Hold It All

Month: August, 2014


I was reading a history
of Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb
against Japan
In one of the chapters
The author noted  that during the war
The US thought of the Japanese
As subhuman or inhuman
Depicted them as vermin, reptiles, apes
Called them  “yellow rats”
“Yellow monkeys” “yellow bastards” Read the rest of this entry »

Poem of the Day: Epigram #11 by Ernesto Cardenal

I’ve handed out underground leaflets,
Shouting Long Live Freedom! in the middle of the street
Defying the armed guards.
I took part in the April Rebellion:
But I grow pale when I pass by your house
And one glance from you makes me tremble.


According to Jonathan Cohen, editor of Cardenal’s Pluriverse: New and Selected Poems, Cardenal is “widely recognized as the most important living Latin American  poet.”

Simple Words

Give back my father, give back my mother;
Give grandpa back, grandma back;
Give my sons and daughters back.

Give me back myself.
Give back the human race.

As long as this life lasts, this life,
Give back peace
That will never end.

–Sankichi Toge, citizen and poet of Hiroshima, died 1953

Yours Truly

I am your older, calm, sutra-reading uncle
I am your younger, mischievous Tequlia-drinking uncle

I am your biggest fan
I am your sounding board for the unutterable

I am your archivist
I am your remembrancer Read the rest of this entry »

With the Gazans

Palestinians in short do not deserve anything like a narrative or collective actuality, and so they must be transmuted and dissolved into essentially negative images.

—Edward Said, From Oslo to Iraq and the Road Map: Essays


2003 I walked miles & miles & miles in Gaza
Even went to the beach one day

(Most Palestinians were prevented from even going
If the beach was close to Jewish-only settlements)

Sat on the floor in many homes
Some simple and plain

A few bourgeois homes too
Class divisions in Gaza just like here Read the rest of this entry »

On Ryōkan

The following was written about Japanese Zen Master Ryōkan by a friend…

When Ryōkan visits it is as if spring had come on a dark winter’s day. His character is pure and he is free of duplicity and guile. Ryōkan resembles one of the immortals of ancient literature and religion. He radiates warmth and compassion. He never gets angry, and will not listen to criticism of others. Mere contact with him brings out the best in people.


Next Share the Wealth with Sara Rendell: “And Yet “. . .Lessons Learned and Unlearned in Med School

As my airplane sliced the sky over the Atlantic Ocean heading from Burkina Faso to the US of A, I asked myself two questions: How has West Africa changed me?  And, how will medical school change me? 

Looking back on this past year, I will share stories that took place in lecture halls, hospital rooms, metro stops, refugee clinics, and train stations; stories of moments when my heart said, “And yet…”

Join us
Sunday 31 August
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Sara begins sharing at 6:45
Hosted by Lindsay Sihilling
4026 Magnolia Place [not Magnolia Avenue]
Saint Louis

Sara in BF

Sara with Mariam Ouedraogo

Sara is beginning her second year at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Check out her blog. I was fortunate to have her in my Social Justice class at SLU, spring 2010.

Harvey Milk stamp


for Hedy

45 phone calls on 8.15
82 guests at birthday party
1948 arrival in USA
5 attempts to reach people in Gaza
2 grand-daughters
20+ years working fair housing
1982 wake-up call
2 parents with tenderest love
1 conscientious speech on a rickety chair in Cairo
1 massage received on a boat
Countless planetary comrades
90 years remembering, struggling, raising voice, extending hand


I had a shrine for a while
A photo collage of the greatest hits of your life
I meditated on it on those bright desolate winter days
Your effervescence somehow emanating
from the black and white photos
(much less so from the color)
I wanted to remember and I later realized
Forgetting was vital too

Can I say your presence has been like no other?
Yes and no Read the rest of this entry »