Hold It All


Like Staying up All Night with Your Best Friend

Allen Ginsberg, Allen Verbatim: Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness, edited by Gordon Ball

There are many influences that went into my creating Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine, and Allen Ginsberg was a major one. Here are quotations from reading Allen Verbatim in 2006, with my comments relating to subsequent Dear Layla project in brackets…

So what I do is try to forget entirely about the whole world of art and just get directly to the most economical—that is, the fastest, not most economical—the fastest and most direct expression of want it is I got in heart-mind. 107 [The chapters in novel are certainly economical!]

Start with what you desire, heart, instead of what you think you are supposed to do. 124 [E. once told me after she received my correspondence, “That’s the best love letter I’ve ever received.” That became the end of the novel many years later.]

… in which the prose sentence is completely personal, comes from the writer’s own person—his person defined as his body, his breathing rhythm, his actual talk. 153 [This is why this book of correspondences worked best for me.] Read the rest of this entry »


Tolstoy’s List

After coming across this acknowledgement of influence, a goal  for this spring–re-engaging with Tolstoy.


War Crimes Are What Our Enemies Do, Right?

People in Afghanistan would beg to differ.

“The True Cost” by Chelsea Pohl

Chelsea is in my Humanities in Western Culture course and wrote the following reflection.

Last week in class we were talking about the cost of clothing/ items that we have here in America compared to with what they are made for in other countries. Someone brought up the movie The True Cost and you said that if we watched the documentary and wrote a little bit about it we could get some extra credit points.

I watched the movie and it was really eye opening. The movie begins with talking about how fast fashion is such a big trend right now. Fast fashion is the idea that style changes so frequently, usually every season and sometimes a lot during the season. This means that the people who are producing the clothing are constantly work long hours and always having to change the way in which they make the clothing. I found the documentary very interesting because it really does go to show that people will go to all cost in order to get affordable items for consumers. Read the rest of this entry »

Correspondence Collage

Nima Sheth arranged some of the correspondence I’ve sent her recently…

Poem of the Day: Burning Monk

A friend shared this poem by Shin Yu Pai about the famous Vietnamese Buddhist Thích Quảng Đức who immolated himself in 1963.

Present Moment, Only Moment

The soothsayers who found out from time what it had in store certainly did not experience time as either homogeneous or empty. Anyone who keeps this in mind will perhaps get an idea of how past times were experienced in remembrance–namely, in just the same way. We know that the Jews were prohibited from investigating the future. The Torah and the prayers instruct them in remembrance, however. This stripped the future of its magic, to which all those succumb who turn to the soothsayers for enlightenment. This does not imply, however, that for the Jews the future turned into homogeneous, empty time. For every second of time was the strait gate through which Messiah might enter.

–Walter Benjamin, Illuminations

Interview with Ginsberg

The Yiddish Book Center offers this interesting 1969 interview with Allen Ginsberg in Montreal  several days after the death of Jack Kerouac.

To Contend, To Enliven, To Distance, To Advocate, To Investigate, To Rally, To Prioritize, To Surprise

I’ve read Anne Waldman since 2001 (Fast Speaking Woman: Chants and Essays got me started). Her epics, poems, interviews, and edited anthologies (from the Kerouac School at Naropa) have stimulate and open up possibilities. One of her most engaging books is OUTRIDER: Poems, Essays, Interviews. For you, friends in the writing sangha, I offer the following passages:  May one or more of these be a goad, an encouragement, an invitation.

Worry the essential library. Write what you would want to read. Utopian poetics, what you want to read. 15

A good idea: Contemplative education. Non-competitive education. 17

Maker of books she might be. Maker of schools. 23

Encourage street corner culture. What happens below the radar. 27

Nowhere to go again but the library. 29

To contend, to enliven, to distance, to advocate, to investigate, to rally, to prioritize, to surprise. 31

To vocalize. To mouth the impossible. 31

I have declared in one manifesto, a writing beyond gender, and have tried to inspire a poet’s Bodhisattva Vow, in which one becomes a bridge, a path, a shelter, whatever is required, for others. And one reads and studies and performs… for the benefit of others. 46 Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Marty and Jerry King: When a House becomes a Home

We began our journey of serving the homeless almost 40 years ago by volunteering to provide meals and serve in other ways at Karen House, the Catholic Worker shelter for women. The journey continued when we joined the work of Winter Outreach, serving men and women on the streets of Downtown and helping to staff the emergency shelters that have saved and transformed lives through the past 13 winters. And now, our journey continues in the work we do at the four Assisi Houses scattered around the City of St. Louis that provide winter shelter and then transitional, supportive housing that goes beyond simple shelter to create communities of the formerly unhoused. And as Greg Boyle states it so eloquently in his two books about his ministry with gang members in Los Angeles–we no longer are “serving”, we are accompanying, and even beyond that, we are “being served” and learning from these men and women who have become models for us of incredible generosity and courage in facing the challenges of living without resources and without access to anything or anyone that can effect change in their lives.

We will talk about what is the heart of Assisi House, and share some of the stories that have transformed an all winter shelter into a home for fourteen women this year. We are privileged to be a part of Assisi House, and to share these stories that emerge when men and women who had been forced to spend virtually all of their time and effort “being homeless” are given a respite from that hardship. It shouldn’t surprise us after all these years, but it still does, to see the miracles of transformed lives.

Jerry and I have been best friends and partners for over 54years. And our passion/compassion to engage with others in our life, whether it be here or during our years in South America, has followed the same path. While not always in agreement, we have worked side by side or in support of each other. We are still learning how.

Join us
Sunday 18 March
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 pm
Jerry and Marty begin sharing at 6:45
At their home
830 DeMun, 3rd floor
Clayton, MO