1.
The table is set. We are waiting for midnight.

2.
Christmas eve, and loved ones are close by. I feel safe.

3.
There are a few people I miss.

4.
You, most of all. This time last year—well I was alone, too, come to think of it.

5.
But my family is here with me, and for better or worse—mostly for worse, hah!—there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

A Valley Like This
William Stafford

Sometimes you look at an empty valley like this,
and suddenly the air is filled with snow.
That is the way the whole world happened—
there was nothing, and then…

But maybe some time you will look out and even
the mountains are gone, the world become nothing
again. What can a person do to help
bring back the world?

We have to watch it and then look at each other.
Together we hold it close and carefully
save it, like a bubble that can disappear
if we don’t watch out.

Please think about this as you go on. Breath on the world.
Hold out your hands to it. When mornings and evenings
roll along, watch how they open and close, how they
invite you to the long party that your life is.

1.
Putting my life together, because, well — what else could I do? What else can anyone do?

2.
Last week the city was submerged in water. Rain, it was all rain, brought by a monsoon with no name.

3.
I am thinking of starting another journal. Or maybe reviving my jazz blog, which has been dead for four, five years. I am thinking of looking for a job instead of working for myself, so I wouldn’t have to think for awhile, so I wouldn’t have to rely on me. I have enrolled for a class in applied cryptography and I don’t know why. I have enrolled for three more classes (poetry, history, mythology) this coming September. I am thinking, maybe I should do more things, instead of thinking all day. I want to leave this country. So: a job abroad? Or maybe just this city. This island. I am thinking, I am not well equipped to survive this. Actually I don’t know what I think. Coffee makes me sleepy lately. Or maybe I’ve been sleeping too much and I should fight it. That is, if I get up today and managed to feed myself and take a bath, it would be enough. One day at a time. I read somewhere that I should just make art instead of being sad. I think about it, and I realize, I am not sad. I just don’t have a desire for anything. Everything. Maybe. I still read books. That counts, right?

4.
One day at a time.

5.
Aaaaaaaggggggghhhh. I will shut up now and post all my shit in the dark. Next time you hear from me, things should be better.

A Living
William Stafford

Even pain you can take, in waves:
call the interval happiness. You can
travel; whatever nags you, you can
change it. You can roll this burden away.
In the pinched bend of your street
you can look back, or ahead, or wait.

And there is easy talk, for throwing
back like Annie-Over, or a minuet,
a way to act human in these years the stars
look past. And somewhere around you begins
that lifted road lighted by sunset, offered
again and again, laced where the sky lives:

Someday your road.

Happy birthday, S. Waiting until I can see you again.

Love,
T.

After Arguing against the Contention That Art Must Come from Discontent
William Stafford

Whispering to each handhold, “I’ll be back,”
I go up the cliff in the dark. One place
I loosen a rock and listen a long time
till it hits, faint in the gulf, but the rush
of the torrent almost drowns it out, and the wind—
I almost forgot the wind: it tears at your side
or it waits and then buffets; you sag outward. . . .

I remember they said it would be hard. I scramble
by luck into a little pocket out of
the wind and begin to beat on the stones
with my scratched numb hands, rocking back and forth
in silent laughter there in the dark—
“Made it again!” Oh how I love this climb!
—the whispering to stones, the drag, the weight
as your muscles crack and ease on, working
right. They are back there, discontent,
waiting to be driven forth. I pound
on the earth, riding the earth past the stars:
“Made it again! Made it again!”

A quiet lunch alone, watching the news.

The Way It Is
William Stafford

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.