehow, the changing of consciousness is deemed to be threatening to the state. Now, why is that? Is the state somehow playing a shell game, that would be exposed, if people were to actually open their eyes? In what way does the expansion of consciousness threaten industrial democracies? I believe we need real answers to this.
– Terence McKenna

This rush of black words today
Searching for you on the white page.
– John O’Donohue

When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of mountains or fields, or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of waves. The slowness and stillness gradually takes us over. Our breathing deepens and our hearts calm and our hungers relent. When serenity is restored, new perspectives open to us and difficulty can begin to seem like an invitation to new growth.
This invitation to friendship with nature does of course entail a willingness to be alone out there. Yet this aloneness is anything but lonely. Solitude gradually clarifies the heart until a true tranquility is reached. The irony is that at the heart of that aloneness you feel intimately connected with the world. Indeed, the beauty of nature is often the wisest balm for it gently relieves and releases the caged mind..
– John O’Donohue

The Lamp of Memory
by Joshua Edwards

The writer looks back, year
by year, star after star, ever
and anon. “I came out singing,

sailing, and gliding on beauty.”
The writer remembers
the river, hills, and flowers.

“I lived like a landscape with
a large glaciar in its midst.”
Let us imagine him in stone,

devoted to a life of posterity
and the idea of the future,
Watching the passing waves

of humanity, outlasting the world.
“I believe in objects more
than subjects. Art is the failure

of the subject. Objects are true.”
His mind becomes itself a subject,
subordinate to a twisted sense

of historical proportion, clinging
to sublimity and preservation.
“I think of my life as a skeleton

and modern times as a funeral.
I belong to the future, like a green
sea, like the sun, like the sky.”

Look at the trees; willows, mostly–
They move in that way willows move–as if wanting to
pace themselves, slow, impossibly, in a building wind, as if
the wind were fate, and the trees’ response one that could
maybe make a difference.
– Carl Phillips

I realize now, at this stage, that poetry led me more to my religion than my religion led me to my religion.
– Spencer Reece

We can make our minds so like still water
that beings gather about us that they may see,
it may be, their own images, and
so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps
even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.
– William Butler Yeats

Everything is for you: my daily prayer, And the thrilling fever of the insomniac, And the blue fire of my eyes, And my poems, that white flock.
– Anna Akhmatova

And to elucidate mysticality, I employ Spanish philosopher Maria Zambrano’s principal argument: poetic reason. Zambrano sought a reasoning that was broader than reason itself, a concept that ‘slips into the interior, like a drop of soothing oil, a drop of happiness.’ This philosophy is poetic reason, or poiesis, which valorizes the role of being, the metaphysical, and one’s intuition.

Zambrano’s philosophical praxis examines the exteriority of poetic words (referred concepts or ideologies) versus an interiority they can often express (the poet’s inner sanctum); the function of her poiesisis to engender this spirit as a rejection of more secularized philosophy. Here, I offer Zambrano’s definition of poiesis itself: It is simultaneous expression and creation in the sacred form, from which poetry and philosophy are successively born. Birth is necessarily a separation—poetry into its different species, and philosophy.

The poet is the ideal artist to push the limits of the self in order to explore such limits. As such, poetic reason carries a great discursive advantage over other reasoning: the ability to allow for the unsaid, ‘the poetic word shudders over silence and only its rhythm’s orbit lifts it up, because it is music, not logos, that wins over silence.’ The poet neither renounces nor searches, because he has. The poet is responsible for expressing not only what they sense in the physical world but also what they access in dreams and interior ghosts, thus rendering any kind of expression a possibility. Their creation is an ongoing process of ‘poetic being’ approaching full self-consciousness. There is a centrality to the human psyche, for Zambrano, and then a series of underlying, unseen controls that regulate boundaries of this central being. It is this precise occurrence of being in a space and time that is considered to be both an interior knowledge of said being’s sovereign right and the exterior knowledge of its extant boundaries.
– Stephanie Malak

by Edna St. Vincent Millay
We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

I can’t think of a case where poems changed the world, but what they do is they change people’s understanding of what’s going on in the world.
– Seamus Heaney

When you are young you can declare that there is no hope for mankind, but when you are older, you learn to avoid encouraging people to hate the world.
– Naguib Mahfouz


It could have been a whale’s heart
she towed in her wagon.

It looked like an ocean sponge
with a red viscous beating.

We watched,
not knowing
how she managed.

It was sad and strange
how her heart had become her burden.

– Carl Adamshick

He could not see what constituted the horror of the original sin, which is transmitted from generation to generation, is that the man who has tasted the fruit of knowledge cannot do other than think by means of general ideas and forever seek “proofs.”
– Shestov on Schoepenhauer

You know what rubs me the wrong way when I got to a reading? When a host goes, “I’m not gonna bother with their bio.” Why? That’s mad disrespectful. Read the writer’s bio.
– Joy Priest

What I *know* wreaks havoc upon what I *want*.
– Emil Cioran

Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing.
– James Tate

Tell me people laughed there,
In trains, ferries, buses.
I’d like to hear it even if it’s a lie, say it.
Always agony, always agony, always agony
I’ve had enough…
– @ZeeshanJaanam

Mary Ruefle:
You grow old.
You love everybody.
You forgive everyone.
You think: we are all leaves
dragged along by the wind.
Then comes a splendid spotted
yellow one—ah, distinction!
And in that moment
you are dragged under.

To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence

I who am dead a thousand years,
And wrote this sweet archaic song,
Send you my words for messengers
The way I shall not pass along.

I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.

But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above?

How shall we conquer? Like a wind
That falls at eve our fancies blow,
And old Maeonides the blind
Said it three thousand years ago.

O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.

Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.

– James Elroy Flecker

The more I dim my eyes over print and frazzle my brain over abstract ideas, the more I appreciate the delight of being basically an animal wrapped in a sensitive skin: sex, the resistance of rock, the taste and touch of snow, the feel of the sun, good wine and a rare beefsteak and the company of friends around a fire with a guitar and lousy old cowboy songs. Despair: I’ll never be a scholar, never be a decent good Christian. Just a hedonist, a pagan, a primitive romantic.
But what’s an honest soul to do? I don’t know. I can say this: Be loyal to what you love, be true to the earth, fight your enemies with passion and laughter.
– Edward Abbey

It’s destabilizing to exist in a media environment where political views demonstrating care for others, and care for the planet, are considered extremist positions.

It leads to a lot of “is compassion crazy?” thoughts, second-guessing yourself.

Please know, you’re not crazy.

– Ethan Nichtern

Can’t believe how alive with good poetry this world is.
– Dr. Han VanderHart

I didn’t know what it meant in any realistic sense to be a poet.
– Rae Armantrout

I like the sound of facts, but I don’t care about them as facts. I like them as texture.
– Kay Ryan

Poetry is the mathematics of writing and closely kin to music.
– John Steinbeck

Atlantis—A Lost Sonnet
by Eavan Boland

How on earth did it happen, I used to wonder
that a whole city—arches, pillars, colonnades,
not to mention vehicles and animals—had all
one fine day gone under?

I mean, I said to myself, the world was small then.
Surely a great city must have been missed?
I miss our old city —

white pepper, white pudding, you and I meeting
under fanlights and low skies to go home in it. Maybe
what really happened is

this: the old fable-makers searched hard for a word
to convey that what is gone is gone forever and
never found it. And so, in the best traditions of

where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name
and drowned it.

Our culture has taken leisure away. We strain our spirits a lot. If we would just fully and consciously do the one thing before us, we would discover that we actually have more time. We’d sense life flowing through us.
– Gunilla Norris

But it’s the cave I want to know.
Not how He left, rose, became a something
again. But what happens in the cave?
Not blood, not flesh, not wine stamped with the memory
of blood, but the space between breath
and breath where we are nowhere
to be found.
Someone weeps outside. Someone tugs at the boulder.
Someone clings to a torn lock of His hair.
And inside, in the still, lightless air
the turning back
into everything.
– Kim Rosen

love between us is
speech and breath. loving you is
a long river running.
– Sonia Sanchez

Miracles seldom occur in the lives of those who do not consider them possible. There could be a miracle waiting for you this minute. Please make room for it in your thinking.
– Neale Donald Walsch

Why do billionaires have such shrunken imaginations? All rockets to the moon and no “maybe I’ll figure out a way to reseed coral reefs in cooler waters to save them for future generations” or “I’ll get controlling shares in a fossil fuel company and make it go in for rewilding.”
– Alicia E. Stallings

world. Everything doubled.

Staunch clocks
confirm the split hour,

You, clamped in your depths,
climb out of yourself
for ever.

– Paul Celan

Programming is not about typing, it’s about thinking.
– Rich Hickey

On Village-Making: The Means and the Ends of Our Personal and Collective Redemption (Part 1)
by Tad Hargrave
And so, here we are.
Drowning in the raging river of our times hurtling towards who knows where.
And none of us knows what to do about it. Our best efforts fail. Our victories are small. The sense of hopelessness is growing and, with it, a deep sense of anger.
We struggle inside our hearts and the struggle rages in the streets. We see the same problems in our home as we do in our boardrooms. Our movements for social change are no strangers to the way things have come to be with sexism in movements against racism and racism in movements against sexism. They too bear the thumb print of our times. Dysfunction everywhere.
What can come into focus in times like this, if we are willing to see it, are the ways that the problems we face as are mirrored in the ways we go about solving them.
A thread begins to appear.
Our approach to solving our problems has become invisible to us and so goes unquestioned.
But what if the approach we are using to contend with our challenges is actually an expression of the challenge with which we’re contending?
What I’m speaking about is our culture’s dogged insistence of going it alone. I’m speaking of the ragged individualism with with we approach all of our struggles and suggesting that these notions of self-sufficiency are not only not the cure, they are the syndrome that plagues us.
And I want to make the case for a radical re-orientation to the issues that plague us: village making.
Perhaps the most significant and vital win for the colonizer is the atomization of culture.
The breaking down of community into notions of nuclear family and the center of it all, the holy individual, the almighty Self at whose altar we, individually, worship. If there has been a central wound on the psyche of those of us who live in my corner of the world it has been this: the obliteration of the village and, worse, the obliteration of much capacity at all for village-mindedness.
Stated another way: globalization has not resulted in more togetherness. It has resulted in more individualization. It has created more highly niched communities of affinity and less communities of geography. Globalization is not, and has never been, a network of highly interconnected villages. It has, and will forever be, the end of villages.
This has affected us in ways we can’t even imagine.
So it’s important to have a Plan B. But why is our Plan B to manage all of it on our own?
Jessa Crispin articulates how this cult of individualism and independence has fully infiltrated mainstream feminism in her book Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto. What follows are a series of excerpts.
“Making feminism a universal pursuit might look like a good thing, or at the very least a neutral thing, but in truth it progresses, and I think accelerates, a process that has been detrimental to the feminist movement, and that is the change of focus from society to the individual. What was once collective action and a shared vision for how women might work and live in the world has become identity politics, a focus on individual history and achievement, and an unwillingness to share space with people with different opinions, worldviews, and histories. It has separated us out into smaller and smaller groups, until we are left all by ourselves, with our concern and our energy directed inward instead of outward..
So it’s important to have a Plan B.
But why is our Plan B to manage all of it on our own?
To have to, as individuals, make out money, set up our homes, bear and raise children, cook our meals, develop and maintain a sense of style and taste, decide how we spend our free time, and on and on until we die. In the name of freedom, we broke out of communities and towns and tribes and created families and blood lineage.
In the name of freedom, we broke out of families and blood lineage to create a nuclear household. In the name of freedom, we broke out of the nuclear households to become individuals. And yet, at no point along that way did we put serious consideration into creating a social equivalent of the support system those larger groups provided to us…
Now independence is hailed as a feminist virtue, The ability to stand on one’s own, outside of family and men. And now we have all the freedom and independence we desire, like freedom to go bankrupt, to be socially isolated, to be homeless without any social support network, to labour all your life with nothing to show for it.
As long as feminism is still infected with the Protestant economic determinist mindset – the idea that your station in life is determined by how virtuous you are or what you deserve – we’ll continue to put our time and energy into breaking down social structures rather than creating new, more empathetic ones.
We’ve been cut off from traditions and rituals, from family and intergenerational connections, from communities and a sense of belonging. We saw these things as unpaid labor that we were forced to do, rather than something worth preserving. It is true that we were forced into these roles, but it’s also true that these things have value and should be maintained.
It goes beyond squabbling over who does the housework and childcare in a nuclear family, to the question of how do we feel like we belong somewhere?”
What we are left with are Facebook groups, online forums where me connect with people we might never meet in person.
What we are left with are beautiful festivals and gatherings in which good people gather for too short a period of time but that wake up in us the hunger for something more in our regular lives.
We are left with psychological practices of the ‘self-regulating’ of our nervous systems, a triage like practice that can pull people through an overwhelming crisis by pulling them ever deeper into themselves and by disconnecting and detaching from the world.
Self-regulation is not the end all and be all.
There are those in the field of psychology pointing at research that shows up how the jangled nervous systems of humans are best regulated with the presence and support of other humans, eye-contact, touch, listening, playing together, this sort of co-regulation seems to be more aligned with our neuro-biology.
Self-regulation is deified because our culture deifies the Self and its independence.
It’s deified because our culture worships heroes not villages.
Self-regulation is seen as a sign of how incredibly strong and resilient we are.
Self-regulation helps us survive but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It just keeps us from dying.
And so, the practice of village-making becomes an antidote to the troubled times we are in.

On Village-Making: The Means and the Ends of Our Personal and Collective Redemption (Part 2)
by Tad Hargrave

Derrick Jensen once interviewed Martín Prechtel, and asked him: “You’ve spoken a lot today about the importance of maintenance. How does that relate to the Tzutujil practice of building flimsy houses?”

Prechtel: “In the village, people used to build their houses out of traditional materials, using no iron or lumber or nails, but the houses were magnificent. Many were sewn together out of bark and fiber. Like the house of the body, the house that a person sleeps in must be very beautiful and sturdy, but not so sturdy that it won’t fall apart after a while. If your house doesn’t fall apart, then there will be no reason to renew it. And it is this renewability that makes something valuable. The maintenance gives it meaning.

The secret of village togetherness and happiness has always been the generosity of the people, but the key to that generosity is inefficiency and decay. Because our village huts were not built to last very long, they had to be regularly renewed. To do this, villagers came together, at least once a year, to work on somebody’s hut. When your house was falling down, you invited all the folks over. The little kids ran around messing up what everybody was doing. The young women brought the water. The young men carried the stones. The older men told everybody what to do, and the older women told the older men that they weren’t doing it right. Once the house was back together again, everyone ate together, praised the house, laughed, and cried. In a few days, they moved on to the next house. In this way, each family’s place in the village was reestablished and remembered. This is how it always was.

Then the missionaries and the businessmen and the politicians brought in tin and lumber and sturdy houses. Now the houses last, but the relationships don’t.

In some ways, crises bring communities together. Even nowadays, if there’s a flood, or if somebody is going to put a highway through a neighbourhood, people come together to solve the problem. Mayans don’t wait for a crisis to occur; they make a crisis. Their spirituality is based on choreographed disasters — otherwise known as rituals — in which everyone has to work together to remake their clothing, or each other’s houses, or the community, or the world. Everything has to be maintained because it was originally made so delicately that it eventually falls apart. It is the putting back together again, the renewing, that ultimately makes something strong. That is true of our houses, our language, our relationships.

It’s a fine balance, making something that is not so flimsy that it falls apart too soon, yet not so solid that it is permanent. It requires a sort of grace. We all want to make something that’s going to live beyond us, but that thing shouldn’t be a house, or some other physical object. It should be a village that can continue to maintain itself. That sort of constant renewal is the only permanence we should wish to attain.”


Once a year, the Q’eswachaka people of Peru build a rope bridge connecting two villages on either side of a canyon. If a permanent bridge were put in, it would mean one less important way for the community to come together. It would mean more speed, ease and convenience, but less village.

I was reading Wade Davis’ book The Wayfinders. In it, he speaks of the immense preparations that are made for the journey of the Kula ring from island to island in an ornate, intergenerational process of gift giving.

“Men from widely separated villages had to be coordinated. Gardens had to be planted simply to grow the food to be consumed during the preparations for the journey. There were taboos to enforce, ritual magic to perform, feasts to celebrate, supplies to secure and store for the journey. Fleets of canoes had to be built, new sails woven from pandanus leaves, outriggers polished and painted, paddles carved and ornate prows ritually cleanses and empowered to ward off all evil.”

What you are reading there is village-making in action. What you are reading there ‘all hands on deck’. What you are reading there is ‘everyone is needed to play their role.’ If any one of those roles is not played, the journey might not happen. If there are no roles to be played, there is no village.

Village is a made thing. And it must be constantly re-made. Village must be enacted and maintained.

“People often say, “No one loves me.” But we have to create that thing which loves us, and which we love. We are inclined to take love like.. a gold mine. We simply can’t go on taking for granted that love is something that we get from ‘somewhere.’ It has to be created because it does not exist, it must be made first.
– C.G. Jung

All that we know about those we have loved and lost is that they would wish us to remember them with a more intensified realization of their reality. What is essential does not die but clarifies. The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.
– Thornton Wilder

…Creativity can often be the first thing to be forgotten when you’re in a time of constraint, or a time of difficulty, or demand… even though it can be the first thing that might help you recover yourself… The creative is not just a decoration. It’s not just a luxury. The creative is an element. And the creative doesn’t mean, ‘I’m going to go and write an orchestral suite.’ It might be, ‘I’m going to make a scarf with my terrible knitting, or a pie, or write a letter, or do anything where you can see, ‘I participated in creating that.’ And that’s a relationship with yourself, and somehow there is a satisfaction in that that can also then burgeon the satisfaction for making justice, for making change, for making a movement.
– Padraig O’Tauma

A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.
– Jo Goodwin

All of us live in the big, wide world: The world composed of so many people doing and wanting so many things. However, we are born into and grow out of a singular, insular world over which we have a great deal of control. When we are alone and preparing to enter the day, the whirl of activity, we have to create and then demand the placement of the world we want–for ourselves and for others. This is the only way, I think, that we can remain reasonably sane and kind and responsible and alert and gloriously human.
– Alec Guinness/Interview with James Grissom/1991

To walk in money through the night crowd, protected by money, lulled by money, dulled by money, the crowd itself a money, the breath money, no least single object anywhere that is not money, money, money everywhere and still not enough, and then no money, or a little money or less money or more money, but money, always money, and if you have money or don’t have money it is the money that counts and money makes money, but what makes money make money?
– Henry Miller

last wild
in a high place I remember,

far from water,

far from you ∙

bloody feet in breaking shoes ·

out of food · friction burning through –

the arc fell to the umbra ·

the sky abandoned blue ·

a hard place I shall not forget

where the last wild condors flew —

– Elijah Morton


From the stage
to your table
by the window
Is your ear/ heart open?

I hold a note
from the gut
to the throat

Climb another octave
in a giant leap
Drummer light on the high hat

Top of my range
still driving the rhythm
Piano holds steady
Pauses for a measure.
Bass fading.

I glide down
In half steps

Your head
turns toward side of stage

Couple in evening gown,
three piece suit
escorted to front row seat

Drummer flurries
Slows to light symbol taps.

Saxaphoning you
from the studio
over the airwaves
as a leader
as a sideman


Crossing a bridge
Voices along the shore
and from my own lungs
and bloodstream

I want to collect them.
Release them
with a wider range
tonal variation
and better precision

Saxaphoning you
in your home
Through an open window
or creases in the door
Can be a wakeup call
or a lullaby without words

Saxaphoning you
in your office
I want to introduce you
to sounds outside your system.

Saxaphoning you
Between business calls
Notes seeping through your walls.

Saxaphoning you
my report

of voices, visions
of seed planters, preservers

Of sandbaggers, rescuers
Rebuilders of homes
near flooded banks

of winds harsh, gentle and routine
blowing through rows
of crops tall and short

Sounds and visions
of drought and flood
filtered through my blood stream

of artists constructing
from used and repaired boards, nails,
scraps of metal
from miscellaneous material
tossed into vacant lots
by hand, by bulldozers

Mixed with my own pulse
and nerves
The laughter, shouts and curses I hear
Whispers I imagine
when dueling voices
seem to have fallen silent

Saxaphoning you
beside drums and base
Pushing the story along

Saxaphoning you
my response to a call
from a voice, an image
seen, heard on the surface
dreamed or imagined

sounds under my skin
from memories of an embrace long ago
into notes I breath for my message to you.

Saxaphoning you
On the dance floor
You and partner close
Heads on shoulders
I breath the lyrics
They linger between you
Sink inside, you cling closer.

– Jerry Pendergast

In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less, And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them…
– Walt Whitman

Never say too late
– Shunryu Suzuki roshi

The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians. It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait.
– G. K. Chesterton

Do you bow your head when you pray or do you look
up into that blue space?
Take your choice, prayers fly from all directions.
And don’t worry about what language you use,
God no doubt understands them all.
Even when the swans are flying north and making
such a ruckus of noise, God is surely listening
and understanding.
Rumi said, There is no proof of the soul.
But isn’t the return of spring and how it
springs up in our hearts a pretty good hint?
Yes, I know, God’s silence never breaks, but is
that really a problem?
There are thousands of voices, after all.
And furthermore, don’t you imagine (I just suggest it)
that the swans know about as much as we do about
the whole business?
So listen to them and watch them, singing as they fly.
Take from it what you can.
– Mary Oliver

It is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

My shadow has put me in my place.
– Roberto Juarroz

… wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

– e e cummings

Such Is the Story Made of Stubbornness and a Little Air
by Ilya Kaminsky

Such is the story made of stubbornness and a little air—
a story signed by those who danced wordless before God.
Who whirled and leapt. Giving voice to consonants that rise
with no protection but each other’s ears.
We are on our bellies in this quiet, Lord.

Let us wash our faces in the wind and forget the strict shapes of affection.
Let the pregnant woman hold something of clay in her hand.
She believes in God, yes, but also in the mothers
of her country who take off their shoes
and walk. Their footsteps erase our syntax.
Let her man kneel on the roof, clearing his throat
(for the secret of patience is his wife’s patience).
He who loves roofs, tonight and tonight, making love to her and to her forgetting,
let them borrow the light from the blind.
There will be evidence, there will be evidence.
While helicopters bomb the streets, whatever they will open, will open.
What is silence? Something of the sky in us.

Not that it stops us looking
for the full continuation.
The one line in the poem
we can start and follow
straight to the end. The fixed belief
we can hold, facing a stranger
that saves us the trouble
of a real conversation.
But one day you are not

just imagining an empty chair
where your loved one sat.
You are not just telling a story
where the bridge is down
and there’s nowhere to cross.
You are not just trying to pray
to a God you always imagined
would keep you safe.
No, you’ve come to a place
where nothing you’ve done
will impress and nothing you
can promise will avert
the silent confrontation;
the place where
your body already seems to know
the way, having kept
to the last, its own secret
But still, there is no path
that goes all the way,
one conversation
leads to another,
one breath to the next
there’s no breath at all,
the inevitable
final release

of the burden.
And then,

wouldn’t your life
have to start

all over again

for you to know

even a little
of who you had been?

– David Whyte

Life, for most people, is a pain the neck that they hardly notice, a sad affair with some happy respites, as when the watchers of a dead body tell anecdotes to get through the long, still night and their obligation to keep watch.
I’ve always thought it futile to see life as a valley of tears; yes, it is a valley of tears, but one in which we rarely weep. Heine said that after great tragedies we always merely blow our noses. As a Jew, and therefore universal, he understood the universal nature of humanity.
Life would be unbearable if we were conscious of it. Fortunately we’re not. We live as unconsciously, as uselessly and as pointlessly as animals, and if we anticipate death, which presumably (though not assuredly) they don’t, we anticipate it through so many distractions, diversions and ways of forgetting that we can hardly say we think about it.
That’s how we live, and it’s a flimsy basis for considering ourselves superior to [other] animals. We are distinguished from them by the purely external detail of speaking and writing, by an abstract intelligence that distracts us from concrete intelligence, and by our ability to imagine impossible things. All this, however, is incidental to our organic essence. Speaking and writing have no effect on our primordial urge to live, without knowing how or why. Our abstract intelligence serves only to elaborate systems, or ideas that are quasi-systems, which in animals corresponds to lying in the sun.
And to imagine the impossible may not be exclusive to us; I’ve seen cats look at the moon, and it may well be that they were longing to have it..
– Fernando Pessoa


By this empathic crucible of fusion,
schooled in damp and vulnerable calculations,
expert of the partly willed collusion
that retools the spells of animation,
I inveigle eons to attend to
one exclusive bird whose perfect feathers
accommodate atomic innuendos,
by whose grace are entertained all weathers.

Only by this art as old as going
to extremes that only know creation
or destruction, grave and cradle growing
out of one another, as elation
stands against the ground of disappointment,
do we come by skin and eyes and all
the well-determined alchemical ointments
to such strange renewed mortality.

This old spell, forgotten yet remembered
by every secret spark of living time,
this rhythmic substance, telegraphed and tendered
by every corded clump of limber mind,
is mine to make by my own art and fashion,
and by the symbiotic urge refined,
into some infant synergies of passion.
New flasks for the old temperamental wine.
– George Gorman

Break the vitriol.

There is no need for all the justifications we might find to polarize.

Let the drama fizzle while we build a fire together.

Or, let’s just sing.

– Nora Bateson

Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, in a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.
– Franz Kafka

Creativity is one of those intimidating words, like artist, musician, writer, and so on, which has been co-opted to mean something rarefied and unreachable. We think of ourselves as being ‘a creative type’ or not, as if it were a quality bestowed on the chosen few. But if we take the word back to its true origins, we find the root “crescere,” a word which means to come forth, spring up, grow, thrive, swell. Like the crescent moon, creativity is the living impulse in each of us which continually begins again.
– Toko-pa Turner

‘When Marshall McLuhan coined the metaphor of the Global Village to describe the effects massive increases in the volume and speed of information flow were going to have on human individuals and groups, he misread several crucial aspects. Nearly all of his misreadings can be tracked to the same source: McLuhan was a Christian, a Roman Catholic, and he was blinded by the optimism and belief in the essential benevolence of invisible authority inherent in Roman Catholic doctrine and practice — that there is something out there that can forgive mistakes and cruelties. Some of the misreadings, such as thinking that computers would save us from our own stupidity, now seem laughable. But they’re typical of a man who believed that if we ourselves weren’t able to control our fate, then God would help.’

I was right to say… years ago, that McLuhan misread what the Global Village would be like, but I was wrong about how the Global Village would evolve as we entered the 21st century. Since 1989 it has become more a series of fiscal malls than a unified village: London, Tokyo, Milan, Paris, Frankfurt, New York City. The best thing to be said about these malls is that they’re impervious to cultural differences and race, which, if you think the first and final aspiration of human life is ownership of a BMW and a diversified investment portfolio, is an advance. While there is now a global financial apparatus… there is nothing resembling a global polity, and no coherent global culture beyond some insincere corporate glorification of independent business, endless enticement to buy and consume products, and, rarely, the same sort of naive aspiration Woodrow Wilson must have felt in 1918 when… he called for the creation of the League of Nations.

Meanwhile, interpersonal, social, and political polity, outside a few enclaves of extreme privilege and wealth, has degenerated into a partisan and frequently violent competition over race, ethnicity, gender, and, in the West, sexual and lifestyle preferences. Within that competion, everyone loathes anyone who displays difference or indifference. In North America… the majority of us get to interact with our preferred institutions and recreational camps while we drift, collectively, towards self-inflicted segregation. At the flashpoints in the world — Kosovo, Somalia, Rwanda, and Palestine — people carry machetes and automatic rifles and suppress differences with flashing blades and flying bullets, just as they did in 1918, except with improved ordnance.

The joyous retribalization McLuhan imagined hasn’t produced the vast tribe connected by electronic communications, but, rather, virtually its opposite: a clamour of hostile, competitive, entrepreneurial enclaves competing with one another to gain access to commodities and the dignity they believe possession confers. Culturally, the Global Village of the 21st century most resembles the biblical Tower of Babel, with franchise kiosks sprouting from it. This tower is becoming more murderous and fractious as it transforms the constitutional democracies into societies dedicated to the mere accumulation of capital and whatever else the unremitting pursuit of material wealth permits.
– Brian Fawcett, Local Matters: A Defence of Dooney’s Cafe and Other Non-Globalized Places, People, and Ideas

Spring Thunder
by Mark Van Doren

Listen. The wind is still,
And far away in the night—
See! The uplands fill
With a running light.

Open the doors. It is warm;
And where the sky was clear —
Look! The head of a storm
That marches here!

Come under the trembling hedge—
Fast, although you fumble. . . .
There! Did you hear the edge
Of winter crumble?

So I tell them the story of Sisyphus,
how he was doomed to push
a rock up a mountain, knowing nothing
would come of this effort
but that he would repeat it
indefinitely. I tell them
there is joy in this, in the artist’s life,
that one eludes
judgment, and as I speak
I am secretly pushing a rock myself,
slyly pushing it up the steep
face of a mountain.

So I retract
the myth; I tell them it occurs
in hell, and that the artist lies
because he is obsessed with attainment,
that he perceives the summit
as that place where he will live forever,
a place about to be
transformed by his burden: with every breath,
I am standing at the top of the mountain.
Both my hands are free. And the rock has added
height to the mountain.
– Louise Glück

You told me, ‘We get to choose our literary kin.’ I choose you.
– Sejal Shah

Spring in Belfast
by Derek Mahon

Walking among my own this windy morning
In a tide of sunlight between shower and shower,
I resume my old conspiracy with the wet
Stone and the unwieldy images of the squinting heart.
Once more, as before, I remember not to forget.

There is a perverse pride in being on the side
Of the fallen angels and refusing to get up.
We could all be saved by keeping an eye on the hill
At the top of every street, for there it is,
Eternally, if irrelevantly, visible —

But yield instead to the humorous formulae,
The spurious mystery in the knowing nod;
Or we keep sullen silence in light and shade,
Rehearsing our astute salvations under
The cold gaze of a sanctimonious God.

One part of my mind must learn to know its place.
The things that happen in the kitchen houses
And echoing back streets of this desperate city
Should engage more than my casual interest,
Exact more interest than my casual pity

Memoir is like a tree. You can branch, fork, and scaffold in time, place, and topic, so long as the writing still connects to the trunk, still draws nutrients from the roots. If not, it’s time to trim.
– Sarah Fawn Montgomery

Several men live inside of me.

A young college man is in here, more interested in drugs than school and the one who is years older telling him, “That WAS your education.”

There’s a poet and the one who wishes he were a poet. Sometimes they sit around arguing with each other about which one is the real poet. Some good verse arises from those debates.

Then there’s the rooster howling all night long. He doesn’t sleep – never saw the purpose of it when he lives to wake other’s up. What better time to enjoy his purpose than the middle of the night.

The hermit wishes everyone and everything would go away. “No people, no tasks,” is his mantra. He lives on the Oregon coast, talking to rocks named Lion and sea lion’s named Joy. Waves are his eternal friend.

It is impossible to forget the teacher, and the other teacher, and another and another. It looks like a hall of mirrors that goes on to infinity. I hope they have enough students for all of them to fulfill their calling.

The old dying one, face wrinkled like an overripe plum, eyes barely slits to let in the last bits of light, is lying beside me reclining. He’s less afraid of dying than me, knowing without a single doubt that he is about to become a piece of Earth – something he has longed for all his life.

Yes, there are some women in here too, but that telling is for another day.

– David Bedrick

Have you ever moved from love, to hate, and then back to love again?

I have.

Sometimes it has happened over decades, like in the case with some of my biological family members.

Sometimes it happens over swirls of time, like in the case where I mostly felt the sting of inner criticism for years and then slowly came back to love, with occasional repeats of the cycle.

And sometimes it flips in a flash. One moment I’m screaming, “I can’t believe I fucked that up.” And the next moment, “I love how free I am to scream about my fuck ups.”

How about you? Is hate too strong a word for you? If so, you can temper it with words like dislike, upset by, unhappy with… but give “hate” a chance – it has passion and aliveness and can sometimes flip into love easier than a long term dislike.
– David Bedrick

I lied and said I was busy.
I was busy but not in a way
most people understand.
I was busy taking deeper breaths.
I was busy silencing irrational thoughts.
I was busy calming a racing heart.
I was busy telling myself I am okay.
Sometimes this is my busy,
and I will not apologize for it.
– B. Oakman

At least once you should live with someone
more medicated than yourself […]
I had to read Plato for a grade,
each circle’s the bastard child
of a perfect O I remember he said,
and Kierkegaard I thought was writing stand-up
with the self is a relation which relates
itself to its own self but my roommate
nodded as I read this aloud, he’d stood
so long before carnival mirrors
that the idea of a face being a reflection
of a reflection of itself was common sense.
— Bob Hicok

Perhaps the most difficult relational pattern to shift is the tendency to be attracted to unavailable people. Often rooted in the early life unavailability of one or both parents, this stubborn primal pattern can easily obstruct any possibility of partnership. Because if you are only drawn to those who are not drawn to you, you can spend your whole life chasing the impossible. It’s kind of like looking for a dance partner in an empty ballroom. You are trying to get the attention of someone who is not actually there. To heal this pattern, it is imperative that you do deep, somatic work around your early experiences. There is something inside you that longs to be healed, and until it is, it will be difficult to take seriously those who take you seriously. It will be difficult to feel an energetic charge toward those who feel one for you. Because they are reflecting back to you something that you have yet to believe—your inherent worth and beauty. You see, they know something that you don’t—they know that you are worthy of love. Now you have to do the work to see it, too.
– Jeff Brown

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled –
to cast aside the weight of facts
and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
– Mary Oliver

Think in stitches.

Think in willows.

– Gertrude Stein

A haiku is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, a small world that can contain an unlimited range of human thoughts and emotions.
– Clark Strand

There is an emptiness
so huge we can’t tell if we are in it, or it in us.
– Richard Jackson

Nobody has the time … to be vulnerable to each other.
So … we just go on.
– John Cassavetes

Inspiration is a sort of spontaneous combustion—the oily rags of the head and heart.
– Stanley Elkin

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
– Arthur Plotnik

Speaking Tree

I had a beautiful dream I was dancing with a tree.
– Sandra Cisneros
Some things on this earth are unspeakable:
Genealogy of the broken—
A shy wind threading leaves after a massacre,
Or the smell of coffee and no one there—
Some humans say trees are not sentient beings,
But they do not understand poetry—
Nor can they hear the singing of trees when they are fed by
Wind, or water music—
Or hear their cries of anguish when they are broken and bereft—
Now I am a woman longing to be a tree, planted in a moist, dark earth
Between sunrise and sunset—
I cannot walk through all realms—
I carry a yearning I cannot bear alone in the dark—
What shall I do with all this heartache?
The deepest-rooted dream of a tree is to walk
Even just a little ways, from the place next to the doorway—
To the edge of the river of life, and drink—
I have heard trees talking, long after the sun has gone down:
Imagine what would it be like to dance close together
In this land of water and knowledge. . .
To drink deep what is undrinkable.
– Joy Harjo

Choose people who choose you.
– Unknown

People often say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.
– Salma Hayek

The shortest essay I ever wrote, maybe the shortest essay anyone has ever written, was ‘Little Essay on Form.’ It went like this: ‘We build the corral as we reinvent the horse.’
– Stephen Dunn

I guess I don’t worry about my poems so much. I worry about me.
– Eileen Myles

I hate almost all rich people, but I think I’d be darling at it.
– Dorothy Parker

One of the main reasons we have so much conflict these days is that we’ve been taken over by the belief that every thing is absolutely separate from every other thing—particularly we human beings. It’s very common to hear the idea that everybody has their own truth, their own reality. Accordingly, we can’t agree on what anything is or what anything means. Everybody attaches their own meanings to words, which makes it difficult if not impossible to communicate. I have my truth, you have yours. That makes a lot of sense to people. But I don’t believe it. I subscribe to the idea that all reality is one, that beneath our cultural habits and environments, human nature is the same in everybody. Someone here is going to tell me that the idea that everything is one is simply my personal truth. I’m waiting.
– Mark Bittner

Letters of the alphabet go to war
clinging to one another standing up forming words no one wants to shout
sentences that are blown by the mines
– Lesyk Panasiuk, poet from Bucha, Ukraine

Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.
– Victor Hugo

Wendell Berry once wrote that “there is an enormous number of people, and I am one of them, whose native religion, for better or worse, is Christianity. We were born to it; we began to learn about it before we became conscious; it is, whatever we think of it, an intimate belonging of our being; it informs our consciousness, our language, and our dreams. We can turn away from it or against it, but that will only bind us tightly to a reduced version of it. A better possibility is that this, our native religion, should survive and renew itself, so that it may become as largely and truly instructive as we need it to be.”

The vehicle of nirvana
Must be divided into two parts:
The vehicle of defined causes,
And the vehicle of the vajra, the result.

That of defined causes is of three categories:
The Auditors who renounce sorrow,
The Private Buddhas who block up their consciousness,
And the Sutra Group, who study ideas.

The Auditors who renounce sorrow
Use austere practices to get rid of it.
The Private Buddhas who block up their consciousness
Block the twelve dependent connections of non-awareness.
The group that studies ideas
Establishes that the sky is an empty reality,
Just as we imagine it to be,
And believes in things like the eight analogies for illusion.

The vehicle of the result also has three:
The Kriya group,
The Both group,
And the Yoga Tantra.
These are the three.

The Kriya is the work of rites.
It uses rituals in twelve branches
For what it believes to be the Victorious One’s
Body, speech, and wisdom.

The practice of Both is Upaya.
They practice the yogas that the Kriya practices,
But believe that they succeed by being disconnected.

Yogins are of two sorts:
Outsiders and Insiders.

The Outsiders have the yoga of the Sages,
And believe that they may use
The five enlightenments and four magical powers
To achieve the status of being like a water-moon.

The yogas of the Insiders are of three sorts:
The Mahāyoga is generation.
It uses generation, perfection, and the Great Perfection,
Generating these three aspects in stages.
If their supplies do not run out,
And if they persevere in their applications,
They believe they will achieve
A Victorious One’s body, speech, and mind.

The Anuyoga is perfection.
We depend on our hearts,
And speak about the pure nature of causes and conditions
And to perfect the mandala of our wisdom.

The Great Perfection is the Atiyoga.
We do not depend on pure causes or conditions.
We do not work on a quest.
This Great Perfection does not depend on anything.
It blesses all the Dharmas,
The aspects of which may be counted.
Even though everyone is rejecting happiness,
It blesses us all.

The Bodhicitta Sutra: Ten Scriptures of the Great Perfection
Translated by Christopher Wilkinson

Chögyam Trungpa ~ Hope is a Hindrance

We can quite safely say that hope, or a sense of promise, is a hindrance on the spiritual path. Creating this kind of hope is one of the most prominent features of spiritual materialism. There are all kinds of promises, all kinds of proofs. We find the same approach as that of a car salesman. Or it’s like someone demonstrating a vacuum cleaner and telling you how well you could clean your house if you would just buy it. If you would just buy that vacuum cleaner, how beautiful your room would be, completely free of dirt and dust, down to the last speck! Whether it is a vacuum cleaner salesman or a guru, we find the same level of salesmanship. That is why both are included in the same bag of materialists. There are so many promises involved. So much hope is planted in your heart. This is playing on your weakness.

I think you know my blue ranch
on the down side of the up

that looked out
from scattered reaching oak trees
in the early of the evening
when the deer came over the yellow hills

out over the Valley
at night turned upwards
to an infinite bowl of stars

from the long porch awash with rockers
that looked up the tilting road

It left the main road years ago

But the view
is the view hammered together
from old wood and is
a house of blue dream

And the rains come in on swallow’s wings
from the ancient Sea

With salt perfume that remains
coming over the warm sage
of an evening of you of me

and the owls wander through the lamplight

and the moon crosses through the starlight

There are so many roads
to my blue ranch
with its Valley far below

The door swinging welcome

The dances and cotillions of the ghostly

Just the seasons

And the quail

And the sails
you barely see
on the far off sea

If you shade your eyes with your hand
you can just see them leaving grieving
the land

Soft flannel in the soft night
and the green eyes
and the lamp light
of your soft sight

say you say you turned to hold me

The soft flutter the moth’s route

soft wings of dark
enclosed to fold me
to hold me

through your unseeing clamor
of wild geese in flight

and hear them honking wandering
against the night

through the stars that kept you ever
in their sight

– Nicholas Pierotti

To write is to sell a ticket to escape, not from the truth but into it. My job is to make something happen in a space barely larger than the span of your hand, behind your eyes, distilled out of all that I have carried, from friends, teachers, people met on planes, people I have seen only in my mind.
– Alexander Chee

Everything is far
and long gone by.
I think that the star
glittering above me
has been dead for a million years.
I think there were tears
in the car I heard pass
and something terrible was said.
A clock has stopped striking in the house
across the road…
When did it start?…
I would like to step out of my heart
an go walking beneath the enormous sky.
I would like to pray.
And surely of all the stars that perished
long ago,
one still exists.
I think that I know
which one it is—
which one, at the end of its beam in the sky,
stands like a white city…
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Looking out the window at the trees
and counting the leaves,
listening to a voice within
that tells me nothing is perfect
so why bother to try, I am thief
of my own time. When I die
I want it to be said that I wasted
hours in feeling absolutely useless
and enjoyed it, sensing my life
more strongly than when I worked at it.
Now I know myself from a stone
or a sledgehammer.
– David Ignatow

the mothers of the revolution of compassion that this century so desperately needs. You have a special role to play in creating a better world. Women are more empathic and sensitive, more receptive to the feelings of others. These qualities make women models of humanity. Study history and you’ll see that it’s men who have been responsible for carnage and destruction
– His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Buddhist texts do not exaggerate
when they say that our greatest enemy
is clinging to a self. Why?
We are caught in a situation
where mind is incapable
of directly experiencing
its own essential emptiness,
and instead posits a self
that must be sustained.
We thus develop all the needs and wants
that must be gratified
in order to maintain such a self.
Suffering comes from the endless search
to satisfy what cannot be satisfied.
“I” leads to “I am” which leads to “I want”
and so on.”
– Kalu Rinpoche

For we do not know their eyes
or what their purpose at night
where the Rio San Antonio flowed
in a Minoan silence under the great iron bridge
or what we did as raw teenagers
in the dark of night
in the bull corrals
where it may have been the firelight
that made their eyes glow red like coals
their great black horned heads snorting steam

were we crazy or was this
bronze age foolishness that was sacred
but afterwards we would drink red Zinfandel
out of Paso Robles grapes
from wineskins

and drive down to San Simeon
and swim in the dark blue sea
like dolphin people
and lie in the sand on the beach
with the moon leaving a yellow trail
on the nightdark Sea

To the north the Big and the Little Sur
in the sky above us Orion the Hunter
the Sea that was empty and endless
and then the long drive home
through oak tree country

I am of the West.

I am the West.

– Nicholas Pierotti

Why shouldn’t we, so generally addicted to the gigantic, at last have some small works of art, some short poems, short pieces of music […], some intimate, low-voiced, and delicate things in our mostly huge and roaring, glaring world?
– Elizabeth Bishop

Tender words we spoke
to one another
are sealed in the secret
vaults of heaven.
One day like rain,
they will fall to earth
and grow green
all over the world.
– Rumi

Getting a shot of Jesus and the Holy Ghost may save you but not transform you.

Until our ego is dealt a fatal blow, nothing changes.

– Bob Holmes

The Inheritance

I open the door to the world every morning,
anticipating, wondering
who will be the first to greet me
as I step onto the earth with eyes still soft
from dreaming.

Will it be pine, or pine warbler?

Who will be beside me
when I kneel at the pond,
walk through the wood,
cross the meadow?

Will I notice them?

Will they notice me?

Never are my days lived alone.

Never are my breaths less than
an exchange of breaths with some
other soul.

Everything wants to be known.

So, for awhile each day, I tend to this
mutual desire for belonging,

Saying, “Hello pretty girl,” to the doe.
stroking the pussy willows.
meditating beside a frog.

This is how I apprentice to love,
and learn to speak those forgotten words

that acknowledge every living thing
as a simple miracle.

When the day comes that my body
no longer needs to walk out the door
in order to know this fine world,

I pray that some young person is
stepping across their threshold,

taking a deep breath in the morning air,
and realizing,

this is my inheritance.

– Jamie K. Reaser

Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination.
– Voltaire

When things fall apart, they make a lot of noise.
When things come together, they do so quietly and slowly.
And so, we often miss them.
Yet things are constantly coming together, though we have forgotten how to hear them.
– Mark Nepo

Rising in Perilous Hope
What can I hold in my hands this morning
that will not flow through my fingers?
What words can I say that will catch
in your mind like burrs, chiggers that burrow?
If my touch could heal, I would lay my hands
on your bent head and bellow prayers.
If my words could change the weather
or the government or the way the world
twists and guts us, fast or slow,
what could I do but what I do now?
I fit words together and say them;
it is a given like the color of my eyes.
I hope it makes a small difference, as
I hope the drought will break and the morning
come rising out of the ocean wearing
a cloak of clean sweet mist and swirling terns.
– Marge Piercy, Colors Passing Through Us

When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.
– Paulo Coelho

The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.
– Marcus Aurelius

A cloud—huge, calm,
and dignified—covered the sun
but did not, could not, put it out.

The light surged back again.

Nothing could rouse her then
from that joy so violent
it was hard to distinguish from pain.

– Jane Kenyon

Shantideva wrote in that if someone is suffering and we refuse to help, it would be like our hand refusing to remove a thorn from our foot. If the foot is pierced by a thorn, our hand naturally pulls the thorn out of the foot. The hand doesn’t ask the foot if it needs help. The hand doesn’t say to the foot, ‘This is not my pain.’ Nor does the hand need to be thanked by the foot. They are part of one body, one heart.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

by Julia B. Levine

After the birds bed down
and the carpenter bees
come out to work, we drink red wine
on my porch. She says the moon
is moving fast as a racecar
though of course from here
we can’t see it any better
than we can see the faraway
villagers drink from puddles,
step over the dead
fallen in their streets. The poet
tells me a story
about her terrible past,
but my mind circles around
that newborn lamb I saw
on a ranch last week. I can’t stop it.
I keep seeing that little runt
wobbling up, bleating, tail wagging
as she scents the ewe,
only to be butted away again.
And again. The heftier twin
allowed the teat. And I’m thinking
it was the lamb’s hope
that was hardest to see,
how each time she rose up,
she rose into the certainty
that milk would fall
like manna from the sheep’s
undercarriage, its dark
and wooly sky.
Now, at dusk, the poet
compliments my garden
with its wild weeds
and bolting kale, and of course
she’s right, it matters,
these brief explosions of seed
and the ripening of the petals
into perfume, even that runt
cast away to die,
while the living lamb walks
with the ewe through fields
of meadow barley and bleached
sheep bones shaken out like salt.
And of course the poet’s baby
that died in an accident
too horrible to repeat—
that matters too,
the way the world can break
the twinned lives of a soul
too early, so that only half
stays here on earth,
while the other is set free,
though strung between them,
there will always be a line
troubled by their vacancy.
Perhaps that is how a door
like the moon opens
in the poet, where the dead
walk in, ask her
to pick up her pen.
I love how we both
believe it matters what we think
in a poem. Because
outside the kingdom of the page,
what can we do? How else
might her little boy and that lamb
find each other, while the moon
goes on speeding
to that faraway country?
How else pause the war
for one night, so the villagers
might slip from their cellars
into the glittered shatter
of stars? Just one night.
They’ve forgotten
how it feels to stand
under all this luminous
silence. To look
at the fine wool
that, for weeks now,
has fallen like snow
over their dead
to keep them warm.

The healing of our wounds is no lovely Fall-leaved walk or sweet swim in a Summer lake.

The terrain may be unsettling, unrelenting, untravelled, resisting advance. Unbearable.

Our feet calloused in order to bear the broken glass we once walked upon; our baby-body longing for a touch that didn’t come, recoiling from the one that did.

And the starts and stops, the findings and losings – so many moments we thought we had arrived, only to look out and see a storm of relationship, or illness, or wild emotion in the distance. We close our eyes begging denial to have it move further out to sea, but we can’t fool ourselves for long. The dream of safety will have to wait for another day.

Yes there are allies along the way, not only the ones that try to kill you, but the ones of fellow travelers who bear a true ear or carry an ancient map that they have learned to read.

And hopefully there are rest stops where we step away from the diet of our heroic efforts and share a crust of bread or a tender embrace.

But this I know for sure: Before and regardless of any pilgrim’s progress on this most serious of tasks, the moment you reveal the wound to another, the dove inside your chest flies from its cage. And perhaps at this first gesture, the beginners mind of the healers journey, the lover in you is born.
– David Bedrick


It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

– Mary Oliver, Thirst

Psychology says, removing yourself from an environment where it constantly triggers your anxiety is a form of self-care.
– @Positive_Call

I tried to give to my words just the weight that a stroke of Cezanne’s gave to an apple.
– Georges Simenon

Ain’t it just like the night to play
Tricks when you’re trying to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded
Though we’re all doing our best to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, tempting you to defy it
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna
That conquer my mind.
– Bob Dylan

Kyiv circa 2019

Once there was a country
Caught in its ordinary dreams
Of ennui and desire
A chaotic place, an unformed idea
Electric with potential
Volatile and beautiful
Ripe with macho tenderness
And women with wet eyes and dreamy sex
The Moustachioed cossack and his leopard-skin wife
In the tourist restaurant of Erotic longing

And I was drinking fancy expresso
With a couple of friends
In a hipster cafe in downtown kyiv
The future war zone
With one who is already dead
And a megaphone revolutionary
Rocks stars every one of us

And I remember watching the couple who ran the cafe
And were undoubtedly dreaming of bitcoin apartments
And making few babies to populate the wild east
War being last thing on their erotically charged minds

And I remember flags underwear hanging
For the forgotten soldiers
On relics of Soviet architecture
And shiny new towers
I remember capitalist emptiness
Communist frustration
And a Eurovision love parade
The muscle men who play music
And all the women are beautiful

And I just invented a person person
Who thought about the future
Who got drunk on vodka,
Who counted his rosary beads
Who had a dark sense of humour
Who made women smile

What is he now
A smashed head on a pavement
A dark pixel on social media
A bit of war porn
Outrage from my blue sofa
As the dark machines rain down their forgetfulness
As the wine vessel breaks
And the world gets dark

Let me dream that Ukraine
The violated country
Will be the new Jerusalem
And David will smash Goliath
With some tender bullets
Will bring down the wounded rabid bear
That has been set loose on the world

– Andrew Sweeny

See the tail that wags the dog.
Language is speaking the man.
Look, the shovel is making a hole in the grave digger!{…]
That oar is rowing every person in the boat.
Don’t you see it? Here is a head that thinks a man into a man.
– Lyudmyla Khersonsky, poet from Odesa

o sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched
, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
beauty, how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
to the incomparable
couch of death thy
thou answerest
them only with
– e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

Comment to a friendly being:

It’s dull and fruitless to have metaphysical conversation with those who bring everything back to their prospective political agendas. You are wonderful precisely because you offer a deeper nourishment. Don’t get stuck in the shallow waters.

– Andrew Sweeny

by Eavan Boland

In the worst hour of the worst season
of the worst year of a whole people
a man set out from the workhouse with his wife.
He was walking—they were both walking—north.

She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up.
He lifted her and put her on his back.
He walked like that west and west and north.
Until at nightfall under freezing stars they arrived.

In the morning they were both found dead.
Of cold. Of hunger. Of the toxins of a whole history.
But her feet were held against his breastbone.
The last heat of his flesh was his last gift to her.

Let no love poem ever come to this threshold.
There is no place here for the inexact
praise of the easy graces and sensuality of the body.
There is only time for this merciless inventory:

Their death together in the winter of 1847.
Also what they suffered. How they lived.
And what there is between a man and woman.
And in which darkness it can best be proved

Take a little time to be amazed by something you won’t enjoy unless you consciously choose to focus on it. See the things you can’t see when you’re rushing. Hear the things you can’t hear when you’re stressing. Get so caught up in your senses that everything else seems to stop for a moment—because things don’t actually stop. So we have to be the ones who do it.
– Simdha Gitul Rinpoche

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
– Confucius

My wish, indeed my continuing passion, would be not to point the finger in judgment but to part a curtain, that invisible shadow that falls between people, the veil of indifference to each other’s presence, each other’s wonder, each other’s human plight.
– Eudora Welty

Everything you add to the truth subtracts from the truth.
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy.
– Amanda Gorman

He was like the mother ship, right? He had this real magic about him that would lock us all in, and we’d all take off.
– Gregg Allman talking about his brother Duane from a 1981 interview published in Guitar Player magazine.

O Superman.
O judge.
O Mom and Dad.
Mom and Dad.
O Superman.
O judge.
O Mom and Dad.
Mom and Dad.
I’m not home right now.
But if you want to leave a message, just start talking at the sound of the tone.
This is your Mother.
Are you there?
Are you coming home?
Is anybody home?
Well, you don’t know me, but I know you.
And I’ve got a message to give to you.
Here come the planes.
So you better get ready.
Ready to go.
You can come as you are, but pay as you go.
Pay as you go.
And I said: OK.
Who is this really?
And the voice said: This is the hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes.
They’re American planes.
Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?
And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
‘Cause when love is gone, there’s always justice. And when justive is gone, there’s always force. And when force is gone, there’s always Mom.
Hi Mom!
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
In your automatic arms.
Your electronic arms.
In your arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
Your petrochemical arms.
Your military arms.
In your electronic arms.
– Laurie Anderson

The Two Sides of the River
by Chris Green
The Two Sides of the River
The time I said to my mother, “There’s no God.
There’s not.” She was hoping there was, wished
to see her dead parents again in heaven, her two dead
brothers and sister. She asked if I was sure.
I held to it, a small man miniscule in my innocence.
Mother of love and loneliness, I am falling eyes shut.
Today, I pray to you for all the oblivion to come in.

Disappear for a bit. Work on yourself.
– @Positive_Call

Many of the people I love have chronic illnesses and/or limited social abilities. Dad, in translation, says, “Some people have ten orange and give you half of one. Others have only half and hand you slices. Be perceptive. Who is loving you with what they have to survive?”
– Jai Hamid Bashir

You are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau

albertine, deep secret, sweet magic, yesterday, keepsake, dance du feu, canary bird, complicata, amber queen, freedom, fortune’s double, threepenny bit, boule de neige, the prince, little white pet, scarlet fire, piccadilly, polar star, loving memory, ophelia

[names of roses]

– Mary Frances

there should be no writing advice. except reading everything. i will die on this hill.
– Aria Aber

Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.
– Eckhart Tolle

Nothing needs to be eliminated from or added to the tathagatagarbha. Nothing can spoil it, just as clouds cannot change the actual light of the sun. Emotional obscurations are just extraneous veils that never penetrate or spoil the primordially perfect and unchanging buddha-nature. It simply rests naturally as it is. When we look without dualistic clinging at the buddha-nature, we will be liberated.
– Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche

You gotta resurrect the deep pain within you and give it a place live that’s not within your body.
Let it live in art. Let it live in writing. Let it live in music. Let it be devoured by building brighter connections. Your body is not a coffin for pain to be buried in. Put it somewhere else.
– @ehimeora

What if we choose not to do the things we are supposed to do? The principal gain is a sense of an authentic act – and an authentic life. It may be a short one, but it is an authentic one, and that’s a lot better than those short lives full of boredom. The principal loss is security. Another is respect from the community. But you gain the respect of another community, the one that is worth having the respect of.
​- Joseph Campbell

On Village-Making: The Means and the Ends of Our Personal and Collective Redemption (Part 8)
by Tad Hargrave

How do we do this?

We ask.

It seems to me, that someone has to be willing to ask for the help on the behalf of another. If someone is struggling, someone else has to step in to convene a community response – a response that will bring healing both to the people struggling but also to the community.

It won’t just happen.

Sadly, raised as we are in the barren wasteland of mono-crops grown in orderly rows with plenty of space in between each other, raised as we are in schools that separate us in a strict apartheid by age and ability, working as we often do alone at our jobs, learning as we tend to do, alone, suckled on the tit of privatized everything and nuclear families living in houses surrounded by white picket fences… the chances of a community response being organized are low indeed.

And so someone needs, not knowing how to do it, to try.

And they need to ask more than just the usual, overburdened suspects who are already always there for everyone, sitting on every volunteer board who have no doubt in their mind that they are needed.

What about those people who walk around in our communities doubting that they have anything to give? How else will they find out how much they have to offer unless they are asked to show up for duty?

How will they find their strength unless they are counted on? How else will they know they are needed without being asked to contribute to a cause that needs them? How will they come to know their wealth and unless someone draws the line connecting it and all the good it might do that they had never yet considered?


I lived on the shady side of the road

and watched my neighbours’ gardens

across the way

revelling in the sunshine.

I felt I was poor,

and from door

to door

went with my hunger.

The more they gave me

from their careless abundance

the more I became aware

of my beggar’s bowl.

Till one morning

I awoke from my sleep

at the sudden opening of my door,

and you came and asked for alms.

In despair I broke the lid of my chest open

and was startled into finding my own wealth.

– Rabindranath Tagore


Someone must be willing, with no permission, authority or qualifications whatsoever, to gather people together who never would have gathered on their own and to coordinate some sort of response that redeems both those hurting and those helping.
Someone has to be willing to take the first step.

Someone has to be willing to fail in the attempts and to pick up the pieces and mend them together with the gold of being a clumsy, plodding, confused, selfish, impoverished and beautiful human living in this modern world.

Someone needs to proceed as if they are needed in the absence of any evidence that might back that up and court others so that they know they are needed.

What if that was you?

What if we looked at all of our troubles – and the troubles of others – as yet one more chance for the village to reconstitute itself again?

I had no idea
how much would change
when all that mattered
became all that mattered.
– Andrea Gibson

We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.
– Bill Anders, Apollo 8

Some things have to end ugly. It’s not the way we want it to be, but sometimes it’s the way it has to be. Sometimes there is no possibility of a kind farewell. There is too much water under the bridge, or one or both parties are incapable of resolution, or its just one of those woundmate connections that is riddled with unfriendly fire. Whatever it is, don’t beat yourself up if an ending gets ugly. Don’t pile more suffering onto the open wound. Difficult endings are part of life. They just are. Instead, focus your energies on learning what you need to learn so you can manifest something healthier the next time. Our lives don’t improve when we expect perfection. They improve when we graduate from the School of Heart Knocks, one lesson at a time…
– Jeff Brown

How strange and wonderful is our home, our earth, with its swirling vaporous atmosphere, its flowing and frozen liquids, its trembling plants, its creeping, crawling, climbing creatures, the croaking things with wings that hang on rocks and soar through fog, the furry grass, the scaly seas – how utterly rich and wild. Yet some among us have the nerve, the insolence, the brass, the gall to whine about the limitations of our earthbound fate and yearn for some more perfect world beyond the sky. We are none of us good enough for the world we have.
– Edward Abbey

The Dream of Now

When you wake to the dream of now
from night and its other dream,
you carry day out of the dark
like a flame.

When spring comes north and flowers
unfold from earth and its even sleep,
you lift summer on with your breath
lest it be lost ever so deep.

Your life you live by the light you find
and follow it on as well as you can,
carrying through darkness wherever you go
your one little fire that will start again.

– William Stafford

The limits of my language
mean the limits of my world.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

Poets don’t have an ‘audience’: They’re talking to a single person all the time.
– Robert Graves

You can never quite access the image in people’s minds that you are being compared with.
– Claudia Rankine

What turns red in spring/ before it greens? The redbud trees along/ the highway, also the human heart. Each/ glows lamp-like on the road to church.
– @hmvanderhart

The simple step of-courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

[…] Unjustified emotion is a sign of mental illness. Or hormonal imbalances. Or some other dis-order. Dis-order.

What if everything we tell ourselves about why we feel a particular emotion at any given moment is nothing more than another story we’ve learned to compose as a way to soothe ourselves? To control one another and keep the world predictable?

Kids wake up happy without questioning their sanity or looking for the reason for it. I know there are some adults who do this, too. I have heard people talk about them and rationalize it by describing these adults as “simple-minded”. Or “special”. Unexplained cheerfulness is definitely anti-social behavior. It makes us giggle nervously. I’m not sure if it is a named archetype, but it should be. (Note to self to look it up when the headache subsides).

What if all art is just an act of unlearning? Resisting. And that our ideas of what poetry is can get in the way of that? What if art should start where we are familiar and then chisel at it until it leaves us speechless. What if instead of giving us more stories related to our own stories, it tears down every story?

What if it is the “made thing” that shows us the artifice in all made things? Even our own stories?

– Ren Powell

You can listen to my story, but you’re no longer allowed to write it.

You can even criticize my story, but it will no longer be the narrative echoing in my head.

For so many years, I was compressed within boxes that constricted my spirit. I was soft, malleable, pathologically agreeable. Leaving one box only led to me finding the next one. It was all I knew; it was the shape of my soul.

I’m leaving behind the boxes that confined me. I’m stretching out my arms to embrace the me beyond the fear; the me that will no longer shrink and contort myself—to please the unpleasable.

You can listen to my story, but you’re no longer allowed to write it.
– The Subversive Lens

We’ve been running away from our collective heartbreak for centuries and centuries. We have to choose to be embodied; we have to choose to touch into and metabolize that broken-heartedness.
– Lama Rod Owens

Ultimately, the entire universe has to be understood as a single undivided whole.
– David Bohm

Whatever you are doing, look constantly
into the mirror of your mind and check
whether your motive is for yourself or for others. Gradually you will develop the ability
to master your mind in all circumstances;
and by following in the footsteps of the accomplished masters of the past, you will gain enlightenment
in a single lifetime. Do all that you can
to bring your own stubborn mind under control
and to develop your faith, diligence and renunciation.

Never think that the dharma you are practising
is for your benefit alone. To recite even a single
mani mantra is of inconceivable benefit,
so dedicate it for the sake of all who live.

– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Because if a sufficient number of people are different, no one has to be normal.
– Frederik Backman, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

Your life is shaped by the ends you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.
– Thomas Merton

Sometimes there are no words for your joy and no words
For my sorrow. I am the pillow trapped between
Othello and Desdemona—no wonder I can’t sleep.
– J. K. McDowell

I gazed upon the rainbow.

the leaping fish taught me whitewater streams

the frogs on the walls of the showers at Cedar Grove

and the maidens at the Basque Hotel

spoke to me of freedom

and yet I had much to learn

on the libraries of highways

the soft and sudden dreams

that woke me to a World

that was eternally worlding

but you only catch glimpses
when your quietness exceeds your grasp

and all of being is a light
that has always illuminated what you love

where what you want and dream of

is your heart revealed

when even when it doesn’t happen
is still the story of your truth

it becomes your youth

it never dies
love never lies

sometimes it’s dawn light
where there are sandpipers

sometimes a memory of a mountain pass
where people crossing over were singing
where the linnets and swallows were winging

and yet you waited
alone looking back down the pass
for the one who completed you

never knowing
that seeds were sowing

for that which though unsuspected
still detected the green valleys yet to come

the Summer rainbows
the Autumn leaves
tumbling in the wind.

Become their spin.

what wave is this?
what sudden spray?

that makes this day
I cannot say.

you turn and know that everything in your eyes
could be a hidden truth

is there sense to bother
the great World is both father
and mother

there is no other

to reach you
to teach you
to dance

this Summer evening in the Winter by a lake romance.

Leave it to chance.

– Nicholas Pierotti


The future is won or lost in the war of ideas
As we gather here today, our words flying into
The ether, they make war with loftier or
Meaner configurations of syntax and vocabulary

Out of this linguistic soup, making its way
Through a billion brains and
Five billion more
Half-starved stomachs

There are those few who take action
Those very few, for good—or for evil
Who dare to take a stand
To do something to

Change the world.

Where do you stand?
While the world passes you by and day becomes night
Twice as dark as before the last
Break of sleeping dawn

Before you’ve had time to
Set the alarm, pull the curtain, and rise up
Out of your much too comfortable

– Laurence Overmire, Report from X-Star 10


Hep cats turning hip
Was it one chord change at a time?
The flip of a hip on a dance floor?
Was it by someone in a record store
holding an LP?
Body remembering parts of tunes
one bar at a time.?

The slip
of backbones, shoulders
Dancers swinging low
Zuit suits lifted away
by split notes
Flash traded for greater mobility.

Accents changing on
steps, phrases.
Bass or drums
Leading more often?

Instruments a beat behind
a stanza with rhyme?
Intensifying with pauses
between lines
in and out
side the meter?

“Wrong notes”
Carefully placed
Where rhyme was anticipated?

Paint scattered
on the canvass,
Or strategically placed?
for our eyes and ears
to connect the dots, blots
and curved lines?
Inspired by unfamiliar scales?

Mags turning to zines
with the flip of a page
A mix of rage
and coolness from
fingers, breath, voices
Funk edging it’s way in.

Expanding then narrowing

New and long time fans
sounding off about what’s really

back turned
Duke’s move to pack up
“I think that working with you gentlemen
would have been a pleasure” said he
to T.V. execs who said
a mixed band could not all go on together

Sam Cooke’s demand to
“take the rope down”
Undividing a young audience.

About the impurity
of fusion
Rocking some Jazz
Jazzing some rock

Invoking the name
in the next frame
of Charlie Parker.
No idea how much not really
Jazz he played.

Does some sage
say turn the page
the zine now a mag
Is the next step
from hip back to hep?

– Jerry Pendergast

Christianity didn’t save me. Therapy didn’t change me. Buddhism didn’t calm me down. Journaling didn’t go anywhere.

No, the truth, thirty years later, is that all the self-help programs I tried in my twenties, and I tried a lot of them, didn’t really work. What worked was love.

Thirty years ago today, on my father’s birthday which is why I remember the date, and only now feel a deep gratitude to a mysterious spiritual entanglement and sense of him as an unconscious magician, thirty years ago today, a man walked into a coffee shop and asked to sit across from me. We talked for hours and both of us knew almost immediately that we were only picking up a conversation we’d been having for lifetimes, eons, eternities.

Thirty more years together will never be enough, there will never be enough lifetimes, enough epochs for our love. Everything changed when we found each other again. Children were born. Books were written. Joy was renewed.

My prayer today and always is that we always find each other, lifetime after lifetime.

Perhaps it is not fashionable or cool anymore to believe in love. But I believe in love because I know it changes everything. I know that the robins are praying for love and the dandelions and the mountains and the rivers and even the stones. The whole world changes when we pray for love.

Love heals everything, changes everyhing, renews everything, and saves each and every one of us now and always.

– Perdita Finn

The Question

for Jude Jordan Kalush

All day, I replay these words:

Is this the path of love?

I think of them as I rise, as

I wake my children, as I wash dishes,

as I drive too close behind the slow

blue Subaru, Is this the path of love?

Think of these words as I stand in line

at the grocery store,

think of them as I sit on the couch

with my daughter. Amazing how

quickly six words become compass,

the new lens through which to see myself

in the world. I notice what the question is not.

Not, “Is this right?” Not,

“Is this wrong?” It just longs to know

how the action of existence

links us to the path to love.

And is it this? Is it this? All day,

I let myself be led by the question.

All day I let myself not be too certain

of the answer. Is it this?

Is this the path of love? I ask

as I wait for the next word to come.

– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

I want to love the world but I’m tired of it
walking by me on the street and not
even waving.
– Christine Potter

Supporting indigenousity to flower in diverse forms means that I can’t be too partisan about how that happens. A spiritual “practice,” as it is called, is just that. Michael Meade said it best when he pointed out that a person is supposed to not be that good at their practice . . . otherwise what are they learning if they are simply going through the motions instead of being properly challenged by it! Someone can look skilled to others and still be in a dynamic learning and exploration process. Yet a person can look very diligent and actually be stuck for years. Human beings do practices by nature. Practice can take all sorts of forms and shapes. The practice is what your body is doing already. If you already go to the gym, or already sit and watch television, those are the practice you are doing. There are practices that aren’t worth much, like watching television, and practices that are probably, in general, better, like going to the gym.

People sign up for practices, like yoga, and sometimes blindly follow the practice after it has died because of a misplaced loyalty. If that happens, the practice they are actually doing is the practice of misplaced loyalty, no longer yoga, or you could also say that their new practice is the “yoga of misplaced loyalty.” Misplaced loyalty can be a practice too, but its down near the bottom of the list, like watching television. A little bit of watching television is probably good, if only to develop empathy for those that are trapped in it, or to develop compassion for people who actually make television as part of their job. It’s good to dabble in a lot of practices, but find ones that keep feeding aliveness. It is also possible to take an everyday thing like cooking and make a practice out of that.

What isn’t so much a common thing is to have the skills of evaluating practices, and our blind spots then reduce the impact the practice has on us. A practice is meant to change you, step by next best step, over time. There are plateaus on the learning curve as well, and that is a natural process in engagement with a practice, but a plateau shouldn’t last forever. The practice should be full of joy, even when it isn’t going well. For years I went to the drum circle, even though there was always only two or three times a year when the drumming really clicked for an hour or two and got dancers going into a frenzy. Those were the nights where everyone present was grinning, including all the people around the circle visiting with friends or witnessing. Some people came with dance as their practice, and some came to drum. But some of the people sitting on the side were also there taking it as a practice as well.
– Randy Jones, Medicine Without An Expiration Date

The egg can be your best friend if you just give it the right break.
– Julia Child

A true healer does not heal you.
She simply reflects back to you
your own capacity to heal.
She is a reflector,
a loving mirror.
– Jeff Foster

Keep reading; keep rereading; keep observing; keep synthesizing… Locate within yourself the primal sympathy and hold tight to it; find soothing thoughts that spring out of human suffering, but stay angry.
– Tony Kushner’s advice for writers

The blue sky slept.
The blue sky slept.
The blue sky slept.
– Javed Akhtar

Reading is the best education.
– Fran Lebowitz

I suppose that my work is always mourning something, the loss of a paradise—not the thing that comes after you die, but the thing that you had before.
– Jamaica Kincaid

Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;

overflowing with blossom foam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,

dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,

so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more.
– Tony Hoagland, A Color of the Sky

If we’re not listening, we’ve got no stories to tell the future.
– @DGHaskell


…doesn’t mean simply vomiting out your “uncensored truth” to anyone who will listen.

“Sharing your feelings” is not actually always the kindest, most attuned or most conscious thing to do.

Yes, let’s be real and honest with each other! Of course. Let’s come out of hiding and reveal our authenticity. Let’s break the spell of shame in relationship and courageously show who we truly are. Of course.

But – and this is also crucial – let’s keep, and develop, our discernment. Attunement. Sensitivity, to what we need, yes – but also deep sensitivity to where the other person is, a profound care about their inner life, too.

Otherwise “I’m only sharing MY raw truth!”…
is simply narcissism, self-absorption, ego, in disguise.

Ego … disguised as “authenticity”!

It’s not always loving, kind, or helpful to share your deepest truth – your anger, your sorrow, your fear, your pain, your opinions, your advice, your profound spiritual realizations – with someone who hasn’t signed up to receive, or isn’t able to receive, or doesn’t want to receive, or doesn’t have the capacity to receive them.

We can be authentic, AND we be very respectful and aware of other people’s boundaries, feelings and needs. We can be sensitive to their willingness to receive our words and feelings. Their ability to listen. How they are managing their energies. What they can handle on any given day. Their own pain and trauma. The demons they are secretly fighting (the ones we may never know about). Who they feel close to, and safe with, and trusting of.

We can learn to ask before we splurge our stories, share our private inner lives, speak our deepest truths and opinions and judgements, express our “raw and uncensored self” to another.

Otherwise we are just dumping our sacred inner world on them, using others as receptacles for our own pain, fear, loneliness and the unmetabolized regions of our psyche. This is not kind to others, and ultimately not kind to ourselves.

Because our holy innards deserve a safe and committed holding environment, too.

Yes, let’s be “honest and real” with each other. Let’s tell our unvarnished truth… to those who are open and willing and ready and able to listen, to those who have signed up for this sacred work and who have the capacity to hold our truth. A therapist. A good friend. A partner. A family member. Someone who has committed to offering their time and heart and to listening to us in this way.

Yes, let’s “speak our truth”, bravely and loudly if we need to. But let’s also learn when to stop talking sometimes. And breathe. And be still. And listen. And open our awareness in a different way. Ask about the other person. Find out what they want, and need, and are able to offer, and hold, and process. Get deliciously curious about their inner world, too.

There is a time for speaking, and a time for silence. A time for sharing our deepest inner life, and a time for listening too. A time for being together, and a time for being alone. A time for coming closer, and a time for giving each other space. A time for “telling our raw truth”, and a time for… well, holding our truth close, and waiting, and cultivating patience, and perhaps finding an alternative outlet. Sometimes that is the kindest thing. To not share. Or to wait. Or to listen instead.

