Date 4/11/2016, Friday

Do not let
anyone
strip you down
and burn you
to the ground,
this includes
yourself.
You do not
need to
rise from
unnecessary ashes
to become
something beautiful

“I just want to be me—I just want to be useful and… content. I want to stop wondering if I’ll ever feel whole and just be whole. I want to have a purpose, one that I can look at without feeling like I’m less than I was.”

She did not want to write; she did not want to talk…Words went on repeating themselves in her mind—words and sights.”
— Virginia Woolf, The Years

Once There Was Light And Then It Was Gone
The only thing extra you get is darkness.

We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won’t do harm – yes, choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.”

Wake to the morning, a cup of tea or coffee,

Feeling the sun shine on a chilly, Fall morning.

Something to eat as again hunger visits me,

A shower, a hug from maybe someone you love.

Feeling good as health is a precious gift to enjoy,

A stroll down the street just my headphones and me.

A breath of life from morning through the dark of night,

Taken for granted at times, daily pleasures are so fine.

L’invitation au Voyage
Richard Howard

Wandering with you the shore
Which parallels our river
Like a second thought.
Singular and sad I wore
The habit of a lover
Almost inside out.

Night in its black behaving
Muffled every lamp and dyed
The wooly season.
Pig-iron boats were leaving
For the lake, slowly the loud
Bridges had risen:

A landscape for the lonely
Or the lewd, as you observed.
When of a sudden
Something steep and with only
Momentary warning moved
Out of the hidden

Harbor. It was a dark boat
And Cytherea it said
Low on the long bow.
“A cabin for two” cried out
A voice, and I saw a head
That I thought I knew

“Fifteen days to the Island:
We sail tonight with the tide!”
I remember now,
Turning, how your face went blind.
The river knocked in its bed
And although a few

Gulls were loud in their abuse
You did not once look up. When
To their obloquy
No protest was made, I chose
To learn what I’ve always known:
We shall never go.

It is the movement that disturbs the line.
Thickening the form.
Turning into warm
Compression what had once been cold and fine.

Seen from down here, if only we remained.
These hills are high:
Driving on, the sky
Imposes, and no longer can be trained

By any structure of the seeming ground.
Landscape, I discover,
As the car gains over
Something that changes from a little mound

To monstrous eminence before your eyes.
Landscape can flaunt, can
Fail like the heart of man:
And when you see the difference in size

Of cliffs we once considered at the bright
Grass along their peak
And then saw from the bleak
Extremity of sand below, the sight

Gives more than pause—alas, it gives the slow
Ruin of our hopes
Fed upon the slopes
From where we’ve been to where we want to go.

I DREAMED I WAS A CHILD

There was a place, there was a child, was it real, why was he crying,

A street, a neighborhood, a school where laughter lived, clowns on a wall.

Duck, duck, goose and a circle of friends, round and round they ran,

A boy named Grover, swingsets and a dream, I walk there it seems.

A small boy, lonely in his thoughts, a dreamer of things not to be thought,

Monsters under the bed, who peeks in the window above his frightened head.?

I dreamed I was a child but who is it i be, a father’s son from yesterday,

A child trapped in a place that does not let go, cartoons and sounds of planes.

Reality was but a moment, childhood innocence and magic slips away,

Where were you little girl when my October drifted into eternity.

Imagination and ice cream trucks playing musical tunes for a dime,

Warm Summer days lost in a mans child dreaming eyes.

It rests in cobwebs, it quietly waits for my return,

A place hidden from my mind, it watches, it knows what I have seen.

Keith Garrett

As I walk the wind driven winter beach
I bend to gather stones
pummeled, tumbled,

sand-smoothed water-rounded stones
bending like kneeling
a form of prayer

when I realize I am not alone

she walks beside me muttering
what?
lines from a new chapter?
talking to Clarissa?

