She made my silence pure
And in a word
That is to say
Oh but what beauty
To feel pure
In silence and in name
I was cured
Oh what blessed joy
To be pure
A gleaming rhapsody in white
I think you know what I mean
When I say
She took me by the hand
Called me names
And whispered in my ear
Come walk with me
And let us be
Happy and pure
And my silence never broke
And I swear I never once awoke
From this blessed dream
I kissed her
And she kissed me
And all the walls came crashing down
And we went out
All out on the town
Ah what joy
For such a simple country boy
I needn't speak
And speech need not I
For all the world to know
Oh I want the world to know
This blessed joy
Can come to you
To each and every girl and boy
Oh what joy
There are starving artists, yes.
But sometimes I think them more nourished,
Than many with more dollars to their name,
And food to their claim.
Because at her worst, you see,
The starving artist still has this,
She has her ideas;
The starving artist might be poor,
Losing in the box score
When all is quantified and qualified for measures of
But the starving artist is free.
He is alive,
He is allowed to be.
And he has his art,
Because the worst kind of starving there can be,
Is to be stale out of ideas--
To be wallowing in writer's block
Staring at the blank canvas in shock
Holding the pen above the paper,
And unable to fire,
The worst kind of starving artist,
The worst kind of starvation
Not of the soul,
But of the heart--
"Isn't it incredible,"
"There's an addicting collection of lifestyles before us...
And we can be any of them!"
"Marissa, you genius,"
"You brilliant, amazing, genius!"
She had articulated perfectly the way I felt about the world in front of us.
There were the usual crowds--
The theatre kids,
The band geeks,
The popular chicks,
Et cetera, et cetera.
All with their own quirks,
Warts and shines.
There were other kinds of crowds, too,
There was the girl with thin scars on her thin wrists,
A part of the lonely crowd that grappled with a common demon.
The boy who wore the same sweatshirt every day,
Who'd recently begin to sport some peach fuzz above his upper lip,
Who often smelled of body odor and whose hair was a little too greasy.
The one who was a member of the horde of quiet poor--
Smart enough to fool you,
But not wealthy enough to keep up.
The student who slept through class,
Part of the group for whom school offered an escape from the wars at home.
A small island of relative peace amidst a sea of turbulent battles.
There were the busy bees,
With their AP classes and extracurriculars,
Not popular but not ostracized, either.
There were the ones who flitted between,
The social butterflies who somehow maintained the graces of all the above,
Few and far between,
But easy to talk to and unassuming,
The kind of people everyone likes.
There were the bullies, too.
The ones insecure in themselves,
The weaknesses of others.
All these and so many more.
We saw them all--
A brilliant camouflage of people and personalities and habits of life,
Some by choice,
And like Plath's fig tree,
Which we'd read about in English class last week,
They all seemed so appealing,
In some way or another.
Maybe I wanted their smarts,
Or their popularity,
Or their anonymity,
Or their struggles,
Or their personality,
Or their strength,
Or their courage..
I didn't really know.
But I did know that,
Like the fig tree,
I would choose one,
And the others would die off,
But for now,
There they were,
An enticing dinner menu with altogether too many options.
And here we stood,
In the hallowed halls of high school,
The world ours for the taking,
And such an addicting collection of lifestyles in front of us.
"December 7th, 1941--a date which will live in infamy"
So began Roosevelt's address,
As the eyes of a nation
Watched the skies,
Less than an hour after Roosevelt's speech,
Congress declared war on Japan,
And entered into World War II.
And so our boys left,
Fighting the good fight
And so Rosie flexed,
And patriotism soared,
And planes rained down barrages of gunfire.
I was always taught today's date.
December 7th, 1941.
My grandfather fought in World War II,
And in my house,
Today's date lived--
And continues to live--
You can imagine my surprise when,
Upon walking into the public high school where I work,
The flag prostrate,
Halfway between sky and earth,
Students did not know the date.
