"A friend asked yesterday if this blog is addressed to anyone in particular? I said yes– it’s a love letter to someone I haven’t met yet."
He had an idea that he wished he could discuss with her. When they were together it was the sort of thing they'd have discussed for a whole meal.Happily gnawed on it together like a dog with a big bone.Invariably she’d see it from a different angle and her perception often made a subject larger and more interesting. That’s one of the things he missed most about her—how she'd often helped him see life with new eyes
- The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.
- A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.
- Addicted to the infra-red glow of tanning salons? This word describes you.
- The Yiddish have scores of words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense. Literally, air person.
- You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.
Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish)
- A word that would aptly describe the prevailing fashion trend among American men under 40, it means one who wears the shirt tail outside of his trousers.
Pana Po’o (Hawaiian)
- “Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.
- Meteorologists can be poets in Turkey with words like this at their disposal. It means moonlight shining on water.
- A word tailor-made for annoying older brothers—it means to jump out and say boo.
- You know that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them? The Indonesians have a word for it.
- To make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or child.
Glas wen (Welsh)
- A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile.
- The experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.
- It’s nice to know that the Japanese think enough of the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name.
- Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
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.
This is what I believe: That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. That I must have the courage to let them come and go. That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women. There is my creed.
Nasreddin and the Beggar (from RZ)
One day, Nasreddin was up on the roof of his house, mending a hole in the tiles. He had nearly finished, and he was pleased with his work. Suddenly, he heard a voice below call "Hello!" When he looked down, Nasreddin saw an old man in dirty clothes standing below.
"What do you want?" asked Nasreddin.
"Come down a...nd I'll tell you," called the man.
Nasreddin was annoyed, but he was a polite man, so he put down his tools. Carefully, he climbed all the way down to the ground.
"What do you want?" he asked, when he reached the ground.
"Could you spare a little money for an old beggar?" asked the old man. Nasreddin thought for a minute.
Then he said, "Come with me." He began climbing the ladder again. The old man followed him all the way to the top. When they were both sitting on the roof, Nasreddin turned to the beggar.
"No," he said.
A Little Bit About the Soul
By WisŁawa Szymborska
Translated by Joanna Trzeciak
A soul is something we have every now and then.
Nobody has one all the time
Day after day,
year after year,
can go by without one.
Only sometimes in rapture
or in the fears of childhood
it nests a little longer.
Only sometimes in the wonderment
that we are old.
It rarely assists us
during tiresome tasks,
such as moving furniture,
or traveling on foot in shoes too tight.
When we're filling out questionnaires
or chopping meat
it's usually given time off.
Out of our thousand conversations
it participates in one,
and even that isn't a given,
for it prefers silence.
When the body starts to ache and ache
it quietly steals from its post.
not happy to see us in crowds,
sickened by our struggle for any old advantage
and the drone of business dealings.
It doesn't see joy and sorrow
as two different feelings.
It is with us
only in their union.
We can count on it
when we're not sure of anything
and curious about everything.
Of all material objects
it likes grandfather clocks
and mirrors, which work diligently
even when no one is looking.
It doesn't state where it comes from
or when it will vanish again,
but clearly it awaits such questions.
just as we need it,
it can also use us
We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under. The first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words, for the look of the public. The second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes. They are the tireless hosts of cocktail parties and dinners. They are happier than the people in the first category, who, when they lose their public, have the feeling that the lights have gone out in the room of their lives. This happens to nearly all of them sooner or later. People in the second category, on the other hand, can always come up with the eyes they need. Then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love. Their situation is as dangerous as the situation of people in the first category. One day the eyes of their beloved will close, and the room will go dark. And finally there is the fourth category, the rarest, the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. They are the dreamers.
"You want to know what happiness is? It’s waking up in the middle of the night for no reason, shifting under the blankets and feeling the heat of the person next to you. You turn around and see them in their most peaceful, innocent, and vulnerable state. They breathe as though the weight of the world lays on anyone’s shoulder but their own. You smile and kiss their face gently before turning back around and somehow, an involuntary grin forms on your face. Just before you drift off to sleep, you feel an arm wrap around your waist and you know it doesn’t get any better than this."
