Hold It All

Month: March, 2011

Jack Kerouac: Belief & Technique for Modern Prose/List of Essentials

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You’re a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

Kerouac Sitting

I Heard

I heard that Lenka is the best correspondent in the Western hemisphere, the kind whom you want to reread twenty times.

I heard someone give a phenomenological analysis of a 25 year-old evangelical Marxist’s zeal.

I heard Jim and J’Ann Allen are inviting us to do war tax resistance tomorrow night.

I heard someone say that a good teacher can get results using any method, and that a bad teacher can wreck any method.

I heard EE Cummings is a great poet to read when falling in love with someone (example: “I like my body when it is with your body…”).

I heard that although I have no real career, I am in love with my life.

I heard that Han-shan said, “Be happy if there’s something to be happy about/When the moment comes do not lose it.”

I heard that Magan Wiles is up for a Kevin Kline Award for best actress on Monday night.

I heard Linh Dinh call out Obama in a brilliant, biting way.

I heard that I got a B+ on my Vietnamese translation assignment.

I heard the Three Degrees’ song, “When Will I See You Again” and was transported back to 1974.

I heard Priya say about the residents she knows on rotations: “They talk on and on about Lady Gaga, but say nothing about the wars we’re in.”

I heard Hedy Epstein is going to board the Audacity of Hope boat bound for the Gaza Strip in late May.

I heard that the U.S. government has lost none of its interventionist zeal for “worthy victims” and none of its lethal indifference for “unworthy” ones.

I heard that the St. Louis March weather changes less dramatically than Alicia Florek’s moods after a conversation with Will.

I heard that selected Syrian secret service agents and off-duty cops have a soft spot for late 20s, Arabic-learning American models (you know who I’m talking about).

Ancient Song by Li Po

Chuang-tzu dreams he’s a butterfly,
And a butterfly becomes Chuang-tzu.

All transformation this one body,
Boundless occurrence goes on and on:

It’s no surprise eastern seas become
Western streams shallow and clear,

Or the melon-grower at Ch’ing Gate
Once reigned as Duke of Tung-ling.

Are hopes and dreams any different?
We bustle around, looking for what?

— Trans. David Hinton


David Hinton: Li Po … the Taoist (intuitive, amoral, detached), and Tu Fu the Confucian (cerebral, moral, socially-engaged).  Informative though it may be, this contrast is a simplification. To be a complete human being, a Chinese intellectual must be both Taoist and Confucian, and this was true of both Li Po and Tu Fu.

That Feeling in My Chest by Alexis Bockting

Alexis Bockting wrote this by hand in the morning Crossroads class today and handed it to me afterward. I wanted to share it with you…

That feeling in my chest…
is sensitive, alters with a thought.
A different kind of beast.
A shape shifter.
At once welcoming,
I want to curl up in it.
At once poisoning,
eating away at me.
It swells with happiness,
shrivels with shame.
It is full of the past,
yet has room for the future.
It is a look, a kiss, a word
it consumes me.
It spreads.
Chokes my heart
fills my brain
turns my stomach.
That feeling in my chest…

Thanks to all the Students & Friends Who Made Romero Present Tonight


A church that doesn’t provoke any crises,
A gospel that doesn’t unsettle,
A word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin,
A word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin
Of the society in which it is being proclaimed—
What gospel is that?
Very nice, pious considerations
That don’t bother anyone,
That’s the way many would like preaching to be.
Those preachers who avoid every thorny matter
So as not to be harassed,
So as not to have conflicts and difficulties,
Do not light up the world they live in.

–Oscar Romero


For Communists there is no God, only justice.
For Christians there is no God without justice.
Monsignor, we are subversives
A secret code on a card in a file who knows where,
Followers of the ill-clad and visionary proletariat, a professional
Agitator, executed for conspiring against the System.
It was, you know, a torture intended for subversives,
The cross was for political criminals, not a cluster of rubies on a bishop’s breast.

–Ernesto Cardenal, to Brazilian bishop Pedro Casaldáliga


Today there exist tremendous and unprecedented possibilities
for knowing the reality of our world just as it is,
with all that it has in it of anti-kingdom and all the deaths it produces.
As experience demonstrates, however, to know the world truly
and to allow oneself to be affected by it,
simple access to data is not sufficient,
as abundant and trustworthy as the data may be,
including those of the UNDP.
Serious analyses are not sufficient either, nor are truthful testimonies,
as important as all these may be for other reasons.
The reality of the anti-kingdom, its magnitude and its cruelty,
can be truly grasped only by experiencing it in actu, in action,
when it is actually dealing death.
That is what is capable of moving people not only to laments,
but to the struggle against the anti-kingdom.

–Jon Sobrino

Nawal’s Path


When I came out of prison there were two routes I could have taken. I could have become one of those slaves to the ruling institution, thereby acquiring security, property, the state prize, and the title of “great writer”; I could have seen my picture in the newspapers and on television. Or I could continue on the difficult path, the one that had led me to prison.


Yet, something would move inside me suddenly, something built into me, the rebel, angry and revolting against this gravity, this submission to worry and grief. Rebelling against passivity and lack of movement, resisting defeat and pessimism, so that I would say: “We will not die, or if we are to die we won’t die silently, we won’t go off in the night without a row, we must rage and rage, we must beat the ground and make it shudder. We won’t die without a revolution!”


And so nothing can alarm me. Writing is my life. There is no power in the world that can strip my writings from me. They have been printed and published; they have thousands –perhaps millions—of readers in the Arab world and across the globe.

Since childhood a dream has inhabited my imagination: I write my words and people read them—today, tomorrow, the day after. When does not matter, for people will read them.

Those are the people who make a homeland, and my homeland has become those people.

–Nawal El Saadawi, Memoirs from the Women’s Prison (1984)