I asked the classes,
60 or so students, in sum,
"Who can tell me why the flag is at half-mast today?"
They looked at me in confusion,
"What's the date?"
Maybe 6 or 7 raised their hand.
One in ten students knew,
And while I was disheartened,
I was not altogether surprised.
So I posed the question to my coworkers,
"I've been conducting an experiment today,
Asking students if they knew why the flag was at half-mast"
Of the 15 coworkers with whom I spoke,
5 could tell me why.
10 could not.
"Why is it at half-mast? I don't even know..."
"Let me see, what's happened in current events recently?"
"Oh? It's Pearl Harbor? I didn't even know we put the flag at half-mast for that."
How quickly we forget.
The second largest attack on American soil in our history,
The greatest catalyst for our entry into the greatest war in modern history,
And we don't take notice of the date?
What will our sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters know?
Will they recall 9/11?
Will they remember it?
Will they relive it each year,
The way we so painstakingly do?
Will images of planes and falling men flee through their minds?
Or will they forget?
"Oh? 9/11, is that today? I didn't even realize."
Sounds preposterous, doesn't it?
And yet, our grandparents couldn't conceive of a time when we wouldn't remember Pearl Harbor.
"A date which will live in infamy."
Or will it?
History has its eyes on you.
Ah, how perilous!
How tenuous is the hair which holds the Sword of Damocles!
How terrible it must be to lie in the seat of power,
To be cradled in her bosom of lust, ambition, and greed--
To turn endlessly over one's shoulder,
To have one eye forwards, and one eye back,
Never at ease.
When the throne becomes a death knell
A holding cell
A hotbed of restlessness,
Look up! Look up!
See the mighty sword above your head,
How it sways to and fro,
And on the hair of a mare rests your soul, your sole lifeline's thread!
You find yourself in the pit
With the pendulum swaying to and fro,
To and fro,
Closer and closer,
Closer and closer.
How terribly loathsome your position has become--
What painful prostration must you now display in self-effacing humility,
An abomination to your pride and claim of invincibility.
Ah, but what respite!
To live no longer in the shadow of fear
With the threat of death removed from above thine head
Like the unshackled chain of a man excused from the gallows
You are free!
But do not forget,
For the torment of power is a great responsibility,
And you'd be wise to remember that the favor of your king can change at a moment's notice--
He is a paranoid man, after all.
The Sword of Damocles!
There's no one-size-fits-all for love.
No magic recipe,
Or secret key to success.
Every relationship is unique,
And while they may
(forever and always)
Rely on some of the same clichés,
It doesn't make them any less special.
I love striking that perfect balance,
Of beautiful chemistry.
Some of our traits might implode other couples,
Just as some of theirs could implode ours.
And that's okay.
It's beautiful, really.
The human spirit changes so much from person to person,
And I love the differences we all share.
We've found our recipe, I think.
And I am glad for that.
Because I love to be able to call you mine,
And I have plans to do so for all time.
Because at the end of the day,
No other person makes me feel this way--
Not quite so happy, quite so grounded, quite so secure.
Nobody else makes me laugh the same way,
Or challenges me the same way.
And these same traits,
In any other proportions,
I'm sure would be a disaster.
But with you--
With you they're perfect.
Jumped out of a plane today.
Willingly, knowingly, and confidently.
Climbed 14,000 feet in a plane with two benches and 20 people
Waddled out to the garage door
A gaping hole in a metal tube hurtling through the sky
Free fell, 120 miles an hour toward the unforgiving earth.
Sometimes I wonder about God.
He made us dumb enough to want to do this,
For his laughs? Or ours?
Of my own volition (and at a high velocity) I plummet to what could easily be my death and last memory on this earth.
I give zero fucks.
It was the most exhilarating feeling in the world.
The parachute deploys,
I am tugged upwards.
My instructor spirals us downward,
Allows me to pull and steer.
I have no clue what exactly to do and try to follow his cues,
But I know one thing
This shit is fun