Monday, June 29, 2009

why does this exist?

umm, soo, blogging...seemed like a good idea...also, i like to copy Claire in everything she does.

i thought i'd mildly stun two birds with one stone, so this blog will be both a) a place for my recent attempts (again) at poetry writing and b) updates on my life in Chicago.

For those who don't keep up on my life (mainly because I'm pretty bad at keeping people up on me, due to my allergic reaction to talking about myself), I will be moving to Chicago in a little over a month. I'll be attending Loyola Chicago and doing a dual-degree program in Social Work and Social Justice. I'll also be living with a rad girl named Chrissy who I will meet for the first time in a week. And I'll get to spend time with all those people who I sort of forgot moved to the Midwest all these years ago, as well as new friends, and my super-rad cousin! So, that's MY next three years...

It's a little funny to be starting a blog, since a blog's been responsible for some of my most painful moments over the past 2 years (did you know my sister and I were harassed via blog by a rabidly conservative Catholic? We were. Good times.)

So, anyways! Welcome to here! Thanks for keeping up on my life! I hope your life's swell, too!

the small pieces of the large world...

so, i've been having issues with my little car beeper thing that cause me to dance around and around my car, moving my wrist in tiny circles, hoping to hit upon the sweet spot that will unlock my car without sounding an alarm. so, that's frustrating.

and i'm wrapping up my job, so i'm stressed about filing and looming deadlines, and building the appearance that i spent 2 years being even semi-competent at my job.

and i am looking at, and a little stressed about, the many, many dishes i haven't done from saturday's party and which, realistically, will remain undone for the last 1.5 hours of this Monday.

So, I spent my Monday is this dithering, distracted little haze.

And my very good friend spent today in a hospital with an incredibly sick parent. I told her I'd pray for her and I absolutely did. But only in between - in between cursing my car and sorting files and gossiping and just piling up splinters until they formed, in my mind, some sort of gushing, Monday wound.

I remember, when Mom was really sick, thinking "How do people do these normal things, like drive, or wash clothes without crying?" It seemed impossible. But that's what I did today - normal things while my good friend lived in that scary, sick land that I sort of remember, but differently.

I'm not a martyr - I don't think the solution was to put on my hairshirt and pop round the hospital for a round of self-flaggelation. But I read somewhere that to pray, to REALLY pray for people, we must stop, turn our hearts towards them and, however briefly, really feel our petitions as strongly as they must feel their prayer. So, however briefly, my friend's sick parent feels like mine too, so I can pray with all the strength that demands.

And it's that, not accurate filing or a finally unlocked car door, that finally eradicates the Monday blues...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

i heart GK Chesterton

So, as I was feeling a little guilty about spending my Sunday doing mundane things like watering trees and washing sheets, I took a break to read Heretics by GK Chesterton. And this essay (a rebuttal to Rudyard Kipling's worldliness) made me feel so much better. Here are some excerpts from the essay "On Mr. Rudyard Kipling and Making the World Small":

"The sense that everything is poetical is a thing solid and absolute; it is not a mere matter of phraseology or persuasion. It is not merely true. It is ascertainable...It is common enough that common things should be poetical; it is not so common that common names should be poetical. In most cases it is the name that is the obstacle...The word 'signal-box' is unpoetical. But the thing signal-box is not unpoetical; it is a place where men, in an agony of vigilance, light blood-red and sea-green fires to keep other men from death...The word 'pillar-box' is unpoetical. But the thing pillar-box is not unpoetical; it is the place to which friends and lovers commit their messages, conscious that when they have done so they are sacred, and not to be touched, not only by others, but even (religious touch!) by themselves...A signal-box is only called a signal-box. It is a house of life or death. A pillar-box is only called a pillar-box. It is a sanctuary of human words."

"There is no perfectly epicurean corner; there is no perfectly irresponsible place. Everywhere men have made the way for us with sweat and submission. We may fling ourselves into a hammock in a fit of divine carelessness. But we are glad that the net-maker did not make the hammock in a fit of divine carelessness. We may jump upon a child's rocking-horse for a joke. But we are glad that the carpenter did not leave the legs unglued for a joke."

