Friday, March 27, 2015

Current Obsession: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Nope. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is not that kind of movie.

Well…it is just a little. But the Girl is a vampire. And it takes place in Iran. And she skateboards. And has great taste in music. And is such a badass…

Such a fabulously feminist, quirky, beautiful film. Director Ana Lily Amirpour is fascinating. In this interview, she says, “A film is like a dream. It’s the opportunity to work inside of a dream. A film is really a place of the mind.” Her movie has absolutely returned to haunt me, in the best way possible, throughout the last week.

What's playing the part of your muse this week?


Thursday, March 26, 2015


"Temple of Dendur, papyrus and wishing well, The Met," 2015, by Paul Metrinko


Head out on foot Be unburdened
by key or car Leave all of the house
inside of the house If you slither inside
the locks they can rotate their innards
May we never forget the flame
that we stuck into the candle
May we never set our houses on fire
May we never let the cats get out to starve
or freeze May no strangers pass through
this door to do us harm

Now that that’s out of the way
perhaps we can leave in one effortless motion
out into the air which is not threatened by us

[Image above by Paul Metrinko]

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Poetry Prescription from Tracey Cleantis

When The Next Happy: Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward arrived in my mailbox, I shrieked with glee, and then teared up a little. I’ve known the author, Tracey Cleantis, from blogland since the earliest days of The Storialist. Some of you may know her column, “Freudian Sip” (at Psychology Today) or her former blog, La Belette Rouge.

In all of Tracey’s work, she writes about meaningful concepts and experiences in a voice that is warm, inviting, authentic, and wise. (This is exactly who she is as a person and friend—someone who is caring, truthful, funny, and so damn smart!)

This book is no exception. In The Next Happy, she gives beautiful and real advice for helping others discover and create joy in their lives. I love how she prompts self-reflection, asking readers to look at and question what we so desperately want. Her perspective is so refreshing and helpful—she advises for us to run away from potentially hurtful adages like “Never give up on your dreams” and “If you want it bad enough, it’ll happen,” and to instead, be thoughtful and honest in our own evaluation of the goals we’re pursuing. If you’re feeling stuck, drained, or would like a little more insight into why you’re doing what you’re doing, this is the book for you!

In the book (and in her practice as a therapist), Tracey makes recommendations of books, movies, and poems that she thinks could benefit clients and readers. Tracey has graciously prescribed three poems for us here--you can enjoy them below, along with her thoughts on each!

Tracey says: In The Next Happy I teach people what to expect when they are grieving and the absolute importance of making room for whatever feelings that arise. We should not reject these feelings, but should make space for all of them, the good, the bad, and the unwelcome---all the while knowing that this joy, meanness, envy, sadness, fear will not stay forever. This is a poem that therapists everywhere love. Truly, I almost feel like this poem is as important to have for therapists as the DSM-V. This poem instructs, "Don't push feelings away; welcome them and learn from them.” 

The Guest House
Jalal al-Din Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In Every Closeness a Pushing Out to the Edge

"Branch, branch, creek," 2004, by Heather Smith Jones

In Every Closeness a Pushing Out to the Edge

If you miss a place take up its map
and let your finger dawdle along streets
and blue streets of rivers

This is not completely dissimilar from visiting

in the way that oh
going to library approximates some fragment
of what it is to read a book

[Image above by Heather Smith Jones]

Monday, March 23, 2015


from "Private Sacred Place," 2009, Lee Jeong Lok


Windshield wipers clearing a half moon
for you to look through a cuticle moon
in the rain Bringing you the moon here
to say you will be fine

Where there is water you can still be dry

The fact that this isn’t a miracle
is a miracle

Later in my dream I write these words
for a friend’s wedding

Sometimes you are the ocean
and sometimes you are the person
in it and love depends on if you
can trade spots

When the water comes for us all
Beloved you are there and I am over here

but between us is a leash

[Image above by Lee Jeong Lok]
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