Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Diversify Meaning

            “Diversify meaning” is a play on the classic financial advice to “diversify your investments.” It’s a motto I’ve been trying to live by that has felt pretty wise, but recently I’ve run up against a major flaw in its usefulness for life. I want to lay out the topic here, as a way of continuing to develop my thoughts around “meaning.”
            And, for the sake of clearer reading, I think I will write this in Q&A form.

Why are you comparing “meaning” to financial investments?
            Not that I know anything about investing or finance, but my understanding is that people make investments in order to generate wealth. There’s a risk in investment, a possibility of disappointment or loss, but also a chance for greater returns than if no action was taken.
            I believe that we can understand “meaning” as a kind of personal investment. Meaning comprises the experiences of connections to our selves, others, and things in the world, and through these connections we make sense, find direction and purpose, and generate joy. But these connections only grow through the time, energy, and care we invest in them. I only reap joy insofar as I sow care. My mother would probably call this “You get what you put in.” I could save myself a lot of time and energy by not bothering, but then what would I have? Meaning requires investment.

Why diversify?
Diversifying investments reduces risk—if one investment tanks, all is not lost. It’s wise advice to diversify financial investments because it expresses a realistic assessment of the unpredictable nature of business and markets.
To diversify meanings means to cultivate lots of connections. In one sense, this could sound very positive—hey, the more connections the merrier, right? If one friend is great, then another friend could be twice as great. Personally, I find myself invested in many things at the moment, including:
Teaching health       - Teaching philosophy        - Leading gender groups
- Working at PPLM   - New career directions      - Blogging
- Family                       - Partnership                       - New Friends
- Old friends                - Reading projects               - Comedy improv

But still, diversification is at heart an act of pessimism. I diversify meaning because I don’t trust any single source of meaning to be enough, to provide all the joy I’m looking for, to be dependable. We are complex people, and so no single source can provide the full variety of meanings we desire. Jobs likely won’t provide love; friends likely won’t provide money. The day is long and attention grows weary. Furthermore, connections can fail just like financial investments. Plans and hopes fall through. By diversifying meaning, I create a more stable sense of self, one built up through many venues and personas, one that doesn’t stand or fall by a single dimension of identity.

So why isn’t this motto working like it used to?
Recently I’ve been facing some existential dilemmas in life, pitting various “meaning investments” against each other. That is the nature of existential dilemmas—we can’t have everything; we are forced to choose among parts of our selves, forced to make decisions that must involve loss.
And it seems like “diversify meaning” does not provide any guidance in navigating these dilemmas. Yes, it’s important to seek out meaning in many places—but how do I choose among my various investments? There’s no sense of priorities. If I can’t depend on one source of meaning fully, then how can I authentically choose one and sacrifice another?
            In some ways, these existential dilemmas emerge from pursuing diverse meanings. Only by cultivating many connections can I end up finding myself caught in the tension between them. The issue now is, figuring out how to integrate all these connections. Or figuring out which connections are somehow… ok to lose? It makes no sense. “Diversify meaning” offers no advice on compromise or letting go.

            Any wise advice regarding meaning and sacrifices? Another motto?

Monday, October 21, 2013

This is what it's like to be on the way

This is what it’s like to be on the way
When you’re on the way it’s a lot of uphill struggle
When you’re on the way you likely can’t see the top
When you’re on the way it’s good to keep going and not stop
When you’re on the way you don’t know what it will be like when you get there
When you’re on the way you don’t know how much further it is
When you’re on the way you sometimes forget how far you’ve come
When you’re on the way people might join you but they are also on their way
When you’re on the way you’re in one spot at each moment
When you’re on the way it helps

To think of yourself as on the way

Saturday, September 14, 2013


"That God does not exist, I cannot deny, That my whole being cries out for God I cannot forget." -- Jean-Paul Sartre 
These days, in my experience, there is no being called God,
But I have a yearning with that name—God!

It’s strange because I usually don’t name my cravings
—my appetite is no Andy, my sexuality not Sandy—
So is it appropriate to appropriate a proper noun
To this mystical desire for divinity?

A God by any other name would tell a tale incomplete:
If I called out for Truth, would I also find Love?
If I called out for Love, would I also find Strength?
If I called out for Strength, would I also find Hope?

Of course, when my yearning yells “God!” I find nothing and no one,
But the name rings a bell—
It re-members me to a time when He and I
Were together, when unity was simple, when “to be” was to be with this One.
But like that ringing, the name echoes and then dissipates,
And my call is simply a call, my yearning named, that’s all.

