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20 February 2013 @ 08:48 am
"I was ambition made flesh driving across a bridge in an old car, destination unknown. I was looking for Jack Kerouac, but the city was alive to something. It's not a bad idea to go where things are happening, even if you don't know what you want to do." - Stephen Elliott
08 February 2013 @ 09:04 am
i am hip-skip-hopping through the musicverse, sampling and sipping and saving like a squirrel, sorting like i do.  we are always creating the version of ourselves we want others to see; sometimes i worry about that - when did we turn that basic struggle of enlightened humanhood on its head and enshrine the evolution of ego?  in my most cynical moments, i wonder quite seriously whether social media isn't really the latest hastening mechanism of a world in decline, of a human race lost from its numinous, wordless, tinyvital truth.  more often i believe it to be just another hiccuping start toward connection, borne of our burning, misfiring need to be known.

i don't know much but words and how they flow from my mind & fingers.  music and pictures and colorful collections of lines, when the shadows fall just right in a corner no one sees, the way concepts connect and diverge in moments of revelation and the way that they slip away.

...there's something better i meant to say.
12 August 2012 @ 05:40 am
and really if happiness is
a farmers market peach
(cradled for miles along bus routes
tucked into cloth folds, a
private treasure,
so that the aroma of
anticipation becomes as vital
as breaking in through the skin
and tasting the thing),

then a good life
should will must have
an abundance of messes
too, right?
there should be dirty feet
and garden-soiled hands,
juice dibbled down laughing chins.

i feel like a sandwich with too much jam
and i hesitate to share these
excesses of sticky weird emotion;
but they're spilling all over the plate
where everyone can see that
i am not put together well at all.

i always want to be a precise sort of person
all balanced out and appropriate but interesting still,
with the perfect reaction to every scenario.
but i suppose we all have our overabundances
and particularities that rub
one another the wrong way,
and sometimes not.

maybe i think that writing can wick away
some of the more dramatic mess
like a giant, life-sized paper towel,
but maybe i also hope that it won't
because the truth is:
it's better than two slices of bread.

and in the meantime,
07 August 2012 @ 09:26 pm
Wild Geese
(Mary Oliver)

You do not have to be good,
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
     love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
06 August 2012 @ 08:20 pm
odd duck, strange bird -
ah, the vagaries of vagueness... but aren't particulars just a bit too precise?
universality lives in the details, i suppose, but this isn't about the world.

i can't decide if everything exists in this coffee shop, or nothing.
with strident twenty-something philosophies leaking in around my headphones.
an old man is sipping whiskey, ipad reflecting in his spectacles.
a boy is sketching a girl's face from a facebook photo, rather than the real life version across the table.

i watched a movie the other night that broke and healed my heart
- i haven't been able to stop thinking:
don't wait.  don't waste a moment on fear or misery, not when there's more to be had.
and there's always more, until there's not, when it's over.
we don't get to know ahead of time, how many days we get to be alive
on this big, gorgeous ball of everything.

the storm skirted us today
it flirted with the sun instead, and lit us all with gold.
i miss every place i've ever been, every face i've ever loved.
and yet, we keep walking and walking, away and toward.
whatever the word is for missing what you've yet to find


sunset 8-6
09 July 2012 @ 09:27 pm
I fucking love Letters in the Mail.

(The swear word is perhaps uncalled for, but it was felt and so there it belongs.)

Not every time, but more often than not, these letters sit me down right where I am and have a little chat. Whether I'm shiftless or sad or distracted or paranoid or trapped, the right words come right into my mailbox. Sometimes, they even come ringed in a child's drawings.

"Because being a writer means you don't have to pretend you're not a mess. You just have to do something interesting with your mess." - Steve Almond

05 July 2012 @ 12:32 pm
I want to talk about the way I never seem to be satisfied. And yet, it seems so counterproductive in a sense, to harp on the bits that are still and yet and still "wrong" with me. It all gets a little overly self-referential, even for a journal. (Are writers all necessarily a bit prone to narcissism? Do we conflate self-examination with self-interest? And is interest in self really such a terrible trait? I worry about these things.)

"Sometimes writing makes us seem like better people than we actually are, even when we write honestly. I don't necessarily put all my meanest thoughts into the world. I write mostly when I have something to say, and when I'm feeling creative. Which, by definition, is my best self, and so I know I'm presenting someone better than who I am." - a snippet of Stephen Elliott's musings from the Daily Rumpus email today. This is another something that I worry about - what if this delving and creation, these attempts at brutal, cleansing honesty, what if it is all just a more sophisticated cloak of ego? What if these stories are all just a slightly more complex set of tools for convincing ourselves that we are beautiful and good and better and loveable? The world is stories. It is concepts in context and tales that we tell to appear as the people we wish to be.

To my previous point, the fear of the inherent narcissism of creating art, of exploring ourselves with various degrees of visibility - good old Stephen also had something to say about that: "You can't write well about someone you hate... You have to forgive, or at least understand. You have to inhabit them." I tend to believe, when I'm not feeling cynical, that love and knowledge and forgiveness of self is the one path to true connections (and love and knowledge and forgiveness) of others.

In this then, as in all things: balance.
16 June 2012 @ 05:57 pm
I'm loosening my grasp on an idea that I quite liked. It's sad, of course, but what can one do with the whims of the universe? On the other hand (says the devilish cheshire cat inside), what can't one do in this, our great changing mess of moving parts? Any action can lead to such consequences, such delicious and unanticipated results, such horrifying or impossible conclusions. And yet, we can't know what the alternative may have been, the consequences of inaction. Fate is a concept in which I never put much stock - really, it doesn't matter whether it exists or not though, does it? ...like God, in some ways, I think - beliefs are ephemeral things, stretching the limit of our human vocabulary to communicate, but still we try. I believe that it doesn't matter if God exists, or if Fate exists, or Destiny. I choose, regardless, to behave as if I have power in my life, to approach others with kindness and good intention, to contribute to the world whatever I have: my creativity and love and own personal collection of talents. Whether the world is preordained or not, whether there is an afterlife or not, doesn't it seem such an intolerable waste of our selves, our loves, our brains, our words, and all our brilliant, brilliant spirits to spend what time we have here in any other way?
03 January 2012 @ 10:46 pm

circumnavigate this body
of wonder and uncertainty
armed with every precious failure
and amateur cartography

(the weakerthans, aside)

20 December 2011 @ 06:46 pm
You know that sweet spot right between where the sky is darker than the clouds and where the clouds are darker than the sky, that imperceptible blending point where everything is almost exactly the same shade and color and texture for just the tiniest moment of stillness before it becomes something totally different?

That's where I'm at tonight.