goodlooksamerica
prose, poetry, photography
Welcome to my battle station

Welcome to my battle station

9/22

somedays you’re alright
you’re good
the earth under your feet
doesn’t shake
your heart doesn’t tremor
your head doesn’t throb
you are breathing
those lungs
big air
big gasps
big things

but somedays
you are not
you want them to notice you
for them to talk to you
to stop your legs from shaking
when you can’t stand tall
or when your heart wanders
the old history
those old avenues and streets
take small breaths
i’m anxious.

you just want someone to notice
to talk to
the human thing
you want 
to do.

that’s all.

humansofnewyork:

"I wrote a comment. She liked the comment. I sent her a friend request."
(Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, Vietnam)

humansofnewyork:

"I wrote a comment. She liked the comment. I sent her a friend request."

(Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, Vietnam)

i realized that at 1:19am, no one can really be alone anymore. Like, y’know, really alone. When there’s no one to talk to, the night is at its darkest, and nothing is connecting you to another person right now except you and yourself. Everything you need is here, at your desk, writing. 

How uncomfortable it feels. 

outofprintclothing:

"I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything." -Lord of the FliesHappy Birthday, William Golding!

outofprintclothing:

"I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything." -Lord of the Flies

Happy Birthday, William Golding!

John Lennon & Yoko Ono on Love.

nprbooks:

The MacArthur “genius grants” were announced just after midnight. Winners include cartoonist and graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel, playwright Samuel D. Hunter, translator and poet Khaled Mattawa and poet Terrance Hayes.

Alison Bechdel was commended for “expanding the expressive potential of the graphic form in intricate narratives that explore the complexities of familiar relationships.” Bechdel’s comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, ran from 1983 to 2008. “The characters in my comic strip … are all thinly veiled versions of myself,” she told the MacArthur Foundation. “No matter what they look like … they’re all basically me.” Her memoirs include Fun Home, about her father, which she talked about  with Liane Hansen in 2006, and a book about her mom titled Are You My Mother?, which she discussed with Guy Raz in 2012. In a Q&A with NPR on Tuesday, she said:

"I guess I’m proudest of just really sticking with this odd thing I loved and was good at — drawing comics about marginal people (lesbians) in a marginal format (comics). I never thought much about whether that was responsible, or respectable, or lucrative."

Khaled Mattawa was recognized for “rendering the beauty and meaning of contemporary Arab poetry accessible to an English reader and highlighting the invaluable role of literary translation in bridging cultural divides.” He says he finds it “moving and rewarding” to connect poets and readers who otherwise would not have been connected. “There were many great Arab poets who were not available in English, so it seemed important for me to bring them to the American reader,” Mattawa told the MacArthur Foundation. Mattawa spoke with NPR back in February 2011 about his birthplace, Benghazi, Libya, which had just seen an uprising against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi. He told Guy Raz:

“I feel rebirth, greatly honored to be from Benghazi. I feel slightly ashamed at having distrusted the people or my fellow citizens at not being able to rise. And I feel a great sense of solidarity with the people of my city. I’m overjoyed.”

Terrance Hayes was recognized for “reflecting on race, gender, and family in works that seamlessly encompass both the historical and the personal and subvert canonical forms.” Tune in to All Things Considered tonight to hear Melissa Block’s conversation with Hayes. “I’m pursuing a kind of language which is just as complicated and just as transparent as human experience,” he told the MacArthur Foundation. NPR featured Hayes’ poem “The Blue Terrance” back in 2006.

Samuel D. Hunter was commended for “quietly crafting captivating dramas that explore the human capacity for empathy and confront the socially isolating aspects of contemporary life across the American landscape.” Drawing inspiration from his Idaho hometown, Hunter says his plays are an “experiment in empathy.” He tells the MacArthur Foundation: “The plays are very plainspoken. I’m not interested in making a kind of art that goes over anybody’s heads. … I want them to be accessible.”

