Seriously

I had a really serious day and then I decided to do a video blog post because…I’m not sure why, but it probably had something to do with this velour onesie I’m wearing and in this video I’m quoting Einstein (how’s that for serious) but also babbling and contradicting myself (I don’t want you to click the link and watch this and then be pissed that I wasted your time), the onesie is awesome though.

Seriously

And then I noticed this video I don’t remember making (almost exactly a year ago–2/26/2014) and clicked on it and thought, huh, I must have been having pretty much this exact kind of day a year ago, but handled it differently.  So there you are.  Exactly nowhere.

Sometimes I just want

 

This piece (an essay not a video), “Warnings for My Sons,” on The Manifest Station went live today.  It means a lot to me.  It’s all the problems I’m thinking about and trying to make peace with not solving in one essay.  Thanks for reading.

Gratitude

If you judge by the pictures I’ve chosen here, it looks like I went to Grad School with two other students, one teacher, and a bunch of taxidermied animals.  I assure you that’s not the case.  I didn’t have one particular picture that made me feel like I’d be giving you the whole picture of what “brain-on-fire” (in my dear friend Rania’s words) fun it is to study what I want to study in the presence of people who help me tease what seems so abstract and nebulous into sentences, and empower me to feel like it’s important–and push me to make it better.  It’s a privilege, and I know it.  And to rise to it, I will have to work harder than I want to sometimes, will have to balance the vastness of what’s going on inside my head with the tangible importance of what I have to do each day.  It is a luxury to be able to put my thoughts on paper–to have access to language, access to technology and a platform to have my words read and heard.

As I was writing my mother a note about the experience (I was woefully out of touch with her and everyone else during the week), I kept writing grateful–for the friends that got me through it, for the conversations, for the cleared sidewalks and warm, dry indoor surfaces, for the meals I didn’t have to prepare.  But I complain a lot, worry a lot, get in my head about whether I’m good enough, whether anyone gets what I’m trying to do.  If there were one thing we could all work on, in the place where our internal lives meet the external world, it’s gratitude.  A confluence of ancestor’s hard work, parental sacrifice and plain old good luck got me here.  Lots of stuff that has nothing to do with my personal ‘goodness’ or ‘worthiness’ or even intelligence has led me to these opportunities.  My responsibility, now that I have gotten here, is to learn how to get better and a huge part of that is listening carefully to the people around me and creating space to share the stage and page however I can.

BY JILL MCDONOUGH

English Composition at South Middlesex Correctional Center.
Julie reads out loud, and I praise her super thesis, then show
how her paragraphs veer away from it, just summarize.
And is she pissed! Too pissed to listen when her classmates try
to help. Amanda offers Act 2 Scene 1—”Now I do love her
too”—as evidence of Iago’s state of mind. But Julie’s
shutting down, frowning at her handwritten draft, writing
that took her weeks. Hey Julie, I say. Julie doesn’t look up.
Says What. Says I hate this stupid paper now. So I say
Hey JulieAmanda’s helping youwrite down
what she’s saying. She says I’m aggravated. I think
they take classes on naming their feelings. I say I know it
but you need to pull it togetheror you’ll end up screwing
yourselfThis is your chance. We’re all quiet, breathing
together, willing her to break out of this. Then:
a little miracle. I look around the room and see
that everyone is beautiful. Each did something special
with her hair. Hey, I say, again. I say hey a lot in prison.
Hey wait a minuteWhat’s up with everybody’s hair?
Mabel got a haircut. Ellie’s hair is long and black and gleaming
down her back, Amanda’s in French braids. Julie’s freshly
blonde, down to the roots. You guys all look great!
They laugh. They’re happy I noticed.
Thank god I noticed; now, for a minute, we
are women in a room, talking about their hair. Julie says
Amanda did her highlights, and Sandy blew it out. Good job, guys;
she looks great. And then I say, JulieLook at you
all pissed off over your paper when you’re so lucky!
Look at all these good friends you haveHelping
with your paper, doing your hair . . . She nods.
She looks me in the eye, back with us, back on track.
I know, she says. I need to work on my gratitude.

