Thank You World
In the 1980's, did you ever listen to World Party? The album Goodbye Jumbo has one of my personal anthems (maybe it's a hymn) on it. It's called "Thankyou World." Do you know it?

Colours scents and symphonies
Fall on me like tears
And time around me stretches back
And forth across the years
Was I sent to see your beauty
Just to please my aching heart
Well I want to say good morning
But I don't know where to start
Thankyou World
Thankyou World
Thankyou World....

Oh, no--it's not ironic or cynical! Wouldn't fit in the hip world now. But maybe being straight and sincere is daring now. Maybe the ones who aren't "cutting edge" are the real cutting edge. Don't you wish you could get the truth without a sneer or a knowing wink?

Thank you, world: how do you pray? Now, in this bad epoch, how? What do you say? "Dear God--don't blow up the world yet." "Dear God--spare my children." How could you ask for anything when Darfur is bleeding. The Sudan. Iraq. Iran. The war in Lebanon. North Korea. Global warming. Big oil. Oh holy Christ! Is it a sin to pray "Dear God--Holy Shit!" So I ask for nothing. I just report for duty every day and night, and let the Ineffable deal the hand. (Oops, sorry--that's not ironic either, and it's really square to believe in the things I believe in...but after writing Hummingbird, I figure there's nowhere to hide).

Well I'm lying in the dew
And I'm staring at the stars
Yeah He laid me down this blanket
Now I call this blanket grass
And the sun is my alarm
And the moon she makes me dream
And my food is wild honey pie
And water from the stream
Thankyou World
Thankyou World
For giving me my children
Thankyou World
For keeping me alive....

I warned my students at Fishtrap last month that we could not remain in the open-heart position. To make writing miracles (and life miracles) available, you have to be naked and innocent and willing to be foolish. Ah, but this other world is always waiting for us. And we have to put on our armor. For example, if I were to teach classes at UIC the way I really teach, if I were to make the class shamanic and weird and open to levitations and bird nests in the windows, they'd laugh me out of the classroom. We're so industrial in dntn Chicago. So much cement.

So I go out in my yard with the dogs and we stare at the trees. I can't believe the small forest I seem to live in. The giant maples (King Raplh and Queen Sally, according to Chayo)share the far end of the yard with a single with paperbacrk birch (looking enough like a holy aspen to make me feel like I'm back in the Rockies). And behind the forsythia hedge, a huge weeping willow drops its curtains of green. Red cardinals go "weep-weep-weep" in the bushes. Butterflies drop from the canopy and inspect my butterfly bushes. On some mornings, the wild turkeys come through bitching about the day.

I cannot write yet. But I can pray.

Yeah yeah yeah
Are you getting the vibe?
Yeah yeah yeah
Are you really alive?
Thankyou World.

She is everything I need
She is living guaranteed
She's what I mean when I say
Everything's all right
She got diamonds she got pearls
She got wisdom
And this girl is all you need
To know everything's all right
And I need to know everything's all right.

(Lyrics: Karl Wallinger.)

Put on your armor, but stay fresh behind the steel. Make some coffee. I need to sit and write. Keep a light on for me--I'm making my way through the smoke.

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