Hold It All

Philosophy/Poetics/Politics

Category: Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

She’s Had a Pretty Good Nocturnal Run

At Dunkin’ Donuts
She said matter-of-factly
“I haven’t had a nightmare
In 17 years”
She’s 22

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”

Recollection

In October 2003
We were in Nablus
Awarta, Ramallah

Being alert in the olive groves
Dashing across the settler-only roads
Learning a thing or two about sumud

In Louisville the minister and civil rights activist had exhorted the crowd-—
“If you see a good fight, get in it”
And so we did

–from novel-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

Another Ukraine Khurbn

Dear Bella

I just finished my second Svetlana Alexievich book, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster.  You are one of the very few people with whom I could share this text about another Ukraine khurbn.* (Some of your people, like mine, as well as Feldenkrais, came from this region long ago. {And yes, I should also share this with Rob Renaud}).  The book is much shorter than Secondhand Time, but riveting still. As can be felt in the following excerpts from some of the  people she listened to.

______________________________

I didn’t talk about it for ten years.

“You felt sorry for everyone there. Even the flies, even the pigeons. Everyone should be able to live. The flies should be able to fly, and the wasps, and the cockroaches should be able to crawl. You don’t even want to hurt a cockroach.”

“It’s impossible for us to give you the bodies of your husbands, your sons, they are very radioactive and will be buried in a Moscow cemetery in a special way.” Read the rest of this entry »

Realization Stepping outside the House Heading down the Street to the Community College

There are three bodhisattvas
(that I know of)

On the 4500 block
of Chouteau Avenue

Joanie French Chelsea
Jaeger Jean Abbot

Bodhi
Svaha!

When We Were Young

The old days of Enneagram exchanges
The old days of “noisy contemplation”
The old days of Wendell Ford
The old days of the FSLN
The old days of Buzz Parsons
The old days of home-made spring rolls in Middletown
The old days of 319 Idlewylde Drive
The old nights of carpet burns
The old days of Corinto
The old days of Xela
The old days with you
When we were young

While Walking on Telegraph Avenue, It Hit Me

Thy eternal narcissism shall not fade,
Alas

–from novel-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

The Young Who Teach Us

Jim Zwerg left Madison Wisconsin
To be part of an intensive seminar
In American satyagraha
In Southern viciousness
In the ways power twists the human soul
In the ways the human soul resists power
He was one of the Freedom Riders

One of his fellow riders said
When Zwerg came off the bus at the terminal in Birmingham
The mob that had gathered acted as if it was possessed
“They couldn’t believe there would be a white man who would try to help us”
From a hospital bed
Zwerg said with matter of fact calm
“Segregation must be stopped
It must be broken down
Those of us on the Freedom Ride will continue…
We’re dedicated to this
We’ll take hitting
We’ll take beating
We’re willing to accept death”

Read the rest of this entry »

Nothing Special

I don’t aspire to the New York Times op-ed page
Or The New Yorker
I’d be pleased if Eileen Mosher “likes”
One of the free verse mind flows I write to and for her

My CV is one of the least impressive you’ll read
When it comes to professors who’ve been at it for 15 plus years like me
But I’ve had a fun time doing what it is I do
(People ask quizzically, “What do you do?”) Read the rest of this entry »

Breakdown Precedes Breakthrough

Graham earned enough to be under the taxable limit
Because he didn’t want to pay for war

He couldn’t say “No” when someone asked
“Would you help us fight back?”

He gave and gave and gave some more
Rarely drank, but smoked like it was the 50s

He said his “career” was resistance
He said he’d been arrested 17 times

His world was often crowds, noise, speed
A friend told him to take a day off

“But the poor and the Muslims can’t take a day off”
And he kept on going Read the rest of this entry »