Such a happy new hobby all this was, at its best quietly life-changing. It was also desperately frustrating and a path to renewed appreciation of why we bury ourselves in duty and effort or sink into apathy. To be attentive, to carve out space for seeing, feeling and for creativity, could feel like just another obligation, another drain on resources already spread too thin. This is where the concept I had learned from Buddhists and others of ‘practice’, a modest but steady commitment and removal of choice, was helpful. And it was helpful to try and take writing also as a practice.
A great wheel of upbuilding and raveling never stops, and at its dark center one verges onto another world. It’s rather like the biblical injunction to “pray without ceasing”—that is, to make one’s entire life lit with the radiance of knowing God, knowing a greater life and being more alive. Art is always calling us to a larger life, to other worlds…
[M]y tendency is to gulp information off the screen in hunks, finding a topic sentence and then skipping the paragraph below it, snatching the big ideas and leaving the details behind. In Korean the word for this kind of action is heo-geop-jji-geop. I’m not sure, but I think it is an onomatope. At least, it sounds like one to me. If you eat gulping, hurried, barely chewing, this is the sound you make: heo-geop-jji-geop. And that is how I read most things on the internet, and by extension, anything on a computer screen.
I held the lead. Let pulsing lips
explore my hands, my jacket.
The narrow nose stretched
under my fingers and
I rubbed the strong, shallow bone
above curious, sensing nostrils.
It is my dream that one day people will think of poetry as poop — we all do it. Some of us, like Charles Bukowski, seem do it more and with grater passion than others, but that doesn’t mean pooping excludes us. I feel poetry and poop are equally essential to our existence; there is no better sign for life than pooping and poetry.
A variation of delusions of grandeur are delusions of grammar, that is, the fixed belief that one’s language abilities are far superior than other people’s, even infallible. In addition to grammar, the deluded person believes his spelling and punctuation are irreproachable.
An order of their chocolate-covered candied orange peels and Ice Wine Truffle Bars arrives by Fedex in August and keeps me going at the place of his birth. Under a sweet spell, I draw the fallen-in foundation, buried in biomass, stones pushed apart by tree roots and shaded by hemlocks and hardwoods. The chocolate is very, very, very good.
On this night before Christmas—a night Christians see as being more holy than most—it comforts me to know that someone, somewhere, is sitting in front of a phone, invisible as God, ready to offer an empathetic ear to the lonely, lost, and distraught. What better vigil for a Silent Night in which both finches and owls fluff and hunker against the winter chill?
I dreamed I was taking clothes down from the line on a windy day and a sweat suit blown into my body by the wind wrapped its arms and legs around me like a child and held on. I carried it indoors and laid it on a narrow cot. The thing begged me to let it go, saying it would never really be Bob Dylan.
It was a moment and not-a-moment, a sliding along the curving flow, the sinusoidal wave of things, for as one thought arose so it also passed to be replaced by another. After considering the lengthening days ahead I thought with gratitude of the dark, the short, the constrained, without which the light would have little meaning.