There is no right or wrong way. There is only this mysterious and never-ending dance… and we are all invited.
– Jeff Foster

We will be known as a culture that feared death and adored power, that tried to vanquish insecurity for the few and cared little for the penury of the many. We will be known as a culture that taught and rewarded the amassing of things, that spoke little if at all about the quality of life for people (other people), for dogs, for rivers. All the world, in our eyes, they will say, was a commodity. And they will say that this structure was held together politically, which it was, and they will say also that our politics was no more than an apparatus to accommodate the feelings of the heart, and that the heart, in those days, was small, and hard, and full of meanness.
– Mary Oliver, Of the Empire

Nobody goes willingly into initiation. By its very nature, initiation is a humbling of the will. It shatters us on all levels. And though every part of us may mount resistance to being changed, we are not meant to emerge intact. We are not meant to re-cover what has been revealed. Rather, we are meant to be dis-illusioned, dis-solved, dis-appointed before any thought of rebuilding and declaring meaning.
– Toko-pa Turner

Wise wretch! with pleasures too refined to please, With too much spirit to be e’er at ease, With too much quickness ever to be taught, With too much thinking to have common thought: You purchase pain with all that joy can give, And die of nothing but a rage to live.
– Alexander Pope

The best students always are flunking. Every good teacher knows that.
– Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

When you’re cold, don’t expect sympathy from someone who’s warm.
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

A teacher I once had told me that the older you get, the lonelier you become and the deeper the love you need.
– Leonard Cohen

Awareness is always surrendering, always grace,
always gratitude and wonder.
– Bob Holmes

Every day, priests minutely examine the Dharma and endlessly chant complicated sutras. Better that they should learn to read the love letters sent by the wind and rain, the snow and moon.
– Ikkyū Sōjun a.k.a. Crazy Cloud (1394-1491)

It’s not that we don’t know ourselves, it’s that we don’t always have opportunities to be ourselves. Strong friendships provide those opportunities.
– Simon Sinek

Awareness is hard because attention is fleeting.

Self awareness is even harder because it is hard to be unbiased about ourselves.

So instead, crowd source self knowledge. Ask a friend, do a 360 review, hire a therapist / coach.
– Siu David

I’m not going anywhere. Should this place become more toxic, I pledge to strive even harder to lift up reason, science, compassion and the rule of law. The struggle against fascism, misinformation, and hate requires tough fighters. I hope you stay in the fight, right beside me.
– George Takei, On Twitter and Elon Musk

Chögyam Trungpa ~ JUST DO IT!!

You may hear what I’m saying and think that it’s true. But you have to practice it; you have to do it, sweethearts. We can’t just issue messages of philosophy all over the world. We are capable of actually sending up a satellite that would beam down Shambhala or Buddhist slogans twenty-four hours a day. What good would that do? We have to get OURSELVES together.

So clearly we need a social media app for writers and artists.
– Cheryl Pappas

We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky.
– Leonard Cohen

Read widely – with one toe in the main stream and nine toes in all the other streams.
– C.M. Rivers

At the Base of the Mountain
by Mark Nepo

The Japanese monk, Ryokan,

returned to his hut in the moon-

light to find a frustrated thief. For

there was nothing to steal. So, Ryokan

offered him his clothes, saying, “You

have come such a long way to visit. Take these.”

The stunned thief scampered away

and Ryokan thought, Poor soul. I wish

I could give him this beautiful moon.

Nothing can be taken if it is given.

Nothing can be missing if left in

the open. Nothing is lacking if

we water what we chase, where

it lives, within us.

The phenomenon of chills or goosebumps that come from a piece of music (or from any other aesthetic experience) is called frisson, and it’s been one of the big mysteries of human nature since it was first described.
– Michael Rothenberg

I’d woken up early,
and I took a long time
getting ready to exist.
– Fernando Pessoa

The Problem with Saints

Beatifying the living, turning them into saints while they are still engaged with the muck and mess of corporeal existence, is always a fraught business. The adorable giggling monk serves an institutional hierarchy rife with sexual and financial abuses. The mother superior tending tirelessly to the poor does nothing concrete to help their circumstances. The inspiring mystic is actually having an affair with a local nurse. The long-suffering ascetic was a bit of a bitch. I promise you, it’s always the same story.
We try to saint the living because we have forgotten what saints actually are.

The living, even the best of us, are mostly a muddle. And those determined to wrack up a good score in heaven are often the most insufferable. “If even the good person attains birth in the Pure Land, how much more so the evil one,” notes the Tannisho of Shin Buddhism. I often think its why the wisest people can often be found in the basements of 12-step meeting rooms trying to let go of their resentments and make small amends each and every day. At least they know they are addicts, at least they acknowledge they’ve made a mess of things and need a little help from their friends.

But on the other side of the veil each and every one of us is nothing more or less than a saint waiting to happen.
Long before the Church got involved in the (big) business of sanctification, a saint was nothing more or less than an ancestor who showed up for you when you called. All the dead were saints…standing ready to help us, collaborate with us, and get the job done. They could find things, heal things, and make miracles and magic happen. Who better to help us get sober than the mother who died of drink? Who better to help us succeed than the uncle who failed at every endeavor? Who better to help us see than the girl who lost her eyes?

We have forgotten that the failures of the living become the wisdom of the dead. “Fail, fail again, fail better,” noted Samuel Beckett dryly. But that failure is the greatest of all resources for the dead, the muck and muddle out of which they bring the whole world into bloom. If we plant ourselves in it, if we call out to them and ask for help.

The dirt beneath our feet is nothing but the bodies of the dead, the soil out of which we can grow if we acknowledge it, activate it, recognize them and call out to them. We have forgotten that it is always the dead who can help us grow a miracle.

Over the next eight weeks I will be teaching a workshop on collaborating with the dead—from traditional saints to personal ancestors to those secular souls on the other side longing to be beatified not by popes and cardinals but by us.

Every time I teach this Way of the Rose workshop I am stunned yet again at what can happen when we remember who the real saints are and how to work with them.

– Perdita Finn

Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.
– Aldo Leopold

A Happy Birthday
by Ted Kooser

This evening, I sat by an open window
and read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride this day down into night,
to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand.

Give Your Daughters Difficult Names
by Assétou Xango

Give your daughters difficult names.
Names that command the full use of the tongue.
My name makes you want to tell me the truth.
My name does not allow me to trust anyone
who cannot pronounce it right.
– Warsan Shire

Many of my contemporaries,
role models,
But especially,

Have a name that brings the tongue to worship.
Names that feel like ritual in your mouth.

I don’t want a name said without pause,
muttered without intention.

I am through with names that leave me unmoved.
Names that leave the speaker’s mouth unscathed.

I want a name like fire,
like rebellion,
like my hand gripping massa’s whip—

I want a name from before the ships
A name Donald Trump might choke on.

I want a name that catches you in the throat
if you say it wrong
and if you’re afraid to say it wrong,
then I guess you should be.

I want a name only the brave can say
a name that only fits right in the mouth of those who love me right,
because only the brave
can love me right

Assétou Xango is the name you take when you are tired
of burying your jewels under thick layers of
and self-doubt.

Assétou the light
Xango the pickaxe
so that people must mine your soul
just to get your attention.

If you have to ask why I changed my name,
it is already too far beyond your comprehension.
Call me callous,
but with a name like Xango
I cannot afford to tread lightly.
You go hard
or you go home
and I am centuries
and ships away
from any semblance
of a homeland.

I am a thief’s poor bookkeeping skills way from any source of ancestry.
I am blindly collecting the shattered pieces of a continent
much larger than my comprehension.

I hate explaining my name to people:
their eyes peering over my journal
looking for a history they can rewrite

Ask me what my name means…
What the fuck does your name mean Linda?

Not every word needs an English equivalent in order to have significance.

I am done folding myself up to fit your stereotype.
Your black friend.
Your headline.
Your African Queen Meme.
Your hurt feelings.
Your desire to learn the rhetoric of solidarity
without the practice.

I do not have time to carry your allyship.

I am trying to build a continent,
A country,
A home.

My name is the only thing I have that is unassimilated
and I’m not even sure I can call it mine.

The body is a safeless place if you do not know its name.

Assétou is what it sounds like when you are trying to bend a syllable
into a home.
With shaky shudders
And wind whistling through your empty,

I feel empty.

There is no safety in a name.
No home in a body.

A name is honestly just a name
A name is honestly just a ritual

And it still sounds like reverence.

He struggled
He would develop the strength to move
He would become a warrior
against the internal
His demons would be vanquished in the
smoldering fire
of his resolve.
He would be known for his indomitable
Then he discovered that the most powerful
force resided in the open acceptance of
what is.
And in letting
He let go
– The Subversive Lens

Charming by Jonatha Brooke

If it was any other year or any other life
But this one is mine to carry on now
Yes, it’s mine to carry on now
‘Cause I will always disappoint you
Is it vengeance or your pride?
‘Til you lose me like that trinket on your bracelet
Charming, charming

In the dream it’s all a test that I face by myself
Lose the briefcase, lie at the airport
Swallow the inky code
We’ll all answer in the end in our temporary tongue
But for now, don’t say anything
Don’t say anything
Charming, charming
Charming charming

‘Cause there, at the garden verge
I will pull you up in hope again
No more second thought
Will crowd you out of your desire
To be loved, not touched
To be blameless and ecstatic again
This is all there is
No knowledge is too much to bear in the end

And I want this more than anything
And I want the damned red shoes
And I want to lead Dorothy back home
Here today, here tomorrow
Here’s the lay of the land
Here’s my heart, here’s my sorrow
I surrender
Charming, charming
Charming, charming

‘Cause there, at the garden verge
I will pull you up in hope again
No more second thought
Will crowd you out of your desire
To be loved, not touched
To be blameless and ecstatic again
This is all there is
No knowledge is too much to bear in the end
At the garden verge
I will pull you up in hope again
No more second thought
Will crowd you out of your desire
To be loved, not touched
To be blameless and ecstatic again
This is all there is
No knowledge is too much to bear in the end
At the garden verge
I will pull you up in hope again
No more second thought
Will crowd you out of your desire
To be loved, not touched
To be blameless and ecstatic again
This is all there is
No knowledge is too much to bear in the end

The inmost spirit of poetry, in other words, is at bottom, in every recorded case, the voice of pain – and the physical body, so to speak, of poetry, is the treatment by which the poet tries to reconcile that pain with the world.
– Ted Hughes

Spring in New Hampshire
Too green the springing April grass,
Too blue the silver-speckled sky,
For me to linger here, alas,
While happy winds go laughing by,
Wasting the golden hours indoors,
Washing windows and scrubbing floors.

Too wonderful the April night,
Too faintly sweet the first May flowers,
The stars too gloriously bright,
For me to spend the evening hours,
When fields are fresh and streams are leaping,
Wearied, exhausted, dully sleeping.
– Claude McKay

Father forgive me for all the times I desired a seat at a table you would have flipped.
– Steven Price

Without the way, there is no going; without the truth, there is no knowing; without the life, there is no living.
– Thomas-Kempis

Each person enters the world “called,” like an oak tree, to fulfill their soul’s agenda.
– James Hillman, The Soul’s Code

Projections carry very real energy; they either sustain or undermine. If someone hits us with a poisoned projection, we feel it whether we recognize it or not; if we are struck with a loving projection, energy is released. As we become more conscious we become increasingly aware of what we have projected onto others, both the good and the bad in ourselves. Unconsciously we have asked them to take responsibility for what we have failed to recognize in ourselves or what of ourselves we have failed to realize. Projections are charged with archetypal energy until they have been assimilated by the conscious ego.
– Marion Woodman

But I wonder… why complete a work when it’s so beautiful just to dream it.
– Pier Paolo Pasolini

Dear spiritual bypassers: We don’t need your faux forgiveness. We don’t need your perfected asanas. We don’t need your head-tripping meditations. We don’t need your detachment practices. We don’t need your fake names. We don’t need your victim bashing. We don’t need your love and light. We don’t need your (alleged) law of attraction. We don’t need your wishful thinking. We don’t need your superficial affirmations. We don’t need your perpetual positivity. We don’t need your pseudo-transcendence. We don’t need your flight from feeling. We don’t need your obsession with illusion. We don’t need your stillness and silence. We don’t need your patriarchal rituals and lineage. We don’t need your enbullshitment enlightenment.

What we need is for you to come down from your world-avoidant perch and take all that energy you have been selfishly hoarding and give it back to humanity. What we need is for you to exit your cave of cowardice, put your tender tootsies on the ground, and actually do something to heal our species. What we need is for you to help us shape a new lineage- one that is rooted in a truly inclusive and embodied consciousness. Not a non-duality that omits everything human from the field, but one that includes all that we are, and all of your fellow humans, in its unified fold. What we need is for you to understand that ALL OF THIS is real. And that any spirituality that is bereft of humanness, is a collective death knell. You want to wake up for real? Stop hiding behind your egoic badge of egolessness, come back into your body, and help us to heal this bloodied species.


There are two ways of rejecting the revolution. The first is to refuse to see it where it exists; the second is to see it where it manifestly will not occur.
– Félix Guattari

To a humiliating (but helpful) extent, some of the gravest problems we face during a day can be traced back to a brutally simple fact: that we have not had enough sleep.
– The School of Life

Fulfillment comes from usefulness and contribution, not acquisition and achievement.
– Zach Mercurio

Go home and write it all down, every single detail. But don’t forget that what you have to capture is the unseen, the imponderable.
– Eula Biss

Anyone can train a mind to be happier. It’s a ritual, like the dance class, the notes, the cleaning of the leotard. It’s like prayer or a diet or the meditation and yoga that so many do. I think all of us have around and within us things for which she should be grateful. The present is full of riches and hope. I tried to impart to my students that there would be work, but there would also be love and friendship, and so much beauty in the world to study that you can be frustrated that there isn’t time to experience it all. Julie Harris and I were talking once, and we were catching each other up on things we had seen and loved, and she said that it frustrated her that even if she lived to be one hundred years old, healthy and clear of mind, she could never read all the books that needed to be read; see all the art that is out there waiting to inspire us; could never hear the new music that could elate her, much less listen again to music she already loved. There is just not enough time for all the friendships, so I don’t understand the time wasted on grudges or rivalries or negativity. I give to charities and I try to help every friend that I can, but the weight of the world for me is not the tragedies, but the huge weight of beautiful things that are waiting for our witness.

Try to be happy. Allow into each day those things that remind you how grateful you can be for all that is in the world.
– Marian Seldes

The people who know God well—mystics, hermits and prayerful people, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, not a dictator.
– Father Richard Rohr

Decency is the absence of strategy. It is of utmost importance to realize that the warrior’s approach should be simple-minded sometimes, very simple and straightforward. That makes it very beautiful: you having nothing up your sleeve; therefore a sense of genuineness comes through. That is decency.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

If we can’t stay connected to the stream of life in the midst of the thousand tasks, our frustration and disconnection will begin to hurt others.
– Mark Nepo

To be alive at this time means to be caught in the great unraveling that strands us near all the loose threads of creation; but it also means to be close to the revelation of the new design and the next paradigm. The old knowers say that the cave of knowledge can be found in the depths of the human soul, that each soul is threaded with inner qualities intended to be woven into the world and added to the garment of creation. They say that the creative energies of each soul become more important when the dark times come round again. In facing up to the enormous problems of the world and accepting the troubles that knock on our doors, we can better learn what hidden resources, deep resolves, and surprising designs we have hidden within us.
– Michael Meade

The Hummingbird Feeder

If what we wait to see partly defines us,
then this red bulb hanging in the blue
is a simple model for the heart,
swaying slightly at the end of its string
as I rock slightly, standing next to it,
eyes fixed, waiting for the buzz, the blur
of wings, the body like a tiny seal’s
balancing the feeder on its nose.

Surely these moments we stand on tiptoe for
make us what we are as much as pain
and sorrow: the moment the hummingbird
flashes his read throat, the moment he spreads
his tail and swerves off like a fish, a green
streak, then sticks like a leaf to a branch –
the moment he stops in midair and sticks
his beak into that severed artery.

As he drinks, an embolism forms,
like the bubble in a spirit level,
and rises slowly up the tube, a bit
of the outside world going in, a moment
trapped: like one of those clear marbles
in which everything is upside-down, and small.
As the last drop quivers and disappears
with the bird, the heart becomes a mind.

– Jeffrey Harrison

You shout from the other room
You ask me how to spell boogie-woogie
And instantly I think what luck
no war has been declared
no fire has consumed
our city’s monuments
our bodies our dwellings

The river didn’t flood
no friends
have been arrested
It’s only boogie-woogie
I sigh relieved
and say it’s spelled just like it sounds

– Adam Zagajewski

by Zoë Ryder White

Listen to yourself, the therapist said;
do you hear how you sound, she said,
and I heard the sound of a mare
trying to turn around
in a stall too small for turning.
Trying to know the other view.
This is not a metaphor
for an unhappy life.
This is how my body felt.
This is how my neurology followed its groove,
showed me a picture of a mare
in a stall too small for turning.
Mare shoulder pressed in one direction,
mare’s flank pressed in the other.
The torque involved.
The stillness at the center.
And field in every direction:
visible field.

“I would die for my child.”

I believe you. But, would you live for them?

Would you get yourself healthy?
Would you eliminate distractions?
Would you lead them more intentionally?

You’d only have to die once. You have to live every day.

Do that.

– @MattBeaudreau

Enough Music
by Dorianne Laux
Sometimes, when we’re on a long drive,
and we’ve talked enough and listened
to enough music and stopped twice,
once to eat, once to see the view,
we fall into this rhythm of silence.
It swings back and forth between us
like a rope over a lake.
Maybe it’s what we don’t say
that saves us.

It’s inevitable that your work will express your view of life—and that’s desirable.
– Deborah Eisenberg

Prayer To Be Changed
I ask for just the slightest shift
in my thinking, the kindest sifting
of my busy mind, so only wonder
and peace are left behind. So that
as I walk out in sleet this morning,
I can see even the muddy ruts
made by trucks on the forest trail
as harbors of miracle that will fill
with snowmelt and rain for tadpoles
to swim in, until that sunlit instant
come summer, when they feel the flexing
of legs working in the water beneath them,
and leap out onto the ground, their bodies
having decided, by pure instinct alone,
to be soft and fully alive in this world.
– James Crews

Now is the time to stop drifting and wake up—to assess yourself, the people around you, and the direction in which you are headed in as cold and brutal a light as possible. Without fear
– Robert Greene

When I think about the kind of person I’d like to be, when it comes to engaging with people and with art, I think of Pádraig Ó Tuama in interviews / on Poetry Unbound—the wisdom & care, the warmth, intelligence in service of connection… A north star kind of presence.
– Gabrielle Bates

work: an ode for the human micropoem*
Jennifer Karmin

one has to have
a reason for living
a guiding philosophy
a purpose
a goal

the best way
to communicate
an idea
is to act it out

no work
no eat

i want to have something to say
about my own destiny
something i care about
something of value
something important


Inside walls, mirrors and
Sloping windows, sorcerers in suits
Midnight shades of black and gray
Ties twisted, stretching necks
Pretty assistants chained to clocks
Trap doors closed, ghouls in glasses
Pouring numbers in burning
Cauldrons, mixed and stirred
Siphoned into tiny vials for
Mass consumption
Boxed and labeled on
Conveyor belts to no-man’s land
A poof of smoke in flash of

The meaning disappears.

– Laurence Overmire

Chögyam Trungpa ~ BEYOND THE MISHAP
When you begin to relax in the teachings, but you are not quite adult enough, you’re not grown up enough, at that point you’re still thinking that everything is going to be OK. At that level, when the relaxation and the tension both begin to take place together, you get a mishap. Otherwise, how can you have the accident? An accident happens when tension and relaxation are put together . . . . So first there has to be a mishap. Then that is the situation. On top of the mishap, there is clear vision. You begin to evolve and involve yourself beyond the mishap, and you begin to expand beyond that particular situation.

We aren’t experiencing a Great Resignation. We’re experiencing a demand for dignity.
– Omar Brownson

Early morning practice,
wandering thoughts come easy.

In awe of how poetry, art, is never done. It is the eternal
expressed through the transient. For those who write, compose,
paint, draw, sing, or dance, we understand.

Rarely at rest, though oftentimes we look still and quiet,
there is no hurry,
for there is nothing really to get done.

Eternity is forever
…and we are it.

– Shinzen

The more you read and reread a text, the more it becomes yours, in a sense, part of your unconscious mind.
– Margaret Jull Costa

Sometimes I feel like I’m actually on the wrong planet. It’s great when I’m in my garden, but the minute I go out the gate I think, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’
– George Harrison

Forget the years, forget distinctions, leap into the boundless, and make it your home.
– Chuang T’zu

1. Is it true?
2. Is it kind?
3. Is it beneficial?
4. Is it necessary?
5. Is it the right time?

You live long enough as a poet, you lose entire support networks, those 90s journals, those first 2000s online journals, editors and mentors die, scenes burn themselves out, and you just have to go on writing, with faith and kindness, still dedicated to this difficult art.
– Sean Thomas Dougherty

Inventing Father In Las Vegas
by Lynn Emanuel

If I could see nothing but the smoke
From the tip of his cigar, I would know everything
About the years before the war.
If his face were halved by shadow I would know
This was a street where an EATS sign trembled
And a Greek served coffee black as a dog’s eye.
If I could see nothing but his wrist I would know
About the slot machine and I could reconstruct
The weak chin and ruin of his youth, the summer
My father was a gypsy with oiled hair sleeping
In a Murphy bed and practicing clairvoyance.
I could fill his vast Packard with showgirls
And keep him forever among the difficult buttons
Of the bodice, among the rustling of their names,
Miss Christina, Miss Lorraine.
I could put his money in my pocket
and wearing memory’s black fedora
With the condoms hidden in the hatband
The damp cigar between my teeth,
I could become the young man who always got sentimental
About London especially in Las Vegas with its single bridge­-
So ridiculously tender–leaning across the river
To watch the starlight’s soft explosions.
If I could trace the two veins that crossed
His temple, I would know what drove him
To this godforsaken place, I would keep him forever
Remote from war–like the come-hither tip of his lit cigar
Or the harvest moon, that gold planet, remote and pure

There is an underbelly of terror to all life. It is suffering, it is hurt. Deep within all of us are intense fears that have left few of us whole. Life’s terrors haunt us, attack us, leave ugly cuts. To buffer ourselves, we dwell on beauty, we collect things, we fall in love, we desperately try to make something lasting in our lives. We take beauty as the only worthwhile thing in this existence, but it cannot veil cursing, violence, randomness, and injustice.
– Deng Ming-Dao

Chögyam Trungpa ~ VIVIDLY ALIVE
The basic point of mindfulness is to be completely, totally in touch with what happens in your body and the environment around you. You are not reduced to an inanimate clod of earth while you are meditating. You may feel your pulse or your heartbeat. You feel your breathing. You hear sounds and see sights. You feel vividly that you are alive.

Better to say what you mean than to mean what you say.
Without a syntax, there is no immortality.

Truth’s an indefinite article.
When we live, we live for the last time,
as Akhmatova says,
One the in a world of a.

– from Broken English by Charles Wright

The moment you organize the world into words, you modify its nature.
– Enrique Vila-Matas

breeze & finch
pleasing sun
i’ve stopped
in order to be
& softest breeze
my leaves
are hymns
despite anxiety
& pain
i am earth
all these illuminated
grow from my
faithful core
a lonesome
tree i am
i release
my name
& become
lightest air
in verdurous
of my simplest
unpoetic words
You called me
out of logic’s maze
o sweetest
irrational worship
i am earth
while i stay in
so much
i blossom
with flowers
i remain a lake
of quiet air —
in a field
though trapped
in valley’s pain
out from my
expanding heart
rises the tiny
blue finch
out of my
suffering dried
i am earth
i foolishly
so lovingly
i am earth
– Rick Davis

We were all born like empty fields.
What we are now shows what has been planted.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

If only we knew before we crossed that line into bonding, what a price we will pay for its early delights. It is like the most precarious decision we make in life- who to bond to. The art of selective attachment is essential, with respect to all things relational. Our lives are precious. Take as much time as you need before you commit to a union. Remain open, but ever-vigilant. Pay close attention to how you change around another. Do you retain your best traits, or do they fade away? Does it bring out the best in you, or the worst? Do you remain hopeful, or does everything become dark and overwhelming?
– Jeff Brown

Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures.
– Elisabeth Elliot

We must be moving, working, making dreams to run toward; the poverty of life without dreams is too horrible to imagine.
– Sylvia Plath

I always think about when my mom came to visit me in Denver, and she said, “It’s sharp out here, the land is sharp, the streets are sharp, even the people are sharp, and they talk fast.” I’d only been living here for a year at the time, and had moved from Hawaii, via West Virginia (surprisingly similar soft culture and landscape, even the hugging), and I was like, “Wow, that’s what I’ve been feeling but couldn’t name for some reason.” What she said is still true in a lot of ways.
– Steven Dunn

The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
– J.B.S. Haldane


Definitions are dead and of the past.
You are too alive for definitions.

You’re not a success or a failure.
You’re not a good person or a bad person.
You’re not a wise person or a fool.
You’re not beautiful, nor are you ugly.
You’re not enlightened, and you can’t be unenlightened, ever.
You’re not any one thing, nor nothing,
nor many things at once.

You are pure potential.
A vessel for life,
prior to any incarnation.

You always knew you were changing
too fast to be defined.

No concept can capture your vastness.

No mouth can speak your name.

No word can capture
your outrageous fire.

– Jeff Foster


You came in a dream, yesterday
—The first day we met
you showed me your dark workroom
off the kitchen, your books, your notebooks.

Reading our last, knowing-last letters
—the years of our friendship
reading our poems to each other,
I would start breathing again.

Yesterday, in the afternoon,
more than a year since you died,
some words came into the air.
I looked away a second,
and they were gone,
six lines, just passing through.

for Adrienne Rich
– Jean Valentine

For the Bird Singing before Dawn

Some people presume to be hopeful
when there is no evidence for hope,
to be happy when there is no cause.
Let me say now, I’m with them.

In deep darkness on a cold twig
in a dangerous world, one first
little fluff lets out a peep, a warble,
a song—and in a little while, behold:

the first glimmer comes, then a glow
filters through the misty trees,
then the bold sun rises, then
everyone starts bustling about.

And that first crazy optimist, can we
forgive her for thinking, dawn by dawn,
“Hey, I made that happen!
And oh, life is so fine.”

– Kim Stafford

What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.
– the Stoic philosopher Hecato of Rhodes, quoted by Seneca in his Moral Letters to Lucillus, ep. VII

Here’s the truth: you are literally bending reality every single day with your thoughts. So watch what you think.
– @Vishen

Ry Cooder: Once you can see somebody play, I’ve always found this to be true, it illuminates the whole situation, how they hold the instrument, how they physically go about doing these things. Copying notes off a record is pointless. You got to know how they get themselves in a physical state and then things happen, they just seem to happen, that you know how that’s done or you can understand how it’s done makes a whole lot of difference. That’s why filming musicians is such a good thing, because then if you can’t go where they are, if they’re dead, you look at this film and you really understand a lot, just looking at a guy, you understand a lot.

I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free
I wish I could break
All the chains holding me
I wish I could say
All the things that I should say
Say ’em loud say ’em clear
For the whole round world to hear

I wish I could share
All the love that’s in my heart
Remove all the bars
That keep us apart
I wish you could know
What it means to be me
Then you’d see and agree
That every man should be free

I wish I could give
All I’m longin’ to give
I wish I could live
Like I’m longin’ to live
I wish I could do
All the things that I can do
Though I’m way overdue
I’d be starting anew.

Well I wish I could be like a bird in the sky
How sweet it would be
If I found I could fly
I’d soar to the sun
And look down at the sea
And I sing ’cause I know
How it feels to be free

– Nina Simone

Muir at once went wild when we reached this fairyland. From cluster to cluster of flowers he ran, falling on his knees, babbling in unknown tongues, prattling a curious mixture of scientific lingo and baby talk, worshiping his little blue-and-pink goddesses. “Ah! my blue-eyed darlin’, little did I think to see you here. How did you stray away from Shasta?” “Well, well! Who’d ‘a’ thought that you’d have left that niche in the Merced mountains to come here!” “And who might you be, now, with your wonder look? Is it possible that you can be (two Latin polysyllables)? You’re lost, my dear; you belong in Tennessee.” “Ah! I thought I’d find you, my homely little sweetheart,” and so on unceasingly. So absorbed was he in this amatory botany that he seemed to forget my existence. While I, as glad as he, tagged along, running up and down with him, asking now and then a question, learning something of plant life, but far more of that spiritual insight into Nature’s lore which is granted only to those who love and woo her in her great outdoor palaces.
– Samuel Hall Young, Alaska Days with John Muir


be mindful of the
holy presence
especially before
you leave the house

so that wherever
you are

love’s gentlest
petals will lie
before you

on the softest
mountain path

– Rick Davis

When altruists come together, they can produce a formidable power for good.” (… ) Everyone can mobilize in their own way and cultivate an altruistic mindset to become a link of the huge chain of solidarity that goes beyond borders, castes, genders and religions.
– Matthieu Ricard

It is in the nature of man, when he feels lost in the large and busy external world, that he should seek to find his proper self in solitude. And the more deeply he has felt the inward cleavage and rending, the more absolute is the solitude required. If religion adds to this a feeling of sin and a need for abiding and uninterrupted union with God, then every earthly consideration vanishes and the recluse becomes an ascetic, partly to do penance, partly to owe the world without nothing more than the barest existence, but partly also to keep the soul capable of constant intercourse with the sublime. Quite of his own accord the recluse sought to bind himself from a return to his previous state by taking vows. If several inspired by the same strIving were met together in their retirement, their vows and their general manner of life took on the character of a community, of a rule. The anchorite way of life premises a not wholly healthy state of society and the individual, but belongs rather to periods of crisis, when many crushed spirits seek quiet, and at the same time many strong hearts are puzzled by the whole apparatus of life and must wage their struggle with God remote from the world, But if any man possessed by the modern preoccupation with activity and its immoderately subjective view of life would therefore wish to place the anchorites in some institution for enforced labor, let him not regard himself as particularly healthy-minded, he is no more so than the multitudes in the fourth century who were too weak or too superficial to have any comprehension of the spiritual forces which drove those towering personalities into the desert.
– Jacob Burckhardt

What comes after, in the walking home alone forever, & the writing it
Out, is like the testimony of a witness, always imperfect, changing,

Until one is spent in the exhaustion of the music, in each twisted,

Unmemorized limb of mesquite scoring the blood-spattered Hawk’s screech of each note—no voice left in it & no accompaniment—

What comes after is the knowledge that

One is no longer part of it, & can no longer be part of it,

Who, with no one to answer to, passes the brown, indifferent grasses

In the winter months, the lascivious blooms that come on later, cock
Purple & blush pink, noticing them one moment, then looking away

Without focusing on anything in particular, unable to believe either
The chill of visitation or any lie the wind tells him

Forgetting, & becoming,

Without the slightest awareness of it in that moment, another.

– Larry Levis – A Singing in the Rocks

I supposed that what I most value are real human relations and imagination. It is possible we cannot have one without the other. It took me a long time to discard the desire to please those who do not have my best interests at heart and who cannot live warmly with me. I own the books that I have written and bequeath the royalties to my daughters. In this sense, my books are my real estate. They are not private property. There are no fierce dogs or security guards at the gate and there are no signs forbidding anyone to dive, splash, kiss, fail, feel fury or fear or be tender or tearful, to fall in love with the wrong person, go mad, become famous or play on the grass.
– Deborah Levy, Real Estate

The body isn’t just a vehicle for realization, or for getting things done. It’s the root of wisdom—its very source. Sometimes we need to be nudged to remember this. Sometimes the reminder is a bit more blunt. But at the end of the day, the body will have the last word.
– Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, Stuck in Slow Motion

-for Tess

Suppose I say summer,
write the word “hummingbird,”
put it in an envelope,
take it down the hill
to the box. When you open
my letter you will recall
those days and how much,
just how much, I love you.

– Raymond Carver

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

My striving after stillness was a noisy affair, I discovered. It seemed raucous and fitful and poorly planned. I could be wrong about stillness, though. If it isn’t fitfull after all, then the simpler conclusion might be that I’m just not very good at it. Trying to still your life is something between a pinky swear with whatever ordains you and an arm wrestle with your nature. That’s what I found.
– Stephen Jenkinson

Four AM can be a devastating hour. The day, no matter what kind of day it was is indisputably over; almost instantaneously, a new day begins: and how will one bear it? Probably no better than one bore the day that is ending, possibly not as well. Moreover, a day is coming one will not recall, the last day of one’s life, and on that day one will oneself become as irrecoverable as all the days that have passed.

It is a fearful speculation — or, rather, a fearful knowledge — that, one day one’s eyes will no longer look out on the world. One will no longer be present at the universal morning roll call. The light will rise for others, but not for you.

Sometimes, at four AM, this knowledge is almost enough to force a reconciliation between oneself and all one’s pain and error. Since, anyway, it will end one day, why not try it — life — one more time?
– James Baldwin

You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.
– Eckhart Tolle

Like wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.
– Simdha Getul Rinpoche

The Metier of Blossoming
Fully occupied with growing—that’s
the amaryllis. Growing especially
at night: it would take
only a bit more patience than I’ve got
to sit keeping watch with it till daylight;
the naked eye could register every hour’s
increase in height. Like a child against a barn door,
proudly topping each year’s achievement,
steadily up
goes each green stem, smooth, matte,
traces of reddish purple at the base, and almost
imperceptible vertical ridges
running the length of them:
Two robust stems from each bulb,
sometimes with sturdy leaves for company,
elegant sweeps of blade with rounded points.
Aloft, the gravid buds, shiny with fullness.

One morning—and so soon!—the first flower
has opened when you wake. Or you catch it poised
in a single, brief
moment of hesitation.
Next day, another,
shy at first like a foal,
even a third, a fourth,
carried triumphantly at the summit
of those strong columns, and each
a Juno, calm in brilliance,
a maiden giantess in modest splendor.
If humans could be
that intensely whole, undistracted, unhurried,
swift from sheer
unswerving impetus! If we could blossom
out of ourselves, giving
nothing imperfect, withholding nothing!
– Denise Levertov

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

you live in a world that barely knows you
on a ship that is always pointed
somewhere else
– Naomi Shihab Nye

The only serious answer to determining the course of philosophizing lies in your relation to the works you care about. And this means to me, in your relation to what allows you…to think further.
– Stanley Cavell on pedagogy and, perhaps, criticism as well

Light produces space, distance, orientation, calm contemplation; it is the gift that makes no demands, the illumination capable of conquering without force.
– Hans Blumenberg

Escape somehow from the history of poetry,
From fashions of poetry,
From a hundred years of poetic authority.

Be born trembling, wild and alone.

– Ko Un

For Peace

As the fever of day calms towards twilight
May all that is strained in us come to ease.

We pray for all who suffered violence today,
May an unexpected serenity surprise them.

For those who risk their lives each day for peace,
May their hearts glimpse providence at the heart of history.

That those who make riches from violence and war
Might hear in their dreams the cries of the lost.

That we might see through our fear of each other
A new vision to heal our fatal attraction to aggression.

That those who enjoy the privilege of peace
Might not forget their tormented brothers and sisters.

That the wolf might lie down with the lamb,
That our swords be beaten into ploughshares

And no hurt or harm be done
Anywhere along the holy mountain.

– John O’Donohue

I am watching a bat scoop the emptiness
from the night, watching the hackberry embrace the moon.
Sometimes we have to hold hands with our own nightmares.
When I tell you that the voice of the nightingale turns dark
you have to understand what this love is trying to overcome,
you have to know that if you ever leave, if you ever disappear,
the sky would rip, and the stars would lose their way.
– Richard Jackson

New Age spirituality becomes a global industry during/through the intensification of globalization.

Its banal, depoliticized universalism depends on feeling that history is over, conflict is an illusion, money is intentionality, and the world is the playground of the self.

– Matthew Remski

When you learn something from people, or from a culture, you accept it as a gift, and it is your lifelong commitment to preserve it and build on it.
– Yo-Yo Ma

The truest warriors on the planet are those who have had to overcome tremendous hardships with very little or no support. The real super-heroes are those that have been so disillusioned by the world, so uprooted in their daily life, yet they find a way to get up in the morning and believe in life again. We want to co-create a society that elevates and supports these individuals. We want to co-create a world that pulls humanity close, that refuses to let anyone fall off the edge, that breathes individuals back to life when they lose all hope, that moves the way loves makes us move. In this world of divine possibility, we will never forget that we are all part of this human-nest. If even one is left out, the nest is empty.

Unity consciousness is not simply a beautiful vision of possibility- it is our best and truest hope. Until each and every one of us rises into fullness, the collective cannot actualize its wholeness. Until we all rush to the side of someone in need, we are all fractured beings. Until we all recognize that each of us is a magnificent reflection of the Godself, we are collectively blind. Until everyone has what they need to flourish, we are all birds with one wing. The measure of a healthy society is not how effectively it elevates its achievers, but how compassionately it supports those who have fallen. Our community is humanity. We rise in unison, or not at all.
– Jeff Brown

According to Psychologists, there are four types of Intelligence:

1) Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
2) Emotional Quotient (EQ)
3) Social Quotient (SQ)
4) Adversity Quotient (AQ)

1. Intelligence Quotient (IQ): this is the measure of your level of comprehension. You need IQ to solve maths, memorize things, and recall lessons.

2. Emotional Quotient (EQ): this is the measure of your ability to maintain peace with others, keep to time, be responsible, be honest, respect boundaries, be humble, genuine and considerate.

3. Social Quotient (SQ): this is the measure of your ability to build a network of friends and maintain it over a long period of time.

People that have higher EQ and SQ tend to go further in life than those with a high IQ but low EQ and SQ. Most schools capitalize on improving IQ levels while EQ and SQ are played down.

A man of high IQ can end up being employed by a man of high EQ and SQ even though he has an average IQ.

Your EQ represents your Character, while your SQ represents your Charisma. Give in to habits that will improve these three Qs, especially your EQ and SQ.

Now there is a 4th one, a new paradigm:

4. The Adversity Quotient (AQ): The measure of your ability to go through a rough patch in life, and come out of it without losing your mind.

When faced with troubles, AQ determines who will give up, who will abandon their family, and who will consider suicide.

Parents please expose your children to other areas of life than just Academics. They should adore manual labour (never use work as a form of punishment), Sports and Arts.

Develop their IQ, as well as their EQ, SQ and AQ. They should become multifaceted human beings able to do things independently of their parents.

Finally, do not prepare the road for your children. Prepare your children for the road.

– Unknown

Every time I see a listing for an artist, I see that they’ve won this and won that and this person who does something says they’re good. What if you don’t win anything and don’t get reviews or sound bites and quotes? Are you still a valid artist? Have you even made an album if it doesn’t get reviewed?

I’m not asking for compliments here or validation, I’m just wondering if this stuff is necessary or people are impressed by it?

Do people even listen to music any more or do they just read the quotes??

– Jessica Lee Morgan

Critics in the West often ask whether poetry matters. I now realize that the only valid response to this question is: Do such critics matter? If a person sheltering deep underground as her city is bombed recites poems as a survival tool—to soothe herself and others—that is all the evidence I need that poetry matters. But we humans always knew that.
– Ilya Kaminsky

If you get a friend request
from God,
don’t accept it.
She is a hacker.
She will infect your cell phone,
your iPad, your camera
and everything it sees,
even your own
reptilian brain
with a viral buzz,
a neuroplastic musk
that melts all boundaries,
all fine distinctions,
the molecular membranes
that guard the bureaucracy
of your punctilious neurons
from amphibious tongues
of fire that tease up
out of your steaming amygdala,
yes, even dissolving
the firewall between “inner”
and “outer,”
until the algorithm of your
own heart forces you
to surrender, to collapse
into the cyber-void
at the center of the iris,
to erase all your files,
empty your memory,
and simply gaze
into what gazes.
– Fred LaMotte

Song to Forgotten Ancestors

Whatever you sing to them
Is only this world humming to itself
Through the single human song
Is only your heart answering their love.
And the words you sing are not your own
Though you sounded them they are older than you
They rise from the soul of your people
Music of your emigrant ancestors
Whose hard history left a long soul scar.
They are behind you breathing through you
Still hungering for the unlived life beyond.
Their passion never fired breaks through in you
Their energy passed to you carries it so strongly on
Listen where the ages roar
In the morning wind through the forest
Where no one yet walks.

– Douglas Stewart, MacTalla

He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.
– Gabriel García Márquez

What can I give you,
O splendid scene?
All I have is a few tears,
a few sighs.
– Guru Dutt

You were my first lesson in living memory; how it leaps and snaps. How it nips at you, unexpectedly.
– Kiki Petrosino

Memory begins to qualify the imagination, to give it another formation, one that is peculiar to the self. I remember isolated, yet fragmented and confused, images–and images, shifting, enlarging, is the word, rather than moments or events–which are mine alone and which are especially vivid to me. They involve me wholly and immediately, even though they are the disintegrated impressions of a young child. They call for a certain attitude of belief on my part now; that is, they must mean something, but their best reality does not consist in meaning. They are not stories in that sense, but they are story-like, mythic, never evolved but evolving ever. There are such things in the world: it is their nature to be believed; it is not necessarily in them to be understood. Of all that must have happened to and about me in those my earliest days, why should these odd particulars alone be fixed in my mind? If I were to remember other things, I should be someone else.
– N. Scott Momaday

the earth is a living thing
is a black shambling bear
ruffling its wild back and tossing
mountains into the sea

is a black hawk circling
the burying ground circling the bones
picked clean and discarded

is a fish black blind in the belly of water
is a diamond blind in the black belly of coal

is a black and living thing
is a favorite child
of the universe
feel her rolling her hand
in its kinky hair
feel her brushing it clean
– Lucille Clifton

So often when things feel constricted or there are changes happening that we don’t agree with but can’t control, it feels like doors are slamming shut all around. The need to conserve energy for what could be coming feels urgent, and your shoulders get stuck up around your ears, breath coming quick and shallow.

[Take a moment to sit up straight, roll your shoulders back and down, and take a few deep belly breaths.]

When options feel limited, or things are so muddy you can’t even see what the options might be, sometimes it’s the simplest questions that illuminate the path forward – and it’s not always the path we think of when we consider what’s next. Today, I invite you to allow for a new possibility, one that perhaps you’ve not yet considered.

What else is possible?

– Heidi Barr

Great strategists do not act according to preconceived ideas; they respond to the moment like children. Their minds are always moving, and they are always excited and curious. They quickly forget the past – the present is much too interesting.
– Robert Greene

Everyone experiences pain and most suffer from patterns that continue to make life miserable unless something or someone intervenes. The pain we feel comes from the cross-wise energies that keep curving back and cancelling the wise self and the good word that wait to be expressed from within us. Persistent pain is usually the indication that we have become trapped in a life too small for our true nature. That is the usual human fate and the common predicament where the little-self obscures the greater nature behind it. Until people realize what harms them and limits them from within, they are unlikely to call out for someone to help stop the pain. The remedy may be nearby, but until the pain becomes unbearable most remain caught in the agony of one form or another of self-inflicted wounds. As Rumi said, ‘The cure for the pain is in the pain.’”
– Michael Meade, Fate and Destiny

The kindest most pleasant people are those who easily, and without pride, quickly imagine they might be in the wrong.
– School of Life

Stepping out of the frenetic pace set by this consumerist culture sets in motion a couple wonderful things…you gain your mind back…you gain time back…and being present, really present, where your feet are planted, becomes possible. It will make you a much safer person for everyone else to be near.
– Kent Burgess

What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, & good deeds.
– Cindy Schneider

Myth is a wild way of trying to tell the truth about something.
– Martin Shaw

Find the wildest mountain you can
And ask it to be your grandfather,
Find the curviest river you can
and ask it to be your grandmother.
If blood spilled from me onto you, a significant amount of the drop – and I would hope it only a drop – would be Connemara in origin. Indeed, I was enspelled into a splendiferous thwonk of rapture when the taxi wheezed from mid Ireland up to Clifden to give the John Moriarty memorial lecture. The glass-glazed lakes, the bleached white cottages, dun cows and sheer swing of the conversation. I knew the yomp of it somehow.
Late that night after the reading, swelled with porter and a couple of Paddies, I sat on a park bench and opened my ears, nostrils and mouth to the pungent languages of the land and its associated dead. Little willow-the-wisps they were, that glittered and danced and in they flew.
There’s more than one dimension in Connemara, and to Ireland. Along with its namesake Ériu, there’s Banba and Fódla her sisters. Three deities, three sisters who were all granted their name as the title of the island. Though we tend to remember Ériu, if we are to fall into poetic consciousness it is good to speak of Fódla, if we fall into land dreaming it is good to speak of Banba. So we want to be talking to three sisters in our chat, banter and occasional big speech.
And then there’s a fourth step, a journey into the ‘Dinnseanches’ of Ireland, the land-lore, magic and elusive memory energetics of the place. If that description is a little hard to follow it’s meant to be. It needs to breath, the edges of the tent still flapping a little.
Knowing Dinnseanches is part of how you learn to think in dream again.
I’ve spent much time loyal to that, though here, in the far west of Britain, not Ireland. I’m not saying they are the same country, but I recognise the necessity of contact if you want to deepen into a place. The vibrational dip. Sitting and sleeping and walking and listening in wild, holy crofts. Getting your back up against an oak tree and the turf under your arse. Thousands of hours of wandering and wondering, opening to the dimension of Fódla, the murmur of Banba. Being astray, getting adrift. Getting to grips with a little Irish in the jaw, sucking on the marrow of the language.
Sometimes a hill could be a white cow at a certain time of day, a river a sauntering woman.
My friend Manchán Magan knows all about this kind of thing. Things that saunter and twirl. He suggests that to an Irish way of looking, a field’s not just a field. It could be:
Tuar – a night field for cattle
Biorach – a field of marsh
Plasog – a field sheltered for foals to grow
Cluain – a meadow field between two woods
Caithairin – a field with a fairy place within it
We all swoon into such distinctions, the care, the poly not the mono. It’s how humans also desire to be known. That a lover knows your many temperaments and seasonal shifts. Tied up with close attention is usually something of a love affair. The farmer knows the fields character because they love and depend on the character of that field. They coax it, get into the muck of it, even dream with it.
Manchán had his young mind blown as kid by his granny delivering a proverb to him, a seanfhocal – an ‘old word’. She said this:
Saol tri mhiol mhor saol Iomaire amhain, saol tri Iomaire saol an domhain.
‘Three time the life of a whale is the lifespan of a ridge, and three times the life span of a ridge is the life span of the world.’
The saying works like this: it used to be speculated that a whale could live a thousand years, a ridge for growing could make three thousand, and the world which the Irish understood would be nine thousand years old.
With nine thousand years being around the time that humans first started settling in Ireland there really is encoded knowledge in this saying, it’s a storehouse, as all good thinking and storytelling really is. Long before they were thought of as entertainers, storytellers were oral libraries, they kept history and magical lore tucked under their antler of their tongue.
Nine thousand years feels just about bearable for a human to comprehend. When we move into millions of years our legs buckle or we simply vacate the proposition. There was a time when we believed the sun revolved around us, not the other way round. There was a time when we looked up at the planets and called them influences, that they affected our mood, our tides, our plants and minerals. So in a wonderful way, when you looked up you were also looking inward, you saw aspects of yourself scattered over the night sky. Very beautiful. Reassuring and awesome. I’m not convinced that our current knowledge of nameless, endless universes has done much to steady us. Humble us possibly.
– Martin Shaw, On Manchan Magan

Oh, how this
love/lineage drops
into me, begs me to
hold my breath,
and sink.
– Desireé Dallagiacomo

Everything—including love, hate, and suffering—needs food to continue. If suffering continues, it’s because we keep feeding our suffering.
– Thích Nhất Hạnh

When I was a little kid, I always knew that I had some special kind of thing inside me. I mean, I wasn’t very attractive, I wasn’t very verbal, I wasn’t very smart in school. I wasn’t anything that showed the world that I was something special, but I had this tremendous hope all the time. I had this tremendous spirit that kept me going […] I just had this light inside that kept spurring me on. I had this feeling I was going to go beyond my body physical, I just knew it.
– Patti Smith


Spiritual Consumerism

I want to be clear that seeking your own understanding does not mean rejecting all established spiritual paths. Many people feel that organized religions are problematic – or even hopelessly flawed. They might even think that they could assemble a better religion for themselves by picking and choosing bits they like from different religions. I do not think this is realistic. It simply does not work as we think it might. Instead of something holistic that transforms us, it just yields a patchwork that pleases us. This can become a kind of spiritual consumerism.

Worse, it can be dangerous. Bits that you thought would be beneficial for you can turn out to be ineffective or even harmful if you apply them out of context. When you extract practices from a gradual path of transformation, they might not have the same effect outside of their intended sequence. Our spiritual path has to unfold organically – and we have to be receptive to going where it leads us, step-by-step.

– 17th Karmapa

My dear, in the midst of hatred, I’ve found within me a love that can’t be stopped.” In the midst of tears, I found inside me a smile that can’t stop. In the midst of all the chaos, I found within me an invincible calm. I’ve realized through it all that, in the midst of winter, there’s an invincible summer in me, and that makes me happy, because it says no matter how the world pushes against me, there’s something stronger, something better in me wearing out back at it again.
– Albert Camus

I’m grateful for the lessons one learns from great writers, but also from imperialists, sexists, friends, lovers, oppressors, revolutionaries—everybody. Everybody has something to teach a writer.
– Arundhati Roy

Belonging creates and undoes us both.
– Pádraig Ó Tuama

staff engineer
principal engineer
distinguished engineer

It’s starting to feel like air miles.
What level is next?
Wrong answers only

– Patrick Debois

I feel like a novel—dense / and vivid, uncertain of the end.
– C.D. Wright

I’ve never seen how love made people better, stronger, more real to themselves. On the other hand, if I had to live without work, life would be intolerable.
– Vivian Gornick

It is a moral mandate that we aid those who carry on cultural memory. If we choose to do so and move to value artists’ role in carrying legacies forward, we will choose life over war.
– Sarah Kornfeld and Cate Riegner on supporting artists in wartime.

The purpose of ritual is to connect us to our own essence, to help us tune into the collective spirit, or to mend whatever is broken, whatever wires have been pulled out of one’s life, so we can start anew. Ritual is to the soul what food is to the physical body.
– Sobonfu Somé

In the short term, you are as good as your intensity. In the long term, you are only as good as your consistency.
– Shane Parrish

The Lost Land
by Eavan Boland
I have two daughters.
They are all I ever wanted from the earth.
Or almost all.
I also wanted one piece of ground:
One city trapped by hills. One urban river.
An island in its element.
So I could say mine. My own.
And mean it.
Now they are grown up and far away
and memory itself
has become an emigrant,
wandering in a place
where love dissembles itself as landscape:
Where the hills
are the colours of a child’s eyes,
where my children are distances, horizons:
At night,
on the edge of sleep,
I can see the shore of Dublin Bay.
Its rocky sweep and its granite pier.
Is this, I say
how they must have seen it,
backing out on the mailboat at twilight,
shadows falling
on everything they had to leave?
And would love forever?
And then
I imagine myself
at the landward rail of that boat
searching for the last sight of a hand.
I see myself
on the underworld side of that water,
the darkness coming in fast, saying
all the names I know for a lost land:
Ireland. Absence. Daughter.

My poetry begins for me where certainty ends.
– Eavan Boland

Every time I sit down to write, I think, Will I find someone at the crossroads? And sometimes I do, and I feel my soul. When I don’t, I’m disappointed.
– Jamaica Kincaid

See there’s culture in
these words, the bent back
of my speech comes
from years of carrying
the Black experience.
– Steven Willis

Every day reality is not eclipsed by art; it is reconfigured by it.
– Rita Felski

One might well characterize the philosopher as one who possesses an organ that receives and reacts to the totality of being.
– Georg Simmel

[exchanging water for wealth]
will I always stare into the darkness of those who wait in deadened familiar, not suitable for the main course; gone up in flames, done up in toxic blossom, 99.9% similar, alone facing inquisitional preconditions for normal?

a billion miles away, I burn, we all burn, the ice melts, the multiindustrial playhouse brings more boom boom to the local meat market.

almost underground, next to preservation first, down the corridor to a crypt like, discarded, hopeless outdated metal file cabinet, locked in a room, waiting for benediction, new icons for teeth.

somewhere someone says, chemistry for the future. somewhere someone says there is never enough mesmerizing heads, dieting on crystalline traditions, exchanging water for wealth.

– Keri Edwards

8th & Ingraham
I forget about money watching the clouds over 8th and Ingraham. The clouds a rhubarb-colored ship in the sky. To my right it all grays out, the bats emerging now from the chimneys. The bats listening for the cicadas’ echo. Echo is a way to create space, is a metaphor for time. Time for the cop to move along I think watching the cop watch me from my porch. Fuck 12. The robin on the wirevine the wireeye competing with the bats for cicadas. The robin competing reds with the sky. The sky a money for the cicadas: a way to make space, time. The cicadas sounding out the future through repetition. A friend says to spend nothing is to keep flexibility in your hands, to keep your youth. Money the sound of decay. Money the repetition of waste.
– Taylor Johnson

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
– Thomas-Kempis

I am quite confident that even as the oceans boil, and the hurricanes beat violently against our once safe shores, and the air sweats with the heat of impending doom, and our fists protest the denial of climate justice, that there is a path to take that has nothing to do with victory or defeat: a place we do not yet know the coordinates to; a question we do not yet know how to ask. The point of the departed arrow is not merely to pierce the bullseye and carry the trophy: the point of the arrow is to sing the wind and remake the world in the brevity of flight. There are things we must do, sayings we must say, thoughts we must think, that look nothing like the images of success that have so thoroughly possessed our visions of justice.

May this new decade be remembered as the decade of the strange path, of the third way, of the broken binary, of the traversal disruption, the kairotic moment, the posthuman movement for emancipation, the gift of disorientation that opened up new places of power, and of slow limbs. May this decade bring more than just solutions, more than just a future – may it bring words we don’t know yet, and temporalities we have not yet inhabited. May we be slower than speed could calculate, and swifter than the pull of the gravity of words can incarcerate. And may we be visited so thoroughly, and met in wild places so overwhelmingly, that we are left undone. Ready for composting. Ready for the impossible.

Welcome to the decade of the fugitive.

– Bayo Akomolafe

what I found to be
most powerful and natural
is not to give speeches.
It is to remain silent,
as if you forgot all the words you have learned.

Silence is a simple way
of touching a place within us
that is whole and serene.
It is a direct way of dissolving into God.

– Guthema Roba

Space is not empty. It is full, a plenum as opposed to a vacuum, and is the ground for the existence of everything, including ourselves. The universe is not separate from this cosmic sea of energy.
– David Bohm

Understand that every act is an act of self-definition. Everything you think, say, and do defines you, announces your choice about yourself.
– Neale Donald Walsh

If you really want the world to be a better place, I think you really have to talk to children. It’s got to be about the children.
– Ziggy Marley

Change the self and your inner world changes. And when your inner world changes, the outer world that you touch changes, little by little. And when the outer world that you touch changes, the world that it touches changes, and the world that it touches. Outward and outward and outward this spreads, like a ripple in a pond.
– Neale Donald Walsh

It’s okay if ‘progress’ looks different in this season.
– Morgan Harper Nichols

If you learn the right words to sound “empathetic” and you follow the script, but the learning has not come up through your bones.. It is only a matter of time before a new script will be necessary.

The right words are no replacement for the learning.

This is going to be increasingly evident in the woke/anti-woke polarity, which is tearing people apart who might otherwise be able to care for each other. (late edit: this is so of many discourses now, climate, complexity, mental health, self help and more–so this is NOT just about woke/anti-woke but about lots of scripts that ossify and polarize)

There is much more to being in mutual learning than either set scripts allows for.

The words will fail, be replaced, be gilded or vilified… Their fluidity is necessary while new perceptions form.

Tending the mending of this era of divisive language is going to be scriptless.

– Nora Bateson

…by the time I get to the end of the short story, I want my entire life to have changed.
– Anton Hur

When you say I am from Dunedin in New Zealand- you are saying you are from Edinburgh in Scottish Gaelic “Dun Eideann”
– Eddi Reader

Sometimes two linked things are actually one thing. Take letting go and forgiveness. Embraced, they become freedom. “The one thing” turns out to be paradoxical, holding many things together. Love surely is one.
– Gunilla Norris

The Time Will Come
by Derek Walcott, Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

There must be a word bigger than gratitude for folks that are gentle, kind, and patient with you even when you’re fumbling, even when you’re playing catch-up on a daily basis. Lately, I feel like every email I write starts with Prince, “I never meant to cause you any sorrow…”
– Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.
– Ada Limón

Every word is
physical and
affects the
– Gilles Deleuze

i count the morning
stars the air so sweet i turn
riverdark with sound.
– Sonia Sanchez


Personal growth is obviously a good thing. At the time, however, growth can hurt like a baby’s new tooth. Deep insights about living must sometimes protrude up through the tender wounded flesh of who we have been. New insights can feel terribly disorienting because they give us a wider context for life and therefore can make us feel lost while we seek new landmarks.

At the time, great insights may not feel like hope. They may even feel like our life is unraveling. I don’t know if it hurts a caterpillar to become a butterfly but I know when human beings outgrow an earlier understanding we can feel abandoned, orphaned, left behind.

When someone we love dies hope can feel irretrievably lost. Standing at a grave can feel for a time like our hopes have been buried with the beloved. But this stage of grief, though it can feel like an eternity, is just the beginning. After grieving awhile, we slowly begin to hear the songs of birds overhead. We slowly awaken to the comforting murmur of wind blowing through the trees. Eventually, the explosive beauty of wildflowers protrudes through our grief giving irrefutable witness that the beauty of living is worth the pain.

If the dead could speak to us I think they would remind us that what we love in each other is not our ephemeral forms but a mysterious something within us all that belongs to life. They might gently whisper that life is change and so we can not experience lost loves by going back in time. They might remind us that hope is not a feeling but an intuitive trust that, if we let grief do its painful work, we will someday awaken to that beautiful something all around us.
– Jim Rigby

False maps all around —
religion, politics, even so-called spirituality, abound.
Forgo the map, be still
…and the way home shows itself.
– Shinzen

Peace will only prevail
if it is born within the mind.
– Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche

You can’t play Mozart if you don’t learn your scales.
– C.M. Rivers

I’ve Been Thinking about Love Again
Those who live to have it and
those who live to give it.
Of course there are those for whom both are true,
but never in the same measure.
Those who have it to give are
like cardinals in the snow. So easy
and beautifully lit. Some
are rabbits. Hard to see
except for those who would prey upon them:
all that softness and quaking and blood.
Those who want it
cannot be satisfied. Eagle-eyed and such talons,
any furred thing will do. So easy
to rip out a heart when it is throbbing so hard.
I wander out into the winter.
I know what I am.
– Vievee Francis

It is a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I’m looking for the truth,’ and so it goes away. Puzzling.
– Robert M. Pirsig

Small Kindnesses: A Collaborative Poem by Teenagers From Around the World

Compiled by Danusha Laméris

Kindness is neighbors saying “Buenos Dias”

It’s the man in the red shirt helping the woman in the floral blouse cross the street

It’s the way my heart sings when I’m smiling at a baby, and their mom notices and lifts up the baby’s sweet little hand and waves it at me

A friend patiently waiting as you quickly tie your loose shoelaces, while everyone continues walking
A slight buzz in your jean pockets indicating messages from friends appearing out of the blue, questioning how you might be feeling that day, written in text abbreviations, the shared teenage experience

Getting woken up at my bus stop

Letting somebody have the last cookie and then they insist on splitting it in half

Chamomile tea, placed on my bedside table, sweet honey resting at the bottom of the cup

Kindness is a seed. It starts trivial and trifling

It’s the wheezing, ugly laugh that melts two people together

The crinkle in someone’s eyes behind their mask as they wave back

The warm smile that the old crossing guard gives when I greet him in the morning and wave goodbye in the afternoon

Swarming aisles at the grocery store with strangers letting you pass, a simple hand gesture saying “go ahead”

The crooked teeth gleaming through a wrinkled smile when the elderly woman next door nods her head

In elevators, it’s how one passenger seamlessly assumes the role of the old-time operator, pushing all our floors
It’s when you’re struggling with your hair, so the woman on the train offers to braid it and strand by strand, kindness by kindness, you think the world is not so bad after all

Kindness feels like a freshly bloomed flower in a field of lonely grass

A smile of sunflowers chasing the light, golden petals pressed forever in the pages

The lyric poet is a person who says, “I am not sure the language I write in is spoken here, or anywhere.”
– Ilya Kaminsky

I think it’s one of the hardest things in the world to somehow make sure that the ones you love receive your care for them as physical information, as definite as raindrops hitting your palm. Like when you hold your hand out to check if it’s raining and it is.
– Helen Oyeyemi

What I did not know when I was very young was that nothing can take the past away: the past grows gradually around one, like a placenta for dying.
– John Berger

Resistance is contraindicated in meditation practice.

How are we going to be truly ourselves if we are fighting off any part of our experience? We can’t be free if we are rejecting any part of ourselves.

– Frank Ostaseski

So high
is my Lord’s palace,
my heart trembles
to mount its stairs:
Yet I must not be shy,
if I would enjoy … His Love.
– Kabir

Basically, there are three ways
to work with the afflictive emotions
and their root, ego-clinging:
you can discard, transform or utilize them.

Apply whichever method is most effective
for your own abilities.
The safest method is to use direct antidotes
to discard each afflictive emotion.
This method works for everyone.

Practitioners with some experience
can use the second method
to transform their emotions
rather than counteract them with antidotes.

Those with higher acumen and prowess
can actually use the afflictive emotions as the path.
In each case, the goal is always the same:
to get rid of ego-clinging.

– Shechen Rabjam

you think

you think
you know me —
with your assumptions
& stereotyping
as if i was born
& live in a
mountain of

but my life
has been
more like a
mountain of

still my heart
has always
always tended
as best it could

tangled in
many worlds
many of them
more sorrowful

than meets
the eye

because i don’t
want you to know
of the way
life has twisted
my divine soul
with torment

still, i don’t
live in the past
nor really have

& have unfashionably
worked hard
to forget
my stories

because they
aren’t real

& aren’t me

the “real me”
is one who
cleaves to

intense agony
that you wouldn’t
believe anyway

but the truth is
is it’s becoming

easier & easier
though far from

but it’s never
for any of us

so perhaps
that’s why
my simplistic

are a bit
than others

you’ve seen

– Rick Davis

Emotional attachment to books is very dangerous if you are a bookseller. We live dangerously.
– @secondshelfbks

One thing I often think these days is that tons of people are having a visceral emotional response to the terrible pressures and fears of our time, but they’re turning that into an intellectual analysis of why they need to believe this crazy shit or attack that vulnerable target. That way they believe they’re having a rational response to something external rather than an emotional one to something internal, and this will go on indefinitely as long as the true source of that energy is not clear. I’m not sure how else to explain the large numbers of people who seem to have gotten on board with a lot of luridly weird and hostile stuff.

Confusing emotions with analyses is such a pandemic unto itself.

– Rebecca Solnit

To proceed toward wholeness and manifest the promise only you can bring to the world, you must investigate your shadow. It contains values and perspectives needed to round out your conscious personality. It contains personal powers you’ll need when you befriend or wrestle with the inner and outer dragons and angels encountered on your soul journey.
– Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft

I used to think that the soul
Grew by remembering, that by retaining
The character of all the times and places it had lived
And working backwards, year by year,
It reached the center of a landscape
Time couldn’t penetrate,
– John Koethe

Soon in the inland glen wakes the dawn-dove. We must try

To love so well the world that we may believe, in the end, in God.

– Robert Penn Warren

I got saved by poetry, and
I got saved by the beauty of the world.
– Mary Oliver

Since memory is all we really have of the past, and the vast processes of memory occur in the present, it follows that history can occur only in the present. It may be a recollection of events that occurred in some past time, but the happening-ness of history is going on right now (and now and now and now). Henri Bergson was one of the first psychologists to posit a difference between what he called ‘social’ and ‘individual’ time, saying that individual time was equal to temporal duration in the mind and that social time was chronological common time in the world.
– Nate Pitts

Please, let us not turn this heartbreak into something useful just yet. If we do, we will be tempted to walk in old ways. We will rely on tired words. We will make memes of ourselves. Easy, digestible phrases that fill a short term longing for solutions.
Instead let us truly bear witness. Let the fog of confusion obscure our clarity for a time. To not know how – or where – we’ll live. To be fumbling and full of grief, because what we always counted on has been struck from our horizon. And we may never be as magnificent again.

Acknowledging this isn’t pessimistic, but rather grounding. Lightning and ground are collaborators, after all. Once you’ve been struck, you no longer live in the upper chakras alone, believing you are the creator of your reality. Or that some higher power is only benevolent, and rewards people for good. Instead you learn the paradoxical nature of life and death.
– Toko-pa Turner

Earth Child – Promised Land
Carry the child, wrap her up warm,
Lift her gently into the litter.
Take her away from this place so forlorn
Where the land freezes hard and the living is bitter.
Let the camels walk soft, so their footfalls don’t wake her
Let her sleep deep, and never forsake her.
For she is the precious, the pure light of ages,
Her spirit aglow, though the storm round her rages.
Cross the Great Waste, where winds cough and splutter,
And gaunt lobo wolves scent the camels and mutter.
Then turn to the south when the storm is abating
Head for the Country of Bliss that is waiting.
Carry the child, though it take seven seasons,
Do not turn aside whatever the reason.
And when you arrive, lay her down in warm sand,
For she will be Mother in that promised land.
– Michael Asher

Honing to the one thing that matters may turn out to be the only thing that matters.
– Gunilla Norris

Chögyam Trungpa ~ LET US DO SOMETHING
I’m quite desperate. A lot of other teachers must have experienced this desperation. I am so desperate. You can help the world. You, you, you, you, and you – all of you – can help the world. You know what the problems are. You know the difficulties. Let us do something. Let us not chicken out. Let us actually do it properly. Please, please, please!

Old Manuscript
The sky
is that beautiful old parchment
in which the sun
and the moon
keep their diary.
To read it all,
one must be a linguist
more learned than Father Wisdom;
and a visionary
more clairvoyant than Mother Dream.
But to feel it,
one must be an apostle:
one who is more than intimate
in having been, always,
the only confidant –
like the earth
or the sea.
– Alfred Kreymborg

Chögyam Trungpa ~ Innocent Mind, Innocent Projections
Mind and its projections are innocent. They are very ordinary, very natural, and very simple. Red is not evil, and white is not divine; blue is not evil, and green is not divine. Sky is sky; rock is rock; earth is earth; mountains are mountains. I am what I am, and you are what you are. Therefore, there are no particular obstacles to experiencing our world properly, and nothing is regarded as problematic.

Oh, if a tree could wander
and move with foot and wings!
It would not suffer the axe blows
and not the pain of saws!
For would the sun not wander
away in every night ?
How could at every morning
the world be lighted up?
And if the ocean’s water
would not rise to the sky,
How would the plants be quickened
by streams and gentle rain?
The drop that left its homeland,
the sea, and then returned?
It found an oyster waiting
and grew into a pearl.
Did Joseph not leave his father,
in grief and tears and despair?
Did he not, by such a journey,
gain kingdom and fortune wide?
Did not the Prophet travel
to far Medina, friend?
And there he found a new kingdom
and ruled a hundred lands.
You lack a foot to travel?
Then journey into yourself!
And like a mine of rubies
receive the sunbeams’ print!
Out of yourself, such a journey
will lead you to your self,
It leads to transformation
of dust into pure gold!
– Rumi

One reason people insist that you use the proper channels to change things is because they have control of the proper channels and they’re confident it won’t work.
– Crispin Hunt

on reddest rose
a dying monarch
– Rick Davis

I come weary,
In search of an inn—
Ah! These wisteria flowers!
– Matsuo Basho

Getting started, keeping going, getting started again — in art and in life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm not only of achievement but of survival, the basis of self-esteem & the guarantee of credibility in your lives, credibility to yourselves as well as to others.
– Seamus Heaney

free-markets, by definition, are a contradiction in terms. markets are never free. the capitalist markets operate in accordance to very strict and inflexible internal laws of its own, laws that resist most attempts at outside intervention (except for taxpayers bailouts). human interaction with the markets and its laws is motivated by, and mediated through, some of the basest of human psychological traits, such as greed and materialism. we are free to be in the market but the market does not make us free, as by participating in it, we consent to be bound for life to its near absolutist rules. from a dialogical perspective it is clear that what we get out of our interactions with the market, is exactly what we have brought in to it in the first place. in the capitalist markets, we, the people, become the commodities the market buys and sells.
– Hune Margulies


praying sacred texts & renewing meditation
help me to loose my small self
& touch Light & revere

the whimsical song of a fisherman
inviting God back into earth’s garden

mists of rain on the ephemeral river
as the gray moon peeks in & out from
dusky pearl clouds

the fisherman intones simple pop tunes
helping the Universe to expand
his is unpretentious elegance
that i can’t even begin to describe
nor shouldn’t

– Rick Davis

Time and memory redeems and commends.
And the difference between
This moment and no moment at all
Between the light and nothingness of the fall–
The readiness of so short a scene–
Is everywhere and everything.
– Chad Chisholm

He told her to look at a clear sky whenever she began to doubt him, for the stars meant every way he loved her.
– Greg Sellers

For he would be thinking of love Till the stars had run away And the shadows eaten the moon.
– W.B. Yeats

Go out and do something. It isn’t your room that’s a prison, it’s yourself.
– Sylvia Plath

Well, let it pass, he thought; April is over, April is over. There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Love’s not the way to treat a friend.
I wouldn’t wish that on you. I don’t
want to see your eyes forgotten
on a rainy day, lost in the endless purse
of those who can remember nothing.
Love’s not the way to treat a friend.
I don’t want to see you end up that way
with your body being poured like wounded
marble into the architecture of those who make
bridges out of crippled birds.
Love’s not the way to treat a friend.
There are so many better things for you
than to see your feelings sold
as magic lanterns to somebody whose body
casts no light.
– Richard Brautigan

[…] one abyss comes, another goes,
and the world is a choice.
– Adonis

Tell the king; the fair wrought house has fallen
No shelter has Apollo, nor sacred laurel leaves
The fountains are now silent; the voice is stilled.
It is finished.
– The final recorded words of the last Oracle of Delphi, 395 AD

You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that. Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw – but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported. Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of – something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clapclap of water against the boat’s side? Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it – tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest – if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say “Here at last is the thing I was made for.” We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.
– C.S. Lewis

Be what you are becoming without clinging to what you might have been; what you might yet be.
– Luce Irigaray

What are we without our teachers?
– Marian Haddad

The search for happiness is not about looking at life through rose-colored glasses or blinding oneself to the pain and imperfections of the world. Nor is happiness a state of exaltation to be perpetuated at all costs; it is the purging of mental toxins, such as hatred and obsession, that literally poison the mind. It is also about learning how to put things in perspective and reduce the gap between appearances and reality. To that end we must acquire a better knowledge of how the mind works and a more accurate insight into the nature of things, for in its deepest sense, suffering is intimately linked to a misapprehension of the nature of reality.
– Matthieu Ricard

I’m waiting for you, I’m waiting for the evening calm, I’m waiting for our time, the oblique light, this pause between day and night. Peace will come, surely. But I can imagine no other peace than that of our two bodies bound together, of our gaze given over to each other – I have no other homeland but you.
– Albert Camus, Letter to Maria Casarès

Rest and be kind, you don’t have to prove anything.
– Jack Kerouac


Does anyone
really desire
rivers on fire
and no good paying jobs
as only choices?

Accept the phrases
“good economy”
“new way to work”
“reinvent” ?

Voices that
question exponentially repeated
statements presented
as axioms

and printed

with cliches
spoken, typed

May we ask
“with any

– Jerry Pendergast

Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.
– Allan Armitage

If there is a task for readers…it is to never stop trying to understand why something was written, and for whom.
– Heinz Helle

I shall keep on feeling less and less and remembering more and more, but what is memory if not the language of feeling, a dictionary of faces and days and smells which repeat themselves like the verbs and adjectives in a speech, sneaking in behind the thing itself, into the pure present, making us sad or teaching us vicariously until one’s self itself becomes a vicar, the backward-looking face opens its eyes wide, the real face slowly becomes dim as in old pictures… Oh, let me come in, let me see some day the way your eyes see.
– Julio Cortázar, Hopscotch

Hune Margulies:
in honor of may 1, this quote from one of the most profound pacifist-humanist-revolutionary thinkers and activists of the last century “what i call anarchism is a basic mood which may be found in every man who thinks seriously about the world and the spirit. i mean the impulse in man to be reborn, to be renewed and to refashion his essence, and then to shape his surroundings and the world, to the extent that it can be controlled. such a sublime moment should fall to the lot of everyone.
– gustav landauer, anarchic meditations about anarchy

A Golden Day

I found you and I lost you,
All on a gleaming day.
The day was filled with sunshine,
And the land was full of May.

A golden bird was singing
Its melody divine,
I found you and I loved you,
And all the world was mine.