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Nightmares and Heaven

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Above is a picture of my older son in the setting of many of his childhood nightmares. We happened to visit a church that housed the school he went to preschool in and we snuck around into that hallway so that he could confront it. He was kind of astonished by how big he felt, how he had outgrown the nightmare. Some nightmares can be outgrown, others stay with us until they become reality, the nightmare serving as a reminder that the inevitable will come. One such nightmare for me is the death of my mother.
I think tonight’s nightmare was brought to me by (broadcaster voice) a poem shared with me this afternoon and my close friend’s mother being diagnosed with cancer. The poem, Heaven, or Whatever by Shane Koyczan made me cry during a writing group. In public. In front of other people. Understand this before you click it. But be brave and click it anyway.

When I woke, I sent my friend an email:

Thinking about you and how terrified you must be. I haven’t got any be strong, don’t worry, or this is how you navigate this things to say to you. I don’t know what words navigate something as slippery and scary as holding a lightning rod. I know you, and I know you will do it with grace.

And I suggest this: write her letters. Know what you need to say and say it, if even to yourself, and then act on it in your interactions with her. Regret is unfortunately the only thing that remains. I hate to say things like this to you, to ask you to breathe into the very places that hurt. But I wish someone had told me that.

Then I called my mother, halfway around the world, 3 am here being 3 pm there, and could barely get words out.

So I sent my mother this email:
In my dream I had one last day with you. And only kind of knew it. And we went on a drive in a sort of car, stopping everywhere that was strange but in the dream somewhat familiar and a part of your life. And I kept getting nervous-angry–when I got lost, when I didn’t have the correct change for toll, when the roads were narrow and suspended in the air like hammocks. And you were calm, and patient and joking (which sometimes made me more angry, as it does). But toward the end I realized that I would have to do all of it by myself from now on. And just before waking I turned to you and said, “Amma I’m so scared all the time. How will I do this by myself?”

And it’s true. I’m so scared all the time. I guess we all are, aren’t we?

So your prompt is to listen to that poem, bawl your eyes out, and then pull your shit together and love the people you love with the kind of fierceness you won’t regret. I’m always taking poems via email. Always loving you.

Faith

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I’ve been thinking about faith a lot lately. Faith that allows us to trust, to leap in the face of uncertainty. To allow others to catch us. To have faith that they will not let us fall. We do this all the time–whether we want to or not. As we navigate traffic, send our children to school, fall in love, tell our stories at open mics. Faith is belief that acknowledges the necessity of hope. Without my faith I could not cross the street in this soft body. Without the faith of the men and women in my writing groups–in me and in one another–we could not feel what we do, could not keep getting better.

All the good in the world runs on faith that is met with love. And our capacity to keep extending faith in spite of all the heartbreak and loss and unmet expectation, to keep feeling gratitude when it’s met by love–is perhaps the greatest case that could be made for faith.

On Sunday, I went to a reading by the divine powerhouse Elmaz Abinader and brought home a (signed!) copy of her newest collection of poems, This House, My Bones. It’s really something this book. To be read and read and read again. I like to be surprised by poems–nothing gimmicky, a gasp will do. These poems quietly surprise. And in it was the poem below.

Read this poem and then copy the title onto your page and record your own. What is faith? What evidence of faith have you witnessed, do you witness? What evidence of faith do you display? What terrifies you in the way it calls you to stand on the precipice, desperate to jump, desperate to believe, to fall?

That isn’t Faith, This is

for John Herman

You listen
more attentive than most
take mental notes
of where the knife
will enter your chest
where the underground
routes to your heart
have jammed
and need a bull
dozer to clear the way
replace the cables
resurge the flow

and you retell
it all like a good story
you heard maybe
from the person
sitting next to you
on the plane with
pictures, arrows
and instructions

and I find it funny
that of all the ideologies
that move through
our lives, the gods
false and divine,
the mantras and rosaries
the litanies and songs
the literatures and dogmas
we pray for that knife
to hit right

to not stray, for
the steadiness
of the hand that slips
a vessel from your
leg into your chest
that connects the tubes
like a master pipefitter
it’s a lot to expect

from someone and not
god who you may or may
not believe in, someone
who learns your name
ever so briefly, doesn’t
know what your heart
means and to whom.