No, to me she praises the heft of rock
in her hand
the unseen force, patron saint of tears

and for each stone I pocket
she lifts two

we are companionable, she and I,
listening to water pull back over stones
playing them like castanets

now only a light breeze at our heels
but as I turn toward home
to store my collection of treasures

on the windowsill beside my desk

seek[s] to tamp down the very human emotions that literature dines out on: fear, insecurity, vulnerability, and the willingness to take strange paths to strange places… Being moved by fiction means being willing to be led astray a little.

to take down obstacles and march us towards happiness. Proof is how easily this genre of therapy veers into self-help territory

novels don’t work this way. They aren’t narrative prescriptions. Even when done badly, novels are artistic expressions necessarily unmoored from reality, expressions that ultimately depend on idiosyncratic characters who act, think, and feel, thereby becoming emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, and even physically embodied — quite differently — in every reader’s mind.

I started life

As a green glass bottle

Passed around

From one tanned and weathered hand

To the next

Those hands tipped

And poured me over

And over

They emptied my insides

And placed me

In the growing party

Of other green glass bottles

We stood together

Empty and surrounded

By clouds of smoke

Minutes turned to hours

And soon our shiny

Fingerprinted bodies

Were layered in grease

And smoke

The excited

Rapid noises

Became a slow

Slurring melody

An unharmonious

Racket

Between grunts and sighs

I ended life

Bound tightly

In a claustrophobic cluster

My green glass body

Tucked snuggly

Next to another

Placed

On a darkened street corner

Waiting

For the same tanned

And weathered hands

To journey me away

For instance, the pear blossom’s coiled
descent, whispering its way to the
earth, or a cold spiracle

releasing air in time to present a new flower,
the exhalation entwined and open
like a small door to a place the sun won’t

touch, the center trembling and pale.
The between, the interval of now and
now brought to fruition. A sudden thought.

What carries it aloft cannot be held.

colour of our hearts

so difficult to define

a deep red velvet

She Belongs to Me”:

She’s got everything she needs / she’s an artist, she don’t look back

She’s got everything she needs / she’s an artist, she don’t look back

She can take the dark out of the night time and / paint the day time black

“Love Minus Zero / No Limit”:

In the dime stores and bus stations

People talk over situations

Read books, repeat quotations

Draw conclusions on the wall

(…)

Statues made of matchsticks

Crumble into one another

My love winks she doesn’t bother

She knows too much to argue or to judge

Adults can change their circumstances; children cannot. Children are powerless, and in difficult situations they are the victims of every sorrow and mischance and rage around them, for children feel all of these things but without any of the ability that adults have to change them. Whatever can take a child beyond such circumstances, therefore, is an alleviation and a blessing.

I learned to build bookshelves and brought books to my room, gathering them around me thickly. I read by day and into the night. I thought about perfectibility, and deism, and adjectives, and clouds, and the foxes. I locked my door, from the inside, and leaped from the roof and went to the woods, by day or darkness.

[…]

I read my books with diligence, and mounting skill, and gathering certainty. I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too.

I did not think of language as the means to self-description. I thought of it as the door — a thousand opening doors! — past myself. I thought of it as the means to notice, to contemplate, to praise, and, thus, to come into power.

[…]

I saw what skill was needed, and persistence — how one must bend one’s spine, like a hoop, over the page — the long labor. I saw the difference between doing nothing, or doing a little, and the redemptive act of true effort. Reading, then writing, then desiring to write well, shaped in me that most joyful of circumstances — a passion for work.

You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for y.

Those who have this knowledge and awareness of themselves convince themselves readily that all other human beings can have the same knowledge and awareness of themselves: because there is nothing in all this that depends on anybody other than oneself. This is why they never despise anybody; and although they often see other people committing wrongful acts    that betray their weakness, they are, nonetheless, more inclined to excuse than to blame them, and to believe that these acts are due more to lack of knowledge than to lack of good will. And since they do not think themselves much inferior to those who have more wealth and honours, or even more intelligence, more learning, or more beauty than themselves, or who in general surpass them in respect of some other perfections, so, likewise, they do not think themselves much superior to those whom they themselves surpass, since all these things seem to them of very little importance, compared to good will, in respect of which alone they esteem themselves, and which they suppose is possessed, or at least could be possessed, by all other human beings.