I found you and I lost you,
All on a golden day,
But when I dream of you, dear,
It is always brimming May.

– Paul Laurence Dunbar


Come forth, you workers!
Let the fires go cold—
Let the iron spill out, out of the troughs—
Let the iron run wild
Like a red bramble on the floors—
Leave the mill and the foundry and the mine
And the shrapnel lying on the wharves—
Leave the desk and the shuttle and the loom—
With your ashen lives,
Your lives like dust in your hands.

I call upon you, workers.
It is not yet light
But I beat upon your doors.
You say you await the Dawn
But I say you are the Dawn.
Come, in your irresistible unspent force
And make new light upon the mountains.

You have turned deaf ears to others—
Me you shall hear.
Out of the mouths of turbines,
Out of the turgid throats of engines,

Over the whisling steam,
You shall hear me shrilly piping.
Your mills I shall enter like the wind,
And blow upon your hearts,

Kindling the slow fire.

They think they have tamed you, workers—
Beaten you to a tool
To scoop up a hot honor
Till it be cool—
But out of the passion of the red frontiers
A great flower trembles and burns and glows
And each of its petals is a people.

Come forth, you workers—
Clinging to your stable
And your wisp of warm straw—
Let the fires grow cold,

Let the iron spill out of the troughs,
Let the iron run wild
Like a red bramble on the floors . . .

As our forefathers stood on the prairies
So let us stand in a ring,
Let us tear up their prisons like grass
And beat them to barricades—
Let us meet the fire of their guns
With a greater fire,
Till the birds shall fly to the mountains
For one safe bough.

– Lola Ridge

Beltane Prayer

It may be dangerous to beseech the sun
in times of drought.

It may be risky to seek his attention
when the holy wells have dried out
and people – who dragged fragments
of their Celtic fairy tales
across an ocean, over blood-soaked fields,
and into the desert – sparked a bonfire


burned the whole world down.

Still, Bridget or Patrick help me,
I trust to magic,
even misunderstood magic,
and ask for solar deliverance.

igniting the horizon every morning
with harsh realities,
offers answers more dependable
than the old gods or new, ever do.

In the afternoon,
at the height of his powers,
the sun hums over my skin
and burns my brown beard red.
Then, the difference between
simple sound and prayer
disappears on the speech
of little lizard feet skittering across
the baked, fallen fronds
of a date palm tree.

It’s just hard to hear
during this noisy Beltane week.
Sunshine and little lizard feet
are not enough when I long
to soothe myself by imagining any of us
can remember any of our
starving ancestors’ actual prayers.

The best I can do is weep
by a mine, a mission, and a massacre site forgotten by the McSons and O’Daughters
of the immigrant diggers, builders, and killers.

Ghosts tell me that only amnesiacs
insist that traditions can be ripped
from the land who created them
and imported like whiskey
to drown the horror of the diaspora.

A different kind of banshee
clothed in coyote furs and eagle feathers screeches that the Beltane weather
is not complicit in America’s
gilded veneer.

Sometimes, though,when you’re
desperate or drunk enough to forget,
it just seems that way.
– Will Falk

I lost my right eye in 1982

it happens
a day before
Easter when
I was eight-years-old

it was Holy Saturday
for everyone else

for me it became
my holey-eyeterday

~ you see what happened was

there was this stick
that was just minding
it’s own business
being a pretend wand
in the hands of
a pretend wizard
named David

and I ran right into it

pupil first

the last thing I
remember seeing
with my right eye
was David’s face
as he was casting a spell
to kill an invisible orc

and then came

the indescribable pain
of my exploding lens

I passed out

when I woke up
about five minutes later
I was l sitting in
my dad’s chair
that he spent
two hours a night
reading mystery novels in

I knew I must
have been in
bad shape if
they were letting
me sit in that chair

I could only open my
left eye

my right eye was sewn shut
with agony

my dad was talking to
me but I couldn’t
quite hear what he was saying

the only thing I could focus on
was the sound of my mom
crying behind him

“Open you eye. Let me look,”
my dad said with hands on my face

I rememeber his fingers were covered in soil

he must have been gardening
when he got the news that I
had been struck by some dark magic

I tried to open my eye
~ I couldn’t.

There was a monster of bark and wood
under my eyelid devouring my sight
one slow cruel chew at a time

with a bit of force
my dad helped me pry
my eye open for a fat second

and I watched with my
left eye how his face
turned grey

“shit…” he said

the light poured into my
right eye like lava

my right eye became fire
~ and I passed out again

the next thing I remember
I was laying in the back
of my parent’s white Zephyr
as they raced me to the hospital

fresh smell of pesticide

my dad had, in fact,
been gardening

poor dad

one minute he was planting carrots at his
garden downtown

the next he was watching his son
through his rearview mirror
convulse in the back of his car

thus is the life of a parent

from turnips to tragedy
in a heartbeat

My head in my moms lap
her hands on my forehead

my mom loved me

but she was never really
that physically affectionate

so the feel of her hands on my head
was like a comet


my nose started bleeding
and I passed out again

woke up a day later
with a eye patch
the size of Panama

it was Easter

but there would be no resurrection
for my sight

the tomb of my vision still
had a stone in front of it

I was devastated ~ destroyed -despondent

a man in a white
coat came in with
a brown clipboard
and told me even though
I had endured a
six hour surgery
that my right eye was

“like The Death Star?”
I asked

“I don’t know what that is” the doctor said

I hated him for that answer
how could somebody
of science and medicine
not know what The Death Star is?

It was in that
exact moment that
I learned to never
trust a person who
was big on clipboards
but little on pop culture

since that day
before Easter
when I was eight
when I lost my right eye

the only thing
I can see are the
things that are to
the left of me

~ and the things that are left of me
~and the people that have left me
~ and what little time I have left

I usually couldn’t see anything
right in front of me

now, 38 years later

I am left with
grey hair

~and parents who left me for the great beyond

~ and a right eye that I am left with
that aches every time it rains

~ and I was left with
the memories
of that big stick

~and of David’s face
~and that red chair with my dad
~and that car ride with my mom
~and that doctor
~and everything that came after

all of the good times
~and all of the bad

but here is the biggest
plot twist of it all

well, two plot twists really

1) my “good” eye is beginning to fade

apparently putting all of the strain on a single
eye to take in all of the wonder of the world isn’t
really all that good for it

and (more concerning)

2) my memories are starting to drift

a….w…a…y from me

the details of the past are starting to swirl
and fade and mist and morph

I’m losing my memories
which is terrifying for a guy who has spent
most of his life looking backwards

for a man with one eye
the present has always been
my blind spot

~ and now so is the past

I haven’t been able to see
what’s right in front of me

~ and now I am having a
hard time seeing what’s behind

but here nearly 40-years later

~ despite my fading vision
and my melting ice cube brain

I’m filled with hope
because there are other ways to see
the world then with just my eyes

and there are other ways to experience
the past then just with my mind

turns out
the less I see
the more beauty
I’m starting to witness


the less I can remember about yesterday
the more I’m able to able to enjoy the now

this is why I think I became
a poet

I keep getting swaddled up
by every emotion I come into
contact with

with my fading vision
and loosening memory

all of my senses
are now seemingly tied to my heart

it has my ears, eyes, tongue
fingers, nose and brain

my heart is my seeing eye dog

and despite my complaining
it keeps leading me into
wilderness of the human experience

everywhere I go
I’m surrounded by emotion
~ whether it’s mine or someone else’s

I’m like the kid in the movie
“Sixth Sense”
who sees ghosts

but instead of seeing phantoms
I am visited by feelings

they seep under my door
they walk through my walls
they climb down my chimney

it’s relentless

I may not be able to see
or remember anything every well
any more

but I can sure feel

emotions follow me
everywhere I go

a child laughing next to me
in a grocery store line
and suddenly I’m filled
so the the helium of joy

a grieving widow’s tears
always create a stream of my own
~ whether I know her or not

it’s everywhere

the rage
the passion
the joy
the love
the sadness

I can’t escape any
of the emotions of this

I feel it all
even if the feelings aren’t mine
sometimes especially they aren’t mine

I can taste it all on my lips
your emotions running
over my skin like bath water

I can sense the world’s emotions
rising up like a bouquet in my nostrils
filling up the dark space in my blindness
overwhelming my cobwebbed memories

I can barely see and I can hardly think
but holy hell
I can sure feel

and now I’ve become a content wanderer
who writes every a poem about
every I emotion that I encounter
on the road of my life

because they are all I have left

many years ago, I woke
up in a hospital bed on
Easter morning thinking
my sight was gone

~ then my heart opened her blazing eyes for the first time and said:

“Don’t worry ~ I got you.”

– john roedel

The Wind, One Brilliant Day
by Antonio Machado

The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.
“In return for the odor of my jasmine,
I’d like all the odor of your roses.”
“I have no roses; all the flowers
in my garden are dead.”
“Well then, I’ll take the withered petals
and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain.”
The wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:
“What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?”

/ Deep down, the young are lonelier than the old. /
– Anne Frank

“Nobody is doing anything” is usually a sign of someone not doing anything, because if you’re doing it you’re aware of the others doing it and benefitting from the solidarity and encouragement of their commitment and maybe evidence that doing something might have an effect.
– Rebecca Solnit

i don’t really want to talk about it anymore—
the thing that has grown accustomed to my name, ivy
snaking up my walls, its sticky mouth holding on
refusing to make space for other things. how i water it
every week, give it light
and a place in which to breathe, how i say:

this is all mine.
this is what was done to me.
this is what i have been given.
i vow to keep it alive, to keep taking cuttings to plant in little pots.
in case i begin to forget.

now, at this age
even my words shy away when i call them.
they have always been too honest.

they say: oh no, not this again.
they say: it is time, let it go now.
they say: you are a thousand other stories, not just one.

rip it off the stone, show it just enough mercy to keep
yourself from returning to check its pulse, just enough
mercy to dispose of its body.

let’s tie it up with an old rope, attach it to a new rock.
let’s drop it over the edge, watch it sink.
once and for all, let’s leave it behind.

see how it is November again, pay attention to the light.

you are circling closer to the door, closer to the moment

in which you will have just enough time to say:

wait. so soon? is it already time to go?

in which you will say:

wait. is this really what mattered the most? what i held onto?

stop. please. i am not ready yet.

i only want to remember the things i should have held closer.

— you are a thousand other stories too

– Liezel Graham

There is one true religion and it doesn’t have a name.
– Mark Bittner

I’ve got a tune in my head I can’t let go,
Unlike the landscape, heavy and wan,
Sunk like a stone in the growing night,
Snuffed in the heart like a candle flame that won’t come back.
– Charles Wright

You’re teaching me to live inside the space
between two stanzas and not leave a trace.
(You write and write, but oh what you erase!)
– Marisa de los Santos

How seldom we can see our way to say what we love.
– Richard Jackson

I love poems that have an architectural or sculptural quality, rather than a rhetorical or narrative linking structure. I admire reading poems like that by poets who work in the mode of creating the sort of situation that’s uncovered through the movement of mind in language. I’m really excited about poems constructed in a way that might not be how a person ordinarily thinks, but the poet is a creating a work of art somewhat different from ordinary thought pattern.
– Kazim Ali

The day you forget how to disobey, you lose your soul.
– Osho


Sometimes, when you heal,
your body gets all ‘better’.
Infections leave. Wounds disappear.
You feel happier. Brighter.
More positive.

Sometimes, healing looks very, very different.
An infection or growth stays.
An old pain resurfaces.
You don’t feel ‘healed’ at all.
You feel worse than ever.

Powerful, uncomfortable feelings emerge.
Deep sorrow.
Terrors you never knew were in you.
(Ah, but they were, friend, they were…)

This is healing, too. This falling apart.
This coming alive.
This shattering of repression.

The image of ‘healing’ falls apart.
(The image was false, anyway.)

Trust the energies that are moving through you now.
You may feel ‘worse’, yes,
but you are getting better at living.
You are experiencing a deeper kind of healing,
one which doesn’t match the mind’s definitions and fantasies.

This is a reintegration.
A death… and a rebirth.
Darkness emerging into light.
All the bits you ran away from,
coming to you now
for love and acceptance.

Throw away your childhood fantasies of healing.
Fall apart. Lose the future.
Die into the Now.
Break apart for love.

You are whole, even though
your dreams are being shattered.

This is true healing, then:
Recontacting the Wholeness
that you are.

– Jeff Foster

I’m still trying
to convince my shadow
that it chose me
for a reason.
– Ebony Stewart

Ilya Kaminsky:

Novel: you enter someone else’s country and try to live in it.

Poem: suddenly you realize you don’t need any country.

To choose to live as a poet in the modern superstate is in itself a political action.
– Stanley Kunitz

What did I need money for, when I had friends
– Henry Miller

A poet should establish a whole new set of possibilities for the reader and for him- or herself.
– J. H. Prynne

Time Frame
by Jorie Graham
The American experiment will end in 2030 she said
looking into the cards,
the charts, the stars, the mathematics of it, looking
into our palms, into all of our
palms, into the leaves at the
bottom of
the empty cup – searching its emptiness, its piles of dead
bodies or is it grass at the edge
of the field where the abandoned radio is crackling
at the winter-stilled waters, the winter-killed
will of God – in the new world now the old world –
staring quietly without emotion into the rotten meat
in the abandoned shops, moving aside with one easy gesture
the broken furniture, the fourth wall
& all
the private lives of the highrise apartments
exposed to the city then
wind. Ash everywhere. The sounds of
crying. Loud then
soft. It will not seem like it’s
right away, she said. What is the ‘it’ you refer to I
ask. Is it a place. Is it
an idea. A place is
an idea, an idea is for a while a place. Look
she says, there are
two fates. One is the idea one is the place.
And everywhere I see water.
As in blessing? As in baptism?
As in renewal? No,
as in the meadows disappear under the sea.
Then I heard a sound in the far
distance where her gaze rested. Are those
drums? Are we in the distant past or the distant
future I ask. The witches float in the air
above us. There are three. Of
course there are three. They have returned. No,
your ability to see them
has returned. Your
willingness. She asked for
cold wine and a railway schedule. It was time
she said, to move on, her gaze
looking out at the avenues and smaller streets,
at the silk dresses on the mannequins in
storefronts, all of them, across the
planet, the verandas poking out under the
hemlocks, violin strings crossing from
one century to another, although now I could hear they were
sirens all along,
invisible and desperate the warnings
in their rise & fall –
are you not listening
are you not listening –
yes those are sirens in the streets but here,
up close, in the recording of the
orchestra, the violin solo
has begun, it is screaming from one
ruined soul to another to beware, to pull the
bloody bodies from the invisible
where we are putting them daily –
no, every minute, no,
faster – we are o-
bliterating the one chance we had to be
good. There it is. The word. It brings us up
short. I notice she is gone. The
American project she had said, putting the words
out into the kitchen air with some measure of
kindness. It was not the only one, she sd, but it was
the last one.
After it, time ran out. We both looked out the window
still shocked by the beauty of the moonlight
in this Spring. Are we running out
of Springs I had wanted to
ask. Is the oxygen. Will there be no more open
channels. Can one not live
beneath. A little life in the
morning. Crazed police cars in the distance
but here this sunflower
which seeded itself,
seeded its mathematics & religion in our tiny
will do. The creaking
doorhandle we love,
the spider we help come back after each wind
by letting the hanging vine
which needs to be trimmed
just stay – just stay I whisper to myself –
stay under, don’t startle
time, the century
will go by – you can mind
your own business. You can finger the rolled up
leaf, feel its veins, you can watch the engines go by
over all the bridges
above you.
You can remain unassimilated. The
American project she said, will end
in 2030. Said find land away from here. Find
trustworthy water.
Have it in place
by then. I paid her.
I saw the bills go into the pocket
in her purse. Her shoes were so worn.
Her terror was nowhere. I looked at my garden.
It was dry here and there.
The shoots were starting up. Like a
dream they were poking through the rusty
I am spending my life, I thought. I am un-
prepared. It is running thru
my fingers. The wind is
still wild. My bones hurt sometimes
causing pain. It is not terror.
I feel for the cash in my pocket.
I do not have time to prepare.
I am comfortable.
Time passes and I am still here. I am
getting by. I replace one
calendar with another. I put seed out
for birds and sometimes one
comes. Once I saw two.
The spider is still here. I remember how geese
used to fly over. It meant something.
I remember when there were planes
& I could see them catch the light up there. What a
paradise. Some people had
enough. They were not happy but they were
able to come and go
at will.
They could leave
their houses. At any time. Anytime. And go
where they wished. Sometimes
we shared ideas. It
filled the time. We agreed or we did not.
They were not afraid. I was not
afraid. Summer would come soon.
It would get warmer. It might rain too hard.
When it flooded we worked to fix it.
We did as we saw fit.
Hi neighbour we would say across the fence
to the one tending their portion of the
It will be ok again soon,
one of us would say. We were allowed to
speak then. It was permitted.
One of us might dream. One of us might
despair. But we cleaned up the
debris together & the next day sun came
& we were able to sit in it
as long as our hearts desired.

I don’t like people who ask you to follow or believe. I like people who ask you to think independently.
– A. S. Byatt

and what if every time you were asked where you’re from you simply pointed to your heart?
– @marwahelal

I can throw a book across the room but then I gotta go back and pick it up.
– Fred Moten

There is a sweetness of May verging on June that no other time in the whole year can equal. And by sweetness is meant more than flower fragrance or honey taste; this is the greater sweetness of understanding and emotion, the glow of pleasure in being.
– Hal Borland

It is time for us to take off our masks, to step out from behind our personas – whatever they might be: educators, activists, biologists, geologists, writers, farmers, ranchers, and bureaucrats – and admit we are lovers, engaged in an erotics of place. Loving the land. Honoring its mysteries. Acknowledging, embracing the spirit of place – there is nothing more legitimate and there is nothing more true. That is why we are here. That is why we do what we do. There is nothing intellectual about it. We love the land. It is a primal affair…
– Terry Tempest Williams

I wear my wonder
like old running shoes—
not elegant,
not sophisticated,
surprisingly inappropriate
in certain rooms.
I notice how others
sometimes wrinkle their noses
at a blatant sporting of wonder,
thinking, perhaps, I must be oblivious
to the dress code:
stilettos of apathy,
high heels of indifference,
boots of cool reserve.
But dang, this wonder
gets me where I need to go
every inch,
every mile, even
across the room.
When everywhere I step
is broken glass,
wearing this wonder
is the only reason
I can move at all.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Wonder

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.
In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.
To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
stay together
learn the flowers
go light.
– Gary Snyder

You have to leave the city of your comfort
and go into the wilderness of your intuition.
What you’ll discover will be wonderful.
What you’ll discover is yourself.
– Alan Alda

Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.
– Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

It is possible I never learned the names of birds in order to discover the bird of peace, the bird of paradise, the bird of the soul, the bird of desire. It is possible I avoided learning the names of composers and their music the better to close my eyes and listen to the mystery of all music as an ocean. It may be I have not learned dates in history in order to reach the essence of timelessness. It may be I never learned geography the better to map my own routes and discover my own lands. The unknown was my compass. The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.
– Anais Nin

This land is a poem of ochre and burnt sand I could never write,
unless paper were the sacrament of sky, and ink the broken line of wild horses staggering the horizon several miles away.
Even then, does anything written ever matter to the earth, wind, and sky?
– Joy Harjo

When the human world feels heavy,
take yourself to the homely arms of oak,
into the whispers of the ocean and find the call of bird.
Let new languages, new sounds, new meanings fill your bones.
Let the beauty of this more than human world settle your frightened heart.
Let your wider community show you, strengthen you, let them tell you stories of the wildness that is seeded from the darkness.
Find the white of blackthorn blossom amidst the bare spaces, the gold of celandine and the song of the bee.
Let rose and hawthorn hold your heart, and nettle strengthen your resolve.
Let dandelion’s medicine speak to you of courage, weaving tales of tenacity and rewilding into your gut.
Find the verdant seedlings grown from death, the young Elder birthed from a breaking.
Watch how the little alchemists, the insects, the fungi and the worms eat the shit and turn it into gold.
You are more than stagnant human in concrete and chaos.
You are wild, wise and ensouled.
Let yourself remember…
– Brigit Anna McNeill

Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you – beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.
– Edward Abbey

In a troubled time, the willingness to proceed like you’re needed is a radical act.
– Stephen Jenkinson

Go gently today, don’t hurry
or think about the next thing. Walk
with the quiet trees, can you believe
how brave they are—how kind?
Model your life
after theirs.
Blow kisses
at yourself in the mirror
especially when
you think you’ve messed up.
Forgive yourself for not meeting your unreasonable
expectations. You are human, not
God—don’t be so arrogant.
Praise fresh air
clean water, good dogs.
something from joy. Open
a window, even if
it’s cold outside. Sit. Close
your eyes. Breathe. Allow
the river
of it all to pulse
through eyelashes
fingertips, bare toes. Breathe in
breathe out. Breathe until
you feel
your bigness, until the sun
rises in your veins. Breathe
until you stop needing
to be different.
– Julia Fehrenbacher

Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
and your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
be always coming home.
– Ursula LeGuin

Leonard Cohen: I think unemployment is the great affliction of man. Even people with jobs are unemployed. In fact, most people with jobs are unemployed. I can say, happily and gratefully, that I am fully employed. Maybe all hard work means is fully employed.

Humans beings always do the most intelligent thing… after they’ve tried every stupid alternative and none of them have worked.
– R. Buckminster Fuller

On Starlit Prairie Road
last night
I thought of you
– Nicholas Pierotti

There is no place for arrogance in the arts, but neither is there room for doubt or a perpetual need for affirmation. If you come to me with doubts about a particular move in a piece, or if you come to me and ask if what you’ve written has truth and power in it, these are doubts I can handle and respect. But if you come to me and moan about whether or not you really have a place in the dance or the theatre or film, I’ll be the first person to pack your bags and walk you to the door. You are either admitting that you lack the talent and the will, or you are just looking for some easy attention. I don’t have time for that. The world doesn’t have time for that. Believe in your worth and work with a will so that others will see it. That’s how it is done; that’s how it was always done.
– Martha Graham

I love the Buddha, I really do. But I am not promoting the religion of “Buddhism” for anyone.

I love just as much Ms. Buddha the Vajrayoginī, Her Holiness the Shekinah, the Great Mother, the blessed Moses, holy Mary, sweet Jesus, brave Khadijah, the holy Muhammad, wise Laozi, insightful Confucius, Radha and Krishna, Uma and Shiva, White Buffalo Woman, Wakan Tanka, Quetzalcoatl, Chalchiuhtlicue, countless shamanic teachers of indigenous peoples, and every single wise and loving grandmother.

So many holy teachers, gods, and saints! They all perform such wonders and benefit so many, opening all kinds of amazing doors for all kinds of beautiful people, each to discover their own divine qualities, their wise intelligence and loving heart.

– Robert A.F Thurman

Any writer who knows what he’s doing isn’t doing very much.
– Nelson Algren

Here be Dragons
by John Flynn

We are sailing on a vessel
‘Cross a sea of space and time
No thought given to the dangers
or the world we leave behind
Though the waters are well charted
Stubbornly we steer this boat
Toward the place upon the map of which
The mapmakers all wrote

Here be dragons
Here be dragons

It is not old superstitions to which
These wise words refer
Not the tales of drunken sailors
But to havoc we’ve observed
Even those who plot our course
Admit these warnings are no sham
The proof is indisputable
They just dont give a damn

Here be dragons
Here be dragons

There are men who worship power
On the bridge of this old ship
With greed as their only compass
And with no care that the trip
Causes misery and death
To those in steerage down below
They crash blindly through the waves
Of desperation though they know

Here be dragons
Here be dragons

Here be dragons here be dragons
Here be dragons yes it’s true
Rising oceans storms and wild fires
Pestilence and famine too
Here be dragons where the poor will die
Or flee to higher ground
We must first take back the ship
Then we must turn this boat around

Here be dragons here be dragons
Deadly dragons to avoid
As the glaciers melt away and earth’s green places are destroyed
We can burn more coal and oil as the air turns thick and brown
Or we can chart a brand new course
And try to turn this boat around

We must first take back the ship
Then we must turn this thing around

Early Spring

We began as mineral.
We emerged into plant life and
into the animal state,
then to being human.

And always we have
forgotten our former states,
except in early spring,
when we dimly recall
being green again.

– Rumi

Yesterday is grainy, thumb-smudged, more
than a little out of focus,
as if a mirror of departures,
As if a spirit house open to the elements–
– Eric Pankey

Three Words
by Li-Young Lee

God-My-Father gave me three words:

God-My-Mother’s wounds will never heal.

God-My-Brother is always alone in the library.

Meanwhile, I can’t remember
how many brothers I have.

God-My-Sister, combing the knots out of my hair,
says that’s because
so many brothers died before I learned to count,
and the ones who died after I acquired arithmetic
so exceeded the number of brothers still alive.

God-My-Father gave me three words to live by.
O-My-Love. O-My-God. Holy-Holy-Holy.

Why won’t God-My-Mother’s wounds heal?
Wounding myself doesn’t cauterize her wounds.
Another wound to her won’t seal her open blooms.

Her voice is a flowering tree struck by lightning.
It goes on greening and flowering,
but come petal-fall, its blossoms dropping
thunder so loud I must cover my ears to hear her.

Meanwhile, God-My-Brother spends every afternoon
alone with the books God-My-Father writes.
Some days he looks up
from a page, wearing the very face of horror.
Ask him what’s the matter
and he’ll stare into your eyes and whisper, “Murder!”
He’ll howl, “Murder!” He’ll scream, “Murder!”
Until he’s hoarse or exhausted.
Or until God-My-Sister sits him down,
combs and braids his hair,
and sorts his dreams.

I’m counting out loud all of my brothers’ names,
the living and the dead, on my fingers.
But the list is long,
leading back to the beginning
of the building of the first human cities,
and I keep losing my place and starting over.
Once, I remembered them all
except the first pair.

God-My-Sister says I must never say those names, never
pronounce the names of that first pair of brothers
within earshot of God-My-Brother.

God-My-Father gave me only three words.
How will I ever learn to talk like other people?

God-My-Mother sings, and her voice
comes like winter to break open the seeds.

God-My-Brother spends most of his time alone.
God-My-Sister is the only one
he’ll ever let touch his face.

God-My-Sister, you should see her.
I have so many brothers,
but forever there will be
only one of her, God-My-Sister.

God-My-Father says from those three words
he gave me, all other words descend, branching.
That still leaves me unfit
for conversation, like some deranged bird
you can’t tell is crying in grief or exultation,
all day long repeating,
“O, my God. O, my love. Holy, holy, holy.”

I am Grey. I stand between the candle and the star. We are Grey. We stand between the darkness and the light.
– James McDowell

He who despairs of spring with downcast eye steps on it, unknowingly. He who searches for spring with his knees in the mud finds it, in abundance.
– Aldo Leopold

Why does one begin to write?
Because she wants to rephrase the world,
to take it in and give it back again differently,
so that everything is used
and nothing is lost.
– Nicole Krauss

New Bones
by Lucille Clifton

we will wear
new bones again.
we will leave
these rainy days,
break out through
another mouth
into sun and honey time.
worlds buzz over us like bees,
we be splendid in new bones.
other people think they know
how long life is.
how strong life is.
we know.

Here is the crux of the Zen approach to liberation. The shackles of poverty and oppression are visible to the ordinary eye, and it is not hard to find agreement in sympathy for those thus afflicted. Often, however, people—and peoples—are chained by shackles that they in fact treasure. As one Zen master said, it is hard for people to see anything wrong with what they like, or to see anything good in what they do not like. Another Zen master noted that familiarity itself is a quality that people are generally inclined to like. This means that predilections and habits with which people feel comfortable at a given time may serve them for comfort but may in fact be holding them back from greater capacity for progress and fulfillment.
– Thomas Cleary, Zen Essence

A great gulf yawns now
between me and my retinue,
between craziness and reason
– Seamus Heaney

Travel addiction is a serious problem in our society, and can even be said to be negligent, in our era of reduced carbon footprints. It is so much easier to hop from place to place, than to do the hard work of self-examination, facing our fears, finding our true identity and purpose in life, and creating a bond with place.

I talk about mobility addiction, and the importance of bioregionalism in my book ‘
‘Ancient Spirit Rising.’ Constantly in motion, the mandate of empirical expansion to head West and occupy the “frontier” has been a constant in the Euro-founding of the Americas, culminating in our massive propensity for travel and innovation. As promoted by the conquest agenda of “manifest destiny,” the entitlement to be in motion for business or pleasure is one of our greatest freedoms. The impulse to move around the continent instead of staying in one place is a foundational myth of the Americas, and these massive movements of “globalsapiens” have created a society without roots, or any notion of rootedness. If somewhere or something doesn’t suit us, there is always somewhere or something else that does. (Hopefully! Or if not, keep moving.)

The emphasis on mobility and consumption does not promote sustainability, reciprocity, respect or gratitude for the land, and this neophile dysfunction has been accurately described by various Indigenous scholars as a “predator and prey” relationship. Also, the entire system called “globalization” attacks our localized bonds to the land, and should be rejected in favor of reclaiming a sacred relationship with place, food, soil and community. To restore our world, we need to stay in one place, sink our roots deep, learn about local history, plants and animals, and support healthy, living food systems, local food markets and local farmers committed to ecological practices. We can all play a part in honoring and creating these new systems, for rewilding and re-landing in place ~!
– Pegi Eyers, Where Are You Located?


My friend turns anything into
prayer. Sweeping the leaves, shaving
his beard, washing dishes —

every act a purging
of what doesn’t serve. Today
I’m folding laundry. I start with jeans,

crisp from the dryer, smoothing the creases
then draping them on wooden hangers.
Shaking wrinkles from the sheets, I square

the corners the way Mother taught.
White T-shirts stacked flat on a shelf,
sundresses on felt hangers, sweaters

nestled in drawers. I find a place
for every blouse, every scarf, until
it feels inevitable. 𝘖𝘳𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘥𝘢𝘺𝘴 —

the remnant floats up from decades
of Sundays like words of a forgotten song — 𝘪𝘯 𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘦. My mantra:

𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘥, 𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨, 𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘵, the hamper
half-empty, the bureau warm
with balled up socks.

– Angela Narciso Torres

Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.
– Mortimer J. Adler


There is no joy in being
To see what others are too
Blind to see
To be ridiculed and mocked
For an untimely gift
To be reviled

Why is it people
Cannot recognize or understand
The meaning
Of love?

Why would anyone risk so much
If the burden of love
Were not so great?

Truth is love
In the end
And love is truth.

It is a gift many
Take with them to their graves
But they die knowing
The sanctity of their vision
Their solitary, inviolable truth
Was upheld
For the betterment of

– Laurence Overmire

It is alright to take up space in this world: It’s why this spherical expanse exists.

Don’t shrink; don’t avert your eyes; don’t timidly defer; don’t conform; don’t sidestep.

Stand tall. Live wide. There’s room for everyone.

– Subversive Lens

The more I think about language, the more it amazes me that people ever understand each other at all.
– Kurt Gödel

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.
– Willie Nelson

Their Sex Life
A. R. Ammons

One failure on
Top of another

Woke up this morning with a terrific urge to lie in bed all day and read.
– Raymond Carver

Inland Passage

On the inland passage to Alaska
we entered fjords through sudden
openings between looming stone walls.
In round inflated Zodiacs, we skirted
pale blue icebergs. It was late April.

We crossed a bay, where humpbacked
whales rose and dove, rose
and dove, their curved tails catching
the last gild of sun.

When we came to the glacier,
the small ship stopping an exact specified
distance from this sky-cliff of ice,
it calved a high-rise that collapsed

and shattered the water. Shocked,
we cheered from the deck, yet
the fractured glacier shuddered
inside our bodies, a silent crack

as the mammoth white bone
splintered. And in a Costa Rican
rainforest, we did not see the canopy
slit, admitting too much light

for what’s below to live.

– Veronica Patterson


My friend and I snickered the first time
we heard the meditation teacher, a grown man,
call himself honey, with a hand placed
over his heart to illustrate how we too
might become more gentle with ourselves
and our runaway minds. It’s been years
since we sat with legs twisted on cushions,
holding back our laughter, but today
I found myself crouched on the floor again,
not meditating exactly, just agreeing
to be still, saying honey to myself each time
I thought about my husband splayed
on the couch with aching joints and fever
from a tick bite—what if he never gets better?—
or considered the threat of more wildfires,
the possible collapse of the Gulf Stream,
then remembered that in a few more minutes,
I’d have to climb down to the cellar and empty
the bucket I placed beneath a leaky pipe
that can’t be fixed until next week. How long
do any of us really have before the body
begins to break down and empty its mysteries
into the air? Oh honey, I said—for once
without a trace of irony or blush of shame—
the touch of my own hand on my chest
like that of a stranger, oddly comforting
in spite of the facts.
– James Crews

After years of paying our dues—propitiating beggars and gypsies as we wait for our blind date — we are met and spoken for
– Ross Bolleter

“Do you believe in free will?”
“Of course ,” replied Isaac Bashevis Singer, ” I have no choice.”

Whatever you do, it has likely brought delight to fewer people than either contract bridge or the Red Sox.
– Anne Dillard

Put your principles into practice – now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren’t a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do – now.
– Epictetus

Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day … we become seekers.
– Peter Matthiessen

He is conducting the affairs
Of the whole universe
While throwing wild parties
In a tree house – on a limb
In your heart.
– Hafiz

When attachment to the seed concept of “I” expands to articulate itself in terms of “my”, the result is identification – and a world of trouble. Over the course of human history, oceans of blood and tears have been spilled through men and women identifying with groups against other groups. Among the most stubborn of these notions are: “my family,” “my neighborhood,” “my race,” “my ethnicity,” “my country,” “my political party,” “my team,” and what is arguably the most virulent strain of all, “my religion.” No harm comes from acknowledging and respecting our bonds of affiliation, but “pride” in them really signals that we’ve enlisted them into our ego-identity, leaving us vulnerable to defensive-aggressive reactions to perceived threats. Such is the origin of wars and most other human conflict.
– Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede, Attachment, Loss, Pain, and Freedom, Zen Bow

“Premature immaculation”
a funny neologistic phrase describing those whom claim to be enlightened but….

They (these songs) just fall down from space. I’m just as bewhilderd as anybody else as to why I write them.
– Bob Dylan

Over the soft fontanel
Of Ireland. I should wear
Hide shoes, the hair next my skin,
For walking this ground:

I’m out to find that village,
Its low sills fragrant
With ladysmock and celandine,
Marshlights in the summer dark
– Seamus Heaney

Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.
– G. Michael Hopf

You have to leave home to find home.
– Ralph Ellison

The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.
– Paulo Coelho

The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers.
– James Baldwin

Bush v Gore: a real hinge point in history!
– Chris Hayes

Non merita nome of creatore, se bno Iddio ed iL Poeta.
[None merits the name of creator except God and the Poet].
– Torquato Tasso

A raindrop fell on my hand,
crafted from the Ganges and the Nile,

from the ascended frost of a seal’s whiskers,
from water in broken pots in the cities of Ys and Tyre.

On my index finger
the Caspian Sea isn’t landlocked,

and the Pacific flows meekly into the Rudava,
the one that flew in a cloud over Paris

in seventeen sixty-four
on the seventh of May at three in the morning.

There are not enough lips to pronounce
your transient names, O water.

I would have to say them in every language
pronouncing all the vowels at once,

at the same time keeping silent-for the sake of a lake
that waited in vain for a name,

and is no longer on earth-as it is in the heavens,
whose stars are no longer reflected in it.

Someone was drowning; someone dying
called out for you. That was long ago and yesterday.

You extinguished houses; you carried them off
like trees, forests like cities.

You were in baptismal fonts and in the bathtubs of courtesans,
in kisses, in shrouds.

Eating away at stones, fueling rainbows.
In the sweat and dew of pyramids and lilacs.

How light all this is in the raindrop.
How delicately the world touches me.

Whenever wherever whatever has happened
is written on the waters of Babel.

– Wislawa Szymborska

Over 95% of our body is water.
In order to stay healthy you’ve got to drink good water. …
Water is sacred, air is sacred. Our DNA is made out of the same DNA
as the tree, the tree breaths what we exhale, we need what the tree exhales.
So we have a common destiny with the tree. We are all from the earth,
and when earth, the water, the atmosphere is corrupted
then it will create its own reaction.
The mother is reacting.
– Floyd Red Crow Westerman

…is it possible to eradicate violence in ourselves?

I am asking whether it is possible for a human being living psychologically
in any society to clear violence from himself inwardly?
If it is, the very process will produce a different way of living in this world.

Some of us, in order to rid ourselves of violence, have used a concept,
and ideal, called non-violence, and we think by having an ideal of the opposite
to violence, non-violence, we can get rid of the fact, the actual – but we cannot.
We have had ideals without number, all the sacred books are full of them,
yet we are still violent – so why not deal with violence itself
and forget the word altogether?

If you want to understand the actual you must give your whole attention,
all your energy, to it. That attention and energy are distracted when you create
a fictitious, ideal world. So can you completely banish the ideal?
The man who is really serious, with the urge to find out what truth is,
what love is, has no concept at all.
He lives only in what is.

To investigate the fact of your own anger you must pass no judgement on it,
for the moment you conceive of its opposite you condemn it and therefore
you cannot see it as it is. When you say you dislike or hate someone,
that is a fact, although it sounds terrible. If you look at it, go into it completely,
it ceases, but if you say, “I must not hate; I must have love in my heart,”
then you are living in a hypocritical world with double standards.

To live completely, fully, in the moment is to live with what is,
the actual, without any sense of condemnation or justification –
then you understand it so totally that you are finished with it.

When you see clearly the problem is solved.

– J. Krishnamurti

The power of quiet is great.
It generates the same feelings in everything one encounters.
It vibrates with the cosmic rhythm of oneness.

It is everywhere, available to anyone at any time.
It is us, the force within that makes us stable, trusting, and loving.
It is contemplation contemplating.

Peace is letting go

– returning to the silence that cannot enter the realm of words
because it is too pure to be contained in words.
This is why the tree, the stone, the river, and the mountain are quiet.
– Malidoma Patrice Some

Snow besieges my plank door
I crowd the stove at night.
Although this form exists
It seems as if it doesn’t.
I have no idea where the
Months have gone
Every time I turn around
Another year on earth is over.
– Han-shan Te-ch’ing

Sarah Arvio
I won’t go with Jason for the fleece
for all the algae washing on the beach
gray and silver green and silver gray
all the plastic bottles and old twine
beaching up onto a bed of sand
But there’s something rhythmic in the art
an algorithm for an argonaut
an I’ll-go rhythm or I’ll-go-not
I said I’ll go with you anywhere
and I’ll come there too if you are there
for where is anywhere if you are there
the washing of the waves along the beach
all the plant life of the ancient sea
the dune flowers silver gray and blue
These are the ornaments of what I mean
the organza of a revelation
the orgasm of a something-rhythm
in the gauzy morning near the sea
Our good bad all garbled algebra
which is the “binding of the broken parts”
which was the offering of Al-Jabr
ergo I’ll go elsewhere if you are there

You must suggest to me reality—you can never show me reality. The purpose of the painter is simply to reproduce in other minds the impression which a scene has made upon him.
A work of art does not appeal to the intellect. It does not appeal to the moral sense. Its aim is to instruct, not to edify, but to awaken an emotion.
The greatness of art is not in the display of knowledge, or in material accuracy, but in the distinctness with which it conveys the impressions of a personal vital force, that acts spontaneously, without fear or hesitation.
– George Inness

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
– Isaiah 1:17

I have all these disconnected realities in my own life, and I see them in other people’s lives.
– Alice Munro

There is nothing as frightening as a stack of blank pieces of paper and the thought that I have to fill them from top to bottom, placing letters one after the other.
– Camilo José Cela

What I write could only be called poetry because there is no other category in which to put it.
– Marianne Moore

If society abolishes poetry it commits spiritual suicide.
– Octavio Paz

Some part of me believes that every poem needs to conclude with a great truth. It’s a high bar to set. It’s definitely wrong. But I’m often trying to find ways to avoid this imagined obligation.
– Rachel Mannheimer

Well the Devil’s in the alley,
mule’s in the stall
Say anything you want to
I have heard it all
– Bob Dylan

Thoughts from Before the Latest War
by Evelyn (Eve) Jessup Bingham

Surely my life would be less stressful if I lived in Sweden. I would be friends with the girls with dragon tattoos, ferreting out sickos and fascists. During the dark winter nights, I would dye my hair white blond and sip pure tundra berry tea from cups hand crafted from far-north forest wood. I would be a vegan there, forsaking roasted reindeer and smoked or pickled fish. It would make sense to eat white mushrooms scented with pine needles for most meals. I would walk everywhere in long brisk strides, particularly to train stations where I might go east to the strange land of the Finns and to Russia, up the river to St. Petersburg to see the palaces of the czars. In midsummer, music would play long into the white nights with dancers of many genders milling around the streets as the sun kisses the horizon and then starts its climb again. Abba music with some sort of Swedish Bjork tones. I would live in a small wooden floored flat with spare furnishings and a colorful wool rug. On Mayday I would cheer along with my fellow residents when the socialists and communists parade through the streets and the old people wave their hand held flags with tears in their eyes, so happy the big wars turned out as they did. I could go back to work in the zinc mines or maybe process paperwork in the ports to help export those beautiful felt dolls with their embroidered aprons and rosy cheeks. I would only own two or three expensive organic flax-cloth draw string pants with coordinated tunics. My clothes would be chosen to cover my own tattoos that would only be revealed to those in real need. The improved wardrobe aspect of the venture, on its own, reduces the stress enough to get the visa process started.

by Fady Joudah

Days been dark
don’t say “in these dark days”
done changed my cones and rods

Sometimes I’m the country
other times the countryside

I put my clothes back on
to take them off again

“Stay angry, little Meg,” Mrs Whatsit whispered. “You will need all your anger now.”
– A Wrinkle in Time

Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the deity to be a source of delight.
– John Ruskin

What is most surprising of all is how much fear there is in school. Why is so little said about it? Perhaps most people do not recognize fear in children when they see it. They can read the grossest signs of fear; they know what the trouble is when a child clings howling to his mother; but the subtler signs of fear are escaping them. It is these signs, in children’s faces, voices, and gestures, in their movements and ways of working, that tell me plainly that most children in school are scared most of the time, many of them very scared. Like good soldiers, they control their fears, live with them, and adjust themselves to them. But the trouble is, and here is a vital difference between school and war, that the adjustments children make to their fears are almost wholly bad, destructive of their intelligence and capacity. The scared fighter may be the best fighter, but the scared learner is always a poor learner.
– John Holt

Try to reason about love,
and you will lose your reason.
– Anton Chekhov

We must begin to catch hold of everything
around us, for nobody knows what we
may need. We have to carry along
the air, even; and the weight we once
thought a burden turns out to form
the pulse of our life and the compass for our brain.
Colors balance our fears, and existence
begins to clog unless our thoughts
can occur unwatched and let a fountain of essential silliness
out through our dreams.
And oh I hope we can still arrange
for the wind to blow, and occasionally
some kind of shock to occur, like rain,
and stray adventures no one cares about —
harmless love, immoderate guffaws on corners,
families crawling around the front room growling,
being bears in the piano cave.
– William Stafford

She said she was taking me to no return.
A smile – minnow small – hovered
in the current of her face. Wing flash
of kingfisher blue dove for it
but she fended with left arm sweep
and a laugh that sheened the king’s feathers
the rest of his fishing days.
And so we walked some hours, and some hours more.
Mountains of bristlecone pine
limestone shards singing white underfoot
and eventually water, charged with mineral immensity
sprang from sagebrush slope and ran spark-footed as a deer.
She led now through corridors of clustered aspen
with paintbrush blooming in clumps among green grass
and tones of sunset just beginning
to chant their spell into the spires of pink granite.
Like spider thread looped around the little finger
her way left no loose ends to lead back.
– Walker Abel

Later, when I was in the Argentine, I used to tell myself that I could not die until I had seen another month of May, here in the mountains. The grass grows knee-high in the meadows and down the centre of the roads between the wheel ruts. If you are with a friend, you walk down the road with the grass between you. In the forest the late beech leaves come out, the greenest leaves in the world. The cows are let out of the stable for the first time. They leap, kick with their hind legs, turn in circles, jump like goats. The month itself is like a homecoming.
– John Berger

Leaving bents fort
For Floyd bringing good

Riding the high plains from Colorado
To Kansas

A whirlwind gaunt and alone crosses the landscape

I drive the truck south toward Oklahoma
Crossing the same path two moon and roman nose
Once wandered

I am on the edge

Barely in America

Somewhere between rage and freedom…

– Lance Henson

Self-Portrait as Artemis
Tarfia Faizullah

It wasn’t long before I rose
into the silk of my night-robes

and swilled the stars
and the beetles

back into sweetness—even my fingernails
carry my likeness, and I smudge

the marrow of myself
into light. I whisper street-

car, ardor, midnight
into the ears of the soldier

so he will forget everything
but the eyes of the night nurse

whose hair shines beneath
the prow of her white cap.

In the end, it is me
he shipwrecks. O arrow.

My arms knot as I pluck
the lone string tauter.

O crossbow. I kneel. He oozes,
and the grasses and red wasp

knock him back from my sight.
The night braids my hair.

I do not dream. I do not glow.

Andrea Gibson:

you will never
have to lose yourself
to win me over

Read one newspaper daily (the morning edition
is the best
for by evening you know that you at least
have lived through another day)
and let the disasters, the unbelievable
yet approved decisions,
soak in.

I don’t need to name the countries,
ours is among them.

What keeps us from falling down, our faces
to the ground; ashamed, ashamed?
– Mary Oliver

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

– Robert F. Kennedy

You were, when I met you, both things for me: the sensuous and the spiritual. That can never come asunder…
– Paul Celan

The distance between two points increases over time. Disconnecting and fragmenting their connections. This is a painful experience, full of bitterness and resentment that ebbs and flows over memories and nostalgics. But there is a gorgeousness that exists in this like pale watercolours over solid black lines. It will always linger, but it becomes a part of you, for better or worse, keeping you who you are and marking you with scars like brands you can never escape or change but must always grow with. I believe in so many things, but that doesn’t make them passions. So why don’t you tell me who you are?
– Anne Carson

Time has inflicted such sweet cruelty
You are no longer yourself
I am no longer myself
Our restless hearts rush
to meet each other …
as though we had never been apart
You were lost
I was lost
though we walked in step
on the same path
– Guru Dutt

Inside the hardness of the heart, the numbness
of the heart, there lay a smaller heart,
a splinter in your finger, throbbing and pulsing

so you can see how alive you are. God
what a fenestration the heart is.
What strangers see is frontismatter.

An intro to the highlights as we see them.
All our old loves are still there,
impervious and glass-enclosed. You can tap
on the glass and get a rise out of them
because into each life there must be
a ruler and a grid, a little schadenfreude

so it won’t be our hearts breaking.

– Ira Sadoff

It’s been my experience that those who have it all figured out early, usually fall apart later in life. And those who acknowledge their ‘not knowing’ early in life, often end up finding their truest paths later in life, walking them all the way to the end. I’m not talking about the kind of ‘not knowing’ that is ungrounded and reality avoidant. I’m talking about the kind of conscious ‘not knowing’ that is riddled with curiosity, and a genuine willingness to explore and learn from experience. I think of life as a brilliant (or not brilliant) painting. You can finish the painting early, and then pray that life doesn’t turn your canvas upside down (It probably will). Or you can make a commitment to painting it throughout your lifetime—a stroke of wisdom here and there, a splash of color when you least expect, the shaping of the self as an artful work-in-process—getting closer to clarity and wholeness with each lived experience.
– Jeff Brown

Who are those hooded hordes swarming
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
Ringed by the flat horizon only
What is the city over the mountains
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London
– T.S. Eliot, What the Thunder Said, The Waste Land

A good writer is basically a story teller, not a scholar or a redeemer of mankind.
– Isaac Bashevis Singer

In times of rational and primitive fear, hope has to do push-ups out in the parking lot to stay pumped—and it does.
– Anne Lamott

Person of the Playful Star: Tanka [I listen to songs]

I listen to songs
of someone handsome
at the apex of night
the Milky Way overflows
the stars boil over and fall

– From The Forest of Eyes by Tada Chimako

What is meant for you is already yours, nothing could ever take that away from you. Us humans don’t truly know whats best for us most of the time anyway. So whatever is falling away from you… let it. If it’s not showing up with intentions and energies that are equal to yours, it’s not supporting your highest potential.

So take care of your heart, never let other peoples shadows dim your light. Recognize when people are only catering to their own purposes and aren’t interested in growing with you. And save your breathe for those who will fully receive and honor you with full presence.

Those who hurt you and can’t meet you where you’re at, are acting from their own wounded places, and are only revealing their lack of inner work. When you are in true alignment with another being, there will be no room for manipulation, dishonor or apathy. When you are in true alignment, there will be warmth, respect and transparency.

So stand in your power and know your worth even if that means that you have to walk alone. Your light and pure intentions will radiate like a signal from the depth of your soul, attracting those who will lift you up. Let yourself be elevated from the inside out, and soon enough that will reflect from the outside in.

– Cheylynn Marie

Being a global citizen of a living Earth is to return to the ‘great conversation’ with all of its many inhabitants, in both its inner and outer worlds. We can no longer live in isolation, alienated from the very planet that supports and nourishes us both physically and spiritually. We need to learn once again how to respect and listen to the Earth, to its ancient wisdom and spiritual depths. The Earth can teach us how to live in harmony and oneness as part of the great web of life. Once again we can learn how to walk in a sacred manner, experience her wonder and mystery, care for her soul as well as her soil.

Acting from a place of oneness we need to return to a conscious relationship with the Earth as a living being rather than dead matter, which our ancestors understood as having a soul, anima mundi, as its indwelling spiritual consciousness. When we remember our relationship with the Earth as a sacred being we can work together with the forces within nature, the primal powers of creation that shamans and indigenous peoples have long understood as central to our shared well-being. We can no longer afford to ignore or reject this inner dimension of life.

– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Words are just places we
stopped on the way
Language hostels

Love is not a word
Love is river, an alien abduction
A million more metaphors

Love is an invitation
to leave all pictures
Memories, like words, can’t hold

Loving happens
Keeps happening
Sings sometimes

Lives are just places we
stopped on the way
Diamonds and coal

Love is not a thing

– George Gorman

The original virtual reality of inner experience is the fulcrum by which life lifts itself out of the materialistic prison of determinism in order to achieve the freedom for value-seeking and value-fulfillment. Our minds have created the influential dimension of living experience, which cannot be adequately described in terms of material causes without obstructing the subtle freedoms making our minds worth having sometimes. Not only human minds but all living centers of experience. Every life has a self, a source of self-motion. In the same ways that our specialized hands and brains evolved out of potentials inherent in the forelimbs and neurons of primordial predecessors, our communicating, reasoning, feeling and questioning ways of being have an ancient heritage. Thanks to the co-creative participation of life in its own evolution, we could discover renewed hope in our human story.

Living, a storied process, not adequately represented by ideas whose abstractness transcends the dramatic unfoldings of living experience. Yet this is what most philosophical ideals do in their quest for the greatest of generalisms. How do we keep magnanimous ideas from flying too high above the touchstones of life? Neither religion nor science can accomplish this. Neither religions wedded to coercive abstractions nor sciences yoked to physical necessities offer much help to the relevant immediacies of personal experience. Human art is more sensitive to the passionate sway of a living experience. But works of art, often too context- and fashion-specific to our dramatic passages, . So I’m focusing on familiar concepts of personal agency that are general enough to apply to all humans yet varied enough to reflect the full range of fulfilling options in living contexts. Because the communicational foundations of life have evolved in tandem with our basic emotional processes.

– Gormans

Maya C. Popa:

Two of my favorites:

“About suffering they were never wrong” (the Old Masters)

“Back out of all this now too much for us”

Auden & Frost

Not being tied to what God looks like, freed us.
– Alice Walker (The Color Purple)

Still dark, and raining hard
on a cold May morning

and yet the early bird
is out there chirping,

chirping its sweet-sour
wooden-pulley notes,

pleased, it would seem,
to be given work,

hauling the heavy bucket of dawn

up from the darkness,
note over note,

and letting us drink.

– Ted Kooser

Spring Dragon

I had been dreaming
of rocks and boulders
rolling and crashing
under the waves
out at sea.

Then, I awoke
and realized
a Spring dragon
was passing overhead.

– Frank Inzan Owen

The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives.
– Chuck Palahniuk

old letter /
the saudade /
of yours sincerely
– Christopher Calvin

Lew Welch:

Song of a Self

If this is what life is,
Could one of your Gods do it better?

I make what I see, and I make what I hear
with Eye and my animal eye–
with ear and my Auditing Ear…

full of my gift
I am never left out and afraid

And this what the song is
(all of you waking and working and going to bed)

I sing what you’d know if you took time to hear,
I know what you’d learn if you had cause to care
Envy my wildness if you will….

full of my gift
I am often
left out and afraid

And this all my art is
(that stays at the distance the stage is)

You turn from my songs into another’s arms,
As I, who have taken you all to my heart,
Would sometimes be taken to heart….

full of my gift
I am only
left out and afraid

Commentary by the Red Monk

Wilderness is a form of sophistication, because it carries within it true knowledge of our place in the world. It doesn’t exclude civilization but prowls through it, knowing when to attend to the needs of the committee and when to drink from a moonlit lake. It will wear a suit and tie when it has to, but refuses to trim its talons or whiskers. Its sensing nature is not afraid of emotion: the old stories are full of grief forests and triumphant returns, banquets and bridges of thorns. Myth tells us that the full gamut of feeling is to be experienced. Wilderness is the capacity to go into joy, sorrow, and anger fully and stay there for as long as needed, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Sometimes, as Lorca says, it means ‘get down on all fours for twenty centuries and eat the grasses of the cemetaries.’ Wilderness carries sobriety as well as exuberance, and has allowed loss to mark its face.
– Martin Shaw

Gettysburg National Military Park

Motorcycles and white tour vans speed
between behemoth granite shafts, shove
my body by their force, leave me roadside
and wandering fields. Little is funny
when you’re Chicana and walking
a Civil War site not meant for walking.
Regardless, I ask park rangers and guides
for stories on Mexicans soldiers,

receive shrugs. No evidence in statues
or statistics. In the cemetery, not one
Spanish name. I’m alone in the wine shop.
It’s the same in the post office, the market,
the antique shop with KKK books on display.
In the peach orchard, I prepare a séance,
sit cross-legged in grass, and hold
a smoky quartz to the setting sun.

I invite the unseen to speak. So many dead,
it’s said Confederates were left to rot.
In war, not all bodies are returned home
nor graves marked. I Google “Mexicans
in the Civil War” and uncover layers
to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
and Cinco de Mayo. This is how I meet
ancestors for the first time, heroes

this country decorates in clownish sombreros
and fake mustaches, dishonors for fighting
European empire on shared American land
Power & Money dictate can’t be shared.
Years before this, carrying water gallons
up an Arizona mountain ridge to replenish
supplies in a pass known as “Dead Man’s,”
I wrote messages on bottles to the living,

scanned Sonoran canyons for the lost,
and knew too many would not be found.
A black Sharpie Virgen drawn on hot plastic
became a prayer: may the next officer halt
before cracking her face beneath his boot,
spilling life on to dirt. No, nothing’s funny
when you’re brown in a country you’re taught
isn’t yours, your dead don’t count.

– Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

To Walk Early

Remember to walk early
when you are most vulnerable to beauty.
Don’t go back to sleep.
Open the door.

On summer days, leave as
the yolk of sun breaks the pink sky.
Don’t miss the field of blue flax.
Bits of blue dapple the new green,
as if to fleck it with sky.
Or the first wild crocus.

Walk along the shore.
Watch the cormorant unfold its wings,
the statue-still blue heron
stretched long on legs thin as reeds.
Or the march of tiny spotted toads
migrating into the world.

Don’t miss the day,
the nesting pair of eagles fly south.
Rabbit Brush and Aspen strike gold.
A lone red duck lingers.

In the deepest days of winter,
put on your heavy coat.
Open the door, step out,
follow the tracks of rabbit and fox.
Don’t go back to sleep
It’s getting late.

– Nancy Jakobsson

Whatever shakes you should without delay, right away, be incorporated into the path ~ Chögyam Trungpa




– Frank Bidart

I’ve decided to organize my books meteorologically, from those describing the most pleasant weather to those with the worst storms.

Then I can just go to wherever my weather-mood dictates and pull one out to read.
– Will Donnelly

The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.
– Paul Cezanne

Ideally we’d stop paying any attention at all to whether people tell us that they love us or not – and concentrate instead on whether or not they know how to be kind.
– The School of Life

Only Once

All which, because it was
flame and song and granted us
joy, we thought we’d do, be, revisit,
turns out to have been what it was
that once, only; every invitation
did not begin
a series, a build-up: the marvelous
did happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don’t
expect to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be
unique as those were unique. Try
to acknowledge the next
song in its body — halo of flames as utterly
present, as now or never.

– Denise Levertov

There must be something rotten
in the very core of a social system
which increases its wealth
without diminishing its misery.
– Karl Marx


George Gershwin
was a tough kid
fought in the streets
acted out
until he found
the gift of music
in which anger, love,
anything may be said,
said, and felt in the structure
of the bones.
Paul de Man
swindled people
probably committed
with one of his students
but found his way
to a calling
in which he mesmerized.
“Must be
I’m getting smarter
all the time.”
my friend Iván
disguised himself
as a librarian
of obscure unpopular languages
so that he could daily pour forth
the immense flood
of words
that “troubled his sleep”
and waking.
others, like Yeats,
threw themselves
into the visionary
and “saw,”
heard masters’
Larry Eigner
acted the child
to elicit emotion
from people
who did not know
they were his
just as
the great Einstein
played the fool
for photographers.
in 1976
filmmaker Werner Herzog
made Heart of Glass
in which he hypnotized
all of the actors except for the lead.
the actors spoke their lines…
I thought of Ezra Pound’s remark,
“the live man
among the duds”
and of Jack Spicer’s
“de bop de beep
they are all asleep”…
and you––
people wish you
to read your poetry
and to be
on their search committee
because you
are the live woman
among the duds.
I am told
that I
frighten people––
“first, your hair!”––
but you are a woman
and so sweet and kind
and have such a lovely,
caring smile
that even the duds
(who at some level
know they are duds)
feel comfortable
in your presence.
they are being
left in the dust
but they can forget about all that
because you acknowledge them
with such kindness
and consideration.
these are the slights
of genius
the ways in which those
afflicted with the god knowledge
pretend to be
only eccentrics
only strangers
who live
(like you and me)
in the ordinary

– Jack Foley

The obsession with our own inadequacies is one of the biggest obstacles on the bodhisattva path ~ Chogyam Trungpa

…when you have love for someone based on needs alone, you become an ocean . . but when you have love for someone because of who they are, who they appear to be in and of themselves, you become an invisible weightless sky, an eternity of infinite wonder, the perfect question, more now than now, more here than here, nowhere.
– via Steve Gurton

Someone I loved once told me that there are fragments within us that are the same age as the Universe, and because we are matter, we can never be destroyed. That a part of us will live forever and ever, and that in making us, the Universe was celebrating itself, we are its living, breathing joy.
– Nikita Gill

You’ll See, All Things Will Be Made New
by Menno Wigman (trans. Judith Wilkinson)

How fortunate that Holland doesn’t exist.

Only a slender land of mist and clay,
only the millions of dead without a grave,
only the ultimatum of the sea.

And what a comfort that there’s no tomorrow,
that there was never any snow or hail
or sun or a spring breeze – nothing at all.

Only the ultimatum of the light.

That was your forecast for today. Sit tight.

Over the years I’ve come to think of memories as tiny living things, microorganisms that swim through the brain until they’ve found the right compartment in which to settle down and rest. If the compartment isn’t available, if there’s no proper label for the memory, it takes up residence somewhere else, gets lodged in a corner and gnaws at you periodically, cropping up at odd times, or in dreams.
– Caroline Knapp

Your heart lifts forever through that blank sky.
– John Updike

We all face our monsters
differently. Just because
I smile while I do it doesn’t
make me any less serious.
– Omar Holmon

It’s our job as writers..It’s our job as environmentally conscious people. To be aware. We’ve got to be aware of our fears. We’ve got to be aware of the history. We’ve got to be aware of all the pitfalls and then fix our vision and grow.
– Camille T. Dungy

No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.
– Helen Keller

Chögyam Trungpa ~ THE SPIRITUAL PATH

In other words, to make this perfectly clear, the difference between spiritual materialism and transcending spiritual materialism is that in spiritual materialism promises are used like a carrot held up in front of a donkey, luring him into all kinds of journeys; in transcending spiritual materialism, there is no goal. The goal exists in every moment of our life situation, in every moment of our spiritual journey.

All beings are Buddha;
you are the truth, just as you are.
– Zen Roshi, Robert Aitken

Paradise is not a place. It is a condition of the heart. Some travel to all the world’s wondrous places and never truly arrive, for they go with a clenched heart that blinds them to the shallowed muting of their unusual life. Others stay home yet arrive over and again to the most enchanting places and discoveries. For they live with a wide open heart that journeys ever beyond the body as a spirit in love with life. Open your phenomenal heart. Travel beautifully.
– Jaiya John

Our minds are hardwired in many ways to do many things, only half of which from my observations are self-destructive.
– Anne Lamott

Between going and staying
the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can’t be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause.

– Octavio Paz

Of the many men whom I am, whom we are,
I cannot settle on a single one.
They are lost to me under the cover of clothing
They have departed for another city.

When everything seems to be set
to show me off as a man of intelligence,
the fool I keep concealed on my person
takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.

On other occasions, I am dozing in the midst
of people of some distinction,
and when I summon my courageous self,
a coward completely unknown to me
swaddles my poor skeleton
in a thousand tiny reservations.

When a stately home bursts into flames,
instead of the fireman I summon,
an arsonist bursts on the scene,
and he is I. There is nothing I can do.
What must I do to distinguish myself?
How can I put myself together?

All the books I read
lionize dazzling hero figures,
brimming with self-assurance.
I die with envy of them;
and, in films where bullets fly on the wind,
I am left in envy of the cowboys,
left admiring even the horses.

But when I call upon my DASHING BEING,
out comes the same OLD LAZY SELF,
and so I never know just WHO I AM,
nor how many I am, nor WHO WE WILL BE BEING.
I would like to be able to touch a bell
and call up my real self, the truly me,
because if I really need my proper self,
I must not allow myself to disappear.

While I am writing, I am far away;
and when I come back, I have already left.
I should like to see if the same thing happens
to other people as it does to me,
to see if as many people are as I am,
and if they seem the same way to themselves.
When this problem has been thoroughly explored,
I am going to school myself so well in things
that, when I try to explain my problems,
I shall speak, not of self, but of geography.

– Pablo Neruda

If your heart is pure then all of nature is a great book of holy wisdom and sacred doctrine.
– St. Francis of Assisi


The connection point
between trauma and grace,

That holy moment
where, in the expression of its truthfulness,
a wound finally crowns itself,

When the humiliation
of acting out illusion
doesn’t stop at itself
but gives a deep bow
to move into
what is more real,

That which is discovered
beyond the sacred doors
of each grief,

When the rough ruby
that is the heart
let’s itself be seen
as an unpolished queen

and takes its throne
by claiming
both its mess and its nobility

in choosing
to rule with love
the kingdom of its unfinished pain.

– Chelan Harkin

If no good can come from a decision, then no decision should be made.
– Simon Sinek

Thoughts are free and subject to no rule. On them rests the freedom of man, and they tower above the light of nature…create a new heaven, a new firmament, a new source of energy from which new arts flow.
– Paracelsus


As practitioners of meditation, we have to work with the karmic situation of America (or wherever we live) to start with. A certain reformation can take place by natural force—not necessarily through carrying placards or staging demonstrations. On the other hand, change is not going to happen in an easy or luxurious way. To begin with, we don’t know what the reformation is going to look like. We have to work on our own inspiration. The city could reform. The whole world could reform. Our duty is to help.

How quickly we exile
the truth of love from the love of truth.
– Richard Jackson

That is why the better part of our memory exists outside ourselves, in a blatter of rain, in the smell of an unaired room or of the first crackling brushwood fire in a cold grate: wherever, in short, we happen upon what our mind, having no use for it, had rejected, the last treasure that the past has in store, the richest, that which when all our flow of tears seems to have dried at the source can make us weep again. Outside ourselves, did I say; rather within ourselves, but hidden from our eyes in an oblivion more or less prolonged.
– Marcel Proust

I have seen her walk all dressed in green,
so formed she would have sparked love in a stone,
that love I bear for her very shadow,
so that I wished her, in those fields of grass,
– Dante Alighieri

The ripe grassheads bend in the starlight
in the soft wind, beneath them the darkness
of the grass, fathomless, the long blades
rising out of the well of time. Cars
travel the valley roads below me, their lights
finding the dark, and racing on. Above
their roar is a silence I have suddenly heard,
and felt the country turn under the stars
toward dawn. I am wholly willing to be here
between the bright silent thousands of stars
and the life of the grass pouring out of the ground.
The hill has grown to me like a foot.
Until I lift the earth I cannot move.
– Wendell Berry

I hear the dreams of old friends and lovers,
dreams whose heartbeats break me open:
– Pablo Neruda, Nocturnal Collection

Denim and flannel … no, denim & flannel, for they belonged together like denim & flannel.
– Greg Sellers, Notes from Neruda’s Ghost

Endings are difficult in our culture, a direct corollary of our inability to deal with death in an honorable fashion. Notice the ending of any creative gathering and it will tell you something about what has just happened. What has just happened has been public—now people are going to make a change back to something more private. But is that change in orientation a collapse, into separation, or is it a transition? In a transition, people huddle into small groups to get a last bit of warmth from the fire of connection.
– Randy Jones, Medicine Without An Expiration Date

Falling For (and From) the Sky

It’s hard not to fall in love
with the Nevada sky in May.

She kisses my pale skin
careful not to turn me
the color of her lips.

I blush anyway
and she laughs gently.
Her joy is the sound
of hummingbird wings
vibrating with satisfaction
at the discovery of hidden nectar.

She removes my sunglasses
so I can see her the way
she desires to be seen.
The ecstasy in my eyes
only encourages her.

I’m too shy to tell the sky
that I’ve always been proud
that my eyes are blue,
like her.

My heart throbs with longing
as she edges me closer to explosion
like a planet that ventures
too near the sun.

But just before she burns me,
when it’s clear I can barely
stand her heat anymore,
she pulls the clouds over us,
and washes me with wind.

Her caressing zephyrs
teach me what my sweat is for.
When she gives me goosebumps,
the clouds part, and she begins
the bright cycle all over again.

As the sun sets,
and I feel her pulling away,
the sky reminds me
that this life is only a vapor.

“Evaporate for me,”
she whispers in my ear.
“And, we’ll rise to shine
with the moon and stars.”

But I know, if I was water,
and fell for and from the sky,
I’d only sprinkle like desert rain
after a lingering drought,
and never touch the ground.

– Will Falk

In the age of information overload, expertise is not knowing lots and lots of stuff—rather, it’s the ability to sort the useful from the useless.
– Mark Manson

Loneliness is so much more than a personal mental health issue. It’s a deliberate outcome of American individualism and impedes community interdependence and organizing. The delusion that a person can be an island and everyone having their own screen is why we’re in this hellhole.
– El Norte Recuerda

I am not saying you will
find the meaning of life
in other people. I am saying
that other people are the life
to which you provide the meaning.
– Neil Hilborn

We must not give up. It takes so much time to heal because we are not just healing our own wounds- we are healing the world’s wounds, too. We think we are alone with our ‘stuff’, but we aren’t. With every clearing of our emotional debris, with every foray into a healthier way of being, with every excavation and release of old material, we heal the collective heart. So many of our familial and karmic ancestors had little opportunity to heal their pains. When we heal, their spirits breathe a sigh of relief. We heal them, too.
– Jeff Brown

Tolkien describing places that are evil: no trees grow there

The soul would have no rainbows if the eyes had no tears.
– Native American proverb

Availability bias: You assume the first thing that pops in your head is the best and truest idea you’re going to have.
– @jamieri

Music, dance, singing, lamentation, exuberance—all these seem to be the ever present building blocks of indigenous ritual. When we have an intention and a loosely designed choreography that allows some space for the unexpected, these begin to be the ingredients for healing ritual. The specific details are contributed by Elders, the shamans (with their specialized knowledge) and also by everybody else in some fashion, large or small. Maybe the spirits and the elements do carry out mysterious healings, as the indigenous mind would say.

On the other hand, people have to do a lot of work to create a ritual. And maybe that is part of the formula as well—why rituals actually do produce healing and beauty and practical results: the working together is its own kind of deep involvement in the community of life that is beneficial. If we can understand ritual as being both a creative and a technical collaboration, which invites both the human and non-human members of the neighborhood into an event that works toward healing, we can both liberate ritual from its marginalized position and also revive the vitality which a good ritual always feeds.

It takes a leap of understanding or imagination to conceive of the current situation in the spirit world and in nature. If we truly are meant to be in community, the mechanism of communication, if broken on our side, as indicated by the damage we are causing, is also broken on their side. All parties are supposed to be involved in the project of improving this world, bringing “medicine,” in the largest sense of the word, to what needs healing. While the spirit world has a great competence working with invisible forces, they have the distinct disadvantage, when it comes to doing practical things, of not having bodies or verbal language. We humans are in the opposite position, having powers in this world, but constantly distracted by that very fact from the information that comes from somewhere else.
– Randy Jones, Medicine Without An Expiration Date

The soulful path is taken with steps of peace, love, and joy, where all things are working together for the higher good. The soulful path is Heaven on Earth.
– Dr. Julie Krull

I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.
– Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

As we co-create nurturance culture let us acknowledge that motherhood is a set up. The role into which we have dumped the entire weight of collapsed community.
– Taj James

The old soul that dwells at the core of each person has a tolerance for chaos and an instinct for survival. Not in the simple biological terms of survival of the fittest, but a complex involvement with hidden aspects of creation. We can only come to know our soul when the chips are down, when there’s nothing else to do but take on a bigger imagination of the cosmos and of our place within it. The return of cosmic order and cosmic sense always happens at the edge of the abyss, on the brink of disaster where life and beauty and meaning are snatched once again from the teeth of chaos.
– Michael Meade, Awakening the Soul

No Black boys die on Mother’s Day. We all here among our grandmothers’ hymns hats and hallelujahs, our blunt-blistered lips touch cheek to make kiss before our heads bow to pray.
– Steven Willis

Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.
– Barbara Kingsolver

Nine tenths of education is encouragement.
– Anatole France

Poetry makes language care because it renders everything intimate.
– John Berger

The world is not real to me until it has been pushed through the mesh of language.
– John Banville

Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.
– Claude Debussy

If we only knew how much of other peoples urgency for us to not be honest, is because our honesty chines light on areas they are not willing to address.

We often get stuck responding to toxic positivity, and it’s messengers. This is not your work, if you are looking for peace.

Your work is offering yourself breaks from the explanations of those who won’t hear them. Your work is saving your energy for the pain of being misunderstood and offering hope to an inner understanding.

Your honesty will be refreshing to someone else who is frozen in a story needing a warm invitation to also be open and free.

– Nate Postlethwait

Attentiveness is your main tool in life, and in fiction, or else you’re going to be boring.
– Jim Harrison

Making art is not selfish; it’s for the rest of us. If you don’t do your thing, you are cheating us.
– Kevin Kelly

My favorite piece of riding/ writing/ life advice: Throw your heart over the fence and the horse will follow.
– Siân Griffiths

The pen compels lucidity.
– Robert Stone

A paradox is a genuine reversal of the commonly accepted point of view, one that presents an unacceptable world, thereby eliciting resistance and rejection, and yet, if we make an effort to understand it, it is one that leads to knowledge; eventually it seems to be witty because it has to be admitted that it is true.
– Umberto Eco, On the Shoulders of Giants

by David Whyte

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides,
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals,
who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly
so Biblically
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love

so that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t
because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years
you simply don’t want to
any more
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness
however fluid and however
dangerous to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Obviously, a rigid, blinkered, absolutist world view is the easiest to keep hold of, whereas the fluid, uncertain, metamorphic picture I’ve always carried about is rather more vulnerable. Yet I must cling with all my might to … my own soul; must hold on to its mischievous, iconoclastic, out-of-step clown-instincts, no matter how great the storm. And if that plunges me into contradiction and paradox, so be it; I’ve lived in that messy ocean all my life. I’ve fished in it for my art. This turbulent sea was the sea outside my bedroom window in Bombay. It is the sea by which I was born, and which I carry within me wherever I go.
– Salman Rushdie

Portion of this yew
Is a man my grandsire knew,
Bosomed here at its foot:
This branch may be his wife,
A ruddy human life
Now turned to a green shoot.

These grasses must be made
Of her who often prayed,
Last century, for repose;
And the fair girl long ago
Whom I often tried to know
May be entering this rose.

