Friday, September 11, 2009


Greetings all. Writing to let you know that the blog has been moved and is now part of my new and improved website. You can find it here. All my lecturings, ramblings and scribblings are now together -- one stop shopping. Enjoy.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Your Master's Arrival

Some days it is clear that everything in the world is a reflection of everything else.

That is, the worry you feel is shared by every flower and tree you pass and by that dog panting on the porch across the street that just said goodbye to its master and now waits for him as you wait for the future -- full of agony and anxiety, but forever hopeful that he/it will arrive safe.

The numbers are not in your favor. Temperatures rise, bank account balances fall, the roads are dangerous. The course of love begins somewhere and so inevitably, in accordance with the laws of energy, must end. But as the dog stays hopeful, occasionally falling into twitchy, groaning daydreams of pursuit and capture and belly rubs and steaks that melt like butter, so you also stay hopeful and continue onward.

Today the reflecting truth is this: the deaf university and the community around it must change or it dies. The larger reflection: the human experiment shapes up or shuts down.

Now here’s the thing. The odds are not good. But that actually is irrelevant. Whether we get to that change or not, the school or the society, is a story for someone not yet born to write. But what is important, what is the work, is just to hold that hopeful heart, that space that’s never been hurt, that’s never been disappointed, that knows the light is just around the corner. That is holy work! Just like that dog.

And then: when the master comes home – you dance!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

What Have We Done Today to Ease the World's Sorrow

My housemate brought home a dog from the shelter this afternoon. A beagle mutt, Oscar had been relegated, by his previous owners, to a cage for twenty hours a day. Understandably, this new cage free world is enormous and frightening for him. There are people everywhere. There are trees that reach higher than a dog can imagine. There is the litter of yesterday’s community fireworks extravaganza; piles of cardboard with angry scorched rims.

We walk past the elementary school. The moon, wreathed in a cloud, is full as all of June.

This is too much, too much Oscar says.
Otis nudges him with his shoulder. Ah, don’t think that, brother.
But what is this? What is this? Oscar points.
A shadow.
And this? Ive never seen this.
A chicken bone. Better leave that for me.
Are you sure this is ok? This is as it should be?
Yes, brother. It’s ok.

They walk a little further, turning onto the main avenue. Across the street the campus, emptied by summer and lit up by spotlights, glows like a kind of heaven.

Can I follow you? Asks Oscar
Of course, says Otis.
I mean, walk right next to you.
Sure. I know what you mean.
And what is that?
That – Otis turns is head -- is a child on a bike, with his father by his side.
A father?
The new dog’s face feels strange.
And what is this? What is this I feel? He asks.
That’s happiness, brother.
Happiness? Should I be worried about that? Happiness?
No. It's ok.

I spent three weeks last month in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a high plains town bowled by mountains so beautiful they’re named after female body parts. Every afternoon, these mountains collected clouds around them like school children after recess, gathering round for naptime. Evenings the children awoke and spilled forth their dreams. I wrote as much as I could, but found the words drifting in strange directions.

And then an inspiring and committed young man from the town, with his whole life in front of him, unfurling in colors so richly beautiful they don’t yet have names -- a future Olympian, a future congressman, a future father walking his dog in the dusk -- was hit by a car. He flew over the hood and landed in a field of roses.

The sun had just set. His girlfriend stood stunned next to the space where he had just been. One by one, the stars came out.

And you think: why? And you think: oh world, I know there is no rhyme or reason, and the love that holds you in your place in the galaxy asks only that we be there for every experience that manifests. But you think: the pain.

Where does it end? Can it end? What does it feel like when its over?

The two dogs round another corner and start heading home.
Are we friends? asks Oscar.
Sure, says Otis.
Oh, I've never had a friend! Is it nice?
It is, says Otis.
Oh yeah, says Oscar. I think you're right. I think it is.
Stick close to me, brother, says Otis, I’m going to show you how to piss a gate.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sweet Article

There's a long, heartfelt feature on my good friend Rebecca Alexander in this week's New York Magazine. Enjoy -- she's the shiznit. And in the pic on page four, I am about to turn her into a frog.

Update: She's as beautiful as she is awesome.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

On the Occasion of the Southwest Wind

The day is whole, complete
The day is not lacking in any way, shape or form
Seven birds trail across a gray cloud

The day is grace animated
The day is love given breath
This moment, you are held,
What more can you ever possibly need?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What would it take, my brother?

The other day I had dinner with a group of people including a young man whom, while on patrol in Abu Ghairab, was blown up by an IED. He was clinically dead for three minutes, and then discovered, when he was revived, that his memories of high school had stayed behind. They were gone forever. Two weeks later he was back on patrol. Two weeks after that, he was blown up again.

“Some days,” he says, “All I want is to go back.”

I drove to New York late that night. It was after midnight, Otis slept soundly and the roads were clear through southern Jersey. As I drove I had the thought, yet again, oh why do we make it so difficult for ourselves? We come into the world pure.

And then are fed toxic ideas until they define us.

Then when they put a gun in our hand and say blow up Mumbai, we do. When they put the idea that we are our bank account in our heads, we believe it. Four is less than five, they say, and we agree, and accept that our lives are less than in some significant, inalterable way.

Back here at Gallaudet, the semester is finishing up. Students rush to finish projects and complete four months of reading in a week. They hurry about with a sense of purpose that was largely absent earlier. Evenings at the dog park at the edge of campus, a bunch of students and I shiver with our hands in our pockets while our dogs play you can’t catch me.

I’m gonna run. You see me running? You see? You. Can’t. Catch. Me.

One by one the students leave to get back to their work. Two police cars drive fiercely down West Virginia Avenue, lights flashing. I stand in the dark with Otis, watching them go by.

There are fences everywhere around the campus, and how can we break them? There’s walls around our hearts, how can we bring them down?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Little Something-Something

If you're in town Monday the 17th...this could be fun. Stop on by.

UPDATE: The time on the Poster is wrong. The festivities start at 7, not 8. Also, I'm first up, so get there early if you're coming.