i picture you

i picture you leaving
your coat on the hood.
wallet and keys.
the crisp envelope. 

we all know what it’s like
to imagine the thing—
how glaring
and suddenly close 

the tools are
if you need them:
a stoplight, a prescription.
a few feet of rope.

or that joke of a pistol
you chose at the pawnshop
and loaded, and unloaded,
and cleaned, i picture you

compassion asks

compassion asks us to look into our own hearts,

discover what gives us pain,

» and then refuse «

under any circumstance whatsoever,

to inflict that pain on anybody else.

:: karen armstrong 

and they pass by themselves

people travel to wonder

at the height of mountains,

at the huge waves of the sea,

at the long courses of rivers,

at the vast compass of the ocean,

at the circular motion of the stars;

and they pass by themselves without wondering.

:: st. augustine of hippo


everyone now and again wonders about
those questions that have no ready
answers: first cause, god’s existence,
what happens when the curtain goes
down and nothing stops it, not kissing,
not going to the mall, not the super

“wild roses,” i said to them one morning.
“do you have the answers? and if you do,
would you tell me?

the roses laughed softly. “forgive us,”
they said. “but as you can see, we are
just now entirely busy being roses.



and always think of other people

correspondence between hemingway and a young writer (“mice”)

mice: how can a writer train himself?

hemingway: watch what happens today. if we get into a fish see exactly what it is that everyone does. if you get a kick out of it while he is jumping remember back until you see exactly what the action was that gave you the emotion. whether it was the rising of the line from the water and the way it tightened like a fiddle string until drops started from it, or the way he smashed and threw water when he jumped. remember what the noises were and what was said. find what gave you the emotion; what action was that gave you the excitement. then write it down making it clear so the reader will see it too and have the same feeling that you had. that’s a five finger exercise.

mice: all right.

hemingway: then get in somebody else’s head for a change. if i bawl you out try to figure what i’m thinking about as well as how you feel about it. if carlos cures juan think what both their sides of it are. don’t just think who is right. as a man things are as they should or shouldn’t be. as a man you know who is right and who is wrong. you have to make decisions and enforce them. as a writer you should not judge. you should understand. and always think of other people