Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hollowed With Knives/Together They Come

"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find that it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. 
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, 'Joy is greater than sorrow,' and others say, 'Nay, sorrow is the greater.' 
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits with you at your board, remember the other is asleep upon your bed."

Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

For The Stupid And The Crazy

For you.

"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and the crazy, devote your labor and income to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Far Removed

"The old monk sat in his armchair. Without taking his gaze from the void into which his thoughts seemed dreamily to sink, he said softly, 

" 'You want to learn from me. That is good! But you demand explanations, descriptions, specifications - that is not good! For what use is it to make many words?

" 'What represents normal these days - and only because the masses have established it as that - is also moving, within its limits - within the boundaries of the ordinary. Within the boundaries of that of which the masses feel capable - and every small mind that determines this era.

" 'But that which you seek, and with you ever more people, is far removed from this.' "


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Too Tired To Rest


with men as with caterpillars
nothing was chanced
the penniless world was hemmed in
by mountains on three sides
with gibbons and cranes to seem endless

gradually three or four flowers
tiny divots of earth
by the tens of thousands
and a skein of fine white sewing silk
appeared on my coat and hat

but to allow for the ouroboros
that lives in my living room
perched on the caldera's rim
and over my shoulder
like the white bird you can't see

the spyglass drew a cocoon
beating a drum in the doorway
of my own raising
so many misshapen wishes
too tired to rest or return home

-Dave Brinks

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Watch With Serenity

Hooray for I'm-not-dead-I-just-have-a-life-outside-my-Jurassic-computer posts. 

"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; and you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief. Much of your pain is self-chosen."

-Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Frenzied And Insane

"I'm drunk and you're insane; who's going to lead us home?
How many times did they say,
'Drink just a little, only two or three at most.'?
In this city no one I see is conscious;
One is worse off than the next, frenzied and insane.
Dear one, come to the tavern of ruin
And experience the pleasures of the soul.
What happiness can there be apart
From this intimate conversation
With the Beloved, with the Soul of souls?
In every corner there are drunkards, arm in arm, 
While the Server pours the wine
From a royal decanter to every particle of being.
You belong to the tavern: your income is wine, 
And wine is all you ever buy.
Don't give even a second away
To the concerns of the merely sober.
O lute player, are you more drunk, or am I?
In the presence of one as drunk as you, 
My magic is a myth.
When I went outside the house, 
Some drunk approached me, 
And in his eyes I saw 
Hundreds of hidden gardens and sanctuaries.
Like a ship without an anchor, 
He rocked this way and that.
Hundreds of intellectuals and wise men
Could die from a taste of his yearning.
I asked, 'Where are you from?'
He laughed and said, 'O soul,
Half of me is from Turkestan and half from Farghana.
Half of me is water and mud, half heart and soul.
Half of me is the ocean's shore, half is all pearl.'
'Be my friend', I pleaded. 'I'm one of your family.'
'I know the difference between family and outsiders.'
I've neither a heart nor a turban,
And here in this house of hangovers
My breast is filled with unspoken words.
Shall I try to explain or not?
Have I lived among the lame for so long
That I've begun to limp myself?
And yet no slap of pain could disturb
A drunkenness like this. 
Listen, can you hear a wail
Arising from the pillar of grief?
Shams al-Haqq of Tabriz, where are you now, 
After all the mischief you've stirred in our hearts?"


Friday, June 10, 2011

Sea Monsters And/Or For T.

Keeping a journal often feels incredibly time-consuming, whether I'm in the act of writing down the right-now, or reading entries from years ago. But going back and reading those old entries always reminds me how worthwhile - priceless, even - the practice is. I also find it interesting how with the passage of time many, if not all, of my entries eventually become something I want to share. Not sure what that means.

I posted the following on MySpace about a trillion years ago, back when MySpace wasn't a fossil. I post it here because...well, read it. It's fairly lucid and timeless. Why do aquariums make me think like this? The water, maybe? 

"Aquarium today. First time since I was fifteen. And of course I can't stop the discourse in my head as I stand beneath hundreds of suspended mobile-fish - silver pink-lit sparkle flooding down. Who was I? How was I? 

"Last time I stood beneath this simple hypnosis, I was silly and under the impression that my whole life spread ahead of me. I wore my hair cropped boy-short, I shunned makeup, dressed in plain sweatshirts and jeans, teenage fool, seriously high on life.

"Ten years later, I stand alone amidst the crowd of sullen parents, screaming children, and weary staff. I stand alone, back-lit in shimmer-pink flash: body hidden in a black hoodie and floor-length kilt, heavy boots under the hem, my annoying-today dreads pulled back under a bandana. The details tell a story, though some would argue otherwise.

"I feel a weird kinship with the little chestnut-and-tan-splotched sharks in the shallow touch tank: swimming round and round the same old loop, most of the aquarium din muffled (I guess) through the water, suffering endless pokes from thousands of fingers a day. It feels rude of me to dip my tattooed wrist in the cold! water, yet I feel like maybe my touch could convey my love to them through their skin, soft one direction and like a cat's tongue the other. So I do. Gently. 

"The Jules Verne gallery, well, I could hide in that red dark forever. Old-timey map-style sea monsters rampage on the walls; sad music fills softly. Jellyfish spiral endlessly in their glowing cylindrical tank that rises above my head into darkness, a glowing pillar of pre-complicated life. Over-sized portholes let you watch the glow shift over king crabs and a giant Pacific octopus. A really over-sized one offers the first view of the sharks gliding in their sweet machine silence. A bench in the corner with some pilings behind it, netted in the waving criss-cross light from the water, makes me want to not go a step more. Go to Long Boat Key and never come back.

"Life makes me sad. That doesn't mean I don't absolutely love it. Understand? Some parts of life are the best thing that you'll never have again. You want it forever, but forever would extinguish what it is. These brief shots live brightest in the loss of them. Some parts of life, that parts that make all of it possible, you underrate. You always forget your heart is beating. You whine and bitch and complain grandiose, but still your heart beats. 

"And life, the heart mixed with the burns mixed with the illusions mixed with the agony mixed with the agonizing joy mixed with the boredom mixed with the disappointment mixed with the storyline mixed with characters mixed with all the stupidity mixed with all the wisdom, is all one. One glowing spiral going nowhere. A universal heart."