What if…
Well, how about…
What if God were not the name of a being, but instead…

An ideal place?
As in “Let’s find our way to the Land of God,
Where we will all be free and peaceful and creative!”
Or a band name?
As in “I play keyboard with the People of God,
Our tunes are soulful, and our harmonies divine.”
Or a dance craze?
As in “Let’s all do the God, oh baby,” “Let’s God again like we did last summer,”
“Teach me how to God, teach me teach me how to God.”

Or maybe not.

There is a state of being I’m desiring, a way that I want to be
In the world, in solitude, in communion.
And I want it so badly, and I want you there with me,
And, for me, the cry of “God!” expresses both the aim and intensity of that desire.
But there is no being called God, and a yearning cannot respond to my call.

So when that word escapes my heart, I realize that it’s because my heart is outdated,
And then the challenge is to develop this name into a fuller description,
And then I can explain it to myself and explain it to you,
And then it can become the name of a plan, a shared plan,

And then I can develop this yearning into reality.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stimulation vs. Satisfaction

Stimulation and Enjoyment
            I seek out stimulation and enjoyment every day. The best days are when I get that enjoyment from my work or from interactions with people. However, when I’m struggling at work, or am not ‘feeling it’ with people, I have ways of seeking out supplementary pleasure.
            Some of these are activities that help me feel pleased with myself—exercising, doing household chores, or pursuing my various hobbies, including writing blog posts, writing poetry, or making hula hoops. I enjoy the competence and self-expression in these activities, and the fact that they result in a product that I am able to continue enjoying even after the activity itself is over.
            The easiest manner of enjoyment is in consuming something, sometimes food, but usually entertainment. I follow a number of podcasts and TV shows, many of which keep me amused, all of which keep me engaged. But they do not satisfy—after I’m done consuming, there’s little to no “afterglow” of happy mood.

Satisfaction and Joy
            I’m thinking about this topic because I am seeking greater satisfaction and joy in my life, and so far I feel like I have a much better understanding of attaining stimulation and enjoyment. Here’s my current understanding of satisfaction and joy.
            Satisfaction is enjoyment that extends beyond direct contact with stimulation. If I enjoy eating, but experience hunger/blandness as soon as I stop, then there is no satisfaction, and I will just need to eat again. When I’m satisfied, a need is fulfilled for enough time to give me relief from the anxiety of seeking its fulfillment. In satisfaction, the desperate itch for stimulation ceases.
            I think people use the term “joy” in different ways, but I’m thinking of joy (could be interchanged with “happiness”) is a stable state of satisfaction in one’s place in life. I feel joy when I feel like I fit in the world. When I experience that fitness, I have less anxiety about trying to fit.

            I think the key term in this “stimulation vs. satisfaction” dichotomy is meaning. The experience of meaning can involve situatedness, depth, purpose, and connection. Activities that are meaningful make me feel like I “make sense” in the world. When I do my work well, I am pursuing my purpose. When I connect with people, I belong somewhere. When I tend to my chores or my arts, I am getting in touch with deep needs for self-care and self-expression. Joy and satisfaction last longer because they are “resonant” experiences. Whatever is meaningful resonates.

*This seems like a solid start to a longer analysis, but I’m not sure what. I’ll leave it here for now, and I invite your reflections and reactions.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

An Actual Taxonomy of Naught (AKA part 3, last part)

In my last two posts, I explored a number of experiences of something that is not a thing—call it naught, nothing, emptiness, space, or maybe just negativity. Here are terms for the experiences I described:

Utter mystery
Lack of God/Absolute
Boredom /Aimlessness
Personal Uncertainty/Anxiety
Personal Possibility
Listening and Asking questions
Being open to influence/challenge/change
Collective uncertainty
Collective possibility

            In this last post, my task is to divide these up, so that in the future when I want to discuss emptiness, I can be more specific, since I have found that “space” sounds vague, and “emptiness” often sounds much more depressing than I want.

Two Ways to Typify an “Empty Space”
1)      It could be a lack of something desired.
2)     It could be a necessary condition for developing identity and connection.

