"Problems in relationships begin when you think you know everything about the other person. Every person is a universe unto themselves. How can we believe we can grasp the universe? No matter how well you think you know someone, there are deeper levels you have not tapped. It's important to keep investing time in getting to understand the people we love the most. There's always more to find."
"I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it. We must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and the soul."
"The Art of Blessing the Day"
This is the blessing for rain after drought:
Come down, wash the air so it shimmers,
a perfumed shawl of lavender chiffon.
Let the parched leaves suckle and swell.
Enter my skin, wash me for the little
chrysalis of sleep rocked in your plashing.
In the morning the world is peeled to shining.
This is the blessing for sun after long rain:
Now everything shakes itself free and rises.
The trees are bright as pushcart ices.
Every last lily opens its satin thighs.
The bees dance and roll in pollen
and the cardinal at the top of the pine
sings at full throttle, fountaining.
This is the blessing for a ripe peach:
This is luck made round. Frost can nip
the blossom, kill the bee. It can drop,
a hard green useless nut. Brown fungus,
the burrowing worm that coils in rot can
blemish it and wind crush it on the ground.
Yet this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun.
This is the blessing for the first garden tomato:
Those green boxes of tasteless acid the store
sells in January, those red things with the savor
of wet chalk, they mock your fragrant name.
How fat and sweet you are weighing down my palm,
warm as the flank of a cow in the sun.
You are the savor of summer in a thin red skin.
This is the blessing for a political victory:
Although I shall not forget that things
work in increments and epicycles and sometime
leaps that half the time fall back down,
let's not relinquish dancing while the music
fits into our hips and bounces our heels.
We must never forget, pleasure is real as pain.
The blessing for the return of a favorite cat,
the blessing for love returned, for friends'
return, for money received unexpected,
the blessing for the rising of the bread,
the sun, the oppressed. I am not sentimental
about old men mumbling the Hebrew by rote
with no more feeling than one says gesundheit.
But the discipline of blessings is to taste
each moment, the bitter, the sour, the sweet
and the salty, and be glad for what does not
hurt. The art is in compressing attention
to each little and big blossom of the tree
of life, to let the tongue sing each fruit,
its savor, its aroma and its use.
Attention is love, what we must give
children, mothers, fathers, pets,
our friends, the news, the woes of others.
What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can't bless it, get ready to make it new.
If it's one drink, it will be two. Wisteria tangling
around your wrists. Here is where you buried your
father. Here is where you buried your brother.
Here is where they will bury you, when the
time comes. No wonder you drink yourself down
toward the earth. Home is where the shovels lie.
Earth and earth and earth. Stones crowd your sleep.
Granite and salt, sand giving birth to
the fortress where even your lovers sigh. Silent
underfoot. You dream yourself toward them.
You are foxfire, you are phosphorescent. Your
mouth like whiskey. Your eyes like whiskey.
You baptize yourself in sorrow, again and again.
You baptize yourself with bourbon and brandy.
You swim downward, fast salmon, heedless, handsome,
death is in you, it has captured your ear. You have your
father's jaw, your brother's chin. When you were born
they bathed your small body with their fears.
Each scar they'd earned became manifest on your skin.
Their love aches like a badly set bone. When the river takes
you, it will be no new baptism. Just that same, ancient sacrifice.
Just that rush, that rushing, and then you are gone.
"Is love this misguided need to have you beside me most of the time? Is love this safety I feel in our silences? Is it this belonging, this completeness?
--Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun
"My Mother Contemplating Her Gun"One boyfriend said to keep the bullets
locked in a different room.
or it could explode. Larry
thought I should keep it loaded
under my bed,
you never know.I bought it
when I didn't feel safe. The barrel
reflective, the steel
pure, pulled from a hole
in West Virginia. It
could have been cast into anything, nails
along the carpenter's lip, the ladder
to balance the train. Look at this, one
how almost nothing it is--
saltpeter sulphur lead Hell
burns sulphur, a smell like this.
safety & hammer, barrel & gripI don't know what I believe.
I remember the woods behind my father's house
horses beside the quarry
stolen cars lost in the deepest wells,
the water below
an ink waiting to fill me.
Outside a towel hangs from a cold line
a sheet of iron in the sky
roses painted on it, blue roses.
Tomorrow it will still be there.
The earth smells like whatever drifts past--
a moment ago, black apples, now
sheep, legs turned to the sky, as if the world
had been turned over & it was me
hanging underwater. I've moved upstairs. Next it'll be
the attic, then out
onto the roof. In grade school I heard
clouds could weigh three tons & I wondered
why they didn't all just fall to the ground. Lately
I study rain, each drop shaped
like a comet, ten million of them, as if a galaxy
had exploded above us. The water now
waits to re-enter heaven, waits in my
kitchen, fattening phonebooks, bleeding
family photographs. Yesterday
the river broke its banks
& flooded the cemetery, washing away
topsoil, collapsing tombstones. It lifted
the caskets from their graves,
left someone's mother in a tree, delivered a stillborn
to the wrong family. Ten strangers
floated into the parking lot & lined their caskets up
as though anxious for the ruined market
to open. I filled sandbags, bought
another pump, read a manual on lifesaving--the trick:
hang lifelessly & breathe only air.
--Nick Flynn( trigger warning: drug abuse )( trigger warning: incarceration )
I too love. Faces. Hands. The circumference
Of the oaks. I confess. To nothing
You could use. In a court of law. I found.
That sickly sweet ambrosia of hope. Unmendable
Seine of sadness. Experience taken away.
From you. I would open. The mystery
Of your birth. To you. I know. We can
Change. Knowing. Full well. Knowing.
It is not enough.
Poetry Time Space Death
I thought. I could write. An exculpatory note.
I cannot. Yes, it is bitter. Every bit of it, bitter.
The course taken by blood. All thinking
Deceives us. Lead (kindly) light.
Notwithstanding this grave. Your garden.
This cell. Your dwelling. Who is unaccountably free.
--C. D. Wright, excerpt from One Big Self: An Investigation