Hold It All

Philosophy/Poetics/Politics

Month: July, 2017

Palm Coast

My friends, the Burkempers, are vacationing at Palm Coast, and Liz sent me this photograph.

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Napalm Sticks to Kids, Teens, Adults, Elders

On Robert Neer, Napalm: An American Biography (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013)

1.

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like …victory.”
—Lt. Col.Kilgore, in Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Apocalypse Now

“[W]e’ll fight mercilessly. Flying Fortresses will be dispatched immediately to set the paper cities of Japan on fire… There won’t be any hesitation about bombing civilians.”
Army Chief of Staff George Marshall, November 1941

“Fry ‘em out, burn ‘em out, cook ‘em.”
—Narrator in U.S. documentary film, This Is Korea Read the rest of this entry »

Staying Human

Felicia Langer, An Age of Stone (Quartet Books, 1988) Trans. Isaac Cohen

It is my simple belief that whatever happens to [the Palestinians], their future and their fate in the last decades of the twentieth century must be the concern of everyone.

A Gazan: Inside or out, this whole place is a prison. We have nothing left to lose.

‘The ones who did not know, did not want to know.’

I register the event. I record the facts.

______________________

An Age of Stone is an account of attorney Felicia Langer’s work  from 1979 to  1988.    Published almost thirty years ago, the book reveals what commitment entails in the day to day life of the author: accompanying the Palestinians, defending them in an  absurd and unjust court system, not averting her gaze from the daily horror these people endured, weeping with the families, raging as a spiritual practice, and resolving never to give up.

______________________

1.

There are pictures that stay in the memory as if carved with a fine chisel.

Of the thousands of demolished homes I remember one house in Silwad.

Of the hundreds of torture victims I see the burnt eyes and the crouched back of Sulaiman.

Of the countless smiles in the darkness there is the smile of Sami.

Of the hundreds of hunger-strikers I see the tiny Mehdi.

Like a great sea reflected in a tiny drop. 17 Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Jason Makansi: Painting by Numbers at Left Bank Books

For this week’s Share the Wealth, I invite you to learn from my friend Jason Makansi this Thursday!

Left Bank Books welcomes author and independent consultant Jason Makansi, who will sign and discuss his new book, Painting By Numbers: How to Sharpen Your BS Detector and Smoke Out the Experts!

How well do you know what you think you know? If you’ve ever pored over election polling data, argued about climate change, or read an article describing the latest study on a topic you care about, Painting By Numbers is for you. Written in an entertaining and approachable style and with humorous illustrations to help explain complex modeling concepts, Painting By Numbers helps make sense of the numbers shaping modern society. Using examples drawn from polling data, medicine, climate modeling, and more, Painting By Numbers is the essential toolkit with 12 commandments for evaluating the numbers that shape our lives.

“There’s a desperate need for every literate person to understand this.” —Dr. Elton McGoun, Accounting and Business Professor, Bucknell University

This event is free and open to the public, but proof of purchase of Painting By Numbers  ($12.95) from Left Bank Books will be required to enter the signing line.

Join us
Thursday 27 July
7:00pm
Left Bank Books
399 N. Euclid Ave.
Saint Louis, MO 63108

Crazy Jane Is Back in Town

I met the Buddha on the road
And little said she and I

“The Diamond Sutra is matchless
Reading it makes me cry”

“You just  reminded me of Mary Oliver
Her percipience makes me cry”

“Be in Love with Yr Life” — A Online Summer Writing Course with The Book of Mev*

From time to time I’ve learned how some readers of The Book of Mev recognize themselves in Mev Puleo’s words, say, from her letters and journals. They remind of the French novelist Marcel Proust, who wrote: “In reality every reader is, while she is reading, the reader of her own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable her to discern what, without this book, she could perhaps never have perceived in herself.”

In this late summer-early fall writing class, I invite you to read (or reread) and write off of stories, themes, and questions from The Book of Mev. We’ll explore topics like being present, community, accompaniment, faith, spirituality, the state of the world, the state of the soul,  friends, mentors, teachers, creative arts (e.g., photography), travel, breakdowns, breakthroughs, illness, celebrating, grieving, letting go, poetry, El Salvador, Palestine, Haiti, schools, gospels, letter-writing, gratitude, bearing witness, and much else.

We go  for eight sessions,  from Sunday 20 August to Sunday 8 October.  Each Sunday I will email participants an agenda  to direct reading, writing, and sharing in the week ahead.

Time Commitment:  You’ll need approximately 1 to 2 hours a week, more if you have the energy.  It’s not necessary to do an entire agenda in one sitting; feel free to space it out over the week. Read the rest of this entry »

The Good News of Knowing Them, 6.17.2017

So many of us inter-are with Doctors Neil Munjal and Neeta Shenai!

 

VietNam Style

I was delighted to read this review from the Post-Dispatch about my former Maryville student Thao Truong and her husband Yun Vu’s restaurant, VietNam Style. I’m hoping to bring my Thich Nhat Hanh class  soon to Delmar for a wonderful experience!

 

Living Beats

I received an email from New Directions today and found a link to this The Washington Post profile  of Ferlinghetti, McClure, di Prima, Gold, and Snyder.  Enjoy!

A Thousand Letters Behind

Marcel Proust, Selected Letters, volume 4: 1918-1922
Edited by Philip Kolb, translated and with an introduction for Joanna Kilmartin

Months ago, I read volume 4 of Proust’s selected letters translated into English.  As the Buddhists highlight the power of an incalculable number of seeds (both positive and negative)  that find their way into our being, I think my very recent resumption of In Search of Lost Time (Proust’s seven novels, which I first read twenty years ago)  may be the fruit of  reading those several hundred pages of correspondence in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election. Like Darren Crews in the novel Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine, I took refuge in Proust, who fortified me amid vexing  vicissitudes.

___________________

Some one-liners from Proust the correspondent:

“You’ve written me an adorable letter.”

“You’re a thousand times too good, but you greatly exaggerate.”

“Letters!  I must be over a thousand behind, alas.”

“I thank you, I admire you, I like you.”

“My health forbids my writing a single letter by hand.”

“Dear friend, I have a million things to say to you.” Read the rest of this entry »