So, they are not underground,
But as nerves and veins abound
In the growths of upper air,
And they feel the sun and rain,
And the energy again
That made them what they were!

– Thomas Hardy, Transformations

I had nothing else to do. Writing gave me something to do every day.
– William S. Burroughs


Sometimes things don’t go our way. A loved one dies. An unexpected result comes. A relationship falls apart in a way we never could have foreseen. An infection returns. A business venture dissolves overnight. An attack comes out of the blue, shattering a body or a dream, or both. Something that seemed so solid and real yesterday turns out to be much less than what it seemed.

And a part of us cracks open. For a moment, all of our mind-made defences crumble. We are new-borns again, no longer invulnerable to the overwhelming glory and horror of creation. We are faced with the awesomeness of own impotence before the vastness of the cosmos, without the protection of ego. For a moment, we touch and our touched by the unfathomable mystery underlying all things. Impermanence bursts through the gaps in an outdated reality, and the sheer groundlessness of existence, the uncontrollability of events, the unpredictability of our emotional world, becomes obvious once again. Our eyes are open. Ancient teachings are alive. What is born must die. What is here will soon be gone. The very ground we stand on can open up at any moment. There is nowhere truly safe to stand. What is real? What can be trusted in this life? What is worth living for?

And we recoil. It’s all too much, the hugeness of experience. Quick, get back to normal. Quick, grab onto something solid, something manageable. Fix something. Seek something. Control something. Get a grip on something. Get an answer. Medicate. Work it all out. Distract yourself – with substances, with religion, with platitudes, with more and more and more experience.

Rather than face the unexplored terrors lurking in the deep, we fix our eyes once again on the surfaces. We shut out the greater terror of an uncontrollable existence by focussing on the things in life we think we have some control over. We block out our pain, and try to get back to normal, back to work, back to ‘reality’.

But normality is the problem, not the solution, and the old reality was too limited anyway. Life, in its infinite intelligence, was only trying to crack us open. We had become too small, too limited, too numb, too preoccupied with our own lives, trapped in our own stories, lulled to sleep by the comforts of modernity. In our pursuit of the positive, we had buried all that we had come to see as negative – the pain, the sorrows, the longings, the fears, the terrors, the paradoxes. These very natural energies we had pushed into the deep so that we could function, and be productive, and ‘fit in’. We thought we were ‘happy’. Yet our happiness had become so contingent, and our joy so dependent, and our contentment so very superficial. It was the kind of contentment that could break apart at any moment. And it did, for life seeks wholeness and nothing less.

And we are being called now to question everything. Everything.
Pain is not a block to healing, but a doorway. Grief is not a mistake but a portal. Even anger contains a path. And our deepest longings are not faults, but parts of ourselves that just want to be met.

Wounds open to be healed, held, be given loving attention.

Our suffering and the suffering of loved ones can often seem so random, so meaningless, so pointless, so cruel, so uncontrollable, and we rush to cover up our pain, hide it, deny it, or just pretend that we are ‘over’ it. As spiritual seekers, we may pretend that we have gone beyond, or transcended, or even completely annihilated our humanness. That we are invulnerable. That we feel nothing anymore except unending bliss. That we are so very enlightened, so very perfect.

But in the end you cannot hide yourself from yourself, because on some level you always know exactly where you’ve hidden yourself. The ‘enlightened me’ is the greatest lie of all. Where would the ‘unenlightened me’ hide?

No experience is inherently traumatic, no experience is truly unmanageable, but sometimes experiences can release volcanic energies in ourselves that we had repressed, pushed down, refused to integrate in our rush to be a consistent and solid and normal ‘self’. In trying to hold ourselves together, we had actually torn ourselves apart.

And now life has come to the rescue, with its love of wholeness. The terrors, the rages, the confusion, the unfathomable joys that we were never able to hold, have been released. Sometimes life triggers an explosion in us… and we rush to contain ourselves again.

Here is an invitation to remain uncontained a little while longer. Be a little more inconsistent, a little more of a mess. There is dignity in falling apart.

Bow to all of the ancient energies that are now flowing through you. An old life is falling away, a new life has not yet coagulated, and you stand now on holy ground, full of raging life and possibility, broken open but alive to these lost parts of yourself, in touch with joys and pains you thought you would never feel again, energies you had repressed since childhood or even before.

Your suffering is not a mistake, or a punishment, and ultimately it is not even yours. We all suffer. We all get ill, get old, and die, at least in our physical forms, and our physical forms are holy. We all experience loss, and wonder why. We all lose control, or wonder if we ever had control. We are all faced with situations we never would have planned, choices we never wanted to make, things that seem unwanted now, circumstances that just feel ‘wrong’.

But in the midst of the unwanted, if we can slow down, and breathe, and come out of the story of “how it was supposed to be”, and turn towards the present moment, we may find things that are okay, even wanted, even sacred, even healing. And we may begin to realize that we are not alone in our struggle. We are connected to all of humanity. Our suffering is our rite of passage, and many others have been on this journey. We walk in the footsteps of our ancestors. We are being invited to love ourselves even more fiercely, connect with our breath more deeply, feel the kind of compassion for ourselves and each other that we never would have felt if things had continued to ‘go our way’. Whose way, anyway? And why did we expect that things would continue to go our way, in a world of impermanence and constant change? Did we really believe that we were in charge? Can a wave control the vastness of the ocean? Did we lose our humility, our sense of proportion?

We are not in control. Everything is dying from the moment it is born, as the Buddha taught. Everything is made of crystal. And therein lies our greatest sorrow and deepest depression, but also our greatest potential for joy and liberation. We learn to get out of our own way, and embrace the way things really are. We learn to love life as it is, and let go of our outdated fantasies. We learn that real joy is not an escape from pain, but the willingness to feel it, and real contentment means opening ourselves up to even the most profound grief. If we can touch our own sorrows, we can touch the sorrows of all humanity. This is not wallowing, or indulging – this is waking up, the opening of eyes, the birth of true compassion.

We allow even our deepest traumas to teach us about love, and compassion, and slowness, and remind us of the preciousness of each and every moment of life. We allow life to break our hearts wide open to Truth. Everything is burning, as the Buddha taught, and to cling to outdated pictures of reality only breeds great sorrow.

We knew so much, and now we know less, and that is not a loss, but our freedom. And there is something within us that is never traumatised, something ever-present and trustworthy, something that survives even the most intense sensations, that holds and releases trauma as the heart pumps its blood…

– Jeff Foster

Learning without thinking is useless.
Thinking without learning is dangerous.
– Confucius, The Analects

One must become the way the garden feels.
– Haraada of Tofuku-j

I wonder if the trickster isn’t beckoning at the wilds beyond our fences, wanting us to dance between the binary.
– Dr. Bayo Akomolafe

First Night
by Menno Wigman (trans. David Colmer)

Earth, a virtuous body has now arrived.
An overwhelming sun rose in it once,
Its eyes shone brightly like a long July,
A breath of mellow twilight filled its lungs,
A spellbound moon traversed its breast.

The palms of its hands felt water and stroked pets.
The soles of its feet kissed beaches and rocks. Insight.
A strange insight formed in its head, its tongue
Grew sharp, its fingers found the fists they held,
It fought for bread, for money, honours, light and sex.

You can read an awful lot of books about it.
You can even write your own. Earth, don’t be hard
On this man who had at least a hundred keys,
But not a map or compass for this blind path,
And now has come to spend his first night here.

by Francesqua Darling

1. If you have to talk to more than one person about the same problem over and over (including your therapist), you don’t want help, you want attention. Attention asks why. Help asks how, and gets to work.

2. You will feel amazing when your confidence is fuelled by self-belief instead of validation from others.

3. Peace feels so much better than driving yourself nuts trying to understand why something happened as it did. There are thousands of reasons and your life is not long enough to find the answers to all your whys. Peace is loving the mystery.

4. It seems counter-intuitive that true power is found in relaxation, in letting go, in joy and pleasure. The opposite of this is force. The key to true power lies in releasing resistance to what IS. It is really, really relaxing.

5. The best part about being authentic, which is a deep intimacy with yourself, is that there is no image to sustain. You will delight many and disturb others, and none of it will concern the truth of YOU.

6. If it is meant for you, it will be for you. You never have to force, convince, or manipulate life or other people. If you don’t have what you want, it is likely you are not being you, so what is for you cannot come to you.

Pray for external peace, and for new conditions to arise. I’m quite encouraged by how many people in the world really agree about this. It’s very heartwarming. Pray for new conditions to come; pray for peace treaties and cease fires to be signed; pray for soldiers to return to their homes in good health, and for refugees to be able to go back to their own homes. Pray for countries to be in the hands of their own citizens; pray for them to be able to decide their future and have the liberty and the government that they choose. One person’s prayers might not have much strength. But I think if thousands and thousands and thousands pray for better conditions to come in the world—not just in Europe but all over the world—I think Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can actually make things be that way. In that way, new conditions can arise. And then, slowly, slowly, internal conditions will also change, because ultimately it is the internal conditions of beings minds’ that shape the outer conditions of the world. When our own minds are in harmony, there’s greater harmony in the world.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

One advantage in keeping a diary is that you become aware with reassuring clarity of the changes which you constantly suffer.

One of the first signs of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die. This life appears unbearable, another unattainable. One is no longer ashamed of wanting to die; one asks to be moved from the old cell, which one hates, to a new one, which one only in time will come to hate. In this, there is also a residue of belief that during the move the master will chance to come along the corridor, look at the prisoner and say: “This man is not to be locked up again, He is to come with me.”

Only our concept of time makes it possible for us to speak of the Day of Judgment by that name, in reality, it is a summary court in perpetual session.

People who walk across dark bridges, past saints, with dim, small lights. Clouds which move across grey skies past churches with towers darkened in the dusk. One who leans against granite railing gazing into the evening waters, His hands resting on old stones.

Self-control means wanting to be effective at some random point in the infinite radiations of my spiritual existence.

– Franz Kafka, The Blue Octavo Notebooks

Is there no way out
of the mind?
– Sylvia Plath

In the midst of that which is broken, things grow and become whole. In the midst of hardship, life takes root.
– T. Thorn Coyle

I wish there was more talk about soul. We’ve largely given up such talk, in favor of commerce, politics, the talk of people who expect answers, results. I’ve said in a poem, “the normal condition of the soul is to be starved.” If this is true, those of us who are vigilant about our souls are trying to feed them. Save them? Faust gambled with his soul, which suggests that we should be using different currency when we gamble. But it seems to me that gambling, at its healthiest, is one way of activating the soul, nudging it from its hungry sleep. I’m speaking about gambling in its most reductive form: taking a chance. The act of taking a chance is energizing. The art of the act of taking a chance can lead to the sublime. Like the time I saw Paco Camino exhibit perfect grace – a series of slow, exact moves – with an erratic bull in Madrid. Or Miles Davis, years ago at a club, riding an impulse beyond himself. Surely those folks who play their lives and their work eminently safe don’t often put themselves in the position where they can be startled or enlarged. Don’t put themselves near enough to the realm of the unknown where discovery resides, and joy has been rumored to appear. The realm of the unknown is contiguous to the realm of failure. The gambler, deep down, has made a pact with failure. He’ll accept it because it has interesting neighbors.
– Stephen Dunn, Walking Light

Word of the day is ‘ipsedixitism’ (19th century): the insistence that something is ‘fact’ because someone else said so.

[There is a] phrase that “What needs healing in this world can only be healed in the Other World, and what needs healing in the Other World can only be healed in this world.” By the time an historical injury or injustice has travelled through family systems, it is “too late” for healing, unless that healing can be done by the descendants of those so injured. But if those living people can do something about what has just been passed down unconsciously, they have effectively healed something in the world of ancestors.

Conversely, the energy it takes to undo a contemporary injury or injustice is not within the capacity of the “only human” world without some sort of intervention or involvement by the “unseen and immaterial” world. If your mind can’t quite stretch that far, it is just fine to begin thinking about the Other World initially as a metaphor describing the hidden world of the imaginal and emotional, and consider how the unmeasurable, nevertheless, has real effects on our lives.
– Randy Jones, Medicine Without An Expiration Date

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.

The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Please give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

– The Wise Woman’s Stone, Author Unknown


The confident warrior conducts himself with gentleness, fearlessness, and intelligence. Gentleness is the warm quality of the human heart. Because of the warmth of his heart the warrior’s confidence is not too hard or brittle. Rather it has a vulnerable, open and soft quality. It is our gentleness which allows us to feel warmth and kindness and to fall in love. But at the same time we are not completely tender. We are tough as well as soft. We are fearless as well as gentle. The warrior meets the world with a slight sense of detachment, a sense of distance and precision. This aspect of confidence is the natural instinct of fearlessness which allows the warrior to meet challenges without losing his integrity. Finally our confidence expresses itself as innate intelligence, which raises ordinary gentleness and fearlessness to the level of warriorship. In other words, it is intelligence that prevents gentleness from becoming cheap romanticism without any vision, and fearlessness from becoming purely macho. Intelligence is our sense of wakeful inquisitiveness toward the world. It is what allows us to appreciate and take delight in the vivid qualities of the world around us.

The Mother of Light

So to become
what we have lost together
Not a memory so much
as the wick on which it flames

This darkness in us
is the mother of light
We hear it speaking, crooning
lifting us to the breast, the flower
and we don’t ask why

We pass love around
eat of its body
play in the flames
but only find each other
in the dark

– George Gorman

Why I Love Thee?
Why I love thee?
Ask why the seawind wanders,
Why the shore is aflush with the tide,
Why the moon through heaven meanders;
Like seafaring ships that ride
On a sullen, motionless deep;
Why the seabirds are fluttering the strand
Where the waves sing themselves to sleep
And starshine lives in the curves of the sand.
– Sadakichi Hartmann

Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe.
– Susan Cain

The Portable Grandmother

I carry her
around my bone

I see her
wooden spoon in hand
mixing flour
into generations
of bread
humming a song
from old Russia
into the soup

You can’t make something
from nothing, she said
She built a home
from chicken bones
bits of onion, carrot
words, stories
years like
wind across the Steppe

I hear her
tick and tick
punctuate my waking
ravel up the day
and tickle me to sleep

She gives me apples with honey
a place to be from
a people to belong to
She makes the shifting world

Her calm voice
pushes back the night
endures all
demands fealty

Her gray ghost
weighty as platinum
I carry her
around my bone

– Lorrie Wolfe

Talking About New Orleans

Talking about New Orleans
About deforestation & the flood of vodun paraphernalia
the Congo line losing its Congo
the funeral bands losing their funding
the killer winds humming intertribal warfare hums into
two storm-surges
touching down tonguing the ground
three thousand times in a circle of grief
four thousand times on a levee of lips
five thousand times between a fema of fangs
everything fiendish, fetid, funky, swollen, overheated
and splashed with blood & guts & drops of urinated gin
in syncopation with me
riding through on a refrigerator covered with
asphalt chips with pieces of ragtime music charts
torn photo mug shots & pulverized turtle shells from Biloxi
me bumping against a million-dollar oil rig
me in a ghost town floating on a river on top of a river
me with a hundred ton of crab legs
and no evacuation plan
me in a battered tree barking & howling with abandoned dogs
my cheeks stained with dried suicide kisses
my isolation rising with a rainbow of human corpse &
fecal rat bones
where is that fire chief in his big hat
where are the fucking pumps
the rescue boats
& the famous coalition of bullhorns calling out names
hey I want my red life jacket now
& I need some sacred sandbags
some fix-the-levee-powder
some blood-pressure-support-juice
some get-it-together-dust
some lucky-rooftop-charms &
some magic-helicopter-blades
I’m not prepared
to live on the bottom of the water like Oshun
I don’t have a house built on stilts
I can’t cross the sea like Olokun
I’m not equipped to walk on water like Marie Laveau
or swim away from a Titanic situation like Mr. Shine
Send in those paddling engineers
I’m inside of my insides
& I need to distinguish
between the nightmare, the mirage,
the dream and the hallucination
Give me statistics
how many residents died while waiting
how many drowned
how many suffocated
how many were dehydrated
how many were separated
how many are missing
how many had babies
and anyway
who’s in charge of this confusion
this gulf coast engulfment
this displacement
this superdome shelter
this stench of stank
this demolition order
this crowded convention center chaos
making me crave solitary confinement

Am I on my own
exhausted from fighting racist policies
exhausted from fighting off sex offenders
exhausted from fighting for cots for tents for trailers
for a way out of this anxiety this fear this emptiness
this avoidance this unequal opportunity world of
disappointments accumulating in my undocumented eye
of no return tickets

Is this freedom is this global warming is this the new identity
me riding on a refrigerator through contaminated debris
talking to no one in particular
about a storm that became a hurricane
& a hurricane that got violent and started
eyeballing & whistling & stretching toward
a category three domination that caught me in
the numbness of my own consciousness
unprepared, unprotected and
made more vulnerable to destabilization
by the corporate installation of human greed, human poverty
human invention of racism & human neglect of the environment

I mean even Buddy Bolden came back to say
move to higher ground
because a hurricane will not
rearrange its creativity for you
& the river will meet the ocean in
the lake of your flesh again
so move to higher ground
and let your jungle find its new defense
let the smell of your wisdom restore the power of pure air
& let your intoxicated shoreline rumble above & beyond the
water-marks of disaster

I’m speaking of New Orleans of deportation
of belching bulldozers of poisonous snakes
of bruised bodies of instability and madness
mechanism of indifference and process of elimination
I’m talking about transformation about death re-entering life with
Bonne chance, bon ton roulé, bonjour & bonne vie in New Orleans, bon

– Jayne Cortez

Had my youth
hui’ed out of me
grew up quickly
once we left Kāneohe,
shoved like pou into Waikīkī
and so far
from my ancestors
it’s no surprise
I have little in the way
of good memory

– Ngaio Simmons

I was happy to be alone. The bright, high-altitude sun slanted through the spires of pines, and the first burst of wildflowers—wild candytuft, golden peavine, mariposa lily—caught the light, burning through the darkest patches of forest.
– Nathaniel Brodie

Consider the lilies of the field,
the blue banks of camas opening
into acres of sky along the road.
Would the longing to lie down
and be washed by that beauty
abate if you knew their usefulness,
how the natives ground their bulbs
for flour, how the settlers’ hogs
uprooted them, grunting in gleeful
oblivion as the flowers fell?

And you—what of your rushed
and useful life?
Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note:
to the fields
to be lovely.
Be back
when I’m through
with blooming.

– Lynne Ungar

A tree nowhere offers a straight line or a regular curve, but who doubts that root, trunk, boughs, and leaves embody geometry?
– George Iles

I stretch truths where I see fit. I’m a writer.
– Colleen Hoover, Verity

Expect God evenly in all things.
– Meister Eckhart

Fate is purpose seen from the other end of life. When engaged with the true aim of one’s life, looking back can be revelatory. In the end, very little is lost. Once the key is found and the door of the self opens, it all makes sense; the ascents and descents, even the tragedies and failures can be revalued. When the door between the worlds begins to swing, the values of time and place are altered and everything can have renewed meaning.
– Michael Meade, Awakening the Soul

i pledge allegiance to the
group text i pledge allegiance
to laughter & to all the boys
i have a crush on i pledge
allegiance to my spearmint plant
to my split ends to my grandfather’s brain and gray left eye

– Safia Elhillo, Self-Portrait With No Flag

The End of Poetry
by Ada Limon

Enough of osseous and chickadee and sunflower
and snowshoes, maple and seeds, samara and shoot,
enough chiaroscuro, enough of thus and prophecy
and the stoic farmer and faith and our father and tis
of thee, enough of bosom and bud, skin and god
not forgetting and star bodies and frozen birds,
enough of the will to go on and not go on or how
a certain light does a certain thing, enough
of the kneeling and the rising and the looking
inward and the looking up, enough of the gun,
the drama, and the acquaintance’s suicide, the long-lost
letter on the dresser, enough of the longing and
the ego and the obliteration of ego, enough
of the mother and the child and the father and the child
and enough of the pointing to the world, weary
and desperate, enough of the brutal and the border,
enough of can you see me, can you hear me, enough
I am human, enough I am alone and I am desperate,
enough of the animal saving me, enough of the high
water, enough sorrow, enough of the air and its ease,
I am asking you to touch me.

I typically arrive three years too late.
I wish I had been able to sit
in that white, aromatic kitchen and look you in the face
but I was not ready. I was still on my way.
– Mikko Harvey

The number of hours we have together is actually not so large. Please linger near the door uncomfortably instead of just leaving. Please forget your scarf in my life and come back later for it.
– Mikko Harvey

When you read fifty poems in a row and don’t fall in love with any of them, then suddenly one comes out of nowhere and sweeps you off your feet—that poem has something to teach you about what it is you love about poetry,
– Mikko Harvey

Bury your heart in some deep green hollow
Or hide it up in a kind old tree
Better still, give it the swallow
When she goes over the sea.
– Charlotte Mew

But what I felt with you was different. I was aware of a part of myself I’d never seen in a mirror or in anyone else’s eyes. It was all around me–there in the current of the river, there in the flying shadows of our hands. It seemed time was moving through us, racing through us, and we were together standing still.
– Howard Axelrod

Most of what makes a book ‘good’ is that we’re reading it at the right moment for us.
– The School of Life

The Use of Fiction
by Naomi Shihab Nye

A boy claims he saw you on a bicycle last week,
touring his neighborhood. “West Cypress Street!” he shouts,
as if your being there and his seeing you
were some sort of benediction.
To be alive, to be standing outside
on a tender February evening . . .
“It was a blue bicycle, ma’am, your braid was flying,
I said hello and you laughed, remember?”

You almost tell him your bicycle seat is thick with dust,
the tires have been flat for months.
But his face, that radiant flower, says you are his friend,
he has told his mother your name.
Maybe this is a clear marble
he will hide in his sock drawer for months.
So who now, in a universe of figures,
would deny West Cypress Street,
throwing up clouds into this literal sky?
“Yes, amigo”–hand on shoulder–
“It was I.”

Older now, you find holiness in anything
that continues, dream after dream.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

Everybody talks about luck. I talk about luck. We all need it, and we all have bits of it. The people who have more of it–the people who find more of it in corners and in people and in projects–are the ones who know how to accept it, and who feel they deserve it. Luck is a lot like love or friendship: You have to believe that you deserve it when it’s offered, and you have to have the strength, the will, the kindness to return it. There are a lot of people in the world who don’t think enough of themselves to be loved or helped or enlightened. Needless to say, I urge people to not be that kind of person. Open yourself up to all that you need by opening yourself up to offering it to others. The world turns and everyone gets lucky.
– Ruth Gordon, interview with James Grissom, 1984

The funny bone is universal.
– Bernard Malamud

I’m not real, but shapes are real,
but I’m not shapes, but I’m not a forest
of shapes. not magenta. not hornets. not
handfuls of green, or green glass.
– Nora Claire Miller

Science tells us what we can know, but what we can know is little, and if we forget how much we cannot know we become insensitive to many things of very great importance. Theology, on the other hand, induces a dogmatic belief that we have knowledge where in fact we have ignorance, and by doing so generates a kind of impertinent insolence towards the universe. Uncertainty, in the presence of vivid hopes and fears, is painful, but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales.
– Bertrand Russell

Dwi wedi dod yn ôl at fy nghoed.

This Welsh phrase, translated as “I have returned to my senses” (or “I am back in my right mind”) literally means, “I have come back to my trees”.

– Robert Moss

We live in a culture in which intelligence is denied relevance altogether, in a search for radical innocence, or is defended as an instrument of authority and repression. In my view, the only intelligence worth defending is critical, dialectical, skeptical, desimplifying.
– Susan Sontag


Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a strange little passage that rejects any rigid moral absolutes. Instead, Ecclesiastes says “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.”


Fundamentalists sometimes attack progressives as “humanists.” In Mark 2:27 Jesus defends those who place human need over religious institutions. He says the Sabbath (perhaps a metaphor for all religion) was always intended to serve human beings not the other way around. The Sabbath was understood as a call to value human rights and ecological sustainability over religious rules and institutions long before Christianity.


2 Corinthians 3:6 says, “God has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” If Christianity is to be a religion of love it must come from internalized compassion not heartless and mindless obedience to an external law.


The “new” covenant was being talked about long before Christianity. Jeremiah and Isaiah both spoke of a new covenant for Israel that would be written in people’s hearts and minds not just in external codes (See Jeremiah 31:31-38)


Leviticus 19: 34 says, “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am your God.” Deuteronomy 27:19 goes even further, “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the orphan or the widow.” Capitalistic Christian nationalism completely rejects this foundation.


The First Epistle of John says in chapter 4 that we can’t love God and be indifferent to human beings. “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates a member of their human family, that person is a liar; for one who does not love their human family whom they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen. And this commandment we have from Jesus: whoever loves God must also love their human family”


The Epistle of John also says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” In other words, a loving Atheist is closer to the message of Christ than a loveless Christian.

Though the sound overpowers,
Sing again, with your dear voice revealing
A tone
Of some world far from ours,
Where music and moonlight and feeling
Are one.
– Percy Bysshe Shelley

So Many Constellations
translated by Pierre Joris
So many constellations, dis-
played to us. I was,
when I looked at you—when?—
outside with
the other worlds.

O, these paths, galactic,
O this hour that billowed
the nights over to us into
the burden of our names. It is,
I know, not true,
that we lived, a mere
breath blindly moved between
there and not-there and sometimes,
comet-like an eye whizzed
toward extinguished matter, in the canyons,
there where it burned out, stood
tit-gorgeous time, along
which grew up and down
& away what
is or was or will be—,

I know,
I know and you know, we knew,
we didn’t know, for we
were there and not there,
and sometimes, when
only Nothingness stood between us, we
found truly together.

– Paul Celan

Not interested in ‘defense of poetry’ argument. Poetry is a primal ancient force and art form. It has been here long before our individual lifetimes & will stay long after.

What we need is to defend ourselves *with* it. A tune to walk to as long as one still walks
– @ilya_poet

The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.
– Glenn Gould

I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.
– Martha Graham

Chögyam Trungpa ~ IGNORANCE

Ignorance is the sense of having one particular aim and object and goal in mind. And that aim and object, that goal-mindedness, becomes extremely overwhelming, so you fail to see the situation around you. That seems to be the ignorance. Your mind is highly pre-coccupied with what you want, so you fail to see what is.

I was having a conversation today with one of the Super Cool Unique People in my life about the idea of manifesting the people we need around us.

I think about this a lot because many of my friends are always just manifesting exactly the people they need in their lives at the right time. I, by contrast, am unusually bad at hiring and finding the right people the first time. So I was talking to my friend about wishing she could help me manifest a person for this role I’d been needing to fill for a while because she’s great at it.

I complained, “I can never manifest people! People always manifest me.”

And then we laughed. But the more I think about it, I realize that’s exactly what happens!

I am surrounded by amazing manifesters because they all manifested me. I have an unusually biased sample/expectation about this because I tend to show up in other people’s lives exactly when they need me.

So I guess I should, like, capitalize on this or something and hope that conveniently a really great Berkeley local executive assistant (and a nanny) really need me in their lives?

I wonder what sorts of things a Professional Manfest-ee is supposed to do.

– J Li

Among the great things which are found among us the existence of Nothing is the greatest.
– Leonardo Da Vinci, Notebooks

You do not heal ‘from’ trauma.
You simply come to know yourself
as Life Itself.
And you turn towards the wounded place.
And you flush it with attention,
which is Love.

And maybe the wound will always be with you.
Maybe you will always walk with the hurt.
But now, you hold it. It doesn’t hold you.
You are the container, not the contained.
It doesn’t control you any longer, the wound.
Because it is drenched in awareness now.
Drenched in You.
Loved by You.
Even celebrated by You.

You do not heal ‘from’ trauma.
You find healing ‘in’ the trauma.
You find yourself at trauma’s sacred core.
The One who is always present.
The One who can bear
even the most intense feeling states.
And survive.

The Indestructible One.
The Infinite One.
The Powerful One.

– Jeff Foster

Ghost Minnows

It was supposed to be spring.

But there were brittle whispers
through the scrub oak and sage.
Locust wings stirred, withered,
ticked, tock’d, and kept time
for an eternal drought.

A tang hung in the air.
Brown shadows shuffled on the ridgeline.
The forest knew there was fire
when the tallest trees tasted screams
– smoke on the wind – in their leaves.

Thirsty and alone as I was,
I didn’t hear the crackling groans
above the hum of constant combustion.
I didn’t smell what the trees tasted
until the sun burned the dirt,
scorched my face red, and said:

“the difference between dust and ash
is an undying flame.”

I didn’t know I was lost, either,
until ghost minnows in a dead creek
found me floating belly up,
in dust and ash, downstream.

I watched as their gills
fluttered with memories of rain,
and their silver fins flicked
only the rumors of snowmelt.

Those minnows saved me.
Then renewed their endless journeys
against empty currents.

It took me a long time,
watching the inferno’s reflection
on a few scales of fish skin
to learn the minnows’ lesson:

you’re only dead if you forget.

– Will Falk

I was so far from
everything I wanted
to be the moment
I finally made up my
mind to get better.
– Topaz Winters

…The only thing different in us
from them
is we have an even more
stubborn resistance
but ultimately
we are impelled

by the same irresistible force
to completely self-destruct
into a New and Improved
Yet to be Discovered Marvel.

Do your best to allow this —
you too were made for wings.

Stubborn Resistance

by Chelan Harkin

The afternoon was a medium.
You made it to the beach. You made to it
an invertebrate overture. Lay down slug
-like, slit belly, what gave.
You were entering what then was called
the universal. A bit
pendulous. You felt a motion that wasn’t
negative pulling you toward the ancient texts
you had discovered floating in some sewage.
They were from the heyday of psychology.
You laughed at this. An animal filament
flickered at the edge of sea. By sea
they had meant mind. You laughed at this.
You observed frothing something. Universal. Stung
your toes. Something universal at the edge you nip
your toes in. Something universal this way you become.

– Aditi Machado


The world would be a far better place
If decisions were based upon
What is good for humanity, instead of
What is good for the bottom line.

How difficult would it be –
To shift our way of thinking?

A complete reversal of fortune.

But it is after all
What the future requires
Our selfish commodities no longer
Worth the price.

The world is much smaller than it used to be
The old ways of ignoring those around us
Prevent us now from seeing the truth

Of who we are and must become.

– Laurence Overmire

In a traditional culture, everyone knows the cultural vocabulary and grammar of the mythic imagery that is used to create that ritual. Here in a modern setting, even the idea of participating rather than watching is actually a whole skill set—you can announce it, and people will do their best to contribute, but really understanding some of the more subtle differences between the two attitudes will only be achieved by practice.

Because of this general lack of knowledge, some kind of introduction to the idea of ritual is necessary, and then when people arrive, that introduction needs to be gone over in some fashion. There is an art to opening the group and making the various people, and the spirits they are carrying, welcome. Sometimes, it might be necessary to do a prayer at the beginning in order to accomplish that, but other times it might be necessary to talk, and go over the general plan to calm people’s concerns. On another occasion, music and song might be necessary to get the energy going on a creative and enthusiastic track.
– Randy Jones, Medicine Without An Expiration Date

Who’s going to give you the authority to feel that what you notice is important?

It will have to be you.

– Verlyn Klinkenborg

The Flame Tree
My neighbor has decided to poison the flame tree.
He is right, of course.
The tree is over 20 years old, huge, spreading,
and the termites have worn jagged roads clear to its top.
It’s clearly a danger
tilting toward our house—
some fickle wind
my neighbor says could blow it over.

Every fañomnåkan, it sends out its bursts of orange blossoms;
it blooms and blooms and blooms relentlessly,
the flares it sends shooting out into space
more stunning than fireworks
through the window

where my mother
riveted to a bed, doomed by her body to a colorless spot,
gazes out, her head on a pillow—
might have seemed like forever to her who used to climb green mountain sides—
and watches that tree full of sparrows
flitting here and there
and the outlandish blazing petals
steadfastly singing against the blue sky.

My neighbor, true to his word,
injected a poisonous brew bought at Home Depot into the trunk of the tree,
the toxic river
traveling up up up following the termite trails to the heart
of the fire.

He is right, of course.

The tree came back the following year,
its clusters unflinchingly parading their bursts of rebellious orange.
But the poison had done its work—
see, where there was a canopy of flames
there are now just a handful here and there,
one spray in particular desperately
reaching out
like a fist full of beauty
to the window

where she
used to watch for its return.

– Evelyn Flores

Live in the sunshine,
swim in the sea, drink the wild air.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The presence of everyone
inclines toward revealing
what’s holy that’s shared in kind

The cynic whispers
“Nothing excuses this”
The dreamer warbles
“Everything’s redeeming this”

Hand in hand
we walk through fires
somehow believing
without knowing how
the truth that is between us
– George Gorman

We are the only mammals besides cetaceans and a few other aquatic mammals whose babies, when born underwater, will float to the top, waiting until they get there to start breathing. This is why we can successfully give birth to our children in the water. Our newborns have special subcutaneous fat cells that float them! If another primate, a dog, or any land mammal were dumb enough to give birth in a pond, a lake or a sea, its newborns would quickly sink to the bottom and die. We are the only semi-aquatic ape. So it’s no wonder that nearly every human child of any age, if not traumatized by water, is happier and more contented playing in and around bodies of water than in any other place.
– George Gorman

Revelation never comes as a fern uncoiling / a frond in mist; it comes when I trip on a root, / slap a mosquito on my arm.
– Arthur Sze, Earthshine, The Glass Constellation

What a strange demented feeling it gives me when I realize that I have spent whole days before this inkstone, with nothing better to do, jotting down at random whatever nonsensical thoughts have entered my head.
– Yoshida Kenkō

As you know, the practical advantages of being able to write out your thoughts fluently are very great. For one thing, when you are used to writing them out, they present themselves, one after another. When you are not used to writing them out, they mill around among themselves usually and you see nothing but heads and tails of them when you sit down to get them on paper.
– Ted Hughes


I am old I remember
when KPFA’s programs
didn’t have to end on time
A half hour show could be
25 minutes or
35 minutes
The powers that were
felt that the show’s requirements
were more important
than adherence to a predetermined
I followed two such shows:
Jaime de Angulo
and Alan Watts
I never knew
exactly when my show would start
I would have
a little extra time
or a little less.
I didn’t mind.
I liked the spirit of anarchy
that prevailed
and I could improvise.
Those days are gone gone gone
as are many of the people who were there
when I began.
I understand
that their voices
are still somewhere
sounding in the universe
where they made shows
that demonstrated
*radical, elemental
and I am with them
still wondering what time
Jaime and Alan
might end
their fascinating
so I might
and join their freedom song.

– Jack Foley

Honest Words

Every time we speak for real
and understanding’s born,
we make new sounds
that only feelings can.

So when we meet,
without pretense
or coercive rhyme,
we weave those sounds between.

Still learning here,
through eyes and ears and
dreams and honest words,
to mean what matters now.

– George Gorman

We will work to save only what we first love.
– Jane Hirshfield

On the Strength of All Conviction and the Stamina of Love

Sometimes I think
we could have gone on.
All of us. Trying. Forever.

But they didn’t fill
the desert with pyramids.
They just built some. Some.

They’re not still out there,
building them now. Everyone,
everywhere, gets up, and goes home.

Yet we must not
Diabolize time. Right?
We must not curse the passage of time.

– Jennifer Michael Hecht, The Next Ancient World

In the absence of ritual, humans live in nostalgia.
– Gabriel Keczan

Each one of us matters, has a role to play, and makes a difference. Each one of us must take responsibility for our own lives, and above all, show respect and love for living things around us, especially each other.
– Jane Goodall

Diane Seuss
Ballad, in Sestets

I would like to have better ideas
than the ideas I have.
There is an idea I’m reaching for
but like a jar on the top shelf
and no stepstool, I can’t leap
to it.

Whatever it is, I can’t leap to it.
I have been in large spaces.
Spaces too cavernous for ideas.
Too enormous, with rock faces,
cliffs and towers of sheer red

or enormous Virgin Marys, flying
buttresses, naves, transepts, rose
windows, chancels, stratospheric
crucifixes, where ideas
are snuffed out like altar

Snuffed and alone in cavernous spaces.
Alone, a misnomer. A word whose
definition I had to find in a dictionary.
Language comes hard. Silence corsets
me. In other words, I can’t reach it,
the jar

on the shelf, or climb the sheer face
of the rock stained red by sunset,
or corner and pocket the miniscule
priest. It’s beyond what I’m made of.
It matters how and where you are made,
and what

materials were at hand for the makers.
To say that I am alone is a misnomer.
Whatever I am, alone
doesn’t cover it. What I am, I
am subsumed by it. It is

to be without edges. To be a cloud
in a voluminous sky. I have been
in minimal spaces. Closer to anthill
than cavern or villa. Or tucked inside
the incalculable. A bead swallowed
by a whale,

sloughed-off sequin in a warehouse.
A jelly jar, a jar filled with pigs’ feet,
lost in the giant’s pantry.
Once there was a honeymoon.
The bride swang, or swung, out over
deep water.

No bells rang or rung.
It was a honeymoon, a minor chord
tucked inside a philharmonic.
It was cold and dark and wind and stars.
The closest neighbors were far.
They shone,

they shined their headlights
in the window of the shack, the hovel,
the villa, and delivered unto the couple
a loaf of bread still warm
from the kiln, from a witch’s oven,
and soft

and golden-crusted and steam
rising from it like a blowhole blowing
spray or a chimney or pipe
blowing smoke, or a newborn birthed
in an icy field, steam spiraling
from the gash

of its open mouth like it had just taken
a drag from its first cigarette
and exhaled the smoke into the jar
of air, it’s inexplicable,
there is no theory or idea or blanket
to cover it.

Diane Seuss
Ballad Without Music

I dreamed I wrote a book called Outside the Twat System.
I dyed my hair to match the book cover.
There was a dinner before the reading in New York.
At the table sat luminaries.
Famous, beautiful, handsome.
I don’t know where to put my personality.
Do I have a personality?
It was one of those dinners where the food is too expensive.
The food is too expensive but you’re starving.
At the reading someone famous yelled out a request.
It was for a poem about nipples.
I was wearing a skirt, out of character for me.
I think I’m supposed to feel delighted.
I do feel delighted but something lurks beneath it.
Something lurks like a frog waiting for flies.

Later, at the hotel, the bed was king-sized.
King-sized decorative pillows you had to move off the bed.
I placed them on the decorative chair.
Others have slept here, I thought, feeling squeamish.
Squeamish, but I was tired.
My purple hair splayed out on the pillow.
I should be lonely, I thought.
I could have been happily married.
Some people are happily married.
I thought back to two creeps.
Two creeps who gave me good advice.
One said you can’t prevent the unpreventable.
You can’t prevent the unpreventable but you can tolerate what comes.
The other said Diane, you are in danger.
You are in danger of becoming an artifact.

On the airplane the next morning I had a realization.
I am one of those as if personalities.
It’s as if I’m gregarious but I’m not.
It’s as if I’m an open book but my book is on lockdown.
I don’t believe this was always the case.
I didn’t start faking it until 5th grade.
In 5th grade I started borrowing my best friend’s clothes.
I realized beauty was a matter of income and opportunity.
In 7th grade I landed the hottest boy in school.
In 8th grade he dumped me and I peroxided an orange streak in my hair.
In high school I was pursued by the drama teacher.
He wanted me to act in his plays, so I did.
I acted, and my allegiances began to shift.
I switched lanes.
Whatever life was supposed to be, I was aiming for something else.

I aimed, but I stumbled.
I stumbled so often I got a permanent limp.
There was a life, and then there was an inner life.
There was an inner life, and then there was an afterlife.
There was an afterlife, and then there were ideas about the afterlife.
When I finally lived alone, I became a body moving through empty rooms.
I became a mind whose only encumbrance was exhaustion.
When I washed my hands, I shut my eyes.
Everything disappeared but my hands in warm water, scrubbing.
I wondered if this is happiness.
I can hear the furnace click on and off.
I can hear the wind try to spiral down the chimney.
I am a homeowner, mortgaged to the rafters.
Yesterday I saw a mouse, generally minding its own business.
I am writing a book called Outside the Twat System.

For every magical belief, an aspect of embodiment goes unfulfilled.
– Jack Adam Weber

If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.
– Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Is it insane to listen to the same music over and over and over again when you are writing something? I really hope not.
– Jessica Francis Kane

Children must never work for our love; they must rest in it.
– Gordon Neufeld

Writing is a bit like psychoanalysis. You’re supposed to go where it’s psychically troubling.
– Edward Hirsch

Embodied Intelligence

That fundamental intelligence, what I call embodied intelligence, is a savior because it always tells the truth. Your thinking mind can come up with all kinds of terrible, crippling fantasies and delusions and fears and phobias and compulsions. So, instead of being led by that mind, we’re using this embodied intelligence.

It’s a feeling sense. It tells you where you are, it tells you when you’re getting stressed, it tells you when your mind is taking over and taking you to difficult places. The body intelligence is always here, always present. Unless there’s something that needs to be engaged with, it’s naturally quite warm, open and relaxed.

– Ajahn Sucitto

Sabbath Poem 2005 XV1
I am hardly an ornithologist,
nevertheless I live among the birds
and on the best days my mind
is with them, partaking of their nature
which is earthly and airy.

I live with the heavenly swallows
who fly for joy (to live, yes, but also for joy)
as they pass again and again over
the river, feeding, drinking, bathing
joyfully as they fly.

Sometimes my thoughts are up there
with the yellow-throated warbler, high
among the white branches and gray-green
foliage of the sycamores, singing
as he feeds among the lights and shadows.

A ringing in my ears from hearing
too many of the wrong things
surrounds my head some days
like a helmet, and yet I hear the birds
singing: the song sparrow by the water,
the mockingbird, the ecstasy of whose song
flings him into the air.

Song comes from a source unseen
as if from a stirring leaf, but I know
the note before I see the bird.
It is a Carolina wren whose goodcheer
never falters all year long.

Into the heat, into the smells
of horse sweat, man sweat, wilting
foliage, stirred earth,
the song of the wood thrush flows
cool from the deep shade.

I hear the sounds of wings.
What man can abide the rule
of “the market” when he hears,
in his waking, in his sleep,
the sound of wings?

In the night I hear the owls
thrilling near and far;
it is my dream that calls,
my dream that answers.

Sometimes as I sit quiet
on my porch above the river
a warbler will present himself,
parula or yellow-throated or prothonotary,
perfect beauty in finest detail,
seemingly as unaware
of me as I am aware of him.

Or, one never knows quite when,
the waxwings suddenly appear
numerous and quiet, not there
it seems until one looks,
as though called forth, like angels,
by one’s willingness for them to be.

Or it has come to be September
and the blackbirds are flocking.
They pass through the riverbank trees
in one direction erratically
like leaves in the wind.

Or it is June. The martins are nesting.
The he-bird has the fiercest
countenance I have ever seen. He drops
out of the sky as a stone falls
and then he breaks his fall and alights
light on the housetop
as though gravity were not.

Think of it! To fly
by mere gift, without the clamor
and stain of our inert metal,
in perfect trust.

It is the Sabbath of the birds
that so moves me. They belong
in their ever-returning song, in their flight,
in their faith in the upholding air,
to the Original World. They are above us
and yet of us, for those who fly
fall, like those who walk.

– Wendell Berry

Because there is no principle of love,
you and I ride horses to a curve in the lake.
Because we are ever-expanding cosmic bodies,
but do not understand physics,
my horse will be named Dakota, and yours
Chip, and when he bends his head to drink,
the forces of memory and dark energy
erupt from the water like cattails. When we say love,
we only know how for a few moments.
And keep insisting on different versions
of the same story. Chaos, or better,
the original emptiness, is always a constant.
One horse bellows and the other answers
with a clip of her shoe
on a nearby stone. Because suffering
is difficult to define, the lake is this blue
only once. The horses toss the reins from their necks.
They have been here a long time,
and know only the old ways.
When we return home, we keep trying different ways
to feel the same.
– Jenny Molberg

I need distance and solitude to sort through the recovered debris of memory and recapture what I can of my lost past. It’s when I’m gone that the details, like segments of a mosaic, come together and turn into images, scenes, narratives. Being away, I can smell the smoke from fall fires and the wet odor of the soil in the fields, and conjure up in their totality the days when my school went to a collective farm to dig potatoes. I can feel the frosty air biting my cheeks when I pull my sled up the hill and keep riding it down until it gets dark, and my toes feel cold and numb in the thick woolen red and blue socks my grandmother knitted whose tops stuck out of my ungainly dark brown boots polished each Sunday morning by my father
– Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough

When I wake I drag with me shreds of dreams that beg to be written … from very early on I passed from writing to living, as from dreaming to waking.
– Julio Cortázar

Writers are made — forged, really, in a kiln of their own madness and insecurities — over the course of many, many moons. The writer you are when you begin is not the same writer you become.
– Chuck Wendig

The only thing that keeps me going is the belief that the interior work matters to the collective
– Dana Levin

Tall nettles cover up, as they have done
These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plough
Long worn out, and the roller made of stone:
Only the elm butt tops the nettles now.

This corner of the farmyard I like most:
As well as any bloom upon a flower
I like the dust on the nettles, never lost
Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.

– Edward Thomas

“That old Chinese proverb?
‘The wind got up in the night and took our plans away.’
‘Yes, and it’s a good thing. Unpredictably. Constanin Brâncuși, I used this at the end of yoga the other night. Well he had this theory about life. How it has to be in constant ferment. Can’t be safe. Always changing. His sculptures depended on that alone, he said. We have to be a bit more like sour-dough starter. It’s hard to explain but you get what I mean don’t you?”
– Gillian Mears, Here is the Heartflower

The World in May is Leafing Out

It’s Matisse on a bicycle. It’s
a great blue heron coloring
outside the lines. The show’s
turned over to the aftermath
of buds. You can love
never thinking
this cliché could turn
to ice. Even nice
can be profound
as worry, even
the creek over the rotting log,
the pansy in the moss-covered
pot. The birds bulge
with song. Mary Cassatt
throws open her windows.
Monet drags his pallet,
sits and waits for the paint
to spill across the patina
of his failing sight. Eric Satie
makes his joyous cling
and clang a counterpoint
to dazzle. The earth is rising
in shoots and sprays.
The sky’s as new as rain.
The stubborn doors swing open.
– Jack Ridl

It is so profoundly, comforting and beautiful, the minuet of old friendships.
– Anne Lamott

Delusion hides itself
in our most prized forms of conditioning –
spirituality and religion.
– Adyashanti

On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, companions in awakening from fear.
– Pema Chodron

Participation. That’s what’s going to save the human race.
– Pete Seeger

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
– John Lubbock

When we primarily prioritize our own needs, we move toward isolating ourselves from the larger world, disconnecting from everything outside of this small self. But when we make even little efforts to serve others and take on their needs our priority, even just for a short moment, such a choice brings grace to our presence, and helps us feel part
of a larger world. We feel enriched by our connection. It may be inconvenient not to be able to get home right away, or to whatever thing we have to do
next, but in the long run, bringing joy to others will bring joy to our own lives. Our
grace will bring out the grace in others, which in turn will increase our own grace.
Our life and others’ lives will be intertwined with a sense of mutual appreciation,
respect, and friendship.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

I’ve said before that every craftsman
searches for what’s not there
to practice his craft.
A builder looks for the rotten hole
where the roof caved in. A water-carrier
picks the empty pot. A carpenter
stops at the house with no door.

Workers rush toward some hint
of emptiness, which they then
start to fill. Their hope, though,
is for emptiness, so don’t think
you must avoid it. It contains
what you need!
Dear soul, if you were not friends
with the vast nothing inside,
why would you always be casting you net
into it, and waiting so patiently?

This invisible ocean has given you such abundance,
but still you call it “death”,
that which provides you sustenance and work.

God has allowed some magical reversal to occur,
so that you see the scorpion pit
as an object of desire,
and all the beautiful expanse around it,
as dangerous and swarming with snakes.

This is how strange your fear of death
and emptiness is, and how perverse
the attachment to what you want.

Now that you’ve heard me
on your misapprehensions, dear friend,
listen to Attar’s story on the same subject.

He strung the pearls of this
about King Mahmud, how among the spoils
of his Indian campaign there was a Hindu boy,
whom he adopted as a son. He educated
and provided royally for the boy
and later made him vice-regent, seated
on a gold throne beside himself.

One day he found the young man weeping..
“Why are you crying? You’re the companion
of an emperor! The entire nation is ranged out
before you like stars that you can command!”

The young man replied, “I am remembering
my mother and father, and how they
scared me as a child with threats of you!
‘Uh-oh, he’s headed for King Mahmud’s court!
Nothing could be more hellish!’ Where are they now
when they should see me sitting here?”

This incident is about your fear of changing.
You are the Hindu boy. Mahmud, which means
Praise to the End, is the spirit’s
poverty or emptiness.

The mother and father are your attachment
to beliefs and blood ties
and desires and comforting habits.
Don’t listen to them!
They seem to protect
but they imprison.

They are your worst enemies.
They make you afraid
of living in emptiness.

– Rumi

Everything I don’t understand this evening is blooming.
– Bronwen Tate

The thoughtful soul to solitude retires.
– Omar Khayyam

Toni Morrison said, “It’s easy, and it’s seductive, to assume that data is really knowledge. Or that information is, indeed, wisdom. Or that knowledge can exist without data. And how easy, and how effortlessly, one can parade and disguise itself as another.”

Where have you gone, old pages? Where in so many windless places
have you flown?
– Nicholas Pierotti

It was exalted,
for it was humble.
Knocking at the door
of extinction,
it became existent.
– Shaykh Sa’adi Shirazi

Something by Andrea Cohen
Something went wrong.
That’s what the machine
says when I call to say
my paper didn’t arrive.
Machines are trained
by people, so they’re
smart, they know a thing
or fifty trillion. Did you miss
your Sunday delivery?
it asks. I did, I say. I
miss everything, I say,
because it’s a machine and
it has to listen, or at least
it has to not hang up
without trying to understand
why I called, which means
trying to correct what
went wrong. Let me
see if I got this right,
the voice says, you
missed your Sunday paper?
Yes, I say, but also I
miss my childhood and fairy
tales, like Eden. I miss sweet
Rob Roys with strangers.
I’m sorry, the machine says.
I’m having trouble understanding.
Did you miss today’s paper?
Yes, I say, but that’s not
the half of it. Sometimes
I just feel like half
of me, and even that
feels like too much. I’m
having trouble understanding,
the machine repeats, its
syllables halted, as if
trying to mimic an empath.
I’m having trouble understanding
too, I say. I used to understand
so much: photosynthesis, the
human heart, I’d even
memorized the Krebs cycle,
but now all I remember
is lifting the golden coil
of the kitchen phone to maneuver
under my mother’s conversations.
It was like lifting
the horizon. There’s
a silence, and the machine
asks: Are you still there? In
a few words, please describe
your issue. Where do I begin
being a minimalist? Time,
I say, I’ve got a problem
with that. Also, loss, and
attachment. That’s pretty
much it, and the news in its sky-
blue sleeve is meant to be
a distraction, isn’t it? I ask.
More silence, and then:
You miss your mother?
a voice asks. It’s
a human voice.
Me too, she says.

Once a country is habituated to liars,
it takes generations to get the truth back.
– Gore Vidal

Any book that you pick up as a reader is a printed circuit for your own life to flow through.
– E. L. Doctorow

The Opposite of Nostalgia
by Eric Gamalinda

You are running away from everyone
who loves you,
from your family,
from old lovers, from friends.
They run after you with accumulations
of a former life, copper earrings,
plates of noodles, banners
of many lost revolutions.
You love to say the trees are naked now
because it never happens
in your country. This is a mystery
from which you will never
recover. And yes, the trees are naked now,
everything that still breathes in them
lies silent and stark
and waiting. You love October most
of all, how there is no word
for so much splendor.
This, too, is a source
of consolation. Between you and memory
everything is water. Names of the dead,
or saints, or history.
There is a realm in which
—no, forget it,
it’s still too early to make anyone understand.
A man drives a stake
through his own heart
and afterwards the opposite of nostalgia
begins to make sense: he stops raking the leaves
and the leaves take over
and again he has learned
to let go.

It was impossible to make it through the tragedy/ Without poetry. What are we without winds becoming words?
– Joy Harjo, Becoming Seventy

Dmitry Blizniuk


The sounds grow;
they are the teeth of a vehemently rotating circular saw.
And the bomber
folds the sky like a book,
cuts the sky in two,
and you, seized with terror,
shrivel up into “I,” into “We,”
like into a lifeboat sent by God,
but you are too big to squeeze in.
Quickly and rudely, you cover your mom with your body.
Your stunned guardian angel
blindly thumps its wings against the linoleum,
like an albatross on the deck.
Where are you? Are you still here?
Still alive?
My dear people.
The sky bursts with explosions.
The sky gets filled with pink manganese solution.
The oblong eyes of the beast of the horizon.
It’s the trepanation of the despairing city
with pneumatic picks.
The walls of your house tremble like horses
that caught the smell of a wolf.
translated from Russian by Sergey Gerasimov

It’s not that Hebrideans don’t like ferry jokes. They crack ferry jokes all the time. They just want some ferries to make jokes about.
– Roger Hutchinson

i too have kissed
my ear to the earth
listening for the quiet
lovers it’s pulled there.
– Kevin Kantor

Although Love
is a sweet madness,
Yet all infirmities it heals.
Saints and sages
have passed through it,
LOVE … both to God
and man appeals.
– Hazrat Inayat Khan

People strengthen each other when they work together, and an entitity is formed without personality having to be blotted out by the collaboration.
– Vincent van Gogh

if you pass your night
and merge it with dawn
for the sake of heart
what do you think will happen

if the entire world
is covered with blossoms
you have labored to plant
what do you think will happen

if the elixir of life
that has been hidden in the dark
fills the desert and towns
what do you think will happen

if because of
your generosity and love
a few humans find their lives
what do you think will happen

if you pour an entire jar
filled with joyous wine
on the head of those already drunk
what do you think will happen

go my friend
bestow your love
even on your enemies
if you touch their hearts
what do you think will happen

– maulana rumi

I wasn’t trying to write literature, I just put it down on paper to gain a foothold, to get a grip on my life.
– Herta Müller

When something’s going on,
something else is going on.
Notice the something else, too.
– William Stafford

Does actual dialogue still occur between people or only juxtaposed monologues?
– #edwordsmyth

Time is the original author.
She writes with wind, sunshine, snow.
She writes on ocean floors and stone.
She scribbles on my body,
rewrites my brain,
and tattoos poems –
smile line by smile line –
on my face.
Her words are not always beautiful,
rarely what I want to see.
Sometimes I try to argue with her,
tell her to shut up,
take her ink somewhere else.
But she’s never wrong, never quits,
and simply does not care
about being correct.
Time, I hope my smile shows,
like the best poetry,
like the growing lines on my face,
only ever worries about being true.
– Will Falk

The Conditional
by Ada Limón

Say tomorrow doesn’t come.
Say the moon becomes an icy pit.
Say the sweet-gum tree is petrified.
Say the sun’s a foul black tire fire.
Say the owl’s eyes are pinpricks.
Say the raccoon’s a hot tar stain.
Say the shirt’s plastic ditch-litter.
Say the kitchen’s a cow’s corpse.
Say we never get to see it: bright
future, stuck like a bum star, never
coming close, never dazzling.
Say we never meet her. Never him.
Say we spend our last moments staring
at each other, hands knotted together,
clutching the dog, watching the sky burn.
Say, It doesn’t matter. Say, That would be
enough. Say you’d still want this: us alive,
right here, feeling lucky.

We cannot live without the night,
gossamer veils of emptiness.
The Goddess is black,
but each pore of her body
emits a rainbow.
Motionless, she watches
beyond care, yet flows
like a river of healing.
Doesn’t dark energy circle us all
like Mother Raven?
Take root in your grief.
That is where the sun is born.
Ascend through a bolder falling.
Her womb is immaculate silence.
Her void is moist with stars.
Yet she who cradles them all
has become your breath.
Haven’t I told you there is wine
in the void between thoughts,
Joy and sorrow mingled in one cup?
Now taste, and who knows
if tonight you might not finally
embrace the fierce beauty
of your beaten heart?
– Fred LaMotte

There is neither spirit nor matter in the world; the stuff of the universe is spirit-matter. No other substance but this could produce the human molecule. I know very well that this idea of spirit-matter is regarded as a hybrid monster, a verbal exorcism of a duality which remains unresolved in its terms. But I remain convinced that the objections made to it arise from the mere fact that few people can make up their minds to abandon an old point of view and take the risk of a new idea…
– Teilhard de Chardin

The articulation of painful memories, including the literature and art that arises out of political upheaval, is integral to the formation, preservation, and integration of collective memory
– Melissa Febos


99.9% of our genes are identical
One human to another
What difference, then is
One-tenth of a percent?
Enough to justify
Hatred, jealousy, contempt
In one-tenth of one percent
We lodge the miseries of the
Human race
Proclaim ourselves better and
Conquer and divide
According to divine rights of
A primitive mind
Unable to distinguish
Reason from insanity.

– Laurence Overmire

can bring you
closer to yourself.

Closer to your breath.
To the weight of your body upon the Earth.
To the sounds of the afternoon.
To the evening’s song.

You’ve been lost in your head, friend.
Return to the heart now.

Soften into the moment.
Return Home.
Let expectations melt.

Into silence.
Into a new beginning.

– Jeff Foster

Rain Light by W.S. Merwin

All day the stars watch from long ago
my mother said I am going now
when you are alone you will be all right
whether or not you know you will know
look at the old house in the dawn rain
all the flowers are forms of water
the sun reminds them through a white cloud
touches the patchwork spread on the hill
the washed colors of the afterlife
that lived there long before you were born
see how they wake without a question
even though the whole world is burning
– W.S. Merwin

I am not even concerned with being original. Trying to be original is very dangerous.
– Javier Marías

I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think that you would have the courage to write it?
What is true for writing and for love relationships is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know where it will end.
– Michel Foucault

From climate futurist Alex Steffen – “it’s important to live when we are. Being native to now, I think, is our deepest responsibility in the face of all this. And being at home in the world we actually inhabit means refusing to consign ourselves to living in the ruins of continuity, but instead realizing we live in the rising foundations of a future that actually works. It may be a fierce, wild, unrecognizable future, but that doesn’t mean it’s a broken future. Indeed, it’s the present that’s broken beyond redemption.”

This Isthmus of Isness – a poem about God

No longer can I fake it
No longer can I pretend
No longer can I fool myself and others that when I say “God”
I mean what they think I’m supposed to mean.
No longer can I talk about a god six steps removed, as if God were the A-Team of attorneys, advertisers, and agents who write the contracts, book the guests, and place the products on Megatainment Tonight, where tinsel toothed theological celebrities talk about the forced formulas and the predictably vapid romantic plot twists on doctrinal scripted Soap operas – televised services for sheeple to vicariously experience romance through the Days of Other people’s Lives.
No longer can I have truck with meta.
No longer can I talk about those who talk about talking about God.
The God I know can’t be contractually codified. Can’t be be corralled. Can’t be contained. Can’t be colored within the lines.
For Her, lines are but loose, liminal laughter
– an impish, invisible, isthmus.
The God I know and love is as close to me as my very breath, is breath, is the One who breathes my breath back and forth as lovers do
She’s my Lover who gazes into me as She breathes in my far-out freaky fantasies and fears; breathes out Her peace, …sweetly saying chill the F out.., and smiles.
The God I know gently appears to me within moments of closing my eyes, in the kaleidoscope of colors that shift and shape, an organic, living, ever-changing northern-lighted nebulaic star womb constantly birthing and ever re-purposing degrading x-rays, dissolving stardust, and particle decay
at once like witnessing fractaled, fluorescent photosynthesis taking place through a microscope, and then morphing to mesmerizing meandering mayan meandros zagging double-helixed key patterns in phosphorescent webbing, and then to a fleet of yellow subatomicmarines becoming playful purple porpoises cruising various depths of churning rainbow mirroring ocean waves as viewed from a cosmic telescope located on a moon in a distant galaxy while perky persieds sprightly shower across its glitter gilded misty muslin lens.
But far more than my deep revering awe for this amazing artful Goddess is the strangely warmed feeling of sweetly loving presence and intimately caring closeness that She has for me – and for you.
She’s there. Right there.
For us all. Loving. Always.
He’s the one Who is.
They’re Isness itself
– and so are you.
I bow before thee.

– roger wolsey

Writing What I’ve Seen

All things that live
must make a living.
There’s nothing got
without some getting.

From fabled beast to feeble bug
each schemes to make its way.
The Buddha, or the Taoist sage?
Unending in his labor;

and morning’s herald, the rooster, too
can he not cock-a-doodle-do?
I hunger, so I plot to eat;
I’m cold, and would be robed….

But great grand schemes will get you grief.
Take what you need, that’s all.
A light craft takes the wind
and skims the water lightly.

– Yuan Mei

We see, often, too often, what we want to see. Even the bellowing specter of self-made hell must be fussed over like a fetish, as precious and potent as any great work of art. We choose to commit ourselves to it, if only because, like the Big Dipper, it is what we revisit each night, the habit by which we familiarize the dark. The Promethean gift of our imagination is found at the heart of most tragedy, the real weapon discovered at the crime scene. Why would we fashion such horrors?

How did this happen that the very organ of our humanness – as nostril is to dog, as sonar is to bat, as pupil is to owl – would dead-end us with confusion, false information, self obsession? Would an elephant hang itself with its trunk?

We project – at the very least – to anticipate and taste what we can not touch, molecule to molecule, and – at the very best – to live out the Golden Rule, heart to heart. We each spend a lifetime struggling to bridge our detachment, to belong, at last – to know the Other.

So what gives? Why do we do such a dismal job of it?

How do we become so dazzled, so blinded?
– Bia Lowe

Say This
by Lucia Perillo
I live a small life, barely bigger than a speck,
barely more than a blip on the radar sweep
though it is not nothing, as the garter snake
climbs the rock rose shrub and the squirrel creeps
on bramble thorns. Not nothing to the crows
who heckle from the crowns of the last light’s trees
winterstripped of green, except for the boles
that ivy winds each hour round. See, the world is busy
and the world is quick, barely time for a spider
to suck the juice from a hawk moth’s head
so it can use the moth as a spindle that it wraps in fiber
while the moth constricts until it’s thin as a stick
you might think was nothing, a random bit
caught in a web coming loose from the window frame, in wind.

I think we are unhappy
because we are walking
conundrums. All of us puzzles
with round pieces and sharp edges.
So lost and so sure.
– L.E. Bowman

Awakening is messy

You don’t transcend
into some paradisiacal,
elitist inner garden

It doesn’t perfect you.

You first come into
all the reasons you’ve so wanted
to stay asleep

And there are many
very good reasons.

We awaken to all the reasons
we’ve so wanted
to disassociate from our bodies,
those storehouses of pain and God—

to enter through either door
is to have stripped from you
the illusion of smallness.

Sleeping was relatively painless,
in its numbed way.

To awaken, really,
is to begin to feel.

As we feel through more pain
we feel more compassion.

Awakening is bit by bit
coming out of denial
around all the reasons you’ve needed
to wield
that terrible tool of “othering”—

because so much
was unbearable
inside of our own self.

Awakening is staying
in the fire
of what used to be unbearable
as we burn off judgments
about ourselves.

It is diving into the cracks
in our hearts
rather than mortaring them

It does not look like being
perfectly empowered,
seamlessly composed—

It’s to commit with all your heart
to no longer take out your helplessness
on anyone else.

Awakening has nothing to do
with stern, stoic spirituality

It has nothing to do
with finally being aloof enough
to not be impacted by the gifts
of your beautiful feelings

Awakening doesn’t come
from spiritual mastery defined
as overcoming enough of our shortcomings.

It’s found in doing our fumbling best
to grow into arms strong and loving enough
to hold and hug our aching humanity.

Awakening isn’t only for special people.
We’re all on our way
toward coming out of the sleep cycle

Awakening is the at times compass-less
and often inglorious
inner odyssey
toward the rough ruby of all that is true
in our hearts
through a tangled history of acquired conditioning
of all that we are not.

Awakening is messy.

Be not fooled:
the myth that awakening
looks anything like spiritual perfectionism
is perhaps the best sleeping pill.

– Chelan Harkin

What would happen
if we could be as satisfied
by the tiny sprout
emerging from the ground
as we are about a big promotion?
As infatuated
with the newly opened daffodil
as we might be with a new lover?
What if we tuned in
to the detail of a leaf
or the mood of the forest
after a rain
as closely as we notice
our own shortcomings?
How do we re-sensitize our hearts
to feel the staggering love
poured upon the world
from the blush of each sunset?
How do we prioritize
our gratitude
so that instead of consuming
the whole earth
in a way that will never fill us
a single dew drop
could satisfy our thirsts?
Every part of us is an antenna for beauty,
a receptor for divine tenderness—
what if we didn’t need so much stimulus
to connect with that and live again?
What might it be like
if we could take the hierarchy
out of experience,
judging some moments as worthy
and insensitively tromping over others?
And instead, began to walk slowly
and with bare feet
over every precious moment
of our lives
kissing the earth
with our soles
in the practice of being
so replete
with sacred wonder
and quenched with the recognition
that nothing about ourselves
or this life
requires even a drop
of enhancement.
– Chelan Harkin

I do so little
because the drive
of the world
is so much

It meets me, going
the other way
through me

And when there is silence
all naked I sit here
trying to hold my breath

– Larry EIgner

And objects are reborn on paper, true to life and more than true to life, beautiful and more than beautiful, strange and endowed with an enthusiastic vitality, like the soul of the author. Out of nature has been distilled fantasy. All the stuffs with which memory is encumbered are classified and arranged in order, and harmonized and subjected to that compulsory formalization which results from a childish perceptiveness–that is to say, a perceptiveness acute and magical by reason of its simplicity!
– Charles Baudelaire

The present is not marked off from a past that it has replaced or a future that will, in turn, replace it; it rather gathers the past and future into itself, like refractions in a crystal ball.
– Tim Ingold

In authentic haiku there is a flow of quality out of the living foundations of the world.
– Robert Spiess

Sonnet Composed of Wants
I’m sorry that language is the best we’ve got.
Let’s get this out of the way: I can’t please
your hunger, there will be no epiphany. I don’t
even know your face. Here: small symbols who’s
sounds we agree upon, have built a little grocery
market for you, take what you want: something
clever about the moon, endless nightcaps without
shame, the first half of the dream you can never
remember; the delight in familiar
is worthless. Really, try to explain the difference
between an ocean, and Lake Huron, without
comparing size or salt
– Sean Cho A.

We have a tendency to think in terms of doing and not in terms of being. We think that when we’re not doing anything, we’re wasting our time. But that’s not true. Our time is first of all for us to be. To be what? To be alive, to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be loving. And this is what the world needs the most. We all need to train ourselves in our way of being, and that is the ground for all action. Our quality of being determines our quality of doing.
– Thích Nhất Hạnh


why talk about internal
and external?
the sky has not heard about it.
The ocean does not know it.
This way of speaking
might be used
for some practical purposes
but it does not align with
the lyrics of life.
The heart is laughing at this.
It does not have inner or outer
It is one with all.
Human body and cosmic
body surge within each other –
half of our body is
the sky and the
galaxies and the stars –
the other half is the earth
and minerals
and vegetation and
everything that
comes out of the earth –
life is made of day and night,
laughter and sorrow –
there is a divine playfulness
within us and around us
exchanging secret messages –
you don’t have to do
simply remain open
to this invitation –
sometimes if you can sit
and do absolutely nothing
the highest form of cosmic
transaction happens.
The atoms in our being
dance to the music
of rainbows on the sky.
our stability becomes
reliable only when we realize
that we are one with
everything –
my heartbeat responds
to the heartbeat
of the sky.
does not just come
from food –
It also comes from
touching the ground
with a bare foot –
it comes from
human kindness and
fresh air and sunlight.
– Guthema Roba

As a bee seeks nectar from all kinds of flowers, seek teachings everywhere. Like a deer that finds a quiet place to graze, seek seclusion to digest all that you have gathered. Like a mad one beyond all limits, go where you please and live like a lion, completely free of all fear.
– Dzogchen Tantra

More and more of us flakes off until there’s nothing left but light.
– Mark Nepo

Many people believe that eliminating the apparent causes of fear will eliminate it, but fear, like beauty, is part of the world. The fear of fear results in the growth of terror as well as a loss of the beauty and wonder of the world. By fearing fear, we create the room for terror and panic to grow. People become blinded by fear, driven by anxieties, and increasingly ruled by phobias and obsessions. When we fail to recognize how fear works in the world, we become ruled by it. The point is not to become paralyzed with foreboding or be caught in the panic that can grip the collective and cause people to run blindly in the wrong direction. The point is to willingly go where most fear to go, to follow where the fear might lead and face the ways that the world roars at us.
– Michael Meade

I always start out with an idea that becomes a question I don’t have answers to.
– Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction

I will not start writing again except when I notice that the last book is no longer sufficient to express or order my relationship with the world.
– Yves Bonnefoy

What we want
is never simple.
We move among the things
we thought we wanted:
a face, a room, an open book
and these things bear our names
–now they want us.
But what we want appears
in dreams, wearing disguises.
We fall past,
holding out our arms
and in the morning
our arms ache.
We don’t remember the dream,
but the dream remembers us.
It is there all day
as an animal is there
under the table,
as the stars are there
even in full sun.
– Linda Pastan

I would not sacrifice my soul
for all the beauty of this world.

There is only one thing
for which I would risk everything:
an I-don’t-know-what
that lies hidden
in the heart of the Mystery.

The taste of finite pleasure
leads nowhere.
All it does is exhaust the appetite
and ravage the palate.
And so, I would not sacrifice my soul
for all the sweetness of this world.

But I would risk everything
for an I-don’t-know-what
that lies hidden
in the heart of the Mystery.

The generous heart
does not collapse into the easy things,
but rises up in adversity.
It settles for nothing.
Faith lifts it higher and higher.

Such a heart savors
an I-don’t-know-what
found only in the heart of the Mystery.

The soul that God has touched
burns with love-longing.
Her tastes have been transfigured.
Ordinary pleasures sicken her.
She is like a person with a fever;
nothing tastes good anymore.

All she wants
is an I-don’t-know-what
locked in the heart of
the Mystery. . . .

I will never lose myself
for anything the senses can taste,
nor for anything the mind can grasp,
no matter how sublime,
how delicious.
I will not pause for beauty,
I will not linger over grace.
I am bound for
an I-don’t-know-what
deep within the heart of the Mystery.

– John of the Cross
from Glosa á lo Divino
translated by Mirabai Starr

All I can say of it–it’s just to be giving, giving all you’re life, finding the music and giving it away. God maybe punishes a man for wanting too much, but He don’t punish a man for giving. Maybe He even fixes it so that what you give away, it’s the mostest thing you’ve got.
– Sidney Bechet

Think about how many band breakups you’re familiar with—that were caused by unrestrained egos, differences in creative vision, or personality clashes.

Now imagine there is a band that consists of 100,000 members from across the globe.

What is the chance this band would stay together for longer than seventeen hours?

It’s the exact same chance your favorite conspiracy theory is true.

– Subversive Lens

You will know the country you live in is in decline when majority of conversation is about its past rather than its future.
– @ilya_poet

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.
– Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

Samsara is difficult to escape from not because we are imprisoned by demons or some such, but because we hold on to its familiarity, and to our misunderstanding of self, and because we don’t know how to rest in discomfort in order to go beyond the identity we’ve spent a whole life time building up.” – Dungse Jampal Norbu

For Mauna a Wākea
by Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio

It’s been 300 days since I first laid in your arms
First felt the chill of your kiss on my skin
You brought me to the thin line between life and death
Between frostbite and heat exhaustion
You taught me balance

And when you stretched your arms around us
You taught us safety
What it meant to create security with our own bodies
So for you
I am every child who imagined someday you’d be free
I am every prayer laid at your feet

These days
I am hundreds of miles away
But you still visit me in my dreams
We share ceremony with Niolopua
And in that realm
You keep all my secrets
All my fears
All I am too afraid or ashamed to say out loud

For my fellow kiaʻi
It’s been 300 days since we marked the boundaries
Lined our jurisdictions with the trembling tenor of our collective voice
Since we began to feed each other
In food
In spirit
In care

For you
I am everything that cannot be broken
I am your first pinky promise
I am the incoming swell
I am every bit of love you taught me to lay at her feet
I am songs between stories, between tears
I am the water we fought to protect
That we shared
In the bitter cold of night
When we worried
No one else was coming

The secret powers of nature are generally discovered unsolicited.
– Hans Christian Andersen

“Some Women Are Tricky Like the Dao”
O Lady Night-Lantern,
how you trick me so.
You tempt me
to take to the road, late,
so that I may find you.
First you are in front of me,
then you scurry away.
After many long steps
walking in the forest-dark,
you guide me home
and it is here
where you were waiting for me
all along.
– Frank Larue Owen

You can ask of land, as of weight, how much there is, but not what it is like. But where land is thus quantitative and homogenous, the landscape is qualitative and heterogeneous. Supposing that you are standing outdoors, it is what you see all around: a contoured and textured surface replete with diverse objects—living and non-living, natural and artificial […] Thus at any particular moment, you can ask of a landscape what it is like, but not how much of it there is. For the landscape is plenum, there are no holes in it that remain to be filled in, so that every infill is in reality a reworking […] one should not overlook ‘the powerful fact that life must be lived admidst that which was made before.’
– Tim Ingold

Landscape is a window through which you see what you thought.
– Rod Padgett

If memory acts as one of the framing devices for landscape, then landscape equally delimits memory. Landscape acts as the horizon or border that connects certain scenes, events or stories into a structured composition that is connected to the particular place. The relationship is dual: landscape sustains memory while memory keeps the landscape from altering too much.
– Liina Unt

Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.
– Terence McKenna

A lot of people think that [a little boy] who goes to primary school knows more than Pythagoras did, simply because he can repeat parrotwise that the earth moves round the sun. In actual fact, he no longer looks up at the heavens.
– Simone Weil, The Need for Roots

by Langston Hughes

We cry among the skyscrapers
As our ancestors
Cried among the palms in Africa
Because we are alone,
It is night,
And we’re afraid.

