Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth. What you held in your hand, what you counted and carefully saved, all this must go so you know how desolate the landscape can be between the regions of kindness. How
Two years of bearing witness and being present in Colombia- not simply to the facts of displacement and unbelievable violence, but all of the little destructions that follow, have impacted me in a deep way. Travelling to Honduras and Guatemala felt like more of the same. Having silly crushes on people at the youth camp,
“Happiness” by Jane Kenyon There’s just no accounting for happiness, or the way it turns up like a prodigal who comes back to the dust at your feet having squandered a fortune far away. And how can you not forgive? You make a feast in honor of what was lost, and take from its place
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left.
Defenseless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame. -W.H. Auden
Let Daylight Come (Little Rock, circa 2008) -after Jane Kenyon Let the moon untangle itself from the clothesline, as coming daylight diminishes its lamp to memory. Let the cicada vow silence as a woman stirs her grits and beats her eggs. Let daylight come. Let school children shuffle into yellow buses. Let the asphalt roll
Before I get to Colombia, I’ll spend a week in Nicaragua for orientation to MCC. Our Father Who Drowns the Birds In memory of Nicaraguans killed by the Contras, 1980-1990. By Barbara Kingsolver There is a season when all wars end: when the rains come. When the landscape opens its own eyes and laughs at
Go Greyhound by Bob Hicok A few hours after Des Moines the toilet overflowed. This wasn’t the adventure it sounds. I sat with a man whose tattoos weighed more than I did. He played Hendrix on mouth guitar. His Electric Ladyland lips weren’t fast enough and if pitch and melody are the rudiments of music,