1)      It could be a lack of something desired.
a.      A lack of knowledge = Utter mystery.
b.      A lack of grounding = lack of God/Absolute, also Boredom/Aimlessness
c.       A lack of relationship = loneliness, also inauthenticity/hollowness
d.      A lack of completion = personal uncertainty/anxiety, personal possibility

2)     It could be a necessary condition for developing identity and connection.
a.      Identity requires emptiness:
                                                              i.      Undetermined future – freedom, space for potential, and for change
                                                           ii.      Undetermined perspective – space for reflection, the ability to step out from our current beliefs and take a critical stance, to both choose and change our courses
b.      Connection requires emptiness:
                                                              i.      Listening/Questioning – making space for the other to fill
                                                           ii.      Collective uncertainty/possibility – engaging the social world with both our needs and desires, and also openness to the unexpected

Modes of Comportment towards Emptiness
Emptiness can also be divided up in terms of what one might do with it. While I think my categories are pretty solid, I expect that different people would populate them in their own way.

1)      Sit “in” it.
2)     Leave it empty.
3)     Fill it.
4)     Fill it, with the expectation of a new emptiness ahead.
5)     Create it.

1)      Sit “in” it.
Before trying to act in relation to emptiness, it’s valuable first simply to feel it. I like to talk paradoxically about sensing the “shape” and “heaviness” of emptiness. By shape, I mean: Is it just a part of me? Does it encompass all of me? Do I find that it encompasses my relationships, my culture, or even encompasses the whole realm of human activity? How big does it feel? By heaviness, I guess I mean: How bothered am I by this emptiness? Do I find it oppressive, or perhaps liberating? What are my instinctual feelings or reflexive actions when I feel it?

Once I have dwelt a little in this emptiness, I might be better able to decide what to do with it…

2)     Leave it empty.
A lack does not immediately mean that the space needs to be filled. In my understanding of secular spirituality, there is strength and growth in simply letting mystery and lack of God be. Sometimes when I’m lonely, I don’t need other people, but rather I need aim more intentionally at solitude.

3)     Fill it.
If I think I am languishing from this lack, then maybe it’s a sign that I shouldn’t be empty in this regard. For me, sometimes these are nothings like loneliness and inauthenticity/ hollowness.

4)     Fill it, with the expectation of a new emptiness ahead.
Aimlessness doesn’t feel good, but it also tends to emerge right after I accomplish a goal. So, when I’m feeling bored or aimless, it’s good to find a new goal, but I shouldn’t be too surprised or upset when I find myself in another empty space afterwards. This generally holds for personal uncertainty/anxiety, possibility, and that whole sense of incompleteness. I can pursue greater stability and I can develop my potential, but my future will continue to remain open. I can and should aim to fill my life with great things, while expecting it to remain incomplete.

5)     Create it.
This mode is different than the others, as it is not a response to emptiness, but rather a response to a lack of emptiness (ß Figure that one out!)—meaning, if things don’t seem right, sometimes the best question is: Do I need to make a space here? This would apply any time I experience an internal block, or a block between myself and other people. Actions like dwelling in silence, listening, asking questions, and remaining open to collective uncertainty and possibility would fit as ways of satisfying this need.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Taxonomy of Naught, part two

            Following part one, this part is much more difficult to talk about, as it involves kinds of emptiness that I’ve only recently (the last 10 years) become aware of, and feel nowhere near resolving. These are the kinds of emptiness experienced when I consider my relation to other people.

            Again, some terms I expect to come up: space, silence, solitude, loneliness, opening, possibility, uncertainty, unpredictability, need, desire. This time I will present three observations and illustrate with some experiences.

  1. I am not enough.
My initial experience of this is usually boredom. While I am an avid consumer of media and have a nice variety of personal hobbies, there always comes a time when I’ve been alone too long and grown tired of entertaining myself. This sounds like a superficial kind of emptiness, and yet it comes up over and over.

A somewhat deeper experience has been my growing awareness of my need for acknowledgment—that I’m good, that I’m funny, that my creativity is valuable, and that my thoughts and feelings make sense. This is a fundamental human experience, and yet something I didn’t really understand until Hegel pointed it out. It turns out that it’s difficult/impossible to know myself unless I feel known.

So, this emptiness is not so much a space, as it an incompleteness (another appropriate word would be loneliness). In the last post I was calling this a lack, but it feels more correct here to call it a need. I am incomplete such that I am brought to greater fullness in connection with others.

   2.   Not all connections are fulfilling.

A social opportunity or interaction can feel empty in a lot of different ways:

A)   Sometimes it’s because I’m at a bar or a party, and the environment (loud, dark, shifting) leaves no space for the kind of interactions I enjoy.
B)   Sometimes it’s because I feel like I have nothing to say, or no interest in the topic of conversation (or the other person in general).