So it is that the most noble of soul are customarily the most humble; and virtuous humility consists purely in this: in the light of our reflection on the infirmity of our nature, and on the wrongful acts we may have committed in the past, or which we are capable of committing, which are no less serious than those that may be committed by other people, we do not rate ourselves higher than anyone else, and we suppose that, since other people have free will no less than we do, they can make as good use of it as we.

Those who are noble in this way are naturally inclined to do great things, and yet to undertake nothing of which they do not feel themselves capable. And because they value nothing more highly than doing good to other human beings, for the sake of which they regard their own interests as unimportant, they are always perfectly courteous, affable, and helpful towards one and all. Moreover, they are entirely in control of their passions: especially of desires, jealousy, and envy, since there is nothing the acquisition of which is not in their control that they think of sufficient value to warrant being greatly desired; and of hatred, since they esteem all human beings; and of terror, because they are fortified by confidence in their own virtue; and, finally, of anger, since, valuing, as they do, very little whatever is in the control of others, they never give their enemies the satisfaction of acknowledging that they are put out by such things.

All those who form a good opinion of themselves on some other grounds, whatever it may be, have no true nobility of soul, but only pride, which is always a serious fault, the seriousness of which is greater in proportion as the justification for one’s self-esteem is less. Self-esteem is least justified when a person has no specific grounds for pride; that is to say, when he does not think he has some merit in himself for which he should be valued by others, but, setting no store by merit, imagines that glory is something to which one simply lays claim, so that those who credit themselves with it most actually possess it most.

Whatever the reason for one’s self-esteem, if it is other than the intention one feels in oneself always to make good use of one’s free will, which is … the source of nobility of soul, it always produces a very blameworthy pride, so different from true nobility of soul that it has entirely opposite effects. For since all other goods, such as intelligence, beauty, wealth, honour, etc., are generally more highly valued the fewer people possess them, and are such, indeed, for the most part that they cannot be shared by many people, it follows that the proud seek to degrade all other human beings, and that, being slaves to their desires, their soul is continually troubled by hatred, envy, jealousy, or anger

It consists chiefly in feeling that one is weak or lacking in resolution, and that — as if one did not have full use of one’s free will — one cannot help doing things that one knows one will subsequently regret; and also in the belief that one cannot be self-sufficient or do without several things one’s acquisition of which is in other people’s control. It is thus directly opposed to nobility of soul.

It often happens that those whose mind is basest are the most arrogant and haughty of people, just as the most noble of soul are the most modest and humble. But, whereas those with the strongest and noblest minds do not allow prosperity or adversity to affect their mood, those whose minds are weak and abject are governed entirely by fortune, and no less conceited in prosperity than humbled by adversity.

If one regularly sets oneself to consider what free will is, and what great advantages follow from abiding by a firm resolution to make the best use of it, and likewise, on the other side, how futile and pointless are all the cares by which the ambitious are beset, one can arouse in oneself the passion and in due course the virtue of nobility of soul.

What we take to be true is what we believe… What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.”

Reality is what we take to be true,”

What we take to be true is what we believe… What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.”

Eve[r]y point of thought is the centre of an intellectual world — the two uppermost thoughts in a Man’s mind are the two poles of his World he revolves on them and every thing is southward or northward to him through their means — We take but three steps from feathers to iron.

I find that I can have no enjoyment in the World but continual drinking of Knowledge — I find there is no worthy pursuit but the idea of doing some good for the world — some do it with their society — some with their wit — some with their benevolence — some with a sort of power of conferring pleasure and good humour on all they meet and in a thousand ways all equally dutiful to the command of Great Nature — there is but one way for me — the road lies th[r]ough application study and thought.

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