We are wrapped around each other
in the back of my father’s car parked
in the empty lot of the high school
of our failures, sweat on her neck
like oil. The next morning I would leave
for the war and I thought I had something
coming for that, I thought to myself
that I would not die never having
been inside her body. I lifted
her skirt above her waist like an umbrella
blown inside out by the storm. I pulled
her cotton panties up as high
as she could stand. I was on fire. Heaven
was in sight. We were drowning
on our tongues and I tried
to tear my pants off when she stopped
so suddenly we were surrounded
only by my shuddering
and by the school bells
grinding in the empty halls.
She reached to find something,
a silver crucifix on a silver chain,
the tiny savior’s head
hanging, and stakes through his hands and his feet.
She put it around my neck and held me
so long my heart’s black wings were calmed.
We are not always right
about what we think will save us.
I thought that dragging the angel down that night
would save me, but I carried the crucifix in my pocket
and rubbed it on my face and lips
nights the rockets roared in.
People die sometimes so near you,
you feel them struggling to cross over,
the deep untangling, of one body from another.
THE TWO TIMES I LOVED YOU THE MOST IN A CAR
by Dorothea Grossman
It was your idea
to park and watch the elephants
swaying among the trees
at that make-believe safari
I didn’t know anything that big
could be so quiet.
And once, you stopped
on a dark desert road
to show me the stars
climbing over each other
like an orchestra
thrashing its way
through time itself
I never saw light that way
"I love things with a wild passion, extravagantly. I cherish tongs, and scissors; I adore cups, hoops, soup turrents, not to mention of course- the hat. I love all things, not only the grand, but also the infinitely small: the thimble, spurs, dishes, vases. Oh, my soul, the planet is radiant, teeming with pipes in hand, conductors of smoke; with keys, saltshakers, and well, things crafted by the human hand, everything- the curve of a shoe, fabric, the new bloodless birth of gold, the eyeglasses, nails, brooms, watches, compasses, coins, the silken plushness of chairs. Oh humans have constructed a multitude of pure things: objects of wood, crystal, cord, wondrous tables, ships, staircases. I love all things, not because they might be warm or fragrant, but rather because- I don’t know why, because this ocean is yours, and mine: the buttons, the wheels, the little forgotten treasures, the fans of feathery love spreading orange blossoms, the cups, the knives, the shears, everything rests in the handle, the contour, the traces of fingers, of a remote hand lost in the most forgotten regions of the ordinary obscured. I pass through houses, streets, elevators, touching things; I glimpse objects and secretly desire something because it chimes, and something else because, because it is as yielding as gentle hips, something else I adore for its deepwater hue, something else for its velvety depths. Oh irrevocable river of things. People will not say that I only loved fish or plants of the rain forest or meadow, that I only loved things that leap, rise, sigh, and survive. It is not true: many things gave me completeness. They did not only touch me. My hand did not merely touch them, but rather, they befriended my existence in such a way that with me, they indeed existed, and they were for me so full of life, and they lived with me half-alive, and they will die with me half-dead."
Ode to the Present
by Pablo Neruda
This present moment,
as a wooden slab,
as a new cup
from the past--
no spider web
with our fingers,
we cut it
according to our magnitude
the unfolding of its blossoms.
It is living,
from the unrepairable past,
from the lost past,
it is our
this very moment, adorned with
sand, eating from
Don't let it slip away.
Don't lose it in dreams
and order it
to obey you.
Make it a road,
a kiss, a book,
Take a saw to its delicious
And make a chair;
Or then, build
press your feet
onto the resinous wood
of this moment,
not very high,
the leaky roof.
Don't go all the way to heaven.
not the clouds.
fluff through the sky,
into the past.
your own apple.
Pick it from
in your hand.
rich with stars.
Take a luxurious bite
out of the present,
and whistle along the road
of your destiny.
Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.