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I know, I know
If you could go back you
would walk with Jesus
You would march with King
Maybe assassinate Hitler
At least hide Jews in your basement
It would all be clear to you
But people then, just like you
were baffled, had bills
to pay and children they didn’t
understand and they too
were so desperate for normalcy
they made anything normal
Even turning everything inside out
Even killing, and killing, and it’s easy
for turning the other cheek
to be looking the other way, for walking
to be talking, and they hid
in their houses
and watched it on television, when they had television,
and wrung their hands
or didn’t, and your hands
are just like theirs. Lined, permeable,
small, and you
would follow Caesar, and quote McCarthy, and Hoover,
and you would want
to make Germany great again
Because you are afraid, and your
parents are sick, and your
job pays shit and where’s your
dignity? Just a little dignity
and those kids sitting down in the highway,
and chaining themselves to
buildings, what’s their fucking problem? And that kid
That’s King. And this is Selma. And Berlin. And Jerusalem.
And now
is when they need you to be brave.
Now
is when we need you to go back
and forget everything you know
and give up the things you’re chained to
and make it look so easy in your
grandkids’ history books (they should still have them, kinehora)
Now
is when it will all be clear to them.
—Danny Bryck

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Comfort

Oh, the comfort—
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person—
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

—Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887)

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What Aisle Did You Find Your Serenity In

I went for a walk with a beautiful 4 year old yesterday. She had amazing skills for approaching strangers and inviting engagement. She quickly got to where her heart wanted to be… holding a woman’s hand crossing the street, petting a dog, offering a flower.

The poem below invites me to step up my efforts and attention, becoming more skilled at getting to the heart of what my being wants to communicate to another… to go right there with stranger, friend, family or self? The poem inspires me to get creative and be real. Just like this little boy who asked Obama if he could touch his hair to see if it felt like his own. What a genuine way to relate with the world. Do you want to join me in this challenge?

I Confess
by Alison Luterman

I stalked her

in the grocery store: her crown

of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,

her erect bearing, radiating tenderness,
watching

the way she placed yogurt and avocados in her basket,

beaming peace like the North Star.

I wanted to ask, “What aisle did you find

your serenity in, do you know

how to be married for fifty years or how to live alone,

excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to possess

some knowledge that makes the earth turn and burn on its axis—“

But we don’t request such things from strangers

nowadays. So I said, “I love your hair.”

Thank you 37days for the poem and The Official WhiteHouse Photostream for the photo.

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We Are All Truly Miraculous

An Evening of Poetry, Music and The Spoken Word at The White House May 12, 2009.

I’m incredibly moved and inspired. Beautiful opening performance by ELEW and Esperanza Spalding, soulful spoken word by Mayda del Valle and a powerful performance by ELEW.

“We’re here to celebrate the power of words and music to help us appreciate beauty and also to understand pain. To inspire us to action and to spur us on when we start to lose hope.” President Obama tells the crowd as he opens the evening.

“It is one thing for people to tell their stories in their own spaces and quite another for those stories to be welcomed in this space. Barack is president today because many people who thought their voices didn’t matter or wouldn’t be heard decided to show up on election day and vote anyway.” Michelle Obama

“Abuela, how did you pray before someone told you who your god should be? How did you hold the earth in your hands and thank her for it’s fecundity? Did the sea wash away your sadness? How did you humble yourself before your architect? Did you lower yourself to your knees or rock to the rhythm of ocean waves like I do?

“To be able to go in the White House and to represent my grandmother and my ancestors, it really means a lot. It’s a generation of women that don’t often get heard, you know, these old Puerto Rican women that no one ever really thinks about. To be able to use my voice to represent them on this kind of platform is really powerful.” Mayda del Valle

ELEW

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A Radiant Feeling Pounces

The Poem in my Pocket:

Walking in the Forest

Walking in the forest
a radiant feeling pounces
on my misty
heart, clearing
my bad thoughts.
Good memories leap,
alert, brought to my mind
by a cool breeze.
Then they sleep.
Relaxed.
Magic flows through me
like a child running on cool summer grass.

by Tevon Dubois in A Child on The Island: The Ageless Wisdom of a Ten-Year-Old


p.s. I will return to actually writing posts here some day. It feels like it will be soon, but we shall see!

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WE ARE

So many humans
of an infinitely different variety
we are all living
we are all living on this planet
we are all living at this time

completely separate bubbles of reality
of experience
of perception

The impact of our actions
harbors resentment and celebration
in the bruises of our pathways

capillaries stretching eternity
carrying our history and opportunity
webbing the circuitry highway
that is here
available
accessible
ignored

currents of connection
making contact
slipping into wonderment
in the presence of one anther
celebrating
with gratitude

this is a reality that knows existence
a social fabric sewn into our magic carpet


photo by Powerhouse Museum

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We Are

My first “We Are” poem:

We Are Here Now Together
December 21, 2008

Here now
the moment is ripe
life awaits

we are suffering, we are blossoming
we are waking up, we are falling asleep
we are tormented, we are hopeful
and inspired
we are pleading and searching
we are grieving and hurting
we are lost in a maze of disconnect and desertion

There is wisdom calling us home
There is faith, joy, gracious wonder
wrapped in a moment of least expectant
wrapped in an action beyond pure comfort

We are opportunities
We are responsible for making a difference

We are
compassionate and sometimes trembling hands
open and receptive hearts attuned to grief and suffering, akin to giving and glowing
unbridled intellect and curiosity, committed to cause and inquiry

We are
devoted to the seen and unseen
listening to the mystery
informed by wonder and awe

we are
here
now
together

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