Our bones know the way of things. Our guts understand what baffles the mind. The soul or spirit is often most clearly manifest in the sensations and language of the body. We feel called towards or driven away by people, places, and things at the gut/bone level. The head can then clarify or obscure this information, or choose to work with or against this body-knowledge.
– Aidan Wachter

There’s a deep and interesting kind of troubling that poems do, which is to say: ‘This is what you think you’re certain of, and I’m going to show you how that’s not enough. There’s something more that might be even more rewarding if you’re willing to let go of what you already know.’ 
– Tracy K. Smith

People do not see you, / They invent you and accuse you.
– Hélène Cixous

Roads around mountains
cause we can’t drive

That’s Poetry
to Me.

– Eileen Myles, Uppity

The coming of life cannot be fended off; its departure cannot be stopped. How pitiful the men of the world, who think that simply nourishing the body is enough to preserve life!”
– Zhuangzi

Aging is peculiar, I don’t think you should be lied to about it. You have a moment of relevancy – when the books, clothes, bars, technology – when everything is speaking directly to you, expressing you exactly. You move toward the edge of the circle and then you’re abruptly outside the circle. Now what to do with that? Do you stay, peering backward? Or do you walk away?
– Stephanie Danler

To Those Born After


To the cities I came in a time of disorder
That was ruled by hunger.
I sheltered with the people in a time of uproar
And then I joined in their rebellion.
That’s how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

I ate my dinners between the battles,
I lay down to sleep among the murderers,
I didn’t care for much for love
And for nature’s beauties I had little patience.
That’s how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

The city streets all led to foul swamps in my time,
My speech betrayed me to the butchers.
I could do only little
But without me those that ruled could not sleep so easily:
That’s what I hoped.
That’s how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

Our forces were slight and small,
Our goal lay in the far distance
Clearly in our sights,
If for me myself beyond my reaching.
That’s how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.


You who will come to the surface
From the flood that’s overwhelmed us and drowned us all
Must think, when you speak of our weakness in times of darkness
That you’ve not had to face:

Days when we were used to changing countries
More often than shoes,
Through the war of the classes despairing
That there was only injustice and no outrage.

Even so we realised
Hatred of oppression still distorts the features,
Anger at injustice still makes voices raised and ugly.
Oh we, who wished to lay for the foundations for peace and friendliness,
Could never be friendly ourselves.

And in the future when no longer
Do human beings still treat themselves as animals,
Look back on us with indulgence.

– Bertolt Brecht

Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say My tooth is aching than to say My heart is broken.
– C. S. Lewis

They are not brave, the days when we are twenty-one. They are full of little cowardices, little fears without foundation, and we are so easily bruised, so swiftly wounded, one falls to the first barbed word. To-day, wrapped in the complacent armor of approaching middle age, the infinitesimal pricks of day by day brush one but lightly and are soon forgotten, but then—how a careless word would linger, becoming a fiery stigma, and how a look, a glance over a shoulder, branded themselves as things eternal.
– Daphne du Maurier

as the poems go into the thousands you
realize that you’ve created very
it comes down to the rain, the sunlight,
the traffic, the nights and the days of the
years, the faces.
leaving this will be easier than living
it, typing one more line now as
a man plays a piano through the radio,
the best writers have said very
and the worst,
far too much.
– Charles Bukowski

A person cannot coast along in old destructive habits year after year and accept whatever comes along. A person must stand up on her own two legs and walk. Get off the bus and go get on another. Climb out of the ditch and cross the road. Find the road that’s where you want to go. … The only sermon that counts is the one that is formed by our actions. She would quit drinking and thereby show Kyle life is what you make it. A person can grab hold of her life and change things for the better. This happens all the time. We are not chips of wood drifting down the stream of time. We have oars.
– Garrison Keillor, Pontoon: A Lake Wobegon Novel

New World Orders
by Carol Ann Sokoloff

Cover your smile
This is a war on joy
Singing is forbidden
Be fearful
Of your family,
Your friends.
Stay alone
And safe
Say nothing.

sea of the poem (an annex so we may dream backwards)
by Raquel Salas Rivera

the arc

which of these waters is yours?
i ask the sand,
but she ungratefully
says nothing.

which of these mountains do i owe?
i ask the sky,
but he is spoiled
and won’t answer.

how many rivers are left?
i ask the ceiba,
but she acts deep,
stays speechless.

how much more pain comes our way?
i ask the pitirres,
but it’s been a while
since they responded.

how much is a cluster worth?
i ask the tree,
but he is stuck-up
and bears no price.

how many bestial boricuas fill a dream?
i ask the night
that masterless shines
and laughingly answers,

there’s room for us all.


Don’t worry, restless cricket.
Don’t worry, dragonfly
who can’t get quite still
on your sunlit cattail.
Don’t worry, implacable
circling hawk, skittish rabbit,
obsessed politician.
Nor you, sleepless seed,
smoldering all Winter
with desire.
I have surrendered on your behalf.
I have immersed you in the beauty
of this breath.

A bud cannot imagine what a petal is.
The apple was the pain inside a flower.
Neither stamen nor pistil, leaf nor pollen
have any “I” who can say, “I am a rose.”
Therefor enjoy your voice, O you
who have been selved!

Your ego is beautiful.
It speaks for those who cannot.
You are the song of a wanderer
heard in a dream.
Let there be no outrage
in the space between your thoughts,
only a well of compassion
healing the darkness around you
for a thousand light-years.

Now listen to the stream
of nectar oozing up your root.
Be a scarlet poppy royally adorned,
dancing in the meadow of your body
with a troubadour whose lips
are parted, but whose name
is never quite spoken.

The time will come when gazing is fire.
When you see beyond the night
and burn away the most intimate veil,
the gossamer difference
between inside and out.
Then the moon is only the moon.
The cricket delights in rubbing its wings.
Your silence outshines singing.

The time of the fallen apple will come,
sweet juices bubbling in the sun.
That was the pain inside the flower.
Now the worm appears.
All that remains is a hole.
Yet we need holes to fill with music.
Dear friend, in all that vanishes, still,
you can taste the one clear sap.
Call it sorrow. Call it joy.

– Fred LaMotte


Powers grow stronger
In the rising fires of year upon year
A witches’ brew of words
Taking flight in hob-gob fantasy

O the spirit conjured
Far beyond this earthly veil

Mastering at last
The cunning depths of gargoyled nature

Hail! You harbingers of the Great Dark

The night enraptured by the day
Seize the wand from these gnarled fingers
Cast your spell in the ancient tongue

This is the rite, avaunt the wrong
The flesh falling
The dream revealed

A sparkle of dust to sweep the floor.

– Laurence Overmire, from The Ghost of Rabbie Burns

Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic, because in arithmetic there is knowledge, but in theology there is only opinion.
– Bertrand Russell

What appears to justify persecution is dogmatic belief. Kindliness and tolerance only prevail in proportion as dogmatic belief decays.
– Bertrand Russell

“Where your fear is, there is your task.”

“The cave you fear to enter
holds the treasure you seek.”

“A man who has not passed through the inferno
of his passions has never overcome them.”

“Man’s task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious.”

“Our heart glows, and secret unrest gnaws at the root of our being. Dealing with the unconscious has become a question of life for us.”

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.”

“To confront a person with their own shadow
is to show them their own light.”

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams;
who looks inside, awakes.”

– Carl Gustav Jung


There is a thought that comes to me
On Skye
As the wind whips through the heather
Swaying on the purple hillside
Peaks of long knowing
Cloaked in the mists of time lost days

I try to hold on, to keep what is evident
In mind
But the drift of the place is old
And the uselessness of trying to be
Present gives way to a solitude that
Isn’t of this time and place

Something takes hold of me
Steals my breath
Carries it out to sea
Every last piece of myself
Collected somewhere
On some fantastical shore


Perhaps then
If I can find it
I can find myself
But for this moment
I am gone
I am nothing

I never was
And nothing matters
Not even me.

– Laurence Overmire, The Ghost of Rabbie Burns

Those who speak seldom
Of love,
Rarely carry any wood to the flame!
It is those that speak of nothing else,
That give names to things common,
And sacred!
– Eric Cockrell

As it becomes clear that religion, science, business, psychotherapy and politics are incapable of significantly improving the human lot, many find hope for the future much harder to come by. We’re feeling the frustration and despair of a species whose pain and turmoil too often lead to disappointment and despair. Yet the forces of nature that have given rise to the great dramas of life are bigger and stronger in the long run than our dilemmas. Seeing beyond chronic righteousness and punishment by tapping into the wealth of the collaborative diversity of the living, we’ll get back in cahoots with the ways of life, whose guidance is more time-tested than our current domineering practices. Such aims that don’t spring from the living seeds of mutually benefit only do more harm than good.
– Kathryn Schulz

Chögyam Trungpa ~ ONE THING AT A TIME
We are not extraordinary mental acrobats. We are not all that well trained. And even an extraordinarily well-trained mind could not manage many things at once—not even two. But because things are very simple and direct, we can focus on, be aware and mindful of, one thing at a time. That one-pointedness, that bare attention, seems to be the basic point

Every time you grab at love you will lose a snowflake of your memory.
– Leonard Cohen

Mystery and clarity arrive together.
– Rachel Eliza Griffith

From “On Nature”

Never in the whole-holy-All is anywhere empty—
and never can more come to be than is.

From nothing, nothing comes—
to die utterly away is impossible, unheard of—
wherever you push on eternity, eternity is always there.

Earth gives of earth, air of air.

In the no-world below many fires burn.

Aether’s long roots plunge beneath the earth.

Only those with roots densely tangled send up
their spray of scattered shoots, birthing blooms above.

 … and so the tall trees lay their eggs, the wild olives first.

 … and fig  juice curdles and binds white milk.

 … and what is lawful for all is a thread pulled tight
through the wide aether, the boundless sun’s bright ray.

 … saffron’s bright streak on linen.

 … never to say there is in life only one path.

Translated from the Greek

The world moves awkwardly.
Not in fixed algorithms, but in broken equations. Not in straight lines, but in drunken fractals. She unfolds in messy, less-than-linear, promiscuous patterns, in cross-fertilizing dalliances, in haptic involutions, in thickening palimpsests. In monstrous becomings and gaping holes. In not-knowings and experimentation. In spontaneous trials and magical causalities.

The very condition for the apparent sanity of the everyday is an enchanted madness.

The old Newtonian-Cartesian-Copernican premises that hinted at the centrality of man, the self-evident nature of truth and techno-utopian conquests must now meet a vast sprawling body of disciplining microbes and careening lichens and stoic barnacles and howling wolf and musky moon and quacking duck.

Tattooed on every rock face, every fecund leaf, every pregnant cloud is the warning that there are no homecomings that are not already takeoff points or troubling sites of departure and no projects of restoration that are not actually regenerative attempts to sidestep the stunning spontaneity and vitality of the world.

For us, gestating embryos in this womb of modernity, the quest for community begins with an affinity with the monstrous, with the mangled, with the unexpected, with confusion, with the dark.

– Bayo Akomolafe

How many times
must I hear Buddha say,
“breathe in, breathe out,”
before I can do it myself?
I got tired of being spiritual.
So I came home.
Built a fire.
Made coffee.
Took out my mother’s cup
and ran my fingers over the cracks
of brown in blue.
Came home to hug you.
Fur on fur.
I got tired of being spiritual.
So I came back to Being.
– Fred LaMotte

The sun can only be seen by the light
of the sun. The more a man or woman knows,
the greater the bewilderment, the closer
to the sun the more dazzled, until a point
is reached where one no longer is.

A mystic knows without knowledge, without
intuition or information, without contemplation
or description or revelation. Mystics
are not themselves. They do not exist
in selves. They move as they are moved,
talk as words come, see with sight
that enters their eyes.
Let every action be in harmony with your soul
and its soul-place, but don’t parade
those doings down the street
on the end of a stick! Keep quiet and secret with soul-work.
Don’t worry so much about your body.
God sewed that robe. Leave it as it is.
Be more deeply courageous.
Change your soul.

– Attar

The Unclassifiables

At a round table they sat, called a truce
to discuss the indestructible world
and meditate upon eternal things

Like triplets, separated at birth
each possessed a portion of their truth
yet only made sense in unison

Tired of jockeying for position
addressing mind, body or spirit, alone
they came, like jealous gods, to save us

Unable to shirk their messianic callings
together they preached liberation,
through odes to joy and manuals of love

With myth and parable, the defiant muse
reminded us of the art of being present
and then how to vanish without a trace

More variations on the old themes: of exile,
homecoming, how to cut to the essence
of our humanity and unquenchable thirst

In the corner of a small bookshop, they convened
Philosophy, Spirituality and Poetry
temporarily reconciled to share their wisdoms.

– YL

They said things like,
‘Aren’t they built to survive
that environment?’ And perhaps,
this is the best analogy
for my depression.
– Rudy Francisco

I always liked people who were older. Of course, every year it gets harder to find them.
– Fran Lebowitz

I dislike your speaking of yourselves as though you were the only [ones] who know and taught the Gospel; …But what I most dislike is your littleness of love…your want [lack] of union…your want of meekness, gentleness, long suffering; your impatience of contradiction; your counting every [person] your enemy that reproves or admonishes you in love; your bigotry and narrowness of spirit, loving in a manner only those that love you…your censoriousness… of all who do not agree with you; in a word, your divisive spirit.
– John Wesley

Observe your own body. It breathes. You breathe when you are asleep, when you are no longer conscious of your own ideas of self-identity. Who, then, is breathing? The collection of information that you mistakenly think is you is not the protagonist in this drama called the breath. In fact, you are not breathing; breath is naturally happening to you. You can purposely end your own life, but you cannot purposely keep your own life going. The expression, ‘my life’ is actually an oxymoron, a result of ignorance and mistaken assumption. You don’t possess life; life expresses itself through you. Your body is a flower that life let bloom, a phenomenon created by life.
– Ilchi Lee

This afternoon a flock of doves
settled on my porch. Their silence took the shape
of all I ever wanted to say. Today, the miracle
we want aches inside the trees. Why believe
anything except what is unbelievable?
[…] Now the leaves
turn into messages that are simply impossible to read.
The roots turn into roads as they break through
the surface. How can I even know what I mean?
Beneath the hem of night the rain falls asleep
on the grass. We have to turn into each other.
One heart inside the other’s heart. One love. One word.
Inside us, our shadows will walk into water,
the water will walk into the sky. Blind. Faithful.
Inside us the music turns into a flock of birds.
Theirs is a song whose promise we must believe
the way the moon believes the earth, the fire believes
the wood, that is, for no reason, for no reason at all
– Richard Jackson

Isn’t it better to have your heart broken than to have it wither up? Before it could be broken it must have felt something splendid. That would be worth the pain.
– L.M. Montgomery

Spring Storm
The sky has given over
its bitterness.
Out of the dark change
all day long
rain falls and falls
as if it would never end.
Still the snow keeps
its hold on the ground.
But water, water
from a thousand runnels!
It collects swiftly,
dappled with black
cuts a way for itself
through green ice in the gutters.
Drop after drop it falls
from the withered grass-stems
of the overhanging embankment.
– William Carlos Williams

I want the world to heal so badly. Sometimes I don’t know what to say except that.
– Andrea Gibson

The Other Side of the River

On the other side of the river
there is a flame
a flame
burning May

burning August

when the pagoda tree blooms, the professor with lentigo bows to her
when orange blossoms fall, an heir of graceful demeanor waves to her
and smiles

yet on the other side of the river she remains, still burning
like the underwater glistening of red coral
like a red straw hat blown away in the breeze

when I saw her yesterday she was totally still, looking to the sky
and today she lowers her head to watch the river
if it were overcast and raining, what would she do there on that side
of the river?
—her flame would not go out

a poet looks to her
a farmer looks to her
a Dialectical Materialist looks to her
she is on the other side of the river, burning
burning May
burning August

– Xi Chaun

Do not say you didn’t try.
Remember: You did the best
you could in the situation
you were in with the
materials you had.
– Blythe Baird


A poem is but a piece
Of a much greater entity

A living, breathing human being

The part is interesting in and of
But how much more can we understand
How much more can our minds expand
When we encounter and consider other
Related, but obscure
That encapsulate the experience
Of so many inconsequential
Molecules strung together in a
Moment of time

You think the part, the piece
Is so significant
Little man (or woman) that
You are
Never daring to believe
That just beyond that
Ink pen’s point
Lifted to its finish
Is a whole other
A galaxy turning in upon
In a Universe flying straight on
To infinity

The poem is the thing
That dangles just in front
Of your eyes
And prevents
Your self

From seeing.

– Laurence Overmire

i was thinking of a poem and then i read gregory orr’s question: “do words outlast the world they describe?” good to think of this because yes, they do, of course they do, and that’s the melancholy of life. words are sometimes the only thing that remains, like the visible light from a star long dead. like with god for example. it’s all passings and remainings. but it’s not all necessarily in vain. think of it: could you live without the things of the sky? alive or dead?
– Hune Margulies

“Nothing is wrong with you,” some say.
They’re right, but not right enough.

The evidence of your healing
abides in the center of your sickness.

The truth of your love
lives amidst your hard heartedness.

Your grace, your blessedness
can be found surrounded by a sea of unworthiness.

We peer into the shadow
not to heal it or be redeemed,
but to discover our soul,
our connection to humanity,
to Earth and ALL.

– David Bedrick

The Fear of God

If you should rise from Nowhere up to Somewhere,
From being No one up to being Someone,
Be sure to keep repeating to yourself
You owe it to an arbitrary god
Whose mercy to you rather than to others
Won’t bear too critical examination.

Stay unassuming. If for lack of license
To wear the uniform of who you are,
You should be tempted to make up for it
In a subordinating look or toe,
Beware of coming too much to the surface
And using for apparel what was meant
To be the curtain of the inmost soul.

– Robert Frost

Mercury in Retrograde

Astronomers tell astrologists
that retrograde is an optical illusion.
Planets do not move backwards.

But it is easy to be fooled
when it is easier to accuse
celestial bodies than those
who break, beat, and bash
Earth’s body in front of our
starry eyes.

It’s not that the sun,
the moon, and the stars disagree
that they exert an influence
on your life.

Sunburnt skin,
pale, pasty, bloated bodies
drowned in rising tides,
staring blankly at the moon,
and anyone who has tried
to find the stars
despite city lights
can tell you that.

The planets will tell you, however,
that the sun burns hotter
because a hole has been ripped
in Earth’s atmosphere.

The oceans swell
with the sweat of a feverish world
long-infected with spiritual viruses,
delusional hope, and
the rejection of plain reality.

Mercury, so often blamed,
is busy being the messenger of the gods,
and simply does not have time
to turn back, to switch his spin,
to truly be in retrograde.

He may pause, though,
for just a moment, to remind us
who it was that built those city lights
that stifled the stars, in the first place.

So the sun, moon, and stars
watch the murder of their sister,
Earth, and gently suggest:

It might not be optical illusions
causing your grief, exhaustion,
and stress.

– Will Falk

It’s impossible sometimes to make your way
through the undergrowth—think of Desoto,
Think of Cabeza de Vaca hacking down briars
with a sword of blinding Toledo steel,
A sword, mind you! In Toledo they’ve made that metal
since 500 BC, and de Vaca was a god, or so he said
To save his own hash, but even he was helpless
before a wall of poison ivy, broken to sweat and spit
By impervious mandevilla. It’s a new continent every time,
you’re a stranger, nothing knows how shining
And vital you are, and every time you get stuck
In a bank of crappy fetterbush, you think of homo erectus
Broaching the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up
but fire comes out of the brambles. You want to speak
Like an angel of the clean cartography of your mind,
but what comes out of your mouth is a tangled mess
Of thorned clichés.
– T. R. Hummer

Otherwise Smooth
by Rosmarie Waldrop


How daily my life. How tiny the impurities around which words might accrue. Worlds. Whorls. Pearls? Once I stood in a town where nothing was left unchanged but the clouds driven from the east. Now I learn from the sea. Always the same, always different, brackish body, uncertain. The unusual I hold at bay by taking pictures. To let it accrue to memory without having to experience it? Do we live this way, walking, as if we could, on thin air? But the sycamore stands in the yard all day and all night. And now, though still lifeless in appearance, quickens. Roots gripping farther down.


Are we never able to touch it? The immediate between the ticks of the watch, the lighthouse flashes, one nerve impulse and the next? Not even with our eyes? A cosmic storm slips between my fingers without the least pressure exerted on the skin. Stream. Thin. Clean. Wind. Only once it’s past I latch on. Old light, of dead galaxies. Only once we’ve said “I” with all that follows do we become aware of pure experience, mute like a newborn’s smile. But then it’s already over. We console ourselves with knowing the difference, which we call history.


Grave, tomb, menhir, dolmen, cromlech, cairn, pyramid, coffin, black-box. The earth our mother. Caught in a movement that doesn’t seem to take place. With fields enough no end to plain. And bursting with buds. Death gleans no electric charge. No meaning. Only a window slammed shut. I keep circling. One excessive, emphatic quote: no space not crushing, no rain not maddening, no state not a vastation. And yet. Already so many pear trees blossom. Unscroll patches of soft velvet. The hand touches and lingers.

Water in Love
How to love like water loves
when it’s impossible to even taste
all the ghostly sediments
each time you take a sip

Impossible to savor
the salt in your blood
the light and island shorelines
in each living cell

When even the plainest mouthful
tastes more of you than you of it

Sweetest of absences
that frees in wave after wave
debris of thought like the dead,
the drowned, the vanished, and yet
sails your lips
on a voyage toward another’s, plying
all luck and regret

Worship, splash, guzzle, or forget
It clears any difference
Stone washer and mountain dissolver
that will
outlive us, even the memory of
all any eyes touched

Wasp and cactus in a desert
Comet through outer space
Sleep among all the cloud-shepherds’ children

A love so perpetually current
it doesn’t care that you love
without even knowing you love
what you couldn’t survive
three days without

How to love like that: wild
dream-sparkler and meticulous architect
of every snowflake
Wise, ebullient, and generous
as the rain

Deepest of miracles
for a time
borrowing and replenishing
a self
overflowing with fate

– Ed Bok Lee

When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities
by Chen Chen

To be a good
ex/current friend for R. To be one last

inspired way to get back at R. To be relationship
advice for L. To be advice

for my mother. To be a more comfortable
hospital bed for my mother. To be

no more hospital beds. To be, in my spare time,
America for my uncle, who wants to be China

for me. To be a country of trafficless roads
& a sports car for my aunt, who likes to go

fast. To be a cyclone
of laughter when my parents say

their new coworker is like that, they can tell
because he wears pink socks, see, you don’t, so you can’t,

can’t be one of them. To be the one
my parents raised me to be—

a season from the planet
of planet-sized storms.

To be a backpack of PB&J & every
thing I know, for my brothers, who are becoming

their own storms. To be, for me, nobody,
homebody, body in bed watching TV. To go 2D

& be a painting, an amateur’s hilltop & stars,
simple decoration for the new apartment

with you. To be close, J.,
to everything that is close to you—

blue blanket, red cup, green shoes
with pink laces.

To be the blue & the red.
The green, the hot pink.

You can’t artificially make yourself blossom!! Any effort in that direction is ultimately fake and something like hot house ventures, not organic development. We need to trust that wherever we are now and whatever challenges we have are on the way of full becoming. Pot bound or deeply pruned we can trust that our deep roots are alive and supporting us into eventual full growth and flowering.
– Gunilla Norris

Sadness and anger, please forgive me.

I used to run from you.
I imagined that you were ‘bad’.
Or ‘unhealthy’. Or ‘unspiritual’.
Or a sign of weakness.
Or a fault of ‘ego’ or the ‘separate self’.

Or shameful.

No. No. I was wrong. You are life itself.
You belong.
I bow to you now.
I breathe into you.
I give you my breath.

Sadness, you help keep my heart open.
You remind me to let go, in each moment.
You are a beautiful release.
You help me befriend death and impermanence.

Anger, you remind me of my power.
You rise spontaneously to protect the organism.
You help me speak up without fear.
Speak truth. Speak out against falsehood.
Walk this path with courage.
Protect those I love.

Sadness and anger, please forgive me.
You are inseparable from the sacredness.
You are deeply accepted now.
In my vastness.
– Jeff Foster

Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh, be swift to love, make haste to be kind.
– Henri Frederic Amiel

The Tree Sparrows
by Joseph O. Legaspi
We suffer through blinding equatorial heat,
refusing to unfold the suspended bamboo shade
nested by a pair of hardworking, cheerless sparrows.
We’ve watched them fly in-and-out of their double
entryways, dried grass, twigs clamped in their beaks.
They skip, nestle in their woodsy tunnel punctured
with light, we presume, not total darkness, their eggs
aglow like lunar orbs. What is a home? How easily
it can be destroyed: the untying of traditional ropes,
pull, the scroll-unraveling. For want of a sweltering
living room to be thrown into relief by shadow.

The sunning couple perch open-winged, tube lofty
as in Aristophanes’ city of birds, home made sturdy
by creature logic and faith that it will all remain afloat.

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes…
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Practice Wisdom

Give silence
enough room to expand
so those old temptresses of
growth, productivity & worthiness
don’t run away
with your peace.
Seek out practice wisdom
in all its messy,
uncomfortable nuances.
Sometimes voices in old
tired stories need to fade so
new chapters have room to bloom.

– Heidi Barr, Slouching Toward Radiance

Think how quiet a book is on a shelf, he said, just sitting there, unopened. Then think what happens when you open it.
– Ali Smith

If you play any part in getting money from the worker and giving it over to the owner, then you are an upright and true citizen. But if you play any part in getting money from the owner and giving it over to the worker, of course, the loud speakers and printed pages yell and scream that you are a wild man running loose with a pocket full of atom bombs and a head full of communist ideas.
– Woody Guthrie

Ram Dass Was Right

Stop thinking William. Stop considering
the possibilities of everything:
There’s just here, now. That dandelion root

needs to be plucked before it goes to seed
reach down and pull it out. Pick up a leaf
of lemon balm and rub it on your skin

it smells so fresh. It smells of vibrant life.
Some early strawberries are turning ripe
reach down and take one. Savor the deep red

savor the form and taste and the delight
you feel standing here among the trees
surrounded by birdsong and beating wings

surrounded by the blossom-scented breeze
warmed by the midmay sun. Stop thinking. Watch
the way the surface ripples of the pond

move through the circled water lily leaves
see how the koi are gliding underneath
the mirrored surface of the lotus pond.

– Bill Lantry

Myself, I long for love and light. But must it come so cruel, must it be so bright?
– Leonard Cohen

drinking tea
a butterfly stops by
– Issa

let me ask you
about poetry

– Basho

the old road
running alongside
a butterfly
– chris dean

The wind is taking the night apart, she says.
The wind is dismantling
the leaves, the branches, the minutes, our listening,

and finding more and more
moving pieces to index:
our hands, our mouths, our voices, recurring stairs.
– Li-Young Lee

This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.
– John O’Donohue

Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
The world behind and home ahead,
We’ll wander back to home and bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade.
– JRR Tolkien

Reflective thinking turns experience into insight.
– John C. Maxwell

She asks if I have ever watched someone take a shovel & chisel the ground until it fits only them & what they can carry in their arms to heaven.
– Hanif Abdurraqib

One must never
give up the quest
to resurrect

It is only
the red chambered juice
that stains immortality

The grains that wave in waves

The sea that constantly
murmurs and whispers
its answers

in the
shell of your ear

she’ll be back

you just haven’t met her yet

– Nicholas Pierotti

I’m always happier when surrounded by American accents than British ones.
– Geoff Dyer

Buddha can’t be avoided. Buddha is everywhere. Enlightenment possibilities are all over the place. Whether you’re going to get married tomorrow, whether you’re going to die tomorrow, whatever you may feel, that familiar…awake quality is everywhere, all the time….From this point of view, everything is a footprint of Buddha, anything that goes on, whether we regard it as sublime or ridiculous. Everything we do—breathing, farting, getting mosquito bites, having fantastic ideas about reality, thinking clever thoughts, flushing the toilet—whatever occurs is a footprint.

We could fight war and all its excrescences by releasing, each day, the love that is shackled inside us, and giving it a chance to live. . . . Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.
– Etty Hillesum

Writers, beware! No matter how carefully we craft our work, no matter how dutifully we prepare it for publication, our reader remains a wild and wily creature, lurking in the margin like a ghostly snow leopard.
– Eric LeMay

That we go numb along the way is to be expected. Even the bravest among us, who give their lives to care for others, go numb with fatigue, when the heart can take in no more, when we need time to digest all we meet. Overloaded and overwhelmed, we start to pull back from the world, so we can internalize what the world keeps giving us. Perhaps the noblest private act is the unheralded effort to return: to open our hearts once they’ve closed, to open our souls once they’ve shied away, to soften our minds once they’ve been hardened by the storms of our day.
– Mark Nepo

Emotions pass over us like waves, sometimes slamming us to the shore. If we give in to them a bit, and let them have their way with us for a moment, sure, there will be froth and foam and churning, and stuff may get tossed up that was buried in the deep long ago. And an entire set of waves might follow the first. Still, every jetty and breakwater will eventually be worn to sand. Let the waves wash over you: there is no point resisting the tides.
– Gil Hedley, Integral Anatomy

Sun of Honey

Preparing my daily rounds
after days of rain.
New sun climbs
the high garden wall,
piano notes
drip off ivy
each tapped leaf
a pressed key.

– – –

The still bright day
glissades and chords
two voices —
girl and man —
caress an aria.
Sudden heat on my cheek
love of this honey-sunned world.
I can’t move.
Pierced by beauty
as if swarmed
by bees,
everything just
this moment

– Peter Coyote

I thought growing up would be
this rising from everything
old and earthly,
not these faltering steps out the door
every day, then back again.
– Catherine Anderson

The desire to go home . . . is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.
– Rebecca Solnit

You are indeed carrying within yourself the potential to visualize, to design, and to create for yourself an utterly satisfying, joyful, and pure lifestyle. Discipline yourself to attain it, but accept that which comes to you with deep trust, and as long as it comes from your own will, from your own inner need, accept it, and do not hate anything.
– Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)

A healthy soul must do two things for us. First, it must put some fire in our veins, keep us energized, vibrant, living with zest and full of hope as we sense that life is, ultimately beautiful and worth living … Second, a healthy soul has to keep us fixed together. It has to continually give us a sense of who we are, where we came from, where we are going, and what sense there is in all of this.
– Ronald Rolheiser

The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.
– Erich Fromm

Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe.
– Haruki Murakami

If you’ll excuse a brief history lesson: most people didn’t experience ‘the sixties’ until the seventies. Which meant, logically, that most people in the sixties were still experiencing the fifties–or, in my case, bits of both decades side by side. Which made things rather confusing.
– Julian Barnes

Why put them through the danger of the fire? And then, I heard, as though it spoke, the voice of the guardian-head: “Each piece must go through the fire. The cowl, the wings, the pneuma, the source, the flow. All must go the way that I have gone. Each may crack in the process, as I have cracked. But look, the crack has healed. I did not break. Without the fire, the piece is untested, unlived, raw. Each must go through the fire.
– Marion Woodman

…And if you’re waiting
for the moment
this poem pivots
into joy, I’m sorry,
it’s not coming this time,
I thought it might
here in this quiet kitchen,
but it didn’t
and that’s all right.
– Keith Leonard

…I was my own
storm once, so young
and eager to raise the sail
of my wanting, and I just wanted
to tell you I love this old boat,
this settled-in thing.
– Keith Leonard

The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful … Love begins with a metaphor. Which is to say, love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into our poetic memory.
– Milan Kundera

Many of us have been running all our lives. We have the feeling that we need to run – into the future, away from the past, out from wherever we are. In truth, we don’t need to go anywhere. We just need to sit down and look deeply to discover that the whole cosmos is right here within us. Our body is a wonder containing all kinds of information. To understand ourselves is to understand the whole cosmos.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Living

The tragedy in the lives of most of us is that we go through life walking down a high-walled lane with people of our own kind, the same economic situation, the same national background and education and religious outlook. And beyond those walls, all humanity lies, unknown and unseen, and untouched by our restricted and impoverished lives.
– Florence Luscomb, architect and suffragist

The uniqueness of Zen Meditation (zazen) lies in this: that the mind is freed from bondage to all thought forms, visions, objects, and imaginings, however sacred or elevating, and brought to a state of absolute emptiness, from which alone it may one day perceive its own true nature, or the nature of the universe.
– Roshi Philip Kapleau

Sometimes a Wild God

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine.

When the wild god arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his fingers
Leaving blood on the paintwork,
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing
An old song in the mouth of your kettle.

‘I haven’t much,’ you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Expectorate the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where your passion went.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of moles and nightingale-skin.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
Otters rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exults and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and pain.

In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds its fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

‘Why did you leave me to die?’
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’

Listen to them:

The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine
And brings the dead to life.

– Tom Hirons, Poet and Storyteller

…because the traveler’s past changes according to the route he has followed: not the immediate past, that is, to which each day that goes by adds a day, but the more remote past. Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.
– Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Depending on all their diverse borrowings, they yet lodge securely in the one and only selfsame body. They forget all about their livers and gallbladders, cast away their eyes and ears, reversing and returning, ending and beginning, knowing no start or finish. Oblivious, they drift uncommitted beyond the dust and grime, far-flung and unfettered in the great work of doing nothing in particular.
– Zhuangzi, Sixth Inner Chapter

And, if I may say it in a very condensed way, it is precisely the godlike in ourselves that we are ambivalent about, fascinated by and fearful of, motivated to and defensive against. This is one aspect of the basic human predicament, that we are simultaneously worms and gods.
– Abraham Maslow

The Future Is Here
Man burns at a certain degree
but I always burned a little slower.
When I went into school
I left a trail of blackened footprints
to my classroom of spelling words,
never starred. At the end of the earth
we’ll be locked in our own spelling mistakes,
our arms around the legs of our mother
so she won’t leave, our heads filled with beer, the light
receding. What kind of death is reserved for me?
The green plastic soldier has his gun up against everything.
And what does one do with a gun really?
I’ve only held three my entire life.
The third I held was the first I used.
I was with Rebecca and her father, deep in the woods of Vermont
when she was staying with me in the heap.
I shot at a beer can until my hands went numb.
And I loved her the whole time.
With car accidents and barbiturates. The way
she got wasted, knocked her teeth
into her lap and told me
I loved her too much—what was all that?
What man does is build whole universes out of miniscule
disasters and educational degrees.
I have mine in an enormous envelope two feet behind me.
My name looks good in gangster font.
It makes me want to alight
on the thigh of my beloved like a moth
because I know all careful grief
comes out from behind the thigh
and makes a fist at the grey sky above Brooklyn.
The destroyed continue into the snow-filled future, shoveling.
And love is either perpetually filthy
or intermittently lewd.
I’m sweeping the entire apartment because it’s mine forever.
And that’s valid, too: domestic eroticisms. The way
he gets up out of bed before you
and puts on clothes and can’t find his keys.
All of it, without parents, without children, without roommates.
It feels good to get something
back. And the whole feels
detrimental and complicated and forever stimulating.
Which is why we live—and why we send out
balloons into the atmosphere
with notes tied to them that say
Nothing bad can touch this life
I haven’t already imagined.

– Bianca Stone

The way of love is not a subtle argument,

the door there is devastation.

Birds make great sky circles of their freedom,

how do they do it?

They fall

and falling
they are given wings.

– Rumi

Everyone is exercising today–and openly, happily. …I think there is an aerobics of generosity, and I guess it has three steps: First you kneel in prayer; then you extend a hand; then you enlarge your heart. There’s too much kneeling. We need to grow beyond the first step.
– Tennessee Williams

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.
– Anne Lamott

… well, i want to go places and see people.
i want my mind to grow.
i want to live…
– F. Scott Fitzgerald


O this day like an
orange peeled against the sky
murmurs me and you.

– Sonia Sanchez

one more time
and i’m gone
– Luna

What if I stopped agreeing
to this domestication? To the
taming that some young part
of me and, or, some ancestor
acquiesced to for some good
reason? Survival, perhaps.
What if I stopped mowing
the grass and let the flowers
arise? I wonder if some day
I could remember the songs
they sing to the bees—
the ones I knew as a child
by heart, the ones adults
told me weren’t there.
What if I stopped raking
the leaves, let them
lay? Would the box turtle
hide there, and the newt?
And, perhaps, just maybe,
the scurrying white-footed
mouse that I adore would
rush to nestle in the pile
and become something
of the screech owl that I
adore. Who am I to judge
what form love takes?
What if I told you about
these wild things that inhabit
untamable landscapes –
the ones around us,
the ones within us. If I just
let my voice go…
What if I asked you what
your body remembers of
being animal? How does
it want to move through
uncut grass? How does
it want to move through
a pile of leaves? What does
it want to take up in its talons?
What if I released you
from your cage and you,
leaping forth into the vastness,
rushing with great force
toward the horizon,
suddenly wheeled around, slowed
to a contemplative stride, and,
breaking all the rules,
set me free?
– Jamie K. Reaser

Chögyam Trungpa ~ THIS WORLD OF OURS
Whether you are happy or sad, whether you are exuberantly joyful or miserable, it’s still an anxious world we’re living in. According to Buddhist tradition, anxieties can be transformed into mindfulness and awareness. Anxiety itself can be a reminder, a nudge that keeps waking us up again and again.

If you love
someone, the water moves up
from the well.
– Jason Shinder

And now I know what most deeply connects us

after that summer so many years ago,
and it isn’t poetry, although it is poetry

– Jason Shinder

When we talk about the past

it is like pushing stones back into the earth.

– Jason Shinder

He’d like to be at one with his new self
but memories sit in him like eyes.
– Jana Prikryl

“The gods were probably right when they punished Prometheus for stealing the fire,” writes Icelandic bestselling author Andri Snær Magnason “We have kindled the greatest flames Earth has ever seen.”

Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.
– Hermann Hesse

Political history is far too criminal and pathological to be a fit subject of study for the young. Children should acquire their heroes and villains from fiction.
– W. H. Auden, A Certain World

Nobody can discover the world for somebody else.
Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become
common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone
– Wendell Berry

All theory, dear friend, is gray, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Listen: you are not yourself, you are crowds of others, you are as leaky a vessel as was ever made, you have spent vast amounts of your life as someone else, as people who died long ago, as people who never lived, as strangers you never met. The usual I we are given has all the tidy containment of the kind of character the realist novel specializes in and none of the porousness of our every waking moment, the loose threads, the strange dreams, the forgettings and misrememberings, the portions of a life lived through others’ stories, the incoherence and inconsistency, the pantheon of dei ex machina and the companionability of ghosts. There are other ways of telling.”
– Rebecca Solnit

The few minutes of a Spring night are worth ten thousand pieces of gold. The perfume of the flowers is so pure. The shadows of the moon are so black.
– Su Tung P’o

Sometimes to accept is also a gift. The anthropologist David Graeber points out that the explanation that we invented money because barter was too clumsy is false. It wasn’t that I was trying to trade sixty sweaters for the violin you’d made when you didn’t really need all that wooliness. Before money, Graeber wrote, people didn’t barter but gave and received as needs and goods ebbed and flowed. They thereby incurred the indebtedness that bound them together, and reciprocated slowly, incompletely, in the ongoing transaction that is a community. Money was invented as a way to sever the ties by completing the transactions that never needed to be completed in the older system, but existed like a circulatory system in a body. Money makes us separate bodies, and maybe it teaches us that we should be separate.
– Rebecca Solnit

We have subtle subconscious faculties we are not using. Beyond the limited analytic intellect is a vast realm of mind that includes psychic and extrasensory abilities; intuition; wisdom; a sense of unity; aesthetic, qualitative and creative faculties; and image-forming and symbolic capacities. Though these faculties are many, we give them a single name with some justification for they are working best when they are in concert. They comprise a mind, moreover, in spontaneous connection to the cosmic mind. This total mind we call ‘heart.‘
– Kabir Helminski

There is a bird in a poem by T. S. Eliot who says that mankind cannot bear very much reality; but the bird is mistaken. A man can endure the entire weight of the universe for eighty years. It is unreality that he cannot bear.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
– Margaret Atwood

Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.
– James Baldwin

I miss who I was. I miss who we all were,
before we were this: half-alive to the brightening sky,
half-dead already.
– Ada Limon

When the middle classes get passionate about politics, they’re arguing about their treats – their tax breaks and their investments. When the poor get passionate about politics, they’re fighting for their lives.
Politics will always mean more to the poor. Always. That’s why we strike and march, and despair when our young say they won’t vote. That’s why the poor are seen as more vital, more animalistic. No classical music for us – no walking around National Trust properties or buying reclaimed flooring. We don’t have nostalgia. We don’t do yesterday. We can’t bear it. We don’t want to be reminded of our past, because it was awful: dying in mines, and slums, without literacy, or the vote. Without dignity. It was all so desperate then. That’s why the present and the future is for the poor – that’s the place in time for us: surviving now, hoping for better later. We live now – for our instant, hot, fast treats, to pep us up: sugar, a cigarette, a new fast song on the radio.
– Caitlin Moran

I dream through a wordless, familiar place.
The small boat of the day sails into morning,
past the postman with his modest haul, the full trees
which sound like the sea, leaving my hands free
to remember. Moments of grace. Like this.
– Carol Ann Duffy

I am learning to abandon the world
before it can abandon me.
Already I have given up the moon
and snow, closing my shades
against the claims of white.
And the world has taken
my father, my friends.
I have given up melodic lines of hills,
moving to a flat, tuneless landscape.
And every night I give my body up
limb by limb, working upwards
across bone, towards the heart.
But morning comes with small
reprieves of coffee and birdsong.
A tree outside the window
which was simply shadow moments ago
takes back its branches twig
by leafy twig.
And as I take my body back
the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap
as if to make amends.
— Linda Pastan

Among humans, the fact that no one ever feels they are the aggressor is because everything is always reciprocal. The slightest little difference, in one direction or another, can trigger the escalation to extremes. The aggressor has always already been attacked. Why are relations of rivalry never seen as symmetrical? Because people always have the impression that the other is the first to attack.
– Rene Girard

Because traumatized people often have trouble sensing what is going on in their bodies, they lack a nuanced response to frustration. They either react to stress by becoming “spaced out” or with excessive anger. Whatever their response, they often can’t tell what is upsetting them. This failure to be in touch with their bodies contributes to their well-documented lack of self-protection and high rates of revictimization and also to their remarkable difficulties feeling pleasure, sensuality, and having a sense of meaning.
– The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk

There is nothing perhaps so generally consoling to a man as a well-established grievance; a feeling of having been injured, on which his mind can brood from hour to hour, allowing him to plead his own cause in his own court, within his own heart—and always to plead it successfully.
– Anthony Trollope, Orley Farm

I dream through a wordless, familiar place.
The small boat of the day sails into morning,
past the postman with his modest haul, the full trees
which sound like the sea, leaving my hands free
to remember. Moments of grace. Like this.
– Carol Ann Duffy

I am learning to abandon the world
before it can abandon me.
Already I have given up the moon
and snow, closing my shades
against the claims of white.
And the world has taken
my father, my friends.
I have given up melodic lines of hills,
moving to a flat, tuneless landscape.
And every night I give my body up
limb by limb, working upwards
across bone, towards the heart.
But morning comes with small
reprieves of coffee and birdsong.
A tree outside the window
which was simply shadow moments ago
takes back its branches twig
by leafy twig.
And as I take my body back
the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap
as if to make amends.
– Linda Pastan

I missed you in a small way. tiny enough to fold up and put in my pocket, and carry that loneliness with me everywhere I went. I’d forget all about you, until my hand accidentally brushed against that slip of memory.
– Unknown

To Say Nothing But Thank You

All day I try to say nothing but thank you,
breathe the syllables in and out with every step I
take through the rooms of my house and outside into
a profusion of shaggy-headed dandelions in the garden
where the tulips’ black stamens shake in their crimson cups.

I am saying thank you, yes, to this burgeoning spring
and to the cold wind of its changes. Gratitude comes easy
after a hot shower, when loosened muscles work,
when eyes and mind begin to clear and even unruly
hair combs into place.

Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute,
and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I
remember who I am, a woman learning to praise
something as small as dandelion petals floating on the
steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup,
my happy, savoring tongue.

– Jeanne Lohmann

The knack of our species lies in our capacity to transmit our accumulated knowledge down the generations. The slowest among us can, in a few hours, pick up ideas that it took a few rare geniuses a lifetime to acquire.

Yet what is distinctive is just how selective we are about the topics we deem it possible to educate ourselves in. Our energies are overwhelmingly directed toward material, scientific, and technical subjects and away from psychological and emotional ones. Much anxiety surrounds the question of how good the next generation will be at math; very little around their abilities at marriage or kindness. We devote inordinate hours to learning about tectonic plates and cloud formations, and relatively few fathoming shame and rage.

The assumption is that emotional insight might be either unnecessary or in essence unteachable, lying beyond reason or method, an unreproducible phenomenon best abandoned to individual instinct and intuition. We are left to find our own path around our unfeasibly complicated minds — a move as striking (and as wise) as suggesting that each generation should rediscover the laws of physics by themselves.

– Alain de Botton

We inherit from antiquity the image of the poet as bard and storyteller—one who who sings, or sang, the narratives of the tribe, preserving the collective memory of her or his people. This is the kind of poet most literature textbooks like to open with—as if all poets emerged out of one blind man’s mouth. But there were other kinds of poets as well: those who chanted, cast spells, shrieked or whispered nonsense or fragments of words or images, making magic come into being through language.
– Ilya Kaminsky

Writing down your thoughts is both necessary and harmful. It leads to eccentricity, narcissism, preserves what should be let go. On the other hand, these notes intensify the inner life, which, left unexpressed, slips through your fingers. If only I could find a better kind of journal, humbler, one that would preserve the same thoughts, the same flesh of life, which is worth saving.

Moreover the writer invents himself as a character in this form. He shapes himself from the shards of the everyday, from the truth of that daily life. Which is also a truth not to be scorned.
– Anna Kamieńska, translated by Clare Cavanagh

I believe that the justification of art is the internal combustion it ignites in the hearts of men and not its shallow, externalized, public manifestations. The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity. Through the ministrations of radio and the phonograph, we are rapidly and quite properly learning to appreciate the elements of aesthetic narcissism — and I use that word in its best sense — and are awakening to the challenge that each man contemplatively create his own divinity.
– Glenn Gould

The ‘guinea-pigging’ of vast swathes of the population has, up till now, solved two problems: the ‘time’ problem (namely, how to avoid addressing the underlying reasons for mental health problems), and how to create new markets amidst the flourishing of generic drug production, particularly outside of the US and Europe. Clearly the interiorisation of unhappiness is far more profitable than the outward realisation that perhaps misery has nothing to do with you personally and everything to do with the world in which you live.
– infinite thØught

All this time,
the life you were
supposed to live
has been rising around you
like the walls of a house
designed with warm
harmonious lines.

As if you had actually
planned it that way.

As if you had
stacked up bricks
at random,
and built by mistake
a lucky star.

– Kirsten Dierking

Red is holy. Nobody understands it. It goes on, on, without the world’s understanding. Blue is holy. Blue goes on without the world’s understanding. And the heart…the heart can’t wait. Revolts without understanding. Boom. Goes on. Without the world’s understanding.
– Tennessee Williams

Miracles are to come.
With you I leave a remembrance
of miracles: they are by
somebody who can love
and who shall be continually reborn,
a human being.”
– E. E. Cummings

I am but mad north-northwest. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
– Shakespeare, from Hamlet

We do not find our own center; it finds us. Our own mind will not be able to figure it out.
– Richard Rohr

I will not stand immersed in this ultraviolet curse
I won’t let you make a tool of me, I will keep my mind and body free
Bye Bye minutiae
Of the day to day drama
I am expanding exponentially
I am consciousness without identity
I am many things made of everything
but I will not be your bankroll
I won’t idle in your drive thru, I won’t watch your electric sideshow
I got way better places to to go
I will maintain the truth I knew naturally as a child
I won’t forfeit my creativity to a world that’s all laid our for me
I will look at everything and I will vow to bear in mind
That all of this was just someone’s idea, it could just as well be mine
I won’t rent you my time, I won’t sell you my brain
I won’t pray to a male god, cause you know, that would be insane
I can’t support the troops, cause every last one of them is being duped
I will not rest a wink, until we women have regrouped
I am many things made of everything
but I will not be your bankroll
I won’t go in your drive thru, I won’t watch your electric sideshow
I got way better places to go
– Ani DiFranco


The spiritual gift of discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10) is when good things can be recognized sometimes as bad things, and vice versa. Discernment has largely been undeveloped among ordinary Christians, except among those good Jesuits! It invites people into “both/and” thinking, rather than simplistic “either/or” thinking. This is the difference between merely having correct information and the spiritual gift of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8-9). Both knowledge and wisdom are good, but wisdom is much better. It demands the maturity of discernment, which is what it takes to develop a truly consistent ethic of life. I admit the vast majority of people are not there yet.

Once we have learned to discern the real, disguised nature of both good and evil, we recognize that everything is broken and fallen, weak and poor, while still being the dwelling place of God—you and me, your country, your children, your churches, even your marriage. That is not a put-down, but finally a freedom to love imperfect things! As Jesus told the rich young man, “God alone is good!” (Mark 10:18). In this, you may have been given the greatest recipe for happiness for the rest of your life. You cannot wait for things to be totally perfect to fall in love with them or you will never love anything. Now, instead, you can love everything.
– Richard Rohr

Do not feel overwhelmed by the length of this journey. All you ever need do is focus on one thing, what you are doing. Stay on the path and put one foot in front of the other – that is all. There is joy in the struggle.
– Philip Toshio Sudo

There is more for you
than what never showed up.
More than what never came to be.
More than what couldn’t transpire
or find a way to work out,
and it looks like healing
and shaped like possibility.
Let down by family or parents,
past dreams and expectations.
Put off by relationships,
romances, careers and ideations.
There’s another path to explore
and alternate routes to travel.
There’s a tribe meant to welcome,
with encouragements to fuel you.
There are hearts that want to hold you,
and kindnesses that long to see you through.
There are other ways to meet with love,
as kinships waiting in the wings.
There are fresh fields to run in
and warm pools to swim.
Hold on bright child,
there is more than
what never appeared…

The sky holds a little last handful of light cupped in its west left hand. It is a west-side story. Twilight is the between-light, after sunset and before night when the sun’s light is still present in the sky even after the sun is gone. Twilight is an enigmatic reflection, that other word for thinking.
– Jay Griffiths

There is a modern sentiment that it would be nice to have all the broken pieces put “back in order.” But if you really have a pile of granite blocks instead of a timber, there is no possible sequence, no possible order, which can build a bridge based on the old straight-line idea of a bridge. The only way is to come upon the gestalt, the integrated image of the arch, all at once. A sequenced process will not do the trick, because it is working with the wrong image. The genius of the arch is not to use the broken pieces, but to salvage them, that is provide salvation through the recognition of the potential that is imminent in the synergy of those pieces, and furthermore, to see how the friendship can be unlocked in the situation.
– Randy Jones, Medicine Without An Expiration Date

Elsa Is Involved in a Clandestine Love Affair

There is no fixed place and by that I mean
take a look at things that are. Split by the
turn of year, its newness and all it brings,
which of its possibilities can we trust?
Elsa is involved in a clandestine
love affair which, let’s be honest, should be
all love affairs until they’re over. She finds
herself dreaming of children and many
other delicacies. Sugared eggs. A
lost palace. But night brings a great expanse
and it’s much too quiet in these hallways.
On her back, Elsa holds her breath, her hands
beneath her, resisting, resisting. That
temptation can be such a dirty rat.

– Angela Veronica Wong

In mythos and fairy tales, deities and other great spirits test the hearts of humans by showing up in various forms that disguise their divinity. They show up in robes, rags, silver sashes, or with muddy feet. They show up with skin dark as old wood, or in scales made of rose petal, as a frail child, as a lime-yellow old woman, as a man who cannot speak, or as an animal who can. The great powers are testing to see if humans have yet learned to recognize the greatness of soul in all its varying forms.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés

A river cuts through the heart of the west like longing, 
and sometimes, sitting on the shore late at night 
in the white-yellow burn-glow of the full moon, 
I want to rise and wade in and let the current wash me away—
          downstream …
          into the riffling, pooling, swirling unknown.
– Buddy Levy

Wealth, like happiness,
is never attained when sought after directly.
It always comes as a byproduct
of providing a useful service.
– Henry Ford

O great wheeling bird!

Praises Gentle Tamalpais

Perfect in Wisdom and Beauty of the
sweetest water

and the soaring birds

great seas at the feet of thy cliffs

Hear my last Will & Testament:

Among my friends there shall always be
one with proper instructions
for my continuance.

Let no one grieve.
l shall have used it all up
used up every bit of it.

What an extravagance!
What a relief!

On a marked rock, following his orders,
place my meat.

All care must be taken not to
frighten the natives of this
barbarous land, who
will not let us die, even,
as we wish.

With proper ceremony disembowel what I
no longer need, that it might more quickly
rot and tempt

my new form






– Lew Welch

Ahead and Around
by Laura Riding Jackson

Ahead and Around
Met, quarreled, quilled the bird of peace,
Untidied a pleasant plane.
Ahead accused Around of complete deceit,
Around accused Ahead of being discontented.
Neither listened to each.
Either lined on,
Making round straight and straight round,
Permitting nothing in-between,
Licked space clean,
Fattened unhappily and flew
Along the geometrical faith of two-and-two,
Hated apart; and far and far
Each wanderer
Hoped toward a spiritually reconnoitered heaven.

“For,” cried sinuous Around,
“More and less than I, am I,
Nature of all things, all things the nature of me.”
Ahead echoed the cry.
Sped toward its own eternity
Of the sweet end before the bitter beyond, beyond.
And both were brave and both were strong,
And the ways of both were like and long,
And adventured freely in fettered song:
One that circled as it sang,
One that longitudinally rang.

The spite prospered. The spite stopped.
Both earned the same end differently,
Prided along two different paths,
Reached the same humility
Of an old-trodden start.
Birth is the beginning where all part.
Death is the beginning where they meet.

Some days it feels like a foreign language
I’m asked to practice, with new words
for happiness, work, and love. I’m still learning
how to say: a cup of tea for no reason,
what to call the extra honey I drizzle in,
how to label the relentless urge to do more
and more as useless. And how to translate
the heart’s pounding message when it comes:
enough, enough. This morning, I search for words
to capture the glimmering sun as it lifts
above the mountains, clouds already closing in
as fat droplets of rain darken the deck.
I’m learning to call this stillness self-care too,
just standing here, as goldfinches scatter up
from around the feeder like broken pieces
of bright yellow stained-glass, reassembling
in the sheltering arms of a maple.
– James Crews

Walking With Wisdom

We can study and parse, and create vast systems of theology and learn much. We can pour over the Scriptures, memorizing verses, chapters, and books, being able to quote our belief systems in rapid-fire.

But with Wisdom, we move from our analytical left brain, into our intuitive right brain, through the eye of our heart. By it, we are transformed like the slow unfolding of a rose, or a series of enlightening bursts deeper, fuller, and richer over the journey of years.

Wisdom is eternal, living, and always found in the present. Wisdom is not the mere knowledge we develop.
Wisdom is personified in Scripture as Feminine, as Sophia, and hence intuitive, enlightening the heart.

Wisdom is not axioms or the platitudes we learn.
Wisdom is walking with us through the valley of the shadow of death.

Wisdom is living our way into transformation and integration.
Wisdom is working out what God has worked within us.
Wisdom is our constant companion if we will have her, whispering in our ear, tugging at our heart, ever-quickening us.

To live with Wisdom is to dwell in the cauldron of transformation, of slow metamorphosis, where we evolve in Christ.
It is to stand amazed, dumbfounded at the Glory of God, blinded by the light, and given new eyes to see.

Such love is beyond us in every way, and yet as close as the air we breathe, as the love of Christ burns in our hearts.
Wisdom is embodied within us as we cross the threshold.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he causes me to stand on the heights. Ps. 18:33

– Bob Holmes

In writing and ordering your
poems, you are forging a self. Hous-
ing it in a stall of your own making.
You are building a bearable myth.

– Diane Seuss

The interesting part of criticism is getting people to engage with their own consciousness and think about what is happening to all of us, together, now, as opposed to looking for a yes or no vote from the critic.
– Hilton Als

Marriage can wait , Education cannot.
– Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

When mental absorption is imbued with ethics, it’s very fruitful and beneficial.

When wisdom is imbued with absorption, it’s very fruitful and beneficial.

When the mind is imbued with wisdom, it is freed.

– Buddha

There is only one way left to escape the alienation of present day society: to retreat ahead of it.
– Roland Barthes

Will people insist on dragging their bookcases along with them to poetry readings in future?
– Laura McKee

I write…because I’m more interested in looking, as opposed to looking away.
– Terry McMillan

an afternoon nap
first spring rainbow
best of days

– Isaa

If the only thing I have ever done for a student is to remove some fear, then I think I could say I was a good teacher. When you remove fear from a student–by standing with them; improving them; loving them; consistently being there for them–then the natural and unique talent that student possesses will appear. The talent is theirs. All of it theirs. I just throw a little light on the road ahead and let them know that I’m right behind them.
– Marian Seldes

an abandoned garden
becomes a home
to a swarm of butterflies

– Sogi

It is Enough

To know that the atoms
of my body
will remain

to think of them rising
through the roots of a great oak
to live in
leaves, branches, twigs

perhaps to feed the
crimson peony
the blue iris
the broccoli

or rest on water
freeze and thaw
with the seasons

some atoms might become a
bit of fluff on the wing
of a chickadee
to feel the breeze
know the support of air

and some might drift
up and up into space
star dust returning from

whence it came
it is enough to know that
as long as there is a universe
I am a part of it.

– Anne Alexander Bingham

After the Great Illness Passes

–penned two years before COVID

There’ll come a time
when we sit together
and take deep breaths again.

There’ll come a time
when we aren’t bracing,
for the next onslaught.

There’ll come a time,
after the Great Illness passes,
when we remember who we really are.

Until then, don’t turn away.
Enter silence for long swaths of time if you need to.
But, don’t turn away.
Record with your Heart-Eye
for your children’s children
what is happening right now.

Every generation asks:
How did this happen on our watch?

I may be going blind,
and I may not be here to see it unfold,
but I have seen the future.
A Great Reclamation will unfurl.

People will move from room to room
as if moving through a great house.
The Revered Woman will be present.
Her soft-sturdy-groundedness is paramount.
Men of Esteem will play the role of Conscious Man again.

Crossing over each threshold,
acclimating to the Unseen Aether in each place
every home will conjure purification
and the Great Spirit of Grief underneath it all.

Everyone will wash each other’s brow
and whisper:

The fever has broken.

– Hawk of the Pines

The few minutes of a Spring night are worth ten thousand pieces of gold. The perfume of the flowers is so pure. The shadows of the moon are so black.
– Su Tung P’o

Do not dwell in the mistakes of the past. Do not lose yourself in the castles of the future and do not give your authenticity away to experts, gurus, government commissions, bosses, wives, mates – take back your mind and your body and begin to engage with the fact that you are alive, you are going to die, nobody knows what being alive is and nobody knows what dying is. You’re involved in a mysterious engagement where every living moment presents you with mystery, opportunity, and wonder. There is no mundane dimension, really. If you have the eyes to see it, it’s all transcendental.
– Terence McKenna

Earth is crammed with heaven.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

In Bertolt Brecht’s
“epic” theater
there is always a figure
who represents
the Homeric “epic” singer,
always a personage
like the street singer in 3Penny Opera
who tells the audience
that they are experiencing
a story someone is telling.
in conventional theater
the play is “a representation of reality,”
“a suspension,” as Coleridge put it,
“of disbelief.”
that’s true at times of Brecht as well
but always with the qualification
that this representation
is by someone, it is a story
a particular person is telling. others
might make different
similarly, Brecht’s actors
may suddenly
step out of character
as often happens
in Shakespeare as well–
Shylock, Polonius.
nothing is locked in;
everything exists
only as one possibility
among various others.
not even authorship
is certain. much of 3Penny
is John Gay’s play
in German translation.
I have a poem by Kipling
that is the source of both
Brecht’s “Surabaya Johnny”
(though Brecht added the marvelous pirate name)
and a passage in 3 Penny Opera.
this “author”
may be many authors
superimposed upon
one another–a lesson learned
by our own Bob Dylan who fell in love
with Jenny’s song
as performed by Lotte Lenya
at the Theater de Lys
in New York’s Greenwich Village.
and I, in the early 60s,
in my twenties,
was stunned to discover
that the climax of the great
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
was a challenge
to disagree
with the explicit message
the play was giving me.
I am nearly eighty
and that moment
of radical freedom
is still with me
still bearing fruit
in the vagaries
of my consciousness.
do you wish to know
the purpose of art?
du mußt dein Leben ändern
wrote Rilke
you must change your life.
the astonishment
of that moment
of radical freedom
will be with me
until I die.
if my life has any purpose
it is to say to others
what Brecht the storyteller
said to me
at Harvard University
in the library
when I first heard
Lenya sing.
– Jack Foley

“Be Here Now”! We can’t. We have too much trauma in the way. “The Power of Now”! Sounds good, but first we have to deal with the “Power of Then.” Worst things, first. It’s easy enough to talk about being in the “now.” But what we are we even talking about? Now through the mind? Through the heart? Through the body? What does it even mean to be fully present? Many of the people teaching nowness are head-tripping, meditation addicted spiritual bypassers. What do they really know about presence? The truth is that we are all trauma survivors, and that includes every spiritual teacher I have ever known. Almost every one of them has confused self-avoidance with enlightenment, blaming the mind for all that ails them while conveniently sidestepping their wounded hearts. Bottom line- we can’t be in the present, because our emotional and physical body are tied up in trauma knots. Some, many, perhaps all threads of our consciousness are still back there, locked into the originating wounds. If we want to truly BE HERE NOW, we have to be there, then. We have to untie the knots and heal the core wounds. Then, and only “then”, will we know the true power of NOW.
– Jeff Brown

Don’t even start considering solutions until you understand the problem. Your goal should be to “solve” the problem mostly within the problem domain, not the solution domain.
– Oz Nova

I’ve only
ever prayed
to avoid rescue.
– Topaz Winters

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.
– Henry David Thoreau

Remember that self-doubt is as self-centered as self-inflation. Your obligation is to reach as deeply as you can and offer your unique and authentic gifts as bravely and beautifully as you’re able.
– Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul

It takes real courage to live from the still strong voice within. Most people have never heard this voice or there is so much noise inside their head that it is barely audible. Of course it is not really a voice at all, but a rather more like a tiny flame, a spark, a burning ember. It is a passion for living that yokes us to wonder and delight. Rumi called it the “inner secret” and Rilke the “great solitude.”

Have you ever known someone who has the spark? If you ever find someone who does and the fire in their eye burns bright, be with them as much as possible. For this person is hard to find. Today people are so afraid of their own passion. Or their passion gets lost in shadow, their minds turn outward and they spurn the voice of the spirit whisperer.

Find time to be still and quiet inside, close the gap between your thinking mind and your heart beat. Feel the tremble of longing inside you. Like the salt that binds each of the cells in your body, it is the substance that holds you together and makes you feel entire and complete. Breathe into the spark of creation that lives in you, so that you give your soul the oxygen it needs to shine luminous and bright.

– Tias Little

The heart has its rhythm of exchange, she says, without surplus or deficit. Mine murmurs your name while conjugating precise explosions with valves onto the infinite. I take it down with me, in the body, to develop in a darkroom of my own. The way the current elongates our reflection in the river and seems to carry it off.
– Rosmarie Waldrop

All of us, all of us, all of us trying to save our immortal souls, some ways seemingly more round about and mysterious than others. We are having a good time here. But hope all will be revealed soon.
– Raymond Carver

People used to think that the earth was flat. That was true, and still is today, of, say, Paris to Asnières. But that does not alter the fact that science demonstrates that the earth as a whole is round, something nobody nowadays disputes.

For all that, people still persist in thinking that life is flat and runs from birth to death. But life, too, is probably round, and much greater in scope and possibilities than the hemisphere we now know.
– Vincent van Gogh

The spiritual journey is not a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that become more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal. What prevents us from being available to God is gradually evacuated. We keep getting closer and closer to our center. Every now and then God lifts a corner of the veil and enters into our awareness through various channels, as if to say, ‘Here I am. Where are you? Come and join me.’”
– Thomas Keating

maybe we try too hard to be
remembered, waking to the
glowing yellow disc in ignorance,
swearing that today will be
the day, today we will make

something of our lives. what
if we are so busy searching
for worth that we miss the
sapphire sky and cackling
blackbird, what else is missing?

maybe our steps are too straight
and our paths too narrow and
not overlapping…

– Naomi Shihab Nye

Reading was like an addiction; I read while I ate, on the train, in bed until late at night, in school, where I’d keep the book hidden so I could read during class. Before long I bought a small stereo and spent all my time in my room, listening to jazz records. But I had almost no desire to talk to anyone about the experience I gained through books and music. I felt happy just being me and no one else. In that sense I could be called a stack-up loner.
– Haruki Murakami

Let’s go drifting through the trees
Let’s go sailing on the sea
Let’s go dancing on the juke joint floor
And leave our troubles all behind and have a party

So easily forgotten are the most important things
Like the melody and the moonlight in your eyes
And a song that lasts forever, keeps on gettin’ better
All the time

‘Cause life is beautiful
Life is wonderous
Every star above is shining just for us
Life is beautiful on a stormy night

Somewhere in the world, the sun is shining bright
I get crazy, so afraid
That I might lose you one fine day
And I’ll be nothing but a tired old man

And I don’t wanna be without you at the party
So easily forgotten, the most important thing
Is that I love you, I do
And I want to spend my days and nights
Walking through this crazy world with you

Life is beautiful
Life is wonderous
Every star above is shining just for us
Life is beautiful on a stormy night
Somewhere in the world, the sun is shining bright

So easily forgotten, the most important thing
Is that I love you, I do
And I want to spend my days and nights
Walking through this crazy world with you

That’s right, baby
Life is beautiful
Life is wonderous
Every star above is shining just for us
Life is beautiful on a stormy night
Somewhere in the world, the sun is shine, shining bright
– Keb Mo

Here’s to the bridge-builders, the hand-holders, the light-bringers, those extraordinary souls wrapped in ordinary lives who quietly weave threads of humanity into an inhumane world. They are the unsung heroes in a world at war with itself. They are the whisperers of hope that peace is possible. Look for them in this present darkness. Light your candle with their flame. And then go. Build bridges. Hold hands. Bring light to a dark and desperate world. Be the hero you are looking for. Peace is possible. It begins with us.
– L.R. Knost

Sit in your body. Understand what it means to be made of every ancestor that has ever existed five hundred, five hundred thousand, five hundred million years back. You can almost start to disappear in it.
– E. Noélle Campbell

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come, to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.

Be excessively gentle with yourself.

– John O’Donohue

In a Café

I watched a man in a café
fold a slice of bread
as if he were folding
a birth certificate
or looking at the photograph
of a dead lover.

– Richard Brautigan

Alan Dugan once told me that I should bear in mind, when revising, that we often dream in the wrong order—when stuck on a poem, he’d say go home and redream it.
– Carl Phillips

In the land of elves…

You are the many-petalled
melting point of repeating decimals …

– Andrew Joron, Spine to Spin, Spoke to Speak

Unless you are educated in metaphor, you are not safe to be let loose in the world.
– Robert Frost

J. R. R. Tolkien, undisputedly a most fluent speaker of this language, was criticized in his day for indulging his juvenile whim of writing fantasy, which was then considered—as it still is in many quarters— an inferior form of literature and disdained as mere “escapism.” “Of course it is escapist,” he cried. “That is its glory! When a soldier is a prisoner of war it is his duty to escape—and take as many with him as he can.” He went on to explain, “The moneylenders, the knownothings, the authoritarians have us all in prison; if we value the freedom of the mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as possible.”
– Stephen R. Lawhead

My true home is on Cold Mountain
perched among the cliffs beyond the reach of trouble
images leave no trace when they vanish
I roam the whole universe from here
lights and shadows flash across my mind
not one dharma appears before me
since I found the magic pearl
I can go anywhere because everywhere is perfect
– Red Pine

So the myth in our society is that people are competitive by nature and that they are individualistic and that they’re selfish. The real reality is quite the opposite. We have certain human needs. The only way that you can talk about human nature concretely is by recognizing that there are certain human needs. We have a human need for companionship and for close contact, to be loved, to be attached to, to be accepted, to be seen, to be received for who we are. If those needs are met, we develop into people who are compassionate and cooperative and who have empathy for other people. So… the opposite, that we often see in our society, is in fact, a distortion of human nature precisely because so few people have their needs met.
– Gabor Maté

There are no stupid children; there is nothing but imbecilic education. Forcing students to heave themselves up onto the top of the heap contributes to the laborious progress of animal rage and cunning, but surely not to the development of a creative and human intelligence.
– Raoul Vaneigem, A Warning to Students of All Ages

Every life is many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.
– James Joyce

We must avoid quick-tempered criticism and furious, power-driven argument.
The same goes for sulking or silent scorn. These are emotional booby traps baited with pride and vengefulness. Our first job is to sidestep the traps.
When we are tempted by the bait, we should train ourselves to step back and think. For we can neither think nor act to good purpose until the habit of self-restraint has become automatic.
– Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, (Step Ten) p. 91

We were wild then.
They said, because we spoke a different language
And would not give over our spirits to them.
And though they tried, they could not ever remake us
No matter how hard they drilled and forced us.
We died over and over again in those stiff desks,
As our hearts walked home.
We sat on the fire escapes outside our dorm rooms on cold winter nights
And made plans to escape history.
– Joy Harjo

I planned to write a book about the color blue.
Now I’m suddenly surrounded by green,

green gagging me pleasurably,
green holding onto my hips from behind,

digging into the cleft,
the cleft that can be made.

You have no idea what kind of light you’ll let in
when you drop the bowl, no idea what will make you full

– Maggie Nelson

…If you cut
out a rectangle of a perfectly blue sky,
no clouds, no wind, no birds, frame it
with a blue frame, place it faceup on
the floor of an empty museum with an
open atrium to the sky, that is grief.
– Victoria Chang, Orbit

Dreams gather in black books: Coiled spaces, mixed up parables out of which looks the soul as it reads time. I travel the whole world with an uncomplicated rhyme. I feast in dreams, and fast in life; it seems that dreams transfigure strife.
– Ben Okri

And all your Faithless doubts
Will not destroy
The rising spring In me.
– Terry Tempest Williams

The fusion of all three movements—movement of breath, movement of thought, movement of body—gave rise to a radically new all-encompassing unitary movement. A shift from many movements to One Movement.
– Ahmed Salman

Listen: this world is the lunatic’s sphere,
Don’t always agree it’s real.
Even with my feet upon it
And the postman knowing my door
My address is somewhere else.
– Hafiz

Everyone will tell you WHAT you’re doing, but only you can tell us WHY you’re doing it. The why is what distinguishes your work.
– Martha Graham

Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected and is liable to burst forth suddenly in a moment of unawareness. At all events, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.
– Carl Jung

Lament (Randy Roark)

Nothing is ever
what it seems so I
just go blindly into it-

that has always somehow
seemed important-
to just go blindly into it.