C)   Sometimes it’s because I feel like one or both of us (or all of us) are treating the other(s) as functions, as props for playing out personal desire or drama.

D)  And a lot of the times it’s because I feel like we are only making a connection to cultural interests, and not to each other. (I still love discussing cultural interests, and believe that a cultural interest can serve as a tool for making authentic connections.) 

How to typify these experiences as emptiness? In A and B, the failure to connect can feel like a shortcoming (my own, someone else’s, or of a social space). In C and D, I guess the best word is inauthentic—which I think is an emptiness best illustrated by the word hollow.

  3.   A fulfilling connection requires space—in so many ways.

Recognizing that I have a need to be filled by relationships is not enough; I also have to create an opening for those relationships. Confusing, right? I explained the need in #1; now I’ll talk about this opening. Authentic relationship requires me to effect a stance of openness:

A)    In conversation-- being silent in order to allow them to speak, creating a space in myself for their words by listening, inviting them to fill that space by asking questions.

B)    In activities— letting them decide what to do when and how.

C)    In being influenced, challenged, and changed—recognizing that what makes sense to me is not the last word in knowledge, opinion, priorities, and paths.

In all of these instances, the challenge is to remain open to another person in all their otherness—being more than my image/use of them, being unpredictable, and being divergent from me in so many ways. In all of this I strive to be open to the possibility for self-improvement (feedback) and, for lack of a better word, awesomeness—that awesomeness that emerges sometimes when two or more people come together to share and create in a graceful way. The uncertainty that awesomeness will occur (and with that, the possibility of its opposites—awkwardness and awfulness) makes this especially challenging.

And yet this responsibility to create space is not absolute, and thank goodness—sometimes this activity feels threatening, and very often exhausting. So, it has a limit:
In order for all of this to work, I also have to be a thing; I have to be solid, taking up space, sometimes even pushing back if necessary. While active emptiness is a key component in relationships, it’s not ultimate—I should never strive to make myself into a nothing or merely into a function. I have to empty myself in order to make space for others, and yet never do so completely. Balancing this tension feels like a life-long skill.

Now that I’ve laid out the varieties of emptiness in my life, I hope to write one more post pointing out some patterns and types, and maybe come up with some wisdom about comporting myself around each.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Taxonomy of Naught

Not all nothing is the same. First, some terms: Nothing, Mystery, Lack, Absence, Finitude, Emptiness, Space, Hole, Void, Freedom, Possibility, Silence.

I think it would be best to develop these terms by reference to some personal experiences.

The first set of experiences all relate to the question: Is there God?
For a long time I believed in and had a personal relationship with God. In the middle of some solitary prayer one day, the thought occurred to me that I might just be alone in a room, talking to myself. While years of theological study shaped my conceptual journey to atheism, this experience was the seed and, to today, the stuff of my disbelief.

I began calling myself a non-believer about three years ago, and in those three years my experience of “not-God” has evolved.

  1. Actually, for a long time before I lost faith I was captivated by the experience of mystery. After reading Kant in Div School, I recognized that there was no way to know if the furthest reaches of my metaphysical knowledge constituted a boundary (implying something beyond) or a limit (implying an absolute end).  While Rabbi Heschel tells us that the experience of ineffable mystery implies a transcendent presence, I feel like we can only honestly say that this mystery calls attention to our ultimate ignorance. There may be “something” “in” the mystery, but I can go no further than mystery. Related term: Finitude.
  2. At first upon becoming a nonbeliever, I experienced a lack. This is the kind of naught I experience when I actually wish there were something there. I yearned for that personal relationship with God, and instead felt that my yearning was reaching out into… nothing. I felt a space, a space created by my need, left empty by the lack of something to fill that need. Related term: Absence – implies the failure of a need for presence.
  3. Eventually the yearning for a personal relationship dissipated, but a feeling of emptiness remained, and this involves in some part the emptythrone. I don’t feel this emptiness all the time, but rather only when my philosophy or other passions seem to require an absolute. I seek for meaning in life, and am reminded that meanings exist, but no single absolute or inherent meaning. I seek for value and purpose in my life, and am reminded that value and purpose are human pursuits, not cosmic installations. So, empty doesn’t mean bad or depressing, it just means… well, I think that will get developed more in the next section.