Clockwise from top left: Alison Bechdel, Samuel D. Hunter, Terrance Hayes and Khaled Mattawa. Images Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

npr:

It was an ordinary Friday. Courtney Brown, 24, of Kalamazoo, Mich., was busy looking for a job. “I’ve applied all kinds of places,” she says. “Wal-Mart, Target, Verizon Wireless.”
Then she got a strange letter in the mail. “‘We are writing you with good news,’” she reads to me over the phone. “‘We got rid of some of your Everest College debt … no one should be forced to mortgage their future for an education.’”
The letter went on to say that her private student loan from a for-profit college, in the amount of $790.05, had just been forgiven outright by something called the Rolling Jubilee.
Since November 2012, Rolling Jubilee has purchased and eradicated about $15 million worth of debt arising from unpaid medical bills. Today, the group announced that it has erased $3.9 million in private student loans, including Courtney Brown’s and almost 3,000 other students of the for-profit Everest College.
These People Can Make Student Loans Disappear
Illustration credit: LA Johnson/NPR

npr:

It was an ordinary Friday. Courtney Brown, 24, of Kalamazoo, Mich., was busy looking for a job. “I’ve applied all kinds of places,” she says. “Wal-Mart, Target, Verizon Wireless.”

Then she got a strange letter in the mail. “‘We are writing you with good news,’” she reads to me over the phone. “‘We got rid of some of your Everest College debt … no one should be forced to mortgage their future for an education.’”

The letter went on to say that her private student loan from a for-profit college, in the amount of $790.05, had just been forgiven outright by something called the Rolling Jubilee.

Since November 2012, Rolling Jubilee has purchased and eradicated about $15 million worth of debt arising from unpaid medical bills. Today, the group announced that it has erased $3.9 million in private student loans, including Courtney Brown’s and almost 3,000 other students of the for-profit Everest College.

These People Can Make Student Loans Disappear

Illustration credit: LA Johnson/NPR

austinkleon:

Clive James is dying and just published this lovely poem in The New Yorker. It reminds me of the practice of Japanese Death Poems.

On jisei:


  In the death poem or jisei, the essential idea was that at one’s final moment of life, one’s reflection on death (one’s own usually but also death in general) could be especially lucid and meaningful and therefore also constituted an important observation about life. The poem was considered a gift to one’s loved ones, students, and friends. The tradition began with zen monks, but was also popular with poets, whose poems were often just as solemn as those of monks, or entirely flippant and humorous. The poems are often full of symbols of death, such as the full moon, the western sky, the song of the cuckoo, and images of the season in which the writer died.


Here’s another poem by James.

Filed under: death, poetry

austinkleon:

Clive James is dying and just published this lovely poem in The New Yorker. It reminds me of the practice of Japanese Death Poems.

On jisei:

In the death poem or jisei, the essential idea was that at one’s final moment of life, one’s reflection on death (one’s own usually but also death in general) could be especially lucid and meaningful and therefore also constituted an important observation about life. The poem was considered a gift to one’s loved ones, students, and friends. The tradition began with zen monks, but was also popular with poets, whose poems were often just as solemn as those of monks, or entirely flippant and humorous. The poems are often full of symbols of death, such as the full moon, the western sky, the song of the cuckoo, and images of the season in which the writer died.

Here’s another poem by James.

Filed under: death, poetry

Yellow Stands

I watch the Sunflower
how it holds onto
the last shades
of Yellow

As if a dying 
setting sun,
like a lion growing
its last whiskers
like a man waiting
for Monday -
a heart attack.

So there it stands
still, not willing to let
Monday come
where  the winds will be cold.

Watch Sunflower,
watch you,
watch your
Yellow.

my dope nonfiction professor

"If you wait for inspiration to hit you then you’ll only write probably one and a half stories in your lifetime. Writing anything is about sitting at the desk on the days that you feel like you have nothing and just taking a stab at it."

- Professor Said Sayrafiezadeh