Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dear Fall, I miss you.

Where have you gone? Just a few weeks ago I was running through Interlaken park absorbed in a rhythmic swirl of gold, umber, and wine red leaves. My whole body could feel the changing and turning and knew that there was beauty hidden in the core of the leaf-less tree. I could feel my own branches extending upward, barren into the crisp blue sky. If I paused and breathed deeply, my insides could tell that this stripping away was essential for whatever is to come next.

But now all I can feel is my nakedness.
It's winter. The snow blankets the streets, and ice has hardened on the sidewalks like thick shields over the earth. I want to brush it all away, to smell and feel some dirt under my fingernails. I want to break through the winter crust of snow and dig up evidence of something growing underground- but it is not time for such things.
It is a time for laying fallow. For things to be dormant. To wait patiently.

Oh, advent. The waiting might kill me this year.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new that is ultimately good for the soul."
-billy joel

I don't feel this way at all-
but I want to.

Transition Time

How I hate transitions.

I know in my head
things have to change.
Work. Home. Relationships.
Everything evolves, cracks open,
grows in different directions.
Everything keeps cycling, circling, spiraling.
If it stopped---

I'm not sure we could call it life.

But let's be real-
This part of life


Monday, August 30, 2010

Thanks, bell hooks, for inspiring me to quilt

This is my first quilt!
I just finished sewing it today.

All of the colorful fabric was brought back from Uganda by a dear friend who studied there a few years ago.
The beautiful fabric were scraps from traditional dress making.
I stitched together my quilt top, batting (a flannel sheet), and backing in a style called free motion.
A pretty fun process, all in all.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Color Purple

" I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it."
-Alice Walker

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Taylor Mali

Look up Taylor Mali on Youtube for amazing spoken word poetry: what teachers make, the the impotence of proofreading, like lily like wilson etc.
very good stuff.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lynda Hogan


I go to work
though there are those who were missing today
from their homes.
I ride the bus
and I do not think of children without food
or how my sisters are chained to prison beds.

I go to the university
and out for lunch
and listen to the higher-ups
tell me all they have read
about Indians
and how to analyze this poem.
They know us
better than we know ourselves.

I ride the bus home
and sit behind the driver.
We talk about the weather
and not enough exercise.
I don’t mention Victor Jara’s mutilated hands
or men next door
in exile
or my own family’s grief over the lost child.

When I get off the bus
I look back at the light in the windows
and the heads bent
and how the women are all alone
in each seat
framed in the windows
and the men are coming home,
then I see them walking on the Avenue,
the beautiful feet,
the perfect legs
even with their spider veins,
the broken knees
with pins in them,
the thighs with their cravings,
the pelvis
and small back
with its soft down,
the shoulders which bend forward
and forward and forwardto protect the heart from pain.

Dylan Thomas

Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.
All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Adam Zagajewski

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the grey feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

Translated by Renata Gorczynski

Sunday, March 7, 2010

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 –
certainties –
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.

Wild Geese

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.


There is the heaven we enter
through institutional grace
and there are the yellow finches bathing and singing
in the lowly puddle.

Robert Bly

Things to Think

Think in ways you've never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you've ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he's carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you've never seen.

When someone knocks on the door,
Think that he's about
To give you something large: tell you you're forgiven,
Or that it's not necessary to work all the time,
Or that it's been decided that if you lie down no one will die.

W.S. Merwin


Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Poetry Anthology

I am planning on using my blog as a way to keep track of all the poems that I love and go to frequently. I always end up spending hours paging through numerous journals where i have poems scrawled out, missing punctuation, and interrupted line breaks.
Now: it's all here.
Enjoy reading these gems as I continue to post!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

How She Loves

My roommate Lauren and I were talking the other night about how we both theoretically know that God is greater than any gender confinement but how it still sounds strange to refer to God as "she." Through the course of our conversation we decided we would try to refer to God as she for a week and see what it sounded and felt like and if our understanding of God's character expanded through that process.

So, the other night Lauren introduced me to a great song called "How He Loves" by John Mark McMillian. We sang it together replacing "he" with "she" and I was surprised by how I was able to engage with the idea of God in a new and refreshing way.

I especially love the imagery in the first two verses below (edited from the original for the sake of our experiment.) Enjoy.

She is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of her wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

She loves us,
O how She loves us,
O how She loves us,
O how She loves.

We are Her portion and She is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in Her eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

She loves us,
O how She loves us,
O how She loves us,
O how She loves.