Related terms: Space, Possibility, Freedom.

The second set of experiences all relate to the question: Who am I and what should I do?

These experiences are much more personal than the ones related to God, and thus harder to analyze. I’ll present all of them first, and then throw in some terms.

  1. I don’t remember the exact experience, but I know I was about 11 or 12, and one day I was bored, and emotionally overwhelmed by the internal demand to fill time. I became depressed—was life going to be this unending desperation, this nagging need to fill time and mind, in order to stave off worthlessness?
  2. I really enjoyed college and graduate school, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t make the most of my time there—I know this because of the inordinate amount of time I spent recreationally. I loved my studies and did my work passionately, but I never had a clear idea what I wanted to make of it as a profession.
  3. Now that I am somewhat on a career path, I don’t know exactly what or how much I want to make of myself professionally. I’m thinking about this in two different ways: (A) It’s almost impossible to be a full time heath teacher, so I need to expand my options—the most available (but unsuitable for me) option is teaching gym, and the most desirable (although not yet comprehensible) option is teaching English; and (B) How ambitious should I be? I see people “climb the ladder” from teacher to administrator, etc. I daydream about publishing a book and appearing on TV. How far should I go?

I think space, possibility, and freedom are functional in all of these stories. In my God-stories, there was a kind of void that could not ultimately be filled, whereas in my personal narrative, the emptiness is invested with possibility and freedom, and so experienced as a demand to be filled. The lack, in almost every case, is one of purpose or meaning. Something like ignorance or cluelessness is present to, as the question “What am I for, and what is my time worth?” hangs over every story.

During #1 and #2, these experiences were depressing. Now that I am living out #3, I take a more accepting and hopeful attitude. My future, even when I have a vision of it, is still a blank space that I slowly fill. It’s just the nature of becoming to have a “nothing” of space, possibility, and freedom before me.

I’ll stop here for now. Do check out parts two and three.

I almost called this post “God is empty, just like me” but it turns out that those appear to be pretty different kinds of emptiness.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I re-wrote “Blurred Lines,” and now it’s about CONSENT

            So I know I’m really late to the game on this, so I’ll be brief: Apparently there was a lot of controversy over this Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines,” and to what extent the lyrics are “rape-y.” About a week ago I finally heard the song and watched the video, and here are my thoughts:
  1. If you ignore the lyrics (keep the vocal cadences), the song is AWESOME. Just a total feel-good groove, completely infectious.
  2. The song definitely trivializes sexual consent.
  3. The video has its own issues, which I'm not touching.
           For a great analysis of the song and video, plus an excellent lesson-plan for analyzing consent in music, please read this post from the FearlessSexuality Educator.
           For a video of the song that has far fewer issues, please watch and listen to the Muppets parody video.

           Meanwhile, I re-wrote some of the lyrics in order to make the song about consent. My lines are underlined, and are replacing whatever lines have been struckthrough.

[Intro: Pharrell]
Everybody get up (x2)
Hey, hey, hey (x3)

[Verse 1: Robin Thicke]
If you can't hear what I'm trying to say
If you can't read from the same page
Maybe I'm going deaf,
Maybe I'm going blind
Maybe I'm out of my mind I’m misreading signs

[Pharell:] Everybody get up

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you're an animal, baby, it's in your nature
You’re not an animal, we are not bound by nature
Just let me I'll ally to liberate you
(Hey, hey, hey) You don't need no papers
(Hey, hey, hey) That man is not your maker

[Chorus: Robin Thicke]
And that's why I'm gon' take a good girl find a fun one
I know hope you want it
I know So if you want it
I know Say that you want it
You're a good girl fun one
Can't let it get I’d let you past me
You're far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted Don’t need to be hassled
I hate these blurred lines
I know hope you want it
I know So if you want it
I know Say that you want it
But you're a good girl fun one
The way If you wanna grab me
Must If you wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me just ask me
[Pharell:] Everybody get up

[Verse 2: Robin Thicke]
What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on dance to this song
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch got the hottest moves in this place
I feel so lucky
(Hey, hey, hey) You wanna hug me?
(Hey, hey, hey) What rhymes with hug me?(Hey, hey, hey)

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
[Chorus: Robin Thicke]

[Verse 3: T.I.]
One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo
Yeah, I had a bitch someone, but she ain't  bad rad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I'll give you something a beat big enough to tear your ass in two dance your ass off to
Swag on, even when you dress casual
I mean it's almost unbearable

I still have to act responsible
Then, honey you're not there when I'm
With my foresight bitch hey, you pay like me by
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don't smack that ass and pull your hair
He don’t wait his turn and hold your hand like that
So I just watch and wait for you to salute
But you didn't pick
Not many Don’t think any women can refuse should deal with assholes pimpin'
I'm a nice guy, but don't get it if you get with me won’t get ugly if you say no to me

[Bridge: Robin Thicke]
Shake the vibe, get down, get up
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt
What you don't like work?
Unless it sounds like work

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
Baby can you breathe? I got this from Jamaica why don’t we smoke this spliffy
It always works for me, Dakota to Decatur,
But if we get high, then consent will be iffy, uh huh
No more pretending
(Hey, hey, hey) Cause now you winning
(Hey, hey, hey) Here's our beginning

[Chorus: Robin Thicke]

[Outro: Pharrell]
Everybody get up (x2)
Hey, hey, hey (x3)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Intention to Critical Analysis

(Not sure if this is a poem, or it seemed like it would be easier to read with the lines broken up. Either way, inspired by the beginning of Judith Butler's "Giving an Account of Oneself")

To quote Paul Simon and to misquote the Lord,
I know what I know, I say what I say, I am what I am.
This simplicity is simply false, it’s
Self-duplicity of the most basic variety:  To think my body is defined only by this skin,
Or that these thoughts emerge in this head,
Or that these experiences just are.

I feel naïve. My particularity (and privilege) offer a protective deafness
That allows me to hear my thoughts as my own, blessed and cursed by the experience
Of individuality.

I feel young. I would always prefer to think
That I am putting together new ideas, uncovering original perspectives,
Doing the world a favor with my words.

I feel illusioned. When I attempt to step outside perspective I find perspective.
Authenticity and legitimacy, in any absolute sense,
Would only be the domains of a divine that will someday be,
While I am only now just arriving, just looking, just learning.

So this is my intention, to discover my others, to face my spaces that are filled
With what is not-myself:

First, listen.
Second, speak tentatively.
Third, seek out the roots of these thoughts, the conditions of these experiences.
Fourth, ask my hypothetical others—what would my father say? What would my mother say? What would my partner say? What would my enemy say? What would my strangers say?
Fifth, ask the others.

Finally, listen.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


(** More poetry, inspired by the recent existential equinox, and thoughts/feelings on metaphysics, happiness, and institutions)


Well, it’s certainly tall—
this much is true, towering above us—
the structure/jumble we’ve created.
But is it piled? Stacked? Situated?
That piece over there—is it substance or scaffolding?

I remember when we started this project,
Standing on the ground, an empty space and a cold breeze,
We began to gather, first just for warmth, and then for security, and
Finally we stuck around
because all of our stuff is here.

And this stuff, it blocks the wind, but sometimes also the light, and
This structure/jumble, it gives an uneasy sleep.
Sometimes I stay up at night, and move things around.
Sometimes I wonder what it would look like if we tore it down and started from scratch.
Maybe it will just fall down on its own.

If it fell, would it be more of a jumble then?
If we rebuilt it, would it be better if we followed a plan this time?
Is one of these pieces definitely the foundation?
Maybe next time, let’s not build upwards, and instead outwards,
So that it’s easier to move the pieces, and nothing
Is supporting too much weight.

Structure or jumble—does it matter?
Does it matter if the world is of one organic piece?
Can the world just be a location instead?
Maybe function and form, plan and purpose are over-rated.

But perhaps think this structure/jumble is just unfinished,
And is waiting to be perfected.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Faces in the Storm

Not all voids are dark.

First morning second day of the blizzard of thirteen, I wake up,
And out of the windows my eyes meet only white, white, pale light, and white.

Last night the snow erased all our lines,
Not so that one thing flowed into another, tree to tree, car to car, property lines, no
The snow just covered the stuff so that it’s all just lumps under snow.

The governor closed the roads, so except for crews and plows,
It’s empty outside. Empty except full of snow.
The outside is like an abyss or like a fog, except white, and like any other void
There’s only there what I choose to see and feel.
When I go outside my thoughts will echo.

Is there a presence in this blizzard? Depends on whether you think
Of weather as climate or message or if you can really try to connect the dots
Of billions of flying and landed snowflakes.
All the faces of my storm are inside, cozy, sleeping, reading, tasking, treadmilling,
And facebooking.