[from “Never Stop Reading”]

It’s a sad day when you find out that it’s not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you.
– Lillian Hellman

The true person is
Not anyone in particular;
But, like the deep blue color
Of the limitless sky,
It is everyone,
everywhere in the world.
– Dogen

Only Once
All which, because it was
flame and song and granted us
joy, we thought we’d do, be, revisit,
turns out to have been what it was
that once, only; every invitation
did not begin
a series, a build-up: the marvelous
did happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don’t
expect to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be
unique as those were unique. Try
to acknowledge the next
song in its body — halo of flames as utterly
present, as now or never.
– Denise Levertov

Looking out the window at the trees
and counting the leaves,
listening to a voice within
that tells me nothing is perfect
so why bother to try, I am thief
of my own time. When I die
I want it to be said that I wasted
hours in feeling absolutely useless
and enjoyed it, sensing my life
more strongly than when I worked at it.
Now I know myself from a stone
or a sledgehammer.
– David Ignatow

shave your face. a haircut
even. kiss your kids. your
partner. your parents. tell
them you listened. you kissed
their asses like you were
taught. kissed their asses and
still. walk. or run. don’t
matter. glue your identification
to your forehead. wrap yourself
in the flag. hand over heart. hit
the high note. hide your slang
under your tongue. delete
your profile. scrub the net. clean
your blood. prepare your body
for peepholes no one
will ever peer into.
– Jason Reynolds

What should we do? we’ll ask
again. The earth will close

like a door above you.
What should we do?

And that click you hear?
That’s just our voices,

the deadbolt of discourse
sliding into place.

– Matthew Olzmann

Paradise is a world where everything is a sanctuary and nothing is a gun.
– Danez Smith

newborn bamboo
climbing straight
up to the sun

– Issa

Because there is too much to say
Because I have nothing to say
Because I don’t know what to say
Because everything has been said
Because it hurts too much to say
What can I say what can I say
– Toi Derricotte

What is the use of a realization
that fails to reduce your disturbing emotions?
– Padmasambhava

If people never did silly things,
nothing intelligent would ever get done.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

If You Knew
by Ellen Bass

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
They’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

Monet Refuses the Operation
by Lisel Mueller

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

I was, in early sobriety, too sensitive almost to live….Because I had not had time to develop any real self-esteem—it had been a while since I had acted in a consistently estimable way—I found offense everywhere.
– Anne Lamott

You can’t predict what a myth is going to be any more than you can predict what you’re going to dream tonight. Myths and dream come from the same place. They come from realizations of some kind that have then to find expression in symbolic form. And the only myth that’s going to be worth thinking about in the immediate future is one that is talking about the planet, not the city, not these people, but the planet and everybody on it.
​- Joseph Campbell

It’s possible to edit the soul out of a poem. Try not to.

Leave a little something that makes it imperfect and in need of a God.

– Airea D Matthews

Chögyam Trungpa ~ HOW AND WHAT WE SEE

The whole point it that we should be extremely careful and inquisitive about what we see in our world: what we see with our eyes, what we actually perceive, both how we see and what we see. This is very important.

True Perception

we rupture and we break
we stagger and we shine
mistake after mistake
inhabiting our minds

we stagger and we shine
we live our lives on spin
inhabiting our minds
and undermining limbs

we live our lives on spin
and thrive until we grieve
we undermine our limbs
then get the strength to leave

we thrive until we grieve
emotions steady try us
we get the strength. we leave.
what anger in defiance.
– Allison Joseph

In the fast fading century
As we spin through the years
I pray that our daily vision clears

– Dan Fogelberg

O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep

– Gerard Manley Hopkins

The hubris of the human species. Our wisdom is less than crabgrass which knows in its grassy soul the limits to which it can spread.
It is time to transcend weed consciousness and think only of one World in which all may flower – without choking out the flowering of any neighbor, be they bird, beast, stone – whatever race, whatever creed… we all beat with one Heart.

– Nicholas Pierotti, Our Daily Bread

… I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it,
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, and what was expected of heaven or fear’d of hell, are now consumed,
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable, …
– Walt Whitman

In the rock pools where the steelhead sleep, a dreaming is born.
– Nicholas Pierotti

My right to be me is tied by a thousand threads to your right to be you.
– Leslie Feinberg

When Albert Einstein met Charlie Chaplin in 1931, Einstein said, “What I admire most about your art is its universality. You do not say a word, and yet the world understands you.” “It’s true.” Replied Chaplin, “But your fame is even greater. The world admires you, when no one understands you.”

Without poetry, and especially a poetic perspective of living, our insatiable hunger overly-consumes the world. Ironically, this threatens our very survival to put food on our plates. This is because a poetic orientation to nourishment and beauty allows us to satiate ourselves inwardly without having to possess or materially consume the source of awe and beauty, which destroys what gives life. When our hearts and souls are immaterially nourished by the the world, it impassions us to materially protect it.

Being able to be appreciate and be awestruck by an antelope, tiger, or elephant in the wild nourishes us inwardly without having to kill it and hang it on our wall, where lifeless, it ironically ceases to inspire. Beholding and breathing in the life-giving refreshment of a forest, along with thousands of other of its enchantments, nourishes our very essence inspires ineffable gratitude, and our passion to protect it. Both these examples revolve around a poetic perspective: that of experiencing beauty and awe and reverie via material things as inspirational symbols for fulfillment, rather than mere objects to fill us via concretized consumption.

In a culture that pillages, rapes, and consumes to no end, everything must become monetized and materialized. Poetry, which preserves the non-literal and inexplicable, must be marginalized and deemed unessential so that beauty and the sacred can continue to be fed to the endless appetite of the economy.

For these very reasons, a poetic perspective is essential to safeguard the natural world, to preserve not only our own survival but the thriving of all ecosystems upon which we rely.

So please, don’t ever tell me that poetry is non-essential. It’s only disposable when our inner lives have deteriorated to the point that we destroy the world trying recover a feeling of joy and belonging, which is impossible.

– Jack Adam Weber

There’s a legend about a Chinese painter who was asked by the emperor to paint a landscape so pristine that the emperor can enter it. He didn’t do a good job, so the emperor was preparing to assassinate him. But because it was his painting, legend goes, he stepped inside and vanished, saving himself. I always loved that little allegory as an artist. Even when it is not enough for others, if it is enough for you, you can live inside it.
– Ocean Vuong

I would like to think that I have encouraged people with whom I’ve worked and studied to cultivate the very important and powerful trait of loyalty. I am a very loyal person. I’m loyal to people and to things and to cities and to ideas. People will change and fail and make foolish mistakes, but I don’t abandon them; my love for them doesn’t cease in the least. Our city crumbles and darkens and seems adrift, but I don’t move; I stay and love it it back to health, and it returns to the beautiful condition in which I found it. The theatre changes and shrinks, but I see the core of it all, which is glorious and proud and will never die. I’m loyal to what I love, and I try to love as much as I can as many as I can. Take the long walk with those people and things and places that you love. The rewards are too much to bear, in the best possible sense.
– Marian Seldes

I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves – we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together. We are each other’s destiny.
– Mary Oliver

People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, health foods, zen, surfing, ballet … People had to find things to do while waiting to die. I guess it was nice to have a choice.
– Charles Bukowski

In order to unleash good work, there has to be something in you that feels out of balance. It doesn’t have to be financial distress – it could be emotional or amorous. Whatever the source is, the thing that has shaken life up for you, it’s distress that generates art.
– Paul Auster

It came home to me indelibly that I was never going to change anything in America by walking around carrying a sign. It was a great revelation. It saved me a lot of anxiety and a lot of wasted energy.
– Peter Coyote

Poetry proper is never merely a higher mode (melos) of everyday language. It is rather the reverse: everyday language is a forgotten and therefore used-up poem, from which there hardly resounds a call any longer.
– Martin Heidegger, Language
– Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

The human heart is an ancient beast that roars and purrs with the same passions, whatever labels we may give them. We are so anxious to classify and categorize, both nature and human nature. It is a beautiful impulse—to contain the infinite in the finite, to wrest order from the chaos, to construct a foothold so we may climb toward higher truth. It is also a limiting one, for in naming things we often come to mistake the names for the things themselves. The labels we give to the loves of which we are capable—varied and vigorously transfigured from one kind into another and back again—can’t begin to contain the complexity of feeling that can flow between two hearts and the bodies that contain them.
– Maria Popova, Figuring

Beyond the nautical, his presence drew me back to an old idea, that we would be better off if everyone shifted one person over. I would move one person to my left or right and so on, all the way around the world. Maybe just for a day, so that at every table, in each meeting room, there would be one unexpected presence to whom basic things would have to be explained. things like, this is the purpose of the Windsor knot, this is why we take a nap after our milk and cookies.
– Bob Hicok, Words for empty and Word for Full

Truly this generation are cunning artificers,
From square and compass turn their eyes and change the true
Disregard the ruled line to follow their crooked fancies;
To emulate in flattery is their only rule.
– Quan Yu

.. This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar…
– Margaret Atwood

Consider the sunlight. You may see it is near, yet if you follow it from world to world you will never catch it in your hands. Then you may describe it as far away and, lo, you will see it just before your eyes.

Follow it and, behold, it escapes you; run from it and it follows you close. You can neither possess it nor have done with it. From this example you can understand how it is with the true Nature of all things and, henceforth, there will be no need to grieve or to worry about such things.
– Huang Po

Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.”
– John Muir

No more apologies for a bleeding heart when the opposite is no heart at all. Danger of losing our humanity must be met with more humanity.
– Toni Morrison

Be careful of words, even the miraculous ones. For the miraculous we do our best, sometimes they swarm like insects and leave not a sting but a kiss. They can be as good as fingers. They can be as trusty as the rock you stick your bottom on. But they can be both daisies and bruises. Yet I am in love with words. They are doves falling out of the ceiling. They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap. They are the trees, the legs of summer, and the sun, its passionate face…
– Anne Sexton

Why does the past do this? Why does it linger instead of receding? Why does it return with such a force sometimes that the real place in which one stands or sits or lies, the place in which one’s corporeal body most undeniably exists, dissolves as if it were nothing more than a mirage? The past cannot be grasped; it is not possible to return in time, to regather what was lost or carelessly shrugged off, so why these sudden ambushes, these flourishes of memory?
– Olivia Laing

I focus my mind on the space between the molecules that comprise my body.
– Gira

Life is political, not because the world cares about how you feel, but because the world reacts to what you do. The minor choices we make are a kind of vote, making it more or less likely that free and fair elections will be held in the future. In the politics of the everyday, our words and gestures, or their absence, count very much.
– Timothy Snyder

While the square is closely linked to man and his constructions, to architecture, harmonious structures, writing, and so on, the circle is related to the divine: a simple circle has, since ancient times, represented eternity, since it has no beginning and no end. An ancient text says that God is a circle whose center is everywhere but whose circumference is nowhere.

The circle is essentially unstable and dynamic: all rotary movements and impossible searches for perpetual motion derive from the circle.

– Bruno Munari, Square, Circle, Triangle

… the pang of tenderness remained, akin to the vibrating outline of verses you know you know but cannot recall.
– Vladimir Nabokov

But stay memory,
time’s plagiarist. Stay poem, spare time for memory.
Stay reader, beloved, prosthesis for the soul.
– Gregory Pardlo

Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
– Plato

With age comes the realization that nothing is as erotic, attractive, rare or calming as kindness.
– Tennessee Williams

The ancient Irish had a saying: ‘You don’t give a man a weapon until you’ve taught him how to dance.’ In other words, a different kind of learning is required before someone can be truly trusted with social power and potent things like weapons. If a man does not know the wounds of his own soul, he can deny not just his own pain, but also be unmoved by the suffering of other people. More than that, he will tend to put his wound onto others. He may only be able to see the wound that secretly troubles him when he forcefully projects it into someone else, in forms of abuse or violence.

So in the old culture-making idea, in order to properly bear arms a person must first become disarmed, as in becoming vulnerable and connected to something meaningful and supportive of life. The idea of forging the temperament of young men took precedence over the idea of simply giving them weapons at a certain age. The tempering of the souls involved discovering what kind of anger each might carry and learning about the inner line where anger turned into blind rage. Becoming tempered also meant immersing in the sorrow of one’s life and thereby being in touch with the grief of the world.

– Michael Meade

Those who seek liberation for themselves alone cannot become fully enlightened. Though it may be said that one who is not already liberated cannot liberate others, the very process of forgetting oneself to help others is in itself liberating.
– Musō Soseki, 13th Century Zen Rōshi

O love and summer, you are in the dreams and in me.
– Walt Whitman

He can see it — a green stone earring in her left ear.
Could have told her how beautiful it was there.
A memory, even now, bright as any moon.
– Robert Wrigley

Set sail, take the wing, commit to the stomp. Evoke a playful boldness that makes even angels swoon. There’s likely something tremendous waiting.
– Martin Shaw

There are stars you haven’t seen and loves you haven’t loved. There’s light you haven’t felt and sunrises yet to dawn. There are dreams you haven’t dreamt and days you haven’t lived and nights you won’t forget and flowers yet to grow. There is more to you that you have yet to know.
– Gaby Comprés

It doesn’t take much to surprise others, but to surprise oneself- now that is a great feat.
– Kristen Hartley

I believe that we, that this planet, hasn’t seen its Golden Age. Everybody says its finished … art’s finished, rock and roll is dead, God is dead. Fuck that! This is my chance in the world. I didn’t live back there in Mesopotamia, I wasn’t there in the Garden of Eden, I wasn’t there with Emperor Han, I’m right here right now and I want now to be the Golden Age …if only each generation would realise that the time for greatness is right now when they’re alive … the time to flower is now.
– Patti Smith

Time is said to be irreversible. And this is true enough in the sense that ‘you can’t bring back the past,’ as they say. But what exactly is this ‘past?’ Is it what has passed? And what does ‘passed’ mean for a person when for each of us the past is the bearer of all this is constant in the reality of the present, of each current moment? In a certain sense the past is far more real, or at any rate more stable, more resilient than the present. The present slips and vanishes like sand between the fingers, acquiring material weight only in its recollection. […] Time cannot vanish without trace for it is a subjective, spiritual category; and the time we have lived settles in our soul as an experience placed within time.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

The human being is a written letter, and the purpose of life is to read with care.
– György Konrád

If you can awaken
inside the familiar
and discover it strange
you need never leave home.
– Ted Kooser

Certain kinds of trauma visited on people are so deep, so stupefyingly cruel, that—unlike money, unlike vengeance, even unlike justice, rights, or the goodwill of others—art alone can translate such trauma and turn sorrow into meaning.
– Toni Morrison

Every generation gets a chance to change the world
Pity the nation that won’t listen to your boys and girls.
– U2

Writers do not find subjects; subjects find them.
– Elizabeth Bowen

Just as it is possible to obtain the silver that is in ore, the oil that is in sesame seeds, and the butter that is in milk, so is it possible to attain the buddhahood that is in all sentient beings.
– Gampopa

Either/Or: An Anthropocene Algebra

Right now, 100 species are driven to extinction daily.
I’m writing this on a Wednesday.
Since last Wednesday,
700 species, who will never
ever be seen again
on Earth, were lost.

Either we stop it today. Or we don’t.
And, 100 species
will be driven to extinction tomorrow.

18 million acres of forest were destroyed in 2020.
That’s 28,125 square miles.
If I walked a straight path
through all of the forests
destroyed in 2020,
to bear witness to the loss,
at a brisk 5 miles an hour,
I’d have to walk
for over 33 weeks
straight, without stopping,
to mourn them all.

Either we stop it this year. Or, we don’t.
And, the destruction will outpace
more than just our capacity to comprehend.

Currently, globally, 1 in 4 children,
under the age of five,
are killed by environmentally-induced illnesses,
according to the World Health Organization.

There’s more.

1.7 million children, under the age of 5
are killed by environmental “risks”
such as pollution and unsafe water
every year.

Either the numbers must be wrong.
Or they aren’t.
Either the numbers convince you.
Or you’ll take each and every one
of those 1.7 million babies
into your arms, against your chest,
so your beating heart feels
what stopping is like.

And you’ll know:
This has absolutely got to stop.

– Will Falk

A little science estranges men from God, but much science leads them back to Him…
– Louis Pasteur

Perhaps we don’t slip into the skin of others so much as we invite others to inhabit us, to slip into our skin, into our heart, thus making ourselves bigger beyond even our imagining. Empathy is not only a way to come alongside suffering in our small boat—it is a way to become the ocean. I believe that the gift of empathy makes us larger, if we don’t drown in the waters of suffering. And empathy that is alchemized through the medium of our wisdom gives us the energy to act selflessly on behalf of others.
A world without empathy is a world that is dead to other—and if we are dead to other, we are dead to ourselves. The sharing of another’s pain can take us past the narrow canyon of selfish disregard and even cruelty into the larger, more expansive landscape of wisdom and compassion.
– Joan Halifax

you and I
perfect friends
mountain bird

– Issa

@ilya_poet: And then you go outside, see the sunset, despite everything it is Saturday, stars come up and you recall a few lines:

No human saw the night in this garden
sliding blue into morning.
Only the sightless trees,
without brain cells, lived it
and wholly knew it.

– Denise Levertov

…one’s own quiet labor in the dark is the shadow of the same act committed by others in the same clandestine dark thousands of miles away.
– Martin Espada, Poetry Like Bread

I owe a lot
to those I don’t love.
– Szymborska

The book should betray me, in the sense that it should take me to places I am afraid to go.
– David Grossman

Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand.
– Thomas Merton

Coming Together
by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

It seems too slow,
this moving toward each other,
toward peace.
The heart is eager for union,
longs for grounding between continents,
longs for connection, for wholeness,
instead of all this fracture.
Do the tectonic plates
remember what it was
to be Pangaea? Can the heart
remember a time before
it was defined by rifting
and brokenness?
I have read that the next supercontinent
will form in 200 million years—
that we’re halfway through
the scattered phase.
Oh, we are so scattered.
They say the pace of the plates
is comparable to the speed
at which our fingernails grow.
Oh, so slow, this coming together.
Yet it happens. It happens.
Let the heart know
what the land knows: It happens.

The world isn’t simple enough to explain in words.
– Hayao Miyazaki

Very early on I came to see writing as a place where truth could be gotten at, but also where the truth could be defended.
– Rachel Cusk

War is the ultimate act of ego when it decides it is a god. . . . .It is the ultimate agenda of those who serve the self to the exclusion, negation and aversion of all else. . . .War is only an act of arrogance and ignorance due to unresolved fear and hatred.
– Douglas H Melloy

Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.
– Jane Austen

It should count as a great psychological achievement no longer automatically to despise those who like us.
– The School of Life

In this life, there are certain things you have to steal. If you really want them.

You may have to steal your power back. Who took it? A parent, a Church, an illness, a gun, a great storm?

You may have to steal back your voice, which has become too quiet, loud, serious, demure, confident… not your own.

Money and capitalism stole my self worth from me. I had to lose all my money to steal it back.

And my poetry was first taken away by my father. “Can you make a living writing poetry?” And there it went.

When I first met one of my greatest teachers, I dreamt that I broke into his house and stole his paintings. I didn’t want his theory and method, I wanted his art. I got it, but I had to learn the theory and methods to get in the door.

In the last few years, I had to steal the grace of aging from a culture that prizes youth, insisting that face creams, prostate supplements and eight hours of sleep will stop me from growing old. Now I long to have a face like tree bark and a voice ripe with whale tones. (Beloved poet, Meridel LeSueur, once said to me, “Ripeness is all.” Did she have to steal the grace, or did she always have it?)

What of yours is secured under lock and key, guarded by watchful eyes, or buried in some far off land? Whatever it is, case the promised land, plan your heist, collect your provisions, and set sail.

– David Bedrick

There is a deeper reason why the café was so precious to this town. And this deeper reason has to do with a certain pride that had not hitherto been known in these parts. To understand this new pride the cheapness of human life must be kept in mind. There were always plenty of people clustered around a mill – but it was seldom that every family had enough meal, garments, and fat back to go the rounds. Life could become one long dim scramble just to get the things needed to keep alive. And the confusing point is this: All useful things have a price, and are bought only with money, as that is the way the world is run. You know without having to reason about it the price of a bale of cotton, or a quart of molasses. But no value has been put on human life; it is given to us free and taken without being paid for. What is it worth? If you look around, at times the value may seem to be little or nothing at all. Often after you have sweated and tried and things are not better for you, there comes a feeling deep down in the soul that you are not worth much.
– Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café

Much of the difficulty in attempting to restructure American and other societies arises from this resistance by groups with vested interests in the status quo. Significant change might require those who are now high in the hierarchy to move downward many steps. This seems to them undesirable and is resisted.
– Carl Sagan

And doubtless it is dangerous to love
This somersault of seasons;
But I am weary of
The winter way of loving things for reasons.
– Richard Wilbur

I thought of water that’s as bright blue at night as it is during the day, an equal number of stars both above and below; conscious, now, of the power of this moment, this memory-in-progress, this antidote to the years and distances that lie ahead.
– Ryan Rydzewski

The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonising their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.
– Sophie Scholl


Believe me when I say
there is nothing
this blessing would not do
to protect you,
to save you,
to encompass you.

This blessing
would stand between you
and every danger,
every evil,
every harm
and hurt.

This blessing
would dare
to wade with you
into the waters that come
offering life.

It would make
a way for you
through the waters that come
threatening death.

I cannot explain
how fierce
this blessing feels
about you,
but I can tell you
it has more than pledged
itself to you;
it would lay down
its life for you
and not once
look back in regret
nor go in sorrow
for what it has chosen
to give.

And you—
so deeply blessed,
so utterly encompassed—
what will you save
in turn?

Not because
it is owed,
but because
you cannot imagine
failing to pass along
this grace
that casts its circle
so wide,
this love
that flows
so deep
through this perilous
and precious life.

– Jan Richardson

Looking at the Moon After Rain
by Li Po – 701-762

Translated by Florence Ayscough and Amy Lowell

The heavy clouds are broken and blowing,
And once more I can see the wide common stretching beyond the four sides of the city.
Open the door. Half of the moon-toad is already up,
The glimmer of it is like smooth hoar-frost spreading over ten thousand li.
The river is a flat, shining chain.
The moon, rising, is a white eye to the hills;
After it has risen, it is the bright heart of the sea.
Because I love it—so—round as a fan,
I hum songs until the dawn.

Early summer, loveliest season,
World is being coloured in.
While daylight lasts on the horizon, Sudden, throaty blackbirds sing.
The dusty-coloured cuckoo cuckoos. “Welcome, summer,”is what he says.
– Seamus Heaney

Wonder now if your interiority
reads differently. Hieroglyphics of porous marrow
pocketed with secrets,
– Lauren Turner

Can you gaze something into an absence?
I’m passed the sugar.

Can you sweeten something further into its own bitterness?
Into an otherworldly musk?

Just sprinkle layers and layers,
furthering it away.
– Lauren Turner

I made myself soft as the sky. / I loved so open / I knew every edge / and chose to fall from each of them
– Kolbe Riney

Years are needed before the sun
working on a Yemeni rock
can make a bloodstone.

Months must pass before cotton seed
can provide a seamless shroud.

Days go by before a handful of wool becomes a halter rope.

Decades it takes a child
to change into a poet.

And civilizations fall and are ploughed under
to grow a garden on the ruins,
the true mystic.

– Sanai

There must be another life, she thought, sinking back into her chair, exasperated. Not in dreams; but here and now, in this room, with living people. She felt as if she were standing on the edge of a precipice with her hair blown back; she was about to grasp something that just evaded her. There must be another life, here and now, she repeated. This is too short, too broken. We know nothing, even about ourselves.
– Virginia Woolf

O tell us, poet, what you do?
—I praise.

But those, dark, deadly, devastating ways,
how do you bear them, suffer them?

—I praise.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon,
East of the Sun.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Creatives have reputations for floating in unreality. It’s true that what they espouse hints of magic and mystery, having little to do with what the larger world calls real. People like [this] are labeled ‘hermit,’ ‘madman,’ ‘eccentric.’ Because they don’t live as others live, or accept the routine that makes the world go round, they are blamed, ridiculed, barely accepted as members of society. They are driven […] to greater extremes and further isolation, and rarely helped to do what they are born to do. Some do it anyway, and anyone who doubts the groundedness necessary for such a life should try it. To face each day supported, not by the dictates of a reliable outer framework, but by a chosen obedience to an inner necessity, one has to have one’s feet on the ground.
– Leif Anderson

I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it’s about to end.

And if you’re never going to see someone again, it’ll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, “It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now.”

And maybe if you’re never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it’ll shine and you can order everything off the menu you’ve never tried. Maybe, if someone’s about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you’re with a group of friends who’ll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you’ll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, “This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good.”

– Iain Thomas

Imagine two astronauts go to the moon, and while they’re there, there’s an accident and their ship can’t take them back to Earth. They have only enough oxygen for two days. There is no hope of someone coming from Earth in time to rescue them. They have only two days to live. If you were to ask them at that moment, “What is your deepest wish?”, they would answer, “To be back home walking on our beautiful planet Earth.” That would be enough for them; they wouldn’t want anything else. They wouldn’t think of being the head of a large corporation, a famous celebrity, or the president of the United States. They wouldn’t want anything but to be back here – walking on Earth, enjoying every step, listening to the sounds of nature, or holding the hand of their beloved while contemplating the moon at night. We should live every day like people who have just been rescued from dying on the moon. We are on Earth now, and we need to enjoy walking on this precious, beautiful planet. Zen Master Linji said, “The miracle is not to walk on water or fire. The miracle is to walk on the earth.” I cherish that teaching. I enjoy just walking, even in busy places like airports and railway stations. Walking like that, with each step caressing our Mother Earth, we can inspire other people to do the same. We can enjoy every minute of our lives.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

The World Teachers never etched their words
on paper or stone for all to obey;
they knew people would only split hairs,
bicker, compel other to follow their folly.
The more you listen to preachers,
the more you’ll moralize and judge,
so go learn on your own.
Everything is written inside:
You are The Book.
– Tao Te Ching

Of all my thoughts, in fact, the one for you is the only one in which I find rest, sometimes I relax completely in it and in it I sleep and from that I get up … You walk in the wind that transforms the world
– Rainer Maria Rilke

In self-organised systems, the complex interaction of many connected elements causes emergent behaviour that could never be predicted by a study of each part alone, no matter how detailed. The reductionist view of “nothing but” is analogous to someone observing that Shakespeare’s entire opus is nothing but an assemblage of twenty-six letters repeated in different configurations. Whether we are evaluating tornadoes, Shakespeare, or life itself, the patterns that connect the parts frequently contain far more valuable information than the parts themselves. This is especially true of living organisms. Because of the way that a living system continually regenerates itself, the parts that constitute it are perpetually being changed. It is the organism’s dynamic patterns that maintain its coherence.
– Jeremy Lent

Reshaping life! People who can say that have never understood a thing about life—they have never felt its breath, its heartbeat—however much they have seen or done. They look on it as a lump of raw material that needs to be processed by them, to be ennobled by their touch. But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. If you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infinitely beyond your or my obtuse theories about it.
– Boris Pasternak

Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it.
What appears bad manners, an ill temper
or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears
have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit meets the bone.
– Miller Williams

We listen too much to the telephone and we listen too little to nature. The wind is one of my sounds. A lonely sound, perhaps, but soothing. Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen for — sounds that will make him exhilarated and alive, or quiet and calm. . . . As a matter of fact, one of the greatest sounds of them all — and to me it is a sound — is utter, complete silence.
– Andre Kostelanetz

Flare by Mary Oliver


Welcome to the silly, comforting poem.

It is not the sunrise,
which is a red rinse,
which is flaring all over the eastern sky;

it is not the rain falling out of the purse of God;

it is not the blue helmet of the sky afterward,

or the trees, or the beetle burrowing into the earth;

it is not the mockingbird who, in his own cadence,
will go on sizzling and clapping
from the branches of the catalpa that are thick with blossoms,
that are billowing and shining,
that are shaking in the wind.


You still recall, sometimes, the old barn on your
great-grandfather’s farm, a place you visited once,
and went into, all alone, while the grownups sat and
talked in the house.
It was empty, or almost. Wisps of hay covered the floor,
and some wasps sang at the windows, and maybe there was
a strange fluttering bird high above, disturbed, hoo-ing
a little and staring down from a messy ledge with wild,
binocular eyes.
Mostly, though, it smelled of milk, and the patience of
animals; the give-offs of the body were still in the air,
a vague ammonia, not unpleasant.
Mostly, though, it was restful and secret, the roof high
up and arched, the boards unpainted and plain.
You could have stayed there forever, a small child in a corner,
on the last raft of hay, dazzled by so much space that seemed
empty, but wasn’t.
Then–you still remember–you felt the rap of hunger–it was
noon–and you turned from that twilight dream and hurried back
to the house, where the table was set, where an uncle patted you
on the shoulder for welcome, and there was your place at the table.


Nothing lasts.
There is a graveyard where everything I am talking about is,

I stood there once, on the green grass, scattering flowers.


Nothing is so delicate or so finely hinged as the wings
of the green moth
against the lantern
against its heat
against the beak of the crow
in the early morning.

Yet the moth has trim, and feistiness, and not a drop
of self-pity.

Not in this world.


My mother
was the blue wisteria,
my mother
was the mossy stream out behind the house,
my mother, alas, alas,
did not always love her life,
heavier than iron it was
as she carried it in her arms, from room to room,
oh, unforgettable!

I bury her
in a box
in the earth
and turn away.
My father
was a demon of frustrated dreams,
was a breaker of trust,
was a poor, thin boy with bad luck.
He followed God, there being no one else
he could talk to;
he swaggered before God, there being no one else
who would listen.
this was his life.
I bury it in the earth.
I sweep the closets.
I leave the house.


I mention them now,
I will not mention them again.

It is not lack of love
nor lack of sorrow.
But the iron thing they carried, I will not carry.

I give them–one, two, three, four–the kiss of courtesy,
of sweet thanks,
of anger, of good luck in the deep earth.
May they sleep well. May they soften.

But I will not give them the kiss of complicity.
I will not give them the responsibility for my life.


Did you know that the ant has a tongue
with which to gather in all that it can
of sweetness?

Did you know that?


The poem is not the world.
It isn’t even the first page of the world.

But the poem wants to flower, like a flower.
It knows that much.

It wants to open itself,
like the door of a little temple,
so that you might step inside and be cooled and refreshed,
and less yourself than part of everything.


The voice of the child crying out of the mouth of the
grown woman
is a misery and a disappointment.
The voice of the child howling out of the tall, bearded,
muscular man
is a misery, and a terror.


Therefore, tell me:
what will engage you?
What will open the dark fields of your mind,
like a lover
at first touching?


there was no barn.
No child in the barn.

No uncle no table no kitchen.

Only a long lovely field full of bobolinks.


When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,

like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.

Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.

Let grief be your sister, she will whether or no.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
like the diligent leaves.

A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.

Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.

In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.

Live with the beetle, and the wind.

This is the dark bread of the poem.
This is the dark and nourishing bread of the poem.

The function of imagination is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange; not so much to make wonders facts as to make facts wonders.
– G.K. Chesterton


Would that each season keep its appointments.
Is the day possible? Yes,
and the night follows fast in the pea gardens.
And the flowers have learned to regard
darkness as more of a favor,
closing their wan mouths.

How graciously the sky stays put,
almost as if, could we go there,
the helpers have cleared the tables,
filming each surface with wax,
and not one color out of place,
or too intense.

Would that each color achieve some permanence,
in shape, in bristle or stalk,
in petal draped with sunlight or rain wet.
Would that the earth remain itself,
and glisten in its ripe completion.

Tonight I walked out through the valley
and over the mountain to trumpets
ablare in the grass, to bees
in their scurry among bright faces of flowers,
or on their long ways back with honey.

– Greg Kuzma

I would like to bring to people something like happiness. I would like to discover a method so that if I want it to rain, it will start right away to rain. If one of my friends is ill, I’d like to play a certain song and he will be cured; when he’d be broke, I’d bring out a different song and immediately he’d receive all the money he needed.
– John Coltrane

We cannot live only for ourselves.
A thousand fibers connect us
with our fellow men;
and among those fibers,
as sympathetic threads,
our actions run as causes,
and they come back
to us as effects.
– Herman Melville

Maps and poems use different techniques to represent topography, to write place, but both are texts of landscape. Insofar as a poem or piece of autobiographical writing charts the terrain of the mind, it can be seen as a map of the self’s interiority, one’s inner landscape.
– Robert Hemmings

I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
– Emily Brontë

There was a time
in my life when
I felt I have made
a mistake for being
different from the
people around me
until one day I realized
that it was not a mistake
at all. The flavor
of your unique nature
actually supports the
depth and authenticity
of life. Your being
different is a rare gift
and anyone that is
open can benefit
from being
around you. Your being
different increases
the vibration of the
– Guthema Roba

To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves.
– Aldous Huxley

I like to think I know what works for me. Whether it works for anybody else is not for me to say.
– Frederick Wiseman

On The Street Where You Live
by Etta Jones

I have often walked down this street before
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before
All at once am I several stories high
Knowing I’m on the street where you live
Are there Lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour out of every door?
No, it’s just on the street where you live
And oh, the towering feeling
Just to know somehow you are near
The overpowering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear
People stop and stare, they don’t bother me
For there’s nowhere else on earth that I would rather be
Let the time go by, I won’t care if I
Can be here on the street where you live
And oh, the towering feeling
Just to know somehow you are near
The overpowering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear
People stop and stare, they don’t bother me
For there’s nowhere else on earth that I would rather be
Let the time go by, I won’t care if I
Can be here on the street where you live, yeah
If I can be here on the street where you live

Retail is debt. Storefronts create the illusion of prosperity. The city’s skyline is the visible sliver of a crescent moon, the penumbra of an eclipse; everything else lives in the red. Debt is the molten bedrock upon which all else shifts. This is a first principle of business. The question is how you manage it.
– Jessi Jezewska Stevens

served with flowers
on a mountain road
– Basho

What does love look like?

It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.

That is what love looks like.

– Saint Augustine

She says, when your hair’s a mess they think your life is too. And I shouldn’t give them the satisfaction of knowing my business better than me.
– Ebony Stewart

Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the running to spread the truth among such persons.
– Bertolt Brecht

Why I’m Here

Because my mother was on a date
with a man in the band, and my father,
thinking she was alone, asked her to dance.
And because, years earlier, my father
dug a foxhole but his buddy
sick with the flu, asked him for it, so he dug
another for himself. In the night
the first hole was shelled.
I’m here because my mother was twenty-seven
and in the ’50s that was old to still be single.
And because my father wouldn’t work on weapons,
though he was an atomic engineer.
My mother, having gone to Berkeley, liked that.
My father liked that she didn’t eat like a bird
when he took her to the best restaurant in L.A.
The rest of the reasons are long gone.
One decides to get dressed, go out, though she’d rather
stay home, but no, melancholy must be battled through,
so the skirt, the cinched belt, the shoes, and a life is changed.
I’m here because Jews were hated
so my grandparents left their villages,
came to America, married one who could cook,
one whose brother had a business,
married longing and disappointment
and secured in this way the future.

It’s good to treasure the gift, but good
to see that it wasn’t really meant for you.
The feeling that it couldn’t have been otherwise
is just a feeling. My family
around the patio table in July.
I’ve taken over the barbequing
that used to be my father’s job, ask him
how many coals, though I know how many.
We’ve been gathering here for years,
so I believe we will go on forever.
It’s right to praise the random,
the tiny god of probability that brought us here,
to praise not meaning, but feeling, the still-warm
sky at dusk, the light that lingers and the night
that when it comes is gentle.

– Jacqueline Berger

[W]e would sit in the dark, not saying anything, until the distance / between us became a living thing.
– Joanna Acevedo

In a few minutes they were talking to each other with their eyes, that sort of conversation that isn’t hampered with the expression and meaning of mere words.
– E. Temple Thurston

I thought about what I had learned when studying Chinese medicine, that we humans are microcosms of nature, a smaller universe per se and that the human body behaves according to the same natural laws that govern all living processes. Since humans are viewed as being part of the natural world and governed by the universal forces of nature, people are subject to the powerful dictates of cyclic rhythms.
– Frank Lipman, MD

It is foolish to answer a question that you do not understand. It is sad to work for an end that you do not desire.
– George Pólya

it was either paul eluard or w.b. yeates who said “there is another world but it is in this one.” “they” were right. the mystical belief concerning the existence of dimensions of reality other than what is here and now, is but one way of avoiding the need to engage in the transformation of the here and now. once we understand this, we can start reading the poet basho: “there is nothing you can see that is not a flower; there is nothing you can think that is not the moon.” there is nothing anywhere else, there is only our ability to see flowers everywhere and think moons all the time. for that reason when basho thought of seeing god where will he found her but in the flowers? he wrote: “how i long to see among dawn flowers, the face of god.” indeed, where else? pessoa the poet saw this same exact thing, he asked: “the mystery of things? i have no idea what mystery is! the only mystery is there being someone who thinks about mystery. the only inner meaning of things is that they have no inner meaning at all.” we are the creators of meaning, we are the seers of flowers and the thinkers of moons. but then we should let the meaning of flowers and moons create us back in their own splendid likeness.
– Hune Margulies

When I write, I take the overwhelming world and winnow it into a window.
– Carol Guess

I have no advice for anybody;
except to, you know,
be awake enough to see where you are
at any given time,
and how that is beautiful, and has poetry inside.
Even places you hate.
– Jeff Buckley

Curiosity is the Trailhead of the Way
– Frank LaRue Owen

Seek no one’s endorsement or approval. You are sacred and whole even before anyone noticed it.
– Guthema Robe

I’ve traded poems for bird watching.
– Kai Coggin

Whatever one is focused on is poison for the view
Whatever is embraced by effort is a fault of meditation.
Whatever is adopted or abandoned is a defect of action.
May we perceive the nature free from all shortcomings and limitations.
– Mipham Rinpoche

If you wish to get a hold of the invisible, you must explore as deeply as possible into the visible.
– Max Beckmann

Well the highway of life is wide and everyone’s on it
The butterfly the bat and the old bumblee bee
The paths of us pilgrims they do meet wide upon it
And someday I know that you will walk it with me
– Nicholas Pierotti

In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.
– Leonardo da Vinci


You memorize poems like a person who’s lost his country

– @ilya_poet

love is not the same as desire because desire can erase the self, the same way an orange sitting alone on a clean oak table in a plain white kitchen can erase the entire kitchen
– Josh English

All praise libraries and tea!
– Padraig ÓTuama

by Terry Tempest Williams

Unravel un·rav·el | \ ˌənˈravəl \

gerund or present participle: unraveling
1. undo (twisted, knitted, or woven threads)


straighten out
separate out

2. (of an intricate process, system, or arrangement) disintegrate or be destroyed


fall apart
come apart (at the seams)
go wrong

3. investigate and solve or explain (something complicated or puzzling)


work out
clear up
puzzle out
find an answer to
get to the bottom of
sort out
make head or tail of
figure out
suss (out)

Yes I come here
to share poems
and pointers
more often.
but most of the
times, I am quiet,
empty of comments
and opinions.
that is my way of
caring and loving.
a way of connecting
with life on the
highest level.
– Guthema Robe

I mostly agree
Our main selves are inside
Despite age or exterior

But then again, our exterior is part of us, but in my mind, so temporal… the eternal is inside

That’s why the lore of souls recognizing each other after death, or in life

A Poetry Lovers meme brought the Paula Cole song to mind, entitled “Me”

I am not the person who is singing
I am the silent one inside

I am not the one who laughs at people’s jokes
I just pacify their egos

I am not my house, my car, my songs
They are only stops along my way

I am like the winter
I’m a dark cold female

With a golden ring of wisdom in my cave

I am carrying my voice

I am carrying my heart

I am carrying my rhythm

I am carrying my prayers

But you can’t kill my spirit
It’s soaring and it’s strong

Like a mountain
I go on and on

But when my wings are folded
The brightly colored moth

Blends into the dirt into the ground


– Marian Haddad

Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it and it has not changed except to become more needed. The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. From the beginning, their functions, their duties, their responsibilities have been decreed by our species…the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit – for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love.
– John Steinbeck

Clarity became my signature word, and the lucid sentence my passion.
– Vivian Gornick

We don’t have to wait for anything at all. What we have to do is start.
– Octavia Butler

If your religion doesn’t make you a friend to the marginalized or a champion of the downtrodden or a healer to the wounded, you’re serving a god of your own design—that looks remarkably like your own self-serving interests.
– The Subversive Lens

I never once heard any of the Beats say anything intelligible about painting.
– Barney Rosset

about writing that we do not talk enough about, I think; writing is a time machine, writing resurrects, writing gives death the finger. And so amen.
– Brian Doyle

If every there were a spring day so perfect,
So uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

That it made you want to throw
Open all the windows in the house

And unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
Indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

A day when the cool brick paths
And the garden bursting with peonies

Seemed so etched in sunlight
That you felt like taking

A hammer to the glass paperweight
On the living room end table,

Releasing the inhabitants
From their snow-covered cottage

So they could walk out,
Holding hands and squinting

Into this larger dome of blue and white,
Well, today is just that kind of day.

– Billy Collins

Strangers invade the monasteries of our minds.
– Kristen Radtke

They think that intelligence is about noticing things are relevant (detecting patterns); in a complex world, intelligence consists in ignoring things that are irrelevant (avoiding false patterns).
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Poetry is an antidote to the loss of place or home. It’s how you carry memory in your body. And it has the great power to make contact with radical others, beloveds of all kinds across the great space and time that separates each from its other one.
– Bhanu Kapil

I have no eye for eternity. I know
only this world, where May’s light lengthens
into June’s long days, and someone I love
– Robert Cording

If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
– Isaiah 48:18

Those who TRUST in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which CANNOT BE MOVED, but abides FOREVER. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord SURROUNDS HIS PEOPLE, from this time forth and forever.
– Psalms 125:1-2

I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,
And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men.
– Walt Whitman

Generally, devotion is regarded as coming from the heart rather than the head. But tantric devotion involves the head as well as the heart.

For instance, the Tibetan Book of the Dead uses the symbolism of the peaceful deities coming out of your heart and the wrathful deities coming from your head. The vajrayana approach is a head approach- head plus heart together.

The hinayana and mahayana approaches to devotion come from the heart. The tantric approach to life is intellectual in some sense because you begin to read the implications behind things. You begin to see messages that wake you up. But at the same time that intellect is not based upon speculation but is felt wholeheartedly, with one-hundred-percent heart.

So we could say that the tantric approach to the messages of the all-pervading guru is co begin with intellect, which is transmuted into vajra intellect, and that begins to ignite the intuition of the heart at the same time.

This is the ideal fundamental union of prajna and shunyata, the union of eyes and heart together. Everyday events become self-existing teachings. Even the notion of trust does not apply any more. You might ask, “Who is doing this trusting?” Nobody! Trust itself is trusting itself.

The mandala of self-existing energy does not have to be maintained by anything at all; it maintains itself.

Space does not have a fringe or a center. Each corner of space is center as well as fringe. That is the all-pervading devotion in which the devotee is not separate from the object of devotion.

But before we indulge too much in such exciting and mystical language, we have to start very simply by giving, opening, displaying our ego, making a gift of our ego to our spiritual friend. If we are unable to do this, then the path never begins because there is nobody to walk on it. The teaching exists but the practitioner must acknowledge the teaching, must embody it.

– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

O despairer, here is my neck,
By God, you shall not go down! hang your whole weight upon me.
– Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

Feelings that have been pushed away do not actually disappear; they live on in the darkness of the Unconscious, pulling the strings in our relationships, our work in the world, our self-expression, our very sense of who we are and who we can be. Suffocated and alone, the neglected feelings cause us to become reactive, compulsive and obsessive, depressed, exhausted, anxious, and they can eventually even begin to affect our physical health. 

Until one day, we remember, all feelings have a right to exist in us. So, we stop numbing ourselves, and we stop running, and we feed these orphans love, attention, curiosity and Presence instead. Now, they can finally be felt, fully at home, fully in awareness, fully acknowledged, and they can come to rest…
– Jeff Foster

if you ever need to cry on cue, what works for me is thinking about the fact a queer person once would call every gay bar they had a number to just to hear the sound of other queers laughing somewhere, just listen, say nothing. as to not be alone. every week. for fourteen years.
– Arabelle Sicardi

I can’t stop mourning the what-ifs.
– Mai Der Vang

The Idea

for Nolan Miller

For us, too, there was a wish to possess
Something beyond the world we knew, beyond ourselves,
Beyond our power to imagine, something nevertheless
In which we might see ourselves; and this desire
Came always in passing, in waning light, and in such cold
That ice on the valley’s lakes cracked and rolled,
And blowing snow covered what earth we saw,
And scenes from the past, when they surfaced again,
Looked not as they had, but ghostly and white
Among false curves and hidden erasures;
And never once did we feel we were close
Until the night wind said, “Why do this,
Especially now? Go back to the place you belong;”
And there appeared , with its windows glowing, small,
In the distance, in the frozen reaches, a cabin;
And we stood before it, amazed at its being there,
And would have gone forward and opened the door,
And stepped into the glow and warmed ourselves there,
But that it was ours by not being ours,
And should remain empty. That was the idea.

I think that you work on the thing that’s eating away at you. And I think that the performers that we feel are wrestling with something significant are the performers that hold our attention. Why couldn’t people take their eyes off Brando? Something was always eating at him. I don’t know if it was ever named, but whatever it was, you couldn’t take your eyes off him when he came on [the] screen.
– Bruce Springsteen

Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.
– Flannery O’Connor

once in a while i pass myself going
in the other direction

i am afraid of the light
at the end of a poem.

– Wanda Coleman

alina pleskova:
breaks my heart how many americans say things like, “go get a ‘better’ job/move/work harder/stop complaining” w/ their whole chest vs. wanting everyone to have a better quality of life

All good things come by synchronicity and grace. You cannot, and need not, plan your route to Heaven. Any planning for heaven denies that it is already within you.
– Alan Cohen

Airea D. Matthews:

It doesn’t matter if you like an author personally. Read them fairly anyway.

Their work might be the sweetest thing they’ve made on this earth.

I don’t believe in art. I believe in artists. I refused to accept anything, doubted everything. So, doubting everything, I had to find something that had not existed before, something I had not thought of before. Any idea that came to me, the thing would be to turn it around and try to see it with another set of senses.
– Marcel Duchamp

I have become acutely aware of the fact that when it is easy to articulate what is attractive about a new approach to making change, the odds are there is nothing new in it.

This is a real issue with the cultural habit of basing the viability of a new “fix-the-world” concept on its popularity, or ease of comprehension. “Make it simple” — they say– so people will understand it– Well–The issue is that the familiar repeats itself, the traps of the epistemological habits perpetuate themselves. Right now that trap is deeply woven into the industrial logic of product, unit, efficiency, and engineered design. It is difficult if not entirely radical to buck those habits…

And when there is something that does, it is incoherent to the valuations of the existing ways of assessing viability.

So that meme that was popular, that change-maker tool set that caught on, that colorful model that people “really took to” — are not actually making change. They are perpetuating familiar ways of thinking in new shapes, forms and vocabularies.

Ways of perceiving are addictive– and the appetite for those ideas that are easy to perceive is going to feel good when fed. The industrial epistemology is an addiction. Perception that brings new ways living is not going to be articulate-able through that lens. Be careful not to feed the addiction while congratulating oneself on getting ahead with an appetizing meme… the easier it is digested, the more likely it is to be more of the same.

I hope that this is getting through perhaps a little bit– Just enough so that the “reach exceeds the grasp”–

That is where the movement is- just outside the total blur, right at the edge of the frequency, just beyond the words we have.

At this point, to repeat, to feed the perceptions of industrial logic is not just postponing real change– it is dangerous.

– Nora Bateson

I have nature, art, and poetry.
If that is not enough, what is enough?
– Vincent van Gogh

Walt Whitman’s soul-splashed cosmos overlapped the boundaries of the individual self, subverting the subject-object split in modern thinking.
– Drew Dillinger

What the theologian shrinks from, the poet grasps intuitively.
– Cynthia Bourgeault

The more I dim my eyes over print and frazzle my brain over abstract ideas, the more I appreciate the delight of being basically an animal wrapped in a sensitive skin: sex, the resistance of rock, the taste and touch of snow, the feel of the sun, good wine and a rare beefsteak and the company of friends around a fire with a guitar and lousy old cowboy songs. Despair: I’ll never be a scholar, never be a decent good Christian. Just a hedonist, a pagan, a primitive romantic.
But what’s an honest soul to do? I don’t know. I can say this: Be loyal to what you love, be true to the earth, fight your enemies with passion and laughter.
– Edward Abbey

For life is the best thing we have in this existence. And if we should desire to believe in something, it should be a beacon within. This beacon being the sun, sea, and sky, our children, our work, our companions and, most simply put, the embodiment of love.
– Patti Smith

…We talk
Ceaselessly to things that can’t respond
Or won’t respond. What are we talking for?
We’re talking to coax hope and love from zero.
We’re talking so the brain of the geode
Will listen like a garden heliotrope
And open its quartz flowers. We are talking
Because speech is a sun, a kind of making.
– Mark Jarman

We were the first generation to have, in our own homes, the means to re- and forward-wind reality: even very small children could press their fingers against those clunky buttons and see what-has-been become what-is or what-will-be.
– Zadie Smith

There is a permanent amnesia planted in us, which just as we keep forgetting our dreams, we sometimes keep on forgetting our reality.
– Isaac Bashevis Singer

This is a day of celebration!
Today, we are divorcing the past
and marrying the present.
and you will find God
in every room.
Today, we are divorcing resentment
and marrying forgiveness.
and God will find you
in every tune.
Today, we are divorcing indifference
and marrying love.
Drink, and play that tambourine
against your thighs.
We have so much celebrating to do!
– Kamand Kojouri

I prefer the saddle to the streetcar and star-sprinkled sky to a roof, the obscure and difficult trail, leading into the unknown, to any paved highway, and the deep peace of the wild to the discontent bred by cities. . . it is enough that I am surrounded by beauty
– Everett Ruess

Tom Hirons
Meanwhile, flowers still bloom.
The moon rises, and the sun.
Babies smile and somewhere,
Against all the odds,
Two people are falling in love.
Strangers share cigarettes and jokes.
Light plays on the surface of water.
Grace occurs on unlikely streets
And we hold each other fast against entropy
And the struggles of our time.
Life leans towards living
And, while death claims all things at the end,
There were such precious times between,
In which everything was radiant
And we loved, again, this world.

The difference between what’s whole

and what’s held, what’s withheld
or revealed, what’s real and what’s

revelation – that’s what I seek,
rest of my life spent in search

of little epiphanies, tiny sparks surging
out of the brain during the clumsiest speech.
– Allison Joseph

You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.
– Cheryl Strayed

The only thing to do with sadness is to introduce it to indestructible beauty.
– Heidi Rose Robbins

I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open—always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake—after a wrong guess.
– Walt Whitman, Walt Whitman’s Camden Conversations

I don’t feel particularly proud of myself. But when I walk alone in the woods or lie in the meadows, all is well.
– Franz Kafka, Letters to Friends, Family, and Editors

The idea that the ego must dissolve as we ‘mature’ is yet another way that we pit ourselves against our humanity. In fact, the ego gets healthier as we awaken, and it becomes indistinguishable from all that we are. We don’t lose parts as we grow- we integrate them into a holy, wholly weave.
– Jeff Brown

Meaningful Stories

We like meaningful stories because we are nourished by meaning. Wanting our own stories to be as meaningful as possible, we long to understand more about “What’s going on?” Understandings and stories enable us to read the messages of perception, which are meaningless without some understanding. As Gurdjieff said, we can live for weeks without food and for minutes without air, but we cannot live for a second without meaning. The ability to transmute the stuff of experience into meaning is at the heart of the creative power within us.

We use our own stories of interactions and relationships to construct and preserve patterns of experience and identity. These self-made stories help us transmute our experiences and those of others into meaningful nuts of knowledge. Which means paying close attention, while being open to new understandings and imaginings. Making a good story.

One’s sense of understanding is the filter through which the living sift the great rivers of experience in order to collect significant nuggets of value. Through being our own journalists, poets, novelists, comedians, editors and interpreters of each personal event, this Storyteller in every mind weaves the ongoing identity of oneself. Every life makes its own stories. Being alive means understanding the stories you’re making, “translating” lots of other stories going on around you, and dreaming up those you’ve only imagined, as of yet. And everybody’s involved in those stories themselves, before considering all of the stories you read or watch online.

Steven L. Talbott says in Evolution as It Was Meant to Be that an “organism is not so much something with a causal, physical origin as it is a power of origination — or a power of storytelling. It manifests itself in becoming — in the coordinated and directive aspect of organic processes moving toward fullness of expression.” So I disagree with Kenneth Burke – one of my favorite thinkers – when in Attitudes of History he says that, unlike humans, all wordless things “proceed sans Story.”

All of the living in this wordless universe are deeply involved with their personal stories. They don’t need words to understand what they’re trying to eat, to mate with, or to care for. They’re very aware of how their stories are developing, since that’s the only way to function when you’re alive.

– George Gorman

And this is it. This is the life we get here on earth. We get to give away what we receive. We get to believe in each other. We get to forgive and be forgiven. We get to love imperfectly. And we never know what effect it will have for years to come. And all of it…all of it is completely worth it.
– Nadia Bolz-Weber

Some other advice: Be kind, be kind, be kind. You need not be a doormat. But make people ask what we put in the water here, that Harvard grads are so kind. (Please do not also make them ask what we smoke.) Pick the objects of your affection with care, but then love steadily and unstintingly. Wear your heart on your sleeve and wear sunblock, too.

And, read books! The greatest technology ever invented is not the internet. It is the book. Out in the cold, hard, messy world, you will not need more information. You will be drowning in information. You will need perspective. Vision. Clarity. Wisdom. And, above all, candor — the kind of candor that comes when people are not writing for clicks.

– Gish Jen

I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.
– Walt Whitman

Sometimes Poetry World is a deeply unkind place, and I would rather go live on Essay Planet instead.
– Jehanney Dubrow

I have arrived—at a place roughly equidistant from my youth—and my sunset years.

This means that when I leap for a frisbee, I often grasp empty air, my “leaper” no longer leaping like it once did. It also means that I’m impatiently waiting for the wisdom I was certain would arrive by now. I’ve lost the magic of youth while not yet grasping the priceless gems of old age.

I’m in a purgatory of sorts, some liminal space between being and becoming, between Here and There. Between Then and What’s Yet to Come.

It’s a peculiar conflagration: This slow mourning of my youth, while simultaneously longing for the insight and depth that’s beyond my grasp.

This is by no means a judgment of The Middle Passage. There are just some days, I sense the “stuckedness” descend—and feel like I’m doing splits between a chasm stretched out between past and future. And I’m no longer as flexible as I once was.

– The Subversive Lens

Soul Lines

How do you know that I am not
your great grandmother
or that one day I will not be
your grandson?

Maybe I have been a camel
and you, a chimpanzee.

If I am ever a bird,
I pray that I am gifted
a far better voice.

They speak of the Seventh Generation –
Our need to protect this land,
these waters,
the air we breath
for them –
the unborn.

What if we are to be the Seventh Generation
come again,

Am I stealing in this life from
the body that will
carry me in the next?


I think it would be best if we
were all spiders
at least once.

Perhaps that’s what it takes
to understand
how interconnected,
and miraculous

the web.

– Jamie K. Reaser

But without you, who am I?
Only a scholar in a distant country,
a success, without fears and humiliations.
– Czeslaw Milosz, My Faithful Mother Tongue

When I desire you a part of me is gone.
– Anne Carson

The very nicest thing about being a writer
is that you can afford to indulge yourself
endlessly with oddness,
and nobody can really do anything about it,
so long as you keep writing
and kind of using it up, as it were.
All you have to do—and watch this carefully,
please—is keep writing.
So long as you write it away regularly
nothing can really hurt you.
– Shirley Jackson

There is a world
which poets cannot seem to enter.
It is the world everybody else lives in.
And the only thing poets seem to have
in common is their yearning
to enter this world.
– Mary Ruefle

The ugliest thing in America is greed, the lust for power and domination, the lunatic ideology of perpetual Growth – with a capital G. ‘Progress’ in our nation has for too long been confused with ‘Growth’; I see the two as different, almost incompatible, since progress means, or should mean, change for the better – toward social justice, a livable and open world, equal opportunity and affirmative action for all forms of life. And I mean all forms, not merely the human. The grizzly, the wolf, the rattlesnake, the condor, the coyote, the crocodile, whatever, each and every species has as much right to be here as we do.
– Edward Abbey

on the beach
twilight pours out
across the waves
– Issa

Conflict of any kind – physically, psychologically, intellectually – is a waste of energy. Most of us are brought up to struggle, to make effort. When we are at school, that is the first thing that we are taught: to make an effort. And that struggle, that effort is carried throughout life. To be good you must struggle, you must fight evil, you must resist, control. So, educationally, sociologically, religiously, human beings are taught to struggle.

You are told that to find God you must work, discipline, do practice, twist your body, deny, suppress; that you must fight, fight, fight at that so-called spiritual level which is not the spiritual level at all…

The conflict between “I should” and “I should not,” “I must” and “I must not”: once having created this duality, conflict is inevitable. So one has to understand the whole process of duality. Not that there isn’t man and woman, green and red, light and darkness, tall and short – all those are facts. But in the effort that goes into the division between fact and idea, there is the waste of energy.
– J. Krishnamurti

Reach high with language – excite the reader. Choose words for their musicality as much as their aptness.
– Nuala O’Connor

The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence.
– Thomas Berry

Wild strawberries are best for mental shock.
Wild strawberries are best for the world’s end.
– Anna Kamieńska


When we speak of basic goodness, we are not talking about having allegiance to good and rejecting bad. . . It is not a “for” or “against” view, in the same way that sunlight is not “for” or “against”. Basic Goodness is good because it is unconditional. It is there already in the same way that heaven and earth are there already. We don’t reject our atmosphere. We don’t reject the sun and the moon, the clouds and the sky. We accept them. We accept the sky is blue; we accept the landscape and the sea. We accept highways and buildings and cities. Basic goodness is that basic, that unconditional. It is not a “for” or “against” view in the same way sunlight is not “for” or “against”.

Love and Compassion are the true religions
to me.
But to develop this,
we do not need to believe in any religion.
– Dalai Lama

One could laugh at the world better
if it didn’t mix tender kindliness
with its brutality.
– D. H. Lawrence

Emotional states are fairly quick bursts of neuronal gossip. Traits, on the other hand, are more like the neuronal equivalent of committed relationships.
– Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

You are the bird whose wings came
when I wakened in the night and called.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, The Guardian Angel

A spiritual mentor once suggested that to evaluate my own level of spiritual maturity,
ask myself
“How often am I offended?”
– Andrew Bear

bone cold morning
choosing the tea mug
without the handle
– Carolyne Rohrig

Sometimes the stories we tell about how the world works, who the villains are, who the victims are, who the plot serves and who it kicks to the precipice, become so territorial and fixed – like a forest converted into a park, overlain with maps, signposts, and little histories entombed at the entrances of its paths – that we fall trapped in the convenience of habit, impervious to the fact that even landscapes travel.

The image freezes us, desensitizes us to little molecular happenings, the little exchanges here and there, the upending of long-established roles. In those moments when we refuse to budge, when we tell ourselves that justice demands that we stick to the stories we are used to, we begin to eat up ourselves, to subjugate ourselves, to become the very thing we say the ‘other’ is.

In those times, the thing to do – if we are so enabled and gifted by the agency of the trickster – might be to stay with the tensions of duplicity. To listen when it would be easier to talk. To sit with the shock of the caricature where one seeks the affirmation of the habitual image, for the caricature is how the image lets down its hair and breathes.

The caricature is the image’s secret refusal to abide faithful to our conceptions of the world.

– Bayo Akomolafe

a himalayan eagle
rises from the treetop
a wordless poem
– Kala Ramesh

And so
it has taken me
all of sixty years
to understand
that water is the finest drink,
and bread the most delicious food,
and that art is worthless
unless it plants
a measure of splendor in people’s hearts.

– Taha Muhammad Ali

Trans: Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, and Gabriel Levin

As the tricky bag which has encouraged us to attempt to control the whole world, “business” is a difficult subject. Better to start with what good business dealings are to the rest of the living. Before humans became control-addicts, good business was mainly about profiting from a mutually beneficial exchange. Whether between skilled humans, members of another species or symbiotic allies from different species, relationships based on mutual benefit have often said, “Let’s make hay while the sun shines.” Any good exchange system – whether of cells making an organism or of individuals forming a flock, herd or tribe – appreciates the emotional reward of different desires and opportunities congealing into a shared context of agreement. Emotionally coordinating through feeling-speech, the participants all get something they want from a good exchange. A win-win experience; a sense of satisfaction. Collaborative diversity lives.
– George Gorman

The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even—if you will—eccentricity.
– Joseph Brodsky

A second truth of equal weight contradicts the first, proclaiming through art, religion, philosophy, science and even war that human life, in some way not easily definable, is significant and unique and supreme beyond all the limits of reason and nature. And this second truth we can deny only at the cost of denying our humanity.
– Edward Abbey

Look at the single-minded lens
through which all things are solemnized
connecting you to them
– Allan Peterson

A poet’s first need,’ says Seamus Heaney, ‘is to make works that
seem all his own work,’ or to find his voice, the one he alone can
sing with and through. The poet’s second need is harder though,
because he has to go beyond himself and take on ‘the otherness of
the world in works that remain his own, yet offer right-of-way to
everybody else.’ The capacity for continuous transformation means
being an open vessel through which new sounds and ideas may
pass. Learning to be wholly yourself requires patience and a dutiful
ability to listen and observe. If you’re talking half as much, then
you’re listening doubly, reflecting the attitudes of your time and
more importantly, assimilating the bourbon of the world’s words,
the colloquial unguarded communications.
– Keith Flynn, The Imagination as a Redemptive Force

An emptiness so vast I can’t tell
if I am in it or it in me.
– Richard Jackson

You hold an absence
at your center,
as if it were a life.
– Richard Brostoff

Tonight I love you in a way that you have not known in me: I am neither worn down by travels nor wrapped up in the desire for your presence. I am mastering my love for you and turning it inwards as a constituent element of myself.

Tonight I love you on a spring evening. I love you with the window open. You are mine, and things are mine, and my love alters the things around me and the things around me alter my love.

– Jean-Paul Sartre, The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone De Beauvoir


Sharing earphones is so romantic until you have to decide who gets Simon and who gets Garfunkel

Hello silence, my old friend.

I wanted
to say something between a whisper and a prayer

– Cynthia Manick


In a life
properly lived,
you’re a river.

– Jim Harrison

Old Woman Changemaker

The answer is always close at hand.
Stop muddying your own water.
— Darion Kuma Gracen

When Old Woman Changemaker arrives, only rarely does She appear
with the sheer force
of our worst hurricane imaginings.

Though the blustery churn
and wind blown disorientation
feels “real” to our guts and bones

the actual marker of ‘no going back’
is how Old Woman Changemaker
seeps into us like a slow trickle,
working Her way into unseen fissures,
quietly breaking off
breaking apart
wearing away
anything that hinders the soul.

Like a mountain corridor
between two ancient prefectures,
when Old Woman Changemaker comes,
a form of inner travel begins.

All weighty habits
become extra baggage.

All crutches
make for a blister-filled
lumbering journey.

Any contracts
signed in the poison of false ink
are rendered null and void.

We can’t out-think
Old Woman Changemaker.

She is all-knowing, all-seeing,
and calls each traveler to see
with the eyes of their feet.

With enough walking,
it becomes pain-apparent:

Our life is our passage.

Our passage is inseparable
from the truths and falsehoods
we tell ourselves.

When we begin unstitching,
we have to surrender our frail
form to be held in safe-
keeping by another
(even if the other isn’t the
“perfect guide” we had imagined).

Old Woman Changemaker
requires that we humble ourselves
to Her flowing rhythm,
not our own invented timelines.

– Frank Inzan Owen, Hidden Mountain

by Lucille Clifton
i have gathered my losses
into a spray of pain;
my parents, my brother,
my husband, my innocence
all clustered together
durable as daisies.
now i add you,
little love, little
who walked unannounced
into my life
and almost bloomed there.

May I be the tiniest nail in the house of the universe, tiny but useful. May I stay forever in the stream.
– Mary Oliver

There has to be a word
for the kind of loneliness
shared by two, a loneliness
big enough to rechristen
itself as lineage.
– Topaz Winters

The life of wisdom must be a life of contemplation combined with action. In the past in American culture, contemplation has not been held in high regard. In the 1950s people labeled Adlai Stevenson an ‘egghead’ and believing he would not make a good President precisely because he was a contemplative man, given to deep thinking and self-doubts. I have heard parents tell their adolescent children in all seriousness, ‘you think too much.’ What an absurdity this is, given the fact that it is our frontal lobes, our capacity to think and examine ourselves that make us most human.

[. . .] Examination of the world without is never as personally painful as examination of the world within, and it is certainly because of the involved in a life of genuine self-examination that the majority steer away from it. Yet when one is dedicated to this truth the pain seems relatively unimportant – and less important (and therefore less painful) the farther one proceeds on the path of self-examination.”
– M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled

The cord that tethers ability to success is both loose and elastic. It is easy to see fine qualities in successful books or to see unpublished manuscripts, inexpensive vodkas, or people struggling in any field as somehow lacking. It is easy to believe that ideas that worked were good ideas, that plans that succeeded were well designed, and that ideas and plans that did not were ill conceived. And it is easy to make heroes out of the most successful and to glance with disdain at the least. But ability does not guarantee achievement, nor is achievement proportional to ability. And so it is important to always keep in mind the other term in the equation—the role of chance…What I’ve learned, above all, is to keep marching forward because the best news is that since chance does play a role, one important factor in success is under our control: the number of at bats, the number of chances taken, the number of opportunities seized.
– Leonard Mlodinow

In the West, you find the idea that only humans have language. I never believed that. We know bacteria sing to each other, that even subatomic particles are self-aware and communicate and tangle with one another. So, for me, the universe is itself language; everything is speaking to everything else, in particular chemical, sonic, and territorial languages. There are sorts we can’t even imagine, yet together they form part of what we as humans can sense and perceive. We can talk about things as if we know what we are talking about. That’s the most fascinating thing in the world because in truth we don’t know much at all. What we don’t know composes 99.9 percent of the real. That possibility of sensing what we cannot name makes language what it is—a reaching for what cannot be said.
– Cecilia Vicuña

People everywhere try so hard to make the world better. Their intentions are admirable, yet they seek to change everything but themselves. To make yourself a better person is to make the world a better place. Who develops industries that fill the air and water with toxic waste? How did we humans become immune to the plight of refugees, or hardened to the suffering of animals raised to be slaughtered? Until we transform ourselves, we are like mobs of angry people screaming for peace. In order to move the world, we must be able to stand still in it.
– Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

I had a moment of clarity, saw the feeling in the heart of things, walked out of the garden crying.
– Allen Ginsberg

She was, by nature, a great artist in the mise en scène of emotions…
– Henry James

The good earth spins in darkness?
I carry this feather.

I carry this feather wherever I go.

– Jane Mead

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.
– Mark Twain

We died prodigiously; it hurt a while
But left a certain quiet in the eyes.
– Jack Spicer

The Imaginal Stage
by D.A. Powell
turns out
there are more planets than stars
more places to land
than to be burned

I have always been in love with
last chances especially
now that they really do
seem like last chances

the trill of it all upending
what’s left of my head
after we explode

are you ready to ascend
in the morning I will take you
on the wing

I Am Different
by Layli Long Soldier

I do not fear being alone anymore, any more than I fear the “I” in a poem. “I” still do not understand myself completely, and if viewed from the corner of the eye, that’s thrilling. “I” am in a lifelong mystery within my own ownership. Yet no one, not even “I” will witness its unfolding entirely. I’ve heard that the first words uttered as a sentence were, I am different. Is that true ? And if it is, it must be true when the thinker says, in language there are only differences. This sacred gap. A recognition. Our distance from one another is ground for my “I” and yours for “you.” I’m aware / thus I know / I am different when I ask: can you love the “I” in the poem as much as you love the poem.


Yiddish for “I am broken hearted, but carrying all my broken pieces with me”

– Grace Schireson

Our entire spiritual practice is to meet our edge & soften.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Chogyam Trungpa ~ THE TRUTH OF THE PATH

Letting go is only possible for short periods. We need some discipline to bring us to “letting be.” We must walk a spiritual path. Ego must wear itself out like an old shoe, journeying from suffering to liberation. The truth of the spiritual path, the practice of meditation, is the Fourth Noble Truth taught by the Buddha.

I love you, love you, love you,
sad as you are, O world.
– Adelia Prado

Whatever cartography an organism embarks upon…whatever an organism does, adopts, ritualizes, crafts, prosthetizes and proselytizes to cater to its body…is also its body. Bodies do not precede the moves they make; bodies are movements concatenated.
– Bayo Akomolafe

We are not lovers, not brother and sister, though we drift hand in hand through a hall thrilling and burning as thought and desire expire, and, over this dream of life, this life of sleep, we waken, dying– violet becoming blue, growing black, black–all that an iris ever prays, when it prays, to be.
– Li-Young Lee

You cannot leave a mess behind and go beyond – it will pull you back.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

Above all, don’t give in to distracted or malicious or angry monologues. Eliminate the exclamation points. Organize your defenses, preserve your wholeness.
– Elena Ferrante

Making Peace

A voice from the dark called out,
‘The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.’

But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.

A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.
A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses . . .

A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light—facets
of the forming crystal.

– Denise Levertov

A country in love with itself
Cannot regurgitate its worldly goods in time.
– Don Gordon

The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.
– Søren Kierkegaard

The interior life is often stupid. Its egoism blinds it and deafens it … The trick of reason is to get the imagination to seize the actual world—if only from time to time.
– Annie Dillard

It’s as if he can’t quite remember what drove him into words in the first place, all those years before, yet words are what he still deals in. I suppose it’s a bit like marriage, he said. You build a whole structure on a period of intensity that’s never repeated. It’s the basis of your faith and sometimes you doubt it, but you never renounce it because too much of your life stands on that ground.
– Rachel Cusk

When the world began, it was very small. Songs blew the earth up to its present size. Songs turn frustration into power, anxiety into comfort. Like a blanket, they form a zone of protection around the singer. Sing on the way home alone at night in a fearful place and the song will move out into the space around you. Is this not prayer, sounds that come from our breath, lifting the spirit as they meet the air?
– Ellen Meloy

Not everyone who drinks is a poet. Some of us drink because we’re not poets.
– Dudley Moore

Learning to live is more important than any hidden or psychic teaching. Every day we believe we have learned the lesson, but if this were the case, the world would have become a paradise. If only we knew the value of our life, the value of our soul, the most precious time would be one dedicated to careful observation and a quiet perception of reality, combining the scientist’s zeal with the attention of the scholar: we must not see life as a viewer who goes to a theatrical performance, but as a student who studies at a university. Life is not a passing show, it’s not a place of fun, where you waste existence. It’s a place of study, where every sorrow, every torment brings a precious lesson. one learns, with one’s own suffering and the study of the sufferings of others, in which he learns from those who have been kind to us, as well as from those who have been rude. It’s a magical place full of signs and messages, a place where all experiences (disappointments, pains and struggles, as well as pleasures, joys or comforts) contribute to understanding what life is and its realization. The more we understand this, the more intensely we will live our lives, which will also become a blessing to others.
– Hazrat Inayat Khan

If only the sun-drenched celebrities are being noticed and worshiped, then our children are going to have a tough time seeing the value in the shadows, where the thinkers, probers and scientists are keeping society together.
– Rita Dove

I love borders. August is the border between summer and autumn; it is the most beautiful month I know. Twilight is the border between day and night, and the shore is the border between sea and land. The border is longing; when both have fallen in love but still haven’t said anything. The border is to be on the way. It is the way that is the most important thing.
– Tove Jansson

A mind not to be changed by place or time. The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make-heav’n of hell,-hell of heav’n.
– John Milton

We meet no ordinary people in our lives.
– C.S. Lewis

Everyone seems to have within themselves a collection of poems.
– Louise Erdrich

Some of the stuff we imagine engages and connects and calls for the very best in us to come out. Other imaginings disengage us, and shut us down. My understanding is that you get to choose which of your thoughts to go with.
– Anne Lamott

It must have been raining a hundred days,
and the water that saturated
the roots of all the plants
Reached the library and soaked all the holy words
which were closed up in the convent.

When the good weather came,
Sajat-Novà, who was the youngest monk,
got a ladder and took all the books up to the roof,
out in the sun. Then he waited for the warm air
to dry the wet paper.

There was a month of good weather
and the monk kneeled down in the courtyard
waiting for the books to give some sign of life.
And finally one morning the pages started
to rustle slightly in the breeze.
It sounded like a swarm of bees had arrived on the roof
and he started to cry because the books were talking.
– Tonino Guerra, translated by Adria Bernardi

You have to have a certain detachment in order to see beauty for yourself rather than something that has been put in quotation marks to be understood as “beauty.” Think about Dutch painting, where sunlight is falling on a basin of water and a woman is standing there in the clothes that she would wear when she wakes up in the morning—that beauty is a casual glimpse of something very ordinary. Or a painting like Rembrandt’s Carcass of Beef, where a simple piece of meat caught his eye because there was something mysterious about it. You also get that in Edward Hopper: Look at the sunlight! or Look at the human being! These are instances of genius. Cultures cherish artists because they are people who can say, Look at that. And it’s not Versailles. It’s a brick wall with a ray of sunlight falling on it.
– Marilynne Robinson

Characters in fiction can say anything they want. They’re often quite willful, you know.
– Grace Paley

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
~ Maya Angelou

You don’t need to believe in ghosts to balance spirit and live the right way in this world. You can use any metaphor you like—for example, ego, id, superego, and persona. Frontal lobe, monkey brain, neocortex, and lizard brain. Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d’Artagnan. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Malfoy. Monkey spirit, Pig spirit, Fish spirit, and Tripitaka. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Whatever stories your cultural experience offers you, you can still perceive spirit through metaphor and bring it into balance to step into your designated role as a custodian of reality. Some new cultures keep asking, “Why are we here?” It’s easy. This is why we’re here. We look after things on the earth and in the sky and the places in between.”
– Tyson Yunkaporta, Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World

Working with grounded, complex metaphors that have integrity is the difference between decoration and art, tunes and music, commercialized fetishes and authentic cultural practice. When metaphors have integrity, they are multilayered, with complex levels that may be accessed by people who have prerequisite understandings.

