Wednesday, May 31

Tea for You, Too
My friends,
I want to tell you
that in general things
are all right with me,
relatively speaking.
Just a second, here's Einstein
asking where the tea is.
I reassure him
it will be ready soon,
relatively speaking,
and he shuffles back
to the room that holds him,
with plenty of space
for that cup of tea,
even though the cup
is twelve feet in diameter,
about the same size
as my thinking of you
this morning.
 - Ron Padgett

Tuesday, May 30

Yamaoka Tesshu, a samurai and student of Zen, traveled around Japan studying from various Zen masters. One day, he wandered into the Shokoku Temple and happened upon the monk Dokuon.In a desire to show his comprehension of Zen, Tesshu stated to the Master, "The mind, the Buddha and all beings are empty. The true nature of all things is emptiness. There is no enlightenment, no delusion; no sages, no commoners; no toil, no reward."
Master Dokuon remained quiet for some time and then banged him on the head.
Tesshu fumed in anger and asked, "What did you do that for?"
Master Dokuon replied, "If everything is empty, where did the temper come from?"
Isha Foundation

Friday, May 26

"But there isn't actually a most beautiful person in the world, because there are so many kinds of beauty. Some people love roundness and softness, and other people love sharp edges and strong muscles. Some people like thick hair like a lion's mane, and other people like thin hair that pours down like an inky waterfall, and some people love someone so much they forget what they look like. Some people think the night sky full of stars at midnight is the most beautiful thing imaginable, some people think it's a forest in snow, and some people . . . Well, there are a lot of people with a lot of ideas about beauty. And love. When you love someone a lot, they just look like love."
 - Rebecca Solnit
Cinderella Liberator

Thursday, May 25

Love comes quietly,
finally, drops
about me, on me,
in the old ways.

What did I know
thinking myself
able to go
alone all the way.
 - Robert Creeley
For Love

Wednesday, May 24

Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
 - Derek Walcott

Monday, May 22

How to Leave the Planet
1. Phone NASA. Their phone number is (713) 483-3111. Explain that it's very important that you get away as soon as possible.
2. If they do not cooperate, phone any friend you may have in the White House - (202) 456-1414 - to have a word on your behalf with the guys at NASA.
3. If you don't have any friends in the White House, phone the Kremlin (ask the overseas operator for 0107-095-295-9051). They don't have any friends there either (at least, none to speak of), but they do seem to have a little influence, so you may as well try.
4. If that also fails, phone the Pope for guidance. His telephone number is 011-39-6-6982, and I gather his switchboard is infallible.
5. If all these attempts fail, flag down a passing flying saucer and explain that it's vitally important you get away before your phone bill arrives.
 - Douglas Adams
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Friday, May 19

"I walked the fairground midway, where the Whip lashed its riders this way and that, where the Caterpillar enveloped screaming patrons in darkness as it slung them around a track a thousand times faster than any real caterpillar could move, where the Big Drop lifted its gondola two hundred feet into the night and then released it in what seemed to be an uncontrolled free fall, and where the Ferris wheel carried its passengers high and brought them low and raised them high and brought them low again, as if it were not merely a carnival ride but also a metaphor for the basic pattern of human experience.
It's difficult to spend time in any carnival or amusement park and not realize that a repressed fear of death may be the one emotion that is constant in the human heart even if, most of the time, it is confined to the unconscious as we go about our business. Thrill rides offer us a chance to acknowledge our ever-present dread, to release the tension that arises from repression of it, and to subtly delude ourselves with the illusion of invulnerability that surviving the Big Drop can provide."
 - Dean Koontz
Saint Odd

Thursday, May 18

"How did we ever drift into this chill state? I'm feeling kind of bent in half myself; and I see us both bound for the fire, lone peach tree, then nothing, then pure spirit again, even Lazarus has to die - what have I done, what have I been so afraid of all my life?"
 - Franz Wright
from Peach Tree

Wednesday, May 17

"Life is an endless recruiting of witnesses. It seems we need to be observed in our postures of extravagance or shame, we need attention paid to us. Our own memory is altogether too cherishing, which is the kindest thing I can say for it. Others are required, other perspectives, but even so our most important ceremonies - birth, love, and death - are secured by whomever and whatever is available. What chance, what caprice!"
 - Carol Shields
The Stone Diaries
just literature quotes

Tuesday, May 16

"About the Phones

Closing my car door, you always say - Watch
for deer and text when you get home.
I want to, I do, but I will forget.
Time moves and I forget. - Look
I am trying, I am, but it's not the kind
of thing that trying solves.

on the side of a highway, a cop told me
about dragging a full grown buck out
the windshield of a wrecked car all by himself.
About the sounds it made, Like the devil learning
what regret feels like. About the woman it kicked
to death in the driver's seat. The phone call
he had to make to her grown daughter after
whose first question was, Did the deer survive?

