Makes Me Happy

by Mark Chmiel

To receive a vivid piece of writing (poem, rant, trans-genre) from a friend and then get permission to share it with others who are adept at appreciation

To bike in Forest Park, run up Art Hill, aware of the ordinary miracle of lung power on a sunny day, 72 degrees

To give a friend a book I’ve loved that maybe she’ll take to heart (I Remember, by Joe Brainard, for instance)

To share daily quotations, maxims, and passages with a yogini-friend

To spend $50 on stamps at the U.S. Post Office

To hang out at a café with a friend and lose all track of time (like the August day at the Bourgeois Pig Cafe in Chicago when the lunch with Clara Takarabe lasted five hours)

To take a walk in the park and repeat my mantram, synchronizing words, steps, and breaths

To behold Joanie in the morning as she sleeps or in the evening when she tells one of her classic jokes

To receive in one afternoon’s mail a hand-written letter from Ecuador, a note on a poetry manuscript’s progress from D.C., and a postcard from Benton Park

To commence a writing class and watch the participants gradually become friends as they feed off of each others’ trust, vulnerability, and panache

To receive an embrace from one of the hemisphere’s premier huggers, Courtney Barrett

To reread a great novel, like The Brothers K., and discuss with soul-pals at Sasha’s

To sit in Sophia House living room with the sangha: silent, smiling, still

To read any sequence of syllables–text, letter, message, email–from Eileen McGrath Mosher

— originally in May 2013 notebook, updated

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