Walking Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement.
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well — one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew — however poorly used —
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her — southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies — little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts — out of her bag —
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler form California,
The lovely woman from Laredo — we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers —
Non-alcoholic — and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American — ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend — by now we were holding hands —
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,

With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate — once the crying of confusion stopped
— has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.
Naomi Shihab Nye, “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal” (via words-in-lines)

Each day for 30 days, British biologist Joanna Tilsley wrote one “quantum poem” celebrating the glory of science, from black holes to DNA to butterfly metamorphosis.


Each day for 30 days, British biologist Joanna Tilsley wrote one “quantum poem” celebrating the glory of science, from black holes to DNA to butterfly metamorphosis.


Photographs of writers at work.

Note how many standing desks! See also a great book on the subject, The Writer’s Desk.

Filed under: work spaces

So there’s a rustling in the grass that is not what

rustles from within the fir trees–unadorned, trans-

fixed, aromatic–so what. Show me a longing

that’s got no history to it, that steep glide into

what it meant once, to have glided steeply, and I’ll

show you a belief that’s touchable: go ahead,

touch it; try to…. Brokenness, you do surprise me–

here I could have sworn I’d lost my taste for you,

you being an accident like all the others that, one

by one, constellate, first becoming a life, and then

as if the only one, as if no other were possible. Since

when does that make a world? Whose business

but mine is it if now, when I grieve, I grieve

this way: crown in hand, little flowers of gold?

"Glory On" by Carl Phillips
Rakoff was a practitioner of a kind of writing that can sometimes seem to have become ubiquitous somewhere between Usenet and Twitter, because everyone thinks they can do it: blistering, unforgiving, yes-I-said-it cultural criticism, dark and mad. But with Rakoff, everything bounced off a deeply human way of looking at other people — after all, it’s only that humanity that makes your anger and your melancholy mean anything.
On Already Missing The Angry, Passionate Writing Of David Rakoff (via npr)

(via npr)

What do any of us really know about love? It seems to me we’re just beginners at love. We say we love each other and we do, I don’t doubt it. I love Terri and Terri loves me, and you guys love each other too. You know the kind of love I’m talking about now. Physical love, that impulse that drives you to someone special, as well as love of the other person’s being, his or her essence, as it were. Carnal love and, well, call it sentimental love, the day to day caring about the other person. But sometimes I have a hard time accounting for the fact that I must have loved my first wife too. But I did, I know I did. So I suppose I am like Terri in that regard. Terri and Ed. There was a time when I thought I loved my first wife more than life itself. But now I hate her guts. I do. How do you explain that? What happened to that love? What happened to it, is what I’d like to know. I wish someone could tell me. Then there’s Ed. Okay, so we’re back to Ed. He loves Terri so much he tries to kill her and he winds up killing himself. You guys have been together eighteen months and you love each other. It shows all over you. You glow with it. But you both loved other people before you met each other. You’ve both been married before, just like us. And you probably loved other people before that too, even. Terri and I have been together five years, been married for four. And the terrible thing, the terrible thing is, but the good thing too, the saving grace, you might say, is that if something happened to one of us—excuse me for saying this—but if something happened to one of us tomorrow, I think the other one, the other person, would grieve for a while, you know, but then the surviving party would go out and love again, and have someone else soon enough. All this, all of this love, we’re talking about, it would be just a memory. Am I wrong? Am I way off base? Because I want you to set me straight if you think I’m wrong. I want to know. I mean, I don’t know anything, and I’m the first one to admit it.
Raymond Carver, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." (via there-is-no-there-there)

(via fuckyeahexistentialism)



Ten Favorite Billy Wilder Films

Great picks! 


Naomi Shihab Nye, “You Have to be Careful”


Naomi Shihab Nye, “You Have to be Careful”

"hallelujah for knowledge and for the honor of language and ideas and books."

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