Thursday
Feb262015

Thankful Thursday: Are you in?

Everyone in!

From pebble to peak, from profound to profane, it's time again for Thankful Thursday.

Because attention attracts gratitude and gratitude expands joy, it's time to slice through the ugly and get to the good.

What you need now isn't the work
Of regret but the work of gratitude.
And all it takes to be grateful is to feel grateful.

 

Go back to the beginning and embrace its bounty.
Beneath the story of cause and consequence
Another story is pointing another way.

 

— Carl Dennis
excerpt from Not the End


Let's make a new story, start a new song.  Are you in?


Another story

Morning sun. A distant view. Your voice.
After a season of doubt, a small certainty.
The crocus return, as they do, each late winter.

The sky clears, as it does.

A bluebird sails before me, catches my step.
This is not metaphor. This is Monday.
I know the ache of reaching to meet spring.

The beautiful ache.

- Drew Myron

 

It's Thankful Thursday. Please join me.
What are you thankful for today?

 

Monday
Feb232015

The words that weren’t


The mind reads and races, and sees what it wants to see.

Proof in this week's misreads: 


Cheapskate contends CEO stole data

should have been  . . .  Chesapeake contends CEO stole data


Get ready for this weekend’s Supermom

was actually . . .  Get ready for this weekend’s Supermoon


•  Is it worth all the sweat and fears? 

was actually . . .  Is it worth all the sweat and tears?

 

 Your turn. What are you (mis)reading?

 

Tuesday
Feb172015

Where are all the working poets?

With the passing this week of Philip Levine the literary world heaves with loss.

A Pulitzer Prize-winner, Levine served as U.S. poet laureate from 2011- 2102, and while his death was not a surprise — he was 87 and in failing health — the greater sadness is that he represented a rapidly disappearing type of writer: the working man's poet.

Levine was an auto-worker turned writer who grew up in Detroit.

“I saw that the people that I was working with . . . were voiceless in a way,” he explained in Detroit Magazine. “In terms of the literature of the United States they weren’t being heard. Nobody was speaking for them. . . I took this foolish vow that I would speak for them and that’s what my life would be."

While many poets work in universities as professors or in literary jobs related to publishing, working class poets seem scant. And their voices, when we stumble upon them, feel fresh and real.

Where are the working poets?

I'm thinking of Mather Schneider, a cab driver in Arizona.

And the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, an annual celebration of rural American West. The event is held every January in Elko, Nevada and for over 30 years has drawn a robust collection of working cowboys and ranching families expressing their culture through poetry, music and storytelling.

And the Fisher Poets Gathering, an annual celebration of commercial fishermen and fisherwomen poets. The event takes place in late February in Astoria, Oregon, and features over 75 fisher poets performing music, poetry and prose. "It's not just old guys looking backward," says founder Jon Broderick. "We hear the voices of people from across the commercial fishing spectrum: deckhands, skippers and cannery workers, young and old, women and men, west coast and east."

What Work Is

We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.
You know what work is—if you’re
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it.
Forget you. This is about waiting,
shifting from one foot to another.
Feeling the light rain falling like mist
into your hair, blurring your vision
until you think you see your own brother
ahead of you, maybe ten places.
You rub your glasses with your fingers,
and of course it’s someone else’s brother,
narrower across the shoulders than
yours but with the same sad slouch, the grin
that does not hide the stubbornness,
the sad refusal to give in to
rain, to the hours of wasted waiting,
to the knowledge that somewhere ahead
a man is waiting who will say, “No,
we’re not hiring today,” for any
reason he wants. You love your brother,
now suddenly you can hardly stand
the love flooding you for your brother,
who’s not beside you or behind or
ahead because he’s home trying to   
sleep off a miserable night shift
at Cadillac so he can get up
before noon to study his German.
Works eight hours a night so he can sing
Wagner, the opera you hate most,
the worst music ever invented.
How long has it been since you told him
you loved him, held his wide shoulders,
opened your eyes wide and said those words,
and maybe kissed his cheek? You’ve never
done something so simple, so obvious,
not because you’re too young or too dumb,
not because you’re jealous or even mean
or incapable of crying in
the presence of another man, no,   
just because you don’t know what work is.

- Philip Levine

Thursday
Feb122015

Thankful Thursday: How to sleep & write 


Step off assuredly into the blank of your mind.

Something will come to you.

- Richard Wilbur


This week I stumbled across these words and took them as encouragement. On this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for gentle reminders.

The line is from Walking to Sleep, a poem by Richard Wilbur — but I didn't know the lines were from a poem, and didn't even know it was referring to sleep (I found the lines here, in an interview with Anne Tyler). Later, I found the poem and an interview in which Wilbur says "this is a poem about advising someone else on how to get off to sleep."

All week I thought he was offering an insider tip on how to write. But no matter, we take words when and how we need 'em. Maybe my gratitude is for these words, and maybe my gratitude is for the pathways that lead to the people and places that harbor just what I need.

 

Gratitude. Appreciation. Praise.

It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to express appreciation for people, places, things, and more.

What are you thankful for today?

 

Saturday
Feb072015

Love that Line: Charity


Charity isn't about being kind and humane.

It is about seeing without interpretation, as a lens sees.

The neutral lens. The eye looks on others and itself with motives,

games and tricks, and makes things what they are not,

but the neutral lens leaves a thing to be what it is.

 

Dear Thief, a novel by Samantha Harvey