if you bleed through other people’s wounds

“I want you to tell me about every person you’ve ever been in love with. Tell me why you loved them, then tell me why they loved you.

“Tell me about a day in your life you didn’t think you’d live through.

“Tell me what the word ‘home’ means to you and tell me in a way that I’ll know your mothers name just by the way you describe your bed room when you were 8. See, I wanna know the first time you felt the weight of hate and if that day still trembles beneath your bones.

“Do you kiss your friends on the cheek? Do you think that anger is a sincere emotion or just the timid motion of a fragile heart trying to beat away its pain? See, I wanna know what you think of your first name. And if you often lie awake at night and imagine your mothers joy when she spoke it for the very first time.

“I want you tell me all the ways you’ve been unkind.

“Tell me all the ways you’ve been cruel.

“Do you believe that Mary was really a virgin? Do you believe that Moses really parted the sea? And if you don’t believe in miracles, tell me, how would you explain the miracle of my life to me?

“And for all the times you’ve knelt before the temple of yourself, have the prayers you’ve asked come true? And if they didn’t did you feel denied? And if you felt denied, denied by whom?

“I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling good. I wanna know what you see in the mirror on a day a day you’re feeling bad. I wanna know the first person who ever taught you your beauty could ever be reflected on a lousy piece of glass.

“If you ever reach enlightenment, will you remember how to laugh?

“Have you ever been a song? See, I wanna know more than what you do for a living. I wanna know how much of your life you spend just giving.

“And if you love yourself enough to also receive sometimes. I wanna know if you bleed sometimes through other people’s wounds.

“And if you dream sometimes that this life is just a balloon that if you wanted to you could pop—but you never would because you’d never want it to stop.” ―Andrea Gibson

luxurian wallowing in melancholy

SNOW —Randy Newman

Snow fills the fields we used to know,
And the little hut where we would go
Seems far below in the snow.

Gone … it’s all over, and you’re gone,
But the memory is ours alone.
Our dreams lay there in the snow.

Sometimes the wind blows through the trees,
And I think I hear you calling me,
But all I see is snow, everywhere I go.

As the cold winter sun sinks low,
I walk alone through the snow …
I walk alone through the snow.

How alive did you say you were?

I will wade out
               till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers

I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
                                           with closed eyes
to dash against darkness
                          in the sleeping curves of my body

Shall enter fingers of smooth mastery
with chasteness of sea-girls
                               Will i complete the mystery
                                            of my flesh
I will rise
               After a thousand years
                And set my teeth in the silver of the moon

— e. e. cummings

so going

In Blackwater Woods

 Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
~ Mary Oliver ~

calling insisting

“Doubt not, O poet, but persist. Say, ‘It is in me, and shall out.’ Stand there, balked and dumb, stuttering and stammering, hissed and hooted, stand and strive, until, at last, rage draw out of thee that dream-power which every night shows thee is thine own; a power transcending all limit and privacy, and by virtue of which a man is the conductor of the whole river of electricity.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

our poor and labored thoughts

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.” – H.P. Lovecraft

gracious goes the ghost

Living Room TrapezeWhen it all comes clear, the wind is settled, I’ll be here, you know. 

Cause you said ours were the lighthouse towers
The sun upon that place
Darling I’ll grow weary, happy still
With just the memory of your face

Gracious goes the ghost of you

And I will never forget the plans and the
Silhouettes you drew here and
Gracious goes the ghost of you
My dear

—Ben Howard

oh, my friend is gone

Today I say goodbye to Lucky Lord Barkeley. A catalog of memories pours through me. His lost spirit hits hard. I don’t like it. A companion is too precious to lose. My eyes well wet. My stomach is sick. Music makes it worse. Busy-ness is a weak salve. I am pain. Love is pain. Mortality sucks. His nightly serenade is lonely now. This creature is missed.

weight of the intolerable universe

I will die and, with me, the weight of the intolerable universe.
I shall erase the pyramids, the medallions, the continents and faces.
I shall erase the accumulated past.
I shall make dust of history, dust of dust.
Now I am looking on the final sunset.
I am hearing the last bird.
I leave nothingness to no one. —Jorge Luis Borges

stuff your eyes with wonder, he said

Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said. Live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that, he said, shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass. —Ray Bradbury

you will care about you

Love after Love, by Derek Walcott

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.

each is a very good year

The therapist, Barry Michels, told him to close his eyes and focus on the things he was grateful for. The first time he did this, in the therapist’s office, there was a long silence. “What about your dog?” Michels asked. “O.K. I’m grateful for my dog,” the writer said after a while. “The sun?” “Fine, the sun,” the writer said. “I’m grateful for sun. Sometimes.”

a vacuum occupied by myth

Deciphering Ernest Hemingway, er, with a twist

The letters show the moment by moment process of self-enlargement, of fiction taking over from reality, of Hemingway braiding himself a style first and then a history to match it. If his family mistook so much of what he wrote for experience, that’s because he set it up that way, signing himself ‘Old Master’ when he was barely 18.

He made the fiction true, including the fiction of himself, and then struggled to keep up with it.

animus in paradise

Brad Zeller:

Dogs are the only beasts given a blanket pass to Paradise proper –good dogs, I should say, but there have been very few remembered examples of dogs having been denied admission. I have to admit that, being a dog person, I find this arrangement more than satisfactory.

Certainly people recognize that if you open the gates to cattle and chickens and rats and the like you’re going to have a big problem on your hands in a hurry.

Heaven goes by favor.  If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. - Mark Twain