Working with metaphors is a point of common ground between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal knowledge systems. We have a long tradition in Aboriginal society of ritual training in the use of metaphor during initiation into higher stages of knowledge. This is because metaphor is the way Law, Lore, Women’s and Men’s Business, ritual, Ceremony, and magic are worked (“ritual” and “magic” aren’t capitalized here because anybody can do it). Powerful metaphors create the frameworks for powerful transformation processes, but only if they have that integrity. A metaphor that lacks integrity only damages connectedness—an action that is known as a curse in Aboriginal culture.
– Tyson Yunkaporta, Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World

Every one of us, unconsciously, works out a personal philosophy of life, by which we are guided, inspired, and corrected, as time goes on. It is this philosophy by which we measure out our days, and by which we advertise to all about us the man, or woman, that we are… It takes but a brief time to scent the life philosophy of anyone. It is defined in the conversation, in the look of the eye, and in the general mien of the person. It has no hiding place. It’s like the perfume of a flower – unseen, but known almost instantly. It is the possession of the successful, and the happy. And it can be greatly embellished by the absorption of ideas and experiences of the useful of this earth.
– George Matthew Adams

The highest function of ecology is understanding consequences.
– Frank Herbert

Write through the discouragements the same way you go through squalls and bad weather, putting one foot in front of the other.
– Richard Bausch

Two steps forward
three steps back.
Two steps forward
three steps back.
We expand
and we contract.
We move forward.
and we move back.
The problem in moving back
is that so often
we identify
with the backward motion.
When really,
our soul wants us simply
to grow in love.
To love
wherever we are
at all times.
If we cannot love
where we were
we can never love anyone else
who stands in that part of the journey.
We cannot move forward
in wholeness
until we hold ourselves
in all of our parts
in wholeness.
Next time you find yourself
in a backwards cycle
the tides move forward and back
the moon waxes and wanes
the soul
expands and contracts.
It’s as simple as that.
The power within you
is accessible
even when you feel small.
Loving yourself
is the most powerful,
act you can embody.
Things will expand again.
They will move forward again.
You will be okay again.
You already are.
– Stasha Ginsburg

There are various Ways. There is the Way of salvation by the law of Buddha, the Way of Confucius governing the Way of learning, the Way of healing as a doctor, as a poet teaching the Way of Waka, tea, archery, and many arts and skills. Each man practices as he feels inclined. It is said the warrior’s is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways.
– Miyamoto Musashi

You always wander around in your own heart, and agreeable as it is at the beginning, so horrible and destructive it gets to be later on.
– Thomas Bernhard (trans. by Michael Hofmann)

queer not as being about who you’re having sex with (that can be a dimension of it); but queer as being about the self that is at odds with everything around it and has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.
– bell hooks

Gwendolyn Brooks said, “Living is the most important thing to do, and poetry comes after that. That’s how I feel.”

Or, as Lucille Clifton put it, “My poetry is not my life. My life is my life.”

Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.
– Edith Wharton

Readers are always asking how long it takes to write a poem…in one sense, it always takes all our lives to that point.
– Madeline DeFrees

Icing my back, if anyone’s wondering what it’s really like to work in the book business.
– @joshuarothes

A flock of words
flew in through her window
and begged her to bake them
into a poem before
they spoiled in the sky.
– Rachel Wiley


like a new swimmer
you’ve been staying near the concrete sidewalls of the pool at all times,
like a timid pup
you’ve been frantically paddling along the edge,
telling yourself you need the constant sense of security afforded by being able to reach out and hold on at any time..

yet Goddess is wet!

you’re created in Her image,

and you are a water being

a feisty little swimmer swam your conception
for 9 months you lived, moved, and had your being in the waters of life,
you still live, move, and have your being in God’s womb – rechem
the majority of your adult body is water
and you thrive most when you’re fully hydrated, your skin quickly snaps back when pinched, and your pee is clear

sure, it’s possible to drown,
sure, it’s possible to overdose,
sure, it’s possible to be eaten by a shark

yet the greater risk, the greater danger,
the far greater thing to fear
is to never actually swim, to never actually live, to never actually love, to never actually be the swimmer you were born to be

don’t play hookey under the cabana,
you can’t forever avoid your birthright

don’t just dip your toes,
your entire skin is waterproof,
your body hydrodynamic
your flesh, buoyant
your fat, gorgeous.

take the chance,
take the plunge,

take off agendas
release expectations

jump in,
push off,

go deep,




– Roger Wolsey

after the long wait,
a song that’s been tapped
from sugar maples

field of daffodils,
an innocence leads me
from confusion

book store-
it’s paid for
in cash

with sunshine-
tulip blooms

sunset silence conversing alone
– Brian

Daily, I attach less value to the intellect
– Proust

Philosophy isn’t the only way to understand things, but it’s an awfully good way.
– Kwame Anthony Appiah

They’re called poems but in reality they’re lines given to me to hang on to.
– John Trudell

Something told me I had to make sense of how I was connected to the world I came from before I could go on to connect to the world at large. You have to start at home.
– Kate Campbell

In a way we are more whole when something in us is broken
– Steve Leder

Fusty books until the flywheel / behind the eyes feels busted and slack in its wagon
– Gregory Pardlo

America has died a
series of small deaths, each one less
precise than the next.
– Victoria Chang

Something Whispered in the Shakuhachi
by Garrett Hongo

No one knew the secret of my flutes,
and I laugh now
because some said
I was enlightened.
But the truth is
I’m only a gardener
who before the War
was a dirt farmer and learned
how to grow the bamboo
in ditches next to the fields,
how to leave things alone
and let the silt build up
until it was deep enough to stink
bad as night soil, bad
as the long, witch-grey
hair of a ghost.

No secret in that.

My land was no good, rocky,
and so dry I had to sneak
water from the whites,
hacksaw the locks off the chutes at night,
and blame Mexicans, Filipinos,
or else some wicked spirit
of a migrant, murdered in his sleep
by sheriffs and wanting revenge.
Even though they never believed me,
it didn’t matter–no witnesses,
and my land was never thick with rice,
only the bamboo
growing lush as old melodies
and whispering like brush strokes
against the fine scroll of wind.

I found some string in the shed
or else took a few stalks
and stripped off their skins,
wove the fibers, the floss,
into cords I could bind
around the feet, ankles, and throats
of only the best bamboos.
I used an ice pick for an awl,
a fish knife to carve finger holes,
and a scythe to shape the mouthpiece.

I had my flutes.
When the War came,
I told myself I lost nothing.

My land, which was barren,
was not actually mine but leased
(we could not own property)
and the shacks didn’t matter.

What did were the power lines nearby
and that sabotage was suspected.

What mattered to me
were the flutes I burned
in a small fire
by the bath house.

All through Relocation,
in the desert where they put us,
at night when the stars talked
and the sky came down
and drummed against the mesas,
I could hear my flutes
wail like fists of wind
whistling through the barracks.
I came out of Camp,
a blanket slung over my shoulder,
found land next to this swamp,
planted strawberries and beanplants,
planted the dwarf pines and tended them,
got rich enough to quit
and leave things alone,
let the ditches clog with silt again
and the bamboo grow thick as history.
So, when it’s bad now,
when I can’t remember what’s lost
and all I have for the world to take
means nothing,
I go out back of the greenhouse
at the far end of my land
where the grasses go wild
and the arroyos come up
with cat’s-claw and giant dahlias,
where the children of my neighbors
consult with the wise heads
of sunflowers, huge against the sky,
where the rivers of weather
and the charred ghosts of old melodies
converge to flood my land
and sustain the one thicket
of memory that calls for me
to come and sit
among the tall canes
and shape full-throated songs
out of wind, out of bamboo,
out of a voice
that only whispers.

Those who have it to give are / like cardinals in the snow. So easy / and beautifully lit.
– Vievee Francis

The deconstructive revolution was as self-contradictory as the literary language it studied.
– Derrida

The beloved moves through the world.
Is the world.
Becomes the hundred things we love
Or the one and only thing or person
We love.
Shifting, restless,
Refusing to incarnate in a final form,
As if to teach us to keep our eyes
Moving if we want to see the bird
Flitting from bush to tree:

There it is! No, there. No,
It’s hidden now, you can’t see it,
But you can hear its song.

– Gregory Orr

Think not of the fragility of life, but of the power of books, when mere words have the ability to change our lives simply by being next to each other.
– Kamand Kojouri

I work with so many leaders who are heavy on opinion but light on data.
– Adam Grant

Shade and illusion
join limbs
to hammock the path.

– Rajiv Mohabir

…the air was heavy with things that were known but not spoken.
– Margaret Atwood

…and the result was that he harbored a longing for all that is infinite and inexpressible.
– Albert Vigoleis Thelen

Blessing the Boats (at St. Mary’s)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

– Lucille Clifton

A language is not just words. It’s a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community, a whole history that creates what a community is. It’s all embodied in a language.
– Noam Chomsky

I am not seeking an escape from dread but rather proof that dread and reverence can exist within us simultaneously.
– Czeslaw Milosz

Out there people are working and arguing and laughing, living their beautiful, terrible lives, falling in love and having babies and being bored out of their skulls and feeling depressed, then being consoled by some little thing like watching the patterns the light makes through the leaves of trees, casting shadows on the sidewalks.
– Kim Addonizio

As long as we follow a spiritual approach promising salvation, miracles, liberation, then we are bound by the “golden chain of spirituality.” Such a chain might be beautiful to wear, with its inlaid jewels and intricate carvings, but nevertheless, it imprisons us. People think they can wear the golden chain for decoration without being imprisoned by it, but they are deceiving themselves. As long as one’s approach to spirituality is based upon enriching ego, then it is spiritual materialism, a suicidal process rather than a creative one. All the promises we have heard are pure seduction. We expect the teachings to solve all our problems; we expect to be provided with magical means to deal with our depressions, our aggressions, our sexual hangups. But to our surprise we begin to realize that this is not going to happen. It is very disappointing to realize that we must work on ourselves and our suffering rather than depend upon a savior or the magical power of yogic techniques. It is disappointing to realize that we have to give up our expectations rather than build on the basis of our preconceptions. We must allow ourselves to be disappointed, which means the surrendering of me-ness, my achievement. We would like to watch ourselves attain enlightenment, watch our disciples celebrating, worshiping, throwing flowers at us, with miracles and earthquakes occurring and gods and angels singing and so forth. This never happens. The attainment of enlightenment from ego’s point of view is extreme death, the death of self, the death of me and mine, the death of the watcher. It is the ultimate and final disappointment. Treading the spiritual path is painful. It is a constant unmasking, peeling off of layer after layer of masks. It involves insult after insult.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Some writers want to change the world. That’s terrific. We need those. But we also need silly authors, goofy ones, the kind that tell stories that make the world bearable until those serious authors can make it better.
– Barlow Adams

All thoughts and emotions are the play of the primordial nature, or the dharmakaya. They arise within it and dissolve back into it. When we recognize this, no matter what mental event arises, we see it as arising from the dharmakaya and dissolving back into it. We also recognize that thoughts never have come into existence, remain, or cease. Recognizing this, they will no longer trouble us. Whatever arises will naturally be freed because we see its primordial nature.
– Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche

Love, I think, is a gateway to the world, not an escape from it.
– Mark Doty

If you want to say something very ­important, and if you want to convince your partner that this is very important, you don’t need full stops or periods but breaths and rhythm—rhythm and tempo and melody.
– László Krasznahorkai

Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake… We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.
– William James

is it but a dream?
the bloom lasted
only seven days

– Hakuen

Often books of poetry and interviews with poets position the poet as a monolith, whose accomplishments speak for themselves, whose processes are vague and whose growth is assumed.

In A Poetics of the Press, the opportunity to learn more about the “before, during, and after”within the poet’s journey is refreshing and invigorating.

– Greg Bem on A Poetics of the Press, Ugly Duckling

May you get your voice, confidence, laughter, and sleep back.

May you spend less of your days replaying yesterday.

May you create home.

– Dr. Thema

Reading some poetry early in the morning is a habit—I read it before I start to work. Whenever people say, Nobody reads poetry anymore, I think, Well, I do.
– Mavis Gallant

Words I can’t see myself ever using: paratactic, cunctator, jejune, subfusc, quincunx, panjandrum, horripilate, pelagic, chthonic (maybe), borborygmus, crepitate, salvific, caravanserai———there, my moment of abject boredom passed.
– @svenbirkerts

There is nothing more mine than my writing.
– Fran Lebowitz

There is always a difference between a portrait and a living individual.
– Primo Levi

We must all achieve our identity on the basis of a radical authenticity … [for] it is only in the real world of the person — neither singular nor plural — that the crucial factors influencing the course of the universe are at work.
– Raimundo Panikkar

A call to action:

We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end war;
For we know that You have made the world in a way
That we must find our own path to peace
Within ourselves and with our neighbors.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end starvation;
For You have already given us the resources
With which to feed the entire world,
If we would only use them wisely.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to root out prejudice;
For You have already given us eyes
With which to see the good in all people,
If we would only use them rightly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end despair,
For You have already given us the power
To clear away slums and to give hope,
If we would only use our power justly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end disease;
For You have already given us great minds
With which to search out cures and healing,
If we would only use them constructively.

Therefore we pray to You instead, O God,
For strength, determination, and willpower,
To do instead of just pray,
To become instead of merely to wish.


– Rabbi Jack Riemer

Some writers want to change the world. That’s terrific. We need those. But we also need silly authors, goofy ones, the kind that tell stories that make the world bearable until those serious authors can make it better.
– Barlow Adams

…We should recognize with grave suspicion any incitement to hatred. We the human family have fallen for that trick so many many times before. The trick depends on a lie, the mother of all lies: that some of us are less valid, less human, and less sacred than others.
– Charles Eisenstein

Sometimes a gift will not seem like a gift. It comes to us as difficulty, loss, illness and trouble. It is only much later when we have suffered and absorbed what seemed impossible to live and handle that we find that harsh gift to be something we can be thankful for.
– Gunilla Norris

One of the things which Tibetan lamas always emphasize in their teachings is that we do not know when we will die and should therefore act in a way which is beneficial to ourselves and others now. One cannot live one’s life as though it were a rehearsal for the real performance. We should be aware that we could die at any moment and not procrastinate in practicing the Dharma and applying in our lives what we have understood intellectually.
– Lama Tsultrim Allione

Like an old tattered garment, so our duality falls off of us as our spirit enters into our wholeness in God.
– Bob Holmes

Reachable, near and not lost, there remained in the midst of the losses this one thing: language. It, the language, remained, not lost, yes, in spite of everything. But it had to pass through its own answerlessness, pass through frightful muting, pass through the thousand darknesses of deathbringing speech. It passed through and gave back no words for that which happened; yet it passed through this happening. Passed through and could come to light again, “enriched” by all this.
– Paul Celan

take me too
wherever you want
beach turtle
– Issa

Walk on the bridge, don’t build on it, said Buddha

attention is holy that’s why everyone wants it
– Robert Lax

The measure of a wise life is the imprint it makes on other lives around it.
– Pico Iyer

The most poignant of all lyric tensions stems from the awareness that we are living and dying at once. To embrace such knowledge and yet to remain compassionate and whole — that is the consummation of the endeavor of art.
– Stanley Kunitz


When it rains for days
the value of water plummets,
and it can rain anything—
slices of American cheese
sail down from the sky.
The supermarkets black out their windows
and the mice take an early retirement
from collecting our crumbs.
The hoarders are Dickens’s villains
that paid less for their toilet paper
because they bought it last week.
People argue red or blue
instead of seeing economic shapes.
The most ominous stormcloud of all
is the inflation of our vocabulary—
Brits have over a hundred words for “rain.”
My five-year-old daughter crinkles the empty
plastic stomach lining a cereal box
and sighs, “Shrinkflation.”

[Things feel partial. My love for things is partial. Mikel on his last legs, covered]
by Diane Seuss

Things feel partial. My love for things is partial. Mikel on his last legs, covered
in KS lesions demanded that I see the beauty of a mass of chrysanthemums. Look,
he demanded. I lied that I could see the beauty there but all I saw was a smear
of yellow flowers. I wanted to leave that place. I wanted to leave him to die
without me. And soon that’s what I did. Even the molecule I allowed myself to feel
of our last goodbye made me scream. What would have happened if I’d opened
my heart all the way as I was told to do if I wanted Jesus to live inside one of its
dank chambers? Whitman told me to unscrew the locks from the doors and the doors
themselves from the jambs. Let love come streaming in like when the St. Joe flooded
Save-A-Lot and drove it out of business. The only store in town. Don’t put my ashes
in the river Mikel said. Put them in a tributary. I did. I put them in a tributary without
touching them. Now I want to chalk my fingerprints with them but it’s too late.
I want to hold them like he held me and touched my upper lip and called it cupid’s
cusp, a phrase that made me wince. I felt love all the way then, and never since.

The Quarrel
by Stanley Kunitz

The word I spoke in anger
weighs less than a parsley seed,
but a road runs through it
that leads to my grave,
that bought-and-paid-for lot
on a salt-sprayed hill in Truro
where the scrub pines
overlook the bay.
Half-way I’m dead enough,
strayed from my own nature
and my fierce hold on life.
If I could cry, I’d cry,
but I’m too old to be
anybody’s child.
with whom should I quarrel
except in the hiss of love,
that harsh, irregular flame?

Everyone should see how complicated, how deeply troubled, and yet at the same time, beautiful and awesome the world can be. Everyone should experience, even as the clouds gather, what’s at stake, what could be lost, what’s still here.
– Anthony Bourdain

I want to be everything in love,
the lover,
the beloved,
the breeze,
the reflecting water
and that indecisive
vaporous white cloud that covers us for an instant.
– Claribel Alegría

Be driven. Be curious. Write to connect. Write to explore. Write to make sense of that which you don’t know or remember. Write to discover. But never think something is good just because you wrote it.
– Kiese Laymon

I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred, but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature, as a healer of misery, as a messenger of wonder, as an architect of peace.
– Diane Ackerman

I cannot say exactly how nature exerts its calming and organizing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens, even for those who are deeply disabled neurologically. In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.
– Oliver Sacks

You don’t get cool hanging around ‘cool people.’ You don’t get cool sitting before cool teachers. You don’t get cool when you live in a cool town. You don’t get cool when you sleep with cool people. You get cool when you go deeper into your own individuation. You get cool when you actualize your particular uniqueness. You get cool when you don’t give a shit about being cool. Because what is cool is not an external reflection. It’s not the chasing of cool. It’s the surrender to your brilliance. It’s the embodying of your own remarkable self. It’s the development of your idiosyncratic voice. And it’s the not caring one iota what others think about you because you are so deeply ‘you’ that external judgments are meaningless. You want to be cool? Be fully who YOU are. Authenticity is where it’s at. Now, that’s cool…
– Jeff Brown

Whenever a person habitually rakes the self—separating the chaff from the grain—their self, now clear and open, will be filled with light. But whenever a person habitually divides the self from the soul, following one outer desire after another, they will be full of darkness.
– Gospel of Thomas 61:5

The Chance

The blue-black mountains are etched
with ice. I drive south in fading light.
The lights of my car set out before
me and disappear before my very eyes.

And as I approach thirty, the distances
are shorter than I guess? The mind
travels at the speed of light. But for
how many people are the passions
ironwood, ironwood that hardens and hardens?

Take the ex-musician, insurance salesman,
who sells himself a policy on his own life;
or the magician who has himself locked
in a chest and thrown into the sea,
only to discover he is caught in his own chains.

I want a passion that grows and grows.
To feel, think, act, and be defined
by your actions, thoughts, feelings.
As in the bones of a hand in an X-ray,

I want the clear white light to work
against the fuzzy blurred edges of the darkness:
even if the darkness precedes and follows
us, we have a chance, briefly, to shine.

– Arthur Sze

When we read too fast or too slowly, we understand nothing.
– Blaise Pascal

One thing you realize as you get older is that the old folks you ignored in various scenes when you were young were often the most interesting people there, and you wish you could go back and talk to them, but you missed your chance.
– Steve Silberman

There are a thousand ways
to climb this mountain.
Some do it
on hands and knees,
others, like angels, floating
above the path.
Some have lost their way
and sit longingly
among their vast possessions,
and wonder why they are unhappy, what they have done wrong.
Many don’t care,
proclaim there is no mountain,
for they do not see it
among their numerous estates.
And always there are countless,
also invisible, helpers,
holding out their hands,
helping us to ascend.

– Dorothy Walters

I’m interested in that thing that happens
where there’s a breaking point
for some people and not for others.
You go through such hardship,
things that are almost impossibly difficult,
and there’s no sign
that it’s going to get any better,
and that’s the point when people quit.
But some don’t.
– Robert Redford

Mingle the starlight with your lives, and you won’t be fretted by trifles.
– Maria Mitchell

We were small & thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,
Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, & ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled
We could stream through the eye of a needle
– Seamus Heaney

What could be more interesting, or in the end, more ecstatic, than in those rare moments when you see another person look at something you’ve made, and realize that they got it exactly, that your heart jumped to their heart with nothing in between.
– Robert Motherwell

I had given up some youth for knowledge, but my gain was more valuable than the loss.
– Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Some people think in pictures, some in ideas. I think entirely in words.
– Evelyn Waugh

Childhood boredom is full of dreams, a sort of projection into another place, into another reality.
– Italo Calvino

Sometimes I get frustrated when I compare arts and tech salaries, but


tech people

I’m not saying you are the problem
I’m saying the exchange rate is in our favor
and someone with a FAANG salary could literally commission their own opera once per year

so we should do that

– Dr. Kate Compton

A Glimmer
by Gary Grossman

Planting a garden is revolution—
hope triumphs over despair. Flower
or veggie—all green comes from a smoothie
of crushed rock and humus—spiked with
nitrogen, phosphorous, and micronutrients.

Even seed anatomy amuses—the coat
that keeps all dry and warm, cotyledon,
the battery for growth, hypocotyl
and plumule–stem and shoot, and last
the embryonic root, the radicle,
linking us to the first revolution.

Seeds are small packages of optimism.
Decisions that light and warmth will prevail
and jonquils or turnips, lilies or peppers
will rise, one or both. There is hope in
nourishing life besides our own—belief that
a better day will come, spring will birth
summer and then even fall. That hope can
be grown just as easily as lost.

I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home. I thus dispose of the superfluous and see things as they are, grand and beautiful.
– Henry David Thoreau

The truth is, you are either here to enlighten or to discourage.
– Prince

If Christianity is wine and Islam coffee,
Buddhism is most certainly tea.
– Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

A poet needs to keep his wilderness alive inside him. To remain a poet after forty requires an awareness of your darkest Africa, that part of yourself that will never be tamed.
– Stanley Kunitz

It should be like I grabbed your hand and walked you through the movie.
– Agnès Varda

But, after questioning myself, I can testify that, among my many weaknesses, there has never been the most widespread defect among us, I mean envy, the real cancer of societies and doctrines.
– Albert Camus

There is no age to learn to live again. It even seems that we do just that all our lives: leave, start over, breathe again. As if you never learn anything about existence, except sometimes a characteristic of yourself.
– Francoise Sagan

But when he saw his friend arrive – at once
the fatigue, the boredom, and the dark thoughts all vanished.
– Cavity

The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land.
– Hugo of St. Victor

When knowledge becomes rigid, it stops living.
–  Anselm Kiefet

Eventually, all things merge into one.
– Norm Maclean

Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.
– Etty Hillesum

The goal is to feel a part of something, not just play a part in anything.
– Simon Sinek

Systems thinking is basic to the swiftly developing science of ecology.
– Joanna Macy

Variation on a Theme
by W. S. Merwin

Thank you my life long afternoon
late in this spring that has no age
my window above the river
for the woman you led me to
when it was time at last the words
coming to me out of mid-air
that carried me through the clear day
and come even now to find me
for old friends and echoes of them
those mistakes only I could make
homesickness that guides the plovers
from somewhere they had loved before
they knew they loved it to somewhere
they had loved before they saw it
thank you good body hand and eye
and the places and moments known
only to me revisiting
once more complete just as they are
and the morning stars I have seen
and the dogs who are guiding me

I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.
– Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

When I laugh I have no chakras.
The sun is my heart.
When I cry the moon comes down
to caress my forehead,
but finds no lotus to kiss open.
Breathing the Beloved’s scent
clears my natal chart
of every planet and sign.
The astrologer is bewildered.
All he sees in me
is an empty page full of light.
Don’t give me any more
of your esoteric books.
Grace has made me too stupid
to understand.
– Fred LaMotte

A book has but one voice, but it does not instruct everyone alike.
– Thomas-Kempis

Could we please just have a Gen X president? Gen X is the generation that will say, “damn we are so fucked but let’s try fixing it anyway.” We need that.
– Rebecca Hazelton

For a person whose sole burning ambition is to write—like myself—college is useless beyond the Sophomore year.
– William Styron

heart spur

n. an unexpected surge of emotion in response to a seemingly innocuous trigger—the distinctive squeal of a rusty fence, a key change in an old pop song, the hint of a certain perfume—which feels all the more intense because you can’t quite pin it down.

From heart + spur, a spike on a heel that urges a horse to move forward.

The great European novel started out as entertainment, and every true novelist is nostalgic for it.
– Milan Kundera

We winter with the magpie, kettle our fare
and as St. Lawrence’s bells ring out
we half-dream, half-ache a stone
under the ground sheet…
– Jo Clement

Red by Mary Ruefle

I fucking depended on you and
you left the fucking wheelbarrow
out and it’s fucking raining
and now the white chickens
are fucking filthy

For it must be cried out, at a time when some have the audacity to neo-evangelise in the name of the ideal of a liberal democracy that has finally realized itself as the ideal of human history: never have violence, inequality, exclusion, famine, and thus economic oppression affected as many human beings in the history of the earth and of humanity. Instead of singing the advent of the ideal of liberal democracy and of the capitalist market in the euphoria of the end of history, instead of celebrating the ‘end of ideologies’ and the end of the great emancipatory discourses, let us never neglect this obvious macroscopic fact, made up of innumerable singular sites of suffering: no degree of progress allows one to ignore that never before, in absolute figures, have so many men, women and children been subjugated, starved or exterminated on the earth.
– Jacques Derrida

The world is always ready to seize our joys and pains and turn them into a landscape of its own. That world is perhaps nameless, unwritten, swallowed just in time by a number of dawns and dusks unappeased by languor and by reason.
– Nicole Brossard

Kingfisher: the colour-giver, fire-bringer, flame-flicker, river’s quiver
– Robert Macfarlane


What does it feel like to be alive? Living, you stand under a waterfall. You leave the sleeping shore deliberately; you shed your dusty clothes, pick your barefoot way over the high, slippery rocks, hold your breath, choose your footing, and step into the waterfall.

The hard water pelts your skull, bangs in bits on your shoulders and arms. The strong water dashes down beside you and you feel it along your calves and thighs rising roughly back up, up to the toiling surface, full of bubbles that slide up your skin or break on you at full speed.

Can you breathe here? Here where the force is greatest and only the strength of your neck holds the river out of your face? Yes, you can breathe even here. You could learn to live like this. And you can…

Knowing you are alive is feeling the planet buck under you, rear, kick, and try to throw you; you hang on to the ring. It is riding the planet like a log downstream, whooping.

Or, conversely, you step aside from the dreaming fast loud routine and feel time as a stillness about you, and hear the silent air asking in so thin a voice, Have you noticed yet that you will die? Do you remember, remember, remember? Then you feel your life as a weekend, a weekend you cannot extend, a weekend in the country.

– Annie Dillard

by H. D.

Whirl up, sea—
whirl your pointed pines,
splash your great pines
on our rocks,
hurl your green over us,
cover us with your pools of fir.

A word and everything is saved.
A word and all is lost.
– André Breton

do you wanna jump on a quick call?


– @HelloShreyas

It’s also very difficult to untangle influences because you represent the sum of everything you’ve seen or heard or experienced.
– Leonard Cohen

Where does the rainbow end,
in your soul or on the horizon?

– Pablo Neruda

you said,
is the monstrosity
of being wanted.
– Topaz Winters

“Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?”
“I may not be as stong as I think, but I know many tricks and I have resolution.”
“No one should be alone in their old age, he thought.”
– Ernest Hemingway

Didn’t get it the first time? Here it is again. We don’t get there by saying it once.
– Claudia Rankine

Matsuo Bashō on Fūrabo:

Fūrabo is the poetic spirit, the spirit that leads one to follow Nature and become a friend with things of the seasons. For a person who has this spirit, everything seen becomes a flower, everything imagined turns into a moon. Follow Nature and return to Nature.

My rehabilitation started early. Went to the mountains so I didn’t have to suffer through the game.
– Anthony Stavile

really believe that, when someone else does us harm, we’re connected to that mistreatment like a chain… Maybe retaliation or holding on to anger about the harm done to me doesn’t actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it. Because in the end, if we’re not careful, we can actually absorb the worst of our enemy and, on some level, even start to become them. So what if forgiveness, rather than being like a pansy way of saying it’s okay, is actually a way of wielding bolt cutters and snapping the chain that links us.
– Nadia Bolz-Weber

Above all it must be noted that the planet Earth is a single life community.
– Thomas Berry

Gas Prices Are Too Low.
– Mother Earth

Poetry, grounded in the perception of endings, enjambment, and disjunction, is both a defiance of authority and a deposit from a future yet to come.
– Susan Howe

Don’t confuse imagination and fantasy; they are two distinct actions of the mind.
– Alberto Moravia

I see myself forever and ever as the ridiculous [person], the lonely soul, the wanderer, the restless frustrated artist, the [person] in love with love, always in search of the absolute, always seeking the unattainable.
– Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

When you set sail for Ithaca,
wish for the road to be long,
full of adventures, full of knowledge.
– C.P. Cavafy

summer evening
nobody notices
the wildflowers
– Issa

by David Lehman

He wrote the whole novel in his head,

Sentence by sentence. It took him all day.

Then he took out a wide-ruled yellow legal pad

With three pink vertical lines marking the left margin,

And from his breast pocket he extracted

A disposable plastic fountain pen,

And near the top of the page he wrote the word ODE

In black ink, all caps. For a few minutes he did nothing.

Then he skipped three lines and wrote,

“It was the greatest birthday present he had ever received:

The manual Smith-Corona typewriter

His parents gave him on the day he graduated from high school

After they took him to the Statler Hilton for lunch,

Where they had cold poached salmon, his father’s favorite.

“Grandma, how do you cope with pain?”
“With your hands, honey. If you do it with your mind instead of relieving the pain, it toughens even harder.”
“With your hands grandma?”
“Yes, our hands are the antennae of our soul. If you move them; knitting, cooking, painting, playing or sinking them into the ground, you send care signs to the deepest part of you and your soul lights up because you’re paying attention to it. Then signs of pain will no longer be necessary.”
“Hands are really that important?”
“Yes my daughter. Think of babies: they start to know the world through the touch of their hands. If you look at the hands of old people, they tell you more about their life then any body part. Everything that is done by hand is said to be done with the heart. Because it’s really like this: hands and heart are connected. Masseurs know well: when they touch someone with their hands, they create a deep connection. It is precisely from this connection that healing comes. Think of lovers: when they touch their hands, they make love in a more sublime way.”
“My hands grandma…. how long I haven’t used them like this!”
“Move them, my love. Begin to create with them and everything within you will begin to move. The pain will not pass away. And instead what you do with them will become the most beautiful masterpiece and it won’t hurt anymore. Because you have been able to transform its essence.
– Elena Bernabe, Shared and translated by Takiruna

Irish poets, learn your trade,
Sing whatever is well made.
– William Butler Yeats

someone who does not love you cannot name you right
– Aracelis Girmay, The Black Maria

Here I am, seated, with all my words,
like a basket of green fruit, intact.

The fragments
of a thousand destroyed ancient gods
seek and draw near each other in my blood. They long
to rebuild their statue.

From their shattered mouths
a song strives to rise to my mouth,
a scent of burned resins, some gesture
of mysterious wrought stone.

But I am oblivion, treason,
the shell that did not keep from the sea
even the echo of the smallest wave.

I look not at the submerged temples,
but only at the trees that above the ruins
move their vast shadow, with acid teeth bite
the wind as it passes.
And the seals close under my eyes like
the flower under the searching fingers of a blind man.

But I know: behind
my body another body crouches,
and round about me many breaths
furtively cross
like nocturnal beasts in the jungle.

I know: somewhere,
like the cactus in the desert,
a constellated heart of spines,
it is waiting for a name, as the cactus the rain.

But I know only a few words
in the lapidary language,
under which they buried my ancestor alive.

– Rosario Castellanos, Silence Near an Ancient Stone

The West is a complicated beast with so many contradictory identities it is hard to pin down, and while this is true of all places, the West seems to more fully possess a type of multiple-personality disorder than other places—perhaps because it is where people come to re-create themselves however they see fit, granted a certain freedom of identity that the landscape seems to encourage, if not demand. There is no one West. It is as multitudinous as the hats and boots that outfit it; however, if it is one thing, that thing is tough.
– Annie Lampman

Discarded pages mark the physical dimensions of a writer’s labor.
– Don DeLillo

The educated man sees with
both heart and mind ;
the ignorant sees only with eyes.
– Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib

Mystical Wanderer

Mystical wanderer
do you fear our ways
or are you carelessly free?

vibrating music
you compose & echo in
overcast sky

little aqua finch
you dart through
stillest leafy early
summer’s yawn
whispering harmonies
of Light complete
in luminous shadow’s
quiet hymns

instinctively divine
softening human hearts

heaven’s interior throne

– Rick Davis

Our intention is to affirm this life,
not to bring order out of chaos
nor to suggest improvements in creation,
but simply to wake up to the very life we’re living,
which is so excellent once one
gets one’s mind and one’s desires out of its way
and lets it act of its own accord.
– John Cage

Never memorize something that you can look up.
– Albert Einstein

Sometimes I wonder how all those
who do not write, compose, or paint
can manage to escape the madness,
melancholia, the panic and fear
which is inherent in a human situation.
– Graham Greene

I believe our survival demands revolution, both cultural and political. If we are to survive the disasters that threaten, and survive our own struggle to make it new – a struggle I believe we have no choice but to commit ourselves to – we need tremendous transfusions of imaginative energy. If it is indeed revolution we are moving toward, we need life, and abundantly – we need poems of the spirit, to inform us of the essential, to help us live the revolution. And if instead it be the Last Days – then we need to taste the dearest, freshest drops before we die – why bother with anything less than that, the essential?
– Denise Levertov

Forests […] are companions to the lonely.
– Georg Trakl

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
– Seamus Heaney

Perhaps to love is to learn
to walk through this world.
– Octavio Paz
(trans. Eliot Weinberger)

There is both a physical and a spiritual fast.

In the physical fast, the body abstains from food and drink.

In the spiritual fast, the faster abstains from anger, rage, malice, and vengeance. One abstains from idle and foul talk, empty rhetoric, slander, condemnation, flattery, lying and spiteful talk.

– Basil of Caesarea

What is really frightening, and what is really holding you–and everyone–back and in a crouch is the realization that everything in the world–your happiness, your success, your weight, your general well-being–is entirely within your control. It is your destiny, and it does not reside in the stars or your genes or circumstance. Kismet begins and ends within, and no one really wants to take on the big task.

Make things happen for yourself. Think for a while, and then act and move a little longer. Things happen at that point.

– Harold Pinter

What boys say to women should stop
their hearts.

– Brian Morrison

In the mornings I wish I could reach for gratitude or happiness as quickly and as desperately as I reach for coffee and a grudge.
– Tennessee Williams #folliesofgod

O Cosmic Birther of All Radiance and Vibration,

Soften the ground of our being and carve out a space within us where your Presence can abide.

Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear the fruit of your mission.

Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with our desire.

Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share what each being needs to grow and flourish.

Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.

Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose,

but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.

For you are the ground and the fruitful vision, the birth, power, and fulfillment, as all is gathered and made whole once again.

– A translation of “the lord’s prayer” directly from the Aramaic, from Neil Douglas Klotz

A Rescue
Today I wrote some words that will see print.
Maybe they will last “forever,” in that
someone will read them, their ink making
a light scratch on his mind, or hers.
I think back with greater satisfaction
upon a yellow bird–a goldfinch?–
that had flown into the garden shed
and could not get out,
battering its wings on the deceptive light
of the dusty, warped-shut window.

Without much reflection, for once, I stepped
to where its panicked heart
was making commotion, the flared wings drumming,
and with clumsy soft hands
pinned it against a pane,
held loosely cupped
this agitated essence of the air,
and through the open door released it,
like a self-flung ball,
to all that lovely perishing outdoors.

– John Updike, Americana

First, it’s my intention to stick to the facts. Not to spin or bend them, but to face them, to burrow into them, to use them.
– Dinah Lenney

You know, all of us are deputized as priests in a way, and we hear confessions all the time. Daily! Hourly! Throw out an opinion or a problem or a concern or a sentiment, and the person you’re talking to will provide an index to their soul, not to mention their allegiance to you. It’s a confession. They’re letting you know precisely where they stand and who they are. So…the circle of friends grows smaller and tighter, and you become lighter and happier. I think this is when one grows up and sees what matters, and it is not the size of your circle–it’s the level of loyalty and love within your circle.
– Ruth Gordon

The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest.
– May Sarton

Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of
living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.
– Aldo Leopold

And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside. … Now fill the world with music, love and pride.
– Lin-Manuel Miranda

I will never forget your care,
how you stared into me the way
a painter might peer into a canyon…
– Mark Nepo

Break all your ties
with people
who profess to teach,
and learn from
the Pure Bird.
From Pole to Pole
the news of
those sitting in
….quiet solitude is spreading.
– Hafez

Enthusiasm is a supernatural serenity.
– Henry David Thoreau

an open window
a bright moon
singing frogs
– Issa

all the things
I said I’d do…
winter sunset

– Stewart C. Baker

night swimming
losing ourselves
in the darkness
– Vanessa Proctor

It matters what knowledges know knowledges. It matters what relations relate relations. It matters what worlds world worlds. It matters what stories tell stories.
– Donna K. Haraway

not the answer
I was expecting
heat haze
– J. Zimmerman

summer dusk
the sounds of gypsy moths
flicking the screen
– Rebecca Ball Rust

from the Latin biber

beer this verb to be with an aftertaste
bitterness my father said
you gotta learn how to love
same as coffee no one likes
at first he thus expounded
I nodded never telling that Nonô

who was Lebanese in all ways that mattered
had been making us café
for years I can still smell
Grammy’s chocolate-coffee cake
by which I mean not the shape
of said cake but its contents soaked into

Brazilian coffee & cocoa equal parts
I still hate beer it makes me
think too much of everything
I don’t miss about Brazil
the aftertaste every time
I answer where’s your accent from & bubbles

from some foam from some ocean I still miss
rush up crushing leave me flat
an unwanted afteraccent
whereas coffee accelerating
& waning thru my veins
has made me feel the tides within the tides

– Carlos A. Pittella

Think about origin stories. Imagine that whatever you’re going through now is the key to your powers. Set your mind on Transformation.
– @maggiesmithpoet

This world is ever ready to applaud, or at least tolerate, works of mercy. What this world will not tolerate is a church molded by the principle of mercy, which leads that church to denounce robbers who victimize, to lay bare the lie that conceals oppression, and to encourage victims to win their freedom from culprits. In other words, the robbers who inhabit this anti-merciful world tolerate the tending of wounds, but not the true healing of the wounded, let alone mounting a struggle to keep the latter from falling once more into their hands.
– Jon Sobrino

In [fairy tales], power is rarely the right tool for survival anyway. Rather the powerless thrive on alliances, often in the form of reciprocated acts of kindness – from beehives that were not raided, birds that were not killed but set free or fed, old women who were saluted with respect. Kindness sown among the meek is harvested in crisis
– Rebecca Solnit

Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups…So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.
– Philip K. Dick

To hold presence for another is a great gift to offer and a skill worth practicing. We are so used to thinking about life as a problem to be solved that when we hear of another’s suffering, we are not fully present and instead become preoccupied with figuring out how to respond. We think we have to say the right thing, fix her or find a solution for her.
Great healing happens when we can simply share our hurt and sadness, our anger and doubts, and be received in presence—whether by another or by ourselves. Even a tree, rock or river can hold presence for you. Presence creates spaciousness around the contractions of life. Presence is an intelligence that creates enough room for life to move and evolve, uninterrupted.
– Chameli Devi Ardagh

The words the happy say
Are paltry melody
But those the silent feel
Are beautiful –
– Emily Dickinson

The only sustainable way to store data long term is within relationships—deep connections between generations of people in custodial relation to a sentient landscape, all grounded in a vibrant oral tradition. This doesn’t need to replace print, but it can supplement it magnificently—those two systems might back each other up rather than merely coexist. Relationships between systems are just as important as the relationships within them. Oral traditions grounded in profound relationships represent a way of thinking that backs up your knowledge in biological peer-to-peer networks and provides a firewall against dictators who might decide to burn down your libraries.

It also mixes things up cognitively and allows your brain to rewire itself in more healthy ways. I call this way of thinking kinship-mind. Kinship-mind is a way of improving and preserving memory in relationships with others. If you learn something with or from another person, this knowledge now sits in the relationship between you. You can access the memory of it best if you are together, but if you are separated you can recall the knowledge by picturing the other person or calling out their name. This way of thinking and remembering is not limited to relationships with people. The kinship-mind symbol shows the connectedness between two things—places or people or knowledge or any combination of these. Maybe even synapses. The two distinct entities form a pair, connected by a relationship represented by the line at the center.

In Aboriginal worldviews, relationships are paramount in knowledge transmission. There can be no exchange or dialogue until the protocols of establishing relationships have taken place. Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you going? What is your true purpose here? Where does the knowledge you carry come from, and who shared it with you? What are the applications and potential impacts of this knowledge on this place? What impacts has it had on other places? What other knowledge is it related to? Who are you to be saying these things? In our world nothing can be known or even exist unless it is in relation to other things. Critically, those things that are connected are less important than the forces of connection between them. We exist to form these relationships, which make up the energy that holds creation together. When knowledge is patterned within these forces of connection, it is sustainable over deep time.

– Tyson Yunkaporta, Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World

To hear is to let the sound wander all the way through the labyrinth of your ear; to listen is to travel the other way to meet it. It’s not passive but active, this listening. It’s as though you retell each story, translate it into the language particular to you, fit it into your cosmology so you can understand and respond, and thereby it becomes part of you. To empathize is to reach out to meet the data that comes through the labyrinths of the senses, to embrace it and incorporate it. To enter into, we say, as though another person’s life was also a place you could travel to.
– Rebecca Solnit

Look deeply within each person you encounter, no matter how brilliant or dull, refined or crude, righteous or wicked you judge this person to be. Beyond their clothes, beyond their skin, beyond their behavior, beyond their words. Beyond the emotions they show, the personality in which they dress, past whatever masks they don to conceal their inner woes. Look deeply and see the vicious war each one fights inside, the battle to remain human in a maddening world—a world you will never know, for no two of us are placed in the same world and no two of us confront the same challenges.
True, perhaps not everyone fights every battle. Some have long surrendered. But the very fact that this person was assigned this battle tells us more than can be spoken.
That alone is enough to admire, and to be humbled, asking yourself, “Do I fight a battle nearly as fierce as the one I expect this person to win? In what way am I any better?
– Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

I grieved when I lost people who were so close to me and made a difference in my life.

I grieve for every dream that died along the way.

I grieve for every relationship that I need to leave behind because I am no longer growing.

I grieve for a portion of myself that I have to bury because it keeps me drowning.

I grieve—
for the lost smiles,
for the joy and wonders I used to feel looking at the stars and moon at night,
for the innocent child-like love I used to have and freely give.

The world is tough.
People sometimes can be cruel—
and I am no longer the same.

I grieve for the girl whom I lost—forever…

– Lavender Pen

It’s a gap
That is holding our fibering.
It’s a gap-
That is both eachness & reaching.

It’s a gap-
That is our learning to find one another.

It’s a gap-
That pulls us and pushes us.

It is….

Please do not complete me.

Let me relish longing.

– Nora Bateson

Just like that
the past has
grown teeth
and is hungry.
– Reagan Myers

May we not neglect the silence
printed in the center of our being.
It will not fail us.
– Thomas Merton


The thing you called happiness, is actually an oasis
The more you come closer the more it will dry out..

Life is like a desert, and by renaming the sorrows “happiness” you are gazing at an oasis..
You are seeing what you want to see,
You are seeing what you are craving but, that’s not happiness..
You can’t escape from reality..
The truth and the reality, these are like the thorns they don’t pretend to be what you want, rather they portray themselves exactly the way they are even if it is harsh..

Don’t be too tough on yourself..
Everyone is busy proving themselves right, they are so focused on who did what, that they tend to overlook what they do..
Don’t get lost in the middle of this throng..
If you are right then it doesn’t matter if you are standing alone, the path to righteousness is always lonely..

Be a thorn in the world full of oasis..

– Mehendi Guha Roy

When you didn’t have enough care, you tend to accept the crumbs of casual attention. When you didn’t have enough of the right people nurturing your growth and encouraging you to try, you may have looked to ungrounded people to create and exalt into idealized figures. When you didn’t have real love and healthy boundaries to help you feel safe, you made poor choices which led you towards settling for less or made decisions which ushered you into hazardous places. When you didn’t have reliability, consistency, and a foundation built on living with truth, you missed the red flags of dishonesty that were planted knee-deep in terrains requiring authenticity.

When you didn’t have secure parental bonds or an early life of stability lined with trust, and then later in life you noticed these red flags, you likely believed they were subject to change or would eventually disappear or even transform into banners of integrity. You thought they could shift and switch their color and fly happily ever after, these red flags flown by those who fear intimacy; these flags hoisted by those with their own trauma issues, too; flags which represent the lack of the very same things you needed to recognize your individual worth.

These red flags waving somewhere in the distance, then blatantly raised were warning you not to come any closer. And these flags they held were flaring red yet overlooked early on are now firmly staked into the ground you share, and somehow have become a declaration of their unwillingness to commit to a clear and honest connection.

When you didn’t have what you needed to advise and offer guidance, you might feel like you’re on your own at learning how to avoid harmful, dangerous or toxic dynamics. Red flags show up almost right away, and because you became inured to tolerating less than what’s right for you — all the strength, confidence, and understanding that’s crucial to heed them couldn’t be applied. But just because you didn’t notice any ominous signs back then, it doesn’t mean you’ve made a pledge to put up and remain in imbalanced friendships, ill-behaved relationships, half-love marriages, disjointed partnerships, broken-boundaried family systems, or pernicious, demeaning situations.

When you didn’t have enough of the goodness you needed, you tend to feel like you’re not enough. Not enough to pursue what’s kind to you. Not enough to wait and see and take your time and hold out for what’s best for you, instead you run the risk of roaming far away from what you should have.

Rippling like signals in the wind, flags are red for everyone to see the threat ahead. And if it feels like its too late, it’s really not. It’s not too late to take whatever room you need to repair the rips and readjust the way you view and esteem your one and only heart, and use the space to practice and communicate the many sound, prioritizing ways you should be respected, loved and cared for.

– Susan Frybort

And maybe somewhere in the middle of the sky and ocean, hidden in a garden full of weeds and flowers, there is a world where you are the person you always envisioned yourself to be. You loved and stayed with the ones you lost, you said the words that you only ever kept to yourself, you undid your regrets and took those chances, you wrote the thoughts you never allowed yourself to accept, you let yourself be who you are unapologetically and fiercely and you found a great unmatched delight in your existence. Maybe there exists a dimension, a universe different and yet similar to this, where you did things the way you always wonder about before you sleep at night. Maybe all that could have made you happier but no such certainty exists in this world that can guarantee you that you didn’t have different regrets, that you didn’t experience another kind of heartache. We all come to mourn the past in one way or another. We all have a habit of living in our minds more than our realities because reality is often disappointing but sometimes, almost unexpectedly, it becomes warm and beautiful and those are the moments that make all our troubles and sufferings worth it. Maybe, this is the only place where you can feel hopeless and still carry a little hope. Maybe, this is the only place where you can get a hundred chances and more to turn your life into what you want it to be. Maybe, this is the only place where you can forgive yourself for all your mistakes, your flaws and fill your heart with the love that you never really received. Even though it seems that the world would have been better if you just did that ‘what if’ you always wonder about, there is a chance that this is the best life has to offer to you. You can either point out the imperfections and live in a daydream or you can walk ahead without looking back and try every necessary thing that makes you feel a little closer to yourself. The only thing that stands in your way of realising it all is the way you choose to live today.
– Rae Pathak

Solitude isn’t loneliness. Solitude is when the entire serene universe seems to surround and hold you quietly.
– Victoria Erickson

Once upon a time, there was an island
where all the feelings lived:
Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others, including Love.
One day it was announced to the feelings that
the island would sink!
So all constructed boats and left.
Except for Love. Love was the only one who stayed.
Love wanted to hold out until the last possible moment.
When the island had almost sunk, love decided to ask for help.
Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat.
Love said, ”Richness, can you take me with you?”
Richness answered, “No, I cant.
There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat.
There is no place here for you.
“Love decided to ask Vanity
who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel.
“Vanity, please help me!”
“I cant help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat” Vanity answered.
Sadness was close by so Love asked,
“Sadness, let me go with you. Oh . . . Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!”,
Happiness passed by Love, too,
but she was so happy that
she did not even hear when Love called her.
Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come, Love, I will take you.”
It was an elder. So blessed And overjoyed,
Love even forgot to ask the elder where they were going.
When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way.
Realizing how much was owed to the elder,
Love asked Knowledge another elder, “Who Helped me?”
“It was Time,” Knowledge answered.
“Time?” asked Love. But why did time help me?
Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered,
“Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love is.“
– Heart Of A Witch Soul Of An Empath

Sometimes flowers
look more like flames,
reminding us that we too
can disrupt the usual
with unexpected fire.


– Heidi Barr

The idea of Werner Herzog as a madman is such a clichéd, terrible idea,” Paul Holdengräber said. “He’s imaginative, yes. He’s been close to madness, but he couldn’t be more in touch with the world, truly and deeply.

When you are trained as Buddhist, you don’t think of Buddhism as a religion. You think of it as a type of science, a method of exploring your own experience through techniques that enable you to examine your actions and reactions in a non-judgmental way, with the view toward recognizing, “Oh, this is how my mind works. This is what I need to do to experience happiness. This is what I should do to avoid unhappiness.
– Mingyur Rinpoche

Timely communication is essential in all forms of relationship. It is also fundamental to the conscious relationship path. If you have an issue with someone’s way of relating, express it at the time, or soon thereafter. Give them the benefit of your feelings at a time when they can remember the context and speak to their actions. If you do, there is a very real possibility that they will make apology and learn how to relate to you in a way that is healthier. If you don’t, there is a very real possibility that your unexpressed feelings will congeal into resentment, ultimately coming out in a way that undermines the connection altogether. Bottom line- you have a right to be upset with someone. But they have a right to hear it. The only path home is clear and timely communication.
– Jeff Brown

Bluest Bright

Bluest bright butterfly landing
on railing so white
I lovingly speak to you
gentle historian
of all I’ve been
letting non-present ego
ethereal dissolve
in quietest wings —
of my love —
my nature truest

You’ve flown off
though are in my heart —
little guide, little silver star
quiet mind subtle’s poisons

Leading it in Light

– Rick Davis

Ode To The Common Everyday Mystic

My hope for you
are the fires of transformation,
That burns away the dross of ego,
Leaving oneness, grace, and light.

That you may breathe in the winds of being,
And rise with the wings of an eagle to soar,
Sowing life into each other,
Opening hearts and doors.

For you are a spring of heaven,
A breeze in the desert of life,
Giving hope to the hopeless and broken,
Bringing grace, and peace, and light.

– Bob Holmes

I was raised to be a citizen of the world. But when I started thinking about it, it seemed to me profoundly unclear what that could possibly mean.
– Kwame Anthony Appiah

a dandelion
the dream of a butterfly
– Chiyo-ni

Grey Skies
I like grey skies,
At least they tell the truth;
Grey skies,
Reflective skies
That do not laugh at all
Nor weep vain tears.

Grey skies,
No fear in them
Nor any joy,
No tragedy,
All grey.
I like grey skies,
Unweeping, smileless skies.
They do not lie.

– Elsa Gidlow

We really haven’t found enough dreams. We haven’t dreamed enough.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

Thanks to art, instead of seeing one
world only, our own, we see that world
multiply itself and we have at our
disposal as many worlds as there are
original artists, worlds more different
one from the other than those which
revolve in infinite space, worlds which,
centuries after the extinction of the fire
from which their light first emanated,
whether it is called Rembrandt or
Vermeer, send us still each one its
special radiance.
– Marcel Proust

Getting into a relationship to hide from ourselves usually bites us in the end. If I feel dead and lost inside and want excitement and passion, I might go for someone who has these qualities. But because humans have ups and downs, fecund and infertile stints, if my partner loses her exciting side due to strife, I might find myself alone, uncomfortable, at a loss, and with little to give.

This is why it’s important to work on ourselves and not simply seek external fixes for our discomfort and inner work. If however our partner inspires these qualities in us, along with the personal work to unearth our inner resources, this becomes sustainable relating.

Turning a linear, fix-me relationship into a dynamic and transformative one hinges on awareness, as well as the wisdom and courage to use our relations not only for the joy of relating but also to discover the unreckoned parts of ourselves. This consists of both positive and negative shadow work (positive is unearthing the uplifting qualities in us, negative is unearthing the hurtful ones), without which we don’t grow very much and we will fail to develop connections that make us more whole and fulfilled.

The inability to recognize this dynamic over time, in one relationship after another, can lead to entrenched melancholy, depression, toxic anger, and a global loss of meaning and purpose.

– Jack Adam Weber

I find that quakerism and research science fit together very, very well. In quakerism you’re expected to develop your own understanding of god from your experience in the world. There isn’t a creed, there isn’t a dogma. There’s an understanding but nothing as formal as a dogma or creed and this idea that you develop your own understanding also means that you keep redeveloping your understanding as you get more experience, and it seems to me that’s very like what goes on in “the scientific method.” You have a model, of a star, it’s an understanding, and you develop that model in the light of experiments and observations, and so in both you’re expected to evolve your thinking. Nothing is static, nothing is final, everything is held provisionally.
– Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Beautiful Minds

I open my journal, write a few
sounds with green ink,
and suddenly
fierceness enters me, stars
begin to revolve, and pick up
alligator dust from under the ocean.
The music comes, I feel the bushy
tail of the Great Bear
reach down and brush the sea floor.
– Robert Bly, Words Rising

I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.
– Marshall McLuhan

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.
– Seamus Heaney

The Morning After
by Ellen Bass

You stand at the counter, pouring boiling water
over the French roast, oily perfume rising in smoke.
And when I enter, you don’t look up.
You’re hurrying to pack your lunch, snapping
the lids on little plastic boxes while you call your mother
to tell her you’ll take her to the doctor.
I can’t see a trace of the little slice of heaven
we slipped into last night—a silk kimono
floating satin ponds and copper koi, stars falling
to the water. Didn’t we shoulder
our way through the cleft in the rock of the everyday
and tear up the grass in the pasture of pleasure?
If the soul isn’t a separate vessel
we carry from form to form,
but more like Aristotle’s breath of life—
the work of the body that keeps it whole—
then last night, darling, our souls were busy.
But this morning it’s like you’re wearing a bad wig,
disguised so I won’t recognize you
or maybe so you won’t know yourself
as that animal burned down
to pure desire. I don’t know
how you do it. I want to throw myself
onto the kitchen tile and bare my throat.
I want to slick back my hair
and tap-dance up the wall. I want to do it all
all over again—dive back into that brawl,
that raw and radiant free-for-all.
But you are scribbling a shopping list
because the kids are coming for the weekend
and you’re going to make your special crab cakes
that have ruined me for all other crab cakes

In the survivalist world most us live in, there is no opportunity to explore presence as a whole being experience because we are constantly adapting our consciousness to what we need to survive. The exploration of presence is a luxury many of us can’t afford. And, because we are in a survivalist state, our ideas of why we are here are affixed to whatever it is that puts food on the table. The presence-purpose bridge is primarily a practical construct. But in the world that we are beginning to co-create — one that requires us to explore presence in a deeper and more authentic way, and purpose as an encoded path that is laying in wait within us — our understanding of presence and purpose is remarkably different. They are no longer merely survivalist constructs. They are experiences rooted in our authenticity — in the real ‘who we are’ and the real ‘why we are here’. This is the path that gives me hope.
– Jeff Brown

Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye… it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.
– Edvard Munch

He’s good-looking, but that’s because he’s young. He’ll look like the rest of the world in ten years.
– John Cheever, Falconer

The poem is lonely. It is lonely and en route. Its author stays with it. Does this very fact not place the poem already here, at its inception, in the encounter, in the mystery of encounter?
– Paul Celan; tr. Pierre Joris

O wind, rend open the heat,
cut apart the heat,
rend it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air—
fruit cannot fall into heat
that presses up and blunts
the points of pears
and rounds the grapes.

Cut the heat—
plough through it,
turning it on either side
of your path.
– H.D.

He wanted a sledgehammer; a powerful tool that could shake the foundations of social complacency and political indifference; some instrument that could also be used to break open his guarded heart—or reach the hidden confines where his talent and potential were buried.

He traversed wind swept plains, navigated rain swollen rivers. He limped through deserts, climbed the highest, most daunting peaks; pored through ancient texts. Searching. Seeking. Trying to find this golden hammer that would reshape the world, his life, his future.

He never found it.

He did discover a small, almost delicate chisel that had been in his pocket the entire time, but he tossed it in the back of a utility drawer.

He wanted a sledgehammer.

– The Subversive Lens

Young, gifted and black
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black
Open your heart to what I mean
– Nina Simone

[The] status of uniqueness [that poetry gives us] might be the one thing we all have in common.
– Christopher Whyte

God has to undo our illusions secretly, as it were, when we are not watching and not in perfect control, say the mystics. That is perhaps why the best word for God is actually Mystery. We move forward in ways that we do not understand and through the quiet workings of time and grace.
– Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

You could spend more time trying to teach them your song or you can go where your music is already being played.

Find your people.
Loving you is easy for those in harmony.

– Dr. Thema

I certainly have not told my story yet, I know that, though I’ve revealed fragments.
– James Baldwin

On The Definition of Accountability
by Tad Hargrave

It’s not uncommon in personal growth circles to hear people render the etymology of responsibility as ‘the ability to respond’.

I think it’s a good rendering.

What is being said is that, “Look, you went through something hard and much of it was out of your control but, perhaps there were some elements involved that you had some influence over. Perhaps there are some lessons that might be learned that would have you be more savvy, streetwise and safe in the future. If those things are tended to then, should a similar situation arise, you might find yourself with an increased capacity to contend with it. Your ability to respond to the same sort of of thing has increased.”

And so then, responsibility becomes not an immutable fact, an unquestionable given, in any particular situation but a capacity that, like a muscle, can grow over time.

And, of course, in some situations, there isn’t much, if anything, to be learned and our role in what happened was small to non-existent.

I’d like to offer up a rendering of the etymology of ‘accountability’ follows a similar line of thought. It seems like an important word to come to in these calls of call outs and calls to ‘hold people accountable for what they did’.

When people speak of ‘accountability’ these days it seems to carry this flavour of ‘here are the books of what you owe and now you pay’ but this level is the easy thing to see I think. After all, sometimes the amount to pay back isn’t easily quantifiable.

Sometimes you can’t pay it back. Or not to that person.

Sometimes you are ‘forgiven’ (another financial term). This question of accounting lifts up many very central questions beyond the scope of this essay but deeply worthy of our consideration: Who owes whom what? Is there interest on what is owed? How can we pay it back? Is debt even the appropriate understanding of justice and how this universe works? Is the goal to get ‘out’ of debt? Is the goal to not owe anybody anything?

Regardless, I think that while those questions mighty apply well to the word ‘accounting’ I don’t know if they do with the the word ‘accountability’. I think the etymology of it takes us in other directions that are less commonly tread.

It must be stated that this is only one rendering of it all and there are other ways of coming to this which I’m glad are out there in the world.

Certainly, the powerful in the world have moved for a long time with no need to account for themselves and those who have a pattern of causing harm have every reason to avoid the same.

But there can be a shadow-side of this rush to accountability for all: scapegoating. As women, Jews, people of colour and indigenous people around the world know all too well, the piling up of the culture’s darkness and fears on one group of people and lighting them on fire is an all too common thread in the tapestry of the civilized world.

The Etymology of Accounting

First the formal etymology:

c. 1300, “counting,” especially “reckoning of money received and paid, detailed statement of funds owed or spent or property held,” from Old French acont “(financial) account, reckoning, terminal payment,” from a “to” (see ad-) + cont “counting, reckoning of money to be paid,” from Late Latin computus “a calculation,” from Latin computare “to count, sum up, reckon together,” from com “with, together” (see com-) + putare “to reckon,” originally “to prune,” from PIE root *pau- (2) “to cut, strike, stamp.”
c. 1300, “to count, enumerate,” from Old French aconter “to enumerate; reckon up, render account” (Modern French conter), from a “to” (see ad-) + conter “to count, tell” (see count (v.)).
Meaning “to reckon for money given or received, render a reckoning,” is from late 14c. Sense of “to explain, justify” (c. 1300) is from notion of “present a detailed explanation of money, etc. held in trust.” Transferred sense of “to value, to estimate” (to account as belonging to a certain class of quality) is from late 14c. Intransitive sense of “to render an account of particulars” is from late 14c.; hence transitive sense “give an explanation” (1670s, usually with to before a person and for before a thing).
And so we see that this word came from dealings with money – the counting and tallying of it and stamping of approval that the counting was done well. “Yes, this is what was bought and sold and this is the amount that was paid.”
via: etymonline

There’s something about accounting that means ‘not hidden’. It is written there for all to see. Anyone who knows how to read it is allowed to read it. I think of Jack Stack who, in his book The Great Game of Business, describes how he opened the company books to everyone in the company and taught them how to read them. A radical move. Everyone knew the full story of the economy of the business. If people wanted to get a raise, they could, but everyone else would see it and they would have to be able to justify it. This collective awareness fashioned them into more responsible members of the company. Though it is hazy, I can’t recall now if he ran this business as a co-op or if there was simply profit sharing, the employees had a stake in the profitability of the business. By them knowing the story, they were empowered to make wiser decisions about expenditures and purchases.

It is not surprising that this word, ‘account’ which we now also use for ‘story’ comes from its roots in the practice of accounting as, in the West, our written language emerged first in Mesopotamia for just this purpose, images impressed on little clay disks with a stylus, tracking what was bought and paid for and put into a clay pouch to help keep track of things.

So does the word ‘tale’ have its roots in ‘tally’ (to count) and story (to store something).

While the roots of this are economic, the function of it is the same.

Accounting is storytelling.

A friend of mine, skilled in reading balance sheets, once told me that he could read the ledger of a business and see its whole story in it.

I remember hearing Chippewa-Cree and Metis tradition bearer Ron Evans speaking about how in the culture he grew up in they didn’t make a distinction between little everyday stories, bigger histories or the old ‘folk tales’ and ‘myths’.

He shrugged, “They were all just referred to as ‘things that happened’.”

In many indigenous cultures, the truth of a story was determined, not by written down records, but by who told the story. Certain people had a reputation for knowing their history well and others did not.

I just…when academics can’t read their peers’ (and in many cases their elders’) work with good faith, generosity, and critical care (emphasis on care), what was the point of engaging? That microcosm of micro thinking must get lonely. It must.
– Phillip B Willians

Elders fall into the category of things that are made, not born. An infant becomes a child simply by aging, but a person cannot become an elder by simply becoming older. Old age alone cannot make the elder, for the qualities most needed involve something more than physical change. Becoming an elder is not a “natural occurrence;” there is something meta-physical involved, something philosophical and spiritual that is required.

The passing of time makes everyone older, but not necessarily wiser. People either wise up to who they are at their core of their soul or else tend to slip into narrow, egocentric patterns. Either they develop a greater vision of life as they mature or they simply lose sight of who they were intended to be and what they came to give to this world. Many actually become more childish in old age. An extended old age can easily lead to a return of infantile attitudes and exaggerations of basic neediness.

In traditional societies the old people became the guardians of the mysteries and keepers of the higher laws of life. Having grown both older and wiser they knew best what needed to be preserved and remembered in order for human life to be noble and meaningful and in tune with nature. Those “old enough to know better” would become living depositories of wisdom for the next generation to draw upon; if not, everyone would suffer a loss of knowledge and greater disorientation in the world.

– Michael Meade, Fate and Destiny

Why shouldn’t we, so generally addicted to the gigantic, at last have some small works of art, some short poems, short pieces of music […], some intimate, low-voiced, and delicate things in our mostly huge and roaring, glaring world?
– Elizabeth Bishop

by Amy Beeder

A Guide to Bird Songs, Aretas A. Saunders: 1935

Dear Reader―
There are dimples on the flyleaf where you signed
so hard you nearly tore it & a tiny ochre beetle
sealed evermore beside a Towhee’s tank yo tee hee tee.
In that Braille I thought Disaffection. In the spine’s
grit Blackstorm Dust―

You ask, Aretas,
if the watcher’s right in counting on the list a bird they’ve heard
but never seen. Does my constant song count, if muttered
only under breath? What notes did you seek in pine
& willow thicket, what tik, what vivid downward slur?

Catbird, Thief.
But then song comes to you all day, easy. Impulse, rumor,
stolen phrases. Know a glittered tongue does not excuse you.
One who had this power mimicked sixteen other species
& a tree toad. It could also whisper.

Catbird, Author―
You thought, you thought! You thought to try for emphasis
with repetition or by switching pitch, when all you needed
was a trill at most. Where’s your ear? Will you agree at
least to keep, when flying through the winter, wisely silent?

Imagine it—
nothing, the color of happiness,
nothing, the size of love,
nothing, the shape of god.

– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Do you remember the first record
where we didn’t have to change
the pronouns to sing along?

We’d gone so many years without
music that knew us. Music that knew
you could arch your back and I’d
have proof that the earth was round.

– Andrea Gibson

To be is to have mortal shape, mortal conditions, to struggle, to evolve. Paradise is, like the dream of the Buddhists, a Nirvana where there is no more personality and hence no conflict. It is the expression of man’s wish to triumph over reality, over becoming. The artist’s dream of the impossible, the miraculous, is simply the resultant of his inability to adapt himself to reality. He creates, therefore, a reality of his own – in the poem – a reality which is suitable to him, a reality in which he can live out his unconscious desires, wishes, dreams. The poem is the dream made flesh, in a two-fold sense: as work of art, and as life, which is a work of art. When man becomes fully conscious of his powers, his role, his destiny, he is an artist and he ceases his struggle with reality.
– Henry Miller

Finding is losing something else.
I think about, perhaps even mourn,
what I lost to find this.
– Richard Brautigan

From a Bodhisattva’s point of view, the world is a giant emergency room.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.
– Pablo Neruda

by the roadside
my horse nibbling
on flowers
– Basho

A Hermit Thrush
Nothing’s certain. Crossing, on this longest day,
the low-tide-uncovered isthmus, scrambling up
the scree-slope of what at high tide
will be again an island,

to where, a decade since well-being staked
the slender, unpremeditated claim that brings us
back, year after year, lugging the
makings of another picnic–

the cucumber sandwiches, the sea-air-sanctified
fig newtons–there’s no knowing what the slamming
seas, the gales of yet another winter
may have done. Still there,

the gust-beleaguered single spruce tree,
the ant-thronged, root-snelled moss, grass
and clover tuffet underneath it,
edges frazzled raw

but, like our own prolonged attachment, holding.
Whatever moral lesson might commend itself,
there’s no use drawing one,
there’s nothing here

to seize on as exemplifying any so-called virtue
(holding on despite adversity, perhaps) or
any no-more-than-human tendency–
stubborn adherence, say,

to a wholly wrongheaded tenet. Though to
hold on in any case means taking less and less
for granted, some few things seem nearly
certain, as that the longest day

will come again, will seem to hold its breath,
the months-long exhalation of diminishment
again begin. Last night you woke me
for a look at Jupiter,

that vast cinder wheeled unblinking
in a bath of galaxies. Watching, we traveled
toward an apprehension all but impossible
to be held onto–

that no point is fixed, that there’s no foothold
but roams untethered save by such snells,
such sailor’s knots, such stays
and guy wires as are

mainly of our own devising. From such an
empyrean, aloof seraphic mentors urge us
to look down on all attachment,
on any bonding, as

in the end untenable. Base as it is, from
year to year the earth’s sore surface
mends and rebinds itself, however
and as best it can, with

thread of cinquefoil, tendril of the magenta
beach pea, trammel of bramble; with easings,
mulchings, fragrances, the gray-green
bayberry’s cool poultice–

and what can’t finally be mended, the salt air
proceeds to buff and rarefy: the lopped carnage
of the seaward spruce clump weathers
lustrous, to wood-silver.

Little is certain, other than the tide that
circumscribes us that still sets its term
to every picnic–today we stayed too long
again, and got our feet wet–

and all attachment may prove at best, perhaps,
a broken, a much-mended thing. Watching
the longest day take cover under
a monk’s-cowl overcast,

with thunder, rain and wind, then waiting,
we drop everything to listen as a
hermit thrush distills its fragmentary,
hesitant, in the end

unbroken music. From what source (beyond us, or
the wells within?) such links perceived arrive–
diminished sequences so uninsistingly
not even human–there’s

hardly a vocabulary left to wonder, uncertain
as we are of so much in this existence, this
botched, cumbersome, much-mended,
not unsatisfactory thing.
– Amy Clampitt

Although we humans cut nature up in different ways, and we have different courses in different departments, such compartmentalization is really artificial… The imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man.
– Richard Feynman

Toni Morrison said, “I want to do good work. I want to be involved in other people’s doing good work.” She also said, “You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.” Balance matters.

martin buber said: “the atheist staring from his attic window is often nearer to god than the believer caught up in his own false image of god.” this is true, for even the word “god” is itself a false image. and so it seems at times that our only possible response is to stand in awed utter silence. but sometimes our silence just doesn’t say enough. we suddenly recognize that there is no way that cannot become a way. even despair. the poet anna kamienska said it well: “i pray in words. i pray in poems. i want to learn to pray through breathing, through dreams and sleeplessness, through love and renunciation.
– Hune Margulies

It takes a long time before one learns to take one’s place in one’s own life.
– Ingeborg Bachmann

It absolutely blows your mind how cruel nature and poverty can be. You almost have to turn away, and many people do. We see the brutality of life and nature, and also of what lives inside us. I don’t like to see this. It does not work for me.
– Anne Lamott

It has been said that the poet is the great therapist. In that sense, the poetic task would involve exorcising, conjuring and, in addition, repairing. To write a poem is to repair the fundamental wound, the tear. Because we are all injured.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
– Isaiah

Parable of the Swallows

In those first days of songless absence, centuries
ago, scientists swore swallows dove

into lakes and rivers, spent winters submerged—
breath held, silt-swaddled; so much so

that they solicit fishermen to draw the swallows up
in nets so they might have proof, revive them.

Other hearsay goes, the people of the towns assumed
the swallows shed their feathers, shrank

into tree hollows, survived on sun-gained stores,
could go unseen so long as they became

unrecognizable. It was a comfort
that swallows might persist as kinds of ghosts.

Another theory at the time proposed a sleep-
flown space migration, the swallows simply

steering up and stirring only when they felt
the lunar cold. Winter was a question

charged with loss; a sky of eaves, unnested.
The swallowless imagined

an enormous possible—in those days,
the swallow a shorthand for the soul.

– Violeta Garcia-Mendoza

the left too often approaches conservativism like it has a legitimate point to make. it doesn’t. treat the right like a circus clown with a loaded gun. deadly, but at it’s core, a joke.
– Oliver Willis

by David Whyte

if you move carefully
through the forest

like the ones
in the old stories

who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,

you come
to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,

that can make
or unmake
a life,

that have patiently
waited for you,

that have no right
to go away.

