Archive for October, 2011

After Ristos

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

by Malena Morling

You know that moment in the summer dusk
when the sunbathers have all gone home to mix drinks
and you are alone on the beach

when the waves begin to nibble
on the abandoned sand castles—
And further out, over the erupted face

of the water stained almost pink
there are a few clouds that hold
entire rooms inside of them—rooms where no one lives—

in the hair
of the light that soon will go
grey and then black. It is the moment

when even the man who mops the floor
in the execution room of the prison
stops to look up into the silence

that grows like smoke or the dusk itself.
And your mind becomes almost visible
and you know there is nothing

that is not mysterious. And that no moment
is less important than this moment.
And that imprisonment is not possible.


Beautiful Little Problems

Friday, October 21st, 2011

For my birthday last spring, Lillie gave me a poem, handwritten on a piece of drawing paper. She has five older siblings and step-siblings and a few imperfect parents, and has witnessed plenty of beautiful little problems. She is the sweetest little potato.

Here is what she wrote:

I wish I could give you a peaceful world, a family preserved perfectly. A life free of beautiful little problems. But these things are beyond my meager means. So for now, Mama, I wish you a happy birthday, year, and life. And for now, take my words, fold them in a square, and let this paper become soft with years of wear and tear until you need it in some far off day for some unknown way. For now, take these words and know that all I really have to say to you today is simply this, I love you. –Lillie

No need for worry
No need for fear of
My windowless soul
The slamming of my door
The shattering of a sparkle
You delicately savored all
These years. Our hard
Long empty hours stretch
Like the Brooklyn Bridge
Where peaches & cream melt
Like pain in tears
A flower can grow strong
Only through a storm
For without ugliness
There can be no beauty
As another year
Another life passes us
By the stolen light of night
The streak of a car in the
Dark city streets
Watch as I grow
Watch without a worry
In this big old world
See me dance in the
Harsh winter wind
And hold me if I cry
On a warm summer night
But don’t worry for
Me, I am always
Going and forever to
Be myself.
And even as we both
See times come
And go
Remember, forever
And always, I am a
Dill pickle in a thick glass jar
A lily of the valley, a
Broken song upon a star
Your loving daughter


Four Hours and Counting

Friday, October 21st, 2011

If you haven’t read any Tim Ferriss yet, you might want to. I picked up his The 4-Hour Body on a whim on a trip to Target with Max. That led me to order The 4-Hour Work Week, which I’d gravitated toward but passed by in the airport  a couple of years ago (clearly a mistake of judgment on my part at the time, since most of my best reading comes from airport impulse buys).

I could type a thousand good quotes from Ferriss so far, but here’s one that struck me hard tonight. (Disclaimer: for me, this has nothing to do with the current national or global economic or political scene. Instead, it hit a personal nerve related to a situation I was in for a long time.) The quote:

A mindset of scarcity (which breeds jealousy and unethical behavior) is due to a disdain for those things easily obtained. –Seneca

Ferriss also has a lot of insightful things to say about change and fear and so forth, but he has a quirky and irreverent way of saying things (sometimes involving multiple asterisks and other %@# types of constructions) that works well for me.

Recommended reading.


Broken Links

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Unfortunately, ALL of the links to my Rake articles ( are temporarily defunct. This is because the site was recently purchased by Minneapolis/St. Paul mag. The friendly gent there says he hopes to have the Rake archives back up “soon.” I hope so, since of course I don’t have much of this backed up myself!


From Out the Cave

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

by Joyce Sutphen

When you have been
at war with yourself
for so many years that
you have forgotten why,
when you have been driving
for hours and only
gradually begin to realize
that you have lost the way,
when you have cut
hastily into the fabric,
when you have signed
papers in distraction,
when it has been centuries
since you watched the sun set
or the rain fall, and the clouds,
drifting overhead, pass as flat
as anything on a postcard;
when, in the midst of these
everyday nightmares, you
understand that you could
wake up,
you could turn
and go back
to the last thing you
remember doing
with your whole heart:
that passionate kiss,
the brilliant drop of love
rolling along the tongue of a green leaf,
then you wake,
you stumble from your cave,
blinking in the sun,
naming every shadow
as it slips.