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Showing posts from September, 2015

Poetry: What I Most Want by Jalâloddin Rumi

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What I most want
is to spring out of this personality,
then to sit apart from the leaping.
I've lived too long where I can be reached.

-Jalâloddin Rumi


Photography: African-American Heritage Day Parade 2015

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An Encounter: Maybe Next Time

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It was a beautiful late morning on Friday, almost 11:30am, and there I was several feet below ground under harsh florescent bulbs at the 7th Avenue subway in Manhattan; where the sweet sun above could not reach me——waiting for the E train back home to Queens. It was my second "early" morning in a row and I was focusing on the unfamiliar feeling of not being home at such an hour; partly so I could ignore the hunger spasms making a drum of my stomach. I had just been to Harlem to deliver some of my crocheted accessories  to be sold in a client's shop and was for that matter also enjoying a little mental party. So I was in a very good mood despite my not so cheerful underground confinement.

Style: So Sun Soaked

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Grad School Diary: On Being, Light, and Dark

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The mornings I love because of their buoyancy. No matter how cloudy, there is still a celebratory buzz in wakings and stretchings and pretty vapors climbing from first mugs of tea or coffee or bowls of porridge: enchanting visuals and uplifting music. And yet a morning person I am not. It is the curse of love of sleep, not. It is that I function better at night when things feel more gentle. I suffer from nerves, not. (Please note that I am in very good humor hence my flamboyance.) But the night is dramatic and subdue. The quite of the dark, especially in warmer days when just the thought of the sun gives one a sunburn, is tranquilizing. The limitation in choices of what one can do keep distractions meek. Up early today because I could sleep not; my thoughts were with a short commentary on "being" that I am enjoying brainstorming for. The process is so active, quite hilarious actually, that I am keeping a little notebook around for when something jumps into the light. It fee…

Poetry: Substance, Shadow, and Spirit by T'ao Ch'ien

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I
Substance to Shadow

Earth and heaven endure forever,
Streams and mountains never change.
Plants observe a constant rhythm,
Withered by frost, by dew restored.
But man, most sentient being of all,
In this is not their equal.
He is present here in the world today,
Then leaves abruptly, to return no more.
No one marks there's one man less––
Not even friends and family think of him;
The things that he once used are all that's left
To catch their eye and move them to grief.
I have no way to transcend change,
That it must be, I no longer doubt.
I hope you will take my advice:
When wine is offered, don't refuse.

Photography: Essence Street Style Block Party 2015

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Give me that tutu, you! ^_^

Opinion: On Feelings

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Emotions are Muddy waters, no? pain, hurt, lust, love, and even joy. The other day I woke up in one of those moods: the one which make us feel as though we can conquer the world. Where possibilities shine in every nook and beauty is in every cranny. By the evening I was exhausted and I crashed. It is not coffee because I do not drink it. I was overwhelmed by the intensity of the feeling for it is not my usual state. Interestingly, one is often led to think that to reside in this state for eternity is bliss. But though one would argue that it is possible in moderation, I do not believe it. Not in this life as we know it. For knowing beauty is knowing ugliness. Feelings of being in the possession of great abilities, such as ones that make us feel the world is conquerable, is knowing that there are days when breathing is painful enough. And it begs the question, why must anything be conquered. Taken by force, overcome? Why cannot things be good enough so there is no wish to change a thi…

Style: Coloring Black and White

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Grad School Diary: Tripping Through Literature

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Poets.org sent a poem-a-day a couple of weeks ago and of this poem I can neither recall title nor author. But as I was reading it, I noticed a reference to John Keats and I felt brilliant. Like being in on an inside joke sort of thing.  I could identify the allusion only because I had been reading Keats bio just the day before. Otherwise I would not have been able to identify it as such. A similar thing happened when I found myself looking through the second volume of an anthology on world literature that I bought for a college class some years back——I have found my anthologies from college very useful for my graduate studies. Carelessly flipping through the book, I came across Marie de France and I felt this funny emotion, not unlike running into a friend in a place full of strangers. I know Marie because I was so excited about going back to school that I bought my books ahead of time. Unfortunately when class started her Lais was no longer on the list of required books. But no matt…

Poetry: Sonnet by Dante Alighieri

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Sonnet*

Love and the gentle heart are one thing,
even as the sage affirms in his poem,
and so one can be without the other
as much as rational soul without reason.
Nature creates them when she is amorous:
Love as lord and the heart as his mansion,
in which, sleeping, he rests
sometimes a brief and sometimes a long season.
Beauty appears in a wise lady, then,
which so pleases the eyes that  in the heart
is born a desire for that which pleases;
and so long it lasts sometimes therein
that it wakens the spirit of Love.
And the same to a lady does a worthy man.

Dante Alighieri

*Translated from the Italian by Dino Cervini and Edward Vasta
 From The Norton Anthology of World Literature vol. b


Photography: On My Way

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Video: Why Nice People Are Scary

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Oi! Got a bit on me plate and have not been able to write anything for today so I am sharing a video from The School of Life, one of my favorite YouTube channels. This video focuses on relationships and why nice people creep some of us out. Although it talks mostly about romantic relationships I think it is applicable to other kinds of relationships, too. It took me a while to understand why nice people appear scary, but I have always been a big fan of them. I think this three minutes video does a nice job of getting us thinking what it is about kindness that makes some of us uncomfortable. Let me know what you think!

Style: Wax Print Fever

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Grad School Diary: After the Hiatus

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It has been a whole year since I last went to class. But school has started and I am elated because I get to be part of it again. The extent of my happiness is such that I am not even complaining about the cost of books! (And that is one of my favorite things to complain about.)  I am taking a really interesting class on medieval literature; focusing on Dante's Purgatorio through a mysticism/philosophy lens. If you are back to school too, I wish you a most exciting and successful semester.

Poetry: Eye on the Scarecrow by Nathaniel Mackey

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Eye on the Scarecrow

—“mu” twentieth part—

The way we lay
  we mimed a body
   of water. It was
this or that way

Photography: Dog Days

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Opinion: Gratitude II

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My last opinion post, "Gratitude" is  unconventional in that it reads like a complaint and brims with sarcasm. Not usually what one writes under the topic. Having been struggling with the definition of the complex emotion for some time now I allow myself some liberties. I would not contemplate it too closely in the past because I was afraid that should I do so, my world would collapse. I think myself very happy, but the foundation of this emotion rests heavily on thankfulness: for that which I have been blessed with——a lot. A heavy awareness of what I have been  given and a sense of burden on how overwhelming it all is. But how do I define gratitude? It is being able to see what we are, as the generosity of that which is greater than ourselves. It is knowing that all we possess, and that which we inhabit, and that which we hope for are but precious gifts. Health is priceless as is the ability to feel, to be, to taste, to breathe, to laugh, to hear the music of pain in words…