I call it faith, letting
yourself sleep surrounded
by people you don’t know
giving your body to
their hands, exposing
the contents of your
heart the way you have
to so few or so many

and I hope that
your heart in their hands
knows a kindness
that strangers give
to one another in brave
circumstances: floods
births, confusion
and fear. This is all
we can believe. That
you may return
refueled and cloudless
love replaced with love
a heart come stronger.

Tools

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A few days ago, someone asked me what my New Years resolutions were. That’s always seemed like such a Cathy thing to do–eat less, weigh less, obsess over my bathing suit less, get my boyfriend to marry me. So resolutions weren’t something I’d really thought about. A few days later my friend Ashley, who is one of the wisest people in the world–a philosopher disguised as a woodpecker disguised as a butterfly disguised as a federal employee–talked about the new year as a fresh start. An opportunity allowing us to put our own mistakes behind us AND put the mistakes of others behind us. To forgive–ourselves and others and, “Start new traditions any time.”
I don’t expect to leave behind all the parts of myself I wish were better in 2014, but I am going to start some new traditions, to shift around priorities a little so that the things that caused me grief and made me feel less than I want to be can be reassessed. And I have to figure out what tools I need to succeed at that.

There are moving platforms on pulleys stationed around the outside of my apartment building right now, and I watch these folks lifting high off the ground to do their work at whatever height they need to be at for a given day.
I can’t always operate at my highest level, and expecting to sets me up for feelings of failure. I need to keep in mind that I can hoist myself to where I need to be for some tasks, remembering that there’s solid ground to return to, ground that I earned and cherish and can rest upon before the next time I need to rise and do some work that seems beyond my reach. I don’t always have to defy gravity. So putting my feet up, a kid under each arm is the place I’ll need to return to, and when I’m there I’ll try not to pay attention to the ropes gone slack, try not to feel like I’m wasting that waiting platform. I’ll rest and enjoy the ground as my primary setting. Happy 2015, my dears. What tools do you need on hand to build the best you this year?

The Roofwalker
by Adrienne Rich 
(1961)
–for Denise Levertov

Over the half-finished houses
night comes. The builders
stand on the roof. It is
quiet after the hammers,
the pulleys hang slack.
Giants, the roof walkers,
on a listing deck, the wave
of darkness about to break
on their heads. The sky
is a torn sail where figures
pass magnified, shadows
on a burning deck.

I feel like them up there:
exposed, larger than life,
and due to break my neck.

Was it worth while to lay–
with infinite exertion–
a roof I can’t live under?
–All those blueprints,
closings of gaps
measurings, calculations?
A life I didn’t choose
chose me: even
my tools are the wrong ones
for what I have to do.
I’m naked, ignorant,
a naked man fleeing
across the roofs
who could with a shade of difference
be sitting in the lamplight
against the cream wallpaper
reading–not with indifference–
about a naked man
fleeing across the roofs.

Rich, Adrienne. “The Roofwalker.” Poems: Selected and New, 1950-1974. New York: Norton, 1974.

I don’t know why

I have been trying to write this poem for at least a year. Last week, after the loss of a particularly beautiful soul, it began to tap on the inside of my skull with urgency. It’s all I have for you right now. I’ll be back with more soon. Stay safe. May you have both the strength to embrace your grief and the dexterity to put it down and walk away sometimes. May your body survive your mind, again and again.

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I don’t know why you shouldn’t kill yourself.

Tomorrow is the most terrifying day
of the week and even sleep, if it comes, leads you
unwilling, to stand in the ring on the packed red dirt
tired as you are of bowing and raising your heavy head
of putting on the show of stomping, of charging.

It will get better,
but the worst in your past vows to rise
in thick columns of smoke
again and again
stinging your eyes and enveloping days.

Ahead lies paperwork, and consequence,
and more nights of gravity without ground
I can’t promise you anything, can’t live for you, can’t quiet memory
or stem the flow of hot panic.