Different cop, different time, different highway.
Said she keeps her phone on silent then spoke
about securing the crime scene in that classroom
in Blacksburg where one student shot
all the others. Every single one of them
had a cell phone, she said, and for hours after
every single one rang and rang or vibrated
across the floor in the same slow way
that blood pools. No one was allowed to answer,
no one, so instead the phones rang all night
until batteries were empty, voicemails full
of a thousand Call me when you get this so I know
you're okays. Turns out time moves the way
blood does. Batteries too. Runs out
like a startled deer across a road. - Listen
I am trying to find a way to tell you this.
There are things that trying solves but this
is not one of them."
 - Robert Wood Lynn
Mothman Apologia

Monday, May 15

(The Mothman Gets High)
Yes.     There is a point at which any person gets tired

of knowledge.     You could call this     a threshold

or you could call this     the point at which a person

gets tired     of knowledge.     I'll tell you this:

I've     never     felt     further     from another than when

standing beside them     trying to point out a star.
 - Robert Wood Lynn
Mothman Apologia
discovered a new poet thanks to what - what?

Friday, May 12

"We the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing."
 - Konstantin Josef Jireček

"Today we are all doing penance every day. We're working hard, trying to make money to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, trying to maintain a good relationship or marriage, trying to keep our children safe and happy and educated, trying to keep the world from blowing itself up. We don't need any more penance. We need some joy, an ideal, encouragement, a philosophy worthy of us, a real community, neighbors to keep us from having to go it alone. We need our own religion: our sources of inspiration, hope, and healing."
 - Thomas Moore
A Religion of One's Own

Wednesday, May 10

"I should have been a clown; it would have afforded me the widest range of expression. But I underestimated the profession. Had I become a clown, or even a vaudeville entertainer, I would have been famous. People would have appreciated me precisely because they would not have understood; but they would have understood that I was not to be understood. That would have been a relief, to say the least."
 - Henry Miller
Tropic of Capricorn

Monday, May 8

Meditations in an Emergency
I wake up & it breaks my heart. I draw the blinds & the thrill of rain breaks my heart. I go outside. I ride the train, walk among the buildings, men in Monday suits. The flight of doves, the city of tents beneath the underpass, the huddled mass, old women hawking roses, & children all of them, break my heart. There's a dream I have in which I love the world. I run from end to end like fingers through her hair. There are no borders, only wind. Like you, I was born. Like you, I was raised in the institution of dreaming. Hand on my heart. Hand on my stupid heart.
 - Cameron Awkward-Rich

Friday, May 5

"When you nurture the ability to witness your life in the third person, in extremis, or through prayer or meditation, there is an unavoidable shift in consciousness as you realize that who you are is not simply how you feel - but a presence beyond desire of any sort. Intense emotions that have held us prisoner all our lives suddenly lose power, are uncloaked as tricks of memory, exposed as tireless, groping sensations whose function is to keep us distracted by the body's appetites until the body is no more."
 - Simon Van Booy
The Presence of Absence
memorys landscape
wholeness blooming

Thursday, May 4

The Weighing
The heart's reasons
seen clearly,
even the hardest
will carry
its whip-marks and sadness
and must be forgiven.

As the drought-starved
eland forgives
the drought-starved lion
who finally takes her,
enters willingly then
the life she cannot refuse,
and is lion, is fed,
and does not remember the other.

So few grains of happiness
measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance.

The world asks of us
only the strength we have and we give it.
Then it asks more, and we give it.
 - Jane Hirshfield
October Palace
your eyes blaze out

Wednesday, May 3

"There is nothing more important to true growth than realising that you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it. If you don't understand this, you will try to figure out which of the many things the voice says is really you. People go through so many changes in the name of 'trying to find myself.' They want to discover which of these voices, which of these aspects of their personality, is who they really are. The answer is simple: none of them."
 - Michael Singer
wait - what?

Monday, May 1

"I write because I have nothing else to do in the world: I was left over and there is no place for me in the world of men. I write because I'm desperate and I'm tired, I can no longer bear the routine of being me and if not for the always novelty that is writing, I would die symbolically every day. But I am prepared to slip out discreetly through the back exit. I've experienced almost everything, including passion and its despair. And now I'd only like to have what I would have been and never was."
 - Clarice Lispector
The Hour of the Star

  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov