Friday, June 03, 2011

For Desire - by Kim Addonizio

Give me the strongest cheese, the one that stinks best;
and I want the good wine, the swirl in crystal
surrendering the bruised scent of blackberries,
or cherries, the rich spurt in the back
of the throat, the holding it there before swallowing.

Give me the lover who yanks open the door
of his house and presses me to the wall
in the dim hallway, and keeps met here until I'm drenched
and shaking, whose kisses arrive by the boatload
and being their delicious diaspora
through the cities and small towns of my body.

To hell with the saints, with martyrs
of my childhood meant to instruct me
in the power of endurance and faith,
to hell with the next world and its pallid angels
swooning and sighing like Victorian girls.

I want this world. I want to walk into
the ocean and feel it trying to drag me along
like I'm nothing but a broken bit of scratched glass,
and I want to resist it. I want to go
staggering and flailing my way
through the bars and back rooms,
through the gleaming hotels and weedy
lots of abandoned sunflowers and the parks
where dogs are let off their leashes
in spite of the signs, where they sniff each
other and roll together in the grass, I want to lie
lie down somewhere and suffer for love until
it nearly kills me, and then I want to get up again
and put on that little black dress and wait
for you, yes you, to come over here
and get down on your knees and tell me
just how fucking good I look.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years - Donald Miller

“People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen.”

"You become like the people you interact with. And if your friends are living boring stories, you probably will, too."
- p. 160

It's like this when you live a story: The first part happens fast. You throw yourself into the narrative and you're finally out in the water; the shore is pushing off behind you and the trees are getting smaller. The distant shore doesn't seem so far, and you can feel the resolution coming... You think the thing is going to happen fast, that you'll paddle for a bit and arrive on the other side by lunch. But the truth is, it isn't going to be over soon...

I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. Bu they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can't see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story". - p. 177-179

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Altars in the World - Barbara Brown Taylor

"We receive enlightenment only in promotion as we give ourselves more and more completely to God by humble submission and love. We do not first see, then act: we act, then see. And that is why the man who waits to see clearly, before he will believe, never starts on the journey." - Thomas Merton

"Most heresies come from espousing one opposite at the expense of another. Uncomfortable with paradox, Christians tend to tilt in one direction or the other, usually with disastrous consequences." - Philip Yancey in "Living with Furious Opposites" from "Christianity Today"

p. 6-7 "The problem is, many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of what they need saving from is the idea that God sees the world the same way they do. What if the gravel of the parking lot looks as promising to God as the floorboards of the church? What if a lost soul strikes God as more reachable than a lifelong believer? What if God can drop a ladder absolutely anywhere, with no regard for the religious standards developed by those who have made it their business to know the way to God?"

p. 44-45 "'Do this,' he said - not believe this but do this - 'in remembrance of me'... Duke ethicist Stanley Hauerwas [says]... Christianity 'is not a set of beliefs or doctrines one believes in order ot be a Christian... but rather Christianity is to have one's body shaped, one's habits determined, in such a way that the worship of God is unavoidable.' ... the last thing any of us need is more information about God. We need the practise of incarnation, by which God saves the lives of those whose intellectual assent has turned as dry as dust, who have run frighteningly low on the bread of life, who are dying to know more God in their bodies. Not more about God. More God."

p. 116 "In a world where the paid work that people do does not always feed their hearts, it seems important to leave open the possibility that our vocations may turn out to be the things we do for free."

p. 124 "I know you do not sleep well. It does not make any sense, since you are exhausted, but the fact is that it is very hard for your body to go from fifth gear to off just because you say so - at least not without a little pharmaceutical help. It is hard to watch the eleven o'clock news with your heart wide open, letting in the misery of neighbors near and far, and then sleep soundly through the night. It is hard to dream rejuvenating dreams or sink into those deep-sea delta brain waves when you keep waking up at three o'clock - what is it about that hour? - to think about how man y unanswered e-mails you have in your inbox, how much money you owe on your credit cards, or how odd your heartbeat sounds all of a sudden."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wendell Berry

I've long loved Berry, particularly his poetry and beautifully challenging exposes on nature and our responsibility in the world. His novel, "Jayber Crow", may not be my favorite book of his, but it's a work of layers and depth nonetheless.

"My questions were still with me, but for the time being anyhow they weren't crying out to be answered. I wasn't yet as free as I was going to become, but I knew that I was freer than I had ever been before". - Chapter 7

"The sermons, mostly, were preached on the same theme I had heard over and over... We must lay up treasures in Heaven and not be lured and seduced by this world's pretty and tasty things that do not last but are like the flower that is cut down. The preachers were always young students from the seminary who wore, you might say, the mantle of power but not the mantle of knowledge... You couldn't learn those things in a school. They went to school... to learn to say over and over again, regardless of where they were, what had already been said too often. They learned to have a very high opinion of God and a very low opinion of His works...

To them, the church did not exist in the world where people earn their living and have their being, but rather in the world where they fear death and Hell, which is not not much of a world... the young preachers knew Port William only as it theoretically was ('lost') and as it theoretically might be ('saved'). And they wanted us all to do our part to spread this bad news to others who had not heard it - the Catholics, the Hindus, the Muslims, the Buddhists, and the others - or else they (and maybe we) would go to Hell. I did not believe it. They made me see how cut off I was. Even when I was sitting in the church, I was a man outside.

Those world-condemning sermons were preached to people who, on Sunday mornings would be wearing the prettiest clothes... While wickedness of the flesh was preached from the pulpit, the young husbands and wives and the courting couple sat thigh to thigh, full of yearning and joy, and the old people thought of the beauty of the children. And when church was over they would go home to Heavenly dinners of fried chicken... and hot biscuits and butter and cherry pie and buttermilk. And the preacher and his family would always be invited to eat with somebody... and the preacher, having just foresworn on behalf of everybody the joys of the flesh, would eat with unconsecrated relish." - Chapter 15

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Growing Older Gracefully

A beautiful book, here are just a few choice quotes from my reading:

"The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully" - Joan Chittister ACCOMPLISHMENT
"Scientists have discovered that older people, while not as quick computationally as younger people, do think just as well as the young, but differently - with more depth, with more reflection, with more philosophical awareness... the difference between between the quickness of a computer game and the quality of a logician. The young produce ideas in rapid quantity, but often without form or figure. Older people might reflect on the very same data younger people do, but instead of manipulating it, tend to reduce it to concepts."
"...the number of absolutes in my life [are] precipitously reduced. I'm a lot less dogmatic now about the nature of God. I'm not as sure as I once was about what is gravely damning and what is not. Most important of all, I am happy to put that decision in the hands of the God whose nature seems far more compassionate now - as I have gotten more compassionate myself."
"...Harvard University longitduinal Study of Adult Development... says, [constantly learning] makes the difference between healthy and unhealthy aging. It determines the degree to which life will be satisfying to us, as well as the degree to which we will be interesting, valuable, life-giving to others."
"There are temptations for the elderly... that are particularly deluding because they sound so sensible while they are increasingly destructive. 'I'm too tired tonight...' we learn to say early in the aging process. But the others go on to the show or the party or the civic event, without us. 'She's older now and can't do these things,' they say. We teach them to ignore us and then wonder how it happened."
"There is no time to waste anymore. The now is no longer one moment on the way to another one. It is everything there is to life. When we learn to sink into the moment with that much passion, that much pure, unadulterated sensuousness, we finally learn to be alive."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Party 2009

About 20 of us... and yet more good times.

Currently reading: Fork It Over: The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater - Alan Richman

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Winter Cocktail Event with Scott Beattie

Photo: Bleeding Orange (topped with foam, edible lavender flowers, grilled & candied Rangpur limes)

Taking a Winter Cocktail class at the Ferry Plaza Building through CUESA was exciting because lead by artisanal cocktail master, Scott Beattie,
from Healdsburg's Cyrus (I wrote about it in The Perfect Spot). Besides getting educated on how to make gorgeous foams, rims and syrups, Dan and I got to imbibe and make three cocktails, the beauty of the day in taste and presentation being the Bleeding Orange, found in his book. Topped with edible flowers and a candied or a slow-roasted Rangpur lime from Scott's back yard, the drink was Charbay Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon vodkas with fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon, blood orange, Fee Bros peach bitters and homemade simple syrup of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon.

Currently watching: The Catherine Cookson Collection: The Moth