I can’t tell you how many pills or poems until
the heat of this fever has passed
and you regain your taste for
the metallic sweetness of frosting dissolving on your tongue
the insides of eyelids turned amber by sunlight
the pleasure of noodles spooled around a fork
while outside rain falls
the way your daughter’s laughter and tears burst forth
with equal sudden commitment

But maybe if you can train your grief to lay down by itself
after you gently rock it to sleep,
you can tiptoe away for just a moment
and then a moment more, to discover the lightness
that still exists in your outstretched arms
maybe you can begin to imagine another way

and find a reason not to do it today.

silence

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Our prompt this week is from 10th century Japanese essayist Sei Shonagon’s Hateful Things, where she lists things that are hateful to her. Large and small. She writes with conviction. She lists what’s hateful, without saying, “I believe it might be hateful, if you look at it this way perhaps…” None of that. IT IS HATEFUL. Period. That’s what writing is about, isn’t it? On the page, we get to make up the rules. I’ve been writing an essay about what is hateful to me. These are some paragraphs from my essay:

You have almost fallen asleep and someone sends you a text message of a smiley face. In fact, receiving a smiley face message with no context is hateful at any time of day. It is hateful when the man you have decided not to date invites you to a show you wish to see and you have to say no so as not to become hateful to yourself. To hear anyone’s inhalations or exhalations is hateful.

When you live in a country where the infant mortality rate of children of poor women is nearly twice that of the wealthy; that is very hateful indeed. When the poverty rates of Blacks and Hispanics is at least twice that of whites in every state, and someone insists that racism is dead, you may wish they would join this version of hypothetical racism and die too, perhaps once every 28 hours.

Some of it comes from the sources linked below. These are facts, we have some real problems, and they are made even more embarrassing and scary by all the people pretending we don’t have them, by all the people unwilling to discuss them.

Washington Post, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

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Holiday Shopping Guide!!!

The title above is me trying to fit in with the rest of the Internet. Did it work? Can I eat lunch with Best Buy and Zappos?
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The semester is coming to a close and I’m officially halfway through grad school. I’ve done a lot of writing, some that I feel was successful. I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize last week which this guy says I shouldn’t brag about. I see his point, but I’m still pretty pleased (and awestruck) that someone likes my writing enough to think that someone else might like it. Which is what the editors at Duende are saying to me with this nomination. I also finished my book. The book I thought I’d never finish. The book that felt like a mountain crumbling beneath me as I climbed it. I feel alternately terrified and ecstatic to be releasing it into the world (in a year, dearies, so let’s all calm down). But the best thing I did this semester was read. I spent the past few days annotating books, which I complain about but actually love.

I began marking up books when I was thirteen and read Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat and there was no one around to share in the hilarity and absurd magic so I had to put foil stars and comments in the margins (this was before the cell phone camera phenomenon, so I couldn’t put the hilarious passage on IG), and the habit stuck. But now I spend some time every few months copying all my notes into a semi-coherent mini-essay about each book, linking the marked passages with half-formed sentences so that I can turn them in for credit. I do this all the time, even when I’m not in school. The books I read are as much a record of my life as the things I write—perhaps more so. I love tracing how they arrived in my hands, love realizing how these little labyrinths (thanks, Rebecca Solnit, for giving me that image) entered through chance. The books that changed my life these past few months have been recommended to me by friends, by book reviews I happened upon on-line, by Instagram photos of passages. I have bought them at thrift stores, been mailed books by friends, found them in stacks at the library and checked them out on a whim. I ordered one of the most formative books of the semester—“The Paradox of Love” by J. Pittman McGehee, because the author was giving a lecture I was going to be out of town for and I was bummed. The book completely impacted my understanding of love as a life skill. I delivered a talk in Minnesota that referenced his book the same weekend he was giving his lecture in DC. So here are some quotes from my favorites. If you want to spend money on Cyber Monday (WTF is that, by the way?) buy books.

Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby
“The self is also a creation, the principal work of your life, the crafting of which makes everyone an artist. This unfinished work of becoming ends only when you do, if then, and the consequences live on. We make ourselves and in so doing are the gods of the small universe of self and the large world of repercussions.” (53)

Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of Love

“Mermaids seem, in part, to echo the conflict men feel about women in general. They are beautiful, mysterious, idealized creatures whom men long to possess. But they also arouse feelings that make men vulnerable, irrational, and crazed. They can enslave the most powerful men. And they don’t fight fair. The more beautiful they are, the more power they have, and when they know it, and act remote and unconquerable, they can be truly frightening. However weak of limb, they’re strong enough to send a man to his doom.” (238)

Kim Addonizio, What is this thing called love

Fuck
There are people who will tell you
that using the word fuck in a poem
indicates a serious lapse
of taste, or imagination,

or both. It’s vulgar,
indecorous, an obscenity
that crashes down like an anvil
falling through a skylight

Jimmy Santiago Baca, The Lucia Poems

“Young lives are like fire; they can be used to illuminate the night or burn a city to the ground.”

J. Pittman McGehee, The Paradox of Love

“Any person who doesn’t know another, doesn’t know herself, and any person who doesn’t know herself, doesn’t know another.”

Howard Zinn, Artists in Times of War

“I’m not interested in just reproducing class after class of people who will get out, become successful, and take their obedient places in the slots that society has prepared for them. What most of us must be involved in—whether we teach or write, make films, write films, direct films, play music, act, whatever we do—has to not only make people feel good and inspired, and at one with other people around them, but also has to educate a new generation to do this very modest thing: change the world.”

This guy…

rock n roll rooster

My father always told us stories about his mother and sister who both died long before I was born. They weren’t just glowing ultra edited eulogies, these stories–he showed their flaws with a touch of humor, alluded to their individual histories of grief. Only when I was writing about it and feeling the sadness of writing about him did I really realize what the gift of sharing his loved ones with me must have cost him–and what, in turn, my listening gave him. It is an important tradition to tell the stories of the people who are gone.

Goodbyes are something folks in my groups struggle with a lot. Last week we did a storytelling prompt, one of my favorites. We used an excerpt from Joel Chasnoff’s brilliant war memoir, The 188th Crybaby Brigade.

I am Israeli soldier number 5481287. I’ve been assigned to Platoon Two, Company B, Battalion 71 of the 188th Armored Brigade. I’m at the Armored School, in the south, halfway between Jordan and Egypt. It’s the 30th day of July, day one of basic training, and I’m in shock that I’m actually here, in uniform, on a military base, a soldier in a foreign country’s army.
I’m dressed like a soldier but I look like a clown. My uniform’s three sizes too big, and it’s stiff, so it looks like I’m wearing a suit of green construction paper; I’d thought I’d look sexy in uniform, but I don’t. I’ve also got a new look–I’m buzz-cut and shaved–and a new name: instead of Joel, I am now my Hebrew name, Yoel, and my last name, according to my dog tags is Shetnitz.
“You misspelled my name,” I said to the guy at the dog tag machine.
“So don’t die,” he said, and shooed me out the door.

The thing about good storytelling is all the stuff that is implicitly communicated. The clues into your life and your experiences that a good listener can pick up. This excerpt is pretty straightforward, but there are layers. Here when he talks about how he expected to look sexy in the uniform, we are told how he feels out of place, what the purpose of this new role (and dog tags) is. Dog tags are serious. An acknowledgment of your vulnerability, of the danger of the world. We know what this young man is wrestling with–ideals of masculinity, fears about reality, and as someone in the group today pointed out, the stripping away of identity central to basic training. I think that happens quite naturally when we write with a focus on being specific, it’s nothing we have to force.  He says it without a hint of poor me. But we think, That must have been difficult.

There’s a section in the book that I really like to use where he does a short sketch of each of the guys in the unit so you know all the players. The people who shaped us are a part of us. When we speak their stories aloud, they rise up and join us in the room, and the people we are sharing them with know us and our experiences a little better. We introduce the people we love through stories all the time. I’m always so glad when I mention a friend from faraway to a local friend and they respond with, “Oh your friend Brian who declared psychological warfare on the neighbors in 9th grade?” (that’s right, Brian, I talk about you).

Your prompt is to sketch out some of the people you know best–dead or alive, near or far, close or estranged. We came up with some questions to get you going:

1. What were they like when they get angry?
2. What always made them mad or always made them laugh?
3. What was your first impression of them/how did you meet?
4. What was their ‘tell’ in poker or pranks? Could they keep a straight face?
5. How do they sleep? (The group assured me this is NOT a creepy question, I think in the realm of deployment it’s not, but if you’re just sneaking around watching people sleep, that’s definitely creepy)
6. What really embarrassing song was their jam?
7. What were some of their unique habits/superstitions?

