10:45pm and i find myself hungry so i walk down the street to the late-night market for ramen noodles and when i put the packages crinkling on the counter the cashier, a thin japanese man in maybe his mid-forties, rings them up and chimes out, “one hundred dollars!” i laugh, “i don’t think i have that,” hand him four quarters and make my way back out to the city streets as he bids me “good morning!”.
i have fallen in love with this city with so much more ease and simplicity than i have had falling in love with any human being, i’ve been told to acknowledge gratitude, so: tonight i am grateful for this stranger who’s made me laugh in the moment most shop owners want to be packing up and heading home, for the helicopter coming in for landing on the roof of the hospital down the street, for the pride flags waving out the windows of this bar on the corner, the two men here holding hands, for my quiet room in the sticky heat, the window open and the whir of the fan.
Immature people falling in love destroy each other’s freedom, create a bondage, make a prison. Mature persons in love help each other to be free; they help each other to destroy all sorts of bondages. And when love flows with freedom there is beauty. When love flows with dependence there is ugliness.
A mature person does not fall in love, he or she rises in love. Only immature people fall; they stumble and fall down in love. Somehow they were managing and standing. Now they cannot manage and they cannot stand. They were always ready to fall on the ground and to creep. They don’t have the backbone, the spine; they don’t have the integrity to stand alone.
A mature person has the integrity to stand alone. And when a mature person gives love, he or she gives without any strings attached to it. When two mature persons are in love, one of the great paradoxes of life happens, one of the most beautiful phenomena: they are together and yet tremendously alone. They are together so much that they are almost one. Two mature persons in love help each other to become more free. There is no politics involved, no diplomacy, no effort to dominate. Only freedom and love.
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
as time goes by, louis armstrong
Bowhead whales, who look like giant
skipping stones in the palm of a child,
whose newborns are fifteen feet long.
The tortoise, who has watched four
generations leave and sometimes
return from war. Turritopsis nutricula
or the “immortal jellyfish” who, if
not killed, can actually live forever
without dying. The saguaro cactus
who wait seventy-five years just to
stretch out one arm. Red woods.
Spores. Sea urchins, those sunken
chew toys, who can regenerate lost
spines. Koi fish, who inhabit artificial
pools, tattoos and decorative ponds,
who remain long after their owners.
Who will feed them then? And you.
Will you, too, outlive me or will
I always be the shiny fountain
in which you are reborn?
- Sierra DeMulder