For Lovers and Fighters

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Sometimes while I ride the subway I try to look at each person and imagine what they look like to someone who is totally in love with them. I think everyone has had someone look at them that way, whether it was a lover, or a parent, or a friend, whether they know it or not. It’s a wonderful thing, to look at someone to whom I would never be attracted and think about what looking at them feels like to someone who is devouring every part of their image, who has invisible strings that are connected to this person tied to every part of their body. I think this fun pastime is a way of cultivating compassion. It feels good to think about people that way, and to use that part of my mind that I think is traditionally reserved for a tiny portion of people I’ll meet in my life to appreciate the general public.
~Dean Spade


The afterlife

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If there’s someone you absolutely miss, you might find yourself talking to them a lot in your mind, creating those fake conversations with them and you answer yourself in their voice in your head. Maybe it’s a girlfriend who dumped you or you know someone who died or that sort of thing, you adopt their personality or the memory of who they were as a means of staying close to them. People talk about spirit, but I have this idea that when we die, we’re gone. All that lives on is our memory and how we affected people, the way we changed people throughout our life. Whether you’ve had a good effect of a bad effect on people, that’s your afterlife—the people who live on after you.
~Matt Berninger

Mooses by Ted Hughes

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The goofy Moose, the walking house frame,
Is lost
In the forest. He bumps, he blunders, he stands.

With massy bony thoughts sticking out near his ears –
Reaching out palm upwards, to catch whatever might be
falling from heaven –
He tries to think,
Leaning their huge weight
On the lectern of his front legs.

He can’t find the world!
Where did it go? What does a world look like?

The Moose
Crashes on, and crashes into a lake, and stares at the
mountain and cries:
‘Where do I belong? This is no place!’

He turns dragging half the lake out after him
And charges the crackling underbrush

He meets another Moose
He stares, he thinks: ‘It’s only a mirror!’
‘Where is the world?’ he groans. ‘O my lost world!

And why am I so ugly?
And why am I so far away from my feet?’

He weeps.
Hopeless drops drip from his droopy lips.
The other Moose just stands there doing the same.
Two dopes of the deep woods.

Still I rise

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You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
~Maya Angelou

I want

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But I don’t want comfort. I want poetry. I want danger. I want freedom. I want goodness. I want sin.
—Aldous Huxley, Brave New World


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But this isn’t about them. It’s about the things you’ve said to me in secret when you were younger, waiting for this world to gobble you up, spit your love out like sunflower seeds in summer when the days go on and on forever. How I like the way you move in your sleep. I like the way you touch the ends of my hair. Sometimes when you’re thinking about things I’m trying my hardest to figure out without asking. I’ve never wanted someone so much all of the time. Tell me this could chip the moon, this could send shivers down the spine of all those saps we ever loved before. Is it lonely to chase after things that you can only get so close to? Tossing wishes into wells, these are the things that break days. guilt and moments you can’t have when you want them most, this is the stuff in jazz music and hope, the stuff that makes poets and fills notebooks. Tell me, could the chaos ever accept you too?

Starry starry night



Starry Night-Don Mclean
Starry, starry night
Paint your pallet blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

And now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free

They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds of violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of China blue

And now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
Perhaps they’ll listen now
For they could not love you
But still your love was true

And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do

But I could have told you Vincent
This world was never meant
For one as beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget

Like the stranger that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

And now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free

They would not listen
They’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will
Vincent van Gogh (1853-90)

Understanding the lyrics and Van Gogh’s Life.
Vincent (Starry Starry Night) Don McLean

The Starry Night-Anne Sexton
That does not keep me from having a terrible need of—shall I say the word—religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars.Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.

It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:

into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.

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