Tag Archives: poetry

I love it when people surprise me. Have you met Alan?

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I love it when people surprise me.

Have you met Alan Roettinger, chef, and author of Speed Vegan? Artist and Poet?

I had the pleasure of sitting in on Alan’s cooking demo at VegFest, where he waxed philosophic, had us all laughing, and gracefully brandished his knives, all the while creating some lovely food in a most non-speedy way. What Alan said Saturday was this: instead of calling himself a vegan, or an animal activist, he considers himself “a joy activist.” And I like that very much, even though I would never consider that label for myself. Joy, it has always seemed to me, is a fake word for people who bury their head in the sand. But Alan 1. did not appear fake, and 2. seemed very aware and in tune with the world.

A quick conversation with Alan at his author’s table solidified my impressions.

So, check out Alan, his philosophy, his books {more than just cookbooks here}, maybe tell him hello:

Peaceful Baboons, Hitler & Animal Rights… My blog’s top 20 most visited posts of all time

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Since I’ve been blogging daily for about 8 months now (minus this day and that day), I thought it might be fun to share the top 20 most visited posts. Note, #20 is technically a Page, not a Post, but whatever. Here you go:

My only advice is not to go away. Or, go away. Most of my decisions have been wrong.

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by Larry Levis


In the City of Light

The last thing my father did for me
Was map a way: he died, & so
Made death possible. If he could do it, I
Will also, someday, be so honored. Once,

At night, I walked through the lit streets
Of New York, from the Gramercy Park Hotel
Up Lexington & at that hour, alone,
I stopped hearing traffic, voices, the racket

Of spring wind lifting a newspaper high
Above the lights. The streets wet,
And shining. No sounds. Once,

When I saw my son be born, I thought
How loud this world must be to him, how final.

That night, out of respect for someone missing,
I stopped listening to it.

Out of respect for someone missing,
I have to say

This isn’t the whole story.
The fact is, I was still in love.
My father died, & I was still in love. I know
It’s in bad taste to say it quite this way. Tell me,
How would you say it?

The story goes: wanting to be alone & wanting
The easy loneliness of travelers,

I said good-bye in an airport & flew west.
It happened otherwise.
And where I’d held her close to me,
My skin felt raw, & flayed.

Descending, I looked down at light lacquering fields
Of pale vines, & small towns, each
With a water tower; then the shadows of wings;
Then nothing.

My only advice is not to go away.
Or, go away. Most

Of my decisions have been wrong.

When I wake, I lift cold water
To my face. I close my eyes.

A body wishes to be held, & held, & what
Can you do about that?

Because there are faces I might never see again,
There are two things I want to remember
About light, & what it does to us.

Her bright, green eyes at an airport—how they widened
As if in disbelief;
And my father opening the gate: a lit, & silent

City.


From The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing, edited by Kevin Young.

What color is a marble-colored cloud?

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by Franz Wright


Did This Ever Happen to You

A marble-colored cloud
engulfed the sun and stalled,

a skinny squirrel limped toward me
as I crossed the empty park

and froze, the last
or next to last

fall leaf fell but before it touched
the earth, with shocking clarity

I heard my mother’s voice
pronounce my name. And in an instant I passed

beyond sorrow and terror, and was carried up
into the imageless

bright darkness
I came from

and am. Nobody’s
stronger than forgiveness.


From The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing, edited by Kevin Young.

Like an eye roaming with the dead beneath an unlocked lid

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by Kevin Young


Bereavement

Behind his house, my father’s dogs
sleep in kennels, beautiful,
he built just for them.

They do not bark.
Do they know he is dead?
They wag their tails

& head. They beg
& are fed.
Their grief is colossal

& forgetful.
Each day they wake
seeking his voice,

their names.
By dusk they seem
to unremember everything—

to them even hunger
is a game. For that, I envy.
For that, I cannot bear to watch them

pacing their cage. I try to remember
they love best confined space
to feel safe. Each day

a saint comes by to feed the pair
& I draw closer
the shades.

I’ve begun to think of them
as my father’s other sons,
as kin. Brothers-in-paw.

My eyes each day thaw.
One day the water cuts off.
Then back on.

They are outside dogs
which is to say, healthy
& victorious, purposeful

& one giant muscle
like the heart. Dad taught
them not to bark, to point

out their prey. To stay.
Were they there that day?
They call me

like witnesses & will not say.
I ask for their care
& their carelessness

wish of them forgiveness.
I must give them away.
I must find for them homes,

sleep restless in his.
All night I expect they pace
as I do, each dog like an eye

roaming with the dead
beneath an unlocked lid.


From The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing, edited by Kevin Young.