Tell us about one time when they…

(Bonus points…how would someone close answer the above about you?)

I hope this prompt makes you smile, in spite of what it may cost you. And I hope you tell the story at whatever table you sit at to eat turkey this week, and that when you tell the story, someone you miss will be near for a moment. And someone who is near will understand you a little better.

Happy Thanksgiving, my dears.  I am eternally grateful for you–for trusting me with your stories and for listening to mine.  For all the laughing through tears we do together.  Be well.  Send me poems (or cans of jellied cranberries).



Just for Me

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About a month ago, some really beautiful people in Santa Fe opened their home to me. I was in town for a poetry event, and as supporters of the theater, they often host performers. They bestowed immense kindness upon me, laughed with me, looked out for me and shared their wisdom. They made me feel like family, which had nothing to do with me and everything to do with who they are. I learned a lot from them, and have told many of you some of it. The thing I’d been thinking about before was how I always felt like love exhibited toward me was diminished in value if it wasn’t especially mine. It had to be the result of my own superiority, my own specialness for it to really mean anything. But that’s bullshit. The best people are good people, who are good in lots of settings. Surrounding myself with people who are only good to me is a terrible idea. But there’s something in society that tells us to be jealous, to compete. That in order for us to have something someone else has to not have it.

My children spend a lot of time with my ex-husband’s girlfriend, who lives with him. I am glad (understatement) to no longer be married to him, am grateful for her kindness to them, and genuinely want them to like her.  I want them to be their charming, beautiful selves with her, and I want her to love them and do silly things with them.  Being their mother isn’t something that I’m at risk of losing, it’s who I am.  It’s non-transferable.  But loving those children enough to give them the confidence to endure all the inevitable beat downs that life will send their way is a task that I want lots of people involved in.  I was telling someone this recently, and it was met with disbelief.  But I assure you, it is genuine.

It’s hard even to convince the boys of this–they feel conflicted when they talk about enjoying some time with her, and I have to tell them again and again, I love anyone who loves them and protects them from harm.  Period.  If she was being a monster to them it would be different.  Like I know this one girl, Snow White, who’s dad’s new boo was all about feeding her poisoned apples, and trust, that shit would not fly.

And of course, this non-transferable mother role is special and completely non-threatenable, but there is a version of it that extends to everyone, to all the people I love. I am the only me in your life, and that’s that (and you the only you in my life). I don’t have to be your best friend or your savior or your one and only confidant. If someone is being kind to you, I love them for it.  I’m not kind enough to be the only kind person in your life.  I’m not funny enough to be the only funny person in your life.  I can’t be the only person you tell your feelings to or the only person you laugh with.  I fail some days, don’t have enough time, life isn’t long enough for you to be waiting for one person to be free.  So let’s all find more people.  Be that person in each other’s lives.  Have dinner without me and text me pictures and I’ll text back ‘jealous’ but really I’ll feel your laughter somewhere in my heart and be so glad you are having that.  The more people who are kind to other people, the better the world we live in will be. If other people are making me happy, I’ll bring that happiness to everyone else as well. We need to share what we have to give so that it multiplies (though of course if the thing you’re giving is the D or the V, be choosier–herpes multiplies too).

You might be at a place right now where you can’t quite pinpoint what good you’re bringing to the world and that may make you feel like this prompt isn’t for you. But I promise you, it’s for you–because being kind–smiling at people, complimenting strangers, holding doors, making small talk with the cashier at the coffee shop–requires no previous experience. You can start today and be an expert by tomorrow. Just think about how you want people to feel once they’ve left your presence, and then work toward putting that in the world.

I love the poem below, it was shared during a TLA Council Meeting last night (because I’m a part of an organization that opens and closes conference calls with poems). It makes me wonder if perhaps the reason we have such a hard time just feeling good things has to do with how difficult it is to contain purely positive feelings without parameters or a fence of negativity. F the fence, let happiness run all over the page.

Happiness

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.
But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…..
Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.
~ Naomi Shahib-Nye

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