move toward the love each day

Move toward the love each day

In each altercation

Never try to hide your pain

Be true to your nature

Listen with heart and mind

Cry sometimes, it’s human

No need to be always asking why

Some things can’t be proven

Be the change you want to see

Don’t give in to hatred

Else you’ll see faults in all you see

And life will ever be tainted

Move toward the love each day

And each day will grow brighter

Even when the sky is grey

Everything will feel lighter.

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A sunny day on the beach @ Seaton Carew, Northeast England


faces on the subway

Faces on the subway

Rarely a second glance

Still, when our eyes meet

It’s something like romance.

Some like their smart phones

Some read their books

Me, I watch the faces

Collect their stolen looks.


i am not rich

I am not rich except in all the ways you should be

no need to spell it out

I am not smart but smart enough to know right from wrong

shall I go on?

Or can the song stop here with the bolded-up truth that finds the mark each time

a la Babe Ruth?

That we’re all there already and that winning is redundant

when all have won

Open your hand, see the prize stretch out from your fingertips to infinity

to everyone.

Me in the Badlands of South Dakota. Photograph by Iain Willis.

Me in the Badlands of South Dakota. Photograph by Iain Willis.


god wind blow

God Wind blow
Turn cities to rust
Turn lakes to mountains
History to dust

God Wind grow
To stratospheric heights
Expand through space and time
Cross continents, span lives.

God Wind flow
Within me and without
Carry me away
Scatter me about

God Wind dance
Duets with midnight flame
Make ballets with trees
Choreograph the rain.

Clouds at sunset, Lake Arenal, Costa Rica.

Clouds at sunset, Lake Arenal, Costa Rica.

 


father

You are rational

I am less

You are wrought iron

I am glass.

 

You saved pennies

For a rainy day

I make pennies

Go a long way.

 

You made bridges

You’ll never cross

You are rational

And then you’re not.

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Dad and I watching a gecko in Lake Arenal, Costa Rica. March 2015

 


babe in the river

Babe in the river
Babe in my heart
Where ever you’ll go
We’re never apart

The cold mountain water
Makes you shiver at first
The world’s sometimes like that
When you jump in head first:

You were one week old
I was running around Brooklyn
Your mama was in stitches
As I attempted the cooking

I said: I’ll never be more tired
I was wrong about that
But I’ve never been happier
To put out my back.

Babe in the river
Your eyes lit in rapture
In a pool before the rapids
Before the who-knows-ever-after.

Alice and I @ Living Forest, Lake Arenal. Costa Rica, March 2015

Alice and I @ Living Forest, Lake Arenal. Costa Rica, March 2015


thoughts on the charlie hebdo murders

The killing of the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo is a watershed moment for me. Until now I had tended to believe that in the current of flare up of tensions between Islam and the West the important thing was to avoid fanning the flames of an already volatile situation.

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Islam, I told myself, had emerged in societies where the tradition of anti-authoritarian rhetoric that we rightly pride ourselves for in the West had never had chance to flourish.

Insulting Islam, therefore, was not the same as insulting Christianity which has had to accept (albeit very reluctantly) attacks on its dogma, hypocrisies and abuses as a part of life so long as it wants to continue to play a role in the modern secular West.

You had to be extra sensitive. You had to treat Islam the way you might treat an elderly relative, toning down your language in their presence, accepting there were certain modern ideas they might find unpalatable.

On top of this I didn’t want to be associated with all those right-wing reactionaries with their scare-mongering about Islamofacism and their claptrap about Europe being turned into a caliphate.

But then Charlie Hebdo happened and I realised I had it wrong.

I realised that I had taken for granted something very essential about my life in the secular West that the cartoonists and writers who died in the hail of bullets this week had not.

Namely, that the value of freedom of expression that we see as central to our western culture is not innate. It exists only because people in the past have been prepared to lay down their lives for it, and it will quickly evaporate unless we continue to fight for it now.

If you live in the West you should be prepared to have your ideas challenged, picked apart, held up to ridicule if necessary. There are no exceptions to this. This is western culture.

You might be offended, that’s your right. But it’s also my right to cause offense if I so choose. This is one of the key reasons western culture has succeeded so well and theocratic societies have not.

The results may be messy, tasteless, tactless, puerile, even hurtful. But free and open debate is also what allows progress. You might, for example, find Russell Brand and Nigel Farage hard to take but the fact that British political life can accommodate two so very different visions is a sign of the strength of our democracy not the opposite, as many have suggested.

Islamist extremists may call the West the Great Satan but the digital landscape where they make their Stone Age pronouncements wouldn’t even exist if we hadn’t done such a thorough job of kicking totalitarian religious orthodoxy to the curb. There would be no smart phone without Galileo and Voltaire.

Believe what you want. Believe in God, the big bang, lizard overlords, unicorns. I defend anyone’s right to have their¬†beliefs. But first and foremost I defend my right to say what I like about them. To live any other way is to abandon principles that have helped create the most free and open society the world has ever known.