Give Myself Away

by Mark Chmiel

I want to give myself to everyone in this class
(But what if they’ve had enough of your tie-dyed mind?)

I want to give myself to Lindsay
(Who welcomes my odd perspectives on Jesus)
Express with fervor my conviction that by the time she’s 30
She can have a book published that could interfere
With the speed sickness of These States

I want to give myself to Cristina
She took one step toward me
So I’ll take seven toward her
She’s curious about this whole writing and poem-making thing
OK let’s dive right ito it
Meet every other week
Alternating cafés or smokey bars (are there any left?)
Or on the North Kingshighway bus or just outside Saks Fifth Avenue

I want to give myself to Penny
I had my university students read her poem
“The Work to Be Done in the World”
The way community organizers still give out leaflets to raise awareness
I want to hand out
IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
Her scribbles as hopeful signs to brother and sister citizens

I want to give myself to Justin
And encourage his beautiful mystic self
His Zen self
His poem-producing self that brings smiles and “ahhs” to us

I want to give myself to Maggie
Badger her to do recordings of her magic spoken word
So as to generate joy in dorm rooms filled with introverted nerds all across midwest USA

I want to give myself to Ann
Be like one of Kafka’s friends who,
When Franz would read aloud one of his stories,
Would roll on the floor laughing
Ann is full of such stories
And burned-out 27-year-old social workers
Need to hear recordings of these, too

(I want to share all these bodhisattvas in this class
To do their part for the healing of this cruel and chaotic American Life)

I want to give myself to Chris
I want to be her mother
I want her to feel unconditional metta from me
I want to give her 1/100th of the smile shine she gives me (is that even possible?)

I want to give myself to Lindsay
I want to hear her views on utopia and prophecy
And how we can remember the Salvadoran martyrs in efficacious ways
And hang on her latest musings on her own liberation after six years in academia

I want to give myself to Katrina
Listen to the knowledges she’s been accumulating
Welcome the tears and truths she’s been holding
Learn from her selfless ways and following the Dalai Lama’s true religion which is kindness

I want to give myself to Sarah
Walk in Tower Grove Park together
And ask her questions about how
Nous pouvons cultiver nos jardins
And see how meditation is social work
And social work is meditation

I want to give myself to Courtney
Be her Tae Kwon Do student
Be receptive to her CTHD teaching
Learn to be attentive in the dojo that is Forest Park
As she’s been receptive and attentive in the DeMun dojo

I want to give myself to April
Implore her to send her Emily Dickinson-esque missives to this world
Because she radiates the truth of Leon Bloy:
“Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God”

I want to give myself to Natalie
I see her
She feels me see her
She, too, has tales to break our hearts wide open
To stop and think and ask:
“What kind of human being do I want to be?”
I want to be the kind of human being like Natalie
Who notices the people Jesus’ followers somehow don’t notice … the very same people Jesus himself would notice (right, Lindsay S.?)

I want to give myself to Ale
Because of all she gave me at Café V and RISE
(I want her to teach me
una buena pronunciación española)
I want to introduce her to friends who “get” her holy rage
And remind her (if she every needs it)
That like Oscar she has courage and confidence
As she makes her path by walking it

–written during the last class of Improv Wisdom Writing, Thursday 24 April 2014

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