New antidepressant is working on me like a truth serum. Summer should be interesting.
– Alexander Chee

Blow the candle out, I don’t need to see what my thoughts look like.
– Emile Zola

Perhaps they were right putting love into books. Perhaps it could not live anywhere else.
– William Faulkner

All emotions are basically a form of prejudice; within each emotion there is always an element of judgment.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Only when you are
healed and whole
can you open your heart
and allow others
to take a chair
at the table
and warm their
cold, broken hands
by the fire.
– Laurence Overmire

how do we counter bad people with bibles? by gathering good people with bibles! for there are no holy books: there are only holy readers. even the holiest of verses, such as “love the stranger as yourself” can be defiled by unholy readers. nothing in history has been more inhuman and ungodly than bad people with holy books. these are the times of the ascendancy of bad prophets: it too shall pass. may it be soon in our days.
– hune margulies

That is why we protest: not to break the law, but to fulfill it. We assume that the law represents the people; and if the law doesn’t represent the people, it should be amended. If this is not the assumption under which we are all doing this, then no one owes any allegiance to this government or to any other.
– Stephen Gaskin, Rendered Infamous

The problem with psychology is that the mind took control of it and examined psychic phenomena through the lens of its own programming.

And people believe that objectivity is impossible for this exact reason. You can’t separate the mind from itself.

But you can actually free yourself of the mind’s programming which allows you to see and understand the workings of the whole being: mind, consciousness, energy.

The psyche is an emergent expression of nature. Not a rigid equation.

And you can know it through the being of it.

– Kevin Allan Stansbury


We Irish are too Poetic to be poets…We are a nation of brilliant failures.
But we are the greatest talkers since the Greeks.
– Oscar Wilde


If a stanza a river long
could sink a battle ship
If a run on sentence
taking a hearer through the mess u ages
could make a regiment
charging through a city street
drop their rifles.

If a tail end
of a naration
could disable a tank

Wheels falling
with each change
Each embellishment

If an O’Carolin Concerto
Could misdirect a Cavalry
Put their commanders in a trance
If pipers could melt swords
Would Ireland be free?
Would it ever have been conquered?

If master fiddlers could make clergy
and officials scatter their thoughts
Dance like there were no floor director

Would Ireland imprison Wild Earnest Men?
Force young Women into work houses
for being young woman like?
or victims? Tell them their sins
are washed down the sink.?
Ban novels that win international awards?

Or would the state and the church
Be more well rounded.
Like the Ethiopian and Celtic crosses.

– Jerry Pendergast

The room is
almost all
Almost none
of it isn’t.
Pretty much
solid elephant.
So there’s no
room to talk
about it.
– Kay Ryan

“Invisible connection is stronger than visible.” […] The innate urge to go below appearances to the “invisible connection” and hidden constitution leads to the world interior to whatever is given. This autochthonous urge of the psyche, its native desire to understand psychologically, would seem to be akin to what Freud calls the death drive and what Plato presented as the desire for Hades. […] Hades was of course the God of depths, the God of the invisibles. He is himself invisible, which could imply that the invisible connection is Hades, and that the essential “what” that holds things in their form is the secret of their death. And if, as Heraclitus said, Nature loves to hide, then nature loves Hades.
– James Hillman

A poem,
like trying
to remember,
is a movement
of the whole body.
– Rosmarie Waldrop

It is no secret. All power is one in source and end, I think. Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man’s hand and the wisdom in a tree’s root: they all arise together. My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Nothing Personal
by James Baldwin

I have slept on rooftops and in basements and subways, have been cold and hungry all my life; have felt that no fire would ever ward me, and no arms would ever hold me. I have been, as the song says, ‘buked and scorned and I know that I always will be. But, my God, in that darkness, which was the lot of my ancestors and my own state, what a mighty fire burned? In that darkness … a living soul moved and refused to die …

It is a mighty heritage, it is the human heritage, and it is all there is to trust. … this is why one must say Yes to life and embrace it where it is found — and it is found in terrible places: nevertheless, there it is; and if the [parent] can say Yes, Lord, the child can learn that most difficult of words, Amen.

For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have.

The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.

There are two great systems in the body of man: the tree of life, which is the arterial with its roots in the heart; and, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, i.e. the nervous system, which has its roots in the brain. These two “trees” are physical manifestations of a complicated network of branching energy currents in the aura or superphysical bodies.
– Manly P. Hall

Q: How do you survive whole in a world where we’re all victims of something?“

Ms. Morrison: Ummm, how do you survive whole–I can’t do this quickly, for one–how can you survive whole and when we’re victims of something, um. You know that’s a nice fat, eastern/western philosophical question about ‘how do you get through’?

Sometimes you don’t survive whole, you just survive in part. But the grandeur of life is that attempt, it’s not about that solution.

It is about being as fearless as one can, behaving as beautifully as one can, under completely impossible circumstances. It’s that, that makes it elegant. Good is more interesting. More complex, more demanding.

Evil is silly. It may be horrible but at the same time it’s not a compelling idea: it’s predictable, it needs a tuxedo, it needs blood, it needs fingernails, it’s all that costume, in order to get anybody’s attention.

But the opposite, which is survival, blossoming, endurance, those things are just more compelling intellectually, if not spiritually and they certainly are spiritually. This is more fascinating job.

We are already born. We are going to die. So you have to do something interesting that you respect in between.

– Toni Morrison

I am a place, a place where things come together,
then fly apart.
Look at the fields disappearing,
look at the distant hills,
look at the night, the velvety, fragrant night,
which has already come,
though the sun continues to stand at my door.
– Mark Strand

Is life a wound which dreams of being healed?
– Becoming Light, The Evidence by Erica Jong

Journeying god,
pitch your tent with mine
so that I may not become deterred
by hardship, strangeness, doubt.
Show me the movement I must make
toward a wealth not dependent on possessions,
toward a wisdom not based on books,
toward a strength not bolstered by might,
toward a god not confined to heaven.
Help me to find myself as I walk in other’s shoes.
– (Prayer song from Ghana, traditional, translator unknown)

How can I explain to the heart that the night is about to pass?
All the conversation is about the night—but the night is about to pass.
– Meena Kumari Naaz

What’s in a name? That is what we ask ourselves in childhood when we write the name that we are told is ours.
– James Joyce

I still think that if you can condense, what remains is more energetic. It can be more explosive.
– Rae Armantrout

The poet remains, distance-less, immersed in the bafflement of living.
– Michelle Castleberry

Salvage by Amy Clampitt

Daily the cortege of crumpled
defunct cars
goes by by the lasagna-
layered flatbed
truckload: hardtop

reverting to tar smudge,
wax shine antiqued to crusted
winepress smear,
windshield battered to
intact ice-tint, a rarity

fresh from the Pleistocene.
I like it; privately
I find esthetic
satisfaction in these
ceremonial removals

from the category of
received ideas
to regions where pigeons’
svelte smoke-velvet
limousines, taxiing

in whirligigs, reclaim
a parking lot,
and the bag-laden
hermit woman, disencumbered
of a greater incubus,

the crush of unexamined
attitudes, stoutly
follows her routine,
mining the mountainsides
of our daily refuse

for artifacts: subversive
with each arcane
trash-basket dig
the pleasures of the ruined.


We need to ford the river.
There’s always the other side to consider.
Whether we think about the other side or not,
we need to ford the river.

The boats go on the river
and the river goes on forever.
We need somewhere to come ashore,
a somewhere we haven’t been before.

Look over there! A giant flightless bird!
A tree shaped like a pear!
Do we feel fear? We don’t. We do?
You know I’ll never agree with you.

We like to think we’re starting to explore
deep into the far and furthermore.
We use words like hitherto a lot,
we sit by the campfire, watch the clock.

Yet even with the heat, we start to shiver.
We really need to talk.
So many things on which we differ!
When to say whence, when to say whither.

But first of all we need to ford the river.

– Bill Manhire


His name was Yawn and he came from Iceland.
He started talking about glaciers.
I said, well we have those.
Then it was thermal stuff and bubbling mud.
All that, too, I said. Volcanoes. Ditto.
Waterfalls. Of course.

Then he said, we have no trees, another interesting fact.
We have lots of those, I said. Big forests. Bush.
He said, I don’t think you can even see
where you are going with all those trees.

Then he turned on his heel
and vanished into the polar wastes.

Maybe it was Yone, but I will stick with Yawn.
I called after him, words I am still quite proud of:
Well, you can’t beat a good diorama!
Whenever I fall asleep, I think of him.

– Bill Manhire

At Lake Dickinson

This landscape needs a better sky,
something to look the water in the eye.

A single cloud would do,
should you have one on or about you.

– Bill Manhire

‘The intrinsic value of a book does not depend on the importance of its subject (else the theologians would prevail, and mightily), but on the manner of approaching the accidental and the insignificant…’
– Cioran

Looking into a Jean Valentine poem
is like looking into a lake:
you can see your own outline,
and the shapes of the upper world,
reflected among rocks, underwater life,
glint of lost bottles, drifted leaves.
The known and familiar become one
with the mysterious and half-wild,
at the place where consciousness
and the subliminal meet.
This is a poetry of the highest order,
because it lets us into spaces and meanings
we couldn’t approach in any other way.
– Adrienne Rich

Here we are, we the people of the United States: the greatest people on earth, so we think. We have everything – everything it takes to make people happy. We have land, water, sky and all that goes with it. We could become the great shining example of the world; we could radiate peace, joy, power, benevolence. But there are ghosts all about, ghosts whom we can’t seem to lay hands on. We are not happy, not contented, not radiant, not fearless.
– Henry Miller, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare

I still remember how they found you, after a dream, in your thimble hat, studious as a butterfly in a parking lot
– John Ashbery

I don’t know how to make this more clear. The sooner we end fossil fuels, the more we save. The longer we wait, the more we lose. And everything is at risk.
– Peter Kalmus

My husband said that he would rather be invited to a train-wreck than a New York literary cocktail party.
– Mary Lee Settle

The test of a psychologically mature person, and therefore spiritually mature, will be found in his or her capacity to handle what one might call the Triple A’s: anxiety, ambiguity and ambivalence.
– James Hollis, Ph.D.

Beethoven’s Ninth
raindrops bounce
from cobblestones
– Peggy Willis Lyles

with the anemone zero.

Drink 12 oz. of coffee in Longmont.

Are you parched?

Is your name Pinky?

What color is the skin of your inner arm, creamy?

Valentine City rebate: a box of chocolates from Safeway.

Yours, yours, yours.

In its entirety.

Don’t collude with your inability to give or receive love.

Collude, instead, with the lining of the universe.

Descent, rotation, silk water, brief periods of intense sunlight
striated with rose pink glitter.

The glitter can only get us.

So far.

Here we are at the part with the asphalt, airstream Tupperware,
veins, some nice light stretching.

Call me.

This is a poem for a beloved.

Who never arrived.

– Bhanu Kapil

In a culture that largely defines worthiness, sanity, and success in terms of how distant we are from our feelings, how far and fast we run away from our roots, how numb we are to the fluency of our bodies, daring to slow down . . . daring to be still is the most damning act of rebellion.
– Bayo Akomolafe

The current model of infinite growth in a world of finite physical resources will deliver inflation, climate chaos & conflict.

The solution is clear: infinite renewable resources – wind, sun, tides – are at our disposal to solve our energy needs.

– Antonio Guterres

Of the two undiscovered countries, Life and Death, which one lies closer to God?
– Jay Hopler


Had you but the courage to acknowledge the haunted inner room, turn the key and enter, you would encounter nothing strange or sinister there. You would meet some vital self of yours that you had banished during a time of pain or difficulty. Sometimes, when life squeezes you into lonely crevices, you may have to decide between survival and breaking apart. The banished self from an earlier time of life remains within you waiting to be released and integrated. The soul has its own logic of loyalty and concealment. Ironically, it is usually in the most awkward rooms that the special blessings and healing are locked away.

– John O’Donohue

All is inspiration – twigs, people, clouds, shapes, names, words, sounds, colors and forms… Deep inspiration probably comes from the unnamable. That is why we want to write it, even though it is impossible.
– Juan Felipe Herrera

Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.
– Carlos Castenada

In Buddhism, it’s considered appropriate and helpful to cultivate and enhance our well-being. It is all too easy to overlook the well-being that is easily available in daily life. Even taking time to enjoy one’s tea or the sunset…
– Gil Fronsdal

Every thought and action sends shivers of energy into the world around us, which affects all creation. Perceiving the world as a web of connectedness helps us to overcome the feelings of separation that hold us back and cloud our vision. This connection with all life increases our sense of responsibility for every move, every attitude, allowing us to see clearly that each soul does indeed make a difference to the whole.
– Emma Restall Orr

Art should not simply explain the world; sometimes, it must show us how unexplainable it is.
– D. A. Powell

your energy is too sacred to be occupying spaces that feel hollow, it’s too sacred to be occupying places with no depth, it’s too sacred to be planted in gardens with no growth, your energy is too sacred to be carrying the weight of everyone else’s problems and none of your own.
– Billy Chapata

Poetry is a dream dreamed in the presence of reason.
– Tommaso Ceva, baroque Jesuit poet

I don’t like labels and isms.
– Lillian Hellman

Our giftedness is so various. We each come with something that longs to be given in some way or we can’t become fully ourselves. It doesn’t have to be big and spectacular to be necessary to the whole. Let’s just share it the best we can.
– Gunilla Norris

For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

Kindness is the only non-delusional response to the human condition.
– George Saunders

therapy is not enough. i need to go back in time
– @jzux

You are a participant in the future of language.
– Ocean Vuong

I call a poem the very thing that teaches the heart, invents the heart, that which, finally, the word heart seems to mean and which, in my language, I cannot easily discern from the word itself…[A poem] is confided like a prayer…
– Jacques Derrida

Science and poetry, mathematics and words, intellect and imagination, mind and body: they are old, they are tidy, they are mistaken.
– Elizabeth Sewell

Obscure poetry does not exist, or else it is not poetry, it is something else.
– Tahar Ben Jelloun

Unless you stop yourself, there’s no stopping yourself.
– Paul McCartney

Before we begin writing stories, we begin thinking in stories.
– Amy Tan

It would seem that, quite possibly, the ultimate measure of health in any community might well reside in our ability to stand in awe at what folks have to carry rather than in judgment at how they carry it.
– Father Greg Boyle

two human beings have such difficulty in understanding each other, there is nothing so tragical as two human beings
– Halldór Laxness, Independent People

The first time she looked at me something gave inside me. I felt no longer solitary in the prison of my skin. She was letting me out into the world. To be where she is.
– Ursule Molinaro

I suppose memories live here and there in the body. But they’re invisible, aren’t they? And no matter how wonderful the memory, it vanishes if you leave it alone. If no one pays attention to it. They leave no trace, no evidence that they ever existed.
– Yōko Ogawa, The Memory Police

I wanted to grow up and just be a reader, just be someone who reads.
– Lydia Davis

Had the Vines Budded, Were the Pomegranates in Bloom
by S. Brook Corfman

My old lover was Catholic and lied to me about the smallest things. Now he’s dying and I’m trying to forgive everyone standing in line ahead of me at the grocery store. I keep painting objects intuitively. I keep saying I’ve never been in love. It’s not quite true but I keep describing the same things differently, as sailboats through the locks of reversed rivers or as streaks of red across the sky, visible only in one eye. The sensation of decision-making won’t stay put. I forget who I am and wake up exhausted. I had a teacher once who died, it was as if she removed herself into the forest. I scatter leaves to read them like pages as if she’s speaking. She was in love. I don’t know if I’m worried I will or won’t ever give up my fictional autonomy. I’m choosing between two trees with two hollows. One begins breaking as I step inside, as I try to sleep. The other is already inhabited by a rooster. I pluck a feather and run to the pawn shop. How much is this worth? Can I buy it back for my Sunday best, for the suit I never wear? Maybe if I go to the church I don’t believe in I’ll meet a man I can. I’ll wear my Jewish star and pray for his belief to convince me that I too want someone to hold my stare.

A crystal, when placed on a piece of cloth, takes on the color of that cloth, whether white, yellow, red or black. In the same way, the friends with whom you keep company the most often, whether suitable or unsuitable, will greatly influence the direction your life and practice take.
– Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

I see it this way: We’re all in this together. We’re writing. What ludicrous and difficult work it is. Let me offer you my hand.
– Diane Seuss

The ignorant man is an ox. He grows in size, not in wisdom.
– The Dhammapada

The stock market is a device to transfer money from the impatient to the patient.
– Warren Buffett

a fool in darkness
grabbing thorns
instead of fireflies
– Basho

I want people to see my gratitude when I’m out and about. I want my gratitude and my enthusiasm to be as noticeable as my perfume and my clothes and my gait. I want the world to see that I’m ready for whatever it brings to me. Let’s get going!
– Ruth Gordon

I thank you for the music
And your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom
When it came my time to go —
I thank you for the kindness
And the times when you got tough
And, papa, I don’t think I
Said ‘I love you’ near enough —
– Dan Fogelberg

Doesn’t rain make a memory more intimate?
– Mark Doty

And yet the world, with all its wars, is not yet hell. And history, however terrible, has another and a deeper meaning. For it is not the evil of history that’s its significance, and it is not by the evil of our time that our time can be understood.
– Thomas Merton

More than anything, prayer helps me get my sense of humor back. It brings me back to my heart, from the treacherous swamp of my mind.
– Anne Lamott

Poetry is a laser beam to the brain / a raw vein leading straight to the heart. We find a poem that affects us that we love and we resonate inside its vessel.
– Jane Burn

it’s a thousand times harder to wander from tongue to tongue
than land to land.
– Fatemeh Shams

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another skin, another voice, another soul
– Joyce Carol Oates

Unpack karma and you get cause and effect. Unpack cause and effect, and you get affinity. Unpack affinity and you get the tendency to coalesce. Unpack the tendency to coalesce and you get intimacy. Unpack, intimacy and you will find that you contain all beings. Unpack containment and there is the Goddess of Mercy herself.
– Robert Aitken

I find myself telling my friends that you do not need to be 100% engaged in your art every moment.

Sometimes you need to drop out, fill up, & see what happens.

It’s okay not to write then write later–it doesn’t mean you aren’t dedicated, it means you are living your life.

– Kelli Russelll Agodon

The mystical imperative is not that we know God at a distance, but that we know God in the depths of our being.
– Bob Holmes

If you cannot readily distinguish between the humane—and the clearly inhumane:

Do not expect me to trust your interpretations of ancient, religious texts.

– The Subversive Lens

The world is violent and mercurial–it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love–love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.
– Tennessee Williams

If we want to make meditation dry and tight and joyless and miserable— let’s make focus the priority.
– Rob Burbea

Days of dreams
When we were young

And the sky was near

There were only dreams
And the sky was never
anything but hopeful

and clear

Radios in our young rooms
The world was a hope
And we

had no fear

– Marian Haddad

and now she cares for her backyard shelter
its fruit trees
red tomatoes with life
your little forest
Where do you find this young man
strong as a rock
who dug the earth under him
and brought him back to life

Translation, Julius Cesar Aguilar

…and now he tends his backyard haven
his fruit trees
tomatoes red with life
his little forest
where he finds that young man
strong as a rock
who dug the earth beneath him
and made it rise again

– Marian Haddad, Somewhere between Mexico and a River Called Home

Strange Job

Poets don’t know anything
and they still get your attention.
What kind of a job is that?
Singer/songwriters can sing
Novelists weave dreams
Even lovers have a skill
and don’t get paid anything

Nothing but fancy commentary
why does poetry matter at all?
Poets stand at the edge of the
circus ring, saying, “What if this
was how a person would think?”
That’s all they do! A made-up kind
of truth, sometimes still true.

– George Gorman

I didn’t need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.
– Anne Lamott

A book can be good and still not be for everyone. It’s okay! It could be worse. After all, a book can be great and be for no one. Happens all the time.
– Matt Bell

Boredom is the threshold to great deeds.
– Walter Benjamin

Everything disappears—water, light, heating—we find ourselves in Middle Ages of 21 century. Water’s carried in buckets. Food’s prepared in the yards of high-rise bldgs. Fires rise from almost every gate. People begin to learn the names of neighbors.
– Siarhey Prylutski, fr Bucha

When you have relatives in occupied Kherson, or in bombarded Kharkiv…poetry takes very peculiar forms – spontaneous prayer, stingy testimony, lament or curse. These are not the forms of poetry today’s European culture is accustomed to, they are ritualistic, primal
– Halina Kruk

We spend 2 weeks in someone’s apartment, without water, light, or gas. Temperatures sometimes reach ten degrees. In occupied cities, time doesn’t exist, it is gone. In the occupied city, we focus on those few hours when the generator is working.
– Olena Stepanenko, poet fr Bucha

Writing fiction is so unhinged because while you’re just living your life, running errands, making dinner, talking to your family, buying shit on the internet – you are also holding an imaginary world and made up people in your head all day.
– Amber Sparks

I see an effect of light and make a note of it. I see a plant in a meadow and try not to forget it. I make lists of words, I write down phrases I hear on the street.
– Elena Ferrante

A condition of complete simplicity – costing not less than everything.
– T.S. Elliot

In Buddhism, knowledge is regarded as an obstacle to understanding, like a block of ice that obstructs water from flowing.
It is said that if we take one thing to be the truth and cling to it, even if truth itself comes in person and knocks at our door, we won’t open it.

For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.

Guarding knowledge is not a good way to understand. Understanding means to throw away your knowledge. You have to be able to transcend your knowledge the way people climb a ladder. If you are on the fifth step of a ladder and think that you are very high, there is no hope for you to climb to the sixth.
The technique is to release. The Buddhist way of understanding is always letting go of our views and knowledge in order to transcend. This is the most important teaching.

That is why I use the image of water to talk about understanding. Knowledge is solid; it blocks the way of understanding. Water can flow, it can penetrate anything.

– Thích Nhất Hạnh, Feelings and Perceptions, Being Peace

You have to be grateful whenever you get to someplace safe and okay, even if it turns out it wasn’t quite where you were heading.
– Anne Lamott

My poems are grounded in that crumbling osmotic space between wilderness and failure. The very scent of it activates my imagination.
– Diane Seuss

In the beginning, I used nature as a mask for writing about private feelings.
– Henri Cole

this is our secret world, filled with the unreachable,
– Yang Mu

it was she that lit the world just then

& not that ember of a sun

her light like a struck string fretting its zing against

the picnic tables

– Jay Hopler

The climate discourse is already very intense, and it will only get more so as things get hotter, outlooks worsen, more people die. Strive to say and do what we need to say and do with truth, respect, and love. But say it, and do it.
– Peter Kalmus

The Gift
To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.
– Li-Young Lee

I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might
Can rob no man of his dearest right;
My rest shall be calm in any grave
Where none can call his brother a slave.
– Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

by Cole Swensen

William in his happiness without a cloud owed it all
and from it came a life of living William said
to these unbeautiful legs I owe the fact that I am lost
and though have walked almost 200,000 miles I owe
my life and will gladly pay its weight in cloud. For whom
there was no difference to walk simply was to write and

vice-versa. Rhythm as a mode of sight in walking saw
with faceted eye and the colors all on the inside—for instance
he opened his hand and there in the palm the road
walked alone and someone fell into step as he glided off once
again there is no him

before a strong wind the colors deepen the greens sinking
even diving and the farther he walked the deeper it went
seven miles just to get the mail and another fifteen to meet
a friend for tea.

And the writing itself must be a figuration of the walk itself,
which should wander unruling the paper and thus all the
inventions that order the world—the classification of
the plants and animals—all this in William’s hand
written in a crossed letter as one would shadow a favorite
acre as he walked up and down the path in
his garden, calling it a journey left behind.

I’ve started drinking coffee in the afternoon. God knows where this madness will lead.
– Susan Orlean

What if you suddenly saw / that the silver of water was brighter than the silver / of money?
– Mary Oliver

Dip him in the river who loves water
– William Blake

a day laborer bent
over his shadow
– Saša Važić

I pity those who dream the probable . . .
– Fernando Pessoa

When it comes down to it, my first voyages were in books.
– Samantha Cristoforetti

The great thing about ‘facts’ is that they put up resistance. Resistance is good for art, and for thinking in general.
– Linda Gregerson

You won’t feel the change.
You’ll just crawl into bed
one night and find peace
returned to you.
– L.E. Bowman

What if we reframed ‘living with uncertainty’ to ‘navigating mystery’?
– Martin Shaw

Could you tell me how to grow—or is it unconveyed—like Melody—or Witchcraft?
– Emily Dickinson

The most frustrating part about climate change isn’t the actual warming itself, it’s the fact that when you yell at people that the Earth is on fire, they just continue on with their day.
– Sommer Ackerman

I am not blind to the illusion of race, I am not blind to American history and the history of race. But I’m not bound by these matters either.
– Charles Johnson

We are citizens of the most powerful country in the world, a country which stands upon the wrong side of every liberation struggle on earth.
– Audre Lorde

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
– Virginia Woolf

Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you…it means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind.
– Adrienne Rich

Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday. Every morning we wake up is the first day of the rest of our life.
– Unknown

News can be forgotten but literature will remain.
– Dr. Saba Vasefi

You might think that the ravenous hordes and tyrannical feet of fascism stop at the fences of our individual freedoms – at the place where we mark our sacred right to choose, where we speak our truths (to power), where we say or refuse to say “I acknowledge”, where consent lives.

But the comforting myth that assures us that our consent represents an impervious boundary through which nothing travels – the same myth that presupposes that consent is the property of the free individual self – hides away from us an inconvenient proposal: if every encounter with a materially dense world modifies us, if we are in fact reiteratively produced within a lively matrix of ongoing relationships instead of being static fixtures in spacetime, then consent is not a property of the isolated self – because there is no isolated-self-that-consents per se. Consent is something more, something stranger. And the ritual of making a choice, of granting permission – whether at the ballot box or at the shopping mall – is already mediated by forces foreign to us.

Thinking of choice and consent as the artifice of flows beyond us, instead of as an originary impulse jumping forth from our God-given breasts, is not new: French philosophers and schizoanalysts Deleuze and Guattari wondered why the citizens of a fascist arrangement kept saying yes to their own oppression. It’s a sticky problem: why do we shoot ourselves in our feet? You would think that when presented with the options to choose one’s liberty over servitude, we would always go for the former. Time and time again, however, we say yes to the boot.

Deleuze and Guattari chalked it up to desire – the world-making flows that secrete territories, uphold structures, destroy conventions, and create us repeatedly. The fermenting fields that produce the myth of the free individual. Desire is not a feeling; it is the world-shaping fluidity of things in their fugitivity; it precedes the individual. I think what psychologists struggle to name when they conceptualize addiction as an isolated, within-individual, event is the sociopolitical materiality of desire.

Through the state’s eyes, consent is the right of the citizen. A finished product. Ask no more questions. Relish in your wonderful freedoms to choose. If anything at all, question the choices before you, seek other options, but go no further than this. If you don’t like the varieties of ketchup before you, ask for the manager – to enhance the possibility of arriving at a “better choice.” Condemned to choice! What is lost in this incessant imperative to choose, in this reductionistic notion of choice, is that choice is not free, not untethered. Choice is secreted by larger territorial flows, desire as a terraforming project. The very act of choosing is the creation of both the options and the chooser. They both arise simultaneously, together. Instead of being something that springs from the stable self, it is the rushing volatility of desire that enacts both the options and the subject that chooses. Options do not predate the act of choice, and the chooser does not predate the choice.

Both the choice and the organism are created by the environment. We do not have free will; we are indebted to every encounter, enlisted in every meeting, modified in every moment. The raw resources deployed to produce the modern fetish of choices are excavated from strange places, torn from the skin of errant winds, living stranger lives than their stated purposes.

Yes, choice can thrive well in fascism – because choice and control are not antithetical. Perhaps the more resilient forms of fascism are those ones that offer voting cards to their citizens.

The story that tells us that the presence of choice equates to the absence of hidden control is what sustains, say, the American two-party system and its political edifice of maintaining the familiar; that story is what keeps environmental activists and conscientious objectors to rampant consumerism safely tucked within dopaminergic networks of wellbeing, into sensorial monocultures that whisper to them that their daily routines of parsing their trash for recycling purposes are saving the planet; it is what keeps us doing the same things and what keeps us infinitely busy at the wheels of our hoped-for salvation.

Therefore, I think the third act of desire in its often-fluent reproduction of organisms and their choices is the emergence of the monster – a ‘demonstration’, a meeting of the strangeness of self, a breaking off from the trance of continuity. The monster lives at the edges of choice-control. The monster is that moment when the awkwardness of choosing gains its own subjectivity, chastising the fixity of the chooser. The monster is the toxic heap of food waste collecting in seditious pockets of the city spoiled with too many choices. The monster is Google’s AI slowly gaining sentience – or perhaps spontaneously sprouting a soul. The monster is the virus stealing away our holiday plans. The monster is when wounds open in the body of the known, when new worlds hiss in new anticipation.

– Bayo Akomolafe

How many errors have I made in my efforts to cultivate the way?
– Dogen

However well phrased your poetry may be, if your feeling is not natural–if the objects and yourself is separate–then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit.
– Matsuo Bashō

Rilke: Resolve to always be beginning—

Arendt: It is in the nature of beginning that something new is started which cannot be expected.

Barthes: The unhoped for correspondence between an object and my desire: this is the sweetness of beginning.

Carson: Beginnings are crucial.

The Woman Who Turned Down a Date with a Cherry Farmer

Fredonia, NY

OF COURSE I regret it. I mean there I was under umbrellas of
so red they had to be borne of Summer, and no other season.
Flip-flops and fishhooks. Ice cubes made of lemonade and sprigs
of mint to slip in blue glasses of tea. I was dusty, my ponytail
all askew and the tips of my fingers ran, of course, red

from the fruitwounds of cherries I plunked into my bucket
and still—he must have seen some small bit of loveliness
in walking his orchard with me. He pointed out which trees
were sweetest, which ones bore double seeds—puffing out
the flesh and oh the surprise on your tongue with two tiny stones

(a twin spit), making a small gun of your mouth. Did I mention,
my favorite color is red? His jeans were worn and twisty
around the tops of his boot; his hands thick but careful,
nimble enough to pull fruit from his trees without tearing
the thin skin; the cherry dust and fingerprints on his eyeglasses.

I just know when he stuffed his hands in his pockets, said
Okay. Couldn’t hurt to try? and shuffled back to his roadside
to arrange his jelly jars and stacks of buckets, I had made
a terrible mistake. I just know my summer would’ve been
full of pies, tartlets, turnovers—so much jubilee.

I am under the thumb of poetry.
– Jane Burn

‘my own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery – always buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then buried in mud. and why? what’s this passion for?’
– virginia woolf

I still think the revolution is to make the world safe for poetry, meandering, for the frail and the vulnerable, the rare and obscure, the impractical and local and small.
– Rebecca Solnit

I step out and suddenly notice this: summer arrives, has arrived, is arriving. Birds
less than leaves although they cheep, dip, arc. A call across the tall fence from an invisible neighbor to his child is heard
right down to the secret mood in it the child
also hears. One hears in the silence that follows the great
desire for approval
and love
which summer holds aloft, all damp leeched from it, like a thing floating out on a frail but
perfect twig end. Light seeming to darken in it yet
glow. Please, it says. But not with the eager need of spring! Come what may, says summer. Smack in the middle I will stand and breathe. The
future is a super fluidity I do not
taste, no, there is no numbering
here, it is a gorgeous swelling, no emotion, as in this love is no emotion, no, also no memory – we have it all now, & all
there ever was is
us, now
– Jorie Graham

Sometimes I can no longer think in the house or in the garden or in the cleared fields. They bear too much resemblance to our failed human history – failed, because it has led to this human present that is such a bitterness and a trial. And so I go to the woods.

As I go in under the trees, dependably, almost at once, and by nothing I do, things fall into place. I enter an order that does not exist inside, in the human spaces. I feel my life take its place among the lives – the trees, the annual plants, the animals and birds, the living of all these and the dead – that go and have gone to make the life of the earth.

I am less important than I thought, the human race is less important than I thought. I rejoice in that. My mind loses its urgings, senses its nature, and is free. The forest grew here in its own time, and so I will live, suffer and rejoice, and die in my own time. There is nothing that I may decently hope for that I cannot reach by patience as well as by anxiety.

– Wendell Berry

Five Landscapes
by Cole Swensen


Green moves through the tops of trees and grows
lighter greens as it recedes, each of which includes a grey, and among the
greys, or beyond them, waning finely into white, there is one white spot,
absolute; it could be an egret or perhaps a crane at the edge of the water
where it meets a strip of sand.


There is a single, almost dazzling white spot of a white house out loud
against the fields, and the forest in lines
receding, rises,
and then planes. Color,

in pieces or entire; its presence
veneers over want; in all its moving parts, it could be something else

half-hidden by trees. Conservatory, gloriette, gazebo, or bandshell,
a door ajar on the top floor.


The trees are half air. They fissure the sky; you could count the leaves, pare
defined as that which,
no matter how barely, exceeds
what the eye could grasp in a glance;
intricate woods opening out before a body of water edged
with a swatch of meadow where someone has hung a bright white sheet
out in the sun to dry.


A white bird in a green forest is a danger to itself. Stands out. Shines. Builds
up inside. Like it’s dangerous to cry while driving or to talk to strangers or to
stare at the sun and a thousand other things
we’ve always heard
people who wear white see better at night, though they gradually lose this
trait as they age.


The air across the valley is slightly hazy though thinning though patches
remain between the groves of trees that edge a clearing in which stands a
single house. A child in a white t-shirt has just walked out of the house and
is turning to walk down to the lake.

Dangerous or not a real sunrise is a mighty welcome.
– Frodo

Companies, like people, should never change who they are so others will like them.

They should find those who like them for who they are.

– Simon Sinek

summer night
we turn out all the lights
to hear the rain
– Peggy Willis Lyles

May the warm, bright light
of the longest day
drive away the lingering dark;

Not the kind
that fills the night sky,
but the kind that fills the human heart.

– Fa Hsing Jeff Miles

The changes we dread most
may contain our salvation.
– Barbara Kingsolver

… the operation of writing implies that of reading as its dialectical correlative and these two connected acts necessitate two distinct agents. It is the joint effort of author and reader, which brings upon the scene that concrete and imaginary object which is the work of the mind. There is no art except for and by others.
– Sartre

Eat at a local restaurant tonight. Get the cream sauce. Have a cold pint at 4 o’clock in a mostly empty bar. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Listen to someone you think may have nothing in common with you. Order the steak rare. Eat an oyster. Have a negroni. Have two. Be open to a world where you may not understand or agree with the person next to you, but have a drink with them anyways. Eat slowly. Tip your server. Check in on your friends. Check in on yourself. Enjoy the ride.
– Anthony Bourdain

Writing is a calling. Do it only if you can’t help yourself.
– Charles Wright

La tristeza es causada por la inteligencia. Cuanto más entiendes ciertas cosas, más desearías no comprenderlas.
– Charles Bukowski

An escape from self
To quietly sit
Watching butterflies
– James Welsh

Body = Analog

Mind = Digital

By this definition, the analog & digital have never been separable.

– Vince Horn

I bear the wounds of all the battles I avoided.
– Fernando Pessoa

Black holes are where God divided by zero.
– Steven Wright

“I honor your choices” goes a long, long way…
– Jeff Brown

I don’t want to end up
simply having visited this world.
– Mary Oliver

This Is Not a Small Voice
This is not a small voice
you hear this is a large
voice coming out of these cities.
This is the voice of LaTanya.
Kadesha. Shaniqua. This
is the voice of Antoine.
Darryl. Shaquille.
Running over waters
navigating the hallways
of our schools spilling out
on the corners of our cities and
no epitaphs spill out of their river mouths.

This is not a small love
you hear this is a large
love, a passion for kissing learning
on its face.
This is a love that crowns the feet with hands
that nourishes, conceives, feels the water sails
mends the children,
folds them inside our history where they
toast more than the flesh
where they suck the bones of the alphabet
and spit out closed vowels.
This is a love colored with iron and lace.
This is a love initialed Black Genius.

This is not a small voice
you hear.

– Sonia Sanchez

This week, researchers at the University of Bath realized that not everyone is driven to be a billionaire endlessly consuming whatever they can find, and maybe economic modeling should be nuanced enough to take that into account. Seriously.

This week’s sciku:

endless ice tea
for the hummingbird

– Timothy Green

Timebinding and Timedancing

Every life is rhythmically pulsing between form and flux, between timebinding and timedancing. When Alfred Korzybski first talked about “timebinding,” he restricted the idea in ways that didn’t emphasize how essential this is to numerous parts of a functional identity. Much more than education and human record-keeping depend on what I call timebinding. When you realize how important a new understanding is for you, or how deeply you love someone, timebinding occurs. Something new endures in your mind. Every organism is timebinding when it sentiently preserves something of value – whether in terms of a sense of home, group, learning or health. When someone plans some purposeful processes those timebindings are how one shapes that developmental operation. Coordinating many thoughts, feelings, actions and perceptions into functional sequences of skilled experience – as when a chef cooks a great meal or a pair of lovers merge – timebinding interweaves felt cognitions and sense-actions through well-felt dramas of experience. But timedancing is what happens when you spin free, often through communicating with others.

So timedancing is how your own feelings can free you from your timebindings. We string our skeins of awareness together through timebindings that organize identities, communities and environments, creating structural forms. When formal structure is paramount, things work in orderly, explainable ways. But in times of flux the explanatory axioms are altered by surprise. Some crumble under unexpected discrepancies, while others persist (often for reasons unknown). And since experience will always oscillate between form and flux, clarity and change, reflection and action (as with the patterns of sand on a resonant drumhead), attempting to totally cleanse one’s life of all turbulent timedancing, on the one hand, or predictable timebinding, on the other, would be destructive.

Form increases as either physical inertia or mental resonance are accented in a living matrix, while flux increases as these approach equilibrium. Those forms that emerge at the short-term maxima of sense-action are physical perceptions and enactions with clear-cut boundaries, while the forms that emerge at the more long-lasting maxima of resonant coherence are mental patterns with nonphysical components and boundaries. So there are physical structures and mental structures. Very different but equally important. The inertial physicality of sense-action give rise to the notion of coherence in space – the experience of “things” with their definite properties of mass, volume and so on – while intangible patterns of cognition give rise to coherence in time – the experience of “events” and “identities,” along with other longer-term constructs, such as motive, meaning, identity and relevance, important fields of nonphysical self-organization in one’s own mind. Very different kinds of structural forms.

Forms only dominate when either physical inertia or mental resonance are focused on, while flux holds sway when mind and matter are well-balanced, free and equal, working together. Thank goodness for the flux of dynamic interaction between the love of stable physical structures and of stable mental forms. And how the flexibility of living processes of collaborative diversity occur in between.

By fluidly feeling one’s way through both concrete focuses of physical sense-action and Big Picture fields of cognitive depth, without being constricted by either, the fluid processes of feeling are busy “incarnating” activities from psychological fields of mind while mentally preserving the learnings from physical focuses. In other words, through flows of feeling one is often either attaching oneself to specific perceptions and actions or your detaching into the psychological realms of knowledge and imagination. So processes of cognition are also used by sense-action, and vice versa, as flows of emotion blend the fanciful with the factual.

But there’s a tendency for each life to become captivated by its creative prowess as it identifies more and more with both physical and mental structures. Thus we can lose step with the flux of our feelings, the rhythms of relevance from which beliefs, behaviors, habits and attachments derive their vitality. So we sometimes need to fly free from the comfortable structures that might distract from the relevant flow of one’s life. For living operations in flux can stretch, change and renew identity, to interactively coexist without freezing into form.

Since there’s a tendency for modern humans to become captivated by our creative prowess, we identify more and more with stable structures, both physical and mental. Thus many have lost step with the flux of their feelings, those meaningfuls rhythms of relevance from which experience derives vitality. The flux of experience defies every theory that tries to subsume it. Skepticism and devotionalism, pragmatism, transcendentalism, etcetera, all stem from experiences untamable as the weather, because all of the living straddle this boundary between order and chaos.
– George Gorman

Let me give what I have.
Let me finish what I start.
Let me be young and growing
and questioning all that
was handed to me.
– Dave Harris

Family reunion–
again explaining
what a haiku is
– Garry Gay

There comes a time to stop telling our story. Until that time it can serve to connect us to our pain, to our grief, anger, and bewilderment. Yet, there comes a time when grief settles in more deeply and a part of our psyche and energy flows with it into this inner crater. This is when grief needs us more fully with it, not as much “on or about” it—as in intellectualizing, and effectively, denying its deeper gifts to heal us. I can sense when I’ve arrived to this point, when I talk about the events and it doesn’t feel right to do so. Telling our story can distract us from this grief, when the events that precipitated it trivialize the impact and of grief’s transforming us. For myself, it’s important to notice when I’ve crossed this threshold, for it matters tremendously how I am able to clear my pain, and how I am able to metabolize and finally emerge from a death.
– Jack Adam Weber

Ignorance Is Impersonal
We are in a privileged position. We are experiencing the fruits of good karma. But in many ways, because of this, we feel as if we are free of karma or it’s as if we cannot accept the notion of karma. We want to lock ourselves in a safety box. Because we live in the information age and scientific age we know how to prevent many diseases. But we also know about so many diseases and it creates a lot of fear. We could be sick or dying. There is a strong preoccupation with such thoughts. Knowing so much about our health is not acknowledging our impermanence but rejecting it. When we think about karma we often feel uncomfortable or guilty. But it’s not really as if we did something wrong. Karma gets its momentum from ignorance and ignorance is impersonal – in other words, even if we did not create karma intentionally, it functions fueled by ignorance. How to change our karma is to relate to our ignorance by firmly cultivating Bodhicitta.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

I may, in the eyes of men, not hold correct opinions or act according to their vision or convictions, but I do not take this current situation in a light manner, a fearful manner or a vengeful manner. I do not want to be a winner by cheating. I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to. With any contrived desire toward deflection of my deep, foundational desire to follow God’s will as I believe he led my conscience to embrace. How else will I ever approach him in the wilderness of life knowing that I ask this guidance only to show myself a coward in defending the course … he led me to take.
– Rusty Bowers

First days of summer
are a bit of good karma for
having made it this far.
There were some awful odds
back there.
The dice were blank,
the cards were marked,
and nothing was friendly.
My dreams were broken
and my bones ached.
Like when the school bullies
taught me to fight,
it wasn’t my idea.
But from there I learned
leaving, and the way home.
– steve s. saroff

There can be no doubt that a society rooted in the soil is more stable than one rooted in pavements.
– Aldo Leopald

A Woman and the earth have a lot to tolerate.
– Meena Kumari in Kaajal

Very few people are capable of true friendship, which requires courage and judgment: Most lack the former and distrust the latter, which they feel is taste or fashion, when it ultimately is character, the very moral spine of a person, and that is terribly rare.
– Edward Albee

I want to rediscover the secret of great speech and of great burning. I want to say storm. I want to say river. I want to say tornado. I want to say leaf, I want to say tree. I want to be soaked by every rainfall, moistened by every dew. As frenetic blood rolls on the slow current of the eye, I want to roll words like maddened horses like new children like clotted milk like curfew like traces of a temple like precious stones buried deep enough to daunt all miners. The man who couldn’t understand me couldn’t understand the roaring of a tiger.
– Aimé Césaire, Return to my Native Land, translated by John Berger and Anne Bostock

One last thing: making room at the table is about making room for people who may well be more radical, more progressive, further along than we are. Yes to that all day.
– Lisa Lucas

Very often there’s something about your childhood that you have to get down on paper, something you’ve got to work through before you can write anything else.
– Sigrid Nunez

My memories don’t feel as though they’ve been pulled up by the root. Even if they fade, something remains. Like tiny seeds that might germinate again if the rain falls. And even if a memory disappears completely, the heart retains something.
– Yoko Ogawa, The Memory Police


The end has been here all along,
Or at least has been very near,
I first noticed it with fashion,
Yes, fashion, of all things,
Like they’d run out of ideas
For these new decades
So now suddenly all the eras
Were fair play,
Mix’em all together,
Eclectic vintage,
The costumes of time
Were folding in on each other,
That’s how I knew
That the end was already here,
Or at least very near.

Then I knew it again,
It was in a car commercial
The voice in it spoke
the slogan
In that slick,
commercial intonation,
Almost whispered it:
Be selfish,
It said it so confidently,
Be Seflish,
A phrase, executively chosen
For its obvious marketable appeal,
That’s how I knew
That the end was already here,
Or at least very near.

Then it was army recruitment ads
On Canadian television,
And live beheadings
On youtube,
Then it was alcoholism
Seeming like a reasonable reaction
To the world,

Then it was music,
And only music,
But records turned to singles
And all of them were stolen,
Openly stolen,
The artist’s compensation
Now only to be found
In numbers
Of distant,

Then it was evil
Speaking its tongue
Like it was finally allowed
back to the party,
And was now standing
drunk on the table,
But, worse,
Being cheered,

She wore a coat
That said
“I don’t care do you?”
“I don’t care, do you?”
when she visited children
Locked up in dirty cages,
Crying for their mama,
Crying for their papa,
I don’t care do you?
I don’t care do you?
That’s how I knew
The end was already here,
Or at least very near

And the fires,
And the floods,
And the plague.

A frozen, panicked chaos,
Held up in the whole
World’s mirror,
Explained in fallible words
that immediately scatter
Like the builders of Babel,
Into undecipherable noise

And when phrases appear
From the thick,
They are cries of Injustice
Clear as can be,
For all to see,
Documented wounds
for all to see,
No denying!
And yet –
Denying and Denied,
That’s how I know,
The end is already here,
Or at least very near.

But sweet things keep on coming,
The woodpecker doesn’t seem to know
It’s pecking on a dead pole,
Not even a tree anymore,
But the woodpecker doesn’t seem to notice,
That’s how I know
That sweet things keep on coming,
Parcels in the mail,
Bread baked,
Songs written,
Lilacs to inhale,
Sweet things keep on coming,
They’re not afraid
That the end is obviously near,
They keep on coming
Acts and utterances of deep love,
My love,
My love,
The beginning
Has been here
All along, too.
Sweet things keep on coming.

– Orit Shimoni

Of all the dangers we face, from climate chaos to nuclear war, none is so great as the deadening of our response.
– Joanna Macy

What is decomposing in me? I wondered, a question pregnant with both grief and longing. My way of relating with others in my life had been draining me for far too long. The many strategies I would employ to keep myself small and unthreatening, the thousands of small capitulations to those voices demanding that I edit what I really want to say so as to not offend.

…There was a surprising tenderness in these small revelations. I began to sob. An image began to emerge of who I really am, what I most value, and how I need to be in the world. I began to recognize that I *am* Compost, that there are mysterious microbial decomposing energies at work within me and that those energies also work through me, that in some way I myself am an agent of psychospiritual decomposition.

– The Journey of Soul Initiation by Bill Plotkin

For me, it is always important to ground my perception of the avant-garde. When I do, I can easily be brought back to one of the dominant sounds from the environment I grew up in, the Southside of Chicago, with the guitar solo here opening windows for me.
– Lewis Jordan

My favorite compliment that I got from a writer early on was, ‘you leave out all the right things.’
– Amy Hempel

I am not afraid of love
or it’s consequence of light.
– Joy Harjo

fishing village
a rumor of blues running
through the café
– Jim Kacian

All of us have ways of conserving worthwhile knowledge through learning, which depends on remembering. But unlike many of the psychological powers that often go unnoticed these days, memory, like reason, has been made too much of. And through creating so many physical containers of memory – books, computers and files of every kind – we become less in touch with our own self-knowledge, which only exists inside of our minds.

Healthy living minds inhabit their own fields of memory, yet humans are throwing away this kind of self-knowledge. Functional selves depend on the active memory banks in their own bodies-of-experience, so detaching those living resource pools of knowledge into physical patterns that can’t represent 9/10ths of any experience means that many or us are increasingly ignoring the far more capacious memory banks of living knowledge within us.
– George Gorman

stone buddha not the church-going type
– Karma Tenzing Wangchuk

It’s hard enough explaining to a kid why she can’t have a dog.

Try explaining to your dogs why they can’t have a kid.

– @anntorrence

Our thoughts and emotional content can affect our biochemistry, which can impact our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical states. Please don’t sweep your thoughts and feelings under the rug or hold onto them for too long. Face, feel and release them all. The work is worth it.
– Nyle Beck

The writer’s very attempt to portray reality often leads him to a distorted view of it.
– Gabriel García Márquez

I like art that comes from under the bridge. Everything is going on on top of the bridge: the clashes, the declarations, the manifestos, the splits, the alliances, the betrayals – and a couple of guys are lying under the bridge trying to recover from a hangover. They look up from time to time. They can hear it. But I like that view – right under the bridge.
– Leonard Cohen

I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.
– Bram Stoker

Words can only make a world
in your mind. A real world
is more diversity collaborative
than any thought can be.
Metaphysicality isn’t more blessed
than physical skin and bones.
Everything works together
when it works at all.
– George Gorman

I am composed of contradictions, which is why poetry is a better form for me than philosophy.
– Czeslaw Milosz

Say tomorrow doesn’t come.
Say the moon becomes an icy pit.
Say the sweet-gum tree is petrified.
Say the sun’s a foul black tire fire.
Say the owl’s eyes are pinpricks.
Say the raccoon’s a hot tar stain.
Say the shirt’s plastic ditch-litter.
Say the kitchen’s a cow’s corpse.
Say we never get to see it: bright
future, stuck like a bum star, never
coming close, never dazzling.
Say we never meet her. Never him.
Say we spend our last moments staring
at each other, hands knotted together,
clutching the dog, watching the sky burn.
Say, It doesn’t matter. Say, That would be
enough. Say you’d still want this: us alive,
right here, feeling lucky.
– Ada Limón

If we are to nurture and heal, we must admit that the wounds exist.
– Iyanla Vanzant

Who once
touched philosophy is lost
and won’t be saved by a poem, there is
always the rest, difficult to reckon,
a soreness.
– Adam Zagajewski

I loved Boston before I loved Boston;
I knew it before I knew it.

The way a person or a place feels
known — both a destination, reached,

and the familiar, recognized, as if
born inside it, or alongside it, or for —

Everything fades, the yellowed image
of an old frame, when pictures

were papered. Everything fades,
& nothing fades

– Marian Haddad

We’re all writing out of a wound, and that’s where our song comes from. The wound is singing. We’re singing back to those who’ve been wounded.
– Dorianne Laux

Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view.
– Obi-wan Kenobi

We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in.
– Aldo Leopold

The simpler you say it, the more eloquent it is.
– August Wilson

These occasional men who revere hard reason, chiseled knowledge,
who hold others in contempt for believing what they consider utter nonsense.
They have such small hearts!
I have invariably greeted them in a friendly, but naive manner,
But then they catch me off guard with their aggressiveness.
It has happened over and over.
Once unnerving, they now bore me.
– Mark Bittner

Drink water from the spring where horses drink. The horse will never drink bad water.
Lay your bed where the cat sleeps.
Eat the fruit that has been touched by a worm.
Boldly pick the mushroom on which the insects sit.
Plant the tree where the mole digs.
Build your house where the snake sits to warm itself.
Dig your fountain where the birds hide from heat.
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time with the birds – you will reap all of the days golden grains.
Eat more green – you will have strong legs and a resistant heart, like the beings of the forest.
Swim often and you will feel on earth like the fish in the water.
Look at the sky as often as possible and your thoughts will become light and clear.
Be quiet a lot, speak little – and silence will come in your heart, and your spirit will be calm and full of peace.
– Saint Seraphim of Sarov

I’ve sat alone in airports, gas stations, and bus terminals in the middle of the night—but I’ve maybe never been lonelier than sitting alone in left field that night, holding onto a bag of popcorn. I wasn’t going anywhere.
– Bob Bickford

So many of life’s problems would be softened if we had three or four exceptional friends living within a two minute radius.
– The School of Life

Keep moving. Cut the chaff. Tell people to slide away sooner. No one who makes you feel bad or doubtful will be missed.
– Elaine Stritch

An old idea suggests that each person comes to life at a time when they have something to give to the world. That sense of soulful giving may be more needed now than ever before, as the world needs genuine vision as well as great imagination to initiate meaningful changes in all areas of culture and nature. Strangely, it tends to be the orphaned and neglected parts of our souls that are the least known but can become most able to see what is needed on both the individual and collective levels of life. In order for our true callings and genuine visions to become known, we must become both open-minded and open-hearted. As an old proverb makes clear,
“Whoever remains narrow of vision cannot be big of heart.” We live in times of widespread trouble and sweeping change; if we can trust the nature of our own souls and throw ourselves wholeheartedly into those things that truly call to us, these could become initiatory times as well.
– Michael Meade, Awakening the Soul

The I in a poem is not you but someone who knows a lot about you.
– Marvin Bell

Suppose that what you fear
could be trapped
and held in Paris.
Then you would have
the courage to go
everywhere in the world.
All the directions of the compass
open to you,
except the degrees east or west
of true north
that lead to Paris.

You’re not really willing
to stand on a mountainside,
miles away,
and watch the Paris lights
come up at night.
Just to be on the safe side,
you decide to stay completely
out of France.
But then danger
seems too close
even to those boundaries,
and you feel
the timid part of you
covering the whole globe again.
You need the kind of friend
who learns your secret and says,
“See Paris first.”
– Marsha Truman Cooper (Substantial Holdings)

The Vedas declare, “Yatha drishti, tatha srishti: as you are, so is your world.” Your heart is not just a muscle pumping blood. Your cardiac plexus is not just a bundle of nerves in your chest. It is a resonant field of energy extended far beyond the apparent edges of your flesh. Your heart irradiates the cosmos, and interpenetrates all other hearts. The quality of your own heart can make creation more expansive, light and joyful, or more contracted, heavy and angry. Your every breath may be a river of life and healing. You not only choose your own soul, you choose your universe.
– Fred LaMotte

I’ve realized that this
kind of rage is not worth
its carry, and forgiveness
is a little hard to find, but it’s
the only town I want to live in.
– Rudy Francisco

If visible, the poison darts might have blocked
Out the sun. Our ideas of happiness can be
So different and sources of light numerous.
– J. K. McDowell

Meditation On The Flag Of Israel

Brightest purest sun —
Israel’s loving kindest star

aloft night & day
the vortex of all

sleepless playfully restful
gazing on my masks
so knowingly;
changing yet unchanging.

Light forevermore

– Rick Davis

With aging, you earn the right
to be loyal to yourself.
– Frances McDormand

Whatever you are doing for someone, you are doing it for yourself, whatever you do against someone, you do it against yourself. There is no someone out there. It is your own extension. Your action whether that is conscious or unconscious, whether it hurts and heals, it affects the entire world directly. In the heart that is connected to everyone and everything, there is no individual. The entire world is one tribe.
– Guthema Robe

In a world of noise, confusion and conflict it is necessary that there be places of silence, inner discipline and peace. In such places love can blossom.
– Thomas Merton

When you are weary of praying, and do not receive, consider how often you have heard a poor man calling, and have not listened to him.
– St. John Chrysostom

Chögyam Trungpa ~ THINK BEFORE WE DO
We must think before we do. But the question is more complex: how to think, what to think, why to think, what is “to think”? No one can stop or control your thought process or your thinking. You can think anything you want. But that doesn’t seem to be the point. The thinking process has to be directed into a certain approach. That does not mean that your thinking process should be in accord with certain dogma, philosophy, or concepts. Instead, one has to know the thinker itself. So we are back to square one, the thinker itself: who or what thinks, and what is the thought process?

First and foremost, writing poems should be a pleasure.
– Philip Larkin

Perhaps the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

I am not old … she said … I am rare.
I am the standing ovation
At the end of the play.
I am the retrospective
Of my life as art
I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense
I am the fullness
Of existing.

You think I am waiting to die …
But I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure.
I am a map.
And these wrinkles are
Imprints of my journey
Ask me anything.
– Samantha Reynolds

Summer Magic
So many cares to vex the day,
So many fears to haunt the night,
My heart was all but weaned away
From every lure of old delight.
Then summer came, announced by June,
With beauty, miracle and mirth.
She hung aloft the rounding moon,
She poured her sunshine on the earth,
She drove the sap and broke the bud,
She set the crimson rose afire.
She stirred again my sullen blood,
And waked in me a new desire.
Before my cottage door she spread
The softest carpet nature weaves,
And deftly arched above my head
A canopy of shady leaves.
Her nights were dreams of jeweled skies,
Her days were bowers rife with song,
And many a scheme did she devise
To heal the hurt and soothe the wrong.
For on the hill or in the dell,
Or where the brook went leaping by
Or where the fields would surge and swell
With golden wheat or bearded rye,
I felt her heart against my own,
I breathed the sweetness of her breath,
Till all the cark of time had flown,
And I was lord of life and death.
– James Weldon Johnson

I am frequently challenged on this, but I firmly believe that the artistic character is heavily suffused with kindness. In fact, I think it is impossible for any artist–in any field–to contribute, to survive, if there is not a substantial kindness within him.
– Sidney Lumet

Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film.
– Ansel Adams

The world is a severe schoolmaster, for its frowns are less dangerous than its smiles and flatteries, and it is a difficult task to keep in the path of wisdom.
– Phillis Wheatley

Don’t think about outcomes; think about effects. Improve a life when you see trouble; improve a mood when one is bad. Read and think and pray and listen. I used to become depressed, and instead of sitting around and thinking about how down I was, or poor, or unloved, or unwanted, I began to study. I would study so many things: art and music and languages and history and religion and philosophy. Lose yourself in discovering things, and then help others come out of the muck by sharing what you’ve learned.
– Irene Worth

It is painful to have friends who have been such a help to me, turn on me with such rancor. I may, in the eyes of men, not hold correct opinions or act according to their vision or convictions, but I do not take this current situation in a light manner, a fearful manner, or a vengeful manner. I do not want to be a winner by cheating. I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to with any contrived desire towards deflection of my deep foundational desire to follow God’s will as I believe he led my conscience to embrace. How else will I ever approach Him in the wilderness of life, knowing that I asked this guidance, only to show myself a coward in defending the course He led me to take?
– Russell “Rusty” Bowers

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or, like the snow-fall in the river,
A moment white, then melts forever.’
– Robert Burns, Tam O’Shanter

If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others.
– The Dalai Lama

It’s raining in the mountains and I’m listening to Anita Baker and writing a poem.
– Ada Limon

A deep, deep willingness to ‘be’ and ‘live’. Sometimes we call that by another name. Sometimes we call that… Poetry.
– Tath Ray Ashcraft

I want you to go outside. I want you to listen to the (disappearing) frogs, to watch the (disappearing) fireflies. Even if you’re in a city—especially if you’re in a city—I want you to picture the land as it was before the land was built over. I want you to research who lived there. I want you to feel how it was then, feel how it wants to be. I want you to begin keeping a calendar of who you see and when: the first day each year you see buttercups, the first day frogs start singing, the last day you see robins in the fall, the first day for grasshoppers. In short, I want you to pay attention.

If you do this, your baseline will stop declining, because you’ll have a record of what’s being lost.

Do not go numb in the face of this data. Do not turn away. I want you to feel the pain. Keep it like a coal inside your coat, a coal that burns and burns. I want all of us to do this, because we should all want the pain of injustice to stop. We should want this pain to stop not because we get used to it and it just doesn’t bother us anymore, but because we stop the injustices and destruction that are causing the pain in the first place. I want us to feel how awful the destruction is, and then act from this feeling.

And I promise you two things. One: Feeling this pain won’t kill you. And two: Not feeling this pain, continuing to go numb and avoid it, will.

– Derrick Jensen

Can you explain why it is that there are, at last count, sixteen schools of psychotherapy with sixteen theories of the personality and its disorders and that patients treated in one school seem to do as well or as badly as patients treated in any other – while there is only one generally accepted theory of the cause and cure of pneumococcal pneumonia and only one generally accepted theory of the orbits of the planets and the gravitational attraction of our galaxy and the galaxy M31 in Andromeda? (Hint: If you answer that the human psyche is more complicated than the pneumococcus and the human white-cell response or the galaxies or Einstein’s general theory of relativity, keep in mind that the burden of proof is on you. Or if you answer that the study of the human psyche is in its infancy, remember then this infancy has lasted 2,500 years and, unlike physics, we don’t seem to know much more about the psyche than Plato did.)
– Walker Percy

Happiness is permanent. It is always there. What comes and goes is unhappiness. If you identify with what comes and goes, you will be unhappy. If you identify with what is permanent and always there, you are happiness itself.
– Sri H. W. L. Poonja

The self is a patchwork of the felt and the unfelt, of presences and absences, of navigable channels around the walled-off numbnesses. Perhaps it’s impossible for anyone short of an enlightened being to carry the weight of all suffering, even to recognize and embrace it, but we make ourselves large or small, here or there, in our empathies.
– Rebecca Solnit

The beauty of those places I soared over is with me still, and in all my dreams as in my waking life was a love of place, a sense that places were embodiments of emotions, were anchors, were companions of a sort, even protectors or parents. Once at the Pacific, I thought to myself Everything is my mother but my mother, and I recognized how the ocean had been a mother offering power, constancy, and solace. Many years later when I began rowing a scull, I realized that out in the water, I was out of reach of men and dogs, and that, as well as the beauties of water, made it serene, dreamy, the eighteen-foot span of my oars being as close to having wings as I could come.
– Rebecca Solnit

After all, what are we, what is any one of us, if not a combination, particular and exact, of what we have done, what we have read, and what we have imagined?
– Enrique Vila-Matas

The greatest offense now, in matters both of the arts and of culture generally, not to mention political life, is to seem to be upholding some better, more exigent standard, which is attacked, both from the left and the right, as either naïve or (a new banner for the philistines) “elitist.”
– Susan Sontag

There is no escape. You can’t be a vagabond and an artist and still be a solid citizen, a wholesome, upstanding man. You want to get drunk, so you have to accept the hangover. You say yes to the sunlight and your pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea. Everything is within you, gold and mud, happiness and pain, the laughter of childhood and the apprehension of death. Say yes to everything, shirk nothing, don’t try to lie to yourself. You are not a solid citizen, you are not a Greek, you are not harmonious, or the master of yourself, you are a bird in the storm. Let it storm! Let it drive you! How much you have lied! A thousand times, even in your poems and books, you have played the harmonious man, the wise man, the happy, the enlightened man. In the same way, men attacking in war have played heroes, while their bowels twitched. My God, what a poor ape, what a fencer in the mirror, man is – particularly the artist – particularly the poet – particularly myself!
– Hermann Hesse

Whatever you are physically,’ he said, ‘male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy – all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. Whatever the color, the shape, the design of the shade that conceals it, the flame inside the lamp remains the same. You are that flame.
– Cassandra Clare

Social support is the most powerful protection against becoming overwhelmed by stress and trauma. Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety. No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love: these are complex and hard-earned capacities.
– Bessel A. van der Kolk

Real magic can never be made by offering up someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back. The true witches know that.
– The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle

The truth is, a writer’s voice is made from other writers’ voices. Pieced together, picked and chosen, stumbled into, uninformed: influence seems like an involuntary series of contagions that eventually turns into a sort of vessel, or transportation system. As we acquire a sense of taste, and perhaps a sense of vocation, our reading becomes more directed and targeted, but we are bent and shaped and destined to be changed by the genius of others. Compare it to the theory behind cannibalism, if you like. One eats the heart of the admired one and becomes them. The remarkable news is that this pastiche of voices results in the incarnation of a new poet, a new hybrid distillation of voice, capable of telling the story of experience in new, valuable ways. [. . .] Each strong new writer is a deep student of what he or she has read and an amalgam of preexisting sentences and styles that have never been combined like that before. The idea that writerly originality appears from nowhere, or exists as something in isolation, a thing to be guarded and protected from influence, is lunacy. Anyone who doesn’t school themselves by deep, wide, and idiosyncratic reading is choosing aesthetic poverty.
– Tony Hoagland

Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination. I had been damaged and a very important part of me had been destroyed – that was my reality, the facts of my life; but on the other side of the facts was who I could be, how I could feel, and as long as I had words for that, images for that, stories for that, then I wasn’t lost.
– Jeanette Winterson

When the prison guards burned his manuscripts, Nguyễn Chí Thiện couldn’t stop / laughing—the 283 poems already inside him.
– Ocean Vuong, Notebook Fragments

History is the in-rushing toward what the Buddhists call the realm of the densely packed, a transformational realm where the opposites are unified.

A dragon, or corrupted aspect of the self, will not always transform, even once it is identified. It takes active work, in the three realms of body, mind, and spirit.
– Marlene Seven Bremner

So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger.

One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.
– Eckhart Tolle

But if you are a true poet you will pay no attention to good advice. You will make your own mistakes in your own peculiar way and so discover your own wisdom.
– James Broughton, Seeing the Light

The doctrine of The Jewel Net of Indra forms the core of Hua-Yen Buddhism. It teaches that the cosmos is like an infinite network of glittering jewels, all different. In each one we can see the images of all the others reflected. Each image contains an image of all the other jewels; and also the image of the images of the images, and so ad infinitum. The myriad reflections within each jewel are the essence of the jewel itself, without which it does not exist. Thus, every part of the cosmos reflects, and brings into existence, every other part. Nothing can exist unless it enfolds within its essence the nature of everything else.
– Richard Lubbock

The River Village
Translated by Florence Ayscough and Amy Lowell
The river makes a bend and encircles the village with its current.
All the long Summer, the affairs and occupations of the river village are quiet and simple.
The swallows who nest in the beams go and come as they please.
The gulls in the middle of the river enjoy one another, they crowd together and touch one another.
My old wife paints a chess-board on paper.
My little sons hammer needles to make fish-hooks.
I have many illnesses, therefore my only necessities are medicines.
Besides these, what more can so humble a man as I ask?
– Tu Fu

Where is the energy taking you today?
– James Hollis

To be in harmony with the wholeness of things is not to have anxiety over imperfections.
– Dogen

Last summer, two discrete young snakes left their skin on my small porch, two mornings in a row. Being post-modern now, I pretended as if I did not see them, nor understand what I knew to be circling inside me. Instead, every hour I told my son to stop with his incessant back-chat. I peeled a banana. And cursed God—His arrogance, His gall—to still expect our devotion after creating love. And mosquitoes. I showed my son the papery dead skins so he could know, too, what it feels like when something shows up at your door—twice—telling you what you already know.
– Robin Coste Lewis

Is Canada hiring? Asking for a nation of women–
– Paisley Rekdal

not really a fan of the way these ’20s are Roaring
– Sarah Weinman

Regarding the Overturn of Roe vs. Wade.

Let’s begin with this: every single woman I know has had an experience of sexual violation. Myself included. As women who have been trained from girlhood that our purpose is to serve and please men and who have grown up since infancy with our worth insidiously corroded by a male created system that benefits from stripping our dignity, strength, capacity and intelligence from us that we might stay in a subservient role, we are vulnerable to all kinds of boundary violations from men. We have been trained to be fawning objects. And even for those women who have had the privilege of being on the path toward retrieving inner worth, strength and empowerment, this is still a long, tangled journey. We have to claw our way back to ourselves.

It is only a historically very new phenomenon for women to work out of the home. It is a very new phenomenon for women to be even in the beginning stages of financial independence. Because, historically and currently, such enormous pressures have been put on the minds and hearts of women, to add the responsibility of being an earner is a gigantic added responsibility and the fact that women are able and willing to step into that amidst tremendous other imbalanced pressures given to us by a society made by fragile men just shows how remarkable we are.

But we have deep, ancient training in being dependent on men and for centuries our survival and the survival of our children was linked to men being able to provide for us. Also, single women have been systematically shamed and degraded and looked down upon. If we are “not worthy” of gaining male attention we have been seen as less valuable. And in this we are pitted against our sisters as competitors rather than kin. What is stripped from us in this is the only place that could begin to reaffirm our true worth and heal this deep wound that this sick society has given us. So, in a Stockholm syndrome type of way, we try to retrieve worth from the same source that has taken it from us: men.

It has been common practice for men to be able to have non-consensual sex with their wives (see: RAPE) without even thinking about what her experience of this might be, without caring at all. That is how entitled men have been trained to be. To the degree women have been trained to be fawning objects, male pleasers, men have been trained to be entitled to women.

To be entitled is to believe you have the right to take what you want with immunity and that if anyone gets in your way of this, they are to blame. It is an utterly distorted and sick way of relating to self and the world that creates continued fragility which deepens entitlement. Entitlement is actually an outgrowth of fragility but perhaps I’ll save more of these definitions for another essay.

Men have believed themselves to be entitled to women’s bodies and to women’s service toward them in all areas: child rearing, house cleaning, cooking, culture creating, joy and meaning meaning making, emotional tending, sex. Many (most?) men still have this entitled programming running to a high degree and I believe it impossible that any men are free of this unconscious programming that tells them they are entitled to certain treatment from women. It’s a social condition, like smog in a city, you cannot not breathe it.

Of course, entitlement can only thrive like a cancer, in an environment that believes its host to be superior to the one it allows itself to exploit. Our society is built on the false idea that men are better and more valuable than women and are entitled to women’s indentured service.

For women, the patriarchy is a type of enslavement. And its greatest, greatest and most terrible trick is that many women don’t even know we’re enslaved. And those able to see it for what it is and call it out are heinously gaslit.

With entitlement comes justified abuse. If a woman says “no” to an entitled man in an entitled system, this will frame her as “wrong” “bad” “out of line” “asking for punishment.”

If a woman speaks out about this system in which we have been chronically taught we are men’s prey and we should live, on some level, as though we’re playing dead, frozen or fleeing from his claws while all the while being shamed unless we keep a smile on our faces, if we talk about how sick and psychotic all this is, then we’re radical, crazy, hysterical feminists, man hating bitches. Or damaged victims having a fit. Do you see the trap here? It really is hard to get out of these chains.

Men have, since time immemorial, been able to rape women, impregnate us and saddle us with responsibilities for child rearing. And as a mother, let me say this: There is nothing more oppressive than rearing children in a patriarchal society.

I’m not saying parenting is all bad. What I’m saying is there are a million ways that cultural treatment and dismissal and lack of societal support of mothers and the lack of honor and respect that comes with this role can be the most oppressive tactic there is for keeping women small.

This tactic leverages our great love. And we do love our kids with the most profound love. But the experience of motherhood in the patriarchy is often overlayed with a host of deep and entrenched mental, emotional, relational and identity challenges. Oh, and we’re supposed to love all of this and be pure, divine mother goddesses or else, of course, we are seen as evil hell witches.

And if we need more help from our husbands we are often denigrated with the label of needy nag.

Mothering is comprehensive. It takes over mind, body, heart, life and it doesn’t go away. And there is nothing like motherhood to take us away from the things we would do and the societal changes we would make if not for it.

Abortion will continue. Not because women are crazy, baby murdering savages but because we know the consequences of bringing a baby into the world in a society that has created such extremely scarce and abominable circumstances around what it means to mother. And we are not here for that.

What will stop are safe abortions. Now women will die too.

But as the narrative goes, I suppose that’s fair treatment and we deserve death because we’re asking for it with our audacity to say no.

Men, we see your silence. And your silence is complicit in all of this. If people are trained to listen to you, it is time to speak up, stand up and use your voices and your strength for justice.

– Chelan Harkin

We keep receiving challenging news like a balls flying out of pitching machines. And the truth of the matter is that there is little we can do about all that is being dissolved right now.
What we can do is focus on our spiritual practices like drumming and rattling in nature, singing and dancing, performing heart warming ceremonies, reading inspiring texts, listening to heart warming lectures.
The world is simply too big for us to fix all the issues. We know from our ancestors that we can shift out of this dream into a better dream but it is by doing disciplined work. This is not woo hoo work. This is how our ancestors have worked for tens of thousands of years.
If the decision to revoke Roe vs Wade upset you experience your feelings. Do your transmutation and transfiguration work. We don’t need more souls spewing toxic energies into the collective.
The current dream will change. Have patience and just do your work but only the spiritual done with discipline, concentration, focus and filled with light and love will work.
The news is coming like balls flying out of a pitching machine. How are you going to respond? Are you going to let the flying non stop news take you down. Or are you going to stand up, say this unacceptable, and do your spiritual work to create a new dream. We can do this if you truly understand the most ancient teachings of discipline, focus, and concentration and only working from an energy of love and light.
– Sandra Ingerman

I cannot understand antiabortion arguments that center on the sanctity of life. As a species, we’ve fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don’t believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain, and lifelong, grinding poverty show us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’ve made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred.

However, what I do believe to be genuinely sacred – and, indeed, more useful to the earth as a whole – is trying to ensure that there are as few unbalanced, destructive people as possible. By whatever rationale you use, ending a pregnancy 12 weeks into gestation is incalculably more moral than bringing an unwanted child into this world.
It’s those unhappy, unwanted children, who then grew into angry adults, who have caused the great majority of humankind’s miseries. They are the ones who make states feel feral; streets dangerous; relationships violent.
– Caitlin Moran

It was in an American desert that I suddenly realized that rain doesn’t fall from the sky, it comes from the ground.
The formation of deserts is not due to the absence of rain, but rain stops falling because the vegetation has disappeared.
Building a dam in the middle of the desert is like trying to treat just one symptom… but the only valid way to increase rainfall is to learn how to regenerate ancient forests.
– Masanobu Fukuoka

Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to normality,’ trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

– Arundhati Roy