Category: Inspiration

Poem: Friends

Our surrogate family congregated in the church of our living room, Joining together to give praise and feel joy, with hardly a thought given to the consequences of enjoying sensual pleasures of the tongue and ear and eye. We smiled and laughed and nodded, Creating an affirmation — A conviction really — That the colors...

Poem: Evensong

Our father, who art in heaven And whose presence may be felt Most acutely In the ringing naves yearning for the sky Like ambitious tomato vines, Hear our song. We praise you, sir, for giving us everything: Life (and the sorrowful joys and disappointments and triumphs it brings); And love (and the ecstatic devastation it...

Rosa Parks, Shirley Horn, and America’s Enduring Schism

Rosa Parks, an unintentional maker of history, was buried this weekend. She was an ordinary citizen of the United States who did something extraordinary, something that today seems so normal and reasonable that the courage Parks must have summoned at the time is easily forgotten. She refused to abideĀ a transparently unjust law, and she was...

Poem: Shall I Stand?

Shall I stand On my feet Erect and perpendicular, an animated sculpture exposed to the wind and The desecration of public scorn? Shall I stand? Shall I, stalk-like, yearn for the sky — Or at least the ceiling, the plastered governor that dictates the limit Of our aspirations? Shall I? Or — and this would...

Poem: Blessed

Given the choice between something fabulous and shiny, a talisman of success and power, Or, humbly, The soft gesture of unbidden sublime, I choose the gift of sweetness proffered by the few — the elite — the rare few, Who have found a way, no matter how prickly, To be my friend. When the repetitive...

Poem: A Prayer

May those afflicted with demons that pour bile in the ear (and more corrosive spirit everywhere else) recognize, as with an epiphany of grace — the kind normally associated with visions of angels and women who have conceived without the mess — that the land they profess to love and cherish, like a child, which...

What Is This Thing Called Luck?

Motivated strivers brought up on the encouraging nostrums of business seminars and personal “empowerment” training know that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. In this model, luck isn’t an unseen, fickle agent. It’s something that doesn’t exist — and if it does, it can be conquered with hard work and cleverness. People who play the...

Poem: The Best Time to Think

The best time to think of thoughts untainted by prejudice or sorrow is in the twilight of consciousness, that murky fugue land situated between responsibility and fantasy, where the imperatives of earning and making and contributing fade into the purple black void of imagination. The best time to think of thoughts untainted by hatred or...

Working Hard for Indolence

We’re taught that indolence, if not an outright sin, is an unattractive quality that ambitious strivers should abhor. The byproduct of laziness — i.e., nothing — doesn’t enrich the world in any way, whereas effort and action, even when fruitless or irrelevant, keeps the turbines of consumption pumping. Work: good. Indolence: bad. Yet, for many...

What Makes a Hero?

As the casualties pile up in Iraq, we’ve grown accustomed to hearing young men and women described as heroes, which would seem to suggest that there’s something heroic in perishing for obscure financial-political reasons that no one can quite identify. Recently, as suspicion has grown that certain Major League Baseball sluggers hit their record-breaking home...