Thursday, February 24, 2011

Atlas

Contend or continue--
The gap in the battle,
The eye of the storm lends
2 square feet of space and quiet

Look and see:
  1. 1)      Follow and fight.
  2. 2)      Fight and don’t follow.


The generations begin to march
Ghostly weapons crowd behind you
The whip cracks, leaves no mark
but you shudder, turn

Continue.
Follow the Piper of the past.
That’s how you roll
With the Piper’s punches.

Oh! I have no voice, still I shout:
Contend, I can see him!
the Piper’s but a shadow.
Stand. Turn. Be victorious.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

HOW

The difficult question
Interrogative conundrum

How—to move from here to there?
How—did it happen?
How—are you, really?

How to listen?
How to hear?
How to love?
How to build?

The question asked is hope in an answer;
Its absence is doubt that there is one.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday's Lyrics for Thought: Frank Turner

"I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous" Love, Ire & Song (2008)


Let’s begin at the beginning, we’re lovers and we’re losers
We’re heroes and we’re pioneers, and we’re beggars and we’re choosers
Skirting ‘round the edges of the ideal demographic
We’re almost on the guest list—but we’re always stuck in traffic.

We’ve watched our close associates up and play their parts
Chatting up the 'It' girls and they’re tearing up the charts
While we were paying with coppers to get our rounds in at the bar
We’re the C team, we’re the almost-famous old friends of the stars

Justin is the last great romantic poet
He’s the only one among us who is ever gonna make it
We’ve planned a revolution from a cheap Southampton bistro
I don’t remember details, but there were English boys with banjos

Jay is our St. George and he’s standing on a wooden chair
And he sings songs and he slays dragons and he’s losing all his hair
And Adam is the resurrected spirit of Graeme Parsons
In plaid instead of rhinestones and living in South London

And no one’s really clear about Tommy’s job description
But it’s pretty clear he’s vital to the whole dam’ operation
And Dave Danger smiles at strangers, Tre’s the safest girl I know
And sullen hearts will scamper up to victory in the city we call home

We won’t change our ways, we will proud remain
When the glory fades, when the glory fades

Yeah, I am sick and tired of people who are living on the B-list
They’re waiting to be famous, and they’re wondering why they do this
And I know I’m not the one who is habitually optimistic
But I’m the one who’s got the microphone here so just remember this:

Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings
About fire in our bellies and about furtive little feelings
And the aching amplitudes that set our needles all a-flickering
They help us with remembering that the only thing that’s left to do is live


Yeah, the only thing that’s left to do is live
After all of the loving and the losing
The heroes and the pioneers
The only thing that's left to do is get another round in at the bar

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sketchbook Pages: Hope is a thing with feathers


sketchbook.jana.02
Originally uploaded by - jaye -
My friend Sarah over at Skneposterous found out about the Sketchbook Project 2011 last October, and along with a few friends, we decided to try it.

We turned our books in in January, after scanning the pages in for posterity's sake. After spending so much time with the little moleskine, it was very hard to put the book in the mail, but I am excited to see it on tour, beginning in March. If it comes to a city near you, I hope you can go see the collection because so many of the artists involved, who I've begun following via twitter, facebook, and google reader, have shown so much delightful wit, delicious talent, and awe-inspiring insight that my life is deeply enriched by them.

Sketchbooks are ways of capturing our thoughts as we go along...More often than not, my sketchbooks remain incomplete. The get stuck on shelves, or I find a new one that is much cooler and will magically make me sketch more if I skip the old one and begin using a new one.

So I began sketching. In 2 months I completed more sketching than I had done in the last three years. Some of it was crummy; some of it was quickly done, and some of it was unplanned and didn't work out the way I expected. Some of it was simply the work of putting pencil to page and perhaps not even knowing where it would go until I had something--anything to work with.

The idea of the hummingbird came from my friend Beth, who gave me a book of Audubon's illustrations this year; I was tumbling around ideas of hope with ideas of brokenness and something about not being able to carry on for a time....and this series of sketches involving a hummingbird who does not fly came about. I just started with pencil, since that felt simple and less intimidating to begin with. The victorian dirigible, I think, came from Sarah's sketchbook with dirigible's and submersibles, but I liked  the idea of the bird flying not under its own power. The ship's name, 'Hope', got me thinking about Emily Dickinson's poem, and I explored that in later pages.

