Our real journey in life is interior; it is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts. Never was it more necessary for us to respond to that action.
Everything in nature is lyrical in its ideal existence, tragic in its fate, and comic in its existence.
…a little weariness’ll change a lot of things.
What was the self?
You wanted a life of causes, but it was all effects: you could never get before.
Finding meaning in the meaningless was no kind of meaning, but you were satisfied with meaningness.
Luck is a skill, as is beauty, intelligence—all things you’re born with. It can almost ruin you, the belief that you can choose.
I watch a baby in a restaurant play with a plastic Slinky.
The only way past is through.
Let there be soft space in the outcome,
a possibility we might overgrow our borders,
become whole counties of light. Let us remember
this season, our chins tucked, our hard lean
into gray wind. Let the heart go rich with moss.
Let it have no footprints. Let the sun bleach
the bones of words you no longer need.
Let the birds sing in orange and red.
Let the underfoot miles go. Let everything you touch
name you. Let it be a long kiss. Let us stay
until Sirius skips his scorched heart like a stone
through the last spokes of darkness.
- Nicole Terez Dutton
I see humanity as a family that as hardly met. I see the meeting of people, bodies, thoughts, emotions or actions as the start of most change. Each link created by a meeting is like a filament, which, if they were all visible, would make the world look as though it is covered with gossamer. Every individual is connected to others, loosely or closely, by a unique combination of filaments, which stretch across the frontiers of space and time. Every individual assembles past loyalties, present needs and vision of the future in a web of different contours, with the help of heterogeneous elements borrowed from other individuals; and this constant give-and-take has been the main stimulus of humanity’s energy. Once people see themselves as influencing on another, they cannot be merely victims: anyone, however modest, then becomes a person capable of making a difference, minute though it might be, to the shape of reality. New attitudes are not promulgated by law, but spread, almost like an infection, from one person to another.
The dispute about how to achieve a better life, whether it should be by individual effort or by collective action, has no point any more, because they are two sides of these ams coin. It is difficult to do anything without help or inspiration from outside oneself. Individual struggles have simultaneously been collective ones. All the rest movements of protest against contempt, segregation and exclusion involve an infinite number of personal acts by individuals, making a small change in the whole by what they learn from each other, and by the way they treat others. To feel isolated is to be unaware of the filaments which link one to the past and to parts of the globe on may never have seen.
1. [phenomenon] The redacted “unreasonable.” The manner in which eyebrows vault skyward in disbelief, or in which a knife cleanly slid over flesh becomes tart, uncomplicated language; the sweep of shoreline in repose, a face over coffee or open ocean dreaming in sifted gold. Any shoreline Any dark interior. Landscape rich with the suggestion of further sky and highways welting vast stretches of wilderness. The price of passage. The hunger to go.
2. [phenomenon] Gangster syndicate with Queen’s orders, fluent pox like English. The cavalcade movement of men, women and children upon the shores and fanning out. The God upon their tongue like a lead bullet, a fever, a willfully dismantled village, people, tradition, language or landscape.
3. [direction] Sunset driven into, minivan with socks; unshaven sleepiness and the narrow sprawl of club dates from coast to coast, series of sad motels in pastel disrepair, handfuls of telephone quarters, guitars that call us by the names our mothers age, the body as cathedral of many chambered noise
4. [symbol] Covered wagon. Puritan cornucopia of savage fruit and gizzards, full-throttle stallions lathered toward El Dorado. Horizon overbrimming velvet saloon bustier and dust covered whiskey tin. Plague of little post-prairie prairie houses. Compulsory Carolina exodus parade from mangrove to dustbowl. Compulsory school bus echo. The whitewater river running through it. Klan hand-blasted visage of four dead presidents in the mountains of promised land.
5. [phenomenon] The production of ghosted landscape, the shackle music and weight upon bones, the ski pitch of the full-bellied boat; God of speed toward another coast, a place more closely resembling the end of the world.
6. [phenomenon] Restlessness of spirit. Open sky opening. Land far and beyond the proportion of personal otherhood. Orchestration without time signature. Towns shrunk down to past tense on the horizon. Hysteria dressed in the flames of dying maple and momentum, strings vibrating against a landscape without buffalo, red wolf, short-necked Chicksaw ponies, bees, barley. It is a big sound, the heart tumbling around cold water tenements and canyons, the rusted-down bottling plant, fallow malls, sleepy costal towns after the season parade of detritus and corn dogs, the thoroughfare abandoned, fewer daylight hours lapping against night.
7. [phenomenon] Tripping. Police on the highway flagging down the suspicious. Convenient and aggressively vague definition of suspicious. A prison sentence without charge, without trial, without term. A habit of disappearing all squeaky wheels, encouragement toward silence. Offering a mutable dictionary. A night seared by sirens, a moment shrunken to a noose. A voice that replaces one’s own, and stepping form the crushed throat into bright air, strains its verbs against uniformed bodies of Hell no.
8. [phenomenon] The making of exquisite noise. The survival of genius. Genius transmission via underlanguage, overtongue, intersong, transhamonic polymorphorhythm, visual drumbeat, quilted scrapings, adornment, basket grass, indigo stained palm, spice, hidden alphabet, dance constant agitation, sweet hurricane of song.
9. [location] Geographical location famous for promise of gold. A direction less than one hundred years from where young girls stand in dresses the color of faded everything, bonnets and skirts, like bells filled with wind. Fields that become dustbin to bigger ideas, squat towns thrown like a poker dice, space between them scarred with rails. The unmarked grave and pogrom latitude. Territory upon which whole town were swallowed by fire. Where men shoot at bison from the windows of passing trains, the place where they fall and fall.
10. [interrogative] The multiplicity of questions. Can you? Jag a little music there; make it all the way to the ocean. Move steadily without expanding with possession; without becoming full as a tick; a hide wasted in prairie wheat, swollen cumulous of flies. Can you read the winds and their constant shifting. Learn the ghosts in every landscape. Remember their names. Know where you are.
- Nicole Terez Dutton
Give me silence, water, hope
Give me struggle, iron, volcanoes
People say we’re all seeking a meaning of life…I think what we’re all seeking is an experience of being alive.