"The globe-trotter lives in a smaller world than the peasant. He is always breathing an air of locality. London is a place, to be compared to Chicago; Chicago is a place, to be compared to Timbuktu. But Timbuktu is not a place, since there, at least, live men who regard it as the universe, and breathe, not an air of locality, but the winds of the world. The man in the saloon-steamer has seen all the races of men, and he is thinking of the things that divide men - diet, dress, decorum, rings in the noses as in Africa or in the ears as in Europe, blue paint among the ancients, or red paint among the modern Britons. The man in the cabbage field has seen nothing at all; but he is thinking of the things that unite men - hunger and babies, and the beauty of women, and the promise or menace of the sky."

"The more dead and dry and dusty a thing, the more it travels about; dust is like this and the thistle-down and the High Commissioner in South Africa. Fertile things are somewhat heavier, like the heavy fruit trees on the pregnant mud of the Nile. In the heated idleness of youth we were all rather inclined to quarrel with the implication of that proverb which says that a rolling stone gathers no moss. We were inclined to ask, 'Who wants to gather moss, except silly old ladies?' But for all that we begin to perceive that the proverb is right. The rolling stone rolls echoing from rock to rock; but the rolling stone is dead. The moss is silent because the moss is alive."

"The man standing in his own kitchen-garden, with fairy-land opening at the gate, is the man with large ideas. His mind creates distance; the motorcar culture stupidly destroys it."

"And under all this vast illusion of the cosmopolitan planet...the real life of man goes on...totally uncomprehended, totally untouched. And it watches from its splendid parochialism, possibly with a smile of amusement, motorcar civilization going its triumphant way, outstripping time, consuming space, seeing all and seeing nothing, roaring on at last to the capture of the solar system, only to find the sun cockney and the stars suburban."

All this from a man writing before rampant telephone use, space travel and the internet. Motorcar civilization has become electronic civilization but it all still holds true...

Monday, June 22, 2009

the answer to my problems...

is found in today's Gospel reading. The log in my own eye is HUGE!

Mt 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,'
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother's eye."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

everyone's hungry for something...

this talk about your struggles got me thinking about the math of our lives.
if you subtract alcohol or love or sweetness,
what do you add to even the score?
because everybody's hungry for something
& the scales have to balance somehow.

when i gave up writing, i got religion
& it worked out so perfectly
that the two became almost mutually exclusive-
i could have words
or i could have the Eternal Word.
but not both.
never both.

this is what fascinates me about people
but it doesn't make for polite conversation.
most people want to tell you their successes
or assumptions about current weather patterns.
they don't want some stranger to wander up and say
"excuse me.
i was wondering if you could tell me
about everything you've lost
& what crazy things you've done
to try to make balance where there is none."
Judging by all the blank stares,
this must not be part of
How to Win Friends and Influence People.

but i don't care,
because i find it truly amazing-
what we're capable of
when we struggle like hell to survive.

& because the only balance i can find
between writing and God
is making my little, busted up corner of the world
a prayer.
one that begins
"O God of the eternal equation,
help the alcoholics
& the swaggerers
& the hobos
& the haters
& the lovers
& everyone who hasn't found you yet.
help us find the sum of our parts,
and help us exceed it, even briefly.
help us all find words for you,
the Eternal Word.

Monday, June 15, 2009

the world is our weapon


somewhere, evil is winning.
somewhere, someone's hope just went out like the flicker and fade of the bare lightbulb
in yesterday's bar.
somewhere, we've lost our power to the tide
of how we've always done it.
and where we could rise up,
we fall.

but all is not lost,
brothers and sisters.
because the rain falls
on the just and the unjust,
which means the world is our weapon,
which means love is our weapon,
which means our battle cry sounds like the blues,
and our army is anyone who's been busted up
or broke down
or left hurting.
which is all of us with a story to tell,
which is all of us.

because that man in a suit you love to hate's been hurt.
because that woman you thinks just dirt's been hurt.
because the victim and the killer have both been hurt.

it's a shallow kind of compassion to forgive too easily.
but it's a hard kind of hatred not to forgive at all.