Though the different illustrations are scattered throughout the book, I thought I'd discuss them in the context of the similar storylines together.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Violin Voice

Hollow body,
Strings more than stretched
in unexpected tension,
mouth gaping, horror-filled, through taut lines.
A strange instrument--built of
pain, stress, emptiness.
Your sound should be only a scream,
yet you somehow sing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Banned Books

How must a book feel, when it is banned?
I am not
Allowed to love?
Not allowed to give?
Not allowed to fill my purpose?
Hold back; don’t be so honest
And we’ll let you go out
To tell your slight lies
The only drawback is
you’ll always feel
Incomplete.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday's Lyrics for Thought: The Avett Brothers

Find my Love
by The Avett Brothers (The Gleam, 2006)

What makes it easy to treat people bad?
Some things you say and you can’t take ‘em back
What makes it easy to run from the past
Like a child runs from the dark?

Which is the poison and which is the wine?
The scent and the colors are so much alike
And how much of each will it take to decide
When you’re at the table alone?

Where do you go when it’s perfectly clear?
You might find your way, but you won’t find it here
What makes it easy to sound so sincere
When you know that you don’t care?

Love gets lost
Love gets lost

Find my love
Find my love

How can you tell when goodbye means goodbye?
Not just for now, for the rest of your life?
How can you stand there with love in your eyes
And still be walking away?

Love gets lost
Love gets lost

Find my love
Find my love

Find my love
Find my love

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

punctuation

Exclamation Point is a cheat—forcing emotion into words without conviction.
Question Mark is a fake—most of the time, it’s not really a question anymore.

The Comma, filling pauses, filing drama,
promiscuous as dandelion seed, scattered
by whatever breeze it is that drives the inner voice.

Apostrophe—a shortcut for those who can’t afford to wait for the “no”.
But O! Ampersand—herald of connection.


Monday, February 7, 2011

In case you forgot.

I'm not really as sad as it sounds
I'm not some of the things I wanted to be
but I'm me.


And that is something.
It's a lot of things, actually.


So you be you. 
And I'll be me.



Sunday, February 6, 2011

every blow reminds me
why i hide.

every uprooted tree
leaves me desert
yawning gaps
where life was

perhaps if i slide under a rock
or pave myself with concrete

smooth cold dry painless
lifeless
except for the bugs

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ponte del Diavolo


We saw the picture in the guidebook. Ponte del Diavolo, Tuscany. Giddy on glossy guidebook pictures, we vowed that we would find the bridge when we were in Tuscany.

And we did. Looking like a miniature model of C.S. Lewis’ ‘Giants’ Causeway’ bridge from The Silver Chair, the bridge spans the Serchio River. Built in the 1500s, it still functions as a pedestrian bridge. Solid, rain-slick, mossy stones that people have walked on since the middle ages led us, single file, to the high crest. We took turns spitting off the top, since we’d promised Anne’s mother we would. The bridge is a thing of imagination, triple-arched, looking like the line of a skipping-rock captured in stone. You can barely believe it's real.

We walked down the slippery boulders to the other side, where a fourth, incongruous arch had been cut in the wall of the bridge later and lined with modish brick for the local train to pass through.

I’ve always liked bridges. I lived in the San Francisco area for 3 years, and I grew to love them. Bridges mean connection. If it’s a good bridge, though, it means a connection that is made more powerful and memorable because of its very rarity and beauty. I remember.

The Dumbarton Bridge is the one I took to visit the campus of Menlo College, just down the street from Stanford University. It was a singularly long, graceful bridge, swinging through salt marshes. The Oakland Bay Bridge took me into the city for concerts, shopping jaunts, and food with friends. It was the most commonplace of the lot.  The San Mateo bridge took me over to Foster City to visit my family-away-from-family for several Thanksgivings and Easters. The Richmond-San Rafael bridge took me north to Santa Rosa for a few events and visits. Then of course, the Golden Gate.  I only crossed it once, but I saw it often, from the City, or from ferries, where it loomed out of the fog grey instead of orange, or from—my favorite—Angel Island.

Last year, I drove across another bridge, the Lions’ Gate bridge in Vancouver. I realized for the first time in a while that the best views of the area are almost always from the center of the bridge. You can just see everything from there…skies and waters, there is space and a feel of the land at the very edge of itself. There’s a sense of fragility, though you’re on solid concrete ground, at the center of a slender, human concoction of rods and sand and rock and metal.

But, as with mountains when you get right up close to them, sometimes you lose the context for them.  The best place to get a view of a bridge itself is to see it from some distance. The best place to see the Golden Gate bridge, for example, is to see it from Angel Island, the small sentinel island of the San Francisco Bay. From there you can really see it, from that distance realize its purpose, to see exactly how it connects the two headlands that flank the entrance to the great Bay itself. From the island only you can see why the connection matters.

In the pouring rain, we squinted back up toward the arched peak of the Ponte del Diavolo. We had found the bridge. We hiked back up the rain-slick, mossy cobblestones, pausing once more at the top for a last, dreamlike look at the foggy river valley.