“I’m awake; I am in the world-
no further assurance.
No protection, no promise.
Solace of the night sky,
the hardly moving
face of the clock.
I’m alone- all
my riches surround me.
I have a bed, a room.
I have a bed, a vase
of flowers beside it.
And a nightlight, a book.
I’m awake; I am safe.
The darkness like a shield, the dreams
put off, maybe
And the day-
the unsatisfying morning that says
I am your future,
here is your cargo of sorrow:
Do you reject me? Do you mean
To send me away because I am not
full, in your word,
because you see
the black shape already implicit?
I will never be banished. I am the light,
your personal anguish and humiliation.
Do you dare
send me away as though
you were waiting for something better?
There is no better.
Only (for a short space)
the night sky like
a quarantine that sets you
apart from your task.
Only (softly, fiercely)
the stars shining. Here,
in the room, the bedroom.
Saying I was brave, I resisted,
I set myself on fire.
– Louise Glück, Stars
“Before I went to work we were under the olive tree and
you were doing what you called psych patient smoking
and you said, I don’t want to be Satan but will you join
me and we pulled up our shirts to rub bellies and yours
was so much flatter but filled with garden bread anyway
anyway up went our shirts, solar to solar plexus, and it
was a comforting ritual we daily did and I said, Let’s do
this for the rest of our lives. You said, You look lovely.
It’s hard to remember tender things tenderly.”
– Bough Down, Karen Green
The first of the month
Happy first of November! It looks like this month will be:
Big book of contemporary poetry | hot tea | plans for next semester | work | other kind of work | one-hour-of-sleep-kind-of-days | celebrations | fending off the cold rain | confused by the weather all around | making connections | rediscovering what health looks like in winter | learning to love through distance and how to talk on skype and a phone | setting aside time for leisure|
Today’s rain makes me feel more exhausted than ever. Last night, I celebrated Halloween the best way I know how (by dressing up as a man *which turned out to be a very empowering, and fascinating couple of hours) and dancing with the good ones. This morning, after only a few heavy hours of sleep, I was back at it -> writing and editing an essay before a class where we learned how to make a decent souffle.
If the rest of November is anything like today, it will be filled with exciting times (*Phantogram tonight with brother Sam, Danny and Immy) and a lot of hard work. The rest of this weekend involves a few good meals, some projects, some essay-writing, and trying to remember how to correctly wear a sari.
The only thing one can give an artist is leisure in which to work. To give an artist leisure is actually to take part in his creation. -Ezra Pound
A lost day
Today is one of those days where you run around in circles//make messes//try to make connections. . . I feel inspired by more than I can handle, but I don’t know what to do with it. Or how to make sense of anything.
. . But, inspiration is out there and it is near.
Let us not speak of those days
when coffee beans filled the morning
with hope, when our mothers’ headscarves
hung like white flags on washing lines.
Let us not speak of the long arms of sky
that used to cradle us at dusk.
And the baobabs—let us not trace
the shape of their leaves in our dreams,
or yearn for the noise of those nameless birds
that sang and died in the church’s eaves.
Let us not speak of men,
stolen from their beds at night.
Let us not say the word
Let us not remember the first smell of rain.
Instead, let us speak of our lives now—
the gates and bridges and stores.
And when we break bread
in cafés and at kitchen tables
with our new brothers,
let us not burden them with stories
of war or abandonment.
Let us not name our old friends
who are unravelling like fairy tales
in the forests of the dead.
Naming them will not bring them back.
Let us stay here, and wait for the future
to arrive, for grandchildren to speak
in forked tongues about the country
we once came from.
Tell us about it, they might ask.
And you might consider telling them
of the sky and the coffee beans,
the small white houses and dusty streets.
You might set your memory afloat
like a paper boat down a river.
You might pray that the paper
whispers your story to the water,
that the water sings it to the trees,
that the trees howl and howl
it to the leaves. If you keep still
and do not speak, you might hear
your whole life fill the world
until the wind is the only word.
– Tishani Doshi
Have an inspiring, productive, and memorable Monday.
[Photo: Getting lost in the rain in Patan, Nepal//Grace Farson]
Living With Clams
Yesterday, I read a great poem
about clams, although evidently,
it turned out more to be
instructions for cooking them –
Linguini with clams,
not living with clams
like I thought – even though,
I want to know, how.
I mistake everything for what
I want it to be: recipes for poems,
poems for instruction manuals,
classrooms for cathedrals.
Once, even, I saw a man
but he turned out
to be just a clam.
Eventually, all the poems
end up sounding alike:
written in that same short
language of longing.
how my heart puns about.
[Poem: Sarah Edwards //Two Serious Ladies]
// \\ //
WHERE THE MIND IS WITHOUT FEAR
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out of the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arm towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action. . .
Into that heaven of freedom, My Father, let my country awake.
– Rabindranath Tagore
[Photo: Forest, Letang//Grace Farson]
+ Textures like these
“We were knee-deep in packing paper when the cherub’s head fell off. The day before we’d driven nine hours. We’d only spoken through three. Now we were in the home we had to make. Thank God, he said. That hideous thing. I know it’s hideous, I said, but I loved it. I did.” – Emma Bolden
+ This song on repeat
+ Plans// and learning to let go of other plans
+ How a year moves//changes but the same dull thoughts still occupy much time
+ A reunion with my beloved might be sooner than expected
[Photos: Texture found on Java//Grace Farson]