Hold It All

Month: July, 2013

Just Another Night at Café Illunination

After the talk on Operation Cast Lead
Carla Nguyen and I headed over to Café Illumination
Where we began processing what we heard

We sat outside as it was a balmy night
Odd how calm we felt
After the typical brouhaha and sparks flying

We were surprised
When an older man approached us
“Hi, the name’s Cal…

I saw you at the Palestine speaker
Damn! — That one guy got pretty hot
And no one was there to support him” Read the rest of this entry »

A Response to Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine

I received this generous message recently from Sarah Nash, who is a sophomore at SLU.


I’m not even sure where to begin this email!  I guess I could start with a huge THANK YOU. There are so many reasons why I am thankful for your presence in my life…

For organizing the sharing the wealth discussions
For our meeting at Cafe Ventana
For your honesty and insight
For writing The Book of Mev
For starting the SJP group at SLU
For giving Jason and me tickets to the Palestinian dabkeh group’s performance Read the rest of this entry »

Tasha and The Book of Mev

I count it as a blessing to  have reconnected with Tasha Morris, who took a Social Justice class with me in spring 2007.  Now finishing her Master’s in Nursing, Tasha sent me the following reflection on her experience of reading The Book of Mev.


To put it simply, The Book of Mev expanded my worldview… But it wasn’t really that simple at all. When I came to St. Louis University, one might rightly say that I did not have a worldview at all. I did not know the world beyond my front door, and St. Louis (though only a little more than an hour from where I grew up) and the nuances of city life felt about as “normal” to me as a lumberjack in a beauty pageant.

And yet, even in my ignorance, I felt the vague calling to develop myself beyond…myself. It was this undefined but nagging awareness of a greater global community that landed me in Dr. Chmiel’s Social Justice class. I was, at least I think, the only freshman there. I didn’t speak much, but I listened intently–and read, and wrote. And read. And wrote. And then I read about Mev. Read the rest of this entry »

When Young People Go to War: Share the Wealth with Chris Wallach

What is it that makes young men and women and boys and girls join the service and go to war? What is their experience like once they get there?  Chris  Wallach will share what she discovered reading from a box of letters she found that had been written by her father Whit Wallach to his parents  when he was stationed in China during WWII. She will talk about his life as a career Marine and share some stories from children’s literature that speak to these experiences as well.

Chris is a member of the Mindfulness Meditation Sangha and a first-grade teacher at New City School.   She lives on a farm in Fenton that has been in her family for four generations.

Please invite a friend and join us!
Next Sunday 28 July 2013
Potluck begins at 6:00 pm
Chris begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of  Fatima Rhodes
4406A Laclede Avenue
Central West End 63108

“It’s Not All about Us?”

Why is so much omitted from our most familiar Vietnam war stories? The very size, length, and complexity of the war’s history is a partial explanation, but the harder truth is that we have simply avoided a full public reckoning, the kind that would invariably confront us with unwelcome questions about American intervention in Vietnam—why it happened, why it was so vehemently opposed, what it did to the Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians, what it actually did to us, and who was responsible. Instead we prefer stories that make us feel better about our nation and ourselves. Even when we believe we have confronted the war’s most horrible realities, we often have been doing little more than licking our own wounds. For example, we tend to speak mournfully of the war as an “American tragedy,” as if it were a fated imposition beyond our control that afflicted only us.

 –Christian Appy, editor, Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides


Metta Meditation Modified

May you be filled with lovingkindness (even through all this)
May you be well (despite the tempestuous circumstances)
May you be peaceful and at ease (though this may seem remote)
May you be happy (at least in this present moment)

Good To Be with You, Too

Marky-Mark–you are such a spark!
in those terra cotta colored cords,
and your tie-dyed T,
driving your fancy mini cooper,
shuffling through the SLAM,
counting the number of paintings that contained the color, periwinkle.
Was it 5? The same number of women artists at the show. . . .
You say you are not an artist, but that is a LIE!
Your mango walls say it all!
I can’t believe I suggested mint for your study–ugh!
You need Magenta or Cerulean or Lemon. . . .
to match your pants and your passion.

I’m not a poet or a writer, but thought i would send you a try,
years ago you taught be how to “go for it”, don’t hold back.
The Art of Living suggests that I change my attitude–
and I’ve decided to change it to gratitude.
I’m grateful for you and your time,
back then, and on Saturday and Sunday,
and for the past 13 years.
You keep me real, help me remember, push me forward,
and challenge me to be the artist I truly am.

You look great–you know–not a day older than 45!
Good luck with your ever-growing list of home improvements
and I hope our paths cross again soon.

Miss you already!

Love to you,

Morning Meditation, 7.18.2013

May I be filled with loving-kindness
May I be well
May I be peaceful and at ease
May I be happy

May Irum be filled with loving-kindness
May Irum be well
May Irum be peaceful and at ease
May Irum be happy

May Tasha be filled with loving-kindness
May Tasha be well
May Tasha be peaceful and at ease
May Tasha be happy

Share the Wealth This Sunday: Dance Numbers, a Love Story and Spicy Food, Oh My!

For our next Share the Wealth on Sunday 21 July,  Nebu Kolenchery will share a short reflection on Bollywood films and the role that they play in Indian culture and identity. This will be followed by a screening of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, a 1998 movie that is a touching story of true love, loss and family and that has achieved somewhat of an iconic status in India and abroad. One would be hard-pressed to find an Indian who cannot help but smile when she  hears the title melody playing. Come and enjoy good food, good conversation, and a good movie!

Note the earlier time!
Potluck begins at 5:30 p.m.
Nebu begins sharing at 6:00.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai begins at 6:15 (The film is three hours long).
At the home of Fatima Rhodes
4406A Laclede Avenue
Central West End


Mev’s Ode to Joy

Sitting across from a friend
Downtown Gelateria

I’d just given her The Book of Mev
(Her silent, deep response I’ll never forget)

I offered to read her something
So I turned the pages and came to this …

Mev’s Ode to Joy
Even as her brain was being ravaged:

It is hard to describe the moments of joy
Even days of sheer bliss! 

I feel like I’m in rapture! 
Just as I have bouts of depression

I also have bouts of elation
I’ve felt this way before

As if every tree, flower, blade of grass
Is in bold relief

As a young girl I recall vividly
Walking home from Our Lady of the Pillar grade school

And seeing the trees on my lane
As if for the first time

They stood out in all their beauty, splendor
— and “treeness” 

I was overwhelmed
In awe of Creation —

Marveling that I could not make a tree!  
Ever since then I’ve had moments of feeling

What an honor it is to be alive and looking at this tree! 
This flower!  This marvelous blue sky!” 

What joy!  Ecstasy! 
Orgasmic delight! 

Downtown Gelateria
Sitting across from Emily

What an honor it is to be alive
Beholding such Emilyness!

Allie and Emily Kryzer

Allie and Emily Kryzer